Envisioned as Broadway’s living room for entertainment professionals and audiences alike, 54 Below is the Great White Way’s newest supper club, located below what was once the legendary Studio 54 nightclub. Its home-away-from-home environment exudes an atmosphere of elegance and style, offering up to three shows per night, as well as a social lounge. The new venue can host up to 144 guests in the main dining room, with each guest seated no more than 24 feet from the stage. Equipped with state-of-the-art gear, the venue can broadcast and record audio and video of its live events.

In order to provide an unforgettable New York nightlife experience combining Broadway’s best performances with world-class dining in an elegant setting, Grammy, Tony and Olivier Award-nominated sound designer Peter Hylenski wanted to ensure that every seat was a good one, with all visitors being able to hear the performances loudly and clearly. He sought out assistance from Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, to make this vision a reality. Masque Sound accomplished this by installing a custom audio equipment package for the new hot spot.

With a turnaround time of about 10 weeks from start to finish, the Masque Sound team knew excellent coordination and planning on the job site was critically important. Considering the room’s ornate aesthetics, the key to a successful install was working closely with the other trade professionals and parties involved when securing the appropriate equipment. To this end, Masque Sound worked hard to ensure both the electrical and general contractors had everything they needed.

To make sure there was complete audio coverage throughout the venue, Masque Sound, led by production manager and systems engineer Matt Peskie, provided a large quantity of Meyer Sound speakers for 54 Below. The team also equipped the club with a highly flexible Avid SC48 digital console. The versatility of the Avid SC48 allows 54 Below to save and recall settings, which is especially beneficial and efficient, as there are multiple acts performing nightly as well as many artists appearing for repeat performances. In addition, Peter Hylenski chose Millennia Media pre-amps. These high-end mic pre-amps can be combined to feed the console as well as the JoeCo black-box recorder. This gives the venue the option of dual recording, both as a primary and backup. 

All of the club’s digital signal processing is handled by BSS processors. The venue is split up into a dozen speaker zones, including ceiling speaker zones that can be controlled by BSS blue 10 remotes. This allows the bartender to play an iPod before the show and have control over the whole system. The bartender or sound system operator who has a controller can then go onto a touch screen and fade out the iPod, allowing the Avid SE48 to take over and drive the speakers.

Audio Equipment List:

  • 1 Avid SC48 digital console
  • 2 Millenia Media HV3R eight-channel remote mic pres
  • 1 JoeCo BBR-1D AES/EBU digital 24Tk recorder
  • 1 BSS BLU-100 Soundweb processor (12x8)
  • 21 Tannoy CMS-601DC ceiling loudspeakers
  • 6 Meyer Sound UP-4XP 48V speakers
  • 4 Meyer Sound UPJ-1P speakers
  • 4 Meyer Sound 500HP subwoofers


Design Team:

  • Sound designer: Peter Hylenski
  • Production manager/systems engineer: Matt Peskie
  • Restaurant design: John Lee Beatty
  • Lighting: Ken Billington
  • Architect: Richard Lewis
  • Producers: Tom Viertel, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel and Steve Baruch
  • Creative team: Scott Wittman, creative consultant; and Phil Geoffrey Bond, director of programming


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