Like so many other "road house" venues, the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, tolerated years of the "sound system shuffle." The old house system worked fine for some shows, but it had to be built up with additional speakers for others. For many pop/rock shows, the house system was completely replaced by a rental rig, with all the attendant logistical problems and labor costs.
Looking for a way to simplify matters, the theatre management decided to stop shuffling. Their solution: install a "do it all" main system based on Meyer Sound’s M Series curvilinear arrays.
"We do all kinds of shows here, ranging from a ballet one day to rock n’ roll the next," says Tom Painter, the theatre’s sound engineer. "With the Meyer rig, we’re finding it most attractive to have a system that can do it all, with both clarity and a lot of guts to it as well. We’ve done rock, pop, new age, just about everything, and we’re finding we just don’t have to supplement or replace anything."
The new system in the 1,800-seat restored movie palace incorporates a total of 19 self-powered M Series cabinets. The left and right stage stacks each comprise four M2D compact curvilinear array loudspeakers, with the arrays mounted atop a single M3D-Sub directional subwoofer using QuickFly® transition grids. Balcony coverage is provided by an array of five M2D cabinets, transitioning to four down-angled M1D ultra-compact curvilinear array loudspeakers for orchestra fill. A pair of UPA-1P compact wide coverage cabinets fills in the front corners.
For those shows not requiring full power, the side stacks are quickly rolled backstage on the M3D-Sub’s modified caster rails. For these limited applications, sufficient coverage is provided by the center cluster and fill speakers.
All Meyer Sound loudspeakers were provided through ProMix Electrotec of Mount Vernon, NY; system installation was accomplished by an in-house crew of IATSE technicians headed by Painter and theatre staff associate Willie Weist.
The process of selecting a new loudspeaker system was a collaborative effort on the part of Painter and the theatre’s long-time acoustical consultant, Anthony Nittoli of Norwalk, CT-based Akustiks. After narrowing down their choices to the M Series and a conventionally powered alternative, the duo brought in demo rigs of each for on-site tests.
"I was extremely happy with the performance and coverage, says Nittoli. "I don’t think there is a ‘three dB down’ point anywhere in the house. They also integrated into the space very well."
Nittoli took charge of the details of cluster configuration and placement, with assistance from Meyer Sound MAPP Online® acoustical prediction software, which he found "helpful in trying out various box counts and angles."
The complete system renovation also included a new Yamaha PM-5000 console, which Painter calls "a perfect marriage with the sound of the Meyer loudspeaker boxes." Other equipment in the package included signal processing from Yamaha, Klark-Teknik, dbx, Summit, TC Electronic, Aphex, Lexicon and Symetrix; and a bountiful selection of microphones, largely from Shure, AKG, Sennheiser and Neumann.
In its first weeks of use, the new system earned unanimous acceptance from all touring engineers concerned. Acts heard through the system include Olivia Newton-John, Windham Hill’s Winter Solstice tour, and Roberta Flack, along with a Aquila Theatre Company production of Shakespeare plays. Though some brought in their own FOH gear, all used the new house Meyer Sound loudspea