Rock concert or theatrical musical? “That was the challenge from the beginning,” says sound designer Peter Hylenski. “The producers wanted it to be a rock concert, but there is also a story being told. It’s tricky, so we were walking a very fine line: How rock can you make it yet still keep the audience engaged in the story?” With dialogue dovetailed into the music, Hylenski notes that the end result has a lot of complex mixing, so that the dialogue is not too loud, yet the music really wails as the singers belt out songs.

“A lot of the parameters are automated in terms of computer-aided mixing,” says Hylenski, who is among the designers nominated for the second-ever Tony for sound design. “Front-of-house mixer Jesse Stevens has to carefully balance the thresholds for dialogue and music,” Hylenski adds. Stevens handles the live, manual mixing on a Digidesign D-Show Profile console that feeds into four Meyer Sound LCS LX-300 frames which are the heart of the automation system. “It is a very fast show, and there is a lot going on, but since it is a musical, you can’t use an all-automated system, and there is no pre-recorded singing,” continues Hylenski. “We have to react to what is coming from the stage and the pit in every performance, and each one is different. The audio department’s job is to maintain the quality of the show every night. In this case, the automation gets Jesse into the ballpark, and he fine tunes everything with the live mix.”

The loudspeaker system includes a Meyer M’elodie self-powered line array system on the proscenium, with Meyer PQ1 and PQ2s for the center cluster and Meyer 700-HP subwoofers. “These are split,” says Hylenski. “Some are flown, and some are tucked under the front edge of the stage.” Meyer UPAs are used on the delay truss, with UPJs, UPMs, and M1Ds scattered around the stage. The speakers on stage are hidden in the unit set as monitors for the performers’ fold-back system. Additional UPAs are located in the side walls of the scenery, with fill speakers hidden at the top of the stairs and in the bar. Even the downstage area has speakers sunk into the floor. “The sound is also controllable in zones on stage, which helps keep it clear,” says Hylenski. “The level on stage is probably the loudest for a Broadway show, but we want the coverage on stage to be as clean and smooth as possible.” Processing includes a Meyer Galileo Loudspeaker Management System.

A five-piece band sits on stage—the house band for ROA’s Sunset Strip club—and features drums, bass, keyboard, and two guitars, with the musicians wearing in-ear monitors. Craig van Tassel serves as monitor engineer, mixing live on a Yamaha M7CL-48 console backstage for the band and cast, making the stage reactive to the singers. “Craig and Jesse give the cast what they need, and they do it very well,” says Hylenski.

The wireless mic packs for the singers comprise Sennheiser SK-5212 transmitters and EM3532-U receivers, with HSP2 head-worn booms. PRG Audio supplied the gear—complete list at “They worked with us to meet the weekly budget yet keep the same structure for the sound and get the desired results, even though we had to make some compromises,” says Hylenski, whose sound design never compromises in rocking the house.

Sound Gear

5 Meyer 700HP Powered Subwoofer
23 Meyer M'elodie Powered Miniature Line Array
2 Meyer CQ-2 Powered Loudspeaker
4 Meyer CQ-1 Powered Loudspeaker
3 Meyer UPA-1P Powered Loudspeaker
2 Meyer UPA-2P Powered Loudspeaker
2 Meyer UMS-1P Powered Compact Subwoofer
2 Meyer M1D Powered Loudspeaker
2 Meyer UPM-2P Powered Loudspeaker
2 d&b audiotechnik Q10 Loudspeaker
6 d&b audiotechnik E9 Loudspeaker
4 d&b audiotechnik E3 Loudspeaker
2 d&b audiotechnik E8 Loudspeaker
13 EAW JF-80
4 EAW JF-60
10 EAW UB12 Compact Loudspeaker
7 Genelec 1029A Powered Monitors
10 Anchor AN1000
4 Yamaha MSP-5 Powered Monitors
2 AKG C414 B-ULS
2 AKG 451EB w/-10dB Pad
2 Audio Technica AT-4051
2 Audio Technica AT-Pro35ax
2 Avalon U5 Direct Box
1 Demeter DI
1 Neumann KM-184
4 Neumann TLM-170
2 Radial JDI Duplex
1 Royer R-122
2 Sennheiser 604e
4 Sennheiser MD-431 II (w/switch)
1 Sennheiser MD-441
3 Shure 514B
2 Shure Beta 52
11 Shure SM-57
1 Shure SM-7B
2 Empirical Labs Distressor
1 Eventide DSP4000
3 Meyer Galileo Loudspeaker Management System
1 Universal Audio 1176N
2 Summit Audio DCL-200 Compressor/Limiter
1 TC Electronic S6000 Reverb w/ICON (AES Cards only)
1 TC Electronic D-Two Digital Delay
1 Tube Tech PE-1C Equalizer
1 dbx 120XP Subharmonic Synth
1 Leitch 32 Channel RF Monitor Main
1 Leitch 32 Channel RF Monitor Remote
11 Sennheiser EM3532-U dual receiver
22 Sennheiser SK-5212 transmitter
2 Sennheiser Paddle Antenna
1 Sennheiser UHF Antenna Distro
3 Shure UR4D Wireless Receiver
2 Shure UR2/SM58 Wireless Transmitter
3 Shure UR1 Wireless Bodypack Transmitter
1 Shure Antenna Distro
3 Sennheiser EM300IEM G2
3 Sennheiser SR300IEM G2
3 Shure P7R Wireless Bodypack Receiver
2 Shure Paddle Antenna
3 d&b audiotechnik D12 Amplifier
9 d&b audiotechnik EPAC Amplifier
7 Yahama H5000 Amplifier
2 Yahama H7000 Amplifier
4 Meyer LCS LX-300
3 Cadac M16 - 16ch Mic Preamp
1 Yamaha M7CL-48

1 Digidesign D-Show Profile