Los Angeles (December 16, 2004)–In November, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles installed a new custom SR system built around gear from ATC (Acoustic Technology Company).
Although best known as a manufacturer of studio reference monitors, ATC has produced a number of custom sound reinforcement solutions for concert hall and nightclub environments, in this case designing a stage-based setup to overcome imaging problems with the hall’s flown sound system.
“The sound that was coming out of the speakers that were suspended high above the stage was not matching the sound that was emanating from the stage,” said independent consultant/sound designer, Fred Vogler. The solution recommended by ATC’s founder and technical director, Billy Woodman, and endorsed by the hall’s acoustician, Yasuhisa Toyota, of Nagata Acoustics in Tokyo, was an onstage, high-quality speaker system.
Ben Lilly, ATC’s R&D/transducer engineer, saw that the acoustic design of the 2,265-seat Walt Disney Concert Hall was based on the fact that the acoustic source is positioned on the stage. “We wanted to design a system that would blend as seamlessly as possible with the performers,” he said. “The only way to do this is to have the electro-acoustic and the acoustic sources in the same place.”
The entire system is fully active, powered by ATC’s P4 studio monitor amplifiers, and driven by six sends from the front-of-house console–left and right front, side, and rear–an arrangement that provides the hall’s audio team the flexibility to balance levels in all seating areas. The mid/high cabinets can be angled vertically and horizontally, allowing the hall’s audio team to further optimize audience coverage for different events. Constructed of Douglas Fir to blend with the interior of the Frank Gehry-designed concert hall, and with design inspired by the venue’s imposing pipe organ, the two ATC units can be moved and set up by two people in just ten minutes.
The entire system was pre-wired by Charlie Bolois and his Vertigo Recording Services team, using a 32-way snake to carry the high-level signal from the eight amplifiers positioned below the stage and wiring six individual sends from the FOH desk. Following a day of listening to pre-recorded music, the integration of speakers and live performers was confirmed with the help of a 12-piece jazz ensemble hired for the occasion.
On November 16, the ATC sound reinforcement system was introduced for the first time to jazz lovers at the Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden concert. “The concert went extremely well,” said Vogler. “The house was alive with jazz! In fact, at times, it was hard to distinguish between what was amplified and what wasn’t. The acoustic/electro acoustic synthesis worked like a charm.”