Las Vegas, NV (October 28, 2005)–Every Las Vegas hotel needs its own must-see show and the Wynn is now exception, but the road to achieving quality sound in its brand new Aqua Theatre, was bumpy. Theatrical audio specialist Pascal Van Strydonck, head of audio for the 2,087-seat venue and sound designer for Le Reve – The Show found that the theater was suddenly not the same venue acoustically as originally designed. Faced with having to use an audio system designed for different circumstances, Van Strydonck used a passel of gear, including a Lectrosonics TM400 wireless test and measurement system to save the day.
Fronted by a Yamaha DM2000 digital console, the house PA is a 5.1 surround, 360-degree, six-zone system by Meyer Sound, and had already ordered and installed. Unfortunately, later architectural and rigging changes had radically changed the interior of the venue, making the physical set-up of the audio system ineffective to cover the audience. As a result, Van Strydonck decided that comprehensive acoustic measurement and tuning were in order for the theater. “The quality of the PA is impeccable,” clarified Van Strydonck. “But unfortunately the cabinet types were chosen for a specific design and now it wasn’t really covering everything. We needed 80 by 100 degrees of coverage [but had designed a system to give us] 40 by 35 degrees of coverage.”
The venue’s unique design factors further complicated things. “It’s an extremely special place,” explained Van Strydonck about the theater, which features a parabolic dome, an opposing parabolic floor, and a 27-foot deep, million-gallon pool at its center. “An interesting acoustic aspect are the two parabolic structures facing each other–the floor and the ceiling. The seating area isn’t just a straight incline; it’s actually curved. Add in all the water and humidity, and it’s a very challenging acoustic environment.”
Needing a practical way to measure the theater during rehearsals and full audience performances, Van Strydonck with the assistance of another one of the Wynn’s audio experts, Steve Weiss, used SIA-Smaart sound analysis software and a Lectrosonics TM400 wireless test and measurement system. By carefully analyzing each section independently, we were able to apply the correct data and improve things dramatically.”
“Platform lift elevators constantly break the surface of the water, thus changing the reflective nature of the theater throughout the show,” said Van Strydonck. “That changes my reflection path, while humidity also changes rapidly. We have huge fountain effects and our mist system is probably the biggest ever devised. That should give you an idea of the theater’s changes in humidity and temperature. While testing during a performance, I was able to hang onto the mic, walk around the venue, sit in different seats, and test in the midst of all these factors. I just couldn’t haul around 500 feet of cable. I used a small pistol-grip microphone with the TM400 and pointed it at the PA. Doing so allowed us to examine the differences between an empty and full room. Those measurements were only possible with a wireless measurement system like the TM400.”