Raleigh, NC (April 11, 2006)–Home of the North Carolina Symphony, the Meymandi Concert Hall is a 1700-seater with a 65-foot ceiling, its acoustical design featuring a shoebox shape, narrow sides, shallow balconies and lack of a proscenium to produce the warmest, clearest sound possible.
Songwriting legend Burt Bacharach was scheduled in for three days of performances, two evenings and a matinee, accompanied by a full 70-piece orchestra. Local integrator Raleigh Music Brokerage was charged with reinforcing the sound for these concerts in a hall designed for symphonic performances. As RMB head Cooper Cannady describes it, their task was “to enhance the artist without compromising the hall’s design to naturally project the symphony.”
Cannady notes there were particular sound reinforcement coverage issues: “The Meymandi Concert Hall is 120 feet deep from the edge of the stage and there are two surround balconies that go all the way around the hall, so there were specific problems with coverage. We not only had to cover two stories above the ground floor, we also had to cover the floor to the first seat, then all the way back to the end of the hall.”
To solve these problems and reinforce the sound as transparently as possible without adversely affecting the room’s natural acoustics, RMB’s Robert Weddings and Roger Dennis measured the dimensions of the room, using laser projection and triangulation which was input into the Martin Audio Viewpoint software to generate accurate W8LM Hang models.
Once the room was modeled, they also confirmed their findings with SMAART, which, according to Cannady, “confirmed that the room was flat. In fact, we didn’t do very much in terms of processing, just a bit of alteration with the EQ. And even after we turned it over to the house engineer, I don’t recall anything changing past that.”
Part of this was due to the speaker system layout RMB came up with, eight Martin Audio W8LM Mini line array enclosures per side with two of Martin Audio’s brand new W8LMD downfill cabinets below, the first time the new downfill cabinets had been used for an installation. The Martin lineup also included four Martin W8S bass cabinets and twelve LE12JB biamped wedge monitors.
As Cannady recounted, “I was able to walk the room and listen from the most challenging seats and was very pleased with the software model in real-time. The down fills were hung to cut-off at the downstage edge and coverage from the first row of seats was a pleasant surprise, providing audibly what a prime ticket should receive. Plus coverage was smooth and even all the way to the back of the hall.
Asked about reactions to the system, Cannady concluded, “Well, Scott Weatherspoon, Burt’s FOH engineer who’s worked some of the most sophisticated venues and festivals around the world, was very pleased and from what we could gather, Burt was satisfied with the performance at that hall, happy with how everything had gone.