Zaia, a new Cirque du Soleil show
In Macao, uses Meyer Sound’s
digital audio tools and loudspeaker
Macao (January 23, 2009)– Zaia, a 90-minute Cirque du Soleil show, has taken up residence in a custom-built, 1,800-seat theater at the Venetian in Macao that makes use of Meyer Sound’s digital audio tools and loudspeaker technology.
The show is based upon the theme of the dream of a young girl who journeys into space. The image of the sound source continually shifts to follow her perspective, moving from the stage into the house, utilizing the vast depth of the theater’s eight-story-high ceiling. The system employs a sophisticated integration between the Matrix3 audio show control system, Constellation electroacoustic architecture, and the Galileo loudspeaker management system, with the sounds mapped through the Matrix3 system sent to 115 Meyer Sound loudspeakers located throughout the house. The Matrix3 also functions as the mixing console for the show, providing a fully integrated digital audio environment for Zaia.
The sound designer for Zaia, Steven Dubuc, who is also a veteran of other Cirque productions including Zumanity, KÀ, and The Beatles LOVE, points to Constellation as a means of enabling much of the show’s sonic signature. “Constellation allows us to change the acoustics of the room,” said Dubuc. “Since we can’t place any baffles or acoustic treatments that would interfere with the show’s acrobatic elements, this is critical. Constellation is also used in certain scenes, where we want to create a larger-than-life ambience, to create an impression of traveling through space and time.”
The audio system for Zaia was provided by Montreal-based Solotech, the production partner behind almost all of Cirque du Soleil’s shows. In addition to the CueConsole control surface, 11 Matrix3 units, six Constellation processors, and 15 Galileo 616 processors, Solotech also provided Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers strategically positioned throughout the venue, including a main system comprising 18 Mica line array loudspeakers and eight 700-HP subwoofers. The theater also features two SB-2 parabolic wide-range sound beams and a number of M1D, Milo and M’elodie line array loudspeakers, along with UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers, Stella installation and CQ-2 loudspeakers.
Eric Poitevin, the Venetian’s head of audio, remarked, “Cirque du Soleil demands precision and consistency for every aspect of a production. They provide you with the best tools in the world, and they expect the same results in return. We run 457 shows a year, and there’s no margin for error.”
According to Dubuc, who worked closely with assistant Jason Rauhoff and Solotech’s Bob Barbagallo in the production, the role of Meyer Sound in his toolbox cannot be understated. “Sound design is one of the places where technology meets art,” Dubuc reflected. “My job as a sound designer is to merge the composer’s musical vision with a soundscape that complements the show itself. With Meyer Sound, I can utilize 150 different sources to color the music, to localize it, rather than simply having it come from left or right. It’s a dramatically expanded creative palette, and that leads to a truly rewarding collaboration.”
Meyer Sound Laboratories