New York (August 19, 2005)–The New York Philharmonic Orchestra (“the Phil”) and the Metropolitan Opera (“the Met”) joined forces in July to present a concert tour of major parks in all five boroughs, with the Met adding some dates in New Jersey as well. Conductor Xian Zhang presided over works that included Wagner’s “Flying Dutchman Overture,” Lalo’s “Symphonie espagnole” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5.” Yonkers, NY-based Sound Associates provided audio for the tour, assembling a massive Meyer Sound rig to cover audiences ranging from 10,000 to 45,000 in wide-open spaces that encompassed Central Park’s Great Lawn, Queens’ Cunningham Park and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
The main system, comprised of eight M3D line array loudspeakers per side, was augmented by seven M1D ultra-compact curvilinear array loudspeakers per side for sidefill, with three M3D-Sub directional subwoofers per side for bottom end. A center cluster of four Milo high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers was reserved for the Met to solidify localization of the voices.
“With the Meyer rig, we were able this year to replace the previous years’ 28 delay towers with only seven,” reported Sound Associates’ Tim Mazur. “This dramatically improved the visual impact of all those speakers, and eliminated all amp racks from the delay towers. We increased the throw to at least three or four hundred feet, and the difference in the audio (from previous years) was nothing short of night and day. The result was a very warm, articulate quality.”
The initial delay ring was comprised of three hangs of eight Milo cabinets each, with a second delay ring being built of two stacks of six M2D compact curvilinear array loudspeakers each. Two more hangs, each comprised of six Mica compact high-power curvilinear arrays loudspeakers, were employed as a third delay ring for the larger shows, or to augment the second delay ring at smaller venues.
“We had demo’ed the Micas just prior to the tour, and immediately threw them into the mix,” Mazur recounted. “They are perfect to fill a niche where the Milo might be a bit too heavy but something smaller might not have quite enough ‘oomph.’ Like a lot of the other Meyer gear we’ve demo’ed, we don’t want to give them back.”
PJ Volpe directed the Met’s audio, assisted by Rob Gorton and with support from John Huntington, Tom Aragone, and Tom Long. Grammy-winning engineer Larry Rock mixed the Phil on a Midas Heritage 3000, running the Schoeps microphones through a custom-built array of Millennia preamps on stage to keep the noise of phantom power out of the long cable runs to the mixing desk.
As a concession to the outdoor staging, a small monitor setup was created using two UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeakers to give the opera singers a bit of foldback from the orchestra, along with a 27-inch video monitor to let the singers see the conductor.
The Sound Associates crew of Domonic Sack, Josh Marks, Dave Burke and Pete Weigand fit the entire rig into two 24-foot trucks, and were able to set up the whole system in under six hours, including tuning the delay rings using a SIM 3 audio analyzer system.
“Even playing to 45,000 people at the Great Lawn, the main lines from our generators never drove more than 30 amperes, which really points to the efficiency of the Meyer speakers,” Mazur remarked. “Everyone was just blown away with the sound. Our mindset is: why would we ever use a non-powered speaker?”