Masque Sound Hollers on Broadway

"Holler If Ya Hear Me" opened last week on Broadway, featuring the rhymes of famed rapper Tupac Shakur. The production tapped the talents of sound designers David Patridge and John Shivers, along with the help of theatrical sound company Masque Sound, to provide the sound for the show at the Palace Theatre.
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New York, NY (June 26, 2014)—Holler If Ya Hear Me opened last week on Broadway, featuring the rhymes of famed rapper Tupac Shakur. The production tapped the talents of sound designers David Patridge and John Shivers, along with the help of theatrical sound company Masque Sound, to provide the sound for the show at the Palace Theatre.

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The show tells a non-biographical story about friendship, family, revenge, change and hope, set to the lyrics of Tupac Shakur. Unlike a typical musical, which focuses mainly on reinforcing the audio coming off the stage, Patridge and Shivers’ goal in designing the sound for Holler If Ya Hear Me was to not only reinforce, but amplify the audio to bring it to a level that was much more impactful. To do so, they worked with Masque Sound to design a custom equipment package that included a DiGiCo SD7T Live Digital Console, d&b audiotechnik V-Series line array system, d&b D80 amplifiers and a Yamaha PM5D-EX digital console. The performers were outfitted with Sennheiser SK5212-II radios and EM 3732-II receivers, as well as DPA d:fine microphone booms fitted with a 4066 element.

“The PA system needed to have more volume than a typical Broadway show in order to adhere to the punchy, hip hop score,” said Patridge. “The capacity and quality of the d&b D80 amplifiers was excellent. Working in an older theater also presented its challenges, architecturally speaking. We needed a line array system that was compact enough to fit the space, not block sight lines and not weigh too much; the V-Series was the perfect choice.”

The designers called upon two different d&b models in order to more evenly disperse the audio throughout the theatre. “We put the 120 degree boxes at the bottom of the array and had the narrower pattern going further distances, so when the audio opens up, it keeps some of the energy off the walls of the room,” added Patridge.

The location of the mix position also presented a unique challenge for the designers. The seating of the Palace Theatre is configured with a continuous slope, which provides a stadium seating effect instead of the traditional separate levels (orchestra, mezzanine and balcony). As a result of the angle of the chairs, the FOH mixer cannot see the actors on stage, as he would have to look through the console.

“Not having a good line of sight can be quite a challenge, so we incorporated a video monitor system into the design,” says Patridge. “As a one-stop shop, Masque Sound was able to supply the video component that we needed to overcome this unexpected challenge.”

Holler If Ya Hear Me
www.hollerifyahearme.com

Masque Sound
www.masquesound.com