New York, NY (April 28, 2014)—For the Broadway adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin, Masque Sound was tapped to design the sound reinforcement system.
Sound designer Ken Travis’ objective was to create a big, cinematic sound. “With the show featuring the mystical genie and all of his wild antics, we really wanted the sound to be magical, so we needed an extremely flexible sound system,” explained Travis. “The audio for Aladdin has the feel of an old-fashioned Broadway musical, featuring a big brass band in the pit with lots of over-the-top elements.”
Travis and his team, which consisted of Alex Hawthorn, associate sound designer; Lucas Indelicato, production audio head; and Gabe Wood, front of house mixer, chose a Studer Vista 5 digital mixing console and a PA system consisting of d&b audiotechnik V Series speakers.
The new V-series comprised the mains, and the hundreds of surround speakers were a combination of E6s and E5s. Because Travis wanted to be able to immerse the audience, he created rings of speakers that wrapped around the room. On the mezzanine and orchestra levels, there are inner rings of surround speakers. This allows the sound levels to remain consistent and evenly distributed, keeping the audience from hearing the audio from a specific direction or speaker location. In addition, delayed rings provide audience members with an ambient feel, so that they are enveloped and immersed in the sound.
“There is some really subtle stuff like dripping water in a dungeon or the spooky voice in Jafar’s Lair, and as you are sitting in the audience, it is actually moving around you slowly, so you can never be entirely sure as to where the voice is coming from,” adds Travis. “When Jafar gets angry and yells, we send an immense amount of energy to an entire ring of subwoofers that circle the house, which causes the floor to start vibrating. Audience members feel the pressure of the multitude of sound waves beating at them, but it’s never too over-encompassing, because it’s not one speaker blasting but a combination of 60 speakers.”
The subwoofers include a pair of d&b J-INFRAs in the box seats to get the room shaking, as well as B2s for the orchestra and mezzanine levels. The band system is made up of a series of V-subs, with six of them located on a truss over the audience. As an additional element to the intricate sound design setup, Travis utilizes a TiMax Tracker system to image the vocals to the actors.
The 40 channels of wireless included in the equipment package are from Sennheiser, along with DPA 4061 microphones.