BALTIMORE, MD, APRIL 3, 2017 – When Baltimore Center Stage, the city’s largest professional theater company, set out on its dramatic $28 million transformation, it tasked Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, to supply and install a custom audio equipment package for its Head Theater. Now, as the year-long renovation comes to a completion, Masque Sound, in collaboration with theater and acoustic consultants Charcoalblue, is proud to unveil the theater’s new state-of-the-art audio system.
“The primary purpose of the installed system was to provide the general infrastructure ‘canvas’ for system designers to use for their own audio designs,” says Matt Peskie, installations department manager, Masque Sound. “AV panels are in every conceivable location to account for any possible scenario. Most locations not only have audio, video, speaker and intercom connections, but also incorporate OM4 multimode fiber. By installing fiber at most AV panel locations, the building is prepared for new technology and will not be hindered by lack of interconnection points.”
For Baltimore Center Stage Audio Supervisor Amy Wedel, the process began by sitting down with Charcoalblue to layout the design to her specifications. “Working with John Owens and his great team at Charcoalblue, I was able to dictate the architecture of our new system throughout the building,” adds Wedel. “We then worked with Matt Peskie and his team at Masque Sound for the delivery and installation of the new equipment. Matt was awesome to work with and I knew we were in good hands with Masque Sound.”
The new audio system in the theatre features d&b audiotechnik® loudspeakers and amplifiers and EM Acoustics loudspeakers and amplifiers. The entire system was run by a DiGiCo SD10T console. A total of seven Middle Atlantic Products™ 44 RU WRK series racks house all AV equipment within the facility. Two racks reside on the first floor, while the remaining five are located on the sixth floor. For DSP, Symetrix Radius 12x8 and a Symetrix xOUT are located at each of the main rack locations. Seven ARC-2e remotes and two ARC-3 remotes allow for end-user signal selection and level control throughout the building. The flexibility of the Symetrix Composer software allows for the specific paging and routing control required for the project. A touch panel PC in each rack location, equipped with custom SymVue control panels, gives the end user a tremendous amount of flexibility over selection and level of the page/program zones throughout the building.
Two identical, portable stage manager cubes allow for audio/video monitoring, intercom connect and access to the paging system. They are equipped with a Symetrix xControl and a custom nine-button paging panel allowing the user to page multiple zones within the building.
“Any theater AV operator will speak to the importance of a robust page/program system, which is what is now operating at Baltimore Center Stage,” says Peskie. “With custom selector/volume controls throughout and superb speakers in public spaces, everyone can enjoy the program audio and be aware of any behind-the-scene happenings. The use of a Dante-based DSP has allowed for the most flexibility when it comes to routing audio to speakers for creating soundscapes in public areas. Masque Sound was excited to be part of this project.”
For the theater’s page/program system, 18 amplifiers feed the 118 speakers located throughout the building. Speakers from d&b audiotechnik are located in public spaces to allow for high-quality listening. Custom selectors/volume controls are located within the multitude of offices and dressing rooms. This allows the user to choose from sources in any of the facility’s theaters. Several of the selector/volume control locations are equipped with priority volume controls to allow for paging, regardless of the volume control settings.
All audio transport utilizes Dante™ to send audio signals between the rack rooms via Cisco switches. Each d&b audiotechnik speaker in the building can be routed discreetly into a Dante controller to allow for even more end-user flexibility.
“Masque Sound has always been very responsive and quick to reply to any questions or unexpected issues at all hours of the day and night,” adds Wedel. “Matt Peskie was always on-site making sure everything was getting done within the time frame and on budget. This was a wonderful collaboration between Baltimore Center Stage, Charcoalblue and Masque Sound. I am thrilled with the final result. The building and the Head Theater look and sound incredible.”
Baltimore Center Stage is a professional, nonprofit institution committed to entertaining, engaging and enriching audiences through bold, innovative and thought-provoking classical and contemporary theater. Named the State Theater of Maryland in 1978, Baltimore Center Stage has steadily grown as a leader in the national regional theater scene. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE and Managing Director Michael Ross, Baltimore Center Stage is committed to creating and presenting a diverse array of world premieres and exhilarating interpretations of established works. Baltimore Center Stage houses two performing spaces, the 541-seat Pearlstone and the smaller Head Theater, both in its home in the Mount Vernon Cultural District.
About Masque Sound
Founded in 1936 by a trio of Broadway stagehands, Masque Sound evolved into one of NYC’s most successful theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design companies specializing in theatrical, house of worship, sporting, corporate, TV broadcast and live concert events. Celebrating more than 75 years in the industry, the company is led by President Geoff Shearing. The company also operates Florida-based Professional Wireless Systems, a leader in the development and implementation of wireless technology. Credits range from major Broadway shows and tours including Phantom of the Opera, MAMMA MIA!, Lion King, Jersey Boys, The Book of Mormon, Once, Kinky Boots, Aladdin and FunHome to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including Western Connecticut State University, the Jim Wise Theatre at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and the historic St. Patrick's Cathedral. Masque Sound’s 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and main assembly facility is located at 21 East Union Ave., East Rutherford, NJ, 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. For more information, call (201) 939-8666 or visit www.MasqueSound.com.