Bose components give AV systems integrator Design Electronics and experienced designer Premier Exhibitions the power and flexibility to make the iconic television comedy institution available to thousands of visitors
Framingham, MA – “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” That refrain has heralded the start of one of television’s most famous comedy franchises for over 40 years. The iconic show was recently showcased in an exhibition, one that cleverly documents its history and its place in media culture. Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition, covering 12,500 square feet of memorabilia and artifacts from the show, has been, throughout the first half of 2016, located on New York’s equally iconic Fifth Avenue (just a few blocks from Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, where the show is shot live to this day); the exhibition recently wrapped its successful run. Beginning with the writing process, which starts to take shape on Mondays, and culminating with the live broadcast on Saturday, the exhibition illustrated a week in the life of SNL, featuring original scripts, set pieces, props, costumes, masks and interactive elements. In partnership with Broadway Video Enterprises, Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition brought the comedic sensibility, history and tradition of SNL to life through this limited engagement exhibition.
One thing that has made SNL stand out over the years has been its sound, with an emphasis on both the intelligibility of its dialog (you can’t get the joke if you can’t hear the punch line) and its famous music segments, two-song slots sought after by the biggest names in music over the decades. And Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition pays homage to that, as well, with extensive use of loudspeakers, amplifiers, digital signal processing and acoustical modeling from Bose Professional.
A total of 37 Bose RoomMatch® and RoomMatch Utility® loudspeakers are used wherever music takes front and center in the museum, from the incredibly precise recreation of Studio 8H (complete with a prerecorded introduction by Tina Fey and the Saturday Night Live Band) to the highly detailed control room gallery, including RoomMatch Utility RMU208, RMU206 and RMU105 speakers as well as asymmetrical RoomMatch array loudspeakers in the 8H sound system that assure full coverage tailored to the room’s dimensions. In addition, three Bose Panaray® MB4 modular bass loudspeakers and one MB 12 III modular bass loudspeaker are integrated into 8H’s music system. Bose FreeSpace® pendant speakers are used throughout the installation, with 34 of them providing clear, intelligible speech and full-range music for exhibits of SNL favorites like Wayne’s World, the virtual writers’ table that shows how the show’s cast and writers bring each show together, and ambient sound for backstage and other areas. This range of Bose loudspeakers is powered by a dozen Bose PowerMatch® 8500N, 8250N and 4250N networked power amplifiers. These are connectable to the same Dante™-enabled network that the Bose ControlSpace® ES-00 DSP digital signal processing systems operate over. These powerful DSP platforms are the brains behind the management of the Bose speakers throughout the installation.
“Bose speakers and technology are very important to the success of the exhibition,” states Khalil Williams, General Manager of Design Electronics, the Niagara Falls, Ontario-based AV systems design and integration firm chosen by museum-experience creator Premier Exhibitions of Atlanta. Williams notes that the entire installation comprises 24 discrete audio zones, with multiple zones in a single space in some cases. “The Bose speakers create an even volume level at every seat in the studio, which is important so that every visitor will have the same great sound experience, and to create realism and the depth of a live experience. And with a room that has a number of acoustical challenges due to its shape and everything that has to take place in it, the Bose Modeler® software allowed us to accurately predict where the acoustical challenges would be, and the ControlSpace DSP let us comprehensively address them. In fact, the Modeler saved us an enormous amount of time because it was able to let us do much of the sound design work in advance, making sure that what we installed was a perfect fit for each gallery and space. And onsite live sound mastering within the gallery spaces, which vastly enriched the audio experience, was enabled by the Dante inputs on the Bose ControlSpace DSP solution. This provided the on-site sound engineers direct access to the four independent systems that make up the 26 audio channels in the theater, all with a single Cat-5e cable, simplifying the process and most importantly saving time within a tight schedule. Bose has great tools for a complex project like this.”
Mark Lach, Vice President of Design and Creative at Premier Exhibitions (and designer of the exhibition), added, “The exhibition is a very live, very energized experience, not only walking down memory lane, but also walking you through how the show comes together each week. It’s an experience that truly celebrates the 40+ years of SNL. The audio needed to match the quality of that experience, and the Bose system has definitely delivered. The sound pressure, the low end, and the distribution of audio throughout the theater are all things I’m quite satisfied with. Great sound is one of those things, where you know it when you hear it. The delivery of how the space sounds and how it accommodates what we need for the exhibition — it’s extraordinary, and we couldn’t be happier.”
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