NEW YORK, DECEMBER 10, 2019 – When SpongeBob SquarePants, an incurable optimist and earnest sea sponge, and his undersea friends (and one squirrel) decided to come up to the surface for the national tour of The SpongeBob Musical, fans rejoiced. The challenging task of bringing the magical sounds of Bikini Bottom to audiences across the country fell squarely on the capable shoulders of Sound Designer Walter Trarbach. Trarbach in turn, relied on Masque Sound to deliver a custom audio equipment package capable of capturing the essence of the show and its original pop- and rock-infused songs.
Based on the popular Nickelodeon animated television series, SpongeBob SquarePants, stakes are higher than ever before as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world in this touring musical extravaganza. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage.
The primary goal and number one priority for Trarbach was putting together a good functional sound system that could be installed quickly due to the show’s eight-hour load schedule. “The show itself is pretty complex in that there’s a live band on stage, a foley operator on stage and about 10,000 sound effects,” says Trarbach. “There’s just a lot of facets to the sound of the show so making sure we had the right equipment was very important. When you do a tour, especially with a short load in, you need to be very cognizant of keeping it streamlined and workable for your touring engineers. Masque Sound was wonderful in working within our budget parameters to provide us with the audio equipment we needed to be successful.”
Trarbach also had to consider truck space when designing the sound for the tour. “We selected the DiGiCo SD7 for FOH console and the DiGiCo SD10 for the monitor console,” says Trarbach. “We went with DiGiCo not only because they make great theatrical consoles (and we used them for the show’s Broadway run), but also because we could share the pre-amp’s between the two consoles, which take up less space on the truck.”
In keeping with the streamlined, size-conscious approach, Masque Sound supplied a Meyer Sound speaker rig that fit nicely into the allotted truck space. “We decided to go with a Meyer PA system because they are a high-quality sounding speaker but also because we would not need amplifier racks and could have a powered sound system,” adds Trarbach. “We primarily used a combination of Meyer LEOPARDS and LINA’s. The LINA’s are the smaller speaker boxes, which worked out very well for the balcony. We put speaker towers on each side of the stage and a center cluster position and some front fills. In addition, we utilized L-Acoustics 5XT’s for front fills and Meyer UPA’s for stage monitors.”
For microphone selection, Masque Sound supplied 40 channels of wireless Sennheiser 5212 transmitters with Sennheiser MKE-1 mics for the actors. Trarbach finds Sennheiser to be an excellent theatrical microphone that is very discrete, allowing for better mic position, which is particularly helpful on this show. For the band, Trarbach used a variety of mics including Shure mics on the drum kit, Neumann on the brass section and AKG for the reed players. The guitar and bass are direct.
“I have great things to say about working with Masque Sound,” adds Trarbach. “The company provided very high-quality sound gear, excellent technical support and expertise. They were very accommodating and their familiarity with the touring world was incredibly helpful. In addition, my Associate John McKenna and Production Sound Engineer Matt Bell, himself a former Masque Sound employee, did a wonderful job as did my touring crew Shaughn Bryant and Megan McKay who are great at getting the show in on time. The show sounds great.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit thespongebobmusical.com. The tour is currently scheduled to run through July 2020 with upcoming stops including Philadelphia, Toronto, Detroit, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Tampa and many more.
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 80 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, Kinky Boots, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two, FROZEN, Hadestown, Mean Girls and Beetlejuice 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.