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Meyer Sound brings uniform coverage to Royal Theatre

The Royal Theatre in Victoria, British Columbia has upgraded its in-house production audio with the installation of a new Meyer Sound system with LEOPARD compact line array loudspeakers.

“We’ve had three iterations of Meyer Sound systems in the theatre over the last 27 years, starting with MSL-3 loudspeakers in 1990,” said Blair Morris, the theatre’s technical director. “Each was state of the art for its time, and each better than the one before. We had considered other line array solutions, but held off when we were given advance notice about LEOPARD. We expected it would be the perfect fit, and it was.”

The century-old architecture of the 1,416-seat auditorium left little room to the sides of the proscenium, dictating a line array with a slender profile. “We’d had some of the LYON systems come in with rock tours and the results were spectacular,” Morris explained, “but they were just a bit too wide and the number of boxes needed for uniform coverage would result in power overkill. Also, we had used the smaller MINA arrays with great success in the McPherson Theatre – a 750-seat venue we also manage. But MINA wouldn’t give us the power we need to host the rock shows. So LEOPARD hit the sweet spot for us on all counts – size, coverage, power and sound quality.”

The LEOPARD arrays just responded better across the whole spectrum, and that’s important because of the wide variety of music performances we present here

Blair Morris

The new system’s main left and right arrays each comprise 12 LEOPARD compact line array loudspeakers flown under two 900-LFC low frequency control elements. Deep bass is bolstered by dual floor-standing 1100-LFC low frequency control elements, with four UPJ-1P and four UPM-1XP loudspeakers deployed as, respectively, front apron and under balcony fills. Six UPA-1P loudspeakers and two USW-1P subwoofers are available for on-stage effects or foldback, with system drive and optimisation supplied by two Galileo GALAXY loudspeaker processors. The Meyer Sound loudspeakers were supplied by Pacific Audio Works and installed by the theatre’s own crew under the direction of assistant technical director and head of audio Warren Busby.

Morris is particularly pleased with the uniformity of front-to-back coverage. “That was critical for us because we can’t use sheer volume to throw to the back seats. For example, with the symphony pops, if some seats are not getting the reinforced portion of the programme, you can’t just increase raw volume because that would overpower the acoustic orchestra in other seats. The LEOPARD system lets us balance reinforced sound with the orchestra everywhere. But the next night we can turn around and do a rock show with all the level we need.”

Morris admits they were leaning toward a Meyer solution, but in the interests of due diligence and to meet requirements for competitive bidding, they did hold a two-day comparison test with LEOPARD and a leading competitive system.

“The other system was worthy competition,” noted Morris. “It was back and forth in the listening sessions with recorded music. But then we moved into live music. We brought out our 9ft Steinway, mounted our Earthworks microphone system, and from that point it was no question. The LEOPARD arrays just responded better across the whole spectrum, and that’s important because of the wide variety of music performances we present here.”

The Royal Theatre’s entire audio chain also includes a DiGiCo SD5 mixing console at front-of-house and a DiGiCo SD10 at monitors. The wireless rig offers six channels of Lectrosonics while the wired microphone complement includes products from Shure, Sennheiser, AKG, Neumann, Schoeps and others.