Personalized audio equipment set helps find hearts and spark the imagination in America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater
When The Muny, America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater, was given the green light to begin its 103rd season, Masque Sound, a leading sound system, installation and theatrical design company , returned to the historic site again with a set of personalized audio equipment. . Working directly with sound designers John Shivers and David Patridge, Masque Sound has helped the team restart their outdoor season after staging an online season in 2020 due to COVID-19.
With support from the City of St. Louis Health Department, The Muny’s 2021 season ran at full capacity, including the 1,500 free seats available for each performance on a first come, first served basis. The five-show season started with Smokey Joe’s Cafe and was followed by The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, On Your Feet! and Chicago.
“Masque Sound graciously added the equipment we requested in previous seasons and we were able to update the system in a number of ways,” says Patridge. “We continued our progress in using Audio over IP to enhance the many upgrades made to the Muny in 2019. We upgraded the wireless radio system to the high-end Sennheiser EM3732-II receiver. with a switching bandwidth of up to 184 MHz. . It was a nice sound upgrade and from a software point of view the EM3732-II are so much more agile.
The duo also used Wavetool’s software monitoring tools for the first time at Muny this season. “Most of our workflow was now Dante®, so we used Wavetool software to monitor the path of our digital signal,” Patridge adds. “We took the AES signals from the receivers and converted them to Dante using Focusrite RedNet boxes. We went from AES to Dante with radios, then we networked them. Everything else, in terms of I / O, was either connected to the network of the DiGiCo console, or to a Dante rack, like the Yamaha Rio. The beauty of this setup is that we don’t have big, huge wire harnesses anymore.
For the console, Masque Sound provided a DiGiCo SD7T with the Quantum engine upgrade. According to Patridge, “The Q7 was available and we were excited to be able to upgrade and use it. This new console allowed us to extend the flexibility of the monitoring system for the orchestra. We had more channels at our disposal, with 160 channels in the Quantum motor console and 55 auxiliaries. “
One of the components of the gear set that has remained the same since 2019 was the PA. “We used the same Meyer Sound LYON and LEOPARD PA system because it offers exceptional sound. With the 2019 rebuild, the main sound now flies higher and from a single left / right position so that the sound in the house is more evenly distributed. It also allowed us to have a central sub position, which really helped get full coverage of the low end.
Since The Muny employed smaller orchestras this year, the microphone pack provided by Masque Sound, while still powerful, was not as extensive as in previous years. “We always get a good selection of top quality mics from Masque Sound,” Patridge adds. “I was never left wanting anything. This year we had 21 Neumann KM 140 as well as several Neumann U89, U87 and Radial direct boxes.
Additional new gear for this season, also supplied by Masque Sound, was an Allen & Heath AHM-64 audio matrix processor and an Eventide H9000 harmonizer. The AHM-64 enabled speaker processing and time management on Dante, while the Eventide H9000 provided powerful signal processing.
“Overall, this somewhat abbreviated and unique season has been another success for us in terms of our long-standing partnership and collaboration with Masque Sound,” Patridge adds. “The Muny is very happy with the support of Masque Sound over the years. Masque Sound does not hesitate to change things from year to year and having this level of flexibility is very beneficial.
“We are so lucky to be starting over with real professionals like John and David, and also a great client like the St. Louis Muny! », Concludes Scott Kalata, Sales Manager, Masque Sound.