Two of the hottest musicals this Broadway season are supported by reinforcement systems built around Meyer Sound LYON linear line array loudspeakers: School of Rock features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and sound design by Mick Potter, while On Your Feet, the inspiring story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, is supported by a system designed by Andrew Keister and Steve Canyon Kennedy of SCK Sound Design. Both shows mark the Broadway debut of LYON.
With School of Rock opening to rave reviews in early December, Potter says that his choice of LYON to cover the 1,500-seat Winter Garden Theatre was a matter of scaling up from the LEO Family's newest and smallest loudspeaker, LEOPARD.
"We workshopped the show at the much smaller Gramercy Theatre, where we had 10 LEOPARDs per side," explains Potter, who has designed sound for Andrew Lloyd Webber's productions for over 15 years. "It was my first experience with the LEO Family, and I immediately noticed that it was incredibly transparent—much less colored than other curvilinear arrays. For the Winter Garden, we moved up to LYON, and they're working out great. The sound is fantastic, and because we are using the wide-pattern versions we have excellent coverage of this very wide theatre."
Opening at the 1,600-seat Marquis Theatre Broadway in early November, On Your Feet is a musical drama that interweaves the life stories of the Estefans with exuberant performances of Miami Sound Machine's Latin pop hits.
"We are phenomenally pleased with the performance of LYON," says Keister. "Gloria and Emilio were very involved with the sound of the show—they knew what they wanted and had very high expectations. LYON turned out to be the absolute right tool in the kit—they're thrilled with the sound."
Keister and Kennedy had used LYON in 2014 for a production at the 6,000-capacity Radio City Music Hall, and he was eager to try it in a smaller Broadway house. "I expected it would give us considerably more power than we needed, but I was so enamored with the high-frequency response and the precise, midrange directional control that I wanted to see what we could achieve with it," he explains. "And in retrospect, I'm glad we have all that extra headroom for the high-energy concert scenes."
Keister notes that more than half of the show is "a quaint, intimate love story" that hinges on soft dialogue. "At first we thought we couldn't do these quiet, dramatic scenes with a giant PA, but we found a way to change the filter settings in the Galileo processors. That way, the LYONs seamlessly fade in and out between intimate drama and full-on concert modes."
The main proscenium system for School of Rock features 24 LYON-W loudspeakers, four DS-4P mid-bass loudspeakers, 21 MINA line array loudspeakers, two UPJ-1P loudspeakers, and eight 900-LFC and two 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements. Ninety more Meyer Sound loudspeakers ranging from the UP-4XP loudspeaker to the 500-HP subwoofer are also used for fills, delays, stage imaging, and stage band. A Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system with 10 Galileo Callisto 616 array processors handles system drive and optimization.
"The 900 and 1100-LFCs are exceptionally tight and transparent," says Potter. "You can hear subtle details in the sound, like what's going on inside the kick drum. At the same time, they are very powerful and efficient."
The On Your Feet system comprises twin arrays of 10 LYON-M and two LYON-W loudspeakers each, 14 600-HP subwoofers with four overhead in a directional end-fire array, and two 700-HP subwoofers. Forty-two additional Meyer Sound loudspeakers are deployed in the fill, delay, stage monitor, and effects systems.
All Meyer Sound components for both musicals were provided by New York-based Sound Associates, with logistical coordination by Domonic Sack.