The New World Center is the new Frank Gehry-designed home of the New World Symphony, which, being under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, is a unique educational environment that prepares gifted graduates of distinguished music programs for leadership positions in orchestras and ensembles around the world. For sound reinforcement, this performing arts space recently invested in wireless microphone technology, selected from the catalog of Rio Rancho, NM-based Lectrosonics.
Pro Sound & Video, an engineering firm with a global reach among theatrical and entertainment venues, was selected to handle the project. Working from a design penned jointly by Acoustic Dimensions of Dallas, TX, and Sonitus of Los Angeles, CA, the systems deployed utilize Lectrosonics acclaimed Digital Hybrid Wireless technology and consist of Venue receivers, SMQV Super-Miniature transmitters, UT handheld transmitters (with VMC cardioid capsules), and ALP500 shark fin antennas to increase reception.
Brad Gallagher, engineering manager for Pro Sound & Video’s Miami office, managed the project.
“First and foremost, sound quality was the overriding concern in this project,” Gallagher explained. “As a premiere music performance space, everyone wanted to ensure the highest level of sound quality possible. Being compandor free, the Lectrosonics wireless systems don’t have the odd-sounding sonic artifacts characteristic of many competing wireless systems. The client was looking for ‘cabled’ sound quality and to help accomplish this, these microphones were interfaced with high-end mic preamps by Grace Design, Millennia Media, and Aphex. The Lectrosonics equipment delivered the audio quality essential to this project’s success.”
“There was also an awareness about the form factor of the transmitters and system reliability,” Gallagher said. “No one wanted transmitters that were cumbersome or that might compromise the comfort of the performers and interfere with their ability to perform. The small form factor of the Lectrosonics SMQV transmitters certainly addressed this issue. Equally important, reliability and dropout-free performance was yet another concern. Here too, Lectrosonics’ equipment was the right choice.”
For the New World Center’s main performance hall, the Pro Sound & Video crew deployed a 12-channel setup consisting of Lectrosonics Venue receivers fully stocked with VRT receiver modules. This equipment is housed in a portable equipment rack that can be moved as required to accommodate the nature of the performance. Additionally, there is an additional, 2-channel wireless system permanently housed in an equipment rack that is used solely for announcements. Further, there is a third, 6-channel Lectrosonics Venue setup (with VRT receiver modules) that resides in the Suntrust Pavilion, a multipurpose space that is used for rehearsals and smaller performances. On the transmitter side of the equation, 10 Lectrosonics SMQV transmitters and 12 UT handheld transmitters are available—depending upon the requirements of a given performance.
“For the most part, this equipment is used to support the orchestral performances,” Gallagher said, but the New World Center also rents space for private functions such as meetings, banquets, plus concerts of varying musical styles. The Lectrosonics equipment is made available for these events as well.”
The new Lectrosonics wireless equipment was deployed during late 2010 and was first placed into service in January 2011. Since that time, Gallagher reports the equipment has proven itself to be extremely successful. “Our client has been very pleased with the system’s performance,” he said. “The sound quality of the system is exceptional and the performance has been robust and trouble free. Every aspect of the Lectrosonics system has performed just as we envisioned.”