I am currently in Macau. If you don’t know where Macau is, study up on the history of the Portuguese Empire. Macau, the #1 gambling destination in the world has now reverted back to ownership by the People’s Republic of China and like all gambling operations serves as a funnel of money back to the local government, and local billionaires.
So here I am tuning a large sound system that will play it’s part in a theatrical spectacle whose mainstage is a 5 million gallon swimming pool. If you have trouble visualing that well…… big. REALLY big. The show is “in the round” with 270 degrees of raked seating around the pool. The speaker positions are almost all above the audience, most of them in the ceiling, so that there can be unobstructed vision to the pool and the many acrobats, and other flying objects that come in and out of the pool. The only speakers NOT above the audience are BELOW the audience and BELOW the water. I won’t be tuning those, as it turns out, but I really would like to. :-(.
The installation is in the “City of Dreams” Casino/Hotel complex. It is a Melco property. The show designer is Dragone, famous for “O” at the Bellagio, “La Reve” at the Winn and Celine Dion’s show when she was doing her long run at Caesar’s Palace.
Ths system was designed by Francois Bergeron & Vikram Kirby of Thinkwell. This is my 2nd project with Thinkwell. We did ZED for Cirque Du Soleil in Tokyo. Francois Bergeron of Thinkwell and I go WAY back and amoung other things we did the Tokyo Disney Sea project together. The install company is Solotech (Montreal, Vegas) and my contact here is Bob Barbagallo. We worked together here in Macau 3 years back to put in the other big show in town: Zaia (Cirque) at the Venetian.
The sound System
So what we have are 8 clusters of 7x Meyer Sound Melodie speakers. Each of these covers from “the beach” (the front row) to nearly the top row. The cluster is broken into A-B-C sections of 2-2-3 elements. The tuning follows the typical A-B-C methods described here and in my books but the differential between A-B & C in this case is barely discernible. Why? Because the shape of coverage is nearly symmetrical. The difference between the farthest seats and the nearest seats is on 10%. 71 ms to the farthest and 64 ms to the beach. Therefore the setting were nearly the same top to bottom. The splay angles between the 7 boxes were 4-6-6-6-6-4. The 4’s on the outside sharpened the outside edges a bit to keep away from a reflecting wall at the top and reflection water (imagine that!) at the bottom.
The EQ was divided into two modules – a common EQ for all 3 and then another stage for the other two. Most of the work was done in the common eq with minor stuff done in the singles. 1 dB of level taper was all that was needed to get uniform top-bottom level.
The first day of tuning was spent on the main arrays. On the 2nd day we will be taking on the secondary mains: soundbeams which shoot across the pool and cover the opposite side of the hall. These help to keep the vertical image down and can be brought in and out to provide image movement.
It is noon here. Time to sleep and get ready for our next round starting 11pm tonight.