Masque Sound Blows the Roof Off The Acorn Theatre for Explosive New Musical, Atomic
Custom Audio Equipment Package Brings the Story of the Creation of the First Nuclear Bomb to Off-Broadway Stage
(July 30, 2014)
When the highly charged, new rock musical, Atomic ignited the stage at The Acorn Theatre at New York's Theatre Row, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, was on-hand to provide a custom audio equipment package to support Sound Designer Jon Weston and his team.
Atomic is a thrilling new off-Broadway musical that blasts open the doors of The Manhattan Project, a Government-funded program of top scientists who were faced with the task of creating the world's first Atomic Bomb. The production depicts Hungarian American physicist and inventor Leó Szilárd as the mastermind behind atomic power whose heart has reservations. Ethics, scientific progress and true love are tested as Szilárd discovers exactly what he's capable of when someone believes in him.
One of Weston's biggest challenges in designing the sound for Atomic was the theatre's layout itself. "The space we were dealing with is very wide and shallow, so coverage was a big concern," says Weston. "In order to address those issues, equipment selection and its placement within the theatre, was critical. To accommodate the large scale of the show, we created an extensive sound system with Masque Sound's assistance and support. Working in such a vast space, it was important to both the composer and director that the sound accurately depicts the many different emotions that run throughout this production, and I think that this custom audio equipment package allowed us to achieve that."
In order to attain the soundscape he desired, Weston turned to the Avid VENUE Profile Console, which provides the sound quality, flexibility and reliability he was after. The main speaker system is comprised of a pair of d&b audiotechnik C7-TOP 15-inch two-way speakers. "The C7-TOP is a very musically-inclined, accommodating speaker," Weston says. "It doesn't wrap around or spill everywhere; its range goes exactly where it's intended to and not much comes off the sides. It really is an excellent speaker and ideal for this production. We rounded out the main system with EAW JF200s and Meyer Sound UPA-1Ps, and it really sounds great."
The surround system features RE Audio MT18s and Meyer Sound UPQ-1Ps that are also used as part of the effects system. The large, low end of the system includes d&b audiotechnik B4s and Q-subs, and Meyer Sound 650Ps. "The goal in the design of this surround system was to have an abundance of speakers working well within their set range, as opposed to having fewer speakers set up in a way that they sound draining," adds Weston. "The system appears loud because of the contrast, but in reality it isn't that loud."
Additionally, Masque Sound supplied a microphone package featuring Sennheiser MKE-2s for the cast, as well as a wireless package featuring Sennheiser 5212 and 3532s. Masque Sound also provided frequency coordination for the 14 channels of wireless used for the show.
"Working with Masque Sound allows me to maximize my available options and budget," says Weston. "It's all about the relationship with the shop. I usually deal one-on-one with department personnel at Masque Sound, and they are always willing to go that extra step to help, which is critical to the success of a production's sound design. I am very specific in my visions, and I know that can sometimes slow things down a bit, but they are always happy to oblige me, which is wonderful. The equipment Masque Sound provides, especially the microphones, are always top-notch. Even legacy equipment, which I like to use, is in stock and always in great shape. In addition to Masque Sound, I could not do what I do without the hard work of my personal team. Mixer/Associate Josh Millican and Assistant Sound Josh Staines do a great job of bringing it all together every performance."
Atomic, running for a limited eight-week engagement, officially opened on Sunday, July 13 and is slated to run through August 16 at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). To learn more about Atomic, visit www.atomicthemusical.com.
About Masque Sound
Founded in 1936 by a trio of Broadway stagehands, Masque Sound evolved into one of NYC's most successful theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design companies specializing in theatrical, house of worship, sporting, corporate, TV broadcast and live concert events. Celebrating more than 75 years in the industry, the company is lead by Geoff Shearing, the firm's 3rd generation owner, and Vice President and General Manager Stephanie Hansen. The company also operates Florida-based Professional Wireless Systems, a leader in the development and implementation of wireless technology. Credits range from major Broadway shows and tours including "Phantom of the Opera," "Mamma Mia!," "Lion King," "Jersey Boys," "Memphis," "The Book of Mormon," "Newsies," "Once" and "Kinky Boots" to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including New York's New Victory Theater and historic St. Bartholomew's Church. Masque Sound's 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and main assembly facility is located at 21 East Union Ave., East Rutherford, NJ, 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. For more information, call (201) 939-8666 or visit www.MasqueSound.com.