Smith Center for the Performing Arts

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Project:
Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Location:
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Manufacturers:
Meyer Sound, USA

Architect:
David M. Schwarz, USA

Acoustician:
Paul Scarbrough, Akustiks, USA

Installer:
Smith Center Technical Staff

Project Submitted By:
Meyer Sound

 

CONCEPT

The main reinforcement system was recently upgraded with new Meyer Sound LEO® Family components, including LEOPARD™ line array loudspeakers and 900-LFC low frequency control elements.

The new LEO Family main system comprises left and right arrays of 19-each LEOPARD compact linear line array loudspeakers with deep bass augmented by three per side ground-stacked 900-LFC low frequency control elements plus three 900-LFC elements in a flown cardioid center array.

Most fill and delay systems were carried over from the original Meyer Sound installation, with some modifications to conform to the new array coverage. Front infills are UPQ-1P loudspeakers, with nine UPM-1P loudspeakers for the full power front-fill configuration or 17 MM-4 for the pit rail in the Broadway configuration. UPJunior and UPJ-1P loudspeakers are mounted as house fills and delays, with four Galileo® GALAXY™ network processors assigned to system drive and optimization. Two 700-HP subwoofers can be added for heavier rock acts, and an assortment of six different UltraSeries loudspeakers are available for flexible deployment as needed.

The main performance hall of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts presents a challenge familiar to all 21st century acousticians and sound systems designers: How does one design an acoustical space and a complementary sound system that will support both acoustical performances, whether symphonic or operatic, as well as a wide range of amplified contemporary performances? And if you want to accommodate a large audience, how do you maintain a feeling of intimacy, of connection between audience and the performance on stage. And finally, in a city stocked with countless performance venues of all sizes and types, how can you distinguish your hall as exceptional?

As the principal home for the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall tilted in favor of a vertical, multi-tiered architecture patterned after storied European concert halls and opera houses. The acoustic signature for the space was similarly designed, resulting in an extended reverberation time appropriate for classical concerts.

This, of course, was less than ideal for the wide range of amplified performances in the hall, which range from Broadway shows (School of Rock, The Book of Mormon) to pop and rock performances by major artists such as Jackson Browne and Bernadette Peters.

In order to work successfully in the hall, the sound reinforcement system had to cover an extremely vertical range with uniform levels while also precisely tailoring coverage to avoid overly exciting the hall’s physical acoustics.

Although the hall’s original system had worked quite well in the space, Smith Center Head of Audio John Trace was determined to advance the hall’s audio capabilities to the leading edge. After hearing a demonstration of Meyer Sound’s LEOPARD compact linear line array loudspeakers, he determined it could be the cornerstone of a system that could provide more precise and uniform coverage in the problematic space.

The new system comprises left and right arrays of 19-each LEOPARD loudspeakers for full-range reproduction. Deep bass is augmented by nine 900-LFC low frequency control elements: three per side on the ground plus three elements flown in a cardioid array.

Because the arrays had to be very long to accommodate the required vertical coverage, the system was subject to the inherent low-mid buildup that is acoustically inherent in all line arrays. Fortunately, the Smith Center was one of the first venues to implement Meyer Sound’s new Low-Mid Beam Control (LMBC), a software tool that effectively spreads the low-mid beam uniformly across the coverage area.

Las Vegas is a city of innumerable venues, yet the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall in Las Vegas’ Smith Center for the Performing Arts stands out as a consummate showcase for entertainment and culture.

Tucked between the I-15 freeway and downtown Las Vegas, Smith Center for the Performing Arts is the centerpiece of a new cultural district. In addition to hosting the Las Vegas Symphony, the Nevada Ballet Theatre and other regional fine arts ensembles, Reynolds Hall is also the city’s leading roadhouse for touring Broadway productions and a preferred site for prestigious pop, rock and jazz concerts. To serve up this varied fare with impeccable sonic quality, the hall’s main reinforcement system was recently upgraded with new Meyer Sound LEO Family components, including LEOPARD line array loudspeakers and 900-LFC low frequency control elements.

“When we first listened to the LEOPARDs I was immediately struck by the clarity and detail,” recalls Head of Audio JohnTrace. “I was hearing things I’d never heard through a PA speaker before.”

The Smith Center was also among the first venues to implement Meyer Sound’s new Low-Mid Beam Control (LMBC), a new software-based tool for spreading low-mid acoustic output for achieving uniform front-to-back response across the entire system bandwidth. Trace reports that some visiting FOH engineers have found the effect of LMBC somewhat befuddling. “Usually with long arrays they feel they have to make it right, to find out what you have to fix. But here, they found they didn’t have to fix anything.”