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Case Study: &Juliet, West End

The d&b audiotechnik KSL-Series line array more than fits the bill for the unique femaleled, pop music theater production of &Juliet. Following a rousingly positive run in Manchester the musical is now having an impact on the West End.

The show rewrites the story of Juliet; who instead of dying for Romeo, lives and goes on a number of adventures, educating the audience about current topics of identity and female empowerment along the way. Seamlessly woven into this revamped plot are pop songs of anthem status from legendary record producer Max Martin, including ‘Baby One More Time’ by Britney Spears, ‘Everybody’ by The Backstreet Boys, and ‘Roar’ by Katie Perry.

This is a show of such musical ferocity that transporting its power and emotion to the audience was left to Olivier Award-winning sound designer Gareth Owen.

“I have worked with d&b loudspeakers for long enough and know the company well, so I decided to spec’ KSL without having listened to it first,» said Owen. “To do justice to the works of super-prolific record producer Max Martin, KSL definitely delivered the tight, clean pop sound I was looking for.”

“We wanted to create a really unique sound for &Juliet in the West End, something that brought the worlds of musical theatre and pop together. Gareth Owen and d&b loudspeakers helped us to deliver that,” Max Martin adds.

Owen noted that this KSL System, supported by SL-SUBs, is the first time the relatively new SL-Series has been used on a musical theater production.

“Inside a closed theater environment, KSL’s cardioid performance works extremely well,” explains Owen. “Its unique design prevents reflections from the back of the array bouncing off the proscenium wall and muddying the sound – an issue very common in a theater setup because arrays are so often flown within touching distance of the proscenium walls. With a quieter environment for the actors, there’s room in the sound design process to actively steer and shape the sound onstage; time otherwise spent filtering out unwanted low-end reverberations.

“We were able to customize the stage sound to the artists’ exact requirements,” confirms Owen. “For the first time ever, we have been able to run the stage foldback for the cast without a CUT filter — a d&b specific high-pass filter that minimizes some of the low-frequency reflection onstage. With KSL we actually had to add some low-end back into the foldback to give the performers a fuller sound on-stage. Although this might sound like extra effort it’s creative time, not corrective.”

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