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Case Study: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Like many museums and other high-end locations, the ability to host a temporary event in a decidedly permanent space is always an AV priority for administrators.

For New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s popular “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” exhibit, Frost Productions provided one such memorable evening.

“We partner with the Met as a preferred production equipment provider and we handle many of the events when people use it for corporate or social events, or even something like the Met Gala,” explains Frost’s Joe Lima.

“This was an internal event for the museum and we were called in a couple of months in advance about a special exhibition of instruments, memorabilia and collectables from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and private collectors including several A-list musicians. To kick things off they wanted to invite all of the museum’s patrons and donors to a special private concert featuring The Roots and guest artists like Steve Miller and Don Felder of the Eagles.”

“The Museum’s team wanted to do the show in the Metropolitan’s Great Hall which is about 106 ft. long by 70 ft. wide and 65 ft. tall with a surrounding balcony, multiple entrances and exits, and stone and marble all around. So the space can be quite cavernous sounding with a lot of reverberation––a very tough room, not designed to reproduce electric music.”

To accomplish a successful sounding concert with a limited amount of setup time in the room, the team from Frost dampened as many of the hard surfaces as possible with soft goods such as thick cloth curtains to cover the stone walls and unused entrances and exits. Then they positioned the stage to help avoid direct reflections coming right back at it.

According to Joe, “the third step was choosing a PA that enabled us to ‘Hard Avoid’ whatever was in front of or behind it and direct and focus the energy onto the crowd, which is what really matters. So Martin Audio MLA and cellular technology was the obvious choice. We didn’t need anything that big because we wanted to keep the output contained to the first 60 feet in the room where the bulk of the crowd was going to be. So, the MLA Mini was a perfect solution for that application without exceeding the museum’s 95dB SPL limitation, yet delivering the clarity and dispersion control we needed first and foremost.”

To do that, Frost built what they call an MLA Mini ‘Super Stack’ with an element of four MLA Mini cabinets and one MSX sub on top of a WS218X sub per side. In addition, they deployed four CDD-LIVE 8s for front fills and eight more around the room to fill areas not covered by the PA and maintain consistent coverage throughout the space.”

“The museum originally predicted 400 guests, which turned out to be 1200.

The performance lasted about an hour and a half, the artists’ FOH engineers were super satisfied and very happy with the sound. We did a prediction on Display, put it into the system and Artless Poole, the Roots’ FOH engineer, fired up the system the night before and was satisfied and pleased right off the bat with no tweaking needed.

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