ASHEVILLE, NC 8.22.19—Central Park’s days and nights have been filled with concerts and dance performances for this year’s Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage series that began the first of June and ends in early October with ElsieFest, an annual concert of Broadway music curated by Darren Criss. This year, the not-for-profit City Parks Foundation renovated its flagship venue, transforming it with a new stage and new d&b audiotechnik sound system. The mission was to improve the sound quality for audiences within the venue and to create an atmosphere with fewer noise reflections off the surrounding buildings, an issue for the residents living around the park.
To address the concerns of Central Park’s neighbors, the SummerStage team utilizedd&b NoizCalc environmental noise prediction software, which allows the user to accurately predict the far-field noise immisions associated with a d&b sound system.
“Our selection process involved demoing a few different manufacturers’ systems and having many conversations with consultants and front of house engineers to determine what our best options would be,” states Jason Volkman, Audio Lead. For a number of reasons, the d&b KSL loudspeaker system was on the short list of products we were considering. During a demo, we were shown d&b NoizCalc predictions for the venue, and based on it, our choices for sub deployment. When we installed the KSL system, our first sub configuration was a mono-block on center, with 2 stacks of J-SUBs, packed tightly. After a few days of listening and a few low impact shows, we decided this wasn’t a great setup, and reached out to Drew Levy of d&b to take a look at the NoizCalc file. What we saw in its predictions seemed quite accurate to what we were hearing. We chose to adjust the subs to a more standard four across-the-front setup. The NoizCalc pictures showed that it would help with our spillage, and in practice it seemed to track.”
Volkman noted the need to be more concerned with the noise sending out of the concert boundaries than what the audience is hearing within. “It’s a rough balancing act to provide the best experience possible for the artists performing, engineers mixing, and audience members listening, while maintaining a very low impact on the neighbors. In the past, there were complaints from a few residents of park-facing apartments on 5th Avenue – some of the priciest real estate in the world. With the old PA, there were far fewer tools at our disposal to correct for our spillage. We were left having to choose between good experience within the venue or fewer complaints from the neighbors. The most important aspect of replacing our PA was ensuring that we could minimize our impact on those neighbors. Having d&b NoizCalc available to us as a tool to at least show that we were really trying to address the issue and that there was real science behind what we were doing, was very helpful.”
“Since the venue is very wide, but not terribly deep, having the spread that the SL-Series offers was very helpful. In our case, having a PA that gradually tapers off as you travel out of the array’s coverage is much nicer than the sudden cutoff you hear with some other PA types. I was also very excited for SummerStage to invest in a product that was at the very beginning of its cycle, building on the success of GSL before it. The mains are an eight box-per-side KSL hang (six KSL8 plus two KSL12). We have four J-SUBs spread across the downstage edge, buried under the stage platforms. Six Y10Ps spread out as front fills, and two Y7Ps – one hung on each side of the stage – are used as VIP outfills.”
Volkman added that Domonic Sack from Sound Associates, the AV integrator on the project, provided strong support and shop resources during the build and install process.
“NoizCalc helped us change the placement of our subwoofers which, after also adjusting some settings in the software, resulted in a significant difference in readings,” stated Heather Lubov, Executive Director, City Parks Foundation. “We found far less low end sound outside the park. And our audiences have been complimenting us on the high quality of sound within the venue.”
For more information on Sound Associates, visit www.soundassociates.com.
For more information on d&b audiotechnik, visit www.dbaudio.com.
Photo Credit: Mark Doyle