The Shed

Located on Manhattan’s West 30th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue, The Shed is New York’s latest arts centre, dedicated to commissioning and presenting new work from artists from all genres, including Steve McQueen, Steve Reich, Trisha Donnelly, Anne Carson, Ben Whishaw, Renée Fleming and Björk.

For its recent opening, Specialized Audio-Visual Inc (SAVI) engineered and installed a d&b V-Series line array in The McCourt, venue’s largest space in the Bloomberg Building. ‘The d&b sound system plays a daily role as a tool for The Shed’s technical staff to help the artists create the desired performer-audience connectivity, help the performers achieve their artistic goals and provide unique ways for an audience to realise the best in democracy for listeners,’ says SAVI President, Michael Cusick.

When The Shed’s movable shell is deployed from its base building it creates The McCourt, a 17,000sq-ft light/sound/temperature-controlled space for large-scale performance, art installations and events.

The ShedThe McCourt can accommodate an audience of approximately 1,250 seated and more than 2,000 standing; flexible overlap space in the two adjoining galleries of the base building allows for an expanded audience of up to three thousand. The shell’s entire ceiling operates as a theatrical deck with rigging and structural capacity throughout. Large operable doors on its north and east sides allow it to function as an open-air pavilion.

Acoustical and A/V consultant, Akustiks, played a large role in specifying the d&b system, acting as acoustician and working with HB Communications on the A/V systems throughout the balance of the complex: ‘Akustiks greatly influenced the owner’s choice of speaker system and played a role in engaging SAVI to be the supplier of The McCourt d&b sound system,’ says Cusick.

The development of The Shed and the concept of its audio included consideratin that the arts centre would be shared with retail, commercial and residential spaces – a high-performance, well-behaved audio system that can visually, sonically, and artistically adapt to a multitude of configurations was required.

Once Marc Warren, Director of Production at The Shed, got together with d&b and Akustiks, the focus was on compiling an equipment list that could handle the range and depth of programming. The system had to be flexible to accommodate multiple setups within each space, and also had to have interchangeable parts so that pieces could move between venues and integrate seamlessly. The design team went through a few iterations, putting each version through a possible season – trying to visualise how each piece would be used over time. When SAVI came on board, they added another level of detail as they went through everything from the largest loudspeakers down to individual cables and bits of hardware. All of this had to ultimately integrate with the transforming building, and all the systems that make it work.

The ShedThe d&b line array system configuration in The McCourt includes twelve V8 for LR main arrays, four V8 for side out fill arrays, eight D20 amplifiers located in the grid, eight Y7P loudspeakers used across the stage front for front fill, two Y7P each side of the stage for edge fills, 12 V-Subs, four J-Infra subs, four M4 monitors, eight D20s as stage amplifiers and two D80 amplifiers.

Akustiks also determined that the d&b 24C Column loudspeaker with the 24C-E Column loudspeaker extension were the appropriate solution for emergency announcements tied to the life safety systems for The McCourt. There are four columns in The McCourt, one mounted in each corner. ‘In such an acoustically live space, the pattern control of the columns proved to be the best solution,’ notes Cusick.

‘I conducted a very extensive study of products on the market, and after the end of that analysis I concluded that d&b was best suited to meet our programmatic direction,’ states Warren. The result of the chosen system and the attention to detail by SAVI and Akustiks in their design and implementation was an elegant and functional sound system for The Shed.’

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