A new Meyer Sound Leopard compact line array system has been installed at the Royal Theatre in Victoria, British Columbia – after ‘a patient wait for the Meyer Sound Leo Family solution that offered just the right fit’.

Royal Theatre‘We’ve had three iterations of Meyer Sound systems in the theatre over the past 27 years, starting with MSL-3 loudspeakers in 1990,’ says Technical Director, Blair Morris. ‘Each was state-of-the-art for its time, and each better than the one before. We had considered other line array solutions, but held off when we were given advance notice about Leopard. We expected it would be the perfect fit, and it was.’

Morris notes that the century-old architecture of the 1,416-seat auditorium left little room to the sides of the proscenium, dictating a line array with a slender profile: ‘We’d had some of the Lyon systems come in with rock tours and the results were spectacular, but they were just a bit too wide and the number of boxes needed for uniform coverage would result in power overkill,’ he explains, ‘Also, we had used the smaller Mina arrays with great success in the McPherson Theatre – a 750-seat venue we also manage. But Mina wouldn’t give us the power we need to host the rock shows. So Leopard hit the sweet spot for us on all counts – size, coverage, power and sound quality.’

The new system’s main LR arrays each comprise 12 Leopard full-range elements flown under two 900-LFC low-frequency control elements. Deep bass is bolstered by dual floor-standing 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements, with four UPJ-1P and four UPM-1XP loudspeakers for front apron and under balcony fill respectively. Six UPA-1P loudspeakers and two USW-1P subwoofers are available for on-stage effects or foldback, with system drive and optimisation supplied by two Galileo Galaxy loudspeaker processors.

Royal Theatre loudspeaker installation

The Meyer Sound loudspeakers were supplied by Pacific Audio Works and installed by the theatre’s own crew under the direction of Assistant Technical Director and Head of Audio Warren Busby. ‘For a house PA, we didn’t skimp at all,’ Morris continues. ‘There’s nothing coming through the door that we can’t handle, from the most extreme rock show to a symphony pop concert.’

Morris is particularly pleased with the uniformity of front-to-back coverage. ‘That was critical for us because we can’t use sheer volume to throw to the back seats. For example, with the symphony pops, if some seats are not getting the reinforced portion of the program, you can’t just increase raw volume because that would overpower the acoustic orchestra in other seats. The Leopard system lets us balance reinforced sound with the orchestra everywhere. But the next night we can do a rock show with all the level we need.’

Morris admits they were leaning toward a Meyer solution, but in the interests of due diligence and to meet requirements for competitive bidding, they did hold a two-day comparison test with Leopard and a leading competitive system.

‘The other system was worthy competition,’ Morris acknowledges. ‘It was back and forth in the listening sessions with recorded music. But then we moved into live music. We brought out our nine-foot Steinway, mounted our Earthworks microphone system, and from that point it was no question. The Leopard arrays responded better across the whole spectrum, and that’s important because of the wide variety of music performances we present.’

‘Meyer Sound has a long relationship with the Royal Theatre and at Gerr we’re thrilled with this latest system upgrade,’ says Shawn Hines of GerrAudio, Meyer Sound’s Canadian distributor.

The Royal Theatre’s audio chain includes a DiGiCo SD5 mixing console at FOH and a DiGiCo SD10 at monitors, with a wireless rig offering six channels of Lectrosonics and a wired microphone complement from Shure, Sennheiser, AKG, Neumann and Schoeps. The venue is the permanent home for the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera. With the Royal also serving as principal venue of the Victoria Jazz Festival, the new Leopard system was given a workout earlier in 2017 by Ziggy Marley, Elvin Bishop, and Mavis Staples. More recent touring users include kd lang, Jacob Collier, Jesse Cook and the Simon & Garfunkel Story tribute production.

See also:
Canadian theatre debut for DiGiCo mixing desks

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