Music at New York City’s Madison Square Park. Locally-based SIA Acoustics and company consultant/system designer Adam Shulman devised a compact, easily transported specification that allows the site to accommodate a wide variety of musical performances and styles.
A symbol of the recent revitalisation of the Madison Square Park area, the Mad. Sq. Music season has featured an evermore highly integrated technical infrastructure. Developed initially for the 2009 shows, the custom-designed stage was developed by SIA and engineered by McLaren Engineering, and incorporates a cantilever roof structure with Milos Truss and an open rear and sides.
Supported entirely by in-ground anchors, the structure can support up to 2,400 lbs of suspended equipment and withstand wind gusts up to 60 MPH without the use of guy wires or counterweights. In tandem with a suite of Tannoy VQNET and VNET loudspeakers the open stage and the system present a compact footprint, allowing audiences to experience the shows without overpowering the surrounding park, or obstructing views of the city’s streetscape and skyline. The ability of the self-powered, onboard processing-incorporating VQNET systems to offer comparable SPL to line array systems, but with far fewer boxes, was an important asset in this regard (“it doesn’t detract or compete with the park,” said Maggi Landau, executive v-p of the Madison Square Park Conservancy).
Comprising two distinct concert series during the summer (Oval Lawn Series) and autumn (Studio Series), Mad Sq Music is likened to “going on tour for the summer” by Shulman. Everything is stored off site during non-event days, with the Tannoy VQ arrays remaining assembled from show to show.
A fairly recent convert to Tannoy VQNET, SIA has been impressed by the system’s fully integrated, all-bases-covered approach. “As the technology becomes smaller and DSP power grows, we feel strongly that the way things are going, loudspeakers, amplification and DSP should be integrated,” said Shulman.
Ultimately, the specification included four VNET 218DRs and one VNET 218DR, configured on the ground in front of the stage. Nine VNET 12HPs were used for rear-fill and stage monitoring, while two arrays of two VQNET100s and two VQNET MD subs are located at FOH.
“We worked with Tannoy, utilising GLL loudspeaker data and prediction tools to develop the processing parameters necessary to integrate the MB and VQ modules. This provides improved low-mid pattern control below the horn cutoff, preserving a consistent tonality for even those sitting very close to the stage,” said Shulman.