L-Acoustics Takes The Stage At Radio City Music Hall

Long revered as one of New York City’s most renowned live performance venues, Radio City Music Hall offers its visitors the opportunity to enjoy a wide cross-section of musical extravaganzas, including the world-famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes, which this year celebrates its milestone 75th anniversary.

As one can imagine, complex productions like the Christmas Spectacular require that intelligible, uniform audio be not only delivered to the audience, of course, but to the dozens of dancers gracefully executing their choreographed moves across the Great Stage. With this in mind, Radio City Music Hall’s production crew and owner, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, chose to ultimately update the onstage monitoring system with a dozen L-Acoustics Arcs® front- and side-fill cabinets supplied by Clair Brothers Systems.

The project leaders, Tim Hassett, EVP facilities, Madison Square Garden, Richard Claffey, SVP and general manager, Radio City Facilities, and Tom Arrigoni, head audio engineer for Radio City Music Hall, brought in Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams, Inc. (WJHW), to serve as consultants of record for the project and to specify the venue’s new house sound system.

According to Kevin Day from WJHW, “The client expressed a specific need for a stage-fill speaker system, which they defined as being full-range, high power and with a tight coverage pattern.” The 12 ARCS side- and front-fill loudspeakers are mounted on either side of the stage area, between the various front curtains, to provide zone-specific coverage for onstage performers. “The individual Arcs cabinets form an integral part of the stage setup for the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall,” Day continues.

“We spent a great deal of time and resources to ensure that we assembled the most superior quality sound system possible,” Radio City facilities’ Claffey says. “Our new sound system not only enhances the customer experience for the Christmas Spectacular but will provide a uniform sound quality for any artist and event that plays Radio City Music Hall.”

Head audio engineer Arrigoni had seen L-Acoustics Arcs and Kudo™ systems during a concert at Radio City Music Hall with rock band Chicago, and expressed interest in them. Production Resource Group(PRG) provided sound reinforcement for some contemporary shows at RCMH last year, and used L-Acoustics products for front-fill duty, covering the areas at the extreme front corners where the line arrays were not providing enough direct energy. According to sources at those concerts, Chicago’s FOH engineer turned up the mains and then used the L- Acoustics cabinets to provide the required direct sound to the seats in the corners without creating problems for the mains’ coverage.

The L- Acoustics Arcs (Arrayable Radial Coherent System) is a constant-curvature line source designed for medium- and long-throw distances, with a clear, precise, predictable coverage pattern. ARCS is designed for tightly-wrapped arraying in single- or double-row configurations, or for horizontal arraying of up to four enclosures. The active two-way cabinet features a single 15-inch LF driver and 1.4-inch compression driver. Specifications include a tight 22.5-degree horizontal directivity per enclosure, and asymmetrical 60-degree vertical directivity. The cabinet includes integrated rigging for assembly into semi-circular arrays.

Previously, Radio City Music Hall had used L- Acoustics V-DOSC® line source array cabinets as its house system for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, as well as utilized active three-way KUDO systems for Fashion Rocks, among other events.

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