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Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts - Miami, Florida

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Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Miami’s resplendent Arsht Center for the Performing Arts opened in late 2006 and was hailed almost immediately by critics and patrons alike as one of America’s premier arts and entertainment venues.

Designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the complex occupies 570,000 square feet on six acres of prime property on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami, with the acclaimed Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House and the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall serving as its principal buildings.

To meet the needs of these two venues, the Arsht Center insisted on the highest quality audio components: a sound system composed of Meyer self-powered loudspeakers, precision tuned with the aid of the company’s MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program.

The system design for the 2,200-seat Knight Concert Hall relies on flown, retractable clusters that disappear when not in use behind a striking acoustical canopy made up of three individually adjustable pieces. The center cluster includes three PSW-2 high-power flyable subwoofers, three MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers, two CQ-1 wide coverage main loudspeakers, and three CQ-2 narrow coverage main loudspeakers. Left and right clusters each consist of an MSL-4 cabinet and two CQ-1 cabinets, all hung in a single vertical line. Frontfill is provided by 18 UPM-1P ultracompact wide coverage loudspeakers, nine placed on the orchestra pit rail and the other nine along the stage front to accommodate different show requirements. Three additional UPM-1P units serve as discreet balcony delay speakers.

The 2,400-seat Ziff Ballet Opera House employs a permanently mounted proscenium system, with main loudspeakers concealed behind acoustical scrim. A single CQ-2 serves as the center loudspeaker, and is supported on the left and right sides by two stacked MSL-4 cabinets, a CQ-1 mounted in the middle, and a CQ-1 at the bottom. Low-frequency power comes from dual 650-P high-power subwoofers. The frontfill configuration mirrors Knight Concert Hall's dual ring of 18 UPM-1P units, but here, three UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers handle balcony delay duties.

According to Pearson, Meyer Sound's self-powered solution best served the intricate installations. "As the project grew, with each round of changes we lost more space in the backstage rooms," he says. "In the end, we would have been hard-pressed to find space for the amplifier racks if we would have used a conventional system."

Meyer Sound senior education consultant Bob McCarthy, creator of Meyer Sound's renowned "SIM School" seminar, equalized both systems using the SIM 3 audio analyzer. Within hours of completing the final alignment, ushers opened the doors for a series of grand opening galas and all-star concert events.

Arsht Center's head audio/video technician, Michael Feldman, not only coordinates operations with visiting FOH engineers, but mixes many Knight Concert Hall performances himself. From his position behind the mixing console, he notes that the Meyer Sound system provides excellent, even coverage for a wide range of events. "So far I've done everything from a single podium mic to a 20-piece Latin big band," he recalls. "I've found that the Meyer Sound system has more than adequate power for the room, and enhances the stunning acoustics of the hall."

Feldman finds it difficult to single out his favorite shows in the new hall, but he does recall particularly phenomenal sound during legendary jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter's recent performance, as well as a concert by folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. "I was particularly impressed by the way Peter Yarrow worked extensively with his FOH engineer to achieve the specific sound he wanted," says Feldman of the latter show. "It was exciting to see an artist so in tune with both the technical and musical aspects of the performance. The result was a strikingly detailed and intimate sound that's rarely heard in a hall this size."

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