This summer, New York Philharmonic performed a series of five concerts in parks throughout New York City using a Meyer Sound LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system. Two large shows took place on Central Park’s Great Lawn, where Meyer Sound loudspeakers covered a widely dispersed audience estimated at more than 50,000.
For the 15th consecutive summer season, both sound coordination and FOH mixing duties for the New York Philharmonic were entrusted to Larry Rock, audio director for the symphony orchestra. For Rock, a Grammy-winning veteran of hundreds of classical concerts and recordings, LEO’s debut performance raised the bar for large-scale presentation of classical music.
“It was a new experience,” says Rock. “The LEO system is very powerful—it is particularly clear and efficient in the high-frequency ranges. Also, its throw is rather astonishing. I expect we could have eliminated the first delay ring, or moved it back 50 to 100 feet.”
The main LEO system for Central Park comprised dual main arrays of 12-each LEO-M line array loudspeakers, with 12 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements arranged in four cardioid arrays. System drive and alignment was provided by a Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system with five Galileo Callisto 616 processors.
To cover the entire audience on the expansive Great Lawn, the stage’s main LEO system was augmented by a delay system which included 18 M3D, 16 MILO, and 26 MICA line array loudspeakers. Twin arrays of 12-each M’elodie line array loudspeakers provided stage side fill.
Sound Associates of Yonkers, N.Y. supplied the delay system and logistical support, with principal designer Robert Hanlon assisted by console tech David Bullard. Robert Gorton assisted Rock at FOH, and Josh Marks was head of sound.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard a line array behave as a single, giant loudspeaker,” attests Domonic Sack, project coordinator at Sound Associates. “When you walk from front to back, you don’t hear any changes. It exhibits seamless consistency both vertically and horizontally, which is an incredible accomplishment.”
At FOH, Larry Rock mixed behind a Studer Vista 5 digital console, augmented by a Lexicon 300 reverb processor. The orchestra used MK4, MK21, and MK4V Schoeps microphone capsules, as well as several Neumann KM 184 microphones.
The first of the New York Philharmonic’s two free Central Park shows was a benefit for Hurricane Sandy relief sponsored by Major League Baseball, featuring a guest appearance by Mariah Carey. Two days later, the Philharmonic presented Dvořák’s Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.