Incorporating famous Monroe songs like ”Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend“ and “I Wanna be Loved by You“, the production also includes new compositions, written especially for this musical, all performed live by orchestral players and a jazz band.
The Gärtnerplatz Theatre in Munich seats nearly 900 people in its four-tier auditorium. The sound reinforcement concept for this production was put together by Robert Hermann, chief sound engineer at the Basle Theatre. For Anna Montanaro as Marilyn, the PA settings had to be extremely precise, both for the loud, fast and rousing songs, as well as for the whispered ” boop boop bee doo“. In addition, it had to take account of the musicians from the State Orchestra and the jazz band Die Konferenz, providing the music for the show from the orchestra pit.
Sound design for the production called for a high-quality, space-saving PA system offering extremely accurate coverage. A NEXO GEO S system, powered by CAMCO amps, was chosen. System planning was done by Robert Hermann, Dirk Buttgereit, head of the Gärtnerplatz Theatre’s sound engineering, and Axel Falk from 2projects in Berlin, which also provided the necessary technical equipment. FOH engineer Stefan Schmidt, with his vast experience of musicals and concerts, played an essential part in alignment and equalisation of the loudspeaker systems. Hans Jürgen Heitzer from Mega Audio, who was there to give the team his help and advice, made a great contribution to the audio production.
After the premiere, Robert Hermann said, ”with even very slight changes in the positioning of the GEO S, the results can be clearly heard in what is acoustically a relatively difficult auditorium.“
On each side of the stage, NEXO GEO S cabinets (three S805s and one S830) were stacked on CD 12s, with 4x NEXO PS 8s as near-field speakers at the edge of stage above the orchestra pit. For the upper circles, 2x NEXO PS10s were flown above the proscenium arch. The loudspeakers were all driven by 4x CAMCO Vortex 6s, 2x CAMCO Tecton 28.3s and a PS 10 system amp. As front fills (L/R), 2x PS 8s were used and the same two speakers also provided the monitoring for the rhythm section.
For transporting the signals from the 64 inputs from the stage to the main mixer position, and for the 16 returns, a bi-directional EtherSound network was used. For this purpose, the Yamaha DM2000 used for the auditorium mix was equipped with a total of 4x Auvitran AVY16-ES cards, each of which added 16 input and output channels to the EtherSound network. Additional wireless channels, music playback and effects signals could be realised directly via the analogue and digital AES/EBU inputs on the DM2000. For converting the on stage analogue microphone signals to digital EtherSound signals, 8x Netcira/Fostex MS88 master-slave units were used.
Fitted with their own NX.ES-4 extension card, each NEXO digital NX242 TDcontroller can process up to four signals directly from the EtherSound network, thus eliminating the need for any further external DA converters. Both signal routing and monitoring and control of the individual EtherSound network components could be done through the Auvitran Software ESMonitor.
The sound quality benefits of the EtherSound network “sold” the system to this production, and the results are plain for all to hear. The 24bit/48 kHz format provides excellent signal quality and very low latency time, an important feature for live productions.
After the success of this project, Axel Falk is once again full of praise for the NEXO GEO S. “In the run-up to the production, I put a lot of effort into convincing people about this system, so naturally, all eyes were going to be on me if anything hadn’t worked properly. But, as expected, the equipment from CAMCO and NEXO put in an excellent performance. I recommended Stefan Schmidt as FOH and Hans Jürgen Heitzer from Mega Audio for the realisation team - and it was our teamwork that put the finishing touches to the whole project. All in all, this project was a complete success.”
- Robert Hermann, chief audio engineer at the Basle Theatre (www.theater-basel.ch)
- Robert Hermann chief audio engineer at the Basle Theatre
- Dirk Buttgereit, chief audio engineer at the Gärtnerplatz Theatre (www.staatstheater-am-gaertnerplatz.de)
- Axel Falk, 2projects (2projects.com)
- Stefan Schmidt
- Hans Jürgen Heitzer, Mega Audio
- Stefan Schmidt / Dirk Buttgereit
Marilyn Musical Productions-GmbH: www.marilyn-musical.de
Photography credit — Ida Zenna