The AIC team began by scoping out the system design using Meyer Sound’s MAPP Online Pro™ acoustical prediction software. “MAPP is powerful and accurate,” says AIC head engineer Mark LeCorre. “First we worked out the design in MAPP, then my system engineer Jamie Howieson and I spent a lot of time walking every part of the room with a WiFi-enabled tablet PC that controlled our system processor, making adjustments, and using our ears as well as the measurement tools. We worked very hard to get the coverage dead even, because with an event like this one you want every word heard, and if somebody’s sitting in the one seat that happens to be a dead spot, it’s no good.”
From there, LeCorre and Howieson made few adjustments to the system except some changes based on the building and stage setup. Says LeCorre, “Because of the seating arrangement, we had to cover an area of nearly 260 degrees (horizontal). While the building is newer and has fairly decent acoustics, it is a hockey arena, and with any sports venue there is always a fair amount of reflectivity and echo, so it was a bit of a challenge.”
Howieson says that their strategy for dealing with the acoustics was to avoid overkill that would put more energy into the space than was needed. “The whole idea of this system was one of using a minimal amount of PA equipment for maximum coverage,” he says. “With the assistance of MAPP we were able to get all the rigging plotted into the correct spots. The combo of the MILOs and the MICAs was especially effective, with M’elodie filling all the little gaps in between.” LeCorre and Howieson ended up with a system of nine MILO cabinets and three MILO 120 units per side, plus eight MICA and eight M’elodie cabinets per side for fill.
The evening’s presentation was almost entirely spoken word, with the rest consisting of musical entertainment from a 16-member Tibetan children’s choir backed by a sextet of musicians playing traditional Tibetan instruments. Since none of the instruments contained significant low-frequency content, the crew at AIC made the election to forgo subwoofers.
LeCorre has been an avid Meyer Sound user since the late 1990s, when he used the company’s M Series products on his first world tour with singer Dido, and has used their products consistently ever since. “I appreciate the consistency of a self-powered system. You never have to worry if the amps you have will properly power the loudspeakers. Plus, the boxes are just dependable. I’ve rented Meyer boxes all over the world, from North America to Asia, and they always sound the same. When you tour their factory and realize how many levels of quality control they go through, it really makes sense as to why they are so consistent.”
LeCorre has had occasion over the years to experiment with a variety of other brands, but he keeps coming back to Meyer Sound. “I’ve done a lot of radio station-sponsored tours, which has given me the chance to hear a lot of different rigs and lines arrays. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of speaker companies making good boxes and products, but Meyer’s got everybody beat, especially in the high end. I don’t think anybody can compete with the top end of a Meyer system.”
The sound system delivered clear, intelligible sound for what turned out to be an even more notable event than was expected. In a highly anticipated portion of the program, the compassionate message of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was recognized by Canadian Immigration Minister Monte Solberg, who awarded him honorary Canadian citizenship, an honor previously given only to former South African President Nelson Mandela and World War II-era Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.
The Dalai Lama recently completed his speaking tour of North America, and will be moving on shortly to speaking dates in Asia and Europe.
The Office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama: www.dalailama.com