The eleven Republican candidates at the second CNN GOP debate really made some noise – under 142 seats in the auditorium. Production Resource Group (PRG) had implemented an unusual audio solution for the event using Yamaha and VUE Audiotechnik equipment. Normally, line array speakers would be used for events like this, but in the extraordinary setting – the Air Force One Pavilion in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library – they would have blocked sightlines to the stage. PRG and VUE Audiotechnik needed to think of an innovative solution to the problem.
Mark Boettcher (PRG project manager) and his team came up with an out-of-the-ordinary audio design – and it took them just two days to install, tune, and test it. 142 VUE Audiotechnik i-2×4.5 speakers with 70˚ x 70˚ dispersion were placed under the seats, creating 24 separate audio zones with eleven fold back circuits. Fortunately, the high level of reverberation within the pavilion meant that the audio team could keep sound pressure levels during the debate low.
A Yamaha CL5 was used as the console. “This provided us with plenty of surface control for the show, plus enough matrix and mix output capabilities to handle all the requirements,” Boettcher explained. Rio 1608 stage boxes were connected using Audinate’s Dante network over CAT5e running from the boxes to the console. Splitting the system into four zones made it possible to make changes on the fly, and the team used Neutrik NL8 multi-line speaker cable to connect to the four speaker zones. “It worked well, as the locations we chose to break the NL8s out into separate zones corresponded well with the design.”
Four Meyer Sound Galileo 616 speaker management systems were used to control the setup. Amplification was provided by Lab.Gruppen FP 2400Qs. Eight VUE i2x4.5 speakers ran on each amplifier channel. PRG uses a custom-built model of the VUE i2x4.5 that operates at 16-ohms, allowing larger quantities to run in parallel on each channel. When the audience took their seats the audio setup was barely visible – without impairing audio quality.