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JBL and Crown Audio helps celebrate 66th annual Tony Awards

Daniel Gumble
JBL and Crown Audio helps celebrate 66th annual Tony Awards

The 66th annual Tony Awards, which were held at New York City’s historic Beacon Theatre, relied on Harman’s JBL VERTEC line arrays and Crown amplifiers for the live sound reinforcement system.

This year’s awards show featured performances from some of the top theatrical productions of the year, including The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Jesus Christ Superstar, Follies, Once and more.

The house system at the Beacon Theatre includes a centre cluster of four JBL VERTEC VT4887 compact line array loudspeakers and a balcony hang of six VT4888 midsize line array elements per side, with an additional two per side of VT4881 compact arrayable subwoofers.

To accompany the house system, Firehouse Productions provided two hangs of 14 VT4886 subcompact line array loudspeakers for the main PA, four hangs of two VRX932LA-1 Constant Curvature loudspeakers used for side fill, and six VT4886 subcompact loudspeakers were used for front fills. An additional four VT4880 full-size arrayable subwoofers were positioned under the stage.

“The hardest part of the project was finding a placement for the PA to hang that fit in with the rest of the set and lighting fixtures and wasn’t visible from a TV and audience perspective,” said Mark Dittmar, lead design and integration engineer at Firehouse Productions. “The VT4886’s were the only solution and the best in my opinion. With a 500-pound hang limit, they give us the power and coverage we need without a sacrifice. The VRX’s are great for tight pattern control for side fills as they are light and can be flown at the bottom of set features.”

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One of the main challenges of any awards show is dealing with the vast number of microphones on stage and ensuring there is no feedback stemming from the house PA system, Dittmar noted. “The VT4886’s help to solve this problem,” he added. “In the past we’ve used a variety of small boxes, but this is a much more cohesive design and we’re thrilled that it worked out so well.”

The JBL loudspeakers were supplemented by 24 Crown I-Tech IT 12000HD amplifiers. “We’ve been using Crown since the beginning,” said Dittmar. “They give us so much power in such a small package and communicate wonderfully with the JBL speakers.”

Dittmar explained that by setting the amps at 208 volts it provided balanced power and produced less noise as well. “One of our favourite aspects about Crown is the ability to build a custom library of presets so we can control any speaker in our inventory with the proper power, our favourite being the VT4886’s.

“It’s an honor to be a part of such a significant night and we are extremely pleased with the results from both JBL and Crown. Their excellence and support continues to give us the confidence we need to do our job to the best ability,” Dittmar concluded.

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Tags: Broadcast, jbl, broadway, harman, jbl vertec, tony awards, 66th tony awards

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