L-Acoustics' Kara for Florida's Blue Man Group Theatre
New system aims to bring highly engaging, immersive audio to the popular production at Universal Orlando's CityWalk.
The Blue Man Group Theatre at Universal Orlando Resort's CityWalk, where the trio has been performing its eccentric, percussive ruminations on the human condition since 2007, has recently upgraded its sound offering to include an L-Acoustics Kara system.
The system was provided by Clearwing Productions' Phoenix office, and follows one in Las Vegas which saw an L-Acoustics K2 rig installed at Blue Man Group's new home at the Luxor Hotel and Casino.
“The Kara system has been an excellent move for Orlando,” said Blue Man Group sound supervisor Marcus Ross, who just returned from setting up the Blue Man Group World Tour in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands resort. “The Florida venue had unique acoustic challenges and the L-Acoustics system has been a great solution.”
The house sound system now features nine Kara enclosures per side, in addition to three SB18 subwoofers per side. These flank a five-box ARCS II center cluster, while 5XT coaxial enclosures are used for front fills, with an ARCS Wide enclosure on either side for outfill.
L-Acoustics 12XT boxes are additionally installed around the sides and rear of the room as surround speakers, and LA8 and LA4 amplified controllers power and process the entire system.
“In Orlando, we were able to install a system that gave us highly accurate representation from left to right, and the 12XT surround system gives us extremely interesting mix opportunities with the ability to image some very nice ambient soundscapes,” explained Ross. “The great part is that the sonic signature of each L-Acoustics speaker is so well matched that we don’t have to worry about the signal sounding different as we move audio zone to zone.
“What this system design accomplishes is to get total coverage of the room and allow movement of the sound from front to back and side to side,” he added. “It’s a full surround sound system and you get incredible localisation of the sound throughout the show.”
The new Kara system also revealed how much coloration the show had accumulated; for instance, once the new system was installed, it became clear that the microphones were adding unnecessary timbre to the sound. This led to the switch to more transparent condenser microphones, which offer the kind of fidelity the unique percussion instruments developed for the show require to shine.
In addition to the new L-Acoustics sound system, Blue Man Group’s Orlando production also installed a new DiGiCo SD10 console.
“Combined with the SD10, the L-Acoustics system sounds amazingly clear,” Ross concluded. “It’s been truly reinvigorating for the show’s sound. Everyone can hear everything now, from the stage to the front-of-house position. The detail is amazing. There’s no such thing as a bad seat in this house.”