When the Disney musical Aladdin was brought to theatrical life at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre on 20 March, Masque Sound supplied a custom audio equipment package to support sound designer Ken Travis’ creation.
Travis and his team, which consisted of Alex Hawthorn, associate sound designer; Lucas Indelicato, production audio head; and Gabe Wood, front of house mixer, chose several of the specific products throughout the design process, as the sound requirements of the production evolved and the different audio elements started to piece themselves together. To provide Travis with the flexibility and dynamic sound he was after, Masque Sound supplied a Studer Vista 5 digital mixing console.
Masque Sound also provided an extensive PA for Aladdin, which was comprised entirely of d&b audiotechnik speakers. The new V-series comprised the mains, and the hundreds of surround speakers were a combination of E6s and E5s. Because Travis wanted to be able to immerse the audience and have incredible control, he created rings of speakers that wrapped around the audience. On the mezzanine and orchestra levels, there are inner rings of surround speakers. This allows the sound levels to remain consistent and evenly distributed keeping the audience from hearing the audio from a specific direction or speaker location. In addition, delayed rings provide audience members with an ambient feel, so that they are comfortably enveloped and immersed in the sound.
The subwoofers include a pair of D&B J-INFRAs in the box seats to really get the room shaking, as well as B2s for the orchestra and mezzanine levels. The band system is made up of a series of V-subs, with six of them located on a truss over the audience. As an additional element to the intricate sound design setup, Travis utilises a TiMax Tracker system to image the vocals to the actors.
The 40 channels of wireless included in the equipment package are from Sennheiser, along with DPA 4061 microphones. One of the interesting aspects of the sound design is rooted in the microphone package. Some characters wear three microphones during the show. For instance, since Aladdin takes his turban on and off in the middle of a song, there is a microphone built into his turban. This also helps to ensure that the turban never masks the sound emitting from the microphone on his forehead. The genie’s mics are built into his prosthetic beard. Travis wanted to ensure that the audience never sees a microphone on the genie.