NEW YORK SIA Acoustics LLC recently completed the design and commissioning of the P.C. Richard & Son Theater in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan. The 5,500 square foot theater will serve as a live performance, recording and broadcast space for Clear Channel Radio, which includes New York FM stations Q104.3 (WAXQ), Z100 (WHTZ), KTU 103.5 (WKTU), Power 105.1 (WWPR) and 106.7 Lite-fm (WLTW).
Control Room for the P.C. Richard Theater The design mandate from the Clear Channel project team was clear: The venue would be a multipurpose space. In addition to hosting a 200+-person live audience, the P.C. Richard & Son Theater would be a primary source of audio and video content for a variety of Clear Channel programs, including the highly-acclaimed "Stripped" series. The intimate space was to serve as both a no-compromise live performance venue and a full-service recording facility — a substantial technical challenge.
To meet the theater's demanding live performance requirements, two four-element arrays of Outline "Butterfly" C.D.H. 483 loudspeakers were specified, with low-frequency reinforcement provided by six Outline LAB 15 SP subwoofers, arranged as three cardioid pairs under the stage.
Throughout the sound reinforcement equipment selection and design process, SIA paid close attention to loudspeaker directivity, positioning, and off-axis response to create a system that would maintain as quiet a stage as possible for recording and broadcast, while providing the greatest impact for the live audience.
The P.C. Richard Theater represents a trend that we've seen growing in recent years. More and more, we are being approached by clients wanting to do no-compromise full-scale production in increasingly intimate spaces. In these types of venues, the importance of careful coordination between the trades is even more critical; there is no physical room for oversight or error.
The recording and broadcast side of the facility is built around a Digidesign ICON D-Control ES-based Pro Tools HD recording system in the control room, provided by Dale Pro Audio.
To allow complete electronic independence from the sound reinforcement systems, a four-way Jensen transformer-isolated splitter is employed on every input channel. Eight Digidesign PRE preamplifiers (with gain operable from the ICON control surface) and six 192 I/O interfaces (two with A/D expansion cards) provide a full 64 inputs to Pro Tools via six HD Accel cards.
Monitoring is provided via Genelec 8050A loudspeakers, a Dolby LM100 broadcast loudness meter and a DK Technologies MSD600M digital scope. From there, finished media is distributed via Clear Channel's SAN system to the building's third-floor radio production spaces. With the Pro Tools system outfitted with a full complement of recording, mixing and mastering plug-ins, Clear Channel staff can produce a final product for distribution entirely within the P.C. Richards Theater space.
The theater also sports a comprehensive microphone package (also supplied by Dale Pro Audio) that is intended to support all of the space's functions while minimizing the need for guest artists (be it bands, presenters, DJs, etc.) to supply equipment.
To this end, a variety of input devices was specified: Shure SM57s, SM58s and SM89s (for boom-miking), Beta 52s and 58s, KSM44s and KSM141s, Sennheiser e 602s and e 604s, MKH 60s, and AKG D 112 and C 535 EBs. For flexibility, a Shure UHF-R wireless microphone system with Sennheiser MKE 104 capsules, Shure UR1M miniature beltpacks and Shure KSM9 handheld transmitters was provided as well.
Questions of scale
Supergroup Tinted Windows opened the P.C. Richard Theater in May. In addition to the substantial production equipment, the successful technical design of the space is largely due to the extensive infrastructure.
The programming planned for the space is diverse: live music performance and broadcast, cinema, dance (club), corporate seminar, etc. To accommodate this without technical compromise in any "mode" of operation, a flexible system of panels, tie-lines and patch bays was designed.
Throughout the theater, numerous wall and ceiling panels provide easy access to analog audio, multi-format video (via BNC and SMPTE hybrid fiber) and data (via Cat-6 and BNC). Every field connection terminates at over 20 analog, AES, Cat-6, fiber, and coaxial patch bays in the control room and is organized via an intuitive numbering system. In this way, theater staff and guest artist personnel are able to adapt the system to any performance or media type.
About the design, Steve Sockey, partner at SIA Acoustics, commented: "This system provides very sophisticated capabilities in an extremely compact footprint. Because of significant advances in technology, the difference between arenas and small theaters, or between dedicated studios and multipurpose spaces, has really become one of scale and not quality — this space has the same preamps, converters, consoles, loudspeakers, amplifiers, etc. as a larger venue — and though it may have fewer of them, the level of production is the same."
Since the theater's opening in May, it has hosted top artists such as Green Day for Q104.3, Maxwell for Power 105.1 and the Jonas Brothers and David Archuleta for Z100; Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry were shared among several stations. Live audio and video recordings of nearly every performance are made available online at www.strippedmusic.com and www.pcrichardtheater.com.
Adam Shulman is a consultant with SIA Acoustics.
For information, contact SIA Acoustics at (212) 387-9105 or visitwww.siaacoustics.com.