of Sound System Design
World-Famous Performance Venue
Written in 1997 by Mel Lambert
Sound system design for live performance can stretch the
resources of any individual. Everyone in the audience - not to mention the performers
- is a potential critic. And if the primary role of the venue is classical music, satisfying
the regular patrons that have often paid a large amount of money to enjoy performances in
a live setting can be extremely demanding. These and other factors have, over the years,
plagued the many sound designers and consultants that have been involved with the
world-famous Hollywood Bowl. But, to give him his due, long-time consultant and sound
mixer Joseph Magee, president of Magee Audio Engineering, may have finally cracked the
problem, utilizing a liberal amount to science, a high degree of state-of-the-art
technology, and the patience of Job.
Under the best of circumstances, the Hollywood Bowl Sound
can be described as a "challenging" environment. Set within the world's largest
natural amphitheater high in the hills above Los Angeles, without sound reinforcement the
venue might well be suited to small, intimate concerts - provided that traffic from the
nearby freeway, not to mention private aircraft, don't detract from an audience's
enjoyment. But The Hollywood Bowl, despite its very good natural acoustics, has a current
seating capacity of close to 18,000, which means that compromise is definitely the order
of the day.
In essence, the high-paying patrons down in the front
whose boxes cost upwards of several thousand dollars per year for an orchestra-close
seating location - want to hear music as they would in an indoor concert hall. But the
remainder of the audience, stretching way up back to the $1.00 seats, several hundred feet
away from the stage, will need some form of PA system if they are to hear the performance.
And to appeal to younger audiences, the Bowl's organizers offer a wide range of musical
genres throughout the Summer performance season.
Design and operation of the Hollywood Bowl's current
$2.5-million sound reinforcement system, and the outstanding work of Joseph Magee
(pictured left) and his
colleagues, has resulted in a system that, for the first time, is receiving critical
applause from both the participants down front, as well as the loyal audience that attends
a large number of concerts throughout the summer season.
Indeed, the current system, comprising a mixture of three
arrays located left, center and right above the shell, with a number of carefully arranged
fill-in and remote stacks, fulfills a long-held dream. Now, for the first time in five
decades, both the close-in and distant sections of the audience can enjoy the same,
high-quality sound that, to many pundits, closely mimics that of a conventional concert
hall - except that we are enveloped in the sound of classical music within a large
natural amphitheater. Quite an achievement by any account, but a dream that has taken a
long time to reach reality.
One of the world's leading audio engineers, Joseph Magee
specializes in music recording/mixing for film and producing/engineering classical, jazz
and pop music. Recent projects include scores for "Sister Act," "Leap of
Faith," "What's Love Got To Do With It," "Sister Act 2,"
"Two If By Sea" and "The Preacher's Wife" and the soon-to-be-released
"Quest for Camelot," "Mafia" and "Fantasia Continued," along
with recording projects for The Boston Pops, Joe Williams, LA Philharmonic, Barbra
Streisand, Ray Brown and Whitney Houston. As producer/engineer, Magee received a 1995
Grammy nomination for Best Album for Children ("Manhattan Transfer Meets Tubby The
Tuba"). He also consults for a number of pro-audio firms, including ATC Loudspeakers,
PMC Loudspeakers, Panasonic/RAMSA plus Sennheiser and Neumann, and for The Walt Disney
Concert Hall and The Colburn School/Zipper Concert Hall currently under construction in
As Magee recalls, "The first time I was called in by
the Hollywood Bowl as a consultant [in 1994], I was taken aback by the [then current]
sound system: a three-way, THX-style theater look alike. To make matters worse, the system
was doubled up left, center and right, with the result that the already doubled
theatrical-style hard-center channel was now being multiplied by a factor of two. It
sounded unusual, to say the least!
"The bane of my life as a film-music mixer - the
other half being the Dolby Surround Sound [4:2:4] matrix - was staring at me. I was at a
loss to understand why the previous consultants had specified such an installation,
considering what was available with current state-of-the-art for live sound. However, I
was sure that too many cooks in the kitchen - translated as the highly political, local
environment - had something to do with their choices
"And back then, mixing a symphony orchestra, which
represents the majority of shows at the Hollywood Bowl, involved very limited miking
technique and little matrixing of outputs to different speaker arrays. Any show that
became too complicated was farmed out to one of the many local sound companies."
Public Expectations: Fact and Reality at The
At the heart of the sound-reinforcement dilemma, Magee considers, was the fact
that audiences attending concerts at The Bowl were convinced that classical shows were
acoustical, with no sound reinforcement. "Quite an odd task," he reflects,
"considering the difference in ambient sound pressure level, with all of the Bowl's
air conditioners, refrigeration units, concessions, local freeway, helicopters, military
fly-by, police pursuits and car alarms. I was in agreement with them on the concept, but
they must have been thinking about the Twenties: a glorious time for quiet, classical
concerts in a reflective shell with sound waves gliding across the water pool in front of
Luckily for Magee, several audiophiles were closely
involved with the Bowl and its sonic performance. "Both Ernest Fleischmann [then
Executive VP and Managing Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic] and [General Manager]
Anne Parsons knew there was a way to offer great audio [to the audience], but did not know
how or who to trust. Their benchmark came from daily hearing great classical artists in
concert halls around the world."
But first things first, Magee reasoned. "For me, it
was a two-stage challenge. First, I needed to develop a series of microphone techniques
and matrix arrays that would let me secure a highly accurate image of the sound of an
orchestra on stage at The Bowl. Then I would design, with input from a number of
consultants and personal friends, a sound system that could relay that highly-accurate
'signature' to the audience using a series of direct and delayed-response loudspeaker
arrays via a sophisticated matrix.
"During the past three years, in a piecemeal fashion,
we have been developing a new miking system for the orchestra, and a full-blown concert
sound system with delays. It has been a frustrating process for everyone, most
importantly, the people of the City of Los Angeles, but we progressed only as funds became
available. From reaction we received during the 1997 Season - including some highly
favorable reviews from the local music press and the 'LA Times' - we feel that the long
hours have been well worth the effort."
The current mixing systems, located in a custom-designed
bunker some 225 feet from the performance stage, comprises an ATI Paragon console
(pictured left, with Michael Cooper, Hollywood Bowl's Head of Audio/Video
outboard Yamaha 03D submixer, both of which feed a Level Control Systems SuperNova
digitally-controlled console and matrix.
"The Paragon's stereo mix," Magee explains,
"is a front-of-house-only, headphone reference tool for the mixer to create
multi-group mixes that are distributed into the system via the LCS matrix." Outputs
from the matrix are equalized and routed to various sections of the Bowl's sound main
multi-channel system, plus delay and distributed loudspeaker arrays. A series of BSS
Omnidrives outfitted with temperature and humidity probes help Magee and his crew adjust
to optimum settings despite weather conditions that can rapidly and rather dramatically
change at the venue.
Additional inputs and reverb returns are handled by an
outboard Yamaha 03D digital console. Outboard electronics include 40 channels of Millennia
mic pre-amps, plus 10 Avalon and four Tube Tech mic pre-amps on stage.
The main loudspeaker array is made up of 22 Sound Image
Series V/WG four-way cabinets flown approximately 60 feet above the stage in a left (eight
cabinets), left-center (three cabinets), right-center (three cabinets) and right
configurations (eight cabinets) atop temporary scaffold structures. (These rigs will be
replaced once the new proposed super-truss and shell is constructed in a few years time.)
The use of separate left-center and right-center cabinets ensures a stereo image
throughout their coverage pattern. Each Series V/WG cabinet is fitted with dual 15-inch
woofers, dual 12-inch woofers, dual mid/high waveguides with a two-inch, horn-driven
compression driver, and tweeters; all components, with the exception of SI's waveguides,
are from JBL.
Four Sound Image Series LT High Packs - one each for the
primary arrays - were custom designed to boost MF and HF output to the furthest audience
areas. Extended low frequencies are handled by 10 Sound Image Series V subwoofers flown at
the bottom of each left and right array.
Located at several positions throughout the Bowl, a total
of 106 QSC EX Series amplifiers power the system, and are capable of delivering in excess
of 140 kW. To minimize cable runs, amp racks dedicated to the main loudspeaker arrays, for
example, are positioned immediately beneath the arrays.
"Last year we completed our design," Magee says,
"by adding a Distributed System along the various promenades at the Hollywood
Bowl." A total of 122 Sound Image G1 nearfield loudspeakers are concealed by hedges.
In addition, Main, Deck, Front-fill and Delay subsystems were set up and fed as individual
zones from the LCS SuperNova console. The custom-designed Deck System covers the front
section of the audience, and is comprised of a pair of Sound Image Series V/WG
loudspeakers stacked atop two Sound Image Series V and two Meyer Sound Labs subwoofers,
each located under the left and right arrays.
"The Deck System enabled us to solve a problem of
[poor] sonic reproduction at the front," explains Sound Image' s Robert Mailman,
"which for many years has been an ongoing concern. As a matter of fact, it worked so
well that we plan to add to the system [to provide] even more comprehensive coverage
during the 2004 season."
Six Delay Zone towers cover extended audience sections,
each being retrofitted with a Sound Image V/WG cabinet that houses a full-range
loudspeaker and subwoofer. Four Shadowed Areas receive further coverage via a pair of
Sound Image G2 cabinets.
Sound System Philosophy: "Garbage In; Garbage
Joseph Magee's' fundamental philosophy in designing any sound system is simple:
The replay performance can only be as good as the signals you are feeding to it. "So,
my first task at The Bowl was to ensure that I captured a high-quality sonic 'picture' of
what was happening on stage," he explains, "similar to a record mix. But, to
cover different styles of musical performance, I drew up a chart of the types of miking I
would need to consider for different ensembles. In essence, my goal for the system's
overall performance is different for each type of music presented at The Bowl."
Classical orchestra concerts
According to Magee, "The Los Angeles Philharmonic or major visiting
symphony orchestras favor a presentation that carefully blends the acoustical information
- the sound emanating from the shell - with the sound system information coming from the
loudspeakers. Our goal was to ensure that the audience has a hard time distinguishing
which sound is coming from where. And those important front boxes experience very little
sound-system presence whatsoever
"The combination of channel matrixing, a miking
technique similar to one I might use on a classical recording, and the direct-radiating
loudspeakers are responsible for this fusion of the two elements. My normal miking
arrangement is to use an overall five-way Decca Tree configuration - three Neumann TLM 50
omnidirectional mikes 11 feet above the conductor's podium, plus a pair of outrigger omnis
left and right of the orchestra spaced between 20 and 30 feet apart - augmented with
condenser mikes covering various orchestra sections.
"These types of concerts require the finest resolution
from the Bowl's sound system, both dynamically and in terms of spectral balance; this is
where the initial system tunings originate. And during each spring's tuning before the
season begins, we have used a community orchestra as part of the balancing and
Orchestral pop concerts
"The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra or visiting ensembles, like The Boston
Pops, require a different approach for an audience that has completely different
expectations. Our matrix files for these shows exhibit vocal subgroups that can be
described as a big, featured, all-encompassing sound. Feature instrument subgroups are
filed in the matrix for shows that resemble a jazz fusion-type of solo sound. Since most
often the orchestra must play over the sound pressure levels of explosive fireworks,
rhythm sections and monitors, the system-gain structures are very different; use of a
programmable matrix greatly simplifies the set-up process, and ensures a consistent sound
from performance to performance.
"The quality of the orchestral sound is still
maintained by sectional condenser miking layout and an overall Decca Tree configuration,
just like the system used for orchestral shows. The main mixing difference is most often
seen when an artist like Sergio Mendes hits the stage to join the orchestra, because I
reduce the level of the open-air mics in the mix, and raise the close mics to compensate;
on-stage monitor levels make this a necessary compromise. However, we still pride
ourselves on the great string section sound heard during ballads at these concerts, a
sound hard fought for by maintaining our primary philosophy
"The Hollywood Bowl's veteran monitor mixer, Kevin
Wapner, does an excellent job of keeping a tight grip on the monitors, while protecting
[monitor leakage into] all of those closely-placed Schoeps, Neumann and Sennheiser
"Tap shoes, roving singers, marching bands, antiphonal
brass, large choirs, show girls and the kitchen sink, all find their way into these shows,
yet with only a short morning rehearsal. But with the automated [ATI] Paragon mixer with
Flying Faders and the LCS [computer-controlled] matrix, we can store mix-level and routing
settings. If we are lucky, the same show runs for three nights in a row during the
weekend, enabling my assistant, Michael Cooper and I to fine tune our automation
after the first night." Cooper serves as Master Audio at The Bowl, as well as Union
Acoustical Jazz and Big Band shows
Such shows are produced in house, usually once a week. "As might be
expected," Magee says, "the LCS matrix is set up differently for these shows.
Instrument groups on the matrix no longer resemble an orchestra with add-ons. Instead, the
necessary stereo groups are Acoustic Piano, Bass, Drums, Solo Winds, Solo Vocal, Announce,
Guitar and, of course, the usual reverb and synth groups on the 03D console.
"The key to a good mix still comes down to the quality
of the instruments and the players ability to maintain a good acoustical balance on stage.
For miking we use state-of-the-art Neumann, Sennheiser, B&K, Coles, Rode, Sony and
Shure models; tube and ribbon mics are also becoming more prevalent. Because these shows
are self produced, we still maintain our quality mic pre-amps in the chain, which include
Avalon Class A and Tube, Millennia Media and Tube Tech."
Brazilian and Jazz Fusion shows
"These types of shows require matrix changes towards the world of high
SPLs; the audience expects to feel a certain drive from the system, and the sound must
appear to come from the stage. Monitor levels become an issue, since the front-of-house
mixer needs to 'mix above' the monitor wash reverberating within the stage shell.
"But an acoustical-coupling orchestral shell is not a
welcome environment for shows with high SPL stage monitors. When the new Hollywood Bowl
stage house and shell is designed and constructed [completion date is set for 2000],
hopefully the orchestra shell will be motored up and out for shows such as these. Also
maybe by then, the live sound industry will find in-ear monitors a common practice, rather
than the exception.
"As the stage and system levels increase, the contour
of the delay and distributed systems must be lowered. If the latter systems run as high as
they might be set for acoustical shows, in conjunction with the 18 channels of system PA
coming from the stage, the SPL build up can be overwhelming. While we have been pleased
with the clarity for every seat in the house at these elevated levels, there is only so
much SPL the venue can tolerate before receiving LA County SPL violations. The LCS matrix
files for these shows lower the levels to the distributed speakers to a greater amount
than the delay towers.
"Even with reduced SPL requirements, the audience
expects to feel the sound all the way to the back row. To satisfy this need, we use
subwoofers in the delay towers; punchy, extended low-end is in abundance, without having
to drive the front 18 channels too hard."
A Grozier computer system closely monitors any potential
SPL violations, enabling to reduce system levels accordingly.
This is a common term used for rock shows that are presented by an outside
promoter; they are the most challenging when it comes to communication, Magee considers.
"Since the main-array renovation, outside mixers usually see our close to 20 kW,
state-of-the-art system, and say 'Yes' to keeping their road-tiered rig on the semi
trailer. They may bring in their own monitor mix and front-of-house mix position. During
the recent 1997- 2004 off-season, we installed enough horse power in low hang boxes for the
left and right main arrays to satisfy even the most zealous of guest mixers.
"The detail involved in programming the matrix and
fine tuning the system excites some visiting lease-event mixers to achieve high quality
audio for their artist's audience. However, the rest often dig their head deep into the
sand and try not to become too confused by the technology. These are the guys saying 'Give
me a left/right feed into your system; that's all I need. This pales in comparison to a
multi-channel mixing approach, with separated instruments and voices for coverage and
"Some of the lease events have sounded incredible;
others have failed miserably. When there is failure, we just have to stand by and hope we
get through the night. But when there is great success, we walk around The Bowl and marvel
at the audience's enjoyment through good distributed sound, rather than bleeding
Recent artists to visit The Bowl include Rod Stewart,
Luther Vandross, Elton John, Steely Dan, Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac, Garth Brooks, Jimmy
Buffet. numerous Salsa shows and several recurring reunion bands such as Chicago and Moody
House Mix Position: ATI Paragon, LCS SuperNova and
Yamaha 03D Consoles
Three primary consoles are featured at the current mix position. Installed in
1994, the primary console is a 80-input ATI Paragon equipped with Flying Faders
moving-fader automation on all input, submaster and master modules. The modules are housed
in two separate frames: the main console is loaded with 24 mono and eight stereo input
modules, 16 subgroups, eight stereo effects returns and eight Flying Faders group masters;
the sub-console features 24 mono and eight stereo inputs, nine VCA-equipped master modules
and a comprehensive interconnect system that maintains balanced bussing between the pair
"Each console frame provides an identical input
configuration," Magee explains, "allowing two-man operation during a
performance. The automation controls are pre-recorded fader settings that we develop
during rehearsals, in addition to master fader groups."
Regarding the choice main console, Magee recalls that he
evaluated a wide cross section of hardware before opting for the ATI Paragon. "I
reviewed all of the available console options - including Solid State Logic, Euphonix and
Neve - but, because of its flexibility and signal linearity, went for the Paragon. With
ATI's assistance, we were able to install a complete Flying Faders system. The result is a
combination of features and sound quality that meets the wide range of presentations we
handle at The Bowl.
"John Musgrave, an LA-based console 'Wizard,' has also worked
many hours to maintain and improve the desk's sonic characteristics."
Each of the Paragon's channels and 16 subgroups feature
four-band parametric EQ, including peak/shelf switching, while 16 aux sends feature
switchable muting in pairs. Eight stereo effects returns are assignable to a stereo
subgroup or mix buss. Channels also provide variable high- and lowpass filters, in
addition to ATI's patented RMS Compressor with threshold, ratio, gain and soft knee
controls, plus a variable noise gate.
The Paragon's 16 subgroup output
busses are used as inputs to the LCS 32-by-32 SuperNova digitally-controlled mixer/matrix.
Typical orchestral subgroup outputs might be as follows: Main Left and Right; Strings Left
and Right; Woodwind Left and Right; Brass Left and Right; Piano/Keyboards Left and Right;
Solos Left and Right; Featured Vocals Left and Right; Rhythm Section Left and Right.
"The remaining 16 inputs," Magee continues,
"are normally derived from four of the Paragon's Aux Sends, to cover Surround Left,
Surround Right and Boom Box, four groups and a pair of reverb returns from the [Yamaha]
03D, plus DAT and CD sources. I can also feed mono PFL solos from the Paragon and ATI
Outputs from the matrix can be equalized and delayed via
digital processing built into the LCS system, and then routed to various sections of the
Bowl's sound system. "We have isolated feeds to all individual speaker stacks,"
Magee offers, "so that I can individually route specific instruments to specific
Available speaker destinations include Main Left and Right; Main
Center-Left and Center-Right; Hi Pack Left and Right; Hi Pack Center-Left and
-Right; Front Fill Left, Center and Right; Apron; Deck Sub Left and Right; Main
Sub Left and Right; Deck Left and Right; Tower Shadow 1&2 plus 3&4; Delay
Promenade #2 (House Left and Right); Delay Promenade #3 (House Left and Right);
Delay Promenade #4 (House Left and Right); Promenade #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6
Future Updates/Renovations: Front of House Mix Position
To improve the ability of Magee and his team - plus visiting mix engineers - to monitor
sound balances in a location closer to the center of the audience area, plans were drawn
up recently to relocate the mix position. "We are currently sitting at 225 feet [from
the stage apron], slightly off-axis. The planned new position would offer a low profile,
but could be raised enough to provide accurate listening. In addition, it was to be moved
forward about 75 feet, in a more central position relative to the stage. Because of the
shape of the bowl, you wouldn't want to get any closer, but it would be close enough to
allow tailoring of the front-fill loudspeaker system.
"But last year we lost out on our bid to move the
position closer to the stage," Magee says, with regret, "into the 1400 and 1500
row boxes, at 175 feet. I don't see the administration allowing us to displace any
revenue-generating box seats anytime in the near future."
Having accepted the compromise, however, Magee feels that
there are many issues to conquer. "Our plans to redesign the current front-of-house
mix position were refined by studio architect/acoustician Bret Thoeny, of BoTo Design,
Venice, CA. Renovating the current mix position, and containing our noisy equipment in
sealed, air-conditioned racks, will lower our own self-generated noise floor, a must for
the classical, low-SPL concerts. The removal of sides walls - and hence become
acoustically part of the rest of the audience - will also help us to hear without the mix
bunker resonating and coming back at our feet.
"A more sophisticated patch bay, better console
position ergonomics and arrangement of all of the technology will be an added bonus with
this renovation. Once our rack room goes through its own renovation, our signal path will
received a clean up. The microphone collection, as well as mic-pre-amps, will also be
upgraded with the new Neumann TLM 103 large-diaphragm condenser, the new Sennheiser MD-602
- an incredible kick drum mic - plus additional [Neumann] U-89s, Schoeps models and so
"The monitor mix console will also be upgraded from a
[Panasonic] RAMSA 840 to a RAMSA SX-1, and we have added new Sound Image 2x12 wedges. Our
front fill will increase to six Sound Image G2 L-C-R cabinets, from the three we used last
season. The Apron [cabinets] are scheduled to be replaced with Sound Image's new Model
500, which is the same as our distributed Sound Image G1 systems."
The world's largest recording, post production, broadcast,
live sound and audio design community resides in the greater Los Angeles area. "If I
am still involved with the Hollywood Bowl's audio future," Magee reflects, "this
community of talented professionals will continue to have a significant, positive
influence on the renovations at Hollywood Bowl. The concert-going public deserves and
demands the very best audio technology available to translate their favorite artist's
performances, on this legendary stage. At long last, the Bowl's sound system is
complemented in most reviews concerning concert the performances. The audience also comes
by the mix position with complements in a steady stream after a show. I think that's a
SIDEBAR: Matrix Assignment and Automation for
the Hollywood Bowl Sound System
Principal sound automation for the Hollywood Bowl is provided by a Level Control Systems
SuperNova modular digital matrix mixer, consisting of four LD-88 mixer modules, a RIF-232
control surface with motorized faders, and LCS CueStation software running on a Macintosh
PowerPC clone. In addition to its mixing functions, the SuperNova system also provides
six-band parametric EQ and delays on all outputs.
The LD-88 is 2U eight-in/eight-out matrix mixer, based on a
32-bit floating point digital signal processing engine, with 20-bit converters on all
inputs and outputs. Multiple LD-88s may be interconnected via a 128-channel digital audio
bus, and any combination of inputs may be mixed dynamically to any combination of outputs.
Four LD-88s in the Bowl's system provide 32 inputs and 32 outputs with 32 discrete signal
paths through the matrix.
The Hollywood Bowl's application of the SuperNova is
relatively unusual, sound designer Joseph Magee considers. "We use it primarily as a
sound diffusion system rather than as a dynamic mixer, and can shape the sound field in a
nearly 'sculptural' way, to provide an optimal mix balance for each listening position in
the 18,000 seat amphitheater. Each input is routed to its own Matrix Bus for distribution
to the 30+ outputs, so that each solo performer or instrumental section can be mixed
perfectly for each seating area. Over the course of several summer seasons, we have
developed a collection of mix templates, enabling us to quickly rough out a mix for such
familiar configurations as violin concerto or big band jazz."
The SuperNova is fed from the ATI Paragon's 16 subgroups,
plus four outputs from a separate reverb system; outputs run directly to the amplifier
racks used to feed the multi-zone speaker system. Programming is provided by a combination
of the RIF control surface and the CueStation software, although the actual automation
system is embedded in the hardware of the LD-88 itself. This embedded dynamic automation
serves to minimize the amount of data flowing through the serial connection between the
computer and the LD-88, as well as providing a higher level of security than would
real-time computer control.
LCS CueStation software is a graphic user interface for the
SuperNova hardware. System gain structure is broken down into components: Input Console,
Bus masters or Groups, the Matrix, Output Masters, etc. The particular arrangement of GUI
components can be user specified. For example, given a particular complement of hardware
it is possible to designate some outputs as Auxiliary Sends, or to specify how many Buses
will feed into the Matrix.
Mix levels are stored as a series of snapshots, or
"Cues." Each Cue is made up of one or more SubCues, each of which contains the
parameter information for a particular element of the mix architecture. For example,
values for Input Faders, Bus Assigns, and Pans are each defined in a separate SubCue, and
each Matrix bus has its own SubCue. A Cue may contain all of the different SubCue types
for the entire system, or may contain only one or a small selection of SubCues.
Once created, Cues are automatically stored in a Cue
Library, and optionally they may be included in one or more Cue Lists. Most LCS
installations, such as Broadway or Las Vegas shows, depend on Cue Lists to store the
ordered progression of mixes and show control messages that evolve throughout a show.
"Our Bowl System, on the other hand, works from the Cue Library," Magee says.
"The Library window shows how our mixes evolve throughout an entire season."
SIDEBAR 2: Hollywood Bowl Audio Engineering
Department General System Information
Left-Center-Right; 60 feet high.
22 Sound Image V/WG four-way cabinets, containing 2*15-inch; 2*12-inch, two
Waveguides, and two tweeters.
Eight Sound Image Subwoofer cabinets containing four JBL 18-inch
and six SI custom High Packs
Two Sound Image V/WG cabinets, four Sound Image Subwoofers, four Meyer
FRONT- FILL SYSTEM
In air: Three Sound Image two-way G2 Waveguide for Left-center-right.
On deck/apron: five RAMSA Waveguide cabinets, mono
DISTRIBUTED HEDGE SYSTEM
122 Sound Image 2-way G1 cabinets
Six Sound Image V/WG full range towers
Four Sound Image G2 Shadow Towers.
STAGE MONITOR SYSTEM
Panasonic RAMSA 852 Monitor Console
Sound Image G2 Monitor Wedges
DRIVE NOISE MEASUREMENT
Ten BSS Model 855 Omni drives with temperature and humidity probes, and
A Short History of The Hollywood Bowl
Since its official opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los
Angeles Philharmonic and, since 1991, the home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Through
the years, the Bowl's summer music festivals have become a firm favorite with Southern
California summer audiences. Courtesy of the area's pleasant and reliable climate, just a
handful of concerts had to be postponed due to rain during the Bowl's history. The Bowl's
grounds - essentially a park - are open year-round free of charge. And the venue serves
as the summer home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, winters being spent at the nearby
Dorothy Chandler Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Hollywood Bowl is managed by
the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, but owned and operated by the County of Los
Angeles Parks Department.
amphitheater, with its arched proscenium, has evolved through the years with the creative
input from three leading architects. In 1926 Myron Hunt, designer of The Rose Bowl in
Pasadena, evolved the balloon-shaped seating area that appears to rise from the stage and
embrace the surrounding hillside. Lloyd Wright, the oldest son of Frank Lloyd Wright,
designed two shells for the Bowl, the second of which - fabricated in 1928 - provides
the inspiration for the current shell. And, in response to the need for improved
acoustics, Frank Gehry created the fiberglass spheres that hang within the Bowl's shell.
Attendance figures over the past several decades have
dramatically increased; in 1980 the Bowl first topped half a million. Recently, almost a
million admissions were recorded for a number of Summer Festivals, a figure that includes
independently produced events, such as the Playboy Jazz Festival, the Mariachi USA
Festival, rock and country concerts featuring Bonnie Raitt, Garth Brooks, Harry Connick,
Jr., Moody Blues and Michael Bolton.
Originally founded in 1945 as the Hollywood Bowl Symphony
by the legendary Leopold Stokowski, it disbanded two years later and replaced for Bowl
concerts by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. After 43 years, the orchestra was re-established
in 1990, as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, under the direction of John Mauceri, and gave
its first public performances in July 1991 at the Hollywood Bowl's Independence Day
fireworks concerts. The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra performs in concert at the Bowl, on
recordings for Philips Classics, and on national and international tours.
Photographs by: Elisabeth
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June 11, 2011