Year old ornate theatre
HOLOPLOT X1 sound system
The Beacon Theatre on Broadway is one of New York’s most prestigious entertainment venues. Opened in 1929 as a movie palace, today The Beacon Theatre is a listed building thanks to its incredibly ornate interior and cultural significance. Since its conversion into a live performance venue in 1971, it quickly became one of the most popular concert halls in New York City, hosting the biggest names in live entertainment.
However, it has also been one of the most acoustically challenging with a plethora of hard, reflective surfaces and architectural restrictions making it extremely difficult to achieve even coverage and optimal sound.
In 2022 venue owners Madison Square Garden Group decided to match the beautifully restored interior and high-calibre of touring acts with a cutting-edge sound system that would provide the best audio experience to every seat.
Beacon’s HOLOPLOT X1 Matrix Array system consists of two arrays, each tailored to precisely direct sound to the theatre’s four sections – orchestra, loge, lower balcony and upper balcony.
The X1 system is deployed in a traditional left/right configuration comprising hangs of 6 x MD96 and 6 x MD80-S each in a 6x2 checkerboard format.
However, this is where traditional ends and the magic of the Matrix begins…
With X1, audience members no longer hear audio relative to where they’re sitting – which is better in some places than in others with a traditional audio setup.
3D Audio-Beamforming allows for the precise control and efficient deployment of sound, ensuring that levels and quality remain consistent from point of origin to destination, even over large distances.
At Beacon, the system ensures even coverage from front to back and widens the stereo image. Beams from the left and right arrays are able to reach across to the furthest diagonal positions so sound is still perceived from both sound sources, rather than just the closest one.
This creates an uncompromized listening experience for every seat of the house.
The balcony sections at The Beacon have large tier fronts that reflect sound back at performers, unnecessarily exciting the room.
By creating avoidance zones, the HOLOPLOT system is able to keep sound away from reverberant surfaces and instead precisely steers audio to where they’re desired, making for cleaner room acoustics and a better listening experience.
The same principles can be deployed creatively as well. By deliberately reflecting audio of reverberant surfaces, the room acoustics of a space can be changed to suit performed content. Where spoken word performances require dry acoustics to facilitate intelligibility, classical music is best performed in spaces with a level of reverberation. HOLOPLOT technology allows to change this within the same system design.
The Beacon Theatre is the perfect place to demonstrate what we mean when we say that we can ‘make every seat the best seat in the house’.
What we’ve accomplished goes beyond simply upgrading a venerable venue’s sound system, it’s a complete rethink of how sound can be directed and controlled.
— Gareth Davies, Projects Lead at HOLOPLOT
A conventional stereo system typically creates a ‘sweet spot’ in which the audio image and level is optimal for the audience. The X1 system achieves unmatched coverage across the entire listening area without the need for added delay speakers.
In addition, it’s possible to ‘switch off’ parts of the theatre - an empty balcony for example - to avoid exciting areas of the room where there’s no audience, instead focusing the energy where it’s required.
Using 3D Audio-Beamforming and processing algorithms, different presets for different scenarios, such as an empty balcony can easily be recalled, each with predeﬁned target response curves and coverage patterns that are mapped precisely throughout the venue.