Although the Venetian Theatre’s sumptuous interior harkens back to 19th century Paris, the recent installation of a new Meyer Sound LEO Family system has thrust the 1700-seat Las Vegas showroom to the forefront of 21st century AVB-networked audio technology.
Completed in 2006 as a $40 million dollar addition to the vast Venetian Hotel Resort and Casino, and patterned after the famed Gaillard Opera House, the theatre was specifically designed to house Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular, an adaptation of Phantom of the Opera. The original house sound system for Phantom was based on the then-new Meyer Sound MICA line arrays, and the core of the same system continued in use for a variety of concerts and events after Phantom closed following a six year run.
“The fact that the MICA system served us so well for more than twelve years is testimony to Meyer Sound longevity,” notes Jeffrey “Jj” Hillman, head of audio for the Venetian’s entertainment division. “But technology has moved forward, and recently more of our riders are specifically requesting the LEO Family systems. So we decided the time had come to make a good investment for the next decade.”
The main front arrays each comprise 12 LYON line array loudspeakers, with front and under-balcony coverage supplemented by, respectively, eight UPJunior and ten UPM-1P loudspeakers. Visceral yet musical deep bass is delivered via a 3 x 3 flown end-fire array of 1100-LFC low frequency control elements. For artist foldback, eight each of Meyer Sound’s MJF-208 and MJF-210 stage monitors are available for deployment as needed.
The ample outputs available on the system’s six AVB-networked Galileo GALAXY processors allowed full implementation of Meyer Sound’s Low-Mid Beam Control (LMBC), a new software-based tool that effectively solves the problem of low-mid beaming that is inherent in all line array systems.
“One thing we were looking for with the new system is more consistency from front to back,” says Hillman. “The difference when we switch in LMBC is clearly audible. We now have consistency through the vocal range from front to back, with no muddiness in front or thinning out in the rear. And the way the LYONs project high frequencies, people sitting in the back of the balcony enjoy the same clarity as those in the top dollar seats down front.”
The new system was designed by Hillman in consultation with Meyer Sound Design Services, with final tuning by Meyer Sound Director of System Optimization Bob McCarthy. Assisting Hillman in configuration and installation were members of the Venetian audio crew: Dan Binder, Eric McWilliams and Jeff Pressler. On the management side, Executive Director of Entertainment Neil Miller kept the audio renewal project moving forward quickly and efficiently.
Major artists that have played the Venetian Theatre since the upgrade, or are scheduled in the near future, include Kool and the Gang, ZZ Top, Chicago and Steely Dan. As is typical of Las Vegas bookings, most are playing extended runs of ten days to three weeks.
“With this LEO Family upgrade the Venetian Theatre is now the premier venue of its size for sound quality in Las Vegas,” says Hillman. “Since it’s also visually the most beautiful, it’s great to have sound to match.”
The response from users has been uniformly enthusiastic, he adds. “Everybody who has mixed on it has been very happy. They turn it on, maybe dial in their own standard curve, and it’s right there. The system as a whole is locked in. I would think this Meyer Sound rig is good for another ten or twelve years as well.”
Rounding out the theatre’s audio capabilities are Yamaha CL-5 and Avid Profile FOH consoles, Yamaha CL-3 monitor console, 16 channels of Shure UHF-R wireless microphones and 16 channels of Shure PSM-1000 IEM systems.
One of the world’s premier destination resort properties, the imposing Venetian Las Vegas was built between 1997 and 1999 at a reported cost of $1.5 billion.