Professional Sound - June 2017 - Page 26

The Sound Matches The Stature A New Audio System & New Era at Toronto’s Massey Hall Massey Hall with new d&b audiotechnik J-Series main PA T By Andrew King here are some big changes coming up for Toronto’s iconic Massey Hall. For 123 years, the famed per- formance venue and National Historic Site at 178 Victoria St. in the downtown Garden District has welcomed acclaimed acts from within the city and around the world. All the while, it has seen decades’ worth of substantial transforma- tion, and while most of that transforma- tion has happened throughout the city surrounding its brick-and-stone-covered façade, over the years, some has taken place within its hallowed walls. For example, in 1917, The Albert Build- ing behind the hall was added to the struc- ture and later converted into a backstage area. In the 1940s, Massey Hall underwent extensive interior renovations that brought the original seat count of 3,500 down to about 2,750. In 1994, in commemoration 26 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND Photos by Neal Burstyn, of the venue’s 100 th anniversary, the base- ment was completely refurbished and Cen- turies, its onsite bar, was open for business. But none of those transformations are as extensive or elaborate as the one that’s now underway. The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall has kicked off the most significant revitalization in its his- tory, aiming to preserve and enhance the structure while adding new elements to better serve performers and patrons into the future. Those include improvements to accessibility, technical infrastructure, and the overall presentation environment. The venue has adopted the slogan “Change Nothing, Improve Everything” for the $135-million project, and has already put that slogan to work ahead of the anticipated closure in July 2018 with the addition of a substantial new production technologies package – including a high- end PA system for the main auditorium – that will benefit upcoming productions before being reintegrated into the soon-to- be revitalized space. It was in early 2015 that The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall made the broad decision to incorporate a proper house sound system into Massey Hall’s main auditorium. While the venue did have an existing house system – including an elaborate fill system designed to address the unique layout and subsequent acoustic challenges it presented – shows typically relied on the tour package of the incoming performers or a rental system for the main house PA. “We wanted a system that virtually no one would refuse,” explains Massey Hall’s Director of Production, Doug McKendrick, about the mandate for the new solution. “It is possible to take it down, but we wanted people to walk in and it be a no-brainer that they would use it, so it needed to exceed what people would generally be carrying and provide better coverage than anyone could produce in a one-off scenario.” The corporation enlisted the aid of Martin Van Dijk, a senior consul [[\\وܛ۝X\Y]Y[ݚ\X[ۋB[[H\H[[Y\[\[ۚX