Located outside Philadelphia, PA, Sesame Place is a theme park and water park based entirely on the Sesame Street TV series. It is one of 12 theme parks operated in the US by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
One of the main attractions, popular for hosting a variety of shows, including meet and greets with the characters, is Abby’s Paradise Theatre.
It is here that system integrators Illuminated Integration—based across the State in Harrisburg—recently installed a Martin Audio CDD solution to meet the request for a comprehensive upgrade to the theatre’s aging PA that was failing to meet the requirements for either coverage, output or clarity. At the same time, Sesame Place asked the integrators to carry out an assessment of the audio in other event spaces and theatres, as well as a parade route.
At Abby’s Paradise Theatre the client required a solution that would not only provide uniform sound coverage throughout the 850-seat, clam-shaped auditorium, but also support future park integration and immersive sound elements. The installation itself was not without its challenges, as the venue is situated outside, under a covered metal roof with metal bleachers, and a ‘Lazy River’ and waterfall running immediately behind it.
Although the integrators are independent when it comes to product specification, Cody Toms, Illuminated Integration’s Audio / Video Systems Creative, knew that CDD had all the attributes to counter any obstacles. “We love how good Martin Audio boxes sound and the fact that the sound remains consistent throughout the line,” he noted.
“WE LOVE HOW GOOD MARTIN AUDIO BOXES SOUND AND THE FACT THAT THE SOUND REMAINS CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT THE LINE”.
“We also knew we could get the space modelled well and that we weren’t going to need to spend a lot of time at the back end tuning, especially to get the vocal clarity of the Martin Audio boxes … as they already sound just phenomenal.” In this instance they used EASE Focus for modelling.
As a result, the company specified three CDD12 (in white), spaced and suspended as a conventional L/C/R system from the overhead beams, with an SX112 (single 12” sub) also flown behind each of the left and right hangs. This solution worked out perfectly for the company’s lead AV designer, Bobby Dengler.
“With the noise of Lazy River and the waterfall behind, we also had to achieve some rear rejection and keep the audio contained where it’s supposed to be,” continued Toms. “Neither we nor Sesame Place wanted audio to be spilling out, and it was important to be able to boost performers’ live mics on stage without getting feedback, while at the same time achieving the required SPL and even coverage across the seating. It was a delicate balance.”
He also notes that Abby’s Paradise Theatre had been struggling with low end coverage “and while it’s not a rock concert, we wanted to cover the full spectrum.” They used the recommended tuning parameters from Martin Audio within a Q-SYS environment, as this provides the existing digital backbone.
Cody Toms anticipates CDD will be a brand for the future. “The way Martin Audio translates vocals throughout the line is a huge win for us, particularly as many of our clients are churches, theatres or school performance spaces. With CDD I love the large number of models in the range and the fact that the coaxial source does not have the comb filtering of traditionally designed boxes. That all makes it easier for me as a designer because I know I’m not going to have to fight the box.”
The company has now enjoyed Martin Audio dealership status for more than 18 months, coming at it in a round-about way. Company owner Tyler Hoffman already had a relationship with the British manufacturer from his previous company, the catalyst being an interesting church project involving TORUS T12. “So when he arrived here it was a perfect opportunity to build the relationship again,” stated Toms. He was soon in contact with Martha Callaghan, Martin Audio’s Northeast Regional Sales Manager, and a team from Illuminated Integration attended the manufacturer’s recent Open Day at Merriweather in Maryland to apprise themselves of all products, including arena systems.
In summary Cody Toms couldn’t be happier with their first project with Martin Audio. “We’re thrilled that the park is thrilled!” he exclaimed. “It’s far better than what they had before and has exceeded their expectations. Consequently, it is establishing a footprint.
“As for Martin Audio, Martha, Will and the team have been right there for us.”
Nick Manna, Vice President of Entertainment, Sesame Place, added his endorsement. “The Sesame Place entertainment team had a great time partnering with Illuminated Integration on the audio upgrade for Abby’s Paradise Theatre. The team was knowledgeable and offered their professional advice to provide us with the best quality sound system for our space. The Martin Audio speakers allow our audience to feel like they are part of the show, and the sound perfectly enhances the overall show quality. I would recommend both companies to any professional in the business.”