Tennessee Performing Arts Center Looks Ahead with Meyer Sound M'elodie after Two Decades with the MSL-3
When it was ready to upgrade its venerable Meyer Sound MSL-3 loudspeakers of more than two decades at its 2,472-seat Andrew Jackson Hall, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville chose Meyer Sound again, this time a system based on the M'elodie line array loudspeaker.
"The MSL-3s had served us well since the mid-80s," says Larry Bryan, TPAC's chief audio engineer. "But we were ready to step into the 21st century with the latest Meyer Sound line array technology."
As typically deployed, the system comprises left and right flown arrays of 16 M'elodie loudspeakers each, plus six deck-stacked 700-HP subwoofers, eight MINA line array loudspeakers spaced across the stage lip as front fill, and a Galileo loudspeaker management system with a Galileo 616 processor for drive processing. The system was provided by Blackhawk Audio of nearby White House, Tenn., with sale facilitation by director Jamie Nixon and system tuning with the SIM 3 audio analyzer by CEO Rick Shimer.
To date, the system has been used for a variety of acts, ranging from a comedy show by Bill Maher and rehearsal sessions by country star Trace Adkins to concerts by bleeding-edge rockers Puscifer and pop-rock legends Journey. A true test of the system's moxie came when the "Experience Hendrix Tour" stopped at TPAC for an evening of tributes by musicians including Dweezil Zappa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Buddy Guy.
"We have a lot of guitars on this show," remarks the tour's FOH engineer, Sean Quackenbush, "and the M'elodie rig at TPAC made them all big and warm sounding. The boxes translated very well with what was coming off the stage and responded immediately to whatever I did with the console. As always, any day on a Meyer rig is a great day!"
Bryan highlights the Meyer Sound linearity and longevity. "We have a range of musical styles coming through here, from rock and jazz to Broadway," he says. "A lot of touring Broadway shows brought in Meyer rigs, so it was a sound we had come to appreciate. We knew it was something we would hold on to for another 15 years."
Bryan also appreciates the simplicity of M'elodie's QuickFly rigging. "We really liked the ease and the rigidity of the rigging," he notes. "The fact that a majority of it is captured is important. Once we saw them do it once, we realized it doesn't take a master's degree in mechanical engineering to figure out how it works."
Meanwhile, Nixon, who organized a demo of the system prior to sale, was confident that the M'elodie arrays would be ideal for the hall's size and acoustics. "The M'elodie is so versatile in that room," he says. "They can use it for so many things, so it made perfect sense. Basically, the box just sells itself."
The new M'elodie system was added to Andrew Jackson Hall's existing complement of premium gear, which includes a Soundcraft Vi6 digital live sound console, Shure ULX and Sennheiser 2000 Series wireless microphones, Avalon and Millennia Media preamps, and high-end microphones from Schoeps, Neumann, and Shure.