Cirque du Soleil Uses MSL-4s for Quidam's "Soundscapes"
Since 1984, theater troupe Cirque du Soleil has been thrilling audiences with shows that combine acrobatics, dance, juggling, fire-eating, and a host of other theatrical feats. Cirque du Soleil's new show, Quidam, presents all these acts, along with a live six-piece band, singing, and narration, in a tent roughly 50 meters across and 20 meters high. As Cirque du Soleil's other shows have done, this new show promises to amaze audiences with spectacles never seen before. And to amaze them with music and audio effects, Cirque du Soleil is using a new, MSL-4-based sound system they purchased from Solotech of Montreal.
"The idea is to create a world where people can forget about their problems for two hours," says sound designer Francois Bergeron of Real-Time Audio, who designed the new sound system. "We have to keep the soundtrack alive and dynamic. That's why we use so many speakers, so many different zones, and also so many different sound qualities. That's Cirque du Soleil's philosophy--keep people on the edge of their seats."
Fifteen MSL-4 Self-Powered Loudspeakers make up the heart of Quidam's sound system. Like other Meyer Self-Powered Series Loudspeakers, each MSL-4 includes supporting electronics and a highly optimized amplifier in its cabinet. Integrating loudspeaker and amplifier components this way guarantees consistent performance show after show and simplifies loudspeaker installation and alignment.
"The MSL-4s are performing brilliantly," says Bergeron. "They make it easier for me to control the environment. The cut-off point of every horn is very well defined, which minimizes unwanted reflections and reverberations. This makes the acoustical problems of working in a large tent much more managable."
"The MSL-4s have also simplified our installation and set-up," Bergeron continues. "Having smaller cabinets than traditional loudspeakers, the MSL-4s take up less space in the trucks and are easier to hide in the set."
The sound system comprises five distinct smaller systems, three of which feature Meyer Sound loudspeakers. The P.A. left and right, primarily used for music, consists of seven loudspeakers per side--four MSL-4s, two 650-P Self-Powered Subwoofers, and one UPM-2, the UPM-2s being used mostly for stage coverage. The second system, hung from the tent's cupola, comprises seven MSL-4s (one for each seating zone), and carries mostly vocals. The third system comprises eight UPL-1s and two UPL-2s hung in the tent masts as delays and fills for the upper seating areas.
The fourth and fifth systems, consisting of loudspeakers already owned by Cirque du Soleil, are used for special effects.
"Cirque's music is different from act to act," says Bergeron. "We can have thirty to fourty 'soundscapes,' each tailored for each number. To make sure these soundscapes are consistent from city to city, we're using SIM System II to realign the Meyer Sound CP-10 equalizers, which we adjust during each show to respond to humidity and temperature changes in the tent."
Solotech and Meyer Sound are excited to be working on Quidam with Cirque du Soleil. "We're proud to be working with an organization as creative and successful as Cirque du Soleil," says Mario Duchesne, Vice President of Solotech. "For twelve years now, they've been pushing the envelope in the arts, so it's fitting that they sould have a sound system that's pushing the envelope in audio technology."
Helen Meyer, Vice President of Meyer Sound, shares Duchesne's admiration for Cirque du Soleil. "We have always admired Cirque du Soleil's creativity, talent and dedication to excellence in all aspects of their work," says Meyer. "We're pround that they have chosen Meyer products to help them create the sound environment they want."
All images from the Quidam show.