America’s wildly popular game show, Wheel of Fortune, is celebrating its 30th year this week with a series of episodes that were shot last month at Madison Square Garden. Joining the party in New York were more than 230 VUE Audiotechnik i-Class loudspeaker systems deployed by the experts at PRG as part of an innovative sound reinforcement solution for the week-long shoot.
“This is an extremely loyal fan base that has a well-established expectation for how the show should sound,” explained Bill Daly, system engineer and designer for PRG Audio. “It was essential that the theater sound very natural-almost like the speakers they hear when they’re watching the show at home.”
With over 1500 seats to cover, creating a sense of intimacy required the PRG Audio team to consider a less conventional configuration. Daly’s approach was to extend the sound stage into the seating area by installing over 230 VUE i-2×4.5 compact two-way systems under the chairs throughout eight carefully defined zones.
“The main PA handled most of the music and sound effects, but the majority of the spoken word came directly through the VUE speakers,” explained Daly. “The VUE system handled about 70% of what the studio audience actually heard.”
Precision speaker management was critical to Daly’s design. An XTA DP448processor ensured correct delay to each of the eight zones while also helping to keep the theater audio within the seating area to avoid spillover into the broadcast feed. Lab Gruppen FP Series amplifiers delivered the necessary horsepower while a Yamaha M7CL console handled the mix.
Daly elaborated, “For broadcast shoots like this it’s always challenging to keep the house sound from bleeding into the broadcast feed. Between the XTA processor and the clean directionality of the VUE speakers we were able to achieve really good isolation with minimal effort.”
This was not the first time this unique “under-seat” configuration was deployed by the PRG Audio team. According to Daly, he’s revisited this approach numerous times throughout recent years, and utilized many different compact loudspeakers in the lead role.
“I’ve deployed similar systems with speakers from most of the major manufacturers,” Daly explained. “We’ve always encountered an unnatural bump in the 180-400Hz range. Not only did the VUE speakers not exhibit this problem, but they sounded so good right out of the box that I didn’t need to apply much EQ at all.”
With The Wheel of Fortune shoot in New York successfully behind them, the PRG Audio team is now looking ahead to their next big challenge having added another vital tool to their audio tool chest.
“The VUE i-Class is easily the most natural sounding option I’ve found yet for this type of application,” said Daly. “I’m really impressed and am looking forward to trying out more VUE products in the future.”