Masque Sound handles MAMMA MIA!

When the 2013/2014 North American touring production of the smash hit musical MAMMA MIA! kicked off at Clemson University’s Brooks Center on 30 September, associate sound designer David Patridge turned to Masque Sound to provide a custom audio equipment package to bring sound designers Bobby Aitken and Andrew Bruce’s vision to the stage.

This marks Patridge’s 12th MAMMA MIA! production in 14 years, as associate sound designer, and although he is intimately familiar with the show, the 2013/2014 North American tour was not without its obstacles.

“The challenge for this incarnation of the musical was to take the signature MAMMA MIA! sound and put it into a more compact, fast-moving production without cutting the things you need to make the show sound big,” said Patridge. “Just because the show is moving from city to city quickly doesn’t mean the size of the venue is going to be small. It was important that we did not downscale the brand or incur any kind of loss of feel for the amazing show that MAMMA MIA! is. Thanks to the help of the talented professionals at Masque Sound, we didn’t compromise on anything. The show looks and sounds great.”

In order to keep that big sound Patridge was looking for, Masque Sound provided Meyer M’elodie speakers, the largest speakers that could feasibly be put in a tower footprint, yet still fit in all of the smaller theatres on the tour. “We took the footprint that we were allowed based on the technical director’s specs and then we looked at speaker choices,” added Patridge. “We went with self-powered M’elodie speakers, so we wouldn’t need amplifier racks, which take up extra room in the truck and extra time to connect. We used the M’elodie and Meyer 500HP powered speakers in a tower arrangement, giving us a lot of impact for the size of the footprint. Whether we need to figure out the sizes of trussing needed, engineering concerns, dolly selection, etc., Masque Sound has always been fantastic with figuring out all of the details and on a traveling production that is extremely important.”

In addition to the Meyer M’elodie and 500HP speakers, Patridge also used Meyer 700HP subs, as well as Meyer UPM-1Ps for front fills and under the balconies. Masque Sound provided a DiGiCo SD10 digital console, because the compact size and powerful features of the console make it ideal for a traveling production. In addition, the actors are outfitted with DPA 4060-61 omnidirectional mics. Masque Sound also provided Sennheiser 5212 radios with Sennheiser EM3532 receivers.

“One of the things about Masque Sound that I like is that there is a valuable brain trust of people,” said Patridge. “Professionals like Gary Stocker are not afraid to help partner with us as designers and invent solutions, so I don’t have to be on my own when I’m trying to figure out how to support these speakers and towers, especially on a production that moves from city to city. I know I can ask Gary what we can do to facilitate my vision, and the people at Masque Sound will design and fabricate whatever I need. In addition, Eric Rivera at Masque Sound does an excellent job of coordinating the frequencies from stop to stop. He has the itinerary in hand and is constantly forwarding the list of frequencies to our road personnel. Fortunately, Masque Sound uses all the tools at hand, including FCC charts and intermod study programs, and if there is a problem with anything, I know that they will pick up the phone or answer an email to get us out of a bind.”