Frankenstein Sound!

Posted by | May 16, 2011 | , | No Comments

The National Theatre’s stage version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is proving a huge success, with every show sold out until May. The unusual prospect of the two lead actors – Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller – swapping roles nightly has been a draw for audiences, but so has the MC² and Funktion One audio system which delivers the big, highly dynamic sound that is fundamental to the play’s sense of drama.

frankenstein_stage1Director Danny Boyle approached electronica duo Underworld to score the production and it was the band’s Rick Smith who approached Funktion One co-founder John Newsham.

“Rick asked me to come on board as sound consultant to advise him on a sound system for the production.” says John. “He was thinking in terms of really big dynamics, wide stereo and some thunderous and really deep bass for the music and sound effects and was also looking to achieve exceptional clarity from the voice reinforcement system.”

Working closely with the National’s Olivier Theatre head of sound Ed Ferguson, John and Funktion One partner Tony Andrews specified a system which comprises six of the company’s recently-introduced R3SH mid/highs and two F221 subs per side, plus a pair of R1SH high frequency units for the extreme top corners of the circle.

Two pairs of Res 4s were also flown upstage for additional stereo sources, with a stack of four F218 and four IB218 subs driving a pair of Double Infrahorns. Meanwhile, a voice system of 11 F55 ultra-compact, full range units and five R3SH covers the whole room.

frankenstein_stage2Amplification is by total of 20 MC² Audio E Series units, including six E15, six E25, six E45 and two E90, while the system is controlled by three XTA DP226, one DP448 and five Funktion One/XTA XO4A audio management processors.

The production’s associate sound designer Ed Clarke tuned the system in conjunction with John, with XTA’s AudioCore software being used for system control. “Using the XTA processors and AudioCore allowed the system to be tuned very quickly,” says John. “Of course they are ultra-reliable and the sound is excellent.”

Operated by Matt Berry, the system has certainly made a significant contribution to the sense of drama of this latest production of Mary Shelley’s timeless morality tale. “Theatre staff have said that they are very happy with the sound and the guys on the crew who I’ve spoken to have said that they are really fired up to have the system in there,” says John.

Frankenstein is at the Olivier Theatre and runs until 2nd May.

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