Carousel | Rhoda McGaw Theatre – Sound Design & System


Carousel came as a big contrast to the previous sound design, RENT. So required a completely different approach.
Carousel hands its self to a more traditional way of theatre, with each song broken up by dialogue and reprises/numbers to cover scene change time, where required. A much slower pace in comparison to a show such as RENT.
In addition to this, the orchestration is very forgiving to the sound department, require minimal automation of individual levels throughout the show.

The drum kit was slightly different to my usual line of work, but very fitting with the production. The kit comprised of a bass drum, snare, 2 toms, a glockenspiel, chimes and cymbals. The drummer also switched between brush and stick work throughout the show.

For the Bass, Snare, and Tom drums I used the Samson drum kit mics to amplify their sound. The bass drum too some EQ work to give it a more natural sound, instead of the gated and compressed sound of bass drums more common in modern music.

I used 2 AKG P170 Microphones to pickup the sound of the glockenspiel (mounted centrally above the bass drum) and cymbals. The 2 AKG P170 microphone gave a nice stereo field of the glockenspiel, whilst also amplifying and maintaining the image of the cymbals too.

To pick up the HiHat and Chimes (mounted next to the HiHat) I used an AKG C1000s – a new addition to the hire stock. The AKG C1000 dates back many years, being one of the first ‘affordable’ and rugged condenser microphones in Live Sound. The AKG C1000 has since been revised to the C1000s but still gives a bright and clear sound. Through listening tests and research, the AKG C1000s excels in percussion and brass amplification, so made light work of the HiHat and Chimes.
With much of the orchestration featuring HiHat, it was key that the sound was clear and had it’s own place in the mix.

The Brass, I went simply with two SM57’s for Trumpet and Trombone. Whilst not being anything special, they perform just fine and are very versatile. The cardioid pattern of the SM57s also helped prevent spill from other members of the band.

For the Flute and Clarinet, I used two Audio Technica AT2020s. These Large diagram condensers helped lift the subtleties of the instruments out into the mix whilst preserving their natural sound.

12 Wireless microphones were used to amplify the actors. 8 on principles, and a further 4 to switch between chorus members.
With the band being placed in the ‘pit’ downstage right, their spill (albeit very minimal!) affected how to vocals were heard in the first few rows of the auditorium left seating. To combat this, I listened to the vocals in the right and middle of the room, against the left and adjusted the band level to the left PA in the matrix to make up for the natural ‘spill’ the band were already creating.

The in house PA was ample enough for a musical of this scale, featuring a LR PA, 8 front fills, 2 Centre UPAs and 2 Subs. The Centre UPAs came to great help with the imaging of the vocals as well as their coverage across the stage. The PA also helped keep the image of the band very wide, and the vocals more natural. Where the lower UPA couldn’t reach, the front fills stepped in and covered the first few rows of seating. Some of the band was added to the front fills too as these seats were normally out of the dispersion of the L/R PA.


– 2 x EM Acoustics MSE-159 for LR
– 2 X Meyer UPA-1P for center
– 8 x EM Acoustics EMS-51 for front fills
– 2 x EM Acoustics EMS215 Subs
– 2 x Pro 104 for Foldback

– 2 x EM Acoustics AQ10 Amplifier

Vocal Microphones:
– 12 x Sennheiser EW300 G3 Body Packs w/ DPA 4061

Band Microphones:
– 1 x Samson Q Kick, Snare, Q Tom
– 2 X AKG C1000s
– 2 X AKG P170
– 2 X Shure SM57
– 2 X Audio Technica AT2020

– DiGiCo S21 w/ DMI MADI B & Dante Card
– Radio World

Pit Rack:
– 1 x DiGiCo MADI Rack
– 2 x Harting Multicore System