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Turnkey Acoustics for the Winter NAMM Show

May 13, 2014 10:32 AM, With Bennett Liles

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That was a huge break. Now you used some 40 or more of the acoustic panels to get the sound of the room under control?

Oh, about 200 around the perimeter. And this is the remarkable thing about NAMM is, first of all, this was their initiative. Now that the TEC Awards had merged with NAMM, that is was important for them to present this show to the pro audio world in the best way they can. They knew that they had to tackle the room. I just happened to be there, having thought about the room for a couple of years, and just earlier that year launched this product line and just went very large scale with it. The 40 you’re referring to were the 40 4x8s that sat on the top of the stage, that lay across the trusses that built up the whole stage system with the lighting and the sound. [Timestamp: 7:10]

Tell me a little more about the acoustic hat you put in over the stage area.

Those were really large-scale MultiZorbers because they followed the same look in that they had a grommet in each corner, and that allowed them to lie flat; 40 of them—just imagine big sheets of plywood 4x8—attached to the trusses up on the stage. They, too, were secured to the trusses with zip ties. Now they weren’t going to move anywhere, really, but they were secured nonetheless, and they’re very lightweight. I think a 4x8 came in around 10 pounds. [Timestamp: 7:42]

And there were a lot of things going on that week but the awards show, the TEC Awards, was the main event and of course there was live music. But the audience for this was not just your average people off the street. These people all know sound and acoustics and that was a very critical audience to show what you could do.

It really was. And I had gotten word the Tuesday before the Friday show of the TEC Awards that it was already being extremely well received. Regarding the audience yes, that is people from pro audio, the representatives from the manufacturers, engineers, and producers. And I did get to speak to some of them and I did ask them, “Did you notice the black panels around the room,” and they said yes. I said, “That was me,” and they said, “Oh my God. it sounded fantastic.” I got a lot of compliments from colleagues who had noticed what a difference because most of the people who go to the TEC Awards have been going to the TEC Awards for some time. [Timestamp: 8:37]

And you’ve got to follow up that job now at the summer NAMM show in Nashville?

Yes. One of the ideas behind this whole endeavor is that these panels were to be taken down. It was a temporary fix, so they were boxed up using these shipping containers that are normally used for convention carpet. They were boxed up and put into storage and they’ll be shipped to summer NAMM and be deployed at the convention center. Now there is a big difference in size between the places, the Pacific Ballroom is 30,000 square feet and the exhibit space at Music City Center is, according to their information, 350,000 square feet, so about 12 times the size. We’ve not formally talked about the actual deployment, but I would imagine it would be in the drum area at first and we may or may not augment the supply that we have right now, but where we put them they will be effective. [Timestamp: 9:26]

That’s going to be a huge show and now that they’ve seen – or rather heard – what you can do, their expectations are going to be pretty high.

Yes, and I think we’ll meet their expectations. And this approach can be used on a permanent basis as well, or permanent in a sense that if a convention center wanted to use this technology it is something that can be rigged for a particular area, a particular type of convention, and then put into storage and rented out for the next convention. [Timestamp: 9:58]

Now that you’ve had the chance to actually do the job in Anaheim, you’re probably set up pretty well for anything that happens at NAMM in Nashville so what else have you got coming up?

Well, I’m making a big push on hospital work. That does not employ the MultiZorber, but a lot of different products that I use. I’m working on additions to the RoomZorber line. I will be working on getting the large-scale MultiZorbers into more large venues, conventions, nightclubs. They can go around stages at just about any music venue. One of the things that I appreciated so much about working with NAMM is that they listened to me and they gave me the opportunity to do what I thought was necessary, and that acoustic hat we talked about is something that I’ve wanted to do for awhile because at most stages, whether they’re indoor or outdoor, could use something like that. Not just a hat, but also around the stage. We couldn’t put these around the stage in this particular instance because of the way the show is set up and the week of activities is set up, but the hat did the trick. So yeah, those are areas that I would like to move the large-scale MultiZorbers in. [Timestamp: 11:00]

Well, at NAMM you’re auditioning your stuff for all the right people. Thanks for taking the time out to tell us how you tamed the acoustics at the Pacific Ballroom and what you plan to do in Nashville to get that room ready for the show. Eric Geer from GeerFab Acoustics. It was great hearing about it, Eric.

Well, thank you, Bennett. It’s been a real pleasure.

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