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Cirque Hawaii Sounds Off

A venue designed and built for one type of performance may not necessarily work for another. That was the challenge Creative Sound and Lighting of Kaneohe, HI, a small AV sales, service, rental, and installation company, faced in designing a new sound system for Cirque Hawaii, a troupe of acrobatic performers whose daily show is a dynamic display of physical prowess coupled with vibrant music to complete an entertainment spectacular rarely seen.

In a cinema, a two-dimensional projected image poses few challenges in terms of loudspeaker placement. But in live venues, several other factors must be accounted for, including adding a set, stage, and live performers. For example, set pieces can create fewer options for speaker placement, and live performers can add to a sound system design's complexity. In Cirque Hawaii's case, its performances feature more than 30 performers and much of the production takes place on tightropes and trapezes. Therefore, in addition to the line-of-sight issues in speaker placement, Kaneohe, HI-based AV firm Creative Sound and Lighting had to keep the loudspeakers out of harm's way.

Because Cirque Hawaii's space had less-than-ideal hanging points for live sound, Creative Sound incorporated delay and EQ to create a more balanced, natural sound. The Crown I-Tech amplifiers used in the project provided a more powerful, versatile solution over conventional amplifiers. The devices' onboard DSP gave Creative Sound EQ, crossover, limiting, compression, and delay without the need for external boxes. Additionally, the products' DSP presets allow the house engineers to quickly adjust to a number of possible arrangements. The amplifiers also incorporate built-in networking via HiQnet and TCP/IQ, enabling remote access and management of the DSP functions.



Tim Wetmore is a New York City-based freelance writer covering the entertainment and communications technology industries. He can be reached at

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