This year, the 2014 NAMM Show drew no less than 96,129 industry registrants, making it one of the most important global music industry events. For the fourth year in a row, the Pacific Ballroom, which has a capacity of roughly 1,200, was chosen as the host venue for the TEC Awards. While the space worked for conference events and seminars, the room presented massive acoustic challenges for a high profile award show featuring live music and attended by the music industry's elite sound engineers, producers and audio product manufacturers.
"The pre-treated room was a sonic mess," recalls Eric Geer, president and founder of GeerFab Acoustics. "The overabundance of reflective surfaces and a parabolic concave structure that spanned the entire perimeter created a chaotic and uncontrollable acoustic environment.This was marked by out of control mid and high frequencies and excessive bass build up. During the TEC Awards, the room posed enormous intelligibility issues for performing artists, mix engineers and of course the audience."
"The biggest acoustic problem was the parabolic concave surface which was about 4' high and several feet deep. This structure disrupted the response of the room, essentially functioning as a slingshot that rocketed unwanted frequencies directly back to the audience," Geer continued.
Last summer at a NAMM executive meeting, the acoustics of the room became a primary agenda item. "We knew we had to increase the audio intelligibility in The Pacific Ballroom," says Pete Johnston, supervising producer & technical director of special events at NAMM. "When it came to the TEC Awards, it was an issue of credibility since we were giving out awards to sound engineers, producers and product manufacturers. We wanted to get it right and there was no room for compromise."
Soon after the summer meeting and after consulting with several high profile acoustic designers, NAMM contacted Eric Geer of GeerFab Acoustics to implement an all-encompassing solution that would yield greater sonic accuracy and intelligibility for events held in the Pacific Ballroom during the entire 2014 NAMM Show, especially the 29th Annual TEC Awards.
On the weekend before NAMM week, GeerFab and Freeman, the convention services company that has been supporting NAMM since the 1960s, proceeded to install a temporary, re-usable solution consisting of (200) custom GeerFab MultiZorber panels, each measuring approximately 4' x 9-1/2' and consisting of lightweight, acoustically absorbent substrate material wrapped in a black fabric. These panels were strategically mounted on rigging points throughout the venue, suspended approximately a foot off the wall around the entire upper perimeter of the room, which measures roughly 30,000 square feet with a 21’ ceiling. The panels effectively concealed the concave surfaces while creating more even acoustic dispersion across the entire frequency range while also acting as a gigantic, continuous bass trap.
In addition to the room perimeter, Geer also installed a 'acoustic hat' above the stage, consisting of (40) 4' x 8' MultiZorber panels. This effectively reduced stage noise and eliminated unwanted reflections from drums, amplifiers and other instruments — enhancing overall monitoring accuracy while reducing the potential for on-stage feedback. With the “hat”, the entire installation comprised over 8,000 square feet of MultiZorbers.
"Before the room was treated by GeerFab, it sounded horrible. There is a section of the wall that has the effect of a parabolic dish," commented Scott Rodgers, front of house engineer for the TEC Awards. "After the MultiZorber panels were installed, it made a huge difference and the sound of the whole room tightened up significantly."
"We ran the PA system between 98 and 105 dB and the sound was remarkably clear," he continued. "I didn't have to touch the EQ to correct the room and by the end of the evening I had absolutely no ear fatigue."
Now that the MultiZorber solution was successfully implemented in the Pacific Ballroom for the 29th Annual TEC Awards, Johnston says they are now considering a similar solution to provide acoustic treatment during Summer NAMM 2014. "We love the fact that the MultiZorbers are reusable," says Johnston. "Bringing great audio to our events increases the credibility of our brand while enhancing the overall experience of those attending our events."
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM's activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies located in more than 87 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/
About GeerFab Acoustics:
GeerFab Acoustics manufactures and implements acoustic solutions for a wide range of clients in entertainment, restaurant, hospitality, healthcare and other industries. The company provides complete custom design and installation services and is the manufacturer of the innovative product line RoomZorbers, which includes the MultiZorber The company is based in Milwaukee, WI and was founded by Eric Geer. To learn more, visit www.geerfab.com