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Interview With Tony Meola

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Eboy87, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Chicago, IL
    So this past year, I've sort of set my sights on becoming a sound designer, rather than a provider, since it blends a lot of the elements of sound that I find fascinating: designing a system, the paperwork that goes along with it, figuring out how to mic everything, and the sound effects, just to name a few. On a hunch, I Googled (Yahoo'd really, but that doesn't sound as cool) Tony Meola, and after wading through websites about the soccer player, came across this gem from the Meyer website. Interview with Tony Meola. You'll have to pardon the marketing hype mixed in, since it is a manufacturer's website.

    But after reading through a few times, there are some fantastic points Mr. Meola makes, and some really good tips for either the engineer, or the designer (and I do love learning new ways to do this job). To highlight a few points he makes: the show is not about the microphones and speakers, but rather the story told on stage; the ultimate goal here is not volume, the SPL's are determined by what the show is (and I've been guilty of breaking that one a few times when I was doing mainly rock shows).

    I'd like to open it up for discussion, since I personally think the dialogue is what drives innovation in this field (how cliche is that?).
  2. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

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    New York
    Tony is right on! In my case, he's preaching to the choir.

    *touring systems: I ALWAYS prefer to use my own system than to tap into a house system... even if they've got a big fancy VerTec array. The headaches involved in re-adjusting their setup are not worth the potential time saved. The out, however, is much easier when I don't have to touch speaker towers. We touring engineers are oftentimes bound by contractual obligation to use a house system (ie, "Our city just ponied up $400,000 in tax money for a sound system renovation at this theatre... you're sure as hell going to use it.") and forbidden to even bring our own speakers into the building. I wish we could always do as Tony mentions and use the system appropriate for the show.

    *vocal mixing: The theatrical sound world and rock sound world differ more so on this one point than anywhere else, it would seem. Theatre is all about the story. If we don't mix those lyrics out of balance with the orchestra, the audience will never be able to understand what's happening on stage. Clarity! Clarity! Clarity!

    By the way, I do love and support his plug for Meyer gear. I've been nothing but pleased with all of the varied cabinets I've used by them over the years.

    *** A note not mentioned already - Tony Meola's most famous recent production is not mentioned in the article because of the date. He designed Wicked in 2003. There's another great article about its split center cluster (due to the giant dragon in the center of the proscenium) on Meyer's website.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  3. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    Redwood City, CA
    There was also a very nice radio talk show interview with Tony:

    American Theatre Wing - Downstage Center - Tony Meola

    Here he brings up many of the points mentioned above ... basic in nature, but good reinforcement for anyone designing sound in theater, and also a good listen for the entire design and production crew to understand how they should be working with the SD, and (as said above) understanding that "micing" isn't all about raising the volume ....

    I agree with everything he says pretty much 100% ... and it validates a lot of what I've been trying to do (sometimes successful, sometimes not) in our theater for the past two years.

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