54 Below - named for its location underneath what was formerly the fabled Studio 54 -presents up to three shows nightly in its main room
USA - With a vision to create an intimate lounge for Broadway professionals and audiences, owners of New York's 54 Below supper club recruited an impeccable cast of Broadway veterans to oversee its design, hospitality, and programming. Among them is Tony-nominated sound designer, Peter Hylenski, who specified a Meyer Sound reinforcement system to showcase the venue's top-flight musical talent.

54 Below-named for its location underneath what was formerly the fabled Studio 54-presents up to three shows nightly in its main room, with all 144 seats within 24ft of the stage.

"My biggest challenge was coming up with smooth, even coverage throughout the room considering its low ceiling and thrust stage," remarks Hylenski. "I decided on a Meyer Sound solution based on the specific sizes and types of loudspeakers I would need to accomplish the design."

Hylenski's system design comprises an inner ring of six UP-4XP 48 V loudspeakers for stage-side tables, plus four distributed and discreetly mounted UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers to cover the balance of the room. Four under-stage 500-HP subwoofers provide tightly controlled low end, two UPM-1XP 48 V loudspeakers are deployable for foldback, and the entire system is governed by a Galileo loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 processor.

According to 54 Below production manager KJ Hardy, the Meyer Sound system has raised the bar for audio quality in New York's cabaret-style rooms. "Peter Hylenski has designed one of the best-sounding live performance venues in the city, and every band and singer that's been here would agree," Hardy says. "Between Peter's design and the mixing skills of our FOH engineer, Kris Umezawa, the music comes across as astonishingly rich and balanced."

Since its opening, 54 Below has hosted a who's-who of Broadway talents, debuting with Patti LuPone and continuing with Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, Bebe Neuwirth, Doc Severinsen, and Rebecca Luker, among others.

"We have many new customers migrating here from other well-known clubs," says Hardy. "And we hear time and again that our room is now the best in New York-something due in large part to Meyer Sound's quality and support."

Acoustical design for 54 Below was charged to the Walters-Storyk Design Group, while Masque Sound of East Rutherford, N.J. provided and installed the audio system, with Matthew Peskie managing the project for Masque. For the system's front end, Hylenski specified an Avid SC48 FOH console that is fed by outboard Millennia Media microphone preamplifiers, along with a JoeCo 24-track recorder for capturing live performances.

(Jim Evans)

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