New Inventory Alert! We Have a Stage!!!!

We are now offering staging! For both rental and resale! (Resale has a bit of a lead time at this time; we will be selling to end users as well as offering special pricing to event companies who offer staging)

Its a much better product than the 4x4, steel, painted plywood top stuff typically seen in these parts.

As this is our preliminary stage stock, we are currently limited to a maximum 28'×16' (single) unit (yes, it can be split into multiple smaller units) with 2 sets of stairs. This system is adjustable from 24-34" tall and doesn't require blocks of wood to make level.

What we have is prettier, and stronger, with a faster up and down time than other portable stages in this market.

You can access this my checking out our rental products under the service tab!

Editor's Note: Saving the Mercer Theatre? A sound engineer speaks

Recently Michael Gaster sat down with Jim Morekis to discuss the fate of Johnny Mercer Theater. The following article was published in Connect Savannah on July 2, 2019. Here’s what Michael had to say:

THE RECENT decision by Savannah City Council to demolish the Civic Center and the Johnny Mercer Theatre was met with loud outcry – though it had actually been discussed over the coursed of many months.

Many observers are arguing that the Johnny Mercer Theatre must be saved, and that demolishing it would eliminate an important venue with no clear substitute waiting in the wings—so to speak.

To get to the bottom of the issues surrounding the Johnny Mercer Theatre (JMT), I asked local sound engineer Michael Gaster if he’d be kind enough to go on the record with his professional opinion. With over 28 years experience in the field, he operates Michael Gaster + Associates, a technical systems company specializing in live events and the performing arts.

Here is my interview with Gaster:

Most laypeople can easily identify the “poor acoustics” of the JMT, but what does that really mean to a professional?

To an audio professional (a systems engineer or a mixing engineer—often one and the same) coming into this space, or any makeshift multipurpose theatre with hybrid acoustics, it often means having to re-think how you deploy your system(s) as well as how you are mixing the content of your show. “How do I maximize the impact of this concert and minimize the garbage that this could turn into?” is the question audio people have to ask when coming into this room.

Getting around hybrid acoustic spaces requires the “engineer,” using that term loosely here, to know more than the one way to deploy their system as well as to know how to adapt their approach to their mix.

When I was Production Manager/Technical director of this facility (1996-1998) I was constantly amazed at how many Front of House (FOH) “engineers” were coming through the building with major tours working for the artist and not the touring sound company, who had very little experience beyond pushing faders for their friends. However, the shows that are in and out of this space and the people who are operating for even one-off events aren’t having bad sounding shows night after night in every room they go in!

This signals that what we have is a space that requires people to have to put on their thinking caps before they push the first box out on to this stage, and hopefully they realize the need to re-think things before they get everything all set up and the doors are open to the audience.

If you had the same footprint and capacity as the JMT, but a clean slate and limitless budget, how would you design the space for ideal sound/sightlines etc?

The first thing is we would make it clear that this is going to be one type of space, not two! This is where the previously used term “hybrid acoustics” comes in.

You can have a Concert Hall (symphonies) or a Performance Theatre (amplified concerts and theatrical events), but trying to put the two in the same space gets you the Johnny Mercer Theatre. It’s lame for symphonies and sucks for anything meant to be loud.

Although, I will say the Gaillard in Charleston managed to do the best job I have seen of making the two (Concert Hall/Performance Theatre) into one. I suppose with the Gaillard, which I have done several (amplified) shows in with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, that’s where your “limitless budget” comes in as that was essentially the case with that facility.

In its construction phase I was fortunate to have toured the Gaillard a few times, and did some minor consulting with their DOO so I know a bit about that facility. So, to simply answer your question, I would “cut and paste” the Gaillard, but with a different color scheme and better loading dock.

In that vein, what are the “cardinal sins” of the original design—those things which are unfixable no matter how much money you spend?

The Apron (the part of the stage that extends beyond the curtain line) is about 20' deeper than it should be for a performance theatre. For symphonies, great, put the performers in the space with the audience. Anything meant to be looked at from a "framed" perspective and creatively lit, is compromised by this stage mass. Performers are practically across the street from the audience, and if you move performers downstage (closer to the audience) there isn't much you can do with the light show.

The Fan shape of the room: Symphonies OK, concerts and theatre, crappy. It’s too wide of a room and this impacts anything amplified or meant to be seen in a framed perspective. It is nearly impossible to mask the back stage from people sitting on the out sides of the audience, and sound-wise if you’re seated in the Left or Right Sections you get half the experience—those tickets should be half off.

The Ceiling: This is where it sucks for symphonies. Those coffin-like acoustic clouds do something, but not near enough for the un-amplified. They mostly just look stupid, it needs to be open joist or solid.

The Proscenium (the stage opening that separates backstage from the audience): Although there’s nothing wrong with the actual opening at JMT, it should not just blend right in to the audience side walls. There needs to be some audience side “wing” space to provide space for various technical aspects.

The Loading Dock: This has been a mess and re-worked so many times since this building was built and it still sucks. It just needed to have been a thought by someone who was designing the space.

The Mechanical is so friggin’ loud, and there is no moving it.

The Balcony: Speaking to the under-balcony—they actually kinda got it right in this room.

Historic Tybee Post Theater Renovates With K-array

The historic Tybee Post Theater, set in the heart of the historic district in Tybee Island, Georgia, was constructed in 1930 as a movie house for the soldiers stationed at the Army base. After closing in the mid 60s, the curtain was raised for the first time in 50 years in September 2015, reborn as a performing arts and movie venue for residents and visitors alike.

A flexible, user-friendly professional audio system was requested from audio visual consultants Michael Gaster + Associates to support a multitude of functions of the historic theater, capable of satisfying the needs of live theater, concerts and cinema. MG+A anticipated K-array’s solutions as a natural fit for the confined theater interior.

Because the facility also serves as a cinema, a 5.1 loudspeaker system was needed and designed to accommodate the sound pressure levels and gain before feedback requirements needed for live concerts and theater.

The main left and right arrays each consist of one KP102 Python and KP52 half-meter Python loudspeaker while the center array employs a KK102 Kobra and one KK52 half-meter Kobra loudspeaker. The surrounds are 2 wall-mounted, half-meter Kobras with a KMT18P passive 18-inch subwoofer each, configured as a cardioid sub array located underneath the front of the stage.

During installation, the client booked a concert performance without the expectation to have the new system installed in time but MG+A worked quickly to fly the speakers, set basic DSP parameters and test the acoustics so in the end, the client was able to utilize their new audio system.

“The size and weight of the speakers made it easy to get them flown and the system turned on and performance ready in very little time,” explains Michael Gaster, owner and sound designer at MG+A.

“From the delivery of the speaker system to the initial performance of the system, was approximately a day and a half. After the first show, another day was spent adjusting some angles on the flown main arrays as well as system tuning. And the clients were absolutely thrilled.”

“K-array products were chosen for their high quality audio, excellent coverage, and extremely low physical profile, which was perfect for the compact facility.”

K-array
Michael Gaster + Associates

K-array tackles reverberation in art gallery space

Savannah, Georgia-based AV consultancy Michael Gaster + Associates was recently asked to make system upgrades for Telfair Museums, the oldest public art museum in the south-eastern US. A new speaker system was needed that improved intelligibility in the relatively reverberant gallery space, with minimal visual impact. Based on previous success with the brand, MG+A selected K-array to meet the challenge.

KK52 Kobra loudspeakers paired with the KKS50 subwoofer were selected for the project for their size-to-output ratio. The Kobra, with its wide horizontal and relatively narrow vertical patterns, satisfied the coverage requirements of the space, while its slender and paintable physical characteristics (the speakers were customised to match the colour of the gallery walls) met the client’s requirements for unobtrusiveness.

“It is a challenge to work in such a historic space,” said system designer Michael Gaster. “We discovered partway through the installation that the structure we were working on was constructed around the items we needed to uninstall. The museum carpenter had to be called in and brought up to date on the installation.”

Once the system was installed, the clients were extremely happy with the end result: “The system is married well into the décor of the museum and its sound performance is very impressive,” added Gaster.

Since opening its doors to the public in 1880s, the museum has grown from a renovated family mansion into a distinguished cultural institution boasting three architecturally significant buildings; a permanent collection of approximately 4,000 works of art from America and Europe, dating primarily from the 18th-21st centuries; and a history of dynamic educational programming, community outreach and exciting exhibitions.

Pro audio solutions from K-array

K-array selected for historic museum upgrade

Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia has upgraded to a K-array Kobra loudspeaker system as part of an overhaul of the institution’s AV system, carried out by local AV consultants Michael Gaster + Associates (MG+A).

The museum first opened in the 1880s, going from a renovated family mansion into a cultural institution with three architecturally significant buildings. It also has a permanent collection of around 4,000 works of art from America and Europe, dating from the 18th to 21st centuries.

The brief for MG+A specified the speaker system needed to improve intelligibility in the reverberant gallery space and it also needed to have a minimal visual impact on the space.

 

K-array KK52 Kobra loudspeakers were chosen and paired with the KKS50 subwoofer due to the impressive size to output ratio. The Kobra, with its wide horizontal and relatively narrow vertical patterns, satisfied the coverage requirements of the space, while its slender and paintable physical characteristics (the speakers were customised to match the colour of the gallery walls) met the client’s unobtrusive requirements.

“It is a challenge to work in such a historic space,” said system designer Michael Gaster. “We discovered partway through the installation that the structure we were working on was constructed around the items we needed to uninstall. The museum carpenter had to be called in and brought up to date on the installation.

“The system is married well into the décor of the museum and its sound performance is very impressive.”

Multipurpose Theater in Georgia Employs Versatile Audio System from K-array

The historic Tybee Post Theater, set in the heart of the historic district in Tybee Island, Georgia (USA), was constructed in 1930 as a movie house for the soldiers stationed at the Army base. After closing in the mid 60s, the curtain was raised for the first time in 50 years in September 2015, reborn as a performing arts and movie venue for residents and visitors alike.

A flexible, user-friendly professional audio system was requested from audio visual consultants Michael Gaster + Associates to support a multitude of functions of the historic theater, capable of satisfying the needs of live theater, concerts and cinema. MG+A anticipated the low-profile, yet robust design of K-array’s solutions as a natural fit for the confined theater interior.

Because the facility also serves as a cinema, a 5.1 speaker system was needed and designed to accommodate the sound pressure levels and gain before feedback requirements needed for live concerts and theater. The main Left and Right arrays each consist of one KP102 Python and KP52 half-meter Python loudspeakerwhile the center array employs a KK102 Kobra and one KK52 half-meter Kobra loudspeaker. The surrounds are 2 wall-mounted, half-meter Kobras with a KMT18Ppassive 18” subwoofer each, configured as a cardioid sub array located underneath the front of the stage.

During installation, the client booked a concert performance without the expectation to have the new system installed in time but MG+A worked quickly to fly the speakers, set basic DSP parameters and test the acoustics so in the end, the client was able to utilize its new audio system.

NOTED LIVE SOUND ENGINEER MICHAEL GASTER EXCELS WITH ROLAND M-5000 OHRCA LIVE MIXING CONSOLE

Savannah, Georgia-based live sound and production consultancy Michael Gaster and Associates, led by its namesake, has carved out a unique niche among audio professionals. Beyond the wide breadth of services the firm offers – everything from design and build to front-of-house mixing and other support – Gaster has some unique specialties, most notably live sound for orchestras and large ensembles with high channel counts.

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Tybee Okays Funds to Help Stock Theatre

The Tybee Island City Council on Thursday agreed to buy $110,000 worth of equipment for the newly reopened Tybee Post Theater. Council members awarded the $72,000 contract for audio/visual equipment, lighting and sound-absorbing wall panels to the sole bidder, Savannah-based Michael Gaster & Associates.

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