Trey Anastasio returned to The Beacon Theatre this past weekend for two solo acoustic shows unveiling the historic venue's innovating new Sphere Immersive Sound system.
Labeled by MSG Entertainment as “the world’s most advanced concert audio system,” the technology ensures even audio over large distances and provides an unparalleled, uniform sound mix for every seat in the house.
Q104.3 was invited to the Beacon on Friday to preview the sound system's capabilities before Trey's band took the stage later that night. We circled the orchestra as Beacon sound engineers demonstrated the precision of the new audio beamforming technology.
On one side of a section, we could hear only saxophone in the mix; a few steps away, just keyboards; a few steps in reverse, just saxophone again. Then they revealed the full mix in all its glory, balanced to an unprecedented degree throughout the room.
"What we're doing here with audio beamforming is bouncing sound off of the walls, off of the balconies and basically turning the venue into a speaker," said Stuart Elby, SVP of Advanced Engineering at MSG Entertainment. "So it's like having surround sound without having all the added speakers around you."
Later that evening, as the first chord rang out from Trey's guitar, the lush clarity of sound was impossible to ignore. In our seats several rows back, it felt like we were sitting directly across from Trey in the recording studio.
"This is so cool to be here," Trey said during one break in the show. "It sounds amazing where I'm standing. I've played this room so many times. We hope you guys are enjoying it too."
Soon the Beacon won't be the only MSG Entertainment property with Sphere Immersive Sound. The tech is also coming to the MSG Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas next year.
Until then, as MSG Sphere EVP Chief Operations Officer Rich Claffey put it: "Hands down the Beacon Theatre is definitely the best sounding venue in the world."