d&b XSL Series delivers for SIX the Musical’s US Tour

d&b audiotechnik XSL Series delivers "clarity" and "punch" for SIX The Musical's US Tour. Photo: Joan Marcus

As SIX the Musical began to gain momentum from a small UK tour to an award winning Broadway production, it was important that as the stages continued to change, the sound system also adapted. Born from the SL Series, a renowned market innovation for its full broadband directivity control, extended low frequency response and power efficiency, a d&b audiotechnik XSL System became the perfect fit to deliver this high energy pop based musical as it toured the US.

Originally debuting in 2017 at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, SIX, a British pop musical written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss has rapidly become a must-see performance with shows all across the US including Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. Based on the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives, the production remixes five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a euphoric girl-power celebration of the 21st Century, winning 23 awards since 2021, including the Tony Award for Best Original Score.

The production required a sound system that came in a compact package which could be efficiently used in different theatre spaces. All while still delivering the low frequencies and the tight punchy low ends needed for such a high energy pop musical.

“I’ve been a long time d&b user and the range always brings something to the party. I love the texture that d&b speakers provide, it always sounds exciting to me, and the holistic workflow from design to deployment is something that suits my working style,” said Sound Designer, Paul Gatehouse.

As SIX continued to expand, Gatehouse felt that d&b’s SL Series broadband directivity and control would be a great fit to adapt to the production’s needs. “Along the show’s development we’ve used progressively larger models in the d&b range, I had previously used the KSL System and really enjoyed the directivity in the low frequencies,” Gatehouse explained. “When the same technology came as a more compact package that we could effectively use in theatre spaces-we jumped on it.”

The show’s expansive d&b system included 24 XSL8 elements for the main proscenium system, along with 12 V-SUB Cardioid Subwoofers flown in horizontal pairs along a sub array, SL-Sub INFRA subwoofers and a package of fill and delay speakers from across the V & E series ranges.

“The LF directivity suits our show perfectly, having a less omnidirectional source interacting with the room improves the clarity across so many aspects of the sound. It’s not just the sub-low content which is clean, it’s also in the low mid range, where reflections within the room can become boomy and indistinct. XSL cleans this up, thus the vocal clarity and space is even more defined. For touring purposes, the XSL8 arrays were mounted into pre-rigged custom tower sections that can stack easily during load in. The towers were designed by our Production Sound Engineer, Dillon Cody,” continued Gatehouse.

“Team members from every department including management and producers noticed a marked uplift in sound quality for this production, just from changing to XSL,” Gatehouse concluded. “We were fortunate to have some of the first units off the production line and using the XSL System really enabled us to raise our game.”