157,000 speakers, bass waves blasting up from the floor, and maybe the biggest video screen on earth. No, this isn’t some far out concert design pulled from the diary of “Wall Of Sound” creator/genius Owsley Stanley. These futuristic production elements are actually going into The Madison Square Garden Company’s newest concert venue, the MSG Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Ever since billionaire and MSG Company owner James Dolan announced the company’s plans back in February for creating a new, state-of-the-art concert arena in Las Vegas, fans, artists, and industry personnel have pondered over some of the really cool initial designs for what the venue could include. The company plans to officially open the MSG Sphere at The Venetian by 2021, but have more recently shared some of the technical details going into the development of the arena.
The 157,000 ultra-directional speakers will surround the audience, but they will only be heard and not seen, since they’ll be hidden inside the venue walls and behind the video display. As for the low end and really deep bass, those powerful sound waves will be coming from right beneath everyone’s feet. Instead of sending the bass waves through the air, they’ll be transmitted up through the floor, where attendees will feel the incredible vibrations through their feet and in their chairs. The speaker system comes from a Germany company named Holoplot, who specialize in targeted sound with the hopes of giving each seating section its own unique sound.
According to the report, Dolan’s plan with the futuristic new venue was to let the technology lead the way on the project, as the venue’s design should complement the tech, not the other way around.
“We’re gonna do tech from the beginning. It’s gonna be a technology-driven design,” Dolan reportedly told MSG Ventures CEO David Dibble on his real vision for the Sphere. From audio to video, Dolan is really wanting fans to get there complete money’s worth when experiencing a show or event at the venue, which broke ground on development back in September.
Speaking of video, the screen which has been impressively displayed in the venue’s design images will come into existence as a three-and-a-half-acre spherical ultra-high-res video screen comprised of LED panels, which will arc over the audience similar to “a planetarium times ten,” according to Dibble. The team is hoping to build it into what he’s also calling “the largest display ever imagined on Earth.” Like “VR without the goggles”, he continued.
Fans of jam bands and artists with deep career song catalogs should be licking their lips and prepping their ears, considering the venue apparently seems more geared toward hosting residencies and long-term projects rather than one-off concerts. Artists who spend more time playing in the new venue will have a better opportunity to “fully exploit its capabilities” as the report states. One can only imagine what kind of residency and visual/audio experience bands like Phish or Steve Aoki could provide fans with a week’s worth (or more) of shows.
Meanwhile, across the pond, the MSG Company is also planning to develop a second 18,000-capacity Sphere Concert Arena on a five-acre plot of land in Stratford, East London. If the city approves of the company’s design and proposal, developers for a second state-of-the-art venue in London are hoping to finish the project approximately one year after the completion and opening of the one in Vegas.
[Photo: Madison Square Garden Company]
[H/T Consequence of Sound]