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A sound beacon on the Upper West Side

A great way to start a new sound system.

Trey Anastasio, guitarist, singer, songwriter and co-founder of the band Phish, played two nights at the Beacon Theater to show off the 93-year-old venue’s Immersive Sphere Sound.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which runs the theater, claims it is the most advanced concert audio system in the world.

What do you want to know

  • The Beacon Theater opened in 1929
  • It was originally opened as a movie palace
  • The Beacon now features a Sphere Immersive Sound System, the world’s most advanced concert sound system
  • Phish’s Trey Anastasio performed two concerts on August 19 and 20 to launch the new system

“Every seat gets the exact same sound and it’s great,” said Stuart Elby, senior vice president of advanced engineering for MSG Entertainment.

Elby explained that there are 52 high-tech speakers at work for the digital system – some with even more speakers working within them.

“Ninety-six little speakers inside one of those panels, and 96 independent channels all amplified, and with computer digital signal processing control, so it knows exactly how to line up these speakers and timed to create the sound you want wherever you want to put it,” Elby said.

Development of the new system was prompted by MSG’s construction of a new location in Las Vegas, called MSG Sphere.

The new system, with 164,000 speakers, will deliver a much larger and fully personalized immersive sound experience once it opens in the second half of 2023.

New York audiences will get a little taste of this experience at The Beacon.

“Every seat in the place is now sonically perfect if you will, I mean, it’s a dream come true if you’re a fan,” said Rich Claffey, COO of MSG Sphere.

“Imagine a fan wearing headphones on a seat,” he added. “It’s kind of like he’s going to be here listening to this system.”

Anastatsio seems on board with the new sound at Beacon.

During one of his shows, he told the audience, “It looks amazing where I’m standing. I’ve been in this play so many times, we hope you enjoy it too.