Installation Profile: Minnesota Orchestra

Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM


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The Minnesota Orchestra (Minneapolis) has taken in a Cadac 24-channel S-Type compact live production console as part of a major sound system upgrade for its Orchestral Hall. The venue hosts a 98-member ensemble, which performs for annual programs that include live concerts, broadcasts and recordings. In addition to the board, head of sound Terry Tilley (above left), who has been with the orchestra for 30 years, spec'd 64 additional mic lines, Lab.Gruppen fp2600/3400 amps and a Yamaha PM5D submixer for road show projects.

The hall's acoustics were designed by Cyril Harris. More than 100 large cubes form a “falling rock” pattern on the auditorium ceiling to deflect sound throughout. The wood floor and stage allow for better sound vibration, and the angle of the balconies offers optimal sound reflection. The venue comprises two buildings: a rectangular-shaped auditorium and a glass-and-steel supporting structure (lobby and admin offices) that is separated from the auditorium by a 1-inch gap to free the hall from any outside sound.

“I wanted a really good-sounding desk, capable of handling the eclectic mix of recording and broadcast projects we get involved with — anything from classical reinforcement to light jazz,” Tilley says. “Earlier this year, our director and the musicians put in a pretty loud request for some new equipment. Management said yes, and I was allowed to go shopping.

“We need a very fine and controllable sound, along with a very precise EQ for the wonderful acoustic we have in the hall,” he continues. “With the S-Type, everyone is very happy with what we can now achieve, including the broadcast guys! Given that I have a pretty good collection here, that is saying something!”

Tilley and his assistant handled the install, despite the lack of any cable pulls in the 1970s building, while continuing to work through a daily schedule that involves some four shows in rotation at any time.

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