Acoustical Design for Jazz Music

Apr 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher

SFJAZZ Works with SIA Acoustics


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photo of SFJAZZ Center

The Avid VENUE Profile console and Meyer Sound Galileo system at front-of-house

Mixing in the Miner Auditorium
My approach to mixing in the Miner Auditorium is going to vary depending on the style and density of the music. But more often than not I'm mixing jazz musicians in ensembles where their tone and personal character has a richness that I want to capture and blend with the other musicians’. Jazz music allows the focus to perpetually pass among the musicians [and it also involves] a cohesive ensemble sound where everyone's role is understood. For starters, I concentrate on the groove of the rhythm section, the harmonic blend of the horn section and the timbre and clarity of vocals.

Joe Henderson Lab
The Joe Henderson Lab is right on the corner of Franklin and Linden. It has two glass walls: the glass wall in the front and the glass wall along Linden. That’s always a challenge. In this case we have vertical glass and we put all of our treatments on the walls opposite the glass and in the ceiling, so we have a tremendous amount of acoustical treatments, both diffusive above the stage—again, as a nod to the main hall—and absorptive throughout the rest of the ceiling.

Cressman: The Joe Henderson Lab is a different environment. It's a tighter room that feels like a small club and contrasts with the Miner [Auditorium]. Again, the room's qualities make for a good-sounding playing experience for the musicians. Despite the two glass walls in the room, there is not a problem with harshness or flutter echo. It's a stereo with a single summed subwoofer Meyer P.A. mounted to the ceiling. When I mixed the first [SFJAZZ] Hotplate Festival in February, the PreSonus mixer had not yet been installed. An Allen & Heath GL2400 did a fine job for me. With the P.A. [mounted] right overhead of the frontline of the band, one would be concerned with gain before feedback. I found there to be plenty of headroom and control, and didn't run into any problems that week.

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