Audio Engineering Society

Chicago Section

Meeting Review, June 16, 2005


other meeting reports

6/16/05 Meeting Highlights
by Jeff Segota

The June 16th meeting of the Chicago Section was held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the new and

innovative outdoor concert venue that is the centerpiece of Chicago’s Millennium Park. About

80 attendees, the largest turnout of the season, were treated to a presentation and tour by three

members of the design team.

 

 

Audio System Designer Jonathan Laney of TALASKE began the presentation with a history and

evolution of outdoor concert venues. Steve Barbar of LARES Associates then discussed some of

the world’s more advanced sound systems for outdoor reinforcement. Mr. Laney then explained

the goals behind the Pritzker design, including the desire to recreate an indoor concert hall

experience outdoors. Greg Miller of TALASKE then discussed how the stage house and riser

system were designed to allow the orchestra musicians to hear each other.

 

 

To recreate the indoor experience, the LARES system was chosen and Mr. Barbar explained its

operation. In addition to the main speaker clusters at the stage, an array of speakers are

distributed on a trellis above the entire seating area and lawn. About half of the distributed

speakers provide further reinforcement, whereas the others project an “enhancement” signal

which is generated using hanging on-stage microphones and specialized signal processing to

emulate both early reflections and reverberation.

 

The tour started at the stage area, where Mr. Miller answered questions about the acoustical

design. Next came the backstage area to see the racks of mic preamps and amplifiers, and then

an equipment room located on one side of the lawn. Moving outside, the hosts answered several

questions about the speakers, cabling, and trellis. The last stop was the mix location to see the

console and the LARES computer.

 

The Pritzker Pavilion is truly remarkable and our hosts were clearly proud of their achievement.