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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceMusical Miscellany(Moderators: JP, BGuttman) Artificial reverb in concert hall
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robcat2075

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« on: Oct 17, 2017, 08:24AM »

The Zurich Tonhalle orchestra had to move out of their hall while it was being renovated and have set up in out-of-town industrial factory space temporarily outfitted with wood walls and computer reverb to sweeten it.

Video in this article. You can turn on English subtitles in the "settings"

Music lovers shun orchestra’s new digs

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Robert Holmén

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trombonemetal

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« Reply #1 on: Oct 17, 2017, 08:58AM »

I've played in a hall with artificial reverb. It sounds terribly fake.
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #2 on: Oct 17, 2017, 09:11AM »

In the hands of a *good* sound engineer, artificial reverb can work fine. Emphasis on *good* sound engineer. Those guys are hard to come by and are worth their $$$.
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robcat2075

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« Reply #3 on: Oct 17, 2017, 09:37AM »

It occurs to me that all concert hall reverb is man-made and artificial. 

It's not like Carnegie hall is the natural result of millions of years of erosion by wind and rain.  :D
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Robert Holmén

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BGuttman
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 17, 2017, 10:19AM »

Carnegie Hall was built to be a concert hall.  Most factories are not built to be concert halls.  Nor are many Middle School Cafe-tor-nasiums.  In the latter case, the poor acoustics can be a godsend Evil

The problem with renovations is sometimes the end result is worse than it was before (acoustically).  I hope this doesn't happen in Zurich.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 17, 2017, 12:30PM »

Just over 50 years ago, I played a tour of Europe with The National Symphony Orchestra as a substitute for ailing Edward Gummell who was the bass trombonist in the orchestra.  It was the first tour of Europe ever by the orchestra and, as expected, hit most of the major cities, Berlin, Vienna, London, Zurich etc. etc......   When in London, we played in Royal Festival Hall and I recall that the program included the Shostakovich Symphony #5 [pretty much a staple in the NSO repertoire].  Royal Festival Hall is monstrous, seating 2900 according to Google.  My recollection of the playing experience in the hall was that no matter how much sound you were able to produce, you never had the feeling like you could feel the hall "pushing back" ----- it always wanted more.  Flash forward perhaps 20 years and the orchestra at this point had replaced conductor Howard Mitchell [who succeeded Hans Kindler] with Antal Dorati and HE was replaced by Mstislav Rostropovich.  We were again touring Europe and were once again scheduled to perform at Royal Festival Hall, and coincidentally were once again performing the Shostakovich Symphony #5 !  On the bus to the performance, one of the trumpet players who had only recently joined the orchestra asked me if I'd ever played in Royal Festival Hall, and what I thought of it acoustically.  I answered that my impression was that no matter how much you gave, the hall still asked for more.  After the concert, we spoke again and agreed that it was a really nice hall to play in and that my previous critique was no longer valid.  I attributed it to my much greater orchestral experience at that point and perhaps in some degree to the fact that I was playing a King 8B whereas in 1967 I had a Conn 70H with a Reynolds double trigger custom fitted to the horn.  Even accounting for the fact that Rostropovich treated the brass section as a weapon instead of as a source of orchestral sound, it was hard to reconcile the amazing difference in the hall.  The mystery was soon to be uncovered -----------.  A colleague in the orchestra and I were longtime audiophiles and he had the habit of sniffing around every hall we performed in to see if there was any illegal recording going on during the concert.  On several occasions, he discovered clandestine operations deep in the bowels of the hall and they were put on notice.  Anyway ---- On the later trip, he discovered a room with all kinds of unusual electronics that had no resemblance to any recording equipment with which we were familiar.  After a bit of sleuthing, he was told that it was a part of the "Ambiance System" that had been installed in the hall.  The story goes on to state that audience and performers alike were well aware of the short-comings of the acoustics in the hall and an electronic system was installed in secrecy and gradually brought into play over a period of years.  After a while, reviewers began to write about how the hall seemed to be aging "like a fine violin" and that the formerly cavernous acoustics were now approaching an intimacy that belied the size of the hall.  Everyone was thrilled with the change ---- until ---- the truth was told about the dialing in of the "secret" system over a period of years.  Critics raved about how dishonest it was to have done what was done, but in the end the results were what mattered and everyone settled down and enjoyed the improvement ---- trickery or not.  Or --- could it be that WE were being tricked and the hall had really changed that much ?  I dunno !!  As "The Old Timer" used to say on "Fibber Magee & Molly" ---- "That's the way I hear-ed it" !  Royal Festival Hall was the first hall I'd ever played in that had its own pub backstage open and ready to serve even during intermissions at rehearsals !!   Love them Brits !!
    Just another short mention about The Zurich Tonhalle ----- We performed a Tschaikovsky symphony there [#6, I think] and you could literally feel the walls of the hall flex outwards as crescendos peaked !  Fun !!
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robcat2075

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« Reply #6 on: Oct 17, 2017, 12:55PM »

I used to play in a community orchestra in Irving TX, based in their civic arts complex.  They had the best rehearsal hall I've ever played in. It sounded like a very nice concert venue.

The performance hall, however, was one of those multi-purpose things and absolutely dead. Always disappointing to go from rehearsal to the concert hall. It was like the rehearsals were a waste of time.

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Robert Holmén

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