Pittsburgh Benedum Center Adds TSL Soundfield Microphone System

The Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was constructed in 1928 as a “movie palace”. Over the years, it hosted legendary music performances from The Grateful Dead, to Bob Marley and more. Now known as the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, it is home to the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Recently, Chris Evans, house sound engineer for the Benedum Center, installed the TSL ST450 MKII Soundfield microphone system.

tslThe first recording was the “Grand and Glorius Gala Concert” with the Pittsburgh Opera. Accurately capturing the singers as well as the 70-piece orchestra presented a challenge that Evans relished.

“We have a lot of high quality microphones to choose from, and we were really looking forward to adding the TSL Soundfield microphone to our arsenal of choice,” said Evans.

The concert is to be broadcast on QWED, the local FM public radio outlet and serves to entice patrons to buy tickets for the upcoming season. Although it is possible to create a three-dimensional sound field, Evans was particularly interested in the ability to modify the relative position and image with a stereo or mid-side output after the recording has been made. The four signals of the B-format output from the TSL Soundfield microphone system allows him to tip or twist the microphone electrically during the post process using software plugins such as TSL’s Surround Zone2 plugin. All of the information is available to reconstitute multiple positions by combining the four signals in various proportions.

Working with producer Riccardo Schulz, this additional level of control gives Evans and Schulz additional opportunities to tweak sonic characteristics in new ways from within their digital audio workstation.

“It’s quite remarkable technology and gives you a second chance to try different positions, play with different images, and see what we can do to enhance the recording after the fact,” said Evans Evans. “In a large hall like the Benedum Center, once the microphone is hung, it’s not very practical to raise and lower it repeatedly. In our most recent setup the microphone was hung from the gridiron and pulled back with fishing line, positioning it three to four feet above the conductor and about four feet behind him. It was very elegant, floating in the air, and very unobtrusive for the lighting designers and artistic directors.”

“It’s a good sounding microphone, and I’m still figuring out different ways we might use it,” said Evans, “I’m looking forward to learning all the things it can do.”

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters