Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2009/03/05

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Acoustics - more than you wanted to know
From: kididdoc at (Steve Barbour)
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 2009 14:44:55 -0700
References: <> <>

On Mar 5, 2009, at 1:19 PM, Lawrence Zeitlin wrote:

> On Mar 5, 2009, at 11:01 AM, Gary wrote:
>>> Hi Jan - Beautiful violins! Just yesterday I was at our local
>>> theater, comparing its acoustical qualities to a Stradivarius.
>>> Check a photo of it at:
>>> It was built as a vaudeville theater in about 1920 when someone
>>> really knew how to design un-amplified acoustics. While the theater
>>> was recently being restored, I did the photo-documentation of the
>>> project. A simple guitar solo or small orchestra without
>>> microphones sounds wonderful there! But put a loud amplified band
>>> in there and it all turns to mush.
> The good acoustics of older concert halls owes more to the type of  
> construction than to careful design. Older buildings featured a beam  
> and masonry construction that was both massive and reflected sound  
> well. Further, the ornamentation schemes were fussy and provided a  
> number of angled and rounded surfaces that reflected sound to all  
> portions of the hall. The acoustics of some halls were fabulous,  
> although mostly created by accident. The old Carnegie Hall, the  
> Milan Opera House, the Mormon Tabernacle, and Harvard's Sanders  
> Theater were praised by musicians and audiences alike. In contrast,  
> recent concert hall construction with stronger but lighter materials  
> and modern design, flat surfaces, and austere decoration often  
> reflected sound in unusual patterns, producing dead spots in the  
> hall. A number of these halls have had to have extensive acoustical  
> reengineering before the sound was up to the old standards.
> For a number of years I had an office and lab in the Gramercy Park  
> Stables, a building owned by the City Univ. of New York. True to  
> it's name, the building was constructed around 1880 to house the  
> horses and carriages of rich Gramercy Park area residents. It was  
> constructed very solidly to bear the weight of the horses. A large  
> riding paddock was on the ground floor to exercise the horses during  
> bad weather. By the late 60s, when I worked there, the horses had  
> moved out and the stalls converted to offices. The riding paddock  
> became an auditorium. Both the RCA Symphony orchestra and the NY  
> Symphony orchestra used the auditorium as a recording studio because  
> its acoustics were exceptional and could not be duplicated modern  
> New York buildings. Similarly Sanders Theater, built in the decade  
> following the Civil War, was used as a recording venue by the Boston  
> Symphony. Many of the great musical records were created in antique  
> concert halls. In a similar sense, many great photographs were made  
> by antique Leicas and lenses. They had a signature that can't be  
> duplicated by modern equipment. Alas, they don't make cameras or  
> concert halls like they used to.

totally agree Larry...great science does not make great art... true of  
lenses and halls... and violins   :-)

to the halls,  for concert accoustics, I recall the Academy of Music,  
Philadelphia...and Severance Hall, Cleveland...


> Larry Z
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

Replies: Reply from joelct at (Joseph Low) ([Leica] Acoustics - more than you wanted to know)
In reply to: Message from lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin) ([Leica] Acoustics - more than you wanted to know)