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The new Meyer Sound PANTHER arrays flying left and right at the Hayden Homes Amphitheater in Bend, OR. (Photo Credit: Nate Wyeth)

Hayden Homes Amphitheater In Oregon Upgrades With Meyer Sound

8,000-capacity live performance venue in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains in Bend incorporates new system headed by PANTHER large-format line arrays under a multi-year contract by Tacoma, WA-based Point Source Audio.

Situated in the shadow of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains and bordered by the Deschutes River in Bend, OR the approximately 8,000-capacity Hayden Homes Amphitheater (HHA) has been equipped with a new house sound reinforcement system headed by Meyer Sound PANTHER large-format linear line array loudspeakers.

A sampling of artists who performed at the venue this year includes Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, Elvis Costello, Ziggy Marley, and Neil Young. The new system is supplied under a multi-year contract by Tacoma, WA-based Point Source Audio.

According to Point Source owner Curt Hare, who serves as the systems engineer and handles front of house for bands without their own mixer, “Everyone has loved it. I’ve heard some say it’s the best system they’ve heard on the tour, and others say it’s like working on near-field monitors. Words like ‘transparent’ and ‘three-dimensional’ come up, and some engineers have told me they are using less EQ and compression on their channel strips.”

The wide-open views and riverside ambiance pose acoustic difficulties because HHA is located in the heart of Bend’s Old Mill District, a commercial and residential development. Unlike other similar venues with stages facing natural hillsides, the amphitheatre occupies an essentially flat space with only a minimal construction-graded slope of about 2, and the adjacent river’s scenic value is offset by a tendency to reflect mid-high frequencies.

“The layout and topography of the venue make it difficult to contain the sound within the venue boundaries,” says Hare. “I had worked with their production manager, Mike Taylor, at the Northwest String Summit and other regional festivals, and he knew I had addressed these issues at a similar venue in Washington. So, he asked me to propose a new solution.”

Taylor adds, “We really needed to dial in a much tighter pattern. Meyer Sound had the technology and the team to make it happen.”

Coordinating through Meyer Sound director of strategic applications Michael Maxson, Hare worked with Meyer Sound senior technical support Ssecialist David Vincent to plot system coverage in MAPP 3D with the goal of maintaining full-bandwidth uniformity inside the fence, then dropping off steeply. “They nailed it,” Taylor says. “Now the system does exactly what we expect it to do.”

The system comprises 12 per side arrays of PANTHER loudspeakers, with ten PANTHER-M cabinets over two PANTHER-W cabinets. Bass power comes from 12 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements arranged in cardioid configurations, while six ULTRA-X40 compact loudspeakers supply front fill and two Galileo GALAXY Network Platforms contribute to system drive and optimization. Ten MJF-210 high-power stage monitors are available for artist foldback.

“I was confident from the outset,” says Hare, “but we did a demo session back in May to show what we could do. Management was a bit surprised that there was so much engineering and scientific data available to deal with the noise issues, as little was seen from the previous vendor.”

HHA general manager Marney Smith adds, “Community relations is a massive part of the equation here at HHA. Curt’s efforts, combined with the Meyer rig, have made it possible to provide visual ‘heat maps’ of how the sound travels and make adjustments. The reduced sound transfer into surrounding neighborhoods is noticeable.

“I’m not the one who lets the tours know our house rig is now PANTHER, but I’ve listened in when our production manager relays the news. It’s delightful,” she concludes. “Offering a top-line rig adds credibility to our venue and lets artists know they can expect excellence in all aspects of production when they come to visit us.”

For visiting engineers who prefer analog, and for his own use when mixing opening acts, Hare keeps his vintage Gamble EX56 parked at HHA for the season. HHA is owned by the Old Mill District with the summer season concert series booked and managed by Live Nation.

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