For over four decades The Centennial Concert Hall—part of the Manitoba Centennial Center, the region’s most prestigious hub for performing arts science and culture—has served as home to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Opera and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Considered the region’s crown jewel of performance spaces, the hall also hosts a wide variety of artists, dance companies and musicians from all over the globe.
Recently, the 253,014 square-foot venue was outfitted with a new audio system and a full complement of Sennheiser microphones to improve the overall listener experience. The system featured 18 Sennheiser MKH8050 super cardioid microphones, which were chosen for their transparency and ability to capture the natural acoustics of the performance space.
The Centennial Concert Hall’s new audio system is comprised of a proprietary technology that relies on a matrix of multiple microphone inputs and loudspeaker outputs provided by ACS (Acoustic Control Systems) of the Netherlands. Glen Jonatchick, president and owner of Winnipeg-based Integrated Entertainment Technologies (IET), oversaw the eight-week-long installation.
“This was a brand new system designed for a hall that had relied on natural acoustic sound for orchestral performances since it was built in 1968,” explained Jonatchick. “The goal was to achieve a sound with a bigger, brighter presence, while still maintaining the basic purity of unamplified sound.”
The 18 MKH 8050s, along with 18 Sennheiser MZH 8000 ceiling shock mounts, were placed directionally above the proscenium opening to provide interference-free program pickup. The microphones extend below the surface of canopy by 12” using a black extension arm and shock mounts.
“Even when placed 25 feet away from the orchestra, the Sennheiser MKH 8050s main-tained an incredible, natural sound,” said Jonatchick. “There was none of the tininess or feedback you typically get with other microphone products.” The MKH8050 provides an incredibly accurate directional pattern, making it ideal for capturing separation of instru-ments.
Routed through the proprietary system rack of processors and amplifiers, the audio in Centennial Concert Hall is distributed to 24 early reflection and 36 reverberation speakers hid-den within the ceilings and walls. There are also 10 foldback speakers located in the ceiling, which direct sound back to the symphony musicians.
In addition to serving as home for Winnipeg’s symphony, opera and ballet companies, the Centennial Concert Hall also serves as a multipurpose concert hall. Now that the installation has been completed, the hall is now able offer both performers and listeners the best of both worlds.
Sennheiser MKH 8050 features:
• Super-cardioid pick-up pattern
• Modular design
• Wide frequency response 30 to 50,000 Hz
• Symmetrical transducer with 2 backplates providing extremely low distortion
• Extremely low inherent self-noise
• Accurate directional pattern
• Non reflective Nextel coating
• Provides optimum separation of instruments