The oldest professional theatre in the US state of Minnesota, Old Log Theater on Lake Minnetonka has recently undergone a refurbishment, which includes the installation of an Allen & Heath GLD mixing system. The 400-capacity theatre has been taken over by artistic director Kent Knutson and sound designer Jeff Geisler, who together have worked on the design or remodelling of five theatres in their careers.
“Live theatres, especially this one, demand flexibility with their variety of productions – oftentimes two completely different shows are running at once here. This is one of the main reasons we went with an Allen & Heath GLD-80 mixer – flexibility. If you decide you need more layers you have no problem creating custom configurations that are instantly recalled,” explained Jeff Geisler.
The new sound system consists of a Bose ‘Room Match’ line array in the centre channel position along with more Bose ‘Room Match’ speakers in two delay zones. A pair of Bose PM 8500 amplifiers and a set of eight Shure ULX-D Microphones round out the new system with all of this under the control of an Allen & Heath GLD-80 handling the active processing, with a GLD-AR2412 and a GLD-AR84 I/O expander racks.
“The GLD mixer allows us to make the actors sound natural. Acoustically, the theatre is a challenge. It is a seventy-year-old building that is long, narrow, with a peak roof and big trusses every twenty feet. The roof is made of cedar, a very soft wood that absorbs sound like a sponge,” said Knutson. “We use wireless microphones on the performers as the previous system could not fill the house – mid way back the sound just dropped off.
“The operators of the mixing console are different for each show here at The Old Log,” added Geisler. “The GLD-80 lets the operator watch and keep track of the performance due to its very reliable automation features. We are interfacing the console with Q-Lab using a Mac mini computer. The Mac mini interface allows one more layer of automation that makes everyone’s lives easier.”
“I’ve used Allen & Heath in the past, the console has stayed standard in its operating style with new features that don’t confuse or scare me,” said Knutson, adding: “The GLD-80 is set up really well. Its scientifically set up to be user friendly and you get a phenomenal sound.”
“We have to compete with all of the things the kids and teenagers have for entertainment, like movies in 3D these days,” said Knutson. “For our current children’s production the GLD-80 lets us create a very realistic 3D audio experience with specific and very realistic sound effects.”
“It’s like mixing in a recording studio – a whole new approach,” enthused Geisler. “Allen & Heath mixing consoles allow for broad creativity for the student to the expert. All in all, we have been sold on Allen & Heath for many years.”