As I understand it, they shrunk the volume of the venue, so it's not cavernous anymore. That was the 
problem recording in Northrop - it was cavernous and therefore came out dry when using the Mercury 
techniques. Some interesting tricks were tried over the years, including folding back the 
tape-delayed signal to a full-range speaker in the seating area, the theory being that then reverb 
and more live-ness would be picked up on the back of the mic. It was semi-effective. In the stereo 
era, a decent balance was struck by moving the orchestra to the very front of the stage. Having 
three mics instead of one provided more opportunities to pick up a bit more reverb. One benefit of 
the cavernous hall was that Dorati could drive the orchestra as loud and fast as he wished and it 
would not overload anything or boom around the space.

I seem to remember Bob Eberenz telling me that Northrop had twice the volume or more compared to 
Watford in the UK, and a good bit more volume than Rochester.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2014 5:41 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Northrop Auditorium, Univ of Minn & Minnesota Orchestra

> Thank you Jon. Nice to hear this event. There certainly is good clarity and
> balance evident, even given the losses of data compression. The recording
> crew either worked hard to adapt to the new space or else it is an easy
> space in which to make a good recording. Possibly a bit of each!
> Carl
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Butler, Jon
> Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2014 11:46 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Northrop Auditorium, Univ of Minn & Minnesota Orchestra
> Readers of a previous discussion on this list about Northrop Auditorium at
> the University of Minnesota, where C. Robert Fine, Wilma Cozart, and David
> Hall made so many Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra recordings for Mercury
> Records, may be interested in the concert Friday, May 2, by the Minnesota
> Orchestra.  It reprised the Oct. 29, 1929 dedicatory concert with the
> Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra led by Henri Verbrugghen to celebrate the
> reopening of the Auditorium.  It can be downloaded at
> The evening was a revelation for those who, like me, attended many years of
> concerts in the old Northrop Auditorium, with its absurd 4800 seats, from
> the 1950s to the 1970s.  Mathematically, the refurbished auditorium is a
> little more than half the size of the original at 2700 seats. (Eugene
> Ormandy had suggested dynamite to fix Northrop's acoustics, but an
> architectural firm did it better.)  To old-timers, it feels like it's about
> a third the size, with 3 balconies, the 3rd seeming very high indeed.  On
> the main floor, row S, near the right side and just under the first balcony,
> the sound was wonderful.  It had a reverberation that seemed just right (the
> old Northrop was utterly dead).  The sound was warm, not harsh, with almost
> startling clarity in quiet passages, and a terrifically clear projection of
> the bass lines, one of the biggest problems in so many concert halls.  In
> loud passages, the violins sometimes seemed overwhelmed, but one assumes
> that between a conductor and acoustician, that could be adjusted.  In truth,
> the hall seemed possibly as good as Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis
> and maybe even better, which for a full symphony orchestra would be very,
> very good indeed.
> Maybe sadly, it's not likely to get used that much for big orchestra
> concerts.  The Minnesota Orchestra now has Orchestra Hall, and the cost of
> bringing visiting orchestras has become prohibitively high.  Condoleeza Rice
> just filled the auditorium several weeks ago and Bill O'Reilly and Dennis
> Miller are coming (making up for the University's liberal reputation?).
> Also coming are an Irish tenor, Daniel O'Donnell, and Bob Weir (advertised
> as a "founding member of the Grateful Dead" & Ratdog; the auditorium is
> equipped with a frightful bank of speakers, which one assumes that
> O'Donnell, Weir, and Ratdog will use.  Plus, the new stage was designed to
> accommodate ballet, which prospered even in the old auditorium despite
> cramped quarters, and the American Ballet Theater opened Northrop in April.
> Times change, and so do venues.
> Jon Butler