The acoustic renovation of the Tennessee Theatre was integrated into the historic
fabric of the building so carefully that most observers would be unaware that any of
the work was “acoustical.” The wide oval room was challenging because it produced very poor sound reflection patterns. Special acoustic plaster designed to achieve only high-frequency roll-off was integrated into areas of the side walls. The result is that people in the audience sitting close to the side walls now perceive the sound coming from the stage instead of from the walls beside them. The auditorium drapes, sound-absorptive finishes, floor coverings and seats were all designed so that they functioned acoustically as well as historically—the result being to increase the sense of liveness and response from the room, while controlling difficult sound reflections.

The audio systems at the Tennessee Theatre are designed to provide touring-class sound from the in-house system for many of the events booked by the theatre. The main loudspeaker array can be easily removed for events requiring no amplification so that the decorative proscenium arch is not obscured. A high-quality speech system was installed for announcements and introductions which might take place when the main array is stored. Many features of the systems were designed to complement touring events which provide their own audio systems.
A second mix position is included just forward of the permanent position so that the house console does not have to be disconnected when a touring console is used. The touring system can connect to house loudspeaker systems beneath the balcony, in the orchestra rail and in the public spaces, if desired. Cable connections and cable passes are provided between the stage, house, orchestra pit and loading dock to accommodate a wide variety of purposes. The systems include production intercom, backstage and public space monitor/page and video monitoring production support systems.

Project Details
Audiovisual Systems Design
Mechanical Noise Control
Room Acoustics Design
Sound Isolation
McCarty Holsaple McCarty, Architect, Knoxville, TN
Westlake Reed Leskosky, Historic Preservation Architect, Cleveland, OH; Evergreene Studios, Historic Preservation Consultants, New York, NY
60,000 gsf
1,631-seat theatre