Have you ever sat down at an event in the Main Hall of the Morrison Center and wondered why the performers or speakers sounded so good? Or how the people sitting in the very back of the hall could hear just as well as the people in the front?
Main sound technician/supervisor David Jensen, who’s been with Boise State and the Morrison Center for more than 25 years, has the answers.
He oversees everything from organizing and maintaining mics, speakers and audio equipment for every show to helping incoming productions work in conjunction with the Center’s acoustics.
“I played trumpet in band from elementary through high school and in an eight-piece show band on the club circuit,” Jensen said. “After high school, I took a training course for radio/television repair. Later, playing bass in a folk trio, my familiarity with electrical circuitry made it my responsibility for the set-up and operation of the trio’s newly purchased sound system. Since the system was fairly advanced for the area, local bluegrass festivals would ask to use it. Of course, I had to accompany it and make sure it functioned properly. I became intrigued enough by the challenges of amplifying the bluegrass instruments that I decided to pursue a career as a sound engineer. I’ve been at it ever since.”
When he came to the Morrison Center in 1987, Jensen said he was enthralled with the apparent planning and effort which had gone into the main hall’s acoustics.
“The attention to detail is the single thing I appreciate the most,” Jensen said.
Students said they appreciate the center’s high-quality sound as well.
“(The hall) helps to project (the sound). It allows any person in the hall to hear a performer as good as any other person in the hall. It also has great resonance,” said freshman Daniel Quatrone, who plays trombone in band and orchestra.
Junior orchestra player Shelby Boise concurs.
“It’s a very big room, so sometimes sound can get drowned out, but if you really listen, the reverberation makes the notes and chords sound crisp, yet warm,” Boise said.
The hall was designed to accommodate many different types of performances and events through its use of ceiling panels and velour drapery.
“One of (the) details (which) add to the hall’s functionality is the ability to vary the acoustics between musicality and speech by deploying multiple sets of velour drapery,” Jensen said. “It’s a very useful tool for fine-tuning the space to a given type of production.”
When asked about what he does to maintain the standard of excellence required of the premises, Jensen said, “There isn’t much maintenance associated with the acoustics, although we recently replaced the aforementioned velour drapery due to the normal degradation over time of its fire retardancy. That was a major undertaking (which) fortunately only needs to happen every few decades.
For future productions and performances, “I would like to see an improvement in the skill and dedication with which visiting production companies utilized our acoustics to their best effect,” Jensen said.
For more information on the Morrison Center and its sound, call the Main Office at 426-1609 or visit their website at mc.boisestate.edu. You can also reach David Jensen at 426-3508.