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Mattie St. Clair’s House of Spirits: Historical Installation Considerations

Aug 20, 2014 9:28 PM, By Tim Kridel


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In May, AV integrator Entertech wrapped up work on Mattie St. Clair’s House of Spirits on Main Street, a live music saloon that had previously housed a restaurant. Named after a madam who owned a nearby brothel in the late 1800s, Mattie’s on Main is in a historic brick building in downtown Minneapolis, which created a variety of “This Old House”-style challenges for the integrator.

When it came time to consider mounting and rigging option, for example, Entertech was allowed to drill into the mortar but not the bricks. The thick, metal straps around the timber space’s support columns seemed like an ideal spot for display mounts, but they had to be worked around because they’re historic and couldn’t be altered.

Similarly, to mount loudspeaker brackets to the brick, Entertech worked with the project’s GC to come up with a viable workaround. The unorthodox solution was to use construction adhesive to mount the loudspeakers brackets to the brick because it could be removed with a wire wheel in the future without destroying the brick.

“It turned out really well,” says Briten Gilbertson, sales manager for Entertech. “I probably could hang myself off of those brackets.”

The venue’s odd shape was another challenge. The stage is tucked into a back corner, with one wall fanning out at a 45-degree angle to form the main seating area. The bar is on the other side of that seating, with a second seating area in an atrium behind the bar. Simply cranking up the power to reach all the way into the atrium would have risked overwhelming patrons seated closer to the stage, and it could have disturbed residents in adjacent condos.

Part of the solution was to hang the PA loudspeakers above the stage and angle them down, which focused the sound on patrons and reduced the amount that bled upstairs.

“The coverage from the stage from the front-house PA system is clear all the way out to the atrium without having to use the house system,” says Adam Fox, live audio engineer. “If we do turn on the house system and hook it up with the stage with the delays, everything is crystal clear.

“The audio level at the stage is 85-90dB with a jazz trio. If you’re in the atrium, it sounds almost identical. You can speak over it. The staff loves that they can work around it. They don’t have to shout.”

Another key part was JBL Professional’s Enhanced Acoustic Simulator for Engineers (EASE) software.

“It does get us very close, [although] there is still no replacing experienced and knowledgeable design staff,” says Adam Santoro, who handles business development. “It is a very valuable sales as well as design tool because of how we are able to present different audio designs to a potential client in a way that is much easier for someone who is not in the AV industry to visualize.”



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