The Silva Concert Hall at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts
USA - After nearly eight years of regular visits on a rental basis, Meyer Sound Leopard compact line array loudspeakers have taken up permanent residence in the Silva Concert Hall of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon.
The rental system was provided by locally based George Relles Sound, with Relles returning earlier this year as the integrator for the permanent installation. The new resident system made its debut in the 2,447-seat venue with a performance of Missa Gaia (Earth Mass) by the Eugene Concert Choir with composer Paul Winter as the featured soloist. One week later, the system supplied sound for a showing of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, with a live performance of the John Williams score by the Eugene Symphony.
“Everything is going great with our new system,” says Hult Center general manager Jeff Weinkauf, “but of course, that is hardly a surprise. I’ve heard it many times over the years, and I’m always blown away by the clarity, depth, and consistency. George [Relles] said several times — somewhat jokingly — that we might as well buy one of our own. Finally, we were able to make that happen.”
In addition to ‘pops’ style concerts and movie soundtracks with the Eugene Symphony, a cross-section of past performances supported by the essentially identical Leopard system includes Patti Labelle, the Chick Corea Elektric Band, Pink Martini, Bob Weir & the Wolf Bros., B.B. King, and Buddy Guy.
Weinkauf, who previously served as operations director and technical director at the Hult Center, had ample opportunity to evaluate alternatives for a permanent “A+” solution. “Many touring pop and Broadway shows carry their own production, so I’d heard solutions from most of the major manufacturers in our space,” he says. “Consistently, the Meyer Sound systems outperform the others in here. We always seemed to get more positive comments when the show was carrying Meyer Sound.”
The installed system comprises main left and right hangs of 14-each Leopard compact line array loudspeakers, one more than with the typical rental system. Three Ultra-X40 compact loudspeakers are installed as balcony delays. “For most shows, the delays aren’t critical because the Leopards cover the balcony very well,” notes Relles. “But if there’s a lot of level coming off the stage from a loud band, and it’s exciting the room, the delays will help boost the clarity up there.”
The top 12 Leopard loudspeakers are the M80 variant, with the narrower 80-degree horizontal pattern limiting reflections off the side walls. The bottom two loudspeakers employ the standard 110-degree waveguide. Front-fills are six ULTRA-X20 compact wide coverage loudspeakers, and deep bass is propelled by three-per-side gradient cardioid arrays of 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements.
“Sometimes we would get questions about having only six subs,” admits Weinkauf. “People will walk in, take a look, and say, ‘Is that really going to be enough?’” Then we fire it up and they say, ‘That will be fine’. Of course, we can always have George bring in a few more, if only for the visual effect.”
The system upgrade also included MJF-208 and MJF-210 stage monitors, with more of each model on order.
Operated by the City of Eugene Cultural Services Division and opened in 1982, the Hult Center for the Performing Arts is renowned for its striking exterior and the novel basketweave interior of the Silva Concert Hall. The Hult Center also houses the intimate, 495-seat Soreng Theatre.

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