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What Music Hall's Shotgun Sound Test Has To Do With FC Cincinnati

Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati City Council approved a request Wednesday to fire blank shotgun shells inside Music Hall for acoustical testing.
That test will happen Thursday between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The people responsible for the facility are concerned that the close proximity of the new FC Cincinnati soccer stadium could produce enough noise to interfere with musical performances at the venue.

So, the Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) said to find out if that's true, they need to simulate sound that's like the decibel level of a large sports arena. That can be produced from firing blank shotgun shells inside the building.

Scott Feldman is the general manager for Music Hall.

"So we'll do a measurement with the shotgun in our attic, we'll do a measurement outside the roof, and then we'll do a measurement from the seats," Feldman said. "So then they can extrapolate how much sound deadening they get between the three points."

Feldman said they're measuring for sounds during stadium construction and also during events once it's completed. The shotgun blast serves as a benchmark.

"So it's not necessarily that it's the exact same sound level," Feldman said. "But it allows them to determine, 'OK we expect this decibel level during construction; this decibel level during a concert or a soccer game,' and then they can determine how much of that will be absorbed by our building."

Police Capt. Lisa Davis said a city police officer will be firing the gun for the sound test.

"It will be our shotgun, our blank, and it will be done by our training section," Davis said. "So again it's not outside, it's inside the building. All of the area businesses have been notified, as well as the school, as well as the community council."

The city council had to approve an ordinance for the testing since municipal code prevents the firing of a firearm inside the city, and it's also unlawful to have such a weapon inside a city-owned building.