The Gold Standard of Risers

Post #2- Is It Possible to Improve Sound Quality on a Concert Riser System?

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Empty theater stage with choir risers and lights.
Posted on August 10, 2023

When directors consider the overall sound of the choir, band, or orchestra on the concert stage, they consistently look up –and use a variety of acoustical controls to direct the sound to the audience. However, the redirected sound still has a mind of its own when performed on an open riser system. An open riser setting would be described as a series of platforms mounted on a metal frame that allows the sound to travel down and under the musicians, preventing them from hearing each other appropriately. A properly designed riser setting will not only improve the performer’s perspective but also the audience experience and recording quality. Most currently available riser and podium designs forget that they need to have more purpose than just to elevate the director and musicians. These products should also be designed to optimize the performance, just like all the other elements on a stage. Current comments from directors suggest that most available elevation is just that, elevation. If you currently are performing on elevation that is hollow, elevation that is open frame construction, elevation that has lots of moving parts, you may be overlooking a critical element to improving your performance. Most open construction risers contain metal frames, nuts and bolts, and many moving parts, and a platform to sit or stand on. As is typical with all materials, each component potentially can react to the frequencies created by your instruments. Each component and part has what is called a “Resonate Frequency”. This is natural and is happening all the time as you are performing. When the frequency produced by your instrument matches the natural frequency of the stage components you have a problem. A noise is created that is sometimes called “TIZ”.

This is often heard on a recording but may not be recognizable. Yet it’s possible to overcome these issues by specifying the use of solid core podiums and portable riser systems. One supplier of this system is Core-Lite Industries, LLC located in Grand Haven, Michigan. Core-Lite addresses this issue of directing sound and elimination of unintended noise on the stage with its unique “FeatherBlock” products. Open frame construction is just that, an open frame. Sound is free to travel in any direction it wishes. With open construction, sound will radiate from the source in all directions. So the optimum level of sound is lost in the space beneath the riser platform surface. “Core-Lite Industries” set their task to create a product that would direct sound forward, looked nice, be easy to install, and was completely silent. With those features in mind, the “Silent” podiums and risers came to life. You may be asking yourself what is so special about this product? Specifically, all of the Core-Lite FeatherBlock podiums and risers are filled with an EPS (foam) core that completely fills the cavity produced by the top, bottom, and sides of each assembly. EPS is a lightweight material that absorbs energy. So movement and energy that hits the top surface are absorbed and not allowed to resonate like a hollow drum. In addition, the Core-Lite solid risers when assembled in a tier fashion force sound to move forward, preventing sound from going under the risers. The end result is a product that is quiet, directs sound forward, and prevents sound from losing its energy as it projects toward the audience. In addition to podiums and band and orchestra risers, these features are offered in other Featherblock products: • Mini Jazz Band RisersChoir RisersDrum Risers-square, rectangular, roundPerformance Stages • Pre-school Children’s Play Risers • Speaker Platforms • Worship Service Risers • Stair Assemblies with Railing As in all types of band and orchestra settings, the sound that you produce optimally should be directed forward to your audience. The principal of all Core-Lite Industries products is that solid lightweight risers not only project the sound forward to your audience but also absorb any unwanted noise and reverberation. Core-Lite solid core podiums and risers are manufactured using anti-skid tops and bottoms. In addition, coated panels are used on all vertical sides. To assure that the product will last a lifetime, all corners are formed by the sides joined in an aluminum radial corner. They call their product “Silent” because it really is.