Case Study: TILT | 360 CHICAGO


SAM Elevates TILT Thrill Ride with Sound Experience

Experiential Sound • Custom Music • Immersive Audio

360 CHICAGO and its parent company, Magnicity (M56) like to think big — REALLY big! Magnicity manages five of the highest observation decks in the world with the mission to connect people atop the highest points above the world’s most iconic cities. And they don’t stop there — the company develops unique attractions within these breathtaking locations to further enhance the experience. 360 CHICAGO manages the observation deck atop the 100-story skyscraper, 875 North Michigan Avenue. In 2014, 360 CHICAGO debuted TILT — a heart-pounding thrill ride that literally tilts visitors over the city of Chicago 1,030 feet up. For the brave, it provides unarguably some of the best views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. However, as exciting as the experience is, it still needed something.

SAM was asked to take the TILT experience to another level by composing experiential music and sound that would sync perfectly with the ride. In the same way experiencing a movie becomes more powerful when accompanied by the perfect musical score, 360 CHICAGO sought to enhance the emotional reaction to TILT by stimulating rider’s sonic senses in addition to visual and tactile. Adding to the complexity, TILT is comprised of three unique ride variations, each differing in length and movement sequences, which are interchanged as needed based on daypart and wait times — mornings might use a longer sequence with slower movements to create a calming, meditative atmosphere, while evenings use shorter sequences with frequent movements to elevate heart rates and create a more thrilling experience. SAM was up to the challenge.


“We wanted guests to feel the rhythm of the city below, and we knew Stephen Arnold Music could help us make those feelings tangible with sound.”

★★★★★ Jennifer Hesser — Assistant GM, 360 CHICAGO


Before any musical concepts could be created, our production team spent time on-site with 360 CHICAGO experiencing TILT, capturing video of each of the sequences, taking sound recordings of the ride’s natural noises, and most importantly, discussing how riders should feel during the experience. Back in our Dallas studios, we transcribed the videos into graphs, charting the timing and movements of each ride variation — this unlocked the rhythm of each variation, providing our composers with a road map that would enable them to accent the ride’s most thrilling moments.

Three unique musical scores were created — aptly named ‘Sweet’, ‘Savory’, and ‘Spicy’ — to compliment the ride’s desired emotional states. In addition to the blend of electronic and orchestral instrumentation, the compositions also feature augmented sound design using the ride’s natural noises to complete the marriage of senses. Once approved, SAM optimized and packaged audio files to suit TILT’s powerful speaker array and in-floor subwoofers.

Since launching, TILT has become a prominent attraction in Chicago and beyond, receiving high praise for its breathtaking ride experience. The attraction has been featured worldwide in broadcast and numerous viral videos from the likes of ESPN, UFC’s Molly McCann, and the Chicago Bears. SAMs musical accompaniment to TILT has played a key role in pushing the audience experience over the edge and generating its impactful emotional response.