California concert hall equipped with Meyer Constellation system

New audio set-up at Christopher Cohan Center features a retractable active acoustic canopy made up of 40 miniature loudspeakers.
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Home of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the Christopher Cohan Center in California has installed a Meyer Sound Constellation system.

With a retractable active acoustic canopy made up of 40 miniature loudspeakers, the Constellation system was put in place to help musicians hear each other better, therefore improving their sense of ensemble.

“The orchestra plays on a thrust stage in front of the proscenium, under a very high ceiling,” said Fred Vogler, principal sound designer at Sonitus, the LA-based audio and video consulting firm that handled venue demo, as well as the design and commissioning of the final system. “The distance between the orchestra and the walls and ceiling created the opportunity for Constellation’s virtual canopy to add early reflections to the stage and front seating areas. The result is improved communication among the musicians and conductor.”

Jim Black, executive director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, added: “The reaction of the musicians has been remarkable. Now they are just beaming at one another while playing. Their ability to hear other parts of the ensemble has been greatly enhanced, and this has improved their overall performance.”

Audiences are also set to benefit from the audio upgrade. “Now you can hear more subtleties, and the sound just blooms better,” Black continued. “There’s more colour to the orchestra without it sounding at all amplified.”

The new system is driven by a D-Mitri digital audio platform with six processors, two of which are running the patented VRAS acoustical algorithms. Sixteen suspended compact cardioid microphones are also included, as well as a combination of 40 Stella-8C installation loudspeakers, UP-4XP 48 V speakers, UPJunior VariO units and six UMS-SM subs. The mics and Stella-8C speakers are suspended by small lift motors, so the system to be hidden away when not required.

Vogler collaborated with the venue, orchestra, and integrator on the final design and implementation of the Constellation arrangement. He also designed a sound reinforcement set-up for the hall, in partnership with Roger Phillip, the Center’s audio lead. The system is anchored by twin arrays of 11-each MICA line array loudspeakers, and features two UPQ-2P, eight UP-4XP, and six UPJunior units as corner, front, and balcony fills, respectively. Low end is handled by eight 600-HP subwoofers, while the installation was carried out by the Los Angeles office of Miami-based integrator Pro Sound & Video.

The Christopher Cohan Center is part of the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo – located on the California Polytechnic State University campus.

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