Meyer Sound Constellation upgrade for San Francisco Exploratorium

Venue's new Kanbar Forum becomes the first museum facility to install one of the company's acoustic systems.
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San Francisco Exploratorium has opened its new Kanbar Forum venue – the first museum facility to feature a Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system.

The multidisciplinary theatre is also equipped with numerous other audio tools from the Berkeley-based manufacturer.

Now present in more than 50 venues worldwide, Constellation is designed to alter a room’s acoustics – from intimate recital halls to large cathedrals – with ease. One of Kanbar Forum’s first programs to take advantage of the technology will be a live performance series called 'Resonance'.

“We’re very excited about exploring the Constellation system’s potential for both artists and scientists,” said Nicole Minor, the Exploratorium’s manager of moving images. “We’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do with it. I expect we’ll be able to develop an entirely new breadth of work focused on both the art and the science of sound.”

“As part of his Full-Spectrum Science series, our staff scientist Ron Hipschman has been demonstrating Constellation in his talks. Switching through the presets, he elicits ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ with just his voice and handclaps when the audience experiences the startling, yet natural acoustical effects.”

Constellation is based around Meyer Sound’s patented VRAS acoustical algorithm. The configuration in Kanbar Forum consists of 12 distributed mics and more than 90 loudspeakers, including Stella-4C installation loudspeakers, MM-4XP self-powered speakers, UP-4XP 48 V units and MM-10XP 48V subs.

The Kanbar Forum team also have the ability to utilise SpaceMap multichannel panning, which allows sound designers to fly sounds through space. SpaceMap is used in 'Fathom', a sound installation by Shane Myrbeck and Emily Shisko – part of the 'Soundscapes' series.

The sound reinforcement system in the theatre comprises UPQ-2P and MM-4XP loudspeakers, UPJ-1P and UPJunior VariO speakers, and 600-HP subwoofers, along with a Galileo loudspeaker management system.

Ron Semper, the museum's executive associate director, and multimedia pioneer Kristina Woolsey conceived the audio systems in the Kanbar Forum. System design specifics were handled by Phil Bailey of systems integrator BBI Engineering, in consultation with theatrical design specialist The Shalleck Collaborative.

A further Meyer Sound loudspeakers have been placed in 11 other locations around the Exploratorium, including the Webcast Studio, Bay Observatory Gallery, Outdoor Exploratorium plaza, The Retail Store, conference rooms, and classrooms. 12 different loudspeaker models can be found in these spaces, ranging from the MM-4XP loudspeaker to the 700-HP sub.

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