This unprecedented ability to dynamically control the sonic ambience of the space has garnered the attention of publications like San Francisco Chronicle and Fast Company.
Comal, a new restaurant located in Berkeley's lively downtown Arts District,
environment using the new LibraT acoustic image system and complementary
ConstellationR active acoustic system from Meyer Sound. This unprecedented
ability to dynamically control the sonic ambience of the space has garnered
the attention of publications like San Francisco Chronicle and Fast Company.
With a touch on an iPad screen, Comal's management can maintain the desired
level of energized "buzz" throughout the space while still allowing intimate
conversations, all regardless of occupancy levels.
For Comal owner John Paluska, who became a restaurateur after 17 years of
managing the rock band Phish, the importance of sound in the dining
experience has moved to the forefront. "It's a hot-button issue in the
restaurant world these days," he says. "Noise is one of the top complaints
in reviews and surveys. At Comal, we don't want a space that is hushed and
dead-sounding. We want it festive, but never overbearing."
To achieve that ideal balance at Comal, Meyer Sound engineers first
controlled the baseline acoustics using, in part, the patent-pending Libra
acoustic image system, installed here for the very first time.
Custom-designed with stunning imagery under the artistic direction of
Deborah O'Grady, the visually striking Libra panels dampen difficult
reverberant spaces using tailored combinations of fabric types, frame depth,
and underlying acoustical absorption.
To actively control the depth and texture of ambient sound-both conversation
and foreground music-the Meyer Sound team then added the Constellation
acoustic system. Constellation picks up a room's ambient sound and, after
applying the patented VRAST reverberation algorithm, regenerates an enhanced
wash of sound throughout the space at the optimum levels. Three presets,
adjustable via an iPad, are provided to adjust for changing occupancy
levels. The restaurant can also heighten the "buzz" around the bar and lower
it for the guests in the dining areas.
Designed as a proof of concept, the complete system covering Comal's
3,000-square-foot indoor area utilizes a sizeable complement of 38 UPJuniorT
VariOT and 45 MM-4XP loudspeakers, 12 MM-10 miniature subwoofers, and 28
microphones. The loudspeakers are distributed around the restaurant to
support the Constellation system and provide low-distortion background music
reproduction for customers. Digital processing is hosted by the Meyer Sound
D-MitriR digital audio platform. The system was installed by BugID of San
"I use the analogy of a portrait photo taken with shallow depth of field,"
explains Paluska, describing the system's effect. "Up close, the image is
sharply detailed, while behind it there is a pleasantly textured but
undefined setting. That's the sound environment here. We're creating sonic
microclimates, where people in proximity can converse easily, yet we still
have an energetic buzz in the atmosphere. It's always convivial, but it
doesn't distract or exhaust you."
In addition to the main dining and bar area, the rest of Comal features a
sound reinforcement system of 14 UP-4XP and two UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers,
and MM-10 subwoofers installed in its hallway and its 2,500-square-foot
enclosed patio. Comal was designed by Abueg Morris Architects. Cuisine is
regional Mexican, focused on Oaxaca and nearby coastal states.
Deborah O'Grady, artistic director for the Libra acoustic image system, is
an internationally known landscape photographer whose work is currently on
view at the Public Policy Institute of California and the San Francisco
Design Center. Previous exhibitions include installations in Walt Disney
Concert Hall, Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C., Internationale
Fototage in Mannheim, Germany, and Encuentros Abiertos photography festival
in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her photographs of the Navajo Code Talkers will
be released this fall by Rio Nuevo Publishers.
ABOUT MEYER SOUND
Family owned and operated since 1979, Meyer Sound Laboratories, Inc. designs
and manufactures high-quality, self-powered sound reinforcement
loudspeakers, digital audio systems, active acoustic systems, cinema sound
systems, and sound measurement tools for the professional audio industry.
Founded by John and Helen Meyer, the company has grown to become a leading
worldwide supplier of systems for theatres, arenas, stadiums, theme parks,
convention centers, houses of worship, and touring concert sound rental
operations. Meyer Sound's main office and manufacturing facility are located
in Berkeley, California, with field offices and authorized distributors
located throughout the USA and around the world.