Berkeley's Crowden Music Center Extends Community Outreach with Meyer Sound Constellation

It has greatly extended outreach opportunities to music ensembles throughout the Bay Area.

By installing a Meyer Sound ConstellationR acoustic system in its principal

performance and rehearsal space, the Crowden Music Center in Berkeley,
Calif. has greatly extended outreach opportunities to music ensembles
throughout the Bay Area, while enhancing performance acoustics for its

The Crowden Music Center's programs encompass The Crowden School, an
independent day school for grades four through eight, and the Crowden Center
for Music in the Community, which supports classical music in the Bay Area
by hosting performances and rehearsals and also by offering classes, private
lessons, workshops, and summer camps.

Formally titled the Jacqueline and Peter Hoefer Auditorium, the intimate
venue holds an audience of about 200 in flexible seating for small ensemble,
choral, and chamber orchestra performances on the stage. In this same space,
performers often share the open floor with the audience, or the entire floor
becomes a rehearsal stage for a full symphony orchestra. Also, the
auditorium must adapt to an exceptionally diverse range of ensembles and
music styles as it hosts both its own students and a packed calendar of
programs for the local community. As a result, for such a modest facility,
the acoustical requirements are extraordinary.

"The original physical acoustics were fine for a school auditorium,"
observes Michel Taddei, Crowden's director of artistic administration and
principal double bassist for several area orchestras. "But as we've grown
into a musical hub, with so many others using the facility, the fixed
acoustics were not adequate for the wider range of demands."

As an example, Taddei cites the Oakland East Bay Symphony, which often uses
the auditorium floor as its rehearsal stage. "Before, it was a bit too loud
and boomy for a group that size. Musicians were distracted by the room's
sonic buildup. Now, with the acoustic treatments and Constellation, they are
delighted with the room's sound and will be back on a regular basis."

To address Crowden's programming requirements, a controllable baseline
acoustic was created through physical treatments. The Meyer Sound
Constellation team then designed an active acoustical system adaptable to
the full range of demands. Constellation here is split into two zones-upper
and lateral-and employs the patented VRAST variable room acoustic system
hosted on a D-MitriR digital audio platform to create a precise mixture of
early reflections and late reverberations across five acoustic presets:
speech, chamber, opera, symphony, and choir.

The complete system, installed by San Francisco-based integrator Bug ID,
includes 29 Meyer Sound miniature MM-4XP and directional MM-4XPD
loudspeakers, 14 MM-10 subwoofers, and 24 microphones.

According to Doris Fukawa, executive director for Crowden Music Center,
Constellation's flexibility is key. "In our after-school programs, it's
invaluable to be able to easily provide the proper acoustics for the smaller
chamber ensembles as well as the large symphonic orchestras," says Fukawa.
"For our young students, Constellation allows them to become more aware of
any acoustic space they play in and then learn to adapt to these
environmental factors."

The Jacqueline and Peter Hoefer Auditorium is currently still under
renovation, with a grand reopening scheduled for fall 2013. The renovation
is designed by Donn Logan of Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects, the
Berkeley-based firm behind the AIA Citation Award-winning Pearson Theatre at
Meyer Sound's headquarters. "Since I previously served on the Crowden Board
for several years, it has been a special treat for me to see this system
installed in Crowden's Hoefer Auditorium," says Logan. "Given Crowden's
diverse array of performance and rehearsal requirements, Constellation is
the only solution that I know of that could have solved its acoustic needs."

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.

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