Page 62

FEATURES: ENTERTAINMENT

A Constellation system of 160 speakers supplied by Meyer distributor SBF covers the main auditorium

Out of the woods

A theatre in a new arts centre has become the first Chinese client for Meyer Sound’s Constellation acoustic system. Sue Su reports LOCATED SOUTH OF SHANGHAI, THE FENGXIAN DISTRICT is a beautiful natural environment incorporating Shanghai’s largest forest park and 31.6km of coastline. In recent years, the government has identified Fengxian as one of five new satellite cities for Shanghai. Accordingly, a number of landmark, international-standard projects, which take advantage of the local natural beauty, have been built. One of these is the Nine Trees Shanghai Future Art Centre, located in the heart of Fengxian Central forest park and designed by French architectural company, Frederic Rolland International. This ‘theatre in the forest’ is surrounded by trees and water, and has a three-petal shape that resembles a sprouting seed from above. The centre includes a 1,200seat main theatre, a 500-seat multi-functional theatre and a 300-seat small venue, as well as an art gallery, creative centre and two outdoor stages, the Forest Stage and the Waterfront Stage. As an international performance venue for the future, the arts centre set four goals in relation to its architecture, theatre, sound system and content. ‘The positioning of the Nine Trees Shanghai Future Art Centre is different from the existing performance venues in Shanghai,’ says theatre consultant Le Shengli, who worked on the project. ‘In the past, a theatre of this size had to be equipped with dismantable acoustic reflection panels. We hope to break

62 PRO AVL ASIA Januar y–Februar y 2020

through the limitations of architectural acoustics here with electronic methods and give audiences and performers a better experience.’ After extensive research and listening trips to the US, the arts centre decided to use Meyer Sound’s Constellation acoustic system for the first time in China in the main theatre, which has two auditorium levels and a 30m-deep stage. The solution – a digital approach to controlling reverb time and early reflections to enhance the sonic clarity and resonance of a space, integrating loudspeakers, microphones, DSP, patented algorithms and proprietary certification techniques – was supplied by Meyer Sound’s Chinese distributor, Shanghai Broad Future Electro Technology (SBF). The system consists of 160 speakers, 16 subwoofers and 56 microphones, and has been divided into two areas, one for the stage and one for the audience. The stage system consists of 20 microphones, 24 UPJunior-XP and 25 UPM-1XP speakers, while the audience section includes 36 microphones, 34 Ashby-5C and 15 Ashby-8C ceiling speakers and 62 UPM1XPs. Low frequencies are handled by four MM-10XP and 12 UMS-1XPSM subwoofers. The project took almost two years from system design to construction, with SBF, Meyer Sound in the US and the venue owners working closely to complete a large and complex system. More than 20 engineers from SBF worked

onsite, while Meyer Sound’s global brand strategist, Tim Boot, oversaw the project from concept to purchase, and senior vice president of marketing, John McMahon, led a team of four people to provide full support, including system alignment. The Constellation system requires all speakers and microphones to be located very accurately. All speakers in the auditorium are mounted in cavities treated with sound absorption material to avoid a comb filter effect, and are concealed behind sound-transparent cloth that underwent extensive testing by Meyer Sound. Processing for the Constellation system is run on Meyer Sound’s D-Mitri digital audio platform, whose nerve centre is located in the equipment room on the fourth floor next to the stage. Ambient sound signals are collected by 56 microphones and fed to three DAI-24 input modules, where they enter a processing system consisting of a DCP core processor, DVRAS processing module and DCM core matrix. After calculations made by the system’s algorithm, the result is output to all 176 speakers through eight DAO-24 output modules. All speakers are powered by 22 MPS-488HP 48V IntelligentDC power supplies. D-Mitri’s parameters can be remotely monitored and controlled via CueStation software. The original physical reverberation time of the main theatre is 1.1s, which can be

Profile for Blank Canvas Publishing Ltd

Pro AVL Asia January-February 2020