Berkeley, CA—May 14, 2009
Meyer Sound’s New Cinema Experience Products Shows the Future of Cinema Sound at UC San Diego
At the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), the Digital Cinema Auditorium plays a pivotal role for the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a unique public-private research consortium. In this intimate 200-seat auditorium, teams of artists and scientists work to push the limits of movie technology ranging from production and distribution to exhibition. Tools at hand include connections to the world’s fastest fiber optic networks (up to 10 GBs), a Sony 4K ultra-high definition projector, and a multi-format surround system featuring Meyer Sound’s new Cinema Experience products, highlighting the THX-approved Acheron 100 screen channel loudspeaker.
The Digital Cinema Auditorium is used for high-resolution international teleconferences as well as for ultra-detailed scientific visualization. The room also promotes remote collaboration in movie making by connecting via the high-speed networks to other universities, such as Keio University in Tokyo, or to other production facilities, such as Lucasfilm in San Francisco.
“Extremely high audio quality is critical for nearly everybody who uses the auditorium,” states Peter Otto, director of Sonic Arts R&D for Calit2. “For example, we’ve been using it for experiments in long-distance networked audio post-productions with Skywalker and San Francisco-based Industrial Light and Magic. We can operate the room as a mixing stage, using uncompressed audio streaming from two or three distant sources. And we can also exhibit streaming productions with up to 12 channels of surround, at the very highest resolutions for sound and picture.”
The audio system relies exclusively on self-powered loudspeakers by Meyer Sound to support these quality levels. The LCR screen channels each utilize the Acheron 100, designed for optimal performance behind perforated screens. The Acheron features a single 15-inch driver and an innovative soft-rolloff horn that provides exceptional coverage and a uniform LCR perspective at all locations. The crossover point of 580 Hz puts most of the dialog frequencies in the horn for better intelligibility and control.
“As soon as we heard that Meyer was developing a new cinema speaker, we asked to have some of the first ones in here,” says Otto. “And we’ve found them to be incredibly versatile and transparent, and they sound superb no matter where you sit in the auditorium. That had been a challenge in the past because of the steeply raked seating. But the Acherons keep the imaging and frequency response absolutely uniform at every seat.”
The balance of the Meyer Sound equipment comprises five X-800 subwoofers, nine UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers for surrounds, and a Galileo™ loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 616 processors.
The Acheron demonstrated its superior sonic quality during a workshop at the Digital Cinema Auditorium. “We did a demonstration of some remixes we did on “Iron Man” using raw tracks streamed from Skywalker and the University of Washington in Seattle,” adds Otto. “I’ve never heard so many incredible, over-the-top comments. People were telling me that it was the best audio they’ve ever heard in a cinema context—and these are people from the top ranks of the industry, accustomed to working in premier facilities.”
Calit2 at UCSD is the birthplace of CineGrid, an international membership organization dedicated to research in multimedia production over high-speed networks. In addition to university research entities like Calit2, founding members of CineGrid include industry leaders in digital and multimedia such as Cisco Systems, Sony, and Lucasfilm. Meyer Sound is also a member of the organization.
The home of Calit2 at UCSD is Atkinson Hall, a gleaming six-story structure that also hosts various projects of the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA), an organized research unit of the university. Other research facilities in Atkinson Hall also installed with Meyer Sound products include two virtual reality environments, the StarCAVE and the Varrier Wall, both equipped with MM-4 miniature loudspeakers and UMS-1P subwoofers; the StarCAVE also employs the Matrix3™ audio show control system. A reconfigurable “black box” theater provides sound reinforcement through 16 UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers and a pair of the USW-1P subwoofers.
Design of the audio systems in Atkinson Hall was a collaborative effort by Calit2 staff and Meyer Sound Design Services. Systems were provided and installed by Sound Image of Escondido, Calif.
Elsewhere on the UCSD campus, the new Conrad Prebys Music Center features Meyer Sound’s Constellation® electroacoustic architecture. Constellation applies highly advanced digital technology, in concert with dedicated microphones and 12 UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers, 28 MM-4 miniature loudspeakers, and eight UMS-1P subwoofers to provide the room acoustics best suited for each type of events.