Adjacent to the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center (NWC), the new $13 million Miami Beach SoundScape has raised the bar for music presentation in open public spaces. Installed for audiences in the 2.5-acre park, the audio system employs Meyer Sound's Constellation® acoustic technology with more than 160 self-powered loudspeakers to replicate the immersive sonic experience enjoyed simultaneously by listeners inside the 756-seat hall for the New World Symphony. At the same time, high-definition video images of the concert are digitally projected on a 75' x 100' exterior wall of the angular NWC structure, with the total experience dubbed a "Wallcast."
After immersing himself in the inaugural presentation featuring Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the New World Symphony, New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini concluded his review stating, "Every orchestra in America should check out the Wallcast concerts at SoundScape, which set a new standard for the outdoor relaying of indoor musical performances."
The Wallcast concept was initiated by the board of the New World Symphony, then incorporated into the landscape design by the park's architects, West 8 New York. Principal sound designer for both the New World Center and SoundScape was Fred Vogler of Los Angeles-based Sonitus. Engineering specifics for SoundScape audio were a collaborative effort on the part of Vogler, his associate Tim Boot, and Rod Sintow and Kelly Prince of Florida-based systems integrator Pro Sound and Video.
Speaking on behalf of the symphony, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David J. Phillips remarks that "the sound came through with crystalline and immersive clarity from the fabulous speaker system" in SoundScape's stunning debut with the orchestra. He concludes: "It will be a tough decision now – inside or outside?"
The Constellation system in Miami uses Meyer Sound's new D-Mitri® digital audio platform and features a range of loudspeaker models that include the M'elodie® line array loudspeaker, MSL-4, and UPJ-1P VariOâ„¢ loudspeakers, in addition to M1D-Sub subwoofers and 700-HP subwoofers. The front LCR under-screen loudspeakers and subwoofers are concealed inside large planters adjacent to the building, while dual front line arrays and associated subwoofers are placed inside 40-inch diameter steel columns. Eighty-eight loudspeakers and subwoofers are tucked into two 26-inch diameter tubular steel ballet bars, raised 20-feet high on both sides of the grassy audience area. Additional loudspeakers are concealed in the projection tower and small "media hydrants."
In all other installations, Constellation active acoustic technology is used to provide flexibility and enhancement of existing interior acoustical spaces. Here, however, Constellation uses a minimum of 22 microphones inside the New World Center as the acoustical starting point, then applies patented VRASâ„¢ processing algorithms to tailor the sound for optimum effect in the outdoor environment.
"It's been a very exciting project," sums up Fred Vogler. "We couldn't have asked for a better initial reception, but I think we've only just begun. There's a lot of adventure yet to come, with this system and others like it that are likely to follow."
The New World Center and the adjacent SoundScape, both opened in January of 2011 and were developed as a public-private venture by the City of Miami Beach and the New World Symphony. Established in 1987 by famed conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, the New World Symphony is an orchestral academy that prepares musicians for careers in symphony orchestras and ensembles.
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