The recent upgrade to a Meyer Sound UltraSeries loudspeaker system transformed Jerusalem's Gerard Bechar Center into a prime multipurpose venue to support its wide-ranging calendar of performances and community events.
“The old system was barely adequate for lectures,” says Harel Tabibi, the Jerusalem-based independent audio consultant who designed the system. “For most performances, they had to hire outside sound companies to bring in equipment for the show. It was a situation that was not economically viable and often involved compromises in sound quality.”
Since installation, the Meyer Sound loudspeakers have ably supported everything from community meetings and dance recitals to live theatre and rock concerts. “After a theater show and eight concert performances using the new system, the comments from artists and sound engineers have been overwhelmingly positive,” reports Tabibi. “Some have even called it one of the best systems now operating in Israel.”
The primary left/right coverage of the auditorium is supplied by six UPA-2P loudspeakers, with four loudspeakers covering the main floor and two for the balcony. A pair of UPA-1P loudspeakers anchors the center, while eight diminutive UPM-1P loudspeakers serve as rear balcony delays and fills at stage front, balcony side, and floor corner. Persuasive bass comes from dual 600-HP subwoofers, with drive and optimization supplied by a Galileo® loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 processor.
Installation was complicated by a requirement that the main floor loudspeakers be housed in alcoves recessed in the brick walls at the proscenium sides. “We did not want to take up stage space or block the stairs leading up to the stage from the audience,” states Tabibi. “Fortunately, the fact that the Meyer Sound speakers are self-powered was very helpful, as it saved us from installing extra amplifiers and speaker wiring.”
For Israel Ben-Simon, technical director at the Gerard Bechar Center, the change was welcome—and long overdue. “It sounds great,” he says. “After 20 years of working here I'm finally getting compliments on sound from the audience and performers. It's a real pleasure.”
Funding for the audio renovations was provided by the Jerusalem Foundation. Project manager on behalf of the foundation was Haim Barimboim. The Meyer Sound system was supplied and installed by Barkai Benny Brookstein, Ltd. of Ramat-Gan, Israel.
In addition to the main auditorium and a smaller, 200-seat performance space, the Gerard Bechar Center also includes art galleries and studios as well as the Jerusalem Municipality's central library. Originally known as the Beit Ha'am, the building complex housed the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann shortly after it opened in 1961. After the trial, the Bechar family donated funds to create a center for the arts, naming it in honor of their son, a victim of the Holocaust.
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