South America's first Meyer Sound Constellation® acoustic system made its debut with the opening of Teatro Municipal de Las Condes in Santiago, Chile. With seating for up to 875, this intimate multipurpose performance venue has relatively "dry" physical acoustics, excellent for spoken word, drama, and amplified music. With Constellation's ability to enhance a theatre's acoustical characteristics, Las Condes can also exhibit the sonic signature of a richly reverberant concert hall for symphonic and choral music presentations.
"Constellation is a powerful tool for multipurpose theatres like ours," says Miguel Angel Latapiat, sound engineer at Teatro Municipal de Las Condes. "The effect is absolutely faithful to the natural sound of the music, yet it seems as if the wall materials have changed or the room has expanded in volume."
As implemented at Las Condes, Constellation encompasses 41 compact UPM-1P and MM-4XP loudspeakers for mid-high frequencies, and six UMS-SM subwoofers for extending low-frequency reverberation. Sixteen miniature cardioid microphones link the hall's physical acoustics to three Constellation digital processors, which in turn employ Meyer Sound's patented VRASâ„¢ algorithms to generate the complex early reflections and late reverberations that comprise the room's unique acoustical signature. Five presets allow venue operators to adapt its acoustics to suit anything from subtly enhanced speech to romantic symphonic and choral works.
"Some artists and orchestras were reticent at first, but they were convinced once they heard it," says Antonio Monasterio of Santiago-based Audiopro, the system integrator for the project and Meyer Sound's Chilean distributor.
Latapiat adds: "I've had positive comments from conductors of large orchestras and small ensembles. They are happy that the room can be adjusted to suit their needs. I don't hear comments from audiences, however. Constellation is so natural they don't realize it is even there."
As a fully independent acoustical system, Constellation is most often used for performances that are not amplified by a traditional reinforcement system. In some instances, however, such as amplified jazz, folk, and musical theatre performances, Constellation can add subtle enhancements, as has been done at Las Condes.
For amplified events, the main sound reinforcement system at Teatro Municipal de Las Condes includes dual hangs of 12-each Meyer Sound M'elodie® line array loudspeakers, with low-frequency augmentation by two 700-HP subwoofers. Performer foldback is provided by ten UM-1P stage monitors, and a Galileo® loudspeaker management system comprising one Galileo 616 processor supplies system drive.
Built at a cost of US$22 million, the new theatre has become a focal point for the arts in the Las Condes district of Santiago. The hall features highly automated mechanisms for reconfiguration of stage elements, front seating, and the orchestra pit, allowing for up to three entirely different stagings in one day.
The Constellation system at Las Condes was designed and calibrated by the Meyer Sound Constellation team, working closely with acoustical consultant Leonardo Parma, who had carefully optimized the hall's physical acoustics to work seamlessly with Constellation.