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Konzerthaus Berlin Finds Speech and Music Clarity with Meyer Sound CAL Column Arrays
Ranked amongst the top five symphonic concert venues, Konzerthaus Berlin has recently installed the steerable Meyer Sound CAL column array loudspeakers in its Great Hall (German: Großer Saal). Blending inconspicuously into the hall's neoclassical architecture, the slender, elegant arrays are used for music reproduction as well as voice applications from concert narration and conductor commentary to emergency alarm systems.
"After modeling and measuring CAL's extended frequency performance, we were impressed by the system's ability to handle both speech and high-fidelity music reinforcement," says system designer and acoustical consultant Ralf Bauer-Diefenbach of Berlin-based MMT Network. "That has surprised many musicians who have heard it; they are amazed that such a small, unobtrusive system can sound so natural."
Several factors steered the venue toward a CAL solution. "We wanted a system that could be integrated subtly into the architecture," Bauer-Diefenbach says. "In addition, CAL delivers excellent speech intelligibility, particularly for a reverberant concert hall, with over 95 percent of the STI values greater than 0.5 for the empty hall, and greater than 0.64 with audience present. Speech sounds very natural with CAL."
The primary central cluster, flown high to keep clear of sight lines, comprises four CAL 64 loudspeakers configured for 360-degree coverage of the two upper tiers, rear stalls, balconies, and stage area. Two additional CAL 32 loudspeakers are placed on each side of the orchestra for floor seating coverage. The advanced beam-steering technology in CAL allows the venue to custom-tailor both the vertical directivity and down-tilt angles with exacting precision, while the CAL 64 model adds beam-splitting capabilities. Also used are four UP-4XP loudspeakers for front fill and four MM-10XP subwoofers. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 processor provides system drive and optimization. Components were installed by Berlin-based Elektroakustik Neuenhagen GmbH.
Since installation, the system has been used for dramatic readings accompanying the Vienna Philharmonic's performance of Schubert's incidental music for Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus, and reinforcement of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
The 1,418-capacity Konzerthaus Berlin was opened as a theatre in 1821 and rebuilt as a concert hall in 1977. The acoustics in the shoebox-shaped Great Hall have been ranked among the world's five best for symphonic music by eminent acoustician Leo Beranek. Konzerthaus Berlin hosts its own resident orchestra, as well as visits by renowned orchestras such as the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.