The things we can do here with Constellation you will not find in even the best art house cinemas...I think we have a model for what art houses will aim to be in the future, both in terms of the technology and how we use it to create memorable events.”
Kip KellyCreative Director and Chief Experience Officer, The Beverly Theater
Despite its reputation as a global mecca for entertainment, Las Vegas had struggled in recent years to support a thriving art house cinema. That deficiency was remedied earlier this year with the opening of The Beverly Theater, a multi-dimensional event venue that leverages the best-in-class AVL systems designed by Coherent Design and installed by Solotech, including the sonic flexibility of Meyer Sound’s Constellation acoustic system to create audience experiences that extend far beyond traditional film showings.
The disruptions of the pandemic and today’s near-universal access to streaming content had drastically changed the landscape for independent art house venues, according to Kip Kelly, founding creative director and chief experience officer for The Beverly Theater. Something new was needed.
“Beverly Rogers, the visionary and namesake behind this theater, had a dream for a storytelling arena that would host cinematic, literary, and live music events in one accommodating space,” he says. “Since those events all require different acoustics for uncompromised presentations, Constellation became a foundational technology in the design. The things we can do here with Constellation you will not find in even the best art house cinemas elsewhere. In fact, I think we have a model for what art houses will aim to be in the future, both in terms of the technology and how we use it to create memorable events.”
The physical room acoustics are deadened to best accommodate cinema, but by selecting a touchscreen preset the Constellation can implement voice lift, which allows spoken word intelligibility throughout the space — from presenters or audience members — without individual hand-held microphones. The 146 theater seats are retractable, opening the floor to accommodate over 400 for a wide variety of events, including live music. Constellation has presets to optimize the room acoustic for any genre, from choral to orchestral and jazz.
“Voice lift has helped us turn film showings into special events,” continues Kelly. “We can bring in creative people and cast members to engage with the audience, something you won’t get when streaming the film at home.”
All audio, video, and stage lighting (AVL) technologies were designed by Las Vegas-based Coherent Design under the direction of Principals Kevin Potts, David Starck, Jarrod Hetzer (theatrical lighting), and Jason Pritchard (AV).
“When the principals at the Rogers Foundation — the theater’s owner — explained to me what they wanted to do, I immediately thought of a Meyer Sound cinema system coupled with Constellation,” says Potts. “When we visited Meyer Sound’s Pearson Theater in Berkeley and heard the Constellation demo, they were immediately sold on the concept. It didn’t take much convincing.”
For film showings, the cinema system is anchored in the front by three Acheron 100 screen channel loudspeakers along with six X‑800C cinema subwoofers for LFE. Fourteen ULTRA‑X20XP compact wide coverage loudspeakers provide 7.1 surround capability and also integrate with Constellation active acoustics.
Constellation utilizes an additional 63 full-range loudspeakers (Ashby‑5C and MM‑4XP) along with 16 MM‑10XP subwoofers. Forty-nine mini condenser microphones are deployed for ambient sensing, all on automated cable reels to precisely raise and lower depending on the current room mode – typically music presets with flat floor or voice lift with raked theater seating.
Supplier and integrator for all AVL systems was Solotech, a leader in audiovisual and entertainment technology, established in Las Vegas since 2007, with coordination by Business Development Manager Aaron Beck, on-site project management by Jason Bauer, and systems programming by Eric McFall.
“We have been supporting Las Vegas and other US major integration projects for many years now. Being the integrator for all AVL systems gave us more room to coordinate internally everything with greater efficiency and to adapt quickly to any roadblocks we encountered in the last crunch of this construction,” notes Beck.
“I’m proud of what everyone has accomplished together, both with our Solotech teams and our various partners, to the benefit of The Beverly Theater’s promising future.”
Initial program selections at The Beverly Theater lean heavily toward recent independent releases, with an occasional worthy classic (The Graduate, The Third Man) added to the mix. The opening weekend featured a showing of First Reformed with filmmaker Paul Schrader in attendance. Literary offerings include, as examples, readings and conversations with authors Barry Friedman and Tessa Winkelmann.
Music programming is largely in development and will increase later in the year, according to Kip Kelly.
“We expect we will be a touring house for up-and-coming alternative acts that can’t find an appropriate venue in Las Vegas,” he says. “But we also expect to do experimental music presentations with small ensembles. With Constellation, we don’t have to tie musicians and audience members to certain places in the room. One concept is to place musicians in the middle of the room with pathways between them, so the audience can walk around and become physically immersed in the work, in an interactive way. How creative can we be when Constellation frees us from the constraints of a typical PA? The potential has yet to be fully imagined!”
Based on a patented breakthrough in digital processing for acoustic spaces, Constellation places a bespoke multichannel DSP between arrays of microphones and loudspeakers distributed throughout the room. By separately processing and supplementing early reflections or extending reverberation, sound propagates as if the room were larger, differently shaped, or constructed with materials exhibiting varying degrees of absorption or reflection.