The team behind Dartmouth's new Meyer PA included (l-r): Doug Phoenix, Production Manager; Dan Merlo, Master Technician; Kevin Malenda, Master Technician; Ethan Williams, Master Technician.New Hampshire (September 27, 2007)--Last night, Dartmouth College hosted and co-sponsored the Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate, which featured candidate hopefuls New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton; Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards; Illinois Senator Barack Obama; New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson; Delaware Senator Joseph R. Biden; Connecticut Senator Christopher J. Dodd; Representative Dennis Kucinich; and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel. Gracing the stage with them in the 900-seat Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center for the Arts was a new Meyer Sound system, installed last spring, based on the M'elodie ultracompact high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker.
While it took on the high-profile speaking engagement, the room was actually designed for acoustic and classical music. "The Spaulding Auditorium is a wonderful room for a chamber orchestra or Yo-Yo Ma playing the cello," notes Keely Ayres, senior production manager for the Hopkins Center.
When planning for the new M'elodie system, the Hopkins Center's production management team, which includes Ayres, Doug Phoenix, and Jim Alberghini, had to ensure that major acoustical treatments remained intact in order to preserve the room's original aesthetics. "We couldn't change the look intended by the designer, or the expectations of those who paid for the construction back in 1962," says Ayres. A system of legacy, unpowered Meyer Sound products--mainly MSL-2 high-power and UPA-1 compact wide coverage loudspeakers--had served the auditorium for the past two decades. After testing various replacement systems, Ayres and her team chose M'elodie loudspeakers.
Rainbow Production Services of Hampstead, N.H., supplied the Meyer Sound system, which bested a conventionally powered system in an on-site shootout. "We prepped and aligned both systems beforehand," says system co-designer Scott Tkachuk, Rainbow Production Services' director of touring and events. "We then played live and recorded music through one system, took it down, and did the same with the other. When all was said and done, the M'elodie system sounded much more transparent and natural."
The Meyer Sound system configured by Tkachuk, with assistance from Meyer Sound's Design Services department, incorporates left and right arrays of seven M'elodie loudspeakers each, plus three UPM-1P ultracompact wide coverage loudspeakers filling in the front-center and outside corners, and four 600-HP compact high-power subwoofers. A Galileo loudspeaker management system drives all components. The system was aligned and optimized using a SIM3 audio analyzer.