At Indiana University South Bend (IUSB), a Meyer Sound Constellation® acoustic system proved to be a critical component in transforming a lecture hall into a flexible performance space with impeccable acoustics that can adapt to any musical genre. The selection of Constellation also eliminated cost-prohibitive structural changes and liberated the architect from constraints imposed by a physical acoustic solution.
IUSB’s Constellation system is installed in the school’s 221-seat Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall.
“When we first tuned Constellation here, I realized right away that we had a robust and incredibly adaptable system,” says Thom Limbert, assistant professor of music at IUSB, who oversees Constellation’s day-to-day operation. “The level of detail is just incredible. Fine parameter adjustments result in subtle yet significant differences. You can add depth to the room for the low notes of a cello or piano, or create alternate acoustic environments to highlight specific characteristics of an entire string quartet. The result is really quite astonishing.”
According to Brandon Bogan, principal architect of Indianapolis-based CSO Architects, Inc., the acoustic enhancement was a dream that almost didn’t happen. “The first round of proposals required extensive structural changes to increase room volume—the projected costs outstripped the budget, so we were brought on board to re-think the whole approach.”
Bogan enlisted the services of Roger Noppe, acoustician at Chatsworth, Calif.-based Purcell-Noppe Associates, who proposed a Constellation solution. “With Constellation, CSO was no longer limited to certain room dimensions and surface materials,” says Bogan. “We were therefore able to focus on the overall experience of the patrons and artists in the hall.”
At the heart of Constellation is a D-Mitri® digital audio platform, which hosts patented VRAS™ acoustical algorithms that generate natural acoustical environments, allowing reverberation times, strengths, and frequency envelopes to be tailored for any musical style. Sixteen miniature condenser microphones detect ambient room sound, with the enhanced acoustical response delivered through 32 Stella-8C installation loudspeakers, 37 MM-4XP self-powered loudspeakers, and eight MM-10XP subwoofers. Two UPJunior™ VariO™ loudspeakers are used for light reinforcement and playback when needed.
Also consulted on the Constellation decision were Dr. Marvin Curtis, dean of the university’s Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts, and principal donor Yatish J. Joshi. Constellation at IUSB is outfitted with a range of presets that allow mid-band reverberation times from 0.7 to over 1.6 seconds, with low-frequency reverberations extending from 0.8 seconds to around 2.1 seconds. The system also includes SpaceMap® multichannel panning, which Limbert uses extensively in his electronic music teaching and creative work.