New Zealand’s ASB Theatre renovates with Constellation
NEW ZEALAND: The 2,068-seat ASB Theatre in New Zealand recently invested in a Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system as part of an overall renovation plan. To provide acoustics that support ASB’s orchestral and operatic performances, principal consultant Chris Day of Marshall Day Acoustics specified a balanced approach blending both structural and active electronic solutions.
Mr Day added new side and overhead hardwood reflector panels and parquet flooring. To provide the ideal acoustic support for classical music, ASB decided against the cost-prohibitive option, which required raising the ceiling to add room volume. Instead, ASB chose Constellation as a cost-saving option that provides a broadband extension of the reverberant envelope. The system also allows room operators to tailor the acoustics for any event with the press of a button.
At the heart of ASB Theatre’s Constellation system is a D-Mitri digital audio platform with three core processors, 12 input/output frames, one core matrix, and six dedicated processors running the patented VRAS acoustical algorithm. Forty-four cardioid and 32 omnidirectional microphones provide ambient sound pickup, while the enhanced acoustical response is precisely reproduced through a total of 268 small self-powered mid-high loudspeakers including Stella 4-C installation loudspeakers, MM-4XP self-powered loudspeakers, UP-4XP 48 V loudspeakers, UPJunior VariO loudspeakers and 24 MM-10XP subwoofers.
The Constellation system was provided and installed by Bartons Sound Systems of Auckland under the project supervision of Robert Waddell and Tony Wehner.
‘From the opening rumbles of the orchestra it was obvious that something magical had happened during the interior upgrading,’ said New Zealand Herald music critic Brian Rudman. ‘Instead of the underwhelming “mono LP” sound, there was volume, bloom, and the stereo-like envelopment you get in a great lyric theatre.’
‘We’ve had good feedback from patrons, particularly during the recent opera,’ commented Kerry Griffiths, head of technical operations for The Edge, the umbrella group that operates Aotea Centre and other Auckland venues. ‘Management has been pleased. And I’m relieved that we now can provide concert hall acoustics for orchestral presentations. It’s also enhanced what we can offer for opera, both for singers and what we hear from the pit orchestra, which is vastly improved.’
A critical element in Constellation, the VRAS algorithm was developed by Dr Mark Poletti of Industrial Research Ltd. His early work on VRAS was prompted in part by reports that the Aotea Centre was seeking improved techniques for high quality, cost-effective acoustical enhancements.