Milestones

Meyer Sound - A History of Innovation

This timeline summarizes nearly a quarter century of advances spanning the full spectrum of audio technology, including horn and enclosure designs, self-powered systems, acoustical modeling and measurement, and breakthroughs in precise directional control of sound.

Jump down to: 2014
2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998
1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 | 1989 | 1988 | 1986 | 1985 | 1984 | 1983 | 1981 | 1980 | 1979
1975 | 1973 | 1970 | 1969 | 1967 |

2014

John Meyer Receives 2014 InfoComm International Adele De Berri Pioneers of AV Award

LYON wins two industry awards

LYON linear sound reinforcement system wins Commercial Integrator BEST Award for Venue/Line Array Loudspeakers and Pro Audio Group Best of Show Award at InfoComm 2014.

Musikverein, a CAL install, wins InstallAward

CAL column array loudspeaker installation at the Golden Hall of Vienna's Musikverein wins InstallAward for Best Project in the Sports and Performing Arts category.

The Exploratorium, a Constellation install, wins InstallAward

Equipped with a Constellation acoustic system, the Kanbar Forum at San Francisco's Exploratorium wins InstallAward for Teamwork in the Education category. The collaboration involved theatrical design firm The Shalleck Collaborative, systems integrator BBI Engineering, and architects at EHDD.

LYON linear sound reinforcement system

The LEO Family expands with the self-powered LYON linear sound reinforcement system. Incorporating the technology of LEO into a lighter and more compact package, LYON extends the advantages of highly linear self-powered systems to a broader range of venues and applications. LYON loudspeakers are available in two versions: the LYON-M main line array loudspeaker and the LYON-W wide-coverage line array loudspeaker.

John Meyer inducted into TEC Awards Hall of Fame

Meyer received the prestigious award at the 2014 NAMM Show, joining Frank Zappa, Phil Spector, T Bone Burnett, and 30 other luminaries who have shaped the art and science of music, recording, and sound reinforcement technologies.

The Blue Planet, a D-Mitri install, wins project awards

Featuring a D-Mitri digital audio platform and 57 Meyer Sound loudspeakers, The Blue Planet aquarium installation in Denmark receives an InAVate Futures Award and a Commercial Integrator and Tech Decisions Integration Award. AV consulting and integration was provided by Stouenborg.

Meyer Sound wins East Bay Innovation Award

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance honored Meyer Sound with the 2014 Award for Engineering and Design, recognizing the company's continuing contribution to the California Bay Area's culture of innovation.

2013

Compass RMS: Remote Monitoring System

Comprised of RMServer compact hardware, Compass software, and RMS modules in the loudspeakers, Compass RMS streamlines the real-time monitoring of Meyer Sound loudspeakers.

Helen Meyer named Influential Woman by San Francisco Business Times

Helen Meyer honored amongst women leaders who have risen to the highest positions in corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

Berkeley Memorial Stadium wins project award

CAL column array loudspeaker installation at CAL Berkeley's Memorial Stadium wins AV Technology Award for Most Improved Sound System

Comal Restaurant wins project awards

The Constellation-equipped Comal Restaurant wins AV Technology Award for Best Restaurant/Retail System and ProAV Spotlight Award for Best Hospitality/Restaurant Installation

SFJAZZ Center wins project awards

The MINA-equipped SFJAZZ Center wins ProAV Spotlight Award for Best Arts/Entertainment Installation and InfoComm People's Choice Award

Galileo Callisto wins product award

Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system wins Rental & Staging Systems Product Award for Best Audio Control or Mixing Product

MJF-210 stage monitor

The self-powered MJF-210 stage monitor brings the remarkable sonic performance of the MJF-212A to a more flexible package.

LEO wins three industry awards

LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system wins Parnelli Award for Indispensable Audio Technology, PAR Excellence award for Line Array Systems/Cabinets, and ProSoundWeb Readers' Choice Award for Large Format Line Arrays

CAL wins three industry awards

CAL column array loudspeaker wins TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement, AV Technology Award for Best New Product for a Transportation Environment, and ProSoundWeb Readers' Choice Award for best Column and Line Source Loudspeaker

2012

1100-LFC low-frequency control element wins PAR Excellence Award

HD-1 inducted into TECnology Hall of Fame

First sports installation of CAL at the UC Berkeley Memorial Stadium

Forty CAL column array loudspeakers are installed in the Memorial Stadium to provide extraordinarily high speech intelligibility despite the crowd noise in the 63,000-capacity seating bowl.

First restaurant with a Constellation system

Constellation is successfully implemented at Berkeley restaurant Comal where it maintains the desired level of energized "buzz" throughout the space while still allowing intimate conversations, all regardless of occupancy levels.

LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system

The powerful LEO system is designed for long-throw applications, and features the LEO-M advanced linear array loudspeaker and the 1100-LFC low-frequency control element for low end content. LEO systems are driven by the Galileo Callisto array processor, which provides matrix routing, alignment, and processing.

Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system

Designed as the perfect complement to Meyer Sound's M Series and LEO-M arrays, Callisto features delay integration for aligning loudspeaker arrays, user defined shaping filters, and simultaneous low- and high-pass filters for subwoofer control.

1100-LFC low-frequency control element

The 1100-LFC low-frequency control element is a Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeaker defined by its sonic linearity in reproducing the operating range of 28 Hz to 100 Hz. The ultralow distortion, coupled with exceptional headroom and optimized rigging options, makes the 1100-LFC a flexible tool for low-end directional applications for large-scale tours and installations.

MINA wins TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement

2011

Helen Meyer receives 2011 InfoComm Women in AV Award

Helen Meyer received the 2011 InfoComm International Women in AV Award. The Women in AV Award acknowledges female AV industry professionals who represent a strong entrepreneurial spirit and excellence in technology management.

MINA wins 2011 SCN/InfoComm Installation Product Award

MINA wins Live Design Products of the Year Award

Constellation acoustic system wins MIPA Award

Constellation marked the fifth Meyer Sound product to win a MIPA Award.

John and Helen Meyer receive the MIPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Acheron Designer screen channel loudspeaker

Meyer Sound's screen channel cinema product line further expanded with the introduction of the compact Acheron Designer. Production prototypes of Acheron Designer were first used by noteworthy development partners including Skywalker Sound, Bay Films, and 20th Century Fox Sound Editorial Department.

"Everybody is very happy with the sound and headroom of the Acheron Designers. The speakers sold themselves!" says John Morris, supervising sound editor and sound designer, 20th Century Fox.

D-Mitri digital audio platform wins InAVation Award

2010

CAL and D-Mitri win Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design

MINA compact curvilinear array loudspeaker

Meyer Sound added a compact, yet, powerful member to the acclaimed MILO family of self-powered line array loudspeakers with the introduction of MINA. MINA focuses all the advances Meyer Sound has made since the MILO debuted in 2003, including a new digital amplifier, a new REM, and improved rigging, to provide a high-fidelity sound system to small spaces.

CAL steerable column array loudspeakers

The company's first steerable column array loudspeakers, the CAL family is an accumulation of Meyer Sound engineers' years of scientific research in steering sound technology, low-distortion audio, and discrete per-element digital signal processing. CAL reproduces speech with exceptional intelligibility even in highly reverberant environments including airports and retail spaces.

2009

SB-3F named the Most Innovative Loudspeaker for Commercial Installation by Systems Contractor News and InfoComm International

JM-1P and UP-4XP win WFX New Product Awards

Acheron Studio screen channel loudspeaker

The Acheron Studio screen channel loudspeaker was added to Meyer Sound's EXP cinema loudspeakers, bringing the low distortion and transparency of the Acheron 80 screen channel loudspeaker to a smaller package for use behind a perforated screen or for direct monitoring.

UPQ wins TEC Award, MIPA Award, and Live Design Product of the Year

Meyer Sound announces D-Mitri digital audio platform

Encompassing the entire audio chain, from microphone input to loudspeaker output, incorporating multichannel distribution, recording and playback, and show control automation, D-Mitri is one of the first audio products to adopt the new AVB (audio video bridging) standard, which makes it a true real-time system that allows multiple network devices to respond to a command at the same time.

Release of loudspeaker measurement data for EASE users

With Meyer Sound's release of the high-resolution loudspeaker measurement data in the GLL (Generic Loudspeaker Library) format, users of EASE design and simulation software can model the interaction of Meyer Sound loudspeaker systems with the acoustics of rooms.

A new selection of small-footprint, powerful loudspeakers and subwoofers

To meet sound designers' need for low-visibility loudspeakers with exceptional power-to-size ratios, superior clarity and low-distortion, Meyer Sound introduced a new range of installation product offerings, including the UP-4XP ultracompact loudspeaker; MM-4XPV miniature loudspeaker with volume control; MM-4XPD miniature loudspeaker with directional control; MM-10AC miniature subwoofer with AC connector; MM-10ACX miniature subwoofer with built-in 48V power supply; and MM-10XP miniature subwoofer with remote 48V power supply.

JM-1P arrayable loudspeaker

The JM-1P self-powered loudspeaker is a high-Q, arrayable loudspeaker that employs Meyer Sound's patented REM technology and trapezoidal cabinet design. The JM-1P can integrate seamlessly in tightly-packed array clusters, and can be used as a high directivity point source loudspeaker either horizontally or vertically. With its scalable coverage and versatile QuickFly rigging options, the JM-1P loudspeaker is ideal for touring, rental, and fixed installations.

2008

Helen Meyer named Woman of Distinction by East Bay Business Times

The annual award celebrates 25 women who have broken barriers, served as mentors to other women, and left a mark on East Bay business.

Helen & John Meyer honored with Distinguished Achievement Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)

Meyer Sound Pearson Theatre receives Architecture Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)

UPJunior VariO loudspeaker wins TEC Award

UPJunior marked the sixth Meyer Sound product honored with a TEC Award

John and Helen Meyer Scholarship

Five students became the first recipients of John and Helen Meyer Scholarship, a partnership with ESAMA (Superior School for AudioVisual Media) in Andalusia, Spain. Meyer Sound has long devoted to audio education by presenting a variety of seminars around the world and supporting training programs by industry organizations, but this award was the first program designated as a scholarship bearing the name of the company's founders.

SB-3F sound field synthesis loudspeaker

The high-powered device employs the company's leading-edge sound field synthesis technology with multiple small point sources to create a focused, coherent long-range sound field. The breakthrough product was first deployed at Céline Dion's concert in Africa and was soon installed as part of the LA Coliseum upgrade.

500-HP compact high-Power subwoofer

The self-powered 500-HP brings the power-to-size ratio and extremely low-distortion signature of Meyer Sound subwoofers to a package ideal for rigging with the M'elodie line array loudspeaker to create an aesthetically pleasing array. With its excellent bass clarity, the self-powered 500-HP provides a superior option for sound designers especially when space is a key consideration.

UPQ-1P wide coverage loudspeaker and UPQ-2P narrow coverage loudspeaker

The UPQ-1P and UPQ-2P deliver the same smooth sonic performance that has made Meyer Sound UltraSeries products the choice for Broadway productions, performance venues and nightclubs, and offer flexible functionality as a stand-alone loudspeaker or as a part of an array.

2007

MM-4XP self-powered miniature loudspeaker

Meyer Sound's experience in building the larger, high-output loudspeakers such as M'elodie and UPJunior enabled its engineering team to create a self-powered version of the popular MM-4 miniature loudspeaker introduced in 2001.

With a face measuring just four inches square, this compact product was designed for high-quality distributed systems where space is at a premium and in which a single light gauge cable can deliver both balanced audio and DC power over a long cable run of up to several hundred feet.

John Meyer receives Silver Medal Award from the Audio Engineering Society

The AES Silver Medal honors those whose work represents exceptional developments or achievements in the field of audio engineering. The award was given to John Meyer in recognition of his "outstanding achievement in source independent measurement of public address systems and the advancement of quality in sound reinforcement."

M’elodie receives MIPA Award

When the Musikmesse International Press Award for Large Format PA System was presented to M'elodie, it marked a grand slam of sorts for the MILO family of loudspeakers, since MILO, MICA, and M'elodie have now each won this award.

2006

John Meyer nominated for GRAMMY Award for Golden Strings of the Sarode album.

On December 21, 2001, John Meyer and Meyer Sound associate "dB" Dave Dennison hung a single Neumann SM69 stereo microphone in the Kensington Unitarian Church in Berkeley, Calif. and recorded sarode master Aashish Khan and percussionist Zakir Hussain playing three traditional Indian ragas. The session, produced by Meyer and Dennison with Hussain's wife, Antonia Minnecola was released on Hussain's Moment Records as Golden Strings of the Sarode. In December 2006, the album was nominated for a GRAMMY Award as Best Traditional World Music Album.

Meyer engineered the recording using the mid/side microphone technique invented by recording pioneer Alan Blumlein. suspending a single Neumann SM69 stereo microphone above and in front of the performers, then routing the signal into a custom tunable, complementary phase M/S matrix, and recording it on a Nagra D-II digital tape recorder at a 96 kHz sample rate and 24-bit resolution.

Galileo receives Pro Audio Review Reviewer’s Pick Award

M’elodie receives Pick Hit award from Sound & Video Contractor Magazine

Constellation electroacoustic architecture launched at Zellerbach Hall

The VRAS variable room acoustic system fascinated John Meyer, who saw much potential for its use in multipurpose venues. When Meyer Sound acquired LCS Audio, VRAS was one of his strongest interests and a VRAS system had been installed in the company's Pearson Theatre.

Meyer envisioned the next step for the technology as being that customers who purchase a system would receive a turnkey system, a complete package of design and tuning services from trained specialists in acoustics and digital audio, as well as hardware components designed specifically for the needs of electroacoustic architecture. The tuning process underwent transformation to increase its efficiency and methods. The result of this holistic upgrade was dubbed "Constellation" by Grammy-winning classical music recording and live sound engineer John Pellowe, who became involved in its development.

The first Constellation system was installed into Zellerbach Hall, on the University of California Berkeley campus. Meyer Sound had a long association with Zellerbach, and the timing was perfect, as Zellerbach faced an acoustical challenge in the variety of program material on the bill of their upcoming centennial gala.

The system made a characteristically low-profile debut at the gala in Zellerbach Hall on May 12, 2006 and received enthusiastic responses. Constellation was now officially launched.

M’elodie ultracompact high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker

The MILO family had grown. The original MILO loudspeaker proved a major hit, especially for its smooth, extended high-frequency response, high-power, and easy-to-use QuickFly rigging. With M'elodie (named for John and Helen's granddaughter, Elodie, sister of Milo), Meyer Sound brought those qualities to package much smaller than MILO, in fact, smaller than the M2D. Like the larger MICA loudspeaker before it, M'elodie was fast out of the gate; a popular product from its introduction. With the addition of M'elodie, the MILO family line had a complete collection of sizes and coverage variations.

MICA receives MIPA Award for Best Large Format PA System

Having received its first MIPA Award only two years before, Meyer Sound quickly repeated the performance by winning a 2005 award for the MICA compact high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker. Attendees at the Frankfurt Musik Messe/Pro Light + Sound exposition, during which the awards are presented, went to the Meyer Sound booth to check out MICA and found the company also showing the brand new M'elodie loudspeaker for the first time in Europe.

2005

Galileo loudspeaker management system

While digital audio had been around for decades, it was not until the '90s that it started to mature, and it was only after the turn of the millennium that it began seriously penetrating sound reinforcement. It was obvious that digital audio was the future, offering capabilities that were simply not possible with analog audio, but John Meyer didn't want to get Meyer Sound seriously involved with digital audio until he felt it was possible to attain the level of quality he felt qualified as "good sound." Although Meyer Sound made the SIM analyzer, the RMS remote monitoring system, and MAPP Online acoustical prediction software, the company had never made a digital device that was part of the signal chain.

Finally, around 2004, he decided the time had come and Meyer Sound embarked on a collaboration with LCS Audio, a small company making a powerful, high-quality digital audio system for theatrical sound, on a new, all-digital system drive processor. The project was headed by Perrin Meyer, John and Helen's son and the company's software R&D manager. In late 2005, the Galileo 616 processor and Compass control software for it shipped to an audio world eager to see what Meyer Sound would do in its first foray into digital audio.

The Galileo system was a breakthrough in a number of respects, including the number of inputs and outputs, its fixed latency, and its Composite EQ, which allowed corrective equalization with a minimum of phase shift.

The fact that one of the very first units was installed at Carnegie Hall underscored both the industry's confidence in Meyer Sound and its enthusiasm for Galileo's features and performance.

Meyer Sound acquires LCS Audio

LCS Audio's history went back to 1992, when engineer Steve Ellison and sound designer Jonathan Deans formed Level Control Systems. In 1996, the company merged with John McMahon's Cadence Digital Audio and its product grew from a multichannel panning system into a complete theatrical digital audio system, needing only microphones and a loudspeaker system to provide sound for a production. While LCS Audio was a small company with a fanatical following amongst theatrical sound designers, it was hard-put to marshal the resources necessary to grow significantly.

Meyer Sound collaborated with LCS Audio in the creation of the Galileo loudspeaker management system, during which time it became evident that both companies could benefit by joining forces: Meyer Sound would gain an established, experienced, forward-looking digital audio team for its new initiative into that field, while LCS Audio would gain the benefit of Meyer Sound's greater resources and highly successful vision and methods.

The two companies had many similarities in their corporate philosophies and cultures, and even overlapping markets, which made the idea even more attractive. In late 2005, Meyer Sound acquired LCS Audio and took the next step down the path Galileo had established.

MICA receives Pro Audio Review PAR Excellence Award

Pro Audio Review Magazine has favored Meyer Sound with numerous favorable reviews over the years, as well as awards. The magazine clearly knew a good thing when it saw/heard it, and was the first to bestow an award onto the new MICA loudspeaker.

MVC-5 Ornamental Design of a Loudspeaker (patent D547,749)

[View Patent Info]

Ornamental Design for a Microphone (patent D508,691)

This design patent is for the appearance (or "ornamental design") of a microphone created as part of a development project. [View Patent Info]

Frequency Dependent Excursion Limiter (patent 6,931,135 B1)

There are several ways that applying too much power to a loudspeaker driver can cause it to fail. One is overheating of the voice coil. Another one is over-excursion: when the applied voltage causes the driver to try to move further than it is mechanically able. Vented enclosures are particularly susceptible to this, especially below the tuning frequency of the enclosure, where the acoustical impedance becomes very low.

There are several methods that are often tried for protecting against this. One is a standard limiter, but at the low frequencies of concern, they are often too slow when they need to be instantaneous. Further, very short attack times can sometimes produce artifacts. Another method is a high-pass filter, but they are not very effective and can introduce significant phase shifts that degrade the sound.

Frequency-dependent limiters are a third method that has been applied. The frequency-dependent limiter triggers limiting at different levels for different frequencies, in accordance with measurements of the loudspeaker taken during the development phase to determine the maximum allowable voltage at those frequencies. In most cases, these limiters were used in open loop systems (that is, without a controller receiving feedback from the loudspeaker) and, as a result, had to be quite complex, involving matched filters and other difficult circuitry.

This patent is for a greatly simplified circuit for a frequency-dependent limiter. Clever use of feed-forward and feedback circuits eliminates the need for matched filters. Other efficiencies are introduced by circuits that combine two functions that are separate in other frequency dependent excursion limiter designs. Overall, not only is the complexity of the circuit less, the parts count is also considerably reduced.

Also addressed in the patent is the use of the limiter in a closed-loop system such as Meyer Sound's self-powered loudspeakers. [View Patent Info]

Galileo wins Rental & Staging Award for Best Audio Control/Mixing Product

MILO Front of a Loudspeaker (patent D505,942)

This design patent covers the appearance (or "ornamental design") of the front of MILO. The design is patented to prevent other companies from creating confusion in consumers with a product that looks identical. [View Patent Info]

MICA compact high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker

MICA brought the essential qualities of the MILO loudspeaker to a smaller footprint that was nonetheless powerful enough to cover medium-sized venues on its own, or to augment a MILO main system as downfill or sidefill. Released at the beginning of the 2005 summer concert and festival season, MICA made a quick mark in the industry as a "go-to" box for all but the largest gigs. Orders were shipped in dizzying numbers from the first day of its release.

MICA's QuickFly rigging introduced captive GuideALinks, which greatly improved safety by eliminating the need to ever put hands or fingers between cabinets, as well as providing the convenience of links that were permanently mounted in the rigging frame.

MVC-5 graduated vertical coverage loudspeaker

The development of the MVC-5 technology was sparked by John Meyer's loudspeaker demonstration at an ashram in India. He was asked to provide the sound for one of the "small" morning services. He was allowed to provide the sound for one of the "small" morning services: about 35,000 worshippers gathered under a huge corrugated aluminum roof. He did the job with six arrays of six M1D loudspeakers each, placed strategically around the area.

Meyer realized that similar sound reinforcement scenarios were not uncommon: large, primarily flat spaces that needed even coverage best accomplished with a distributed system, such as a convention center or a church. The MVC-5 is actually a small line array in a single enclosure, with the splay angles fixed to yield graded vertical coverage, through which level stayed fairly constant as one moved towards the loudspeaker.

2004

MILO receives TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement, Sound Reinforcement Loudspeaker Technology

Meyer Sound's fifth TEC Award went to MILO. The following year, the MILO 120 was nominated for the same award, with MICA garnering yet another nomination in 2006, continuing Meyer Sound's streak of at least one TEC nomination in nearly every year the awards have existed.

UPA-1 inducted into the TECnology Hall of Fame

The TECnology Hall of Fame was created by the Mix Foundation to recognize those products and people who had truly changed the face of the audio industry. Its first year of induction was 2004, and the UPA-1 was voted one of the first 25 inductees to the hall. John Meyer accepted the award and spoke about the UPA-1's creation. He received a standing ovation from the distinguished industry members in attendance.

Meyer Sound builds Pearson Theatre at its Berkeley headquarters

Meyer Sound's educational seminar series, which dated back to the original "SIM School" given by Bob McCarthy starting in 1984, had never had a real home in the company's hometown of Berkeley, Calif. By 2004, the educational program was expanding substantially, along with the company in general, and the use of a local hotel for seminars was no longer viable. Discussions began about building a training theatre at Meyer Sound, and the more it was talked about, the more potential uses for such a venue came to light.

The decision was made in Spring 2004 to proceed with construction….with a deadline of late October when the company wanted to show the theatre during the Audio Engineering Society convention in San Francisco, during which time it was also holding a celebration of the company's 25th anniversary. The race was on to get the theatre built, but it was complicated by constant adjustments to the design.

As the theatre is being designed and built, John Meyer formulates and puts into practice new ideas on the building of multipurpose spaces. Events of the time, such as Meyer Sound's participation in the "Mythbusters" TV show "Brown Note" episode, influenced aspects of the how the theatre is built.

In the nick of time, the beautiful 57-seat theatre is completed. The theatre's design and equipment are unique and, after the acquisition of LCS Audio in 2005, a VRAS system is installed, the first step in the formation of Constellation electroacoustic architecture. After the death of Don Pearson, the theatre is named the Pearson Theatre in his honor.

John Meyer receives first Parnelli Innovator Award

The 700-HP receives Pro Audio Review Magazine’s Reviewer’s Pick Award

After giving a more than enthusiastic review to the 700-HP, it was no surprise when Pro Audo Review's group of reviewers chose to award it a Reviewer's Pick Award.

Meyer Sound appears on “MythBusters” TV show

Meyer Sound products and personnel have appeared on several episodes of "MythBusters," the popular weekly television show appearing on the Discovery Channel. The quirky series, produced by Australia's Beyond Productions, combines hard science and wacky humor as its two hosts debunk or confirm various urban legends.

During the show's premiere season, "MythBusters" called on Meyer Sound Staff Scientist Dr. Roger Schwenke to confront the legend that a duck's quack doesn't echo. To debunk this myth, live duck quacks were recorded and analyzed in a meadow at a duck farm, in Meyer Sound's anechoic chamber, and in a large, empty warehouse.

Several months later the "MythBusters" team returned to Meyer Sound, recruiting both Schwenke and John Meyer to test a myth rather less suited to squeamish viewers: the so-called "Brown Note."

In yet another investigation, Schwenke was tapped a third time to help confront the myth that a wine glass can be broken by a singer producing the proper pitch. (It can.) This time, the "MythBusters" crew came to Meyer Sound's own Pearson Theatre to tape part of the sequence, which used a UPA-1P loudspeaker and a SIM 3 audio analyzer.

UPJ-1P receives Entertainment Design EDDY Award for “Sound Product of the Year”

SIM 3 receives InfoComm 2004 Pick Hit Award from Sound & Video Contractor

MILO 120 high-power expanded coverage curvilinear array loudspeaker

SIM 3 audio analyzer system

Built on almost 20 years of research and development, ongoing worldwide field testing and award-winning, breakthrough technology, the SIM 3 audio analyzer system is the next generation of acoustical audio analysis in an integrated hardware and software package. In the field or on the bench, the SIM 3 system analyzes entire sound systems as easily as it verifies the performance of individual electronic components. SIM 3 represents a major advance over previous versions of SIM, with greatly increased power and added features at a fraction of the original size and cost.

MILO receives MIPA Award for Best Large Format PA System

The mipa (Music Industry Press Association) Award is voted on by about five dozen major magazines from around the world and presented at the Frankfurt Musik Messe/Pro Light + Sound exposition. MILO was the first, but not only, Meyer Sound product to win this award.

2003

700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofer

One of the first products ever made by Meyer Sound was the 650 subwoofer created for Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now," and the 650's descendants, the 650-R2 and the self-powered 650-P, had become industry standards. By 2003, however, sound systems were considerably more high-powered than when those subwoofers were created. FOH mixer Lars Brogaard, having purchased a large MILO system, wanted a subwoofer to go with it that had more power than the 650-P.

After prototyping several different approaches, the 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofer was released in late 2003. The 700-HP had truly massive output (139 dB SPL max) and enough headroom it was nearly impossible to clip, yet very low distortion. The market responded enthusiastically and immediately, and the 700-HP replicated the success the 650-P had received years before.

M3D receives Producción Profesional and Producción Audio Award as Best Sound Reinforcement Product

Producción Profesional and Producción Audio are two of Spain's best respected trade magazines for entertainment technology. In 2003, they held their first awards ceremony in Madrid's Auditorio Sur de IFEMA. The M3D was recognized as one of the inaugural recipients of an award.

M2D receives Pro Audio Review Reviewer’s Pick Award

LD-3 compensating line driver

The eight-channel LD-3 line driver brings new capabilities to system drive processors. While it contains useful features like compensatory equalization for M Series arrays and subwoofer crossovers, the most distinctive attribute the LD-3 offers is its atmospheric compensation EQ. Feed environmental conditions into the LD-3 through its Temperature, Altitude and Relative Humidity knobs, dial-in the type of loudspeakers and throw for each section of the array, and the LD-3's RISC microcontroller retrieves response correction coefficients and uses them to apply equalization that compensates for the conditions. By utilizing multiple-variable atmospheric loss equations and pre-calculated MAPP Online stored values, the LD-3 deals with the non-linear air absorption variations caused by changing conditions.

M2D and M1D curvilinear array loudspeakers share Entertainment Design EDDY Award for Sound Product of the Year

Ever since the release of the original UPA-1, Meyer Sound loudspeakers had been synonymous with theatre, finding constant application in Broadway and West End productions, and in the increasingly numerous and elaborate productions in Las Vegas. The M2D and M1D were curvilinear array loudspeakers ideally sized for this market, which was moving quickly into the use of line arrays.

While the UPM-2P had won the hearts of the theatre community — and an EDDY award — for its brilliance in fill applications, the M1D and M2D did the same for main FOH systems, winning their own EDDY.

X-10 Loudspeaker System with Feedback Control for Improved Bandwidth and Distortion Reduction (patent 6,584,204)

This patent, issued to the University of California and licensed by Meyer Sound, defines the servo system used in the X-10 high resolution linear control room monitor, technology borrowed from the avionics industry. The patent defines a system for improving frequency response (magnitude and phase) in the sub-bass region of 20 – 100 Hz. Linearity is extremely difficult to achieve in this region, mostly due to three factors: non-uniformity in the magnetic field surrounding the voice coil, voice coil self-inductance variations with cone position, and the non-linear spring behavior exhibited by the surround and spider.

The system described in the patent employs a microphone mounted in front of the low-frequency driver to acquire a pressure feedback signal from the drivers' audio output. This signal is then scaled and subtracted from the audio input signal (which is also scaled) to derive a difference signal. The difference signal is passed through a series of filters to generate a correction signal that is then applied to the loudspeaker.

By placing the microphone very close and off-axis to the speaker, the delay time in the feedback is minimized, room effects do not affect the servo mechanism and cone breakup mode effects at higher frequencies are minimized (simplifying the task of modeling the driver's behavior). The filter network generating the corrected signal can be implemented digitally or with analog circuitry.

The system offers advantages over other systems commonly applied to subwoofers in order to flatten response. One system applies an equalized signal to the driver, but the signal is fixed and is not derived from feedback on the system's operation, making it unable to compensate for modifying effects such as aging or environmental factors. Another system attaches an accelerometer to the voice coil, which adds mass to a critical component.
[View Patent Info]

Mars assembly facility goes online

Since late 1983, all of Meyer Sound's loudspeakers had been built in the back half of its main building, now affectionately called "Earth." By the late '90s, production had grown to the point where that space was simply no longer viable. Over the course of the years, production personnel had plenty of time to form ideas about better ways the job could be done. John and Helen Meyer eventually decided to give them the chance to put those ideas into practice. Rather than bring in an outside consulting firm to design a new facility, the Meyers worked with Meyer Sound's production staff to fashion a place where loudspeakers could be built efficiently enough to meet the short turnaround times that were often required for tours and other customers with tight deadlines.

The Mars facility implements many simple, yet clever and effective ideas to streamline the assembly process while maintaining the extraordinary level of quality assurance for which Meyer Sound is known. The name followed in the tradition of planetary names established with the creation of the Saturn transducer fabrication facility.

UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeaker

Meyer Sound has been involved in the fixed installation market since early in the company's history. As a source of revenue, installations had grown steadily over the years. While many products finding steady use in installations had originally been designed for touring and concert use, growth in the installation market made it clear that Meyer Sound should try the opposite approach and make a product for fixed installation that could also serve touring.

The UPJ-1P employed a rotatable horn, an idea that others had done, but with one very simple and important improvement: the UPJ-1P's horn was marked to give a visual indication of which orientation had the wide coverage angle! The other major feature aimed at the installation market was a broad variety of mounting options, from pole mounting to small arrays.

The installation market loved the UPJ-1P from its release….as did the touring market, which finds the UPJ-1P ideal for fill applications.

MILO high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker

MILO was Meyer Sound's second generation of self-powered loudspeakers leveraging the line array effect. A number of valuable lessons had been learned from building the M3D, M2D, and M1D, and these were combined with extensive customer feedback in the design of MILO.

Named for John and Helen Meyer's grandson, the MILO loudspeaker was much lighter than the M3D. It was also a four-way system, incorporating three two-inch diaphragm compression drivers dedicated to reproducing very high frequencies. The mid-high and very high-frequency sections used the latest versions of the patented REM manifold.

MILO was capable of very high output with low distortion and an extremely smooth, extended high-frequency response. It's QuickFly rigging was improved over the M3D rigging, but the cabinet was the same width so that it could easily be rigged with M3D-Sub directional subwoofers or M3D line array loudspeakers.

When the MILO was released, it took off like a rocket, winning both high sales and multiple awards. Though Meyer Sound's business was already on a strong upswing, MILO suddenly took things to another level altogether, starting a growth spurt that has yet to subside.

2002

M2D compact and M1D ultracompact

Meyer Sound followed the M3D with the introduction of the M2D compact curvilinear array loudspeaker, the M1D ultracompact curvilinear array loudspeaker, and their companion subwoofers (M2D-Sub and M1D-Sub). With those three models in the M Series, sound designers could create integrated systems using compatible line array products of all sizes, affording flexibility and consistent results in applications ranging from the smallest theaters or churches to the largest arenas or outdoor concerts.

After a few years, some clever M1D owners realized that they could be used outside of arrays: individual cabinets worked excellently for frontfill or under-balcony coverage. This usage of the M1D has now become commonplace.

Interconnectable Rigging System for Loudspeakers and Rigging Frames (patent 6,640,924)

The first patent for Meyer Sound's groundbreaking QuickFly rigging system used on the M3D, M3D-Sub, M2D and M2D-Sub. [View Patent Info]

REM Manifold for a Horn Loudspeaker (patent 6,668,969)

Meyer Sound applies for a patent for the REM ribbon emulation manifold waveguide, an innovative design at the heart of the mid- and high-frequency sections in Meyer Sound's line array and curvilinear array loudspeakers. The REM manifold's main advantages over other designs - lower distortion and tighter pattern control - are achieved due to its short length and exponentially increasing waveguide channels. The patent is granted in 2003. [View Patent Info]

2001

M3D line array loudspeaker

The self-powered M3D was Meyer Sound's first loudspeaker to employ the line source principle in a vertical format. (The M3D is an actual line array loudspeaker, intended to be used with little or no splay between cabinets, as opposed to the rest of the M Series products, which are designed for use in curvilinear arrays.)

While the M3D is extremely powerful and full-range, with a frequency response that goes down to 35 Hz and all the way up to 18 kHz, the real breakthroughs it exhibited came in other areas, most notably in the form of BroadbandQ technology.

Loudspeaker specificiations often state horizontal coverage angles, but the reality is that horizontal coverage varies radically with frequency across the response of a full-range loudspeaker. The M3D combined two Meyer Sound advances to produce a loudspeaker that maintains a much more consistent horizontal coverage angle across its wide response.

In the low end, the directional steering technology first developed in the PSW-6 is employed to yield a cardioid coverage pattern. For the mid and high frequencies the M3D introduced the patented REM manifold, which lets high-output compression drivers deliver the kind of directional control associated with line sources. Together, these two advances comprised BroadbandQ.

UPM-2P receives Entertainment Design EDDY Award for Sound Product of the Year

Sponsored by Entertainment Design Magazine (now Live Design), the annual EDDY Awards honor outstanding contributions in the field of entertainment design and technology. In the 10th anniversary year of the EDDY awards, the UPM-2P wins Sound Product of the Year. The judges call the UPM-2P "the directional UPM we've all been asking for," and comment that "It's small, but it sounds great and it packs a punch," concluding "It's a great product because, as usual, Meyer did it right."

MAPP Online multipurpose acoustical prediction program

MAPP Online is a powerful, cross-platform, application that accurately predicts many aspects of how Meyer Sound loudspeakers will perform in a user-defined scenario, including coverage pattern, frequency response, impulse response and maximum SPL output. Its release represented a significant advance over other acoustical prediction programs in several ways. First, it is extremely accurate because it uses high-resolution measurements. Each Meyer Sound loudspeaker model in MAPP Online is based on 1/48th octave analysis of measurements taken at rotational increments of one degree. This resolution, which is higher than any other program at the time of MAPP Online's release and still higher than most, is fine enough to properly capture the complex data, that is, phase as well as magnitude characteristics, of the loudspeaker. This accuracy was confirmed by comparing predicted responses to actual measured responses of the same system described in the prediction. (For more information, see http://www.meyersound.com/support/papers/mapp_prediction/index.htm)

Second, MAPP Online used a patented method wherein a sound designer using an Internet-connected personal computer running Java-based client software creates a scenario for prediction, specifying a number of parameters.

Once the system parameters are defined, this information is sent over the Internet to a server at Meyer Sound headquarters in Berkeley, Calif. Running a sophisticated acoustical prediction algorithm, the server predicts the sound field that the loudspeakers will produce, as well as average and peak SPL and frequency and impulse responses at specified "virtual microphone" positions.

Within a few seconds, MAPP Online generates transmits the prediction results back to the local computer as a color graphical image.

MAPP Online was available free on request and equipped Meyer Sound users with a powerful tool that allowed them to design systems in advance with confidence that the real system would perform as the prediction indicated.

In 2006, MAPP Online Pro, the next generation of this ever-evolving software, replaced MAPP Online.

MM-4 miniature wide-range loudspeaker

Sound sculptor Bill Fontana received a commission from the city of Lyon, France, to create a work of sonic art in celebration of their new tram system, in which loudspeakers would be placed in every tram stop, reproducing sound picked up by microphones in locations around the city. The problem was that there was only four inches of space between the ceiling beams of the tram shelters, not enough room for any decent-sounding loudspeaker Fontana knew of.

Fontana brought his problem to John Meyer, who was intrigued and set to work on a solution. The result was the MM-4, an incredible loudspeaker barely four inches on each side, yet with an operating frequency range from 120 Hz to 18 kHz and a maximum peak output of more than 112 dB SPL, all at extremely low distortion levels! This performance was not easy to achieve, and the design and fabrication of the MM-4's 4-inch driver is quite tricky.

The MM-4 quickly found a niche in a variety of applications requiring extremely low profile, yet high fidelity. The MM-4 has found a great deal of use providing frontfill, sometimes mounted hidden below a stage lip in a theatre or in the steps in a church. It remains one of Meyer Sound's most popular products for fixed installation.

2000

UPM-1P receives TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement, Sound Reinforcement Loudspeaker Technology

UPA-1P Arrayable Two-Way Loudspeaker System and Method (patent 6,081,602)

This patent describes two of the defining aspect of the UPA-1P, which are: constant directivity across frequency and the ability to be arrayed such that all speakers in the array share a common acoustic center, thus causing the array to act as a point-source in the way it radiates sound in the horizontal plane. This latter goal is achieved by creating a frequency independent focal point for the loudspeaker.

Loudspeaker systems commonly change their radiation pattern with frequency. This leads to uneven coverage and undesirable interactions between loudspeakers in arrays. The system described in the patent (which is the UPA-1P, though not specifically named as such) uses a combination of horn design, signal conditioning, and iterative prototyping to arrive at a design exhibiting frequency independence in the focal point.

The patent describes the system comprehensively, including the signal conditioning and arraying techniques.
[View Patent Info]

X-10 high resolution linear control room monitor

Meyer Sound studio monitors have often grown out of new technology development efforts. The X-10 resulted from a patent filed by the University of California as a result of a collaboration with Meyer Sound. The patent incorporates cutting-edge control technology adapted from avionics, called PSAC (Pressure Sensing Active Control), which measures the acoustic output of the system and instantaneously adjusts it to match the input signal in order to achieve near-perfect linearity. In contrast to all other monitoring systems, the X-10 exhibits extended low-frequency response that does not change with variations in level, the result of which is extremely accurate and detailed reproduction.

1999

Helen Meyer awarded a Citation by the Audio Engineering Society

PSW-6 receives TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement, Sound Reinforcement Loudspeaker Technology

UPM-1P ultracompact narrow coverage loudspeaker

The powered version of the popular UPM-1 loudspeaker was very well received. The UPM-1 (reportedly standing for "Ultra Perrin Meyer," in honor of John and Helen Meyer's son, now Meyer Sound's Software R&D Manager) had always been popular in theatrical applications, as well as a fill loudspeaker in installations. Self-powering made it that much more versatile.

1998

CQ-1 wide coverage and CQ-2 narrow coverage loudspeakers released

The San Francisco Opera had a conundrum. The War Memorial Opera House was undergoing a major renovation in conjunction with a seismic retrofit and wanted to put in a state-of-the-art audio system of sufficient transparency to be acceptable to purist opera fans. But the venue itself presented some severe constraints: shallow sightlines that required shallow loudspeaker cabinets, and highly reflective wall surfaces that necessitated loudspeakers with very tight pattern control.

These challenges were brought to John Meyer, who undertook a massive research effort in Meyer Sound's anechoic chamber to develop a new horn with lower distortion, excellent off-axis response, and highly controlled dispersion. Advanced modeling techniques were combined with many iterations of designs before Meyer finally came up with a design that met all of the needs.

This design was used in the creation of the CQ-1 and -2 loudspeakers, which were installed into the opera house in time for its reopening in September 1997. Although the CQ-1 and -2 were not released as products until 1998, within months of their use in the opera house, they were nominated for a TEC Award. A patent for the horn design (#5,925,856) was filed in 1997 and issued in 1999.

PSW-6 high-power cardioid subwoofer

The PSW-6 was another breakthrough technology from Meyer Sound; a product unlike any made before. In the PSW-6, a unique six-driver enclosure (four drivers in front, two in the rear) is combined with sophisticated phase manipulation circuitry to achieve a cardioid directional pattern over its entire operating range of 30 Hz to 125 Hz. Reduced low-frequency radiation to the rear results in substantially improved definition in the audience, greater control of sound on the stage and decreased low-frequency reverberation.

1997

Self-powered UPA loudspeakers receive Theater Crafts International Sound Product of the Year Award

Improved Loudspeaker Horn (patent 5,925,856)


Exhaustive research in Meyer Sound's anechoic chamber brought about the horn design breakthrough described by this patent. First incorporated in the CQ-1 and CQ-2, the new design achieved unprecedented uniformity within the horn's pattern, across all frequencies of operation, without the lobing typical of most other horn designs. [View Patent Info]

SB-1 Broadband Acoustical Transmitting System (patent 5,821,470)

This patent was for the parabolic dish technology used in the SB-1. Applied for six months before the SB-1's release, it was issued a year after the product came out. [View Patent Info]

MTS-4 Multiple Tuned High Power Bass Reflex Speaker System (patent 5,602,367)

With the technology described in this patent, Meyer Sound took a quantum leap forward in boosting the efficiency of a direct radiating system to provide an optimum balance of compact size and efficiency. Rather than taking the conventional approach of using one or two drivers (usually of the same size) in a single reflex enclosure, this patent describes drivers of different sizes, each in its own acoustically isolated and specifically tuned chamber. In the MTS-4A, each driver also has its own dedicated power amplifier module and control electronics. [View Patent Info]

SB-1 parabolic long-throw sound beam

The SB-1 is the first widely available, high-power sound reinforcement device based upon a parabolic reflector. By essentially "repealing" the inverse square law, the SB-1 projects frequencies from 500 Hz to 15 kHz over extremely long distances. With the SB-1, even distant corners in large stadiums can be covered using a single point-source cluster. Technology incorporated in the SB-1 received a patent the following year (Broadband Acoustical Transmitting System).

1996

MTS-4 Self-Powered Loudspeaker (patent D375,499)

This design patent covers the appearance, or "ornamental design," as the patent puts it, of the MTS-4. A separate patent, number 5,602,367, covers the MTS-4's innovative technology. [View Patent Info]

MSL-4 Self-Powered Loudspeaker (patent D373,359)

The MSL-4 marked the beginning of the Self-Powered Series of sound reinforcement loudspeakers, a bold concept that today is changing the face of the entire industry. The MSL-4 enclosure, with its unorthodox low-frequency phasing plug, was awarded this design patent in 1996. [View Patent Info]

UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeaker

Since the release of the original UPA-1 in 1980, this loudspeaker had become one of the most recognizable products in high-quality sound reinforcement, seeing use in theatrical productions, small venues, and as a fill loudspeaker in larger touring and concert systems. Making the UPA-1 self-powered simply perpetuated its popularity. (New improvements, such as those described in patent #5,784,474, were also introduced in powered versions.) Today, the UPA-1P and -2P continue to sell steadily and thousands are in use around the world.

650-P high-power subwoofer

The 650-P was the third generation of one of the products that got Meyer Sound off the ground and onto the map. For years, the 650-P set the standard for undistorted, high-power, very low-frequency reproduction, and it remains a popular product.

1995

MTS-4 self-powered full-range loudspeaker

The self-powered MTS-4 contained, in a single compact enclosure, the ability to reproduce the entire audio spectrum for sound reinforcement, including very low frequencies, at high output with low distortion. It was a four-way system, with each driver housed in its own acoustical chamber. The MTS-4 (later upgraded to the MTS-4A, still a current product), was the subject of several U.S. and foreign patents.

“Self-Powered Series” receives Lighting Dimensions International Sound Product of the Year Award

Acoustical Ranging Transceiver (patent D357,678)

A forerunner of the SB-1 Sound Beam, ARTS was used in conjunction with the SIM system for acoustical tests involving atmospheric inversion layer analysis. This patent covers the appearance or "ornamental design" of the device. [View Patent Info]

Self-powered MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeaker

The MSL-4 was Meyer Sound's first self-powered, high-level sound reinforcement loudspeaker. Putting the MSL-4's 1240 watts peak output in an enclosure was an entirely different challenge than making the self-powered HD-1 studio monitor, but it represented the culmination of a decades-long quest by John Meyer to make self-powered systems.

The MSL-4 worked and was well received; even today it is considered a workhorse of the industry. In fact, the success of the MSL-4 outstripped Meyer Sound's expectations, and the company soon began converting all of its products to be self-powered.

However, the challenges of making a system like the MSL-4 were considerable and, initially, some were skeptical of its practicality. Consequently, Meyer Sound stood alone in the marketplace with its self-powered systems for nearly five years before any other manufacturers took a serious stab at the technology. Even then, others have been slow to take the leap, while Meyer Sound has perfected self-powering and made converts to it around the world.

The MSL-4's cabinet design was the subject of a design patent.

Anechoic chamber built at Meyer Sound

Meyer Sound has always engaged in extensive measurement as a foundation for its R&D. For years, loudspeaker testing was done primarily in the parking lot adjoining the company's location on busy San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. There were occasional disagreements with the neighbors on that score, and, besides, there was a limit to the precision of measurement that could be attained. (The paint marks denoting measurement angles are still visible in the parking lot.)

John Meyer decided that the needs of the research he wanted to do required that the company have its own anechoic chamber. The chamber was built in a shed that formerly housed an old gas station, a building-within-a-building. As private anechoic chambers go, Meyer Sound's is fairly large, with anechoic response allowing measurements down as low as 80 Hz.

The room is dominated by a large mechanical arm used to hold and rotate loudspeakers in fine increments for measurements such as those done to create loudspeaker models for the MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program. The arm was purchased from a Colorado company that makes rotation mechanisms for astronomical observatories, the only place John Meyer could find a company accustomed to making large mechanisms that could move, under program control, in small increments with high precision. Of course, the mechanism was highly customized for Meyer Sound's needs.

The first big payoff for all the investment came in the development of new horns for the CQ series of loudspeakers. The anechoic chamber is now heavily used in development, and is the location of nearly all data acquisition for the MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program.

1994

HD-1 Two-Way Loudspeaker Updated : Correction Circuit & Method for Improving the Transient Behavior of a Two-Way Loudspeaker System (patent 5,377,274)

[View Patent Info]

Method and Circuit for Improving the Polar Response of a Two-Way, Horn-Loaded Loudspeaker System (patent 5,784,474)

This patent concerned a system first used to establish a common, fixed acoustical center for the high- and low-frequency drivers in the UPA-1P and UPA-2P. [View Patent Info]

Method and Circuit for Improving the Polar Response of a Two-Way, Horn-Loaded Loudspeaker System (patent 5,784,474)

This patent concerned a system first used to establish a common, fixed acoustical center for the high- and low-frequency drivers in the UPA-1P and UPA-2P.

1992

SIM II receives R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine.

Awarded annually by R&D Magazine since 1963, the prestigious R&D 100 recognizes the 100 most significant technological achievements of the year worldwide in a variety of disciplines. Entries are judged by the editors of R&D Magazine and a panel of experts from various universities and scientific labs including MIT, NASA Lewis Research Center, Lawrence Livermore Labs and Ames Lab. Competitors for an award usually include industrial giants like Dow Chemical and Matsushita, as well as government laboratories such as the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

In 1992, on the 30th anniversary of the R&D awards, Meyer Sound Laboratories received an award for the SIM System II acoustic test and measurement system. Recognition for Meyer Sound, then still a small professional audio company, was a heady accomplishment and validation for John Meyer's vision.

1991

Correction Circuit and Method for Improving the Transient Behavior of a Two-Way Loudspeaker System (patents 5,185,801 and 5,377,274)

These two closely related patents describe technology that enables a two-way loudspeaker system to approach the theoretical ideal of a single point source by resolving problems the existing literature had essentially declared insoluble. The first patent deals with direct radiating systems, and covers technology incorporated in the HD-1. The second patent (applied for in 1993, two years after the first) deals with specifics related to horn-loaded systems, and defined technology soon to be incorporated into the company's self-powered series of sound reinforcement products. [View Patent Info]

SIM system II FFT analyzer

SIM System II FFT analyzer released

The introduction of the original SIM system changed the face of audio measurement by employing source independent measurement, which provided much more meaningful analysis than real-time analyzers. However, the first SIM system was built around a Bruel & Kjaer dual FFT analyzer that was not entirely optimized for the job. SIM II, built from the ground up to do source independent measurement for audio, was a huge step forward, offering three DSP engines to provide three simultaneous transfer functions, multichannel operation, constant-Q FFTs, and many other advances.

The magnitude of this breakthrough was recognized when SIM II was presented an R&D 100 Award in 1992.

1990

Improved Ohmically Isolated Input Circuit (patent 4,968,949)

[View Patent Info]

HD-1 receives a TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement, Transducer Technology

It didn't take long for the HD-1 to have an impact. The first time it was shown publicly, at the AES convention, Hundreds of orders were placed during its first public showing at 87th AES convention in New York. There was no surprise when the HD-1 was nominated for, and won, a TEC Award, which was presented during the 89th AES in Los Angeles.

This award was Meyer Sound's second TEC. In this year, the Mix Foundation, a non-profit organization, was set up and took over the TEC Awards.

1989

HD-1 high definition audio monitor

The HD-1 marked a revolution in the field of studio monitoring. The first two-way device capable of an almost ideal impulse response — free from the phase distortions typical of conventional two-way systems — the HD-1 was also the company's first truly self-powered product, as the engineering team quickly realized that their ambitious design goals could be met only by creating an integrated system with all variables taken into account. With its unprecedented resolution of musical detail, the HD-1 quickly won worldwide acceptance among leading record producers, studio engineers, mastering engineers, and recording artists.

The HD-1 was never even intended to be a product; it was designed to be an in-house test source for evaluating microphones. However, in one of audio's many legendary twists of fate, Grammy-winning engineer Roger Nichols (famed for his long association with Steely Dan, among others) visited the Meyer Sound factory, happened to hear the prototype, and relentlessly implored John Meyer to make and loan him a pair to use mixing Rickie Lee Jones's Flying Cowboys album. Things took off from there. Well over 15 years later, orders continue to be filled for the HD-1.

1988

Ohmically Isolated Input Circuit (patent 4,779,058)

Analog audio inputs and outputs using three-pin XLR connectors have long suffered from inconsistency between manufacturers in both wiring of connectors and in input and output circuitry. As a result, miswiring has been a constant problem that creates gain problems, AC power buzzes, and even cancellations.

Originally developed to allow a SIM audio analyzer to be inserted into a sound system without deleterious effects, this patent is for an input circuit designed to avoid the injection of AC noise and provide the same gain no matter how the output feeding it is wired. The key to the circuit is that two transformers are employed in a serial, "hum-bucking" fashion such that any two of the three input pins will properly couple through one or both transformers without gain change while rejecting common-mode signals. Further, current transformers are used, rather than voltage transformers, so that the signal level passing through the transformers never reaches levels where common problems like eddy currents, ringing, phase shift, and hysteresis are encountered.

The second patent describes an improved version of this circuit that uses a single, center-tapped transformer in place of the matched pair of transformers. [View Patent Info]

Circuit and Method for Correcting Distortion in a Digital Audio System (patent 4,764,938)

Many early digital recording systems, notably the Sony PCM-F1, used high-order "brick wall" filters to prevent aliasing. Unfortunately, these filters introduced delay that varied with frequency, resulting in considerable phase distortion. This patent introduced a circuit to correct these phase anomalies and obtain a relatively constant group delay. The underlying technology behind the patent emerged from Meyer Sound's ongoing research into advanced phase correction circuits for what would become the HD-1 high-definition audio monitor. [View Patent Info]

1986

SIM receives MIX Magazine's TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement, Acoustics Technology

The TEC Awards were created by the publishers of MIX Magazine in 1985 to recognize the contributions of audio professionals, not just for creative achievements like best engineering for an album recording, but also for product design. The award for SIM was Meyer Sound's first. Nearly every year has seen Meyer Sound nominated for a TEC Award, sometimes for more than one.

First Meyer Sound sponsorship of Montreux Jazz Festival

Claude Nobs had been a music promoter in Switzerland in the '60s. In 1966, he founded the Montreux Jazz Festival, which grew to become one of the world's largest and most prestigious music festivals. Nobs heard of the work John Meyer was doing at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies and was bowled over by what he heard when Meyer played him a prototype loudspeaker that was in development. Nobs resolved right then that he and the Meyers would work together at some point.

By 1986, the festival was firmly established, growing steadily, and in need of better sound, so Nobs called the Meyers, who had established Meyer Sound by that time. The opportunity to help out an old friend and be the official sound sponsor for a well-respected, high-profile festival combined with the chance to try out new products in the field with a broad range of musical styles to make for an irresistible opportunity. So began the relationship between Meyer Sound and the festival, which continues to this day.

Loudspeaker Enclosure: 833 studio monitor (patent D282,255)

The 833 Studio Reference Monitor system was the next step in studio monitors after the ACD monitor Meyer Sound made in the company's earliest days. The 833 utilized dedicated control electronics and advanced horn design to achieve an extremely wide dynamic range, low distortion and controlled directivity. This patent is a design patent on the shape of the 833 cabinet. [View Patent Info]

1985

John Meyer named a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society

The Audio Engineering Society Fellowship Award is given to a member who has rendered conspicuous service or is recognized to have made a valuable contribution to the advancement in or dissemination of knowledge of audio engineering or in the promotion of its application in practice.

1984

CP-10 complementary phase parametric equalizer released

The CP-10 was developed for use in conjunction with the first SIM analyzer. It was notable in that it can be set to mirror room resonance effects, providing correction for both magnitude and phase effects. The CP-10 created controversy when it was introduced, as a signal passed through two CP-10s, with the second set exactly the inverse of the first, resulted in a net phase shift of zero degrees. Some initially were reluctant to accept this measurable result because it seemed to contradict intuition. In any event, the CP-10 became one of the best respected parametric equalizers on the market.

First SIM analyzer: introduction of source independent measurement

Developed for live sound and test measurement applications, the first SIM system utilized a PC controlling a dual FFT analyzer to perform highly accurate measurement of loudspeaker systems in acoustic environments. It was widely hailed as a revolution in measurement systems, because, being comparative in nature, it allowed engineers to use, for the first time, program material — the music of a performance — as a test signal, instead of noise or tones. This meant that an engineer could continue performing system optimization throughout the event, accounting for changing acoustic conditions due to the effects of temperature, humidity and the presence of the audience.

Being an entirely new measurement method, Meyer Sound gave some training classes that proved to be the beginning of what became the company's ongoing worldwide seminar series today.

1983

Meyer Sound moves to current Berkeley location

Meyer Sound started life in an industrial strip mall in San Leandro, Calif., just a few miles south of Berkeley. By late 1983, the company had outgrown the small facility. In December, Meyer Sound moved to 2832 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. For many years, that building housed the entire company, but today it holds only the headquarters offices and the Pearson Theatre, while engineering and production have spread into six other buildings in the area.

833 studio reference monitor

Meyer Sound was formed, in part, to market the ACD studio monitor system John Meyer had developed in Switzerland. The 833 was the first studio monitor designed and manufactured at Meyer Sound. Although it came with control electronics, it was not self-powered, in fact, issues surrounding proper amplification of the 833 provided more motivation for pursuing John Meyer's vision for self-powered systems. A companion subwoofer, the 834, was also built. The 833 became a standard large-format studio monitor and many pairs remain in active use today.

1981

Trapezoidal Loudspeaker Cabinet (patent D271,967)

John Meyer had noticed during his time at McCune Sound that the sound quality of the JM3 loudspeaker system he had designed for McCune started to go down as more cabinets were added. Why? After substantial thinking and research, he determined that there were uncontrolled interactions between cabinets at work. Meyer created the trapezoidal cabinet to facilitate precise configuration of loudspeakers into horizontal arrays with an implied point source behind them. (The cabinet shape does not impact the loudspeaker's radiation pattern, but it gives more flexibility in cabinet placement and angling.) The arrayable, trapezoidal loudspeaker cabinet was a unique concept that first appeared in the Meyer Sound UPA-1 and was granted a U.S. design patent (D271,967). It soon became widely copied and is now nearly ubiquitous. [View Patent Info]

650-R2 subwoofer

The 650-R2 was the next step in the evolution of the 650 subwoofer John Meyer had built for Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." The 650-R2 added a second 18-inch driver and extended response down to 30 Hz. The 650-R2 had much higher output than previous subwoofers at very low distortion. Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh immediately seized on the 650-R2 and made it a staple of his rig for years.

MSL-3 reinforcement loudspeaker

The MSL-10 established John Meyer's ability to make large-scale loudspeaker systems capable of low distortion, flat response, and high-output. The MSL-3 grew out of the MSL-10 and represented, in essence, an MSL-10 "slice." Because it was smaller, it could be arrayed with greater versatility. The MSL-3 also held up under tough conditions and over long periods of time: the London production of Cats used the same MSL-3s for more than 20 years! The MSL-3 became a major success, for years representing the ultimate in high-level sound reinforcement loudspeakers. Hundreds of MSL-3 cabinets are still in active use to this day.

1980

UPA-1 compact wide coverage loudspeaker

The release of the UPA-1 was a milestone for sound reinforcement in general, as well as for Meyer Sound specifically. A repackaging of the technology used in the UM-1 UltraMonitor, the UPA-1 offered several advances that could fairly be termed revolutionary. For a start, it featured a high-frequency section that fully incorporated John Meyer's method of reducing distortion by balancing non-linearities of the compression driver and horn against each other, accommodating the driver's natural behavior instead of generating distortion by trying to force it into different behavior.

Second, the UPA-1 was used with a dedicated CEU. Although the UM-1 also had a CEU, the UPA-1, which was only a year behind the UM-1, created a sensation with its performance, legitimizing for many the idea of dedicated loudspeaker processing.

Finally, there was the UPA-1's trapezoidal cabinet shape. John Meyer was espousing the benefits of point-source arrays, which were not possible to achieve with rectangular boxes. The UPA-1s trapezoidal shape allowed it to be tight-packed or splayed, but to behave as if there was a sound source emanating from behind the cabinets.

With its high output, low distortion, and small footprint, the UPA-1 had exceptionally broad applications, causing it be widely embraced, but the theatre world, in particular, immediately began making the UPA-1 — which had been designed in part for the needs of Abe Jacobs, dean of Broadway sound designers — into a standard part of theatrical sound systems.

MSL-10 loudspeaker

The MSL-10 improved on the design John Meyer had employed to build the JM10 for McCune Sound. The JM10 had been the first large-scale arrayable loudspeaker and had seen use by the Grateful Dead and others. The MSL-10 actually was created for an installation at the Oakland Coliseum, where high-quality sound was desired so that the audience and players could both clearly hear the system.

The MSL-10 was a high-power, high-Q system, powered by its own MS-10 amplifiers and M-10A controller, that provided 30-degree sections that could be combined into arrays to cover areas as wide as needed. One of the design goals was to prove the validity of the architecture, then create a product that broke the MSL-10 into smaller "chunks" that could be arrayed more flexibly. That product turned out to be the MSL-3.

1979

UM-1 UltraMonitor

The UltraMonitor came about when Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna sound engineer Owsley "Bear" Stanley beseeched John Meyer for a stage monitor with the clarity of the Meyer/ACD studio monitor but more power. Meyer designed the UM-1 and the first cabinets were built by Don Pearson in the shop of his young sound company, Ultra Sound. This was the beginning of an association between Don Pearson and Meyer Sound that ended up with him joining Meyer Sound's staff as an instructor for the last year and a half of his life.

The release of the UltraMonitor marked the first time a commercially available loudspeaker was accompanied by a dedicated processor, the Control Electronics Unit, or CEU.

Dedicated loudspeaker processor

A revolutionary concept when it first appeared, the Meyer Sound Control Electronics Unit (CEU) combined an active crossover circuit, frequency and phase response alignment, and protection circuits. Optimized for specific speakers, each CEU improved the overall performance and extended component life. The first CEU accompanied subwoofers designed for the 70mm release of Francis Ford Coppola's now-classic Vietnam epic, "Apocalypse Now."

The second CEU, for the UM-1 UltraMonitor, enabled the two-way stage monitor to generate extremely high output levels with low distortion, extended frequency response and unprecedented gain before feedback.

650 subwoofer created for “Apocalypse Now”

Francis Ford Coppola wanted his epic movie "Apocalypse Now" to have the most impressive, impactful sound ever heard in a movie. To that end, in its initial release, the film toured with a custom quadraphonic sound system. One of Coppola's concerns was that the napalm explosions in the "Ride of the Valkyries" helicopter attack scene be bone-rattlingly real. John Meyer's involvement began at a Berkeley demonstration of the ACD studio monitor, at which he was showing a subwoofer that had been designed to go with the ACD. Impressed by the demo,engineer Tom Scott from Coppola's Zoetrope studio approached Meyer and asked if he could create a subwoofer for Apolcaypse. Meyer created the 650 subwoofer, containing a single 18-inch driver in a sixth-order cabinet with low-distortion response down to 30 Hz, to satisfy Coppola's need.

After one tour of the 70 mm print, however, Apocalypse went to a 35 mm release, which did not seem to present as strong a demand for a subwoofer. Meyer then showed the 650 to bassist Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, who immediately took an interest. Eventually, a second driver was added because the single driver had a high failure rate and the 650-R2 was born. The 650-R2 lasted until self-powering was added to make the 650-P, a model still sold today. The 650 lineage is one of the most distinguished in the history of low-frequency reproduction.

Horn Speaker and Method for Producing Low Distortion Sound (patent 4,152,552)

The company's first patent, issued only weeks after the Meyer Sound's founding, was the result of John Meyer's pioneering research into sources of non-linearity in horn loudspeakers. Much of this work was done during the 1970s, when Meyer was director of the Acoustics Laboratory at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland. The patent describes a method for reducing distortion by a factor of ten, and was first applied to horns in the UM-1 (1979) and UPA-1 (1980). [View Patent Info]

Meyer/ACD studio monitor

After returning from Switzerland to the U.S., John Meyer was contacted by Jean-Pierre Mamin, who had worked with him at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies. Mamin (who was also key in helping Meyer Sound get started and remains a close Meyer Sound associate) was working for a company called ACD that wanted John Meyer to build a loudspeaker for use in European discos. Meyer began a search for a driver with high linearity; a difficult property to achieve. Finally, he stumbled across one from a small Swiss company and used it to design the system for ACD.

Unfortunately, the U.S. dollar fell against the Swiss franc while this was happening and the loudspeaker he'd designed suddenly became too expensive to make for use in discos, so Meyer decided to build a studio monitor with the driver instead. Thus, the Meyer/ACD studio monitor came into being.

The ACD was a proto-self-powered system, in that it included a rack with an amplifier and processing electronics. In 1979, Meyer Sound was founded to distribute the ACD, but the price, $15,000, was extremely high for 1979, and it was difficult to sell many of them.

The ACD nonetheless accomplished two important things: first, it raised the bar for distortion and flat response in studio monitors, second, it attracted attention, which led to involvement in Francis Ford Coppola's film, Apocalypse Now, and evolution of the Meyer/ACD design into both the UltraMonitor and the UPA-1.

Meyer Sound is founded

John Meyer had already started one loudspeaker company (Glyph), designed loudspeaker systems for McCune Sound Service (now McCune Audio/Video/Lighting), and founded an acoustics laboratory at Switzerland's Institute for Advanced Musical Studies. Having returned to the U.S. and spent a few years designing the JM10 for McCune and working on other projects, Meyer had designed the Meyer/ACD studio monitor for a Swiss company. Meyer Sound is formed to be the exclusive U.S. distributor for the Meyer/ACD system. Founded by John and Helen Meyer the day before Valentine's Day, the new company begins operations in a small industrial park in San Leandro, Calif., just a few miles from its current location.

1975

John Meyer creates JM10 system for McCune Sound Service

After closure of the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland, John and Helen Meyer returned to the U.S., where John resumed working with McCune Sound Service in San Francisco. Picking up where he had left off but using what he had learned in Switzerland, Meyer designed the JM10, a large-scale arrayable full-range loudspeaker system. McCune used the JM10 for many years, and several years later, after founding Meyer Sound, Meyer used it as the basis for the design of the MSL-10 loudspeaker.

1973

John Meyer goes to Institute for Advanced Musical Studies

John Meyer was established as a groundbreaking loudspeaker designer by 1973. In that year, he was offered the opportunity to found an acoustics laboratory at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Montreux, Switzerland. The time Meyer spent there was quite fertile. He pursued a search to find a driver with high linearity, finally locating one. He also developed new ideas about reducing distortion in horns that led to Meyer Sound's first patent. These ideas and others came together in the design he created for the Meyer/ACD studio monitor. John and Helen Meyer also met Montreux Jazz Festival founder Claude Nobs at this time, a friendship that led to Meyer Sound sponsoring sound systems for the festival from 1986 to the present.

In 1974, economic conditions changed and the institute was forced to close.

1970

John Meyer becomes a loudspeaker designer at McCune Sound Service

The quadraphonic Glyph sound system built by John Meyer and installed at the San Rafael, Calif., nightclub called Pepperland was unique. Audiences took note of it, as did the bands that played there. McCune Sound Service, a local sound rental company, also took notice of it.

At that time, there were no off-the-shelf loudspeakers manufactured for professional sound reinforcement. In fact, the need for such systems had just started to manifest itself in the last five years or so with the rise of the Beatles and large rock and roll concerts. Sound companies like McCune had to design and build their own equipment.

The Glyph system created enough of an impression that McCune offered Meyer a job designing loudspeakers for them. This turned out to be a fruitful relationship that produced the JM3 and JM10 systems and served as a platform for John Meyer to explore the ideas that he later brought to maturity at Meyer Sound.

1969

Quadraphonic Glyph system installed at Pepperland

In 1969, a quadraphonic Glyph system was installed at Pepperland, a nightclub in San Rafael, Calif,, in Marin County, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. In its short (18 months or so) existence, Pepperland saw concerts from all of the great bands of the day, who inevitably took notice of the unusually clean and loud sound coming from the odd-looking loudspeakers.

John Meyer founds Glyph Sound Systems

After Monterey Pop, John Meyer became increasingly interested in loudspeaker design, especially in the problem that no existing loudspeakers were capable of the high-power demands bands of the late 1960s were presenting. In 1969, Meyer designed a very unusual-looking system that reproduced bass frequencies with either a 4-foot by 4-foot horn and a 14-inch diaphragm driver (the MN50 with M driver) or an 8-foot-by-8-foot fiberglass horn with a 28-inch diaphragm driver. Either could be topped by a tweeter. For all the strangeness of its appearance, the new speaker, called "the Glyph," exhibited lower distortion than other systems of the day.

Glyph Sound Systems was based on Sixth Street in Berkeley, less than a mile from Meyer Sound today. Stewart Brand featured a photo of the Glyph in The Last Whole Earth Catalog, with a caption that read, in part, "The first loud sound I've heard that didn't make me want to run. I wanted to stay and shake."

1967

John Meyer assembles system for Steve Miller at Monterey Pop Festival

In 1967, John Meyer was working at Berkeley Custom Audio, an audiophile shop in Berkeley, Calif., when a young Steve Miller came in. Miller's band was slated to play the upcoming Monterey Pop Festival and Miller, who has always been very audio-aware, wanted a better-sounding system for his bassist, Lonnie Turner. Meyer put together a horn-loaded system out of Klipsch La Scala loudspeakers, launching him on the road that would lead to Meyer Sound. Meyer and Miller remain friends to this day.