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At Florida's Northland Church, Meyer Sound Constellation Makes Dallas Symphony Feel at Home
In March 2009, Guest Conductor and Violinist Pinchas Zukerman led the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in an acclaimed concert at Northland, a Church Distributed in Longwood, Fl. Meyer Sound Constellation electroacoustic architecture provided an optimal acoustical environment in Northland's 3,000-seat sanctuary as the symphony touched the audience performing the musical masterpieces of Stravinsky and Schumann.
Constellation enables multipurpose venues such as Northland to enhance their room acoustics at the press of a button, allowing them to host a wide range of events and provide the acoustics most appropriate for the audience and performers, while remaining invisible to the eye. With the physical characteristics of Northland's room optimized for amplified music, the success of the Dallas Symphony concert is notable, and made an impression on Mark Melson, the symphony's vice president of artistic operations. "I was worried when I first walked into the building," confesses Melson, after seeing the vast, wide room, "but my worries ended when the musicians started playing. The orchestra retained its natural warmth and presence at seats well out into the hall."
Constellation incorporates the physical acoustics of a space with powerful technology and expert services to create flexible acoustical environments. The Constellation system at Northland includes presets that provide a range of reverberation times and level settings, supporting not only symphonic events but also reinforced sound and congregational singing. The Constellation system has helped the sanctuary accommodate the diverse acoustic needs of the Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, country star Wynonna, gospel music singer Kirk Franklin, and contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith.
In order to emulate the reverberation characteristics of the Morton H. Meyerson Center, the Dallas Symphony's acoustically impeccable home, Steve Ellison, director of applications, LCS Series, created a customized setting of early decay time (EDT) and reverberation time (RT). The resulting system had an RT of 2.4 seconds and an EDT of 1.9 seconds, very close to the Meyerson measurements of 2.6 seconds RT and 1.9 seconds EDT.
The sound quality during the event was certainly appreciated by the audience—including Dallas Symphony President Douglas Adams. "I was frankly amazed at how well the [Constellation] system worked," says Adams. "What I found particularly impressive is how I could maintain a clear sense of the origination of different instruments at various places around the stage. Each was perceived in its proper place, as it would be with natural acoustics."
The concert is a revelation to Marc McMurrin, Northland's executive director of operations, who reports that Constellation is a valuable asset as he offers Northland as a viable alternative performance space to organizations such as the Festival of Orchestras, a group dedicated to bringing symphonies to Central Florida. Already scheduled are Florida's Naples Philharmonic in October and the Detroit Symphony with conductor Leonard Slatkin in early 2010.
"Our senior pastor, Joel Hunter, refers to our new building as 'a communication device with a sanctuary attached,'" says McMurrin. "Having the technology to present symphonic music gives us a great tool for communication, one that helps us in our mission to serve the whole community."
Completed in late 2007, the Longwood sanctuary of Northland, a Church Distributed was the world's first house of worship to incorporate Meyer Sound's Constellation electroacoustic architecture. The system encompasses MS-Constellation processors, MS-VRAS processors, Mic-Omni Constellation microphones, as well as the company's most compact and versatile loudspeaker models including UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeakers, UPM-1P loudspeakers, and MM-4 miniature loudspeakers. Independent of the Constellation system, the sound reinforcement setup utilizes MILO line array loudspeakers, CQ-1, CQ-2, UPJ-1P, and UPM-1P loudspeakers, in addition to M3D-Sub directional subwoofer, with system processing and drive supplied by a Galileo loudspeaker management system.
The building was designed by DCA Architects and Building God's Way, with Daniel Cook as principal architect. The Northland Constellation system was designed by Sierra Madre, Calif.-based Platt Design Group and installed by the Burbank office of Electrosonic Systems, Inc., with final system tuning handled by Bob McCarthy, senior design consultant of Meyer Sound.