Meyer Sound Outfits Urban Outfitters with Fashionably Hip Audio in Former Naval Shipyard
A nearly $2 billion enterprise, fashion trendsetter Urban Outfitters is hardly a strait-laced, button-down establishment. The firm's next-generation corporate ethos shows at their headquarters complex in the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where the massive brick-and-steel structures exhibit a hip aesthetic mixing 21st century casual with early 20th century industrial. Recently, premium audio was added to the mix with the installation of a multi-zoned system incorporating 45 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers.
Designed and installed by DBS Audio Systems of Coatesville, Penn., the network-controlled systems cover the lower level of Building 543. This 96,000 square foot structure, built in 1939 as a steel plate-bending shop, encloses 70-foot ceilings, vast expanses of glass, and layers of exposed steel and concrete. Now home to an upscale dining/events area, an Indian-themed coffee bar, and a long open promenade, it's an acoustical house of horrors wherein Urban Outfitters nevertheless expected premium-quality speech and music reproduction for both everyday activities and special events.
"We had brought temporary Meyer systems into the building several dozen times," recalls Dave Brotman, owner of DBS Audio Systems. "We were the only company that cared enough to array loudspeakers in the right areas and align them correctly, so they came back and asked for a permanent installation with the same power and accuracy."
Divided into three main areas, the system comprises nine different loudspeaker models from Meyer Sound's UltraSeries, Industrial Series, and M Series. Loudspeakers were selected for power and directional characteristics using the MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program.
One notable problem-solver, the self-powered MM-4XPD directional miniature loudspeaker, was deployed along the promenade affixed to crane hooks remaining from the shipyard era. "I was absolutely shocked by their directional characteristics and clarity," remarks Brotman. "I was worried how well they could convey speech in a reverberant space with 65-foot ceilings. Meyer assured me they would function flawlessly, and they did." For low frequency support, the MM-4XPD loudspeakers are supplemented by MM-10 miniature subwoofers.
The main meeting and dining area is served by two each UPQ-1P and UPQ-2P loudspeakers as main loudspeakers, reinforced by a cardioid array of three 500-HP subwoofers. Additionally, four weather-protected UPQ-1P loudspeakers are spaced along the adjoining outside terrace. The Jharoka coffee bar is enlivened by twin hangs of five each M1D line array loudspeakers. Four UPJ-1P and six UPJunior VariO loudspeakers provide additional zone coverage and fill as needed. Audio input in each of the three areas is routed to the Galileo loudspeaker management system. Each area is equipped with its own Crestron touchscreen controller. Audio can also be controlled using an iPad loaded with the Crestron control app.
"Shortly after installation was complete, we brought in a console and used the system for a charity event with a 12-piece band in the main event space," says Brotman. "The sound was perfect and the client was ecstatic. Then last week, they did a wedding on their own in the Jharoka space, using the iPad to control music playback and the wireless microphone levels. It went off without a hitch."