Back in the 1980s when the classic Van Halen lineup broke up, both parties went after the top guns in their fields to continue their musical careers. In the case of Van Halen, guitar player Eddie Van lured Sammy Hagar into the band. Ex-Van Halen front man David Lee Roth in turn reacted by grabbing virtuoso guitar player Steve Vai, as well as the A-list bass player Billy Sheehan and A-list drummer Gregg Bissonette to form a band to challenge Van Halen’s reign as the top hard rock act, and to validate his position as the best “front man” in rock-and-roll.
At InfoComm 2016 the California high-performance audio manufacturer Meyer Sound collaborated with the A/V market’s version of Vai, Sheehan and Bissonette to assemble a multichannel theater system worthy of challenging any system ever put together at any show, including CES, CEDIA or InfoComm.
Working with benchmark companies such as Barco, Dolby Laboratories and Harkness Screens, Meyer set a new theater performance standard in an environment that was anything, but conducive to showing high-performance A/V.
Explaining the totality of the 35.1-channel system, Andy Willcox, sales manager, residential, Meyer Sound, says the company wanted to provide InfoComm attendees with an experience that communicates the results of top-level content played back by a properly installed theater system.
Enabling the performance of the system, Willcox points out the demo system utilized a server/key system that included a Barco Alchemy server that delivered DCI-level content to a Barco Prometheus One 4K DCP projector, as well as a Dolby CP850 Atmos processor that performed the surround sound decoding, along with Meyer Acheron and HMS loudspeakers, and a 30-foot Hrkness 2.40:1 perforated screen.
“Our goal at InfoComm was to exhibit what an immersive system experience can provide if properly engineered and calibrated,” says Willcox. “This can be achieved 100 percent of the time if the dealer understands the correct process in delivering this type of experience and using best practices, including proper design, acoustics, product and content. We can achieve this on a scalable basis as well.”
Putting Together the Theater Demo
The limitations or challenges Meyer Sound and its partners had to overcome during the show were actually related to the show. Willcox says that like any trade show event and the demonstration of audio/video equipment, factors such as ambient noise and the room itself played a role in the level of performance the elite group of manufacturers could achieve.
“Our weakness at the show was attempting to provide a very high end experience in a room that is NC48 [noise criterion] with adjacent demos underway and lack of isolation around us [for a point of reference, home theater experts recommend NC ratings between 20 to 25 for optimum results],” says Willcox. “I believe we achieved our goal as long as attendees were able to use their imagination as to what the performance would be under a properly designed format.”
Assembling a demo that included a video presentation showcasing the company’s product development and testing criteria, Meyer Sound emphasized the importance of measurements in order to achieve the high SPL (sound pressure levels) and low distortion figures it requires to meet the demands of high-profile clients such as Metallica, Ariana Grande and Iron Maiden.
Later after introducing a few of its products that were deployed in the system to attendees, the company talked about its migration from live sound, into the worlds of post production, and now home theater. Concluding the demo, Meyer Sound ran an eight-minute clip of the 2013 Tom Cruise movie Oblivion that highlighted the dynamics, impact, clarity and sheer power its audio components are capable of producing.
Assessing attendee feedback of the demo, Willcox notes commercial integrators were impressed by the demonstration despite the less than ideal circumstances.
“The response was outstanding. We are pleased with the outcome. It is difficult to provide a show demo of this caliber as I have seen many that were less than dramatic and compelling in the past,” comments Willcox. “I hope we can lead the way in raising the level for the residential [and commercial] industry through mutual efforts with our dealer base.”
Meyer Sound Demo System Equipment List (see slideshow for details):
- (3) Screen Channels: Acheron Studio
- (5) LFE Channel: X-800C (Dual 18 inch)
- First ring of HMS-15 surrounds: (Left wide (one), Left High top (one) Right High top (one), Right wide (one)
- Second ring of HMS-12 surrounds: (Left wide (two), Left High top (two), Right high top (two), Right wide (two): HMS-12
- All additional side, rear and high surrounds: HMS-10 (18)
- Surround bass management Subs: 900LFC (Single 18 inch) (two)
- Dolby CP850 Professional Atmos processor
- Barco Prometheus One 4K DCP projector
- Barco Alchemy server
- Harkness 30’ 240:1 Perforated screen