Equipped with a Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system, the new Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education in Memphis, Tenn., can be instantly optimized to host a wide range of diverse events. With the push of a touchscreen button, Constellation adjusts the acoustics in the 361-seat theatre to host everything from educational programs to a regional film series, dance recitals, and music concerts of varied genres.
"As much as I understood what Constellation did before the system was installed, actually hearing the different acoustical presets is still stunning," says Alice Roberts, vice president of programming and education at the Halloran Centre. "It's astonishing how you can experience the subtle characteristics of an acoustical space just by clapping your hands. This alone will be a tremendous boost to our technical training programs in sound for musical performance and theatre."
The Halloran Centre sits adjacent to the historic 2,400-seat Orpheum Theatre, both operated by the non-profit Memphis Development Foundation. The $14.5 million complex now assumes the bulk of the foundation's educational programs while providing state-of-the-art facilities to accommodate artists in a smaller venue as appropriate.
"Constellation was a terrific investment, both financially and artistically," notes Roberts. "Artistic programming has expanded as we can work with dramatic theatre, dance, acoustic musicians, and brass ensembles—all kinds of music. And yet we still have the highly controlled acoustics required to host an independent film series. We now have the ultimate flexibility to serve all groups in the community without compromise."
The dual-zone Constellation system leverages a D-Mitri digital audio platform hosting the patented VRAS acoustical algorithm. This works in conjunction with 24 ambient sensing microphones and 120 small, self-powered loudspeakers, including Stella-8C and Stella-4C installation loudspeakers, MM-4XP self-powered loudspeakers, UPJunior-XP VariO loudspeakers, HMS-5 surround loudspeakers, and MM-10XP subwoofers. More than a dozen presets are available to create a wide spectrum of acoustical environments, including one that emulates the on-stage acoustics of the Orpheum.
Also installed is a Meyer Sound reinforcement system of three UPQ-1P loudspeakers and two 700-HP subwoofers with UPJ-1XP VariO, UPJunior-XP, and HMS-5 loudspeakers as fills and delays. All systems were specified and installed by Memphis Audio under the direction of Matt Britt and Craig Yarbrough.
"I'm really surprised at how transparent Constellation is," reports Matt Cantelon, technical director for the Halloran Centre. "Unless you're already familiar with the room's physical acoustics when it's off, you'd never know it's there. It sounds completely natural."
A 2014 system renovation of the adjoining Orpheum included installation of a new Meyer Sound system of MINA line array loudspeakers and 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements.
The Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education is named in honor of Pat Halloran, longtime president and CEO of the Orpheum Theatre.