Calgary-based energy company Enbridge is the latest corporation to install a Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system, with the goal of clarifying corporate communication and facilitating the free flow of ideas. Eliminating the need for lavalier or handheld microphones, the systems support a variety of functions in two adjacent meeting rooms located in the company's new Learning Center. The systems are part of a complete AV design by Bill Schuermann, senior consultant at the Houston office of SLR Consulting.
"The rooms are used for everything from executive meetings, teleconferencing, and employee training to safety orientations for construction workers, and even occasional social events," says Amin Ladha, AV subject matter expert at Enbridge. "Constellation has performed exceptionally well for all of them."
Constellation is an active approach to expanding the acoustic capabilities of a multipurpose space. In environments where speech communication is essential, the voice lift feature of Constellation enhances speech intelligibility by generating precisely articulated and directed early reflections.
In Learning Center A at Enbridge, the system is equipped with three preset modes to take advantage of the voice lift feature. For presentations, the system picks up signals near the presenter and reproduces them in the audience area. In Conference Table mode, the system focuses on sounds from the center of the room, and Small Groups mode uses subtle reverberation effects to provide acoustical isolation between adjacent groups.
"Learning Center A is a large room, and several important staff members are very soft-spoken," says Ladha. "If that person is at one end of the room, he or she could not be heard at the other end without Constellation turned on. But when it's on, they can talk in a natural tone of voice, and everybody hears clearly at the other end, even though the voice stays localized in place. It sounds like the person is five feet away rather than 50."
Worldwide partners connecting with Enbridge via teleconferencing have also noticed the improvements in intelligibility. "We used to have people at the other end complain that it sounded like we were in a tunnel," reports Ladha. "In the new rooms, that is all eliminated."
The system in Learning Center A comprises 66 MM-4XP self-powered loudspeakers and six MM-10XP subwoofers, both with IntelligentDC technology, and 24 miniature condenser microphones tucked close to the ceiling. Learning Center B has a similar setup, employing 30 MM-4XP loudspeakers, two MM-10XP subwoofers, and eight microphones. A D-Mitri digital audio platform with the patented VRAS acoustical algorithm is at the core of both systems.
Ladha was also pleased to discover that, since the new systems have been installed, requests coming to him for technical support to solve audio problems have dropped by about 75 percent.
"These are multi-purpose rooms, and Constellation's voice lift technology is in use constantly," says Ladha. "It's easy to use, highly effective, and is proving exceptionally useful. Before Constellation, people in the back were asked to stand and talk louder. Now, people can stay focused on the conversation."
In addition, the Learning Center has equipped its small meeting room and two social areas with 39 Stella-8C installation loudspeakers and three MM-10XP subwoofers.
Other technologies housed in the Learning Center include Biamp Systems Tesira audio DSP and routing, NEC and Sharp video screens, and a Crestron DM control system. All systems were installed by the Calgary office of AVI-SPL, with project management by Darcy Taddeo.
With more than 11,000 employees in Canada and the U.S., Enbridge specializes in distribution systems for crude oil and natural gas, as well as renewable energy projects.