Meyer Sound transforms traffic tunnel into underwater sound installation9 September 2014
This summer, the immersive sound installation DIVE transformed New York City’s seven-block-long Park Avenue Tunnel with undersea sounds captured by artist Jana Winderen. The soundscape was heard through more than 60 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers configured by Tony Myatt, a professor at the University of Surrey.
The installation was deployed along the 1,394-foot-long tunnel that became a temporary pedestrian zone for New York’s annual Summer Streets celebration. Greeted at the tunnel entrance by sounds of waves crashing along the seashore, visitors were pulled further into the ocean depths by sounds that included cod, toadfish, seaborne insects, boat noises, and more.
“I make multi-layered mixes of the material, which requires exceptional clarity from the loudspeakers,” said Winderen. “Using Meyer Sound allows me to deliver the detailed dynamics that immerse participants.”
Myatt, who programmed DIVE’s three-dimensional sound design using Ambisonic surround software, added: “There are a number of factors that led us to use Meyer Sound loudspeakers, including their construction, size, and weather resilience. However, most significant is the high-quality design and sonic consistency, which means we can understand how a system design will perform wherever we take it.”
The audio system was divided into eight Ambisonic surround zones, each featuring eight UPM-1P loudspeakers split into upper and lower levels, and two 500-HP subwoofers. Winderen captured the recordings using DPA hydrophones, DPA d:screet 4060 omni microphones, and a Sound Devices 744T four-track recorder. The Meyer Sound components were supplied by New York City-based WorldStage. Terry Jackson was project manager, and Kate Brown engineered the system integration specifics.
Jana Winderen is an award-winning artist, producer, and curator based in Norway. She has created immersive multichannel installations and performed concerts all over the world. Winderen received the Golden Nica prize for Digital Musics & Sound Art at Ars Electronica in Austria in 2011. DIVE was produced in partnership with LeadDog Marketing Group, the New York City Department of Transportation, and the City of New York.