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Meyer Sound creates ‘ultimate room’ for SFJAZZ Center

Within the SFJAZZ Center is the 'world-class' Robert N Milner Auditorium. With the highly acclaimed room requiring such a sophisticated system, New York-based SIA Acoustics was drafted into to assist with the project.

At the heart of the SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco, US, is the world-class Robert N Milner Auditorium, which was recently installed with a Meyer Sound MINA line array system to create the ‘ultimate room’ for musicians.

Opened early in 2013, the center is the first performance and education complex in America that was built from the ground up exclusively for jazz. The Robert N. Miner Auditorium is now said to strike a meticulous balance between the hall’s controlled natural acoustics and the transparent audio reproduction by Meyer Sound’s MINA line array loudspeakers.

Presented with the challenge of designing the audio system was Sam Berkow, founder of New York-based SIA Acoustics.

“SFJAZZ wanted the ultimate room for musicians to play in, for the audience to listen, and for engineers to record,” commented Berkow. “To do it all in a relatively small space that allowed flexible seating for up to 700 wasn’t easy.”

As the hall’s natural acoustics are designed to carry the stage sound into the audience, the sound system had to balance the natural stage sound while remaining sonically transparent. Berkow, along with SFJAZZ founder and executive artistic director Randall Kline, and production manager Cecilia Engelhart selected Meyer Sound MINA loudspeakers based on their uncolored reproduction and linear response, regardless of output level.

“With MINA, we could be confident that the sound from the speakers would match the sound from the stage,” Berkow continued. “In particular, MINA’s acoustic manifold gives that very soft, silky high frequency sound that brings out the nuances of instruments like saxophones.”

Bolstering the dual arrays of 16-each MINA are five 500-HP subwoofers flown in a three-front, two-rear cardioid array. “The sub array works extremely well,” Berkow said. “It keeps off-axis energy from muddying the sound on stage; something which is extremely important for jazz”.

The complete Meyer Sound system also comprises eight JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers, two UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers and four M1D-SM line array loudspeakers as side, rear, and front fill loudspeakers respectively, and a Galileo loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 616 processors.

The Miner Auditorium audio systems were installed by BBI of San Francisco under the guidance of Principal Mark Roos and Project Manager Pete Maiers.

For mixing consoles, Berkow specified an Avid Profile at FOH, an SC48 at monitors, and an ICON D-Command feeding a full Pro Tools rig in the recording/broadcast booth.