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Amadeus bespoke speakers and amplifiers for Paris museum

One hundred and eighty-six Amadeus loudspeakers, some especially developed for the project, have been installed in the Great Gallery of Evolution at the French National Museum of Natural History.

The recently re-opened and updated Great Gallery of Evolution at the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris features an install of site-specific custom-designed Amadeus speaker and subwoofer models. Merging Technologies, Solid State Logic and Flux also added key ingredients to the new museum install to control the Amadeus speakers.

Based in France, Amadeus manufactures high-end sound reinforcement systems and custom studio speakers. Amadeus’ director of research & development Michel Deluc and co-founder, CEO and designer Bernard Byk created completely new speaker and subwoofer configurations for the massive sound system install. The new speaker design has extended the Amadeus PMX Series with a super-compact 4in coaxial driver model, the PMX 4. Byk and Delucx also designed two new compact subwoofers specifically for the install, the ML 8 and the ML 12 SLIM, with 8in and 12in drivers respectively. The ML 8 and the PMX 4 are the smallest models in their series. The ML 12 SLIM was re-designed as a slimmer version to be built into some of the museum’s high-walled cabinets that were not deep enough to hold the standard ML model. All the updated or newly created products are now available as standard parts of the Amadeus product range.

Bernard Byk commented: “Each space has its own acoustical characteristics and above all its own architectural properties. Our work is to take these phenomena into account to increase the transparency of our sound systems.”

The 5in-driver PMX 5 speaker was also used in the museum install, with special finishes of high-gloss ‘Oyster White’ for the cabinet and a ‘Pearl Gold’ finish for the AirTex fabric for the speaker protection grille to match the colour of the main ceilings.

On the amplification side, Amadeus developed and launched two prototypes, the MULTIAMP and A Series (both to be released in 2015) to match the needs of the museum install.

“The National Museum of Natural History install is a high-point of the many years in speaker and amplifier design by Amadeus. It is a perfect example of the outcome from the Amadeus brand philosophy that is built on the long-standing, close and productive relationships we have maintained with talented designers and scenographers, both in France and around the world, for over 35 years,” stated Gaetan Byk, marketing manager at Amadeus.

Marc Piera, scenographer for the museum install, explained how the install came about: “I tested many small and light speakers (weight was a major security issue) sold by well-known brands. I then turned towards PA systems. Leaving aside the brands whose systems didn’t meet relevant specifications – dispersion quality, frequency range, and impulse response around the speaker – I finally got in touch with Amadeus, a company I already revered for its high-quality PA products. I didn’t know they made small speakers, but I had used Amadeus products as I gave training seminars about controlled directivity, and during many shows and concerts, not to mention an acoustical study for the auditorium at Chelles (a commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris).”

Describing the audio for the exhibition areas, he added: “The audio soundtracks created by Frédérique Rocard are based on natural ambient sounds, from thunderstorms to delicate ambiences, a tribute to the rich timbres and dynamic levels of all animal species shown in the Gallery; dynamic margins between background noise level and reasonable listening levels is reduced. It was then mandatory to find how to best place the Amadeus loudspeakers to get excellent coverage in the public spaces, and to design a system with a high-quality stereo image faithful to the complex ambiences. Another key point to accomplish was that no spectrum changes would occur off-axis. In the end, 186 Amadeus sound sources were installed, including 28 subwoofers.”

Dominique Brulhart, head software engineering at Merging Technologies described his company’s involvement with the install: “Merging was excited by the opportunity to work on this project, of an unprecedented scope for our product Ovation. We were equally pleased to note that the set-up, comprising 186 loudspeakers across seven zones, connected to two Horus converters, all handled by a single Ovation, worked without a hitch.

Management of the Amadeus speakers through Merging Technologies devices features specially designed Merging Technology software plug-ins for the museum install which can control dynamic EQ, expander/gate functions, as well as compressor and limiter capabilities for each of the Amadeus speakers individually. The Merging Technologies Loudspeaker Management System that was created is 100% Amadeus compatible and can easily be used in future installs.”

Piera concluded: “This kind of integration job, filled with aesthetic taboos and security issues, requires not only very high-quality products, but also deeply involved partners. Amadeus really was exemplary in that matter, and this contributed to the final success of the project. Their commitment even led the company to create specific RAL colours and wood finishes, putting the final distinguishing touches on this successful integration. And, as if all this was not enough, Amadeus even developed the amplifier system to deal with these 186 independent speaker lines. Solid State Logic interfaced the system, and Merging Technologies dealt with the programming side using their Ovation system, even adapting their product for us, on the practical and ergonomic side. The system filtering issues were handled by Flux, Merging Technologies’ long-time partner.”