Liberty University Concert Hall debuted its world's first performance venues and has worked with a leading AV system to offer Acoustical Flexibility

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Photo Credit: David Greenberg and Alan Karchmer respectively

Liberty University's School of Music debuts one of the world's first performance venues as part of its effort to offer music education programmes and training champions in all music professions. The School of Music has worked with Meyer Sound to offer adjustable architectural acoustics system for orchestral and choral music as the centrepiece of its new 141,000-square-foot Centre for Music and Worship Arts.

The Charlottesville, Virginia-based architecture firm VMDO tasked David Greenberg of Creative Acoustics (Westport, Conn.) with designing a hall that could deliver optimum response across a wide range of uses.

"Initially my brief was only to design a hall ideally suited for acoustical music performances, and I included adjustable architectural features to accommodate those uses," says Greenberg. "But the hall also would be used by the School of Religion, with a programme rich in amplified music styles ranging from ballads to rock. And it would be used for touring performances as well. That's where Constellation came into the picture. I worked closely with Meyer Sound's team to understand the capabilities of Constellation so the school could best take advantage of having both technologies at their disposal,” he added.

Greenberg points out that having two adjustable systems working to complement each other affords unique opportunities for crafting aural environments. "A Holy Grail of acoustics is being able to precisely adjust the second order decay," he says. "The reverberation gets out of the way so that the sounds you want to be clear and distinct are not covered up. Here, you can have the physical acoustic providing initial reverb decay, that dies off, and then you have the active acoustic continuing beyond that in a totally controllable fashion."

The physical acoustics of the hall are altered using motorised drapes and vertical banners selectively covering wall areas behind the stage and around the perimeter of the auditorium.

The Constellation active component comprises 48 miniature microphones spaced around the hall for sensing ambient acoustics, together sending signals to a D-Mitri® digital audio platform that includes four dedicated processors (one for each reverberation zone) that host patented VRAS™ acoustical algorithms.

The resulting acoustical characteristics are created in the space by 303 compact loudspeakers and 18 compact subwoofers, also distributed throughout the hall to emulate the reverberant effect of reflective surfaces.

Michael Gerringer, AV architect and large public venue manager for the university said: “The Constellation system will give our students a greater knowledge of the technologies that are available in the real world. We can push the envelope of audio and acoustics, and that gives our students an edge when they go out into the workplace."

Meyer Sound systems also are at work in 11 smaller performance and learning spaces throughout the new facility, including recital halls, choral and wind/symphony rehearsal rooms, songwriting and computer labs, and the guitar commons. A total of 39 Meyer Sound products have been installed in these areas, with the various systems comprising CQ-1 and UPQ-1P loudspeakers, UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers, and Amie™ precision studio monitors as well as 500-HP subwoofers. Six MJF-210 stage monitors are available for use in the main concert hall.