The 1,185-seat Chan Shun Concert Hall in Vancouver’s Chan Centre for the Performing Arts has installed a 360-degree system comprised of six steerable CAL column array loudspeakers from Meyer Sound. The upgrade has markedly improved both vocal clarity and sound distribution for the hall’s variety of events.
The system design was tasked to Martin Van Dijk, principal designer of the Toronto-based consulting firm Engineering Harmonics. The requirement was to evenly cover all seating areas, including 180 hard-to-reach seats in the choral loft behind the stage. The system also had to work at various heights, as the hall features an adjustable canopy to optimize reflections for different events.
“It was an extraordinary challenge,” says Paul Alegado, project manager and associate designer for Engineering Harmonics. “During the review process, the manufacturers and contractors involved had to re-submit designs several times to fully meet the requirements. When all was said and done, it worked beautifully.”
Employing powerful DSP algorithms, the steerable CAL column array loudspeaker allows its vertical beam to be angled up or down in one-degree increments to accurately aim only at target areas. The center cluster at Chan Centre comprises three forward-facing CAL 64 loudspeakers covering the orchestra level and two balconies, two side-facing CAL 32 loudspeakers, and one rear-facing CAL 32 loudspeaker for the choral loft. Four presets in the Meyer Sound Compass control software allow operators to maintain constant coverage, regardless of the height of the cluster and overhead canopy.
“In the past, we’d had problems with people sitting behind the stage or on the stage hearing what was said,” remarks Owen Schellenberger, technical director at the Chan Centre. “Now those problems are essentially eliminated. We had no complaints after any of the ceremonies this graduation season, and the centre management has commented favorably on the improvements.”
The hall has also installed a left-right reinforcement system based around Meyer Sound MINA line array loudspeakers. The system is anchored by twin arrays of 10-each MINA loudspeakers under a 500-HP subwoofer, and also includes 10 UPM-1P loudspeakers for front and loge fill, two on-deck 700-HP subwoofers, and a Galileo loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 processor.
“The MINA works very well in here,” says Will Howie, audio engineer at the Chan Centre. “I’m impressed with the clarity it has brought to the room, which is a difficult one, as it was designed for symphonic music. MINA has that certain ‘forwardness’ you hear in a good studio monitor.”
Both the CAL center cluster and the music reinforcement system were provided and installed by Sapphire Sound of Abbotsford, BC. Brockville, Ontario-based GerrAudio provided project support.
The overhaul of the hall’s AV system also included the installation of Avid VENUE consoles at FOH and monitor, and an Optocore fiber-based network system.
Artists who have performed with the new system include Patty Griffin, Judy Collins, Lila Downs, and the Taj Mahal Trio with Shemekia Copeland.
Opened in 1997, the Chan Centre at the University of British Columbia was made possible by generous donations from local philanthropists Tom and Caleb Chan. The performing arts complex also includes the Telus Studio Theatre, the Royal Bank Cinema, and the Great Performers Lounge.