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Cutting through Reverberation: Meyer Sound CAL at 15th Century Swiss Parliament Hall

At the Berner Rathaus (English: Bern Town Hall) in Switzerland, voice intelligibility has been greatly improved with the installation of two steerable Meyer Sound CAL 64 column array loudspeakers. The system is implemented in the Grossratssaal, the acoustically challenging main legislative chamber of the 15th century Gothic structure. Project design was handled by Daniel Zurwerra of Suhr, Switzerland-based Virtually Audio.

“Voice reinforcement in this space is challenging for several reasons,” recounts Zurwerra.  “First, the reverberation time is more than two seconds, and even higher at some frequencies. We have high background noise levels, and because of aesthetics and historic preservation requirements, loudspeaker placement and positioning is highly restricted. It was clear that beam-steering columns would offer the best results.

“The sound quality and visual aesthetics of CAL are just right,” continues Zurwerra.  “When choosing CAL, I considered the accuracy of simulation data, dedicated drivers for LF and HF, a digital audio network interface, relay closures for fault reports, and options for custom colors and mounting. In addition, I knew I could count on strong local support for Meyer Sound products.”

Kehrsatz-based Kilchenmann AG provided system integration under the direction of Michael Schmutz, while Hansjürg Meier of Adligenswil-based Tonspur AG facilitated technical support for the Meyer Sound portion of the project.

After installation was complete, Zurwerra thoroughly measured and evaluated the system. “The intelligibility figures were very good despite the reverberant room, and the government officials in charge immediately noticed that overall clarity was markedly better,” he says. “In addition, the excellent sonic performance of the CALs will allow the system to be used for a wide range of events, including musical performances.”

The new audio system for the Grossratssaal also comprises a Biamp Nexia CS digital signal processor, a Brähler Conference System, Shure wireless microphones, and an AMX control system.

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