Meyer Sound Brings Power and Subtlety to Refurbished Cinema at Walker Art Center

November 15, 2012

Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn. is considered one of the nation's leading contemporary art museums. Following a wall-to-wall renovation, the building's 332-seat cinema re-opened this past summer, and its new Meyer Sound system was introduced to Twin Cities filmgoers during a showing of independent feature "Beasts of the Southern Wild" with critical acclaim.

"The sound of the Meyer Sound system is fantastic," says Sheryl Mousley, senior curator of film/video. "‘Beasts' was the perfect film to experience it with, as the quiet voice of the six-year-old main character held ground against the music and varying location sounds. I've since heard action film soundtracks on it, but this small indie film showcased how the Meyer Sound system ideally complements all contributors to sound design, including location sound recordists, sound mixers, and music composers."

The complete self-powered Meyer Sound system at the Walker Cinema is designed and commissioned to SMPTE standards. The equipment comprises Acheron® screen channel loudspeakers, X-800C cinema subwoofers, and HMS-10 cinema surround loudspeakers, all optimized and driven by a Galileo® loudspeaker management system.

The cinema auditorium isn't the only Meyer Sound installation in the venue. "We already had a UPA-1P system in our McGuire Theater, and I was personally familiar with the quality of Meyer from my 20 years of experience in theatre technology," says Ben Geffen, associate director of events and media production and supervisor of the renovation project. "Also, after Mousley heard Meyer Sound at last year's Telluride Film Festival, the decision was a no-brainer."

Recounting her experience at Telluride's Galaxy theatre (a middle school gymnasium transformed into a 500-seat cinema for the festival run), Mousley says, "I particularly recall three films-"Pina," "The Descendants," and "We Need to Talk About Kevin"-for the complexity of sound design. The amazing sound quality in this converted space really made me take notice of Meyer."

For Ben Geffen, the Meyer Sound system conforms perfectly to the cinema's mission of presenting everything from vintage archival films to the latest Hollywood 3D spectacles. "We need to be as flexible as possible," says Geffen. "That fits in nicely with Meyer Sound's approach to linear reproduction. It does not color or alter the sound; rather it reproduces exactly what the filmmaker intends."

The cinema renovation included a Barco DP4K-32B 4K digital projector, a Dolby 3D system, and a Kinoton dual 16/35 mm projector, with all systems provided and installed by Boston Light & Sound. Auditorium design was by John Cook of Minneapolis architecture firm HGA, and the project was made possible by a generous grant from the Bentson Foundation.


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