Despite its reputation as a global mecca for entertainment, Las Vegas had struggled in recent years to support a thriving art-house cinema. The opening of The Beverly Theater, a multi-dimensional event venue remedied the deficiency earlier this year. The venue leverages AVL systems designed by Coherent Design and installed by Solotech. Here, the Beverly Theater employed the sonic flexibility of Meyer Sound’s Constellation acoustic system to create audience experiences that extend far beyond traditional film showings.
The disruptions of the pandemic and today’s near-universal access to streaming content had drastically changed the landscape for independent art house venues, according to Kip Kelly, founding creative director and chief experience officer for The Beverly Theater. Kelly then asserted that they needed something new.
“Beverly Rogers, the visionary and namesake behind this theater, had a dream for a storytelling arena that would host cinematic, literary and live music events in one accommodating space,” he says. “Since those events all require different acoustics for uncompromised presentations; Constellation became a foundational technology in the design. The things we can do here with Constellation you will not find in even the best art-house cinemas elsewhere. In fact, I think we have a model for what art houses will aim to be in the future. Both, in terms of the technology, and how we use it to create memorable events.”
Outfitting the Theater
The physical room acoustics are deadened to best accommodate cinema. However, by selecting a touchscreen preset, Meyer Sound’s Constellation can implement voice lift. This then allows spoken word intelligibility throughout the space — from presenters or audience members — without individual hand-held microphones. The 146 theater seats are also retractable. Thus, it opens the floor to accommodate over 400 for a wide variety of events, including live music. Constellation also has presets to optimize the room acoustic for any genre, from choral to orchestral and jazz.
“Voice lift has helped us turn film showings into special events,” continues Kelly. “We can bring in creative people and cast members to engage with the audience, something you won’t get when streaming the film at home.”
Installing the Constellation System
Las Vegas-based Coherent Design under the direction of Principals Kevin Potts, David Starck, Jarrod Hetzer (theatrical lighting), and Jason Pritchard (AV), designed all the AVL technologies.
“When the principals at the Rogers Foundation — the theater’s owner — explained to me what they wanted to do; I immediately thought of a Meyer Sound cinema system coupled with Constellation,” says Potts. “When we visited Meyer Sound’s Pearson Theater in Berkeley and heard the Constellation demo, they were immediately sold on the concept. It didn’t take much convincing.”
For film showings, three Acheron 100 screen channel loudspeakers anchor the cinema system in the front; along with six X-800C cinema subwoofers for LFE. Fourteen ULTRA-X20XP compact wide coverage loudspeakers provide 7.1 surround capability. They also integrate with Constellation active acoustics.
Constellation utilizes an additional 63 full-range loudspeakers (Ashby-5C and MM-4XP) along with 16 MM-10XP subwoofers. The team also deployed 49 mini condenser microphones for ambient sensing. All of which have automated cable reels to precisely raise and lower depending on the current room mode. This typically involves music presets with flat floor or voice lift with raked theater seating.
A Successful Partnership
Supplier and integrator for all AVL systems was Solotech, prominent in audiovisual and entertainment technology, established in Las Vegas since 2007. The integrator also coordinated with business development manager Aaron Beck, Jason Bauer on on-site project management and Eric McFall on systems programming.
“We have been supporting Las Vegas and other U.S. major integration projects for many years now. Being the integrator for all AVL systems gave us more room to coordinate internally everything with greater efficiency and to adapt quickly to any roadblocks we encountered in the last crunch of this construction,” notes Beck.
He continues, “I’m proud of what everyone has accomplished together, both with our Solotech teams and our various partners, to the benefit of The Beverly Theater’s promising future.”
For events on the adjoining outdoor terrace, the venue also has a portable system with two ULTRA-X40 compact loudspeakers. The team normally pole mounted these on two 900-LFC subwoofers set on caster frames.
Enhancing Audience Experiences
Initial program selections at The Beverly Theater lean heavily toward recent independent releases. Although it does feature an occasional worthy classic (The Graduate, The Third Man) to the mix. The opening weekend featured a showing of First Reformed with filmmaker Paul Schrader in attendance. Literary offerings include, as examples, readings and conversations with authors Barry Friedman and Tessa Winkelmann.
Music programming is largely in development and will increase later in the year, according to Kelly.
“We expect we will be a touring house for up-and-coming alternative acts that can’t find an appropriate venue in Las Vegas,” he says. “But we also expect to do experimental music presentations with small ensembles. With Constellation, we don’t have to tie musicians and audience members to certain places in the room. One concept is to place musicians in the middle of the room with pathways between them. So, the audience can walk around and become physically immersed in the work, in an interactive way. How creative can we be when Constellation frees us from the constraints of a typical PA? The potential has yet to be fully imagined!”
Based on a patented breakthrough in digital processing for acoustic spaces, Meyer Sound’s Constellation system places a bespoke multichannel DSP between arrays of microphones and loudspeakers distributed throughout the room. Here, it separately processes and supplements early reflections or extends reverberation. As a result, sound propagates as if the room were larger, differently shaped or constructed with materials exhibiting varying degrees of absorption or reflection.
Click on “View Slideshow” for additional photos of the installation. All photography by ALTF.COM.
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