In the Great Hall of St. Paul’s Girls’ School in London, two new Meyer Sound CAL™ 64 column array loudspeakers provide vibrant and life-like reproduction for speech, live music performances, and video soundtracks. Custom-colored to match the surrounding oak woodwork in the historic 1904 auditorium, the two slender columns employ precision beam-steering and -splitting technology to deliver uniform coverage across the seating areas.
CAL was selected for the venue after Ian Hawes, the school’s theatre manager, and Jonny Burns, head AV technician attended a convincing demonstration. “We listened to the sound quality, saw the slender profile, turned to each other and said, ‘This is exactly what we need for the Great Hall,’” recalls Hawes.
“The system is in constant use, mostly for speech but also for prerecorded playback, and occasionally for singing voices or for reinforcing a piano—something we would never have attempted with our old system,” continues Hawes. “The quality of the spoken word has also improved dramatically; voices have the natural quality of the presenter.”
Logistical and aesthetic factors in the 750-capacity hall required the loudspeakers to be mounted on the upper level, though the majority of seating is on the floor level. CAL is set up with three beam presets to handle the school’s requirements. For the top seating, the main preset has a top beam with a five-degree vertical spread and a three-degree down tilt. For the main floor, the lower beam is a 25-degree spread with a 23-degree down tilt. A third preset is used to cover the back of the floor area as needed. Two UMS-1P subwoofers are also installed to support musical programs.
“Among the beam-steering columns out there, CAL is the only one that sounds like a true high-fidelity loudspeaker,” says system designer Chris Austin of London’s Autograph Sales & Installations. “It’s very musical, making it suitable for ‘proper’ PA applications rather than just voice.”
The Great Hall is listed as a Grade II historic structure by English Heritage and features a pipe organ from JW Walker & Sons installed in 1910.