microphones High-tech system lets restaurant set noise level
The owner of Meyer Sound, the designer of Libra's acoustic image system, John Meyer, stands on the streets of Oaxaca, Mexico, shot by art photographer Deborah O'Grady.This photo was printed on an acoustic transparent cloth and was used as a noise damper at the Comal restaurant in Berkeley, California, on Wednesday, May 19, 2012.The owner of Meyer Sound and the designer of the Libra acoustic image system stand in front of the street scene of Mexico O'Grady's art photographer from Oaxaca, Mexico.This photo was printed on an acoustic transparent cloth and was used as a noise damper at the Comal restaurant in Berkeley, California, on Wednesday, May 19, 2012.His new Berkeley Mexican restaurant, Comal, is going to be busy.If the restaurant is as quiet as the monastery of katucia, it will conflict with his image --After all, he has been the manager of the rock band Phish for 17 years.But the line between creating a festive atmosphere and making sure diners can hear themselves is good for restaurant owners.Voice of palusca and Meyer, a worldBerkeley's famous audio engineering company teamed up to test a relatively new technology that controls the reverb level by pressing a button.Paluska uses a combination of sound-absorbing materials, microphones, speakers and digital processors to make his restaurant as loud or soft as he wants.John Meyer, founder and president of Meyer Sound, said it was the first time such a system was used in restaurants."We have used it at live performance venues, including Zellerbach Hall at the University of California, Berkeley, Cirque du Soleil production, experimental music room, Bob Will's studio, and even the church, he said."But never in the restaurant.This is our beta test.When Paluska began to change nearly 3,000-square-Foot space used to be two retail stores on Shatak Avenue and he didn't want the noise levels to stop customers.A 2011 Zagat survey found that diners ranked second in noise.The biggest complaint behind the service"As a person who likes to eat outside, as a person reading the restaurant news, I know that noise is a hot topic --"Everyone has a button problem," Paluska said ."."What we want to achieve is often mutually exclusive.Either you have an atmosphere of conversation or a lively atmosphere.What we are excited about is that we are achieving these two goals.However, Paluska did not want his first restaurant to look like a studio.So in March, Meyer and Pierre Germain, one of Meyer's acoustic engineers, came in to cast their magic.First, they installed the material.Everything from fiberglass plumbing pads and wood fiber sound-absorbing boards to recycled denim jeans-This will weaken the reverb.But they disguised it as art.Deborah O'Grady's giant print may look like it's just a photo of the Wahaka Street, but it's part of the Meyer Libra acoustic image system.Just last week, Paluska hung up a drummer for the abstract trio "Medeski Martin & Wood" drawn by his friend Billy Martin.Martin made his canvas from Meyer's sound fabric."We want to make sure that it is visually creative without compromising aesthetics," says Germain .".Sound insulation is not new in restaurants.Restaurant owners in the Bay Area hired expensive acoustic engineers to help them control the noise.What sets Comal apart is that when it is combined with Meyer's constellation system --A program that captures room sounds and is able to leak them back into space-The operator is able to control the level.To this end, Germain installed a total of 123 speakers, subwoofer and microphone around the restaurant.The microphone receives the sound and sends it to the computer, where the sound is digitally processed and played back according to the command.Paluska did it all with an iPad while walking around the restaurant.He can also set up some areas to get more reverb than others.Currently, he owns it so that the bar area in front is more lively than the dining space in the back.But he says customers can have a comfortable conversation from anywhere in the restaurant."Even if we're busy, it's like you're in your own capsule where you can still hear background music and have a conversation without shouting," Paluska said .".Helen Meyer said the technology can be amplified or scaled down according to the specific needs of the project, the cost can be from $10,000 to more than $100,000, the executive vice president of Meyer Sound."Some of the defining factors include the size of the space, its programming --Including whether there will be live music performances or movie performances."And whether the original building was properly wired and treated with acoustics," she said ."."The technology will cost millions of dollars 20 years ago," said John Meyer ." He added that with the advent of video games --He used the same math chip in the program.It's not expensive now.The possibilities are endless.He looked up at the Oaxaca print hanging on the wall of the restaurant and said: "The Holographic deck in Star Trek is not far away.Stacy Finz is a staff member of the San Francisco Chronicle.Sfinz @ sfchronicle.