OSF Implements Sound Enhancement System in Outdoor Theatre

Meyer Sound system made possible through generous donation

News Release
April 11, 2014

Ashland, Ore.—The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is pleased to announce that it will begin installation of a new Meyer Sound system in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre for the opening of the 2014 productions in June. The state-of-the-art system is made possible through a generous donation from Ashland residents Judy Shih and Joel Axelrod.

“OSF’s commitment to keeping its audience in the forefront of its decision-making is most impressive to us,” Shih said. “We are thrilled to be a part of this initiative that will dramatically improve the audience’s experience in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre.”

The new system, which includes new microphones, speakers, and sound control, is designed to enhance the voice, bringing clarity, articulation and projection throughout the venue. In addition, with the new system in place, OSF’s assistive hearing devices should deliver an improved experience for audience members.

While OSF has used amplification and enhancement in all three of its theatres in the past, this new system in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre represents a giant leap forward in technology and audience experience. This will be the first time OSF has had the opportunity to install an entire world-class sound system from the ground up in one of its theaters. Excellent sound quality is the driving priority of the new system, and OSF has collaborated with Meyer to ensure that the system will deliver with no compromises. Featuring six visible arrays of loudspeakers, as well as enhanced signal processing, the Meyer Sound system has been designed to minimize visual impact, render an accurate sonic image for the actor’s voice, and most importantly, ensure even coverage for the seating areas to maximize speech intelligibility for the audience.

“The last several years we have received increased numbers of audience comments about the difficulty hearing the words in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre,” OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch said. “There are numerous reasons for this, and as a language-based, classical theater, we know that hearing the words is an absolute must. For that reason, we have decided to amplify our outdoor venue. I believe in the stories we’re telling and I believe in the artists’ interpretation of those stories. I want the audience to get every last word, and I am very excited to see how audiences will respond this season.”

The award-winning Meyer Sound, based in Berkeley, California, has been working to enhance modern concert and theatrical sound for almost three decades. The company’s ongoing string of patents and technologies have received awards and acclaim for their quality and usefulness. Meyer has worked closely with OSF’s sound engineers to create a custom system for the Allen Elizabethan and will participate in the installation and fine tuning of the system.

Meyer Sound systems are used throughout the world, including national theatrical tours and musical concerts. The company’s products are manufactured entirely at its Berkeley factory, where high technology is combined with hand craftwork. By performing core processes in house, Meyer Sound is able to exercise the control to insure its quality standards are met and that each unit is exactly the same as the last.

John and Helen Meyer have been personally involved with the performing arts for years, which has given them a feeling for the role of technology in the arts. Meyer Sound is often involved directly with the performing arts at both corporate and individual levels, locally in Berkeley and worldwide. Venues that feature Meyer Sound products include the Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley, SFJAZZ and Jazz at Lincoln Center, as well as Vienna’s Musikverein, Oslo Concert Hall, Moscow’s Svetlanov Hall and more.