Memorial Lecture at 145th: John Meyer / Taking the Room Out of the Loudspeaker: New Tools for Transparent Reproduction

AES 145th Convention
Javits Center, New York, NY, USA.
October 17–20, 2018

Friday, October 19th at 6.30 pm

John Meyer, AES Silver Medal holder, will present the 39th Richard C. Heyser Memorial Lecture during the 145th Convention

Taking the Room Out of the Loudspeaker: New Tools for Transparent Reproduction

With few exceptions, loudspeakers are not used in a free field environment but rather in an enclosed acoustical space. This is inherently problematic as an acoustical space behaves in a manner similar to that of loudspeakers, making it difficult to separate the problematic characteristics of each using common measurement tools or subjective listening tests. John Meyer’s lecture will review the history of loudspeaker measurement tools as used both in the free field and in acoustical space, including Richard Heyser’s pioneering TDM methods and Meyer Sound’s own SIM (Source Independent Measurement) systems. A key focus will be on a new multi-component studio monitor that exhibits absolutely flat amplitude and phase response from 27 Hz to 20 kHz. Because this system effectively “takes the room out of the loudspeaker” it opens up possibilities for correlating new objective testing techniques with subjective listening observations. The lecture also will discuss a new test signal known as M-Noise, which effectively mimics the dynamics of music and avoids inherent weaknesses in the use of pink noise with third-octave analyzers when testing loudspeaker systems used for music. The retrospective will touch on other benchmarks in the quest for linear sound amplification, including the early Glyph large-horn systems, the Grateful Dead’s “Wall of Sound” and the HD-1 high resolution studio monitor, a trusted near-field reference that remains in Meyer Sound’s product line 29 years after its introduction.

John Meyer’s career as an audio innovator was launched in the late 1960’s, starting out as designer of custom amplification systems for guitarist Steve Miller then continuing as creator of the legendary Glyph very large horn loudspeakers and as in-house loudspeaker designer at San Francisco’s McCune Sound Service. In the 1970’s his audio research at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland led to his first patent, for a low-distortion horn. In 1979 he co-founded (with his wife, Helen) Meyer Sound Laboratories, a company synonymous with innovations in loudspeaker design and acoustical measurement. Meyer led development of the SIM System for audio measurement, which was awarded the prestigious R&D 100 Award in 1992. Meyer Sound also pioneered development of self-powered sound reinforcement loudspeakers with introduction of the MSL-4 in 1994, launching a trend that has since revolutionized the industry. Throughout his career, he has focused on development of linear loudspeaker systems, with his R&D team most recently achieving phase linearity from 20 kHz down to 27 Hz with the Bluehorn System studio monitor. John Meyer is a Fellow of the AES and recipient of the Silver Medal.

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