Delay speakers for the very back rows were added to the system in a 1,200 seat theatre to give a greater sense of intimacy at the first in-person gathering of the flagship event since 2019.

Meyer Sound assures ‘living-room intimacy’ at TED 2022

The annual TED Conference returned to Vancouver, British Columbia April 10–14 for the first in-person gathering of the flagship event since 2019, with 80 presenters offering bold ideas and inspiration for a better future.

In terms of media technology, the production team built on the solid foundation of the prior event, implementing updates to Meyer Sound audio reinforcement systems for the 1,200-seat TED Theater and other smaller venues clustered inside the Vancouver Convention Centre.

“In terms of audio, it is my responsibility to make sure everything sounds great not only in the theatre but also in the broadcast streams and edit rooms,” says Mina Sabet, head of production for TED Conferences. “Audio is extremely important in what we do and it’s probably the most complicated element.”

The TED Theater is a custom-built combination of a broadcast studio and large event auditorium, a pairing that creates challenges for a format that relies on a direct, person-to-person communication style. Keeping all amplified room sound out of presenter mics while making sure all 1,200 seats are blanketed with clear audio has proven no easy task.

“Before Meyer Sound came on board in 2019, we were struggling with sound in the first few rows,” says Sabet. “In that first system, Meyer Sound introduced the MM-4XP miniature floor loudspeakers, which really worked beautifully and changed the whole audible experience. The only change this year was adding some delay speakers for the very back rows to give a greater sense of intimacy for the furthest seats.”

The 2022 TED Theater update was designed by Meyer Sound Technical Support Specialist David Vincent. The flown system is anchored by twin hangs of 12-each LEOPARD line array loudspeakers with three 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements for deep bass extension. Four UPQ-1P and two UPQ-2P loudspeakers provide front and side fill, with two rings of 11 total UPQ-1P delay loudspeakers for even dispersion throughout the space.

The floor system comprises nine UPM-1P loudspeakers for front fill along with — to enhance the sense of close-up immediacy — 34 MM-4XP miniature self-powered loudspeakers.

“The clarity and the uniform coverage of the system really is extraordinary,” adds Sabet, “and this year I noticed how well it helped us deal with soft-spoken presenters. Making sure our audience can clearly hear a soft-spoken speaker has been a significant recurring issue, but this year — with the new microphones and the Meyer Sound PA — the need to take compensating measures has dropped dramatically.”

Although most presentations focus on the spoken word, music was woven throughout the conference. “We had musicians on stage every day, including a personal favourite of mine, Duckworth for the Audacity session,” recalls Sabet. “The sound of his voice and the live instrumentation just blew away the audience.”

The smaller Community Theater, also inside the Convention Centre, was outfitted with a 54-loudspeaker Meyer Sound system — including 12 900-LFC elements to ensure ample deep bass for the conference’s closing party. Additional Meyer Sound UPJ-1P and UPM-1P loudspeakers provided audio at more than 50 small simulcast locations spaced around a loop outside the theatre. All Meyer Sound systems were supplied by the Los Angeles location of PRG, with installation under the direction of audio project manager Randall Knight.”

Reference : AVinteractive