Audio Upgrade at South Carolina’s House of Representatives Chamber
The Intelligence of Things - 'The Sound Barrier'
Front Of House Magazine - House of Worship Installations
Front Of House Magazine - Nightclub Spotlight - The Saddle Rack
Innovating in Audio Without Chips or Millenials
Tectonic Brings Clarity to a Reverberant Sanctuary
Major Audio Upgrade in Va. Church
Tectonic Sponsors CEDIA Ribbon-cutting
Unity Latin Tribute PBS Special
Colorado College Shove Chapel
'W' Hotel Speaker Upgrade
Tectonic Technical Video Series
Lardon Appointed to Board of Directors
Tectonic Closes Second Round of Financing
Seattle City Council Chambers Upgrade
St. Louise Parish System Upgrade
Gig Harbor High School Theater Upgrade
Empress Theater Renovation
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A major upgrade of the South Carolina House of Representatives chamber features extensive use of Tectonic Distributed Mode Audio panels. Michael Schwartz, principal consultant at Deliberative Designs explains, “When using dynamic mics, we are able to achieve considerably higher gain before feedback with the DML panels as opposed to conventional loudspeaker designs. This, combined with the advanced DSP techniques we utilized, meant we could implement a far louder, far clearer, and far more intelligible system by using the Tectonic DMLs.”
"Tectonic Audio Labs, a five-year-old early-stage company based in Woodinville, Washington, has pioneered ultra-high-quality, ultra-durable flat-panel speakers that push sound through spaces as large as arenas and as compact as the manicured cabin of several Bentley models. “Putting our speaker technologies into things like washing machines, cookers, refrigerators—it’s kind of a market that is exploding for us,” says Tim Whitwell, VP of engineering for Tectonic.
"The company is also working with several makers of voice-activated connected home devices to figure out how to produce high-quality sound that won’t interfere with the voice-detecting microphone arrays. “That introduces us to a whole other set of challenges and opportunities,” he says.
Achieving great sound in a house of worship setting is fraught with challenges. Worship services may range from simple piano and/or organ with voices to high-SPL contemporary music at rock concert levels; or with many churches, it may be a combination of the two, serving two different congregations. Unfortunately, few house of worship sanctuaries are built with acoustical needs in mind, and often feature highly reverberant spaces with ample use of wood, glass, marble and other acoustically reflective materials .
Fortunately, today's technologies go a long way towards providing tools to improve that situation, making significant strides in creating an environment with high intelligibility, wide bandwidth, superb coverage, controlled dispersion and mix tools that allow the engineer to translate the power of the message to the entire congregation, whether seated near the altar or in the last row.
With that in mind, we present this collection of recent installation projects, with both whole system and incremental upgrades. Each of these took a different route in their approach, proving there are numerous solutions to any audio problem - large or small - for any sanctuary.
The February 2017 issue of Front Of House magazine featured Tectonic in the monthly Nightclub Spotlight. The Saddle Rack Club FOH sound men Mike Brunz and Polo Jones shared their thoughts on learning and appreciating the revolutionary technology and capabilities of Resonant Mode Audio.
"The difference with the Tectonic system was immediately apparent," says Brunz. "The coverage was far and above what we had previously had or tried, including line array systems that still required side-fills."
"With a system this flat and clean, you can't get away with little problems that can be masked with a heavily processed traditional system. With the Tectonic system, you get out exactly what you put in," added Jones.
"The Tectonic system is the real deal," concludes Brunz.
Tectonic Audio Labs has developed a technology for small speakers producing brilliantly clear sound. Can it improve streaming audio?
By TIERNAN RAY , Barron's - November 19, 2016
In a world obsessed with the latest smartphone apps, every now and then a real innovation pops up out of nowhere that is instantly dazzling.
Such is the case of Tectonic Audio Labs, a 20-person startup located in a strip mall in the small town of Woodinville, Wash., just north of Microsoft ’s Redmond campus. The company’s central innovation goes by the daunting name of “resonant-mode audio.” It produces beautiful sound, the kind that can fill a room, not just your iPhone earbuds.
On a recent October afternoon, Tectonic’s executives gathered around a conference table in their makeshift office, which is surrounded by a martial arts studio, a bar, and a tattoo parlor. Tectonic is just a few years old, but its long legacy of research exemplifies a trend explored in Barron’s cover story last month—the notion of “actuators,” devices that let computers physically affect our world (“Faster, Smarter, Better: The Next Chip Revolution,” Oct. 22).
The revolution in this case is not a chip, but a nimble assembly of mechanical parts—a magnet, a vibrating metal ring, and a piece of carbon fiber—that drastically reduces the size of a speaker while greatly improving the quality of its sound. It’s also an example of what happens when some passionate graybeards explore an area that millennial code jockeys can’t imagine.
The company’s chief executive, Todd Ostrander, and his comfortably middle-aged deputies are all veterans of the tech and audio industries. They offer some eye-rolling references, like catching a Who concert recently. But they also offer a refreshing appreciation for things not buried in code, such as the beauty of sound.
The demo proved there’s something special here. As I stood a few feet from two Tectonic speakers, each a three- inch-deep slab running 36 by 22 inches, the company’s demo expert, David Crocker, ran through a set list that included Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and the Jimi Hendrix classic “Little Wing,” as played by the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Even to my untrained ears, the sound was clear and clean, with a distinct lack of abusive pounding that one expects from standing in front of speakers at a concert. It was loud without being painful. As Crocker points out, the Hendrix tune’s powerful guitar riffs didn’t “smack me in the face,” the way speakers can often do.
The key is a novel marriage of mechanics and materials. Speakers use a device called an exciter, a motor that pushes a column of air back and forth with a piston. In the case of Tectonic, the exciter is also a motor, but instead of a piston, a circular disc vibrates causing a large sheet of carbon fiber to resonate. The exciter and the carbon-fiber material are designed together by Tectonic, tuned to one another, as the company likes to put it, to produce precise frequencies.
The effect is a bit like an acoustic guitar, CEO Ostrander explains: “The body of the guitar gives you natural resonance. You sit anywhere in the room when a guitar is playing, and you hear the same frequencies, the same pleasant characteristics of what’s coming off the body of the guitar.”
WITHOUT A PISTON, the sound fills the space but doesn’t hammer you. There are other benefits as well. The vibrating panels have slim cases rather than the deep boxes required in a conventional speaker, like flat-panel TVs versus an old cathode-ray tube. The flat speakers, which range in cost from $7,500 to $10,000 each, can be an elegant addition to a home audio system for those who care about aesthetics. They also use a fraction of the power of conventional speakers, so they can fill a concert venue at comparable decibels more efficiently.
The flat panels produce sound across an arc of 165 degrees, much wider than the 120-degree maximum sweep of conventional speakers. As a result, the same frequencies can be delivered to the audience throughout a concert venue with fewer boxes, while still giving each listener the effect of stereo sound. There’s also less muddying of the sound. In ordinary speakers, the piston motion is like dropping a bowling ball into a swimming pool, the company explains. Waves bounce back and forth off the sides of the pool. In audio terms, reflecting waves create spurious sound, experienced as noise. The Tectonic speakers are like an equivalent weight of sand hitting the water—it dissipates on contact. There’s nothing reverberating as noise.
For that reason, many churches are Tectonic customers, says Ostrander. The lack of reflection means congregations don’t have to hire architects to build baffling, thus preserving the integrity of some historical church sanctuaries.
All of this is known as professional audio, serving venues and audiophiles. Where things go next is intriguing.
The company was incorporated in 2011. In 2013, Ostrander and a group of angel investors bought out resonant-mode technology from HiWave, a British company in receivership. HiWave already had in place some interesting deals. For example, luxury car maker Bentley has made small speakers using the technology standard on its Bentayga model. Deutsche Lufthansa (ticker: LHA.Germany) has built them into its planes for piping music into the cabin.
In a hint of things to come, one of the younger members of the team, Tectonic’s principal engineer, Marcelo Vercelli, points out that audio streamed off the Internet is “not so great.” This is kind, given the garbage most consumer audio produces. Tectonic’s resonant-mode audio can markedly improve the quality of the sound even with mediocre Internet content, claims Ostrander. He cites a device such as the Q Acoustics Media 4 soundbar, which retails for $380 on Amazon and uses two Tectonic exciters. “Even if you’re using just plain old mp3 files, the moment you hear this, you can instantly tell the difference from any other connected speaker,” says Ostrander.
The world has seen more and more connected devices, like Alphabet ’s (GOOGL) Google Home and Amazon.com ’s (AMZN) Echo, which can speak Internet search results to you or stream Internet-based songs on request. Tectonic is talking with some of the major consumer brands to replace speakers in those kinds of devices, the company says.
To support these ambitions, a few weeks ago Ostrander obtained Tectonic’s first round of outside funding—$4 million—from WestRiver Group, a private-equity firm based in Kirkland, Wash., that has backed unusual ventures, such as Topgolf, a chain of driving ranges and sports bars.
Regardless of how far its resonant-mode audio spreads, what’s going on in Woodinville shows how a small, passionate team can give new life to a brilliant technology, and create experiences few would have imagined. This is technology at its best.
Beaumont, TX – Tectonic Audio Labs, the world leader in Resonant Mode Audio (RMA) solutions, announced installation of Tectonic’s Pro Audio speakers at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, a continually growing parish in Beaumont, TX striving to meet ongoing worship and technology needs. A recent architectural renovation to increase the sanctuary size and seating capacity was combined with a sound system upgrade to improve coverage, intelligibility and parishioner engagement. Tectonic PL-11s were selected for their ability to manage a very reverberant space, provide wide and even coverage, reduce feedback and meet aesthetic requirements.
The Challenge -
"The sanctuary is a large space with brick walls, a polished stone floor and a 35’ high curved wooden ceiling, so it is very reverberant”, explains Chase Daigle of MSC Systems, Beaumont, TX. “Room treatment solutions were not an option, so we knew from experience that Tectonic Resonant Mode speakers could meet these requirements and manage the space.”
Adding to the challenge, all microphones are in front of the desired speaker location and the choir, piano, organ and musicians are located in the rear of the church, so sufficient gain before feedback would be difficult.
The Tectonic Demonstration Proof of Concept –
After talking with other churches that had selected Tectonic panel solutions for their sanctuaries, St. Jude invited MSC to demonstrate the Tectonic system on-site.
MSC Systems brought in their two PL-11 and subs demo system for the church to evaluate. Eighty parishioners attended the demo to assist in evaluating coverage, intelligibility and an A/B comparison with the existing system; four mid/high boxes and a sub, plus two line-array columns to cover the rear of the sanctuary. The results were 100% positive. A subsequent demonstration from another manufacturer could not produce similar results.
The Design and Implementation –
“The solution we arrived at was to mount a pair of two-panel PL-11 hangs from the first beam, placing them widely to accommodate a mosaic to be installed in the future,” explains Daigle. “We used a pair of custom brackets fitted to the beam to provide attachment points for the panels. For aesthetic reasons, we utilized Tectonic’s center-of-gravity heads vs. pull-back cabling. To these heads we mounted a pair of custom powder-coat colored panels with Tectonic connector bars and quick-pins.” A pair of Danley TH112 subs mounted to the third beam were added to provide low-frequency extension.
A Smaart™ system was used to verify uniform coverage throughout the sanctuary and set time and phase alignment for all speaker components.
The Results –
The final results solve the list of shortcomings of previous systems. Reverberation has been managed without any acoustic treatment, coverage is even from front to back and side to side with no hot or dead spots. Feedback issues have been significantly reduced. “The slap-back is gone,” says Father Tom Phelan. “Hearing impaired parishioners ar
e no longer complaining of missing words. Music and choirs sound more present and engaging, and parishioners are singing. It’s a more inclusive experience.”
MCLEAN, Va. — For many churches, the impetus behind a planned install is often tied to aging equipment that has reached the end of its serviceable life.
In the case of Providence Baptist Church, a church that dates back to the 1960s — and in its current space since 1990 — the time had come to upgrade the worship space’s sound equipment, particularly their speakers.
“(The original speakers) were new in 1990, but now there was dry rotting,” noted Lori Taylor, Providence Baptist’s worship director. “They were deteriorating, there were also dead spaces, and we could never get any consistent sound.”
In the church’s recent install, the most significant addition was the upgrade to Tectonic Audio Labs PL-12 speakers. The church’s previous speakers had been installed to its 40-foot ceilings, while the PL-12s were instead hung from the walls.
The install was completed almost three months ago, with the new system first being used during a service on Sunday, July 3. The project was the first coordinated for the church by systems integrator RTW Media, based in Ruther Glen, Va.
The goal of the new system install was for the church to offer their congregants significantly ‘greater clarity and evenness.’
To Taylor, the communication and timing right from the outset of the project were ideal and helped the church to move forward on the work.
“There were others that did talk to us, but they disappeared,” she said. “RTW continued to talk, and I appreciate that they kept talking, as we needed someone who had a good, comprehensive idea of what we needed to do in there.”
RTW Media’s Walsh Hinnant noted that after having made the initial contact, he learned of the church’s plans for a renovation and their needs, after which a consultation and site visits followed. Sitting down with Taylor and her husband, along with front of house engineer Nathan Lamb to discuss the project further, he added, “we then went through some designs and revisions,” before the work in the space began.
What were learned from those discussions was that one of the primary goals with the new sound system at Providence Baptist was to offer their congregants significantly “greater clarity and evenness.”
Having learned from Hinnant about Tectonic speakers for the project, Taylor said, “Walsh introduced us to the concept. We were really amazed, it was day and night. There was muddiness before and now there was a clarity; especially with the spoken word and being able to hear the individual instruments.”
To Hinnant, the PL-12s were ideal for such a “reverberant space,” one with many acoustical issues. Using the Tectonics added up to a speaker “that provides a much clearer and intelligible sound, and brings a much more neutral and natural tone to the vocals.”
Aside from the Tectonic speakers, the church’s audio upgrade included a series of amplifiers and subwoofers, each by Electro-Voice. To power the mains or PL-12s, the church went with an Electro-Voice CPS2.12 two-channel amplifier, rated at 1,100 watts per channel at 4 ohms. To power speakers that are located in the overflow areas, such as the hallway, a two-channel, 270 watts per channel Electro-Voice PA2250T was installed. The church then added a dual 18-inch QRX218S subwoofer to accentuate the low frequencies, paired with a Q1212 amplifier, rated at 1,800 watts per channel at 2 ohms.
Once the switch to the PL-12s was made, though, Taylor admitted there was an initial period of adjustment for the congregation, largely because the Tectonics were so much better than their prior aging speakers.
“People would sit in the dead spaces (with the old speakers) when they didn’t like the sound before,” noted Taylor, noting how no dead spaces still existed with the new speakers. “Everything was far away (with the old speakers), but now we had to do frequency adjustments over about six weeks. With (the PL-12s) about 12 feet up, there is an immediacy (that didn’t exist before).”
Over that period of transition, Taylor explained that there were a few initial complaints over the change to their system, but she encouraged feedback from the congregation “to communicate what we are looking for,” in the interest of making the necessary tweaks, to satisfy as many of the church’s members as possible.
“During the first week, (the congregation was) overwhelmed, because it was such a difference,” she noted. “They were overwhelmed…some in a good way, some not in a good way. But we had an opportunity to say to everybody, ‘please let me know what you hear,’ and people gave me their opinion. We have to be driven by our vision, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be sensitive and accommodate whenever possible.”
When moving to make the desired changes, Taylor said, “RTW was very helpful with it, and since they didn’t know our congregation, we had to wait to hear from (our congregation).”
As Hinnant explained, the adjustments that followed were not out of the ordinary, since “it is one thing to demo a system, another to install it, and another to have it where there are those additional bodies in (the worship space).”
Once the desired changes were made, she added, “(The Tectonics have) the range to (be powerful), but it has to be tempered for the congregation, even though the people do like how clear they are with the instruments and the melody.”
Since those first few weeks after the change, Taylor noted that “it’s been very positive. When we backed off, and eased back in, they were receptive to a fuller sound.”
In deciding on the Tectonics, the staff at Providence Baptist opted against A-B testing of any other speakers for the space.
“We didn’t try any other systems, but we did talk about similar systems,” said Taylor. “We know there has been a great improvement with the Tectonics…before you could hear it loud, but you could not understand what they were saying. We decided to go with them when we heard the demo.”
While the work for the install was completed over a span of about three days during the early part of the summer, Taylor said, “They just came and did their thing. I did not have any issues with them. When they had to run cable in the ceiling, that was the only time that anyone really saw them, as it was unobtrusive.” The result of the work was that there were no cancellations or delays associated with any of the church’s services. Throughout the rest of the week, RTW spent time on tweaking the system and training the church staff.
In talking further about the importance of not rushing the adjustments made at Providence Baptist, Hinnant commented, “Audio should be clear and intelligible. If it isn’t clear, the message isn’t clear and being received, which means that an opportunity is lost to save a soul.”
Tectonic Audio Labs, the premier designer and manufacturer of revolutionary flat panel speaker systems serving the automotive, consumer and professional audio markets, today announced that it is proud to have been selected as the audio sponsor for the CEDIA 2016 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and address from CEDIA CEO, Vincent Bruno.
“We are thrilled to have Tectonic Audio Labs participating at CEDIA 2016,” said Bruno. “They are a fantastic fit for the area on our show floor that we call ‘Innovation Alley.’ This entire area is dedicated to companies including Tectonic who are making their first splash at CEDIA and bringing fresh innovation to the market. I know our attendees will be interested in learning more about Tectonic after hearing its revolutionary speakers at our Ribbon Cutting
Ceremony this Thursday, September 15th at 8:45 AM.”
According to Todd Ostrander, CEO, Tectonic, “As already experienced by our prestige customers – Bentley Motors, Lufthansa Business Jets, and W Hotels, we are excited to bring the next generation of audio transducer technology to the CEDIA community. Simply put, Tectonic’s revolutionary flat-panel speakers are doing for audio what HDTV did for television. CEDIA has long been known as a global showcase of the biggest thinking and innovations, and we’re honored as a new CEDIA member to join CEDIA CEO, Vin Bruno as he and other industry leaders cut the ribbon and welcome attendees onto the CEDIA 2016 show floor.”
See Us at CEDIA 2016
Experience Tectonic Audio Labs’ sound reinforcement speakers at the CEDIA 2016 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 8:45 AM on Thursday, September 15th at the Show Floor Entrance of the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, TX. To learn more about Tectonics’ revolutionary Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML™) carbon fiber panels and range of resonant mode transducers including its flagship Balance Mode Radiators (BMR™) serving the OEM consumer, automotive, aircraft, and commercial markets, visit Tectonic at Exhibit Hall Booth No. 4160 located in Innovation Alley.
10-9-15, Woodinville, WA – A four panel per side Tectonic Audio Labs PL-12 system is the house loudspeaker choice for this year’s flagship PBS Fall Arts concert special; “UNITY - Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson”.
Tectonic and Unity first met at Winter NAMM 2015 and found a common goal of artistic and sonic fidelity. As a ‘sound-check’, Tectonic provided their smallest speaker system - a pair of PL-11 half-panels and subs - for Unity’s Universal Music Group labels album release party last spring. “Our CD Release party was a slam dunk in terms of sound”, says Succar.
With a successful debut show for both parties, Tectonic was specifically requested to provide speakers for Unity’s Fall Arts Festival PBS live concert special at the historic Olympia Theater in Miami FL.
“In order to cover a 1,200 seat theater with a very high balcony – while still maintaining sightlines for cameras ─ we decided to place four full-panel PL-12s per side”, explains Tectonic system engineer Chris Wilson. “There was some give and take to find the right solution, and an emphasis on the orchestra level seats vs. the balcony which was devoted to a large camera jib and over-flow seating.”
The final loudspeaker solution was to place the four-panel hangs at extreme stage left and right on 25-foot lifts from the floor. Two RCF TT series dual-18” subs per side provided plenty of low-end support.
“Even though emphasis was placed on covering the orchestra level before the balcony, we were committed to giving every seat the same audio experience”, says Scott Garside, Tectonic Marketing Director. “Thanks to our panels’ 165⁰ horizontal and vertical coverage in the vocal and instrumental range, we were able to set a fairly extreme angle for the top panels per side leaning back 7⁰ from the main hang to hit the balcony, and then continued with panels two through four to cover the sloping main level with a more standard 0⁰ - 3⁰ curve.”
“Pre-production meetings were perhaps unique for the Olympia Theater staff as we explained our requirements for the event”, adds Garside. “We told production leads that we would be off-loading from a 14’ U-Haul truck and needed a single 110V, 20A circuit per side to power the Tectonic panels, plus some power for the subs.”
“This is definitely a very different audio system than anything I have seen before”, says Olympia Theater Technical Director Isaac Taylor. “Obviously the first thing you notice is the form factor, and we were doubtful. We brought it in and started tuning it to the room. My mind was blown right away and I am happy to say that I was proven wrong.”
Taylor continues, “I am floored with live sound, playback audio; anything coming from this system. It’s definitely beyond anything I’ve seen or heard on the market. Everybody else is probably three or four steps behind it. My house system could never do this.”
“Tectonic has truly changed the game in terms of live sound, and I’m so grateful that we are working together”, says Succar. “Every engineer in every venue we perform, whenever they experience these speakers, is blown away. It’s hard to go back after you’ve worked with Tectonic!”
After the show, Tectonic won a $1 bet with the Olympia Theater staff by having the entire FOH panel speaker system and amps packed and driving away in 45 minutes.
7-21-15 - Woodinville, WA – Colorado Springs, CO based AV company Sight + Sound Technologies recently installed a five-panel PL-11 Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) system in Shove Memorial Chapel at Colorado College. The process from live demo to final installation relied on virtually every unique capability that Tectonic panels provide.
The design mandate was to provide a speaker system that was highly intelligible, feedback resistant, providing equal frequency and volume coverage to all areas of the space and respectful of the architecture. The chapel is a natural stone construction in the traditional design of gothic cathedrals; with an arching ceiling, long and narrow nave and fairly wide perpendicular transepts. The resulting acoustics characteristics are highly reverberant.
The Tectonic advantage started with the ability to demonstrate the speakers on-site. After a preliminary walk-through, Tectonic’s demo team rolled in two 25’ lifts and placed a pair of PL-11s very nearly to their eventual positions to prove-out the concept and perform real-time listening tests. The Tectonic DML method of propagating audio performed very well in this large and reverberant space.
“Tectonic PL-Series loudspeakers utilize non-point source DML technology to overcome perennial issue of sound reinforcement in such difficult spaces”, explains Marcelo Vercelli – Tectonic Applications Engineer. “DML audio propagation is extremely wide in coverage, non-destructive when interacting with reflective surfaces, extremely low distortion and very feedback resistant. With no cross-over from ~700Hz to 7kHz, and nearly immeasurable odd-order harmonic distortion, Tectonic panels are highly intelligible and perform extremely well in large reverberant spaces.”
With proof of system performance, Tectonic was able to provide color-matched powder coated PL-11 panels, a location guide and recommend standard VESA mounting solutions.
Sight + Sound Technologies mounted two PL-11s in a horizontal orientation at the front of the chancel, two PL-11s in a vertical orientation 1/3 of the way into the nave and a single horizontal PL-11 facing rearward into the apse. All Tectonic panels were mounted with standard VESA 400mm x 400mm hardware.
Together, Sight + Sound and Tectonic were able to solve a complex audio design starting with a zero-impact audio demonstration, and provide a solution that met all audio and architectural requirements. “The demo sealed the deal for the client”, says Sight + Sound CEO Kris Johnson. “When we got the demo speakers in we realized the wide coverage pattern covered the areas very well. In fact we were able to reduce the total number of speakers needed.”
4-7-15 Woodinville, WA – Tectonic PL-12 flat panel loudspeaker’s unique Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) audio performance, form factor and industrial design provided a final solution for an acoustic challenge that has existed for seven years.
The ideal speaker system for the ‘W’ Hotel Atlanta Downtown’s lobby entertainment hub had to overcome highly reverberant acoustics and provide equal volume, stereo and intelligible audio over a very wide and complex space. The choice of loudspeaker systems also had to meet the design aesthetics at the heart of this world-class hospitality brand.
“The 'W' Hotel brand and visitor experience is inspired by the creative worlds of music, film, fashion, art, design and beyond”, explains ‘W’ Hotel brand manager Pablo Andres-Lopez. “A key element of every 'W' Hotel design is the ‘Living Room’; a requisite element for ‘W’ properties worldwide that serves as meeting space, food & drink service area, event space and nightly entertainment venue.”
Toronto interior design company Burdifilek created an urban oasis within the 'W' Atlanta Downtown Hotel. Designers Diego Burdi and Paul Filek reinterpreted the Living Room as a verdant sanctuary that mimics the lushness of Georgia, while maintaining the brand’s celebrated cosmopolitan edge.
The final architectural design presented acoustic challenges. Three-story glass windows and a polished marble floor made for a highly reverberant space that could not permanently accommodate more than low-volume ceiling speakers. For over seven years, this situation combined with existing speaker technologies, made many of the needs of the Living Room difficult to resolve.
With the recommendation of Tectonic representatives EDA Pro AV and audio/visual provider Atlanta Sound Works, Tectonic was able to provide a real-time demonstration of a proposed solution for this space. Tectonic rolled-in 25' lifts to place a pair of PL-12 flat panel Resonant Mode Loudspeakers into very nearly their final locations.
“Unlike traditional speaker systems that produce pistonic and highly correlated audio energy that reacts with boundaries to produce slap-back echoes, feedback, and a general lack of intelligibility, Tectonic Resonant Mode Loudspeakers propagate audio as a diffuse and non-correlated audio source that does not interact significantly with highly reflective boundary surfaces”, explains Scott Garside of Tectonic. “With the unique audio characteristics of Tectonic panels, we were able to solve for this challenging acoustic space.”
A demonstration was accomplished in a couple of hours and did not require any modification to the space or a significant disruption of daily business. Results were presented in real-time audio vs. predictive modeling reports, so stake holders were able to make an immediate evaluation of the system's performance.
In addition to audio requirements, aesthetics was a major concern in selecting a speaker system. “I was tasked with finding a new speaker system”, continues Lopez. “The solution had to fit the design of the Living Room. We really didn’t want to put in typical big old lumpy speakers. We needed something sleek that would blend in with the design of the space. The Tectonic speakers were a perfect fit. They look beautiful; like they have been designed for this space.”
Atlanta Sound Works engineered an elegant mounting system that utilized the Tectonic PL panel's VESA compatible capabilities. Custom-fabricated ceiling mounts were fitted with standard VESA brackets to attach to the Tectonic PL-12s. Adjustment points were provided by this design to allow for aiming of the panels. Speaker cables were routed internally through the mounts to provide a clean look to the final installation.
“For the first time, we are able to offer live music in this space”, says Lopez. “The Living Room is not only an amenity for our hotel guests, but an upscale destination for discriminating locals in the downtown area. We can now program our entertainment between DJs and live music, and accommodate up to 150 people on a big night without the need to provide, set-up and remove additional speaker systems.”
“The speakers sound outstanding”, adds bar manager Pete Carver. “We have used them for DJs and live music. The sound doesn’t drown out conversations and interactions with patrons.”
”It’s a beautiful, nice, round sound”, concludes Lopez. “It’s very comfortable for guests to just relax and lounge in, and they can converse. We cut down on equipment overhead, labor costs, and gained more space for guests in a comfortable yet high-energy setting. This goes directly to the bottom line. ”
3-20-15 Woodinville, WA - Tectonic Audio Labs has produced a 21-part technical video series explaining the function, performance and application of Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) technology. Unlike traditional speaker systems that utilize pistonic cone and compression drives to produce audio, Tectonic speakers employ large format flat panel DML resonant mode devices to propagate audio.
"DMLs produce audio in a fundamentally different way than a typical loudspeaker does", explains Tim Whitwell, physicist and DML expert. "This technology can seem quite counterintuitive to those not familiar with resonant mode devices."
The Tectonic Technical Video Series condenses over three hours of conversations between Whitwell and transducer & loudspeaker systems engineer Marcelo Vercelli. Together they explore and explain DML technology. Each five minute video module covers a single topic in detail. Titles include:
How DMLs Work - Parts 1-4
DMLs vs. Pistonic Transducers
DML Feedback Resistance
DMLs In Reverberant Spaces
DML Stereo Imaging
"We set-up a video library on our web site that allows visitors to easily browse and sample topics of interest", says Scott Garside, Marketing Director. "There is a wealth of information here that provides a fundamental understanding of resonant mode audio propagation. The function and benefits of DMLs are quite remarkable."
The Tectonic Technical Video Library is available at:
ANAHEIM, California--NAMM 2015 - Tectonic announced today that Robert V. Lardon has been appointed to serve as a new member of the Company’s Board of Directors.
Over the past twenty years, Mr. Lardon has successfully led turnaround, start-up and growth businesses on a global level covering a wide range of industries: Hi-Tech, Consumer Electronics, Luxury Goods, Automotive, Entertainment, Media and Communications.
From 2008 to 2014, Mr. Lardon held senior roles at Harman International (NYSE: HAR), a world leader of premium audio, lighting, infotainment, and enterprise automation solutions for the professional, consumer and automotive markets. Most recently at Harman, Mr. Lardon was Vice President and General Manager of its Luxury Audio Group and earlier served as the Company’s Vice President, Strategy and Investor Relations.
The entire Press Release is available at BusinessWire.com
Flat Audio Technologies, LLC, dba Tectonic Audio Labs (Tectonic), Appoints Robert V. Lardon to Board of Directors
11-15-14 Woodinville, WA - Tectonic Audio Labs (Woodinville, WA, USA) along with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tectonic Elements (London, UK) announces the closing of $2.5M second-round financing led by Stonebridge Securities (Bellevue, WA, USA). Funds will be used for expansion of product engineering and intellectual property.
Core company technologies include Resonant Mode Audio products - DML’s (Distributed Mode Loudspeakers), BMR’s (Balance Mode Radiators), Exciters (surface resonance motors) - and related amplifiers and signal processors for commercial, automotive and personal audio markets.
Tectonic’s technology and products are currently utilized in Bentley and Toyota models, Lufthansa Business Jets and large meeting venues across the US.
Tectonic investors include individuals from the private equity, technology and audio industries.
Enquiries / Contact Info
Tectonic Audio Labs
+ (425) 686-7640
10-28-14 Woodinville, WA - A/V design firm Sparling and installer Jaymarc AV of Seattle were tasked with solving coverage, intelligibility, microphone performance and gain before feedback issues that have been perennial challenges for the Seattle City Council Chambers. This architecturally stunning chamber was acoustically sound, but the existing speaker solution of a pair of medium size 2-way flown speakers boxes and several rear-fill monitors was not sufficient to cover the large space and presented significant audio management issues.
Sparling selected Tectonic Audio Labs and installed a single PL-12 Plate™ to solve this particularly challenging upgrade. "After demoing the Tectonic Plates, we felt that we had a viable solution to handle this large space", says Sparling's Steve Malone. "The unique performance characteristics of the PL-12 - its wide full-frequency coverage, lack of room interaction, intelligibility and feed-back resistance - solved the client's needs."
“Prior to the upgrade, our traditional speaker system didn’t properly project the voices of Council members in their meeting room", explains Seattle City Council’s IT Manager, Ian Smith.
As proof of design, Tectonic raised a single PL-12 Plate on a lift to provide a real-world demonstration. Council members had an opportunity to experience a direct comparison between the existing system and the PL-12. This demo took only a couple of hours and had no impact on the facility.
The installation of the PL-12 solved for all issues. Flexible placement was facilitated by VESA™ mount compatibility. One Plate, placed high up in the chamber's center over the US and State flags and aimed at the back row of public seats was all that was required.
The 160° horizontal and vertical dispersion of Tectonic's DMLs and wide dispersion large-format ribbon transducer provide full-frequency coverage to all seats throughout the chamber as well as overflow into the lobby area. System intelligibility is greatly improved due to no cross-overs from ~ 80Hz to 6.5kHz, and near zero third-order harmonic distortion.
The Tectonic Plate's extreme resistance to feedback allows for considerably more gain before feedback, such that council members can now sit back in their chairs, speak normally, and allow individual table-top mics to pick up every word.
Sparling's Malone continues, "As a bonus, the Tectonic system, even with a single speaker, provides audible and intelligible sound out open doors to the council chamber's lobby which accommodates over-flow attendance. This is not to be expected from traditional speaker systems."
"After installation of the new audio equipment, we’ve noted a remarkable improvement in the quality of sound, which meets the unique acoustics of the space”, says Smith.
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10-1-14 Woodinville, WA - Tectonic Audio Labs and design/install firm Definitive Audio collaborated to solve perennial audio problems for St. Louise Parish; a large and progressive Catholic Church in the Pacific Northwest serving a diverse ministry from traditional to modern and multi-ethnic congregations.
"The existing loudspeaker solution was primarily based on three 2-way 15" trapezoidal boxes in a center cluster", explains Dennis Schlossberg of Definitive Audio. "In order to fully cover this large and wide space, three separate systems were previously employed in total ; the main center cluster and two independent fill systems mounted on pillars and soffits throughout the sanctuary. Even with that, there were still dead areas, and overall system intelligibility was very poor."
The solution selected by Definitive Audio and St. Louise was a pair of Tectonic Plates per side flown over the chancel. "With this relatively simple installation, we solved for all issues", says Schlossberg. "St. Louise was able to remove all three previous speaker systems and consolidate all electronics into one simple and small electronics rack."
The wide and diffuse output of the Tectonic Plates covered all areas of the sanctuary with audio levels that measured with remarkable consistency; from the first row pews to the narthex and off to the sides of this very wide space.
"There are many unique acoustic characteristics of the Tectonic Plates' Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) technology, and almost every one of them came into play with this installation", explains Dave Firestone, Tectonic CMO. "The very wide pattern of our speakers provided coverage to not only the back of the sanctuary, but to equally distant side spaces. The Tectonic Plates exhibited near linear output level in this large and wide space. We were able to provide an equal and comfortable stereo listening experience for every parishioner."
The Tectonic Plates' extreme resistance to feedback allowed for much greater microphone gain to maximize pulpit, lectern and overhead choir mic placement performance. Near-zero third-order harmonic distortion, no cross-over points from 110Hz to 7kHz and lack of room interaction from reflective surfaces, including a three-story all-glass sanctuary rear, greatly improved system intelligibility.
"Tectonic had a distinct advantage over other solutions by virtue of the fact that their speakers do not require a specifically engineered solution" Schlossberg says. "Tectonic was able to raise a demo system on portable lifts and deliver over 90% of the performance of a finished installation. They proved the system's performance over a four day period and some 10 services; on demand and with no cost or impact to the Parish. No other manufacturer could have done that."
"St. Louise provides a ministry that is active and diverse", says Jonathan Taasan, parish administrator. "We needed a sound system that could be respectful of traditional expectations and then seamlessly scale up to meet the needs of our growing contemporary worship services. The Tectonic System has met all of our needs and then some!"
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4-5-14 Woodinvile, WA - With a commitment to superior production values for the 2014 production of Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast', the Gig Harbor HS auditorium's sound system came under close scrutiny. This venue is particularly challenging as it is a component of a multi-use facility. Fully half of the auditorium's seating is located in circular 'pods' that can be rotated 180 degrees to serve as seating for a pair of attached lecture halls.
The result is two very acoustically challenging spaces that have the best seats in the house for view and the very worst for audio. It is well known by students and theater patrons alike that the center seats of each pod are the worst in the house. Trying to reach these seats causes feedback and system intelligibility is extremely low.
Tectonic 'Plates' were able to provide a simple and elegant solution to solve all of the problems of this challenging venue.
"The previous solution was a pair of trapezoidal enclosures that covered permanent house seats and missed the circular 'pods' all together", says David Crocker, parent volunteer sound man. "Coverage for the 'Pods' was provided by standard ceiling-mount speakers with no ability to meet volume and sound quality needs. Further, the trapezoidal speakers, being point-source, were extremely prone to feed-back."
Two Tectonic plates were mounted above the proscenium on standard VESA flat panel TV mounts. This simple act alone provided the theater with stereo sound vs. the existing mono center cluster. With the 'Plates' very wide dispersion characteristics up to 165 horizontal degrees and diffuse sound propagation, no longer was audio 'beamed' only to the front half of the house but was able to cover the entire venue including the neglected 'pods'.
"I work with a pit orchestra in front of the stage at the audience level", explains Director Kristen "Zetty" Zetterstrom. "I also like to stage in front of the orchestra on runways. This can put performers over 20 feet in front of the speaker location. The combination of trying to overcome the volume of the orchestra plus putting miked actors so far in front of the existing speakers has been nearly impossible."
Not enough gain before feedback could be achieved from stage mics and wireless headset mics to overcome the orchestra - and staging in front of the speakers was risky at best. "Audiences told us consistently that they enjoyed the music very much but couldn't hear or understand the lyrics and dialog", says Zetty.
The Tectonic 'Plates' resistance to feedback allowed more than enough gain for stage mics to overcome the pit orchestra and managed open mics in front of the proscenium as well. In fact, the orchestra was now able to be covered with some 21 condenser mics for this production to allow for a more accurate stereo mix and a more immersive audio experience for the audience.
"Feedback has been the killer of our shows in the past", says Zetty. "I put a lot of staging up to 20 feet in front of the speakers and that will cause feedback. With the Tectonic Plates, feedback is not an issue and the sound is getting to the 'pods'."
Tectonic plates' unique diffuse sound propagation properties cured the challenge of projecting audio energy into the pair of semi-circular cement-brick tubes. Audio 'slap-back' from these hard semicircular surfaces was eliminated and intelligibility was significantly improved.
In addition to being able to increase voice volume before feedback, intelligibility is greatly increased, as Tectonic plates' third-order harmonic distortion is nearly un-measurable. "You can understand people. Beyond being able to hear the actors, the sound is just more crisp", says Zetty. "I have not had a complaint yet with this system. Finally actors can be heard. It's amazing!"
"'Beauty and the Beast' would be a travesty to present without this capability, as we unfortunately did in 2007", continues Zetty. "This production is a mix of very dynamic musical numbers with dialog that goes from very loud to very soft and tender. To miss any of that is to lose the narrative of the story."
"The vocal director and I sat in the center seats of the 'pods' and agreed that these may be the best seats in the house!" says Zetty. "We've never been able to say that in the history of this space."
Gig Harbor High School's active and award winning drama program has a long history of staging theatrical and musical productions well beyond the expectations of an average high school offering. This spring's staging of Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' was a fully licensed production with sets and costume support from Disney and evaluated by the Seattle Theater Group for consideration in their annual awards for school productions.