When we go into a certain type of restaurant or food establishment, we typically expect a certain ambience to go along with it. A cafe is usually laid back with some quiet chatter, while depending on the restaurant it could be filled with conversation or silent enough to hear a pin drop. Often, though, the conversation that can fill the air can become a nuisance for diners who want a specific cuisine but don’t want to deal with the noise that comes with that particular establishment.
This is where Meyer Sound Laboratories comes in. The Berkeley, California based audio engineering company has designed a means of more dynamically moderating the noise levels of any restaurant. By using an iPad any restaurant can be fitted with the kind of recording equipment and noise canceling materials one would probably find in a recording studio.
Called the “Constellation” system, restaurants are fitted with sound absorbing materials which are coupled with subwoofers and speakers. Sound from the restaurant is recorded and sent to a digital processor which is then controlled by an iPad. Sound levels from different section can then be moderated accordingly.
By utilizing this equipment restaurants can augment how sounds travel within specific sections of the restaurant. Instead of expecting a particular ambience think about a restaurant as having something more akin to a ‘quiet car’ on a train or a smoking section but for conversation. For example the bar in a restaurant can be “buzzier” while a dining area more quiet.
Currently, the technology is being used in ex-Phish Manager John Paluska’s Mexican restaurant Comal in Berkeley, California. They were able to seamlessly blend the equipment into the walls and design of the establishment so its unsightliness did not intrude on the diners’ experience. 123 speakers and subwoofers are strategically placed all around the space. The system can run from $10,000 to $100,000.
via SF Gate