Stardate 24601: We are being pursued by a French faction of the Borg. We are accused of crimes against humanity and stealing a loaf of bread.

“Warf, status?”

“All weapons disabled, Captain. Captain, there is a glowing pomme on the Borg vessel that is emitting a tractor beam and pulling us in.”

“Geordie, what is the status of the Meyer Sound Matrix3? I need it operational now.”

“I am doing everything I can, Captain. I devised a way to interface my visor with the Matrix3 to increase the photon output. If I am right, you should be sipping a cup of Earl Grey in no time. If I am wrong, then it has been an honor to work with you, Captain.”

“Number One, man the CueConsole.”

“But Captain, it is too dangerous, too complicated. Could we talk about this in your Ready Room?”

“Number One, man the CueConsole, now!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Initiate SpaceMapping.”

“Initiating…”

“Number One, get us the hell out of here.”

(Music swells as the USS Enterprise hurtles through space.)

What It Does

For the person looking for an audio solution that can do the small and the large, the Matrix3 could be for you. “The Matrix3 audio show control system is a scalable, entirely automatable digital mixing console with a software interface,” explains John McMahon, director of digital products for Meyer. “Its features enable sound designers to create unique sonic landscapes to enhance theatrical performances or other experiences. It has many of the same functions as a traditional mixing console, like microphone preamps, EQ, and dynamics, and a full matrix, as well as some non-traditional features, like Wild Tracks, a multi-track hard drive playback system, and SpaceMap, a multichannel panning system that supports any number of output channels.”

So, it is a console and a playback system all in one. “Each setting on the console can be captured into a cue to be recalled back again at a later time,” adds McMahon. “The Matrix3's automation system allows a sound designer to specify what elements should be included in each cue and create audio automation that is both flexible and precise.”

As far as applications, the Matrix3 is commonly used for large productions with complex audio needs, such as those with hundreds of input and output channels. “These shows also tend to utilize intricate automation sequences that synchronize lighting, audio, scenery, and other show elements,” says McMahon. “Matrix3 is also used in fixed installations where a large matrix is required, such as audio distribution for theme parks. An entire show, automated by Matrix3, can be triggered by the push of a button, making it ideal for venues where there might not be a trained audio professional on staff.”

If you are ready to check out the system, McMahon notes that a basic setup can start as small as a single frame, and many such systems are in use worldwide in universities and small theatres, including the Theatre at Boston Court in Pasadena, CA. “A very large system may have many Matrix3 frames with several sets of Wild Tracks hard drives and CueConsole, which is quite typical in Las Vegas-style show systems,” says McMahon. “Cirque du Soleil's Love uses 18 Matrix3 frames and two sets of Wild Tracks drives for the main playback system, plus 14 Matrix3 frames dedicated to variable room acoustics.”

How It Came To Be

Matrix3 is one of a series of Meyer products specifically designed with the theatrical sound designer in mind. “Its most immediate predecessor was the Supernova, which introduced multichannel playback and variable room acoustics processing,” says McMahon. “SpaceMap was initially created as a way to move sounds around inside a geodesic dome and is now used extensively by sound designers to create immersive sonic environments. The Matrix3 was created as a more modular and flexible version of Supernova, and throughout its development, we have worked closely with sound designers and other audio specialists to ensure that it contains all the tools they need to achieve a design.”

What's Next

With all of the power and flexibility of the Matrix3, what could be next? “The Matrix3 is the third generation of creative digital audio solutions,” McMahon says. “The product continues to deliver leading- edge features to discerning audio specialists. Meyer Sound continues to pioneer new digital audio solutions, and we will announce those in the not-too-distant future.”

What End Users Have To Say

Yuen Cheuk Wa, an artist-in-residence at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, likes the versatility and stability of the Matrix3. “I have to be responsible for the high demands from producers and directors,” he says. “From the first day, I earned their trust on my design and the choice of Matrix3. We were never disappointed with the creative possibilities and sound quality Matrix3 has offered to our shows. With CueStation and Wild Tracks, I can quickly adapt the changes a music director wants to make on the spot, remix, and spatialize the soundscape with perfect synchronization to other show elements without leaving the theatre for a minute.” Cheuk Wa also applauds Meyer's technical support, noting, “You can get answers on the LCS forum as fast as 30 minutes.” In the future, Cheuk Wa says he would like the system upgraded with a more powerful DSP, more flexible signal processing routing in CueStation, built-in effects processors, integrated loudspeaker management in the hardware, and direct integration with sound system measurement tools like SIM3 and Smaart Live.

Steven Dubuc, sound designer for Cirque du Soleil's Zaia in Macau, China, specified the Matrix3 system with 11 frames for the production, including a multi-surfaced FOH mixing desk (control surfaces) and Wild Tracks. He has also used the system for Zumanity, KÀ, and Love, all of which were designed by Jonathan Deans. “Matrix3 is a revolutionary product,” he says. “The ability to alter all control points with a single push of a button in a show mode cue-to-cue environment, including fade times, assignments, and SpaceMap-type changes, has fostered much creativity in all the designers that have used Matrix3. In the future, I would like to see a more scalable system with greater large-scale system integration, the ability to add audio plug-ins, and multi-track recording from within the LCS/Matrix3 domain.”

For additional information, visit meyersound.com