Since being founded by John and Helen Meyer in 1979, Meyer Sound's dedication to producing products of consistent and uncompromised quality has dictated that manufacturing be at the company's headquarters in Northern California, where it can be closely overseen and actively developed. The company's first years were spent at a location a few miles down the road in San Leandro, but since 1984, manufacturing has been performed at the company's base in Berkeley.
In the beginning, Meyer Sound bought drivers from vendors and modified each one to meet the company's specs. By the mid-1990s, with the company growing and introducing self-powered systems, this was no longer a workable system. So, Meyer Sound made a commitment to fabricating its own loudspeaker drivers. Since the company was already bursting at the seams in its original building, the decision to make drivers meant making a major expansion and constructing an entirely new facility.
Flash forward to 2007. Meyer Sound's steady expansion has led to making its products in several buildings clustered around the original building and named according to a planetary theme. Drivers are built in the “Saturn” transducer fabrication plant, systems are assembled in the “Mars” facility, a new engineering lab is in “Luna,” and other buildings house the service department and electronics assembly. Main offices remain in the original building, known as “Earth.” Still, Meyer Sound's strong growth and movement in new directions with its LCS Series products necessitated yet more expansion. In late 2006, a new facility, called “Phoebe,” was brought online.
Named for a small moon of Saturn, Phoebe is, mainly, an expansion of the Saturn transducer facility. Phoebe supplements Meyer Sound's existing driver production capabilities and adds new ones. However, the company is doing much more than simply moving portions of its manufacturing process from an existing facility to a larger new one. In fact, parts of the driver manufacturing process are being revamped as they are implemented at Phoebe in order to significantly increase efficiency and consistency, while continuing to meet or exceed current driver specifications. Phoebe represents another step forward in Meyer Sound's manufacturing capabilities, and its workspaces are being fashioned to support these new methods.
Intriguingly, one of Phoebe's most striking areas has a totally unassuming appearance: the reliability testing area. Here, rows of thick concrete chambers allow for extensive accelerated life testing of Meyer Sound products, ensuring that they can stand up to the workout they will receive in daily use. Each chamber is equipped with an identical test setup, in order to guarantee consistency in the test environment: a driver measurement will produce the exact same data regardless of which chamber is used. Engineering R&D also maintains two large chambers in this room for testing development prototypes.
Low-frequency driver and magnetic assemblies from subassemblies and components made at Saturn are being performed in one room of Phoebe, while low driver final QA (Quality Assurance) testing is conducted in an adjacent area. Newly designed test rigs have already increased capacity.
Both testing areas (final QA and reliability) are under the control of the company's exacting QA department, which assumed from production responsibility for all testing as part of the changes implemented in the move to Phoebe. Meyer Sound's commitment to consistency in its products has mandated an investment in QA far more extensive than at most manufacturers. (The engineering department controls its own chambers in the reliability testing area.)
As 2007 gets underway Phoebe continues coming online. As it does so, it will keep on evolving, as Meyer Sound's facilities are constantly being refined. Over the years, the company has expanded its factory whenever better methods are devised, as well as to meet increasing demand or build new products. Often the company has brought core processes in house when outsourcing could not meet Meyer Sound's exacting standards of quality and consistency.
Factory tours go through key production areas, providing a graphic demonstration of the exhaustive detail, intense precision, and assiduous testing that result in Meyer Sound products exhibiting the highest performance, reliability, and consistency available in professional audio. Many a visitor to the Meyer Sound plant has walked away with a greater understanding of the company's accomplishments than they entered with.
The launch of Phoebe illustrates once again that, while Meyer Sound stays resolutely stationed in Berkeley, it never sits still.