John and Helen MeyerArt meets science at Meyer Sound Laboratories, where inductees John and Helen Meyer, company co-founders, husband and wife, and CEO and EVP respectively, have always placed high-quality audio in service to musicians.
John worked at radio station KPFA as a youngster, then at a Berkeley, CA hi-fi store, where he and Helen met, later starting their first audio venture together, Glyph. Following a brief stint working for McCune Sound Systems, “In 1979, John came home one day and said, ‘I rented a building, we’re incorporated, and we’re starting a company,’” Helen recalled.
Meyer Sound hit the ground running, picking up Frank Zappa, the Grateful Dead, San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, and the San Francisco Opera as clients almost immediately. John brought his hi-fi approach to bear on those projects, he said, such as spatially positioning the Dead via the famed Wall of Sound.
The Meyers and Meyer Sound have since racked up milestones too numerous to list here, including dozens of technology patents and one industry award after another, meantime establishing long-term client relationships, including Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, for which the company has been the sound provider since 1986.
Helen is heavily involved with the Bay Area’s creative community, and the Meyers support the Berkeley Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley High (which their children attended), and The Crowden School, among others. “What motivates me is knowing that we’re providing exciting technology for the artists and people who use our equipment,” Helen said.
Meyer Sound’s relationship with Zellerbach Hall provides the 350-employee company’s large R&D team with somewhere to experiment with technology for the performing arts, John added. “That gives us a real objective, talented, skilled market to test.” But musicians can be intimidated by technology, he cautioned, “So it’s our job to figure out how the tools can fulfill their vision.”
See all 2014 SCN Hall of Fame inductees here.