NEW YORK, NY--One of New York’s most distinctive landmarks, The Plaza Hotel holds a special place in the city’s history, hosting generations of the rich and famous, inspiring books, and starring in movies. The property has recently been renovated and restored to its former glory, reborn as a combination luxury condominium and hotel tower.
Building owner, El Ad Properties and architect Gal Nauer lavished special attention on the hotel lobby, striking a balance between classic grandeur and ultramodern with high ceilings and an elegant split staircase ascending to an open mezzanine level. The lobby also boasts a 21st-century sound system, which makes The Plaza the first hotel in the world to feature a dynamic soundscape created using Meyer Sound’s award-winning loudspeaker products and Matrix3 audio show control technology.
“They really wanted to find a way of reinventing The Plaza, while still retaining the essence of what has made the building so special,” says Rod Sintow, CEO of Florida-based Pro Sound, who worked closely with Kelly Prince, also of Pro Sound; sound designer Peter Hylenski; as well as Ronen Brookstein of Tel Aviv-based Barkai Benny Brookstein Ltd., to help realize the lobby’s inspired audio design.
Composer Ariel Blumenthal was enlisted to produce a series of original musical tracks for the hotel. Using Meyer Sound’s Matrix3, Blumenthal also created a series of ever-changing ambiences that morph into one another as the listener moves throughout the lobby. “As you move from one space to another, you’re hearing the same music but the mix perspective changes and different elements become more prominent,” Blumenthal explains.
A Matrix3 system including six Matrix3 processors and three WildTracks hard disk playback units enables the creation of a wide range of localized ambiences, making it an ideal solution for this challenging acoustical space. “Because of the very open architecture in the lobby, it would have been impossible to isolate any particular space,” Brookstein explains. “But using the Matrix3 technology, we’re able to create a multitude of different environments, some stereo and some 5.1 surround, that are independent yet interactive.”
Blumenthal reports that working with the Matrix3 system was a new and intriguing experience. “Once I began actually working with the Matrix3, I must say I was really blown away. It’s not like simply moving from stereo to surround,” Blumenthal adds. “You have a near limitless number of outputs to work with, as well as depth and distance. It’s a completely new experience.”
When selecting loudspeaker equipment for the audio upgrade, aesthetics, of course, was of primary concern, but the technology also had to remain largely unseen, since any changes to the lobby’s visual impact would meet with numerous legal hurdles. “The Plaza has been designated a landmark by the city of New York, the state of New York, and the federal government,” says Brookstein. “We had multiple bureaucracies dictating what could and could not be changed.”
With this mandate to use only the most visually discreet setup, the parties involved were convinced that a complete Meyer Sound package was the right choice. The system features 200 MM-4 miniature loudspeakers, widely recognized for their ability to provide spectacular audio quality and power while remaining out of sight. The configuration also includes eight UPM-1P and six UPM-2P loudspeakers, along with 11 UMS-1P subwoofers and 12 subwoofers custom-designed by Meyer Sound for The Plaza.