Meyer Sound's new Bluehorn system a critical tool for composer John Powell
Thu, 28 Sep 2017 16:03
Bears Lab at Meyer Sound in Berkeley, CA
Meyer Sound has announced availability of the Bluehorn System, a technology
breakthrough that for the first time achieves flat amplitude and phase response from
25 Hz to 20 kHz in a large-format loudspeaker. The product of more than six years of
intensive research, Bluehorn applies advanced proprietary algorithms to cancel out
the non-linearities inherent in all mechanical transducers and loudspeaker cabinets,
resulting in breathtakingly transparent aural neutrality.
Among the first cinema professionals to take delivery of a Bluehorn System was noted
film composer John Powell, whose 60-plus feature film scoring credits include
animated family classics from Chicken Run through Happy Feet, Rio and How to Train
Your Dragon (and their sequels) plus all the Jason Bourne films. Powell has installed
an LCR Bluehorn System in his private recording and mixing facility (dubbed "5 Cat
Studio") in Pacific Palisades, California.
"We initially brought the Bluehorns in on a temporary basis for a specific project, but
we wouldn't let them leave the building," says Powell. "With the Bluehorns it was
blatantly obvious when something was wrong in the mix, and that is the most useful
quality I can imagine from monitor loudspeakers."
Powell emphasizes the importance of working with monitoring that reveals the input
signal with unflinching accuracy, without masking any detail or introducing coloration
that may misleadingly enhance the subjective quality of the music.
"For the work that I do, I need monitor loudspeakers that do not flatter the music at
all," he says. "I need to hear exactly what is going on in an unbiased way. I have no
time when working to enjoy what we did right; I need to hear when things are wrong
so we can fix them, and I can hear those problems better with the Bluehorns. I need
to be confident that everything is in its proper place, because then the music
translates smoothly as we move through to the final mix."
Complete Bluehorn Systems are available in either stereo or LCR configurations, with
each channel comprising a two-way mid-high loudspeaker, a separate low frequency
element, and dedicated digital processing.
Bluehorn is designed for high-resolution monitoring applications in mid-sized rooms
for music recording, cinema post-production, music mastering or other applications
requiring the highest accuracy in sound reproduction. Externally, Bluehorn shares the
same cabinet footprint, driver dimensions and waveguide configuration as Meyer
Sound's Acheron Designer loudspeaker. On the inside, however, Bluehorn utilizes an
upgraded HF driver and new amplifiers with ultra-low noise and distortion.
Absolutely unique to Bluehorn is the dedicated processor that sits in front of both the
mid-high loudspeaker and the companion low-frequency cabinet. The system-specific
correction algorithms hosted by the processor were developed by meticulously
analyzing all physical and electrical non-linearities throughout the entire system, from
25 Hz to 20 kHz, in order to bring acoustic output at any level into absolute
phase and frequency alignment with the input signal. Essentially, the processing
nullifies the non-linearities of drivers and enclosures, resulting in a phase-coherent
response previously achieved only by open-air electrostatic headphones with their
extremely low mass diaphragms.
"This is a loudspeaker that is ideal for people doing music for film because it behaves
in the room like a cinema loudspeaker," Powell continues. "It gives us projection like
we would hear on the dub stage, yet it also has that extra layer of audiophile quality.
Bluehorn lets us hear deeper into the music and resolve problems right away, knowing
that even the dub stage might not offer that level of accuracy. It's the best of both
In his cinema work, Powell first used the Bluehorn Systems for mixing music for Jason
Bourne, the latest in the Bourne series of spy thrillers, and is currently working on
music for yet another animated family feature, Ferdinand. Other film composers and
mixers have used the Bluehorn System for their own projects, while Powell has relied
on it for tracking and mixing his own classical music recordings the Prussian
Requiem oratorio and The Prize Is Still Mine with orchestra and gospel chorus as
well as for mixing composer Eric Whitacre's score for a forthcoming IMAX
"That extra level of clarity in Bluehorn makes it easier to analyze your mix, but these
are not necessarily loudspeakers you want to listen on to flatter yourself," he admits.
"You hear what is right with your music, but you also hear what is wrong so you can
fix it. And that's really the point of monitoring, isn't it?"
Bluehorn is named for the high frequency waveguides, painted blue during prototype
testing to quickly distinguish the new Systems from Acheron® Designer loudspeakers
used in the same room for comparisons.