Wenger’s Evolution of Active Acoustic Products
About Me: I joined Wenger Corporation in 2011, after completing an internship with an acoustical consultant in the Twin Cities. As a musician with degrees in physics and mechanical engineering, acoustics is as much a passion for me as it is a career choice. While my early work at Wenger focused on more traditional acoustic treatment, my role has shifted with the recent expansion of our electro-acoustic product offering. After two years of development work on Wenger’s new Transcend™ Active Acoustic System, I now have the opportunity to design and install these systems for music venues around the world.
Transcend is an electronic architecture (or electronic enhancement) system, or what we commonly refer to as an active acoustic system. In contrast to passive acoustic treatments such as ceiling reflectors or acoustic panels, active systems detect sound and then electronically process and redistribute that sound in real time. This technology uses a careful arrangement of microphones and loudspeakers to control acoustic energy rather than relying on the construction and placement of architectural surfaces. Active systems often provide a wider range and selection of acoustic characteristics than what is possible with passive systems. Once the acoustic signature of a music venue is no longer bound by its physical dimensions, the options for what it can sound like are nearly limitless.
History & Evolution
Wenger has a strong history in active acoustics with the Virtual Acoustic Environment (VAE™) platform. VAE is based on Lexicon’s Acoustic Reinforcement and Enhancement System (LARES), originally developed in the 1980s. Wenger’s technology is considered an in-line or non-regenerative system – which means it doesn’t rely on the natural acoustics of the room to generate reverberation. Instead, VAE creates reflected and reverberant energy using a large number of time-variant reverberators. This allows the system to achieve unrivaled stability (gain-before-feedback) with microphones and loudspeakers positioned only a few feet away from each other. Built-in amplification and an easy-to-use record & playback system are just a few of the added features that have made VAE a must-have for many music education programs.
Recent updates to VAE have allowed the same technology to expand from small music practice rooms into larger spaces such as rehearsal rooms and small recital halls. However, the single-engine digital signal processing (DSP) of the VAE systems is limited to projects of roughly this size and scope. In order to offer an effective active acoustic solution for larger spaces and multipurpose venues, Wenger needed to develop a brand-new platform.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog, on June 7.
Product Manager & Design Engineer, Wenger
Matt is a Product Manager at Wenger Corporation and the lead Design Engineer for Wenger’s Active Acoustic Systems. His musical background, advanced degrees in engineering and physics, and passion for acoustics make him a strong asset to Wenger’s Acoustics Group. Since joining Wenger in 2011, Matt has played a key role in the development of several acoustic products including the Tunable Acoustic Panel, VAE Rehearsal System, and Transcend Active Acoustic System. Prior to his role in Product Management, Matt led Wenger’s Research & Development Center and Acoustic Laboratory. He is an active member of the Acoustical Society of America and Audio Engineering Society.