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How DOES the High Tech Sound System at Comal Really Work?

Many folks have asked us to explain the proprietary and innovative, dynamically-controlled sound system from Meyer Sound called “Constellation”, first installed at Comal Restaurant.

In a space once occupied by a discount variety store and a bookstore, Studio KDA helped   transform the 3,000 sf space into a community gathering place and a modern ode to California-inspired Oaxacan cuisine. Comal’s interior features original exposed board-formed concrete walls, while the original wood lath was saved, cleaned, and reinstalled as a space-defining, prominent decorative surface. The space’s raw, yet refined aesthetic features locally-blown glass pendants, custom copper mesh drum lights, and steel bar shelves and stools, also all made locally. The back side of utility grade oak flooring was used as a bar wall material. Richmond based Ferrous Studios custom built the bar stools, bar shelving, table bases, and back patio gate and fire pit. Robert Trachtenberg of Berkeley-based Garden Architecture designed and installed the back patio landscape, while his brother, David Trachtenberg, designed the Cor-Ten steel facade.

We asked Helen and John Meyer, of world-renowned audio company Meyer Sound, to collaborate on Comal. The result is the first restaurant to create an optimized aural environment.

From Berkeley-based Meyer Sound: This unprecedented ability to dynamically control the sonic ambience of the space has garnered the attention of publications like San Francisco Chronicle and Fast Company. With a touch on an iPad screen, Comal’s management can maintain the desired level of energized “buzz” throughout the space, while still allowing intimate conversations, all regardless of occupancy levels. Constellation picks up a room’s ambient sound and, after applying a patented algorithm, regenerates an enhanced wash of sound throughout the space at the optimum levels. Three presets, adjustable via an iPad, are provided to adjust for changing occupancy levels. The restaurant can also heighten the “buzz” around the bar and lower it for the guests in the dining areas.

Meyer Sound created a short video describing the system in detail. Owners John Paluska, GM Andrew Hoffman and Studio KDA’s Marites Abueg appear as well!

More on this topic:

“The End of the Ear-Splitting Dining Room”

by Esra Erol, Eater National, April 19, 2019

Certain design trends have contributed to an increase in restaurant noise levels. As complaints grow, restaurants are taking action to bring the volume down. read the article.

© 2020 Studio KDA

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