3 May 2024

Barton Sound Systems’ Track Record with Meyer Sound

by Jason Allen

Auckland’s Barton Sound Systems have been supplying top quality PA solutions to New Zealand for 50 years. With their roots in the rock’n’roll PAs of the 1970s and 80s, Bartons have evolved to provide PA and communications systems across government, education, transport and entertainment. No strangers to Meyer Sound’s suite of world-class loudspeakers, Bartons have previously installed Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic enhancement systems in the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland and James Hay Theatre at Christchurch Town Hall.

It was in the installation of Constellation that Bartons first encountered Meyer Sound’s unique IntelligentDC system. Due to the large amount of loudspeakers in a Constellation system, they are installed using IntelligentDC, in which a composite cable carries 48V power and audio signal to each loudspeaker, combining the cabling advantages of 100V line systems with the power and quality of self- powered loudspeakers.


IntelligentDC installations take their power and signal from rack-mounted units that handle signal routing and power distribution. They come in two channel (MPS-482HP) and eight channel (MPS-488X) models, with built in remote control and monitoring via Meyer Sound’s free Nebra software.


When approached to provide a PA to a large new gymnasium in Auckland’s prestigious 115-year-old Baradene College of the Sacred Heart, Bartons EASE modelling and design work established that they needed loudspeakers that were small and lightweight, while having high power and wide dispersion. When considered with the fact that they needed to be rigged high above the gym in an absence of power and signal distribution, six Meyer Sound ultra-wide ULTRA-X23XP loudspeakers and USW-112XP fed by an eight- channel MPS-488X IntelligentDC supply were determined to be the solution.

“The solution’s appeal was the power-to- weight ratio, very good signal quality, and extremely wide 110 degree coverage pattern,” states Tony Wehner, Director at Bartons Sound Systems. “Being quite experienced with IntelligentDC installations, there was great appeal it not having to organise power circuits up in the very high ceiling. Sending power and signal down one composite cable reduces the need for coordination with other trades.

It’s saved on rack space, as we didn’t need separate amplifiers. Due to the size of gym, low impedance cable runs to get up to the ceiling would have been unfeasibly long. It’s really the best of both worlds not having to run mains power and low impedance cabling.”


For IntelligentDC installs, Meyer Sound recommends Belden 1502R composite cable, which includes a 22 AWG stranded tinned copper pair for signal and an 18 AWG stranded tinned copper conductor for power. The MPS-488X uses intelligent switch mode power supplies, and every loudspeaker in the Baradene gym system has its’ own individually controllable power and signal.

Prepping Baradene’s gym for installation

“The gym has two large courts, and we have two clusters of two ULTRA-X23XPs and one USW-112XP sub hung above the centre court areas,” continues Tony. “Then there’s another two ULTRA-X23XPs as delays facing the bleachers. It’s a low-profile way of getting lots of SPL and intelligibility into this large room.”

“As Baradene is one of the top schools in the country, we wanted high quality audio,” adds Tony. “The small form factor and power to weight ratio was not just appealing sonically, but also architecturally. And as one of the most seismically active places on the planet, everything needs to be seismically engineered here in New Zealand. By keeping things lightweight, it definitely reduces the amount of seismic restraints.”

Staying in the Meyer Sound family, Bartons recently chose an ULTRA-X42 loudspeaker solution for Mount Smart Stadium (also known as Go Media Stadium) in the Auckland suburb of Penrose. It’s the home ground of the National Rugy League’s New Zealand Warriors, and it’s South Stand PA needed a refresh.

“Bartons have been supplying Mount Smart Stadium for 30 years,” says Tony. “They have an installed system for the permanent seating and portable PA for the open-air bleachers, which are scaffolding. They’ve stayed with temporary scaffolding because they need to be able to vary the depth according to the requirements of concerts and different sports codes. As it’s a temporary structure with no roof and no rigging points, only firing audio into it up from the ground is possible.”

The loudspeakers being replaced were coming to their end of life. They were also awkward and hard to lift. “We needed to replace them with something more modern,” concedes Tony. “We were shopping around for a long-throw powered box, light enough for an easy two- person lift onto the tripods. The Meyer Sound ULTRA-X40 was the new kid on the block; high power, and small form factor, with rotatable horns that were 110° x 50° in the X40 and 70° x 50° in the X42. We chose the ULTRA-X42 for the narrower dispersion for the long throw and got the weatherproofed option from Meyer Sound.”

On game days, stadium staff bring out the six ULTRA-X42s and mount them onto custom aluminium stands. Custom made looms are plugged in, and a Bartons system tech checks that everything is functioning as it should. “The ULTRA-X42s are just the right size to sit in front of the dead-ball line signage. They angle up onto the bleachers, shooting 20 to 30 metres. Again, the Meyer Sound quality of build and their power to weight ratio are the two main factors in our decision to choose the ULTRA- X42s. We have a good track record using Meyer Sound products, and have never been disappointed.”


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