Meyer Sound Constellation Brings World-Class Flexible Acoustics to Vietnam
With the opening of the Ho Guom Opera in Hanoi, Vietnam has vaulted to the front rank of Asian countries offering the most advanced technical facilities for hosting the performing arts. The stunning new venue was presented to the public in a soft opening in July and has since earned international accolades for its visionary architecture, audience amenities, and an aural environment instantly optimized for any event by the Constellation acoustic system.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, which operates the theater, focused on acoustic priorities led by “a passion for art, and especially, the natural sounds of musical instruments in concert,” says General Tô Lâm, Vietnam’s Minister of Public Security. “We need a place with a good sound field for artists to flourish.”
The large 900-seat hall in the new performing arts complex is a multi-purpose venue equally suited to hosting all arts and entertainment genres. In addition to opera in the Eastern and Western traditions, the hall also hosts symphony concerts, Broadway musicals, ballet, jazz and pop concerts, conferences, and film screenings. With Constellation, both the intensity and spectral envelope of the reverberant field can be optimized for the event at hand, with multiple zones allowing fine-tuning of the effect both on stage and in different sections of the auditorium. As originally proposed by Vietnamese government officials, the Ho Guom Opera was intended to host classical orchestral and choral concerts.
“As we progressed through the design development the concept evolved,” says Paris-based acoustic engineer Antoine Pommier of international consulting firm Delhom Acoustics. “The client looked to extend the types of events that could be hosted in the hall, including some amplified music. Initially, we looked at accommodating these needs with variable architectural acoustics, though optimizing for such a wide range would be a challenge.”
The tipping point came with one final request. “When the client came to us and said they also wanted to host film premieres, we knew this would be difficult without an electroacoustic solution,” says Loïs Delhom, the firm’s general manager for Vietnam.
The focus then shifted to a hybrid approach, with the architectural acoustic design working hand-in-glove with electroacoustic augmentation to assure optimum results throughout the audience seating and across a broad spectrum of reverberant field requirements, from orchestral and choral music to amplified rock and film showings.
“We would utilize the natural acoustics, such as the orchestra shell and reflectors, to establish the primary natural sound field, and then use electroacoustic technology to fine-tune the late acoustic sound field and enable uniform coverage across the entire audience, including distant zones,” says the Delhom team. “Also, as the project progressed, it became evident that Constellation adhered to all the project constraints and, as a result, became the preferred choice. Meyer Sound successfully reassured both the client and our project team.”
General Lâm adds that Meyer Sound Constellation was chosen for both its acoustic attributes and ease of operation. “I have many experts in this field of sound advising me,” he says. “I have researched systems from many other brands, but Meyer Sound brings the best, most natural music quality.”
The Constellation system at Ho Guom Opera comprises 165 full-range self-powered loudspeakers placed discreetly on the side walls and overhead in the auditorium as well as around the stage, with a dedicated D-Mitri DVRAS processor for each of the five reverberant zones. Deep bass extension for Constellation is provided by 16 small subwoofers, and a total of 57 miniature condenser microphones are deployed throughout the space for ambient acoustical sensing.
For amplified events, the venue relies on a house system anchored by 24 LEOPARD compact linear line array loudspeakers, with 12 900-LFC low-frequency control elements for bass extension. Fill and delay requirements are met by a contingent of 32 point-source loudspeakers, with ULTRA-X40, UP‑4slim, and ULTRA-X20XP deployed as appropriate.
Since the Ho Guom Opera opened, it has hosted performances by the Vietnam National Symphony, the Sun Symphony Orchestra, Katy Perry, and Kenny G—all showcasing Constellation’s ability to support diverse programming, General Lâm says. “With symphony concerts, the instruments have very natural, soft sounds. And with pop music, the P.A. system really gives beautiful sound.
“We aim for high-quality concert programs, with major orchestras and artists from around the world coming here to perform,” he concludes. “When introduced to our theater, major orchestras and artists around the world trust us and are willing to cooperate with us in the future.”
In addition to Delhom Acoustics agencies in France, China & Vietnam, Delhom Acoustics founder & CEO Jean-Philippe Delhom played a key role in the initial phase of the project. On the Meyer Sound side, Constellation Project Director John Pellowe served as principal liaison with the client and the Delhom team, and performed the system voicing, while Jessica Borowski was primarily responsible for system design and worked alongside Tom Cavnar on calibration.
The Ho Guom Opera is operated under the direction of the Ministry of Public Security and the Hanoi People’s Committee. The arts complex, located on a 5,000m2 site adjacent to Hoan Kiem Lake in an area of Hanoi rich in cultural and historical sites, also incorporates a smaller, 500-seat theater.