SMPTE®, the international society for media professionals, technologists, and engineers, has awarded the 2022 Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal to John Meyer, the co-founder, President, and CEO of Meyer Sound. According to a SMPTE statement, the honor was bestowed “in recognition of his contributions to the design, measurement, and analysis of cinema speaker electronics for cinema mixing, review, and exhibition facilities.” Formal presentation of the award will take place at the SMPTE Awards Gala, to be held on October 27 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel.
“I am deeply grateful for the industry recognition that comes with this medal,” says John Meyer. “Certainly, it acknowledges my personal commitment to excellence in film sound, which is a passion that goes back to my childhood. I always enjoyed the experience of good movie sound – and I was annoyed when it was bad, which was too often the case. I always thought it could be better, and making that happen has been a major focus of my life’s work.”
When Meyer and his wife Helen launched Meyer Sound Laboratories, Inc. in 1979, the young company’s reputation for innovation quickly caught the attention of Francis Ford Coppola’s audio engineers.
“One of our first products was a custom subwoofer for a limited showing of Apocalypse Now,” recalls Meyer, “and that was the beginning of our still-continuing relationship with Francis and American Zoetrope. However, we only started making a full line of dedicated cinema loudspeakers much later, when we could leverage mature self-powered technology. We wanted to be sure we would bring to the market something that was significantly better, and I believe we have accomplished that goal. In that respect, I would like to thank everybody at Meyer Sound, from R&D engineers to loudspeaker assembly technicians. They all share in the recognition that comes with this award.”
In 2008, Meyer Sound previewed its plans to enter the dedicated cinema market with a demonstration of a prototype full-range loudspeaker system at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, California. The following year, Meyer Sound introduced the Acheron® line of screen loudspeakers, along with the HMS™ series surrounds and X-800™ cinema subwoofers. As with all Meyer Sound loudspeakers, the entire cinema line is based on self-powered technology.
Meyer Sound cinema loudspeakers have found widespread acceptance in the commercial exhibition market worldwide, as well as at select venues for limited showings such as the prestigious DGA Theater in Los Angeles, operated by the Director’s Guild of America, and the Rose Theatre of Jazz at Lincoln Center, a preferred venue for many New York film premieres. The company also has a continuing presence at major film festivals, most notably the Telluride Film Festival, where Meyer Sound systems have been featured for more than a decade. Also, Meyer Sound monitoring systems are now at work in leading post‑production studios, including Skywalker Sound, Pixar Studios, and the Newman Scoring Stage at Fox Studio Lot in California; Warner Bros. De Lane Lea in London; and Rotor Film in Potsdam, Germany.
The Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal, established in 1946 and sponsored by Warner Bros., recognizes outstanding contributions in the design and development of new and improved methods and/or apparatus for motion picture sound, including any step in the process. A sampling of other recipients would include legendary sound designer Walter Murch (2019); acoustician Neil A. Shaw (2016); surround sound pioneer Ray M. Dolby (1978); Stefan Kudelski, designer of breakthrough portable film sound recorders (1967); and Harry F. Olsen, the “founding father” of modern electro-acoustical engineering (1955).