Skip to content

Sam Berkow Bibliography Page

More important than the good money Sam Berkow makes as an award-winning acoustician is his passionate devotion to getting good music heard properly. On that mission, he was thrilled to be involved in designing the SFJAZZ Center, which opened in San Francisco’s Civic Center in January of 2013, and happy to return this month for what he compares to an automotive tuneup.

The vehicle in this case is the center’s 700-seat Robert N. Miner Auditorium, which has comfortably transported fans to a fascinating variety of musical places, most of them in jazz territory but with detours into world music and such classical delights as the Calder Quartet, the Kronos Quartet, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. (Coming in the New Year: Cameron Carpenter with his self-designed International Touring Organ.) “We’ve learned a lot in two-and-a-half-years about how the space is used, in terms of stage extensions, layouts, and types of music." — Sam Berkow

The tuneup was scheduled for early July, the center’s only “dark” weeks, between the end of the spring season and the beginning of summer sessions. The extended period without performance allowed Berkow free rein to test and tweak, as well as to chat with a curious reporter. “We’ve learned a lot in two-and-a-half-years about how the space is used, in terms of stage extensions, layouts, and types of music,” says Berkow. “We’ve gotten feedback from audiences, from listeners, and from performers.” Some of this feedback is gleaned from reports filed by the center’s house manager and stage manager after every performance.

In addition, “I try to be here for shows as often as I possibly can,” says Berkow, who lives in Los Angeles. “I regularly talk with Jeff Cressman and Masanori Yura, the two senior engineers for the building, and with Cecilia Engelhart, the director of production.” From performers’ feedback “I’m always looking for a balance between what they hear onstage and what they hear from the room.”

Berkow, 53, longed as a young man to hang out with performers, but not to be one himself. "Not only can I not sing, I'm a horrible musician," he laughs. In his freshman year of college, Berkow hooked up with Don Pearson, co-founder of San Rafael-based UltraSound and the audio engineer for the Grateful Dead. “What I learned from Don was, sound doesn’t have to be loud to be impactful,” Berkow relates.

After college, Berkow worked with designer Russell Johnson on a number of classical venues, including the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and the Symphony Hall in Birmingham, England. This job introduced him to Alexander Yuill-Thornton, systems engineer for Luciano Pavarotti and The Three Tenors. “Thorny and I started addressing certain problems of sound reinforcement for classical ensemble, particularly in non-traditional venues,” recalls Berkow. “Later, we started a software company together, SIA, and we wrote a computer program called Smaart, which is the industry’s leading acoustic measurement and sound system optimization tool. And that’s what I’m using here at SFJAZZ.”

In the sound booth at the rear of the Miner Auditorium, Berkow shows how Smaart traces the path of a pulse of “pink noise” (energy equal across several octaves, evoking the sound of surf) as it travels from the speakers arrayed on either side of the stage to a microphone at the rear of the auditorium. The images and numerical data generated by the Smaart program helped Berkow and his team locate surfaces around the room that reflect sound, and to accordingly position the speakers, coordinate their levels of output, and install materials to scatter or absorb sound, as necessary. These materials include permanent fixtures such as slats on walls, and movable elements such as curtains. “As you walk down these stairs, from row M up here to the front row, the difference in level should be less than a decibel-and-a-half [in units of sound pressure].” — Sam Berkow

“The idea is to preserve sound energy, not to throw it away,” Berkow points out. Another goal is to deliver equally true sound to the audience, regardless of where they’re seated. “As you walk down these stairs, from row M up here to the front row, the difference in level should be less than a decibel-and-a-half [in units of sound pressure].”

On stage, the goal is to provide performers with a “null” where they’re effectively hearing each other, rather than the sound being projected into or reflected back from the auditorium.

The particulars of the arrangement can and should be altered to fit the type and configuration of the music being performed. “One of the big differences is that jazz ensembles tend to be smaller, with much more concentrated energy,” says Berkow, “while with orchestral music, you have this energy spread out. And since classical music is not amplified, or lightly amplified, the banners [curtains] would be retracted, so they’re not absorbing any sound. With classical ensembles, I focus on how well sections can hear other sections.” With those differences in mind, one of the things Berkow has been doing during the tuneup is deciding whether some of the sound absorption should be taken out and more diffusion should be put in, to give the room a little bit more life.

What else has been involved in the Center’s first-ever tuneup? Berkow points up at the two elongated curved arrays of speakers, supplied by Berkeley’s Meyer Sound Labs and hanging far above both sides of the stage. Aside from the vital computer measurements and visualizations, “I want to leave you the distinct impression that critical listening is one of the most important steps — if not the most important — in our process,” Berkow emphasizes. “Your ear is less sensitive at low frequencies, so we’ve added a little bit of energy at the lower frequencies. And we’ve rehung some of the speakers, so there is now more uniform sound for the row of seats behind the stage, and [to] create a null, so they make the stage itself a much more comfortable place to hear.

Such well-tuned sound systems, Berkow notes, “put more pressure on engineers to not make mistakes and pay attention.” He lauds the SFJAZZ crew, as well as the suppliers of the sound equipment (Meyer Sound Labs, Pro Tools developer Avid, and others) as being up to the task. But “the amount of time that most classical ensembles give to their technical people, to learn where the sound is going, is very limited. Do they know that a soprano is going to start singing eight feet away from a microphone, and then walk up to it? If they don’t, and their hand is not on the fader, it’ll be a problem.”

At the beginning of this year, the Smaart program was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Music Merchants. “I got a little freaked out when they told me that the first honoree of that award was Thomas Edison,” admits Berkow with a grin. “But the nicest thing is if I tell you that every week for the past 20 years, I’ve gotten an e-mail from a sound guy or an acoustician who says, ‘I used Smaart, and it helped me solve a problem.’”

Will audiences at the Miner Auditorium be equally grateful about the venue’s sound system and its tuneup? “Ideally, you’re not supposed to notice the acoustics,” Berkow advises. “You’re just supposed to listen to some great music and have a great time.”

Do you need Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research with with essay, research paper, homework or even dissertation?

Visit our website - (

=================>>>CLICK HERE<<<=================
=================>>>CLICK HERE<<<=================
=================>>>CLICK HERE<<<=================

=================>>>GET ASSIGNMENT HELP<<<=================
=================>>>GET ASSIGNMENT HELP<<<=================
=================>>>GET ASSIGNMENT HELP<<<=================

mla sample research papers high school
research paper template outline for sermon
rose for emily essay question
lvalue required as left operand of assignment error 3194
college poetry assignments for high school
coursework4you review
irish essay on drugs Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research in sport history
standard irq assignments
essay writing on truth alone triumphs in sanskrit
common app essay prompts 2011 ford
pyramid of self satisfaction essay
festival in hindi essay in hindi
grants for cert ed assignments
examples of autobiography narrative essay
polykleitos doryphoros essay contest
physician assisted suicide ethical essay
world war one poetry essay peer
modern world today essay checker
e.d.hirsch cultural literacy essay
life science grade 11 paper 1 topics for essays
explanatory essay topics elementary
first sentence in a cover letter
traditional games congkak essay writing
menaud maitre draveur dissertation help
latest research papers in applied mathematics
role of pakistan against terrorism essay conclusion
university of oregon admissions essay
quand j'essaye de passer diamant #2015bestnine
type a and Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research b personality research paper
5 types of toefl essay
modern american literature essay topics
postgenomic research paper
math homework website
small essay on grow Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research more trees
jeri essay scholarships
thesis statement hate crime paper
lifeboat ethics critique essay
the good the bad and the ugly analytical essay
cry freedom themes essay
st michael high school patna homework 2015
the orchard keeper essay
entrance exam for phd in ignou assignments
man made resources essay contest
compare and contrast works of art essay
asian american discrimination essay titles
lake placid olympic museum review essay
cultural identity examples essay
research supporting no homework clip
ib biology hl topics for persuasive essays
juvenal satire 10 analysis essay
religion and science coexist essay examples
1 000 word essay about the music industry
good title ideas for essays topics
terrorism in pakistan essay 2014 jeep
bioterrorism case study quizlet psychology
essay on importance of water in human life in hindi
essay on my hobby in marathi recipe
literary research paper topics
unity in essay
doge homework meme
wittig reaction nmr assignment
2n3904 pin assignment of 555
how to write a topic for an essay
6th grade persuasive essays examples
book report essay prompts for middle school
4th grade wampum belt essay
breakfast club character essay on to kill
woodpecker essay in hindi
stalin's show trials essay
google research papers big table media
speculative essay definition spanish
law school personal statement conclusion examples for science
thesis statement for to kill a mockingbird discrimination definition
tour de Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research magie sans carte explication essay
view my assignments
il postino film essay
compare and contrast essay brutus and antony
bat family classification essay
british airways advance seat assignments
frankieonpcin1080p hacking analysis essay
how to write a for or against essay
essay outline for ap world history
mineral based industries essay contest
cornell dissertation manager
bill of rights section 1 example of narrative essay
july 2012 nj bar exam essays
write thesis statement literary analysis
essay on memories of childhood
acc560 homework week 3 chapter 4
nick galemore gregor trierweiler introductions for essays
vigyan vardan ya abhishap hindi essay
essay characteristics of a good student
teacher giving student homework survey
the old man with enormous wings analysis essay
opinion essay topics sports news
game dev tycoon cheats research paper
case study definition psychology quizlet Help With Writing a Thesis Statement for a Research chapter
sample act essays
politics of india essays
ucas personal statement psychology examples in everyday
montaigne essays gutenberg e-books
essay on green earth for kids
supply chain case study examples
corrine brown committee assignments sample
amish culture essay papers
driving license points abroad assignment
france under population case study
social inequality in india essays on love
criticisms of non fatal offences essay contest
impartiality in international mediation essay
lesson 1 homework practice lines for typing
college essay personality traits
disadvantage of plastic bags essays
fresh food and canned food essay
meta issue definition in critical thinking
fitness essays
passe compose essayer
colby buzzell killing time in iraq essay
avram davidson bibliography
essay about kolkata city photo
yearbook application essay example
mgt703 assignment solution of mth101
funny group title names for essays
how to cite a source with multiple authors mla bibliography
discursive essays animal testing
write a cover letter for research assistant description
medical ethics abortion essays against
sam berkow bibliography for websites
oppo find 7 white homework
chemalite inc case study analysis of a business
essay real estate
aqa as dt coursework
where is thesis statement in research paper
good quotes to write essays about leadership
career research report essay outline
computer friend or foe essay
personal statement essay for dental school
ap us history long essay prompts for of mice
politeness principle robin lakoff essay
essayons topics of conversation
how do i start off an essay paper
academic essays on hamlet
social policy and social work critical essays on the welfare state
gender inequality education essay paper
advantages and disadvantages of using internet essay
gay adoption research paper outline
essays on aboriginal health
splncs bibliography for websites
1 4 dihydropyridine synthesis essay
essay shakespeare