Editor, McLerran Journal
Assistant Band Director, Center ISD, TX
The Wenger Corporation was founded in 1946 by Harry Wenger, a high school band director in Owatonna, Minnesota. Frequently frustrated with the lack of quality equipment for music students, Wenger simply “built it himself.” By 1964, the company offered about forty products and had celebrated its first “million-dollar year.” In 1992, Jerry Wenger (son of Harry) retired from the company with over one hundred products available. Currently, the Wenger Corporation offers more than six hundred products which can be found in music rehearsal spaces, performance halls, and athletic facilities.
SoundLok Sound Isolation Rooms
A frequent frustration of musicians is the difficulty of finding a quiet place to rehearse. Oftentimes, music practice rooms allow sounds from adjacent spaces to bleed through the walls if not properly constructed and designed. With SoundLok Sound Isolation Rooms from the Wenger Corporation, musicians have the ability to enjoy a practice environment that keeps unwanted sound from coming in to the room. The rooms have been awarded a Noise Isolation Class (NIC) rating of 63 which means that the walls are highly effective when it comes to blocking outside sounds.
According to representatives from the Wenger Corporation, the SoundLok Sound Isolation rooms are “25% quieter than any other room on the market” and can be customized to fit any needs or space. The rooms are available in sizes ranging from 5’8” x 4’5” to 25’8” x 19’5” and heights between 7’6” to 10’. Additional features include a double door for grand pianos, a variety of window options, multiple colors, and a mirror. With interlocking panels, the rooms can be quickly installed or moved without any permanent damage to adjacent walls or flooring. As for pricing, SoundLok Sound Isolation Rooms “cost 10% less on average when compared to a properly-constructed stick-built practice” space.
Virtual Acoustic Environment
A common obstacle that any musician faces is learning to make the transition from going from a small rehearsal room to on stage in a large performance space. With their Virtual Acoustic Environment (VAE), the Wenger Corporation hopes to enable musicians “to learn how to adapt to performing in different performance spaces” and also provides them with immediate playback capabilities for instant evaluation. The VAE system, with the touch of a small keypad, allows musicians to transform their rehearsal space into nine different “locations” including; a small recital hall, stadium, and, cathedral. This alleviates the learning curve of musicians especially who struggle to make the transition from setting to setting. The custom option setting even allows music educators to replicate their own school’s auditorium.
The VAE system is a remarkable teaching tool with the ability to record live sound for playback or upload pre-recorded accompaniment. With this technology, directors can play back student rehearsal sessions for immediate review or select an accompaniment to allow students to “play with the band” in their lesson or practice. This technology is available for small practice rooms, studios (under two hundred square feet), and (as of this year) entire rehearsal spaces. This product, created through collaboration between Wenger and Harman Pro Music, is truly “performance preparation at un unprecedented level.”
Many musicians do not realize the extent to which Wenger products are implemented into athletic facilities and practices. According to the Wenger Corporation representatives, the company “entered into the athletic market as a strategic growth initiative.” This development fits perfectly into Wenger’s mission; “designing and selling specialty products to high schools, colleges, and professional organizations,” and was described as a “natural expansion.” With products like customizable wooden lockers and the OnBoard Field Podium, the Wenger Corporation is proud to sponsor both musical and athletic education nation-wide.
*The McLerran Journal is not formally associated with the Wenger Corporation. Proper permission was obtained before publication.
Correspondence with Denny Meyer. Product Manager, Acoustics. Wenger Corporation. October
“SoundLok Sound Isolation Rooms.” Wenger Corporation. 2017. Web. 10 October, 2017.
“VAE Technology.” Wenger Corporation. 2017. Web. 10 October, 2017.
“History.” Wenger Corporation. 2017. Web. 10 October, 2017.
“VAE Technology Brochure.” Wenger Corporation. 2013. Web. October 10, 2017.