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A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor


bodyscapesfitness.JPGBOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JULY 2008: The feasibility of meeting clients’ needs with sophisticated, but cost-effective solutions for small-scale sound installations in health clubs, bars, restaurants, and other such establishments has passed a critical threshold with the advent of the Symetrix Zone Mix 760 fixed-architecture DSP. With four mic inputs; eight stereo line-level inputs; six outputs with up to six zone assignments; all of the most-used signal processing blocks perfected in the SymNet brand of large-scale, open-architecture DSP systems; and a price point that harmonizes beautifully with the limited budgets of small-scale clients, the Zone Mix 760 is the modern solution to problems that used to be solved with easy-to-mess-up mixers, inelegant consumer gear, or chimerical assemblages held together by prayers and duct tape.

Robert Soluri, president of Boston-based Custom Cable Services, has capitalized on this sea of change with a long and growing list of small-scale installations centered on the Symetrix Zone Mix 760. With it, he offers his clients clean control interfaces through the use of Symetrix ARC-2 interactive wall panels, sophisticated processing such as ducking and automatic gain control, and bulletproof reliability that resists the “improvements” of well-intentioned but under-qualified establishment employees. Before the Zone Mix 760, delivering such functionality would have come with a price tag that no small-scale client would have even remotely entertained.

Case in point: Soluri recently completed an installation at Bodyscapes Fitness’s new Brookline, Massachusetts location that had originally been completed using residential stereo receivers and loudspeakers. Although the pro system was more money, Soluri convinced the owners that the system would more than pay for itself it terms of reliability, longevity, functionality and aesthetics. Because he could use the relatively inexpensive Zone Mix 760, the extra expense was modest enough that the client was able to perceive that those less tangible, but immensely important benefits were worth more than the extra cash up front.

Soluri configured the system to handle two wireless mics located in aerobics and Pilates studios, several iPod bays, a computer audio output, CD players, and the DIRECTV feed that goes to plasma screens located throughout the facility. Six zones allow for precise volume, processing, and input sources throughout the building. Notably, the aerobics and Pilates studios each have an iPod dock and a CD player in the front along with a Symetrix ARC-2 interface that allows instructors to bring in their own music. Soluri configured their wireless microphones so that they would always be 6dB above the music through a combination of ducking and AGC.

“You wouldn’t have been able to do those things with a residential system,” remarked Soluri. “Moreover, the system would have been clunky and prone to uneven volume and coverage. As it is, everything except the studio controls is changed at the equipment rack in the office. It’s elegant and absolutely reliable.”

On the subject of reliability, Soluri also recently completed a Symetrix Zone Mix 760 installation at McGann’s Pub in Boston. There, he used only one zone in replacing what had been something of a nightmare sound system. “I used to get service calls from McGann’s all the time,” he explained. “They make a lot of their money charging admission to Setanta-televised games from overseas. If the system doesn’t work, it’s big trouble. They used to have a mixer that was forever getting messed with in ways that left the system ‘broken’ to anyone who didn’t know the ins and outs of signal flow.”

“With the Zone Mix 760 and a simple ARC-2 interface,” he continued, “they can’t mess with it anymore! They’re totally happy to have Symetrix reliability and I’m glad to be doing other things on my Saturday mornings. The trick is selling them on the concept of a control system. Since these businesses have a fleet of people around all the time, they think, ‘why would I want to pay more money for a slick interface? My people can control it at the source for free.’ The trade-off of course, is that if they can control it at the source, they can also break it at the source. With the Zone Mix 760 and an ARC controller, we give the clients what they need at a price they’re comfortable with.”

johnnies_on_the_side.JPGPrice was the deciding factor at Johnnies On The Side, a new Boston restaurant where Soluri again delivered a sophisticated Zone Mix 760 system. He used six zones for the four-level establishment to deliver slick, reliable sound throughout. “Prior to the Zone Mix 760, a restaurant like Johnnies couldn’t have afforded this kind of flexibility,” he said. “So they wouldn’t have even considered it and would have ended up with an unreliable, inflexible system. The Zone Mix has all the necessary components to blow small-scale clients away: the right number of inputs and outputs, the right kinds of processing, and, importantly, the right kind of interfaces. I think that’s an area where Symetrix really stands apart. The ARC interfaces are really what the client thinks of as ‘the system’ and they work so flawlessly and intuitively.” With happy clients come copious referrals, and Soluri is finding it’s not a bad idea to keep a few Zone Mix 760s on hand!

For more information on professional audio products from Symetrix, SymNet, Lucid and AirTools please call (425) 778-7728 or refer to websites, www.symetrixaudio.com, www.symnetaudio.com, www.airtoolsaudio.com and www.lucidaudio.com.

(PHOTO CAPTION) Rob Soluri, president of Boston Custom Cable Services, finds the new Symetrix Zone Mix 760, coupled with the ARC 2 interactive wall panels, a viable solution for small-scale venues such as the new Boston restaurant Johnnies on the Side and Bodyscape Fitness in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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