A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor



CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JULY 2010: Imagine that you’ve purchased a top floor luxury condominium in downtown Chicago, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing breathtaking views of the city’s famous skyline, glorious glittering Lake Michigan, and the distant prairie-turned-exurbs that provide a backlit pillow for the setting sun at day’s end. Where will you put your big screen TV that won’t detract from the view? One condo owner solved this problem with a cutting-edge twist on the most straightforward of solutions: the flat screen TV resides on the wall until it is needed, at which point a motorized track system in the ceiling physically moves it to one of three viewing positions. Residential and commercial A/V designer and installer Procom (Burr Ridge, Illinois) relied on the audio processing power of an Ashly ne24.24M to coordinate routing to a dozen loudspeakers in order to provide impeccable 5.1 surround imaging in any of the three viewing positions.

The moving flat screen technology belongs to Trak-kit and provides a surface-mounted ceiling track that a Sharp Aquos 60″ LED TV travels and rotates on as well as raises and lowers via a dual concentric boxed column. Three positions, “South Viewing,” “Southwest Viewing,” and “Southeast Viewing,” provide ideal viewing from either a recliner, a sectional sofa, or a bar area. “The client discovered the Trak-kit technology on his own, but hadn’t thought through the consequences for the audio system,” said Keith Spale. “He argued that with a normal, stationary TV and surround-sound system, he could walk around the room and it didn’t require relocating the speakers. I pointed out that what matters is the image relative to the television. If we move the TV sixteen feet without moving the sound image, the screen will no longer match up sonically.”

Spale asked his friends in the residential install industry how they might solve this unique problem and came up with no good answers. Because Procom works not only in the residential arena, but also for commercial clients on projects such as corporate board rooms, churches, and the like, he was able to draw on technologies that are unknown to those who focus solely on the residential side of the industry. “We use Ashly processors in many of our commercial installations,” said Spale. “This seemed like a great opportunity to employ the sort of sophisticated zone and level control that the very reasonably priced ne24.24M is capable of.”

In addition to the audio output from the TV source (e.g. Blu-Ray, DVD, satellite), the new system contains the usual array of music-only inputs. They become active when the TV is in “sleep” mode and allow the user to enjoy, say, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony as the sun sinks into the horizon beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows or, as the case may be, Aerosmith. Spale positioned eight Speakercraft eight-inch, two-way, full-range AIM boxes in strategic locations around the room, recessed in the ceiling so as to be visually unobtrusive. These loudspeakers deliver output in music-only mode and, depending on the TV’s position, surround imaging, with some loudspeakers serving different functions for different TV positions. A Boston Acoustics speaker bar attaches to the bottom of the TV for LRC imaging that moves with the TV.

The system’s Denon receiver sends eight outputs to the Ashly ne24.24M: a full 5.1 surround complement plus a pure left-right pair. Outputs from the ne24.24M feed the twelve-channel Speakercraft amplifier that powers the system. Output from the TV control system informs the ne24.24M as well, causing it to mute/unmute and alter relative volumes between speakers as necessary to maintain the proper imaging relative to the television.

“We’ve actually used the Ashly ne24.24M in a number of high-end residential jobs, but we haven’t been able to give the details on those due to confidentiality agreements with the celebrities that own them,” said Spale. “The Ashly unit is particularly well-suited to this sort of assignment because it is fully modular. We are able to keep costs down by building them out only as large as we need to. In addition, Ashly is well known for building reliable gear, which is important in these sorts of installations where the client quite justifiably expects the system to perform for a long time with zero maintenance.”

ABOUT ASHLY AUDIO With over a thirty-five year history, Ashly Audio Inc. is recognized as a world leader in designing and manufacturing quality signal processing equipment and power amplification for use in the commercial sound contracting and professional audio markets. www.ashly.com

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July 2010
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