A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

ASHLY’S PEMA TO THE RESCUE!

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BUFFALO, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 2011: AV Solutions is one of New York state’s premier A/V companies and has been defining presentation technology’s leading edge for over thirty years. Ever on the lookout for inspired new equipment that improves the performance-to-cost ratio for his clients, AV Solutions design engineer Karl Maciag recently called on Ashly’s new pêma unit – the industry’s first fully-featured DSP to be integrated with multi-channel amplification – to deliver state-of-the-art AV solutions at a fire station and at a health insurance provider’s facility, at a considerable space and cost savings. The firehouse now has an awesome-sounding, flexible hi-fi system, and the hospital has a privacy-protecting white noise system that is both unobtrusive and undefeatable.

While AV Solutions sales person Garry Krause was delivering a Smart Board to the Sheridan Park Fire Department firehouse, a few of the firefighters showed him the station’s multi-purpose room. “They used it for departmental events, raffles, or rental to the community,” said Krause. “The audio/video system was pretty lifeless, and I suggested that AV Solutions could do something nice in there. Karl got back to them and told them about the functionality and fidelity that the Ashly pêma could deliver, and they were excited.”

Because the 70-by-60-foot room already had a movable partition, Maciag designed the new A/V system around that functionality. On either side of the partition, new input plates accept wired microphones, computer output, or iPod output. A pair of new Sennheiser ew 135 wireless microphones make emceeing events easy. A new projector and screen grace one side of the partition for movie or PowerPoint presentations. Maciag divided the room into four zones with three full-frequency JBL Control 26 in-ceiling loudspeakers each. When the sides combine, all input plates and both wireless microphones work for the entire room.

Maciag used the Ashly pêma 4250, which delivers 250-watts to each of the four zones, to tie it all together. “The power and flexibility of pêma’s processing was more than enough to deliver the perfect solution at the firehouse,” he said. “Feedback elimination protects all of the mics but leaves other inputs, like DVD, unsuppressed. The amplifier output is ample for such a system and, with the 16-ohm JBL speakers, sounds very nice. When I consider all of that, and then note the pêma’s price point and compact, two-rack space footprint, it can’t be beat.”

Maciag supplied the fire station with three Ashly WR-5 programmable wall-mount remote controls to select inputs, change volume, and combine rooms. “The Ashly technicians were very helpful,” he said. “I had devised a solution that used four WR-5s. I thought it could be improved, but I didn’t see how. I called Ashly and described the situation. Later that same day, they got back to me with a less expensive, simplified solution. The customer was blown away by how intuitive it is to command such a flexible system, and if they ever choose to upgrade to a different kind of control system, say Crestron for example, the pêma is already built to work with it. The system is future-proof.”

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AV Solutions devised the 1,100-speaker background music system for the Buffalo-area’s HealthNow, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield facility when it was built four years ago. The rooms provide patients with a simple means to simultaneously conference with a health insurance representative and their doctor via a speakerphone, or a simple video conferencing interface. As these patient rooms share walls, AV Solutions was called in to handle sound masking.

Krause received the request in the afternoon and went to the site that same evening to take pictures. Maciag had the pictures by 8pm and had drafted a solution by the next morning. The hospital was impressed by their speed and by their guarantee that the noise would be up to code. In no more than three days, AV Solutions had the new white noise system installed.

“The first thing I wanted to know was where we might put a white noise source,” said Maciag. “There was little space for equipment but there was an adjacent conference center that had a little bit of unclaimed rack space. The Ashly pêma now occupies that rack space and delivers the white noise to each of the rooms via six Atlas M1000 speakers that sit above the ceiling tiles in the consult and waiting room that aims upward to diffuse the sound with the ceiling deck.” Maciag used the pêma’s EQ and filtering capabilities to tailor the white noise in each room to match best practices for privacy masking.

Ironically, another company that was called on to bid on the project telephoned the hospital while Krause was showing them how to use the new system. They wanted to put in their proposal, not realizing the job was already finished. “They wanted to sell them some little white noise boxes to stick in each room,” said Krause. “The problem with that solution is that the patients who use the room are made keenly aware of the white noise source. It invites the users to defeat it, if only for the perceived comfort of silence. Our solution, in contrast, melds seamlessly with the room. You would guess that the HVAC system is loud, not that there is a deliberate white noise source.” Maciag added a simple Ashly WR-5 programmable wall-mount remote control behind a plexiglass security box so that authorized users could turn the noise up or down.

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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