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AUSTIN, TEXAS – MAY 2012: Located in the city’s bustling warehouse and variously billed as a tapas restaurant, a gastropub, or an American small plate restaurant, Swift’s Attic is a refreshing addition to the bar and restaurant scene in Austin, Texas. Swift’s Attic occupies the second floor of what was built to be the Swift Brother’s meat-packing facilities over one-hundred years ago, and its interior design highlights the building’s old charms in a style that one reviewer lovingly described as “steampunk meets lounge.” With plans for hosting DJs and bands on weekend evenings and a computer loaded with hand-selected tunes for the balance of the week, music is an important component of the restaurant’s casual, hip atmosphere. Austin’s DB Commercial AV designed and installed a killer sound reinforcement system centered on Ashly Audio’s Pema combination DSP/multi-channel amplifier and KLR Series high-efficiency amplifiers.


Vest, joint-owner of DB Commercial AV, headed up the effort at Swift’s Attic. “They originally asked for something less than we ended up installing for them,” he said. “I was getting mixed signals. On the one hand, they kept telling me that Swift’s Attic is a restaurant. But on the other hand, they were going to stay open until 2AM and feature over a dozen beers on tap, along with bottled beer, wine, and liquor. I said, ‘I hate to break it to you, but at 10PM, you’re no longer a restaurant; you’re a bar. And if you don’t have a slammin’ system, people are going to walk down the street.’ I convinced them to think and act a little bit larger now so that they wouldn’t regret it later.” That said, Vest was still operating on a very tight budget.

His powerful, yet still affordable, plan called for an Ashly Pema 4250, which packs an 8×8 DSP and four 250W amplifiers in just two rack spaces, together with two Ashly KLR 3200 stereo amplifiers, which deliver 1600W per channel with great efficiency. The KLR 3300s power the large Community VERIS loudspeakers that cover the restaurant’s “dance floor,” which is also a dining area depending on the time of day. The four amplifiers on the Pema 4250 cover smaller Community VERIS loudspeakers in the entryway, a smaller dining area, the back of the main dining area, and the bathrooms.

“Space was tight at Swift’s Attic,” said Vest. “But the entire Ashly system required only six rack spaces! Without compromising on quality, Ashly is at the head of the industry in terms of compact amplification.” The Pema 4250’s DSP accepts system inputs, which include XLR jacks at the front and back of the main dining area (for DJs or bands to plug into) and computer output for playlist playback. Pema provides EQ, delay, and matrix mixing of line-level signal to the KLR 3200 “slave” amplifiers.

“Ashly Audio delivers cost-effective solutions that are nevertheless reliable, powerful, and flexible,” said Vest. “With the Protea open-architecture software in the Pema, I was able to dial in the system exactly as I needed to, including effective feedback elimination where necessary.” Vest gave the staff at Swift’s Attic appropriate control over the sound system with a pair of Ashly neWR-5 wall mount remote controls. He customized the interface to allow input selection and zone volumes, along with preset selection with appropriate EQ curves and volume for lunch, dinner, and late night.

Vest built a lot of the system’s customized features right into the presets. For example, when the restaurant selects the XLR inputs for DJs and bands, the DSP reconfigures the gain structure and limiting as appropriate for that type of input. For the lunch and dinner presets, the DSP mutes a loudspeaker near the entrance that could potentially bother an adjacent dress shop, which prevents the justifiably distracted staff from making mistakes that might anger the neighbors.

With the killer system installed, Swift’s Attic is now fully operational, and word of mouth – both old-school organic and new-fangled electronic – is creating a wonderful buzz. It’s an early reward for the restaurant’s forward-thinking business model.

ABOUT ASHLY AUDIO Ashly Audio Inc. is recognized as a world leader in the design and manufacturing of high quality & high performance signal processing equipment and power amplification for use in the commercial sound contracting and professional audio markets. The 37-year old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A.