ASPEN, COLORADO - JUNE 2011: For ski bums, well-heeled tycoons, and eccentric celebrities alike, Aspen, Colorado represents the perfect alignment of geology and the human passion for snow, speed, and splendor. Off the slopes, the idyllic town caters to the recreational proclivities of its unique visitors, for whom high-class food and drink are a natural part of the good life. Therefore, when the upscale Hotel Jerome and the Aspen-posh restaurant Silver Queen approached Colorado-based A/V designer and integrator Halcyon Productions with woes of ailing and difficult-to-control sound systems, co-owner Heath Manning prescribed Ashly Audio's ne24.24M modular DSP together with the incredibly easy-to-use WR-5 wall mount remote control. The cost-effective units sound great and provide an appropriately simple level of control for the often harried staff of both establishments.
"User control is a critical issue in the commercial atmosphere of a banquet hall, restaurant, or bar, where the staff are
rightly focused on getting food and drinks to paying customers and have no time to wrestle with an obtuse sound system," said Manning. "It comes down to durability and usability. Touch-panels are nice in some scenarios, but in a food- and drink-service environment, they tend to get dirty quickly. Apart from the very real possibility that a filthy touch-panel will cease to function properly, it carries an air of unprofessionalism. The better solution that I've found is to combine an Ashly ne24.24M matrix processor with an Ashly WR-5 keypad. The processor provides a modular input/output count and tons of flexibility and power, and the keypad presents a simple user interface that has proven to be rock solid, even in the face of abuse."
Over a succession of owners with varying sensitivities to the importance and proper care of an audio system, the decades-old system at Hotel Jerome sagged under the weight of ad hoc patches and inglorious band-aids. "It was state-of-the-art when it went in twenty years ago," said Manning, "but after so much exposure to extremes in temperature and humidity, it was time to fold it and start fresh."
Manning modernized the inputs, providing the Hotel Jerome's banquet hall, public spaces, and J-Bar with an iPod dock and a CD player, along with various inputs for a computer (or other unbalanced line source), a DJ rig (or other balanced line source), and a collection of Sennheiser wireless microphones. Source selection on two redundant Ashly WR-5 keypads works together with preset selection to configure the system for different kinds of events. The Ashly ne24.24M processor is set up for twelve inputs and twelve outputs. Apart from input logic, it provides overall input and output conditioning, as well as ducking for the hotel's frequent pages. One Lab.gruppen C16:4 four-channel amp and two Lab.gruppen C20:8x eight-channel amps combine with two Symetrix 581E distribution amps to provide power to thirty-seven Tannoy CMS601BM six-inch coaxial ceiling-mounted loudspeakers.
When the restaurant/bar now known as the Silver Queen came under new management, it underwent some modest rehabbing and a facelift. The owners called in Halcyon Productions to provide a great sounding audio system that wouldn't disturb the owner of the multi-million dollar condo above. "In a situation like that, you want to do everything in your power to be friendly and considerate," laughed Manning. Accordingly, Manning chose to pepper the establishment with Grundorf GT-601 full-range loudspeakers so that patrons would always be close to a sound source. That way, no single loudspeaker would have to be very loud, which would help reduce bleed upstairs. A pair of Grundorf subwoofers round out the system's frequency response. Face Audio amplifiers provide power.
The Ashly ne24.24M DSP provides the range of functionality typical of such a system, plus well-calibrated limiting. "The limiting prevents overly-enthusiastic staff from cranking the system up to the condo danger zone," said Manning. An Ashly WR-5 keypad allows staff to select inputs and to adjust the volume - within limits! "The Ashly ne24.24M and WR-5 is a great combo," said Manning. "It's simple, powerful, flexible, and tremendously affordable. Nothing else on the market comes close to providing that level of value."
ABOUT ASHLY AUDIO With a greater than thirty-seven year history, Ashly Audio Inc. is recognized as a world leader in the design and manufacturing of quality signal processing equipment and power amplification for use in the commercial sound contracting and professional audio markets.