Art gallery attendees’ attention should rarely be diverted from the artwork. But a little technology can go a long way to improve their experience — especially if good audio is a part of that museum installation.
The challenge for mero concepts of Cedar Park, Texas, was finding a way to blanket the gallery with music without causing any visual distraction from the loudspeakers they would install at The MAW Gallery in Austin.
“The first thing I can recall the owner saying to me was that she wanted no audio at all in the gallery, for fear that the speakers would visually distract viewers’ attention,” mero concepts founder/CEO Marc Oliveri recalls.
Initially, the project included data systems, security and cameras—but no audio. After looking at the plans, Oliveri thoughtfully offered some options for a discreet audio solution based upon the customization capabilities of James Loudspeaker.
“We have worked with the team at James Loudspeaker for years serving our clients’ homes, and their ability to accommodate the needs of each project with custom solutions really gives us an edge in the marketplace.”
The gallery owner agreed to the museum installation based on the stipulation that “it had to blend in.”
Oliveri and his crew deployed a Control4 solution for the user interface and as an entertainment source in the gallery.
They combined the Control4 music streamer with an Apple TV—routing video content to a single Sony 77-inch OLED display, used mostly for classes and Q&A sessions with world-renowned artists as well as content from the Art Legacy Live app.
Power to the eight pairs of speakers comes from an AudioControl Director Model M6800 16-channel amplifier, delivering 200 watts per channel (into 4-ohm speakers) from a sleek, 2U chassis.
“We selected the AudioControl amplifier because it has superior power and performance, it has available drivers for Control4 interface and because of the M6800’s onboard DSP that contains profiles for many architectural speaker brands including James Loudspeaker. This saved us considerable time dialing in each zone to sound optimal.”
Oliveri came up with a strategy for concealing the source of the sound throughout the gallery, suspending James Loudspeaker PD620.4 6.5-inch two-way pendant speakers from the ceiling.
But his clever approach also included custom conduit containing the speaker wire and suspending each pendant—which the team at James Loudspeaker manufactured for him to specification.
Oliveri then acquired paint from the same source that had supplied the gallery’s painters and shipped it to the James Loudspeaker factory, where the speakers and sections of conduit were meticulously finished for a perfect decor match.
So impressed was the gallery owner with the custom paintwork, the team at mero concepts proceeded to disassemble all of the alarm and camera parts as well as the Wi-Fi access point covers, shipping a container full of small bits to also be custom painted.
“We were already quite impressed with the products and services offered by James Loudspeaker, but to custom paint our array of miscellaneous parts from other manufacturers really speaks to how dedicated this company is to their dealers,” Oliveri states.
Museum Installation Audio Specs
The museum installation features 12 of the James Loudspeaker PD620.4 speakers plus a pair of custom painted FXCQ620S in-ceiling speakers in the reception area and each restroom.
The PD620.4 is engineered for a wide variety of applications including high open-ceiling environments such as The MAW Gallery. Featuring a 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofer and a 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter, the PD620.4 has excellent efficiency, dispersion, durability and power handling.
For the reception area and restrooms, the FXCQ620S in-ceiling loudspeakers were selected, delivering superb sound from a 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofer with a Santoprene surround mated to the legendary James Loudspeaker Quad-Tweeter Array, featuring four aluminum ¾-inch aluminum dome tweeters angled precisely in a 22.5-degree offset array for wide dispersion, high power handling and low distortion.
The materials used in these speakers make them ideally suited to high-humidity areas such as these gallery restrooms. The enclosures of both the PD620.4 and the FXCQ620S are constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum.
When all was said and done, the client was thrilled with the outcome. The staff, as well as visitors to the gallery all, enjoy the visually discreet technology throughout the facility.
“All of us at mero concepts have a high level of respect for the quality of engineering, manufacturing and overall service we consistently receive from James Loudspeaker—but their nearly limitless customization capability is what truly sets them apart from all other audio suppliers and enables us to deliver the best entertainment systems tailored for each client.”