Salon Creates Five-Star Audio Experience with Genelec

Published: April 26, 2024
For Jesamondo Salon & Spa in Natick, Mass., delivering a five-star, pampering experience for clients is non-negotiable. Part of that experience is outstanding audio from the Genelec sound system. Photo courtesy / Eric Daubney

For Jesamondo Salon & Spa in Natick, Mass., delivering a five-star, pampering experience for clients is non-negotiable. That means having the most talented hairstylists, aestheticians, nail technicians, massage therapists and makeup artists, of course, but it also means having an audio system capable of creating the precise ambiance that owner Matt Traiger wants each space to exude. The desire for mood-setting sonic excellence prompted Jesamondo — the largest Goldwell salon in Massachusetts — to invest in Smart IP speakers from Genelec, a manufacturer whose name is renowned for bringing exceptional audio quality to studios, residences and commercial spaces.

Here, we’ll speak to Traiger about his vision, which inspired a recent full-scale renovation, while getting technical details from integrator partner Zachary Lacroix, system engineer at Parsons Audio. Parsons Audio is a Woburn, Mass.-based audio specialist whose projects range from large performing-arts centers to high-end relaxation destinations like Jesamondo

Stepping Inside Jesamondo

Jesamondo opened in 1980, but Traiger took the reins as owner in summer 2014. During the following years, Jesamondo’s reputation has only grown; accordingly, so, too, has both its client list and its staff. With the salon now boasting a team of 40 — everyone from hairstylists to a Reiki Master — an expansion beyond its existing space became imperative. That drove the full-blown renovation that Traiger ushered in, a project that brought new floors, ceilings, hair stations, spa rooms and, of course, a new Genelec Smart IP sound system. “Every square inch of this shop is brand new,” Traiger enthuses during an interview held just days before the April 26 grand reopening. “There’s not one thing in here now that’s more than two weeks old.”

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How Traiger discovered Genelec speakers is a funny story. Paul Stewart, senior technical sales manager with Genelec, is actually a patron of Jesamondo. About eight months ago, his stylist, Marisol, mentioned the upcoming renovation during one of Stewart’s visits. As Traiger recounts it, Stewart immediately enthused, “Oh, if you’re doing a full-blown renovation, you’ve got to hear the Genelec sound system!”

From there, it all happened remarkably quickly. “I chatted with Paul,” Traiger recalls. “And then, an hour later, I’m at Genelec in Natick, and he’s showing me and testing everything. And I’m like, ‘Let’s do this!’” The sale was easy because of how impressive the Genelec Smart IP speakers performed. “He just turned on the Genelec speakers, and it took half a second to tell a distinct difference from our sound system we had,” Traiger describes. “The quality of the sound was just like night and day.” Traiger was convinced, so Genelec just had to connect him with Parsons Audio to get the project rolling.

Parsons Audio: A Trusted Local Integrator

Genelec 4435A Smart IP active in-ceiling speakers

Some 22 Genelec 4435A Smart IP active in-ceiling speakers blend seamlessly into Jesamondo’s chic aesthetic. Courtesy / Eric Daubney

According to Lacroix, Parsons Audio’s relationship with Genelec stretches back numerous years. “We’re kind of their local audio dealer,” he relates, pointing to Genelec’s North American distribution being based in Natick. Over the years, Parsons Audio has done numerous studio and high-end home projects with Genelec, but it has also done its fair share of commercial work. “So, they just reached out to us directly,” Lacroix relates, “and asked if we’d be interested in doing this project.” Naturally, the opportunity to serve Jesamondo’s discerning clientele and integrate Genelec’s Smart IP speakers was too appealing to pass up!

Jesamondo has a number of distinct spaces — for example, reception, the salon and the nail room — and Traiger wanted each space to evoke the right mood and exude a carefully considered ambiance. His vision, quite honestly, was bold; the previous sound system was little more than background music. But Traiger envisioned a sound system where the salon would have a fun vibe and festive mood, pairing perfectly with mimosas, red wine and other pampering touches; meanwhile, the nail room, shampoo room and spas would radiate a mood of tranquility and relaxation. Utilizing Genelec Smart IP speakers, Parsons Audio seized on that vision and made it a reality.

According to Lacroix, 22 Genelec 4435A Smart IP active in-ceiling speakers fit the bill, blending seamlessly into Jesamondo’s chic aesthetic. The breakdown goes like this: two in the reception area, one in each of two bathrooms off reception, two in the nail room, seven in the salon, two in the shampoo room, one in each of four individual spas, and one in each of three ancillary spaces: a spa bathroom, the spa lobby and the hallway outside the spa rooms. The Genelec Smart IP speakers use PoE and are Dante-enabled. They’re all powered by a central NETGEAR M4250 series network switch.

Perfectly Tailored Sonic Zones with Genelec

The Jesamondo Salon & Spa shampoo room includes Genelec Smart IP speakers.

Spaces like the shampoo room should radiate a mood of tranquility and relaxation. Utilizing Genelec Smart IP speakers, Parsons Audio seized on that vision and made it a reality. Courtesy / Eric Daubney

Before Jesamondo’s renovation, Traiger had been using Pandora for background music. Now, the salon has four Pandora media players, providing four feeds to switch between. “He could have one that’s always playing spa-type music, he could have one that’s playing more upbeat music, and then [there are] two more,” Lacroix explains. “He can choose to route those players to whichever zone of speakers he wants.” Managing the zones and the level controls is made simple with on-wall dials leveraging Q-SYS; lying at the heart of management is a Core 8 Flex. Indeed, Traiger can even change channel routing via an app on his phone, putting control literally in the palm of his hand. “We’re able to set a tranquil spa channel for the spa, and it’s just so crisp and so relaxing,” he enthuses. “It just really allows us to set the mood for how each room needs to be.”

Lacroix outlines why the Genelec Smart IP system is far superior to what would otherwise be Jesamondo’s leading option: a 70-volt speaker system. “The benefit you get with using an IP system is that each speaker is individually addressable,” he explains. “So, you can change the routing…you can change the grouping down the road if you need to. It’s not all tied together on one cable.” With the Smart IP speakers being PoE powered, the network switch takes the place of the amplifier that the 70-volt scenario would require. “The other benefit — in this case, working with Q-SYS — [is] they have a plugin for these speakers,” Lacroix says. “So, I can access more fine-grained controls on a per-speaker level.” That enables level adjustments, individual speaker muting and other fine-tuning that high-end destinations like Jesamondo require. “That just wouldn’t be possible with a 70-volt system, where they’re all tied together,” Lacroix declares.

Jesamondo Gets a Stellar Outcome

Jesamondo reception area

Jesamondo has a number of distinct spaces. For example, the reception area needs to be welcoming and inviting, while also enabling communication among guests and staff. Courtesy / Eric Daubney.

The Genelec Smart IP deployment was not an especially complicated job for Parsons Audio — it entailed a day of design work, a day of programming time, three or four days of physical installation, and an additional day for commissioning — the outcome has been truly stunning. “There was nothing that wasn’t done to perfection,” Traiger says with a smile, thanking Genelec, Parsons Audio, Pimentel Construction and Felicia Maria Designs. “Walking into here now is the same as walking into that five-star hotel spa retreat…that five-star hotel salon retreat. That’s what we’ve created here. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the sound system.” Words like “amazing” and “incredible” are the descriptors that Jesamondo’s clients offer when asked about the sonic ambiance across spaces. “It’s just so crisp…so clear,” Traiger adds. “It’s literally like being in first-row seats at a concert.”

And Parsons Audio, as integrator, is just as happy. Lacroix emphasizes that Genelec is easy to work with, and team members made clear that they’re available to help. “[Paul Stewart] has been very vocal about, if there are any issues, we can give him a call,” Lacroix states. “If there are any problems, they can help us and support us; they’re available.” For busy integrators like Parsons Audio, that gives real peace of mind.

There’s no doubt that the commercial AV industry will continue its migration toward IP-based solutions. By utilizing Genelec’s Smart IP speakers, the transition can be smoother and easier, while simultaneously assuring an excellent outcome. “It’s like, if you want to add a speaker, you just add a category cable,” Lacroix concludes. “It really makes the whole process easier from start to finish.” Just ask Traiger, whose salon “trimmed” its old background music system and leveled up to an audio experience that matches its five-star pedigree.

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