Based in the Netherlands, Suitsupply is a high-end men’s fashion brand with stores throughout the world, including six locations in the United States and five more that are currently under construction.
It would be difficult to overstate the brand’s command of cutting-edge fashion, and everything it touches – from its garments, to its fashion photography, to the aesthetic of its stores – speaks to that command. Nothing is off-message. To ensure that the sonic environment that clients experience when they enter a Suitsupply store also supports the brand, the company hired Tau Audio Solutions of Groningen, Netherlands to design professional music playback systems that would be reliable, high performance, and easy to use. Tau Audio Solutions in turn specified the Ashly Pema (Protea-Equipped Media Amplifier) for use in every new store, delivering sophisticated processing, high-fidelity amplification, and reliable remote-control operation in just two rack spaces. Most of the time, the home office controls Suitsupply music systems around the world from its home office in Amsterdam!
“Originally, Suitsupply worked with standard consumer-grade hi-fi equipment,” explained Ron Vossen, managing director at Tau Audio Solutions. “But they quickly realized they had a higher standard, and they contacted us to give them professional sound that is truly high-fidelity, IP addressable, and foolproof.” Tau Audio Solutions designs the sound reinforcement for each new store and hires a local integrator to install and commission it. “We always find local companies that are familiar with Ashly Audio,” he said.
Unlike most other retailers, each Suitsupply location has its own unique aesthetic, which requires a fresh sound system design from Tau. “Very different ceiling heights are often an issue, as are the demands of the interior designers,” said Vossen. “They are in the fashion business and so is their approach to technical issues. A big part of our job is understanding and translating their questions into solutions.” Inputs to a typical Suitsupply sound system include a Sonos music playback system, a microphone, or an external music source. An Ashly Pema 4250.70 combination 8-in x 8-out Protea™ DSP Matrix Processor and 4-channel 250-Watt amplifier does most of the work, and its four separate outputs allow different processing and volumes in, for example, the fitting rooms or the entrance. SoundTube loudspeakers and subwoofers (“they like a sophisticated punch,” said Vossen) serve as the endpoints of each system.
“The Ashly Pema is a great choice for Suitsupply because it contains high-quality, flexible processing and amplification in just two-rack spaces at a competitive price,” said Vossen. “Almost all of the system control happens from Amsterdam – each store has only limited volume control. It seems to work out well. We give them the settings that we think are best, and they deliver those settings to the Ashy Pemas all around the world via IP addresses.”