Ashly’s 10-Zone System Integrates Into Mizzou’s Historic Pizza Restaurant

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For the citizens of Columbia, Missouri and the countless students who have attended the University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus, Shakespeare’s Pizza is a cherished part of the culture. In fact, Shakespeare’s Pizza is so famous that grocery stores in Missouri and surrounding states stock frozen Shakespeare’s Pizzas.

Great pizza is undoubtedly the main component in the establishment’s forty-plus years of success, but its unique décor ranks a close second. Its original location cobbled together neighboring shops, as demand for Shakespeare’s Pizza grew over the decades, but that charismatic location was recently forced to close to make way for more university housing. The owners built a new restaurant in the image and layout of the now-closed and dearly beloved location, and local A/V integration firm Pure Audio designed and installed a ten-zone sound reinforcement system that benefits from Ashly Audio processing, amplification, and user control.

“Ashly excels in these kinds of situations.” said Lafrenz. “We needed ten zones, each with its own independent eq, dynamics, and volume – and potentially its own input selection. Ashly’s ne24.24M digital processor allowed us to customize the input/output count; we went with twelve in and twelve out.”

“People around here are pretty emotionally tied to Shakespeare’s Pizza and its cool downtown location,” said Judd Lafrenz, owner of Pure Audio, which had done work at Shakespeare’s satellite locations. “It was pretty crushing to hear that it would be torn down! However, the owners have done an excellent job of recreating the layout – and the heart and soul – of that location in the new construction. They even took a lot of the trim and bricks from the old location and incorporated them into the new location. At the same time, it was a great opportunity to build some better behind-the-scenes guts into the place – and that includes the audio system. In particular, they wanted better zone control for all the different dining rooms, along with better user control for the staff.”

Along with the ne24.24M, Ashly also has extremely cost-effective multi-channel amplifiers with different channel counts and power. In this case we used an eight-channel Ashly ne8250.70pe with additional processing and a powerful two-channel Ashly KLR-3200 for a couple of zones that had more loudspeakers. The Ashly system integrated well with an RTI touchpanel for sophisticated A/V control in the new location’s party room, and two intuitive Ashly WR-5 wall panel controllers made source selection and volume control easy for the staff. In particular, Jim Schwenzer is one of the best tech support agents I have ever spoken with; he’s super knowledgeable and patient and explains things well. He always comes up with a plan!”

“In this job, and in many others, we’ve been pleased to call on Ashly’s awesome tech support” said Lafrenz.

Inputs to Shakespeare’s new system include a handful of Audio Technica microphones, multiple cable boxes, video and audio players from the party room, and a house music system. Because the kitchen has a unique arrangement, there are two stations with microphones that allow staff to announce patrons’ names when their pizzas or salads are ready. The system ducks audio so that the names can be clearly heard. In addition, the phone ringer ducks audio in the kitchen so that the staff doesn’t miss any calls.

“Jim [Schwenzer] helped us come up with plan and figure out a slick way to work out that ducking using the additional Protea™ processing power of the Ashly ne8250.70pe,” said Lafrenz. The Ashly ne24.24M Protea™ digital matrix processor collects all of the inputs and, in addition to conditioning the inputs and outputs, handles routing logic to the ten zones. The Ashly ne8250.70pe eight-channel 250W @ 70V network amp and KLR-3200 1600W amplifiers power Community C-Series in-ceiling loudspeakers to complete the system.