The school recently completed a major addition including four new studios. The addition replaced the nearby, but separate, studio annex allowing them to have all eight studios under one roof creating a safer environment for the students. Local A/V integration firm Sound Concepts Inc. was hired to design and install high-fidelity sound systems, both for the new studios and to preemptively replace the older components in the existing studios. Sound Concepts Inc. delivered an impactful, energy-efficient sound system centered on the Ashly nXp8002 two-channel Network Amplifier rated at 800W per channel with a built-in Protea™ DSP Processor. All nX Series amplifiers can be programmed to trigger a defeatable sleep mode where the amp draws less than 1 Watt of AC power.
“The Columbia Performing Arts Centre is always brimming with energy and activity, and high-quality sound reproduction is an important component in its success,” said Chris Howe, manager at Sound Concepts Inc. “In addition to supplying the new studios with great, easy-to-operate sound systems, the center’s directors wanted us to harmonize functionality and quality in the existing studios as well. That way, instructors trained in one studio will be able to use any other studio without a hiccup.” Howe completed the installation in stages, beginning with the new rooms and progressing to the existing rooms as class schedule logistics permitted.
As requested, each studio is nearly identical. Each features a Denon DM700C CD player for a primary music source. Howe used its digital output with the Ashly nXp’s optional digital input card. In addition, he gave each system a 1/8-inch iPod-style jack and connected it to the nXp’s analog input. “If an instructor wants to use the CD player, they just use it and it works,” he said. “If they want to connect their digital music source from a player, phone, or computer, they just turn the Denon player off, and the nXp automatically fails over to the analog input. It’s really simple and removes a layer of equipment that we (and they) would have had to deal with.” He used the nXp’s back-panel volume control option to wire a 10k potentiometer for a simple volume control. Depending on the room, the nXp powers either four 8ohm Renkus-Heinz TRX182s or two 8ohm Renkus-Heinz TRX151s. Each room gets the full benefit and liveliness of stereo sound.
“There were a lot of good reasons to go with the Ashly nXp combined amplifiers/processors,” said Howe. “Of course the built-in DSP is one of the first features that drew us to the nXp line, we needed smooth compression and limiting to protect the system as well as a good EQ to fine tune the speaker response to each space. The fail-over functionality was huge, as was the unit’s super low power consumption at idle. That kind of intelligent power management is great in a situation like this! The fact that they’re American made with a huge five-year warranty is excellent. And of course, the sound quality and reliability is tremendous. When we got the first nXp8002 in, we A/B’d it with an amp from our rental stock in the adjacent room. That rental amp’s got a good name and a good reputation. Everything else about the two rooms was exactly alike – same size, same speakers, same everything. I assumed I wouldn’t be able to hear a difference, or if I did hear a difference, I’d have to strain to hear it. I was surprised that the Ashly nXp8002 was obviously better. It was the kind of difference you just hear, no straining needed.”