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Case Study: Chicago Sound

Beale Street Audio’s Sonic Vortex powers 15-zone multi-room audio system in the Windy City.

The Challenge
Multi-room audio is big business for the custom installation channel and one of the reasons the category continues to grow is due to the popularity of streaming. Streaming has made music more accessible and portable, with a variety of services to choose from, giving users the ability to easily access their favorite music on demand from the palm of their hand. Multi-room audio has become a popular option because customers want high-quality sound and the ability to stream music and other digital content throughout the house, but they don’t necessarily want the speakers and equipment to be visible.

Orbis Solutions, a provider of AV and IT services, recently completed a large multi-room audio project for a retired couple in Chicago. The customers had purchased a new home in 2013 and during the design process they had the ceilings prewired for multi-room audio. However, at the time they did not get around to completing the speaker installation. Earlier this year they decided it was time to get their whole-home audio system up and running, but with no previous experience installing in-ceiling speakers, let alone the knowledge of which speakers they should buy, the homeowners decided it was best to involve a professional. They called on Orbis Solutions for system advice and installation services.

After talking to the homeowners, representatives from Orbis recognized that a décor-friendly, easy-to-use system with high-quality speakers was imperative. The house had been pre-wired for 30 in-ceiling speakers, allowing for music in every room, but the homeowners were not looking for a complex automation system that required multiple remotes and bulky electronics. Instead, they insisted that the equipment be hidden away and that they be able to select and play their music all with the touch of a button from a phone, tablet, or keypad.

Orbis was tasked with designing a system that offered discreet solutions, exceptional sound, and wireless streaming capabilities.

The Solution
Having been recently introduced to Vanco International’s speaker brand, Beale Street Audio, and hearing the level of performance that Beale’s patented Sonic Vortex technology provided, the technicians at Orbis Solutions specified Beale’s in-ceiling speakers for the entire indoor system. “We are big fans of Beale Street Audio because of their unique engineering and design,” says Justin Tamm, lead installer for Orbis Solutions. “Beale Street speaker ports are divided into multiple sections called ‘fins’ that compress and move air at a high rate of speed without port noise, allowing for a 6 to 9 dB boost in the mid to lower bass, and a flatter frequency response across the audio spectrum. In other words, the speakers sound far bigger and better than other speakers of the same size.”

Orbis Solutions technicians also chose Beale Street speakers for this particular installation because of the broad selection of in-ceiling speakers and sizes available. In this case, the Orbis technicians were able to select a speaker model (ICW4-BM) to perfectly match the 4-inch cut-outs of the can lighting in the kitchen. To deliver broad sound and deep bass throughout the rest of the home with the same acoustic signature, Orbis technicians installed 6.5-inch IC6-MB in-ceiling speakers, and 8-inch, IC8-MB in-ceiling speakers, all of which utilize Beale’s Sonic Vortex Ported Transmission Line.

To keep the installation as clean as possible, all speaker wire was run to a Rapid AV rack in the basement where nine Sonos Connect:Amp amplifiers were installed to provide the power and wireless streaming capability the customers desired. Orbis also installed iPort xPRESS audio keypads throughout the house to give the homeowner’s the ability to play their Sonos system instantly when their phones or tablets were out of reach.

The Results
Orbis installed a total of 30 speakers throughout the interior of the house in the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, master bathroom, and guest bedroom — all of which were Beale Street Audio. With the option to retrofit different speaker sizes that utilize the same integrated enclosure, the team was easily able to pick the right speakers for each space and provide uniform sound from room-to-room, regardless of room size or configuration, from small rooms like the bathroom to large rooms like the open concept kitching and living room.

Orbis Solutions technicians were particularly impressed with the effortlessness installation that the Beale Street Speakers provided. “Beale Street speakers ship with a cut out template and an alignment crosshair for precise placement of speakers in the ceiling aligned with can lights and other décor. This significantly reduced the installation time, as well as allowed for perfect speaker alignment — a major bonus,” says Tamm.

The installation came together seamlessly, and the result is a clean, discreet, and easy-to-use wireless distributed audio system with high-quality, room-filling sound throughout the house that blends into the décor. “Upon completion of the installation, we did a demo of the system for the homeowners and they fell in love with the system immediately,” says Tamm. “The customers are amazed with the clarity of sound that the Beale Street speakers provide, as well as the ease-of-use the wireless technology provided. The first words out of their mouths were, ‘Why on earth did we wait so long?’”

Equipment List

  • Qty 4: Beale Street Audio IC6DVC-B speakers
  • Qty 20: Beale Street Audio IC6-MB speakers
  • Qty 4: Beale Street Audio IC8-MB speakers
  • Qty 2: Beale Street Audio ICW4-MB speakers
  • Qty 9: Sonos Connect:Amp
  • Qty 2: Sonance RK-83 Rock speakers
  • Qty 8: iPort xPress audio keypads
  • Qty 1: Cisco SG300-28P PoE managed switch
  • Qty 1: Panamax MB1500 UPS
  • Qty 1: Panamax CV2 BlueBOLT IP card
  • Qty 2: Flexson SONOS rack shelves
  • Qty 1: Rapid AV R21 rack 

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