The luxury boutique Browns changed the course of fashion retail history since it opened in 1970. Today, after fifty years at South Molton Street Browns moved its flagship to 39 Brook Street in the heart of London’s Mayfair. The boutique sits within a Grade II* listed building thoughtfully restored and reimagined by revered Milan-based architects, Dimorestudio. When you come into the store, the immediate effect is that you are going to live a unique experience. Browns wants to be a place against the current trends of online fast fashion, without renouncing to contemporary. Creativity and technology offers the visitors an amazing customer experience. The sound within a shop is essential for a perfect shopping experience. The music and the quality of sound subconsciously influence the customers and their purchases. AT&C Professional System Ltd together with 2B Heard had the task to design and install a fully networked, high specification audio system throughout every room. The challenge was to not install the speakers onto any of the walls or ceilings due to the building status, restricting the size and shape, which considerably narrowed the field when it came to selecting a suitable loudspeaker supplier. To accommodate the severe limitations on speaker placement a more sophisticated technological solution was chosen designed to provide tightly controlled dispersion from minimally sized enclosures.
Based on positional drawings and initial acoustic predictions, Dave Wooster, director of 2B Heard, specified a selection of K-array speakers that would fit the impossibly small physical spaces from the Lyzard, Truffle and Rumble sub-compact ranges. Subs were hidden into floor vents as again “no visible speakers were permitted”. Every one of the 26 individually Extron controlled zones, including the changing rooms, enjoys the same high level of sound quality from Browns’ own specially curated playlists, produced by the 22 Lyzard-KZ1 mini point source and 72 Lyzard-KZ14 ultra-miniature line array loudspeakers. These are supplemented by 17 Truffle-KTR24 compact subwoofers and 44 Rumble-KU44 compact subwoofers. Distributing faultless audio to so many loudspeakers and to a labyrinth of discrete spaces simultaneously required a creative power amplification infrastructure, which was only made possible by multichannel intelligent amplifiers from Innosonix, another of 2B Heard’s UK distributed brands. But the biggest challenge was striking the right balance between sound coverage and the designers’ aesthetic expectations.
Speakers and Subs' physically minimalist profiles and the readily available choice of standard cabinet finishes made this an easy task, with the polished silver treatment allowing the speakers to disappear into the starkly modern décor, and in many cases be completely invisible. A few are finished in black, while in one area, white finished line arrays are fully integrated into the surrounding white ceiling light fixtures. When you walk around the store and hear sweet music, it’s a satisfying result considering that the surfaces are hard and audio-unfriendly. The small Lyzard-KZ14s have the ability to produce good coverage in very wide spaces, and that’s what made the project work.
Photo Credits: Bozo Gagovski
“The system sounds great. From our perspective as audio purists there have been trade-offs – in certain areas larger, more visible speakers could have given us slightly better coverage, but we stuck to the brief and the client is delighted with the end result. When you walk around the store and hear sweet music all the way through, it’s so satisfying considering that the surfaces are hard and audio-unfriendly. The small KZ14 line arrays gave us the ability to produce good coverage in very wide spaces, and that’s what made this project work – you just can’t use another brand. “The client is really happy,” “Nobody expected that we’d be able to produce audio of this quality without the hardware being visible, and they didn’t think the tiny K-array speakers could do the job.”