Install of the Month
Aug 1, 2002 12:00 PM
Splish Splash: K&A Audio Spritzes Up the Ritz
You've just come back to your hotel room after a long day of meetings, and the lure of a hot bath proves irresistible. However, you'd also like to catch the TV news while you're stretching out in the tub. Time to set the TV on “Blare,” right?
Wrong. At the Ritz-Carlton's Central Park South hotel in New York City, guests can have that relaxing soak without missing a moment of the stock market report or MTV. The idea stemmed from the hotel's desire to allow guests to listen to the television in the bathroom. K&A Audio — a system design and installation firm based in Edgewater, New Jersey — took on the tricky project. Anthony Milat, vice president of engineering and co-owner of K&A Audio, said the project called for an unobtrusive system that used a powerful and small amplifier.
“The system was an extension of the television's sound,” Milat says. “If someone wanted to listen to CNN, they could just run it in the bathroom.”
The firm chose the Furman SP-20A stereo power amplifier to power the system, which delivers 20W per channel. The SP-20A can employ remotely located volume controls, which allows hotel guests to adjust the sound levels without affecting the amplifier's critical settings.
Most of the SP-20As were placed behind TV cabinets in each hotel room; the amplifiers worked well with the wide variety of televisions installed in the hotel, Milat says. K&A Audio installed the system in the Ritz-Carlton's 277 club rooms.
A volume control on the bathroom wall lets guests adjust the volume to taste. Niles CM76 speakers were used in the bathrooms. However, the aesthetics of the Ritz-Carlton's bathrooms proved to be a sticking point for the firm.
“It was tough to get [speakers] to sound okay,” Milat says. “They were a bit lower than we would have liked, and they were near hard surfaces. We made up custom crossovers and tried to roll it off a little and peak up some of the midrange. We wanted the sound to have good presence in the bathroom.”