When Lewis & Clark Library — the first library of Montana — thought to install their first audio and video system, the iconic building turned to LEA Professional to provide innovative and reliable amplifier solutions.
Lewis & Clark Library situated in Helena, Montana, opened its doors in 1868. While the library has moved location since its founding, it has remained a prominent historical institution in the state. For over 150 years, the facility has been providing library services to the local community. However, looking to service the community in new ways, Lewis & Clark organized a survey of local residents to gauge what other services they would like to see. With the wishes of the community taken on board, the historical institution turned to Montana Pro Audio to provide them with an AV system that would fulfil their needs.
The AV integration of Lewis & Clark Library will be completed in two phases. Phase one involved the installation of a building wide, multi-zone paging system, and outfitting of a small AV meeting room. While phase two will involve the installation of a larger meeting space AV system with both 7.1 surround sound capabilities, and standard conference use. In order to bring the space to life and provide the paging system and community rooms with superior sound, Montana Pro Audio installed two of the LEA Professional CONNECT SERIES 354 amps to service the eight paging zones, and two of the CONNECT SERIES 704 amplifiers to service the phase two addition of the 7.1 surround system/conference room system.
For Ryan Johnston, CEO of Montana Pro Audio, one of many challenges of the project facing the team was in delivering consistent, articulate paging throughout a facility with several unique architectural spaces, all open to one another. To address this challenge, the team designed an eight-zone system that was heavily reliant on speaker placement to isolate zones, while still keeping coverage and SPL consistent.
“The small form factor, the sleek, efficient look, and the well thought out design were all factors in our choice to use LEA CONNECT SERIES amplifiers for this job”, commented Johnston. “One of my favorite things about the design of the amps is that there are no controls on the front panel of the amplifier, so I don’t have to worry about anyone changing amplifier settings.”
Another element of LEA Professional’s grounding technology utilized on this project was their free Cloud platform which gives system integrators powerful, reliable, and secure remote monitoring and control capabilities when used with the CONNECT SERIES of IoT-Enabled professional amplifiers.
“This project was different in that it forced us to find a solution that gave us remote connectivity and control of all the system components”, commented Johnston. “The LEA Cloud Connect feature took care of this and then some. It gave us the option for total control, monitoring, and system testing with a simple, well-designed GUI. The setup was easy, and I felt confident in the product right out of the box.”
Not only was the Cloud Platform giving the library client the efficiency they desired, it was also making life for the integrators at Montana Pro Audio easier.
“Montana is such a large state, so a cloud-based amplifier is a huge deal for us,” added Aaron Fisher, Business Development and Production Manager at Montana Pro Audio. “Our company headquarters are in Butte, Montana and many of our clients are in other communities throughout the state, so we could have a multi-hour drive just to turn up the volume on a system. The idea that we can help our clients make adjustments without having to include travel time as part of our service calls is a fantastic option.”
Another challenge in this project was ensuring the paging system was sympathetic to its environment.
“An important factor for us was ensuring the paging system sounded natural”, explained Fisher. “It couldn’t be a grocery store paging system that had a bite to it, because the facility is going to be a primarily quiet space and we didn’t want the sound system to surprise anybody when an announcement was made. The LEA amplifiers sound extremely nondescript and transparent when you need them to be.”
Working on this project with the pandemic in the background was no mere feat, but the team at Montana Pro Audio felt supported by LEA Professional through all stages of the project.
“The LEA team is always super responsive and quick to give us answers if I had questions,” commented Fisher. “Beyond the customer and technical support, the LEA Professional social media accounts provide a lot of videos showcasing the products and their little design gems, which has been very helpful, because these features are often overlooked while cruising through an equipment manual.”
When asked whether the team will use LEA Professional on upcoming projects Johnston replied: “I would and will be using these amplifiers again, they performed well beyond my expectations. I do believe that using LEA Professional increases the overall end value of projects.”
Headquartered in South Bend, Indiana, LEA Professional was founded to provide dealer/integrators in the professional AV market with the highest-performing, best-connected amplifier technology possible. Privately held, LEA Professional is led by industry veterans with proven capabilities on the executive, engineering, and channel aspects of professional AV. The company was founded in 2019 and is organized to be a major force in professional AV. Visit leaprofessional.com to learn more and follow LEA at facebook.com/leaprofessional, twitter.com/leaprofessional, Instagram.com/lea_professional, and linkedin.com/company/lea-professional.