Mobile showroom takes hi res audio on the road
There’s nothing like having quality audio experience at home, especially powered by the likes of Meridian, but what about having the ability to enjoy it on the road? That’s the question installer New Land Solutions sought to answer back in 2015… the solution to which would come in the form of a 1959 27-foot Airstream.
First introduced at the most recent edition of the popular installer events hosted at Meridian’s Huntingdon HQ, one of the latest projects incorporating the manufacturer's audio technology is without doubt a unique installation.
After becoming aware of clients’ increasing difficulty in finding the time to travel to its demo facility, Luke Newland, founder of UK-based integration firm New Land Solutions, sought to bring the technology to the client. With the help of Meridian, Newland created a unique hi res audio set-up in a 1959 27-foot Airstream, integrated with a fully-automated 4K cinema set up, showing clients what can be achieved even in the most challenging of spaces.
“I thought a mobile demo unit would not only be great for New Land Solutions, but that our partners would also it, and benefit from it – but I knew that it needed to be something unique,” recalls Newland, speaking on the project’s origins.
New Land’s on-the-road integrated demo solution now travels the country, demonstrating that exceptional audio and video performance is achievable anytime, anywhere. Newland’s love of classic car designs led to the purchase of the airstream in Miami, which was shipped across to the UK and renovated over the following months.
Old cupboards, flooring, toilet, and showers were replaced with professionally installed hardwood flooring and an acoustic board inner shell. The internal skin was remade in aluminium to match the outer shell, and all the window glass was replaced, including the rubber seals. By 2016, Newland admits he had spent a “small fortune” (somewhat down to a huge import tax bill) on making the Airstream suitable for UK roads, but he persevered to make it the success he knew it could be.
DSP320s power the ultimate audio demo
To offer an audio demonstration to suit the most discerning of clients, the airstream was kitted out with Meridian’s compact DSP320 ceiling/in-wall Digital Active loudspeakers, selected to provide a powerful performance for intimate listening spaces. The DSP320’s incorporate two integrated 80W amplifiers, on-board digital signal processing for thermal and dynamic bass protection, and wide dispersion over a maximum listening area for balanced audio performance.
Newland notes that DSP320 loudspeakers were the perfect solution for the airstream – integrating perfectly into the small, challenging space (which also had to accommodate fully-functioning sink and electric taps, fridge and fans). Built only 100mm deep and 300mm square, the speakers can be installed with ease into both wall and ceiling applications. The DSP active advantage means no amplification equipment is required in the rack, which freed up much needed space in this environment, as well as delivering a significant reduction in heat.
“Our customers enjoy having a demo area to look around, especially when they don’t even have to travel to see it.”
The DSP320 loudspeakers were partnered with the Meridian Audio Core 200, which can be connected by SpeakerLink cables to ensure unification for all audio sources. Newland installed a Meridian Audio Core into the airstream, allowing features such as volume, treble, and bass to be controlled with ease. It’s unique, built-in Meridian High Resolution up-sampling technology provides the best possible performance and lossless audio quality, paired with preamplifier quality.
To ensure an immersive audio experience, two DSP640 in-wall loudspeakers were installed into the front of the airstream and concealed behind the rear custom-built three electric cinema seats, creating incredibly lifelike sound throughout the airstream. Measuring just 200mm wide, the DSP640’s were the perfect solution for the space, seamlessly integrating into the modern décor. Built-in Meridian technologies including Enhanced Bass Alignment (EBA), FIFO buffering, DSP upsampling, apodising filters and Meridian High Resolution (MHR) ensure the very best audio performance.
The extensive audio set up works alongside a Sony 4K HDR TV, with clients able to sit back and enjoy content from Kaleidescape from the comfort of the three custom leather Ineva Design cinema seats, ensuring every part of the experience is of the same quality clients can achieve in their home. Both Crestron and Control4 are demoed on the home automation side, alongside a full KNX lighting system, with an iPad Pro on hand for easy control of everything on board. A network camera ensures everything remains safe on board, as well as showcasing the benefits of incorporating CCTV into customer’s homes.
“While it has been a long, and sometimes painful, process, we are delighted with the end result, and it is providing us with the exact solution that we were looking for,” commented Newland. “We have started taking our Airstream out on the road and have received great feedback from it. Our customers enjoy having a demo area to look around, especially when they don’t even have to travel to see it.”
The end result was a resounding success, with the portable hi res audio and 4K demo unit ensuring no customer misses out on seeing how they can transform any kind of space with custom AV installation.
Axis network camera
Cisco network switch
Control4 EA-5 controller
Crestron CP3 3-Series control system
Furman power conditioning
Future Automation brackets
Ineva Design cinema seating
Kaleidescape 4K movie player
KNX dimmer, heating and probes
Meridian Audio DSP 320 & DSP 640 ceiling/in-wall loudspeakers, Media Core 200 and MS200
Sony 4K HDR TV