The National Automobile Museum in Reno, offering an extensive exhibit consisting of four galleries and over 200 vehicles, called on Sparks, NV-based Pro AV & Electronics to upgrade its audio system with Powersoftt amplification to complement the HD video system that had recently been installed in its theater.
The museum, which was named one of America’s Five Greatest Automobile Museums by AutoWeek in 2012, includes an assemblage of spectacular cars within its four galleries — each representing a different epoch in the history of the automobile.
Before embarking on their museum tour, visitors are invited to experience a 30-minute movie presentation of “The Bill Harrah Story and the Magic Carriage,” covering a brief history of the museum and Harrah, who posessed one of the finest horseless carriage collections in the world.
After completing the HD video system upgrade, Pro AV & Electronics did a thorough evaluation of the theater’s audio system, and it was determined that the existing amplifier system was not delivering optimal performance.
“During our testing, we found that some of the theater’s power amplifiers were deteriorating and not performing to specification,” explains Nathan Barlow, system designer at Pro AV & Electronics. “We had assumed from the distortion we were hearing that there were several blown speakers in the theater, but this turned out not to be the case.
“During our evaluation, we found that the primary reason for the distorted audio was the result of several failing amplifiers and a mixer that was operating intermittently,” he continues. “Until now, the theater had been relying on the original amplifiers that were installed in the 1980s. Even though these had been serviced and maintained properly, they were at end of life.” Barlow and company set out to install a solution that would not only be a reliable and future-proof, but one that would also help the museum realize the full, immersive HD capabilities it was seeking to deliver to its patrons.
A priority was a DSP system that would give the museum full control over their audio, including the ability to turn the system on and off via automation and remote control. In addition, they sought an amplifier that would deliver “bang for the buck” but plenty of wattage to power the 7.1 system. It also needed to have extremely low power consumption and low heat dispersion.
The answer provided to be the Powersoft M28Q with DSP — a 1U rack-space amplifier able to deliver up to 700 watts per channel at 4 ohms. Both units are plugged into a single 20-amp circuit, which is more than sufficient.
“We needed an amplifier that was both ‘low maintenance’ and reliable,” says Barlow. “The theater is small, but it does have a full 7.1 surround system. We demoed several amplifiers and the Powersoft handled the low-end much better. The audio was also cleaner in the higher frequencies.
“The energy efficiency was the icing on the cake, as was the fact that we only needed to occupy one rack space instead of three,” he adds. “Finally, there was virtually no heat dispersion. It was the combination of these elements that made us choose the Powersoft M28Q.”
Pro AV & Electronics utilized the DSP settings to ensure ‘hands-off’ performance and system longevity. “We wanted to automate the turning on and off of the amplifiers, so the A/V people don’t have to worry about this. This means that the amplifiers are not running all day, and nobody can forget to turn them off — this is a power saver, but will also extend the life of the amplifier.” Barlow and team also used the Powersoft DSP to tune the system, ensuring EQ curves and other settings are not changed by accident.
“The comment the staff made to us was that the theater has never sounded this good,” Barlow concludes. “Patrons get to feel the roar of the engine, and race track scenes are brought to life with unmatched clarity. You now get that full, immersive experience and it really helps build memories for anyone who comes through.”