Updated: May 14, 2020
Gibson’s Bookstore opened in Concord New Hampshire in 1898 and has been a cornerstone of the community’s cultural and intellectual milieu ever since. Seizing on the revitalization of the city’s historic downtown, owner Michael Herrmann recently moved the bookstore down the street to the first floor of a brand new five-story office building. At 10,000 square-feet, the move more than doubled Gibson’s floor space and incorporated the newly-acquired Imagination Village educational toy store. The fact that it was new construction gave Herrmann the opportunity to design the store to his exact specifications. Included within those specifications is a sophisticated sound reinforcement system that will gracefully accommodate events of varying sizes and styles. A single, two-rack space Ashly ne8250.70pem eight-channel 250W network amplifier with an on-board Protea™ DSP processor is paired with four Ashly neWR-5 wall-mounted remote controls to form the cost-effective heart of the new location’s flexible, easy-to-use sound system. Factory-installed microphone preamp inputs complete the amplifier package.
“The old location was small enough that a simple, consumer-type sound system could do the job,” explained Rick Elliott, Vice President at MFI Pro, the firm that designed and installed the new sound system at Gibson’s Bookstore. “When the owner was looking over the plans with designer Kat Whouley of Books In Common, he realized it would take something more high-tech to do it right. He wanted the flexibility to accommodate any type of event, but he also wanted to make sure that his staff could operate the system intuitively.” Herrmann stopped in at Concord’s Capitol Center for the Arts (literally right across the street from the new location) for recommendations, which led him to MFI Pro. The firm worked with Herrmann for an entire year to ensure that the sound system they installed would be right in every respect from the beginning. After all, they had the opportunity to install it while the building-to-be was still nothing more than steel and concrete.
As the design evolved, the number of zones grew from just a few to eight. Separate Pandora music boxes allow different content to play in the children’s section, the main floor, the café, and the on-hold phone system. A handful of line and microphone inputs accommodate a simple acoustic music setup, a presentation, or a lecture. Two outdoor speakers handle the café’s outdoor seating area, while Twenty-four Electro-Voice Evid C8.2 coaxial ceiling speakers cover the bookstore and are zoned so that speakers can be either muted or used for events of various sizes in either the children’s section or the main section. Since it was easy to install during construction, Elliott ran a few extra input lines that the store can grow into if needed. Four Ashly neWR-5 network wall-mounted remote controls placed at strategic locations allow staff to intuitively select zone inputs and control the volume in each zone.
A single, two-rack space Ashly ne8250.70pem provides all of the necessary microphone preamplifiers, input processing, I/O matrixing, and loudspeaker processing, along with eight channels of amplification at 250W per channel into 70V.
“The Ashly ne8250.70pem was the right solution because of its simplicity and flexibility,” said Elliott. “It could do everything that the expanded Gibson’s would require, and, when paired with four Ashly neWR-5 wall-mounted remote controls, could deliver that functionality in a way that would be transparent for the staff. When you consider that the two-rack space ne8250.70pem is handling all of the processing and amplification for the entire store, its cost is more than fair.”
To help with the evolving system use, the IT contractor allowed Elliott to get through the bookstore’s firewall so that he can make adjustments to the ne8250.70pem from anywhere in the world.