Fashion designer John Varvatos is synonymous with the rock ‘n roll look, and his nearly 30 stores around the world—from San Francisco to Bangkok and beyond—attest to the global demand for his unique rebellious look. When the Varvatos company added its fifth New York City location in the Westfield World Trade Center mall, it hired Essential Communications (East Hanover, NJ) to design and install a music playback system worthy of the Varvatos name. Essential Communications relied on Ashly Audio’s four-channel nXp8004 DSP-equipped network multi-mode amplifier, paired with Ashly’s WR1.5 remote volume control and source/preset selector and Ashly’s custom iPad/iPhone remote control app.

“We specialize in retail, restaurant, and hotels where the client cares a lot about the aesthetics,” said David Schwartz, founder and president of Essential Communications. “Although we don’t design based on price, we have to be sensitive to it. Like us, our clients want an amazing sounding system that doesn’t cost a lot. Ashly is one of those rare companies that delivers great sounding products that are rock-solid reliable for way less than comparable products from other manufacturers. And they have a huge array of amplifier sizes: from two-, four-, or eight-channels, 75 to 3,000 watts per channel, with or without network connectivity or DSP, so I can fit any project.”

At John Varvatos WTC, Schwartz opted for a four-channel Ashly nXp8004 Protea-enabled DSP network amplifier, which delivers 800W per channel. Essential Communications also endeavored to give the new store loudspeakers to complement its rock ‘n roll memorabilia. The store had several old 1970s-era home hi-fi loudspeakers that, although non-functional and degraded from a sound perspective, still had all their visual charm. Schwartz and his team simply gutted the large cabinets and put new Community v2-8 loudspeakers inside.

To control the system, Essential Communications gave the staff a physical Ashly WR-1.5 combined volume control and input source selection remote, along with the Ashly Remote App, a customized wireless remote for the iPad or iPhone. “Everyone’s into the remote control apps these days, and Ashly makes a great one,” Schwartz said. “Half the time they ask, ‘can I control it from my phone?’ and half the time I suggest it before they think to ask. Either way, they love being able to control their new state-of-the-art system from their device!”