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Sound Business Practice

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As shoppers comb through clothing at Theory, they move to cool beats and sounds evenly dispersed by Tannoy's V8 speakers and VS10BP subs.NEW YORK, NY-Late last year, NYC-based corporate staff and designers of the high-end clothing company Theory moved into brand-new world headquarters in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. The passerby will notice Theory's spacious new flagship store, but stacked above the large showroom are four floors of staff workspaces, design and meeting rooms, and executive offices.

As shoppers comb through clothing hanging from iron frames on tracks, they move to cool beats and sounds evenly dispersed by Tannoy's V8 speakers and VS10BP subs, a system configured and installed by John Brinkman, founder of Brinkman Audio. "With Tannoys, we're able to hit the quality mark and club aesthetic they were after," he said. "We wanted the visible, black, DJ-type speakers, not only to go with the design and feel of the room, but also for when they bring DJs into the space on a Friday night for a party or event. A DJ can plug right into the existing sound system without needing any auxiliary speakers."

In fact, facility-wide, Theory is an all-Tannoy sound experience. "We wanted a consistent musical feel throughout the complex, to build in a sophisticated sound system that would work at both lower and higher volumes," said Brinkman. The best-possible speakers for each environment had to be both aesthetically complimentary and functionally optimal for, in some cases, a range of applications.

Those entering the lobby through a door adjacent to the retail store are greeted with music from four of the CMS501 DC speakers and a subwoofer. Move through the lobby to elevators, and onto any destination in the building, and music will be a part of the setting. Color touchpanels on each floor control music selection; while each floor can listen to one of three global music sources, every floor has its own iPod input for a local source, which is then available to the other floors. Theory staff work on the second, third, and fourth levels, all of which are stylistically and sonically consistent with the rest of the building. Brinkman installed recessed Tannoy CMS501 BMs on the second and fourth floors, which like those in the lobby and fifth floor, suit the modern minimalist and clean décor.

Brinkman made an interesting choice for the third floor workspace, which comprises several elevated tabletops, each with multiple workstations. In this space, Brinkman installed Tannoy Arenas hung upside-down-three along the left and right sides of the area. "Since the lighting here is not recessed, and actually the lights are a bit quirky in comparison to the rest of the lighting, I felt this was an opportunity to use an eye-catching speaker," he said. "I went with the cool silver Tannoy Arenas and modified them slightly so I could hang them upside down from the ceiling."

A staircase to the fifth floor opens onto a large rooftop, where Theory can host fair-weathered parties and events, and provide its staff an outdoor lunch alternative to the colorful basement lunchroom. Brinkman installed Tannoy i8AW TDC and i5AW all-weather speakers to provide music on the outdoor level before the rooftop had been completely configured for use. "In selecting the model and number of speakers for the roof, my thought was that when trying to fill an outside space, the more speakers you have the less you have to turn up the volume," says Brinkman. "For the parties they'll host up there, they wanted the same rock-the-house sound that they have in their retail store, so we went with four 8-inch waterproof DCs, supported by six of the 5-inch DCs for fill."

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