Finding the Right Vibe

Finding the Right Vibe

When you meet the owners of Newport Beach’s famed beach hangout Mutt Lynch’s, you immediately know you’re not only dealing with local history, you’re dealing with family history. The 40-year old, family-owned dockside restaurant/bar is named after the owner’s grandfather, a WWII veteran, and is one of those places that the locals would like to keep a closely guarded secret.

While patrons appreciated the bar’s rustic vibe, Mutt’s AV system had become extremely outdated. All the speakers had blown, staffers could not easily control the space’s AV, and there was no protection against the frequent power spikes and surges the venue was experiencing.

Rick Geller, owner of local integration firm Vector Media Solutions, was initially hired to simply replace the venue’s failing speaker system. However, what this popular old beach hangout needed was a complete renovation, one that would do the Lynch family proud. And Geller says he knew Elan would be the “perfect automation system” to keep Mutt Lynch’s vibe rolling for generations to come.

The sound system at Mutt Lynch's needed a total overhaul, but the systems needed to be consistent with the popular Newport Beach's bar vibe.

The sound system at Mutt Lynch's needed a total overhaul, but the systems needed to be consistent with the popular Newport Beach's bar vibe.

“I suggested Elan for two major reasons,” Geller began. “One was price point as the system I was replacing, along with being old, was also quite costly, and the Lynch family didn’t want to deal with another huge price tag. The other was knowing I could easily upgrade and integrate Elan quickly and seamlessly. Add the ease-of-operation factor, as Mutt Lynch’s is typically jammed with people and the staff has no time to deal with clunky tech, and Elan was an immediate match for this install.”

Once approved, Geller installed three Elan gSC10 controllers and an Elan 1616A amplifier to immediately address the staff’s need for hassle-free control. He also added an Elan HR200 remote to help them change channels on 33 televisions, and an Elan KP7 wall-mounted keypad to control the venue’s AV with ease.

To replace Mutt’s sound system, Geller brought in 13 SpeakerCraft outdoor speakers that immediately took the venue’s music experience to new heights and handled the rough elements inherent with a bar on the beach.

After opening in 1976, Mutt’s had to move in 1982 after a fire destroyed its original Balboa Peninsula location. The 100-year old brick building at its current Newport Beach location presented Geller with a few interesting challenges, not the least of which was its unique rafter ceilings—the staff at Mutt’s made it clear that it was important that this installation be done without changing the venue’s rustic-beach feel the place was known for.

“The rafter ceilings leave a lot of the wiring and power plugs exposed so you see that stuff, and that is the style they wanted to keep. It is all part of the vibe going on there. There’s t-shirts and the like on the walls, and they wanted me to preserve this feel,” Geller explained. “So, I used jhooks for the wiring that went right down to the RE42 OmniMount rack I used, which was also visible to patrons, something the owners also loved.”

Keeping the rustic vibe at Mutt Lynch's meant exposing typically hidden AV components like this OmniMount RE42 AV Rack System Cabinet.

Keeping the rustic vibe at Mutt Lynch's meant exposing typically hidden AV components like this OmniMount RE42 AV Rack System Cabinet.

Once the “don’t disturb this vibe” mantra was delivered, the ELAN system’s ease-of-use took center stage. “We are always a bit apprehensive to get new technology and then figure out how to work with it, but with our new control system by ELAN it was easy to learn and every employee picked it up immediately,” said owner Ryan Lynch. “There was literally no learning curve, and the app makes it easy to control the AV via the staff’s iPhones.”

Geller was even able to customize the ELAN controller with a button on the app called “Game Day” that is used during the football season; this allows staff to instantly switch the AV system to the various NFL football games taking place on Sunday afternoons.

Lynch added that the SpeakerCraft products also delivered big for Mutt’s: “the crispness of the sound coming out of our SpeakerCraft speakers are amazing. You know you have quality sound when you see people dancing and following along to the lyrics of a song.”

With power brown-outs pretty common for beachfront establishment, Geller relied on Panamax surge protectors, and more specifically, the company’s BlueBOLT technology that resides within—a real-time, cloud-based control and monitoring system to handle power spiking and surging issues.

“The BlueBOLT software helps self-heal the system and also provides remote energy management functionality,” Geller explained. “This perfectly protects against these spikes and surges that can happen. I can program the entire system to reboot at a specific time using BlueBOLT. It provides the ability to easily control and monitor the system’s power source remotely.”

Geller added that due to the remote backup, monitoring, and surge protection capability, BlueBOLT has virtually eliminated service calls for him.

“I also added the Furman F1500, not only for how great it performs and because it’s also BlueBOLT compatible, but for how trusted the Furman name is in the AV industry,” Geller said. “The Furman name carries a lot of weight. And that name simply looks great to have in the rack.”

All of this was the kind of insight Lynch was looking for when he initially hired Geller for the quick speaker swap out, and the reason why this project ultimately turned into so much more.

“Working with Rick Geller and Vector Media Solutions was a great experience. They listened to our needs, were easy to work with, and executed the plans quickly and efficiently,” Lynch concluded. “They were very flexible in dealing with our restaurant hours and coming in to install at nighttime as to not disturb regular business. What we were looking in a new AV system was one that was of the very high quality yet easy to control and that is exactly what we got.”

The downside to the install? There’s just one according to Lynch: the local secret of Mutt Lynch’s may not be such a well-kept secret after all.

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