Since the dawn of commercial audio there has been a distinctly drawn line between high-end residential theatre systems and professional audio. Though they share fundamental similarities that you would expect to overlap consistently, the only consistency to the situation is that the two are rarely discussed in the same circles or dabbled in by any one brand. Indeed, they have their own very separate and individual markets and brands that hardly ever interact.
However, that doesn’t mean that certain integrators who understand both worlds can’t see their combined value to the extent of merging their strengths to create a very high performance system for their clients. One of these integrators is Automation Authority, based in Dunkeld, Johannesburg and co-owned by Johan Weideman and Juan van Staden. With the many high-end brands at their disposal for their unique and up-market clientele, it was a bit of a head-turner that they chose to go with Martin Audio for some of their latest home theatre installations.
Automation Authority’s home theatre division offers “a complete solution including cinema seating, home cinema designs and layout, acoustic design and consultation, 3D design renderings, installation and programming, and the calibration of the audio-visual equipment to ensure the highest levels of performance.”
This is clearly no Mickey Mouse operation. Every minute detail is paramount in delivering a turnkey solution that their client will be completely satisfied with and now, it seems, Martin Audio is playing a role.
Co-owner Johan Weideman explains why Automation Authority was attracted to the idea of using Martin Audio: “We knew of Martin Audio as a high end commercial brand and that’s always been our perception of it. Size, performance and again, being slightly different. There is any magnitude of high-end products available on the residential market but nothing in terms of the size of the cinemas that we’ve built. These are very large cinemas. The standard residential high-end stuff just didn’t work and our clients were looking for serious performance and that’s why we went the Martin Audio route.”
But that wasn’t the only upside to choosing Martin Audio products. As many who have priced high-end residential systems, the cost can be astronomical for something as rudimentary as speaker cable, never mind some of the more esoteric amplifiers that go for R100 000 and above. Martin Audio, having decades of research and development behind them in the commercial world where fidelity is of utmost importance in a variety of environments also offered Automation Authority an attractive price point which was difficult to behold, if only by the resulting quality and performance.
“I think it offered a value-for-money solution, actually, for the performance you’re getting,” says Weideman. “You’re getting a very high-end quality sound equivalent for a much lower price. So, we could spec a better solution for our clients.”
The kind of rooms Weideman and his team find themselves working in are not your average run-of-the-mill home theatres. As he’s already stated, they are large, some as large as 10m x 12m.
“It’s all got to do with what the client needs at that moment,” adds Weideman. “It’s very specific. But we enjoy the brand and we enjoy the sound. It complements our room design if we’re doing acoustic transparent fabric.”
On the back-end, Automation Authority uses a combination of Martin Audio (mid-high) and MC2 (subs) amplifiers to drive the systems, all processed by an Integra surround sound processor. A Martin Audio MA2.8Q (4 x 700W @ 4 Ohms) and a Martin Audio MA2.0S (1000W x 2 @ 4 Ohms) was supplied; the former for the mains speakers and the latter for the subs.
In terms of speakers, three Martin Audio AW28s were the choice for the mains. These are eight-inch, two-way passive reflex enclosures with Martin Audio’s dual-bass driver design and a single 1” exit compression driver. An interesting fact about the AQ28s is that they are designed so that below 250 Hz both drivers operate together whereas above 250 Hz only the top driver is used to produce the frequencies up to the crossover point, which is 2.5 kHz. This design ensures an even polar response which would otherwise be disturbed if the drivers were both operating over the same frequency band. The low frequency drivers also feature what Martin Audio calls “flux demodulation rings”. These reduce intermodulation distortion which results in mid-band clarity at high SPL.
It seems we may have discovered the secret as to why they impressed Weideman so much!
Two Martin Audio AQ112s were the subwoofers of choice. These direct-radiating sub-bass units feature an ultra-compact and heavily braced vented enclosure and a super-efficient 12” long-throw bass driver with a 3” voice coil. The large ports on the enclosure ensure low distortion, high power operation, which is what Weideman’s clients enjoy for rooms this size.
Thus far Automation Authority is very pleased with the performance of the Martin Audio products they have supplied to their clients. Equally so, they are pleased with their experience with Audiosure.
“We’ve known Michael [Kennedy] or a while and it’s never a bad experience. He’s bent over backwards to try get stuff done for us on time. It’s been great.”
Audiosure is proud Automation Authority has chosen Martin Audio products to supply to their very discerning clients and we wish them many years of high-end performance and rave reviews!