Symetrix’ SymNet handles zoned sound for the hip retail environment of Burton Snowboards located just off Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.New York (May 14, 2008)–Burton Snowboards, one of the top manufacturers of snowboards and related apparel and accessories, is nearly 30 years old and has Chicago and Los Angeles flagship stores to prove it. Inside them aresound systems designed by Intaglio LLC, principals Kirk Grimshaw and Peter Larson, who used SymNet DSP systems to deliver a consistent interface and functionality to the users.
“With Burton, we set out to create a really dynamic space that embraced the Burton philosophy and set it apart from other retail stores,” reported Grimshaw. “Although the spaces are very different, when you walk through the door in Chicago or Los Angeles, you know you’re in Burtons. If you snowboard, it’s a pretty awesome experience.” He knows from whence he speaks; not so long ago, Grimshaw wound up with a broken collarbone as a result of–you guessed it–a snowboarding accident.
Burton’s Chicago store is located just off “The Magnificent Mile” in the heart of the city’s high-end retail district. Its four floors are separated into areas for kids, women and men, with a “Rider’s Lounge” at the top that boasts a huge plasma-screen TV and surround sound encircling a nest of inviting couches. A spiral staircase built in the style of a ski lift connects the floors. The store’s multiple video screens are fed by DVDs and high-definition hard-drive video players which feed four rear-screen projectors within the changing rooms and an additional plasma-screen TV located in the kids section of the store.
Grimshaw used a single SymNet 8×8 DSP augmented by a SymNet BreakIn12 and a SymNet BreakOut12 for a total of 20 inputs and 20 outputs. Inputs include iPod bays on each floor, three channels of XM Radio, five Adtech Systems high-definition video hard drive playback devices, and a computer output. The system outputs to four or five zones on each floor that are adjusted in volume and EQ to match the acoustics and mood of each particular area.
For instance, Grimshaw lowered the volume a bit in areas where he knew the sales people would be interacting quite a bit with customers. Each channel outputs to a bank of Crown 8200 amps that in turn feed JBL Control 25 loudspeakers and one concert level subwoofer positioned at the base of the spiral staircase. “The sub kicks in when Burton puts the system into ‘party mode,'” explained Grimshaw. “In party mode, the whole system takes one input–and considerations regarding appropriate volumes for sales transactions go out the window.”
The L.A. store, located in West Hollywood on Melrose Avenue, is much simpler. Currently, sound is focused on just two areas where huge projection screens play Burton TV– clips of unbelievable snowboarding–and analogous programming for Channel Island Surf Boards. A single SymNet 8×8 DSP provides all of the inputs, outputs and processing. Again, iPod docks, XM Radio and various video feeds supply input, and a smaller number of zones receive the output.
Larson programmed both locations with intuitive Crestron control screens for altering simple volume, routing and “mode” settings. Grimshaw built a custom PC interface that allows them to dig deeper into the SymNet code if they want to. “The DSP programs are vastly different in these two locations,” he said, “but from what the customer sees, they’re exactly the same. With SymNet, I’m able to configure custom processing that does exactly what the customer requires, and to hide the complication that is a necessary part of such a system behind a simple, intuitive, user interface.”