Sextant Group Partners Alcons Audio

Operating out of 11 offices across the US, technology consultants The Sextant Group provide innovative solutions to a wide range of client needs. Over the past few years, they have embraced the advantages of Alcons Audio loudspeakers for an increasing number of high profile projects.

The Sextant Group operates in a range of industries, including culture, education, government, healthcare, recreation/sport and workplace environments. A key service is specifying high-quality AV and sound/lighting solutions for live entertainment. Based in Pittsburgh, Joe Hammett is one of its Senior Systems Designers.

“I first learned of Alcons in late 2014,” he said. “The following year a co-worker recommended that I take a look at them because we had a project where we needed to recess multiple subwoofers in a small space. I visited the company’s booth at InfoComm 2015, listened to the loudspeakers there and was immediately impressed. Then the real research began.”

As an independent consultant, The Sextant Group is committed to delivering solutions for a wide variety of differing needs. Joe can choose products from throughout the professional sound industry, helping clients to select solutions that fit both their needs and budgets.

“We evaluate the needs of the space from both the use-case and architectural perspective, then select a product that is the best for both. It is a duty we take very seriously,” he said.

In many cases, customers are looking for an audio solution which delivers exceptional sound, but which is visually discreet. This is a need that Alcons pro-ribbon technology is perfectly placed to fulfil.

“On many of my projects there is a fine balance between room aesthetics and the size of the loudspeakers required to produce the desired output,” says Joe. “An advantage of Alcons pro-ribbon technology is that the power handling allows for a higher output with lower distortion when compared to other loudspeakers of a similar size. With an Alcons solution, I am able to hide loudspeakers in recesses and other out-of-the-way places without sacrificing floor space.”

He continued: “I strive for the ideal solution where the loudspeakers are heard but not seen, which I have been able to do multiple times with Alcons products. Another feature of the pro-ribbon driver is its extremely high gain before feedback. This feature has allowed me more freedom in speaker placement for systems that require speech reinforcement, live musical performances and program audio reproduction.”

Two very different projects Joe has specified Alcons products for are a public-facing experience centre for a major electronics manufacturer in New York and an immersive theatre in a leading US children’s research hospital.

For the electronics manufacturer, the brief was for an ultra-high quality audio system to complement a giant, 96-panel flat screen display, which forms the centrepiece of a unique ‘cultural destination, digital playground and marketing centre of excellence’. Effectively a cinema system in all but name, Joe specified arrays of three Alcons LR7 micro line array modules for the left, right and top centre, an SR9 MkII ultra-compact fill-in monitor for the lower centre channel, six CSS3 small-format reference surrounds and four CB181slFV front-venting shallow subwoofers.

The LR7s, SR9s and CB181slFV were embedded in a wall surrounding the screen, hidden by acoustically transparent fabric, with power and control coming from three Sentinel3 amplified loudspeaker controllers.

The children’s hospital theatre features three Alcons VR8 compact versatile monitors, four CSS3 small-format reference surrounds and two Sentinel3 amplified loudspeaker controllers.

One of the first projects that Joe looked at Alcons for is also now coming to fruition, a multi-use auditorium in a university student centre, which is also based on an LR7 system.

“Alcons products allow me to design owner and architect-pleasing systems that fit the budget and give the users high impact experiences with incredible clarity and reliability,” he said. “Working with Alcons as a manufacturer has also been easy. I know that I get excellent technical support and quick budget estimates.”

“I work with an acoustic model of a space with speaker options and alternate mounting locations. This is crucial to the design process, ensuring that the infrastructure is included in the construction package to properly locate and mount the speakers… the installation of which can sometimes be years later.”

Once a system is installed, it is essential that it is set up correctly to deliver the best experience to the customer. Here Alcons offers further support by including on-site commissioning in its master quote.

“Many of my projects go to bid and not all AV contractors are familiar with the Alcons product. By specifying this service, I can be confident that the loudspeaker system will be commissioned properly,” concluded Joe. “Alcons helps to ensure that our customers will always be happy.”