Worthingtons New Speco Technologies 70V sound system.

70 volt sound systems sound terrible, right? They don’t have to! Most people associate 70 volt systems with the sound that you get in the mall – from the system that was installed 30 years ago using the lowest cost parts available. 70 volt systems were designed to be easy to design and install in commercial environments. They are a great fit for corporate and professional offices, restaurants, outdoor public areas, and more. You can still go that “mall sound” route today, but there are a ton of options that can help you get all the benefits of 70 volt and still offer a system that sounds great.

We recently started a project to install a new music system in our office and want to take the opportunity to share our experience with you. Because of our existing wiring topology, a 70 volt commercial system was in order. We chose an amplifier and speakers from Speco and we are very happy that we did. The amp is a basic PBM series that has standard RCA line level inputs. We chose the SP6MAT speakers. These are not the paper-cone 70 volt speakers that you associate with that thin background music. These feature a 6.5” woofer and tweeter with built-in crossover network and a huge ported backbox. They are capable of producing so much bass that we had to trim it back a bit on the amp.

Speco publishes a Commercial Audio Guide (http://www.specotech.com/images/PDF/1410-087-Comm-Audio-Guide-2014-2.pdf) that is a fantastic resource for designing one of these systems properly and so that the sound is even in your entire space. We recommend that you use it when designing a system, but here’s a brief overview of how 70 volt works. Keep in mind the amp combines the left and right channels, so speaker placement is all about getting sound everywhere. Wiring is a simple daisy-chain – use 14 or 16 gauge speaker wire from the amp to your first speaker, then the second, and so on.

For a design, start with the speakers and work your way back to an amp. 70 volt speakers all have a transformer with multiple taps built-in. The taps determine how much power the speaker draws from the amp. Don’t think of them as volume controls, but they do allow you to provide more or less sound per speaker on the same daisy-chain. Our speakers have .25, .5, 1, 2.5, 5, 7.5, 15, 30, and 40 Watt taps. We are using the 1W and 2.5W taps in our office. Refer to Speco’s guide to help you determine how many speakers you need on a given space. It’s based on how high the speaker is from the floor. Then use the wattage chart to get an idea of what wattage setting you should need for each speaker.

Now it’s time to pick an amp. They range from very simple units with plain inputs, to more advanced units that have built-in tuners and even digital media players. Sum up the wattage setting from all your speakers, add in a 10% or so buffer, and you have the wattage you need.

So here’s the short story on 70 volt audio. Would you use it in a residential application? No – and that’s’ not what it was designed for. But in a commercial scenario it is typically the right choice and it can sound awesome when designed properly. Give us a call for help designing your next commercial audio system.


Worthington Distribution Visits Middle Atlantic is Fairfield New Jersey!!

This week, the Worthington Distribution technical sales team, as well as our Middle Atlantic Representative Rodgers Hill  took time out of their busy schedule to spend a day at the Middle Atlantic corporate headquarters in Fairfield, New Jersey.  The trip consisted of a tour of the ENORMOUS facility and how everything works from metal fabrication down to packaging and shipping.

During our four hour trip, we were led by some fantastic people including Jason Young, Brandon Ivey, Carl Suslak, and Tanya VanDunk who also took the time out of their schedule to show us the amazing and high-tech facility. Along our journey, we saw the countless offices of diligently working employees doing everything from order taking to accounting. Our next stop was the factory floor which looks like a scene from a more gritty Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Within the estimated square mile of factory space we saw everything from the powder coating process, to automated welders, to steel presses. Needless to say I never found the Everlasting Gobstopper but what we did take away was a full understanding of what really goes into making these products.

Past the factory we continued our tour of the main showroom where we got to see dozens of racks in all sorts of configurations. This included the mini QAR rack for a more residential area, as well as the pre-configured RCS racks which ship completely assembled. Aside from the racks themselves, we also got a glimpse into all of the many accessories for the racks including wire management and power supervision. Once we looked through the racks and accessories we took a look at the very impressive furniture which is also built in house. This furniture is mainly to mask the racks for office use but they also have many other functions.

Once the product overview was done we sat down to an absolutely delicious meal served directly from the Hard Rack Café. (See what they did there?)  As we ate, we went over their new website layout and configurator which, in figurative terms, builds your rack online before you order it. This tool will come in handy not only for us but also for our dealers to see the many available options. After that we wrapped up our tour with some great swag!

We want to send a special thanks again to the folks at Middle Atlantic and Hill Residential Systems for giving us the opportunity to tour the facility and learn as much as we did!

Below is a short video showing a few of the more popular racks and their features: