Culture Kings debuts streetwear in New Zealand with help from Harman Professional Solutions

To ensure positive customer experiences with immersive music, Avid Automation and JPRO collaborated to provide Culture Kings’ first retail store in New Zealand with a state-of-the-art Harman Professional distributed audio solution.

Founded by Simon and Tah-nee Beard in 2008, Culture Kings is a renowned streetwear retailer based with numerous outlets across Australia. In 2021, Culture Kings opened their first retail store in New Zealand. The Auckland store is located in Sylvia Park, New Zealand’s largest shopping mall.

Because music plays such an important role in culture, the brand places a high degree of importance on having a powerful music presence with great sound quality in their stores. In order to ensure immersive customer experiences, Culture Kings’ new Auckland location also required a top-notch PA system for live music performances and brand activations.

Culture Kings turned to AV integrators Avid Automation to install a system capable of delivering high-impact audio experiences throughout the store and on the live entertainment stage. Avid Automation created a distributed audio system for Culture Kings using JBL Professional speakers, Crown amplifiers, and BSS signal processors.

Simon Beard, CEO of Culture Kings, said: “Launching Culture Kings in New Zealand is a really exciting step for us so we can deliver the iconic in-store atmosphere that we’re known for to our NZ customers. Our Sylvia Park location gives New Zealanders an immersive experience unlike anything in the market.”

As the store is in a mall with adjacent tenancies—one of which is a movie cinema—it was imperative that the sound design not only provide exceptional sound coverage, but effective volume control, adhering to the sound limits set by the mall. A respected acoustic consultancy was engaged by the client to ensure that all walls were acoustically treated, and floating walls were placed in front of structural walls to prevent audio leakage.

Avid Automation worked in conjunction with JBL Professional distributor JPRO to design an audio model within Ease to calculate speaker performance, speaker location, and mounting angles with the goal of focusing the audio energy within the retail space.

All speaker locations were coordinated with the acoustic consultants JPRO decreed that all wall-mounted speakers should be mounted to floating bracing that is not secured to the studs or joists, while Avid Automation fabricated a custom suspension system for the live performance area.

The integrators selected JBL Control28-1 loudspeakers—known for their consistent wide coverage and rich sonic character—for the main retail area. The versatile mounting options ensured that the sound was projected in the areas they were needed, assisting with the volume requirement of the venue. The team installed a Crown Drivecore CDI2600BL installation amplifier to power the JBL Control28-1 loudspeakers, ensuring consistent audio coverage in the retail area. Meanwhile in the performance arena, the team installed JBL SRX 812P active loudspeakers and SRX818SP active subwoofers to power performances by DJs and guest artists.

Avid Automation devised a unique in-store SPL control solution for volume management using a BSS BLU-806 processor and a SoundEar noise monitor. The Blu-806 has fully configurable open architecture that allows the BSS processor to be integrated with the SoundEar and programmed so that if the volume goes above a preset volume limit, the Blu-806 will reduce the volume and continue to do so until the user lowers the incoming level. This achieves a more satisfying result than using limiters and compression. Signal integrity is maintained so that the audio experience within the store remains clean and undistorted. The team also installed BSS EC-8BV 8-button controllers to further facilitate precise volume control of various zones.

Darian Sundar, integrator, Avid Automation, said: “We are very happy to have been involved with this project in what essentially was a very basic sound system configuration, thanks to JBL’s purpose-built speakers that just work as they are intended. The real success and smarts of this project is based around how the BSS Blu-806 and SoundEar are integrated to perform volume reduction. The BSS open architecture platform makes virtually anything possible. The system has performed flawlessly—which is what we have come to expect from JBL, BSS, and Crown.”

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