The boutique hotel is located in the former Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the iconic LIFE Magazine where celebrated artists lived and produced the publication. It features 98 rooms, an upscale restaurant, and a subterranean cocktail bar said to have been a speakeasy for magazine staffers during Prohibition. The brief called for a sound system befitting the meticulously renovated building's rich history and sophisticated vibe.
What made the install more challenging were the eight-foot ceilings and hard reflective surfaces in the hotel lobby bar/dining area and basement speakeasy, which presented acoustical issues. Another challenge was compact, high-fidelity loudspeakers were required to fit discretely in the hotel's tight installation spaces without detracting from its elegant design aesthetic.
"When our client said she was looking for small, high-end loudspeakers for the Life Hotel, I knew exactly where to turn," explained Synapse Audio Visual Designs owner Chris Obssuth. "We designed a distributed system based on Fulcrum Acoustic's RX Series coaxial loudspeakers. We've found their high output-to-size ratio and broad 90° x 90° coverage extremely effective in close quarters like the hotel spaces."
Eight compact Fulcrum RX699 6.5in coaxial loudspeakers cover the lobby's cosy bar and dining area with six additional RX699s in the downstairs speakeasy, which was discovered during the hotel's extensive renovation. "The beauty of Fulcrum's RX Series speakers is that they're very full sounding for a small form factor and their mid-bass is ridiculously good," said Obssuth.
"We also installed two ultra-compact Fulcrum US212 dual 12in subwoofers in the hotel's basement speakeasy for the low frequency extension needed to support live DJs," added Obssuth. "When space is a challenge to find, as is often the case in New York City, Fulcrum loudspeakers are a great fit."