High Desert Harley-Davidson
High Desert Harley-Davidson in Meridian, Idaho, is a testament to the success of the Harley-Davidson brand name. In its less than five-year history, it has become a true reflection of the brand, exuding cool styling and a casual, cutting-edge feel. The facility is much more than just a dealership, it is a destination. And sound is a key ingredient.
"People don't come here just to buy bikes," says Peggy Myers, High Desert Harley-Davidson general manager. "They come here to hang out, have coffee, trade stories; they come to live and experience the Harley-Davidson lifestyle—and music and a great sound system are an important part of their visit."
Open spaces create challenges
In approaching the project, the AAtronics team first had to take into account the unusual nature of the space. The 54,000 square-foot facility is a huge, open warehouse building. Music plays in the parking lot and throughout the entire store. Adding to the challenge, each area of the store has its own distinct audio needs. From the showroom to the parts department, to the merchandise area, customer lounge and coffee bar—each area delivers its own unique audio experience.
AAtronics worked closely with Jack Hudnut, their Bose territory representative, to help design a unique solution. "The customer really was expecting this to be a knockout," Hudnut explains. "We had to create a sound system to overcome the volume and the energy of the sales floor without becoming a distraction," Wheeler says. "And there is a lot of metal, glass and other reflective surfaces that create a pretty reverberant environment."
A flexible and easy-to-use solution
Since the Harley-Davidson atmosphere is felt well before the customer reaches the showroom door, the team used the FreeSpace DS 100SE loudspeakers in the parking lot. These loudspeakers can be mounted horizontally or vertically and still provide 180° horizontal coverage. This allowed the team to use the existing light poles as mounting points and still ensure wide sound coverage without the need for adding new mounting structures. In addition, the weather-resistant construction of the DS 100SE loudspeakers makes them well-suited to outdoor applications.
Inside, FreeSpace 3 Omni systems provided wide coverage while integrating easily with the existing structure. "The small and compact single location Bose FreeSpace Omni system covers a large area providing full-range excellent quality audio without the need to post a number of large speakers throughout the space," Wheeler explains. Model 32 flushmount loudspeakers were used in locations such as the coffee bar and pool table area that had drop-tile ceilings. The Bose sound system even helps customers in the showroom get the feel of riding on the open road.
"The nine giant plasma screen wall display was one of the highlights of the project," Wheeler says. "You can sit on a bike, look at the large screen and actually feel the engine noise."
For all its complexity, the Bose system is remarkably easy for the High Desert Harley-Davidson staff to use. The key is a Bose ControlSpace ESP-88 engineered sound processor. It delivers powerful, flexible, sophisticated signal processing with simple-to-use, elegant wall panel controls. With the ControlSpace system, the staff can provide the right sound experience at the right time, beginning with a relaxed mode for a more quiet experience in the morning, to a normal mode as the day progresses. For big events, High Desert Harley-Davidson uses the high-energy mode—all controlled with the simple push of a button.
A better experience for customers, staff and installers
AAtronics expertise in engineering, along with the support of Hudnut and Bose, also made the experience of designing and installing the system a good one. "Having Jack and Bose available to help us with the system tuning was great," Wheeler says. "With their assistance we were able to finish the project even faster than we had imagined."
For Peggy Myers and the team at High Desert Harley-Davidson, the Bose solution plays an integral and critical role in making their dealership unique. "The one thing we hear all the time is 'Wow, this is such clear sound,'" she says. "The system keeps the entertainment and excitement flowing. This is a Harley-Davidson dealership and Bose provides the best quality to help sell it."