Miniaturised, high performance, and customised: professional audio at the service of entertainment has come on board. Thanks to K-array and the Gammalta
by Niccolò Volpati
Yachts are like villas on the sea, the comfort that we find on board should be at least equal to what we have at home… But what about entertainment systems? They are more and more important, of course. It’s certainly not an area that buyers, or their surveyors, overlook. People look for the perfect sound, an all-enveloping experience and so there is a constant search for products that can deliver that. And also, if everything, or nearly everything, on board, has to be customised, why should the entertainment system be an exception? K-array is a firm that is based just outside Florence, which for many years has been designing, producing and selling audio systems for large theatres, concerts, events, and residences. Up to now their products were the exclusive domain of users on land, but the company has decided to also make them available to the yachting sector. To do so, it has added anti-corrosion treatments to protect speakers and subwoofers that are installed on board, internally, and especially in the cockpit or on the flybridge. Cataphoretic paint is used to protect any metal from corrosion.
CATAPHORETIC PAINT TREATMENTS PROTECT THE STEEL AND ALUMINIUM USED IN SPEAKERS FROM CORROSION CAUSED BY SALT WATER.
The firm has entrusted exclusive distribution for the yachting sector to the Gammalta Group, the Pisa firm that for some time has been working in the robotics and entertainment world, on board yachts, and elsewhere. «We had just started to distribute the K-array systems when we took on an engineer tasked with researching products, suppliers, and spaces on boats to design the best system possible», says Giacomo Degl’Innocenti, CEO of Gammalta. And the first rule is to customise. It’s not a given that the equipment and devices that are required for a lounge should be the same ones that are used on a flybridge, or in the cockpit.
Miniaturising devices means hiding them in the area in which they are installed, without interfering with the boat design.
What advantages do K-array systems offer? The firm doesn’t simply buy top-of-the-range components on the market and then assemble them: it makes them. What is more, it has managed to create miniaturised devices. People like me who are of a certain age are used to thinking that if you want a good audio output, you need powerful speakers, and that power means large sizes. Rave converts had speaker walls, so huge equipment. That is no longer the case. You can get perfect, powerful sound even with very small devices. And that is something that delights interior designers. People who deal with design and set-ups have always looked at speakers installed on board with suspicion, both those to be installed on the deck, and those used internally. K-array, instead, designs systems based on many small devices scattered around the space. There isn’t just one subwoofer, but many spreads over the room, and they are fairly small. This enables users to enjoy high-quality bass tones, without bulky equipment that would spoil the aesthetics of the interior design. All of that without affecting performance. The amplifiers, for example, have a DSP (Digital Sound Processor) developed in-house by the firm. It features many settings so that it can produce the best audio for a specific area. And there’s more.
K-ARRAY DESIGNS AND PRODUCES EVERYTHING
IN-HOUSE: SPEAKERS, AMPLIFIERS,
TO AMPLIFY LOW FREQUENCIES.
Yachts are all different. There are displacement Navetta boats, and then there are others that speed around at 40 knots. And to listen to music while you are bouncing on waves at that speed, you need a system that capable of delivering it. Furthermore, the DSP setting means you can make the system turn the volume up as the speed increases. The first installations were done on board the Maiora 30 Walkaround, a yacht of over thirty meters long by seven-and-a-half wide.
K-array worked with installers and the interior designer to create a system that blends with the architectural design of the boat, with special attention paid to the living areas set aside for entertainment. The aim was to combine a professional level of audio into the yacht’s furnishing. Bulky, visible speaker boxes were excluded, and instead, a system with miniaturised speakers and subwoofers was installed. So essentially it can be heard but not seen. «We will never sell products that don’t perform excellently», says Giacomo Degl’Innocenti «But nor will we make products that are going to ruin the look for a room or area». And the K-array systems are designed and made precisely for that purpose.
(K-array, for the pleasure of your ears – Barchemagazine.com – November 2022)