Avionics News April 2015 - 24

MeMber

Profile

LOCATION:
Headquarters
86 Leominster Road, PO Box 399
Sterling MA 01564
Engineering, R&D
880 Jupiter Park Drive #3
Jupiter, FL 33458

ALTO
AVIATION

ALTO Aviation masters the
art and science of sound
S T O R Y

T

B Y

C H R I S T I N E

he acoustic experts at ALTO Aviation spend their
days analyzing audio to give business aviation
passengers rich, gorgeous, immersive sound. The
team crafts sound performance at 40,000 feet that rivals
the best home theater systems, but it's not an easy task,
according to founders Don Hamilton and Steve Scarlata.
An aircraft cabin's shape and size leave little space
for speakers and other
components. The
environment includes
background noise
registering in the mid70s for decibel of sound
pressure level, which is equivalent to a vacuum cleaner or
a busy road.
ALTO Aviation starts with a premium audio
entertainment system made up of speakers, subwoofers
and amplifiers manufactured at the company's home base
in Sterling, Massachusetts. The size and type of aircraft
determines which kind and how many components
comprise each individual system.
Finding the best location for speakers and subwoofers in
the limited space of a cabin is challenging, especially with
lighting and oxygen bottles and other systems taking up
prime positions. Unlike in-home theaters, the components
must be as small and light as possible.
24

avionics news

*

april

2015

K N A U E R

"Usually big speakers equals big sound," said
Scarlata, vice president of engineering and research and
development. "When you use small speakers, it's hard to
get a bigger sound. That's one of the things that we've
really focused on and specialized in - how can we make
the smallest possible, lightest possible components but
still get that really big, high-end quality sound that you'd
expect from a large
system."
To help solve the
challenge, ALTO
Aviation's acoustic
engineers separated the
components by frequency range, and fine-tuned each one.
"We have developed more than 50 different models of
mid-high speakers to fit all the different applications,"
Scarlata said. "Same with the woofers; we have more than
30 woofers. To avoid compromising the sound, often we
have to design a speaker and enclosure that utilizes a very
specific space under a seat or divan, against a wall or in the
sidewalls. We're able to design or adapt a design to get the
best possible sound."
Scarlata and Hamilton, president of ALTO Aviation,
draw on their previous experience as Bose engineers,
when they helped create big sound from small enclosures
mostly for automobiles. As part of a special Bose project,



Avionics News April 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News April 2015

Avionics News April 2015 - Intro
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover1
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover2
Avionics News April 2015 - 1
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Avionics News April 2015 - Cover3
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