Avionics News May 2022 - 53

solve their problem quickly. It's not something they routinely
experience in this segment of the industry. "
While it may seem easy to recreate sounds in an aircraft's
cabin, it's actually one of the hardest things to do. If you want to
do it well, that is.
" To us, the purpose of an audio system is to accurately
reproduce the sounds (music or movies) the way the artist
intended, " Hamilton said. " It's not up to us to re-engineer the
sound and decide what it should sound like in the aircraft cabin
environment. A movie should sound the same in the airplane as
it does in the theater.
" Our commitment is to develop an audio system that
reproduces the original sound as accurately as possible.
Anything less doesn't work for our customers or us. We've
had many professional musicians request our systems for their
personal airplanes because of what they've heard in other
artists' cabins. It's a tough reputation to live up to, but to us,
it's the right approach. "
Earbuds and iPods: Oh, the audio humanity
You may think high-end cabin audio systems have seen
their heyday. After all, everyone has their favorite music on
their personal device, and earbuds have practically become a
fashion statement.
" It's true that the small earbuds are replacing large
headphones, but nobody uses them to listen to music in their
home or car, " Scarlata said. " They're uncomfortable, and
the sound isn't that good. People still love and appreciate a
headphone-free, immersive audio experience. That isn't going
to change.
" Of course, the cabin audio system isn't just for
entertainment today. Passengers are doing conference calls,
reviewing presentations, things like that, and you have the
important PA (public address) announcements and cabin safety
briefings. Clear audio is important to all of those needs. "
In addition, another emerging use for the cabin's audio
system is in the trend to promote in-flight health and wellness.
" Using new digital signal processing technologies and
controllers, we can sculpt the cabin's soundscape to create a
relaxing environment by blending in carefully crafted natural
sounds, " Scarlata said. " It's an important tool in creating the best
user experience. Right now, we're putting a lot of research into
audio technologies and applications beyond just entertainment. "
While there are plenty of unexplored uses for quality cabin
audio, the simple fact is, whether a passenger is watching
a surround-sound movie, listening to their favorite band,
or wanting relaxing background music - they want it all to
sound good.
Steve Scarlata (left) and Don Hamilton, founders and partners
of ALTO Aviation
The system has to look as good as it sounds
If you're of a certain age group, you remember when those
big, wooden-cabinet tower speakers were the consummate in
coolness. Not today. Customers want great-sounding tweeters,
mids and woofers that are heard but not seen.
" When designing a new product or installation, we have to
seamlessly integrate it all into the aircraft's cabin both visually
and functionally, " Scarlata said. " Nothing can interfere with
the look of the cabin. That creates yet another challenge
because we can't compromise audio quality. "
With regard to all the various hard and soft finishes, fabrics
and furnishings you find in an aircraft's cabin, it's one thing
to create an invisible audio solution on paper and another to
make it work in that unique environment. That requires total
immersion in the project from beginning to end.
" Part of our approach is to be actively involved in
everything from the original design to the final installation, "
Scarlata explained. " Things change during each phase, and
we need to stay on top of it all. OEM systems are often
more straight-forward than custom aftermarket projects
where last-minute changes are not uncommon.
" We can work with the designer and MRO engineers
to decide the best places for speakers, amplifiers and
controllers. They're all critical in having a final product that
will make the customer happy. "
" I would also add that a key part of knowing where the
components will go is knowing how the aircraft will be used, "
Continued on page 64
avionics news * may 2022 53

Avionics News May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News May 2022

Avionics News May 2022 - Intro
Avionics News May 2022 - Cover1
Avionics News May 2022 - Cover2
Avionics News May 2022 - 1
Avionics News May 2022 - 2
Avionics News May 2022 - 3
Avionics News May 2022 - 4
Avionics News May 2022 - 5
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Avionics News May 2022 - Cover3
Avionics News May 2022 - Cover4
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