This nearly 10,000-square-foot penthouse in Brussels, Belgium, is housed in the building of a former tribunal court and was remastered as a vast, open living space offering impressive acoustic clarity and views of the downtown horizon. The epitome of luxury, it sits beneath a private golf course installed upon the rooftop terrace.
The owner, a real estate developer, envisioned a high-end downtown space that was not only technologically functional with the latest in-home control and A/V technology, but also inspiring – acting as the perfect backdrop for hosting and entertaining clients.
So he tasked Jan Martens, integrator on the project and founder of the Belgian installation firm Woelf, with outfitting this living space with state-of-the-art connected tech of the highest order. The loft is equipped with the latest in home control, smart lighting, shade control, multi-room A/V and stellar audio.
The client wanted a distinct audio zone for the bar and dining area. He envisioned his guests mingling at the space’s bar, dining table, or pool table while enjoying music. Part of the modern appeal of the room is the roughly 108 feet of floor-to-ceiling glass walls and roughly 3,229 square feet of marble flooring. While these surfaces offer an impressive view and complement the historical architecture outside, they were an audio hurdle Martens to overcome.
The challenge for the Woelf team was finding a speaker solution that would deliver incredible audio without reflecting off these surfaces and overwhelming the room — and guests — and degrading the audio experience. A traditional point-source speaker wasn’t a feasible solution because the technology pushes sound out in all directions, encountering and reflecting off the ceilings, floors, and walls. Listeners would hear more sound bouncing off the room that sound directly coming from the speakers, which would result in poor clarity and intelligibility. The louder you play, the more reflection you bring, which quickly becomes unpleasant. The further away from the speaker, the harder it would be for guests to hear any direct sound at all.
Instead, Martens selected line source speakers from Wisdom Audio, specifying two Wisdom Audio line source freestanding loudspeakers. Featuring a slim, elegant design, the speakers met the client’s aesthetic requirements. Second, because the speakers use line source technology, Martens solved many of the acoustical challenges of the highly reverberant space. Utilizing true line source technology, the speaker provides more direct sound versus reflected sound. It propagates sound in a line versus a sphere like a traditional point source speaker, eliminating floor and ceiling reflections that can distort the audio. Sound is pushed directly where it needs to go — the listener’s ears.
Ideal for large rooms and open spaces or those with architectural challenges including cathedral or coffered ceilings, hard floors, high ceiling and glass walls, the L75’s 48-inch tall line source driver complement allows for high resolution, low distortion, and superior dynamic range. The result is highly detailed, dynamically accurate, genuinely effortless performance at any volume level. Throughout the bar area, the volume stays almost uniform throughout the space, preventing guests who are closer to the speaker from being blasted at high levels and allowing those farther away to hear and enjoy music at almost the same level.
“Although the space is breathtaking, it was visually and quality wise very difficult to integrate. With the line source, the result is beautiful and everyone have can the same listening experience and carry on conversations anywhere in the room,” said Martens. “My client was astonished because he thought he’d have to sacrifice the audio quality and have the room be really noisy. It was a great experience making the connection between high-end audio and design.”