Taking the phrase ‘super yacht’ to a new level, a Polish-built luxury vessel recently revealed its preferred superpower: invisibility.
Stylish in both its interior and exterior, the yacht’s owner required a speaker system that was as discreet as possible so as not to detract from the aesthetics.
This presented an ideal opportunity for Amina Technologies to showcase what its Invisible loudspeakers are intended for. After all, what’s more discreet than being invisible?
Already known to the client was installer Betria, which had previously installed AV equipment, a multi-room audio system, electric blinds and universal remotes into the owner’s 2,000 sq-m residence.
“The Amina speakers were chosen because of their invisibility and quality,” explains Sergei Shulga from Betria. “They don’t ruin the design of the yacht with extra boxes.”
“Amina speakers were chosen by the client because of their ability to totally disappear in the application and therefore make no interruption to the interior design of this superbly equipped sailing vessel,” nods Babs Moore, Amina sales director.
“At the same time the Amina products maintain a very high quality sound output, unaffected by the interior surface finishes used, whilst evenly filling these crisp spacious interiors with beautiful sound from just a small number of devices.”
In total, the super yacht was fitted with 12 Amina Invisible loudspeakers below deck to accompany the nautical interior design.
Spanning three zones, they provide high clarity room filling surround sound with no visual intrusion.
Amina AIW3X/S200 flat panel loudspeakers were installed in the ceiling structures of the Main Salon, the Back Salon and the master bedroom.
The Back Salon features five units in its ceiling to create full surround sound as part of a cinema system, whilst the Master Bedroom features three ceiling mounted units and two bed head mounted units to generate surround sound in that space. This room also includes a hidden subwoofer with a Toekick from James Loudspeakers.
Most normally made unseen through a final 2mm skim coat of plaster, the Vibrational Panel Technology (VPT) utilised by Amina in its speaker design is flexible enough to be rendered invisible by other material such a leather or wood/wood veneer – well suited for yacht applications.
“The most interesting part of the yacht project was the question: How will Amina speakers work on the ceiling covered with artificial leather?” Sergei reflects.
“However, I ordered samples and tested it. I must say the result was very positive!”
All ceiling mounted speakers are covered with Alcantara artificial leather, whilst the bed head units are veneered over as part of the overall wall and bed head finish.
The devices have a maximum depth of just 40mm and so can easily be fitted into shallow bulkheads wall structures without having to accept any structural compromises.
“It is important to realise that these flat panel speakers really are covered with leather or veneer,” Babs stresses.
“These materials become part of the soundboard that then reproduces the sound. These surface materials in no way ‘block’ of ‘muffle’ the sound generated by this technology, as they would if positioned in front of a conventional cone loudspeaker. Indeed, Amina products are more frequently used in land-based applications within elegant homes and opulent commercial spaces where the devices are located in walls and ceilings and then plastered over with the final skim coat of finishing plaster before decorating with paper, paint or other coatings.”
The yacht is also kitted out with nine TVs installed across eight cabins, with one on an outdoor main deck.
Everything (including the blinds in the front and back salons) is controlled via a URS Total Control remote.
The back salon boasts almost the same setup as the front salon, but instead features an 84-in 4k LG TV using a sub from James Loudspeaker with rear Invisible speakers from Amina.
At the other end of the technology spectrum, the front salon includes a vinyl record player from T+A, which can be listened to all over the boat due to URS possibilities.
Meanwhile, the main deck is kitted out with a ceiling TV lift and a professional Panasonic outdoor 42-in monitor.
“An important thing to recognise about Amina technology is that these speakers work very effectively in a ceiling!” comments Babs.
“That is they still direct sound energy to the listener. Even if the listener is stood at the other side of the room with an ear height not that far from the ceiling surface. In other words, the listening point is some way from the sound source but perpendicular to it.
“The conventional piston based cone loudspeaker is relatively directional in nature and is optimised for listening straight in front of it. Listening perpendicular to the front of such a speaker will result in a very different and poor sound reproduction. In contrast a vibrational sound source, be it a violin or an Amina speaker, is not directional. They send sound energy to wherever the listener is. Thus the ceiling mounted Amina speakers make an extremely effective sound solution in height restricted rooms and spaces.”
“It was a pleasure to satisfy the customer, as you just need one remote, one knob and system is on,” smiles Sergei.
“On a personal level, it’s been a good experience for our company as it’s our first marine project and we are using new, interesting solutions.”