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Östermalms Saluhall

Östermalms Saluhall in the Swedish capital of Stockholm is one of the world’s premier food halls and a cultural institution in its own right. First established in 1888, the beautiful building is classified as a historical monument. It has recently reopened after the most extensive renovation project in its 130-year history. Four years on and 130M Euros later, the food hall has regained its former glory and developed into a modern and sustainable trading venue, complete with a Genelec Smart IP loudspeaker solution for the Saluhall’s largest and most prestigious trader, Lisa Elmqvist.    

Having expanded operations considerably over the years to include a gourmet restaurant as well as the food stall, Lisa Elmqvist now occupies nearly one-third of the hall’s newly renovated star-shaped space. In order to find a suitable audio solution to cover the various zones, Lisa Elmqvist turned to Stockholm AV integrator and pro audio specialist, JAM Stage & Proaudio, who quickly concluded that a Genelec Smart IP system was the ideal solution.    

“The mission was to supply a high quality audio solution that could cover all of the various customer areas with ease,” explains JAM’s Dragan Nedeljkovic. “We needed a system that could deliver a tonal balance with good dispersion and off-axis response, to counter the noisy environment and create an oasis of calm for the restaurant diners. We also needed to be able to zone the areas efficiently to cater for events and other scenarios.”   

However, given the extremely tight timescale and the constraints of the building, JAM’s choices were limited. “It may have taken four years to complete the renovations, but there is a tendency in these types of projects to allow less than a week to worry about sound!” Nedeljkovic says with a wry grin. “This one was no exception. We only had three days to deliver a complete solution with little or no information to go on regarding placement, power access, distances, and so on. Plus, we were working in a classified building where the only accessible space for racks was in the basement and cabling options overall were extremely limited. The only truly viable option was to run the entire project over IP. Genelec’s new Smart IP loudspeakers – with audio, Power-over Ethernet (PoE) and control all over a single standard network cable – were simply the perfect solution.”    

Nedeljkovic and his team implemented a Dante network running a total of 19 Genelec 4430 Smart IP loudspeakers across six zones. A single standard network cable delivers power, control and the audio signal to each loudspeaker, with Genelec’s sophisticated Smart IP Manager software handling device discovery on the network, room EQ, calibration, delay and other functions. A cost-effective Xilica Dante interface and a touch panel facilitate routing, source selection and zone control.    

“Honestly, the Smart IP solution from Genelec solved all my problems,” declares Nedeljkovic. “Despite having almost no time to design a system, the client nevertheless had extremely high standards when it came to audio quality. However, with Genelec, exceptional audio quality is a given, so that box was ticked straight away. With so little space or room for maneuver in installation terms, we required an active solution at the very least, and ideally something that could run on a Dante network to reduce cabling. The cherry on the cake with Genelec’s Smart IP system is that the same cable also delivers power, so that’s another problem solved.    

“Finally, late in the installation process, the client decided that they’d like to add an additional zone to the original specification of five zones. In any non-network-based audio system, this would normally require considerable head-scratching to come up with a solution, plus additional cost for added amplifiers and possibly some additional mixers and/or DSP. In this case, all it required was some patching in the Dante Controller software, a couple of button presses and 25 minutes of configuring and tinkering to magically solve the problem, and bingo – the desired solution is delivered to the happy customer! You can also route L/R channels within Dante Controller as appropriate to achieve the best stereo listening experience in any given zone, which is a huge advantage. This kind of flexibility is priceless and clearly a huge advance in the world of AV integration."