Nashville Penthouse Features Custom James Loudspeaker Soundbar, Savant Control

Home systems integrators from Pro AV Engineering install low-profile A/V and control equipment to preserve the cosmetics of luxury show home.


Any home located in Music City U.S.A deserves to have a great audio system. When that home is one of four 45th floor penthouses in a luxury high-rise apartment building, it’s time to pull out all the stops with a whole-house audio solution that marries modern aesthetics with amazing sound. That was the thinking behind the installation of an 8-zone audio system and 7.1 surround-sound system in this 4,500-square foot penthouse show home.

Local home systems integrators, Pro AV Engineering (PAVE, LLC), along with the general contactor and interior designer will all in agreement of this “heard but barely seen” philosophy.

Small Aperture loudspeakers and a custom soundbar from James Loudspeaker provided the team with a solution that would blend into the clean, modern aesthetics of the penthouse.

Stylish square LED light fixtures had already been specified for the dwelling, so rather than clash with the Euro lighting design by installing conventional round speakers, PAVE outfitted every listening zone with more befitting James Loudspeaker Small Aperture loudspeakers.

Not only square, but tiny with a 3-inch grille, the speakers raise no visual conflict with interior design.

Another perk: Because the speakers offer full frequency response, wide dispersion and extended bass, no subwoofers were necessary in any room except for the living room where a full 7.1 surround sound system would reside.

High-Style Home Theater

For the living room-based theater, PAVE stuck with the Small Aperture speakers for the surround channels, complemented by matching Small Aperture in-ceiling subwoofer and a custom-built soundbar.

Small Aperture architectural speakers from
James Loudspeaker complement the square
shape of the penthouse's recessed light fixtures. 

The subwoofer was mounted to the ceiling studs and is powered by a James Loudspeaker M1000 1000-watt amplifier. This DSP-calibrated amplifier, along with surround-sound receiver and other electronics, occupy a rack that’s tucked into a laundry room.

Covert ControlIn keeping with the clean, uncluttered aesthetic, PAVE complemented the sub and surrounds by having James Loudspeaker custom build an LCR soundbar.

Measuring just 1.5 inches high and finished in a black matte, it matches the living room’s 85-inch Sony TV.

The small form factor of the soundbar was accomplished by constructing an L-shaped aluminum enclosure, with the extended rear section of the enclosure accommodating six forward-firing 3-inch woofers and four 2-inch midrange drivers.

PAVE mounted the soundbar to the top of the display using custom brackets also designed by James Loudspeaker.

As good as the speakers in the penthouse look and sound, real enjoyment boils down to content and control. PAVE made sure to provide the speakers with both by integrating a Savant IP Audio system.

Related: Custom-made James Loudspeaker Soundbar ‘Rocks’ in Large Stone Wall Project

This system amplifies and distributes audio from a choice of streaming content to all eight zones based on commands issued from a Savant Pro Remote, one of six Savant 8-inch touchpanels, or the Savant control app on any iPhone or iPad.

To ensure the listening environments are comfortable, PAVE also enlisted the Savant system to supervise four zones of heating/cooling, 64 zones of lighting, 60 automated shades, an access control system.

Adapting to New Surroundings

A custom-built soundbar from James
Loudspeaker fuses with the design of
the living room's 85-inch Sony TV.

For now, the system in the show home are on par with the expectations and demands of the developer of the luxury apartment building, who by showing it to prospective buyers has produced several sales for PAVE.

Once the high-tech penthouse sells, PAVE will tailor the systems to the needs of the owners, possibly using Savant’s SCM (Central Management) systems to generate monthly recurring revenue for 24/7 monitoring of the technologies.

About the Author

Lisa Montgomery:

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home.

Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books.


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