Getting the best out of superyacht entertainment systems
Last updated: 24/10/2016
In a world where technology is becoming more and more advanced, it’s no surprise that within the superyacht industry the entertainment options can meet your wildest expectations. Giant home cinema’s the size of a wall, invisible speakers completely hidden, sound systems fit for the largest parties on earth and state of the art control systems to easily manage it all – the future of entertainment is here.
With such endless possibilities however comes great complexity; there are many things that need thinking about when designing, installing and supplying a yacht with such equipment. This feature will look at some top tips for installing and designing systems on-board a yacht, as well as looking at the emerging option of hiding your sound systems within the interior of the yacht.
Veritais’ top tips for entertainment systems on superyachts
One of the world’s leading designers & installers of entertainment & AV systems – Veritais, suggested seven important hints and tips to think about when getting a new or refitted system on-board:
1: Get to know your AV / IT contractor
Find an integrator who will spend time to discuss things with you and who will explain the ‘pros and cons’ of different AV products and systems. As with a tailor, you'll want something that will fit you perfectly – which isn’t something you will achieve in a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. It’s important to get the system the owner and the yacht needs, NOT what the integrator wants to sell you.
2: Work out what your AV system is going to be used for
For film buffs, picture quality will be just as important as sound, but, if you listen to more music than you watch films, invest in a good two channel stereo system. Digital technology is the future, however if you’re after real ‘sound’, analogue is more flexible and easier adjusted to suit your needs. Would you like to be able to control the blinds, curtains, HVAC and lighting in the room from one controller – this does add to the ‘superyacht experience’ but is it essential?
3: Spend as much as you and the owner can budget for
The owner will be living with the system for several years to come. You get what you pay for, the AV & IT systems need to be seen as an investment rather than a cost. After all once all the initial ‘niceties’ of admiring the blinds, soft furnishings, the Jacuzzi and toys are done, the AV is the one system that will be used day in, day out when guests are on board, so it needs to work, work well and be up to date.
4: System ventilation
Make sure all AV / IT components, especially the main rack and server, are well ventilated. Make sure the AC pipes bring a cool room temperature air flow into the area where the components are located. For larger areas such rack spaces and server rooms will require dedicated AC Handlers and will need to be kept at a constant optimum operating temperature.
The need for owners, family, guests and crew to be able to use their tablets and smartphones as normal and to be online continuously whilst on board requires reliable, high bandwidth satellite connectivity. Make sure you team up with suppliers that can offer you this and on a flexible contract, so during the yard months demand can be scaled down and so can the costs. Switch to 3G / 4G when in shore and local Wi-Fi hotspots when in port. Use a good reliable broadband management software so the crew cabin choose who gets what when, when the owner and guests are on board.
6: AV system support
Use an integrator that can support the system they have installed (especially remotely); be sure to have copies of schematics, installation photographs, component location schedule after the installation and above all (if possible) the programming software. You may not be able to change or decipher what’s in it, but if one individual has programmed the system and he ‘gets hit by a bus’ what happens then – you start all over again. Remote support is essential, although always go bespoke but use components that are readily available worldwide for warranty purposes.
7: Go bespoke
Use specialists who can design and offer a ‘different’ solution rather than standard ‘in deckhead’ speakers and TV’s on bulkheads. Bespoke speakers can come in all different kind of formats: ornaments, different shapes, in leather, painted, and hidden (transducer technology). Likewise TV’s/monitors can be hidden; after all if you are only listening to music there’s’ no need to see the screen!