CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – JULY 2012: Established in 1974 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) quickly became a focus of cultural life in east-central Iowa and a tourist destination for travelers both national and international. A series of expansion projects led to a new building dedicated in 1995 by then-US president Bill Clinton, Czech Republic president Václav Havel, and Slovakia president Michal Kovác. A devastating flood in 2008 damaged over $8 million of museum and library collections and caused insurers to balk at the idea of covering the museum for fear the Cedar River would flood again. In an epic, but ultimately cost-effective solution, the NCSML moved its building to higher ground and simultaneously expanded to over 50,000 square feet. The NCSML recently reopened with an inviting gift shop designed to send visitors home with items that will advertise the museum while raising funds at the same time. As part of the gift shop’s casual vibe, a page-ducking sound system powered by an Ashly TM-360 public address mixer/amplifier plays music and sounds from multiple sources. “The building’s renovated and expanded sound system was designed almost two years ago by David Walters of Diversified Design Group Inc., in Lincoln, Nebraska,” explained Marvin Smejkal, principal of local A/V integrator Sound Concepts Inc., and an NCSML board member. “The location of the amp for the gift shop would be clearly visible to visitors. The Ashly TM-360 didn’t exist at that time, but in preparing to install the system it was clear that the TM-360 was a more visually appealing solution than the piece that was specified. Beyond that, it was easy to use, flexible enough to allow ducking for museum-wide pages, and affordably priced.” The Ashly TM-360 mixes three input channels to a monaural, 60-watt output. The input options are mic/line-level, two mono/stereo line-level or telephone. Phantom power is available on the mic input. A block of easy-to-use dip switches on the back of the unit configures it for priority ducking. An optional 400Hz low-cut filter is offered for paging horn installations. Output options are 4 ohm, 8 ohm, 25V, or 70V. Front panel controls adjust volume on all three input channels, as well as master volume, bass and treble EQs. Inputs to the modest system include a Denon CD/iPod deck, a Sony DVD player, and the museum-wide paging output. The TM-360 is configured so that both the music and DVD outputs duck for pages. Standard commercial eight-inch ceiling-mounted loudspeakers complete the system.
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