LEA Professional provides flexible, accessible and eye-catching technology for custom design solutions


LEA Professional, the fast-growing manufacturer of innovative, high-quality professional audio amplifiers with cloud-based and IoT-based technologies, has become an essential part of a professional audio designer’s toolkit, Smart Amplifiers from LEA providing a solution for a wide range of custom installation needs.

Hazelwood Laboratories has specialized in creative audio installations and custom system controller development for over 10 years. The company recently discovered the quality and flexibility of LEA Professional technology, bringing even more creativity to their process.

Founded in 2012 by artist and audio/video integrator Joseph Hazelwood, Hazelwood Laboratories is a designer, manufacturer and installer of purpose-built electronics. Ten years ago, Hazelwood, who has worked in the audiovisual space for 25 years, began to find the work repetitive. He recognized the growing popularity of social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram and understood that visual aesthetics in AV would become of greater importance to customers in the future. Thus, Hazelwood Laboratories was born.

Although focused on custom installations for boutique hospitality, Hazelwood works with clients in all markets and on projects of all sizes, ranging from residential installations to large commercial applications. Although his work is unique and steeped in an often retro visual style, his main goal is to make technology as easy as possible for clients, while showcasing a unique design. The guiding philosophy of Hazelwood Labs is that while technology is supposed to mean progress, a focused approach is needed to make it happen – otherwise technology will create as many problems as it solves.

With this in mind, flexible technology solutions are essential for Hazelwood to provide its customers with the best possible system, especially the unique ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions for which it is known. Before discovering LEA Professional amplification technology, Hazelwood was frustrated with other manufacturers whose technology limited him to playing only in their proprietary ecosystems.

“For my installations, I want best-in-class products for every system, but I also want that system to be able to be controlled and monitored on its own,” Hazelwood said. “Many of my projects include touch control interfaces that inspire interactivity, and with the LEA Open API platform, their Connect Series amplifiers can integrate with almost any AV system, giving me the flexibility I need. I need.”

LEA Professional’s open API gives system integrators access to a diverse range of plug-ins, as well as extensive LAN amplifier control capabilities using the web-based user interface and of the LEA Professional cloud platform. This ensures that LEA products will work well with other systems so integrators can rely on LEA for all installation requirements. For Hazelwood, this means that with the help of software developer Caleb Szalacinski, he can create custom controllers designed both physically and digitally to work with LEA amps.

“As the AV market increasingly focuses on touchscreen control solutions, tangible hardware controllers seem to be gradually disappearing,” Hazelwood commented. “I wanted to be able to provide my customers with simple, analog-like controls that use the benefits of smart technology and, of course, look good. I decided to develop my own, and LEA made it possible for me with their open API. I currently have them working in a handful of places and plan to eventually make a version available to other integrators.

For Hazelwood, his switch to LEA Professional was not only due to their flexibility but also the accessibility of the amplifiers. At a time when supply chain issues are a battle for other manufacturers, LEA Professional has been able to deliver amplification solutions when needed, even on tight deadline projects.

For a large installation at a bowling alley in Nashville called Eastside Bowl, Hazelwood had to change all of its planned equipment to new manufacturers at the last minute due to inventory issues. That’s when he discovered the magic of LEA’s Connect Series amplifiers, with their seamless design, IoT technology and user-friendly interface. It wasn’t long before LEA became Hazelwood’s go-to amplification solution.

Since then, Hazelwood has used the power of LEA for a variety of projects, most recently installing the Connect Series in a café, Barista Parlor, in Nashville. Hazelwood has worked with this chain of cafes for some time, but for this particular location they experimented with a whole new audio setup after the owners requested a more streamlined solution, which would complement the store’s aesthetic and be easily replicated in their next locations in other cities.

Hazelwood delivered by building an integrated turntable powered by a LEA Professional Connect Series 354. The setup included a built-in custom controller and custom-designed overhead speakers.

“Normally our controller will be configured to adjust the music zones independently, but in this case, since there was only one music zone and the speakers needed to be tri-amplified, we programmed the controller to adjust 3 channels of the amp simultaneously, using the LEA’s DSP crossovers.

The front of the unit features a decorative safety panel with cooling fans that can serve as a control panel and allow users to control the amp’s power from the outside. Before finding LEA, Hazelwood struggled with the physical capacity required by other amplifiers, but with the 1U form factor of LEA’s Connect Series, he was able to slot the deck into the top of the rack and store other control/switching components.

At another cafe — The Daily, in Atlanta — Hazelwood has turned a LEA Connect 354 into an antique console radio that serves as a system controller and also houses a custom DUAL turntable. “To highlight the lines of the LEA logo on the Connect Series, I took it apart and had the brass ‘shark fin’ bezel plated, and painted the vent covers so that they match the other components of the radio,” Hazelwood explained. “It’s amazing how well everything went. This juxtaposition of new/old aesthetics and functionality is really exciting for me creatively, and LEA is becoming a key part of helping me achieve that.

Hazelwood has taken full advantage of the technology that LEA Professional has to offer, the LEA Professional cloud platform has not only given them the ability to monitor facilities from the comfort of their home, but it also allows them to add these remote monitoring to contracts, resulting in recurring revenue opportunities.

All LEA Professional amplifiers leverage the built-in Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT core. This cloud-based platform allows integrators to control and monitor critical operational data points to maintain system health securely and remotely. All users need to do is create their cloud account at www.leaprofessional.cloud, then individual amplifiers or entire amp systems can be securely viewed and controlled from anywhere in the world. without the need for VPN in a local network.

“I have installed each LEA on my cloud platform, which allows me to help customers wherever I am,” commented Hazelwood. “I started Hazelwood Labs to challenge the typical assumption about the role of technology in our lives and I want to work with manufacturers who do the same. It’s just one of the many reasons I will continue to provide LEA technology to my clients.

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