A visit to the Basalte Showroom and Factory- By David Hartley
A little earlier this year, I had the pleasure of visiting Basalte on their home turf in Ghent, Belgium. Having seen them at various events and trade shows, I was very eager to visit their show home and their HQ having been told both are architecturally beautiful and functional in their own way.
After a reasonably uneventful trip under the English Channel, I was swiftly picked up from Lille and whisked away to the show house and was not disappointed. The Basalte show home is a fine example of how KNX should be integrated into the modern home; discreet to the end user but still powerful in its application. With the sheer amount that KNX can control, including lighting, heating and cooling, multi-room audio and a whole array of logic controlled functions, the temptation from manufacturers can be to create bigger and bigger wall mounted controllers, with numerous buttons in one place. One of Basalte’s strengths has been to approach this issue with a more reserved, design lead approach.
Keen to show the best that they have to offer, the ground floor is equipped with Sentido and Deseo keypads, strategically placed in each room and supported with the Auro detectors to automate functions. As well as controlling lighting and blinds for each room, various scenes have been programmed to tie these functions in with motorised television enclosures. These functions are all remote controlled via IR remote as well, courtesy of a number of B&O Link receivers discreetly dotted around. All very impressive, as we have come to expect from the Belgian manufacturer.
However, what I was most keen to see was the Asano multiroom audio system. Whilst the Asano system is not a new setup per se, Basalte took the opportunity to demonstrate the latest updates to the system – Spotify integration into their already robust Asano app. The new addition allows a similar seamless user experience to the already present Airplay integration, with the ability to have selections for multiple users and rooms. This opens up Asano to all the non-Apple users out there, a very smart move from their end.
After a quick spot of lunch, (and of course a necessary sampling of the local beer), my visit continued on to Basalte’s HQ and factory. I’d love to give a description of their factory floor and the general manufacturing process. After all, the high quality that we’ve always experienced with Basalte’s range starts in this deceptively small, glass walled facility. Alas, Basalte’s shop floor remains closed to the public eye behind an ominous black curtain. My imagination here tends to run to a Willy Wonka style conveyor belt of hand-milling and magic – realistically speaking I’m sure it’s more serious looking Belgians in white coats than Oompa Loompas.
However, I was given the chance to look into the inner workings of the Asano system whilst I was there. Programming the Asano begins with configuring the power and intelligence of the system – the P4 amplifier and S4 server respectively.
Those familiar with ETS will find the configuration of the Asano system familiar, utilising a structure similar to the room/group object setup used to programme KNX. Creating users and permissions is equally intuitive, the setup of Airplay and Spotify Connect being particularly interesting. The Asano configurator allows you to create individual user ‘hot-spots’ to connect to, complete with permissions and passwords that can be set. This is an ideal solution for using ‘Guest’ access to the multi-room audio, tying in with the kinds of varied user access you can setup with the KNX system.
The train back gave me some good time to reflect on an altogether refreshing experience. Basalte offers a great range of products and its always impressive to see it in situ and being used in real life scenarios. It also gave me the knowledge to configure our own Asano system in the Ivory Egg office – unfortunately there’s no accounting for my taste in music
If you are interested in Basalte’s offering of KNX controllers, multi-room audio or any of the rest of their great range, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01243 572 700. You can also arrange to come try out the system for yourself in our offices.