Retrofit audio upgrade launched for Challenger jets


Alto Aviation has developed a new retrofit solution to upgrade audio systems on Challenger 601, 604 and 605 aircraft. It was designed for maximum cost-efficiency, as well as fast and seamless installation.

Former Audio International (AI) digital CMSs implemented serially controlled amps and integrated A/V components. To effectively bypass this, an RS-485 databus reader was added to an Alto DZ-290 amp to interpret audio settings for audio selection, volume levels, EQ presets and speaker on/off.

This serial databus reader allows the existing AI CMS to remain intact but will enable Alto to control the audio path from source to amplification. Alto said that this way, it can get the best audio signal directly to the Alto amp and control the system in tandem with the existing CMS. It said this integration is vital to preserving the existing AI architecture and minimising the impact on the currently installed CMS.

The company went on to explain that former Baker systems typically employ traditional analogue amps that can be easily replaced by Alto components. Often, internal PA audio distribution is sent through the amps. Most Baker CMSs can remain intact with minimal impact and redesign, but Alto said a more comprehensive solution is required when former Baker M2060 and M3070 amps are employed.

Many AI and Baker speakers can be replaced with 100% fit-compatible Alto speakers, which are designed to make installation easy. Alto offers several loudspeaker models with adapter brackets to fit into the same mounting hole patterns.

“The Challenger aircraft is a top-rated upgrade programme for Alto, and customers appreciate the great sound when they get a new Alto audio system,” said Kevin Hayes, vice president of sales and marketing at Alto Aviation. “By reusing the same PSU grills and implementing 100% fit-compatible speakers, we help keep the installation costs low, making it an attractive sale to the customer. Every Alto audio system is supported with an on-site custom tuning by an Alto audio engineer to ensure peak performance. So, whether the upgrade is to simply make the cabin audio system sound better or to complement your new CMS upgrade to HD monitors, we can help.”

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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