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Review: Ashly Audio pêma 4250

Nov 3, 2010 2:30 PM, By John McJunkin

A powered processor for zoned sound systems.

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The robust hardware of the pêma system is controlled by the comprehensive Protea application, which is unfortunately only available for the Windows platform. I was able to very easily connect the hardware to my computer and link it quickly. Once it was coupled, I had complete control of the system’s matrix mixing functions and powerful DSP. The system offers input source and gain selection, along with fully appointed brick wall limiters, compressors, autolevelers, ambient noise compensation, duckers, gates, gain, parametric and graphic equalizers and filters, feedback suppression, crossovers, delays, metering, and signal generation. The dynamics processors are sidechainable and offer comprehensive parametric control. The software also facilitates the use of up to five user IDs and associated passwords to accomplish system security, and also an event scheduler, with up to 100 events over a maximum one-week event calendar. The time resolution for events is 1 minute, and events can recall presets, change power, mute channels, select output sources, and change levels. The Protea software also facilitates the setup of automixing for PA and paging purposes. This software is comprehensive and powerful, and the graphical user interface clearly presents all the information about the system.

Internal audio is handled at up to a 96kHz sample rate, which with a Nyquist frequency of 48kHz, is somewhat overkill for most restaurant, retail, church, school, and governmental applications, but it’s available for applications that do require high-resolution audio. The 32-bit Analog Devices Sharc processors in the system provide high-quality audio indeed, and the processing algorithms are well-written to exploit the power of the Sharc hardware. The amplifiers are of great quality as well, so the entirety of the signal chain passes an excellent, clear signal. The processors facilitate a lot of control over signals in terms of dynamics, EQ, and automixing, making the pêma a good choice for installs where a lot of paging and PA is necessary. The Protea software grants clear, detailed control over the system, something I like very much; I want to have complete, unfettered access to all parameters and clear, meaningful feedback from the system. Pêma is also flexible in terms of hardware remote control, enabling the designer to create whatever custom scheme is required for the install. In summary, I’m impressed with the pêma system, and I definitely recommend taking a look if you need robust processing along with quality amplification.

Product Summary

  • Company: Ashly Audio
  • Product: pêma 4250
  • Pros: Robust software-controlled DSP/amplifiers.
  • Cons: Protea software only available for Windows.
  • Applications: Distributed audio for restaurants, retail, houses of worship, schools, and government.
  • Price: $4,140


  • Input sensitivity: 6.2dBu
  • Voltage gain: 26dB
  • Damping factor: >250 (8Ω load, <1kHz)
  • Distortion: <0.5% (THD-N)
  • Channel separation: -80dB
  • Signal-to-noise: >105dB
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz ±1dB
  • Balanced input impedance: 4.8kΩ
  • Maximum balanced input level: +21dBu
  • Unbalanced input impedance: 3.16kΩ
  • Maximum unbalanced input level: +11dBu
  • TEL-PBX input impedance: 3.9kΩ
  • Maximum TEL-PBX input level: +21dBu

John McJunkin is the principal of Avalon Podcasting in Chandler, Ariz. He has consulted in the development of studios and installations, and he provides high-quality podcast-production services.

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