The 15,000-square-foot Experience Center, on the Northridge campus that’s been JBL’s home since 1976, is entered via a long hallway that appears framed with laser beams that go up its walls and across the ceiling. Those are actually thin video tubes, capable of blazing fast color changes linked to data from the giant, 18-foot-by-10-foot Samsung video wall at the end of the corridor.
The first display is an aspirational retail setup (Underarmor products are featured) that, like that mall in the movie “Minority Report,” combines bits and pieces of tech that is already being utilized individually in stores. While looking at mannequins you’re visually profiled, and products aimed at your gender and age demographic pop up on a wall screen. Products you touch or linger over get spotlighted, then prices and other related data about them appear on another screen.
A converted shipping container houses an array of AKG mics and headphones; you can test how each one sounds. For the aspiring singer-songwriter, there’s also a Soundcraft/JBL/AKG home recording studio setup that can be put together for under $1,000. Elsewhere, there’s a portable P.A. unit that you can roll out to Venice Beach for when you’re ready to start playing in public.
The biggest space within the Experience Center is the 6,000-square-foot, black-walled Live Entertainment Room soundstage, where arrays of speakers, a dizzying arsenal of quietly moving lights, non-toxic chemical haze misters and more of those video strips and display screens can be demonstrated for stage productions, nightclub use, live music venues and other immersive presentations.
There’s also a voice-enabled cognitive hotel room, where you can just ask a Siri-like entity to adjust the lights, open or close the drapes and perform such concierge tasks as making dinner reservations; the program can also be adapted for cruise ship and hospital use.