Friday, June 27, 2014
MediaMatrix Announces Claro 12-In x 8-Out Digital Processor
Each of 12 balanced inputs can be configured as a microphone or line input, including phantom power,
MediaMatrix has introduced the new Claro processor, a single rack unit frame that provides 12 balanced inputs, each of which can be configured as a microphone or line input, including phantom power, as well as 8 line outputs. Inputs and outputs are connected via Phoenix Euroblock connectors.
Each input has its own dedicated Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) processor, allowing up to 12 mics to be managed during a teleconference. The Claro also supports VoIP and POTS telephony through its telephone hybrid interface.
A range of control options are also provided. Claro’s rear panel provides 12 GPIO connections, RS-485 and RS-232 connections, and multiple Ethernet connections for interconnection and control. It also contains a complete range of DSP mixing, routing and processing functions, such as EQ, filters, delays, compressor/limiters, meters and test signal generators, all accessible and controllable via an external GUI.
Claro scales across multiple meeting rooms, courtrooms or classrooms, as up to four Claro frames can be interconnected via its audio expansion interface to extend its capacity to 48 inputs and 32 outputs. This allows plenty of capacity to share audio and control across larger conference installations. A front panel USB connection provides access to the processing and control functions or to play back content during conferences.
• 12 balanced inputs, each configurable as mic or line inputs, via Phoenix connectors
• Acoustic Echo Cancellation and phantom power available on all 12 inputs
• 8 balanced outputs, via Phoenix connectors
• VoIP (SIP) and POTS support via dual RJ11 connectors
• 12 GPIO connections
• Control via RS-232, RS-485 or Ethernet
• Audio Expansion Interface allows up to four Claro frames to be connected via Ethernet
• Full-featured DSP capabilities, including EQ, Filters, Mixers, Delays, Compressor/Limiters, AGC, Meter, Signal Generators and AEC
• Front panel USB connection
• Single rack space
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Altinex Introduces TNP155/TNP155S Tilt ‘N Plug Jr. Interconnect Boxes
Easy access to AC power and charging USB
Altinex has announced the new TNP155 and TNP155S Tilt ‘N Plug Jr. interconnect boxes, providing one-touch access to dual AC power receptacles plus two charging USB ports and available in both standard and custom configurations.
As a tabletop connection device, the Altinex TNP155 (brushed black finish) and TNP155S (clear brushed aluminum) are highly functional tools for accessing conventional AC power outlets for the purpose of powering, for example, a notebook PC. Similarly, the dual USB ports are capable of charging smartphones, tablets, and similar USB devices. Further, the boxes can be customized with a wide variety of custom snap-in assemblies.
The input plate of the TNP155/TNP155S is accessed by pushing down on the top cover. The unit then auto-tilts open with assistance from an internal pneumatic spring. Once open, the input plate remains securely in place. The input plate is hidden, or closed, by pressing down on the top cover until the latching mechanism engages.
In its closed position, the top panel lies flush with the table’s top, held in place by the latching mechanism. This secure fit also means less chance for paperwork to catch the TNP155’s edges when being passed across a table.
“Our TNP155 and TNP155S Tilt ‘N Plug Jr. interconnect boxes are the ideal choice for creating a quick and convenient means of powering a wide range of devices typically used in today’s business and education environments,” says Grant Cossey, Altinex VP of sales. “With two AC power outlets, meeting attendees can easily power their laptop computers while those people with smartphones and tablets can charge their devices without having to place their valuable equipment on the floor—where it can easily be stepped on and damaged. With the quick, easy access these units afford combined with their elegant design; the TNP155 and TNP155S create a high-tech visual aesthetic that compliments the décor of any meeting or presentation space.”
The Altinex TNP155 and TNP155S interconnect boxes ship with 6-foot USB cables, 9-10 foot power cables, and a 5-volt, 5-port USB charging unit to power the USB ports from underneath the table. Both the TNP155 and TNP155S carry an MSRP of $325, and will be available in late June.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
10 Signs You’re An A/V Geek
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an A/V geek. I have only spent my entire career in or on the periphery of the A/V industry.
I mean, A/V geeks push the cart around the school. They wear bifocals with tape around the nose and they are very susceptible to bullies’ wedgies.
However, over the years I have gotten to know a lot about A/V. This tiny industry is chock full of acronyms, slang and terminology that nobody would know if they’re not around it every day.
Does knowing these terms make you an A/V guy (gal)? Here are 10 A/V terms and concepts that only an A/V geek would know.
RGB/RGBS/RGBHV - Even if someone was to know what they mean, they don’t have a clue what “Sync” is.
DSP - Only A/V folks know it, and most of us still don’t really get it.
1080i vs. 1080p - My favorite pastime is going to Best Buy and asking the associate what the real differences are between 1080i and 1080p. Turns out they only look like A/V geeks.
YUV vs. YPrPb vs. Component - Yep, they are all the same. I’m sure we set it up that way to confuse people.
RS 232/422/485 - Perhaps some early computer/IT folks know it, but only A/V professionals are still using it.
A/D & D/A - Is this an attention disorder?
Matrix Switcher - Is that a movie mash up featuring Keanu Reeves?
VTC/VC/UC - Although no one has successfully defined “unified communications,” we surely all have an opinion of what it is.
Keystone - Isn’t that a really bad beer?
Crestron/Extron/AMX - We commercial integrators may think these are big companies, but if you aren’t in this industry you have no idea what these companies are and what they do.
The list of nerdisms could go on, but the point is simple: If you know more than five of these, then you are an A/V geek. (Although, the fact that you are reading this magazine is already a dead giveaway).
So I guess I am an A/V geek after all. In actuality, minus the wedgies, I’m OK with that.
Daniel L. Newman currently serves as CEO of EOS, a new company focused on offering cloud-based management solutions for IT and A/V integrators. He has spent his entire career in various integration industry roles. Most recently, Newman was CEO of United Visual where he led all day to day operations for the 60-plus-year-old integrator.
Go to Commercial Integrator for more content on A/V, installed and commercial systems.
Understanding The Nuances Of Crest Factor
The crest factor of an audio signal is the dB difference between the peaks and the RMS value of the signal. The RMS (Root Mean Square) is defined as the “heating value” of the signal - the voltage that would generate the same heat as a DC (Direct Current) signal, over the same time.
The RMS value of a complex signal must be read with an RMS voltmeter. Alternatively, the signal can be digitally sampled and the samples summed to yield the RMS value. As such, the RMS value of a complex signal can be thought of as the “area under the curve” of a signal as viewed in a wave editor software application.
This can be accomplished with most wave editors. One of my favorites is Audacity, which happens to be freeware.
Some typical crest factors are shown below. It is of importance because the crest factor of the signal is one parameter that determines how much actual power is delivered from amplifier to loudspeaker.
Since the main enemy of loudspeaker longevity is heat, one must be careful to stay below the long-term average power rating of the loudspeaker. In light of this, it can be seen why a power amplifier’s actual power output is dependent on the RMS value of the voltage waveform that it is amplifying.
A low crest factor signal will deliver more power (and more heat) to a loudspeaker than a high crest factor signal, even though both are played over the same amplifier. Since a voltage waveform has a crest factor (in dB), this value is useful in determining the appropriate amplifier size for a given loudspeaker and desired level. Here are the steps:
1. Determine the continuous power rating of your power amplifier. Manufacturer’s do extensive testing and are usually glad to provide this information.
2. Convert this rating to a level in dBW.
dBW = l0log W
where W is the continuous power rating
3. Since this is most often measured with a sine wave (3 dB crest factor), you can double the continuous power rating to estimate the “peak” power rating of the amplifier. In dB, you simply add 3 dB to the number that you just calculated.
Important: This is a number that we will use for computation purposes only. Your amplifier cannot sustain its output at this rating but should be able to provide this level for short-term transients.
4. Estimate the crest factor of your signal. For music systems, this usually ranges from 6 dB (very compressed music) to over 20 dB.
5. Subtract the crest factor from the peak rating of the amplifier. This will be the continuous power in dBW that you are delivering to your loudspeaker. If you feel more comfortable working with watts, you can convert dBW back to watts:
Some examples are in order:
1. Suppose that you have a loudspeaker rated at 100 watts continuous and you wish to select an amplifier to use with it. The program material will be heavily com pressed music (6 dB crest factor). This means that you need 6 dB of headroom above the continuous output power of the amplifier.
An amplifier rated at 200 watts continuous (+23 dBW) can output 3 dB more on peaks (+26 dBW). Subtracting our crest factor (6 dB) leaves +20 dBW (100 watts). So, a 200-watt amplifier should be able to provide 100 watts continuous with 6 dB left for peaks.
2. Suppose you have an amplifier rated at 120 watts continuous. How much clean continuous power can it deliver to a loudspeaker when fed with a 20 dB crest factor signal?
Converting the amplifier rating into a level, we have 20.8 dBW. We can add 3 dB since the amplifier was rated using a sine wave (+23.8 dBW). Subtracting the crest factor of the signal (23.8 - 20) leaves 3.8 dBW. Converting back to watts we have 2.4 watts.
In conclusion, while there are several possible approaches to the problem, the most straightforward is to work down from the peak output wattage of the amplifier using the crest factor of the signal.
Of course, it’s always advisable to use a larger amplifier than actually required, as long as the continuous power rating of the loudspeaker is not exceeded.
Pat & Brenda Brown lead SynAudCon, conducting audio seminars and workshops online and around the world. For more information go to www.synaudcon.com.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Rane Upgrades HAL3 Digital Processor To New HAL3s
Offers 10 dB better dynamic range and adds Rane’s mic/line/line-plus input stages
Rane has upgraded the HAL3 digital signal processor with the release of the new HAL3s, which offers 10 dB better dynamic range and adds Rane’s mic/line/line-plus input stages that support a dynamic microphone, condenser mic, balanced line input, or automatically monoed stereo unbalanced inputs.
Also added is another RAD port, making the HAL3s a 6-input, 10-output, 100 percent drag and drop device.
With Halogen 4.1’s customizable HTML web controls for iPad or smart phone control, the HAL3s widens applications solutions when more sources, zones and/or I/O matrixes are needed in house of worship, retail, zoned, paging, corporate AV and background music systems.
—DSP contains 2400 MIPS of processing power
—Ethernet 1000BASE-T with Zeroconf service discovery protocol for easy set up
—Two analog mic/line-plus inputs on Euroblock connectors (green area). Mic/line-plus Inputs accept a balanced line, or mono left and right unbalanced lines, configured in Halogen software
—Six analog balanced line outputs on Euroblock connectors (orange area)
—Front panel signal and overload indicators for all inputs and outputs
—Two RAD Ports, each Port 2 in x 2 out plus control channel (blue areas). RJ-45 shielded Cat-5e connections up to 150 meters (500 feet)
—Four digital remote ports (brown and blue areas) [DR can connect to RAD port]. RJ-45 shielded Cat-5e connections up to 300 meters (1,000 feet)
—Four logic inputs on mini-Euroblock 6-pin connectors (gray area)
—Internal passive pull-up
—Unit size: 1U, 1.75 H x 19 W x 8.25 D (inches)
—Unit Weight: 5 pounds
PreSonus Delivers Dante Networking For StudioLive AI Loudspeakers
New SL-Dante-SPK upgrade option provides one Ethercon connection for Dante audio networking and remote control
PreSonus StudioLive AI-series Active Integration loudspeakers can be Dante-enabled via the new SL-Dante-SPK upgrade option.
The SL-Dante-SPK card houses one Ethercon connection for Dante audio networking and remote control via the free SL Room Control application for StudioLive AI-series loudspeakers.
Dante-enabled StudioLive AI-series 3-way active loudspeakers allow users to create a complete, networked audio system with any Dante-enabled mixer using a standard 1 GB Ethernet switch and Audinate’s Dante digital-media networking technology, which self-configuring, plug-and-play digital audio networking.
Users can also connect non-Dante mixers, such as a first-generation PreSonus StudioLive, to the analog inputs of a Dante-equipped AI loudspeaker and then broadcast the signal over the Dante network using Cat-5 cables.
The Dante upgrade works with StudioLive 312AI, 315AI, and 328AI loudspeakers and the StudioLive 18sAI subwoofer. It will be available from PreSonus dealers in August 2014 with an expected MAP/street price of $199.
Allen & Heath Releases New Portable Audio Rack For GLD & Qu Series Mixers (Includes Video)
Outfitted with 16 mic preamps with phantom power indicators and 8 XLR line outs
Allen & Heath has introduced the AB168, a portable audio IO rack designed primarily as a stage box for live performance, providing a direct connection to the main mixing system.
Outfitted with 16 mic preamps with phantom power indicators and 8 XLR line outs, the AB168 runs on Allen & Heath’s proprietary dSNAKE protocol and is compatible with both the Qu and GLD mixer ranges, complementing the existing 19-inch rack IO dSNAKE products, the AR2412 and AR84.
Adding an AB168 to a Qu or GLD system allows the user to position some or all I/O up to 120 meters (more than 300 feet) from the mixer. The unit connects over a single Cat-5 cable to the Qu/GLD mixer or AR2412 AudioRack via a secure dSNAKE EtherCon port. A second EtherCon port is provided for daisy-chaining to another AB168 box or connection of a ME personal mixing system.
As with Allen & Heath’s other dSNAKE products, the device also auto updates its firmware to synchronize with the system.
The rack’s rugged design, including rubber bumpers, renders it roadworthy and allows it to be placed on the stage floor during performances. The unit can also be rack mounted for installation purposes.
Allen & Heath
Pro Co Data Introduces New DURACAT Solid-Core Cat-6 Cables
Designed for connectivity between consoles, amplifiers, DMX lighting control and digital snakes, among other computer data signal equipment.
Pro Co Data has introduced new DURACAT solid-core Cat-6 cables for digital transmission of data signals in portable, permanent and live audio/data applications. It can be used for connectivity between consoles, amplifiers, DMX lighting control and digital snakes, among other computer data signal equipment.
Available in single (DURACAT), double (DURACAT2X) and four-time (DURACAT4X) run options, each solution can be custom cut from one to 330 feet.
The interiors are comprised of one, two or four 23AWG solid bare copper cables encased in .225-inch jackets for use with standard RJ45 terminations, such as the Neutrik EtherCon Series RJ45 connector.
The cables are housed in a sturdy, flame-retardant, thermoplastic PVC outer jacket and .3-inch sub cable jacket, both of which ensure enhanced durability for portable applications and harsh environments.
Each option is compatible with 10/100/100BASE-T Ethernet, token ring, Dante, CobraNet and ATM Coax over twisted pair. Additionally, the DURACAT2X and DURACAT4X are ITA/EIA Category 6-ROHS compliant.
Like all Pro Co Data products, DURACAT Solid-Core Cat-6 Cables are made in the U.S.
Pro Co Data
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Core Brands Debuts Furman P-8 PRO C Power Conditioner With Advanced Power Management
Nine-outlet unit outfitted with Series Multi-Stage Protection (SMP) and Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT)
Core Brands has introduced the Furman P-8 PRO C, a new power conditioner joining the Classic Series 20Amp and outfitted with Furman technologies such as Series Multi-Stage Protection (SMP) and Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT).
Housed in a rugged 1RU chassis with a minimalistic front panel, the nine-outlet P-8 PRO C is designed for power conditioning applications where front panel metering and illumination are not required.
SMP surge protection circuit technology’s safely absorbs, clamps and dissipates transient voltages, helping to eliminate service calls.
The device’s over-voltage circuitry (EVS) protects against accidental connections to 208 or 240 volts AC by shutting off incoming power until over-voltage is completely corrected.
LiFT provides filtration against excessive AC line noise, fostering optimal performance without any leakage to ground.
“Our new P-8 PRO C classic series power conditioner for audio/video professionals builds on the success of Furman’s renowned P-8 PRO II,” says John Benz, director of power and accessories for Core Brands. “Using our power protection and filtering capabilities, the P-8 PRO C features our venerable Series Multi-Stage Protection circuit as well as Furman’s exclusive Linear Filter Technology, creating advanced and comprehensive transient voltage suppression and conditioning for any professional A/V application.”
BSS Audio Unveils Soundweb Contrio Platform For Networked Audio Applications
Provides enhanced system control capability and audio routing flexibility for a variety of applications
Harman’s BSS Audio introduced the Soundweb Contrio networked control and audio distribution platform at InfoComm 2014.
The Soundweb Contrio platform and its two initial products, the Contrio server and Contrio wall controller range, are the first within the Soundweb Contrio family that will ultimately provide enhanced system control capability and audio routing flexibility for a variety of applications.
These and all future Soundweb Contrio products will be backward compatible with existing BSS Audio Soundweb London devices, providing a comprehensive choice of audio processing, distribution and control devices in a single system solution.
The 1RU Soundweb Contrio server is powered by an embedded iteration of Harman’s HiQnet software. It provides advanced system control, system management and media server functionality at a central point of the network. It offers a comprehensive logic and scripting environment, enables system self-healing and error management, networked audio message playback and system-wide preset and media scheduling.
The Contrio wall controller lineup features four models that, in addition to advanced multiple zone control, can be employed in a room-combining and splitting environment. The controllers are available in white or black, US and EU form factors and provide visual feedback for end-users to easily manage and adjust audio operation in a specific environment.
“We developed these products to allow integrators to continue deploying the complete lineup of BSS Audio Soundweb London devices and Harman HiQnet Software they have come to depend upon for installed systems, while also leveraging the capability of enhanced control and system monitoring through the first set of our powerful Contrio products,” states Iain Gregory, market manager, installed sound at Harman Signal Processing.
The Soundweb Contrio platform continues the expansion of Harman’s Architectural Media Systems, an installed sound solution which also includes components from Crown amplifiers and is powered by HiQnet Audio Architect software.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Bose Professional Announces New Accessory Cards For ControlSpace & PowerMatch Components
Both input and output cards expand functionality of both platforms
Bose Professional continues to expand the functionality of its ControlSpace and PowerMatch digital audio processing and amplifier systems with several new input and output accessory cards.
The new ControlSpace cards, each for the ESP-00 II engineered sound processor, include the ControlSpace 4-Ch Mic/Line Input Card II; ControlSpace 4-Ch Line Output Card II and ControlSpace General Purpose I/O (GPIO) Card II. The cards expand the interconnection options available for the Bose ESP-00 II, making the processor suitable for a wider range of installation applications.
The ESP-00 II processor provides eight available I/O expansion slots that accommodate any combination of analog and digital cards, and supports up to a total of 64 bi-directional channels.
The ControlSpace Mic/Line Input Card II offers >117 dB dynamic range, improved distortion and crosstalk performance, with adjustable gain up to +64 dB to accommodate both microphone and line level analog sources. The ControlSpace Line Output Card II offers >115 dB dynamic range and is capable of +24 dBu analog output.
The ControlSpace GPIO II 8x8 expansion card provides enhanced general purpose analog and digital connectivity for easier integration with output devices such as LEDs and relays. Additionally, the GPIO II card will replace the standard GPIO card that ships with the ESP-00 II processor. Up to two GPIO II cards may be fitted. These new cards will be available starting September 2014.
For PowerMatch configurable power amplifiers, Bose Pro is introducing the PowerMatch AES3 8-Channel Input Card in response to customer requests for a direct connection from digital audio mixing consoles. PowerMatch amplifiers continue to show versatility, and the introduction of the AES3 card expands that even further; the new card represents the fourth option card available for the PowerMatch amplifier line, joining Dante, CobraNet and ESPLink audio networking options already available.
The PowerMatch AES3 card offers “thru” connectors for fail-safe daisy-chaining to multiple PowerMatch amplifiers, and will be available October 2014.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Cloud Networking Provider Arista Networks Joines AVnu Alliance
Further pushes momentum for the growing collection of interoperable AVB devices through AVnu-certification.
Arista Networks is the newest member to join AVnu Alliance, the industry consortium that certifies Audio Video Bridging (AVB) products for interoperability. Arista’s membership marks the continuing growth of AVnu Alliance and further pushes momentum for the growing collection of interoperable AVB devices through AVnu-certification.
“Arista is thrilled to become a member of AVnu Alliance the only organization that is driving open, standards-based AV networking via Ethernet,” says vice president of business development and alliances Ed Chapman. “With the backing of AVnu, we hope to spread the implementation of AVB as a next generation solution for the audio video industry by leveraging our best of breed switches and low-cost Ethernet economics.”
As a member of the Alliance, Arista plans to have its AVB networking product lines certified to help foster an open and interoperable standard within the industry. Arista has previously showcased the ability to transport high-quality real-time media with accurate time synchronization using AVB on next generation switches. The implementation of AVB on Arista hardware has the potential to greatly improve the flexibility, precision, visibility and price point of A/V networking.
“As the AVnu Alliance continues to grow and drive AVnu-certification, we welcome the addition of a key provider of networking equipment including Ethernet switches and routers,” says Rick Kreifeldt, AVnu Alliance president and chair. “Arista Networks’ participation will provide the ability to further support simple, reliable A/V using AVB with enabled switches and help us continue to grow the AVnu-certified ecosystem.”
AVnu Alliance membership now stands at over 70 members.
Arista Networks was founded to deliver software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data center and computing environments. Arista’s 10/40/100 GbE switches provide scalability, robustness, and price-performance, with over 2,000 customers and more than two million cloud networking ports being deployed worldwide. At the core of Arista’s platform is EOS, an advanced network operating system.
Furman Introducing BlueBOLT Management For Contractor Series, Celebrating 40th Anniversary
BB-RS232 adaptor brings BlueBOLT energy management to the Furman Contractor Series
At InfoComm 2014 this week in Las Vegas, Core Brands is marking the 40th anniversary of its Furman brand, a premier provider of power purification and management solutions. Founded in 1974, Furman continues to serve the professional A/V power conditioning and distribution market, and is now delivering energy management solutions through the cloud-based BlueBOLT platform.
At the show, Furman is presenting the BB-RS232 adaptor which brings BlueBOLT energy management to the Furman Contractor Series of products, beginning with the Furman CN-1800S, CN-2400S and CN-3600S E. The platform gives commercial integrators the solutions already benefitting the residential CI market, including remote re-boots that substantially reduce service calls.
“The world has changed immensely in 40 years, and our products have never been more relevant than they are today — especially as companies and individuals become more connected and reliant on electronic systems to help them work, play, communicate and live,” states John Benz, director of power and accessories at Core Brands. “As electronics become more mission-critical than ever, keeping systems healthy is not just about power. We’re committed to delivering a solid foundation of power, energy and network management that creates a reliable infrastructure for our customers. We are grateful to our loyal customers for trusting Furman over the past 40 years, and we fully intend to continue innovating on their behalf.”
Benz adds, “Furman’s long history of engineering power products has provided us with a rich knowledge base and legacy to continue our tradition of innovating and building better products year in, year out. It’s challenging to maintain market leadership for as long as we have. We owe our success to our focus on listening to and understanding our customers’ needs, and then applying our expertise to develop products that meet their requirements even in the most demanding applications.”
Focusrite Participating In OCA Alliance Demonstration At InfoComm 2014
Showcasing the benefits of standards-based Open Control Architecture
Focusrite RedNet Ethernet-networked audio interfaces are a component in the OCA Alliance demonstration at the upcoming InfoComm 2014 show in Las Vegas (booth C11547), which is showcasing the benefits of standards-based Open Control Architecture.
The demonstration will show some of the first products implementing OCA from its member companies. The specific interoperabilities addressed in the demonstration include a Focusrite RedNet 4 Ethernet networked studio interface, a Bosch Audio Processing Switch (APS), and a d&b D80 amplifier interoperating and being controlled by a software application developed by OCA Alliance members.
Also in the demonstration are two other capabilities: a d&b R1 remote control software controlling the d&b D80 amplifier, along with a Focusrite control program controlling the RedNet 4.
Jeff Berryman of Bosch, the OCA Alliance’s technical workgroup chair, said the various equipment is interoperating as expected. “I am pleased to report that the demonstration is a major success,” he said. “When one controller changes something, the addressed device changes the value accordingly and the other controllers monitor the changes correctly.”
“The InfoComm show is a great opportunity to present the results of our efforts to the industry and to the public,” adds OCA marketing workgroup chair Marc Weber of d&b audiotechnik. “The public InfoComm booth marks the next stage in the evolution of the architecture, which is now becoming more tangible for the user with the first products from these manufacturers entering the market.”
QSC Audio Helps Australia Casino Refurbishment Project Achieve Savings
Core 500i-based Q-Sys network saves 15-20 percent on installation costs
A recent audio system upgrade at the Crown Spas complex in Melbourne, Australia saw Digital Living, a Melbourne-based AV integrator, help reduce costs by an estimated 15 to 20 percent by installing a QSC Audio Q-Sys Core 500i processor at the heart of the system.
In addition to the Core 500i processor, the Crown Spas complex audio upgrade also utilizes 22 QSC TSC-3 touchscreens and 15 QSC CX254 4-channel amplifiers. The Crown complex, located on the south bank of the Yarra river, incorporates one of the largest casinos in the world, as well as three hotels, luxury shopping facilities, several nightclubs, a cinema, various restaurants and two spas, including the five-star Crown Spas.
The brief for the new audio system required the routing of four in-house audio streams from the Crown Casino’s main AV control centre to over 40 different zones in the Crown Spas, via a second switch in the luxury Crown Towers hotel. The system also had to integrate the Crown complex’s fire/evacuation Emergency Warning & Intercommunication System (EWIS).
In addition, the system needed to be bi-directional, allowing the spa managers the option of connecting iPods to provide custom soundtracks in the gym and spa rooms. Audio from inputs in the spas and gym areas had to be routable back to the proposed audio management platform for the complex, and accessible from the main control center if required.
Due to the sheer size of the Crown complex, the audio network extends over considerable distances. From the audio inputs in the main control centre to the hotel is over 500 metres (1600 feet), and from the main control center to the various spa and gym rooms is over another 100 metres (300 feet).
When Digital Living first quoted for the refurbishment, the labor costs alone were considerable just to lay all of the proposed network cabling. Much of the existing Crown complex AV infrastructure is connected by fiber-optic cabling, and to similarly specify the new systems at the spa was going to be expensive.
“Giles Brading at TAG, the Australian QSC distributor, suggested we try looking at the numbers again with a Q-Sys system,” explains Matt Price, director at Digital Living. “When we did, we found we could make massive savings.”
Because Q-Sys networks can utilize “off-the-shelf” Ethernet wiring and switches, much of the cost associated with traditional audio cabling and the labor required to install it could be struck from the original quote — and because of the distances involved, this amounted to a large saving.
In the completed Q-Sys network, audio is still routed to and from the Core 500i processor in the main AV control centre to the Crown Towers hotel via fibre-optic cable, but existing fibre connections were used for this leg. From the hotel data racks onwards, all audio is routed on Cat-6 networking cable laid by Digital Living, which connects the Q-Sys I/O frames, TSC-3 touchscreens and CX254 amplifers in the spa and gym areas.
“I was very impressed at the saving we achieved,” continues Price. “We have used QSC amps and speakers on a lot of projects in recent years, but tended to use other products for the audio management layer. We had looked at using Q-Sys on smaller projects, but we hadn’t proposed it for an installation on this scale before. This project made us look into it in more detail, and made us into total converts. The amount of bi-directional traffic that’s passing through those Ethernet connections at the Spa and across the Crown complex is pretty impressive.
“The individual components, such as the Core 500i processor, were a little more expensive than other equipment we have used in the past, but the investment in it was well worth it. Because of the complexity of the wiring and infrastructure required to run this network over this large area, when you looked at the costs of the system as a whole, there was a significant saving with Q-Sys — in the region of 15 to 20 percent to our customer on this project. Given this outcome, and the features and versatility of Q-Sys, it’s now developed into our primary audio networking product.”