A new live music venue at Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, the Whiskey Licker Up Saloon, has been outfitted with a sound reinforcement system headed by PreSonus CDL loudspeakers by Deftal Audio Video Solutions and partners Alliance AV Group.
The Whiskey Licker Up Saloon resides on the second floor of the oldest part of the building that formerly served as executive offices until 2019, when current owners TLC Casino Enterprises began the renovation. The new venue offers a stage, a large main bar, a separate circular bar, and a wall of glass doors that retract to form an open-air balcony overlooking the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall and 1st Street Stage.
“The Whiskey Licker Up Saloon is a long, rectangular space, and it’s not very wide,” explains Alliance AV Group account executive Jim Chase. “At one end is the entrance from the casino/hotel, and at the other is the glass wall over Fremont Street and the circular bar. When you enter, the stage is on the left, about 40 percent of the way to the glass wall, facing a big bar on the right. The challenge for the stage sound system was to provide enough level over a fairly wide coverage area to handle the dance floor and reach patrons throughout the room.
“It made sense to use PreSonus CDL constant directivity loudspeakers because they’re smooth and even and cover a wide area, yet they aren’t as loud in the bar area as other systems might have been, so the bartenders can hear the drink orders,” Chase continues. “We pole mounted one CDL12 full-range loudspeaker with one CDL18s subwoofer on each side, placed about 16 feet apart. Each CDL12 covers 120 degrees horizontally; between them, the two sides cover 180 degrees plus, with some overlap.”
Deftal Audio Video Solutions CEO and owner Ron Cabildo adds, “The general manager came to hear the CDLs in our showroom, and right away he was impressed with the quality of the sound. To close the deal, during construction, we brought CDLs to the room so the Binion’s team could hear the dispersion. The space was nothing but concrete. We brought in a guitar player and a DJ, and the CDLs occupied the space perfectly. The sound was so clear, and the client was very happy with it. As we installed the system, we did more testing. We brought in a DJ, a soloist, and bands of various sizes, and the PreSonus CDLs were still perfect for the space. Everybody loved them.”
The finished room doesn’t have acoustic treatment, Chase notes. “There are some wood surfaces on the wall but nothing highly absorbent. That’s the beauty of the PreSonus CDL system: It’s evenly dispersed, and it has eight 2-inch drivers instead of a horn, which really makes a difference in the quality of the sound. It’s very smooth across the entire listening area, and it’s not harsh at all, which is really important. I worked on a study in the late 1980s and early ’90s in which we found that women are especially sensitive to distortion. If we provided a really clean sound system, we could improve women’s ‘stay in the bar’ time by an hour or even an hour and a half. That sold about 20% more alcohol, which makes a management team really happy. That was part of the strategy I wanted to bring to Binion’s.”
The system backbone is a Dante network managed by a Symetrix Prism 16×16 DSP. The network feeds the PreSonus CDLs, along with pendant and ceiling speakers in other parts of the room, enabling the system to deliver background music during the day. “The CDLs are always in operation,” says Chase. “They play quiet background music during the day, and they ramp up in the evening.” Performers can plug into a Dante-enabled front-of-house console and an Attero Tech unDX2IO+ Dante-enabled, networked audio wall plate.
Along with audio from indoor sources, audio from the outdoor 1st Street Stage’s front-of-house console can be converted to Dante, sent to the Prism DSP, and routed to the saloon’s speaker system. The Deftal and Alliance AV Group team also installed a Visionary Solutions video network and cameras that can capture shows on the indoor stage or the outdoor stage, so patrons can watch the shows onscreen, as well as from the balcony and glass doors.
The Whiskey Licker Up Saloon project presented many challenges. “During the installation hurdles, the customer service and support at PreSonus was unbelievable,” Cabildo concludes. “The PreSonus team consistently helped us to get through. Not only do they make great products but their customer service is impeccable, and their videos are very helpful. Usually after you buy and install a product from a manufacturer, they forget about you. But PreSonus calls to make sure everything is okay. They still call us to ask how the system is doing. It matters.”