“The management did not want to have any speakers visible at all,” says Shawn Hansson, CEO and Founder of Logic Integration in Lone Tree, Colorado, the systems integrator on the project. All speakers – there are well over 80 of them – would have to be ceiling-mounted or camouflaged, such as eight Niles Audio rock-covered outdoor speakers. Even the four flat screen displays are on stalks in large lobby-area planters, as thought they there put there by arborists rather than integrators. The other main challenge was the fact that the hotel would remain open throughout the renovation, so the installations had to be done in four phases.
The hotel’s ballrooms were the first to undergo renovation. With no light switches allowed on walls, Crestron 5-inch active-matrix touchscreen panels with audio and video would control the lighting. “They were programmed to allow each ballroom to be configured AS A ONE LARGE BALLROOM, SLIT IN HALVES, in thirds or in quarters, each subsection with its own lighting and audio control,” Hansson explains. This same grid would also control the microphone LAYOUT and mini-stereo jacks FOR LAPTOP COMPUTER USAGE installed in plates on all four walls, also allowing input levels to be controlled from the same touchpanel. EVEN THOUGH LOGIC HAS ITS OWN “IN-HOUSE PROGRAMMER, the programming became complicated enough that Logic Integration brought in subcontractor Chris Jensen, a certified Crestron programmer, to do the TOUCHSCREEN LAYOUT design and code it. “It was a lot of work on that end, but the result is a very clear, easy-to-use GUI WHICH REPRESENTED A MAP on the other end for the client,” says Hansson. THE ballroom has an Allan & Heath Mix Wizard W23 14:4:2 dynamic compact mixer with 4 group audio WHICH IS ROUTED INTO A CRESTRON 8×8 MATRIX SWITCHER.
The ballrooms’ NEW fluorescent lighting WAS REQUESTED TO BE placed on dimmers. But since fluorescent cannot be dimmed beyond a certain point, APROX 50%, incandescent wall sconces were also added and tied to the Crestron control system. Any time fluorescents AND HIGH VOLTAGE WIRING are around, the audio cables need secure shielding and, in this case, Windy City 16-2 SPEAKER CABLE and SHIELDED line-level microphone and speaker cable were run. A change in the structural design AFTER THE PROJECT HAD BEEN DESIGNED also meant that the 18 JBL Control 26C speakers, powered by 3 Crown CTS 1200 amplifiers, had to have their installation method adjusted – with the original hard points and ROUGH-IN BOXES WERE no longer available, the crew used aircraft wire to secure them to ROOF SUPPORTS. Acoustically, large ballrooms can be difficult. But Hansson says that both the highly directional ceiling speakers plus the acoustical ceiling tile were helped by the padded hanging light fixtures the interior design had chosen in large part because of their deadening properties.
Speaking of acoustics, the lobby has a large sitting area inside a 25 FT TALL atrium illuminated during the day by large window panes at ground level and above. THE SPEAKERS WERE MOUNTED STANDARD CEILING TILE WITH FLIP OUT WINGS, SINCE THEY WERE SMALLER THAN THE BALLROOM SPEAKERS. Including the adjacent restaurant, the space was divided into eight audio zones and each zone is programmed to start at a CERTAIN VOLUME LEVEL. FOR EXAMPLE THE RESTURANT DINING AREA STARTED AT A 20-percent volume level, increasable in increments of 10 to a maximum of 60 percent of maximum volume. “This limits the volume that the system can hit but still gives the staff the ability to let the background music keep up with the ebb and flow of conversational noise in the lobby and bar,” says Hansson. BUT, AT THE BAR, WHEN THE STAFF TURNS ON THE AUDIO, IT WILL START AT 50%. Audio is distributed using a Crestron CNX-PAD8A 8 source/8 room enhanced stereo audio distribution systems with a Crestron CP2E Control processor with Ethernet TIED INTO THE OTHER SUBSYSTEMS FOR EASY PROGRAM CHANGES AND THE ABILITY TO DO GLOBAL EVENTS, ALL ON.
The restaurant has a similar speaker and touchscreen arrangement as the rest of the lobby control system, which is further programmed with different automatic volume levels for breakfast, lunch and dinner sittings. Music is supplied from a DMX server in the control room area. The island bar BETWEEN THE RESTURANT AND SITTING AREA presented its own challenge — covered in stainless steel for the top and backsplash, the integrators had to coordinate the wiring of that area with the construction crew building the bar, carefully drilling with a carbide-tipped drill bit and threading the cabling inside to reach speakers 2 OF THE SPEAKERS ARE LOCATED IN THE BRUSHED STAINLESS CEILING.” Basically, we were running the wiring as they were building the bar, with them stopping construction of the next section while were wired the one they had just finished,” Hansson explains.
A final section that received AV was the portico in front of the lobby entrance, a covered driveway with JBL Control 25 speakers with a weather coat applied and set into the STUCOO concrete overhang. Between the ballrooms and the spacious atrium lobby, the project required SOME home runs as long as 500-700 feet for both audio and video cabling to the control room in the LOWER FLOOR CLOSET. Trenches were dug in the concrete flooring for conduit to be run horizontally, with cabling pulled through walls for vertical runs to ceiling speakers. A Key Digital distribution amplifier system amped the signals on the longest runs. Component HD video was used; Hansson says at the time the project was specified, HDMI was deemed too expensive and did not yet have the ability to handle runs that long. The video signal runs from conduit up through the mounting poles to the is four LG 42” Plasma screens.
“I would have to say that the key to getting the project done right was in coordinating all of the different trades working on all of the various phases of the job.” Says Hansson. IT WAS ALSO NICE THAT THIS PARTICULAR PROJECT WAS ONLY 6 MILES FROM OUR CORPORATE OFFICE, SO SERVICE WILL ALSO BE FAIRLY EASY TO ACCOMMODATE. “The hotel had to stay open and functional throughout the entire process,” necessitating working late nights and as out of the way of guests as possible. “Pulling wire in a busy, working public space is always the most challenging environment you can be in.”