McCauley loudspeakers used at Snowflake Lane in Bellevue, WA.Bellevue, WA (December 18, 2007)–If you live around Seattle, you’ve probably gone shopping at some point at Bellevue Square. The 180-store shopping mall, eight miles east of Seattle, nets more than 16 million visitors annually, and what’s more, the average customer spends over $125 across two hours per visit, well above the national average. Over $600 is spent for every square foot of retail space each year–far more than the national average of $386. Helping draw shoppers to the area are a slew of annual holiday parades and events, and to pump those up a bit, David May at Impulse Audio, Inc. recently overhauled the audio system there by adding a distributed system of 100 McCauley AC75 loudspeakers.
Snowflake Lane has been a tradition in the City of Bellevue since 2005, beginning just before Thanksgiving and ending on December 31st. Described in the past as a “one-of-a-kind” spectacle for children of all ages, Displaymaker Productions pulls out all stops, featuring large scale drums with lifesized toy soldiers lining the street, animated snowflake lights decorating poles and 36 snow machines making childhood dreams of a snowy holiday season a reality for an evening. Throughout the span of the transformation of Bellevue Square, carolers, drummer parades and even a visit from a jolly old fat man are all part of the festivities.
When the holiday event first started, management rented stacks in a traditional live sound configuration. “We began using a system that we knew was going to be temporary,” explains Displaymaker Productions co-owner Byron Trostle. A problem was that the system was as far as 100ft away to some listeners, and the background music would get lost under the sound of the live performers in the parade show.
This year, Impulse Audio designed a solution to bring back the merrymaking tone with a localized distributed system which covers the entire zone. Spaced 15 feet apart, the small enclosures cover sister-shopping centers Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Center, all three of which makes up Snowflake Lane. “The AC75 was chosen in order to cover the audience directly with concentrated local coverage,” said David. “Instead of having the speakers so far away, we wanted the families in attendance to be able to hear more than just the drummers.”
At May’s request, McCauley Sound engineers modified the input panels with Neutrik NL4 speak-on connectors, allowing the normally permanent AC75’s to be installed and removed quickly. “That was the key to this whole thing,” recalls May. “The installation of the speakers went in so well. We could not have done this job within budget if McCauley had not been able to customize the loudspeakers for application. We were able to get them all up easily and efficiently.”
“Everyone was really surprised at what a difference this makes… now that we have such an excellent sound quality for the event,” said Byron, “the decision makers are considering keeping the system in place year round.”