CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA:The Hyatt Regency Calgary is one of the finest hotels in the Canadian city for which it is named and, as such, hosts a tremendous volume of extravagant and top-drawer affairs. The hotel's nine combinable ballrooms and six combinable meeting rooms are constantly in use for business meetings, weddings, and other events. However, until recently, the Hyatt's management and staff struggled to control the audio system that delivered sound reinforcement to those spaces. It had been a challenge from day one and only became more frustrating as time passed. While in the process of undergoing a seven million dollar renovation to the ballrooms and meeting rooms, hotel management made the decision that it was also time for a major change in regards to the sound and video systems. Hyatt management asked Calgary's DBI Systems Integration to design and install the new systems. Using Symetrix SymNet DSP technology, Symetrix SymVue user interface technology, and Symetrix ARC-SWK wall panel remotes, DBI Systems Integration provided an audio system that was simultaneously comprehensive enough to allow infinitely flexible use of the event spaces but simple enough to be controlled even by non-technical staff.
"The old system was first-generation digital technology, with one manufacturer for the DSP and one manufacturer for the user control," said Jerry Van Dyke, owner of DBI Systems Integration. "The interfacing between the sets of technology was very cumbersome and unreliable at best and the hotel had spent a small fortune just keeping it limping along since its original installation by another company." Our goal was to give them everything that was so obviously lacking in the old system. The systems would have to be simple to operate, flexible, and reliable while still being powerful enough to handle the complex tasks required."
A significant component of the design solution was to avoid involving two manufacturers, as had been done previously. "Even today, equipment from different manufacturers doesn't always integrate as seamlessly as it should," he said. "Often when a problem does arise, each manufacturer will claim that it is the other company's fault. There have been instances where each company washes its hands of the problem, and you're left in the middle with an unhappy client. I was impressed with Symetrix' significant strengths in both the processing and the interface sides. Based on past experience I knew that if I ran into any trouble, Symetrix would be there to help us solve any issues!"
Van Dyke called on three Symetrix SymNet Express 8x8 CobraNet devices to provide the appropriate input/output count with powerful open-architecture processing to customize the routing logic for the Hyatt Regency Calgary. The three units gather inputs from the nine ballroom sections, the six meeting rooms, and four divisible sections of a grand foyer and allow them to be routed anywhere. On average there is one to two inputs in each zone with some zones having up to three inputs with some inputs being summed. To keep it simple, a 15-inch touch screen computer was employed and they overlaid a schematic of the rooms with buttons that allow them to be easily combined or decoupled via the Symetrix SymVue interface technology. "Via the touch panel they just press the rooms they want to combine and those rooms change to a common color to indicate that they are combined," he said. "They can un-combine them in the same way, or press a reset button to start fresh." There's one page for the ballrooms and foyer and another page for the meeting rooms.
In addition, Symetrix ARC-SWK remote wall panels provide each room with local control of input sources and master volume. When rooms are combined, their ARC-SWKs become redundant. A combination CD-player/iPod-player back at the control room provides common background music that each room can tap if needed. "The routing logic and processing at the Hyatt Regency Calgary is actually tremendously complex," said Van Dyke. "But with Symetrix' well thought-out interface technologies, we were able to keep all of that under the hood and hidden from view. The controls that we have designated as presets are so intuitive that truly, anyone can figure them out with an absolute minimum of training."
Two-hundred-watt AMK twelve-inch coaxial ceiling speakers went in with the old sound system, and Van Dyke was happy to tell the hotel that they could be utilized in the new sound system. "Those speakers are very good quality, but the previous installer had tapped them at 30-watts and then used 100-watt amps to power groups of three," he said. "It was like running a race car on a 40-mph governor when you consider the problem of getting high SPL to the floor cleanly when the Hyatt's ballroom ceilings are twenty-two feet high." "The Hyatt often has events where a significant level of SPL is required and we wanted to be sure that this would no longer be a problem for them to achieve." To give the Hyatt the performance of "new" loudspeakers for a song, he added five 4-channel QSC CX204V and six 2-channel QSC CX302V amplifiers. He added 200-watt transformers to each loudspeaker and then tapped them at a much more generous 100-watts with there being an option to tap them higher if it was required "Even if I ignore the contribution of the new processing, it's an obvious and drastic improvement to the overall system sound," said Van Dyke. "Whereas before the Hyatt would suggest that clients bring in their own rented sound system for music-heavy events, the newly-adjusted ceiling speakers sound so good that they often don't need to."
"It's easy to focus on Symetrix' sophisticated user control, but the sound quality is top-notch as well. Symetrix started in the broadcast and recording markets, where sound quality is a really big component of what matters. That legacy helps to make Symetrix processors sound fantastic," Van Dyke concluded.
Sound professionals rely upon the performance, value and reliability of audio mixing, routing and processing products from Symetrix. For more information on Symetrix professional audio products, please visit www.symetrix.co or call +1.425.778.7728.