SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – JANUARY 2013: With San Antonio’s gorgeous downtown River Walk just steps to the west, the city’s well-booked convention center across the street to the east, and the Alamo historic site a block away to the north, the Hilton Palacio del Rio is at the center of a fabulous Texas experience. It delivers the perfect mix of luxury, location, and event support and wins over first-time visitors, earning their repeat business. The hotel possesses over 27,000 square-feet of flexible meeting space split between the 4th floor and the 22nd floor. Recently, the hotel gutted those areas to modernize both their aesthetic and their functionality. Audio/video integrator Good Thunder Provisioning of Montgomery, Texas designed and installed the new system, centering it on four Symetrix SymNet Solus 8 open-architecture DSP units.
“The renovation of the 4th & 22nd floor Meeting Rooms & Ballrooms was undertaken on very fast track – you might call it a hyper track,” said Robert Slaughter, proprietor of Good Thunder Provisioning. “The start date for the demolition of the existing building interior & audio system was July 15, and the first use of the new system was September 27th.” The incredibly short timeframe required advanced planning on the part of everyone involved and tight coordination with the general contractor, the architect, the in-house audio/visual provider (Swank Audio Visual), and the hotel. Slaughter’s sound reinforcement design focused on reproducing high-quality, intelligible speech and engaging foreground music.
Importantly, he kept the interests of the in-house A/V provider in mind. “Too many times we see very high-end, super-technical systems installed in hotels that end up limiting the revenue of the in-house A/V provider,” said Slaughter. “That ultimately limits the commissions paid to the hotel.” The new system exceeds the standards of the International Association of Conference Centers.
With potentially dozens of subdivided rooms, the Hilton Palacio del Rio can take on serious overflow from the nearby conference center or can host sizable conferences or other events all on its own. Input plates in each divisible space provide an XLR input for line-level signals, a CAT6 connection that links to a projector and the rack locations, and HDMI & VGA for connection to a projector or wall-mounted LED monitors. Wireless microphone systems provide the principle audio input for conferences. House music, which is processed by an Aphex Aural Exciter, provides an additional input option. TOA DA-250DH multi-channel digital amplifiers power scores of TOA F-122CU2 full-range ceiling speakers.
Four Symetrix SymNet Solus 8 standalone fixed I/O DSP, each with eight inputs and eight outputs, handle all of the input conditioning, routing logic, and loudspeaker conditioning for the system. As one might imagine, the routing is complex, with numerous zones adding or subtracting speakers in different locations. “Our staff has had a very long and positive history with Symetrix, starting with the Express Cobra series,” said Slaughter. “The Solus is a great product. It’s flexible, easy to program, and great sounding. Adding the Symetrix ARC-2e and the Axiomtek Touch Panel for user control makes the choice of Symetrix a no-brainier. Cost was also a factor, and by using these products we were able to come out better than we had budgeted.”
The user control is made available in two layers. First, twenty Symetrix ARC-2e remote wall panels allow for the line level control of each room section, music level control of each room section, and selection of optional high-pass filtering for improved voice intelligibility. Second, a pair of Axiomtek GOT-5100T-830 touch panels at each rack location duplicate those controls and add room combining, auxiliary input/output routing, and selection of additional music sources. Lighting control will be included in the near future. “The Symetrix ARCs offer a wide range of control features and functions that are flexible and easy to install,” said Slaughter. “They are an excellent choice. Axiomtek Touch Panels are rugged and always work right out of the box. Their reputation is great.”
Once Hotel management heard and controlled the new system, they asked Good Thunder Provisioning to provide new sound reinforcement systems for the hotel’s restaurant and bar areas in the near term and for the lobby next year. The new restaurant/bar system will use a single Symetrix SymNet Solus 8 DSP to deliver two zones with multiple music, cable TV, and iPod inputs. Four Symetrix ARC-2e remote wall panels provide source selection and level control for both zones. Slaughter will use the same TOA loudspeakers and amplifiers to maintain consistency.
Robert Slaughter is the senior project manager for Hairel Enterprises in Conroe, Texas and owns Good Thunder Provisioning.
Symetrix engineers high-end professional audio solutions, specializing in DSP hardware and software. Symetrix products are distributed worldwide, and designed and manufactured in the U.S. at the Seattle area headquarters. Since 1976, customers have enjoyed the benefits of Symetrix’ independent ownership and management. For more information on Symetrix professional audio products, please visit www.symetrix.co or call +1 (425) 778-7728.