ROANOKE, VA — MARCH 2015: Co-owned by Hilton Properties, the City of Roanoke and Virginia Tech, the Hotel Roanoke & Convention Center is a far-ranging complex that includes extensive business and entertainment facilities. Originally built in 1882 and renovated many times since, the hotel includes multiple meeting spaces and an impressive ballroom, but until recently these areas didn’t always enjoy the desired level of audio processing and distribution flexibility.
With a desire to improve sound quality, the hotel appointed national audio installation firm IES Communications to devise a system able to network every area in every possible configuration seamlessly – but without incurring long, labor-intensive cable runs. A cutting-edge conference space and business facilities that include 35 meeting rooms, a remote lecture hall, two boardrooms and conference center lounges, as well as a 1,400-capacity ballroom that can be used whole or in subdivided formation all needed to be factored in to the new set-up.
Heritage mixers, DSPs and power amplifiers had to be replaced as part of the project, explains IES Communications AV project manager Jim Hogan. “The existing system was nearly 20 years old, and even though it was state-of-the-art when it was installed it was now dated with old technology. There were constant maintenance issues as well, and many parts were no longer available,” he says.
Having used Symetrix DSPs with support for Audinate’s Dante media networking, Hogan and his team worked on devising a system based around seven Symetrix SymNet Radius AEC and three SymNet Radius 12×8 open architecture Dante-scalable DSPs. “The main DSP rack handles several ballrooms, while a remote lecture hall – which was once independent – is now part of the system via fiber. A remote rack also serves additional meeting spaces,” says Hogan.
Patchable inputs mean that audio from any DSP can be routed to any other DSP for fast and flexible processing, while incorporation of the AEC (Acoustic Echo Cancellation) algorithm in the SymNet Radius processors helps guarantee best-in-class sound quality. Seven SymNet 4 Channel Analog Output Cards, one SymNet xOut 12 and three SymNet xIn 12 expanders, and a grand total of 40 ARC-2e remote controls are also part of a specification that delivers fully automatic, multi-zone mixing across multiple areas.
IES also provided a main PA system comprising Bose MA12 EX modular line-array loudspeakers, Bose 502B subwoofers and Bose PowerMatch Dante-enabled amplifiers for larger applications, along with several distributed systems – all of which are also controlled by Dante – as well as Shure digital wireless systems.
Hogan reports a “highly enthusiastic” response from the hotel operator to the completed project – the latest in a long line to have centered around Symetrix DSPs. “We’ve used Symetrix successfully in so many different scenarios over the years – ranging from museums and educational facilities to stadiums,” he says. “Throughout that time we’ve had brilliant support from the Symetrix team, including our regional rep, Eastern regional sales manager Jim Latimer, who has been a continual source of great advice.”