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‘W’ Hotel Atlanta Downtown Upgrades Sound System

Tectonic Audio Labs Solves a Seven-Year Audio Challenge for Brand Icon

The ideal speaker system for the ‘W’ Hotel Atlanta Downtown’s lobby entertainment hub had to overcome highly reverberant acoustics and provide equal volume, stereo and intelligible audio over a wide and complex space. The choice of loudspeaker systems also had to meet the design aesthetics of this hospitality brand.

“The ‘W’ Hotel brand and visitor experience is inspired by the creative worlds of music, film, fashion, art, design and beyond”, explains ‘W’ Hotel brand manager Pablo Andres-Lopez.  “A key element of every ‘W’ Hotel design is the ‘Living Room’; a requisite element for ‘W’ properties worldwide that serves as meeting space, food and drink service area, event space and nightly entertainment venue.”

Tectonic Audio Labs’ PL-12 flat panel loudspeaker’s Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) audio performance, form factor and industrial design provided a final solution for an acoustical challenge that existed for seven years.

Interior design company Βurdifilek, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, created an urban oasis within the ‘W’ Atlanta Downtown Hotel. Designers Diego Burdi and Paul Filek reinterpreted the Living Room as a verdant sanctuary that mimics the lushness of Georgia, while maintaining the brand’s celebrated cosmopolitan edge.

The final architectural design presented acoustic challenges. Three-story glass windows and a polished marble floor made for a highly reverberant space that could not permanently accommodate more than low-volume ceiling speakers. For more than seven years, this situation combined with existing speaker technologies, made many of the needs of the Living Room difficult to resolve.

With the recommendation of Tectonic representatives EDA Pro AV and audio/visual provider Atlanta Soundworks, Tectonic was able to provide a real-time demonstration of a proposed solution for this space. Tectonic rolled in 25-foot lifts to place a pair of PL-12 flat panel Resonant Mode Loudspeakers into very nearly their final locations. 

“Unlike traditional speaker systems that produce pistonic and highly correlated audio energy that reacts with boundaries to produce slap-back echoes, feedback, and a general lack of intelligibility, Tectonic Resonant Mode Loudspeakers propagate audio as a diffuse and non-correlated audio source that does not interact significantly with highly reflective boundary surfaces,” explains Scott Garside of Tectonic. “With the unique audio characteristics of Tectonic panels, we were able to solve for this challenging acoustic space.”

A demonstration was accomplished in a couple of hours and required no modification to the space or a significant disruption of daily business. Results were presented in real-time audio vs. predictive modeling reports, so stakeholders were able to make an immediate evaluation of the system’s performance.

In addition to audio requirements, aesthetics were a major concern in selecting a speaker system. “I was tasked with finding a new speaker system,” continues Lopez. “The solution had to fit the design of the Living Room. We really didn’t want to put in typical big old lumpy speakers. We needed something sleek that would blend in with the design of the space. The Tectonic speakers were a perfect fit. They look beautiful, like they have been designed for this space.”

Tectonic Audio Labs’ VESA mount, as installed in the ‘W’ Hotel Atlanta Downtown.

Atlanta Soundworks engineered a mounting system that uses the Tectonic PL panel’s VESA compatible capabilities. Custom-fabricated ceiling mounts were fitted with standard VESA brackets to attach to the Tectonic PL-12s. Adjustment points were provided by this design to allow for aiming of the panels. Speaker cables were routed internally through the mounts to provide a clean look to the final installation.

“For the first time, we are able to offer live music in this space,” says Lopez. “The Living Room is not only an amenity for our hotel guests, but an upscale destination for discriminating locals in the downtown area. We can now program our entertainment between DJs and live music, and accommodate up to 150 people on a big night without the need to provide, set-up and remove additional speaker systems.”

“The speakers sound outstanding,” adds bar manager Pete Carver. “We have used them for DJs and live music. The sound doesn’t drown out conversations and interactions with patrons.”

”It’s a beautiful, nice, round sound,” concludes Lopez. “It’s very comfortable for guests to just relax and lounge in, and they can converse. We cut down on equipment overhead, labor costs, and gained more space for guests in a comfortable yet high-energy setting. This goes directly to the bottom line. ”

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