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DALLAS, TEXAS – JUNE 2010: InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) recently converted their downtown Dallas, Texas Holiday Inn to a Crowne Plaza, and with the shift in brands came a dramatic increase in required meeting/celebration space. IHG undertook a massive renovation of the 23-story building and hired Rutherford Design of Northridge, California to design a sound system for the new lobby, plaza, mezzanine, and restaurant/bar. Company owner Richard Rutherford relied on an efficient combination of Symetrix and SymNet processors to deliver all of the complex functionality required of the system.

He relied on programmable SymNet ARC wall panels to present that complex system to the hotel’s staff in a simple, intuitive manner. Given that the system was anything but plug-and-play, Rutherford hired a Symetrix technician in the final stages of the installation who handily completed in two days what Rutherford and his staff

had originally hoped to complete in a week.

Of the four interconnected systems, the lobby is the simplest. It takes four music sources, two from Muzak and two local, for distribution throughout the main entrance and nearby walkways. A SymNet 8×8 DSP provides input signal conditioning and output conditioning for Tannoy CMS-801 recessed ceiling speakers powered by a pair of QSC ISA 800T amps. A Symetrix ARC-SWK wall panel provides input selection and volume control for both the lobby and the plaza/mezzanine, which both take feeds from the lobby’s SymNet 8×8 DSP for background music.

The plaza and the mezzanine boast three grand ballrooms each. Six meeting rooms at the plaza level and a pre-function room on the mezzanine level add to the complexity of these two systems. Each room provides varying numbers of connections for microphones, line-level signals, and computer audio outputs. Two SymNet 8×8 DSPs in the plaza rack and a third in the mezzanine rack are supplemented by as many SymNet BreakIn12s for a grand total of sixty inputs. Seven each of Symetrix ARC-SWK and ARC-SW4 wall panels present sensible and straightforward user control of what, at first glance, might appear to be a dizzying array of room combinations, input selections, and volume controls. Six QSC ISA 300T and two QSC ISA 500T amps drive TANNOY CMS 801 ceiling speakers.

“The Dallas Crowne Plaza was a very complex project,” remarked Rutherford. “The SymNet technology is tremendously flexible. I can make things as simple or as involved as I need to in order to achieve a particular result. In addition, the GUI is massively intuitive and, frankly, good looking! As an integrator, I’m often forced to work with gear that gives me a headache. SymNet is a welcome break from that – in fact, I’d say it’s actually fun to work with!”

The restaurant/lounge/nightclub sound system stands apart from the rest and delivers a decidedly more aggressive output to patrons. A satellite receiver joins a pair of Denon DJM-700K DJ mixers with connected CD and LP turntables as inputs to a Symetrix Zone Mix 760 located in the lounge’s rack. A QSC CX204V amp drives ceiling speakers in the nearby hallways and restrooms, whereas additional outputs from the Zone Mix 760 feed a pair of self-powered Meyer 600HP subwoofers and four self-powered Meyer UPJ loudspeakers. A second Symetrix Zone Mix 760 selects between the DJ mixers for output in the restaurant’s self-powered Meyer UP-Junior and MUD-1 subwoofer system. Finally, a third Symetrix Zone Mix 760 selects between the DJ systems and two additional satellite inputs for playback in the restaurant’s main ceiling speaker system.

Mirroring the user control in the other areas of the hotel, Rutherford again relied on Symetrix ARC-SWK wall panels to tame what, on a schematic, appears to be an impenetrable tangle of interconnections in the restaurant/lounge/nightclub. He said, “When I design a system like this, there is always a lot of technical wizardry to ponder. But my main concern is the customer. How is the facility managed? Who will push the buttons? Why will they push them? When will they push them? I start with the answers to those questions and then work my way backward to the technology that makes it possible. The programmability of the SymNet wall plates makes it possible for me to harness tremendous DSP wizardry behind the scenes, but to make its presentation to the user simple and intuitive.”

“We weren’t completely pressed for time on this job,” he continued, “but I was still concerned that we might blink and miss something in the programming process. To make sure everything performed as promised when we commissioned the system, we hired a Symetrix technician for two days. It was brilliant. He was an absolute expert. Not only did he work out any bugs in far less time than I thought it would take me and my staff, he trained us as he went. We learned a lot and saved a ton of time.”

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