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BSS Audio™ Puts Ivy In A League Of Its Own

Entrepreneur Justin Hemmes has opened the luxurious $150 million Sydney leisure complex, The Ivy — a flagship for the Merivale Group of hotels and bars, to which he is the heir.

Located in the city centre, The Ivy had its soft launch in December 2007 and in the Spring of 2008 moved into full operation, with a series of restaurants, bars, cocktail lounges and live music which will bring a world of social experiences to the middle of the city.

The complex features 14 bars, nine restaurants, boutique hotel, swimming pool (with a dance sound system), gardens, penthouses, nightclub, cafes, delicatessens, ballroom, office space and retail outlets. It also houses a 1000-capacity function room and can cater for up to 3,000 people in total at any one time.

Providing an audio network that would place more than 40 zones on the same backbone presented an exacting task for system integrators Avsound Productions Pty; but Installation Contracts Manager, John Collyer needed to look no further than proprietary Soundweb™ London DSP devices from BSS Audio®, a Harman International Company (NYSE-HAR), for his solution.

Avsound have been dealing with Merivale for more than 13 years, and it was Hemmes who contacted the company at the outset of the project — back in 2003.

“We tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a deal to avoid the project going to tender,? said Avsound managing director, Matthew Kline. “However, I’m sure our pre-existing relationship helped us, and we knew we had to be competitive on price and outstanding on design.

“Most clients say they want the best but budgetary constraints always get in the way. With this project we were able to set a reasonable budget from the beginning.?

Avsound’s approach was to design a system with the best product for each part of the project; they also offered an in-house hire option for the Ballroom with 24-hour back up.

One of the decisions taken at an early stage was to construct the audio transmission around BSS Audio architecture. “We use BSS in many of our installations and have always received great support from both BSS and Jands [the Australian distributor],? said Kline. “We are familiar with the BSS family, and as this would be driving the entire system we didn’t want to risk other products.?

The site-wide project contains four control rooms, with four 45RU racks in each. A total of 19 Soundweb London digital processors have been deployed; these comprise BLU-80 configurable processors and BLU-32 input / output expansion devices in the first three racks, with a combination of the new BLU-800 and BLU-160 devices later forming the final rack.

With the advent of BSS Audio’s new digital audio bus, Avsound had taken the opportunity to upgrade the Soundweb system further down the line. As John Collyer explained, “By using the BLU link for the internal rack lines we could see an opportunity to save some CobraNet™ bundles.? They implemented the recently released Version 2.00 software to allow the ‘0’ series to work on the network.

All four control areas contain local and global inputs; the main BGM system is global, as are a number of DJ inputs, while there is the facility for the client to listen to any input playing in any area from his office. “The CobraNet bundling is busy to say the least,? notes Collyer.

At peak times The Ivy has DJs playing in the bars while a computer music system — containing eight genres of music — is switched via the master AMX control system, which also handles complete environmental management.

One of the other contract requirements was to integrate the fire evacuation system with the sound system — as Merivale did not want to see any fire evac speakers; thus the EVAC tones as well as shut down provide further system inputs.

Soundweb programming and system design at The Ivy were handled by David Gilfillan, John Collyer and David Coleman — with Jands offering the necessary support. And the result is one of the largest projects with which Avsound has been involved.

The final stage of the Ivy development is due for completion in June/July this year.

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June 2008
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