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Conference Center Connects with QSC Q-Sys Integrated System Platform, Part 1

Jan 9, 2013 12:38 PM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center

The new 85,000-square-foot Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center

A huge conference center and hotel, the Sheraton Fairplex in Pamona, Calif., called in CSI Multimedia to connect every sound source to every destination in the place. Rick Shaw is here to give us the story on how this huge job got done using the QSC Q-Sys Integrated System Platform, coming right up on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Rick, thanks for being with us on the SVC Podcast from Woodland Hills, Calif., and CSI Multimedia. It’s great to have you here. Before we get into the huge installation project at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center, tell me about CSI Multimedia. What’s been going on there?

Rick Shaw: Well, a California corporation founded in 1986, we started as acoustical and audio consultants and then got into integration and finally became dealers. And then as we grew, I had a lot of background in lighting design, so we added lighting, specialty lighting, and that gave us a broader base and then projection as that became critical. And with all of that together, infrastructure became absolutely mandatory, so were sort of a one-stop shop in that respect and we tend to focus on large venues that are looking for very high-quality production values. So we do mostly commercial video equipment and audio equipment. Our infrastructure, we’re very particular about what wires we use and connectors and so that’s who we are. [Timestamp: 1:57]

And you certainly had a very big and far ranging installation project here. They’ve made an 85,000-square-foot addition to the conference center and called CSI Multimedia to fit it out for AV. Tell me a little about the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center. What did they need there when they called you in?

Fairplex is twice the size of Disneyland. It’s the location of the Los Angeles County Fair and they have a hotel on the premises, a Sheraton. They have ballrooms and they were looking to meld the facilities of the park with banquet and conference. Next to the 35,000-square-foot building they built this trade and conference center, and it was designed by HOK, the world famous architectural firm. It’s really a very pretty building, but their specs were a nightmare. They wanted everything to go everywhere. Any input signal had to be able to go to any input and all output signals and it also had to be able to travel around the park. So linking to building 8 was our first and linking to Sheraton the hotel itself is second and now we’re going to start linking the buildings together through the Q-Sys system. [Timestamp: 3:14]

Well, of course, since they can have just about anything going on there it’s a good way to go to route any signal source in the place to any destination and a lot of signals and destinations. [As a] new installation, did you get in there during the construction or was it finished and you outfitted it with the system then?

No, we’ve been sort of the inhouse AV designers and integrators for Fairplex since 2004 and so we were in from the ground floor. HOK was informed that Fairplex had their own design team and so we integrated with their engineers to make our design feasible. They had never seen anything like it. I don’t think many people have seen anything like it; it’s one of the miracles is that we have five wire broadcast HD video traveling through its own switching system and Q-Sys handling the audio through its own system and yet when you play a CD and you see it on a screen 500ft. away, there’s perfect lip sync. [Timestamp: 4:15]

Since there’s no shortage of products and systems that can send any audio and video source to any place in a big facility, why did you choose the QSC Q-Sys integrated System Platform for this one?

Well, it’s a very robust platform. It runs on Linux. It’s using Xeon server processors; there are four of them, so it’s extremely high quality sound but capable of jumping over existing IP and that was critical for Fairplex because the underground wires and tunnels were stuffed in the 30’s and there’s no room to pull new wire. We’re lucky to get any fiber pulled around there let alone hard wire, so being able to tap into the existing IP system is just fantastic. [Timestamp: 5:02]

And with all you had to do, pulling so much cable and having so many wiring points, was there any particular part of it that stood out as the biggest challenge to get done?

Well infrastructure was the biggest challenge and we had the electrical contractor come to us and say that his 9V people had no idea how to do this and would we subcontract back to him to do the terminations on all of the wiring. So we ended up being a primary designer, primary contractor, and a subcontractor on the job. We have 240 speaker connections and we have no transformers; everything is live back to the amps—two speakers to four speakers. So it’s a very powerful system, several hundred thousand watts worth of power capabilities. [Timestamp: 5:50]

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