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Working Together

Feb 2, 2011 11:07 AM, by Dan Daley

CCS Presentation Systems provides traditional and modern solutions for Talking Stick Resort and Casino.


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The distributed audio system’s sound level management is based around sophisticated programming based on the casino’s foot traffic. CCS used the casino’s various data collections, such as guest cards scanned at slot machines, to design a automated level-sensing system to fit the casino’s needs.

The distributed audio system’s sound level management is based around sophisticated programming based on the casino’s foot traffic. CCS used the casino’s various data collections, such as guest cards scanned at slot machines, to design a automated level-sensing system to fit the casino’s needs.

Sounds Good

The casino, conference center, pool areas, restaurants, lounges, and lobbies are all on the same sound distribution system and are controlled from the master control room. Up on the 14th floor, the spas give their patrons control of the audio coming from JBL Control series speakers (mostly Control 26 in-ceiling speakers and Control 19 subs) that are installed in each room. Each treatment suite has the ability to select from three sound sources and can vary the volume on demand. All rooms, including the fitness center and reception area, can be alternately managed by the reception desk from a main control panel.

Audio distribution for Talking Stick is based on a unique premise: “There are over 1,000 speakers all over the property, inside and out, and we needed a way to adjust their volume level for each area and at various times of the day,” Andrewson explains. “The decision was between using an automated level-sensing system that detected the ambient noise in each area and adjusted the local volume accordingly or go with a preprogrammed system that had set level rules for various times and locations.”

The automated level-sensing solution appeared initially attractive since it required little hands on from managers. However, further research revealed that in certain areas of the casino, specifically the slot floor, the ambient noise levels could change quickly and fluctuate dramatically at any given moment, depending on the crowd traffic flows. But on its face, the preprogrammed rules approach seemed clumsy and inflexible, Andrewson says. “The client had actually tried using automatic level-sensing systems in the past in the other casino, but they were very rudimentary, sometimes with literally two settings—one high and one low—so they had abandoned them. But then, the light bulb over our head went on,” he says.

Andrewson and his teammates, Senior Engineer John Steineke and Project Manager Mike Abb, learned that the casino management was borderline obsessive about data collection at their properties. “They have very, very detailed attendance data that goes back extensively,” Andrewson says. “They had records of what [foot] traffic was like in every area of the hotel and casino at every hour of the day and night for every day of the week using software tools like guest cards in slot machines that leave a kind of fingerprint of the traffic flow pattern. They were using this data to forecast revenues and predict staffing needs, but we realized that this data matrix was what we needed to do some sophisticated programming of the distributed audio system’s level management.”

In some areas, AMX control panels were installed to give local managers the ability to adjust local volume levels as needed. In other areas, the hotel’s data allowed them to program predicted changes. “We could translate that into patterns that let us be very precise and very accurate of what the SPL needs of a given part of the hotel would be on a given day and time,” Andrewson explains. “We could predict where there would be minimal level changes during a 24-hour period, like the parking garages, where the level might vary between 3dB to 6dB all day long. We programmed the Peavey Nion n3 chassis to make the adjustments accordingly. [It] was amazing how precise we could get using that information they made available to us.”

There was a lot of new thinking going on at the Talking Stick hotel, from strategizing to getting the project to finding cost-effective and efficient ways of making it work. Andrewson says being in at the very beginning of a design/build proposition was critical to making that work. “Having everyone there at the start, everyone involved including us, the GC, the subs, made a huge difference,” he says. “They committed to getting AV involved as early as possible and that brought everyone significant value. It changes everything, including the behavior of other trades and contractors when they see what a difference having everyone on the same page at the very beginning can make. It was a good lesson for everyone.”



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