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The Buzz: Install of the Month:
Cabela’s Buda, Texas

Feb 1, 2006 12:00 PM, By Gregory A. DeTogne

Wild Game Calls


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At 185,000 square feet, Cabela’s Buda, Texas, location required a paging and background music system worthy of the Lone Star State’s sprawling spaces.

Within the outdoor industry, perhaps no company is entitled to claim the title of World's Foremost Outfitter better than Cabela's, the Internet, catalog, and retail giant. Cabela's opened its 12th megastore 15 miles south of Austin in Buda, Texas, on July 15 last year. The 185,000-square-foot structure is a monument to outdoor adventure, featuring a trophy deer museum and a 60,000-gallon aquarium. A laser arcade, furniture department, gun library, fly-fishing shop, and restaurant are also part of the mix.

The Buda store was jammed on its first day of operation. Strolling among the shoppers was superintendent of construction Greg Deppa, who has presided over the launch of this and 11 other Cabela's locations. Deppa listened as a page from the loudspeakers cut through the crowd noise.

“Based upon what I'm listening to today, this is probably the best sound system in any of our stores so far,” he said at the time. “Taking all the zones into consideration, paging and announcements are probably heard storewide and in specific areas at a combined rate of 10 times per minute.” Beyond paging, emergency, security, and announcement uses, Cabela's house sound in Buda makes a notable impression with its background music.

The system was implemented by the installation arm of Music Lab, a venture that grew out of Danny and Joe Cabela's joint ownership of a rehearsal space and recording facility in Austin. Despite the fact that Dick and Mary Cabela are his parents, Joe Cabela notes that Music Lab was far from a sure bet for winning the bid to bring sound to the Buda store. As a publicly traded company, Cabela's doesn't deviate from the standard bid process.

A pair of L275-70 ganging racks from Lowell house all of the gear in Cabela’s main equipment room, which includes Biamp AudiaFlex processors and CX series amps from QSC.

Following the acceptance of Music Lab's Buda proposal, the installation crew moved in and began pulling wire in late April of last year. “The work ran with military precision,” says Cabela. “As we were installing loudspeakers, someone would be right behind us hanging Sheetrock and painting. Trying to stay on task would have been impossible without quick, easy-to-install components.”

Cabela chose 37 AD-CI52T and 18 AD-S52 loudspeakers from QSC's AcousticDesign line to help him complete the project. Power for these components and for the rest of the house system is provided by one CX204V, six CX1202V, and four CX602V amplifiers from the QSC CX series. The entire system operates at 70V.

The AD-S52s are full-range, surface-mount loudspeakers that blend well with the environment. The compact enclosures were quickly snapped into their permanent positions using each unit's ball-mount assembly, which swivels 180 degrees to facilitate different areas of coverage as needed.

Installed in-ceiling in many store locations, the compact AD-CI52T loudspeakers feature a two-way, sealed design sharing the same driver as the AD-S52s, thereby ensuring seamless sonic integration across different zones. Each driver was literally taken out of the box and mounted without much hassle beyond terminating the connections using four-pin Euro connectors found in a fire-resistant sub-chamber.

It took nearly 380 loudspeakers to complete the Cabela's project. To supply coverage in difficult spaces where using either surface- or ceiling-mount designs was impossible, Joe Cabela turned to cylindrical iMount IMC8P-TS100B devices from Lowell, which he suspended from 11 locations. Where the interior decor demanded that loudspeakers appear as if they were part of the ceiling tile grid, Joe Cabela used Lowell LT6A-TM16-Vb loudspeakers from the LT series.

“We were able to put up many of the speakers in an average of two minutes,” Joe Cabela recalls. “That's a definite plus in a project like this that moves at such a rapid pace. By June 1, we were 100 percent complete. Now we can easily post 100dB SPL levels in every corner of the store running the amps at about three-quarter volume. We may have overkilled it a little, but it's all for the better. I feel confident that this system will run for 20 to 30 years without ever changing anything out or even heating up.”

System input comes from music sources and from three Audio-Technica ATW-3141a wireless systems as well as hardwired A-T offerings, including an AT808G console mic. To centralize mixing and routing operations as well as manage all other processing functions, a pair of CobraNet-equipped AudiaFlex units from Biamp Systems were chosen. Working hand-in-hand with a single Assistant-S controller from Cue Systems and a selection of both 10.4in. and 5.8in. Cue TouchCue touchpanels, a simple and intuitive system interface was created.


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