In addition to being an ‘architectural wonder’, Florida’s Hialeah Park played host to some of the world’s finest horse racing until the shifting tides of modern gambling forced its closure in the late 1990s. Constructed in 1932, the venue was frequented by Frank Sinatra, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill, and lent its palm trees and archways to Hollywood films, including The Champ and The Godfather: Part II. In 2013 it joined the gambling community as Hialeah Park Racing & Casino, which pairs quarterly horseracing with a casino in the grandstand.
Although it retains the classic architectural motifs of its early days, the facility now boasts 150,000 square-feet of casino floor, multiple restaurants and bars, which are served by A/V systems that provide highly intelligible background music and paging 24/7 using a system of Tannoy loudpeakers networked with SymNet’s Edge Dante networked audio DSPs.
‘The casino occupies a completely renovated portion of the existing Clubhouse building,’ says David Marsh, President of Marsh/PMK, who became involved with the project in late 2010. ‘The project started out as a major building addition with a larger casino as well as meeting facilities and the owner’s corporate headquarters. We finished A/V design for that version of the project and delivered complete construction documents. Unfortunately, adequate financing could not be obtained and the building addition was shelved.’
Consequently, a smaller casino was designed for incorporation into the existing Clubhouse, which features audio and video systems designed by Stearns & Marsh and integrators NDR Corporation.
In all, 22 Edge DSPs provide the 12 inputs and 300 outputs for nearly 1,000 loudspeakers. ‘The casino has nearly 900 slots, 23 poker tables, and several restaurants and bars located across 150,000 square feet,’ says Byard Hey, Sales Manager for NDR Systems, the integration firm that installed the system. ‘They were very careful to restore all of the architectural motifs that make Hialeah Park such a regal place.’
The Kinsella-Marsh Group had designed the system around a different processing arrangement, but Hey pushed for Symetrix: ‘I’ve been using Symetrix for years, and the installations always go smoothly and the equipment always holds up,’ he says. ‘Moreover, the new SymNet Edge met all of the design requirements – and then some. It has a modular I/O that could easily accommodate the lopsided I/O count of this job. Importantly, the SymNet Edge is based on the future-oriented Dante network, whereas the specified processor was based on the now-fading CobraNet technology.’
Each SymNet Edge frame can be filled by up to four I/O cards. The available I/O cards cover the full range of possible I/O needs, but for Hialeah Park Casino, Hey installed three four-channel analogue input cards and 75 four-channel analogue output cards into 22 SymNet Edge frames. While each Edge frame has its own processing resources, the whole system acts as one integrated whole via the Dante network. Each speaker location includes a five-inch loudspeaker, an eight-inch loudspeaker, and a subwoofer. All the components are Tannoy with the SymNet Edge processing turning each location into a three-way system. Lab.gruppen amplifiers are used for power.
The loudspeaker installation includes around 430 Tannoy CMS 501DC and 125 CMS 801DC ceiling loudspeakers, 175 Di 5DCt and 70 Di 8DCt surface-type loudspeakers and 175 ceiling mounted subwoofers. Tannoy iw 6 and iw 4 in-wall type loudspeakers replaced a few of the originally specified units during construction because of field conditions that obstructed the loudspeaker backbox. While Tannoy’s Dual Concentric design provided substantial benefits in overcoming the sonic clutter of the casino, there were additional challenges that informed the design and the placement of the loudspeakers: ‘Large portions of ceiling are of a Pergola design with wooden lattice sections on 4-ft centres bordered by structural beams that define roughly 30x30-foot areas. ‘explainsDave Stearns of Marsh/PMK International.
‘Loudspeakers were mounted flush with the bottom of the wooden slats in the lattice, and subwoofers were hung above the lattice. We had to coordinate loudspeaker locations with the lattice design and have the architects create wider openings between the wooden slats wherever loudspeakers were to be located. We used the Di 8s and Di 5s in the lattice areas, but when we got into a drywall, or drop ceiling we used CMS 801s and 501s.’
Rather than a generic distributed layout, Stearns created a frequency shaded design: ‘One problem with a distributed system is that you often set up the speaker spacing for high-frequency coverage, but the lower frequencies overlap each other. You can use EQ to carve out some of the mid-bass, but there is a better way to achieve spectral balance that also improves the system’s transient response. What we did here was use the 8-inch speakers to provide basic full range coverage and then use smaller satellites around them to fill in high frequencies out to the edge of the group.
‘Imagine a Tic Tac Toe board,’ Stearns continues. ‘The loudspeaker in the centre is full range and has a sub beside it – a CMS 801 and the custom Tannoy 1201 sub. In the corners, we have a CMS 501 that’s band-passed with the low-end cut-off at 600Hz because everything below that is covered by the full range 8-inch speaker. The CMS 501s are electronically delayed to synchronize their output with sound arriving from the CMS 801 in the centre of the pattern. As you go up in frequency, you get to about 1800 Hz and start to see holes appearing at the remaining four locations. Here we shade in additional CMS 501s to handle the higher end (with appropriate delay). The result is elimination of the mid-bass buildup that is so typical of distributed systems and the creation of a tighter transient response. This pattern is reproduced across the entire casino floor. A similar approach was also used in circulation spaces and for the outdoor covered walkways.’
The loudspeakers are powered by approximately 55 Lab.gruppen Contractor Series amplifiers with NomadLink monitoring and control; a mix of four-channel amps running voice coil to the subs and eight-channel amps for the 70V systems.
‘Given the sheer number of channels, Lab.gruppen was an obvious amplifier choice,’ Marsh says. ‘When we have a lot of channels we like Lab.gruppen because they’re compact and reliable. The speaker system on this project wasn’t all 70V lines where you can string 30 speakers together, so we had to come up with an amplification package that wouldn’t take up too much rack space.’
‘Dante is great, especially for this type of installation,’ Hey says. ‘It’s a communications protocol of the future, which will make any future requests easy to accommodate. It has a dual network topology, which makes it more robust, and it is so easy simply to wire it all with Cat5 jumpers. The SymNet Composer software is intuitive and allows me to see the entire system or dig down as necessary. The casino has been up 24/7 for several months now without a hiccup.’