One of the finest hotels in the city, the Hyatt Regency Calgary hosts a procession of extravagant and impressive evens in its ballrooms and combinable meeting rooms. However, until recently, the management and staff struggled to control the audio system serving these spaces…

Hyatt Regency CalgaryWhile undergoing a US$7m renovation to the ballrooms and meeting rooms, the hotel management decided a major update to the sound and video systems was also in order, and asked Calgary’s DBI Systems Integration to design and install them.

Using Symetrix SymNet DSP technology, SymVue user interface technology, and ARC-SWK wall panel remotes, DBI provided an audio system that was simultaneously comprehensive enough to allow flexible use of the event spaces but simple enough to be controlled even by non-technical staff.

‘The old system was first-generation digital technology, with one manufacturer for the DSP and one manufacturer for the user control,’ says Jerry Van Dyke, owner of DBI Systems Integration. ‘The interfacing between the sets of technology was very cumbersome and unreliable at best and the hotel had spent a small fortune just keeping it limping along since its original installation by another company.’ Our goal was to give them everything that was so obviously lacking in the old system. The systems would have to be simple to operate, flexible, and reliable while still being powerful enough to handle the complex tasks required.’

A significant consideration was to avoid involving two manufacturers, as had been done previously: ‘Even today, equipment from different manufacturers doesn’t always integrate as seamlessly as it should,’ he says. ‘Often when a problem does arise, each manufacturer will claim that it is the other company’s fault. There have been instances where each company washes its hands of the problem, and you’re left in the middle with an unhappy client. I was impressed with Symetrix’ significant strengths in both the processing and the interface sides. Based on past experience I knew that if I ran into any trouble, Symetrix would be there to help us solve any issues.’

Van Dyke called on three Symetrix SymNet Express 8x8 CobraNet devices to provide the appropriate input/output count with powerful open-architecture processing to customise the routing logic. The three units gather inputs from the nine ballroom sections, the six meeting rooms, and four divisible sections of a grand foyer and allow them to be routed anywhere. On average there is one to two inputs in each zone with some zones having up to three inputs with some inputs being summed. To keep it simple, a 15-inch touchscreen computer was employed and they overlaid a schematic of the rooms with buttons that allow them to be easily combined or decoupled via the Symetrix SymVue interface technology. ‘Via the touchpanel, they just press the rooms they want to combine and those rooms change to a common color to indicate that they are combined,’ Van Dyke says. ‘They can un-combine them in the same way, or press a reset button to start fresh.’ There’s one page for the ballrooms and foyer and another page for the meeting rooms.

In addition, Symetrix ARC-SWK remote wall panels provide each room with local control of input sources and master volume. When rooms are combined, their ARC-SWKs become redundant. A combination CD/iPod player back at the control room provides common background music that each room can tap if needed. ‘The routing logic and processing at the Hyatt Regency Calgary is actually tremendously complex,’ says Van Dyke. ‘But with Symetrix’ well thought-out interface technologies, we were able to keep all of that under the hood and hidden from view. The controls that we have designated as presets are so intuitive that truly, anyone can figure them out with an absolute minimum of training.’

Two-hundred-watt AMK 12-inch coaxial ceiling speakers went in with the old sound system, and Van Dyke was happy to tell the hotel that they could be used in the new sound system. ‘Those speakers are very good quality, but the previous installer had tapped them at 30-watts and then used 100W amps to power groups of three,’ he says. ‘It was like running a race car on a 40mph governor when you consider the problem of getting high SPL to the floor cleanly when the Hyatt’s ballroom ceilings are twenty-two feet high.

‘The Hyatt often has events where a significant level of SPL is required and we wanted to be sure that this would no longer be a problem for them to achieve.’

To give the the performance of ‘new’ loudspeakers for a song, he added five four-channel QSC CX204V and six two-channel QSC CX302V amplifiers. He added 200W transformers to each loudspeaker and then tapped them at a much more generous 100W with there being an option to tap them higher if it was required ‘Even if I ignore the contribution of the new processing, it’s an obvious and drastic improvement to the overall system sound,’ says Van Dyke. ‘Whereas before the Hyatt would suggest that clients bring in their own rented sound system for music-heavy events, the newly-adjusted ceiling speakers sound so good that they often don’t need to.

‘It’s easy to focus on Symetrix’ sophisticated user control, but the sound quality is top-notch as well. Symetrix started in the broadcast and recording markets, where sound quality is a really big component of what matters. That legacy helps to make Symetrix processors sound fantastic,’ Van Dyke concludes.


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