Whiskey Licker Up SaloonBinion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel has been a downtown Las Vegas institution since Texas gambler Benny Binion bought the 1935-vintage Eldorado Club in 1951 and re-opened it as the Horseshoe Club.

Executive offices occupied the second floor of the oldest part of the building until 2019, when a renovation carried out by current owner TLC Casino Enterprises saw old office space converted into the stylish Whiskey Licker Up Saloon...

The new venue features a large main bar, a separate circular bar, an indoor stage, and a wall of glass doors that retract to form an open-air balcony overlooking the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall and 1st Street Stage. To ensure a showcase attraction, the venue management contracted with Deftal Audio Video Solutions and partners Alliance AV Group to design and install the A/V system.

‘It is a long, rectangular space, but it’s not very wide,’ observes Alliance AV Group Account Executive, Jim Chase. ‘At one end is the entrance from the casino/hotel, and at the other is the glass wall over Fremont Street and the circular bar. When you enter, the stage is on the left, about 40 per cent of the way to the glass wall, facing a big bar on the right.

‘The challenge for the stage sound system was to provide enough level over a fairly wide coverage area to handle the dance floor and reach patrons throughout the room. It made sense to use PreSonus CDL Constant Directivity Loudspeakers because they’re smooth and even and cover a wide area, yet they aren’t as loud in the bar area as other systems might have been, so the bartenders can hear the drink orders.

Whiskey Licker Up Saloon‘We pole-mounted one CDL12 full-range loudspeaker with one CDL18s subwoofer on each side, placed about 16 feet apart. Each CDL12 covers 120° horizontally; between them, the two sides cover 180° plus, with some overlap.’

‘The general manager came to hear the CDLs in our showroom, and right away he was impressed with the quality of the sound,’ relates Deftal Audio Video Solutions CEO and owner, Ron Cabildo. ‘To close the deal, during construction, we brought CDLs to the room so the Binion’s team could hear the dispersion. The space was nothing but concrete. We brought in a guitar player and a DJ, and the CDLs occupied the space perfectly. The sound was so clear, and the client was very happy with it. As we installed the system, we did more testing. We brought in a DJ, a soloist, and bands of various sizes, and the PreSonus CDLs were still perfect for the space. Everybody loved them.’

The finished room doesn’t have sound conditioning, Chase notes: ‘There are some wood surfaces on the wall but nothing highly absorbent. That’s the beauty of the PreSonus CDL system: It’s evenly dispersed, and it has eight 2-inch drivers instead of a horn, which really makes a difference in the quality of the sound. It’s very smooth across the entire listening area, and it’s not harsh at all, which is really important. I worked on a study in the late 1980s and early 1990s in which we found that women are especially sensitive to distortion. If we provided a really clean sound system, we could improve women’s “stay in the bar” time by an hour or even an hour and a half. That sold about 20 per cent more alcohol, which makes a management team really happy. That was part of the strategy I wanted to bring to Binion’s.’

Whiskey Licker Up SaloonThe system uses a Dante network managed by a Symetrix Prism 16x16 DSP. The network feeds the PreSonus CDLs, along with pendant and ceiling speakers in other parts of the room, enabling the system to deliver background music during the day. ‘The CDLs are always in operation,’ confirms Chase. ‘They play quiet background music during the day, and they ramp up in the evening.’ Performers can plug into a Dante-enabled front-of-house console and an Attero Tech unDX2IO+ Dante networked wallplate.

Along with audio from indoor sources, audio from the outdoor 1st Street Stage’s front-of-house console can be converted to Dante, sent to the Prism DSP, and routed to the saloon’s speaker system. The Deftal and Alliance AV Group team also installed a Visionary Solutions video network and cameras that can capture shows on the indoor stage or the outdoor stage, so the patrons can watch the shows onscreen, as well as from the balcony and glass doors.

The project presented many challenges: ‘It took about eight months from start to finish, and it was a design on the run,’ Chase summarises. ‘It’s an old building, and they had to do a huge amount of structural work. The selections of interior finishing and furniture were in flux for a long time. We had to install things in two weeks that should have taken a month or even a month-and-a-half.’

‘During the installation hurdles, the customer service and support at PreSonus was unbelievable,’ adds Cabildo. ‘The PreSonus team consistently helped us to get through. Not only do they make great products but their customer service is impeccable, and their videos are very helpful. Usually after you buy and install a product from a manufacturer, they forget about you. But PreSonus calls to make sure everything is okay. They still call us to ask how the system is doing. It matters.’

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