Case Study: The Calile Hotel, Australia

Hurrairah bin Sohail discovers how Soho Sound Design’s approach to integration shaped the AV deployment at The Calile Hotel in Brisbane, Australia.

Located on the gentrified James Street in Brisbane, Australia, The Calile Hotel is one of the latest additions to the hospitality sector in the city. Soho Sound Design was appointed as the integrator responsible for providing it with the required AV systems to function.

Jason Roesler, owner of Soho Sound Design, talks about how the integrator won the job: “We previously worked on a project for a football club, West Bulldogs out of Toowong in Brisbane. That particular project had a similar DNA to The Calile Hotel as it involved the same architects, builders and project management and it turned out to be a good test run for the hotel.”

Soho Sound Design was engaged early on in the project and Roesler details: “We were brought in even before the previous building was torn down and we had the time to come up with the designs and be part of the conversations regarding cabling, power and data as the construction proceeded.”

The design brief from the client was one that should be familiar to AV professionals working in the hospitality sector. Roesler says: “They wanted the AV to be felt but not seen and they wanted high-quality audio. After that, we had a clear canvas to proceed as we wanted. We started with creating a technical brief for the hotel and then moving forward and discussing our options as they came up.”

Roesler and Soho Sound Design’s philosophy and approach to integration guided the selection of AV technology. Roesler says: “I’m reasonably technically minded, and I know how to take an abstract idea and make it work with the products available. I think we didn’t end up buying two products from the same supplier for this job.”

Seeing that quality audio was high on the priority list of The Calile Hotel, Meyer Sound MM4XP speakers and MM10XP subwoofers have been chosen to provide sound across the various spaces of the hotel. A total of 104 Meyer Sound speakers have been used across the premises. Roesler says: “We chose d&b audiotechnik speakers for the West Bulldogs football club. But at the time those were only rated as IP34 which by definition means they are suited only for temporary, common outdoor applications. Since the speakers at The Calile Hotel would need to be used outdoors, at places like the pool area, any product we chose would have to be able to handle the harsh Brisbane weather. Meyer Sound provided us with a five-year warranty for outdoor use and that was the tipping point.”

In addition, the MM4XP speakers can be mounted on U-brackets which allowed Soho Sound Design to perch them in inconspicuous locations while also complying with the Australian building codes. Ashby 5C in-ceiling speakers are used in places where the Meyer Sound MM4XP units could not be mounted.

Roesler adds: “Another big advantage of using the Meyer Sound speakers was the fact that we didn’t need to allocate space for amplifiers in the rack. We ended up not having a single spare RU in the comms room and no space to spare either due to architectural design.”

Interestingly, Soho Sound Design chose to pair the Meyer Sound speakers with BSS Soundweb London DSPs. Once again, the performance of the whole audio system was at the forefront of the integrator’s mind when making its choices.

Roesler says: “We chose the BSS because it was eminently suited for the job. I take audio very seriously and the BSS was the best DSP option. It fits in one RU which helped us save on rack labour and I’ve never had a BSS Blu DSP fail on me.”

To add, BSS DSPs offered The Calile Hotel an option to expand and scale in the future by adding more inputs and outputs that can be linked via Blu Link. The BSS DSPs also fit in with Dante which was used for the distribution and zoning of audio.

Lastly, Powersoft amplifiers and Audac in-ceiling speakers are used in the restroom and changing room areas. Roesler narrates: “Originally, we wanted to use low impedance speakers. But one of the few cabling mistakes during the course of the project meant that microphone cable was run from the rack to these spaces. It is a really thin gauge and it was a fairly long run so redoing the cabling was not an option. So, we decided to go down the rout of a 100V speaker installation and chose the Powersoft amplifiers due to their native high impedance support. It sounds great and you can hardly tell the difference.”

Video at The Calile Hotel has been provided for the function rooms, business centre and amphitheatre. Christie projectors are used to project visuals. Roesler says: “We equipped the function rooms with projectors so that they can function combined together or uncombined. There are six projectors in the rooms so that you can arrange seating in any orientation. There are input boxes in the floor and the walls so you can connect laptops and other devices.”

Video signals are distributed by Just Add Power encoders and decoders along with Luxul switches. Roesler says: “At the start we were going to go with HDBaseT. But as the project progressed so did the scope of the video deployment. Just Add Power was the star of the show as it allowed us to have signal transmission split across several racks connected via fibre.”

Providing The Calile Hotel control over the AV systems is an RTI system. Roesler says: “RTI has been absolutely unbelievable. The level of control it offers is great. It is extremely reliable and never crashes and provides a high level of configurability for the touch panels. With the GUI we have built and the functionality available we barely had to provide any training to the hotel staff on how to operate it.”

Apple iPads are used as input devices for the control system. Roesler firmly believes that his approach of integrating the most suitable products for the job was the right path. He says: “I don’t like products that claim to do everything. I preferred to take the BSS DSP and add RTI control and transmit video by Just Add Power. There are manufacturers that can offer a complete solution, but I think the integrated solution we have delivered is better.”

An unforeseen consequence of Soho Sound Design’s integrated approach was the fact that a distributor shuffle in Australia caused challenges. Roesler details: “When we started on this project, Meyer Sound was selling direct in Australia and Harman was with Jands. And then all the distributors shifted. Thankfully it didn’t cause any major issues with the project. I reached out to the new distributors for the brands and showed them the quotes that I had previously been given and they accepted it.”

To conclude, Roesler says: “In my opinion, there is no other hotel in the world like this. The level of attention that has been paid to the selection of the AV products and systems shows in the performance."

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