05.03.08

Stereo sounds better

AUTHOR: Inavate

Portuguese integration firm Audionova has installed an unusually high specification background music system in a new Spa for the Solverde Hotel, capable of distributing audio around the site or sourcing it from local inputs.

The 5 star Solverde Hotel in Espinho (a seaside resort city in the North of Portugal near Oporto) has created an innovative new Spa with various areas for leisure and rest, where its search for modernity and innovation included equipping its rooms with an up-to-date multi-zone sound system.

To design, supply, install and programme the whole system, the Board of Solverde, S.A. (one of the biggest Portuguese companies, owning various Casinos, Bingo halls and Hotels) chose Audinova for the task on the basis of their experience, technical capacity and assistance that Audinova has demonstrated over the years in their working relationship with Solverde.

Audio is integral to the therapy areas of the Spa, and according to Nunes de Sousa, who managed the project for Audinova, one of the most challenging aspects of the project was to deliver the best possible sound quality. The Bose system was selected on the basis that it delivered the required audio quality at 6-ohm.

“Unlike normal background music systems, every zone of the Spa is served by stereo audio, even the corridors. This posed some significant challenges in the system design. It wasn’t enough to just put a ceiling speaker every 4 metres. We had to measure each room individually to establish the best speaker positioning to deliver good intelligibility with the stereo based on the likely position of the guests in the room.”

The sound system of the Spa of the Solverde Hotel derives its efficiency and flexibility from 3 Bose ESP 88 units that manage all the audio input and output traffic, controlling and responding to requests to switch between sound sources and alter volume by the users of the various zones. The control units have DSP algorithms that allow the control of input signals and adjust them to obtain the level and the desired sound quality. Tools such as graphic and parametric equalizers, crossovers, routers, delays, compressor/limiters, gates and automatic gain controllers that can be added to the signal to get the desired sound.

The whole system is configured to the client’s specification by use of digital and analogue input and output cards, operating over Ethernet. To ensure uninterrupted operation of the system it is possible to carry out programming while the BGM service is working without any breaks in the sound.

In each of the offices a CC-16 controller was installed that interconnects with the others over the network in a star topology, via RS 232, these enable the user to choose the type of sound source that he intends to listen to as well as the desired volume level. There was also a need for local sources to be considered so amplified signal inputs were installed, enabling the therapists to inject audio locally via a mini stereo jack.

In order to cope with the very large number of audio channels required, the sound amplification system is composed of Ecler amplifiers with six low-impedance channels a-piece that make up a total of 56 output paths. To ensure good speech intelligibility, at the same time, Bose FS 16 loudspeakers were installed. It is also worth drawing attention to the fact that this system supplies audio to two aquatic relaxation units with internal sound amplification, the operation of which is based on alterations in the frequency of the melody that is being reproduced.

The management of the system, which is carried out from the technical zone of the Spa, is lodged in a 19-inch rack controlled by the central Bose CC-64 unit via Ethernet, where six Denon DN-C635 CD/Mp3 readers supply, simultaneously, a variety of content and ambient sounds.