Parc life in Picardie

The largest assembly of QSC products ever commissioned for a single project is providing site-wide digital audio networking and sound reinforcement at the new Center Parcs holiday village, Le Lac d’Ailette, in the French region of Picardie.

Situated on 140 hectares bordering the picturesque Lac d’Ailette in Aisne, the creation of this state-of-the-art, eco-friendly leisure and relaxation experience, is a triumph for the collaborative work of the architects, engineers, operators — and Belgian-based sound, video and lighting contractor, AMPS, with their elaborately-designed QSC digital system solution.

Taking almost two years to construct at a cost of €260 million, the third Center Parcs village in France (and 17th in Europe) opened this Autumn in the heart of the Aisne forest. Sympathetic to the natural landscape, the site offers multiple water and land sport pursuits, convention centres and 861 individually-styled cottages — as well as five restaurants, four shops, a nightclub, bowling and live stage, all served by QSC audio components.

The design is based on a networked platform over CobraNet, powered by three BASIS 922uz units, and controlled by the first Venue Manager V3.0 in Europe, providing complete system management.

Wim Torfs established AMPS a decade ago, and the company was soon powering its early systems with QSC amplification. But once the Californian manufacturer adopted a complete system approach (which QSC describe as their ‘Trifecta’), there was the opportunity to go much further.

The solution at Aisne was to access all 18 zones that make up the central building with advanced signal transport and networking, using CobraNetâ„¢ technology to route multiple audio channels over standard Ethernet cables and hardware.

Each zone is fed from the main computer running, while the BASIS processors connect directly to the DataPort on selective QSC amplifiers, providing network control and monitoring of all amplifier functions.

The facilities serviced by QSC devices range from ‘Le Spot’, the highly-specified discotheque, and ‘The Scene’, a live stage under the teflon domed roof of the Winter Garden, to restaurants and cafés, sub-tropical swimming pool, indoor adventure playground, 10-lane bowling, supermarkets and general concourses.

The general areas are serviced by around 300 full-range AcousticDesign AD-S52-T and C152-ST loudspeakers, fed from five separate Maxx Music servers running Media Tools software, and powered by a combination of
five QSC CX302V, four CX-602V and three CX-1202V 2-channel 70V line amplifiers.

Where a more muscular approach was required, AMPS has raised the bar.

In ‘Le Spot’ they have specified eight AD-S282H and four ModularDesign MD-L115’s, all elegantly flown in horizontal mode to compensate for the low ceiling height, powered by a pair of PL230s and a PL236. And over at ‘The Scene’ QSC MD F152/94r loudspeakers, arrayed and bracketed together in trapezoidal ‘wedge’ clusters of four, either side of the stage, are complemented by four MD-L115 bass extension to provide near 360° dispersion — driven by a pair of PowerLight PL236 amps and 922az Basis.

Torfs had no reservations about recommending a QSC solution from the ground up after auditioning the company’s loudspeakers at an exhibition staged by Belgian distributors, AED.

“I listened to the AD-S52, AD-S82 and AD-S282H, and was immediately impressed with the flat response,” he said. “Center Parcs is always looking to introduce new concepts and innovations; we are aware both of the system functionality required as well as durability, since the equipment has to be working 16 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

As well as their own installation team AMPS were aided by AED — in particular Rudi Gaspard and and Hans Vanderheijden — and QSC’s European technical support manager Santiago Alcala, who upgraded the control software to QSC’s new Venue Manager 3.0; this has been built specifically for the platform, using the QSCreator tool to develop custom control screens.

Announcements from the Reception area can override the signal source in any of the selected zones, with a touch screen PC offering manual volume control.

In fact system security has been given high priority. In addition to providing built-in redundancy, remote access to the system allows simultaneous ‘health checks’, with any faults logged.

As for Venue Manager, the latest version includes the ability to design and view an entire system without the need for hardware, and update functions in both design and live modes that can be used to establish new network-wide settings with a single mouse click.

The result is an intuitive central operating system, tucked away in the technical room. And while all the essential presets are locked into the tamper-proof Basis units (located in the discotheque, the stage and main rack), a straightforward GUI has ensured that minimal training was required for authorized personnel.

The overall system has been designed as a low-maintenance solution, which is both fool-proof and future-proof. Further flexibility has been provided in 12 of the zones where additional audio source XLR plug-in points have been provided.

AMPS are delighted to have helped Center Parcs Europe realise their vision for this new concept. Their state-of-the-art design satisfies the requirement for evenly-dispersed, high-clarity, non-stop musical entertainment for the 3,000 visitors who flock to the site every day.

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