The first-ever Virgin Hotels, located in Chicago, Illinois, utilises a Symetrix DSP to route and process audio in bar, lounge and DJ areas.
Virgin Hotels, the latest venture from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, debuted in January this year when its first location opened in the Loop area of Chicago. As befits a conglomerate with substantial interests in media and telecommunications, the installation of cutting-edge audio-visual equipment was near the top of the priority list - in which context a Symetrix SymNet Radius 12x8 open architecture Dante-scalable DSP was selected to handle audio routing and processing across multiple entertainment and relaxation areas.
The company charged with designing and installing the audio systems in these spaces - specifically, several bars/lounges and DJ areas located on the 24th and 25th floors - was New York-based El Media Group. Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Ernie Lake recalls that the final design and installation taking place during the six months to January.
"The brief was pretty simple - essentially, to deliver really high quality sound for both background and foreground music, including DJ sets," says Lake. "In terms of the audio processing, we needed to be able to operate three independent zones within the same space - but also combine them into one when required. Having used Symetrix equipment extensively in the past, we knew that the SymNet Radius 12x8 processor would be ideal for this task."
A potentially sizeable input count was another important factor behind the selection of SymNet Radius, whilst the final installation also makes use of the DSP's support for Audinate's Dante media networking technology. The SymNet Radius unit takes its place in a commendably high-end audio infrastructure that also features Symetrix' ARC-2e wall panel remotes, Lab.gruppen C Series amplifiers, and loudspeakers from Community Professional, On Point Audio and Tannoy.
"It's a very powerful but simple-to-use set-up that really accommodates our client's needs," says Lake. "SymNet Radius is absolutely integral to the design, and I am also pleased to report that this marks our first-ever Dante implementation. It works flawlessly and the programming was a breeze."
Subsequent to the Virgin Hotels installation, Lake and his team attended an "extremely informative" Symetrix training event in New York City to find out more about Dante, as well as the latest DSP solutions and SymNet's burgeoning third-party product configuration capabilities. The commitment to assisting the work of the integrator underlined by this type of event is symptomatic of what Lake believes is an unparalleled approach to customer and end-user support.
"Symetrix' support is the best in the industry," he declares. "The people there are incredibly knowledgeable; having never gotten off the phone without the problem being solved. Anything we need they are always there for us; for example, if we need a processor over the weekend they will ship it right away. It's a great relationship."