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The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Doubletree Hotel Denver

Subtle AV 12/01/2008 7:00 AM Eastern

The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Doubletree Hotel Denver

Dec 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Dan Daley

Subtle AV




For an AV overhaul at the Doubletree Hotel Denver, the focus was on 
subtlety—not only during installation while the hotel was open, but also 
in final aesthetics. The JBL Control 26CT loudspeakers in the lobby are mounted 
to standard ceiling tiles with flip-out wings, and four 42in. LG Electronics 
RU-42PX10C flatscreen displays are on stalks in large planters.

For an AV overhaul at the Doubletree Hotel Denver, the focus was on subtlety—not only during installation while the hotel was open, but also in final aesthetics. The JBL Control 26CT loudspeakers in the lobby are mounted to standard ceiling tiles with flip-out wings, and four 42in. LG Electronics RU-42PX10C flatscreen displays are on stalks in large planters.

The Doubletree Hotel Denver wanted to take its public areas retro-modern, adding the kind of low-slung red leather couches that you would see in the edgier homes on the '60s-themed TV series Mad Men. To keep the emphasis on the décor, but still keep these areas firmly footed in the 21st century, the new round of audio and video had to seen and heard, but not obviously so.

“The management did not want to have any speakers visible at all,” says Shawn Hansson, president of Logic Integration in Englewood, Colo., the systems integrator on the project. All loudspeakers — there are well more than 80 of them — would have to be ceiling-mounted or camouflaged, such as eight Niles Audio RS6 rock-shaped outdoor loudspeakers. Even some of the four 42in. LG Electronics RU-42PX10C flatscreen displays are on stalks in large lobby-area planters, as though they were put there by arborists rather than integrators. The other main challenge was the fact that the hotel would remain open throughout the renovation, so the installations had to be done in four phases.

The hotel's ballrooms were the first to undergo renovation. With no light switches allowed on walls, Crestron TPS-2000L Isys 5in. active-matrix touchscreen panels with audio and video would control the lighting.

Crestron TPS-2000L Isys 5in. active-matrix touchscreen panels control the lighting, audio, and video.

Crestron TPS-2000L Isys 5in. active-matrix touchscreen panels control the lighting, audio, and video.

“They were programmed to allow each ballroom to be configured as one large ballroom, divided in halves, in thirds, or in quarters — each subsection with its own lighting and audio control,” Hansson says.

This same grid would also control the microphone layout and mini-stereo jacks for laptop computer use installed in plates on all four walls, also allowing input levels to be controlled from the same touchpanel. Even though the integrator has its own staff programming expert, the programming became complicated enough that Logic Integration brought in subcontractor Chris Jensen, a certified Crestron programmer, to do the touchscreen layout design and code it.

“It was a lot of work on that end, but the result is a very clear, easy-to-use GUI which represented a map on the other end for the client,” Hansson says.

The ballroom has an Allen & Heath MixWizard WZ3 14:4:2 dynamic compact mixer with four-group audio that is routed into a Crestron 8×8 matrix switcher.

The ballrooms' new fluorescent lighting was requested to be placed on dimmers. But since fluorescent cannot be dimmed beyond approximately 50 percent, incandescent wall sconces were also added and tied to the Crestron control system. Any time fluorescents and high-voltage wiring are used together, the audio cables need secure shielding. In this case, Windy City Wire 16-2 loudspeaker cable and shielded line-level microphone and loudspeaker cable were run.


The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Doubletree Hotel Denver

Dec 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Dan Daley

Subtle AV




The ballroom’s ceiling has 18 JBL Control 26C loudspeakers, which are powered by three Crown Audio CTs 1200 amplifiers.

The ballroom’s ceiling has 18 JBL Control 26C loudspeakers, which are powered by three Crown Audio CTs 1200 amplifiers.

A change in the structural design after the project had been designed also meant that the 18 JBL Control 26C loudspeakers, powered by three Crown Audio CTs 1200 amplifiers, had to have their installation method adjusted. With the original hard points and rough-in boxes no longer available, the crew used aircraft wire to secure them to roof supports. Acoustically, large ballrooms can be difficult, but Hansson says that both the highly directional ceiling loudspeakers and the acoustical ceiling tile were helped by the padded hanging light fixtures the interior design team had chosen, in large part because of their deadening properties.

Speaking of acoustics, the lobby has a large sitting area inside a 25ft.-tall atrium illuminated during the day by large window panes at ground level and above. The JBL Control 26CT loudspeakers were mounted to standard ceiling tiles with flip-out wings, since they were smaller than the ballroom loudspeakers. Including the adjacent restaurant, the space was divided into eight audio zones, with each zone programmed to start at a certain volume level. For example, the restaurant dining area started at a 20-percent volume level, increasable in increments of 10 percent to a maximum of 60 percent of maximum volume.

“This limits the volume that the system can hit, but still gives the staff the ability to let the background music keep up with the ebb and flow of conversational noise in the lobby and bar,” Hansson says. “But at the bar, when the staff turns on the audio, it will start at 50 percent.”

JBL Control 25 loudspeakers, which have a weather coat applied and are set into the stucco concrete overhang, provide audio for the portico in front of the lobby entrance.

JBL Control 25 loudspeakers, which have a weather coat applied and are set into the stucco concrete overhang, provide audio for the portico in front of the lobby entrance.

Audio is distributed using a Crestron CNX-PAD8A eight-source/eight-room enhanced stereo audio-distribution system with a Crestron CP2E control processor. Ethernet is tied into the other subsystems for easy program changes and the ability to do global events.

The restaurant has a similar loudspeaker and touchscreen arrangement as the rest of the lobby control system, which is further programmed with different automatic volume levels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner sittings. Music is supplied from a DMX server in the control-room area. The island bar between the restaurant and sitting area presented its own challenge: It's covered in stainless steel for the top and backsplash, so the integrators had to coordinate the wiring of that area with the construction crew building the bar, carefully drilling with a carbide-tipped drill bit and threading the cabling inside to reach the two loudspeakers that are located in the brushed-stainless ceiling.

“Basically, we were running the wiring as they were building the bar, with them stopping construction of the next section while we were wiring the one they had just finished,” Hansson says.

A final section that received AV was the portico in front of the lobby entrance, a covered driveway with JBL Control 25 loudspeakers with a weather coat applied and set into the stucco concrete overhang. Between the ballrooms and the spacious atrium lobby, the project required some runs as long as 500ft. to 700ft. for both audio and video cabling to the control room in the lower-floor closet. Trenches were dug in the concrete flooring for conduit to be run horizontally, with cabling pulled through walls for vertical runs to ceiling loudspeakers. A Key Digital distribution amplifier system amped the signals on the longest runs and component HD video was used.


The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Doubletree Hotel Denver

Dec 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Dan Daley

Subtle AV




Hansson says that at the time the project was specified, HDMI was deemed too expensive and did not yet have the ability to handle runs that long. The video signal runs from conduit up through the mounting poles to the four LG 42in. plasma screens.

“I would have to say that the key to getting the project done right was in coordinating all of the different trades working on all of the various phases of the job,” Hansson says, adding that its location a mere 6 miles from the company's corporate office will make service easy to accommodate. “Pulling wire in a busy, working public space is always the most challenging environment you can be in.”

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