AVoIP Case Study: Cozy, inconspicuous audio over IP for boutique hotel

Keeping it simple and cost-effective with Dante over IP
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A designer boutique hotel in the heart of Ghent, Belgium is finding value in Dante Audio IP networking from Audinate for the business and entertainment needs of its guests. Designed and integrated by Belgian systems integration firm Round Group Audiovisual Engineering, the Dante network delivers high-quality background music in the hotel's atmospheric 1898 The Post cocktail lounge, as well as delivers pristine audio to all points, including audio support for presentations, meetings and events in a large multi-function room.

1898 The Post is a new venture from Zannier Hotels, based in Ghent, that opened this past summer. Located in the upper two floors of Ghent’s old post office building, the hotel offers 38 guest rooms and public spaces that complement the building’s late 19 century architecture. Round Group was hired to provide a “very high-end sound system” for The Cobbler, the hotel’s cocktail bar and social hub, along with reception and other public areas of the hotel. The company was soon after provided with an opportunity to extend the system to support AV needs for the multi-function space.

1898 The Post - The Cobbler 1 - © Zannier Hotels

“This was a ground-up reconstruction with new walls, new flooring, restored wood and new electrical systems, which gave us complete freedom to design and specify an audio-visual solution that would complement the cozy and relaxed atmosphere,” said Marc Bauwens, Senior Engineering & Associate, Round Group Audiovisual Engineering. “We wanted a system that blended into the architecture, and they certainly didn’t want visible wires and big black boxes hanging everywhere. That led us down the path of networked audio, and very quickly to a Dante solution with Bose Professional digital signal processing across the network. In addition to being the most technically superior option, Dante saved us more than $4,000 in comparison to other audio networking options.”

To minimize visibility of the system, Bauwens opted for Dante-enabled Attero Tech unD3IO wall plates and K-array end point systems. The wall plates provide a flexible array of software-selectable inputs and outputs (XLR, RCA, 3.5mm stereo) to support a variety of audio source devices. The Dante network moves audio to K-array KA24 amplifiers and KV52 loudspeakers, which offered the thin profile both Bauwens and the hotel were seeking. Inside The Cobbler, the loudspeakers line a stairwell as guests come and go, and are otherwise positioned around the bar and seating areas. The system includes two KV2 Audio subwoofers – discreetly built into wooden cabinets mounted beneath windows – that are also powered by Dante-enabled KA24 amplifiers.

“The sound system is stunning in terms of output; in the bar alone, we have 6,000 watts of power coming from six speakers,” said Bauwens. “They desired enough punch for a party but also wanted a system that could deliver smooth background music during tea time and cocktail hour. The real beauty of the system, however, is the flexibility for hotel employees. They can walk up to any of the three Attero Tech wall plates, plug in a smartphone, laptop or media player, and instantly route audio, along with power and data, over the Dante network to selectable speakers. There is no learning curve.”

The Bose Professional ControlSpace ESP-4120 DSP, which like the other hardware offers a low profile through its single-rack-space design, supports multi-channel signal processing for both the public sound system and the multi-function space. The latter includes four KV52 loudspeakers powered by KA24 amplifiers, as well as LG displays and a Barco ClickShare system for video switching and distribution.

“Bose and K-array help us get the most mileage out of the Dante network, and keeps all of the audio completely in the digital domain,” said Bauwens. “With Dante, we can transport uncompressed audio over fairly long distances with stability, no latency, and no degradation in audio quality. There is no need to add extra components to boost or re-amplify the signal power in the middle of the network. With two clocks of a mouse, the Dante Controller takes care of sending out signal to where it needs to go. Dante is fast, flexible and easy to install, all of which and saves us a tremendous amount of money and integration headaches.”

Bauwens anticipates an expansion of the Dante network to an outdoor terrace on the top floor of the hotel.

“We have two cables, plenty of bandwidth and a network drop ready, and will add another Attero Tech wall plate on the terrace,” said Bauwens. “The toughest part of my business is making it easy for businesses that don’t have a highly trained technical staff, which is generally the situation in hotels and other hospitality businesses. Their core business is selling meetings, events and services. Audinate and their partners assure that these customers can keep the focus on their businesses.”

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