When BJ’s Bingo & Gaming in Fife, Washington, began expanding their facility last year, they decided to upgrade and integrate their entire AV system. BJ’s management worked with Tacoma-based AT Productions, who called on LEA Professional to amplify the facility’s many rooms and spaces.
“BJ’s is technically a bingo hall, but it’s huge and is operated like a casino with bingo, slot rooms, restaurants, bars, a cigar lounge and many other rooms and spaces,” said Austin Taylor, Founder and Owner of AT Productions. “BJ’s was doing a lot of renovation and new expansion, and we were contracted to do all of the distributed audio and video for the expansion and to replace all the existing systems, and tie all the systems together on the same platform for easy management.”
To best cover and manage the AV for the large, multi-use facility, the team designed a 50-zone, 70-volt, distributed system. AT Productions worked with Seattle based professional sales partner Brownestone who recommended LEA’s Connect Series amplifiers for the project.
“We knew right away that LEA’s technologies would be a great fit for this project”, commented Mike Charles, Principal at Brownestone. “We were proud to introduce AT Productions to these ground breaking amplifiers, the complex needed an innovative solution to improve efficiency, and LEA’s technologies did just that.”
The system is built upon a Dante network and is controlled by touchscreen-based software from Symetrix. Sonance speakers are used throughout the facility. The slot rooms and restaurants feature background music, and the bars have audio support for big-screen, televised sports and other programming. The facility’s two-floor bingo hall features a main downstairs floor with a couple of audio zones and two additional zones upstairs. The previous system was underpowered and built upon different systems and platforms over the years, so there was no continuity; some areas were too loud, some too soft, and there was no global control.
“We put a callback system in place with a monitor above the bingo caller bringing in audio from upstairs so the bingo caller can hear if anybody upstairs calls bingo,” said Taylor. “We placed ceiling microphones upstairs that feed down through the DSP to the bingo callers monitors. For the bingo hall, it’s all very transparent. They can now hear every “bingo” called out.”
Taylor explained that there are three separate fiber-connected IDF (intermediate distribution frame) racks in the facility. There currently is a mix of 10, two- four- and eight-channel, Dante-enabled digital amplifiers from LEA Professional powering the system. Specifically, the team specified LEA Dante Connect Series 168D, 354D, and 352D amplifiers.
The project encountered significant delays due to supply chain issues but LEA Professional amps were readily available and part of phase one of three project phrases.
The Connect Series is a commercial-grade audio amplifier family perfectly suited for small to medium-scale installations. Featuring three ways to connect, users can engage the built-in Wi-Fi access point, connect to the venue’s Wi-Fi, or use the FAST Ethernet to connect to any local area network via Cat5 or Cat6 cable. The Connect Series also features cloud connectivity allowing users to harness the power of the cloud for remote control, monitoring, configuration, and more from any personal device. The Connect Series also features HiZ and LoZ channel selectable analog inputs, Dante inputs, and external I/O control for remote on/off and fault monitoring.
“When I first learned about LEA amps, I immediately saw that the feature set is incredible. This is definitely an amp line I wanted to carry,” said Taylor. “The form factor is great, the channel count, the power, the flexibility — the remote configurability was a huge selling point for my client since I can remote into the system and monitor and fix things that might need to be adjusted. They’re super cool, the support is great and they sound excellent.”
The BJ’s Bingo project was the first time Taylor specified LEA amplifiers. Still, in the meantime, his team has used LEA amps on other projects, and each of those projects has been easily commissioned, with very happy end-users.
“The client very much wanted this to be a turnkey, easy-to-use solution, so the remote and cloud connectivity is an essential feature,” said Taylor. “With the touch screens and iPad apps that they can walk the entire building and control the audio levels. The client pushes a button, and the music plays, and they have volume control where they need it; they’re very happy. And if something happens — such as a recent power loss — we can log in, verify or reset anything we need to get up and running quickly.
Taylor added that he is now specifying LEA amplifiers for every 70-volt installation project that is coming across his desk.
“We have other projects in the works and I’m very excited to use LEA amplifiers,” added Taylor. “The amps are very reliable, sound great, have all the connectivity you need, and LEA as a company has been very supportive and responsive to any question we have had. These guys aren’t messing around; they take care of their dealers.”