Hilton Americas-Houston Installs Soundweb System

Apr 12, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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The new $285M Hilton Americas-Houston, which opened its doors in December of last year and served as the host hotel for Super Bowl XXXVIII, ranks as one of the most technologically sophisticated hotels in the world. Partially backing up that claim is that fact that it’s also one of the largest Soundweb installations on record, making use of 68 BSS 9088ii DSP devices all on a single network.

HFP Acoustical Consultants Inc. of Houston provided the audio-visual and acoustical design specifications for the new 1200-room, 24-story Hilton Americas-Houston, which is connected via a double deck skyway to the George R. Brown Convention Center. Ford Audio-Video Systems Inc., under the direction of Project Manger Kevin Compo, served as the systems integrator, with Gary Ewald from Ford’s Austin office primarily responsible for the project’s Soundweb programming.

HFP Senior Design Consultant Bill Schuermann comments, “With 22 miles of conduit running throughout the hotel and 187 miles of fiber just to support audio-visual alone, this was by all rights an enormous project. Consequently, I knew we needed a DSP and routing solution that would sound good, be extremely reliable, and be backed by a highly experienced support team that had dealt with many other large-scale installations. Soundweb was that solution. And this was nearly three years ago when I initially specified the products. Soundweb has only gotten better since then.

“We’re using the BSS 9088s to provide delay, EQ, comp/limiting, leveling, TOC, room combining…pretty much everything you’d expect. They really offer an excellent sounding DSP, which can sometimes be a bit of an oxymoron in this business. In fact, when Ford first fired up the system in the Hilton’s Grand Ballroom, which is just under an acre in size, even un-tuned, it was the best sounding ballroom system in a hotel that any of us had ever heard.”

Aside from the 68 BSS 9088ii devices, the Hilton Americas-Houston also employs a myriad BSS 9000 network hubs and 9014 fiber-optic interfaces, as the entire system is distributed via fiber lines. “By using the 9014s and going with an all-fiber backbone, we dramatically reduced the traditional copper infrastructure and eliminated the potential for ground loops,” he adds.

Setup and master control for the audio system is provided via a resident PC in the control room running Soundweb Designer, while user control is accomplished via nearly 60 Crestron TPS-3000 touch screens located throughout the facility. Schuermann points out that the integration between Soundweb and Crestron has been “absolutely invisible.”

Schuermann sums the project up by adding, “Soundweb delivered everything that BSS said it would on this install. I can’t even tell you how happy I am with the decision I made.”

For more information about BSS Audio/Harman, go to www.bss.co.uk.

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