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LEA Professional Connect Series Amplifiers Elevate Guest Experiences at the Luxurious W Hoboken Hotel

Perched on the Hoboken, New Jersey waterfront, the W Hotel offers stunning views of the New York City skyline across the Hudson River. The pet-friendly hotel is steps away from the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) and New York Waterway Ferry, enabling easy access to Manhattan. Built in the early 2000s, W Hoboken is an architectural gem with modern styling and many unique design features, like the extremely high ceilings in the colorfully lit lobby. Unfortunately, the original sound system was beginning to show its age and started to experience failures, so the hotel turned to LEA Professional to rectify the problem.

Hotel staff contracted Ron Lorman of Busy Puppy Productions, as audio consultant, to design a robust audio distribution system for the hotel’s common areas and meeting rooms. Lorman specified LEA Professional amplifiers based on a recommendation from Doug Asher of Essential Communications. To minimize disruptions to guests and staff, the existing loudspeakers would remain in place for the foreseeable future.

“We discovered the existing loudspeakers were low impedance speakers; some were wired in series and other sets in series-parallel,” said Asher. “They were running at less than two ohms because they had so many eight ohms speakers on a line. That can tax normal amplifiers quite a bit, leading to burnout. Lorman re-designed the wiring schemes to achieve more balanced operational loads. We felt that the LEA amplifiers were the best solution because we knew they could handle a two-ohm load and operated at very reasonable temperatures. Add in all the other advanced features like the web interface, ease of setup, and control of the amplifiers, and it was a no-brainer.”

Asher’s team decided to use an LEA Connect Series 704D to power the loudspeakers in the Ballroom. The 704 is a Dante-enabled 4-channel amplifier with 700 watts per channel, perfectly suited for small to medium-scale installations. The 704 supports high-Z (70V or 100V) and low-Z selectable by channel, giving the hotel excess capabilities for possible future expansion.

For the meeting rooms and remaining common areas and hallways, several LEA Connect Series 168D amplifiers were installed to run the remaining speaker lines. The larger ballroom is divisible, so care had to be taken to set the zones up properly, given the possible various room combinations. The 168D is a Dante-enabled 8-channel amplifier offering 160 watts per channel, which was an excellent fit for the common areas, hallways, and meeting rooms. Like the 704D, the 168D also supports high-Z (70V or 100V) and low-Z selectable by channel.

While all the loudspeaker processing happens in the LEA amplifiers via the built-in DSP, hotel staff wanted complete control of background audio throughout the building. Essential Communications deployed a Symetrix DSP in the rack room to control the system. Control pages were created in the Symetrix software that could be accessed via a web browser. Hotel management was provided with two iPads — one for the common areas and the other for the meeting rooms — that allow staff to manage all the zones, select the music, and control volume levels.

The hotel staff was so happy with the upgrade that Lorman and Essential Communications were commissioned to retrofit the restaurant as well, again with LEA amplification. Additionally, plans are being implemented to upgrade the audio systems in the former nightclub, which is now the hotel’s premier event space with Manhattan skyline views, using LEA Professional amplifiers.

“Commissioning the LEA amplifiers was flawless,” said Asher. “We test everything in our shop before it gets to a client site. All we did on-site was make sure we connected the more than 60 speaker runs to the right amplifiers. Everything worked when we turned on the system and started walking around the hotel, checking all the controls and the zones. Everything came up the first time; the music was playing, and it was playing in the correct zones. Everyone was really pleased about the transition from the old to the new system and how smoothly it went.”

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Chris Ruckle, . But not Chris Ruckle. He’s an audio-visual and IT infrastructure engineer at H&R Block

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