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Miami Horse Racing Track and Casino relies on Tannoy and Lab.gruppen

Miami Horse Racing Track and Casino relies on Tannoy and Lab.gruppen

USA - Choosing Tannoy loudspeakers and Lab.gruppen amplifiers for Miami’s Hialeah Park Raceway and Casino was based on a wealth of past experience with both company’s products, says Dave Stearns of Dallas Texas-based, Marsh/PMK International LLC - the new incarnation of Pelton Marsh Kinsella (PMK). “We’ve been using Tannoy for this type of application pretty much since they started making ceiling speakers,” Stearns says, “and Tannoy has very few competitors that challenge what they do.”

Originally constructed in 1932, the world class horseracing venue attracted celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill, and, owing to its classic Spanish décor and singular atmosphere, was also was tapped as the setting for many scenes in major Hollywood films such as The Godfather: Part II.

After a series of troubles, Hialeah Park closed its doors to the public in 2001, but it has been undergoing renovations and was re-launched as Hialeah Park Racing and Casino in late 2013. Although it retains the classic architectural motifs that charmed patrons in its early days, the facility now boasts 150,000 square-feet of casino floor, multiple restaurants and bars and state-of-the-art AV systems including distributed audio that provides highly intelligible background music and paging 24/7.

“The new casino occupies a completely renovated portion of the existing Clubhouse building,” says David Marsh, President of Marsh/PMK, who first became involved with the project in late 2010. “The project started out as a major building addition with a larger casino as well as meeting facilities and the Owner’s corporate headquarters. We finished AV design for that version of the project and delivered complete construction documents. Unfortunately, adequate financing could not be obtained and the building addition was shelved for the time being.” Ultimately a smaller casino was designed for incorporation into the existing Clubhouse. It features audio and video systems designed by Stearns and Marsh and installed by Ft. Lauderdale, Florida integrators, NDR Corporation.

In all, nearly 1,000 Tannoy loudspeakers were specified for the project consisting of about 430 CMS 501DC and 125 CMS 801DC ceiling loudspeakers, 175 Di 5DCt and 70 Di 8DCt surface-type loudspeakers and 175 ceiling mounted subwoofers. Tannoy iw 6 and iw 4 in-wall type loudspeakers replaced a few of the originally specified units during construction because of field conditions that obstructed the loudspeaker backbox.

While Tannoy’s Dual Concentric design provided substantial benefits in overcoming the sonic clutter of the casino, there were additional challenges that informed the design and the placement of the loudspeakers, Stearns explains: “Large portions of ceiling are of a Pergola design with wooden lattice sections on 4-foot centers bordered by structural beams that define roughly 30x30-foot areas. Loudspeakers were mounted flush with the bottom of the wooden slats in the lattice. Subwoofers were hung above the lattice. We had to coordinate loudspeaker locations with the lattice design and have the architects create wider openings between the wooden slats wherever loudspeakers were to be located. We used the Di 8s and Di 5s in the lattice areas, but when we got into a drywall, or drop ceiling we used CMS 801s and 501s.”

Rather than a generic distributed layout, Stearns created a frequency shaded design. “One problem with a distributed system is that you often set up the speaker spacing for high frequency coverage, but the lower frequencies overlap each other. You can use EQ to carve out some of the mid-bass, but there is a better way to achieve spectral balance that also improves the system’s transient response. What we did here was use the 8” speakers to provide basic full range coverage and then use smaller satellites around them to fill in high frequencies out to the edge of the group.”

“Imagine a Tic Tac Toe board,” Stearns continues. “The loudspeaker in the center is full range and has a sub beside it – a CMS 801 and the custom Tannoy 1201 sub. In the corners, we have a CMS 501 that’s band-passed with the low end cut-off at 600 Hz because everything below that is covered by the full range 8” speaker. The CMS 501s are electronically delayed to synchronize their output with sound arriving from the CMS 801 in the center of the pattern. As you go up in frequency, you get to about 1800 Hz and start to see holes appearing at the remaining four locations. Here we shade in additional CMS 501s to handle the higher end (with appropriate delay). The result is elimination of the mid-bass buildup that is so typical of distributed systems and the creation of a tighter transient response. This pattern is reproduced across the entire casino floor. A similar approach was also used in circulation spaces and for the outdoor covered walkways.”

The Tannoy loudspeakers are powered by approximately 55 Lab.gruppen Contractor Series amplifiers with NomadLink monitoring and control; a mix of 4-channel amps running voice coil to the subs and 8-channel amps for the 70-Volt systems. DSP is provided via 22 Symetrix SymNet Edge Dante networked audio DSPs with a total of 300 outputs.

“Given the sheer number of channels, Lab.gruppen was an obvious amplifier choice,” Marsh says. “When we have a lot of channels we like Lab.gruppen because they’re compact and reliable. The speaker system on this project wasn’t all 70-Volt lines where you can string 30 speakers together, so we had to come up with an amplification package that wouldn’t take up too much rack space.”

In the end, the audio system design using Tannoy and Lab.gruppen gave Hialeah Park a unique and cost effective solution that provides quality, clarity and highly intelligible audio both inside and outside the new casino.

15th October 2014

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