Community Delivers Power and Quality for Manhattan’s Soho Grand Hotel


Essential Communications of East Hanover, New Jersey has recently completed a major upgrade to the audio systems at Manhattan’s Soho Grand Hotel. Opened in August 1996, the Soho Grand Hotel was Manhattan’s first luxury downtown boutique hotel, delivering a level of service and style that earned it a place on Condé Nast Traveler’s ‘Gold List’ as one of the world’s best places to stay.

Presenting a variety of musical events and other programs including contemporary DJs, the Soho Grand Hotel has maintained its investment in technology over the past 17 years with four major sound system upgrades, all designed and installed by Essential Communications.

The latest upgrade includes a Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX DSP to integrate management of the audio systems throughout the entire property and a new Community loudspeaker system for the Salon as well as the hotels main lounge area. David Schwartz, Essential Communications’ president and designer of the system, explained that, “For greater flexibility and partly reflecting an increased emphasis on DJs, the Soho Grand’s latest sound system is based on a Dante network. The Symetrix Radius controls all of the common areas, including the Harbor Room of which is divisible into three separate meeting rooms, the Chart Room, which hosts a variety of events and meetings, the Grand Bar at one end of the Salon and the Club Room at the other end of the Salon. The Club Room has two divisible areas, the Club Room bar and lounge and a more private room called the Parlour. To provide sufficient outputs, the Radius 12×8 EX has an xOut 4 expansion card as well as an xOut 12 output expander, giving the system 24 analog outputs.”

In the Salon main lounge the hotel wanted a more powerful multi-purpose system and David chose Community’s I SERIES for its audio quality, high output and discreet styling. Fourteen custom-coloured IC6-1082 8-inch two-way loudspeakers are distributed to provide the coverage and sound levels required, with two IS6-112 12-inch subwoofers and two IS6-212 dual 12-inch subwoofers adding bass extension and impact. The Community loudspeakers are powered by QSC amplifiers. “The loudspeakers are located and angled to cover the multiple areas of the Salon, but we were able to provide precise system alignment utilising the extensive DSP features in the open architecture Symetrix Composer to maintain really even and well balanced sound throughout,” commented David. “The system sounds great and has the power and quality for every type of event.”

Providing easy-to-use control for the new system was an important part of Essential Communications’ design. “We customised the user interface because end users want simple control,” said David. “They want to push a button, and the volume goes up or the source changes, and that’s it. We were able to provide exactly that with Symetrix ARC-WEB virtual interface.”

ARC-3 wall panels provide appropriate fixed location control in the divisible Harbour Rooms and the Chart Room, while another ARC-3 serves as a common area backup at the main audio racks. Elsewhere, ARC-WEB enables wireless control from a web browser or mobile phone. Each manager has a static IP address on their iPhones, as well as an assigned static IP for the Radius. With one touch, the manager can connect directly to the Radius and change sources and volumes for all zones. The hotel also has an iPad in the office as a backup.

“For an establishment of the caliber of the Soho Grand Hotel it’s all about audio quality, flexibility and ease of use. With Community and Symetrix, that’s what this system delivers,” concludes David.