Excel’s Audio Performance Takes A Turn For The Better With Q-Sys

A scalable QSC Q-Sys digital audio network has been installed at London’s Excel Exhibition Centre by experienced installation specialists Paul Todd and Eddie Thomas of SSE Audio. Based around a Core 1,100 processor, the new QSC system replaces Excel’s ageing background music system, and is used in conjunction with an existing Ateis Voice Alarm. All of the QSC equipment was provided by Shure Distribution UK.

Having struggled with the daily management of the previous system, Excel gave SSE a brief to create a fully redundant network with a bespoke, user-friendly graphical user interface. Q-Sys has been integrated into Excel’s existing fibre network ring, and now distributes up to 256 x 256 digital audio channels from 18 racks, each with fibre network connectivity and full redundancy.

Excel is one of London’s largest Exhibition Centres, offering a total of 100,000 sq-metres of usable space across 50 separate areas, all of which are now served by Q-Sys; up to 20 simultaneous events can now be controlled at once from two touch-screens in the operations room. In addition to its capacity to play background music, Q-Sys allows the organisers to make announcements to any of the halls. The highly adaptable system is complemented by flexible routing and, despite its complexity, remains simple to configure and easy to operate by the staff.

Thanks to Q-Sys’s remote reporting options, which at Excel send alerts directly to the installers, SSE’s engineers are kept abreast of how the system is operating. As Paul Todd explained, this makes upkeep of the system efficient: “We usually know about any faults before the staff at the venue. It also lets us know if any replacement equipment is needed before we visit the site, which eliminates multiple trips and shortens system downtime for Excel.”

Shure UK and SSE have had a strong relationship for years, and Shure Distribution UK’s Systems Group was involved in the project from the early planning stages. Project Consultant Pat Bradley and members of the Excel team were invited to Shure’s UK demo facilities to explain the features and benefits Q-Sys could offer the venue.

Shure Applications Support Engineer, Tom Colman, commented that the Q-Sys matrix created for Excel highlights SSE’s expertise and creativity designing innovative audio networks: “Paul and Eddie are Q-Sys super-users who share an enormous amount of experience creating bespoke audio networks; their work makes you realise just how powerful a well-designed Q-Sys network can be.”

According to Paul Todd, the upgrades at Excel have future-proofed the venue, but he notes that the most significant outcome of the project is the high level of customer satisfaction. “I estimate that Excel will not have to upgrade the Q-Sys network for 10 years at least. The client is extremely happy with the results; they actually described the new system as ‘life changing’.