When an Illinois-based four-star hotel and conference center needed a powerful, versatile, and scalable audio system, local supplier C.V. Lloyde Audiovisual turned to LEA Professional for its amplification needs.
From corporate meetings, seminars, social gatherings, weddings, and more, the I-Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign, Illinois, offers a unique meeting space experience. With their recent conference center expansion, the I-Hotel now provides more than 70,500 square feet of interior meeting space. This includes a modern 12,200 sq. ft. exhibit hall that can accommodate up to 750 guests for a wedding reception, endless floorplan options for large conferences and expos, and seating for up to 1,200 guests, theater-style. In total, they now have 9 new, fully reconfigurable rooms, with audio powered by LEA Professional’s Dante CONNECT SERIES amplifiers.
Throughout the renovations and upgrades, Illinois-based C.V. Lloyde Audiovisual has been the I-Hotel’s AV partner. C.V. Lloyde has provided audiovisual services to many of the region’s most prestigious projects — including University of Illinois State Farm Center, Memorial Stadium, Yahoo, Intel and John Deere. In the first phase of the project, the team implemented an AV over IP network and an entirely new control system as the I-Hotel looked to upgrade their existing AV capabilities.
Using portable input boxes, rooms can be set up as one-to-one, or combined presenting in one room with audiences in any number of other rooms. Phase two saw the expansion to the conference buildings which added six more large-scale banquet halls and three more smaller conference rooms. C.V. Lloyde provided full building matrix switching allowing combinable rooms for any event type.
Kyle Wikoff & Todd Fitton the System Design Team at C.V. Lloyde worked on the I-Hotel project, explained that I-Hotel management wanted to equip their new meeting spaces with high-quality, scalable AV systems. They also wanted to use the opportunity to upgrade their existing systems and tie them together for maximum, full-facility flexibility.
Because the AV system is all network-based, C.V. Lloyde worked with the I-Hotel IT team to deploy the system. The C.V. Lloyde team designed the system, specified the equipment, and then provided the IT team with a database of equipment serial numbers and Mac addresses so they can set up their network around the equipment needs — whether it’s a standard network for IT or if it’s an AV network distributing audio or video.
“At the I-Hotel, we’re currently using AMX SVSI for AV transport, as well as an extensive Dante audio network,” explained Fitton. “The LEA amplifiers we’re using are 100% Dante and IoT-enabled, so we were able to put the LEA amplifiers on their own kind of network to be able to reach the internet because that’s not typical for the hotel facility — the remote connectivity is a huge LEA advantage for us, and the client loves it.”
From labeling amplifier channels and setting zones to monitoring performance, Fitton explained that the LEA Professional IoT features make the amplifiers very easy to set up and control.
“When we’re on-site, our technicians can log in to the system with a laptop or smart phone, walk around the facility and just mute a channel or a media zone and quickly be able to identify if it’s on or off,” said Fitton. “And when we are doing speaker testing, to be able to mute all the other channels of the amplifiers easily, that says a lot about the product. We really liked those features.”
LEA Professional Dante CONNECT SERIES amplifiers are the world’s first Internet of Things-enabled, professional-grade amplifiers. Available in two, four, and eight-channel models, they feature direct Hi-Z (70V or 100V) or Low-Z selectable by channel. With three ways to connect, integrators can engage the built-in Wi-Fi access point, connect to the venue’s Wi-Fi, or use the FAST Ethernet to connect to any local area network via Cat5 or Cat6 cable.
The CONNECT SERIES is also the first professional amplifier family to feature Cloud connectivity, allowing system technicians to harness the power of the Cloud for remote control, monitoring, notifications, and more from most personal devices. The I-Hotel and Conference Center system is currently using nine 704D, Dante CONNECT SERIES amps
for a total of 25,200 watts across 27 zones.
The new system is very flexible and easy to use, allowing hotel staff to quickly combine any rooms or any batch of rooms to meet any configuration need. Everything in the system is controllable via an AMX touch panel. C.V. Lloyde helped create a custom user interface that allows users to quickly set up background music and adjust audio volumes with or without engaging video projectors or dropping motorised screens.
According to the design team, the system delivers the audio quality, flexibility, and ease of use across the entire facility that the client required. The connectivity and flexibility of the LEA CONNECT SERIES amplifiers helped make it all possible.
“LEA is our number one choice for amplifiers because of the units’ quality and connectivity, and for the relationship, we have with the people at LEA Professional,” said Fitton. “Their response times and level of support have been phenomenal— that’s a huge benefit, especially for hotel and conference spaces. I certainly look forward to more projects with the folks at LEA Professional.”