MacArthur Center mall, the modern upscale 1.1 million-square-foot shopping center in the downtown Hampton Roads area of Norfolk, recently completed an audio system upgrade which included QSC’s Q-Sys Integrated System Platform as well as CX Series Amplifiers.
Sound and communications systems specialist Independence Communications Inc., a Muzak affiliate, handled the upgrade at the MacArthur Center. The QSC equipment replaced the head end of the mall’s original music playback and paging system, providing a DSP solution and reducing the rack space required.
“The performance of the new audio equipment was certainly a big attraction, but there was an even bigger factor behind our selection of QSC for this project,” said William Ammerman III, director of engineering for Independence Communications. “We get amazing customer support from the folks at QSC. We can call them anytime for anything. I’m extremely happy with the company.”
The system upgrade includes a Q-Sys Core 1000 plus two I/O Frames, with a total of eight CX Series amplifiers feeding the previously installed 70V loudspeaker system. Three CX1201V, one CX602V, and two CX302V two-channel amplifiers provide power to speakers in the mall’s various courts, common areas, hallways, and offices. Two CX204V four-channel amps drive eight zones in the multi-story parking garages located at the north and south ends of the mall. All of the amplifiers include a DataPort connector that enables system-wide networking of telemetry and supervision via Q-Sys.
The new system also makes use of Q-Sys Designer’s UCI software tool, which allows custom control panels to be created for use on handheld Wi-Fi devices. “The mall’s engineer uses his iPad and an internet connection to go out and make level changes or whatever he needs to do,” Ammerman said. “They’re also set up so that if there’s an amplifier fault outside of a certain range that we put in for impedance or temperature, I can send him an e-mail and let him know that there’s an issue at the rack.”
Five sensing microphones located throughout the mall – in the food court, two common areas, and outside the two main anchor retail stores – provide information that allows Q-Sys to control ambient sound levels. The system plays background music supplied by Muzak and also supports three paging inputs. There’s a telephone page and two microphones, one at the equipment rack in case of emergencies and another in the security area.
The new QSC products have also reduced the amount of rack space required in the equipment room, according to Ammerman.
“The old system consisted of a bunch of discrete components that we had been servicing over the years, which were wearing out and having all sorts of issues. Between level control, equalization, compression, compressor-limiters and the older style amps, we had five 77-inch racks of equipment,” he said. “As Q-Sys is one real box that does it all, we were able to consolidate everything down to two racks of equipment."