QSC Audio Products' Q-Sys Integrated System Platform is at the heart of the networked audio-visual facilities at the new $28 million Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center, an 85,000-sq.-ft. addition to the Fairplex Exposition Complex in Pomona, CA.
The 487-acre Fairplex site has been home to the L. A. County Fair – the largest county fair in the world – since 1922, and also encompasses the Fairplex Park horseracing track, Auto Club Raceway drag strip and more than 300,000 sq. ft. of indoor exhibition and conference facilities.
CSI MultiMedia (Campbell-Shaw, Inc.) of Woodland Hills, CA, designed and integrated the new Q-Sys system, which comprises a Core 4000 with 256 x 256 I/O capability plus eleven I/O Frames outfitted with CIML4-HP high-performance mic/line I/O Cards. The system additionally includes 30 QSC Audio PowerLight 3 Series PL340 (2 x 1200 W @ 4 ohms) and six PL325 (2 x 825 W @ 4 ohms) amplifiers powering the installed speakers.
CSI has been working with the Pomona Fairplex since 2008, and according to partner Rick Shaw, CSI has since effectively become an in-house AV contractor, revamping other convention halls as well as facilities such as the racetrack, grandstands and Finish Line Sports Grill.
“Our objective here was to create a large networked web throughout the entire campus, so that any signal can be sent anywhere,” said Shaw. “We were looking for very powerful web-based systems – web in terms of internet and configuration – and we chose Q-Sys, which is the first of the really, really powerful web systems out there. It’s a great sounding system and very responsive.”
The Sheraton’s new Conference Center extension, which is located adjacent to Conference Halls 8 and 9, includes a number of office suites and several ballrooms that may be reconfigured with air walls. Since opening, the new complex has hosted events for companies including Anheuser-Busch, Southern California Edison, Kaiser Permanente, and a conference for Armstrong Garden Centers.
Q-Sys, which not only networks audio but also integrates the emergency system throughout the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, offers a great deal of flexibility, said Shaw. “Every input is connected to every other output, so if you have an overflow from the main room you can send the signal back to the hotel, or you can send it to one of the smaller office suites. When the air walls open, Q-Sys automatically combines the rooms; same with lighting. And now you can send audio signals to Conference Hall 8.”
The installers also took advantage of the DataPorts on the QSC amplifiers. “Because QSC amplifiers speak directly to the Q-Sys Core, we have unbelievable amounts of information, such as the temperature,” Shaw said. “It’s really an interestingly sophisticated system in that we can completely administer it offline. Troubleshooting becomes almost an off-site solution.”
“One of our best assets now is that Q-Sys allows us to control the sound anywhere and we are not limited by our existing infrastructure, because the flexibility of the network solves the problem,” said Ralph Schorbach, technology manager at Fairplex. “And because Q-Sys is a network based system, we didn’t even need any additional wiring or framework."
Current plans call for the Q-Sys Integrated System Platform to be expanded across the entire Pomona Fairplex site. “We’ve made a commitment to expand with Q-Sys across the entire campus. What we plan to do, since all the Q-Sys Cores speak to each other, is install smaller Cores – the 500i and 250i – all around other locations, so that our clients can have access to the system anywhere.”