+27 (0)11 470 6800 info@apexpro.co.za

Archive for Month: August 2018

Symetrix Prism enables expansion at The Shops at Willow Bend

Inspired by classic prairie-style, early 20th-century architecture and design and featuring soft lighting, rich wood, masonry, and etched glass, The Shops at Willow Bend shopping centre oozes Texas ambience paired with contemporary convenience. Anchored by Dillard’s, Macy’s, and Neiman Marcus, the big mall presents a wide variety of stores, including a focus on home décor shops. Sitting in a sweet spot along the Dallas Parkway, the North Dallas-area mall continues to grow, with new spaces still in development.

“My partner designed the original system there 15 years ago, and we’ve overseen and maintained it ever since, replacing and fixing the amps and so on,” begins Senior Systems Engineer Patrick Burke of Dallas systems integrator BBD Technology Group. “But the system needed a lot of updating. They had an outdated old DSP and a computer that was still running Windows 98. We’ve been after them for years to replace that old DSP, and recently they agreed to our proposal to install a Symetrix Prism 16×16 with an xIO 4×4 Dante-enabled analogue I/O expander. The Prism and Dante let us improve and expand their system in ways we couldn’t have done before.”

A 45-year industry veteran, Burke was an early adopter of DSP systems and has long been a fan of Symetrix processors. “Symetrix has always been a brand I like,” he confirms. “Symetrix sound quality is excellent, their DSPs are reliable, and they’re easy for me to work with. Of course, a true understanding of analogue electronics is required to program any DSP. Gain structure is a crucial issue. But assuming you know what you’re doing, Symetrix Composer software makes the job a lot easier. For The Shops at Willow Bend, we built a GUI using Symetrix software, which we haven’t done before. It’s working very well.”

The main mall requires five audio zones, with another eight zones in the parking garages. “We’ve got messages that play in the parking garages, music that plays in the main mall, emergency messages that play in the main mall and the garages, and paging that plays everywhere,” Burke relates. “We are going to install another Symetrix xIO 4×4 expander to serve a new area outside some restaurants by the Dillard’s store, and we’ll pass signal back and forth to the main unit and create another DSP string for sound going to the outside area.”

The mall’s loudspeakers are old but serviceable, and Burke is not inclined to replace them. “They have more than 400 ceiling speakers that have been there for 15 years,” he explains. “They still work, and they don’t sound bad. We have five Crown CTs 1600 power amplifiers and eight Crown CTs 200s in the central control room.”

BBD replaced the ancient Windows 98 PC with a new HP computer running Windows 10, including a touchscreen to run the new custom GUI. “Right now we’re trying to get it on their network so their operations guy can pull up the GUI on his machine and control volumes and such,” Burke expounds. “Security does it right now, and they have to go back into the rack room. I’ve got them providing me with a fibre link between the two racks, with a copper transceiver, so we can do Dante between the main machine and the other rack. I really like Dante, and with the Symetrix Prism, we now have a system that can handle all that.”

Although the upgraded system is up and running, the BBD team is by no means finished at The Shops at Willow Bend. “This mall is one of the few brick-and-mortar places that’s still surviving and growing,” he observes. “The client is happy with the improvements, and they continue to invest in the upgrade, so this project is expanding, and I see more work coming. Symetrix Prism DSPs with Dante enable us to build out the system as needed to accommodate their growth. It’s a very interesting project, and I’m enjoying it.”

Bosch Plena serves BGM with fries

Bosch Plena mixer amplifiers are at the heart of the sound setups at the new McDonald’s ‘flagship’ restaurants. These feed LC6-100S-L ceiling-mount speaker systems, which consist of 8-inch subwoofer modules and a crossover network to support four 2-inch satellite speakers, delivering BGM.

Bosch designed a configuration of its commercial sound speakers especially for each flagship restaurant using EASE Address. ‘With the acoustic analysis, we customised the sound system for each individual restaurant, to provide nothing but the best sound in each location,’ said one of the designers.

The projects were awarded to Bosch after the manufacturer presented a series of relevant case studies of previous restaurant installations to McDonald’s. Key McDonald’s decision-makers were also invited to the Bosch experience centre to hear the products in action.

‘McDonald’s has invested a lot in background music, because we know that it gives customers a good experience and brings more business,’ said Ma Lijie, director of the development department for McDonald’s China. ‘McDonald’s needs a good music system and Bosch’s wide product range meets our needs very well.’

Prosound Botswana and Six Dots host expo in Gaborone

Prosound Botswana and Six Dots Botswana hosted an expo on 27 July 2018 in Gaborone.

The expo highlighted all brands represented by Prosound including Electro-Voice, ETC, DPA microphones and Prosound’s install and system solution services, with insights into their vast experience in the corporate, education, government, houses of worship and the entertainment industry.

Visitors to the expo got a hands on experience which included ETC lighting solutions and regular demos of the Electro-Voice X2 line array system, as well as the new Electro-Voice ELX200 portable speaker range and Evolve50 column speaker.

Presentations were made by various brand ambassadors and industry experts, who gave professional insight into the latest from high end professional audio products, as well as introduced us to the latest technologies. Speakers on the day were:

Gary Davies (Sub Saharan sales manager) – Exterity
Hein Pagniere (Director) – Aver, Combox
Lee Brune (Prosound training and development manager)
Siphelele Khumalo (Technical sales and support) Electro-Voice, DPA, Eurotruss
Mathew Lewis (Product specialist) ETC Theatre, film, studio and architectural lighting)
Christopher Luthando Hlanganyana (Product specialist) Bosch

This was the first expo of this kind to be held in Botswana, and was a terrific success. People from a range of industries attended, as there was something for everyone. Lighting designers, architects, sound engineers and DJs were all represented, and everyone left knowing more about Prosound Botswana, Six Dots and the services we provide. There will definitely be more events of this kind in the future.

ETC and Prosound light up the National Arts Festival 18

ETC and Prosound are very proud to have sponsored lighting and technical support to twelve of the National Arts Festival in Makhanda’s most prestigious venues. Lighting designers, technicians and students have all been delighted to have been able to work on such a high-end and prestigious lighting brand for the duration of the festival.

Prosound and ETC have been laying down the groundwork for a few years now to make ETC the gear of choice at the festival. Motlotlo Makhobotloane (Mac), has been Prosound’s man on the ground at the festival, working as installer, teacher and trouble-shooter. He tells me that at first, there was resistance to using ETC consoles, as they are usually brought in as freelancers, and like to be familiar with the gear they were using. Now, with ETC being installed in most major playhouses and churches around South Africa, they are much more comfortable with being sat in front of and ETC desk.

Speaking to the designers at NAF18, the one message that comes through time and time again is the ease of use of ETC and how it works in a way that all understand. Motlotlo (Mac) is in town for two weeks before the actual event starts to get experienced technicians up to speed, as well as teaching the ins and outs of the consoles from scratch. A great way to build brand loyalty.

A special emphasis at this year’s festival has been on showcasing how lighting will work in the future, so two venues were fully kitted out in ETC LED fixtures and solutions. The Masonic Front and Masonic Back boasts the simplicity of new technology, and Mac has been using the venues to showcase the following:

  • ColorSource 40 Consoles
  • ColorSource Pars

A combination of ColorSource LED Profiles and Lustr Profiles for Front of House.

Again, the simplicity of ETC is evident in the venue, as the touch screen consoles are accessible enough for the show’s producers and directors to have a hands-on approach to their production. The venues are ably run by freelancers Ellah Sehume, Kgaugelo Mboweni  and Koketso.

Lighting designer for the festival at The Guy Butler Theatre, Darren Wolhuter was also very happy to be working with an ETC EOS Titanium Console. This prestigious, state of the art theatre hosted the official opening night of the festival, which was attended by the Mayor of Grahamstown along with several other dignitaries. Lighting technician, Sheriff (@bamanye1981), had the show up and running with ease, as he is a sought after freelance lighting expert in Cape Town.

“I own my own ETC gear, so I’m very familiar with it. More and more theatres in Cape Town are installing ETC, and with my knowledge of the product, I’m being kept very busy” enthuses Sheriff with the great hair.

All theatres running on ETC control at the festival ran without hitch, and by all accounts the festival was a huge success. Mac from Prosound was on call 24/7 to make sure everyone was comfortable with the gear, and to provide moral support for the students.

Prosound have been exceptionally committed to growing the ETC brand in South Africa, and believe that being so deeply involved in the National Arts Festival for so long is definitely paying dividends. Allowing experienced designers and students just starting out in their careers to work on ETC products has proved to be a greatly empowering endeavour, and they hope that the collaboration with the organisers of the festival will last for many years to come.

Venues that have been fitted with ETC consoles and fixtures are:

  • The Great Hall, running an ETC EOS full size console with Four Port Gateway.
  • The Hangar – ETC GIO, 4 x LED Series 2 Lustr profiles, and Martin Mac Auras
  • Guy Butler Theatre – ETC EOS Titainium & Congo Full-size
  • The Masonic Front and Back – ColorSource Consoles and ColorSource Pars, Lustr Profiles
  • NG Kerk (Won Best Venue for 2018) – ColorSource 40 Console and 3 x LED Series 2 Lustr Profiles
  • Graeme College – ETC Element 60
  • St Andrews College – ETC Element 40
  • Glennie Hall – ETC Element Console 40
  • Gymnasium – ETC Nomad pack and 8 x ColourSource Pars
  • Victory Theatre – On PC, EOS Nomad pack
  • Rhodes Box – 3 x ColorSource Cyc

Symetrix announces the release of SymVue for Control Server

Symetrix has announced the release of the highly anticipated SymVue software for their Control Server hardware.

Awarded Best Of Show at this year’s ISE show, SymVue is a server-based application designed to control Symetrix DSPs. SymVue enables custom GUIs authored using Symetrix’ Composer running on the Symetrix Control Server hardware. Application-specific control screens can be designed and tested in minutes, without writing any code.

With SymVue deployed on Symetrix Control Server hardware, Symetrix DSPs can respond to commands from any browser-enabled device – laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. SymVue’s WYSIWYG designs render in all popular web browsers and adapt to screens of different sizes, resolutions, and orientations. Parameter changes remain in sync across all networked devices including Composer, ARC Wall Panels and ARC-WEB, third-party controllers, and SymVue clients on Windows PCs.

Cost-effective server-based Control Server hardware distributes SymVue, along with existing and upcoming Symetrix apps, to one or multiple users across a wired network or via built-in Wi-Fi, hosting a virtually unlimited number of users and configurations. Multiple users can operate SymVue, each with a unique username and password. Each installation of SymVue for Control Server also includes five available configurations of the application, as well as five available configurations of the Mixer application, enabling users to quickly create intricate and complex systems right out of the box. SymVue for Control Server virtually eliminates device and operating system compatibility issues. There are no app stores to deal with, no updates to enforce, or out of date network applications running loose on the network. Security and user access are centrally managed and enforced, enabling administrators to quickly and easily deal with changes and reconfiguration.

“We’re truly excited about the release of SymVue for Control Server,” remarked Symetrix Senior product manager Trent Wagner, “We’re particularly honoured to receive a Best of Show award, with so many great products and technologies at this year’s ISE show.”

For more information, please visit http://www.symetrix.co/products/symvue-software/