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Townsville’s Exchange Hotel Reborn with the Help of NQAV and Jands

Townsville’s Exchange Hotel in Flinders St East has received a fabulous multi-million-dollar transformation and now boasts five separate themed areas as well as a bistro and a nightclub on its second level.

North Queensland Audio Visual (NQAV) supplied and installed a comprehensive audio visual solution for the venue that included the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a vast array of equipment into the multiple zones.

Established in the 1880’s the hotel is Townsville’s oldest and is consequently steeped in history.

“The project was fast paced, and included many changes to the initial plan due to the age of the building structure in fact there were many surprises that no one could have predicted!” commented Darryl Byrne, NQAV’s Sales Manager. “Consequently the system had to be flexible right from the start to allow for changes as the project progressed.”

JBL speakers, particularly the Control series, were supplied throughout the venue. As the Jade Bar was to be utilised as a function room with an intimate feel, two Control 29AV’s, two Control 25AV’s and one Sub210 were used. This room also has two local wired inputs, one at the front and one at the rear for local sources such as DJ’s or Karaoke. The Long Bar is a Public Bar with three Control 25AV’s, the Bistro also has two Control 25AV’s for background music, also with a local input, whilst the Tiger Bar utilises four Control 29AV’s with two local wired inputs. 

The nightclub Zanzi is setup in stereo in particular for DJ’s. Originally this was to be a dance club, with regular open mic, hip hop nights, and the occasional band. As time progressed, this varied to a live music venue, with local, interstate and international touring bands. The front of house system installed consists of two hanging JBL AM4212 speakers and two JBL MRX518 subs punching out over 8000 watts at peak, or 1670 Watts continuous.

On top of the front of house are seven Control 29AV’s operating as fills for the room. With Zanzi having a stage for bands, a 16 send and 4 return cable snake was installed from the stage to the DJ booth, connecting up to a 24 channel Soundcraft mixing desk. The additional 8 channels are utilised by three Shure SLX Beta 58 wireless microphones, local inputs from the DJ booth such as a PC, CDJ or effect processors, etc. To reduce ongoing hire costs, a Shure DMK-52 Drum mic kit, SM94, two Beta 57, and four Beta 58 microphones were supplied.

Four dbx 31 band equalisers and a JBL EON315 powered speaker was supplied to match the existing fully functional powered speakers for foldback. For keyboard and acoustic guitar connection to the mixing desk, four dbx DB12 active DI’s are used. 

BSS BLU160 and BLU BOB control the whole venue’s audio switching. BSS was chosen for its reliability, ease of use, full DSP, accuracy and value. The BSS provides a matrix of all inputs capable of being switched to any output.

”The flexibility that the venue has with this setup is outstanding,” said Darryl. “With the installation of a camera fixed to the stage, and the use of the BSS Matrix, the venue is able to sell tickets to a live concert, and a cheaper cover charge for any of the other bars, where the stage can still be seen and heard.”

Along with the wired inputs, there are also connections provided for five Nightlife systems, three Austar decoders, five set top boxes for free to air television audio, one Shure SLX wireless microphone with reception across the whole site, and the output of the 24 channel mixing desk. In total there are 21 inputs switchable to any one or a number of the seven zones.”

Amplifying the signal is a range of Crown amplifiers to match the quality of the JBL speakers, also chosen for their intelligent settings.

”The Crown power amps have cross over points, multiple impedance ranges 70 Volt or 8 Ohm, EQ, Bridge, Stereo, Delay and limiter settings all software controllable from the front panel,” remarked Darryl. “Three CDi 1000’s, two CDi 2000’s and two XTi 4000’s provide the power for the speakers to reach the desired SPL the venue is allowed.”

Being the backbone of any venue, the audio system needed to be reliable, of significant quality, and easy to use. The system that NQAV designed and installed was based on providing outstanding flexibility, functionality and a good quality sound over and above what the intended outcome that was initially expected. 

NQAV also installed some extra lighting on top of what the hotel already owned. The new equipment installed includes two JLX Pro 2.35m lighting bars joined together to give 12 outlets across 4.7m. These outlets run down to a Wall mounted Patch system and then either into a 12 channel dimmer or directly into a 240 Volt power point – dependant on the lighting fixture.





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