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Sam's Town Live!
Sam's Town Live!, the new addition to Sam's Town Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, serves primarily as a mid-sized venue (about 1000 seats) for showcasing name touring acts like Kenny Loggins, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Clay Walker. But, at other times, the plush stadium seats are collapsed and rolled away, and the space is transformed into a banquet and meeting room. On yet other occasions, the room can be reconfigured to serve as a dance club, with table seating and a four-way surround sound system focused on an expansive dance floor. "At one point, the owners were talking about having stadium bowling in there," notes George Kindler, director of engineering at SPL Integrated Systems (SPLIS) and primary designer of the audio system. "They took that off the list for now, but they still have numerous other uses planned for the room." In addition to configuration flexibility and the client's insistence on the highest audio quality, Kindler faced other complications in his design task. Equipment room space was extremely limited. The throw to the back seats was over 90 feet, but the budget did not allow for delay speakers. Also, comprehensive, real-time monitoring was essential to assure long-term system reliability. When all factors were taken into account, a self-powered system from Meyer Sound emerged as by far the best of all possible solutions.
The Sam's Town Live system was laid out by Kindler in consultation with Todd Meier of Meyer Sound's Design Services Department and Lloyd Kincade, Meyer's Western regional sales manager. The basic performance configuration consists of an LCR system, with each cluster comprising three MSL-4s with a pair of CQ-2s hung underneath as downfill. According to Kindler, the coupled MSL-4s provided the needed power to punch through to the back rows without delays. "The way the room is laid out is like a rectangle with two truncated corners," he notes, "with the stage and back wall on those two flattened corners. So the room widens out, and then gets narrower. The back rows of seats are pretty high up and over ninety feet away. We were concerned about that distance without delays, which is why we went to the three MSL-4s per cluster." To provide surround sound for the disco dance club configuration, two CQ-1 cabinets are hung 32 feet from the stage, projecting down and back toward the stage. Three compact UPM-1P speakers supply front fill, with deep bass rolling out from under-stage pockets courtesy of a pair of PSW-4 subwoofers.
According to Kindler, the space-saving attributes of Meyer Self-Powered loudspeaker systems also played a key role in speaker selection: "Although we initially looked at Meyer for sound quality and acoustic characteristics, we were also faced with a very small equipment room. Frankly, there simply wasn't enough room in there to accommodate traditional amplifier-speaker arrangements." Although the self-powered concept was a major factor in the choice, Kindler looked to Meyer because of the depth of the product line, experience with the technology and availability of the RMS Remote Monitoring System. "We wanted to keep track of the health and well-being of the amplifiers while up and running," he says.
Push Button, Reconfigure System
Signal distribution is handled by a BSS Soundweb unit, an approach which allows for instant resetting of signal levels and distribution to accommodate different uses. For concert applications, all three main clusters plus fills and subs are active, but the two CQ-1s for the dance floor are turned off. For dance use, the center cluster is turned off and the CQ-1s switched on, with relative levels adjusted for optimum effect. For banquets and meetings, another preset activates only the center cluster, and a single mic can be plugged straight into the Soundweb panel without going through the main mixing console.
The system was installed and commissioned just before the grand opening concert by Kenny Loggins on November 24, this past fall. Kindler credited several other SPLIS staffers for getting the job done right (and right on time), including site project manager Paul Turner, project engineer Kevin Ruud, and field techs Randy Robbins and Stirling Fox. Todd Meier and Lloyd Kincade of Meyer Sound performed final system alignment using SIM System II.
According to Kindler, initial reactions to the new system at Sam's Town have been uniformly positive, and the SPLIS staff is equally pleased with the assistance provided by Meyer Sound. "This was my first experience working with Meyer Sound, and it has worked out very well. But, more importantly, the client is happy." Judging from reactions to the first several concerts, Kindler is confident that the system has ample power and flexibility to take care of any foreseeable use of the venue. "We have tons of headroom in there with nine MSL-4s," he asserts. "I don't think there will be a situation in there where they can get into clipping."