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Water world

The largest indoor aquarium in the country relies heavily on QSC’s Q-Sys system, writes James Christopher


 Design Electronics has been operating in Southern Ontario and beyond for more than 30 years

 The company focuses on providing AV, audio, lighting, security and surveillance, and access control solutions to the corporate, government, retail, institutional, industrial and residential markets

 Projects include a showcase restaurant for Boston Pizza, a world-class boardroom for Hudbay Minerals and an AV culinary kitchen lab for Niagara College

More than 230 QSC AcousticDesign surface and ceiling-mount loudspeakers have been installed throughout the aquarium

LOCATED AT the base of the iconic CN Tower in Toronto, the state-of-the-art Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada opened earlier this year. The new high-tech building, shaped like a multi-faceted shell, features an open window on the roof above the main entrance, which represents a window to the aquatic world. The facility’s new sound reinforcement and paging systems feature a full complement of QSC loudspeakers and amplifiers, managed by a Q-Sys Core 500i integrated system platform. The Q-Sys system centralises the control of all background audio content throughout the aquarium and represents the first large-scale installation of


AUDIO – ALL QSC  Q-Sys Core 500i integrated system platform

 AcousticDesign AD-Ci52T 5.25in, AD- C42T 4in, AD-S82 8in, AD-S52T 5.25in and AD- S32T 3in speakers

 CX108, CX204, CX602 and CX1202 amplifiers

 PS-1600H 16-button page stations

58 May 2014

the processor to feature the optional MTP-128 playback engine, which expands the system’s capabilities from the standard 16 tracks to 128 tracks. At 135,000sqft, Ripley’s

Aquarium of Canada is the largest indoor aquarium in the country, encompassing nine galleries that represent freshwater and marine habitats ranging from the Great Lakes to tropical reefs and housing over 16,000 fish in 1.5 million gallons of water. The audio portion of the aquarium experience features a 70V distributed system comprised of more than 230 QSC AcousticDesign surface and ceiling-mount loudspeakers, powered by nearly 50 channels of CX Series amplifiers, plus K Series active loudspeakers, all under the control of Q-Sys. The Core 500i acts as a single point source for playback of all background music and some sound design elements throughout the aquarium and outside the building’s main entrance. The Core 500i was factory-fitted with the MTP-128 playback engine, together with a media drive upgrade enabling storage of up to 130 hours of audio, eliminating the

need for any external media servers. Q-Sys also manages two-way communications with the dive shows at some of the exhibits, as well as routing and reinforcement of the wireless microphone systems used at the various sea life presentations. “The Q-Sys offers a fully

integrated solution and is based on a centralised processing architecture, allowing all of the processing to take place in one unit,” says Khalil Williams, director of operations/ project manager of Design Electronics, which was selected to supply and install all audio, video, security and CCTV equipment throughout the building. “This gave us complete flexibility with the system design as we could route any input to any output without convoluted signal paths. Q-Sys offered us a powerful suite of software and peripherals that made this project’s objectives very easy to achieve.” The Core is installed with

six Q-Sys I/O frames that provide interconnection and routing to and from external equipment. “Due to the vast size of the building, two networked rack rooms were required on separate

floors,” says Williams. “By leveraging the Q-Sys system’s Layer 3 protocols, we were able to build a simple audio network and transmit all sources throughout the entire building, including to a third rack room on the office level for the classroom environments at the Discovery Centre. Q-Sys works on standard Gigabit ethernet, so it can easily run on a shared network without segregating audio traffic via VLAN configuration.” The Core 500i is configured

to feed 40 individual zones that are outfitted with a variety of AcousticDesign ceiling-mount loudspeakers, including AD-Ci52T 5.25in and AD-C42T 4in models, and surface-mount loudspeakers, including AD-S82 8in, AD- S52T 5.25in and AD-S32T 3in

models. CX108 8-channel, CX204 4-channel, CX602 2-channel and CX1202 2-channel amps power the AcousticDesign loudspeakers through the facility. Design Electronics also installed two QSC PS-1600H 16-button page stations at the aquarium. “The PS- 1600H features a simple and redundant Ethernet connection to Q-Sys, and the Q-Sys software allowed us to provide extensive and sophisticated paging functionality to suit the client’s needs. The user controlled interfaces are very user-friendly, and allow the facility staff to easily manage daily security code changes or pre-recorded announcements. Virtual paging stations can be created on any networked computer and there is even the capability to page remotely via the internet,” says Williams. 

The Q-Sys Core 5001 is installed with six I/O frames

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