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Jazzing It Up At The Grand Bohemian Hotel

Klimt Rotunda goes wireless with Lectrosonics

Klimt Rotunda goes wireless with LectrosonicsOrlando, FL – May 2007… When the Grand Bohemian Hotel, one of Orlando’s premiere destinations for tourists and businesses alike, decided to improve the sound quality in its live music spaces, the prospect of disrupting daily operations for an acoustical makeover was not looked upon fondly. As the Klimt Rotunda—home to the hotel’s immensely popular jazz performances—is a stunning venue with ornate tiled flooring, lush furnishings, and a massive Bosendorfer grand piano, the imposition of construction in this refined space was not something hotel management was eager to pursue. To solve their dilemma, they sought the help of Orlando-based William Sams Acoustics (WSA), Inc., who, in turn, recommended a wireless solution from Lectrosonics.

The musical performances hosted in the hotel’s Klimt Rotunda are all quite intimate in nature. A solo pianist plays each day during the afternoons, while those attending Sunday brunch are treated to duo performances of piano and sax or piano and vocal. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, there are small ensembles consisting of piano, bass, and drums—fronted by either a vocalist or a saxophonist. For late night entertainment that runs into the early morning hours, a DJ picks up in the adjacent Bosendorfer Lounge when the band completes its final set. All of this activity gets distributed throughout the Klimt Rotunda, the Bosendorfer Lounge, and the Boheme restaurant.

While the Klimt Rotunda is the hotel’s main performance space, its diminutive size makes it necessary to “pipe” the musical performances into the two larger adjacent rooms so as to accommodate more people. In addressing the challenge presented to him, William "Chip" Sams, principal consultant, noted, “While there is a power outlet under the piano in the rotunda, there is no other conduit, so running cable would have required opening up the floor, which was never seriously considered. We approached the idea of discreetly matting a few cables through the area, but since people enter and exit on both sides of the rotunda, this too, was deemed unacceptable. A wireless solution made the most sense.”

For the wireless setup, Sams installed a Helpinstill model 180 piano sensor into the Boesendorfer grand, which feeds a Lectrosonics UH400TM transmitter. “We really needed a wide-band wireless system with no companding to accommodate the piano,” said Sams. “This is what made the Lectrosonics equipment the only serious choice.”

Sams also designed and installed a small box near the base of the piano that has two additional Lectrosonics UH400TM transmitters to support the bass and drums. This setup brings the transmitters out to another jack with an illuminated label, so the performers can readily see where to make their connections. The drums are acquired by a single AKG 451 overhead microphone while bass players utilize an EV N/D468 microphone.

Sitting discreetly off to the side of the rotunda is a custom built, locking, 18-space rack cabinet from MT Cases. This holds an Ashley MX508 mixer, the Lectrosonics Venue receiver with VRS modules, and two SPL Dynamaxx dual compressors, along with the transmitters and microphones when they are not in use. Mixes that feed the adjoining rooms are created here and fed to the house background music (BGM) system.

For distribution throughout the Bosendorfer Lounge and the Boheme restaurant, the upgraded BGM system includes new dbx Zonepro 1260 and 640 DSP routing processors, a dbx ZC3 scene selector, three dbx ZC1 volume controls, and a dbx ZC-FIRE muting interface. The new system provides a mode selector at the edge of the rotunda where the musicians can simply switch between BGM and Live Performance modes.

With the new system having just been completed and placed into service, the Grand Bohemian Hotel’s new SR system stands at the cutting edge for both its capabilities and its ease of operation. “I’ve been extremely encouraged,” notes Sams. “The Lectrosonics wireless equipment enabled us to acquire the various performers without disrupting the aesthetics of the room, and the compandor-free nature of their system delivers the full spectrum of their performances. The sound quality is everything and more than I had hoped for. Everyone is enthusiastic, and when all is said and done, the music sounds better than ever!”

About Lectrosonics

Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theater technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.