The Transformation of ExCel Centre’s Audio System

  • London
Live Productions
Q-Sys Core 1100

Distribution network for Exhibition Centre

Upgrading Audio System at London’s ExCel Centre with Q-SYS Ecosystem

ExCel site engineer Pat Bradley first saw a demonstration of the Q‑SYS Ecosystem and its capabilities at the PLASA Show, which at the time was held at London’s ExCel Centre. It became apparent to Pat that here was the ideal solution to replace the building’s ageing audio infrastructure. The system integrated uses one of the larger QSC Q‑SYS digital signal processors – the Core 1100, which can cope with the large existing channel count and has capacity as the audio requirement grows.

The system is designed to provide network and hardware redundancy. It uses the building’s existing optical fibre network ring to distribute up to 256 bi-directional digital audio channels while  providing a bespoke and intuitive graphical user interface for operators. More importantly for the ExCel, it introduced a user experience and reliability that was previously impossible with their existing voice alarm equipment.

The ExCel exhibition centre offers over 100,000m² of floor space, with more than 50 separate areas. These can be combined or divided to fit the requirements of any specific event. The flexible hall configurations require an equally flexible audio routing system that is simple to configure and operate by the venue staff.

Tailored Audio Control: Streamlining Operations at the Venue

The installed system is operated from two touch-screens in the venue’s operations room. Our technical specialist Paul Todd designed custom Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) that allow the operator to define an area that is being used for a show or exhibition and then control the audio and paging inputs and outputs to that space. This means that even when the centre has multiple events on, in a unique configuration of rooms, the correct audio can be routed to the appropriate speakers throughout the venue.

The system comprises two Core1100 DSP configured to be redundant to each other. They control and distribute pristine digital audio around the near 1.5 Kilometers of existing optical fibre to 18 racks each containing new gigabit Layer 3 network switches and QSC Q-SYS IOFrames. The IO frames provide the required analogue audio breakout into the existing amplification to drive all the speakers throughout the ExCel Centre.

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