Written by Jimmy Den-Ouden
ClimbFit Kirrawee is a state of the art indoor climbing gym based in South Sydney, Australia. The facility includes over 130 top rope climbing routes, an expansive bouldering area with 60 routes, multiple lead climbing routes, three auto belays, cargo net, ladder and rope climbs, as well as a fully equipped gymnasium featuring modern machines, free weights, and a dedicated area for many weekly classes.
Owners Robbie & Sarah Josephsen and Steve Gardner realised that a quality sound system was called for to complement these impressive facilities. They turned to Jimmy Den-Ouden of Techroom for a solution.
It was determined that the sound system needed to satisfy several requirements:
An EAW speaker system was specified for the main climbing areas comprising six MK2396i full range speaker cabinets, wall mounted high and angled down steeply toward key listening areas. An SB180z subwoofer was installed behind the climbing wall to provide low frequency augmentation.
With the help of the great design team at PAVT, the entire speaker system design was plotted in EAW Resolution 2 as part of the sales process. This gave the ClimbFit team a good idea of how the system would perform before signing off on the design.
The gymnasium was fitted with four VFR109i speakers, with 12 ceiling speakers fitted to ceiling tiles in the classes area and an additional four ceiling speakers fitted to the change rooms. All drive equipment was installed in a rack, located out of the way in a locked store room to minimise dust ingress, a big problem in a climbing gym!
The cabinet speakers are powered by a pair of Powersoft Quattrocanali QC2404DSP+D amplifiers, with three channels of each amp running an MK cabinet and the remaining channel powering a pair of VFR speakers. The SB180z is powered by a Duecanali DC1604DSP+D, while a 4 channel 100V amplifier powers the ceiling speakers across three separate zones.
The primary input to the amplifiers is via Dante, with an analogue backup. Dante is distributed through a Cisco SG300 series managed switch with a trunk into the corporate network. A Dante specific VLAN makes it possible to input Dante streams direct to the system from the main office if required. UniFi access points provide secured wireless network access.
EAW Greybox presets have been loaded to optimise speaker frequency and phase response, and apply correct protection parameters. Some minimal additional tuning has been done on the speaker system, also through Armonia. With plenty of headroom available the system never needs to run hard, so a low frequency tilt was quite comfortably able to be added to the tune. The result is rich, fulfilling sound everywhere. While the speaker system fully supports stereo operation, a mono summed mode has been implemented to more completely distribute musical information.
Input processing, zone mixing and ceiling speaker EQ is handled by a Symetrix Prism 8×8, with local RDL input plates in the office and gym areas. The RDL plates passively sum and balance consumer type sources such as MP3 players. Twin balanced line level inputs allow for local connection of professional not equipped with Dante, such as a DJ mixer. A sound server in the audio rack allows continuous playback of full bitrate audio, while a switched paging mic is available in the office for announcements.
The Prism unit performs several functions that are important in the daily operation of the gym. Scheduled switching of the system and adjustment to volume levels throughout the day ensure the system is always on at the right time, and at the right level. This is done simply via preset recall of multiple parameters.
An ARC-2e keypad in the office allows staff a simple way to switch between sources, adjust volume in the climbing and gym areas, and turn the system on or off. The gym and attached class areas ordinarily track the climbing gym source selection, however this can be locally overridden via an ARC-K1e keypad, allowing class instructors to play their own music.
The Dante output streams are replicated on analogue outputs of the Prism such that a backup analog signal path feeds all amplifiers for peace of mind. Testing of this feature showed the switch to be near imperceptible.
Owner Robbie Josephson has been impressed with not only the audio performance of the system, but also how well it has integrated to the daily operations of ClimbFit. He says “The system sounds great and works exactly like we need it to. Our staff have found it easy to use regardless of technical skill level. It was a big decision to invest in a pro level system, but I think everyone agrees it was the right choice to make.”
Technician Jimmy Den-Ouden especially appreciates the integration that has been possible between the DSP, amplifier and speakers. He says “It’s great to be able to walk about the space, tune the system to taste, and adjust zone levels all from my laptop. Meters are nice and all, but no substitute for ears and realtime response. The combination of Symetrix, Powersoft and EAW product takes the scope for turnkey integrated solutions to the next level.”.
Photo Credits – Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography