One For The Workers
Echuca Workers Club has a BGM system worthy of its full refit.
Text:/ John O’Brien
The Echuca Workers Club has a long history as a gathering point for Riverina locals. Around 100 years, in fact. An overhaul of the venue in 2018 presented an opportunity to upgrade audio systems.
Regional venues rely on knowing that they will be looked after in a timely and friendly manner. Local AV solutions provider Sound & Light Solutions (SLS) had been maintaining the old system at Echuca Workers Club for some time and are also the go-to PA and lighting hire company for events at the venue. SLS Manager Tom Laughlin was invited to talk to Club management about new audio gear. Club General Manager Erin Langman says, “Tom’s been our go-to for years, so we trust him. He always recommends the right stuff.”
Being an established local and already knowing the client made it easier for Tom to pitch confidently to the board. The big clincher was an onsite demo of a few speaker options. When they fired up the SoundTube CM62-EZ-II ceiling speaker, “the people at the club were astounded at the sound for that price-point.”
KEEP STEAMING ON
To keep the premises running amidst renovations, the Club plan called for two phases staged over 12 months. Phase 1 saw pokies and sports bars crammed into one half of the venue while the other half was knocked down and completely rebuilt. This allowed for easy pre-wire ahead of new loudspeaker installations. Phase 2 entailed moving all facilities across to the new wing while the old wing was completely refurbished. After this was done, everything was repositioned to its final location and commissioned. This necessitated some double handling but was the only way to keep the Club operating during the overhaul.
The Main Club (Phase 1) required 11 audio inputs and nine outputs. The Function Room (Phase 2) called for 11 in and two out, also allowing for split or combined room functionality. Easy control and localised volume adjustment were core requirements and remote IP access was a bonus.
Budget was tight throughout and Tom made special effort to get the best value for his client.
ASHLY DSP & AMPS
“We worked out that an Ashly system would be perfect,” Tom explains. “It has a networked DSP and a customisable iPad app. It’s easy to use – we can set it up the way they want it to work.”
The free Ashly Remote iPad app is a significant value-add to Ashly’s amplifier range. Ideal for restaurant applications, the GUI is easily themed by adding custom logos, background images or photos to match the branding or aesthetics of the venue. Each named zone has its own fader, meter and source selection for instinctive control in the hands of a staff member – no AV technician required. Finer control can be accessed easily if needed, including preset recall, filter level control, amplifier standby, gain/attenuation and more.
The other big feature was remote access from offsite. “If the Club calls, I can look at it from the office and change settings from there.” SLS services customers over a wide geographical area and this remote access feature saves a huge amount of travel time.
With the sound routing sorted by two Ashly ne24.24M 12×12 Protea DSPs, Ashly ne8250.10 and ne4250.10 amps were a natural fit to power the SoundTube ceiling speakers. SLS installed 75 x CM62-EZ-IIs in various rooms of the main area. Long after the early demo, everyone remains impressed. Tom: “For a full closed back can speaker, the output is quite good.” SLS reused 16 CM42-EZs from an earlier refit in the function room and three SoundTube SM400i-B cabinets cover the outdoor gaming zone.
RESULT: NOT A RAFFLE
Friday night raffles are a big thing at the club. Opening night was even bigger – Erin reckons “it was massive. It was packed to the rafters and chaos back of house, but the audio was rock solid. The old system was a bit of shambles with dropouts and level dips, but this new one has been great.”
According to Tom, “With the old system, we couldn’t hear anything.” After the upgrade, “everyone could hear the call and there were no complaints anywhere.”
iPad control has been quite a feature. Erin continues: “We’ve got it set up to give us basic controls but not so much that we can muck it up. It’s locked down enough to keep us safe but Tom comes in and adds extra features as we need them.”
The Ashly range has worked out well for SLS. “You don’t always need fancy control and other bells and whistles,” says Tom. “This product is really good for what it is and how you configure it. And that’s why I’ve gone ahead and put it in other venues as well.”
Tom elaborates further: “There are other brands that could do a more massive job than what we put in but it’s all about price point.” It seems like everyone found the sweet spot on this job and the Club locals are getting the benefits from the right mix of equipment.