Adelaide’s HQ Complex – Q-Sys Goes Clubbing
Adelaide’s HQ Complex – Q-Sys Goes Clubbing
QSC’s market leading DSP, integration, and control platform Q-SYS is often found in boardrooms and classrooms, but occasionally it lets its hair down. Adelaide’s Andy J Sound have Q-SYS controlling HQ Complex, one of Adelaide’s best nightspots and band venues.
After a decade at its old North Terrace address, HQ’s original premises was sold and the club was forced to move. Securing a tenancy on nearby Hindley Street, HQ saw an opportunity to go to market and see what kind of creative offerings were available from suppliers. Production and integration company Andy J Sound responded with a concept that resonated. “The core of our design was about minimising the amount of labour required to run the venue from an AV perspective,” said Andrew Gayler, Managing Director of Andy J Sound.
“HQ needs to be a nightclub, a band venue, and a function space in order to maximise their income. We could facilitate that by putting in systems that enable almost anyone to turn things on and off without bringing in an AV technician.
“In their old location, they had to call in a tech for the most basic setups, and a few four hour calls per week adds up pretty quickly. This is the sort of work most technicians don’t want to do, and is a particular issue for multipurpose venues where techs working very late the night before need to come in very early the next morning to change something.”
The brains of HQ’s rack is a Q-SYS Core 250i, which takes local inputs from the DJs in the main room, radio mic inputs, left/right and sub ins from FOH desks when bands are in, and outputs everything to the distributed PA. Three further areas fitted with Q-SYS amps are sent audio over the network, and can also take local analogue inputs to feed local speakers.
Both the amps and the Q-SYS core monitor the speakers, and if a driver goes open circuit or a line shows low impedance, it emails the Andy J crew.
The staff have custom GUIs to control the system accessible from their iPhones, or the house iPad and touchscreen PC. “It’s all done with the free QSYS Control app and accessed through HQ’s WiFi network,” explained Andrew. “You can setup password protection, and we have a couple of pages locked out that modify limits and time alignment. What’s great about this system is the flexibility. We can remote in via a TeamViewer session to the local PC, and hear audio remotely.
“One afternoon, a function was being set-up on the first floor balcony, and wanted to hear the feed from the DJ downstairs, which wasn’t designed as an option. I remoted in, modified the setup, restarted the core and gave them the option to select that feed. It’s the ultimate in flexibility; normally when you do these projects, it’s very hard to anticipate everything the end user will want to do, because they don’t know yet themselves.”
Rocking the Room
The PA in the main room is an eight-a-side d&b audiotechnik Q array with four B2 subs. There is no house mixing desk, and touring bands are offered a desk and rack package from Andy J with a choice of SC48, PM5D, M7CL, M32, or SD8 as well as mics, wedges, and side fill included with the venue hire. Cat5 and BNC tie-lines enable connection of any digital transport.
“We’ve tried to make the venue as easy as possible for touring bands,” elaborates Andrew. “There’s patching out front for left/right and sub, and you can select if you want to feed it as LR, or LR-sub. There’s a Lake LM26 running AES in and out, and you can insert or de-insert that as well via Q-SYS.”
Let it Shine
The main LED screen is a Gloshine, six meters wide by 3 ½ metres tall, at 3.91 pitch. Andy J also installed a 360 degree curved screen over the dance floor with panels from Gloshine, with more available to DJs as part of the floor package. The main screen can be fed from the stage, free-to-air TV, Foxtel, or the Resolume VJ system.
“We have a scaler that can be patched in and out, so you can chose to scale or go in at native resolution,” illustrated Andrew. “If the staff need to set up the main room for a sporting night, for example, there’s a setting in Q-SYS to turn on the LED screen and route Foxtel through the video matrix, through the scaler, onto the LED screen, and turn the audio on.”
Open for Business
With the venue now open for a year with the Q-SYS system running it, its value to the owners and operators is obvious. “In that time, we’ve had one issue with an amp,” offered Andrew. “The system found the fault, emailed us in the morning, and we’d fixed it before the venue opened. And as the venue’s requirements have evolved, changing the system has been easy. For example, some MCs and DJs wanted custom EQ settings for their radio mics, and we’ve enabled them to store and recall those.”
Andrew and the team have been perfecting their Q-SYS skills, attending distributor training with TAG and rolling out multiple installs. “I’ve done around 20 Q-SYS installs now,” mused Andrew.
“The Q-SYS family are good at educating you about functionality and what the system is capable of. Q-SYS has gained market share at a rapid rate and it is now the market leading system. Other vendors are bringing out modules that interact natively with it, which expands its ability to control other devices. You can get it to talk to almost any other system via TCP/IP or RS232, and as long as you get the relevant codes, you can control multiple systems from one point.”