Canadian shopping centre equipped with Community speakers

Highstreet Fraser Valley, a 600,000-square-foot open air shopping centre in Abbotsford, British Columbia, has had a Community loudspeaker system installed.

Built on three levels, it features ‘main street-style’ shopping and dining with one and two storey buildings on the upper podium level, and a Walmart Supercentre with 1,400 covered parking stalls on the lower level.

With its compact design, Highstreet is striving to become a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified project, which would make it one of the first of its kind in Canada.

Genesis Integration was commissioned to provide the audio system for Highstreet, with the project managed by the company’s Vancouver office. Designed by Ross Hazlehurst and Dan Moran of Genesis, the sound system’s primary purpose is music, but it also provides for announcements including emergency instruction.

“The loudspeakers would be subjected directly to the elements, so we needed a design that could handle this and sound incredible," said Hazlehurst. "Our first choice was Community, using the quality and wide dispersion of W SERIES for areas adjacent to the buildings, and R SERIES where greater throw was required.”

Sixty Community W SERIES W2-2W8 surface-mounted loudspeakers are distributed throughout the mall, as well as a set of R SERIES R.5-94’s that re-enforce sound across the parking area. The system is set up as a single source throughout, but due to the large area there are five satellite racks that feed off the main rack. These smaller racks house a local amplifier which feeds the zone in that proximity. All processing of the audio is done via Biamp AudiaFLEX DSP.

A DJ input plate has also been added for various events and presentations. DJs can bring in their own rigs and patch into the sound system to provide audio throughout the mall.

“One challenge in such a large construction was creating a single zone from a central rack over such great distances," Hazlehurst continued. “But we solved this with RDL audio transmitter receivers that daisy chained the audio from rack to rack.

“To my knowledge, this is the first outdoor mall of its kind in BC to have sound re-enforcement of this calibre. For me, this mall is reminiscent to the outdoor malls I have seen in California, such as Universal City. It lifts the perspective from just being a shopping centre to more of an entertainment facility. The coverage and quality of sound is excellent and all the feedback we have received has been very positive.”

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