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Ward-Beck puts an R2K in the Hard Rock Cafe
The Hard Rock Cafe is known for its mix of rock n' roll in a restaurant environment. Each of its more than 100 restaurants around the world are a tribute to rock n' roll, and each location is a museum of its own, full of memorabilia from the people and bands that have shaped the musical genre. Radio played a major role in creating rock n' roll, but until recently, radio has been missing from the Hard Rock's menu.
When the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto remodeled its facilities, a new element was added. The restaurant, which reopened on November 26, 2001, added a street-level radio studio as a regular part of its operation. CILQ-FM (Q107) now uses the studio weekday afternoons and early evenings and every Saturday evening for live broadcasts.
The studio looks onto Yonge Street, which holds the title of the World's Longest Street. This high profile location provides the radio studio with a unique opportunity to interact with street traffic. There is even an intercom system built in, so passersby can talk to the radio station staff.
The Hard Rock Cafe contracts with TechnoMedia Solutions of Orlando, FL, to design and install its audio and video systems for the restaurant locations. Ken Nickels, field engineer and site supervisor for TechnoMedia Solutions, supervised the project. TechnoMedia Solutions works with local contractors for installation and service of the various Hard Rock locations, and HP Services of Toronto was brought in to complete the installation of the studio equipment. Gary Hooper supervised the project for HP.
The facility is owned by the Hard Rock Café, but Q107 was able to provide input for some of the studio's design. For the center of the studio, Hooper chose a Ward-Beck R2K console. Hooper was impressed by the console's overall quality, from the complete product down to the individual components, such as the faders and switches.
"The console has a clear layout that is easy to understand, and maintenance will be easy because of the hot pluggable modules," says Hooper. While this is a remote studio and the operators will be station announcers, it was important to provide a console that would stand up to regular use. "Overall, it's a well-made product," Hooper added.
In addition to the console's impressive specifications, its appearance fit in naturally with the image of the Hard Rock Cafe and Q107. The black and green color scheme fit well with the modern look and feel of its environment.
HP Services installed the studio equipment in less than one week. The studio measures 50 square feet, and getting four technicians in there to complete the work was tight. The R2K uses Phoenix connectors for all of its connections. HP Services was able to prewire most of the studio offsite. The installation required only the final connections to the Bix terminal blocks through 25-pair cable harnesses. The Phoenix connectors will allow future changes to be made easily.
The R2K console is available in four frame sizes for 8, 12, 20 or 28 modules. The Hard Rock studio uses a 20-module frame. Other console features include A/B input select on all modules, four stereo program outputs, two assignable mono mix buses, six telephone clean feeds, a complete control room and studio monitoring section including talkback, event timer and clock that supports all time code standards, a digital shaft-encoder control room monitor level control, and a rackmount power supply frame with dual redundant power supplies.
Even though the studio is a remote location, it required full control of and integration into the station's on-air audio playback system, a Computer Concepts Maestro. In addition, the Hard Rock operates a club on the second floor, which currently has tie lines running to the radio studio. Future plans call for a Ward-Beck R257 control turret to be installed in the club for complete remote operation of the console including monitor selection and IFB.
Photos by Patrick Lyver of Blind 5 Productions, Toronto.
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