Hawaiian-Themed System Entertains Guests on 30-Acre Estate
Voyager installed two QSC RMX5050 power amplifiers, for
a combined 2,200 watts RMS (at 8 ohms) going to four
QSC I-282H loudspeakers in the palapa and two more outdoors. The backyard party is an American tradition. Sit back on the patio with a few friends, a couple of burgers, and the Beatles on the boom box. Or maybe, if you own this Oklahoma City estate, a hundred friends, a Hawaiian luau, and a Beatles tribute band on your private stage.
“The homeowners are serious about their parties,” said Joey Rosario, president of AV contractor Voyager Home Systems, of Edmond, OK. This backyard includes a small lake, 10 acres of woods, a high-end sound system, a thatchroofed Polynesian pavilion called a palapa, and an extensive outdoor lighting system that can subtly shift colors to set the mood or pulse in rhythm to the band.
The homeowners, long-term customers of Rosario, came back from a tropical vacation last spring wondering: “What would it take to make the wooded section of our property into a lakeside tropical retreat?” They worked with local contractors and landscapers to build the 30-foot diameter palapa, a separate restroom structure, a plank walkway through the woods complete with tiki figures and a beach with several tons of white sand. They asked Rosario to handle the sound, lighting, and video systems.
A 12-inch, TPMC-12 Crestron touchpanel puts all of
the controls at the owners’ fingertips, as does the Crestron Mobile Pro control app for their i-devices. “It’s definitely a Garden of Eden,” Rosario said. “The landscaping is gorgeous, and we approached the sound system in the same way we would for a commercial theater.” Rosario also brought in commercial lighting contractor Andy Burns of Triple C Lighting Specialists of Oklahoma City. “Andy did a phenomenal job lighting the trees and the palapa,” Rosario said. “And he did it very, very green, using energy efficient LED fixtures coupled with the latest control and dimming technology.”
Lighting the Retreat
Burns said one of his goals was to build a lighting system that was dramatic, flexible, and energyefficient yet did not detract from the daytime natural environment.
“Based on the quantity of fixtures required and the amount of distance covered between them, Joey and I decided that the energy consumption of typical mercury vapor fixtures would be too high.”
Instead, Burns suggested high-performance LED fixtures from Lumenpulse, a manufacturer known for its commercial-grade, color-changing LED exterior products. They used a total of 75 LED fixtures, ranging from white 8-watt lamps mounted in the palapa and the bathroom roof centers to 22-watt floods for the majority of the trees and for uplighting the palapa roof, and large, 44-watt fixtures that uplight the more sizable trees on the property.
To control and automate these fixtures, Burns and Rosario used commercial-grade control processors and dimming systems from Crestron. The Crestron system, based on a CP2E processor, provides a very simple way for the homeowners to choose and schedule lighting effects that Burns designed and Rosario programmed. A 12-inch, TPMC-12 Crestron touchpanel puts all of the controls at their fingertips, as does the Crestron Mobile Pro control app for their i-devices.
“Had we used traditional fixtures,” Burns explained, “we would have needed more than 8,500 watts on 120 volt circuits, but with the LEDs we’re using less than 2,000 watts.” In addition, there’s a rule of thumb that suggests that automated controls will save about 10 percent of the energy used by any lighting system, but Burns said that the savings are much higher in this case. And the lamps last six to 10 times longer, so there’s very little maintenance required.
Once Burns specified where the fixtures would go, the general contractor installed concrete pillars to hold them, to make sure they stayed dry given water level fluctuations around the lake. Star Enterprise Electric of Edmund, OK, installed the conduits and wiring.
One of the lighting systems’ most dramatic features is its ability to change the look and the mood of the nighttime lakeside scene to match what the homeowners want for a particular evening. Burns designed eight pre-set scenes that can include multiple colors or slow transitions over any time period desired. “For example, an area could start out as green and turn to midnight blue over an hour’s time,” Burns explained. “That shifts the atmosphere, even though it happens so slowly people don’t notice it changing.”
Although the custom LED fixtures and the Crestron control system cost more than a traditional system, “the homeowners decided to spend more up front when they saw how much they would save on energy and maintenance costs, and what great effects they would get from the ability to change color,” Burns said.
Rock and roll
While the lighting effects are dramatic, the property sound and video systems are no less so. “We decided to use commercial amplifiers and speakers, and they sound phenomenal,” Rosario said.
A nice benefit of owning 30 acres of wooded land is that there’s not much worry about disturbing the neighbors. These homeowners can crank the sound up as loud as they want, and they do. Voyager installed two QSC RMX5050 power amplifiers, for a combined 2,200 watts RMS (at 8 ohms) going to four QSC I-282H loudspeakers in the palapa and two more outdoors. There’s an additional RMX5050 powering a QSC GP218-WX subwoofer, which, together with the loudspeakers, literally makes the thatch-roofed structure shake.
The homeowners worked with local contractors and landscapers to build the 30-foot diameter palapa, a separate restroom structure, a plank walkway through the woods complete with tiki figures and a beach with several tons of white sand. “We set this up so a band or DJ can just plug into the sound system,“ Rosario said. “The homeowners hosted four parties last summer with live bands, several more with a DJ, plus a wedding reception.” Rosario said these homeowners favor ’70s and ’80s rock-n-roll, hiring local bands that channel Boston, Journey, and Grand Funk Railroad.
The homeowners are big sports fans as well, so Voyager installed an Epson Pro Z8000 1080p projection system with a long-throw lens and an eight-foot wide Stewart screen in the palapa plus three more 42-inch 3D-capable LED displays. They can monitor four games at once, switching back and forth to the main screen, and after the game, switch to karaoke, with the singer projected on the big screen via an IP camera mounted on the wall. The video system is also ideal for musical events. DJs can hook up their laptops to play video clips along with music.
If the family wants to enjoy a quieter evening, Voyager installed an LG Blu-ray Disc player and a DVR for movies and television.
The same Crestron touchscreen and iPad and iPhone apps that control the lighting system give the homeowners (or a DJ) fingertip control of the sound and video systems. A rugged Crestron handheld remote control also provides very simple control of the video sources, including channel selection, play, pause, forward, and reverse for the Blu-ray and DVR, plus volume control and dimming of the lights in the palapa.
“The Crestron system really was the key to making this all work,” Rosario said. “It would be far too much trouble to control all these systems manually and more expensive, too, when you consider the amount of energy that would be wasted by leaving systems on when they’re not needed. We know that these systems are extremely reliable, and that’s crucial as well. These homeowners know that, when they’re ready to party, their lighting, sound, and video systems will be ready as well, month after month and year after year, even though they’re installed outdoors.”
Don Kreski is owner of Kreski Marketing Consultants Inc. in Mt. Prospect, IL.