Location:Napa Valley, California, USA
Meyer Sound, USA, Shure, USA, Soundcraft, UK, Whirlwind, USA, Belden, USA, Extreme Networks, USA
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Forty-seven outdoor speakers and 12 indoor speakers provide seamless coverage across 10 discrete zones, including an expansive lawn and garden with private alcoves, and two indoor tasting rooms. The outdoor system comprises 11 ultra-compact UP-4XP speakers and three MM-10XP miniature subwoofers on the central trellis, with 33 MM-4XP loudspeakers spaced evenly in shrubbery along the lawn perimeter, all time-aligned with digital delays to provide a seamless sound experience across the grounds. Inside, two tasting rooms feature the first installation of Meyer Sound’s new Ashby-8C ceiling speakers, supplemented with MM-10XP subwoofers.
A visit to the Caymus Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley is a total sensual experience. The taste and smell of fine wine and tempting cuisine are complemented by the elegant yet rustic architecture, lush outdoor greenery and – throughout the visitor areas – impeccable music reproduction. For this level of experience, a typical distributed sound system could not deliver the level of audible experience to match the other senses. The challenge was to essentially provide studio monitor sound quality throughout the indoor and outdoor spaces, with uniform coverage so that all could enjoy the same experience without the levels becoming either too intrusive or too faint to be enjoyed. In addition, the loudspeakers had to be so discreet as to be virtually invisible.
The overall solution was to install systems employing Meyer Sound’s IntelligentDC™ technology. IntelligentDC™ uniquely combines the advantages of self-powered systems with the installation ease of distributed low-voltage systems. Loudspeakers receive balanced audio signals and 48V DC remote powering from rack-mount power supplies over a single five-core cable that does not require conduit in most jurisdictions. This solution eliminates transformers and long speaker cable runs, and enables use of true bi-amplified two-way loudspeakers (such as the UP-4XP) for impeccable music reproduction. Also, because each loudspeaker is individually addressable, each loudspeaker can be balanced and tuned for the optimum effect.
The Caymus Winery installation comprises a total of 59 Meyer Sound loudspeakers deployed in ten discrete zones, with all but three loudspeakers utilizing IntelligentDC. The exceptions are the larger, directly AC powered systems (UPQ-1P, UPJunior and 750-LFC) in the Barrel Room informal performance space. Full range IntelligentDC Models are UP-4XP and MM-4XP surface mount, Ashby 8C ceiling mount, with bass augmented by MM-10 subwoofers. Many are custom painted to blend in with surroundings, and all outdoor loudspeakers are fully weather protected.
To feed premium sound quality into the system, the designers specified TIDAL high quality uncompressed steaming as the music source, with the MacMini computer paired with a Sound Devices USBPre2 interface for a clean, robust signal feed into the Meyer Sound GALAXY 816 network processors which are linked on an AVB network via an Extreme Networks X440-G2 switch.
Many factors contribute to the enjoyment of wine, so winemakers carefully curate everything from labels to landscaping to offer the ultimate experience. Yet surprisingly, wineries largely overlook the role of sound. Chuck Wagner — who co-founded Caymus with his parents in 1972 and still plays a hands-on role in leading the winery — thinks differently. “Every detail matters,” he says. “When you can relax in a beautiful environment, hear great music and enjoy delicious wine, you have a greater appreciation for life.”
Chuck Wagner had clear requirements for the sound experience: He wanted full-range sound with continuous coverage, indoors and out, with controllable sound zones. The system should offer both background music and live sound capabilities, and it should be easy to operate by staff. Most importantly, sound should suffuse the spaces but never be intrusive.
System integration was handled by San Francisco AV integrator BugID, which specializes in creating systems that are highly technical yet easy to operate. Each speaker at Caymus is discrete, allowing the ultimate in programming and control. As a result, 20,000 feet of cable was installed in a complex underground trenching system.
Everywhere, speakers disappear into their surroundings: Outdoor speakers were painstakingly color-matched to blend with landscaping features; indoors, speakers blend into the ceiling, with subwoofers disguised by air conditioning vents.
At the nerve center of the system are two Meyer Sound GALAXY 816 network based digital processors. Multiple MPS-488HP IntelligentDC power supplies distribute audio signal and DC power to the loudspeakers. A rackmount Soundcraft Ui16 digital mixer ties to microphones that can be assigned to any zone to accommodate presenters in any space. It’s all controlled via Meyer’s custom iPad interface, which makes it simple for any staff member to manage the music volume in any zone.
“The sound is more full, more robust,” says Eddie Heintz, the winery’s director of hospitality. . “When Chuck describes his wines, especially Caymus Special Selection, he talks about a weightiness, a texture, a velvety warmth of soft tannins. For me, aurally, that’s what this sound system has done. It gives a complexity and depth to the experience.”