Melbourne Leisure Centre’s Big Splash
Keilor’s $52M aquatic leisure centre gets LEA Dante Connect Series upgrade.
Located eight miles northwest of Melbourne sits the peaceful and picturesque city of Keilor East. With a population of less than 20,000, Keilor East is nestled within Australia’s expansive Moonee Valley — and the city’s businesses, shopping centres and attractions draw from a large, regional population base. With this in mind, the city recently opened the new $52 million Keilor East Leisure Centre. This large, new, multifaceted, public facility features many top-level amenities — and all spaces are covered with a state-of-the-art sound system powered by a set of Dante-ready Connect Series amplifiers from LEA Professional.
The Keilor East Leisure Centre opened in October 2021 and is the region’s largest aquatic centre and Moonee Valley’s largest capital works project to date. The facility includes multiple indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a fully-equipped gym, cycle studio, a spa, steam room and sauna, a childcare facility and water playground, a full-service café and much more. A facility of such scope needed an equally impressive sound system to deliver background music and announcements throughout the centre and to support staff AV presentations as required. Philip Gan is an Account Manager for local AV consultancy and installation company, Programmed, and was the point person for the centre’s sound system project. Gan explained that the leisure centre needed a flexible, reliable, high-quality sound system with network connectivity that could take advantage of the facility’s robust data infrastructure.
“This is an expansive facility and all the systems here are as network-based as possible, and that includes the AV system,” said Gan. “We needed to design and install the sound system on a Dante audio network; LEA is known for its IoT technology and flexible connectivity, so the Dante Connect Series amps were perfect for this project.”
The LEA Connect Series is the world’s first IoT-enabled, professional-grade series of amplifiers. Suited for installations of all sizes, these two-, four-, and eight-channel amplifiers feature direct HiZ (70V or 100V) or LoZ selectable by channel. With three ways to connect, system designers can engage the Connect Series’ built-in Wi-Fi access point, connect to the venue’s Wi-Fi, or use the Ethernet to connect to any local area network via Cat5 or Cat6 cable. The Dante Connect Series also features Dante inputs, analog inputs, and external I/O control for remote on/off and fault monitoring.
“LEA’s built-in Dante technology made for easy connections between all the components, the control system, and for distributing audio and data across the network and throughout the leisure centre,” said Gan. “Many of the facility’s spaces are very large with high ceilings — as with the big, indoor swimming pool areas — and it was challenging enough to run a single network cable across these spaces; multiple pairs of analog cables would have been very difficult and expensive.”
Using standard IT networking for audio provides a very efficient and creative connectivity model. Networked audio systems are always connected via a network of standard switches and cabling rather than a legacy point-to-point topology with many disparate analog cables to run, maintain, and manage. Software determines where data is sent and received, so any combination of signal routes can be directed quickly and easily without moving a cable.
Gan and the Programmed team installed a set of seven Connect Series 704D amplifiers to power the entire facility, totalling 28 channels of audio. The team set up an intuitive set of audio zones for easy control, allowing the staff to adjust volumes and content and make announcements as needed.
“I’m impressed with the LEA amplifiers; they are easy to work with, sound great with plenty of power, and the built-in Dante connectivity was a must-have feature in this situation,” added Gan. “We will definitely add LEA to our list of go-to manufacturers, and I can see Connect Series providing solid solutions for many projects.”