The lavish, world-famous Sir Francis Drake Hotel has been a cornerstone of San Francisco’s renowned Union Square district for nearly 100 years. Since 1928, the hotel’s famed Starlight Room (now known as Lizzie’s Starlight) has offered beautiful city views, drinks, and entertainment from its spectacular 21st-floor rooftop location.
LIZZIE’S STARLIGHT LOUNGE
Receives a Shiny New Sound System
In February of last year, Lizzie’s Starlight Lounge underwent a major renovation and remodeling. The original decor and design were beginning to feel outdated, and the management team wanted to completely upgrade the look, ambiance, and function of the lounge. Layers of ceilings and walls were removed and rebuilt; everything was redesigned and updated to create a spacious, open, upscale atmosphere. The rooftop lounge had a complete makeover with a new focus on delivering a comfortable but opulent world-class experience.
To fully support the new Lizzie’s Starlight project, Chicago-based team, Ayre Productions were brought in to design and install a new audio system. Ayre Productions has managed multiple projects across the country for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, owners of the Sir Francis Drake hotel.
John Wagner, Owner and Lead Project Manager for Ayre Productions, explained that Lizzie’s original sound system was about 15 years old and had many issues, including dead ceiling speakers and non-working dancefloor cabinets that were placed at less than perfect positions — old amplifiers and an out-of-date mixing board rounded out the problems.
“At Lizzie’s, they have a lot of DJs and parties, they might have bands playing, they even host drag shows, and good sound support is paramount for supporting these events, so the best thing to do was completely gut and rebuild their sound system,” said Wagner. “We redesigned everything and brought all new equipment. We hung appropriate new cabinets for the space, painted them to blend into the decor — we brought in 21st century sound processing and control; it was a significant upgrade.”
Wagner added that the biggest challenge at Lizzie’s was that there are four meeting rooms that can be combined into a single space to accommodate large events. Because of the various sizes of the four areas, the team made the focal point the center of each area in order to minimize bleed-over between rooms.
“The client wanted a different, yet fun-looking, speaker to accent the new décor, so we chose Pioneer Pro Audio’s XY-2 loudspeakers, with XY-81s for small fills where the XY-2 wasn’t needed. The South Room with the dance floor is set up with two XY-2s, two XY-81s, a XY215S subwoofer, plus Pioneer Pro’s new CM-C56T in-ceiling speakers mounted within acoustically treated ceilings,” said Wagner. “The North, East, and West rooms use various combinations of XY2 and XY-81 loudspeakers and XY-115S subwoofers. The host area, elevator entrance, and restrooms have acoustically treated ceilings with CM-C56T in-ceiling speakers.”
The XY Series’ unique high and mid-range blended design produces a tightly controlled sound dispersion for an extraordinarily natural sound. This powerful wave can be thrown a great distance, filling all corners of a room with bass, punch, and clarity that is powerfully comfortable for the audience. Because of the cabinets’ unique design, a reduced number of boxes are needed as compared to other systems, making the XY Series easy to transport, set-up, and install.
Specifically, the XY-2 speaker is the mid-high section of the XY-3B. Designed specifically for larger-scale venues, the XY-2 can be used for PA applications, as a DJ booth monitor, or as a down fill in an XY-3B cluster setting. The XY-81 is a full range, two-way speaker with an 8-inch LF driver, and a 1-inch compression driver. The XY-81 features a wide 90-degree by 60-degree dispersion with a rotatable horn for horizontal installation.
The CM-C56T ceiling speakers draw on Pioneer Pro Audio’s heritage of making dynamic club speakers and deliver outstanding sound quality in any venue. The system’s unique damper design reduces vibration and produces clear, smooth sound and with very uniform spatial coverage.
“In the past, we’ve see a lot of cookie-cutter AV systems that don’t offer the flexibility and range of uses depending on their footprint,” said Clayton De La Chapelle, Partner & Director of Sales & Marketing, at The Music Trust. De La Chapelle was the Entertainment Director for the property and worked closely with Ayre Productions and other vendors to ensure the new system would fully meet the diverse AV goals of Lizzie’s Starlight. “The Pioneer Pro Audio system lets us have the best of both — a minimal footprint that can be used for background music while sounding full, all the way up to a full club experience when the sun goes down.”
Wagner explained that the Pioneer XY-2s and subwoofers are driven by a 4-channel Linea Research 44C10 and two 8-channel Linea Research 88C06 amplifiers. The new system is managed by one Symetrix Prism 12×12 and one Prism 0×0 DSP. All processing for the Pioneer loudspeakers and subwoofers is done using the Linea Research amplifiers’ onboard precision 96 kHz DSP.
“We installed a Dante audio network throughout the space, and each meeting room has two Dante connection points, although in one meeting room, the two points are the same connection,” said Wagner. “I rebuilt all of the profiles for the Pioneer speakers, loading them into the amplifiers; the end result has been great. The Pioneer Pro Audio speakers are a small form factor, but are very powerful.”
Lizzie’s Starlight opened for business in early 2020 but had to close soon after due to the pandemic. But even in that short time, lounge management and patrons were impressed with the new system.
“Ayre Productions did a phenomenal job of putting this system in place and delivering a powerful system that’s easy to operate,” added De La Chapelle. “We are able to create an atmosphere that sounds great at all volumes for the various day parts of the venue. The Pioneer Pro Audio system is one of the most versatile and exciting audio components that a venue can install. It checks all the boxes that performers and operators would want from a sound system.”
At a glance
Receives a Shiny New Sound System