Xilica, a global leader in digital signal processing technology for AV and installed sound, continues its forward momentum in the hospitality vertical with a Solaro Series DSP installation at Hutong, a high-end Chinese restaurant located in the busy Dubai International Financial District. Installed by Levels, a regional integrator specializing in the hotel, bar, restaurant and nightlife sectors, the project leverages a Solaro QR1 DSP to process and manage analogue and digital audio across two floors.


Levels was brought into the ground-up construction project early, and carefully specified the audio system to live on the main IT network and complement the architectural design. The Levels team selected the Solaro QR1 for its price-to-performance ratio and compact design, providing a high-quality, cost-efficient and space-saving networked DSP solution ideal for fine dining environments.

“The Solaro Series is our preferred choice for our hospitality installations, and the Solaro QR1 offers the same powerful signal optimization and programming flexibility as larger Solaro DSPs in a far smaller form factor,” said Daniel Ball, Partner, Levels. “It’s an ideal solution for restaurants with modest I/O requirements for a select number of zones. And since we were dealing with limited real estate for AV systems, the Solaro QR1’s quarter-rack-width footprint addressed our physical integration concerns.”

The Solaro QR1 efficiently manages analogue and digital connections across multiple zones, processing Dante digital audio for the livelier public dining and bar areas (public and private), and analogue audio for secondary spaces including private dining areas, restrooms and an outdoor terrace. Live DJs in the bar area plug straight into the network via a Dante injector, with most background music coming from standalone media players in the central equipment rack.

Ball adds that Xilica DSPs are built with the IT network in mind, which eliminates many upfront concerns from IT integrators about AV system interoperability. That was especially important in this installation since Xilica would live on the main IT network, versus being segmented on a separate network to process audio streams.

“We worked closely with the IT integrator to develop a controlled environment with a layer of switching for the AV equipment,” said Ball. “The Solaro QR1 lives on the general campus network without affecting general IT traffic, and quietly processes and controls audio signals in the background.” The Solaro Q1 feeds Powersoft Audio and Sonance amplifiers co-located in the same equipment rack, with loudspeaker systems from Pioneer Pro Audio, Powersoft and Sonance reproducing audio in the various zones.

Hassan Alwan, the Managing Partner at Levels, said that the overall systems design goal was to provide simplicity for the Hutong staff, and the DJs that plug into the system. “There is a controlled philosophy built into the entire system that provides simple, zone-by-zone control elements for the entire restaurant. The Solaro QR1 is an important part of that simplicity and user-friendliness, without any sacrifice to audio quality and the hospitality experience.”