Recent Nightclub Projects

by FOH Staff
in Installations
Moscow-based design and systems integration company, Muztorg.PRO, deployed a Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Array system for LOFT in Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Moscow-based design and systems integration company, Muztorg.PRO, deployed a Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Array system for LOFT in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

This month, FRONT of HOUSE takes a look at some recent installations nightclub sector — in particular, the new sound systems deployed for Hudson Ultra Bar in Hoboken NJ, Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas, the Oxford Social Club in San Diego, the Blue Whale in Los Angeles, Switch in Southampton, U.K. and LOFT in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (pictured here).

 Global Audio Systems installed a D.A.S. Audio system.

Hudson Ultra Bar, Hoboken, NJ

The Hudson Ultra Bar beckons New York metro area crowds with a high-energy experience for table guests who wish to be near the center of the action. Owner Mike Citarella turned to NYC-based Global Audio Systems for their new sound system.

“The Hudson Ultra Bar is an open-format, multi-level dance club with elaborate VIP accommodations and a large, raised catwalk-style DJ Booth,” notes Global Audio Systems owner Jason Ojeda, who oversaw system consultation, design, and installation. “With two levels, there is approximately 6,000 square feet of space. Music is a driving factor of the activity in this club, so having the ability to produce the necessary sound pressure levels while keeping the music’s sound true to form was crucial to this installation.”

To provide coverage throughout the venue, Ojeda and his crew flew two D.A.S. Audio Sound Force SF-20A powered mid-high biamplified enclosures—one each for the left and right sides of the main dance floor and bar area. Low frequency support is provided by two SF-30A powered subwoofers, which incorporate Powersoft’s 30-inch M-Force Moving Magnet Transducer, with one enclosure each ground stacked for the left and right sides and positioned under the VIP and stairwell areas.

The nightclub has both first and second floor delay systems. The ground floor incorporates seven D.A.S. Audio SF-10A powered 2-way enclosures plus four SF-26 2-way passive enclosures with dual 6-inch cones and a 1-inch HF driver, along with two D.A.S. Artec 322 bass reflex sub bass enclosures. On the second level, this setup is essentially repeated, but with 10 D.A.S. SF-10A powered two-way enclosures instead of seven, as on the lower level.

Rounding out the all-encompassing SR system, there are two weatherized D.A.S. Audio WR-8826 2-way passive enclosures with dual 6-inch transducers plus a 1-inch annular diaphragm compression driver. In the upper level restrooms, there are four CL-6TB flush mount ceiling speakers that utilize a sing 6-inch transducer.

Keeping the DJ booth involved in the action, Ojeda and his crew placed two Sound Force S-10A two-way enclosures accompanied by a single Artec 322S bass reflex subwoofer equipped with dual 12-inch transducers. For those passive loudspeaker systems, power is provided by a combination of four D.A.S. Audio D-100 4-channel power amps, two PA-1500 stereo, and two PA-900 stereo power amplifiers.

“We chose the SF-20 as the mains because of its amazing intelligibility in the vocal range,” Ojeda says. “The Hudson Ultra Bar is now the second install with the SF-20 and it truly sounds like a pair of B&W 802¹s and you are sitting in your living room.” He also credits D.A.S. Audio Miami’s service and support. “The entire D.A.S. staff is always ready to assist and ensure the job proceeds as planned and is done correctly. They are on top of their game in a big way.”

Petty Fever takes the stage at the compact venue, which is equipped with a Bose system.

Hard Rock Live, Las Vegas NV

Hard Rock Live Las Vegas, located on the Las Vegas Strip, may not be of the same scale as the expanded 4,000-capacity Joint rock club in Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Casino, a destination for top tour artists and residencies ranging from Paul McCartney to Stevie Wonder, Santana and the Killers. But the compact venue has been offering a top-notch audio experience with a Bose ShowMatch Delta loudspeaker system since it was installed in late 2016.

Due to its room dimensions (including a relatively low ceiling), Hard Rock Live needed a high level of sound directivity to provide even coverage. Bose ShowMatch DeltaQ array technology delivers sound quality and vocal clarity by providing selectable coverage patterns that direct more sound energy to the audience by allowing directivity, or “Q,” to vary with each array module. Additionally, field-changeable waveguides help provide the best possible dispersion and sound quality throughout the audience area.

The system consists of eight ShowMatch DeltaQ loudspeaker modules (four SM5’s, two SM10’s and two SM20’s [with 120-degree waveguides]) and 10 ShowMatch SMS118 DeltaQ subwoofers. Processing is handled by a Bose ControlSpace ESP-880 digital processor, and a total of eight Bose PowerMatch PM8500N power amplifiers provide amplification.

A Yamaha PM5D digital live mixer sits at front-of-house, and a second PM5D is used for monitor mixes. The venue itself is mid-sized but intimate, with room dimensions of 48 feet across by 45 feet to back wall, with the raised stage area measuring 20 feet by 28 feet. A bar area sits in the back of the room, and the audience space is a large dance floor (also accommodating tables).

Before the ShowMatch system was installed, it was a challenge to get good, even coverage throughout the whole room, with the sound overpowering in some spots with minimal coverage in others. The ceiling is relatively low for the room’s size, and that can present a challenge for audio systems, but Bose engineers were able to model the room and provide a ShowMatch solution perfectly tailored to this room’s characteristics. Additionally, the older existing system had ground-stacked subs on either side of the stage, and that provided a bit of a sight obstruction. The new ShowMatch subs were able to be deployed below the stage, solving that problem completely.

Response has been more than positive. Dennis Teasley, one of the front-of-house engineers who regularly works the room, notes, “It’s a night-and-day difference, comparing what we had before to the ShowMatch system. Coverage is even, and the sound is smooth and balanced. Everyone is happy with it — performers, engineers, venue management, and most of all the audience. It’s a thrill to experience this system night after night.”

 Sound designer John Lyons opted for Powersoft amplification.

Oxford Social Club, San Diego, CA

While many night clubs may opt for either a low-key, classy vibe and others more of a high-octane club experience, the Montage Hotel Group wanted both for its new lounge, The Oxford Social Club, within the company’s new flagship hotel, The Pendry, in San Diego. They turned to Clique Hospitality Group’s CEO, Andy Masi, who brought on longtime collaborator and nightclub industry veteran John Lyons to oversee the sound system design.

The Oxford Social Club, Lyons says, is “intended as a high-end, sophisticated lounge with lots of cushy seating, but I knew that at some point in the night in every lounge’s life it’s going to need to some horsepower. So I specified a system that would be able to give me the power and clarity needed for a serious dance." But Lyons had to work around the limitations of the physical space to achieve such a balance. "Since it was to be built from scratch, I made sure to specify sound treatment for much of the ceilings that I knew would give me a predictable sonic signature,” he adds.

With physical space in both the lounge itself and its rack room at a premium, Lyons specified Powersoft Ottocanali amplifiers driving Fulcrum Acoustic speakers for a low-footprint, high-impact sound solution. The system uses 24 channels of Powersoft amplification over three Ottocanali 8k8 rack units, taking up a mere six rack units in the club's small rack room. “It’s the equivalent of having a rack of 12 amplifiers,” Lyons notes.

These amplifiers drive eight Fulcrum Acoustics 15” coaxial loudspeakers and eight double 15” subwoofers, as well as additional smaller side zone speakers placed near the entryway and bathrooms.

The mains were carefully positioned inside soffits around the lounge, while the subwoofers were secreted into existing millwork and columns. “We hid the speakers well so that we could get even coverage throughout the space without deadening the visual impact of the lounge,” Lyons says.

The Ottocanali amps were well up to the task of driving the full speaker system with power to spare. “In order to get double 15-inch subs like that to sing, you need a lot of headroom, and with their powerful output and damping factor the Ottocanali amps do that well,” Lyons says. The efficient Powersoft amps made providing power to the rack a snap. “Since it was a new construction we were able to have our power mapped out and built, but with the Powersoft amps it was simply a matter of tying our mains power into our rack,” Lyons says. “It was nice that we didn’t have to allocate any more of our budget for special power accommodations.”

Daniel Rotem Group performs, mixed on Allen & Heath’s Qu-32.

The Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA

The Blue Whale, a live jazz club and art gallery in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo neighborhood, upgraded its audio system to include an Allen & Heath Qu-32, Chrome Edition for audio mixing.

The venue’s production manager, Masa Tsuzuki, has served as stage manager for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, which had toured with Allen & Heath’s dLive S Class digital mixing system, so he leaned toward A&H when it came time to replace the Blue Whale’s aging 16-channel analog mixer.

Along with the Qu-32’s added inputs and enhanced mixing capabilities, its EQ, compression and effects let the club dispense with several pieces of external signal processing equipment.

Masa notes that some jazz groups want to record at the Blue Whale, which is known for its excellent acoustics and intimate atmosphere. For multitrack recordings, he uses the Qu-32’s Qu-Drive Direct Multitrack Recording feature to record to Waves Tracks Live on a laptop. For simple stereo recordings, he mixes directly to a USB thumb drive. Masa notes that local media outlets have requested live streaming feeds and he plans to offer this in the near future mixed from a Qu-32 matrix bus.

Once a month, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz performs a demonstration at the Blue Whale. Masa uses Qu-32 scenes to save his mix for each group at these demonstrations and he takes advantage of the Qu-32’s EQ Library presets for industry standard microphones and musical instruments. The Qu-32’s scene memories also allow him to store and recall reverb and delay effects and compressor settings he uses for vocals and instruments.

Masa says the Blue Whale’s audiences and musicians have both commented favorably on the Qu-32’s great sound quality. And, with the ability to do live recording and streaming broadcast, he commented, “The Qu-32 is changing our vision for the club.”

Oz Jefferies at Audio Feed installed a Function-One loudspeaker system powered by XTA APA amps.

Switch, Southampton, U.K.

Switch is a 1,200-capacity nightclub that has grown from a musical nucleus into a state-of-the-art, after dark venue. It is now home to a Funktion-One loudspeaker system from Audio Feed, installed in late 2016.

Switch is the brainchild of Gary Bennetton, Richard Gilbert, Ryan Keary and Peter Toland. Each of them brings something different to the party but they are connected by a shared passion for good music.

“We had seen the music scene in Southampton evolving over a number of years and had been trying to cater for a more production and music-led audience by hosting a number of warehouse parties in the city,” says Bennetton. “The demand for this grew to a point that we knew we needed to take it to the next level.”

The partners turned to Oz Jefferies at Audio Feed, who deployed the Funktion-One sound system. “The building we have is an extremely old building with high ceilings and an auditorium feel about it,” says Gilbert. “We knew that filling the space was going to be no small task and wanted to make sure the acoustics worked in the room.”

Jefferies and his team installed flown arrangements of two Funktion-One Evo 6EH speakers together with two F215 Mk2 bass speakers on both sides of the stage area. The Evo 6EH is the mid-high section of an Evo 6 enclosed in a neat birch ply cabinet, offering high output and controlled directivity. Eight Funktion-One F121 bass enclosures are ground-stacked on one side and eight F101 compact loudspeakers have been deployed for infill reinforcement in the peripheral areas. The system’s performance was further enhanced through the recent installation of XTA APA amps.

Audio Feed and Funktion-One proved to be a winning combination. “Oz at Audio Feed is truly part of the Switch family,” says Bennetton. “They’re one of the key partners we work alongside to ensure that excellence is achieved. Whether it’s securing the latest kit, redesigning the speaker set up, or providing equipment for a last minute DJ tech rider, there’s no job too big or small. We can always rely on Audio Feed.”

“The Funktion-One sound system not only sounds incredible but adds the subtle visual impact through its great design,” adds Gilbert. “Since flying the mid and tops this September, the sound throughout the whole, large Switch dance floor stepped up yet another level. It’s something that we are continually complimented on.

“This Saturday saw the installation of the new XTA APA amplifiers in the club,” Gilbert continues. “It was amazing. When customers with no experience in the industry notice the difference without being prompted, you know that the impact has been serious. The new amps offer improvements to the volume, clarity and definition — we’re over the moon with the results. You can really feel the music on the dance floor.”

The owners decided to bring in an extra visual element that works with the iconic look of the Funktion-One set-up, as Bennetton explains: “Projection mapping is something we have always been interested in and hoped to have as an integral part of the production set up. Once we saw it being used to specifically map the Funktion-One sound system, we all agreed that we had to have it. It’s a great way to bring people's attention to the install and add visual creativity to our set up.”

Since opening, Switch has welcomed a line-up of guests including Fat Boy Slim, Jamie Jones, Snoop Dogg and Eats Everything, with 2017 bookings including DJs Sven Vath, Kolsch, Joris Voorn and Jamie Jones.

Jefferies believes the venue will go from strength to strength. “Switch’s owners aren’t just interested in running a nightclub, they care passionately about the important elements that make a night out at Switch an unforgettable experience. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done with them and of how well the sound system is performing.”

LOFT in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

LOFT, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Located in Dushanbe, the capital and largest city in Tajikistan, the newly built LOFT nightclub recently opened its doors for visitors. Modern technology and a friendly vibe have combined to create an attractive space for local and international artists, musicians and DJs.

Moscow-based design and systems integration company, Muztorg.PRO, deployed a Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Array system, complemented by a W8LMD Downfill on each side of the stage. Several Blackline Plus F12+ speakers have also been used as infills and for karaoke zones. The punchy, deep low-end is provided by WLXGS hybrid subwoofers, while stage monitoring and dance podiums are covered by Martin Audio LE1200S monitors.

A hybrid Dante and MADI signal infrastructure is used throughout the venue and controlled with BSS Soundweb BLU processing.

The installation process, including truss construction and assembly, cabling, sound and lighting systems, set-up and tuning, was undertaken by the Muztorg.PRO team during a short lead time of just 15 days. At the opening party, both club owners and guests rated the quality of the technical installation extremely highly.

Now the dance floors of LOFT have provided an alternative destination for clubbers in Dushanbe, while the café is open during daytime to serve both food and coffee.

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