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The Other Class of 2008


There’s just no slowing down the demand for high-quality venues in which to take in your favorite band, watch your favorite sports team, catch up with the opera or any other number of entertainment outlets. And whether they’re showcasing a band onstage or a sports announcer, these new venues are spec’ing high-end audio systems on the top of their “must-have” list.


Saddle Creek Records, the label co-founded by indie favorite Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), is making its mark in the live sound world with The Slowdown, its new 470-capacity bar and club in downtown Omaha, Neb. The space hosts performances by regional and touring artists. Ohio-based A/V system integrators SoundCom installed three sound systems, including a main (14 Electro-Voice XLD281s, four QR×218S dual 18-inch subs) and a smaller one (four Electro-Voice Fri+152/64s); monitoring is via Electro-Voice Xw16a monitors and a Fri181S sub; amps are from Crown. A Midas Verona V-480-8 holds court at FOH with a fine selection of outboard gear. Mics are Shure, beyerdynamic and Sennheiser models. Another Midas board — a V-320-8 — sits at monitor world.


Blush (Winnipeg, Canada) opened in December 2007 after a multimillion-dollar renovation to the 10-year vacant spot. Owners Sam Colosimo and Jack Salvaggio chose Integrated Entertainment Technologies to handle audio and lighting support systems after a successful partnership in working on the owners’ Empire nightclub. To help supplement live music to the club’s dance music core, the team installed Yamaha IF Series speakers (IF2115/64, ISI1218 sub-bass cabs, IF2108 for DJs), which are managed by a DME 24n processor for 16 different speaker locations. The system’s remotes provide a single control to time-fade between band and DJ, as well as control the VIP area. At FOH sits a Yamaha LS9-32 board from which a visiting engineer can also mix monitors; the monitor mix position includes a Yamaha MG32/14 FX mixer, C112V wedges and drum monitor, and P3500 amps. The system also includes a Digiflex splitter snake, Shure mics and a Rane TTM 57SL DJ mixer.

CAFE 939

The building that houses the new Café 939 under-21 club at Boston’s Berklee College of Music may have been around for a while, but this 200-person-capacity concert venue has a newly designed music performance space. Located next to the Cactus Club, the café spotlights the school’s emerging artists, as well as local and national touring acts. Puerto Rican sax player Miguel Zenon opened the new venue with a performance on April 2. A Yamaha M7CL-32 digital console can handle both FOH and monitor mixing; visiting engineers have access to the desk’s full array of onboard processing. All speakers (Meyer Sound UPJ-1P with USW-1P sub) and monitors (Meyer Sound UM-1P, UM-100P) are self-powered.

Photo: Steve Jennings


Owners Robert Kotonly and Rory Paull opened their Rrazz Club in San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko in mid-March. The 190-seat club, which occupies a lobby-level space formerly used as a meeting room, gives the City by the Bay a new place to check out cabaret music. The $1-million project includes a Yamaha M7CL 32 digital board at FOH and Nexo GEO speakers; amps are Yamaha T4n and T3n. Broadway vet Matt Berman designed the sound and lighting. In its first year, the club will welcome lounge singers such as Diane Schuur and Jane Olivor, as well as a summer run of “American Idols in Concert.”


Home to the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team, as well as hosting a slew of music concerts, ice shows and other entertainment, the 20,000-seater HSBC Arena (Buffalo, N.Y.) sports a new audio system, thanks to Clair Bros. Audio Systems, which finished the project in just nine-and-a-half weeks while the arena was in use. The company installed six Dolby Lake processors to control the zoned and distributed JBL VLA speaker system (six clusters, each containing 10 VLA901 190-degree line array elements), driven by QSC PowerLight 3 Series and CM16a amps; a Yamaha M7CL-32 digital console sits in the mix booth. The existing upper-delay ring speakers were reused with new amps and processing. A complement of Shure UR24D/Beta 87A handheld mic systems are available, as are a PSM600 in-ear monitoring system and assorted wireless mics. The “ice” area has been updated with JBL PD5212 cabs underhung from the center-ice scoreboard.


Continually upgrading this fine venue, XXXX Audio (Sacramento) recently completed an audio overhaul of the Jackson Hall, a room that hosts more than 100 performances annually, including orchestras, rock concerts, lectures and dance performances, as well as varied programming from the school. As the hall is deep — with rear seats as far as 148 feet from the proscenium — the 1,801-seat venue now boasts a Meyer Sound M’elodie line array and 600-HP subs (processing under Meyer Galileo loudspeaker management). Also part of the upgrade are a Midas Legend board at FOH and a Yamaha M7CL at monitors (or as an alt FOH console).


The recently constructed, $25-million, state-of-the-art MacPhail Center for Music (Minneapolis) saw a design and install by Audio Video Electronics (AVE) for the sound, video and lighting systems. The main space, Antonello Hall, features fully modular seating and stage placement. The lobby can serve as an informal concert hall, with seating on the wide staircase leading to the second floor. The second to sixth floors are filled with 56 studios, including acoustically isolated rooms for bands, percussion, etc. All of the major performance and rehearsal spaces can send audio signals to each other or to the Pro Tools-centered recording studio located adjacent to Antonello Hall via an Aviom Pro64 digital networking system. For a variety of traditional setups with the stage on one side of the room and rows of seats in front of it, AVE flew six Danley SH-50 full-range loudspeakers from the 25-foot ceilings in an L/C/R configuration. For stage in the round, four Danley SH-100s in a 10-foot circle from the center of the room fires out in all directions; FOH feeds the rest of the building and the minimal QSC Basis processor needed for the Danley complement.