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Third Man Records Gets Live in London

Rocker Jack White's budding Third Man Records empire has opened its latest outpost in London, combining a retail space, exclusive live venue and more.

Third Man Records’ London outpost includes both a retail space and live venue.

London, UK (November 30, 2021)—In many ways, the various Third Man Records facilities are known for indulging in the audio of the past; the Nashville store houses a 1940s Voice-O-Graph booth where visitors can record one-off records, while the Detroit location takes it up a massive notch as home to Third Man’s vinyl pressing plant. Third Man’s new outpost in London, however, was designed with today’s audio needs—and answers—in mind.

The new store and venue, located in London’s Soho district, is Third Man’s first international storefront. Downstairs from the main store area, The Blue Basement is a live music venue designed for intimate shows featuring local and international artists. Label founder and musician Jack White personally designed the store’s audio systems, selecting gear from HARMAN Professional Solutions to deliver background music in the store area and live sound for The Blue Basement.

“We’re on a mission for purity; we build spaces where nothing is translated, nothing impersonating something that it’s not,” said White, co-founder and co-owner. “Live music venues are like churches. They’re sacred spaces that need to give people what they want, something real. JBL gets that and it’s why they’re obsessed with translating sound in such a pure way.”

Third Man Mastering

Fans lined up early on the morning of September 25, 2021, for the London store’s grand opening to purchase exclusive in-store records by Paul Weller of the Jam, David Ruffin, the Jesus & Mary Chain and other artists. Later in the day, White played a surprise show in The Blue Basement as well as a rooftop set near the storefront. In addition to a large collection of new releases, vintage reissues and rarities, the store also includes oddities like a book vending machine.

The upstairs store area features a background music system of JBL AC16 compact loudspeakers and ASB6112 subwoofers. Crown DCi 8|600DA amplifiers power the speaker system, and BSS Soundweb Contrio controllers provide staff with intuitive controls.

Visitors to the retail space can record in the custom yellow phone booth.
Visitors to the retail space can record in the custom yellow phone booth.

Downstairs in The Blue Basement, the stage area features JBL AM7215/95 high-power loudspeakers, with AC18 and AC16 loudspeakers are mounted in delayed positions around the venue. For bigger, high-capacity shows, like White’s inaugural set, the room also has optional JBL ASB6115 subwoofers for extra low end. The Soundcraft Vi1000 digital mixing console tackles mixes, and both the upstairs and downstairs audio systems implement BSS signal processors for optimal sound distribution.

Ed Jackson, manager, Applications Team, EMEA, HARMAN Professional Solutions, noted, “They’ve got a really interesting shop and it deserves a great sound system. The engineer who worked on Jack’s opening show said, ‘It’s the best sounding small venue in London,’ and I agree with him––the way the equipment and the room have come together sounds amazing. It combines the sound quality of a recording studio with the energy of a live stage. Everyone I’ve shown it to has been blown away.”

Founded in 2001, the Third Man brand now includes music mastering, book publishing, photography, audio hardware and upholstery branches alongside the record label. The first Third Man location opened in Nashville in 2009 as a record store, live music venue and label headquarters, followed by a Detroit branch in 2015 and a vinyl pressing plant at that location two years later.