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Ministry of Sound revamps with Harman and SGM

As part of its annual technical overhaul, the Ministry of Sound, which is to host the Pro Sound Awards in September, opted to install a range of Harman products, including a Soundcraft Si Performer.

Ministry of Sound closed in January for its annual technical overhaul — with the Harman Professional brands, distributed in the UK and Ireland by Sound Technology, central to the revamp.

During the three-week shut-down, the world famous club, which will host the Pro Sound Awards in September, extended its existing BSS network and provided an additional four channels of AKG DMS 700 wireless capability.

The substantial audio upgrade was authorised by production manager Chris Thoms, and also included the club’s first investment in SGM’s XC-5 LED strobes.

The centrepiece to the project was in 103 – the venue’s second dance room – where a new Soundcraft Si Performer digital console now partners the Soundcraft Si2 in the adjacent Box. Four and six SGM XC-5 LED strobes were deployed in 103 and the venue’s Box room respectively.

“It made perfect sense to invest in a new [Soundcraft Si Performer digital] console — since we also handle corporate work and film shoots,” said Thoms.

“We wanted a good sounding desk that was easy to use and spoke to Ben Todd at Sound Technology. Although we conducted a lot of research, this presented the best solution — particularly since the new Si Performer contains all the best elements of Soundcraft’s superior Vi platform — minus the screen.”

Ministry of Sound also purchased a Compact Stagebox, which, with the MADI card and single Cat5 connection to the Si Performer, gives them a capacity of 64 I/O’s.

“With the I/O expansion not only do we get the increase in channel count but if we have a band playing we can plug in over MADI and the Si Performer will double as a monitor and front of house console,” Thoms continued. It is simple for the FOH engineer to control the console from the surface, whilst a monitor engineer controls it simultaneously via the free Soundcraft ViSi iPad control app (or vice versa).

The DJ feed takes up four channels, a further four channels are used for booth monitors, there are two crowd mic channels for the radio feed, the AKG radios are on four channels … and the remainder are spare.

“The way you assign channels to busses [with the Assignable Fader Layers] and can customise these on any page is fantastic. For instance, our main operating page will have DJ inputs, VCA, busses for radio mics, crowd mic levels and if we want to mix a band we go to Layer B. The desk feels solid and the faders are quick — you seem to get a lot more for your money with an Si Performer.”

In addition, the club has boosted its BSS Soundweb network and, with the broadcasting of its live radio shows, has replaced its Cobranet routing infrastructure entirely to create a new 256-channel Blu-Link matrix, chosen for its low latency. The club has also added a BLU-BOB 8-channel output expander, installed in the radio studio from which they perform a broadcast mix of the two main rooms on a Saturday night. It is also used for logging the broadcast material for PPL royalty purposes, taking a direct feed from the Soundweb network.

Finally, Ministry of Sound has added four channels of AKG DMS 700, with extra receivers and lapel mics to match the four channels in The Box (purchased with D7 capsules last summer for a Hadouken! live show). “We have the diversity antenna, and this will give us a chance to share channels between the two rooms,” stated Thom.