Liverpool-based Audio Install has carried out a major sound installation at the new 1,000-capacity Bierkeller in Cardiff, the fourth Bavarian-style emporium for brand operator Burning Night Group.
For the optimum solution in a raucous, challenging environment (incorporating three separate bars with different requirements) the integrator turned to the catalogue of the Harman Professional brands, and then called on the company’s UK and Ireland distributor, Sound Technology, to provide sales and installation support.
As part of a full AV package, Audio Install based its design around a matched Crown / JBL VRX line array system, with process and control provided by premium Soundcraft, BSS and dbx digital components, along with AKG mics.
The venue itself is split into three main areas on the ground floor of Stadium Plaza — the Bierkeller, Shooters Sports Bar and Around The World In 80 Beers (ATW). “In the Bierkeller area we needed to have a good, solid front of house sound system for the oompah bands to play through without too much sound bleeding through the ceiling to the fitness club above,” explained Audio Install director Ian Davis. A directional flown JBL VRX line array system, suspended from the ceiling on anti-vibration mounts, provided the answer.
As for ATW, this has a performance area with a small stage for live acts but also needed to function equally well with a DJ, piped audio and individual performers.
Shooters combines sports screens with a stage area for small bands. “This needed to have a clear sound flowing evenly across the room to accentuate vocal frequencies that would allow punters to be able to hear commentaries clearly, but at the same time be able to accommodate live performers,” continued Davis.
As for Sound Technology, he said: “They supply equipment that I believe to be the best quality gear at a price point that makes economic sense. It works seamlessly together with [Harman’s proprietary] Audio Architect integration, and the support I get from the sales and technical staff is exemplary.” In particular, Davis singled out project engineer Hugo Burnard: “He put a lot of time into helping with the design and getting the waveguides right. The challenge was to deliver a similar, or better, experience for the clientele than previous Bierkellers. And I think we have succeeded.”
The system accepts a variety of source inputs including mic and line devices, computer music, oompah bands – and three Sky sports channels running in sync with the HD visual displays throughout the venue.
The audio element across the six zones into which this has been divided, comprises 10 JBL VRX 932 LA-1 line array units (six in Bierkeller, four in ATW); 18 JBL VRX 918 S, (six each in Bierkeller, ATW and Shooters); nine JBL AM 5212/26, (three in ATW, six in Shooters); six JBL PRX 412 M monitors, (two on each stage); six JBL Control 16 C/T, (three in each toilet area) and eight JBL Control 1, (four in the departure lounge, four along the street scene).
Amplifiers assigned to these included two Crown IT 4x3500 HDS (driving the line array units and arrayed subs; three Crown XLS 2000 (driving the floor monitors); five Crown XTi 4002 driving tops in ATW and Shooters; five Crown XTi 6002 (driving subs in ATW and Shooters); Crown XLS 1000 (for the Control 1’s) and Crown CDi 1000 (driving ceiling speakers in the toilets).
For DSP and routing, two BSS BLU-100 fixed format digital matrix processors are complemented by five BLU-6 wall mount volume remotes, strategically placed at key bars for local control. Three dbx 213 EQs process the wedge monitors, while a Soundcraft EFX12 mixes mics in the Bierkeller and a pair of EFX 8 do likewise in Shooters and ATW.
And as for the mics, Audio Install has provided six AKG D5 dynamic mics and three each of AKG D112 and C430 for the live performers.
Ian Davis believes his company has overcome its biggest challenge of delivering even, clear and precise audio coverage without bleed up to the other areas of the building above. “By using line array elements and directing the SPL away from sensitive reverberant areas and at the audience, whilst utilising the BSS equipment to process audio signals, we have also managed to remove the unwanted frequencies likely to bleed upstairs.” This also helped overcome the excessive ambient noise levels, he said.
Further helping to mitigate the problem of echo and reverb, the walls were lined with acoustic plasterboard and the voids filled with acoustic-absorbing rockwool.
With all the furnishing back in place, the system was fine-tuned using Harman’s proprietary Audio Architect software to eke out the final audio parameters, causing Davis to state that he believes the sound quality to be among the best in the area, with each room tuned to give maximum performance and minimum bleed.
“Sound Technology were with me all the way to final commissioning – from sales executive Scott Blakemore assisting with product selection and delivery, to the technical department who supported the design. I cannot praise them enough for the time and effort they put in to ensure the project was completed on time – and as a result we have not had a single complaint from the neighbours upstairs.”
And Burning Night Group operations director Peter Robinson agrees. “The sound quality is excellent,” he said. “As a multi-venue site we use the sound system for sporting events, DJs and a range of live music, so to have an easy-to-use, high-quality system is imperative. The one we have had installed fits the bill perfectly.”