Venue installation specialist Middlesex Sound & Light (MSL) has completed several high-profile installations of Martin Audio’s new CDD speaker range, including its first job for the burgeoning Burger & Lobster bar/restaurant brand. For its sixth venue opening in Bath, the operators took over the Grade II*-listed Octagon Chapel – built in 1767 but recently restored within the courtyards of the city’s new Milsom Place retail and restaurant development.
The CDD, which succeeds Martin Audio’s popular AQ architectural range, combines distinctive curved enclosures with Coaxial Differential Dispersion technology to deliver high performance, projecting more output to the rear of the audience to distribute sound evenly front-to-back, while providing wide horizontal coverage close-up.
MSL has long been an advocate of Martin Audio systems. Darrel Olivier, project director at the integrator, selected nearly 50 of the ultra-compact CDD5 (5in) drivers, taking advantage of the point-source performance and consistent coverage in a combination of factory fit black and white enclosures. Providing 120°-90° horizontal (and 80° vertical) they blend seamlessly into the environment.
Working with main contractor Du Boulay Contracts, design LSM interior designer Andrew Harwood and Burger & Lobster project manager Alex Neil, Darrel Olivier says that he was sold on CDD from the moment he heard it demonstrated. “CDD is a significant move on from AQ and we were massive fans of that,” he stated. “Aesthetically it’s better, the sound quality has improved, with wider dispersion, and it’s less obtrusive. The designer didn’t want speaker visibility and as it’s a listed building fixing speakers and running cables was challenging. But luckily CDD comes with versatile brackets and so this provided a great opportunity for us.”
MSL had provided quotes for previous openings, but with the development plan in full spate it was not until Bath that it was given the opportunity to put its own specification together. Olivier eschewed the speaker brand used elsewhere in favour of CDD, explaining, “Because of the make-up of the building, which is octagonal and on three floors – and the fact that it coincided with the launch of CDD – it seemed the obvious route to go, particularly with the support we receive from Martin Audio.”
The venue itself comprises a large ground floor bar/restaurant, a mezzanine area overlooking the well below, with its giant chandelier drop. Underneath that are the original basement vaults, presenting a number of private alcoves forged into the open stonework, and an exit onto the modern piazza at the lower level.
MSL counteracted the natural reverberation from the building’s hard surfaces within the rotunda by specifying a generous quantity of speakers that could be run at low volume from the Powersoft amplifiers.
At ground floor level 10 CDD5s have been mounted under the mezzanine balcony, along with three CSX112 (12in) subs. The mezzanine itself sees eight further CDD15 and three CSX112 while in the basement are 14 CDD5 and three CSX112.
Each of the venue’s three separate entrances are equipped with a further pair of CDD5 cabinets at the door, while along the customer routes in this mazy environment are 10 more of the tiny speakers; some are concealed in lobster pots, part of the bric-a-brac in the route leading to the restrooms, where Martin Audio C4.8T ceiling speakers have been specified.
For the most part the groundstacked subs have also been given low visibility, either recessed into fixed seating or mounted behind grilles, concealed by the lobster tanks. However, in the basement, the subwoofer in the stone snug has been sensitively washed by MR16 in-ground LED.
Played out from their own music player is a carefully customer profiled playlist created by Burger & Lobster’s own Zarig. “Music is a big part of the offer,” said Olivier, “and we have given them a plug-in point for a DJ down in the basement.”
To carry the music evenly into every nook, cranny and corner of the labyrinthine octagon, split across 24 sound zones, MSL has also specified a BSS Soundweb BLU-100 DSP and two BLU-BOB output expanders — giving them a necessary 24 outputs and greater control of the delays. Local bar control and source select on each of the three trading floors is provided via BLU-10 wall remotes.
According to Olivier, the reaction to CDD has been 100% positive. And Burger and Lobster Restaurants’ Alex Neil added his own endorsement. “The design of the system is very effective,” he said. “I personally think the overall quality and distribution of the sound is excellent, especially considering the shape and age of the building.”