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Articles March-April 2021

Step Inside the All New Mondosonic Studio

The all new Mondosonic Studio, located in Ottapalam, Kerela, is a custom Music Production Facility and Studio. With Recording Equipment, Workflows..... read more

Bishwadeep Conceptualizes Sound Design in the Box

Having spent most of his career in Song and Music Recording, Bishwadeep Dipak Chatterjee was constantly toying with the idea of getting involved in designing sound for films..... read more

Celto Acoustique

Established in 2011, CELTO Acoustique is a premium manufacturer of professional audio products for the events and install industry. Founder, owner and CEO - Arthur Felix first displayed his entrepreneurial skills at the age of 14 when he built..... read more

Acoustically OdBle

With Vijay Benegal and Mujeeb Dadarkar

Vijay Benegal and Mujeeb Dadarkar have between them more than 4 decades of extensive experience in the audio industry in India. They have done it all, from recording and mixing for ad films, to doing live sound for renowned artistes..... read more

All About Music, the Marantz Story

In conversation with Joel Sietsem and Alankara Santhana

Marantz has established a strong foundation in the industry with their High fidelity audio systems since the 1970s. Marantz designs products that have intricate detail..... read more

Acoustic and Audio System Design for Small Rooms - PART 6

By - Rahul Sarma, CEO, Menura Acoustic Labs in collaboration with Sound Wizard

We started this series with the definition of a small room, and went on to discuss wave interactions. We continued onto sound isolation, absorption and diffusion in parts 2 and 3. Parts 4 and 5 covered system design goals and finally how to optimize a system..... read more

Studio Showcase

If you had a sign above every Studio door saying ‘This studio is a Musical Instrument’ it would make such a different approach to recording.” - Brian Eno..... read more


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INSTALL CASE STUDY - LOUNGE BAR

Soundframe Gives Lotd an Exclusive Harman Professional Audio System Finesse




Lord of the Drinks, Kolkata, installs HARMAN Professional Audio System to provide exceptional audio quality and coverage


SoundFrame recently outfitted Lord of the Drinks’ Kolkata location with a complete Harman Professional Audio System to provide exceptional audio quality and coverage for its patrons. PT brings an exclusive case study.


With 12 outlets across India, Lord of the Drinks (LOTD) is undoubtedly one of the most highly rated nightclubs in the Country. When LOTD finally opened its 11th outlet in Kolkata at South City Mall end of 2019, it boasted of the tallest bar ever. The approximately 2,000 square feet area has been astutely used to accommodate the indoor seating, as also the now famous 24-feet tall bar high double-height bar, which is 40 feet long and features an upper stage for the bartenders and a lower stage for patrons to enjoy their drinks.

The new fine dining lounge and bar that becomes a high-energy nightclub in the evenings, evidently demanded a state-of-the-art sound system that would provide provide superior sound quality and coverage for patrons without distracting from the aesthetics of the elegant design, for which LOTD roped in Electro-Acoustic Design Consultant, Milind Raorane of SoundFrame. Since the franchise had already worked with Milind and his team on their previous projects, the owners were confident to continue with SoundFrame at the Kolkata venue too.


Sound Frame installed four AM721595 loudspeakers to provide even balanced coverage throughout the main dining area


Sound Isolation and Acoustic Design

Being located in the Food court of the South City Mall and having other occupants around it, the first challenge for the acoustic consultant, was to isolate the sound from the mall while adhering to the design plan of LOTD, and eventually deliver a fine immersive club kind of sound.

“When designing a restaurant or a bar, the acoustics of the place is rarely taken into consideration. Most of the times restaurants located in a busy shopping complex or mall do not undertake a proper study of the acoustics of the area and only implement slight fixes. This results in acoustical consultants facing a myriad of obstacles when asked to provide design guidelines for planning the venue. The mall management does not always offer a free hand to the acoustic consultant to make many changes,” rues Milind.

To understand how to isolate the entire space, SoundFrame conducted some acoustic tests, to understand the structural conductions and understand the intensity of sound that was travelling to other floors of the mall. After preparing the basic report, the team came up with multiple possible solutions, and finally zeroed in on a midway solution where a floating floor was created which is typically unusual for clubs in a mall.

“Constructing everything in a mall, there are a lot of limitations to add load, or to make any structural changes. It is much easier to implement and design in a standalone property, but being a mall, you are working under a lot of restrictions, additionally the mall themselves do not have a lot of permissions from local authorities in order to make such heavy changes,” says Milind.

Upon visiting the location, it was found that the space had to be closed acoustically. The space was divided by a thin dry brick wall and had a glass pane in front of it. Since the mall had load limitations, the team at SoundFrame had to work with modern, low weight, low density techniques of creating false floors and false walls. The team used Modi Foam which is a new technique of creating dry flooring and dry walls using polystyrene foam.

Inside the space, Milind says they insisted to go for in-room acoustic conditioning, which means adding acoustic elements to make the internal sounds comfortable. After going through several options, acoustically perforated ceilings and foam panels were chosen to condition the space and to get a good sound. Double isolation walls, demising walls, acoustic glass were created because the whole facade of the club was glass pane and glass doors.


Key parameters for selecting the sound system for LOTD were good base energy, directivity and sturdiness. Loudspeakers which were tonally well refined and had a wide directivity pattern were chosen for the venue


“We had the drawing in front of us and using the drawings we did some simulations using different software to see what it would look like acoustically. The design, the architect gave us had all these aspects of mirror, glass, chandeliers etc. and the proportions and the placements were working out in such a way that I did not really have to object or change it,” informs Milind. “LOTD was open to the idea of doing acoustical treatment on the ceiling. The idea was to create minimal amount of absorption in the room with respect to the other surface materials in the room.” he adds further.

“LOTD being a chain has a lot of the SOPs in place. Once we submitted all the drawings and details, everything was pretty much well-coordinated,” said Milind.


Milind Raorane, SoundFrame


Sound Brief

Though LOTD wanted a high-energy place, which on the weekends could host resident or guest DJs as well as live music, their brief was to create a resto-bar with all-day background music, and not just a nightclub. They were looking for a system that would be able to double up as a live sound playback system.

Due to space constraints, the stage is elevated to almost a mezzanine level and the DJ is housed in that area too. A band can also be placed in the same area or alternatively there is also a provision for the band to play on the floor within the club. 

Locating and providing a high energy base was the key so that it could stand up to any kind of demands in the space. Also, the electronics that were to be used had to be highly sturdy so they could word round the clock.

“The client requested a versatile solution that could deliver superior sound through the venue. The JBL Professional networked audio system we installed ensures class-leading tonal quality, power response and sustainability. This dynamic setup provides the clarity and volume required in full-house scenarios,” said Milind.

“The franchise owner did provide some inputs in terms of what brands they would prefer and their layout preferences,” he adds.

Sound System Layout

It was imperative that Sound Frame worked around the height of the space as well as an elevated DJ booth and bar seating. They also had to ensure that the sound system would not obstruct important decorative elements on the walls, a request from the designer of the space. To accomplish this, Sound Frame worked within the space restrictions and negotiated with the Lord of the Drinks’ designer to situate the sound system suitably. They were able to carve out space in the smoke lounge for the main front of house subwoofers and loudspeakers were set in place via a steel-rope suspension method rather than traditional wall mounts.

For the main Front of House, base boxes subs were embedded into the smoking room, instead of the usual way where it would end up taking the usable guest area floor space. The subs were tucked away into the smoking room which is below the DJ. The rest of the speakers were placed in a circular form so that patrons sitting anywhere in the space, would not have speakers hitting them directly and instead would give them an enveloping experience in whichever area they were.

“We don’t generally fly subs in clubs; we prefer to keep them on the floor for listening for alignment purposes. But here at LOTD in Kolkata, we flew them up and it still worked well. It did not really go completely out of space,” said Milind.

“The objective was to create an immersive audio because instead of the usual two front speakers and two back speakers kind of approach. The focus was to give a more cohesive sound experience, where it feels like there is a larger space of sound rather than something that is right next to you. For this kind of approach, the speakers were taken far away and use a greater number of speakers and subs so that the sound is distributed equally and in its entirety.”

He further continued, “The idea I wanted here was to create an immersive kind of experience, because if you see the general trend everywhere in live sound for performances as well as playback and cinema everything is moving towards immersive.”


Figure 1. The area is divided into a DJ Section, a Smokibg Section and a big space which acts as a restaurant, a bar and a lounge area. There is no separate bar section or a separate dining area or a VIP area. It is all embedded into one big space


Inventory

The three key parameters for selecting products for LOTD were energy, directivity and sturdiness. Commenting on his choice of Harman Professional Audio System products, Milind says, “It had to follow the brief to have a good base energy. Since the area was not too big and not to small, the team had to select loudspeakers which were tonally well refined and had a wide directivity pattern.”

“You need to use loudspeakers which have a very wide directivity pattern, which is a key in immersive audio. The JBL Professional networked audio system we installed ensures class-leading tonal quality, power response and sustainability. This dynamic setup provides the clarity and volume required in full-house scenarios,” he adds further.

Audio Equipment List

BRAND

MODEL

QTY

DESCRIPTION

JBL

AM7215/95

4

MAIN LOUDSPEAKERS

JBL

ASB6128

2

MAIN SUBWOOFER

Crown

GDCI4X1250N-U-IN

2

AMPLIFIER

Crown

GDCI2X2400N-U-IN

1

AMPLIFIER

JBL

EON615/230

2

DJ MONITOR SPEAKER

BSS

BSSBLU100M-EU

1

LOUDSPEAKER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

DBX

DBX260V

1

SECONDARY LOUDSPEAKER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.

LOTD and SoundFrame, had to consider brand presence, cost and availability for any kind of support required in the future. Unlike, auditoriums, bars, restaurants and clubs work on a daily basis and the downtime is very short. For this, they needed a brand that would provide them a quick turnaround time and the client is not hassled in getting service support. 

Selecting Harman Professionals for the sound of the location was not a very complicated decision for Milind. “Harman has the right products. They have been over the last two to three years focusing on their product range and have overhauled and made quite a few new products, to suit these kinds of varied applications. Additionally, they have a good support team, and a wider dealer network. So, for LOTD, they could easily purchase the products from Kolkata.”

List of Project Partners

  • Owner – AMIT HOSPITALITY LLP
  • Acoustic Consultant - SOUNDFRAME
  • System Integrator - SOUNDFRAME
  • Audio System Provided by – HARMAN PROFESSIONAL

Sound Frame installed four AM7215/95 loudspeakers to provide even, balanced coverage throughout the main dining area. Two ASB6128 subwoofers provide additional low-end support for powerful bass. Two EON615/230 PA speakers were selected for their portable size and Bluetooth control. A Crown-DCI Amplification system consisting of two GDCI4X1250N-U-IN power amplifiers and one GDCI2X2400N-U-IN DriveCore series amplifier, chosen for their versatility and compact size, was also installed. These were tuned with a BSS-BLU100 DSP 12x8 signal processor with BLU link and a DBX260V Drive Rack loudspeaker management system.

“We were initially going to have another solution,” said Amit Bajoria, Owner, Lord of the Drinks Kolkata. “However, we then met the team from HARMAN Professional Solutions who suggested the new JBL Professional AE Series speakers, which we ultimately chose. I am very happy with the sound system and its performance. We get loud and clear output from the speakers, and the subwoofers are amazing.”

Challenges

For Milind Raorane, the biggest challenge was to isolate the noise from the resto-bar from going into the mall. “The mall had their own regular food court and other shops so the challenge was that being an all-day cafe and a high energy bar in the night LOTD would obviously be creating a lot of powerful sound”, he said.

The second challenge the team faced was the considerable height of the ceiling which was almost as high as 35 to 40 ft.  A steel-rope cable suspension method was used to move away from walls and locate the speakers at the most optimum space, which would also allow minimum conflict with finished surfaces.

“It was a large space, around 2000 to 2500 square feet with a tall ceiling, so positioning things along with the decor lights was a challenge,” informed Milind. He further added, “LOTD works with their internal design team. Also being a chain, the look and feel more or less is pretty much rationalized. They have certain type of lights, certain type of wall finishes, which also created a lot of challenges for us when we were locating and designing the loudspeaker layout for them. They mostly wanted the floor to be free of bail boxes and not take away their revenue spaces.”


Figure 2. Audio Equipment Layout and Dimensions Details


Conclusion

The first design was submitted in August 2019 and the final install was completed in December of 2019, Lord of the Drinks, Kolkata was ready to welcome their patrons in the New Year of 2020. It took SoundFrame about a week to complete the entire setup.

Milind informs, “It was done in two parts. The first part was the prep work wherein all the mountings, wiring, cabling everything is done and kept ready for the final install. Once the place completed its interiors and the air conditioning was ready to go, we finished the hardware install, setting up the loudspeakers and connecting them. So, it took us a week to complete the job.”

It was the first outlet of the chain, where they did a variation. Unlike the other LOTD branches, the Kolkata branch is the only branch that took the immersive audio kind of approach for its given space. “It was a challenging project in terms of integrating the décor with the audio and acoustics. But it was definitely a smooth flow due to the SOPs being in place from the clients’ end,” says Milind.

“LOTD also was happy with what we ended up doing for them in terms of the whole layout,” concludes Milind.

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