When Advanced Audio were set the challenge of helping to create the ideal listening environment for an innovative new live venue/bar concept right in the middle of Melbourne they called on their past experience with NEXO. Installing twelve Nexo GeoS, CD12 subs for FOH and a set of Nexo PS10 for monitors they managed to nail the brief which also included a recording studio.
As the latest jewel in Melbourne’s Curtin House crown, designed by architect Phillip Schemnitz and co-owned by Tim Peach and Camillo Ippoliti (also of Revolver and Curtin’s other bar, Cookie), The Toff is a boutique live music venue/bar with a style of its own.
Jutting off level two’s cave-dark staircase and hallway, you can either turn right into a swish performance venue or turn left into the bar and club. Inside The Toff’s bar is dark and inviting with an old fashioned décor including a bar, complete with a train of private booths where you can actually close the door and order drinks via bell service. The adjacent 300-odd-person performance venue may be seated or standing room depending on the show.
Advanced Audio was employed to design and install the audio system for the entire venue including a small recording studio on level four. There was no hesitation in choosing a Nexo PA system for the performance room including twelve Nexo GEO S line array boxes and CD 12 subs for front of house speakers and Nexo PS10 speakers for monitors.
”We decided a Nexo line array system would be best for coverage in this room,” explained Peter Rickman, Advanced Audio’s production manager “Originally the client was looking at installing headphones for every single punter so that they could adjust their own volume control – that’s the kind of space they were looking for. They really wanted a perfect listening room. The next option from that was a PA system that was really even and that’s why we installed the Nexo GEO S.”
Another deciding factor when choosing the GEO S system was its’ compact size which is of huge benefit in a small venue. “Add the power output and the coverage provided, and there are three main reasons why Nexo was chosen,” said Peter. “Plus the audio quality of the Nexo boxes is far superior to anything else on the market place.”
This is the first venue in Melbourne set up with not only one DiGiCo console at FOH but another in the studio. This second DiGiCo console is set up with a Nuendo record system enabling the most sophisticated capturing of live entertainment in town. “The client wanted a digital console that could record as well as perform for a live situation,” commented Peter. “The ability to join the two consoles together and the option to be able to put in another outside broadcast or separate monitor console was a favourable option. I guess it really came down to the flexibility and the expandability of the DiGiCo system. All other digital consoles on the market place are limited to a certain amount of inputs or there is a certain amount of graphics that you can put over things. The DiGiCo is not restricted in this way”.
Another bonus with the DiGiCo console is that so many touring operators know how to use them and those that haven’t used them, quickly get the hang of them. “We’ve seen sound guys who have never used a DiGiCo board before and within five minutes they’re fully all over it,” said Peter. “Again, that’s one of the main reasons why we chose it versus any other cheaper console.”
Along with the DiGiCo console in the studio is a computer and some Adam studio monitors. Shows are recorded live to PC and then mixed down in the studio at a later date. “It’s pretty amazing because it’s a full multi-track; they can record 56 channels simultaneously and that in a studio environment is pretty rare,” remarked Peter. “For that to be combined in a live environment as well just doesn’t happen anywhere else in the country without an OB van.”
Since the venue opened Peter reports that people are commenting on the clarity of the Nexo PA system whether it’s a grand piano performance, as on the opening night, or if there’s five stacks of Marshall amplifiers on the stage with a heavy metal band. “No matter what the act is it always sounds really good,” he said.