Dining In Stereo

Dining In Stereo

A Manhattan Restaurant Adds Club-Level Sound To The Menu

NEW YORK, NY—When restaurateur Philippe Massoud created Ilili, an upscale Lebanese restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, he designed and outfitted the beautiful, bi-level space to perform as both high-end restaurant and high-end nightclub. Beyond the gorgeous main dining room and bar/lounge, this 300-seat restaurant boasts a variety of private dining areas and lounges. DJs spin on the weekends, and a club-worthy, multi-zone sound system delivers restaurant-, lounge-, and club-level sound to suit every occasion.


Tannoy V6s and V12s line Ilili’s bar/lounge, with speakers placed along the left-side in the latticework (inset), and speakers and subs on the right side, behind the walls, creating a stereo soundfield.

Massoud hired MO$FO Audio’s Jacob Cox and Ruanne Emmenes, through Jesse Sprague and House of Song, to design and install Ilili’s multi- functional sound system. Cox and Emmenes have worked extensively in NYC’s high-end club circuit, and worked with Ilili through their NYC partner company, Zovich Consulting. “With Ilili, we were designing a system for a high-end restaurant whose owner grew up in the clubs,” Cox said. “Philippe wanted to have music at appropriate levels for dining, but he also wanted to have DJs and live performances, and even clear out all the tables and have latenight parties.”

Cox and Emmenes used a combination of Tannoy’s Dual Concentric V6 and V12 speakers in the dining rooms and lounges, as well as Tannoy in-ceiling CMS-501s and 601s in the entrance and bathroom. In-ceiling 110SR’s and 18-inch subs are hidden throughout the restaurant. “We worked closely with the architect to maintain a clean room, free of bulky, hanging speaker boxes, yet achieve a balanced sound field for elegant dining or dancing,” Cox noted.

The elaborate cedar latticework framing the deep-set main dining room conceals the V6 and V12 speakers placed every 15 feet on either side of the room, creating an immersive stereo sound field. “Our biggest problem in this area was sub placement,” Cox recalled. “We chose to use three 10-inch ceiling-mounted subwoofers, accompanied by an 18- inch sub placed at the west-end of the dining room behind the lattice work under the stairs.”

In the two private dining rooms adjacent to the main dining area, three Dual Concentric ceiling speakers were mounted in the walls, with a passive subwoofer hidden in the wall behind the banquettes. In the third, more secluded dining room, four V6s are accompanied by a passive sub in the corner of the room. “By placing the speakers behind the north and south walls of this room, we were once again able to achieve stereo imaging,” Cox said.

In the bar/lounge, Cox and Emmenes again used the area behind the exterior walls to create boxes for speakers and subs. “This helped us to create a stereo sound field without disturbing the artistic integrity of the space,” Cox added.

The system needed to be equipped with enough stereo inputs and outputs to achieve the stereo sound field in each of the five different zones. Furthermore, MO$FO wanted the system to be easily powered on and off from a remote location, with multiple inputs and zone controllers throughout the space. For processing, they chose the BSS Soundweb London BLU-80 with a Biamp Nexia for an additional eight outputs. QSC amplifiers power the system. A Lyntec power sequencer with a remote switch eliminates the need to manually power on and off each component.

Zone controllers for the system are located in the bar/lounge, three private dining rooms and in the DJ booth. “We also connected the Blu- 80 to the restaurant’s network and created a page for them to monitor the system, make any adjustments to, or change system input online,” Cox explained.

The BLU-80 also allows connection to two Crown PZM-10 ceiling mounted pressure zone microphones, one in the main dining room and one in the bar/lounge to monitor room noise and adjust sound levels accordingly in each zone.

“They’ve been using the system to its full potential, with live music and parties, and the rooms really sound great,” Cox said.