Smokin' Sound

Smokin' Sound
  • RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA-Sometimes great sound comes in smaller packages. This proved to be the case with the sound system deployed by Audio/Video Innovations at the most recently opened Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que restaurant and live blues nightclub in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

QSC's MD-F122/124r loudspeakers cover the long, narrow bar space at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. They are carefully aimed so their coverage doesn't "blast" patrons sitting at the bar, while still filling the entire room.
Headed by Mike Barber, El Segundo, CA-based Audio/Video Innovations has been providing professional sound system design and installation services for more than 20 years. The company has enjoyed an affiliation with Lucille's founder/owner Craig Hofman for several years, providing systems for all of the chain's Southern California locations. Each new location is a bit larger and more elaborate than the previous one, notes Barber, but all follow a consistent layout format of a bar surrounded by the restaurant. The approach applies to the sound systems as well, with the one designed and installed at Rancho Cucamonga the most sophisticated to date.

"At the previous location, we'd deployed high-quality ceiling loudspeakers, and everyone was thrilled with the results," Barber explained. "Unfortunately, the price point was not at all attractive, leading us to seek a solution providing the same quality while being friendlier on the budget. Within this backdrop, we decided to have a listen to an interesting new product QSC had brought on the market, AD-C52ST ceiling loudspeakers, and they definitely met our quality/budget criteria."

The AD-C52ST, part of the QSC AcousticDesign Series, includes a 5.25-inch low-frequency transducer designed with a low-distortion fiberglass cone, while the high-frequency driver is a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter with a neodymium magnet structure. They are packaged with backcan, support bracket, tile rails, and grille.

Thirty-four AD-C52ST loudspeakers are distributed throughout the restaurant and patio, blanketing it with consistent coverage without "hot" or "dead" spots. "Installation of these loudspeakers was extremely easy," Barber added. "And they don't sound like they're 'in a box,' but rather, offer a natural signature that feels like a band is actually in the room with you."

The other key portion of the Lucille's system serves the bar, where dynamic sound reinforcement is supplied by dual QSC ModularDesign Series MD-F122/124r two-way, full-range loudspeakers joined by a single QSC MD-L115 subwoofer. These are flown above the bar in a straight line, with the cabinets oriented horizontally. Like the other models in the ModularDesign Series, the MD-F122/124r's high-frequency horn can be rotated between vertical and horizontal planes, which proved handy in this application where an extremely wide pattern was required to cover the long, narrow bar space. These loudspeakers are carefully aimed so their coverage doesn't "blast" patrons sitting at the bar, while still filling the entire room. An interesting caveat is that the loudspeakers are actually directly opposite the live acts that appear in a front corner of the room.

"You'd tend to think that localization would be an issue where the loudspeakers are opposite the band, but that hasn't proven the case at all. Their output blends with what's coming directly from the band, resulting in the room being blanketed with coherent sound," Barber explained. "We do a bit of notching of certain frequencies to eliminate feedback concerns, but that's it. Plus, the room is always so crowded that there's a lot of absorption, topped by plenty of ambient noise, so there aren't any audible anomalies whatsoever."

All loudspeakers at Lucille's are driven by a QSC CX Series power amplification package. Just one QSC CX108V eight-channel amplifier is needed to power the indoor and outdoor distributed loudspeakers, while a single QSC CX502 two-channel unit drives the bar's full-range loudspeakers via one channel as well as the subwoofer via its other channel.

While MD-F122/124r loudspeakers offer a bi-amp mode, it's simply not needed in this application. A Shure P4800 digital processor resides with the amplifiers and provides processing for both facets of the system, including a bit of delay applied to the furthest distributed loudspeakers to keep arrival times in sync with what's happening from the main system in the bar.