VENICE, CA-What sets the Air Conditioned Supper Club in Los Angeles' Venice district apart is the warm and welcoming neighborhood feel of the place. "One of our big priorities has been to create an environment that's more like a cozy neighborhood lounge than an exclusive club," said general manager Johnnie Jenkins.
The mains needed to be placed high to avoid obstructing views, so two delay zones featuring EAW speakers were created.
The intimate, 3,700-square-foot venue holds about 300 people, but the owners were adamant that the club, like their Air Conditioned Lounges in San Diego and Santa Monica, would sound as good as it looked. San Diego-based Fluid Sound was brought in to design a high-performance system based around Mackie and EAW components.
"It was a challenging project, beginning with the shape of the building itself, which is roughly akin to a slice of pie," said Fluid Sound's Dennis Pappenfus. "The owners opted to place the stage at the wide end of the triangle, which is great for atmosphere and aesthetics but a bit problematic in terms of sound system design." Adding to the room's reflectivity was the decision to outfit the stage area with a smooth finished drywall ceiling. "We convinced them to compensate for that by considering a softer, more acoustically absorptive finish on the back walls and DJ area," added Pappenfus.
Adding to the challenging project was the presence of three large, drywall-encased steel earthquake reinforcement beams that essentially divide the room into thirds lengthwise. "If you take ten steps back from the stage, you no longer see the speakers, and that means a huge roll-off of highs and midrange," Pappenfus observed.
The main PA is comprised of a pair of EAW MK2364 two-way full range loudspeakers. In the rear, another pair of MK2364 cabinets cover the first of two fill zones, with two MK8196 two-way speakers comprising a second zone. Under the stage, four EAW SBX220 subwoofers handle the low end. "We used a bit of horizontal steering on the subs to tune the sweet spot inward toward the dance floor," said Pappenfus.
A FireWire-equipped, 16-channel Mackie Onyx 1640 handles main mix duties, while the DJs use a Mackie D2 DJ mixer, also with FireWire connectivity. "We can take a dry multitrack feed from the board, allowing us to do live recordings," Pappenfus explained.
A self-powered Mackie SRM450 two-way, self-powered loudspeaker provides monitoring for the DJ area, while a pair of S408 two-way precision passive monitors provide rear fill, pointing back at the stage to bring added presence to the dance floor area. Four more S408 cabinets provide monitors on the stage. The VIP room is served by a pair of S408 speakers and a single S410s quad subwoofer, powered by Mackie M3000 amplifiers.
System DSP is handled by a BSS Soundweb London processor. "We ended up using most of the London's available inputs and outputs," said Pappenfus. "We've really used a lot of technology that's typically found in much larger venues. By starting with the right speakers and some judicious use of DSP, we've been able to get good sound to the rear of the room without crushing the people in the front."