MAKE MINE MARTIN
At the start of the new millennium universities were starting to realise that in order to compete with the town centre nightclubs they had to radically improve their own campus facilities.
The Union at Leeds University was quick out of the blocks, establishing the then quite radical Stylus nightclub, with technology company Green-I providing a powerful Martin Audio Blackline dance surround system.
Meanwhile, the adjacent Harvey Milk Bar (cleverly named after San Francisco's first openly gay city supervisor) was slowly falling into dilapidation, and closed entirely back in 2001.
Five years on, the derelict building has reopened as the 450-capacity Mine, offering an all-day restaurant within a brand new infrastructure, which has seen the old staircase removed and replaced with a DJ booth - thanks to interior designers Studio BAAD and Green-I.
Said assistant events manager Tom Salmon, 'When Studio BAAD presented their ideas to us in June 2005 we were stunned. They had developed the ideas to the point where we felt that they understood the brief more than we did ourselves! What we were presented with was a conceptual venue, built around a jaw dropping wooden tunnel with letter boxed booth seating and a stage at its far end. The finishes of wood, slate and concrete made for a design that has been remarked upon as the best in Leeds.'
Working within this overall design, Green-I decided to maintain continuity with Martin Audio; this time however, the installation company's project manager Ian (Woody) Woodall, confronted with a restricted ceiling height, turned to a solution he had first devised for Tiger Tiger in Aberdeen, using a Blackline H2, S15 and S18 combination instead of the space prohibitive H3 to create three-way active playback (with the top end run passive).
'It involves the same number of components but is split up over three boxes, and it works very well,' he says. In view of the length of the room he has flown two H2's either side of the stage, mounted on top of each other. While the top boxes fire down the length of the room the enclosure underneath is kelped back so that it directs its energy onto the sunken dancefloor. Recessed-mounted under the stage are the pair of S15s and S18's forming a powerful sub point source.
The dance floor itself is located at the lowest level within the existing space. A new timber floor has been installed and this surface is 'wrapped' around the dance space to provide two walls with numerous openings for access to seating areas and for viewing through. The vertical surfaces are then continued across the ceiling with more openings for specialist lighting equipment.
'With the sunken dancefloor the whole effect is like looking down a parabolic tube,' says Woody, 'but it sounds far better than I ever imagined it; sometimes you can just get all of the pieces of the jigsaw to slot together perfectly - the system really rocks.'
Powered by QSC series amplifiers, the rig is linked into the Soundweb network, which will grow to a site-wide network of eight SW9088iis (and hub) once Green-I have also finished refurbishing Stylus (reconfiguring the Martin Audio surround system into a more conventional pros. arch/concert PA system, with delays).
With the aid of a third feeder room, Tom Salmon says that the university now has a combined capacity of 1600, with all rooms interlinked.
With the venue now open, and attracting largely unsigned acts and DJ's, the Student Union can concentrate on getting Stylus ready for the start of the new academic year in September, working to an interior scheme conceived by WDL Associates.
Further information from:
Maureen Hayes, Martin Audio
Tel: +44 (0)1494 535312
Fax: +44 (0)1494 438669
Jerry Gilbert, JGP Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0)1707 258525
Fax: +44 (0)1707 267140