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Press Release


29TH MAY 2008

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Eclectic Bars have spent in the region of £1 million converting their Fez Club in Reading to the Japanese-influenced Sakura.

Having successfully piloted the new concept in Lincoln, managing director Reuben Harley, promises that the new brand will now be selectively rolled out.

With three floors in Reading trading on 7,000 sq. ft, and giving them a combined capacity in excess of 600 people, the company brought in Redgates as the main contractor, Julian Taylor of Taylor Design Associates to reconceive the interior, and SSE Audio Group to design a networked sound solution, using Martin Audio components. The result is a vibrant new infrastructure geared up for a long duty cycle, and unrecognisable from its days as The Fez.

Faced with specifying a system that on the one hand could reproduce hi-fi background music from midday onwards, and high-energy Hed Kandi nights for the city's large student population until 4am, SSE London's Operations Director, Emma Barwell presented the operators with several options.

'They wanted to buy into the same design values as the rest of the club - with a reliable brand that would still be around in three years' time. They were well aware of the profile Martin Audio enjoys in the top London dance venues - and that it carries its own brand value.'

Working with Eclectic's projects manager Alex D'Aguiar, SSE divided the space into eight separate sound zones, networked via a Yamaha DME64N processor, which acts as system limiter and signal router, as well as storing the gain structure; local access for source select and volume control are provided via strategically-located wall panel remotes at the various bars. 'We have given them complete flexibility, ensuring that any input can be routed to any output,' says Barwell.

SSE's operations director adds that her team learnt a lot about the power, personality and profile of Martin Audio's AQ series while fitting a system at Lo-Profile in Soho recently, and applied that knowledge in Reading, where multiples of AQ10's and AQ8's are complemented with the appropriate AQ210 and AQ112 subwoofers - generally recessed horizontally into the seating.

The dance activity takes place on a Saturday Night Fever-style illuminated dancefloor up on the first floor; here SSE have upped the ante, flying four of the new Martin Audio Blackline F15+ and groundstacking a pair of S218+ subs. The mighty sound capabilities of this system can be monitored by the DJ using a pair of Blackline F10+ reference speakers.

SSE matched the versatility of the Martin Audio sound reinforcement by providing plenty of input options in the different locations, which can be run through the DJ mixer in the fully-featured DJ booths. Since the Lounge Bar on the top floor is also available for private functions, the opportunity to plug in an iPod is now de rigueur. Each floor can be its own stand-alone system, or at the touch of a button be integrated into the main set-up.

In total SSE have used nearly 20 x AQ8's - including a pair by a dance podium on one of the landings. The main ground floor bar and restaurant are serviced by eight AQ10's flown in two rows and facing the DJ booth to provide a lift to the upstairs area; these are complemented by four AQ210's.

The upper ground floor level has four further AQ8's and another AQ210 set within the seating, while on the stairwell two AQ8's maintain the continuity.

In the first floor bar, music is played out through four AQ8's and a pair of AQ210's, with further AQ8's servicing the U-shaped booths.

Finally, in the plush Lounge Bar at the top of the house there are six AQ8's, and AQ210, with two AQ112's set into the seating.

Since the SSE Audio Group manufacture their own mains distro, flight casing, racks and input panels for the large amount of high-profile touring work they undertake, providing bespoke brackets for speaker wall-mounting was a walk in the park.

For Reuben Harley the installation has been a complete success. 'The brand value is that of a West End club which we are able to set into provincial towns. It's a bar and eaterie with an 'East-meets-West food offering and sushi. It will trade upmarket, providing good service - and it's very female friendly,' is his mission statement.

As Eclectic Bars review their estate, expect further conversions of this nature now that the Sakura model has been established.

Further information from:

Maureen Hayes, Martin Audio Jerry Gilbert, JGP Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0)1494 535312 Tel: +44 (0)1707 258525
Fax: +44 (0)1494 438669 Fax: +44 (0)1707 267140

PUBLISHED: 29TH MAY 2008. Views: 0
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