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Press Release


24TH APR 2009

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When Bernard Mani's Systems Etc arrived to fit out Billy Reilly's five-storey hybrid venue, The Driver, in London's burgeoning Kings Cross development area, he was largely given a free hand to specify the technology.

There was only one stipulation laid down by operations director Gemma Ross -the sound reinforcement system had to be exclusively Martin Audio. 'Sound wise, we were asked to make this place amazing and after the success of Pacha, Martin Audio was the inevitable choice,' confirmed Mani.

As a result not only are more than 50 of Martin Audio's stylish AQ series (full-range and subwoofers) found throughout the building, but the system is optimised using five of Martin Audio's award-winning Engineer 818 DSP's, the largest single application of these recently-launched devices in the world to date.

Given the venue's reconfigurable usage - and wide selection of signal sources - the installer wanted a system that would give him vast input capacity, routing flexibility and a tailored gain structure.

Aside from the comprehensive control, 8 x 8 routing matrix and standard DSP features, Bernard Mani also knew that the unique BassCreator and Engineer algorithms would bring the very best out of the sound - giving customers in the venue a perception of much greater bass SPL, whilst helping to eliminate low frequency noise pollution. At the same time, he sensed that the automatic control of level and tonal quality would compensate for variations in programme sources … of which there will be many.

'In this application the Engineer 818 will be a very useful tool. We have 78 feeds running to the control rack in the basement so this is the perfect solution - every zone can be fed from every floor,' says Mani, who also used the smaller Engineer 418 recently in another Billy Reilly venue, Pacha London.

'As for speakers, I selected AQ because it had an answer for every floor and because the factory finish blended in with the décor.'

He has decorated the venue throughout with multiples of AQ10's and AQ8's - and since at its peak it will be running as a dance venue there is a generous provision of either floor-mounted AQ210 (2 x 10') or AQ212 (2 x 12') subs. Martin Audio even extends to the toilets where there is Martin Audio C4.8T ceiling speakers (and further artifacts salvaged from The Cross).

Excited by the expansive space The Driver had to offer Billy Reilly originally purchased the freehold six years ago, trading it as a conventional pub before embarking on the £1.5m redevelopment programme 18 months ago.

'In looking for opportunities to expand the group we've always favoured Kings Cross, as it is our spiritual home,' he says. 'When The Cross went, we decided to bring this project forward and create exactly what you see now.'

The original bedsits above the pub have been converted into trading areas, including a Members Lounge, two corporate floors, a fine dining restaurant and an attractive Moroccan-themed roof garden (where the music is played out through eight Martin Audio C115's).

In what Billy Reilly describes as 'fluid architecture' which came together organically, the conversion also boasts artifacts from The Cross, in the form of a Waltzer chair and vintage cigarette machine. Design highlights include the two wrought iron stairways - hand-welded in sections and linking the five floors - the exposed copper, wood and brick interior and the inspired Vertical Garden, designed and planted by world famous Parisian, Patrick Blanc. Also at the more opulent end are lava and varnished elm bars.

The seven-days-a-week operation has been masterminded by Gemma Ross to make this the ultimate chameleon venue, with full waitress service cocktails and a permanent bar/brasserie on the ground floor. 'The art is different on each floor - every space has its own individual personality,' she says.

The first floor fine dining restaurant will be closed on Friday afternoon and transformed into a house party space, she adds. A row of front-line DJ's will be lining up to play on any of Systems Etc's highly-specified DJ booths on three of the floors, all of which include powerful Martin Audio Blackline F12+ speakers.

Summing up, Bernard Mani says, 'This is the first time I have specified and programmed the Engineer 818, which hadn't been launched at the time I did Pacha - and I am delighted. With feeds coming from different MP3 players, CD's, DJ decks and live performance, this will regulate the many different recording levels and at the same time place the venue under total control.'

Meanwhile, the next project on Billy Reilly and Gemma Ross's agenda will be to develop the Roof Garden at Pacha and begin a multiple restaurant development in Camden Town.

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
E: maureenh@martin-audio.com jerry.gilbert@ntlworld.com

Attached: an assortment of interior shots of The Driver, showing the AQ speakers in situ, C115's on the roof garden - and exterior planting

PUBLISHED: 24TH APR 2009. Views: 0
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