Install For Roxy Ball Room Digbeth In Birmingham

Earlier in 2020 we completed an audio installation for Roxy Ball Room in Digbeth. The install was featured in industry magazine mondo dr.
Q&A between mondo dr and Audiosev in preparation for the article published by the industry mag in May 2020. See the full article here: mondo dr article

What was the brief?
We have worked with the Roxy Ball Room on numerous projects before and we know how they like their venues to work and where customers need the audio to be confined to.

Can you describe the design process?
We design systems in most venue to give fairly consistent coverage across the venue, but with more impact in certain areas. One issue that we always need to give consideration to is where to locate the subs. In these types of venues, where the best place for them to be to get the most out of them, is usually right where the layout of the venue dictates that they can’t be. Fortunately, with the Roxy venues CEO Matt Jones is very hands on with the design and build stages and we can work out a sensible approach to position the subs together. He wants it to sound really good, not just go through the motions. For the mid highs, where we have a blank canvas, we usually fly them and make as much use of time alignment as is appropriate. It means that wherever you are in the venue, the sound is coherent and in the places where it matters, it sounds great.

Were you supplying mainly background music for this particular venue?
Yes it is technically background music as there is rarely a DJ in the Roxy venues, but these guys like to run the systems at a similar level to some of the loud bars who do have DJs which, for all intents and purposes are basically clubs, but with an easier door policy. Designing a system around this kind of ethos needs to combine the requirements of complete coverage as you would need for a background system, but with the ability to go loud and sound like a proper sound system for later on. Fort any festival stage and many venues, they have traditional left right stacks either side of a stage, but unless there is a band or DJ, it doesn’t really make sense to have the sound coming from there. Quite often, unless that system is run fairly loud, it doesn’t fill the venue enough to create an atmosphere, so just would be the right solution for the Roxy venues.

Can you describe the audio configuration and why it works well for the venue?
The whole system is firing in one direction, from the back upstairs, towards the end of the bowling lanes. It is set out in three rows of boxes. There are five TCS122 cabinets, mounted horizontally attached to the back wall upstairs. These are complimented by two NuQ118b subs. This area doesn’t need to be as loud as the lower part of the bar. It would have been tempting to use smaller boxes, but they would have started to sound thin in such a large volume of space. Underneath the mezzanine there is a line of ten NuQ82 speakers mounted above the bar. These cover the area directly in front of the bar. There is another line of five TCS122 mid highs mounted horizontally to the bulkhead at the front of the mezzanine. Again, they are paired with two NuQ118b subs. This part of the system covers the area between the bar area and the bowling lanes, but the subs also provide the low end for the bar area. They are very close to each other, so the difference in time alignment isn’t noticeable for the subs in the bar area. The rest of the system is time aligned correctly and wherever you stand, it is coherent and sounds great whether it is AC/DC or house music.
There is also an Audac Ateo 4 speaker in each of the toilets. These also have some time alignment on them, to make the transition of walking to the toilets, less noticeable.

What makes Turbosound loudspeakers ideal for this type of installation?
Turbosound have a wide range of speakers of this size for different installations at different price points. This gives us an easy job to integrate the different ranges into the same installation. So far, we have had great results with orders and pallet deliveries and they sound great with little processing. We have stock of the subs used in this install in our hire inventory and they work very well. The TCS122 tops used, have a dendritic waveguide and in a space as large as this one, it was really important to us to be able to control where the sound was being focused to avoid unwanted reflections. The HF waveguides allowed our install team to really control where we could minimise reverb.

Why did you select Powersoft amplifiers for this project?
As a hire company, we have been using Powersoft amplifiers for years and are very familiar with them. In many of our installs, we use multiple channels of audio for either the amount of speakers we use, or the amount of different time alignment delays we use. Having a huge number of channels of conventional amps would take up a massive amount of room in what is usually a very small office. We have supplied amps from Powersoft’s installation range to Roxy Ballroom on different projects before as well as a number of other clients. They sound excellent, they are extremely small physically and their power consumption is exceptionally low, which translates into not needing air conditioning for the staff in the office where the audio and network equipment is usually sited.

Why did you select Symetrix processors for this installation?
We have supplied many Symetrix products to a number of clients and for any installation like this, we need to be able to spec audio processing which can give us as much control as we need. Depending on the complexity of the venue, we have supplied Jupiter (fixed architecture), Solus (open architecture) and Prism units. For this venue, eight channels are enough and the venue isn’t going to need more channels via Dante, unless it completely changes its use, so we opted for a Solus 8×8. All of Symetrix’s systems allow us to treat the different areas of the venue like individual sound systems, but with the zoning capability to provide the relevant control to Roxy’s staff and higher access levels to the managers for values that rarely need changing.
What were the main challenges during the installation and how did you overcome them?
The only real issue that we faced as audio installers was the potential for reverb from such a large reverberant space. As it was a complete shop fit by the main contractor, we had no other problems with any cable routing or speaker positioning as we were able to specify our positions during the design and then the first fix phase of the construction.

What is unique about Roxy Ballroom?
Roxy Ballroom offers bar-based ball games such as table tennis and pool, with their resident graffiti artist, Eject putting huge amounts of time and skill onto the walls making it look amazing. There are unusual games such as shuffleboard alongside decent music, played on a system that genuinely makes it sound good. Having ten, full size bowling lanes in a bar environment really put the icing on the cake. There are other bars that have tried to copy Roxy’s concept, but these guys really know how to make it work.

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