Manchester based audio specialist tube UK limited has installed a comprehensive new d&b sound system with Midas and Yamaha control into the popular 800 capacity site comprising bar, lounge and live music venue Gorilla which is right at the heart of Manchester, UK's vibrant nightlife.
Approaching its fifth year as one of the city’s best loved venues and celebrating its past connections as the ‘Green Room’ theatre space, Gorilla has been adapted as a live music, performance and DJ platform.
A diverse mix of entertainment also includes cult film screenings and award-winning underground comedy. It’s a favourite bespoke hire and party location as well as being among the best trending city bars and restaurants. This versatility has helped generate a lively mixed vibe for everyone with an interest in food, band and DJ culture, multimedia and the arts.
tube UK's team, led by Melvyn Coote, designed and installed two separate sound systems, one in the live music room and the other in the main bar and lounge area. In both cases they were replacing previous sound set ups to a new brief from owners, the TROF Group, to raise production values and take the specification up several notches so they can stage more shows by rising stars and touring artists and establish Gorilla on the live music scene.
Gorilla’s live programming manager Ade Dovey explained the importance of a good sound system.
“Walking into a venue, especially a modern or new venue and seeing and hearing a state-of-the art sound system is like a big hug to a touring band and their technical team. The venue is effectively their creative space for a designated amount of hours, so it’s vital they have the tools to produce the best sound … not just for themselves, but for our customer’s ears!”
In the main live music room, a Midas PRO2 was chosen for FOH together with a Yamaha for monitors, with two dead-hung arrays of d&b Q1 speakers with Q10 downfill per side, all powered by D12 amplifiers.
To add some atmospheric low end, underneath the stage are four d&b Y-SUB and two V-SUB bass units. One of the sonic conundrums that needed addressing, due to the venue being located in a railway arch beneath Oxford Road station, was an accumulation of sub-bass towards the back of the stage.
As a solution, the tube UK design features d&b Y-SUBS and V-SUBS, with cardioid dispersion that reduce the amount of sub frequencies pushed out to the solid back wall, and this has significantly improved the stage sound for bands and artists.
Careful placement of the main Q1/Q10 arrays has also removed the need for any additional delays down the room, completing a neat and great sounding system that's tailored to the venue.
Stage has a comprehensive stock of mics, and with 8 x d&b M4s and a Q-Sub for drum fill - all running off D12 amplifiers, the artists are as well catered for as the audience.
The results have been stunning! Sound engineers, tour and production managers, artists, the public and the venue owners have all noticed - and commented enthusiastically on the difference!
Ade is one who certainly appreciates the difference, “Melv knows exactly what I want before I even open my mouth!” he declares, “Comparing the old and new systems, I’d say the previous one was like my 1980s 10” Ferguson TV at home … as opposed to walking into an IMAX cinema and just been blown back by the size!! The installation covers the space in sound and really pulls our audiences into the band / musicians’ vibe!”
In the adjoining bar area, the main requirement was for a background music / DJ system that gave smooth and even coverage throughout the space. Open from breakfast starting at 9 a.m. through to 2 a.m. the next morning, the volume requirements are variable but whether quieter or more animated - pulling up to 200 people some evenings – acoustic detail and clarity is paramount at all times.
d&b's E8 elements were chosen for this room with 9 x E8s and two E15 subs in the main bar area, plus 3 x E8s and two E12 subs for the overflow bar spaces. No self-respecting venue would deny the importance of a good sound in essential areas like the toilets, so tube UK also installed three E6s for the toilets.
All areas are run off three d&b D20 amps with a Cloud controller system.
tube kitted out the DJ booths in both rooms with identical set ups comprising a Pioneer DJM 900 Nexus mixer, Pioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus multi players and Pioneer PLX 1000 turntables which emulate the style and performance of the legendary Technics 1210s.
There are also audio links between the two rooms allowing sound like a band playing in the back - to be relayed through to the lounge if desired.
The installation was completed in overnight sessions between 2 and 9 a.m., so the venue wasn’t disrupted and didn’t lose any trading time. Working alongside Melvyn on the tube UK team were Jamie Sharman, Mike Seddon, John Redfern and Adam Taylor.
Melvyn comments, “Having the opportunity to bring this busy and well-respected venue up to date with sound has been a hugely enjoyable project. At tube, we pride ourselves in not only making things sound great but also making the engineers’ lives easy and giving the artists the systems they deserve – after all, they put the hard work in for years and they should be rewarded with great systems to play on. In turn, this makes the audience experience the best it can be.”
“As for the bar area, putting such a high end system in is somewhat a cheeky luxury, but why not! It sounds great right through the range from background detail to full-on club tunes – it makes for a great social environment”.
Also instrumental in building the success of the new Gorilla are lead techs Sean Kelly and Matt Killerby, Mark Wilson and David Lawrence from DNG Production (their loyal production managers), Stephen Page and Chris Phillips from dbn Lighting who look after the visual elements “and every single in-house tech that’s stuck with us for 5+ years. We salute you!” concludes Ade.
Photos: Leah Dean