F1:Sound Co carries out progressive refit of iconic venue
Iconic London landmark, The Clapham Grand, is in the process of a technical upgrade which has seen the installation of a Martin Audio W8LC Compact Line Array, reinforced with multiple Martin Audio AQ architectural loudspeakers.
Designed to reposition the 1250-capacity, 100-year-old listed Victorian theatre from a pure party/dance venue to a leading-edge live circuit venue, live music and promotions manager Richard Beck called in the hugely experienced Matt Bate, of F1:Sound Company Limited, to carry out the refit.
With the venue spread across three floors, with the aid of Martin Audio’s proprietary DISPLAY predictive software, Bate has succeeded in getting the sound, from just four elements per side, firing evenly across the ground floor and to the rear of the first floor balcony (the two usable spaces). Low extension is provided off the stage by six WS218X (2 x 18) subs, groundstacked in threes stage left and right.
"Richard had wanted a PA that would maximise sightlines to the stage," explained Matt Bate. "He always favoured Martin Audio, as he knew this was a good system."
And technical manager, Dan Huxley, added, "We wanted an industry-standard system that was recognised by incoming productions, so that they had the confidence to play through the house rig. But at the same time the system needed to be multipurpose, as we are still utilising the venue for club and DJ nights - and this produces a thumping dance sound."
F1:Sound Co have bolstered the main system with 14 ultra-compact AQ5’s (each with two 5.25in ICT drivers) six deployed to cover the upper two tiers of the middle balcony, and eight for under-balcony on the ground floor, where additional power is provided by a pair of AQ10’s (with 10in bass driver) near the bar.
Independently operated and owned, the venue launched its new live music program with an appearance by Jamie Cullum, who played through the new house system.
As for Matt Bate, his experience with Martin Audio systems goes back many years to his days on the road with Texas - and he has also fitted the company’s architectural systems many times in café bars and nightclubs.
F1SCLtd has been operating for a year, with a mandate to undertake niche projects, evolving bespoke installation solutions. As well as installing the speaker systems F1SCLtd also provide full support for all live music events providing monitor systems, and a choice of industry standard consoles from their rental stock.
The Martin Audio installation has been an unqualified success and Richard Beck says he believes this to be the best live sound he has ever heard in a London venue.