Housed within the modern Radisson Edwardian Guildford Hotel, the MKB bar and restaurant describes itself as an all-day Mediterranean café, offering relaxed local bistro-dining at lunchtime, turning into a cosmopolitan evening destination. It also contains a relaxed bar lounge, with design by the internationally acclaimed Rabih Hage.
To help maintain its chameleon effect, a sound system was required that could provide hi-fi music at low level from an eclectic playlist stored on hard-drive during the day, pumping up the energy into the bar lounge during the evening when a fully-specified DJ front end comes into play.
Meeting the combined requirements of potency and aesthetic (the system needing to blend discreetly with Hage’s interior design), the venue opted for a Martin Audio AQ architectural solution to underpin its status as a destination bar.
The system was specified by Gavin Miller of Bedford based Kazbar Systems Inc after he had been approached via a mutual contact at the Ministry of Sound.
“The Ministry runs exclusively on Martin Audio, and just about every decent venue I go to seems to have the Martin Audio badge,” he said. “I have worked with Martin Audio in the past and it’s a brand I know and trust. Fortunately with a short time scale, they were able to deliver.”
Miller brought in Darrin South from installation team, 33 Hertz, and with Martin Audio’s Kevin McNally offering support, they set about designing a system that would function through the trading day at three sound levels, preset into the Martin Audio Engineer 818 DSP controller (and 8 x 8 routing matrix). This accesses the different zones into which bar, lounge and restaurant are divided.
However, the installation team’s biggest challenge was one of containment, to avoid sound escape into the hotel’s 183 rooms and suites, while mounting onto several layers of ply reduced any vibrations.
As a result an AQ28 has been mounted on each of the four walls, with a fifth below the raised DJ and VIP area. Since this is a two-way, dual-bass driver, designed to give extended LF performance from a compact, architecturally neutral, vented enclosure, the system can operate either with the additional floor-mounted AQ215 (2 x 15in) sub enabled, or alternatively without.
Meanwhile, across in the adjacent restaurant/grill, four ultra-compact AQ5’s are mounted around a pillar on a separate zone, to provide 360° coverage from a single point source.
Keeping the signal chain entirely within the Martin Audio domain, the AQ28’s and AQ215 are powered by Martin Audio MA3.0 amplification and the AQ5’s by an MA2.0, via the Engineer 818.
Stored in the system controller, are the three sound preset levels, which step up for the post-office/ early evening cocktail hour, and then again later into the evening, when the DJ takes over. Sound thresholds are further increased on Friday and Saturday evenings.
According to Gavin Miller, the hotel operators “absolutely love the sound system, which has exceeded their expectations.”