hmv has returned to its spiritual home with the opening of hmv 363 Oxford Street, London, the landmark location of the very first hmv store. The original 363 Oxford Street store opened in July 1921 and quickly gained a worldwide reputation for its huge range and quality of service.

In designing the new store, hmv were unequivocal in the importance of a quality sound system and turned to HARMAN’s JBL Professional loudspeaker portfolio, supplied and installed by Inurface Media via UK distributor Sound Technology Ltd, to deliver prestige audio for all the shop floors, and the hmv live performance stage.

“The quality of audio is one of, if not the first thing that customers notice as they enter the store, and as such it has a huge impact on how they react to the products on offer.” says Simon Winter, Head of Live Events, hmv. “The atmosphere that is created by a great sound system is vital if we are to keep our customers engaged and browsing the store for as long as possible.”

hmv's attention was drawn to JBL through the work done with Jack White's Third Man Records store in London. In addition to the sound quality itself, JBL’s comprehensive range of products allowed for the flexibility needed to solve some of the challenges hmv have faced in the past when commissioning sound systems in large multi-floor stores.

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Providing consistent and high-quality coverage on the Ground Floor are ten JBL Control 65 full-range pendant loudspeakers. Programmed as stereo pairs, with three Control 60 pendant subwoofers providing additional low-frequency support, the overall impact is one of a truly high-end audio experience for customers immediately upon entering the store.

The lower ceiling height of the 1st Floor is more suited to JBL’s Control 23-1 surface-mount loudspeakers mounted at high level. A total of twelve Control 23-1's are installed on this floor, with low-end enhanced with four JBL Control 50 surface-mount subwoofers, also mounted overhead to maximise the use of the shop-floor foot print.

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Similarly in the basement, a reduced height ceiling suited the Control 23-1 solution, where a total of ten Control 23-1 speakers and three Control 50 Subwoofers are installed. Diving further into the JBL catalogue, the Basement also includes a small area for in-store appearances and signings, for which hmv were able to specify a pair of JBL PRX One columns speakers, the easy-to-deploy flagship of JBL’s portable PA range.

All installed speakers are powered by HARMAN Crown amplifiers, specifically Crown CDi and XLi Series amplifiers, with networking control provided by HARMAN’s BSS BLU-100 and BLU-326 digital signal processing. BSS EC-4BVs wall panels are installed to provide local source and volume control on each floor.

“The combination of JBL’s highly evolved and different speaker designs have worked together in one space to create a very engaging and high-quality sound system.” confirms Simon Winter. “With the fine-tune adjustments made by the engineers we have a fantastic sounding system worthy of such a prestigious hmv store.”

Meanwhile, hmv’s live performance stage for in-store artist performances is a real highlight of the new store. It is in here that JBL Professional’s very latest powered line array PA system, the SRX900, is impressing audiences and artists alike.

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“It was always part of our plan to install a new PA system at hmv 363 Oxford Street.” Simon explains. “hmv has long had a reputation for delivering outstanding events with world-class artists, especially at this store. In fact, you could argue that this store invented the concept of in-store events when it hosted the very first appearance by Sir Edward Elgar in 1921.”

“It was very important to have a very high quality sound system in our new live room, to give the best experience for both the artists and the customers. We needed to be confident that we could offer the best in store facilities to ensure we could cater for a huge variety of live performances from new young emerging talent to established artists with demanding requirements for high quality PA equipment.”

The SRX900 Series is JBL’s next-generation powered line-array system. With acoustic components derived from the acclaimed VTX A-Series system, class-leading DSP, and an all-new configuration and control software platform, SRX900 offers extraordinary sound in a flexible and scalable format.

The hmv performance space features two arrays of four SRX910 Dual 10” line array elements, with a pair of SRX928S Dual 18” subwoofers each side. On stage, four VTX M20 wedge monitors are specified, powered by a Crown iTech HD amplifier, with delays and front fill provided by JBL AE Compact Series AC16 surface-mount speakers. A microphone package consisting of a variety of HARMAN’s AKG products is also on-hand, including C451s as in-room mics installed for recording/streaming use, plus D5, D7, D112, D40 and DMS300 wireless stage mics.

hmv plan to host as many events as possible in the new hmv live room and have got off to a great start with recent performances from Miles Kane, Shed Seven and Billy Bragg. Other events already in the diary include performances and personal appearances by James Arthur, Paloma Faith, The Zutons, Conan Grey and The Snuts.

“What is especially satisfying is that all of the sound engineers and artists that have already used the JBL system have been impressed with the sound quality.” Simon Winter concludes. “We recently had a very good live performance with Billy Bragg, and he was very complimentary indeed, in fact he said that it was the best in-store sound system he had ever used. It is just this sort of reaction that we were aiming for and this will do a lot to establish the hmv live room at 363 Oxford Street as the 'best in class' when artists consider where they choose to promote their music.“


  • hmv 363 Oxford Street
  • Shop Floors and In-Store Performance Venue

Project Team

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