The Ministry of Sound London closed for three weeks in January to implement substantial improvements to the venue. In addition to upgrading the courtyard (to provide a smoking area) and transforming the entrance tunnel, the club is creating a fresh new dance space upstairs in the former Lounge. To coincide with this the Ministry has further upgraded its sound system with a state-of-the-art, CobraNet-enabled BSS Soundweb London network to provide site-wide digital control.
Advanced BSS processing will extend to the main room (The Box), which will also enjoy a complete lighting overhaul with new truss layouts .
But it is the improved sound and controllability that world-class DJ’s such as Sasha, Deadmau5, Pete Tong, Erick Morillo, Sander Kleinenberg, Armin van Buuren, Timo Mass et al will be able to benefit from.
By replacing its original BSS Soundweb processing with the new Soundweb London BLU series the club will be able to operate over HiQnet, Harman Pro’s communications protocol.
As a result, four Soundweb London BLU-800’s have been installed, along with three BLU-320’s and three BLU-10 remotes (which are stationed in the VIP Room, at the front door/tunnel and in the former Lounge). The BLU-800’s are variously configured 8-in/8-out, 8-in/8-out, 4-in/12-out and 0-in/16-out, while the BLU-320’s are 8-in/8-out, 16-in/0-out and 0-in/16 out. These are linked to Cisco Ethernet switches to provide rapid site-wide signal transport.
Alex Barrand confirmed that this latest phase forms part of a progressive upgrade. “Aside from the advantage of the failsafe facility, we are running the new Soundweb London set up through CobraNet, which is now becoming the industry standard. All audio channels are packaged into Bundles for distribution around the club — this means that incoming broadcasters, such as the BBC, can literally hook into the Bundles for instant audio, which makes everything a lot simpler.”
Alex Barrand has reconfigured the network layout, using Logic programming to trigger EMO switching packs — which then turn the power on to the amps, and consequently the lighting rig. This makes for a much more elegant solution as it is all done from a single room, he says.
“It was a good opportunity to reconfigure the original Soundweb map and we now have so much more control — for example each speaker stack can be managed individually. Soundweb London gives us radio broadcast quality and we can push the system right up.”
While all the signals are using CobraNet the installation of CN and HiQnet-enabled Crown CTs amplifiers facilitates performance monitoring of the system from a single PC station over HiQnet.
At the same time Sound Technology, the Harman Pro distributors, have provided four AKG HT4500 radio mic transmitters (with D5 capsules), SR4500 receivers and a HUB4000Q HiQnet Ethernet Interface.
Qualifying the decision, Alex Barrand says, “From a technical perspective, I have always been happy with AKG mics and the 4500 Series is HiQnet-compatible, with the batteries linked to the charging pods — which is a real advantage. It is perfect for the type of PA’s we showcase at the club, and via HiQnet we can configure the mics via the computer.”
Because of Soundweb London’s flexibility and configurability, they have simply been able to replace 15 Soundweb Original 9000 series DSP devices with just ten of the new London BLU’s — this gives them more DSP and they can do a lot more with fewer physical units. It’s a more compact solution, and using London Architect, more flexible from a programming point of view
The next phase for the Ministry will include replacing the amplifiers with Crown’s next generation networkable models, but in the meantime they have taken delivery of a new Macro-Tech MAi-5000i and MAi-1200i to replace their existing Macro-Tech Vz series.
Alex Barrand also plans to create a wireless platform through the entire venue while setting up the networks EQ settings in each room via Soundweb. “This also can be integrated with some other custom controls at a later date,” he says. “Watch this space.”