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Buffalo Bar, Cardiff

Vaults, Cardiff Bay

Irie Shack, Tiger Bay, Cardiff

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Buffalo Bar has, by now, cemented it’s position on the Cardiff nightlife skyline by consistently offering up it’s simple, yet effective combination of great cocktails, food and music with a friendly atmosphere since 2005. Spartan Audio has been the venues audio supplier of choice since very shortly after their initial launch period.

Just a few years back we were called in once again to refurbish the downstairs bar sound system. Replacing the bulky, ugly and top heavy RCF system with the stylish Void Acoustics Indigo 6p and Venu Bass combination. Just recently however, we’ve been back yet again. This time, we brought along some much bigger guns.

The brief in this case was to improve the audio quality in the main club space at the venue. The system had to be able to cater for high profile dance music artists, live music performances and comedy alike. We needed the system to be able to completely clear the floorspace of the venue in the event the space was to be used for something like a dance class, or a fashion show too. To this end, we also installed a super lightweight and modular Prolyte stage system, alongside a brand new, full Void Acoustics sound system.

Having also carried out the previous PA installation back when the venue was much more focussed on live, touring artists, we were familiar with the venue and the few challenges it presented. The existing system was a small E-series rig from D&B Audiotechnik. This system had served the venue very well over the years, with a 0% failure rate, but it was routinely getting pushed to it’s limits and left wanting. There had also been some external noise issues whilst using this system due to a new property development nearby that we really needed to get a lid on.

Luckily, when it comes to selecting products from our available portfolio we very rarely have difficulty selecting something technically suitable that the client is also excited by. The choice of top box for the room would be the iconic Airmotion, which over the years has dominated the club scene in Ibiza and beyond. Tried and tested, this box, when deployed properly by Void Acoustics Elite Dealers such as ourselves, has very few competitors outside of the Void Acoustics product lineup. 

The box has narrow dispersion properties, coupled with very high sensitivity. When installed and set up properly by our engineers this not only ensures that the system can be used consistently at very high perceived volume levels without causing listening fatigue or risking damage, but it does this in a controlled manner by keeping the higher frequencies off the walls and ceiling. This means that there is no need to fight reflections and push the system ‘too far’. We see far too many permanently installed systems implemented by so called professionals that simply cannot grasp these basic concepts. Usually we are replacing them with our products after complaints over sound quality, system reliability or most recently increasing external noise issues.

Whilst keeping the mid and top in control is key to audio fidelity and control as mentioned above, 9 times out of 10, external noise and environmental health complaints arise because of issues with the much more difficult to control bass and sub frequencies with their very long wavelengths and ability to penetrate even thick walls with ease. It was unanimously felt amongst our engineers that the venue was too small to have any real benefit from using a bass array to steer bass and sub frequencies in any one direction, especially when considering the cost implication. So in an attempt simply to muster as much control as possible in this situation we selected the Void Acoustics Stasys 218 with specially selected carbon cone driver, powered and controlled by the Void Acoustics Bias V3 amplifier. 

The Carbon drivers in the Stasys 218 cabinet cool themselves extremely efficiently. This helps avoid power compression and ‘creep’ of the DJ mixer, that is the DJ pushing his mixer further into the red, often ruining audio quality whilst also preventing distortion in the drivers at source. These carbon cones, whilst more expensive than their paper counterparts offer excellent cone control and low distortion in the sub and bass frequencies. When the stage is in band, or DJ mode, the subwoofers can be tucked underneath at the front edge, closely coupled. This helps to stop the subs vibrating the walls directly, which was an issue with the last install.

Furthermore, when we couple this extremely lightweight cone with the fantastically accurate Void Bias V3 and it’s massive array of limiting features we can ensure that the cabinets produce the exact sound that we want them to. The Bias V3 has simply the finest cone control of any amplifier we have ever used. The amount of fidelity in the bottom end of this system is actually quite intimidating. The resulting sound you would expect to observe in a much larger stack of subs.

The system was finished entirely in white to allow for custom projection mapping of the already visually impressive tops. Everyone has been extremely impressed with the capabilities of the system and we have managed to drastically increase the SPL inside the space whilst reducing the audible noise outside, much to everyones satisfaction.

A fantastically authentic yet accessible interpretation of the Caribbean dining experience that incorporates high end audio and visual systems to enhance the party vibes throughout.

The brief for this vibrant and vivid venue was to make sure that no matter the atmosphere at hand, the sound and visuals could keep up! We looked no further than the Void Acoustics Indigo 6s and Venu Bass combo that we have now long been finding success with. The compact and lightweight Indigo 6s tops are easy to hide away discreetly or place proudly in plain view as required or requested and it’s smooth yet powerful combination of 6.5” driver and 1” soft dome tweeter give it that Hi-Fi quality that our clients are now accustomed to, yet at PA volumes.

The venue also has two modest, yet capable performance areas designed in, which take advantage of the slightly larger Venu 10 speakers, with ceiling mounted, drop down brackets to get them into the right place, so as not to cause feedback issues when used with microphones. It is simple enough for the performer to patch in their own mixer, push up the faders and drop their dub-plates and tracks.

Being that Irie Shack Tiger Bay is spread across two floors, with a total of no less than 16 speakers, including 2 subwoofers would probably conjure up images of sizeable racks of control and amplification equipment to achieve the impressive sound that we have managed to achieve there. However, as our amplification of choice when using Void speakers is none other than the brand new Void Bias Vq, you’d be surprised. This 4 channel amplifier would sound impressive enough when we tell you it can give 5000 watts of power without breaking a sweat, so wait until we tell you that it does all of this in its demure 483 x 44.5 x 358mm package. Just two of these amplifiers power the whole building. Not only is this extremely cost effective for our client, it also saves on the space required.

Alongside the audio specification we’ve also implemented a full HD video matrix system over seven 50” LED screens, allowing the client to select with almost complete freedom what is displayed on each screen from an array of inputs, which can be selected at each screen using something extremely similar to a domestic TV remote control. We feel that this simple yet effective system minimises the training required by non technical staff in the systems day to day operation.