Unique venues need unique sound systems, so it was a natural fit when renowned Milan nightspot Jazz Café partnered with Pioneer Pro Audio. Since 1996, Jazz Café has been a staple of Milan’s nightlife scene for locals and visitors to the city. Every evening, up to 300 guests enjoy sumptuous food in a chic restaurant environment, often accompanied by live music. But as the night progresses, the number of customers doubles and the venue transforms into a club with DJs playing everything from bass-heavy house music to Brazilian beats.
Recently, Jazz Café’s previous sound system had begun to let the venue down. Overworking small speakers, the music was too loud in the day and not loud enough at night. So when he began looking for a new pro audio partner, the venue’s owner Beppe Grasso knew he needed something versatile. “In the afternoon and evening, people need to be able to hear the music but also talk, but later on we turn up the volume and everybody dances until late, so we needed a system that could adapt,” he explains. However, Jazz Café’s desirable location on the historic Corso Sempione presented a crucial challenge. The labyrinth restaurant/club is situated in the ground fl oor and basement levels of a 120-year-old building with residential properties above and to the sides. It’s protected from modifi cations, including the installation of damping materials, making it extremely diffi cult to contain sound. “The music has to be loud, but it can’t bother our neighbours,” says Grasso. He turned to Pioneer Pro Audio to create a new sound system that would allow him to gradually transform the ambience in each of Jazz Café’s several diff erent spaces independently of each other, without leaking sound into the surrounding properties.
“Music is so important at Jazz Café. We needed a loud system that would sound great but not disturb our neighbours.”
Beppe Grasso | Owner | Jazz Café
When a venue in Italy changes its sound system, it must also reapply for its alcohol licence so it was imperative that Jazz Café’s new set-up didn’t violate sound pollution laws. Pioneer Pro Audio’s Manager, Alex Barrand, spent several days taking acoustic measurements on each floor of the building, including the residential levels above the venue and even on its rooftop, to pinpoint the frequencies from the old system that were transmitting through the structure. He worked closely with the local council to ensure the distributed sound system his team designed, comprising 49 speakers from the XY Series, would give the venue the power it needed without leaking too much. “The XY Series was ideal for this installation because it’s so versatile. We were able to pick from the different box sizes to get the right amount of power and full coverage in every part of each space without having to try and fill huge areas with large speakers in the corners, which would be too loud for anyone sitting close by,” says Barrand. His colleague Michel Corradi, Product and Marketing Specialist for Pioneer Pro Audio in Italy, explains how the set-up is ideal for reproducing the diverse styles of music played at the venue. “The XY speakers are voiced flat, so they accurately reproduce the original audio source without any processing and the subs are surprisingly powerful for their size, so they can provide plenty of bass when the DJs play club music.”
By selecting appropriate boxes and positioning them carefully, the Pioneer Pro Audio team were able to reduce the impact of the system on the venue’s neighbours and eliminate the frequencies that travelled through the building the most. They also installed an anti-vibration mount with a frequency response of 2Hz to 20kHz between each speaker and its wall bracket, killing sound that would otherwise transmit through the brickwork. A custom wall panel gives the Jazz Café team total control over the system and the freedom to gradually change the ambience from restaurant to nightclub whenever they like. As dinner service ends in each area of the venue, they can turn up the volume and increase the bass to encourage guests to leave their seats and step onto the dance floor.
“The new system and the acoustic treatment we implemented massively reduced sound leakage.”
Alex Barrand | Manager | Pioneer Pro Audio
Since the new sound system was christened at a pulsating launch party with a performance by top Italian DJ, Claudio Coccoluto, among others, Jazz Café’s owner Grasso has grown more and more fond of his new setup. “We’re so happy with the Pioneer Pro Audio system. Inside it’s powerful and sounds so clear, but you can’t hear the music outside so our neighbours are much happier,” he says. But it’s not just the drastic reduction of sound leakage that’s made a difference. The Powersoft amplifiers that drive the system are considerably smaller and more efficient than the old A/B amps which used a huge transformer and were installed behind one of the bars, generating furnace-like heat. Now neatly stored in a small cupboard, the cool-running Powersoft K and M Series amps have hugely reduced energy use.
Having been fully trained on how to use the system by Barrand, how did Grasso find the whole experience of working with Pioneer Pro Audio? “It was really nice. They’re very professional and efficient, and they’re always available to answer our questions,” he says, adding; “We were pleased to collaborate with such a famous brand. Jazz Café is Italian at heart but with an international twist, so this partnership felt right for us.”
“The DJs love it and our customers do too. Now they can enjoy their dinner without the music being too loud.”
Beppe Grasso | Owner | Jazz Café