Metropolis AV has completed its latest, fully integrated sound, lighting, and AV design and installation for the Sports Café brand in Newcastle. This is Metropolis’s fifth complete Sports Café project and is proving one of the busiest venues. “Although there are specific elements common to all Sorts Cafes, each building and installation is completely different, and each has its own set of challenges,” comments project manager Shane Winterbourne.

For this install, Metropolis used products from HK and JBL audio, Robe moving lights, LightProcessor lighting control, and Alcon McBride and Kramer video switching.

Lighting & Video
Metropolis’s Sports Café projects are very technologically driven. When guests walk in the entrance doors, eyes are drawn to the wall of 12 15” TFT screens behind the reception desk. The video-heavy venue is loaded with TVs, plasma screens, and TFT screens. The upstairs Horseshoe Bar and restaurant/diner area features 14 28” TVs, two 32” TVs, and five plasma screens, plus seven 15” TFT screens for the seating booth areas. The latter have individual screen control for the seating positions. The other screens in this area are rigged on the ends of poles, since there are hanging restrictions due to the room’s vaulted ceiling. At the back of the restaurant, a team room with three plasmas and a projector is used for private hires and presentations.

There is a long pool room and small lounge area upstairs, which have low ceilings and large windows. The upstairs lounge has six Panasonic 28” TVs and three plasmas, while the pool area features 12 42” plasmas, strategically placed around the room to ensure good sight lines from any position.

The basement is set up as the large screen and dancefloor area, with two bars. The large screen is 12’ wide and on an electric roll up/down motor system, and fed by a Sanyo SL15 projector rigged in the ceiling. Twelve 28” TVs and five 42” plasmas are placed around the walls. Metropolis also supplied a computer to create PowerPoint adverts to be shown on the TV screens.

Dancefloor lighting was required here as well, so Winterbourne specified 12 Robe Spot 150s and 18 PAR64s. Metropolis Three Robe Spot 150 moving light fixtures around the bar introduce color and movement at night.

Three Kramer VS162 16x16 matrixes, the video distribution system, enable any video source to be patched to any destination. One machine controls all the main building video locations, one controls the dining booth screens and the rack preview monitors and the third is dedicated to the control of the reception TFT wall. They feed down to nine Black Box 1 in 12 out VDAs. Video control around the venue is via custom push-button control panels connected to Alcon McBride IO64 video controllers that convert the push-button signals to RS232 to communicate with the Kramer switchers.

Two HK Audio IL 8.2 full-range speakers are tucked discreetly into the roof of the entrance. The front bar area features eight HK IL8.2 speakers, plus another four in the dining area, and two IL112 subs cover the whole space. Sound distribution for the team room consists of four IL 8.2s and two HK IL112 subs.

Sound on the top floor is a combination of JBL and HK. Winterbourne selected six JBL Control 26s for the lounge area, because he wanted something that sounded rounded, rich, and soft. The system for the pool area on the other hand, needed to be raw, edgy and more guttural, so once again the IL 8.2 was the choice—with 14 used to cover the voluminous space, “It’s hard to beat for a real ballsy system ideal for this environment,” says Winterbourne of the IL 8.2.

Eight HK IL 12.1 full-range speakers deliver sound to the basement, they are accompanied by two 115 subs – 15” drivers for extra oomph. “We needed it to kick down here” states Winterbourne, “and not just when there’s a DJ playing. It also gets incredibly busy and boisterous at other times, so the background music system needs some headroom to get above the hubbub”.

Metropolis supplied a fully integrated control system, neatly fitted into four racks behind the DJ booth in the basement. A LightProcessor QCommander 512 lighting desk controls all the effects lighting. The DJ booth features industry standard equipment to accommodate a wide variety of DJs – there’s two Technics 1210 turntables, a Stanton S750 twin CD player and a Formula Sound F-600 DJ mixer.

An Allen & Heath IDR8 DSP unit processes sound, and the building is divided into seven zones by a Cloud Z8 zoner. Amplification is QSC throughout – another standard product for Metropolis Sports Café installations, chosen for robustness and value.

Metropolis also supplied 10 satellite receivers, two VHS players and a DVD player, two Panasonic 10” preview monitors, a Rolec MP3 player for background music and a Sennhieser EW365 radio mic for DJ and general presentation use.