Novus Leisure, who operate over 38 bars and clubs throughout the West End and City of London, acquired a further 17 new sites in Spring 2011 when they completed the purchase of the Balls Brothers chain of Wine Bars and Restaurants, including sites trading under the Lewis & Clarke brand.
Novus immediately set to work to 'contemporise' these sites, refurbishing bars, overhauling the food and drinks offer and increasing trading opportunities.
For sound, lighting and video equipment they turned to SSE Installations. SSE has worked alongside Novus Leisure in recent years, upgrading the entertainment technology at many of its sites nationwide, including the Tiger Tiger brand.
The first priority for SSE Audio Group was to upgrade seven of the acquired sites to enable DJs to perform, so they would operate in line with other after-work City establishments already owned by Novus. The objective was to complete this work within two weeks, which was achieved.
Phase two of the programme was to upgrade the PA systems, both at Balls Brothers sites where background music had been the order of the day and at larger venues, where a more powerful system was required.
A site survey revealed that a lack of investment and change in use meant that existing systems at many of the sites were inadequate. SSE Installations chose Bose Freespace DS100 speakers for the 'background music' sites, combined with Freespace 4400 Business music systems. This offered a compact and discreet solution, providing excellent coverage without distracting from the Wine Bar atmosphere. It meant an instant improvement in audio quality, especially during busy periods.
The Business music system combines processor and amplifier in a cost effective, compact unit and allows the venues to zone the audio output, so managing noise levels. Remote control wall panels make it easy for all the staff to operate the system.
For the larger venues, SSE installed Martin Audio AQ series speakers, powered by QSC CX series amplifiers, managed by BSS Soundweb processors and remotes. This immediately improved coverage and audio quality and increased the flexibility of the venues, making them more attractive for corporate sales and parties.
A key objective for each upgrade was to improve the robustness and reliabilty of the technical resources. To achieve this, SSE installed new wiring and infrastructure where the legacy system was inadequate.
Improved functionality and control was achieved by the addition of iPod and DJ input points in useful locations, the provision of wall remotes for source selection and volume control, and in some venues, VGA input points to access existing projectors.
Control racks were relocated to safer and more accessible positions, making them easier to service and reducing accidental damage.
All the acquired sites have now been brought up to the quality levels expected by Novus Leisure and feedback from the General Manages of the venues has been very positive.
As Christmas 2011 approaches, numerous bookings for external events have been received by these venues and SSE Audio Group is busy supplementing existing audio systems with DJ equpment to facilitate these special events.
While the Balls Brothers upgrades have been implemented during 2011, SSE Audio Group has continued to work on a range of other projects for Novus Leisure.
The former Tiger Tiger venue in Glasgow has been completely refurbished and rebranded as Mansion House. It features a range of themed rooms, popularised by Novus Leisure, including 'Groovy Wonderland', 'Kanaola', 'Jewel Bar', 'Merchants Bar' and a 4 pod 'Lucky Voice' Karaoke system.
In Newcastle SSE installed a 5 pod 'Lucky Voice' Karaoke bar into Tiger Tiger.
In London's West End, SSE helped to transform the former On Anon venue into the Piccadilly Institute with a 12-screen Videowall as part of the new Decadia Bar.
In Covent Garden, the Langley was converted into an eclectic urban-garden themed bar and club, now called Foundation.
SSE Audio group now has considerable experience with equipping these themed venues and the branded areas within them with matched audio and lighting systems, providing reliable and highly controllable AV systems.
Dante™ is a combination of software, hardware and network protocols, developed with the objective of delivering uncompressed, multi-channel, low-latency digital audio over a standard Ethernet network.