The city of Zhongshan, located close to Hong Kong and Macau, has been mooted as one of the most liveable cities in China. Enjoying considerable wealth, it also benefits from a thriving tourist economy and vibrant entertainment scene – of which 0760 Plus nightclub in the Shiqi district is now at the centre. An extension of the 0760 nightclub chain named after Zhongshan’s dialling code, the new venue is stylish, fashionable and one of the biggest clubs in the area. The music is of course at the heart of it all and in order to guarantee the best possible sound quality, French manufacturer of high quality professional loudspeakers and audio equipment APG was selected to supply the entire audio setup.
Hong Libo, one of the club’s founders, picks up the story of how the audio installation unfolded: “When we renovated 0760 club in 2016, we selected integrator TR Audio to take care of the AV installation. We were very impressed by their service on that project, so they were an obvious contender when we were seeking to fit 0760 Plus. TR Audio’s general manager, Huang Zhao, brings a decade of nightclub experience to the table, so whilst TR Audio is a relatively new company, we knew they had exactly the right know-how. I also experienced great service and aftercare from owner Ben Huang, who was very hands-on with the project.”
TR Audio was appointed in March 2017 as one of two Chinese distributors for APG, serving the entertainment and fixed installation markets. Discussing why the company wanted to work with the brand, Huang remarks: “I have worked with APG products for a long time, and as a well-established French brand that has invested decades of research and development into optimising the technology in its products, it is making big in-roads internationally. APG speakers deliver a sound that is true and natural, and indeed the performance across its whole spectrum of products is very good. In my opinion, its products are as good as any first-tier speaker brand in the world.”
Despite the existing relationship with TR Audio, Hong still undertook extensive research into different audio options in his quest for the perfect sound – but returned to Huang’s outfit and decided APG offered the best holistic solution. “The sound had to be powerful and punchy as well as clean, to reproduce the difference layers in electronic dance. With the interior of the venue more than 11m high and with some structural challenges such as pillars to address, we needed a supplier we could trust to deliver smooth and consistent sound coverage. It took us eight months to finalise the design but I believe it is a truly unique set up in this market.”
The transformation from car garage to luxury nightclub required an investment of RMB 380 million. Spanning two floors, it is the 800sqm first floor that is equipped with APG’s audio system. Once again, TR Audio’s owner, Ben Huang, played a direct role in the installation process, working alongside APG’s representative in Hong Kong, Dominic Cho of ArcSource, to detail a line array setup. He explains: “Hong wanted a high spec design and a layout that wouldn’t interfere with the lighting and visuals. I consider line arrays a modern solution for club applications and APG has products ideally suited to this type of scenario.”
APG’s Uniline speaker range was selected for the main PA situated to the left and right of the stage 3.3m off the ground. Six APG UL210 cabinets, four APG UL210D cabinets and four APG UL115B bass cabinets are divided between the two arrays. The UL210’s deliver the long throw element of the line array, with the UL201D providing the mid throw and the UL115B’s the low end. Configurable in a number of ways depending on the elements used, at 0760 Plus they are in extended mode – best for high-energy music applications such as a nightclub environment. Offering maximum versatility and scalability in order to cover the whole field of applications of line array systems under one roof, the speakers boast an impressive power to size ratio, alongside horizontal directivity – meaning they are unobtrusive and make no compromise on sound quality.
APG’s Isotop technology generates an increasing vertical directivity index sound field in the mid-high range. To add further low-frequency response, Ben specified nine APG TB218S and 10 APG SB118 subwoofers, positioned across the dancefloor. 15 APG DX15 coaxial loudspeakers, providing extended bandwidth, high precision and ultra-low distortion, cover the horseshoe-shaped VIP area spanning the first and second floors. Four APG DMS48 processors, five APG SA20:2 and 10 APG SA30:2 power amplifiers drive the entire system and complete the set up. On deciding to use a full suite of APG products, Hong muses: “I think it’s better to have only one brand providing the end-to-end solution because then you gain maximum efficiency, with the products having been designed and optimised to work in harmony together.”
There needed to be flexibility within the sound system to cope with not only DJ sets, but also live bands and shows. It also had to provide even coverage throughout the entire venue and ensure that everyone enjoys the same quality of experience. The APG set up achieved this while mitigating the challenges of the architecture and ensuring the placement was aesthetically pleasing and didn’t impinge on the overall design of the space.
A further consideration was the proximity of the club to its residential neighbours. Avoiding noise disturbance was of key importance and Hong invested heavily in architectural acoustics so that the necessarily high SPL could be maintained. Sound isolation and acoustic diffusion plates were also installed in the main room to avoid a build-up of sound caused by irregular surfaces in the décor; glass, mirrors and stainless steel were not used at all in the club to avoid sound reflections. Every care was taken to minimise acoustical challenges and thus preserve the all-important quality of the sound.
Hong couldn’t be happier with the end result. “The entertainment industry is changing very fast. We need to keep up with the latest trends all the time. The APG system has delivered on every count, and I believe the sound quality at 0760 Plus is one of the best in the area,” he remarks. With that, Huang of TR Audio concludes: “0760 Plus was our most significant APG installation to date and to say it has been a success is an understatement. Designing an entire system with APG’s products meant we could achieve perfect synergy and balance in the set up, and the sound really speaks for itself.”
Raymond Wong, managing director of APG North East Asia, comments: “The partnership with TR Audio was a strategic move to help us grow the APG brand in the entertainment sector, particularly on the club scene, and give us better overall coverage in China. This project at 0760 Plus is a fine example of how our exceptional products can be deployed in the entertainment sector. Setting a new standard in audio for this kind of environment, we have ambitious plans for this market in China and look forward to delivering against more exciting projects in the pipeline.”