Latest PizzaExpress Live Venue Equipped with EM Acoustics Monitors

Presenting over 2000 shows annually, more than 20 PizzaExpress Live restaurants now host regular music every Thursday, from Abbey Road to Manchester. Building on the reputation of their flagship venue in Soho’s Dean Street, the expansion of live music at PizzaExpress locations continues to realise the vision of founder Peter Boizot, a jazz lover who constantly sought ways to include music in his restaurants.

Many artists of international calibre have graced their stages over the years, including Gregory Porter, Amy Winehouse, Bill Wyman, Jamie Cullum, Brian May, Rick Wakeman, Van Morrison, Diana Krall, Larry Carlton, George Shearing and many more. Their latest location at 99 High Holborn in central London - the fifth PizzaExpress Live location to feature a permanently-installed audio system - has recently been the subject of a complete audio infrastructure design and build project by Autograph Sales & Installations.

The 130-cover venue is designed to be multi-purpose and capable of hosting corporate events, comedy and celebrity roadshows as well as live music. This, plus the size and shape of the room determined that Autograph’s Adam Broom recommended and designed a distributed audio system using a combination of loudspeaker components from Meyer Sound and EM Acoustics. Adam takes up the story:

“At High Holborn the audio design had to satisfy a number of key requirements - it’s a handsome but not huge room so we needed loudspeaker components that would be discreet and not interrupt sight lines. It is a basement space with a hotel immediately above so we also needed to find a way of delivering suitable SPLs for the various uses throughout the room without excessive leakage and a distributed system was by far the best way to do this.”

The Meyer FOH system consists of UPJuniors at left and right, UPM-1XPs and UP4-XPs for centre outfills and delay locations, and MM4-XPs near-field fills on the stage lip, all managed by a QSC Q-SYS Core 110f processor which handles handles all the necessary timing offsets, matrix levels and a little EQ.

He continues, “The Yamaha TF3 console is fitted with an MY64 DANTE card and supplied with two Yamaha Tio1608D stage boxes giving a total of 32 system inputs available from stage - the main system outputs are also taken from the Tio unit and connected to the analogue inputs of the Core 110f.

“We supplied four EM Acoustics M10 floor wedges for onstage monitoring, powered and processed by two Lab Gruppen IPD 2400 DSP-equipped amplifiers. We used some EQ, lo-pass and limiting functions within them to control the M10s as they are very punchy! We also supplied a selection of industry-standard Shure microphones that every visiting performer will recognise.”

Adam concludes, “Unusually, it was necessary to organise a real-world test of the space, principally for the extensive acoustic treatment of the ceiling - this was so worthwhile as it not only virtually eliminates any leakage but also greatly improves the acoustic response of the room, which contributes to the final performance of the system. PizzaExpress provided a live band who came and played at the anticipated volume via a PA system supplied by us, so we could accurately assess what acoustic treatment was needed to avoid upsetting the hotel guests above…unusual but very effective!”

PizzaExpress’ Music Manager Ross Dines commented, “Following the sound system installation at our Dean St location we knew that Autograph would do whatever it took to make this new venue as good as it can be.”

He concludes, “The design that Adam has implemented for us delivers seamless intelligibility to every corner of the room regardless of what type of act we are presenting. More importantly, it plays a critical role in delivering the quality of customer experience that is at the heart of the PizzaExpress Live concept.”

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