London venue Koko has upgraded its audio system with Sound Technology and JBL/Crown.
The 1500 capacity venue has enjoyed a significant resurgence since being taken over by the Mint Group in 2004, with experienced nightclub operations director Larry Seymour at the helm quickly developing a relationship with then Harman pro distributors (Harman Pro UK).
The relationship has developed under present distributors, Sound Technology, which this month commissioned the first phase of a new JBL/Crown system. This includes an upgrade from the existing JBL SRX enclosures to six VerTec VT4886 sub-compact array elements, which now sit atop eight new VerTec VT4880a 2 x 18” subs, replacing the previous SRX models. Meanwhile, the Crown iTech amplifiers have been upgraded to flagship Crown iTech HD’s featuring higher power and next generation onboard DSP featuring BSS OmniDrive HD processing and Linear Phase FIR filters which provide much more electrical headroom and transparency to the system.
Seymour stated: “Our vision when we opened was not just to reinvent an iconic venue, but to revolutionise live music in the UK by transforming this into the capital’s hottest address. With huge brand visibility JBL became central to that plan, as part of a Harman family installation, which also includes Crown amplification and Soundcraft digital mixing desks.
“It’s consistently been a priority to sustain an advanced technical infrastructure, widely accepted by both fans and bands. Our production team is entirely focused on delivering top quality shows on a consistent basis and to that end we are constantly reinforcing our equipment, adding something pretty much every year.”
Towards the end of last year, Seymour contacted Greg Niven, sales director, Sound Technology, to discuss a potential upgrade. The move coincided with the announcement of JBL’s new VerTec V5 software 'plug-in' upgrade, and although this has yet to be developed for KOKO’s main VT4888 PA hangs, the extra headroom provided by the Crown iTech HD’s is described by venue technical manager, Tim Hamper as “outrageous.”
He planned the new design with head of Sound Technology’s Project Team, Sam Brandon, with an eye to upgrading to the VT4880a subs. Brandon also introduced him to the JBL VT4886 sub-compact VerTec array elements.
“I like the idea of little things providing a lot of coverage and the low profile suits the unusual shape of the building, as the stage ends 3ft behind the pros arch,” said Hamper.
“One of the problems previously was that downstairs sounded distant because of the noise coming off the stage — now there is more energy focused downstairs, with greater throw and more penetration into the remote parts of the club.”
Hamper is also pleased with the assignment of the new Crown iTech HD’s to drive different parts of the system and the headroom that the eight iTech 5000HD and eight iTech 9000HD driving the main system, and five iTech 12000HD powering the subs, has created.
“Previously, the old iTechs were powering the main array’s eight VT4888’s per side in two sets of three, plus one pair, per hang. Now with the new specification, iTech HD’s drive the elements in pairs,” explained Brandon. “This, along with the new series’ extra output, results in a system with much increased headroom and control. The additional benefit of the upgraded DSP engine results in a much more transparent sound.”
Larry Seymour concluded: “Having spoken to various companies at the outset in our bid to find the ideal technical partner. I am delighted with the decision we made.”