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For the last fourteen years The Joint has been the rock venue in Las Vegas; a smoky, sweaty venue oozing atmosphere and ambience. However, in equal measure it also suffered from bad sight lines, a marginal house PA and the kind of load-in and back stage facilities that crews dread, but not anymore! The new, $60 million, Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel has successfully overcome its predecessor's failings whilst retaining its atmospheric and intimate character; all this, despite almost doubling in size and capacity.

Designed and furnished by the Canadian based firm Scéno Plus (Cirque du Soleil, The Bellagio Theatre) Benoit Panaccio, theatre designer and project manager chose a d&b audiotechnik system to provide the flexibility and coverage required by their brief. He explains, "We wanted a system that everyone would accept and d&b fits the room well with the best coverage and sound quality. Though a visiting engineer may carry a console, the loudspeaker system has to be good enough for everyone; we wanted a no-compromise system." Panaccio selected two flown arrays, stage fills and delays. The combination of J-Series with J-SUB cardioid subwoofers and Q-Series for the main arrays and delays, with E-Series to service areas such as the VIP suites, bar and lobbies, has created a seamless audio experience for the customer, wherever they are.

The new venue's system was initially set up by Frankie Desjardins, System and FoH Engineer for Celine Dion and he was impressed by the range and coverage. "A distinct advantage of the d&b J-Series is that it supplies the power of a large format system in the size of a compact one, while providing a full extra octave of response on the low end. The extra dollars spent on acoustic treatment of the room's reflective surfaces have also proved worthwhile, allowing higher sound pressure levels to be used effectively."

The new Joint has a standing general admission audience of two thousand nine hundred, whilst motorised seating can rapidly convert it to a one thousand eight hundred capacity to accommodate more theatrical productions and boxing or martial arts competitions. This degree of flexibility has also been designed into the audio system. A dedicated fibre network allows for presets for the entire room to be easily established and recalled. As Nick Simmonds, FoH Engineer for The Joint explained, "System presets are organised so that visiting engineers can drive the system in a number of ways either from the dual 96-channel Digidesign Profiles or from their own consoles."

The whole project was completed in an extremely tight timeframe led by Jacques Larue from Solotech, with responsibility for the entire installation. "The construction had to be accelerated, with less than three months from pulling the first wire to the opening on April 17th."

While the old venue had great ambience it could never aspire to modern production standards. Today's new Joint was purpose built by design, retains the old vibe, but embraces 21st Century innovation and technology. In keeping with its Hard Rock profile, The Joint celebrated it's opening with a muscular series of concerts by The Killers, Paul McCartney, and Bon Jovi, to name just three.

Acknowledgement to Live Sound International for some of the editorial content.

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