A prince among frogs with d&b
In 2007 founding partners of Blue Frog, Composer-Musicians Ashutosh Phatak and Dhruv Ghanekar, Film Director Mahesh Mathai, Film Producer Srila Chatterjee and Fund Manager Simran Mulchandani, opened their first venue in Mumbai, not knowing at the time that it would develop into one of the most recognised nightlife brands in India. It is actually quite unusual for a nightclub to continue in operation for almost five years. In the Indian market a typical lifespan is around two to three years. When it became obvious that Blue Frog was a firm favourite amongst Mumbai clubbers, the five partners decided to open a second Blue Frog in the capital city of Delhi. Blue Frog in Delhi is located at the Kila, just one of a number of Heritage Buildings that surround the Qutub Minar, India’s tallest minaret, which stands on an UNESCO World Heritage site. The interior mimics its older sibling, with an ample sized dancefloor and pod-style seating. The Delhi establishment also houses an outdoor area, which provides a spectacular view of the historic area.
Sound Wizard Acoustics AV Design Consulting CEO, Kumbha Young Grenier and his partner, acoustician Didier Weiss were head hunted by the sound engineer at Blue Frog, Mumbai, as he was already familiar with Sound Wizard’s work. Kumbha explained further, “The sound engineer was aware of our acoustical and system design work through some studios we had specified in Mumbai. He liked our work and the results. We got talking to the Blue Frog management team, met up with the interior people and everything starting moving from there, and ideas were passed back and forth.”
Taking on the project, Kumbha was aware Blue Frog, Mumbai was well known for its great sound, and his brief was to make the Delhi audio system even better. The seven thousand sq ft venue hosts live performance acts and DJs six days a week and for that reason it was imperative that the sound system was equipped with maximum endurance. He continued, “After extensive evaluation of many workable systems from various brands d&b audiotechnik was selected. Recently, d&b audiotechnik has been building quite a fashionable reputation in the Indian club scene. This was important as DJs and bands would identify with the set up, which in turn would help to build the reputation of Blue Frog Delhi. d&b audiotechnik’s distributor Digital Advantage, is based out of Delhi, so they could offer immediate support which offered the management team plenty of reassurance.”
Sound Wizard specified the general system design and the room acoustics, as well as an EASE 3D model of the space. The system was then designed around d&b audiotechnik’s White range, and in fact marks the first nightclub installation of the White range in India. Two line arrays, each comprising five d&b audiotechnik 10AL-D loudspeaker cabinets, are hung left and right of the stage. Kumbha said, “Using line arrays was the best way to make sure each guest in the venue has a similar sound experience. Even SPL and coverage for each seating pod was paramount. Also the line array was a good way to provide the sound engineers position, at the back of the room above the bar, with a reference as similar as possible to the audience area.”
The main PA is supplemented by four d&b audiotechnik subwoofers, two J-SUBs flown above the stage and two 18S-SUBs under the stage. The two J-SUBs offer directional capabilities and ensure the energy from the subwoofer is kept away from the stage, instead pushing that energy out towards the audience. The ground stacked subwoofers provide the low frequency element that clubbers have become accustomed to. Kumbha explained further, “Flying subwoofers above the stage works well in this venue for two reasons. The first is that by using a cardioid pattern we were able to direct the low frequencies towards the audience area and avoided feedback problems on stage. “The second reason is that when the venue is busy and many people are dancing in front of the subs on the ground, their bodies act as low frequency absorbers, affecting the low frequency sound coverage pattern throughout the venue. Flying the subs was the best way to solve both challenges.”
“The subwoofers below the stage are used on DJ nights to give some extra ‘umph’ to the dancefloor area. With these extra subs, guests dancing near to the stage will feel the full bottom-end, booty shaking bass response.” To complete the speaker line up at Blue Frog, eight stage monitors were specified, six d&b audiotechnik MAX12s and two d&b MAXs. These can be moved around and set up in any configuration depending on the act on stage. Amplification is provided by the company’s D6 and D12 amplifiers. Andrew said, “d&b audiotechnik has a fully holistic approach to provide not only boxes, but the whole signal chain from the output of the mixing console right through to where the sound leaves the speaker. This was the idea that led to the foundation of the company 31 years ago.
With acknowledgement to Mondo dr for the editorial content and photographs