Ephemeral German talisman appears on the streets of Guangzhou

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Unexpected to say the least, yet it’s true. On the streets of Guangzhou, 339 Huan Shi Dong Road, the ground floor of the Crown Plaza Hotel to be correct, sits the most popular nightclub in the entire city. Despite the location, it’s named after one of the most talismanic songs from the 20th Century European songbook; ‘Lili Marleen’ by Lale Andersen (1939). Many associate this song with Marlene Dietrich though she didn’t make her recording till 1945; yet the associations twixt Germany and a Chinese nightclub are eminently clear: sensuous, sexy, satisfying, Lili Marleen the club is all these things. “It’s also very loud,” said Werner ‘Vier’ Bayer, the venerable ears of d&b audiotechnik.

Vier and his new colleague Marcus Bäumler were visiting Guangzhou among other Chinese cities, to gain some insight to the delectations of the Chinese club goer, “Democracy for listeners is not just a European concept, we must hear as the Chinese hear,” he said. “I have to admit that I was really surprised about the sound quality, the properly distributed and cleverly aligned electricizing energy; fantastic. The duration time of still feeling well in spite of high SPLs was very revealing.”

Lili Marleen is the flagship venue of the eponymous Marleen nightclub group; they have four other such Marleen venues in cities across China. “Although we have already opened four clubs and used different PA systems, when Daniel Chan from d&b audiotechnik China took us to visit other d&b installations around the country we knew immediately that this was the best system” said Chen Liang the club owners. “Fantastic bass and very well defined, an essential ingredient for the ‘House’ style of music our clients like to hear in the evenings. The mids and highs perform beautifully; and Dragon Studio who made the installation have created something fully adaptable, so the switch from DJ format to live band is fast and easy with absolutely no loss of sound quality or power. For us an ideal solution.”

Johnny Tang of Dragon Studio in collusion with Alex Poon of d&b China has produced a quite unorthodox system design in response to the demands of a club that plays both House and live bands; a stage system of d&b Ci7-TOPs and Ci7-SUBs, augmented elsewhere by B2-SUBs, with over twenty MAX12s distributed around the venue for local reinforcement. “Supported by Daniel Chan at d&b China I have made several installation designs using d&b systems over the last eight years,” said Tang. “They make my job easy; I can select loudspeakers to precisely fit the needs of power and coverage from any of their different ranges, and I know they will all sound the same; and that sound is perfect. This club is quite large at 1000m² but I was able to comfortably achieve even coverage across the full frequency range whatever the music style. And system performance is powerful when needed; the room has many hard reflective surfaces so pattern control had to be absolute. The MAX12s proved ideal for filling those difficult to cover hidden corners.”

German loudspeakers, German club name, emphatically Chinese music menu. As Vier concluded, “Democracy for listeners, fusion for cultures.”

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