ivy, raising the bar in Sydney entertainment along with d&b

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As with the evolution of the shopping mall, there is a trend in the world of entertainment to concentrate a multitude of leisure activities within a single environment. However, unlike the mall, the truly successful leisure complexes are far removed from the homogenised retail blandness of these mega malls. Roberto Cavalli the famous Italian fashion designer has his name on one soon to open in Dubai, while in Australia the dynamic entrepreneur Justin Hemmes has already opened ivy, as diverse a concentration of hedonistic indulgence as you could ever wish to encounter.

The recently completed phase one is no faint hearted dip of the toe. Opening earlier this year it features six bars and four restaurants, each with its own unique and stylishly rendered décor: a breathtaking introduction to Mr Hemmes' ambitions for ivy. There's nothing cheap or vulgar about the way ivy has been created, yet this is not some ivory tower for the elite; users won't be fleeced for coming. Quality experience is reflected throughout the facility; even the lowly background music systems are of the highest order, as John Collyer from principal sound contractor Avsound explained.

"ivy is a project that raises the bar when it comes to entertainment in Sydney. We wanted to do the same with the audio system. For us d&b audiotechnik is hi-fi in a pro situation; what I mean by that is it has the quality of a great home hi-fi box, but you can push out pro level SPLs." But is that what is really needed in bar and restaurant environments? "We've installed an eight way stereo background music system; emstream PC based MP3 system, plus a number of DJ inputs. DJs play here most nights and we've installed a number of locations they can play from. Yes, low SPLs are used for lunches during the week, but high SPLs are desirable for Friday and Saturday nights."

Avsound were awarded the contract by Merivale, Hemmes' business vehicle for ivy, having first submitted a design and install proposal pitched against two other competitors. "The brief was outlined by a consultant; the systems break down into ten main zones with ten sub zones, run through BSS Londons with an AMX venue control system." Readers will not be surprised to learn there are a number of wide screen displays throughout the facility run using AMX Endeleo media distribution system. "The EVAC system is patched directly into the PA as the client did not want two sets of loudspeakers; we need to get 93 dB for EVAC purposes, the background noise floor can be high, but the d&b systems achieve this without any trouble. The acoustic environment is highly variable; rooms range from a marble walled, glass bar with hard floor and just a three metre ceiling height, to what I think is the best sounding room in the complex, which has a four metre ceiling, velvet draped walls and plush carpeting." Both rooms use d&b Ci80 loudspeakers as their main element, the marble room has custom Ci subwoofers to match the décor, while the Velvet room takes the standard Ci subwoofer. Approximately one hundred and fifty d&b E0 loudspeakers and a number of E12 subwoofers are distributed throughout the other bars and restaurants all driven either by d&b's E-PAC or D12 amplifiers with system control via the R1 Remote control software.

"It has been a remarkable project for us," concluded Collyer, "and the support from d&b's Australian distributor National Audio Systems has been excellent throughout. The project is now fifty percent complete; the remainder will bring the total to nineteen bars and eight restaurants that are due to open before the end of the year."

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