Vanilla flavoured d&b
Superlatives can become something of a commonality when describing the city of Moscow. At varying steps of its thousand years of recorded history, the city has been the largest, the richest, the most plague ridden, the most besieged, the hungriest, the most violent, the most culturally gifted, the most repressed; the list is a superlative in itself. In twenty first century Russia, Moscow has become something of an enclave of affluence and dynamism from the rest of the sprawling country; as expensive cities go it is right up there with London and Tokyo. One of the largest cities on the planet and home to eleven and half million souls, it boasts more billionaires per head of population than anywhere else worldwide. Since the emergence of the new Russia in 1991, there has been a veritable explosion of western culture and entertainment so it is no surprise that a plethora of up market, exclusive clubs have become an established part of Moscow’s nightlife. The most exclusive of these is Vanilla, vanilla by name but not by nature.
In such a frenetic environment, it takes bravery to open a brand new private club in the very centre of Moscow. As co-owner and club DJ, Muslim Shortanov (professionally known as DJ MUS) describes, a great deal of research and thought went into finding the right venue. "Our goal was to create the best 'small room' venue in Moscow, not an easy task when you look at the established competition in the city. It wouldn't be enough just to find and furnish a room to look luxurious and sophisticated and then market it as being private and exclusive; the most important element was not to compromise on what clubbers look for most: great sound. Being the technical side of the partnership, the choice of loudspeaker system was always going to be mine so I spent months visiting clubs, live gigs and even factories to be sure I got it right."
So why did Shortanov opt for a d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system? "Our guiding principle was to find the best quality sound for our guests and artists. As a professional DJ, I know what works for my audiences and it is d&b systems where I have heard the best range and depth of sound wherever I have gone. As a clubber, I especially love the low end of the J-INFRA subwoofer. I call it the 'hell's heart' of the whole system!"
The system design and installation was carried out by local Muscovite company Aris Solutions. Engineers Alexander Soloukhin and Victor Tazhibov suggested a system of d&b T-Series, with T10s evenly split left and right of the performance area, supported at the bottom end by B4-SUBs and a single 'hell's heart', a J-INFRA subwoofer, all driven by a combination of D12 and D6 amplifiers. Soloukhin and Tazhibov led the project from drawing board to completion as Shortanov explains, "The guys from Aris Solutions were so enthusiastic and dedicated throughout the entire process. Everything ran on time and within budget, they were an absolute pleasure to work with. They spent an extraordinary amount of time with our house team looking at the most appropriate solution for what was not an easy room to get right."
The difficulties that Shortanov alludes to needed imagination to rectify. Like many of the new nightspots in Moscow, the Vanilla Ninja Club had been converted from a former factory warehouse into something altogether more intimate and sophisticated, investing in designer artefacts and custom made furniture but without acknowledging the acoustic challenges of the original stone flooring, lots of old, loose framed windows and smooth reflective walls which made the room far too reverberant. Soloukhin and Tazhibov's suggestion to the architect and designer, Andrey Kulakov, was to replace the stone floor with a wooden parquet dance floor, improve the fittings for the stained glass windows and build a decorative set of shelving for books along one side of the room. This creates the triple effect of reducing reflections by covering a smooth flat wall; forming a sound diffusing and absorbent surface with books of all shapes and sizes and, at the same time, increasing the overall designer feel of the room. Finally, the DJ station was placed on a floating platform so the vibration from low end loudspeakers didn't interfere with the vinyl turntables.
Since opening, the Vanilla Ninja Club has played host to some of the dance world's best known DJs including Solomun, MANDY, Channel X , Kerri Chandler, Cristian Viviano, Alex Niggemann, Alejandro Vivanco and, of course, DJ MUS himself; "Opening a club like this is an ambition fulfilled. The combination of Aris Solutions and d&b audiotechnik has allowed us to compete at the very top end of what is an extremely exclusive and demanding market."
Like Moscow itself, the club exudes a vibrant and dynamic creative energy whenever the doors open to their exclusive audience of night time clubbers. Shortanov considers it a job well done.