VENUE is at the Heart of the Matter Club at the O2

New London mega-club installs dual VENUE systems

In a city with no shortage of nightlife, where last week’s über-cool club is often next week’s overblown cliché, Matter has already made a major impression. London’s newest mega-club has been making waves since opening its doors in September, featuring high-profile performances by artists including UNKLE, Carl Cox, Mylo, Freeform Five, Sasha, and Reverend and the Makers. The massive, 2600-capacity club at the O2 Arena is the latest creation from the same team behind London’s trendy Fabric. Matter is a hybrid nightclub, live stage and performing arts space with Bodykinetic dance floor and dual, state-of-the-art Avid VENUE live sound systems.

Two years in the making, Matter’s design and construction is among the most sophisticated ever undertaken by the firm. Technical manager Dave Parry, who specified and designed every technical detail, is emphatic on his choice of Avid’s VENUE systems for the main room’s Front of House and monitor positions. “When it came to choosing a console, we looked at all the options,” he says. “We spoke with all the engineers who were going to be using the equipment, and researched what would be the best choice for us as a venue. Avid VENUE was the best solution for our wide range of requirements.”

Matter’s Front of House position is outfitted with a 96-channel channel VENUE D-Show console and Pro Tools|HD system, while a D-Show Profile desk with another Pro Tools|HD system is installed at the Monitor position. Matter also features a 75,000-Watt Bodysonic dance floor, with a Martin Audio PA run through a Timax system for immersive sound, a system first introduced at Fabric.

Parry explains the factors influencing his choice of VENUE: “Matter is more of a live performance venue than a nightclub. As such, we needed a desk that would be comfortable for both outside engineers and our in-house team. Having the flexibility of a digital console was another important consideration, in that we’re also running festivals and a wide range of other events.” He cites the upcoming 30th birthday event for Diesel, featuring 30 artists in a one-off live performance, as one ideally suited for VENUE’s snapshot automation.

“VENUE’s integration with Pro Tools|HD was also a major factor in our decision,” Parry continues. “We’re working with a number of major companies to film the live concerts. VENUE enables us to deliver full multitrack Pro Tools sessions, which represents another revenue stream for us. And the ability to add Internet streaming, broadcasting and linking with the main O2 Arena are also important considerations for us.”

The club’s separate monitor system comprises a Profile Mix Rack System which is made up of a Profile control surface married to the Mix Rack which is a single enclosure containing all I/O and processing. The powerful, compact system affords the extra flexibility of functioning as a fully independent system when and where needed. “We’ve designed the main system to provide 48 outputs at the stage, so that the main FOH console can run monitors as well,” explains Avid’s James Baker. “This gives them the flexibility to easily take the Profile Mix Rack system to another room if required.”

Indeed, flexibility is key in much of the club’s design. “The system is set up so the Bodykinetic dance floor can be on its own separate send, providing the flexibility to turn it off and use a more classic setup for live bands,” Baker adds. “And it’s all easily implemented as a preset from the desk, with the touch of a button.”

The system also incorporates Avid’s VENUEPack Pro 3.0 plug-in bundle, providing native access to a wide range of studio-quality TDM processing plug-ins. “The system is fully loaded with plug-in processing,” says Parry. “Keeping all the processing within the system was another important factor in our decision to go with VENUE. It not only reduces the footprint at Front of House, but the sound quality is unparalleled.

Parry has designed a system where sound can be moved in a three dimensional space, inspired by the Russian artist Kandinsky. “There are speakers everywhere,” he says. “At Matter, you’ll feel the music through your feet and through the speaker system. This is then coupled with lighting and video and, using the entire venue as a screen, we can move the audio with the projections.”