Font Size

- Aa +

Wed 9 Mar 2011 12:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Fully funktional

Funktion One’s Tony Andrews talks about why an updated spec at Nasimi has put an end to sound complaints and smiles back on faces of the punters who want to dance the night away

Fully funktional
Tony Andrews, Funktion One

As the sun sets on another balmy Dubai day, the crowd at Nasimi
Beach swells; revellers keen to spend another evening dancing and partying barefoot
on the sand. It’s just a regular night at the popular beach club, situated at the
Atliantis the Palm resort in Dubai;
but up until recently, the audio was far from optimal. While residents on the Palm
‘frond’ across the water from the venue and guests in the hotel complained nightly
about the noise, those on the beach bore the brunt of a potentially powerful sound
system that was regularly being turned down.

But thanks to a consultancy period and a range of adjustments
by Funktion One founder Tony Andrews, the problems have been solved. Key to this,
he says, has been finding out exactly what kind of sound the venue’s management
wanted – and where.

“It’s about knowing exactly what’s occurring, what they want
to occur, and making it fit exactly that,” he explains. “In fact, what they want
is a nice ambient sound around the beach and a really strong focus on the dance-floor
– and you can’t use the same system for that.

“It takes a while to get out of a client what they really want
to do, but we get there and it goes around in my head for a while and I figure out
the best way of doing it.”

In this case, that meant fewer sources. “Before, they had speakers
all across the beach, which in some ways is quite nice, but there’s too much of
a delay,” says Andrews. “What I find over and over again is that there is this scatter
bomb approach to how speakers are put in - the more sources you have, the more chance
you have for conflict, and no cohesion and therefore not a great sound.”

The noise concerns of residents across the water from Nasimi
was arguably the projects biggest hurdle to overcome. Developer of the Palm, Nakheel
sets sound level limits of 40 decibels in the area. “To give you some perspective
on that, 60 decibels is birdsong.  And sound
travels wonderfully across water,” says Andrews, who seems to revel in such a challenge.

“What we’ve finished up with is the four trusses in a square
[onto which speakers are rigged]. We spent a few days running trials and once the
arrangement went in, they had a show that night and guess what? No complaints. They
haven’t had any complaints since we left.”

Known for a paring back the complexity of sound with a much simpler
approach, Andrews says the key to keeping residents and the club’s punters happy
was Funktion One’s point source technology, which, thanks to extremely high standards
of directional control, allowing sound to be focused where it’s needed, minimising
out-of-venue impact.

“The people living across the water had to be happy, which meant
little to no sound heard over there, the people on the dance floor had to have pumping
sound for a night club-type experience and they needed a chill out arrangement on
the beach,” explains Andrews. “It was definitely a juggling act.”

A semi-permanent ‘chill out’ arrangement on the beach gives “lightweight
ambient coverage” on week nights and during the day, and on weekends, it is switched
off, making way for a more powerful system that is installed around the dance floor
section and DJ booth.

“They’ve got a couple of extra speakers that go on the outside
two trusses that just give a mid range and high frequency lift to the bass, which
of course they can hear on the beach,” says Andrews, adding that being outside can
actually benefit sound quality. “You hear the actual speakers and not the room.”

“It works really nicely and it’s dead easy. It means the amount
of cabling you have to put in is cut down to probably about 20 per cent of what
it was, so everybody is really pleased. They complaints have stopped and the guys
that install it can do it in say, half the time.”

Vital in getting to this point, according to Andrews, is consulting
the experts, something he encourages more venues to do. And it’s not a responsibility
he takes lightly.

“If we’re going to get involved, we’re going to get involved
to the fullest extent. It’s not just about selling speakers. I like to help clients
solve their sound problems,” he says genuinely.

“To get audio right, you have to be very orderly. It’s not an
aspect of F&B. It’s quite technical but also, there’s quite a strong artistic
element, because in the end, you have to put yourself in the mind frame of how a
dancer would like to hear the music.”

Dubai-based DJ and regular Nasimi booking Charl Chaka agrees.
“A lot of Dubai’s nightlife venues are being run by F&B managers, and what they
don’t realise is that avenue’s sound can make or break any event and have a direct
influence on bar spend. Atmosphere and quality of sound is essential to create the
perfect experience for the punter,” he says.

Involved in the venue since day one, Chaka says the “mighty”
Funktion One system is positioning Nasimi on another level in terms of professionalism
and punter-satisfaction. “It’s so good to finally play on the Funktion One system
that has been fine-tuned to the specifications of the venue, and not just thrown
in with amps turned up to max,” he says. “There have been a lot of tough nights
doing events with sound complaints coming in and having to cut the sound mid-way
through the event... overall, I’m really excited about 2011!”

Digital magazine: Read the latest edition of Arabian Business online