When you think about it, we’re still stuck in the last century when it comes to live sound systems, especially in clubs. In almost all cases you’ll find a speaker array on both sides of the stage, sometimes sitting on the stage and sometimes flown. The problem with that is excessive SPL levels up close to the stage and beyond, especially outside the club. Time for some out of the box thinking. Let’s put the club sound system in the ceiling.
That’s exactly what a Swedish company called JBN Sound Solutions does. It sells an innovative ceiling system that hovers over the dance floor radiating the sound downward. This makes the audio more uniform, provides areas in the club with very low SPL (how many times have you wanted that), and best of all, keeps the neighbors from complaining. The company has already installed over 4,600 systems worldwide, but it’s first US install is just underway in Austin, Texas.
Noise pollution from clubs and venues has been a major problem in areas that are newly gentrified like in many downtown areas. Where there were previously no complaints over audio levels, newly constructed condos and hotels can suddenly spell trouble for a club. That’s what’s happened with The Nook Amphitheater in Austin ever since a new Westin Hotel opened nearby, so they’re turning to JBN in an effort to keep the sound inside the club and keeping everyone happy.
The system consists primarily of evenly spaced custom 10″ bass drivers and 6 1/2″ dual-concentric mid-tweeter drivers, although there’s not much additional information as to what kind of power or DSP the system uses.
That said, JBN systems are used in clubs, casinos, resorts and hotels around the world, so they must be on to something. And when you think about it, a sound system in the ceiling focused downward does make a lot of sense. Let’s see if the rest of the industry catches on.