Portable Precision Tablet-Based Controls Tailor Sound at Bank30

In December 2020, a unique entertainment hot spot opened on Tokyo Bay in Tokyo, Japan. BANK30 is an urban luxury lounge offering high-quality cuisine, sophisticated performances, and an ocean view second to none. The venue hosts a variety of groups for a wide range of events and needed a high-performance audio-video system to deliver premium guest experiences. Depending on the schedule, guests can enjoy high-quality dining and drinks, performing arts groups, or music with a live DJ. The waterfront location skillfully combines natural elements and textures with contemporary urban charms.

BANK30 was born from a desire to evolve the nightclub vision and create a luxury space offering different atmospheres and amenities depending on the event. “The leadership team is always thinking about the broad framework of entertainment, so the range of events we produce is quite wide,” enthuses Mr. Kawai, CEO of BANK30.

This visionary entertainment venue has four different areas. CLUB BANK30 is stylish space reminiscent of a modern luxury theater. It includes a stage, a large main floor, and a VIP area. Guests enjoy music by DJs, dance performances, and video creations. The space is also utilized for corporate presentations. BAYSIDE TERRACE is a dining space with ocean views from a terrace and glass walls. MAGNOLIA LOUNGE can be used as an exhibition gallery or as a private space with its curtains closed and JADE offers a private lounge or dining room with a full AV system, DJ equipment, karaoke system, and access to dedicated terrace seating.

 

“Due to the large scale of the project and the number of speakers distributed throughout the venue, AV-over-IP was the only choice,” said system designer Mr. Hirata, of Frogworks Co., Ltd. The choice of DSP then became very important. He consulted with Audio Brains and they agreed on Symetrix as the best option. Other components included a Luminex GigaCore 12 switch used for networking and a selection of Powersoft power amplifiers connected using Dante. While the COVID-19 pandemic led to budget reductions in other places, the value of Symetrix and Powersoft to the project were deemed irreplaceable. “Ultimately the system was made possible because of these two,” Hirata said.

The centerpiece of the signal path is a Symetrix Radius NX 4×4 paired with a touchscreen controller. The Radius NX and Symetrix Control Sever allowed for the necessary complexity, but makes it easy to use for both AV professionals and non-technical staff to operate with custom control screens.

“From the beginning, one of the goals for BANK30 was that the AV system be easy to operate even for staff without much AV experience,” said Kawai. An iPad-based control screen has been designed and is easy to operate even for staff who are not familiar with complex AV systems.

“The facility layout is represented graphically on the touch panel and Audio Brains configured the interface to change the volume of each area just by touching it and adjusting the fader,” said Hirata. Another button can switch between “BGM mode” and “SHOW mode” for on-stage events. In BGM mode, sound is delivered by floor speakers and tuned for the various areas. In SHOW mode, a delay is applied to the speaker suspended at the back. Because guests can feel the direction of the sound, the eyes of the audience members naturally turn to the stage.

“To change the volume for a specific part of a venue, you usually would have to check it with two people or adjust it back and forth on the floor. At BANK30 you simply take the iPad to the spot, listen, and make the right adjustment once,” explained Hirata.

In the JADE VIP area, guests can listen to the main house mix or choose a unique source just for themselves. “Additional DSP programming allows for seamless transitions. For example, the system will exquisitely fade back and forth between background music and karaoke tracks. This was carefully adjusted by the technical staff of Audio Brains to ensure that the timing was just right,” said Hirata.

This level of control also allows for real-time system optimization when there are multiple events in the same day. Friday is a fusion of restaurant business and events, said Kawai and he carries the iPad with him a lot. It is important to set the volume for a pleasant experience, but there is a big difference between raising it blatantly and raising it while watching the customers.

Mr. Kawai said that as a result some customers who come just to dine are eventually lifted up by the sound and light, and dance their way home. Audio Brains’ expertise enable this level of customer service and real-time response. Operationalizing that kind of control sophistication is amazing, said Hirata. It’s quite an accomplishment to be able to tailor the experience with that kind of care, he said. These refined adjustments would be difficult if the control was restricted to one location said Kawai. The seats along the wall are laid out so guests can enjoy eating and talking, and the center is designed for dancing. Customizing the sound for individual groups really elevates the guest experience.

Mr. Kawai credits Mr. Hirata for thinking to even put speakers in the kitchen so the staff can enjoy the music. He said that if the staff is enjoy their work, this feeling will be communicated to the guests. While the volume of all areas can be adjusted individually on the iPad, Symetrix ARC K1e analog volume controllers of Symetrix are installed in the dressing room and the kitchen so they can be freely operated independent of the main house mix.

BANK30 has created a special place on the waterfront that combines the latest installed AV technology with luxury finishes to deliver the best entertainment, provide amazing customer service, and raise the bar for the local nightlife scene. Mr. Hirata summed up the challenges and rewards of a project of this magnitude: Facilities are living things.