World's First L-ISA Installation Gives Mercury Space Moscow a Sound Image Clear Enough to Touch
Mercury Space Moscow is a 975sqm, ultra-luxury, multifunctional venue located on the 40th floor of Mercury City Tower in the Russian capital. The owner of this new space, which has been designed for celebrity events and parties, wanted a unique sound system that would set it apart from every other venue in the country. When Sonoruss, L-Acoustics' certified distributor for the region, suggested an L-ISA immersive audio system -- the first nightclub installation in the world -- it was agreed that there was simply no other choice.
L-ISA, which stands for Immersive Sound Art, is a breakthrough in immersive audio technology, combining L-Acoustics' sound design and loudspeaker systems with sophisticated processing tools to create a hyperrealistic soundscape at live shows.
"We introduced the venue's owner to the new multichannel L-ISA system, using Kiva II and KS28 when they visited the L-ISA Lab in Highgate. We suggested that they could do the installation in two phases to spread the cost," explains Igor Verholat, CEO of Sonoruss. "But he was so blown away by what he heard that he decided to have the complete system installed straight away. In fact, the trip determined the entire concept of Mercury Space Moscow."
The installation was performed by Theatre Technique and Technology, with the Sonoruss and L-ISA teams providing support from initial consultations, through to the sound design and final calibration.
"L-ISA provides an amazing localization of sound sources that immerses the listener in the sound space," says Alexander Ananiev, acoustic engineer for Sonoruss. "It provides a hyperrealistic soundscape for the audience and gives sound engineers advanced surround mixing tools during live events, which is a big step forward from traditional two-channel sound systems."
"However, L-ISA can enhance the spatial impression, even when reproducing a conventional two-channel mix, because of the so-called 'upmix.' For example, a DJ's performance in this hall would sound spatially more enveloping, even with a two-channel source."
Since this was the world's first nightclub to permanently install an L-ISA system, the project was directly managed from the headquarters of L-ISA, says Verholat. "During the installation, Sherif el Barbari, director of L-ISA Labs, trained all the engineers that will work with the system on a day-to-day basis. Calibration and tuning of the system were carried out by Sherif and Julian Laval, applications engineer, fixed installs, L-Acoustics, and the Sonoruss team."
The venue is an unusual, upturned U-shape, with the stage sited at the apex of the U. The final configuration of the system was designed with the aid of L-Acoustics Soundvision 3D acoustical simulation program. The frontal scene system consists of five hangs of four Kiva II each arrayed across the front of the stage, with two SB18 subwoofers positioned one either side of the center hang, and two KS28 subs ground stacked either side at the front of the stage. "This configuration provides the main power of the system," says Mercury Space sound engineer Alexander Alperovich.
To complement the frontal system and provide even coverage across the entire space, surround speakers comprising eight X12 are positioned at the top of the walls on the sides and opposite the stage, while ten X8, five per side -- two closer to the stage and three towards the rear of the venue where it is slightly wider -- cover each of the U's "arms." The system is amplified by LA4X and LA12X amplified controllers.
"Having eight sound sources located around the hall allows a sound engineer to put a guest into the sound image as if the sound is enveloping him," continues Alprovich. "This means that even the most demanding engineer will be satisfied. Mercury Space is one of the most expensive halls in Moscow and very popular with high-end clientele and celebrities. Since the L-ISA system was installed, every visitor has had a great experience."
"The sound image is so clear that you can almost touch it," says Roman Ivanovski, who also engineers at Mercury Space. "It is fantastic!"
Such is the luxury of Mercury Space Moscow -- it is the city's most expensive and exclusive space. The L-ISA system has enhanced the feeling of exclusivity, producing such intense interest that it has instantly become Moscow's most sought after venue.
Established in London in 2014 by L-Acoustics founder Dr. Christian Heil, L-ISA is L-Acoustics' immersive sound brand. L-ISA draws on extensive audio and psychoacoustic research to develop sound design and processing tools for live shows, creative events and private residences. L-ISA is the only comprehensive solution that integrates innovative sound design, loudspeaker systems, proprietary processing hardware and software-based audio tools.