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Pizza Express Jazz Club

A fixture of London’s jazz music scene for more than four decades, PizzaExpress Jazz Club recently replaced its aging audio system with a new, self-powered Meyer Sound system. Long known for its intimate atmosphere, friendly acoustics, and stellar musical lineup, the club was voted Live Music Venue of the Year at the 2015 London Lifestyle Awards soon after the upgrade.

“With the new Meyer Sound system we have excellent response, from the top to the bottom of the frequency range, at every seat,” reports Ross Dines, PizzaExpress music manager. “It’s a completely different world—you can hear the difference on every instrument and voice. It’s been a real game changer for me.”

“It’s a completely different world—you can hear the difference on every instrument and voice.

For Luc Saint-Martin, the club’s FOH engineer for more than a decade, the loudspeaker upgrade gives assurance that his mix will be heard uniformly throughout the room. “The Meyer Sound system gives an excellent dynamic presentation of the sound on the stage,” he says. “What comes through the system is a true linear representation of the input—it’s very predictable. The loudspeakers are also small, discreet, and don’t obstruct sightlines.

“Guests have commented on how the sound is much clearer than before,” continues Saint-Martin. “And it can be louder if need be, as we have much more headroom. But even when loud, it’s much cleaner and more pleasing to the ear so it doesn’t cause fatigue.”

To address the venue’s acoustically challenging low ceiling and irregular shape, Chris Austin configured a main system of three UPJunior-XP VariO™ loudspeakers and one-each MM-10XP and UMS-1XP subwoofers. Three MM-4XPD self-powered loudspeakers provide front fill, and two MM-4XP and UP-4XP loudspeakers each cover the bar and alcove areas.

"The loudspeakers are small, discreet, and don't obstruct sightlines"

All loudspeakers employ IntelligentDC technology, which combines the performance advantages of self-powered loudspeakers with the installation efficiency of Class 2 wiring. A single, five-conductor cable carries remote DC power and balanced audio signal to the loudspeakers from a rack-mount power supply and signal distribution unit.

“I had originally specified Meyer Sound loudspeakers with direct AC powering,” says Austin. “But that would have required quite of bit of electrical conduit work to make it safe. With IntelligentDC, I realized I could assure the same performance levels while substantially reducing overall costs.”

Opened in 1969 on Dean Street in London’s trendy Soho district, PizzaExpress Jazz Club has hosted such luminaries over the years as Mose Allison, Diana Krall, Amy Winehouse, Brad Mehldau, and Norah Jones.

September 2019 Update - The venue have recently upgraded the QSC Xilica processor to a new Q-Sys Core 110f, which handles all the system zoning and main control functions.

Photos: Miriam Perritt

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