Cool sound for Icehouse
One of the hottest new venues in Minneapolis’s thriving live music scene, Icehouse is located in a former ice harvesting plant in the city’s hip Whittier neighborhood. The interior finishes—wood and brick ceilings and walls of metal, glass and brick—underscore the building’s industrial past even as the space has been reborn as a bar and restaurant featuring live performance nightly. But while these surfaces reflect the history of the room they also literally reflect a lot of sonic energy, which doesn’t make it easy to achieve clarity and intelligibility.
To handle this challenge, Icehouse’s team of sound gurus Jay Perlman, Alex Proctor and Cody Anderson turned to a team combining local Electro-Voice dealer Chris Vnak of Metro Sound and Lighting with Electro-Voice’s Mike Doucot and the company’s crack customer support department. The result is a system that succeeds in directing sound to listeners while minimizing unwanted reflections from the room’s hard surfaces.
Given the variety of the club’s on-stage offerings, the Icehouse system had to have not only exceptional pattern control but also a great deal of versatility. “We feature all genres of music, including hip hop, jazz, rock bands and occasional touring acts,” says Icehouse owner Brian Liebeck. “We also have private conference and corporate events. The system had to be able to handle all of these different needs.”
“The stage is in the middle of the room,” Liebeck continues, “with the audience all around it. So we couldn't do a traditional left-right setup. Because of that and also the reflective surfaces, we decided that instead of pushing fewer boxes to do more we should go with more boxes to get to more places in the room, with each box handling its coverage area at a lower sound level. We also have a balcony where people sit to see the show, so we wanted separate speakers to cover all the way around the top. For this type of situation the guys felt we got the most bang for our buck by going with EV.”
To cover the main floor the system relies on the Electro-Voice EVF series of premium 15-inch two-way full-range loudspeakers, using four EVF-1152D/66 as mains and three EVF-1152D/96 for the sides. Front fill is provided by six flown ZX1i 8-inch two-way full-range loudspeakers. The system is filled out on the low end with four QRx 218S compact dual-18-inch subwoofers mounted under the stage.
“The EVFs give us really nice top end with clarity in the mids,” Proctor says. ”The ZX1s also have great intelligibility, and ensure seamless coverage in front of the stage. And the subs give us lots of power with plenty of punch and no low-end flabbiness.”
Four Electro-Voice TX1152FM are used as stage monitors. The monitors and mains are all powered by Electro-Voice Contractor Precision Series amplifiers, with one CPS2.9 for monitors and seven CPS2.12 for fronts, sides and fills. The system is controlled by two Dx46 two-in/six-out FIR-Drive sound system processors, which handle routing, filtering and parametric EQ.
“We really like the easy connectivity of the CPS amps, and the fact that they are well matched to the EV speakers. And the Dx46 gives us great flexibility in configuring and optimizing the system."
Liebeck says that Electro-Voice customer support was “very helpful with the installation and with their tips on how to use the system the best. And they also helped a ton when it came to tuning the PA. The system sounds great. It’s exactly what the room needed, and the response we’ve had to the sound from customers and performers has been amazing. We are more than happy!”
Photos by George Georgallis