Wildfire Stimulates The Senses With New JBL Sound System
Wildfire, one of the best waterfront restaurants in Sydney, has gained an enviable reputation over the years for fine dining, fine wine, all with a stunning view. Recently, owner Tonči Farac decided it was time to give their fine establishment an audio makeover calling in the experts at Compact Monitor Systems.
"The client also wanted to expand the audio to several zones and include areas that haven't previously been covered whilst redoing those that had with a more complete sound system," explained Bill Richardson, managing director of Compact Monitor Systems.
Compact Monitor Systems completely dismantled the existing audio system and replaced all of the processing with BSS BLU, all amplifiers to Crown Audio and added a wide range of JBL speakers. The venue already had a dozen JBL Control 25AV speakers which were redistributed into areas that were not previously covered.
"The C25s were in perfect shape and ideal for reuse," commented Bill. "The rest went to the audio retirement home."
The venue is divided into eight audio zones including main dining area, the private dining room, the mezzanine, the bar, outdoor seating area, front entry area and the bathrooms.
The main restaurant area utilises custom-made JBL AC Compact wide dispersion 8” 2-way loudspeakers (JBL-AC18/26), supported by ASB6112 subwoofers in the main space, and suspended from the main girders, pointing straight down. These were precisely positioned to cover the entire main dining floor in full spectrum stereo audio. This system was designed and intended to rock.
"The end result was outstanding and I was very impressed with the performance of the system," said Bill.
The private dining room, which doubles as a function room, received the JBL C25AVs. When the area is used in function mode, the room can be isolated or tied into the main system. It will happily operate as stand-alone which can be simply controlled through an iPad or the local wall mounted keypad.
Four wall mounted JBL CRV's service the mezzanine dining area, with JBL Control 25 speakers, mounted two metres off from the balustrade, pointing into the mezzanine area. Added to that are a couple of JBL Control SB2 subs to just add a bit more bottom end.
Outside of the venue facing the waterfront, Compact Monitor Systems installed JBL Control 30 outdoor speakers fitted with marine grills and they were chosen for their big sound and broad frequency spectrum. The venue has expanded its dining area out there and the JBL Control 30s deliver more power and coverage.
The old ceiling speakers in the bar area were replaced by much more powerful model speakers in the form of the JBL Control 47LP.
"Not only are they powerful, they have a good frequency range," commented Bill. "We installed twelve into the bar area along with six ceiling mounted JBL Control 19CST subs as I wanted to have one sub for every two satellites, it came up really well. We processed the subs and the tops differently so I can control them independently to get the best out of the system."
The sound system is all powered by Crown power amplifiers; XTI models for the main floor and XLS series for the other zones.
"I run the entire system in low impedance which I prefer to do," added Bill. "The brief from the client was that he wanted a more modern sounding sound system, one that encourages customers to stay longer and use the bar areas. They wanted more of a bar scene than just a restaurant whilst accentuating what they already have."
The BSS BLU range of products was chosen for the audio control and signal processing with Bill remarking that they use BSS BLU wherever audio DSP is required as it is simply the best.
The install was tricky as the restaurant needed to continue to trade normally. The Compact team would start work late, usually after 12am, as the last diners left and would have to have the venue back in pristine condition by 10am. Add to that the temperamental wooden floors, a very high ceiling, and working in a Customs controlled area whenever a ship was in port. Not the easiest venue to work in, but according to Bill nothing worth doing is easy.
"It was a challenging job but very rewarding as it is a beautiful sounding sound system," he said. "Jands, as always were the perfect vendor and partner. They provided excellent support, delivered what they said, when they said, and we couldn’t have done it without them. My personal thanks to Rod McKinnon and his team.”
Zelka Pierce, general manager of Wildfire Restaurant, reports that the reason Wildfire has invested in a new and improved music system utilising state of the art technology by Jands, at a time when many businesses are focusing on cutbacks and budget restrictions, is that they wanted to continue to invest in their guests by providing a second to none superior dining experience.
"This is delivered not only by serving a great menu, or by what our guests drink and see, but also by what they hear," said Zelka. "A great ambiance is critical to every successful restaurant and is one of your best marketing tools. Get the mood right, stimulate the senses - and your guests will feel it. People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel."
Why is the experience at Wildfire so unique and memorable? It boils down to the basics - Sight, smell, taste, touch and sound. Rooms of excellence need a unique combination of carefully considered factors. Amazing food, an exciting wine list, great bar and cocktails, warm and efficient service, beautiful surroundings, perfect lighting and very importantly – fantastic music that fills the room and draws the guest into a space that has a serious ‘wow’ factor.
"The power of a good playlist is critical, with each song being carefully selected to perfectly compliment the time of day and day of the week," added Zelka. "Our guests are drawn to the music, commenting wow, this is fantastic and the sound is amazing!"