Jands On The Waterfront

Newcastle’s iconic waterfront restaurant Scratchley’s On The Wharf has boldly expanded, adding the new bar and function space ‘Battlesticks at Scratchley’s’ to its western end. The new eye-catching, architect-designed space opens energetically to the water, stretching it’s white ‘wings’ that function as blinds to break-up the energy of the afternoon sun reflecting off the harbour. This has led some locals to dub the structure ‘Newcastle’s Opera House’. With the new build came the opportunity to update and expand the venue’s sound and vision capabilities, with local provider Your Vision installing an integrated system from Harman, supplied by Jands.

The new space not only includes the eponymous bar, but also new function rooms and kitchens. With total flexibility, the entire complex can be turned into a restaurant or bar, and the function rooms can be utilised stand-alone or summed together. Even the kitchens get their own independent AV zone. With Scratchley’s running entertainment and functions seven days a week, the new audio system had to be able to handle live performances, background music, meetings, and paging, all without an operator present. Brett Coxon and Your Vision chose a solution that integrates JBL loudspeakers, BSS processing, and Crown amplification.

“The new development has doubled Scratchley’s footprint,” explained Brett. “Battlesticks has raked ceilings on a 15 degree angle, with walls at 45 degrees to the architectural ‘wings’ that extend outside. There’s geometrically patterned acoustic tiles, and a strong aesthetic. I chose JBL Control 65P/T pendant speakers to fit in with the décor, and they really suit the room. The architect loved the idea and actually complemented the finished result! The space has a clean palette, with lots of white. We used white pendants and a silver-tinged figure-eight, double insulated cable to run down to the speakers. They’re all running on 100v line, tapped at 60W.”

The brief Brett was given for the Battlesticks PA was that performers and entertainers should not need to bring in any equipment. “To achieve that, I set up four input channels on the BSS-Blu 101 DSP that are patched via two XLRs, labelled mic one and two, and two combo jack/XLR connectors for instruments,” Brett expanded. “All the performers need to do is plug in their microphones, guitars, or keys. They’re then handed an iPad running Harman’s HiQnet software with a simple mixer interface. They have an output to stage for monitoring via a JBL EON610 as foldback.”

Five JBL Control 65P/T full range pendant speakers augmented by two JBL Control 60PS/T pendant subwoofers ably cover the bar’s patrons. “The pedants cover a circular area of about 3 ½ metres in diameter each at ear-height,” Brett continued. “We positioned the subs in the middle of the room, and we’ve got excellent coverage. The clarity is surprising. The space has a nice natural reverb, and it sounds fantastic. It’s had so much positive feedback. I took in my own guitar during set-up and was blown away that we could achieve that kind of sound with just pendant speakers.”

Your Vision updated the existing flat-roof sections of Scratchley’s with JBL Control 45C/T ceiling speakers, and added JBL Control 8128 and 8124 ceiling speakers to the bathrooms and kitchens. A cluster of JBL Control 25AV compact outdoor speakers run outside along the harbour esplanade, functioning as a paging system for Scratchley’s new take-away window. The multi-zone solution is designed around the use of the Crown DCI8|300N amplifier which supplies 300w per channel which are switchable in pairs between 100v line and low ohm operation to suit speaker requirement in each area. Two JBL CSMA 280s mixer amplifiers handle the feeds to the kitchens and bathrooms. All audio is processed by the 12 in, eight out BSS-Blu 101 DSP.

“The BSS Blu-101 handles the operations in the function rooms automatically,” said Brett. “There’s a local input in each zone, with iPad control, and a master PC in the main rack. Each zone has source selection and volume control, which can be isolated to local or combine from the other rooms, with each also having the ability to bring in the feed from the bar or restaurant. If it’s busy, every space can combine to become part of the restaurant or part of bar. Even the kitchens have their own independent speakers, inputs and volume controls, which means we can automatically schedule them to clone the main areas at a lower volume during service.”

Brett chose to install an integrated system from Harman for some sound practical reasons. “When you put together a system from multiple manufacturers, it’s never really complete,” mused Brett. “And if something’s not right, you never get the support you need. I’ve put in a similar system to this in another venue, and I’ve found that with one supplier, you support them and you get the support back. That’s what I’ve got with Jands – they’re the only supplier who can cover all the bases of what we do. They’ve been excellent with loan stock, demos and support. I’ve now got several jobs on the go, and Jands are assisting with each of them. Yes, the products are great, but it’s the support that’s really important to us.”