Monkey Bar, India

Creating a solid audio experience requires more than just a powerful system. At Monkey Bar in Chennai we discover how industry knowhow and a smart installation go hand in hand.

The perfect recipe to an atmospheric bar experience requires a solid audio system as well as the expertise and knowhow to place sound in the right place at the right time. At the Monkey Bar in Chennai, India, a reliable QSC audio system went hand-in-hand with smart placement to create a truly unforgettable atmosphere.

Sean de Souza, the person responsible for executing the project, explained: “We came on to the Monkey Bar project through an architect who realised that we understood what needs to be done. That’s how the install happened. It all happened throughout possibly the worst time, through the Covid-19 pandemic, so it was very difficult for the owners, but the bar opened on April 8, 2021 and continues to operate in line with government regulations and directives.”

Personal touch was a key factor for Sean in securing the project as he elaborated: “The relationship developed because of the trust factor; I met with the owners of the bar and they were very instrumental in the selection of QSC for the project. QSC in India is quite sought after in terms of product, service and people, so it was quite easy to connect everybody and install a QSC system.”

The South of India has seen an explosion of bars opening, and with that explosion comes a need to differentiate and offer clientele an experience that will define their night out. The growth has stuttered as the pandemic situation evolves but operators are holding on to a silver lining.

They believe that eventually pent-up demand will be unleashed. This means that while operations are disrupted, operators are still moving forward with establishing new venues and upgrading existing ones.

Sean clarified the state of the nightlife sector in India in this moment: “Bangalore has always been the ‘pub capital’ of India. Only in comparison to Delhi is there competition. There might actually be as many or more pubs in Bangalore as Delhi. Chennai is very inclusive, it’s a smaller crowd. The real limiting factor to the growth of the sector in the south is that there are no licences, the government has stopped issuing new licences and people have to buy an existing licence which has put a cap on the total number of venues. But last year in Chennai, [the government] released a number of new licences and those have been taken up and there are many bars coming up.”

He continues: “The South, it’s a price sensitive market. They are brand-conscious as well, so they want to use a brand that they know. Because there are so many bars opening, the ones that open in the last three years risk becoming forgotten if they are not able to make an impact.”

Sean has experience both behind the bar as a bartender, and as a DJ, which allowed him to understand the needs and requirements of an effective audio system that would deliver a premium experience for all.

Sean said: “I understand which area people are going to gravitate to, I’m never going to put the main system at the main entrance of the bar. People need to get a feel for the place, you have to create the experience so creating sound at the right place is extremely important. Because most bars are a lounge and ‘party’ hybrid, you have to understand the place to understand where the system needs to be so that the audio can go to the right places.”

The Monkey Bar is part of a franchise run by Olive Bar, providing a relaxed environment to enjoy recreationally or to have a business meeting. Sean said: “It’s not very high energy; the emphasis is on food and cocktails, but the owners wanted to have a bit of a party atmosphere, because who doesn’t like to listen to music or have a party on a Friday or a Saturday.”

Having established direct contact with the architect helped Sean with the project as he detailed: “We normally come in when the architect’s done, unless it’s a nightclub. The design and ambience usually take precedence over AV. But because we know the architect, we were able to provide our input and requirements at the start. AV is a massive part of any nightlife venue and we keep telling people that it’s the sound and video that creates the experience. The architect got it, so it was easy.”

The system itself is effective and straightforward, with the client requiring audio in terms of BGM during the day and a DJ system at night, with options to expand for karaoke night or a sports game on TV. There are two options for DJ consoles, with Sean providing an ‘event-based’ console which can be moved depending on the needs and requirements of the end user.

Monkey Bar requested a full QSC system right off the bat, allowing Sean to quickly source the required products for the installation. Sean said: “They were convinced that they wanted the QSC audio system, and it just works so there was no argument from my side.”

QSC’s E series of loudspeakers was installed around the venue to cater to the bar’s various needs, using E10 loudspeakers for higher-end, low energy areas. Around the bar area, a makeshift dance floor area has been created, supported by two E15 loudspeakers and E18 subwoofers.

The speakers are powered by GXD 8 amplifiers with a Q-Sys Core 510i processor serving to manage it all. The Core is used as the DSP, transmitting audio over analogue copper wire.

Reviewing the project Sean said: “The number one problem that we have with nightlife venues, pubs and bars is that we keep getting called back to troubleshoot. This is of course taxing and coupled with the fact that adequate maintenance might not be part of operational procedures there is somewhat of an understanding that this is just the way things are in our business. But one way to make sure that this problem is solved is to have a bulletproof system, which QSC is.”

He continues: “In the worst case scenario, if a speaker breaks, we are reliant on the manufacturer for assistance. With QSC, I can tell my clients with confidence that if a QSC speaker breaks I can come over pull it down and have a replacement up on the same day because I am confident of QSC’s customer service. Supporting their partners is extremely important to the QSC team in India.”

Sean closed: “We created a space that delivers on what Monkey Bar wanted and also delivers for everyone who visits Monkey Bar. The system is really flexible to be able to adapt to any use case that the operators might have and it has been designed in a way to allow them to really expand the application in the future if they want.”

Article Categories