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Golden sound for Beirut’s Buddha

Set in the Lebanese capital Beirut, Buddha Bar is one of the city’s classiest nightspots and part of an expanding global chain which features venues from Kiev to Monaco, Sao Paulo and Casablanca. Playing a wide variety of music, Elie and Maya Louaizi, owners of Beirut-based SPL-Sound Pressure Level (SPL), chose Alcons loudspeakers as the ideal audio system for the venue’s svelte clientele.

Stepping through Buddha Bar’s main doors and into its small entrance does not prepare you for the sumptuous and elaborate space that is beyond. Built on three levels and decked in exotic red and gold décor, Buddha Bar features an open plan design with a 15 metre ceiling height, a ground floor restaurant and sushi bar area - featuring a majestic statue of Buddha - a middle-level reception bar, and a top level bar, finger food and circulation area which is home to the venue’s DJ booth.

“The major challenge for us was the huge volume of space to cover and none of the areas of the venue being separated from each other. Another factor was that there was nothing to absorb the sound on the walls,” says Maya Louaizi. “The potential for the sound dissipating in the space was very real, so we had to choose speakers which were powerful enough to cope with this, but not driven so hard that they were distorting.”

Amongst the challenges that had to be overcome were the ceiling height, architectural restrictions, the material used in the construction, décor and the venue’s intended use.
“Buddha Bar functions as a restaurant and pub, but later in the evenings it becomes a 2500-capacity nightclub. Both functions have to be served by the same loudspeaker system,” says Maya. “We needed speakers with amazing performance and high-reliability.”

The system designed and installed by SPL features 16 Alcons TS3 single 6.5" loudspeakers covering the ground floor restaurant, ceiling mounted to point down towards the diners. Three VR8 8” + pro-ribbon loudspeakers are mounted on wall brackets in the reception bar area, while 18 ceiling-mounted VR8 and six floor mounted BF302 twin 15” subs cover the mezzanine. Two  further VR8s are installed in the DJ booth as monitors and the whole system is powered by 10 pcs. ALC2ST amplifiers with SDP processing.

“No extra equipment or processing was needed to manage the system,” SPL’s Elie Louaizi asserts. “The Alcons system offered amazing simplicity, a true plug and play solution.”

“Alcons speakers were an excellent choice for the distribution pattern we designed,” say Elie and Maya. “We thought that aiming the speakers from the ‘outside in’ was the best solution to prevent sound interference between floors and to ensure that audio was only targeted at the desired areas.” “They were also the only speakers that could perfectly reproduce every type of music played at Buddha Bar; it’s as if they were specifically manufactured for each style. When you’re in the venue, you feel that every song is being played live. It’s as if you’re touching the music, rather than hearing it.

“Resident DJs Mike Tohme and Roland Boueiry ‘test drove’ the system by playing their regular CDs through it and reported hearing beats and sounds that they had never heard before.”

Maya continues, ““We were looking for a solution that integrated quality, endurance and no late callouts for us, but more importantly no headaches for our clients. Alcons delivered compact size, power, intelligibility and hi-fi sound. What else can you offer to satisfy a client?”





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