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Martin Audio The Choice For New Chicago Mega Sports Bar/Nightclub

The system needed versatility to meet multiple applications

By PSW Staff December 17, 2012

Inside the new John Barleycorn North in Chicago, a combo sports bar and nightclub outfitted with Martin Audio loudspeakers

Systems integrator Encompass Technologies just completed a sound and video installation for John Barleycorn River North, a sizeable new restaurant/sports bar/nightclub in downtown Chicago, headed by Martin Audio loudspeakers and amplifiers.

Encompass Technologies has worked on a host of other venues with owners Sam Sanchez and Michael Gonzalez, and as Tim Pickett, principal for Encompass, explains, “There are four John Barleycorns and we’ve been involved with all of them, two from the ground up and two complete rehabs. Sam and Michael also own two Moe’s Cantina clubs that we worked on.

“For John Barleycorn River North, they definitely raised the bar several notches with a substantial budget of $285,000,” adds Pickett. “Unlike the club in Schaumburg, where there was a focus on live sound, John Barleycorn North functions as a sports bar and restaurant during the day and becomes a nightclub with a DJ upstairs that can hold up to 1,500 people on Friday and Saturday nights.

“The audio system had to be very versatile so they can turn it up late at night for that nightclub sound and feel while providing more controlled sound levels for the sports bar patrons so that everybody can hear it the same way.”

Specifically, the system includes 32 Martin Audio AQ28 loudspeakers throughout the club, along with six AQ212s, four AQ215s, three F12s, all drive by Martin Audio MA 4.8Q and 6.8Q amplifiers. Two Symetrix Jupiter 8 systems supply turnkey audio processing. Additional system optimization was performed by Jack Alexander of Columbia College in Chicago.

John Barleycorn North replaces a two-story antique store that was completely gutted and outfitted with new furnishings, audio and a 72-screen video system including five video walls. According to Pickett, “part of the décor includes a glass roof that’s about 50 feet long and 20 feet wide and because they’re located in downtown Chicago, you can look up and see nothing but skyscrapers all around you. It’s a very impressive venue.”

Designed for optimal sports viewing, the video system includes 12 Cima 46-inch LCD and 24 Tovis 46-inch LCD video panels, 35 Samsung 60-inch plasma panels, two Samsung 46-inch LED panels and a Sharp 80-inch LED panel. The video switching system for both floors includes one Knox Chameleon 16X64 HD Matrix upstairs and one Knox Chameleon 16X32 HD Matrix downstairs, with a Knox touchscreen control system that functions via iPad.

The project took about 14 months from start to finish,  and the club has been up and running for about three weeks.

“I’ve always been really impressed with Martin Audio,” concludes co-owner Sanchez. “We’ve been using the brand since 2008 at our locations. What’s great is, that at any level, the sound is clear and intelligible. It works if you’re watching the game, or partying the night away. Encompass has done a great job installing the systems and making them just right. I really love that I can call them 24 hours a day any day for tech support.”

Martin Audio


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