New Orleans’ latest traditional jazz venue, the Little Gem Saloon, recently celebrated its rebirth and grand opening. The two-floor venue features two new, state-of-the-art sound reinforcement systems consisting of Outline loudspeakers and iMode networking and control technology.
Outline’s iMode-based sound system provides the venue a crystal-clear, transparent sonic foundation for delivering authentic live jazz.
Located at the head of New Orleans’ famed “Jazz Alley” on the 400 block of South Rampart Street, the Little Gem Saloon has been resurrected on the site of its original 1903 location. Jazz historians unanimously agree that no other single location is more significant to the founding and evolution of jazz than the Little Gem Saloon.
“When I was approached to provide a sound design for the Little Gem Saloon, I immediately thought of Outline,” says Michael Paz, a New Orleans-based sound designer and music industry veteran. “Knowing that we would have two separate performance spaces one floor apart, Outline’s iMode technology was the clear and obvious choice.
“The ability to monitor, control and, if need be, run the same program material through both systems simultaneously, was really appealing. Plus having all that control at the engineer’s fingertips via Outline’s iMode app for iPad and iPhone really gave Outline an advantage over other systems.”
The upper and lower performance spaces of the Little Gem Saloon have almost identical front-of-house systems based on three Outline DVS12P-iSP self-powered, 12-inch, two-way trapezoidal cabinets arrayed in a left-center-right configuration.
A total of five Outline iSM112-iSP cabinets, two on the ground floor and three in the upper level space dubbed “The Ramp Room” in homage to Rampart Street, act as floor monitors in the venue. In addition, one Outline DVS118SW-iSP single 18-inch subwoofer rounds out the installation. All iSP designated speakers are iMode-capable.
The iMode technology embeds a Linux-based CPU with an integrated DSP chip, parameter control software and Web server right into its powered speaker systems, thereby eliminating outboard gear between the console and power amplifier. Audio conversion is done at 24-bit/192 kHz resolution, with users having real-time control over levels, delay, EQ and shelving filters per speaker.
iMode also allows the user to monitor performance parameters across the system, including VU-metering, selected preset parameters, clip and limiter status, amplifier overheating and protection. These parameters can be accessed using an iPad with a dedicated Outline software app or via any standard Web browser on any Internet-capable device.
“In a historic venue like the Little Gem Saloon, the sound system should be pleasing to the eye, but invisible to the ear,” said Tom Bensen, Outline North America’s senior vice president and managing director. “When it comes to sound reinforcement needs, traditional jazz music is akin to classical music.
“The transparent, crisp and natural sound that the DVS12P-iSP delivers is perfectly suited to reproducing and reinforcing each instrument and performance nuance note for note, without coloration. I was very pleased with the way the systems blended in each of the performance spaces both visually and sonically.”
From 1903 to 1909, Frank Doroux’s original Little Gem Saloon indelibly linked a series of three late-1880s Italianate terrace houses at 445-449 South Rampart Street to the birth of America’s greatest indigenous art form, jazz. The club became the watering hole for jazz legends such as Buddy Bolden, Freddie Keppard, and other early performers of the neighboring Back-of-Town district (known today as Mid-City and Central City). The original Little Gem closed its doors in 1909, re-opening on January 20, 2013