Situated just 20 minutes outside Amsterdam, The Mail Company is a bar/restaurant which transposes effortlessly into a 600-capacity dance venue on weekend nights, occupying the site of a former post office in Z, which was converted 21 years ago.
Owned by the Hiemstra family in the town of Zaandam, Holland for the past 14 years (and fronted by son, Nick), the venue recently underwent a major overhaul of its interior infrastructure, including the sound system and multimedia to keep it at the cutting edge.
The venue’s resident turntablist, DJ Frenz (real name Frans Eehoorn) had recommended Milco Merk of Merk Lighting, whose work can be seen regularly both around the clubs and hotels of Amsterdam as well as out of the festival circuit.
The Mail Company is divided into two distinct rooms, on either side of the DJ booth, with a separate, low-level café at front of house. Merk knew that the sound system would not only need to be sufficiently versatile but display wide dispersion characteristics that would provide even coverage internally and keep the place rocking with Top 40 and House music until 6 am on the weekends.
At the same time containment was an issue in view of its town center location. Thus careful speaker placement was essential to focus the sound internally.
Merk and his company will shortly be installing a QSC BASIS 914lz through a QSControl.net network, to enable amplifier monitoring over Ethernet, to complement the pre-programmable NAC-100 network audio controllers (sited at the bar and the DJ booth). “It’s important that we can health check the system online and at the same time give the staff local remote access via a simple, custom-created user interface,” he says.
For his primary system he opted for two compact QSC WideLine 8 line array systems, with hangs of three WL3082 enclosures flown above the booth seating in the main room. He then turned to QSC’s ModularDesign range, deploying six QSC MD-S215 (2 x 15in) subs, stacked in pairs and recessed into the three support columns, spaced along the edge of the restaurant areas.
Sitting above and set back are two pairs of QSC MD F152/64r loudspeakers, arrayed and bracketed together in trapezoidal ‘wedge’ clusters to provide equally wide coverage.
“These provide enormous power and are perfect for smaller environments,” says Merk, who has manufactured his own custom brackets for the purpose. “We have rotated the 60-degree horn vertically to give it more spread, and inverted it, with the 12-inch LF transducer at the top.”
Infill duties are handled by ten QSC AD-CI52ST recessed ceiling speakers are divided between the two rooms in a distributed system, run off a four-channel CX254.
Stepping down to the front café are five QSC AcousticDesign AD-S82H loudspeakers providing coverage at front-of-house, while further AD-S52 loudspeakers provide background sound in the hallway and restrooms.
Finally, in the highly-specified DJ booth are a pair of QSC AD-S282H (with dual 8in high-powered woofers) providing the DJs with generous reference sound.
All the loudspeakers receive separate feeds via series of low impedance two-channel QSC CX amplifiers. These include CX702, CX502 and CX1102 amplifiers, while a pair of QSC PowerLight PL380 amplifiers run the WideLine 8 LF and a PL325 powers the top end.
Stored away at the rear of the venue, in preparation for the summer, when the Mail Company’s activities can extend outside onto the terrace, are four QSC HPR153i powered loudspeakers – a portable system perfect for those big national events such as Queen’s Day.
Nick Hiemstra says the club’s conversion – from grand café to the town’s leading dance venue – is far from finished. The family has already sold the second floor of its premises (which had been trading as a separate club) and next year plans to purchase the remainder of the adjacent post office building; then they will knock through to create an ever larger space.