Widely known as the setting of John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel, Cannery Row, and his 1954 sequel, Sweet Thursday, this historic area of Monterey occupies a unique niche in the nation’s cultural consciousness.
In the opening sentence of the former Steinbeck describes Cannery Row in dramatically contrasting terms, calling it ‘a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.’
Today the area is a major tourist draw and marine sanctuary, home to a large population of California sea lions, an increasing number of hotels, restaurants and some few fishing companies that add a layer of modern authenticity to what is an increasingly popular entertainment hub.
Although the Cannery Row of Steinbeck’s day collapsed along with the Monterey Bay fishing industry in the 1950’s, the area is now populated by a different sort of angler; people fishing for cold beers, good eats and good times.
Situated in an historic former Cannery and a one-time brothel the Cannery Row Brewing Company aims to deliver just that. Offering up seventy-three brews on tap, an extensive list of bottled beers and ciders, thirty brands of small batch bourbons and the talents of Executive Chef, Mark Ayers, formerly of the Highlands Inn and Pacific’s Edge restaurant and now culinary director of the Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine.
“It’s a gorgeous area,” says Nathaniel DiMaggio, project manager for Coastal Luxury Management, the developer of the project. Although it does lack some of the hipper variety of establishments more commonplace in larger cities the Cannery Row Brewing Company will help fill that hole, DiMaggio believes.
As well as appealing to a wide demographic with a combination of vintage industrial style, great food and beer fueled fun in one of the buildings allegedly actually mentioned in Steinbeck’s book.
Beer fueled fun and a reasonably comfortable dining experience don’t always go hand in hand, however. That was the motivating factor behind the choice of a suite of Tannoy V Series and CMS in-ceiling loudspeakers powered by Lab.gruppen C Series amplifiers for the gastro-pub’s audio system.
DiMaggio’s primary concern was clear, intelligible playback of program music in both the Cannery’s restaurant and bar areas. A system that would provide maximum intelligibility and evenly distributed sound, zoned to allow a degree of control over in each area, with enough power to allow staff to provide high energy music when necessary.
“We wanted the whole place to rock if need be,” DiMaggio says.
“It’s a big restaurant,” Gianetta says. “They needed something more substantial than your typical background music system loudspeaker. So I pushed him in the direction of buying a pro sound reinforcement type of loudspeaker and a large subwoofer.”
“Tannoy’s proprietary Dual Concentric driver has benefits in every application and the trend is more and more towards deploying these kind of devices,” he continues, be it in a concert setting or club application.
“Right out of the box the Tannoy performs well. You don’t have to do a lot of equalization, and they have symmetry in both the horizontal and vertical axis, where drivers that aren’t coincident don’t.”
Though DiMaggio had some experience with audio technology he wasn’t sure what amplifiers were best suited to the build so he went with Lab.gruppen based on Gianetta’s recommendation.
“The thing that’s cool about Lab’s C Series is that they’re versatile and can do 70 volt and low impedance on the same amplifier on different channels, which was great. And they’re super efficient both for heat and electrical usage.”
“We think the Lab.gruppen C Series are vastly superior to the other amps that are out there,” Gianetta said. “They allow you to set what kind of load you’re going to put on the amplifier per channel so you can run low impedance load or high impedance loads, because it has selectable VPL (Voltage Peak Limiter) that sets the peak voltage on the amplifier.”
The system consists of one Tannoy VS 218DR sub mounted in a corner over the bar on a custom steel bracket, covering the entire 4000 square foot bar/restaurant. In addition, three Tannoy V8’s are mounted in ‘U’ brackets on ceiling beams in the main bar area, angled so bartenders aren’t obliterated when the system is cranked, and driven by a Lab.gruppen C28:4X.
The remaining V8’s are distributed evenly throughout, covering the main dining area and entryway and driven by a Lab.gruppen C20:8X. Sound reinforcement for customer washrooms and the hallway adjacent to them is provided by five Tannoy CVS 4 in ceiling loudspeakers.
A number of third party loudspeakers are situated in an outdoor seating area built around three large fire pits. The system also includes Rane and SurgeX components, Crestron System Automation and Autopatch Video distribution.
While DiMaggio describes the Cannery as ‘sports oriented’, it is not, strictly speaking, a sports bar. Sporting events will be in heavy rotation on eleven Panasonic flat screens tied into the audio system, but only special events like the FIFA World Cup or Super Bowl will be broadcast on the main audio system.
Time on the build, DiMaggio stresses, was a commodity that was in very short supply. “We started in February and wanted to hit summer. So it was a year-long project crushed into three or four months.”
All system components were supplied by Oakland based Leo’s Professional Audio, who service, among others, A-list clients like George Lucas, as well as providing design/install services of A/V, lighting and acoustical solutions for a variety of churches, schools and sporting venues.
Although Graham Cooper, VP of Leo’s Professional Audio install division, regularly specifies Tannoy and Lab.gruppen for his own projects, this time out his mandate was very basic. “Pretty much, ‘“here’s what we need and we need it NOW,” he says with a laugh, adding that Leo’s Professional Audio technician, Gordon Fava, also worked on the Cannery install, loading and terminating the rack.
For DiMaggio’s part, he had never heard of Lab.gruppen or Tannoy prior to this build, he explains, but is so pleased, he intends to use Tannoy and Lab.gruppen again in an upcoming project.