Opened by founder Bryn Lewis in 1994 as a 300-capacity music venue, The Brook has a long history of supporting original music. However, the venue had sported the same second-hand sound system since its opening, even after the capacity doubled to 600 in 2004, and after 25 years of service the system was starting to feel the strain.
“It had become a little bit like running a car with a classic engine where you have to drive it carefully and look after it,” says Nick Lewis, director at The Brook. “It had got to a stage where you weren’t able to replace a lot of its components.”
Another director at The Brook, Dylan Clarke, adds, “When we first came in it sounded great. When it moved to 600 it was still the same rig, and ever since that time, I’ve thought that it’s been running right at the top of what it can do.”
Following a system failure that left the venue without sound for a week, the team at The Brook worked closely with the Music Venues Trust and Arts Council England to secure funding that would allow them to invest in a new, modern sound system. “Having hit 25 years, we were thinking ‘how do we make sure we’re here for another 25 years?’ and that’s what we’ve been trying to do in trying to find a new system,” says Lewis. This led to the trial of a number of different options from various brands before opting for TW AUDiO.
“Working with Sound Advice AV, we initially brought in a demo system to trial it in the space, then working with the team at The Brook we fine-tuned this to ensure it was the best solution for the venue,” says Greg Oliver, sales and technical support at TW AUDiO UK. “We have used various different cabinets from across the range. We’ve got the T24N downstairs, which is our legendary product, coupled with the T20s upstairs that use the same compression driver, so we’ve got continuity there. We have a double 21-inch BSX sub and then we have two single 18-inch B18 subs to go either side of that. It’s chalk and cheese to what they had before. It’s a modern system that has all been time aligned and set up correctly. From our point of view, it’s a great install.”
The result has been a sonic transformation for the venue. “It’s amazing, it’s breathed new life into the venue,” says Edd Higdon, production manager and house sound engineer. “We’re trying to make it so that everyone gets the same experience when they walk in the room, no matter where they are. The new system means the sound is now a lot cleaner, there’s a lot more top-end and a lot more mid band as well, and it is now a lot more uniform in the room. That has been so important for us, because it is all about customer experience.”
“We can now hear frequencies that have never been heard in this room,” adds Clarke. “We’ve had engineers come back who have worked here before and didn’t enjoy working with what we had, come in and listen to the new system before gigs and be really impressed with how it now sounds. It’s a real complement to the TW system.”