Kensington Close Hotel & Spa recently completed an impressive £40m renovation in celebration of its 50th anniversary, and this extension project included new conference and banqueting suites.

But situated in a prestigious London location, just off High Street Kensington, the hotel had a problem with sound escapement to the nearby properties, and so it brought in CP Sound’s Colin Pattenden to advise on sound containment and possible acoustic treatment on the advice of the council. At the same time Pattenden sought the optimum sound system for the flagship, 230 seat Balmoral event space, since this is reconfigurable between one or two spaces, and operable in theatre, classroom, party or boardroom modes.

“The council had suggested that the hotel look at sound threshholds and I put together a scenario I knew would work — based on JBL’s new PRX 400 series,” explained the CP Sound MD.

Introduced as a replacement for the popular MRX series, the installers specified ten PRX412M tops, with 90° x 50° dispersion, which have been designed to provide the sensitivity, frequency response and power handling needed to address a multitude of different audio requirements.

Where LF extension is required CP Sound have provided five PRX418S single 18in subs, to create a system capable of generating 135 dB of full-range, high quality audio. These are powered by a combination of 5 x Crown XLs 1500 (in bridge mode, driving the subwoofers), 4 x Crown XLs 2000 (tops), a Crown XLs 1000 (driving the JBL Control Series DJ monitors) and 6 x Crown XLs 2500 (further top boxes). I THINK THIS MAY NEED CHECKING. WHICH JBL CONTROL MODEL FOR DJ MONS?

But this tells only half the story. Because the room can be split into two, four of the PRX412M’s are back facing. “If there’s a wedding at one end and a dance at the other the volume levels can be adjusted accordingly,” he said.

Clever processing was required to achieve this and the gain structures have been preset into a pair of dbx DriveRack PA+ processors; these can be configured as 2-in and either 2-, 4- or 6-out, run in 2- or-3-way stereo or straight through.

Easy to set up, the device’s Auto Level Wizard will fine tune the level settings of each speaker while the Auto EQ Wizard will further optimise the sound and AFS Wizard will automatically set filters to eliminate any feedback during performances.

This last function, says Colin Pattenden, is essential, for among the source inputs are a pair of AKG Perception Wireless handheld SR 45 mics. “These are simple plug-and-play mics, perfect for the task, and the DriveRack anti-feedback filters ensure the sound remains crystal clear,” he says. 

But the room’s success is not only due to the tight sound control. Clever loudspeaker mounting, using an assembly of Powerdrive brackets, CLD hook and plate and wing nuts, ensure they can be repositioned and demounted entirely when necessary. (CORRECT?)

CP Sound have also provided two DJ plug-in points while for private events clients’ iPods will often provide a further source.

The JBL solution has quickly shown it is more than fit for purpose. “The PRX 400 series is not bulky but has a high level output — and along with the sub provides total versatility, whether the hotel is hosting a disco or a conference.” Pattenden also praises the attributes of the PRX418S. “The sensitivity, output and frequency response are excellent and it delivers a good, highly intelligible sound.”

Having satisfied the noise requirements of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (aided by the removal of a glass conservatory at the rear) CP Sound are content in knowing they have provided owners, Cola Hotels, with a versatile and highly controlled solution — thanks to the tools in the Harman Professional portfolio.

These were supplied by UK and Ireland distributors, Sound Technology Ltd.