Continuing our tour around Malta has to offer, we cover four more of the top picks using the best in amplification and processing.
Blue Beach Club: Dine Dance, Repeat
As with many venues on the islands, having an ocean-side location is central to success, and Blu Beach is located toward the north of Malta, in the resort region of Mellieha, which just happens to have Malta’s largest sandy beach.
Formerly a successful restaurant, the venue was reopened in 2018, and appeals to a chilled out crowd who appreciate the stunning ocean views and proximity to the amazing beach. The restaurant heritage has not been forgotten, and significant indoor areas are open for dining, with regular live music in the week, from a variety of local musicians, with the emphasis on keeping things relaxed.
To step up the vibe at weekends and to attract more diverse acts and DJs the owners decided that it was time to invest in a bespoke installation, and turned to FutureTech for advice on what was the best approach.
Given the nature of the venue and the layout, it was decided that a distributed approach to the audio was going to be the best fit. This did not mean that the installed system had to be compromised with low quality ceiling speakers and poor amplifiers – by utilising small stand-alone cabinets and discrete subs, a powerful but subtle solution was realised.
Using Funktion One’s arguably neatest compact range – the F101 and F81 two way cabinets, and spreading smaller subs throughout the spaces, a full range powerful system that had the accuracy for acoustic live acts, and the power and clarity for weekend DJ sessions.
A total of 20 full range cabinets were discretely distributed throughout the restaurant and outdoor bar areas, with 6 of the smallest bass reflex subs in the Funktion One line-up – the F115s – doing bass duties.
Amplification was provided by MC2’s latest Delta Series amplifiers, which have been making friends all over Malta due, in part, to their unique features including the clever use of DSP and non-options in the line-up.
Jason Kelly, Technical Sale Manager for MC2 Audio, explains further:
“All of the DSP enabled amps in the Delta Series have an additional four channels’ worth of DSP that is available on four aux outputs. This is wholly independent of the DSP used for the power amp channels and can be used for feeding other traditional amplifiers or other Delta non-DSP amps.”
The entire Blu Beach system is driven from four Delta Series amps – two with DSP and two without. Whilst the amps can be fitted with networked audio, this was not used for the system, as all four amplifiers are in a rack together and there was no need for sending audio to other amp racks as with mammoth install at Uno Village.
Stefan Farrugia, who heads up FutureTech, explained there were still advantages using the combination of DSP and non-DSP models:
“By making careful choices in how we configured the system, it allows us to put parts of it in standby when not in use, so cutting down on power consumption, heat generation and noise. When the DSP amps are in standby, the processing is still running so can still control any external amplifiers connected. The system is in use 15 hours a day, seven days a week so this is real-life consideration.”
The system consisted of a Delta 40 DSP, and Delta 100 DSP, and one of each of the non-DSP versions, 12 channels totalling a substantial available power just under 30,000W. This might seem excessive, considering the size of the full range cabinets, but, as Stefan noted:
“This is a real giant killer – can play at low levels during the day and still sound like a hi-fi system, and then can be turned up at night to really get going with surprising power and depth!”
Tex Mex South: Beef with Bass
The original Tex-Mex restaurant was established on the island with a proud history dating back to 1997. In a fiercely competitive market, it’s rare for an eating establishment to hold its own for such a long period, without closing and “reinventing” itself, but it seems that the Tex-Mex formula of quality casual dining and a great bar has won them many loyal customers and glowing recommendations.
The popularity of the “experience” led the owner, Marco Muscat, to expand on the concept and open a second restaurant, but to appeal to a wider audience, Tex Mex South incorporates a lounge/club concept allowing early evening dining to flow into drinks by the sea as the sun sets, and then just carry on into late night clubbing…all without leaving to queue somewhere else.
Being given a clean slate with the new venue, located in a beautiful bay at the south of the island, Marco was keen to make an impression, and decided that the visual impact of a DAS Soundforce system was needed. Having been a long time fan of MC2 amps, he also wanted to use them again to drive the Soundforce and turned to FutureTech to spec his killer system.
Stefan explains the background:
“Marco has been a fan of MC2 since before Futuretech even existed! He used to run a successful nightclub here in Malta, and back in the day has used T Series and loved the sound of them. Whilst they are still available, the idea of simplifying things by using a combination of DSP amps and non-DSP amps (with the same sound signature) appealed as well so I specified Delta Series, reducing his amp count to 3!”
This gave Marco 10 channels of MC2 power amplification to drive the main SoundForce system comprising 4 x 3 way high impact SF158 full range cabs driven by a pair of Delta 80 DSP, coupled to a pair of SF221 subs on a Delta 120 (no DSP). The amps also took care of the Vantec 15 used as DJ monitors.
The eight aux outputs across the two Delta 80 DSPs could then be used very cost effectively to provide processed and protected audio to the smaller outdoor parts of the system through the use of existing amplifier stock. Marco was keen to run with the Soundforce theme for all speakers, and even these indoor and outdoor fills were the capable SF10 two way passive cabs. A couple of additional DAS Artec S15 subs propped up the bottom end of the outside area.
Marco has been delighted with the end result:
“MC2 have not let me down! These new Deltas sound so rich and powerful, it’s amazing for a lightweight amp. The onboard processing saves time and money and was really easy to work with and sounds fantastic – it’s breathed new life into even my older amps. My love affair with MC2 carries on!”
Cafe Del Mar: Reputation is Everything
Café Del Mar is one of those names that has become synonymous with chill-out dance music, having started in Ibiza and known around the world as a guarantee of high class relaxed clubbing. The brand has franchised into 11 locations and was established in Malta in July 2013 with a bespoke architect-designed venue. With a timeless white theme throughout, it includes many bars, an infinity pool, an indoor restaurant that links to the pool deck, and VIP dining and pool access, all offering panoramic views of the Mediterranean.
It also forms part of the Malta National Aquarium complex and each year has expanded to its current capacity of 4000 diners, dancers and revellers, with a packed club every weekend from July through to the middle of October.
The Funktion One sound system that forms the heart of the entire complex has been repainted in white – in stark contrast to F1’s normal signature purple – to allow the audio to blend into the décor, not shout its presence. This is the essence of Café Del Mar – high on quality, low on show.
MC2 and XTA have been installed in the venue since it opened its doors back in 2013, with the main system growing in size and complexity year on year. As precursors to the latest Delta and DPA/DNA Series of DSP enabled amplifiers from each company, the venue owners chose to use the amplifiers that Funktion One themselves rebrand for shipping with their installations – E Series amplifiers from MC2 and the install version of the 4 Series processor – the DC1048 from XTA.
Covering such a large area as the club does, there are a large number of smaller full range cabinets, augmented by subs buried into engineered rock sections under groups of palms, providing shade and ideal spots for anchoring speaker cabs!
With some exclusive beach-side residences backing onto the club as it stretches along the coastline, noise pollution is a concern, especially at weekend when there can be thousands of revellers on the site until the early hours of the morning.
Stefan, who you will know by now (!) commented on this dilemma:
“It’s a bit of tightrope they walk at Café Del Mar – the system is fantastic quality and has been added to year on year as the outdoor areas have crept along the coast in the bay, but the overall volume has probably reached its natural limit before the complaints from local residents would start! With nothing to prevent the music from traveling, a lower distributed approach works so much better than a massive dance stack by the DJ and the music bouncing off the pool and the decks…”
Adopting this strategy, the current system comprises a not inconsiderable number 2 way passive boxes and subs – 12 Funktion One F1201s take care of the higher levels closer to the DJ booth and dancefloor, with their smaller siblings – the F101s being positioned along the edge of the building at pool side – 18 in total. There are a further 12 F81 two way boxes which take care of ancillary duties such as VIP areas and entrance areas.
Dotted around the venue at strategic points are six F218 subs. The DJ monitoring is catered for by a further pair of F1201s and a pair of BD118 single 18” bass reflex subs.
That’s a lot of speakers to drive and process and protect, and taking care of that falls to three XTA DC1048 processors. As all of the top cabinets are 2-way passive, the crossover duties are limited to the sub/top point, with some additional attention paid to EQ for daytime and evening applications, and careful zoning that allows the system to be effectively controlled. With 42 full range boxes to look after, this scale system rivals concert systems in scale if not absolute SPL!
Five MC2 E100 amps provide 20 amp channels of up to 2800W per output which is split across zones of speakers in stereo, and mono feeds for subs and some smaller areas.
Stefan highlighted the ability of the DC1048s to automatically switch configurations using their built-in calendar and scheduling:
“The processing can be programmed to change the entire feel of the venue transparently at any time of day or night – adjusting EQ, muting or unmuting certain areas, turning subs up in level, or even changing the input sources from a background feed to a DJ in the booth.”
Having evolved over the past five years, it’s been easy to expand the system and increase the processing and amplifier count along the way.
“All summer long Café Del Mar is not only bathed in beautiful sunsets, but also incredibly warm audio that invites you to linger all evening – it’s magical!”
MedAsia Playa: Pioneering Sound
Aiming to attract a fun crowd, MedAsia prides itself on its restaurant cuisine which is a fusion of Asian and Mediterranean flavours – start at sushi and end at hotpots – somewhere along the way there’ll be something for everyone. Alongside the aptly named Fusion restaurant, there is also the Playa – nothing to do with Burning Man, but maybe the feeling of freedom might inspire revellers to get off their poolside sunbeds and straight into the sea!
With such a lively vibe, Playa has attracted its fair share of big names from across the world of dance music, including Pete Tong, Claptone, and David Morales, who was headlining this year’s opening party in May.
The system responsible for keeping the players playing has been a recent install by RS Trading in Malta, headed up by Richard Demicoli. Richard explains the unique choice of Pioneer speakers, powered by MC2 Delta amplifiers.
“MedAsia was the ideal choice for one of the first Pioneer speaker system installs in Malta. So well known for their DJ connections, as well as their car and consumer hi-fi, Pioneer have been branching out into commercial and professional audio for a few years now. The system for Playa was not only cost-effective, but also the Pioneer name meant that there was an expectation for it to be of a certain standard. We needed to drive it with quality amplification and processing to get the best out of it, and I had heard great things with the F1 systems in the island, always working with MC2 amps.”
The system for Playa was not only cost-effective, but also the Pioneer name meant that there was an expectation for it to be of a certain standard. We needed to drive it with quality amplification and processing to get the best out of it, and I had heard great things with the Funktion One systems in the island, always working with MC2 amps.”
Ten of Pioneer’s latest XY Series top cabinets have been used – the XY81s, with just four of the XY118 subs needed to create a system that has both the impact for weekend club nights but also enough subtlety to be used for background music during the week.
Resident DJ TWISM loves the new the system:
“Just when you think you seen & especially heard it all, you come across a sound system from a brand that’s cemented & so iconic in the 21st century of international DJing. Being an International DJ & Music Producer for now 28 years and having played in the best clubs all over the world, this literally blew my mind out when we for the first time fired up the XY Sound System we installed here. This wouldn’t be possible without the heart of the system – amazingly just a pair of MC2 Delta amps.
Holy sh*t – what can I say, the sound is incredible immaculate & crystal clear, but also punchy & mad in its mid & low end you would never believe!”