The Irish Times Bar in Prague’s Old Town has become one of the first venues in the world to be installed with a Funktion-One F5 sound system. With residents all around, including directly above, owner Sean Curran sought a high-end audio solution that would deliver top-level performance and contain the sound within the venue.

When Curran called on Vice Audio – Funktion-One’s distributor for the Czech Republic – the three-storey venue had already tried out seven or eight different systems. Despite significant soundproofing, the result was always the same – sound spilling out into the surrounding environment and the inevitable complaints from neighbours. For a venue that has live music at the core of its offering, typically hosting three sessions a day, something had to be done.

“The overspill issue was obviously an important one, but we also want to provide the best experience for our customers,” says Curran. “We run a high-end operation – our customers deserve premium sound to go with the level of service we offer.”

As co-owner of Duplex, Curran was already familiar with the qualities of Funktion-One sound – albeit in a club environment. When The Irish Times Bar system was being designed, the loudspeaker manufacturer had recently launched its smallest ever speaker in the F5, which provides Funktion-One performance from an extremely compact footprint – an important consideration for a venue like The Irish Times Bar, with its low ceiling height.

Vice Audio’s Alex Limburg designed and programmed the system, which features 12 F5s around the venue, as well as two F1201s for the stage system. This combination means the stage system can run at a relatively low level and even coverage is achieved throughout, with no hotspots or overspill.

The system is controlled by NST Audio’s VMX88 processor (often described as live sound quality in an install product) and three VR1 remote control panels with NST’s proprietary D-Net software, which give the venue a customisable control system that’s easy to use. FFA amplifiers ensure quality is maintained throughout the audio chain.

The F5 has earned widespread acclaim since its launch earlier this year. Vice Audio’s Kevin Dobson comments: “It’s remarkable. You just don’t expect that level of performance from such a small speaker. We’re delighted with the result at The Irish Times.”

Discussing the new system, Curran said: “The sound is exceptional – clear and evenly spread. You get the same level and quality wherever you are in the venue and it’s contained, meaning no more issues with sound spilling outside the venue.

“Vice Audio are always great to work with. Despite the disruption caused by lockdown, the process has been very smooth and they’ve been very understanding. They’re always happy to go the extra step to make things exactly right.”

Photo credit: Ray Baseley