Music Box San Diego Unveils an All-VUE System

In the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy sits an upscale music venue that has quickly become a popular stop for a growing roster of national performing acts and A-list corporate clientele. Opened in 2015, Music Box has hosted such notable talent as Snoop Dogg, Halsey, Luis Fonsi, Rufus Du Sol, Jidenna, and Switchfoot, as well as private events for Lamborghini, Qualcomm, Sony, JP Morgan Chase, the US Navy, and Marriott, to name a few.

With its reputation on the rise and an increasingly packed calendar, General Manager, Joe Rinaldi along with the venue’s owners, recently decided that a full audio upgrade was in order. After looking closely at several options, Rinaldi selected an all-VUE solution based around the al-8 line array system and hs-221 ACM subwoofers.

“We definitely wanted a more versatile and robust system that would appeal to a higher caliber of talent,” explained Joe. “After hearing the VUE line arrays I was instantly impressed. I also liked the idea of having a collaborative relationship with a local company. Our previous system was from Europe, but VUE is practically in our backyard, which makes technical support and service aspects very easy.”

At 13,000 square feet and a capacity of 705, Music Box offers just enough space to attract national acts, while maintaining an intimate vibe that allows guests to feel connected and fully immersed in the musical experience. Visually, Music Box features a modern industrial-chic decor comprised of concrete, steel, glass, and wood. The main floor leads to a 30-foot tall open space with a unique and somewhat acoustically challenging three level listening area.

“With the split room and all the reflective surfaces, we knew that coverage was going to be tricky,” said VUE’s Technical Sales Manager, Greg Kirkland. “To make it even more challenging, a weight restriction limited the number of elements we could fly above the stage. We eventually came up with a creative way to split the arrays between flown and stage-stacked components. We used an EASE model to verify and tweak our design before proceeding to installation.”

The system’s unique split configuration has three al-8 elements flown from either side of the stage covering the top third level listening area. An additional four elements are installed atop a pair of custom shelves placed five feet above stage level directly beneath the flown arrays. The stacked elements deliver ideal coverage for both the main and mid-level listening areas. Low frequency comes courtesy of four hs-221 ACM subwoofers that are positioned across the front of the stage for maximum impact with minimal visual disruption. “The end result is very even coverage not only in the horizontal but vertical plane, which is quite challenging in a club with three floors of audience areas,” said Greg.

Ancillary support is provided by a selection of VUE h-Class high definition models. VUE h-5 dual 5-inch systems are deployed as front and balcony fill, while a single h-208 dual eight inch low profile system is ceiling mounted for delay fill at the entrance lobby and bar area.

Power and processing for the al-8 line array come by way of four rack-mount VUEDrive V6D Series Systems Engines. The h-5 fill speaker and the h-208 were ordered without the standard onboard VUEDrive electronics to ease weight and infrastructure concerns. Instead, a fully optimised rack-mount V4D Systems Engines provide all power and DSP for the two-ancillary h-Class systems. All five rack-mount VUEDrive Systems Engines and the onboard VUEDrive electronics in the subwoofers can be fully networked, with complete system control and monitoring available via SystemVUE software.

The system came online in December 2018, and after just two months of operation, Joe and his team couldn’t be more pleased with their decision. “Coverage is perfect, and the sound quality is absolutely amazing,” concluded Rinaldi. “We have had a lot of great successes over the years with different name brand systems at many different clubs. So, when we say we love our new VUE system, it really comes from the perspective of having heard it all. Even visiting engineers have commented on the overall impact and versatility. I’m not easily surprised, but this system surprises me night after night in all the best ways.”