The Ministry Makes History
Wednesday, 14 November 2001
The Ministry of Sound has unveiled the only DTS Digital Surround DJ station and multi-channel sound system in the world. The booth - relocated to the far end of the main room - is the first to incorporate eight decks, along with seven sound mixers and seven other input sources in a DTS Surround Sound environment. ProMedia Systems were called in to specify the system, working closely with the venue’s technical consultant, Keith Hardy.MoS selected a Martin Audio Blackline monitoring system to meet the high-system specification of its newly-commissioned DTS 5.1 Digital Surround DJ station and multi-channel sound system - the first in the world. Aware that other superclubs had adopted the Blackline F12 for their house booths, the Ministry of Sound decided to go one better, and on the recommendation of ProMedia’s Matt Bate, Hardy asked to demo a pair of Blackline F15s at the club over a busy weekend.

As a result, house engineer Mauro Tarable and resident DJ Sandy Rivera, gave an unqualified thumbs up - and Hardy extended his order to five of the F15s, to be run in conjunction with an S218 - creating the highest-impact combination in the Backline series. The F15s are arranged in the traditional 5.1 configuration, with the centre speaker mounted horizontally, horn down. The sub is recessed in an enclosure at the centre rear. Martin Audio sales manager Simon Bull commented: "The requirement at the Ministry is far more comprehensive than normal, owing to the 5.1 digital surround sound design. Using the F15s makes this one serious system, which underlines the importance now given to DJ monitoring."

For maximum slam, the Blackline F15 delivers dynamic full-frequency sound. Powerful 15"/3" voice coil bass drivers and 1.4" exit compression drivers with rotatable horns are housed in a versatile multi-angle enclosure configurable for vertical or horizontal use, allowing the large format HF driver of the F15 to really cut through. The most powerful sub in the range, the Blackline S218 is designed for maximum impact. Its two rugged 18"/4" coil LF drivers are built to withstand the large excursions typical of such high level sub-bass reproduction, whilst large ports ensure optimum tuning and reduce air noise.

The Ministry followed its long tradition of using BSS processing equipment by upgrading to 9088 Soundweb devices. Two networked 9088 Soundwebs - essential with so many input sources - provide a digital matrix. The network thus mixes the house and monitor signals from the seven DJ mixers and accepts 5.1 signals from a surround sound source, before mixing them in the house and monitor outputs.

Used with permanently-installed fully-online desktop PC, the Soundwebs provide subs, mains and house, and the three stereo pairs are controlled by a specially-commissioned, custom-built ProMedia Systems Isolator - a control interface allowing the Ministry’s DJs to drive the crossovers in Soundweb.

The Ministry’s operations director Nodd McDonagh had requested the interface for the new console, and ProMedia’s Matt Bate explained that it very much followed the American style. With a system installed and maintained by GSA-New York - following the legacy of the late Richard Long’s epochal system at Paradise Garage in the late 1970s - Matt explained that this device was in essence typical of those employed by Long’s disciples, Steve Dash and Gary Stewart, although it embraces the new age of digital audio processing technology.Bearing the fascia legend ‘Designed for Soundweb’, the system was first beta-tested at Plastic People in Shoreditch and also fitted at The Player in Northampton. Mixing 5.1 signals into conventional stereo audio from the latest 4-channel/8 input Rane MP44 DJ mixers (supplied by Hayden Laboratories) was to prove the challenging element of the scheme. Bate explains: "When Nodd asked me to make this happen I knew I would need to come up with something a little special and left of field to achieve what everyone want

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