Wonderworld, Milton Keynes


Wonderworld Milton KeynesNightlife in Milton Keynes has been given a boost thanks to the latest Wonderland club from No Saints. The company’s chief executive, Steve Thomas, knows the site in the Xscape entertainment complex well having launched it as an Oceana in 2002 when he headed leading operator Luminar, but No Saints has transformed it after the nightclub closed in March.

With a capacity of 1,800, the venue is split into two “scenes” named Tomorrow and Yesterday, set around a Secret Garden, with trees and wrought-iron railing, and a luxurious red VIP lounge. The interiors are by Terri Naylor of Dakota House of Design, with a concept inspired by Alice in Wonderland. It features a labyrinth of corridors and walkways, disorienting infinity mirrors, fibre glowing “oak” trees and Astroturfed walls.

Working with main contractor Optik Leisure, installation company Nightlife Consultancy equipped all the zones with RCF loudspeakers, part of a complete multimedia integration. They were selected for their high performance, evenness of coverage and unobtrusive footprint. Products used range from the strident TT+ subs, set on the truss over the main Tomorrow dancefloor, to the stylish, powered Art enclosures, playing background music in the private Mind, Soul & Body rooms. All passive elements of the system are powered by dedicated RCF amplification.

Nightlife Consultancy’s system designer Mark Dorney designed a digital network architecture based around a DBX SC-32 digital matrix. For general purpose, he chose RCF’s Acustica C3108 compact wide-dispersion, low-visibility speakers. Six of these are distributed in the Secret Garden, accompanied by three S4012 subs. Set discreetly behind unobtrusive grilles, the speakers take feeds selected locally from the remote ZC-1 zone-control wall panels.

The digital signal processing contains several equalisation scene presets such as main club scene, DJ stage and live bands through to fire evacuation and conference mode. The toilets have not been forgotten, with sound via large quantities of RCF’s PL60FD flush-mount 100V line ceiling speakers.

The Mind, Body & Soul lounges, with Regency-style chairs and mini-bars, have their own 46-inch HD TVs, controllable from an Android tablet. Customers can choose their own sound source thanks to a pair of RCF Art 408-A MII enclosures, accompanied by an Ayra 10 active subwoofer. “The 10-inch box remains discreet but has a lot more juice than the Ayra 8 — and this is vital if they want to hold a karaoke session,” Mark explains.

Wonderworld Milton Keynes

In the main club, Tomorrow, six of RCF’s C3110 full-range speakers, with rotatable horns, set in portrait mode, have been installed around the dancefloor. Drawing on RCF’s TT+ (Touring & Theatre) range, Mark selected six TTS28 direct radiating, large-format subwoofers, flown from the circular Prolyte overhead truss using flyware from Rope Assemblies.

Interspersed between are six RCF Acustica H1312 three-way horn loaded controlled dispersion enclosures, chosen for their combination of low weight and “punchy crispness”. Some near fills provide extra presence at the stage, where a bespoke DJ workstation has been manufactured by Nightlife Consultancy to house all the CDJs, the DJM-2000 mixer and the Soundcraft MFX20 band mixer. Concealed behind a false bookcase is a door leading to the VIP Lounge, which contains six further RCF C3108 speakers in landscape format and two S4012 subs in each corner.

Upstairs is the black, chrome and stainless steel world of Yesterday. There are six C3108 speakers for peripheral sound, while on the high-energy dancefloor two RCF S8028 (2×18) subs provide low-frequency extension to the six low-profile C4128 (2 x 8) boxes, flown horizontally. The entire assembly of passive speakers is driven by RCF matched amps.

Assigned to Tomorrow are eight RCF DPS 3000 amps, run in bridge mode, with one amp per sub. For the full-range enclosures, three RCF HPS 2500 amps, bridged in 4-ohm pairs, run the 12-inch low-frequency section while the mids and high end are assigned to two HPS 1500s. Adastra 1U mixer amps run the distributed PL60 ceiling speakers. Upstairs in Yesterday, a DPS 3000, three HPS 2500s and two HPS 1500 amps have been specified.

Wonderworld general manager Jay Davidson says the venue’s technology is a vast improvement on its predecessor. “The sound system is now phenomenal. The atmosphere has been transformed.”

Wonderworld, Xscape, 602 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 3XS Tel: 01908 660661 www.discoverwonderworld.com

Originally published in the December 2012 edition of Bar magazine.

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