OVNEW is an experience that is born from the ‘neurogastronomía’ that combines a multi-sensory experience, taking diners to the remotest corners of the planet and to an exquisite interior with haute cuisine. “We are the only restaurant in the world, I believe, to offer this kind of experience with the five senses, as well as offering a spectacular view from 100-metres high,” Owner Jon Giraldo added. “We feel that people consume experiences differently nowadays, the consumer habits of millennials and centennials, and the fact they have so many inputs during the average day – much of which is down to social media – it’s impossible to have a single focus. We need more things to see, hear, play, we need to have a real immersive environment and a journey with an experience – this was our proposal.”

After the Sonar+D festival, Jon and Jaime Lieberman (second owner) discussed their plans with representatives from Hesperia Hotels, as well as with Amate Audio – the audio manufacturer used at the festival, and who Jon and Jaime had already worked with. SFËAR, the brand behind the 360˚ live sound technology from Eurecat demonstrated at the festival, was also added to the mix through its relationship with Amate Audio and Jon’s relationship with SFËAR’s, Timothy Schmele.

So, with all the people in place, the next step was to devise a plan for OVNEW.  SFËAR’s Umut Sayin takes up the story: “They wanted something special for both the sound and the lighting. The dome itself is already very special, but when you think about sound here, there is no stage, no focal point, it’s axisymmetric, and it’s best to go for something different.

“Spatial audio is often designed for a central audience, the loudspeakers are aligned to the centre and they are more or less equal distance from one another, and the core processor is located centrally. In fact, the majority of spatial audio installations out there are designed with a central audience. In here, the bar is in the centre and the audience surrounds it. This is uncommon for a spatial audience with multiple channels, so we had to come up with a solution for this.”

In total, four different models of Amate Audio loudspeakers have been installed at OVNEW. The most important for the spatial audio are the ones hanging in the dome, 26 Nitid N26-SA3D – a SA3D enabled version of the standard Nitid N26 with Dante input. These are carrying out the ‘smart’ FIR filtering for the 3D sound in the dome. The integrated SA3D processing platform performs the distributed processing for the SFËAR software – providing the scalability of the 3D sound.

Next are 10 Amate Audio Nítid N10’s used for the inner ring, which are used to enhance the immersive sensation, when guests are outside of the central sweet spot. “Around the ring there are eight N12W subwoofers, which provide low-end reinforcement for the restaurant. Originally, we wanted to go for the larger subwoofers, but they didn’t fit so we had to go for the smaller 12-inch models. This worked well in the end though, since they pair well with the N26’s in the dome. The subwoofers also feature spatial filtering, and there is management for the spatial bass frequencies,” added Umut.

The management for the spatial bass frequencies was particularly important, because if there are different objects moving in spatial audio, discrepancies can be created if the bass element doesn’t follow. Even though the spatial filtering isn’t as much in the low frequencies as it is in the high frequencies, if they move separately, a discrepancy will appear.

The final loudspeakers from Amate Audio are 15 KEY8A’s – an active version of the company’s KEY8, specially made for OVNEW with a customised ‘facing the floor’ preset as they are installed under the dining tables to offer a more personal listening experience for the audience.

When it comes to the overall control and management of the system, this all takes place within the SFËAR software, with support from the control rack, which comprises a MacPro computer, a Linksys LGS552P managed gigabit Ethernet switch and a Ferrofish A32 Dante/MADI converter.

“We made an initial calibration of the space, then the decoration came in and we made a second calibration of the space because the acoustics changed drastically. One of the filtering processes includes the ability to move the audio from place to place. So, the calibration process also had to be uniform with the acoustics, to move the sound from one place to another, and make it portable. When we talk calibration, we are talking about removing the acoustics and making the audio as transparent as possible for the setup.

“The 3D audio tracks that are played through the loudspeakers, they have been specially produced at Metrica Studio in Ibiza. The tracks are put through a special renderer to function in the dome. We have a special player for 3D audio playback, but what makes it particularly interesting in this case is the playback is non-linear. There is no set timeline, there are seven different scenarios – named after continents such as Europa, Asia, Oceania – and the transition from one to the other has to work with the food delivery, as well as the lighting change, and the theatrical show – all of which are part of the sensory experience.”

Despite everything being pre recorded it isn’t just a case of pressing play and letting it run, it is always monitored by the in-house technician using a simple iPad interface. The control of the audio tracks, in conjunction with the change in lighting presets – which are also managed from the iPad interface – as well as what’s going on within the performance, the food and the beverages being served is all executed meticulously in order to provide that once in a lifetime experience.

“We essentially have two and a half hours of soundtrack, so the dining experience – during which musicians and performers interact with the diners – last approximately that long, and the show itself is updated in some way each week. We offer this on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, however, alongside that, we also do brunch on the weekends, and we open as a sky bar during the week from 12 noon until 3pm,” Jon outlined.

To keep the concept fresh, and keep diners coming to OVNEW time and time again, Jon and Jaime plan to change the food menu every six months, and the audio tracks with matching lighting effects every 12 months.