Lola’s Hi/Lo Lounge

ProjectLola's Hi/Lo LoungeLocationWisconsin, USAManufacturers1 SOUNDInstallerAndrew Szlapka, USA & Aural HiFi, USASubmitted by1 SOUND

Hospitality vets Tori Gerding (owner, Ancora), Evan Dannells (owner, Cadre), and Matt Gerding (Majestic Theatre founder & ex-President at FPC Live) opened Wisconsin’s first HiFi lounge, Lola’s Hi/Lo Lounge. The music-themed restaurant prides itself on its high-fidelity sound system designed with a wide mix of input from across the country. “We really wanted this space to sound better than any other HiFi bar in the country, so we brought a lot of experts to help us build a custom design,” says Matt Gerding. “The first thing we did was build in acoustic treatment to deaden the space.” The 3,200 square foot cocktail lounge and restaurant features 2 inches of K-13 Sound Absorption Spray on the ceilings throughout as well as lots of soft surfaces like theatrical curtains covering all windows, upholstered booth seating, and carpet.

The space features speakers and amps sourced throughout the country including from Aural HiFi in Denver who turned their attention to horn-loaded speakers and tube amps to put as a focal point at the bar and serve as part of the system for bar seating. “Given Matt’s vision for the space, we really wanted the showcase system installed into the back bar to be something truly unique, visually captivating, sonically astounding,” says Jeremy Irwin, Founder and Owner of Aural HiFi in Denver. “For speakers, we chose Crites, who have been the premier upgrade source for heritage Klipsch speakers for more years than I can count. The Crites CS-B loudspeaker is similar to the Cornwall (that you’ll find in many Hi-Fi bars across the country) but is even more cohesive, smooth, and never fatiguing – and packs enough punch to fill the space. For amplification, we chose the Fezz Titania Evo, which is just an amazingly musical Polish tube amp that has jaw-dropping looks and is just incredibly reliable; perfect for the rigours of a lounge. The Music Hall Classic turntable completes the system with its modern/vintage styling. We think it’s the perfect system for a Madison-style Hi-Fi spot.” said Irwin. To fill out the bar’s audio integration and the rest of the venue, Matt worked with local consultant and installer, Andrew Szlapka, who introduced him to 1 SOUND and audio designer Lou Mannarino.

“Andrew was so very passionate about 1 SOUND and after doing a deep dive we decided that it was so perfect for all of our passive speakers and subwoofers,” says Gerding. “We were looking for something unique that could offer premium and modern speaker technology.” Andrew integrated 1 SOUND’s Cannon Coaxial loudspeakers the C5i and C6i models for the distributed audio design. The new American-made premium brand’s Cannon Series features high-fidelity quality audio with extended low-end and higher SPL, incomparable for a speaker of its size in pro-audio applications. The Cannons are made with premium materials and are purposefully built with a silk dome driver that is ferrofluid treated, enabling these loudspeakers to have high fidelity sound quality as well as high sound pressure levels and consistency for a speaker of its size. Four WSUB45s were distributed for bass and mounted to the main bar area’s ceiling utilizing its C-Clamp Kit accessory. These subwoofers were integrated in with the Crites loudspeakers at the bar along with the Cannons creating a distributed audio design for the entire restaurant.

When thinking about creating a HiFi lounge, originally the idea for the audio was to have only high-fidelity loudspeakers that were built into the visual interior of the bar with coverage only for those seats. The owners expected that the sound would be treated as two separate systems: the Crites loudspeakers at the bar and a few speakers for the system in the rest of the space. It was not until audio consultant and professional integrator, Andrew Szlapka, came on board that the conversation around the audio design dramatically changed. Andrew introduced and pitched 1 SOUND as the integrated system and to also use it in the main bar room in tandem with the Crites, knowing and believing fully in their sound quality. Andrew was able to vouch for changing the design to create a fully integrated and distributed sound system, knowing that when they heard the audio they would understand. In true research and collaboration, the restaurant owners brought together experts in the high-fidelity space, like Aural HiFi, and in the pro-audio space, with Andrew Szlapka and Lou Mannarino from 1 SOUND, to create a fully distributed system design for the restaurant.

With a unanimous unwavering commitment to create the best listening environment for this hi-fi lounge and restaurant, the stakeholders involved did their due diligence and worked together to create an unparalleled sonic experience that has set a new standard for hi-fi lounges across the country. It is not usual for pro audio products to be integrated with high-fidelity products in an installation, but once the full system turned on it was clear to everyone that the sonic qualities of 1 SOUND’s Cannon Series were comparable to the sonic integrity of the high-fidelity Crites loudspeakers. By discussing all together and having access to 1 SOUND’s designer and Aural HiFi’s CEO for information, the audio design came out stronger with more uniform coverage than it would’ve if they had gone off their original presumptions. Lola’s Hi/Lo Lounge opened to a packed house and has received rave reviews and nationwide attention to their audio system. “I haven’t spent a time of time in HiFi bars around the country, but every person that has heard our system (including our completely treated space) has said it’s the best sounding HiFi bar in the country.” commented Gerding two months after opening.