The Abercrombie

ProjectThe AbercrombieLocationSydney, AustraliaManufacturersPowersoftInstallerProduction Audio Video Technology (PAVT)Submitted byPowersoft

The Abercrombie, located in the inner-Sydney suburb of Chippendale, traces its roots back to 1843, when it opened as the Australian Inn. The current, art-deco building, on the old Carlton United Brewery site, was completed in 1938 and served as a much-loved watering hole and live entertainment venue until its closure in 2014. It was acquired by hospitality group Solotel in 2016 and reopened – two years late, as a result of Sydney’s on-off coronavirus lockdowns – with a 36-hour launch party in December 2022.

The new-look Abercrombie includes three venues: A ground-floor club space, public bar and beer garden; late-night cocktail lounge and rooftop terrace Casa Rosa; and Lil Sis, a aperitivo wine bar inspired by the caves à vin of Paris.

Comprising16 Powersoft Mezzo 604 A+ and 13 Quattrocanali 1204 DSP+ amplifiers, all AES67 compatible, as well as two high-performance X8s, the audio system ensures unparalleled sound quality and flexibility. The Powersoft amplifiers are installed in two rack rooms, with all equipment (plus NETGEAR AV switches) fitting into a single rack at each location.

To meet the demands of the outside environments, where a “truly waterproof” loudspeakers were needed, PAVT specified a combination AtlasIED’s SM82 range with EAW subwoofers (SB120/150 WP). In the main room, a Function One EVO X system was installed to enhance the audio experience for the visitors.

The deployment of Powersoft’s AES67-enabled amplifier platforms facilitated high-performance streaming audio-over-IP (AoIP) interoperability while enhancing flexibility. “While it’s not always straightforward being an early adopter of new technology, the Powersoft A+/DSP+ amplifiers were crucial to realising the relaunched Abercrombie,” Coxon says, which opened on schedule with a spectacular a multi-day launch party featuring some of Sydney’s hottest DJs.

“Being the first project to install A+ versions of the amplifier – and with the release of the ArmoníaPlus 2.5 update, which added support for AES67, coming three days before handover – made life fun,” he recalls. “That said, we had no major issues, and the project opened on time – tuned and loud – with a 36-hour opening party.”

The building’s historical significance required careful preservation of its original features, including the roof and façade. To adhere to these restrictions, PAVT adopted an approach such as chasing cables into the walls rather than running them through the roof. This process ensures minimal alteration to the building’s exterior while keeping in mind the essential infrastructure.

The venue is surrounded by residential accommodation, as well as university across the road, therefore containing sound became a major challenge during the installation. Because the venue caters for the all-night parties for university students, it was important to prioritise sound containment and minimise sound leakage.

This integration of Powersoft’s Mezzo AES67-enabled amplifier platforms at the Abercrombie reflects a smart approach by the integrator. By embracing AES67 compatibility, the Abercrombie integrates with modern networking systems while offering enhanced performance and flexibility.

Even though, reviving an older building is never straightforward, the Abercrombie posed numerous challenges, from navigating complex acoustic environments to respecting the close-by accommodation. Despite these challenges, the collaboration between PAVT and BeoyndAV resulted in an audio system, tailored to the venue’s unique requirements. 

With Powersoft amplification serving as the backbone of the installation, the Abercrombie delivers exceptional sound quality across its diverse space, ensuring a great audio experience for guests. By being early adopters of Powersoft’s Mezzo A+ amplifier models, the team demonstrated forward-thinking and a willingness to embrace new technology.