null Genelec serves up gourmet audio at JNcQUOI Asia, Lisbon

Genelec serves up gourmet audio at JNcQUOI Asia, Lisbon

Easily the most buzzed-about restaurant opening in Lisbon in recent months, JNcQUOI Asia continues the trend for high-fashion gastronomy in the Portuguese capital set by the original JNcQUOI in 2017. The rampant success of the ‘très chic’ fashion and dining space in the former Teatro Tivoli convinced the owners that there was room in the market for a second high-level dining experience, but this time with a very different twist – JNcQUOI Asia. Like its original counterpart, the new venue is defined by grand scale, stunning design, multiple spaces, and a state-of-the-art Genelec sound system designed and installed by Garrett Audiovisuais.

“It was a massive project,” confirms Garrett’s sales director, Raúl Fernandes. “We were involved from the very start, which was extremely helpful, but the pressure for everything to be perfect was possibly worse for the second venue than for the first! It’s always the problem when the first job is so successful – the second has to be even better…”

With the capacity to accommodate over 300 people, JNcQUOI Asia is not just about the food. It’s a place where people come to see and to be seen, offering four different spaces for customers to relax and soak up the atmosphere: a large bar with comfortable seating – which also hosts a DJ booth; the main dining room dominated by a huge, golden dragon skeleton suspended from the central glass atrium; a glamourous sushi bar; and a comfortable terrace and interior garden. Garrett supplied an extremely high quality, zoned audio solution throughout with full control.

The first area is the bar, itself separated into three separate zones: the DJ area which utilises a pair of Genelec G Fives offering professional active loudspeaker performance but with flexible XLR and RCA connectivity, and a pair of 5041 in-wall subwoofers behind the DJ booth; the main bar area which is equipped with six 4030 and six of the larger 4040 installation loudspeakers plus three 5041 subwoofers hidden in columns; and finally the toilets – a design haven in themselves! – where Garrett installed four AIC25 in-ceiling speakers.

The challenge for the bar area was to provide sufficient coverage for what is a very open space without sacrificing quality for SPL. The solution also had to be as discreet and as aesthetically pleasing as possible. “We spent a long time getting loudspeaker placement absolutely right for optimum results, and then we fine-tuned the system with the loudspeakers’ own on-board room response controls plus EQ and delay via a matrix. Our service manager, Luis Tavares, did a fantastic job of tuning the system, especially here in this room,” recounts Fernandes who also notes that there is an output to each speaker enabling every speaker to be controlled individually for maximum precision. “When the system was commissioned, we turned the music up pretty loud and I invited the owner to come and stand in the middle of the room with me. We could still carry on a conversation – I told him that this is why we use Genelec!”

“A good live band actually sounds amazing as the system is so well calibrated to the space.”

It’s also possible to have live music in the bar although the system wasn’t initially designed with live music in mind. “The owner changed his mind at the last minute! Fortunately, we had enough inputs and outputs still available to make it possible – we just had to add extra microphones and a digital mixer,” says Fernandes. “A good live band actually sounds amazing as the system is so well calibrated to the space. It also helps that there are lots of nice, absorbent surfaces in the bar area to reduce the amount of reflections.”

“The larger 4040s gave us the extended bass response we required whilst still remaining aesthetically pleasing.”

For the restaurant area, Garrett opted for a total of fourteen 4040s. The biggest issue here was the acoustics, as the outside wall is mostly glass and there is a huge glass atrium overhead that houses the rather magnificent dragon. “As there was no room for subs in the restaurant, the larger 4040s gave us the extended bass response we required whilst still remaining aesthetically pleasing. The most challenging aspect was managing the very reflective environment. Fortunately, Genelec products excel in that respect, and once again we were able to calibrate the system very precisely for optimum results – in other words, intelligible, clean audio at levels where diners can still hold a conversation at normal, comfortable levels.”

The project manager for JNcQUOI Asia was Garrett’s Mário Trigueiros, who also oversaw the original JNcQUOI project, and he was keen to point out how Genelec’s GLM software had helped the Garrett team optimise the loudspeaker system performance for different situations. “GLM is an amazing tool for system calibration,” he says. “We used it to perform all the measurements that were then turned into presets accessible via the control system. We’ve done all of the hard work upfront to ensure that the system is fully optimised for every situation, be it background music, a DJ or a live band.”

Garrett has provided control for all four zones, giving access to level, mute and source selection for the audio system, plus lighting and temperature. There are presets for daytime and night-time ambience settings. Access is via strategically placed wall panels or a mobile phone app.

Garrett also went to the trouble of measuring the sound outside the restaurant to ensure that there was absolutely no issue for the hotel next door, some of whose rooms border directly onto the bar. “We had to ensure that there was no sound leakage whatsoever. Once again, Genelec is an excellent choice in this respect because the loudspeakers are extremely efficient with tightly controlled directivity. Listeners have the impression that the system is loud because intelligibility is high which enables us to keep SPLs down – which is great for the neighbours!”

Fernandes and Trigueiros are proud of what they have achieved at JNcQUOI Asia. “It’s another fantastic showcase for both us and Genelec,” confirms Trigueiros. “Genelec is a very high quality brand, ideally suited to this kind of high-end environment where failure of any kind, or sub-par performance would not be tolerated. Nevertheless, the active system design is a bonus – firstly because it saves on space and makes for a much cleaner installation, and secondly, in the unlikely event that one does go down, it doesn’t compromise the rest of the system. That is very reassuring for the owners, although we’ve never had a failure yet. The owners are thrilled with the results and so are we. You only have to look at the reviews to realise that the concept is a success at every level.”


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