The Corner Hotel Upgrades with Adamson Audio

Back in the ’90s Paul Martin introduced Australia to Adamson with the original Corner Hotel bandroom installation and now the Adamson E12-based upgrade has the live music bastion all set for another 20+ years.

Paul Martin was touring in the ’90s as a FOH engineer, playing clubs and venues across North America and elsewhere. His time spent in Canada proved life changing. He kept running into house systems with an Adamson badge on the PA. These ‘no name’ PAs were great. “There was something about the Adamson horn that was super-sweet. It was just really tune-able – it was easy to get the sound I was after and the vocals sat in the mix beautifully.”

When Paul returned to Australia he kept talking to people about Adamson, mostly to blank stares – Adamson hadn’t arrived south of the equator… yet.

Then, as The Corner Hotel’s audio guy, Paul made the decision to install an Adamson PA into the band room when they opened in the mid ’90s. It was a decision he would never regret: it was a PA that made for happy audio people, audiences and owners – after all, the original SX18 mid/high boxes lasted 20-plus years of five-night-a-week punishment without any reconing or repairs.

Coming out of the covid live music venue apocalypse, Paul Martin and The Corner owners agreed on an audio upgrade… an Adamson audio upgrade.

“The owners are live music fans,” notes Paul Martin. “They want the best for the musicians, and the fans. They’re in it for the long haul and happy to invest.”

And it’s a serious investment. The new PA is based on three Adamson E12s a side, a hefty eight E119 subs under the stage, all powered by Lab Gruppen PLM2K44 amps.

Adamson E12s in the foreground, Something for Kate soundchecking in the background


AT: How did you arrive at the E12/E119 combo as the preferred design for the bandroom?

PM: I would have loved the E15s but that would have been total overkill! I actually got talking to the FOH tech for the Imagine Dragons. I was FOH engineer for The Temper Trap and we were playing international support on that tour. Over the course of the two weeks he gave me a forensic take on everything he knew about their Adamson rig: what he’d discovered, including the best combinations of full-range boxes and subs. I got a real vibe for what was going on. Which gave me a lot of confidence spec’ing the E12/E119 combination. The E12 is a big box but not their biggest. But it’s a good fit for the bandroom. Like I said earlier, I find the horns on the Adamson PAs very tunable. And by that, I mean, if you’re going for a death metalcore sound or an angelic female vocal sound you can get it. The box doesn’t dictate what you get, you do.

AT: How have you optimised the E119 subs for the space?

PM: We use a sub arc. If you array eight subs under the stage without any sub arc’ing you’ll get a big lobe down the middle and spikes on the side. As you pull back the outside subs, and stagger them, those two spikes come down and the lobe, the big bubble in the middle, becomes smoother and wider. So you get a smoother bottom end throughout the room without the holes. It was something we did with the old PA and it was always our plan to do it with the eight E119s. For our space, the sub arc has about 150mm between each box, which is done with time delay in the Lake Processor in the Lab amps.

AT: How’s it all wired?

PM: We’re running AES out of the Digico console to the Lab amps. The amps are talking to each other via Dante. Each amp has a Lake Processor with the presets for the E12 box in the amp. The sub array time alignment setting are also in the amps. From there we run 4mm speaker cable to the PA boxes and subs.

AT: I was there for a Something For Kate gig back in November (with Clinton Kraus at the controls) and it certainly sounded impressive.

PM: Right! Well we’ve actually moved the hang 200mm further back since you were there. We also added an Adamson S10P centre fill speaker.  It took a couple of days to get it spot on but it’s now perfect. That’s the way I like to work – I like to do things properly. I lay awake at night obsessing over whether I got the soldering 100% correct!

AT: What’s the response been from visiting engineers?

PM: The response has been amazing. I had one guy call up nearly in tears. He’d just pulled the best vocal mix he’d ever done. Some of our house guys mix front of house as well and they call me up to tell about how amazing the PA is – you can’t wipe the smile of their faces. So far, I’ve only mixed one band on the new PA and it was a great experience.

People appreciate the effort. The Corner Hotel is all about making the bands’ experience great, so they return. The new PA is an important piece of that puzzle along with the work done by our booker, bar staff, production manager and the rest of the team – they’re all trained to offer the best hospitality to the band, and it’s appreciated.

Is it now the best-sounding venue in town? Thankfully, Melbourne has some stiff competition, but I think The Corner does alright.

By Audio Technology 

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