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The Factory Manufactures a New Live Experience
UK – The Factory Live is a new venue in the UK south coast town of Worthing, ideally placed to embrace the vibrant live music and dance scene of a catchment area which stretches around 50 miles from Brighton in the east to Chichester in the west. Already attracting much critical praise, its audio system of Yamaha DZR and DXS XLF loudspeakers is impressing audiences and artists alike with its punchy ‘hi-fi’ sound.
The 300-capacity venue is the brainchild of managing director Steve Gardner. Having taught himself to play piano upon retirement from a successful corporate life, Steve was approached by an old school friend who had an empty building in the town of Worthing, formerly used by the local college as a music and dance training centre. Spotting an opportunity, Steve started the successful Soundhouse and Dancehouse rehearsal businesses.
It was natural for him to approach nearby high-end audio retailer The Audio House when equipping the rehearsal studios, developing a close working relationship with company founder Gerry Heeley.
As Soundhouse and Dancehouse quickly established themselves as ‘go to’ music and arts rehearsal spaces in the area. Steve saw the opportunity to develop a large, unused space in the building as a new venue. The Factory Live was born and, with 30 years’ experience of the local music scene, Gerry was the perfect collaborator.
“There is a keen appetite for live music in and around Worthing. Although there are a few existing venues, most of them are not purpose built, have limited capacity or are in concentrated residential areas,” says Gerry.
“Being a ten minute stroll from the centre of town, two minutes’ walk from the railway station and with no immediate residential neighbours, we had the ideal location for a new live venue."
He continues: “It was also essentially a blank canvas, so we were able to design and build it with live music in mind, making it as good as possible, both acoustically and aesthetically.”
As the design of the venue developed, it became obvious that it would need an audio system which offered both class-leading performance and exceptional versatility.
“Throughout my time in high end audio retailing, I’ve dealt with many different Yamaha product groups, so it’s a very familiar brand,” Gerry continues.
“When Steve was equipping the rehearsal studios, I was happy to recommend and supply Yamaha. As The Factory Live developed, it was logical for it to be one of the brands we looked at. We became very interested in the DZR series powered loudspeakers, as they definitely seemed to tick all the boxes.”
Yamaha’s Steve Beeston visited Gerry and Steve with a selection of DZR models for them to audition in the space. “We decided to start with a pair of DZR15s for the main L/R system, with two DZR10s for overhead centre fills and three DXS18 XLF extended low frequency subwoofers,” says Gerry. “For stage monitoring, we added two DXR12mkII and three DXR10mkII. This system gave us a great sound for both live performers and - importantly - a great ‘club sound’ for DJ sets.”
Gerry and Steve also looked at a number of different mixing consoles and decided that the Yamaha TF5 was the clear winner in terms of its sound quality, flexibility and value.
“Anyone who has mixed a gig has used a Yamaha mixer, so the layout is instant familiar. The TF5 is very intuitive to use for novice sound engineers, but it has a high enough channel count and powerful audio processing to keep established engineers happy,” says Gerry.
Feedback about The Factory Live has so far been universally positive, with local residents stating that it is 'exactly what Worthing needs'. Most importantly, both the audience and performers have commented on the quality of the sound.
“We’ve had great compliments from visiting bands, their engineers and audiences who like the tight, punchy sound that the DZR system delivers. They are generally used to overblown, flabby bass and brain numbing SPL levels. To let them hear a properly controlled, more ‘hi-fi’ sound that still delivers massive punch has been rather educational,” smiles Gerry. “It sounds easy to say, but the responses we’ve received to the customer experience really have been 100 per cent affirmative.”
The Factory Live is already attracting established artists, while a commitment to support the local and upcoming music scene sees local band nights a regular fixture. This was highlighted by a well-received show by ‘dirty pop’ purveyors Indoor Pets, with support by local heroes Gloo and Speaker Freak, part of the venue’s enthusiastic participation in the annual Independent Venue Week, a BBC-supported initiative which showcases the best independent and grassroots venues throughout the UK.
“We’re developing a full, weekly calendar of diverse activities to include well-known bands, local acts, youth bands, comedy clubs, club nights, and more,” says Steve. “We are also introducing a number of educational masterclass events and in the process of introducing audio/video recording and editing facilities to further enhance what we have to offer.”
photos: Ashley Laurence, Time For Heroes Photography
20th February 2020
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