Immersive Fine Dining Experience
with Neumann Loudspeakers at JNcQUOI Frou Frou in Lisbon
Opening in early summer 2023, the gourmet restaurant JNcQUOI Frou Frou will delight food lovers not only with authentic Chinese cuisine, but also with an extraordinary ambience. Guests are treated to surround sound reproduced in first-class quality by Neumann loudspeakers. According to its owners, Frou Frou is "the world's first restaurant with immersive sound."
A Feast for the Ears of (Sound) Gourmets
At Frou Frou, which is part of the JNcQUOI Group of fine dining restaurants, guests are provided with sound via 24 ceiling-mounted Neumann KH 150 bi-amplified monitors and four Neumann KH 750 DSP subwoofers. For DJ and live performances, two powerful Neumann KH 420 tri-amp midfield studio monitors are also available. Multichannel digital-to-analog conversion is handled by two Hapi MKII interfaces from Merging Technologies, which receive digital audio signals from a QSC Q-SYS Core Nano processor.
Different usage scenarios are stored in the system as presets (normal operation, dance floor, live performance, etc.). If a performance is scheduled at Frou Frou, the KH 420s are used as the main PA and selected KH 150s are switched in as delay lines with the appropriate time delay and perfectly matched levels. In this way, the attention of the guests is directed towards the event through clearly defined acoustic localisation.
More Than Muzak
During normal restaurant operation, guests are immersed in multichannel ambient music at moderate volume. Lounge music can be heard from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at a level of about 75 dB SPL.
Dolby Atmos™ was chosen as the multi-channel sound format, which is reproduced in the JNcQUOI Frou Frou not on several levels, but via the KH 150s installed on the ceiling. In typical operation, each guest section in the guest room is provided with sound by four Neumann KH 150s (2 x front, 2 x rear) – therefore, a downmix of the Atmos material is necessary, accommodating the local conditions with only one loudspeaker level.
The fact that the audio equipment of the restaurant as a whole is reminiscent of a very well-equipped recording studio is no coincidence, as the sound reinforcement concept was developed by music producer/sound designer Hovannes K. (e.g. „Buddha Bar“) in collaboration with Neumann. According to the audio expert, immersing himself in the Frou Frou's world of sound is „emotional like a heartfelt embrace“ that is „difficult to put into words“.
Acoustics for the Haute Cuisine
Based on Hovannes’ visionary ideas, he and Markus Wolff (Coordinator Development Studio Monitor Systems of Neumann.Berlin) developed this concept. For this purpose, Wolff travelled to the Portuguese capital several times and was thus able to participate in the passive acoustic design of the 25 x 25 m (82 x 82 ft) guest room from the very beginning.
The loudspeaker constellation in the JNcQUOI Frou Frou was calibrated by Markus Wolff using Neumann MA 1 Automatic Monitor Alignment software and the associated measuring microphone - always in close coordination with Hovannes K.. „You quickly notice that Hovannes is passionate about his work“, reports Wolff. „When everything was finally tuned perfectly, his conclusion as a music producer experienced in studio recording was: ‘Great! Now I could mix in Frou Frou at any table!’“
Culinary and Sound Delights at the Highest Level
Hovannes K. is aiming for an unprecedented quality level in the acoustics and sound systems of high-end restaurants in order to meet their exacting demands for a holistic guest experience that is part of the owners’ concept. Hovannes K. plans to elevate the existing restaurants of the JNcQUOI Group, equipped with loudspeakers from other manufacturers, to the level of the Frou Frou in terms of acoustics and sound. In addition, future new openings are to be equipped with Neumann monitors in a similar fashion.
At Frou Frou, the cabinets of Neumann loudspeakers are painted in the standard color anthracite. Should different colors be desired to adapt to the surroundings in coming projects, this is no problem: Neumann products – including loudspeakers – can be ordered in many RAL colors via Neumann’s Made-to-Order“ (MTO) department.
Neumann Loudspeakers: Translators of Emotion
According to Hovannes K., he had long searched for loudspeakers that would fully meet his demands for sound reproduction quality. He finally found what he was looking for in the Neumann portfolio. He emphasizes that, in addition to the outstanding sound quality, Neumann’s excellent reputation for reliable support also played an important role in the decision-making process. In his own 7.1.4 sound studio in Lisbon, Hovannes K. uses Neumann equipment as well.
Hovannes explains: „I became aware of the Neumann KH Series through sound engineer friends: I listened to a pair and from the first moment I was overwhelmed by their outstanding clarity: finally, I had found speakers that were able to translate the music’s emotion the way I had always imagined! Once you have heard Neumann speakers, there is no turning back!“
All Photos: Pedro Ferreira
Georg Neumann GmbH, known as “Neumann.Berlin”, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of studio-grade audio equipment and the creator of recording microphone legends such as the U 47, M 49, U 67, and U 87. Founded in 1928, the company has been recognized with numerous international awards for its technological innovations. Since 2010, Neumann.Berlin has expanded its expertise in electro-acoustic transducer design to also include the studio monitor market, mainly targeting TV and radio broadcasting, recording, and audio production. The first Neumann studio headphones were introduced in 2019, and since 2022, the company has increased its focus on reference solutions for live audio. With the introduction of the first audio interface MT 48, and its revolutionary converter technology, Neumann now offers all the necessary technologies needed to capture and deliver sound at the highest level. Georg Neumann GmbH has been part of the Sennheiser Group since 1991 and is represented worldwide by the Sennheiser network of subsidiaries and long-standing trading partners. www.neumann.com