FOH Engineer Spotlight: Supersonic Gets an A Series Concert Sound System Upgrade FOH Engineer Spotlight: Supersonic Gets an A Series Concert Sound System Upgrade...

L-Acoustics got firsthand insight into an A Series concert sound system upgrade inside a live club venue in the heart of Paris, near the Bastille.

Hadrien Coupechoux and Alexis Plateroti are the sound engineers for Supersonic, a multi-floored intimate bar and music venue catering to live sound events and rock bands, hosting three bands a night, seven days a week. Because of its heavy workload, Supersonic needed a concert sound system upgrade, which 4J EVENEMENTS was happy to provide with their L-Acoustics inventory. Raphael Maçon of 4J designed its new A and X Series-based concert sound system to ensure live sound SPL in the atypical-shaped club while maintaining clear sightlines for the audience. 

How it Started

Hadrien, who has been the sound engineer at Supersonic since it opened in 2016, described how he started working at the intimate club, “I studied at the SAE in Paris and teamed up with a friend who was organizing concerts in town. For a while, we ran three concerts a night at a venue called the Buzz in Paris. That was a huge learning experience. Not long after, we met the Supersonic team in 2015. The original PA in the space didn’t sound great, but we still managed to pull off some great shows!”

Alexis joined Hadrien later in 2018: “I joined after an internship at the venue and my studies in sound engineering. I worked as a technician at another Parisian venue and also freelanced. Then, in 2021, I started working full-time alongside Hadrien.”

Alexis continues, “The venue books emerging acts and often bands from overseas for their first shows in France. From dreamy pop to energetic English post-punk, Supersonic combines new music with DJ sets packed with indie rock classics.”

Upgrading the Concert Sound System

“When I first arrived, the PA setup was really basic,” Hadrien comments. “There was a tiny analog mixing desk, cheap mics, and no backline. The PA was positioned oddly, and there were zones with no coverage. It took up a lot of space and didn’t look great!”

“The low balcony made it tricky to get SPL coverage in certain spots,” Alexis adds. “The previous system was a mash-up of different speakers, and we didn’t have enough bass/mids in the mix.”

“I quickly understood the venue’s needs: multiple concerts every night and DJ sets afterward. From load-in to soundcheck to showtime – the team must move quickly and work efficiently,” Raphael of 4J comments on the process of the upgrade. “I knew they needed a system with more power and bandwidth. They needed improved consistency across the space adapted to the room’s architecture – we needed SPL on all the little nooks and crannies plus the mezzanine.”

“We exchanged a lot with 4J. We set out our expectations and specific issues to address. The team visited the venue several times, and we tested different speaker placements,” says Hadrien.

Regarding the design, Raphael mentioned that they needed an identical stereo system for the ground floor and balcony. “We also needed a speaker for the oddly placed FOH to the far right of the stage. We needed enough rejection onstage for the front rows to not interfere with mic sources. How do you get SPL to the back without cancellation due to proximity to the sources onstage? These are the kinds of brain teasers I love to solve!” Raphael got to work designing the perfect concert sound system upgrade for the intimate club.

The Final Design

The final system comprises A10i for power and Panflex to help limit reflections and cover the balcony and front rows without getting into the amp mics. Two SB18i, one under the stage and one further down in the room, bring more low-end. X8 and 5XT complement the systems in areas that weren’t covered initially with the old system.

Two A10i Wide cover the floor, while two A10i Focus cover the mezzanine with a flown KS21. One X8 serves as side-fill to the right of the stage. Three X8 on the floor cover the space beneath the mezzanine, and a couple of 5XT towards the bar help spread the mix further back in the room.

“There’s an X8 installed at FOH, which was really important to us. Since the FOH position isn’t in its usual spot, the X8 gives us a good idea of the sound coming from the delays,” Hadrien adds.

The installation took four days: Two days for installing the speakers and cabling them, then another two days spent measuring and calibrating the system with a P1. And now that the system has been installed, Hadrien and Alexis have noticed a significant difference in sound.

“Since we installed A10, it’s like day and night. We’ve gone from a PA that wasn’t adapted to the space to a system that covers everywhere,” Hadrien says.

“Depending on the crowd, getting the mix to the back of the room can be tough due to the low ceiling. It’s a real game changer to be able to adjust the levels of each X8 and 5XT delay with the help of LA Network Manager,” adds Alexis.

Hadrien says, “I enjoyed seeing Indal, a band that plays for us regularly. KS21 gave their show an added boost. To see them perform on the new system was a real pleasure.”

“I have received great feedback from the public since we changed the PA,” Alexis adds. “A highlight was the Irish band Sweaty Palms. They went on without a soundcheck, and I instantly got a great mix. The low-end sounded great, and we could control the high frequencies. We had issues with those elements before – not now.”

In case you’re visiting the Bastille or you’re in the area, you can check out who’s playing on their website and listen to the new system yourself.