CARGO Nightclub Brings Unmatched Sound Quality to Reno with Powersoft
'Power is Everything' for Newly Redesigned Venue, Which Counts Itself Among the Finest Sounding Small-Scale Venues in Western United States
The newly completed CARGO Nightclub, which opened last June, is an exquisite 1,000 person capacity venue located in the Whitney Peak Hotel in the heart of downtown Reno. The new club, which is powered by several Powersoft M and K series amplifiers, is something of a sonic gem with its best in class audio system and lighting design, created to meet and exceed the discriminating standards of A-level touring artists and engineers.
The hotel, which is located where the Fitzgerald’s Casino & Hotel once stood, underwent a multi-million dollar renovation before opening to the public as Whitney Peak Hotel on Memorial Day of this year. Now, as Northern Nevada prepares for an impending technology boon with the planned construction of Tesla’s soon to be constructed Gigafactory, CARGO finds itself at the ‘spearhead’ of a ‘rebranding’ that is already underway in greater Reno.
Prior to the reconstruction and rebranding of the hotel, CARGO was located on the third floor, situated as a 700 person capacity venue with a mediocre sound system. With the property under new ownership following the renovation, a new directive was put in place from management that would ultimately raise the audio production and lighting design standards of the venue to an entirely new level. At the core of the audio system is an EAW KF740 3-way array system, powered by Powersoft K10s, K6s and K2 (2) channel high-performance power amplifiers.
“The whole idea of the club was to go high-end on the production side so we could be attractive to larger, nationally touring artists,” comments Dan Bishop, Production Manager at Whitney Park Hotel. “Now, CARGO is able to produce the same or better production quality that artists are used to experiencing in much larger venues. Our choice of Powersoft amplification played a key role in helping us attain both the quality of audio we required, while reducing overall power consumption. Since reopening the club in June, we are getting amazing feedback from both fans and artists alike — everyone is insanely impressed with the quality of production.”
A ‘Big-Sounding Venue’ in ‘The Biggest Little City in the World’
According to Bishop, there were two fundamental challenges the venue faced during the renovation and rebranding phase. First, the first floor facility to be completely redesigned and rebuilt to accommodate a dedicated HVAC system and decoupled wall construction for the performance venue, which shared the first floor with other ‘quieter’ spaces including the restaurant and hotel lobby. Second, the selection and installation of sound and lighting components was of critical concern.
“My expectation of the audio system was that it had to be sonically accurate,” says Bishop. “Many times in other rooms, where there is an inferior PA, the sound is muddy coming into the room and this is often compensated for by increasing volume. I wanted to make sure all our program material was accurately represented without depending on ‘more volume’ so it would be heard with great clarity from anywhere in the room.”
To power the EAW KF740 system, which consists of two (6) box arrays suspended from the ceiling at either side of the stage and another (3) across the front of the stage, Bishop chose (8) Powersoft K10 for the subwoofers and low frequency drivers, (4) K6s for the mid-frequency drivers, (4) K2s for the high frequency drivers and Powersoft M50Q four channel amplifier to power the center fill speakers (for mid frequency).
On specifying equipment for the venue, Bishop was surprised to learn about the K-series amazing power efficiency rating. “The efficiency was so high and the power needed to run the Powersoft equipment was so minimal that I actually changed my design for electrical requirements because I knew the system wasn’t going to need as much,” he says. “That actually ended up saving us a significant amount of money in both construction and ongoing utility costs.”
“Once we got the system up and running, everyone was just floored,” Bishop recalls. “The clarity of the audio was amazing. There was no hum, no buzzing, no nothing. It was dead silent until you put something through the system. And once we did put audio through the system, what came out of it was so accurately reproduced, it was just amazing.”
Bishop says that he initially became interested in Powersoft on hearing an audio demonstration at nearby University of Nevada Reno, which runs its house PA system off of Powersoft amplifiers. “I saw that they were running all of their gear off of a tiny 3U rack system set up in a corner,” he says. “I was impressed with both the audio quality and the small footprint and efficiency of the gear.”
CARGO uses two Midas PRO9 consoles: one at front of house and the other at monitors. Having chosen Powersoft, he is assured that whatever audio is coming out of the audio processing will be completely neutral. “The Powersoft gear does not color the sound in any way, and the audio that gets reproduced in our room is stunning,” he says.
“Power is Everything”
“From the very beginning of this project, we wanted to make sure that we were achieving the best possible audio for this room, and power is everything,” concludes Bishop. “Now, no matter where you are in the venue, you are going to get a great show. That means we did a good job on equipment selection and integration, and I am really proud of that.”
Since opening, Cargo has hosted nationally prominent acts like Shiny Toy Guns, Johnny Lang and renowned Ukelele player Jake Shimabukuru. The venue continues to rise in prominence in Reno and beyond, and the property itself is planning even more innovations: “We are working on a couple of new projects. And when we begin pricing installations for these, Powersoft is a name that will be at top of my list : I love the brand and the product.”