Tiny Rebel is one of South Wales’ biggest success stories in recent years. A microbrewery founded in 2012, Tiny Rebel is now a fully-fledged brand in its own right, not just for their award-winning beers, but also for their bars and kitchens that serve a wide range of food and host regular events, including live music. The company currently boasts three sites: the first in Cardiff town centre just across from the Principality Stadium; another in the centre of Newport; and finally, the flagship Brewery Bar in Rogerstone, Newport, which is part of a brand new bespoke brewing facility that has increased capacity five-fold. The company officially cut the ribbon on the new £2.6 M premises in July 2017. Their AV partner throughout the build was Spartan Audio who are supplied by UK distributors, CUK Audio. In addition to the AV installation in the new Brewery Bar, Spartan Audio has just completed a refit of the Cardiff venue with a similar Symetrix/Dante/Powersoft backbone.

Spartan Audio’s Dave Morgan explained that the AV concept from the outset was built around the idea that the system had to be both scalable and future-proof. “The Brewery is the HQ of a brand that is expanding at the speed of light, so any system that we installed needed to be able to keep pace accordingly,” he said. There are four main zones to be covered; the bar, the dining area, a large sun terrace and the brewery production area itself which hosts tours at the weekend. The space is designed to accommodate a wide variety of events from live music and dance events, to awards shows, Super Bowl screenings and more.

“The client specifically requested a Void Acoustics speaker system,” explained Morgan, “but the rest was up to us, and we very quickly settled on a combination of Symetrix DSP and Powersoft Dante-networked amplifiers to handle all of the work under the hood. The resulting Dante backbone is built on the ever-expandable and malleable Symetrix Prism DSP platform combined with Powersoft’s Quattrocanali DSP + Dante amplifiers. Numerous patchable CAT 7 tie lines distributed throughout the various spaces can be configured for Dante, Video over IP or other network traffic including control data. AES, analogue audio or DMX can also be patched as required by our technicians for special events.”

Spartan installed a single Symetrix Arc-3 wall panel behind the bar to handle all of the user-operated functions, including the triggering of RS485 commands sent over TCP/IP to the video system, from the Symetrix Prism. The system rack is home to a Windows PC with both Symetrix Composer and Powersoft Armonia installed, which are the software programs used to provide configuration, remote control and monitoring for Prism and Quattrocanali respectively. “This machine provides us with remote access to support any last-minute event-specific configuration,” said Morgan. “It also allows gives us very quick access to troubleshooting the system for the client should that be required, which give us both peace of mind.”

Spartan Audio have also recently upgraded the audio elements in the Cardiff bar along much the same lines, including a live music area upstairs in the Beer Hall, a system in the main bar, a system in the upstairs bar and their dedicated “Cwtch” bar. At the heart of the control system this time is a Symetrix Radius DSP platform with two Windows touchscreen tablets (one on each floor) running Symetrix’s SymVue control application to control each floor’s respective AV functions.

“We decided on a Radius for the Cardiff bar rather than Prism because Radius has an expansion slot that we may need to use for future upgrades,” explained Morgan. “We didn’t need that capacity for the Brewery bar because it was a new build and so the Dante network infrastructure was properly anticipated and built into the fabric of the building. If ever we need to interface with any other protocols, we can simply add an appropriate Dante bridge. However, as the Cardiff bar was a refit with limited cable access, it’s not quite as simple to provide Dante access points where we need them, so the option to expand capacity with more analog and AES I/Os is really useful.”

“Personally, this has been one of my favourite projects of all time,” he continued. “I’m proud of the systems we’ve provided – they look good, they sound even better, and they respond in every way to the client’s demand that they be scalable and futureproof. We’ve had unfailing support from CUK (who distribute Powersoft and Symetrix) throughout the project, and we know they’ll be there for us in the future should we require it. And then there’s the beer. What’s not to like?”