The delightful Bal Blomet is a new addition to the vibrant live music scene in Paris, although its cleverly refurbished interior draws on a colourful history. Six years in the making, the 250-seat venue now offers Parisians a diverse itinerary of musical entertainment, each genre being well served by a NEXO GEO M6 compact line array, prominently installed above the stage.
Entrepreneur Guillaume Cornut spent many years in London before returning to his home town to discover the near-derelict ballroom in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. Formerly known as the Bal Nègre, the venue had quite a reputation in the early 19th century, as an exotic dance hall: indeed it was to become one of the sources of ‘biguine’, the rhythm-centric style of music that originated in Guadeloup and Martinique, fusing French ballroom dance steps with African rhythms. Amongst the artists of the Roaring Twenties performing and attending were Joséphine Baker, Maurice Chevalier and Mistinguett, watched by Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway and Joan Miró.
Guillaume Cornut purchased the building in 2011, and spent three years gaining his licenses, planning the re-construction and convincing his neighbours that the new re-named Bal Blomet was a good thing. So it is has proved, with the immaculately designed venue now offering a 70-seat restaurant, and concerts for just €20 a ticket.
A talented pianist in his own right, Cornut’s decision not to specialise in any one genre of music has given Bal Blomet a wide appeal. Collaboration with Paris-based installation company Nanolink has resulted in a latest-generation NEXO line array system, the GEO M6, which is equally suited to jazz, classical, cabaret, comedy and chanson.
After excavating 10 metres of Parisian earth, the double-height theatre is now below ground, its dressing rooms on an even lower floor. It has a U shaped layout, with two levels of audience areas on either side of the stage as well as in front.
The objective for Cornut and his installer Jean Michel Gache of Nanolink was a sound reinforcement system that would provide even dispersion throughout the 250-capacity venue without disrupting sightlines or losing the intimacy of the space.
Nanolink’s solution was NEXO’s compact GEO M6 line array, affixed to the back wall high above the musicians. The installation exploits the design of the M6 system, using six GEO M620s with three of the M6B modules in the middle of the array to provide the bass response. The GEO M6B is the low and mid-frequency partner module for the GEO M620, for applications which demand more powerful reinforcement, such as live music. With one 6.5” 8Ω long-excursion driver, the M6B shares the same physical footprint as the M620 allowing the cabinets to be arrayed together in the same column as the M620 full-range unit.
With a flare- shaped port tube to increase low frequency efficiency and linearity at high power, the M6B offers a usable range @-6dB of 70Hz-1kHz, with the M620 delivering a frequency response of 80Hz-19kHz ±3dB. Using a NEXO-designed long-excursion high-efficiency 6.5” LF driver and a 1” throat driver, the M620 has can offer HF dispersion of 80° or 120° horizontal, with 20° vertical coverage,0° to 20° splay when arrayed.
To cover the balconies to the side, and the seating below them, NEXO ID24i compact point-source loudspeakers have been used, located at the top and bottom of the GEO M6 arrays. These high-powered compacts have twin 4” drivers plus an HF compression driver with rotatable horn, which allows the horizontal dispersion to be ‘tuned’ precisely for the application.
Sub-bass is provided by a pair of ID S110s on either side of the stage. The partner sub to the ID Series, these compact and powerful cabinets deliver punchy and powerful subbass performance within a 43 Hz – 130Hz range, ideal for Bal Blomet’s performing artistes.