Martin Audio helps boost the Sandbox VR experience

Described as “a futuristic VR experience”, Sandbox VR offers teams of six the opportunity to visit original worlds, experience journeys to space or survive zombie ambushes. Inspired by Star-Trek’s Holodeck, and described by customers as “the greatest VR experience they have ever had”, the advanced audio-visual specification and installation for this attraction was entrusted to London-based Crossover.

Sandbox approached the specialists to fit out the three floors of the iconic Post Building in London's Covent Garden — a former Royal Mail Sorting Centre that had previously sat derelict for 20 years.

Selection of the right products was paramount and careful consideration had to be given to the challenges around the acoustics and structure of the building. For sound reinforcement they opted for Martin Audio’s CDD coaxial differential dispersion series, as they often have in the past. Crossover specified several different audio-visual solutions for this unique space, with digital signage driving pavement appeal and allowing easy updates of scheduled information and promotions.

Inside, it’s the four Holodecks, split over the two lower floors, that are the main area for VR participation. Each area houses a wall-mounted large-format display that provides information to the team about the room and mission that has been chosen. Here, diverse audio and visual elements mesh together to dramatically enhance the visitor experience within a dynamic space.

Crossover Senior Systems Designer, Juan Garcia, said the client had been looking for a high-quality sound system that could operate as a background and foreground system: “We know from past experience that Martin Audio would be able to deliver the quality requirements within reasonable budgets,” he said.

Fed by a combination of customer-profiled media player, iPod and DJ inputs, 14 CDD6WTX-WR speakers are distributed across the multi-audio-zoned venue. This includes the Mezzanine Presentation Area, which serves as a multifunctional events space, where the audio system combines with a large projection screen, fed from an ultra-short throw projector.

We love the CDDs’ sound quality and reliability. Juan Garcia, Crossover Senior Systems Designer

“We love the CDDs’ sound quality and reliability,” stated Garcia. “They provide a great base level of sound to work with,” added Crossover Commissioning Engineer, Lewis Spink. “The CDD range has been a good solution across projects, where you can achieve high coverage in areas with fewer speakers, as this minimises phase relationship considerations.

“We’ve seen the speakers give consistent performance across a number of years in very tricky environments, with no massive discernible differences between new speakers and five-year-old speakers that have endured heavy usage. That’s really impressive, and excellent for us and our clients.”

In the main bar area the CDD6s are boosted by a pair of discreet Martin Audio slimline SX110 subwoofers in order to create more of a club feel.

Since the venue is acoustically highly reverberant — with hard, reflective surfaces, exacerbated by the loud noise of excited customers — a warm, rich background audio system had been vital to preserve the sense of immersion. Crossover worked carefully to manage the acoustics involved by not only careful selection of loudspeakers, but also through specification of appropriate acoustic panels, which also enhanced the overall ‘industrial’ aesthetic of the interior design.

"Crossover did an amazing job deploying our AV requirements into the first Sandbox VR venue in Europe,” said Jake Wilmot-Sitwell, co-founder at VR Entertainment Group // Sandbox VR (UK & Ireland).

The integrators were also engaged for the second Birmingham site, where they turned elsewhere in the Martin Audio portfolio to specify 10 of the ADORN ACP55T 5.25in Pendant speakers in a distributed system, along with four Martin Audio SX110 subs.