Possibly the most famous live sound venue in the Middle East, Beirut's Music Hall has joined the growing local trend of moving outside for the summer months, with the opening of its new beach side venue, not far from the clubs downtown Beirut Starco Centre base. Music Hall offers an eclectic mix of music which can be as diverse as a Yugoslavian gypsy brass band, followed by an Arabic vocalist supported by a Cuban backing band, all the turns have a fifteen minute slot, with a slick five minute turn around the norm. With the audio needs for Beirut and the recently opened satellite venue in Dubai being covered by Inspired Audio's Optima Array, Music Hall owners Jean and Michelle Elefteriades' again took the Inspired route, asking the company's Chris Scott to deliver the system in the new venue.

Working with Milad Massaad from Lebanese distributor Transorient Services and in house sound engineer and audio guru, Philippe Tohme, Scott specified left and right hangs consisting of nine Optima 8, with two Optima B215 cabinets flown at the top of each drop. Bottom end was further enhanced with a pair of SB218 enclosures per side. A central hang of three Optima 5 cabinets covered the 'V', with two further drops of Optima 5 combined with Optima B210, acted as stage side fills. Stage sound was provided by Axis AX15 enclosures in active mode. The system was run on fourteen eFlex Q5 amplifiers networked under software control.

Commenting Scott said,

'the system was perhaps a little OTT, but Philippe just wanted the headroom and dynamics to catch peoples breath when required. It is an intriguing venue, probably best described as industrial with a naval twist as the perimeter is constructed from sea freight containers that have been sand blasted and will be allowed to gracefully rust. So a few hard surfaces to deal with, but we got a great sound balance.'

The Music Hall formula of golden rose covered proscenium, red velvet drapes and upholstery is probably as wacky as the musical content, but it clearly works as consistent full houses over the last ten years have proved. With Dubai also pulling in the crowds, one suspects that Music Hall on the beach will be more of the same.