Few of the world’s nightclubs boast the prestige, historical pedigree or sheer superstar power of Jimmy*z Monte-Carlo, one of the world’s first great nightclubs. Founded in 1971 by Régine Zylberberg, the woman credited with creating the discotheque as we know it, Jimmy*z remains one of Europe’s premiere after-dark destinations. Following a refurbishment in 2017, it now also boasts the ultimate in sound reinforcement courtesy of TW AUDiO.
With a guest list that frequently includes many of the world’s most famous faces, and a drinks menu that starts at three figures for table service, Jimmy*z also has a history unlike other nightspots. The venue was originally created as a showcase for Zylberberg, popularly known simply as Régine, and nicknamed the Queen of the Night. Having made her name in Paris during the 1950s and 1960s, Régine relocated to the principality of Monaco, opening Jimmy*z Monte-Carlo within a year of her arrival. The club instantly became iconic, attracting the great and good of European society.
Yet for all the glamour that surrounds Jimmy*z Monte-Carlo, for Gérard Giraudon, director of French systems integrator Colorsonic, and the man charged with creating an audio installation worthy of the club’s prestige, the venue’s story is far more personal. “I first met Régine in the early 1970s, in Paris, where I worked for her as a DJ both in the original Jimmy*z nightclub and at Chez Régine, in Paris,” he explains. “Also, my father in law actually sold and installed the very first sound system into Jimmy*z Monte-Carlo. Later, I moved to the Côte d’Azur in 1986, and my father-in-law introduced me to the technical director of the Société des Bains de Mer, the organisation that by that time owned Jimmy*z, after which I became the club’s in-house technician until 2000.”
As the decades have passed, Jimmy*z Monte-Carlo has undergone a number of technical refurbishments, but it wasn’t until 2017 that Giraudon once again found himself in the venue he knew so well. “I was approached by a good friend and architect, Samy Chams, who is the founder and owner of Prospect Design, and Fred Genin of Arch Monaco, who asked me to design and install a new sound system. Of course I was thrilled to once again work in a venue which is so much a part of my own story.” However, there are challenges to overcome in even the most prestigious project, and Jimmy*z was no different. “When I was invited to participate, the venue was undergoing a complete refurbishment,” says Giraudon. “They effectively started from scratch. It was a big challenge to participate in the total reconstruction of a club that opened in 1971. We were in charge of the sound, light and video design, and we needed to safeguard the club’s unique DNA while at the same time creating a technical solution of a truly international standard.”
Adding to the challenge meanwhile was an extremely tight timeframe. “We had to coordinate all of these elements within a relatively short time, especially as we started from zero. Of course, work is always delayed for one reason or another, and ultimately Colorsonic had to successfully complete this huge installation in just three weeks, working day and night.”
The club’s unusual interior configuration added a further layer of complexity, with an oval seating area positioned in the centre of the permanently packed dance floor. The answer was a quadraphonic main system comprising four flown T24N enclosures, each firing down on the dance floor with 90-degree x 50-degree dispersion for smooth coverage across the main area. In addition, 10 T20i enclosures are ceiling mounted throughout the venue to extend seamless full range coverage throughout.
Considerable low-end extension is added with eight 10-inch B10 subwoofers positioned beneath the oval seating area, plus four 18-inch B18 subs placed within the concrete plinth upon which the DJ booth is situated. Finally, a double 21-inch BSX sub has been placed in front of the DJ booth, underneath a small stage upon which dancers also perform.
“In this kind of environment, it can be a challenge to integrate the required number of subwoofers needed to deliver a very powerful low frequency performance, without then occupying lots of floor-space that should really be utilised for guests,” explains Giraudon. “Visitors to Jimmy*z pay hundreds or even thousands of Euros for tables, and so we couldn’t justify removing table space in favour of our audio design. We discussed the issue with the client and we concluded that the best option was to provide one single, very strong source of bass frequencies from the beneath the DJ, hence our use of the BSX. The decision has proven very popular with the client and guests alike.”
Giraudon is also quick to praise the level of support that he and his team received throughout the project. “TW AUDiO provided excellent technical assistance,” says Giraudon. “They were at our disposal for the entire project. We worked very closely on site with TW AUDiO Technical Engineer Simon Pélouard.”
With phase one of the project now completed, Giraudon and his colleagues at Colorsonic are already looking forward to the next stage of the nightclub’s reinvention. “Work will continue again in March 2018, with more TW AUDiO loudspeakers being installed,” he explains. “In the second phase we will integrate a new system for the club’s main entrance, and we have also been working with TW AUDiO to create a very powerful but extremely compact DJ monitoring system.”
For now, however, it is enough for Giraudon to reflect on the success of a project in which he takes great professional and personal pride. “As with a lot of big projects, at the beginning there was a great deal of excitement, and a lot of tension in terms of making our plans a reality,” he says. “Now we feel a lot of pride and satisfaction to have reached this point. For the client, it was always very important that Jimmy*z remained true to its spirit as one of the world’s great nightclubs. Their satisfaction is reflected in the fact that the club is packed, night after night, and that they are enjoying working with these fantastic tools.”