Checking sound at new Joint

It’s a new face with familiar features, like most offspring when the milkman isn’t involved.

Right now, the new Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel is a maze of extension cords and sawdust, a large cherry picker keeping watch in the middle of the room, as dozens of workers in hard hats scramble to put the finishing touches on the $60 million venue.

The three-tiered concert hall, which opens April 17, boasts twice the capacity of the previous venue, able to hold 4,000 for general admission shows, with a second floor consisting of VIP boxes and seats.

But the place already is starting to look like its smaller, now shuttered daddy, with the same proscenium above the stage and similar squarish proportions with a large open floor that characterized the old Joint.

"One thing was to keep The Joint heritage feel and look," says Paul Davis, vice president of entertainment at the Hard Rock.

Well, The Joint is a renowned venue, but not so much because of the room itself.

What made The Joint such a popular draw was that it was one of the rare venues where you could catch arena-level acts such as Metallica, the Eagles and the Rolling Stones in the kind of intimate setting that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.

Plus, the cachet of the Hard Rock made those kind of bands want to play there in the first place.

As for the actual venue itself, its boxy layout meant that the sound quality could vary greatly depending on where you were standing, leading to a muddled mix from time to time. Sometimes you could see bands far better than you could hear them, an odd disconnect for such cozy confines.

Initially, the new Joint’s similar layout seems like it could duplicate the same problems that its forebear had.

But, according to the venue’s designers, it wasn’t the configuration of The Joint that led to occasional bouts of spotty sound.

"The size and the shape of the room is pretty good," says Ben Panaccio of Sceno Plus, the company that created the schematics of the new Joint. "The best concert halls on Earth are all shoebox-shaped."

To hear Panaccio tell it, any issues with the sonics of the old Joint were more reflective of a lack of sound absorption treatment in the interior of the venue, hence the music could ricochet throughout the room.

"The first Joint was really not treated enough," Panaccio says, noting that the new venue had undergone more thorough coverage in that department.

That, and a much more advanced sound system, should significantly improve its acoustics.

And that’s the real music to our ears.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

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