Octane’s for kids!
This Vero Beach teen club
is so adult it has a hard time keeping
the grown-ups away.
By Elisabeth Gibbons
Before Octane, Vero Beach, Florida
didn’t know what a nightclub was, and forget about a
nightclub for teens.
For kids, “nightlife” was hanging out in movie
theater and mall parking lots. Obviously the community and
their parents weren’t too thrilled with that,
but what else could they do?
It was John Schaffer and his wife B.J. who first identified
Vero Beach’s need for nighttime activities for the pre-21
set. “My mom got the idea from reading letters that
teens had written to the local paper, complaining that there
was nothing for them to do,” says Rachael James, one
of the general managers of Octane, and one of the Schaffer’s
daughters. “It was a big problem with the teens here.
They wanted something a little more mature than just a skating
rink.” And who knew that once the place was built, parents
and older siblings would be digging it too?
Main Dance Floor:
64 - American DJ Crystal moonflower effects
8 - American DJ Mega Strobes
8 - American DJ PP-DMX20L power packs
8 - High End Systems Trackspot scanners
4 - High End Systems Color Pro HXi fixtures
4 - High End Systems Studio Spot 250 fixtures
2 - American DJ Flash Tube strobes
2 - American DJ Rampage moonflower effects
2 - Elation Barrel Tech II effects
1 - American DJ Flash 1-C controller
1 - American DJ SS-DMX/Matrix strobe controller
1 - Martin Light Jockey1- 250-quarter-watt laser
1 - PC computer (for above)
6 - Elation Waterfall effects
Main Dance Floor:
4 - CORE Scorched Earth BH218 dual 18-inch subwoofers
4 - CORE Scorched Earth MH-212 mid-hi cabinets
4 - Crown CL4 amplifiers
2 - CORE Scorched Earth BH418EXT horn flare extensions
1 - Crown CL1 amplfier
1- Shure P4800 digital signal processor
1 - slot tweeter OEM driver
Foreground Sound System:
11 - JBL Control Contractor 28T-60 speakers
4 - JBL Control Contractor 25T speakers
4 - Lowell 8-inch ceiling speakers (restrooms)
2 - Behringer DSP1000 delay units
2 - Crown CH-1 amplifier
1 - Behringer GEQ3102 equalizer
2 - CORE Custom “Double Decker” CDJ-1000
2 - JBL EON10 G2 powered booth monitors
2 - Pioneer CDJ-1000 CD players
2 - Technics SL1200MKII turntables, Ortofon cartridges
1 - Behringer CX2310 booth monitor crossover
1 - Behringer DSP1124P feedback destroyer
1 - Behringer DSP1400 booth monitor compressor/limiter
1 - Behringer GEQ3102 booth monitor equalizer
1 - CORE Dual CD Drawer Guard
1 - Denon DN2100F dual CD player
1 - JBL EON15 powered booth monitor subwoofer
1 - Rane MP24Z mixing console
1 - Shure SM58 wired microphone
1 - Shure ULXP24/58 wireless handheld microphone
1 - Sony MDR-V700J headphones
Upscale for the Underaged
Octane was meant from the get-go to be an upscale nightclub
for teens. This wasn’t going to be your run-of-the-mill
cheese-fest: It had to be a place that would impress the kids
and blow the parents away. “We wanted to make it as
close to an alcoholic club as possible, upscale and not kiddie-like.
We have a regular bar with a red granite top and bar stools,
where we serve non-alcoholic drinks. We try to make every
aspect of it like a regular nightclub,” explains James.
And it is a “real” nightclub. Besides a large
dancefloor and the bar, there’s a they also have a small
arcade area with about nine video games.
Making it even more cutting-edge and teen-friendly, Octane
works on an Intercard System. The kids pay the cover up front.
But when they get inside, they put their cash on a card, which
acts like a debit card that they can use at Octane over and
over again. Everything – the video games, the bar, and
the kitchen – runs on the card. “It’s so
the kids don’t have to worry about losing their cash.
When we were looking into our video games and computer systems,
we thought it was a good idea,” explains James.
The only thing that the Schaffers needed to make Octane just
as viable as other nightclubs was a kick-ass sound and lighting
system. Luckily for CORE Systems in Houston, Texas, the Schaffer
family had no problem giving them complete control over the
systems’ setups. “It was carte blanche. This was
the most fun job I think I ever worked on,” says Shawn
Byrne, project sales manager for CORE. “They gave me
complete and total control. They put their total trust in
us. And when somebody does that, it makes me want to deliver
even more; it makes me want to exceed their expectations.”
So when Byrne was presented with the 6,000 square-foot, former
Knights of Columbus hall that was soon to become Octane, he
knew that this place was going to need “sledgehammer”
sound and lighting. With today’s teens being raised
on MTV, their motto might as well be, “the more flash,
the better.” And a younger crowd demands high energy,
with lots of lights and power.
“Bat To The Head”
For Octane’s 1,254-square-foot (33’ x 38’)
dancefloor, CORE specified an active three-way sound system
utilizing CORE’s proprietary Scorched Earth line of
speaker cabinets. Four CORE MH-212 speakers – fully
horn-loaded cabinets that feature two 600-watt 12-inch drivers,
a two-inch compression driver, and a slot tweeter –
take care of the mid’s and hi’s.
“I knew I had to put in a massive, overkill sound system,
and one of the first things I told them was that we’re
putting in walk-in subwoofers,” explained Byrne. “Of
course they said, ‘What the hell is a walk-in subwoofer?’
And I explained that you could dance inside this subwoofer.
Their eyes lit up.”
So, adding to the power of the mid/hi cabinets are two enormous
CORE Scorched Earth BH418 bass cabinets, perched like altars
in the front two corners of the dancefloor. Each of these
bass cabinets features four (yes, four) 600-watt 18-inch drivers
stacked in a vertical line at the back of the sub-cabinet.
This line of drivers pushes the air in a true straight horn-loaded
cabinet measuring seven feet tall by seven feet deep, by nearly
six feet across the horn mouth. “For that size venue,
those two big walk-ins are absolutely moronic – beyond
stupid overkill,” admits Byrne.
But James says that the subwoofers are a big hit with the
kids: “Kids dance in front of them all night; they stand
right inside them and dance all night! Some kids will go right
in and not leave until they go home. They think it’s
unique and are impressed by them.”
Powering up the dancefloor speaker system is a combination
of five Crown amplifiers that deliver a total of 10,400 watts.
The processing for the dancefloor is handled by a Shure P4800
digital signal processing unit, and each output has its own
crossover, equalization, limiting, and delay with 24-bit accuracy.
Running at 65% of its capacity, the system’s just low
enough to not disturb the neighbors, who are a mere 300 yards
away, in the opposite direction of the giant horns. “It’s
still 160dB at the front door, so on the dancefloor it’s
probably about 110 or 112dB,” estimates Byrne.
Turntables or CD’s?
CORE was also given complete control over the DJ booth, down
to the very last detail. “I couldn’t even ask
them if they wanted turntables or CDs, because they would
say, ‘What are you asking us for? You’re the expert,’”
laughs Byrne. They let us dictate to the architect the parameters
of the booth – how big it needed to be, where it needed
to be located, how big the dancefloor space needed to be,
the distance between the walls and the drink rails.”
The settled-upon mixer is the Rane MP24z. Also in the booth
are two Technics 1200’s outfitted with Ortofon cartridges,
one Denon DN2100 dual CD player, two Pioneer CDJ-1000 CD players,
and both a Shure wired and a wireless handheld microphone
The DJ monitor system is specified with two CORE-customized
JBL EON10-G2 speakers, flanking a JBL EON15-G2 subwoofer –
what Byrne calls “an outrageous monitor system from
hell.” This stereo, active three-way system provides
clear sound at really high volume levels, and the subwoofer
brings the bassline right into the booth. This booth is ideal
for a teen club DJ, whether he’s throwing on Top 40
hits or underground house. However, in Octane’s case,
the music of choice is hip-hop. Their most popular night this
past summer was their Wednesday hip-hop night, which would
draw about 700 kids weekly.
Subtle or Blinding?
Octane needed a strong lighting system to complement their
booming audio. Their low, 16-foot ceilings required a good
number of fixtures to achieve proper coverage for the large
dancefloor. The resulting system is high-energy and versatile.
It can be both subtle, for the early evening crowd, and “almost
blinding” if you really work it late at night. “It’s
a very high impact light show, but at the same time it has
a lot of subtlety for early evening in the amazing Crystal
chasing system on custom rings. So it has some subtlety and
it has some depth, but when you get into the late night hours,
it’ll just blind your ass if you want to get crazy,”
Eight High End Systems Trackspot scanners running down both
sides of the dancefloor, four on each side, start the design.
CORE then employed four High End Color Pro HXi fixtures for
a saturated color wash. Octane’s strobe effect is achieved
with eight American DJ 750-watt Mega-Strobes. Centered over
the dancefloor are four High End System Studio Spot 250’s,
dropped about three feet below the grid on CORE custom mounts.
Sixty-four American DJ Crystal moonflower effects help fill
in the floor with some early evening ambiance. The Crystals
are mounted in groups of eight, on CORE custom mounting rings,
with 32 discreet channels of DMX control.
And how’s this for sound and lighting working hand-in-hand?
Two American DJ Rampage fixtures project multiple beams of
light from within the mouth of the Scorched Earth subwoofers,
as a two-meter American DJ Flash Tube flickers deep in the
throat of each.
The finishing touch to the lightshow is the laser system.
With the low ceiling height, bounce mirrors, and the new DMX
scanning head, the 250 milliwatts of coherent light is more
than enough to turn up the vibe at Octane. Utilizing the wall
adjacent to the dancefloor as a projection surface, six Elation
Waterfall effects provide a continuously variable color-changing
backdrop to the dancefloor. To add more energy to the show,
two Elation Barrel Tech II mirror effects flank the laser
Can’t Keep the
The Schaffers and their children were more than pleased with
Byrne’s finished product “I was amazed,”
says James. “I went to some clubs in Palm Beach. I knew
our sound and lighting was great, but these other clubs –
not even teen clubs, but regular nightclubs – they didn’t
even have anything close to what we have. It made me appreciate
everything. CORE did an amazing job.” The kids and their
parents were equally impressed.
Octane has an open-door policy for parents; they’re
allowed to come in and check the place out. Sometimes they
don’t leave! And according to James, a lot of people
in their twenties show up after last call at the bars to come
and dance the rest of the night away. But, for the time being,
Octane is still all about providing a safe place for teens
to hang out at night. “At Octane, we’re promoting
the fact that they can go out and dance and have a good time,
and not drink. They appreciate that it’s a place they
can go and party and be safe,” says James.