Opus 22, New York



The "open-turntables lounge" features acoustical paneling and a sleek decor. Inset: Clubbers have responded to Opus' grassroots promotion.

For DJs, by DJs.

By Chrissi Mark
Photos by David Rosenberg

New York City nightlife isn’t just about superclubs, fabulosity and awe-inspiring systems built with trust fund-sized budgets. In the birth city of DJ-centered genres like disco and hip-hop, one young club owner is striving to foster a new generation of jocks and music aficionados at Opus 22, a new “open turntables” lounge.

“In an era of pretty lounges, bottle-service clubs and hearing the same music over and over again, [Opus owner] Eddie [Lee] saw a void, went back to the roots of what a club should be and filled the niche,” says Trio Audio’s Sam Yee, the club’s sound designer. “He also came up with this fabulous idea of open turntable nights to cater to up-and-coming DJ’s. This can be the CBGBs for DJs.”

Bouncing Off The Walls
Unlike other lounges, this long venue on the westernmost edge of 22nd Street makes no attempt at hiding the big JBL SRX715F’s and SRX728S’s anchoring its sound system. Still, Opus is far from a dark, dingy, sound box. The sleek design befits its neighborhood, which is rife with art galleries, photography studios and fashion design HQs. There are smooth wood surfaces on the bar and walls; stainless steel behind the bar with covert panels that “pop out” to reveal TVs behind; low couches, stools and tables that add a sushi bar vibe; and floor-to-ceiling glass walls, kept open through the evening.

“The glass open walls were a concern because of their acoustical characteristics,” Yee says. “Glass is highly reflective and usually has a low STC (sound transmission class), resulting in a live room on one side and noise pollution on the other.” So Yee designed the system to maintain clarity and coverage at a lower volume level than he and Lee prefer (which also functions to keep neighbors happy). Later in the night, the doors are shut and shades are pulled down, covering the glass.

The diligent Lee also “did his homework” and sought means of noise absorption for the other walls. Calling in the advice of an acoustician, he decided to cover the long back wall with Solo: Acoustical Wood Plank paneling from Toronto-based Decoustics, a perforated wood backed with one-inch fiberglass acoustic panels by Owens Corning. The all-wood surfaces of the bar and side wall help dampen noise as well.

When you walk through Opus’ door, the first thing you see is the DJ booth. If you get close enough you’ll even notice a small framed sign that simply reads, “No Requests.” The imperial booth was designed to make manning the decks comfy. “We wanted to design the canvas for the DJ,” Yee says. “He can have one hand on the mixer and the other hand on any other piece of gear in the booth without having to stretch out his arms or let go.

“The Xone: 92 mixer was chosen because times are changing. Requests for knob mixers are losing favorability over the crossfaders, especially with the newer up-and-coming generation of DJs. Built-in filters, effects generators, and samplers means less gear for the DJ to carry.”

Show Us What Ya Got
The booth’s welcome mat is rolled out for newbies on open turntable nights, which for now are Mondays and Tuesdays. “Every day we have guys dropping off CDs, calling up, inquiring about how they can get a night here,” Lee says. “We just tell them to come for open turntables.” Everyone is welcome to hop on the decks for a 30-minute slot, overseen by music director Jun Shiina to prevent equipment damage or other potential travesties. “They play, and then if they’re good we try to book them to open up for our guest DJs,” Lee says. “If not we just thank them and they hang out.”

So far the response has been overwhelming praise for the system, the concept and the vibe. “People just hang out and talk about music,” Lee says. “You get a mix of everything: Some audiophiles, a lot of people just into good music, but really everything, like straight, gay, black, white, Latino, Asian.” No, there’s no quota at the door: That’s just New York City, honey.


Designed and installed by Sam Yee and Joey Rosa of Trio Audio
4 - JBL SRX715F two-ways
2 - Crown CTs 3000 amplifiers
2 - JBL SRX728S subwoofers
1 - Crown CTs 600 amplifier
1 - dbx DriveRack 260 digital processor
1 - dbx iEQ-31 graphic equalizer

DJ Booth
2 - JBL Control 28 monitors
2 - Pioneer CDJ-1000MK2 digital vinyl turntables
2 - Technics SL-1210M5G turntables
1 - Allen & Heath Xone: 92 mixer
1 - Crown CE 1000 power amplifier
1 - dbx DriveRack PA digital processor

Custom DJ console designed and built by Mark Lynch


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Copyright 2005 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2005 TESTA Communications