Form and Funktion
Balinese venue KU DE TA is renowned amongst those in the know. Now it has installed a Funktion One system, it’s better than ever, says Richard Lawn.
The Indonesian island of Bali entices tourists from all over the world with culture, cuisine, sandy beaches, Indian Ocean sunsets and more besides. Some of those tourists become so attached to these surroundings that they resist returning home and in staying impart some of their old world ways onto the island. French-born Bali based architect Fredo Tafin is one such individual, contracted to design a chic meeting place for the global village in 2000. His modern and minimalist approach to architecture created a contemporary living space with clean lines defining modern architectural boundaries whilst embracing the Balinese concepts of open-air and communal forms. The uninterrupted flow of energy from beach to the garden deck and through the restaurant to the entrance is today renowned worldwide by those in the know simply as KU DE TA.
Twelve years have passed since KU DE TA opened for business and Billy Tymoszuk understands the elements of its success. ‘There is a lot more competition here in Seminyak now trying to follow our lead, so we have to keep on our toes,’ attests the music director who heralds from Melbourne. ‘Our patrons return here for our fine dining, the amazing cocktails that we serve, our beach frontage, the sunsets and the music that we play.’ KU DE TA takes its music very seriously to create the right vibe whether it’s mid-afternoon, dusk or late evening. The venue also compiles its own CDs and broadcasts internet radio from its premises. ‘We play iTunes before 4pm and generally increase the tempo and the SPLs as the day progresses.’
Whilst KU DE TA is today characterised by its international flavours in a Balinese setting, its sound system is most definitely British. The recent upgrade was specified following a thorough examination of what the market had to offer, for which electroacoustic specialist Nick Whitaker – who also performed the final tuning – was drafted in from London to provide KU DE TA with expert advice. ‘He spent a lot of time assessing what we needed to create and enhance our unique KU DE TA sound experience,’ explained Mr Tymoszuk. ‘There are a number of contrasting zones in KU DE TA, so you have to match the audio levels and ambience not only to the time of day but also to whether patrons are dining, chilling or having fun.’
The solution was Funktion One, a brand with which KU DE TA was already familiar. The venue hosts two large annual events, the Bikini Party and the White Party, both of which have previously been served by Funktion One speakers under a rental agreement with distributor Dempo Musik.
The installation of the permanent system means that 19 zones in total have been created. By day, the central lawn area is home to two mobile units each consisting of dual Res 2 speakers and a single F118 subwoofer, which are deployed to the restaurant and ocean bunker DJ areas as the sun starts to set over the Indian Ocean. Both systems provide supplementary SPLs later in the day when added to the permanently installed dual F101 speakers and MB212 subwoofer located at Sexion 6 and the dual F81 speakers augmented by a single MB112 subwoofer at Fidel’s bar. As such, both locations very much become the nuclei of the entire venue’s energy.
Adjacent to Fidel’s is the locked, air-conditioned audio control room, which is the beating heart of KU DE TA’s sixth sense. Here the audio signals from the two DJ areas and an iTunes feed are processed by five Funktion One X-04 processors and mixed on a Mackie CFZ12 MkII 12-channel console. Two Formula Sound ZMR80 modular zoners provide source and volume control to the 19 designated zones in addition to paging to any selected zones or all zones from the front panel or remote microphone. The entire speaker system is powered by a combination of five F60Q and four F40Q amplifiers. A combination of Funktion One F55, F88 and F101 speakers cater to the more peripheral zones such as the Pergola restaurant, Sexion 9 sofa seating area, sunset box and other dining areas.
The system was installed by Dempo Musik under challenging conditions as work could only be undertaken when the venue was closed between 1am and 6am. The Surabaya-based supplier and systems integrators’ work will be extended whilst the Balinese elements continue to thoroughly test the loudspeaker system. The combination of heat, rain, ocean salts and tropical humidity constantly attack the outdoor weather-proofed speakers. A special ‘umbrella’ system was devised by Funktion One and built locally in Surabaya to help protect the speakers, but Mr Tymoszuk is taking no chances: ‘We will soon start to rotate spares around the venue and ship the older speakers back to Surabaya for servicing,’ he confirms. At the end of a long shift at KU DE TA, the Funktion One speakers are themselves put to bed for the night in customised weather-protected jackets.
But for Mr Tymoszuk, the extra effort is a small price to pay for owning the most envied sound system in Bali. ‘As soon as we installed the Funktion One system, other club owners heard about it and came to hear it themselves,’ he says. ‘They realised that our patrons were staying longer and returning, and as such that’s a great investment. I take it as a great complement as they are now installing the same systems themselves. Compared to the previous system that we had here, the Funktion One speakers and amps have so much more headroom. Our vibe is more chilled as our patrons don’t want to scream and shout above the music. However, you really don’t need to push the system much for it to be very loud if you wish.’