‘La Balle au Bond’ comes barging in with a crisp StageSource system


‘La Balle au Bond’ comes barging in with a crisp StageSource system

Moored on the Seine river right at the heart of Paris, next to Pont des Arts bridge and opposite the Palais du Louvre, the barge “La Balle au Bond” is a rather unique location for musical theme nights, private events and product launches. The barge’s space is divided into three decks whose intermediate level is equipped with a comprehensive Line 6 StageSource sound system.

Line6-loudspeakers-setupFabrice Rivani, the manager, recaps the barge’s history: “A former freight barge built in 1937, La Balle au Bond was converted into a retail space in the early 1990s.” About one and a half years ago, Fabrice, a wine trader, and the sound engineer Serge Babkine (Dee Dee Bridgewater, Manu Katché, Lalo Schifrin, André Ceccarelli…) decided to revive this historic location by using it for targeted musical events involving both established acts and up-and-coming artists.

The technical manager Serge Babkine explains his choice as follows: “One day, I went to the Milonga music store, because my son needed a new set of strings. There was a Line 6 StageSource demo going on, and so I listened in.” Serge was overwhelmed by the sound quality, and being on the look-out for a sound reinforcement system, he studied the specs and concluded that “the system met just about every criterion we had set for our future sound system: it is compact, highly efficient, versatile and perfect for just about any genre.”

Line 6 stagesource L3m front of house pa speakerFor the 120m² concert venue, they chose a setup capable of providing uniform sound coverage just about anywhere, whether in the audience, right at the stage or at the bar. La Balle au Bond installed four StageSource L3m speakers and two L3s subwoofers as their FOH system. Based on a powerful 3-way design that delivers up to 1400W, each of the main L3m speakers is set up in such a way as to cover a specific area. Two L3s subwoofers take care of the powerful low end.
The stage monitor system consists of six L2m speakers, and two additional L2t speakers cover the bar area. The L2m speakers are based on a two-way design and deliver up to 800W, which is more than enough for on-stage monitoring applications. The same is true of the L2t speakers used for the bar area. An M20d mixer rounds out the installation and has already proven invaluable for a variety of sound reinforcement scenarios.

Fabrice and Serge agree: “We are infamous for our motley program, so we need a system capable of handling rock, folk, funk, rap, classical music… even DJ performances.” While the two are busy preparing their first complete season, quite a few heavyweights, like Alain Chamfort, Jean Fauque, Francis and Didier Lockwood and Sanseverino as well as promising new acts, such as Le Spark (discovered and mentored by Louis Bertignac) have already performed on the barge. Fabrice grins: “For our Get Wet night, we had the Paris-based funk band Undergroove 93 over—that’s twelve musicians on stage. It got a little crowded up there, but the audience loved the performance…” Stagesource L3t left FOH of pa systemFabrice is extremely satisfied with the twosome’s collaboration with Line 6: “Our partnership with Line 6 is a dream come true: they use La Balle au Bond as a hands-on showroom for the Paris area. We are so proud that Line 6 accepted to partner with us.” Serge adds: “As a working musician, I have been traveling the world for almost 30 years, and I believe that I have seen and heard the best sound systems out there. I immediately fell in love with the Line 6 system, and I’m confident that it’s only a matter of time before their live sound solution becomes the de-facto standard for clubs and larger venues.”

Serge and the Stagesource L3t pa speaker