Back to Case Studies
The Anatomy of An Award Winning Sound System - Gibsons Italia

The Gibsons Group is the epitome of a well-run family business. They pride themselves on bringing a world-class dining experience to their guests at a very reasonable price. For their product to remain a cut above the competition, Gibsons Group expects the same high-quality service at fair prices from their vendors as well.

Gibsons initially engaged Encompass (then Sound and Lighting Designs) in 2008 because they were expanding outside of Chicago, and their current installer could not scale with Gibsons beyond the city. Encompass was first tasked to repair and replace old systems at Hugo's Frog Bar in Naperville and exceeded expectations.

The Problem:
Once Gibsons saw firsthand the dedication and planning that Encompass Connect gives for every project (no matter how small), the Group granted Encompass the coveted opportunity to bid on the big new project at the time; Gibsons Oakbrook, in 2010. As you could probably guess, Encompass won the bid based on the number of services provided at a very competitive price.

In 2017, after Encompass had gained seven Gibsons locations for their service portfolio, the owner approached Encompass once again for a new exciting project, Gibsons Italia right at the corner of Canal and Fulton in the Fulton River District. The challenge for Encompass Connect was straightforward yet fascinating: perfect sound. The cost was of secondary importance to the Gibsons Group, as they wanted a one-of-a-kind sound experience that was flawless from any of the three levels of the restaurant.

How would Encompass take a blank check and turn it into an unparalleled experience for their fine-dining patrons? Let's go under a microscope and examine the anatomy of the three-level sound system infrastructure.

Our Solution:
The directive was concise: excellent sound everywhere. The first-floor entry is essentially just a host station, where you enter the elevator. Even if it is very brief, a first impression is never overlooked, so Encompass did not neglect the sound here.

The second floor is the primary socializing area of the restaurant, housing the bar and lounge. Surrounding the bar are Martin Audio CDD6 speakers, which were state-of-the-art technology for the time. Extremely crisp sounding speakers with an extensive dispersion pattern filled the entire floor with fantastic sound. Paired with the speakers were in-ceiling Tannoy subwoofers that were made flush with the ceiling (so as not to stand out obnoxiously) to provide the full range of sound Gibsons Group was seeking. Two Tannoy 12" were inserted directly into the bar and Martin Audio cdd8s surrounding the perimeter. This high-quality system gives that thump when needed and provides the opportunity for a DJ to host special events.

We immersed the third-floor dining room and in superb sound. Martin Audio cdd6s, in-ceiling subwoofers, and extra in-ceiling speakers effectively reached every corner of the third floor. Also within the dining room was a private dining area that Encompass stepped up their A-game to equip. A dedicated sound system paired with a 65" TV w/ wireless microphone gave guests the ability to connect to the TV and give presentations.

The fourth and final floor was the rooftop lounge with a retractable roof presenting a gorgeous view over the river. The rooftop needed to go BIG, so Encompass stepped up the size to Martin Audio cdd10s and two 18" subwoofers. If Gibsons ever wanted to have a dance club night, they have the system to turn it up. A 98" TV with three wireless microphones also gave possibilities for large presentations for corporate events.

The Results:

The incredible sound and ambiance throughout all three levels were enough to satisfy the very particular owner of Gibsons Group. He knew it was special the first time he heard it, and it was so special in fact that the Gibsons Italia Restaurant won the 2019 Mondo DR award for best Sound System in the Bar & Restaurant category.

The planning, design, and execution of the entire Encompass Connect team were on full display for the project’s entirety. They were rewarded with a Mondo DR award. Still, more importantly, they gained the confidence that the blueprint for an impeccable sound experience for any hospitality business was now securely in their pocket.

Encompass and Gibsons Relationship Today:
Encompass Connect now services eight locations for Gibsons Group and is the go-to AV company for all new upcoming projects. This is a tremendous honor to be as highly regarded as one of the premier hospitality groups in the great city of Chicago. We understand that everyone who frequents a Gibsons location is not only expecting great food and drinks but a dining experience that will bring back memories for years to come.

Service Your Locations Anywhere in the U.S.:
Encompass also showed its mobility to go outside Chicago and service all 8 Gibsons locations efficiently. All Gibsons Restaurants are currently located in Northern IL, but Encompass has worked with hospitality companies throughout the country, installations, and service. Being able to mobilize quickly and get us where you need us anywhere across the nation will help you scale faster while maintaining the high-quality AV and IT services you expect from Encompass Connect.

We will out-plan, out-think and out-execute any designer or installer you’ve ever hired.