The very special bespoke designed Spiritland limited edition Vivaldi One. Read on to find out how this partnership came about. dCS has embarked upon a unique collaboration with London’s Spiritland music venue…

“I’m originally a sound engineer”, says Spiritland’s Artistic Director Paul Noble. “I started at the BBC, and also worked as a radio producer. Later I became a music consultant and would advise corporate brands on their music policy. I was also a DJ and all-round music nerd, playing, selecting, composing, too. Then I got interested in the equipment side of things, and embarked on a hi-fi upgrade path. That’s the way I got to hear about dCS…”

Paul says he collected everything. “I got through collecting records and then Compact Discs, and then MiniDiscs and then streaming audio – but somewhere amidst all of that, the emotional attachment and engagement went out of the window in favour of convenience.” At this point he met his future business partners; Patrick Clayton-Malone and Dominic Lake. “We decided to make a musical world for people who were looking for more; people who want a hospitality experience with incredible music, and food and drink.”

The concept of Spiritland was duly born. It wasn’t supposed to be steeped in club culture, so for was music lovers of all tastes and tendencies. “The music we play could be from yesterday or it could be from seventy years ago, but wherever you meet the Spiritland brand there’s a level of quality”, Paul adds. Call it what you want – a “hi-fi bar” or a “music restaurant” or simply a great “entertainment space”, Spiritland was designed to fuse key aspects of the good life together brilliantly.

“You know, when people put together music with food and drink, for me it has never done that well, because it’s been to the detriment of one or the other. So we had to do it differently; it all began in a restaurant called Merchant Tavern in Shoreditch. We put in an incredible sound system in there and had DJs playing what their personal passions were. For example, Hot Chip would come and play a night of piano music. People immediately understood that we were doing something at a level of integrity which is uncommon.”

Then three years ago the partners found a space at King’s Cross and came up with Spiritland. “There is a café and a workspace during the day with background music playing, there’s a restaurant which has had incredible reviews. And we have what we think is one of the world’s best sound systems, the mainstay of which is the dCS front end. At every point it is a quest for perfection, bringing a very high level of production to the public. Most people are never going to hear this stuff, and so it’s a revelation for them when they hear Queen, The Beatles, Bowie – whatever. When you hear it on this dCS-fronted system it’s like hearing it for the first time…”

Paul says he has long been a fan of dCS. “I knew the brand from going to the Munich High End Show every year, I knew what they did. They got in touch and I said very quickly that we should be working with these guys, so it was a quick and easy partnership, and we’re very grateful. All the music played during the day has gone through a Vivaldi DAC, then into our mixer. And now we have a very special dCS Vivaldi One disc player/DAC and streamer, which looks and sounds stunning.”

“I came across Spiritland before they opened,” says dCS Managing Director David Steven. “A business contact of mine knows how much I enjoy music so said it would be right up my street. I met with Paul Noble and thought he had a fantastic concept. I’d been to some of those audiophile bars in Japan before, and really liked them. So I offered to help him out with some of his equipment. I can’t take any credit for anything they’ve done there but it is fantastic. We installed a Vivaldi DAC and helped out with getting the streaming set-up. Then, as the first anniversary approached, and Vivaldi One was coming out, I thought Spiritland would be great place for it. We tied it into the look and feel of the place, and that’s how the unique Spiritland Vivaldi One came about.”

dCS Design Engineer Michael Evans takes up the story. “Spiritland wanted all the tactile parts to be brass because then it would tarnish over time and the people who used it had left and imprint. We put the Spiritland logo on the brass volume knob. Other things that aren’t standard paint or metal plate include the disc tray front, the nameplate on the back and the buttons. With this metal, things are coming off the machine in almost a finished state. This was another level of challenge for us.”

Now that the bespoke Spiritland Vivaldi One has taken up residence, another Spiritland venture is launching. “The next phase,” says Paul Noble, “is our just launched headphone shop in Mayfair, selling headphones, portables, amplifiers and so on. In hi-fi there are lots of beautiful, exquisitely designed products yet often they’re sold like washing machines. We are putting all the love in the world into this equipment and selling it in the same way you would a luxury watch or jewellery. We are so proud to be working with dCS.”