Vinyl Destination: Ōdiobā, Stockport

By in Features





Vinyl Destination is a series where we visit new and established crate-digging locations and vinyl focused spaces worldwide to learn about the stories, people and records behind them.

The UK’s latest audiophile bar has sprung up in Stockport Underbanks. Ōdiobā, founded by Nam Tran and Lauren Lane, boasts a NAM Soundsystem and offers daytime coffee and cocktails at night.

Each weekend, the space has programmed a Nam and Friends line-up inviting DJs across the jazz, funk, soul, and house spectrum including recent performances from Ad Hoc Records, Swales, Josh and Toby previously of Melodic Distraction, Rev. Austin Sherman, Be With Records and more.

Founders Nam Tran and Lauren Lane said on the opening of Ōdiobā: “We’re absolutely buzzed to be here and to share the street with some incredible independent neighbours. We’re hoping those who have shared the journey with us so far will continue to do so down on the cobbles. For now we’re offering coffee and tea in the daytime, before dimming the lights for booze and beats in the evening”.

We chat with Tran to learn more about Ōdiobā.

What is the meaning behind the Ōdiobā name?

It’s the phonetic way of saying audio bar in Japanese!

What is the inspiration for the interior design of the space?

Lauren, the co-founder and my partner, and I really wanted to create a calm, soothing environment, so we went with deep blue walls to make it feel cosy, wood finishings and exposed brick for character and a load of plants to bring some life into the space.

Tell me about the history of the NAM soundsystem?

So I’ve had an interest in hi-fi since my early teens. My family were appreciators and gifted me my first hi-fi set-up as a leaving present when I left for university. With the surge of hi-fi listening parties in the past few years, it inspired me to get involved.

This led me to start building my own soundsystem which is now housed in Ōdiobā. Made up of custom-built 3-way speakers, consisting of vintage 15” JBL subwoofers, Tannoy 15” monitor golds from the 70s, and hand-built Altec replica multicellular horns with radian compression drivers.

The sound system originally resided in our former venue, and we’ve been blessed to tour it around festivals too. Curating stages at Gottwood and We Out Here has been a highlight. We hope to be doing a lot more of that in the future.

How did the NAM soundsystem move from Ancoats to Stockport? 

Essentially, we were in search of a new home, somewhere with a budding music culture and more of a community feel, and Stockport has just that.

What role do you think audiophile bars play in the vinyl community?

A significant one! Mainly for the fact that they enable their community to listen to music in the way the artist intended it to be heard–offering a truly elite listening experience. Tannoys were used in recording studios back in the day, so the record producers, writers, artists who wrote the music did so with these speakers on hand.

Also, our bars give an opportunity for record collectors who aren’t necessarily DJs to come and play, enjoy their records and appreciate vinyl as a music format.

What are the upcoming plans for the space?

We just want to bring people together for the love of music really, so bring in more local DJs from the community, host events that bring something fresh to Stockport and also collaborate with our neighbours.

Read more: Vinyl Destination with Rubber Ducky Records