Pioneer Pro Audio – Case Study – fabric room two

Pioneer Pro Audio – Case Study – fabric room two


Well, Fabric is just an institution
for people to come down and listen to great music and have a good time. It’s always been revered for its
sound systems and its music policy. The ethos hasn’t changed from
day 1; good underground dance music and a good sound system. Premier music, premier sound and
premier light. We go with what we believe in and try and set our own style rather than
going, ‘Oh, they’re hot at the minute, let’s just book them’, because I think you lose
your identity if you do that. So the idea was conceived by Keith
Riley. All the way through the 90s he was looking for a space in London to be able to
fill this idea of freedom and creativity to book what we wanted to. Ultimately in October
1999 the project found itself in this particular location in Smithfield. Going back to the days when illegal
raves in warehouses and stuff were going around London, Fabric wanted to harness what the
warehouse and the rave culture had, but bring it into a club and really explore the dynamics
of a system that they could put it to enhance that level of experience for the clubbers.
That’s why they’re so famous worldwide. It’s now presenting an experience
to people that they can’t find elsewhere. I was into dance music from a
young age and I think London embraced it and became one of the clubbing capitals of the
world. That’s how people like Fabric and all the other clubs were born; it was a real cultural
hub of dance music. I think crowds were expecting
to hear new genres of music down here first. Fabric Live in general has always
been UK-based music; it’s always supported that scene. So you had drum and bass, you
had dubstep, you had breakbeat when it was out, you had trap go through, we’ve got grime
coming through at the minute, whereas Saturday has always been a staple of house and techno.
That has a bit more of an international scene. We’ve in part shaped London’s
scene and London’s scene in part has shaped us. Well, I’ve been here 16 years
and we’ve been upgrading consistently in this room. But it got to a point where the shape
of this room and the age of the system we had, it was proving more and more difficult. Before, oh, what I could say was,
it was loud. It could be very loud but it was starting to lose a lot of definition. There
was a lot of bottom end and then there wasn’t much else until you got to a lot of high end
as well. It’s absolutely pivotal to make
sure that the music that you’re presenting is on the best possible system that you have
available to you. We decided to look at new systems,
basically improve the sound we have and actually create parity with Room 1, if not surpass Room
1, with an up-to-date current sound system. We tried out a few different companies,
yes, so had a few systems in here and Pioneer was definitely the one that worked best for
us all. We did two demos of each system and
it was clear after the first demo – but even clearer after the second demo – that Pioneer
won every single demo and basically blew everyone else out of the water. We use Pioneer products a lot
and the DJ Pro Audio products. It’s a well-known brand, but when any company goes into another
field, people are going to be sceptical or dubious. So I think you’ve got to have an
open mind and listen. Certainly amongst the team at
Fabric, some people had no idea that we actually produced speakers to a standard like this.
We really turned a few heads with 1) the demo and also the build quality and performance
of our boxes. So it was a good start moving forward with Fabric. I was impressed and I was awfully
confident that Pioneer was going to be a good path to take. You could see everybody looking
at each other and just nodding as if, ‘Yes, that’s perfect’. The pressure was on, obviously,
because it’s the first time everyone’s going to hear the system and naturally I wanted
to make sure that it was the best it could be. We had a two-hour window and that was
including the setup time. So to fine-tune and set some delays and stuff like that we
had probably 40 minutes. Our boxes are voiced relatively flat so you’re not adding more
and more processing to what was already there; you’re subtracting processing and EQ points
based on the measurements of the room. So we were able to get a really, really good
sound pretty quickly. Their brief was very clear; that it needs
to be something where it’s going to make people go, ‘Wow’ as soon as you walk in that room.
The first demo we had, we showed a few different setups of XY Series and Keith Reynolds was
able to really home in on what boxes he was really looking for and what sound he was looking
for straightaway. There were two XY-122s at the front of the DJ console and then two on
the side behind the DJ. We decided to use two single 18 subwoofers, so two XY-118S.
You’re creating a nice little cocoon of sound. Left and right of the stage we installed two
152 clusters. You rotate the horn and you get this amazing 120-degree dispersion and
a 60-degree vertical dispersion. A little bit further down we have four clusters of
122s in the middle area and that really offers the full body of the system. Then right at
the back you’ll see another cluster of 122s left and right and that really pushes the
back end of the room out. I still wanted something like
a point source club sound system where you’ve got a lot of sound pressure from all around.
So the punter can walk in the room and feel the same wherever he stands in the room. Everything points in on you, rather
than a bit like the old system it was being fired at you. But also you heard a lot more
definition and detail because instead of four compression drivers, which traditionally was
in the room, you’ve got 12 now. We came up with a good idea; it
was to put a truss up and hung most of the system off poles, which they basically look
like they’re floating in the air, which looks really cool. Right at front of the room again
we use four XY-218 subwoofers. In the middle of the floor there were some more cages and
we used 218 subwoofers per side. Right at the back of the room there were another two
XY-218 subs stacked up in the cage. We used the Powersoft range, which
is what Pioneer brought down for us. Well, they actually come with an additional software
package which you use, called Armonia, which speaks to every amplifier. So you can now
tune the system from a laptop in there. You tell the amplifier which speakers it’s speaking
to and then it’ll set itself up for that. Then you can fine-tune it from there.
My biggest concern was the time; were we going to be able to do it in the time we had, because
the club didn’t really want to close. We wanted to keep on operating. We had five days to
do it because obviously we were opening again on the Friday. It was a pretty quick turnaround
considering all the work we had to do. We thought about it beforehand; there was no
room for mistakes. The height of the ceiling is a big factor as well because a lot of the
sound can go up and trap and come back. Alex spent a few days tuning and testing with reflections
and delays. If you look up in Room 2 there’s
a rolled ceiling probably around about ten to 12 metres from the floor; these really
sucked in all the subs. It made this prominent 50-herz tone. We really had to play around
with the measurements and with a few little notches here and there, we were able to get
it sounding really tight. It’s powerful but it’s warm as
well; it’s got both and I think that’s what works in this room. The power beats the shape
of the room because it’s an awkward room. The first time we opened with
the new Pioneer system in, yes, I just walked through there and I heard a guy just saying,
‘Wow! God, have you heard the sound’, to his friend, ‘In this room? You’ve got to come
in this room!’ You get that goosebumps of something
that just like hits the right note, if you like, for the kind of music that you’re listening
to. The DJs have responded very, very
well. Jackmaster, on the weekend we asked him privately, ‘Honestly what do you think
of the sound system? We want to make it perfect’. He goes, ‘It sounds perfect already’. Egyptian
Lover said it was his best sound system he’s played on since 1984, so that’s a great compliment.
If DJs like the sound system, they want to play for you and if the DJ’s had a good time,
99 per cent of the time, the customers have had a good time. It’s been really easy because
they’re genuine relationships; it goes beyond just a commercial partnership. It’s not just the club installation;
they’ve selected us, Pioneer Pro Audio, as the official sound partner for the club. That
means that any external events or any changes in the club itself, we’re always going to
be involved with it – which is great. Pushing the boundaries a little
bit would be where I’d love to see Fabric going, both in terms of line-ups and in terms
of the infrastructure and the systems that they are presented on and advancing the technologies
that certainly Pioneer have at their disposal. That’s the future for us. To be a part of that innovation
with the club sound system with Pioneer Pro Audio and Fabric is amazing.

One Reply to “Pioneer Pro Audio – Case Study – fabric room two”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *