Saturday, May 12, 2007

Valve Sound System Documentary

Drum-n-bass witnesses the return of the old school "sound system"-- with a 21st century twist

Valve Sound System

According to their website, the Valve Sound System is comprised of six speaker stacks, each stack being 18 feet wide and nine feet high and housing six bass bins, two high bass amps and eight mid-range speakers. The system drains 96k of power and has to be transported by three trucks. All that firepower came to being at the hands of drum-n-bass producer Dillinja, who revived the idea of the traveling reggae sound system as a solution to he poor quality of most club p.a. systems, particularly in regards to terrible bass.

While somewhat dj-oriented, the video highlights what a determined group of audiophiles can do if given the right knolwedge and a few power tools. Plus, I think the rebirth of the sound system setup in the live p.a. scene would be a fantastic thing; up until a year ago I was associated with a sort of label/sound system thing, but it wasn't my own. Is anyone out there in reader land running a sound system of their own?

More people ought to be doing this.


Anonymous said...

A) That's too big, it's unnecessary and dangerous - unless the venue is truly huge, or outdoors (outdoors, this would be the BOMB).

B) The problem with sound quality in most clubs is in fact high end, and room treatment, (ringing ears anyone?) neither of which are helped by taking a single system to different venues.

C) There's been a DnB sound system in Sydney Australia since the mid nineties, this is NOT the only one in the world.

Griping aside, they really put a lot of work in and should be commended for their effort and commitment... Even if the music is stale as hell.

J. Wells said...

Haha, I never said the music was good. Nope nope.

Ronin said...

Where have you guys been?

Live sets (which is simply called a 'live' on the European mainland) have been a mainstay in sound system culture since late 90s.

I guess it started off with basic sets from a PC or laptop (I started out bringing a desktop with Fruity Loops about 9 years ago), but was also mostly kicked out using a string of grooveboxes and fx units.

Simplicity has been the key element as sound system parties have generally been illegal, so therefore taking place in volatile situations in warehouses, squats and in fields.

Travelling sound systems, I am happy to say, are still prominent in Europe and they regularly meet up for huge outdoor autonomous gatherings.

Back here in London there are parties most weekends and sometimes over half the lineup is made up of livesets from the sound-system collectives throwing the parties.

For more info on my activities within this realm check out:

:: Ronin