Nightclub Sound System Design

Nightclub Sound System – Sound is critical to a success of a nightclub. Contrary to the popular belief Loudspeaker quality is just one factor, although an important one, in what it takes for a nightclub to sound good. Other factors being the acoustics of the venue, sound management systems, amplifiers, speaker placement, venue capacity, external noises etc.

Our experience shows that the owner/manager of the nightclub needs to be proactive in dealing with the Architects. Acoustic Consultants and AV Consultants/Integrators so as to get the best nightclub sound system design for their venue. And it makes sense too, as investment in good sound systems alone can range anywhere between INR 50 lacs-1.5 crores depending on the size of the venue. Huge investment costs coupled with the time investment makes it very important to do it right the first time.

Below, we have compiled a list of questions that you as nightclub owner need to ask your consultant so that every factor that affects sound in your nightclub, is taken care of. Answer to these questions will not only make you better understand the dynamics of nightclub sound system design but will also give you an idea about the competency of the consultant. Send these questions across to three to four consultants and then choose the one who provides the best answers or satisfies you. We have tried our best to avoid technical terms wherever possible. Ask your consultant to explain some basic technical terms like Frequency Response, SPL, Dispersion, Throw, Phase Delay, Frequency Cancellation, DSP, Amplifier, Absorption, Reflection etc.

The Questions

  1. How sound interacts with the enclosed space of your venue? Which material inside the venue is acoustically opaque or transparent and how does it affect the low, mid and high frequencies? Is your venue suppressing some frequencies? How will the acoustic material used inside the venue age with time and how it will affect sound?
  2. Why he is using a particular speaker, in terms of frequency response, SPL level, dispersion etc.?
  3. Why speakers are place in a particular place? Are they covering the entire venue? Where are the acoustically sweet and dead spots located inside your venue? How he has defined different zones for your venue? Areas with loud music, peppy music, background music.
  4. How do different speakers interact with each other? Are they strengthening or subduing the sound? What is phase delay, will he be using the same for best results?
  5. How does the number of people inside the venue affect the sound quality and output? Is your sound system ready to deliver on crowded days?
  6. How does the amplifiers interact with the speakers? Is the system capable of running on full capacity for long durations?
  7. How your sound management system distributes frequencies to tops and subs placed inside your venue?
  8. How does the air temperature, pressure and humidity affects sound in your venue?
  9. How will the sound in the venue change over time as the speaker age over time and what needs to be done to take care of it?
  10. Is your sound system safe from a novice handling it? Are enough protection measures provided so that the system does not blow-off. If someone accidentally pulls of a lead from a speaker or amplifier or presses a wrong button?
  11. Is your AV Integrator providing you in writing the procedure of handling the sound systems?
  12. What all is cover in warranty and are you signing an annual maintenance contract?
  13. Who is authorised to touch sound systems for repairs and what service level is your AV Integrator providing?

Seek answers to the above questions from your Architect/AV Consultant/AV Integrator to get the best out of your Nightclub Sound Systems.