Ministry of Sound is one of the world's most famous clubbing brands, and one of London's iconic clubland institutions. Last week they announced the launch of a Smart TV app, which is to be hard built into all new Samsung Smart TVs. During the launch event, we snuck off for an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the club. This is what we found out.
Ministry of Sound opened in 1991, inspired by New York's Paradise Garage. Every weekend for the last two decades the club has been packed with clubbers from around the globe and has hosted some of the biggest DJs and events, including our annual Top 100 DJs party.
The venue was built from the soundsystem upwards and is famous for its thundering, yet crystal clear sound. The stacks only ever run at 40% capacity so that the sound is never overdriven. This combined with the fact that the room itself is designed with sound in mind goes towards making it a DJ and clubbers favourite.
The main room (The Box) has a sprung floor which absorbs and accentuates the bass, and the entire space is designed with no facing walls and a roof which slopes down towards the booth. This means the sound you hear is always coming direct from a speaker - not bouncing off an opposing surface.
For those in the know, there is a sweet spot in the room in the middle towards the back, where the sound is at its best. The famously dark room has no bar and no seating, meaning everyone in there is for the music and to dance.
The booth is kitted with a whopping seven Pioneer CDJ-2000 nexus players and two Pioneer DJM-900 mixers, meaning there are two setups in play at any one time. This results in quick and easy transfers between DJs.
Most DJs favour the right hand setup, as it gives a more central view of the room. Although turntables are no longer fitted as standard, they are available should a DJ request them. The booth is over 4m long so there is plenty of room for additional equipment such as Synths, controllers or laptops.
Directly opposite the DJ booth, at the back of the room you can find the sound and light booth - a maelstrom of faders, touch screens and flashing lights. This is where the world famous sound system and lightshow is engineered.
The equipment is positioned so that it everything can be comfortably reached by one engineer, although there are usually at least two on duty. You might imagine that working out of this room would be a Friday and Saturday night role only. However the sound team work full time, upgrading firmware, sourcing and installing new kit, and essentially keeping the sound and light at the forefront of the venue's priorities.
Tucked away behind the sound booth is the engine room of the whole operation. An air conditioned cupboard, filled with the amps, processors and essential kit which keeps the whole place running as planned.
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