Pioneer DJ are in a rather unique position, dominating the DJ booths in clubs all over the world, being a staple in every up and coming DJ’s kit wish list who want to be immersed in the full DJ experience, because for many if it hasn't got that ubiquitous logo and livery then they are not part of the genuine DJ crew.
Pioneer DJ’s dominance is envied by other manufacturers and their style and products are often copied, it's a story of unbridled success and whilst other companies have products that can hold their own in the booths and personalised set ups it is rare especially in the pro arena to walk into a venue and not find it decked out with Pioneer's latest kit.
Not content with this industry dominance Pioneer DJ has turned its attentions from behind the booth to the dance floor itself and have been slowly orchestrating a pincer movement to get itself firmly in the right position to dominate this area of club culture with its speaker installs and sound reinforcement, and maybe even replicate the unbridled success they have achieved behind the booth and bring it on to the dance floor... perhaps? Or bloody give it a good go anyway.
A few years back the industry was rocked with the news that Pioneer was being broken up and sold by the parent company, this led some to believe that their time was up and it wouldn’t be long before they went the same way as a previous giant in the DJ world – Technics. Luckily for the scene, this has been further from the truth as the split and sale of the DJ division afforded Pioneer DJ the freedom to expand on its operations and look at moving into new areas without the shackles of a major corporation, one of these new areas as mentioned is Pro Audio and more specifically club sound systems and installs and it is this area, that they are starting to make some real noise in this new part of their business.
DJ Mag were lucky to hit the road with the Pioneer DJ guys the back end of last summer to experience the systems that they have been installing in clubs and venues around the world and we have to say, we were suitably impressed.
Their flagship GS Wave system has taken pride of place in Sankeys Ibiza, a suitable venue for such a massive system, by looks alone this system is a beast, it's huge, its sculptured styling looks intimidating and it sounds as mean as it looks, it's a set up designed to make you feel as well as hear the music, the engineering that has gone into these stacks is pure precision and the sound that emanates from them is something else.
The system set up in Sankeys’ comprises of 4 x GS-Wave sub, 4 x GS-Wave horn, 8 x GS-Wave low, 4 x GS-Wave lens each placed into one of the corners of the floor throwing the sound right into the room. There are also 4 x GS-Wave TWPOD omnidirectional tweeters that fill in any potential dead spots meaning that anyone on the dance floor is going to be immersed in high quality sound.
The set up in Sankeys is big and it is loud but at the same time delicate enough for the audio information coming through the GS Waves to be detailed so that all the musical nuances that are emanating from the speakers is transported to the dance floor with absolute clarity. In fact, this process is a team play as the sound engineer of the room is every bit as intricate to the success of the space sounding so good, EQing the sound to fit the genre of music and the time of the night; as more people fill the room the sound dynamics and acoustics change which can affect a way the room sounds. The Powersoft amps that power the system have been carefully chosen to work hand in hand with the speakers to provide the best set up possible.
It’s not just the sunny climes of Ibiza that Pioneer DJ have been setting up their speaker installs. As they have moved further afield in this area, with commissions all over the world, and undoubtedly the prize of their installs being Magdalena in Berlin, this monster set up includes eight of the stacks that can be found in Sankeys and offer a wall of sound that is unprecedented and whilst this array is loud the main aim was to make sure that the system works for the room and not just to kick out ear deafening audio. As Alex Barrand (Manager of Pioneer Professional Audio) told DJ Mag “The GS Waves deliver powerful immersive sound that you can enjoy all night long without feeling fatigued. Loud is most defiantly not the name of the game and very often this is forgotten. A correctly aligned sound system can actually be louder than a system with multiple boxes, when you have sound waves correctly aligned you experience the maximum acoustic energy… This is the name of the game!”
Alex made it quite clear that it’s also the technical expertise of the engineers, all the team at Pioneer Pro Audio who work together with the venues to ensure that the system is right for the club, “Sound systems react differently in every space so it doesn’t matter how many times you have used a sound system you must use your skills to make it work with the acoustic space it’s installed in.”
This is also true when looking at another project that Pioneer DJ embarked on, fitting a speaker system on a fleet of boats for the Float your Boat crew, which just so happened to be in sunny Ibiza. The challenge here was to make sure that the sound was true but also that the install could withstand being submitted to the elements and still perform to the highest of standards.
The speakers fitted to the boats, the XY range may not look as commanding as the GS Waves and generally look more like a conventional set of speakers but they still deliver a punchy solid sound that fills the required space without too much leakage, this was another consideration that had to be factored in, as in this install sound pollution had to be taken into account. A problem that wasn’t faced when Pioneer fitted the Penthouse Suite/Club in Ushuaia Tower, another custom install with a set criterion, however the system here had to also be able to operate as in a club environment turning the suite into a venue in its own right where parties are held on a regular basis.
All these varying factors play an important part when creating sound systems that can hold their own against some pretty well established competitors who already have a big bite of this market. Pioneer Pro Audio’s efforts are going a long way into gaining them a lot of credibility especially on the dance floors and placing them in a position where maybe one day not only are they king of the roost in the DJ booth but holding court on the floors as well.