Miami's Top Five Nightclub Sound Systems
Miami residents are faced with tough decisions every day. Beach or pool? Take I-395 or I-195? SPF 30 or SPF 15? Put the top down or leave it up? The list is endless.
Another FAQ for MIA heads: "Which club should I head to tonight?" And indeed, the Miami nightlife scene never sleeps, with new clubs constantly opening up and old ones renovating to compete for the local and tourist dollar.
So when it comes to their sound systems, Miami clubs are not shy spenders, often shelling out close to a half-million dollars.
"It depends on the client," says Todd Konecny, partner in the renowned Sound Investments Audio, which installs sound systems across the country in the nation's biggest clubs and tourist destinations. "One thing I love about Miami is that club owners here are usually flexible and really want to make an impact with their sound systems."
Here are five clubs guaranteed to make your eardrums quiver in stereophonic delight.
The Opium Group, which also owns the Hard Rock's Opium,
Mansion, and Louis Bar-Lounge in the Gansevoort, opened SET in February of 2007 with
the vision of expanding and putting a new face on its nightclub array. The
design is inspired by Hollywood luxury homes of the 1930s and '40s, featuring
plenty of crystal, Pucci fabrics, baby croc, leather, and "Tinseltown-era" artifacts.
The 10,000-square-foot former theatre features two levels with four bars, all
draped in small, high-quality speakers.
"You want to leave a small footprint," explains Konecny, who
has worked with the Opium Group on all its clubs. "With higher quality
speakers, there is more room for clubs to put tables and VIP seating."
It's four in the morning and the club just
announced last call. Problem is, you are not done partying. Where to go
With parties often letting out the next afternoon, Downtown Miami's
Club Space is afterhours on steroids. Dance music is its signature, and the
speakers are designed to optimize the low-range characteristic often associated
with high-energy house music. "It's not a rock concert," says Konecny. "You have to optimize the low end of the sound range to support the sound associated with
When LIV opened following the Fontainebleau's $1 billion renovation in 2009, it instantly became one of Miami's most exclusive and renowned nightspots. The club is a sprawling 18,000 square feet of lights, sound, and liquor, complete with VIP skybox seating and a gigantic dancefloor. The speakers are in the traditional four-point set up, bringing sound at you from every angle. But clarity, not volume, was the name of the game when
designing LIV's sound system.
"You have to be very selective to get a lot of harmonic
definition in the lower registers," Konecny insists. "That's where the energy is.
If you don't represent that well, (the speakers) don't have the same effect on
the energy of the room."
Photo by Kareem Shaker
Anyone who has even driven through South Beach knows the
name Mansion. Considered the Opium Group's premier South Beach locale, this party spot has always enjoyed a level of popularity that any night spot would envy. With a recent renovation, the club optimized its already exclusive sound system by revamping and refurbishing existing speakers while adding a number of new Funktion-One subwoofers.
A brand from the United Kingdom, Funktion-One was selected by Sound Investments Audio after decades refining its speaker systems. The company's approach, according to its website, avoids the use of system EQ (owing to the inherent phase and headroom
problems) as well as compression driver mid-range (because of its inherent harshness and distortion).
With more rooms and spaces than any other club on this list, Mansion
lays claim to perhaps the most expensive system.
Photo by Yesenia Hernandez
No expense was spared when bringing back legendary SoBe spot Amnesia. First, the roof was closed to create what co-owner Greg Boudov calls a "European outdoor feel."
Then, Sound Investments Audio was brought in to build Miami's newest premier sound
"With Amnesia, the client made everything easy for us and
facilitated the entire process," said Konecny. "We went away from the standard
four-point speaker layout and centralized the sound to come from the stage, as
it is a performer-driven venue with all its superstar DJs and musicians."
French co-owner Boudov, son of the owner of the original
Amnesia that opened in France in 1992, went with the traditional European
style, putting 80 percent of the speakers at the stage and the remaining 20
percent in VIP.
"We wanted all the attention on the stage and in the VIP,"
said Boudov. "With this approach, I feel we have the finest sound system in
To accentuate every performance, Amnesia spent nearly
$500,000 on its sound system and added a hi-def moving screen video display with
a double screen in the back that is the first of its kind. Though clubs in
Vegas regularly spend over a million dollars on their sound systems, Amensia rivals
Vegas's super clubs in size and big-name performances.
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