Ibiza heavyweight Sankeys Ibiza needed a sound system that would give even coverage throughout its 1500 capacity LAB, surrounding clubbers with sound whether they are on or off the dancefloor. Its previous system sounded flat and was prone to dead spots. Pioneer Pro Audio partnered with the Sankeys team to design a system that delivered clear, rich sound across all the frequencies, lifting the energy on the dancefloor, around the bar and on the balcony.
“Now, when I stand in the middle of the LAB, the sound is moving all around me. It sends shivers down my spine and makes me feel proud.” says David Vincent, Co-owner Sankeys Ibiza.
Sankeys Ibiza opened in 2011 and has been the island’s fastest growing club ever since. An offshoot of the world-famous Sankeys Manchester, the Playa d’en Bossa venue is famed for being a true clubber’s club, delivering top DJs, a great sound and a warehouse party vibe.
The club’s second room, the LAB, holds up to 1500 clubbers, spread across the dancefloor, bar and VIP balcony area. However, the Sankeys team weren’t satisfied with the sound system in the LAB. As Sol Kara, Sankeys’ head sound engineer, explains: “The system couldn’t give an even coverage throughout the room, so we had dead spots away from the dancefloor.”
There were also issues with the sound quality on the dancefloor, as David Vincent, Sankeys co-owner, says: “It had the high frequencies, but it was too tinny. It didn’t have the warm, mid bass of the sound systems of the early 90s. Those are the sound systems that inspired me. That’s what we wanted here.”
The Sankeys Ibiza team were looking for a sound system that would give a powerful, balanced sound and even coverage throughout the room. They needed a set-up on the VIP balcony area that would blend with the dancefloor – but also be a stand-alone system when the LAB itself was closed. With a range of DJs from Doorly to Steve Lawler and Roger Sanchez, the sound engineers needed the ability to easily adjust the settings to get the best possible sound every night.
Plus the LAB’s suspended wooden floor meant there were weight issues to consider and, with no access for a forklift truck, physically getting the new system into the venue was going to be a challenge in itself.
“I wanted to create the best sound on the island. If we have that, DJs will want to play for us, the customers will have a better experience – everyone’s happy.” says David Vincent, Co-owner of Sankeys Ibiza.
The Sankeys Ibiza team reviewed several pro audio systems and, after a Pioneer Pro Audio demonstration on the island, decided the flagship GS-Wave sound system was right for them. Pioneer Pro Audio worked closely with Sankeys’ head sound engineer Sol Kara to design the configuration of the speakers and specify the best amps for the job.
For the LAB’s main dancefloor, Pioneer Pro Audio installed four three-metre GS-WAVE dancefloor stacks, each fitted with a GS-WAVE HORN extension to amplify and direct the bass. Two GS-WAVE TWPODs provide super-high frequencies from overhead.
In-fill is provided by two XY-122 12-inch enclosures and three XY-81 8-inch enclosures, with three XY-218S twin bass reflex subwoofers providing the bass. For the DJ Booth, the team installed two XY-122 12-inch monitors and two XY-215S dual 15-inch quasi-bandpass subwoofers.
The VIP balcony area has two XY-122 12-inch speakers in the corners of the room, with an XY-215S subwoofer in the middle. As Alex Barrand, Pioneer Pro Audio manager, explains: “This set-up blends with the LAB’s dancefloor perfectly on big nights, but a simple patch-bay system means it can also be a stand-alone system for a DJ playing on the balcony when the LAB’s closed.”
The whole system is powered by Powersoft amplifiers with built-in DSP. The main room has six K10s, four K2s and two M20s for the GS-WAVE stacks, and one K2, one K10 and two M20s for the in-fills. The DJ booth is driven by a K3 and M30 amp, while the VIP area has its own K3 and M30 too. The whole amp system takes up half the space of the previous system, uses less power and generates less heat.
Kara can control the system remotely using Powersoft’s Armonía Pro Audio software. “Alex and I worked together to EQ the perfect pre-set sound. Now I can take the reins and tweak it so every DJ has the same impact on the dancefloor,” says Kara.
The team put concrete pillars under each GS-WAVE stack to support the suspended floor, and organised a team of more than 20 men to bring the parts of the system into the venue and lift them into the perfect positions.
“The resonance on the GS-WAVE subs, nothing else on the island compares. And the little touches, like the tweeter pods – it’s a subtle touch but the effect is immense.” says Sol Kara, Head Sound Engineer at Sankeys Ibiza.
Even during testing, Vincent and Kara knew they’d made the right choice. “Everyone’s hair stood up on end, we were all blown away – and they’d only turned it up half-way. It was a memorable experience,” says Sankeys co-owner David Vincent.
The feedback has been fantastic from clubbers and DJs alike, with the improved coverage increasing the energy levels throughout the LAB. DJs including EZ, Kevin Saunderson and Matt Jam Lamont have praised the new system, while Rudimental tweeted after their show that they’d like to record their next album on it.
The Sankeys Ibiza team enjoyed the experience of working with Pioneer Pro Audio, finding the process very smooth, collaborative and professional. They’re also impressed by the look and size of the system, which has created a warehouse party feel – with people dancing on the stacks and gathering around them in groups.
But ultimately, it’s the sound that matters. “What most impresses me is how clear each frequency is – the highs, mids, lows – they’re so clear and precise. Because of that, we don’t have to pump it up all the way, and it’s still loud,” says Kara.