Antwerp’s Café d’Anvers picks Powersoft, Pioneer system

After years of searching, well-known house music venue Café d’Anvers in Antwerp has found a new sound system courtesy of Powersoft and Pioneer Pro Audio.

For 26 years, owner Pim de Rhoodes struggled to find a system that could deliver deep bass on the dancefloor, yet enable customers to talk comfortably at the bar and not upset the venue’s neighbours.

Following their successful collaboration at the Booom! nightclub in Ibiza, Powersoft and Pioneer were hoping for more of the same in Belgium with the combination of the Powersoft K Series’ intelligent DSP and powerful switch mode technology and Pioneer’s powerful dancefloor stacks.

Occupying a 16th century church in the heart of Antwerp’s red light district, the 1,000 capacity club, which offers a main room and balcony dancefloor has been attracting serious dance music fans since 1989.

“We had to limit the volume and bass, which wasn’t great for the atmosphere. We couldn’t do too much soundproofing because these old walls are part of the special character of the place,” says de Rhoodes. Over the years, the venue trialled many recognised audio brands, but the problem persisted.

de Rhoodes and the technical team flew to Ibiza to hear Powersoft-Pioneer Pro Audio system in action at Booom! “I thought: it’s an amazing sound system, but we can’t make that much bass here, with our neighbours. Or can we?” states de Rhoodes

However, by driving the entire speaker set-up with Powersoft’s compact, high-performance amps with optimised Pioneer presets, the problem was finally solved. The main room comprises two three-metre GS-WAVE stacks at the front, four GS-WAVE tweeter pods overhead and four XY-122 PA speakers, with four XY-215S subwoofers at the rear – all driven by three Powersoft K6s, two K2s and one M30.

Infill is provided by four XY-81s in dual array clusters, and the bar area has two XY-101s, driven by three K2s for the infills. Finally, the DJ booth is equipped with two XY-122s and an XY-115S reflex loaded subwoofer, all powered by a K2 and an M30D. This configuration is designed to ensure a warm, powerful sound on the dancefloor and a clear line of sight from the bar.

Installed in the balcony room are four XY-122s and two XY-118S subwoofers, along with two XY-81s in the booth. Assigned to this system are a Powersoft K3, a K2 and an M30D. The amps use Powersoft’s switch mode technology to provide power with the high efficiency – managing the power supply to work at very low impedance and deliver a natural, clear sound.

“We linked the subs and needed to save amplifier channels – but have the confidence to be able to drive it down to 2 ohms and have it remain stable. The ability to deliver a massive amount of power down at that low impedance is something Powersoft is extremely good at,” adds Alex Barrand, Pioneer Pro Audio manager.

“Compared to the old 4U amplifiers, which took up a whole rack, these amps occupy much less rack space but the power is equally impressive. Plus Powersoft is able to regulate any ‘dips’ in power. The system is easily accessible and they have invested in a platform that will be here for the next ten years.”

Powersoft’s Armonía Pro Audio software was used to define EQ settings for the room and prevent problem frequencies from leaving the building. The software also enables the technical team to wirelessly control the whole system and easily adjust the sound – for example, turning it up when there are more people to absorb the sound, and gradually turning it down as people leave the venue.

Barrand explains: “Sometimes different music styles are programmed and so configuration was key, and using the Armonía platform made that very easy. Aside from the presets we made the workspace a bit more intuitive for the management to control elements of the system, to restrict noise pollution around the neighbours.

“Using Powersoft’s DSP amplifiers has resulted in a really seamless change for the venue; they can now monitor the system throughout the night and get the best from it. And Armonía is user friendly, which is great in case users aren’t super-technical.”

All amplifiers in the main room are connected to a switch and this in turn has a wireless router, allowing the team to access the system from a tablet or if they VPN into a laptop or access the system from any enabled PC laptop from the dancefloor to make configurations.

“The workspace is shared by the amplifiers upstairs in Room 2,” Barrand continues. “The Powersoft M Series and K Series are sitting on the same network which means the technical team can access them simultaneously, which makes things a lot easier.”

The result is an immersive sound with a deep bass concentrated on the dancefloor, while the energy continues into the bar area to draw clubbers into the main floor but lets them hold a comfortable conversation too.

de Rhoodes’ concludes: “The sound is 100 per cent better. It’s like you’re inside the music. It’s not just the deep bass; you’ve got all the sounds surrounding you. And at the bar, you can talk yet still be in the music, still be tempted to dance. At last, after 26 years, we can finally say we have the best sound system and no complaints from the neighbours … everyone is happy.”