Funktion-One’s Tony Andrews on Setting Up Soundsystems

Massive hat tip to the folks over at DJ Tech Tools for this fascinating, and eye-opening, interview with Funktion-One’s Tony Andrews.

Here are a few of the bits I found particularly compelling:

DJ Tech Tools: How important is bass to dance music?

Tony Andrews: ….Below 90 or 100 Hz, bass becomes more of a physical thing. It vibrates specific organs. It vibrates our bones. It causes minor molecular rearrangement, and that is what makes it so potent as a force in dance music. The molecular vibration caused by bass is what gives dance music its power. It is what makes dance music so pleasurable to hear through a proper soundsystem.

Do you think we are close to constructing the perfect soundsystem?

We’ll never get a soundsystem that is perfect. Unless maybe we ionize the air by heating it to 20,000 degrees so that we can directly modulate the plasma, using magnetic fields. Until that happens, soundsystems will continue to be as imperfect as the world that we live in.

How would you go about tuning a bedroom DJ soundsystem?

The first thing I’d do is work out the best spot for the speakers. Try different distances from the wall and different walls if you can. The height is important, too. Most speakers will have a tweeter and a woofer. When you’ve set up your speakers, if they’re above you, the tweeter will arrive later than the woofer, and vice versa. You should try and get your speakers at the perfect eye and ear level. That space in between the tweeter and the woofer should be right in the middle of your eyes, ideally, so that the woofer and tweeter frequencies arrive at the same time.

Once you’ve chosen your spot for the speakers, put a blanket on the ceiling just above where you are mixing, and if there’s a wall alongside you, put another blanket on it, too. That will dampen any reflections, which you want to try and eliminate. You just want to hear the sound from the speakers and not reflections from walls.

Finally, make sure that you haven’t placed your speakers in a spot that wipes out the bass. That can happen quite easily. A room is just a big speaker cabinet, and if you’re unfortunate to get your bass in the wrong place, you can cancel it out.

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