To clubbers all over the world, Defected is so much more than a record label. Since its inception in 1999, it’s grown to become one of the most famous and respected brands in dance music. And although its output also spans club nights, festivals, films, a radio station, merchandise and more, Defected’s core business has never been diluted; the label is still known first and foremost as one of the most prolific sources of the world’s best new house music.
Founded by DJ and producer Simon Dunmore – who still leads the company today – Defected has never ‘sold out’ or lost its place at the forefront of the underground scene. Somehow, Dunmore and his team manage to keep finding the tracks that can cross over to the mainstream without losing club kudos. It’s an elusive recipe for most brands – to grow so big yet retain your credibility with purists – but, over the years, Defected has maintained the perfect balance time and again.
Recently, as it emerged triumphantly from a challenging period for the music and entertainment industries, the brand finished renovating its headquarters in Shoreditch, London. But this isn’t just an office. This is a broadcasting and media hub from where Defected can fulfil its ambition of becoming a ‘New Era Music Company’. Naturally, a bespoke sound system was needed, and the Defected team chose Pioneer Professional Audio as its official audio partner, setting the challenge to install a set-up that could deliver the sound quality people would expect from a company synonymous with club music.
Many rooms, two floors, one system
Split over two levels, Defected’s HQ includes not only offices and meeting rooms, but also a recording studio and a club/events area with capacity for over 100 people. Naturally, the team wanted music to flow through the building, but it was important that it could be isolated in certain zones or pumped out in every room with the flick of a switch, depending on whether the brand was hosting a seminar, livestreamed DJ set, radio show, business meeting, round table discussion or live music performance.
The challenge was simple in its complexity; Defected needed a system that would seamlessly connect the various spaces in the building, blend with the new interior design and deliver outstanding audio for every kind of event.
“The sound in the main event space was crucial because it was not only for live gigs, but also a place to preview tracks made in the recording studio to see how they’d sound on a club system.”Mark Damon, Technical Director, Cosmic Electronics
Discreet set-up, diverse sound
When Defected enlisted Pioneer Pro Audio to supply its new system, local company Cosmic Electronics was the natural choice to handle the installation. Their team is well versed in working with XY series speakers and had previously used them to power the sound at Defected’s pop-up store in London.
“The XY speakers are much more compact than other manufacturers’ and this suited the venue design because they’re discreet yet formidable,” explains Mark Damon, Technical Director at Cosmic Electronics, adding, “They’ve always exceeded our expectations without the requirement for excessive tuning as they’re exceptionally flat in acoustic design. The cabinets are also extremely well built and extremely reliable.”
The main system in the club space was a straightforward installation, says Damon, who made sure the subwoofer can be easily removed for certain types of events when it isn’t needed, such as Q&A sessions. The speakers in the rest of the building were wired to create a stereo sound in all areas, and low-frequency reinforcement from XY-115S subwoofers ensure the audio is always full. “By combining the XY units with the CM series ceiling mount speakers – which we hung inside custom pendant housings – we were able to supply the same high-quality sound throughout the building without compromise,” explains Damon.
To enable audio to be routed to any zone in the building without losing sound quality, Cosmic Electronics designed and installed a fully adaptable Dante system that can be controlled via a smartphone app. As Wez Saunders, Defected’s Managing Director, puts it, “Sonically, we can manoeuvre around the office space without the volume being too high. We can switch off the sound at the desks so, if somebody wants to concentrate, they can. And, if someone else wants to listen to music, they can.”
“The sound is clean, punchy and strong, with warm bottom-end and pure clarity in the mids and tops… Pioneer Pro Audio have done an amazing job.”Simon Dunmore, Founder, Defected
Sound without defect
“Everyone is wowed,” gushes Dunmore when talking about the finished Defected HQ. “When we bring people downstairs and they see that the environment is amazing and you align it with the sound system, they’re just blown away by it. It’s a universal thumbs up!”
The entire set-up comprises no less than 32 speakers – all connected via Dante – and weaves through the various rooms. The sound flows like blood through a network of veins, with seven Powersoft amps providing the heartbeat that pumps the ‘juice’. An array of equipment from technical partner Pioneer DJ is also installed, including the flagship CDJ-3000 multi players.
As Damon from Cosmic Electronics mentioned, the ‘club’ area was a straightforward installation. But does the system also produce audio that’s suitable for an office environment? “The sound is clear throughout the building and that’s great because it doesn’t interrupt your thoughts, so you can work,” says Dunmore. “The dynamics are consistent pretty much wherever you are in the office. It’s created a great environment for people to work and listen to music at the same time.”
So, after another successful project, will Defected be keen to partner with Pioneer Pro Audio again? “I always find it a pleasure working with Pioneer Pro Audio,” says Saunders. “They’re extremely professional and have always done a great job, not only in the office space but in all the club environments where we’ve worked with them”
“We have a long-standing relationship with Pioneer DJ and Pioneer Pro Audio. They’re the industry standard for DJ equipment and, really, there was nobody else to consider [to install a sound system] in my opinion. They’re forward thinking and we hope they continue to be our partner for a long time to come.”Simon Dunmore, Founder, Defected
Defected is the latest in a line of world-renowned brands and venues to partner with Pioneer Pro Audio. Since launching in 2013, the versatile range of Pioneer Pro Audio speakers has been installed at clubs and festivals including Sankeys, KM5 and Ushuaia Tower in Ibiza, fabric and Lovebox in London, Café D’Anvers in Antwerp, and Sound Nightclub in Los Angeles.