Boutique rock and roll hotel Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes needed a club-quality sound system for its iconic Freddie’s Room, the venue for Freddie Mercury’s legendary 41st birthday party. With the room spread over five small spaces, Pikes wanted a system that could provide enough power to keep guests dancing until dawn in the two club areas, while creating a warm, comfortable sound elsewhere. Pioneer Pro Audio worked with the Pikes team to create a sound system that inspires world-famous acts to perform… even during their downtime.
The calibre of guests and DJs at Pikes means we have to deliver world-class equipment. Now we’ve got something eminently impressive for the space: clean, clear and incredibly powerful. If Freddie’d had this option, I’m sure he would have taken it.Andy McKay, Ibiza Rocks Founder and CEO
Build a sound system to seduce the most discerning talent
Pikes Hotel is Ibiza’s original boutique rock and roll hotel, renowned for its famous guests and wild parties, and now owned by lifestyle brand Ibiza Rocks. A converted 15th century stone mansion, the 25-room hotel is best known as the setting for Wham!’s Club Tropicana video and Freddie Mercury’s legendary 41st birthday party in 1987.
Since being taken over by Ibiza Rocks, Pikes is the home of exclusive events and after-parties. As Ibiza Rocks founder and CEO Andy McKay explains: “All our headline acts stay here and all our after- parties happen here. About 30 per cent of the guests are famous, so it’s a great mix, and very music-led.”
Central to the Pikes experience is Freddie’s Room, the location of the Queen frontman’s 41st birthday party. The room consists of five small areas – including club spaces, Freddie’s Bed and Freddie’s Fireplace bar – and has been left decorated as a suite to create an intimate party atmosphere. Resident DJs include Colin Peters, Andy Carroll, and actor Idris Elba, while Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye and Dizzie Rascal have recently performed.
However, the sound system in Freddie’s Room was not designed to deliver high volumes for eight hours a day, every day, and therefore kept blowing.
“We just didn’t have the right system for the space,” explains McKay. “The talent wants world-class equipment and, with so many guests who know their stuff, bad sound quality just isn’t an option. DJs wouldn’t play here.”
The new sound system would need to overcome a few challenges. It was vital to create an even, comfortable sound throughout Freddie’s Room’s five spaces.
As Mike Darling, Director of live events at Ibiza Rocks, comments: “We needed to create a nice journey through the whole area. So we wanted a sound system that would fill the whole space with a quality, deep, full sound – but create a good ambience and not blow your head off.”
In addition, a variety of musical genres is played in the room, including house, rock, R&B, and Drum & Bass as well as MCing. And the suite’s combination of a bed, mirrored surfaces and low ceilings meant the room EQ must be carefully balanced.
A match made in heaven
After considering proposals from a number of major competitors, the Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes team selected selected Pioneer Pro Audio to recommend and install the new sound system. “We have a very long relationship with Pioneer, going back to the days of Manumission,” says McKay. “They’ve been absolutely top of their game in all the equipment they produce. Clearly when they brought in a sound system we knew it had to be good.”
The Pioneer Pro Audio team, led by Alex Barrand, welcomed the challenge to design a sound system that complemented a diverse mix of musical styles. Based on Pioneer Pro Audio’s recommendation, Pikes specified a configuration that included two XY-81 8-inch two-way compact speakers and one XY-118S 18-inch bass reflex subwoofer in Freddie’s Bedroom, the main dance area. Three XY-81 8-inch speakers were installed in Freddie’s Fireplace bar area, with a further 8-inch speaker used as a monitor in the DJ booth. The system is driven by two Powersoft K2 amplifiers with built-in DSP and Pioneer pre-sets.
“The 8-inch speakers are perfect for a space like Pikes,” says Barrand. “They are compact enough to blend in, but incredibly powerful for their size. Plus the DJ booth is kitted out with Pioneer’s top-end DJ set up, including the DJM-2000 mixer, which is perfectly matched to the speaker pre-sets.”
Sound that is irresistible to artists and guests alike
The state-of-art Pioneer Pro Audio sound system has made an enormous difference to the ambience, sound quality and power in Freddie’s Room.
Owner Andy McKay describes his reaction to hearing the system for the first time: “The difference was enormous, like a proper nightclub rather than Freddie’s Room with his hi-fi turned up loud. It feels potent: clean, clear and incredibly powerful – which was the best surprise, as the boxes aren’t massive.”
Darling concludes that the system is exactly what he’d hoped for: “Now that we have a suitable system installed, the sound is crisper and more detailed, but also deeper. It creates a nice ambience and does the DJs justice.”
The first event to put the system to the test was Idris Elba’s 7 Wallace night, which saw guests partying until 6am. The improved sound system attracted a number of impromptu performances from internationally renowned artists, including a set from Doorly and MCing from Example.
Elba comments: “It sounds 200 times better; more bass, more tops and mids…it just sounds fuller. And it carries all the way around the alcoves in the room, so it really works. 7 Wallace at Pikes has been great thanks to the Pioneer set up. I’ve been very happy here.”