Here at Beatport, we consider ourselves audiophiles: We simply love sound. From a fresh set of headphones to booming dancefloors, we are constantly surrounded by high-end audio setups that make our ears swoon. So with this passion for top-quality sound in mind, we hunted high and low across this great land to assemble a list of the 10 best club soundsystems in the US. Read on to see if we hit your favorite eyeball-rattling spot.
10. Smart Bar – Chicago, IL
Two blocks north of Wrigley Field, you’ll find an amazing basement bar and arguably the best soundsystem in Chicago. Smart Bar boasts a spacious dancefloor and rocking audio, and it has become a favorite for local artists like DJ Lady D and Orchard Lounge. Lady D commends Smart Bar for its “great Funktion One soundsystem and the best staff in the business.” In other words, a combination you don’t want to miss!
9. The Belasco Theater – Los Angeles, CA
The Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles has maintained its classical 1900s architecture for almost a century. It was closed for over 25 years, but it recently reopened after a multi-million-dollar restoration project. The 40,000-square-foot venue might be a historic relic, but it’s also home to the largest D&B Audiotechnik soundsystem in the area. Plans to be in LA? We recommend hitting the Belasco.
8. Mansion Nightclub – Miami, FL
The sound at Mansion Nightclub in Miami was recently redesigned to include a Funktion One system with over 100,000 watts of power—and it’s one of the sickest systems we’ve ever heard. Todd Konecny of Funktion One calls the newly configured system an “ideal balance between accuracy in reproduction and high-energy output.” Konecny explains that the bass speakers are placed in the air to make the system full range, “while the subwoofers beneath the stage are in close proximity to the money seats and main dancefloor.” A redesigned soundsystem that makes this venue a winner.
7. Monarch – San Francisco, CA
Monarch is a multi-level club at the corner of Sixth and Mission Streets in San Francisco, and it sports the only custom horn-loaded Void Acoustics soundsystem on the west coast. Although the top floor of the venue makes for a great cocktail bar, the basement of this beast is where the real magic happens. Audiophiles and clubbers rejoice: this dancefloor doesn’t have a dead spot.
6. Q Nightclub – Seattle, WA
Several Decibel Festival artists, including Phil Hartnoll of Orbital and Roman Flugel, have commented that Q Nightclub in Seattle is one of the best clubs in America. Boasting Seattle’s only Funktion One system, Q Nightclub is world class across the board. The soundsystem is beautifully integrated into the space, and the volume, clarity, and dynamic range is simply insane. It’s a flown system that would normally comprise several F-1 Dance Stacks. At Q, the system has been suspended from the ceiling and walls with the big bass cabinets installed at floor level, which allows the bass to not only pass across the room above floor level, but also under the sprung dancefloor so that the bass resonates into the legs of people dancing. There are also another 20 Funktion One fill speakers and subs located throughout the club. Need more convincing? Steve Lieberman of SJ Lighting—the dude that’s been doing the mainstage lighting for Ultra Music Festival for more than a decade—designed and installed the dancefloor lighting system.
5. Avalon Hollywood – Los Angeles, CA
John Lyons has designed sound for some of the hottest clubs in Las Vegas. And since he’s the owner of Avalon Hollywood, it’s no surprise to see his LA venue make our list. Avalon brand speakers power the mind-blowing sound and pressure at this 1,100-person venue. This is another club to add to your LA checklist.
4. XS Nightclub – Las Vegas, NV
Earlier this year, Las Vegas’ XS Nightclub celebrated its third anniversary with a massive performance by Skrillex. The American lord of dubstep is just one of many world famous DJs to have a temporary residence at this 16,000-square-foot club. From Deadmau5 to Afrojack, this club gets the biggest and best names in electronic music. Why are all the major artists heading to this club? Some say it’s the atmosphere, but others say it’s the sound. But the Fulcrum Prophile Series installed in this award-winning venue makes us think it’s the sound.
3. Beta Nightclub – Denver, CO
Denver’s Beta Nightclub offers some of the best sound in the world. Sporting a one-of-a-kind Funktion One system with over 100,000 watts of power, the venue has been nominated for sound awards every year since it opened in 2008. Everything about the system has been taken into consideration, and the results speak for themselves. Armin Van Buuren loves the “pure and fresh” sound in Denver, explaining that Beta “brings it to a new level.” Even Deadmau5 describes Beta as a “DJ’s wet dream.” Outside of electronic music favorites like Deadmau5 and Armin Van Buuren, the Denver dubstep scene is bigger than ever thanks to event promotion by Sub.Mission. At the heart of the growing movement is audio, and this place does it right.
2. U Street Music Hall – Washington, DC
U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC is a bass dungeon designed with sound as its top priority. The 500-person room features a 1,200-square-foot cork-cushioned dancefloor and a state-of-the-art system designed by ITI Audio. The system is processed with a BSS Soundweb London Blu-160 and a XTA DP226, and the Subwoofer amplification is handled by Martin Audio MA9.6K and MA12K. Adam Weiner of ITI Audio explains, “U Hall is an example of what happens when people who give a care about how their music sounds do everything right in designing their club.” Although the system bumps like no other, it only has five subs. That’s a true testament to the power of Martin Audio. After Skream and Benga played there in February, Skream tweeted, “U Hall in DC has the best soundsystem I’ve heard in America! It was so good playing bass music and actually feeling the bass!” Other artists, including SBTRKT and Annie Mac have also raved about the sound at U Street Music Hall. From the monthly Moombahton Massive events to the Deep Sessions Crew shows, everyone that’s played here has fallen in love with the system.
1. Cielo Club – New York, NY
New York City’s Cielo Club tops our list as the venue with the finest sound in the country. Cielo isn’t a very big room, but there’s a reason that the likes of Francois K, Rhythm & Sound, Louie Vega, and others prefer it when playing in the Big Apple. Francois K says that Cielo Club is of the “highest grade imaginable.” Ranked as the #22 best club in the world in 2010 by DJ magazine, Cielo has a ’70s aesthetic with Funktion Ones all facing a sunken dancefloor. Club owner Nicolas Matar explains that “there is really no one thing that makes it sound good; it is a combination of the equipment, the layout, the design, and materials of the room.” This soundsystem will toss you around the dancefloor like a Raggedy Ann doll, and that’s why we love it.
Did we miss any of your favorite venues? Let us know about them in the comments below.