Hardpop Builds New System, Reputation

Ricardo Tejada founded his EDM club, Hardpop, with the aim of making it a dance music mecca, but found resistance from high-end DJs he wanted to hire, who presumed a club in a Mexican strip mall would have a lousy sound system. In recent times, the club has hosted name acts like James Lavelle, Magda, Damian Lazarus and Deadmau5, and some of that success can be attributed to the club’s system.
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Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (October 1, 2015)—Ricardo Tejada founded his EDM club, Hardpop, with the aim of making it a dance music mecca, but found resistance from high-end DJs he wanted to hire, who presumed a club in a Mexican strip mall would have a lousy sound system. In recent times, the club has hosted name acts like James Lavelle, Magda, Damian Lazarus and Deadmau5, and some of that success can be attributed to the club’s system.

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“When he started contacting big names about coming to Juárez, a common response was, ‘Look, you’re going to have to do something really special with your sound system to get us to make the trip,” said installed sound expert Bill Weir, who Tejada brought in to update the system.

Weir knew that Hardpop’s new sound system would have to meet the frequency range demands of contemporary electronica. “Modern dance music has bottom end that simply did not exist a decade ago,” Weir said. “We’re being asked to make well-controlled trips into that sub-bass frequency range while maintaining 18 dB of headroom on top of that.” According to Weir, Powersoft was the only manufacturer that could deliver the needed headroom with sufficient clarity and intelligibility across all frequencies.

As it turned out, that suited Tejada just fine. “He had just returned from Europe and had heard Powersoft in clubs over there. He realized there was a certain harshness with Hardpop’s old system that simply didn’t exist in the Powersoft-driven systems,” Weir recalls. “Because of its challenging location, Hardpop needed more than just acceptable sound quality. We have to try harder and do more than your average European club. On the amplification side, we needed Powersoft to achieve this."

There was another compelling reason why the solution was necessary: power upgrades for the building were not an option, so the installation team had to ascertain more output from their sound system with the same current draw. “Powersoft allowed us to go from 47 percent efficient to 96 percent efficient, so we were able to shoehorn another 20 kW without any power system upgrades, which is unbelievable,” Weir explains.

The fully re-imagined sound system includes a K8 amplifier for the front subwoofers, a pair of M30D amplifiers for rear subwoofers and four K2 amplifiers for the main speaker cabinets. Additionally an M28Q amplifier powers the stage monitors, with an M50Q amplifier powering the monitor subs. There is also a Powersoft M28Q amplifier, which drives zone fills. Once the installation was complete, Weir made ample use of Powersoft’s Armonía software to balance the room with equalization. “There’s no one with better EQ algorithms than Powersoft, and having outboard EQ feels almost unnecessary now," he says.

Dancing to the pounding rhythms of EDM has proven to be the perfect release for a city that has had more than its share of troubles in recent years. “When people come out to party on a Saturday night in Ciudad Juárez, it’s different than you and I might experience stateside. The energy is escalated to a whole new level.” Weir believes that the venue has encouraged the local population feel more hopeful about the future. “Hardpop has really helped unify and heal Juárez,” he concludes. And the DJs who make the trip cannot help but feed off of the positive vibes. “The combination of the sound system, the venue and the crowd is a totally unique experience,” says Weir. “And Powersoft is literally at the center of it."

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