The previous system comprised of four Funktion-One Dance Stacks, a Double Infrahorn and two Resolution-2s for monitoring.
The system was legendary for its power and body-shifting bass cabinet, amidst the structural and acoustic challenges of being situated in venue with an 18-metre high metre high ceiling.
According to On the Beating Travel, the system only ever run at 10-20% of its capacity. Any higher would “literally pummel the dancefloor into physical submission.” Despite running at a relatively low level, the 20 years since the club opened must have wore the system down and necessitated a change.
This isn’t the first time Berghain has had to refurbish one of its iconic soundsystems.
In 2017, technical manager Krischan Makswitat overhauled Panorama Bar’s soundsystem. P-bar originally ran on a Funktion-One system, just like downstairs at Berghain, however Makswitat reached out to Dresden-based hi-fi company Studt-Akustik to redesign Berghain’s smaller space.
Studt-Akustik, known for its production work with theatres and opera houses, was enlisted to design a system that adapted to Panorama Bar’s unique structural challenges: its small size, acoustically reflective glass, concrete surfaces and floor plan.
Company owner Peter Studt carefully designed a system that offers a crisp sound which doesn’t distort despite the presence of glass & conrete: a 4-point line-array system with 6-subwoofers. The four loudspeaker elements’ vertical shape and stacking ensures a narrow and direct output which guards against sound distortion.
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While it hasn’t been disclosed which company and exactly what solution Berghain has used to refurbish the sound system in its main room, you can ensure that it was attended to with the same creativity and attention to detail as with Panorama bar 6 years ago.
Despite this, regulars to the techno club have rued that the updated system doesn’t feel the same on the r/Berghain_Community Reddit thread. Users such as freddy_king_90 have noted that while “the sound is clearer on the lows and mids”, the “bass feeling that hits you in the chest is missing”.
Although enjoyers of the Berghain club may gripe about its sound system revamp, perhaps influenced by the nostalgia of years spent raving at the cultural institute, they can rest assured that the news of its overhaul puts to bed any rumours of the iconic venue shutting in the near future.
Tibor Heskett is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins