From central London and Berlin to the White Isle of Ibiza, we run down the clubs you need to visit if you like your music loud, crystal clear, and full of bass.
Whatever you want from a club – whether it’s good company, great DJs, or just the chance to hear music played loud – there are few things as important as perfect sound.
But while we’ve all been to clubs with dodgy acoustics, Europe has its fair share of clubs with top-tier sound systems. How many of these have you visited?
Berghain/Panorama Bar, Berlin
There are few, if any, clubs quite as exalted as Berghain. Housed in an old power plant in Berlin’s Friedrichshain, and talked about almost as much for its door policy as for its bookings, Berghain has been the subject of breathless reporting for almost as long as it’s been open.
In all the fuss, though, it’s easy to remember why the club, along with its upstairs sister Panorama Bar, remains amongst the world’s finest: a combination of peerless programming and some of the best sounds you will ever experience. The system is provided by the UK company Funktion One, and it remains one of the audio manufacturer’s most important calling cards.
East London’s Fabric has scarcely been out of the news in the past year. But after a period of closure and a months-long battle to retain its license, it reopened to much fanfare, and its main room remains one of Europe’s best for sound. Room 1’s Martin Audio rig was designed in partnership with the club’s technical manager and is constantly tweaked to ensure that it is working at its peak.
Fabric has long been at the bleeding edge of London club culture and remains a cornerstone of the capital’s music scene – in fact, Villalobos in EC2 is still the best London night out you can have.
Ibiza might now be known primarily as a location for having it large, but the White Isle still has some of Europe’s finest club sound systems. Few are as celebrated as that in DC-10, which is built around Void Acoustics technology. Void systems are instantly recognizable by their spheroid shape and garish colors, but you’ll also notice their inimitable sound, which is crystal clear and accurate even at the highest volumes.
DC-10 remains one of Ibiza’s most desirable tickets, with its 2016 season having boasted world-beating DJs including The Martinez Brothers, Carl Craig, The Black Madonna and Sasha.
Lux Frágil, Lisbon
Built into a listed building on Lisbon’s dockside, Lux is likely Portugal’s most internationally renowned venue, and now one of Europe’s top clubs. Here, you’ll find a combination of Funktion One and XTA gear that has enjoyed successive refits and overhauls since its first installation in 1999. Lux is also a favorite for touring DJs, with a famed attention to detail and cleanliness – and, amazingly, even a private toilet attached to the booth.
Killasan isn’t strictly a club sound system, but it does offer one of the most impressive, immersive musical experiences you can enjoy in Europe. Originally installed in legendary Osaka club Jugglin Link City but now taken under the wing of Basic Channel man Mark Ernestus, Killasan thrives on dub’s low, low frequencies.
During the summer months, it enjoys occasional outings by a lake on the outskirts of Berlin, while during the colder periods it is installed in a club in the south-east of the city. Wherever it’s found, though, Killasan is the center of a unique clubbing experience in which dub legends like Jah Shaka have appeared alongside Hard Wax mainstays like DJ Pete and Fiedel – as well as Ernestus himself.