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Dance club sound system installation

Crutchfield designs a very loud and highly reliable system for a popular college-town nightclub

Trinity Irish Pub

Trinity Irish Pub, a busy nightspot near the University of Virginia, presents DJ music and dancing four nights a week. The club wants to entertain its patrons with hard-hitting music that will keep them coming back night after night.

Unfortunately, most of the speakers in their old system blew out after being played too loud for too long. The club needed better speakers and more power.

Dallas, with the amplifiers, speaker management device, and power conditioner

Dallas, with the amplifiers, speaker management device, and power conditioner

Dallas, one of Crutchfield's Pro Audio Specialists, worked with James, one of the house DJs, to come up with a system that would fit the size of the venue, put out enough sound so everyone in the crowd could feel the beat, and stay within the club's budget.

System design goal number 1: must be loud

Both James and Dallas like the way JBL speakers sound, so they started there. Dallas knew that to attain proper coverage in the room, the speakers would have to hang close to the ceiling, pointing downward, and handle about twice the power than the old speakers could.

System design goal 2: must be bullet-proof

"I wanted to make sure they had a perfectly matched system with PA management features," Dallas said. "Using the dbx DriveRack makes it a perfect system that can easily be setup and recalibrated as needed.

Guest DJs simply plug in their rig and the system is set up so they can’t damage anything." And because restaurants and clubs usually have very inconsistent and noisy AC power, Dallas made sure the system included a power line conditioner and surge protector.

Here's the list of gear they decided to get:

JBL PRX412M 12" PA speakers (4): One of these speakers at each corner of the 20' x 30' dance floor provides full coverage.

JBL PRX418S 18" subwoofer: This 18" subwoofer really digs down low and puts out a terrific thump.

Crown XTI 4002 power amplifier: Powers the 12" PA speakers (2 speakers per channel, 600 watts per speaker).

Crown XTI 2002 power amplifier: Provides 1,600 watts of power to the subwoofer.

dbx DriveRack PA+ speaker management system: Limiter circuit protects the speakers. Auto EQ tunes the sound to suit the room.

Furman M-8Lx power conditioner: Protects the system from AC power spikes and eliminates noise that may radiate from the club's wiring.

It's no coincidence that the speakers, subwoofer, and amplifiers all have the same power ratings; JBL, Crown, and dbx are all part of Harman International, so their gear works well together.

Trinity XLR

XLR plugs for guest DJ rigs.

Tailoring the sound to the room

The dbx DriveRack PA+ includes a real-time analyzer (RTA) which, when you connect your calibration microphone, illustrates the sonic spectrum that results from the PA speakers' interaction with the room. This helps fine-tune a system to sound great, with no boominess, or shrillness, or unintelligibility to the sound anywhere in the room.

The DriveRack generates the calibration signal and uses dual 28-band equalizers to automatically shape the tone so all the frequencies sound right. Dallas set up a calibration mic in the center of the room, to make the measurements at an average listening position. He then chose the "DJ setup" preset for the target EQ curve, and the DriveRack's Auto EQ Wizard did the rest. Normally, one would then engage the automatic feedback suppressor at the end of the process, but the DJs at the Trinity Pub don't use microphones, so that feature wasn't used.

Trinity DJs

DJs John and Brian rocking out in the daylight

We rocked the joint

We visited the dance hall during the day, when it was empty and not packed with people as it usually is on dance nights. But DJs John and Brian cranked up the music for us anyway and it was crystal clear and plenty loud.

The subwoofer provided a thick, driving beat that had most of us nodding along. If the daytime chaos created when the music played is any indication, every night must be a regular riot.

An extra benefit of the careful speaker placement is that the sound stays focused and concentrated on the dance floor alone, and does not blast the other bar areas, where people want to talk.


Experienced professional installers mounted the four 35-pound speakers securely.

Mission accomplished

The Trinity Irish Pub has become the place for the college crowd to dance on Thursday to Sunday nights. It's so popular that they often have to turn people away at the door.

"The system plays loud and clear and people can't get enough of it," DJ John said. "The new speakers sound awesome and really help make each dance night a blast."

Check out the Trinity Irish Pub's system yourself — they're at 1505 University Avenue, Charlottesville, Virginia.

You want one too?

If you need help designing a sound system for your business, school, or church, fill out our system design reqeuest form. You'll get a detailed audio/video system plan for free. Get started today! Or call 1-800-315-2758 to talk to a commercial audio specialist.

Trinity Irish Pub

The Trinity Pub dance floor at night

  • Scott Kido from Nampa, Idaho

    Posted on 11/28/2020

    We are building a 6000 square foot wedding/event venue. 14' high ceilings designed to be a massive sound trap because we can't do much to stop all the sound reflections from off the hard floor and glass window walls. We have 4 Klipsch Khorn speakers to be set into the four corners on platforms to raise the up about 3 ft. Then we have 6 Klipsch Heresy speakers we will be mounting in the ceiling rafters above the dance floor. We will need one or two subwoofers over the dance floor too as well as all the electronics to run them. Having the system set up so a dj can hook in to it is a must. We also need to be able to run several wireless microphones. Can you help us? PLUS...we have a 20,000sf outdoor park like area surrounded with big trees right next to the indoor venue. We mounted 6 Klipsch AW-650 outdoor speakers high in the trees. Just using my MacIntosh 4100, which can run all 6 speakers at once, it sounds wonderful! But not enough volume and the bass is weak. Outdoor subwoofers? it would be way better to be able to run them all with a lot more power from inside the venue. A lot to consider and we can sure use your help!

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/6/2020

    Scott, Start by going to our Commercial A/V System Design page for help.
  • chanja from lusaka . Zambia

    Posted on 6/7/2020

    That really sounds awesome for my nightclub . So if I may ask . The 12" high range speakers give a more aggressive punch of the sound than the 15" speaker

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/10/2020

    Chanja, I recommend using 15" speakers when you don't want a separate subwoofer in your system. If you have the room, 12" mains plus a sub or two will provide better sound coverage.
  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/21/2017

    Shimrei, You are exactly correct. Multiple speakers in a room often have phase cancellation or comb filtering problems due to wall reflections and speaker placement. Time delaying the far speakers so their sound arrives at the audience at the same time as the stage speakers will probably clean up the sound a little. Most people present live music played through only two speakers from the stage, to prevent sonic voids in various spots in the venue, and avoid needing time alignment.

  • Shimrei from Hyderabad

    Posted on 2/20/2017

    I have a similar set up installed in a Cafe. 4 PRX 412 boxes in each corner of the room. However, I have more live performances in the Cafe than DJs. The question here is, if 4 boxes are installed in each corner with 2 boxes almost facing each other, won't there be phase problems? In my case, the mix starts sounding significantly different in different areas of the room. I plan to reposition the speakers. I will be placing 1 speaker each, right where the stage (front) starts. I will then place the other 2 speakers 15 feet apart from the first speaker and time align it. This I think will give me better stereo imaging in my live mixing(I say this because, right now the connection has been done the wrong way.), eliminate phase issues if any and ease in time alignment. Since the cafe is big, the time difference in sound reaching from different speakers to the audience becomes distinct. How do you think this will work out for my application? Your advice will be much appreciated.

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/14/2016

    Tamara, Every installation is different. If you need help designing a sound system for your pub, call us at 1-800-555-9369 and talk to a Crutchfield Pro Audio Specialist.

  • Tamara from Blackfalds

    Posted on 11/12/2016

    How much is it to install in pub/lounge ?

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/15/2016

    Allen, I just checked, and all the models listed for this installation are still current and still available for purchase. If you've had issues placing an order online, you should give us a call at 1-800-555-9369 and talk to a Crutchfield Pro Audio Specialist for help.

  • Allen from Burke

    Posted on 8/13/2016

    Hi! It looks like a few of the pieces of gear are not available any more. Can you suggest replacements?

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/18/2016

    Steve, You can call toll-free and talk to a Crutchfield Pro Audio Specialist at 1-800-555-9369. I've also forwarded your question to Crutchfield's Sales Advisor Team, and a member will get in touch with you by email to offer suggestions and help you choose the right gear for you and your bar.

  • Steve montsch from Dover

    Posted on 2/17/2016

    Hello Buck. Great article, I am looking to install this exact setup in a local bar with maybe a few additional features. Who would I need to speak with to see what is possible?

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/15/2015

    Abby, This article features a list of everything the club got for their installation, including links to individual product pages at Crutchfield showing current pricing (which changes). Sorry, wiring and mounting hardware are so custom-intensive that it's almost meaningless to describe everything that one place got when your installation would need something completely different. If you need help designing a sound system, call us at 1-800-555-9369 and talk to a Pro Audio Specialist.

  • Abby

    Posted on 11/15/2015

    Hi, So how much does the full system cost. How many of each parts did he get?

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/27/2015

    Dave, I've forwarded your questions to Crutchfield's Sales Advisor Team, and a member will get in touch with you by email to offer suggestions and help you choose the right gear for you and your fraternity. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Dave Williams from Atlanta

    Posted on 9/27/2015

    I am interested in buying this sane set up for my fraternity in Lexington VA. Do you all do instillation and any special effects too, lighting, smoke machines? Please reach out to me when you are available [email address removed] thanks.

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/5/2015

    Josias, This club system does not have a mixer. It was designed for guest DJs to bring their own mixer and just plug in to the two XLR plugs shown in the third picture. From there, the left and right signals go to the dbx DriveRack PA+ speaker management system, where room EQ and protective limiting occurs. From there, the signals go to the first amplifier's inputs, and then are daisy-chained to the second amplifier's inputs. The first amp runs two speakers per channel - parallel connection. I'll assume you know how to connect a speaker to an amplifier's output with wire. The second amplifier is bridged, combining its two channels together, to drive the subwoofer. Room treatment is essential for good sound, so you'll want to come up with something to reduce reflections and reverberation. Also, carefully aiming the speakers from the ceiling down to the crowd helps a lot to control the sound's spread. Good luck with your virtual dance club.

  • Josias from Hamburg - Germany

    Posted on 6/4/2015

    Hello Buck Your article is very interesting. Me and my friend liked it so much that we are going to use your nightclub concept for a presentation in your audio engineering school - SAE in Hamburg - Germany. We are currently going to present a project in our school, where we would be responsible for the sound installment, equipment choices and any other problem that might arise in a fictional club (as we would have to do in a real club) sound-wise. For our presentation we are going to use the exact same equipment list and room dimension as you did in this article.We are a bit uncertain about the signal flow in the club. How would you connect all equipment? How would you bring them together? Could you please go a little bit deeper into the signal flow chain that you would use for this situation? Aside from the DJ Mixer we assume we would need a main mixer in the club that redirects the dj signal to all 4 PAs and sub-woofer. Is a main mixer in the club really necessary, if the club in only going to host djs only and not live bands? One issue that we have in our presentation is that the walls in a fictional club are highly sound reflective. How would you approach this problem? We would be extremely grateful if you could reply us until Friday 06/05/2015. We understand that our request might not be fulfilled as we wish, but we would be eternally in your debt if you could do it. Cheers from Germany

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/12/2015

    Tamal, Unfortunately, we're only licensed to sell gear in the United States and Canada. I don't even know what pro audio equipment is available in your country. An online search ought to bring up at least one pro audio dealership somewhere near you. Sorry we can't help.

  • tamal_c from india,kolkata

    Posted on 5/12/2015

    hello..impressed with the setup you did.i am from india (kolkata city) i am setting up a night club here.the area is 1100sq.feet dance floor,bar area 300 sq.feet and the ceiling is 3.7 can you help me setting up the audio and lighting system,i need all pro gears.thank you.