Valve Sound System Review
Drum and Bass |
Tuesday 7th October 2014 | Nick Wesson
Last Friday Dillinja and K-aze’s whopping 96KW Valve Sound System hit Sheffield University’s The Octagon Centre along with Andy H, Jus Now, Wilkinson, Calyx & Teebee, Nu:Tone and Friction, but most notably the venue itself deserves recognition just for remaining intact. Debuting in London’s Fabric nightclub in 2001, the system boasts the need for three 7.5 tonne lorries just to transport the damn thing as well as providing mandatory ear-buds that are only either stamped into the sweat-drenched floor or unknowingly shoved up your mate's nose as he tries to light his fag. But these little indiscretions are entirely forgotten about when the heavily emphasised deep bass thunders through your ribcage and gives your heart a breakbeat rhythm.
The formation of the system seemed inevitable when you look back to Dillinja’s early days. In his youth he followed a local electronic whiz who manufactured Jah Shaka’s amps, and not long after that his obsession began. So much so that at the age of fifteen his mattress lay on top of speaker cabinets with the rest of his bedroom filled with various custom built amps and bass bins. Later, when disappointed with playing the sub par set-ups in commercial clubs, Dillinja alongside K-aze (aka Lemon D), utilised his prowess and created the only sound system designed specifically for drum & bass. So with plans to take it nationally and internationally, which have since been fulfilled, the beast was born.
The creators claim the system is built to represent the full audio frequency range even though, admittedly, at times the mid-range is forced to hide behind all that shaky bass giving a slightly hollow sound but it’s easily rectifiable and barely noticeable in the moment. The DJs themselves evidently have no problem. The softer sounds of Wilkinson’s “Half light” and “Need to Know” showed no signs of struggle to be complimented by the system, while the post-midnight drops of Audio’s “Headroom VIP” and The Prototypes “Pale Blue Dot” shed the apparatus in it’s best light. Equally, the more atmospheric tracks featuring a stuttering subliminal bass such as the Calyx & Teebee classic “Elevate This Sound” turned the room to treacle while partiers wade through it to get near to the stacks of speakers measuring around 18ft in width and 10ft in height – no exaggeration.
However, you only truly understand the power of the system when you reach that sad point of the evening when your ears must return to hearing things within a normal decibel range - I imagine as the night finally drew to a close and the lights came up, The Octagon Centre must have looked like it was holding a strange convention for the deaf on drugs as people screamed to each other:
“WHERE’S THE EXIT?”
“I SAID WHERE’S THE EXIT?”
“YEAH MAN, I’M STILL WIRED TO THE GILLS AS WELL”
“NO! I SAID WHERE’S THE…”
“AHH NEVER MIND”