Powersoft’s compact transducer, Mover, is at the heart of a new four-dimensional nightlife experience in Amsterdam which allows visitors to take a deep dive into the rich culture and educational history of electronic dance music from its roots to the present day.
Based in Amsterdam’s Rembrandt district, Our House has been a thriving nightclub and the beating heart of the electronic music scene since the 1980s. The iconic venue has upheld its musical legacy by recently becoming a digital storytelling museum, promising a 75-minute journey into the music genre via interactive exhibits, shows and performances, telling the story of how electronic music – once a rebellious and secretive underground scene – has evolved to become a global cultural phenomenon.
“When we came here, about two years ago, the place was very analogue: There was a sound system, strobes, smoke machine and some LEDS – that was about it,” says Our House general manager, Jeroen Jansen. “We wanted to rebuild the club with installations that could tell the story of over 40 years of dance music by using mixed technology. In order to revamp the venue and bring it to a completely new level, we received a lot of support from within the industry, including Powersoft.”
The venue’s overhaul had to be carefully considered, as it’s home to a popular nightclub, Club Air, in the evening whilst sharing the same space with museum-goers by day. The power of the amps and Mover are somewhat harnessed for effect in the daytime and more aimed at visually connecting to the video content, whereas at nighttime the lower frequencies are ramped up on the dance floor to accentuate the music and bass line.
Jansen sought advice from Powersoft engineers to assess the number of required Mover to support the dance floor structure they had in mind; the double layered flooring needed to support 100 people and 12 tonnes of weight.
They opted for 64 Mover, Powersoft’s compact linear transducer, all powered by four Quattrocanali 4804 DSP+D amplifiers. The transducer can be attached to a large number of objects and structures including gaming chairs, entertainment venue seats, wall panels and, in this case, underneath the double layered dance floor.
“We came up with the idea of actively involving all technical elements that are associated with electronic music, like light, video, laser and special effects. We wanted movement from underneath people’s feet to form a completely immersive experience, created by a timecode content system,” states Jansen, who refers to the specifically designed content as “the connector of all the dots”, bringing all the tech together at musical pinpoints, like when the beat drops or the musical crescendo.”
The “double floor” construction consists of one hydraulic surface, which can slide up and down 20cm, and the secondary flooring on top. The latter has the 64 Mover attached, one to each floor panel, so it can be felt wherever the person is standing.
Jansen attributes his passion for electronic music as the driving force in creating this experiential museum, which plays homage to the ‘protagonists’ (iconic DJs, bands and producers, including the likes of Daft Punk, Carl Cox and Diplo) that helped curate a first-of-its-kind experience: “It was very important to us that we created a full VR experience, without glasses, at the climactic end of the visitors’ journey. That’s where the idea of a haptic experience came up: to tie in all the technology with movement, so that everything worked in harmony.”
System integrator Lagotronics worked in collaboration with Our House to develop the “free fall” hydraulic floor system, which not only vibrates but drops downwards. “We add a special element that nobody expects, so it’s quite a shock to people when they are here; it creates a really unique experience,” adds Jansen.
The creative designer of the audio system, Joshua Dutrieux (JDX Music), was approached by Jansen and Fourmation, his entertainment company, with the brief to create something that had never been done before and what would make the dance museum truly memorable: “I know Jansen from back in the days when we organised dance music events together,” says Dutrieux. “I come from a background of house music and hardcore, so I was very keen to be a part of this project!”
Dutrieux experimented with two Mover at his home, exploring the capabilities of its low-end frequencies: “I wanted to pinpoint frequencies to get the floor rumbling. I had all these audio samples and started tweaking the volumes up and down. Eventually the rumble made my jaw shake, and I thought, ‘Okay, let’s do this full scale on a dance floor.’”
Over the past few years, Mover has been used for a wide variety of applications, in gaming chairs, immersive experiences and under the floors, where it is used as a sub-harmonic frequency extension to replace the amount of subwoofer in a space, subsequently reducing low-frequency noise pollution to the surrounding environment.
“Because of the massive force we can put on a Mover, it actually replaces four of the conventional products that have been used in the past, meaning that the product is very efficient,” explains Mark Kocks, business development manager at Powersoft. “The sensations created are unprecedented – all the visitors I’ve seen here at Our House were walking away with having experienced something new.”