The Wire

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Off The Page 2014: Julian Henriques with Ras Muffet (Bristol Dub Club): The Sound System Unplugged

November 2014

A demonstration of how the sound system is built, from bass stacks to tweeters

For decades the sound system has been the engine of the dancehall scene in the UK, Jamaica and around the world. Considered as a musical as well as a phonographic instrument, an actual sound system is broken down into its component parts of crossovers, amplifiers, scoops, tops and the like. For this talk, Julian Henriques took the audience deep into the volumes, pitches and timbres of the reggae sound system set of equipment, discussing the history and ins and outs of its sonic production forces with Dub Club and Roots Injection's Ras Muffet, who demoed his system as part of the event, giving an in-depth appreciation of the engineering and sonic skills and connoisseurship at the heart of this crucial street culture.

Julian Henriques is a UK academic and author of Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques And Ways Of Knowing.

The fourth edition of Off The Page, The Wire’s literary festival for sound and music, took place at Bristol’s Arnolfini, 26–28 September, and was coproduced by The Wire, Arnolfini and Qu Junktions. Audio recording by Gary Fawle at Events in Sound. Photography by Paul Samuel White.

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