Music Tech Magazine


“Humans are about 70 per cent water. So I suggested that if we had a thousand leather bags, we could fill them up with water, then hang them on racks all over the dancefloor to tune the room and hear how it would sound if it were full of people.”

Audio engineer John Klett, James Murphy’s right-hand man and the designer of Despacio – arguably the greatest sound system on the planet right now – is waxing lyrical on the project and what he describes as “one of his many ideas”. Cast your eyes over his speaker-strewn career and you can see that his audio life has reverberated with plenty of them.

“I refer to people as walking water bags – with maximum respect and love,” he laughs, “because the dancers are part of the experience here, and part of our acoustical treatment, so they make the system sound better.”


Combine the initial pulses of acid house and the hedonistic rush of New York disco with a nerdish, yet hefty audio rig and some serious record collections, and what do you have? Despacio – a concept that equals pure, unadulterated aural ecstasy.

The system (named after the Spanish word for ‘slow’) is one of the world’s weightiest, propelled by eight McIntosh stacks and the insane audio knowledge of John Klett, LCD’s James Murphy’s comrade in audiophilia. With Soulwax’s David Dewaele and Stephen Dewaele (aka 2manydjs) onboard alongside James, the

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