Headliner Magazine and Enter Shikari Supercharge the Pioneer Club with HARMAN Professional Solutions

HARMAN Professional Solutions completely overhauls the venue’s sound and lighting systems with solutions from JBL Professional, Soundcraft, AKG and Martin

LONDON—HARMAN Professional Solutions recently partnered with Headliner Magazine to replace the legendary Pioneer Club’s aging live sound system with a supercharged JBL Professional SRX Series sound reinforcement system just in time for a headlining performance by Rudimental. 

The Pioneer Club is a youth and community venue located in St. Albans just miles from the city of London. In addition to housing a historic music venue and the UK’s oldest indoor skatepark, the Pioneer Club is a registered UK charity, and has a long history of helping young people, stretching back to re-housing displaced children during World War Two. Since opening in the 1960s, the Pioneer Club’s all-ages venue has helped launch the careers of musical icons like the Zombies and Enter Shikari while hosting concerts by Declan McKenna, Bring Me The Horizon, Trash Boat and many more. 

In a year that’s seen Enter Shikari reach number one in the UK albums chart, the hometown band saw an opportunity to reinvest in the community that gave them their earliest opportunities. Following discussions with Headliner Magazine CEO Paul Watson, the band ended up partnering with the music and tech media brand to renovate the Pioneer Club’s existing 400-cap music venue as well as converting an underutilized common room into a new 120-cap venue and café bar called the Suet Yard. 

In order to support and better accommodate bands on the modern UK touring circuit, Watson and Headliner contacted HARMAN Professional Solutions to replace the Pioneer Club’s aging sound and lighting systems with state-of-the-art solutions from JBL Professional, Crown, AKG and Martin. HARMAN shared Watson’s vision for the Pioneer Club and agreed to become an ally for the venue.

“I was approached by friends in the rock band Enter Shikari about the possibility of teaming up to revitalize the Pioneer Club,” said Watson. “The Pioneer is very close to their hearts. They knew that Headliner is an audio brand that skews music industry and pro AV industries. We had conversations, and then in July we partnered with HARMAN. HARMAN saw and shared our vision. By the end of September, the new installation was complete.”

The Pioneer Club’s new sound system consists of sixteen JBL SRX910 line array speakers, suspended eight per side, with low end provided by two ground-stacked pairs of JBL SRX928S dual subwoofers. Four JBL PRX908 speakers provide flexible onstage monitoring, while two JBL PRX915 speakers are used as DJ monitors. An additional two JBL PRX912 loudspeakers supply delay coverage to the VIP balcony.

Meanwhile at front-of-house, a Soundcraft Vi1000 digital mixing console delivers space saving, world-class audio mixing capability with pristine audio quality, roadworthy reliability and an intuitive user interface for streamlined operation. Onstage, a plethora of AKG microphones ensure every note is captured in painstaking detail, while the addition of a Martin lighting rig heightens each performance with eye-popping visual appeal. 

“I come from an audio background myself,” said Watson. “I’ve done live sound, and I’m a studio engineer as well. This JBL rig is a really great sounding rig; it feels very controlled with a very smooth low end. The artists were buzzing about it after the show. The HARMAN package has upped the room’s production value enormously. The previous system was pretty decent, but the SRX rig has certainly supercharged the venue.”

The system had its first outing at an inaugural event headlined by award-winning drum-and-bass group Rudimental on Saturday October 7 with support from 220 Kid and Lo Lauren. The event raised funds for the Pioneer Music Charity and the venue itself.

“Helping to preserve grassroots venues like The Pioneer Club is something we are passionate about,” said the members of Rudimental in a joint statement. “By headlining this fundraiser at The Pioneer Club, we wanted to help raise awareness of the venue, the charity, and all that it is striving to achieve in terms of music education, entertainment, and providing a safe creative place for young people.”

According to Watson, the Pioneer Club’s new HARMAN sound and lighting rig represents just the first phase of Headliner and Enter Shikari’s plans to position the legendary venue at the center of a hub that supports the local music community while generating revenue to sustain the Pioneer charity, which remain the organization’s top priority.

“We have an opportunity to turn what was once an iconic venue back into a great venue,” said Watson. “And this initiative will also help to support key local groups including Services for Young People and the National Autistic Society, all of whom will be able to utilize the space. Then from a core Headliner perspective, we will launch two Academies during Q2; these will be dedicated to music and pro-audio education, to help raise awareness to young people that they can find a route into these industries and build a career for themselves.”

Since installation was completed, the Pioneer Club’s new HARMAN sound and lighting rigs have powered numerous concerts by independent rock bands on the local and touring UK circuits as well as supporting events for high-profile clients such as TikTok and the MOBO Awards.

“It’s easy to forget you’re in a relatively small venue given the importance that’s clearly been given to the overall production,” said Dani Simmonett, United Talent Agency. “The sound is crisp and clear, and acoustics don’t have the issues that many smaller venues have. I’ve had the opportunity of seeing a variety of artists with different setups at The Pioneer Club since the new JBL rig went in, and it’s working extremely well across the board.”

“I was super impressed with the sound as well as the lighting and stage setup,” said Nich Sethi, Head of UK Artist Services, TikTok UK. “You can tell it’s been thoughtfully put together with an artist-first approach that made the whole experience so enjoyable from an audience perspective.”


HARMAN Professional Solutions (pro.harman.com) engineers and manufactures audio, video, lighting and control products for entertainment and enterprise markets, including live performance, audio production, large venue, cinema, retail, corporate, education, government, hospitality, broadcast and more. With leading brands including JBL Professional®, AKG®, Martin®, AMX®, Soundcraft®, BSS Audio®, Crown®, dbx Professional®, and Lexicon Pro®, HARMAN Professional delivers powerful, innovative and reliable solutions that are designed for world-class performance. HARMAN Professional Solutions is a Strategic Business Unit of HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. 

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HARMAN (harman.com) designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions; and services supporting the Internet of Things. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 50 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. Our software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated and secure across all platforms, from work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In March 2017, HARMAN became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

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HARMAN Professional Solutions, Luxury Audio Group, Embedded Audio
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