When I spoke to Victor Sanchez at Stockholm’s Hosoi, I was researching something bigger. I was interested not just in Hosoi – but why audiophile venues seem to be in vogue, why their numbers are on the increase. When I mentioned this to Victor he said, “Rob, you need to talk to Orpheu.” That being Orpheu de Jong. A world-renowned DJ and digger – sometimes referred to as “The Wizard” – and one of the founders of the phenomenon that is Red Light Radio. Not content to rest on those laurels, this summer Orpheu opened Dynamic Range – a music bar / listening space located in the basement of Het Hem – an arts complex established within a disused bullet factory just outside central Amsterdam.
Where are you from and where are you based?
I`m from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and I’m based here in the centre of the city.
When did Dynamic Range open?
We opened on June 21st, 2019.
How many people are involved?
There are quite a few people involved, mainly because it`s part of a large artspace. On several levels people play their part, creatively or practically.
How did you get into “Hi-Fi”? What inspired you to start the venue? Was it a party, an event, another venue?
My experiences with proper sound systems have always stuck with me, but those experiences and the interest in sound that came from them were largely club-related. Then the first time I heard a set of properly set up K’Horns in someone`s house I was sold and the obsession started. A few years ago me and my Red Light Radio partner Hugo (Van Heijningen) found a set of K’Horns and we started a listening space inside the Red Light Radio store. What the guys at Brilliant Corners and Giant Steps are doing is definitely inspiring too.
How did you finance the venue? Was this easy to do?
The venue is part of a new artspace just outside of Amsterdam, in Zaandam, called Het HEM. The organisation running Het HEM financed Dynamic Range. Nothing is easy, but it worked and DR is here!
Can you describe Dynamic Range? Opening hours, how many customers is comfortable? Are you a cafe, bar, restaurant?
Dynamic Range is a bar, open every Thursday until Sunday from 17-24hrs. About 80 people would be the max to maintain a comfortable level, but half that is even more comfortable.
How would you describe your clientele?
Our clientele is a mix of musically-interested people of the more adventurous kind that are willing to travel about half an hour from the city centre (by ferry or by bike) to Dynamic Range, and visitors of the artspace or one of the restaurants that are in the building. I think that enjoying amazing music on the great system we have here provides people with a “bridge” between the collective experience of a club and the individual one of home listening.
Can you give me some of the spec on your kit?
It’s a four point setup with two Klipschorns and two Klipsch Belles, McIntosch amps, a custom Condesa DJ mixer, Technics turntables and Audio Technica cartridges.
What`s your most prized piece of equipment? Can you tell me why?
The most special piece of equipment at DR is our set of 60 Year Anniversary Klipschorns which used to belong to an older Amsterdam DJ and record collector – who used to travel to NYC for the Paradise Garage and Mancuso’s Loft parties. Ten years after his passing his widow decided to part with them and by some cosmic luck we got in touch and the speakers found a new home at DR.
Is there a piece of equipment that you’d really like to have? A wish list?
There are so many things to try out and look for, but at some point I would really like to get more into self / custom builds and designs.
How easy is it to pick up high end audiophile gear?
Well not so easy, all those speakers are so damn heavy haha…. But on a serious note, you can find everything, it just depends how hard you are willing to look for it.
How difficult is it to maintain the sound system in Dynamic Range?
We do a weekly check up and try to take all feedback in and try to improve where needed.
Are you always looking to ways to “improve” the sound?
Yes definitely, but that’s also an endless jungle one can get lost in quite easily, so I think it’s also quite important to enjoy and appreciate the setup you have at the moment.
Do you have DJs, or are you like Tokyo`s original jazz kissas – making selections from your own collection?
We have DJs every evening, mostly local DJs that still buy and play vinyl, plus the occasional international visitor.
Is your collection housed onsite? How many records do you have? I’m based in Japan and have visited jazz bars where tens of thousands of LPs are packed around the walls of often relatively tiny spaces.
Dynamic Range doesn’t have a collection of its own, but I rotate a selection of my own collection there for the bar staff or the DJs to play if they want to.
Do you stick to a particular sound, or are you playing music across all genres?
The sound of DR is quite broad but not all genres, I guess it’s more towards ambient / experimental / synth pop / leftfield / boogie / jazz / abstract / electronic…anyway more listening stuff. Dancing music has a secondary place here.
Could you please give me a couple of pieces of music that test your system, if possible explaining why?
Piero Milesi & Daniel Bacalov / La Camera Astratta
Codona / Codona 3
These are two records that I always play on the system. I had them on me when first connecting the system and they don’t leave the bar.
Is there a global community of audiophile venues – sharing sound tips, equipment discoveries, etc?
I guess as with every niche people are quite happy to be in touch with fellow interested folks. I’m in good contact with Victor from Hosoi and Amit and Aneesh from Brilliant Corners / Giant Steps are always very nice and welcoming!
Do you have any local competition?
Dynamic Range is the first bar of it’s kind in or around Amsterdam, so not really.
Audiophile bars seem to be on the increase globally. Do you have any idea why this might be?
In general, with everything being so readily available these days and with such a “high pace / low quality” life of consumption, more people are in need of things that are of better quality and that are more meaningful. I think this is where these bars fit in.