Seattle, WA—July 2018… Read DJ Rian Souleles’ reviews at weddingwire.com, and you quickly realize that he’s above and beyond the typical wedding DJ. You won’t hear a corny, canned playlist, and he won’t try to get Grandma to dance the Hokey Pokey. A lifelong musician and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, DJ Rian Souleles creates an eclectic and fun show, based on the wedding couple’s favorites and extrapolating to include other likely crowd pleasers. He uses classic club DJ’ing techniques, mixing, looping, EQ’ing, and beat matching to keep people dancing all night, while building just the right mood for every part of the big event.
As a full-time professional, DJ Rian Souleles is intensely aware of sound quality and the practical considerations of gigging. Until he discovered Mackie® Thump Boosted™ speakers, he never quite found the right loudspeakers. “I started out with big, heavy speakers with 15-inch woofers, and they were a monster to carry,” he recalls. “So I switched to a well-known brand with a 12-inch speaker, but it didn’t have enough low end for when couples really want to feel the bass. I had to rent a subwoofer if I needed more deep low-end. Then my friend Ryan Devlin of City Arts Magazine in Seattle turned me on to the Mackie Thump™. Ryan plays in one of my favorite bands, the Smokey Brights. He knows sound, and he sometimes assists me at gigs.”
Following Devlin’s recommendation, DJ Rian acquired a pair of Mackie Thump15BST full-range speakers and one Thump18S subwoofer. The two friends tried the system out at an outdoor wedding on a farm in Seabeck, northwest of Bremerton, Washington. They placed the subwoofer under the front of the DJ table and mounted the two Thump15BSTs on tripods.
“I do a lot of outdoor weddings, and I often need to cover a wide area,” relates Souleles. “At the Seabeck wedding, there was a photo booth up the hill, a food truck a bit downhill, plus yard games and a bar, and everything was spread out. The Thump15BSTs have a wide horizontal spread and plenty of power and throw, and they did a great job of covering that whole area without auxiliary speakers. The sound was really clear, especially for an outdoor environment; you could hear all of the frequencies. High frequencies that normally get lost outdoors were crystal clear and open.”
For some gigs, hauling a subwoofer isn’t practical. Until DJ Rian Souleles got the Mackie Thumps, that meant insufficient low end. “I really love that the Thump15BSTs have a lot of deep low end—way more than my other speakers,” he asserts. “Even if you can’t haul the sub, you still have very good bass. But when you use the Thump15BST with the Thump18S subwoofer, the sound really opens up, and you get a great, clean sound.”
The Thump15BST offers six speaker modes that adjust the response for various applications. For gigs like the outdoor wedding in Seabeck, Rian mostly uses the Music + Sub mode, which provides sparkling highs and rolls off the low end to match properly with the Thump18S subwoofer. “But during the toasts, I flip the Thump15BST into Speech mode,” he notes. “It’s great that you can quickly adjust the speaker for each purpose.” Speech mode rolls off the low frequencies to get rid of unwanted thumps and adds boost and sparkle to the midrange and high frequencies for better speech intelligibility.
When DJ’ing at clubs, bars, and festivals (such as his weekly Monday residency at the Gainsbourg lounge), DJ Rian Souleles uses the house system. But weddings are the largest part of his business, and for those he hauls his own sound system. “The more portable and rugged the speakers, the better because we’re hauling a whole arsenal of sound and lighting gear,” he relates. “The Thump15BST enclosure is really strong, yet it’s the lightest 15 I’ve used. Any subwoofer with an 18-inch speaker has to be somewhat of a monster but the Thump18S is much lighter than I expected, and it’s the best sounding sub I have used.”