Charles Leahy, System.out

Born of a love for loud music in dark spaces, the arrival of Berlin’s new System.out Sound system is celebrated during a four night residency presented by ACUD MACHT NEU on 1st-4th March. Taking inspiration from classic sound systems, System.out aims to create an open community driven by a passion for music, hosting multi disciplinary parties, listening events and community workshops. We asked founder Charles Leahy five questions about the story behind System.Out and the residency in the Studio.

What’s the story behind System.out?

Putting the system together is the result of an idea I had a while ago whilst Lina (SPFDJ) and I (Charlie / sprintf) were both still living in London. Initially the plan was to find a space to be used by a collective of friends for DJing in together and occasionally running events, but rents in London are far too high, and the likelihood of finding a space where it’d be ok to regularly make lots of noise was pretty low. Once we’d moved over to Berlin this idea seemed far more plausible, so we started thinking again about how we could make it happen. Eventually we realised there’s no point having a space without a good system, so the priority switched to building that first. I was lucky enough to have some savings from a well-paying programming job in London, and have made a very significant dent in them by getting carried away with the system spec. I’m pretty sure it’s worth it.

What are your plans with it now?

We’d like to build a community of people around the system, connected by a passion for sound and actively involved in putting it to good use. Whilst we have a few ideas of our own, I think there’s much more scope for creating something interesting if we can work on collaborations with other groups, or even get them running things of their own using the system. We have some of this happening during the residency through the events being put on by Keira Sinclair, THALAMUS and Applied Arts, and this is an area we’ll be pursuing more in the future. There’s absolutely no way we would have got to this point without the help of some amazing friends, and hopefully this will continue to be the case.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that we’re keen to find creative uses for the system. We will of course be running club nights and concerts, but we’re very much interested in looking at other events outside of this norm. If you’ve got any ideas you’d like to suggest or discuss with us, please do get in contact at

What does Funktion One mean to you?

To me, Funktion One means a certain clarity combined with crisp transients and powerful but well-defined bass. I love the Funktion One sound and think they have a great product line, but to be honest I think we could have gone with one of a handful of other manufacturers and still ended up with an amazing system. It doesn’t hurt that that people know the Funktion One name, and generally have a sense for what this means in terms of the sound they’ll hear.

Unfortunately using Funktion One kit is no guarantee of good sound – plenty of F1 systems are badly set up and this can sound horrible! We’re taking a lot of care to make sure we’ve got all the necessary kit and knowledge to have System.out sound incredible. We’re even acoustically treating the studio space, and we’ve got a set of calibrated measurement microphones to help make the setup and tweaking process a little more scientific.

How did you came up with the idea for the residency and how did you put together the line-up?

As with the initial plan for the system, the residency actually started life as a much more modest idea which quickly escalated! Initially we were planning a single club night but we had suggestions from friends which were too good to ignore (huge love in particular to Keira), and eventually decided to scale it up and turn it into a mini-festival. There’s no overarching theme to this, we’ve just done our best to put together a series of events that we’re excited by and would want to go to ourselves. We already have a few more dates planned for the near future at ACUD which we can’t wait to share, so keep an eye out…

Why is ACUD a suitable space to test it?

For lots of reasons – the studio space is a really great size and interesting shape, and it represents a bit of a blank canvas for us that doesn’t have a system installed but already has all of the infrastructure including a bar, good toilets, a lift, and so on. More than anything though it’s been amazing to work with a team that’s really keen to explore ideas with us and support what we’re trying to do! Huge thanks to all of the ACUD team, especially Shub who’s been endlessly helpful and has put up with a lot of tedious questions.

System.out at ACUD