MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 2009: Located in the stunning heat of Miami Beach's world-famous club scene, Aero Bar has been inspiring rumors of revolution in club design and philosophy since it opened less than a year ago. Aero Bar's space and vibe are without antecedent and challenge conventions that appear tired and dated in its magical light. Alex Caballero, principle of southern Florida's Audio Systems Consulting, designed its audio system, which defies club canon by centering on Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers. Less a stinging assault on the ears and more a full-dB fusion with the body, Aero Bar's sound system delivers clarity, punch, and control that is simply beyond the imagination of even the most seasoned jet-setting club-goer.
Co-owners Tony Guerra and Joseph (Smiley) Boyd are well known in the club industry for having founded a string of runaway hits. With Aero Bar, they were very consciously looking to break the mold. They hired architect Matt Peterson to design its intimate, 5,500-square foot curvilinear room, which permits no nooks for wallflowers. Robe's Greg Lawson designed the lighting system that was cited by Club World as the year's best.
"For me, sound is not all monetary," said Boyd. "It's also spiritual. I really love good sound." Consistent with that avowal, they built Aero Bar with an 18-degree pitch on the walls and few right angles. Eschewing the ugly acoustical properties of concrete and steel, Boyd ensured that Aero Bar would be built almost entirely of wood. Given so much consideration to details that most club owners would not even recognize as impacting the sound system, it is not surprising that the choice of loudspeakers and subwoofers would be careful and considered.
Caballero had heard Danley sound systems and was excited to try them out in a club that was so self-consciously audio-focused from the start. Boyd, on the contrary, was nervous about the idea. "The night club industry is controlled by certain brand names," explained Caballero. "People don't stray too far from them if only because that's what they know."
"It's true," confirmed Boyd. "Even after I was convinced Danley was right for Aero Bar, the 'hard sell' people told me they'd catch on fire the first time I opened them up. I had two sound companies come through here and swear up and down that the Danleys were going to fail. They said, 'that's a church sound system.' I said, 'well, when our doors open up, you'll see the people converting to my religion!'"
What convinced Boyd, Guerra, and everyone else behind Aero Bar was a direct, head-to-head comparison between Danley and every other manufacturer of consequence in the club industry. Indeed, Danley supported the effort by driving a rig down from Georgia on a truck. The head-to-head test was brutally honest, with every product pre-tweaked to emphasize its strengths. "As soon as I heard the Danleys I knew we found our speaker," said Boyd. "I had never heard that kind of clarity in a PA system before."
Caballero specified eight Danley SH-50 full-range loudspeakers, four Danley TH-115 subwoofers, and two repurposed Funktion-One F221 subwoofers in a "four corner" stereo configuration. Two SH-50s reside in each corner of the room, providing combined 50 by 100-degree coverage. Their uniquely small size per output was part of the sell, and allows them to reside in Aero Bar's intimate setting without dominating the space. The Danley subwoofers sit at the front of the room, just steps from the DJ booth and arrayed for directional propagation, whereas the Funktion-One subs sit at the back of the room. Crown 3600 VLZ and Crest Pro Series 9001 amplifiers power the system.
"The Danleys are abundantly punchy and smooth," reported Boyd. "The bass is really throaty and the clarity is unparalleled. It's like listening on nice stereo speakers in a nice room. The Danleys deliver the real sound. Our house and open-format music sounds fantastic and anything with vocals is especially vibrant."
Part of what separates Danley is a patented design that improves phase coherence and pattern control. "Danley says the SH-50s are 50 by 50 degrees, and they really are," said Caballero. "That allowed me to concentrate the sound where I wanted it without bouncing sound all over the room."
"One of the things I love about our system is that you can feel the bass moving through your body, but you can still have a conversation," said Boyd. "That was important to me. I want people to be able to chat. With some of these places around here you end up screaming at the bartender for your drink and all that stupid stuff. I'm happy that Aero Bar is different.
"We're starting to get other venues coming through to check out our Danleys," he continued. "It's hard to explain how perfectly maintenance-free they've been. They're just dialed-in and running. No blown drivers, no sketchy cables, and certainly no fires. Just pure, loud, blissful sound that treats your ears with respect."
ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for "outside the box" thinking in professional audio technology.
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PHOTO CAPTION Aero Bar has paved the way for the nightclub industry to discover the clarity, punch, and control of Danley loudspeakers by installing eight full-range Danley SH-50s and four TH-215 subwoofers in its stunning Miami Beach location.