(PHOTO CREDIT: © 2011 Peter Godeschalk)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — AUGUST 2011 —
BeatBox is San Francisco’s newest venue for live music, dance parties, performances, art exhibits, meetings, and community events. Although its patrons expect great music in hip and comfortable surroundings, it’s a safe bet that no one has higher expectations than BeatBox’ three creators: Andy Zivic, Paul Saccone and Tchukon Shanks. Their vision for BeatBox is inspiring. They had two guiding principals: deliver a new experience each time a guest visits and provide audiophile quality sound that the other clubs couldn’t match. As everything is modular, the former warehouse space can take on radically different moods and configurations from night to night. And to fulfill their commitment to audiophile sound, they chose Danley gear. Indeed, BeatBox is the first club on the West Coast to feature Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers, which deliver an incomparably richer sonic experience – from the lowest lows to the most pleasant highs – than the tired business-as-usual solutions used by tired business-as-usual clubs.
BeatBox occupies a completely renovated warehouse and features a 25-foot ceiling, a private mezzanine, exposed brick, exposed steel latticework, and a long line of skylights that can be unveiled when desired. The thirty-foot by ten-foot stage is completely modular. It can move to different locations and take on different configurations, such as a tall stack for a lofty DJ or a long thrust for a fashion show. State-of-the-art, low-energy LED lighting conveys the vibe de jour – from homey to intense to otherworldly, and shades between.
Stepping outside of BeatBox, patrons find themselves in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, with a mix of residential and business properties. “Apart from the issue of great fidelity, we knew the sound system at BeatBox had to be kind to our neighbors,” said Saccone. “Despite the fact that we [the owners] have BeatBox at the center of our universe, we’re aware that the family down the street with a newborn baby doesn’t. The last thing they need to hear leaking through their walls is four on the floor”.”
It was Matt Long, principal of A/V integration firm Sonic Sustenance who introduced the owners to Danley Sound Labs. “We fired up a few of the Danley flagship products for a demo at BeatBox,” said Long. “We had SH-50 full-range boxes and TH-115 subwoofers. They were totally blown away. They were running around the dance floor, smiling and laughing like they won the lottery.” Long asserted that his was definitely far from the least expensive bid but that Danley fidelity carried the day. Saccone’s recollection paints a cooler picture. “We knew that great sounding music was going to be a critical component of our success,” he said. “We were impressed by the phenomenal bass response and the unmistakable clarity across the frequency range. It was a very noticeable improvement over every other club system we had ever heard.”
After careful consideration of the exact dimensions of BeatBox, Long ultimately installed four Danley SH-60 full-range loudspeakers and four Danley TH-118 subwoofers. The boxes move with the stage and deliver stereo sound with crystal clear imaging, imaging that one would never dream of achieving with conventional club solutions. On each side of the stage, paired SH-60s deliver a combined 120-degrees of coverage horizontally and 60-degrees of coverage vertically. Depending on the stage orientation, the subwoofers either combine as a mono cluster or split for a true stereo signal top to bottom. Powersoft amplifiers with integrated DSP and network accessibility serve as a front-end for the system.
“The pattern control of Danley full-range boxes is something that continues to amaze me,” said Long. “In the standard stage position, the seams between each pair of SH-60s fires right through the thick of the dance floor. Yet when you walk that seam, you can’t hear it. Loudspeakers from any other manufacturer would sound like a total mess in the same situation. In fact, the Danley coverage is so tight that I could actually hear a two-inch gap on the dance floor when the speakers had drifted 3/4-inch apart [prior to being permanently installed]. I pushed the speakers back together, and the gap went away.” It is that tight pattern control that keeps energy on the dance floor and away from the doors, walls, and windows… and thus ultimately away from the neighbors and their newborn babies.
When BeatBox replaced its temporary sound system with the Danley-based system, its growing crowd of regulars commented – without prompting – about how much better things sounded. “The main response we get is that BeatBox sounds great and doesn’t hurt, even when it’s full-on dance party loud,” said Saccone. “Moreover, it sounds great whether we’re doing a dance party, a rock show, jazz, or spoken word.” For his part, Long welcomes a Danley club on the West Coast because it affords him the opportunity to demonstrate the Danley difference in an uncontrived environment. “It’s only been up for a month and already I’ve given twenty-eight demos at BeatBox,” he said.