Someone emailed us a link to this great article from 12 years ago (yes 1999 is really 12 years ago) that the New York Times did with Steve Dash and Phil Smith of Phazon sound (and owners of Twilo). The club was no doubt the go to place in Manhattan in the mid to late 90′s (going into the closing in 2002) with a great deal of that having to do with the sound system that was installed. The system was designed by Steve himself, who learned electrical engineering in the military. The system was maintained by Craig of Systems by Shorty, who now builds some of the biggest sound systems in the world.
From a piece in the article, you can see that Steve really cared about the work he was doing at Twilo, even though he was working on much bigger rooms around the world (and eventually places like Roxy, Shelter, and Arc here in New York).
Much the way a doctor might analyze a CAT scan, Mr. Dash looks over the report and decides what is best for that room. Dark areas on the screen indicate problems — excessive reverberation in one corner or uneven sound distribution. A pink screen means that all 3,000 patrons of Twilo should experience the sound in the same way.
Map in hand, Mr. Dash then calculates which speakers are best for the room and designs them on a CAD program. A contract factory in Philadelphia then uses high-tech computerized saws to make them.
”Getting those missiles to hit their targets was a hell of a lot easier than getting a room to sound right,” Mr. Dash said.
Mr. Dash’s aim was on display on a recent Friday night at Twilo. When the needle is put on a record by Sasha, the deejay, the sound is immediately sent to a back room, where a bank of equalizers and computer processors break it down into bass, mid-range and high-range frequencies. Digital signal-processing chips that have modified by Mr. Dash to clean any unintended noise from the track.
Since bass sounds tend to reverberate longer than treble sounds, a time-alignment program feeds them to the amplifiers at minutely different speeds, insuring that they will arrive at the listener’s ear at the same moment.
Today we aren’t completely sure where Phil and Steve are. Steve moved on to work for another company out of Philly called Philasound (their website is still up at http://www.philasound.com/Steve_Dash.htm). To read the full article, you can head over to the archives section of the NY Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/09/technology/company-gives-dance-club-patrons-a-sound-that-transcends-hearing.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm