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Pioneer GS-WAVE At Sound Nightclub

 

Pioneer GS-Wave speakers installed in Sound.

 

 

Whether you are an audiophile or a clubber, a regular or a first-timer, when verging on Sound Nightclub’s dance floor, the presence of four brand-new Pioneer GS-WAVE stack speakers dominating that space will not go unnoticed. The club, situated in the heart of Hollywood, is the only one in the United States with these speakers installed, and the difference in audio quality is noticeable.

 

Each speaker is one large cabinet comprised of five components: WAVSUB hyperbolic subwoofer with two 18-inch LF drivers, enhanced by WAV-HORN, an extended horn to increase the bass level 5dB at 50 Hz (not installed at Sound due to space constrictions); WAV-LOW mid-bass cabinet with 15-inch drivers for low- and midrange-frequency responses; WAV-LENS with two coaxial compression drivers and an acoustic lens for midrange and high-frequency response; and WAV-TWPOD super tweeter pod for frequencies above 5 kHz.

 

The speakers are based on a classic JBL design from the 1970s, most evident in the WAV-LENS jutting out from the top of the cabinet, an update on the JBL slant-plate acoustic lenses. Behind these lenses is a two-way mid-high frequency device, a waveguide supporting mid frequencies in the 1 to 6kHz range and high frequencies in the 6 to 16kHz range. This works as a traditional horn, with some scattering of distortion. The mid-high sections are design adaptations of Richard Long speakers, refined by Gary Stewart, and further developed by Pioneer using modern components.

 

“Most nightclub designs put the sub-bass cabinets on the floor and hang a full-range element,” explains George Stavro of Sonic Lab Audio, who installed the speakers at Sound. “This generally won’t reproduce very low frequencies, so it acts more like a mid-high cabinet. You have an acoustic image that is split, where you’re hearing subs coming from one area and mid-highs coming from another area. Your ears have to put together two different sources. Everything is coming from a single position with the GS-WAVE. The only thing you hear from a different position is the ultra-high frequency output from the WAV-TWPOD tweeter raised in the middle. That’s done purposely to create some space.”

 

The system is tuned for nightclub purposes, acting strongly in the lows and mid-lows so central in the program source of electronic and club music, but with the depth and clarity needed for the midrange and high frequencies. The idea is to give the audience a physical as well as aural sense of the sound.

 

Related to this is the avoidance of listening fatigue. Says Pioneer’s Maury Dent, “The WAV-LENS’ acoustic design addresses the issue of listening fatigue by evenly distributing the high frequency sound through two 2-inch compression drivers. The lens has the ability to be angled at 110 degrees vertically and 45 degrees horizontally.”

 

Sound’s audio engineer, Naor Bonomo, draws an analogy between the new speakers and a beautifully presented meal. “It’s like getting food that looks good. You’re getting 50-percent first by just looking at it, then it tastes even better,” he says. “The crowd reacts to the size of the speaker and to the looks of it—it looks like a Transformer, and that makes them notice the sound. They start to listen, which is different than just hearing. People are definitely noticing the difference.”

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