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ATLANTA, GEORGIA – AUGUST 2008: Despite the cliché of programs burdened by stodgy talking heads droning on about highfalutin subjects, the bulk of programs aired by PBS use engaging, colorful formats to educate and entertain about compelling subjects. Nevertheless, no previous program has approached the raw and visceral intensity of PBS’s ten part miniseries, “Carrier.” A documentary of life aboard the USS Nimitz, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the show balances the real life struggles and triumphs of the 5000-plus sailors who spend their every moment on the ship with enough roaring take-offs and high technology to have viewers with bona fide home theaters rumbling in their seats! As “Carrier” is the very first program produced by PBS in 5.1 surround sound, Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) revamped their soundstage with a full complement of musically accurate and high SPL Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers. This improved soundstage was used to preview the first two episodes of “Carrier” for the show’s producers, the upper management at PBS, and the station’s highest-tier donors.

The soundstage seats some 270 viewers in what amounts to a large silo with a true eighty-foot ceiling far above a false rigging ceiling at thirty feet With such challenging acoustics, it was no easy task to deliver convincing 5.1 surround sound with bass that could be felt and fidelity that would transport audience members from their seats inside a building in Georgia to the deck of the Nimitz in the middle of a seemingly infinite Pacific. GPB’s Bill Burson, challenged Neil Philpott, systems advisor for the Gainesville, Georgia-based A/V designer and installer, dB Audio and Video, to transform their humdrum sound system into one worthy of “Carrier.”

“The sound systems that were built into rooms just like this one, as few as five or ten years ago, are fast becoming obsolete,” commented Mike Hedden, president of Danley Sound Labs. “They’re woefully inadequate for sound in the digital age. In a way, the renovation at GPB is something of a demo for the way such systems can sound with the right speakers, the right supporting equipment, and the right system design. And with sound effects that would absolutely bury the 80s-vintage sound effects of “Top Gun,” “Carrier” was just the program to showcase a Danley-centered system.”

dB Audio & Video’s design was straightforward yet highly effective. Philpott flew three Danley SH-100Bs for the main LCR system and two Danley SH-100s for the rear L/R channels. The SH-100 uses Danley’s patented Synergy Horn technology to deliver unprecedented fidelity, even at high SPLs, and unusually sharp pattern control, even at lower frequencies. It was this unique pattern control that allowed Neil to focus energy on the crowd and away from the ninety-foot ceilings. The variant SH-100B adds a subwoofer for smooth response down to 50Hz. In addition to these speakers, Philpott included four Danley TH-115 subwoofers to drive the response down to an amazingly low 36Hz with SPLs to spare. All of the speakers are powered by all new Danley brand amplifiers. “No one else makes subwoofers like Danley,” commented Hedden. “No one creates something with so much accurate output in such a small package. At GPB’s soundstage, the challenge was to not only build in a terrific bass response, but to keep the higher frequency sounds off of the walls and away from the huge open ceiling! The tight pattern control on the SH-100 and 100Bs is amazing and does a fabulous job of energizing nothing but the crowd.”

After the very successful screening, GPB and PBS have gained enormous respect for dB Audio and Video and the potential of a Danley-centered system. With plans to make the Danley system a permanent fixture of the room, GPB looks forward to screening everything with absolutely stellar audio. “Once they got a taste of it, they were ruined to go back to anything else,” laughed Hedden. “For those that question the necessity of such upgrades – after all, their original sound system was still functioning – I liken the improvement to upgrading from a Commodore 64 to the very latest PC or Mac. It’s not a subtle difference. And once you understand what the new system is capable of, you’d never dream of going back!”

Tom Danley is one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and is recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology. His legendary designs have been utilized in projects ranging from ground zero bombing simulation, jet engine active noise cancellation, and sonic boom generators to critical listening mastering studios, high-end home theatre, and houses of worship around the world.

Danley Sound Labs •