Saving Sound Quality
An interview with Shorty, the creator of System Dance Club's The Slammerâ„¢

We see you’re using a Walkman.  We’re thinking you either dropped your iPod in the toilet or you are taking the retro trend way too seriously.  Oh, what’s that?  We can’t hear you.

Ah, you want to hear the song the way it was originally intended?

We understand.

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And so does Craig “Shorty” Bernabeu, audio engineer of Systems by Shorty (SBS), and creator of the trademarked SBS Slammer, which was rated Top Sound System in NYC by Timeout NY magazine.  Although the Slammer’s home, System Dance Club in Long Island City, has only been open for 12 weeks, SBS Slammer™ received rave reviews from DJs on Facebook and Twitter, as well as gained the attention of music lovers across the city.

Shorty, a self-defined audiophile, employs his audio knowledge and music theory to create custom sound systems all over the world, from Shanghai to Mexico to Montreal.  In 2008, SBS was nominated for the Club World Award for Best Sound System for his work at Lotus Sound Bar in Hawaii. Last year, Shorty joined forces with Queens-native Ray Trosa, who had a hand in the now-defunct Mansion, to design a special kind of club, a club that has slowly disappeared from New York City.  A Dance Club.

Their conversation may have went something along these lines:

T:  I want to do it the old way, with a HIFI Analog system that really pumps, that makes people want to dance.

S:  “In order to achieve this, we have to design it from the floor out, and the sound has to be designed with no restraints, no budget. . .

. . . and placed in the proper position.  And I need to design the sound treatment for the room and tune the room to the system, an art that has definitely been lost and forgotten.”

T:  What else?

Floating dance floor
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S:  “We need to float the floor like a dance studio so it works best with the sound, and for ease on the joints, so people will spend hours dancing and not feel it the next day.”

(How thoughtful.)  The two were in agreement and ready to make history, or more accurately, return to the past and give “that amazing feeling of what clubs were like back in the day.” Shorty is grateful that the owners of System let him run with his ideas and didn’t step in his way at all; “Which is rare today,” he adds. (We are grateful too).

Oh, you don’t know what back in the day was like?  

Just like how Facebook is ruining the quality of your spelling, digitalization is ruining the quality of your music.  SBS always offers HIFI custom built Analog technology, never digital.  This kind of audio design, “gives a bigger, cleaner, fatter sound that is easier on your ears,” explains Shorty.  “It sounds totally natural and realistic to the human ear.  No other system can compare or offer that.”  And along with conscious elements of club design and investment into quality room acoustics, SBS promise an excellent night out for audiophiles and dancers.  

We know what you’re thinking.  You may be on the retro trend, but you didn’t move off last year’s eco-friendly trend.  And that’s okay, because even though SBS creates systems that replicate how music was heard “back in the day,” The Slammer™ is actually energy efficient.  “The entire system operates with the maximum amount of power, about 10K watts from top to bottom.  I run it at about 60% output so continuous power is around 7K watts from top to bottom.  If there is a peak transient response needed, I have plenty of headroom and it will produce a bit more,” Shorty explains.  Energy efficiency is also achieved with the SBS Slammer™ cabinets and driver choice, along with proper speaker placement.

“The funny thing is, I’ve been doing low to medium power energy efficient Slammers since 2003 at Stereo in Montreal.  That has always been my practice way before this was a new concern in today’s society,” Shorty says.  “I guess I was ahead of the industry with this thought process in my layouts with the SBS Slammer™.  Most clubs run 3-10 times the power that I use in my designs.”

We like people at the head of trends.

The SBS Slammer does make use of new technology, HIFI Analog circuits.  Short details, “In my top offering I am doing Class A, Fully Discrete circuits, the finest circuit that can be offered that will pass audio from as low as 5hz to over 130Khz, so you get the widest frequency response from the Slammer™ and the most sound without any loss of the source through poor conversions in digital processing.”  

System Dance Club
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The Slammer™ does not discriminate.  “It will play anything,” Shorty says.  House hero Jellybean Benitez joined forces with the System Dance Club team as musical director, and has succeeded in catering to Long Island City’s diverse population; Fridays is home to Latin music, BPM throws a house and tribal party on Saturday (Behrouz and David Morales have tested The Slammer™) and Sunday can be soulful house mixed in with African rhythms, minimal techno and Classics.

What’s that?  

Even though System has its own parking lot and is convenient to the trains, you still don’t want to venture all the way to Queens?

We understand that too.  That’s why Shorty and Mr. Trosa have a super secret Manhattan project, building a classic Theatre space and designing a Slammer™ for the space that will be specially named after the territory.  Shorty couldn’t disclose the location, but Joonbug has fluttered that it may be around 43rd street and the West side.

You can stop rubbing the lamp; New York City is getting another dance club.  Now, use your last wish and hope they are open for after-hours.

And lose your Walkman; Shorty also does custom home stereos.  For more information on SBS click here. 



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