Friday, May 21, 2010
RTS Zeus III Digital Intercom Matrix At InfoComm 2010
The new digital intercom matrix supersedes the Zeus & Zeus II matrix frames.
RTS will present the new Zeus III Digital Intercom Matrix at InfoComm 2010.
The Zeus III supersedes the Zeus & Zeus II matrix frames.
Offering 32 channels In/Out and two configurable party-line interface channels, Zeus III represents the next generation of compact intercom system units, giving more options for intercom configurations.
The unit’s compact size is ideal for environments with limited space and, with the addition of Ethernet, Zeus III can be configured from anywhere on a network using AZedit Intercom software.
Zeus III can also be directly connected to AZedit configuration software through the use of the USB connector on the front panel, or the serial or Ethernet connectors on the rear panel.
The system has 32 RJ45 connectors, allowing for a simple wiring scheme. In addition, the two built-in relays can be used to control lighting or to key remote transmitters, paging systems.
Key features include redundant power supplies, a USB port, trunk capability, a dual-channel party line interface, and remote configuration.
Solid State Logic AWS 900+ SE Installed By Miami Dade College
Console services a multi-disciplinary programs music, film, tv & radio classes.
Miami Dade College, an eight campus institution that is home to over 160,000 students, has installed a Solid State Logic AWS 900+ SE console to service the multi-discipline audio needs of the School of Entertainment & Design Technology (SEDT).
The AWS 900+ SE serves as an instructional tool for the Music Business, MIDI and Sound Recording classes and labs and is also used by film, television & radio students for production, post production, Foley and dubbing.
“Since Miami Dade College’s mission is to offer world-class education to its students, the choice of installing an industry-leading console such as the SSL AWS 900+ SE was crucial in providing the necessary experience that students need to secure jobs in the field,” says Philip Colodetti, lab instructor for SEDT.
“The console delivers the exceptional sound quality, flexibility and functionality we can employ for many types of course objectives from music production to Foley.”
“This console is an excellent teaching tool,” said Colodetti.
The AWS 900+ SE allows students and staff to work in different applications that would otherwise require separate pieces of equipment and rooms to house that equipment.
Currently, the AWS 900+ SE’s home - Room 2140, addresses a main control room, three isolation booths with rhythm section instruments, an isolation booth for voiceover work and a Foley stage for film and TV sound FX recording.
The studio also features an ensemble space, control and mix rooms, and an observer’s lounge.
“The AWS gives us a 24-channel console where students can learn how to use an analogue board versus working entirely inside a computer,” states Colodetti.
“It gives us 24 channels of moving faders and full total recall automation allowing easy setup changes between classes. It also has a comprehensive master section with professional dedicated stereo to 5.1 monitoring that is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of film, TV, radio and music production.”
“Finally, the AWS offers a full multi-DAW controller and complete session management software that facilitates the integration of several computer recording systems such as Pro Tools, Digital Performer and Logic. The AWS gives us the perfect platform to address the needs of all our students.”
Solid State Logic Website
Midas XL8 Chosen For 2010 Classical BRIT Awards
The XL8 met the needs of providing discerning listeners with a high quality live mix.
The 2010 Classical BRIT Awards were recently broadcast live from Earls Court with a Midas XL8 handling front of house for the first time, provided by Britannia Row Productions.
Sound designer and live sound coordinator Derrick Zieba specified the XL8 after using it for the 2010 BRIT Awards in January.
“This is a very exacting audience of industry professionals, who are used to hearing the best possible quality of recordings,” says Zieba.
“We wanted to match that quality, but also to lift their experience above that so that they know they’re listening to a live orchestra.”
“The XL8 does this imperceptibly; it effectively vanishes while delivering an incredibly complex mix to every corner.
“I’ve been doing the Classical BRITs here for six years, and the sound of the orchestra this year is as natural an orchestral sound as we’ve ever been able to create in this space.”
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Jim Van Winkle Names General Manager Of Professional Wireless Systems
After his initial seven-year tenure (1992-’99) with Masque Sound, he went on to serve as GM for Rock City Sound 1999 – 2004 and as Sound Supervisor for Hulk Hogan and other reality TV shows.
Jim Van Winkle, former director of regional services for the Masque Sound Corporate Theater Division, has rejoined the firm as General Manager of its Orlando, FL-based Professional Wireless Systems division.
Van Winkle cut his pro audio teeth as shop manager for Sound Associates in NY from 1978 –’87, while simultaneously serving as sound mixer and electrician with the original Broadway production of “CATS.’
He began his relationship with Masque Sound while loading the show into the Winter Garden Theater, and also served as house mixer for Radio City Music Hall during that period.
Van Winkle later toured as Front of House and Monitor Mixer for both Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. After his initial seven-year tenure (1992-’99) with Masque Sound, he went on to serve as GM for Rock City Sound 1999 – 2004 and as Sound Supervisor for Hulk Hogan and other reality TV shows.
“I enjoyed my initial association with Masque Sound, and have maintained relationships with many of the people I worked with there,” Van Winkle said. “When Geoff Shearing asked me to take the reins at Professional Wireless Systems it seemed like a perfect fit. PWS has been extremely active on the broadcast, live sound, corporate and theatrical fronts.
“The R&D department here has pioneered some exceptionally innovative new technology designed to accommodate the rapidly shifting RF environment and the on-going migration to digital. We’ve got a terrific team in place, and I’m very pleased to be working with them.”
In welcoming him to his new post, Masque Sound Co-Principal Geoff Shearing remarked, “Jim Van Winkle is one of the most well-rounded execs in the Pro Audio field. He has served successfully in virtually every capacity the industry has to offer. His leadership qualities and people skills are further enhanced by his hands-on technical expertise. We are fortunate to have him back with us.”
Professional Wireless Systems Website
Architectural Acoustics By Peavey Debuts New Digitools
New line of Digitools to be debuted at InfoComm 2010.
Architectural Acoustics by Peavey will debut several all-new products at InfoComm 2010 including three newly redesigned and reengineered models of the Peavey AA Digitool Multiprocessor: The MX16, the MX32, and the LIVE.
The MX16 features 8 inputs and 8 outputs, while the MX32 features 16 inputs and 16 outputs, and the LIVE features 8 balanced XLR inputs and outputs for live sound FOH applications.
The new Digitools include an updated, more powerful DSP engine, full color LCD screen, enhanced front panel navigation, individual input and output mutes, and 5 segment LED arrays for input and output signal monitoring.
In addition, the new series of processors include a USB port on the front for programming and an Ethernet port on the back for either programming or connecting to a network.
The back panel include 8 control voltage ports and 2 RS 485 ports, allowing for more external control than the original Digitool MX. All three include a global 100-240V power supply.
“Our new Digitool models represent a new direction for the Architectural Acoustics line, and we are excited to debut all the new versions of one of our most popular products,” said Kevin Ivey, General Manager of Peavey’s Commercial Audio division.
“The new Digitools share a technology platform with our world-class MediaMatrix NION DSP engine, opening a new world of possibilities for integration of the Digitool with MediaMatrix projects.”
- Improved dynamic range
- Improved mic/line input circuitry
- Enhanced navigation
- Full-color LCD display
- Individual front panel mute for each input and output
- 5 segment LED meters for each input and output
- USB port for external programming and firmware updating
- Rear panel Ethernet port for network, programming and control
- 8 control voltage ports
- AES input
- 3.81 mm euro connectors (XLR for the Live)
- Upgraded and more powerful DSP processing
- Enhanced security system
- New graphical user interface featuring Media Matrix N-Ware
Tech Tip Of The Day: Overheated Rack Gear
Are the spaces in racks just for show or are they functional?
Q: Hi! I’m an intern at Studio Name Omitted and I have a question for you. I love the way a rack of gear looks all lit up, but every so often there are these open spaces.
It seems to me like we’d save a lot of space if we got rid of the blank spaces and condensed the racks. Are these spaces important or something?
A: As you mention, there is a temptation, with an equipment rack in a studio, to pack the entire rack full of gear, top to bottom.
But remember that most gear needs steady airflow to maintain a suitable operating temperature.
Tubes, for example, put out a lot of heat. This heat must flow out of the item to prevent overheating.
If another piece of gear is positioned directly above a heat-producing device, it will also be absorbing the heat from that device.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to leave blank rack spaces above pieces of equipment that get warm or hot. It takes more rack spaces to do this, but your equipment will last longer and perform better if it is kept cool.
A way to handle the aesthetic concerns you’ve mentioned (in your own studio, of course) is to use solid and mesh blank rack panels that can be installed into empty rack spaces. These will hide unsightly cable mess while still maintaining air flow and providing a nice look from the front of the rack.
For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com
Shure Provides Wireless System For Teenage Cancer Trust 10th Anniversary Event
Shure supplied wireless monitoring systems for the event at the historic Royal Albert Hall.
Shure Incorporated has announced that it was selected to supply the wireless monitoring systems for the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) 10th anniversary event.
The TCT’s annual music event is recognized as one of the most impressive live music series in the United Kingdom.
This year, the event took place at the historic Royal Albert Hall in London, which featured a star-studded line-up of artists including Suede, Noel Gallagher, JLS, The Specials, Arctic Monkeys, The Who, and Them Crooked Vultures.
The PA system was provided by Entec Sound and Light, the PA provider for the TCT annual live show since the first event in 2001. Committed to using the highest quality technology for its shows, Entec Sound and Light selected Shure to provide the event’s wireless systems.
The wireless systems from Shure included the Company’s newly launched PSM 900.
“We’d already heard demonstrations of Shure’s PSM 900, and it was immediately obvious from the sound quality that we had to showcase them at the Teenage Cancer Trust shows,” said Liam Halpin, Entec’s Audio Technical Manager and Crew Chief for TCT.
“TCT gives us an opportunity to put new products to the test in fairly intense situations. Everybody that used the units at the TCT gigs was blown away, many commenting that the new CueMode feature is something that they had been waiting for someone to implement.”
“On a personal note, I’ve always been a fan of Shure products, and the addition of the PSM 900 means that for me Shure’s wireless systems are now complete,” continued Halpin. “Simply combine UHF-R [wireless mics], PSM 900 [monitoring] and their Wireless Workbench software for spectral planning for the whole event and I know I’m providing the absolute optimum quality for our clients, no matter what the event.”
“I had the pleasure of using Shure’s new PSM 900 at TCT this year and was amazed at just how good they sounded,” said Magic, Entec’s on-site monitor engineer for TCT 2010.
“The setup of PSM900 was very easy using the scan function built-in to the packs. It immediately found clean spectrum and once I synced the info via infra-red back into the transmitters, I was ready to go in no time.”
“And CueMode is a revelation,” he added. “I can monitor exactly what each artist is hearing on their frequency, not what my separate PFL pack is transmitting. I can also switch to any frequency I have programmed in at the touch of a button and I can listen to everyone from one pack!”
The Who wrapped up the 10-day event with a spectacular performance of Quadrophenia. “When The Who first got together in 2000 to raise money for this brilliant charity, I had no idea we’d achieve so much from these shows,” said Roger Daltrey, The Who front man and TCT patron.
“In the last ten years we’ve raised over £8.7 million and counting. Teenage Cancer Trust has come such a long way since our first gig and I’m extremely proud of this event.”
Shure Incorporated Website
DiGiCo Expands Distribution Team With C.L. Pugh & Associates
C.L. Pugh will oversee sales throughout Ohio, W. Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Kentucky Regions.
DiGiCo has appointed the rep firm C. L. Pugh & Associates, Inc. to its U.S. distribution team.
Under the direction of Bob Tevs, C.L. Pugh & Associates will oversee DiGiCo sales throughout the Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Northern Kentucky regions.
C. L. Pugh was founded in 1943 as a multi-line independent manufacturers representative firm.
For over sixty-seven years, the company has focused its attention on emerging technologies in the audio, video and lighting markets.
“We are extremely thrilled to have C. L. Pugh & Associates join the DiGiCo team,” said Matt Larson, National Sales Manager of Group One Ltd., U.S. distributor of DiGiCo.
“We have been successful with the DiGiCo product line by choosing the best rep firms in the country, and ones that have a competent technical sales staff that can assist our customers in choosing the best solution for their needs.”
“Bob Tevs and his group are professional, knowledgeable and passionate about the products they represent, and I’m confident that they will commit the time and energy in helping us develop the DiGiCo potential in his markets.”
“C. L. Pugh & Associates has had a lengthy relationship with Matt Larson, National Sales Manager of Group One Ltd. When Matt contacted us to ask our interest in representing DiGiCo in the territory, we took a long and serious look as to how it would fit with the lines we represent now.”
“After speaking to our key dealers and customers we came away with a feeling that DiGiCo was the right product line for us, and one that would sell well into both the production and install markets.”
“With DiGiCo’s technology and attention to detail, they are clearly a leader in the digital mixer market and we wanted to be part of that. We are excited and proud to be able to represent and sell DiGiCo in our territory.”
Ashly DSP Chosen For Palace Theatre Revitalization
An Ashly ne8800 8x8 DSP and a long-deserved alignment made all the difference.
The Palace Theatre for the Performing Arts, part of the Kings Point complex in Tamarac, Florida, serves a community of some 8,000 over-55 residents just north of Fort Lauderdale.
The performance season at Palace runs from November to March, complementing the residents yearly migration from points too cold for comfortable living in those months.
The theatre books A-list acts such as Tony Orlando, Peter Nero, and Pat Cooper and seats 1,000 people in a fully accessible environment.
While the theatre is an excellent performance space with ample acoustic treatment, its sound system was lacking.
The Palace Theatre’s production manager and veteran engineer Anthony Exzzo experienced a series of events that led to the eventual installation of an Ashly ne8800 8x8 DSP and a long-deserved alignment.
When Ezzo arrived, the house had a single mono PA cluster based around the Altec Lansing Acoustic Engine, with an Electro-Voice 18-inch subwoofer to extend the low-end. Acoustic Engines sandwiched the subwoofer to provide coverage to the left and right sides of the audience.
A single horn at a lower angle provided front fill. A now very much discontinued Peavey Architectural Processor served as the cluster’s crossover. “The coverage wasn’t very good,” said Ezzo. “There were lobes everywhere. Some seats were too loud, others too quiet, and still others too dark or too bright.”
Over the years, Ezzo used his connections within the live sound industry for the betterment of the Palace Theatre. When the Julio Iglesias tour parted with several Meyer Sound MSL-3 full-range powered loudspeakers, Ezzo snatched them up and placed them in columns on either side of the stage.
He got a few more when Carnegie Hall divested some of its stock. But with the Meyers on either side, and no DSP to organize the system as a whole, the original center cluster was badly out of alignment. Ezzo simply shut it off.
It was a fateful evening of comedy that triggered a series of events that led to the purchase of the new Ashly ne8800 that reinvigorated the system. Comedian Sal Richards came to the Palace Theatre on the tail of a cold that, combined with years of smoking, gave him a nasty cough.
His best jokes were so funny that even he started laughing, which led to coughing, which led to bad mic technique. He told several punch lines off-mic, which caused tremendous confusion in an audience eager to know what was so incredibly funny. “The issue was really with Sal, but the theatre wanted me to get the system tested and certified that it sounded okay,” recalled Ezzo.
He made several calls and sent several emails, and each response contained the same line, ‘we’ll bring in our equipment, tie into your DSP, and time align your system.’ But the Palace Theatre had no DSP to tie into!
Ezzo did some research, recognizing that his higher-ups were very budget conscious, and came up with the Ashly ne8800 8x8 DSP. It had all the inputs, outputs, and processing power the system would require at a price point that was unbeatable.
As it turned out, the company that did the original installation, Peerson Audio (West Palm Beach, Florida), was an Ashly dealer, and they were willing to upgrade and tune the system at the Palace Theatre.
Peerson sent Kevin Varnadore, who Ezzo thought was entirely too young to be working with audio. “I told him that I had socks that were older than he was,” Ezzo laughed.
“But he was incredibly sharp. He spent the day blasting a rainbow of noises through the system and making adjustments to the Ashly ne8800 remotely with a stylus. He went through time alignment of everything and reconfigured the crossovers.”
At the end of the day, they fired it up with music, and Ezzo claims the difference was both obvious and astounding. With everything properly tuned and working in concert, the system now delivers much greater SPL without any increase in the amplifier output.
The Altec Lansing cluster has come to life in a way that belies its age. The room’s uneven coverage is now gone. Ezzo claims that there is no more than +/- 1 dB variation at any given seat and that the frequency response is ruler flat.
A self-professed ‘analog guy’ Ezzo was relieved to see how easily he could make changes using Ashly’s Protea software. “When Kevin left, he accidentally left the brick wall limiter almost completely closed for the right stack,” he recalled.
“The next day, it kept shutting down. So I went online with my Mac, downloaded the software, booted in Windows, and was into the system without a glitch. I went into the limiter and opened it up. If I can manage it, any engineer can manage it!”
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Passing Of Audio Pioneer Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser ( May 9, 1912 – May 17, 2010)
Founder of today’s Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG
A statement issued by Sennheiser:
Late during the evening of 17 May 2010, only a few days after his 98th birthday, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Fritz Sennheiser, audio pioneer and founder of today’s Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG, passed away.
The audio industry has lost a huge figure, not only in terms of his technical expertise but also in terms of his humanity.
Through his company Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser had a crucial influence on the development of sound transmission technologies and was instrumental in forging many ground-breaking developments in electroacoustics and transmission technologies.
Under his guidance the first shotgun microphones and open headphones were created and he oversaw important developments in wireless radio and infra-red transmission. It was completely natural for Fritz Sennheiser to give his developers the “creative and technical freedom” they required. His humanity also shone through when – considering the significant workload involved in running an expanding company – he took time to share his knowledge with students, inspiring them with an enthusiasm for audio technology.
In 1982 he retired from the management of the company, handing over to his son, Prof. Dr. sc. techn. Jörg Sennheiser.
Fritz Sennheiser continued to take a vivid interest in the company he founded in summer 1945.
His enthusiasm for audio technology, his creative curiosity, coupled with a modesty that is all too rare these days, his self-discipline, sincerity and generosity in his dealings with people, will remain an example to follow for all those who knew him.
The history of the European audio industry will forever remain inextricably linked with the name of Fritz Sennheiser.
A biography of Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser.
Tech Tip Of The Day: Jargon Confusion
Getting tripped up between the abbreviations for TS, TRS, and 1/4" is a common mistake so here's our explanation.
Q: I’ve been helping out with sound at church for a while now, so I feel kind of silly asking this question.
However, I see the abbreviations “TS” and “TRS” on lots of things with 1/4” jacks and plugs.
What do all these different abbreviations mean?
A: Not a silly question at all! Deciphering all the jargon and abbreviations associated with pro audio can indeed be a challenging task.
“TS” stands for “tip-sleeve,” a type of 1/4” phone connector with two sections: the tip (usually carrying the positive signal) and the sleeve (usually connected to ground or shield).
The TS type of connector is used for most instrument connections (guitar, keyboard, bass, etc.) and for single-channel (monophonic) audio signals. It is also referred to as “unbalanced,” since there is no separate conductor carrying the negative polarity signal.
“TRS” stands for “tip-ring-sleeve,” a type of 1/4” connector with three sections: the tip (usually positive), a separate “ring” section (usually carrying the negative polarity signal), and the sleeve (usually connected to ground).
You may also see the TRS type of connector referred to as “balanced,” since the positive, negative, and ground signals are carried separately and can be combined for common mode rejection.
However, TRS connectors can also be used to carry two separate unbalanced signals — a great example is a headphone connector. In this case, the tip carries the positive signal for one audio channel (either right or left) and the ring carries the other channel’s positive signal; the sleeve serves as ground for both channels.
TRS connectors are also sometimes used to carry two completely different signals, as is common with “insert” jacks. These connections use the tip to carry the positive unbalanced signal for input or output, while the ring carries the positive signal for the complementary unbalanced input or output signal. Once again, the sleeve carries ground for both signals.
For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com
Video: Dave Rat Shares His Tips For Testing Loudspeakers
"El Raton" share with us his secrets of speaker testing.
Even need to test a speaker in a pinch with no real tools on hand?
Want to verify the polarity of a component on the fly?
Dave Rat, veteran mix engineer and the owner of Rat Sound shares his tips on quickly and easily testing speakers with what you’re likely already carying in your pockets.
Enjoy this video, embeded below.
HHB Expands Technical Support Team
Darby brings a great deal of real-world experience to HHB.
HHB Communications has announced the appointment of Jonathan Darby as Product Support Specialist.
Like many others in the HHB team, the 36 year-old broadcast and media professional brings with a great deal of real-world experience.
In this case, much was gained at post-production facilities in London, Dublin and New York where Darby honed his specialist skills in production, Pro Tools HD, Avid, Final Cut Pro, video and audio encoding and digital hardware.
Jonathan is arriving at HHB at an exciting time, with the London-based pro audio supplier playing a pivotal role in advising and equipping broadcasters (and post facilities via its Soho division Scrub) for the move to multichannel audio formats necessitated by the HDTV.
Furthermore, HHB’s recent appointment as UK distributor of Wohler rack-mount monitoring systems, alongside existing roles as a leading supplier of Pro Tools systems and UK distributor of Dolby professional audio products, looks set to ensure a busy life for the new recruit.
“I’ve known HHB for a long time as a customer” comments Darby, “and have always been impressed with the service culture and depth of technical knowledge that runs throughout the company.”
“Now I’m looking forward to adding my experience to the mix, providing product support to HHB’s many broadcast and post customers”.
Said HHB Sales Director Steve Angel, “Nothing beats actual industry experience when it comes to understanding the needs of our customers.”
“Almost twenty years working in broadcast and post combined with training by the BBC and Digidesign make Jonathan an ideal candidate for Product Support Specialist and we’re happy to welcome him to the team here at HHB.”
HHB Communications Website
Waves Audio Prevails Against Copyright Infringement
A statement from Waves Audio and its legal team about the victory.
Waves Audio recently won one lawsuit and had a defendant admit liability in a second lawsuit regarding intellectual property infringements and the illegal use of its software.
The two studios named were New York City-based Reckless Music, LLC, d.b.a. Skyline Recording Studios NYC, and Quad Recording Studios, Inc.
“This is a tremendous victory for the studio recording industry and Waves in particular,” said Waves’ attorney, Mr. Guy H. Weiss, of the international business law firm Adorno & Yoss, LLC.
“The Courts are serious about protecting the rights of copyright holders, whether they are singers and musicians, or the software companies that allow the recording industry to mix and record their music,” Mr. Weiss explained.
“In the Reckless d.b.a. Skyline case, the jury found that Waves had valid copyrights and that the defendant infringed on those copyrights.”
“The law is clear: A recording studio is responsible for the copyright infringement committed by its employees, independent contractors or customers.”
Accordingly, the Honorable James C. Francis, IV, United Sates Magistrate Judge for the Southern Federal District Court of New York, instructed the Jury, “[a] person is liable for copyright infringement by another if the person has a financial interest and the right and ability to supervise the infringing activity, whether or not the person knew of the infringement.”
“Thus,” Weiss continued, “Skyline could not rely on the defense that it did not know that its employees, engineers or customers were using cracked software.”
“It had an absolute duty to stop the copyright infringement committed in its studios. In the Quad Studios case, the defendant admitted liability. At settlement, Quad’s owner committed to run a 100% crack free studio in the future.”
Said Gilad Keren, CEO of Waves Ltd,“The judgments obtained in these two court cases should send a targeted message to all users of illegal software that Waves is very serious about defending its rights and will continue to fight against the use of cracked software.”
“In the long-term, illegal software does not benefit anyone, as it hurts not just Waves, but all developers and manufacturers of software products including their distributors, retail partners and of course, loyal customers who have purchased legitimate, legal versions of the product.”
“We consider a lawsuit the very last resort, but unfortunately it is a course of action that can protect our intellectual property and ensure that we can continue to develop and bring to market the right tools for the recording, broadcast and post-production industries.”
Waves Audio Website
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Safety First: How Loud Is Too Loud?
When to say turning it up to 11 is just too much.
Many musicians with electric instruments often play too loud for the small churches they’re in, resulting in a mix that drives the congregation out of the sanctuary, and possibly to another, quieter church. (We know; we’ve been there, done that, both as musicians and sound mixers.)
That being said, let me assure you that I feel your pain. Most small churches have acoustics designed in the early days of pipe organ and choir.
Unfortunately, that sort of thing just doesn’t work well for modern Christian music, with the end result being unhappy musicians as well as an angry congregation. You’re stuck in the middle trying to please everyone, including the preacher.
What’s a church leader to do? First, get an SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter so you know what’s happening. Radio Shack sells both digital and analog versions for $40 to $60, either of which will work just fine.
You’ll want to pick the A-weighing scale and slow response as and start by measuring the Sound Pressure Level of each of the stage instruments from out in the room without the PA system turned on.
This gives you an idea of how much louder the PA needs to be in order to get over the sound of the stage amplifiers.
Let’s say, for instance, that your guitar player is using a big tube amp cranked up pretty loud, and it’s hitting something like 100 dB SPL in the middle of the room.
Generally speaking in order for you to actually “mix” the rest of the instruments and vocals together, the PA needs to be about 10 dB (decibels) above the SPL output of the stage.
Hmmmmm…. That means you need to build a 110-dB SPL mix just to get the vocals and keyboards above (louder than) the guitar.
But there’s a serious problem.
While an occasional 110-dB concert may only do minor hearing damage, a steady weekly diet of such levels can be devastating to the hearing of both the musicians and the congregation.
Note on the exposure chart below the sidebar how high an SPL a person can tolerate per day before hearing loss begins.
That 110-dB SPL mix in your church is going to start destroying hearing within the first 30 minutes (or sooner) of your music service.
And that doesn’t even take into account the hours of practice your band has been doing at that volume level.
No wonder your ears (and everyone else’s in your congregation) are ringing by the end of the service.
OSHA Sound Exposure Regulations
You can do a great rock mix at around 95 dB SPL (which is safe for up to 4 hours a day exposure) if you have control over the volume of the stage instruments such as electric guitar, bass and drums.
But without having the stage amps playing at a reasonable level to begin with (less than 85-dB SPL in the room) you’ll never be able to do a solid 95-dB SPL mix in the room.
It’s also worth mentioning that the above chart is based upon the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exposure limits which, while law and the standard I’ve referenced when referring to finite levels, is only one safety standard commonly followed.
NIOSH Sound Exposure Regulations
The chart to the left is produced by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) uses a more protective exchange rate which results in shorter allowable exposures at high SPL’s levels than the OSHA regulation.
While this chart isn’t the one refered to in the article, it’s worth realizing that the OSHA regulations aren’t the only ones out there, nor are they the regulations recommended by a majority of Audiological Institutes.
While questions regarding the calculation of exposure time are prime subjects for another article, mor information cal always be found on the websites of OSHA, NIOSH, and the House Ear Institute.
In the end, when dealing with loud volumes and competing standards, common sense, good judgement, and strict control of a master fader are your best weapon. Basically, the safe bet is that if it seems too loud to a seasoned professional, it is too loud. After all, is your hearing really worth that extra 3dB?