Analog

Monday, February 16, 2015

Noted Producer/Engineer Jack Miele Utilizing Daking EQ & Compression

Mic Pre/EQ, FET II Compressor and Comp 500 all big contributors to work at Music Shed Studios and his own project studio

Noted New Orleans-based producer/engineer Jack Miele (Blues Traveler, Zac Brown Band, John Oates, Better Than Ezra, Ani DiFranco) works out of Music Shed Recording Studios as well as his own project studio, both of which are now well stocked with Daking equalizers and compressors, both distributed in the U.S. by TransAudio Group.

Also a multi-instrumentalist with several Grammy nominations and Emmy and Silver Telly wins to his name, part of Miele’s success derives from his ability to clearly articulate his goals.

“My goals as a producer are different from my goals as an engineer,” he says. “When I’m producing, I’m almost working as a psychologist to get the artist to forget about the stress and technology of the studio so that they can deliver an authentic performance that will connect with listeners on an emotional level. It’s all about believability and honesty, and when you get it right, you allow the artist to transfer a message to the listener.

“As an engineer, I’m trying to find a recording chain with gear that complements the artist. Just as everyone’s voice is different, everyone’s playing and performance is different. Their attack, their release, how hard they hit the strings or the drums or their own vocal cords. It’s all touch and feel and it’s all different for every artist. Somewhere out there exists a piece of gear with electrical characteristics that work best with a particular artist’s nuances.

“So in my view, a big part of being a good engineer is knowing the characteristics of the tools I use. Just as a carpenter or a surgeon knows which particular tools are best for a particular situation, the engineer has to size up the talent and build a signal chain that will bring out their best qualities.”

Mastering engineer Bruce Barielle introduced Miele to the Daking Mic Pre/EQ. “Bruce said that Daking had come out with an EQ in the spirit of the Trident A-Range, and so I obviously got excited,” ye says. “The minute I turned the knobs, I knew I had to have it. Nothing else in my collection, which includes API, Neve, SSL, Universal Audio, Summit, Empirical Labs, had the same sound. The Daking Mic Pre/EQ is a unique tool.”

Miele often uses the equalizer and mic pre sections independently. “The mic pre is brilliant and modern-sounding,” he notes. “It’s very open and fast. I find it works great on acoustic instruments – guitar, cello, or grand piano – and female vocals – or really anything that I want to capture with a beautiful, open top end.”

Because he has two Mic Pre/EQs, Miele frequently adds their equalizer sections to the mix bus on his Amek console. “I add or subtract a few frequencies and it just snaps the whole mix into place,” he explains. “The equalizer section has a beautiful, smooth color. It adds brilliance without being harsh, and the number of bands and their range of parameters makes it tremendously versatile.”

Based on that success he explored the rest of the product line and came to choose both the Daking FET II Compressor and the Daking Comp 500, which fits the 500 series module form factor. “They’re both great, and they’re very different from one another,” he says. “The FET II is my favorite vocal compressor – there are very few vocalists that it isn’t perfectly suited for. In an act of due diligence, I tried 10 compressors on John Oates’ vocals, and the FET II – more than any other – brought them to life. The fixed release times are useful and I often dial them in, but the auto-release feature is special. It’s very pleasing to the ear and can get a whole track breathing organically. I love it.”

TransAudio Group

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/16 at 04:00 PM
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Studio Bohemo Enjoys Analog Advatages In Switching Over To An Audient ASP4816 Console

Facility in rural New Hampshire that provides project services to songwriters and musicians transitions over from a digital approach

Studio Bohemo, located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, recently incorporated an Audient ASP4816 compact analog recording console in switching from a digital approach.

“I suddenly knew what I had been missing,” says studio owner Wes Chapmon, describing his initial reaction after running a mix on his new ASP4816. “The sound was alive, three-dimensional, revealing and much easier to work with.”

A small studio built on the side of a mountain, Studio Bohemo provides comprehensive project services to songwriters and musicians.

“The ASP4816 was a big shift for us,” Chapmon notes, having used a digital desk previously, running four 96 kHz I/O cards to two Lynx AES16 cards on the computer side. “We normally set this up in two layers for 24-24-bit/96k ins and 24-24-bit/96k outs.

“Before, we were locked in at 24-bit/96k,and honestly we usually worked at 24/48 for higher track counts, resources etc,” he explains. “Now we are not limited by the console and are running everything to and from two Lynx Aurora16 converters that are capable of much higher sample rates and fidelity.”

The time to revert to his “analog roots” had been approaching for some time, notes this son of an engineer and a classical pianist.

“I was always surrounded by music: two pianos going and a healthy diet of microphones and recording gear,” he says. “I grew up listening to works created on analog equipment; creating and mixing music on analog equipment.” The final straw came when re-listening to a couple of tracks he’d recorded years ago on an analog desk, which “... planted the seeds of discontent with our digital set up.”

Enter Audient and the compact ASP4816 desk, which with the features of a larger desk and fully-featured inline architecture, fulfilled his desire for his studio to have an analog heart. 

“As soon as it arrived—after we managed to get it up the mountain—we ran some basic patches through it just to hear those gorgeous EQs,” he says. “I want a clear and audible shift in the sound so I can make clear and artistic decisions without second guessing or wasting valuable time with ‘maybe this plug-in or maybe that emulation.’ What makes a great EQ is one that with a well-recorded sound can twist it through all the bands and frequencies and shapes, make it sound radically different—yet musical—and potentially useful in every permutation. Maybe I’m just still on the honeymoon but I think that describes the ASP4816 pretty well.

“The inserts are also critical to digital recording,” he adds. “It can be important to have dynamics processing between the preamp and AD converters. A plugin after the fact just can’t do what this does. Audient is one of the few companies to understand this and get it right, as seen through the product line, especially the iD22 and ASP880.”

Studio Bohemo is a product of Chapmon’s dream “...to build an artist retreat/studio in a contemplative setting.” He continues, “We didn’t know anyone here or have a job and neither of us were from the northeast. We literally looked at properties online in various places that inspired us, took a few weekends to visit them and picked this place to relocate and build.”

Sixteen years on and this bold move is paying off. “We’ve worked with several local artists and a few artists have flown in for projects and a welcomed retreat. We have a few things on the go at the moment, including a multi-album release of restored and re-mastered material from jazz great and friend Betty Johnson who sang with Sachmo (Louis Armstrong).”

In Bohemian style, Chapmon is content living ‘in the now’ and is hugely driven by his latest endeavors with his new console. “Really, though I’m always most proud of the artists that put themselves in that personally vulnerable place behind a microphone because of some compulsion to bring art and beauty into the world. Whatever the outcome, that always blows me away.” 

Audient

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/13 at 01:28 PM
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fishman Debuts New Platinum Analog Acoustic Preamps

Both incorporate discrete, high-headroom Class-A preamps using precision high-speed circuitry to enhance fidelity while lowering distortion

Fishman has introduced the new Platinum Pro EQ and Platinum Stage acoustic preamps, designed to provide very accurate sonic detail with any acoustic instrument.

Redesigned from the ground up, the all-analog Platinum Pro EQ and Platinum Stage incorporate discrete, high-headroom Class-A preamps using precision high-speed circuitry to enhance fidelity while lowering distortion.

Classic Fishman tone centers with sweepable mid are combined with a switchable guitar/bass EQ mode, making Platinum preamps more musical for bass instruments and more universal for both recording and live performances.

The new preamps also include features such as adjustable volume boost and balanced XLR DI (direct) outputs housed in a road-ready design.

The Platinum Pro EQ is built to be stomped on with durable foot switches that activate either the adjustable volume boost or high-contrast chromatic tuner. It also includes an analog soft-knee compressor, effect loop and precision sweepable notch filter.

With an included belt-clip, the Platinum Stage is especially intended for mobile instrumentalists such as mandolin and fiddle players. It can also be powered via 48-volt phantom power, offering complete control without batteries.

U.S. MSRP: Platinum Pro, $399.99; Platinum Stage, $194.99.

Fishman

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/12 at 11:40 AM
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Friday, February 06, 2015

Australia’s A Sharp Recording Studios Upgrades With SSL AWS Console

A Sharp, which opened in the late 1960s, matches its creative legacy with technical facilities that are top notch

A Sharp Recording Studios, the oldest independent recording studio in Sydney (Australia) and birthplace of countless albums and EPs of all musical genres, has installed a Solid State Logic (SSL) AWS 948 console as part of a comprehensive upgrade and redesign.

With its renovation and new equipment, A Sharp, which opened in the late 1960s, matches its creative legacy with technical facilities that are top notch.

The purpose of the studio’s renovation, says Richard Lake, an engineer and musician who bought the facility in 2014, was to create an environment in which artists can achieve the best possible results.

To that end, “we hired some of the best people in the Australian industry to redesign the studio’s architectural, acoustic and technical aspects,” he says. “With a sophisticated, ergonomic workflow in mind, we chose the AWS 948. Because of the console’s reliability, reputation and ease-of-use, we knew it was the only way forward within our chosen workflow.”

Richard uses the AWS, which replaced an aging console, with his Avid Pro Tools | HDX system, providing the best of both the vintage analogue and new digital formats, with a seamless workflow between the two.

“We particularly like the integration of Pro Tools via the dual-layer notion of controlling the analogue source and Pro Tools source via simple selection,” he continues. “This saves quite a bit of time, especially when writing automation into Pro Tools on the fly, or navigating and editing complicated mixes consisting of many audio stems. It is also useful to be able to instantiate and control plug-ins via the console center section, allowing a more natural and precise approach.”

The AWS, Lake adds, also allows integration and routing of A Sharp’s outboard equipment (the studio also boasts an SSL XLogic X-Rack loaded with eight E Series dynamic modules), and its comprehensive monitoring section controls multiple loudspeakers and monitoring. “Reputation, and therefore success, is built on results, so the console is all-important as the controlling factor in the studio,” he says. “Sound quality is something you expect with an SSL. It’s something the clients observe straightaway; they love hearing their music through the console.

“Having this desk has also proven a bonus to us in terms of guest producers and engineers who can immediately sit and use it, whether because of the console’s user-friendly simplicity or previous experience with SSL consoles,” he concludes. “We have been extremely busy with new and existing clients since the upgrade; everyone is impressed with the sound of the AWS. You can hear the quality: clear and crisp, with loads of headroom. We are delighted with our choice.”

Solid State Logic (SSL)
A Sharp Recording Studios

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/06 at 08:43 AM
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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Tropical Oasis Houses API 1608 In Studio Getaway

Ocean Reef Resorts owner and recording artist Chris Taylor recently added a private studio to the Miramar Beach location.

Destin, Florida, already a destination getaway, is now even better thanks to the efforts of Ocean Reef Resorts owner and recording artist Chris Taylor, who recently added a private studio to the Miramar Beach location.

He and his wife, Gileah, wanted a place to record music and experiment with sound without leaving their beach-side home and they knew API could help them create such a unique space. The idea was especially attractive because it eliminated the need for them to travel to Nashville or Los Angeles as they had in the past to achieve high-quality recordings.

The new studio is set apart not only because of its location, but also because the Taylors want it to remain private for as long as possible.

“The resort is a family-owned business but this is just going to be for me and my wife. Hopefully it won’t ever have to become a commercial space,” explains Taylor.

Instead, Taylor hopes that if others come to use the studio, they will find it relaxing and rejuvenating. “We’d like to host writers’ retreats for specific people down at the beach. It’s really, really cool to just hang out, and it’s beautiful inside.”

The space is currently unnamed, though the Taylors unofficially refer to it as “War Horse Studio”.

Taylor started considering the API 1608 for himself around 2007. “I was tracking a record of my own at EMI in Nashville and Allen Salmon had a lunchbox and some of the [API] EQs. I thought it was really powerful and from then on I started noticing API everywhere!”

By the time Taylor tested the 1608 at Vintage King’s demo facility in Nashville, he knew he’d need one of his own. 

“The time frame and the footprint on the 1608 impressed me more than others I was considering, but it was really as simple as using one. It’s easy to work with and that’s the whole goal!” The 1608 is not Taylor’s only piece of API gear; he also has an 8-slot lunchbox and a JDK R22 compressor, and he says ease-of-use is a shared trait among his API equipment. “With the lunchbox, I have EQs and compressors loaded in, and recording is as easy as just turning it on.” He adds, “You can tell the 1608 is a solidly built piece of gear. It’s like having a Range Rover parked out front.”

Ocean Reef Resorts
API Audio

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Posted by Julie Clark on 02/04 at 02:13 PM
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Hosa Technology Re-Launches Zaolla Silverline Brand Cable Products

Line includes selection of microphone and guitar cables, analog interconnects, and digital audio cables and snakes

Hosa Technology has announce the re-launch of the Zaolla Silverline brand, which includes a selection of microphone and guitar cables, analog interconnects, and digital audio cables and snakes.

Zaolla Silverline cables utilize solid-silver conductors for a improved transfer rate in comparison to copper while remaining transparent in terms of audio quality. They’re also designed with redundant shielding that ensures EMI and RFI interference does not penetrate the cable and corrupt the signal.

In addition, Zaolla Silverline cables now utilize premium Oyaide connectors to further enhance quality while fostering reliability. Manufactured in Japan, Oyaide connectors incorporate 1-piece contacts made of silver or phosphor bronze for optimum conductivity, plus rhodium plating to prevent corrosion. The connectors have chrome-plated housings that further durability and also lend a striking appearance.

Zaolla Silverline product manager Jose Gonzelez states, “Our mission with Zaolla Silverline has always been to design and manufacture the finest cables in the world, regardless of cost. At the heart of every Zaolla cable, you’ll find a pure, solid-silver conductor, which compared to copper, offers less resistance and improves signal conductivity. It’s this use of superior materials, construction optimized for specific applications, and the addition of premium Oyaide connectors that results in audio signals that exhibit deeper bass and pristine highs.”

Because Zaolla Silverline cables are terminated in the U.S., they can be made to just about any length. Pricing varies by the type and length of the cable. U.S. MSRP pricing ranges from $99.95 for a 6-inch guitar patch cable to $2,559.95 for an 8-channel, 20-foot XLR snake. All products are available now.

Zaolla Silverline
Hosa Technology

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/04 at 01:09 PM
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

dbx Launches New 500 Series Lunch Box Processors

Harman’s dbx Professional has introduced new 500 series processors, including the 560A compressor/limiter, 530 parametric EQ, 580 mic pre, 520 de-esser and 510 sub harmonic synth.

The 560A compressor/limiter provides flexible control of dynamics including threshold, compression ratio and output gain. It offers selectable classic hard-knee compression or exclusive OverEasy mode incorporating dbx’s musical program-dependent attack and release times.

The compression ratio is variable from 1:1 through infinity:1 to -1:1 and the 560A also has a unique Infinity+ compression mode using negative ratios. Adjustment is simple due to the 560A’s ladder-style LED RMS gain-reduction and input/output meter displays with true RMS level detection.

Based on the classic dbx 905, the 530 parametric EQ is a 3-band parametric equalizer with selectable bell or shelf-type filters on the low- and high-frequency bands, and adjustable Q on each band. It allows adjustment of level and bandwidth at frequencies that have been carefully chosen for maximum musical effectiveness.

The 580 mic pre is designed to deliver pristine audio quality with clarity, nuance and presence. Its custom-designed, low-noise mic preamp circuitry provides up to 60 dB of gain and can accommodate mic or line-level signals. Controls for gain, low cut, high detail, low detail and polarity invert allow precise sonic tailoring, and the large analog VU meter combines “old school” visual appeal with accurate level indication.

The 520 de-esser is remarkably effective at removing sibilance from vocals for smooth, professional-quality recordings. Taking its heritage from the acclaimed dbx 902, the 520 has a frequency control range from 800 Hz to 8k Hz and provides de-essing ranging from 0 dB to 20 dB. Its gain reduction metering provides at-a-glance indication of the amount of de-essing applied.

The 510 sub harmonic synth provides deep, powerful bass that’s an octave lower than the original signal. Whether it’s used for adding low-frequency impact to an entire track or beefing up an electric bass, synthesizer, bass drum or other instrument, it can add a subterranean punch. The 510 includes a low-frequency boost, subharmonic level and frequency range controls.

“Our 500 series processors bring renowned dbx signal processing to a smaller footprint than ever before while delivering the signature sound quality engineers, producers and musicians know they can rely on from dbx,” says Jason Kunz, market manager, Portable PA and Recording & Broadcast at Harman Signal Processing. “In addition to taking up little real estate, they’re extremely simple to use yet provide the sound-tailoring flexibility needed to create the perfect track or final mix.”

Pricing: 560A compressor/limiter, $399; 530 parametric EQ, $399; 580 mic pre, $499; 520 de-esser, $299; 510 sub harmonic synth, $299. The 560A will be the first product in the series to ship, available in April 2015, with the others following soon after.

image

 

dbx Professional
Harman Professional

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/28 at 05:28 PM
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Solid State Logic Launches New VHD Pre Module For 500 Format Racks

Makes VHD-based preamp technology from large-format Duality console more widely available for studios of all sizes

Solid State Logic has announced the release of the VHD Pre Module for the 500 format modular rack platform, making the VHD-based preamp technology from the large-format Duality console more widely available for studios of all sizes.

VHD Pre is a versatile recording and processing device that delivers SSL SuperAnalogue-grade recordings, and it also offers a switchable VHD mode.

SSL’s patented Variable Harmonic Drive (VHD) system uses a 100 percent analog signal path to generate rich harmonic distortion. As VHD input gain is increased, the Variable Harmonic Drive process introduces either 2nd or 3rd harmonic distortion or a blend of the two to the source material. At lower gain settings it adds gentle valve-style warmth or a touch of transistor edge. As the gain is increased the more extreme the distortion becomes until at high gain settings it delivers a more fierce “transistor-esque” grunge.

The VHD section of the module has three rotary controls: a Drive control selects 2nd harmonic or 3rd harmonic distortion or a continuously variable blend of the two. A +20/+75 dB gain control sets input level. A -20/+20 dB trim control adjusts the output level from the circuit to enable level matching with other devices, because by its nature the VHD circuit can significantly increase signal levels.

The VHD Pre also has a selection of other preamp features: a signal present LED, a switchable 15 Hz to 500 Hz LF filter section, Hi-Z impedance switch for mic impedance matching, +48-volt phantom power, PAD to enable the VHD system to be used as a line level processing device, and a phase invert switch.

VHD technology is available in these SSL products: Duality, XL-Desk, X-Rack VHD Input Module and the (1U rack) VHD Pre.

New VHD Pre Modules will be available from SSL resellers worldwide from March 2015. Module Prices: £399, $649, 503.37€ + VAT or sales tax.

Solid State Logic

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/26 at 01:28 PM
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Votes Are In And The Readers Have Spoken!

The votes have been tallied and the results are in for the Sixth Annual ProSoundWeb Readers Choice Product Awards.

The participation of both manufacturers as well as our audience proved exceptional, with thousands of ballots cast.

The races in each category were close and competitive, owing to the overall strength of every product entered combined with the distinct yet varied preferences of the pro audio industry’s largest online community. In fact, many races were so tight, separated by just a few votes, that multiple winners were awarded.

The Readers’ Choice Awards is unique for a number of reasons, chief among them (and as the name says), all voting is the exclusive domain of the readers of ProSoundWeb.

Our sincerest thanks to everyone who entered and voted in this highly successful sixth run of the PSW Readers Choice Awards.

Winners:

Consoles & Mixers—Large Format
Soundcraft Vi3000
DiGiCo SD9 Rack Pack

Consoles & Mixers—Small Format
Yamaha Commercial QL Series

Line Arrays—Large Format
EAW Anya
Meyer Sound LYON

Line Arrays—Small Format
NEXO GEO M620 (Yamaha Commercial)
dB Technologies DVA-MINI M2M + M2S

Loudspeakers—Column and Line Source
Meyer Sound CAL

Loudspeakers—Drivers and Transducers
Eighteen Sound 18TLW3000
Acustica Beyma 10MC500

Loudspeakers—Active
JBL Professional EON615
Electro-Voice ETX
Mackie SRM450v2

Loudspeakers—Passive
Tannoy VQ SERIES
EAW QX Series

Loudspeakers—Stage Monitors
EAW MicroWedge MW12

Loudspeakers—Subwoofers
Adamson Systems Energia E219
EAW Otto

Loudspeakers—Portable PA
Martin Audio DD12

Microphones—Condenser Type, Performance
Shure KSM9

Microphones—Wireless Systems
Shure QLX-D Digital

In-Ear Monitoring Systems
Sennheiser EW 300-2 IEM G3

Networking Technologies
Yamaha Commercial Dante-MY16
Audinate Dante Ultimo

Power Amplifiers
Powersoft X Series
Lab.gruppen PLM Series

Power Amplifiers—Control & Monitoring
Lab.gruppen Cafe

Signal Processors
Lake LM 44

Outboard Gear
Avalon VT-737SP
Waves MaxxBCL

System Engineer/Tech Tools
Rational Acoustics Smaart v.7 Di

Interconnect Products
Digiflex D-UX PowerCon Hybrid Cables

Live Recording Hardware & Software
Audinate Dante Virtual Soundcard

Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Shure SRH1450

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/20 at 09:46 AM
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Audient Names Sonic Sales As Its New Distributor For Germany, Austria & Switzerland

Bielefeld, Germany-based firm to handle sales, service and marketing for the entire Audient product range

Audient has appointed Sonic Sales as its exclusive distributor in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to handle sales, service and marketing for the entire Audient product range.

Located in Bielefeld, Germany, the newly appointed distribution company is headed up by Matthias Herbst, who says, “The people behind Sonic Sales are well known as successful sales and marketers of big names in the pro audio business. The team has been instrumental in the growth of brands like Native Instruments and Ableton in Germany, with sales cooperation right from the beginning.

“In order to be a successful sales team,” he continues, “we need to have outstanding products and with Audient; we see great products with huge potential for the future.”

Audient’s Simon Blackwood adds, “2014 saw our business grow significantly, with further development planned for the next 12 months,” he says. “We need to ensure the distribution channels are ready for this—especially in these territories, the biggest in Europe. Sonic Sales is a young, dynamic company, and with its perfectly complementary portfolio of products, it is ideally positioned to take Audient forward.”

Audient
Sonic Sales

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/20 at 05:03 AM
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Multichannel Power Amplifiers: The Evolution Of “Heavy Metal”

Using our Stephen Hawking approved design for a real time machine, we journey to the dawn of the last century.

It’s the summer of 1905 and in under a year the mechanical age will give way to the dawning of the electrical age. At this time the world is dominated by giant machines that can truly be called “heavy iron.” Machines like this:

These 200-plus-ton behemoths are the quintessential embodiment of the leading edge of engineering and technology, and have already dramatically changed the world by making it possible to go to far away destinations in a few days, not a few weeks or months by sea.

But like all great machines, they were also doomed to extinction by the need for more speed, more pulling power, more efficiency, and… just plain more!

What there was of an audio industry or sound business was based around the mechanical phonograph and other mechanical apparatuses for recording and reproducing sound – none of which would have worked at all if it weren’t for horn-gain in recording and playback. (Horn gain would surface in early PA systems as well, as we’ll discuss later.)

Somewhere in the quiet suburbs near Chicago, Lee DeForest was experimenting with the then brand-new technology of radio, seeking to invent a solution to improving the power and distance over which “wireless telegraphy” – as radio was usually called in those days – could be sent.

The calendar’s pages turn and it’s now 1906. DeForest has succeeded (at least partially) in creating the key invention that would lead to the “electrical age” and many of the technologies we consider commonplace today. He’s created the first amplifier (a triode vacuum tube) called the Audion. As a historical note, his vacuum tube would not have been feasible if Edison had not invented the light bulb a few years earlier, because the Audion’s glass vacuum tube was largely a derivation of Edison’s bulb designs.

The Audion.

The invention of the Audion triode is crucial to this story because it created and introduced a new idea to the world: the concept of amplification, or the ability to make electrical signals more powerful. Until the Audion, this wasn’t part of the knowledge base of the whole electrical, wireless telegraphy and sound industries.

The fuse had been lit! DeForest’s creation would explode into the early 20th Century.

But just as massive steam-powered engines would be replaced in less than a quarter century by faster, quicker, super-streamlined diesel electric engines from the U.K., and less than four decades later by the astonishing 200 mph Japanese Shinkansen (bullet train), DeForest’s original triode would, within just a few decades, evolve beyond recognition.

Amplifier Genesis
In the beginning, or for about the first decade (1905-1915) of the newly birthed age of electrical amplification, even the era’s best engineers were profoundly puzzled by the new, complex, and truly non-intuitive mathematics of vacuum tube amplifiers and oscillators.

Remember that what we call electronic engineering today was, at that point in actuality, electrical engineering. Any development or improvement had to be focused on the only two things that had commercial backing – keeping AC power transmission systems in phase, and the monopolistic Bell Telephone System’s desperate need to improve the quality and reliability of long-distance telephone service to prevent the (U.S.) government from allowing potential competitors to enter the fray.

There were huge profits at stake and the Bell System threw everything it had into the fray, and by about 1910, the company’s engineers had improved the unreliable and short-lived Audion by increasing the vacuum, removing manufacturing impurities, establishing the requirement for negative bias, and creating the first viable mathematical models of diode rectification and triode amplification.

In 1919, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was created as a U.S. government designated monopoly to improve and rapidly deploy the triode vacuum tube for improved radio reception.

The direct result of this decision was that RCA ended up controlling most of the patents for advancements and enhancements to the basic triode design vacuum-tube technology for the next two decades.

These patents allowed the development of ever-more-powerful audio amplifiers based on better triodes, eventually reaching what was considered an astonishing 20-plus watts of output capability. (It was noted in several learned journals of the late ‘20s when these amplifiers were becoming common, especially in high-end radio consoles and “commercial” public address applications, that it was inconceivable that anyone would ever need more power than these technological marvels could produce.)

It’s important to recognize that while the Bell System, RCA, and DeForest were hard at work, others were also making major contributions to the new world of electronics and electrical technologies, including Major Edwin Armstrong (inventor of FM radio), Guglielmo Marconi, and dozens of others hidden by the passage of time. For those who may be interested, a web search under any of these names will quickly produce a wealth of information.

Moore’s Law On Steroids
So, in less than two decades we went from the crude, fragile and unreliable Audion to being able to effectively design and produce audio and radio-frequency (RF) amplifiers of considerable complexity and sophistication. Many of those early triode designs are still being used with little change today in the esoteric world of hi-fi aficionados.

In less than 15 years we went from the simple Audion to a recognizable amplifier-driven PA system.

It’s worth remembering, when we congratulate ourselves on the rapid progress of the Internet and its technologies, that the entire field of electronics went from a strange laboratory curiosity in 1906 to the first AM radio broadcasts by KDKA (Pittsburgh) in 1920 to a mature, fast-growing field (dominated by enormously profitable monopolies) at the beginning of the ‘30s – a span of less than a quarter of a century.

The next round of development was driven by the motion picture industry, which quickly discovered that improved fidelity (from optical sound, more powerful amplifiers, and better loudspeakers) deepened the emotional effect of the soundtrack. For the first time in the history of the movie industry, sound quality – even if it wasn’t consciously noticed by the audience or the critics – became a powerful and profitable box-office draw.

Both Western Electric (the manufacturing and R&D arm of the Bell System) and RCA (and its NBC radio network) competed to produce the highest-quality sound possible. In the ‘30s, movie sound was the leading edge of the entire electronics industry. In a decade, between 1929 and 1939, the entire foundation of the modern high-fidelity sound industry was created and the world experienced:

• 2- and 3-channel stereo sound demonstrations by RCA, Western Electric, and Alan Blumlein, and the first full-length movie to use a multichannel soundtrack, Walt Disney’s Fantasia, released in 1940.

• Low-distortion, full-frequency-range microphones, phono pickups, amplifiers, and loudspeaker systems from Western Electric, RCA, Decca, EMI, and others. The most advanced equipment was used for transcriptions of radio shows (via 16 and 33 rpm acetate masters) and in high-end radio sets.

• Electroacoustic analysis and modeling of microphones, moving-coil cutterheads, optical modulators for movie soundtracks, phono pickups, direct-radiator loudspeakers, and theater horns.

On the power amplifier front, the first widely used vacuum tube was the directly-heated (usually battery powered) RCA 01A direct-heated triode launched in 1922. This became the general-purpose tube of the ‘20s. By 1936 the first of many “watt races” began with the introduction of the 6L6 and KT66 pentode.

By 1951 tube technology was reaching its penultimate capabilities (at least for the technology, materials, and manufacturing capabilities of the day), with the appearance of the soon to be ubiquitous EL34 vacuum tube. In quick succession, audio power amplifier capabilities benefited from the EL84 in 1953, the 6550 and KT88 in 1954, and last in the power pentrode series, the 7591 in 1959 and the 8417 in 1963. (The 6L6 – a beam tetrode with a similar range of power output – has been in continuous production since 1936, a record unmatched by any other electronic device. We all owe electric guitar players a big thank you for keeping the tube factories open.)

EL34 vacuum tube.

But, as with steam engines, the end of the tube-only power amplifier was in sight.

Although almost unnoticed at the time, in 1947 John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, working at Bell Telephone Labs, were trying to understand the nature of the electrons at the interface between a metal and a semiconductor. They had realized that by making 2 point contacts very close to one another, they could make a 3-terminal device – the first “point contact” transistor.

They promptly made a few of these transistors and connected them with some other components to make an audio amplifier. It was shown to chief executives at the company, who were astonished by the fact that it was “instant on” – it didn’t need time to “warm up” (like the heaters in vacuum tube circuits).

This invention was the spark that ignited a huge research effort in solid-state electronics and created the pathways that led to today’s technologies.

It was so critical to the development of the electronics industry that Bardeen and Brattain received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956, together with William Shockley, “for their research on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect.”

Shockley had developed a so-called junction transistor, which was built on thin slices of different types of semiconductor material pressed together. The junction transistor was easier to understand theoretically and could be manufactured more reliably, eventually coming to dominate early transistor development.

Now the charge of the solid-stage brigade began in earnest. By the early to mid-1960s the professional audio world had seen the arrival of the Altec Lansing 1590 Series, Crown DC300, and within a few years, the powerful BGW 750, and the legendary Phase Linear 700 – plus many others too numerous to mention here.

All of the sudden, audio power amplifiers could produce 150, 200, 300-plus watts per channel, with the loudspeaker market racing to develop products that could utilize this “enormous power capability,” as one transducer manufacturer phrased it.

Left to right: Altec Lansing 1590 Series, Crown DC300, and BGW 750. (click to enlarge)

So in just over a half century, we went from a barely noticeable laboratory curiosity (the Audion) to devices that could produce hundreds of watts – and remember, this feat had been deemed “impossible” by the early engineers. We had reached the next chapter of the amplifier story.

Topologies Evolution
The two decades from the mid ‘60s through the mid ‘80s were a time of evolution and experimentation in the professional power amplifier world. Although conventional class AB bi-polar hardware remained dominant, many innovative ideas were unveiled.

For example, both Spectra Sonics and Altec Lansing introduced what would be considered the first relatively high power (80-watt) modular card cage amplifier systems, while several companies experimented with mixed topologies such as class AB+B or various power supply configurations like class H and class G, and the first class D digital power supply units appeared (and then disappeared for many reasons).

Several companies entered the market, most of which have also since disappeared or been acquired by others, but they did accomplish one goal: pushing the power envelope ever higher while evolving and improving both reliability and stability of the whole segment, even if they did so through their failures.

However, the key factors at work during this timeframe were development of higher power solid-state devices and the maintenance of the mono or 2-channel status quo configuration. The available power per channel rose slowly towards the 500-watt mark and then exceeded it as newer high current power devices appeared, but the mono and stereo framework stayed put.

It was a situation that needed a better solution. The amount of space in fixed install, and the amount of weight and space taken up by power amplifier racks in the tour industry kept rising exponentially as bigger and larger demands were placed on sound system power requirements. Monster tour sound systems were driven by amplifiers housed in dozens of road cases, and mega stadium installs had rack room(s) full of several hundred amplifiers.

Weight also became a serious problem (especially on the live/tour side of the business) as power output increased. If you wanted higher power, you needed a bigger power supply to produce it, meaning bigger and heavier transformer(s) and larger capacitors to provide that raw current and voltage. The immutable laws of physics just wouldn’t get out of the way, yet neither would the demand for more power.

Everyone knew there had to be a better way to achieve these goals, but it wasn’t until the mid ‘80s that a set of solutions combined to answer the key questions.

Innovation & Serendipity
As is often the case with major technological leaps, it took two separate developments and the fortuitous timing of one of them to bring about the next step in power amplifiers: the move from 1 or 2 channels to 4, 6, and 8 channels in the same or just barely larger chassis, and the logarithmic jump in output power.

But the beginnings of this major shift were quietly hidden in the Swedish countryside just outside the small city of Kungsbacka. In 1979, working out of a local electronics repair shop, Kenneth Andersson and Dan Bävholm founded what would become Lab.gruppen. The first products were not amplifiers, but consoles. It wasn’t until 1986 that the first of the two breakthroughs occurred.

Twenty years after the Crown DC300 forever changed the perception of solid-state (transistorized) “high power” amps, Andersson and Bävholm developed the Regulated Switch Mode Power Supply (R.SMPS). The basic concepts behind a switched mode power supply were known at the time, but difficult engineering challenges had prevented successful implementation in high-power amps; the components required to make it work were not yet available. It would take the second and serendipitous development to make the idea feasible.

Engineers at Siemens in Germany had devised the ability to produce high-current-capable Metal Oxide on Silicon Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) devices, although the target customers were not the small pro audio industry’s power amplifier manufacturers. Nevertheless, these devices allowed Andersson and Bävholm to implement a new amplifier topology and introduce the 2-channel SS 1300, followed by the first true high power multichannel amplifier, the 1200 Quatro, a 4-channel model capable of generating 380 to 450 watts per channel from a single 2RU chassis.

This was followed by the even higher power SS 1400, which also led to the development of more advanced finned heat sink, forced air cooling tunnel designs to enhance stability and reliability. However, this design had an inherent flaw: increasing temperature as air moved through the tunnel resulted in uneven cooling of the output devices.

The problem led to development of the Intercooler (first implemented in the SS 1300), wherein the heat-sink comprises thousands of tiny copper fins that dissipate heat far more efficiently than large aluminum fins. Also, the Intercooler – with output devices embedded – is mounted transverse to the airflow, so all devices benefit from uniform cooling. Like its automotive and aircraft engine namesakes, this technology allowed the rapid development of amps where the heat produced by 2, 3, and 4 kW worth of output devices could be effectively managed.

The 2-channel Lab.gruppen SS 1300 with Intercooler technology.

We Have Lift-Off
It didn’t take long for power amplifier manufacturers around the globe to develop and introduce their own unique variations on this theme. Within less than five years there were no less than a dozen high-power 4-channel products available, and very rapidly after that, 6- and 8-channel variations.

Suddenly it seemed as if a single amplifier chassis capable of 10 kW was no big deal. Well, actually there were some significant birthing pains, mostly centered around handling the massive current draw placed on AC mains power feeds. It took a while to develop the needed hardware and software to effectively manage that set of issues, but the upside is that it also produced “smarter” amplifiers with built-in intelligence and eventually DSP capabilities.

So in the end, the initial pain was a positive force in producing a new level of capability. But as with any new technological development, there are benefits and cautions to be aware of. To expound on those issues we asked several manufacturers to address three core topics related to multichannel amplifiers.

What are the important technical challenges of multichannel amplifiers?

Marc Kellom, senior director, engineering and marketing, Crown Audio: “Very few people consider a 2-channel amplifier to be ‘multichannel’ but it really is – and most of the considerations for choosing a 2-channel amplifier apply to a 4, 8 or higher channel-count product. The most fundamental consideration: am I trading something away for the benefit of more channels in a (presumably) smaller space? If so, what am I trading?

“Trade-offs can happen in several areas: output power, reliability, flexibility, ease of use, or audio performance. In terms of output power, most often this is a question of power supply size and capability. As channel counts go up, and rack space stays the same, the most likely place for a designer to compromise is on the power supply. The audiophile ‘brute force’ approach of an individual supply per channel is not commonly used due to size and cost.

“The alternative is a single supply shared across many channels, but can the power supply deliver 1) full rated power; 2) across all channels; 3) driving the most difficult load; 4) with all channels driving the same signal in-phase? Example applications include driving passive monitor mixes, individual MF or LF drivers, or a large number of distributed loudspeakers. Any of these common uses can present the power supply with heavy demands.

Crown Audio I-Tech 4x3500HD

“Further, when some channels are heavily taxed and others are not, does crosstalk occur? Not crosstalk in the normal audio sense, but rapid changes in the demand on a power supply can affect other channels connected to the same supply. Audio signals can change from full-amplitude to near-silence in milliseconds. If the power supply does not manage this dramatic change in load, the net result can be unusual forms of distortion.”

Matt Skogmo, director of hardware engineering, QSC: “If there’s one common trend in the install and contractor market space, it’s that installations are getting more complex, not less. One strong theme in this trend is the mix of high-performance and distributed audio. It’s very common to have portions of an install that are geared toward higher output, higher fidelity, low-impedance loudspeakers, and other portions that are geared toward ‘acres of speakers’ or 70/100-volt distributed systems.

“To deal with these requirements, we’ve come up with an interesting method of reducing the number of amplifiers needed to address a variety of power points: Flexible Amplifier Summing Technology (FAST). Effectively this technology allows amplifiers channels to be configured in both bridge mode and in parallel mode. For example, a traditional 4-channel amplifier might allow you to bridge channels 1 and 2 and/or bridge channels 3 and 4.

QSC PLD 4.5

“FAST opens up a wider range of options. For instance, you can bridge channels (doubling the available voltage), or you can also place them in parallel (doubling the available current). These options are not limited to a pair of channels. This means that amplifiers equipped with FAST can be deployed as a 4-channel, 3-channel, 2-channel, or even mono block amplifiers. Basically, no matter the load impedance – from 100 volts distributed all the way down to 1 ohm, a single amplifier can be configured to deliver maximum power.”

Klas Dalbjörn, product research manager, install & tour, Lab.gruppen/Lake: “As more amplifier channels are packed into a single product, a major challenge is just being able to fit everything inside the product. On top of this, the internal cooling solution is critical because there are so many ‘hot spots’ inside a densely packed multichannel product. In our 4- and 8-channel designs, we’ve used front-to-back parallel cooling to ensure that all channels are effectively cooled equally.

Lab.gruppen PLM20000Q

“When packing amplifier channels so the summed output power together with the internal losses exceeds what you can continuously pull from the mains outlet, it’s essential to both have good internal energy storage to avoid pulling the peak power from the mains as well as a good-sounding ‘mains current limiter concept’ that avoids the risk that the amplifier will trip the mains breaker after a few seconds/minutes of extreme program material.

Our approach is to design in different schemes to avoid the risk. These have over the years been called AFS (Automatic Fuse Saver), PAL (Power Average limiter) and BEL (Breaker Emulation Limiter).”

Mike Updaw, Eastern sales manager, Ashly Audio: “As you increase channel count you need to consider many issues, such as heat, wattage output, consumption, rack space, and options such as remote control or digital transport, to name just a few.

Ashly Audio nX 3.04

Our research has shown that utilizing class D designs, Ethernet bi-directional data transfer capabilities, and integrating selectable output impedances into an amp are effective solutions to many of the most common problems in the field.”

What are the primary technical considerations when using multichannel amplifiers compared to 2-channel amplifiers?

QSC’s Skogmo: “Based on our internal technical data, an amp with FAST could be configured such that the first three channels (A, B, C) are placed in parallel with each other and connected to a 2-ohm concert subwoofer array, and the remaining channel is connected to a distributed 100-volt line. That subwoofer will get about three quarters of the total output power, while the distributed line still has over 1,000 watts of power available.

“Although confusing at first blush, there is a method to the madness. Rather than offering dozens of power points, we only offer three power points. Now the option to configure each amplifier in the most appropriate way is accessible, with the only tradeoff being the available number of channels. The theory is that the user only has to reach for a small handful of tools and can configure each to drive whatever power/impedance combination necessary.”

Lab.gruppen’s Dalbjörn: “4- and 8-channel amps without flexibility in what they can drive increase the risk of buying ‘more than you need’ – some channels will have unused headroom and other channels may even be unused. It’s therefore often possible to save money by using more flexible multichannel amps.

Our new D Series and PLM+ have been designed with what we call RPM (Rational Power Management) in order to take the flexibility one step further with the intent to allow users to buy exactly what they need.”

Ashly Audio’s Updaw: “Increasing valuable rack space often equates to increasing profits. Possibly the most difficult hurdle is the fear that you have ‘too many eggs in one basket.’ Ashly has addressed these issues by offering segregation between power supplies. By offering line outputs on each channel, the internal DSP can feed additional external amplifiers.”

Claudio Lastrucci, R&D director, Powersoft: “All of our amplifiers implement fixed frequency (FF) switch-mode technology for both power supplies and output stages. Any stage in an FF switch-mode amp is driven and synchronized by a global fixed frequency signal; this entails a more complex electronic design with respect to a variable frequency system (where the switching frequency of each stage is independent from each other), but it guarantees lower crosstalk and perfect matching between the power supply and the output stages.”

Powersoft X4

Crown Audio’s Kellom: “As channel count increases, the number of components and interconnections increase, and the number of ‘eggs in one basket’ also increases. A failure in a common power supply will take out more of the overall audio system than in the days of 2-channel products. An 8-channel amplifier conceivably has 4 times the opportunities for a defect compared to the 2-channel version of the same product. Internal temperatures are also increasing as power density goes higher.

“Our proprietary DriveCore technology is designed to directly address this challenge through integrating hundreds of previously discrete parts onto a single device. By tapping into the expertise developed by the automotive group of Harman, we have access to extensive information and tools to help enable our reliability to dramatically improve even as multichannel amps become the norm.”

What is the upside of bridging? (Beside the obvious answer of more power…)

Dalbjörn: “There are both pros and cons. On the positive side you get twice the output voltage, which can be attractive if you have long loudspeaker cables with significant losses and/or if you have high impedance loads. You also pull power symmetrically from the power supply, which for some designs will make it more reliable. On the negative side, you will ‘lose a channel’ when you bridge it, so in practice you’ll pay for the overhead of the feature set of two channels while you’re only using one.”

Updaw: “When bridging an amplifier, you’re swapping phase on the second amp channel. The voltage swing will then be defined by the difference between the two channels. Thus, you almost double the wattage output. The thing to remember is that you’ve now ‘split’ the load impedance across the two channels, so an 8-ohm load, for example, looks like a 4-ohm load to each of the two channels.”

Kellom: “Bridging can present another possible area of compromise. If the power supply is under-sized for the task, or the amplifier is not bridgeable due to internal design considerations, has flexibility really increased? If an 8-channel amplifier can only drive 6 channels to full power and the other 2 must be lightly loaded, will that provide what you actually need for the task at hand?

“Bridging also offers the opportunity to scale the number of channels and power capability to the application, but it prevents amplifier designers from using topologies that are already bridged inside the amplifier. This becomes more of an issue when you consider that as the number of channels increase, the difficulty of configuring, connecting, and controlling the product can also increase. Getting 8 channels of I/O into 2 rack spaces while providing space for cooling and needed markings is becoming more and more of a challenge.”

He concludes by offering a suggestion for testing products for real world issues: “Here’s a simple question: how do you test crosstalk on an 8-channel amplifier? Drive 1 channel and measure the other 7? Drive 7 channels and measure the 1 that’s not being used? The former test is much easier to pass than the latter one. Which one matches your application?”

It’s A Wrap
To close, let’s review. Just over a century ago the first audio amplifier was created – the Audion. One hundred and some years later, we’ve advanced to the stage where there are 4, 6, 8, and even higher channel-count amplification devices that can generate almost limitless audio power. The real question is how to apply the technology and insure that reliability, safety and quality don’t get lost in the race for more.

It pays to remember that the original idea behind packing 4 channels into a single chassis was to save space and weight for live sound applications, and this conveniently translated into the same ability to save space and thus cost for fixed install applications.

Everything else that this revolution has given to audio amplification technology, including DSP, intelligent networkable control, and many other features too numerous to list here, came along for the ride but in the end proved to be as – if not more – useful than just having the ability to achieve higher power density.

Frederick J. Ampel has been involved in the pro A/V industry for nearly 40 years. His career has included work in live sound reinforcement, broadcast audio production, systems design and installation, systems integration, hardware design and development, and residential small room acoustics.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/19 at 09:09 AM
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TELEFUNKEN Introducing New Black Diamond Tubes At 2015 Winter NAMM

All are cryogenically treated to ensure durability and subjected to an extended burn-in period to ensure superior stability

TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik is debuting three new models in its line of Black Diamond Vacuum Tubes at the upcoming 2015 NAMM Show in Anaheim (booths 6721 and 1878).

TELEFUNKEN vacuum tubes have been utilized in audio applications, both production and reproduction, for many decades, and this history continues with the introduction of these new production tubes, in partnership with JJ Tubes from the Carpathian Mountains of Cadca in Slovakia.

Each tube is measured for all critical parameters of performance, including transconductance, gain, noise, and microphonics. In addition, all are cryogenically treated to ensure durability, and subjected to an extended burn-in period to ensure superior stability.

The tubes are then re-measured subsequent to burn-in in order to guarantee that only the best, lowest noise tubes are offered for purchase

6V6-TK
The TELEFUNKEN 6V6-TK is newly manufactured and cryogenically treated rendition of the 6V6. Originally released in 1937 by RCA, the 6V6 is a beam-power tetrode vacuum tube for use in hi-fi audio equipment and music instrument amplifiers, utilized in popular guitar amplifiers such as the Fender Champ, Princeton Reverb, and Deluxe Reverb for decades. The Black Diamond Series 6V6-TK is a replacement for keeping the same performance and tone as the originals.

ECC82-TK
The TELEFUNKEN ECC82-TK is a newly manufactured and cryogenically treated rendition of the classic ECC82, commonly known by the American designation 12AU7. The ECC82 is a dual triode vacuum tube with medium gain and low noise characteristics, making it well-suited for hi-fi audio equipment and instrument amplification. It’s commonly used as a low-noise line amplifier, driver, and phase inverter in push-pull amplifier circuits, and can replace an ECC81/12AX7 for lower gain applications. 

KT88-TK
The TELEFUNKEN KT88-TK is a newly manufactured and cryogenically treated version of the legendary KT88. The KT88-TK is a beam-power tetrode that shares similar applications as the 6L6 and EL34, and is one of the largest tubes in its class. Originally introduced by GEC in 1956, it became competition for the American-made 6550, but with the ability to handle a much higher plate voltage of up to 800 volts, the KT88 became a common choice for power amplification design.

TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/19 at 06:28 AM
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API 1608 Consoles Debut In South Korea For Engineers In Training

First two colleges in the country to install API consoles

South Korean distributor MI Corporation’s most recent sale for API is a landmark deal, with the two 1608s marking the first two colleges in the country to install API consoles.

The first console of this double-hitter was sold to Kwangwoon University in Seoul, where the 16-channel 1608 is used in the Practical Music department, which is designed to give students hands-on experience that will translate to important skills in the work force.

Kwangwoon was founded in 1934, during the “dawn of the electronic era” for Korea, at which time the school was called the “Joseon Radio Training Center,” with that heritage continuing today.

The second 16-channel 1608 went to Doowon Technical College, installed in the intitution’s own Practical Music department practice studio. Based in Answong, Doowon is a school for engineers-in-training.

Chan Doo Kim, the founder and chairman of the Doowon Group, states, “It is my hope that young engineers who will be responsible for the future carry a formidable determination and a challenging consciousness to take the highest authority in their chosen professions.” The school was founded in 1990, and has sister relationships with engineering schools in China and Japan.

Hak Yong Shim of MI Corp says that the schools were convinced to purchase API gear not only by, “MI Corp suggestions, but also based on the opinions of professors at the schools.”

In the last few months, API has also seen new consoles installed in schools across three separate continents, from large-format Vision and Legacy units to the newest compact BOX console, which premiered at last year’s AES conference in New York.

API

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/19 at 05:31 AM
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Producer Rob King Puts The Manley SLAM! On The Mix

Points to SLAM! as his go-to stereo limiter and mic preamp at his Sherman Oaks, CA-based Green Street Studios

Veteran producer/composer Rob King has been the force behind the sound of more than 100 hit games, including James Bond: Quantum of Solace, Scareface, Age of Conan, Call of Duty 3, and MMORPG RIFT: Planes of Telara. He’s also had a hand in numerous films, including promo trailers for I Am Legend and Watchmen.

King’s Sherman Oaks, CA-based Green Street Studios is constantly busy with projects, and while the facility has racks full of high-end outboard gear, King points to the Manley Labs SLAM! as his go-to stereo limiter and mic preamp.

“Out of all the gear in my studio, the SLAM! gets used more often than almost anything else,” he reports. “I’ve often said it’s a shame more people don’t have the opportunity to hear what it can do. I do a lot of dialog production in games, and I find that the SLAM! is really the ultimate signal path for a voice over.”

King notes that creating dialog voiceover for games is a meticulous and demanding process. “Particularly in doing dialog within a game, it’s always tricky to get things to sit right in the mix,” he explains. “Running the dialog through the SLAM!, I usually just set the input and output gains to 12 o’clock, with the heel of the limiter anywhere between 18 and 22dB, and I literally never have to touch it. Whether it’s whispering, shouting, screaming, talking—it all sits there perfectly, with no distortion, no audible compression - it’s just incredible.”

He points to the SLAM!‘s optical compressor as one of the features that sets it apart. “The SLAM! gets a real tube preamp kind of sound,” he says. “It’s got a ton of clarity, it’s super smooth, and so rich in frequency. You get all the lows, all the highs, and zero sibilance - I’ve never had to even think about a de-esser.”

Manley Labs

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/12 at 03:04 PM
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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing Announces 2014-2015 Steering Committee

Leadership group researches and recommends solutions for technical, creative and economic issues

The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing has announced its 2014-2015 Steering Committee, the leadership group that researches and recommends solutions for technical, creative and economic issues facing today’s music production professionals.

The newly seated committee, consisting of an array of music engineers, producers and audio professionals, will build upon the legacy established by prior Steering Committees and work to identify and evaluate key issues confronting music production professionals, with the goal of finding meaningful solutions and suggestions for the industry moving forward.

The P&E Wing 2014–2015 Steering Committee includes the following music industry professionals: Chuck Ainlay, Carlos Alvarez, Eric Boulanger, Mike Clink, Scott Jacoby, Glenn Lorbecki, Bob Ludwig, Harvey Mason Jr., Ann Mincieli and Phil Nicolo.

In addition, Mike Clink and Chuck Ainlay will retain their positions as co-chairs, leading the committee as the P&E Wing continues to advocate for excellence in sound recording, audio technologies, education in the recording arts, and the rights of music creators overall. 

“The role of the Steering Committee is to set our agenda for each year by identifying and prioritizing the initiatives that matter most to our members,” states Maureen Droney, managing director of the P&E Wing. “With this group of accomplished individuals we have a collective that encompasses the wide-ranging experience and diverse perspectives that will help us address those initiatives within the changing landscape of the recording industry.”
 


image

Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/06 at 08:04 AM
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