Friday, November 19, 2010
Linkin Park Chooses Waves Plugins For Latest Tour Album
The Grammy winner again looked to Waves for the right sound on his album A Thousand Suns.
With over 50 million albums sold, multiple GRAMMY-winning band Linkin Park has earned its place as one of the most innovative and popular acts of the 21st century.
Known for their melodic and hard-hitting sound, they consistently push the envelope, inspiring young musicians and producers to aim higher.
On A Thousand Suns, their groundbreaking fourth studio release, Linkin Park once again turned to Waves Audio plugins for sound-shaping and mixing tools, using them extensively in the making of the album.
In an exclusive video available on the Waves website, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda discusses the role Waves plugins play in the band’s creative process, helping shape their cutting-edge sound.
Mike talks about a few of his favorite plugins, and shows how the band achieved the cool vocal effect on the hit single “The Catalyst,” using Waves’ MetaFlanger plugin.
Linkin Park has a long history as Waves users, and Waves continues to be a very important part of the band’s studio work as well as live on tour, allowing them to stay true to the sound of their recordings while on the road.
Waves Audio Website
Soundcraft & Studer Launch New U.S. Websites Focused On Educational Resources
The websites provide an expanded range of videos, white papers, user guides and many additional resources.
Soundcraft and Studer have announced that the brands have launched new U.S. websites, usa.soundcraft.com and usa.studer.ch, dedicated to serving the needs of the U.S. market.
In addition to product information for the complete range of products, the websites provide an expanded range of videos, white papers, user guides and many additional resources.
The websites also provide an opportunity for visitors to locate local dealers, find out information about hand-on training in their region and to access regional product support.
“Along with comprehensive product information and specifications, our new websites offer a wealth of educational and technical material,” said Katy Templeman-Holmes, Senior Manager for Sales and Marketing, Soundcraft Studer.
“Such tools, including the now widely distributed ‘Soundcraft Guide to Mixing’ DVD, have been available internationally but now we can provide our U.S. customers and interested parties with local resources and support tailored precisely to their needs and domestic events.”
ARX Appoints Distributor For The Philippines
Yupangco Electronics Corporation will distribute several products from ARX to Pro Audio and Broadcast clients and markets.
ARX Systems has announced the appointment of Manila based Yupangco Electronics Corporation as their Distributor for Philippines.
“Jose Mari L. Yupangco, President of Yupangco Electronics Corporation (YEC) and I initiated discussions regarding ARX distribution at the Frankfurt Pro Light and Sound earlier this year,” said ARX Managing Director Colin Park.
YEC is excited by the prospects of introducing our USB DI Series of interfaces, MSX series of Signal Distribution products and AudiBox series of audio toolbox essentials products to their Pro Audio and Broadcast clients and markets.
ARX is looking forward to working with YEC, one of the mainstays of our industry in South East Asia”.
ARX Systems Website
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Aphex Launches New Website
The newly updated Aphex website provides easy and quick access to product information and much more.
Audio manufacturer Aphex has launched a new and completely redesigned website.
The new site has been fully revamped, incorporating modern graphics and streamlined navigation to create a more informative and accessible user experience.
The newly updated Aphex website provides easy and quick access to product information and specifications, support resources, US and international dealer listings, as well as information on the company and its expanding partners network.
The site also features a Current News section to help visitors stay up to date with the latest in user stories, new product releases, personnel announcements and other Aphex-related happenings.
News is also available via links to RSS feed, FaceBook and Twitter.
“The new Aphex website is the product of months of intensive planning and design,” said Aphex CEO David Wiener.
“We’ve listened to suggestions from a wide range of end users and professionals, and incorporated many of their ideas into the design of this new site.”
“Updating the website has been an important priority for us,” said Rick McClendon, Aphex General Manager.
“The old site had been the product of many years of piecemeal updates, and had become cumbersome and challenging to navigate.”
“Our goal was to create a new site that would reflect the spirit and enthusiasm of the new Aphex, and I believe we’ve accomplished that.”
The website’s content will be continually expanded and updated in coming months, with the introduction of new products and partnerships, expanded informational resources, news and user profiles.
Sound Radix Announces Auto-Align RTAS & ProTools 9 Compatibility
Auto-Align is an automatic microphone / DI time alignment plug-in.
Sound Radix has announced the release of Auto-Align.
Auto-Align will “listen” to multi-mic recordings and will automatically measure and compensate for the delay between the microphones, sample accurately - significantly reducing the Comb filter effect and dramatically improving the resulting sound.
Common applications for Auto-Align include aligning overhead microphones to the close miked drums, aligning a dynamic microphone and a condenser in a typical guitar amp recording setup, aligning a Bass guitar DI recording with its miked amp recording.
RTAS and ProTools 9 compatibility
New, easy-to-use, host-independent bus routing system, eliminates the need of using side-chain
True stereo alignment in Pro Tools and other hosts that support mono side-chain only
Improved, automatic management of stereo-to-mono and mono-to-stereo alignment
Improved detection algorithm
Improved graphics accuracy
Auto-Align is a 32-bit and 64-bit, Universal Binary Audio-Unit and RTAS plugin for OS.
Sound Radix Website
Avid Releases VENUE Software Version 2.9
The new direct link between VENUE and Pro Tools eliminates time-consuming tasks.
Avid has introduced VENUE 2.9 software which includes the new VENUE Link feature, along with additional software enhancements.
With VENUE Link, users can eliminate many of the tedious, manual steps involved in making live recordings, and more easily create recordings for Virtual Soundcheck or remixing.
With this release, engineers can also use the new Redundant Output Mode to get more routing and system backup flexibility than ever.
The Redundant Output Mode works in conjunction with VENUE option cards to deliver audio output to two Pro Tools systems simultaneously, or even to mixed formats such as Pro Tools and MADI-equipped systems.
Save a tremendous amount of set-up time by creating a Pro Tools session from an existing VENUE show—all track names and routing assignments are created automatically. This also ensures that all tracks are captured with 100% accuracy each and every time.
Ensure that their Pro Tools session always matches changes to the live show by importing and updating track names from VENUE to an existing Pro Tools session at any time.
Easily identify key points in the live performance for subsequent remixing or use in Virtual Soundcheck by synchronizing VENUE snapshots with Pro Tools markers.
Create a backup system and get more routing flexibility with the new Redundant Output Mode, which offers simultaneous recording of up to 64 tracks on two Pro Tools|HD systems for failsafe backup. Users can also record to a local Pro Tools system while also sending audio through MADI to another digital console or audio workstation.
Get more I/O flexibility at the mix position with the VENUE IOx Option Card, which now works with VENUE Mix Rack—in addition to VENUE FOH Rack— providing a total of eight analog inputs and outputs and eight digital inputs and outputs.
VENUE 2.9 Software is available through VENUE resellers as a $149 upgrade for all VENUE owners.
The VENUE IOx Option Card is available now through all VENUE resellers.
Cirque Du Soleil Sound Designers Rely On ADAM Audio
ADAM Tensor Alpha monitors are the choice for their unique control room.
The Creators of the soundtrack for Cirque Du Soleil’s “KA” and a wealth of other film, TV and album music, Martin Lord-Ferguson and Ella Louise Allaire work in a studio located in the sparsely populated woodlands above Quebec.
Allaire has a Master’s Degree in Composition from the University of Montreal and has released two CDs, “Heretique” and “Mon Or” Ferguson has been involved in 30 albums during his career. And they both worked in TV and film soundtracks and gaming audio.
Their main control room is located on the ground floor and, atypically, features an ADAM Tensor Alpha hifi monitoring system capable of producing 2000 watts a side with exceptional bass.
“One of the bigger advantages of the ADAM speakers in the lack of ear fatigue––the precision and the fact that you can listen to them for 12 hours a day,” said Lord-Ferguson.
Roland Systems Group Announces AV Mixer & Recorder
The VR-5 includes an output specifically designed for live streaming.
At the InterBee show, Roland Systems Group announced the Roland VR-5, a fully integrated audio mixer, video switcher with built-in recorder/player for live production and web streaming.
This product combines the power of Roland’s audio and video technology into one unit.
Typical live events today, whether large or small, all require a wide variety of equipment in order to produce. There are audio inputs from mics, audio mixing, video sources to a video mixer, computer inputs, video playback, video monitors, capturing the event in some form, and also streaming it live online.
The VR-5’s “all-in-one” solution greatly simplifies production, recording and streaming of these live events. The VR-5’s innovative design incorporates a video switcher, audio mixer, video playback, recorder, preview monitors and output for web streaming all in a single unit.
As a USB Video/Audio class device, web streaming is effortless by simply connecting to a computer running a live streaming service such as USTREAM and Stickam, as well as any video call service such as Skype and iChat.
The reduction in hardware equipment, setup time and connection complexity ensures a worry-free, easy to use solution for any event.
The VR-5 is ideal for schools, churches, council meetings, corporate events, sports, and live web broadcasting.
4-Channel Video Switcher
2 Mono and 5 Stereo Mixable Audio Channels
Built-in scan converter for PC input
Built-in dual LCD monitors with touch control for easy video source selection
Three video layers which include 2 video sources plus DSK (downstream keyer)
USB video/audio class device for web streaming
Roland Systems Group Website
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Balancing Dialog Against Other Audio In Post-Production
Dialog rules, it’s just that simple!
Dialog is the primary sound element around which all other post audio revolves.
Unfortunately, a common problem we often encounter is how to prevent music and other sound elements from stepping all over the dialog track so you can understand all the words.
Here’s the secret.
You must create a space for the voice track, a kind of hole in the soundtrack, reserved for speech with the music, sound effects, and background audio surrounding but not masking. Here are five tricks of the trade I hope you’ll find useful.
1: Understand that certain frequencies interfere with vocals
Without getting too technical, there are certain instruments that fight with the intelligibility of speech.
For the male voice, the lower midrange instruments like acoustic guitar, tenor sax, and the middle of the piano are the culprit.
For female voice, the upper range instruments like alto sax, flute, solo violin, and screaming guitar solos tend to cover up and mask intelligibility.
Any music track that predominantly features one of these instruments will conflict with the associated male or female voice.
Choose music without these interfering frequencies so there is space for the voice track or be prepared to carefully EQ the music.
For example, if you are using a female voice, avoid music with a hot guitar solo. It might help you to think of the voice track as another solo instrument and select appropriate music that lets you feature it predominantly in the track.
These same rules apply with other sound elements, too. For example, avoid heavy deep bass sound effects if your voice-over is a deep baritone.
2: Choose music that is somewhat sparse
High-powered, high-density tracks work well for visual sequences, but they fight for space (and audience attention) when used under a voice track.
In general, the less-is-more school of music is best. Choose music that is full range with a tight low end and crisp highs but with a somewhat reduced midrange.
A well-recorded background sound with deep bass and crisp highs (but with a muted midrange) can effectively anchor the voice in a real space without stomping on the message, too.
Hint: A music track with lyrics will always fight a dialog track. As humans we like to understand what people are saying, and splitting our attention between two separate conversations rarely works (unless you want to confuse the audience for effect).
3: Use stereo balancing to create a hole
If you’re working in stereo make sure there is a hole in the center stereo field for the voice track.
This mixing technique requires leaving solo and midrange instruments and sound effects out of the stereo center and balancing them to either the left or right speakers.
This leaves space in the middle for the voice track.
Similarly, super wide stereo is a solid trick that can open up the necessary space.
4: Use frequency/tonal controls to create space in mono
Though not as effective as the stereo trick above, you can create a hole by removing the troublesome midrange frequencies with an equalizer.
The frequency band that most affects speech intelligibility (male and female) is between 2.5-5KHZ. Reduce the music track by 2-4 dB at those frequencies and correspondingly boost the same frequencies by 2-4 dB on the voice track.
This takes some experimentation to work exactly right, but a little knob diddling and careful listening will show you the way.
5: Automate the other elements by moving them out of the way at crucial times
Volume automation is by far the best way to make sure the sound elements and voice tracks don’t interfere.
There’s a reason why all those faders move on your DAW! Lower the music, sound effects, and background when the voice is dominant.
Push up the reality during pauses in the dialog. Tweak until it’s all working together.
Also, understand that when you are close to the material, you may understand the spoken words even when buried under competing sounds.
To overcome this common phenomenon, play your mixes for others and ask their opinion on whether they can understand the dialog track. If not, adjust your mix accordingly
There you have it, a few ways to make sure your audience can understand what’s being said while still giving them a dynamic ever-evolving soundtrack.
As always, if you found this helpful please feel free to share your comments below.
Jeffrey P. Fisher provides audio, video, music, writing, consulting, training, and media production and post-production services for individuals, corporate, and commercial clients through his own company, Fisher Creative Group. He also writes extensively about music, sound, and video for print and the Web and has authored numerous books and training DVD’s.
Digitalmusician.net Launches The Digitalmusician Plug-In
The plug-in is a new to facilitate collaboration between musicians anywhere in the world from within a DAW.
Digitalmusician.net has announced the release of the Digital Musician Plug-in, or DMP.
This plug-in sits in any insert channel of any VST or AU Audio Sequencer/ DAW enabling real time, online connection of different music production applications with one audio and video stream.
“The DMP is a milestone in my vision for musicians to connect, collaborate and produce music together no matter where they are in the world,” said Charlie Steinberg, Chief Technical Officer and visionary behind Digitalmusician.net.
“Using the DMP I can be running my Cubase on Windows in my Hamburg studio, collaborating with my guitarist in Los Angeles running her Logic system - all recording in real time in a simple smooth work-flow.”
“It’s as though we are all in the same studio together.”
ASIO and Core Audio support
Sample accurate sync
Drag and Drop of audio files
DMP 2.0 is a peer-to-peer solution requiring a host DAW that uses ASIO/Core Audio and a high-speed Internet connection.
It is available now as a free download to all registered members of digitalmusician.net.
The updated Digitalmusician Container (DMC 2.0) has also been released at the same time.
The DMC is a standalone application providing the same feature-set as the new DMP Plug-in.
Prism Sound Announces The Acquisition Of Imerge Business Assets
Prism Sound has retained key members of the former Imerge team.
Prism Sound has announced the acquisition of certain assets of Imerge Ltd, a home media server business formerly affiliated with Linear LLC.
Imerge brands will continue with current production as well as new product development under the ownership of Prism Sound.
Customer support will be maintained for all former customers of Imerge Ltd, including OEM partners Elan, Speakercraft, Xantech and Revox.
Prism Sound has retained key members of the former Imerge team in research and development, production, customer support and sales, while finance and marketing will be resourced from the Prism Sound team.
Chief Technical Officer at Prism Sound, Ian Dennis stated, “Imerge is a fine example of outstanding technical innovation in the UK and we are proud to take over the baton.”
“We will be concentrating on maintaining the impressive record Imerge has built with innovation in the fast-changing home entertainment market.”
Director of Sales & Marketing at Prism Sound Graham Boswell added, “Imerge is one of the world’s premier brands of movie and music-focussed entertainment servers, making it simple for users to acquire, store and replay their content with maximum fidelity and minimum fuss.”
“Our challenge is to tell the story to a global audience and to make the product accessible to new markets. We will be extending the former distribution structure into new and untapped markets in the coming months.”
The acquisition brings the Prism Sound group into the home entertainment sector for the first time with audio and video media distribution products for high-end custom installers and high-street retailers.
Prism Sound has over 20 years experience working with clients in audio research & development, manufacturing of audio products, broadcast television and radio, music recording and the public sector.
Grant Rummell Chairman & CEO of Linear LLC stated, “We are delighted at being able to complete this sale to Prism Sound and to ensure ongoing support for our former customers. Imerge was part of the Linear family for a number of years and we wish them well for the future.”
Prism Sound Website
Linear Acoustic To Receive NATAS Technology & Engineering Emmy Award
Their development of the audio / metadata process for the ATSC DTV standard is to be recognized.
Linear Acoustic has been selected by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) to receive an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering/Technical Development.
The company is being recognized for pioneering development of a real-time audio/metadata processor for conforming audio to the ATSC standard.
“We are incredibly honored to see our work recognized by the NATAS,” said Linear Acoustic president Tim Carroll.
“Truly this award represents not only the trailblazing spirit we’ve built into Linear Acoustic, but countless late nights at the work bench, hours of listening intently to our customers, and turning ‘aha’ moments into real products and features.”
“I’m proud of how far we’ve come in this short time. And to receive an Emmy in the coming year? Just amazing.”
The 62nd Annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards, presented by the NATAS, will take place on Thursday, Jan. 6, as part of the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
“We are pleased to share this Emmy Award with Dolby Laboratories. I have many friends there from my pre-Linear Acoustic years, and I would like to offer a big congratulations to Jeffrey Riedmiller and his team,” added Carroll.
Linear Acoustic Website
Powersoft Amplifiers Made The Use Of Alternative Energy Possible At Bon Jovi Concert
Sixty Powersoft K10 and K8 were used for the River Plate stadium show.
Powersoft amplifiers were recently used in conjunction with an Eco-Energy bio-fuel generator to make a green statement for the recent Bon Jovi concert at the River Plate stadium.
Sixty Powersoft K10 and K8 amplifiers were employed to drive the thunderous sounds for the 45,000 fans attending the show.
The high efficiency design of the Powersoft K Series allowed the show to be powered by the bio-fuel AC generator without missing a beat.
“We wanted to make this remarkable performance a green statement by reducing the carbon footprint of the concert,” said Federico Sainz, CEO of Buenos Aires Live Show (BALS), the sound company providing the system for the show.
“Simply put, if we used traditional power-hungry amplifiers, we could not take this approach because of the incredibly large current draw.”
“The Powersoft K10 and K8 amplifiers operate at over 90-percent efficiency, a green statement in itself, making it possible to use this new power generating technology. It was estimated that this concert saved 10 tons of CO2 emissions, a significant reduction over the past.”
The Powersoft amplifiers were used to drive a speaker system consisting of 36 JBL VERTEC VT4889-1 speakers for the main FOH, 24 JBL VERTEC VT4889-1 for the FOH side main, 48 SUBLOW VCA 2X21” for the subwoofers and 40 LINE ARRAY VCA for the left, center and right delayed satellite systems.
“It has been over 15-years since Bon Jovi played in Argentina, so the sound quality needed to be first rate all the way,” said Saniz.
“Powersoft amplifiers provided sterling sound quality with an extremely tight bass response delivering a high-level sonic performance to the packed audience. Powersoft also did not handicap the transient response one bit as its operational efficiency never stressed the power generator’s supply.”
“In essence, by using Powersoft amplifiers, it was possible to get the same amount of audio power using half the electricity required for regular power amplifiers.”
“We were very pleased with the successful results of the green experiment we participated in for the Bon Jovi concert,” said Carlos Maiocchi, CEO for EQUAPHON Sistemas de Sonido, the Powersoft rep for Argentina.
“Powersoft is a green-designed product from the ground up delivering high-level, clean, clear audio power in a one rack unit package weighing only 26 lbs. In every way, from low transport weight to greatly reduced heat generation, Powersoft was the ideal choice for this green event.”
Properly Communicating With The Folks On Stage
There's no reason to yell. So, why do we let it happen?
The first time I fell into the trap I was new to live audio.
The pastor’s wireless mic went out mid-service and I walked up to swap in a new battery.
Talk about killing the mood of the service, not to mention distracting the pastor.
Since then, I’ve heard stories of pastors and even worship teams interrupted by the person in the sound booth.
Let’s take a look at how booth-to-stage communication should occur.
Once a church service starts, you and I need to do everything possible to keep the mood set. The mood is established by the topic of the sermon and the music the band plays.
Mixing, this might mean pushing different instruments or frequencies in the mix. As far as the service itself, it means stuff like avoiding feedback and hitting all the microphone cues.
A simple way to break the mood is to make our presence known. This could be through opening our mouth or walking up on stage at the wrong time.
The only reason we should feel any inclination to open our mouth or walk up on stage would be if:
1. Something stopped working like a microphone or a cable.
2. There has been a change like they need to use a different microphone.
This is not to say we should do any of those things.
Let’s look at the possible events which can happen…
1. The pastor’s microphone goes out. First off, you should have a backup plan in place. It should really be a wired microphone on the stage or another wireless.
The pastor will hear when his microphone goes out and he should know where to grab another microphone.
2. If a musician’s vocal mic or instrument feed goes out you have two basic options. First, if it’s a vocal mic, that spare on the stage will come in handy.
Second, if it’s an instrument, you have two options:
a. Move around to the back of the stage and swap cables between songs.
b. Do nothing.
c. Swap cables during a stage change. For example, if the issue occurs during the first of two musical sets, wait until the start of the second set to replace a cable. In most cases, the musician can swap the cable for you.
3. A change occurs and a person needs to grab a different microphone. Chances are that you’ll know this before they even walk on the stage.
Therefore, discretely let them know while they are still in the audience.
Calmly and quietly walk up and kneel next to them and let them know. Or pass them a note.
If they are on stage and look lost, the first place they will look is to you in the booth.
Simply point to the mic they need to use.
My point is simple…you and I need to do everything possible to keep the mood set. As soon as we break it, we’ve failed at our job.
Maybe that day a person doesn’t come forward during an alter call because we killed the mood.
There is one caveat to all of this and that’s church size. In a small church, when a pastor’s mic goes out, most of the congregation can still hear him. In larger churches, that’s not the case.
But in any case, the solution is not yelling at them. The solution is having a process in place so they have a spare microphone already on the stage.
They will hear the difference in the volume of the room, large or small, and they will do what needs to be done.
Remember, our successful days are those when people don’t know we are there.
How do you deal with unexpected surprising while maintaining your cool? Let me know in the comments below!
Ready to learn and laugh? Chris Huff writes about the world of church audio at Behind The Mixer. He covers everything from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians. He can even tell you the signs the sound guy is having a mental breakdown.