Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Grand Ole Opry Installs PhantomFocus System By Carl Tatz Design Using Genelec 8050A Monitors
The new tuned monitor system has received praise from FOH and broadcast engineers alike.
Recently, the legendary Nashville venue the Grand Ole Opry House upgraded its control room sound with the installation of a PhantomFocus System from Carl Tatz Design (CTD).
Grand Ole Opry Head of Music Operations Steve Gibson contacted CTD to correct a control room window resonance problem that they were experiencing, and Gibson requested the implementation of a PhantomFocus System using their existing Genelec 8050A monitors.
“The thing that is the most fun for me is how the center ‘channel’ feels like a physical presence; as well, I know that our mixes are translating much better out of the building than they ever have.”
“We’ve got two systems and we love listening to them both!” noted King Williams, Chief Broadcast Engineer, Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium.
“The project went extremely well and I have received several phone calls out of the blue from some GRAMMY-winning engineers commenting on how smooth and accurate the monitors now sound,” says Tatz.
Once the basic acoustic treatment has been accomplished, Carl Tatz Design’s proprietary PhantomFocus Monitor System offers clients a unique opportunity to have a world-class monitoring experience despite the quality of their room.
The PhantomFocus System allows their monitors of choice to perform accurately at a full 20Hz-to-20KHz frequency response with pinpoint imaging in an almost holographic sweet spot — this enables their mixes to travel anywhere with a new level of sonic accuracy.
There are approximately fifty steps in the proprietary PhantomFocus System implementation protocol, some of which may include phase and laser alignment, damping, isolation mounts, careful assessment of engineer/speaker placement relative to their room’s primary axial modes, proprietary speaker distance and angle, crossover points for pass filtering, and finally parametric equalization.
Hardware can include monitor stands, concrete, sorbothane and other isolation materials, custom floating plenum mounts, subwoofer system, custom crossover, parametric equalizers and the monitors themselves (passive or active). The evaluation and implementation is a full two-day process and can be applied to near-fields, mid-fields, and large soffit mounted monitors, regardless of manufacturer.
Carl Tatz Design Website
Monday, October 18, 2010
Why Audio Engineers Need To Know Video
Video is everywhere and if you're properly prepared, it can create an additional revenue stream for you studio as you provide the complete media package.
Over the past months I’ve had the unique experience of dealing with quite a bit of video.
I’ve always created short little videos for my website Home Studio Corner, but those were rudimentary at best.
Recently I’ve been branching out creating weekly video content and I’ve become heavily immersed in creating videos.
In addition, I’ve had the opportunity in the last few months to record several live bands, capturing both multi-track audio and multi-camera video footage – all while still putting on a live concert.
I have a new respect for video guys. There is so much involved with video that goes way over my head, but I’m grasping it more and more, and I plan to continue to grow my video expertise.
Why not just focus on the audio? Why concern myself with video? I have a few reasons.
HD Video is Everywhere
Unless you live in a cave, you’ve probably noticed that the entire world is obsessed with HD video.
YouTube offers videos in HD (all of my tutorial videos on YouTube are in HD, and they look quite nice).
Flat-screen high-definition TV’s are a hot item.
Every cable company has a super-duper HD package that costs an arm and a leg, but it looks amazing.
All the major networks are competing to have the best and most show in HD.
BlueRay discs are gaining popularity.
The XBox360 and PS3 are setting the standard for HD video and gaming.
What do you not see here? I’ll tell you. You don’t see people obsessing over high-definition audio.
The people who rushed out each year on Black Friday at 5am to grab up those $600 Sony HD TVs at Sears are the same people who listened to mp3s on their iPods in the car on the way to and from the store.
People simply don’t care about SACDs and 1-bit High Definition recorders. They don’t really care if the mp3 codec used to encode their mp3s adds lots of artifacts.
Most people can see the difference between standard definition video and HD video much more easily than they can hear the difference between a crappy mp3 and a 24-bit wave file.
My point? The world has voted for HD video. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any effort into your music. A bad mix will still be a bad mix on a 64-kbps mp3. A good mix will still have people bobbing their heads, whether the quality of the actual file itself has been degraded.
What this does mean is that you should seriously consider adding video to your portfolio.
Video Experience = More Jobs
Whether you do audio as your full-time job or just a side gig, you will have more job/project opportunities if you can do video.
If I’m the hiring director at a marketing company, and I need an audio guy to come in and record commercials, etc., I’m much more likely to hire the guy who has audio and video experience over the guy who just does audio.
Likewise, if I’m a band looking to record my next record, I would be much more drawn to the guy who could record and mix the album, but also produce a music video for one of the songs.
The list goes on and on.
Be a Complete Media Package
Being an amazing audio engineer is a wonderful thing. You should always be expanding your skills and becoming a better one.
However, the industry is changing, and if you want more creative opportunities, you need to expand your creative portfolio.
If you can become a one-stop shop for anything media-related – audio, video, even web design – you will have an amazing leg up on the competition.
The Counterpoint - You Don’t Need to Know Video
I’ve talked about how video is a great opportunity for audio engineers and can lead to new jobs.
However, what about the arguement that audio engineers should just focus on audio rather than expanding into the world of video.
This is a valid point, so here are a few things to think about.
Know Your Goals
What are your goals for your opperation? What are you wanting to accomplish in your studio?
Are you wanting to attract new clients? Do you want better paying jobs? Do you want more editing jobs?
If you don’t really know the answers to these questions, I would challenge you to take some time to think through and write down your goals for the remainder of the year.
If your goals involve getting more clients and paid jobs, it may still be worth your while to learn more about video.
However, if you’re looking to just improve your mixes, focusing on video might be a waste of time.
Don’t Be Spread Too Thin
Perhaps you’re at the beginning of your career and still trying to improve as an audio engineer.
You’re working on more and more music, and you’re excited about the fact that you could start producing videos, which could open up all sorts of opportunities for you.
In all the excitement, you may start learning and practicing your video skills…at the expense of your audio work.
You don’t want to look back a year from now and realize that instead of being a better audio engineer, you’re just a mediocre audio engineer AND a mediocre video guy.
Only focus on video if you have time to do both audio and video well.
Partner Up with a Video Expert
Businesses do this kind of thing all the time. Rather than taking on a new skill themselves, they’ll hire (or buy out) another company to do the task for them.
The second company specializes in the new skill, so rather than wasting time learning a new skill, the first company partners up with the second company to get the job done.
You could do the same thing with your studio. If it doesn’t make sense for you to learn video yourself, find someone else who knows video but could use your audio expertise.
You can then refer clientele to one another and even work on projects together. This way you can still access a lot of new opportunities without needing to invest the time and money into learning video yourself.
What do you think? What are your plans/goals? Do you plan on tackling (or have you tackled) video in your business?
Joe Gilder is a Nashville based engineer, musician, and producer who also provides training and advice at the Home Studio Corner.
Telefunken Microphone Name Contest Voting Now Open
The person who suggested the winning name will be rewarded with a pair of the R-F-T mics in a custom flight case!
In September TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik fans were encouraged to submit suggested names for the company’s new tube microphone that will be introduced at AES in San Francisco on November 4.
The response was overwhelming, with thousands of individual suggestions coming from across the globe and from dozens of countries, including Morocco, Greenland, New Zealand, Denmark, and Thailand.
Below is a list of names in alpha-numeric order that have been chosen as the best suited for TELEFUNKEN’s new R-F-T microphone.
Voters will only be allowed one vote, and the polls close at 6pm EDT October 21st. The winner will be announced on Friday, October 22nd at 12 Noon PDT.
“We always like to be responsive to our friends and supporters,” explained company founder Toni Fishman. “So for this very cool new mic design, we thought we’d reach out to our fans and have a contest to name the new microphone.”
Traditionally, the microphones in TELEFUNKEN’s R-F-T line have been based on famous powerful munitions, such as the AK-47 and the M16.
“But we’re not limited in that respect,” added Fishman. “I thought of the ‘Bolt,’ which refers to the company’s lightning bolt logo. Let’s see what the public comes up with.”
Names for consideration are:
AF-29; COPPERHEAD; CU-29; EP-1C; M1C; M29; MP-5; TALOS; U-21; V1C
In development for 18 months, the newest mic in the company’s ] R-F-T line was designed by the company’s in-house engineering team, with outside consultation from some of the world’s top amplifier designers.
The microphone is based around a unique circuit that features a New Old Stock (NOS) TELEFUNKEN vacuum tube, custom audio transformer and a fixed cardioid large diaphragm capsule.
Sonically, the microphone carries similar characteristics found in its R-F-T line counterparts, the AR-51 and the AK-47 MkII.
Featuring a custom antique copper finish, the new microphone has an open top end, smooth midrange, and a detailed low end.
The amplifier design and frequency response are tailored for vocals, however the microphone works exceptionally well on many signal sources including acoustic guitars, amps and percussion.
The contest ends at 18:00 (EDT) October 21. The winning name will be announced at Noon (EDT) on October 22nd. The person who suggested the winning name will be rewarded with a pair of the R-F-T mics in a custom flight case. The 2nd and 3rd place names will win an M80 Dynamic microphone.
The street price of the new R-F-T mic will be $1295, making it the first large diaphragm tube microphone offered from TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik available below the $1500 price range.
Each microphone system comes complete with power supply, 20’ mic-to-power supply cable, shockmount and wooden box. New custom flight cases are available for an additional $99.
To vote visit the TELEFUNKEN website.
Gary Hebert Of THAT Corporation To Present Microphone Preamplifier Design Tutorial At AES
The session is part of the Product Design Track of the 129th AES convention.
THAT Corporation’s Chief Technology Officer, Gary Hebert, aims to unlock the secrets of designing cost effective, high-performance microphone preamplifiers at a tutorial during the 129th Audio Engineering Society Convention in San Francisco.
Mr. Hebert’s tutorial, “Designing Microphone Preamplifiers”, addresses many of the challenges faced in this critical, largely analog part of the audio signal chain.
Hebert will present a sampling of amplifier topologies and circuit details, and discuss design tradeoffs among cost, size, power consumption, noise, distortion, and other factors.
The session, part of the Product Design Track within the AES convention, is scheduled for November 6th from 4:45 to 6:15pm,
“Preferences and opinions on preamplifiers are nearly a religion within the professional audio community where the microphone preamp often defines the signature sound of a piece of equipment or even a recording studio,” stated Mr. Hebert.
“Working in harmony with the microphone, the preamp often sets the performance of the entire system.”
“In addition, as the first line of defense to the outside world, it must withstand hostile conditions such as 48V phantom power faults or erroneously patched hot signals.”
THAT Corporation will sponsor the Product Design Track at the 129th AES Convention, which includes Hebert’s tutorial and 19 other events.
THAT Corporation’s Website
Tech Tip Of The Day: What’s That Buzzing?
Advice on how to eliminate interference from lighting dimmers in your studio.
Q: I just finished building my project, complete with some swanky dimmable lighting, and I’m all set to start mixing.
However, there’s a buzz in my signal chain I just can’t chase down. Any advice?
A: Anyone who has ever played a gig at the hotel ballroom has probably fought this battle at one time or another, but it’s really frustrating when it happens in your own studio.
There are several problems that cause this, and usually when it becomes noticeable it’s because more than one of them are active.
The variables are the quality and type of lighting dimmers, the amount of lighting being dimmed (is it one 100 watt bulb or 20 kilowatts of ballroom lighting?), the nature of the electrical wiring, and the nature and quality of the audio wiring.
Lighting dimmers that use big, inductive coils can cause hum to be induced in audio equipment just by being in close proximity.
Dimmers that use potentiometers or solid-state circuits (as many inexpensive home dimmers do) will cause hash noise and other garbage to be induced.
In both cases the induction often occurs through the electrical wiring. Basically, they feed a bunch of garbage back up the AC line (and ground line) and it finds its way into your gear.
Similarly, however, they radiate electromagnetic energy through the air, which means your poor guitar is going to pick it up.
Without getting into an entire electrician’s course on lighting circuits, suffice it to say that the quality of the dimmer and the way in which they are wired is an important variable.
If lighting dimmers put enough garbage into the air and back on to the electrical lines you may be stuck with some of it getting into your audio, but there are some precautions you can take to better your chances. Make absolutely sure you have no ground loops.
A ground loop acts as a big antenna for electromagnetic radiation so your best bet is to not have an antenna.
A power conditioner with isolated outlets will also help, both in preventing ground loops and in preventing general garbage on the AC line from getting to your delicate audio equipment.
Balanced wiring (both audio and electrical) will better be able to prevent problems than unbalanced wiring.
If you solve enough of these problems you should be able to bring the noise under control. If you can’t - and sometimes you just can’t - we suggest not dimming the lights.
After all, it’s not a perfect world folks.
As always, we welcome input from the PSW community and would love to know how you would (or have) handle lighting levels in the studio. Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com
DPA 4099 Clip On Microphones Amplify The String Section Of Sting
The 4099 is a new favorite of FOH Engineer Howard Page who is a fan of the absolute separation provided by the microphone.
Sting’s front of house engineer Howard Page is using a large quantity of DPA 4099 clip mics across the string section for Sting’s Symphonicity word tour.
Accompanied by a full symphonic orchestra, Symphonicity sees Sting performing new arrangements of his greatest hits as well as more unknown work.
Page, senior director of engineering at Clair Brothers, was approached to handle FOH for the tour due to his extensive orchestral experience.
Familiar with DPA microphones from Sting’s cathedral concerts last winter, Page was delighted with the 4099s purchased by Clair Brothers for the tour.
The entire string section - nine first violins, seven second violins, seven violas, five celli and three basses - is miked with 4099s, with several more on radio packs for clarinet and trumpet soloists.
Page has veered away from the traditional area miking method of amplifying an orchestra, where mics were shared between two chairs or desks.
“The problem with that is the moment you add even a semi-rock group to a symphony orchestra, the inherent dynamics between the two are so out of balance; the natural volume that a violin puts out compared to what a guitar or a drum puts out is so wildly different,” explains Page.
“The DPAs are the best mics I’ve ever, ever found - and I’ve been doing this a long time with orchestras. They give me absolute separation: when I turn on a DPA 4099 on one violin I get one violin and barely anything else, which gives me incredible signal to noise.”
“I also get more headroom on an overall string session than I’ve ever had on an orchestra before; traditionally you’re up against a feedback threshold, and your show is compromised by how loud you can go.”
“But the DPAs are so immediate that by clever use of overall reverb, I can move sections forward to get more presence for certain songs, or more natural reverb across them all.”
Over time, the show has evolved to become more rhythmic. “Sting’s getting the percussionist to play more back beat, and If I didn’t have the DPAs I’d frankly be dead in the water by now,” says Page.
“We’ve done all sorts of venues on this tour, including 40,000-capacity outdoor stadiums, the notoriously tricky Albert Hall and the reverberant Metropolitan Opera which is not designed to have microphones, and I couldn’t have done them with area miking, it doesn’t work.
“The beautiful thing about using the DPA 4099 is you turn it up and it sounds like a violin. The old contact mics didn’t give you the true texture of the violin sound, it gave you an edgy, screechy sound that you had to murder with EQ.”
“I place the 4099s on the F hole on the top side of the violin, turn them up with no EQ, and they sound exactly like listening to the instrument. One of the most difficult challenges of doing this is instantly removed.”
“Word about the DPA 4099 is, believe me, getting around,” he says. “Everyone raves about how the strings sound on this show, and the reviews all mention how rich the orchestra sounds.”
Aphex Sponsors H.E.A.R. Charity Auction
Winners of the Aphex/H.E.A.R. eBay auction will be announced at the 129th Audio Engineering Society Convention.
Aphex has donated several of its professional audio products for an auction to benefit H.E.A.R., Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers.
The online auction is sponsored by H.E.A.R. and hosted on the foundation’s eBay store. Bidding begins on Monday, October 18, and continues for two weeks.
On offer is an Aphex Model 204 Aural Exciter and Big Bottom signal processor, as well as two Aphex Model 454 HeadPod Headphone Amps.
Proceeds of the sales of these products will benefit H.E.A.R. and its ongoing education programs promoting hearing awareness.
“We’re really thrilled to have the support of Aphex to help promote our programs,” said H.E.A.R. Co-Founder and Executive Director Kathy Peck.
“The company has been an integral part of so many legendary recordings over the years, and it’s great to know that they stand behind our cause of alerting musicians and music fans to the importance of protecting their hearing.”
“H.E.A.R. has long provided an invaluable service to our industry and to music fans the world over,” added Rick McClendon, Aphex General Manager.
“There are few things more important than guarding against hearing loss.”
“Too many times, young people in particular don’t find out about the dangers of excessive volume levels until they’ve already done irreparable damage to their ears, and if we can prevent even one person from suffering hearing loss, it’s a worthwhile cause. We’re excited to be a part of H.E.A.R.‘s efforts.”
Winners of the Aphex/H.E.A.R. eBay auction will be announced at the upcoming Audio Engineering Society Convention in San Francisco, November 4-7, 2010, as well as on the Aphex and H.E.A.R. websites.
To bid on the Aphex items visit the H.E.A.R. eBay store.
Friday, October 15, 2010
CharterOak Acoustic Devices Now Shipping New PEQ1 Program Equalizer
Carefully chosen switchable center frequency points, overlapping bands, and contoured cut and boost are well suited for music production
CharterOak Acoustic Devices has announced that the new PEQ-1 program equalizer has begun shipping. The PEQ1 is a switchable 16-band program equalizer with center frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 50 kHz that is intended for use as a finishing tool on the mix bus or in mastering.
The design of the PEQ-1 is very intuitive, as the carefully chosen switchable center frequency points, overlapping bands, and contoured cut and boost are well suited for music production.
The equalizer is clean and free of distortion, which allows for large amounts of boost in the upper frequencies without any harshness, and also boasts ultra-low phase shift resulting in tight and focused bass and excellent stereo imaging.
“All of the end user feedback and comments gathered initiated several rounds of tweaks, resulting in the most musically refined equalizer I’ve used in my 25 years of producing and recording,” said Michael Deming, president and founder of CharterOak. “The PEQ-1 is very different than any other stereo equalizer on the market at the moment, and serves as a broad tone control with a focus on stereo imaging, natural musicality, and audio quality of the absolute highest order.”
The PEQ-1 comes with a lifetime warranty on all parts and labor and easy access to factory technical support. The PEQ1 can be auditioned at the upcoming AES Show (booth 1036) in San Francisco.
CharterOak Acoustic Devices Website
Posted by Keith Clark on 10/15 at 09:42 AM
Meyer Sound Brings Matt Ferguson Onboard As Digital Audio Product Specialist
Will support customers in the design and operation of D-Mitri, the company’s new Gigabit network-based digital audio processing and distribution platform
Meyer Sound has announced the addition of Matt Ferguson to its expanding technical support department as digital audio product specialist.
In his new position, Ferguson will support customers in the design and operation of D-Mitri, the company’s new Gigabit network-based digital audio processing and distribution platform which began shipping in 2010. Ferguson will also be available to support users of Meyer Sound’s loudspeakers, audio show control tools, and Galileo loudspeaker management system.
Prior to joining Meyer Sound, Matt Ferguson was audio technician at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. for four years, responsible for servicing and installing sound systems for its numerous attractions. For Disney’s newest “World of Color” nighttime water spectacular, Ferguson played an instrumental role in the design, documentation, installation, and tuning of the Meyer Sound loudspeakers in the production.
He also worked closely on the programming of the D-Mitri system which drives the entire show’s audio playback and routing. Ferguson was a contract engineer for Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA for two years, mixing its weekend services and acting as the local technical director for its satellite Irvine campus.
“We are absolutely delighted to have Matt join us as we continue to expand our support resources,” says John Monitto, director of technical support for Meyer Sound. “With his field experience applying Meyer Sound’s digital technology and loudspeakers as well as his extensive training from our education program, I am convinced that our customers will benefit greatly from Matt’s exceptional technical expertise.”
Reporting to Monitto, Ferguson will work closely with Richard Bugg, Meyer Sound’s digital product technical support manager, and Jason Rauhoff, digital audio product specialist. Ferguson is based at Meyer Sound headquarters in Berkeley.
Meyer Sound Website
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Deploying New Concert Technology At Rogers Bayfest
The multi-weekend festival which saw audiences of up to up to 20,000 per show utilized several impressive sound systems deployed by Showworks.
The annual Rogers Bayfest music festival has grown from humble roots since it’s founding over a decade ago with just a single performance to currently spanning two consecutive weekends where more than 100,000 attendees are treated to shows by top artists and numerous emerging acts.
Hosted in its original beautiful setting of Centennial Park in downtown Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, on the southern banks of Lake Huron, the 2010 version of the festival set a new high in terms of number of performances.
The first weekend offered rock headliners such as the Scorpions, Rush, and Weezer, followed by a second weekend of country that included top artists like Keith Urban and Alan Jackson.
And this year for the first time, it was all capped by yet another performance day featuring The Black Eyed Peas.
Bayfest is not only one of the largest tourist attractions for the area, but is also one of its biggest economic stimulators.
In fact, it was named the Best Business/Event Of The Year for 2009 by the Ontario Tourism Council.
Founded by the late Jim Stokely and still under the direction of his wife Michelle, it is a non-profit endeavor, with all proceeds going back into the community.
Sound reinforcement for Bayfest was supplied by Showworks, a fast-growing production and system installation company based in Mississauga, Ontario.
Showworks, which also provided lighting, video and other production for the second consecutive year, is headed by veteran touring mix engineer Geoff Kent.
In addition, Rob Deslauriers of SF Marketing of Canada lent his talents to the sound system design.
The large main stage, owned by the festival organization, hosts all performances. It’s the focal point of a huge lawn extending well over 600 feet back that hosts audiences of up to 20,000 per show.
Geoff Kent of Showworks, sound provider for the event.
For the first weekend, Showworks chose to utilize two EAW KF760 large-format line arrays, flown to each side of the stage, to provide primary coverage, but things changed notably on the second weekend, with the sound team deciding to deploy the recently introduced EAW KF740 line array modules as the mains.
The KF740 delivers output resembling the much larger KF760, but at a muchreduced footprint and lower weight. Each module incorporates eight drivers (four- 10 LF, dual-8 MF and dual-1.4-in-exit HF) into a cabinet measuring just 13 inches high by 40 inches wide.
A symmetrical design, large horn and spaced woofers foster broadband pattern control, and the system can be further optimized with the company’s Focusing processing and Resolution software. KF740 modules can also integrate with KF760 or KF730 arrays for additional flexibility. (For more about the KF740, see Designer Notebook in the April 2010 issue.)
“This was our first real-world application with the KF740, and it couldn’t have gone any better,” Kent states.
“There have been just a couple of times in my entire career where I’ve developed a whole new level of respect for PA rigs, and this is one of them.
The thing that stands out the most is the compact footprint of the box versus its output, combined with a full, rich sonic quality.
It’s just incredible. I’m a true skeptic, but this is the real thing.”
The main arrays each incorporated 10 KF740 modules, with four KF760s at the top to add a bit of high-frequency boost to the very back of the coverage region.
In addition, the arrays weren’t configured in the usual “J” shape, but rather, were set up to provide more of a flat-front array due to the throw distances involved.
“One of the great things about the festival this year is that it gave us a nice comparison, with KF760 arrays the first week followed by KF740 arrays in the same space,” Kent adds.
“With the KF740s, we literally attained the same coverage and SPL (as the KF760s), and what really stood out is a more ‘hi-fi’ sonic signature of the newer arrays.”
A view showing the large scope (and coverage area) presented by Bayfest.
Both weekends, the main arrays were flanked by six flown Meyer Sound M3DSub subwoofers, loaded with dual-18 and dual-15 woofers that are configured to supply cardioid characteristics for additional control of low-frequency energy.
On the ground, 24 Canadian Speaker Works Pro (CSW Pro) Black Box dual- 18 hypercardioid subwoofers in front of the stage supplied a low-end hammer when needed.
“The CSW Pro is the loudest, angriest subwoofer this side of Servodrive that I’ve heard anywhere,” notes Deslauriers.
Front fill and out fill to the very front and side areas came courtesy of eight KF761 wide-coverage modules placed atop the subwoofers.
All main system loudspeakers and subwoofers were driven by QSC PowerLight 3 Series power amplifiers, with PL380s the predominant choice except for high-frequency drivers, which were powered by a combination of PL340 and PL325.
Five EAW UX8800 units (each 4-in by 8-out) provided both loudspeaker and overall system processing, as well as facilitating more advanced tailoring with EAW Pilot software linked in via PC.
The UX8800 processors were all networked, allowing control and monitoring from the house mix position. The sound team notes that the networking, employing the latest version of EAW U-Net firmware, proved exceptionally stable and user-friendly.
“I really like to focus on sound and don’t get all that excited about networking, but I have to say that the networking here was beyond impressive,” Kent states. “It was really dialed in. It’s obvious that EAW has put a lot of time and care into this.”
Two delay zones helped solidify coverage, in particular bolstering high-frequency support. Each zone incorporated EAW NTL720 compact, self-powered line arrays both flown at about 200 feet and 400 feet from the stage, behind the house mix position. And, both of these arrays were also incorporated on the system-wide network.
One of the EAW KF740 main arrays - topped by KF760 modules - with a relatively flat-front configuration, and next to flown Meyer M3D-Sub subwoofers.
Showworks had a Yamaha PM4000 console at the ready for any acts that needed it, but the vast majority brought in their own consoles for both house and monitors.
The same with effects devices. Consoles and outboard gear could be patched in quickly via a Midas XL88 line level 8 by 8 matrix mixer.
“Festivals are all about quick changeovers between acts as well as being able to accommodate the needs of every artist and guest engineer. That was the driving force of our efforts on both weekends, and it all happened seamlessly,” Deslauriers says.
For Kent, a highlight was the final concert by The Black Eyed Peas, a band he’s worked with extensively in the past. “They put the pedal to the metal, really pushed it in terms of dynamics, and the engineer produced a great mix,” he concludes. “It was a demanding test for any array, let alone a new one you’re just getting a feel for, and it stood up really well, passing with flying colors.”
What You Need To Know When It Comes To Mixing Wedding Music
Technical know-how and art must come together when it comes to weddings. Are you prepared?
Getting out of my car on the way to work a wedding, I thought to myself, “This is going to be one hot service.”
And not for the reason you might be thinking, either.
This bright August day, the sky was clear, the sun was directly overhead, and I was headed to an outdoor wedding.
In retrospect, I was much more fortunate than the groom and his entourage who were decked out in the 87 layers of rental clothing that come with wearing tuxedos.
It’s not that I’m against outdoor weddings. Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding turning water into wine. Ten bucks says it wasn’t Beringer White Zin, either.
Heck, I’d bet the first outdoor wedding would have been between Adam and Eve had only they been able to find a reception hall with a disco ball.
But that’s not why I’m telling you all of this.
Sitting in the amphitheater, hoping my sweat wouldn’t soon change the color of my shirt, I eyed the sound system.
It was a portable Fender unit with a few line inputs and outputs and speakers on pedestals - acceptable for the small venue.
The sound guy was the brother of the bride and currently had the job of controlling the wedding music. Let’s call it an iPod wedding and just get that out of the way.
The wedding was nice, and everything went smoothly - no feedback issues that I’ve seen in the outdoor environments.
I remember one wedding where the microphone was directly in line with both loudspeakers - feedback wasn’t a problem at that wedding, it was part of the wedding.
I’m writing all this just to build up to a cental point when it comes to wedding music; technical know-how and art must come together when it comes to weddings absent of any musicians and where it’s up to the sound operator to provide the music.
Great music performances flow from one song to the next. There are even albums with little-to-no delay between songs.
I’m not saying silent space can’t occur between songs but there is a time and a place for everything.
Running sound for an event like a wedding might mean we are charged with playing music before, during, and/or after the wedding.
I submit to you that we are responsible for more than just playing the music but blending it and playing it so it flows.
A perfect example is switching from one song to the next. There are a few ways this can sound badly.
The song ends and the audience hears the CD player open, close and then the next song starts - because the music is from a stack of CD’s.
The song starts to fade out and then suddenly stops and the next song plays.
The song fades but the time between when it fades out of the audience’s ability to hear it and when the next song starts is greater than five seconds.
Just because we aren’t mixing a band, it doesn’t mean we can’t mix recorded wedding music. There are a few options available.
Using CD’s, use two CD decks to cue up and blend the music. That’s basically a DJ setup. Use the faders to fade in out songs as appropriate.
Get the music way before the wedding and create a mix CD (or computer file if you can play that way). This way, you can create a mix with the proper timing between songs.
Whatever you do, don’t just kill a song - fade it out if you have to.
Remember, wedding music carries emotion. When the time between songs is too long or songs end suddenly, listeners can tune out of the mood which the music is trying to set.
I want the father-of-the-bride to be thinking about the beauty of the wedding. I don’t want to give him the opportunity to think about what he has to do tomorrow.
What Bad Wedding Audio Experiences Have You Witnessed? What Wedding Audio Advice Can You Share? Let us 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.
D.A.S. Audio System Chosen By Vineyard Church Of Columbus
A variant line array system was deployed in the newly remodeled sanctuary.
With a congregation of approximately 8,000, Vineyard Church of Columbus is the largest church in Central Ohio.
While it offers hundreds of ministries and thousands of volunteer opportunities to its congregation, Vineyard Columbus works very hard to be a ‘small’ church where members won’t get lost in the shuffle.
The church recently completed a dramatic overhaul of its multipurpose room and, in an effort to provide the very best audio quality throughout the space, installed a new sound reinforcement system drawn from the catalog of Valencia, Spain-based D.A.S. Audio.
Co-owned by Ed Whitney and Mike Hockenberry, Reynoldsburg, OH-based Metro Audio Video, LLC was contracted to design and install the church’s new sound system.
Metro Audio Video is a design build firm for sound, video, and lighting with a significant presence in the church, corporate AV, and education markets.
The sound reinforcement system that Whitney ultimately deployed consists of eight D.A.S. Audio Variant 25A powered, two-way mid-high line array elements, two Variant 18A powered subwoofers, plus three AX-V25 steel bumpers to hang the system.
“Vineyard Columbus’ multipurpose space is used for everything from meetings and banquets to small concerts,” said Whitney.
“When the church decided to renovate, they wanted to get away from the look of a gymnasium. Hence, they erected a multi-level stage area and they didn’t want big, unsightly loudspeakers to overwhelm the room and interfere with the line of sight. Aesthetics were very important.”
Whitney continued, “The room is approximately 90 feet by 75 feet and has a drop ceiling. The space is structured such that it is wider than it is long—with the stage / altar area facing into the width of the room and the FOH (front of house) mix position situated along the opposite wall.”
“There is some acoustical wall treatment in addition to carpeting. Moveable seating for approximately 900 people is used. Music plays a vital role in the church’s worship service and there is both a praise band and a large, 150-voice choir.”
“For these reasons, we had to find a loudspeaker setup that provided solid music reproduction, a high level of speech intelligibility, and wide dispersion. Most significantly, large, unsightly loudspeakers were out of the question.”
“The D.A.S. Variant loudspeakers are compact, self-powered, and have excellent flyware,” said Whitney. “Since there was no room for the subwoofers under the stage area, the fact that the Variant system places the 18A sub at the top of the cluster proved to be exactly what we needed.”
“The system is flown at approximately 15 feet and I was particularly impressed with the ease of interconnecting the system. After installing the AX-V25 bumpers, the subwoofer and the three elements all clip together. The setup is small and light, yet provides a full, rich sound that creates even coverage throughout the space.”
Vineyard Columbus’ new system was installed in May 2010 and placed into service in early June. “We arranged a demonstration of the system during the consulting phase of the project and Carlos Henao, D.A.S. Audio of America’s U.S. Accounts Manager, came out to us, ground stacked a demonstration system, and did a terrific job pointing out the features and benefits of the equipment. His efforts really helped seal the deal,’ said Whitney.
With the system fully operation, Byron Houchins, Vineyard Columbus’ Director of Media, reports that everyone at the church is very pleased. “We are extremely happy with the performance of the D.A.S. system,” said Houchins.
“The sound quality is excellent and consistent no matter where you happen to be seated in the room. Equally important, the loudspeakers aren’t visually distracting. This is the best sounding system we’ve ever had.”
D.A.S. Audio Website
Calrec Audio Appoints Regional Director Of Sales For Western U.S. & Canada
David Letson has been named to the newly created position.
Calrec Audio has announced the appointment of David Letson to the new position of regional director of sales for the western U.S. and Canada.
The westward expansion of the U.S.-based sales force represents the company’s intention to better serve the market for its audio consoles in the entertainment and regional broadcast sectors.
Letson was integral in developing Calrec’s close relationship with Sky as well as its market in the Middle East and Eastern Europe when he worked as a sales manager for the company in the United Kingdom from 2001 to 2008.
Most recently, he has served as national sales manager for Riedel Communications, Australia.
“Calrec has had an excellent few years of development, and we’re seeing the fruits of the development now, in particular with the new Apollo and Artemis consoles that rely on our integrated Hydra2 networking,” said Letson.
“It’s an exciting time for the company, and I’m looking forward to introducing the benefits of Calrec technology to new customers in studios and other media enterprises in Southern California, the western U.S., and Canada.”
Letson will be based in Los Angeles and will report to Henry Goodman, Calrec’s head of sales and marketing. He takes over his new responsibilities Oct. 18, just in time to attend the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in San Francisco Nov. 4-7.
Calrec Audio Website
Ashly Processing & Amplification Chosen To Refresh Japan’s Ryokaku-Ji Temple
Masaki Morimoto designed the new cost-effective system for Japan’s Ryokaku-ji Temple which is based uponthe Ashly ne8250pe eight-channel amplifier with DSP.
Ryokaku-ji Temple is located in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, three-hundred miles west of Tokyo in central Japan.
Although it was founded nearly five hundred years ago – literally centuries before the advent of sound reinforcement – Ryokaku-ji Temple has never hesitated to embrace new technologies.
When the temple moved to a new building fourteen years ago, it installed a sound system for the 100-seat hall of worship that promised clear speech and moving music reproduction.
However, much to the disappointment of the family that owns Ryokaku-ji Temple that promise was never delivered. Speech sounded boxy and music dribbled out, drained of its vitality.
EMU and ENU, a nearby Tokyo-based pro audio sales and sound reinforcement integrator, came to the rescue when the family had finally had enough.
Company president Masaki Morimoto designed a new cost-effective system centered on the powerful processing and robust performance of an Ashly ne8250pe eight-channel amplifier plus DSP, combined with an Ashly WR-5 remote controller for intuitive user control.
The new system consists of six loudspeakers and one subwoofer. A stereo pair of One Systems full-range boxes is located where the ceiling meets the wall above the main riser, and four Tannoy ceiling speakers distribute audio over the seating area.
Morimoto built a subwoofer to specification for the temple. He custom-sized the dual five-inch to fit under the furniture in front of the statue of Buddha.
“I wanted to deliver a reliable, long-lived system that would sound full and musical,” said Morimoto. “In addition, the system had to be compact and cost-effective. In my pro audio experience, which is now stretching into its fifth decade, the Ashly products represent a unique combination of performance, reliability and economy.”
“I was confident that the two-rack space Ashly unit would result in the improvements that the owners were expecting.”
The inputs to the system consist of four wireless microphones, two wired microphones, a CD player, and a DI from an electric organ. The microphones are used primarily for the sutra of a few priests and the spoken word of a sermon on the weekends.
The inputs feed a TOA 12-in/2-out analog mixer, which in turn feeds the Ashly ne8250pe. With the easily-connected Ashly WR-5 wall remote control, users can control the overall volume and select between speech and music modes, which reconfigure the loudspeaker’s relative volumes and equalization.
Morimoto made good use of the Ashly ne8250pe’s integrated DSP, which contains a well-implemented list of processing modules that are available in any custom configuration via easy-to-use software.
“The sound quality is now perfect for both speech and music reproduction,” enthused Morimoto. “The family that owns Ryokaku-ji Temple is very pleased.
We’re now drawing up plans to revamp the sound system in their early-childhood education wing. Once again, Ashly Audio’s technology will form its core.”
Electro-Voice Loudspeakers Deployed In Force For Film Premiere At Fenway Park
The key technical challenge for the system, which was modeled by Michael Rome of BLS using Electro-Voice Line Array Prediction Software (LAPS), was to recreate both the power and the nuance of the soundtrack in a setting designed for baseball rather than sound
“A lot of people dream of hitting a grand slam in Fenway, but we actually did.” That’s how Larry Habetz, founder and owner of Southwest Louisiana’s Gulf Coast Sound Productions (GCS), describes the experience of deploying a sound system incorporating more than 100 Electro-Voice loudspeakers at Boston’s Fenway Park for the premiere of the new Ben Affleck film The Town.
Specifically, the system included three line arrays, surrounds, and a large complement of subwoofers, helping to project the 5.1 channel soundtrack’s clarity and dynamic range while bringing home the full impact of the movie’s action.
When the film’s producers settled on the premiere’s unconventional setting, event projection specialists Boston Light & Sound (BLS) were brought in to oversee technical aspects of the screening. “We actually like going into places where people think you can’t do a good job showing a movie, and Fenway Park was one of those,” says Chapin Cutler of BLS
BLS specified an Electro-Voice line array system to cover seating for about 2,500 behind the third-base dugout. “A decade ago we worked with the late Monte Wise at ShoWest on what was probably the first use of a line array for Dolby Digital theatrical playback,” Cutler says, “and ever since then we’ve been using Electro-Voice arrays whenever we can. The pattern control we get with these arrays means that we can control sound levels very precisely from front to back and deliver superior intelligibility across a large area.
“So we’ve been a believer in EV speaker systems for many years, and we selected Gulf Coast because they are an EV provider and we knew from previous experience that they are a terrific company to work with.”
The key technical challenge for the system, which was modeled by Michael Rome of BLS using Electro-Voice’s Line Array Prediction Software (LAPS), was to recreate both the power and the nuance of the soundtrack in a setting designed for baseball rather than sound.
“Movies are very dynamic,” says Habetz. “You touch on so many different aspects of the audio range, from mild to wild, from a whisper to an explosion.” Because of this sonic variety, soundtracks can reveal a lot about loudspeaker capabilities.
“Some company’s boxes sound great doing a particular style of music, like rock and roll, because their characteristics complement those kinds of sounds,” he adds. “But there may be other types of sound that they don’t handle as well. For a movie, your speakers have to be able to do it all. They have to be able to reproduce all the dynamics as accurately as possible, and to shine in all aspects.”
The specifics of the system configuration were largely driven, Habetz explains, by the goal of providing the most even coverage from the front seats to the back, as well as the requirement for at least 20 dB of headroom above the nominal theatrical-standard operating level of 85 db SPL. “They want the ability to provide that dynamic range without stressing any components in the signal chain.”
The left, center, and right channels of the soundtrack were handled with three line arrays, each composed of 12 XLC127DVX three-way, high-output compact line-array elements. oversaw the crew “We had to build a grid over the third-base dugout, and each box had to be lifted up there before being flown. If the boxes were big and heavy, or the rigging wasn’t user-friendly, it would cost us in time and labor to put up those arrays. So we chose XLC127s for their intelligibility and ease-of-rigging, and because they pack a lot of horsepower in a small size. We’ve had a great return on our investment in those boxes, because EV designed them with upgradeable electronics, so even the first units we purchased seven years ago are still cutting-edge technology today.”
For the low end, the system combined 16 Xsub dual 18-inch subwoofers with 24 XLC-118 high-output subwoofer line-array elements that Habetz says were “used as a kind of bridge between the 12-inch drivers in the XLC127DVXs and the dual-18s in the Xsub.” With a total of 56 18-inch drivers stacked behind the screen, he adds, “we moved some substantial air. The impact was huge — you could feel the park literally shake during the explosions - so it really had that larger-than-life, Hollywood feel.”
For left and right surround channels, 24 XLE181s were deployed in groups of four at three locations on each side of the seating area. “We wanted nice dynamics with controlled coverage to get a smooth transition from the closest seat to the farthest. And we needed something that was light but with good horsepower. The XLE181s are only 38 pounds, but they have a lot of bang for their size and a lot of bang for the buck. So it worked out great.”
Overall installation coordination for the undertaking was provided by Celine Larimer with the assistance of Daniel Beedy, both from BLS. As a sound engineer and the technical liason for the project, Larimer was able to coordinate the efforts of all parties in the project with the many departments at Fenway Park.
“When dealing with an historic structure like Fenway, and the huge concern for protecting the ball field itself, the logistics for this project were daunting,” Larimer says. “Because of our long standing relationship with the Park, we were able to work with them in hanging the surround arrays from the roof overhang and bring a level of comfort to the Park management,” she adds. It is believed this event was the first time a film has ever been run in Fenway Park.
To power all these loudspeakers and maintain the required headroom, the system incorporated 60 Electro-Voice P-RL amplifiers. “We have been using these amps for years, largely for outdoor festival work.” Habetz says. “They bounce around in the back of the truck and they are very robust on the road. But they also deliver a lot of dynamics with very low noise. The movie people were really on the lookout for hiss and other noise, but when our rig was fired up they walked around and they couldn’t hear anything.”
The amps’ on-board DSP was used for limiting and some time alignment, while the rest of the system processing, including FIR filtering to optimize the signal for each speaker model, was applied via an Electro-Voice NetMax N8000-1500 digital matrix controller.
“NetMax is phenomenal,” Habetz says. “It does so much, and we’re not even scratching the surface of what it can do. We have a tablet computer attached to the NetMax via WiFi, and after it rained and there was some concern that the sound had changed, we were able to remotely pull up the real-time status of each amp to show that the system was operating normally, and that the change was due to water on the perforated screen.”
With the integration of NetMax support across a broad spectrum of components, Electro-Voice has made it easy for companies like GCS to stick with a familiar, consistent solution for a wide variety of situations. “100 percent of our speakers and 98 percent of our amps are EV,” Habetz says. “Getting it all from one manufacturer is a huge advantage. If you have a problem you don’t have to call five different places. With EV, you have a single source, and all the engineering staff works together to help you. They know you, and they treat you like part of the family. That kind of relationship is very important to the success of our business.”