Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tascam Announces HS-2000 & HS-4000 Recorders At AES 2010
The two- and four-track timecode recorders use solid-state media.
Tascam has announced the launch of the HS-2000 two-track and HS-4000 4-track recorders
The recorders use dual Compact Flash media for recording, which unlike tape is immune to vibration, wear and weather damage.
Confidence recording mode is available to monitor the audio off the card during recording.
A touch screen interface drives the recorder, and a simple UI makes menus easy to navigate.
The HS-4000 can operate in dual-deck mode, allowing it to function as two separate recorders. Other features include On-air playback mode and adding tracks to a playlist during playback.
Interface options for the HS-2000 and HS-4000 include synchronization chase through RS-422, SMPTE timecode and parallel control.
Pull-up and pull-down modes are available for post production workflows, as well as video sync to HD Tri-Level. Files are recorded as BWAV format, and AES31 import/export is also available.
Also being announced is the RC-HS32PD Remote Control Unit for the two recorders. This controller provides 32 keys for hot start with 64x32 dot matrix color LCDs for name display.
It features a color TFT touch screen that mirrors the two recorders. Two 100mm faders include fader start by microswitch, 0dB level lock and on-air signal indication. A speaker and headphone output are provided on the RC-HS32PD for monitoring.
The HS-2000 and HS-4000 are a unique solid-state solution for broadcast logging, post product and telecine. Also available from TASCAM are the HS-8 8-track recorder with timecode and HS-2 stereo recorder with optional timecode expansion.
4-track recorder with timecode chase (HS-4000)
2-track recorder with timecode chase (HS-2000)
Solid-state recording using dual Compact Flash card slots for redundancy
Confidence monitoring mode for read-after-write verification
Fast boot time
Dual Deck mode operates as two separate stereo recorders (HS-4000)
Simple-to-use Touch screen interface with large color TFT display
Timeline mode and Take mode
On-air audio playback and monitor playback
Advanced playlist functions include adding tracks to playlist while in play
Gigabit ethernet control and file transfer
Serial RS-422 and Parallel control modes
USB host for record/transfer to USB flash media
SMPTE Timecode sync with pull-up/pull-down modes
Up to 96kHz/24-bit recording
Export projects to AES31 format
Stereo monitor mixing
Video sync input supports NTSC/PAL/BB/HD Tri-Level
Flash start using controller (RC-HS32PD, RC-HS20PD, RC-SS20), parallel control, RS-232C control or PS/2 keyboard
2u rackmount size
HS-2000/HS-4000 Specifications and interface
XLR balanced inputs/outputs
XLR balanced stereo monitor outputs
1/4” TRS stereo headphone output
RS-422, RS-232C and Parallel inputs on D-sub
XLR balanced SMPTE timecode input and output
RJ-45 gigabit ethernet
PS/2 keybard input
USB host output (type-A 4P, USB 2.0)
RJ-45 remote input (for RC-HS20PD or RC-HS32PD only)
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
When To Hire A Technical Arts Director
Are your volunteers stretched thin? Has your church recently been considering a paid technical position? Here's how to know when making that jump is a necessity.
Many years ago I wrote an article on ChurchTechArts on which the following question was posed.
I seem to get asked this question a lot and it’s a great way to lead into this article:
“How do you keep your volunteers sticking around? We are a large church approx 3000 members running 5 services and everything is volunteer run.”
“The engineer that runs the services that weekend is there for about 20 hours on the weekend, and the schedule has them running every other weekend.”
“At what point does a church hire a position to “lead” a technical group in scheduling and training?
Not surprisingly, I have some strong opinions on the topic. But before I share my thoughts, I have to admit a certain amount of confusion when this question comes up.
The question is often phrased similarly to the above question and I’ll translate what I think the question really is;
“We’re a good-sized church that places a high value on our production values. We want good sound, good lights and good presentation.”
“We’re not getting it however, because our volunteers don’t seem to have the skills or desire to learn or stick around. How can we fix this (without spending any money)?”
Often, the church in question is pretty well endowed technically. I’ve talked to one church that has a PM5D, a big Strand lighting console and some high-end video gear, yet no staff dedicated to technical leadership.
And yet, for some reason, the volunteers either don’t really know what they’re doing or burn out and quit.
Pardon the touch of sarcasm…
Here’s where my confusion comes in. Does this church rely strictly on volunteers for their kids ministry department? Nope. Youth ministry? Nope. Adult ministry? Nope.
Do they have a full-time worship leader/music director/worship pastor? Yup.
Why? Because these are important ministries that require the attention of a staff member to keep on track. And yet, I find church after church expecting great things from their technical volunteers without providing them any leadership.
The results are predictable. They don’t show up when scheduled. They get tired. They don’t do a good job. Or, worst of all, they quit.
Now, keep in mind, this is not a ding on volunteers. The ones I know are dedicated, and really want to do a good job.
Just as you would never send an infantry unit into battle without someone in charge to say, “Here’s our objective and here’s how were going to achieve it,” you can’t tell a volunteer, who already has a full-time job, that you expect full-time performance out of them.
Well, you can, but you’ll be disappointed in the results.
It’s important to keep in mind that I don’t share this perspective from the ivory tower of academia, or from a lofty view out of a full-time tech director’s window.
I was the lead volunteer in 2 churches for a combined 15 years.
After 10 years at my first church, I was completely burned out. I had begun to resent the demands that were placed on me.
I wanted to do a good job, but I wasn’t really empowered to do it, nor was there a clear direction on what was even considered a “good job.”
I ended up leaving the church and taking 6 months off. At the next church, I was quickly recruited to take on a similar role.
This time, the burnout only took 5 years. So I know of what I speak.
So what is the solution? A technical leadership position. Call it Technical Arts Director, Tech Director, Minister of Media, Pastor of Weekend Technology; heck, you can call me Al if you want (but only if I can call you Betty).
I believe this person’s job description needs to include the following:
Caring for existing volunteers, which includes scheduling, training, equipping and leading them.
Recruiting additional volunteers.
Providing a clear direction of what constitutes successful job performance.
As much as I love being a hands-on techie, I think the TAD should remain as hands-off as possible for weekend services.
The technical team is a great place for volunteers to serve and make a huge contribution to the church, and we need to empower them to do, and do it well.
In the case of the church we were discussing previously, I think they are crazy asking volunteer sound guys to give 40 hours a month. Does it really surprise anyone that they don’t stick around?
To be fair, recruiting sound people is the hardest recruiting job in the church, hands down. The pool of possible candidates is perilously small, and the demands of the job are high.
It’s also one of the most rewarding volunteer positions in the church if it’s done right, which is why I like to keep it volunteer as much as possible.
To that church, I would say you are long overdue for a full-time tech arts person. That staffer’s first responsibility is to reduce the workload for the sound guys.
That might mean finding more sound people, developing a set-up team so the engineers can come in later, develop a tear down team so the engineers can leave earlier, or running sound for Saturday nights.
You’ll need to develop a short-term fix, and a long-term plan that is sustainable.
I’m also a firm believer that the TAD’s position should not include dealing with every single technical need in the church. I’ve seen job descriptions from some churches that are just laughable.
This poor chap is expected to be an expert in sound, lighting, video, presentation, video production, the heart of a pastor, a theology degree, full understanding of IT issues, etc.; will be responsible for all weekend and mid-week A/V needs for all ministries of the church (min. 55 hrs./week).
And, of course, the maximum pay is $35,000. Good luck with that one. At best, you’ll get someone who can do 50% of what you want, will be a recent college graduate and will be gone in less than 2 years.
Don’t go there.
Most churches don’t understand the depth of the void they have.
If the TAD position is new, there’s the tendency to think that because they have been “getting the job done” with volunteers (and I quote “getting the job done” because by asking the very question above, they are admitting the job is not getting done), that there won’t really be that much for the TAD to do.
They think that it’s at best a 20 hr./week position, so they look to fill up their time with other stuff.
I actually used to think that. I was wrong.
My work ethic is off the chart, I’m an efficiency maven and I have developed some really good systems to make myself as productive as possible. And I could work 60+ hours a week and still not keep ahead of my to-do list.
Developing top-notch technical teams takes a lot of work. Period.
So, don’t short-change yourself by thinking that it’s not a big deal. In fact, you might find that the TAD needs a part-time assistant to handle some of the admin tasks they will be faced with.
Back to the original question, “At what point to you hire a lead tech person?” You hire them before you get to the point that you need them.
And if you missed that point, you hire them. Now. As churches grow, they naturally add staff to keep up with the demands of the ministry.
In most churches, the worship service is a big deal and it needs to happen well. Good leadership is required to make that happen.
Most see the need for paid kids ministry staff, but that really only benefits a sub-set of the church community. Same for youth, adults and seniors. But everyone is affected by the worship service.
If anything, one could argue you should hire a TAD before you hire a kids ministries director (heresy…I know…).
A good TAD will become invisible in the church. Worshipers won’t brag to their friends about how great the technical arts ministry is (like they will the kids ministry).
However, a solid TAD will make a huge impact on the life of the church nonetheless.
Worship services will flow more smoothly, people will interact with God distraction-free, and there will be a sense that God is present like never before.
I know, as I’ve seen this transformation first-hand.
Is your church at the point of needing a TAD? have you recently made the jump? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike Sessler is the Technical Director at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, CA. He has been involved in live production for over 20 years and is the author of the blog, Church Tech Arts . He also hosts a weekly podcast called Church Tech Weekly on the TechArtsNetwork.
MixSensei Launches Master Audio Concepts On-Line Video Tutorials & Website At AES Convention
Producer /Educator Dave Isaac has created an on-line and mobile audio-enginnering education platform.
At the 125th AES Convention MixSensei.com unveiled Master Audio Concepts, a form of on-line video tutorials presented by Grammy-winning engineer/producer Dave Isaac.
The author has worked with a wide range of musical talent, including Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller, in addition to television and motion pictures.
Available for download from a customized website, the new series of tutorials has been developed for both beginners and experienced professionals that want to share the audio concepts behind Isaac’s production skills and make them their own.
The first three tutorials - Mixing Marcus Miller, Enter The Dynamics and Return Of The Dynamics – are currently live.
“MixSensei.com is an on-line and mobile platform for anyone who is interested in the skills of audio engineering and who wants to hear it straight and to the point!” said Isaac.
“Whether you are a starter in the music industry, a student at one of the music colleges, or a professional that wants to hear another perspective on engineering, you cannot express yourself with one letter in the alphabet. You can’t create a great song, album, or catalog of music with one note!
The series integrates a combination of engineering skills, musical knowledge and practical understanding of studio equipment into a fully interactive form of learning that is enriched by the involvement of many high-profile engineers and musicians.
“This combination makes MixSensei.com a unique platform for education with a highly practical background,” Isaac said. “MixSensei.com is the place to go.”
Shure Introduces New Beta 181 Instrument Microphone At AES 2010
The first-of-its-kind side-address condenser microphone features interchangeable capsules.
Shure Incorporated has introduced the Beta 181, an ultra-compact, side-address condenser microphone designed for discreet placement and control in live and studio environments.
It is the first wired performance microphone from Shure that features interchangeable polar pattern capsules – cardioid, supercardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional – to offer versatility in constantly changing performance environments.
“This mic is aces in tight spaces,” said Chad Wiggins, Shure’s Category Director for Wired Products.
“It’s so compact; it can really fit in anywhere, whether it’s under a piano lid or in, around, and over a drum kit.”
“Paired with the interchangeable capsules, musicians and engineers can get really creative with their mic placement, depending on the sounds they’re trying to achieve.”
With quality construction, low handling noise and high gain before feedback, the Beta 181 redefines sensitivity and control like all other Shure Beta microphones.
The small diaphragm design provides superior audio with consistent polar responses in a form factor small enough to get close to the source in the tightest conditions.
“In many applications where a large diaphragm side-address condenser might be a desirable, but impractical choice for live music, the Beta 181 offers a fresh solution,” said front-of- house engineer Roger Lindsay.
“It gives a full, rich, well-defined sound in a microphone that goes where many others can’t…impeccable performance in a neat, versatile package.”
Like all of the other microphones in Shure’s Beta line, such as the new Beta 91A, Beta 98A, and 2010 TEC Award nominated Beta 27, the Beta 181 is precision-engineered for superior sound reproduction, low handling noise, and high gain before feedback.
Shure’s Beta wired microphones strengthen all performances, for fine detail in a wide variety of demanding applications and changing environments.
The Beta 181 microphone will come in four different variations:
Beta 181/C (cardioid)
Beta 181/S (supercardioid)
Beta 181/O (omnidirectional)
Beta 181/BI (bidirectional)
Replacement capsules will also be available and the Beta 181 preamplifier will also be available separately,
The new Beta 181 will ship with a stand adapter, windscreen, and carrying case (that will securely protect up to four polar pattern capsules).
The Beta 181 side-address instrument microphone, replacement capsules and preamplifier will be available November 15 and carry a two-year limited warranty. They will be available for purchase from select retailers.
SSL Announces New Nucleus Controller & Audio Hub At AES
New Nucleus controller from SSL combines DAW Control with a USB audio interface, SSL Mic Pre’s, SuperAnalogue monitoring and Duende Plug-ins.
Solid State Logic presented Nucleus at AES 2010, a high quality DAW Controller and SuperAnalogue audio hub for professional project studios.
Nucleus is the ideal blend of workstation control and superb audio performance.
Nucleus re-defines the professional project studio with a combination of advanced DAW control, transparent SuperAnalogue monitoring, high class analogue mic pres, pro quality USB audio interface and bundled SSL Duende plug-ins.
There is no other product available which offers the professional producer/engineer all these elements, with benchmark audio performance and elegant ergonomics.
Nucleus is a compact desktop unit that creates a comfortable, efficient, hands on operating environment for DAW based Music and Film/TV Post production.
It provides everything you need to record and monitor audio and to control your DAW quickly and efficiently without resorting to your mouse. Nucleus streamlines your workflow and helps you focus on your sound, not your screen.
HUI & MCU control; compatible with ProTools, Logic, Cubase/Nuendo and all major DAW applications
Switch between 3 connected DAW’s with a single button press
Two banks of 8 channel controls plus centre section controls
Touch sensitive 100mm motorised faders
Digital Scribble Strips with assignable V-Pots and soft keys
Completely user customisable DAW & Key Command mapping
Large heavy duty transport buttons and high quality jog/shuttle wheel
Standard 1/4” Jack footswitch connection
Excellent visual feedback via self illuminating buttons, LED’s and DAW Level Metering
Remote Logictivity Browser for effortless configuration
SD card for non volatile project storage
Four USB sockets for use as a 4 port USB hub
Solid State Logic Website
Genelec Showcases New 9000A Stereo Volume Controller At AES
The 9000A provides convenient volume control for all Genelec monitors/loudspeakers.
Genelec exhibited its new 9000A Stereo Volume Control at AES 2010.
Visually designed to appear as a miniature version of Genelec’s 5040A Active Subwoofer, the 9000A provides convenient volume control for all Genelec monitors/loudspeakers.
The volume control input and output have 3.5-mm stereo male and female connectors, providing immediate connectivity with most computers and laptops, MP3 players and game stations.
The connecting cable on the 9000A is Y-shaped.
Past 1 meter (3 feet 3 inches) from the control knob, the single cable splits into two 1-meter (3 feet 3 inch) cables, one for audio input, one for audio output.
A 2 x RCA to 3.5-mm stereo (female) converter cable is necessary for audio equipment with RCA outputs.
A 3.5-mm stereo (male) to 2 x XLR (male) converter cable is necessary to use the 9000A with Genelec monitors having XLR output.
These cables are now available from all authorized Genelec dealers in three colors: black, silver and white.
Aphex / H.E.A.R. Auction Culminates At AES
The auction proceeds benefit H.E.A.R and its ongoing education programs promoting hearing awareness.
Aphex General Manager Rick McClendon met with H.E.A.R. Co-Founder and Executive Director Kathy Peck at the Audio Engineering Society Convention at San Francisco’s Moscone Center to congratulate the organization on the success of H.E.A.R.‘s recent charity auction.
Aphex has donated several of their professional audio products to be sold on H.E.A.R.‘s eBay auction site, with the proceeds of the sales going to benefit H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers) and its ongoing education programs promoting hearing awareness.
The online auction, sponsored by H.E.A.R. and hosted on the foundation’s eBay store, began in mid-October and continues through November.
Items still available include two Aphex Model 454 HeadPod Headphone Amps. Proceeds of the sales of these products will help to raise needed funds for the non-profit organization.
“Aphex’s generous donation has helped to raise valuable funding for our programs,” said H.E.A.R.‘s Kathy Peck.
“The company has played a legendary role in the creation of so many classic recordings, and it’s heartening to know that they’re there for us in our efforts to educate musicians and music fans about the importance of hearing protection.”
“I really can’t think of many other organizations that speak more directly to our industry and our users than H.E.A.R.,” said McClendon.
“Through their educational outreach efforts, H.E.A.R. has helped to save so many musicians and music fans from irreversible hearing damage, adding years to their enjoyment of music and sound. It’s a great cause, and one we look forward to continuing to support.”
To bid on the remaining Aphex items visit the H.E.A.R. eBay store.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
The Psychology Of Recording
The mental game plays a large role in recording sessions. Are you well prepared to work musicians?
Recently I was doing some recording for my friend Kevin who flew in from LA to record vocals for his album in my studio.
We had one week to track vocals for 13 songs.
Of course, being friends, we spent a lot of time just hanging out and showing them around Nashville, but 7 days was an ideal amount of time.
It gave us plenty of time to focus intently on each song, and it also gave them time to let his voice rest between sessions.
After spending a week recording Kevin, I realized how important it is for us as engineers/producers to not forget the psychology behind the recording process.
Music is a highly emotional event.
When you’re recording a musician, you certainly need to focus on mic placement, gain structure, song arrangement, performance, etc., but a session can quickly go sour if you neglect the emotional side of the process.
Each musician is different, and if you don’t figure out how to create an environment he/she feels comfortable in, the rest of the process is going to be difficult.
I know what you’re thinking….”Dang…Joe and Kevin must have had some big fights, eh?”
Not at all. In fact, the sessions went extremely well, and I think there are three main reasons for that success which I’d liek to share with you as tips for working with musicians in your studio.
1. Develop A Relationship With The Musician(s)
If you do this, you’ll most likely bypass a lot of issues later. Kevin and I were already friends before he came to Nashville, so this wasn’t all that difficult.
But, we don’t always get to record our friends, right? Sometimes we’re recording complete strangers. In those cases, it’s important to find some “connection points” with the musician.
Spend some extra time talking while you’re setting up microphones. Get to know the musician until you both feel comfortable.
Then start recording. Take as much time as you need. You may feel pressed for time. “We’ve got to get started right now.” Trust me, if you rush into recording and skip over the relationship, it’ll only get awkward, and the music will suffer.
2. Set Goals
The goal of this particular session was simple — record vocals. Kevin also wanted to work on other things, like keyboard parts, percussion, etc.
However, we didn’t let ourselves work on that stuff until the last day or two.
I knew that if we recorded two or three vocals and started goofing around with percussion, we’d end up rushing through the rest of the vocals at the end of the week…then we’d both be kicking ourselves.
So what happened? We really only got to add percussion to one song. The rest of the time we were recording vocals.
This was fine with us, because the primary goal of these sessions was to get the vocals recorded.
3. Set Expectations
This is similar yet quite different from setting goals. What I’m really talking about is setting expectations for how much honesty is allowed in the session.
That may sound strange to you, but a lot of musicians can’t handle honest critique. For example, if you tell them that last line was a bit flat, they just shut down. Musicians are an insecure bunch. (I’m one of them.)
So while you’re working on developing a relationship, you need to have “the conversation.”
Kevin and I had this conversation the first or second day he was here. He simply said, “The number one priority for me is a great-sounding vocal. I need you to be brutally honest with me.”
I love that. He told me he didn’t want his pride to get in the way of the process. So that’s just what we did.
If there was a line that didn’t work well – or that I thought he could sing better – we recorded it again until we got it right. “Get it right at the source” was a bit of a theme for the week.
Some musicians will never be comfortable with this approach. If you stopped them in the middle of takes and making them punch in and out, they’d just wither and melt.
You need to feel this out for yourself and decide the best approach. For someone like this, it may be best to just record 3-5 full takes and comp from there.
This is the part where you also determine if they will be comfortable with using tuning software like AutoTune to fix any pitch issues. If they’re not okay with it, then they need to go back and fix those out-of-tune sections.
What tips do you have when it comes to working with musicians? Let me know in the comments below!
Joe Gilder is a Nashville based engineer, musician, and producer who also provides training and advice at the Home Studio Corner.
Telefunken Introduces Three New Products At AES 2010
New products include the CU-29 Copperhead, the Stereo AR-70, and the M80 Wireless Head.
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik is introducing three new products at AES 2010 in San Francisco.
The New CU-29 “Copperhead” Condenser Mic with a vintage NOS Tube is TELEFUNKEN’S newest large diaphragm condenser microphone which has been in development for 18 months.
Dubbed the CU-29 Copperhead in the “Name the Mic” contest, this new addition to the company’s acclaimed R-F-T line was designed by the in-house engineering team, with outside consultation from some of the world’s top amplifier designers.
The new CU-29 Copperhead 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 exhibits similar characteristics found in its R-F-T series counterparts, the AR-51 and the AK-47 MkII.
The Stereo AR-70 Large Diaphragm Tube Microphone is the two-channel version of the AR-51 microphone designed in the tradition of the classic mics of the past, utilizing the same circuit design as the classic ELA M 251E.
This new and mic in the R-F-T line is suitable for any recording studio, from major World Class facilities to voiceover rooms and home project studios. The new AR-70 utilizes premium components, including vintage New Old Stock (NOS) tubes that have been rigidly tested for noise and microphonics, as in the ELA M 251E.
The new M80 wireless microphone capsule head is a dynamic capsule now available for a wide variety of live sound applications. These capsule head replacements are interchangeable with any of the screw-on-type handheld transmitters that receive a 31.3mm/pitch 1.0mm.
The new M80 capsule head’s directional pickup pattern and wide frequency response yields a microphone that provides an ideal blend of functionality, isolation, and a distinctively pleasing tone.
The new wireless M80 capsule head is sonically open, requiring little or no EQ to fit into a live or recorded mix. Minimal proximity effect gives the dynamic capsule a smooth, balanced presence that is neither boomy nor overpowering.
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik Website
How To Mix Songs Better & Impress The Worship Leader At The Same Time
The steps you take to prepare before a service have just as large an impact on the mix as your technical skills. So, how do you prepare?
While working a retreat camp a few weeks ago, I asked the worship leader a few questions that showed him I took my job seriously.
Preparing for practice, he was making notes on his song schedule sheet when I approached him.
“Hey Mark, I’ve got a couple questions for you concerning the songs you are playing…”
“Sure, what do you need?”
“Is the song order I have on my sheet correct?”
[checks it] “Yes.”
“Can you write down who is leading singing on each song?”
“Sure” [scribble scribble]
“Can you also write down which instrument leads each song?”
“No problem” [scribble scribble]
Then he said “wow, you are really on top of this.”
Setting up the stage, getting each monitor mix right…these are all part of our duties.
But, when you and I don’t know how the band is going to perform a particular song, we are doing a disservice to the band and the congregation. Plus, let’s face it, if you’re setting up and you don’t have all the information then you’re not re
How many ways have you heard the same Christian worship song performed? The acoustic version, the piano version, the punk version, the Celtic version…oops, I almost forgot the ska version.
Now I’m supposed to mix the song for the church worship team. Hmmmmm.
Let’s be honest, most of this stuff is resolved during practice. The band plays and you take mix notes. [insert conviction if you don’t.] But why not take a few moments before practice and show the worship leader you know each song arrangement has its own intricacies?
Show them you care about the performance of each and every song! In time, you might not even have to ask these questions.
The worship leader will be so excited that you care about each song that he or she will give you a song outline before you can even ask.
What Are Mix Notes?
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a definitive guide to mix notes, so feel free to add to this list as necessary.
For each song, I note;
EQ changes - “acoustic guitar / cut high eq for piano to lead”
Volume boosts - “boost drum volume during second half of song”
Lead singer - this tells who to push in the mix
Lead instrument - this tells me where the instrument should sit in the mix.
Anything else that might stand out like “singer #2 reads from scripture during instrumental” so I’d boost volume and perhaps cut vocal effects.
I’ll hesitantly say one thing about mix notes; if you’ve been mixing the same band for a while and you know how they perform, you don’t necessarily need to take EQ or volume notes.
However, you should still always ask for instrument and singer leads because those are the most likely change.
So remember, ask for the correct song order, each song’s lead singer, and the instrument that moves/leads the song. This information is a great basis for your mix notes.
And whatever you do, please check with the worship leader after practice in case anything changes. While the practice may have one person doing lead vocals, that can change post-practice.
What helps you track the intricacies of each song and your mix? Let me know in the coments 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.
Neumann & Sennheiser Establish Scholarship For BGSU New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp
The Vocal Jazz Camp enables students to learn from multi-Grammy Winning vocal group New York Voices, while experiencing Sennheiser and Neumann microphones.
Ranked among U.S. News ‘Best Colleges,’ Ohio’s Bowling Green State University (BGSU) also boasts one of the country’s most highly regarded resident vocal jazz ensembles: New York Voices (NYV).
In 2009, students and faculty of BGSU’s vocal jazz program—including members of The New York Voices—established the BGSU New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp.
The Vocal Camp, which is open to high school students, professional musicians, choral directors, and anyone else interested in improving and developing their knowledge of the vocal jazz genre, offers an opportunity for singers to participate in 1:1 training and master classes with internationally touring and multi-Grammy Award winners New York Voices.
This year, Neumann and Sennheiser again supported the Vocal Jazz Camp by establishing a scholarship to help financially disadvantaged students improve their skills and further their passion in this unique musical genre, which continues to gain in popularity both here and abroad.
The New York Voices—which consist of four members, who also serve as the camp’s lead educators and directors of the four camp vocal ensembles—have been recording and touring for 22 years.
Kim Nazarian, the soprano voice and a founding member of New York Voices, has been an artist in residence at BGSU for three years and played an integral role in founding the Camp along with faculty members Chris Buzzelli and Morgen Stiegler and BGSU graduate student Theodor Stiegler, who serves as lead sound engineer and manager of the BGSU NYV Vocal Jazz Camp.
“Ensemble vocals don’t work unless you have great mics and amplification,” Stiegler said. “When we contacted Neumann and Sennheiser, they not only expressed an extraordinary interest in helping take our sonic quality to the next level, but offered us a scholarship program as well. Their level of engagement on our project was nothing short of wonderful.”
After consulting with Sennheiser and Neumann product specialist Christopher Currier, who also happens to be a vocal jazz enthusiast, BGSU opted for a collection of 16 wired Sennheiser e935 stage microphones, four wireless e935s along with 6 Neumann TLM 102 condenser microphones.
So far, the response has been positive: “The Sennheiser mics outperform our other mics both in durability and sound. And as far as transparency, few mics can hold a candle to the Neumann TLM 102,” Stiegler said.
He also says that he sees a considerable difference in individual vocal performances: “When a musician steps up to a Sennheiser or Neumann microphone, there is certain a confidence they get, just by singing into this fantastic and historic brand name. Other mics just don’t have that same effect on people.”
Sherrine Mostin, winner of the Sennheiser / Neumann scholarship, said, “I am so grateful and thankful to have that experience because it was life changing.”
“When I found out New York Voices was putting this camp on, I did everything in my power to be able to go and I am so glad it worked out—there is no way I could have attended without this scholarship.”
“This camp was one of the most uplifting, encouraging and inspiring music camps I have ever been to,” Mostin continued. “There is no sense of competition among singers, only a focus on improving and learning. It is amazing how much growth you see in all these stu-dents after even one week of experiencing one on one training with these professionals.”
Sherrine Mostin, winner of the Sennheiser / Neumann BGSU vocal jazz scholarship, commented: “I am so grateful and thankful to have that experience because it was life changing. When I found out New York Voices was putting this camp on, I did everything in my power to be able to go and I am so glad it worked out—there is no way I could have attended without this scholarship.”
“This camp was one of the most uplifting, encouraging and inspiring music camps I have ever been to,” Mostin continued. “There is no sense of competition among singers, only a focus on improving and learning. It is amazing how much growth you see in all these students after even one week of experiencing one on one training with professionals.”
As for the future plans of the BGSU New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp, Stiegler is optimistic: “We are hoping to continue what we are doing.”
“We’ve developed a successful format combining opportunities for both learning and performance experience for a very wide range of students: some as young as 14, others in their early 60s. The students each have a different background, and this results in a very positive cross-pollination of knowledge and experience for us all.”
Tech Tip Of The Day: Microphone Mysteries Revealed
The benefits of various polar patterns.
This Tech Tip Of The Day come to you in editorial form because we wanted explain the benefits of various polar patterns.
Variable polar patterns can actually be good for several things.
Before we go into them, we should probably briefly discuss what the main polar patterns are.
The three “main” polar patterns are cardioid (or unidirectional), figure-eight (or bidirectional), and omnidirectional.
You can find far more detailed definitions in past Microphone World features, however, in a nutshell a cardioid microphone picks up sound from the “front” only.
A figure-eight microphone picks up sound from the front and rear of the microphone. An omnidirectional microphone picks up sound from all around.
There are also a few polar patterns that fall between cardioid and figure eight that are supercardioid and hypercardioid.
The supercardoid pattern has more side rejection than cardioid…in other words, it’s even more directional…but there’s a little more pickup from the rear. The hypercardioid pattern offers even more side rejection, but there’s even more pickup from the rear.
If you look at the patterns side by side you’ll see a “progression” from cardioid to supercardioid to hypercardioid to figure-eight where the side rejection gets better but the lobe in the back grows until pickup from the front and back is equal and the rejection on the sides is almost complete.
So now that we know what they are, what are they good for? Well, first of all there are the obvious advantages that apply to certain situations.
The cardioid pattern is by far the most used, especially in the studio; as for the most part people point a microphone at a source and record it.
However, if you want to pick up, say, a group of background singers, the omnidirectional pattern would be the most appropriate as it picks up sound from all around.
It’s also useful if you want to pick up the sound of the room you’re recording in, such as when you’re using a microphone as room microphone for drums or when you’re recording an orchestra in a nice-sounding hall.
Likewise, a figure-eight microphone may be useful when you’re recording two people singing together who want to face each other as they do so.
They’re also good for picking up the sound of a room as they pick up more of the sound in the room than a cardioid microphone, although not as much as an omni.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the figure-eight pattern offers nearly complete rejection of sound coming in from the sides, so if you’re ever in a situation where you want to pick up as little of something as possible…
Say, a computer in a small home studio, or a certain instrument in an ensemble recording…you’ll do the best job or rejecting that sound aiming the side of a microphone with the figure-eight pattern at the sound you want to reject.
In addition to those obvious differences, there are some less-obvious advantages to using certain patterns in certain situations.
For instance, an omnidirectional microphone exhibits little or no proximity effect, so if you have to have the microphone extremely close to a source and you want it to avoid the buildup of low frequencies that’s inherent with a directional microphone, an omnidirectional pattern would be a good choice.
In fact, the omnidirectional pattern tends to offer the most natural sound all around as it doesn’t have the off-axis coloration that’s a byproduct of directional patterns, which employ mechanical or electrical mechanisms to cancel out off-axis sounds.
Not that that’s a bad thing…in fact, switching patterns on a microphone is often a good alternative to changing the color of the sound without resorting to equalization.
Most variable-pattern microphones will include frequency response charts for each of the patterns the microphone can be switched to as well as graphs that show the response to different frequencies with different patterns.
All microphones, for instance, become more omnidirectional at lower frequencies and more directional at higher frequencies…just to varying degrees.
Also, different patterns are required for certain stereo microphone techniques, such as Blumelein, M/S, even Decca Tree configurations.
Finally, it’s probably a good idea to mention a few differences between variable-pattern microphones and fixed-pattern microphones.
Most of what we’ve discussed here applies to both, but there are a few differences. First off, there are obviously some advantages to variable-pattern microphones.
As mentioned, not only will the pickup pattern vary as the different patterns are selected, but the frequency response and color will change as well, and it can be very handy to be able to try different colors without having to switch microphones out.
Some microphones offer just two or three patterns, some offer a few more intermediate steps, and some have continuously variable patterns, which can be great for dialing in specific sounds.
Multipattern microphones typically are condenser microphones with two capsules back-to-back, and the different patterns are achieved by applying different amounts of power to one or both diaphragms (as well as switching polarity for certain patterns).
As such, a multipattern microphone set to the omnidirectional polar pattern…which is basically two cardioids back-to-back…may still exhibit a small amount of proximity effect.
Also, as mentioned earlier, all microphones become more and more directional at frequency increases, so while a “true” omnidirectional microphone’s pickup pattern will approach that of a cardioid at higher frequencies, a variable-pattern microphone’s response will approach that of a figure-eight microphone when set to omnidirectional.
Also, depending on the level of quality control employed by the microphone manufacturer, the front and back capsules may sound quite different from one another, which could especially be a problem when using figure-eight microphones in a Blumlein or M/S configuration.
As always, we welcome input from the PSW community and would love to know your thoughts on polar patters or any other microphone-related topic. Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com
Sanken Introduces The New CS-2 Short Shotgun Microphone At AES 2010
The CS-2 is a compact mic with long reach.
Sanken Microphones in introducing at AES 2010 a new shotgun microphone, the CS-2.
This, the newest model in Sanken’s comprehensive shotgun microphone line offers extended reach in a standard length mic using the company’s gradient tube length and rectangular diaphragm design.
The CS-2 achieves supersharp directivity with a 120mm (4.75”) long acoustic tube in a standard 250 mm (10”) length / 19mm (3/4”) diameter body. As a result, a natural tone is produced throughout the frequency spectrum, emulating the sound of much longer shotgun microphones.
The light weight of the CS-2 makes it ideal for camera-mounted or boom pole operations and suitable for a wide range of applications, such as outdoor location sound, interviews, sports, drama, and variety shows.
A new Sanken feature, the “high boost switch,” compensates for the attenuation of high frequencies when the mic is used with a windscreen/windjammer for outdoor use. As a result, the full, natural sound is maintained.
An external brass chassis increases durability, while the PPS (Poly-gold Phenylene Sulfide) diaphragm membrane provides optimum resistance to changes caused by adverse temperature and humidity. The resulting sound is consistent throughout the day in a wide variety of environments and changing climatic conditions.
Sanken Microphones Website
Shure Helps Educators To Record The Sounds Of Native American Culture
The University of Washington music education team documented Native American music at the Yakima Nation Tribal School.
While most university music education programs concentrate on the preparation of prospective teachers for traditional work in school orchestras, marching bands, and jazz bands, the University of Washington in Seattle has added cultural relevancy to the mix.
Among the requirements of students in Dr. Patricia Campbell’s music education program is a residency for performing and teaching at the Yakima Nation Tribal School in the city of Toppenish, located on the Yakama reservation in south central Washington.
“The Tribal School has a program where students are taught to play native instruments,” said Robert Pitzer, a doctoral candidate who assisted on the project.
“They don’t have a marching band or a jazz band. Instead, the students learn powwow music, and do improvisatory music on Native American wooden flutes and handheld frame drums. It’s unique and interesting, both musically and culturally.”
“We decided it would be a great idea to record their performances, and Shure was kind enough to lend us a selection of microphones for that purpose.”
The recording process was also an education for Pitzer, who had no formal experience in that area. “I’m a music education guy, a band director, so this was new territory for me,” he said. “Since we had access to this wide selection of Shure microphones, we basically tried different models and positions and compared them in headphones.”
“When we found a combination that sounded pretty good, that was the mic we went with. I guess you could say we took an empirical approach.”
In addition to traditional tribal vocals, there were native flutes and handheld frame drums.
Fifteen performances were recorded, ranging from soloists and duos to larger groups with drums and vocals. “We ended up using three different microphones.”
“For ensembles, we used both the KSM32 and KSM44,” notes Pitzer. “We generally miked the group, using a pair of mics. Everything was done live, with no overdubs. We got much better results that way, as opposed to miking each individual.”
For solo performances, and to isolate a specific performer, the SM57 was selected. “We found that mic had a great sound for the flute and the frame drums, and gave us the best isolation,” he said.
“At the suggestion of the school’s music teacher, we recorded the flutes in the shower of the boys’ gym for the natural reverb, which sounded amazing.” Solo drum with vocals were done in the classroom, captured by a single SM57 positioned about two feet away to balance the sources.
Ensemble recording took place in the school’s highly reverberant gymnasium, and relied on a mix of KSM32, KSM44, and SM57 mics. “We used the studio mics in pairs for the vocal ensembles, just trying to get a good balance of the group while capturing the sound of the room,” said Pitzer.
“Everything was recorded live. To make sure we got everything in good balance, we had the boys doing frame drums and vocals in one area, with the four female vocalists in a different spot. It really worked out well.”
The University of Washington’s music education team was very pleased with the results of their recording experience. “This was a great opportunity to document a different approach to music education, incorporating cultural elements that make music relevant to students in a different way,” said Pitzer.
“These recordings sound like you are standing in the room during the performances, which is exactly what we’d hoped to achieve. Considering how little recording expertise we had, I have to give a lot of the credit to the Shure microphones.”
“They made it easy to get great results.” The team will give back to the Yakama youth, sharing copies of the recordings they made.
“Close relationships with our customers are key, and we are proud to have industry experts like Willem and Eric on board to foster those relationships.”
Shure Incorporated Website
Posted by admin on 11/03 at 07:29 AM
Auralex Announces Continued Green Initiatives With The Launch Of Sustainable Bamboo Diffusors At AES
This new line of products is the first line of acoustical products made from 100% eco-friendly bamboo.
Auralex Acoustics, Inc. is continuing its history of green innovation by announcing the first line of acoustical products made from 100% Eco-Friendly bamboo, the Sustain Bamboo Sound Diffusor Series at AES 2010.
The new line, which consists of the WavePrism, WaveLens, QuadraTec, Peak Pyramid Diffusor and KeyPacs, retains the longevity and acoustical qualities Auralex is known for with green and acoustical properties of natural bamboo.
“Auralex prides itself on being an environmentally friendly company and we are excited to announce an entire line of bamboo-based products as a green alternative to traditional hardwood,” said Eric Smith, founder and president of Auralex Acoustics.
“Auralex will continue to fine-tune its manufacturing in order to better sustain the earth’s resources while also producing a great acoustical treatment solution.”
The Auralex WavePrism eliminates flutter echoes and other acoustical anomalies without removing acoustical energy from the space. The closed box design configuration of the product disperses sound evenly to create a more consistent listening or recording environment.
The WavePrism is sized to drop into a suspended ceiling grid or can be wall mounted using mechanical fasteners.
Auralex WaveLens’ open-boxed design scatters and redirects acoustical energy.
The WaveLens can be beneficial in numerous applications as it can create a “large sound” in a small room, as it can optimize existing absorption panels by redirecting the sound energy.
The QuadraTec’s unique tiered design provides excellent scattering properties, resulting in a warm, musical character to the dispersed sound.
The nested pair offers two unique diffusion tools that, when used in combination with each other, can result in a more spacious feel in any room.
The lightweight design allows QuadraTec diffusors to be placed in suspended ceiling grids or attached to wall surfaces with mechanical fasteners.
Auralex’s Peak Pyramid Diffusor is optimized to provide high-quality sound diffusion while also doubling as an effective bass trap when filled with absorptive material.
These lightweight, sturdy pyramid-shaped diffusors are sized so that they can be easily dropped into a suspended ceiling grid or installed onto wall surfaces using mechanical fasteners.
KeyPacs are magnet-based panels that have the ability to mount to Auralex ProPanels or Studiofoam. Since most rooms are not dedicated to one particular application, these perforated absorption covers allow users to have a more live or dry room on the fly without having to reconfigure the entire space.
Available in three configurations ― 9 Hole, Bubble and Star¬ ― KeyPacs can fine tune any absorption treatment to be more effective and create a more acoustically balanced space.
Additionally, Auralex’s Sustain Bamboo Sound Diffusors can be helpful in achieving LEED certification, specifically in the Materials & Resources category.
Auralex Acoustics Website