Thursday, October 21, 2010
Renkus-Heinz IC Live Selected By The Netherlands Leiden Theatre
The IC Live system's digital beam steering achieved necessary to cover seats despite difficult acoustics.
TM Audio, a Renkus-Heinz distributor for the Netherlands, recently equipped two auditoriums in the City Concert Hall in Leiden with IC Live digitally beam steerable PA systems, including one system finished in metallic gold paint to match the room’s décor.
The City Concert Hall is an historic building housing several multipurpose rooms, including the 19th century 838-seat Great Hall, the brand-new 349 seat Aalmarkt Hall and the 250 seat Bree Hall.
To coincide with the opening of the Aalmarkt Hall, new audio systems were installed in both the Great Hall and the Aalmarkt.
The objective was to expand the halls’ ability to host a wide range of uses ranging from jazz and classical concerts and stage musicals to corporate presentations and lectures.
TM Audio project manager Reinier Bruijns explains that although the client’s original tender had called for separate speech and music systems in the Aalmarkt Hall, “we felt an even better solution would be to combine the two functions in an IC Live system.”
“After we won the Government tender for that room, the hall management asked us to do something similar for their Great Hall, and we proposed a portable IC Live system, which they could then position on the stage wings when required, along with a pair of fixed IC Live cabinets for the balconies.”
Bruijns aded, “We demonstrated it in the Great Hall, and showed the management how the IC Live system’s digital beam steering could achieve accurate vertical beam angles to cover seats all the way to the back at 30 meters.”
“At the same time the technology allowed us to keep reflections from the hard ceiling and rear wall.
“The other aspect that appealed to them was that, because IC Live was designed as a portable rental system, it’s easy to store for classical shows and then takes just ten minutes to set up whenever sound reinforcement is required.”
“The solution provides excellent acoustic control and high power from a compact system, and avoided the issue of needing to fly main or delay speakers in a room where that would be very undesirable aesthetically.”
Four dual stacked ICL-R cabinets, linked via Ethercon cables, clip into place on top of the matching IC215S-R subwoofers to cover the main seating area, while a single ICL-R is mounted either side at the front of the balcony.
The system is routed via a MediaMatrix NION NX system over CobraNet, with RHAON providing the final link in the chain. This also brought the benefit of minimizing cabling to a single Cat-5 cable and a mains cable to the self-powered and internally processed IC Live arrays.
In both the Great Hall and the Aalmarkt, simple presets on the NION laptop interface allow the balcony loudspeakers to be turned off when not required, and configure the main system for speech or music.
The new Aalmarkt Hall, a luxurious raked auditorium with huge side windows along the stage right wall overlooking a tree-lined canal, is finished in metallic gold, and the IC Live arrays - one either side for the lower auditorium and another either side for the balconies - were finished in gold at the Renkus-Heinz factory in California to match color samples provided by the theatre.
TM Audio also supplied the back-of-house audio network, including an ASL intercom system, a paging and dressing room relay system with a Behringer Eurorack Pro RX1602 rack mixer, and TOA BS-1110 column speakers and PC1864 ceiling speakers, connected via TM Audio’s proprietary Speaker Smart cabling.
Two assistive hearing systems were also supplied - one with user beltpacks comprising a Shure EP2T transmitter and 10 P2R receivers, and a Sennheiser induction loop system with EZT1011 headloops and PX20 headphones.
The microphone package includes a selection of Shure and Sennheiser microphones.
The Music Producers Handbook: The Secret To Overdubs
An excerpt from Bobby Owsinski's book which highlights techniques helpful in the studio when working with artists in the overdub process.
The overdubbing stage can be something as simple as fixing or replacing some of the basic tracks (like the bass, rhythm guitar, solos, and lead vocal) or as complex as adding sophisticated layering of horns and strings, multiple guitars, keyboards, and background vocals.
It’s also the phase of the project during which the most experimenting is done, since even the most meticulously designed parts sometimes don’t work and require some alteration.
The Recording Plan
When budgets get blown out the window and the project begins to fall behind schedule, the overdubbing stage is usually responsible.
If a producer is doing his job correctly, each overdub is finely crafted to complement every other musical part of the song.
This crafting takes a lot of work, since the overdub has to have the right sound and the part has to musically fit like a glove with all the others.
That’s why it’s best to have a list of priorities of which overdubs are the most important and absolutely must be recorded; that way, you can make sure not to fall behind due to experimentation and extra ideas.
The overdub priority list should go song by song and might look something like the following:
“Sunshine of Your Life”
Lead vocal harmony (2nd and 3rd B section)
Keyboard, fix 2nd verse
Keyboard line, 2nd and 3rd verse
Background vocals (choruses)
Background vocals (last verse)
Guitar double (chorus and bridge)
You can see just what overdubs are expected on the song and how they rank in terms of priority, with the last entry (guitar double) being the least important.
Having a list like this will help you plan your overdubs and let you know just what you can eliminate if you start to get behind budget-wise or time-wise.
Make It Better, Not Just Different
Most artists share the common trait of having a creative streak that provides them idea after idea for parts, lines, embellishments, and enhancements. The more creative the artist, the more the ideas spring forth, and that’s the problem.
Sometimes an artist has so many good ideas that it takes a lot of time to try them all, and before you know it, you’re behind schedule. That’s bad enough, but an abundance of ideas can move a song away from its true intention, even detracting from the original inspiration.
An example would be an artist who writes a straight pop song, but then just has to hear how it sounds with a reggae feel. While the song might be great with the new style, it might not contain the essence of the artist’s original inspiration.
It’s up to you as producer to put a hold on the experimentation and focus the energy back to where the artist shines best.
Sometimes an artist will come up with good idea after good idea for new lines and parts during overdubs, and while most of them might work, they just make the song different and not better.
Again, it’s up to you to focus the energy of the artist and musicians back to where it needs to be and make the decision that the original direction is the best one to follow.
Sometimes an artist’s massive creativity can work in your favor, though. For example, if you’re not sure about the original feel of the song, expressing that to the artist will get his creative juices flowing and before you know it, a better idea will appear.
But usually the artist’s first inspiration is the best, and it’s probably the one that attracted you to him in the first place.
Time To Experiment
It always happens at least once in the overdub phase.
A musician plays something during warm-ups or plays something by mistake during recording that lights up the whole studio and the producer says, “Can you play that again, but do something different on the end?”
Or “Can you play it like that in this section instead?”
And then the chase is on to capture that lightening in a bottle and pour it over a part or section that was lacking before.
But things are never as simple as they seem, as the once-brilliant part is changed to fit the new section or tweaked to better serve the song.
A quick pass turns into hours, and before you know it you’ve spent the entire day working up this single part.
That’s usually the way these things go during overdubs. By the time everyone has worked out the perfect part, the player is too tired to perform it in a convincing manner.
During these times when an entirely new part is being worked out, I’ve found that it sometimes takes two sessions to really make things happen.
The first day you take that brilliant seed of an idea and work it out, and the second day is when the idea flowers and you can properly execute it.
Keeping this fact in mind can save you countless extra hours at the end of a long day: leave the idea alone and come back the next day when everyone is fresh. It’ll probably be performed perfectly on the first take.
When Artistic Block Hits
Sometimes you know the song or the part needs something, but no one can come up with a suitable idea. It’s easy enough to leave it for the next day when everyone is fresh, and chances are that a new idea will indeed spring forth.
But in those few times when everyone runs up against a total creative block, there’s always Oblique Strategies (see Fig. 1).
First published in 1975 and now in its fifth edition, Oblique Strategies is a set of cards created by U2 producer Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt that are used by artists of all types to get beyond artistic block or to find a new direction.
Each card contains a phrase or cryptic remark that can be used to break a deadlock or help resolve a dilemmatic situation.
Fig. 1: Oblique Strategies cards.
Here are a few examples of what a card might say:
“State the problem in words as clearly as possible.“
“Only one element of each kind.“
“What would your closest friend do?“
“What to increase? What to reduce?“
“Are there sections? Consider transitions.“
“Try faking it!“
“Honor the error as a hidden intention.“
You can find out more about Oblique Strategies on their website. An online version of the strategy cards is available, as well as an Oblique Strategies iPhone app.
Limit The Attendees
Sometimes overdubs go faster and smoother if band members other than those playing, friends, and entourage are not allowed in the control room.
Too many people can spook a timid performer or, worse yet, sway her to perform for the crowd instead of focusing on the job at hand.
If visitors or band members must come to the studio, keep them out of the control room and have them stay in the lounge until the part is complete.
In general, it’s best that any wives and husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends, friends and associates, and hangers-on and nonessential people not be allowed to come to the sessions except in extraordinary circumstances (like a playback party or delivering a forgotten instrument).
The more people, the more likely the gathering will become a party, and a party is not conducive to recording.
There’s a time and place for a group to gather, but it’s not here. Unless certain people are essential to the task at hand, have them stay at home.
Recording In The Control Room
Regardless of who’s playing and what kind of instrument they’re using, it’s always best if you can get them to record in the control room with you.
This is easy with guitar, bass, electronic keys, and even vocals, but tougher with everything else. Having the immediacy of communication, not to mention the absence of headphones, will usually get a much better performance out of the player.
Most studios are now equipped with the cables and hardware to keep an amp in another room while the musician plays in the control room.
Playing in the control room is usually not an option for more than one player at a time (which probably won’t happen during overdubs anyway, unless it’s a horn, string, or vocal section) or with instruments that are quiet, like some percussion, acoustic guitars, and strings.
Vocals in the Control Room
While it seems like recording blasphemy, many vocalists hate headphones and would much rather sing in the control room with a hand-held stage mic like a Shure SM58 (see Fig. 2).
Fig. 2: Shure SM58 microphone.
This might not win you any high-fidelity awards for vocals sounds, but a great performance will trump audio quality any day.
And the sound of most stage mics, while certainly not as high fidelity as a multi-thousand- dollar vintage Neumann, is better than you might think (as long as it’s in good condition) good enough for just about any recording purpose when routed through a high-quality microphone preamp.
There are several commonly used overdubbing techniques that every producer should be aware of.
Although the following techniques refer to vocals, they can be used for just about any instrument.
Use the Big Part of the Studio
If you’re in the same studio where you tracked your basics, don’t fall into the trap of keeping the exact same instrument setup in the same place in the studio as your basics (unless you’re doing fixes to the basic tracks).
Move the singer or instrument into the big part of the studio. All instruments sound best when there’s some space for the sound to develop.
You can cut down on any unwanted reflections in the room by placing baffles around the mic, the player, or the singer.
The technique of doubling a lead vocal has been used for as long as multitrack recorders have been around.
The Beatles did it way back when they were using only 4-track magnetic tape and really didn’t have a track to spare, which tells you how powerful a tool doubling can be.
Doubling a vocal (having the singer sing the exact same line or phrase twice and playing back both parts) works for two reasons; it makes a vocal sound stronger, and it masks any tuning inconsistencies in the part.
Fig. 3: Move to the big part of the studio for overdubs.
While the doubling technique can work for a great number of vocalists, sometimes it just doesn’t sound good if both vocal tracks are replayed at the same level.
Try adding the second vocal at 6 to 10 dB less than the track you deem the strongest. This will add a bit of support to an otherwise weak vocal without sounding doubled.
An offshoot of doubling is called vocal stacking, a technique normally used on harmony background vocals. Like doubling, stacking can make a harmony vocal part sound stronger while smoothing out any tuning inconsistencies.
An example of vocal stacking would be a three-piece vocal group singing a three-part harmony section.
After their first pass is complete, they double their parts singing them exactly the same way, then triple-track it or more, all in an effort to get a bigger, fuller sound.
One little trick that makes a stack sound bigger is to have the vocalists take a step back from the mic with every vocal pass while the engineer increases the mic gain to compensate for the distance. The increased ambience of the room will naturally enhance the sound without artificial means.
Another trick is to have the vocalists change parts with every pass. In other words, the vocalist singing the highest part of the three-part harmony would move to the lowest, the one singing the mid part would move to the highest, and one singing the lowest part would move to the mid part.
Of course, this assumes that the vocalists are pros and capable of changing vocal parts without too much of a problem, and that their voices are capable of performing the new parts.
Instrument Doubling and Stacking
Instruments can be doubled or stacked the same way that vocals can, and while using the exact same performance twice (doubling) can sound pretty good, you soon reach the point of diminishing returns unless you change something up to make it sound different.
A different mic, mic preamp, room to record in, or distance from the mic will all help to make the sound bigger on subsequent overdubs.
For guitar, using two different guitars (a Les Paul and a Strat, for instance) and two different amplifiers (a Fender and a Marshall is the classic combination), combined with different pickup settings, will allow a multitude of guitar tracks to live together more effectively in the mix.
Many times you’ll find that fewer overdubs are needed if each guitar overdub has a distinctly different sound.
One of the best techniques for obtaining a great vocal is to compile a master vocal track by using bits and pieces from a number of previous passes.
This is known as “comping” and has become a standard method of obtaining a great take of just about any part.
Comping is also a method preferred by a great number of vocalists, since it makes their job fairly easy.
After the vocalist warms up, have her sing her part at least three times (the more the better, since you have more choices later), and then send her home. It’s now up to you and your engineer to comp a master track together.
When we do vocal day, we’re talking about upwards of 20 to 23 passes per song so it takes a long time to put a song like that together. What you get with that many passes is the perfect pass.
Tips for Comping
While you can comp a track from only two passes, the more passes the better—up to a point, that is. Using too many passes can get confusing and take too much time to sort through.
The ideal number of passes is four or five, although many producers will have the vocalist sing the song until he or she gets it almost perfectly before they move on to additional passes for comping.
Regardless of how many passes are made and what the quality of the performances are, if you take good notes during each pass, you’ll find that your comp can be finished in no time.
Make no mistake about it, note taking is the key to this process, and it’s best done while each vocal pass is being recorded rather than during playback later.
While it’s possible to comp individual words or even syllables, comping by phrase is the easiest. Here’s how to do it.
Fig. 4: A Comp sheet
1. Get a copy of the lyrics. Make sure that the song is divided into clear phrases.
2. As the vocalist sings, make the appropriate following marks after every phrase:
“↑” for sharp, “↓” for flat, “G” for good, “VG” for very good, “X” for bad, “?” for if you can’t decide
3. Create a line that’s numbered “1” for “first pass” and make your marks on that line. Do the same for each pass.
4. After each phrase that the vocalist sings, place a mark underneath it (see Fig. 4) to indicate your rating.
By the end of the vocalist’s last pass, you’ll have a pretty good idea of which phrases are the keepers.
You’ll also have an idea of which phrases don’t have an acceptable take, and you can ask the vocalist to just give you that line until you have what you need.
After all the passes, see if you can piece together a vocal of all VG phrases.
If a phrase with a VG mark doesn’t sound as good as you originally thought, go to the G marked vocals and see if one is acceptable.
If you can’t find one that works that’s marked VG or G, go through the other passes to see if a “?” pass works.
If you still can’t find an acceptable take, go through the passes again and listen to the passes that you marked with an X to see if you change your mind about one of the phrases that you considered unacceptable before.
If you still have a phrase that isn’t as good as you need, either comp by word or syllable instead of by phrase, or use Antares Autotune to get what you need.
Comping is standard session procedure these days and is used not only on vocals but also on tracks of all sorts, so it pays to get good at it.
The technique will give you great results and save you a lot of time as well.
Use the big part of the studio for overdubs. Doubling and instrument or vocal can make it sound stronger and mask tuning inconsistencies. Stacking background vocals can make them sound bigger. Obtain a great performance from pieces of previous performances by comping.
One of the most important parts of production in the world of DAWs is editing. Editing means creating a near-perfect performance by moving the timing of a note or phrase either manually or with an app like Beat Detective; replacing a note or phrase (or even the entire track) with one from another take by using cut and paste; or using Autotune, Melodyne, or any of the many other pitch-correction programs to correct the pitch of a note or phrase.
Using these methods, you can make just about any track with shaky timing or tuning almost perfect.
But is perfection what you really want? It’s easy to get carried away and start to edit with your eyes instead of your ears, meaning that everything gets lined up to a grid or quantized, making the track lifeless and sterile sounding.
Sometimes the unevenness of a performance is what makes it exciting, not it’s timing perfection. The real test of a producer is knowing when a part needs to be fixed and when to let it be, and that only comes with experience.
One method I like to use that’s the best of both worlds is to fix only the parts that jump out as having bad timing when played in context with the other tracks.
For instance, if the entrance to the song has the bass hitting before anything else, that would get fixed.
Or if a guitar loses it’s feel for a couple of bars in a verse so that it becomes an obvious timing mistake, then that would get fixed.
Only the timing mistakes that are completely obvious get fixed.
Another method is to make sure that the major hits of the song (any entrances, accents, downbeats, or last notes of a section) have all the instruments lined up and in time, while the other parts of the song are left as they were played.
This keeps a loose feel yet still sounds tight and professional because all the major points of the song are tightened up.
Of course, if anything during the song should feel out of time, that would also get fixed as well, as in the example above.
And if you want everything as tight as possible, do the following:
1. Tighten the timing of the drums up either manually or by using Beat Detective (if you’re using Pro Tools). This doesn’t mean that the drums need to be perfectly quantized, only that they should be moved enough to feel great.
2. Move the kick, snare, and bass tracks so they’re beside one another on the timeline, then solo just these tracks.
3. Listen to the entire song and move the notes or phrases of the bass as needed so it’s tight with the drums.
4. Unsolo the kick, snare and bass and listen to the song with all of the tracks engaged. Make sure that the timing adjustments that you just made work. If not, repeat numbers 2 and 3.
5. Mute the bass and move on to another instrument with shaky timing. Solo the kick, snare, and instrument and repeat numbers 3 and 4.
6. Repeat with other instruments and vocals as needed.
Vocals are frequently overlooked during editing, but they play a big part in how tight a song feels.
A bad entrance (too early or too late) by a vocal can sometimes fool you into thinking that it’s one of the other instruments instead, but by moving the vocal phrase just a little, the whole passage will tighten up.
Be sure to treat the vocal just like the other instruments when editing, because it’s more important to the feel and timing of the song than you think.
The time it takes to edit a project can easily get out of hand if you’re not careful. If a song is executed badly, it’s possible to still make it sound great with editing, but it will ultimately take more time than it would have to just get the performance right in the first place.
That being said, it’s not uncommon to spend as much time editing a project as it did both to track it and do all the overdubs! And editing doesn’t come for free unless you’re doing it yourself (in which case you’re paying for it with your time).
DAW engineers will charge from $25 to $50 and higher per hour, which can add up to some significant money, even with an editor who’s fast. Still, editing is a necessary evil and you should budget for it in terms of both time and money. When that shaky song comes to life with a tight groove, you’ll be glad you did.
Create a near perfect performance by moving the time of a note or phrase. Edit with your ears, not your eyes. Sometimes the unevenness of a performance makes it exciting. A vocal performance can play a big part in how a track feels.
To acquire “The Music Producer’s Handbook” from Backbeat Books, click over to www.musicdispatch.com. NOTE: ProSoundWeb readers can enter promotional code NY9 when checking out to receive an additional 20% off the retail price plus free shipping (offer valid to U.S. residents, applies only to media mail shipping, additional charges may apply for expedited mailing services).
Farm Aid 25 Broadcast Live With the Help Of A Lawo mc²66 Console
According to Senior Audio Operations Engineer Marc Repp the mc²66 was absolutely the right tool for the job.
Geared to increase awareness of the importance of family farms, Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America, took place at Miller Park on Saturday, October 2nd.
Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews performed, as did Kenny Chesney, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, and several additional high profile artists. The event was broadcast on Willie’s Place, Sirius/XM Radio as well as DIRECTV’s The 101 Network.
Ensuring the best possible audio quality for this event was a huge undertaking—one that was very ably managed by MTV’s Remote Unit 8 truck and its crew, which consisted of Marc Repp and Browning McCollum.
At the center of all this activity, Lawo’s mc²66 digital audio console and Plug-in Server handled the mix.
Marc Repp is the Senior Audio Operations Engineer with Remote Unit 8 and Browning McCollum oversees technical and maintenance operations.
In addition to engineering many of the events that Remote Unit 8 serves, Repp also handles mix assist duties when guest engineers are on on-site.
For Farm Aid 25, Marc was the man behind the board. Seated at the 56-fader Lawo mc²66 console—configured as 48 and 8 faders with eight DSP cards (the maximum number available) for over 500 fully processed DSP channels, Repp was tasked with mixing all music performances.
Interestingly, only half of the acts actually had a sound check prior to the show. This presented several challenges, as Repp explained.
“For this year’s Farm Aid, which I mixed for broadcast in 5.1 surround sound, I only had actual sound checks with half the acts on the roster,” said Repp.
“For those acts, I was able to use the mc²66’s snapshot automation capabilities and simply recall the appropriate mix.”
“The bigger challenge occurred with the remaining acts that never had a sound check. For those eight or so acts, I was advised of the inputs, what lines I could find them on, and we essentially mixed on the fly.”
“One aspect of the mc²66 that really helped me address this situation is its DSP Library feature where you can save favorite DSP setups per channel and they remain with the console until you actually delete them since they’re not project specific,” Repp continued.
“I had saved several favorite kick drum settings, drum settings, guitar settings, voice settings, etc., and I used these as starting points for those acts we never did a sound check with. This way, I didn’t have to completely define EQ, compression, and a host of other parameters for each new act.”
Lawo’s Plug-in Server, which accepts all VST-type audio processing plug-ins without any modification, integrates with the company’s mc² series consoles and has a dramatic impact on the manner in which DSP processing takes place at the mc²66.
The system is integrated with the Lawo HD Core processor, with control of the system originating at the console. This eliminates the all-too-common process of patching external processing equipment into the console and, as Repp points out, is a tremendous time saver.
“We mix a lot of multiple act TV shows and recordings,” said Repp, “and if you’re setting up an outside processor on an act to act basis, somebody has to keep up with all those settings so they can be reset as you move from one act to another.”
“By contrast, if the signal processing is saved as part of the console’s automation—as it is with the Plug-in Server—it gets recalled as part of the snapshot and is ready to go instantaneously. In addition to dynamics processors such as compression and limiting, we can just as easily deploy reverbs, delays, and other effects that, previously, were only available via the outboard gear.”
“The mc²66 was, absolutely, the right tool for the job on this project”
“The fact that it uses the DSP Plug-in server enabled me to have rapid access to a huge amount of DSP capability without ever leaving the console. There’s no patching in of external gear and everything’s extremely fast in terms of its operation.”
“The entire system sounds great and comes together to save you a tremendous amount of time and frustration when you’re scrambling to get a mix up.”
“Those of us working in Remote Unit 8 also work with other manufacturers’ equipment and, frankly, I feel as though the other companies are playing catch-up to Lawo. At the end of the day, it’s all about sound quality—and this is where the Lawo system excels.
Beyma Announces The LX60V2 Subwoofer Family
The new line sees improvements in technology, materials and the manufacturing processes.
Beyma has announced a new iteration if its X60 subwoofer family, well known by many users worldwide.
The new family of products within the LX60V2 family includes the 12LX60V2, 15LX60V2 and 18LX60V2.
This update brings improvements in technology, materials and the manufacturing processes itself to the new line.
The new units deliver the same response and have equivalent parameters as the previous versions (1400 W power capacity).
New features include:
A waterproof treatment for both sides of the cone.
A FEA optimized magnetic circuit which, along with the MMSS suspension system design, provides a controlled, linear and symmetric behaviour of the moving assembly, resulting in lower harmonic distortion.
A new 4” DUO double layer inner/outer voice coil or the new CONEX spiders for higher resistance and consistency.
Tech Tip Of The Day: Rechargeable Batteries In Live Situations
Are rechargeable batteries acceptable for live use? What do I need to know?
Q: I’ve seen several tips and articles here on ProSoundWeb recently about batteries.
I know batteries are expensive, which is something my church is confronted with regularly.
Something I’ve been wondering is if people go to such trouble to store batteries on the fridge to make them last, obviously they have the discipline to use rechargeable batteries.
So, are rechargeable batteries acceptable for live use? What do I need to know?
A: Great question! The short answer is yes, rechargeable batters are absolutely an option, especially if you have the discipline to ensure your batteries are always recharged.
There’s actually a great Church Sound Blog post here on ProSoundWeb that discusses this very topic which is worth a read if you want an opinion from an active worship user.
However, here are the things you should definitely keep in mind if you decide to work with rechargeable batteries.
1. Rechargeable batteries self-discharge faster than disposable batteries. A NiCd rechargeable can lose 10% of its charge in the first 24 hours, and about 10% per month following that.
2. A slow recharge (say, overnight) is better for battery life than fast recharge.
3. Always use a “smart” battery charger that can detect when a rechargeable battery is “full.” Overcharging can damage a battery.
4. NiCd rechargeable batteries should be fully discharged before being recharged, to prevent the possibility of memory effect.
5. NiMH batteries are not as susceptible to memory effect as NiCd types.
6. A rechargeable battery won’t just stop working at the end of its lifespan. It will gradually lose capacity over the end of its life.
As always, we welcome input from the PSW community and would love to know your thoughts on rechargeable batteries for live use, especially if you’re using them right now! Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com
Midas KT Appoints Italo Trading LLC As Latin American Representative
Italo Trading is headed by Daniel Costa Salomao who has a rich history in the pro audio industry, ideal for brand development in such a high growth region.
Midas Klark Teknik has announced the appointment of Miami-based Italo Trading LLC as their Latin America manufacturer represenative.
Headed by founder Daniel Costa Salomao, an industry veteran of thirteen years, Italo Trading LLC was created up in 2008 as a sales and brand development operation for pro audio manufacturers.
Salomao, who previously held international sales management roles at Selemium loudspeakers and the Proel Group said, “I have always had a great admiration for Midas Klark Teknik products, and it’s a major step forward for Italo Trading to be able to include such a celebrated brand as part of our offering.”
“We are very excited about expanding the Midas KT reach across the region.”
Salomao has an extensive experience of Latin America from living or travelling in every country in the area. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
“Latin America is a very important market for Midas and Klark Teknik,” says managing director John Oakley.
“I am delighted that Daniel will be driving our brand development in this high growth region.”
Midas Klark Teknik Website
DiGiCo Training Seminar Held In New York By Autograph A2D
An intensive 3-Day DiGiCo SD7T seminar was recently held at A2D's newly renovated facility. Plans for January sessions are underway.
Autograph A2D held DiGiCo SD7T training seminars for three days October 12, 13, and 14th at A2D’s facility in New York City. Andrew Bruce from Autograph Sound Recording and Zac Duax were the moderators.
Twenty-three attendees, consisting of Broadway designers, engineers and technicians from the various New York shops, attended the sessions held in A2D’s newly renovated demo suite located at 1674 Broadway in the heart of New York’s theatrical district.
Morning sessions were on basic SD7T architecture and history, with in-depth coverage of the desk layout, features and functionality, and DiGiCo’s high-density Stealth digital processor.
Afternoon sessions were devoted specifically to SD7T theater software and cueing.
“With the technologies that have emerged, we see a real need for constant training,” said Autograph partner, Nigel Olliff.
“The hardware may stay the same for a while, but the software is constantly being updated and refined. As a distributor, we see it as our responsibility to offer in-depth training, mentoring and specialist knowledge to the theater community.”
“We had a great group over the three days and were able to take back to DiGiCo software designers many useful ideas for the next software release.”
Plans are underway for the next session in mid-January 2011.
API 1608 Selected By California State University Chico Recording Arts Program
The API 1608 allows CSU Chico to teach signal flow to the students in a way that is tangible.
The Music Industry & Technology program at California State University, Chico gives its students an education that is quite different from the one offered by the mass of competing technical schools.
Rather than focus on technology – either hardware or software – Cal State Chico focuses on the underpinnings of great audio that never change: specifically, building ideal signal flow, listening, understanding music, and inspiring great performances.
Thus, the department’s recent purchase of an API 1608 fully-analog, 32-channel console for the heart of its main recording room is less a statement about gear and more an investment in a tool that will help instructors realize multiple aspects of the department’s mission.
Plenty of prospective students understand the advantages of Cal State Chico’s approach, and the program is officially “impacted,” meaning far more students apply than can be accepted.
“Of course, our students invariably learn to use hardware and software as a means to the deeper messages we instill,” said Prof. Dann Sargent.
“But our students certainly don’t endure PowerPoint presentations on the most effective ways to make a beat splice in software environment X. It’s easy to pick that kind of stuff up.”
“The API 1608 really lets us teach signal flow to the students in a way that is tangible,” said Prof. Keith Seppanen, chair of the music department and veteran sound engineer of Chet Atkins, Anita Baker, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, to name a few.
“It is modular at its core, and we can encourage students to patch up what they need. We can arrange things so that it is impossible for them to be lazy in their thinking.”
Professor Joe Alexander who also specializes in the recording arts program and whose independent work with a plethora of international superstar talents running the stylistic gamut for over thirty years added, “I didn’t spend a lifetime in the industry to come here and play academic make believe and neither should students who are serious about their career and the future of audio.”
“We all know that the price of admission to participate in audio has dropped dramatically. Now, most of our students come to us with plenty of experience with entry-level software and hardware. But at the same time, the standards of excellence have also dropped dramatically, given that some people feel an mp3 file now serves as the benchmark of quality.”
“Thanks to API’s long history and continued dedication to all-discrete analog circuitry, our API 1608 will recalibrate our students to a more respectable point of reference—the point of reference that helped capture some of the best recordings of all time.”
“Durability was also a factor in our decision to outfit studio A with the API 1608,” said Seppanen. “Our studio is used twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”
“API has a legacy, so to speak, of building equipment that lasts. Rather than refresh every few years like a lot of programs, we plan to keep this console around for long time.”
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Hose Technology Promotes Sweeney To Director Of Operations & International Sales
Sweeney brings an extensive background in the music products and consumer electronics industries to Hosa.
Hosa Technology has announced the promotion of Ben Sweeney to the position of Director of Operations and International Sales.
Sweeney has an extensive background in the music products and consumer electronics industries, including positions as sales and product manager with several prominent companies, bringing a wealth of experience to his new position at Hosa Technology.
In his new capacity, Sweeney will be charged with overseeing Hosa’s internal systems and processes, which includes maintenance of the company’s website.
He will also serve as the liaison between internal departments and third-party providers—including manufacturer’s representatives.
Further, Sweeney will be responsible for implementing data management and warehouse procedures as well as coordinating with the company’s international distributors in the areas of sales and marketing.
Sweeney possesses an extensive track record in a variety of job capacities that make him well suited for his new responsibilities. A native of Australia, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Media Production from Australia’s Griffith University and also possesses a retail sales and marketing diploma from Monash University of Victoria, Australia.
From 2001 to 2005, he served as National Sales Manager for Intelliware Australia, a distributor of products from Mark of the Unicorn, Sony Media Software, Cakewalk, and Hosa Technology / Zaolla Silverline, among others. From 2005 to 2007, he was the National Retail Sales Manager for Australia’s Sibelius Software.
He moved to the United States and joined Hosa Technology in June of 2007 and has served as the company’s Operations Manager since November 2007.
“I’ve always had a fondness for Hosa and its products,” remarked Sweeney, “and was delighted to join the company after arriving in the States. With my promotion to Director of Operations and International Sales, I have a tremendous opportunity to help take the company to the next level.”
“Hosa enjoys an enviable reputation in the markets we serve and, with an incredibly diverse product line, I believe there is a wealth of sales and marketing opportunity that remains undiscovered. I am honored to be part of the Hosa team that, collectively, will be charged with broadening the company’s reach.”
“With a skill set that perfectly complements the goals and objectives of our company, Ben brings a proven track record and an inexhaustible level of enthusiasm that, I’m confident, will be contagious,” said Jennifer Paquette, Hosa’s General Manager.
“I’m delighted to have Ben working with us as we guide Hosa Technology into a new decade.”
Hosa Technology Website
Don’t Fall Prey To The Volunteer Mentality
How volunteers are treated can be the basis for the success of a ministry within the church.
The argument forever burns on as to whether or not a church should be run like a business.
Regardless of which side you’re on, one thing is for certain, the church is primarily a volunteer-oriented organization.
Unfortunately, that can lead to a poor volunteer mentality.
Let’s overcome that!
Recently I was thinking about all of the negative mind-sets related to volunteer work in audio ministry.
“He’s just a volunteer. He *will* make the band sound like I want.”
“I’m a volunteer, I can do what I want; it’s my time and energy.”
Perhaps you’ve felt similar feelings either as a volunteer or felt “controlled” by someone in leadership.
For the audio volunteer, there is the Negative Volunteer Mentality:
1. I’ll do what I want because they aren’t paying me.
2. When I don’t feel like showing up, someone else can take my place.
3. I will mix the way I want.
4. I can do as little as I want.
5. I can tell musicians what to do.
6. I can say “no” to the pastor.
7. I get keys to the building.
8. I have the position of unchecked authority.
We must not take those views. Instead, should have a Positive Volunteer Mentality:
1. The church leaders trust me; therefore I will do my best.
2. I’m not the only one volunteering and therefore I respect the time and energy of my fellow volunteers.
3. I will produce the best sound for creating an environment for worship (or the mood the worship leader or pastor wants established).
4. The more I do, even coming in mid-week if it calls for it, the more the church body benefits.
5. Musicians are also volunteers and we are on the same team. We support each other.
6. I’m in the position of saying “no” to audio requests from people in leadership and therefore need to take that position seriously and make those decisions appropriately.
7. Keys to the building…to those much is given, much is expected.
8. Authority has been given to me. Just because I’m a volunteer, it doesn’t mean I’m not under church authority myself.
Church leadership can also have a positive or negative volunteer mentality.
How they treat volunteers can be the basis for the success of a ministry within the church.
The church leaders can have this Negative Volunteer Mentality:
1. He/she is a volunteer and should be happy we are “letting them” run sound.
2. They can pay for their own training if they are really interested in what they do.
3. They have no authority.
4. They don’t get keys to the church.
5. We can tell them what to do.
6. They can pay for stuff [cd’s, tapes, batteries, etc] out of their own pocket. That’s part of that ministry.
7. They use the equipment we have - it’s been working for years.
The beautiful Positive Volunteer Mentality:
1. They are volunteering their time and energy and therefore we should treat those gifts with the utmost respect.
2. We can’t afford to pay them but we should use God’s money to properly train them.
3. They are allotted a position of authority because of their God-given talents and skills which they can use to work with other people to create the best audio experience possible.
4. They should have access to the church at all times because their work isn’t limited to the day of the church service.
5. If we treat them like puppets, we deny them the ability to use their God-given talents.
6. A budget is important for all church ministries and the audio ministry is no exception.
7. Technology is constantly producing better audio equipment and therefore the audio ministry should be allowed to upgrade/add-on equipment when it would benefit the quality of sound / the worship experience.
Being a volunteer, it’s easy to think only about myself and how others treat me. The more “I-focused” I become, the less I see how I impact others.
The more “I-focused” I become, the less I am concerned with compassion and pity.
Regardless of how others treat me, if I cannot properly shoulder the responsibilities God has given me, then maybe I need to remember what it means to follow Christ.
I’m fortunate in that my pastor as well as the worship teams support me. But if one day that were to change, I need to be assured that my attitude would not.
How do you actively strive to overcome the volunteer mentality? 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.
Lab X President Lee Minich Chairing AVB Product Design Track Session At 129th AES Convention
The AVB Product Design Track will provide an in-depth explanation of AVB and the associated IEEE standards.
The President of Lab X Technologies and Marketing Workgroup Chairman of AVnu Alliance, Lee Minich, will chair the AES panel discussion on IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging (AVB) standards in the Pro AV, consumer and automotive markets on Friday, November 5 at 2:30 PM and will provide expert insight as a panelist during the Live Sound Seminar LS11 on Networked Audio for Live Sound On November 7 at 11:00 AM.
As one of the leading AVB specialists, Lab X Technologies continues to work with Pro AV manufacturers to rapidly bring networked products to market by providing comprehensive solutions and services to the complicated world of networking systems.
“The evolution of digital audio and video networking is upon us. Increasing manufacturers’ understanding and implementation of AVB networking will unify, and more importantly, grow the entire industry,” stated Minich.
“Ethernet AVB solutions are the core of Lab X’s technical expertise, and I’m honored to chair this AES session as part of our commitment to the education and growth of end users, manufacturers and the audio community at large.”
The AVB Product Design Track will provide an in-depth explanation of AVB and the associated IEEE standards, with discussions on the advantages of an open non-proprietary technology, the manufacturers’ role and the cost-effectiveness of AVB solutions.
The AVnu members will educate attendees of the design and implementation of these new standards and will be open to questions from attendees.
The Live Sound Seminar LS11 – Networked Audio for Live Sound, will focus on the advantages and tradeoffs of standardizing networks.
Lab X Technologies provides networking solutions that enable various products to work together as part of integrated systems.
Recently, the company announced its expansion into the security and general systems networking markets, to add to its Pro AV experience and simple integration solutions to the sophisticated networking needs of these industries.
The AVnu Alliance focuses on the promotion and integration of IEEE 802.1 AVB standards in the automotive, professional and consumer electronics industries. Collaborating with multiple organizations and leading manufacturers, AVnu is determined to provide a better end-user AV experience.
Lab X Technologies Website
Renkus-Heinz IC Live System Selected For University of Wisconsin’s Young Auditorium
The system includes two ICL-R triple stacks and an additional dual ICL-R system, as well as four PN212 subwoofers which provide low frequency coverage.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Irvin L. Young Auditorium recently received an audio makeover that included the very first installation of an IC Live system utilizing the new ICL-R three-tall “triple” arrays.
As Scott Leonard of Wauwatosa, WI-based Professional Audio Designs explains, audio for the 1300-seat hall offered some unique design challenges.
“The balcony is steeply raked, giving it quite a bit of height to the seats at the rear wall,” he says.
“We needed to design a system with a balcony delay but also provide a reference to the stage for localization.”
Having previously worked with the IC Live system at Iowa’s Luther College Center for Faith and Life, Leonard knew what the system was capable of in terms of fidelity, power and control.
It didn’t take much to convince David Nees, the Young Auditorium’s Technical Director. “I brought David to the NAMM Show in Anaheim,” he says.
“Renkus-Heinz had an IC Live system installed on a live performance stage in the Convention Center lobby, and at an outdoor stage. David was able to listen to a variety of different bands performing through the systems in diametrically different acoustic environments.”
“He was really impressed with the amount of sound coming from such a small system. We even were able to ride up an escalator outside and listen to the smooth vertical coverage control.”
To address the Young Auditorium’s coverage requirements, Leonard contacted Ralph Heinz, Renkus-Heinz Senior Vice President.
“I called Ralph and asked him if there was a way to configure the IC Live with a third ICL-R array for both increased output and low frequency control,” he explains, “this would also increase artist acceptance and reduce the amount of rental systems needed.”
The full system includes two ICL-R triple stacks mounted left and right of the proscenium, along with an additional dual ICL-R system mounted behind a lighting catwalk for over-balcony delay. Four PN212 subwoofers provide low frequency coverage.
“I decided to leave the high frequency section in the top box and flip it around so that the high frequency section would be its own controllable element at the top, and not part of the main steerable array. “
The IC Live’s compact size proved to be a major asset for the hall’s wide and varied program.
“The hall has quite a narrow proscenium opening and they had originally been considering a traditional line array,” says Leonard, “but that would mean that any time a major touring act came through with their own system, they’d have to take down the existing arrays first.”
“With the IC Live, they can leave the system in place. It saves a lot of time and labor, not to mention wear and tear on the system. Another advantage is that it gives them a wider stage to work with and improves sightlines for the audience”
Leonard was also particularly pleased with the opportunity to present Renkus-Heinz with an untried challenge, and the responsiveness of the company’s engineers.
“I love the fact that Renkus-Heinz, as an American company, is so accessible,” he says. “I can call them and speak directly to Ralph with an idea for a product or an improvement, and they have the passion to try and make it work.”
“How many companies can you call and get through to one of the guys whose name is on the speakers? I like that kind of support.”
iLive Adopted By Multiple Russian Sound Engineers
The iLive has been adopted by multiple Russian engineers for their recent touring and broadcast projects.
The iLive from Allen & Heath was recently deployed for two large scale concerts organized by the Russian-Cuban cultural project, Havana Calling, founded by Russian singer and composer, Leonid Agutin, and Cuban flutist, Orlando “Maraca” Valle.
The first concert was held on Cathedral Square in Havana and the second at the prestigious Kremlin Concert Hall in Moscow.
Sound engineer, Robert Boim, utilized an iLive system at both events for FOH, monitors, and live recording of the full 62 channels via a MADI plug-in card.
Two iDR-32 MixRacks were positioned on stage - one for drums, percussion, bass and guitar inputs, and a second managing keys and vocals - digitally split for separate FOH and monitor mixing.
Boim used his tablet PC running iLive Editor control software to manage the Havana concert, and a combination of an iLive-T112 surface and Editor at the Moscow concert.
“iLive provides mobility and robust construction, an ‘analogue-like’ user friendly interface and sound of the highest quality,” said Boim. “The sound was perfect due to iLive’s high quality preamps and EQ.”
Boim also recently selected an iLive system, consisting an iDR-32 MixRack and iLive-T80 Control Surface, for the bands Guru Groove Foundation and KOOQLA, who appeared on TV Show, Parny Progon.
The weekly music show features key artists and bands, and is broadcast on Russia’s A-ONE TV channel. iLive managed live mixing and multi-track recording for both artists.
iLive has also been adopted by several other key Russian sound engineers who have selected the system for many of their recent touring projects.
Yury Astafiev, sound engineer for famous Russian pop singer, Dima Bilan, chose iLive for the artist’s recent national tour. Bilan was the winner of Eurovision 2008 and is multiple winner of MTV Russia’s ‘Best Singer’ award. The iLive system, comprising an iDR-32 MixRack and iLive-T80 Control Surface, managed both FOH and monitor mixing.
Additionally, sound engineer, Vladimir Gubatov, used an iLive system for a major concert of iconic artist, Inna Zhelannaya, held in the hall of The Central House of Artist museum in Moscow. Comprising an iDR-48 MixRack and iLive-T80 Surface, Gubatov managed FOH and monitor mixes from the system.
Allen & Heath Website
George Strait Tour Utilizes L-Acoustics KUDO & SB28
The system for Straight’s latest tour was provided by Onstage Systems.
Country Music Hall of Famer George Strait is back out on the road with Reba and Lee Ann Womack for their second sweep of the US this year.
Dallas-based Onstage Systems is again providing concert sound reinforcement.
For this leg of the tour, George Olson, Strait’s FOH engineer and lead system tech, chose to upgrade the in-the-round setup with the addition of 48 KUDO loudspeaker enclosures and 16 SB28 subs from L-Acoustics.
The KUDO are divided into two pairs of 12-box hangs that address the steeply raked seating sections to the near left and right of the stage – areas that proved a bit challenging for the out-fill arrays deployed on the previous trek.
“KUDO’s ability to be splayed up to 10 degrees has allowed us to cover the full range of side seats – from the front row to the top row – much more smoothly and easily,” says Olson.
“The adjustable directivity of the box has come in handy, too. Our square stage is oriented at 45 degrees like a diamond, so when George, Reba or Lee Ann are out on the point, the PA is actually behind them.”
“I’m using the K-Louvers on the very bottom boxes to bring the audio right up to the barricade, which has been a nice little trick.”
According to Olson, the KUDO are all housed in custom-built “chariots” that simplify their transport and setup.
In addition to riding four-high on a truck between venues, these carts – each containing four KUDO – are hooked together on stage in groups of three and very quickly flown.
The FOH engineer also swapped out Onstage’s legacy L-Acoustics subwoofers with 16 new SB28 subs, which are positioned four per corner in a stereo cardioid configuration.
“With this sub setup, I’ve totally nulled all of the low-end energy in the middle of the stage that used to give my background singers and other players fits throughout the years,” he says.
“The other cool thing about it is that it provides a nice little ‘bounce’ of solid low end there at the point, right behind the subwoofers, which reinforces what the artists are hearing in their in-ears.
“We’re definitely getting more output from the SB28s. Even though I lost some SPL by going with a stereo cardioid setup, the new sub has so much more output to begin with.”
“We find ourselves turning the sub aux send down a bit and still getting more low end than we’ve had before. The sound is much tighter and deeper. Bass guitars, kick drums and other low-frequency elements all sound so nice and full now.”
Onstage also added two more LA-RAK touring racks to the tour’s inventory, bringing the total up to 18. “The entire tour is now exclusively driven by LA8 amplified controllers, which I’m really enjoying,” Olson notes.
The tour will take a two-month hiatus during November and December, then head back out for at least three more months starting in January.
The engineer expects that the current equipment complement will remain unchanged for the duration of the tour.
“However,” he adds, “I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire rig got changed out to KUDO someday because they’re performing so well where we’re using them.”
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Blue Microphones Announce The Spark Recording Microphone
Spark is a condenser microphone with a Focus control for versatile sound capture capabilities.
Blue Microphones has announced Spark, a cardioid, solid-state condenser microphone, with high-quality, fully discrete components and an innovative Focus control offering two sonic signatures.
Along with its new design and ability to capture a wide range of recording situations, Spark also comes with a custom shockmount and pop filter in a professional wooden case.
“With Spark, we are excited to offer our proprietary capsule technology to a wider audience in an exceptionally versatile microphone,” said John Maier, CEO of Blue Microphones.
“Spark is a high-quality recording tool that comes with everything needed for a truly professional recording experience at an affordable price.”
“Even our new Focus control technology is designed to make it easy to record and get professional results right out of the box without requiring processing.”
Spark features Blue’s premium condenser capsule, delivering low noise, high efficiency, and rapid response in any recording situation. Out of the box, the sonic signature of Spark is crisp and powerful with an enhanced low end.
To achieve a more present sound, Blue introduces the Focus control, which when selected results in a tighter, more direct and focused sound. Spark utilizes custom-matched circuitry with the same professional-quality, Class-A discrete components found in Blue’s extensive line of professional microphones.
The circuit design also pairs Spark’s condenser capsule with a phantom-powered outboard amplifier to drive the capsule with linear control and accuracy.
To complete the experience, Spark comes inside a high-quality wooden box, with a custom shockmount and metal pop filter. This all-inclusive professional microphone package also provides a detailed recording guide showing complete setup and recording tips for a variety of instruments and vocal sounds. Spark comes with a three year manufacturer’s warranty.
Spark, MSRP $199, will be available in November at authorized Blue Microphones dealers.
Blue Microphone Website