Thursday, October 21, 2010
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
Swank AV Provides Renaissance Hollywood With A NEXO & Yamaha System
The GEO S was chosen because it is a system tailored to medium-sized corporate events, the venue's most common client.
In-house AV company Swank Audio Visuals recently added a NEXO GEO S8 system and Yamaha M7CL-32 digital audio console to their production arsenal for the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel’s Grand Ballroom.
Located in the Hollywood and Highlands complex that also houses the Kodak Theatre, Hard Rock Cafe, (and soon-to-be opened Rolling Stones venue), the 25,000 square foot Grand Ballroom and sole hotel on the property seats 2,000 theatre-style.
Since 1937, Swank Audio Visuals has been providing event technology services within the hotel, resort, meeting and conference center industries.
The in-house team located at the Hollywood property, provides top-level production using the NEXO/Yamaha system for all events.
The Ballroom hosted the 2010 ASCAP Conference and performances by Flo-Rida, Patti Smith and her band, with panels featuring Quincy Jones, Ludacris, Justin Timberlake, Bill Withers and John Mayer.
The Grand Ballroom was also recently the site of the Cirque Du Soleil “Iris” preview which will open in the Kodak Theatre, and is the location for the 2011 Oscars press event.
The 16-box NEXO GEO S8 system is hung in the Ballroom on a case-by-case basis dependent upon the individual show’s design to be staged in the flexible function space.
“We chose the GEO S because we needed a system that was tailored to what we do the most, which is medium-sized corporate events,” states Ryan Gollner, Assistant Director of Audio Visual Services, Swank AV.
“Our Technical Director, Maurice Sams, showed us what the system could do when we first moved in here last year, and we’ve been hooked ever since.”
The rig consists of seven GEO S805’s and one GEO S830 with two C-12 subs per side, powered by four Yamaha PC9501N amps and two NX242 processors. “They sound great in the Grand Ballroom and provide excellent coverage. Our clients always comment on how clear the audio is.”
“We use the Yamaha M7CL-32 with Stage Manager as well as an iPad for our different, high-profile events, says Gollner. When Swank moved into the Renaissance Hollywood, we knew we were going to need something flexible enough to accommodate the various levels of business throughout the year.”
“The M7CL-32 is THAT board, hands down. Its ease of use and programmability enables us to respond rapidly to our clients’ needs, and its on-board DSP eliminates the need for a lot of excess gear, which simplifies our jobs and reduces the footprint area. It’s just a win-win, and we absolutely love it.”
One of Swank AV’s company trademarks is training. In their Los Angeles area properties, they have several technicians who are trained on the Yamaha M7CL console, and have gone on to teach up-and-coming audio enthusiasts within the company.
“The great thing about the M7CL, Gollner notes, is that its workflow is so streamlined, most technicians can pick it up and be effective in real-life situations within a day or even within a few hours!”
TC Electronic To Participate In Three Panels At The 129th AES Conference
Leading authorities Lund and Strassberg to offer expert advice on loudness and 5.1 audio.
Industry veterans from TC Electronic will be sharing with attendees at this year’s AES 2010 their vast knowledge of loudness and 5.1 audio during three separate panels.
Thomas Lund, HD Development Manager, will be offering his expert advice on loudness during two panel discussions at AES 2010.
The first of these will be “Loudness Metadata, Concerns for DTV,” taking place Friday, November 5 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. As part of this discussion, Lund will be offering his personal take on current and future audio standards and how these factor into conventional audio workflows.
A related seminar that Lund will be participating in is “Keep Turning it Down! Developing an Exit Strategy for the Loudness Wars,” also on Friday, November 5 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
Here Lund will present his thoughts on the progress towards ending the loudness war and returning dynamic range to audio engineers. The workshop will focus on mastering techniques, gain normalization algorithms and standards to help attain loudness control. Attendees will also have the opportunity to have an open dialogue with Lund and the rest of the panel on this issue.
“With loudness being a hot topic for professionals in all areas of the audio and broadcast industry, I’m happy to be a part of these panels to help bring this issue to light and give those working in the trenches some practical solutions,” says Lund.
“The issue of loudness is something I’m dealing with in my professional life every day and is a topic I’m very passionate about.”
From his hands-on work in the area of audio, combined with his product and standards knowledge, Lund can tackle this issue from all angles. Lund received practical knowledge in the field of audio originally as a musician and recording engineer.
He has been with TC Electronic for more than 15 years and in his current position as HD Development Manager, Lund has been responsible for the development of audio equipment such as the TC System 6000 Audio Mastering System, DB8 Loudness Radar Meter and LM5 Loudness Radar Meter Plug-in, and Reverb 4000 Stereo Reverb.
In addition, he has published an estimate of 30 different scientific papers on the topics of loudness, distortion in digital audio and spatialization for such professional organizations as AES, NAB, SMPTE, EBU, and BCA. He has also taken part in international audio standardization work within AES, ITU and EBU.
Steve Strassberg, Vice President of Sales, HD & Broadcast for TC Electronic, will also be presenting at the Surround Live Eight Symposium, a special event being held prior to AES on Wednesday November 3 at The Metreon, 101 Fourth St. in San Francisco. This symposium brings together the leading authorities in surround sound for a candid and informative discussion with today’s audio professionals about issues relating to the capture, broadcast and monitoring of surround.
Strassberg will be presenting on issues associated with Upmixing and Downmixing 5.1 audio for broadcast as part of a technology showcase session entitled, “Upmix-Down Mix — The Current State Of The Art,” during the afternoon portion of Surround Live Eight from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. As part of the presentation he will be showcasing TC Electronic’s System 6000 MKII Reverb and Signal Processor, and discussing how it can be used for post production and mastering of audio specifically for television and film.
He will highlight the different challenges audio engineers face getting audio from the microphone all the way to the viewers at home and how System 6000 can be an integral part of the process. Strassberg will also be demonstrating the system’s capabilities for Upmixing and Downmixing, which is compatible with all home audio decoders.
An industry veteran, having worked with various broadcast and sales organizations as well as gaining real world experience in product application for broadcast, post production, and music recording, Strassberg is able to provide users with true insight to how this product can aid them in the field.
TC Electronic Website
The List Will Never Be Complete
Do your best, then go home at night knowing you’ve still got something to work on tomorrow. Consider it job security.
It seems I’ve been having the same conversation with a variety of Technical Directors lately.
The conversation always generally revolves around the seemingly endless list of projects and tasks that we need to work on, and the pressure we feel (either internal or external) to get them done; preferably right now.
I too am one of those TDs.
Just over a year ago I walked into a building that needs every single system updated, upgraded or replaced.
In every room. It’s a long list.
I know many of you are in similar situations. I started thinking that if I worked really hard just for the next few months, I could get it all done.
But I’ve come to realize that’s a fallacy. The truth is, the list will never be complete. That realization can either be frustrating or liberating, depending on how you choose to deal with it.
So, I’ve decided to consider the situation liberating.
What do I mean?
Now that I know the list will never be done, much of the pressure to get it all done right now is removed. I can learn to be content knowing there is a nearly endless list of tasks to accomplish, and getting them done will be a matter of prioritizing and allocating budget.
It’s really that simple. When someone tells me something needs to be done, I either respond with, “It’s on the list,” or “I’ll add it to the list.” Depending on who has made the suggestion, it gets put near the top or near the bottom.
There was a point in time when I felt the need to be some kind of super-TD. You know, the guys who have all their systems completely dialed in, nothing on the repair bench, all processed totally worked out and who spend all their time working with volunteers and perfecting their mixes with virtual soundcheck.
What I’ve found is that those guys don’t really exist–or at least I’ve never met any. And I know a lot of TDs.
I know TDs of big churches who have tech arts staffs bigger than my church staff, and I know TDs of small churches who are also the IT / Communications / Office Manager guy.
The interesting thing is that no matter the size of the church and its staff all seem to universally face the same issues. When I visit them at their churches, they all say, “Yeah, we’ve got to work on this or that…”
I recently spend half a day with a great TD who moved into a brand new building recently. As we walked the facility, I learned his list of things to be done is longer than mine. And that’s in a brand new building!
Even in a new facility, things didn’t go quite as planned, they ran short of time and had to jury-rig a few things just to get it working for opening weekend. And now they have a list; just like the rest of us.
So if you find yourself feeling inadequate because your to-do list is seemingly endless, relax. You’re part of a large group of us who also have a long list of projects to work on.
Chances are, regardless of how hard you work at it, that list will still be there.
Do your best, then go home at night knowing you’ve still got something to work on tomorrow. And the next day.
Consider it job security.
Do you have a seemingly endless to do list at your church? 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.
Virginia State University Chooses ENTASYS To Revive Auditorium
Since the hall's reopening it has been extremely busy and has received numerous positive comments about improved sound quality.
Virginia State University boasts a long history dating back to the period following the American Civil War.
Founded as the nation’s first state-supported institution of higher learning for blacks, VSU counts among its distinguished alumni names like Reginald Lewis, entrepreneur and first Black CEO of Beatrice Foods, The Honorable James Coleman, the first African American to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court, actor James Avery and jazz hall-of-fame musician Billy Taylor.
The school’s Colson Auditorium was recently updated with a powerful new audio system centered around a pair of Community Professional Loudspeakers’ ENTASYS high-performance three-way column line arrays.
As Michael Kidd of Richmond-based CCS Presentation Systems explained, the ENTASYS systems have solved the hall’s long-standing audio issues.
“It’s a multi-purpose room that’s primarily used for lectures and other spoken word presentations,” says Kidd. “It’s not all that large - it seats around 250 - but it’s a rectangular space that’s fairly reflective, and it’s always had problems with intelligibility.”
The building’s flat roof had sustained some water damage during the recent storms, and the needed repairs brought with them the opportunity to upgrade some of the auditorium’s infrastructure.
“They were looking at ways to improve the existing system, a distributed configuration of older in-ceiling speakers,” says Kidd. “It was noisy, coverage had always been spotty, and the more we talked with them, the more it became clear that it made more sense to upgrade the whole system.”
Kidd had attended an ENTASYS presentation some months earlier, and recognized the auditorium as an ideal opportunity. “When I saw the ENTASYS system, I loved the concept and thought, it would be great to have the right application to implement it.”
“When the Colson Auditorium project came along, it really seemed like the ideal scenario.”
The rest of the system is simple and straightforward. Crown amplification powers the system, and an AMX touch panel selects between DVD, computer, mic mixer and other sources.
Kidd reports the system has scored high marks with students and administration alike. “The hall’s been pretty busy since it’s reopened, and we’ve had lots of great comments on the sound,” he says.
“I felt really good about it, because we were kind of sticking our necks out by recommending a new product we hadn’t tried before. Not that I had any doubts, but the truth is the ENTASYS system really exceeded our expectations. We were all pleasantly surprised.”
Community Professional Loudspeakers Website
Tech Tip Of The Day: Battery Shelf Life
How long can I store batteries? Do they lose power?
Q:I help out at my church with the audio, and recently got to wondering how long we can store batteries? Do they lose power?
A: Most battery types lose up to 8-20 percent of their charge per year, depending on the temperature they’re stored at and the battery type. This is due to non-electricity producing chemical “side” reactions that take place within the battery’s cells over time.
It’s possible to extend the life of alkaline batteries through an alternative storage method. However, no matter how you chose to store your batteries, it might be wise to take the advice of Gary Zandstra and invest in a battery tester, which can help you prevent the preventable.
For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com
Grand Ole Opry Installs PhantomFocus System By Carl Tatz Design Using Genelec 8050A Monitors
The new tuned monitor system has received praise from FOH and broadcast engineers alike.
Recently, the legendary Nashville venue the Grand Ole Opry House upgraded its control room sound with the installation of a PhantomFocus System from Carl Tatz Design (CTD).
Grand Ole Opry Head of Music Operations Steve Gibson contacted CTD to correct a control room window resonance problem that they were experiencing, and Gibson requested the implementation of a PhantomFocus System using their existing Genelec 8050A monitors.
“The thing that is the most fun for me is how the center ‘channel’ feels like a physical presence; as well, I know that our mixes are translating much better out of the building than they ever have.”
“We’ve got two systems and we love listening to them both!” noted King Williams, Chief Broadcast Engineer, Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium.
“The project went extremely well and I have received several phone calls out of the blue from some GRAMMY-winning engineers commenting on how smooth and accurate the monitors now sound,” says Tatz.
Once the basic acoustic treatment has been accomplished, Carl Tatz Design’s proprietary PhantomFocus Monitor System offers clients a unique opportunity to have a world-class monitoring experience despite the quality of their room.
The PhantomFocus System allows their monitors of choice to perform accurately at a full 20Hz-to-20KHz frequency response with pinpoint imaging in an almost holographic sweet spot — this enables their mixes to travel anywhere with a new level of sonic accuracy.
There are approximately fifty steps in the proprietary PhantomFocus System implementation protocol, some of which may include phase and laser alignment, damping, isolation mounts, careful assessment of engineer/speaker placement relative to their room’s primary axial modes, proprietary speaker distance and angle, crossover points for pass filtering, and finally parametric equalization.
Hardware can include monitor stands, concrete, sorbothane and other isolation materials, custom floating plenum mounts, subwoofer system, custom crossover, parametric equalizers and the monitors themselves (passive or active). The evaluation and implementation is a full two-day process and can be applied to near-fields, mid-fields, and large soffit mounted monitors, regardless of manufacturer.
Carl Tatz Design Website
Monday, October 18, 2010
Why Audio Engineers Need To Know Video
Video is everywhere and if you're properly prepared, it can create an additional revenue stream for you studio as you provide the complete media package.
Over the past months I’ve had the unique experience of dealing with quite a bit of video.
I’ve always created short little videos for my website Home Studio Corner, but those were rudimentary at best.
Recently I’ve been branching out creating weekly video content and I’ve become heavily immersed in creating videos.
In addition, I’ve had the opportunity in the last few months to record several live bands, capturing both multi-track audio and multi-camera video footage – all while still putting on a live concert.
I have a new respect for video guys. There is so much involved with video that goes way over my head, but I’m grasping it more and more, and I plan to continue to grow my video expertise.
Why not just focus on the audio? Why concern myself with video? I have a few reasons.
HD Video is Everywhere
Unless you live in a cave, you’ve probably noticed that the entire world is obsessed with HD video.
YouTube offers videos in HD (all of my tutorial videos on YouTube are in HD, and they look quite nice).
Flat-screen high-definition TV’s are a hot item.
Every cable company has a super-duper HD package that costs an arm and a leg, but it looks amazing.
All the major networks are competing to have the best and most show in HD.
BlueRay discs are gaining popularity.
The XBox360 and PS3 are setting the standard for HD video and gaming.
What do you not see here? I’ll tell you. You don’t see people obsessing over high-definition audio.
The people who rushed out each year on Black Friday at 5am to grab up those $600 Sony HD TVs at Sears are the same people who listened to mp3s on their iPods in the car on the way to and from the store.
People simply don’t care about SACDs and 1-bit High Definition recorders. They don’t really care if the mp3 codec used to encode their mp3s adds lots of artifacts.
Most people can see the difference between standard definition video and HD video much more easily than they can hear the difference between a crappy mp3 and a 24-bit wave file.
My point? The world has voted for HD video. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any effort into your music. A bad mix will still be a bad mix on a 64-kbps mp3. A good mix will still have people bobbing their heads, whether the quality of the actual file itself has been degraded.
What this does mean is that you should seriously consider adding video to your portfolio.
Video Experience = More Jobs
Whether you do audio as your full-time job or just a side gig, you will have more job/project opportunities if you can do video.
If I’m the hiring director at a marketing company, and I need an audio guy to come in and record commercials, etc., I’m much more likely to hire the guy who has audio and video experience over the guy who just does audio.
Likewise, if I’m a band looking to record my next record, I would be much more drawn to the guy who could record and mix the album, but also produce a music video for one of the songs.
The list goes on and on.
Be a Complete Media Package
Being an amazing audio engineer is a wonderful thing. You should always be expanding your skills and becoming a better one.
However, the industry is changing, and if you want more creative opportunities, you need to expand your creative portfolio.
If you can become a one-stop shop for anything media-related – audio, video, even web design – you will have an amazing leg up on the competition.
The Counterpoint - You Don’t Need to Know Video
I’ve talked about how video is a great opportunity for audio engineers and can lead to new jobs.
However, what about the arguement that audio engineers should just focus on audio rather than expanding into the world of video.
This is a valid point, so here are a few things to think about.
Know Your Goals
What are your goals for your opperation? What are you wanting to accomplish in your studio?
Are you wanting to attract new clients? Do you want better paying jobs? Do you want more editing jobs?
If you don’t really know the answers to these questions, I would challenge you to take some time to think through and write down your goals for the remainder of the year.
If your goals involve getting more clients and paid jobs, it may still be worth your while to learn more about video.
However, if you’re looking to just improve your mixes, focusing on video might be a waste of time.
Don’t Be Spread Too Thin
Perhaps you’re at the beginning of your career and still trying to improve as an audio engineer.
You’re working on more and more music, and you’re excited about the fact that you could start producing videos, which could open up all sorts of opportunities for you.
In all the excitement, you may start learning and practicing your video skills…at the expense of your audio work.
You don’t want to look back a year from now and realize that instead of being a better audio engineer, you’re just a mediocre audio engineer AND a mediocre video guy.
Only focus on video if you have time to do both audio and video well.
Partner Up with a Video Expert
Businesses do this kind of thing all the time. Rather than taking on a new skill themselves, they’ll hire (or buy out) another company to do the task for them.
The second company specializes in the new skill, so rather than wasting time learning a new skill, the first company partners up with the second company to get the job done.
You could do the same thing with your studio. If it doesn’t make sense for you to learn video yourself, find someone else who knows video but could use your audio expertise.
You can then refer clientele to one another and even work on projects together. This way you can still access a lot of new opportunities without needing to invest the time and money into learning video yourself.
What do you think? What are your plans/goals? Do you plan on tackling (or have you tackled) video in your business?
Joe Gilder is a Nashville based engineer, musician, and producer who also provides training and advice at the Home Studio Corner.