Audio

Friday, July 20, 2012

What, Me Worry? Ruminations On Potentially Troubling Developments

Changing definitions of "audio equipment," more RF spectrum rumblings, understanding the basics...

A fair portion of the grumbling among the “more seasoned” generations of sound professionals can simply be chalked up to our inner curmudgeon.

Every generation thinks the next wave of “kids” is largely comprised of know-nothing, spoiled brats who “have no idea how tough this job used to be, and by the way, their music is a bunch of noisy dreck.”

That said, there are some emerging issues that really do keep me up at night worrying about the future.

For example, what is now defined as “audio equipment” runs a very wide gamut from complete junk all the way up to truly professional gear.

There’s even an inside joke in the industry that anything with the word “pro” in the name certainly isn’t. Why this is a problem is harder to define.

Let me put it this way: when I was a young buck, I knew that a certain well-known 4-track cassette recorder was a decidedly amateurish piece of gear. The real stuff was to be found in big studios and on big stages.

The difference was quite obvious and the thought of getting to work on the big-time systems provided inspiration to learn, study, practice, experiment, and move forward inch by inch.

I knew that I wasn’t big time yet but I definitely wanted to get there, and there was a lot of learning along the way: how to be efficient with your time, gear, money, while taking the patience of friends to the limit.

Fast forward to today. Sure, there’s still a difference between levels of gear, but the lines aren’t nearly as clear.

You can literally buy “audio equipment” at national discount chains, along with car parts, kitchen accessories, greeting cards, toys, garden implements and even a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk. Ditto musical instruments. Meanwhile, Garage Band comes free on iMac.

One can argue that this puts music- and sound-making equipment into the hands of a much wider base group of people, thus making it possible for more and better music to be made.

However, I think it can also be argued that we’ve not seen that kind of result. If anything, there’s more formulaic, pre-packaged “teen pop” drivel than ever before.

Both Sides
One of the effects of having this equipment available so widely and cheaply is that it may not seem special in any way.

And it may also not be obvious to the aspiring musician, producer, engineer, tech, etc., that this stuff is not pro.

By the same token, of course, using “real pro gear” does not make someone good at their craft. The two go hand-in-hand: improvements in the quality of the gear can only be fully utilized by the improved skills of the operator.

Unfortunately, as we’ve all seen, clients often don’t know the difference either. They ask to “borrow a microphone” and then are taken aback when “there’s no way to get the sound out.” (Oh, you meant the PA system?)

In general, this is an effect of globalization. Should we really expect to get a toaster for $9.99 or a printer for $29.99? How about a 24-channel mixer for $199? If you know anything about manufacturing, you’ll recognize that the toaster costs about $2 to produce and the mixer costs about $40. Difficult to comprehend, isn’t it?

Of course, this is a complex issue with many facets, and I don’t profess to have the answers, but at times, thinking about it does deprive me of sleep. That is, unless I’ve been hitting the bottle of Laphroig18 I received for Father’s Day…

Lack Of Balance
Another troubling subject: the government of the United States is currently hard at work on possibly further screwing things up for wireless microphone systems.

Didn’t we just get through a decade of warnings, misunderstandings, deliberate obfuscation, fear and panic over the 700 MHz issue?

Now it looks like the FCC wants to take even more spectrum from broadcasters. They want 500 MHz overall, and claim to expect about 120 MHz or so to come from broadcasters. Say what?

It’s all part of the “National Broadband Plan,” and the FCC is hoping that the broadcasters voluntarily “give up” this spectrum. In fact, they’ve proposed that the broadcasters share in the auction proceeds when it’s sold off to broadband network providers.

Yes, these are the same broadcasters that A) had to invest heavily in DTV technology just a few years ago, and B) already had to vacate the 700 MHz band. I can’t imagine that they’re too happy with this proposal. The government hints that if the spectrum is not given up voluntarily… well, you get the idea.

So what about wireless microphone systems? The vast majority of these systems, whether analog or digital, share the spectrum with the broadcasters.

What’s troublesome about all of this? It’s not that there aren’t efforts by wireless manufacturers to develop new products and new technology platforms - in fact we’ve even seen products that work outside the broadcast spectrum brought to market by an intrepid few.

And it’s not that everyone involved hasn’t already made significant sacrifices - from TV broadcast equipment makers and users to wireless system makers and users - because they have.

No, what is really troublesome about all of this is that the government still does not seem to understand that there must be a balance between content creation and content distribution; they’re seemingly only concerned with the latter. 

It begs the question: just how is content going to be created? Clearly, the message that major sports, casino showrooms, Hollywood, theme parks, TV production, Broadway, churches, major tours, and so on rely heavily upon wireless systems has not sunk in with these folks. Even political debates and campaign tours benefit from this very same technology!

Why is this so difficult to understand? No wonder more scotch is required for me to sleep. Preferably at least 15 years old, Islay. Thank you.

Doing The Homework
Let me get back to audio for a minute. This is related to the first part, where I think equipment has been watered down and manufacturers are ever-tempted to cater to the lowest common denominator. As already stated, equipment is only half the issue.

What concerns me even more is that it has become increasingly rare to talk with someone who really understands the fundamentals of audio.

It seems a lot of folks have long-held beliefs about audio issues that are based on anecdotal information, an isolated personal experience, a less-than scrupulous manufacturer’s marketing literature - or parts of all of the above.

It leads me to posit (once again) that not enough people in our industry are learning the fundamental principles behind the work they’re doing.

There was an interesting post on ProSoundWeb recently that linked to an article about how “experts” quite often steer us wrong.

The only solution, really, is to think for ourselves. But before we can do that, we need to educate ourselves about the important issues. And to do that, we must first understand the fundamentals.

How many times have you heard someone say “Sorry, captain, but I can’t change the laws of physics?” (With or without a Scottish accent).

So, what laws of physics are we trying to break when doing our jobs? Inverse Square Law? The speed of sound? Ohm’s Law? The fact that latency is inherent in A/D conversion? Mismatched impedance?

O.K., maybe all of them aren’t laws of physics, and hopefully we know which is which. But still, they’re all based on those laws.

Hopefully, none of this causes you to lose sleep, but just as hopefully, all of this does provide something to think about. And maybe we can talk about it further, preferably over a glass of single-malt.

Karl Winkler is Director of Business Development at Lectrosonics and has worked in professional audio for more than 15 years.

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Posted by admin on 07/20 at 09:21 AM
Live SoundFeatureOpinionPollBusinessConcertDigitalEducationEngineerMicrophoneMixerSignalSound ReinforcementSystemWirelessAudioPermalink

Symetrix Jupiter Processor At Heart of Zoned Sound System At Tai O Lookout Restaurant

Tai O Heritage Hotel is located in a traditional fishing village on the west coast of Lantau Island, Hong Kong. In keeping with the Tai O Heritage’s elegant atmosphere, Hong Kong-based A/V designer Sound Classy Holding Limited gave the hotels restaurant a high-fidelity sound system based on the Symetrix Jupiter 8 turnkey signal processor and the Symetrix ARC-2e user interface.

Tai O Heritage Hotel is located in a traditional fishing village on the west coast of Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Originally a police station, it was recently restored and converted to a 9-room boutique hotel with a fine dining restaurant, the Tai O Lookout, located on the top floor of the building.

In keeping with the Tai O Heritage’s elegant atmosphere, Hong Kong-based A/V designer Sound Classy Holding Limited gave the restaurant a high-fidelity sound system based on the Symetrix Jupiter 8 turnkey signal processor and the Symetrix ARC-2e user interface.

Sound Classy works directly with Sanecore Audio Ltd, Symetrix’ distributor in Hong Kong.

Sound Classy designed the system to be intuitive for the restaurant staff to operate. At the same time, the system’s processor had to be capable of properly implementing the FIR filters needed for Fulcrum Acoustics loudspeakers, which Sound Classy had specified for their unique ability to blend visually into the architecture of a space. SCHOT Ltd. A/V integration company installed the system at Tai O Lookout, which covers the restaurant itself, as well as the adjoining outdoor balcony.

A few wireless microphones join a CD player and an iPod docking station at the input side of the Symetrix Jupiter 8, which accepts both mic- and line-level signals.

Australian Monitor XA Series amplifiers power the distributed loudspeaker system across four separate zones, each with independent volume control.

Fulcrum Acoustics Prophile series “P” loudspeakers convey the input source with an honesty and intimacy befitting the Tai O Lookout’s elegant décor.

The Symetrix Jupiter series processors possess a design topology inspired by Smartphone app paradigm. Just as a Smartphone can turn into any number of quite divergent tools with the application of divergent apps, so too the Jupiter can turn into any number of quite divergent signal processors.

Users simply upload an app appropriate for a particular sound-processing situation, and the Jupiter configures itself appropriately.

Sound Classy specified the “Sound Reinforcement 10” app, which possesses all of the necessary routing logic necessary and signal processing (including FIR filters) for Tai O Lookout.

The addition of a simple Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote allows restaurant staff to select the input and to adjust volumes within the different zones.

“No other processor is so easy to set up, so great sounding, and so affordable as the Symetrix Jupiter,” said Him Chan, system designer at Sound Classy. “Not only was it simple to find and install the correct app, it was easy to dial in the correct settings on the FIR filters.

“The hotel owners and the restaurant staff are very happy with the sound and its operation.”

http://www.symetrix.co

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/20 at 09:13 AM
Live SoundNewsPollInstallationLoudspeakerProcessorSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

Peavey Kicks Off ‘Rehearsal Room Makeover’ Giveaway

Peavey will reward the lucky winner of its Rehearsal Room Makeover online promotion with a free 1,000-watt sound system that includes a professional mixer, loudspeakers, microphones and more, totaling thousands of dollars in gear (U.S. MSRP).

The Peavey Rehearsal Room Makeover prize package includes a Peavey TriFlex II portable sound system with two speaker stands; a Peavey PV 14 USB mixer with direct USB output for recording; a Peavey PV-1 wireless handheld microphone; and three PV MSP2 XLR microphone and accessory packs.

“Having a quality sound system is crucial for any artist or event, and it can make the difference in an artist’s career,” said Hartley Peavey, founder and CEO of Peavey Electronics Corporation. “This professional Peavey sound system packs plenty of power and features to bring down the house.”

The Peavey TriFlex II is a portable sound system providing 1,000 watts of power through a three-speaker setup—one 15” Peavey subwoofer plus two satellite speakers with 10” premium woofers and Peavey RX14 1.4” titanium compression drivers on patented Peavey Quadratic Throat Waveguide horns. The TriFlex II chassis is housed in the subwoofer enclosure and includes all of the system electronics—two-channel preamp, electronic crossover and subsonic filter—as well as the three power amps.

The powerful Peavey TriFlex II sets up in seconds. Simply remove the two satellite speakers and turn the subwoofer onto its rubber feet so the preamp controls, inputs and outputs are conveniently positioned at the top rear of the subwoofer enclosure. For easy transport, the TriFlex subwoofer can be turned onto its built-in 3” casters, with the satellite speakers secured in the sub’s grille cavity.

The Peavey PV 14 USB mixer features ten reference-quality, low-noise microphone inputs and dual, switchable stereo line inputs, plus a built-in DSP effects section, pre-fader monitor send, post-fader effects send, and a USB port to connect to a computer for recording or playback.

Enter to win now by liking Peavey on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/peaveyelectronics.

Please see the complete contest rules for the Peavey Rehearsal Room Makeover promotion at http://www.peavey.com/facebook/RRM_Contest. Some restrictions apply.

Peavey

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/20 at 08:27 AM
Live SoundRecordingChurch SoundNewsPollAmplifierLoudspeakerMicrophoneSubwooferAudioPermalink

Jiangsu TV Station Adds Soundcraft Vi6 And Vi1 Digital Consoles

To meet its high standards of television production, Jiangsu TV recently invested in a brand new 8-channel and 4-channel HD EFP audio system. To work in conjunction with this purchase, the station also invested in Soundcraft Vi6 and Vi1 digital consoles to mix the in-house shows on the 8-channel and 4-channel systems, respectively.

To meet its high standards of television production, Jiangsu TV recently invested in a brand new 8-channel and 4-channel HD EFP audio system. To work in conjunction with this purchase, the station also invested in Soundcraft Vi6 and Vi1 digital consoles to mix the in-house shows on the 8-channel and 4-channel systems, respectively. 

The 8-channel audio system is configured through the Vi6 through two Soundcraft stageboxes and fiber wiring. The main functionality for this setup is for the popular “If You Are The One” dating show, which boasts the highest ratings of any variety show in the country. 

“With our new Soundcraft consoles, our operations are more convenient and more flexible, helping us to achieve higher-quality programming and, we hope, even higher ratings,” stated Senior Sound Engineer Jingsong Shen, who also appreciated that the interface of Vi6 can be easily separated into different zones with different colors for different functions. 

Advanced Communication Equipment, the largest HARMAN distributor in China, provided the Soundcraft consoles.  Two years ago, Jiangsu TV Station purchased a Studer Vista 8 and a Soundcraft Vi6 from ACE.  The leadership among the station was very pleased over the past two years with the performance of the Vista 8 and Vi6, so there was zero hesitation with the latest purchase, reinforcing Jiangsu TV’s confidence in Soundcraft and its reliability and quality.

Soundcraft

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/20 at 08:12 AM
AVRecordingNewsPollConsolesDigitalStudioAudioPermalink

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Castlesound Studio Relies On SSL AWS 948 Hybrid

Castlesound Studios, located in Scotland, has installed a Solid State Logic AWS 948 Hybrid Console/Controller. The new console was recently used to complete music tracks featuring renowned Gaelic singer, Julie Fowlis, for the soundtrack for the new Pixar feature ‘Brave.’

Castlesound Studios, located in Scotland, has installed a Solid State Logic AWS 948 Hybrid Console/Controller.

The new console was recently used to complete music tracks featuring renowned Gaelic singer, Julie Fowlis, for the soundtrack for the new Pixar feature ‘Brave.’

Replacing an original AWS 900, the AWS 948 provides Castlesound with an expanded channel count and new features to adequately handle larger productions.

“As our business has progressed, we felt the need to get a console with a greater number of channels to handle larger projects,” says Stuart Hamilton, owner of Castlesound Studios. “The AWS 948 builds on the successful tradition established with our AWS 900 of recording acoustic music for jazz, Scottish traditional, rock and pop artists.

“We have been producing an increasing amount of music for film as well. The reason for the upgrade was that the original AWS had 24 mono channels, and the new one has 24 stereo channels, which makes the integration with Pro Tools incredibly slick and seamless.

“With the 948, I don’t have to make any channel count compromises, and that makes the entire job more clear-cut.”

Castlesound Studios is housed in a 200-year old Victorian-era primary school, offering spacious recording areas, soaked in natural daylight as well as a control room.

Converted into a studio in 1973, with the emphasis on capturing acoustic music performances, the Castle Studio room handles up to 20 musicians, allowing Castlesound to capture a big band or add in a full string section to a project.

The smaller Slate Studio room features a black slate floor to achieve a completely different acoustic signature. Both rooms are tied to the AWS 948 that brings together the recording spaces and the extensive set of outboard gear.

“Because of the stereo nature of the channels, the 948 actually makes it easier to integrate all of my outboard,” states Hamilton. “I can, for example, create a sub group of strings, all coming up on one stereo channel with a stereo compressor patched in, so the console becomes even more of a central hub for the studio to integrate all of the analog gear with all of the DAW pieces. With the AWS 948, we simply have more options to complete a project.”

For the Julie Fowlis tracks produced at Castlesound, the Total Recall system was used extensively to revisit the material for additions and re-mixes, while allowing the studio to be used by other clients.

“For the Fowlis sessions, we started with a simple demo and kept going back and forth, adding new tracks to finish the music.

“Because of the time differences between the directors of the film commenting from California and here, we were constantly resetting the console to work on each song, so the Total Recall and expanded channel count of the AWS really worked in our favor and made this job technically straightforward.

“Working with the AWS 948 has been, in a word, brilliant, and the console has definitely increased our bookings.”

Solid State Logic

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/19 at 12:41 PM
RecordingNewsPollConsolesDigitalStudioAudioPermalink

Ashly Pema Combined DSP/Amp Bonus At Michigan Hotel

KVO Communications, the local A/V contractor and integrator recently installed an Ashly Pema 8125.70 to power the zoned sound reinforcement system utilized by the event and meeting space at the hotel.

In addition to comfortable rooms and splendid amenities, the Hilton Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan offers over 7,000 square-feet of flexible event and meeting space for wedding receptions, parties, conferences, and the like. An array of microphone and line-level inputs tie into a sound reinforcement system that had been working for the Hilton and its guests admirably for over a decade.

When, after extended 24/7 service, one of the system’s Ashly amplifiers gave up the ghost, the Hilton asked for an Ashly replacement, counting on another long run of trouble-free performance.

KVO Communications, the local A/V contractor and integrator that has been providing the Hilton with technical support for events for over fifteen years, obliged that request and installed an Ashly Pema 8125.70.

Not only does the new Pema 8125.70 give the hotel eight amplifier channels in a two-rack space unit, it also provides them with fully-featured, integrated DSP that their system needed.

“The hotel managers and staff had always been perfectly happy with the sound reinforcement system,” explained Karl Van Oostenbrugge, principal of KVO Communications, Inc. “So when the old unit went out, they wanted another Ashly amplifier to replace it.

“Like all Ashly products, the Pema combined processor/amplifier is competitively priced and designed to deliver high-fidelity performance 24/7, year-after-year. It’s built to last.”

Each of the Pema 8125.70’s outputs covers one of the Hilton’s eight subdivided rooms. Depending on the needs of a particular event, the rooms can be combined in various permutations of up to one large room. Van Oostenbrugge used the Pema 8125.70’s processing power to digitally accommodate room combining, as well as to tailor input sources and outputs with comprehensive equalization and dynamics.

In addition to the Ashly Pema, KVO worked with the existing Creston control system and touch-panel interface, to facilitate room combination, input selection, and volumes.

“It’s completely seamless for the hotel staff,” said Van Oostenbrugge. “They just go to the panel in any given room and everything is self-explanatory.”

All of the rest of the equipment, including loudspeakers, wiring, and microphones was left untouched.

Van Oostenbrugge concluded, “It was a simple installation and a nice opportunity for an upgrade. The Pema is priced so competitively that I could give them processing power in addition to the eight amplifier channels that were required.”

Ashly

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/19 at 10:25 AM
AVNewsPollAmplifierInstallationProcessorSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

Church Sound: Simple Stage Planning In Four Easy Steps

Your service setup can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 by following these easy steps.
This article is provided by Behind The Mixer.

 
How do you decide upon a stage setup? That’s the question recently posed to me by a reader.

It’s a simple question that leads to a simple, yet lengthy response. Setting up a stage is more than just placing gear and placing people, it’s all about…

...consistency.

The email included this statement:

“Most of the time we just show up to church and spend a lot of time just trying to figure out where to put the instruments.”

This means that right off the bat, there are two problems:

1. The sound tech’s don’t know, in advance, who’s playing.

This is a problem for several reasons.

They can’t set up the equipment stations on the stage before the band arrives, they don’t know who/what they have to work with until the last minute, and they waste time each week doing the same thing that should only take a short period of time.

2. The band members don’t know where they should be on stage.

This is a problem for several reasons as well.

They waste time talking about setup instead of time that could be spent practicing, limited practice time means less time for the sound tech to get a good mix, and finally, the band doesn’t have a feeling of closeness on the stage that comes from familiarity.

Specifically, in this last instance, I’m talking about the drummer always being on the right side and the guitarist always being on the left, and so forth and so on.

Walking on a stage and being in the same place week after week, provides a level of comfort and ease - because it’s familiar.

What can be done?

There is a solution to the madness!

It requires the work of only two people, and you’ll find you can leave the ibuprofen at home!

1: Find out who’s in the band!
Get a list from the worship leader of the band members. If there are different bands, then a list for each and what they do; sing, play guitar, play & sing, etc.

In the case of revolving band members on a single band, find out the typical setup; one acoustic guitar, one bass, two backup singers, etc. Now you are equipped with a good expectation of the requirements of each band.

2: Find out who’s playing next week - every week.
A few days before the service, check with the worship leader as to which band is playing and if there are any changes based on the list you got in step #1.

After a while, the worship leader should start emailing you this information each week without being reminded.

3: Determine the stage layout.
Grab some graph paper and draw up your stage. Make a few copies. Now draw a different setup for each band.

Nothing complex, just write the person and their setup like “Chris; Ac. Guitar.” Once you have this for all the bands and the band members, you have your layout.

You can also add notes like “Chris; Ac. Guitar. #5” so now you know which stage jack Chris will be using. This makes mixer setup a breeze.

An alternate approach is creating only one schematic of the stage and labeling all the inputs.

Then use a spreadsheet program to list all the input numbers and enter the usage next to each, for example: “[5] [Acoustic Guitar].” Duplicate the spreadsheet for each band and adjust accordingly.

4: Change the layout.
Yes, after doing all that work, you have to change it; but not immediately. Try these setups with the band(s) and see if they like it. They might say they prefer certain people/instruments to be near each other.

Change it for the next service and if they like it better, then you have a new layout.

Once you have this system in place, you can have the stage set up before the band arrives, they will have more time for practicing the songs, and they will benefit from a familiar setup each week.

Familiarity leads to better music because the chaos and uncertainty will be removed.

Using the above steps, your service setup can be as easy as getting a band list mid-week, comparing it to your existing band layouts, tweaking appropriately, and setting up the stations on the stage before the band even walks into the sanctuary.

What method do you use for determining stage setup? What problems have you encountered? Be sure to 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.

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Posted by admin on 07/19 at 07:28 AM
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Dual Meyer Sound Systems Renewed At Lebanon’s Casino du Liban

Between 2009 and earlier this year, another technical upgrade project equipped the 1,200-capacity Théâtre du Liban with Meyer Sound MICA line array loudspeakers and furnished the cabaret-style 600-seat Salle des Ambassadeurs with new M’elodie line array loudspeakers.

When Lebanon’s Casino du Liban celebrated its grand re-reopening back in 1996, the opulent gaming resort entertained visiting jet-setters in two completely remodeled venues—both featuring Meyer Sound technology.

Between 2009 and earlier this year, another technical upgrade project equipped the 1,200-capacity Théâtre du Liban with Meyer Sound MICA line array loudspeakers and furnished the cabaret-style 600-seat Salle des Ambassadeurs with new M’elodie line array loudspeakers.

“After hundreds of successful shows, I had no thoughts of replacing the old systems with anything other than Meyer,” says Tony Khoury, who has been head audio engineer at Casino du Liban since 1996. “I wanted newer technology but with the same natural sound quality and amazing reliability. In 16 years, I had zero loudspeaker failures. That made me a Meyer Sound believer.”

Both systems were designed by Khoury, in consultation with Meyer Sound Design Services, using the MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program. For the two-level Théâtre du Liban, Khoury plotted a configuration with seven-per-side MICA line arrays each flown under a 600-HP subwoofer, with additional deep bass from dual ground-stacked 700-HP subwoofers.

Four M1D line array loudspeakers and five UPM-1P loudspeakers supply front fill and balcony delay respectively, with everything tied together by a Galileo® loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 processor.

In Salle des Ambassadeurs, the newer of the two rigs deploys seven-per-side M’elodie line array loudspeakers along with twin UPQ-2 loudspeakers as a center cluster, four UPJunior VariO loudspeakers for left and right side fill, 10 M1D loudspeakers for underbalcony fill, two 700-HP subwoofers, and a Galileo loudspeaker management system with a Galileo 616 processor.

This system was provided and installed by Beirut-based Prolites in early 2012.

“The new line arrays have given me much more headroom, and even better uniformity of levels and imaging throughout the rooms,” states Khoury. “Since we completed the installation at Salle des Ambassadeurs, we’ve had seven concerts and all the bands were surprised by the punch of the system and the clarity of instrumental sounds.”

The prior Meyer Sound systems utilized a variety of legacy loudspeakers, including UPA-1C, MSL-2A, USW-1, and 650-R subwoofers. Both rooms are still making good use of the existing stage monitoring systems, with each comprising legacy USM-1 non-powered monitors and MTS-4A self-powered loudspeakers for side fill.

The upgrade program also furnished three new Midas PRO6 consoles: one at each FOH mix and one at monitor in Salle des Ambassadeurs.

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean about 20 miles from Beirut, Casino du Liban originally opened in 1959. Thirty years later, beleaguered by years of factional strife in Lebanon, the casino was forced to close. After a $50 million complete reconstruction, the elegant resort reopened in 1996.

Meyer Sound

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/19 at 05:52 AM
Live SoundNewsPollAVInstallationLine ArrayLoudspeakerSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MUSIC Group Installs Steve Young As Head Of Behringer Eurocom Division

Will oversee all product, marketing and market development activities aimed at installed applications

MUSIC Group has appointed Steve Young to the role of vice president, installed sound, where he will have overall responsibility for Behringer’s Eurocom line and will oversee all product, marketing and market development activities aimed at installed applications worldwide.

The move coincides with the broad availability of the Eurocom product line from MUSIC Group.

“Steve comes to us with what I would consider an ideal background in installed sound, spending nearly 16 years as a sound contractor designing and installing systems before serving 12 years at Atlas Sound, most recently as VP sales & marketing,” states Costa Lakoumentas, senior VP marketing at MUSIC Group.

“I am thrilled to have a person of Steve’s experience and integrity take over the management of Eurocom and take it to the next level.”

Eurocom products employ new technologies, designs and feature sets, with more than 50 models available.

“I am very excited to begin telling the story of Eurocom” says Young, “The commercial audio marketplace deserves to experience the quality and amazing feature sets of these products and I will personally strive to ensure that Eurocom’s quality, reliability, support and availability will constantly exceed our customers’ expectations.”

MUSIC Group

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/18 at 01:37 PM
AVLive SoundNewsAVBusinessManufacturerAudioPermalink

EAW Delivers More Than 600 Loudspeakers For NFL Stadium System Upgrade Project

Huge order includes systems custom-engineered specifically for Tennessee Titans’ LP Field

Fans of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans will return to LP Field in Nashville this season to find a renovated stadium featuring a new distributed sound system utilizing EAW loudspeakers.

The loudspeakers were specified, manufactured and delivered in a very short timeframe, only months before scheduled completion of the renovation in mid-July, just in time for pre-season games.

EAW worked closely with consulting firm WJHW to develop customized loudspeakers for the distributed system project, which replaces the stadium’s former point-source PA.

Over the course of the project, EAW was able to schedule manufacturing and delivery of components that included 96 TT12Si-T64-PL-WP custom-engineered enclosures, more than 360 pieces from the MK Series—including the MK2399-WP, MK8196iPL-WP, MK2366-WP and MK2364-WP—and 84 units from the QX Series, including the QX564-WP and QX544-WP.

EAW engineers also developed two other new custom-engineered systems for the project. The TT12Si-T64-PL-WP was designed to fit beneath a shallow overhang along the back few rows of the lower deck and rear handicap platforms.

Similarly, the TT212 Steering Woofer were designed to work with QX Series modules along the upper-deck fascia to create end-fired arrays that direct more of the loudspeaker’s low-frequency energy down towards the seats in front of them and away from the hard-surface walls they are mounted near, eliminating reflections.

“When we say EAW delivered, we mean that literally,” says Mark Graham, an associate at WJHW who headed the audio systems aspect of the project, which also included two new high-definition LED video screens that are approximately four times the size of the current screens. “We didn’t even come on board until last October, when the design process began, so the window for manufacturing, customization and delivery was even tighter.

“After careful evaluation and our experience of working with EAW in the past, we realized that they would be our choice to provide us with exactly what we needed.”

Graham says that EAW also worked closely with AVI-SPL, the systems integrator on the project, to coordinate its delivery to meet the installation schedule, getting each set of components to the job site exactly when needed for installation.

“It’s fantastic that EAW was able to accomplish this on this kind of aggressive time frame,” Graham states. “Thanks to them, when it’s time for football at LP Field, everything will be ready.”

EAW

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/18 at 09:35 AM
AVLive SoundNewsAVInstallationLoudspeakerSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

A “Test” To Evaluate Your Knowledge Of Power

Gauging your knowledge of power as it relates to sound systems

With the wealth of knowledge about power available here on ProSoundWeb it’s a good idea to constantly evaluate our knowledge of power, or actually, your knowledge about power.

Rather than submit you to the typical “right or wrong” questions with exact numerical answers, I’ve elected to provide a different means of self-evaluation.

The test is “open book”, based upon the information shared in the article series and other resources, and I can tell you up front that the answer to every question is “It depends!”

But what’s really being asked is “What does it depend on?”

At first glance, it may seem that the question is not even related to audio. Don’t be fooled. Principles are principles.

You already know this stuff - you just may not know that you know it! Each question also paves the way for a short review of the concept.

That’s it!

Now relax, take out a sharpened number 2 lead pencil and…sorry about that.

1) I want to paint my living room walls and need to buy paint. How much will I need if the ceiling height is eight feet?

Obviously, estimating of the amount of paint requires more information. What we need to know is the area to be covered, which can’t be determined by the ceiling height alone.

The total length of the walls is needed to get the area (length x height). The paint store would also need to know how many windows are in the walls (they can subtract this area from the total), and how absorbent the surface is (one or two coats?). Only then can the required amount of paint be determined.

It’s equally ridiculous to calculate an amplifier’s output power by using its peak voltage rating. As with the wall, the area of a waveform must be known to determine how much power is generated.

This requires amplitude information (like ceiling height) and knowledge of length (time). We also need to know how much to subtract for higher crest factors (less intense program - like windows in the wall).

And lastly, we need to know how much the load will soak up (porosity of the surface). Think of one coat as eight ohms and two coats as four ohms. And two ohms? Don’t even think about it!

2) Which stock will yield the greatest earnings?

We’ve all learned this one the hard way. Stock A has some high amplitude values, but doesn’t last long. Stock B has lower “highs” but is more consistent over time.

Like painting walls and electrical waveforms, it’s all about area. An amplifier can have a very high peak rating, but may fizzle when loaded for long spans of time (that all-day outdoor show). Make sure that you look at the long-term continuous output power when shopping for amplifiers.

Short-term peak ratings are large numbers, but they don’t tell the whole story.

3) Which song will make the loudspeaker hotter?

This should be obvious by now. Grungy, highly compressed rock and roll has a much lower crest factor (more area) than an “audiophile” recording of a sitar solo.

Both types of music may occasionally light the clip light, but the R&R is much more likely to toast the loudspeaker.

4) How much must I increase the power applied to a loudspeaker to make it a little louder?

A bunch - 3 dB represents a modest change in sound level, yet a 3 dB increase requires the amplifier to generate twice the power.

So every time you turn it up “a little”, you are doubling the power to the loudspeaker. No wonder so many loudspeakers succumb to the last song of the evening.

5) How much of an amplifier’s rated power will the amplifier likely have to generate in a music playback system?

Not much. Given a typical crest factor of 20 dB for live music, the amplifier’s output power could, on average, be about one watt per 100 watts of rated power.

That kilowatt monster that you bought with the home improvement loan will likely need to generate about 10 watts continuous. If you break out the compressor/limiter, you may get this up to 100 watts, but that’s about it.

6) So why buy a big amplifier? After all, they’re expensive!

Loudness and generated power are all about area. Clarity is all about headroom. If program peaks get clipped by a small amplifier, it sounds like trash.

Amplifiers must be oversized relative to their average output power by a factor of 10 to 100 to allow for signal peaks. This translates into 10 to 20 dB of headroom. If you have deep pockets and an understanding wife, go for 20 dB.

If not, spend some of the money saved on a hard limiter to make the program peaks “fit” though the amplifier. All of this makes sense only if you look at power using the decibel.

Click to enlarge

7) Which subwoofer is better? One that handles 100 watts or 500 watts?

You simply can’t tell from the power rating alone. It’s just a “waste disposal” number. How much sound can each produce? This is the efficiency rating.

A 15-inch bass horn sitting in a corner and consuming 100 watts continuous could easily be much louder than an 18-inch in a sealed box hanging in free space and consuming 500 watts continuous.

It’s not what’s fed in, it’s what comes out. See the stock market question (Question 2, above) for an object lesson on this.

8) Can a 30-pound amplifier really keep up with a 300-pound amplifier? My chiropractor wants to know.

Maybe. It depends on what it’s asked to do. Power (like hot water) can be generated “on demand” or it can be pulled from storage.

This is why “Anywhere Gas and Electric Company” dams up rivers to create huge reservoirs for turning hydraulic turbines.

The water flow can remain constant even through the dry season so that the lights don’t dim when the creek gets dry.

Amplifiers with large, heavy power supplies can typically maintain a more constant current flow under severe conditions - like reproducing low frequency synth tones through subwoofers that can peel paint (see question 1) at 100 feet.

Percussive sounds at mid/high frequencies aren’t nearly as “meaty”. You can save your back and your wallet with smaller, lighter amplifiers.

9) Can the loudspeaker’s power rating be trusted? The “Killbox 5000” is rated at 5 kW and the “Lighttones 100” is only rated at 100 watts.

Most reputable manufacturers use standardized power testing to rate their loudspeakers. These methods define the type of waveform, time duration, crest factor and a few other metrics.

These tests are designed by experts to simulate real-world demands on loudspeakers.

They tell you how long the loudspeaker survived under the described conditions. Since they can’t possibly know how the end user will use (or abuse) the product, they can’t guarantee that you won’t blow it up.

Power ratings are very useful for comparing the relative differences between products from the same manufacturer.

When using them to compare one brand to another, make sure that the ratings are based on the same standard (i.e. AES, EIA-426B, etc.).

And even when the standards are used, the “honor system” governs the writing of spec sheets. Since overrated loudspeakers generally don’t kill or maim people, the government doesn’t require validation of power ratings. Only in “Auditopia” are there “data police” that check all the ratings.

You can pinch yourself to wake up now. Also remember that large power ratings can be achieved with resistors (which don’t produce much sound!). That “Killbox 5000” might have a couple of water-heater elements as part of its crossover network.

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10) What happens if my power amplifier is too large?

It’s better to have an oversized amplifier than an undersized one, provided that one stays within the thermal limits of the loudspeaker. A bigger amplifier is less likely to clip the signal. But there are limits here, too. A piston can only travel so far before it becomes non-linear.

If you hook a zillion watts up to a loudspeaker to provide 40 dB of headroom, and then someone drops a mic, you may see impressions of all of the cones in the metal grills. Over-excursion kills fewer loudspeakers than heat, but it must still be considered.

11) Should I use a rubber band or a chain to pull my boat trailer?

I had to get one in regarding reactance. There’s a big difference between the impedance of a real loudspeaker and that of the non-inductive load resistors used to test many amplifiers.

Reactive loads reflect power, and the amplifier has to deal with this. Amplifiers with extended bandwidths are often unstable into reactive loads. If presented the choice between a “20 Hz to 40 kHz” bandwidth spec and a “DC to gamma rays” spec, I would pick the former.

The Point
How did you do? Hopefully this series has provoked some thought. Power ratings are useful for getting a general idea of the performance of a device, but as I have shown, there are many variables and caveats when you assign numerical ratings to amplifiers and loudspeakers.

Don’t give these numbers any more or less attention than they deserve. They are but one piece of the puzzle, and probably not the most important piece.

Also, don’t be afraid to do your own power testing. The A/B comparison of two products is still the best way to tell the difference between them, regardless of what the numbers say. Music at full volume might be a more relevant power test for your system than pink noise.

Just be sure going in which party is paying for the toasted voice coils.

Pat Brown teaches the Syn-Aud-Con seminars and workshops. Synergetic Audio Concepts (Syn-Aud-Con) has been a leader in audio education since 1973. With nearly 15,000 “graduates” worldwide, Syn-Aud-Con is dedicated to teaching the basics of audio and acoustics. For more information visit their website.

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Posted by admin on 07/18 at 09:25 AM
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Clear-Com Improves Communication At Hope Community Church

Clear-Com brings flexibility to the communications backbone at Hope Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. The worship facility has installed Clear-Com’s Tempest2400 digital wireless intercom to manage its weekly services and children’s productions, enhancing its overall communications workflow.

Clear-Com brings flexibility to the communications backbone at Hope Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. The worship facility has installed Clear-Com’s Tempest2400 digital wireless intercom to manage its weekly services and children’s productions, enhancing its overall communications workflow.

Tempest2400 allows the Hope Community Church’s audio, lighting and video departments, located throughout the facility’s 1,500-seat sanctuary, to coordinate critical production cues.

Previously, the church depended solely on a wired partyline intercom system for this. While reliable, the system inhibited the movement of the cameramen, technical director and stagehands.

This prompted the church to choose a wireless intercom to augment its communications. The system would also need to address the RF interference issue caused by the church’s 250 laptops, wireless microphones and consumer wireless devices.

Since the Tempest2400 wireless system offered freedom and flexibility as well as interference-free communications even in Wi-Fi crowded environments, it was the logical choice for the church.

“Part of my role is to oversee all the production elements taking place during the service. For me to not be tied to one place by a piece of cable is definitely a win,” says Bob Blair, Technical Director for Hope Community Church. “Also, we have two camera operators moving on stage, so a wireless intercom made sense to minimize the amount of cables that those guys were tethered to there.

“Tempest gives us the reliability we need for cues to be heard while providing us with the option to easily and effortlessly change the setup when needed.”

At Hope Community Church, a two-channel Tempest2400 master BaseStation is installed at the front-of-house position, with one channel feeding a submaster BaseStation in the video control room. The system has five beltpacks, including two for the cameramen working on stage, one for the video director, one for the technical director, and one for the stage manager. 

The Tempest2400 has been integrated with the existing four-channel partyline system to aid communications with the rest of the technical crew, including the staff manning the stage, those recording the services backstage, additional cameraman in the back of the auditorium and staff in the green room.

In addition to the four weekly services—two on Saturday and two on Sunday—Hope Community Church also hosts kids-oriented sitcom productions every month. The Tempest system comes in handy here as well, particularly for the stagehands, because it enables communication and mobility.

“Our kid’s productions demand one or two stagehands in addition to the one or two camera operators on stage,” Blair explains. “Previously, the stagehands had wired intercoms and would take off their wired beltpacks to move set pieces.

“That would leave us to run the rest of the production elements without knowing what was going on while we were waiting for them to run back to their wired beltpacks and headsets. Now, the stagehands run on stage with their Tempest BeltStations to do what they have to do and run back, and we can stay informed the whole time.”

Tempest2400, which operates in the 80 MHz of spectrum in the 2.4 GHz ISM frequency band, does not interfere with traditional wireless microphone or in-ear monitor systems operating in the UHF band.

Because of its Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology, the Tempest system does not compete with signals from other 2.4 GHz wireless devices, minimizing frequency coordination and enabling flawless performance.

Further, with state-of-the-art Redundant Data Transmit (2xTX), which sends each packet of audio data twice on different frequencies, the system ensures uninterrupted audio communications. 

Clear-Com

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/18 at 08:28 AM
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Harrison Introduces Mixbus v2.1 With Cloud Integration

Harrison Console's Mixbus is a virtual audio mixing console with an embedded DAW, making it an excellent tool for learning console mixing techniques as well as complex audio editing and processing. Mixbus presents controls in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get format with knobs for EQ, Filter, Compression, Limiting, Saturation, and associated metering available directly on the screen without opening plugin windows.

Harrison Consoles  has introduced a new version of Mixbus with special features and pricing that make it the preferred choice for educational facilities.

Mixbus is a virtual audio mixing console with an embedded DAW,  making it an excellent tool for learning console mixing techniques as well as complex audio editing and processing.  Mixbus presents controls in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get format with knobs for EQ, Filter, Compression, Limiting, Saturation, and associated metering available directly on the screen without opening plugin windows.

Mixbus also provides full workstation features including industry-standard plugins, automation, nondestructive editing, crossfades, import/export, and bouncing.  Windows runs on Windows, OSX, and even Linux.

Mixbus 2.1 includes three new features that realize the benefits of “cloud computing”:

- Importing directly from Freesound.org allows users to search a massive online database of royalty-free sounds, searchable by tags such as “drums”, or “car engine”, and import them directly into a session from the Mixbus import window.

- Exporting final mixes to Soundcloud.org directly from the Mixbus export dialog allows users to securely share their mixes worldwide via the power of cloud computing.

- New “Metadata” dialog allows users to store critical metadata inside the audio session, and also store critical global user metadata to speed up operations such as BWAV region-stamping, session copyright dates, and login details for included services such as Soundcloud.

Metadata stays with the session and can be searched, sorted, stored and scripted using tools that recognize the industry-standard XML format.

The reason Mixbux is ideal for education is that it includes a real mixer console window; it acts as a bridge between analog signal flow and DAW technology. 

Students who are taught basic signal flow on analog mixer will find an easy transition to DAWs using Mixbus or Mixbus can be used in computer-only curriculums to introduce students to analog console operation.

Mixbus incorporates many best-in-class DAW concepts such as Playlists, Ripple Edit, Transient Detection and “Smart” tools.  It also includes pre-configured keyboard shortcuts that match some popular DAWs.
Mixbus was specially designed to incorporate the best practices that have evolved in other DAWs.

The new “Freesound” import allows students to search a massive online database for royalty-free sounds which can be used in their sessions.“Metadata” window stores information about the user, session, and the course/instructor.  This information is available in the XML session format and may be searched, sorted, and stored for future reference.

Portions of Mixbus are open-source.  Advanced classes can view the source code of Mixbus, develop plugins, or otherwise take advantage of the open architecture.  Session files use an open text-based format that can be operated on with scripts or versioning systems: perfect for streamlining the educational workflow.

Mixbus is cross-platform and has the widest compatibility of any DAW available.  Because Mixbus runs on Windows, MacOS, and even Linux, your students can use Mixbus on any computer they have available.
Mixbus uses industry-standard CoreAudio, ASIO, and JACK I/O; and it loads VST, AudioUnit, and LV2 plugins (depending on platform).

Facility administrators appreciate Harrison’s sterling reputation at worldwide facilities including Full Sail, Sony, Universal, ARRI, Mosfilm, Soundfirm, and more. 

To accommodate the tight budgets of schools and students, Harrison is providing 3 new payment methods for Mixbus:

1) Anyone may purchase a Mixbus Subscription for $49 +  $9/month.
2) Facilities may purchase a recurring yearly site license for only $999 which provides 10 instructor/lab licenses.
3) Students may subscribe to Mixbus for only $9 per month, waiving the $49 initial payment!  This makes it VERY cost-effective for students to install Mixbus on their own systems.

All three new plans provide free updates to Mixbus ( including major and minor version updates ) during the period of the subscription, as well as email support from Harrison.  Subscribers may cancel their subscription after the initial 3 months, and continue to use Mixbus without the free updates or email support.  Mixbus is also available for the one-time payment of $219.00 (MSRP)

Instructors who are interested in evaluating Mixbus should contact Harrison Consoles at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Harrison Consoles

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/17 at 04:47 PM
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Piton Engineering Introduces New Rack Handle For Rack-Mount Products

Handles mount outboard of the front panel space with supplied hardware -- no special panel prep is required

Piton Engineering has Introduced the Rack Handle, an assembly that provides handles and captive fasteners for rack-mount products. 

The Piton Rack Handle has a robust molded design with integrated screws that secure your enclosure to any equipment rack. The handles mount outboard of the front panel space with supplied hardware—no special panel prep is required.

The package provides customers with stainless steel fasteners, captive to their product, simplifying rack mounting. No more lost or mismatched screws. Captive fasteners are integral to the handle, eliminating the cost of press-fitting or swaging separate captive fastener assemblies.

Handles mount on the outer edges of the front panel, preserving enclosure volume and front panel space; a key benefit where rack and floor space are at a premium.

It is supplied as a kit with two handles, four captive screws and four mounting screws. The single part number kit reduces the cost of documentation, procurement, kitting and assembly. It can also be used with subracks where no fixed front panel exists.

Because the handle works with standard EIA-310 front panel mounting slots, it can be added to existing designs and products. Custom colors and M5 screws available.

The Piton Rack Handle is available with quantity price breaks at 25, 50, and 100 kits.

Handles mounts on the outer edges of the front panel, preserving enclosure volume and front panel space; a key benefit where rack and floor space are at a premium.

Features:

—High strength ABS/PC polymer
—Captive #10-32 screws have EIA-310 spacing to work with all equipment racks
—NEBS compliant flammability rating and oxygen index
—Mounts on equipment ears, saving valuable front panel space
—No special panel prep, press-fitting or swaging required
—Single part no. kit simplifies documentation, procurement and kitting
—Designed and manufactured in the USA

Piton Engineering

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/17 at 12:03 PM
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Harman And The Recording Academy Host “From Mic to Mix”

Open to The Recording Academy members and industry professionals, “From Mic to Mix” featured a live acoustic recording session by the pop/soul group Elaine Faye & Company, engineered by 2-time GRAMMY winner Nathaniel Kunkel, and showcased the latest recording products and technologies from AKG, JBL Professional and Lexicon.

Harman Professional and the Producers & Engineers Wing of The Recording Academy hosted their first-ever “From Mic to Mix” event at Los Angeles’ Conway Recording Studios.

Open to The Recording Academy members and industry professionals, “From Mic to Mix” featured a live acoustic recording session by the pop/soul group Elaine Faye & Company, engineered by 2-time GRAMMY winner Nathaniel Kunkel, and showcased the latest recording products and technologies from AKG, JBL Professional and Lexicon.

Nathaniel Kunkel has earned GRAMMY Awards for his work with B.B. King and Robin Williams, received an Emmy for “A&E In Concert: Sting: Sacred Love” and has recorded a “who’s who” of top artists including Brian Wilson, Stevie Nicks, Ringo Starr, Zooey Deschanel, Cobra Starship, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt and many others. He also owns Studio Without Walls in LA.

The surround sound recording session took place in Conway’s large Studio C using a variety of AKG microphones and headphones, including a C12VR, P820Tube, C414XLII, C214, C451 and a pair of C414XLS.

The attendees were able to listen to Kunkel’s mix with 24 AKG K271 and K240MKII headphones placed around the studio. In the control room, Kunkel monitored using a JBL LSR6328P system in a 5.1 surround sound configuration. Ambience and reverb were provided by a Lexicon PCM96 Surround system.

In a separate control room, Lexicon demonstrated PCM96 and MX400 reverb processors as well as the I-O U42S USB audio interface. Nathaniel Kunkel gave attendees insight into his approach to micing, studio monitors and use of effect processing.

“The sounds came together in a very short amount of time,” Kunkel said. “For several years, I have relied on JBL studio monitors for their accuracy. I never have to second-guess my mix. While the AKG C414 and C12VR have been go-to mics for me, I was pleased to try AKG’s new Perception mics and headphones on this session.

“The Lexicon PCM96 Surround system was the only reverb I used and it added polish that put the mix over the top. The session went smoothly and I’m really pleased with the end result using the great HARMAN gear.”

“The P&E Wing evening at Conway was a great opportunity for us to meet with the engineers and producers on the front line shaping today’s recording landscape,” said Peter Chaikin, Senior Marketing Manager, Recording & Broadcast, JBL Professional. “Elaine Faye’s performance and Nathaniel’s stunning sounds coming across on our speakers made P&E Wing members smile.”

“We wanted to show attendees how well AKG microphones and headphones, JBL studio monitors and Lexicon reverb and effects processors perform in a real-world setting, and how they can help engineers make better recordings from the moment the sound hits the mic to when they’re putting the finishing touches on the final mix,” said Joe Wagoner, product marketing manager for wireless, tour and install, AKG.

Harman

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/17 at 07:19 AM
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