AV

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hurricane And Eenorm Facilitair Invest In New Meyer Sound LEOPARD

New LEOPARD line arrays now featured in rental house inventories in Slovakia and the Netherlands.

Two more rental houses have placed orders for the new, patented Meyer Sound LEOPARD linear sound reinforcement loudspeakers: Eenorm Facilitair of the Netherlands and Hurricane Sound & Light of Slovakia.

“After listening to the LEOPARD system, I was not only surprised but shocked,” recalls Martin Štefanek, managing director of Hurricane. “I couldn’t believe a system so small and lightweight would have such enormous power and brilliant sound—not to mention the simplicity of the rigging and connections.”

For Eenorm Facilitair, flexibility and sonic performance are key to the purchase decision. “We were stunned at the sound quality of LEOPARD right out of the box,” says Hans Snijder, owner of Eenorm Facilitair. “We invested in LEOPARD due to its versatility—we can supply almost any venue in the Netherlands with this system when combined with our other Meyer Sound products. It will certainly increase our business.”

Eenorm has purchased 24 LEOPARD loudspeakers, four 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements, and a Galileo Callisto array processor. The new loudspeakers will complement Eenorm Facilitair’s existing Meyer Sound inventory, which includes MINA line array loudspeakers, 1100-LFC elements, and more.

Hurricane’s investment comprises 16 LEOPARD loudspeakers and six 900-LFC elements, in addition to two UPQ-1P loudspeakers, two MJF-210 stage monitors, and one Galileo Callisto array processor.

The LEOPARD loudspeaker and 900-LFC element are designed to create an exceptional listening experience across a variety of applications from rental to install, and rock ‘n’ roll to classical. LEOPARD Boasting tremendous power-to-size ratio with ultra-low distortion, an array of six LEOPARD loudspeakers with two 900-LFC elements can be flown using only a ½ ton motor. Each LEOPARD loudspeaker is optimized for an array of six cabinets or longer, with default low-mid array compensation for utmost simplicity out of the box. It also features a new class-D amplifier that consumes less power and generates less heat.

LEOPARD and 900-LFC will be featured in live demos during InfoComm 2015 in Orlando, Fla.

Meyer Sound

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Posted by House Editor on 05/18 at 12:02 PM
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AVnu Alliance Announces New Officers For Board Of Directors At TSNA Conference

Alliance seats new board members at the first conference on emerging standards related to deterministic networking.

AVnu Alliance joined engineers, integrators, product managers and executives from around the world at the inaugural Conference on Time Sensitive Networking and Applications (TSNA), on April 28 and 29 in Santa Clara, CA for a multi-day series of technical tracks aimed at educating and generating awareness for emerging Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) standards. AVnu Alliance hosted a reception for attendees at which the newly elected officers for the Alliance Board of Directors were announced.

Gary Stuebing, manager of engineering, IoT standards/architecture at Cisco, was elected as the new AVnu Alliance president, taking the helm of the organization at the TSNA conference. With a background in real-world IT management, Stuebing comes to AVnu Alliance with extensive leadership experience from other alliances and standards groups such as IEEE, Wi-Sun and HomePlug. Kevin Stanton, senior principal engineer at Intel was named AVnu Alliance chairman. Stanton has been active on the Alliance board of directors and served as the Technical Workgroup Chair for the past five years. AVnu Alliance has also added a seat on the board, which was filled by Todd Walter, senior group manager at National Instruments.

“As a founding member, Cisco is committed to supporting AVnu Alliance and guiding the evolution of the standards. Broad market expansion of AVB/TSN with wide deployment will benefit all members and markets and will assure long-term support for the capabilities in standard components,” said Gary Stuebing, AVnu Alliance president. “I am proud to join the Alliance board of directors with the goal to continue accelerating the momentum of AVnu Alliance and the growing interoperable ecosystem of AVB/TSN.”

“2015 will be a milestone year for the Alliance,” said Stanton, “In this, our fifth year, we see a rich and growing ecosystem of certified Pro Audio products, announced plans to launch the industry’s first AVB Ethernet certification for the automotive market, and have expanded our scope to include the Industrial segment. These are aligned with the huge strides taken within the IEEE to advance the AVB/TSN standards, which continue moving Ethernet forward. AVnu Alliance has evolved along with the standards, and the combined knowledge and experience of our Board of Directors will continue to drive the Alliance toward the vision of an open ecosystem of standards-based, certified-interoperable products that revolutionize networking for all time-sensitive applications.”

“The first Conference on Time Sensitive Networks and Applications was a significant step toward Ethernet TSN/AVB adoption” added Stanton. The sold-out conference provided a deep technical look at TSN with sessions focused on application areas as well as hardware/software implementation challenges and approaches.

To kick off the event, Michael Johas Teener, senior technical director at Broadcom and IEEE 802.1 Time Sensitive Networking Task Group Chair delivered a keynote to the standing-room-only audience on the transition to precise time-awareness in networks. He emphasized that the new capabilities added to Ethernet with TSN will be used everywhere from industrial control to home networking. On day two, the professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department at U.C. Berkeley, Dr. Edward Lee, delivered a compelling keynote titled: The Internet of Important Things. The presentation focused on models for the use of Time in cyber-physical-systems.

AVnu Alliance

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Posted by House Editor on 05/18 at 10:47 AM
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Symetrix SymNet Selected For Networking Systems At New Cape Cod High School

Desiring a Dante-based digital audio infrastructure for their new facility, Chatham and Harwich towns turned to Symetrix.

Multiple Symetrix processors have been specified to provide signal conditioning and routing at the newly constructed Monomoy Regional High School in Chatham, Massachusetts. Costing close to $60 million, the new school is the result of a collaboration between the Cape Cod towns of Chatham and Harwich.

Integral to realizing their vision of a technologically advanced infrastructure is a flexible sound reinforcement system with five nodes focused on the auditorium, cafeteria, gymnasium, media centre and TV production studio. The fact that this was achieved is down to the efforts of two, locally-based operations: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, who were charged with designing a sound system boasting the necessary flexibility, and SIGNET Electronic Systems, who undertook the installation and integration.

Based on positive previous experience of the DSPs’ performance, the SIGNET team elected to use one Symetrix SymNet Edge DSP and three SymNet Radius 12x8 open architecture Dante-scalable DSPs to provide signal processing and routing, with three SymNet xIn 12 and SymNet xOut 12 expanders supplementing analogue inputs and output counts where required. The DSPs’ support for Audinate’s Dante media networking technology — allowing all of the nodes to be connected transparently and efficiently via the building’s Ethernet cabling — was another important factor.

“Symetrix processors are simply more versatile and robust than those made by other manufacturers,” said Jay Vigneau, project engineer with SIGNET. “Because of that — and since their tech support is always timely and knowledgeable — our Symetrix installations are smooth and predictable.”

For the auditorium, Vigneau chose the SymNet Edge frame because he could outfit it with a digital input card to pair with the output from the FOH digital mixer. The other nodes use SymNet Radius 12x8 processors, with Vigneau able to accommodate additional I/O requirements via SymNet xIn 12 and SymNet xOut 12 expanders, which integrate seamlessly with the DSPs via Dante. Crestron processors supply an integrated user interface.

“In the auditorium and elsewhere, the Symetrix DSPs provide comprehensive signal processing, including intelligent auto-mixing for simple events with modest input counts. The systems are powerful, but also very easy to use,” he says.

Although all the nodes can tap inputs from other nodes via Dante, the school’s forward-thinking TV production studio relies on the integrated nature of the Dante network to capture content from anywhere in the school. “Monomoy plans to commonly record events via the TV production studio,” says Vigneau. “Moreover, they plan to regularly broadcast school events to the local community. Having a Dante backbone gives them that functionality.”

Symetrix
SIGNET Electronic Systems

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Posted by House Editor on 05/18 at 09:51 AM
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EAW Names Frank Loyko Vice President Of North American Sales

Loyko began his career at EAW before serving as vice president of sales for LOUD Technologies and similar roles with TC Group and Avid.

Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) announces the return of Frank Loyko as vice president of North American sales.

Loyko brings professionalism, knowledge and a proven track record of success within the professional and commercial audio industries. He began his career at EAW and was instrumental in establishing EAW as a brand. In addition to his time with EAW and then as vice president of worldwide sales for LOUD Technologies, Loyko broadened his skills and accomplishments with similar roles at TC Group Americas and Digidesign/Avid Technologies.

On Loyko’s appointment, president Jeff Rocha said, “To build on EAW’s strong growth in the North American market, it is critical that we have someone of Frank’s caliber and experience to lead our domestic sales team to the next level and support the broad adoption of our market leading technologies. Frank was at the core of EAW’s original success. It is very exciting to have him back on-board now as EAW grows to the next level.”

Commenting on his appointment, Loyko remarked, “I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to EAW at a time when the portfolio is filled with so many ground-breaking and market-defining products. EAW has experienced tremendous success. I am excited to help further cultivate long-term relationships and elevate our presence in both the live and installed sound markets.”

Eastern Acoustic Works

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Posted by House Editor on 05/18 at 09:08 AM
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Bel Digital Makes Monitoring Simple For Celebrating Jon Lord Tribute Recording

The 2u rackmount BM-A2-64MADI audio/status monitor auditions MADI channels without the need for external routers or audio consoles.

Engineer David Loudoun and his company DMZ Live have an impressive list of recording credits to their names, including Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Spotify, One Direction and EMI Records, to name but a few. One of the company’s latest projects was the recording of Celebrating Jon Lord at the Royal Albert Hall at the beginning of April, where a Bel Digital MADI monitor was deployed.

Held in memory of ex-Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, Celebrating Jon Lord at the Royal Albert Hall featured performances from many of his friends and band mates. The resulting album, for which DMZ Live recorded and mixed all versions, has subsequently reached number one in the Music Video charts in four countries.

DMZ Live’s high spec digital recording mobile was used for the recording stage at the Royal Albert Hall, with the premix done at the company’s North London studio, and the final mix performed at Abbey Road. 

The RAH was where David deployed the Bel Digital BM-A2-64MADI monitor, a 2u rackmount audio/status monitor which enables auditioning of MADI channels without the need to connect to external routers or audio consoles. Providing engineers with the diagnostic tools necessary to interrogate MADI streams and view the status of embedded channels, it accepts both optical and co-axial MADI feeds and features audible and visual monitoring of each channel. The monitor is compatible with 96kHz, 88.2kHz, 48kHz and 44.1kHz sample rates, and is also compatible with both the legacy SMUX and High Speed MADI protocols.

“We took multiple incoming MADI streams from the venue,” Loudoun explains. “There were a total of four feeds: two to pick up the band audio; one to pick up the orchestra microphones; and one was our stage box for all additional microphones.”

Loudoun and his team used a Nova 29 MADI router as the hub of their audio in the recording mobile, with four Pyramix DAW recording machines to double head record everything.

“The Bel Digital MADI monitor was perfect for us, as we could quickly look across any of the MADI feeds for a confidence check and it also allowed us to have another position for monitoring,” Loudoun concludes. “It was simple and effective.”

Bel Digital

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Posted by House Editor on 05/18 at 07:12 AM
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Friday, May 15, 2015

Attero Tech Introduces The unDUSB Dante To USB Bidirectional Bridge

The unDUSB integrates audio for Windows PC or Mac into a Dante audio network.

Attero Tech will show the unDUSB Dante to USB bidirectional bridge at InfoComm International (June 17-19) in Orlando, Florida. 

The unDUSB integrates audio for a Windows PC or Mac into a Dante audio network. Applications include audio and video conferencing using soft codecs like Skype or Microsoft Lync, where the audio can be bridged to an existing Dante audio system in the room. Similarly, previously recorded audio content can be played from a PC or a Mac and reproduced by the Dante audio system.

The unDUSB is simple to set up, and requires no drivers on either a PC or a Mac. The unDUSB enumerates as a stereo sound card to the computer, and any application that can play to or record from a USB sound card can utilize the unDUSB.

The unDUSB is powered by either external +9VDC - +24VDC or any PoE network switch, so audio and power may be delivered on one CAT 5 cable. The unDUSB is currently shipping.

Attero Tech

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Posted by House Editor on 05/15 at 01:30 PM
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The New York State Department Of Labor Renovates Paging System With Ashly

Antiquated emergency paging system in 675,000 square foot building renovated with Ashly ne-Series amplifiers and Protea digital processing.

The New York State Department of Labor in the W. Averell Harriman State Office Building Campus in Albany, New York was constructed in 1963 with 675,000 square-feet spread over five floors plus a basement. The antiquated emergency paging system was failing in one way or another in most zones. Ashly Audio was brought in to remedy the situation.

Prime contractor SimplexGrinnell (Clifton Park, NY) subcontracted the design of a replacement emergency paging system to Pro Sound Associates (Guilderland, NY), and Pro Sound Associates owner Dominick Campana relied on Ashly Audio processing and multi-channel amplification to make the system reliable, powerful, and energy-efficient. Live Sound Incorporated (Troy, NY) installed the system.

“The Department of Labor tests the emergency paging system fewer than half-a-dozen times a year, but when they need it, it’s obviously very, very important,” explained Campana. “Reliability is key. The existing system was decades old and most of the components went in when the building was being constructed. It’s probably fair to say that most zones weren’t working or weren’t working well. The huge racks of antiquated amplifiers were dead, dying, or band-aided, and they produced such a huge amount of heat that the nearby offices were forever too hot. They wanted a more energy efficient solution with a much smaller footprint. After testing all of the existing circuits, it was clear that the biggest help would come from a complete replacement of the head end, which is what we did.”

Inputs to the new system include a SimplexGrinnell fire alarm panel, two new Shure MX412D paging microphones and a Tascam CDi200L CD player with iPod docks and an aux input jack for playing pre-recorded messages and for testing program audio. An Ashly ne24.24M Protea digital matrix processor configured with eight inputs and sixteen outputs handles input priorities, audio routing and processing, as well as network control of the system.

Eleven network-ready Ashly ne-Series amplifiers with Protea digital processing power the system. Specifically, the rack features six of the ne8250pe.70 eight-channel 250W amps, four model ne4250pe.70 four-channel 250W amps and a two-channel ne800pe.70 rated at 400 Watts into 70V. Four Furman PL-PRO DMCs provide power distribution and monitoring. For this first phase, they reused approximately 1,000 existing 70V ceiling speakers of varying types.

“We have a history of success using Ashly gear. It gives us the consistent performance and reliability we require,” said Campana. “The Ashly amps give me 250W per channel, which I really needed in this situation. Some of the runs are really long, and line loss is significant. For example, I have one zone in the basement that’s being fed from the head end on the fifth floor on the opposite side of the building… all over existing 14-gauge copper. With the addition of their optional processing, the amps also give me fine scale control over the sound in each zone. The ne24.24M provides the coarse-scale zone processing, but each amp channel allowed me to tune for all the very different loudspeaker conditions we found in this building. Some are literally behind ceilings. I also love Ashly’s networkability; I simply plug into the network and all of the devices are right there. It was no hassle at all.” In the near term, Campana will get all of the amplifiers on a monitoring network. Later, the big job of replacing loudspeakers will begin.

Ashly Audio

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Posted by House Editor on 05/15 at 10:05 AM
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American Music & Sound Announces Gilbert Perales As Sales Representative

New Southern California sales representative for Allen & Heath will also provide technical sales support and training for dealers, installers, and end users.
Looking for a great position in pro audio? Seeking the most qualified candidates? It all starts with the ProSoundWeb Jobs Center.

 
American Music & Sound, independent US distributor of pro audio, musical instruments, and music creation products, announced today the new hire of Gilbert Perales as the Southern California sales representative for Allen & Heath.

Perales will provide technical sales support and training for Southern California dealers, installers, and end users for Allen & Heath products.

The vice president of sales for Allen & Heath USA, Michael Palmer, is looking forward to having Perales on his team. “We are pleased to have him on board, his experience in product management as well as working as an outside sales rep makes him a perfect fit for the position. We look forward to the energy and enthusiasm he will be bringing,” said Palmer.

Perales has worked in the pro audio industry for nearly 15 years and studied audio production with an emphasis in live sound at The Art Institute of Seattle in 2001. He has held senior positions in technical support, marketing and development for Mackie, amongst other businesses within the music industry.

“Allen & Heath is the industry leader for mixing console technology. They are known for solid reliability, superb sound quality, and I’m looking forward to being a strong resource for our customers,” Perales said.

The president of AM&S, Lynn Martin, appreciates the passion Perales puts into his work. “Gil takes pride in his craft and has the skill set we were looking for to take on this position in our California office,” he said.

American Music & Sound
Allen & Heath

Looking for a great job in pro audio? Searching for the best candidates? Check out the ProSoundWeb Jobs Center.

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Posted by House Editor on 05/15 at 09:34 AM
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Fishman Names Brad Townsend To Head Global Retail Sales

Townsend brings experience in sales and marketing positions with Fender Musical Instruments and AXL Musical Instruments to Fishman.

Fishman announces that Brad Townsend has been appointed as vice president of global retail sales. A longtime industry veteran, Townsend will be in charge of Fishman’s domestic and international retail sales.

Townsend has been in the music products industry since graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in music. He’s worked for several companies, most notably Fender Musical Instruments where he held domestic and international sales and marketing positions for almost twenty years. Most recently, Townsend served as senior vice-president of sales & marketing for AXL Musical Instruments.

Asked about his new position, Townsend comments, “Fishman is a great brand and has been a cutting edge musical technology company since its inception almost 35 years ago. The corporate culture is exceptional, and I feel privileged to be working in a company where its iconic owner still shows up every day to design solutions for musicians.”

“Brad is a great addition to our management team at Fishman,” adds coo Jason Cambra. “He brings many years of experience and a perspective that will be instrumental to Fishman’s continued growth both domestically and internationally.”

Fishman

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Posted by House Editor on 05/15 at 09:22 AM
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Duke’s Waikiki Restaurant And Live Music Venue In Honolulu Upgrades To Yamaha

New system enables Duke's to maintain appropriate sound levels and foster the "Aloha vibe" the venue strives for

Though the oceanfront location and open design of Duke’s Waikiki restaurant and live music venue in Honolulu, Hawaii, helps get diners and dancers into the island spirit, the layout makes it difficult to achieve pleasing and consistent sound levels. General manager Dylan Ching found his solution in a Yamaha mixing console and powered loudspeakers.

Clay Nakasone, co-owner of Goodguys Music and Sound, teamed with install consultant Hutch “HutchiBoye” Hutchins to craft a custom indoor-outdoor setup that allows guests in the indoor dining room to enjoy comfortable levels and also let the live music fans on the patio hear the bands clearly.

The establishment is divided into four distinct zones, all of which can be fine-tuned. The twelve channel split system setup assigns 12 inputs to the bands that play on the patio and 12 independent inputs for the house mix that can be adjusted; so, for example, solo musicians that play under the cabana can control only their mix through a monitor, a DXR8 attached to the bottom of an umbrella above their heads. 

On the patio, which accommodates 150 to 200 guests, an MG166CX mixer on a roll-around rack uses two DSR15 powered speakers for the mains along with two DSR12 and two DXR12 powered speakers for the monitors. An installed custom splitter box allows for connecting with the disconnect box by the cabana rack. Performers range from local groups to national acts, including Jimmy Buffet. In addition, strolling musicians circulate around the facility and Duke’s hosts concerts on the beach during the day. 

Hutch designed the new setup “so that the speakers surround the patio and act like a set of headphones,” he said. “Everyone is in the middle of the mix and the sound never bleeds into the building. It worked perfectly; everyone is in the sound zone so they don’t have to blast the music.”

To protect against the elements, Hutchins removed and relocated the electronic components from the speaker cabinets and placed them in the rack, which contains a 12-channel custom splitter box with eight mic inputs and four internal direct box plug-ins that is connected to an MG20XU mixer, a model in the recently released generation of MG mixers, which Hutch says “sounds so clean and full that the bands and even the staff noticed the difference right away.”

A multi-pin jack lets the board plug into an MG206C house console through a disconnect box next to the cabana rack. “We can pump up the bass on the beach, but not through the restaurant and we pulled out the low frequencies to make the vocals clearer indoors,” said Ching, the general manager. “We can turn zones off in the dining room so the system gives us a lot of flexibility.”

The house system includes an MG206C mixer with two DSR12 speakers for mains and sends a feed of the band to a four channel zone mixer that controls the band input, house music and an iPod, any of which can be sent to incoming phone callers who are put on hold. This feed can also be directed to ceiling speakers that deliver sound to the dining room, the bathrooms, the entryway, the bar and to the adjacent Diamondhead Room. 

The venue’s newfound ability to maintain appropriate sound levels has helped foster the Aloha vibe that the venue strives for. Ching reports that “our musicians were very happy when we made the switch and we get a lot of compliments from guests.”

Yamaha

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Posted by House Editor on 05/15 at 07:37 AM
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CAD Audio Promotes Glenn Roop To VP Business Development

Roop originally joined CAD in 2010 as director of business development, coming from Audio-Technica and the entertainment industry.
Looking for a great position in pro audio? Seeking the most qualified candidates? It all starts with the ProSoundWeb Jobs Center.

 
CAD Audio has promoted Glenn Roop to the position of vice president, business development, where he is responsible for new product development and marketing, artist relations and establishing new markets for CAD.

Roop’s longstanding commitment to the music industry started in the 1980s as the owner/manager of a successful DJ entertainment company while also designing and manufacturing loudspeakers. He worked for Audio-Technica in the early 90s, contributing to the growth of the company and eventually becoming a sales director overseeing a team of territory managers and reps throughout the U.S. and Canada. Roop joined CAD in 2010 as director of business development.

“CAD Audio has allowed me to use my industry experience in an environment poised for growth and opportunity,” he says. “Being a U.S. owned and operated company has significant benefits for our supply chain, vested partners and dealers. I’m excited about what the future holds for CAD Audio.”

CAD president Brig Carr adds, “We’re delighted to promote Glenn to this important position that has such an impact on our future growth. He’s done a great job developing new feature-rich products for CAD to dramatically broaden our lines, in turn influencing our sales growth and market share. His industry knowledge is a real asset and we look forward to working with him for many years to come.”

CAD Audio

Looking for a great job in pro audio? Searching for the best candidates? Check out the ProSoundWeb Jobs Center.

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Posted by House Editor on 05/15 at 07:15 AM
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wyoming’s Studio City Mesa Selects Meyer Sound For Cooper Auditorium Installation

The theatre now boasts a 7.1 Meyer Sound cinema system, 4K projection, and a 64-foot PLF screen, the largest in the state.

Studio City Mesa in Casper, Wyoming has made technology the centerpiece of its beloved roadhouse theatre, the Cooper Auditorium. The theatre now boasts a 7.1 Meyer Sound cinema system, 4K projection, a curved, 64-foot, premium large-format (PLF) screen.

“With the Cooper, we decided to go beyond what anybody else was doing in our region,” states Randy Pryde, president of Movie Palace, operator of Studio City Mesa. “When it came to audio, we didn’t want to compromise. As one of my partners remarked, ‘You never have to apologize for quality.’ So we decided to move out in front of all the competition with Meyer Sound.”

The auditorium’s new system comprises three Acheron 100 screen channel loudspeakers, 16 HMS-10 surround loudspeakers, and six X-800C high-power cinema subwoofers. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 and one Galileo 408 processor enables precise optimization of each loudspeaker, tailoring response to the unique shape of the auditorium.

“Some other PLF screens try to crank the sound and blast you out of your seat, and the results are often less than ideal,” Pryde says. “With the Meyer Sound system, we get the full impact and the wide dynamic range, but without distortion. The sound is clean, clear, and natural.”

Meyer Sound

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Posted by House Editor on 05/14 at 12:15 PM
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Clearing Up The Mystery & Confusion With Amplifier Power Ratings

 
Could anything be more confusing than a “power rating?” The question “How many watts” can have many answers, depending on whether we are talking about amplifiers or loudspeakers.

There are also many variables regarding how power is measured and specified. The numerous variables have rendered “face value” power ratings virtually useless.

Why is “power” so hard to quantify? One reason is because it is time-dependent and constantly changing - much like the “value” of the stock market. We can look at the “highs,” “lows,” or the “average,” and all are different numbers that are useful for different things.

Another problem is that we connect power amplifiers to loudspeakers. Given the nature of what each does (and how it does it), the methods used to rate one are inappropriate for the other. A 100-watt amplifier can’t produce 100 watts of power to a loudspeaker unless it plays a very annoying test waveform. Go figure.

Even so, sound system designers must select appropriate amplifiers for the loudspeakers in their projects. The power ratings supplied by amplifier manufacturers must be interpreted and scaled to meet the requirements of the design.

Some of us are old enough to remember the “power rating wars” of the 1970s. Any rating used to sell something is suspect, especially when there are many ways to test it and many more ways to present the results.

But, amplifier power ratings don’t have to be mysterious or confusing. There are some guidelines, assumptions and rules-of-thumb that can simplify the process of amplifier selection without sacrificing accuracy.

A Reference Waveform
The determination of the power of an amplifier can be trivially simple, or very complicated. It depends on the characteristics of the audio waveform and the impedance of the load that it drives. The simplest AC waveform is a sine wave.

When applied to a loudspeaker, the sine wave makes it pump in and out like a piston - easy enough to visualize. There are several commonly used power equations. Both are pretty simple when used with sine waves driving resistive loads on a test bench.

Power is typically calculated from the effective, or Root-Mean-Square (RMS) value of the audio waveform.

Don’t get nervous - this is just a way of averaging the waveform over time to come up with a value that would equal the power (or heat) generated by a constant value of direct current. As such, the RMS value of a waveform is sometimes called its “equivalent DC value” or “heating value.”

This is a very important point. Power generation and dissipation is related to heat and dependent on time. We will revisit that later.

An example will clarify this. Figure 1 shows a dummy load that can be connected to an amplifier. This allows the amplifier to produce power without making sound, which is good for the person doing the test. The loads are water heater elements submerged in oil.

All of the power is converted to heat. The temperature of the load can be monitored with the built-in thermometer.

The AC waveform that has the highest heating value is the square wave, and is equivalent to DC. It shall serve as our reference. I’ll apply 10 volts RMS to the load and allow the temperature to stabilize.

Next, I’ll substitute pink noise for the square wave. The pink noise is pure chaos when compared to a sine or square wave (as are music and speech). How does one give it a value?

In order to produce the same load temperature as the square wave, I have to turn the amplifier up by 12 dB. This is called the “crest factor” of the waveform. It is subtracted from the square wave voltage level to find the “effective” or “heating value” of the pink noise. Ten volts RMS of pink noise produces the same power into the load resistor as a 10 VRMS square wave.

Figure 2 is a chart of crest factors commonly encountered in audio work.

The EIA standard (now defunct) measures the power from the amplifier using a steady 1 kHz sine wave (3 dB crest factor).

While not very realistic with regard to real-world audio applications (unless you are driving a siren), it provides a useful reference wattage that can be de-rated for complicated audio waveforms like music and speech. The EIA standard lives on as CEA-426-B R-2005.

In The Real World
The ideal amplifier is a constant voltage source.

This means that the output voltage (which is of course an audio waveform) is not affected by the load impedance.

Let’s fix the output voltage to 30 VRMS (about 100 watts continuous into 8 ohms) and consider what happens as the load impedance changes. Please see Figure 3, below.

Our ideal amplifier is an unlimited source of current. Think “Hoover Dam with Speakons” and you have the right idea. As the load impedance drops, the current increases. As the load impedance increases the current decreases.

Each halving of the load impedance doubles the output current and therefore the output power of the amplifier, so long as the voltage remains constant.

So, the more paralleled loudspeakers, the more watts.

Real-world amplifiers behave as ideal voltage sources into typical sound reinforcement loudspeakers. You can load them with one or maybe two 8 ohm loudspeakers, and the output voltage is not affected.

click to enlarge

Like the ideal amplifier, the power doubles as the load impedance is halved.

At some point, this relationship no longer holds and the voltage drops as you daisy-chain more loudspeakers onto the amplifier, even though the output power increases (The yellow region of Figure 3). Below about 3 ohms, this amplifier is no longer a constant voltage source.

Note that since the current is impedance-dependent, a box that can handle a large RMS voltage may not draw much power, if its impedance is high. This can bea useful attribute if I need to parallel line array boxes onto a single which is a very common practice. I’measured units as high as 60 ohms.

A “power” mindset says “load it down because you get more watts.” But note that even though the output power is increasing in the “yellow zone,” the output voltage is decreasing. If your loudspeakers are covering different zones of the audience, adding additional loads beyond 4 ohms may cause a level drop in the already-playing loudspeakers (Figure 4).

click to enlarge

You get the most SPL from Box A if you disconnect the other boxes. In short, the amplifier’s best performance is achieved when it is not overloaded. The impedance of a real-world loudspeaker is higher than its “rated” impedance over most of its bandwidth.

While some amplifiers can handle “2 ohm loads” it would be rare to ever encounter a true 2 ohm load in practice other than with a bank of test resistors.

Besides the voltage drop, there are other reasons why very low impedance loads (i.e. 2 ohms) are problematic. The lower the load impedance, the heavier the required wire gauge. Heavy gauge speaker wire minimizes line loss and preserves the amplifier’s damping factor (significant for subwoofers). Cables for 2 ohm loads must be kept short or they may get ridiculously heavy.

We wouldn’t dream of putting weights in the trunk of our car to make it produce more power. It is equally silly to load down an amplifier to get more watts.

Power Ratings
There are many examples of power ratings outside of audio.

Some examples include AC generators, motors, light bulbs, and horses - and many, many others. In every case, the rating given is assumed to be continuous, meaning a sustainable, guaranteed value.

When you buy a 5,000-watt generator, you expect to get 5 kW continuous, not short-term peaks of 5 kW.

A good horse can generate one horsepower continuous (746 watts) for a period of time long enough to complete a task. This provided a guideline for replacing it with a steam engine.

Audio amplifier power ratings got crazy in the 1970s when some manufacturers began basing their ratings on “peak” or “instantaneous” values rather than “continuous” output. This gave them an advantage in the marketplace, because “more is better.” Right?

The Federal Trade Commission stepped in and established a standard to level the playing field. It placed requirements on the bandwidth and distortion level of the audio signal from the amplifier. So did the (now defunct) Electronics Industries Alliance or EIA rating method (now CEA-426-B R-2005).

In short, there are many ways to test both amplifiers and loudspeakers to get power ratings. The oldest and most conservative method for amplifier testing is the use of a continuous sine wave, with the amplifier connected to a resistive load and operated for a specified period of time (”continuous” implies “indefinitely”).

I am a big fan of this method, for several reasons.
1) It’s a simple test. There’s no way to fudge it, fool it, fake it or misrepresent it.
2) The rating can be easily verified in the field, with simple instrumentation.
3) I can easily determine the output power with other waveforms (music or speech) by substituting the crest factor of the program material for that of the sine wave. This always results in less power flow.
4) The distortion of a sine wave is much easier to measure than the distortion of more complicated waveforms, so it is easy to determine when the amplifier is at maximum level.
5) Large power amplifiers can drive distributed loudspeakers systems without the use of a step-up transformer.

These systems base their ratings on the sine wave. If I need “70 volts” or higher to drive such a line, then I need a sine wave rating for the amplifier to know whether it can get there.

As a system designer, I want a simple, no nonsense conservative rating of what the amplifier can do. I can increase the crest factor (de-rate the amplifier) to know the level produced by music or speech.

Now, before the letters to editor start pouring in, I’m smart enough to know that it is unlikely that the amplifier will ever have to pass a full-scale sine wave into a load for an extended period of time unless I intend to use it to drive a shaker table or as a regulated electrical outlet on the test bench (seriously - got a 60 Hz oscillator?).

I’m also smart enough to know that most “embellishments” to this simple rating method are to achieve higher power ratings and an advantage in the marketplace. (The 1970s revisited. Do we really have to go through that again?)

I also understand that some amplifiers can produce more than their continuous sine wave rating if I pulse the test signal. Fine. I’ll take it. It’s only a few dB. In fact, the decibel is the key to understanding and comparing power ratings.

Decibels & Audio Levels
Quick! What is the approximate expected SPL at 4 meters from a loudspeaker with an average sensitivity of 100 dB-SPL (1 W/1m) driven by a 200-watt power amplifier playing pink noise? Got ya, didn’t I?

If you had to think about that for very long, or even whip out a calculator, then you’re a victim of a very poor rating system that is used for power amplifiers. The unit is named for Mr. Watt, but I doubt that even he would endorse its use for audio calculations.

We’ll solve the problem mentally with simple addition and subtraction, after a little ground work. You will be able to perform complex amplifier calculations in your head, amazing your friends at parties and possibly even improving your love life. I’m an optimist.

Since the human hearing system perceives power changes proportionally, linear units such as watts and volts are not terribly useful. The Audio Fathers dealt with this dilemma early in the last century by creating the decibel system.

The decibel describes the proportional change between two “power-like” quantities. Figure 5 gives some common wattages and their decibel equivalent. The decibel works just like the human hearing system, assessing loudness changes by the proportional change to a reference value.

To compare various power ratings, I’ll pretend that I have a 16,000-watt iPod. Nice! It is connected to a dummy load resistor and is generating a 1 kHz sine wave. Each click of the volume control is 3 dB (true in real life), so the chart has a range of seven “clicks.”

click to enlarge

Each click generates twice the power, and slightly higher SPL than the previous. This unlikely example serves as a reminder that doubling the power is a meager level increase, even though it may require a lot of watts.The values on the chart could represent a range of amplifiers from a manufacturer.

For you math types, here is the formula:

dBW = 10 log (W2/W1)

where W2 is the amplifier’s sine wave rating in watts and W1 is a reference power of 1 watt (Hint: You don’t have to perform the division since we are dividing by 1).

The equation simplifies to dBW = 10 log W. Each power level is how the amplifier would compare in level to a one watt reference.

If you just memorize the chart, you won’t even need a calculator. One nice thing about power amplifier calculations is that you only need to get close.

These are typically sine wave ratings, but can be scaled to “pink noise” ratings (which are more like music) by simply subtracting 10 to account for the higher crest factor of pink noise as compared to a sine wave. (The sine wave has a 3 dB crest factor, and pink noise is about 12 dB, or “9 dB higher” than the sine wave. 10 dB is close enough and is easy to work with).

The resultant level in dBW can be added to the loudspeaker’s average sensitivity to determine the SPL at 1 meter. The 1-meter SPL can be extrapolated to a greater distance by simply halving it for every doubling of distance, which is the inverse-square law rate of level change. How about an example?

Loudspeaker: KillSound 5000
Sensitivity: 100 dB-SPL Average (1 W/ 1 m)
Amplifier: Kilo-Blaster 1000
Power Rating: 1000 W continuous at 1 kHz into 8 ohms
1. dBW = 10 log 1000 = 30 dBW
2. Pink Noise Power = 30 dBW - 10 dB = 20 dBW
3. Loudspeaker SPL: 100 dBSPL + 20 dB = 120 dB-SPL at 1 meter
4. Level at 4 m: 120 dB-SPL - 6 - 6 = 108 dB-SPL

So, practice subtracting 10 and subtracting 6 (repeatedly) from your starting values and you can quickly estimate the SPL from any loudspeaker with any amplifier at any distance.

Meaningful Representation
The decibel has done exactly what it was designed to do - make audio simpler, more intuitive, and most of all, provide a meaningful representation of the level change that results from changing the power. Amplifiers should be rated in dBW, not watts, for these reasons.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that amplifier manufacturers will actually publish dBW instead of watts. A large percentage of their customers would not understand their specs, and their tech support phone calls would go through the roof (and maybe their sales through the floor!).

You will have to make the conversion yourself with the chart. You will have the typical amplifier sizes memorized in no time. In light of these facts, can an amplifier have a higher power rating than the outlet from which it is powered, as some modern amplifiers claim to? Are these legitimate ratings or is it the 1970s revisited?

Pat & Brenda Brown lead SynAudCon, conducting audio seminars and workshops online and around the world. For more information go to www.prosoundtraining.com.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/14 at 11:42 AM
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TEC Tracks Amplifies Pro Audio’s Presence At Summer NAMM

NAMM to feature three days of educational programming for live sound, recording and audio pros, including A3E keynote presented by Microsoft.

TEC Tracks, educational sessions designed for audio, production and recording markets, will debut at Summer NAMM in Nashville on July 9-11, 2015.

Stationed next to the NAMM Idea Center on the show floor, TEC Tracks features three full days of free master classes, live interviews and panel discussions on topics for recording and live sound professionals, including optimizing studios, recording live shows and studio stories from Nashville.

“The new TEC Tracks offerings add even more value to Summer NAMM’s robust educational programming,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM president and ceo. “We’ve heard from many of our members, both retailers and manufacturers, that this is one of the fastest growing segments of the market. NAMM members who attend these sessions will be better equipped to seize these opportunities.”

TEC Tracks will feature some of Nashville’s recording industry talent:

—Hal Leonard’s Bill Gibson interviewing Chuck Ainlay, the GRAMMY-winning producer and engineer behind Miranda Lambert, Mark Knopfler, Taylor Swift and The Dixie Chicks in “Studio Master Class: Quality Sound.”

—Mastering engineer Glenn Meadows delving into audio file formats and how they affect sound in “Understanding Audio Formats.” 

—“Studio Operators Panel” featuring a who’s who of Nashville studio owners, operators, and entrepreneurs discussing the current state of recording.

Other highlights include “Easy Live Recording,” “Home and Project Studio Acoustics,” a Les Paul 100th birthday celebration, and a panel discussion with female audio and sound industry veterans.

On Saturday at TEC Tracks, A3E (Advanced Audio + Applications Exchange) presents a full-day program on the future of audio including “The Future of Studio Technology,” “The Future of Live Performance” and “The Future of Guitar Technology.”

TEC Tracks will open Saturday with a keynote on “The Future of Audio: Harnessing the Power of Musical Instruments and New Technology,” presented by Microsoft.

Registration for Summer NAMM 2015 is now open, with exhibit space available.


TEC Tracks
NAMM
Registration for Summer NAMM 2015

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Posted by House Editor on 05/14 at 07:58 AM
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Marissa Stone Joins The Design Team At Argosy Console

Stone is a recent graduate of Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Design.

Argosy Console, designer and manufacturer of technical furniture, announces that Marissa Stone has joined its team as CAD Design Specialist. In her new role, Stone will be working on design and development of Argosy’s new products and their line of existing products for customers, as well as custom individual designs for corporate and high-end clients.

A Missouri native, Stone is a recent graduate of Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Design. Stone’s lifelong interest in things which are both artistic and calculated led her to that field of study, and now to her new position at Argosy.

“I’m very excited about my new position at Argosy because now it provides me with the exciting opportunity to implement my education and design skills into real world products that customers will use every day,” says Stone.

“We are thrilled to have Marissa as part of our Argosy team; her attention to detail and keen sense of design and aesthetics make her a great fit for our company,” says Argosy president Tim Thompson. ”At Argosy, we have so many clients who come to us with their ideas, from customizations and modifications of existing workstations to completely new design ideas of what they would like to have to suit their specific needs. Having Marissa on our design team will help us deliver new opportunities to our clients. That’s very exciting for us and for our clients.”

Argosy Console

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Posted by House Editor on 05/14 at 07:02 AM
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