AV

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Xinjiang International Expo Centre Chooses QSC For China/Eurasia Expo

Comprising two Core 1000 Q-Sys processors, together with multiple QSC PowerLight 3 amplifiers and speakers from the QSC WideLine, ILA, AcousticDesign and K Series, the QSC audio systems were designed by PCI, the exclusive QSC distributor in China, and installed in over 20 conference rooms at the centre.

The QSC Q-Sys integrated System Platform has been chosen as the backbone of the audio systems at the Xinjiang International Expo Centre, the main regional conference and exhibition centre in north-west China.

Comprising two Core 1000 Q-Sys processors, together with multiple QSC PowerLight 3 amplifiers and speakers from the QSC WideLine, ILA, AcousticDesign and K Series, the QSC audio systems were designed by PCI, the exclusive QSC distributor in China, and installed in over 20 conference rooms at the centre.

The system was completed and made operational in time for the first China-Eurasia Economic Development & Cooperation Forum, held in the Xinjiang capital Ürümqi last Autumn.

Bordering Russia and several Central Asian states, Xinjiang is often regarded as a bridge from China to the rest of Asia and Europe, making it the perfect location for international trade fairs, exhibitions and economic forums. The conference center was designed with these nationally important functions in mind, and as such, has become a symbol of the new China in Ürümqi.

As with any other convention center used for international economic summits, the audio networks, PAs and conferencing systems at the Conference Centre had to be easy to use, reliable and flexible, with ample redundancy.

PCI recommended Q-Sys to the managers tasked with the project of upgrading the center’s audio systems: as an easily controllable, powerful system, scalable to a variety of applications, it was the perfect solution.

The Xinjiang Exhibition and Conference center has 22 conference rooms spread over 3 different floors. A single Q-Sys Core 1000 unit (with a second unit for redundancy) now manages all of the audio signals from the complex’s central control room, monitoring the operational state of all the system’s I/O Frame units, loudspeakers and PowerLight 3 amplifiers, and controlling the system-wide signal processing and routing.

During the Forum’s opening ceremony, for example, Q-Sys was used to route the audio from the main conference chamber to four other rooms around the Exhibition Center.

The largest room in the center is a 1500-seater auditorium, which incorporates its own dedicated Q-Sys I/O Frame, PowerLight 3 amps, AD-S282H AcousticDesign speakers, together with AD-C2100 ceiling speakers arranged in six zones, as the chamber can be divided up to six ways if required.

Another conference hall which uses QSC products extensively has a maximum capacity of 800, and was dedicated to press conferences during the Forum. It features a Q-Sys I/O Frame, PowerLight 3 amplification, and 12 WideLine-8 units, as well as AD-S282H speakers.

The smaller chambers, such as one of the 400-seater lecture halls used by the United Nations for press conferences during the China-Eurasia Forum, also benefited from QSC technology. This chamber again features a dedicated Q-Sys I/O Frame, with eight ceiling-suspended QSC ILA speakers driven by PowerLight 3s, and supplemented with AcousticDesign speakers around the chamber.

For the most select meetings between officials, such as those held during the forum by Keqiang Li, Vice-Premier of the State Council of China, a 150-seater conference room was used, employing QSC AD-C821R ceiling-mouted and AD-S282H ceiling-suspended speakers, together with K Series Active loudspeakers.

Following the Expo, the Exhibition Centre’s management commented: “The Q-Sys platform was so powerful and easy to use, it allowed us to simply focus on the running of the conference itself. It proved itself absolutely ideal for this kind of project.”

QSC

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/10 at 10:50 AM
AVLive SoundNewsPollAmplifierAVLoudspeakerNetworkingSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

Famed Kentucky Eatery Gets New Sound With Community

A distributed system of Community DP6 pendant loudspeakers with custom control boxes allow the volume of each pendant to be controlled individually, allowing the restaurant to accommodate patrons watching the game or socializing amongst themselves.

Galvin’s Restaurant is one of Georgetown’s most popular watering holes, with a busting restaurant and a crowd of friendly regulars who gather to shoot the breeze and watch their team, the Southeastern Conference University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Like most busy establishments, there are those who come to watch the game, and others who want to hang out with friends. And as often happens, the banter of those enjoying each others’ company can make it hard for others to hear the game. That problem was recently resolved with the installation of a distributed system of Community DP6 pendant loudspeakers.

“They had four small wall-mounted loudspeakers, and when things got busy the ambient noise made it hard for people to hear,” explains Curtis Cox of Nicholasville, KY-based Curtis Cox Music. “Some customers would ask for it to be turned up, and others would complain that it was too loud.”

The room’s acoustics precluded simply adding more or louder speakers.

“The building is rather old,” says Cox. “On one side the ceiling is plaster, and on the opposite side the ceiling is painted metal. We knew if we put speakers in the wall, we’d end up with sound bouncing all over the place. And running additional wiring through the walls would be a challenge due to the age of the building.”

Cox’s solution was to focus the sound downward using a distributed system of Community DP6 pendant loudspeakers. Eighteen of the pendant loudspeakers are suspended from the open-beam ceiling - three over the bar and the rest covering a pair of tables each.

“We ran each speaker to a custom-designed control box, with a 35W auto transformer on each speaker,” Cox explains. “Now the restaurant manager can adjust each individual speaker’s level to suit the customers’ taste.” Crown CDi amplification powers the system, with an Alesis 8-channel line mixer providing inputs from various audio sources.

“We’ve used Community loudspeakers on a number of projects over the years, and have always had great results,” says Cox. “We were confident that the DP6 would be a great solution, and it has proven to be just that. We’re very impressed with the sound and performance.”

Community
 

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/10 at 10:36 AM
AVLive SoundNewsPollAVInstallationLoudspeakerSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

WorxAudio Technologies Line Array Deployed At First United Methodist Church In Indiana

A new sound reinforcement system at First United Methodist Church in Wabash, IN, is headed by a WorxAudio Technologies TrueLine X5i-P installation line array.

Fort Wayne, IN-based CSD Group was contracted to manage the project at the 300-seat sanctuary, a process headed by CSD Group president Doug Hood.

“In addition to the sermon, services typically involve music performances by the church choir with piano accompaniment,” Hood explains. “For this project, a key priority was to find a solution that minimized line of sight distractions as one faced the altar area. On that note, we opted to find a low profile loudspeaker solution that could be centrally positioned—yet one that had the dispersion characteristics capable of providing even, consistent coverage throughout the space.

“This led us to the WorxAudio TrueLine X5i-P installation line array with its mounting hardware, the TrueAim Grid.”

The WorxAudio X5i-P is a compact, ‘all-in-one’ line array that incorporates five modules, each with a medium format, 1-inch exit compression driver coupled to a stabilized proprietary FlatWave Former (wave shaping device). These compression drivers are paired with dual 8-inch cone transducers in each of the five modules. Hence, each X5i-P loudspeaker system provides a total of five high frequency drivers and ten bass drivers.

“The X5i-P’s horizontal dispersion is incredible,” says Hood. “To prove our point, we actually brought in a crank up lift, positioned the system where the new array would go and left it there for a Sunday service so the congregation could hear the difference. The left to right dispersion of this loudspeaker system is amazing when you consider there is just one center array. Upon hearing the system in a real-world setting, the church decided to proceed with the project.”

“Another key challenge of this project was in maintaining and respecting the décor of this beautiful, traditional sanctuary,” Hood continued.  “At the client’s request, we bought the system unfinished and they custom painted it to match the room.

“Everyone at the church has been very pleased with the performance of the new system,” he concludes. “At the time we first demonstrated it, the client had never heard of WorxAudio Technologies, but they quickly became WorxAudio enthusiasts. WorxAudio’s X5i-P was exactly the right choice for this project.

“This line array not only gave us fantastic sound, but a very clean look as well.”

WorxAudio Technologies

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/10 at 08:08 AM
AVLive SoundChurch SoundNewsAVInstallationLine ArrayLoudspeakerSound ReinforcementPermalink

Radial Appoints Shure Distribution Deutschland GmbH As Exclusive Distributor In Germany

Radial Engineering has appointed Shure Distribution Deutschland GmbH as the exclusive distributor for Radial and Primacoustic brands in Germany.

Steve McKay, export sales manager for Radial, explains: “Over the past several years, we have enjoyed a very successful relationship with Shure Distribution in the UK and felt that the time had come to increase our presence in Europe’s largest market. Having Shure in Germany join our team seemed like a natural progression.

“We are delighted to now be working with them to develop this important market. Shure’s extensive presence adds another level of business for both companies, particularly as we grow in the various segments such as live touring, recording and installation.”

Bernd Friedel of Shure Distribution adds, “Radial is a great extension of our direct distribution in Germany. Offering leading brands in various segments, Radial is a perfect fit to our premium brands along with Shure and QSC.

“Being a valued distribution partner in Germany over the last 10 years for retailers, rentals and integrators we are convinced to offer a win-win concept for all parties involved.”

Radial has been in business for more than 20 years and is known for its successful range of direct boxes, and more recently, the company has delved into the 500 Series format. Primacoustic, the company’s acoustical division, supplies panels for recording studios, education facilities, video conferencing and houses of worship, and most recently, Radial Primeacoustic supplied NBC-TV with the acoustic panels for the upcoming 2012 London Olympic on-site broadcast facility.

Radial Engineering
Primacoustic

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/10 at 07:59 AM
AVLive SoundRecordingNewsAVBusinessManufacturerAudioPermalink

Altinex Introduces PNP417 Pop-N-Plug Interconnect Box Designed For Tabletop Surfaces

Altinex has announced the availability of the PNP417 Pop-N-Plug interconnect box, another addition to the expanding line of Pop-N-Plug interconnect offerings.

Customizable to almost any tabletop, the PNP417 interconnect box offers convenient, one touch access to a variety of video, audio, computer, network, and power connections..

The PNP417 comes pre-configured with two standard DS901-120 sectional plates. Each plate includes the following connectors: two AC power, one 15-pin HD (video), two RJ-45 (UTP), one RJ-11 (modem), and one 3.5 mm audio.

All connectors utilize female receptacles. Each signal connector is connected via a 6-foot cable to its corresponding male plug at the opposite end.

The AC power cables are terminated with standard NEMA plugs at the end of 9-foot cables. The unit ships with 6 foot pre-terminated cables for quick installation.

The Altinex PNP417 interconnect box is customizable with a variety of different connector options, all factory-configured and terminated. Learn more about these options at the company website.

By employing a custom fitted cutout—round, rectangular, or square—from the table the unit is to be installed into, the PNP417 delivers a sophisticated, smooth appearance on all sides.

The PNP417’s input plate is accessed by pushing down on the top cover. The unit then smoothly rises up with assistance from an internal gas spring lift mechanism.

Once open, the input plate remains securely in place. The input plate is hidden, or closed, by pressing down on the top cover until the latching mechanism engages.

In its closed position, the top panel lies flush with the table’s top, held in place by the latching mechanism. This secure fit also means less chance for paperwork to catch the PNP417’s edges when being passed across a table, so documents remain clean and professional in appearance.

“The PNP417 Pop-N-Plug interconnect box is an ideal boardroom choice for creating a quick and convenient means of patching equipment into a company’s data network or presentation system,” says Grant Cossey, Altinex vice president of sales. “With its ability to be customized, the PNP417 offers tremendous flexibility and the fact that it uses a surface cutout from the table it gets installed into offers the customer a perfect match from a design perspective.

“The end result is a first-rate interconnect solution that compliments the décor of any boardroom or presentation space.”

The Altinex PNP417 Pop-N-Plug interconnect box is available now with a MSRP price of $1,567. A customized unit (PNP417C) carries a MSRP of $1,740.

Altinex

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/10 at 07:45 AM
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Monday, July 09, 2012

DPA Microphones Play Key Role At Boston Pops Fourth of July Spectacular

The Boston Symphony Orchestra this year again tapped DPA Microphones for its nationally broadcast, live Boston Pops Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.

Held annually in the Hatch Shell at the Esplanade along the Charles River, the concert and fireworks show hosts nearly 400,000 attendees.

DPA could be found across the stage throughout the evening’s performance, with the d:vote 4099 instrument microphones in the strings section, 4023 compact cardioid microphones on the piano and in the woodwinds section, and 4066 omni headset microphones worn by the vocalists and narrators.

While there were many DPA microphones on stage, revelers and home viewers would have had to look closely to see them during the show.

“One thing we like about the DPA line is that they have lots of low-profile miniature capsules and microphones that are ideal for television projects,” says Steve Colby, Boston Pops sound designer and music mixer for the TV broadcast of the Spectacular. “DPA makes it easy to use a lot of microphones but not have the gear in the way of the camera shots, which makes the directors happy.”

The discreet nature of the DPA microphones used during the performance wasn’t the only thing that drew Colby to the brand. Since the Fourth of July concert is held at an outdoor venue, Colby and the Pops needed microphones that could withstand the extreme weather changes of a summer day in Boston.

“We were looking for exceptionally high-quality, great-sounding microphones that were robust and dependable in semi-hostile outdoor conditions, such as heavy rain and high temperatures,” continues Colby. “We’ve had great luck with the DPA line. There are a lot of other high-end microphones that we’ve used throughout the years, but sometimes those were tough to use in the high-humidity conditions that often roll in over the city. DPA has been very dependable in these situations.”

In addition to using DPA Microphones for the Fourth of July Concert each year, the Boston Pops Orchestra also relies on DPA’s 4023 and d:vote 4099 microphones for most of its theatrical performances, whether it’s a simple presentation or a full Broadway-style show.

“Another thing we like about the DPA microphones, and the 4099s in particular, is that, unlike a lot of other clip-on microphones, they sound really good,” says Colby. “Usually, there’s a tradeoff between having a microphone attached to an instrument and having a great sound. But, whatever DPA has done, they’ve created a microphone with audio quality that is very good and true to the sound of each instrument, even when placed very close”

The first Boston Pops Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular took place in 1974, at the suggestion of Boston-area philanthropist David Mugar to Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler. The idea was in place to revive the then-diminishing Esplanade Concert Series by playing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” with a few added extras.

The next Fourth of July, howitzer cannons, fireworks and church bells were all added to the concert and, for the first time ever, a July Fourth fireworks display took place over the Charles River.

DPA Microphones

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/09 at 04:13 PM
AVLive SoundNewsAVMicrophoneSound ReinforcementStageAudioPermalink

Aphex Adds Several Firms To Manufacturer Sales Representative Force

Part of the company’s ongoing growth and expansion

Aphex has appointed a series of additional manufacturer’s representatives as part of the company’s ongoing growth and expansion. These firms will join the current sales force in representing the company’s line of pro products in their respective territories, fostering sales and increasing market share.

The following firms have been appointed, listed with their regions and principals: Warman Marketing: Rocky Mountain territories (Harry Warman); Sound Vision Marketing: Florida (Tim Yates); Audio One Marketing: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (Tim Van Bargen); ASR Enterprises: Mid-Atlantic region (Pat Foley); and Marketing Concepts: Texas (Bruce Marlin).

Aphex chairman & CEO David Wiener states, “Aphex is totally on a roll! With new products and technologies showing off our strengths and delighting customers old and new, we’ve been firing on all cylinders.

“The appointment of our newest manufacturer’s reps is part of our long-term strategic business plan, and we look forward to each of these valued partners helping us as we prepare for continued expansion.”

Aphex

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/09 at 02:19 PM
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Middle Atlantic Establishes New Product Category With Reference Series Furniture Rack

Middle Atlantic Products is introducing the Reference Series, a furniture rack that embodies the company’s continued commitment to innovation in rack design and functionality. 

The first in a new category of equipment mounting products, this sleek furniture rack is optimized for efficient, reliable integration and convenient mobility of presentation and communications equipment.

Designed expressly for use in high-visibility areas in corporate, municipal and higher education environments, the Reference Series incorporates architecturally-focused aesthetics, including three standard finishes not previously available to the industry. 

It is engineered with internal steel gussets for structural rigidity and bolt-thru easy-gliding casters for dependable transport.  An integrated cable entry and spool system offers a convenient method to wrap cables inside the rack when not in use, enabling easier travel between rooms.

The furniture rack includes many features designed for reliability including attractive front ventilation optimized for passive airflow with an optional specialized blower when active cooling is needed.  Its generous 23” interior width provides additional space for cables and device mounting, which can be aided by an optional LeverLock™ tool-free cable management kit.

The Reference Series furniture rack accommodates most screens up to 32” with an optional mount, offers 23” of useable depth and is available in 16, 20 and 24 rackspaces.

Middle Atlantic

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/09 at 01:00 PM
AVRecordingChurch SoundNewsPollAVInstallationSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

Crown Audio Celebrating 65th Anniversary (Includes Video)

From humble beginnings to one of the world's largest manufacturers of power amplifiers

From humble beginnings in 1947, Crown Audio has grown to become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of power amplifiers.

Crown’s history traces back to 1947 and an Elkhart, Indiana minister named Clarence C. Moore (1904-1979). Moore, a longtime radio enthusiast, had spent the early part of the ’40s in Quito, Ecuador working for HCJB, a non-profit Christian broadcasting and engineering group.

Following his return to the United States, he felt the desire to supply Christian broadcasters like HCJB with quality electronic products. As a result, Moore founded International Radio and Electronics Corporation (IREC) in 1947 and converted a former chicken coop into the budding manufacturer’s first production facility.

The company’s early reputation was built on a family of rugged and compact open-reel tape recorders designed to operate reliably when used by missionaries in remote, often-primitive regions of the world.

After modifying and distributing several existing models (Magnecord, Recordio, Pentron and Crestwood) for the first couple of years, Moore obtained a patent in 1949 for a groundbreaking invention: the world’s first tape recorder with a built-in power amplifier (15 watts).

Eventually, Moore’s wife and co-founder, Ruby (deceased 2002), suggested that ‘International Radio and Electronics Corporation’ was too long a name for the company. Since IREC had by this point produced vacuum tube tape recorders branded ‘Royal’ and ‘Imperial’, in addition to the fact that the emblem on those products was a fancy crown, she felt that the company should simply be called Crown.

Her husband agreed, and, in the 1960s, the company’s name was changed to ‘Crown International, a division of International Radio and Electronics Corporation’. Finally, in 1975, the stockholders voted to change the name of the corporation to Crown International, Inc.

Clarence C. Moore

In the 1960s, the introduction of the DC300 high-powered, solid-state amplifier offering 150 watts per channel at eight ohms and AB+B circuitry moved Crown into a leadership position in worldwide power amplifier markets.

In the 1970s, Crown launched the PSA-2 power amplifier with a built-in computer to maximize performance of its output transistors. Product diversification began with the introduction of the line of Pressure Zone Microphones (PZM) and TEF audio analyzer.

With the implementation of Grounded Bridge circuitry in the 1980s, Crown offered an innovation providing lower distortion, less thermal stress, higher acoustic output, greater reliability, superior power density and audio quality, Grounded Bridge circuitry was integral to the engineering of the Macro-Tech and Micro-Tech amplifier lines.

 

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The 1990s found Crown developing computer-controlled audio systems with the IQ System. In 1997, the company added another new milestone in audio technology with the introduction of the K2 amplifier featuring Balanced Current Amplifier circuitry offering innovative thermal and energy efficiencies.

Acquired by Harman International in March of 2000, Crown has continued to move forward, producing numerous innovative designs, including the CTs Series amplifier line for the installed sound markets, Crown’s next-generation IQ System, now called IQ Network, and the I-Tech Series touring amplifiers.

Crown International Senior VP of R&D Gerald Stanley, who originally joined the company in 1964 as a tape recorder line technician and amplifier design engineer, comments on Crown’s success over the years.

“In an era of cookbook designs and buggy software, it would seem that the most basic lessons of history have been forgotten,” he says. “Crown’s recipe is simple: design, build and service each product as if you were the customer. This approach not only drives the product to excellence, it drives the people to be the best that they can be.”

(Thanks to Crown for this report.)

Related:
Crown DC300 Amplifier Leads The Solid-State Revolution
A Conversation With Product & Technology Wizard Gerald Stanley
Inside The Powered By Crown Monitoring & Control Solution
The Development Of The Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD Four-Channel Amplifier

 

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/09 at 10:37 AM
AVFeatureBlogVideoStudy HallAmplifierAVManufacturerPowerSound ReinforcementPermalink

Understanding Wireless: Receiver Design, Processing, Squelch & Diversity

Understanding basic receiver design, audio processing, squelch, and diversity operation can help ensure optimum performance of the system

The receiver is a crucial component of wireless microphone systems, as it is used to pick the desired signal and transfer its electrical information into an audio signal that can be amplified and used for a loudspeaker system.

Understanding basic receiver design, audio processing, squelch, and diversity operation can help ensure optimum performance of the system.

Virtually all modern receivers feature superheterodyne architecture, in which the desired carrier is filtered out from the multitude of signals picked up by the antenna, then amplified and mixed with a local oscillator frequency to generate the difference: “intermediate frequency.”

This “IF” undergoes more controlled discrimination and amplification before the signal is demodulated and processed to restore the output with all the characteristics and qualities of the original (Figure 1).

The audio signal processing of a receiver is the mirror opposite of the transmitter. Processing done in the transmitters often include pre-emphasis (boosting high audio frequencies) as well as compression. These are reversed in the receiver by the de-emphasis and the expander circuit.

An inherent RF noise floor exists in the air. The squelch setting should be set above this noise level. This acts as a noise gate that mutes the audio output if the wanted RF signal falls below a threshold level, preventing a blast of white noise through the FA if the RF signal is completely lost.

Figure 1: Block diagram of a receiver. (click to enlarge)

If the squelch setting is too low, the receiver might pick the noise floor and this noise can be heard. If the squelch setting is too high the range of the wireless microphone is reduced.

The Pilot Tone Squelch gives additional security, as the audio signal at the receiver is muted as long as there is no Pilot Tone. The Pilot Tone is a very high frequency which the human ear cannot detect (very often 32 kHz). If the receiver detects a Pilot Tone, the audio signal is un-muted.

WHY DIVERSITY IS A MEANINGFUL APPROACH

The Radio Frequency (RF) signal between transmitter and receiver follows multiple paths. Signals reflected from boundaries and objects will arrive slightly later at the receiving point than the direct signal (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Multi path signal propagation. (click to enlarge)

Because of the different amount of time the RF signal needs to travel from the transmitter directly to the receiver antenna and the reflected signal from a wall, both signals have a different phase at the antenna.

Both signals the reflected signal and the direct signal - are added at the antenna.

In the worst case scenario, the two signals are out of phase and the result is that no RF signal will arrive at the antenna (Figure 3).

This extreme example will cause a RF drop out which will cause an audio disturbance at the output of the receiver. The probability that this will happen at two different positions at two different antennas is very small.

Figure 3: Two RF signals are out of phase and result in a smaller RF signal at the antenna. (click to enlarge)

The two graphs illustrate how the signal strength from the same transmitter varies over time at two different pickup locations. If both signals are compared at any time and the stronger RF signal is picked, the sound quality is improved significantly.

There are different kinds of diversity concepts available. Antenna Switching Diversity uses two antennas and a single receiving circuit. If the level at one antenna falls below a certain threshold it switches to the other antenna.

This is an economical architecture but it leaves the chance that the second antenna could be experiencing an even lower signal then the one that falls below the threshold level.

Another approach is the switching of the audio signal of two independent receiver units where each receiver unit is connected to its own antenna. This is known as true diversity, and it can improve the effective RF receiving level by about 30 dB. Depending on the diversity concept, an active switching between the two antennas is a desired result.

The minimum distance between the two diversity antennas is very often an issue of debate. A minimum of 1/4 of a wavelength of the frequency wave seems to be a good approach.

Depending on the frequency, five to six inches is the minimum distance. In general, a greater distance is preferred. By using remote antennas, the positions at the sides of the stage are very effective. (Go here for more about antennas.)

Volker Schmitt is a senior engineer for Sennheiser US, and Joe Ciaudelli also works with Sennheiser US and has a history of providing frequency coordination for large multi-channel wireless microphone systems used on Broadway and by broadcast networks.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/09 at 09:49 AM
AVFeatureStudy HallAVMicrophoneSound ReinforcementWirelessPermalink

Friday, July 06, 2012

Factory Direct: The Development Of The Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD Four-Channel Amplifier

Taking the long view to develop an advanced DSP platform to leapfrog into another generation of I-Tech technology

Crown Audio is celebrating its 65th birthday in 2012, and while this is a notable achievement for a technology company, a key contributor to our sustained success comes from an organizational willingness to view past successes in the rear view mirror and look for new ways to innovate and improve.

Yet there are also times when we look to an existing platform and explore new ways to improve it.

Both of these courses were integrated with the development of the new I-Tech 4x3500HD power amplifier, with the planning process for this 4-channel amplifier commenced only a few months after we shipped the first 2-channel models.

Around that same time, other tour-oriented DSP amplifiers were emerging on the market offering four output channels, so we decided to take the long view and develop an advanced DSP platform that would leapfrog into another generation of our I-Tech technology.

Design goals included greater application flexibility, improved performance and reliability with respect to competitive 4-channel products, seamless integration with current and future JBL loudspeaker systems while also still remaining open to use with all types of loudspeakers, and user-friendly system configuration and operation.

Starting Point

Early in the development process we consulted with a number of key users, and quickly discovered that many of them wanted a true 4 x 4 configuration: four discrete inputs that could be freely routed to any of the four outputs, singly or in any combination.

As a result, the 4x3500HD is the first in its class to offer a true 4 x 4 matrix and accept signals in four formats: analog and AES digital (on four and two XLR connectors respectively) plus CobraNet or VDrive via the RJ45 network connector.

A look at the inner workings of the I-Tech 4x3500HD. (click to enlarge)

VDrive is Crown terminology for a wiring scheme that carries two AES3 signals (four audio channels) over the four unused pairs on a standard Cat-5 or Cat-6 cable. VDrive was implemented in our VRack systems via the separate input module, but with the 4x3500HD, it is integrated directly into the input section.

The 4 x 4 input configuration provides exceptional flexibility across a range of applications. In touring applications, one obvious use would be as a high-power monitor amplifier.

But the 4x3500HD also has potential in high-end installed sound, which is why CobraNet inputs are included along with the option of binding post or Speakon output connectors.

Typical installed applications might include Las Vegas-style shows, where multiple discrete channels of high-power audio are required.

On the output side, the 4x3500HD is designed to deliver high power. Into 4 ohms, rated output (all channels driven 20 Hz – 20 kHz) is 2,400 watts, or 4,000 watts for 1 kHz (20 ms) burst. Bridging two adjacent channels gives 2 channels with each capable of an 8,000-watt burst into 4 ohms.

DriveCore Goes HD

The 4x3500HD is the first amplifier in the I-Tech HD Series to incorporate exclusive DriveCore technology, which is housed on a dime-sized IC chip that incorporates nearly all of the amplifier output stage, including the modulator stage, error amplifier stage and Crown’s proprietary feedback and PWM modulation circuits.

The miniscule IC chip that facilitates DriveCore technology. (click to enlarge)

Developed in conjunction with the Harman Automotive Division and manufactured by Texas Instruments, DriveCore cuts the part count by about 350 for improved manufacturing efficiency and greater reliability.

More importantly, it provides better control of the output stage, a more responsive feedback loop, and comprehensive diagnostic features that reveal exactly how the amplifier is behaving.

 

In the 4x3500HD, DriveCore couples directly to the same output FETs and diodes as the 2-channel I-Tech HD, forming the same sixth-generation Class I engine.

The result is a compact, high-current and high-voltage output stage that is highly refined and well controlled.

DriveCore is the critical component that allowed us to double both power density and DSP power while still keeping everything within a 2U, 29-pound package.

No Generation Gaps

Because DriveCore allowed us to drastically shrink the size of the output sections, there was space to double the size of the DSP board. In every respect, the BSS Omnidrive HD DSP performs like two of its cousins in the 2-channel I-Tech HD models, with 2- and 4-channel models able to be integrated into the same system.

All also include the same steep roll-off FIR linear phase filters, 18 IIR filters, and suite of LevelMAX peak, RMS and transducer thermal limiters.

However, the SHARC processor isn’t exactly the same. It comes from the same Analog Devices family but with significant upgrades incorporated over that 3-year interval.

So although the DSP engines are identical both sonically and operationally, the 4x3500HD has additional DSP “headroom” in reserve to enable, for example, 32-bit/192 kHz A-D/D-A conversion as well as compatibility with future Crown/BSS processing engines.

A back panel view showing the I/O capacity. Binding post outputs are available for install applications. (click to enlarge)

Loudspeaker Compatibility

The Crown design team worked closely with our counterparts at JBL to insure optimum performance with current JBL touring systems as well as the new JBL VTX Series line array, introduced at the same time as the 4x3500HD.

We were in constant communication with Paul Bauman, JBL senior director of tour sound, on every aspect of VTX requirements, from peak output voltage requirements to how they needed the limiters to operate so they would perform reliably under stress while still sounding transparent to the listener.

This helps insure a high level of consistency, which can be critical when a worldwide tour contracts with different rental companies for different tour legs. Using the Performance Manager platform and Version 5 DSP presets, the 4x3500HD can be set up with VerTec or VTX so that an engineer will hear the same sound – assuming the same loudspeaker configuration – in going from Los Angeles to London to Johannesburg.

However, we did not “lock the box” to make the 4x3500HD a JBL-only amplifier. Users can access all parameter adjustments for crossover, EQ and delay for all loudspeakers in their inventories. In addition, for those using the current VRack12000HD, we will be incorporating 4x3500HD into a new VRack4x3500HD, presenting a choice of two complementary V5-enabled platforms for all VerTec and VTX touring applications.

Class I output stage modules of the 2-channel (left) and 4-channel ITech HD models. (click to enlarge)

Easy Does It

The integrated TFT full-color touchscreen became a priority after hearing comments from users of other DSP-enabled amplifiers that monochrome displays and separate keypads often proved clumsy and confusing. (And doubling the channels also doubles the confusion!)

The 4.3-inch color touchscreen on the 4x3500HD makes common set-up and adjustment procedures quick and clear. Each channel is color-coded, as is the encoder – select a channel and the encoder turns the same color.

The touchscreen also has a host of fast-access features, like double-tap to zoom to full screen, and quick buttons to jump to other channels for adjusting the same parameter.

And, although it gives an added dimension of utility, the basic menu structure is the same as on the 2-channel models, so it’s easy to move from one to the other.

 

Early in the development process we thought the addition of a color touchscreen might compromise cost-competitiveness, but the combined buying power of the Harman companies allowed us to leverage pricing from suppliers, meaning this feature comes at no cost premium to the buyer.

The 4x3500HD also retains the front panel USB port found on the 2-channel models, allowing users to quickly change presets when working right at the rack.

And as with all other network-enabled Crown amplifiers (when connected to a WiFi access point), users can monitor real-time performance and tweak selected parameters from anywhere in the venue using the Powered by Crown app for iOS devices, available for less than the cost of a latte and a scone.

Efficiency Matters

The 4x3500HD incorporates a new universal power supply with Power Factor Correction (PFC). The PFC circuit optimizes the power draw from the mains by making the load appear purely resistive (voltage and current in phase) so that reactive power consumption is near zero.

The Powered By Crown app for iOS devices. (click to enlarge)

Working in tandem with the DriveCore output stage, this power supply quickly responds to any voltage sags or fluctuations, keeping audio output consistent and transparent on any voltage input from 85 to 264 volts AC.

Efficiency is further aided by Crown’s Class I output, a topology that has all the advantages of other switching amplifier designs but produces significantly less heat.

Our assertion is that for each dB SPL coming from the loudspeakers, the 4x3500HD uses less electricity and produces less heat than comparable DSP amplifiers. In touring applications, that translates into better reliability and reduced chance of tripping breakers on marginal venue or festival AC circuits. For venue operators, it means lower long-term operating costs.

This approach serves as a prime example of Harman’s GreenEdge initiative, using less electricity in operation, with an auto standby to reduce consumption when idle, and light weight that reduces fuel consumption in transport.

The 4x3500HD is the product of years of hard work, close cooperation with our Harman sister companies, a powerful DSP engine, and a corporate commitment to eco-friendly engineering.

All of these factors work in harmony to make it a world-class power amplifier, one that we expect will be working hard in touring rigs and permanent installations for years to come, and one that is shipping now worldwide.

 

.

Brian Pickowitz serves as market manager for tour sound at Crown Audio.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/06 at 11:11 AM
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Bose Expands RoomMatch Array Module Loudspeakers With Five New Coverage Patterns

The Bose RoomMatch module loudspeaker series now includes 20 unique coverage patterns, which provide system designers with unprecedented coverage control and scalability for venues including houses of worship, auditoriums, performing arts centers and sports arenas.

Bose Professional Systems Division has expanded the range of available coverage patterns for the RoomMatch array module loudspeakers with five new patterns.

Building upon the innovative designs launched in May of 2011, the RoomMatch series now includes 20 unique coverage patterns, which provide system designers with coverage control and scalability for venues including houses of worship, auditoriums, performing arts centers and sports arenas.

The five new coverage patterns include 120°x5°, 120°x10°, 90°x 5°, 55°x 40°, and 55°x 60° (horizontal x vertical) and are fully compatible with the complete line of installation accessories for the RoomMatch series.

Additionally, Bose Modeler and ControlSpace Designer software have been updated to include directivity and EQ settings for the new modules.

“The RoomMatch series of loudspeakers represented a new approach for the industry that let sound system designers meet the acoustic challenges of any fixed-installation sound system without compromising audio performance.

“When we launched these products we were dedicated to providing our customers with products that provide consistent response regardless of the room configuration.

“The addition of these new patterns one year later represents our commitment to the industry and provides our customers with even more flexibility,” said Akira Mochimaru, General Manager, Bose Professional Systems Division.

The new RoomMatch modules and Modeler and ControlSpace Designer software updates will be available through authorized Bose dealers beginning July 2012.

Bose


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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/06 at 10:59 AM
AVLive SoundChurch SoundNewsPollAVInstallationLoudspeakerSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

Roland V-800HD Multi-Format Video Switcher Now Shipping

The V-800HD is a powerful addition to the popular line of Multi-Format video mixers from Roland and after a very successful launch at the NAB show, many customers have been anticipating it’s arrival. The V-800HD Live Video Switcher is ideal for any live event or installation that requires the freedom to connect any type of source whether it be digital or analog, computer or video format.

Roland Systems Group is pleased to announce the Roland V-800HD Multi-Format Live Video Switcher is now shipping.

The V-800HD is a powerful addition to the popular line of Multi-Format video mixers from Roland. The V-800HD Live Video Switcher is ideal for any live event or installation that requires the freedom to connect any type of source whether it be digital or analog, computer or video format.

The Roland V-800HD is a true multi-format video switcher boasting sixteen inputs and eight channels of mixing with independent scalers on the inputs and outputs allowing you to connect any video format including 3G, HD, SD, computer, digital, analog, SDI, and HDMI.

It offers a built-in multiviewer with HDMI output and supports input/output resolutions up to 1080/60p including 3G SDI. The V-800HD is HDCP compliant which allows you to mix Blu-ray content with computer and camera sources for live production. The newly developed key-compositing engine, assignable crosspoints, and internal multi-zoom function make the V-800HD ideal for any live production or installed application.

The V-800HD supports an variety of system design and creative production options for various applications. It is adept at handling LED wall sizing challenges and is ideal for any live event or installation demanding flexibility, stability, high quality, ease of use, and professional connectivity.

With video output resolutions up to 1080/60p, 4:4:4/10-bit processing, and support for 3G SDI input resolutions; the highest quality video is achieved. The V-800HD Video Mixer strengthens Roland’s Multi-format video mixer line-up and is positioned at the pinnacle of quality video production for live event, broadcast, corporate, educational, and house of worship applications.

Roland Systems Group

 

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/06 at 10:40 AM
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Powersoft Appoints VTI General Trading As Distributor For The United Arab Emirates

VTI General Trading LLC, Dubai's premier lighting and sound supplier, is the new partner of Powersoft, the Italian high power, light-weight, energy efficient, single rack space amplifier manufacturer

VTI General Trading LLC has been appointed as the new Powersoft distributor for the United Arab Emirates.

VTI is a well-known distributor of some of the industry’s premier audio and lighting brands around the Middle East and has strived to provide the area with the highest quality audio solutions and the best possible service. This philosophy has resulted in their exceptional and constant growth across the region.

“With their knowledge of the local markets and high level of professionalism, VTI is the ideal company to represent Powersoft in the UAE,” comments Steve Smith, Powersoft’s Touring Account Manager. “I am very pleased to be able to welcome VTI to our ever expanding team of international distributors.”

Richard Maunder, VTI General Manager, states “We are glad to include Powersoft in our portfolio of high-end audio products and we look forward to introducing the power, quality and technology of Powersoft amplifiers to Middle East. Here in Dubai we have a passion for Italian excellence!”

VTI will begin promotion of Powersoft brand and products into the Middle East market immediately.

“We are already planning events for the fall,” concludes Maunder. “We want to give our customers an unforgettable demo of the power of Powersoft amplifiers.”

Powersoft

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Posted by Keith Clark on 07/06 at 10:28 AM
AVLive SoundChurch SoundNewsPollAmplifierBusinessInstallationSound ReinforcementAudioPermalink

Thursday, July 05, 2012

German Museum Of Film Relies On QSC To Control Current And Future Multimedia Needs

Renovated Frankfurt Museum installs QSC Integrated System Platform and loudspeakers utilizing Q-Sys to manage and route all of the audio sources under its roof.

Following a comprehensive refit, the German Museum of Film has installed QSC’s Q-Sys Integrated System platform to manage and route all of the audio sources under its roof, together with K Series active loudspeakers to handle playback in its new demonstration and seminar rooms.

The Museum of Film opened in 1984 in Frankfurt am Main and has always been more than a traditional, educational film museum. With its rolling program of exhibitions, cinema presentations and retrospectives, it has sought to give visitors an insight into all of the manifold historical, aesthetic and technical aspects of film as an artistic medium.

Last August saw the completion of an 18-month renovation project at the Museum of Film.

The totally refurbished building has been equipped to meet the challenges of the next few years, one of which was bringing the technical facilities right up to date.

Audio in the multimedia facilities at the museum, which consist of large numbers of audio-visual playback systems including video monitors and projectors with audio playback features, is now centrally managed, routed and controlled using Q-Sys, the QSC digital audio networking platform. Designed to be expandable to meet the museum’s future multimedia needs, the system currently consists of a Core 1000 processor and several I/O Frames.

As part of the museum’s refit, a complete film studio and two workshops were installed so that visitors have the ability to be hands-on in creating their own film productions. The technical design of these rooms was conceived with great care to ensure that visitors could create something of value within the time constraints inherent in visiting a museum.

The studio and workshops are also used for seminars as part of a far-reaching film studies program focusing on film as an art form and cultural asset. In order to reproduce and play back all elements of film sound in the seminars to the highest possible standard, including music, foley and location sound and dialogue, QSC K Series active loudspeakers were installed in the studio and workshop areas.

Featuring 1000W of Class D power amplification per cabinet and advanced DSP to ensure full-range, peak performance, the compact yet high-output K8 speakers fit in unobtrusively in the museum’s studio and presentation rooms.

Surveying the completed system solution after the reopening of the museum, Thomas Worschech, Head of the Museum’s Film Archive commented, “This renovation has brought about the complete reinvention of the film museum, both visually and technically.”

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