Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sennheiser Microphones, Wireless For Bruno Mars Moonshine Jungle Tour

After trying various Sennheiser combinations, engineers choose SKM 5200 handheld transmitter with MD 5235 capsule

Bruno Mars just finished the North American leg of his Moonshine Jungle Tour, a run that consisted of over 40 U.S. and Canadian dates, and now continues on to Europe before setting out to Australia and New Zealand in early 2014. Both Mars and his band are utilizing Sennheiser microphones and wireless systems on the tour.

“When I took on the Bruno Mars gig over two and a half years ago, he and the background singers were using a competitor’s model. I just knew there was a better microphone and capsule combination for him,” recalls James Berry, monitor engineer for Bruno Mars. “I began transitioning the background singers first, then worked with the front-of-house guy to get Bruno to try a Sennheiser microphone. Now you couldn’t pry that microphone out of his hands if you tried.”

Derek Brener, who has been Bruno Mars’ front-of-house engineer for three and a half years, recalls a point where Bruno’s audio infrastructure took a huge step forward: “One of the main turning points was when James came in and said he would not use anything else but the Sennheiser wireless ­ that’s when everything changed,” he says. “James is such a heavy hitter having worked with Beyoncé, Weezer and lots of other great bands, I trusted his opinion.”

After trying various Sennheiser capsule and transmitter combinations for some time, Berry and Brener eventually settled on an SKM 5200 handheld transmitter with an MD 5235 capsule.

“For me, the MD 5235 capsule punches through the PA system better than any other microphone we’ve used on Bruno Mars,” says Brener. “Bruno is very involved with Derek and me on the way things sound and has very clear ideas on what he wants and what he expects,” Berry adds. “Now, it is a comfort thing. Whether we are playing arenas, stadiums or awards shows, there is no debating ­ he wants Sennheiser, and that’s what he’s going to get.”

For vocals and horns, the band’s wireless consists of 10 channels of Sennheiser EM 3732-II receivers, seven SKM 5200-II transmitters with MD 5235 capsules and three SK 5212-II bodypack transmitters.

Berry says that one of the primary reasons they chose the EM 3732-IIs was because of the AES3 digital output with external word clock synchronization: “We are clocking our wireless devices at 96 kHz to get the best sound quality we can. We didn’t consider anything other than this unit because we knew it would give us the best sound quality and reliability on the RF side.”

“For me, clocking at 96 kHz opens everything up so it sounds more full,” Berry continues. “You have the entire frequency expanse in there, and what you put in is what you get out. Therefore you can hear the Sennheiser MD 5235 microphone capsules we are using with even greater fidelity.”

The band also relies on Sennheiser for its wireless monitor systems, of which Berry has six channels of SR 2050 IEM. This covers the entire band, as well as off-stage technical staff. “I’ve used a lot of in-ear systems, and the reason I chose Sennheiser is because of sound quality,” says Berry. “The wireless IEMs deliver a wide stereo image so I can put things right into place where they need to go in my mix. For me, there is no other option than the 2k series because of that.”

For wireless audio at a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York during the tour,  one particular challenge was the large LED walls at the rear of the stage. “We had to shoot the wireless signal right through the LED walls,” Berry recalls. “We did a lot of pre-planning on antenna placement when we got there. It was all rock solid and performed flawlessly.”

The monitor crew used Sennheiser’s WSM software to save set-up time: “We used WSM to preload all the frequencies we were sent, so when we arrived, we just booted up the system and were ready to go in about 10 minutes. In the past, we would have had to go to every individual unit and program all this information in.” Berry also used the software to monitor each wireless element in real time: “I rely on WSM to see my battery and RF levels, as well as all the inputs and outputs,” he says.

All in all, over the course of the entire North American tour, the Sennheiser equipment has performed flawlessly, reports Brener: “We have never, ever experienced a drop out as long as we have had the Sennheiser wireless. It is all rock-solid. I have major confidence in Sennheiser.”


Posted by Keith Clark on 10/10 at 04:47 PM
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Journey Concert Series Served By JBL VTX Line Arrays Driven By Crown I-Tech HD Power

JBL HiQnet Performance Manager software further helped optimized the rig

Legendary rock band Journey recently completed a series of concerts with JBL Professional VTX line arrays powered by Crown Audio I-Tech HD 12000 amplifiers. The VTX system was deployed for five performances, including two with Rascal Flatts (with a system provided by Sound Image) and other dates in Lake Tahoe, Aspen and San Francisco.

According to Jim Yakabuski, Journey’s front of house engineer, the band has few stipulations when it comes to its sound. “Journey is pretty hands-off for the most part,” Yakabuski explains, “although they do ask me to keep the low end off the stage, so I try to keep the subwoofers from folding back onto the stage and keep the stage nice and clean.”

Journey’s latest tour started in June 2012, touring with Clair Global and the I5 loudspeaker system. This summer, Journey didn’t carry PA as there were many festivals and “one-off” shows, enabling Yakabuski to listen to a variety of line array technologies on the market. 

“I have to say that loudspeaker technology has really come a long way the past few years,” he states. “The VTX system was definitely one of the best we used this summer and we had five great shows with it. It wasn’t a problem at all keeping the low end off the stage with VTX.”

“The VTX system has a very nice clean and crisp high end,” Yakabuski adds. “The whole midrange to high-end seemed really coherent and held together. There was also plenty of power, so we had no problems there.”

According to Yakabuski, a major advantage of VTX is how good it sounds right out of the box. “We used the JBL HiQnet Performance Manager software as well, which allowed us to take the low-end frequency response all the way down in the main V25 loudspeakers,” he says. 

The five shows with the VTX system were a success. “[Clair System Engineer] David Quigley and I would like to thank [Plus 4 Marketing members] Keith Erickson and Jim Mathews, Alchemy Concert Systems [who provided the audio system in Aspen], as well as [Technical Support Lead, Tour Sound, JBL Professional] George Georgallis. They all put a lot of effort and time into making sure the system was set up properly. It makes it so much easier.”

JBL Professional
Crown Audio
Harman Professional

Posted by Keith Clark on 10/10 at 02:02 PM
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ALT-J Tours With New Elation CUEPIX Panel Featuring COB (Chip On Board) Technology

The JL tour is out with Elatioin CUEPIX lighting panels.

Everything about the British indie rock quartet ALT-J says “unique”—from their cryptic name (when typed on an Apple Mac OS X keyboard, it produces their trademark delta Δ symbol), to their seamless layering of multi musical genres. 

It was ALT-J’s distinctive sound that got New York City lighting designer Jeremy Lechterman (JL Designs) “hell bent on finding the opportunity to design for them.”

ALT-J was opening for another of Lechterman’s clients, Grouplove, on a tour last fall, so he pitched a design to their management and got his wish: first being hired for some select dates on the band’s initial US headline run, then asked back to design their second tour in support of An Awesome Wave.

Lechterman just completed touring with ALT-J as Lighting Operator, with Dylan Novicky from Felix Lighting, his gear supplier, serving as Crew Chief.  Given pretty much free rein on the creative front, the LD envisioned an outside-the-box design that would encompass ALT-J’s seemingly polar elements. 

To create a lighting experience as unique as the band itself, he used the brand-new CUEPIX Panel from Elation Professional, which features advanced COB (chip on board) LED technology.

“To complement ATL-J’s ethereal, driving and percussive sound, I wanted to create something dreamy and airy, but also very angular and aggressive,” explained Lechterman.  “The end result was an almost exclusively backlit show, allowing the band’s silhouettes to float through the haze, while pulsing patterns and rhythms dance across the upstage wall.”

Matt Talent, his account rep at Felix Lighting, suggested using the new Elation CUEPIX Panel in place of a tungsten matrix.  Featuring 25 x 30-watt 3-in-1 RGB COB LEDs and a 60° beam angle, the CUEPIX Panel’s COB technology provides improved performance and reliability compared to surface mount (SMD) LEDs.

Since multiple COB LED diodes are directly mounted on and electrically connected to the circuit board as one lighting module, interconnection lengths are shortened and thermal resistance is better, resulting in greater output from a smaller illumination source, more even light distribution, better color homogenization and better heat dissipation. 

The CUEPIX Panel also features RGB color mixing, individual control of each COB module, variable/selectable dimming curves, and strobe and zone chase effects.

Still, Lechterman was “initially hesitant,” given the CUEPIX’s lack of road experience.

“I was eventually won over by the color mixing ability and Matt’s insistence that I wouldn’t be disappointed. He was right. They are a phenomenal fixture. Their size, ease to program, color mixing, intense brightness and the fact I don’t need a media sever all contributed to them being a perfect fit for this tour. 

“I always wanted some sort of ‘video’ on this tour. Turns out that super low-res, mostly lighting-based ‘video’ was the perfect solution.”

Lechterman used a total of 28 CUEPIX Panels on the stage, arranged in 7 columns of 4 each.  The panels were hung from curved truss, alternating heights to create a “wall” upstage behind the band.  They floated about 3’ off the deck and maxed out at about 19’.

“In many ways, the panels were the core of the design,” said Lechterman.  “Because of their speed – no dimmer delay – and color mixing, I could do pretty much whatever I wanted with them.  Sometimes I had moving images playing across them, sometimes there were linear chases, sometimes fire-fly-like random pixels pulsed around, and sometimes the whole thing cranked up into a strobing, pulsing blaze.”

The panels, which feature integrated rigging points, have been very road-friendly too, according to Lechterman. “The coffin key method of locking the panels together is rather painless, and even rattling around on our set carts they seemed unfazed,” he reports.  “Programming was a breeze.

“Everyone – band, our staff, local staff, fans – noticed the panels and was impressed.  Artistically, everyone appreciated how different they look from a traditional video wall, and how many diverse ways they can be used.  Everyone on the production side was grateful for how easy they were to load-in/load-out and how reliable they have been.”

Dan Efros was Media Content Creator for the ALT-J tour.  Victor Zeiser served as Programmer. Steven Taverner of East City Management is ALT-J’s manager, and Sarah Moir is the band’s Tour Manager.

Elation Lighting

Posted by Julie Clark on 10/10 at 01:56 PM

Joan Baez Tour Of Australia, New Zealand Utilizes DPA Microphones

Folk musician uses d:vote 4099 instrument mics to highlight instrumental portions of her music

American folk singer/songwriter Joan Baez recently went on the road in Australia and New Zealand with DPA Microphones d:vote 4099 instrument microphones.

The musician’s audio engineer Jason Raboin uses the mics to for the sound of the grand piano, mandolin and violin that are prominently featured in her music. He also brought them with him to Baez’s special performance in late July with Jackson Browne and Emmylou Harris to benefit Downtown Streets Team, an organization aiming to end homelessness.

With two d:votes originally purchased for Dirk Powell—a multi-instrumentalist in Baez’s band who wanted free range of movement while playing his guitar, violin (fiddle) or mandolin—Baez’s rig now features a total of four d:vote mics. With the ability to mount the wireless microphone directly onto the instrument, Powell can perform with the gusto of a typical fiddle or mandolin player.

“Dirk’s request sent me on a hunt for a mic system that not only does what he wanted, but also sounds good and is useable in monitors,” says Raboin. “The d:vote 4099s were a clear choice. Since the mic mounts right onto the flat surface of the string instruments, I was initially worried that gain and monitors would be an issue, but the microphone has been really great.

“We are able to get plenty of gain. Sometimes Dirk plays fiddle right in front of the monitors and we’re fine. I think that’s something that every engineer worries about, not getting gain in your monitors if you use a condenser mic, but that’s definitely not the case with the d:votes.”

After the success of the d:votes with the string instruments, Raboin chose to add to the collection with a stereo pair for Baez’s grand piano. “Another thing that’s great about the d:votes is that when I’m using them for the piano, I can arrange the mics so the piano can be played with the lid closed,” he explains. “People usually come up with all sorts of whacky solutions to accomplish this, but DPA has a mount that lets me affix the mics without any harm to even the most expensive instrument. And they still sound just as good. That was actually also one of the main selling points for Dirk.”

The small size of the d:votes play an integral part in this arrangement. The compact size also proved a valuable feature during Baez’s Australian tour, for which the crew flew, rather than drove, to each stop. To meet the travel budget, Raboin had to pack only the audio essentials into a few pelican cases. Each could not exceed the 50 pound weight limit set by today’s travel standards, and it is for this reason that the miniature microphones were helpful.

“The d:votes are so tiny, they barely take up any space or weight,” continues Raboin. “Also, while the mics are more expensive than the average condenser mic on the market, when you think about it in terms of return on investment—how many different places they can go, and so easily, because of their modularity and all the mounting options—it ultimately makes them less expensive than other solutions.”

In addition to all of Baez’s performances, Raboin also uses d:votes when he’s engineering for folk singer Judy Collins. A sound engineer for more than 15 years, Raboin has worked with artists such as Modest Mouse, Luna, Cowboy Junkies and Devendra Banhart. He also currently owns Camden Sounds, a sound company based in Amherst, Massachusetts.

DPA Microphones

Posted by Keith Clark on 10/10 at 01:12 PM
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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

In Profile: TC Furlong, Always Seeking A Better Way

Respect for the music, for the audience and for musicians

Based just north of Chicago in Lake Forest, IL, TC Furlong Inc. is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, marking the occasion in various ways that all relate to the company’s long-time slogan: “Better Audio By Design.” Although they serve clients throughout the U.S. and occasionally Canada, the primary focus remains on regional business, founder and president TC Furlong emphasizes.

“We think renting locally and regionally is still a good thing because of our ability to provide high level service, particularly if someone needs something last minute,” he states. “It’s about respect. You respect your client by giving them good service and being responsive. That’s why we have a rule that everyone gets called back in five minutes, no matter what.

“And because the curtain doesn’t come up during regular business hours, we have a 24/7 Emergency Audio Response (EAR) service,” he continues. “It doesn’t matter what day of the year it is, we’ll dispatch somebody to help. There are always opportunities to offer better service and always a better way to do something and we’re always digging in to find a better way to do audio.”

In fact, finding a better way to do things has long been a preoccupation for Furlong, one that informed his passion for both music and audio from the outset.

A Good Experience
Born in Cincinnati, Furlong moved to Illinois at age nine – about the time he first picked up the guitar. “I never really studied formally, but I was always learning how to play better.” His initial experiments with loudspeakers were also somewhat informal. “In fifth grade I was taking radios apart, putting the speakers in different enclosures and experimenting with every kind of loudspeaker I could. I’d seen The Beatles on TV and got into music, but I was always fascinated with loudspeakers, because that’s the link between performer and audience.”

At a time when live concert audio was a blend of musician’s amplifiers and acoustic drums, supplemented by reinforcement of vocals and quieter instruments, he adds: “How to get that blend and provide the audience with a good experience really intrigued me.”

That led him to indulge his twin passions in equal measure. In 1973, at age 18, Furlong rented an industrial space in Highland Park, IL and started Steamer Sound. Around the same time, he adds, he fell in love with the steel guitar. “During the day I’d run the business and build speakers. At night, I’d gig. I worked a lot,” he notes, laughing, “but it allowed me to understand the artist’s side of the equation and fold that into what the company provided.”

Originally, Steamer Sound was purely a manufacturer that built and sold loudspeakers integrated with protective road cases called Steamer Cabinets. The chief designer was Tom Danley, Furlong says. “I always mention Tom because he’s gone on to great notoriety and still lives a few miles from me.”

Originally, he hadn’t intended to offer rentals, but soon began to do so in order to meet client demand. “But quantity wasn’t our focus – we’d build a certain number of speaker boxes in order to be able to supply local events and concerts. Providing quality gear and having quality people work with us was the most important thing.”

As the business grew, Furlong remained active as both a musician and audio supplier, but as a member of Chicago based country-rock band Rio Grande and later The Jump in the Saddle Band, became so busy with music that he decided to shut down his commercial space and continue to build custom orders in his basement.

By the late 1970s, however, he abandoned building proprietary gear in favor of offering other manufacturer’s products to clients. Still, he was able to run the business from his property when not touring with the band, which had a major hit in 1983 with “The Curly Shuffle.”

Natural & Organic
While the band’s international notoriety was relatively short lived, they remain active to this day and Furlong is still in demand as a live and session player.

That said, in 1990 he cut down on touring to start a family with his wife, children’s author Mary Gauthier Furlong. “She’s a musician as well – a wonderful bass player and singer,” Furlong adds, “and we actually met when were hired for the same band.”

He characterizes the company’s growth since as natural and organic. “Our client list has grown 100 percent by referral. We’ll do a live rental for somebody, then become their go to sound person. Then they’ll say, ‘Can you help us find a solution for this?’ and we’ll say, ‘Yes, we’ll do our best’ and grow to meet their needs.”

Expansion of services was often a result of consciously expanding into areas underserved by others. “Theatre, corporate theatre, wireless microphones, loudspeaker alignment; those things weren’t available in our region,” he notes. “In 1989 we started getting into wireless microphones in a big way, made a sizable investment and tried to become as expert in that as we could.”

“Before I arrived,” adds general manager Jeff Cech, “the company was known for expertise in wireless microphones, and renting wireless systems and intercoms was and is a major part of our business, but earlier no one was doing it.”

A youthful TC Furlong with a Steamer Sound cabinet. (click to enlarge)

Growth was further fueled by Furlong’s ability to identify other emerging areas of business and apply the company’s expertise to creating better solutions for those markets specifically.

“When corporations started to embrace audio as part of their presentations, we were right there trying to do more elaborate designs than what a lot of A/V companies were doing,” Furlong says. “After we got into wireless microphones and corporate A/V we noticed there was an unfilled opportunity in Chicago for theatrical sound. We continue to do a lot of it, but all of these things naturally evolved out of each other.”

The company also began designing and commissioning systems, but the concentration continues to be on special events and maintaining long term, mutually beneficial partnerships. “We have clients who’ve been with us for 20 to 30 years, and we’ve built those relationships, slowly and carefully, by putting our efforts, not only into marketing to potential clients but into keeping the clients we have by providing a very high level of service.”

One of the milestones of the late 1990s was the development of a relationship with Meyer Sound that continues going strong to this day. While the company carries a wide range of other loudspeaker systems, Meyer is the primary brand.

Also during that time, the company began providing audio for television concert broadcasts for shows such as Soundstage on PBS, with Furlong mixing many of those shows.

He says that mixing and system alignment have always been an integral part of his personal contribution to the company’s work. “Sometimes the equipment is secondary. Sometimes the live mixer is secondary. It depends on the client, but often we’d get hired because they wanted me or one of our excellent engineers to mix.”

Growing Capabilities
“Another milestone was TC foreseeing the importance of digital consoles in 2001-2002,” Cech states. “We bought early versions of a lot of different mixing consoles from many manufacturers, and developed the expertise in-house to rent, deploy and use them on shows. Today we have more consoles and more types of consoles than any other provider in the region.”

Cech did freelance work for the company for 15 years and also often rented equipment while managing Northwestern University’s Performing Arts Center before officially coming onboard 2000. “We call that era ‘the Garage Days’,” Cech says, referencing the warehouse Furlong built on his property that served as the company base through the 1980s and 90s.

With Cech signing on, Furlong was able to concentrate more fully on developing strategic partnerships and indulging his passion for system alignment, which, Cech says, “He has both a love and a gift for.” The subsequent move to the current facility was a catalyst for further growth, but Furlong’s desire to relocate had other motivations as well. “I just decided one day, when I saw 14 cars parked in my driveway, that it was time to move,” he says, laughing.

A “sound isolation helmet” circa 1974 that was designed, built, and deployed by the Steamer Sound team to isolate from the main system in order to mix on headphones for a live radio broadcast. Note the built-in “life support system” – boxer fans that would draw fresh air through the helmet to prevent suffocation and heat exhaustion.

Since, the company has continued to work with long-term clients like Willow Creek Community Church and Northwestern University – for whom they’ve provided audio for commencement ceremonies for 20 years in addition to serving the needs of the university’s athletic, performing arts, radio, television and film departments.

Fitting his mantra to provide complete, appropriate solutions without fail is a commitment to education. This drives the company to host monthly events aimed at educating clients and potential clients about everything from the operation of digital consoles to RF coordination and system alignment

It’s a way of giving back, Furlong notes, which is something that also drove his creation of an entirely separate company, TC Furlong Custom, and the development of the TC Furlong Custom Split, a recent product but one he began developing way back when he was building Steamer Cabinets.

“The Split is my effort to give something back to the steel guitar community – a way to get the fantastic sound of tubes from a really lightweight amp,” he says. “As musicians get older they don’t want to carry heavy equipment, so if I can provide an amplifier that’s light but still provides big sound, I think I can help people continue to be inspired to make music. And being able to contribute to a musician being inspired to play – either more often or longer – that’s an honor.”

For Furlong, Cech and the entire company, the most important part of the equation comes back to respect. “Respect for the music, for the audience and for musicians. Most people working here are musicians. We often say that if you’re not a musician you should start taking lessons if you want to mix live sound. If you have experience as a musician, you understand the position of the person on stage whether they’re a performer or presenter, and that’s something I think we’re known for.

“When we meet someone – an artist, a technician or a client – our first question is, ‘How can we help you have a better day?’ It’s been that way from day one. Anybody can provide equipment; it’s the way you implement that equipment and the attitude you have that makes for a successful event.”

Based in Toronto, Kevin Young is a freelance music and tech writer, professional musician and composer.

Posted by Keith Clark on 10/09 at 06:25 PM
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Adamson E15s Support China’s Inter City Music Festival In Qingdao

Adamson Systems Engineering's distributor in China and Hong Kong, Real Music Acoustics & Lighting, supplied an Energia E15 line array system for the two-day festival.

Pilot Record’s Inter City Music Festival recently took place at the Golden Sands Beach in the Huangdao district of Qingdao, China.

Many of record label’s acts performed including Reflector, Zheng Jun, CMCB, Twisted Machine and headliner Miserable Faith.

Real Music Acoustics & Lighting Technology Co. Ltd., Adamson Systems Engineering’s distributor in China and Hong Kong, supplied an Energia E15 line array system for the two-day festival.

“The record labels artists represent many different genres of music,” explains Richie Wang, GM for Real Music Acoustics & Lighting. “We provided a substantial Adamson E15 PA in order to accommodate their heavy metals bands as well as pop and folk music acts.”

The E15 line arrays – 12 enclosures per array – were hung from scaffolding erected to the right and left of the stage. Under each array were a stack of six T21 subwoofers sandwiched between double stacks on each side—a total of 10 subs per side.

Stage monitoring was serviced by two M212 low profile monitors while frontfill was provided by eight M15 placed equidistant along the lip of the stage. 

“The system really sounded fantastic,” Wang adds. “No matter who was playing, the sound quality was unmistakable. The Pilot Record management team were extremely impressed.”

Adamson Systems

Posted by Julie Clark on 10/09 at 10:56 AM
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Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival Deploys Outline GTO

The White Stage was equipped with an Outline large-format line-source rig: 24 GTO elements, 2 GTO-DF (Down-Fill) and 18 ground-installed DBS 18-2 subwoofers.

Japan’s 2013 Fuji Rock Festival utilized 24 Outline GTO line array modules on the White Stage. of the world’s most important: there were 24 GTO at the White Stage of the 2013 Fuji Rock Festival.

Since it’s inception in 1997, Fuji Rock has been a start-studded event. Weezer, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Massive Attack, Prodigy, Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers have all graced the stages of the Festival. The 2013 event attracted more than 100,000 fans.

The 2013 edition featured performances by top names on the Japanese and international alternative rock and electronic scenes including Bjork, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Vampire Weekend, XX, Skrillex and Tame Impala.

The White Stage was equipped with an Outline large-format line-source rig: 24 GTO elements, 2 GTO-DF (Down-Fill) and 18 ground-installed DBS 18-2 subwoofers.

Masaaki Azuma - pro audio veteran and sound engineer at the event - is the owner of well-known Japanese rental company Try Audio, which was responsible for the Fuji Rock project. The company’s equipment stock already includes forty-eight Butterfly systems, eighteen Mantas and thirty-six Subtech 218, with relative Outline T Series power amplifiers.

Azuma states, “Before purchasing Outline’s large-format system, I had the opportunity of testing it personally at several large concerts in Asian stadia with famous bands from both east and west. Thanks to the enormous dynamic range, I realized that - as well as Rock - the system can easily handle the nuances of any genre, including orchestral music”.

He concludes, “Its intelligibility is unrivalled at astonishing distances: what I heard at Fuji Rock during the mix confirms the objectivity of Outline’s claims regarding the long-throw performance of this ‘contraption’. I’m really impressed.”

“The presence of GTO in Japan, the super-technological Far East nation, is an important strategic ‘tessera’ in our expansion plans”, commented Giorgio Biffi, CEO Outline.

“As is already the case in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, and elsewhere soon, from now on it will be easier to meet the numerous requests for our products – regularly included on riders – in that part of the world, which has such a dynamic live sound reinforcement sector. Welcome to the Outline family, Try Audio!”


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/09 at 10:47 AM
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Røde Microphones Makes Major Donation To Sydney Festival Anniversary Fund

Røde Microphones founder and president, Peter Freedman, has made a substantial donation that will form the founding capital of a Sydney Festival Anniversary Fund.

Røde Microphones founder and president, Peter Freedman, has made a substantial donation that will form the founding capital of a Sydney Festival Anniversary Fund.

The fund is set up to support performing arts projects at the annual Sydney Festival from its 2016 anniversary edition onwards, with a special focus on, but not limited to, international collaborations and the creation of opportunities for artists under the age of forty.

Freedman and the Sydney Festival encourage other philanthropists to match his donation and become fellow founding donors.

Swedish-born Freedman emigrated to Australia as a child in 1966. His parents, Henry and Astrid Freedman, started Freedman Electronics, the first professional sound equipment company in Australia offering high-end European equipment.

Freedman successfully turned their business into Røde Microphones, now one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microphones, proudly manufacturing their specialist products in Silverwater..

The Company, managed by Freedman and his wife Lou Freedman, has since diversified into other professional audio equipment including iPhone mics, apps, sound for video and loudspeaker manufacturing.

“I am really proud to be supporting Sydney Festival because it brings together two of my passions: the joy of Sydney in summer, and exciting performances from local and international artists,” Freedman explains. “Sydney has been fantastic to me and my family, and at Røde we are always inspired by the performers who use our products. This is an opportunity to give back to my city, and support the Sydney Festival as it reaches new heights.”

This donation marks the start of Sydney Festival’s preparations for what promises to be exciting celebrations in 2016. Festival Director, Lieven Bertels, whose contract was recently extended to include this landmark Festival edition, is excited about this donation:

“With a background in music recording and production myself, I am quite a passionate collector of new and vintage microphones, so I knew and admired Peter and his company before I moved to Sydney,” Bertels adds. “Knowing what it feels like to move to Australia from abroad, Peter was one of the first NSW business leaders to personally welcome me to Sydney.

“Last year, Røde Microphones came on board as a sponsor for a fun concert with Indonesian grunge rock band Navicula, and I am grateful Peter has decided to make this new substantial personal contribution to Sydney Festival.

“We promise to develop this Fund and align it to his passion for innovation and international collaboration. It is wonderful to have business leaders such as Peter who are passionate about performing arts and entertainment.”

Sydney Festival, Australia’s foremost summer festival, is proud to be a leader in its approach to corporate partnerships and philanthropy, and this pledge allows the Festival to start preparing for its 40th anniversary.

Freedman’s donation was pledged at a small function hosted by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW and patron of Sydney Festival.

Head of Development Malcolm Moir commented: “We are delighted to welcome Peter to our important circle of private supporters of Sydney Festival and encourage others to support one of Sydney’s most loved celebrations - a festival that reflects the depth and breadth of the city it celebrates each year. There is nowhere better to be than Sydney in January!”

Sydney Festival 2014 will be held from 9 to 26 January across greater Sydney.

Røde Microphones

Posted by Julie Clark on 10/09 at 10:35 AM
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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Two Meyer Sound Rental Houses Join Forces For Metallica’s Malaysian Debut

EHQ Projects and SES Sound & Lighting create 146-loudspeaker system based on MILO line arrays

Two of Malaysia’s leading rental companies came together this summer to ensure Metallica’s first-ever concert in the country would be a memorable event. By merging their Meyer Sound inventories, Kuala Lumpur-based EHQ Projects and Selangor-based SES Sound & Lighting created a huge 146-loudspeaker system based around MILO line array loudspeakers.

“There were no delays, but the sound was clear and very loud even 100 meters back from the stage,” recalls Jay Neil, technical director of EHQ Projects. “Afterwards, I had people telling me it sounded like a CD on a great stereo.”

In order to cover an audience of 30,000 in Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Merdeka, the two companies configured a system of 72 MILO loudspeakers, including 40 for main hangs, 30 for side hangs, and two for out fills. Front fill was provided by 12 M’elodie line array loudspeakers, and 40 700-HP subwoofers provided ample low end.

System drive and alignment was supplied by a Galileo loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 616 processors. Dual side fill arrays featuring five-each MILO loudspeakers over two-each 700-HP subwoofers combined with 26 MJF-212A stage monitors to provide on-stage foldback.

FOH mixing duties were handled by “Big Mick” Hughes, Metallica’s long-time engineer. Monitor engineer Bob Cowan and assistant monitor engineer Adam Correia handled the band’s on-stage mix.

“After the show, the media reported that it was the first time they’d head really great sound at an outdoor rock concert in Malaysia,” says Neil. “Big Mick deserves a great deal of credit for mixing Metallica as only he can.”

Andrew Warren, managing director for EHQ Projects, worked closely with Neil, while Frankie Lau, Marcus Koay, and Frando Ho coordinated logistics for SES Sound & Lighting under the supervision of managing director S.T. Ho.

“Metallica was the show of a lifetime,” says Neil. “We want to thank SES for coming on board as a partner to make it a great success.”

Metallica’s Malaysian appearance was produced and organized by Galaxy Group, in association with LAMC Productions and Rockstar Touring.

Meyer Sound

Posted by Keith Clark on 10/08 at 04:41 PM
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Antelope Audio Clocking Plays Key Role In Systems For Rihanna “Diamonds World Tour”

Clocking for playback for synchronization, lighting, MIDI, sound effects and vocals

Already well into its U.S. leg, Rihanna’s “Diamonds World Tour” features several performances in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, and at the core of the production system is Antelope Audio, whose products facilitate clocking for the entire rig, including playback for synchronization, lighting, MIDI, sound effects and vocals.

“This is the best sounding tour I’ve ever been a part of and we’ve been running really hard,” says Demetrius Henry, playback engineer for the Diamonds World Tour. “We didn’t think we could get our playback rig to sound any better, but the Orion32 interface has taken things to another level —the difference was like night and day.”

Currently, the tour is running two Antelope Audio Orion32s and a 10M atomic clock on playback, in addition to a Trinity | 10M combination at front of house (FOH). The Trinity | 10M combination is a favored selection among top mastering engineers, and serves as the primary clocking duo for the entire production.

In addition to playback and FOH, there are two Antelope Audio Zodiac+ converters being used in conjunction with the keyboard rig on stage, providing artifact free, high-resolution audio for the duration of each performance.

The playback rig for the Diamonds World Tour includes two Antelope Audio Orion32 interfaces and a 10M atomic clock.

Kenny Scharetts, keyboard technician for the Diamonds World Tour, appreciates the piece of mind that comes with using the Zodiacs: “We have the Zodiacs racked up directly beneath the keyboards and they are so compact and rock solid. When I turn them on, I know they are going to be there for me — it is a dream to have this kind of stability and reliability.”

Before hitting the road, the production crew put all of the equipment through its paces with several rehearsals, including two full dress rehearsals in Buffalo with a full PA before hitting the road.

At front of house on Rihanna’s Diamonds World Tour, an Antelope Audio Trinity | 10M handles clocking for the overall production.

“Every department was able to get a full testing of their gear to make sure it was show ready,” says Kyle Hamilton, FOH engineer for the Diamonds World Tour. “From the beginning, the Antelope gear has been running smoothly.”

The tour is large-scle in both musical content and technical scope. With a runtime of 97 minutes and a total of 36 songs, including interludes, the production team is running about 115 inputs in total.

With such an extensive rig, the production team decided to take a holistic approach and clock the entire rig using Antelope, in addition to using its premium quality converters across nearly every part of the audio system.

“Sonic changes don’t just occur at the console,” observes Hamilton. “It also has to do with the converters that are used throughout the system, in addition to the clocking. Also, it would not make any sense to have just one aspect of the system clocked — clocking the entire rig with Antelope gives us a consistently high quality result.”

An Antelope Audio Zodiac converter sits beneath the keyboard rig onstage.

On the Diamonds World Tour, the production team is focused on not just quality, but efficiency too. “Rack space is a precious commodity out here on the road — it’s like real estate: you only have so much land.” says Henry. “The fact that we are able to fit 32 channels of I/O on the Orion32 is a dream come true.” At playback, two Antelope Orion32s and a 10M are run through a pair of Apple MacBook Pros, which Henry says are lightning fast.

With a rock solid production team and reliable, great sounding equipment in place, FOH engineer Kyle Hamilton couldn’t be happier with the results they are achieving night after night. “It is immensely satisfying for us to be setting new standards in the quality of our live sound productions,” he says. “Every time we plug in another Antelope device, everything goes up a notch.”




Antelope Audio


Posted by Keith Clark on 10/08 at 04:01 PM
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Cerwin-Vega! Loudspeakers Boost Audio At Hollywood Music Venue

The Cerwin-Vega! setup at AMPLYFi features two P-Series stacks, which each include a P1500X two-way, bi-amped, full-range bass-reflex speaker and a P1800SX powered subwoofer.

Popular Hollywood music venue AMPLYFi recently upgraded to the new P-Series Professional PA system and CVA Active Series Speakers from Cerwin-Vega!.

Though the all-ages nightclub has always had a reputation for unfaltering, high-quality sound, when owner Kota Wade first heard the P-Series system, she decided to make the switch to the Cerwin-Vega! System.

The Cerwin-Vega! setup at AMPLYFi features two P-Series stacks, which each include a P1500X two-way, bi-amped, full-range bass-reflex speaker and a P1800SX powered subwoofer.

Equipped with a large woofer and amplifier, each P1800SX offers high-level bass punch with extreme low-end response. The hemi-conical horn of the P1500X gives the venue enhanced sound clarity over an even and wide coverage area.

“Changing the entire sound system was a huge decision for me,” says Wade, who is also a musician and AMPLYFi’s FOH engineer. “I was just so stunned with the clarity I heard from the P-Series and CVA at every volume level, even when I ran it through multiple music genres. That was when I knew I had to make the switch.”

Rounding out the audio setup at AMPLYFi are several Cerwin-Vega! CVA-28s, two of which are strategically facing the audience at center fill, and four being used as sound monitors.

Primarily a live music venue, AMPLYFi is home to Wade’s two bands—Girl Radical, managed by ‘N Sync’s JC Chasez, and Bad Wolf, an alternative rock band – as well as several renowned artists, such as Echosmith, The Maine, the Brobecks, the Bolts.

The 800-square-foot space features music of varying styles, including ambient, electronic and rock, and groups of all sizes, from acoustic outfits to big bands, which is why Wade especially loves Cerwin-Vega!’s sound control.

“When I decided to make the switch to the P-Series and CVA, I didn’t just change my gear, I changed my setup,” adds Wade. “I included subwoofers, which I had never used in this space before, because I felt safe knowing that the P-Series allows me to have total control over the sound, which is very important in a room this size.

“People of all ages can stand less than a foot away from the speakers when a band is playing, and I know that I won’t blow out their ears because I can control the sound levels.”

The Cerwin-Vega! P-Series delivers a new standard in power and bass punch and is suited for any sound reinforcement application, from live performances to public speeches.

The P1500X speaker employs a 15-inch woofer and high-frequency compression driver, powered by a custom 1500W Class-D amp.

The P1800SX powered subwoofer features an 18-inch woofer with a custom 2000W Class-D amp.

Both pieces include a built-in mixer with I/O connections, allowing for simple and fast setup, while enhanced EQ, VEGA BASS boost and high-pass filters enable exact tuning and exceptional performance for any event.

Situated in the heart of Hollywood, AMPLYFi is an all ages live music venue. Over 1,500 bands have graced the club’s stage since its opening, with many more scheduled to perform in the upcoming months.


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/08 at 01:51 PM
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L-Acoustics And Robbie Williams Take The Crown

The full equipment inventory for the Robbie William's tour included a full complement of L-Acoustics gear.

Robbie Williams’ “Take the Crown” European stadium tour, his first solo tour for seven years, kicked off on June 14 of this year, taking in 11 countries across June, July and August. 

Sherif el Barbari, Audio System Designer and System Engineer for Robbie Williams, designed and specified the entire PA system around the requirements of the tour. Britannia Row, who had already serviced Robbie Williams’ tours for almost two decades, supplied the all of the audio equipment for the tour.

The full equipment inventory included a full complement of L-Acoustics gear including 64 K1, 32 K1-SB, 44 SB28, 24 V-DOSC, 240 KUDO, 24 KARA, 12 ARCS II and 150 LA8 amplifiers.

According to Joshua Lloyd, Brit Row’s PA Crew Chief, “K1 is one of, if not the best, systems in the market currently.” It was deployed in full for this special tour.

To match the video screen backdrop and extensive gold stage scenery and design, the K1, K1-SB and ARCS II enclosures were all customized with gold grills.

“How could the K1 grills be any other color than gold?” el Barbari asked. “This top of the pops high end sound reinforcement system deserves no less than a gold finish. Everyone was extremely satisfied with the looks and I’m not alone in saying that finish is just the perfect match.”

A flown ring delay system was also deployed in the stadiums where the roof structure allowed the system to be hung, dramatically improving the quality of sound right to the back of the stadium audiences.

The largest deployment of ring delays was at Wembley Stadium, London.

“126 KUDO were used to cover the upper bowl, distributed into 14 hangs of nine cabinets,” el Barbari explains. “The selective horizontal coverage of the KUDO made it the perfect choice to minimize triangulation time path problems when using multiple sources, which overlap in coverage.

“The 50-degree horizontal K-LOUVER setting was used wherever possible to overcome these problems. We received high praise for the sound quality in the upper bowl in each stadium where we used the ring delay system, especially notable in the Wembley Stadium in London.”

Lloyd agrees, “The ring delay system made a huge difference in the large stadiums where every seat in the house got the best coverage we could achieve. It provides a very different experience going to the back of a stadium and having that vocal in your face. Overall, it meant that everyone had great audio and felt involved in the show as they could hear every word.”

Visiting 11 different countries with such a big production poses challenges even for the most experienced of system engineers. Thanks to the help of L-Acoustics’ SOUNDVISION software, these challenges could be predicted and resolved ahead of set up at each venue.

As el Barbari noted, “The extensive simulations that I was able to do beforehand in SOUNDVISION proved once again to be the most powerful tool to cope with the time limitations one faces in such a big stadium production when it comes to aligning a system comprising of more than 36 arrays and clusters.

“Without it, I can’t think of how we would have been able to run our first show of the tour in the Dublin Aviva stadium where we had a tight noise window of only two one-hour sessions over two days to align and tune the PA system in a challenging environment.”

Lloyd concurred noting that “the reviews were all good and everyone from the musical director to production seemed very pleased with the results.”

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of the Britannia Row Audio Crew,” el Barbari concludes. “They have worked hard to make it all happen. Their efforts and determination are highly appreciated and I will be looking forward to a new challenge to master with such a talented and professional crew.”


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/08 at 12:42 PM
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Monday, October 07, 2013

Symetrix Gets Rave Reviews At The Weber Center For The Performing Arts

Commercial AV Systems designed and installed a sound system centered on four SymNet Radius 12x8 processors from Symetrix.

The new Weber Center for the Performing Arts in La Crosse, Wisconsin is a dream come true for the two institutions that partnered to build the $8 million facility.

The La Crosse Community Theatre endured the cramped and ill-suited conditions of its previous space while theater and performing arts students at Viterbo University put up with rehearsals in hallways and other inconveniences not befitting a prestigious a liberal arts institution.

Beyond a spacious lobby, patrons will now find a 450-seat main theater with ideal sightlines and a versatile 100-seat black box theater.

To achieve maximum flexibility and to accommodate future expansion on a very tight budget, Commercial AV Systems of nearby Onalaska, Wisconsin designed and installed a sound system centered on four SymNet Radius 12x8 processors from Symetrix.

Split between the two performance spaces the four Radius 12x8s at the Weber Center effectively behave as one large custom processor because they communicate via Dante. Together, they also handle the routing logic for nine zones of paging.

Like the Dante-based SymNet Edge system, the Radius 12x8 is configured using SymNet Composer open architecture software.

“We designed the system so that you can essentially route audio from anywhere to anywhere,” said Ryan Van Berkum, the Commercial AV Systems project manager who designed and oversaw the installation of the new system. “Nothing is hard-patched – Dante takes care of everything.”

Eight channels of audio can flow simultaneously between the two performance spaces in overflow situations.

In addition, the community theatre and school both anticipate scenarios where one performance space may serve as a prop room or dressing room for the other. By allowing audio to flow between them, critical cues and other information will not be missed.

The main theater is configured as a mono cluster of two EAW loudspeakers, a Yamaha 1218 subwoofer, under-balcony Yamaha IF2205 fill speakers, a comprehensive monitor system, and a hearing loop that can take as its source a pair of ambient microphones or a direct line from the Yamaha digital console.

The console is outfitted with two Dante network cards, one for transfer of signal to the SymNet Radius 12x8 system and one for transfer to a Yamaha digital stage box. In addition, a presentation mode in the main theater supports four input channels – mic, line, or audio from a direct box.

The black box theater makes use of the theaters’ existing Allen & Heath console. A fixed Yamaha IS1118 subwoofer provides low-end support in either full-range or discrete mode.

The presentation mode has similar behavior and channel count as the main theater, simplifying training requirements for staff and volunteers while facilitating use of the black box space for simple events without a tech on hand.

The La Crosse Community Theatre will kick off its new season in the Weber Center for the Performing Arts with the comedy Noises Off. The students of Viterbo University will break it in with a performance of Little Women – The Broadway Musical.


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/07 at 01:34 PM
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MFO Producciones Invests In Turbosound Flashline

MFO Producciones owner Oscar Fragio was impressed by the unique features and system packaging of the new five-way large scale line array.

Spanish production company MFO Producciones has taken delivery of a Turbosound Flashline PA system consisting of 24 TFS-900H four-way line array modules, 18 TFS-900B double 18-inch subwoofers, and six complete amplifier racks, and immediately put it to work on a series of arena events during the month of August.

Founded in 2008, MFO Producciones carries a permanent staff of eight experienced audio professionals as well as employing freelance technicians and sound engineers, and majors on corporate shows and television productions, live music events and tours.

Owner Oscar Fragio has worked with Turbosound products for many years, from the TMS-3 modular full range PA cabinet to the present day, and reckons the company’s principal value is a combination of this extended experience, together with the skills of its varied and highly experienced staff.

“We aim to offer a high level of technical resources, and this is what makes MFO a leader in its field,” says Oscar.

Having looked at most of the major sound systems on the market, Fragio was impressed by the unique features and system packaging of Turbosound’s new five-way large scale line array.

“It’s something completely different,” he comments. “Flashline has the sweetest sound, clear and powerful at all frequencies — and few systems can throw that far with such little distortion. When you factor in the subwoofers, which at this time have no rival in the market, it is the perfect mix for today’s type of music.”

Flashline is a complete turnkey sound reinforcement system designed to deliver ultra-high quality audio to large audiences. The TFS-900H is a four-way flown line array consisting of eleven discrete drive units uniquely deployed across four frequency bands, teamed up with Lab.gruppen’s industry-leading four-channel DSP-based amplifiers with Lake processing in custom-designed Turbosound racks.

The TFS-900B subs are a hybrid-loaded design that makes use of energy from the rear as well as the front of the 18-inch neodymium drivers’ cones for an impressive 141 dB peak output. The Flashline high packs travel pre-rigged in groups of four on custom dollies that allow a loudspeaker array to be flownquickly and easily.

As soon as MFO had taken delivery of the system, the Flashline PA’s first outing was at Gijon Sports Palace for popular international artist Pitbull.

“I think the system adapted well to the 8,500 capacity venue’s difficult acoustics and reflections, showing the loudspeakers’ ability to bring vocals clearly into the foreground,” says Fragio.

The second show was outdoors for 11,000 people and capably demonstrated Flashline’s power and presence to the promoter, assistant crew, and Pitbull’s FOH engineer Wilberto Madera.

“You will not believe the indescribable pressure that Flashline generated, even with plenty of headroom in reserve,” he comments. “It just goes on and on!”

Fragio continues: “The system rigs quickly and easily, and our first thought was that if it’s this good with recorded music, how would it sound with a live band? Well, there’s nothing to say, you only have to listen to it to realize that Flashline is spectacular.

“What I particularly like in the PA is the mid band, the soft, sweet and natural voices — for all ranges of music from rock and roll to extreme heavy metal, electronic music and opera.”

On to early August, and the town of Viana (Logroño) played host to probably the most important singer-songwriter of the Spanish music industry, Joan Manuel Serrat, with a history of nearly 50 years on the stage, who performed with the Viana orchestra, interpreting his best known songs including Mediterráneo, and Penélope.

This gala charity event was organized by the City Council and Juan Manuel especially for the town’s elderly folks, and was not only a public success with over 4,500 tickets sold, it also presented the opportunity to put Flashline fully to the test.

The outcome was nothing less than spectacular, with excellent sound quality and, most importantly, the presence of all the instruments in their respective positions, with Joan Manuel’s voice projecting clearly into the foreground without having to adjust anything. The outstanding purity and quality of the system’s components gave the technical staff the feeling they were witnessing possibly the bestconcert touring system in the world.

Sound engineer Juan Gonzalez gave his resounding approval: “This is a great system, the coverage is perfect wherever you go. It sounds really nice, congratulations!”


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/07 at 01:10 PM
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Lectrosonics Drives Performance Of The Who’s Tommy

Robust audio and RF agility are key attributes that help drive the performance of The Who's Tommy

Of all the musicals associated with rock music, few have achieved the critical acclaim of The Who’s Tommy. Written by The Who’s guitarist / vocalist Pete Townshend and theatrical director Des McAnuff, the musical is based on The band’s 1969 double album rock opera Tommy.

On July 29th at the Tri-C Eastern Campus Theatre, this ever popular musical came to life once again—serving as a one night only benefit for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS.

The performance was a resounding success and contributing to the show’s first-rate sound reinforcement attributes was none other than Digital Hybrid Wireless microphone technology from Lectrosonics.

Carlton Guc, President of Northfield, OH-based Stage Research, Inc., served as Sound Designer and audio mixer for the show.

In an effort to ensure the best possible audio quality for the performance, the Lectrosonics wireless microphone equipment Guc specified included two LMa beltpack transmitters, four SMQV variable power, super-miniature beltpack transmitters and, on the receiving side of the equation, a Venue modular receiver mainframe fully stocked with three VRS and three VRT receiver modules.

“Nothing compares to Lectrosonics,” says Guc. “I am consistently impressed with the performance of the company’s equipment. The sound quality is excellent and the RF setup is quick and painless.

“For this show, we mated the Lectrosonics systems with Countryman B6 omnidirectional lavaliere microphones and, together, the audio quality was flawless.”

One of the most important considerations for using wireless equipment is the availability of open, or free, radio frequencies.

“RF coordination was tough on this show,” he explained, “as the area is quite congested. But Lectrosonics filtering on the antenna side allows for tighter frequencies without any intermodulation issues and the transmitters themselves are quite easy to set.”

Guc reports that Lectrosonics’ rugged build quality and, in the case of the SMQV transmitters, the incredibly small form factor makes the equipment a terrific choice for theatrical applications.

“The SMQV transmitters are really small and this makes them easy to hide among an actor’s wardrobe,” Guc reports. “Equally important is the fact that these transmitters are built to withstand abuse—they’re what I’ll call actor proof.

“When in costume, actors frequently perspire quite a bit. While this moisture can cause issues with lesser quality product, the Lectrosonics equipment never so much as hiccups.”

Guc was equally impressed that one receiver can handle as many as six receiver modules. A 1RU rack configuration that can handle up to six channels is a tremendous space saver.

“The show was a tremendous success and thanks to the ‘set it and forget it’ reliability of the Lectrosonics gear, I was able to focus my attention on mixing the show and providing outstanding audio delivery without having to worry about the equipment,” Guc concludes. “When the performance ended, the audience gave a standing ovation. This was Rock ‘n Roll at its best!”


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/07 at 12:57 PM
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