Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Meyer Sound LEO Lends Intimacy To Ed Sheeran Concerts At Madison Square Garden
Ed Sheeran and his acoustic guitar were supported by a powerful and transparent Meyer Sound LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system during the Madison Square Garden events.
This fall, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran headlined three solo acoustic shows at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Performing to an arena of screaming fans, Sheeran and his acoustic guitar were supported by a powerful and transparent Meyer Sound LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system that kept the shows intimate, despite the arena’s size.
According to Chris Marsh, Sheeran’s FOH engineer and production manager, it was important to maintain a personal connection between Sheeran and his legion of adoring fans.
“That feeling of immediate presence is crucial,” he says. “It helps everybody feel that Ed is up close playing an intimate show, despite that fact that he may be 80 meters away. With LEO, we’ve managed to make the transition from clubs and small theatres into arenas without losing that sense of closeness.”
Provided by UK-based Major Tom Ltd., the LEO system was built around dual main hangs of 12 LEO-M line array loudspeakers and four MICA line array loudspeakers. Side hangs were comprised of 16-each MILO line array loudspeakers, while six UPA-1P loudspeakers provided fill.
Ten 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements were flown in cardioid arrays using MAS-1100 array spacers, with an additional six 1100-LFC loudspeakers stacked on the ground.
The onstage mix was fed to Sheeran with six MJF-212A stage monitors and four 600-HP subwoofers. A Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system featuring two Galileo Callisto 616 array processors and two Galileo 616 processors supplied drive and optimization for both FOH and stage systems.
“LEO is an incredibly open-sounding rig,” says Marsh. “Although Ed performs solo with acoustic guitar, the harmonies he builds with his loop pedal can be deep and complex, and no other system has handled them as well. I hear every part in the harmonies with superb separation, and the vocal sits effortlessly on top of the mix.”
LEO was chosen for the New York shows based on prior experience in Ireland. “We had done five arena shows with LEO in Dublin and Belfast,” Marsh recalls. “In a production meeting with Ed and his management, we all agreed those were the best-sounding shows we’d done in two years. Basically, Ed said, ‘I want the sound system from Ireland for New York.’”
Marsh mixed the New York shows with a DiGiCo SD11 console, while a Sennheiser 2000 Series wireless system with an 865 capsule was used for Sheeran’s vocal. The pickup in his Martin LXE1 acoustic guitar was connected via an Avalon U5 direct box.
Sheeran’s New York run featured special guests Snow Patrol for the first show, and Taylor Swift for the second show.
Sir Tom Jones Rocks Muscat with Outline Butterfly
Talentz Centre LLC provided Outline Butterfly line arrays, Subtech 218 subwoofers and Mantas (sidefill) fro the Tom Jone concert.
Sir Tom Jones, the legendary superstar with over 100 million record sales to his credit, recently performed live at Shangri-La’s Barr al Jissah Resort & Spa, located in Muscat, Oman, as part of his world tour.
The concert was held at the resort’s amphitheater, with an audience of more than 3,000 people. Having last performed there three years ago, Tom requested a return.
Aged 73, the performer sang his classics including “It’s Not Unusual”, “Delilah”, “Kiss”, “What’s New Pussycat”, all aiming to rock the local and international expatriate audience.
Production was provided by the Muscat-based Talentz Centre LLC, the largest production operation in Oman and whose expertise in large-scale events takes them all over the region, including the UAE.
The company has invested significantly in Outline Butterfly systems with the MD, Baltazar Fernandes, quoting the products’ consistency, quality and flexibility as key factors in his company’s ability to handle visiting international acts.
The company deployed their compact Outline Butterfly system comprising of twelve cabinets per-side flown as the main L&R system plus four Outline Mantas enclosures per-side as ‘down-fills’. Sixteen Outline Subtech 218 subwoofers provided low frequency reinforcement. The entire system was powered by Outline T-Series amplifiers.
FOH engineer and producer Matteo Cifelli has many production and engineering credits including Tom Jones, Mike & The Mechanics, Blue, Zucchero, and Il Divo.
“Outline has always been my first choice when it comes to PA. After years, and hundreds of shows doing FOH for Sir Tom Jones, I have used every kind of PA around the world,” Cifelli said. “he difference in quality I experience when putting my mixes through a Butterfly or a GTO system is astonishing.
” All the details that you miss with other systems are present: the vocal clarity is outstanding and the overall results are so good that the audience, promoter, manager and artist all have big smiles on their faces. They can all hear the difference, it’s obvious.”
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The Benefits Of Using Ribbon Microphones In Live Sound Applications
Adding dimension and texture to the presentation of a performance
The first time I walked into a gig with a couple of ribbon microphones to use on guitars and drum overheads, the house sound guy at the club looked at me like I had three heads, six arms and was painted purple.
This was about 25 years ago, when even the thought of using a condenser mic in a live setting was also considered ridiculous by the majority of the pro audio community.
But you know what? Ribbon mics can work wonders in adding very nice dimension and texture to the presentation of a performance.
Yes, they’re a bit more fragile than many of their dynamic counterparts, so it does require more attention in storing and transporting them.
But their upside is worth the effort. Plus, ribbon microphones are now available which have been tailored for live sound!
I’ve found I can get a “rounder, more expressive” guitar sound in the live house mix by using a ribbon mic.
The texture of the treble character is equally clear - but generally less harsh - which seems to keep it from “fighting” with many of the vocal textures.
Smoothing the texture of the guitars then calms down (a least somewhat) the “4 kHz ice pick in the forehead” quality of too many of the modern handheld condenser mics being used for singers.
This, in turn, allows the entire mix to better “gel,” sounding fuller. (On a really good day, it allows the audience to leave the building without ringing ears and watering eyes.)
Ribbon mics can also work wonders with drum kits. While I generally don’t recommend close mic’ing a kick drum with ribbons - that much wind will definitely pop the ribbon on the first hit - they can help keep the cymbals clear.
Just be sure leave some room in the upper ranges of the treble spectrum for a little extra “air” around the vocals.
You say you’re not working with music all the time?
That’s O.K. – somehow U.S. presidents such as Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower managed to get their message across just fine with good ol’ ribbon mics in front of them. (This was in the 1940s and 1950s, youngsters.)
My point is that whipping out dynamic mics for public speakers or singers, and slapping up condenser mics for drum overheads really isn’t the only way to go about the task.
Yes, we’ve all seen it done this way for years and years, but live reinforcement system technology has improved to the point where subtlety in tonal texture and nuance that can be clearly heard lends itself to more expressive tools.
Maybe it’s time to start some new traditions; maybe it’s time to create a bit of a greater range of textures that can provide artists with a better starting point to transmit the emotion and intensity of their performances; and maybe it’s time to take advantage of the greater clarity and superior coverage of new technologies to employ some different tools.
It’s just a thought – I guess the older I get, the more bored I get with hearing the same problems stacked upon the same problems, even though a myriad of practical solutions are now ready and waiting.
Fletcher is a long-time recording and live audio professional who moderates a popular REP Forum on ProSoundWeb.
dBTechnologies Raises The Roof For 14th Annual T.J. Martell Foundation Family Day
Audio Production Services provides a dBTechnologies based sound reinforcement system for T.J. Martell Foundation fundraiser.
The 14th Annual T.J. Martell Foundation Family Day was recently held in the Roseland Ballroom in New York City.
The T.J. Martell Foundation is the music industry’s largest foundation that funds innovative medical research focused on finding cures for leukemia, cancer and AIDS.
The afternoon event featured live performances by many well-known artists including Jason Mraz, Ed Wheeran, Austin Mahone and Emblem 3. Audio Production Services (APS), located in Amawalk, New York, provided a dBTechnologies-based sound reinforcement system for the event.
The Roseland Ballroom, located in the heart of the theater district in New York City, is a large, multi-purpose venue with a main floor and balcony area and standing room capacity of 3,200.
“The dBTechnologies DVA line arrays was ideal for the event,” explains Simon Nathan, owner of APS. “The line array has more than enough power to cover the audience area and also offers fidelity to compliment the eclectic mix of performers.”
Nathan hung left-right DVA line arrays consisting of two T12 and three T4 enclosures per side. Front fill was provided by four T4 boxes spread across the lip of the stage; low end was driven by two S-30 subwoofers along with two DM12 monitors.
The monitor rig consisted of eight DVX DM12 stage monitors; sidefill was provided by stand-mounted DM15s (two) and DM12s (one) with a Sub 15 base on each side of the stage.
The sold-out event was produced by E1, Ltd, based out of Irvington-On-Hudson, New York.
“As a producer of a large variety of special events that range in scale, the sound system provided by APS always brings the most positive comments from the artists on stage and from our clients – and this even was no exception,” explains Raymond Ovetsky, owner of E1 Ltd. “Many of the sound engineers for the artists were quite complimentary on the quality and power of the dBTechnologies system.
“The house system was not only powerful – given its small footprint – but was also very clear and had exceptionally even dispersion throughout the room and balcony area. The subs were tremendous. It was a very successful event in part due to the terrific sound system provided by APS.”
Martin Audio MLA Goes Above And Beyond At London’s Alexandra Palace
Capital Sound provides sonic illusion at live 50th radio show broadcast
Capital Sound recently overcame the notoriously challenging acoustics of London’s Alexandra Palace with help from Martin Audio MLA Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) technology for a live show and radio broadcast by dance music trio Above & Beyond Group Therapy.
Capital Sound account manager Martin Connolly notes, “The Great Hall is a beautiful space; but when it was built in 1873, no one ever envisaged that the building would need to play host to the high volume of a modern day concert. Unfortunately, the amazing domed glass roof is only a minimal barrier to sound propagation.”
Martin Audio R&D director Jason Baird adds, “Just think of a marble and glass shoebox, 130 feet wide, 52 feet high and 278 feet deep.”
Above & Beyond, who operate both full band and DJ set-ups (but in this case were operating in the latter mode), had wanted to use MLA, and when they brought in Loudsound’s Dan Craig, he readily agreed, having worked successfully with MLA during the Field Day and deadmau5 shows at Hackney’s Victoria Park, as a precursor to this summer’s Hyde Park British Summertime Festival.
Capital Sound technical manager Ian Colville immediately set to work on designing the system, with Baird providing support. “We have used Martin Audio W8LC’s here in the past, but whatever system we’ve used, it has always required delays,” Colville says. “This time we felt it was time to put our faith in MLA and do away with delays.”
For both Craig and promoters Lock ‘N’ Load Events, the decision was vindicated. Craig reported that by operating to a 98 dB threshold inside, production didn’t receive a single noise complaint.
Yet the greatest ‘illusion’ was inside the venue, where by cleverly mapping the venue to optimize and ‘hard avoid’ selected areas, the clarity of the signal gave a distinct impression that the various DJs were playing a whole lot louder. And with the venue once again hosting a steady flow of events, with Capital Sound as one of their main service providers, this could prove significant.
“We had observed this characteristic from day 1,” states Colville. “If a venue is completely resonant free then the sound appears louder.”
While the complete system design is conceived ahead, the system tech will always make late adjustments on the fly, he said, such as towing in the PA a fraction. In this case once production got on site, they found the venue was not quite as long as drawings had indicated and so certain measurements needed to be re-evaluated.
The system tech on this occasion was Toby Donovan, who worked as the MLA tech on the successful Hyde Park concerts. “I have never encountered a system quite as clever as MLA,” he says. “But you still have to use common-sense in the physical world.”
For this show the L/R system was rigged with 11 MLA elements per side (atop a single MLD Downfill) with two W8C per side for out fills and eight W8LM as front fills. The PA was flown fairly high (with slight downward tilt) but then towed in marginally to keep it off the walls, using Delta plates and three motors per hang.
“We only needed about 1 degree to avoid distracting reflections; it’s what we would generally do in noise sensitive venues,” notes Donovan. “We also needed to minimize spill all round—the rear rejection with this system is really good.”
The SPL profile was built over a 5dB spread—using zero at the mix position, +2 dB at the crowd barrier and -3 dB at 275 feet back at the rear curtain.
With ‘hard avoid’ applied uniquely to this back wall the design also utilized the audience and non-audience zones with the appropriate optimization settings—the latter tapering off at the stage (from the drape line to the back wall behind).
Having the 14 MLX subs arranged in a broadside cardioid array allowed Donovan to enter delay times and change the dispersion control—using the software to electronically curve the sound into an arc. “Due to the narrow width of the venue, we were only running at 90 degrees, so this was a pretty tight LF beam,” he explains.
Donovan confirmed the belief of the entire Capital sound crew. “Such was the coherency and lack of distortion, that everyone I spoke to couldn’t believe we were only running at 98 dB. It was exactly the same on the Joe Satriani tour where we were running at 99 dB but sounding like 103 dB. Our ears deceive us into thinking that it’s so much louder.”
Paavo Siljamäki of Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy, states, “[Capital Sound] made one of the most difficult venues in London sound incredible. Never before in my touring career (with over 500 gigs behind me), has the sound in a venue been such a talking point. I had lots of sound engineer friends complimenting us on the way the place sounded,”
Connolly can also reflects on a satisfactory outing. “When we supported Subculture and Come Together at this venue for Lock ‘N’ Load Events two years ago with a hybrid system it worked well. “But the sound was no match for this. When you are not battling against reflections or ambient noise and can aim the sound off the walls, you will always appear to get more volume from the system at sensitive sites like this.
“Everyone agreed, particularly Seamus [Morley], the tour manager, who described the sound as ‘epic’ and confirmed that we had made absolutely the right choice of PA.”
Monday, November 11, 2013
Audio-Technica Celebrates 20 Years Performing At CMA Awards
For the 47th annual event, which aired live on Wednesday, November 6, 2013, leading music mixers and award-winning performers again picked A-T for sound quality and reliability
Audio-Technica is celebrating its 20th year of supporting the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards by providing an extensive selection of vocal and instrument microphones for its annual awards show.
The 47th Annual CMA Awards aired live in 5.1-channel surround sound Wednesday, November 6, 2013, on the ABC Television Network from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, and featured over 150 Audio-Technica microphones, including an impressive array of hard-wired mics and Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless Systems. Audio-Technica microphones were chosen for their ability to provide clear and consistent audio quality for live broadcast.
The CMA Awards presentation is recognized as Country Music’s Biggest Night and represents the pinnacle of achievement for those involved in country music. Once again, Audio-Technica microphones were featured for their accurate and reliable sound reproduction — characteristics that have dictated A-T’s long-standing presence with country music artists.
The team of industry veterans responsible for the audio at this year’s CMA’s again included a who’s-who of broadcast audio. The audio was supervised by award-winning audio producers Tom Davis and Paul Sandweiss; ATK/Audiotek provided the sound system with FOH (front-of-house) mixers Patrick Baltzell and Rick Shimer; the broadcast music mix was handled by New Jersey/California-based M3’s (Music Mix Mobile’s) John Harris and Jay Vicari. Stage monitoring was handled by Tom Pesa and Jason Spence.
Audio-Technica’s acclaimed Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless System with the AEW-T6100 Hypercardioid Dynamic Handheld Microphone/Transmitter was used for lead vocals by A-T endorser Jason Aldean, who performed “Night Train.” The 5000 Series wireless was also used by Darius Rucker, who performed using the AEW-T5400 Cardioid Condenser Handheld Transmitter. Rucker performed “The Gambler” as part of a Kenny Rogers Tribute and later performed the closing number, “Wagon Wheel.”
The backline mic complement of A-T wired microphones included the AT4080 Phantom-powered Bidirectional Ribbon Microphone on guitars; AT4050 Multi-Pattern Condenser Microphone on guitars and bass; AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone on overheads; AE2500 Dual-Element Cardioid Instrument Microphone on kick drum; AE5100 Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone on hi-hat and ride cymbals; AE5400 Cardioid Condenser Microphone on rotary speaker top and AT4050 on rotary speaker bottom; ATM650 Dynamic Instrument Microphone on snare; and ATM350 Cardioid Condenser Clip-On Microphone on toms and strings.
“Audio-Technica supplies an enormous amount of support for us during the CMA’s,” stated Paul Sandweiss, Co-Audio Producer of the 47th Annual CMA Awards. “Their wired and wireless mics sound great, and are consistently reliable — and having representatives from A-T and their gear here at the show makes our lives a whole lot easier!”
“I especially liked using the ATM350 on the string section during the George Jones Tribute,” states Jay Vicari, Co-Music Mixer. “The 350 allowed me to capture the sound of the strings very naturally and because of its size, it was unobtrusive on camera.”
James Stoffo, RF Coordinator/Microphone Tech, echoes Sandweiss’s sentiments: “We have 36 wireless microphones on the show from various manufacturers in a backdrop of 200 radio frequencies that include in-ears, mics and backstage communications.
“We love the support we receive from Audio-Technica, and we have never had any problems with interference, drifting or audio quality of their wireless systems. The A-T wireless that we have used, not only on this show but others, has been flawless. I’m always happy to see A-T on the show.”
Sanken Microphones Essential To Michael Bishop’s Recording of “Transmigration”
Surround recording engineer Michael Bishop explains his use of Sanken microphones for grammy award winning recording.
AES 2013 lunchtime keynote speaker Michael Bishop discussed his recording of John Adams’ “On the Transmigration of Souls”.
Its premiere recording received the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, and Best Classical Contemporary Composition and the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album.
During the presentation, surround recording engineer Michael Bishop explained his production process and played the work in its entirety.
“This is an incredibly dynamic and varied composition,” remarked Bishop, “Full of fine detail, great impact, and ever-changing color of sound within the orchestra and chorus. When setting the mics for a big composition such as this, I go for the ‘big picture’ on-stage and leave the control of inner balances of the orchestra to the conductor and musicians.”
Bishop continued, “The Sanken CO-100K mics were my choice as the main orchestra pickup because I needed a microphone that would have great reach into the orchestra while also capturing the proper top-to-bottom tonal balance. I needed a mic that could reveal very fine inner detail and color of the orchestra, yet hold up to the huge crescendos presented.”
With a 20Hz ~ 100kHz range, the Sanken CO-100K omni-directional condenser microphone is the world’s first 100kHz microphone designed specifically for professional recording.
“I expect every nuance to remain intact even when the orchestra is roaring full-throttle,” added Bishop. “The CO-100K is the obvious choice for such a task, with its huge dynamic range and frequency response. It’s the most versatile omnidirectional mic I know of and I never go into session without the CO-100Ks.”
Sanken’s CO-100K features very fast transients with an extremely smooth response curve, resulting in great clarity and unprecedented transparency. With the ability to capture sounds in the ultra-high frequency range, the microphone also produces very rich results in the low and mid-range of the audible frequency range.
“On the Transmigration of Souls,” is an award-winning work for orchestra, chorus, children’s choir, and pre-recorded tape. It was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers, and Mr. Adams received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in music for the piece.
Posted by Julie Clark on 11/11 at 11:33 AM
Friday, November 08, 2013
IK Multimedia Wireless iLoud Portable Loudspeakers Now Available
Now musicians can get studio monitor quality sound and power everywhere from a compact wireless portable stereo speaker
IK Multimedia is proud to announce that iLoud, the first portable stereo speaker designed for studio monitor quality on the go, is now available from music instrument and consumer electronics retailers worldwide.
The iLoud battery-operated speakers combine superior power, pristine frequency response and amazing low end in an ultra-portable design that makes it the perfect alternative to studio speakers for music creation, composition and playback on the go.
The iLoud speaker is indeed very loud. In fact, it’s 2 to 3 times louder than comparable size speakers - a blasting 40W RMS of power. But iLoud is extremely clear at all volume levels thanks to an onboard DSP processor and a bi-amped 4-driver array of high efficient neodymium loudspeakers, that provide accurate, even response across the entire frequency spectrum for unbelievable realism of sound.
For deep bass response iLoud’s bass-reflex allows frequencies to go down to 50hz, an amazing low end for this small enclosure.
iLoud is the ideal speaker for musicians and audiophiles who demand an accurate reproduction of a wide range of musical styles from rock, hip-hop and electronic dance music, to more nuanced and sonically demanding genres like jazz, classical and acoustic.
About the size of an iPad and only 6cm (2.3”) thick, iLoud fits easily into a laptop bag or backpack. iLoud is powered by a high-performance Li-ion rechargeable battery with smart power-management features that reduce its power consumption so that it can be used for up to 10 hours without recharging. This makes iLoud the perfect portable speaker solution for mobile musicians.
iLoud supports Bluetooth operation for wireless audio streaming anywhere and everywhere from a mobile device such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android smartphone or tablet for casual listening. For sound sources like MP3 players that do not have Bluetooth capabilities, the iLoud also has a stereo 1/8” mini-jack input for connecting line-level devices such as home stereos, DJ gear, mixers, MP3 players, and more.
iLoud also offers the ability to connect a guitar, bass or dynamic microphone directly to the speaker and process the sound with a multitude of real-time effects apps on iOS devices.
It features the same circuitry as IK’s iRig - the most popular mobile interface of all time - and allows users to plug in guitars or other instruments and access AmpliTube or other audio apps on their mobile device for practicing, performing and recording. The input also accommodates dynamic microphones, making it possible to run an app like IK’s VocaLive for real-time vocal effects and recording.
iLoud is priced at $299.99/€239.99 (excl. tax) and is available now from the IK network of music and electronic retailers around the world.
Posted by Julie Clark on 11/08 at 02:37 PM
Line 6 Launches StageSource Test Drive Program
Line 6 annoucnes StageSource test drive program.
Musicians are choosing Line 6 StageSource loudspeakers because they like the sound better than other loudspeakers.
To make it easier for musicians to experience the difference for themselves, Line 6 is launching a StageSource test drive program—at no cost to customers.
If musicians want to check out StageSource L2t or L2m loudspeakers for an upcoming gig or rehearsal, they can simply visit one of the participating dealers and take them home.
Alternately, they can the Test Drive webpage and fill in the form, and Line 6 will connect them with a dealer who can send out the speakers—at no charge.
New Zealand PA Company Invests In Allen & Heath GLD-112 And QU-16 Digital Consoles
High Definition Audio Visual LTD invests in two Allen & Heath digital consoles.
New Zealand PA company, High Definition Audio Visual Ltd (HDAV), has invested in two Allen & Heath digital consoles, a Qu-16 rackmount mixer, and the new GLD-112 with accompanying AR2412 and AR84 for additional stage and FOH I/O racks.
The Auckland-based firm has added Qu-16 to its hire stock to manage a forthcoming national corporate roadshow that will have a corporate element as well as a performance in each city by the band Moorhouse, a recent X Factor NZ contestant.
The GLD-112 system was purchased to service events in the corporate and entertainment sector. On its first outing the GLD-112 was required to handle 18 channels of corporate inputs and 22 channels of band and DJ inputs. In the coming months, the console will be managing acts such as Reece Mastin, Tiki Taane, and the Dozen, along with a host of high profile corporate events..
“This was an easy purchase decision for us,” says head audio technician, Gareth Marsh. “With flying faders, quick and easy layer assignments, and the ability to control or monitor the console from our iPad, these mixers are an engineer’s ultimate tool. Both have the capability to switch between a common corporate setup into managing a full scale band at the touch of a button.”
Allen & Heath
Thursday, November 07, 2013
DPA Microphones Enhances Main Stage Talent At Annual Monterey Jazz Festival
DPA microphones in regular use on the main stage at the Monteray Jazz Festival.
The Monterey Jazz Festival is one of the longest consecutively running jazz festivals and has featured some of the most riveting performances in the last 50 years.
With the bar set higher every year, show audiences – which have grown to more than 8,000 at the arena stage alone – now expect outstanding performances and higher quality audio each and every year.
DPA Microphones’ d:screet 4060 Omnidirectional microphone with its low-profile, natural sound, regularly accommodates Monteray Jazz Festival engineers as they look for a high-quality microphone that is guaranteed to perform in any environment.
The activity backstage at the annual Monterey Jazz Festival is usually chaotic as several guest engineers rifle through the festival’s audio inventory to select mics best suited to each performance.
Among them is Nick Malgieri, one of the festival’s freelance audio specialists, who always reaches for the DPA d:screet 4060, the mic he says he trusts most.
With the ability to amplify the most natural sound, the miniature mic is low profile so as not to distract the performers or audience members.
“I was really happy I was responsible for the main stage, because I had first pick of what mics I wanted to use,” says Malgieri. “I have been using DPA at this event for a few years now.
“Because jazz musicians all have opinions on microphone placement, and prefer something low profile, I love the DPA 4060. It removes that visual barrier for performers and audiences, so they don’t even notice the microphone is there.
“That means I get to really do my job and put the mics where I want them.”
Originally designed for the live theater setting, and for close-miked instrument applications, the sound quality of the DPA 4060 is an accurate omnidirectional pattern, and therefore does not need to be aimed directly at the instrument to achieve quality pickup.
While Malgieri uses the 4060 primarily for the piano, he relies on it to meet his needs amplifying the pure sound of many diverse instruments at the jazz event.
“Every year there’s at least one act that is a large band, especially with a lot of percussion, and loud stage volume,” continues Malgieri. “Traditionally it’s a really difficult environment for sound engineers, particularly monitor engineers. For the DPAs to work well in that environment really speaks to their versatility.”
Malgieri often finds himself sharing his setup with fellow engineers backstage, who at first may question his choices until they hear the difference in a live performance.
“The 4060’s achieve great gain before feedback,” he explains. “Some engineers underestimate the power of an omnidirectional microphone to handle the job for a large stage.
“They are more used to directional microphones that have less stage bleed, but once they hear the real instrumental tone on a large PA system, they realize the DPA d:screet 4060 sounds more natural than any other microphone, and then they change their minds and are eager to try DPA themselves.”
Malgieri has mixed the past several Monterey Jazz Festivals as a freelance audio specialist for McCune Audio/Video/Lighting. He originally discovered DPA Microphones while mixing in a theatrical setting, and has been a fan ever since.
Working On The Stage Sound—Moving From Mixing House To Monitors
A voice of experience provides a run-through on success at the monitor position
A recent assignment placed me behind a monitor console once again. It had been a while since I stage-mixed on a regular basis, so I enjoyed the change of scenery.
But this end of the snake presents a very different challenge from a front of house mix or a system engineering position.
Here, the fruits of my labors were not intended for the masses, but rather, were tailored to specific individuals and each of his or her needs, wants, desires… and idiosyncrasies. And yes, IEM has fully come of age, but not everyone will go there.
Here are some of my rules for setting up successful stage mixes.
To me, the first and most important stage-mixing rule is to understand exactly what you are trying to accomplish. (As with most things in life!)
The objective is for the player or artist to hear what they need or want to hear, in a way that makes sense to them. Do not confuse this with the idea that you are there to make it sound good to you! The two do not necessarily coincide. Wedge mixes do not generally sound like front of house mixes.
Face it; on a one-off with an unfamiliar band all you can do is give it your best shot. If it’s a couple of folks with acoustic guitars, you’re probably “in there”. If it’s Godzilla meets Metalhead, well… set up accordingly.
If you’re going on tour with a band, try to find out as much as possible about them. Perhaps the guy who was sitting in the seat before you got there would be a good place to start.
Make a plan, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel on the first day. Many musicians get used to their mixes sounding a certain way, and right or wrong be prepared to leave it that way.
But if you’re lucky enough to tour with some receptive players, you’ll have plenty of time to try different things and fine-tune your “stage sound” as you go!
First Things First
Assuming this is a tour, you’ll probably receive information about what goes in to the mixes, but it’s best to speak directly to the band members if possible. This is your starting point.
Following that initial information, you set up for your first sound check. When they begin playing and I am comfortable with my initial mixes, the next thing I like to do is walk around to the various positions and listen.
I mean really LISTEN carefully to what everyone is hearing. It will change as you move around depending on your proximity to various instruments, amplifiers and wedges.
It may change from song to song depending on the volume of the instruments. Make mental notes of what you hear. This will be the foundation for building a successful “stage sound” later.
You must also play psychiatrist a bit and try to get inside the player’s heads.
It’s important to understand the difference between a guy who will ask for his guitar in the wedge in front of him while standing in front of a Marshall stack turned up to eleven, and the guy who wants a taste of the keyboards because they are on the opposite side of the stage. If it’s all about volume and ego… (fill in the blank).
I’m always amazed at how many guys don’t take the time to really place the loudspeakers properly.
Aim them at the players’ faces, and away from troublesome acoustic instruments. (Like a grand piano) Try to keep from firing into open microphones, thank you.
Drum fills are particularly troublesome. I like to get them as far down-stage as possible alongside the riser, and aim them just up-stage of the drummer.
Orient the box so that the narrowest horn dispersion is in the horizontal plane. (Usually on its side) This will help to keep the foldback out of the tom and overhead microphones.
Be careful when you are using more than one enclosure on a mix. Play with the placement of your wedges and find out what works. You’ll be amazed at what a difference a few inches can make when it comes to hot spots and nulls.
Usually I try to find a place where they are close enough together and down-stage to still be in front of the musician, but far enough apart to aim the high frequency axis past the microphone at his ears.
When they’re too far apart, you lose that “in your face” feel. Avoid crossing the HF axis from both boxes at the microphone itself, and also be prepared for reflections from hats or costumes.
For fill loudspeaker positions, if you have multiple enclosures try to stack them, as opposed to a side-by-side configuration.
Horns that are not splayed properly will have several well-defined nulls and peaks in their response when acoustically added together. This is a classic case of non-coincident arrivals at the listener’s position and cannot be fixed with an equalizer!
You would have to splay the boxes for a very wide coverage pattern in order to add the horns together properly. (Depending on the horns of course) There are many more enclosures with 60-degree horns than with 30-degree horns.
Low Frequency Reality Check
Look around you. A reality check will tell you that if you have a relatively large house system with low frequency and sub-bass enclosures that your monitors will not be able to compete with the LF information on stage when everything is up to show speed.
Unless, of course, you want to turn everything up to “warp nine,” or add lots of sub-bass enclosures to you monitor rig, but this generally results in escalating levels with the backline amps and then the house system to overpower all of the information coming off of the stage. I think we all know what this leads to!
If you have to overpower the band with your stage rig, the house mixer will hate you and the show will suffer for it! (Just as it does if the band plays too loud.)
Use the low frequency information from the house system to fill out the bottom end in your “stage sound.”
If you’re carrying a smaller house system or playing on well-damped theater stages, this effect is not so prevalent and you can maintain a full bandwidth from your monitor system.
Pulling It Together
The best approach is to try to meld the backline amps, wedges and house loudspeakers into a system that all works together to attain the overall stage sound you are looking for.
To develop this environment, the spectral response of the mixes should be tailored to fill in what is not heard on stage from the backline amps and the house system.
This usually involves a lack of nearby instruments and VLF frequencies coming from the wedges. (A bonus for you!)
This is where the receptive players come in. You may have to point out the low frequency phenomena during a sound check, but it will be obvious to them if they listen.
Also point out the nearby instruments and how they may be heard without being very loud in their mix. Maybe even re-aim a stage amplifier to be more effective.
How many times have you seen guitar players wailing away with their speakers aimed at their rear-ends? Tilt them back and aim them at their heads. I promise they have no idea what kind of havoc they cause the house mixer about 75 to 100 feet away.
Of course this doesn’t work in every situation. It depends on the music, the venue and the players among other things.
But if you can make these principles work you can achieve the most clarity with the least volume in your wedges.
Use localization to help keep things clear on stage. It is easier to hear different instruments if they are coming from different directions. The fewer sources in any mix, the easier it is to hear them a noisy environment.
Also consider the individual instruments and a mix containing all of them. You have a certain bandwidth in which to fit them.
It’s pretty easy if it’s just a violin and a tuba, but not so straightforward with several guitars and keyboards and drums. Work at making all of the instruments sound different and fill the available spectrum with more distinct differences between them.
If a player insists on a particular tone in his monitor, but it doesn’t work for the rest of your mixes’ split the input into multiple channels on your desk so that you can tailor the sound for everyone.
Dan Laveglia is a long-time system engineer who has worked with Showco and Clair Brothers, serving top concert artists.
CADAC Licences Waves SoundGrid Technology
CADAC Licences Waves SoundGrid Technology
CADAC has signed an agreement with Waves Audio to license Waves SoundGrid technology in order to provide integration solutions of the two companies’ products.
The agreement will enable the companies to develop an interface solution between CADAC’s advanced proprietary MegaCOMMS networking technology and Waves’ SoundGrid and plugin products.
“The intention is to integrate Waves MultiRack SoundGrid with our MegaCOMMS networking technology,” says Richard Ferriday, CADAC Brand Development Manager. “This will give CADAC users access to the huge range of Waves MultiRack plug-ins, which can then be incorporated with the console’s own processing options.”
Waves Audio is among the world’s leading developers of audio plugins and signal processors, used extensively throughout the audio production industry for recording, film sound, broadcast and live sound applications.
“Waves is pleased that more and more live engineers are able to utilize the SoundGrid platform,” says Mick Olesh, Waves Audio EVP. “Consoles fully loaded with SoundGrid make it easier than ever to bring Waves quality audio processing to the stage.”
CADAC MegaCOMMS is an advanced audio networking technology that provides for greatly improved bandwidth and performance in a digital audio networking protocol. The technology currently supports transmission of 192 channels of 96kHz 24bit audio down a single cable, with superior latency, at distances of up to 150 metres.
Future development will see capacity expanded to 256 channels. The agreement with Waves Audio is a key element in a development programme that will provide MegaCOMMS interface solutions for all current industry standard networking and transmission protocols.
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Fun With A Purpose: The System For A Fast-Rising Band’s Latest Tour
Success has made a big difference in the band's concert sound approach
New York City-based indie pop band Fun (stylized as fun.) has enjoyed a remarkable couple of years, particularly since the release in 2012 of Some Nights, which saw the single “We Are Young” topping the Billboard charts in 2012 and winning Song Of The Year honors at the 2013 Grammy Awards.
That success has made a big difference in the band’s concert touring approach, with larger venues demanding a much-expanded sound reinforcement effort.
“When I came onboard in 2011, the rocket had ignited, but the band was still touring with one bus and a trailer,” front of house engineer Gord Reddy told me when we spoke a few weeks ago while he was on a break from the extensive Some Nights tour of North American sheds and arenas.
Initially after “We Are Young” hit, the band was still appearing in 1,200- to 2,000-seat venues, but soon, the tour was carrying everything but stacks and racks, and now, the production has grown to require five trucks and three buses, with a production crew of 24 to manage it all at each stop.
Audio is pretty much the only job the northwest Washington-based engineer’s ever done. “I was on tour at the age of 16, though I don’t know if I should be bragging about it,” Reddy says, laughing. He’s been mixing FOH almost exclusively since the late 1990s following a stint as a system tech for Jason Sound, and has also done tech and FOH mix work with artists such as Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan and numerous others.
A perspective of the scene for Fun performing live at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, CA. (click to enlarge)
Canada-based Solotech is the sound company for the tour, providing a Meyer Sound-led rig that includes LEO linear large-scale arrays, MICA array modules, 1100-LFC low-frequency units, and UPQ loudspeakers under Constellation and Galileo digital control.
“In the 90s, I wouldn’t leave home without (Meyer) MSL-4s,” he states. “I got on to LEO in spring 2011, and it has a frightening amount of headroom and linearity through that gain so you can push it up without restructuring the mix or EQ-ing.”
A look at the Meyer loudspeaker set, including LEO and MICA arrays, 1100-LFC low-frequency boxes and UPQ fills. (click to enlarge)
Typically at each stop, the sound team deploys 28 LEO and four MICA modules in main arrays comprised of 16 boxes each – 14 LEO with two MICA (100-degree horizontal dispersion) underneath for near field reinforcement. Coverage to each side is extended with MICA arrays, usually 10 deep, splayed outward, while low end is supplied by up to 12 1100-LFCs per side ground stacked (typically three boxes per stack).
“Twelve subs per side is just a scad more than I need, but gives me a lot more control and it’s fun to have that headroom,” he says. “Everybody’s crazy about bass steering right now – using propagation delay and cardioid arrays – but you need a lot of subs to execute effective pattern control. The best way to steer bass comes down to the dimensions of the baffle you build.”
He adds that it can get thunderous with all of that low-frequency energy up front, so the stage lip is “coated” with UPQ-2P and UPQ-1P compact loudspeakers to make sure the audience in the extreme near field is getting something to go with that big serving of sub bass.
While the size of the rig varies venue to venue, Reddy prefers to use as many loudspeakers as possible every gig.
“Not because I want to melt everybody, it’s just more consistent – more direct and less reflected energy,” he explains. “The more hanging there in terms of width and length allows you to be really specific about how you deliver that power, to make it pleasant up close while being convincing farther back. More like climbing into a set of headphones rather than listening to it off the barn wall.”
The drive system for the loudspeakers, which are all self-powered, incorporates dual Meyer Sound Galileo 616 loudspeaker management processors for alignment of multiple zones, feeding (via AES outpus) three Meyer Sound Callisto 616 array processors that provide delay integration for aligning the arrays, shaping filters, and simultaneous low- and high-pass filters for subwoofer control.
Front of house engineer Gord Reddy during setup at the Greek. (click to enlarge)
Accompanying Compass control software provides comprehensive control of all parameters from a Mac or Windows-based computer. “I use Galileo to make ‘broad strokes’ for the whole system, and then for zone-specific treatment, which I keep to an absolute minimum, I go to Callisto,” Reddy explains.
“With this loudspeaker rig – or without it – Galileo is my drive device for system EQ,” he continues. “If we’re playing a festival and they’ve got subs on an auxiliary – which is very common – when they hand me the separate wire, I drive it through my Galileo and stitch the subwoofers back into the rest of that 10-octave composite of musical information the way it should be. Galileo allows me to do that outside the mix environment.”
Good Is Good
I followed up by asking Reddy if he applies any specific treatment for Fun and received a spirited response. “You’re opening up a big can of worms for me,” he states. “Sound systems aren’t super-conceptual. I don’t care what style of music you’re spraying out of them – good power tuning is good power tuning, good directivity is good directivity, good direct-to-reflected ratios are good direct-to-reflected ratios. These do not and should not have anything to do with the artist.
Monitor engineer Dave Rupsch at his DiGiCo SD8 console. (click to enlarge)
“We owe it to ourselves, the industry, and the audience to understand how the manufacturers intended this stuff to be used. The popularized mythology says that editing crossover settings is good, but it’s the equivalent of taking the front wheels of your car out of alignment and saying, ‘When I drive on this kind of surface I like my camber angle to be out a bit.’ It never made sense and I’ll go to my grave fighting anybody who says otherwise. I’ve got two pages in my rider covering no ‘home-proved’ drive settings, please. Keep your settings away from me. Give me the ones the manufacturer developed.”
The stage is relatively quiet, devoid of monitor wedges and side fills. Band principals Nate Ruess (lead vocals), Andrew Dost (piano) and Jack Antonoff (lead guitar)—along with their touring mates Nate Harold (bass), Emily Moore (keyboards) and Will Noon (drums) – wear either Ultimate Ears or JH Audio custom in-ear monitors, fed by Shure PSM 1000 personal monitoring systems, notes Phoenix-based monitor engineer Dave Rupsch, who joined the Fun crew in January of this year.
Vocals are captured with Shure SM58 capsules on UHF-R wireless systems, although lead singer Ruess occasionally switches to a KSM9 capsule for his vocal, primarily to add a bit of variety.
“I haven’t been looking for more than what I get with the 58,” Reddy says, “but you get ‘sound drunk’ listening to the same stuff all the time, so we’ll go to the KSM9, then go back the other way.”
Bass, keys, sampler and acoustic guitars are taken direct with Radial DI boxes, while guitarist Antonoff’s VOX electric guitar cabinets are handled with a combination of Shure KSM32 side-address cardioid condensers and Beta 56A dynamics.
“One of the cabinets is in an ISO box to maximize the distinct and very lovely tone a VOX produces when spun-up all the way, while minimizing the issues it would create with five open vocal mics,” Rupsch explains.
The drum kit is captured with Shure Beta 91 and 52 on kick, Beta 181s for cymbal underheads, an SM57 on snare bottom, and KSM137s on snare top, toms and hi-hat. “For the kick I get some information from the 91 to provide the noise gate for the 52,” Reddy notes, “but it’s mostly the 52 for me.” Two more KSM137s placed stage left and right collect stage ambience.
Pleasing & Lush
Rupsch and Reddy both do their mixing on DiGiCo SD8 consoles. “The SD8 was a happy accident,” says Rupsch. “I’d never used DiGiCo before, and in fact was just finishing up training on the Midas PRO Series when I was approached for this job. Rather than push for a PRO Series console, I decided to give the SD8 a shot. The snapshot editing is great.”
The monitor workspace outfitted with a DiGiCo SD8, Shure wireless and more. (click to enlarge)
It’s a challenging show to mix from a monitoring standpoint, he adds. “With six people on stage – five of them singing constantly – framing the overall mix changes drastically between songs, but they do a fine job of mixing themselves in many respects.”
The twin SD8s cut down on infrastructure needs in general, Reddy notes. “Previously, monitors and FOH shared the data stream out of one stage rack, so we were down to a splitter, a stage rack and two local racks. Now, the budget and truck space are there and we’re splitting copper to two stage racks so we can have independent control, and because we have a diverging input list now – a couple of click lines, audience and shout mics that I don’t use and some he (Rupsch) doesn’t use.”
Given the band’s very busy press schedule, time for sound check with them can be hard to come by, but it’s not a huge concern given the familiarity that’s developed due to the length of the tour.
Plenty of boxes on stage deliver a “coating” of mid/high energy to the extreme near field. (click to enlarge)
Whenever possible, Reddy defaults to a virtual sound check using his PC and Reaper recording software. Prior to each show, he evaluates the system in the Meyer MAPP Online Pro predictive application, with Rational Acoustics Smaart deployed to assist with tuning.
“I keep the PA quite flat, probably brighter and with less low end than many people might prefer. Then I force the composition of the mix to give that bass back,” he concludes. “The mix coming out of the console is pleasing, thick, and lush down low, but being delivered to a pretty flat system, which gives me a predictable and structured target to shoot for every day, just like the guys in the studio making the record.”
Based in Toronto, Kevin Young is a freelance music and tech writer, professional musician and composer.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
FOH Engineer Eddie Mapp Captures Paramore Live With sE Electronics VR1 Mics, IRF2 Filters
Voodoo VR1 ribbon mics and IRF2 filters for band’s guitar sounds
Eddie Mapp, front of house engineer with alt-rock/pop band Paramore, is using three sE Electronics Voodoo VR1 ribbon microphones and a pair of patented IRF2 instrument reflexion filters with the band on tour.
Paramore is currently playing arenas in Latin America before heading to Europe for a month in support of its self-titled fourth album, which made its debut at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart in April.
Mapp is using the VR1s on the electric guitar rigs in the live line-up, where three touring musicians supplement the three-piece band.
“Each of the three guitar players has a clean guitar rig and a distorted guitar rig; I’ve got the VR1s on the distorted cabinets as well as Taylor’s clean amp,” explains Mapp.
Although the three guitarists—band member Taylor York, his brother Justin York and multi-instrumentalist Jon Howard—prefer more traditional dynamic or condenser mics with a little faster reacting top end for their in-ear monitor mixes, says Mapp, “I like to tune my PA as a nice linear system, so it’s nice to have a flat microphone like the VR1 where I can place the high-end emphasis wherever I need it out front and the ribbon element really helps it sit in the mix with out over powering the vocal in the upper mid range.”
He adds, “I’ve always liked ribbon microphones and mainly used them more in the studio as room mics and for different applications. But I hadn’t used them a lot on guitar in the past just because of the lack of top end.”
The Voodoo VR1, however, corrects that typical ribbon microphone characteristic through the use of a patent pending mechanical device designed by Siwei Zou, CEO of sE Electronics that enables a flat response from 20 Hz through 20 kHz.
“The VR1 is super-sturdy, it takes EQ really well and I like the fact that it does go down really low—lower than I normally need for the show,” Mapp continues. “There are certain parts in the show where maybe the guitar does a little ‘dive-bomb’ and I take out the high-pass filter and push it up. It’s really fun, the way it just fills the room.”
Mapp also enjoys the low-mid push that the VR1 provides, especially when using them on outdoor shows. “I think perhaps because you don’t have the room pushing back against them, sometimes you don’t get the same feel of the guitars outdoors. But with the amount of usable low-mid in the VR1, outdoors I’ll sometimes leave a little bit more of it on the guitars, which just makes them sound gigantic.”
Mapp, who has also worked with bands such as Taking Back Sunday, Evanescence and Stone Temple Pilots, first heard about the Voodoo VR1 from two fellow touring FOH engineers: “It was Andy Meyer, who mixes Mötley Crüe and Justin Timberlake, and [Ken] Pooch [Van Druten], who mixes Linkin Park—they had both started using the VR1 and recommended that I check it out. I just fell in love with the thing.”
As for the positioning of the VR1 mics, he adds, “In the studio I tried miking the cabinet dead center and then on the edge of the speaker. At first I really liked the sound just on the edge of the dust cover, but I found that in context with everything it cuts a little better right in the middle.”
Mapp uses z-bars to position the VR1s on each cabinet, and has adapted hardware to allow him to also position IRF2 filters on two of the rigs. “The two upstage guitar players both have rear-facing cabinets, so I’m using IRF2 filters on those, especially when we’re playing smaller places with a close back wall, just to eliminate that first reflection. I try to keep everything on stage as isolated as possible because I’m already sending it out into this giant, ambient space.”