Monday, November 09, 2015
Volksoper Vienna Selects DPA Microphones
Theatre has more than 200 DPA microphones for the orchestra, actors and singers.
As the city’s main stage for operetta, opera, musicals and ballet, Vienna’s Volksoper is an incredibly busy theatre with some 300 performances of around 35 different productions staged every year between September and June.
Delivering such a high volume of performances requires a great deal of effort from everyone involved, especially the sound department, who turn to DPA Microphones to meet such a strenuous demand.
“To cope with such an intense workload, our sound equipment has to be flexible, durable and very hard working,” says Martin Lukesch, head of Sound and Multimedia at Volksoper Vienna.
“This is why we use DPA microphones. For many years they have played an important part in providing the amplification for the orchestra, actors in musicals and actors and singers in every kind of show. Opera and operettas, of course, require no amplification - that’s all down to the power of the human voice.”
Friday, November 06, 2015
Audio-Technica Microphones For CMA Awards
More than 150 vocal and instrument microphones deployed for the 49th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards in Nashville.
Audio-Technica supplied more than 150 vocal and instrument microphones for the 49th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, presented Wednesday, November 4, 2015, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Broadcast live in 5.1-channel surround sound on the ABC Television Network, the awards show featured an extensive selection of Audio-Technica hard-wired microphones, plus Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless Systems with AEW-T6100a and AEW-T5400a Handheld Microphone/Transmitters.
The CMA Awards presentation is recognized as Country Music’s Biggest Night and represents the pinnacle of achievement for those involved in country music.
The team of industry veterans responsible for the audio at this year’s CMA’s again included a who’s-who of broadcast audio.
Serving as co-audio producers were Tom Davis and Paul Sandweiss; ATK/Audiotek provided the sound system with front of house mixers Patrick Baltzell (production mixer) and Rick Shimer (music mixer); the broadcast music mix was handled by New Jersey/California-based M3’s (Music Mix Mobile’s) John Harris and Jay Vicari; J. Mark King served as broadcast production mixer. Stage monitoring was handled by Tom Pesa and Jason Spence, and James Stoffo served as RF coordinator/microphone tech.
Audio-Technica’s Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless System with the AEW-T6100a Hypercardioid Dynamic Handheld Microphone/Transmitter was used for lead vocals by A-T endorser Jason Aldean, who performed “Gonna Know We Were Here”; fellow A-T endorser Thomas Rhett, who a performed mashup of “Crash and Burn” and “Uma Thurman” with Fall Out Boy; Justin Timberlake, who guested with Chris Stapleton on “Tennessee Whiskey” and Timberlake’s own “Drink You Away”; and Hank Williams Jr., who sang his new single “Are You Ready for the Country” with Eric Church.
The 5000 Series wireless was also used by Maddie & Tae, who performed “Girl in a Country Song” using the AEW-T5400a Cardioid Condenser Handheld Microphone/Transmitter (earlier in the evening, Maddie & Tae won “Music Video of the Year” for that very song).
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 overheads; AT4040/SV Cardioid Condenser Microphone on guitars; AE2500 Dual-Element Cardioid Instrument Microphone on kick drum; AE5100 Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone on hi-hat and ride cymbals; ATM650 Hypercardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone on snare; and ATM350 Cardioid Condenser Clip-On Microphone and ATM250 Hypercardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone on toms.
“Audio-Technica is a vital supporter of our technical team during the CMA Awards,” stated Tom Davis, co-audio producer of the 49th Annual CMA Awards.
“Their artist relations and on-site technical support are both superior. And of course, their wired and wireless mics sound great, and are consistently reliable. Having A-T in our corner makes our lives a whole lot easier.”
James Stoffo, RF coordinator/microphone tech, echoes Davis’s sentiments: “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 5000 series 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.”
Church Sound: Proper Preparation Comes In Handy When “Survival Mode” Strikes
On typical Sunday mornings, we have about 35 minutes to clear the traditional service off the stage, set up the contemporary service, and then have the band do a final run-through of the music package.
We’ve worked out a pretty smooth approach to these transitions - most weeks it works well, with the sound check/rehearsal complete by about 15 minutes ahead of the start of the contemporary service.
One particular Sunday morning, however, things weren’t quite so typical.
The worship leader (who is also the keyboardist) planned on using a Hammond B3 with a Leslie cabinet as well as the acoustic grand piano. The piano is already on stage for the traditional service, so we just had to wheel out the B3 and mic it up.
Simple stuff, right?
Simple if it all works…
As the band began rehearsing the first number, the worship leader noticed that the Leslie was stuck at full speed and there was nothing that he could do to change it. I took a quick look as well, to see if it was something simple like a stuck relay or bad connection. After about three minutes, I said we better move to “plan B” or we were going to run out of time.
I hustled to grab the electronic keyboard from the rehearsal room, while the worship leader grabbed the keyboard stand, power cord and sustain pedal. My assistant snagged a couple of direct boxes and cables. We had a mission, and needed it accomplished quickly.
After getting the keyboard set up, I instructed the worship leader to begin rehearsing while we cleared the B3 and Leslie cabinet out of the way.
Usually, I work with the front of house operator on the main mix during the rehearsal time, but on this particular morning, that wasn’t an option due to the other issues. He was on his own. The band ran through a couple of quick numbers and then it was “go time.”
My front of house guy later told me, “In all of the rush I was able to get a decent line check and set levels, but I never really started to mix until the guest vocalist showed up.”
What? Guest vocalist?
O.K., I did actually recall that we had a guest vocalist on the schedule, but she didn’t arrive until 15 minutes before the start of the service. Normally, I would have said, “sorry, but we don’t have time to sound check, so we’re going to have cut your number.”
However, due to all of the other craziness, the band was still rehearsing, and the another caveat was that the senior pastor who was preaching that Sunday had specifically crafted a good part of his message around her song.
So, the worship leader noticed that the guest vocalist had arrived, stopped the band in the middle of the song, and instructed them to jump to the guest vocalist’s song. The vocalist started singing and immediately struggled to hit some of the notes. (Wow, this morning just kept getting better and better!)
The worship leader again stopped the band and instructed them to drop the song by a key. Bingo! She sounded great, the song rocked, and we had a whole eight minutes to spare before the start of the service.
One other thing that I noticed: when the guest vocalist was rehearsing she kept looking over the worship leader/keyboardist’s shoulder to remind her of the words to the song. So I ran to the church office (other side of the building, of course), made a copy of the music, then ran to backstage, grabbed a music stand, and set it on stage with the music.
I wasn’t even halfway to front of house when I heard the worship leader give the morning greeting, and just as I entered the sound booth, the band hit the first chord of the opening song.
I looked at my front of house guy and he gave me a thumbs up.
I finally felt a little relieved, but I’m not sure if it was because it seemed like we were going to pull it off, or that come what may, good or bad, we were now on for the morning.
Of course, as sometimes happens in these types of situations, everything came off great—the guest vocalist nearly got a standing ovation, the worship package was tight, and the senior pastor was oblivious that we had struggled at all to make it happen.
Unfortunately over the years, however, I’ve seen similar scenarios that ended in disaster. So why do I think we were able to make it work?
1) We are prepared. Our team (tech and talent) does the stage change-over every week and really has it down, so last-minute changes and problems can be isolated and dealt with while everything else continues apace.
2) We all work together. There’s no blame assigned, and no outward frustration shown by anyone on the team.
3) We are skilled professionals. When necessary, we can improvise, just as importantly, we know how to improvise.
4) The God factor. I don’t want to underplay or overplay this, but it is my belief (and scripture shows) that if we all bring our best and give our best, God will multiply those efforts.
Would I want to do this every week? NO! Do we plan and work ahead to keep ourselves out of situations like this as much as possible? YES!
In defense of the guest vocalist, she’d never worked with us before and thought it was reasonable to show up 15 minutes early to do a quick sound check, and further, we never communicated that we expected her to be there 45 minutes before the start of the service. So, it’s another item to add to our list.
In addition, she had an awful sore throat that morning and thus struggled to hit the higher notes, so she didn’t anticipate having to lower the song a key.
I once worked with a worship leader who said that if you prepare, no matter what happens in the service, you’re more ready to change direction. I guess we all know this, or at least should, but particularly if you’re having “one of those days,” it’s great to see put it into practice and help turn a tough situation into a win.
Gary Zandstra has worked in church production and as an AV systems integrator for more than 35 years.
Posted by Keith Clark on 11/06 at 12:42 PM
Serena Ryder Performs Quiet Concert At Bay Of Fundy With Sennheiser
Parks Canada and CBCMusic coordinate live event for over 1,000 fans using Sennheiser wireless RS series headphones.
On August 29, a natural wonder best known for its dramatic tides, sandy beaches, and lush greenery was the site for a concert by performing artist Serena Ryder.
The concert, held ‘on the ocean floor’ at low tide in Fundy National Park near the southeast coast of Canada, was performed to more than 1,000 attendees using Sennheiser wireless headphones as part of Parks Canada and CBCMusic’s Quietest. Concert. Ever.
The event was organized in close collaboration with Serena Ryder, Sennheiser, and the Province of New Brunswick.
Herring Cove beach is located at the nortwestern reaches of the Bay of Fundy, known for its vast tidal range, which extends 50 vertical feet between high and low tides.
At its highest point, the tide obscures the beach entirely, and when it recedes a temporary oasis is revealed. It was on this ephemeral surface where Parks Canada and CBCMusic hosted the latest edition of its Quietest. Concert. Ever.
Utilizing wireless technology provided by Sennheiser, Ryder’s performance was broadcast directly to audience members’ headphones – resulting in a musically captivating listening experience amidst the unique and beautiful surroundings. The concert series itself is designed to bring live music to the most beautiful outdoor spaces in Canada in a way that respects the sanctity of these protected environments.
Creating a temporary performance space on the ocean floor of Herring Cove beach presented unique challenges for Parks Canada and CBCMusic.
“High tide to low tide and back to high tide again is about six hours, so we only had that long to stage the entire event,” said production consultant Steve Glassman. The project required reliable wireless technology that could be set up quickly and deliver high quality, streaming audio to 1000 concert-goers without interruption.
“After exploring companies with suitable technology that could handle such a project, Sennheiser was at the top of the list,” said Glassman, who had previously worked with Sennheiser on the first Quietest. Concert. Ever. in Banff National Park in 2013.
The portability of Sennheiser’s wireless headphone technology was a boon to the production team, who had to deliver all of the equipment for the concert to the beach via helicopter.
“Our payload consisted of twenty loads of 800 pounds each as it was,” noted Glassman, who was thankful for the absence of large speaker stacks. After production rehearsals in the days leading up to the event, the CBCMusic team quickly set up the stage, instruments, and cables on the day of the performance.
During the performance itself, audio was captured and broadcast from a truck parked at the top of Herring Cove, which sent the audio signal to a strategically placed Sennheiser transmitter located on the beach before arriving at the listeners’ headphones.
After audience members were delivered to the secluded Herring Cove beach via shuttle bus, each collected a pair of RS series Sennheiser headphones before descending a 170-step staircase to attend the 5:00 p.m. performance in the dried out basin. Ryder delivered a compelling performance, made all the more special by the scenery and intimate audio streaming to each headphone.
“What a magical experience. Thanks to Sennheiser for giving the audience a crystal-clear soundscape at the Bay of Fundy,” said Ryder, who has been touring with Sennheiser wireless equipment since early 2013.
At the Bay of Fundy concert, she sang through a gold-plated Sennheiser SKM 2000 handheld transmitter coupled with an MMK 965-1 capsule, while relying on an ew 572 G3 system and an additional SK 500 G3 for her guitars.
For the backline microphones, Serena’s band used Sennheiser e 906s on guitar cabinets, evolution 900 series on drums (including a Neumann KM 184 on hi-hat) – along with two Sennheiser MK 4s as overheads and an MKE 600 miking up the audience. Her wireless monitoring system consists of 10 channels of Sennheiser’s 2000 series.
“Sennheiser played an integral role in the whole concept of this concert series because the gear didn’t detract or interrupt the pristine natural wonder of this special place like other equipment surely would have,“ said Ben Aylsworth, executive producer, CBC.
After an hour of enchanting music and breathtaking scenery, audience members climbed the stairs and returned to their shuttle buses with an indelible memory. Meanwhile, stage and gear were packed up swiftly as the Bay of Fundy would lay claim once again to Herring Cove beach.
The one-hour TV special of ‘Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy’s Ocean Floor’ (with Serena Ryder) was broadcast on CBC on September 25th – showcasing the beauty of Fundy National Park as Serena Ryder debuts new singles from her unreleased album in an exclusive performance for CBCMusic.
VUE Audiotechnik Supports Big Blues Bender Festival
H.A.S. Productions deploys al-8s arrays with hs-28 subwoofers at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
The 2015 Big Blues Bender held at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada recently wrapped up with much praise for the high level of production.
Las Vegas, NV based H.A.S. Productions provided staging, lighting, and a VUE Audiotechnik-based audio design for the 4-day, multi-stage event they have had as a client since the festival’s inception.
This isn’t your average festival or attendee, “The fans in the blues community are ‘audiophiles’ and have very high standards in what they like and what they will tolerate,” says Larry Hall, CEO of H.A.S Productions. “We deployed every piece of VUE Audiotechnik gear that we own for the festival.”
The Bender Theater stage was located in the hotel’s main ballroom where such Blues heavyweights as Buddy Guy and Robert Randolph performed.
“The low ceilings posed a challenge for us on how much PA we could hang in this room,” says Hall. “We managed to get just six al-8s in the air per side along with hs-28 subwoofers on the floor. Front of house was forced to the very back of the room due to immense ticket sales. Luckily, the smaller than typical PA for a room its size was nonetheless able to carry all the way to the back with no delay clusters.”
An army of hm-112s and hm-212s zigzagged the stage for monitoring. “It is always fun to see guest engineers fire up the hm-212 for the first time; the look of awe and joy is priceless,” says Easley. “Follow that by the thumbs up we get from the artists on stage and it makes all the work and investment worth it. The VUE monitors are simply awesome.”
The Bender Showroom stage at the festival ran so long, the audio crew was split into two shifts. This venue was housed in the Plaza hotel’s main showroom. H.A.S. Productions loaded in al-8s, al-4s and hs-28 subwoofers along with a tall pile of hm-112 monitors.
“Downbeat was 12 noon in this room each day and wasn’t scheduled to stop until 4 a.m. each night,” says Easley.
“When you have the likes of Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Mike Zito, Tommy Castro, and Tab Benoit all on stage together making some amazing music, you just let them keep going no matter what time it is. We knew that coming in and planned accordingly with our staff to ensure we were on point for our client.”
Brad Bryan, production manager for the Big Blues Bender comments, “Larry and the crew at H.A.S. Productions nailed it for us once again. The audio quality with the VUE system was amazing, not to mention the superior level of A1 and A2 talent that H.A.S Productions brings to the party.”
“We have been using the VUE Audiotechnik systems for over a year now and have yet to run into anything that it won’t do for us. The cabinets, the amps, the service, and most importantly the support we get from VUE is amazing and makes our investment worthwhile. It really is like family and that is very important to a company like H.A.S Productions,” says Hall.
Big Blues Bender
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Mid-Coast Sound Steps Up To Meyer Sound LEOPARD
Nashville-based company expands system offerings and capabilities with new line array rig for live events.
Since delivery of its new Meyer Sound LEOPARD line array loudspeaker system, Nashville-based Mid-Coast Sound has seen an immediate growth in its live sound business on the home turf and in events stretching from Kentucky to Mississippi.
The team expects the power-to-size ratio of LEOPARD to play a major role in the company’s future projects.
“For most events we do, LEOPARD is just about the perfect loudspeaker,” says Bruce Bossert, owner of Mid-Coast Sound.
“To use a boxing analogy, it punches way above its weight. It has the horsepower of most competitive boxes weighing twice as much. It allows us to support large-format events in buildings where it would be a struggle to fly other systems.”
Mid-Coast has used its LEOPARD system at the Silver Star Convention Center in Philadelphia, Miss. for artists such as Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Merle Haggard, and Styx.
The system has also supported artists such as Los Lobos at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom as part of the Americana Music Festival, as well as Hillvue Heights Church’s Godstock festival in Lucas, Kentucky.
“Pound for pound, it’s the best box I’ve ever used,” says Duane Tabinski of Mid-Coast Sound, who serves as systems tech for the shows. “The output is incredible, and you hear detail that you just don’t hear with other systems.”
Blaine Musgrove, entertainment manager for the Silver Star Convention Center, has heard practically every other competitive system in the room, and was taken aback at how well the modestly sized arrays covered the venue’s 2,500 seats. “After hearing LEOPARD support two totally different types of music, I absolutely fell in love with the rig,” he says. “It filled the room beautifully, and once Duane tuned the rig we had no bounce-back from the hard, low ceiling. It was just amazing how clear it sounded.”
Mid-Coast worked in partnership with the Silver Star Convention Center’s principal audio vendor Stagelite Sound to provide LEOPARD for the shows. The venue is part of the larger Pearl River Resort, a complex of hotels, casinos, and recreation sites developed by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
The smallest, most versatile member of Meyer Sound’s flagship LEO Family, the patent-pending LEOPARD loudspeaker boasts extraordinary power-to-size ratio with ultra-low distortion, with default low-mid array compensation for utmost simplicity out of the box. LEOPARD adds to Mid-Coast’s Meyer Sound inventory of MILO and MINA line array loudspeakers, 700-HP subwoofers, and 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements.
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
JBL And Crown Deliver At iHeartRadio Music Festival
Firehouse Productions deploys VTX line arrays and I-Tech HD amplifiers for more than 16,000 fans in Las Vegas.
As it has the past four years, Firehouse Productions relied on a Harman Professional Solutions audio system, featuring JBL VTX line arrays and Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers, for the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.
Firehouse cited high performance, durability and ease of setup as keys to its continued reliance on Harman Professional Solutions components.
This year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival featured performances from Kanye West, Coldplay, Sam Smith, Puff Daddy, Fall Out Boy, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Lopez, David Guetta, Kenny Chesney and many more.
For the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the goal was to provide powerful and uniform coverage to a crowd of more than 16,000 fans, which Firehouse Productions achieved by deploying a main PA system that featured a left-right configuration of 18 JBL VTX V25-II-CS line array elements per side, plus 16 VTX V20 line array elements per side for out fill.
A total of 16 VTX G28 subwoofers provided low-frequency reinforcement, while four V20 loudspeakers and four VERTEC VT4886 line array loudspeakers were used for front fill. Seventy Crown I-Tech 12000HD and 12 I-Tech 4x3500HD amplifiers powered the system. System management and control were handled with JBL HiQnet Performance Manager software, which simplified the system setup and enabled management of the entire system from a single location.
“The integration of the JBL LAC (Line Array Calculator) II and Performance Manager software to design and then control the system was key in allowing us to maintain even coverage from the top row of seating all the way down to the front row,” said Adam Loesch, front of house systems engineer, Firehouse Productions.
“The new precision inter-angle positions (.5 degrees and .75 degrees) proved to be invaluable in maintaining even coverage and consistent volume throughout the vertical listening plane.”
In addition, Erik Sandberg, front of house production mixer for Firehouse Productions, explained the importance of the Harman Professional Solutions system to handle various types of music with ease for an event that featured artists from a variety of genres.
“The Harman system performed very well, providing both clarity and power, as well as great stability with the presenters’ microphones, which were used to introduce the acts from the middle of the arena,” Sandberg noted.
As with most large-scale productions, providing high-impact, low-frequency support is a key to ensuring satisfaction for audiences and artists alike.
“The G28 subwoofers definitely got their workout on this musical variety show that ran for more than five hours, as visiting engineers pushed them to their limits, but they never sounded stressed or compressed,” Loesch added.
“We also noticed a smooth transition from the left-right hangs [V25-II-CS] to the side hangs [V20]. Also, the new vertical transport system saves us a lot of time and space when loading into a crowded venue floor.”
Harman Professional Solutions
Karl Winkler’s reference to “great quotes” in his recent column (here) got me thinking about the many (too many to count, in fact) insightful comments that have appeared on the pages of ProSoundWeb and Live Sound International over the years. It lead to a weekend of reading more than a hundred archived articles, and from them, I’ve drawn the following quotes about the world of pro audio.
“People don’t come to hear me mix, they come to hear the act. I want to present artists as they are. Hopefully, I’m just turning up what they’re doing.” – Dave Natale, FOH engineer
“There will always be a desire for good sound and a general lack of understanding in attaining it. So not everybody will just be able to throw together a sound system with any sort of good or even mediocre results.” – Jim Long, Electro-Voice
“It depends.” – Pat Brown, SynAudCon
“Mixing sound in the live realm is not rocket science. In fact, it’s probably closer to voodoo.” – Dave Rat, FOH engineer, Rat Sound
“They’re just tools, not a magic safety net. No single person who wants to truly succeed as a mixer can do it by relying on a machine.” – Wayne Pauley, mix engineer
“Sonic excellence occurs when you capitalize on the best opportunities for reinforcing the sound that’s already being created onstage. Do that, and then you don’t have to work so hard the rest of the time.” – Brett “Scoop” Blanden, FOH engineer
“You can use shabby equipment like cassette players or you can use high-end equipment, but it’s all about ideas, and ideas don’t rely as much on technology as you might think.” –Christopher Shutt, theatre sound designer
“So instead of concentrating on ‘digital versus analog’ and whether or not our microphones reproduce signals up past 50 kHz, let’s worry about what really matters: good sound in the mid-band.”—Karl Winkler, columnist & works with Lectosonics
“I find that a compressor with a brickwall limiter allows you to resume your relaxation.” – The Old Soundman
“Tom (Petty) and the band have taught me over time that there’s just as much skill in revealing something as there is in bringing something up. It’s not always about louder, it might be a matter of pulling something back so something else shines through.” – Robert Scovill, FOH engineer
“My job was to get a balance and be invisible, to be a servant of the music and provide the technology to establish an emotional connection between the musicians and audience.” – Bryan Bell, FOH engineer
“When I’m asked how I got into this business, I tell them that I said yes to the wrong people.” – Mick Whelan, Adamson Systems
“If you want to make a million in audio, you know how you do it? Start with two million.” – Ryan Jenkins, owner, Arizona Concert Sound Solutions
“I think I’ve done close to 3,000 shows with the guy (Rod Stewart), so we’re hoping we’re going to get it right sooner rather than later.” – Lars Brogaard, FOH engineer
“I never thought about getting into audio. I wanted to be a rock star.” – Tim Cain, co-owner, Gemini LSV
“There are two approaches to mixing monitors: the ‘taking it to a fine art’ approach, and the boxing gloves approach.” – Michael Prowda, monitor engineer
“It’s way easier to please 10,000 people than five musicians.” – Sean Sturge, monitor engineer
“At the end of the day, the guy sitting in the third row doesn’t care how long it took to hang the PA, or how light weight it is. He just wants it to sound good, and so do I.” – Kevin Margolin, co-founder, Atomic Professional Audio
“Anybody can provide equipment; it’s the way you implement that equipment and the attitude you have that makes for a successful event.”—TC Furlong, founder/owner, TC Furlong
“As a practitioner of this craft you have to simultaneously understand your equipment and your input—meaning the artist on stage or whatever the content is—as well as who is listening to the results of your work.”—David Scheirman, mix engineer/system consultant
“It can all be accomplished as long as we don’t confine ourselves to the self-imposed limitations inherent in viewing one technique as ‘right’ and all others as ‘wrong’.”—James Cadwallader, mix engineer
“One of my most important roles is to ensure that even if every instrument in the band is frozen solid, a block of ice, that there’s still ceremonial music.”—Karl Jackson, chief audio technician, United States Marine Band
“Two hard-earned observations: 1) No matter how much I yell at the crew, it never makes it sound better; 2) If I act like there’s a huge problem, people will know there’s a huge problem.”—Dave Rat, FOH engineer, Rat Sound
“This business is not for the squeamish. You can get squashed like a bug, but if you can survive it, you can make a comfortable living, you can work half the year. You’ve just got to pay attention and stay out of jail.”—Jim “Redford” Sanders, mix engineer
“What is the most important thing in the band to amplify? OK, put that up. What is the next most important thing? Now put that up. Continue in that mode until – and this is very important – things start sounding cluttered and unclear. Then back up, to the point when it was still clear, and stop right there.”—The Old Soundman
“Essentially, I throw things into the mix, eliminate what doesn’t work and continue to develop what does.”—Christopher Shutt, theatre sound designer
“I like things people say you can’t do.” – Tom Danley, Danley Sound Labs
“Young guys ask me ‘what do I need to do to do what you do?’ And I tell them ‘first, learn to listen’.” – Stan Miller, FOH engineer
“Some people see every other company in the world as competition, as in, ‘they’re my enemy.’ But I see them as trying to live their dreams like I’m living mine.” – Mike Bourne, owner, All-Star Audio Systems
“The rules of touring are simple. Show up, do your job well, and don’t be a jerk. You’re living in a submarine with a bunch of other people. You’ve got to be enjoyable to be around.” – Jamie Anderson, Rational Acoustics
“The shows are a bitch, and then you coil cables.”—The Old Soundman
“That’s how we all learned in those days – on the road. We were definitely making it up as we went along.”—Mike Scarfe, MHA Audio
“If you’re not going to jump in the swimming pool, you’re not going to find the best way to swim. And if you’re not on the road, people think you’re not necessarily designing solutions for their situations.”—Mick Whelan, Adamson Systems
“Whatever sounds good on a particular instrument on a particular day, we move forward with that.”—George Cowan, FOH engineer
“If something happens on stage and you’re working for the president of the United States, you want to walk calmly, with authority, and go up and fix it. You don’t want to run, because the Secret Service will shoot you in the ass.”—Mike Bourne, All-Star Audio Systems
“I’ve done everything from schlepping gear, to setting it up, to designing it, to mixing on it. I like it all. It’s a good day’s work.”—Phil Scobee, mix engineer/system consultant
“You only get one shot to give them a positive experience.”—David Scheirman, mix engineer/system consultant
“When you turn up the kick in a large arena with a massive PA, it’s something you never forget. Once you’ve mixed, you always want to mix.”—Dave Natale, FOH engineer
“To me the greatest compliment a band can pay you is to rehire you.” – Deb Hutchins, monitor engineer
“I look at it this way. There’s 24 hours in the day, and sometimes 22 of them can suck pretty good. However, when the lights go down, and the people stand up and start screaming, I get two hours that make it all worth it.” – Jim “Redford” Sanders, FOH engineer
Keith Clark is editor in chief of Live Sound International and ProSoundWeb.
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
JBL VTX Line Arrays And Crown I-Tech HD Amplifiers For Rock In Rio
Gabisom Audio Equipment supports Rock in Rio's 30th anniversary at the City of Rock, a specially built venue for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Harman Professional Solutions supplied tour sound provider, Gabisom Audio Equipment, with JBL VTX line arrays and Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers for this year’s Rock in Rio festival in Brazil.
Drawing more than a half-million fans over two weekends, Rock in Rio celebrated its 30th anniversary at the City of Rock, a specially built venue on the site where the Olympic Village will be located for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
As it has in years past, Rock in Rio featured performances by some of the biggest names in music, including Rihanna, Elton John, Metallica, Rod Stewart, Katy Perry, John Legend, Sam Smith, System of a Down, Queen and more.
“World-class sound quality and consistent performance are of the utmost importance at an event on as grand a scale as Rock in Rio,” said Peter Racy, chief engineer of Brazil-based Gabisom Audio Equipment.
“Also, the integration between VTX and I-Tech HD enables us to easily manage the system, which would otherwise be a difficult task for an event featuring so many different acts. Our VTX and I-Tech HD system has served us extremely well over the past few years on a wide variety of events, but especially at recent Rock in Rio festivals. The Harman system once again came through for us in a big way and helped make this year’s Rock in Rio another rousing success.”
Gabisom Audio Equipment deployed a massive live PA system at Rock in Rio, featuring a total of 130 JBL VTX V25 full-size line array elements, 50 VTX S28 arrayable subwoofers and 32 VTX G28 ground-stacked subwoofers. 160 Crown I-Tech 12000HD amplifiers and eight Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD amplifiers powered the system. In addition, Gabisom Audio Equipment managed the system with JBL HiQnet Performance Manager software.
Harman Professional Solutions
Monday, November 02, 2015
Seven Tips To Get Voices Ready For Gigs
Since the vocalist is the only musician who can’t put their instrument away in a protective case after the gig or rehearsal, it’s important to take very good care of it.
Eventually every singer has some vocal trouble, and if you’re not careful, it can really lead to long term damage. That’s why it’s important for a singer to learn to be especially aware of the need to take care of him or herself.
Here’s an excerpt from the band improvement book How To Make Your Band Sound Great with 7 tips to help vocalists keep their voices healthy and ready to sing at every gig and recording session.
1 - Aside from being sick, the number one cause of vocal problems is not getting enough sleep. When you’re tired, all the parts of your body needed to support your vocal cords tend to weaken a bit, which leads improper breathing and thus throat problems shortly after you begin to sing. Get as much sleep as you can (preferably seven or eight hours) the night before a gig, or at least take a nap on the day of the gig so you can feel somewhat refreshed.
2 - The next thing is to avoid milk (and any dairy products for that matter) from three to six hours before you sing. Anything with milk in it will cause an excess production of phlegm around your vocal chords, so that’s a definite no-no. The old remedy of milk and honey for a rough throat is very soothing after the gig, but not before!
3 - If you are hungry before a gig, don’t be afraid to eat, but just eat until you’re satisfied and don’t stuff yourself with a seven course meal. Try not to eat in the last hour before your performance in order to avoid that excess phlegm again. If you do feel phlegmy, you’ll have the strongest temptation to clear your throat (which can be harmful) immediately after eating, but waiting an hour is usually enough time for your meal to settle.
4 - And speaking of clearing your throat, there are some that say that you should never try to clear your throat because it can cause some damage, but it’s usually necessary because excess mucous inhibits really inhibits your singing. The trick is to find a way to clear your throat without irritating it and the best way is to do a gentle “whispered cough” and then swallow and repeat. If this doesn’t work, you need to deal with the excess mucous production. Squeeze a 1/4 of a lemon into a tall glass of water and sip over a period of about twenty minutes. This should cut through a lot of the excess mucous.
5 - Other things to avoid are alcohol, tea (despite popular belief), coffee, cola and anything else with caffeine, since these actually have a dehydrating effect, which is quite the opposite of what you really need.
6 - One thing you should do is drink lots and lots of water (ideally two to three quarts a day - the more the better) because a dry throat leads to a sore throat. If you live in an arid climate like Arizona, sleep with a humidifier next to your bed and try to warm up your voice in the shower. The moisture can be an incredible help for your voice. Also, learn to breathe in through your nose as much as possible. This will help moisten the air before it reaches your vocal cords.
7 - Finally, some singers swear by Entertainer’s Secret, a spray mixture that lubricates the vocal cords and was developed by an ear, nose and throat specialist. Others really like Superior Vocal Health’s Throat Saver, a completely organic vocal lubrication, also developed by a singer.
Read and comment on the original article here. Also check out How To Make Your Band Sound Great
Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. For more information be sure to check out his website, and go here to acquire a copy of The Music Producer’s Handbook.
Focusrite RedNet And Dante On Tour With The Foo Fighters
Delicate Productions integrates RedNet D16R AES interface and MP8R preamplifier into rig for the Sonic Highways World Tour.
The fast-paced whirlwind of the Foo Fighters’ “Sonic Highways World Tour” has encouraged the professionals behind the sound to be on top of every detail at every venue behind the scenes, but they haven’t had to worry about signal transport and sonic quality, thanks to the integration of several Focusrite RedNet Dante interfaces into the sound system.
Focusrite’s latest RedNet D16R AES interface is used to bridge 16 channels of AES/EBU between the DiGiCo SD5 digital console on the tour and the speaker clusters, and a RedNet MP8R 8-channel remote-controlled microphone preamplifier and A/D on the Dante audio-over-IP network utilizes Focusrite’s mic pre-amp sound for vocals. Together, they’ve changed the sound and the way the band’s sound team works.
“With the Foos, [we] found that we needed so many different system configurations,” explains Phil Reynolds, the band’s system technician, who has been with them since the Wasting Light album tour back in 2011, and who collaborated on the design of the tour’s L-Acoustics K1/K2 PA system fielded by Delicate Productions, Camarillo, CA, which has been Foo Fighters’ sound reinforcement vendor for the past six years.
“One day it will be a stadium with seven hangs of PA, the next an amphitheater with a left/right. We also need to send ADA and press feeds from front of house or backstage. So Delicate chose to switch to a Dante system, so we could have almost limitless possibilities,” notes Reynolds.
RedNet D16R AES is a 1U, 19in rack-mount Dante interface featuring 16 channels of AES/EBU connectivity to and from the Dante audio network. Reynolds explains that they use a DiGiCo SD5 console with a Dante card at front of house, and from there route the audio to the Lake/Lab.gruppen LM44 processors via Dante.
“The RedNet D16 takes AES feeds from the opening acts’ desk to the LM44s,” he continues. “This allows for control of routing with just a few mouse clicks. The system is run on a fiber backbone to each side of the stage with two Cisco SG300 switches at each location. The amp racks are fed with two or four AES feeds so when we need to switch modes, the rig converts with a click of a few buttons.”
In terms of sonic performance, Jason Alt, president of Delicate Productions, says the D16R is totally transparent.
“We’ve found from some units that impart their own sound to the audio, which is not desirable when it comes to audio distribution,” he says. “But the Focusrite D16R takes nothing away from the high quality of sound that we have across the rest of the system, which is of critical importance.”
The RedNet MP8R 8-channel remote-controlled microphone preamplifier and A/D for Dante audio-over-IP is the latest addition for the Foos’ system. Reynolds says the MP8R was on hand for some time before the tour’s pace settled down enough for he and front of house mixer Bryan Worthen to experiment on something as foundational as Grohl’s vocal sound, but once they did, he said the results were stark — and great.
“It was like night and day once we kicked the MP8R in,” he exclaims. “The DiGiCo pre-amps are great, but the MP8R just took the vocal sound to another level.” A few days later, that success prompted them to try it on drummer Taylor Hawkins’ vocal microphone as well. Now, four channels of MP8R are part of every show: Grohl’s and Hawkins’ vocals, a back-up channel for Grohl, and the mic Grohl uses at the end of the 20-foot stage thrust.
Foo Fighter’s front of house mixer for the last thirteen years, Bryan Worthen, comments, “Everything I put through the Focusrite MP8R preamp sounds better. It is more akin to that great analog sound we are all used to. Digital tends to sound sterile, the MP8R changes that.”
Apart from their sound quality and reliability, Jason Alt says they also like the ease of use of the RedNet devices.
“Sometimes it can be very challenging when we start to implement new gear into our systems, because you need to put the techs through training so that they can learn how to use it,” he says. “But with the D16R and RedNet in general, we’ve found that it’s really easy for our techs to jump on board and start using it. There’s no need for hours of training. The more we delve into RedNet, the more we like it.”
In addition to the D16R and MP8R, Reynolds uses a RedNet 4 Mic Preamp for system testing due to its linearity, the RedNet 1 eight-channel analog I/O, and RedNet 3 32-channel digital I/O box for his last several tours.
Friday, October 30, 2015
AVL Productions Deploys EAW For Lynyrd Skynyrd
AVL Productions provided EAW KF Series for Lynyrd Skynyrd performance.
AVL Productions, located in Jacksonville, Florida, provided an EAW KF Series sound reinforcement system for two performances by Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Florida Theatre, also in Jacksonville.
During the two concerts, the southern rock legends performed their first two studio albums—Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd and Second Helping – in their entirety for the very first time. They were reinforced by left-right EAW KF740 line arrays made up of 10 enclosures each. Eight SB 2001 subwoofers were on hand for low end and two KF730 boxes handled front fill.
“We are big fans of the KF740 series, they are definitely our go-to PA,” explain Stephen Unkelbach, AVL Productions. “The sound was fantastic with the band and management extremely pleased with the end result. We do a lot of shows at the Florida Theatre and it was terrific to be able to rely on a system we knew would perform exactly as the client wanted.”
The concerts were recorded by Eagle Rock entertainment and recently released in DVD, Blue-ray and digital formats. In addition to the standard versions that will be widely released, there will be a special version that will feature a DVD and 2-CDs that will be released exclusively at Walmart.
Eastern Acoustic Works
Sound On Stage, Diablo Digital Deploy Avid At San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
Artist Suite live sound tools to record, mix and archive performances by more than 90 artists across six stages
Sound on Stage (San Francisco) and recording systems provider Diablo Digital (Orinda, CA) utilized Avid to help produce the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Specifically, Avid Artist Suite live sound, mixing and recording solutions helped overcome logistical challenges of providing sound support for quick changeovers and recording more than 90 artists at the three-day festival.
“Our VENUE | Profile and VENUE | SC48 systems are workhorses; their dependability and flexibility are key factors in our continued success,” says Wes Norwood, general manager, Sound On Stage. “The consoles are easy to use, sound great, and widely accepted by guest engineers. For these reasons we do our best to provide them for every stage at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.”
Brad Madix, president of Diablo Digital, adds, “An all-Avid solution combining VENUE | S3L-X systems and Pro Tools helped streamline the process of recording this six-stage festival. It was easy to get the S3L-X system up and running, and to train the recording engineers to use it. It gave us a reliable and cost-effective way to combine preamps, the snake system, console control, and integration with Pro Tools.”
Sound on Stage used Avid VENUE live sound systems to handle front of house and monitor duties for most of the stages. These included a mix of VENUE | SC48 and VENUE | Profile systems, and the new VENUE | S6L system. Diablo Digital provided the recording systems for all six stages, which comprised VENUE | S3L-X and VENUE | S6L systems integrated with Pro Tools.
“The use of Avid live sound solutions throughout Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival demonstrates the power, reliability and industry acceptance of VENUE systems,” states Kyle Kim-Hays, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Avid. “With seamless Pro Tools integration, Avid live systems deliver the most streamlined and economical workflows, making them the most requested touring systems in the world.”
Sound on Stage
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
alt-J Makes The Change To L-Acoustics K2
Rat Sound supplies 44 line array modules and 22 SB28 subs for North American tour supporting new album.
UK band ∆, better known as alt-J, hit the ground running with its 2012 debut album, An Awesome Wave, winning the British Mercury Prize, an Ivor Novello Award and multiple Brit Award nominations.
Barely three years later—in support of its second album, This Is All Yours—alt-J has just completed a circuit of festivals, sheds, amphitheaters and arenas carrying full production on a North American tour for the first time, including an L-Acoustics K2 rig provided by Rat Sound Systems of Camarillo, CA.
“It was only since the beginning of this album campaign that I even started carrying a console,” reports Lance Reynolds, the band’s front-of-house engineer, who began working with alt-J, named after a Mac keyboard command, when the band first started touring the US.
“I’ve been a sound engineer for quite a while, but it hasn’t been often that I’ve been able to choose all of my own gear. I’ve done a lot of festivals and shows in theater-sized venues with in-house systems. Even when we were doing tours where we could spec equipment, it had still generally been PA du jour.”
The most recent tour—promoting alt-J’s sophomore 2014 release, which debuted at #1 in the UK, #2 in Canada and reached #4 on the Billboard Top 200, while topping Billboard‘s Alternative and Rock Album charts—carried a full complement of L-Acoustics gear.
According to Rat Sound systems engineer Tom Worley (KSE), the main rig comprised 44 L-Acoustics K2 line array modules and 22 SB28 subs, plus eight K1-SB enclosures flown in venues where enhanced LF throw was required. A couple of SB28s as side fills provided low end for the four band members, who are all on in-ears, while eight ARCS II and six 8XTi boxes were also available for fill where needed. LA8 amplified controllers drove the entire system.
Prior to this North American jaunt, Reynolds says he began to critically assess the alternative systems available.
“I said to everyone, having really been paying attention, I keep walking away from these festivals with my best shows being on L-Acoustics. In fact, my absolute best show was the first Coachella Festival on the Main Stage with the K1, with Tom dialing it in.” Coincidentally, Rat Sound has provided Coachella’s sound reinforcement for the past 15 years.
Worley comments, “I don’t think Lance could have had such a pristine mix every night with any other system; it sounded the same every day. He was the one that really pushed to go with the K2, and all his expectations came to fruition. At the first show I think he was blown away that the K2 does have the same signature characteristic as the K1. It doesn’t quite have the 15-inch sound, but in terms of in-your-face impact it certainly has the ferocity. He was really, really impressed with it.”
Sound for the tour’s last couple of shows was further enhanced by Reynolds adding a center cluster of four Kara modules.
“With alt-J there are no monitors on stage; there’s nothing really making a sound other than the drums,” he says. “I wanted those super-fans right in front of the stage to be very well covered. I didn’t want them to be standing in front of the singer and hearing the sound bouncing back from somewhere.”
Worley reports that he would quickly draw the room each day then start tuning.
“I’d do all my contour EQ in Soundvision,” L-Acoustics’ 3D acoustical simulation software. “Then I would sit at front-of-house and pop in the appropriate filters with LA Network Manager, turn it on and verify everything, and 99 percent of the time it was spot-on.” L-Acoustics’ LA Network Manager provides software control and monitoring of amplified controllers within the L-Acoustics L-Net Ethernet network.
LA Network Manager offers both IIR and FIR filters, adds Worley. “I use FIR filters for the low box shading—the bottom two boxes and the zone above predominantly. I’ll shade those depending on trim height and other variables. That tapers off the high end as you get close to the array. In the far field I’ll use the Air compensation and FIR filters again to keep the contour consistent. It works really nicely.”
In addition to Reynolds and Worley, the primary audio crew for this recent leg, which wrapped up in October, also featured alt-J monitor engineer Ron Sharpless and Rat Sound stage tech Brett Heet.
alt-J’s North American tour crew: (L-R) Front of house engineer Lance Reynolds, Rat Sound stage tech Brett Heet, Rat Sound systems engineer Tom Worley and monitor engineer Ron Sharpless
Rat Sound Systems
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
EAW Line Arrays For ArcTanGent Festival
Cheltenham-based Peak Hire deploys KF740 line arrays with SB1002 subs for festival outside of Bristol.
Cheltenham-based Peak Hire has been providing Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) sound reinforcement systems for the ArcTanGent Festival since it began in 2013.
This this year was no exception, with the three larger stages boasting a variety of EAW loudspeakers.
The festival, billed as the world’s ultimate music festival for connoisseurs of Math-rock, Post-rock, Noise-rock, Alt-rock and everything in between, takes place on Fernhill Farm, Compton Martin, just ten miles south of Bristol.
“We deploy KF740 line arrays with SB1002 subs at several festivals,” explains Karl Ashman, director of Peak Hire.
“The 740 boxes are so easy to use, all the flying hardware is captive. With two motors on each frame, the de-rig has now become a one man job – I know because it is usually me at 2 am while the headphone disco is still playing.”
The ArcTanGent main stage featured KF740 line arrays, ground stacked four high each side along with eight SB1002 subwoofers. Two KF730 were utilized for front fill and ten MW15 monitors were on stage, with EAW SBX220 as drum subs. Other stages were equipped with EAW KF850, Microwedge MW12 and further SB1002’s.
“For us the KF740 is the best box EAW ever made. Like many EAW users we started with a KF730 system then needed something larger,” Ashman continues.
“The KF740 does that with ease, to the point that we now don’t require anything else, as we found when we recently used just two hangs of nine cabinets on a Kaiser Chiefs gig for 12,000 punters. Projection and coverage exceeds expectations and the eight drivers per cabinet deliver stunning audio.”
The KF740 delivers the premium, high output, three-way performance in a compact and easy-to-use package. Dual 2.5-in voice coil HF compression drivers and dual 8-in Concentric Summation Array (CSA) loaded MF transducers are integrated through a common horn that occupies the entire face of the enclosure.
The pattern control offered by this configuration is extended down to 160 Hz as the MF devices are transitioned to a spaced array of four 2.5-in voice coil 10-in woofers. The pair of LF devices integrated within the MF/HF horn combined with the pair of side-mounted devices provides as much as 18 dB of off-axis rejection. EAW Focusing delivered via UX series processors precisely transitions from one system subsection to another while maintaining nearly perfect 90°control.
“The mere fact that the KF740 and KF730 are still being made today is a testament to the quality and popularity of these line array models,” Ashman concludes.
“Just recently EAW tweaked the Resolution software for both products to make them sound even better – they are always improving their products. Our goal is to make the devices between the artist and the audience as transparent as possible and EAW has always allowed up to get as close to that as possible.”
Eastern Acoustic Works