Monday, July 06, 2015
ASP880 Takes To The Stage With Róisín Murphy
Producer Eddie Stevens uses Audient's eight channel preamp to capture live performances from the stage.
Moloko front-woman Róisín Murphy is performing tracks from her third solo album, Hairless Toys across European festivals this summer, where an Audient ASP880 mic pre is joining her on stage.
Album co-writer and producer Eddie Stevens – whose credits include Freak Power, Zero7 and Moloko - has continued to work with to Róisín since her Moloko days to create this 8-track album, and is pretty pleased with how the Audient eight channel mic pre is managing to capture the music live.
“It isn’t being used by either front of house engineer or monitor engineer,” begins Stevens, mysteriously. “It’s being used on stage - and, in fact, on full display to those with particularly fine eyesight in the audience. It helps, in this regard, to have all those lovely multi-colored lights.”
He explains further: “Our set-up takes a split from Róisín’s vocal mic, a split from acoustic guitar and a feed from three contact mics attached to bottom skins on the snare, rack tom and floor tom, into the ASP880. From here I can send audio either via the D-sub line out to laptop number one, where it then can be processed and sent to two huge on-stage vintage guitar amps/cabs or it can be sent via ADAT to our second laptop for more ‘in the box’ processing. The vocal split also gets sent after the asp880 to a Digitech Vocalist Live for all sorts of vocal effects - mainly harmonies and odd manipulation and gender-bending. So, you see, we are really using the unit to its full capacity,” he adds, with a degree of pride.
“I know of no other unit which would be this versatile with this quality of sound: it is essential that the vocal channel, for instance, is of sufficiently high quality to replace the dry vocal channel at front of house where needed, without the audience noticing any drop in quality. The ASP880 gives the so-called vocal FX channel exactly this level of quality to compete with the Langevin DVC dry vocal channel.”
It’s not just how it sounds, though, the portability of the Audient unit is just as important to Stevens. “When you add to all this that the eight channels are squeezed into a 1u rack mountable box - space is tight in a touring rig - then I can justify this statement: The ASP880 is a compact unit of exceptional quality and versatility of which I know no alternative for our application. Hand made just for us. (It seems).”
Cruise To The Edge Announces Bob Moog Foundation As Beneficiary
Cruise features dozens of bands and a Minimoog giveaway, along with a raffle and silent auction to benefit the Bob Moog Foundation.
Cruise to the Edge, progressive rock cruise, is honoring the Bob Moog Foundation as the official beneficiary organization for its third annual Caribbean cruise.
The music-based cruise, which sails from November 15-19, 2015, features bands ranging from legendary to neo-progressive rock acts.
The progressive rock genre traces its roots to the early use of the Moog synthesizer, making the Foundation’s role in this year’s cruise a fitting tribute.
The five-night cruise will feature multiple stages of progressive rock music from the GRAMMY-winning rock band YES, special guest Marillion, and 25-plus bands, aboard the NCL Pearl.
A new addition to this year’s cruise itinerary is a special pre-cruise event, complimentary to all cruisers, on Saturday, November 14 in Miami (location TBA), before setting sail to crystal clear Bahamian waters, visiting Key West and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. The special pre-cruise concert will feature performances from Martin Barre of Jethro Tull, Three Friends, and Lifesigns.
Cruise to the Edge supports the Foundation’s hallmark educational project, Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, and the Foundation’s archive preservation efforts, both of which bring science, music, and innovation alive for people of all ages.
Two exciting opportunities will be available for all cruise attendees, as the Cruise will hold a raffle for a Minimoog synthesizer signed by a host of legendary progressive rock artists. Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the cruise and a winner will be drawn at the end of the journey. A one-of-a-kind silent auction, replete with instruments, audio gear, historic memorabilia, and much more, will take place on the final day of the cruise. All proceeds from the raffle and silent auction will be donated to the Bob Moog Foundation in support of its projects.
Progressive rock bands YES and Marillion will lead an all-star lineup gracing multiple stages aboard this year’s cruise, including: Anathema, Allan Holdsworth, Three Friends, PFM, Saga, Martin Barre, Caravan, Spock’s Beard, Nektar, Änglagård, Lifesigns, Bigelf,Airbag, Casey McPherson, Messenger, Dave Kerzner, Moon Safari, Barracuda Triangle, Jolly, Enchant, Thank You Scientist, Steve Rothery, Bad Dreams, AHEPJ, and hosted by UK journalist and preeminent YES expert, Jon Kirkman.
Cruise to the Edge
Bob Moog Foundation
Posted by House Editor on 07/06 at 08:07 AM
Friday, July 03, 2015
The Same And Different
Garth Brooks is back.
Following a 13-year hiatus from touring, the Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood has been on the road for several months in support of his latest album, Man Against Machine, continuing on an open-ended basis in selling out arenas across North America.
Prior to announcing his retirement in 2001, Brooks had undoubtedly been the top-selling recording artist on the planet for a decade.
His first album, released in 1989, peaked at number 2 on the U.S. country album chart while reaching number 13 on the Billboard album chart.
Total album sales are now more than 134 million. Meanwhile, co-bill Trisha Yearwood, who wed Brooks in 2005, is a top performer in her own right, with eight number 1 singles and twenty top-10 hits.
Brooks has also been a top draw on the concert circuit, noted for high-energy live performances of his unique traditional country infused at times with pop/rock flair. His recent return to touring picks up where he left off, greeted by packed houses at every stop, including numerous multi-show engagements.
Times Have Changed
As he has since 1989, Brooks’ long-time front of house engineer Dan Heins is providing the artist and band PA mix, while monitor engineer Troy Milner signed on last year after more than a dozen years with Bruce Springsteen. Clair Global is the sound company for the tour.
Things have changed a bit in terms of sound reinforcement technology since the big tours of the 1990s, when both house and monitor desks for Brooks were ATI Paragon analog desks. Now, both Heins and Milner are utilizing DiGiCo SD7s – the first tour ever for Brooks mixed on digital consoles.
Additional modern technology touches can be found in wireless world. The band and Yearwood are outfitted with JH Audio JH16 in-ear monitors fed by Shure PSM 1000 personal monitoring systems. Milner’s also using this combination for himself in the course of providing 16 separate stereo mixes in all.
Wireless microphone systems for all performers are Shure Axient, including transmitters, receivers and spectrum management working in tandem with the Shure Wireless Workbench 6 platform that also accounts for the wireless PSM 1000 monitoring systems. It makes coordinating the tour’s dozens of frequencies in the increasingly challenging RF environment – particularly present today in metropolitan areas – a much more manageable task for Milner.
The stage layout on the current tour. (Credit: Steven Wolf)
“I come in every day, set up the antennas, put in my numbers and hit deploy. The program pretty much does it all for me,” he says. “I don’t consider myself an RF guy by any means, but the system works absolutely great. We’re very happy with it.”
Operating in the UHF band, Axient is designed for advanced live concert and event situations, offering comprehensive remote control of all transmitter parameters. Audio is transmitted simultaneously on two independent frequencies, with interference detected in milliseconds. It also provides the ability to continuously monitor, prioritize, queue and assign compatible frequencies.
On stage is a veritable a sea of loudspeakers, including Clair CM22 wedges that Brooks prefers in a big way – to the tune of 44 of them. They’re joined by Cohesion 8 side fills (12 per side) and CP218 subwoofers. “The CM22 is a beast. I’m always amazed at what comes out of that box and how great it sounds,” Milner says.
Of course, keeping stage levels at the high volume Brooks prefers while maintaining control and delivering quality mixes is a balancing act. “It’s essentially one common stereo mix for all 44 stage monitors, but it keeps me busy, constantly riding the faders to keep each zone hot as he moves around on the stage,” he adds.
A primary factor in the selection of the SD7 consoles is their capacity. For example, Milner is running 140 channels and 68 mixes between floor wedges, side fills, stereo in-ear monitors, and talkback systems.
All processing, EQ and effects are handled by the console, joined by various plug-ins from Waves. “I don’t use a lot of effects or compression on the mixes,” he notes. “We don’t want the band playing off compression.”
At front of house, Heins’ outboard approach is relatively restrained, with a primary goal of keeping Brooks’ vocal on top of the mix.
An SPL Transient Designer 4 processor helps manage dynamics in the mix without affecting loudness, and an SPL De-Esser removes undesired sibilant frequencies without compromising the natural character of vocals. A Summit Audio DCL-200 hybrid compressor/limiter helps keep things clean while lending a touch of tube “warmth.”
The selection of the consoles is also attributed to a newer reason. “The ability to put the DiGiRacks and consoles and everything on one fiber loop was huge for us,” says Heins.
“I switched to the SD7 a few years ago because I needed more ins and outs, and I haven’t looked back,” Milner adds. “Monty Carlo and I moved to the SD7s on Springsteen’s last big tour in 2009 since we had a lot of unknowns about band requirements when we were starting and knew we needed room to grow. I’m glad we made the switch because we added a lot of stuff and it worked out perfectly.”
Front of house engineer Dan Heins at the DiGiCo SD7 that’s replaced the API Paragon analog console he used on the previous tour. (Credit: Steven Wolf)
Reaper is implemented for recording for purposes of virtual sound checks. In addition, Pro Tools receives a multi-track feed in record shows at 96 kHz/24 bit into a set of hard drives that are sent for archiving.
“There have been some nights when we really paid attention to the recordings and got some amazing material,” Heins notes. “There’s also video being shot on the tour, so it only makes sense to multi-track along with that. It doesn’t take any more time or effort to record, and since the cost is so low, it only makes sense to capture these shows in case something magical happens.”
The Best Fit
Brooks is still using his trademark Crown CM311 headworn condenser microphone that he adopted in the 1990s. Linked to an Axient body pack transmitter, it provides both the vocal presence he and the engineers are seeking while also delivering the feedback rejection required for a show running at high volume.
Monitor engineer Troy Milner at his beach with DiGiCo SD7 console and Shure wireless behind him. (Credit: Steven Wolf)
“We just haven’t found anything else that works for him the way the CM311 does,” Milner explains. “With the stage volume and crowd noise, it’s the best fit and it sounds good too.”
Yearwood, meanwhile, sings through her preferred mic, a customized Shure SM58 on an Axient handheld transmitter. Background vocals are also primarily handled by SM58 capsules on Axient handhelds.
Kick drum sound is captured with the combination of a Telefunken M82 dynamic with end address design and a Shure BETA 91A half-cardioid condenser. A Telefunken duo of an M81 and M80 (both dynamics) are applied for snare, with Heil Sound PR28 dynamics on toms. Another Shure (KSM137 end address condenser) and Telefunken (M60 FET cardioid condenser) combo handle hi-hat. More M60 FETs are deployed left and right for overheads on the kit.
It’s back to old school on guitar cabinets with Shure SM57s. They’re also applied left-right on the Hammond B3’s Leslie cabinet, joined by a BETA 91A for low frequencies. Bass is taken direct via a Countryman Type 85 DI, and more direct action happens with keyboard and piano with Radial Pro D8, JD6 and JDI boxes.
The tour is a beast that harkens back to the epic Brooks tours of a decade-plus ago.
Out front is a large-scale rig capable of delivering 360-degree coverage that includes 40 i218M three-way line array elements and an additional 16 i218-LT long-throw elements and 48 i212 medium format line array cabs.
Thirty iS218 (dual 18-inch) subwoofers are flown, and if that’s not enough low end, another 16 iS218s are on the floor to further shake the seats.
Lab.gruppen PLM amplifiers (up to 80) with onboard Lake processing deliver the audio power to all loudspeakers.
The system can easily reach levels of 105 dB at front of house. “We’re mixing for some very excited audiences,” Heins states.
“The crowd noise is often as loud or even louder than we’re pushing.”
Heins got his start as a free-lance engineer who first mixed Brooks in 1989. Previously, while working with MD Systems, he was system engineer for acts like the Kentucky Headhunters and Diamond Rio. During the hiatus, he stayed busy working for Clair Brothers Systems out of Nashville, which provides sales and installations.
As noted, Milner was long on the road with Bruce Springsteen (for 13 years, to be specific), and prior to that, he developed his skills with artists such as Backstreet Boys, Sugarland, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Sammy Hagar and the Charlie Daniels Band.
A rare time Brooks isn’t singing with his trademark Crown CM311 headworn microphone.
Primarily a front of house engineer, his personality and skills made him a great fit for the hot seat on monitor beach. And he has a unique perspective having mixed monitors for Brooks and Springsteen, two of the biggest and most fan-beloved artists on the planet.
“They’re both amazing artists to work with and they both keep me on my toes,” he says. “Both feed off the crowd and it’s all about the connection with their audiences, and neither one of them follow the set list. The big difference would be that one wears a hat and the other one doesn’t. But on this tour, Garth’s vocal is the show, period. When he plays four notes of a certain song on his guitar, the crowds go through the ceiling. It’s pretty amazing.”
Meyer Sound LEOPARD To Support Montreux Jazz Festival Stages
2015 will mark Meyer Sound’s 29th year as an official sponsor of the world’s second largest jazz event.
At the upcoming Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF), LEOPARD linear sound reinforcement systems will be heading a lineup of almost 400 Meyer Sound loudspeakers providing reinforcement throughout MJF venues.
2015 will mark Meyer Sound’s 29th year as an official sponsor of the MJF, the world’s second largest jazz event.
This year’s headliners will include Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, and other festival veterans like Santana and Herbie Hancock.
Meyer Sound’s history with the MJF extends back to the 1970s, when festival founder Claude Nobs and Meyer Sound co-founders John and Helen Meyer met and began a friendship that lasted until Nobs’s passing in 2013.
Nobs believed in the Meyer Sound philosophy to serve music without distortion, and in 1986, invited Meyer Sound to transform the festival’s listening experience as the system provider.
“When we hear all the incredible musicians playing through our systems, and see the audience completely enthralled by the performances, we feel the satisfaction of knowing we’ve done something good for everyone involved and for the music,” says John Meyer.
The patent-pending LEOPARD loudspeaker and its accompanying 900-LFC low-frequency control element will be heard in three venues: the 2,000-capacity Montreux Jazz Lab, Music in the Park, and the Auditorium Stravinski, where it will complement a LYON linear sound reinforcement system.
Each LEOPARD loudspeaker is optimized for an array of six cabinets or longer, with default low-mid array compensation for simplicity out of the box. With LEOPARD, MJF audiences will experience a level of sonic impact and subtle musical detail like never before.
Audio equipment supplier for MJF is Swiss rental company Skynight.
John Delf Moves To Soundcraft Vi Consoles For 5 Seconds Of Summer
The front of house/recording engineer joined the band as they embarked on a 2-year arena and stadium world tour supporting One Direction.
Front of house sound engineer John Delf has spent the past few years working with artists ranging from Plan B to The Script and The Feeling—while maintaining his own Edge recording studios in Manchester.
During that time he was never been far from Harman’s Soundcraft Vi platform as his digital console of choice.
But back in 2012, Delf also added another rising band to his portfolio when he joined Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer as front of house engineer and tour manager, as they embarked on a 2-year arena and stadium world tour supporting One Direction.
In just under two years, the band played live in front of over four million people.
In between, the band undertook their own theatre headline tours, before this year graduating to a sold-out 70 date headline arena tour. For the theatre dates John was able to have his console of choice so opted for the Soundcraft Vi4 with a Soundcraft Realtime Rack. But on this latest arena tour he has moved up to Soundcraft’s next generation technology.
“I am using a Vi3000 for UK and Europe, a Vi6 in Australia — and we are hoping for a Vi7000 for the USA leg,” he reports, “all with the Realtime Rack.” The inventory has been provided by Liverpool-based Adlib, sold through Soundcraft’s UK distributor, Sound Technology.
“Adlib have the world’s best tech for setting this system up in Tony Szabo,” praises the sound engineer. “Every day the system sounded amazing, and combined with the Vi3000 and UAD [Universal Audio] plugins I got exactly the results I was after.”
In his quest to keep abreast of new gear John Delf first heard about the Vi3000 via press articles and Soundcraft’s social media. “I had previously used the Realtime Rack and loved the results I got from it; it’s this combination that sold me on the new Vi range,” he admits.
John’s first hands-on experience of the desk came at production rehearsals in Lisbon — where the trademark Soundcraft layout was immediately apparent.
“We specced the desk with two MADI cards and a Dante card,” he said. “We use the Dante to multitrack the whole show every night and the MADI to run the UAD Realtime rack. Both the recording and the UAD are run from a Mac Mini installed in the flight case in a very slick package put together by Adlib, with a touch screen monitor mounted on the side.
“Using the multitrack from the previous night’s show I am able to do a virtual soundcheck the next day without the need for the band to be onstage — so by the time they arrive the sound is already where I need it to be.”
John Delf has previously combined his sound engineering duties with that of tour manager, and it was his twin skill set that landed him the job with 5SOS; however, now his role is sole front of house mixer. “I have been mixing sound for nearly 25 years and I have also been tour managing for almost 20 years so find it quite easy to fit into both of these roles — although I have to say mixing sound is my real passion. And I love mixing this band.
They are such good players and they can sing incredibly well whilst running around the stage like maniacs. Every show is sold out and the crowd goes crazy — why would anyone not like doing that?”
“As for the Vi3000, I absolutely love it, to the point that I am even considering buying one myself. Everything that I need to do for this show is possible with the Vi3000 and it makes everything sound so warm and punchy.
“The mixes sound a lot sweeter and feel more controlled and I am amazed at how powerful the desk is in such a small footprint. It is very reminiscent of the Vi4 but in an improved format. The graphics are sharper and the touch screens seem more responsive. The inbuilt compressors feel smoother and the high pass filter feels more distinct.
“One thing I love about the Vi range,” he continues, “is that all the information you need is in front of you — not hidden under loads of layers. Having the four screens means I can see at a glance what settings I have for each channel without having to press several buttons to get to that information. The FaderGlow also means you never get lost in knowing which page you are on. I especially love the fact that you can bring the graphic up across all the faders — they glow a comforting red so you know exactly what page you are on.
“In fact the screens generally seem brighter with better contrast and are more responsive to touch. The whole package seems more compact and efficient and workflow is faster.”
He also praises the other members of the touring sound crew, monitor engineer Ben Booker, Mark Johnson and Sam Proctor. “So we were rather spoilt,” he says. “I couldn’t have asked for better service. Every time I use an Adlib PA I come away extremely happy — apart from having the most highly trained crews, all the gear is in exceptional condition.”
And this satisfaction extends to Soundcraft’s next generation Vi consoles, which Adlib have been quick to espouse. “I would highly recommend the Vi range,” he says in conclusion. “I think they are some of the best sounding digital desks available and with the UAD Realtime Rack they make an unbeatable combination of flexibility and sonic excellence.“
That was my response when I was asked to help record a live album inside a prison. It was 1998 and I was only nine months out of recording school.
The person asking for assistance was my friend Larry Howard, who’d been working inside of penitentiaries for years with Prison Fellowship Ministries.
He explained the deal. We would break down our entire recording studio and all the gear we had, load it into a moving van, and drive it to Broad River Correctional in South Carolina.
From there, we’d take over a large concrete room and bring in a dozen or so well-known Christian artists. The inmates would get a great show and we’d produce a live album to give away to supporters of the ministry. Made sense. Actually sounded like fun.
Upon arriving, we met up with the crew from Capital AV, located in the Washington, D.C. area, who provided the house and monitor systems for the concert. Nobody was excited about the acoustics or highly supervised working conditions, but we pulled it off and maintained our cheerful dispositions without episode. Three days later, we loaded the studio back up and went home to mix the project.
After a year or so of doing other things in audio, Larry reconnected me with Capital AV. Prison Fellowship had formally activated a new program to bring entertainers, ministers and former inmates into prisons across the country. They talked me into becoming a road dog and living out of a suitcase about two weeks of every month for the next four years.
During that time, I set up sound systems for about 350 events in 18 different states. Almost all of the events were held inside prison walls. Everywhere from Angola to Rikers Island. From small rural work release camps to federal prisons and death row. Some places I’d heard of and hundreds I hadn’t.
The first few events were nerve wracking until, like most things, it became a bit more routine. Imagine packing a rig for a small state fair into a van or truck. Enough gear for an audience of a thousand or so, along with up to a dozen performers.
Now, imagine hauling that gear into a major airport and moving it all though security. Ha. I wished it was that easy. There was a whole lot more to it.
First. Every single cable, adapter, loudspeaker, stand, microphone, CD, battery and marker had to be inventoried and accounted for. The list had to be checked and verified on the way in and on the way out. You don’t get to leave if anything is missing.
Second. The facilities want to review your inventory list a month before arrival. There was a situation where I was sent to a prison that had received another tech’s pack list. Not good. Spent a lot of time sorting that one out before they let me go.
Third. Most events required me to actually drive inside the prison grounds. This meant going through the “sally port” and those big gates. It meant a full inspection of me and the vehicle once inside, before the second gate opened. That process alone could take up to an hour.
Fourth. Once the gear was approved, it had to be moved to the performance area. The distance was typically a casual 15- to 20-minute walk. No problem empty-handed, but add in pushing road cases, racks and loudspeaker stacks. And 10 or more trips back and forth to the truck.
Some places allowed inmates to assist us, others didn’t. One place actually made me load in alone and push almost a half mile around the recreation field because they didn’t feel like unlocking one door.
I understood. We were a headache and a security risk. We were interrupting the routines that they depended on for security and order. Our presence threw a massive monkey wrench into their entire system. I was always very thankful when they were cooperative.
On one particular event, inside a level five prison, I met “Captain Caveman,” an officer every bit of six foot four and 300 pounds, topped by thick beard. “I don’t care what this paperwork says or who signed it,” he said with a growl, standing up to his full height. “I run this place and if you people are coming in here, you’re going to do exactly what I say or I’ll shut it down immediately.”
It was at this moment, I realized that months of planning and the efforts of almost a hundred people hung on my next words. Summoning my most eloquent and diplomatic arsenal of responses, pulled from my years of experience in production work and said the following…
“Sir, I’m as flexible as Gumby. If you want me to wear a clown nose, walk backwards and honk while I walk, that’s fine with me. We’ll do this show however you tell us to do it.”
He adjusted his belt, leaned towards me, glared for a few seconds, and then said with a snicker, “Alright. Come on in. Let’s get you some help with your stuff.” That gig ran smooth as silk.
Overall, these events were the most some of the most stressful, frustrating, and challenging shows I’ve ever worked. The constant pressure of being accountable for every minute and every piece of gear could be brutal. The venues where the shows were staged were almost uniformly awful from an audio and acoustics perspective.
It might be surprising, then, when I say that I’d do it all over again. It was great to help in providing positive encouragement to the inmates and officers, and the crews and ministry were wonderful. The bonus is that the training and experiences were invaluable to my development as a sound tech. I am forever thankful for that opportunity.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Allen & Heath GLD Chrome On Tour With Howling
Front of house engineer, Tommy Williams, selects the digital console for recording and recall features to produce consistent performances.
Elemental techno band, Howling, recently purchased Allen & Heath’s new GLD-80 Chrome digital mixer to manage its audio requirements on tour.
The brainchild of singer/songwriter, Ry X, the band wanted A consistent mix at every gig, and has just completed a tour across Europe with the mixer.
“I’ve engineered for Ry X for a number of years, including his other projects, The Acid and Howling. Howling is an interesting band to mix – there are live elements and electronic elements, which need to be combined seamlessly with FX and processing to create a homogenous sound,” explains front of house engineer, Tommy Williams.
Ry X and Williams work together to constantly refine the set.
Williams makes a multi-track recording every night enabling him to recall that footage at the next gig. He uses Scenes to record songs in the set, and also recall FX parameters that alter within each song.
“There are lots of changes within the set, which Ry used to control on a pedal but it’s now my job to recall all those changes. That’s why it’s important we have the same desk every gig to do this seamlessly,” says Williams.
“What’s really great about the new GLD Chrome is the new plugins, including Space Echo and Stereo Tap Delay effects, and the new Compressors, offering a selection of new tools to get our hands on. When you dial them in it’s like using the real gear, and it feels like a more expensive desk because of the tactile nature of the faders and knobs,” he continues.
“What I’ve always liked about A&H products is it doesn’t feel like you’re working inside a computer. You feel like you’re controlling the mix - it’s a tool helping you.”
The band is also impressed that unlike most desks, they can fly with the GLD-80. As flightcased it weighs in just under 30kg.
Allen & Heath
Chinese Singer Tan Weiwei Kicks Off Tour In Beijing With EAW Adaptive System
MaxTeam music performance agency in China is responsible for sound production on the tour.
Singer Tan Weiwei recently kicked off her tour at Beijing Workers’ Gymnasium with the help of a sound reinforcement system made up of EAW Anya modules and Otto subwoofers.
EAW’s Chinese distributor EZpro provided the main PA made up of 24 Anya modules and 24 Otto subwoofers along with two KF394 point source loudspeakers for front fill support.
MaxTeam music performance agency in China, is responsible for sound production for the tour.
The company has planned and provided touring services for many Asian stars including Sun Nan, Wang Feng, Xu Wei, Jay Chou and EXO.
Beijing Workers’ Gymnasium is an indoor arena located west of the Workers Stadium in Beijing, China.
Inaugurated in 1961 for the 26th World Table Tennis Championships, the venue presents an acoustical challenge for live sound applications. Not only does the structure have limited load bearing capabilities but the loudspeaker location is in very close proximity to the LED screen and nearfield audience. As a result, it is important to keep the sound reinforcement system as compact as possible to avoid weight and visibility complications while still providing coverage throughout the venue.
After modeling the gymnasium in EAW’s Resolution software, it was determined that left-right arrays consisting of two columns of Anya modules would provide the majority of the coverage. Each array was made up of a column of eight Anyas to cover the main audience area with another column of four for outfill. Powerful bass support is delivered by 24 Otto subwoofers ground stacked in two groups of 12 below the Anya arrays.
“We have used many loudspeaker brands in Beijiing Workers’ Gymnasium before with most not meeting the SPL requirements in the upper audience area,” explains MaxTeam front of house engineer Minjohn Lin. “It is common to hang arrays made up of 18 enclosures each – 36 total – as well as subwoofers. Initially we asked EZPro to provide 36 Anya modules but after we checked the acoustic modeling in Resolution we knew that 24 would be more than sufficient.”
Once the parameters are input into EAW’s Resolution 2 software, the Anya arrays produce a highly customized three dimensional wavefront that delivers high resolution, phase coherent, full-range response across the entire coverage area as defined by the user. In this case, the coverage area was the audience seating area while avoiding unwanted reflections from the domed ceiling and walls.
“It is such a large venue yet it only took two arrays of 12 modules to achieve a uniform high SPL coverage – that’s incredible,” adds concert sound system designer Wei. “The compact Anya array not only solved the weight problems but the load in and set up time was extremely efficient.”
Minjohn Lin concludes, “Anya line arrays flown at 8.7 meters achieved consistent coverage at the front, central and rear audience areas. Everyone was incredibly impressed with the fantastic sound quality and coverage.”
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Alaska’s Glenn Massay Theatre Installs Meyer Sound Constellation
The venue uses the system to control acoustics for orchestral and choral concerts, student assemblies, lectures, fine arts performances and amplified rock music.
Matanuska-Susitna College (MSC) has installed Alaska’s first Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system in its new Glenn Massay Theater, a 523-seat facility purpose-built for Constellation.
The goal of the design was in accommodating a broad range of educational activities and arts performances in a single venue.
The venue uses the system to provide ideal acoustics for all its events, including orchestral and choral concerts, student assemblies, lectures, fine arts performances, and amplified rock music.
“We’re blown away by how great the room sounds,” says theatre director Matt Sale. “It’s hard to tell what is the room’s own acoustical response and what is due to Constellation. If you walk in not knowing Constellation is on, you wouldn’t think there was any enhancement. But when you turn it off, it’s like when you have to pop your ears when going up in elevation.”
A Constellation system was specified for the venue following intensive discussions involving college representatives, Anchorage-based architects Kumin Associates, and acoustical and media systems consultant McKay Conant Hoover (MCH).
“We started with the thought of using passive acoustics only, but we soon realized the reverberation times desired for some music performances would require room volumes that would get us into a cost-prohibitive situation,” comments Kyle Ridenour, senior consultant at MCH. “Constellation makes more sense financially, and has operational benefits as well.”
The system centers around a D-Mitri digital audio platform which hosts the patented VRAS acoustical algorithms. Ambient acoustics are captured by 22 miniature condenser microphones, and early reflections and reverberation are delivered by 35 MM-4XP self-powered loudspeakers, 19 Stella-8C installation loudspeakers, and 12 UMS-1XP subwoofers.
Anchorage-based Pyramid Audio & Video was system integrator, with engineering supervision and technical support from Stephen Weeks of Lynnwood, Wash.-based Morgan Sound.
“Everyone has been really excited about the system,” reports Ridenour. “Constellation has ultimately proved surprising to anybody unfamiliar with the concepts and technology behind it.”
Serving over 2,000 students per semester, Matanuska-Susitna College is an extended campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage in the city of Palmer.
Mackie DL32R Supports Hip Hop Israel At International Competition
Front of house mix for the International Hip Hop Competition in San Diego was handled by a single Mackie DL32R mixer with iPad control.
Founded in 2002, Hip Hop International is dedicated to promoting the culture of street art, including hip hop and breakdance.
The group recently had their first opportunity to use the Mackie DL32R in a live performance environment.
Leading up to this year’s International Hip Hop Competition in San Diego, California, Hip Hop Israel recently sponsored the country’s preliminary competitions, taking over the largest sporting venue in the coastal city of Ashkelon. The event welcomed groups from all over Israel, with more than 2,000 participants vying for the grand prize and a chance to participate in the San Diego finals.
Sound for the event was provided by Tel Aviv-based Halilit, bringing in full PA and video systems to pump up the crowd. Despite hundreds of performers and dozens of sets, front of house mix was handled by a single Mackie DL32R rack-mounted digital mixer with iPad control.
“The DL32R made setup really easy for this event,” remarked Ilan Murad, Halilt professional division manager. “Everything connects right to the rack at the side of the stage - no need to run a multichannel snake into the audience. And our front of house mixer was able to wander all over the hall, to get the best sound across the entire audience.”
With so many competitors and so many different sets, the DL32R’s snapshot memory also came in handy. “We were able to adjust levels for each act’s tracks with a single touch,” says Morad. “It made changeovers really fast.”
The ability to record each set was an added plus, says Murad. “We were able to create videos of the event, and each set also has a great sounding mix. And every participant in the event received a special registration code for the new Halilt website for special promotions, including Mackie gear.”
Murad reports that the event was a runaway success, and the DL32R was part of the winning team. “With so many performers and so little time, the DL32R really helped to make our work that much easier.”
Stephen Stills And Neil Young Perform With Mojave And Royer Microphones
Former bandmates perform together in "Light Up The Blues" concert to raise awareness and funds for Autism Speaks.
Held at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood on April 25th 2015, the Light Up The Blues 2015 concert brought together several big names, including Mojave Audio and Royer Labs.
Concert host Stephen Stills teamed up with former bandmate Neil Young to spearhead the event to raise awareness and much needed funds for Autism Speaks—the autism advocacy organization that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities.
Shawn Colvin, The White Buffalo, Steve Earle, and Chris Stills rounded out the lineup in a concert for a great cause.
To ensurel audio performance, microphones from Burbank, CA-based Mojave Audio and Royer Labs were at the heart of the action.
LA-based Kevin Madigan is the front of house engineer for Crosby, Stills and Nash. A seasoned audio professional whose credits include work with Neil Young, David Gilmour, The Smashing Pumpkins, Ray LaMontagne, and Lucinda Williams to name but a few, Madigan used a combination of Mojave Audio MA-301fet and MA-101fet condenser microphones along with Royer Labs SF-24 and R-121 ribbon microphones.
He discussed his use of Mojave Audio and Royer Labs mics to meet the challenges of the project.
“I’m fortunate to work with some of the best musicians in the business,” says Madigan, “so when it comes to miking their instruments and amps, it’s all about capturing a high quality audio signal. This signal reproduction is precisely what Mojave and Royer microphones do so well.”
“Brilliant is the term that best describes these mics,” Madigan added. “Their quality is apparent immediately from the build quality—just the way they feel in your hand when you pick them up. But it’s their sound that’s really outstanding. I keep finding new applications for them. Recently, I discovered that the Mojave MA-101fet is just fantastic for a hi-hat. It’s also ideal for miking a guitar amp—especially when it’s used in conjunction with a Royer R-121. The combination of the two mics is something that needs to be heard to be fully appreciated.”
Madigan also touched on the Mojave Audio MA-301fet’s versatility, “The MA-301fet is a great choice for low and high miking of a Leslie cabinet in addition to being a great choice for use on a Bass amp. I’m also looking forward to working with it in the studio so I can see how it goes on the drum kit.”
For years, the Royer Labs SF-24 Stereo Active Ribbon microphone has been a favorite of audio engineers for use in drum overhead miking in addition to capturing room sound. Again, Madigan expressed his enthusiasm. “I’ve been using the Royer SF-24 for drum overheads for quite a while,” he said. “I actually use it as more of an entire drum kit mic than a traditional high-pass overhead setup. There’s nothing quite like it. Every studio should have one.”
When you’re responsible for the overall sound of artists like those Madigan works with, knowing your equipment manufacturer ‘has your back’ is extremely important. In this regard, Madigan offered high praise for the Mojave Audio – Royer Labs teams. “I’ve been using Mojave Audio mics for about 4 years,” he reports. “I’ve known Mojave’s Dusty Wakeman from back when I worked with Lucinda Williams and I was always keen to hear and use their mics. I really like that Mojave Audio and Royer Labs are based here in Los Angeles. This makes it easy to drop by if I need to. More importantly, when you call the people there, you know you’re going to get someone who knows all about their gear. Everyone I’ve ever spoken with has been responsive and knowledgeable.”
Before shifting his focus back to an upcoming project, Madigan offered these final comments, “Mojave and Royer make microphones I always want to have available for my projects. They’re very versatile and perform equally well in the recording studio and on the stage. The drummer loves the sound of his kit through his in-ear monitor setup—and it’s all due to the combination of Mojave and Royer mics.”
For more information about the touring schedules of Crosby, Stills and Nash, visit their performance schedule pages at www.davidcrosby.com/tour and www.crosbystillsnash.com/tour-dates.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
DiGiCo SD Series Consoles Support Portuguese Golden Globes
Auditiv Audiovisuais relied on four DiGiCo SD series consoles to mix the audio for both the live and broadcast audiences.
Globos de Ouro - or the Golden Globes - is Portugal’s highest profile arts and entertainments awards ceremony, taking place annually at Lisbon’s Coliseu Dos Recreios.
2015 marked the awards 20th year, with the 24th May ceremony featuring four DiGiCo SD series consoles to mix the audio for both the live and broadcast audiences.
Although it shares a (translated) name, Globos de Ouro is unrelated to the Hollywood film and television awards, instead rewarding Portuguese achievement in a range of disciplines - from film and theatre to music, sport and fashion.
Working with television channel SIC, Sintra-based Auditiv Audiovisuais Lda has been the event’s audio contractor throughout its two decades and this year used DiGiCo SD series consoles for the first time.
“In previous years we have used our DiGiCo D-series consoles, but this year we upgraded our stock to SD consoles,” says Auditiv’s João Escada. “We purchased two SD10s, two SD5s and an SD9, plus two SD-Racks. All except the SD9 were used for Globos de Ouro.”
The ceremony features live music, with an orchestra and contemporary bands playing together. The front of house mix was taken care of by the two SD10s, one for the orchestra and the other for the other bands, musical stings and presenter/guest microphones.
“We were handling over 100 channels, plus 20 channels of ambient microphones just for the broadcast production. In all we had about 14 stereo auxes and 20 mono auxes,” says Escada. “We used one of the SD5s for monitors, while the master console was an SD5B, located in our mobile studio for the broadcast feed. The broadcast software and extra screens of the SD5B made it an excellent choice.”
He continues, “Everything was on an optical loop, with all the consoles sharing the two SD-Racks. One of the big advantages of the system was that analogue splitter noise is a now thing of the past. In addition, we could still use all the outputs for the monitor console, even with the broadcast SD5 as master.
“It was very easy to put the SD-Racks exactly where we needed them, the snapshots all worked perfectly and the send/receive tie lines was a very useful feature. It was a very successful show and we are already looking forward to next year.”
Sonoval Switzerland Deploys New NEXO STM At Maxi-Rires Festival
Martigny-based rental company adds the new M28 compact line array system to its NEXO inventory and puts it to work quickly.
NEXO’s STM Series modular line array is now available in Switzerland, as Martigny-based rental company Sonoval adds the new M28 compact line array system to its comprehensive NEXO inventory.
Sonoval owners Valentin Jacquaz and Julien Stettler started the company in 2009, a full-service operation which provided complete stage services in the mountainous region of South / East Switzerland and quickly gained a strong customer follow-up in the developing stand-up and concert scene of the area.
With the latest in rigging, lighting and sound equipment, including networked audio and UHF systems, and the know-how to operate such innovative gear, Sonoval positioned themselves as dynamic pioneers.
From the very beginning, their sound department included a comprehensive kit of NEXO loudspeakers and amplifiers; PS8, PS10, PS15, LS400. LS600, LS18, CD12, CD18, GEO S8 and well as NXAMPs4x4 and 4x1.
That inventory is now enhanced by a plug-and-play STM M28 system featuring 12x M28 with 6x S118 subs, powered by fully-fitted NEXO Universal Amp Racks (NUARs).
Jacquaz and Stettler viewed the M28, the latest addition to the STM range, as the perfect fit for their typical Swiss year-round requirements, ranging from theatrical performances in the winter to summer stadium and open-air events. They liked its sleek design, its ease of operation and rigging, its stacking abilities, its impressive output vs size ratio and, most of all, its clean and powerful sound.
After an in-depth discussion with cabinet designer, the late Mathias Larrieu, gaining an insight of the inner workings of the beast, along with a thorough testing and rigging session at NEXO’s Plailly facility, Sonoval enthusiastically took the final purchase decision.
The first gig for Sonoval’s M28 system took place at the Maxi-Rires Festival in the ski resort of Champéry in the Swiss Alps, with famous French and Swiss stand–up artists such as Laurent Gerra or Voca People. It took just a few hours from unpacking the delivery to final set-up at the festival.
The system’s performance impressed Mathieu Exhenry, co-president of Champéry Maxi-Rires Festival, who was struck by the sonic clarity and the very small footprint of the M28, commenting, “every year, with our technical partner Sonoval, we work hard to put smiles on the faces of our fans during the week-long festival. This summer, we were especially proud to offer our public the debut of the new M28 sound system. Thanks to this technological marvel, we really moved up a notch in quality. Purity, power…we want more.”
Jake Owen On The Road With DiGiCo
Morris Light and Sound adds SD9 console pair to complement two SD10 desks.
With four albums, nearly a dozen top 20 tunes and a fist full of number one country singles, Jake Owen is busy this summer opening for Kenny Chesney on arena and stadium dates through the US.
That kind of mixed schedule can be tricky when putting together an audio rig, but Nashville-based Morris Light and Sound recently purchased a pair of DiGiCo SD9 consoles to answer the challenge.
“We have a pair of SD10s that we purchased last year for Jake’s headlining tour of mid-level arenas and Jake’s team uses those for the dates with Kenny Chesney. But we needed something physically smaller for when he breaks off from the tour to do his own dates,” said Morris GM John Schirmer.
“The SD9s were the perfect solution to the logistical issue of an artist who is both opening stadium and arena shows and doing his own dates in between.”
Schirmer points to the ease of moving between various frame sizes and systems in the DiGiCo family as a big part of the appeal of the SD9.
“The engineers are already very comfortable with the DiGiCo work flow, and with the SD9, we get a reduced footprint surface with all of the same SD capability. They can load the same show files as they use on the SD10. It makes a smoother changeover between opening for the Chesney tour and being able to provide their own production without compromise for Jake’s performances outside of the Chesney tour.”
The audio quality of the entire DiGiCo family is beyond doubt at this point and is consistent from the biggest console down to the SD9 and even the SD11, which will fit in a DJ rack. “We don’t give up anything to get the size down,” Schirmer said. The SD9s travel with the system to Owen’s solo gigs, so the only things the engineers have to take out of the Chesney truck pack are a pair of Waves servers, making the SD9s extremely convenient in addition to sounding great.
While engineers will often cite specific features or abilities when explaining why they chose a specific audio console, as GM of a large sound company that is doing an increasing amount of business in the rental of gear for tours, Schirmer looks at thing a bit differently.
“DiGiCo has done a really good job of keeping the infrastructure of their products consistent from one console to another,” he says. “If you have used an SD10, or a 9 or a 7, they are all familiar with a few tactile differences. This makes them ideal for a company like Morris that has acts of various sizes doing all kinds of gigs. The people at DiGiCo are really in tune with the live sound industry and the specialized needs there. That is really important and it shows in their products.”
Once known as a company that serviced only the artists of its sister company, Morris Higham Management, Morris Light and Sound has moved aggressively into a more traditional rental company role in the past few years. “The model of the company has changed. Two years ago, they pulled me off the road and we began to transition into being more of a full concert production company. And now it’s not just Chesney and Owen. We work with Eli Young, Grace Potter, Chris Isaak, Chevelle, Old Dominion, Florida Georgia Line, Keb’ Mo’, and the list goes on and on.”
“As we move in this direction, it is crucial that we have the great gear available that tours are asking for. It needs to be gear that makes the phone ring. Increasingly, DiGiCo is at the top of that list.”
“When Jake’s solo arena tour came around last year, we were looking for a system that was a little smaller, sounded great, provided a 96 kHz solution and was priced at a point we were comfortable with in order to get that tour out the door. The SD10 really fit our needs. And when we needed a smaller solution for these solo dates during the Chesney tour, the SD9 with the same great sound quality, stellar service DiGiCo provides, and interoperability of the entire SD line made it the obvious choice.”
Morris Light and Sound
Martin Audio MLA Helps Gottwood Festival Control The Sound
This was the year that the four-day festival banished its noise pollution issues by adopting the control technology of Martin Audio’s MLA Compact sound system.
Gottwood Electronic and Music Festival—an intimate boutique event set in a Welsh forest on the isle of Anglesey—has been running since 2010. It prides itself on presenting a DJ line up of “rising stars and established veterans.”
Involved with promoters Future Noise from the beginning has been Creation Live’s Tom Whittle, who in addition to working with Martin Audio’s Cheshire-based partners (and event production company) VME, is also the Festival’s operations manager.
He recalls that the potential of the site had been clear from his first visit back in September 2009. But it was only this year that the four-day festival could banish its noise pollution issues by adopting the control technology of Martin Audio’s MLA Compact sound system.
This not only contained the off-site perimeter sound, but also boosted the SPL at the main front of house position to a level that serious dance music aficionados would expect.
The site is classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty and the stunning location is key to this unique festival’s success. But as Future Noise’s Tom Elkington emphasizes, it comes with issues. “
The ambient sound levels are exceptionally low and for the surrounding houses, off-site sound has been a continuous battle.” The production team felt the volume restrictions imposed on them by the local authority were unacceptable.
Whittle and VME’s general manager, Ben Hyman, who also manages the site sound, proposed steering the sound intelligently by deploying VME’s Martin Audio’s MLA Compact. “We convinced the promoters that it would solve a large problem.”
With the attendance capped to 5,000, all outdoor stages used MLA Compact—four per side, with two MLX subs––in a ground-stack configuration. “While the majority of our MLA deployments are typically to ensure even coverage across large areas for audiences of 10,000-plus, Gottwood presented new challenges to us as we needed to ensure that leakage was kept to a minimum. It was also potentially challenging to see how multiple stages using MLA would interact in this environment — it’s certainly not a situation we’re all used to, with main and delay hangs,” said Hyman.
In previous years, to stay within license they needed to run the systems at 95dB(A) during the day but drop them close to 90-92dB(A) at certain times in the evening depending on the weather.
“Anglesey is one of the quietest places in the UK, with a night-time ambient background level of 32dB(A), so having six outdoor stages running until 4am playing electronic music, and residents within 2500 feet from site gave us quite a challenge,” he said. “Historically, changes in pressure suddenly meant that we could hear vocal clearly from site, but no bass or top end, then an hour later it would just be bass that we could hear. It was constantly changing and we had to keep adapting levels to meet the licensing regulations.”
Martin Audio MLA advocate, Simon Honywill, was brought in to advise. “It was the wish of the organizers that these stages should be as loud as possible while the local environmental health officers wanted it to be all but inaudible at the nearest houses, some 2500 feet away,” he confirms.
“It was my job to make this happen. I needed to find a way of maintaining the integrity of the system’s acoustic performance, contain the sound to avoid smothering other stages and most importantly not upset the neighbors.”
Honywill believes the LF containment was down to “a combination of the directivity of the awesome MLX subs, helped in no small way by the efficacy of hay bales as low frequency absorbers.” As a result, he says, “the systems sounded fantastic. There was no doubt that from stage to stage, the amount of spill was more than acceptable, particularly at the lake, where the system fired directly across the water at the main chill-out zone on the lawn in front of the house.
“With all systems on the entire site playing to [the prescribed] level, we measured around 44-45dB(A) offsite — a perfect result.”
Ben Hyman added, “Having worked with the MLA system for two years, I was confident that we could re-invent the audio systems across site, and utilize the controllability that MLA’s DISPLAY 2 software gives us to achieve even higher onsite levels, while at the same time maintaining the lowest off site levels.
“We are indebted to Simon Honywill for his help. We also spoke extensively to local residents, and told them what MLA could potentially achieve. To top it all off, I received a phone call from one of the local residents on the Sunday morning, who had formally complained every year. He started his telephone call, ‘I’m the first person to complain, but I’m also the first person to compliment when you’ve done what you promised. We couldn’t hear Gottwood this year, and thanks to you and your team for making it happen’. This could not have been a better response, especially since he is one of the closest residents to site.”
Said promoter Tom Elkington, “Because Gottwood is so different from other festivals — with no main stage, no sponsors and music focused on the niche end of electronic music — we needed to preserve the event’s integrity. For five years we have achieved great results with VME with careful placement of stages, hay bale baffling and offsite weather monitoring. But we were really excited about trying out MLA this year and thankfully it proved to be the golden ticket we have been working towards.”
In summary, Simon Honywill stated, “I left the festival site being once again surprised by the abilities of MLA systems to solve problems where others create them, a truly valuable asset for any company working events where noise restrictions can be a problem. I felt entirely buoyed by the whole experience.”