Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Midas Consoles Help Set Eurovision World Record

Now in its 60th year, the Eurovision Song Contest was awarded the 2015 Guinness World Record for the “Longest Running Annual Television Music Competition”.

Midas PRO X, PRO6 and PRO9 mixing consoles were used by Österreichischer Rundfunk/Austrian Public Broadcasting (ORF) and Vienna-based Sound Art Service (SAS), which provided the system for the network’s Eurovision Song Contest TV Show.

Vienna’s Wiener Stadthalle arena played host to some 10,000 attendees, and the massive production was broadcast live to nearly 200M viewers on May 19, 21 and 23rd.

Now in its 60th year, the Eurovision Song Contest was awarded the 2015 Guinness World Record for the “Longest Running Annual Television Music Competition”.

With an amazing pool of talent from 40 countries the competition was fierce, but Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw walked away with the top honor. The Eurovision Song Contest is recognized as the world’s largest non-sporting TV event.

ORF’s head of sound commented, “We use the experience from Sound Art Service for monitor and PA applications. ORF and Sound Art Service have a long lasting relationship for TV-PA applications, and we are happy to have Stefan Schloegl and his experienced team on board.”

He continued, “We use Midas PRO9 and PRO6 together as front of house consoles. The PRO9 handles the artists and music, while the PRO6 distributes the outputs and handles additional inputs, announcers, and some sources from other playbacks. PRO X consoles are used for monitors on stage. Every console has an active spare console for redundancy purposes.”

“We are proud to have been part of this momentous, record-setting series of shows,” stated Graham Rowlands, Music Group vp of sales professional division. “We look forward to providing the highest level of support as the event moves to Sweden next year. Congratulations to ORF and the stellar Sound Art Service team for a job well done!”

In total, seven consoles were on hand: two PRO9, two PRO6 and three PRO X, all of which distributed inputs via DN9650 Network bridges from a MADI distribution system. A single DL451 Modular I/O Unit (and its redundant partner) were driven via 4 pairs of DN9620 AES50 Extenders to provide a super-secure fibre optic linkage.


Posted by House Editor on 06/09 at 08:53 AM
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Monday, June 08, 2015

Danley Loudspeakers On The Field At West Point Academy Graduation

Eastern Stage Productions of Long Island provides sound reinforcement coverage for graduation at Michie Stadium.

Every spring, the United States Military Academy at West Point graduates approximately 1,000 cadets in a ceremony with nearly 20,000 parents, relatives, and dignitaries that utilizes the campus’ Michie Stadium.

The army hired Eastern Stage Productions (ESP, of Edgewood, Long Island, NY) to provide sound reinforcement.

ESP selected Danley Sound Labs SH-96HO and Jericho Horn J1 loudspeakers to provide long throw full-range coverage for all of Michie Stadium’s seating.

“To take advantage of the beautiful views of the lake and campus to the east, the west side of Michie Stadium is 150-feet high and fairly steep,” said Bill Danilczyk, president of ESP. “

West Point uses that to their advantage for the graduation ceremony by placing the stage on the east side of the football field near the 50-yard line, which allows them to use the towering stands on the west side plus both end zones for seating. In the past, we’ve covered those stands using multiple stacks of five line array boxes per stack placed on a bumper and kicked up with custom bracing to achieve the steep angle, but I’ve long felt that there must be a better solution.”

“We’ve recently become acquainted with the innovative synergy horn point-source loudspeakers from Danley Sound Labs, and we’ve been impressed by their power, pattern control, and intelligibility. In fact, we ran some tests with program material played through a Danley SH-96HO, a Danley Jericho Horn J1, and a big-name line array. At 400 feet, both Danley boxes had noticeably greater clarity, and that impression was backed up by our measurements. The measured wave front maintained its coherence from the Danley boxes significantly better than from the line array. That’s also a good indicator of intelligibility, and intelligibility is critical at the West Point graduation ceremony.”

In addition to several speeches, the sound reinforcement system conveyed the Army Band’s and the Glee Club’s performances to the spectators.

ESP used five stacks, each consisting of another manufacturer’s subwoofer below a Danley Sound Labs SH-96HO, to cover the broad, tall western stands. A custom-made chock tilted each stack up 25 degrees, just the right amount to allow the SH-96HO’s ample 60-degree vertical coverage pattern to be centered on the bottom of upper stands while still covering the near bottom of the lower stands.

One Danley Jericho Horn J1 per side on a two-inch riser amply covered all of the north and south end zone seating. Lake processing and Lab.gruppen amplification provided the front end for three of the SH-96HO stacks, whereas the remaining two had onboard processing and power. A Danley DSLP48 signal processor provided the requisite signal conditioning for the two Danley Jericho Horn J1s, with Powersoft K10 amplification.

“In addition to improved sound quality and intelligibility, the Danley boxes had several other big advantages over our old line array solution,” said Danilczyk. “The old line arrays included five boxes that stacked up to eight feet tall and negatively impacted sight lines. In contrast, the new clusters are only four feet tall including a sub and obstruct no one’s view. In terms of logistics, the efficiency of Danley speakers meant less weight and less space used in the truck and a much faster setup time. Each of the old line arrays took six guys a half an hour to put up having to lift 220-lb. speakers over their head. In contrast, each of the news clusters took two guys just five minutes to put in place. To a live sound company, those are critical advantages.”

Danley Sound Labs

Posted by House Editor on 06/08 at 11:18 AM
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Delicate Productions Deploys Martin Audio MLA For KROQ Weenie Roast And Fiesta

Coordinating a technically challenging show with strict noise ordinances, multiple vendors and headline acts.

The KROQ Weenie Roast and Fiesta 2015 was held at Meadows Amphitheater with a Martin Audio MLA system deployed by Delicate Productions for the main stage.

This year’s eclectic talent lineup included Cold War Kids, Vance Joy, Awolnation, Walk The Moon, Panic! At The Disco, Death Cab For Cutie, Florence + The Machine, Of Monsters and Men and MUSE, to name a few.

The MLA system consisted of 15 MLA and one MLD cabinet per side for the main hangs, 10 ground-stacked MLX sub bass cabinets per side, and 10 MLA Compact cabinets per side for side hangs. 8 W8LM (4 x 2) W8LM cabinets were used for front fill.

Front of house setups each included an Avid Profile 48 channel console with Waves Live V9 and a production desk and playback system with DiGiCo SD11 consoles. Two Yamaha PM5D-RH consoles were used for monitor setups.

2 Martin Audio WS218X sub bass cabinets, 4 W8CS bass cabinets and 4 W8C 3-way mid/hi cabinets were used for side fill and cue systems common to both Monitor set ups.

Delicate’s crew for the show included Makoto Araki (system engineer), Craig Robertson (front of house tech), Andrew Turner (front of house tech), Michael Souder (monitor tech), Francois Pare (monitor tech), Peter Baigent (stage tech), Ryan Trefethen (stage tech), Tony Luna Talamantes (stage tech) and Meegan Holmes (project manager).

Commenting on the event, Holmes said, “Our client, CBS Radio, put together a great lineup that definitely demonstrated the versatility of the MLA. We had everything from the Indie pop ukulele of Vance Joy mixed by JD Yarosh; the lyrical voice of Florence Welch from Florence and The Machine mixed by Jim Warren, and the powerful guitar and bass riffs from MUSE mixed by Marc ‘MC’ Carolan––all showed the strength and subtlety of the MLA.

“These shows continue to be a technical challenge. Integrating many other vendors systems in with Delicate’s in a short period of time to make a successful, cohesive show takes communication, teamwork and patience. Everyone rose to the task of making the show a great success.  

“One venue related challenge that we face each year,” Holmes concludes, “is the surrounding neighborhood and the venue dB limit. We’ve found that the accuracy of the MLA enables us to push louder and keep the energy from the PA within the venue. This year was no exception. Engineers were free to use the system and horsepower they had and we went the whole evening without a single noise complaint.” 

Martin Audio

Posted by House Editor on 06/08 at 09:49 AM
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Friday, June 05, 2015

Roland Artists Showcase Latest AIRA Gear At Detroit Movement Festival

Roland’s presence extended throughout the festival, giving performers hands-on time with the newest Roland AIRA gear.

Roland recently took center stage as a sponsor of the Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit.

Each year, over 200,000 people journey to the birthplace of Techno for the festival, which features three days of performances by DJs and producers, as well as up-and-coming electronic music artists.

This year’s lineup took to the stage with a heavy rotation of Roland AIRA gear and clothing.

Kevin Saunderson, who rocked his Roland MX-1 Mix Performer and Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer; Nina Kraviz, who performed wearing AIRA gear; Detroit legend Carl Craig, who wowed the audience with his Roland SYSTEM-1m semi-modular PLUG-OUT Synthesizer, MX-1 and TR-8.

Bulgarian artist KiNK infused his Euro-style music with beats from his TR-8; Cell Injection, Shawn Rudiman of Detroit Techno Militia and Techno influencer Kenny Larkin who all performed with their TR-8s; and originators of Acid House, Phuture, who performed with their full array of AIRA gear including TR-8s, Roland TB-3 Touch Basslines, and MX-1s.

Latin American house scene producer Guti also performed with the AIRA TR-8 during the Movement after party. 

Roland’s presence extended throughout the festival, including a special AIRA section in the Movement Artist Lounge that gave performers hands-on time with the newest Roland AIRA gear, plus an AIRA booth in the Movement Tech Area for festival-goers who wanted to hear, play and learn about all the latest gear, including the TR-8, TB-3, VT-3, MX-1, SYSTEM-1, SYSTEM-1m and the AIRA modular effects units, including the new TORCIDO Modular Distortion, BITRAZER Modular Crusher, DEMORA Modular Delay, and SCOOPER Modular Scatter.

AIRA street teams gave away t-shirts and daily prizes to festival-goers. They also kept fans across the country updated on the latest festival happenings with live streaming from the stage, on-site Tweets and artist interviews. Roland AIRA wearables were also sold at the festival’s merch tent.

Festival artist KiNK, an emerging DJ in Bulgaria, relies on his Roland AIRA gear, which includes the new TR-8, a modern-day version of the classic Roland TR drum machines. KiNK remarks, “For live use, I think the TR-8 is much better than the originals. It’s the machine I’ve been waiting for my whole life.” 

AIRA U.S. product manager Brandon Ryan reflected, “Roland products and the Detroit Techno scene have a long history together – dating back to the mid-eighties – so it’s only fitting that we should support today’s electronic musicians and listen to their feedback about what they need to help them shape the next chapter of music history.”


Posted by House Editor on 06/05 at 02:50 PM
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Bassnectar Performs At Red Rocks Amphitheatre With EAW Anya

The geologically formed open-air amphitheatre includes seating area for 9,400 and a strict noise ordinance.

American DJ and record producer Bassnectar recently performed to sold out crowds during three shows at the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Camarillo, California-based Rat Sound provided sound reinforcement featuring EAW Anya line arrays.

Bassnectar front of house engineer Jason Decter specified Anya, knowing the system would contain the sound to the seating area while keeping within venue noise guidelines. Last year the band was fined for violating the noise ordinance. It was extremely important that it not happen again.

“I did the House of Blues event for EAW when they first introduced Anya and kind of fell in love with it then,” explains Decter. “Since then Scovill has taken it out with Petty and Ebdon used it for Maroon 5 – all with great success. Red Rocks is a challenging environment. I knew the system could blanket the seating area and drop off where required and sound better than any other system out there.”

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is located in Red Rocks Park, 10 miles west of Denver. The geologically formed open-air amphitheatre is unique in that the stage and seating area for 9,400 are surrounded by massive rock outcroppings. Using the natural terrain in the area, the venue reaches back 300 feet from the downstage edge with an 80 foot elevation at the rear. This elevation requires 20 degrees of upward sound propagation to reach the rear of the seating area.

Decter worked with EAW’s Bernie Broderick and Rat Sound’s Jason Brandt, to design the system using EAW Resolution software. They modeled the venue, loaded the system in and had the first show the same day.

“It went up super-fast,” Decter adds. “The 18 cabinet Anya arrays were the largest assembled columns to date – and it sounded fantastic. We shaded it down at the top and it was perfect.”

Each Anya module includes 22 highly customized transducers: 14 HF compression drivers provide a continuous line of apertures on a horn that expands to fill the entire face of the enclosure, six 5-inch MF cone transducers combine with Radial Phase Plugs and Concentric Summation Array technology to sum coherently with the HF wavefront, and dual 15-inch LF cone transducers employ Offset Aperture loading to extend horizontal pattern control well into the lower octaves. Each of the 22 transducers in an Anya module are powered and processed independently to provide extremely high resolution and control.

In addition to the 36 Anya modules, six EAW KF364NT enclosures were placed along the lip of the stage for front fill.

“We were right at the SPL limits at the microphone, louder in the audience area and actually way below the limit outside the venue,” Decter explains. “That just proves how well Anya truly contains sound.”

As is common for late May performances, the weather varied greatly during the three day event. The first day was rainy and windy, day two was a beautiful 86 degrees and the third was a mix of rain, wind and sunshine.

“The system stayed the same for every performance,” Decter concludes. “The rig almost defies gravity with the sound staying put exactly where you want it – no matter what the weather is like. The place was sold out every night and everyone in the venue had nothing but positive things to say and we didn’t hear a peep from the neighbors – exactly what we were looking for.”


Posted by House Editor on 06/05 at 08:37 AM
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SSE Sends Allen & Heath’s iLive On Summer Tours

All engineers will be using iDR10 MixRack with iLive control surfaces and PL10s for remote control with 64 channels of Dante available for recording.

UK hire company, SSE, is providing iLive modular digital systems by Allen & Heath for two key tours taking place this summer by artists Paolo Nutini and Morrissey.

Having visited the UK and Europe in the spring, Morrissey will be performing 4 nights at the Sydney Opera House, followed by a comprehensive tour of the USA throughout June and July.

Meanwhile Paolo Nutini will be playing various outdoor and festival dates across Europe this summer with a control package from Wigwam Acoustics.

“iLive has been out of tour with both of these artists a number of times, and SSE is delighted to be able to fulfil the tour requirements by continuing to provide the systems,” says Dan Bennett, hire project manager at SSE. “iLive has proved to be a great success on the road, it’s easy to travel with, compact, quick to set up, and everyone is very pleased with the sonic quality.”

Selected by engineer, Tom Howat, the monitor system for Paolo Nutini’s tour comprises an iDR10 MixRack with iLive-112 Control Surface, with a PL10 controller for additional ‘per-song cues’, and an ME-1 for remote tech monitoring duties.

iLive will be managing both front of house and monitors for the Morrissey tour. Front of house engineer, David Millward, has opted for an iDR10 MixRack and iLive-80 Surface, whilst on monitors, engineered initially by Tom Howat with Will King taking over for the US leg, there will be an iDR10 with iLive-112 Surface. All engineers will be using PL10s for remote control and there will be 64 channels of Dante available for recording.

“This will be the third time I’ve travelled around the globe with iLive. It’s an exceptionally compact surface, which is great fun to mix on. I love the quality of sound, and the range of built-in effects have in my opinion the best reverbs I’ve heard on any console in any price range. I also particularly love the ability to drag ‘n drop any type of channel strip, inputs, outputs, DCAs, FX returns anywhere on the entire surface and even on a per scene basis without affecting audio or worrying about re-patching inputs. Bringing just the channels needed specifically for each song right to your fingertips means you can really concentrate on mixing and being creative. I enjoy it so much it is currently the only console on my audio specification.” says Millward.

Allen & Heath

Posted by House Editor on 06/05 at 08:22 AM
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Meyer Sound LYON Selected For 60th Eurovision Song Contest Finals In Vienna

Broadcast annually since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the longest-running television programs in the world.

The Eurovision Song Contest features elaborate set designs customized for each of the competitors and a vast number of moving elements, experienced by 200 million worldwide viewers and the 10,000-strong live crowd in Vienna’s Wiener Stadthalle arena.

This year’s selection for the live reinforcement was a Meyer Sound LYON linear sound reinforcement system.

“LYON was chosen for this prestigious event because it offers exceptional vocal quality, musical transparency, and high headroom,” says system designer Stefan Schlögl of Vienna-based Sound Art Service (SAS), which provided the system for the event.

“The LYON arrays were very precise and worked extremely well. You could clearly hear any changes we made in the EQ.”

To assure that the stringent requirements were met, 44 LYON linear line array loudspeakers and 12 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements were deployed, with a Galileo loudspeaker management system with four Galileo 616 and six Galileo Callisto 616 array processors for system drive and optimization. Onstage foldback was provided by six MJF-210, two MJF-212A, and 14 UM-1P stage monitors.

The auxiliary fill, delay, and VIP systems comprised 24 M’elodie line array loudspeakers; six JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers; six CQ-1, six UPQ-1P, eight UPM-1P, 18 UPA-1P, eight MSL-2, 18 MSL-4, and four MSL-6 loudspeakers; eight UPJ-1P and six UPJunior VariO loudspeakers; and 10 700-HP subwoofers. Equipment supply for the LYON and 1100-LFC systems came from Senec, Slovakia-based Amex Audio, with coordination by Igor Demčák and Braňo Bèreš.

The broadcast restrictions created a number of challenges. “The most difficult requirement was the height requirement of the arrays, 12 meters above the floor,” says Schlögl. “Uniform coverage in front of the stage was not easy, but the LYON and JM-1Ps provided a seamless solution.”

Front-end system components included Sennheiser digital 9000 wireless microphone systems and MIDAS PRO6 and PRO9 digital mixing consoles for main and music mixes, respectively. Monitors were mixed on MIDAS PRO X consoles, while the broadcast feed was mixed on four Lawo mc²66 consoles.

Broadcast annually since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the longest-running television programs in the world. More than 40 countries participated in the 2015 contest, produced by ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk/Austrian Public Broadcasting). The final three shows were televised to hundreds of millions internationally.

Meyer Sound

Posted by House Editor on 06/05 at 06:34 AM
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Thursday, June 04, 2015

Roland U.S. Sponsors Children’s Music Foundation Benefit Gala

CMF was created to promote the study of music as an educational tool in our elementary schools, to support school music programs and to promote music in education throughout the United States.

Roland U.S. was the title sponsor for the recent BRIDGES benefit gala and concert in Seattle, in support of the Children’s Music Foundation (CMF).

Founded in 2009, CMF was created exclusively to promote the study of music as an educational tool in our elementary schools, to support school music programs, and to promote music in education throughout the United States.

The gala was emceed by former KING 5 News anchor Meg Coyle, and was attended by music education supporters and rock and roll VIPs.

It consisted of a cocktail reception and dinner at Seattle’s Triple Door, followed by a live auction (auctioneered by Seattle radio/TV personality Mark Christopher) and concert entertainment, culminating in a captivating Brazilian music showcase.

Included in the auction was a Roland HPi-50e digital piano with a rosewood finish, as well as a Roland V-Guitar GC-1 and accompanying BOSS pedals: a DS-1 Distortion pedal signed by Roland artist Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers), and a TU-3 Chromatic Pedal tuner signed by guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson).

Greg Scruggs, defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, bid fervently and won the guitar and pedals. He later posed for photos with guests, letting some of them wear his Super Bowl ring.

Roland U.S. ceo/president Jay Wanamaker enthused, “With more and more schools lacking funds to offer music education, organizations such as CMF are becoming more vital to the future of our children, and we are proud to share in their mission.”

Rourke O’Brien, president and founder of CMF, remarked, “We are committed to bringing music education into more of our country’s schools, and with assistance from long-time music education advocates such as Roland, we’re able to expand the reach of our programs each year.”

Roland U.S.
Children’s Music Foundation

Posted by House Editor on 06/04 at 09:53 AM

Alcons Shines In Steve Martin And Edie Brickell Musical Production “Bright Star”

Sound designer Nevin Steinberg selects Alcons pro-ribbon loudspeakers for delicate reproduction of the bluegrass score.

While Hollywood star Steve Martin and singer/songwriter Edie Brickell might seem an unlikely pairing to write a musical, their shared love of bluegrass music resulted in Bright Star, a story of love and loss in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Delicate reproduction of the bluegrass score was vital to the show’s success, which is why sound designer Nevin Steinberg chose Alcons Audio pro-ribbon loudspeakers.

Bright Star’s world premiere took place at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, where the combination of the show’s music and the theatre’s physical attributes lent themselves perfectly to benefitting from Alcons pro-ribbon audio technology.

“We were looking to deliver high resolution sound in a comparatively small theatre and I also needed the flexibility of line array,” says Nevin. “I had been introduced to Alcons through trade publications and in conversations with Alcons USA’s David Rahn at trade shows. Having previously been able to arrange a couple of demos in other venues and on one of my own workshop projects, I had found Alcons to be one of the only line arrays in current use that sounded good in the nearfield. It didn’t need distance for coherence and fidelity, which was a big advantage for this production.”

Nevin specified a system of eight Alcons LR7s micro (single 6.5-inch + 4-inch pro-ribbon) line-arrays and two LR7B single 12-inch line-array subs as a split cluster, flown centrally above the proscenium, plus left-right arrays of five LR14 ultra-compact (double 6.5-inch + 4-inch pro-ribbon) line-arrays and an LR14B double 12-inch sub each on the proscenium itself, with the whole system powered and controlled by three Sentinel 10 4x 2.5kW and 96kHz Amplified Loudspeaker Controllers.

The production’s onstage band were all playing acoustic bluegrass instruments, with further musicians playing cello, viola, mandolin and keyboards offstage.

“The score had to be reproduced with a great deal of sensitivity, in the way that most big Broadway musicals don’t. It needed something special and was the perfect opportunity to test my theory about the performance of Alcons systems,” says Nevin.

“There was a positive, very real sense from the beginning that we were reproducing the score in an honest and emotionally satisfying way. We wanted people to notice how conscious we were of transferring the music’s soul and emotion, almost like we were honouring the musicians on stage.”

Although Nevin was convinced that an Alcons system would be ideal, he acknowledges that it was a leap of faith for the show’s producers and the staff at the host theatre, who hadn’t used the company’s products before.

“There was a great deal of collaboration between all parties and I was thrilled about how supportive Alcons USA was, both in the design process and on site with installation and configuration. David Rahn was on site throughout pre-production to help with any problems and, once we got the system set up, it worked very reliably,” Nevin continues.

“It was very gratifying to hear from both the production team and audiences that we achieved the sensitivity and quality of sound that we wanted. I was very happy with my choice of system and the results it produced.”

Although the show ran in San Diego for a limited time, reviews were positive and the production team are optimistic that a Broadway run will follow.

Alcons Audio

Posted by House Editor on 06/04 at 09:22 AM
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TCB With BGV: Optimizing Background Vocals

Many of us spend a lot of time obsessing about the sound of kick drums and guitar amps. We audition different microphones with the lead vocalist during sound check, then spend tons of time getting the mic and effects dialed in for the show.

But unfortunately, when it comes to background vocals (BGV), we’re too often content to simply put go-to ball mics on stands, roll off everything under 100 Hz, EQ out anything that starts to squeal, and move on. Which is kind of interesting when you really think about it, because the audience is usually focused more on vocals than the kick.

Presenting beautifully blended vocal harmonies through a PA, at least to me, is the icing on the cake of a quality mix. As a result I devote a decent amount of focus in pursuing and implementing best practices with BGV.

Likely Suspects
It starts with the right mics. We all have our favorites for vocals, and I’m no exception. My choices offer a tight cardioid pattern with good rejection at the rear, and low handling noise. Further, it’s a good idea (although certainly not mandatory) to use the same mic model for all vocalists, with the exception of lead singers and drummers who sing (more on this a bit later).

For lead singers who don’t bring their own mic to the gig or have a specific preference, select a few “likely suspects” based on their vocal characteristics and technique as a good starting point, and then have the singer quickly “audition” them. For band members that play an instrument, dynamic cardioids that offer a relatively flat frequency response or a slight rise in the mid frequencies tend to work well.

Unless a musician specifically requests a straight or a round-base stand, tripod stands with adjustable booms are a good choice because they offer more positioning options, along with good stability. Make sure the rubber tips on the legs are in place to help reduce stage noise being transmitted to the mics. Rubber mic clips can also help reduce noise transmission, and make sure each clip’s swivel is tight enough so it won’t slip during the show. I’m also a big fan of external foam windscreens on mics, even indoors. They help in reducing pops and plosives, and also keep lipstick off of the grilles.

There are a lot of ways to outfit a drummer with a vocal mic, including one on a boom stand with everything out of the way.

Drummers providing vocals is where I deviate from the “all the same mics” rule. While most other musicians can simply lean in or step up to a mic, drummers are pretty much locked into position, seated and with arms (and drum sticks) flailing about. While a standard mic on a boom can work, it gets in the way more often than not.

A good option is a headworn mic like the Crown CM311 “differoid” (differential cardioid) condenser, Shure SM10A-CN cardioid dynamic and Shure BETA 54 supercardioid condenser. The key here is that the cardioid pattern helps in rejecting the drum sound. Select a rugged headset style, and make sure it’s adjusted (fitted) as well as possible to the head so it won’t slip during performance.

Also take care to page the mic cable out of the way (flailing arms and sticks, remember?). Most of these headworn units include clothing clips, so the cable can be attached to the shirt and routed down the back, out of the way. Leave some slack in the cable so the drummer can reasonably move about and not pull the clips off.

For drummers who prefer wearing headphones for monitoring, there are models that also include an attached boom mic. While many of these units are designed for remote broadcasting, some, like the Audio-Technica BPHS1 stereo headset with cardioid dynamic mic element, also work well for singing musicians.

Lewitt DTP 340 TT dynamic mic, offering a shorter body.

Drummers who prefer a mic on a stand can be outfitted with models with shorter bodies such as the Telefunken M80-SH dynamic supercardioid, Lewitt DTP 340 TT dynamic supercardioid, Audix D2 dynamic hypercardioid, and Heil Sound PR 31BW dynamic cardioid, so that there’s less mic sticking out of the back of the clip.

This can be further minimized by using an angled XLR connector on the cable. Another possible solution in the quest for a small footprint are mics like the Shure BETA 56A dynamic supercardioid with a built-in locking stand adapter and an integral XLR connector.

Some drummers prefer vocal mics be dropped in front of their faces via a boom. This can be accomplished by using a tall studio-style boom stand or a regular stage boom stand that’s weighed down with sandbags so it won’t tip over. A short gooseneck can then be used to drop the mic in front of the face. 

Multiple Duties
Some bands have dedicated backing vocalists. Sure, they may wave a tambourine or hit a cowbell now and then (and who doesn’t want more cowbell?), but primarily their function is to sing.

More often than not, they’re positioned in a row, and frequently on a riser. Because risers aren’t as solidly built as stages, they’re very susceptible to transmitting noise into mics (especially if the singers like to dance), so it’s wise to use large cast base stands with rubber feet.

Also if possible, provide vocalists with their own monitor wedges, even if they’re all getting the same mix. That way each wedge can be positioned directly behind the null zone of its respective mic. Placing wedges between the mics opens up potential bleed problems.

I make sure that all of the vocalists can be heard in each other’s monitors at the outset of sound check, as well as some kick drum, keyboards and a little rhythm guitar. This provides a solid starting point. 

BGVs can have one or more jobs over the course of a show – singing harmony with the lead, singing as a chorus in unison with or without the lead, solos, and duets with the lead or each other. As noted, my own preference is to have all BGVs on the same mic model unless one of the singers has a vastly different style or range (like a dedicated bass singer who “eats” the mic).

In sound check, I start by tailoring the EQ for each singer, usually rolling off the bottom end around 80 to 100 Hz for males unless they sing bass, where it’s lowered to the 60 to 80 Hz range. For females, the roll off is usually at 100 to 140 Hz. The goal is keeping stage rumble and wayward bass frequencies out of the mix.

Careful on wedge location or there can be too much bleed into BGV mics.

I may also “thin out” male vocals a bit in the 160 to 400 Hz range when they’re supporting a male lead vocal to give them a distinct place in the mix. The same goes in the 200 to 500 Hz range with female BGVs supporting a female lead vocal. Some of the highs may be rolled off as well to help the lead vocal stand out. The idea is to get all vocals fitting right without overshadowing the lead. BGVs usually need to sound like a tight and cohesive unit that’s a complement to the lead, rather than a group of distinct individuals.

Another thing that can help is keeping lead vocal focused a bit more center, with background vocals somewhat more to the sides. A trick I picked up from a recording engineer is to pan backing vocals off to one side and apply a short slap-back echo (no more than 20 to 30 ms or so), with that echo panned over to the other side. This can deliver an overall fuller vocal sound without things being too busy in the center where the lead resides.

Seamless Blend
I’m not a fan of gates on vocals (or gates in general), and also tend to use minimal channel compression, only applying a bit when necessary to keep levels in check. Typically, I route vocals to sub-groups on the console and use one VCA/DCA for control of all BGVs and another VCA/DCA for control of the lead. A bit of compression can be applied to these sub-groups if needed but it’s important not to “squash” anything.

Vocal or room-type reverb can add a bit of life to the lead, but care needs to be taken when adding reverb to background vocals. Rolling off the lows on the reverb return is usually a good idea to keep the overall vocal mix clean while fostering intelligibility of the lead vocal. A longer reverb on BGVs, such as large room or big hall, can further help in this regard.

A few times I’ve worked with bands where some pre-recorded backing vocals are triggered (by a musician in the band or crew member). When this is the case, it’s important to make sure that any click tracks are routed to the correct monitors. Also spend some time listening to the tracks to make sure they all sound similar and that the levels are consistent. If necessary, place a compressor on the tracks to keep levels in check.

Most of these tracks are simply a stereo mix, but if the playback unit offers multi-track outputs, treat each track as a separate vocalist. And apply the same panning approach noted earlier, with the tracks a bit more to the sides. The trick is to seamlessly blend the recorded tracks – sonically and visually – with the live singers on stage.

Senior contributing editor Craig Leerman is the owner of Tech Works, a production company based in Las Vegas.

Posted by Keith Clark on 06/04 at 08:30 AM
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Gabriel Iglesias On Tour With DiGiCo SD9

The DiGiCo SD9’s dynamic EQ processors and compression proves to be critical components for mixing "Fluffy."

Engineer Geoff Hidden’s DiGiCo SD9 digital console, including a D2 Rack and integrated Waves plug-ins, is providing the specialized tools he needs to make sure that every word is heard.

“People think, ‘It’s one microphone—how hard can it be?’” says Hidden, front of house mixer for “Fluffy,” aka Gabriel Iglesias, the hefty comedian, actor, writer, producer and voice actor out on the road with his “Unity Through Laughter” world tour since February and known for his online shows I’m Not Fat… I’m Fluffy and Hot & Fluffy. “But there’s a lot more to it than that.”

Hidden says that audio for comedy is all about clarity. “The challenge is keeping Gabriel consistently above the noise of the room and the crowd while also keeping his level consistent from the stage, because in an instant he can go from a normal speaking voice to an explosive sound effect while cupping the mic.”

For that he says he relies on the DiGiCo SD9’s Dynamic EQ processor. These powerful processors offer dynamic processing on each of the four standard parametric bands, plus 10 Multiband Compressors and 10 DiGiTubes.

“Using Dynamic EQ, I set a threshold, and when the mic level crosses that threshold, the EQ then activates and begins to turn down that specific frequency,” says Hidden. “No other console that I know of has this feature, and it’s changed everything about the way I work.”

Because of the drastic differences in Fluffy’s level throughout the show, Hidden keeps the compression ratio set at a fairly radical 9:1, which means he doesn’t have to ride the fader constantly. Fortunately, the SD9’s onboard compression is utterly smooth.

“On some consoles you can hear the compressor engage, you can hear it pump when the move is so radical, but on the SD9, it’s completely transparent” he observes. On the SD9, all you hear is Gabe.” In fact, he adds, “The first time I used a DiGiCo SD series console, the very first thing I noticed was the transparency of the compressors. That’s what got us started at looking into purchasing the SD9 in the first place.”

Hidden says the SD9’s compact 9U D2 Rack allows him to customize his control settings. “I use [Figure 53’s] QLab for live show control and the sound system is an L-Acoustics K2 rig [provided by R&R Sound, of Lodi, CA], and I’ve got AES audio running literally from the D2 to the console and into the amplifiers to the speakers, and from that point on we are completely digital all the way to the K2s,” he says. “When I come in to check the system before the show, I’ll crank the mic channel all the way up and all I’ll hear is silence. You’d never know the PA system was on.”

Hidden is also using the Waves noise-suppression plug-in, part of the SoundGrid package on the console, purchased by tour promoter/producer Icon Concerts from Sacramento Production Services. “I’m only using one of the plug-ins from the bundle, but it’s a critical one,” he says. “I’ll open up the mic and see what the room noise looks like through it, then I’ll adjust the noise suppression accordingly so that when he stops talking for a second or two, the ambient sound is suppressed. When he talks again, his level comes right back to where it was. It really increases the headroom I have on his microphone, so I can always keep him above the crowd.”


Posted by House Editor on 06/04 at 07:34 AM
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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Initiative Creates A Job: An Interview With Daniella Peters Of Rat Sound

This article is provided by

Professional audio encompasses a wide range of jobs from engineering to research and development, audio technicians, mixers, and various positions at companies that provide services and equipment. These include things like management, public relations, marketing, and sales. All of these jobs require diverse skills and knowledge about the products and company. recently talked with Daniella Peters, head of the sales department and part of the management team at Rat Sound in Camarillo, CA, who after more than 14 years with the company, considers the Rat team family.

Peters is no stranger to live events or the stage. Her mother was a performer, so she grew up around the theater. She also spent several years working for an international cosmetics company doing its live events, and found working in the concert industry a natural transition.

Like many in the music industry, Peters essentially created her job: “I was 23 and knew Jon Monson, Dave Rat and Karrie Keyes. I pitched Karrie at the time to come and work for them doing PR. Back then, Rat was a lot smaller and there wasn’t really a budget but I didn’t care, I just desperately wanted to work there. I would go to shows, takes photos of the crew and gear, and make sure each Rat tour was in the trades.

“After a year or so, Dave said ‘this is great, but really we need to get you bringing in money in order to keep you.’ So we sat down one day and thought about it. We knew how to send large rock tours out and rent out gear, but we didn’t have a storefront or a real web store. Dave suggested selling all of the gear Rat used; microphones, speakers and so forth. We could give unbiased advice on the best product for the job, and we had access to all these incredible lines that we used anyway.

“The plan was informal. We picked a product as a test, choosing the Audix OM7 vocal microphone. Both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam were using it, so it was a mic we really could get behind. The goal was to sell five mics. It seemed huge: Did I cold call? Ebay? Pitch to the bands we were working with? We built a simple web page with a single OM7 and a PayPal button on it, and the sales department was born.”

Two years later Rat Sound hit a million dollars in product box sales.

Without a formal background in audio, Peters gained most of her knowledge by learning on the job. She volunteered at KROQ shows, stints at HHB and Rock FM, and worked on the Coachella main stage audio team for Rat. “I’ve learned by watching and listening,” she notes. “I got lucky because I had other sales and marketing skills, which benefited Rat at the time I was hired. Now I would say you need to have a strong interest and innate ability in audio to go far. It’s too competitive now otherwise.”


Successfully selling a product requires knowing the product, and a good amount of research can be involved. Peters gets to know the products offered by Rat Sound through attending trade shows like NAMM, LDI, and AES, which she attends regularly and feels are the most relevant and useful. She also attends manufacturer demos and learns from speaking with her customers, clients, and bands about what they like, which provides her with a feel for what’s hot in the market.

“Obviously the rental department has strong recommendations and opinions on new gear that comes out, and being a slightly larger company, manufacturers drop in pretty frequently to see us and keep us updated on what is new,” she adds.

Attending trade shows offers more than just product info; they’re also a useful tool for relationship building, which coupled with great service and reliability, is what she finds key to making a successful sale.

“Sometimes you have people who call in and tell you I just need it to be the lowest price. And you know they have spent two hours on the phone calling everywhere to save five dollars on a microphone,” she explains. “On the other side of the coin, I must say, either way, a huge part of what I do is having things get there exactly when they’re meant to.

“Tours spend very little time in one place. If a band has one show a night, in a different city every day, then you need to be precise in getting what they need there exactly on time.

“Likewise, if they have something break mid show or heaven forbid someone throws a beer on the console, they can email or call me at any time. I will do everything beyond my power to either advance replace or fix. We’ve sent an Atlas mic stand with someone on a plane one time to a band in Europe because they absolutely needed the MS 12CE and there wasn’t any to be found anywhere on a Sunday in that part of the world.

“It’s frustrating to get beat up on price although I understand it,” she continues. “It’s the fine balance between covering your costs, and you’re paying for service too. I would like to think that my clients know if they have an issue they feel cared for and safe. I feel they’re also my friends. When I had to go to travel to the east coast, I stopped in and met up with Welsh Sound, for example. I went out with James’s wife and daughter, and we went to see a concert together where James was working, which was so super fun.

“And then being out at Coachella, jobs or trade shows, you get to meet with people whom you’ve only met by phone. I feel like I know what is going on in their lives as they do mine. I’m not sure if that’s typical music touring industry or whether it’s a result of the world’s turn towards social media aiding this. Maybe a mixture of both.”

Does Peters find now that most of the sales come via the website, or is there still a lot of the leg work like cold calling and pitching to bands?


“All of the above,” she replies. “Facebook has been a fun marketing medium for our box sales and gets a lot of interaction. We have loyal repeat clients. I find myself getting referrals now (shout out to Ron Kimball (Bad Religion), Kevin Sanchez and Jason Bertok who give my name to everyone they meet), some pitching, some bidding. Having a touring side helps, if bands are out on tour, they get shot my direction from Jon Monson. Getting to work shows like Coachella, I meet new and old faces each year. We have a fairly active web store, Amazon and Ebay as well, although it’s constantly a work in progress in developing ways to bring people to the web store.

How important is social marketing?

“I update our social media, although sometimes I lag depending on how busy we get. It feels like it should be a full-time job. For the sales division, social marketing has been paramount, for Rat Sound at least.”

She doesn’t feel that she has faced much sexism or discrimination being a minority (woman) in the audio industry.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever lost a sale or client because of being a woman although I have gained some clients because I’m a woman,” she says. “Yes, women are the minority, and maybe I’m just oblivious but honestly, I’ve found everyone with whom I’ve come into contact with pretty cool and very respectful. I think that’s why I’ve stayed at Rat Sound so long. Dave Rat is pretty clear that we are all a team.

“And male or female, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, but as long as you work hard, it’s the collective that works. In this industry, I’ve found most people really easy to get along with.

“That being said, I am pretty feminine, I know my limits, what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. It’s that old phrase, better to be right or happy?” she notes. “Quite honestly, I think no matter which industry you work in there are always occasionally those who may be arrogant or ego driven. That’s life in general. But I have done a lot of work on trying to not take anything too personally—from males or females. You just roll your eyes, keep your head down and move on.

“It’s building relationships. You gel who you gel with, and you enjoy talking to some more than others. Screw up and you’re going to lose jobs.”

Peters points to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center as one of her favorite long-term projects. “We won the bid for a brand-new L-Acoustics sound system for their two theaters, which was exciting for everyone here. They are such a landmark venue that it was a real privilege to be trusted with their project and build that relationship with them—especially being in such close proximity.

“I think every project ‘takes a village’,” she continues. “While yes, I was the project manager, I worked with our general manager on this one. He has different strengths to the ones I have so we worked together.

“A funny story; one of the first days we were on site, I met one of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center team members who two years earlier, it turns out he had contacted Rat Sound and we’d actually met. It was late on a Friday, and he had needed a part at the last minute for a show and he was stuck and calling around. It was small but important to him, and I had gestured “Just take it, I don’t want any payment. But don’t forget to bring it back Monday otherwise I’ll hunt you down!” He had remembered. I think there was something Karmic in that gesture even though it wasn’t on purpose at the time.

Her career advice? “Go for it. It doesn’t cross my mind that you shouldn’t truly go for anything you want to do in life, and while you’re doing that, you may find your life takes a direction you could never have even dreamed. Quite honestly, I didn’t have a fixed plan starting out. I started in the beauty industry, but over time realized I was gravitating towards music.


“Get as much experience as possible,” she adds. “When I was younger, I sought out as many experiences as I possibly could and said yes to any opportunity, no matter what. I had no ego attached to doing even the most mundane of tasks to gain experience. I built up experience and relationships until I stumbled into the role where I felt was meant to be. Pay your dues, watch and listen, work hard, get creative!”

Peters must-have skills include: Being organized and accurate. Be good with people. Be great with numbers. Don’t be a diva. Know your place in the food chain.
What gets you excited about your job? Working with open-minded people. That goes for both clients and co-workers. Also, new friends I get to meet. I have met a couple of my best friends through NAMM, and the SoundGirls NAMM dinner last year was extremely fun.

In closing, we asked, when you close a big sale that you’ve worked very hard on, it must feel somewhat like finishing a successful show?

“Yes, especially if you didn’t think you were going to get the job. Some can last over a year, quoting, re-quoting. The fact that someone trusts you enough to go with you—rather than elsewhere—feels really great.”

SoundGirls.Org supports women working in professional audio and music production by highlighting their success and providing a place for them to connect, network, and share advice and experiences, in addition to providing career development and tools to help those working in the field advance in their careers.

Looking for a great job in pro audio? Searching for the best candidates? Check out the ProSoundWeb Jobs Center.

Posted by Keith Clark on 06/03 at 04:39 PM
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Martin Audio MLA Ensures Sound Control At EDC NY

3G Productions supports the Electric Daisy Carnival NY Festival with loudspeakers from Martin Audio.

Martin Audio MLA systems were deployed by 3G Productions on the Main Stage (KineticField) and Stage Two (Circuit Grounds) at the Electric Daisy Carnival NY festival to provide consistent audio coverage front to back for sea of energetic fans.

Held outside MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, NJ, the fourth EDC NY festival drew an estimated 100,000 fans over two days, appealing primarily to a rave-oriented crowd moving to the rhythms and beats of trance, dubstep, hardstyle, house, hip-hop and new combinations of each.

The extensive lineup of artists ranged from mainstream to underground dance music and far beyond, including notable performances from Carl Cox & Friends, Krewella, Martin Garrix, Martin Solveig, Hardwell, AfroJack, Andrew Rayel, Brodinski, Calvin Harris, Duke Dumont, DJ Snake, Kaskade and Dixon.

In order to deliver maximum power, high end extension and low end impact on site, each MLA system consisted of 12 MLA and 2 MLD enclosures per side for the main hang; 16 MLA Compact per side for outfills; 32 MLX subwoofers across the front of the stage in a virtual sub arc and two delays of 4 MLA and 3 MLX each.

As with most festivals around the world, there are multiple opportunities for the right sound system to deliver a premium experience.

Asked why MLA was used for both the main and second stage, event supervisor and system designer Julio Valdez said, “3G chose MLA because we’ve been having great success in both quality and control of sound. With MLA we are able to minimize sound spill between stages and ensure even coverage to every member of the audience which means the audience get the experience they deserve. Equally MLA can also provide exceptional control for sound beyond the audience perimeter and given the proximity to neighborhoods in this instance, it was an important factor too. Ultimately, our client, Insomniac, want the best of worlds:  the best audio for the audience with minimal impact to surrounding areas.”

According to Valdez, “Front of house engineers and artists were impressed by MLA’s sonic impact and sound quality, while the client was very happy with the tonal quality and coverage of the PA, plus the fact that we effectively protected noise overspill into surrounding areas. Stage One metered at 103dB on site but the local neighborhood was seeing less than 65dB and they even received a call from the Mayor who was excited about the show and the fact that they cooperated with the town about keeping within the noise ordinances.”

With a 3G crew that included eight front of house, system and monitor techs, 3G handled three of four stages with typical professionalism and composure despite the mania surrounding both stages for the event.

Summing up EDC NY, Valdez concludes, “I’m really excited about what we achieved. The audience had a crazy, wild time, artists and front of house engineers really enjoyed their sets and we were able to contain sound within the audience perimeters. This is what MLA delivers for us and our clients.”

Martin Audio

Posted by House Editor on 06/03 at 01:37 PM
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Eighth Day Sound Adds Adamson E-Series To Global Inventory

Addition of more than 200 loudspeakers to existing E Series inventory ensures worldwide availability

Eighth Day Sound, headquartered in Highland Heights, OH with offices in the U.K. and Australia, has added more than 200 Adamson Systems E-Series loudspeakers to its inventory, ensuring availability worldwide. 

In 2013, Eighth Day Sound was an early adopter of the Adamson E15 line array, which was immediately put into use by a number of national and regional tours.

“When we first bought the Adamson system it was new and still a work in progress,” explains Sean Sturge, Eighth Day Sound global sales manager. “Since then we’ve worked closely with their engineering and marketing teams to refine a package that ensures the highest performance, service, and efficiencies for our clients. We’re excited to now be able to field Adamson products everywhere we do business.”

“Every engineer that has been in front of this system agrees that it’s one of the best they’ve ever heard,” adds Owen Orzak, Eighth Day Sound director of touring services. “The Adamson package is extremely flexible – able to handle any configuration necessary. It’s also nice that their headquarters are nearby. It makes it even easier to communicate and collaborate with their team.”

In total, Eighth Day Sound is adding 108 E15 and 30 E12 line array enclosures, along with 80 units of a new subwoofer that will officially be launched later in 2015. The boxes will be shared between the U.S., U.K. and Australian offices. The company will first deploy the new PA for the Hot 97 Summer Jam at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ in early June. 

“Eighth Day Sound has developed a corporate culture that businesses in and outside of our industry would envy,” adds James Oliver, director of marketing and sales for Adamson. “They have a staff that is passionate for their craft and fully immersed in the selection process for new equipment. Working with their technicians and engineers to find a way to integrate Adamson products into their inventory offering was a challenging and hugely rewarding process.

“To have our product now available wherever Eighth Day does business is something we’re excited to be a part of and we’re looking forward to a long and successful partnership,” he concludes.

Adamson Systems
Eighth Day Sound

Posted by Keith Clark on 06/03 at 10:59 AM
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Masque Sound Sponsors Collaborator Party To Celebrate Theatre Audio Community

Tony Night festivities include main event in New York City and satellite events across the country to honor industry sound designers.

Masque Sound, theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, is proud to sponsor The Collaborator Party, a special event created to celebrate the artistry of sound designers and their creative achievements on Broadway this past year. 

Hosted by theatrical sound designers Lindsay Jones and John Gromada, the party is an opportunity for theatre enthusiasts across the country to come together to acknowledge the theatre sound community and its collaborators. 

The Collaborator Party main event will take place on the night of the 2015 Tony Awards, Sunday, June 7, 2015 from 7:00pm to 11:00pm at Houston Hall, located at 222 West Houston Street in Manhattan.

In addition, to accommodate all those interested in celebrating the artistry of the theatre audio community, Jones and Gromada have announced that the New York City main event will be accompanied by a number of complimentary, spin-off satellite parties in major cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver and Syracuse, each hosted by a local resident.

“Masque Sound has been a pillar of support for the theatre sound community for decades, and we are thrilled that they believe so strongly in our cause,” says Jones. “We’ve also received a groundswell of interest from artists all over the country who wish to host their own versions of The Collaborator Party. We are proud of the new grassroots movement that has grown out of our New York event and are especially grateful to all those who pledged their support of the theatre sound community. It is a real testament to the spirit of collaboration.”

Through the generous donations of several sponsors, including Masque Sound, tickets to attend the New York City event are being sold at a reduced price so that interested guests can enjoy four hours of food and drinks for $50. 

Ticket entry is required for the New York event, and as sales are limited, interested attendees are encouraged to immediately secure their tickets and not wait until the night of the event to purchase at the door as once all the remaining tickets are sold, there will no longer be any available.

In addition to the fun and festivities, before the night comes to a close, The Collaborator Party will raffle off over $20,000 worth of prizes donated from more than 40 leading audio manufacturers across the globe.

“Masque Sound is honored to support this celebration of sound design artistry,” says Stephanie Hansen, president, Masque Sound.  “It is a wonderful way to recognize the outstanding work that sound designers provide the theatrical community and to award, and continue to encourage, their creative talents.”

As The Collaborator Party partnered with, all of the fun festivities of the night will live stream to a worldwide audience thanks to the support of official live stream sponsor USITT. Additional sponsors include Figure 53, Point Source Audio, LDI and Lighting & Sound America magazine. 

Masque Sound
The Collaborator Party

Posted by House Editor on 06/03 at 09:54 AM
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