Monday, April 07, 2014

Riedel Introduces Virtual Key Panel App For Artist Digital Matrix Intercom System

Allows users to turn their smartphones and tablets into full-featured 12-key virtual panels for any Artist system

Riedel Communications has unveiled a new app that enables use of compatible iOS, OS X, and Android devices as virtual key panels for the company’s Artist digital matrix intercom system.

Allowing users to turn their smartphones and tablets into full-featured 12-key virtual panels for any Artist system, the new app adds even greater flexibility to the already versatile intercom solution.

“The option of using smartphones and tablets as intercom interfaces is just one more compelling reason to work with our Artist intercom product,” states Christian Bockskopf, marketing and communications for Riedel Communications. “With this new key panel app, users on the move can maintain convenient control over their Artist systems at all times.”

Operating the app’s virtual key panel via the device’s touch-screen interface, users enjoy the same signaling capabilities as they would on Riedel’s 1000 Series wired control panel for Artist systems. Like the wired control panels, the new key panel app can be configured via Riedel’s Director software.

To facilitate mobile control over the Artist system through the new app, a VOIP-108 G2 card at the Artist frame converts eight Artist matrix ports into a compressed IP stream.

To assure audio quality at all times, users can choose between two modes — a high-quality mode with an audio bandwidth of 6 kHz, resulting in a data rate of less than 80 kBit/s (including panel data); and a low-traffic mode with 4 kHz audio bandwidth and a data rate of less than 40 kBit/s per channel (including panel data). The VOIP-108 G2 client card then communicates with the virtual panels via a WAN connection to a wireless network.

Riedel’s key panel app for Artist intercom systems is now available through the respective app stores for iOS, OS X, and Android devices.

Riedel Communications

Posted by Keith Clark on 04/07 at 07:52 AM
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New Radial Engineering StageBug SB-15 Tailbone Now Shipping

Signal buffer designed to sit at the beginning of the signal chain and drive multiple pedals without the added noise that can plague high-impedance circuits

The new Radial Engineeringg SB-15 Tailbone, a high-performance signal buffer designed to sit at the beginning of the signal chain and drive multiple pedals without the added noise that can plague high-impedance circuits, is now shipping.

The compact design begins with a standard hi-Z instrument input. The signal is then “tamed” using Radial’s proprietary Dragster load correction circuit to replicate the tone and feel as if connected directly to the amplifier.

It’s then buffered via a 100-percent discrete, class-A unity gain amplifier. Unlike most others that employ ICs or integrated circuits to buffer the signal, the discrete design reduces the need for phase-canceling negative feedback producing a more natural and pleasing tone.

This is further advanced with the same class-A buffer that is in the Radial JD7 and used by guitarists as diverse as Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Steve Lukather and many others. Once buffered, the SB-15 Tailbone lowers the impedance and susceptibility to hum and buzz caused by radio interference and electromagnetic fields. The SB-15 Tailbone is able to drive multiple pedals distances of 15 meters (50’) without noise.

As an extra bonus, two 9V outputs can be combined in a power brick and the Tailbone will convert them to 15V DC for Tonebone pedals.

According to Radial President Peter Janis: “Over the years, we have received many requests to make our big Tonebone pedals work with 9V power bricks. Although 9 volts is plenty for average pedals, the higher voltage (15V) and double the average current (400 milliamps) increases the headroom and dynamic range. So instead of reducing the quality we have come up with a cool solution that takes two 9V outputs from a power brick and combines them to deliver the 15 volts.”

The Radial SB-15 Tailbone enhances sonic quality, reduces noise and adds the convenience of 15V DC power for the Tonebone. It is now shipping and retails for $90 USD.

Radial Engineering

Posted by Keith Clark on 04/07 at 06:57 AM
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Friday, April 04, 2014

It’s All Interconnected: Analog & Digital Cabling For Performance Audio

A few weeks ago one of the neighbors in the industrial complex where I keep my shop came over to say hello while I was in the middle of doing some PM (preventative maintenance) on cables.

As I sat at a bench surrounded by piles of microphone and loudspeaker lines, he asked why I was spending so much time on “stupid cords.” I replied, simply, that without the stupid cords, the rest of my equipment is worthless. A system is only as good as its cables, interconnects, snakes, and networks—period. Fortunately, we have a wide variety of analog and digital options to choose from, and it’s getting better on a constant basis.

Digital audio transport technology (a.k.a., digital snakes and networks) have taken pro audio by storm in the last few years, pushed at least in part by the proliferation of digital consoles, with virtually every manufacturer offering some way to move audio over Cat-5/6, coax, and fiber optic cabling. While digital networking certainly offers a lot of advantages and flexibility, it hasn’t pushed analog completely out of the picture—and in my opinion, at least, I don’t think it will, at least in the foreseeable future.

One reason is personal preference, another is the sheer amount of cabling that will have to be replaced, and yet another big one is that digital systems need A-D and D-A conversion at each end of the cable (or fiber), which increases cost, and this is particularly dramatic for smaller systems that only run a few channels of audio. As technologies improve and prices come down, I’m sure we’ll see even more digital, even on the smallest of shows, but there’s still the issue of preference.

That said, let’s take a look at the various cables, connectors, and audio transport used in production audio systems.

Here To There
The first cable in the signal chain is usually the humble XLR cable sporting 3-conductor connectors at each end. These cables connect low-impedance microphones and direct boxes to consoles, as well as send line level signals around to various gear.

Left to right: XLR (female end), TRS 1/4-inch, signal 1/4-inch, loudspeaker 1/4-inch, loudspeaker 1/4-inch with larger barrel, 4-pin Speakon, 19-in Soco male, and 19-pin Soco female. Note the use of colored heat shrink to quickly ID signal (blue and red) and loudspeaker cables.

They operate on the balanced principle and contain two insulated conductors that are twisted together inside a shield under the outer jacket. The audio signal is applied to the pair of conductors differentially, that is to say that one wire has the polarity of the signal reversed but the levels are the same. Any noise or outside interference that gets into the signal lines will mostly be defeated because one conductor transmits the noise with a positive polarity and the other is at a negative polarity.

When signals with opposite polarity (in this case, the noise) are combined, they will cancel each other out. The reason the inner conductors are twisted is that it allows external noise to be introduced to both signal conductors equally (or as equally as possible) and improves the common-mode rejection ratio. Some cables use four inner conductors (two pairs of two) that offer better rejection from outside electromagnetic interference like transformers and fluorescent lighting ballasts.

The conducting shield that wraps around the inner wires is used for the signal common and can be a spiral winding or a braided winding. Braided shields provide more surface area coverage and better rejection of radio frequency interference (RFI) than spiral wound shields.

Similar in construction to the XLR is a cable that instead has 3-conductor 1/4-inch phone plugs at each end, usually called a TRS cable. The TRS refers to Tip, Ring, and Sleeve, the three conductor positions on the connector.

These are commonly used as interconnection cables between rack gear and are a popular option for manufacturers who want to use balanced connections but have limited real estate on the product in which to squeeze in XLR connections.

Many consoles have insert jacks that allow patching of external processing into a channel or group. They normally use a TRS 1/4-inch jack and a special Y cable called an “insert cable” that is outfitted with a TRS plug on one end and a 2-conductor 1/4-inch plug at each end of the Y that is used to route to the inputs and outputs of the external processor. The TRS end is usually wired so the tip is the send to the external unit, the ring is the return and the sleeve is the shield or common.

While similar in looks to a TRS cable, a regular 1/4-inch signal cable is quite different. It has only one inner conductor surrounded by a spiral or braided shield. They are used with high-impedance signals from a guitar or keyboard to connect them to a stage amplifier or DI. The outer braid acts as both a conductor and a barrier to help keep RFI and other noises from reaching the center “hot” conductor.

When used with a guitar or other high-impedance input, the cable’s capacitance couples with the high impedance to create a low-pass filter that varies depending on cable length. The longer the cable, the more highs it rolls off, so 1/4-inch cable runs are usually kept under 25 feet in length unless they’re serving electronic keyboards, which output a hot line-level signal that can drive longer runs.

Another cable that may look identical to these first two is the 1/4-inch loudspeaker cable. While these may have a 1/4-inch plug on each end, the loudspeaker cable is a different animal altogether, designed to move large amounts of output current from an amplifier to a loudspeaker, not the mere milliamps that signal cables handle. Constructed of two heavy-gauge inner-insulated conductors housed in an outer jacket, these cables are commonly used to connect a stage amplifier head to its loudspeaker cabinet, or a small PA loudspeaker to a powered mixer.

Just a reminder—signal cables should never be used for loudspeaker lines, and vice versa. Signal cable isn’t designed to handle high current, and loudspeaker cable is not shielded from outside interference.

Scaling Up
The most popular loudspeaker connector in pro audio is the Speakon (stylized as speakON) from Neutrik. They come in 2-, 4- and 8-pin varieties, allowing a multitude of connections options. The wire size (gauge) of loudspeaker cable depends on a few factors, chiefly the load impedance and the length of the cable. Simply put, the longer the cable, the larger the conductors should be. Common sizes for audio production include 12- and 14-gauge, with a few manufacturers also offering multi-conductor cable in 13-gauge.

Two 50-foot, 6-channel boxes to fan stage snakes.

Some sound companies deploy an 18-conductor cable with a 19-pin connector called a Soco, borrowed from the lighting world. The term Soco comes from the trade name of the most common 19-pin connector manufactured by Socapex, but companies like Veam and Kupo also make compatible connectors. Lighting folks use the cable for six circuits of power, while audio folks wire up their systems differently and can get up to nine speaker circuits in one cable. A “Soco to fan out” distributes signal to the various loudspeaker cabinets.

Speaking of multi-circuit cables, snakes are the answer for running multiple channels of audio from one place to another. These cables could have a breakout fan on one or both ends to individual channel lines, or could use a box at one end (usually at the stage end) that individual XLR cables can be plugged into. Snakes can also integrate multi-pin connectors that make it faster and easier to hook up a system. To save weight and size in the cable many snakes use a foil shield around each pair of channel conductors instead of a braided or spiral wrapped shield.

Aside from the obvious stage to FOH mixer application, smaller “stage” snakes are a popular way to help manage cable runs on stage and keep things neat and organized. Another use of snakes is for “crosslink cables” running the signal to the PA system from one side of the stage to the other.

Many snakes have the capability to run signals from and to the stage. The “sends” are for the mic inputs to the mixer and the “returns” get the output of the mixer to the amp rack or powered loudspeakers. Larger systems may use a separate return snake for the line-level outputs to keep any crosstalk (interference from adjacent snake channels) to a minimum.

Splitter snakes provide more than one output off the send side of a snake, so the same inputs can be sent to multiple consoles (i.e., when using a separate monitor or broadcast console along with the house console). Some splitters are passive and simply hardwire a “Y” off each channel.

A better practice is to use isolation transformers to isolate each console from potential noises and hums and buzzes caused when plugging them into different power sources. In a split snake system, usually one split is hard-wired to the inputs so that the console can pass phantom power to mics and DIs.

Another version, called a “power snake,” combines a few loudspeaker lines along with the signal channels. These can work well for a small system on short runs but their use is usually limited to about 100 feet.  Yet another multi-circuit version that has become popular recently is cable systems that include signal and power in one jacket. These are perfect for getting audio and AC power to a powered loudspeaker or floor wedge.

Networked World
While analog cables still fill the road trunks, digital systems are starting to take over many of the audio transport duties. They offer a host of signal routing benefits that analog simply can’t match, including using a small thin cable to route multiple channels of audio. Smaller cable equals less stagehands required to lay out a digital network as opposed to large, heavy multi-core snakes.

Digital cables are also less prone to RFI and crosstalk. Networks, as we now call our digital transport systems, can offer audio almost anywhere along the line, and can easily interface with multi-track recording systems, personal monitoring rigs and broadcast trucks.

Transport networks use one of three types of cable: fiber optic, coax or Ethernet Cat-5/6. Coax cables offer up a rugged solution and are used by a few manufacturers to transport signals between stage boxes, consoles and recorders. Fiber optics offer the ability to send signals over very long distances, and because the signals travel as light, are immune to all outside electromagnetic disturbances and RFI. Ethernet Cat-5/6 cables are the most popular, found in many different systems to transport audio at distances of up to about 330 feet (100 meters). Some of these have accessories that can extend this distance.

A typical molded RJ45 connector (left) with an Ethercon connector.

Ethernet cables have RJ45 8-pin connectors that are stout enough for home computer use but not rugged enough for most gig uses, so they’re best replaced with rugged Ethercon connectors that surround the plastic crimp-on with a metal barrel that provides added protection in addition to better locking.

Ethernet cables come in a variety of styles. Some have solid wire conductors that offer the best performance, while others have stranded conductors that provide greater flexibility. They can be unshielded but it’s better to go with shielded in noisy environments.

Ethernet cables can also be wired in different ways. The “standard” wiring scheme runs pin 1 to pin 1, pin 2 to pin 2, etc. “Crossed over” cables wire pin 1 to pin 3, pin 2 to pin 6, pin 3 to pin 1 and pin 6 to pin 2. Before choosing an Ethernet cable, check manufacturer recommendations on which cable is recommended for interconnection of specific gear.

As noted earlier, a downside to digital transport is that there is the need for analog to digital conversion, and further, manufacturers utilize a variety of variety of different protocols that are not compatible. However, that’s been changing rapidly, as more and more devices support multiple protocols, and the Audinate Dante protocol in particular has really caught on the past few years. And, AVB (Audio/Video/Bridging) is a standard that manufacturers are also starting to embrace. The bottom line is that our job of interconnecting various gear from various manufacturers is getting easier.

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

Posted by Keith Clark on 04/04 at 04:16 PM
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The Band Perry FOH Engineer Jon Garber Touring With Radial Engineering Tools

Utilizes a wide range of Radial DIs as well as Reamp JCRs

Currently in the midst of The Band Perry’s first world tour, “We Are Pioneers,” front of house engineer Jon Garber is utilizing a wide range of tools from Radial Engineering.

The Band Perry has been on a huge popularly surge, with Garber, who joined the band after nine years with Rascal Flatts, touring for more than 170 shows a year.

“The main challenge I have right now is that we’re on a different PA every night, so making it consistent night after night is what I strive for,” he states. “For me, new gear is something I really take my time to research. I’m of the mindframe that if it isn’t broke, don’t change it. But I know there’s new gear out that can make a day easier; for instance Radial gear, which we use a lot on this tour.”

Specifically, Garber and The Band Perry sound team deploy Radial J48 direct boxes, Reamp JCRs, JDI Duplex stereo DIs on keyboards, JDX DIs on electric guitars and ProD8 rack-mount DIs with Pro Tools recording rig. “The Radial J48 is by far, the best-sounding DI box out there,” he says. “It has super-low harmonic distortion and produces a lot more clean headroom. This is particularly important when you plug in a high-gain instrument.

“We also use the Radial Reamp JCR in a really cool way,” he continues. “We take the output from the wireless systems into the stage amps and then into Petersen tuners so that the artists can check their tuning at all times. The signal sounds as if you’re connected to a 15-foot cable. And because of the JCR isolation transformers, we can lift the ground and eliminate all of the hum and buzz problems that caused havoc in the past.”

One Radial JPC (stereo PC DI box) is utilized for several functions: “Getting a line-level signal for playback is the most important. Then in turn, if my audio interface goes down it’s a quick back up. One other place I use it is when artists want to play a song from their iPhone—I can quickly make that happen.”

Garber recently received word that even more dates are being added to The Band Perry’s schedule this year—Blake Shelton has invited the band to join him on more than 20 dates for the 2014 leg of his own “Ten Times Crazier” tour.

“The Band Perry are perfectionists, which I love,” he concludes. “They’re always trying new ways to give the crowd the best possible show. The best part of touring is working so hard during the setup and then seeing the people cheer and sing every song they sing.”

Radial Engineering

Posted by Keith Clark on 04/04 at 03:45 AM
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Thursday, April 03, 2014

National Aquarium Unveils New High Tech Exhibits With Audio Powered By QSC

New system Includes Q-Sys Core 500i integrated system platform, AcousticDesign loudspeakers and CX Series amplifiers

The National Aquarium in Baltimore unveiled a new centerpiece exhibit, Blacktip Reef, a re-creation of an Indo-Pacific reef ecosystem that features 779 animals representing 70 species, including blacktip sharks.

As part of the $12 million construction project, sound system upgrades to the aquarium were also implemented, including a QSC Audio Q-Sys Core 500i integrated system processor managing 75 AcousticDesign AD-Ci52ST ceiling loudspeakers plus 16 AcousticDesign AD-S52T surface-mount loudspeakers powered by five CX Series multichannel amplifiers.

The new QSC equipment supplements existing background music and paging system at the aquarium, which is located in the city’s Inner Harbor and attracts 1.4 million visitors annually. Burbank, CA-based AV specialists Electrosonic designed the sound system expansion and other improvements to the exhibits, with Nelson White Systems of Towson, MD, providing system integration. “It was one of the largest renovations the aquarium has done in many years,” reports Paul Stephens, CTS-D, system engineer at Nelson White Systems.

A Q-Sys Core 500i with a single I/O Frame handles loudspeaker management, zoned playback of background music and sound effects, and integrates with a new wireless microphone system for dive show presentations at the new Blacktip Reef attraction. The Core 500i is interconnected with the National Aquarium’s existing audio system and offers support for pre-recorded pages. A new QSC PS-800H eight-button wall-mounted paging station was also installed at the security desk for live announcements.

New QSC equipment installed at the Blacktip Reef exhibit in the Great Hall includes 59 AD-Ci52ST 70V flush-mount, ceiling loudspeakers together with 16 AD-S52T 70V surface-mount loudspeakers. The loudspeakers are powered by four CX204V four-channel 70V amplifiers fitted with optional DataPort output cards, enabling full integration with the Q-Sys Core’s monitoring and control capabilities. A further 16 AD-Ci52ST 70V ceiling loudspeakers, driven by a single eight-channel CX108V 70V amplifier also fitted with a DataPort card, are installed at two Bubble Tank exhibits.

Visitors can view the Blacktip Reef exhibit from platforms on various levels above the 260,000-gallon habitat, as well as below the surface. The exhibit features a new 27-foot curved viewing window that allows guests to step four feet into the underwater reef. According to Stephens, the loudspeakers on each level around the attraction are zoned to provide a smooth transition between the exhibit audio and Blacktip Reef presentations, which include daily feedings of the animals by divers.

“As you walk closer to where you can overlook Blacktip Reef you can hear the presentation,” he elaborates. “As you move closer to the exhibits on the floor, you hear any audio associated with those exhibits. When there are no presentations going on, those areas have music.” That music crossfades between one zone and the next in certain areas, he adds.

The entrance to the Blacktip Reef exhibit, where large bubble tubes are located, features a new eight-channel soundscape, sourced from the Core 500i that is assigned and distributed to 16 AD-Ci52ST ceiling loudspeakers. “We installed eight of the ceiling speakers next to each of these bubble tubes and zoned them. They run these bubble sounds through them; we’re using the media player within the Q-Sys Core to play the soundscapes,” Stephens notes.

Wireless control of the system is enabled via the Q-Sys Control app. “The gentleman who runs the A/V department has the QSC app on his phone,” says Stephens. “And the presenters have a small iPod Touch that they use—they just walk up and hit a button for whatever presentation they want.”

“The speakers near the balcony which overlooks the Blacktip Reef exhibit will be used to draw people to the Blacktip Reef dive shows,” says Stephens. “The other speakers are for the specific exhibit areas.”


QSC Audio

Posted by Keith Clark on 04/03 at 01:43 PM
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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Hillsdale College Adds FiberPlex Optical Multiplexing For Broadband AV

College will roll out FiberPlex WDM-16 multiplexer into existing fiber strands for moving large multimedia files from auditorium and sports fields to control studio on campus

When it comes to broadband AV, it’s optical fiber all the way for Hillsdale College in Michigan. The independent private college started running high-speed, secure optical fiber across its indoor track using audio optical technology by FiberPlex Technologies last May and is now gearing up for another, longer optical run that will shuttle multimedia across its campus. 

In the next few months, the college will roll out a FiberPlex WDM-16 multiplexer into existing fiber strands for moving large multimedia files from its auditorium and sports fields to a control studio on campus.

Hillsdale College director of technical media Ted Matko is working with AVI Systems, headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN, on the project and expects the WDM-16 active wave division multiplexer to save the college the cost of trenching in new fiber in some areas of the campus by reusing existing optical runs which will generate substantial savings. 

“We needed capacity to get video from the athletic fields, the auditorium, the fine arts building and elsewhere to our new control studio about a quarter of a mile away. Multiplexing will make it cost effective to do that,” says Matko, explaining that the FiberPlex WDM-16 lets him multiplex 16 separate channels at 3Gb/s each onto two fiber pairs used by the campus network.

The additional channels are needed to stream live volleyball, football and baseball games across a quarter-mile distance from its athletic fields to the control studio, which was originally the bookstore but now serves as the command center for media control and the head-end to the LTN feed picked up by the networks. The college also shuttles media to its control room from its auditorium on a regular basis for guest speaker engagements.

Previously, in May, the college installed FiberPlex LightViper optical audio snakes for its graduation ceremony held in its indoor track facility with 5,000 people in attendance, including commencement speaker U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

A LightViper snake connected the mics on stage to a mixing console at the back of the field some 265 feet away over fiber optic cabling. Another LightViper optical snake routed the audio channels – via optical cable – from the track to the studio control room across campus. All audio is controlled and networked through a Peavey MediaMatrix audio control system.

“This is a standalone digitally networked sound system that can handle just about anything they want to do from the field. If they need to change anything, they just click on a control page from their laptop and now they’re switched over to any device or location they want through optical fiber and the LightViper system,” notes Andrew Walker of Avtek AV, who designed the system and recommended the LightViper optical snake instead of copper snake because it can transport audio error-free and transparently over greater distances, by a 400:1 ratio compared to copper.

A typical LightViper system includes a FOH breakout unit and 32x8 stage box connected by optical cable for sending and receiving optical signals to a remote location. One fiber cable weighing less than eight pounds can transmit the same data as two, 40-pair copper cables weighing 700 pounds.

In the next few weeks, the LightVipers will be joined by new WDM-16 multiplexers that will take the school’s multimedia endeavors a step further by routing video over optical fiber to the control studio elsewhere on the campus for full head-end control of media files. 

FiberPlex Technologies

Posted by Keith Clark on 04/02 at 12:23 PM
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Clear-Com Announces Updates To Eclipse HX Digital Matrix Intercom Family

Product range provides flexible and proven IP connectivity

Clear-Com will demonstrate enhancements to the Eclipse HX digital matrix intercom family of products at the upcoming NAB 2014 show in Las Vegas.

The Eclipse HX range provides a broad choice of digital intercom systems for all kinds of live broadcasts, from large system frames for coverage of major events to compact systems for mobile production where space is limited.

All models in the Eclipse HX range provide flexible IP connectivity, whether using an existing infrastructure to connect to the matrix or connecting remotely and securely over open networks like the Internet. Eclipse HX’s proven IP technology has been deployed globally where users require reliable, high-quality communications in critical production settings.

The latest features of the Eclipse HX range include:

·    Ethernet/IP Intelligent Trunking with IVC-32-HX redundancy. With the application of Ethernet and IP connectivity continuing to grow in live production, Clear-Com has enhanced its 32-channel IVC-32-HX IP card to allow flexible Ethernet/IP intelligent trunking of up to 64 local and/or remote Eclipse HX Matrix frames.

This capability builds on the IVC-32-HX cards proven capability to support local or remotely connected V-Series Panels. The unique card works on lower bandwidth interfaces, and enables automatic failover to provide peace of mind.

·    V-Series panel dual label and multi-language support. Offers non-Roman characters and dual label support on all V-Series panels, and allows operators to toggle between two pre-defined languages on the panel. This is helpful in production situations where two operators with different preferred languages share use the intercom system, or want to assign both a functional name and a personal name to user panel keys.

Peter Stallard, senior product manager for Clear-Com, states, “The Eclipse HX family is the ideal matrix intercom solution for live productions on a local or global scale, offering scalability and high performance for implementing changes rapidly and easily.”


Posted by Keith Clark on 04/02 at 09:22 AM
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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Church Sound: A Simple Way To Test Loudspeaker Polarity

Few things can affect the quality of a sound as loudspeakers being out of polarity. You can lose bass response, cancel out vocals and cause general phase mayhem in a sound system.

There are many ways to determine polarity; however, here’s a very inexpensive and easy solution to test for proper wiring inside loudspeaker cabinets before installing them, and without running any audio signal through them.

See Thumper, below. It’s my trusted polarity signal injector. Once you build Thumper, simply hook up a loudspeaker cable from its phone jack to whatever cabinet you want to test.

A brief push on the momentary push button will inject a 9-volt positive signal into your loudspeaker drivers. You should then see the woofers push out just a bit. If one pops in while the others push out, you have wiring problems inside the cabinet.

If all of the loudspeakers pop in, then the input jack—or the cable itself—may be wired in reverse.


Thumper can be built from from junk parts, or go to Radio Shack for a little plastic project box, 1/4-inch phone jack, 9-volt battery clip and SPST (Single-Pole/Single-Throw) Normally-Open (N-O) momentary contact switch.

An exact part mounting plan isn’t critical—as long as everything fits inside the case it should work. Just make four solder connections and you’re done. I usually put a small piece of foam under the battery to keep it from rattling around or sliding inside the box.

Thumper works great on loudspeakers both large and small, and the 9-volt output only dumps a 10-watt pulse into them, so it’s safe to use.

What’s not to like?

Mike Sokol is the chief instructor of the HOW-TO Church Sound Workshops. He has 40 years of experience as a sound engineer, musician and author. Mike works with HOW-TO Sound Workshop Managing Partner Hector La Torre on the national, annual HOW-TO Church Sound Workshop tour. Find out more here.

Posted by Keith Clark on 04/01 at 03:27 PM
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Riedel Canadian Sales Manager Daniel Huard Takes On Northeast U.S. Sales Management

Riedel Communications has announced that Daniel Huard, who currently serves as the company’s sales manager for Canada, has now also taken on a larger role that includes oversight of the Northeast United States. In this new capacity, Huard will work closely with key Riedel clients including broadcast networks in New York, as well as ESPN in Connecticut.

“Since he joined the company in 2013, Daniel has proved to be an excellent fit for our North American sales operations,” says Christopher Street, general manager, North and Central America, at Riedel Communications. “As we anticipated, he has been able to leverage his experience, knowledge, and connections to strengthen our business in Canada, and we’re confident that he will find the same success as he takes on key markets and clients in the Northeast United States.”

Prior to joining Riedel, Huard owned and operated DHH, an equipment sales agency for brands including Riedel, Sennheiser, Stagetec, L-Acoustics, Digigram, and Neumann. Under his leadership, DHH provided solutions to broadcasters including CBC, Global TV, CTV, Rogers, and TVA. Huard’s company also supplied equipment to Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion, and various professional equipment rental houses.

In Huard’s earlier role as vice president of TV production for Montreal-based group Pram, he was responsible for line production of Surprise sur Prise in France and the United States, as well as for management of the company’s mobile production units.

Riedel Communications

Posted by Keith Clark on 04/01 at 12:47 PM
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Monday, March 31, 2014

Clear-Com Introduces New Products For HelixNet Partyline Intercom System

Includes new remote station, speaker station and mount for portable applications

Clear-Com has announced the launch of three new product units that add flexibility and functionality to its HelixNet partyline intercom system. The new units—HRM-4X Remote Station, HKB-2X Speaker Station and S-Mount—extend the digital product range by allowing many more stations to be added to the system.

HelixNet was designed as a digital version of Clear-Com’s analog partyline system, bringing simplicity, efficiency and a powerful set of intelligent features to those users who require a cost-effective digital communication solution. Up to now the HelixNet line has consisted of the HMS-4X main station, the HBP-2X HelixNet beltpack and several interface modules.

The newly launched units are:

• HRM-4X remote station. Provides the intercom functionality of the Main Station but without powering the system or housing interfaces, and is therefore a more compact unit. The remote station provides access to four simultaneous channels of intercom communication, plus program audio. It receives audio data, control data, and DC power via the same cable, and additionally has the capability to be locally powered via an external power supply or use Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connection.

• HKB-2X speaker station. Receives four channels of intercom communications simultaneously over a single cable, and is able to monitor all four and communicate on any two of those channels at any given time. The user can also receive and monitor a separate level-controllable program feed. It can be mounted in a 4-gang wall box or be used with the optional S-Mount enclosure.

• S-Mount. An attractive yet durable mount that enables the speaker station to be used in portable applications. It can be surface mounted or set as a desktop, enclosed and secure. The mount and display can be easily adjusted to different angles to better suit the user’s requirement. It includes a DC power connector and XLR-3M and XLR-3F Powerline intercom ports for easy connection; additionally it has the capability to be locally powered via an external power supply or use Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connection.

Simon Browne, head of product management for Clear-Com, states, “Our analog partyline system, Encore, has been providing critical production communication capabilities for over 45 years. While the functionality of HelixNet is quite similar to Encore, it is however much more dynamic and flexible, plugs and plays elegantly with most existing cable infrastructure, and allows more intercom channels and users to be on a single system or to be networked than ever before.

“HelixNet has proved immensely popular with those that require a simple yet effective digital communication system. These new additions to the HelixNet line round out our digital partyline offering and will continue to provide numerous user benefits that have not been delivered by any digital partyline system before.”

The HelixNet family of products, together with a wide range of other Clear-Com solutions, will be available for demonstration on Stand C8008 at the upcoming NAB 2014 show in Las Vegas.


Posted by Keith Clark on 03/31 at 12:55 PM
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Yamaha CL5 Consoles Chosen For The Wolf Den Live Performance Venue At The Mohegan Sun

New consoles for front of house and monitors accompanied by Rio 3224-D and 1608-D input/output boxes

The Wolf Den, a 350-seat nightly live performance venue housed in the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, recently upgraded its audio systems with new Yamaha Commercial Audio CL5 digital consoles at front of house and monitors, accompanied by Rio 3224-D and 1608-D input/output boxes.

Mat Diamond, lead audio technician for entertainment at the resort, says the decision to add the two CL consoles was a departmental decision.

“As the head of the department, I had the final say, but I don’t get to use the equipment as much as the rest of the, department which is why it is important to make the decision as much a group decision as possible,” he says. “We already own two Yamaha M7CL-48 digital consoles, two Yamaha LS9-16s and an LS9-32, so between that and the price point, the CL5s seemed like the next logical step.”                  2

Diamond adds that the custom knobs and fader banks, storing system scenes that can be recalled, EQs, and built-in Premium Rack that can be used together or independently are all valuable features. “I love the idea of the Premium Rack and hope that more effects will be added down the road. I personally like to use the Portico 5033 as my EQ for masters. I really like using the dynamic EQs for vocals. I love how the Yamaha CL allows me to control certain frequencies without eliminating them entirely.”

With regard to the CL learning curve, Diamond said his staff picked it up fairly quickly but since they own several Yamaha consoles, they just needed to learn their way around the CL. “Most of the visiting engineers just need a quick walk through if they haven’t used a CL in the past.”

Since the Yamaha CL consoles have been installed, artists performing at the Wolf Den include Macy Gray, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Foghat, G. Love & Special Sauce, Walk Off the Earth, Chuck Negron, Gin Blossoms, Uncle Kracker, Los Lonely Boys, and Eddie Money.

Wolf Den at the Mohegan Sun
Yamaha Commercial Audio

Posted by Keith Clark on 03/31 at 09:58 AM
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Real World Gear: Large-Format Digital Consoles

Bigger and more capable than ever -- a look at recent design trends and the latest models...

While smaller digital consoles have been getting the lion’s share of attention of late, there’s still a lot going on when it comes to larger models.

In the past month or so alone, Yamaha, Soundcraft and Midas have introduced new larger consoles. Solid State Logic (SSL), long noted for its studio consoles, also recently entered the market with the appropriately named “Live” large-format desk.

Many mix engineers still rely on larger consoles both for reasons of necessity and personal preference. Bigger is indeed usually better when it comes to increased channel counts, capabilities and feature sets, while some users simply prefer to mix on a more expansive surface.

It’s also important to note that “large” is a relative term, particularly when comparing modern digital models to their analog ancestors. For example, the Yamaha CL5 provides 72 mono and 8 stereo channels in a unit less than four feet wide by slightly more than two feet deep, with weight under 75 pounds, and furthered by the tremendous functionality of the digital platform as well as the elimination of a multitude of associated outboard equipment by including gates, compressors, graphics and effects.

Models vary in terms of onboard I/O, while all work with a wide array of stage boxes and racks that deliver a tremendous amount of connectivity while accommodating a growing stable of option cards that expand routing, networking and processing capabilities even further. These outboard boxes and racks can also be distributed to where they’re best suited to meet the needs of a particular production.

An example of this flexibility is found in the Allen & Heath iLive, which puts the DSP and audio in the MixRack, opening up a wide range of control and networking possibilities. An iLive system can be assembled to serve anything from a high-end touring rig controlled by modular surfaces that look and feel much like conventional mixing consoles right through to a compact setup with just a MixRack controlled via a laptop or tablet.

Significant upgrades also come from the software realm, where the simple upload of a new software version can bring new capabilities to existing hardware. For example, Soundcraft recently released version 4.8 software that upgrades the busing system on Vi2, 4 and 6 models for monitoring applications. It allows all 32 mix buses on the consoles to work in stereo mode when required, without stealing any other buses, fostering use for in-ear mixes.

Further, R Remote from Yamaha, a new Windows-based stand-alone app, enables remote control of R Series Rio3224-D, Rio1608-D, and Ri8-D rack unit head amplifiers directly from a computer. And, a live recording system can be created with just R Series I/O racks and a computer running Nuendo Live or similar DAW software.

Note that we’ve been focusing on specific facets and features of digital consoles over the past several months, and will be continuing that approach. This time, we’re instead presenting an overview of each model. Enjoy our Real World Gear Photo Gallery Tour of large-format digital consoles.

Posted by Keith Clark on 03/27 at 10:26 AM
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Strategies In Optimizing A Live Club System

Ways to can work around room and system shortcomings to deliver high-caliber sound reinforcement

McGonigels Mucky Duck is one of those venues that bands, engineers and fans love. An Irish-style pub in downtown Houston, it’s stage is noted in the folk, jazz, Americana and World Music spheres and has played host to the likes of Joe Ely, Shake Russell, Radney Foster, Kinky Friedman, James McMurtry, Druha Trava, Sarah Jarosz, The Magpies, Iris Dement, Michelle Shocked, Leon Redbone, and hundreds of others.

The official capacity is 140, which in my opinion, would be very packed and uncomfortable. They sell out the 100 or so table seats very fast for most shows, and the remaining tickets are for standing room only. As the website eloquently puts it, “If another chair would fit it would already be there. Sorry, but you can’t bring your own chair.”

The crowd is respectful. To help those who may be visiting for the first time, there are placards on each table reminding people to be quiet, and to silence cell phones. This is one of the best things about the Mucky Duck. They respect the artists. It’s the very definition of a listening room.

The place is not without drawbacks though, and here, I’ll outline some of those shortcomings and discuss ways that visiting engineers can work around them in order to deliver high-caliber sound reinforcement.

Dialed In
Saying the stage is small is being somewhat generous – I’ve seen bigger drum risers. It’s located in a corner, which is both a blessing, in the form of a little extra real estate, and a curse, because the drums will always be too loud.

A view of the room from house left.

Heavy theatrical drapery around the perimeter of the stage helps quiet reflected stage wash but does little to dampen the natural volume of the drums. The low ceiling doesn’t help either.

There is no house engineer, and management knows precious little except how to get the background music on. Bands are expected to bring their own mix engineer, and that person is usually the sound tech as well. The job is either easy or difficult, depending on the condition the previous engineer/tech left it in.

Luckily the level of talent booked here means that the system is usually zeroed out, and the stands and cables are neatly put away. Almost everyone leaves it a little better than they found it, which is also my philosophy – I don’t want the next guy to work any harder than he has to.

Quiet, please.

Both house and monitor systems use EAW loudspeakers, with four SM159z wedges on four separate mixes derived from front of house. Each mix has a 15-band EQ inline. With only 15 bands on the monitor sends, precise feedback taming will not happen. I bring a few XLR “wyes” in order to split the important inputs into two separate channels.

Using different channel strips – one EQ’d for the mains and one for monitors – allows much finer control over the house mix versus the monitor mix.

Main loudspeakers are FR159z, one each hung on the wall stage left and stage right, and two more toward the rear of the room providing fill. There are no subwoofers. And, there’s also no time-alignment on the front or rear loudspeakers, and no processor available to do so.

I solve this problem by bringing in a QSC DSP-4 digital processor, which I insert and use to set a 9-millisecond delay on the front loudspeakers.

When using a house system to supplement the stage volume, instead of overpowering it, delaying the mains to arrive in time with the band is the way to go, at least in my view. It helps the PA “disappear” and leaves the impression that the band is making all the noise.

I also set a 21-millisecond delay on the rear loudspeakers. With each of them a different distance from the front, I choose a delay time that splits the difference.

The downside of this is minimal because the improvement is quite dramatic, a huge benefit, and no one notices that the rear fills arrive a few milliseconds apart.

The 2-input by 2-output DSP-4 works out great – there aren’t all that many compact DSP units that can be controlled with a laptop available at a reasonable price point on the used gear market. I also like that it’s small enough to fit in my briefcase and uses standard XLR inputs and outputs. (In fact, I like it so much that I own two.)

Stage Details
A recent trip to the Mucky Duck was to support a performance by Max Stalling, a native Texan with a unique musical style that rolls from two-stepping dance numbers to Spanish-guitar-heavy folk music (à la Marty Robbins), with a few waltzes mixed in.

A QSC DSP-4 buried is handy for augmenting the capabilities of the system, and it can be addressed with Signal Manager software, shown here in “Mucky Duck configuration.”

Max sings and plays the acoustic guitar, and is backed by a three-piece rhythm section comprised of Jason Steinsultz on upright bass, Jeff Howe on drums, and Bryce Clark on lead guitar, switching between mandolin, steel string and gut string acoustics, and electric guitar. Both Jason and Bryce sing harmony, and steel guitar player Hank

Early also sat in for this show, I used the band’s own Shure Beta 58s microphones for vocals, a house-supplied AKG D112 on kick, and Shure SM57s on electric guitar and steel. The upright bass and three acoustics all had band-supplied Radial Tonebone preamps and ran direct.

Just one of my AKG 451e condensers was used for drum overhead, to capture the kit as a whole. Jeff (the drummer) switches between sticks, brushes and even sometimes wrapped mallets. I will heavily compress the overhead (remember, the acoustic drum sound is still dominant in the room) so that the details on the brushes and mallets are not lost. Having at least one drum mic also lets me add reverb to this very dry room.

Max is very particular about his monitor mix. Some engineers take this as being a “prima donna” but I’ve found it to be exactly the opposite. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to ask. He can’t state specific frequencies, so there’s a bit of interpretation needed to get his mix the way he wants it, but once he’s comfortable, that’s pretty much that.

The tone that Max wants out from his monitor is not exactly what you want at front of house. He likes things a little dark with plenty of low mids for both his vocal and guitar. Two of the XLR wyes allowed me to split his vocal and acoustic channels so that I was able to give him exactly the tone he wanted in the monitor by using the channel strip EQ. Then I had use of the 15-band graphic for his mix to tame the little bit of feedback that tried to creep in.

Starting Quiet
After getting the monitors set, I build the front of house mix. The best way to mix in this room is to listen to what’s coming off the stage and only add what’s needed. Trying to overpower the stage volume is a losing battle.

I always start my sound check with the house PA off and just listen to what’s happening on stage, and then work to fill in the missing bits that will help make the performance “pop.” I’ve noted several times that it seems like I’m cutting too much low-mid out of the house, but that’s usually O.K. because the monitors provide all of the low-mid energy one could ever want.

I get the vocals up to a good level, over the stage volume, and only after do I work in the other instruments. Generally the drums and amplified instruments are fine coming straight off the stage. On the recent gig with Max, I needed a touch of the electric guitar and steel, but none of the bass and kick drum.

Jeff plays a kit of Slingerland Radio Kings from the 1940s. These drums are big and loud. The kick is a huge 14 inches by 26 inches and uses a ported head. (Back in the “good old days” the drums had to fend for themselves, and this set gives you all the stage volume you need!)

But here, because were already plenty loud in the house, I used the overhead high-passed around 100 Hz and compressed at a 6 to 1 ratio with about 12 to 15 dB of reduction on the loud parts to add definition and to help keep the mix cohesive all the way to the back of the room. It was also used to feed the reverb.

The Allen & Heath GL2400 that does house and monitor duties, along with a rack of all house and monitor system processors.

Same Room
The house console is a 24-channel Allen & Heath GL2400, a step above what you find in many clubs the size of the Mucky Duck. Most bands will not fully mic the drums, so 24 channels gives me plenty of room to split channels as needed.

I maximize the two available channels of compression on the venue’s dbx 1066 by inserting each on a bus and assigning several like channels to that bus. I used one compressed bus for the drums and another for the lead acoustic and a gut string acoustic that are featured prominently in the band.

There are also two Lexicon effects units – MPX110 and MX400 – on hand to add ambiance. To create a sense of space in this dry, tightly packed room, I used a trick that I’ve implemented in most of my live mixes for the past couple of years. I select a very short and transparent “room” style reverb and send the entire band to it, typically applying about a half second of decay and zero pre delay.

Then, I bring it up in the house until it can be heard clearly, then back it down to just on the edge of being noticed. If the reverb is muted, a change can be heard, but it’s not something you can pinpoint. I find that this really takes a tight mix and glues it together even more – the band is all playing in the same “room” together because they all have the same decay time.

If you’re lucky enough to have a gig in the Mucky Duck, be prepared to bring your A game. It’s a bit challenging, but once the mix is dialed in you can be sure you’re mixing for a crowd that truly appreciates what you’re doing.

Tim Weaver is the owner of Weaver Imaging, an audio, lighting, and projection provider based in College Station, TX. He has been a professional sound engineer for 18 years, working across all genres.

Posted by Keith Clark on 03/21 at 02:15 PM
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Cable Anatomy 101: Key Factors To Keep In Mind

Identifying the basics, combined with knowing what to look for and critical evaluation...

Cable selection presents two primary challenges: myriad choices and overall quality. I’ve explored these challenges and have defined six factors that can help point you in the right direction.

These factors include appearance, durability, flexibility, sonics, conductivity and shielding. Let’s have a look.

Understand the difference between the look of quality—like shiny gold-plated connector housings—and actual quality construction and materials.

A primary problem arises when assumptions are made that the materials inside a cable housing are as fancy as those that can be easily seen in the connector. For example, molded cable housings can hide poor construction, such as inadequate shielding.

Copper is the most widely used material cable component, offering high conductivity. (Silver is also highly conductive, but cost can make it impractical.) It only makes sense that signal should travel through copper, tip to tip.

If possible, when evaluating cable, open the connector and check the soldering. Make sure there are no blobs (too much solder) and no contaminates from wire insulation or foreign particles.

The good (top), the bad, and the ugly when it comes to solder. (click to enlarge)

The solder should have a smooth slightly shiny surface. A dull solder joint indicates poor workmanship and a poor or non-existent connection (termination).

Other termination methods avoid foreign materials (like solder), which can increase the risk of interfering with signal flow. One process is IDC (insulation displacement connection), done by creating a cradle for the wire in the shape of a “V.” When the wire is inserted into the cradle, it’s pushed to the smallest point of the V, stripping away the cable insulation at the contact points. (This technique does require sturdy strain relief; more on this later.)

A more recent termination method relies upon ultra-sonic welding, a process by which the center conductor and the connector are vibrated together at a high rate of speed while being compressed. This causes them to intermingle and fuse together as one.

Durability & Flexibility
Exposure to temperature, humidity, chemicals, floor traffic and the like can wreak havoc on cables and connectors. Dirt is an extreme abrasive, while foot (and wheel) traffic frequently shred many types of shielding, internal insulation and even the center conductor—sometimes without showing noticeable outer jacket damage.

Durability and flexibility may be opposing demands. One can come at the expense of the other.

Durability may come in the form of strain relief, termination, the outer jacket and the materials used inside the cable. The outer jacket surrounds the individual conductors and is intended to protect the shielding and conductors from the elements.

While outer jackets are commonly made of polyvinyl chloride, differing chemical compositions and blends can yield a similar look with vastly differing strengths and ranges of flexibility.

A cable that is thicker might look and feel more durable, and if that size is due to a double-thick outer jacket, flexibility can actually be increased. Simply, the cable can be more impervious to damage, meaning it can be used in more applications.

The size of conductors, as well as the types of shielding, also impact durability and flexibility. Understand that everything comes at a price. A more durable cable will (and should) cost more. You get what you pay for.

The term strain relief refers to the relief of strain at the point where a connector attaches to a cable—the termination point. Strain can come from several different sources, such as pulling on the cable rather than grasping the connector to disconnect; stepping and pulling on the cable; repeated tight coiling, flexing and other common abuses.

The sonics of a cable (or its “sound quality”) can be assessed in several ways. Like loudspeakers and amplifiers, cable can “color” sound based on shielding and/or conductivity.

Capacitance and inductance affect frequency response the most. Look at the capacitance per foot figure to evaluate how the high-frequency response may be affected over long runs. It’s usually measured in per foot (pF), so short lengths aren’t affected much.

The materials used as the inner conductor insulators also affect the capacitance and the signal propagation.

Beyond this, it’s vital to listen for noise and hum, both with and without signal present. Any extraneous noise can be prime indicator of poor construction techniques or substandard materials.

It’s important to listen to a length of cable with it terminated properly at the source end. An open-ended cable will have an extremely high impedance, making it act like an antenna—as soon as a mic is plugged in, the noise disappears.

While copper has a certain amount of resistance to signal flow, steel and aluminum have significantly more. This resistance dissipates in the form of heat. (It’s why steel and aluminum alloys are great for constructing toasters and space heaters but not so great for cables.)

Some cable conductors are made with a combination of aluminum (slightly better than steel) clad in copper. This is a more cost-effective approach and can be effective in meeting conductivity needs, but the more copper (preferably high purity or oxygen-free), the better the conductivity.

The more electrons to move, the larger the conductors must be. This is the overriding reason that an instrument or patch cable shouldn’t be used in place of a loudspeaker cable.

According to the AWG (American Wire Gauge) system, conductor area doubles with each reduction of three in AWG. For example, a 13 AWG conductor has twice the copper of a 16 AWG conductor, while a 10 AWG has twice the copper of a 13 AWG, and so on.

Unlike instrument and microphone cables, which typically carry currents of only a few milliamps (thousandths of an amp) or less, the current to drive a loudspeaker is much higher.

Other connector termination methods include IDC (left) and ultra-sonic welding. (click to enlarge)

An 8-ohm speaker driven with a 100-watt amplifier will pull about 3.5 amps of current. By comparison, a 600-ohm input driven by a line-level output only pulls less than two milliamps. (0 dB = .775 volts / 600 Ohms = 1.29 mA) (For more about cable gauge, lengths, Ohm’s Law and more, see “Science or Snake Oil?”.)

Cable conductors need to be shielded from noise, of which there are two common types. The first is handling noise, in the form of cracking, swishing, scratching, popping, buzzing or humming sounds.

Top to bottom: Braided shield, spiral shield, foil shield with drain and a snake cable with foil shield. (click to enlarge)

Handling noise can be heard with the cable plugged in but no source audio present. This can be due to substandard electrical termination at the connectors, worn or partially broken center conductor, or inferior wiring in general.

The actual cable construction and the relationship between inner conductors, shielding and outer jacket also affect handling noise.

The second type of noise is interference, of which there are two common types: RFI (radio frequency interference) and EMI (electromagnetic interference).

RFI can be caused by very high radio band frequencies. (You might actually hear a radio station through your system, or high-pitched squeals or hiss.)

EMI can be caused by electromagnetic fields that can emit low frequencies. These fields can surround transformers, power lines and other devices that use or transport large amounts of electrical current. (It’s also often heard as hum or buzz.)

Three primary types of shielding are employed to combat these problems: braid, spiral and foil. In terms of cost, braid shielding is the most expensive, involving copper strands woven into a braided pattern around the center conductor’s inner jacket.

The braided approach works best with microphone cables because of their low inductance. (Inductance is the storage of magnetic energy. Magnetic energy is stored as long as current keeps flowing).

Spiral shielding is more flexible than braiding, and is commonly used in guitar cables. A drawback to spiral wrap is that, like a slinky in motion, one side compresses while the other separates. It’s through these separated strands that RFI can enter.

To compensate for the rejection loss of RFI, sometimes a secondary shield is added, using carbon as a semi-conductor. This is generally effective over very short distances.

The carbon is not a solid sheet, rather, microscopic bits of carbon mixed into another, more flexible material (usually a plastic composite). The bits of carbon conduct current from bit to bit.

Foil wrap shielding is the least expensive shielding method, and some provide full 100 percent coverage. It can be very effective against RFI.

A drain wire runs next to the foil, providing a way to terminate the foil at the connectors, and is a technique is most often used in the construction of snakes. (Note: The drain wire runs along the foil shield to provide a means to connect the foil shield to the connector. The drain wire itself doesn’t actually do much shielding at all.)

Journey’s End
It’s often true that the last thing on the system professionals mind is cable. After all, like roads and highways, they can be utilitarian by nature.

But as with roads and highways, making the right choices is the optimum way to get to your destination, which is good, clean optimized audio. All it takes is some attention to the basics combined with critical evaluation.

E. Victor Brown is a veteran pro audio writer. And special thanks to Cable Factory and Gotham Audio contributing to this article.


Posted by Keith Clark on 03/21 at 01:51 PM
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Portugal’s ArtSpaceHotel Provides Unique Recording Opportunities With an Aviom Audio Network

Located in the Alentejo Litoral region on the southwest coast of Portugal, ArtSpaceHotel is a unique resort that caters to musicians and artists seeking a creative space for recording.

Located in the Alentejo Litoral region on the southwest coast of Portugal, ArtSpaceHotel is a unique resort that caters to musicians and artists seeking a creative space for recording. 

Director Kai Vieweg’s background and experience in the recording industry led him to create this space that is ideal for musicians and other artists but that welcomes other types of guests for vacation as well.

Ray Finkenberger-Lewin from Deli Sound & Recording, recommended an Aviom Pro64 audio network that connects the spaces throughout the hotel. As a result Vieweg created a resort where artists can rehearse and record anywhere they are comfortable.

Vieweg recalls, “When I asked Ray how to do this technically in the best possible way, he said: Aviom.”

Finkenberger-Lewin designed the space based on the “nothing is impossible inside the ArtSpaceHotel” philosophy.

“Everything can happen at any time—any place. So that means the complete technical potential has to be available all over the place whenever you want it to be there,” he explains. “Anywhere in the space, an artist can record and the control room can be set up whether this is in the main room of the resort, in one of the suites, or next to the pool.”

While the ArtSpaceHotel has not officially opened its doors to the public, the resort has already welcomed a few talented groups to test the equipment and facilities.

Among those the hotel has hosted are Brazilian guitarist, singer, and songwriter Zélia Fonesca, who recorded her most recent album at the hotel, German jazz artist Wolfgang Haffner, and Portuguese percussion project Tocá Rufar Orquestra, which hosted a workshop at the resort.

The audio network that connects the creative spaces throughout the ArtSpaceHotel was designed by Finkenberger-Lewin with the help of Aviom distribution partner S.E.A. Vertrieb & Consulting.

The front-of-house console used in the space is a Yamaha DM2000 with two Aviom 6416Y2 A-Net Cards. These two cards send and receive 32 channels of audio from the Aviom Pro64 audio network. The cards are connected to two MH10 Merger Hubs that are installed at either end of the resort. These MH10s are connected to one another and to 10 other locations throughout the facility.

A rack containing two 6416m Mic Input Modules, one ASI A-Net Interface, one A-16R Rack-mounted Personal Mixer, and an A-16D Pro A-Net Distributor can be connected at any one of these locations. The console can also be positioned at any one of these connections.

From these locations, the 6416m units send audio to the Yamaha console while the ASI converts the Pro64 audio signal to a Pro16 one that is then sent to the A-16D Pro and distributed to up to eight A-16II Personal Mixers that musicians can use to create their own monitor mixes.

The A-16R Rack-mounted Personal Mixer is used to send a stereo signal to the resort’s PA system so that the performance or session can be shared throughout the space.

Finkenberger-Lewin describes the Aviom audio network as “plug and play,” and resort director Vieweg says, “The emotional response of guests and participants has surpassed our expectations. Artists feel comfortable and free to do what they want at any time, and the Aviom system has helped to make this possible.”


Posted by Julie Clark on 03/18 at 10:56 AM
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