Friday, October 07, 2011
d&b audiotechnik Launches Compact E4 And E5 Loudspeakers
Offer wide symmetrical dispersion patterns in the horizontal and vertical plane, while the cabinet may be mounted in either attitude
The d&b audiotechnik E-Series comprises some of the smallest loudspeakers within the company’s Black range of products, with the series now joined by the new E4 and E5 loudspeakers that are even smaller than the recently launched E6.
The two-way E4 and E5 have a coaxially mounted wide dispersion dome tweeter and a built-in passive crossover network. They offer wide symmetrical dispersion patterns in the horizontal and vertical plane, while the cabinet may be mounted in either attitude.
The E5 is outfitted with a 5-inch low-frequency driver. Frequency response is 85 Hz to 20 kHz, with maximum SPL of 117 dB. Weight is 4.8 pounds.
The E4 has a 4-inch LF driver, with frequency response of 130 Hz to 20 kHz and maximum SPL of 115 dB. Weight is 2.4 points.
The enclosures are injection-molded, providing both excellent mechanical and acoustical properties, and are coated with an impact resistant black paint finish.
The front of the loudspeakers are protected by a rigid metal grill, and incorporated into the rear panel is an M10 threaded insert to accept the Ball joint adapter, two NL4 connectors and a 2-pole push terminal.
The loudspeakers are weather protected and suitable for temporary outdoor use as standard, and as with all other E-Series cabinets, are available to order with a special color option. They can be powered by either the d&b D6 or D12 amplifiers, and up to four cabinets may be driven by each channel of either amplifier.
Firmware and software updates including the E4 are available for download under the relevant sections within the Support/Downloads region at the d&b audiotechnik website. These provide configurations for all current d&b amplifiers and the latest version of R1 Remote control software.
Firmware and software updates to include the E5 will be available in January 2012.
The E4 and E5 loudspeakers are specifically intended for mobile near field applications for speech and music reinforcement in theatres, conferences, industrial presentations and broadcast studios and as surround sound, delay and fill systems.
Both can be used stand-alone or supplemented by different subwoofers from the E-Series.
Werner “Vier” Bayer, product manager at d&b, notes, “When we recently launched the E6 into the E-Series, we thought at the time that this little loudspeaker was the final piece to complete the package since the introduction of the E12X and the cardioid B4 subwoofers; however, these two new loudspeakers have proved us wrong. The E4 and E5 are great additions to this series, providing even further flexibility along with astonishing performance for their size.”
The E4 will be available from November 2011, while the release of the E5 is scheduled for January 2012.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Delicate Productions Acquires Martin Audio MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) System
Joining Special Event Services (SES) and On Stage Audio (OSA) as key North American companies in the growing worldwide MLA Network
Martin Audio and Delicate Productions of Camarillo and San Francisco, California have announced Delicate’s purchase of an MLA Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array system.
Joining North Carolina-based Special Event Services (SES) and Las Vegas-based On Stage Audio (OSA) as key North American companies in the growing worldwide MLA Network, Delicate has taken delivery of an extensive MLA System comprised of MLA enclosures, MLD downfill enclosures and MLX subwoofers.
Delicate first employed MLA on a successful Selena Gomez tour of North America in August and September and will be deploying an expanded version of the system on Gomez’ Canadian tour starting October 13 in Victoria, BC.
Originally founded in 1980, Delicate provides full service multimedia production for live entertainment and corporate events. A longtime innovator and standard-setter in its field, Delicate recently won the 10th Annual Total Production International Award for Favorite International Production Company.
Jason Alt, account executive concert touring for Delicate, said, “As a Martin Audio vendor for 30 years, Delicate Productions is excited to offer the MLA System to our clients. The MLA’s ability to create a uniform response through the listening area, control coverage, and its unparalleled sonic quality sets a new standard of excellence in professional audio far beyond anything that is currently available. We are thrilled to continue our longstanding partnership with Martin Audio and to be part of the MLA Network.”
Anthony Taylor, managing director of Martin Audio, adds: “We’re pleased to see the size and scope of the worldwide MLA network continue to grow at such a rapid pace. It’s especially gratifying that key sound companies such as Delicate are committing to MLA in part based on positive word of mouth from leading engineers and artists. At this point, there’s also little doubt that the audience experience in every kind of venue has been measurably enhanced by MLA and the Multi-cellular approach to loudspeaker array technology.”
Firehouse Productions Provides L-Acoustics K1 For Andrea Bocelli In New York’s Central Park
Clusters of three ARCS were also flown on the far sides of each K1 array to cover the front corners of the audience
Despite chilly temperatures and drizzling rain, nothing could dampen the spirits of the 60,000 opera and pop fans that descended upon Central Park’s Great Lawn recently to see and hear Andrea Bocelli’s highly-publicized free concert.
Accompanied by the New York Philharmonic and Westminster Symphonic Choir, Bocelli performed some of his most beloved pieces while sharing the stage with an impressive list of special guests, including Ana Maria Martinez, Pretty Yende, Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Chris Botti, David Foster, Bryn Terfel, Nicola Benedetti and Andrea Griminelli.
Firehouse Productions of Red Hook provided the evening’s concert sound reinforcement system, which most notably featured left and right arrays of a dozen L-Acoustics K1 paired with three KARA for down fill.
Clusters of three ARCS were also flown on the far sides of each K1 array to cover the front corners of the audience.
Sixteen SB28 subs positioned under the front riser supporting the camera dolly delivered the low end, with an additional four SB28 per side set up in cardioid mode to complement the ARCS outfills and enlarge the LF arc delay coverage.
The K1, KARA and SB28 systems were collectively powered by a total of 22 LA8 amplified controllers, all housed in LA-RAK touring racks.
“As expected, K1 performed extremely well,” notes sound designer and front of house engineer Andrea Taglia, who has worked with Bocelli for the past five years. “The system is absolutely uniform on the horizontal axis, its long throw capacity is amazing, and it was very effective in bringing a nice sound image back to the stage—even though our six delay towers were positioned so widely across the Great Lawn at the request of the video director.
“Although there were 60,000 people in the audience that evening, considering that Bocelli’s last CD sold five million copies, the true focus of this concert was on capturing a pristine live recording.”
“The line producer congratulated us during the sound check/dress rehearsal, and then again after the concert,” he adds. “Event Resources’ production manager also congratulated us after the show and commented on how the live sound was perfect, even at the end of the lawn. And the team at the Sugar label, who conceived and organized the event with Bocelli, were absolutely overjoyed because, again, their primary objective was to achieve a great recording, which they did.”
Taglia points out that part of this success can certainly be attributed to L-Acoustics SOUNDVISION acoustical modeling software. “I always set up my systems with SOUNDVISION; I find it very accurate and trustable. With it, I was able to cleanly keep the sound off the stage, greatly minimizing any spill into the microphones, and everyone was very happy with the results.”
Sound Image Specifies JBL Line Arrays, Loudspeakers For Boston House of Blues
System also includes two Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing consoles, Crown IT4000 amplifiers and a dbx DriveRack 4800 loudspeaker management system
A new sound system at Boston’s House of Blues includes 20 JBL Professional VerTec VT4888DP powered midsize line array enclosures with DrivePack technology, six ASB6128 subwoofers, and JBL AC26 loudspeakers for underbalcony fill. The stage monitor system is outfitted with 12 JBL SRX712M stage monitors and four VRX915M stage monitors.
Operated by concert producer Live Nation, the Boston House of Blues can hold more than 2,000 people. The system was designed and installed by Sound Image of Escondido, California.
The installation also includes two Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing consoles, Crown IT4000 amplifiers and a dbx DriveRack 4800 loudspeaker management system for front-end processing. All the system’s components are networked via Harman HiQnet System Architect communications protocol.
“The powered VerTec line arrays were easy to install and provide a combination of power and clarity that made them ideal for the Boston House of Blues,” said Jason Schmidlapp of Sound Image. “After tuning the room, the system sounds remarkable and is rider-friendly—an important quality for a venue that brings in some of the biggest names in music.”
Meyer Sound Legacy UPA-1C Loudspeakers For “How To Succeed In Business” On Broadway
“I pick all the gear based on my experience with it and what I know we want to accomplish with the show." - Jon Weston, sound designer
Broadway classic comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying has been recently resurrected in a 50th anniversary production at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in New York City.
For sound reinforcement, Jon Weston, sound designer for the show and principal of Jon Weston Design, specified non-powered UPA-1C loudspeakers, a Meyer Sound legacy product that was released in the early 1990s and is no longer in production.
The UPA-1C loudspeaker was a favorite among sound designers before Meyer Sound pioneered self-powered loudspeakers in the mid-1990s to incorporate onboard amplifiers, processing, and control circuits. Many of Meyer Sound’s self-powered systems have since become a staple in touring sound and on Broadway, including the UPA-1P, the self-powered version of the UPA-1C loudspeaker.
“I pick all the gear based on my experience with it and what I know we want to accomplish with the show. And based on the size of the theatre and how it fits in the set,” Weston explains. “I have a history with, and a preference for, Meyer Sound.”
Production Resource Group (PRG) was the provider of the UPA-1C system for How to Succeed in Business. “Jon tends to rely on fewer speakers in a theatrical application than others might deploy for the same project,” says David Strang, PRG’s general manager, audio. “Because of this, the voicing of each individual speaker, both in terms of what type he chooses and, even amongst that type, which ones he chooses, is very important to him.”
Weston was pleased as soon as the UPA-1C loudspeakers were fired up. “There’s very little EQ in the system—nearly none,” says Weston. “And from the first moment we turned the rig on, people just said ‘Wow. Now that is a wholesome sound.’”
Weston’s fondness for Meyer Sound’s legacy products extends to many other models. “I continue to use the stuff I was raised on,” he confides. “Which is ‘conventional’ Meyer. When it comes to a small-scale, musical subwoofer, nothing touches the USW-1. We use that all the time. USW, UPM—any of the conventional UltraSeries are all over my shows. The MSL-2 [loudspeaker] always has a spot. It has been in just about every one of my shows.”
Strang reports that the Meyer Sound product line is well-suited for theatrical applications. “We obviously are attracted to products that not only have longevity in the marketplace,” Strang continues, “but are also built in such a way that they will last. Meyer products have longevity even with the constant and heavy use that they get. We still have some non-powered Meyer products that have been in our inventory for 15 years and more that are kept in tip-top condition and are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.”
PRG’s large Meyer Sound inventory also includes a number of newer products that are regularly heard on Broadway shows, such as the M’elodie® line array loudspeakers and the JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers. “We love innovation,” Strang concludes, “but we also have to make responsible investment decisions when we’re choosing what gear we’re going to get behind. We wouldn’t be as close in partnership with Meyer in so many different markets, as well as on Broadway, if there wasn’t a reasonable return on investment and a very good, positive and growing relationship between us.”
The audio infrastructure for How to Succeed in Business also includes Meyer Sound’s MM-4 miniature loudspeakers and legacy MSL-2 loudspeakers, in addition to a Cadac J-Type Live Production Console and microphones from SCHOEPS to Shure, beyerdynamic, Earthworks Audio, DPA, Neumann, and Sennheiser.
The present incarnation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying stars Daniel Radcliffe (of “Harry Potter” fame) as J. Pierrepont Finch, a window washer who climbs the corporate ladder thanks to Shepherd Mead’s satirical self-help book of the same name.
Community Expands Distributed Design Series Of Loudspeakers With Surface Mount Models
Three new models, including an 8-inch subwoofer
Community Professional Loudspeakers has expanded the Distributed Design Series of high-performance ceiling-mount loudspeakers with the addition of several new surface-mount models.
The family of Distributed Design ceiling loudspeakers has been well received by installers since its introduction last year.
The new surface-mount loudspeakers represent a significant expansion to the product line, adding several high-output, low-profile models that deliver the same outstanding musical sound quality and excellent intelligibility.
The new 5-inch DS5 is a two-way compact system, developed for installations where space is a premium.
For larger installations, the 8-inch DS8 provides higher sound pressure levels, higher sensitivity and greater bass extension.
The 8-inch DS8SUB subwoofer complements the DS5 and DS8 full-range models with extended low frequency performance for music applications.
“We’ve received great response on the performance of our Distributed Design Series ceiling-mounted systems, but there are certainly applications where a surface-mounted system is more appropriate,” explains Julia Lee, Community director of sales and marketing. “Our new surface-mount DS line is designed to deliver the same voicing and performance as the ceiling models, along with a range of features to make the installer’s job easier and more efficient.”
The DS-Series is equipped with built-in autoformers that enable full output with 70V or 100V distribution lines.
All models accommodate 8-ohm as well as 70V/100V applications with a convenient front-accessible power tap switch located behind a rotatable logo.
Community’s proprietary Infin-A-Ball multi-angle wall mounting bracket is designed for precise positioning to facilitate low profile installation.
The Infin-A-Ball arm bracket is prewired with a Euroblock connector to conceal wiring, providing a clean, professional appearance.
All DS-Series loudspeakers have a sleek, modern design that blends well aesthetically into almost any environment.
The DS5, DS8 and DS8SUB are available in standard black or white finishes.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Gemini Sound Of Dallas Expands EAW KF740 Line Array Inventory
Long-time EAW user adds an additional 20 KF740 line array modules
Dallas-based production company Gemini Sound has expanded its inventory of EAW loudspeaker systems and processing with the purchase of 20 additional KF740 three-way line array modules.
The new acquisition brings the total number of KF740 modules to 36 at the company, which provides regional production sound services for touring music artists as well as corporate clients.
According to Gemini Sound owner and president, Tim Cain, the company first committed to EAW loudspeakers in the mid-1990s and has since increased its inventory significantly.
In addition to the KF740s, the company also owns KF760 and KF761 line array modules, KF650z compact array loudspeakers, SB250z medium-format and SB1000z large-format subwoofers, KF300z medium-format array loudspeakers, SB412 drum fill subwoofers and others. “We’ve got quite a bit of the EAW equipment here – a couple of hundred pieces,” Cain says.
Cain first heard the KF740s in action at a product launch event organized by EAW at San Diego’s Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in December 2009.
At the time, he noted the system’s even coverage all the way to the very rear of the venue, he recalls. “But the side coverage was what really impressed me the most. It’s true 90-degree horizontal coverage. It’s got a nice soft edge to it and rolls off evenly and gradually. Normally at sheds like that you have to do a side hang. I feel very comfortable going into a shed with these systems and hitting the seats at the sides.”
Although Gemini Sound originally provided production to four times as many corporate events as rock shows, that ratio reversed over the last decade, according to Cain.
When he heard the KF740, he seized the opportunity to stock Gemini Sound with EAW’s latest line array system that can handle both worlds. “Compact and versatile, the KF740 can easily handle either type of event for my company,” he states. “It’s a lightweight module, and it’s very smooth. You can go hang however many you want in ballrooms and not worry about the weight, then turn around and go do a band with it and slam it hard. I’ve heard all the EAW systems in the last 15 years and I really believe it’s one of the best they’ve ever built.”
Most recently, Gemini supplied production sound for a succession of shows at the Verizon Theatre in Dallas, reports Cain, including Kid Cudi, Owl City, A Perfect Circle and Frankie Beverly and Maze.
“That’s about a 6,500-seat theater,” he says. “It’s the best venue in Dallas, probably one of the better venues across the country for that size. The upper balcony goes up pretty high and pretty steep, so when it’s a full house you need at least 14 to 16 modules a side just to get the coverage that you’re looking for. We had 14 KF740s a side for each one of those shows, with a dozen SB1000s a side.”
Gemini has also regularly supplied sound for EdgeFest, an annual one-day festival hosted by Dallas-Fort Worth’s 102.1 The Edge FM, for the last five or six years. The most recent event, held April 30 at the 30,000-capacity Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, featured Jane’s Addiction, Weezer, Social Distortion and Seether, plus many others. Limp Bizkit, Three Days Grace, 30 Seconds to Mars and Deftones headlined the 2010 EdgeFest lineup.
“The main hang in that P.A. includes 14 KF740s, four KF760s underneath and KF730s for front fill. Then on the outfield we used the 740s, and we put down about 20 SB1000s a side. That year before was pretty much the same configuration, except the outfields were KF761s,” says Cain.
For the 20th annual EdgeFest in 2010, he relates, EAW supplied Gemini with eight of the company’s new SB2001 dual 21-inch subwoofers. “We had the subs on an aux, then we added another aux for the 2001s and, man, it would pound your butt at front of house, just light you up.”
Cain continues, “I’ve been an EAW user for much of my career, and the KF740 came along at the right time with the right sound. I’ve watched EAW develop products employing the latest technologies, like drivers, waveguides and processing. It’s only going to get better, and I can’t wait to see what they have next.”
JBL Professional Appoints Paul Bauman To Senior Manager, Tour Sound
Will lead product development efforts for VerTec line array systems and oversee the continuing integration of JBL’s tour sound products with other brands within the Harman family
JBL Professional has appointed Paul Bauman to the position of senior manager, tour sound.
In his new position, Bauman will lead product development efforts for JBLVerTec line array systems and oversee the continuing integration of JBL’s tour sound products with other brands within the Harman family while reporting to head of marketing Mark Gander.
Bauman has been a member of the JBL Professional team for the past five years, holding the position of director, tour sound product and application engineering until taking over as senior manager, product development, tour sound in March 2011.
Bauman has more than 27 years of professional audio and global touring industry experience, including key positions at L-Acoustics, Maryland Sound International and Adamson Systems Engineering. Bauman’s background comprises loudspeaker and sound reinforcement design, live sound system engineering and mixing, as well as studio mixing, engineering and producing (including radio broadcast).
“It’s a very exciting time to be in the tour sound industry and recent developments such as the JBL Line Array Calculator II, V5 DSP Presets, JBL HiQnet Performance Manager, Crown VRack and the Powered by Crown iAPP demonstrate our commitment to providing a complete system solution for VerTec,” Bauman notes. “These developments lay an important system-level foundation for the future and I am looking forward to helping grow JBL’s leadership position in the market with new technological breakthroughs and a steadfast commitment to providing the best customer support in the industry.”
Bauman has earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from McMaster University (Canada); a master’s degree in physics from the University of Waterloo (Canada); and engaged in doctorate-candidate studies at Chalmers University of Technology’s Department of Applied Acoustics (Sweden).
Monday, October 03, 2011
Scott Leslie Appointed Director Of Engineering For Harman Professional Loudspeaker Business Unit JBL
Brings an extensive background in acoustics and technology, having held positions with companies such as Fender, Altec Lansing, Tektronix and Sun Microsystems
Scott Leslie has been appointed director of engineering for the Harman Professional Loudspeaker Business Unit, JBL Professional.
He will report directly to Mark Ureda, vice president and general manager of the Harman Professional Loudspeaker Business Unit.
Leslie brings an extensive background in acoustics and technology, having held positions with companies such as Fender, Altec Lansing, Tektronix and Sun Microsystems.
Most recently, he served as CEO of Evidant Corporation, a software company he founded, which specializes in business analytics and management consulting.
Leslie holds an MSEE degree in Acoustics from Georgia Tech University, and an MBA degree from the University of California, Irvine. He has a unique loudspeaker pedigree, as his father is Don Leslie, inventor and producer of the Leslie speaker, the sound behind the Hammond B3 organ.
“I have always loved JBL for its history, technology, and especially the speakers,” Leslie says. “I have known Mark Ureda since I graduated and joined Altec Lansing. With the team that Mark has put together, we have a tremendous opportunity to develop and bring to market the next generation of JBL greatness.”
“Scott Leslie brings a wealth of technical expertise, creativity, energy and leadership to further leverage our outstanding R&D team at JBL Pro,” Ureda states. “I can think of no better individual than Scott to drive our tradition of excellence and take JBL to the next level of high performance loudspeaker technologies and designs.” \
Sound For Historic St. Joseph’s Cathedral Revitalized With Renkus-Heinz Iconyx
"It was critical that the new sound system would in no way interfere with the church's aesthetics." - Peter Borchard, MuSonics Audio
Originally constructed in 1919, St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Sioux Falls, SD recently put the finishing touches on a decade-long restoration project. Totaling more than $16 million, the extensive renovation and restoration process of the majestic church was overseen by acclaimed architect Duncan G. Stroik.
Intrinsic to the project was replacing the church’s 25 year-old sound system. Serving as Mother Church to the Diocese, as well as parish church for Sioux Falls and other surrounding parishes, St. Joseph’s masses services are well attended by hundreds of parishioners. The primary goal of the new sound system was to provide high speech intelligibility and clear sound to every seat in the house.
The project proved quite challenging, according to Peter Borchard of MuSonics Audio. MuSonics has designed audio solutions for many large cathedrals across the country.
“The church has a lot of reflective surfaces that resulted in a 6-second reverberation time, making it one of the more reverberant in the U.S. and creating significant intelligibility issues,” reports Borchard.
The historic cathedral is known for its magnificent architecture featuring imported Italian marble floors and columns, massive arched ceilings, and huge stained glass windows. It was vital that the new audio system blend aesthetically so as not to diminish the visual impact of the church’s stunning architecture.
“Needless to say, it was critical that the new sound system would in no way interfere with the church’s aesthetics,” says Borchard.
In light of these requirements, Iconyx digitally steerable arrays from Renkus-Heinz proved to be the appropriate solution.
The system, installed by Brookings, SD-based Audio Connections, uses a combination of Iconyx loudspeakers - two IC-32, two IC-24 and six IC-8 loudspeakers - that are wall-mounted throughout the cathedral.
Iconyx uses proprietary Renkus-Heinz steerable multiple beam technology to provide full even coverage throughout the venue. The slim, low-profile column loudspeakers are custom painted to match the cathedral walls, rendering them almost invisible.
Renkus-Heinz RHAON digital signal processing controls the loudspeakers. “RHAON is great because you plug into the network in one place and you can control and monitor all of the speakers. You don’t have the normal hassle of running around plugging in to various pieces of equipment,” explains Borchard.
“The sound quality of the Iconyx loudspeakers is superb, and the color matching and mounting is exemplary,” he adds. “The cathedral is a showcase.”
Gand Concert Sound Deploys Yamaha, NEXO For Dennis DeYoung At Chicago’s Wrigley Field
“Those little GEOs always amaze me.” - Dave Radley, production manager/front of house engineer
Gand Concert Sound of suburban Chicago recently provided a sound reinforcement system headed by Yamaha and NEXO components for a private concert by Dennis DeYoung at historic Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
The system for DeYoung, founding member and lead vocalist for the band Styx now pursuing a solo career, included 16 NEXO GEO S8 loudspeakers joined by two Yamaha PM5D-RH digital audio consoles, one for the house and the other for monitors.
The system was configured with eight GEO S8 boxes per side flown, along with four NEXO CD18 subwoofers, two NEXO PS8s for front fill, two PS10s for out fill, and eight NEXO PS15 slants on five mixes.
Gand Concert Sound also provided 3-phase Motion Labs power distribution and a RAPCO 48-channel split plus snake. A Stageline SL100 mobile stage from American Mobile Staging of Barrington, Illinois played host to DeYoung and his band on the Wrigley Field surface.
“The Gand crew was great, and the rig sounded wonderful,” states Dave Radley, DeYoung production manager and front of house engineer. “Those little GEOs always amaze me.”
Yamaha & NEXO
Gand Concert Sound
Briere Production Group Adds Extensive Set Of d&b audiotechnik System Components To Inventory
"As one of the most recent members to join the d&b audiotechnik family, we see the benefits and savings with this product and its packaged systems approach." - Chris Briere, BPG
Canadian production company Briere Production Group (BPG), based in Burnaby, British Columbia, has added an extensive set of d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers and related components to its rental inventory.
“We continually invest in the development of our inventory and pride ourselves on the service and presentation of our equipment,” states Chris Briere, president of BPG president. “As one of the most recent members to join the d&b audiotechnik family, we see the benefits and savings with this product and its packaged systems approach.”
BPG’s newest d&b audiotechnik inventory is led by J Series components, including J12 large-format line array modules, J-SUB bass reflex subwoofers, J-INFRA cardioid subwoofers, and D12 power amplifiers incorporating digital signal processing.
Earlier this year, the company made its first significant investment in d&b audiotechnik with the addition of Q1 medium-format line array modules, Q7 down fill/fill modules, QSub subwoofers, B2 subwoofers, M2 and M4 stage monitors, and D12 amplifiers. BRG also utilizes d&b’s proprietary ArrayCalc for optimized system configuration.
“Although a number of our clients have expressed an interest in using the new d&b systems, we are also looking forward to developing new relationships and forging stronger links with other members within the rental network,” Briere adds.
The addition of the new inventory comes as BPG celebrates its recent move to new, expanded facilities, conveniently located in the Lake City business park in Burnaby.
“The new location provides a layout specifically designed for increasing systems integration capabilities and efficiency, as well as a newly created training facility, and dedicated prep and test areas,” Breire says. “There’s also more office space to account for the recent increase in staff and to accommodate future hiring.”
BPG is a full-service production company, offering lighting, video and staging services in addition to audio, along with support and comprehensive staffing.
Briere Production Group
Thursday, September 29, 2011
D.A.S. Audio The Driving Force At Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum
Aero Series 2 line array keeps Latino Heritage Festival lively
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum recently welcomed back the Latino Heritage Festival, an annual event that celebrates the rich Hispanic culture and its musical traditions.
Held on the outside plaza of the Rock Hall from Noon to 4 PM, the event featured performances by Hector Tricoche, Sammy De Leon y su Orquesta, the Latin Soul Ballroom Dance Company, the Julia De Burgos’ Explosion Divina Dance Troupe, Zumba instructors, and others. Music was, without question, a prominent part of this year’s festivities and, to ensure the event remained lively, a potent sound system consisting of Aero 12A line array enclosures from DAS Audio was placed into service.
Cleveland-based Vertical Sound, a sound services firm with a focus on the special events market, was contracted to provide sound services for this year’s festival. Richard Masarik, owner / operator and one of the firm’s chief engineers, commented on the project and his decision to deploy the D.A.S. Aero 12A line array system.
“The plaza outside the Rock Hall spans an area approximately 120 feet long by 100 feet wide,” Masarik explained. “Event planners were expecting somewhere between 1,000 – 1,200 people, so we wanted to ensure the system we ran would have plenty of juice to properly cover the area without being undermined by the surrounding city noise.”
“This was the last of back to back to back shows for our company that particular weekend, so it was a very challenging time for our crew. By going with our self-powered D.A.S. Audio Aero 12A loudspeakers and their excellent flyware, we were able to get the system up and running and, later, break it down—quickly and easily, which was a huge benefit for us. The Aero flyware is really well-designed and intuitive. I’m not kidding when I say the entire rig went up and came down faster and easier than our monitor system.”
The loudspeaker system deployed by the Vertical Sound crew consisted of twelve D.A.S. Audio Aero 12A line array elements—flown six enclosures (via Genie lifts) per each side of the plaza’s stage area. Part of D.A.S. Audio’s Aero Series 2 product lineup, the Aero 12A is a powered two-way, mid-high line array module driven by a Class D power amplifier. The subwoofers and stage monitoring equipment used for this event is proprietary to Vertical Sound.
Power at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is rather limited and, as such, presented its own set of challenges, according to Masarik.
“The power at the Rock Hall is a bit odd in that it’s all 110V circuits,” he said, “which can easily present its fair share of difficulties when you’re trying to run a big sound system. In this case, the problems were almost entirely eliminated because the D.A.S. system has surprisingly low power draw—roughly 2 amps per loudspeaker—so I could run all six enclosures per side off of a single circuit. I know of no other rig that draws such surprisingly little power.”
The Aero 12A’s low power consumption is only one of many attributes that makes it a house favorite with the Vertical Sound crew.
“The Aero 12A’s sound quality is really, really good,” says Masarik. “The system is extremely musical and speech intelligibility is first rate. I’m also very fond of the included EASE Focus acoustic modeling software. This software is very easy to operate and is a tremendous tool for properly positioning the loudspeakers for optimum coverage.”
“The sound quality was so good that our mix engineer—who was situated about 80 feet from the stage (and right in front of the Johnny Cash tour bus)—found himself routinely distracted by people coming over and paying him compliments!”
“I also love the fact that, with the Aero 12A’s, stage volume from main PA is very low compared to many competing systems,” Masarik added, “and that makes running the monitor system so much easier. There’s very little bleed from the sides and rear of the enclosures. The sound is well focused and goes where it’s supposed to. Since the monitor engineer doesn’t have to compete with the main house PA, his job becomes less stressful. This design characteristic makes every aspect of running sound for an event that much easier.”
“The Aero 12A’s self-powered design is another huge benefit,” Masarik continued. “Because the amplification is integrated into each enclosure, the only power amps we carry are for the monitor rig and subwoofers. This means less weight, which makes truck pack easier. Equally important, the self-powered design streamlines system cabling considerably.”
Before shifting his focus to the business of the day, Masarik offered this final thought, “Our D.A.S. gear dramatically impacted our summer season in a really positive way and I believe it will influence how we go about our projects next summer season. The D.A.S. sound quality is exceptional and that translates to better value for our customers. For the Latino Heritage Festival, our client was ecstatic and has since approached us about a number of new projects. When one project leads to another, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Mythbusting: The Truth About Loudspeaker Wire
More dollars than sense?
Too many good folks have been separated from their hard earned money by hyperbolic claims about loudspeaker wire. There will always be people with more dollars than sense, but they don’t last very long in professional audio.
I speculate there aren’t many (if any) of you who would pay thousands, or even tens of dollars per foot for speaker wire.
A very basic practice in merchandising is called differentiation. Marketers must come up with reasons for why you should buy their wire. To claim that their wire is better, they must first identify, in some cases invent, a difference.
This search for a selling proposition has sometimes focused on “skin effect.” It’s a real effect and describes how at very high frequencies, electrons travel in the outer layer or “skin” of signal conductors.
Another related property is that high frequency signals travel faster than low frequencies through the same cable.
These phenomena are dealt with appropriately in very high frequency applications with several techniques. “Litz” wire is made up of a large number of very small conductors braided or woven into one cable, producing a large surface area or “skin” for a given cross sectional area.
Another approach for high power high frequency power transfer is to use a hollow conductor, resembling a section of copper tubing. If the electrons are going to ignore the center of the conductor, why pay for it?
This is not an issue for audio professionals, working at mere audio frequencies of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Perhaps it would be if we were sending audio over many miles, like the telephone company in its pre-digital days. They had to periodically correct for waveform smear. But at the speed that electricity travels, our typical path distances are much too short to be an issue.
OUT OF PERSPECTIVE
Wire is not very sexy or easy to create real marketing hooks for, but it can actually make an audible difference. The dominant mechanism is simple resistance. It’s perhaps ironic that the “snake oil” markers of speaker wire will exaggerate some real but insignificant parameter far out of perspective while compromising the real deal.
Forget the hype, what’s important for speaker wire is that it exhibit low impedance that is resistive in nature. If the wire has a significant impedance component (reactance) that changes over the audio frequency spectrum, this can form a simple divider with the loudspeaker’s resistive impedance and cause a frequency response error.
In addition, since loudspeaker impedance will vary quite a bit over frequency, even a perfectly resistive speaker wire will cause errors. The magnitude of this frequency response error will increase proportionately as the wire’s resistance increases.
Purveyors of “funny wire” don’t bother to make claims about useful metrics like resistance since that is already defined by the wire size or gauge (known as “American Wire Gauge” or AWG for short). That would be like advertising how many quarts were in their gallons!
However, frequency response errors caused by wire resistance are one of the very real things that people actually do hear.
I find this following anecdote instructive. From a discussion with one individual who was certain that he heard a significant improvement when using his “Snake-O Special” speaker wire (name changed because I don’t remember it), I determined that the wire gauge he was using was marginal for the length of his run. The wideband loss of volume caused by a wire’s resistance will be very difficult to hear without a side-by-side comparison.
But the difference in amount of loss caused by the speaker’s changing impedance at different frequencies can easily cause a frequency response error that is probably what he heard. It’s easy to imagine how a rising impedance at high frequency could cause a pleasant sounding treble boost. Just listen to how clean and clear these “Snake-O Specials” sound!
There are several strategies to manage these real losses from wire resistance. The obvious one is to throw more copper at the problem. Heavier gauge wire with lower resistance will exhibit lower losses for a given run length. Another fairly obvious approach is to locate the amplifiers as close as possible to the loudspeakers to keep the run length as short as possible. A third less obvious approach is to scale up the intermediate signal voltages.
There are cases, such as in large distributed sound systems where neither of the first two approaches is cost effective. You can’t afford to put a separate amplifier at every speaker location, and sending sound sources over long distances with acceptable losses would require very heavy gauge wire. The solution borrows a strategy from high voltage power distribution systems such as the one used by utilities to bring electrical power to our homes.
The power developed within a given load increases with the square of the terminal voltage (E^2/R). However, wire’s losses only increase linearly with current flow, because the voltage developed across the wire is a simple function of its resistance times that current. Power engineers determined that by raising the voltage carried by transmission lines they could increase the power being carried exponentially while simultaneously reducing the losses due to current flow.
The utility company accomplishes this magic with step-up/step-down transformers. By “transforming” a typical 100-amp at 240-volts residential service, up to tens of thousands of volts at the transmission line the 100-amp draw is reduced to the far more manageable level of 1 amp or so. Wire losses are 1 percent of what they would otherwise be.
Similar manipulations go on in “constant voltage” distributed sound systems but rather than stepping up the voltage to thousands of volts the standard for U.S. systems is 70-volt, with Europe using a slightly higher 100-volt standard. The rest of the world tries to conform to one of those two standards.
Of course, the audio signal isn’t actually held constant. The voltage at rated power is. Both 5 watts and 500 watts constant voltage systems deliver the same nominal voltage for distribution.
The goal in any effective distribution system is to deliver as much power as possible to do useful work in the load and waste as little as possible heating up the wire. In a simple distributed sound system sending a few watts of announcements across a few hundred feet of factory floor, the typical low voltage system could drop as much power in the speaker wire as would reach the loudspeakers. By stepping up to 70 volts and back down again at each speaker the balance of power delivered versus lost is more respectable.
To put numbers to this concept, say we are trying to deliver 1 watt each to two loudspeakers located 100 feet distant from an amplifier using 24 AWG wire. Because we must count wire losses from the feed coming and going, 200 feet total of 24 AWG exhibits resistance of approximately 5 ohms.
To realize 1 watt at each loudspeaker, there would need to be more than 4 watts into the wire at the amplifier end. (Over 2 watts gets wasted as heat in the wire). If we first step up the audio to a nominal 70-volt level the current drops to such a low level that the same wire would only waste 0.14 watts while delivering the same 1 watt each to the two speakers. (See Figure 1 at right.)
As useful as constant (high) voltage systems are for managing wire losses, they don’t make sense for point-to-point runs in sound reinforcement systems. The main drawback is the size of the step-up and step-down transformers required.
To put this in perspective, the size of the transformer has to double every time you drop the frequency an octave. To cleanly pass 20 Hz both step-up and step-down audio transformers would have to be three times the size of a conventional amplifier’s 60 Hz power supply transformer.
KEEP IT SHORT
The good news for most live sound applications is that we don’t have to tolerate extremely long wire runs. By locating power amplifiers near the loudspeakers we can keep wire runs reasonably short. At these shorter distances we can easily afford heavier gauge wire.
While power losses are now manageable, it is worthwhile investigating the next dominant consideration in sizing speaker wire. Frequency response errors will be caused by the voltage divider created between the wire’s fixed resistance and the loudspeakers changing impedance versus frequency.
Figure 2 (above right) and Figure 3 (below right) shows two representative loudspeaker impedance plots, pulled from the Internet. These are not offered as either worst case or typical.
From the impedance plot in Figure 2, if we ignore the extreme low frequency, this loudspeaker exhibits a maximum impedance greater than 17 ohms, with a significant region of the upper bass down around 5 ohms. Meanwhile, Figure 3, while more complex, covers a similar impedance range, with a maximum around 16 ohms and a minimum around 6 ohms.
To derive a frequency response error we need to compare the drop at maximum impedance to the drop at minimum impedance.
The equations below calculate that drop for a given wire resistance. Note: to simplify this analysis we will assume all loudspeaker impedances to be resistive.
While not strictly accurate, loudspeaker impedances will typically be resistive at impedance minimums and any errors caused by load phase angle at the impedance maximums will not be significant for the sake of this analysis.
Minimum Voltage drop= V max = Z max /(Z max +Z wire)
Maximum Voltage drop= V min = Z min /(Z min + Z wire)
Frequency Response deviation= FR max = -20 Log10 (V min/ V max)
Solving for 1-, 0.5-, and 0.1-ohm wire resistance we get:
Loudspeaker 1 ohm 0.5 ohm 0.1 ohm
Spkr 1 (17/5) -1.09 dB -.57 dB -.12 dB
Spkr 2 (16/6) -.81 dB -.42 dB -.09 dB
Another related consequence is how wire resistance degrades effective damping factor. While damping factor is usually though of as a power amplifier characteristic, in reality the wire selection can easily dominate actual damping available at the loudspeaker.
In the above examples, the 1-ohm wire would by itself cause a rather weak damping factor of 5 or 6 (regardless of the amplifier’s rated damping factor). Using the 0.1-ohm wire predicts a more respectable 50 to 60 damping factor, with some small additional degradation due to the amplifier’s output impedance.
Damping factor deserves a more extensive discussion, but for this exercise we will assume that the amplifier’s output impedance is small with respect to our wire’s resistance.
It’s difficult to predict a precise threshold for audibility of frequency response errors. Controlled listening tests have suggested that differences as small as a few tenths of a dB can be audible.
To satisfy the dual goals of minimizing frequency response errors and not degrading damping factor for the example loudspeakers selected, I am comfortable with targeting a total wire resistance on the order of 0.1 ohm.
Wire’s resistance varies linearly with length. To keep the total resistance below our target limit of 0.1 ohm we must first project the length of our desired wire run, and then select a wire gauge whose resistance per unit length keeps us within the total resistance budget.
Don’t overlook that the wire length is actually twice the run distance as we must consider the feed to and return from the loudspeaker as effectively in series. We must also add in contact resistance for the connections at all ends.
Lets look at how this works out for a practical example of a 20-foot run. First, we double that to 40 feet to establish the true signal path length. Then we need to account for contact resistance. I’ve seen Neutrik Speakon (or copies of that connector) rated as low as 1mOhm (1/1000th ohm) per contact when new, and guaranteed < 2 mOhm over life.
Because there are four connections in our total path lets budget .008 ohms for connections. Subtracting this 0.008 ohms from our 0.1-ohm target leaves us .092 ohms for wire. Dividing this 0.092 ohms by the 40-foot length calculates out to 0.0023 ohms per foot.
Plugging this into the equation for wire gauge -
AWG = 10 ×log 10 R +10 (note R is per 1000 feet)
We get: AWG = 10x log 10 (2.3) +10 = 13.6 gauge
This is a little cumbersome, but once you have established an appropriate gauge for a nominal run length with your specific system. This gauge can be scaled up or down for other run lengths.
Wire resistance changes linearly with length. It changes non-linearly with gauge. A convenient property of wire gauge is that the wire’s resistance will double for every 3-step increase in gauge (AWG). Conversely the resistance will drop in half for a 3-step decrease in gauge.
Based on this same example and rounding off to 14 AWG, we can expect similar performance from a 40-foot run using 11 AWG wire, and a 10-foot run would only need 17 AWG. This numbering convention gets a little unusual below “0” AWG.
One step below (larger than) “0” is “00”, and “000” is two steps larger than “0”. I don’t expect to see speaker wire this large, as they would be very difficult to effectively interface with amplifiers and loudspeakers.
Using this example to size wire for your system will get you in the ball park, but it will be more accurate to use actual impedance specifications for your loudspeakers. Manufacturers of professional loudspeakers routinely publish this information.
Remember, use only the impedance max/min deviation within the audio bandwidth of interest. It doesn’t matter what a tweeter’s DC resistance is or a woofer’s 20 kHz impedance, since you won’t be listening to them there.
You also may want to tighten or relax the acceptable frequency response deviation. Better yet, look at your loudspeaker’s typical frequency response and determine if the response errors caused by your wire losses are additive or corrective.
While I don’t suggest trying to dial in corrective equalization using wire losses, if the error is making your system flatter you can afford to be less aggressive in sizing your wire AWG as long as you keep damping and power losses under control.
Danley Genesis Horns Installed In Wasilla Sports Center
From sonic mud to sonic gold
At just over 100,000 square feet, the largest public space in the city of Wasilla, Alaska is the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center. It is capable of handling 5,000 visitors, which is a common occurrence at graduations, rallies, and, of course, hockey & indoor football contests.
It opened in 2004, but its original sound reinforcement system was so ineffective that the facility had to rent a sound system for every event of consequence. Even then, intelligibility was marginal. The facility recently upgraded to Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers, which, by virtue of their exceptionally well-defined pattern control, minimize the reflections that had doomed all previous solutions to deliver crisp, intelligible sound.
“The original system consisted of four mid-grade horns in the middle of the room supplemented by a collection of 70-volt ceiling speakers,” explained Phil Ballard, principal of Sound Decisions, the firm that designed and installed the new system in Wasilla. “The main problem was the room’s acoustics. The reverb time is between four and six seconds.”
“With the old system, intelligibility was nonexistent. Literally, it was impossible to understand anything that was being said.”
When intelligibility was critical, such as at graduations, a rented system provided marginal intelligibility. “If you were paying close attention, you would be able to hear your kid’s name when it was called,” laughed Ballard. Clearly, something needed to be done.
“Apart from the prohibitively expensive solution of treating the entire room, the only option was a loudspeaker system that would focus its energy on the main floor and the bleachers… and nothing else,” he continued. “Danley’s exclusive technologies maintain pattern control several octaves below conventional designs.”
“I’ve been especially impressed by the new Danley Genesis Horn GH-60. It does exactly what you tell it to do… and nothing else.” Ballard installed three Danley Genesis Horn GH-60s in a central cluster above the main floor. Their patterns mate in such a way that the entire floor is covered, and little else.
For the bleachers, Ballard used four Danley SM-96s arrayed in a line extending the length of the floor. Two Danley DBH-218 subwoofers flown just behind the cluster of GH-60s provide the low-end support that communicates, “this is a full-blooded sound system.” To facilitate the many uses of the room, Ballard gave the staff the option of using the floor system, the bleacher system, or both. Just four Danley DSLA 6.5k amplifiers power the entire system, with routing logic and speaker conditioning provided by a Danley DSLP48 processor.
“The new system is completely unlike the old system,” said Ballard. “For example, the facility recently hosted a teachers’ meeting. There were 2,200 teachers there for talks and breakout sessions. Despite the room’s reverb, everyone could understand every word that was said, without straining. I received a lot of compliments.” At 61°34’21”N, the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center is currently the most northerly Danley installation on the planet. However, a proposed Danley installation in Fairbanks may make that a short-lived distinction.
Danley Sound Labs