Loudspeaker

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lectrosonics Digital Wireless Facilitates Wireless Delay For Large Outdoor Sound System

Simplifies process of getting audio 400 feet to the delays...

For this year’s annual 4th of July celebration, the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst facility - an amalgamation of the former United States Air Force McGuire Air Force Base, the United States Army Fort Dix, and the United States Navy Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst - celebrated in grand style with music, fireworks, and all the trimmings.

The task of delivering clear, intelligible audio across a massive field in the center of this sprawling base proved to be quite a challenge in past years, a challenge taken on this year by New Britain, CT-based independent audio engineer Bennett Prescott, working in conjunction with Farmingdale, NJ-based Asbury Audio.

Using a Lectrosonics TM400 Wireless Test and Measurement System utilizing the company’s proprietary Digital Hybrid Wireless technology to help calibrate the sound system and a D4 Digital Wireless System to eliminate cable runs between the mains and the delay system, the sound team achieved the clear, consistent sound coverage that had eluded other sound companies.

“We were tasked with providing sound across an enormous field,” explains Prescott. “The area measured roughly 500 feet wide by 1,500 feet in length. Up front, there was a mobile stage set up for live bands during the day and canned music that played during the fireworks show in the evening. The main loudspeakers consisted of ADRaudio L2821 line array systems—flown 12 elements per side and hung at approximately 40 feet with twelve ADRaudio JD21 subwoofers.

“The delay tower, which was positioned just over 400 feet out from the stage area, consisted of 10 EAW KF760 line array enclosures coupled with four KF730 compact line array modules suspended underneath and four ADRaudio ATA618C cardioid subwoofers for low frequency support. This single cluster was flown roughly 45 feet in the air.”

“I had no idea in advance where I would be able to place my delay hang or what my cable path would look like,” Prescott continues. “Because of these unknown variables, I wanted to simplify matters by using the Lectrosonics D4. This way, I could just drop a generator, place some amp racks, position my delay tower, and receive the PA signal wirelessly. With just under 400 feet from the mains to the delay hang, the D4 system performed flawlessly, and this distance speaks volumes about the D4’s range capability. I think it’s also important to note that the system accomplished this with the stock antenna.”

In addition to the D4’s range, Prescott was equally impressed with the system’s sound quality and its easy operation. “The D4 was incredibly easy to set up and operate and the sound quality was indistinguishable from wire,” he said. “I had to pad down the inputs on the transmitter a bit so as not to create any clipping with maximum signal from the mixing console and, after that, I was pretty much set up and ready to go. I did a frequency scan ahead of time to check for any conflicts in the 900 MHz range, but there were none, so this was effectively a set it up and plug it in affair. I had almost full signal strength right from the start—even with an obstructed line of sight to the transmitter.”

“A big part of our success on this project was being able to position the delay hang where it needed to be and not have to worry about the cable / transmission path,” Prescott concludes. “The D4’s ability to handle four channels of audio wirelessly with no loss over that great a distance made my life much easier. My array and subwoofer processing and delays were handled at the transmitter location and then fed wirelessly to the receiver and the loudspeakers so I didn’t have to worry about networking the remote location. With the TM400’s ability to wirelessly take the measurements I needed and the D4’s ability to feed the delay hang without a single wire, the setup was clean, much easier to get operational, and the sound quality was terrific. The Lectrosonics equipment really came through for us.”

Lectrosonics

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/28 at 02:15 PM
AVLive SoundNewsPollLoudspeakerSound ReinforcementWireless • (0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MSL Equips New Hed Kandi Nightclub In London With Wall-To-Wall Martin Audio

Once the integrators realized the priority that the operators wished to give to the sound reinforcement, 15 wall-mounted Martin Audio AQ8 ull range enclosures were specified to provide punchy coverage throughout the ground floor space

Following the success of Hed Kandi’s inaugural bar in Clapham district of London earlier this year, installation company MSL has again chosen Martin Audio as its preferred loudspeaker brand for the new Hed Kandi Bar flagship bar, which opened recently in Brighton (in East Sussex).

Situated on West Street in the city’s Lanes area, the former Luminar-owned Tru Nightclub has been completely overhauled and redesigned (by Julian Taylor Associates), with MSL entrusted with the full audio visual installation.

Part of the Ministry of Sound Group of companies, Hed Kandi has become a globally recognized brand with club events all over the world and a huge music catalog over many dance music genres. It was the Ministry’s then technical manager Alex Barrand who recommended MSL and Martin Audio on the strength of its performance at the premier London dance club, where it is used exclusively.

MSL project managers Darrel Olivier and Bradley Watson teamed up to produce a comprehensive solution for the main bar area, seated booths, VIP areas and basement Shooter Bar, while Olivier produced a lighting and video solution, utilising a wide range of LED static and moving fixtures, to further enhance the public spaces.

Once the integrators realized the priority that the operators wished to give to the sound reinforcement, 15 wall-mounted Martin Audio AQ8 (8-in LF + 1-in HF) full range enclosures were specified to provide punchy coverage throughout the ground floor space, while the low-frequency extension is delivered using four floor-standing Martin Audio AQ212 (2 x 12-in) and a single Martin Audio AQ210 (2 x 10-in) sub bass enclosures.

The reception spaces, outside facade and the Shooter Bar have all been provided for, with four Martin Audio ultra-compact C4.8T ceiling enclosures, while the next phase will see the addition of an AQ112 sub (1 x 12-in)—plus separate DJ input—downstairs in the basement.

A BSS Soundweb London BLU-100 manages the backbone of the audio system, with a pair of BLU-BOB expansion extenders providing the additional outputs required for the multi zone site (along with remote BLU-3 and BLU-8 control panels).

DJ’s upstairs are equipped with a top-specification booth which also includes a pair of Martin Audio Blackline F8+ (8-in + 1-in) high power enclosures for DJ monitoring upstairs.

“Martin Audio was recommended because it’s a proven product, with longevity and reliability, and they were happy to go down that route,” says Watson. “Although it’s not a nightclub it needs nightclub type levels — and they were very comfortable with the brand.”

MSL senior project manager Darrel Olivier, working with Julian Taylor Associates meanwhile developed a comprehensive architectural and moving light solution while a Mitsubishi 4500 lumens DP projector and Kramer Electronics transmission equipment complete the lighting and video solution, allowing the operators to project in full HD a wide variety of media.

The complete system, from the architectural LED to the ceiling mounted moving heads, are all programmed and managed by a ShowCAD Artist 512 control system, with a 19-in touch screen display monitor and an Edirol MIDI keyboard for instant scene and sequence recall.

Martin Audio

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/23 at 11:40 AM
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Danley Genesis Horns Deliver Sound Reinforcment At Green Bay’s Lambeau Field

Because they have the capacity to throw long distances with appropriate SPL-by-distance performance, the Danley Genesis Horn (GH-60) and its larger sibling, the Jericho Horn (JH-90), represent alternatives to the line array

Lambeau Field, the 73,000-seat “Frozen Tundra” home of the the reigning NFL champion Green Bay Packers, has been outfitted with a new distributed sound reinforcement system headed by Danley Sound Labs Genesis Horn, Synergy Horn, and Tapped Horn loudspeaker technologies.

The old sound system relied on a single cluster of loudspeakers positioned at the scoreboard on the north end of the bowl. Apart from the sometimes surmountable but ever-daunting challenge of throwing sound long distances while still providing even coverage, the architecture of Lambeau Field guaranteed that any system that relied on a single point source, no matter how pricey or sophisticated, would be inadequate.

Specifically, a hemispherical ring of windowed skyboxes and suites tops the bowl, providing a surface that generates high-SPL, broad-bandwidth reflections that wreck intelligibility. The Packers hired Anthony James Partners (AJP) of Richmond, Virginia to design an improved sound system. With no ties to any vendor, manufacturer, or integrator, AJP provides its clients with ideal, unbiased solutions.

“The biggest challenge at Lambeau was the expected environmental conditions,” explains Larry Lucas, director of audio engineering at AJP. “The Packers were understandably unbending about the placement of equipment. To prevent injuries from falling snow and ice (recall the stadium’s nickname!), no structures of any kind could be placed above seats.

“So even though we were using a distributed approach, we were left with the task of covering large areas of seating using a long throw from loudspeaker positions that were much less than ideal. The Shaded Amplitude technology of Danley’s Genesis Horn promised to provide that coverage without blasting the fans that were close or whispering to the fans who were far.”

The distributed system is primarily comprised of 16 enclosures placed on top of the enclosed suites, around the perimeter of the field. Each of the enclosures contains a Danley GH-60 Genesis Horn and a Danley TH-118 subwoofer. The Genesis Horn and subwoofer combination covers the majority of the seating, with the Genesis Horn Shaded Amplitude roll-off positioned such that seats both near and far receive the same SPL.

Due to Lambeau’s blustery weather, outdoor enclosures measuring approximately 6 feet by 7 feet were custom designed by Pro Media Ultrasound, the system installer for the stadium. Nineteen Danley SH-100 loudspeakers are spaced around the stadium in between outdoor speaker enclosures providing near-fill for seats below the suites that fall outside the Genesis Horn’s beam.

Two additional Genesis Horns cover the south end zone, which will be converted to seats and party decks next season, and 56 Danley SH-Minis provide coverage for club seating and the Legends Lounge.

A new Yamaha M7 digital console gives stadium engineers the ability to recall mixes, and a BSS London-series DSP system provides all system equalization, dynamics, routing, and loudspeaker management.

Despite the fact that a Genesis Horn contains 18 drivers, due to ingenious crossover designs, the number of amplifiers required to cover the 70,000-plus seats at Lambeau was quite low. It only required five IP-5000s, nine IP-9000s, and eight IP-12000 Crown amplifiers to provide clean power with ample headroom to the Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers.

Danley Sound Labs’ Mike Hedden notes, “Our products produce industry leading high sensitivities and cutting edge technologies. Other loudspeaker manufacturers would have had an amplifier count at least double ours along with much more required electrical service demands. When you compare this, and then add our lower electrical cost of actual operation, you’ll see why Danley Sound Labs is one of the most “green” loudspeaker companies on the market today.”

Because they have the capacity to throw long distances with appropriate SPL-by-distance performance, the Danley Genesis Horn (GH-60) and its larger sibling, the Jericho Horn (JH-90), represent alternatives to the line array. And in fact, Lucas had considered a line array as a potential solution at Lambeau Field.

“However, two critical factors favored Danley’s solution,” he explains. “First, when you tally up all the costs, a line array system is considerably more expensive than a comparable Danley Genesis or Jericho Horn. Second, the fact that the Danley boxes are true point-source devices make them a lot cleaner. For example, the Genesis Horn has noticeably greater intelligibility than comparable line arrays out there.”

The Packers’ fans, administration, and even players have praised the new sound system. “The improvement is not at all subtle,” concludes Lucas. “Fans have gone out of their way to let the administration know that Lambeau’s sound reinforcement system is a significant improvement. That very positive feedback has made them feel comfortable with the investment they made.”

image

Danley Sound Labs

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/18 at 08:55 AM
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Meyer Sound EXP Team Adds Miles Rogers As Applications Development Manager

Responsibilities include working directly with customers in application development, as well as coordinating with the company’s Design Services department on specific projects

Meyer Sound has announced the appointment of Miles Rogers to the position of EXP applications development manager. Based in Berkeley, Calif. headquarters, Rogers is taking on a broad range of responsibilities for Meyer Sound’s rapidly expanding EXP cinema technologies division.

“Miles comes to us with not only a solid knowledge of all post-production technologies but also strong personal relationships with key people in the industry,” states Steve Shurtz, Meyer Sound technology director, EXP. “His experience and talents are a welcome addition to our growing EXP team.”

In his new, multi-faceted position, Rogers’s responsibilities include working directly with customers in application development, as well as coordinating with the company’s Design Services department on specific projects.

Rogers will contribute to new EXP product development, and supervise Meyer Sound’s in-house facilities, including the Pearson Theatre and Bear’s Lab, the company’s new mix-to-picture room.

Before joining Meyer Sound, most recently Rogers held the position of field service engineer at Avid (Digidesign) in Southern California, where he serviced recording systems at major studio-owned and independent post-production facilities.

“I was involved with the evolution of post-production on the ‘A-chain’ side until lately,” observes Rogers. “Now I look forward to bringing the performance enhancements offered by EXP to the ‘B-chain’ and working closely with both post-production houses and cinema exhibitors.”

Rogers’s prior experience includes staff studio engineer at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He holds a B.A. degree in music from the University of Oregon with a focus on music technologies.

Meyer Sound’s EXP defines an integrated approach to cinema sound, maintaining the highest performance levels from sound design studios through to the dub stage and finally to exhibition. EXP encompasses not only the extensive Acheron line of self-powered screen channel loudspeakers but also complete system integration tools and comprehensive design support.

Meyer Sound

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/18 at 08:46 AM
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Knowing Cone Drivers: How They Work, Understanding Key Data & Specs

What's really going on with woofers, and what are the important factors in how they perform as well as how they impact the performance of loudspeaker systems

(Editor’s Note: Eminence Speaker LLC contributed to this report.)

Cone drivers (also referred to as woofers and transducers in this article) are not overly complex. When an electrical current passes through a wire coil (the voice coil) in a magnetic field, it produces a force that varies with the current applied.

The cone, connected to the voice coil, moves in and out, creating waves of high and low air pressure. The coil and magnet assembly are the “motor structure” of the loudspeaker.

The movement is controlled by the loudspeaker’s suspension, which comprises the cone surround and the “spider”.

The surround and spider allow the coil to move freely along the axis of the magnet’s core (or “pole”) without touching the sides of the magnetic gap.

More important than knowing the details of how cone drivers work is the understanding of key data and what it means. Prior to 1970, there were no easy or affordable methods accepted as standard in the industry for obtaining comparative data about loudspeaker performance.

Recognized laboratory tests were expensive and unrealistic for the thousands of individuals needing performance information.

Standard measurement criteria were required to enable manufacturers to publish consistent data for customers to make comparisons between various loudspeakers.

Things began changing in the early 1970s, however, when several technical papers were presented to the Audio Engineering Society (AES) that resulted in the development of what we know today as Thiele-Small Parameters.

The authors of the papers – A.N. Thiele and Richard H. Small – devoted considerable effort to showing how the following parameters define the relationship between a cone driver and a particular enclosure.

The key working components of a loudspeaker and how they fit.

These parameters can be invaluable in making choices because they can tell you far more about the transducer’s real performance than the basic benchmarks of size, maximum power rating or average sensitivity.

Let’s have a look at the parameters defined by Mr. Small and Mr. Thiele. (And note that we listed Mr. Small first this time – bet he doesn’t get that very often!)

Fs: The free-air resonant frequency of a cone driver. Simply stated, it’s the point at which the weight of the moving parts of the speaker becomes balanced with the force of the driver suspension when in motion.

If you’ve ever seen a piece of string start humming uncontrollably in the wind, you have seen the effect of reaching a resonant frequency. It’s important to know this information so that you can prevent your enclosure from ‘ringing’.

With a cone driver, the mass of the moving parts, and the stiffness of the suspension (surround and spider), are the key elements that affect the resonant frequency.

As a general rule of thumb, a lower Fs indicates a woofer that would be better for low-frequency reproduction than a woofer with a higher Fs. This is not always the case though, because other parameters affect the ultimate performance as well.

Re: DC resistance of the driver measured with an ohm meter, and often referred to as the “DCR.” This measurement will almost always be less than the driver’s nominal impedance.

Some users sometimes get concerned the Re is less than the published impedance and fear that amplifiers will be overloaded. Due to the fact that the inductance of a speaker rises with a rise in frequency, it is unlikely that the amplifier will often see the DC resistance as its load.

Le: Voice coil inductance measured in millihenries (mH). The industry standard is to measure inductance at 1 kHz. As frequencies get higher, there will be a rise in impedance above Re, because the voice coil is acting as an inductor.

Consequently, the impedance of a cone driver is not a fixed resistance, but can be represented as a curve that changes as the input frequency changes. Maximum impedance (Zmax) occurs at Fs.

Q Parameters: Qms, Qes, and Qts are measurements related to the control of a transducer’s suspension when it reaches the resonant frequency (Fs). The suspension must prevent any lateral motion that might allow the voice coil and pole to touch (this would destroy the driver). The suspension must also act like a shock absorber.

Qms is a measurement of the control coming from the driver’s mechanical suspension system (the surround and spider). View these components like springs.

Qes is a measurement of the control coming from the driver’s electrical suspension system (the voice coil and magnet). Opposing forces from the mechanical and electrical suspensions act to absorb shock.

Qts is called the “Total Q” of the driver and is derived from an equation where Qes is multiplied by Qms and the result is divided by the sum of the same.

As a general guideline, Qts of 0.4 or below indicates a transducer well suited to a vented enclosure. Qts between 0.4 and 0.7 indicates suitability for a sealed enclosure, and Qts of 0.7 or above indicates suitability for free-air or infinite baffle applications.

Vas/Cms: Vas represents the volume of air that when compressed to one cubic meter exerts the same force as the compliance (Cms) of the suspension in a particular speaker.

Vas is one of the trickiest parameters to measure because air pressure changes relative to humidity and temperature – a precisely controlled lab environment is essential.

Cms is measured in meters per Newton, and is the force exerted by the mechanical suspension of the speaker. It is simply a measurement of its stiffness.

Considering stiffness (Cms), in conjunction with the Q parameters, gives rise to the kind of subjective decisions made by car manufacturers when tuning cars between comfort to carry a family and precision to go racing.

Think of the peaks and valleys of audio signals like a road surface, then consider that the ideal driver suspension is like car suspension that can traverse the rockiest terrain with race-car precision and sensitivity at the speed of a jet plane.

Vd: Peak Diaphragm Displacement Volume – in other words, the volume of air the cone will move. It is calculated by multiplying Xmax (voice coil overhang of the driver) by Sd (Surface area of the cone). Vd is noted in cc, and the highest Vd figure is desirable for a sub-bass transducer.

BL: Expressed in Tesla meters, this is a measurement of the motor strength of a driver. Think of this in terms of how good a “weightlifter” the transducer can be. A measured mass is applied to the cone, forcing it back, while the current required for the motor to force the mass back is measured.

The formula is mass in grams divided by the current in amperes. A high BL figure indicates a very strong transducer that moves the cone with authority.

Mms: The combination of the weight of the cone assembly plus the “driver radiation mass load.” The weight of the cone assembly is easy: it’s just the sum of the weight of the cone assembly components.

The driver radiation mass load is the confusing part. In simple terminology, it is the weight of the air (the amount calculated in Vd) that the cone will have to push.

Rms: Represents the mechanical resistance of a driver’s suspension losses. It is a measurement of the absorption qualities of the driver suspension and is stated in N*sec/m.

EBP: Calculated by dividing Fs by Qes. The EBP figure is used in many enclosure design formulas to determine if a driver is more suitable for a closed or vented design.

An EBP close to 100 usually indicates a driver that is best suited for a vented enclosure. On the contrary, an EBP closer to 50 usually indicates a speaker best suited for a closed box design.

This is merely a starting point. Many well-designed loudspeaker systems have violated this rule of thumb! Qts should also be considered.

Xmax/Xmech: Short for “maximum linear excursion.” Driver output becomes non-linear when the voice coil begins to leave the magnetic gap.

Although suspensions can create non-linearity in output, the point at which the number of turns in the gap (see BL) begins to decrease is when distortion starts to increase.

Xmax is voice coil height minus top plate thickness, divided by two, while Xmech (as expressed by Eminence) is the lowest of four potential failure condition measurements times two: Spider crashing on top plate, and/or voice coil bottoming on back plate. Voice coil coming out of gap above core; physical limitation of cone.

Take the lowest of these measurements and then multiply it by two. This gives a distance that describes the maximum mechanical movement of the cone. (For Eminence transducers, half the Xmech value represents the one-way excursion limit that if exceeded would cause permanent damage.)

Sd: This is the actual surface area of the cone, normally given in square centimeters.

Zmax: Represents the driver’s impedance at resonance.

Usable frequency range: Manufacturers use different techniques for determining this, and most are recognized as acceptable in the industry. However, they can arrive at
different results.

Technically, many drivers are used to produce frequencies in ranges where they would theoretically be of little use. As frequencies increase, the off-axis coverage of a transducer decreases relative to its diameter.

At a certain point, the coverage becomes ‘beamy’ or narrow like the beam of a flashlight.

See the chart at left – it demonstrates at what frequency this phenomenon occurs relative to the size of the transducer. If you’ve ever stood in front of a guitar amplifier or loudspeaker cabinet, then moved slightly to one side or the other and noticed a different sound, you have experienced this phenomenon.

Clearly, most two-way loudspeaker systems ignore the theory and still perform quite well.

Power handling: A transducer needs to be capable of handling the input power it’s provided. The general rule of thumb is that a power amplifier, when reproducing any program source, “provides” long term- thermal power that is approximately 1/8 its maximum rated output before clipping (rap music excluded).

This is why even UL testing for power amps is done, and listed for on the back of the amp, at 1/8 the rated output power of the amp.

Typically, a loudspeaker will handle somewhere between 6 dB to 10 dB higher peaks than its long-term-average power rating, particularly in the case of the conservative EIA-426A standard used by several manufacturers.

This means that if a loudspeaker is rated for 100 watts long-term-average power, the amp driving it should be rated between 400 and 1000 watts – if the user does not compress the source signal. Once compression is used, all bets are off.

Generally speaking, the number one contributor to a transducer’s power rating is its ability to release thermal energy. This is affected by several design choices, but most notably voice coil size, magnet size, venting, and the adhesives used in voice coil construction.

Larger coil and magnet sizes provide more area for heat to dissipate, while venting allows thermal energy to escape and cooler air to enter the motor structure. Equally important is the ability of the voice coil to handle thermal energy.

Mechanical factors must also be considered when determining power handling. A transducer might be able to handle 1000 watts from a thermal perspective, but would fail long before that level was reached from a mechanical issue such as the coil hitting the back plate, the coil coming out of the gap, the cone buckling from too much outward movement, or the
spider bottoming on the top plate.

The most common cause of such a failure would be asking the speaker to produce more low frequencies than it could mechanically produce at the rated power. Be sure to consider the suggested usable frequency range and the Xmech parameter in conjunction with the power rating to avoid such failures.

Sensitivity: One of the most useful specifications published for any transducer, it’s a representation of the efficiency and volume you can expect from a device relative to the input power.

Manufacturers follow different rules when obtaining this information – there is not an exact standard accepted by the industry. As a result, it is often the case that loudspeaker users are unable to accurately compare the sensitivities of different products.

Eminence Speaker LLC and Live Sound/ProSoundWeb Senior Technical Editor John Murray contributed this article.

Also be sure to read Real World Gear: The Latest In Loudspeaker Drivers and take our Photo Gallery Tour of the latest driver models.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/18 at 08:43 AM
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Turbosound Introduces New Flashline Large-Scale Line Array

Incorporates Lab.gruppen powered loudspeaker management platform with Lake processing and Dante networking

The new Turbosound Flashline is a turnkey system, including line array and sub frequency loudspeakers, control electronics and amplification, rigging hardware, racks, and transportation dollies and cases, in a powerful and space-efficient format.

Flashline incorporates the sophisticated Lab.gruppen powered loudspeaker management platform with Lake processing and Dante networking for the exceptional system control and operational consistency.

A new Dendritic/Polyhorn waveguide insures near-perfect dispersion behavior in both horizontal and vertical planes, giving very uniform audience coverage.

The Flashline system is uniquely configured as a 5-way system with the TFS-900H’s output covering four frequency bands from 60 Hz to 20 kHz, while the TFS-900B subwoofer provides sub-bass frequencies down to 35 Hz.

The loudspeaker complement comprises a total of 11 custom designed drive units: three high-frequency compression drivers loaded by a Dendritic waveguide, two 6.5-inch high-mid drivers loaded by a Dendritic waveguide, four horn-loaded 6.5-inch low-mid frequency drivers, and two horn-loaded 12-inch low-frequency drivers that utilize both front and rear cone radiation for maximum efficiency.

The rigging hardware is fully integrated into the end-cheeks on each side of the TFS-900H cabinet, which also provide grab handle positions. Drop links at the front and rear of the box engage in the flygear of the box above in the array to give a range of inter-cabinet angles from 0 to 5 degrees.

TFS-900H cabinets are normally transported four-up on the TFS-DOLLY wheel dolly and can be flown right off the dolly in blocks of four, with the rigging hardware already pre-configured for use. A simple TFS-GRID and TFS-TIP system is used to fly a typical array; no additional external parts are required to fly the system.

Driver maintenance can be performed without removing cabinets from the dolly because all the drivers can be accessed either from the front (the entire mid/high section is removeable) or from the rear via the driver access doors.

Amplification is provided in the form of the 20000DP 4-channel amplifier with Lake processing and Dante networking built in. The power capability of the TFS-900H’s four frequency bands exactly matches the output of the 20000DP’s four output channels, with only four racks of three amplifiers required to deliver optimum energy transfer into a system of 18 TFS-900H tops and 12 TFS-900B subs.

The TFS-900H cabinet is constructed from 15mm birch plywood (the TFS-900B subwoofer is 18mm). Both cabinets are finished in black TourTough finish with IP54 rated stainless steel perforated grilles. A recessed rear panel carries two parallel-linked Speakon NL8 connectors for input and loop-through connections.

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Turbosound

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/18 at 08:13 AM
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clair Brothers Audio Systems & JBL VLA Line Arrays Raise The Roof At BC Place Stadium

“We needed loudspeakers that could provide a lot of output and could cover that large space." - Jim Devenney, Clair Brothers

The newly renovated BC Place stadium in Vancouver, Canada boasts the world’s largest cable-supported retractable roof and also includes a new audio system highlighted by JBL Professional VLA line arrays installed by Clair Brothers Audio Systems.

BC Place, which reopened in September, is home of the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer, and has hosted year-round major events including the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The new system incorporates 160 JBL VLA601-WRC 3-way line array loudspeakers, making this the largest VLA installation to date.

“We needed loudspeakers that could provide a lot of output and could cover that large space,” notes Jim Devenney, senior engineer, Clair Brothers. “The problem with the older sound system was that the stadium sounded like a cave, which would have become a much bigger problem after adding millions of cubic feet to the building!”

Clair Brothers chose the VLA601-WRC loudspeakers, which employ three 2431H 1.5-inch exit/3-inch diaphragm high-frequency horn-loaded compression drivers with a 60-degree horizontal coverage pattern, two CMCD-82H 8-inch-cone midrange compression drivers and two 2226H 15-inch woofers loaded into JBL’s WRC weatherized enclosures.

Derived from JBL’s VerTec®Series line array systems, VLA Series loudspeakers are designed to provide high SPL at throw distances beyond the reach of traditional loudspeaker designs and offer a choice of 30-, 60- and 90-degree horizontal horn coverage patterns.

“We use the VLA Series line arrays in a lot of stadium and arena projects because of the defined coverage they provide, and because good articulation is important in spaces like this,” Devenney adds.

Installing the loudspeakers was a challenge, according to Devenney. “We deployed 12 clusters of 11 speakers each, arranged in an oval ring to cover the seating areas, along with 28 VLA601-WRC’s under the scoreboard to cover the field,” he said. “In addition, we placed two JBL PD Series loudspeakers to fill the area underneath the scoreboard.”

BC Place previously had an inflatable dome roof, with the audio and lighting equipment hung from the roof. The new retractable roof has an open space in the middle, and all of the JBL VLA601-WRC clusters hang off winches. “

We had to work closely with all the other parties involved in the renovation to coordinate the installation,” Devenney says. “We had very little time to hang the clusters because they were putting down the artificial turf at the same time. We actually built the clusters outside of the stadium and brought them in on a truck to set them up quickly.”

JBL Professional
Harman Pro

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/17 at 12:41 PM
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L-Acoustics K1 Line Source For Inauguration Of New Kiev UEFA Stadium

“This system gave us very even coverage across the main seating area. The main hangs delivered nice, tight low-end to the very furthest seat." - Andrey Akhromeev, system engineer

L-Acoustics Polish rental network agent Fotis Sound has recently provided a K1 WST line source system for the opening of the Olympic Stadium in Kiev in preparation for UEFA Euro 2012 Football Championship.

The opening ceremony, under the guidance of director Alexey Batkovsky, was based on Ukrainian history, with more than 2,000 volunteers and dancers involved in the larger performances.

At the concert’s finale, Shakira appeared on stage to a backdrop of spectacular fireworks before an audience of 50,000, including Ukrainian president Victor Janukovich.

The event’s technical coordinator Vlad Voloshuk, from Concert Bis in Moldova, invited freelance system engineer Andrey Akhromeev to design a sound system for the event.

Drawing on L-Acoustics’ proprietary acoustic design software SOUNDVISION, Akhromeev’s solution consisted of 18 K1 boxes and 6 K1-SB subs per side, with side hangs of 12 K1s per side.

“When I came to this stadium for the first time and saw the stage drawings, it became obvious that we needed a large scale system,” says Akhromeev. “The biggest issue was that we couldn’t use the roof of the arena due to weight limits.

“We also had to make sure we didn’t block audience sight lines or put any visible obstructions or trusses in front of the VIPs. I made a few designs using different speakers and K1 seemed to be the only tool that allowed us to make this happen. SOUNDVISION gave me the opportunity to prepare the system settings in advance, and L-Acoustics’ LA Network Manager afforded us very flexible control of the LA8 amplified controllers.

“This system gave us very even coverage across the main seating area. The main hangs delivered nice, tight low-end to the very furthest seat. Vertical dispersion of the K1 is so precise that we were able to reduce unwanted reflections to a minimum, delivering a feeling of close proximity to most seats.”

Infrasonic low end content was delivered by 32 SB28 subs, and the whole system was driven and powered by 16 LA-RAKs equipped with 48 LA8 amplified controllers.

L-Acoustics

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/17 at 11:54 AM
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Adamson’s Project Energia On The Road With Duran Duran

Energia beta partner Eighth Day Sound provided PA and the crew for all of the North American dates

Duran Duran’s long-time front of house engineer Snake Newton utilized the components of the new Adamson Systems Project Energia for the band’s recent North American tour. 

The six-week tour was a build up for Duran Duran’s “All You Need is Now” album due for release in early 2012. Energia beta partner Eighth Day Sound of Cleveland provided PA and the crew for all of the North American dates. (Go here to find out more about Project Energia.)

“When I was approached to test drive Energia in the Beta phase, I had absolutely no reservations,” Newton states. “Eighth Day Sound provided great support on the tour, and the E15 (line array loudspeaker) delivered every time. The mid range definition and low mid punch is incredible and there was no sign of power compression at any point.  This cannot be said for many other systems out there.

“With the amp and DSP in the box, consistency will be guaranteed in every territory throughout the world, along with many exciting array control possibilities which cannot easily be achieved by currently available systems.”

Eighth Day Sound systems engineer Kyle Walsh was in charge of the daily system design, installation and alignment. “The E15 rigging is very simple to use,” he notes. “The angles are indicated with a combination of color coding and numbers, and all angles are set on the ground. There is no lifting required, so I was able to preset everything in the morning without the help of stage hands.  The bumper and extender bar are light weight and they travel on the stack. Tuning was a breeze as the box sounded great out of the gate.”

“When Snake gave us the thumbs up to be the first on tour with Energia in North America, our team was ecstatic,” says Jesse Adamson, director of marketing and sales for Adamson Systems. :Anyone that has ever worked with him knows that his mix is impeccable and that he doesn’t accept anything but the best. Snake and Eighth Day Sound provided a flawless performance on the North American debut of Energia in phase 1. The results could not have been better.”

Adamson Systems

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/17 at 09:43 AM
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Mannheim’s Musical Tribute To The Automobile Backed by Meyer Sound D-Mitri

POOLgroup deploys large-scale surround system comprised of 296 loudspeakers

The German city of Mannheim, birthplace of the automobile, celebrated the 125th anniversary of Carl Benz’s gas-powered buggy this fall with autosymphonic, a multimedia spectacular featuring an original composition for orchestra, chorus, and various synchronized car sounds as played live on 80 carefully auditioned vehicles.

To immerse an audience of 17,000 in this sonic mix, POOLgroup of Emsdetten, Germany deployed a large-scale surround system comprising 296 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers, all networked and controlled using Meyer Sound’s D-Mitri digital audio platform.

The event was presented in Mannheim’s expansive outdoor Friedrichsplatz, where the staging layout posed an extraordinary challenge to sound designer Stephan Diebel of Stockstadt/Rhein-based projekt|werk. The audience was seated in a semi-circle around a central fountain, with the music stage erected on one side and the “car ensembles” placed both inside and surrounding the audience area.

“I wanted to completely surround the audience with the car sounds and the orchestra, as well as the electronic sound effects,” says Diebel. “Also, I wanted the car sounds localized to where they were being played. That required an extremely sophisticated surround system.”

The system needed power and clarity, since the festivities included the energized pop-R&B sounds of German band Söhne Mannheims in addition to the orchestral program.

To satisfy these demands, Diebel configured a system based on 12 main tower locations, each with 12 to 14 flown MILO line array loudspeakers supported on the bottom end by four to nine 700-HP subwoofers.

Rounding out the main system were dual hangs of ten-each M’elodie line array loudspeakers with four 700-HP subwoofers per side, while a dispersed complement of CQ-2, UPA-1P, and JM-1P loudspeakers—58 in total—covered the outer audience areas and VIP sections. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with eight Galileo 616 processors provided system drive and optimization.

“The MILO system was key to surrounding such a huge audience area, and to providing the full frequency spectrum of the symphony orchestra to the audience,” says Diebel.

Diebel also noted the advantages afforded by Meyer Sound’s D-Mitri digital audio platform, which provided signal matrixing and networked distribution. “D-Mitri allowed a clearly structured management of the huge number of surround channels,” he states. “D-Mitri proved to be an exceptionally flexible tool for creating a sound mix from such a large number of signals, particularly considering the short rehearsal time.”

Speaking on behalf of the spectacle’s producers, mannheim:congress GmbH, Christina Guth notes, “We were very satisfied with the sound of autosymphonic. Personally, I was fascinated by the car sounds playing together with the symphony orchestra, as it was something that had never been heard before anywhere.”

Mannheim’s autosymphonic was conceived and written by Cypriot composer Marios Joannou Elia, with stunning video and lighting elements created by Horst Hamann, also known for his visual effects in films like “The Matrix” and “Solaris.” The SWR Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg, and the SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble were conducted by Johannes Harneit, with the live car sounds played by 113 volunteer students.

Meyer Sound

Family owned and operated since 1979, Meyer Sound Laboratories, Inc. designs and manufactures high-quality, self-powered sound reinforcement loudspeakers, digital audio systems, active acoustic systems, cinema sound systems, and sound measurement tools for the professional audio industry. Founded by John and Helen Meyer, the company has grown to become a leading worldwide supplier of systems for theatres, arenas, stadiums, theme park

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/17 at 09:36 AM
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Korean First Presbyterian Church Of Orange County Chooses QSC KLA Line Arrays

“With the new KLA system, all areas of the sanctuary are completely covered with adequate volume." - Young Suk Cho, Korean First Presbyterian Church

Korean First Presbyterian Church of Orange County, a mega church in Westminster, CA with more than a thousand members and a 30-year history in the area, recently installed QSC Audio KLA line arrays as part of an upgrade intended to enhance audio quality

Aviwork of Fullerton, CA handled the installation, and was tasked with designing a sound solution to meet the challenges of the sanctuary, which has a shallow and wide audience area and a number of balconies.

With the former system, congregation members sitting in the corners, on the balconies and underneath them weren’t able to hear the sermons. After visiting the church several times and analyzing the audio problems, Aviwork recommended the KLA line arrays as a solution.

“I have been interested in the KLA System since its recent release.  It’s got an easy rigging system, a good price point and it sounds great,” says Hosung Leem, senior A/V consultant at Aviwork. “Believe it or not, I didn’t even hear the KLA System before recommending it to the church. I didn’t have to—I have had so many good experiences with QSC loudspeakers that I already knew the KLA Series would be great.”

KLA’s SOLO (Single Operator Logistics) rigging system also eased the installation process. “The church insisted on structurally sound equipment as a measure of earthquake protection, and the KLA’s rigging system is both solid and easy to do, “ adds Leem. “I get compliments all the time about the great sound from congregation members. “

“Previously, we had another manufacturer’s loudspeakers in the main sanctuary, but these only covered certain areas, and missed areas like the corners of the room and the second floor, “ says Young Suk Cho, music pastor at the church. “With the new KLA system, all areas of the sanctuary are completely covered with adequate volume. Now you can hear everything in every remote part of the room.”

QSC Audio

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/17 at 08:22 AM
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beneath The Surface: Observations On Sound Reinforcement In China

Just below the surface there is cultural and historical adversity for production personnel to overcome

As practitioners of performance audio in North America and Europe, we are very fortunate. I make this assertion having just returned from an adventure in the Middle Kingdom, observing production of a large western-style music festival in Shanghai, China.

Shanghai is a modern and global city with 23 million people, some of the tallest buildings anywhere, and the world’s largest public transport system. On the surface it’s the epitome of the modern Asian metropolis.

But as a friend who lives in Shanghai said to me, “Scratch the surface, and just below it is China.” I think I’ve learned what he meant.

As an observer, I was encouraged by the positive results the Chinese audio crews achieved. But I could tell that just below the surface there is cultural and historical adversity for production personnel to overcome.

This is compounded by the fact that they have had less opportunity to accumulate the depth of knowledge we take for granted and rely on every day to support artistic presentations.

The two-day event, called the Black Rabbit Music Festival, was a production challenge by any standard:
• Back to back outdoor festival “fly dates” 650 air miles apart
• 24 bands on 3 stages (Beijing-Saturday)
• 29 bands on 4 stages (Shanghai-Sunday)
• A mixture of Asian and Western performers
• A mixture of Asian and Western languages

The festival is the creation of independent music promoter and visionaries Archie Hamilton and Nathaniel Davis of Shanghai-based Split-Works.

The Black Rabbit Festival in Shanghai during the headliner performance.

Hamilton enlightened me on the challenges of audience development, particularly as it relates to production values: “The China concert market is developing steadily if not linearly. When I moved to China six years ago from England, my inspiration for a festival was Glastonbury. It had all the diverse entertainment elements allied to high production values, all of which I hoped to re-create in Asia.

“In mid-2007 we promoted our first festival in China, and we were probably one of only three festivals in the country at that time. I invested in western production values and headline international bands and I lost my shirt as the audience just wasn’t ready. Ticket sales were capped at the hard core music fans. At that time the Chinese audiences did not appreciate a well presented performance with proper production (there was no precedent).

A map showing the configuration of the four stages erected at the Shanghai Rugby and Football Club for the Black Rabbit Festival. (click to enlarge)

“Today there are probably a hundred festivals throughout China, and not many of these pay due care and attention to sound and lights. But I have always maintained that we can educate the audience to appreciate good production, and these efforts have been successful. Our ticket sales are much better, the events enjoy production levels approaching those of what one might expect in America or the U.K., and I believe our audiences recognize that.”

Quality & Continuity
Hamilton has put his money, and his sponsor’s money, where his mouth is. All four stages erected for the Shanghai event, held at the Shanghai Rugby and Football Club, were well fitted with gear that any North American or European company might have in their hire inventory: JBL VerTec, NEXO, Martin Audio, KV2 Audio, and HK Audio loudspeakers; Avid VENUE Profile, Soundcraft Vi6, Yamaha PM5D, LS9, and M7CL consoles; Crown and Lab.gruppen amplification; and plenty of Shure wireless microphones and Sennheiser in-ear monitoring systems.

Festival production manager Simon Leeds (left) with Shanghai site coordinator Kelvin Tong. (click to enlarge)

Festival production management was orchestrated by Simon Leeds of Beijing-based 3BM (Three Brave Men) Events, a full-service lighting and production management company. Leeds hails from Australia and has developed a close working relationship with the promoter.

“I’ve been operating in China for nearly eight years, and it’s very different here,” Leeds told me. “Chinese production personnel are still learning how to put these large western style festival events together. I’m trying hard to enlighten the vendors to provide regular and comprehensive maintenance, and this is a challenge.

“We badly need rigging education here, which hopefully will come in time. Back to back dates on these events made for some logistical challenges, but we managed, and all in all the festival was a success.”

Most importantly Leeds is fluent in Mandarin, understands the culture, and knows how to secure the best audio gear and technicians in each city.

In fact he flew his “A” audio crew from Beijing to Shanghai to ensure performance quality and continuity with the acts on each stage.

3BM was responsible for all technical rider fulfillment, coordinating with the band mixers and production managers.

From these requirements 3BM developed an equipment plan to support seven performance areas, three in Beijing and four in Shanghai.

In Shanghai, staging and production equipment were contracted through Shanghai Real-Live Production.

With the exception of principle act backline gear and one lighting console which flew between cities, all gear was sourced locally.

Relatively Smooth
Festival headliner Thirty Seconds To Mars arrived at the site in the early afternoon with front of house mixer Stephen Taylor, accompanied by monitor mixer Jon King and audio tech John Hill. In typical fly date fashion, their backline gear did not arrive from air freight until about 5:30 pm.

This made for a compressed pre-show routine which the experienced crew handled in stride. Taylor used this free time to set up the dedicated Avid VENUE desk at front of house, while King prepared his in-ear mixes on a matched console.

Stephen Taylor, front of house mixer for Thirty Seconds To Mars, at the Avid VENUE provided for his set in Shanghai. (click to enlarge)

The Opposite Stage functioned like any other festival main stage. Fortunately, changeovers ran smoothly and six acts as varied as Taiwanese superstar singer Hebe and Atlanta’s hip-hop master Ludacris entertained a mixed Asian and ex-pat crowd in advance of the headliners.

Independent Beijing-based mixers Jack Guo at front of house and Wei Xing on monitors should be commended for keeping the turnarounds to schedule, and the JBL VerTec PA sounding good to this listener despite windy conditions. While on the surface this seems unremarkable, remember what lurks below the surface in China.

Three other stages completed the musical offerings. The Stage Left Stage featured eight bands, including Yellowcard, who were scheduled to perform in daylight at 4:45 pm - tough to do if your backline gear doesn’t show up until 5:30. They swapped slots with another band and delivered a strong evening performance.

Taiwan superstar Hebe performing at Black Rabbit in Shanghai. (click to enlarge)

Daryl Bentfield is both tour manager and front of house mixer for Yellowcard. “One reason we are able to get the gear onstage and ready after having received it so late is that we carry everything on stage except mic stands,” he explains. “We use Line 6 rack mount pods instead of instrument amplifiers, and have of all our own stage cabling and sub-snakes. We even bring a small Crest XRM monitor desk. If we didn’t travel this way, we would never get the show up.”

Regarding the local crews, “The Chinese are eager to jump in and make it happen. This seems to be cultural, and if you can get past the language they can help you. They don’t have the experience of mic’ing the stage. We do it ourselves. Generally they are helpful but it all comes back to experience. Honestly, we don’t have that much control in festivals, but I really enjoyed it, and if something was done differently than I’m used to, I just sat back and looked at it, and took it all in.” Despite festival conditions, Yellowcard’s sound mix by Bentfield was excellent.

Chilling Their Worries
The Oblivion Tent featured a variety of alternative acts and was well attended throughout the day.

This area was the favorite of Split Works partner and operations manager Nathaniel Davis: “Oblivion was designed to be a bit of an oasis in the midst of the festival scrum. It turned out to be much more than that. The kids who came for Ludacris forgot all about him and ended up chilling their worries away to the much more cerebral dance sounds of Gold Panda and Mount Kimble.”

Finally there was the American cultural export stage, otherwise known as the NBA Street Jam. The Chinese love basketball, and the NBA (U.S.-based National Basketball Association) provided sponsorship for a fantastic hip-hop and rap stage, complete with a full court basketball tournament.

Hip-hop innovator and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Grandmaster Flash was the anchor at this venue. I had the privilege of listening to about 10 minutes of his show.

This DJ pioneer was nothing short of incredible, and I wish I could have stayed for his entire performance. His audio sounded great, at an appropriate SPL with plenty of natural-sounding reverb tails, indicating to this listener there was well-managed gain structure throughout the signal chain with plenty of headroom left in the PA. The artist effectively self-mixed.

While America has not done so well in the manufacturing export sector of late, the NBA stage demonstrated one classification of product we still export effectively: our culture. The combination of hoops and hip-hop made for a great shared cultural experience for the Chinese audience.

A look at the drum mic’ing for Shannon Leto of Thirty Seconds To Mars. (click to enlarge)


A Dichotomy
It’s always much easier to criticize those who may not have our level of experience when evaluating their performance, but it’s also possible to appreciate and celebrate their accomplishments despite this disparity. I’m fascinated by China and have visited many times. Each time I return I think that experiencing Asia should be a basic cultural requirement for Westerners, primarily to put our own circumstances in perspective.

This was the first opportunity I’ve had to evaluate a live production in China, and it allowed me to recognize what a good job some of the Chinese audio techs are doing despite the cultural and historical differences. I believe that successful sound reinforcement is fundamentally the combination of equal parts artist contribution, professional equipment, and skilled operation, but there exists a dichotomy in China.

While the Chinese can acquire the gear, they are playing catch-up in terms of expertise. If China’s progress in other fields is a template, we can expect them to catch up quickly.

At the Black Rabbit Festival, it was clear that the production companies owned or had access to all the best equipment. Much of the program content was well performed. Remarkably, decent audio was achieved in an environment where the majority of audio engineers were young and had been practicing less than 10 years.

The stage set for the band 120 Days. Looks fairly standard except for the abundance of extension cords. (click to enlarge)

Contrast that to the over 40 years of performance audio experience we collectively share in the West, and you can appreciate this accomplishment. While there were a few native English-speaking advisers on site, and the foreign bands brought their own crews, predominately the results were the product of a team of Chinese audio staff without access to a Full Sail education or the breadth of experience enjoyed by Live Sound International readers.

Further, they performed this work without stage hands, only an untrained labor pool just off a farm or construction site. Imagine assembling large and complicated performance environments with video, digital consoles, and moving lights, but without the luxury of experienced local crews to set and strike.

In the U.S. and Canada we have IATSE. But in China there is no legacy of stagecraft. No pools of competent riggers, stage electricians, or set builders in every city. This puts additional burdens on company technicians when producing an event, and makes the accomplishment of a good sounding festival more significant.

Those who have toured in China appreciate these cultural differences. You understand what lurks just below the surface. Hopefully those who have not been will have an opportunity to visit or work there soon and see it for themselves.

Daniel Abelson worked his first outdoor festival in 1974. Today he a consultant who specializes in the low voltage electronic systems found in professional football and baseball stadiums, and can be reached through www.igscompany.com.

 

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/15 at 12:50 PM
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Church Sound: Imaging Is Everything

My "sight brain" was telling me the choir was far left, but my "hearing brain" was forcing my attention toward the stage...

The public image of a church is important, but there’s another kind of image - of the sonic variety - that is also very important.
.
During a recent worship service, I got to thinking about image in terms of where sounds are coming from on the stage - and where I actually perceive them as coming.

Specifically in this case, there was a choir singing, and it was located far left. In fact, I had to turn my head almost 90 degrees from the main stage to see the choir.

The reinforcement for the choir was coming from loudspeakers flown centrally above the stage, and from where I was sitting, the reinforced sound was louder than the acoustical sound of the choir. Thus my attention was drawn to the stage, which was void of any performing musicians, rather than the choir.

My “sight brain” was telling me the choir was far left, but my “hearing brain” was forcing my attention toward the stage. This is an imaging issue, and it was driving me nuts.

Now, if I had been located closer to the choir, where the acoustic energy of the choir would likely be louder than the reinforced sound, I would have “localized” on the choir and likely would have interpreted the reinforced sound as an “effect” - a quasi stereo image. 

A drawing by the author showing the layout of the church where imaging is problematic. (click to enlarge)

Or if I had been located more toward the right side of the sanctuary, the reinforced sound would have seemed more “in line” with the location of the choir. Even though the reinforced sound would still be louder, it would make sense in the sight-sound-brain equation, because the acoustical image would be more in direct line with the choir. Side note: the room was a small enough that the distance from the choir to the loudspeaker covering the right side of the room was not great enough to cause the listener to perceive much - if any - delay between the acoustical and reinforced sound.

The next time I visit this church, I’m either going to move to my left (closer to the choir) - or to my right, far enough over to align the reinforced sound with the acoustical image. And, to improve this situation, my suggestion to the church is to add a secondary loudspeaker(s) that hangs above the choir that will clear up the imaging problems. The acoustic and amplified sound would be coming from the same direction.

On The Other Hand…
Fast forward a couple of weeks. I attended a hymn sing/brass concert in a different worship center than above. During one song, five of the brass players went up to the balcony and played from there, echoing the players on the stage.

It sounded incredible! At times it had the feel of a question and answer session, where the stage musicians would play, answered by the musicians in the balcony. Other times they both played together, and if felt as if I was in the middle of an entire brass section. This was excellent imaging.

The reason the imaging worked is because it was set up as an effect. The antiphonal response of the brass in the balcony was a purposeful image shift that enhanced the musical piece.

One on my pet peeves (I have many) is listening to a band playing over a left/right stereo system, and the toms on the drums are panned to give separation. But when I look at the drums, rather than the sound going from right to left - following the drummer as he runs the toms - it does the opposite. Again, imaging makes a difference.

Another thing that I like to do when I’m mixing in a stereo situation is to try to move the image of the instrument relative to where the musician is standing on the stage. If the guitar player is on the right side of the stage, I will pan the feed of the guitar slightly to the left, and so on.

Gary Zandstra is a professional AV systems integrator with Parkway Electric and has been involved with sound at his church for more than 25 years.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/15 at 08:04 AM
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Sound Image Revitalizes Sound At San Diego Civic Theatre With Harman Components

New system features JBL loudspeakers driven by Crown amplifiers and BSS processing

Sound Image recently completed a sound system renovation at the San Diego Civic Theatre utilizing a range of Harman Professional components, including JBL Professional loudspeakers, Crown Audio power amplifiers and BSS Audio processors, are part of the major retrofit.

The new audio system, designed by WRL Sound Consultants for the city-owned, 2,967-seat performance venue, is headed by two JBL PD5322/95 full-range loudspeakers and four JBL PD5322/64 full-range loudspeakers comprising a center cluster, supplemented by four JBL ASB6128 subwoofers. An additional four JBL PD5212/95 loudspeakers serve as delay fills for loge and balcony coverage.

“There was an outdated system in the Civic Theatre before we came in,” says Sound Image project manager Mike Martin. “As far as retrofits go, it’s always a challenge to install modern equipment with the existing structure, especially with the last update occurring more than 30 years ago. Projects like this are always a great test of an installer’s mettle.”

To swap out the older system for the new one, an intricate pulley system was used to bring each piece down and their replacements up, with care to avoid disturbing the fragile space. The pulley system was originally installed during the 1990’s to set up the previous loudspeaker system.

“The new JBL loudspeaker system offers a completely improved level of sound quality,” Martin continues. “This cutting-edge performance space required top-notch equipment to support the dramatic vocal and musical performances, and we were able to deliver that with JBL.”

Harman Professional
JBL Professional
Crown Audio
BSS Audio

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/14 at 08:22 AM
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Meyer Sound MILO & MICA Line Arrays For Dolly Parton’s Better Day World Tour

For U.S. legs, Thunder Audio provided 24 MILO and 16 MICA line array loudspeakers; eight 700-HP subwoofers; eight UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers; 18 MJF-212A stage monitors; and a Galileo loudspeaker management system.

Legendary country/pop artist Dolly Parton is performing across America, Europe, and Australia on the Better Day World Tour, with front of house engineer and production manager Mike Fechner and monitor engineer Jason Glass, both of whom have been with Parton for several years, utilizing Meyer Sound MILO and MICA line array loudspeakers.

For the U.S. legs of the tour, Livonia, Mich.-based Thunder Audio provided 24 MILO and 16 MICA line array loudspeakers; eight 700-HP subwoofers; eight UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers; 18 MJF-212A stage monitors; and a Galileo loudspeaker management system.

In Europe, equipment support came from Major Tom Ltd. A Countryman ISOMAX headset microphone is provided for Parton in all of her shows.

Systems engineer Patrick Johnston describes Parton’s performance, as “somewhere between concert and theatre. There’s a lot of monologue and interaction with the crowd. Making the spoken word sound natural in larger venues can be a daunting task.”

To that end, Meyer Sound was essential, says Fechner, who mixes the show on a Midas PRO6 console. “I can’t say enough about Meyer Sound. It’s very high fidelity, and for this show, where a good portion is speaking and storytelling, the vocal intelligibility, especially with a headset, is critical and has been quite a challenge over the years. MILO is smooth in the midrange, and it’s perfect for this artist.”

Glass, mixing monitors on a Midas PRO9 console, agrees. “The set ranges from energetic pop to bluegrass to light ballads,” he explains. “The MJF-212A gives me all the punch and power I could ever need for a pop number. Then we go into a very light, quiet acoustic number, and all the sparkle you’d want from acoustic and bluegrass instruments, which—at any volume—projects perfectly to the artist. And then we jump right back into a high-energy number, and punch right through all the crowd cheering, with perfect fidelity.”

Johnston summarizes: “Dolly’s voice has to be pristine from the front row to the nosebleed seats. This is one of the only rigs that I feel is up to that task.”

Meyer Sound

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Posted by Keith Clark on 11/11 at 11:23 AM
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