Monday, November 15, 2010
Community Professional Loudspeakers Installed In Stadium Down Under
Community R and WET Series speakers were selected for the Marrara Sporting Complex and TIO Stadium in Darwin Australia.
Darwin Australia, home to the Marrara Sporting Complex and TIO Stadium, is located north of the Tropic of Capricorn and is the capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, colloquially known as “The Top End”.
Darwin also serves as the entry point to such places as the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, home of Crocodile Dundee.
During the dry season, from April/May to September/October, the city is host to tourists from all over the world wanting to experience “The Outback” and the magnificent sights and experiences it has to offer.
TIO Stadium is the premier outdoor stadium in the Northern Territory and it regularly hosts such sporting events as Australian football and cricket.
Every two years it also hosts the Arafura Games, where more than 4,500 competitors from over 40 nations compete in 19 disciplines. In addition to several of the events, the stadium is used for the opening and closing ceremonies.
In late 2009 an upgrade of the audio system was approved and local consultants GHD were appointed to prepare the specification.
With the heat, rain and humidity of Darwin’s tropical environment, careful consideration was given to the type of loudspeakers to be used in the installation and Community R and WET Series were selected.
National contracting company Eo Design was awarded the project and went on site in early June 2010 with a completion date of end July 2010. The project was co-ordinated by Eo’s André van Stom.
Fifteen bi-amped Community WET Series W2-322L-64H loudspeakers were mounted on each truss on the grandstand canopy and twenty-two Community R-Series R.5-66TZ and five R.5HPT loudspeakers were pole mounted around the remainder of the ground, ticketing and turnstile areas.
All of the loudspeakers were driven by QSC ISA800 Series amplifiers and system control was handled by four QSC Basis 922UZ units.
On completion of the project, Eo Managing Director Peter Guest said he believed it was one of the better sounding stadium systems he had heard in a long time.
He then went on to thank TAG, Community and QSC for their efforts in providing product in such a timely manner, stating “Without their tremendous support and great product this project would not have become a reality”.
D.A.S. Audio Deployed By The Touring Company Store
The variant loudspeaker system was the ideal choice for a cutting-edge retail operation.
The Touring Company Store is a new retail concept located in the SoHo area of Manhattan.
On paper, it’s a retail store selling indie designers products in addition to some conventional fare in an environment that looks and feels like the backstage of a concert area.
This is, however, more than just a retail operation. The store is also an advocate of independent designers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, and all other forms of independent self-expression.
With a desire for top notch sound and wanting the appearance of a concert loudspeaker setup, store management recently selected a sound reinforcement system from D.A.S. Audio.
Luis Lojo, an independent sound engineer and system designer based in the New York area, was contracted to design and install the store’s new loudspeaker setup.
After reviewing products from a variety of manufacturers, Lojo and the Touring Company Store management ultimately selected a system drawn primarily from D.A.S. Audio’s Variant catalog.
The new sound reinforcement system consists of six Variant 25A powered, 2-way, mid-high line array elements, two Variant 18A powered subwoofers, and ten D.A.S. Audio CL-6TB 2-way, passive, full range ceiling loudspeakers that are powered by a D.A.S. Audio CSA-600T power amplifier.
The loudspeaker system is used for both live performance and background music/paging applications.
“The Touring Company Store has a unique atmosphere that really feels like you’re back stage at a concert,” said Lojo. “For this reason, management wanted the sound system to resemble the line array setups that are frequently used in big concert settings.”
“The retail space, itself, is rather long and narrow—roughly 70 feet long by 30 feet wide—with a stage along the length of the room, but not quite situated in the middle. I knew that a large line array system would be overkill and too cost prohibitive, but upon examining the D.A.S. Variant system, I felt this would be the perfect fit.”
“Being a line array system, the Variant loudspeakers had the right look and the fact that the equipment is designed specifically for permanent installations made it ideal.”
“There are three Variant 25A’s facing the entrance—and these cover the longest area of the store,” Lojo said. “I then positioned another two Variant 25A’s facing the opposite direction into the shorter segment of the space while the remaining Variant 25A faces straight out toward the opposing wall.”
“The two D.A.S. Audio Variant 18A subwoofers are suspended from the trussing at the stage. This arrangement provided the best overall coverage throughout the room.”
“The D.A.S. Variant loudspeakers are a terrific package,” he said. “Everything has a high quality look and feel to it and the sound quality is excellent—considerably bigger sounding than I initially expected. I was also very impressed with the included hardware, which made the installation come together quickly.”
Ultrasone Showcases The Company’s First Balanced Closed-Back Headphones At AES
The Balanced PRO 900 headphones utilize two wires to deliver opposite & equal audio signals, resulting in increased audio performance and decreased distortion.
At the 129th AES Convention Ultrasone Inc. showcased the company’s first pair of balanced closed-backed headphones – Balanced PRO 900.
By utilizing two wires to deliver equal and opposite audio signals, Ultrasone has increased audio performance by doubling the slew rate and voltage swing power, while reducing distortion components & eliminating crosstalk.
The end result is a transparent and sonically accurate pair of headphones.
Ultrasone’s Balanced PRO 900s are closed-back headphones with a classic black design, velvet covered black ear pads and a diamond-cut logo insignia.
The Balanced PRO 900 features a 40mm titanium-plated driver and detachable balanced cables that are paired with 3 pin XLR Neutrik connectors.
These cables feed two opposite and equal signals (L+, L-, R+, R-) to the left and right drivers housed in each ear cup.
Ultrasone’s new headphones contain MU-Metal shielding (ULE technology) that reduces the amount of radiation directed to the listener by up to 98%, as compared to conventional headphones.
As with other Ultrasone headphones, the Balanced PRO 900s feature Ultrasone’s S-Logic Plus technology for reduced sound pressure on the ear drum and improved tonal perception.
This gives users the advantage of wearing Ultrasone headphones for many hours without their ears hurting. Ultrasone’s Balanced PRO 900 comes in a hard-sided carrying case for safe transportation and a pair of spare ear pads.
The headphones have a MSRP of $799 and are available now from Ultrasone’s network of dealers and on the Ultrasone website.
S-Logic Plus Natural Surround Sound
Frequency range 6-42k Hz
Impedance 40 Ohm
Sound pressure level 96 dB
Driver 40 mm Titanium Plated
1 detachable balanced cable with 3 pin XLR Neutrik connectors
Weight 295 g (without cord)
The line will be officially unveiled at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in San Francisco, November 5-7.
Designed for exceptionally high quality sound with very wide, uniform coverage, the series debuts Community’s Drop-Stop and Twist-Assist features, making the installation process easier, faster and safer.
Drop-Stop and Twist-Assist are features to aid installation, providing that elusive ‘third hand’ installers frequently wish for.
The Drop-Stop feature provides spring-loaded legs to support the back-can on the included rails and C-ring, so the installer no longer needs to hold the can against the tile while tightening the clamps.
Twist-Assist performs a similar function for the baffle assembly: when the loudspeaker back-cans are pre-installed into a conduit system for later termination, a simple twist of the baffle into the back-can brings the Twist-Assist clips together, supporting the baffle assembly while the installer fastens the screws.
The series consists of seven products, including five full-range, standard-depth back-can models. The D4 is a 60W, 4.5-inch model; the D5 and D6 are 5- and 6-inch 100W models; the D8 is an 8-inch, 150W design, and the D10 is a 10-inch, 200W model.
Also available is the D4LP, a low-profile, shallow back-can model that is only 3.6 inches (92mm) deep, for installations where available depth is limited. Completing the range is the D10SUB, a 200W 10-inch subwoofer that provides powerful LF reinforcement for entertainment applications.
Each of the full-range models is a true coaxial loudspeaker, with a compression driver concentrically located so that high frequencies emerge through the center of the low-frequency driver’s magnetic structure and cone via a precisely contoured Tru-Phase HF waveguide.
This special construction provides consistent, wide dispersion up to 16 kHz, all but eliminating high-frequency beaming. Further pattern improvement is achieved by precisely mounting the low frequency driver (and its concentric HF driver) dead-center in the baffle, as contrasted to the offset designs used by others.
“Most ceiling loudspeakers typically have a half-inch or greater ‘step’ in their baffle where the grille is attached, with the low frequency driver rear-mounted behind the grille plate,” said Community Founder and President Bruce Howze.
“These designs produce a host of unwanted reflections and diffraction effects. We’ve designed the Distributed Design Series with baffles less than 1/8-inch from the grille, creating an uninterrupted planar surface between the baffle and ceiling surface for diffraction-free HF driver acoustic loading and a smooth, predictable pattern. The result is optimal coverage without dead zones or overlaps.”
The Distributed Design Series incorporates Community’s Carbon Ring Cone Technology, which increases the effective surface area of the cone. Powerful magnetic structures and efficient coils ensure high output, resulting in greater headroom per power amplifier. And all models in the series comply with ETL standards, including UL1480/UL2043 and CSA60065.
Each model is available as a complete unit with everything needed for standard installations. The drive unit and face plate assembly and the back-can may also be purchased separately.
Community loudspeakers used across multiple projects within the consistently evolving venue.
From its rural beginnings in 1922 as the L.A. County Fairgrounds, Los Angeles County’s Fairplex has grown to become the fourth largest fairgrounds in North America.
At 543 acres the facility is twice the size of Disneyland and hosts a year-round variety of concerts, conventions, shows and sporting events.
The Fairplex grounds are home to more than 325,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space, including a 12,000 square foot Fine Arts educational center affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.
The complex also houses carnival grounds, parks, plazas and picnic areas, as well as a 250-suite Sheraton Hotel and a 185-space KOA RV park. Also calling the Fairplex home is NHRA-rated Pomona Raceway and Fairplex Park, a 5/8-mile horse racing facility. Both racetracks also host numerous concerts and performance events.
Not surprisingly for a facility of its size, the Fairplex is constantly evolving, growing and modernizing its infrastructure, currently including a high-end revamping of the complex’s audio systems. Woodland Hills-based Campbell-Shaw Incorporated, dba CSI Multimedia (CSI) has been involved in the design and installation of these projects-along with Fairplex IT Manager Ralph Schorbach-including a powerful assortment of Community R-Series loudspeakers in various locations.
“We were originally approached to offer a proof-of-concept demonstration for one of the nine exhibition buildings,” said CSI President Rick Shaw. “Our Community representative, Steve McNeil of Mac West Group, set up three Community R.5 loudspeakers at one end of the hall, powered by an MC2 amplifier, and it outperformed the thirty or so horns they had been using for the same space.”
“They immediately asked us to do the racetrack and grandstands as well. Then we got to talking about the trams, and it’s been onward and upward from there.”
Convention Hall 9, the first building to be completed, is covered by 80 Community R.5-94TZ two-way full-range loudspeakers, with low end enhanced by six R.5SUB 12-inch subwoofers. Outside there are 16 R.25-94TZs and five R.5s.
An Aphex Anaconda digital snake system provides fiber optic distribution to Building 4, which is the communication hub for the exhibit halls.
Other ongoing projects include Building 4, one of the largest structures at Fairplex at 105,500 square feet, covered by 135 Community R.25s and 14 R.5SUBs. Convention Halls 5, 6 and 7 will receive a total of 320 R.25-94TZ units and 36 R.5SUBs, with another 86 R.25-94TZs and 20 R.5s covering the outdoor areas between buildings.
The Racetrack and 10,000-seat Grandstands have received 16 R1 loudspeakers and are slated to receive another ten R1s, with eight more in the auxiliary areas.
“A lot of the equipment in this facility had been designed 20 to 30 years ago, and much has changed since then,” said Fairplex’s Schorbach. “When you go from a system designed for 1,000 people to now handling 10,000, the old system just won’t accommodate those needs any more.”
“We needed a lot of volume and power to fill that capacity, which is one of the reasons we looked to Community loudspeakers. For the money, they gave us the raw power with a lot of overhead and great sound.”
“We knew the Community R-Series would be a good choice in terms of their power and range, but I think the client was mainly impressed with their voicing,” added CSI engineer Terry Galati.
“The sound is very consistent across the entire range, both up close and far afield, and they have a really pleasant voicing that people pick up on. Very few systems can deliver both intelligibility and musicality equally well, but the Community R-Series does it.”
“One thing that really impressed us was how accurate Community’s documented specifications were,” Galati added. “We hooked up an oscilloscope and did full power testing on the R1 and the R.25, running sine waves through it and bringing up the gain slowly.”
“We were able to ramp the speakers up to full power with no sloppiness and no high-frequency anomalies, and that’s very uncommon. Across the entire range, Community’s published specs agreed with our own test results.”
Another renovation included Barrett’s Horse Auction site and Hinds Pavilion, which have been transformed into the Finish Line Sports Grill, and Satellite wagering facility. The Finish Line Sports Grill is outfitted with 107 screens (plasmas, LCDs and projectors), along with 30 Community CLOUD6 ceiling loudspeakers for its main sound and two R.5s for focus on the lead-in area for when the auctions are held.
Three Aphex 230 Master Voice Channel Processors are also installed at the lead-in area. “The auctioneers just love what the 230 does for their voices,” says Shaw. Three Community iBOX iHP1264s and an iBOX i215SW above the plasma screens supply sound for the Hinds Pavilion, the auction and wagering area. Outside, ten R.25s cover the newly tented warm-up ring for the horses.
Q: When I do live sound gigs I find that as the night wears on I seem to have to turn the volume up more and more to keep the energy level up and to just keep the volume the same.
Sometimes people say it gets too loud, but I don’t hear it that way. Are my ears lying?
A: Yes, but there is more to it than that. There are actually many, many factors at work here.
One of the more significant problems is a phenomenon known as Temporary Threshold Shift, which are your ears effectively turning themselves down for protection.
All engineers face this problem and it is very dangerous to your long-term hearing.
One way to help prevent volume runaway is to mix with earplugs and carry a SPL meter. I know, I know, ear plugs screw up the sound, you say. . .
Well, there are actually some good, though not perfect, custom ones you can get that keep things pretty well in order. However, at the very least, use a SPL meter to keep track of the volume.
There are other factors that may cause you to turn up the volume over the course of the night. Alcohol has the same effect on your hearing senses as it does the rest of you. Just say no to drinking on the job. This is totally unprofessional and, more importantly, unsafe.
Sometimes turning one or two instruments up in a mix (for a perfectly valid reason) will result in some other instruments being covered up a bit. The solution is not to come behind yourself and turn these other instruments up too.
You need to keep track of where you are in the mix and if you turn something up you should remember to turn it back down when it is no longer the focus.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen engineers end up at the end of a night with all of the individual faders on their board almost all the way up while the master fader is relatively low. That’s a clear sign of an engineer that let it get away from him.
Even if you can’t hear what you are doing this should at least be a visual clue. It’s easier said then done, but try not to let the instruments fight each other. EQ them so each has its place. Sometimes you can turn up a guitar for a solo by simply adding a little upper midrange to the EQ and not touching the volume at all.
You just have to remember to take it back out once the solo is complete. Keep track of where you are and try not to mix by always turning something up. Sometimes it is appropriate to turn three things down instead.
Sometimes you really do have to turn up the volume over the course of a night just to keep it the same. As a room fills up with people, or dancers pack onto the dance floor (in front of the PA), they will absorb sound. If you intend to keep the volume close to the same in the back of the room you will have to turn it up some to compensate for this.
It also sometimes becomes necessary to add a little top end (high frequencies) to the house EQ. As the speakers in the PA heat up their impedance will rise a little bit. This makes them less sensitive and will result in more power needing to be applied to reach the same volume, at which point they heat up more, and so on…
There are other factors that contribute to this phenomenon, but your own ears are usually the big variable. Use objective measuring techniques (SPL meter) and trust the measurement.
As always, we welcome input from the PSW community and would love to know your thoughts on live show volume control. Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
Renkus-Heinz Loudspeakers Installed In North Dakota State Fair Grandstand
The upgraded sound system features Renkus-Heinz STX-Series loudspeakers.
The North Dakota State Fair in Minot is one of the largest events in the state, held in late July every year since 1922.
Attendance has consistently increased since 2000, attracting more than 300,000 people in 2010.
Dubbed “the entertainment capital of North Dakota,” the State Fair Center complex is home to the nine-day annual event that includes agricultural and livestock competitions, carnival rides and concessions, and concerts.
Acts featured in 2010 included Brooks & Dunn, Kiss, and Darius Rucker. Other events are held at the facility over the course of the year, including demolition derbies, drag races, and a collectors car show. And during the summer months, weekly stock car races are run on a 3/8-mile oval dirt track on the fairgrounds.
In August 2009, after funding was provided by the North Dakota Legislature, the Center’s old 3500-seat grandstand was demolished and construction began on a new $15 million grandstand.
The new 7000-seat facility features larger, more comfortable seating, a pub and other amenities, including an upgraded sound system featuring Renkus-Heinz STX-Series loudspeakers.
“They wanted a system that offered high output and good intelligibility, but was more than just a voice system,” said Dallas Anderson of Bismarck, ND-based Tricorne Audio, Inc., the company behind the design and installation of the new system.
A total of 12 of Renkus-Heinz’s STX4/94 three-way systems cover the seating area, affixed to the canopy some 80 feet above the audience.
While the speakers would not actually be used during the winter months, they would still be subject to whatever Mother Nature chooses to dish out, including snow, wind, rain, and temperatures that can reach 20 degrees below freezing.
To withstand the North Dakota winters, as well as the region’s summer heat and humidity, Anderson specified the full weatherization option for the speakers which includes a fiberglass coating and additional weatherization on the grill. Electro-Voice CPS Series amplifiers power the loudspeakers, with Biamp Audia Flex providing system drive and processing.
“The end result is nothing short of phenomenal,” said Anderson. “The sound is clear, intelligible and musical, with more than enough power to be heard over the din of the demolition derbies and stock car races.”
Electro-Voice Loudspeakers Chosen By The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
Hundreds of Electro-Voice were installed in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
With a 60,000-plus seating capacity, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India was the largest venue used for the October, 2010 XIX Commonwealth Games.
The stadium hosted athletics events and, most importantly, served as the venue for the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies.
The stadium is equipped with an audio system from Electro-Voice, extending EV’s footprint in the design of systems for the world’s largest sporting events, including the summer and winter Olympic Games and the recent FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa.
The EV loudspeaker specification at Nehru Stadium consists of 132 customized XLC127DVX (line-array), 120 Sx300PI, 300 EVID 6.2, and 60 ZX5-60PI surface-mounted systems, all driven by a combination of 135 P3000RL and TG amplifiers to deliver an average of 107 dB and a peak of 115 dB.
The system is remote-controlled and supervised from a single laptop in the stadium control room, all via EV’s IRIS-Net software platform. The system’s Auto Gain Control increases or decreases the sound levels consistent with changes in the level of ambient crowd noise.
All external speakers are manufactured to exceed the IP55 standard for weather resistance, while the system’s speech intelligibility surpasses the approved standard of 0.55 RASTI.
Turbosound has launched a new pro audio company dedicated to the promotion and distribution of its professional loudspeaker systems in Japan.
Turbosound Japan, a new partnership between Turbosound Ltd and All Access Inc, will be launched at the Inter BEE show which takes place in Tokyo from November 17th to 19th.
To accompany the launch a wide selection of Turbosound products will be exhibited.
These include the Flex Array tour sound system, the new TFM-560 and RACKDP-50 professional bi-amped floor monitor package, the elegantly styled IMPACT architectural loudspeakers, and Turbosound’s complete range of dedicated sound contracting products.
Experts from Japan and the UK will be on hand to advise and demonstrate.
President of All Access Cozy Hattori commented, “I am greatly looking forward to working with Turbosound. The brand has a long and rich history in Japan, and I am excited by the future possibilities for Turbosound in Japan.”
Turbosound’s Asian market manager Chris Gooddie added, “I have worked with Cozy Hattori for many years, and I am delighted that we have found such a respected and professional partner to work with in Japan.”
“We have been considering how best to serve the needs of our Japanese customers for some time, and the formation of Turbosound Japan is the result of that process.”
“With offices in both Nagoya and Tokyo, and long experience in working with Japanese customers and resellers, Cozy’s organisation is well placed and equipped to deal with sales, support and service.”
“Together we look forward to satisfying an ever-increasing number of Japanese customers in the coming days.”
The line source array system takes top prize this year in category of “Indispensable Technology – Audio”
L-ACOUSTICS has announce that its K1 stadium line array system was recognized with the award for “Indispensable Technology – Audio” at the 10th annual Parnelli Awards ceremony held at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on October 22nd.
“We are very thankful and humbled by this recognition of our innovative K1 system,” said Stéphane Ecalle, L-ACOUSTICS’ marketing director.
“But much of the honor should also be extended to those K1/KUDO/LA8 Rental Network owners, sound designers, and touring engineers that have collaborated with us during the product’s Pilot Phase because their contributions truly helped hone K1 into the remarkable system that it is today.”
These early adopters of K1 include:
Adlib Audio (UK), Agora (Italy)
Arpege Son Lumiere (France)
Black Box Music (Germany)
Britannia Row Productions (UK)
Clearwing Productions (US)
Firehouse Productions (US)
Jands Production Services (Australia)
Loud and Clear (US)
Mid-America Sound (US)
MSI Japan, Music & Lights (Sweden)
Potar Hurlant (France)
Rat Sound (US)
Sirius Showequipment (Germany)
Sound Image (US)
SSE Audio Group (UK)
Tokyo Sanko (Japan)
In related news, Sound Image of Escondido, California was honored with the award for Sound Company of the Year, while six-time TEC Award winner Robert Scovill took the prize for FOH Mixer of the Year.
Sound Image was one of the first North American sound companies to purchase L-ACOUSTICS’ K1 system, putting it into the hands of Scovill early this year for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ highly-successful Mojo tour.
Also, A1 Audio’s Al Siniscal – who previously installed one of the world’s largest V-DOSC systems into Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood (formerly Aladdin) Theatre of the Performing Arts – was honored for his technical contributions with the Audio Innovator of the Year award.
And Miami Gardens, Florida-based Beach Sound – a longtime member of L-ACOUSTICS’ Rental Network – was also presented with an award for Hometown Hero Sound.
StagePro Provided JBL VERTEC Line Arrays & Crown VRACK For LDI Show Awards Ceremony
The response to the Awards Ceremony was very positive and the audio system performed admirably..
Rental sound, lighting and staging production company StagePro provided the live sound reinforcement system for the LDI Awards Ceremony, held at the recent LDI trade show in Las Vegas.
The Awards recognized excellence in a variety of categories related to the live design, events and staging industry, including lighting, audio and video.
The audio system featured a comprehensive range of products from Harman Professional, highlighted by JBL’s subcompact VERTEC line arrays.
For the event, StagePro supplied the audio reinforcement system as part of its Apex Mobile Stage.
The main PA system included left/right hangs of four VERTEC VT4886 subcompact line array loudspeakers and two VT4883 subcompact arrayable subwoofers per side, supplemented by an additional four VT4886 loudspeakers placed along the center edge of the stage for front fill.
“The response to the Awards Ceremony was very positive and the audio system performed wonderfully,” said Jay Waller, Owner of StagePro.
“The subcompact VERTEC line arrays were a terrific solution for this event, which provided an opportunity to expose this relatively new product line to a variety of potential clients.”
A new Crown VRACK loaded with I-Tech HD amplifiers powered the system, which also included a Soundcraft Vi4 digital mixing console along with AKG wireless microphones.
“The Vi4 console performed flawlessly,” Waller said. “We received a lot of comments that the effects package incorporating other Harman technologies like Lexicon is very impressive, and it truly is.”
“Of all the digital consoles on the market, it has one of the nicest sounding effects packages available.”
“The LDI Awards are a great way for the show to recognize excellence in the industry, from the Wally Award in memory of Wally Russell honoring a veteran in the lighting industry, to the Redden Awards in memory of Craig Redden and presented by Epic Production Technologies to honor excellence in lighting in theater, concerts, and corporate events,” said Ellen Lampert-Greaux, Consulting Editor and Conference Director, Live Design/LDI.
“The awards also include the ESTA Members Choice Product Awards and LDI’s Best Debuting Product Awards, which honor technical innovation. The LDI booth awards accented the excitement on the show floor.”
“The final award, sponsored by Showman Fabricators, was for the best Green Product Award in recognition of the greening of our industry. We appreciate the support of StagePro and Harman/JBL in making the awards ceremony a successful event.”
Tannoy Loudspeakers & Lab.gruppen Amplifiers Installed At Cannery Row
The Monterey California eatery chose Tannoy speakers and Lab.grupper amplifiers to set the energetic tone during a recent renovation.
Widely known as the setting of John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel, Cannery Row, and his 1954 sequel, Sweet Thursday, this historic area of Monterey occupies a unique niche in the nation’s cultural consciousness.
In the opening sentence of the former Steinbeck describes Cannery Row in dramatically contrasting terms, calling it ‘a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.’
Today the area is a major tourist draw and marine sanctuary, home to a large population of California sea lions, an increasing number of hotels, restaurants and some few fishing companies that add a layer of modern authenticity to what is an increasingly popular entertainment hub.
Although the Cannery Row of Steinbeck’s day collapsed along with the Monterey Bay fishing industry in the 1950’s, the area is now populated by a different sort of angler; people fishing for cold beers, good eats and good times.
Situated in an historic former Cannery and a one-time brothel the Cannery Row Brewing Company aims to deliver just that. Offering up seventy-three brews on tap, an extensive list of bottled beers and ciders, thirty brands of small batch bourbons and the talents of Executive Chef, Mark Ayers, formerly of the Highlands Inn and Pacific’s Edge restaurant and now culinary director of the Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine.
“It’s a gorgeous area,” says Nathaniel DiMaggio, project manager for Coastal Luxury Management, the developer of the project. Although it does lack some of the hipper variety of establishments more commonplace in larger cities the Cannery Row Brewing Company will help fill that hole, DiMaggio believes.
As well as appealing to a wide demographic with a combination of vintage industrial style, great food and beer fueled fun in one of the buildings allegedly actually mentioned in Steinbeck’s book.
Beer fueled fun and a reasonably comfortable dining experience don’t always go hand in hand, however. That was the motivating factor behind the choice of a suite of Tannoy V Series and CMS in-ceiling loudspeakers powered by Lab.gruppen C Series amplifiers for the gastro-pub’s audio system.
DiMaggio’s primary concern was clear, intelligible playback of program music in both the Cannery’s restaurant and bar areas. A system that would provide maximum intelligibility and evenly distributed sound, zoned to allow a degree of control over in each area, with enough power to allow staff to provide high energy music when necessary.
“We wanted the whole place to rock if need be,” DiMaggio says.
“It’s a big restaurant,” Gianetta says. “They needed something more substantial than your typical background music system loudspeaker. So I pushed him in the direction of buying a pro sound reinforcement type of loudspeaker and a large subwoofer.”
“Tannoy’s proprietary Dual Concentric driver has benefits in every application and the trend is more and more towards deploying these kind of devices,” he continues, be it in a concert setting or club application.
“Right out of the box the Tannoy performs well. You don’t have to do a lot of equalization, and they have symmetry in both the horizontal and vertical axis, where drivers that aren’t coincident don’t.”
Though DiMaggio had some experience with audio technology he wasn’t sure what amplifiers were best suited to the build so he went with Lab.gruppen based on Gianetta’s recommendation.
“The thing that’s cool about Lab’s C Series is that they’re versatile and can do 70 volt and low impedance on the same amplifier on different channels, which was great. And they’re super efficient both for heat and electrical usage.”
“We think the Lab.gruppen C Series are vastly superior to the other amps that are out there,” Gianetta said. “They allow you to set what kind of load you’re going to put on the amplifier per channel so you can run low impedance load or high impedance loads, because it has selectable VPL (Voltage Peak Limiter) that sets the peak voltage on the amplifier.”
The system consists of one Tannoy VS 218DR sub mounted in a corner over the bar on a custom steel bracket, covering the entire 4000 square foot bar/restaurant. In addition, three Tannoy V8’s are mounted in ‘U’ brackets on ceiling beams in the main bar area, angled so bartenders aren’t obliterated when the system is cranked, and driven by a Lab.gruppen C28:4X.
The remaining V8’s are distributed evenly throughout, covering the main dining area and entryway and driven by a Lab.gruppen C20:8X. Sound reinforcement for customer washrooms and the hallway adjacent to them is provided by five Tannoy CVS 4 in ceiling loudspeakers.
A number of third party loudspeakers are situated in an outdoor seating area built around three large fire pits. The system also includes Rane and SurgeX components, Crestron System Automation and Autopatch Video distribution.
While DiMaggio describes the Cannery as ‘sports oriented’, it is not, strictly speaking, a sports bar. Sporting events will be in heavy rotation on eleven Panasonic flat screens tied into the audio system, but only special events like the FIFA World Cup or Super Bowl will be broadcast on the main audio system.
Time on the build, DiMaggio stresses, was a commodity that was in very short supply. “We started in February and wanted to hit summer. So it was a year-long project crushed into three or four months.”
All system components were supplied by Oakland based Leo’s Professional Audio, who service, among others, A-list clients like George Lucas, as well as providing design/install services of A/V, lighting and acoustical solutions for a variety of churches, schools and sporting venues.
Although Graham Cooper, VP of Leo’s Professional Audio install division, regularly specifies Tannoy and Lab.gruppen for his own projects, this time out his mandate was very basic. “Pretty much, ‘“here’s what we need and we need it NOW,” he says with a laugh, adding that Leo’s Professional Audio technician, Gordon Fava, also worked on the Cannery install, loading and terminating the rack.
For DiMaggio’s part, he had never heard of Lab.gruppen or Tannoy prior to this build, he explains, but is so pleased, he intends to use Tannoy and Lab.gruppen again in an upcoming project.
Q: I want to put together the best live sound system possible for my band, choosing mics, a mixer and amps with the widest possible dynamic range, highest signal-to-noise ratio, etc.
But how do these specs apply in a real live club setting?
How do they affect overall volume?
A: While component specs such as self-noise, dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio are useful in selecting gear, in a live sound environment they are usually outweighed by a major outside factor - the noise floor of the room itself.
This is a slightly different definition of the term “noise floor.”
Every room, whether it’s a club, a church, a huge arena or anything else, generates noise. One of the most common sources is the whoosh of air conditioning units, often combined with whine from the fan motors.
In a club, the inescapable sound of conversational voices becomes part of the noise floor, as do the clinking of glasses, sounds from the bar, and the click of billiard balls. Ultimately you can end up facing a noise floor of 40-50dBA.
So it’s normally the environment that determines both the dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio of a sound system, as far as the audience is concerned.
Since most electronic components in the system have a dynamic range on the order of 100dB or more, the sound system itself should never be the weak link when it comes to the end result.
Only in a studio should the equipment noise floor become a factor in determining either the dynamic range or signal-to-noise ratio at the listener’s position.
In your sound system, the noise floor would be established by the ambient pickup of the open microphones. In a room with a 40dBA noise floor, the signal-to-noise ratio of a typical vocal microphone will be limited to the mic’s ability to exceed that noise floor.
If a strong vocalist produces 120dBA into a hand-held mic (not unusual for close-miked vocalists), the signal-to-noise ratio would be a healthy 80dB, since the 120dBA - 40dBA = 80dB.
Remember that each open mic increases the noise; ten open microphones could increase the noise floor by another 10dB if their sensitivity and level setting were the same as the original mic (since the 10 log (# open mics) = 10dB).
Unfortunately, the signal-to-noise ratio of the system cannot exceed the worst-case condition at the open microphone since the sound system has no choice but to amplify the room noise along with the desired signal.
Distant miking (such as drum overheads) and failure to mute unneeded mics can cause audible problems with your signal. This is why good mic technique is essential for good system performance, as it ultimately establishes the signal-to-noise ratio of your system.
So what’s your goal - to just be able to compete with ambient noise or to annihilate it? Get an SPL meter and take a reading of room noise.
If your output signal exceeds the noise floor by at least 25dB you’ll establish yourself nicely without too much risk of being too loud. Of course, it’s rather easy to move well beyond this level.
As always, we welcome input from the PSW community and would love to know your thoughts on the issue at hand. Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
A useful calculator for designing audio systems with Crown amplifiers.
This calculation will give you the amount of attenuation, in decibels, you can expect with a change in receiver distance, in a free field (outdoors).
For example if you were standing 20 feet from a loudspeaker, and were to move to 40 feet away from that loudspeaker, you would expect to see a drop in level of 6 dB. Sound that is radiated from a point source drops in level at 6 dB per doubling of distance.
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