Thursday, July 24, 2014
Unique DEVA Technology From Powersoft Key To Diffrazioni Multimedia Festival In Italy
Six solar powered DEVAs were placed in the garden of the Bardini Museum, playing audio files and detecting the movement of visitors, while taking a picture sequence
The first Diffrazioni Multimedia Festival recently took place at Bardini Museum in Firenze, Italy, with a key interactive installation supported by DEVA, a technology created by Powersoft.
Conceived as a metaphor for life, Alfonso Belfiore’s ‘SPAWN make the game’ used DEVA equipment scattered throughout the park, spreading music and taking pictures while communicating with each other.
Six solar powered DEVAs were placed in the garden of the Bardini Museum, playing audio files and detecting the movement of visitors, while taking a picture sequence. DEVA then provided frames via wifi to a computer which stored the captured “memories” and, through an algorithm in Max / MSP, was able to recompose them in movie sequences.
DEVA is a patented multifunctional device that enables audio messaging and video capture. It is equipped with several sensors (microphone, presence detector, twilight switch, temperature/humidity/pressure measurement) and accessories such as LED lights.
Belfiore explains: “As in a video game, the appearance of a new character (‘Spawn’) is the event that opens up new possibilities and opportunities. Thus, for the visitor, the discovery of their image within the work is the acknowledgment of the inevitable participation of one’s being to the history and life, while the transfigured vision of its image fully reveals new aspects of their identity with the eyes of others”
Harman Professional Names Jesus Cruz Sales Director For Mexico
Reflects company's commitment to build a comprehensive sales network in the region
Harman Professional has appointed Jesus Cruz as sales director for Mexico, reflecting the company’s commitment to build a comprehensive sales network in the region and provide greater support for local distribution across a host of markets and applications.
Operating from Mexico City, Cruz will report to Scott Robbins, Harman Professional vice president of worldwide sales.
An established industry veteran, Cruz joins Harman following an 18-year career with Sony Electronics in Mexico, where he most recently served as national sales director for the audio, video, digital imaging, VAIO, cellular and game business divisions. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electronics from the Technological Institute of Monterrey and an MBA in International Business from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.
“Jesus is a strong addition to Harman’s sales organization,” Robbins states. “His deep knowledge of the market, strong relationships and proven ability to lead successful teams makes him an ideal leader for Harman’s initiative to support our partners in this region.”
“Harman has a unique value proposition in delivering complete systems-based solutions in a variety of markets. I look forward to the opportunity to lead the new sales organization in Mexico that will capitalize on our existing capabilities with new and existing sales partners,” Cruz adds.
Design Principles For Distributed Sound Systems: SPL & Equalization
Part one in this series is available here.
We need to consider the real, long-term sound pressure level capability of today’s sound reinforcement systems to make sure they’re not being operated at levels where the components are stressed or where they won’t sound good.
While acoustic design programs do a good job of predicting how the system will perform in a given room, the system designer must determine what the goal is for each application.
What SPL Is Not
SPL is not a substitute for fidelity! Have you ever been to one of those locations where management seems to think it is meeting today’s need for higher quality music simply by putting in a louder sound system? Either your thoughts get drowned out in the barrage of noise, or the loudspeakers sound awful because they’re turned up beyond their capacity.
SPL alone cannot make up for lack of fidelity. We need to consider the real, long-term SPL capability of today’s systems.
Maximum SPL Capability. In the simplest theoretical terms, loudspeakers produce sound levels according to three factors:
1) the loudspeaker’s power handling capability (specified as driven with an industry-standard pink noise signal)
2) the loudspeaker’s sensitivity (the sound level produced with 1 watt of input power)
3) the distance between the loudspeakers and the listening plane
Power handling and sensitivity are generally provided on the loudspeaker’s spec sheet. (Note that JBL Pro includes a 2-hour and a 100-hour power spec on some loudspeakers. The 100-hour figure is for reliability testing. The 2-hour is the figure to use for these SPL computations.)
Consider the distance from the loudspeakers to be the ceiling height minus the listening-plane height (sometimes called ear height). It’s common to assume that ear height for a seated audience is around 3.5 feet above the floor, and ear height for a standing audience is about 5 feet above the floor, on average. For every doubling of distance beyond 1 meter, subtract 6 dB.
Maximum SPL Formula for Pink Noise. The formula for computing maximum SPL capability for a pink noise signal is:
M(“pink”) = S + 10(log P ) - 20(log D )
—where M(“pink”) is maximum average SPL for pink noise, S is SPL from sensitivity, P is pink noise power handling and D is distance in meters.
The SPL Adjustment for Music and Speech. This resulting SPL for pink noise figure, even at the standard 1-meter distance, is not a measure of the typical music or speech that can be expected from the system.
Pink noise is different from music and speech. A downward adjustment of at least 4 dB must be made to the maximum pink noise computation to reflect the maximum average SPL capability for music or speech.
Why does a 4 dB adjustment need to be made? Pink noise has a peak-to-average ratio of 6 dB. In other words, the average signal is only 6 dB lower than the peak signal.
Music or speech, on the other hand, has a peak-to-average ratio of at least 10 dB. If we keep the peak capability at the same point as where it has been tested with the pink noise, then average music or speech is 10 dB below that (or 4 dB below the pink noise’s average level). Take the pink noise rating and lower it by at least 4 dB to get the maximum SPL capability for music or speech. Voila!
Notice that this adjustment factor is based on an assumed 10 dB peak-to-average ratio. I use 4 dB as the highest average music or speech will be able to attain. You may choose to make an even bigger adjustment, maybe -6 dB or -10 dB, corresponding to peak-to-average ratios of 12 dB or 16 dB.
Adjusting our formula, the maximum SPL of music or speech of a single loudspeaker is:
M(“music or speech”) = S + 10(logP ) - 20(logD ) - 4
—where M(“music or speech”) is maximum average SPL for music and speech, S is SPL from sensitivity, P is pink noise power handling and D is distance in meters.
SPL Capability of Multiple vs. Single Loudspeakers. One other thing to consider is that the SPL capability of a multi-loudspeaker system is higher than that of a single loudspeaker because multiple loudspeakers overlap to a degree that depends on their layout and spacing.
SPL of 70V/100V vs. Low-Impedance. Loudspeakers with 70/100 volts produce lower output SPL than do low impedance (4-, 8- or 16-ohm) loudspeakers. This is because, first, 70/100-volt loudspeakers are typically tapped at lower power levels than the low-impedance loudspeaker’s maximum capabilities. Second, there is always some insertion loss through the loudspeaker transformer.
Possibly the biggest factor, though frequently overlooked, is that the driving amplifiers clip at 70 volts (on a sine wave). The highest the audio signal can get before clipping is 70 volts (or 100 volts outside the United States). The average for music or speech is at least 10 dB below that. So, if you’re tapped at 15 watts, you’re really only averaging somewhere around 1.5 watts of sound out of that loudspeaker, and that’s with the peaks hitting clipping!
If you compute SPL based on the mistaken assumption that you get a continual 70 volts going into the loudspeaker, your estimate is going to be at least 10 dB higher than the real average music or speech that can actually come out of that loudspeaker!
Power Compression. Loudspeakers compress sound at high volumes.
As their voice coil temperatures rise, the impedance of the voice coil goes up, resulting in less draw of audio power from the same voltage drive signal. This is called “power compression.”
We have left power compression out of the formulas because loudspeakers differ in this regard, and because the degree of compression is highly dependent on operational factors such as the peak-to-average ratio of the signal source.
Power compression is also affected by the degree to which the loudspeaker is being run below its maximum capability.
You can generally assume around 2 or 3 dB of compression for quality loudspeakers (such as those with large diameter voice coils) with typical music or speech; and assume as much as 5 or 6 dB of compression with inexpensive speakers (especially those with small diameter voice coils and/or low power ratings), operating with compressed music sources.
Setting SPL Target Goals. While proprietary tools like JBL DSD Distributed System Design software, acoustic design programs (like EASE), and computerized programs from other manufacturers do a good job of predicting how the system will perform in a given room, the system designer must determine what the goal is for each application.
The following is intended to help set an SPL goal for the system design.
For systems requiring paging intelligibility, here are some general guidelines to use as starting points in your system designs. The SPL levels we’re considering here correspond to the maximum average SPL for music and speech (which, you’ll recall, is at least 4 dB lower than the maximum average SPL for pink noise).
Factors to consider include the ambient noise, loudspeaker distance from listeners, loudspeaker overlap, the type of program material and fidelity expectations of the listener.
Determining SPL Above Ambient. Economy background music installations require an average music level capability of at least 5 dB above the ambient noise.
For good paging intelligibility, the system needs to be 10 dB higher than the ambient noise. Levels of 15 to 20 dB above ambient yields excellent intelligibility. (See Table 1.)
Finding the Ambient Sound Level. If the installation is in a location that is already in use, use an SPL meter set for slow response to measure the A-weighted ambient sound at the listener’s ear position.
Take measurements during the noisiest time and make sure the HVAC (air handling) system is operating during the test.
If the installation will be in a new facility, try measuring the ambient sound level in a similar type of venue.
Determining An Absolute Sound Level Goal. If the ambient sound level is low, then it’s possible that paging will still not be intelligible, so here are some guidelines.
For those not used to working with decibels, keep in mind that movie theaters are calibrated such that 85 dB is the level of the dialog when you’re sitting 2/3rd of the way back in the theater.
In the absence of background ambient sound, 85 dB is a good goal for excellent paging.
If people can understand dialog in a movie theater, they can understand a page at that level. 75 to 80 dB is often acceptable for paging. Below 75 dB and it starts getting difficult for some members of the population to hear or understand the page.
Choose the Appropriate Loudspeaker for Output Capability. Make sure the loudspeaker you choose has adequate power handling and sensitivity to produce the sound levels required. For good paging, the loudspeaker is typically required to sustain average speech levels that are at least 10 dB higher than the ambient noise level.
Cover Mid and High Frequencies. Choose a loudspeaker with the appropriate coverage pattern for your application. For intelligibility, select a loudspeaker that has especially even coverage in the 1 to 6 kHz range.
Power the Loudspeakers Adequately. Make sure the loudspeakers are driven with enough amplifier power to sustain the expected sound levels. It doesn’t help to have loudspeakers with enough output capability if you don’t provide enough amplifier power to drive them to that capability.
Clipping the power amplifier adds considerable distortion, degrades intelligibility, and results in unacceptable sound quality. Clipping is hard on the loudspeaker and can cause damage and failure.
Setting EQ for ceiling loudspeakers can be different than with sound reinforcement loudspeakers.
Incorrect measurement techniques will result in the system not sounding very good.
It would be a shame to design and install a great system and then misadjust the EQ so it sounds like an amateur job.
An example of poor measuring technique is positioning the measurement mic in the overlap region between adjacent loudspeakers. This can lead to faulty measurements.
Microphones tend to show signal additions and cancellations at various frequencies that only occur in that 1-inch space where the microphone is placed and may not be representative of the listening space as a whole.
More than a few installers have tried to equalize for floor reflections, which sometimes results in large boosts and cuts in adjacent EQ filter bands. You can not equalize out floor reflections (or any other reflections). For good, solid measurements, some suggestions follow here.
Mic Placement Within the Loudspeaker Coverage Pattern. Place the microphone either on-axis or up to 20 degrees off-axis. Try to stay within the coverage pattern of a single loudspeaker. When equalizing on-axis, you are equalizing the direct sound in the mid to high frequencies, whereas at low frequencies, you’re still taking into account the low-frequency summation of adjacent loudspeakers.
Microphone Height. While it seems like it would be best to place the microphone at the typical listening height for the application, the measurements can be contaminated by floor reflections that can artificially add or subtract to various frequencies as displayed on your test equipment.
For example, a measurement taken at a 4-foot (1.2-meter) height may show dips at odd multiples of 80 Hz (240 Hz, 400 Hz, 560 Hz, 720 Hz, 880 Hz, etc.) and peaks at even multiples of 80 Hz (160 Hz, 320 Hz, 480 Hz, 640 Hz, etc.).
Depending on the resolution and bandwidth characteristics of your measuring device, these can show up as various boosts and dips in your measurement bands. These reflections are not equalizable, and trying to equalize them out can result in a very bad sounding system. It is best to eliminate floor reflections from your measurement. How do you do that?
Eliminating Floor Reflections by Mic Positioning. To eliminate the floor reflection from your measurements, use the microphone in pressure zone mic mode by placing the mic on a hard surface on the ground or by setting it on a large piece of plywood at ear height.
For this type of measurement, the microphone is typically laid on its side. If you’re using plywood, place the mic slightly off center on the plywood to minimize complications from the addition of symmetrical diffraction effects from the edges of the plywood plane. Placement about 4 to 6 inches away from the center point, toward one of the corners, is appropriate.
To maximize the high frequency accuracy, make sure that the microphone diaphragm is as close to the plywood plane (or floor) surface as possible. If the natural contour of the mic case makes the element sit off the surface, it is beneficial to angle the case so the mic diaphragm is within 1/4-inch (6 mm) of the wood surface, without actually touching the wood (or floor).
You may get some strange looks by placing your microphone on the floor, but it’s the best way to get an accurate measurement. Anyway, funny looks during the testing phase sure beat funny looks after the system is up and running.
Microphone Type. If possible, use an instrumentation-grade microphone.
To get the most accurate measurement in PZM mode, a small-diaphragm mic with small housing is best because it allows the mic diaphragm to get as close as possible to the plywood (or floor), minimizing any interference between direct waves and those reflected back onto the diaphragm from the plywood itself and thereby minimizing false information.
Your curve is only going to be as good as the measurement mic you’re using, so if at all possible, use an accurate, top-quality instrumentation mic.
It is often best to adopt the strategy of only cutting the EQ filters, never boosting them.
Peaks in the frequency response can be more bothersome and can be equalized out.
Dips in the frequency response tend not to be as audible and because they are frequently caused by time-related phenomena, they are often not equalizable.
So it’s usually best not to bother with equalizing out the dips in the frequency response curve.
A graphic EQ with only a few bands is probably not of much use in EQing a system. In order to remove the peaks, you end up taking out way too much good sound content.
Note that as with graphic EQs, you must be wary of large boosts and cuts in adjacent filter bands. Use equalization gently.
More and more DSP-based business music controllers now include parametric EQs, which are often more useful than graphic EQs because you can really pinpoint the frequency required and narrow the filter enough to take out only as much as needed without taking out too much content.
Do not try to equalize reflections—even those that show a peak at your measurement position—because they change with every mic position in the room. If you’re not sure what’s real, move the mic to a number of locations and see what peaks are common to all locations.
I like to set the EQ for a gentle roll-off of high frequencies. A roll-off of somewhere around 3 dB, starting at 2 kHz per octave (4 kHz being down 3 dB) often sounds better than setting it flat.
For bass frequencies, you may have to experiment with what sounds best for that application. You might need to set the bass frequencies (below 90 Hz) up as much as 10 dB higher than the mids and highs in order to balance the sound.
Be careful not to boost bass frequencies that the loudspeaker can’t handle. Ported loudspeakers can’t handle their full rate power below their tuning frequency, so find out from the manufacturer what frequency the loudspeaker is tuned at, and make sure not to send it frequencies lower than what it was built to handle.
One factor affecting how much higher to set the bass (compared to the mids) is how loud the system will be played. Unfortunately, music itself goes up and down in level, so the balance is going to be wrong at some music levels.
Unless you’ve got a dynamic system that automatically adjusts for this (such as the Autowarmth function on JBL’s SoundZone controllers and some dbx zone controllers), you’re probably going to need to just split the difference and set the bass volume somewhere between the loudest and the softest musical volumes.
Now you know some key steps in putting together a top-quality business music system. So, let me summarize a few key points:
• Lay out the system based on the real coverage as projected onto the listening plane — don’t base it on the polar coverage specification from the spec sheet.
• Help customers avoid the assumption that a loud sound system is necessarily a good sound system. Design a system that has the real SPL capability that’s going to be required, without distorting or becoming harsh.
• Don’t assume that the computed pink noise capability of a system is what they’re going to be able to get with music or speech.
• Guard against the common computational mistake of assuming that you’ll get the SPL you computed at 70 volts from a 70-volt system.
• After the installation, be sure to EQ the system with the right microphone setup, avoiding some of the common EQ mistakes mentioned above.
Next time I’ll focus on loudspeaker layout and other issues.
Rick Kamlet is senior manager, commercial sound, JBL Professional. Published with permission by JBL.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Martin Audio Appoints New Managing Director
New leader versed in product development, manufacturing, and sales and marketing
Martin Audio has appointed Luke Ireland as its new managing director, effective immediately.
An experienced business leader for a number of global businesses with a passion for technology and music, Ireland’s mission will be to ensure Martin Audio’s future success by developing reliable business structure and scalable process capabilities to increase innovation and reliability of supply.
With a Masters in Business Administration and a 24-year career spanning multiple sectors of technology, IT and media, Ireland is versed in product development, manufacturing, and sales and marketing.
“Excited would be an understatement,” Ireland says of his appointment. “Martin Audio has enjoyed a period of great success that I witnessed first hand at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. They have tremendously exciting products that make a real difference to this industry. Having the opportunity to join such a business and lead it to achieve its true potential is very motivating.”
Simon Bull, international sales director, adds, “All my fellow directors were very impressed with Luke’s energy and vision for the company, and we were unanimous in his selection from a distinguished line up. We look forward to working with Luke to set Martin Audio on a very bright future, and I know he will hit the ground running.”
Mark Graham, CEO of Loud Technologies, states, “I’m very pleased to announce the appointment of Luke Ireland to the position of managing director, Martin Audio. He brings a compelling package of experience and dynamic leadership that will contribute powerfully to Martin Audio’s continued success and make it an ever more reliable business partner.”
Church Sound: The Small/Start-Up Church Gear Checklist
Are you running sound at a small and/or start-up church? If so, chances are you’re struggling with the sound reinforcement system.
I’ve seen a lot of “inventive” systems cobbled together by well-meaning folks and believe it’s time to toss out a life-line. As a result, I’ve put together a list of the essential pieces of sound reinforcement equipment for a small church.
Because most small churches don’t have much of a tech budget, I’m not going to be specifying high-end equipment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have pro quality and tour-grade gear. I want you to have good gear – I’m not here to say it’s OK to buy bargain-basement gear.
A quick note: some of these are personal preferences. Your mileage may vary.
The basic sound reinforcement components needed for a small church with a contemporary service are [drum roll, please]:
—Mixer: 16-24 channel analog mixer with four or more auxiliary sends or a 16-24 channel digital mixer.
—Cable snake: 16-24 channels with four or more auxiliary returns, 100- to 150-foot snake – whatever gets you from the stage to the booth.
—Two 15-inch 3-way powered loudspeakers for front of house (same brand and model line as the subs)
—One or two 18-inch powered subwoofers (same brand and model line as the mains)
—One 1/3-octave equalizer for front of house (not needed with a digital mixer)
—One two-channel compressor for pastor and one other channel (could be lead vocal or guest mic) (not needed with a digital mixer)
—Either four powered stage monitors or four in-ear monitor systems
—Four to six vocal microphones
—One kick drum mic
—Four instrument mics
—One pastor wireless headset mic
—Mic stands (regular and “shorty”)
—One Furman power conditioner for the equipment at the sound booth
All righty then. Now that I’ve defined what I consider the minimum requirements, let me start unpacking why.
16-24 channel with four or more auxiliary sends analog mixer, or a 16-, 24-, or yes, even 32-channel digital mixer. Here’s what a typical lineup of channels might look like:
Even though I show four mics for drums (ch 1-4), I usually recommend just miking the kick drum and the snare in a live room. Now if you have a really dead room or you have a huge building then use all four mics. If not, you have three channels that are now open.
As you can see, there are enough channels for a typical contemporary band. If you have a choir then you may need more than 16 channels and may need to look at a 24-channel board.
Typical analog mixing boards I recommend are right around $1,000 for a new one. Soundcraft, Allen & Heath, Yamaha, and Mackie are pretty much bulletproof.
An analog board may have some built-in effects and possibly a recording interface (either USB or FireWire), but that’s about the extent of the computer electronics. A lot of these brands (and audio boards) have been around for a long time and have proven their toughness on the road.
Analog mixers are inexpensive but in light of the dropping costs of digital mixers and the limited functionality of the analog, unless you have a lot of expensive and somewhat new outboard rack gear, a digital mixer is likely a better choice.
Analog Vs Digital Mixers
Here’s the difference between an analog board and a digital board. With an analog board what you see is what you get. That means that if you want to change a setting, there’s a knob on each channel for it.
On a digital board, you have to bring that channel into focus since the function of the knobs on a digital board change depending on what you’ve got on the screen.
A digital mixer is a computer and is subject to the same issues that a computer has. An analog board has greater latitude in the environment it’s operated in and can tolerate a greater range of temperature, humidity, and power variances.
A digital board has all of the effects, dynamics and individual channel EQs and front of house EQs needed, which means the above gear can be paired down. An analog board doesn’t have the luxury of having all of that built in.
Consider the Allen & Heath Qu16, Behringer X32, Midas M32, and the Soundcraft Si Expression line. They are a decent chunk of change but when factoring in the additional capabilities and what you’d be spending for a decent EQ and compession, it’s about even. PreSonus StudioLive mixers have also been very popular but don’t have the automated faders like the others.
Da Fat Channel
PreSonus, along with other companies like Soundcraft and Behringer, have digital mixers with a single-channel surface design. PreSonus calls it the Fat Channel design. This is where everything for a given channel is shown all at one time. No layers to wade through. It’s not as intimidating as higher end digital boards.
It’s important to note that digital mixers do not all have the same workflow. Demo several to find which works best for your situation.
Powered Loudspeakers & Subs
Why powered? Because in a relatively short time they’ve come a long way.
Powered loudspeakers along the lines of QSC K or KW Series have built-in amplifiers and crossover circuits custom tailored to the specific loudspeakers. Plug in the equivalent sub, hook up the mains, and you can rest assured that the subs will crossover at the optimum frequency and that each amplifier is designed to produce the maximum sound for the given loudspeaker. No additional amps or crossover boxes to wire in and fuss over.
Be aware that you’ll need to have power receptacles located near the loudspeakers to plug them in, and that they’re heavier than non-powered models. While they may seem more expensive, by the time you factor in the cost of the proper amps and crossovers, the powered direction comes out equal.
Powered Stage Monitors Or In-Ear
Monitor loudspeakers are the typical – some say “old-school” – way for musicians to hear themselves on stage.
What musicians need to hear is quite different than what the congregation needs to hear. Most musicians want the lead vocal and lead instrument to focus on what they’re doing. Sometimes they’ll need to bring their instrument into their mix. Vocalists always need to be able to hear themselves.
Monitor wedges require the sound team to mix each musician’s monitor mix from the sound booth. The problem is with more monitors on stage and multiple monitor needs, stage volume becomes a problem. This is especially true if the drums are right behind any vocalist.
In-ear monitors are pretty much headphones plugged into a box. They take the individual channel sends from the mixing board and allow each musician to create their own mix. By being on headphones, stage volume isn’t a concern.
In-ears take some getting used to because of the amount of audio isolation. To compensate, it’s common to have a microphone on the stage aimed out at the audience and mixed into the musician’s mixes. In-ears are usually more expensive than monitor wedges.
Whatever you do, please don’t buy no-name (generic) mics. You’ll regret it. While the specs may look similar to pro-grade mics like those from Shure, Sennheiser, Heil Sound, Audix, Audio-Technica, AKG, and Electro-Voice, they aren’t close.
There’s a reason the Shure SM Series, Sennheiser 835, Heil PR20/30/40, etc. have been around a long time. Someone once said that every hall in the United States has been EQ’ed for a Shure SM57/58. That alone should tell you something.
These mics are rugged, all-around workhorses that are still in use by major productions. Just about every concert that you watch on TV has at least one of these mics on something, whether a vocal or an instrument.
The Shure Beta 58 has the added advantage of having a titanium ball cover which means you can drop the darn thing and never have a dented ball cover. You can drop the SM57/58s on the floor, from the stage, and probably run them over with a truck and they’ll keep working.
But don’t drop them. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. (But you already know that, right?)
In small churches, I usually recommend miking only the kick drum and the snare. I’ve found many small churches don’t have a big room and the rooms they do have are very “alive.”
Now, if the room is really dead or the room is huge, then use all four mics; for example, Shure SM57s on snare and toms and a Shure Beta 52A on kick. Use a condenser for an overhead mic.
A combination of dynamics and condensers are good for instrument miking. Most of this type of miking will be for a piano or a drum kit. Other gear, like guitars and keyboards, can plug directly into the system.
No matter what you’ve heard, don’t go spending $50 for a Mogami or Monster mic cable. Go to a place like monoprice.com and pick up quality mic cables for peanuts. They’re lifetime warranteed and just as good as anything out there.
Wireless Headset Microphone
You get what you pay for. (Haven’t I said that already?) Spend less than $500 for something other than a premium wireless system with a quality headset mic, and the regret likely will soon set in. A wireless system from any of the “big names in high-quality microphones” will do the job.
Quality counts in the wireless arena and high quality isn’t cheap. Look for something in the UHF or digital frequency range. Stay away from anything in the 680 to 850 Mhz range if you are in the USA. As of July 1, 2010, this frequency range is no longer available for wireless system use. You shouldn’t see them in the stores but watch for “a great deal on eBay” because it’s not a great deal.
Also, in this price range models are frequency-agile, meaning they have dual antennas and can skip back-and-forth between frequencies to get the best signal.
Spend a little bit ($100 or so) for a Furman power conditioner/surge protector to protect the “really” expensive equipment. Furman gear is designed for protecting audio and computer equipment, and they’re built like a tank.
Do not buy a $15 power strip and expect it to protect gear the same way. It won’t. I have a standing rule: Anything that plugs in at the sound booth gets plugged into a Furman, or it doesn’t get plugged in at all.
These conditioners are designed to sacrifice themselves in the event of a power surge, which means spending another $100 for a replacement if it gets fried—but the rest of your equipment will have been protected. Plus, Furman has a replacement guarantee on the remaining equipment if the conditioner doesn’t do its job.
That’s it in a nutshell – a very big nutshell.
Brian Gowing has helped numerous churches meet their technology requirements. He works towards shepherding churches, analyzing their technical requirements, sourcing the equipment, installing the equipment, and training the volunteer personnel. Brian’s now teaming up with Chris Huff at Behind The Mixer.
Danley Sound Labs Expands Line Of OS “Outdoor Series” Of Weatherized Loudspeakers
OS products are constructed of molded plastic with a custom injection molded shell rated to last 50 years
Danley Sound Labs is expanding its OS “Outdoor Series” of fully-weatherized loudspeakers, including a new subwoofer.
Although all Danley products are optionally available with level-2 weatherization, which includes fiberglass seams, stainless steel hardware, and protective coatings over all wooden components, the fact remains that those wooden components will have a shorter life span in the elements than they would have had in an indoor installation.
In contrast, Danley OS products are constructed of molded plastic with a custom injection molded shell rated to last 50 years. The cabinet is sealed so the inner components are also protected from harsh outdoor elements. The materials are sourced from within a half-hour of Danley’s Gainesville, GA headquarters, which is particularly helpful with large orders and/or short lead times.
“Like all of our Synergy Horn loudspeakers, the Danley OS-80 sounds fantastic,” says Mike Hedden, president of Danley Sound Labs. “Fidelity is excellent and distortion is remarkably low at all SPLs, and the OS-80 has the same highly-articulated coverage pattern and arrayability for which Danley is known. What sets the OS-80 apart is that its construction and materials make it impervious to the weather, for years and decades to come. Our local sources and molding machinery make it easy for us to turn over large Outdoor Series orders on short notice. Moreover, the molding process itself is very efficient, which allows us to sell the OS products at fiercely competitive prices.”
Soon, the OS-80’s versatile 80-degree conical coverage pattern will be joined by other OS models available with several coverage patterns that will give designers greater flexibility to meet the needs of a range of outdoor situations. These will include the OS-90 and OS-100. In addition, the new Danley OS-115LF subwoofer will extend the bottom end of the OS line and the OS Nano will meet very small applications.
Danley Sound Labs
Meyer Sound JM-1P & 1100-LFC Drive High-Energy Worship At The Crossing Church In Las Vegas
“It’s great to finally have a system with enough headroom so that we can push it hard when needed." -- Bob Meyers, audio engineer, The Crossing Church
To attract a younger demographic, The Crossing Christian Church has installed a concert-grade system headed by Meyer Sound JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers and 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements, the company’s most powerful loudspeaker for the 30 Hz to 85 Hz frequency range.
“It’s great to finally have a system with enough headroom so that we can push it hard when needed, and have it respond with a smooth increase in gain, without distorting or changing the tonality,” says Bob Meyers, principal audio engineer at The Crossing.
For uniform coverage of the wide, 1,800-seat room, the system relies on four main clusters of JM-1P loudspeakers, with four in each end cluster and five in each of the two center clusters. One UPA-1P loudspeaker provides down-fill under each cluster, while six UPJunior VariO loudspeakers supply front fill.
Four 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements are flown in an end-fired array over the stage, and two 600-HP subwoofers are placed underneath the deck. System drive and optimization are handled by a Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system with two Galileo Callisto 616 array processors.
Kevin Potts and David Starck of Las Vegas-based Coherent Design handled system planning in close consultation with the church’s principal audio engineers: Meyers and Aaron Beck, a volunteer who is also head of sound for a resident Cirque du Soleil production. System integration was handled by Las Vegas-based AVDB Group, with Bob Langlois responsible for overall direction and Daryl Porter handling on-site project management.
“They’re serious about audio quality at The Crossing,” says Starck. “When they built this new worship space, they wanted to make sure everything was done to the highest standards.”
From an integrator’s perspective, the Meyer Sound solution has saved both time and money. “With a Meyer system, you pull it out of the box, and it works,” says Langlois. “The amount of labor is so much less than with other non-powered systems.”
The front end of The Crossing’s new audio system includes a Yamaha CL5 digital console at front of house, Shure ULX-D wireless microphone systems, Shure PSM 900 IEMs, and wired microphones from Countryman, Audio-Technica, Sennheiser, Shure, and Audix.
Gand Concert Sound Delivers Main Stage Sound & Backline At Annual Naperville Ribfest
For first time, GCS also provided all of this year’s stage backline under the direction of backline guru Ken Stevens
Gand Concert Sound, based in Elk Grove Village, IL (just outside of Chicago), once again provided sound reinforcement and support at the main stage for the annual Naperville Ribfest, one of the Midwest’s longest running and biggest festivals of the summer season.
Gand Concert Sound, a.k.a., “The NEXO Guys,” lived up to that moniker in deploying NEXO GEO-T line arrays and CD-18 subwoofers as the core elements of the main loudspeaker system that supported performances by artists such as Blue Oyster Cult (more cowbell!) Foghat, George Thorogood, and Rodger Hodgson of Supertramp.
Coverage was extended via additional GEO-T and CD-18 full-range/sub sets on delay, while the stage was outfitted with 20 NEXO PS-15 biamped monitors.
Mix engineers at the event were supplied with a selection digital consoles, including dual Yamaha PM-5D RHs, a DiGiCo SD8, and a Yamaha LS9-16. The systems were deployed and supported by a Gand Concert Sound tech team made up of Adam Rosenthal, Joe Perona, Bob Murr and Mike Musselman.
In addition to the large-scale house and monitor systems, Gand Concert Sound also provided all of this year’s stage backline. Backline guru Ken Stevens has joined the company and is providing the needed manpower to tackle the ever-changing demands of touring musicians.
“We’ve always had a presence in backline as an adjunct to our big retail music store,” states company president Gary Gand. “The void left by the closing of yet another long-time vendor in Chicago provided an opportunity to expand this division of the Gand organization.”
Gand Concert Sound now offers a comprehensive inventory of amps from Marshall, Ampeg, Fender, Aguilar, Mesa Boogie, Orange, Vox and G&K, guitars from Gibson, Taylor and Fender, along with drum kits from DW, Yamaha, Pearl, Ludwig, Tama and C&C, and cymbals from Paiste, Zildjian and Sabian. Available keyboards are from Nord, Yamaha, Korg, Kurzweil, and Roland—plus the Midwest’s largest selection of vintage Hammond B3 organs and Leslie speakers.
From the city of Naperville, IL, here’s “Ribfest By The Numbers”:
—730 kegs of beer consumed
—103 cases of wine consumed
—220 cases of frozen drinks consumed
—289,000 website “hits”
—12,000 Facebook “likes,” and…
—24,050 slabs of ribs served
From Gand Concert Sound, here’s “Sound Reinforcement By The Numbers:”
—36 NEXO GEO-T loudspeakers (main)
—24 NEXO CD-18 subwoofers (main)
—10 NEXO GEO-T loudspeakers (delay)
—4 NEXO RS-18 subwoofers (delay)
—2 Yamaha PM-5D RH consoles
—1 DiGiCo SD8 console
—1 Yamaha LS9-16 console
—20 NEXO PS-15 biamped monitors
Gand Concert Sound
NEXO & Yamaha
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
RCF Supports Special Olympics USA Olympic Town Stage
RCF supported the US Special Olympics entertainment stage during the nationial event.
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games was the largest national games undertaking by the organization. This year’s event (June 16-20) included 16 different sports competitions with over 5,000 athletes and more than an estimated 70,000 spectators.
RCF was proud to partner with Windsor, New Jersey-based Reid Sound to provide the sound system for the Olympic Town Entertainment Stage.
The College of New Jersey acted as the site for the Olympic Town, which served as the hub for all the events held at various locations throughout the area. Olympic Town had a boardwalk theme this year which included 150-foot wooden boardwalk running through the center of the college as well as sand placed throughout the area to create a beach “feel”. The entertainment stage—also decorated to match the theme—was host to multiple bands, magicians, dance troupes and a variety of other performers each day.
The sound system featured four dB Technologies DVA-T8 three-way active line array boxes ground stacked on top of two DVA-S10DP 18-inch active subwoofers per side, with RCF TT25-A 15-inch active two-way cabinets used as stage monitors and NX15-SMA 15-inch active speakers as fills. Additional satellite sound was provided by RCF HD10-A 10-inch active two-way cabinets.
The DVA-T8’s provided plenty of volume, with headroom to spare, for the crowds of athletes and volunteers that gathered at the stage at the end of competition every day,” notes Jonathan Mills-Winkler, Reid Sound director of event services. “Considering the size, output and tonality of the speakers, they offer considerable value, to say nothing of their light weight and ease of setup.”
“We can’t thank RCF enough for their participation,” says Reid Sound Owner Darren Sussman. “This was a huge event that required an intense amount of planning and coordination, and I am grateful to RCF for pitching in. There was not even a moment of hesitation from RCF to participate.”
Reid Sound has built a solid reputation over the past 15 years providing professional audio-video service, event production and installation solutions in the New Jersey area. Recently, Reid Sound has expanded its commitment to community partnership by launching the Reid Sound Scholarship for Theatrical Technicians, an annual award to recognize the achievements of those high school students who have participated and wish to continue their education in the arena of theatrical production.
Bose Components Provide Versatile Sound For Mount Aloysius College Convocation Center
Multi-use facility is set to host everything from collegiate basketball to graduation ceremonies, and Bose RoomMatch loudspeaker modules assure that the sound is powerful and accurate
The Sextant Group, a national independent technology consulting firm specializing in the planning and design of learning, communications and entertainment facilities and systems, was recently contracted to specify a sound system for the new Convocation Center at Mount Aloysius College in central Pennsylvania.
After much consideration, the Sextant Group selected a RoomMatch sound system from Bose Professional Systems.
The system consists of 17 RoomMatch loudspeakers divided into one five-speaker array (RM5505, RM7010, RM9010, RM9020, and RM12040 modules) that covers the main floor, and six separate two-module RM7040/RM9020 arrays covering the bleacher seating on both sides of the floor.
The speaker arrays are all powered by five PowerMatch® PM8500N amplifiers and were installed by the Pittsburgh office of Cleveland, Ohio-based SoundCom Systems.
The school’s new Convocation Center is a hub of campus life, featuring a basketball court, fitness center, distance-learning classroom, dance studio and other amenities. The 2,500-seat basketball court also doubles as an event space, used for ceremonies such as graduations and other applications.
The space is highly configurable – the bleachers can be rolled in and out and are divided into six different areas. Courts and gymnasiums are notoriously difficult spaces in terms of acoustics, so The Sextant Group wanted to go the extra mile in terms of the sound quality and versatility of the system – that’s where the RoomMatch system came in.
“We wanted this space to be able to develop a lot of energy and keep it tightly focused on the seating areas,” explains Mark Gillis, Principal Consultant at The Sextant Group. “We wanted the sound to really have an impact, to help events here really generate a high level of excitement.”
“In addition to making the right decisions in terms of acoustical treatment, we wanted a system that would allow us to very precisely aim the sound and keep it over the seating areas, but at the same time we also wanted to give the school a full-range sound system that works well for music as well as speech,” says Joe Hammett, systems designer at The Sextant Group. “Too often, good sound is value-engineered out of spaces like this, with the PA really just suitable for the narrow range of the voice.
“This system needed to also cover music, which adds to the experience, and keep the sound where we needed it. The RoomMatch system was definitely the right choice.”
The result has been extremely satisfying. In fact, The Sextant Group is in the process of specifying a Bose RoomMatch system for another college multi-use center, this one seating 5,000.
“Mount Aloysius now has sound that matches what schools in the top-tier divisions and even major-league arenas have,” says Gillis. “Music and speech both sound great, and the intensity of the sound makes a huge difference in the energy of the place. The RoomMatch system really was able to do it all.”
JBL VTX Line Arrays Deployed In “X Mode” For 2014 Miss USA Interviews
Premier Sound Services (PSS) recently provided a JBLsound reinforcement system for the Miss USA Pageant, one of the country’s most widely viewed beauty contests.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Premier Sound Services (PSS) recently provided the sound reinforcement for the Miss USA Pageant, one of the country’s most widely viewed beauty contests.
The event is part of Miss Universe, which is owned by Donald Trump and was televised nationally live on NBC. As they have for previous Miss USA Pageants, PSS deployed their inventory of Harman JBL VTX line arrays to generate the best coverage and superior sound quality.
The main PA system consisted of 13 JBL VTX V25 line array loudspeakers per side in long-throw “X Mode” (35Hz high pass filter) and were powered with 24 Crown I-Tech 12000 HD and two Crown I-Tech 4x3500 HD amplifiers.
The system also featured 45-degree outfill arrays, which featured nine VTX V20 loudspeakers in long-throw 60Hz mode that were powered by six Crown I-Tech 4x3500 HD amplifiers.
On the floor, 16 bi-amped JBL SRX712M stage monitors were used with five Crown I-Tech 4x3500 HD amplifiers.
Two JBL VTX V20 loudspeakers were provided for the judges, with an additional two V20 loudspeakers per side for front fill, powered by two Crown I-Tech 4x3500 HD amplifiers.
The downstage side-fill hangs consisted of six JBL VERTEC VT4886 subcompact line array loudspeakers per side, powered by a single Crown I-Tech 4x3500 HD amplifier. The upstage side fill hangs were made up of six VT4886 loudspeakers per side, powered with one Crown I-Tech 4x3500 HD amplifier.
“Keeping the loudspeakers hidden from the camera angles as much as possible was the main challenge of this event,” said Brian Gordon, co-owner and head audio engineer of PSS. “Originally, we wanted to hang 14 units per side for the main PA, but thanks to the sheer power of the VTX Series we got the output we needed with fewer units, and we never hit the limit on any of the amplifiers.”
Gordon points out that there was no need for subwoofers for the show because intelligibility and sound cohesiveness were the key objectives.
“The VTX Series loudspeakers are superior in those areas over everything else,” he explains. “There was no interference and everything came out exactly as it should. I was especially impressed by the smoothness of the off-axis dispersion of the V20’s, which was just amazing.”
Monday, July 21, 2014
Community Loudspeakers Add Intelligibility To St. John Church
St. John improves intelligibility with Community loudspeakers.
Completed in 1837, St. John the Evangelist is a historic Catholic Church in Frederick, Maryland with a Grecian ionic design and a cruciform floor plan.
The church has carpeted floors but its spacious marble and plaster interior and hardwood pews create major challenges for voice intelligibility.
St. John’s existing sound system offered poor coverage, intelligibility and had a consistent feedback issue.
In 2011, Eric Johnson of Audio Video Group offered St. John’s a new system using Community’s ENTASYS column line-source loudspeaker system. Johnson performed a live demonstration that showed his design could provide intelligible sound with even coverage while minimizing audio feedback.
St. John’s new system has an ENTASYS ENT-FR full-range column and an ENT-LF low-frequency column on each side of the chancel tilted slightly downwards to avoid rear-wall echoes.
The left and right transepts and the rear of the church are covered by ENT206s. A pair of ENT203s provides coverage for the balcony and choir loft.
Johnson used an Earthworks gooseneck mic on the ambo and lectern and provided Shure wireless mics for the priests. St. John’s system uses a Biamp AUDIA FLEX for automatic mixing, loudspeaker delay and system equalization and Lab.gruppen power amplifiers. A small mixer in the balcony blends choir soloists and guitars into the service.
St. John’s is very pleased with their new system’s intelligibility and coverage and its lack of feedback. Soon after the system was installed, a senior gentleman attending Mass asked the priest to please not change anything because this was the first time in a long time that he could clearly hear what was being said.
Slovak Medical University Complex Gets The Renkus-Heinz Treatment
Slovak Medical University install Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers in multi-purpose auditorium.
One of the region’s most respected institutions, Slovak Medical University, has recently completed a major renovation and reconstruction project at their campus in Banská Bystrica.
The multi-functional complex includes several classrooms, student dormitories, and a large, multi-purpose auditorium and presentation hall, used for graduations, conferences, technical seminars, and more.
The complex underwent a full technology modernization, including new audio, conferencing, and interpretation systems, as well as video, digital signage, and information technology systems. The systems were designed and installed by Bratislav-based MediaTech, one of the largest professional AV firms in central Europe, and include a full range of Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers.
The main system includes several ICONYX IC16-R-II and IC8-R-II digitally steered arrays, as well as a number of ICX7-II mechanically steered arrays. ICONYX steered array technology enables precise steering of the sound toward the audience and away from walls and other reflective surfaces, reducing reflections and improving intelligibility.
“The hall has always been very challenging acoustical space, and there were a lot of problems with spoken word intelligibility. Of course, this affects people’s ability to communicate, and to learn,” reports MediaTech General Director, Ing. Bohumil Tonkovic. “The ICONYX systems really provided an excellent solution. Intelligibility has been dramatically improved, and their low profile design integrated nicely with the building’s architecture.”
Elsewhere in the complex, Renkus-Heinz CFX41 and CFX61 two way systems provide additional sound reinforcement. State-of-the-art video systems include large scale remote controlled projection screens with Mitsubishi projectors, PTZ cameras for conferencing, and full multi-language interpretation facilities.
Working under an exceptionally demanding timeline, the team from MediaTech handled the entire project, from planning and preparation to system design and installation, as well as training on-site personnel in the operation of all systems.
“Banska Bystrica finally has a space that meets all the parameters of top quality acoustics and information technology,” enthused Professor MD. Svetozár Dluholucký, PhD., Dean of Slovak Medical University.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Equator Reference Monitors Produce For David Kahne
Equator Audio studio reference monitors are integral to producer/composer/engineer David Kahne's recording efforts.
Manhattan-based Avatar Studios, formerly known as The Power Station, is one of New York’s legendary recording facilities. It is also home to producer / composer/ engineer David Kahne, who has a resume that reads like the music industry’s “Best of…” list.
Central to Kahne’s production efforts are studio reference monitors from Equator Audio.
For the uninitiated, David Kahne is a musician, composer, engineer, mixer, producer, A&R man, and music supervisor. In one or more of these capacities, he has worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Lana del Rey, James Brown, Stevie Nicks, Cher, The Bangles, Paul McCartney, and many more artists. He also received a Grammy Award for Tony Bennett’s MTV Unplugged, which was the Album of the Year in 1994.
Kahne, already a user of Equator Audio D8 studio monitors, recently added a pair of the company’s D5 monitors.
“I have a studio at Avatar Studios,” Kahne reports. “It’s a good size room, and I also have access to the big rooms when I need a large acoustic space for recording drums, orchestra, loud guitars, etc. I’ve been using Equator Audio’s D8 monitors for roughly a year and a half at this point and have been very impressed with their performance, which is why I recently added a pair of D5s.
“I use the D8s for both mixing and recording. I do have a bigger speaker set, but I spend a lot of time on the D8s because they’re so easy to listen to. With these speakers, there’s no listening fatigue and everything I mix on them translates really well to other playback mediums.”
Kahne continued, “Currently I’m working on a project for Motown Records that requires a very different kind of listening, which is staying true to what was recorded in the 60’s. Being coaxial design monitors, the D8s are great for this project, as most studios back then had coaxial monitors.
“I’m also using the D8s in my work with the rock band Walk off the Earth, a great group out of Toronto as well as Bad Rabbits from Boston, vocalist and instrumentalist Kate Davis from NYC, and vocalist Jena Rose from Dallas.”
Kahne notes that he particularly likes the way the midrange works with the D8s. It is clear and concise, and small changes are very audible.
“I must say that the bottom is really nice, too; it’s not hyped, so I’m not able to fool myself,” he adds. “As far as fatigue goes, I mentioned earlier that it’s very easy to listen to the Equator monitors for hours and not get tired. In my opinion, this is one of the great characteristics of coaxial speakers.”
Kahne made a point to add that they are not only great speakers with a unique character of their own, but they are also affordable.
“They not only sound good, but they’re sold at a price that makes sense for any professional or aspiring audio engineer,” he concludes. “With the Equator monitors, you get Cadillac performance at a price most anyone can manage. Thanks for making them!”
Posted by Julie Clark on 07/18 at 11:36 AM
Gigant Sound Letus Makes Major Investment In Outline GTO System
Gigant Sound Letux adds substantial stocks of GTO, DBS 18-2 subwoofers and the all-new GTO C-12 compact line-source module to their production inventory.
Poznań-based Gigant Sound Letus, one of Eastern Europe’s leading production companies, have announced a major investment in Outline’s flagship loudspeakers.
Their new inventory includes substantial stocks of GTO, DBS 18-2 subwoofers and the all-new GTO C-12 compact line-source module.
Founded in 1993 by owner Jurek Taborowski, Gigant Sound Letus is a dominant force not only in Polish rock, pop and classical productions but also throughout eastern Europe and as far afield as the US.
Their full-time staff of over thirty also handles extensive domestic television projects and their international clients include Ricky Martin, Sir Elton John, The Prodigy, Jennifer Lopez, Joe Cocker, José Carreras and others.
Taborowski’s purchase followed a period of intensive research and evaluation of several loudspeaker technologies in which Outline’s GTO concept proved a clear winner.
He remarked, “For us it was all about the uncompromising audio performance of the GTO family of products. We worked with Outline’s engineers to create new presets for the DSP control in our amplifiers and that helped to create a system that is more efficient, more transparent and with greater dynamics. When combined with GTO’s unique resistance to cross winds, these key points convinced me to buy the system.”
Taborowski adds, “We now have a large enough Outline GTO inventory to handle the largest outdoor events in this region without difficulty, but being able to create integrated systems to suit almost all our work from within a single product family gives us a huge operational advantage.”
The exact numbers of loudspeaker modules purchased - 48 GTO, 32 GTO C-12, 64 DBS 18-2 subwoofers plus 12 flying frames (including the new lightweight FRM-GTO-LW which significantly reduces the flown weight of GTO hangs) - allows the total inventory to be split into eight identical subsidiary systems.
Each of these, comprising six GTO, four GTO C-12 and eight subwoofers, is powerful enough to handle a range of events with ease but requires little truck space and can also be flown or ground-stacked as necessary.
“Jurek’s clever and forward-thinking approach to buying his GTO inventory validates our whole ‘product family’ concept,” Outline CEO Giorgio Biffi concludes. “A totally integrated system like our GTO definitely enhances the efficiency and profitability of production companies by allowing them the flexibility to use as much or as little equipment as they need for the occasion.
“We’re also thrilled that Jurek chose us as his loudspeaker partners especially when one considers the quality of the products he rejected—it’s great to have him in the family.”