Monday, January 04, 2016

RE/P Files: Toto World Tour 1985

From the August 1985 issue of the late, great Recording Engineer/Producer (RE/P) magazine, David Scheirman takes a look at the touring setup for the international tour of the legendary band, Toto.

Take one of the music world’s best-known, Grammy Award winning pop rock groups, a custom-tailored concert sound system, 136 stage inputs, computer controlled stage instrumentation, a new concept in monitoring, six (6!!) veteran live sound mixers, and several months’ worth of international touring . . . and the recipe exists for one of the most complex concert sound projects to be out on the road this year.

Starting in February of this year, The Toto Entourage kicked off its 1985 World Tour in Japan.

A complete stage-monitoring system, and a house mixing package equipped with a regulated power distribution system, were shipped to all international dates.

For the Japanese portion of the tour, a house reinforcement system was contracted through Hibino Sound. All North American dates were handled by Schubert Systems Group, of Gardena, CA.

On March 19, 1985, Toto’s U.S. tour began at the Arizona State University Activity Center in Tempe, Arizona. This writer journeyed to the site for a first-hand look at the group’s advanced audio system, which features multiple mixing consoles with six operators.

David Bowers, Dirk Schubert, and Ed Simeone

The Band
Toto is a notable group, comprised of some of America’s busiest working studio session musicians. The group’s albums have often featured innovative recording techniques and instrumentation. Collectively, members of Toto — David Paich, Steve Lukather, plus Jeff, Steve and Mike Porcaro — have probably participated in the playing, arranging and recording of more recent, American popular rock music than any other similar group of musician/technicians.

Several of the band members operate personal-use recording studios, which are stripped of gear when the group does one of its infrequent tours. Shep Lonsdale, a recording engineer and audio mixer who has collaborated with the group on such recent ventures as the film soundtrack for Dune, is involved in all aspects of Toto’s sound.

“Having been involved with the actual recording to Toto’s music in the studio gives me a much different perspective on doing the live shows than many concert mixers might have,” explains Lonsdale. “Traditionally, a gap has existed between live and recorded sound.”

“That gap is starting to narrow, as the technology becomes available to recreate the sound of an album in a live performance setting. Stage technology is improving, and concert-sound systems are now beginning to offer the fidelity that has been lacking in the past. The sound of the recorded music and the sound of the live show are important to the members of Toto.”

The Live Concept
Dirk Schubert, of Schubert Systems Group, was actively involved in assembling Toto’ s custom studio monitoring system and performance hardware. When the band chose SSG to provide full sound reinforcement services as well for the group’s live tour, Schubert went along as a monitor mix engineer.

“One of the most important things to understand here is that these guys know what they want,” states Schubert. “They craft their musical packages in the studio, and they are used to a certain way of hearing everything . . . stereo keyboard monitors, special vocal monitors, and instrument submixers. It was up to us to figure out how to take the whole thing on the road in an easily-transportable package.

Stage plot for Toto’s 1985 tour.

“Our touring accounts get something that other sound companies are not often able to address: if the gear doesn’t exist to give them the sound or the operational functions that they want, we build it for them.”

To make Toto’s live show happen, 136 stage inputs were funneled down to house and stage monitor mixing positions, each with two Gamble consoles (and two board operators) by using separate, manned stereo keyboard submix positions (Figure l).

Hidden offstage, these two consoles gave both keyboardists David Paich and Steve Porcaro an individual audio mixer for submixing the multiple stage rigs (with banks of MIDI connected keyboards), as well as a “private” stage monitor man for each musician’s own musical program material. Personal computers assisted in the MIDI-switching of the two rigs.

Figure 2: Stage-left keyboard mix position — Gamble SC-24-24-11 console, manned by Ed Simeone..

The instrument submix for Steve Porcaro was handled by Ed Simeone, who gained a great deal of experience with complex keyboard setups during his several years of touring with Electric Light Orchestra.

Simeone mixed on a Gamble SC24-24-II board. Designed and built by Jim Gamble Associates, the transformerless console features 24 inputs and 24 outputs, and seemed to be ideally suited for use as a stage instrument mixer (Figure 2).

“Basically, what we are doing here is giving the musician access to a wide variety of electronic instrument voicings, and using MIDI-switching technology to keep the stage clutter to a minimum.” Simeone explains.

Several primary keyboards are located on stage at Steve Pocaro’s position, including a Yamaha DX-7. Interface cabling connects the stage area with Simeone’s setup, and those performance keyboards can access the additional instruments, including a pair of E-mu Systems Emulator IIS and an Oberheim X-Pander.

“Some of the latest electronic keyboard gear now available is being used with this show, and the factory support from companies such as Yamaha, Oberheim and Emulator has been tremendous,” Simeone confides.

“Things could get pretty complicated with this many keyboard units.” Having the auxiliary keyboard racks off-stage gave the stage a much cleaner appearance,” he offers.

To help the complex setup work smoothly, Simeone uses a Compaq personal computer placed next to his mixing desk (Figure 3). The screen editor displays a “menu” for each musical arrangement, showing what keyboard device is patched through which MIDI switch for each tune (Figure 4).

In addition, the computer program (arranged by keyboard expert Ralph Dyck) sends a pulse to a JL Cooper MS-II MIDI match-box device, when authorized by the engineer. Yamaha MIDI rack panel modules are hooked up to the various keyboard devices. A customized voltage-controlled attenuator module was designed by Jonathon Little of Village Recorder, Los Angeles, to provide a direct interface for level changing of the keyboard instruments.

Figure 3: A Compaq personal computer located at the stage left submix position. Each song in the show has a “menu” showing which instruments are in use, as well as MIDI patches. Figure 4: The Compaq display screen, showing an informational display designed by keyboard expert Ralph Dyck.

‘“This is a very high-quality way to control levels,” noted Simeone. “It would be counterproductive to put a very clean signal from a $50,000 console through a $1.50 volume pot! Steve Porcaro uses the VCA to control his whole rig, while David Paich uses his to fade different synthesizers in and out of the piano mix.”
Effects devices available to Simeone included a Yamaha REV-I digital reverberator, a DL-1500 digital delay unit, a Roland Super Jupiter, and a Lexicon Prime Time Il digital delay In addition, a Dynacord CLS-222 was available for an electronically-created Leslie rotor effect.

Figure 5: Stage right keyboard mix position.

The entire keyboard mixing rig was streamlined, and seemingly well designed as a synergistic package. All inputs and outputs to and from the VCAs are patched, and a 42-pair multicable connects the synth rack and console. For fail-safe operation, a 16-channel manual switching panel can take over in case of MIDI “hangup.” Additionally, a MIDI “Panic Button” is supplied just in case a glitch in the complex control-signal path line causes the system to disregard a computer instruction to change over to the next song’s settings.

“On this side of the stage, Steve likes to wait until I do the changes, and then he kicks it over himself with an on-stage switch,” explains Simeone. “On stage right, I think they did have a hangup once or twice during the shows in Japan, but a quick tap of the panic button sent out a burst of signal pulses in about 30 milliseconds, and that cleared it up. The button interrupts the signal bus, and gives the circuits a chance to clear.”

David Bowers, who has worked with the Doobie Brothers and Kenny Loggins, among others, mixed David Paich’s stage-right keyboard rig. Bowers also commanded a Gamble SC24-24-II desk that was located offstage right (Figure 5). Here, a bank of MIDI-connected keyboards was directly controlled with an IBM personal computer. (Figures 6 and 7) An Oberheim DSX synthesizer with Digital Polyphonic Sequencer, Oberheim OB-8, Oberheim X-Pander and Emulator Il were all controlled by either a Yamaha DX-7 or Paich’s concert grand piano. A cut was made into the piano frame, and the DX-7 nested snugly on top (Figure 8).



“The computer, the keyboard audio mixer, and MIDI technology make things a lot easier on stage than they used to be,” states Bowers. “Instead of mountains of keyboard instruments and miles of spaghetti-like cables, you just see a man up there with his piano. But, you are hearing many of the exact voicings and synth parts that appeared on such classic tunes as ‘Africa’ and ‘Hold The Line’. The grand piano keyboard can trigger sounds that have been stored in the Emulator, which were taken directly from the album masters.”

Bowers used a Lexicon PCM60, Roland MKS-80 Super Jupiter, two Yamaha D1500 digital delays, two Roland SRE-555 Chorus Echos, and a Lexicon 224 digital reverb for special effects processing. In addition, an Aphex Compellor compressor-limiter and an Eventide H949 Harmonizer were available in the equipment racks.
As on stage-left, a JL Cooper MIDI Match-Box and a custom VCA panel formed part of the setup, along with a Yamaha MIDI Rack.

Keyboard Monitors
“An important part of assembling this stage-monitoring system was the concept that the performers wanted small, bright-sounding boxes placed up at ear level,” explains designer Dirk Schubert.

“Also, nobody in this band wants to hear much of anything below 150 Hz on the vocals coming from these boxes. It is like a ‘closefield’ mini-monitor approach. What we basically had to come up with was the Yamaha NS-IO or JBL 4401 speaker concept that could put out concert sound pressure level an be able to hold up on the road.”

Sets of compact, custom-built stereo keyboard monitors and interface electronics were designed and assembled by Schubert Systems Group to present the complex mixes to the performers.

For console monitoring, both David Bowers (stage-right) and Ed Simeone (stage-left) used a pair of cabinets that were identical to those placed on stage.

Figure 9: David Paich’s stage monitors.

The miniature loudspeaker columns each house two J BL Model 2118H eight-inch speakers with a passive contour network on each, and a 2404H tweeter.

The eight-inch speaker’s frequency response is essentially flat from 150 Hz to 4 kHz, at which point the tweeter is brought in with a passive crossover network.

The boxes are trapezoidal in shape, and fitted into the stage set with small metal support stands (Figure 10). Yamaha PC-2002 amplifiers power the keyboard rigs, while Metron A-400 amps drive the vocal monitors.

Figure 10

The small keyboard columns proved 80 popular during rehearsals that other performance areas also were supplied with them, including the sax/background vocal riser.

“The concept really makes sense,” explained sideman Scott Page.

“The little boxes give us bright reference information to sing with, right there in front of us. The kick and bass sound, the main rhythm section mix, comes from a little farther away in the bigger slant, instead of blasting me in the face like a lot of stage speaker system do. It works great.”

Critical keyboard, vocal and solo instrument program information is fed through the compact speakers.

Figure 11 (left): SSG’s custom low-profile vocal monitors each house two JBL 2118-J eight-inch speakers, and a 2425 one-inch compression driver on a modified Bi-Radial horn. Figure 12 (right): A protective cover latches onto the mini-monitors for travel protection.

Additional rhythm section material requiring better low-frequency presentation is fed to the various performers through separate larger floor slant monitors that house JBL K-140 15-inch speakers, 2441 drivers with 2445 diaphragms, and 2405 tweeters.

Block Diagram of Keyboard Monitor Signal Flow.

Where floor monitors are required for vocals, including Steve Lukather and Mike Porcaro, SSG’8 low-profile vocal slant monitors were used (Figure 11).

These tiny boxes pack a pair of JBL 2118-J eight-inch speakers and a 2425 one-inch compression driver mounted on a modified JBL 2344 BiRadial horn.

Actively crossed over at 1.5 kHz, the cabinets sit hardly 12 inches high, and offer an extremely smooth, yet bright, vocal reference mix; they also have a power contour network on the horn.

A protective cover latches into place for travel, and wheels make moving the package very easy. (Figure 12)

Monitor Mixers
The main monitor mixing area (down-stage right) was handled by Dirk Schubert and Alan Bonomo (Figure 13).

A Gamble SC40-16 served as the primary board, while an SC32-16 was used as a drum and percussion submixer. (The latter also served the opening act). What started as 136 discrete stage inputs ended up as 58 combined channels at the house and stage monitor positions, plus various effects returns.

Yamaha Q-1027 third-octave graphic equalizers were available for some of the 16 monitor mixes, although the Gamble boards feature on-board parametric equalizers across each output mix.

A Lexicon 224X reverb with LARC remote, Yamaha REV-I digital reverb, Lexicon Prime Time, Eventide H949 Harmonizer, and a Roland SDE-2000 digital delay unit were available for processing use on vocals, drums, keyboards and saxophone. dbx Model 160 and 160X compressor-limiters were channel inserted for lead vocals, background vocal mix, piano and kick drum.

Flying overhead stereo, tri-amped sidefill cabinets flanked both sides of the downstage area. Lead singer “Fergie” Fredricson, using a Nady 701 wireless microphone, does not rely on any floor slants. The cluttered look of a half dozen slants along the front of the stage is changed here to a completely wide-open performance area.

Figure 13

“We have been using one of our PA cabinets as a box on each side, hanging from the lighting truss,” notes Schubert. “The stage-sound level on this tour is much lower than it has ever been: it is about 6 to 10 dB down from when we used a traditional loud monitor system. With less sound up here on stage, we are finding that everyone hears more clearly.”

Of Schubert’s 16 monitor mixes, two went to the tiny floor slants; three mixes fed the miniature keyboard speakers; and five went to full-sized 15-inch slant monitors as rhythm mixes. Additionally, three mixes were used as effects sends for the vocals and drums, while a headphone mix was sent to the piano area, and stereo sidefills completed the monitor board’s output assignments.

“Toto has been using the Gamble boards in the recording studio,” notes Alan Bonomo. “Since this whole complex setup has been created around the keyboard submixers and the different types of monitor cabinets, we are duplicating that on the road so the performers have the same system that has worked well for recording.”

“It is important to note that a monitor system designed around the needs of a recording studio seems to work well in a live performance situation,” Schubert explains. “The rolled-off low end, the smaller cabinets, the lack of floor slants for the front singer . . . it has all helped to cut down the stage noise tremendously. Things sound very clean up here.”

Vocal microphones comprised Shure SM78, Beyer M88 and a Nady 701 (fitted with an SM87 capsule). The drum kit featured a host of Sennheiser MD-4218, while Countryman Isomax Il miniature condenser mikes picked up the congas, bongos and timbales. A hybrid Fender/Yamaha wireless body pack unit was installed on the saxophone to allow freedom of movement.

International Tour Package
The North American concert dates posed no particular logistical problems for Schubert Systems Group, since the firm regularly handles nationwide touring assignments for a
variety of clients, including the Tubes, Willie Nelson and Jefferson Starship. However, much thought was given to the many concert dates to be performed in Europe and Asia.

Figure 14

“Toto wanted the entire stage instrument package and monitor system to be self-contained and consist of a recording studio seems to be consistent,” recalls SSG’s David Morgan.  “Due to the great number of signal processors, crossovers and amplifiers, it was important that all of the racks be standardized, while travelling as compactly as possible.”

The standard-sized electronics racks were fabricated by Flag Systems of thick birch plywood, and covered with a tough charcoal-gray exterior nylon carpet material. An inner, foam surrounded birch frame protects the delicate electronic equipment. The racks measure 30 by 24 inches, and fit either three across in a 90-inch truck, or four across in the new 99-inch trucks.

Due to the microprocessor-based functions of many electronics devices, a clean, consistent source of AC power was considered essential. A compact regulated power supply was designed and fabricated by SSG (Figure 14).

“This distro serves the stage area, the monitor system and the house mix area,” explains Schubert. “Each performer and console area has two 20-amp legs of clean, regulated electrical power. Every man is on his own breakers. If the AC starts to drop or surge, the regulators automatically compensate, and can be set to allow up to a 12 percent ‘window’ for the optimum voltage lever.”

A custom-designed stage input panel/ splitter system was assembled for the group, with separate record/ broadcast capabilities for taking 96 lines on-stage into two 48-pair snakes.

A variety of unexpected difficulties can arise when taking such a complex live show to other countries. “We got to Japan, and were not even able to use our new Nady 701 wireless system because it turned out to be right in the middle of a Japanese television station frequency,” Schubert recalls “Over there, however, products are available for use which cannot be purchased here in the States.”

House Mixing
Shep Lonsdale and Clive Franks share mixing duties for Toto. The primary mixing console was a Gamble HC40-24, and a Yamaha M1516.

A submixer was set up to receive drum and percussion inputs (Figure 15). A separate Soundcraft Series 400 desk was provided for use by the opening act (Figure 16).

Effects processing devices included a Lexicon Prime Time Il, AMS 15-80S and RMX-16 delay units, Yamaha REV-I, Lexicon 224X digital reverb, and an Eventide 1-1949 Harmonizer. Ten Valley People Kepex Il noise gates were channel-inserted for drum and percussion inputs.

Channel-inserted compressor-limiting for vocal microphones was assigned to dbx model 160 and 165 devices. Four Yamaha C200 stereo cassette decks also were supplied for taping the show (Figure 17).

“This is my first time using this particular sound system,” explains mixer Clive Franks, known for many years of touring with Elton John.

“It’s pretty exciting. One can get better live sound results from a custom-tailored and correctly-engineered system such as this one. It’s good to have the designer out here with us, though… [Dirk Schubert] — that makes things go more smoothly, since some of the devices such as the crossovers are not off-the-shelf, familiar products.”

Figure 15

Like Shep Lonsdale, Franks felt that sound systems for live-concert use have been improving over the years. “We seem to be getting more sound from a fewer number of cabinets than what you would have seen several years ago,” he notes. “Improved array design and increased amplifier performance are all part of it.”

Lonsdale concurs: “Years ago, we made the best out of whatever we had. If you were good at what you did, you learned how to get the best sound out of anything, because so many of the available systems were poor in quality. It’s pretty easy to find good systems these days, as we all keep learning about what it takes to do the job right.”

Figure 16

House System
Schubert Systems Group’s loudspeaker arrays comprise multiples of a three-way rectangular “column” cabinet, each of which houses two JBL Model 2220 15-inch speakers, a Bi-Radial horn with a two-inch compression driver, and four JBL 2402 tweeters.

The cabinets are easily assembled into hanging arrays (Figure 18).

Large subwoofer cabinets, each housing four J BL Model 2245 18-inch loudspeakers in a ported rectangular box, provide low-frequency reinforcement below 100 Hz. Stacked on the floor next to the stage, ramps also allowed these boxes to serve as an additional performance area for the acrobatic lead singer (Figure 19).

Figure 17 (left): House equipment racks held a variety of signal processing devices, including a Lexicon Prime Time Il, AMS 15-80s and RMX-16 delay units, and dbx compressor-limiters. Four Yamaha C200 stereo cassette decks were available for making reference recordings of each concert. Figure 18 (right): A total of 36 three-way loudspeaker enclosures, each housing two JBL 2220 loudspeakers, a Bi-RadiaI horn with 2441 driver, and four 2402 compression tweeters, were supplied to the tour.

Amplifier racks house five stereo units each. Three 1,200-watt, one 800watt and one 400-watt specially modified Cerwin-Vega amps are currently employed, a combination that yields 300-watt8 to each 18- and 15inch speaker, 150 watts to each 2441 driver, and 25 watts to each 2402 tweeter (Figure 20).

“Having enough amplifier headroom to adequately drive the loudspeaker system and the reserve to respond to transient peaks is very important to us,” observes SSG technician Mike Ferrara.

A 200-amp, three-phase power distribution system drove the C/M Lodestar hoists used to “hang” the sound system, and supplied the main amplifier racks. A neat, modular I-beam system with heavy nylon straps suspended the speaker arrays; one rigging point with a one-ton motor suspended a single beam and four speaker cabinets. For venues averaging 10,000 seats, SSG supplied Toto with 36 three-way cabinets and eight subwoofers, giving a total of 32 18-inch speakers, 72 15-inch speakers, 36 two-inch drivers and 144 compression tweeters.

Conclusions: Performance Sound
With enough consoles and digital signal processing gear in this one touring system to fill a couple of audio rental supply houses, one begins to wonder where the trend towards extensive hardware for live-performance use will stop.

A concert sound setup such as this one is extremely costly, and is far beyond the average system on the road today in terms of its complexity.

However, the extra care taken to assemble the audio tools required to achieve live duplication of recorded music deserves more than a few compliments.

The concert that this writer attended at the Arizona State University Activity Center featured an extremely well-crafted mix, with subtle nuances and effects not often heard in live rock concert settings, particularly of the one-nighter variety.

The stage-area submixers were perhaps instrumental in achieving the excellent end result.

Figure 19

The SSG system presented the detailed mix to a lively college-age crowd with power to spare.

Full-frequency coverage was well distributed throughout the listening area.

Twenty years ago, a “rock and roll” show had one soundman, perhaps 12 stage microphone inputs, and whatever house-sound cluster was available that night.

As I sat and listened to six experienced board operators mixing down 136 inputs on $300,000 worth of consoles and effects into high-fidelity hanging speaker arrays, the distance that the concert sound industry has traveled in those two decades was remarkable to behold.

Now, if we can only “fix” those sporting-arena acoustics!


Editor’s Note: This is a series of articles from Recording Engineer/Producer (RE/P) magazine, which began publishing in 1970 under the direction of Publisher/Editor Martin Gallay. After a great run, RE/P ceased publishing in the early 1990s, yet its content is still much revered in the professional audio community. RE/P also published the first issues of Live Sound International magazine as a quarterly supplement, beginning in the late 1980s, and LSI grew to become the monthly publication that continues to thrive to this day.

Our sincere thanks to Mark Gander of JBL Professional for his considerable support on this archive project.

Posted by House Editor on 01/04 at 06:18 AM
Live SoundFeatureStudy HallAmplifierAnalogConcertConsolesEngineerLoudspeakerMonitoringProcessorSoftwareSound ReinforcementStageSubwooferPermalink

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Celestion Launches CDX20-3020 Two-Inch Ferrite Compression Driver

Three-inch copper clad aluminium voice coil driving a titanium diaphragm delivers 75Wrms power handling across a frequency range of 500 to 18,000Hz.

Celestion announces the launch of the CDX20-3020; a new 2-inch exit, ferrite magnet compression driver.

With a 3-inch copper clad aluminium voice coil driving a titanium diaphragm, the device delivers 75Wrms power handling and 107dB sensitivity across a frequency range of 500 to 18,000Hz. Recommended minimum crossover frequency (at 12dB/octave) is 1kHz.

According to Celestion’s head of engineering Paul Cork “This compression drivers bring together the best elements of technology used in the most successful products of our CDX range. The design extracts the maximum performance from a unit that is surprisingly compact for a 2-inch exit device.”

Like other CDX compression drivers in the range, CDX20-3020 makes use of Celestion’s experience in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to optimize magnetic and acoustic design, helping the device to achieve performance at a competitive price point.

This new compression driver also uses Celestion’s next generation of Sound CastleTM diaphragm clamping assembly to ensure even clamping pressure on the diaphragm surround, while actively reducing stress on the diaphragm during operation. This contributes to lower distortion while enabling the full internal volume of the rear cover to act as a loading chamber for the diaphragm, resulting in mid-band response.

With heat management, plus an edge-wound coil copper clad aluminium voice coil the CDX20-3020 is a HF solution for a wide variety of larger format sound reinforcement applications.

Visit Celestion at NAMM 2016: Hall C, Booth 4674, Anaheim Convention Center


Posted by House Editor on 12/31 at 11:17 AM

The Village At Westfield Topanga Renovates With Harman Professional Solutions

Studios and stage at California venue outfitted with JBL loudspeakers, Crown amplifiers, AKG microphones and Soundcraft and Studer mixing consoles.

A range of Harman Professional Solutions technologies were recently installed at The Village at Westfield Topanga to increase support of brick-and-mortar merchants.

The Southern California retail center combines shopping, leisure, premium restaurants, bars and spas.

It also includes a live music venue and a radio station, thanks to a collaboration between the Westfield Corporation and California State University, Northridge’s own public radio station, KCSN 88.5-FM/Los Angeles.

The new KCSN studio and stage is outfitted with JBL loudspeakers, Crown amplifiers, AKG microphones and Soundcraft and Studer mixing consoles.

The Westfield Corporation is a retail development company with 40 properties across the globe.

As traditional shopping malls struggle to remain relevant, The Village at Westfield Topanga takes a bold approach to retail, creating an experience that includes shopping, restaurants, fitness, lifestyle and health options, children’s play areas, outdoor lounges and exhibitions by local artists. KCSN sets the experience to music, specifically the station’s signature blend of eclectic, commercial-free alternative rock, blues, soul and Americana as well as live performances delivered to village visitors with clear sound quality and impressive coverage.

Harman was involved in the creation of the KCSN studio and an adjacent stage for the station’s upcoming Live at The Village Concert Series. The exterior of the studio was outfitted with two JBL AWC129 loudspeakers and a JBL AWC82 loudspeaker, while the interior includes two JBL LSR705i monitors, one Crown DriveCore DCI 4|600N Network Series power amplifier, four AKG D5 microphones, four dbx 376 Tube Channel Strips with Digital Out and a Studer OnAir 1500 mixing console.

For the studio, KCSN chose the JBL LSR705i loudspeakers for their impressive output and ability to fit in a small space. The station gravitated to the AKG D5s as a cost-effective microphone that doesn’t compromise on sound quality. KCSN produces its shows with a Studer OnAir 1500, a sophisticated, compact mixing console that gives the station an additional professional-grade fader unit, input/output (I/O) and integrated USB playback and record functions.

KCSN also selected a lineup of components from Harman to equip the stage on which musical acts will perform as part of the upcoming Live at The Village Concert Series. With the goal of offering visitors dynamic live music with the sound quality of a professional concert venue, KCSN opted for two JBL SRX815P loudspeakers on two JBL SRX818SP subwoofers for the front of house and six JBL SRX812P loudspeakers surrounding the stage. The Soundcraft Si Impact mixing console was chosen for its ability to capture live performances while simultaneously providing a broadcast for future use.

“This unconventional retail space needed an innovative audio solution to match,” said Ken Freeman, business development manager at Harman. “The system from Harman Professional Solutions further highlights The Village as a place that transforms a simple shopping experience into something much more.”

KCSN’s main studio is on the campus of California State University, Northridge, which is less than a mile from Harmans’ headquarters. Over the years, Harman has provided numerous audio solutions for the CSU Northridge campus, including the KCSN studio and the Valley Performing Arts Center, a five-year-old event venue, and was eager to continue creatively collaborating with the station. Developers of The Village at Westfield Topanga were familiar with the reputations of both KCSN and Harman, which gave it confidence it was partnering with the best.

“This is going to be a prototype for future retail branding,” said Sky Daniels, programming director at KCSN.

“We’re hoping to work with Westfield on developing a network of other non-commercial music stations as they continue to evolve the retail experience nationally. We both (Westfield and KCSN) understood that the AV experience must be superior to what had previously been used in community center endeavors, and Harman Professional Solutions provided a comprehensive solution that perfectly fits our needs. This has become a collaborative partnership that we hope will lead to transformative possibilities for artist development on a national basis.”

Harman Professional Solutions

Posted by House Editor on 12/31 at 09:11 AM
AVNewsAmplifierAVConsolesDigitalInstallationLoudspeakerManufacturerMicrophoneMixerSound ReinforcementStageStudioPermalink

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Celestion Introduces CDX1-1070 One-Inch Ferrite Compression Driver

Driven by a 25mm/1-inch copper clad aluminium voice coil, providing 106dB sensitivity across a frequency range of 1500 to 20kHz.

Celestion announces the launch of CDX1-1070; a new one-inch exit, ferrite magnet compression driver.

Developed at Celestion’s headquarters in Ipswich, England, CDX1-1070 is a 25mm/1-inch exit compression driver.

Driven by a 25mm/1-inch copper clad aluminium voice coil, this device provides 12Wrms power handling and 106dB sensitivity across a frequency range of 1500 to 20kHz.

It features a single piece PETP diaphragm and surround is held in place by a precision aluminium carrier, ensuring consistent reliable performance and facilitating a smooth frequency response.

This lightweight, ferrite magnet device is fabricated using a rigid engineering thermoplastic with a standard 2xM6 bolt fitting. Acoustic foam is utilized to minimize internal air cavity resonances, dampening unwanted reflections from the inside of the cover.

The CDX1-1070 magnet assembly and overall acoustic design have been optimized using sophisticated FEA (Finite Element Analysis) modelling techniques, to deliver smooth frequency response.

Purpose-built for compact two-way systems, CDX1-1070 has been made available at a cost-competitive price point, making Celestion compression driver technology even more accessible to reinforcement system builders.

Visit Celestion at NAMM 2016: Hall C, Booth 4674, Anaheim Convention Center


Posted by House Editor on 12/30 at 07:55 AM
AVNewsProductAVLoudspeakerManufacturerSound ReinforcementPermalink

Harman Professional Solutions Chosen For Cultural Center In Greece

Bon Studios selects AKG microphones, BSS Audio processing, Crown amplifiers and JBL loudspeakers for multi-function venue.

A complete audio system consisting of technologies from Harman Professional Solutions was recently selected for the new cultural center in the Municipality of Ampelokipoi in Greece.

To select the right mix of AKG microphones, BSS Audio processing, Crown amplifiers and JBL loudspeakers, the cultural center worked closely with Harman’s distributor for Greece, Bon Studios S.A., which recommended the all-Harman deployment for its ability to meet high technical expectations.

The solution provides sound for a variety of events that take place at the cultural center, including concerts, dance performances, theatrical productions, cinema exhibitions and conferences.

“The Cultural Center aspires to be on par with the most prestigious performance venues in Europe, and to this end, there could be no compromises on quality when it came to the audio system,” said Elpi Bofiliaki of Bon Studio S.A.

“The Harman Professional Solutions system at the Cultural Center is connected and controlled via Harman HiQnet Audio Architect, enabling the entire system to be monitored and managed from a single location. Combine this with the reliable performance and long life span of Harman Professional Solutions products, and the result is incredible value for the customer.”

For musical productions, speech, choir and conferencing applications, Bon Studio S.A. installed a variety of AKG microphones, including 10 AKG C555 L head-worn condenser microphones, 10 AKG C214 condenser microphones, 20 AKG C1000 S MK4 condenser microphones, two AKG C430 condenser microphones, 10 AKG C417 L lavaliere microphones, three AKG D7 dynamic vocal microphones and six AKG D112 kick drum/bass drum microphones. In addition, the solution includes an AKG CS3 conference system, an AKG DMS700 wireless microphone system and 16 AKG IP2 headphones.

The cultural center’s PA system features four JBL STX828S subwoofers and two JBL VRX918S subwoofers, six JBL VRX932LA loudspeakers, two JBL PRX425 loudspeakers for side fill, 76 JBL 8128 ceiling speakers and six JBL PRX412M stage monitors. Twelve JBL 8320 loudspeakers provide surround-cinema sound.

Digital processing and signal distribution is handled by two BSS BLU-160 modules, each of which features 16 inputs and 16 outputs. Powering the system are four Crown MA 5000i, eight XTi 2002 and three DSi 1000 amplifiers. A Crown DSi-8M projection booth monitor is used to help manage the cinema system.

Harman Professional Solutions
BSS Audio

Posted by House Editor on 12/30 at 07:50 AM
AVNewsAmplifierAVInstallationLoudspeakerManufacturerMicrophoneProcessorSound ReinforcementWirelessPermalink

Real World Gear: Cone & Compression Drivers

The Old Soundman once said to me, “A speaker ain’t a speaker unless it’s got some speakers inside.” Indeed, true words of wisdom.

Cone and compression driver technology has improved considerably over the years, mirroring the progress of the loudspeaker systems that utilize them. The result is sonic quality that’s vastly upgraded, along with enhanced durability.

Advanced design techniques and the employment of materials such as neodymium in magnet structures have helped lead this charge. Today’s drivers are marked by greater power handling, increased efficiency, and enhanced output in comparison to previous models.

There are hundreds of top-quality options available to end users, both to replace outdated drivers in their loudspeaker systems as well as for those who prefer to build their own full-range boxes and subwoofers.

When seeking either replacements for drivers no longer manufactured or making an upgrade, it’s best to match the original transducer’s operating parameters as closely as possible. Not all drivers behave the same way when given the same signal or when loaded into a particular enclosure.

Many key driver specifications are commonly known as Thiele-Small Parameters, named after A. N. Thiele and Richard Small, who showed how various parameters affect the relationship between a transducer and the enclosure. Additional important specs include sensitivity, power rating, and usable frequency range.

Sensitivity is one of the most useful specifications because it shows how loud a transducer will get relative to the input signal. This spec is stated in decibels (dB), usually referenced to 1 watt of input signal measured at 1 meter of distance from the driver. The higher the sensitivity rating, the more efficient the driver is at reproducing sound.

A parameter that seems to confuse some is wattage. Simply put, wattage is not a measurement of loudness (again, that’s the job of the sensitivity rating), it’s simply a statement of how much input power a particular device can handle. (In other words, the power rating.) A transducer with a lower power rating but a higher sensitivity rating can have a louder output than one with a higher power rating but lower sensitivity. For example, a woofer with 96 dB sensitivity and 500 watts power handling will get as loud as a 1,000-watt driver with 93 dB sensitivity.

The frequency range that the unit operates within is relatively self-explanatory. But as you’ll see in the listings in our Photo Gallery Tour, these do vary between what appear to be similar devices.

For compression drivers, two additional things to look for are throat size and mounting configuration. Drivers normally fall into these throat-size groups: 1-, 1.4- (or 1.5-) and 2-inch. Generally speaking, the larger the throat, the larger the diaphragm and the lower in frequency range the driver can operate in.

And, diaphragms can be made of many materials, with aluminum and titanium being the most popular. Magnet structures are usually neodymium, which is light in weight and performs very well, but as a rare earth element, it can be subject to market volatility. As a result, more manufacturers are also offering both cone and compression models with ferrite magnet structures, which are heavier.

In our round-up of recent transducers, we’ll take a look at compression drivers that handle higher frequencies and cone drivers optimized for lower frequencies. Common parameters include usable frequency range, power handling, weight, and sensitivity, intended as a start to your own research. Enjoy the Photo Gallery Tour.

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

Posted by House Editor on 12/30 at 07:38 AM
AVFeatureSlideshowAVLoudspeakerManufacturerSound ReinforcementPermalink

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Raleigh First Assembly Renovates With L-Acoustics

CSD specifies Kiva and ARCS WiFo systems with a Yamaha CL5 desk for converted manufacturing facility.

Like many audio system design projects, the biggest challenge in specifying sound for a house of worship is often overcoming the limitations of the physical space.

That was the situation that Ft. Wayne, IN-based Custom Sound Designs (CSD) Group faced in a recent project for First Assembly Church of Raleigh, NC, and a system based on L-Acoustics’ Kiva and ARCS WiFo product lines controlled by a Yamaha CL5 digital audio console was its solution.

For a millennium or more, worship spaces have traditionally been works of high art in architecture—soaring spaces featuring the finest materials and designs to inspire a sense of awe and wonder.

Today, however, especially in the rapidly growing evangelical world, new churches are often likely to be former retail locations or spaces in commercial parks rather than sites purpose-built from the ground up as houses of worship.

A perfect example of this, Raleigh First Assembly acquired a 58,000-square-foot space that had the advantage of being located right in the middle of its mission zone, but the abandoned industrial property presented challenges as massive as the space.

“This is not just a case of it being a large and acoustically unfriendly space,” explains CSD president Doug Hood.

“In some ways it was closer to a new-construction project than a typical renovation, but the nature of the construction limited what could be done. The site was originally a manufacturing facility, so it was a large and almost completely open environment. Things like support beams are central to the structure and therefore had to be worked around in terms of the design.”

CSD turned to the L-Acoustics Kiva and ARCS WiFo ranges for the loudspeaker end of the equation, deploying a dozen Kiva modules in left and right arrays of six, then extending that coverage to the sides with an ARCS Wide and ARCS Focus (aka “WiFo”) paired together on each side for outer fill.

The room is much wider than it is deep—one of the overall design challenges by itself—and so the system deployment is wide enough that a center fill is needed. CSD took the novel and cost-effective approach of flying a single 115XT HiQ enclosure, typically billed as a stage monitor, in the center position for its high directivity and SPL, while a total of seven compact 5XT coaxial enclosures are spaced out across the stage lip in recesses as front fills.

In order to completely cover the cavernous space without the volume from the main system overwhelming those sitting close to the stage, four 12XTi modules from L-Acoustics’ architectural line were deployed as delays to cover the back portion of the main worship space.

Low end is filled out with a quartet of SB15m subwoofer modules flown in pairs adjacent to the Kiva arrays and four SB18i subs installed in recesses in the face of the stage. Seven LA4 amplified controllers power the system.

A Yamaha CL5 digital mixing console fed by RIO digital stage boxes drives the L-Acoustics system, and in-ear monitoring relies on a mix of Sennheiser transmitter-receiver packages along with Aviom personal mixers. Using almost all in-ears and only two small wedges virtually eliminates stage volume, which is crucial in this venue.

“One of the reasons we chose the Yamaha CL5 was that we wanted this system to be rider-friendly,” Hood shares.

“We knew that the console is widely accepted as a standard of quality so we felt very comfortable with selecting it. Furthermore, we wanted to run a digital snake from the stage to the mix position, so by using the RIO boxes we were able to accomplish that goal. We also wanted seamless integration to the IEM system, and by using Dante we created a great signal flow to the Aviom personal mixers on stage.”

Hood reports that before any audio or staging gear went in, a total of 118 custom acoustic panels made by Golterman and Sabo were installed. “It was a very unfriendly space to start with, but we treated most everything except the ceiling—the side walls and the back wall—and it is all very well behaved now.”

That ceiling was part of the reason that Kiva and ARCS WiFo were chosen.

“Raleigh First Assembly brings in national touring acts pretty regularly, so, again, we knew from the start that we needed something rider-friendly and L-Acoustics is a very widely accepted brand,” says Hood. “Also, although the building itself is very large, the ceiling is not super tall, so we needed something that could fill this enormous room with power and clarity and still keep a relatively small footprint. The Kiva and ARCS WiFo combo did that really well.

“From a relationship standpoint, RFA was the perfect client. They put a lot of trust in CSD. Basically they said, ‘Here’s this great big building. What can we do to make it special?’’ The L-Acoustics system was the best choice for them based on rider needs, physical size, sound quality and budget. All of those points had to be hit and this system does it. The end result is a great room that the church is just crazy-happy with.”

Custom Sound Designs

Posted by House Editor on 12/29 at 01:01 PM
Church SoundNewsConsolesDigitalInstallationLine ArrayLoudspeakerSound ReinforcementStageSubwooferPermalink

Poland’s Tychy Municipal Stadium Outfitted With Community Professional

SLX designs a system using sixty-eight R SERIES R.5HP loudspeakers along the outer edge of the stadium’s 360-degree canopy

Specialist integrator, SLX Sp. z o.o. has completed the design and installation of a sound system for the new Tychy Municipal Stadium, choosing loudspeakers from Community Professional.

Located in the city of Tychy, the 15,300 capacity venue is in the southern Polish region of Silesia.

Home to the football team GKS Tychy, the new stadium has been designed to meet the requirements of UEFA and FIFA and as a true multifunctional venue for concerts, cultural and artistic events, fairs and conferences.

In addition to the main sports arena, with six commentary positions, the site comprises restaurants, conference rooms, two TV studios, VIP lounges and impressive amenities for players and athletes. The stadium not only creates a striking new landmark, but is intended to become a true showcase for the city.

For the main arena sound system, SLX designed a system using sixty-eight Community R SERIES R.5HP loudspeakers, deployed in pairs along the outer edge of the stadium’s 360-degree canopy. Each pair of loudspeakers is arrayed to provide even coverage of the front and rear tiered seats. The high power three-way R.5HP offers high sensitivity and mid-range clarity with vocal projection and intelligibility maximized over distance. A further two Community R2-94 loudspeakers cover the playing field.

Loudspeaker performance is optimized by a Community dSPEC 226 DSP processor and the Community loudspeakers are driven by six Dynacord DSA 8410 4-channel amplifiers and a DSA 8405 amplifier. The whole system is operated on a Dynacord P64 audio matrix that connects all devices in an IRIS-Net network, allowing monitoring and control from a PC. The system is controlled from the main commentary position via the PC and a Dynacord CMS 1600-3. Genelec monitors and Sennheiser wireless microphones complete the system.

SLX additionally installed an APS-APROSYS eight-zone modular voice alarm system, from Swiss manufacturer g + m electronics. The alarm system is fully integrated with the main sound system and also operates in all the stadium’s public, commercial and technical spaces and the underground car park. In the case of an emergency the safety system has full priority and all other signals are automatically muted, with absolute priority for the fire officer’s microphone.

Tommex Żebrowscy Sp. J. supplied the main equipment and provided technical support for the project. Marcin Zimny, commercial director of Tommex, commented, “SLX has designed and installed an outstanding system for the entertainment and safety of visitors to Tychy Municipal Stadium. All elements of the system have a proven track record for reliability and the sound in the main arena is clear and even across all seating areas, ensuring spectators’ maximum enjoyment of all events.”


Community Professional

Posted by House Editor on 12/29 at 11:46 AM
AVNewsAmplifierAVInstallationLoudspeakerMicrophoneProcessorSound ReinforcementPermalink

Masque Sound Supports Broadway Revival Of The Gin Game

D.L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning show returns with James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, supported by Yamaha and Meyer Sound.

When D.L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning show, The Gin Game, returned to the John Golden Theatre (where it first appeared in 1977), Masque Sound helped raise the stakes with a custom audio equipment package including a Yamaha console and Meyer Sound loudspeakers.

Starring two-time Tony Award-winner James Earl Jones and three-time Emmy- and Tony Award-winner Cicely Tyson, The Gin Game tells the story of Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey who meet on the porch of their nursing home and strike up a friendship, with Weller teaching Fonsia how to play gin rummy.

As they play, they share stories about the lives they led in the outside world. But when Fonsia wins every hand, Weller becomes increasingly frustrated, until their gin games and conversations become a battleground, with each player exposing the other’s failures, disappointments and insecurities.

As the entire play takes place on the porch of the home for the elderly, where the two characters live, sound designer David Van Tieghem’s goal was to create the world inside the house behind them, conveying the life and activity within. 

“The sounds needed to weave seamlessly between background and foreground throughout,” says Van Tieghem. “As is usual with good theatrical sound design, it’s very important to support the play, but remain unobtrusive, not calling attention to the sound unless the script requires it. This play was no different in that respect. There needed to be careful attention to the detail, timing and location of every aural element and I was really happy that Masque Sound was able to provide me with the equipment I needed to bring my vision to the stage.”

At the heart of the custom audio equipment package, supplied by Masque Sound, was a Yamaha CL1 digital mixing console. Van Tieghem chose the Yamaha CL1 not only for its sonic purity but also due in part to its compact size, as the area available for the mixing position was relatively small.

For his loudspeaker selection Masque Sound provided Van Tieghem with a selection from Meyer Sound. The company’s UPJ-1P and UPA-1A speakers were his preference for the main proscenium array which, according to Van Tieghem, delivered the clear, natural sound necessary for the sonic environment that he was creating.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with Masque Sound on any production,” adds Van Tieghem. “They really go the extra mile to make sure we have everything we need to realize our artistic vision, and to ensure that each performance runs flawlessly. In addition, my A1 Brien Brannigan has done a wonderful job in ensuring the show sounds as great as it does.”

Masque Sound
Meyer Sound

Posted by House Editor on 12/29 at 09:25 AM
Live SoundNewsAVConsolesDigitalLoudspeakerManufacturerMixerSound ReinforcementStagePermalink

Thursday, December 24, 2015

‘Tis The Season: A Sound Design To Enhance Christmas Celebration

A few years ago, a single Christmas tree deployed in downtown Guatemala City proved so popular that it inspired a nationwide effort, with 25 more cities in the Central American nation of Guatemala outfitted this year with trees of their own.

Now, at 150 feet tall, the original wasn’t your average Christmas tree, and neither are its descendants, both in terms of their scale as well as a unique ability to provide audio programming that is synchronized with millions of LED lights.

Specifically, every half hour from 5 pm to midnight during Christmas season, an 11-minute recorded program was played to entertain thousands of spectators.

The tree structures are fabricated locally from steel and then literally blanketed with the lighting elements, as well as greenery and decorations.

For the sound design, however, the program organizers put in a call to Orange, CA-based professional audio and production company Ultra Industries, headed by Ryan Herrera.

For the original tree, Herrera formulated a design to provide 360-degree coverage from loudspeakers flown within the tree structure, seeking 95 dB output in all directions at 75 feet in distance.

The steel framework that forms the basis of all of the trees. (click to enlarge)

Developed with an assist from EASE modeling to help verify and optimize coverage, the design was headed by eight Spectr Audio SPX1538 (2-way/15-inch) loudspeakers flown from one of the tree’s circular steel frame elements at a height of about 20 feet.

The loudspeakers, all weatherized, are attached with standard chain shackles. Low frequencies were supported by eight Spectr Audio SPX218 double-18-inch subwoofers, distributed around the floor but still inside the structure.

QSC Audio RMX Series power amplifiers drove the mains, with QSC PLX Series powering the subs. Digital processing was supplied by a dbx DriveRack, with level control via a dbx ZonePro. All of these components were rack-mounted and also reside within the tree.

Spectr Audio loudspeakers flown within a tree. (click to enlarge)

Digital audio programming was supplied by the Monster Brain system from Animated Lighting that controls the entire production.

The following year’s expansion to 25 more trees, most a bit smaller in scale in comparison to the original, followed the same sound design path in terms of form and components. Herrera worked with local crews to train them on putting the systems together, so components could be shipped directly to each site and assembled within its respective tree.

The expansion of the program,  sponsored by Cervezeria Centroamericana, a Central American brewing company, did present some logistical challenges to Garden Grove, CA-based Spectr Audio, which got the order for 200 loudspeakers and subwoofers that needed to be delivered within a tight three-week window.

A finished tree. (click to enlarge)

“This was an unusual project, but we pride ourselves on doing the unusual,” Herrera notes. “The specified audio performance parameters are actually exceeded with this design, so it makes for a very dynamic program.

“Spectr Audio really came through,” he adds. “All 200 loudspeakers arrived in time to meet our scheduling demands. It was a pleasure to work with them last year for the single tree, and this year for all 25 trees. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the audio quality of their products.”

On the opening day, additional sound systems were brought in at the site of the original tree, and various rock and pop performers performed to celebrate the beginning of the season.

All 26 trees were lit, and sound was activated, at precisely the same moment throughout the country. 

Posted by Keith Clark on 12/24 at 07:44 AM
AVFeatureAVInstallationLoudspeakerSound ReinforcementPermalink

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Anaheim’s Honda Center Overhauls Systems With Harman Professional Solutions

Diversified Systems selects JBL VTX line arrays and Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers for the home of NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.

Harman Professional Solutions’ components were recently selected for the Honda Center as part of its full-scale technology overhaul.

The arena, home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, is now equipped with JBL VTX line arrays and Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers.

The Honda Center’s technology upgrade includes a new HD scoreboard, HD video cameras and completely renovated video and audio rooms.

The Honda Center’s audio team worked with audio-visual (AV) systems integrator Diversified Systems, which drew on its decades of expertise consulting, designing, building and integrating full-scale audio solutions.

Diversified Systems began the process by evaluating the loudspeaker options on the market.

“We did a listening test with line arrays from three brands,” said Pete O’Neill, director of AV Engineering for the western region at Diversified Systems.

“We had them process their EQ curve flat, and then played various speech and musical content. Next, we evaluated the performances of each speaker based on a variety of technical criteria. The JBL VTX V20 line array loudspeakers came out as the unanimous winner.”

The complete audio solution for the Honda Center includes 72 JBL VTX V20 loudspeakers and 30 Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD amplifiers. JBL loudspeakers are set up in six clusters, each configured with 12 JBL VTX V20 line array cabinets with four subwoofers behind them. HiQnet Audio Architect software was chosen for sound system configuration, and the JBL loudspeakers and Crown amplifiers are easily configured, monitored and controlled using JBL HiQnet Performance Manager, a software application that facilitates a more streamlined workflow.

In choosing a new audio system, Honda Center sound technician Nate Chivers wanted a significant upgrade in the evenness of sound coverage, so every seat would feel like it was right on the ice.

“The coverage we have now with Harman Professional Solutions is incredible,” Chivers said. “The definition and clarity of the sound is superb, from the front row all the way up to the rafters. It’s a huge change from what we had before.”

The Harman installation also led to a substantial improvement in microphone directivity.

“We were having persistent feedback issues on the referees’ lavalier microphones for a long time,” Chivers said. “Our Harman Professional Solutions system has drastically improved the directivity of the microphones. I get so much more gain on the microphones before they start feeding back, because the sound is directed mainly toward the stands and not reflected in any other direction.”

Chivers is not alone in his praise for the Harman system.

“The audio quality in the arena is now at a very high level,” Chivers said.

“I routinely have audio engineers from the broadcast trucks tell me how amazing the system sounds. Our public address (PA) announcer sounds incredible coming through the JBL loudspeakers. We had high expectations for this new audio system, and Harman Professional Solutions not only met them, but exceeded them. The entire solution has been flawless.”

Harman Professional Solutions

Posted by House Editor on 12/23 at 02:39 PM
AVNewsAmplifierAVBusinessInstallationLine ArrayLoudspeakerProcessorSoftwareSound ReinforcementSubwooferPermalink

John Rodd Chooses ATC Monitors For Mixing EA Star Wars: Battlefront

Gordy Haab’s original score for EA Games mixed and blended with John Williams’ Star Wars film scores using SCM150ASL Pro reference monitors.

Like many of the scores John Rodd records, mixes and masters, he relied on his ATC SCM150ASL Pro reference monitors for a recent project with EA Games.

In 1977, he snuck out of the house, long before he would become a prominent music recording, mixing and mastering engineer in the film, gaming, and music industries, with credits including Breaking Bad, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Lincoln Lawyer, World of Warcraft, Elysium, Batman: Bad Blood, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed; and Eric Clapton among countless others.

He was eleven years old at the time, and the occasion was arguably worthy of so great an infraction: the original Star Wars film was playing in the theater and he wasn’t going to be the only kid in class to miss it.

Now, decades later, Rodd is a part of the Star Wars universe by mixing and mastering Gordy Haab’s original score for EA Star Wars: Battlefront.

Players of EA Star Wars: Battlefront hear Haab’s original score throughout most of the game, but the game also segues in and out of parts of John Williams’ Star Wars film scores. Rodd had to make sure that Gordy’s original score would fit with the older film scores from both a technical standpoint and, more importantly, from an emotional standpoint.

“To fit within the Star Wars universe, Gordy’s music had to sound lush and huge, exciting and dramatic,” Rodd said.

“The recordings took place at Abbey Road’s largest studio, and part of my task was always striking the perfect balance between the room mics and the spot mics. If only the room mics were utilized then the music would sound too far away. The spot mics add presence and detail, but if they become too loud, the recording loses its grandeur and falls out of balance. It loses its depth.”

Rodd emphasized that his cinematic and gaming work takes a different mindset compared with that of a classical recording that is meant to stand on its own. It has to effectively coexist with dialog and sound effects, which require different considerations.

“I had to think about the big picture for EA Star Wars: Battlefront,” he said. “Clarity is paramount. A lot of my work involves tiny surgical adjustments to clear away frequencies that are masking or diminishing important elements. Getting the right balance of clarity and size is difficult, and it requires profoundly accurate monitoring.”

He continued, “I find that my ATC 150s are very revealing and honest. ATC is legendary for its midrange quality, and I rely on my ATC 150s to help make all the tiny sonic decisions that add up to a compelling mix. They’re brutally honest, which is a good thing! If something actually sounds glorious, then it will sound glorious on my 150s. If something is slightly amiss, it will sound wrong on my 150s. There’s no guessing; ATC gives me the whole picture. Moreover, that truthfulness guarantees that a great sound in my studio will translate well to any other system. As a result, I’m able to work with 100% confidence.”


Posted by House Editor on 12/23 at 01:47 PM
RecordingNewsEngineerLoudspeakerManufacturerMonitoringSound ReinforcementStudioPermalink

RCF To Debut HDL50-A Line Array At NAMM

Active three-way line array module, designed for large events to be presented along with matching subwoofers

RCF will be unveiling the new HDL50-A line array to the U.S. market at the upcoming NAMM Show in Anaheim.

The most powerful model in the series, the HDL50-A is an active three-way line array module specifically designed for large events. Equipped with two 12-inch woofers, four symmetrical 6.5-inch midranges and two 2-inch drivers, it offers high sound pressure levels, with each module driven by a 4,400-watt digital amplifier and onboard DSP.

The custom 4PATH designed waveguide provides dispersion of 90 by 10 degrees while also delivering a linear high-frequency response. The unique shape of the four ducts forming the guide create an optimized isophasic load from 700 Hz to the highest audible frequencies.

Two ND850 large-format compression drivers with 3-inch voice coils have a crossover point of 800 Hz, meaning that the drivers produce almost all of the vocal range. The RCF-designed V-SHAPED front baffle provides coplanar midrange drivers and woofers, as well as a controlled LF dispersion.

The symmetrical cabinet design produces identical left and right coverage. The component positioning and special DSP crossover filtering of the HDL50-A foster constant directivity without spots of break-up or attenuation. Settings are accessed by an encoder on the rear of the cabinets or by using the integrated RDNet remote control.

The HDL50-A is housed in a tour-grade composite wooden polypropylene enclosure, and is equipped with two aluminum side handles with rubber handgrips and two rear handles for portability.

The integrated mechanics are both fast and reconfigurable, allowing creation of J-shaped and spiral arrays with 0.5-degree resolution. The heavy-duty front grille is power coated. Transparent-to-sound foam backing inside helps to further protect the transducers from dust.

The HDL50-A can be integrated into RCF line array Shape Designer system design software that allows production companies and integrators to model systems for control, pattern, SPL, and mounting configuration.

In addition, RCF is introducing the new SUB 9007-AS, an active subwoofer equipped with two hyper-vented 21-inch neodymium woofers with 4-inch inside-outside voice coils. Audio power is delivered by an onboard 6,800-watt digital amplifier. The housing of the SUB 9007-AS matches the RCF HDL50 array systems, enabling stacked configurations.

Attendees of NAMM are encouraged to stop by the RCF booth (6780) to check out the new HDL50-A and SUB 9007-AS, and to learn about a special demo event being held in conjunction with the show.



Posted by House Editor on 12/23 at 08:27 AM
AVNewsProductAmplifierAVLine ArrayLoudspeakerManufacturerSound ReinforcementStageSubwooferPermalink

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Northwest Nazarene University Selects NEXO For Swayne Auditorium

Production Services International deploys GEO arrays with NXAMP amplifiers at Christian university in Idaho.

Nampa, Idaho’s Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) is a nonprofit Christian university offering over 60 areas of study for undergraduate and graduate students. The theater department produces multiple audition-based musicals per year along with hosting Philharmonic performances, community forums, and other concerns.

NNU recently installed a NEXO GEO M6 speaker system in the Brandt Center’s 1500-seat Swayne Auditorium, thanks to the efforts of Production Services International (Boise, Salt Lake, Denver).

“The initial design was developed several years back by one of our former employees who happened to be an alumni of NNU,” states Noah Bard, operations manager, PSI International.

“During the long design/sales process, three different systems were demonstrated, and each one was considered, but due to budget constraints, none were installed. We have an outstanding partnership with NNU, and Yamaha worked with us over several years to ensure we could provide the university with the proper system.’

“Finally, in 2015, funding came into place, and we demonstrated the GEO M6 installed at a nearby church. NNU was quite impressed, so we knew it was the right fit. The NEXO M6 decision was a combination of size, superior performance, and price.”

Bard said the old audio system did not work well and needed to be replaced from an acoustical perspective.  “Aesthetically, NNU wanted the sound system to disappear as much as possible. The old center hung system was very much a part of the room. The change had been a part of the initial master plan for upgrades.”

The GEO M6 system consists of a stereo pair of M6 Clusters, 12 per side.  Each cluster consists of three M6Bs and nine M620’s.  Adjacent to each cluster behind scrim are two NEXO LS18 subwoofers. The entire system is powered by two NEXO NXAMP 4X1s for the mains and one NEXO NXAmp 4X4 for the subs. All the amps are installed with EtherSound cards.

PSI also added a Lake Processing card to the previously installed Yamaha M7CL-ES Console and an outboard 5045 Neve Processor. 

“We use the Lake Processor for additional system processing along with the base system processing provided by the NXAmps, Bard adds. The 5045 processor was primarily installed for use during chapels for headset and podium use.”

A group of PSI installers along with NNU students and staff installed the system Much of the cable-pulling, cleanup, dismantling of the old system was all performed by students and staff. 

Several years ago, PSI installed a Yamaha M7CL-ES Digital Audio Console with three stage boxes.

“The theater was originally installed with a network of analog jacks, Bard notes, so rather than installing new stage boxes on the stage, we installed the stage boxes in the patch bay, and the students made TRS/XLR cables to patch existing house jacks to the stage boxes.” PSI extended the EtherSound network to the new NEXO amps so the whole system is running off EtherSound.

Production Services International

Posted by House Editor on 12/22 at 01:48 PM
AVNewsAmplifierAVConsolesDigitalInstallationLine ArrayLoudspeakerProcessorSound ReinforcementStageSubwooferPermalink

Klipsch Group Promotes Three Key Leaders

Mark Casavant, David “Westy” Westfall and Matt Spitznagle all receive promotion within the company.

Klipsch Group, owner of the Klipsch, Jamo and Energy audio brands, announces the appointment of Mark Casavant to senior vice president of Global Brand and Business Development, David Westfall to vice president of Global Export, and Matt Spitznagle to director of Technology and Innovation.

Casavant, who previously served as SVP of Product Development, assumes the senior vice president of Global Brand and Business Development role following a career of sales, training, market and product development management that includes 25 years with the company.

He is immediately focused on building export markets as the Klipsch Group brand evangelist, product expert, world-class trainer and face of the company. He will also provide sales and product development guidance, while ensuring Klipsch Group is an even stronger competitor in new and existing markets. For the long term, Casavant is focused on performance excellence as he connects the company’s rich history and legacy to its future as a tech-driven, forward-thinking audio company.

David “Westy” Westfall, who previously served as regional vice president Asia Pacific, has been promoted to vice president of Global Export after nine years in sales, training and customer service management at Klipsch. He has been in the consumer electronics industry for more than 30 years, specializing in sales, purchasing and merchandising.

Westfall will build a team of internal resources, based in the headquartered Indianapolis office, focused on and dedicated to servicing distributors and the development and growth of both the Klipsch and Jamo brands in the global export markets.

Spitznagle, previously manager, Electronics Engineering for Klipsch Group is now director of Technology and Innovation following an 11-year career at the company.

His engineering accomplishments at Klipsch include DSP subwoofers, the first iOS compatible products, many Bluetooth products the new Reference Premiere HD Wireless speakers that will launch in January 2016. Spitznagle will play a key role in leading Klipsch Group’s transformation as an innovative, tech-driven audio company. He will develop platforms and innovative audio solutions that cater to the way people access and listen to music around the world.

Klipsch Group

Posted by House Editor on 12/22 at 08:34 AM
Page 60 of 363 pages « First  <  58 59 60 61 62 >  Last »