Monday, January 20, 2014
Outline Team Expands With New Engineer, Business Developer Appointments
Will help provide clients with an even higher level of service as well as to boost R&D efforts
Italy-based loudspeaker manufacturer Outline has expanded its team with the appointment of Andrea Ippolito as engineer and Anastasia Klinushkina as business developer.
The pair has joined the team to enable Outline to help provide clients with an even higher level of service as well as to boost R&D efforts.
Andrea Ippolito holds a degree in telecommunications engineering and has already worked for several months on the company’s iMode project under the guidance of engineer Daniele Pagani.
“From my point of view, joining Outline’s R&D team has meant having the opportunity of being involved in highly ambitious projects, using state of the art technology and working alongside some of the best engineers in the pro audio industry,” Ippolito says, who is also a musician. “My experience in the digital signal processing field has numerous applications in audio, which for me is a great source of stimulus and satisfaction, thanks also to my love for music.”
“The first project I worked on was the development of the iMode platform,” he continues. “Thanks to research and implementation of efficient avant-garde digital processing techniques, such as WFIR filtering, we achieved the goal of really in-depth overall system control which, along with the upgrade of the iOS applications, makes control work enjoyable and immediate.”
Klinushkina, a native Russian speaker who also speaks fluent English, Italian and German, obtained a degree in foreign language teaching in Moscow, another in languages for international business communication in Modena (Italy), and inherited a great love for audio from her sound engineer father.
Her mission with Outline will be to maintain and strengthen relations with existing clients (some of whom are long-standing Outline customers), whether they are distributors, installers, rental companies or consultants, as well as finding opportunities for global expansion in new markets.
Anastasia statess, “I’m very proud to work for Outline. I’ve always loved the pro audio world, thanks above all to my father, who has worked in the sector for almost 30 years.
“I consider my role as being transversal and multi-faceted, as it involves the sales, marketing, R&D, logistics and administration departments,” she adds. “My previous work experience has enabled me to build up the abilities I currently have, which will without doubt stand me in good stead in this job, but I’ll obviously learn a lot more as I go along, and this is very exciting.
“I’m convinced that, rather than looking for distributors, nowadays companies need to find partners willing to shares responsibilities and success. The key to successful international cooperation is precisely the realization of common objectives.”
Outline CEO Giorgio Biffi states, “The team’s expansion is a further step in our development and expansion process at international level. There are countries with a high development potential, in which our brand’s appeal could be greatly appreciated. Young people are an indispensable resource since, as well as their technical skills, they are able to communicate new ideas using many different media. We are now stronger and ready to follow up on this latest step.”
Ingensteds In Norway Upgrades With VUE a-Class Loudspeakers
Main performance room's tall ceiling and abundant reflective surfaces demanded loudspeakers with exceptional pattern control
Built in what was originally a 19th century brick factory, Ingensteds is a new music venue in the heart of Oslo, Norway, that’s quickly becoming a popular hot spot for events ranging from classical music performances to disco parties and weddings.
The multi-purpose venue opened its doors last summer after completing a major renovation that included a new sound reinforcement system from Trondheim and Oslo-based Avon. The Avon team designed Ingensteds’ new system around VUE Audiotechnik i and a-Class loudspeakers.
“This venue hosts a varied mix of music performances and special events, so we needed an extremely flexible system that would look clean and blend with the aesthetic,” explains Avon owner Edgar Lien. “In essence, we needed relatively compact loudspeakers capable of delivering ample amounts of clean output for livelier events, or a more subtle and neutral sound for classical performances.”
In addition to versatility and aesthetics, the main performance room’s tall ceiling and abundant reflective surfaces demanded loudspeakers with exceptional pattern control.
Lien’s final design includes front of house and monitor systems comprised entirely of VUE Audiotechnik a-Class loudspeakers. Custom-painted VUE a-15 and a-8 2-way systems hang above the stage with specially designed flying hardware for minimal visual impact. Low frequency comes courtesy of dual as-215 while four VUE a-10 2-way systems are deployed as monitors.
Lab.gruppen IPD 2400 and IPD 1200 series amplifiers provide system-wide power, while a PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 digital desk handles the mix.
“The VUE a-Class sounds absolutely amazing and provides extremely consistent voicing from the 8-inch all the way up to the 15-inch cabinets,” states Lien. “What’s more, coverage from the VUE loudspeakers is extremely well defined, which really streamlined the installation process and allowed us to easily cover the listening areas while avoiding overflow and the reflective walls.”
To keep floor space clear and maintain the venue’s intimate feel, the Avon team designed custom soffits to house the subwoofers neatly under the front of the main stage.
“The as-215s deliver the perfect balance of sub and mid-bass impact,” says Lien. “They really accent the full-range a-15’s perfectly and deliver an amazing amount of output for their size. It’s nice to have that available when the music calls for it.”
In addition to the main performance space, supplemental sound reinforcement is delivered by three VUE i-4.5 two-way systems in the mezzanine area. The Lab.gruppen amplifiers provide necessary delay and level matching across the two listening zones.
“We couldn’t be happier with how easily the system came together and how capable the VUE loudspeakers are,” concludes Lien. “From disco to classical music, the system is more than capable of handling anything the owner throws at it night after night. That’s exactly the type of customer satisfaction that makes this job so much fun.”
France-Based APG Debuts New MX0 Compact Coaxial Installation Loudspeaker
Offers the same performance as the popular DX5 in a format specifically designed for the installation market
French manufacturer APG has expanded its range of micro-format 5-inch coaxial loudspeakers with the addition of the dedicated MX0 installation loudspeaker.
Following in the footsteps of the DX5 loudspeaker that has found favor with a number of rental companies as both a stage monitor and main loudspeaker, the new MX0 offers the same performance as the popular DX5 in a format specifically designed for the installation market.
The MX0 can be stand-mounted or wall- or ceiling-mounted using the optional ETMX0 bracket, or simply placed on a suitable surface. It comes with Phoenix connectors as standard and is also available in 70/100-volt line version.
It’s reduced form factor and wide dispersion characteristics (100 degrees above 10 kHz) enables extended coverage with a minimal amount of loudspeakers.
Applications include vocal reinforcement such as conferencing, as well as for background music and in-fill applications (delay, front fill, side fill, surround sound/effects etc). Combined with subwoofers, it provides a powerful yet discreet system for private venues such as hotels, restaurant or home cinemas, or public places including museums, retail outlets, multimedia venues and so on.
Like the DX5, the new MX0 is available as standard in either black or white.
Clair Gives “Cathedral Of College Basketball” An Upgrade With JBL & Crown Components
Loudspeakers installed on a custom 2-layer rigging grid that can be raised and lowered from the ceiling
Dubbed the “cathedral of college basketball,” the University of Pennsylvania’s 8,722-seat Palestra arena is home to the Penn Quakers men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams, and it recently received an audio upgrade headed by JBL Professional loudspeakers and Crown Audio amplifiers, courtesy of systems integrator Clair Brothers Audio Systems.
“The existing sound system simply wasn’t meeting the needs of the facility,” said Tim Mazur of Clair Brothers. “It was underpowered and couldn’t compete with the reverberant acoustics of the arena.”
After conducting an acoustical analysis of the Palestra, Clair Brothers designed a new system based around JBL VRX932LA-1 Constant Curvature loudspeakers and ASB6118.
As part of the renovation, Clair Brothers designed and fabricated a custom 2-layer rigging grid that can be raised and lowered from the ceiling, placing it in the optimum position during games and other events and out of the way when not required. The fly grid holds 30 JBL VRX932LA-1 line arrays arranged in six clusters of five each, with eight ASB6118 subs hung from the center. In addition, four JBL AM5212/95 loudspeakers deliver fill sound onto the basketball court.
Ten Crown Macro-Tech 9000i amplifiers and one Macro-Tech 5000i amplifier drive the loudspeakers, linked by a BSS Audio BLU-160 signal processor with digital audio bus and a BLU-BOB2 break-out box.
“The Palestra is a very difficult acoustic space because it’s highly reverberant, but we were not allowed to apply any acoustical treatment,” Mazur says. Working in conjunction with JBL, Clair Brothers determined the JBL VRX932LA-1 loudspeakers would deliver the most output for the budget thanks to their compact size, ease of installation, and 100 x 15-degree coverage pattern.
“We had a very tight turnaround on the project – only nine weeks from the time of the purchase order was issued to the completion date,” Mazur concludes. As a result, Clair Brothers hung and tested the entire system at its Manheim, PA headquarters before installing it in the Palestra.
Sensaphonics Introducing 3D AARO In-Ear Monitoring System At 2014 NAMM
Second-generation Active Ambient IEM system adds significant new features
Sensaphonics is introducing the new 3D AARO (Active Ambient, Record Out) custom in-ear system at the upcoming 2014 NAMM show in Anaheim, at booth 6952.
The 3D AARO incorporates the second generation upgrade of the company’s patented Active Ambient technology platform. Specifically, it builds on the success of the 3D Active Ambient, which adds fully controllable on-stage sound to the in-ear mix via embedded binaural microphones.
The ambient audio is captured with full-range accuracy and precise directionality, with the 3D AARO adding the ability to capture that ambient audio via a stereo record out mini-jack on the 3D-RO bodypack mixer/amplifier.
Connecting that output to a digital recorder allows musicians to record their practice sessions from the point of view of their own ears, with all directional cues in place and no need to set up extra mics. Previously available only as a custom shop option, the record out feature has also proven useful for field production, live concert recording, and surround audio capture.
In addition, Sensaphonics has added a bass boost switch to the new 3D-RO bodypack. This new feature adds +10 dB of low frequency response to the mix. The bass boost feature is especially useful when playing on concrete stages, where the natural bass response obtained from hollow wooden stages is unavailable.
Finally, to minimize downtime, the 3D Ambient earphones have been upgraded to include a new quadaxial cable connector. This new cable offers the same form factor, plug-in convenience, and secure connectivity as the coaxial connector found on other Sensaphonics earphones. The new quadaxial cable employs four connections per earphone to accommodate the signal flow requirements of having both ambient audio and monitor mix flowing to and from the 3D-RO mixer.
The full-range 3D AARO earphones are available in either single-driver (3D-1q) or dual-driver (3D-2q) configurations, drawing their power from the 3D bodypack for maximum efficiency.
“The 3D AARO adds significant new features to our proven 3D technology,” states Dr. Micheal Santucci, Sensaphonics founder and president. “By adding record out, bass boost, and the quadaxial cable as standard features, we have expanded functionality and reliability while maintaining the unique, patented system that allows the hundreds of 3D users to hear both the monitor mix and their on-stage sound with both earpieces in place. We’re also very happy to announce that our pricing remains the same, making the 3D AARO an even greater value.”
First introduced in 2006, the 3D Active Ambient (U.S. Patent #8,160,261) employs advanced circuitry design to capture on-stage audio up to 140 dB-SPL with no distortion and zero latency. It remains the only fully controllable ambient IEM system on the market.
System prices are $2,000 for the single-driver version and $2,500 for dual-driver, with special introductory pricing and free ear impressions available during the NAMM convention.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Hosa Technology Announces New Edge Series Microphone, Loudspeaker & Guitar Cables
All offer Neutrik connectors, Oxygen-Free Copper conductors, and professional workmanship
Hosa Technology has introduced the new Edge Series cable products, and they will be on display at the upcoming NAMM show in booth 5590.
New Edge microphone cables utilize Neutrik XX-series connectors. Manufactured with gold-plated contacts for corrosion resistance, a Zinc die-cast housing for solid reliability, chuck-type strain relief for maximum cable retention, a boot with a polyurethane gland to prevent cable kinking, and an ergonomic design that ensures easy handling.
They also employ 20 AWG Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) conductors along with polyethylene dielectrics and a 95 percent OFC braided shield. This reduces resistance and capacitance for maximum signal transfer and crystal-clear high frequency transmission while providing maximum noise rejection.
New Edge speaker cables also employ Neutrik connectors that offer precision machined, one-piece contacts for signal integrity and structural rigidity, chuck-type strain relief, and a sleek, ergonomic design. They incorporate 12 AWG Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) conductors that reduce resistance and provide maximum signal transfer. Further, they are manufactured with a PVC jacket that adds durability, remains flexible, and reduces the visibility of the cable.
New Edge guitar cables utilize Neutrik X-series plugs, and like the microphone cables, they have gold-plated contacts, a Zinc die-cast housing, chuck-type strain relief, a boot with a polyurethane gland, and an ergonomic design that ensures easy handling. Further, they incorporate 20 AWG Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) conductors, a 95 percent OFC braided shield, and conductive PVC.
“Transmitting sound from its source to the audience with minimal signal loss is absolutely crucial,” says Jose Gonzalez, Hosa Technology product manager, “and this mandate is precisely what the new Hosa Edge Series is all about. Someone at the beginning of the signal chain poured their heart and soul into their music, and the music must reach the crowd with the same quality and impact as originally created.
“Unfortunately, the quality of the cable that transports one’s signal is often overlooked. With the new Edge Series, all of us at Hosa are confident the music will be delivered exactly as it’s supposed to be.”
Edge Series cables will all be available in a variety of cable lengths. MSRP of the microphone cables will range from $45.45 - $145.80 while the guitar cables are priced from $46.50 - $81. Loudspeaker cables will carry pricing from $37.65 - $232.50. All are expected to become available by March, 2014.
Genelec Announces 8010 Active Monitor, Smallest Member Of The 8000 Series
Suitable for professional work in small studios, offering accurate monitoring capability with ease of installation
Genelec has announced the new 8010 active studio monitor, the smallest member of the 8000 Series product range. It will be on display at the upcoming NAMM show in Anaheim at booth 6740.
The compact 8010 is suitable for professional work in small studios, offering accurate monitoring capability with ease of installation, and is also a companion for portable recording devices and other mobile production work.
The 8010 incorporates a balanced XLR input, 3-inch bass driver, 3/4-inch tweeter and efficient Class D power amplifiers, one for each driver. T
Intelligent Signal Sensing ISS circuitry saves energy by automatically putting the monitor to sleep when the audio signal has been absent for a period of time. Once a signal is detected again, the monitor wakes up automatically. This circuitry can be bypassed when the automatic standby function is not desired.
A range of versatile accessories is available for the 8010 to cover mounting needs. For example, an L-shaped table stand can be used to optimize monitor orientation toward the listening position and to minimize undesired sound reflections.
The 8010 will be available early 2014 at a U.S. MSRP of $440 each.
Posted by Keith Clark on 01/17 at 11:51 AM
Thunder Audio Helps Provides Donny and Marie Christmas Tour With JBL VTX Line Arrays
Donny & Marie Christmas tour utilize JBL VTX line array system.
This recent Donny and Marie Christmas tour brought the Osmonds’ family-friendly blend of music, dancing, comedy and entertainment to audiences across the US.
The 15-city arena tour featured the Osmonds performing holiday music, hit songs and more—even mixing in classic clips from 1970s holiday TV broadcasts that hadn’t been seen in decades.
The all-out entertainment extravaganza delivered with the help of a Harman JBL VTX Series line array audio system provided by Livonia, Michigan-based Thunder Audio.
“Donny and Marie are known for their spectacular production values, musical variety, costume changes and unstoppable energy and the Donny and Marie Christmas Tour was no exception,” said Greg Snyder, Business Development Manager for Thunder Audio and project engineer for the tour. “They want to make sure every single person in the audience feels like they’re an intimate part of the show, even if they’re at the back of a 20,000-seat arena.
“That’s why we used the JBL VTX line arrays for sound reinforcement on the tour—more than 75 of them including tops and subs.”
Two main left and right hangs of 14 V25 fullsize line array elements were flown per side, along with two outfill hangs of nine V25 elements per side, two side fill clusters of two V25 elements per side, six S28 subwoofers hung at each end of the stage and a center cluster of four V25 elements. On the ground, six S28 subwoofers per side and four JBL VERTEC® VT4888 midsize line array elements up front provided additional low end and center fill.
The loudspeakers were powered by 72 Crown I-Tech HD 12000 amplifiers housed in proprietary Thunder Audio rack systems. JBL HiQnet Performance Manager™ was used for system control, with JBL’s Line Array Calculator II employed for loudspeaker setup. All the shows were recorded by FOH engineer Lucas “Rico” Corrubia using a Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing console.
The sound crew for the show included monitor engineer Joe Webster, Thunder Audio’s FOH systems engineer Johnathon Winkler, monitor systems engineer Ron Hurd and fly tech and stage patch technician Paul Villarreal. “As one of the first sound companies to purchase JBL VTX Series line arrays, we’ve gotten to know what they can do in an arena setting in every respect,” Snyder pointed out.
“This rig is phenomenal, Paul Bauman and the JBL team did a great job designing VTX,” Corrubia noted. “It has so much horsepower, it can go for days.”
Systems engineer Jon Winkler is extremely well versed in the operation and deployment of this system and in using Performance Manager and the JBL Line Array Calculator II to optimize its performance. “Jon has a very keen ear and he was really the key to fine-tuning the system to the ‘nth’ degree,” Snyder added.
“To me, the definition of a good loudspeaker is when the sound of the box itself disappears—that you almost forget you’re even listening to a loudspeaker,” Corrubia added. “That really started to happen with the VTX system as we got a sense of tuning it. We could go anywhere in any arena and it would still sound crystal-clear and transparent.”
Snyder noted that even though the Donny And Marie Christmas Tour played in large arenas, the show felt more up close and personal, thanks in large part to the clarity and smooth, focused coverage of the VTX line arrays even over larger distances.
“Donny and Marie are two of the warmest and most inviting performers around and we wanted to make sure that audiences were drawn into the more intimate parts of the show like their quieter solo numbers, yet dazzled by the energy of the all-out production numbers,” he said. “The JBL VTX line arrays are as unstoppable as Donny and Marie when everyone’s singing, playing and dancing their hearts out.”
Corrubia echoed this sentiment. “Donny and Marie have so much variety in their shows, going from rock and roll to Broadway and opera, that you need a system to handle that versatility,” he said. “VTX did an incredible job.”
Thursday, January 16, 2014
The Same Everywhere: Exploring System Linearity
Linearity is reasonably straightforward as a concept, but when applied to sound reinforcement systems – and to large-scale systems in particular – it gets a bit more complicated. Understanding linearity can be extremely helpful when designing, tuning and operating systems for predictable and repeatable results.
It’s a concept that is often either taken for granted, misunderstood or not fully grasped because there are many parameters to consider when evaluating audio systems. We’ll establish some fundamentals before tackling more complex issues.
For a basic definition of linearity, we’ll turn to the world of mathematics. Homogeneity and superposition are two important terms in linear system theory. In the audio world, homogeneity refers to frequency content.
For a system to be completely linear, both of the following statements need to be true:
1) Frequencies that are not present in the stimulus will not be found in the output.
2) Frequencies that are found in the output will always be found in the stimulus.
The rules of superposition require that when two or more signals are summed together, they contain all of the content of both signals, while maintaining a proportional relationship. To develop some simple examples, we’ll introduce two “black box” devices – though here they are blue and green – which represent some part of a mechanism or an interconnecting network. By comparing the input to the output of the devices, we can determine their degree of linearity.
Here’s the most basic example. We input a blue lower case “a” to both devices, and look at what comes out. At the output of the blue box, we see a blue lower case “a,” only it’s bigger. At the output of the green box, we also see a larger letter “a,” but this one is red and upper case. By testing with only the small “a” as an input, we cannot determine whether either device is more or less linear (Figure 1).
We have to keep testing, making the output larger and smaller, and using input sources other than a lower case “a.” We need to keep repeating the tests, both for longer and shorter intervals and under different conditions, such as signal content and input levels.
So let’s say we run multiple tests for the blue box, and each time the input and output always maintain a directly proportional relationship, behaving linearly. In this example, if we input a blue lower case “d,” we can reasonably expect the output also will be a blue lower case “d,” only enlarged to the same size as the other three letters (Figure 2).
But with the green box, it’s a different story. Yes, the input of the same three letters results in a larger letter at the output, but the colors, case, orientation all change, and one character isn’t even a letter.
Unquestionably, here we have a non-linear device. If you input a blue lower case “d” here, the output will likely be something larger, but it could be just about anything – perhaps even a squirrel or a banana (Figure 3).
Linear devices are very predictable; easy to measure and quantify. This makes them especially attractive to work with when reproducing sound.
Verification of homogeneity and superposition in audio systems can be done by turning to three basic tests: scaling, summing, and timing.
Let’s start with scaling, and here we’ll use examples that bridge us into the world of audio. Let’s say we put a small kick drum into the blue box, and it comes out larger. The only change is in scale. It could get larger or smaller, but everything else is identical. The same thing happens when we put in a piano. The output is proportionally related to the input and has the same scale as the drum (Figure 4).
By comparing the results of these various tests, we can develop a list of meaningful results that are beyond just playing a CD and subjectively being happy or not with the resulting sound.
Below, we see first that the green box has increased the size of the kick drum somewhat, as expected. But when a larger kick drum is the input, we get a smaller one as an output. This behavior fails the scaling rule of linear systems. A linear system would have output a “ginormous” kick drum (Figure 5).
For a superposition (summing) test, we can send the kick drum and the piano at the same time, and the output is the same kick drum and piano, only larger (Figure 6).
Again, the summing proceeds as a linear function. With the green box, alas, when we combine the kick drum and piano at the input, the output becomes a glorious – saxophone? Definitely non-linear (Figure 7).
The third test is timing. An interesting example of timing linearity is the venerable vinyl record. A well-made disk on a good turntable can be a reasonably linear recreation of the original recording.
But what if you put your finger on the edge of the disk? You guessed it, there will be significant changes to the spectral content, which is in violation of homogeneity, and the waveform as a function of time is altered. If you play it backwards, you maintain the same scale and summing information, but the reversed timing makes the signal unrecognizable. (If you happen to hear satanic messages, this nevertheless remains non-linear in relationship to the signal in the intended direction.)
Now that we’ve moved into the realm of audio, we need to consider measurement tools and develop some procedures to test for linearity.
At the most basic level, of course, we can simply insert a sine wave test tone and use an oscilloscope to plot the signal amplitude and display the time required to complete one cycle. Or we could use a simple spectrum analyzer, which would display amplitude over the frequency as a line or bar.
A more sophisticated approach employs dual-channel FFT transfer measurements. This is a tool which, when properly used, can reveal shortcomings in any or all three of the main linearity requirements.
Transfer function measurements, using full bandwidth signals, can be used to qualify scaling and superposition (summing) properties of a system as well as the timing aspect of homogeneity. High resolution spectral analysis of single or multi-frequency tones can be used to readily identify system shortcomings in homogeneity which manifest as distortion products.
Theoretically, we could do all our testing using single tones and laboriously plotting the results. But it’s usually much faster to use broadband noise or program content with a spectrum analyzer, which looks at the full range of frequencies in real time.
However, this does not show the time relationship. By using dual-channel analysis you can look at the complex transfer function of the system, the difference between what was sent and what was delivered (Figure 8).
FFT analysis also lets us look at relative phase differences over a frequency range, to see if we are achieving linearity in the time domain. This is extremely useful in the time alignment of multi-way loudspeaker systems.
Finally, dual channel FFTs let us analyze the relative arrival time of energy. Do all frequencies present at the input arrive at the test microphone at the same instant, or do they spread out over time, with the system producing some frequencies later than others?
If there is a time offset between two signals, this will cause changes of magnitude across the spectrum, as signals at some frequencies will add as others will cancel. A typical example is the comb filtering caused by the relative phase differential between two signals. When two time offset signals are summed, their combined response looks like this (Figure 9).
Spectral analysis reveals other differences between input and output signals, such as the harmonics generated by a loudspeaker. In the example shown here, a 50 Hz signal is being sent and the level ratio of the fundamental versus the harmonics can be quantified. The more non-linear the loudspeaker is, the closer in level the harmonics will be to the fundamental (Figure 10).
In The Field
That concludes our whirlwind tour of the basics of linearity in audio systems. And, fortunately, we know we have good tools at our disposal to isolate and measure deviations from linearity in audio systems. Sound level meters and spectrum analyzers give us good information about the real-time performance of an audio system at one measurement point, whether at a mic location or a point in the signal path, but they don’t make input-to-output comparisons.
It’s really the modern dual-channel FFT analyzer that gives us the powerful tool to make comprehensive comparisons in both frequency and time domains. By applying various test signals – noise, swept sine tones, fixed sine tones, multiple fixed sine tones, and pulses – we can isolate and measure potential non-linearities in an audio system.
Using these concepts and tools, we can set out to design and manufacture linear audio systems, and then configure, tune and operate them to perform in a linear fashion.
But first we need to define the operating parameters. Are we talking about linear performance only in the digital or analog electrical domain, or also in the domain of acoustical sound pressure? And do we need linearity across the entire audio bandwidth, above and below it as well (some say we do), or only a portion of it?
If we stay completely in the realm of signal recording and electrical amplification, audio systems have become remarkably linear in recent decades. Digital recording and mixing systems, when used within their wide but strictly defined operating parameters, exhibit a degree of linearity unheard of 50 years ago. (Outside those parameters, their non-linearity is off the charts.)
Recently, modern audio amplifiers as a rule are exceptionally linear. Progress has also been made to better convert electrical voltage to the acoustic realm of sound pressure in air, but this is an area where the limits of linear behavior are still often encountered.
But before we examine that in detail, let’s consider the elements of our complete sound reinforcement system and set some parameters within which we expect to maintain a linear relationship between signal input and acoustic output.
For our purposes here, we’ll assume that all the “artistic decisions” have been made, and we’re taking the signal from the main output of a mixing console. From here on out, the goal is to transfer that electrical signal into an acoustical signal at the desired level throughout the intended listening area, without changing anything.
To accomplish that, the signal first must pass through some kind of signal distribution, crossover and limiter devices, either in the analog or digital domains. By the time we get to the power amplifier, we must by necessity return to analog, as loudspeaker drivers (and subsequently our ears) remain stubbornly analog.
Then, assuming an active multi-amped system, the power amplifiers outputs connect to the mechanical motors of the loudspeaker drivers. These drivers, in turn, are mounted in cabinets with a specific acoustical environment defined by cabinet volume, baffling, ports and waveguides (Figure 11).
It’s at this transition stage between electrical voltage and acoustic pressure where linearity becomes particularly problematic, and the higher the SPLs involved, the more difficult it is to maintain linear behavior. For contrast, think of a condenser microphone, in which a capsule diaphragm need move only a few micrometers to generate a few millivolts of signal. Even a relatively inexpensive condenser microphone can exhibit excellent linearity.
Compare that to a high-power loudspeaker system, where an amplifier can pump peaks of around 200 volts and 80 amps into a stiffly mounted 18-inch loudspeaker, moving it rapidly several inches. Maintaining linearity here is not easily so easily accomplished, and requires a good bit of creativity along with diligent engineering.
Demands Of Modern Music
So what parameters do we need to set for linear behavior in our desired audio reinforcement system?
First, we need to set bandwidth, and ideally that would be about 30 Hz to 18 kHz, perhaps even wider in the electrical stages.
Now, here’s the critical part. We need the loudspeaker system to respond to the signal demands all across that frequency bandwidth in a linear fashion, regardless of the input signal.
For example, let’s look at spectrum measurements for two pop songs. For each, the top red trace is the peak value, and the white trace is the RMS level, both averaged over one minute.
The top screen is that of a 1970s pop hit, the bottom screen shows a newer pop tune. At 50 Hz, there’s a level difference of almost 15 dB, or almost six times louder.
That means you’d need a little more than 30 times more power to realize linear reproduction of the newer song if the mids and highs for both songs were reproduced at the same levels (Figure 12).
That calculation is important. Remember, Decibels are logarithmic ratios, dB = a X log(x/y), where a is either 10 (power or intensity) or 20 (sound pressure or voltage), and x and y are values like 0.5 volts and 1.0 volt.
For our example, here’s how it works out:
Sound pressure (dB) = 20 log (x) x = amplitude change factor or ratio
15 dB = 20 X log (x)
x = 5.6 times louder
Power (dB) = 10 log (y) y = power change factor or ratio
15 dB = 10 X log (y)
y = 31.6 times more power
And if you want to project that level across a distance of 100 meters (approximately 330 feet), you need a prodigious amount of power. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why large-scale reinforcement systems often are driven well into their non-linear regions.
But is that the right approach? Some live sound mixers overdrive certain systems to “get their sound.” Is that a role that should be played by a loudspeaker system? And what if it works for one artist, and not another? Does it really make sense to have one system for heavy metal, another for jazz, and a third for classical? Can you count on a system’s consistent performance when it does not behave in a linear manner?
Art Or Science?
Here we need to acknowledge – and applaud – the legitimate and deliberate creation of audio non-linearity for artistic effect. Certainly the output of Jimi Hendrix’s Marshall stack was not a linear transfer of the string sound on his Fender Strat. And today’s live sound engineers have at their disposal a vast array of tools – from digital console plug-ins to racks of vintage outboard gear – to create entire universes of non-linear sounds to express an artistic vision.
But once that artistic intent is realized, usually at the output of the mixing console, the sound reinforcement system should transmit that sound transparently, coherently and consistently. And regardless of the frequencies and sound levels, the loudspeaker system should not alter the sonic characteristics of the source at any point during a show. The end result should be, to the greatest extent possible, a linear translation of that small electrical input into a very powerful acoustic output.
A linear system puts more of the artistic control in the hands of the artists. So if the artist and live sound mixer decide to change a squirrel-sound into a banana-sound, that’s how it should be. That’s the role of art.
However, the goal of the sound reinforcement system is to make sure that everyone in the audience hears and enjoys exactly the same, undiluted banana-sound experience. And that’s a job for science.
Peter Soper is R&D engineer and Steve Bush is senior technical support specialist for Meyer Sound.
Adamson E218 Subwoofers Add Romance To John Legend Tour
"Made to Love" is on the road with an Adamson Energia E15 PA.
R & B crooner John Legend’s “Made to Love” tour is sweeping across the country playing in 27 different U.S. cities. Concert attendees are treated to intimate, hopelessly romantic presentations of the performer’s amorous chart-topping tunes.
Sound Image, located in Escondido, California and Nashville, Tennessee, was once again selected to provide sound reinforcement and support for the tour.
“Made to Love” is on the road with an Adamson Energia E15 PA. The typical venue configuration features left-right hangs of twelve enclosures per side with front fill support provided by four SpekTrix enclosures.
The newest items on the tour are eight Adamson Energia E218 subwoofers, which recently joined the inventory at Sound Image.
“The technology in the Adamson Energia E218 sub is leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors,” explains Dave Shadoan, president of Sound Image. “They are extremely impressive.”
The recently introduced E218 is a band-pass sub containing two ND18-S Kevlar Neo-Dymium drivers utilizing Adamson’s Advanced Cone Architecture. The sub is equipped with a custom version of the e-Capsule which holds a simplified version of the Energia rigging system, allowing for a flat or slightly curved sub array when hung.
During the “Made to Love” tour the subwoofers are used in a standard left-right configuration off an auxiliary send. When space allows, they are typically arranged two wide by two high.
“Sometimes I only have 4-feet of space to work, so with them being relatively lightweight, stacking isn’t difficult with four guys,” explains John Leary, Sound Image system tech for the tour. “We stack 3 high on a dolly, which makes getting them into the building easy and I like the input and ouput NL8’s on the back so I can drive two boxes with one cable.”
David Haines, FOH engineer on the tour adds, “I’m amazed at how smooth and punchy the E218 is for being so light. They have excellent coverage and response, especially in some of the more challenging rooms we’ve encountered on this run so far.”
The system is powered by Crown HD-12000s and driven by Lake Processors.
Filipetti Picks Sanken Microphones For Historic Performance Of Zappa’s “200 MOTELS”
Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Frank Filipetti chooses Sanken microphones for historic performance.
Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Frank Filipetti (Elton John, koRn, James Taylor) chose a large selection of Sanken microphones for the performance of Frank Zappa’s “200 MOTELS - The Suites.” The LA Philharmonic marked the 10th anniversary date of the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall with the world premiere of the orchestral Work by L.A.‘s groundbreaking iconoclast composer Frank Zappa.
“I spent five days in rehearsals and production meetings with Gail Zappa and the amazing folks at the LA Philharmonic and Walt Disney Concert Hall,” commented Filipetti. “This was one of the most difficult, yet rewarding assignments I’ve ever undertaken.”
Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen lead the LA Phil, joined by L.A.-based director James Darrah, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale with Grant Gershon. Also joining Salonen and the LA Phil was a cast of renowned soloists featuring soprano Hila Plitmann, and a band that included Ian Underwood of Zappa’s The Mothers of Invention, Scott Thunes, who also played with Frank Zappa, Zappa Family Trust “Vaultmeister” Joe Travers, and Jamie Kime of Zappa Plays Zappa.
“From a recording perspective, we had 160 microphones on stage, and managed to capture an extraordinary evening with the Music Mix Mobile West truck,” explained Filipetti. “My main orchestral sound came from six Sanken CU-100Ks —three in an LCR tree above the conductor, and three in the rear in LCR. These mics have a phenomenal response, incredible low end, and a texture in the top end with such sweetness they capture that very high air in a very warm way.”
According to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which mounted the one-night-only performance, this was the first complete realization of Zappa’s musical vision. “It was a huge undertaking but exhilarating to hear Frank’s music performed by such an incredibly talented group of people,” added Filipetti.
In total, Filipetti employed over 30 Sanken microphones, including dual-capsule CU-44X condensers on the orchestral double bases and cardioid CU-55s for the entire woodwind section, drum overheads and the extensive percussion section.
“The CU-55s are small and unobtrusive,” continued Filipetti, “but they have a wonderful low frequency response while still providing super quick transients. You get a lot of air without harshness, and the low end is really nice and deep. Because they are small, they are easy to place and are unobtrusive. The brushed bronze finish works out quite well for orchestral sessions because many conductors and directors don’t like to see a lot of microphones onstage and the 55’s tend to blend in with the instruments.”
Frank Zappa had a rich classical history, with his music performed by Zubin Mehta, championed by Pierre Boulez, and picked by Esa-Pekka Salonen for this unique Los Angeles celebration of his music and the 10th Anniversary of the Disney Hall.
“To hear those notes the way Frank wrote them was indescribable, kind of magical,” added Filipetti. “To be a part of this one-night only event was very special, and I’m so glad they chose Frank’s music to celebrate this milestone.”
Posted by Julie Clark on 01/16 at 11:30 AM
Texas Churches Choose Bose Professional Systems
Systems designer and consultant Ken Dickensheets relies on Bose RoomMatch loudspeakers and PowerMatch amplifiers to conquer acoustically challenging environments in churches from Midland to Austin
Ken Dickensheets, CTO/Principal Consultant for Dickensheets Design Associates, has been involved in many notable projects with some of the most challenging being churches, where very often the importance of clear, highly intelligible audio is initially overlooked in architectural design.
Dickensheets is often called in to fix the sound systems in these sanctuaries, oftentimes relying upon solutions from Bose Professional Systems.
One of his more recent projects was the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Austin. There, Dickensheets encountered a small 250-seat sanctuary, but one with an extremely high ceiling for the size of the room – over 30 feet tall.
This, plus the marble and plaster finishes, resulted in a reverberation time of more than five seconds, quite long for a room of that size.
To resolve the situation, Dickensheets brought in several steerable-array loudspeaker systems ultimately finding the solution with a single Bose RoomMatch RM7040 array module, powered by one Bose PowerMatch PM8500N amplifier.
“The difference in the intelligibility of the sound between the Bose RoomMatch loudspeaker and every other speaker was like night and day,” he says. “That one speaker was able to give them the kind of sound they’d been in search of for ten years.”
Mark Stevens, President of San Antonio Sound & Light, the AV integrator on the project, says that the RoomMatch loudspeaker has the high-frequency articulation needed to address speech intelligibility in that kind of acoustically complex environment.
“The RoomMatch module has six high-frequency drivers mounted on a waveguide that is just perfectly suited for problems like these,” he explains.
Stevens adds that the RoomMatch loudspeaker was flexible enough in its ability to be mounted that he was able to position it almost 30 feet above the church’s altar and aim it down at a precise 45-degree angle.
“We needed the height and the angle just right to optimize the box for the space, and the RoomMatch module was able to be installed exactly as we needed it to,” he says.
The First Christian Church, in Midland, Texas, had similar intelligibility issues in its 900-seat worship center.
This project was part of a larger renovation that also included lighting and video – all of which was installed by Ace Audio Communications based in Austin. In this situation Dickensheets specified a main array consisting of a RoomMatch RMS215 subwoofer, RM5510, RM5520 and RM7020 loudspeakers, with a second RM5520 module positioned as foldback for the choir.
Another RM5520 loudspeaker was installed as a delay array to cover the balcony. Two PowerMatch PM8500N amplifiers power the complete system.
“This church also had struggled for years with poor-quality sound,” Dickensheets says. “We presented the Bose RoomMatch system to them as the best solution for keeping the audio energy directed away from the brick and wood surfaces that were causing the reflections.
“At first they were concerned with the costs, but once we calculated the costs of other options such as line arrays, it became clear that the RoomMatch array modules offered not only the best solution but also the best value. In terms of cost-effectiveness, the Bose RoomMatch system beat everything else on the list.”
At the 600-seat Hope Presbyterian Church in Austin, Dickensheets recommended Bose RoomMatch loudspeakers and PowerMatch amplifiers to address some reverberation issues there as well, but the final decision wasn’t made by the church’s leadership but rather by its musicians.
Dickensheets arranged a blind listening test event in which the church’s music directors listened to three different speakers without knowing their brands. Unanimously, they chose the Bose RoomMatch loudspeakers as having the best intelligibility and most natural sound.
Ace Audio Communications installed a system consisting of an RM215 subwoofer, RM9010, RM9060 and RM12040 array modules, powered by two PM8500N amplifiers.
“That really tells you something,” says Dickensheets. “The RoomMatch system is not just solving the problems around speech intelligibility, but also providing great full-range sound for music. The RoomMatch speakers really cover a lot of ground.”
Eighteen Sound’s Steve Hutt Continues The Legacy
Eighteen Sound's Steve Hutt continues 18Sound quality as R&D manager.
One year ago Steve Hutt joined Eighteen Sound (18Sound) as the manager of R&D and immediately began focusing his team on design for manufacturing, quality and production excellence.
Last June the company moved to a new facility which allows for production, sales, R&D and administration to share the same building, adding even more efficiency to the design and development process.
“In the last year we have redefined our internal development procedures, organized our customer response practices for fast and thorough turn around, and introduced key product families that are setting new benchmarks for the industry,” Hutt adds. “Since 18Sound was founded some 16 years ago they have consistently designed and manufactured the very best high performance transducers for some of the very best audio system integrators around the globe.”
“I was recruited to implement a plan that would leverage the considerable expertise at 18Sound, while maintaining the original vision and passion for excellence. A great design is only as good as the last unit off the production line and in this area, 18Sound is as good as it gets.”
Hutt’s industry background underscores his broad reach of disciplines and understanding that is essential in his new role at 18Sound. He has authored a substantial number of AES and Tech papers on Transducer Quality, he holds 15 Patents, and has 30+ years in the professional audio business, including time spent at Harman, Klipsch and THX.
As the leader of the development team he interfaces with design engineers from prominent manufacturers around the world. This not only keeps him grounded in up and coming technology demands but also allows him to explore the leading edge of design.
“Throughout my career I have been lucky to work closely with some of the greatest contributors to loudspeaker sciences: Richard Small, Don (DB) Keele and Laurie Fincham are a few of the people who have inspired, mentored and instilled in me a discipline for excellence. It is fantastic to come to 18Sound to find the same passions, discipline and extraordinary skill sets literally throughout the organization.”
2014 will see some of the most decisive movements from 18Sound in its history. The new facility in Reggio Emilia, Italy allows for substantial production growth and product development, and the output from the organization will eclipse any previous year. Hutt pauses to focus on this growth.
“Going forward we have a number of products in the pipeline that will serve not just the status quo for high performance drivers, but introduce innovative solutions and emerging technologies that will position 18Sound as the go-to-supplier for our customers. It promises to be another exciting year.”
Adamson Systems Backbone Of Indochine Black City Tour
The second half of the Indochine Black City tour kicked off with sound reinforcement once again provided by Adamson E15 and E12 line arrays and T21 subwoofers. The first half of the tour deployed the same Adamson system.
The Black City Tour is performing in large venues throughout France, Belgium and Switzerland culminating with a performance at the Stade de France in June.
Nicolar Sirkis, the front man and lead singer for Indochine, assisted in the creation of a sound, lighting and video show that promises to dazzle audiences everywhere. Philippe Dubich, the sound engineer for Indochine, specified the Adamson Energía sound reinforcement system.
The system was designed by system engineer Julien Poirot. He along with his assistant, Wilfried Lasbleiz, have flown the versatile E15 and E12 line arrays in every venue and have been impressed with their sonic quality and coverage.
“The E15 is a system that combines powerful dynamics , clarity and precision ... I love this system, it would be ideal for many different projects,” Poirot explains. “Indo on the E15/T21/E12 combination works well and gives us an impressive sound homogeneity throughout the venues. The result is top notch.”
Poirot deploys two left-right hangs of 12 E15 enclosures for the main PA. Outfill is covered by left-right arrays consisting of 9 E12 enclosures.
Due to moving screens constraint, the second part of the venue is blanketed by two more E12 arrays – this time made up of 6 enclosures each. In order to provide attendees in the first few rows with a clear vision of the stage and the multiple screens, two more downfill arrays – four E12s each – were installed in the scenic grill.
Twenty T21 subwoofers in two columns of 10 push the low end of the system providing the beat that drives Indo fans.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Harman Professional Components Make Up Concert System For Grand Plaza Main Stage At 2014 NAMM
First concert use of JBL's new VTX Series V20 line array system with S25 companion subwoofers
The Anaheim Grand Plaza Main Stage at the upcoming 2014 NAMM show will feature the first public concert use of JBL Professional’s new VTX Series V20 line array system with S25 companion subwoofers.
The stage, located between the Hilton and the convention center, will host headlining performances by percussionist Sheila E. and blues-rock guitarist Jonny Lang.
The full schedule:
Wednesday, Jan 22, 6 pm: Pre-Show Party Featuring Bernie Williams and Gil Parris
Thursday, Jan 23, 6 pm: Opening Night Concert Featuring Jonny Lang
Friday,Jan 24, 6 pm: The Imagine Party, Featuring Sheila E. With Special Appearance by Art Alexakis of Everclear
Saturday, Jan 25, 6 pm: Saturday Night Concert
In addition to the new VTX V20 arrays, the system will include a full complement of Harman Professional components. The list includes 10 x JBL VTX V20 mains, 6 x S25 subs per side, 6 x G28 subs (center), VTX F Series fill loudspeakers and stage monitors, VT4886/VT4883 side fills, Crown Audio VRacks, Soundcraft Vi digital mixing consoles, and AKG wired/wireless microphones. And, entertainment lighting at the stage will include Martin MAC Vipers, MAC 700s, MAC 301s and control and programming with a Martin M1.