Mixer

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dialing It In: Optimizing The Live Acoustic Guitar Mix

I was ready to chuck the mixer out the window. Why did the acoustic guitar sound so bad? I checked and re-checked my EQ settings, but it wasn’t until talking with the guitarist that I discovered the problem. That’s when I wanted to chuck the guitar out the window, rather than the mixer.

Common acoustic guitar mixing problems fall into three categories: volume, EQ, and OOMC, short for “Out Of My Control” and the source of my difficulties. So before tackling common volume and EQ approaches at the console, let’s look at OOMC issues.

The quality of an acoustic guitar mix is affected directly by the quality of sound coming from the instrument. When it comes to acoustic guitar, there are three contributing areas that we can’t directly manage: the strings, the onboard EQ, and the pickups. Being aware of these potential problem areas and knowing how to work through them is key.

Common Ground
Guitar strings sound worse with age. Aging guitar strings can even be deceiving; in the process of becoming brittle, they can still stay in tune—but it doesn’t mean they sound right. A gentle discussion with the guitarist can help motivate them to change strings, maybe not for the current gig, but at least for the next one. 

Guitars equipped with onboard EQ, such as an Epiphone DR-500MCE with eSonic2 preamp, can also be potentially problematic. The onboard EQ is under the musician’s control, so if a guitar isn’t sounding right, it’s important to talk about it with the musician, trying to (at least) make sure the instrument is set to standard baseline settings. In addition, onboard EQ is battery driven, so a dying battery can have impact on the guitar’s sound.

And then there’s the case of the guitar I was ready to toss out the window. It had been modified with some after-market electronics—three dime-sized piezo microphones under the bridge. One of them had worked loose, so the lousy sound was the result of receiving strong signals from just two of the three internal mics. Imagine the sound of only the first four strings of the guitar.

Loud & Soft
Balanced volume is key to successful music mixes. There’s a simple method for checking volume, but let’s start with the two of the most common mistakes: too loud or too soft. I know, it’s obvious, but bear with me.

Mumford & Sons had a huge hit with “I Will Wait.” The instrumentation of the song includes acoustic guitar, banjo, and upright bass. Listening to the studio release, the blending of the instruments is readily apparent. The volume of each instrument is closely aligned with the others, with the tonal characteristics of the instruments separating them in the mix. 

The acoustic guitar and the banjo both drive the song. Pushing the acoustic guitar noticeably out front, with a volume boost, would take away from the melodic sound of the two blended instruments. There’s a time for an instrument to lead a song and there’s a time for it to serve a different purpose. The mistake of mixing too loud comes from the assumption that leading a song means dominating the other instruments. 

On the other hand, there’s the problem of making the acoustic guitar too soft in the mix. The problem usually originates in the changing of the room dynamics. During sound check, the band plays to an empty room, but the moment the seats are filled, the acoustic properties of the space change. Frequencies react differently.

Further, audience participation adds new sounds into the room. That acoustic guitar might have been in the right place during the sound check but gets lost in the new dynamic that occurs during the performance. Often, a relatively slight volume bump can be enough to bring the instrument back into the mix.

There’s a simple method for testing the volume of the acoustic guitar: while the band is performing, mute the acoustic guitar channel. Pay attention to the lack of the guitar in the mix, then un-mute the channel and listen to the mix. It will be noticeable if the volume is too soft or too loud. (I do this with my eyes closed, which seems to help in terms of focus.)

Solid Methods
Misuse of EQ is another common problem. The biggest mistake is believing the guitar should sound great all by itself. Several years ago, I penned an article titled “Why You Should Create a Bad Sounding Instrument.”

While the idea might seem extreme, it’s actually not. Four instruments that sound great on their own will not necessarily meld in the mix when brought together. A solid method for initial EQ work is cutting offending frequencies and then listening to the new combined sound and making proper adjustments. 

Another common EQ mistake is making the acoustic guitar sound too bright. This happens in two ways. First, making a bright-sounding guitar sound even brighter. A naturally bright-sounding guitar can be wonderful, but if it’s boosted too much in the higher frequencies, it can come off as unnatural and also conflict with things like drum cymbals. 

Second, and much more common, is going against the guitar’s natural tone, and this should also be taken into account in relation to other instruments on stage. Acoustic guitars produce a variety of natural tones, depending on the wood used in their composition. Some offer warm tones, while others are bright.

Part of the mix process is bringing out the natural sound, and sometimes while also balancing in relation to any signal processors the guitarist uses. When acoustic guitar is too bright without any boosts in my mixes, I first look to the 3.5 kHz range to make some cuts.

One more common problem is an acoustic guitar mix that lacks presence. When facing this, start with boosts in the 1 kHz to 3.5 kHz range to add definition and then move down to the 600 Hz to 800 Hz range for additional meatiness (depth). It’s also a good idea to look for frequency areas for cutting so that other frequencies can shine through. 

The Process
Most of these problems can be avoided by applying a 3-step process on the acoustic guitar channel. First, clean up the low end by engaging a high-pass filter. The presence of drums and bass means frequencies below 100 Hz can be cut. Experiment to find the best spot for your scenario. 

Try to address OOMC issues like guitars with onboard EQ and other processing. (click to enlarge)


Next, clean up the guitar sound by cutting offending frequencies. Sweep through the mid-range frequencies, using a narrow Q value and a 6 dB cut until you get a better sound. At this point, problems existing at the guitar level should be apparent. 

Lastly, turn to cross-channel mixing. Set the instrument’s volume in the right relationship to the other instruments and mix across channels. If there are two instruments competing for the same dominant frequencies, decide which instrument should own them, gently boosting it while (also gently) trimming the other.

The good news is most acoustic guitar mix problems are easily corrected. Although, I once had a guitarist who wouldn’t replace his old tinny-sounding strings for three gigs in a row. By the fourth gig, I walked in with a pair of wire cutters…

Chris Huff is a long-time practitioner of church sound and writes at Behind The Mixer, covering topics ranging from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians—and everything in between.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/10 at 05:53 PM
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Friday, February 07, 2014

In The Studio: Singer/Mic Positioning & Monitor Mixing

The tradecraft of recording vocals -- techniques and approaches for "the most important thing"...

With mic choice and signal chain dialed in, listen to your singer over the monitor speakers to determine the correct distance from the microphone.

You should have a fixed the initial distance back when you set the microphone height for the singer out in the studio. Some engineers will open a hand and use the distance from the end of the thumb to the end of the baby finger as the starting distance.

The volume or level of the human singing voice operates in ways very predictable. I’ve found (and then I’ve never recorded operatic singers) that generally pop singers are loudest at near the top of their full-voice range and lowest in volume at the bottom of their range.

Falsetto doesn’t count here, but singers with a falsetto louder than their full voice are in a blessed minority. In the studio this is a consideration since this vocal dynamic range must be handled so that both the quieter moments and big and loud moments are accurately recorded without noise or distortion. This is accomplished by either changes in the singer’s mic distance, a change in microphone pre-amp gain by the engineer, or the best solution, a combination of both.

If your vocalist sings loud all the time and all through the song, you’ll want to pick a fix distance from the mic for your singer to stand - maybe mark an “X” on the floor with tape.

Five Fingers Example

For loud singing, this distance balances the mic’s direct sound with the room’s ambient contribution. Experiment with this distance because the room will contribute a feeling of size to a loud vocal that is energizing it.

At all times I try to keep my singer aimed at the mic’s capsule. Singing only inches off beam will result in radical change in “mic presence” - the components of the sound that, to our sense of hearing, builds a solid mental image of the singer performing in front of you.

In addition, you’ll change the tonality (relationship of top, middle and bottom of the vocal sound) and decreased intelligibility—important for understanding the words of the lyrics and for the vocal to cut a dense track in the final mix.

If your singer is a live performer used to backing off the mic for loud moments and then “eating the mic” for the quieter bits, you can make use of this in the studio.

But in the more sensitive studio, only a few inches in distance makes a huge difference. Too far off-mic sounds distant and too close builds low frequencies due to proximity effect and changes the vocal sound radically.

I’ve always preferred using the proximity effect on vocals if it sounds good. Proximity on soft vocals produces that “pillow talk” or “whispering in your ear” kind of close intimacy. To reduce the low frequency build up from excessive proximity, you will have to roll out LF or use the mic’s roll-off filter or do both.

Proximity fattens thin-sounding voices nicely and I try to keep most singers on mic even when they hit the loudest, highest and full-voice moments where there can be a tendency for their sound to thin out.

For rangy melodies that require huge leaps of volume to hit high notes and big chesty gulps of air to power the low notes, I like to work with the singer—learn the ebb and flow of the vocal performance and invisibly “ride” changes in mic gain that will not affect mic presence noticeably.

I’m changing the gain staging slightly - 1 to 4 dB maximum. This is the audio level going into the compressor so that the amount of compression from the quietest to the loudest remains about the same—perhaps a little more squash on the loud notes if it sounds good and causes the vocal to ride well within the track.

Monitor Mixing
During vocal overdubs the control room monitor mix should contain only track elements that will be in the final mixed version of the song. Apart from possible loud headphone spill (Of these tracks) on the lead vocal track, logically the singer should not have to sing around music parts that may not be used.

Depending on where the vocals are added, the monitor mix could be just a simple rhythm track to a fully sweetened production. Some artist perform better hearing everything around them and others not.

There are two considerations: a simple backing track gives more freedom to the singer for adlibs, improvisational vocal parts and customized “excursions” from the song’s written melody. Changes in the song’s arrangement and future production are often built stemming from these moments.

On the other hand, a properly pre-arranged, fully realized track production (brass, strings, solo section, backing vocals) affords the lead vocal to be produced and recorded emotionally and dynamically to “fit” the track perfectly.

As with all other critical overdubs, it’s important to hear both the track and vocal more or less in the context of a final mix. I do prefer the overdub vocal(s) to ride above the track while working on it so that I can clearly hear the actual beginnings and endings of sung notes. In a lot of cases this mix works well for the singer’s cue mix.

Cue Mixing
While the control room’s monitor mix might fly for the singer’s headphone mix as is, it is wise to be able to turn up the singer’s vocal track even more in the phones. Call the “more me” control; if I’m running the cue post fader from the monitor mixer, I just turn up the vocal track more.

I’m also careful about vocal effects like reverb and delays too. I prefer none but that’s not always the case with the artist—whatever minimal amount you can get away with, the better.

The concern is loss of a pitch reference when there is too much “me.” This is the first place to check if the singer starts to get pitchy.

Playing to many “pitch ambiguous” instruments and noises is also counter-productive. Sure the mix sounds cool with all that stuff flying around but for the business at hand; I think your singer will stay in tune better hearing only sonorous, in tune tracking instruments such as pianos and well-intonated guitars.

Tracks with wide chorus or flanger effects and loud atonal sound effects tend to disturb the ear’s pitch recognition abilities.

Happy Vocal Recording!

 
This is the third in a series of articles on recording vocals. View part 1 and part 2.

 
Barry Rudolph is a veteran L.A.-based recording engineer as well as a noted writer on recording topics.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/07 at 02:20 PM
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Thursday, February 06, 2014

In The Studio: Gain Structure And Recording/Mixing Paths

This article is provided by BAMaudioschool.com.

 
Signal path refers to the path that sound makes while being processed.

Recording signal paths include:

Sound Source > Capturing Device > Wire From Capturing Device To Console Channel Input > Channel Volume, EQ, Etc. > Channel Output To Recorder Track

Mixing signal paths include:

Recorder Track To Console Channel Input > Channel Processing, Volume, Pan, Etc. > Channel Output To Stereo Bus > Main Stereo Output Master Fader > Final Mix

In addition, mixing signal paths include:

Channel Output To Audio Bus Through Aux Sends > Aux Channel With The Send Feeding Into It > Processing > Aux Channel Output To Stereo Bus, Etc.

Gain (volume) refers to the way that the volume of a sound will increase and decrease as it goes through the different stages of a recording or mixing path.

Gain structure refers to the input and output levels of each stage of the path. While it’s possible to set gain/volume knobs to anything and at the very last knob turn things down if necessary, you’ll most likely have inefficient gain structure that can cause extra noise to be added in one stage, and even overloading in another.

Unity gain means that a path or even stage of the path has the same volume going out as it did coming in. Although setting a knob or fader at zero will usually provide unity gain, once you start to process a sound you end up changing the volume within that particular stage of the path. You’ll then most likely have to adjust a different stage of the path to compensate.

Many do not understand gain structure and end up overloading early stages, turning the sound down later and not knowing why their meter level is “in the green” but the sound is distorted.

Changing gain means decreasing it (which can be done passively but is usually done using electronics) or increasing it (using electronics to amplify it). Every process a sound goes through will change the tone of the sound, even if the process is a little bit of gain change. 

Imagine pouring water from glass to glass in a long row of different sized glasses, and you only have the first glass of pure water and a hose with dirty water. As you pour water from the first glass into the second and from the second into the third (and so on), some of the glasses will change the overall amount of water that is being transferred.

One glass may be wider so the water poured in from a narrower glass would not be enough to fill it, and then hose water would be needed to top it off. This would be the same as turning up a fader or knob on a channel to make a quiet sound louder. The amount of what you’re working with has increased to a desirable amount, but the purity of what you’re working with has been diluted by the dirty water or sound changes of the audio components.

Another glass may be filled with rocks and so the water it cannot hold spills out, reducing the amount of water you have. This is the same as using a fader or knob to make a loud sound quieter. Note that the purity of what you have is not changed. There are audio components that reduce sound (using passive resistors) without changing the sound, unlike active amplifiers that increase sound and noise.

Thus the volume will change throughout the chain, and so will the purity at different stages. Of course you want your first glass (the first volume control the sound source hits) to be as full as possible so you have a better chance or retaining sound purity through to the end of the chain.

However, be careful. All stages have maximum allowable volumes at their input (and within their processing) that will result in distortion that will be passed down the chain. Imagine overloading your second glass, which adds red dye to the water. No volume changes down the chain will ever get rid of the red dye.

Big processing (even volume) means big changes in sound. With a good gain structure, there’s usually not much need to add volume in the chain, helping to keep sound as “pure” as possible. And it’s important to start with a good-sounding first stage, which is where most of the volume increasing should be done.

Finally, always look out for distortion at every stage of the audio chain. You’re better off dealing with the extra noise on a quiet clean sound than the distortion on a good volume sound.

Bruce A. Miller is a veteran recording engineer who operates an independent recording studio and the BAM Audio School website.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/06 at 11:19 AM
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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Tech Tip Of The Day: Effectively Cleaning Analog Faders

Provided by Sweetwater.

 
Q: I have an old analog mixer with really dirty faders. I’ve tried deoxidizing cleaner on some of them, but now they feel much worse, yet seem to work okay. What’s wrong?

A: No doubt about it, your mixer is in need of a good cleaning! Here’s a rundown of the steps I normally take.

1. Vacuum and/or blow out faders with compressed air. Vacuuming gets the “dust bunnies” and larger chunks. Try to run the fader up and down while you do this.

2. Treat faders. My preference is CAIG DeoxIT. The reasoning for this is that many other lubricants are thicker, which stay greasy and seem to trap dirt, where the DeoxIT evaporates “almost” totally, leaving a conductive coating on the contacts.

3. After spraying with DeoxIT, blow out the faders once more to remove excess liquid and hopefully the remaining dirt. (Use goggles or take precautions… DeoxIT burns the eyes and tastes only slightly better than WD-40.

4. I’ve been fairly successful using this method. Sometimes though, faders “just flat wear out” and no amount of cleaning will revive them. These worn faders will be among the first to go “scratchy” following a cleaning.

5. One extra item… I’ve observed several instances where the knob was pushed onto the fader so hard that it scraped along the front panel and rare occasions where such downward force was applied to the knob that the fader itself was damaged. Take care replacing the knobs.

And, for more great information on cleanign consoles, check out Properly Cleaning Mixing Console Faders and Zen & The Art Of Mixing Console Cleaning & Maintenance.

 
For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/05 at 05:16 PM
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Wirebox Media Adds Yamaha CL5 To Production And Rental Inventory

New console augments existing Yamaha console line, along with the NEXO systems already in inventory

Wirebox Media (Smyrna, GA) has added a Yamaha Commercial Audio CL5 digital console to augment its existing Yamaha console line, along with the NEXO systems already in inventory. 

“We selected the CL5 primarily because our operators are already familiar with the Yamaha interface, design, and software but we also take into account the renowned reliability and stability of the Yamaha digital platforms,” explains Tim Harrigan, ownger of Wirebox Media.

In addition to the CL5, Wirebox added Rio3224-D and 1608-D input/output boxes.

“Integrated with the recommended Cisco switches, we have a redundant network with 500’ of fiber,” says Harrigan. “The Dante redundant fiber network was a key factor in the purchase. The system was flawless on its first outing for Ted Turner’s 75th birthday party hosted by Jay Leno. As a requirement, all equipment selected for the show was backed up with redundancy, from microphones to generators, which made the CL5 system the obvious choice.”

Harrigan, who served as sound designer and mix engineer for the Turner event, continues, “The console surface is stellar. The custom layers enabled me to work fast and layout the console exactly as I needed, which is key to event like this with so many elements involved.” 

He used the iPad interface to tweak the video mix; on the show network, the video department was located 350 feet down the hall in another ballroom. The second Rio (1608-D) was placed in the video room which supplied them multiple record feeds and playback inputs. The audio team had their own in-ear mixes on the CL5 aux buses for communications with Harrigan, which enabled them to also relocate with the video department to make necessary changes. 

Wirebox Media
Yamaha Commercial Audio

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/05 at 04:03 PM
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JBL Commercial Introduces High-Value, High-Performance Amplifiers & Mixers

CSA amplifiers incorporate Harman’s proprietary DriveCore amplifier IC, mixers provide channel, master volume and independent bass and treble controls

JBL Commercial has introduced six Commercial Series Amplifiers (CSA) and two Commercial Series Mixers (CSM) that combine value and performance.

“Our new JBL Commercial CSA and CSM amplifiers and mixers fulfill the need for small, affordable, easy to use sound reinforcement components in places like restaurants, coffee shops, fitness facilities, bars and other spaces where an elaborate A/V installation isn’t required,” states Craig Lambrecht, business segment manager, Amplifier Business Unit. “They’re designed and engineered to deliver plenty of power and flexibility along with exceptional sound and reliability.”

The CSA amplifiers incorporate Harman’s proprietary DriveCore amplifier IC, which combines what would be hundreds of conventional parts into a single chip smaller than a dime. DriveCore offers significantly reduced power consumption, size and weight while delivering quality sound.

All CSA amps are 1RU high and a half-rack wide. Models can operate into 8 ohm and 4 ohm loads and can be used with 70-volt and 100-volt distributed audio systems without the need for a separate transformer.

A single amp channel (or 1 channel amplifier) can easily drive multiple speakers without the need for complex wiring and the amplifiers’ distributed audio capability simplifies adding volume controls to single- or multiple- speaker zones.

All offer a universal power supply for international use and accept an Ethernet control cable for use with the JBL CSR-V wall-mount volume control.

CSM mixers are designed for background music, paging, security and other applications. Like the CSA amplifiers, the CSM models are simple to set up and use, with a minimum of front panel controls and illuminated rings around the knobs for easy visibility.

All mixers provide channel, master volume and independent bass and treble controls. The rear panel offers RCA inputs and Euro-block-type mic/line input and output connectors. They also provide feature priority muting, VOX ducking and mic phantom power and can be used with JBL’s CSR-V wall controller.

Models include:

·    CSA2120Z amplifier, 2 channels, 120-watt power output per channel
·    CSA280Z amplifier, 2 channels, 80-watt power output per channel
·    CSA240Z amplifier, 2 channels, 40-watt power output per channel
·    CSA1120Z amplifier, 1 channel, 120-watt power output
·    CSA180Z amplifier, 1 channel, 80-watt power output
·    CSA140Z amplifier, 1 channel, 40-watt power output
·    CSM-28 mixer, 8 inputs, 2 outputs
·    CSM-14 mixer, 4 inputs, 1 output

image

 

JBL Professional
Harman Professional

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/05 at 01:42 PM
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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Yamaha Debuts Next-Generation MG Series Small-Format Mixing Consoles

Offer D-PRE preamps, DSP, solid construction and much more

The newly re-designed MG Series of small-format mixing consoles from Yamaha Corporation of America provides compact, cost-effective and high sonic quality solutions for install, recording and live settings.

Ten models in the series incorporate technologies originally developed for high-end professional mixers, including studio-quality preamps, powerful digital signal processing and rugged, reliable construction.

All MG models come with Yamaha state-of-the-art discrete Class-A D-PRE microphone preamps. By using an inverted Darlington circuit topography, these preamps feature multiple circuitry elements designed to provide more power, deliver lower impedance and supply a wide frequency range that can handle signal from any source without coloration while faithfully retaining the original sound.

With varying input/output and processing capabilities, the new MG Series includes four XU models that feature an upgraded version of the renowned Yamaha SPX effects processor, including a comprehensive suite of 24 different effects that add professional polish to any mix (upgraded from the 16-effect version in the previous MG series).

SPX processors have become the industry standard for both recording and sound reinforcement applications since being introduced 20 years ago.

The MG06X also comes with six non-editable SPX effects (but does not include USB integration, found on the XU models). Five standard models range from 6 to 20 channels.

“These D-PRE preamps are featured on Yamaha’s high-end professional mixers, so they meet the requirements of the most demanding professional sound engineers and deliver fat, natural sounding bass, rich mids and smooth highs with very low distortion—qualities not usually found in portable mixers,” said John Schauer, product manager, Live Sound, Yamaha Corporation of America. “Yamaha also has had a long history of success with our SPX effects and we have carefully created programs that are perfect for integration into these mixers.”

New XU models offer digital connectivity and software that streamlines the recording process, including Steinberg Cubase AI. A USB 2.0 audio interface capable of 24-bit/192kHz sound quality allows for playback of digital content from a PC and recording of the mixer output using DAW software. USB Audio Class 2.0 is also supported so that compliant tablets and other devices can be used without installing drivers.

All models in the XU line are compatible with Apple’s camera connection kit or lighting-to-USB camera adapter for seamless recording and playback of digital audio content to and from an iPad or iPhone.

MG mixers also feature 3-band channel EQ and high pass filters; models with more than 10 inputs are equipped with newly-upgraded, 1-knob compressors that add optimized compression to a wide variety of input sources with the touch of a single control.

Up to four Aux sends can incorporate additional effects, access external devices or feed stage-monitoring systems. Master send controls are also included, along with Return level controls for the Aux and Stereo buses, which provide seamless integration with external gear. Easy-to-read LED level metering allows output levels to be monitored accurately in darkness or daylight.

The entire MG line has been redesigned with an emphasis on durability to withstand the rigors of the road or rough handling. A powder-coated steel chassis provides improved structural strength, while the placement of the knobs above the chassis surface protects internal components by absorbing any impact or pressure on the knobs themselves.

Yamaha MG Mixers (MSRP: $129 to $929) will ship in the first quarter of 2014.

image

 


Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA)

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Posted by Keith Clark on 02/04 at 02:41 PM
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QEII Conference Centre Invests In Allen & Heath Qu-16 Digital Mixers

The Qu-16s are installed in self-contained portable AV racks, which can be used in any of the event spaces in the venue.

London’s QEII Conference Centre recently added seven Allen & Heath Qu-16 digital rackmount mixers to its inventory of AV equipment.

An upgrade to existing analog mixers, the Qu-16s are installed in self-contained portable AV racks, which can be used in any of the event spaces in the venue.

“We needed a higher channel count for the mixers installed on our mobile AV racks,” explains AV production manager, Derek Chalmers. “We were looking around the analog market as we couldn’t believe there would be a digital mixer to fit a 19-inch rack, and then I saw the Qu-16 at Infocomm, where it won a Best In Show award.

“Qu-16 has everything we needed - 16 channels, built in processing, and recording facilities as we record all of our events. We’ve had them now for two months and they’ve been fantastic.”

The mixers were supplied by Hertfordshire-based Mercury AV. Director, Ian McDonald, commented:

“The QEII deals with exceptionally high profile events on a daily basis and often has several large conferences running simultaneously.  The sound equipment needs to be very flexible but it is also important that it can be setup fast and operated by a large number of different technicians.  QU-16 is therefore perfect for use by the QEII in their mobile PA racks.”

The Centre contains a total of 29 function rooms, running a variety of events ranging from conferences and meetings to banquets and receptions. The mobile racks provide a simple, flexible solution for the Centre’s smaller function rooms. In addition to 7 full time in-house AV technicians, the Centre also has a bank of 50 freelancers.

“The Qu-16 is new to the market, so many of our staff had not come across the mixer before. However, after some brief training I am pleased to say all of our engineers were really happy to use the Qu-16, and had very positive feedback about the mixer’s ease of use and ‘analog feel’,” says Chalmers.

“We have seen a lot of demand for QU-16. We placed a large stock order on the same day that the product release announcement was made, then placed further large orders when it became clear that demand was outstripping supply.  The exciting thing about QU-16 is that it makes all of the benefits of a digital mixer available for live sound applications where a digital mixer would previously have been too large or too expensive,” concludes Ian McDonald.

Allen & Heath

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Posted by Julie Clark on 02/04 at 01:03 PM
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Friday, January 31, 2014

Behringer Introduces New Family Of Universal Control Surfaces

Trio of controllers consisting of the X-Touch Universal Control Surface and its siblings, the Compact and Mini

Behringer has introduced a new family of universal control surfaces, a trio of controllers consisting of the X-Touch Universal Control Surface and its siblings, the Compact and Mini.

The X-Touch offers 9 high-quality and touch-sensitive motor faders, 8 LCD scribble strips for instant overview of track names and parameters plus 8 rotary controls with LED-collars for on-the-fly parameter adjustments.

Built-in Ethernet, USB and MIDI interfaces provide direct access to PC or Mac computers, a MIDI device and future X32 remote control.

Equipped with the same motorized fader count as its bigger brother, plus16 rotary controls and a Dual-Layer Mode, the X-Touch Compact is ideal for making fast transitions between DAW and instrument applications. All control elements come preconfigured, so the unit is ready for use right out of the box.

“These all-powerful control surfaces really let you get your hands on your software,” says product manager Bert Niedermeyer. “You’ll love the tactile feedback you get from the controller surface, and you’ll wonder why you ever relied on a mouse. They really feel that good.”

The X-Touch Mini Ultra-Compact Universal USB Control Surface includes a long-lasting 60 mm master fader and a Dual Layer Mode for quick changes, such as switching between DAW and instrument control. The Minis 8 rotary knobs with LED-collars and 16 dedicated illuminated buttons (including transport control) provide on-the-fly adjustment of parameters.

A built-in USB/MIDI interface allows direct connection to Mac/PC computers and for future add-ons of other controllers, with no drivers required.

The X-Touch, X-Touch Compact and X-Touch Mini are available at a suggested U.S. MAP of $599.99, $399.99 and $99.99, respectively, and are covered by MUSIC Group’s 3-Year Limited Warranty Program.

Behringer
MUSIC Group

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/31 at 01:56 PM
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tech Tip Of The Day: Getting That Great Kick Drum Sound

Provided by Sweetwater.

 
Q: I’ve been recording and mixing a Christian band the past few months and everyone is really happy with the results except for one thing: the kick drum.

Is there anything I can do? Or, if there isn’t, what should I know so I don’t have this problem ever again?

A: While there are a limited number of solutions to your problem once the instruments has been tracked, lets run through our top six tips for recording and then mixing a great kick drum.

First, and probably most obvious is to experiment with mic placement during tracking. Try to get as close to the sound you want with the mic before you add any EQ.

Take a look at where the drum beater is contacting the head, and mic to capture that attack. How far in or out of the drum you place the mic will have a large effect on the tone you capture. Further out will give you a more “resonant” or “woody” tone, while closer up should give you more attack, with less of the drum’s shell.

Second, try miking from the beater side of the drum in addition to your normal kick drum mic placement (assuming you are currently miking from in front of or inside the drum). This should give you more attack.

A few caveats: Watch for phase problems, be careful with mic placement and pickup pattern to avoid getting too much of the underside of the snare, and be sure that the kick pedal is squeak free!

Third, try using a different beater. One made of a harder material may give you more slap. We’ve even heard of drummers and engineers taping hard materials to the kick drum head where the beater strikes it to emphasize the “click” and beater attack.

Fourth, take a look at your musical arrangement. Are there other instruments in the kick drum’s frequency range that are masking it, diminishing its punch? Getting a kick drum and a bass guitar or bass synth to “sit” together in a mix is a real art. Maybe the problem is not in your kick, but in the bass EQ?

Fifth, try adding a little EQ. A parametric (or console EQ with sweepable mids) works well for this application, but a graphic can work fine. Boost the gain on the EQ, listen to the kick, and slowly sweep the EQ frequency until you find the frequency you want to bring out.

Next, adjust the EQ gain to your taste. In addition to boosting some frequencies, you might want to experiment with cutting some of the boomier frequencies out to clear the top end a bit.

And finally (or, some might say sixth) as you are trying various things, work at low volume levels. If the kick drum sounds good to you at low volume, it will probably sound even better when the level is wound up a bit.

For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/29 at 05:03 PM
RecordingFeatureBlogStudy HallConsolesDigital Audio WorkstationsEngineerMicrophoneMixerProcessorSignalStudioPermalink

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Behringer Unveils Europort PPA Series Portable PA Systems

New high-powered, portable PA systems add the versatility of Bluetooth

Behringer has introduced new Europort PPA2000BT, PPA500BT and PPA200 portable PA systems, offering a wide range of capabilities that include built-in Bluetooth connectivity (available on BT models) that allows users to stream music directly from smart-phones, tablets or other Bluetooth-equipped devices.

The largest system, the PPA2000BT, has 2,000 watts of audio power onboard as well as an integrated 8-channel mixer and enough inputs for 4 microphones, 2 musical instruments, an MP3 player. It’s also “wireless-ready” for Behringer’sULM Series digital microphones.

The PPA2000BT also includes vocal effects from Klark Teknik and a graphic EQ with Behringer’s proprietary FBQ Feedback Detection System. Two detachable loudspeaker enclosures are included with high-powered 10-inch woofers and 1.35-inch aluminum-diaphragm compression drivers.

Equipped with the same features as its larger sibling, the 500-watt PPA500BT hass a 6-channel mixer and 2 detachable loudspeaker enclosures with 8-inch woofers and 1.35-inch aluminum-diaphragm compression drivers. Rounding out the trio is the PPA200, a briefcase-style powerhouse that has 200 watts of audio power driving 2 detachable loudspeakers loaded with 4-inch woofers and 1-inch tweeters.

“Whichever Europort PA system you choose, you’ll have everything you need in one easy to operate and portable package,” says senior product specialist John DiNicola. “Whether you need to get your voice above the crowd at the company gathering, provide the play-by-play for the youth league or stream music at a large special event, our Europort PA systems pack everything you need into an ultra-lightweight, ‘take-it-with-you’ suitcase-style format.”

The Europort PPA2000BT, PPA500BT and PPA200 are available at a suggested U.S. MAP of $799.99, $499.99, $349.99 respectively, and are covered by MUSIC Group’s 3-Year Limited Warranty Program.

Behringer
MUSIC Group

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/28 at 04:27 PM
AVLive SoundChurch SoundNewsProductAmplifierAVLoudspeakerMixerProcessorSound ReinforcementSystemPermalink

Behringer Unveils Europort PPA Series Portable PA Systems

New high-powered, portable PA systems add the versatility of Bluetooth

Behringer has introduced new Europort PPA2000BT, PPA500BT and PPA200 portable PA systems, offering a wide range of capabilities that include built-in Bluetooth connectivity (available on BT models) that allows users to stream music directly from smart-phones, tablets or other Bluetooth-equipped devices.

The largest system, the PPA2000BT, has 2,000 watts of audio power onboard as well as an integrated 8-channel mixer and enough inputs for 4 microphones, 2 musical instruments, an MP3 player. It’s also “wireless-ready” for Behringer’sULM Series digital microphones.

The PPA2000BT also includes vocal effects from Klark Teknik and a graphic EQ with Behringer’s proprietary FBQ Feedback Detection System. Two detachable loudspeaker enclosures are included with high-powered 10-inch woofers and 1.35-inch aluminum-diaphragm compression drivers.

Equipped with the same features as its larger sibling, the 500-watt PPA500BT hass a 6-channel mixer and 2 detachable loudspeaker enclosures with 8-inch woofers and 1.35-inch aluminum-diaphragm compression drivers. Rounding out the trio is the PPA200, a briefcase-style powerhouse that has 200 watts of audio power driving 2 detachable loudspeakers loaded with 4-inch woofers and 1-inch tweeters.

“Whichever Europort PA system you choose, you’ll have everything you need in one easy to operate and portable package,” says senior product specialist John DiNicola. “Whether you need to get your voice above the crowd at the company gathering, provide the play-by-play for the youth league or stream music at a large special event, our Europort PA systems pack everything you need into an ultra-lightweight, ‘take-it-with-you’ suitcase-style format.”

The Europort PPA2000BT, PPA500BT and PPA200 are available at a suggested U.S. MAP of $799.99, $499.99, $349.99 respectively, and are covered by MUSIC Group’s 3-Year Limited Warranty Program.

Behringer
MUSIC Group

{extended}
Posted by Keith Clark on 01/28 at 04:27 PM
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QSC Unveils TouchMix Series Compact Digital Mixers (Updated, Includes New Video)

Offering the power and capability of a large-format console in a highly portable, fully integrated, affordable and easy to use product

QSC Audio Products announces the introduction of its much-anticipated digital mixer line, the TouchMix Series, offering live performance venues, production professionals and musicians the power and capability of a large-format console in a highly portable, fully integrated, affordable and easy to use product.

The TouchMix-8 (12 input channels) and TouchMix-16 (20 input channels) provide the user a choice of Advanced Mode operation that offers total control over all parameters or Simple Mode that provides only the most essential controls.

TouchMix Series “no asterisk” specifications include 4-band, fully parametric EQ with both variable high- and low-pass filters, as well as comprehensive dynamics processing on each input channel.

Four mix buses feed four internal, professional, digital effects processors. Comprehensive dynamics, graphic EQ, high-pass, low-pass and notch filters and delay are available on both the main and aux outputs, and there are eight DCA groups with mutes as well as eight mute groups.

With four (TouchMix-8) or 10 (TouchMix-16) auxiliary output channels, TouchMix also has ample stage monitor mixing capability. Both models have the ability to drive multiple, wired stereo in-ear monitors directly.

TouchMix also offers a comprehensive library of Channel Presets, created specifically for the unique requirements of live sound reinforcement. Designed by veteran live sound engineers utilizing all types of instruments, popular microphones and pickups as well as multiple types of speakers systems, these presets help the user achieve great results quickly.

The mixers’ onboard Effects Wizard guides the user through the selection and assignment of appropriate effects while the Gain Wizard continuously monitors and displays input clipping.

TouchMix also comes with a comprehensive library of complete Mixer Scenes, and all user parameters of any mix can be saved, both internally and via USB drive.

TouchMix Series models are completely self-contained and require no external PC or video display. The graphic, color touch-screen provides access to all mix parameters along with a physical rotary encoder and hardware buttons.

The available Remote Control App for iOS devices controls all mixer parameters and the included USB Wi-Fi adapter creates the network connection between the mixer and the hand-held device. No external network hardware is required.

The mixer is also capable of direct recording to an external USB hard drive in 32-bit broadcast wave format. Tracks can be played back on the mixer or imported into most DAW software for over-dubs and post-production.

TouchMix-16 measures 3.5 x 14.2 x 11.7 inches (h x w x d) and weighs 5.9 pounds, while TouchMix-8 measures 3.1 x 13.1 x 9.8 inches and weighs just 4.3 pounds.

TouchMix Feature Set:

• TM-16 with 20 full-function inputs (16 mic/line, 2 stereo line).
• TM-8 with 12 full-function inputs (8 mic/line, 2 stereo line).
• 4-band full parametric EQ, variable high-pass and low-pass filters on all input channels.
• Gate and compressor on all input channels.
• 4 professional quality stereo DSP effects plus a pitch corrector.
• 1/3-octave graphic equalization, limiters, delay and notch filters on main and aux outputs.
• 8 DCA and 8 mute groups.
• Color, capacitive touch screen graphical user interface combined with hardware controls for fast and intuitive operation.
• Wizards, info and preset libraries assist the user with channel setup, proper gain adjustment, effects selection and more.
• Monitor mixes: TM-16, 6 mono plus 2 stereo, TM-8, 4 mono.
• Drives wired In Ear Monitors (IEM) directly.
• Direct to hard-drive recording and playback of multi-track wave files. Capable of recording all input channels plus a user-selected stereo output pair.
• Remote control via mobile devices. Wi-Fi interface included.

Both TouchMix models also come complete with their own padded carrying case, for transport and protection.

New QSC TouchMix Series mixers will be available in mid 2014.

 

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QSC Audio

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/28 at 02:54 PM
AVLive SoundRecordingChurch SoundNewsVideoProductAVConsolesDigitalMixerSoftwareSound ReinforcementStudioPermalink

Midas Launches New PRO Series Software & Mixtender 2 iPad App

New FX, processing functions and EQ editing highlight enhancements

Midas announced a major software update at the 2014 NAMM 2014 for PRO Series consoles, as well as many new features in the Mixtender 2 App for iPad.

The PRO Series software upgrade includes four new internal signal processor effects and six in-channel dynamics processing functions. The addition of Variable Phase, Gate-Mode Cycling, Tape Saturation, a Spectrum Analyser and Transient Accent Control, among others, reduces the need for additional outboard processing gear.

The Mixtender 2 App for iPad has been completely re-imagined with input from the sound engineers who work closely with Midas consoles. Support for multiple simultaneous iPads allows FOH and monitor engineers to work collaboratively from any location in the venue.

Mixtender 2’s new features include full-screen EQ editing that allows accurate tweaks of individual channel signals. With the new VCA and POP group unfolding and member editing function, managing these unique console functions becomes easier. Plus, using the quick navigation page with comprehensive level metering, engineers can track all signals while away from the console.

“The new software and Mixtender 2 App provide tremendous functionality, but they will also improve the performance and existing features of your PRO Series console,” says product manager Al Walker. “They’re both just a free and easy download away – and were engineered for absolute best-in-class performance.”

Designed and developed by Midas, the Mixtender 2 App is compatible with PRO1, PRO2, PRO2C, PRO3, PRO6, PRO9 and XL8 consoles. It’s available for download at the Midas website.

Midas
MUSIC Group

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/28 at 08:25 AM
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Behringer Unveils X18 Digital Mixer For iPad & Other Tablet Devices

An 18-input/12-bus portable mixer with 16 Midas-designed mic preamps

Behringer has debuted the new X18 digital mixer, designed specifically for use with the iPad and other tablet devices in both live and studio applications.

The X18 is an 18-input/12-bus portable mixer with 16 Midas-designed mic preamps. A virtual FX rack loaded with true physical models of famous processors, such as the Lexicon 480L, PCM70 and Pultec EQs, plus Teletronix and Fairchild compressors, eliminates the need for outboard gear.

Access is provided to four onboard true-stereo (eight mono) multi-effects processors, such as delay, chorus, dynamics and more. In addition, the X18 can run production-quality, true-stereo reverbs concurrently with 31-band GEQ, the same effects included in the X32 digital console.

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity provides direct tablet control over the mixer’s functions without the need to set up and configure an external router. The freedom to move about and manipulate all parameters of the mix via free, downloadable iOS and PC apps lets the user dial in the perfect sound from anywhere in the venue or the tracking room.

The fast and comprehensive 18 x 18 channel, bi-directional USB interface also makes the X18 a mixing solution for recording directly to an iPad or PC.

“The best part of tablet computing is the way the Behringer X18 brings the power of mobility to the art of making music,” said product manager Jan Duwe. “With the X18’s beautifully laid out top panel, all you need to do is plug in your mic and line-level sources, grab your tablet and walk away. You can then mix from anywhere you like with the free and intuitive remote control app – right on your tablet.”

Ultranet connectivity allows the user to send any of the 18 input sources over Cat-5e cable to compatible gear, such as P16-M personal monitors or the new iQ Series loudspeakers from Turbosound.

The X18 is available at a suggested U.S. MAP of $799.99, and is covered by MUSIC Group’s 3-Year Limited Warranty Program.

Behringer
MUSIC Group

{extended}
Posted by Keith Clark on 01/28 at 07:22 AM
Live SoundRecordingChurch SoundNewsProductConsolesDigitalMixerSound ReinforcementStudioPermalink
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