Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Allen & Heath Consoles Chosen For Szczecin Philharmonic Hall
Konsbud Audio equips hall in the Polish city of Szczecin with a total of five iLive mixing consoles.
Allen & Heath iLive digital consoles have been installed throughout the new Philharmonic Hall in the Polish city of Szczecin.
The building was constructed to replace a smaller concert hall, providing a larger and more modern facility covering 12,000 square metres across four storys, which include a symphonic hall, a chamber hall, and several rehearsal suites.
Supplied, installed and integrated by Konsbud Audio, the venue is equipped with a total of five iLive mixing consoles.
“iLive was chosen because of its modular structure, which presented the significant advantage of easy expansion or reconfiguration options,” comments Piotr Jankiewicz, director of the Design and Integration department at Konsbud Audio.
“Another important factor in such a big project was the quality to price ratio, and Allen & Heath products meet the requirements of large institutions but at the same time remain at an acceptable price level. The venue was also aware that there are many examples around the world of iLive being installed and performing excellently in big concert halls, similar to the Symphonic Hall.”
iLive modular Control Surfaces - two iLive-176s and an iLive-144 - are installed in the larger Symphonic Hall where the 176 models manage front of house and monitors, while the iLive-144 is installed in an acoustic booth. In the Chamber Hall, designed for chamber concerts and educational events, there are two iLive-T Control Surfaces – an iLive-T80 and iLive-T112 - to manage front of house and monitors.
“iLive-T Series are smaller, lighter and more compact than the modular models, and are perfect for chamber halls where there is less space available around the engineer’s position,” explains Jankiewicz.
The MixRacks powering the surfaces - an iDR-64, iDR-32, iDR-16, plus a MADI-enabled xDR-16 expander unit - are installed in a nearby equipment room. Normally, iDR-64 is dedicated to managing audio in the Symphonic Hall, while the iDR-32 and iDR-16 are dedicated to the Chamber Hall.
“It is also possible and very easy to reconfigure the MixRacks to feed alternative surfaces in a different venue if the need arises, it’s only a matter of changing the cables patch,” concludes Jankiewicz.
Allen & Heath
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Church Sound Files: The Reason For “Bad Sound” May Not Be The Sound System
Many things around us are getting better. Computers are faster, televisions have more resolution, and dishwashers are quieter and more powerful than ever.
But with all of our digital wiz-bang processors, technology has been unable to eradicate “bad sound.” Why is this so? This short piece is an attempt to shed some light on three possible causes, two of which have been completely unaffected by the technological revolution.
The goal of most sound reinforcement systems is to deliver high quality sound reproduction to the listener. While we would like to think that a high quality sound system guarantees this, it does not.
The quality of the reproduced sound will only be as good as the weakest link in the reproduction chain. Let’s examine some of the major “links” individually.
The room is a major factor in the reproduction chain. Most large spaces are hostile environments for sound systems, unless they have received special attention from a professional and a considerable financial investment from their owner. Good acoustics doesn’t just “happen.” It is the by-product of careful planning.
A quality sound system may radiate an exceptionally high-fidelity sound field into the room. Unfortunately, most of the radiated energy will create acoustic events that detract from the listening experience. While small rooms have their share of acoustic problems, these problems pale next to the late reflections, reverberation, and energy build-ups encountered in large spaces.
If your sound system doesn’t sound good, ask yourself the question “What have I done to provide a good acoustic environment?” If the answer is “nothing,” then you got what you paid for.
The Sound System
Of course, a good sound system is a vital link in the reproduction chain. But this doesn’t just mean expensive equipment. It means that equipment that is suitable for the environment has been selected and implemented by someone who understands the compromises involved in large room reinforcement systems. Money can be wasted on “features” that offer no real benefit for the large room environment.
The vast majority of auditoriums that I have visited are not suitable for multi-channel formats such as stereo, surround sound, etc. since each channel must be delivered to all listener seats. Loudspeaker placements that are optimal for stereo reproduction are horrible choices for single-channel systems.
Even with monaural systems, “first choice” loudspeaker placements often create problems with sight lines and aesthetics, and are therefore ruled out by venue owners. Multiple loudspeakers must overlap somewhere, and there will be sound problems in these areas.
A properly designed system will often sound bad in the aisles – the very place where casual onlookers will stand to evaluate it. We all have good sound at home, but the rules change as the listening space grows. Intuition that is not filtered through the proper large-room principles leads to errors.
Sound system designers are often forced to compromise away the performance of the system to make it fit aesthetic concerns, budget limitations, and fashion trends within the industry.
I’ve intentionally saved this one until last. The most overlooked link in the chain is the end user of the system. This includes the mixer operator and any supporting staff, such as those who run the monitors and place microphones.
A monitor system that is too loud will dump excessive energy (usually low/mid frequency) into the audience area. This excess energy will upset the spectral balance of house sound system, tempting the front-of-house operator to compensate by over equalizing (usually in the form of high frequency boost). This results in a reduction in gain-before-feedback and an unnatural sounding system. Microphone placement is equally critical, as is an understanding of the shortcomings of various miking techniques.
If a lapel mic could sound like a hand-held, then no one would use hand-helds. The overhead drum mic that captures the cymbals also captures the stage monitors and “spill” from other instruments, as does the vocal mic used at arm’s length. And that “mellow” bass guitar sound that the musician likes in the practice hall turns to “mush” in a large space, where increased definition provided by the use of a pick and brighter strings may be required.
These factors and many more “eat away” at the sound quality of the system as a whole. A good mixer operator will evaluate and optimize the sound of the instruments individually before allowing the band to perform as an ensemble. There’s no room for democracy here – effective mixer operators learn to say “no” and “be quiet.”
A question that I recommend for an interview of prospective mix personnel would be “What will you do if something starts to squeal?” If the answer is anything other than “Turn the offending channel down slightly until I figure out what the problem is” move on to your next applicant. Filters implemented in desperation do nothing to preserve sound quality.
Modern mixing consoles pack a considerable “wow factor.” It’s fashionable to sit behind a large one and move knobs all of the time. But doing so doesn’t make one an engineer. Completing an accredited academic program or piloting a locomotive does. The decision as to which console to purchase is often made with no consideration as to whether anyone at the facility will be able to operate it. The result? Bad sound.
I have personally witnessed the performance of many good sound systems ruined by bad rooms and incompetent operators. I have also seen skilled operators “salvage” the sound reproduction in situations where the room and system were less than optimal.
The performance of a sound system is only as good as its weakest link. Unfortunately, all of the links that I have mentioned are of roughly equal importance, meaning that “two out of three” isn’t good enough. Good sound requires all three.
Experienced, well-trained audio people realize this and are there to help you find your weakest link. Pay for their advice and follow it.
Pat & Brenda Brown lead SynAudCon, conducting audio seminars and workshops online and around the world. For more information go to www.prosoundtraining.com.
SynAudCon is now offering “Audio Applications – System Optimization & EQ” as web-based training. Click the link to see the related article.
More Church Sound articles by Pat Brown on PSW:
How To Illuminate The Audience With Beautiful, Consistent Audio Coverage
Proper Loudspeaker Placement: How To Avoid Lobes and Nulls
Ten Reasons Why Church Sound Systems Cost More
What Makes A Quality Loudspeaker?
Monday, September 21, 2015
Church Sound: Your House Volume And My Grandmother’s Cooking
A sound tech from Washington writes regarding finding the right house volume levels, “It’s either too loud for the elderly or too soft for the youth, or too much electric or not enough bass, it’s just impossible to please everyone.”
My grandmother’s cooking immediately comes to mind.
My grandmother was a good cook. I’m not talking “Paula Dean with butter in everything” or “Bobby Flay with everything jazzed up.“ I’m talking about good simple food. Cooked ham, vegetable soup, you know; simple foods. It was not food that was full of a lot of spices or secret ingredients. But for her and her husband, it’s what they liked.
What would I cook for my grandmother?
Would I cook her a spicy pot of jalapeño-based chili or spicy Thai-shrimp? No. Not because she wouldn’t appreciate it, but because it’s not the type of food that brings her enjoyment. It would bring pain, if anything.
But what if she was one of many people at a family gathering? Then how much do I cater to her? Do her needs take precedent over other people’s dining preferences? Yes! No! Maybe?!?
For whom are you cooking?
It’s a family gathering…you are in charge of the food for the event…your in-laws are hosting the event and your father-in-law just gave your $1000 to cover all your food expenses. Now answer this question…who gives the final O.K. for the menu? Your father-in-law, of course! No question. He’s fronted the money and you want him to be happy. He’s also in a position of leadership (eldership) over everyone else.
For whom are you mixing?
The short answer is…the pastor. Depending on your church structure, it might be the worship leader or an elder board or a creative arts pastor. As much as I’d love to tell you that you are mixing for the congregation, when it comes to who ultimately has the final word; it’s someone in church leadership. In cases such as this, you can talk with them about comments you are receiving but whatever they say, that’s what you do.
The drums rule…the drums are low key…the electric guitar solo’s rock out…the electric guitar sits back in the mix…it’s up to them.
What if there is no direction?
You might be in a situation where they say “whatever you think sounds good.“ [Gulp] Now what? I could come up with five different scenarios and none would be like your situation. Therefore, I’ll tell you what I’d do…
—Review the mix by overall volume. How loud does it need to be to be worshipful?
—Review the mix by volume of individual instruments. Are they set in good relation to each other? Do I have a good solid mix?
—Watch the audience. If the youth kids are singing with their hands raised but the rest of the congregation just stands there, then lower the volumes.
—Look for a common ground. This is the hard part. You can’t please everyone all the time. You want to please a majority of the people most of the time. You can look at the ratio of demographics. Twenty senior citizens and three youth kids? You mix for the older crowd.
—Ask for pastor-approval and recommendations. There comes a point where you can create a balanced mix that’s good for the majority but you might still get criticism. Talk with the pastor and explain the situation. Somewhere along the lines, someone has to compromise. The pastor might say, “Mix so the oldest lady in the congregation likes it” or “mix for the majority and send people with complaints to me.“
I never wanted to cook super-spicy food for my grandmother. I wanted to cook food she’d love. But in cooking for a larger audience with varying tastes, I have to recognize that she would be sitting and eating dinner with everyone. Maybe I’d drop the spicy-shrimp and swap in something more savory.
It’s not about what we eat together, it’s about dining together. That’s how you and the church leadership should look at the music mix.
Ready to learn and laugh? Chris Huff writes about the world of church audio at Behind The Mixer. He covers everything from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians, and can even tell you the signs the sound guy is having a mental breakdown.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Aaron Fry Selects API Console For Electric Sun Studio
Non-profit studio in Sacramento, CA adds 1608 for various projects including the charitable organization Songs of Love.
Ask Aaron Fry how the API 1608 changed his studio and he will tell you it’s the difference between “recording and mixing a great record versus a good record.”
Fry runs a uniquely non-profit studio called Electric Sun in Sacramento, CA; he purchased the 1608 from Sonic Circus in May, and he says it quickly became the “perfect centerpiece to the studio.”
Fry uses a variety of API racks as well, including the 3124+, which he says “make great companion pieces” to his new console.
When asked specifically what he likes about the 1608, Fry had a hard time paring down the list.
“I like everything. I love that it is so customizable, especially in regards to the EQ section. The automation is just phenomenal. 8 busses is essential for a mixing console. I’m very happy with the routing capabilities, and the instrument inputs are very convenient. I really enjoy the simplicity of the console for how complex it is. Everything is laid out very well.”
Fry also says that he likes the way the console fits into the studio aesthetically, and thanks API “for designing a magnificent console that is beautiful both sonically and physically.”
Electric Sun primarily records artists local to the Sacramento area, specifically rock and acoustic rock, reggae, and electronic music.
“The 1608 is the best console for rock music in terms of both recording and mixing abilities,” Fry explains, “Great retro design and amazing analog sound.” Electric Sun’s 1608 has seen a variety of Sacramento musicians: Out of Place, Dust Bowl Dawn, and Liquid Noon as well as studio co-owner and Fry’s wife Katie Jane have already recorded on the console, and the list is growing daily.
In addition to recording and promoting local artists, Electric Sun participates in the charitable organization Songs of Love.
“One song per month is written for a child…who suffers from some type of illness, disease or disorder. It is an absolute amazing organization. My wife writes those songs and I engineer them. My music is a little too distortion based for children’s songs.”
Fry continues, saying that such an important cause was worth the investment the 1608 required: “I chose API based on a couple of years worth of research. I just want the best of the best in my studio and can thankfully afford it.”
Unsurprisingly, Fry is tight-lipped about specific upcoming projects, but he promises new material for Songs of love, and from a variety of Sacramento artists, in the upcoming year.
Posted by House Editor on 09/17 at 12:38 PM
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Competing For Space
Kick drum and bass guitar are infamous for competing for the same audible space in a mix, yet it’s usually desireable for there to be separation between the two.
Here are several techniques to get you headed in the right direction.
1. Change the position of the microphone on the kick drum. Often the bass guitar is more boomy, so push the kick mic deeper into the drum, nearer to the beater head. This will give it more “click,” thus providing more separation between the two.
I put this technique in the number 1 slot because it’s usually the first thing you should do—don’t be too lazy to actually leave the mix position to do it rather than instinctively reaching for the EQ first.
2. Speaking of EQ… Cut 400 Hz in the kick (4 dB or greater), and then boost 400 Hz in the bass around the same amount of dB cut from the kick. Adjust from there.
3. Sometimes a little boost in the 100 Hz range on a bass guitar can really help, giving it more of a “hard” sound that a kick drum has a tougher time reproducing (depending on the drum). Note that this is not a rule, only something to try—it can help or make things worse depending on the instruments. Also consider boosting the 50 Hz to 80 Hz range on the kick so that it “booms” while the bass “thuds.”
4. Reverse the polarity of either the kick or bass mic (whichever sounds better). Meaning that the kick should be one polarity, and the bass should be the other. Sometimes this solves the problem without doing anything else.
5. Add some distortion/overdrive to the bass guitar. Yes, that’s right folks. A small amount is all that’s usually needed—just enough for a little “hair,” more felt than heard. An outboard effects processor can be used to do this, or something like a Sansamp BassDriver, which has a built-in overdrive circuit just for this purpose. EBS also makes an overdrive pedal for bass as well.
6. Compression can be a useful tool. The initial “hit” or “pluck” of an instrument is called a transient, and the attack control of a compressor can be used to change that initial transient to a “softer” transient (faster attack) or a more pronounced “harder” transient (slower attack).
Compression can also bring note definition to a bass guitar by making the quieter notes louder and the peaks of louder notes softer. This is accomplished by using higher ratio settings (such as 6:1 or greater), and bringing up the make-up gain to the same amount as to what you’re compressing/limiting. The peaks will now be controlled, and the make-up gain will bring up the softer bass guitar notes to a more discernable level. (Read this for more about compression.)
7. Ask the bassist for more “high end” if the bass is coming across as muddy. Note the choice of words: high end. I’ve found bassists to be resistant to the term “treble,” but a phrase like “Hey bass dude, can you give us more high end because your sound is a bit muddy right now” can produce the desired result in these situations.
8. Parallel process the bass or kick by multing (multiplying) a channel.
9. Use a drum trigger on the kick and blend in the triggered sample.
10. Panning. If it’s a stereo mix, try panning the kick slightly (about 5 percent) to the left, and then pan the bass the same amount to the right.
11. If the kick drum beater is made of felt, consider changing to one that’s made of harder material in order to increase the amount of “click” in the hit, which will enhance the attack of the sound.
12. Change out the bass guitar for a different one (if you have it).
13. We’ll go full circle, beginning where we started: Change the mic (if you have it) on the kick. Mics for kick produce different tones due to their frequency responses. For example, check out these frequency response charts of two popular kick mics:
As you can see, the sound captured by these mics will sound be significantly different. The AKG D112 has a bump in the 100 Hz range, while the Sennheiser e902 has a steep mid-range cut. They handle the upper mid-range area differently as well.
It goes to being thoughtful in your approach to the voicing of each instrument in the final product. For instance, if the bass guitar has a really rich mid-range tone, the e902 on the kick drum could prove to be a great choice because of its cut in the same mid-range area. This can “carve” a space for the bass to reside in, and will sonically “move” the kick drum out of the way.
One of these things may be all that’s needed to attain the desired separation, so stop when you get there and move on to the next challenge.
Casey Campbell is an audio educator who heads up Sound Instruction (www.soundinstruction.net), a website dedicated to live sound training.
Monday, September 14, 2015
ARGOSY Introduces HALO Compact, Streamlined Workstation
Designed to be customized with accessories to specifically suit any audio or video studio requirements
ARGOSY has introduced HALO, a compact, streamlined workstation designed to be customized with accessories to specifically suit any audio or video studio requirements.
HALO includes a new sculptured armrest design, fingerprint-resistant laminated desk surface, extruded aluminum chassis rail, 11-gauge steel leg assemblies with cable-pass through leg posts, twin 8 RU bays with unrestricted depth and easy access to cable connections, steel rack frame supports, and a lowered monitor platform with cable grommets.
ARGOSY chief designer David Atkins notes that he was inspired to design HALO after observing the clean lines, balance and high design of Formula One race cars.
HALO can be personalized with a number of accessories, including IsoAcoustics near-field monitor platform attachments to support one or two pair(s) of loudspeakers weighing up to 35 pounds each, 4 RU rack-mount accessory shelves to accommodate non-rack-mountable gear, monitor arms with adjustable support brackets, and a large pullout desk/accessory drawer.
“We’re thrilled to introduce HALO and offer our customers the ability to have a personalized workstation to match their workstyle at a very attractive price,” states ARGOSY president Tim Thompson. “Now everyone who has ever wanted to own an Argosy can have the opportunity to build their dream studio.”
Prices for HALO start at $1,499.99 (U.S.), and accessories are available as add-on options. More information is here.
Atrium Audio Selects Aviom For Cue System
Recording and production facility upgrades to A320 personal mixers and AN-16/i v.2 input modules for Pennsylvania studio.
Founded in 2007, Atrium Audio in Lancaster, PA is home to a Pro Tools recording environment with a spacious live room and plenty of instruments, amps, and effects as well as a impressive selection of boutique mics, dynamic processors, and mic preamps.
The studio is also home to a new cue system from Aviom.
Since the studio’s opening, production partners Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland have engineered, produced and/or mixed music for notable bands such as Black Crown Initiate, From Ashes To New, Texas In July, Sirens & Sailors, as well as multi-platinum veteran groups like Everclear.
Most recently, Slovak and McFarland produced and mixed a new record for August Burns Red that made it to #9 on the Billboard 200 list. Other recent projects include engineering LIVE’s album “The Turn” with renowned producer Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads fame.
The studio was designed and built to provide a home base for the production pair’s own work, and to provide an atmosphere where clients were comfortable and could concentrate on the creative process.
In an effort to constantly improve the studio’s gear offerings and increase productivity during sessions, the studio’s cue system has just been updated and now includes Aviom’s A320 Personal Mixers and an AN-16/i v.2 Input Module.
“We used an Aviom system recently when we recorded a band at another studio and it was fantastic,’’ comments Carson Slovak, “so it quickly went to the top of our gear wish list.” The system allows up to 16 balanced analog sources to be connected and converted to digital for transport over Cat-5 cables. Setup time is reduced to just minutes and cable clutter is minimal; mixer stations can be placed anywhere in the studio as needs require simply by adding a Cat-5 cable.
The A320 Personal Mixers allow each performer to easily adjust the individual levels of the audio signals in the cue mix while performing and to do so with a minimum amount of distraction.
“After getting our new Aviom cue system integrated into our setup, we were immediately floored by how well it works compared to other systems we’ve tried,” adds Slovak. “The clarity in our headphone mixes has improved drastically and the mixers are easy for our clients to understand.”
The A320 mixers deliver consistent, repeatable results session after session.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Rashid Desai Named Senior VP & Chief Technology Officer At Avid
Responsible for leading all of the company’s technology teams, including software and hardware engineering and information and technology
Avid has announced that software development veteran Rashid Desai has been named senior vide president and chief technology officer.
Reporting to Avid chairman, president and CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr., Desai is responsible for leading all of Avid’s technology teams, including software and hardware engineering and information and technology. He will spearhead the development of applications for the Avid MediaCentral platform to help media organizations and creative professionals make content creation and distribution more efficient and collaborative.
“With 20 years’ technology leadership experience, Rashid brings a strong track record for leading and transforming global technology teams,” says Hernandez. “Having worked with Rashid at Open Solutions, I’m confident that his experience developing platforms that scale to global levels will help us drive Avid Everywhere forward.”
Desai joins Avid from Barclaycard, where he held managing director, chief information officer and chief technology officer roles. He was responsible for the company’s U.S. technology strategy and capabilities, and successfully led a multi-year transformation of the business, with an emphasis on secure cloud-based technologies using agile development and lean operations.
Earlier in his career, Desai held technology leadership positions at Equifax, where he drove the development of an enterprise customer management platform, oversaw the innovation of a scalable global internet commerce platform, and strengthened and simplified the company’s infrastructure. He is also a board member at Zip Code Wilmington, Delaware’s first coding school, preparing the next generation of software development professionals.
“My key objective is to drive the development of innovative solutions that solve the media industry’s most critical challenges,” Desai says. “I am proud to be part of a global team that is so committed to innovation and customer success, and I look forward to playing a key role in fulfilling the Avid Everywhere vision.”
Studer Introduces Vista 1 Black Edition Digital Console At IBC 2015
New console includes true broadcast monitoring, talkback, red light control, GPIO, N-x (Mix Minus) busses, snapshot automation and DAW control
Offering an enriched feature set and retaining the ease of use of the Vista 1 digital mixing console in a sleekly designed form factor, Harman’s Studer is introducing the Vista 1 Black Edition at IBC 2015.
Thanks to the patented Vistonics user interface with 40 on-screen rotary knobs, the Vista 1’s look and feel is identical to that of its larger sister models the Vista X and Vista V.
Features such as true broadcast monitoring, talkback, red light control, GPIO, N-x (Mix Minus) busses, snapshot automation and DAW control make the Vista 1 an ideal choice for broadcast, live and production use.
For theatre productions, the Vista 1 comes with the complete toolset for sound designers.
The enhanced theatre CUE list includes Character/Actor Library event handling, with MUTE and VCA events handling. CUEs can fire MIDI/MMC events as well as loading different Strip Setups and UAD Plug-In snapshots.
With software v5.3, the Vista 1 Black Edition user will also get SpillZone and FollowSolo functionality, as well as a server-based event logger application, which is logging Vista system and user-events.
With an integral DSP engine of 96 channels, the Vista 1 can handle mono, stereo and 5.1 inputs, and is provided with a standard configuration of 32 mic/line inputs, 16 line outputs and four pairs of AES inputs and outputs on rear panel connections which also can be customized.
I/O can be expanded using the standard Studer D21m card slot on the rear, to allow MADI, AES, AoIP (including AES67), ADAT, TDIF, CobraNet, Dolby E/Digital, SDI connections etc. MADI links can connect to any of the Studer Stagebox range for XLR connectivity as well as other formats.
The Vista 1 also features an integral jingle player, played from audio files on a USB jingle stick (such as station ID or background FX), and triggered by a series of eight dedicated keys in the master section.
The Studer Vista 1 Black Edition also features a redundant PSU for peace of mind, and RELINK integration with other Studer Vista and OnAir consoles means the Vista 1 can easily share signals across an entire console network.
Posted by House Editor on 09/11 at 10:18 AM
AKG Announces Dante Compatibility With Reference Digital Microphone Mixers
The new DMM8 ULD and DMM14 ULD mixers offer advanced DSP functionality, multiple routing options and versatility.
At IBC 2015, AKG by Harman is expanding its line of reference digital microphone mixers and offering more connectivity options with the new Dante compatible DMM8 ULD and DMM14 ULD models.
Ideal for large meeting rooms and conferencing applications, the new DMM8 ULD and DMM14 ULD mixers offer advanced DSP functionality, multiple routing options and tremendous versatility.
On the ULD models, all ins are available as direct outs—which is ideal for broadcast applications—while all outs are also available on the DANTE stream.
The DMM8 ULD provides 14 free assignable DANTE outs, while the DMM14 ULD provides 22. In addition, four DANTE streams can be used as inputs with both models.
Like the rest of the line, DMM8 ULD and DMM14 ULD feature built-in DSP to ensure precise mixing of up to 80 and 140 channels, respectively, by cascading up to 10 units. Numerous DSP functions such as EQ filters, compressor/limiter, and routing for a variety of spoken word applications.
The DMM8 ULD and DMM14 ULD also offer a LAN interface via Ethernet to enable control over large distances using, for instance, an AMX control system. With this functionality, users have the flexibility to mount the mixer in a centralized technician room, rather than a location near the venue, while retaining the ability to make adjustments.
In addition, AKG offers software that enables users to control all functions via AMX and Crestron products, or directly via a Wi-Fi router on Apple, Android and Windows devices. This gives users the freedom to mute unnecessary microphones and otherwise manage the discussion either automatically or manually.
Key Features Include:
—Digital signal processing and mixing algorithms for mixing, resulting in high gain before feedback and clear voices
—Two-channel USB (stereo) streaming In and Out for interfacing with IT networks
—Six (12 with DMM14) programmable presets for tailoring to different situations
—12-band graphic EQ on outputs for optimized loudspeaker tuning
—Audio matrix routing of all inputs to all outputs for creating multiple mixes of multiple output combinations
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Sound Devices Unveils New CL-12 Linear Fader Controller At IBC 2015
Optional accessory expands the mixing capability of the 6-Series mixer/recorder line with a single USB cable.
Sound Devices unveils the new CL-12 Linear Fader Controller, an optional accessory that expands the mixing capability of the 6-Series mixer/recorder line, at IBC 2015 (Hall 8, Stand B59).
The CL-12 features 12 100 mm linear faders for live mixing of multiple audio signals and comes in two models: the standard CL-12 and the CL-12 Alaia (pronounced “ah-LIE-ah”).
The CL-12 Alaias’ differentiating features include smooth-gliding Penny & Giles faders, as well as custom hardwood side panels offered in either Curly Maple or Mahogany, handmade by Wisconsin-based Amish craftsmen.
“These linear fader controllers meet a growing demand from production professionals working in cart-based setups, or those who must make quick transitions between cart and over-the-shoulder applications,” says Paul Isaacs, director of product management and design, Sound Devices.
“The CL-12 extends the mixing capabilities of the already powerful 688. A single USB cable provides both control and power, further accommodating today’s fast-paced production landscape.”
The CL-12 will be compatible with the 688 Mixer/Recorder upon shipping, and future support for both the 664 and 633 products will follow. The CL-12 Alaia is named after the historic, hand-carved wooden surfboards ridden globally pre-20th century, with a recent resurgence in popularity in the early 2000s. The finless longboards were renowned for their flawless design, durability, and longevity.
With the CL-12, the 688 gains sunlight-viewable LED metering, as well as numerous dedicated buttons for quick access to key functionality, such as fast-track arming, naming routing, and transport controls. It features a 3-band parametric equalizer for each of the 12 inputs, and the ability to monitor audio directly from the CL-12’s headphone port. Additional shortcut controls include those for metadata entry, COMs, and SuperSlot wireless receiver monitoring.
The CL-12 also includes ports for a USB keyboard connection for efficient metadata entry, remote control via 3rd party applications (Ambient Beetle Bluetooth dongle, Timecode Systems’ :wave metadata hub), and for powering an optional USB lamp.
The CL-12 is scheduled to ship late October 2015.
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
Allen & Heath Consoles For Salvation Army 150th Anniversary Celebration
Avenue Services provides iLive and GLD series consoles for the five day event at Boundless 2015 in London’s O2 Arena.
Kent-based production company, Avenue Services, was appointed by The Salvation Army as one of the two production companies to provide technical production for its 150th International Anniversary celebrations in London’s O2 Arena, selecting Allen & Heath mixers for all the venues that they covered.
Entitled Boundless 2015, the 5 day event was staged across all of the O2’s venues and attracted 20,000 visitors from around the world.
Avenue Services provided full technical production for three of the venues and some support for the main arena too.
Over a dozen different musical and dance groups took part in 18 performances across 4 venues - the main O2 arena, the Cineworld Sky Super Screen, Cineworld Screen 2, and Building 6.
“We provided a site wide implementation of Allen & Heath digital and analogue mixers for simple ease of use, quick turn arounds and flexible setups,” explains Avenue Services’ owner, John-Marc Swansbury.
Avenue Services selected its iLive-T112 control surface and iDR-48 MixRack to support one of the Salvation Army’s leading gospel choirs from Sweden. All 48 choir mics went through the iLive as a sub mix into the main arena PA system, which was being handled under the main production company for the arena, Corporate Magic.
A GLD-80 with AR2412 and AR84 IO racks was installed to manage the 800-capacity Sky Super Screen venue, which mixed a varied programme of artists including brass bands, Hawaiian dancers, Indian Youth Singers, New Zealand Mauri dancers, and 60-strong choirs. Fitted with a Dante network card, the mixer provided live splits to another setup for live multitrack recording for a DVD production of the event.
“This setup needed quick changes between performing groups. The speed of the GLD for programming and ‘out of the box’ use for a digital desk made these swift changes quick and effective, whilst keeping a system base line running for mix outputs for the main PA and onstage monitor mixes,” commented Swansbury. “The cinema being what it is - a very dry audio environment - means that the GLD’s onboard FX came into their own with the use of reverb and delays to enhance the vocal and brass performances, providing rich natural sounding reverb in an environment not used to live acoustic performances.”
A QU-16 rackmount mixer and AR2412 rack were installed in the Screen 2 venue, which also featured an eclectic mix of performers and presentations.
Finally, in Building 6, the compact ZED-10FX was used to mix and route audio signals for the use of production show comms, and on stage, IEM mixes for the bands’ MD.
Allen & Heath
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Central Baptist Church Transitions To Digital With Soundcraft Si Impact
Media director Terry Harris makes the jump from analog to a new digital console for South Carolina church.
Central Baptist Church in Gaffney, South Carolina recently became one of the first houses of worship in the world to adopt Soundcraft’s new Si Impact digital mixing console.
The Si Impact caught the attention of the church’s media director Terry Harris, who was looking for an easy-to-use digital console to handle the mixing of the church’s services.
Harris is a longtime Soundcraft fan and the church recently went fully live with the Si Impact for the first time.
“We looped the pastor and worship leader’s mics through the Si Impact and then back to the analog board we were using, just to play with it,” Harris said. “I have been amazed at how simple it is and also how easy it has to transition from an analog board.”
The 40-input Si Impact provides 32 mic/line inputs, 40 DSP input channels (32 mono inputs and four stereo channels/returns) and 31 output busses (all with full DSP processing and GEQ) with 20 sub-group aux busses and four mono/stereo matrix busses.
Eight XLR/quarter-inch combi-jacks are available for line inputs and instruments, while a 4-band fully parametric EQ is available for each channel and bus. The Si Impact also offers studio grade effects and dynamics from Soundcraft’s sister companies BSS, Lexicon and dbx.
Among the Si Impact’s many features, Harris has found utility in the FaderGlow fader illumination system.
“The way the board uses color to keep you positioned is brilliant,” Harris noted. “Even our most ardent anti-digital operators are now in love with Si Impact. We were able to do everything we did with our old analog board on our first day using it…and more.”
Harris is also utilizing Soundcraft’s ViSi iPad application, which allows for remote control of the mixing console via an iPad device using a wireless router. This offers Harris an unprecedented level of freedom that enables him to mix the sound from anywhere within the church.
Harris believes the Si Impact is a perfect product for the church market.
“The simplicity of the board and the benefits of the digital technology is a whole new experience for us,” he said. “None of our operators has any experience with digital mixers except for me, and my experience is very limited. However, the transition has been seamless.”
Vocal Mixing Basics
In 1878, a room full of people watched Thomas Edison’s new phonograph spin and heard a voice read “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”
Despite the excitement of hearing the first audio recording, I’ll bet someone thought, “That sounds like crap.” Having heard the recording, I agree.
Mixing the spoken word is a task in itself, but to mix singers and blend them with a band is an even more daunting task. Singers produce a range of sounds, good and bad, and no two voices are alike. This means each vocal must be uniquely mixed. What works for one person’s vocal isn’t right for another.
The good news is that I’ve identified seven areas of vocal mixing to focus on that take a lot of the hassle out of the process.
Roll It Off
There’s no reason for low-end frequencies to be in a vocal channel. Unless it’s an acapella group, musical instruments such as the drum kit, bass, and to a lesser extent electric guitar should be the only things that populate the sub-200 Hz frequencies.
A vocal microphone can pick up these sounds, either directly or through stage monitors, as well as any extraneous low end from the singer. Remove these by using a high-pass filter.
The filter can be fixed-point, such as rolling off frequencies below a set point, usually in the 80 to 120 Hz range, or it can be a variable filter. My personal preference is to roll off at as high a point as possible. For example, I regularly work with a singer that needs the filter set at 180 Hz. My process is to roll it higher and higher until hearing a negative impact on the voice, and then pull it back a few hertz.
Male vocals can have excessive low end, so console functionality permitting, also take a 3 to 6 dB cut in the 250 to 350 Hz range. This eliminates the muddiness in most male vocals.
There’s no such thing as perfect singing voice. Even the best singers have slight imperfections in the sounds they produce. (Just don’t tell them I said that.) These imperfections are usually in the 2.5 to 4 kHz range.
Find the sweet spot to remove the harshest frequencies. With an analog console, use it’s sweeping-mid or a graphical EQ frequency selector. Start at the 4 kHz point and apply a 6 dB cut. Then slowly sweep that frequency down until the vocals clear up. Next, decrease or increase the cut as required.
Analog consoles have a fixed bandwidth and therefore the cut will affect frequencies centered on the primary selected frequency, though in lesser amounts, like an upside-down mountain. However, this bandwidth (Q) can be altered on digital consoles. The tighter the bandwidth for cutting the better, because harsh frequencies are best removed with surgical precision – though without the worry of a malpractice lawsuit.
Turn On The Lights
Add brightness to the vocal with boosts to select high-end frequencies. The boost creates a bright and sometimes airy sound. The amount to add depends on the style of music, the song arrangement, the vocal, and what sounds good in the room.
Apply a gentle boost of 3 to 4 dB above the 6 kHz point. Sweep this point up until it produces the desired results. This is easy with consoles that have more than one sweeping-mid. In the case of consoles without, use the peaking high-end EQ control to increase that boost for all the high-end frequencies.
Make It Smooth
Despite the previous steps, a vocal mix can still be wanting. The bad stuff’s gone, and it’s got some sparkle, but it’s not quite there. Enter Mr. Smooth.
There’s a danger zone in the mid-range. One wrong move and the vocals can sound flat and dull or harsh and annoying. Welcome to the 1 to 2 kHz range.
Sweep a tight cut in this range This can be more of a problem area than the 2.5 to 4 kHz range, so when limited to the number of frequency manipulations, opt for which has the greatest impact.
Bring Out The Bass
Some lower-mids might be needed to add substance to the voice. Boost in the 200 to 600 Hz range. As noted earlier, vocal characteristics vary widely, so while some singers might have plenty of energy in this range, others might be in desperate need of it. Don’t make them sound like someone they’re not; rather, the goal is to make them sound like a better version of themselves.
Earlier, I mentioned cutting in the 300 Hz range for male vocals. But doesn’t this contrast with the aforementioned tip on boosting? Yes. No. Maybe.
Mixing is a process of additive and subtractive measures. The difficulty is in deciding what to do first. I’ve found the most success in removing as much of the bad as possible, and then listening to what remains and boosting where appropriate.
A vocal that’s devoid of much in the 300 Hz range is a vocal that’s not going to have the natural muddiness and therefore might be a prime candidate for such a boost. This doesn’t mean muddiness is added. It just depends on the specific voice characteristics as well as the style of music.
Time to work on the other channels. Much of the natural voice is in the mid-range frequencies, and so are the fundamental frequencies of most other instruments. Part of mixing a good vocal is making room for it in the mix. The vocal needs to own the primary area where it shines through. This doesn’t come by boosting only the good – it also comes by carving out space from other channels.
Look to vocal and instrument channels that clash with the vocal. Determine which “owns” that primary frequency area, and then adjust the others by applying a slight cut in that area. I’ve gone back and found I had two channels where both had the same frequency boost applied – of course they clashed.
The One Question
Audio production is part science and part art where too often the scientific mind is allowed to dominate. This happens a lot with EQ work. During any of the above processes, you might ask the question, “Does this sound good?” The question (and it’s answers) come from trial and error. Boost here, evaluate. Boost there, evaluate.
There’s another way. During the vocal mixing process, imagine how the vocalist should sound. Ask these questions: What frequency areas dominate? What areas are minimal? How does it fit into the overall mix?
Then go to those key mix areas, such as using the high-pass filter or adding brightness, and apply those measures so they meet the sound in your head. A great vocal mix can be imagined and then worked towards. It’s much harder and less likely to be obtained through trial and error.
This process isn’t easy for those new to the EQ process and frequency band characteristics. But learning is just a matter of time and practice. The key is asking the one question that matters: “Does it sound like I want it to sound?”
Use the above mixing areas to improve vocal mixes. Once the vocal channel is sounding great, reach for the reverb. Or don’t. It depends on a few things, now doesn’t it?
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.
Canada’s Algonquin Theatre Steps Up To Yamaha CL5
Dante-networked, 400-seat theatre in Huntsville, Ontario adds second Yamaha digital audio console.
The 400+-seat Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville, Ontario Canada, officially opened its doors in 2005, offering outstanding performances from comedians to orchestras, and elementary school plays to musical artists of international acclaim.
The theatre recently installed a Yamaha CL5 Digital Audio Console at front of house (purchased through Westbury Show Systems), moving its Yamaha M748CL to the monitor position.
The two consoles are connected to the CL5 head-amps via Dante networking cards and switches, and consists of both primary and secondary networks.“
Chris Boon, theatre technical director, along with assistant tech, Tyler Ayles, installed the system.
“The M7CL48 has been a great, solid console for us.” states Boon.
“Over the last few years, as tour sound engineer requirements were changing and with advancing console technologies, I felt it was time to upgrade the mix position at front of house. I also wanted to update our old analog console located at monitors. So we moved the M7CL to monitors and started researching a console to fit our FOH needs.’
During the time Boon was researching digital consoles, a touring group came into the theatre and travelling with one of the first Yamaha CL5’s to hit the Canadian market. While it was at the theatre, Boon had the opportunity to test-drive the console.
“I found that all functions were well laid out and not cluttered. When you push a button on the screen, it did exactly what you expected it to do (ease of operation is important for a venue that does numerous ‘one off’ shows with touring sound engineers). The room just warmed right up. There is a definite step up in the sound quality of the head amps.”
“After using and hearing the board, I decided that this was the right console for our venue. It has been a great system for us, including the ability to be able to record 64 tracks.”
Something Boon said he noticed when he first saw the CL5 was the quality difference in the faders.
“They looked sharp, felt sturdy and move smoothly. Some of the key features I was looking for in a digital console was editable channel names and colors which the CL5 has and very simple to program. One of my favorite user functions is the Custom Fader Bank selection allowing me to instantly reorder faders (a great function to have when a tour manager arrives after the stage has been set and advises they sent the old input list and stage plot.). The Premium Rack is another of my favorites and also the ability to operate the console remotely via iPad using the Yamaha StageMix App.”
The Algonquin has been involved with more live recordings. “A nice feature of the CL5 was the included Steinberg Nuendo Live recording software with the Dante Virtual Soundcard software enabling a computer to easily access tracks via Ethernet cable by simply plugging into the network. I liked the fact that I could also plug in a USB stick to the console to instantly handle a 2-track recording, often requested by performers while we are archiving the show.”
The system network was installed as a Star Topology (LAN) to allow the use of redundant primary and secondary lines for each device. Two Cisco SG3000 Gigabit switches were used at front of house along with one Yamaha Ri8-D input box and one Ro8 output box and another two Cisco SG3000s at monitors to connect stage boxes and consoles primary and secondary lines. The M7CL was outfitted with three DANTE MY16-AUD 16X16 cards (48 channels) to allow connection to the network, with one Rio3224-D input/output box and two Ri8-D input boxes. Cisco SG3000 software was used to setup the appropriate internal network switch settings and the Dante Controller to handle channel assigning.
Since installing the CL5, Boon says he has had very positive feedback and interest in the console from touring sound engineers. Comments such as great functionality and sound quality, the Yamaha CL, Boon notes, is a console they would add to their technical riders.