Friday, April 01, 2011
TransAudio Group Announces Musikmesse Showcase
Show attendees can meet Brad Lunde, Mark Hornsby, David Bock and Geoff Daking and see all the latest gear.
TransAudio Group has announced they will showcase the latest gear from Chameleon Labs, BOCK Audio, and Daking at Musikmesse in Frankfurt.
TransAudio Group president Brad Lunde will be joined by producer/engineer Mark Hornsby, BOCK inventor David Bock, and Daking creator Geoff Daking.
“Musikmesse is the largest music products fair in the world, and we’re happy to have the opportunity to share some exciting new products with knowledgeable users in a personal, face-to-face setting,” said Lunde.
“With Mark, David and Geoff at the booth, there will be a serious level of expertise and an air of levity that will be very useful to anyone with an interest in pro audio. Plus, it will be a lot of fun!”
Against the backdrop of its now-sizable catalog, TransAudio Group will highlight four new products at Musikmesse:
The Chameleon Labs TS-1 MKII small diaphragm tube condenser microphone that combines a unique, high-end topology with a very competitive price; the BOCK 241 large diaphragm studio tube condenser representing an economical alternative to the BOCK 251; and two new Daking offerings – the dual-channel FET3 compressor and the Mic Pre 500 – both continue the Daking tradition of creating analog processing in useful, situation-specific packages.
Aphex Announces Jace Nuzback As Latest Product Specialist
Nuzback is thrilled to be a part of taking a legendary company forward into the 21st century.
Aphex has announced that pro-audio veteran Jace Nuzback has joined the company as Product Specialist.
Nuzback, who has been involved in cutting edge product development and support for pro audio companies including Tascam, Line 6 and Avid’s M-Audio division, brings a wealth of expertise in multitrack recording and guitar-oriented products. In his new position, he will work directly with Product Development Manager Jim Bailey.
“For me, working with Aphex is truly a dream job and an exciting opportunity,” says Nuzback.
“Unlike some jobs where I’ve been focused on one specific niche, this is a chance to tap into my experience in so many different disciplines, from recording and professional audio to musical instruments and even consumer audio, and apply all those different skills to help create something entirely new. Aphex has some absolutely ground-breaking products in the works, and I’m thrilled to be a part of taking a legendary company forward into the 21st century.”
“Jace is, in so many ways, the ideal candidate for this position,” adds Aphex CEO David Wiener.
“He brings such a diverse portfolio of experience to the company, at a time when we’re launching so many different ventures, and he’s got the ability and the motivation to make a major contribution to every one of them. We’re very happy to welcome him.”
NETIA Radio-Assist Streamlines Bel RTL Workflow With Annova OpenMedia
OpenMedia simplifies and speeds up creation and delivery of timely content.
NETIA has announced that it has worked with Bel RTL, a private French-language radio broadcaster serving Belgium, to integrate its existing Radio-Assist suite of digital audio software with the broadcaster’s Annova OpenMedia newsroom control system.
The integration of these two key systems significantly streamlines Bel RTL operations by allowing staff to work not only with news scripts and stories, but also with audio and editing tools, all within a single environment.
“NETIA’s integration of Radio-Assist with OpenMedia has allowed us to join two separate areas of our broadcast operations into one for much greater overall efficiency,” said Dominique Romain, radio broadcast IT manager at Bel RTL.
“By simplifying and speeding up our workflow, this integration gives our journalists more time to focus on creating content rather than technical tasks and gives our station a competitive edge by enabling more timely delivery of news.”
The Radio-Assist 8 range of digital audio software programs covers the entire operation of a radio station, addressing acquisition, sound file editing, commercial and music production, scheduling, multicasting, data security, and administration.
OpenMedia enables functions such as searching agency wires, scheduling broadcasts, managing video and audio clips, and writing and distributing news stories.
Working closely with Bel RTL, NETIA leveraged the two systems’ MOS compatibility to enable users working in OpenMedia to access Radio-Assist functionality and stored audio without switching between programs.
With Radio-Assist database access, users working in OpenMedia can retrieve and listen to audio, and then edit it with NETIA’s Snippet tool or simply drag and drop the selected audio into the OpenMedia environment for editing.
Users can save the results of this work in the Radio-Assist database, save a new rundown, and export that rundown to the Radio-Assist scheduling system for broadcast. Journalists at Bel RTL can do all of this in just one window.
Newly established communications between the two systems maintain links between key elements — schedules, scripts, and media — for even greater streamlining of production and playout.
“NETIA is known for providing solutions tailored to the needs of specific customers,” said Mus Rezzoug, product director at NETIA.
“The integration we’ve undertaken at Bel RTL demonstrates this commitment, as well as the versatility and interoperability of our Radio-Assist software suite.”
In Profile: Mike Borne, Founder & President Of Allstar Audio Systems
Building it one relationship at a time
Long before founding Allstar Audio Systems in Nashville in 1984, Mike Borne prided himself on having an ear for excellence. “Even in high school,” he says, “when I’d go to looking to find a key piece of gear for my stereo, I wanted quality.”
In 1969, he got his start with professional systems by purchasing his first PA for $400 for the band he was playing with. “When you own the system, whether you’re lousy or not, they gotta keep you,” he explains with a laugh.”
“But while owning the PA solidified his position in the band, he wasn’t destined for a career on stage. “I was shy, and when I got on stage with a guitar that gave me some freedom, but what I really had a passion for was good music and better sound.”
Fast-forward 40 years or so, and Borne shares another passion: achieving as close to perfect performance as humanly possible for all of his Allstar Audio clients.
The key to doing so, he explains, is patience and preparation, as well as adopting a strategy aimed at controlled growth. One of the most important aspects of achieving that is developing strong, mutually beneficial ties with his peers in the industry.
“Some people see every other company in the world as competition, as in, ‘they’re my enemy’. But I see them as trying to live their dreams like I’m living mine.”
“So a company from California can call me to cover a client in Florida and know I’m not going to steal the client - I’m going to do my best to make them happy they gave us the job.”
After graduating high school, Borne went on to study electronics at Northern Kentucky Vocational and Technical School, earning an associate’s degree, but instead of continuing with college, he took a job as front of house engineer with a regional club band.
“It was only a three-month tour - and the first week or two there was so much feedback I’m surprised I kept my job.”
Even then, making barely $100 a week, he’d already begun amassing the gear and capital needed to form his own company.
“I lived with my grandmother, and she said, ‘if you want to store your equipment here and have a bed, you send me half your pay’.”
It wasn’t rent, he explains, but seed money. “When I wanted to buy equipment I’d have to call her and convince her to break out a bit of money to help.”
Over the course of six years of serving as a mix engineer and system tech on tours with various bands, Borne also formed valuable professional relationships, including one with Jack D. Johnson, manager of country stars Charlie Pride and Ronnie Milsap.
Johnson became an important mentor, eventually tapping him for a gig with rising star T.G. Sheppard.
“The first gig we did was the Champaign (Illinois) County Fair. They threw me off the bus like I was bait, and said ‘go do your job’.”
But that was easier said than done.
“The system was four chrome Buddy Holly style microphones, an Altec A7 combination horn/bass reflex box with a bullhorn mounted on it on either side of the stage, a 4-channel mixer with no EQ and a 40-watt tube amplifier – there weren’t even any monitors.”
Even at this early point in his career, the relationships he’d already formed served him well, along with a bit of ingenuity.
“First thing I’d do in a town is get the phone book out and see what music stores and sound companies were around, and I compiled that information into my own little black book.”
“So for the first Sheppard gig, I tapped my little black book and came up with C.V. Lloyde of Champaign, the first production company to tour with the rock band Boston, and they came to the rescue. Just like the iPhone is now, that little black book was a key piece of gear then.”
Borne’s insistence on maintaining his relationships with other companies and industry professionals also informed his first major purchase after starting Allstar; a Kaypro computer and a dot matrix printer.
Borne (center) with Ramon Franco and Carlos Henao of D.A.S. Audio with one of Allstar Audio’s rigs at the 2009 Beale Street Festival in Memphis.
It took three months to input the contents of his black book and the stacks of advance sheets he’d accumulated over the years into his database, but when he finished, he was able to mail out more than 5,000 letters and make certain his existing contacts knew about his new venture.
One Piece At A Time
While continuing to freelance as an engineer, Borne ran Allstar out of the basement of his Nashville home and built his inventory, literally, one piece at a time.
“I had Perkins cabinets, JBL horns and ‘sugar scoops’ - that was the PA.”
“And I had a friend at Peavey who trusted me enough to give me a pair of Mark IV consoles and let me pay for them over time.”
The first full-range boxes he acquired were EAW KF550s and then the venerable KF850s. “They were the size of a refrigerator, but I rode the EAW wave right into the beach,” he says.
Over time, Borne’s measured approach continued to fuel Allstar’s growth as a sound company. As demand grew, however, he realized he would have to expand the scope of his services. “I can tell you, I never wanted to be a lighting guy, but I’d get calls and they’d say, do you do lighting?”
Initially, he contracted it out, but found that the delays involved in the process were passed on to his clients - not an acceptable situation.
“I just wanted to tell my client, instantly, ‘yes that’s available, so I diversified into lighting in the mid 1980s.”
Doing otherwise just wouldn’t have been good business, and that’s the only kind of business Borne will do. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s all about relationships. That’s the key word in life. You always want to deliver what you say you will, and that’s why, when we get a client, they stay with us.”
That philosophy has helped Allstar grow substantially over time, allowing Borne to move his inventory from his Nashville home in 1987 through a succession of larger spaces, and finally into the company’s current warehouse in nearby Smyrna.
It was a step made possible by the sale of a system that had been an ongoing rental at Sam’s Casino in Tunica, MS.
“That was a key moment, and it was the best investment I’ve ever made. I could have bought more gear, but instead put a down payment on the facility we’re in now.”
“We went from 4,000 to 12,000 square feet, and somehow, the guys filled that up immediately - I’ve yet to figure out how, but it goes to show you how tight we were packed in.”
Since, the company has taken over the remainder of the 24,000-square-foot facility.
In 1999, Allstar Audio expanded again by developing a relationship with Canada’s Mobile Stage Rentals (MSR) to add staging to the inventory, and now owns two Stageline stages in addition to managing several others for MSR.”
More recently, Borne has incorporated a couple of D.A.S Audio line arrays to his inventory, as well as DiGiCo digital consoles.
“When I took this system out, I just fell in love with it. To this day, it’s still the best system I’ve mixed on. Thank you D.A.S. and DiGiCo, you made mixing fun again.”
With each expansion comes challenges, but every successive move and expansion has further established Allstar Audio as a one-stop shop for production rentals, sales and installations.
And, over the years, Borne’s approach has proved very popular; so much so, he counts repeat customers as fully 90 percent of his business.
Whether supplying systems for touring artists, or events like the Memphis Beale Street festival (as the company’s done for 19 of the past 21 years), or fulfilling production riders for the campaigns of political candidates and sitting presidents as far back as Ronald Reagan, in every case the people representing Allstar Audio are as important as the quality of the gear.
“Engineering is only a part of it,” he explains. “If something happens on stage and you’re working for the president of the United States, you want to walk calmly, with authority, and go up and fix it.”
“You don’t want to run, because the Secret Service will shoot you in the ass.”
“Integrity, honesty, professionalism; it’s the whole package. Relationships are what kept us going all these years, with our great co-workers, manufacturers, their reps, and some of the best clients out there.”
In Good Hands
Moving forward, Borne continues to cleave to that ethic when making decisions professionally and personally, nowhere more so than when deciding to move his family to Florida in 2003.
With three grown children, he and wife Kathy began making plans to do more for themselves, “the kind of things you don’t consider when you’ve got a bunch of kids in the house, because you can’t afford to,” he says.
Shortly thereafter, however, they got the news that Kathy was pregnant, but rather than put their dreams on hold, decided to make the move anyway.
While Borne may spend more time away from his Smyrna facility now, he always knows what’s there and that it’s in good hands. He also keeps quite a bit of inventory, including his Stageline rigs, near his new home in Merritt Island, FL.
While the idea of opening a permanent facility in Florida is under consideration, working from home has already paid huge personal dividends, allowing him to indulge a longstanding passion for boating and, more importantly, to spend time he wouldn’t otherwise be able to with his now 8-year-old daughter Annabella.
And while the recent economic downturn has made for a wild ride, it has also prompted Allstar Audio to develop a comprehensive internship program, which brings Borne substantial personal satisfaction.
“Teaching is such a cool thing; we give our interns real-world experience, and I just love seeing the light go on in people’s heads.”
In continuing to chart the future of his company, he sees no reason to change the approach he’s always taken with his work.
“We’ll go carefully. You’ve got to get the root system growing before you grow the tree up real tall, or the first wind storm that comes along will blow it over.”
Job Title: Founder/president Allstar Audio Systems, Inc.
Location: Smyrna (Nashville), TN and Merritt Island, FL
Years in the Business: 37
Favorite tools: My iPhone and my ears
Worked With: Various Fortune 500 companies and presidential candidates, Alltel Communications NASCAR, Memphis in May International Festival and the Beale Street Festival, artists including Restless Heart, Charlie Daniels, Ronnie Milsap, T.G. Sheppard, Lee Greenwood, Diamond Rio, Jo Dee Messina and others
Based in Toronto, Kevin Young is a freelance music and tech writer, professional musician and composer.
Volicon To Demonstrate Observer AC-3 Decoding Option At 2011 NAB Show
The new Observer Dolby Digital option streamlines HD/SD-SDI content monitoring and logging workflow while cutting operational costs & complexity.
Volicon has announced that at the 2011 NAB Show, the company will demonstrate its new, fully integrated Volicon Observer AC-3 (Dolby Digital) decoding option.
Available with current releases of the Observer video monitoring and logging system, the new option makes it easy for operators to capture and log HD/SD-SDI content without the need for expensive external AC-3/Dolby Digital decoding hardware.
Now, rather than sending audio through separate extraction, decoding, and embedding processes using costly third-party systems, broadcasters can send HD-SDI with AC-3 embedded stereo or 5.1 audio directly to the Observer system, which also captures embedded logging content.
As a result, the broadcaster can reduce equipment costs, rack space, and cabling requirements, while increasing workflow efficiency.
“With an array of integrated processing capabilities, now including the AC-3/Dolby Digital decoding option, the Observer system has evolved into much more than a standard logging and monitoring system,” said Mike Asebrook, Volicon senior director of product marketing.
“Today’s Observer systems offer robust functionality that complements key monitoring and logging tasks while reducing the cost and complexity of the overall workflow.”
Linear Acoustic Provided Audio Support For The Golden Globes Broadcast
The AERO.qc helped engineers deliver a 5.1 mix for the viewing audience that would downmix properly for the HD stereo viewer.
Linear Acoustic has announced they supplied two AERO.qc Audio Quality Controllers for use on “The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards” ceremony, which was broadcast live on NBC on Jan. 16, 2011 from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
The two AERO.qc units were employed in NEP Broadcasting’s Denali Summit DTV truck.
The units were used to ensure a high-quality 5.1 channel version of the production’s mix, which was delivered to NBC’s HD viewers while providing a pristine 2.0 downmix for the stereo HD and the stereo SD audiences.
David Crivelli, the technical supervisor/engineer-in-charge of the telecast for the past eight years, has used Linear Acoustic upmixing technology on previous shows.
Last year, Crivelli and production mixer Mark King opted to use the newer Linear Acoustic AERO.qc on the show broadcast.
“By using the AERO.qc units, installed by Denali engineer Hugh Healy, mixer Mark King could make a 5.1 mix for the viewing audience that would downmix properly for the HD stereo viewer,” explained Crivelli.
“Mark was able to focus on the most important component for us, which was the creative balance of the event in his stereo 2-mix.
“The rehearsals for the pre-show red carpet segment and the main show were routed through the Linear Acoustic units initially,” said Crivelli.
“That allowed the mixers to set their stereo mixes in a way that the 5.1 that was being upmixed was pleasing, and the downmix was what they expected.”
“By the time they got to air, the mixers could comfortably monitor one component — stereo, 5.1, or downmixed stereo — and listen to what they were doing, knowing that the other two components were as they expected them to be.”
Depending on the application, AERO.qc provides reference quality UPMAX and UPMAX II 5.1 channel upmixing, loudness metering, and optional 5.1-channel multistage AEROMAX loudness control.
Operator intervention can range from full manual control of measurement and audio adjustment to highly automated processing that requires little oversight. Full-color front-panel metering provides comprehensive real-time loudness indication.
Options include Dolby E/AC-3 decoding, AERO-style multiband loudness and dynamic range control, and multichannel analog output with speaker EQ. HD/SD-SDI and AES I/O plus dual power supplies are standard.
“The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards” was seen in more than 160 countries worldwide and is one of the few awards ceremonies that span both television and motion picture achievements. The special was produced by dick clark productions in association with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Meeting the audio challenges of man versus machine.
“I’ll take interesting pro audio applications for 1000, Alex.”
Jeopardy!, the iconic television quiz show produced by Sony Pictures Television, recently broadcast a well-publicized series of “man versus machine” contests.
Dubbed the IBM Challenge, it pitted the new IBM artificial intelligence computer system Watson (named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson) against two human opponents. And not just any humans - Ken Jennings has won the most consecutive games in a row (74) in show history, while Brad Rutter is the biggest all-time money winner (nearly $3.5 million).
Viewers know that Watson acquitted “himself ” (“itself ”?) quite well, but there’s much more to the story, including the live audio perspective.
As usual, the episodes were taped in front of an audience – however, not in the show’s studios in Culver City, CA, but rather, in the atrium of IBM headquarters in Armonk, NY.
Los Angeles-based Production Resource Group (PRG), which is responsible for the design, installation and engineering of the Audio and Lighting systems utilized for all off-site Jeopardy! broadcasts, stepped up to do the same for the IBM Challenge.
“There were a number of factors that made this a very unique situation,” explains Bill Daly, the PRG audio system engineer who’s been working remote Jeopardy! broadcasts since 1997.
The temporary studio for the show established in the atrium at IBM headquarters.
“Not only was one of the competitors a computer, but we had press from all over the world attending the first day of the event, and the live broadcast was taking place from a stage located in a company headquarters. It was definitely different than the usual road show.”
The physical characteristics of the atrium site presented an interesting contrast to other Jeopardy! remote sites, which are often large enough to require flown line arrays to provide sufficient audience coverage.
Here the space was quite intimate in scale, with the raked theater-style seating accommodating an audience of only 130 or so.
Yet while relatively miniscule in scale, it presented plenty of hard, parallel surfaces to excite and extend sonic energy – definitely a no-no in standard sound reinforcement and even more so when it’s also a broadcast demanding maximum vocal intelligibility.
“What it meant was the design of an entirely different sound system than we normally use for remotes,” Daly notes. He started at the stage, choosing single Meyer Sound UPQ-1P self-powered loudspeakers (single 15-inch, 4-in compression driver on horn) flown left and right from stage truss, in a position where they could combine to provide primary coverage of the audience while staying out of camera sightlines.
A diagram of the production layout for Jeopardy! at IBM HQ. The orange boxes show the locations of the distributed Apogee loudspeakers throughout the audience.
The constant Q characteristics of these loudspeakers in providing 80-degree horizontal by 50-degree vertical dispersion helped keep the energy focused on the audience and off of reflective surfaces.
“The UPQ-1Ps provide excellent vocal intelligibility, and being self-powered, they also eliminated the need for an amp rack in the very limited available space, which was very helpful,” he adds. “The audience mix is always a little tricky where you’re trying to satisfy to competing goals – loud enough for the live audience and quiet enough for the broadcast audience.”
Coverage was bolstered with a distributed system headed by 42 Apogee Sound SSM compact loudspeakers (dual 4.5-in, 1-in dome tweeter) placed equidistantly beneath seats.
These were optimized with proprietary Apogee CORREQT FFT analysis, and then grouped into zones, with time alignment relative to the main loudspeakers supplied by four XTA DP448 digital processors rack-mounted at the system mix/control position located at the center/rear of the seating area.
More Than Usual
Daly was confident that the Yamaha M7CL-48 digital console that he always utilizes for the house mix for Jeopardy! would still fit the bill for this application.
It was a prediction that proved on the money, even though it, unlike the rest of the system, was asked to provide more than usual.
For example, on “press day” prior to the series of shows, Daly and the console provided a whopping 108 press feeds, distributed via 16- and 24-channel bridges located at six locations in the seating area.
The press feed was achieved by “doublebusing” the 18-channel live mix for the audience, with the press receiving a “straight, neutral” mix, while the audience was provided with a mix tailored optimized to the live environment.
In addition to the mix and distribution capabilities, the M7CL-48 also provided plenty of digital processing capabilities for the entire system. “I love the architecture of the board,” Daly states.
Audio system engineer Bill Daly of PRG at the Yamaha M7CL-48 house console.
“The single layer 48-channel design is great, very intuitive and easy to use. This is combined with the type of flexibility that’s essential for a multifaceted live application like this one.”
Another Yamaha M7CL digital console, this one a 32-channel version, was provided to handle a variety of monitor and subsidiary needs for Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, the show judges, contestants, and, in this case, IBM representatives in their own seating block.
On the stage/set, Wohler HRS-1S compact self-powered loudspeakers function as monitors, built into the podiums.
Trebek and contestants were mic’ed using Sennheiser 5000 Series multi-channel wireless microphone systems, each utilizing a bodypack transmitter with a Sennheiser MKE-2 lavalier microphones. But the audio situation for the computer proved a bit more complicated.
Playing The Game
Watson is comprised of 90 IBM Power 750 servers, housed in racks located in a room across the hall from the show set. The servers were linked to the “avatar” of Watson – a logo provided on an LCD monitor positioned at his (it’s) podium.
“The challenge was to find a way to reproduce Watson’s voice, created by IBM, in a way that would make the monitor seem like another competitor,” explains Daly. “It was important that Brad and Ken feel like the computer was standing next to them playing the game.”
Daly had previously worked with SolidDrive transducers from Induction Dynamics and surmised they could be a solution here.
These very small yet powerful devices utilize high-powered neodymium magnets and dual symmetrically opposed motors to convert audio signal into powerful vibrations that are transferred into solid surfaces by direct contact.
The SolidDrive model SD1g that Daly selected has the approximate diameter of a soda can and is only 2.5 inches high, so it could fit and mount easily under the top of the plexiglass podium, invisible to the cameras. The omni-directional output, working with the plexi surfaces, made Watson’s “voice” project clearly as well as appear to be derived directly from the monitor – exactly what Daly wanted.
The SolidDrive transducer mounted to the plexiglass on the contestant podium to provide the voice of Watson.
The source of the voice of Watson originated in an IBM tower drive. Using the headphone out jack on the tower, a left/right signal was sent to two Whirlwind SP1X2 ISO splitters. The direct side of each splitter went to the stage splitter to provide signal to the house system, broadcast and monitors.
The ISO side of the splitters went to the SolidDrive SD1 and to another computer that was used to drive the video depiction of the avatar that showed Watson thinking and the response processes.
The best Jeopardy! games are played when the competitors are well matched and can get into the “zone.”
Often the difference between one player answering before another is milliseconds, so even the tiniest distraction can make a big difference in the outcome of the game. When the host and contestants are playing in “stream of consciousness”, game play improves, the pace picks up and it becomes exciting TV.
“I knew we had it right when I saw Alex, Ken and Brad started naturally looking at the Watson monitor when the computer responded,” Daly concludes. “The illusion was perfect.”
Julie McLean Clark is a writer and marketing consultant working who has worked in the pro audio industry for more than 15 years.
“The [audio] info I read or hear is too geeked out for me to understand,” wrote a commenter on another audio web site.
The longer any of us work in this field, the more we sling around the technical words as easily as rubber bands.
With that in mind, I pulled together a short list of the more commonplace terms that many of us use.
In no particular order, though with a slightly major bias towards an alphabetical listing…
Auxiliary (Commonly used phrases: “aux sends” and “aux returns”)
Auxiliary is simply the idea of “in addition to.” Therefore, a piece of auxiliary equipment is not a primary piece of equipment like a mixer or an amp but is instead something like a reverb unit or a compressor.
The phrases “aux send” and “aux return” are usually used in reference to the audio signal of a particular channel.
For example, channel four on the mixer sends a signal out via the aux send port to an auxiliary reverb unit and that new modified signal returns via the aux return port.
Aux sends might also be used for sending the signal to a monitor and therefore the mixing console is configured so if you turn up the #1 aux send on the channel, it controls the volume of that signal sent to the monitor.
For some reason, whenever I heard of microphones being discussed, the polar pattern type of cardioid is mentioned the most. Microphones can pick up sound in different areas around the microphone.
The areas are characterized by their shape and classified as polar patterns. For example, an omni-directional microphone can pick up sound in a complete orb around the microphone. A cardioid picks up sound primarily in front of the microphone, a little on the side, and nothing behind the microphone.
If you did a cross section of that area, it would look like a valentine’s day heart. Cardioid = heart-shape.
The reason that polar patterns are important is they help control the ambient sounds that are picked up by the microphone.
For example, if you are standing in front of a floor monitor, you don’t want the microphone to pick up the sounds from the monitor, so a cardioid microphone is a good choice.
Clipping (“Why’s the red light blinking?”)
Clipping occurs when an input signal is stronger than what the receiving equipment (amp circuit) is able to handle.
This can be heard in distortion of the audio signal. Clipping is usually stopped by lowering the gain of the incoming signal.
This describes an audio signal that does not have any effects placed on it. “I’m sending the monitor a dry signal of the acoustic guitar.”
This describes an audio signal that does have effects placed on it. “I’m sending the recording a wet signal of the acoustic guitar.”
This describes the difference between the average sound produced out of the sound system and the loudest output level the system can handle. Think of it like headroom in your vehicle.
If you are driving along and hit a small pothole and your head hits the top of the car, you don’t have a lot of headroom. However, if someone else much shorter and driving in the same make and model of car hit the same pothole and didn’t hit their head - then they have more headroom.
The amount of headroom is dependent on the sound source; rock band or soft-spoken preacher.
This describes a channel output signal that is set up so that it’s affected by the channel fader.
Post-fader signals are usually used to control the amount of effects. For example, this would be used if a channel was set up solely for adding reverb to the output signal.
This describes a channel output signal, such as a monitor aux send, that is set up so it’s not affected by the fader. Such as with the monitors, you might want to lower the sound of the guitar in the mix but you don’t want to lower it in the monitor.
The proximity effect is the characteristic of microphones to accentuate their bass response when the sound source is very close to the microphone. Close can be defines as within three inches. This effect can be removed using a little channel eq’ing.
This is far from an exhaustive list. However, it’s a starting point so the next time you are reading an article (or equipment manual) that mentions one of these words, you’ll know exactly what it means.
What words you you have to add to this list? Be sure to let me know in the comments below! Also, if you’re in a pinch and need to look up an audio term, be sure to check out Rane’s excellent Pro Audio Reference Site!
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. He can even tell you the signs the sound guy is having a mental breakdown.
House Research Institute Educates Teens On Healthy Hearing Practices
The free event will feature hearing health experts and Paul Stanley of KISS while addressing important issue of noise-induced hearing loss among teens.
The House Research Institute (HRI) has announced that it will host “Sound Rules! A Sound & Hearing Celebration” for teens at the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Theatre in New York City on May 4.
The after-school event, that is designed to encourage healthy hearing practices among teens, is free and will feature Paul Stanley, the frontman and co-founder of the iconic band KISS, NYC indie-band “I Love Monsters” as well as House Clinic Otologist M. Jennifer Derebery, M.D.
House Research Institute is a leading non-profit, formerly known as House Ear Institute, dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with hearing loss and related disorders through scientific research, patient care and the sharing of knowledge.
The two-hour event—part of HRI’s healthy hearing teen initiative “It’s How You Listen that Counts” which has educated millions of teens around the world since 2006—will feature a fun-filled, information-packed agenda while addressing the pervasive issue of noise-induced hearing loss among teens.
According to a recent study published in JAMA, one out of five teens suffers from hearing loss—a 30 percent increase from just 15 years ago. More than one third of these cases are caused by over-exposure to sound levels above 85 dB.
“As a rock musician I’ve seen the damage caused by noise-induced hearing loss first hand. It’s important to get the word out to young people who may be damaging their hearing – often times without even knowing it,” commented Paul Stanley.
“Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, but it’s easily preventable without any sacrifice to the listening experience. The ‘Sound Rules!’ event is a cool way for teens to learn about healthy hearing while having a great time.”
“My profession may give me more credibility in some eyes than the advice of a doctor. If you won’t listen to someone in a white coat, listen to someone in black leather!”
In addition to providing entertainment and information from Paul Stanley and leading experts from House Research Institute, “Sound Rules” will feature other activities including a teen game show, a chance to win valuable prizes and a unique pre-event “Sound Choice Video Essay Contest.”
The video essay contest encourages teenagers to view the educational material about hearing loss prevention on the institute’s teen Website at http://www.earbud.org, then demonstrate what they’ve learned in a creative way by producing a video essay. The grand-prize winner, who will need to be present at the event to claim their prize, will be announced by Paul Stanley at the SoundRules! event on May 4th.
The grand prize is an electric guitar autographed by Paul Stanley. There will be a number of other fun contests and prizes as part of the event. For complete event details and teen registration, visit soundrules.org.
Following are details on the event:
Date/Time: Wednesday, May 4 between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Location: The Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Theatre, 110 West 57th Street, New York, NY
Space is limited for the event and reservations are required. For more information and registration, visit soundrules.org. For more information about HRI’s “It’s How You Listen That Counts” initiative, please visit earbud.org.
Meyer Sound Announces Live Exhibits At Prolight + Sound 2011
Attendees are invited to explore Meyer Sound's system integration tools and loudspeaker solutions.
At ProLight + Sound in Frankfurt, Meyer Sound will give visitors an intimate, hands-on experience of its comprehensive audio system solutions.
Working products that will be demonstrated include the D-MitriR digital audio platform, a range of loudspeaker and system integration tools, and the ConstellationR acoustic system, a 2011 MIPA Award nominee.
On Thursday, April 7 at 16:00, the Meyer Sound cocktail reception will provide show guests an opportunity to socialize with industry friends while enjoying the best hospitality at ProLight + Sound.
Visitors to Stand F70 in Hall 8.0 will be treated to the sound of saxophonist Sarah Underwood and Adrian Brett, flautist for The Lion King in the West End, as they demonstrate Constellation’s unique ability to recreate the acoustical characteristics of venues from an intimate recital hall to a cavernous cathedral.
Through a range of compact loudspeakers and microphones distributed throughout the stand, attendees will gain a whole new understanding of room acoustical control and enhancement. Constellation is nominated for a MIPA Award in the category of Sound System Technologies. Winners will be revealed at the award ceremony on April 7.
Providing the network for the Constellation system at ProLight + Sound will be the D-Mitri digital audio platform. Featuring high-resolution audio (96 kHz sampling with up to 64-bit floating point processing), D-Mitri will also drive the SpaceMapR multichannel panning with CueStationT control interface.
On the sound reinforcement side, MM-4XPD directional miniature loudspeakers with a Crestron controller will showcase the integration of Meyer Sound products with third-party systems.
Visitors can hear for themselves how the directional hypercardioid pattern in the MM-4XPD can provide clarity in a reverberant space. The MINAT line array loudspeaker and CALT 32 and CAL 64 column array loudspeakers will be shown.
Attendees are invited to explore Meyer Sound’s system integration tools, from the MAPP Online ProR acoustical prediction program and the GalileoR loudspeaker management system to the RMST remote monitoring system.
The new RMS-enabled MPS-488HP external power supply, which delivers DC power and balanced audio to up to eight loudspeakers, will also be on hand.
As part of the Manufacturer’s Forum, John McMahon, Meyer Sound’s executive director, digital products, will present “Introduction to Room Acoustics” on Friday, April 8 at 15:45.
The AVnu Alliance, of which Meyer Sound is a Promoting Member, will host a discussion in Frequenz 1 on “Audio Video Bridging (AVB): The AV Network for Europe and the World” on Thursday, April 7 at 15:45.
The new plugin series features seven different processors, each with its own dedicated effect controlled by a single dial.
Waves Audio has announced the new OneKnob series, a set of seven plugins, each of which provides a particular effect controlled by a single knob.
Great sounding and easy to use, OneKnob plugins feature the best of Waves’ award-winning audio processes, coupled with their simplest, most intuitive interfaces ever.
For everyone from home recording enthusiasts to audio industry professionals, OneKnob plugins deliver high-quality, quick results, providing outstanding go-to solutions for studio and live sound work alike.
In the control room, in the DJ booth, or when mixing a live show — when users don’t feel like tweaking loads of parameters, and when they want to stay focused on the music and simply dial up some great-sounding effects — OneKnob plugins may be just what they’ve been looking for. Hooked up to a hardware controller, mixing has never been this fast — or this much fun.
The OneKnob Series includes OneKnob Brighter, OneKnob Phatter, OneKnob Filter, OneKnob Pressure, OneKnob Louder, OneKnob Driver and OneKnob Wetter.
OneKnob Brighter: An intelligent treble booster that adds brightness from the mid-high range on up, Brighter is perfect for brightening up a track or making it cut through the mix.
OneKnob Phatter: Phatter is a bass booster that provides a quick way to add bottom, weight and body to bass, keys, kick drums and vocals alike, to thicken them in the mix.
OneKnob Filter: From the mixing room to the DJ booth, Filter is a powerful sweepable filter with switchable Resonance modes, perfect for full mixes, loops, analog synths and more.
OneKnob Pressure: From light, parallel-style compression to pumping and squashing, Pressure is a versatile dynamics processor, ideal for percussive sources like loops and drum busses.
OneKnob Louder: Using a combination of peak limiting and low-level compression with automatic makeup, Louder effectively makes tracks louder, increasing RMS by up to 24 dB.
OneKnob Driver: Inspired by famous guitar overdrive pedals, Driver is capable of everything from light overdrive to full-on distortion. But it’s not just for guitars; it sounds great as an effect for vocals, piano, synths, drums, bass and more.
OneKnob Wetter: From short, bright ambiences that are felt more than heard, to longer, darker spaces, Wetter adds instant depth to any track, creating the perfect atmosphere.
The new OneKnob series of plugins from Waves is Native only. U.S. MSRP for the OneKnob Series bundle is $400.00; U.S. MSRP for single plugins is $80.00 each. OneKnob Series SoundGrid includes six plugins (Louder, Pressure, Phatter, Brighter, Driver, Filter) and is available for $600.00 U.S. MSRP.
NETIA Appoints Stéphane Lefebvre Export Sales Manager For Latin America
Lefebvre will be based at NETIA's office in Paris.
NETIA has announced the appointment of Stéphane Lefebvre as export sales manager for Latin America.
In this new position, Lefebvre will strengthen NETIA’s presence in the region and serve the existing network of NETIA dealers including Sistemas Digitales in Mexico, Curacao in Colombia, and Videocorp in Chile.
With long-term experience in the broadcast, cable, satellite, and telecommunications industries worldwide, Lefebvre will also participate in NETIA’s ongoing business development in southern Europe.
“Stéphane’s experience working with players across the broadcast industry to deploy advanced media management and deliver solutions will be valuable not only to our Latin American partners and customers, but also to NETIA sales teams in other regions,” said Christophe Carniel, president and CEO of NETIA.
“NETIA is achieving tremendous growth worldwide, and we’re confident that Stéphane will play a key role in the company’s ongoing success.”
Lefebvre started his experience in the broadcast industry at Viaccess, where he was in charge of commercial relations with European operators (satellite, cable, DTT, and IPTV).
He took part in the development of France Telecom in Poland and Slovakia, focusing on the deployment of new TV services. In that position, he also contributed to business development in the Middle East and India.
In addition, Lefebvre had sales responsibilities within the cable division of the Alcatel Group and at Nexans.
Lefebvre holds a degree in business and economy from the University of Lille in France. He will be based at NETIA’s office in Paris.
Bottom Line: Finding The Magic Money Tree For Your Capital Acquisitions
Realities and details to keep in mind when considering an equipment lease.
Suppose we all had a money tree. What a splendid garden it would be, carefully tending our trees, pruning each branch.
Spring brings that first sign of new life; we’ll call it loose change. That makes a person feel good – there’s hope for vast rewards. Summer – ah summer – shows us the bold green color of our hard-earned bounty.
Then, glorious autumn. With each dollar in full maturity dropping on the yard, our treasured money tree is giving us the pleasure of literally raking in the dough. (And I don’t want to talk about winter!)
Of course, there is no money tree. Rather, we all deal with a little thing called reality when it comes to commerce. Yet even in this less-exciting version of the universe, there are ways of making your financial gardens grow and bloom
In Plain English
Leasing equipment, rather than buying, can present the potential for positive progress. In my discussions with vendors and customers, I find some who are all for leasing, while others can’t see how it fits into their plans. How about a look at “Leasing 101” to get a better understanding?
The best place to start is with a definition in plain English. An equipment lease is simply a contract between a lessor (the company providing the lease) and a lessee (the end user). The lessor rents products to the lessee for a mutually agreed-upon period of time and specific rate of pay.
The two parties also agree to a purchase option for the equipment, or it is returned at the completion of the agreement.
In the U.S., there are two basic types of equipment leases offered for general business equipment. (The IRS defines other types of leases, but in the majority of cases, we’re talking about the “big two.”)
One option is the Capital Lease, very similar to an installment bank loan, and, like loans, they are treated as purchases. At the end of the term, the lessee (that’s you!) takes an ownership position.
The assets of a Capital Lease appear on your balance sheet, with the equipment included on the depreciation schedule rather than treating it as a line item expense.
Tax code incentives (which are constantly changing), such as the 50 percent depreciation bonus, play very well come tax payment time. And note that a Capital Lease is an interest-bearing note, so the interest on the lease can be classified as an expense.
On the other hand, there is the True Lease. Let’s say that you and your accountant (because you should be talking with your accountant!) have agreed it’s better to treat your lease as a rental agreement.
A True Lease can be carried off your balance sheet and listed as a line item deduction. Note, however, that these payments are not interest bearing! The payments are 100 percent written off against pre-tax dollars, minimizing your taxable income.
Like any other tax break, there are rules, so don’t get misled into thinking that a pre-set buyout, for example, 10 percent, is going to qualify you for this program. If this lease is treated as a purchase in any way, then it’s not a True Lease.
As a result, my advice is not to tango with the IRS. Or get anywhere near them, for that matter. (If you happen to have it kicking around, consult the July/August 2000 issue of Live Sound for more information on these rules or ask a qualified accountant.)
It’s always been my position that large-ticket items typically leased by live sound professionals should be capitalized. After all, ownership is usually the long-term plan of action, isn’t it?
And remember this very important rule: when capitalizing a lease, be sure to have – in writing – the exact purchase option whether it be $1, $1000 or 10 percent. I’ve heard so many horror stories about end-of lease disasters. In fact, some really well-run businesses won’t touch leasing because of this very thing.
Most leasing companies offer “application- only” financing arrangements, probably the easiest method of making purchases.
You don’t have to experience that sinking feeling of inferiority associated with being “short-chaired” by a bank. (Reference the film It’s A Wonderful Life.) A mid- to upper-level five-figure loan can be attained by providing basic company information on the application.
A few basic qualifiers:
Time in business. Two years (or more) typically opens the door.
Bank and trade references. The lessor looks for an average of at least $1,000 in your business bank account. Don’t list vendors you’re not paying on time – it doesn’t make sense.
Personal credit of all owners. Ah yes, the sensitive issue of personal credit. In today’s wacky economy, it’s wise to tend to your creditors. In my view, this is the single most valuable asset to your businesses.
A few other factors, more minor in nature, are involved, such as Dun & Bradstreet reports and knowing the age of the equipment to be leased if it’s used.
But for the most part, this is all that’s required to be in the running for an application-only lease.
When faced with a purchase larger than the parameters of the application- only lease, the financing of the equipment must be viewed similarly to approaching a bank. Most lessors request a full financial package, consisting of business and personal taxes as well as financial statements.
Also, many lessors are cash-flow lenders. If your statements verify adequate cash-flow coverage along with a reasonable net worth in accordance with the amount of money you’re applying for, you’ll likely qualify.
A little trick to beef up net worth when it’s not obvious on your financial statement is to have a reputable appraisal firm draw up a current inventory with the street value of your unencumbered assets.
This shows the lender that you care about their equity position, while also demonstrating that your company is liquid. It’s helped some of my customers get large-ticket leases even thought their statements didn’t merit the approval.
When dealing with leases at this level, expect a discount in rates and more flexibility in terms. Rates can drop simply because you’re proving to the lender that you’re minimizing their risk. Terms can be flexible for the same reason.
Finally, select the right leasing company to work with. It largely comes down to comfort and fit, in addition, of course, to the lease being fair and well presented.
It’s like going to the barbershop. If you’re not sure about the steadiness of Floyd’s hands, you’re not comfy in the chair, right?
Feel out the lessor, see if there’s any real care as to whether you make out well with this investment. After all, they’re being paid to handle your investment, and this directly affects your livelihood.
No deal is ever perfect, so get a sense that the leasing company is going to be there for you after the deal is booked. You shouldn’t feel left out in the cold. And keep dreaming about money trees!
Doug Kocsis is head of DK Capital, Inc., a financial services company well versed in working with the needs of small businesses.
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