Tuesday, March 08, 2011
ASK Video Catalog Now Available For Digital Download
The digital delivery system is based upon the Ask Video Player, which is built upon the company's instruction delivery system.
ASK Video Interactive Media has announced that they are now offering their entire catalog of music software tutorial videos as digital downloads in addition to the original DVD format.
Downloads are available direct or via online retailers.
“It has been our pleasure creating and selling Tutorial DVDs since 2003,” said Steve Kostrey, President of ASK Video.
“DVDs have been our bread and butter since then, and we love that our customers love to watch ASK Video tutorials. But times are changing. The Internet is faster, broadband is faster, and our customer’s expectations are changing.”
“We are still going to offer our time proven method of DVDs but we are now heading towards the future. That future being tutorials offered as downloads.”
The move to download has been made possible by AVP, or Ask Video Player. AVP is built upon the company’s instruction delivery system and takes advantage of the latest technologies to give the user the best video experience possible.
AVP has both product authorization and built-in online product registration to ensure ease of use and provide a secure method of distributing videos instantly to customers.
This new distribution method gives both customers and online retailers an advantage. Retailers no longer have to ship and stock physical product, while having the entire ASK Video catalog available for sale.
This also means that customers can instantly purchase and begin using any title as well. They simply download and install the AVP and authorize the ASK Video title with the purchased serial number.
ASK Video Website
Solid State Logic AWS 900+ SE Console Installed By Taiwanese Mandopop Group Mayday
The SSL SuperAnalogue sound lets Mayday craft their sound.
Mayday Studio, the private recording facility for the popular Taiwanese Mandopop group Mayday, recently installed a Solid State Logic AWS 900+ SE Console/Controller as part of a studio upgrade.
The group Mayday enjoys world-wide popularity through its pioneering efforts to bring rock fusion stylings to the Mandopop genre.
The AWS fulfilled the group’s desire to work in analogue while maintaining DAW control from the console.
“We recently installed the AWS at our studio and everyone from Mayday’s five group members to other artists, producers and engineers have been amazed by the sound of the console,” says Jay Huang, record and mix engineer for Mayday Studio.
“We used to work in-the-box through a dedicated controller for our Pro Tools system and we would always spend a lot of time trying to fine tune the tone and sonic imaging of each track.”
“When we first ran audio through the AWS , the sound quality was excellent right from the start. The console gave us the ability to craft sound rather than fix sound as with the controller.”
Mayday enjoys popularity in both traditional Mandopop countries that include China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan, as well as in Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia.
Mayday has won Best Band three times at the Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan. As their performance schedule gets busier, Mayday Studio acts as both a creative record/mix haven for the group and rehearsal studio for their concert tours.
According to Huang, the SSL SuperAnalogue signal path presented a depth of sound they never heard in the past. “It is in this space the band creates its musical magic that sets both East and West on fire,” Huang continues.
“With the advent of the AWS, creative time is more focused on the music and not on the technology, so the console, in essence, has become a creative tool. We now find sessions are easier to run because the Total Recall automation allows us to get back to the settings of a mix quickly and easily.”
“The console also lets us incorporate our outboard gear efficiently. It seems that the console is extremely well-conceived on all levels, matching the pure sound quality.”
As the AWS is very user-friendly, incorporating SSL’s time-honored ergonomics used by so many top studios and recording acts, the transition from a controller to the SSL console was straightforward for Huang.
“While it seems like using a dedicated controller would be a good way to work, our experience with the AWS has changed our opinion,” Huang explains. “We choose to buy AWS because it was a powerful analogue desk but with good DAW control.”
“Also, because of the fine sound the console delivers, we found that we can very easily decide if a recording is right or not. In the past, we would need to be well into the process to experience the results. As an expansion for the future, if the need arises, we would surely look at a Duality.”
Solid State Logic Website
In Profile: A Recording Engineer Unafraid To Take It To 11
"I like to run everything in the red. That's where it sounds good to me. It's rock'n'roll." -Jason Carmer
These words can raise the hairs on the back of a purist’s neck, but if it rocks, it rocks! Jason Carmer’s work on Third Eye Blind’s back-to-back, multi-platinum smashes (their eponymous debut and “Blue,” their follow-up album), and a Grammy-nominated release for Los Amigos Invisibles, have got the purists taking notes on some of Carmer’s techniques.
John Carmer (Jason’s dad) was a musician in New York City. As a result, Jason spent his early childhood in the Big Apple.
In 1967, everything changed. Elektra offered John Carmer a development deal and the Carmers moved to California to give it a shot.
At that time, Carmer was completely surrounded by music. He recalls “they were playing all the time.”
“I would wake up and hear my dad’s band playing. I’d be trying to sleep, and hearing my dad’s band playing.”
Unfortunately, the practice and the development deal didn’t lead to a record deal and John Carmer left the band.
Carmer’s parents split up, but the remaining members of the band stuck it out and became classic rockers Blue Oyster Cult. “Sometimes, I still can’t believe that he quit that band!” Carmer muses.
Carmer picked up guitar at age 8. By age 10, he was into punk rock. By age 15, he was “really into punk rock!” Carmer moved to DC with his mother when his parents separated.
Carmer played in a hardcore band called Double O. He recalls “our second gig, we were playing with the Dead Kennedys in front of 2000 people.” He also played in a seminal punk rock outfit known as the Meatmen.
A buddy of Carmer’s let him borrow “Raw Power”, by Iggy Pop. “My buddy said the record was the essence of everything punk rock. I listened to it and I thought it was horrible because it was so raw. Two days later I realized it was incredible because it was so raw!”
Iggy Pop’s unapologetic rawness inspired Carmer to get into the studio, but ultimately, it was the combination of the rush of performing in groups and being in the studio that led Carmer to decide to be an engineer.
He says “the whole do-it-yourself, punk attitude made me do it.” Carmer took this decision seriously, and started taking classes at the College of Recording Arts. He later dropped out.
“I know Ohm’s law and all that stuff; I learned all the basics at that school. I learned how to align a tape machine. I learned the differences between the patterns on microphones.”
After leaving the College of Recording Arts, Carmer started doing live sound and landed a tour with Consolidated, a hard hitting, take no prisoners, Bay Area rock band. On that tour he met Philip Steir, drummer and future co-owner of TOAST.
After touring with Consolidated, Carmer realized that doing live sound wasn’t the right fit for him. “It’s so loud!” he says. “Also, the touring thing is hard. I’m married. I’m into being domestic. Plus, I like to be involved in the creative process.”
“Live sound engineering is mostly reinforcing the sound that’s being created, whereas in the studio you’re building it from the ground up.”
One of the reasons Carmer enjoys working with Third Eye Blind so much is that they have similar ideas about how things should sound.
He comments, “they’re really patient and they’re really into experimenting and taking their time with mic positions and sounds.”
In addition to working with Third Eye Blind and Los Amigos Invisibles, Carmer has kept busy engineering/producing projects for Run DMC with Stephen Jenkins (Third Eye Blind’s lead singer, who appears on the single off the forthcoming Run DMC LP), Billy Idol, Live, Mark Eitzel, Black Lab, Black Eyed Peas and The Donnas. He’s also remixed singles for Live, Korn, Chumbawumba, The Butthole Surfers and the Tom Tom Club.
Aside from an impressive client list, what sets Carmer apart from many engineers is that some of his techniques don’t seem to make sense until you hear them. We know that Carmer loves running tracks in the red, but there’s a reason for it.
He explains “I don’t pay much attention to how it looks. It’s music! I listen to it. It’s important to learn about normal operating levels, but to me, many things sound better when they’re on the edge.”
He adds “Also, I love digital distortion! It’s an effect. Get a little digital distortion on a kick and snare and it’s slammin’!” This is rather ironic, given that Carmer stopped doing FOH because it was too loud.
Keeping his mixes on the edge is not all that Carmer doesn’t do by the book. He says “they’re so many great mics out there that you feel obligated to use a U47 as an overhead.”
Carmer acknowledges you can get great sounds that way, but too much of a good thing can detract from the overall sound quality.
He explains “there have been times when I’ve set up 14 mics on a drum kit. But, by nature this introduces phase problems. If you feature one mic and supplement its sound with just a few others you get a purer sound.”
To reinforce that point, Carmer has been experimenting with different mics and more minimalistic setups. He explains “what I’ve been into lately is trying to center the sound of an instrument, particularly drums, around one mic. A lot of times the mic I dig is a (Shure) 57. I’ve been getting some great drum sounds that way.”
“I mess around with different amounts of compression to get the right amount of drive while still letting it breathe. But to me, a properly compressed 57 sounds great as a room mic.”
Carmer firmly believes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Blending tracks in a mix is a very delicate business. He explains, “a lot of things sound terrible by themselves but wonderful in the mix.”
“It’s like eating salt. It doesn’t really taste good if you eat it by itself; you need to mix it in carefully. I like to have some elements that are raw and nasty and mix them in with other more refined elements.”
In spite of the fact that Carmer has punk rock roots and an impressive list of rock credentials, he’s not limited to that genre. He recently completed a jazz record with Will Bernard.
He remarks “there’s hardly any compression on it. We went for a late ‘60s Miles Davis vibe. We treated it as a live performance where it was okay to hear people cough and if somebody hit a blue note. It was very open.”
Carmer loves his role as an engineer/producer because of the opportunities for creative involvement. Nonetheless, he feels his job is to serve the music and he doesn’t take it lightly.
Carmer says, “if I’m working with an artist that I think is going to be on the radio I will try to maximize that, but I really try to zoom in on the crucial aspects of the medium in which the music is going to be heard.”
On a side note, Carmer has been doing some recording with a new, as yet unnamed, band with Joe Gore, Erica Garcia (Universal) and Joey Waronker (drummer for REM and Beck). Carmer says “Joey has a 16’ x 20’ room at his place and a couple of funky organs.
Joe and I brought some pedal boards and our laptops with Reactor and ProTools and some samples and loops.” In a voice full of joy he says “We’ve been working on some recordings which is fun! I spend so much time recording other people’s music that it’s fun to be the one who’s playing out of time and out of tune.”
Of his experiences he says “I get to work at all these great studios, but sometimes it’s great to just sit on somebody’s smelly couch.”
Midas PRO3 Systems Integral In Ingleside Baptist Church Expansion
The PRO3s are a favorite of the church staff for training volunteers.
Ingleside Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia, is a large, fan-shaped worship space with stadium seating that accommodates 1650 people.
In an effort to attract more worshippers to its services, the church decided that time had come to expand beyond its blended style of services, which feature a contemporary worship band augmented by orchestra and 60-voice choir.
The centerpiece of the upgrade is a pair of Midas PRO3 digital mixing consoles for FOH and monitor positions.
“The idea was to add a more edgy, contemporary service on Sunday evening, focused on the rock band,” notes Chris Hawkins, technical director for the church.
“That’s when we put the wheels in motion to change to digital mixing consoles. In order to accommodate the different styles of worship on Sunday, plus rehearsal and other events during the week, we needed digital recall. There’s really no other efficient way to do it.”
The church enlisted Marty Jones, owner of Knobheads Pro A/V in Canton, Georgia, to do the system design. Owner Tome Resue of TE Audio/Video in Harrison, Tennessee, was then engaged to handle the physical installation.
“The church had an old Midas Legend console at front of house, which they loved the sound of,” Jones states. “And, since they have separate FOH and monitor consoles, we knew that dual PRO3s would be the perfect, affordable solution for the upgrade.”
In researching his recommendations for Ingleside Baptist, Jones attended InfoComm 2010, where the PRO3 was being launched, to meet with various console manufacturers.
“There have been so many new developments in consoles, I wanted to be sure we were comparing apples to apples,” he relates. “We needed two control surfaces with snapshot ability that could be operated by a volunteer staff and still meet all the technical requirements. The PRO3 was a perfect fit.”
Those technical requirements included a major upgrade to signal routing and infrastructure. Ingleside Baptist was running a 3-way split (house, monitors and a separate production feed) of copper cable via patch bays, with 107 stage inputs.
Converting that mass of copper into a remotely patchable digital audio network that could be managed from the PRO3 control surface was achieved with the AES50 network infrastructure.
“The Midas Digital platform lets you use any of their stage boxes with any console,” notes Jones. “So we ended up using the DL351 variable I/O stage box, which gave us extra inputs and flexibility.”
Technical director Chris Hawkins is a big believer in having separate house and monitor mixers, especially when working with a staff of volunteer engineers.
“It lets the front of house guy concentrate on his mix without distractions, and the same thing holds true for the monitors,” he explains.
“The band gets a dedicated mixer, and it puts a production person near the stage to handle any equipment problems that come up. It means a better experience for the congregation as well as every performer on stage.”
One thing working in Ingleside’s favor was the fact that Chris Hawkins had experience working with a digital infrastructure from his previous church.
“When I came here to Ingleside, I really missed that digital flexibility, so I was ecstatic that we could go that route,” he recalls. “Our volunteers were understandably a little intimidated, but we got some excellent training from Midas. We’ve been using the PRO3s for about six months now, and the volunteers are really owning it at this point.”
Hawkins found that the PRO3 lent itself nicely to teaching his staff. “From a training place, I just love this console,” he says.
“Instead of just visualizing what’s happening to the sound in your mind, like when you’re changing EQ or compression, you can see what’s happening graphically as well. It’s still about using your ears, but the visual feedback from the PRO3 makes it a very teachable place.”
As proof, Hawkins points to the level of independence his staff has attained with experience. “When we first installed the boards last August, we made sure everything was set up so all they had to do was mix,” he explains.
“But it wasn’t long before they started personalizing the board layout to their own preferences, for example, by assigning channels to the POP Groups. When I heard the volunteers discussing different ways to automate the patching for scenes in our Christmas production, I was really excited.”
“Now they are even saving different settings for different musicians to handle situations were, for instance, one drummer plays softer than another. They’ve become better engineers because the board really lets them.”
At the front of house console, channels are grouped by instrument via VCAs, while the six available POP Groups provide instant access to all relevant channel groupings – worship leader, backbeat/rhythm section, a “talk” grouping for use during the welcome, etc.
At the monitor desk, the POP Groups are split by application with separate channel groupings for each of the five floor wedge mixes in use – vocal team, choir, etc. – plus the sends to the Aviom system used by the band members.
Among Hawkins’ favorite design features of the PRO3 is Area B, a group of faders that operate independently from the rest of the console. “It’s a great time saver during set-up for rehearsals,” he notes.
“I love having that group of faders that’s always on top. During services, I assign a POP Group with my money channels to Area B, so I’ve got the worship leader’s mic and guitar, the pastor’s mic and his backup always available.”
But the most important piece of the puzzle for Ingleside Baptist Church is sound quality. “I’ve always loved the Midas sound, especially the mic preamps and EQ,” says Hawkins. “When the PRO3 came out, it was like a prayer being answered.”
NETIA Radio-Assist 8 Provides A Digital Media Platform For Cape Verde Broadcasters
Radiotelevisão Caboverdiana to deploy Radio-Assist 8 digital audio software across five ftations on five islands.
NETIA has announced that it will provide its Radio-Assist 8 suite of digital audio software to Rádio de Cabo Verde (RCV) to standardize and streamline ingest, production, broadcast, and archiving across five Group Radiotelevisão Caboverdiana (RTC) stations on five islands.
Working with systems integrator EuroCOM and in partnership with Radio France Internationale to provide some of the content, NETIA will enable RTC to prepare and deliver regional news broadcasts in Portuguese and local Creole to the Cape Verde islands of Praia, Mindelo, Sal, Fogo, and Santa Caterina.
“As we consolidate and strengthen digital media workflows at RTC facilities, our primary objectives are to unify, centralize, and harmonize all existing systems and, in turn, to improve production and distribution of content,” said Francisco Monteiro, communication and marketing director for RCV.
“NETIA’s software system, which is well recognized throughout the industry, will provide us with the range of professional tools we require to complete this project successfully.”
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.
With a common platform for working with and exchanging digital media, RTC stations across the Cape Verde islands will optimize and maximize their workflows and collaborative production capabilities.
“The Radio-Assist 8 software provides all the functionality required for ingest, production, and broadcast, and when deployed across multiple stations, as it will be for RTC, it yields significant improvements in collaborative news and program production,” said Pascal Cima, export sales manager at NETIA.
“RTC is able to exchange digital media between stations with ease and can more effectively draw on all of its journalistic resources to provide quality news content.”
Posted by admin on 03/08 at 08:00 AM
Monday, March 07, 2011
In Profile: Ted Leamy - System Engineer & Businessman
On the edge of the audience experience.
“You know,” Ted Leamy says, “I’m always troubled when people ask me to write or be on panels, telling me, ‘we want to hear what you have to say,’ because I don’t know much of the math.”
“I just know you’re supposed to point the loud part toward the audience and turn it up.”
As understatements go, that’s a big one. Over the course of his career Leamy has optimized sound systems for a who’s who of important acts and venues of the past 30 years.
In every case, however, the experience of both those aiming the “loud part” and those on the receiving end of it have always been a major preoccupation for him; guiding his hand as both a systems engineer and businessman.
Consequently, when he talks about career highlights, he often focuses on people - the mentors, friends and acquaintances who have challenged him to excel and shown a path forward in good times and bad.
His experiences with Robert Scovill on the Rush and Def Leppard tours serve as a prime example.
“They were a technical highlight and a triumph,” he says. “Robert and I found a way to work together taking advantage of each other’s skills to blend the science of system design/optimization with the art of mixing. I learned to listen critically during those shows and rely little on instrumentation once the performance began.”
Born and raised in Union, NJ, Leamy started working in audio as a teenager. And while he cites a love of music as a major factor in his choice to do so, underlying that was a childhood attraction to science and technology.
“I was a geeky little kid. I had all my amateur radio licenses when I was seven or eight years old.”
Once he began working he saw no reason to interrupt his busy schedule by going to college. “While everybody else was attending shows, I was unloading trucks and rigging loudspeakers. Everything for me was practical. I think I was a bright young man; it’s just that liquor, women and music seemed a far better choice than an electrical engineering degree.”
By age 20, however, after a two-year stint with Teddy Pendergrass in the mid 1970s, Leamy began questioning his career choice. At the time he’d landed a regular gig at NYC’s infamous Great Gildersleeves, occasionally working at nearby CBGB to augment his pay.
“It sounds romantic, but those were terrible times. I wasn’t making any money. I was sleeping in a flophouse. It was dreadful.
“Still, there’s something to be said for keeping at it,” he continues, adding that if he’s remembered for any single trait in his career it would be perseverance, a “stick-at-it-untilit’s- done-right” theme driven, in part, by some of the more difficult experiences in his personal life. Experiences, by the way, he wouldn’t trade away for an easier journey.
His perseverance paid off when Electrosound’s Mick Whelan came through Great Gildersleeves on an Elvis Costello tour in 1977. Whelan, who would become one of Leamy’s earliest mentors, was impressed the young house tech.
“He said, ‘I gotta take you with me’,” Leamy laughs. “And I said, ‘sure, sure, now get the hell out of the club and don’t steal anything’.” But less than a week later, Leamy was working a Cheap Trick tour with Whelan.
“In the late 1970s, if you were sober, had a strong back and showed up on time; those were pretty good qualifications for a starting position.”
But Leamy brought far more to the table than that. Fascinated by music and how it could sound so different from venue to venue, he consumed technical information voraciously, taking full advantage of his senior compatriots’ willingness to share their knowledge.
“I gotta tell you, after I was at Electrosound for about six months I thought to myself; if I stay sober, if I don’t do drugs, if I pay attention and learn, I could run this place.”
And he did just that, working his way up from “just a guy slinging loudspeakers” to become the company’s president. “Now some people would say, that’s not something to be proud of, it took you 23 years!”
Ted the fledgling system tech circa 1977.
Throughout his career, Leamy’s approach to system optimization has always centered on the audience experience. “That’s the ultimate arbiter of whether you’ve succeeded or not. I may not have time to be a civilian, but I am able to turn off my technical side and just listen, and I think that’s brought me a lot of success. But paranoia helps, too,” he adds, “and a certain level of low self esteem.”
Clearly, beyond versatile critical listening abilities, he also possesses an often self-deprecating sense of humor, which he says is integral to his leadership style.
“It can be disarming in difficult situations. Laughing while pushing a ‘giant boulder up a hill’ is a good way to motivate others to join in and help.”
That, and his fanatical dedication to getting things done on time and correctly won him the respect of his peers on high profile outings like the Bob Dylan/Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Grateful Dead stadium tours in the mid 80s. His work ethic also earned him the nickname of “sergeant major” from Electrosound’s owners.
When it comes to system optimization, Leamy cautions against being overly reliant on instrumentation. “It can be hypnotizing,” he offers, and can distract from serving up what both the audience and the crew want and expect – namely, a great show.
“A bad design is a bad design,” he adds, with the mastery of the mandatory keystrokes of any given technical platform only part of the equation. “That’s why it’s important to look at the practical things. When you’re optimizing a system a lot of people look at the instrumentation and say, ‘well, it tells us this, so that’s the answer.”
“And I reply, ‘well, that doesn’t make any sense. So let’s look at what we did wrong with the test rig.’ I joked earlier that it’s good to be paranoid, to have low selfesteem, but I’m always questioning if it’s really the answer, or if it’s just the first answer that came by.”
Out with Rush back in his touring days.
To Leamy, good sound is about exceeding expectations, a passion that enabled him to develop leadership qualities that the shy little kid with the amateur radio licenses couldn’t have imagined possessing. These qualities informed his role on many tours, including 1995’s Nine Inch Nails/David Bowie “During the Dissonance” tour.
“It was a great tour, but both acts were on at the same time during the set change - a unique and exciting challenge. So two mixing consoles were live at the same time and they thought for sure there was going to be fistfights among the band’s mixers. So I would go out on the tour as something of a statesmen to keep ‘the peace’ - there were no fistfights on my watch.”
Leamy refers to the leadership roles he’s played at Electrosound, JBL and now Pro Media/UltraSound as “a set of overalls” he puts on, but adds, “I think I have a way of breaking a problem down to its base parts; developing a plan, helping everyone involved understand where the finish line is, and never being afraid to roll up my sleeves and push to get there.”
This also requires an abiding patience - “patience for people,” as he puts it. “Everybody’s got something to offer, and you’ve got to listen as much as you talk.”
Moving Farther Away
That said, Leamy also admits to “an impatience for incompetence and crappy sound” that has played a key part in his professional advancement.
The ethic served him well when he departed Electrosound in 2000 to work with JBL Professional, where he held a number of positions - some he was instrumental in creating - before becoming vice president of installed sound.
During his tenure at JBL, he added some impressive projects to his portfolio, among them a system retrofit of the Grand Ole Opry, as well as installations like the Walt Disney Concert Hall and dozens of high-profile sporting venues, including Chicago’s iconic Soldier Field. Working on permanent installations for very large venues was a logical next step in his career.
“The whole nature of modern music has matured, so the whole concept of installations has matured,” he explains.
“There’s good audio all around us - in our cars, in our homes. People’s expectations, whether they’re going to a cinema, a sporting event, or to worship, are higher than ever.”
Ultimately, however, he felt he was moving farther away from the front line of the audience experience, and, frankly, missed it. Not that the front line had always been pleasant: “The cold showers, the crappy food; you’re not living the life of glamour.”
Another complication, he says, was one of the personal experiences he spoke of earlier - the ongoing effects of a childhood illness that had once evolved into a life-threatening situation in the early 1980s.
“Still, the problem is that getting off the road was the first step away from where the excitement is. A concert, or a sporting event is a tribal experience.
“To go to the new Meadowlands and stand in the middle of that crowd and do some critical listening is incredible in the context of the event. What you’ve done is an additive element to that tribal experience.
That’s excitement. That’s a measure of success. To be able to affect a change on that front line and see a positive difference, it’s awesome.”
Coming Back Home
Inevitably, that conviction prompted his move to Pro Media/UltraSound in 2007. A homecoming, he says, both professionally and personally. “At JBL I didn’t do the installations, but here I do, and I’m running a business that I absolutely adore.”
“When I was with Electrosound and we did the Grateful Dead, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan stadium tours, Don Pearson (co-founder of UltraSound) and I became such good friends. And UltraSound and Electrosound, gosh, you could hardly tell the companies apart, we worked so well together.”
Leamy also counts Pro Media founder Drew Serb and Pro Media/UltraSound’s Derek Featherstone among his close friends and business associates. “These are folks that have known me for ages. It was just a good life decision for me.”
Ted with his dear friend, the late Don Pearson.
“About every three or four years, even during my tenure at JBL, they’d call me up and say, ‘c’mon, come and work here.’ My only regret is that I come here after my dear friend Don passed away and that he and I never had the opportunity to sit in the building together as comrades in arms.”
In Leamy’s world, it comes down to the people - “Mick Whelan, Jim Douglas, Sam Berkow, Mark Gander at JBL, and many others,” he says, that informs his enduring conviction that, as an audio professional, businessman, and human, it’s important to look ahead as well as behind you.
“A lot of people have helped me, which is why I say that if you achieve some level of success, you’ve got to turn around, see who’s behind you and help them.”
Coolest Place To Be
It’s a philosophy he puts in practice by sharing his own perspective and experiences with others. He’s a contributing editor and writer for various pro audio publications, and also serves as associate director of the Zappa Institute of Technology - now an officially accredited academy in the Los Angeles Unified School District that teaches at-risk students about job opportunities in production.
Looking behind him and lending a hand to help others move forward is something Leamy intends to continue to do as long as he continues to work at making good sound, which he intends to keep doing. Period.
“For me there’s something about audio that inspires the concepts of God and creation. These are the laws of physics, the laws of the universe, the foundation underlying what music and audio technology are.”
“It’s really the optimization of a loudspeaker system that has inspired and excited me the most, and continues to. And now I’m back to the edge of the audience experience, to the nexus of art and science, and it’s the coolest place in the universe to be.”
Job Title: Chief operating officer at Pro Media/UltraSound
Location: Hercules, CA
Years in the Business: 30-plus
Favorite Tools: Practical common sense
Worked With: Pro Media/UltraSound with various touring artists and on installs including Dallas Cowboys and New Meadowlands Stadiums, JBL Professional on installations including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Soldier Field, the Grand Ole Opry and multiple NBA, NFL and major league baseball venues; and Electrosound as system engineer for Rod Stewart, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan, Rush, Lenny Kravitz, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Billy Idol, Bob Marley, Ted Nugent and others
Based in Toronto, Kevin Young is a freelance music and tech writer, professional musician and composer.
Hosa Technology Debuts Goby Labs Screen Cleaner
The safe, alcohol- and ammonia-free solution ideal for wide range of displays.
Hosa Technology has announced the introduction of Goby Labs Screen Cleaner.
The safe, alcohol- and ammonia-free solution cleans without dripping or streaking and is ideal for cleaning LCD, plasma, and touch screen displays.
It is a must-have cleaning solution for all computer-based recording studios.
Goby Labs Screen Cleaner is formulated to lift dust, fingerprints, and other contaminants from computer monitors, television screens, and other displays as well as other sensitive plastic surfaces.
The anti-static formula repels dust after cleaning. With its fresh lemon scent and the included microfiber terry cloth specifically designed to safely clean any screen, Goby Labs Screen Cleaner is the ideal studio maintenance companion for musicians, videographers, students, and virtually anyone who works with a computer.
Jonathan Pusey, Hosa Technology’s Director of Sales and Marketing, commented on the new Goby Labs cleaning solution. “Most recording studios—home and pro alike—are computer based,” Pusey said.
“Computers have screens and these screens need cleaning. If one is using a handheld device with a touch screen, the issue only compounds itself.”
“Those of us at Hosa Technology believe musicians should be able to buy screen cleaner along with cables, strings, and other musical supplies at their local music store rather than be forced to go into a consumer electronics store for a single $10.00 item.”
“This is not only a matter of convenience, it’s a matter of hygiene—and Goby Labs Screen Cleaner is one of those everyday essentials that, we believe, should be far more accessible.”
Goby Labs Screen Cleaner ships in a 2-ounce container with a microfiber terry cloth and carries a MSRP of $10.00. The product will be available Q1, 2011.
Hosa Technology Website
Audient Launches ASP8024 Dual Layer Control Module
The new module expands routing and I/O and can connect directly to a computer via Ethernet.
Audient has announced that their Dual Layer technology is now available for its flagship ASP8024 console, in the form of Dual Layer Control (DLC) module.
The ASP8024 can now be the centre of the computer session as well as at the heart of the analogue mixing experience, when fitted with the newly released module.
With the Dual Layer Control module the large format console is transformed, giving the user ultimate control of the computer session plus 8 channels of analogue moving fader automation.
The DLC module connects directly to the computer via an Ethernet connection, supporting control of Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase and Nuendo. A simple push of the DAW button enables the user to toggle easily between the control of the computer session and the analogue automation layer.
“Everyone knows the benefits of recording and mixing on an analogue console. Our design team wanted to extend these benefits to include control of the computer session as well, adding huge value to the ASP8024,” explains Audient sales & marketing director, Luke Baldry.
“By combining the best of the analogue and digital worlds a user can enjoy the enhanced workflow of the analogue console and access the processing power of the computer.”
The new module has 8 analogue audio channels enabling the automation of external line input sources or sub group paths. Each channel has a source and destination switch allowing any combination of external I/O and sub group paths to be selected.
Below these are the pan controls and mix buttons allowing you to route the channels directly to the mix and position them in the stereo field.
When the 8 sources are switched to external input, 8 extra channels can be routed directly to the ASP8024 mix bus, and the 24-channel console becomes a 24+8 fader console, giving a total of 64 available analogue inputs.
Friday, March 04, 2011
Meyer Sound D-Mitri The Choice Of Netherlands Revolving Theatre
D-Mitri was selected to provide reinforcement for a production of Soldier of Orange.
The premier production of Soldier of Orange (Soldaat van Oranje) in the Netherlands marks, literally, a revolution in musical theatre.
The entire audience of over 1,100—seated on a turntable 33 meters across—revolves laterally during the performance, making more than 30 stops in front of the surrounding sets.
Fourteen identical loudspeaker clusters are spaced evenly in fixed positions with the sets, enabling a complete theatrical LCR mix with extensive reverb and surround effects, a complex mix that must progress around the loudspeaker clusters as the audience turns.
Managing the precise mixing and routing of all audio signals at the show is a complete Meyer Sound D-Mitri digital audio platform with SpaceMap multichannel surround panning, Wild Tracks audio playback, and a CueConsole controlsurface.
“D-Mitri and SpaceMap were critical to making the audio work transparently and to full effect,” says Jeroen ten Brinke of ADI Group, the show’s sound designer. “Often the audience rotates while the actors are walking in front of the sets, sometimes moving halfway around the circle while talking. Fortunately, the transition from one speaker cluster to the next is handled seamlessly by D-Mitri, so the sound operator can focus on the mix.”
Adapted from a celebrated film of the same name about the heroic struggle of the Dutch underground against Nazi occupation, Soldier of Orange plays in a venue that was purpose-built for the production inside a World War II-era military aircraft hangar.
The sets include various indoor rooms and a sweeping beachfront, while for the climactic scene a hangar door opens to reveal a vintage WWII transport plane taxiing up for the triumphant return of Netherland’s exiled queen.
To handle all the audio signal processing, matrixing and intricately pre-programmed panning, the production relies on 14 integrated D-Mitri modules. Two DCP core processors, and a DCM-2 core matrix are at the heart of the system, linked to four eachDAI-24 analog input and DAO-24 analog output frames plus one DDIO-24 digitalinput/output frame.
Wild Tracks provides audio playback using a DWTRX unit with dual solid state drives, and a DGPIO unit communicates with the turntable automation.
Operators mix the show on a CueConsole with one transporter module and five fader modules augmented by four Mac Mini computers and touch-screen displays. Two Apple iPads are available for the RF tech and FOH engineer tomonitor different channels and make adjustments remotely during rehearsals and the show.
With several processors distributed around the stage near the inputs and output amplifiers, the D-Mitri system is set up to manage all audio and control data as the audience area and the FOH console revolve. Chiel Blaauw, one of two primary sound operators and also a programmer of the system, was impressed by the power and flexibility of D-Mitri.
“You can program almost everything, such as the fade time on the auxiliaries. I used it for all the monitors on nine different sets. We also used SpaceMap and WildTracks to make flying bombs go around the theatre.”
Programming flexibility was not at the expense of audio quality. “I think D-Mitri is one of the best-sounding digital live systems,” says ten Brinke, noting that D-Mitri’s integration of 96 kHz sampling rate converters was critical in the system’s selection. “Other companies think that 48 kHz is enough, but I can hear the difference in themix.”
The musical Soldier of Orange premiered on October 30, with the Netherlands’ reigning Queen Beatrix attending. Nearly all shows have sold out since, with an extended run anticipated through 2011.
The D-Mitri system was provided by Rentall bv, based in Bemmel, the Netherlands. Roland Mattijsen of Audio Electronics Mattijsen provided project support.
D-Mitri digital audio platform is a powerful network-based system that encompasses the entire audio chain, from microphone input to loudspeaker output, incorporating multichannel distribution, recording and playback, and show control automation.
D-Mitri provides audio A/D and D/A conversion at a 96 kHz sample rate and 24-bit resolution, and is one of the first audio products to adopt the emerging AVB audio video bridging standard, making it a true real-time system that allows multiple network devices to respond to a command at the same time.
Meyer Sound Website
What’s Wrong With The Good Old VU Meter? The Case For Peak Signal Metering
From the archives of the late, great Recording Engineer/Producer (RE/P) magazine, this feature is a great look back at the discussion of VU versus peak program metering. This article dates back to June / July of 1970. (Volume 1, Number 2).
I think the question could best be answered by the analogy: “What’s wrong with wetting your finger to measure wind velocity?”
In truth, the VU meter does a great job of indicating the average level of a constant state signal.
However the VU meter becomes unpredictable when attempting to measure the actual levels involved in a transient passage or in a complex waveform.
Since music is composed of complex waveforms and transient passages a problem in accurate monitoring does exist.
Engineers have been aware of the problem for years and have learned to cope with it.
Engineers had learned that they could depend on instantaneous peak levels to be about 6 to 8 dB higher than that indicated on the VU meter when the program material was orchestral or vocal music.
When engineers were dealing with ordinary performance mixed orchestral or vocal music, on one or two tracks, they simply allowed themselves 10 dB of “headroom” in the electronics, and recorded at a level of 6 dB below the 3% distortion point of the tape.
If a cleaner recording was required, the record level was reduced by another 4 to 6 dB thereby reducing the 3% distortion peaks.
With only one or two tracks, noise was not the problem it is today. Further, the public ear had been conditioned to accept the transient distortion and the tape noise, even if these had not been masked by the noise levels and distortions produced within the available playback equipment.
Today-it’s been happening for about the last five years—we find that our crutches have been kicked out from under us. Each of the following series of events has contributed to the unsuitability of the VU meter as an accurate monitor of levels in modern recording practice.
Multi Track Recording
Today, we are monitoring levels of individual instruments more often than we are monitoring ordinary performance mixed material. Consequently, peak levels do not follow traditional 6 to 8 dB reading error. Take, for instance, a tambourine.
Traditionally, it was buried in the mix someplace and its transient peaks were low enough not to be a serious problem. Now take the same tambourine and put it on a track of its own. Try to record it at “O” level and you will find yourself in big trouble.
Depending on the particular instrument, a specific microphone and the amount of equalization used, you will probably find your VU meter reading to be between 12 and 16 dB off. The only procedure you can follow is to make a calculated guess as to the proper VU reading and go.
If you have guessed too high, the result will be transient distortion and a lack of presence. If the recorded level is too low, you have an excessive amount of noise, which leads to the next modern-day metering problem.
Noise has suddenly become a paramount consideration in the commercial recording industry.
Consider the fact that in most mixdown sessions, you are combining the tape noise of as many as 24 tracks, possibly more if “ping ponging” of tracks has been done.
If an acceptable overall noise level is to be achieved, it is an absolute necessity that each track receive as high a level of signal as possible . . . yet not high enough to cause distortion.
This, of course, is the original function of the VU meter.
Unfortunately, the VU meter is not capable of this function with enough accuracy for the complex or transient signals of today’s recording.
As has been shown above, there is obviously a very fine line between proper and improper recording levels for complex and transient nature waveforms.
If we are going to come up with recordings that satisfy today’s critical listener, then we are going to have to hit that very fine line with every track. An analysis of a typical 1970, 16 track, group session will well illustrate the point:
1 - electric base
2 - very tight transient drum set
3 - super-equalized acoustic guitars
4 - organ
5 - headless tambourine
6 - sandpaper blocks
7 - lead vocal
8 - background vocal group
9 - double of track 8
10 - handclaps and vocal percussion
11 - electronic music synthesizer track
12 - overdubbed drum accents
13 - maracas and more handclaps
14 - horns
15 - orchestra bells and vibes
16 - piano accents and fuzz guitar lines
Now, the group wants a really clean sound, and the producer wants everything very “hot” (because if you don’t record hot you’ll get a lot of noise on mixdown).
So they all crowd around you like a football team and “help” you watch your meters! (Of course you need help because the meters are strung out over eight feet of control board and your field of vision only covers thirty inches.)
At this point, the inadequacy of VU meters really hits home. You are faced with a real killer of a situation consisting of:
- very transient and delicate program material
- a critical and discerning production staff
- a tight margin of required accuracy
- a distracting environment
In the midst of all of this you sit trying to compute the error factor of 16 meters whose individual errors range from 4 to 16dB, and whose smiling faces require three men and a lap dog to monitor.
I think that these considerations would graphically answer the question of “What’s wrong with the good old VU meter?
Times have changed, requirements are different, and our new technology enables us to provide ourselves with better methods of doing things.
What Is The Answer?
In order to arrive at the ultimate metering methods for use in modern recording systems, I think we should look closely at the requirements.
The basic requirement is the same as it has always been…to enable us to record in the optimum region between noise and distortion.
This can best be accomplished by placing the recorded signal as near the distortion point as possible without crossing that fine line into audible degradation.
Distortion, obviously, is an instantaneous function of the waveform. As such, the only way to accurately control it is to be able to meter the instantaneous (or peak) levels of signal.
Once we have this sort of metering, we can establish an accurate correlation between meter reading and amount of the distortion introduced.
In order that the meter be capable of measuring high frequency transients properly, it is desirable that its attack time be on the order of 100 microseconds or less. This attack, or upwards deflection must then be followed by a slower release time (or downward deflection), for two reasons.
First, so that the human eye will be capable of following the meter movement easily. Secondly, so that the meter will tend to integrate a rapid passage of high frequency peaks into a readable display. This would call for release times on the order of 25 to 100 milliseconds.
Judging from the current state of the art, it would appear that such a meter would, in all probability, be one utilizing a segmented light display.
To accomplish the desired degree of accuracy in such a meter, the number of segments should be in excess of fifteen. Otherwise the dB difference between increments will tend to be too great for accurate readout.
Additionally, there is a question as to the desirability of a single spot of light. Tests conducted in a recording studio environment have shown a single moving point of light display to be much more readable and considerably less fatiguing to the eye, than a widening line of light. It has been further observed that each increment of light must be either “on” or “off.”
That is to say that no segment should be allowed to be half on or dimly lit while its companion is in “on” mode. Should this not be the case, readability suffers and eye fatigue tends to increase.
It is definitely within the realm of our industry to develop such a device. When the hardware has been developed, the progressive engineer will have little choice but to change his thinking from VU metering to “Peak Level Metering.”
This, of course, will require the establishment of a new set of ground rules in the area of studio level measurements and will almost certainly result in a large number of “Bah Humbugs.”
We do seem to recall, some years ago, several chorus’ of “Bah Humbug” when someone wrote an article entitled “WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE GOOD OLD VACUUM TUBE? . . .
Original Article (pdf)
Original Cover (pdf)
Take the PSW Photo Gallery Tour of audio equipment ads appearing in RE/P magazine, circa 1970
Editor’s Note: This is a series of articles from Recording Engineer/Producer (RE/P) magazine, which began publishing in 1970 under the direction of Publisher/Editor Martin Gallay. After a great run, RE/P ceased publishing in the early 1990s, yet its content is still much revered in the professional audio community. RE/P also published the first issues of Live Sound International magazine as a quarterly supplement, beginning in the late 1980s, and LSI has grown to a monthly publication that continues to thrive to this day.
Our sincere thanks to Mark Gander of JBL Professional for his considerable support on this archive project.
Streaming Media: Basics For Producing Video For Internet Delivery
Streaming media and networking technologies have leveled the field for those who want to produce quality programming, especially for churches.
Streaming media gives you the ability to create your own “radio and television” network with live programming and provide Video On Demand (VOD). Streaming media in conjunction with the web gives any person or organization the ability to produce and deliver media content to a worldwide audience.
Creative teams can produce drama, comedies, documentaries, and educational material on a level with those of traditional media concerns.
This is all possible due to the advances in digital technology from the camera clear through to distribution. And, the ability to be able to produce and deliver a high quality message just gets better with each generation of hardware and software.
Streaming media and networking technologies have leveled the field for those who want to produce quality programming. Broadcast networks, magazines, and other traditional media are looking to the Internet as an alternative outlet, because it can be an economical way to have worldwide distribution.
Microsoft, Apple, and even phone companies are trying to get their gear to be the device for consuming media and entertainment. This makes the future even better for non-traditional media companies to compete globally with quality media and entertainment.
The trend from traditional concerns recently started with ABC as one of the first networks to introduce full episodes of their shows to be available on the web for viewing immediately after the episode aired. This is a type of streaming media called Video On Demand (VOD).
Streaming vs. Downloading
There are two popular ways of consuming media on the Internet; streaming and progressive download. At first both of these technologies may look the same because you get a media player and you hit the play button and video starts playing.
However, there is a key difference between the two technologies. The main difference is that the progressive download is transferring the file to your hard drive.
When you hit the play button using progressive downloads the file starts the download and as soon as enough of the file is transferred it starts to play the video. This method downloads and leaves a copy of the video on your computer and it plays the video from the hard drive.
Steaming technology requires that the media plays directly from a media server at some other location, so you have to be connected to a network to view the media. Streaming media can be live video distributed over the web or can be prerecorded and served as VOD.
If the program is pre-produced, you can start the stream, and as the producer of this content you can define what controls will be provided. The controls in this case would include pause, stop, start, and rewind that are displayed on the player. However, if the video is live you typically don’t have controls to rewind or fast-forward the video.
The Production Process
While the steps are the same, the production process is a bit different if you plan on streaming live vs. delivering a pre-produced program. The steps in both cases are shoot, produce, package, and deliver. The key difference is in the “produce” step.
In most cases the produce step in live streaming requires a production system that will let you switch between several camera shots and multiple graphics and video playback devices—at least if you want to make it an interesting production.
This requires that you have a traditional broadcast production system which includes a video switcher, computer-generated graphics (CG), and a way to playback other pre-produced video clips, also known as B-roll.
The output of the switcher and audio will need to be combined and becomes the air product you want to stream to the web. This combined audio and video output will need to be compressed so that it can be delivered across the Internet and connect to a streaming server for final distribution. There are cost-effective “studio-in-a-box” systems that provide all of these elements and have encoders built in as well.
Streaming media is bandwidth-dependent so it may need to be compressed at different rates so that dial-up customers, DSL, and cable subscribers can get the best quality based on the available network bandwidth.
The produce step for pre-recorded programs is shot on camcorders and brought into the editing suite. The footage is then ingested into a computer with video editing software.
The raw material is edited down and graphics and transition effects are added in the edit program. When all the elements are placed on the program’s time line, the video is then rendered. The best practice is to render in full resolution first.
Package & Deliver
Once the editing is complete all the elements are then rendered into a single video file. The video file is then compressed and packaged based on the delivery method. In this respect the delivery method would determine the player that will be used to consume the video and the bandwidth that will be available to stream the media.
Now the next step is to determine what format you want to stream and what type of compression technology you want to use.
The compression process is called encoding. If you are producing live content you will want to use more expensive hardware encoders and if you are producing pre-produced you can use software-based encoding which uses your computer hardware.
The encoding process is math intensive and takes time to take full bandwidth video and produce a good quality video that takes up less space. Hardware systems should take less time because the encoding program is hardwired—that is why they are used for live streaming, so that it only takes between seconds and a minute or two to compress a video stream.
Again, these devices are very expensive. Therefore, if you are not producing live content you can wait up to several hours to encode video with encoding software on general computing hardware.
Streaming projects require the video, whether live or pre-produced, to be encoded and then stored on a streaming- enabled web server. These days, most professional editing packages make it a simple process to select a format for exporting the video from the editing system.
The final step is to put the various encoded videos onto the media server and then publish it to the web by using web technologies to link the media to a web page.
The last thing to consider is the cost of streaming media. Most Internet service providers (ISPs) charge for bandwidth usage and this should also be considered in your encoding strategy. The general rule is that the higher the quality, the more bandwidth will be used. This is not only server space, but bandwidth used for delivery.
If you have thousands of people streaming high quality media you may quickly find your ISP bill increasing.
There are companies that specialize in streaming media content and if you plan to have a medium to high volume of usage each month it would be worth a discussion with these specialty vendors.
Streaming media is a powerful tool for all ministries and the opportunities are expanding continually. If you are currently not using this tool you should consider it.
If you currently employ streaming technology, consider how to optimize its use through a well planned strategy.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
Music Group Appoints Proel As Italian Distributor
Proel's sales fulfillment and distribution services will allow Music Group to focus their resources on product development, manufacturing and branding.
Music Group has announced the appointment of Proel as their distributor for the Behringer and Bugera brands in Italy.
Proel have the resources and dealer network to best address the demand for Music Group’s diverse product assortment, and the ability to ensure the supply levels needed to support the company’s proven sell-through.
Building on Music Group’s strategic vision to bring the pro audio and MI industry’s hottest products to market in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, this appointment adds another major fulfillment partner to the company’s world class roster for Europe.
“We are excited to be appointed by Music Group, and believe that their practice of offering professional quality equipment at exceptional prices helps us to stay competitive. We look forward to ensuring that their product range is accessible for our customers,” comments Fabrizio Sorbi, Managing Director of Proel.
“Proel’s customers know that they can expect superb products from Music Group’s respected brand names, while we know that we can enjoy an excellent working relationship with their team.”
“In conjunction with our largest key customers, we are planning to open a number of dedicated Behringer “shop in shops” in Italy, a project we are very excited about and believe will help define the future of MI retail in Italy.”
Uli Behringer, CEO of the Music Group adds, “We are extremely pleased to work with Proel, as their standard for providing excellent customer experience perfectly matches our own vision.”
“Over the past 22 years, our Italian customer base has been very loyal and we thank them for their support. We’re confident that relying on Proel to provide excellent sales fulfillment and distribution services in Italy will allow us to further focus our resources on world-class product development, manufacturing and branding which we view as our Company’s core competencies. As always, our ultimate goal is to provide a great experience for our customers.”
Music Group Website
SynAudCon Web-Based Training Demo And Self-Evaluation Quizzes Now Available
The industry leading organization in audio education now offers a self-evaluation quiz based on course content to allow interested studets the opportunity to see if they will benefit from taking one of the SynAudCon web-based training courses.
SynAudCon now offers a free demonstration of their new interactive web-based training.
The training module “The Signal Chain”, part of the Level 100 training, can be accessed online along with the corresponding quiz – an integral part of all of SynAudCon web-based training courses.
“We think it is important for people to have the opportunity to experience SynAudCon web-based training before signing up,” explains Brenda Brown, co-owner of SynAudCon.
“There are many types of online training available – some better than others. We believe that when people experience the detail of our training along with Pat’s teaching method, they will find that our web-based training is on par with our in-person seminars.”
“The Signal Chain” demo consists of detailed explanation of program sources, interface boxes, the mixer, signal processing, power amplifiers, loudspeakers, acoustic environment and the listener.
A follow-up multiple choice quiz of 16 questions allows the user to see how well the information is learned. After receiving a quiz score, students are given the option of reviewing the content and re-taking the quiz if one does not “pass”.
For those wondering if they would benefit from taking one of the SynAudCon web-based training courses they offer a self-evaluation quiz based on course content. Interested audio professionals can take series of multiple choice questions that cover the content of each training course in order to receive a final score that will help them determine if they are know the content of the course.
SynAudCon currently offers “Level 100: Principles Of Audio” and “Level 200: Audio Applications 1” web-based training courses. Each course consists of 14 to 16 training lessons, coordinated quizzes, a final exam and Continuing Education Units with a passing grade.
For those new to professional audio, SynAudCon will lauch “Level 50: How Sound Systems Work” in March 2011. “Level 300: Sound Reinforcement for Designers” will be released later this year.
A full range of online course materials are currently in development in order to expand SynAudCon’s proven teaching techniques to a larger part of the pro audio industry.
Despite their new online offerings, SynAudCon continues to provide in person training. Upcoming in person training events include Sound Reinforcement for Technicians and SynAudCon Digital.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Yamaha & EtherSound Specified By J Sound Services For Ovation-Produced Event
The equipment was used to accommodate a multi-functional program consisting of presentations, live auction, awards, and several concerts.
J Sound Services of Nashville recently designed a complete audio system for event planner Ovation, hired by the National Wild Turkey Federation for a corporate event featuring a concert by Trace Atkins, The Band Perry, and several other musical acts.
Held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Delta Ballroom, the audio system design was based around a Yamaha PM5D-EX as the main mixing system, EtherSound, and Yamaha ES devices to distribute audio.
Jason Spence, owner of J Sound Services was hired as the production mixer for the event.
“There are a couple of reasons I chose to distribute audio using Yamaha components and EtherSound,” states Spence.
“The event was held in a hotel ballroom where labor charges are astronomical. By utilizing CAT5 instead of hundreds of pounds of copper to distribute the multiple channels of I/O saved time and money.”
“I chose Yamaha network components for their seamless integration with EtherSound, Yamaha product reliability, and sound quality. With zero margin for error on this gig, I had complete faith in the gear.”
“The ability of the Yamaha PM5D to operate at 96K and its sound quality in addition to its add-on effects of classic compressors, tape emulators, etc., I knew sonically I was in good shape.”
The system was able to distribute digital I/O to three different mix locations, PA drive lines, back of house and record feeds at 96K, all over CAT5 with no degradation of audio. The total networkable system I/O was 112 in x 56 out.
Due to cable paths, the CAT5 ran from the Yamaha DCU5D, located at front of house with the PM5D, to a Yamaha DSP5D Expander residing backstage, a distance of nearly 600 feet.
Spence inserted an active gigabit switch between locations to ensure that proper signal strength was maintained. The guest FOH and Monitor mix position utilized a Yamaha M7CL digital audio console for most acts, and a Yamaha SB168-ES Stage Box was used to pickup all necessary I/O at the guest position.
“Our challenge was to create an audio environment able to accommodate a multi-functional program consisting of presentations, live auction, awards, and several concerts,” states Rachel Heitzer, Product Manager for Ovation.
“If that wasn’t enough, the show was presented to 2,000 attendees during a plated meal service, silent auction, and gaming. We hired J Sound Services with the goal to create an intelligible, even sound supporting all the functions even when the ambient level in the room was well over 85 db.”
“Thanks to their thorough design, implementation and total understanding of what the system needed to do for our client, the event was truly a success.”
Church Sound Files: A Job Description For Sound Technicians
Running worship sound isn't all a game of let's have fun and see what happens. It's serious work, and volunteers need to be informed Are yours?
Some time ago I read an article which detailed worship team job descriptions, including the position of “sound technician.”
The job description for sound tech was a little bit lacking in my option, so I wanted to see if we could fix it up a bit…
First off, I applaud the author for creating the job descriptions. Whenever a person wants to join a worship team, they need to know the expectations.
Let’s face it, it’s not all “let’s have fun and see what happens.” Below, I present my job description of a church sound technician, which stresses the needs of the ministry and the requirements over the duties.
If you’re currently recruiting volunteers, be sure to check out my previous article on the subject, and include this description of duties which focuses on what needs to be done.
Title: SOUND TECHNICIAN
Responsible to (Answers to): Pick which is appropriate for your church (Worship leader, pastor, head audio tech, tech director).
Purpose: Produce the best possible atmosphere for worship through sound reinforcement. This includes, but is not limited to, creating the best music mix possible, creating an audio mix that meets the mood the pastor/worship leader wants to convey, and supporting the audio needs of the people involved with the church service. Ultimately, glorify God through providing excellent audio services.
Qualifications & Skills Required:
1. A heart for worshiping God.
2. Be in good standings with the church and either be a member or attend regularly for at least six months.
3. Able to work in a team settings and take directions.
4. Either has experience mixing audio successfully in the live environment OR are willing to attended training and work alongside a mentor.
5. Have good communication skills (confirmed by someone other than you).
6. Ability to think quickly and react/trouble-shoot properly in high stress situations.
7. Must have commitment to a local church Small Group.
8. Willing to attend training sessions and read/watch other training material for improving existing skills.
Length of Service: 2 year minimum, annual after that. 2 years shows the level of commitment required.
Time Required: 2-hours before the service through 1/2 hour after the service when scheduled. Attend any quarterly meetings, typically 1 hour in length and held in evening or after church. These times fit for my church. If you have mandatory band practice times where an audio tech is required, you should note that here.
1. Set up stage for musicians (or with musicians depending on your church situation).
2. Perform proper line check.
3. Perform proper sound check; includes gain settings, monitor mixes, proper volume settings, and the eq/mixing process.
4. Check with worship leader and pastor for schedule and any schedule changes.
1. Responsible for adjusting sound levels during service as needed.
2. Responsible for following worship leader’s direction and musician’s direction during services. For example, boosting monitor levels.
3. Responsible for recording the service.
4. Responsible for following stage and schedule cues.
5. Responsible for providing a distraction-free service as it relates to audio production.
1. Return media to individuals? (Backing CD to soloist, DVD to visiting missionary, etc.)
2. Talk with the band to find out if issues existed for them during service.
3. Note any broken/faulty equipment and take it out of service if possible.
4. Clear stage of equipment as needed.
There is a lot of work required in the audio arena. The purpose of the above description is capturing the essence of what we do. A person who is willing to take on the role of sound tech based on this description should not have a problem with all the details that go along with that work.
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.