Mixer

Monday, May 23, 2011

Church Sound Files: Making Interviews During Worship Successful

These interviews are often guerrilla audio because you’re working under far less than ideal conditions. Here are some tips to help you make the best of a difficult situation.
This article is provided by ChurchTechArts.

 
Maybe this never happens at your church, but at ours, we regularly have people on stage being interviewed.

Sometimes they are telling their story, sometimes they are talking about or announcing a new ministry, other times they are reporting on an event or outreach we had.

The one thing all these people have in common is that they are not used to being in front of people, nor do they really know how to properly use a mic.

Added to that, they are rarely in the room early enough to get a good sound check on their mic.

This has been the case at almost every church I’ve been a part of, and as such, I’ve developed some ways to handle those times and make it work.

Now, in an ideal world, these guest speakers would arrive plenty early, we’d show them how to properly hold a mic, they’d talk at actual level and we could dial them right in.

Maybe you can get that to happen in your church (and if you do, would you mind writing a guest post explaining how you did, so we can enjoy that too?).

But chances are, your church is like mine and the first time you hear these folks on the mic is the first time the rest of the congregation does, too.

Check the Mic Anyway
We always line check our wireless, and when we have non-professional talent speaking into those mics, we make sure to hold the mic further away than we should.

That serves two purposes: First, you get the gain set correctly.

If you set it up when the mic is held right up to the chin, when the guest holds it mid-chest, you’ll be way too quiet. Second, it tells you if you’re going to deal with feedback.

If you do, ring it out. Give yourself as much gain before feedback as you can get. Make sure whoever is checking the mic tries speaking at loud and soft volumes so you know how it sounds. And you’ll know where to set the compressor threshold.

Chose Your Mic Carefully
We normally use Beta 87s for these interviews. Now some may disagree, but I find the Beta 87 a great announcement mic.

The pattern is pretty wide and as a condenser, it picks up well. The mic is very tolerant of bad mic technique, which these guests often have.

Because of our room and where the PA is located, I don’t have major issues with feedback.

I would recommend experimenting a little to find out which mics give you the best combination of sound quality versus pickup flexibility versus gain before feedback.

Chances are you won’t get these folks to hold the mic right on their chin, so pick something that works 6-8 inches away.

Compress Like Crazy
I tend to be pretty aggressive with compression for guests like this.

The reason is simple; they don’t typically know how to properly hold the mic, and they tend to be all over the place in terms of level.

Often times, a guest will start with the mic close, and as soon as they hear themselves out of the PA, they back it away, thinking it’s too loud.

I shoot for hitting 4-6 dB of gain reduction all the time, and boost the output gain back up to make up the level.

I tend to go with a little higher ratio to make sure if they suddenly get excited they don’t get too loud (think 3:1 or maybe 4:1). For an interview, I’m not worried as much about absolute sonic purity as I am intelligibility.

Chances are this is a 3-5 minute deal, so I tend to worry less about getting it sounding “perfect” and more about just making it clear.

Ride the Fader
I tried to come up with a way to illiterate that better but failed. Sorry. I always keep my hands on the fader for these mics. When the guest is not speaking, I’ll typically pull them down to -10 to -15 just in case they do something crazy with their mic.

I don’t turn them all the way off for two reasons: One, if they suddenly start speaking, going from off to on is going to be abrupt, and two, it’s a lot farther to move the fader, and as such takes longer. Watch them as they talk.

If you checked the mic at 6” from the mouth and they start off closer, set the fader at -5 when they start. But be ready to push it up as they will likely back off.

If they move the mic around a lot, ride the fader a lot. The compressor can only do so much, you have to work it, too. If you know the people who are speaking, take a guess as to how loud or soft they speak and set the fader accordingly.

In situations like these, you have to use every clue available to make it sound good. Pay close attention, and you’ll do well.

In many ways, these little interviews are guerrilla audio. You’re working under far less than ideal conditions and simply have to make the best you can with what you’re given.

Don’t sweat it too much, and be sure the people can be heard.

Do you have tips for making worship interviews successful? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Mike Sessler is the Technical Director at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, CA. He has been involved in live production for over 20 years and is the author of the blog, Church Tech Arts . He also hosts a weekly podcast called Church Tech Weekly on the TechArtsNetwork.

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Posted by admin on 05/23 at 10:52 AM
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Legrand Announces Acquisition Of Middle Atlantic Products

The acquisition will enable a more comprehensive offering of AV infrastructure products and solutions from one company, better servicing the growing AV market.

Legrand, North America has announced that a definitive agreement has been signed to acquire Middle Atlantic Products, Inc.

The completion of the transaction is anticipated for mid-June and is subject to the satisfaction of certain requirements, including regulatory approval. 

Prior to closing, Legrand and Middle Atlantic will continue to operate as separate, independent companies.
Powerful trends continue to drive market growth for integrated AV systems and supporting infrastructure.

A prime example is the increasing use of audio and video in venues such as airports, schools, retail, hospitals and corporate facilities.

With this acquisition of a recognized industry leader in AV enclosure systems, Legrand would fulfill one of its key objectives to establish a leadership position in the fast growing markets for AV infrastructure products, systems and solutions. 

Middle Atlantic has expert knowledge of these markets and a sales relationship with more than 3,500 integrators in the US and Canada, providing a direct path for sustained product and market development. 

According to Bob Schluter, founder of Middle Atlantic, “The success of our customers is our primary focus.  They rely on us to constantly develop innovative products and deliver exceptional service.”

“Legrand shares these ideals and together we share a vision to expand and grow this market.  I’m excited about the possibilities and the benefits for our customers and employees alike.”

Once this transaction is completed, Middle Atlantic customers would benefit from expanded product offerings, access to enhanced specification services and tools, and more complete AV infrastructure solutions.

The combined offerings of the firms would include more than 5,000 AV products and services.
After closing, Middle Atlantic would operate as an independent business within Legrand and would remain focused on providing innovative products and an exceptional customer experience.

Mike Baker, President of Middle Atlantic Products, would lead a new, 5th Division -Commercial AV- for Legrand in North America. 

“The complementary strengths of these businesses, and the fit of the product offerings will be unmatched by any other supplier in this industry,” said John Selldorff, President and Chief Executive Officer, Legrand, North America. 

“The combined leadership team is looking forward to making a real difference to the installation community, and the entire AV market, now and for the future.” 

Legrand

Middle Atlantic Products

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Posted by admin on 05/23 at 10:15 AM
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ProSoundWeb Announces Winners In Facebook Fan Exclusive Giveaway!

Congratulations to our two winners and remember it's never to late to visit the ProSoundWeb Facebook page to become a Fan!

In partnership with Focal Press, ProSoundWeb set out to give away two exclusive prize packages in a Facebook Exclusive giveaway.

After a month-long entry period, ProSoundWeb is pleased to announce our two winners:
   Jim Webb of Utah
   Alex Martinez of Florida

Each winner received one of two fantastic multi-book audio educational packages listed below courtesy of Focal Press.

Don’t forget to “Like” Focal Press on Facebook as a way of saying thank-you for this great contest.

Also, remember it’s never too late to visit the ProSoundWeb Facebook page to “Like” us.

Package 1: Recording
Mastering Audio
   By Bob Katz

The Inventor of Stereo
   By Robert Charles Alexander

Package 2: Live Sound & Recording Production
Live Audio
   By Dave Swallow

Audio Production & Critical Listening
   By Jason Corey

What Is Music Production?
   By Russ Hepworth-Sawyer & Craig Golding

 
For questions and comments please contact ProSoundWeb Recording Editor Kyle P. Snyder at kpsn…at…prosoundweb.com.

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Posted by admin on 05/23 at 08:48 AM
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Lawo Consoles Selected By Presteigne Charter For The World Cup

A tio of mc²56s were ordered for the first World Series sailing regatta.

Presteigne Charter has announced the selection of three mc²56 digital audio consoles and a Nova29 router from Lawo, for one of the most unique sporting events in the world – the inaugural America’s Cup World Series 2011-2012, a global program of regattas designed to bring the sport of high-performance sailing to a wider audience ahead of the legendary America’s Cup itself.

Starting in Cascais, Portugal, in August, the nine-day regattas will feature both fleet and match racing, and will be televised in HD to millions of fans internationally.

Presteigne Charter will supply the audio production facilities at each location, standardizing on the Lawo mc²56 format, with additional mixing capability in the shape of a crystal on-air console.

This purchase extends a successful working relationship between Lawo and the Presteigne Charter Group, which first deployed mc²66 consoles in 2008 for coverage of the French Open Tennis Championships and subsequently the Olympic Games in Beijing. 

These high-profile events underlined the flexibility of Lawo design; the low-weight consoles proved easy to set up in on-location control rooms, without any compromise of the full broadcast performance specification.

Paul Murray, for Presteigne Charter, confirmed that “our very positive experiences with Lawo’s consoles on a variety of prestigious sporting events made the company an obvious choice for the World Series.” 

Each mc²56 console will have 48 faders (16+16+16), with similar HD cores using up to 8 MADI interfaces with a DALLIS stagebox. 

On location, the desks will be installed into temporary control rooms, linked via MADI through a Nova29 MADI router. Presteigne Charter’s choice of the Nova29 universal router for the heart of the broadcast facilities provides the ideal standalone solution, providing the network with 1024x1024 I/O which can be switched transparently.

One of Lawo’s crystal on-air consoles has also been ordered for the task of mixing multi-lingual commentary, primarily for internet and large-screen coverage.

Lawo

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Posted by admin on 05/20 at 02:28 PM
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Steps To Selecting The Right Console For Your Church Sound System

There are several issues that you should consider in order to make sure your console helps to maintain the integrity of your system.

From a technical standpoint, the useful life expectancy of the mixing console you purchase this week is six to ten years at best.

Its growing repair costs coupled with improvements in console design will warrant purchasing a replacement unit within that time frame.

It’s also likely that your need for inputs and outputs will have grown beyond the capacity of that console, so it will be time for a change anyway.

There are over 40 manufacturers of consoles. Finding the right one for your needs can be a bewildering search.

Here are six important steps to consider:
• Assess your current worship team needs.

• Project your worship team’s growth needs over at least the next 5 to 8 years.

• Apply a realistic capital budget figure.

• Look for dealers with appropriate solutions who also have the capacity to make timely repairs.

• Do your homework, and then have fun making the purchase.

• Make a capital budget entry now to replace that console in 6 to 10 years at 150% of its current price.

Assessing Your Current Needs
Determining the number of input channels is reasonably straightforward. Consider your usual worship service. You already know from experience that in some auditoriums not all instruments on stage need to be miked in order to be heard.

Your sound system is primarily there to reinforce the acoustic energy already present on stage, so if an instrument can be heard clearly without a mic, you may be able to save the cost of that channel.

Count up the number of vocalists you expect during a typical service, then add the number of musicians who need to be miked. Next, add all the lapel mics you have plus inputs for cassette decks and/or CD players.

Take into account the input needs of your biggest musical event of the year, perhaps your Christmas or Easter musical pageant. That should add up to the maximum number of channels you’ll ever expect to use.

Depending on the scale of your pageants, that could increase your input needs by as much as 30 percent.

Also, get your worship team and sound team together and talk through your production plans for the next five years.

For many churches, that may be a difficult task in itself, but buying a console is a significant expense and it’s definitely worth the time to do this exercise.

Listen carefully to their brainstorming and use that information to make an informed guess regarding how many inputs you think are enough to do the job they’re requesting of you.

Sure, you could supplement the lack of channels on a smaller console by adding an “extra” console for those specific events.

But you may find it less expensive and less complicated in the long run to simply purchase the larger console now.

At this point, you should have a rough idea of the size of console you should be looking for, at least in regards to the number of inputs.

Outputs
Another factor is how many outputs you’ll need. The obvious one is the main output.

If you’ll be mixing the stage monitors from the house desk, then also be certain that you allow for enough auxiliary sends for those individual monitor mixes.

Since most musicians and singers prefer that their monitor mix not change during the course of the worship service, look to see that the console you’re considering has “prefade” auxiliary sends for those monitor mixes.

Many musicians and singers would prefer to have their own monitor mix, but that can be too expensive for many churches. If possible, provide at least two mixes, one for the vocalists and one for the musicians.

You’ll also want “postfade” auxiliary sends to feed your effects processors so that you can easily add reverb and other effects to the overall house mix. I

prefer at least two postfade aux sends for this application because I like to use different reverb settings for the vocals as compared to the music instruments.

If I can get a third postfade send, I’ll use it as a feed to a digital echo device to add a bit of echo as needed.

In general, the more auxiliary sends you can afford, the more fun you’ll have in mixing, because it adds a tremendous amount of flexibility.

The best of both worlds would be a PRE/POST switch on each monitor send, because then you could make each monitor send on each channel either a prefade send or a postfade send. Unfortunately, you’ll find that kind of feature only on the very expensive consoles.

Consider it a mixing advantage to choose a console with submasters. I teach in my classes on console operation to always keep the fader (volume control) down on unused channels.

The sound operator can eliminate excessive stage noise and significantly improve the gain-before-feedback condition simply by turning off the unused channels during strategic moments.

Submasters allow the operator to easily drop those sounds out of the mix without upsetting the careful musical balance that he/she has created during the worship set. Submasters make those mix changes repeatable and easy to do.

Inexpensive consoles often have fixed frequency choices on each channel’s equalizer section.

That can pose a serious limitation to enhancing the tonal quality of a sound, because rarely are the frequencies chosen by the manufacturer precisely what the engineer needs to make an improvement in the sound.

A console that has a sweepable midrange frequency control on each channel will provide the needed flexibility.

Budget Realities
Isn’t it great that audio manufacturers have succeeded in bringing down the price of consoles over the years!?!

So what do you buy - a 32-input console that costs $4,000, or a 32-input console that costs $40,000? Good question. Don’t get me wrong - there’s a marked difference in the quality of sound between two consoles with that wide of a price spread.

If I had the budget, sure I’d spend the $40,000. In fact, I’d push for double that if possible.

But there are a lot of 32-input consoles below the $15,000 mark that sound quite good, and have tremendous signal routing flexibility.

I’ve installed a few of those $4,000 consoles that sounded and performed quite well. They made my system sound good, and they made my client happy.

What do you get for your money? Given the same number of mic inputs, as the price climbs you’ll first start to see added flexibility.

The signal flow diagram will blossom into a city map. You’ll go from three or four auxiliary sends to six or eight.

At first they’ll probably be grouped as either prefade or postfade in groups of two or four. That’s a limitation.

You’ll also start to see submasters on the console. At first you’ll see four submasters, then as the price climbs it will jump to eight.

Next you may start to see added switching. For example, you’ll reach a point where you get that pre/post switch I mentioned earlier next to every auxiliary send pot. This is way cool.

Go a little higher and you might even see a Mute switch next to every auxiliary send pot. Now, this is beyond cool. You could also find programmable mutes - a method of turning on or off a group of inputs, regardless of the subgroup they are assigned to.

While there are some exceptions in the lower-priced consoles, somewhere in the $20,000 to $30,000 range you may start to hear a difference in the consoles.

Here the design intent grows beyond function to improving sound quality. Circuit design is approached differently. Much higher grade components are used, and the layout may become more critical.

If your budget has lasted this far, you might start seeing VCA subgroups. Let’s imagine that you want to control all of the vocal mics with one submaster fader.

With a standard submaster, the combined audio signal from all of those channels assigned to that submaster would flow through that submaster fader.

From a functional standpoint, that’s a bit of a limitation because the audio going through the individual channel faders is still there, even though you’ve dropped them from the house mix by pulling down the submaster.

One problem with this is the fact that, since the fader is still up, the audio is still passing on to the auxiliary sends; so if you’re feeding a signal to an effects device on one or more of those channels (e.g., reverb for vocals!?!), your audience may hear your worship team ask with a great reverberant sound “What’s for lunch?” while the pastor is reading the announcements.

With a VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) approach, the audio doesn’t actually flow through the faders. Instead, it goes through a VCA on each channel. The submaster faders also have no audio passing through them.

Instead, they simply alter the control voltage that is fed to each of those channel VCA’s. So when you pull down this type of VCA submaster, it actually does turn down the audio signal at each of those individual channels.

That, in turn, drops the signal going to those aux sends and anywhere else it might be being fed to.

So how much should you spend? I can’t tell you. Well, I could, but you might not like my answer.

Consider that next to your loudspeaker system (including the processing and amps that drive it), the house console is the next most important and significant investment you’ll make toward your sound system’s quality.

Take your time, do your homework, and then have fun. You’re going to be mixing on that desk for a long time. And be sure you establish a budget now for its replacement!

Curt Taipale heads up Church Soundcheck, a thriving community dedicated to helping technical worship personnel, and he also provides expert systems design and consulting services with Taipale Media Systems.

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Posted by admin on 05/20 at 02:11 PM
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Uncomfortable Audio Experiences: Truths About Sound System & Loudspeaker Distortion

Crushing levels are absolutely not what the audio experience is about.

We “Men of Audio,” as my friend Clifford Henricksen put it in one of his frequent moments of levity, fight either the good fight for good sound or high fidelity.

But let’s just take a look at the words high fidelity, or hi-fi.

Taken literally hi-fi large quantities of faithfulness to the original sound; in other words we’re talking truth, or purity. Accordingly, the next concern is how shall you judge fidelity, and how do you maximize it?

Criteria for Fidelity
Even frequency response. The desirability of flat response is self-evident, but in practice this is not as important as believed. This is fortunate for loudspeaker manufacturers as very few products are in fact flat.

The sound system is able to run comfortably, delivering the required sound levels.

Conservative operation is common sense and good practice when operating any kind of machine. As far as audio goes, it maintains headroom by giving peak signals room to breathe.

Absence of clipping, harmonics, artifacts, and so on. Signal integrity is where things go horribly wrong and are often completely out of control.

As it is the most important aspect of fidelity, we find ourselves all too frequently involved in an uncomfortable audio experience.

One is able to ameliorate frequency response, and a flat out sound system can always be turned down. As this is very often psychologically difficult for some people, one can always get in more amplifiers and speakers.

However, it is very rare, if not impossible, to regenerate a degraded signal. The concept of fidelity is replaced by all manner of noxious waveforms, which is a matter of great concern to me.

Apart from being entirely offensive, it is actually very damaging to human hearing. In fact, distortion is more damaging to hearing than level.

This is because distortion is often a clipped signal or a smooth sinusoidal waveform with the top chopped off leaving very sharp corners that now approximates a square wave containing excessive amounts of unwanted harmonics, which is very unnatural.

Our ears and brain are not designed to deal with such waveforms for extended periods of time.

If responsibility and care is not brought to bear on the situation, the whole industry is going to be faced with draconian level legislation where in fact the real culprit is distortion.

Reduced to Subterfuge
Some of the worst offenders are clubs.

I think I have only encountered a minority of DJs in my entire life who didn’t run the outputs of their mixers solidly into the red and there’s not much you can do with the signal after that.

Engineers are thus reduced to subterfuge and doctor the controls/meters so that even when they are solidly into the red the output signal is still reasonable.

In my mind, distortion means twisting away from truth. Distortion is the opposite of fidelity and is alarmingly easy to end up with.

It comes in many varieties and can be introduced at any point in the signal path.

A common event is over-driving either the input or output levels as in the previously mentioned example. Another is the source material itself.

All these points can be summed up as involving the maintenance of signal path integrity. I have left the most damning example of distortion introduction to last, which is of course the famed loudspeaker.

Notwithstanding operator abuse, the intrinsic distortion figures of loudspeakers working at just 10 percent of their rated power (when does that happen in real life?) dwarf anything that can be found in other parts of the signal path that are not being overdriven.

There are, it should be noted, some very guilty loudspeakers out there.

Odd Harmonics
Loudspeakers can introduce distortion with harmonic resonance, which can sometimes be greater than the fundamental. Odd harmonics seem to be musically worse than even harmonics. And neither is obviously best.

Another common occurrence is ringing, which is basically the cone or diaphragm that carries on bouncing around long after the original signal has ceased.

The cure for this is more dampening. However, the most frequent source of distortion is over-driving the loudspeakers.

I’m not talking about giving them more watts than their voice coils are able to handle temperature-wise, but the sheer inability of most loudspeakers to deliver clean sound at just 50% of their rated power, bearing in mind how large the harmonic distortion numbers are at the AES standard of 10 percent of rated power.

And whilst I am on this subject, I really must take extreme exception to probably the most ridiculous measurement parameter that has been introduced in the last 20 years, namely the terminal SPL figure. This is a function of power rating, sensitivity and power compression.

Taking into account the above points, 100 percent power input into a loudspeaker is going to result in the most dreadful audio and therefore is completely irrelevant.

In contrast, I cannot help but notice a dearth of published distortion figures for most speaker systems now on the market.

This wasn’t the case in the past, so I am concluding that in fact the business has in some respects gone backward, and there’s a general tacit agreement not to publish these embarrassing specifications anymore.

Torrent of Noise
The difference between clean, well-defined sound and the all-too-frequent torrent of white noise cannot be over emphasized.

First, working in the usual stereo mode, the producer will have the instruments mapped out on the sound stage.

In the multidimensional internal listening space, the separation and placement of these instruments will be apparent and easy to find. Distortion prevents this subtle, mental reconstruction process by changing the audio information.

While this is bad enough on its own, what’s even more important is the fact that the ugly sound literally drives you away, much like your desire to leave the company of an aggressive and vexatious person.

There is no way under these conditions that you are going to open your mind to the possibilities of a multi-dimensional sound stage inside your head.

But I am beginning to realize that there are many so-called audio engineers who have lived with awful sound systems for so long that they have no idea what I am talking about.

You know the kind of people I mean the ones who say, “Make their ears bleed.” Crushing level is absolutely not what the audio experience is about.

It is about internal space. Anyone who really knows will understand that a righteous audio experience is akin to meditation.

A yet further aspect of this is the complete abuse of fee-paying audiences with horrendous sound.

Let’s remember that being able to enjoy music, nay sound, is one of our freedoms, and it breaks my heart to see it so consistently abused and misapplied.

Tony Andrews is noted for his work as a designer of Turbosound and Funktion-One loudspeakers.

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Posted by admin on 05/20 at 09:19 AM
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JBL VerTec Line Arrays & Control Loudspeakers Selected For American Idol’s 2011 Studio

While it’s a music competition, on some shows there’s actually more dialogue than musical performances, so the dialogue support system was just as important as the main house PA.

American Idol is the country’s most-watched TV series, and has been the number one show for six years in a row.

For American Idol’s 2011 season, wrapping up this week, the main house PA and dialogue system has included a total of 300 JBL Professional loudspeakers, including VerTec line arrays and Control Contractor loudspeakers, ensuring the contestants and judges are clearly heard no matter how loudly the audience cheers the performers.

The system has been installed in Stage 36 at CBS Television City in Hollywood.

The main system has included 20 JBL VerTec VT4889 fullsize line array elements, and the dialogue system has comprised 275 JBL Control 25 loudspeakers. The system was designed and installed by Patrick Baltzell and ATK/Audiotek of Valencia, California.

“The look of the set is a big part of the show, so the audio system could not be visually intrusive,” noted Baltzell.

“We needed speakers that could provide full-range response all in one box, without having to use separate subwoofers or high-frequency elements, because we needed to use as few boxes as possible.”

The VT4889 line array elements have been set up in two main groups of 10 speakers each, in locations selected to deliver even sound coverage to all 620 members of the studio audience. For the dialogue system, a compact Control 25 speaker (measuring only 9.3 x 7.4 x 5.8 inches) was placed underneath every other seat in the audience.

“We needed a distributed audio system in addition to the main music system because during a broadcast there are sometimes up to 12 or 15 lavalier microphones open and in use at the same time,” noted Baltzell.

“We don’t want to mix all of those through the main PA system. With the separate dialogue system, it’s much easier to work with all those lavalier mics, and achieve better, more articulate sound for the audience.”

Baltzell added, “Although it’s a music competition, there’s a ton of dialogue going on between the judges and contestants. On some shows, there’s actually more dialogue than musical performances, so the dialogue support system is just as important as the main house PA.”

The series’ 2-night grand finale will be staged in Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on May 24-25 in front of a theater audience of over 7,000, as well as being broadcast on FOX to millions of viewers watching at home.

JBL Professional

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Posted by admin on 05/20 at 08:35 AM
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Electro-Voice Broadcast Microphones Selected By Ryan Seacrest Foundation For Hospital Media Centers

The broadcast media centers, called THE VOICE, allow young patients to explore the creative aspects of radio, television, and new media, all while making hospitalization a little less frighting.

A serious illness or injury involving hospitalization, often a frightening experience for children, is typically compounded by boredom and isolation from days or weeks of life in an institutional setting.

It’s now widely recognized that combating these psychological side-effects of in-patient care can boost patient morale and improve outcomes.

With that in mind, Ryan Seacrest — American Idol host, radio personality, and TV producer — established the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF) to enhance the quality of life for seriously ill and injured children.

In the case of RSF, the vehicle is a series of broadcast media centers, called THE VOICE, that the foundation is building within pediatric hospitals to enable young patients to explore the creative realms of radio, television, and new media.

The first RSF media center opened recently at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, with another slated to open this summer at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Each location is designed and equipped as a fully-functional radio and TV broadcast studio, giving child patients the opportunity to actively participate in the hosting and production of live shows that will be seen and heard on closed circuit throughout the hospital.

Children in their hospital rooms will also be able to participate by calling in requests and taking part in call-in programs.

Seacrest’s broadcast engineer Brian Clark, who works with RSF on THE VOICE project, says the state-of-the-art facilities “wouldn’t have been possible” without the support of a variety of broadcast manufacturers, including the contribution by Electro-Voice of RE family broadcast microphones.

Seacrest himself has been using the RE27N/D broadcast microphone exclusively since 1995 for all his radio appearances, including his daily radio show.

“I am grateful to Electro-Voice for generously donating their microphones to the broadcast media centers my foundation is building in children’s hospitals,” Seacrest says. “

With their support, we are able to create a positive form of interactive entertainment for young patients that provides them with an opportunity to experience being a disc jockey, play their favorite songs, and even interview celebrities.”

Through his discussions with doctors during his visits to children’s hospitals over the years, Seacrest learned that when kids are involved in some sort of engaging activity they are less focused on their pain and thus request less pain medication.

That solidified Seacrest’s determination, Clark says, to give kids in the hospital “a place to go to outside of their room, and also for kids who can’t leave their rooms to be able to participate in something by requesting songs and communicating with kids in other rooms.”

Clark says that Seacrest thought it would be good to expand the radio station concept into a media center that incorporates both an in-hospital radio station and a video conferencing system.

“The station isn’t terrestrial,” Clark says, “but it connects throughout the hospital. The kids can come in and be DJs, playing any genre of music.”

“They can go down there and get on the mic and start talking to other kids that are in their rooms, who can see them on closed circuit TV. And the kids in the rooms can call down and talk or make requests.”

The media centers also provide a place for interviews and appearances by artists and celebrities that are arranged by the foundation and hospital.”

“In Atlanta, that has so far included visits from players on the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Thrashers sports teams, as well as live performances by artists such as Parachute and American Idol contestants Crystal Bowersox, Kimberly Caldwell, and Kellie Pickler.

Clark adds that the media centers are “physically designed to work well for the kids, and they’re large enough that a number of kids, even if they’re in wheelchairs, can hang out there to spend some time out of their rooms.”

The foundation will engage an on-site facility manager at each center and will train students from local high schools and colleges to run the equipment, providing them with the opportunity to gain first hand experience in broadcast operations.

To Clark, the greatest satisfaction of RSF’s work is the chance to help brighten the lives of children by taking their minds off of the difficulties inherent in their situation. “You can see how excited the kids are when they come into the media center,” he says.

“It’s great to see them participating in everyday life even though they have to be in the hospital. They really light up, and it’s really inspiring to see them smiling despite the challenges of sickness.”

Electro-Voice

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Posted by admin on 05/20 at 07:41 AM
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Audient To Supply Glastonbury Festival With Console For Unique Green Recording Studio

The Audient desk will be used alongside additional equipment from Cowshed Studio, offering attending musicians the opportunity to record with a professional producer.

Audient has pledged an ASP8024 mixing desk which is to be used as the centrepiece of a recording studio made out of wood and straw, set up at the Glastonbury festival next month.

Music producer Joe Leach of Cowshed Studio London is designing and building a soundproof recording studio in a custom built low-impact straw bale building in the grounds of this year’s event.

“We love the idea, so we’re really glad to be able to provide the console for this unique studio,” said Steve Flower, Audient’s Technology Strategist who will be part of the set-up crew with his colleague, UK sales manager Gareth Williams.

“We want to give the event our full support, and to that end will be tweeting our way through the set-up and ensuing weekend.”

The Audient recording desk will be used alongside the Cowshed Studio’s classic keyboard collection, grand piano, vintage mics and pre-amps, in what is believed to be a first for Glastonbury, offering attending musicians the opportunity to record with a professional producer.

The complex will include a green room and two live stage areas. Theses stages will be available to brand new and established artists visiting the festival, both to play and to participate in song-writing workshops.

Musicians will be invited to perform on these stages allowing eight acts a day to be chosen by public vote to record in the studio. Sessions will be video streamed live to a large projection screen, providing a rare insight into the recording process.

Any artists or labels interested in getting involved should email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Audient

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Posted by admin on 05/20 at 07:10 AM
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tips From A Church Tech: A Challenging Scenario

Making to move to a larger, pre-existing building can be challenging at best, especially if your team has never been through a move before.
This article is provided by Church Audio Video.

 
Scenario: You’re the Worship Pastor of a large, rapidly growing contemporary church.

Your church has outgrown your current worship facilities and the board has chosen to move to a larger, pre-existing building.

This new worship space was not designed with acoustics in mind. This building has all the acoustical charm of a large metal box.

Question: Is it possible to achieve “good acoustics” without spending a fortune on renovations and equipment?

Answer: Yes, absolutely. It is possible to achieve “good acoustics” without spending a fortune. There are certain things that you need to consider:

• What will the space be used for? Acoustic standards vary greatly depending on the intended purpose of the space.

• How will the building will be finished? Room acoustics are primarily affected by room size & shape, ceiling height, parallel surfaces, furnishings and the number of people occupying the space.

Other things to consider are carpeting, wall hangings, ceiling tiles, etc.

• Will you be performing an acoustical analysis? An acoustical analysis performed by a competent audio consultant can help you to determine the acoustical state of your space and help you decide on the proper method of treatment.

• Will you be using acoustic treatment? You cannot eliminate the reverberations in a space, you can only control them.

Many people attempt to eliminate a poor acoustics by purchasing expensive gear and increasing volume. This always compounds the problem. The best, simplest and often cheapest fix is to use acoustic treatment.

Rule of Thumb: Generally, to achieve a 1.2 – 1.6 second reverberation decay, which is acceptable for spoken word and music generally found in the contemporary church, you must cover 25 – 30% of your vertical wall space with acoustic treatment.

Casey Watson is a Project Manager and Certified Church Consultant for Church Audio Video.

Church Audio Video specializes in the design, installation and support of high-quality and affordable custom audio, video, lighting, broadcast and control systems for worship facilities. For more information, visit their website.

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Posted by admin on 05/19 at 01:50 PM
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Business Savvy: Why Are You In the Live Sound Business?

Clarifying your business mission statements.

Each audio person has a unique set of experience, education, aspirations, and motivations, different from everyone else.

Consequently, each of us is likely to answer the “why” question a little differently than the next person.

What makes us tick? What motivates us?

How does the answer to the question “Why am I in the audio business?” relate to my career and business plan? Let’s explore the issue of defining your audio business mission, vision, and values.

Five Motivations
Whether full time or part time in audio, your motivation is likely to fall into one or more of the following categories:

1. Make a living. This ranges from “pay the bills” to “get rich.” Some people are motivated primarily by money or financial need.

Everyone needs some source of income. For those of us who are not already independently wealthy, the prospect of making a living doing something we love (like working in audio) is attractive ­ a positive motivator.

2. Fulfill a dream. “I’ve always wanted to do something in audio,” or, “If only I could be in the industry doing sound full time…”

Some of us may want to see the names of our clients on the marquee, on records or in the Billboard charts. Others aspire to business or technical support roles but still desire to be involved in audio as a career.

3. Create a legacy. “When I’m gone I want people to remember my work (or influence on the audio industry.)”

Looking a little further into the future, some of us are motivated by the idea of creating a company or a body of work that takes on an identity or a life of its own.

4. Benefit other people. “Take care of my family,” or, “Inspire others…” Some of us focus on our immediate family and friends while others are driven to benefit the broader industry, community, or society as a whole.

5. Adrenaline rush. “There is no other feeling like the energy coming from a crowd during a show.” This applies whether you are on stage, backstage, or in the audience, and it can also be a positive motivator.

A possible sixth category is “all of the above.” See how this sounds to you: “I’ve always wanted to do something with audio that will benefit mankind ­ the big audience out there.

If I’m successful, I’ll make a good living along the way and be remembered as a positive influence on the world.

When I hear the applause during a show, I remember what it’s all about ­ great music and great sound.”

Sound idealistic? Maybe so, but a whole lot better than, “Oh well, I might as well get a job in the live sound factory because it’s better than working the counter at McDonald’s for minimum wage all my life…”

Profit Fundamentals
Here’s a simple formula that drives all businesses: revenue minus expenses equals profit.

Profit is simply the money left over after a business pays the costs of doing business.

If you’re essentially a one-person sound business, profit also represents the money that is available to pay for life: food, housing, clothing, recreation, education, etc.

Some audio people are put off by the concept of profit, feeling that the idea of having something left over after “working hard for the money” is evil, tacky, lowlife, non-artistic, anti-art, or whatever pejorative word comes to mind.

Here are some observations on this situation, gathered over a 30-year period.

• Unless you’re independently wealthy (some are, but relatively few), the need to make money is a motivator for live sound people.

• The general public buys concert tickets, records, merchandise, and related material created by musicians ­ and supported by audio people and promoted by the industry.

Fans “vote with their pocketbooks,” meaning they buy what they like and come back to the shows, venues, and acts that they enjoy on a repeated basis.

• To judge whether a specific musical performance is “good or bad” from an artistic standpoint is largely subjective.

What appeals to me may or may not appeal to you, and that’s ok. Diversity keeps things interesting. However, quality sound can be measured objectively and enhances audience satisfaction for any show.

What’s the point? Audio integrity, business integrity, and commercial success go hand in hand. You don’t need to compromise quality or artistic values to make money in the live sound business.

Also, simply being commercially successful does not assure positive reviews by the critics, or any other measure of success. Top selling tours don’t necessarily win technical awards.

Remember, I’m talking about the mainstream here, not the exceptions publicized by the media.

Statement Of Mission
A mission statement answers the question “Why are you in business?”

Whether you’re a self-employed rigger or roadie, crew member, owner of a small audio business or in a management position in a larger firm, the answer to this question is the foundation for your strategic planning.

And again, it applies whether you are full time or part time in live sound.

Let’s look at some guidelines for writing your mission statement.

• Strong mission statements are usually one or two sentences long.

I’ve seen mission statements that have gone on to two or three pages of cryptic single spaced text.

Longer ones are flawed, in that you and the people around you will not remember them and may not put emphasis in the right areas when it comes to planning and taking action.

• Short mission statements are often supplemented by clarifying comments.

These most frequently take the form of “vision statements” and “values statements.”

This is a good way to deal with the temptation to make your mission statement too long.

• Vision statements describe your view of the future of the industry or market.

Vision statements are part predictions, part trend analysis and part context information.

• Values statements are your code of ethics, or the operating principles that are fundamental to your business and unlikely to change over a long period of time.

If you work alone or own the company, your own values can be asserted in your business.

If you work for someone else, it’s important to make sure that your personal values are reasonably aligned (congruent) with those of the organization.

This helps prevent problems, but more importantly drives the business in a positive way.

Writing Is Liberating
A rule of thumb in strategic planning is “if it’s not written down, it’s not a plan.”

Sure, you have to think through the issues, and yes, you may have a good memory.

Yet, there is something about the act of writing that is both clarifying and liberating.

The other real benefit of writing everything down is that the material can then be shared with others: your business partners, co-workers, employees, family, investors, vendors, or other stakeholders.

For now, take a stab at drafting your mission statement, or revising the one you currently have. Start by completing the following sentence:

We are in business to ___________.

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step in understanding the fundamentals of business and in taking your audio business to the next level.

We’ll expand on the idea of business planning in future articles. In the meantime, good luck, and don’t forget to write it down!

John Stiernberg is founder and principal consultant with Stiernberg Consulting and author of Succeeding In Music: A Business Handbook for Performers, Songwriters, Agents, Managers, and Promoters.

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Posted by admin on 05/19 at 12:40 PM
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Califone To Feature The 900MHz Portable PA System InfoComm 2011

The PowerPro pa919 is the first portable unit to offer wireless transmission to an unlimited number of support speakers.

Califone International has announced that it will feature its upgraded line of 900MHz, interchangeable, wireless, portable PA systems during InfoComm 2011 in Orlando.

“Our customers can rest assured that all Califone wireless PA systems have been upgraded to the new legal standard 900MHz,” said Tim Ridgway, VP marketing of Califone.

“Our line is the most versatile in the industry as all work from common mics for interchangeability.”

“We are also particularly proud of the PowerPro PA919, which is the first portable PA to offer wireless transmission to an unlimited number of support speakers.”

The PowerPro is the ideal PA for those who require an easy-to-use, portable sound reinforcement solution but do not have the budget, technical know-how or time required to operate a multi-component system.”

“Designed for any kind of venue, the PowerPro is the first portable PA system to offer wireless transmission (904-925MHz) to any number of its powered companion speakers, meaning it has unlimited expandability to handle any situation.”

“The PowerPro is a complete self-contained sound system with two built-in wireless mic receivers (16-channel, 904-925MHz), a CD player, and cassette player/recorder. It features 90-watts RMS of power, with a single unit easily covering crowds up to 1,000 people or many more with added wireless PowerPro companion speakers.

The 90-watt RMS PowerPro SD is a complete self-contained sound system with two built-in wireless mic receivers and a CD player.”

“It has full digital capability to play and record from its SD card slot with 512MB onboard flash memory and is USB 2.0 compatible.

Califone International

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Posted by admin on 05/19 at 10:02 AM
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Video: An Interview With Terri Winston From Women’s Audio Mission

Winston shares her thoughts on how we can all stay creative and inspired when in the studio.

Throughout the month of May, Propellerhead has been celebrating “Music Making Month,” a month-long set of activities to inspire and help people with their music creating endeavors.

One of the daily online events includes Q&A sessions, one of which featured Terri Winston who is the Founder and Executive Director of Women’s Audio Mission (a wonderful organization!).

Winston had a 20 year career as a musician, producer, engineer, performer, and collaborator during which she shared stages with legends like PJ Harvey, The Pixies, and Fugazi.

With an extensive studio background and a degree in electrical engineering, Terri knows that the technology is just a tool to facilitate creativity and shouldn’t be a barrier to it.

In this fantastic, nearly hour long interview Winston shared her thoughts on how we can all stay creative and inspired when in the studio.

Editors Note: The musical intro is slightly lengthy, so it’s ok to fast forward.

Women’s Audio Mission Website

Propellerhead Website

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Posted by admin on 05/19 at 08:32 AM
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Solid State Logic Duality The Choice Of The Zoo In Studio-A Upgrade

The sound, operational reliability, and feature set of Duality were key factors in the Zoo's decision.

The Zoo, a production facility in Oakland, CA, recently selected a 48-channel Solid State Logic Duality SE console as the upgrade for Studio A.

Acting as a creative collective, The Zoo offers high quality recording and production facilities as well as entertainment attorneys, managers, labels, video producers, artists, engineers and writers.

Duality is the audio centerpiece for the facility providing SSL’s SuperAnalogue™ sound with VHD mic pres for tonal color and integrated DAW control.

“We found the most promising producers and artists in the bay area and have brought them under one roof to build what we call the Zoo Community,” says David “D1” Watson, producer for The Zoo.

“I have been interested in an SSL console for a while and Duality is certainly the best board SSL ever built. I work sessions between R&B, rock, hip-hop and alternative artists and Duality is the tool that lets me do them all.”

“When you set out to build what we’re doing, you need the best tools to attract the best people. Duality is one of the tools that appeals to them.”

The Zoo’s mission is to create a symbiotic relationship with its partners allowing affiliated members the opportunity to produce in one of three production rooms. Located in Studio A, Duality gives the artists and engineers a wide sonic palate to work with.

“Duality’s VHD mic pres are very impressive,” D1 states. “The variable harmonic distortion (VHD) feature gives me the opportunity to rough up a track to add color, giving me more choices to work with.”

“Historically, there has always been an argument between producers who like to capture rough and mix clean and the producers that like to capture clean and rough things up in the mix. Duality let’s me work either way so I can accommodate any working style.”

According to D1, the commissioning of Duality was straightforward, easy to install and the reliable, compact design and green power draw was a big plus. For example, at one point during a recent session, a speaker amplifier tripped a circuit breaker, the control room went down and everyone immediately thought they had lost the mix.

Upon re-booting, Duality went back to where they were and the mix continued without missing a beat. While operational reliability was a lifesaver, the integrated DAW control delivered a new level of functionality.

“In my former work life I was a software engineer and I am very comfortable with working in the box,” D1 explains. “With Duality, I now have an additional tool to control our Pro Tools system and it is nice to move some of that DAW functionality in front of me.”

“I think that SSL did a great job with Duality. The EQ’s are smoking, the dynamics are great and the meters, the routing and the split design are working super good for us. In short, Duality is awesome.”

Solid State Logic

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Posted by admin on 05/19 at 07:58 AM
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Hosa Technology Introduces Hosa Pro Interconnect Cables

The improved materials and high quality manufacturing helps deliver exemplary performance.

Hosa Technology has announced the introduction of the new Hosa Pro Interconnect Cables.

The combination of superior cable for enhanced signal transmission and audio quality, highly acclaimed REAN connectors by Neutrik AG, and world-class workmanship make the new Hosa Pro Interconnect Cables an exceptional choice for wiring one’s studio with professional quality cables at a midline price.

They are available in all pro audio terminations, including XLR, ¼ inch TRS (tip, ring, sleeve), 1/4 inch TS (tip, sleeve), and RCA.

While many other cables in their price range feature cost-cutting molded connectors, Hosa Pro Interconnect Cables feature REAN connectors by Neutrik AG, the leading supplier of professional entertainment connector systems.

All cable models utilize a zinc die-cast housing for rock-solid reliability, an attractive quadrangle design for ergonomic handling in tight jack spaces, chuck-type strain relief for maximum cable retention, and rubber boot kink protection for prolonged cable life.

Cable quality is crucial to signal transmission and sound clarity. In this regard, the new Hosa Pro Interconnect Cables raise the bar for products in their price range.

Hosa Pro Interconnect cables feature 24 AWG Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) conductors for enhanced signal clarity and a 90% OFC braided shield for effective EMI and RFI rejection.

The 1/4 inch TRS and TS cables employ nickel-plated contacts for efficient signal transfer and rugged durability while XLR and RCA cables incorporate silver-plated contacts for enhanced signal transfer.

Jonathan Pusey, Hosa Technology’s Director of Sales and Marketing, commented on the new Hosa Pro Interconnect Cables. “Hosa Pro Interconnect Cables are engineered to deliver years of rugged, dependable performance,” notes Pusey.

“By combining REAN connectors by Neutrik AG with world-class manufacturing techniques, these cables re-define performance and value—making them a terrific choice for the various connections that are typically made in today’s modern recording studios. I’m absolutely confident these cables will be very well received by all who audition them.”

The new Hosa Interconnect Cables are available in lengths from 1.5 ft to 100 ft. Prices range from $9.90 to $120.00 MSRP. To help ensure environmental friendliness, all cables have minimal, recyclable packaging to help ensure a greener planet.

Hosa Technology

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Posted by admin on 05/19 at 07:45 AM
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