Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Linear Acoustic To Showcase Redesigned AERO.air At BroadcastAsia2011
The new design sees a reduction in size along with an increase in features.
Linear Acoustic has announced they will showcase the new slimmer, lighter 2RU AERO.air — Transmission Audio/Loudness Manager — at BroadcastAsia2011.
“More features and less rack space were the primary goals for the new AERO.air,” said Tim Carroll, founder of Linear Acoustic.
“Essentially, it’s the same proven technology broadcasters and their viewers continue to rely on for loudness control and legal compliance — only now more efficient and cost-effective.”
The Linear Acoustic signature AERO.air continues to solve the newly regulated “commercial loudness problem” with added features in a smaller, lighter 2RU chassis.
Many optional upgrades on last year’s model are now standard features. HD/SD- SDI I/O allows for de-embedding and re-embedding up to 16 channels of audio plus SMPTE 2020 (VANC) metadata. UPMAX-II provides a more spacious and stable 5.1 upmix from a stereo source.
CrowdControl ensures dialogue is preserved even in rich stereo mixes. The new AERO.air retains all the features that have made it the proven choice for DTV audio transmission and loudness management.
Linear Acoustic Website
Solid State Logic AWS948 Console Selected By Basto For The Blue Room
The new console helps to fulfill the creative mission for the studio.
When composer/producer Jef Martens (aka Basto) went looking for the ultimate upgrade for The Blue Room, his private studio in Belgium, Solid State Logic’s AWS 948 was the console of choice.
For Martens, there was no other console in the world that combined AWS’ small form factor with superior sound, channel flexibility, DAW control integration and smart Total Recall system.
With Martens’ projects focusing on producing dance and pop tracks, the AWS 948 gives him improved stereo separation and depth for his mixes.
“The mission for The Blue Room was to create the perfect environment for realizing my musical ideas from start to finish,” says Martens.
“The AWS 948 helps me fulfill that goal by providing an advanced hybrid console that delivers great sound, functionality and excellent control for my Logic 9 system. It also lets me work more quickly without the technical limitations experienced with in the box recording and mixing.”
Basto is well known in the world of pop and dance as witness the success of his latest single, Gregory’s Theme, that became a favorite with top DJs Pete Tong and Tiësto, as well as attaining number one in the UK Upfront Dance Chart and placing in the Top 10 Sales and Airplay Chart in Belgium and The Netherlands.
The first productions using the SSL were a Basto remix of dance hit maker Moby’s upcoming single The Day and a remix for a new Kylie Minogue track. For these projects, the AWS 948 was able to provide better sound and functionality over the previous system.
“Mixing outside the box with the AWS has definitely improved the stereo separation, depth and clarity of my mixes, as this is still the weak point of DAW mixing,” states Martens.
“I own a well-known, transformer-based summing mixer, but in today’s bass-heavy dance and pop music, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a clear focused bottom end on those designs.
The SuperAnalogue sound of the SSL handles this very important frequency range superbly.”
The studio employs two SSL Alpha-Link units for exceptionally clean 48-channel A/D-D/A conversion hooked up to a MadiXtreme 128, and, according to Martens, the system works flawlessly at an unbeatable price point.
The facility also uses an XLogic X-Rack with 4000 series EQ and dynamics modules to add a bit of gritty flavor to snare, toms and other percussion, when needed.
“I like having 24-stereo or 48-mono channels at my disposal and, by integrating all my studio equipment into the console, I now have more creative choices at a faster pace, especially using the Total Recall system,” Martens explains.
“The EQs on the AWS are simply great. I find it much more intuitive to be able to grab and turn a knob over having to navigate a mouse to open a plug-in window or try to set a level.”
“Beyond delivering a great sound, the AWS 948’s power consumption is very low, making it an excellent green choice and the size is perfect for my control room.”
“For Jef Martens’ new facility, it was time for him to move into a real analogue console,” says Raf Lenssens of Joystick Audio, the SSL Benelux Distributor.
“He wanted to do complex mixes with the best possible sound and maximum flexibility in DAW control, so the SSL AWS 948 was the only choice.”
Solid State Logic’s
Renkus-Heinz The Choice Of Abundant Life Church
The CF-Series was an ideal choice for the church because the design can be added to quickly if they end up moving to a larger facility.
When Abundant Life Church closed its doors in 2010, falling victim to the economy, a steep mortgage, and rising operating costs, it felt like the end of a beautiful dream for this close-knit congregation. Rather than fall by the wayside, the members immediately rallied together and set about finding a way to continue worshiping together.
After some diligent searching, the fellowship decided that instead of building or purchasing a new property, they would rent space from nearby Sally Jones Elementary and pick up where they had left off; thus Real Life Church was born.
Audio quality is key to Real Life’s contemporary services, with charismatic pastors and a five piece band flanked by backup singers. The church retained Sach AV of Florida, who recommended a system based on Renkus-Heinz’s CF-Series modular point source line array.
“The room is quite long, so we needed something that had punch, but was portable enough to move in and out easily,” explains Dale Zink, Project Manager for Sach AV. “The Renkus-Heinz system accomplishes that with ease. It’s really smooth, even when the band goes well above 105 db. It’s just lively and creates a great atmosphere.”
Flexibility was also a concern, as the church’s rapidly growing congregation may eventually outgrow the 585 seat capacity of the room. Anchoring the system are left and right arrays of two CF101-LA cabinets each. Low end is capably handled by two CF15S subwoofers.
“The beauty of this design is that it can be added to quickly if they do end up moving to a larger facility,” adds Zink. With a largely volunteer staff, simplicity is also critical. “The way it’s set up right now, everything is color-coded, so even their less technical personnel can set the entire thing up in 45 minutes or less.”
Thus far, reviews are nothing but positive from the entire Real Life staff. “The first week they used the system, I got a voice mail from Dennis Peck, the sound engineer, and he just said ‘Wow’ several times at first,” relates Zink. “With a lot of systems, pushing the system too hard just makes things sound harsh.”
“With higher SPL, it just stays nice and level with a smooth high end. It just does its job and sounds nice, smooth, and clean.”
As Real Life expands and puts more money back into the system, Zink vows he’ll be expanding the audio system with more Renkus-Heinz gear. “They’re definitely sold on the sound and clarity of the CF-series, which is what we expected when we first designed it for them.”
Monday, May 23, 2011
Stewart Audio Announces The New CVA100-2 CobraNet Enabled Amplifier
The highly-efficient constant voltage design is ideal for networked audio applications.
Stewart Audio has announced the availability of the CVA100-2 CobraNet enabled power amplifier.
A new addition to the company’s line of versatile power amplifiers, the CVA100-2 is a 200W 70V, 2-channel constant voltage amplifier with 100W per channel that fits conveniently into a half-rack form factor, making it a terrific choice for installed sound applications where space is at a premium.
As Stewart Audio’s first amplifier to feature a factory-installed CobraNet option, this versatile amplifier makes an exceptional choice for use in a variety of networked audio applications in addition to courtrooms, retail environments, restaurants / bars, educational / training facilities, sound masking, and paging and notification systems.
CobraNet is a networked-audio protocol developed to transmit uncompressed audio and control data over a standard network.
The CVA100-2 utilizes CobraNet via an optional factory installed daughter card. With this option installed, the CVA100-2 can act as an endpoint to any new or existing CobraNet system.
This capability enables the CVA100-2 to be placed anywhere sound is required and receive up to two channels of audio through its network interface.
With the CobraNet option, the CVA100-2 is the ideal power amp choice for those large projects where CAT-5 Ethernet cable is deployed in lieu of conventional audio lines.
The new CVA100-2 incorporates Stewart Audio’s proprietary Signal Sense Power Technology (SSPT) that ensures the amplifier is only powered when there is a signal present—thus saving energy and extending product life.
Equally notable, this exceptionally well-designed, robust amplifier is ENERGY STAR compliant.
Rounding out the CVA100-2’s rich feature set, this amplifier provides a selectable high pass filter plus remote volume control and muting, with optional control via RS232 or Infrared.
In addition to the RJ45 Ethernet connector (if installed), the amplifier’s rear panel provides provides LEDs for visual confirmation of Power, Clipping, Signal Present, and active, as well as provisions for defining the 65 / 150 Hz High Pass filter #1 and #2 settings.
Euroblock connectors (3.5 mm) are provided for access of control and muting as well as input and speaker connections. The unit’s front panel also provides the LED’s plus Power/ active.
“The CVA100-2 is another example of the compact and high value amplifier solutions at which Stewart Audio (another founding member of NAVA) excels,” said Mike Sims, Director of Sales and Marketing at Attero Tech.
“With the availability of a CobraNet-enabled version of the CVA100-2, installers of smaller venue systems can offer their clients all the benefits of networked amplification at affordable prices. All NAVA member companies believe that smaller AV systems can and should be able to use networked AV products that are optimized for their requirements.”
“Stewart Audio’s new CVA100-2 is a full-featured power amp that is ideal for a multitude of sound reinforcement applications,” commented Brian McCormick, Chief Marketing Officer for Stewart Audio.
“With the available CobraNet option, the amplifier can integrate into new or existing networked audio environments in addition to conventional 70V distributed applications.”
“Further, our Signal Sense Power Technology makes this model extremely efficient and its compact, half-rack form factor and a weight of less than four pounds make the CVA100-2 well suited to a multitude of installed sound projects. I’m confident designers, integrators, and installers alike will find it a compelling choice.”
The Stewart Audio CVA100-2 power amplifier carries an MSRP of $765 for the standard model and $1165 for the CobraNet-enabled version. Both models are available now.
Avlex Introduces MIPRO ACT-3 Series Diversity Wireless Microphone Systems
The ACT-3 is full of great features, which provides versatile performance for today’s RF-rich environments.
Avlex Corporation has announced the introduction of the MIPRO ACT-3 Series Diversity Wireless Microphone Systems.
Consisting of the MIPRO ACT-311 single channel, ACT-311T dual channel, ACT-312 dual channel, and ACT-312T quad channel UHF Diversity receivers, MIPRO’s new ACT-3 Series Diversity Wireless Microphone Systems feature stellar sound quality and the rich feature set MIPRO is well-known for.
These systems are the ideal choice for use in live performance, churches, theater, presentations, and countless additional applications where bandwidth is restricted.
Housed in either half or 1U rack mountable configurations, the MIPRO ACT-311, ACT-311T, ACT-312, and ACT-312T receivers incorporate Diversity technology with a range of UHF 620~934 MHz for optimum reception. Each receiver offers 961 selectable frequencies and 8 preset compatible channels per band.
As is the case with all of MIPRO’s ACT Series wireless systems, the company’s highly acclaimed AutoScan and Automatic Channel Targeting (ACT) channel setup technologies are present to make operation quick and effortless.
The comprehensive feature set of the MIPRO ACT-3 Series receivers include PLL (Phase-locked loop) synthesized RF technology with low spurious emissions and increased RF stability, third generation RF circuitry featuring improved anti-interference characteristics and increased interference-free channel operation, and enhanced RF saturated dynamic range that decreases interference and THD (total harmonic distortion).
Additionally, the ACT-3 Diversity receivers incorporate MIPRO’s PiloTone and NoiseLock circuitry to improve reception with less interference and include the industry’s only RF interference warning indicator and control for system management.
Further, each receiver’s backlit LCD screen displays Group, Channel, Frequency, transmitter battery level, RF, Audio, SQ level meters, diversity operation, and an RF interference warning indicator for easy control and monitoring and includes automatic dim (stand-by) and lit (performance) display modes.
Optimized for use with the new ACT-3 Series receivers, MIPRO’s ACT-30H handheld and ACT-30T beltpack transmitters offer a wealth of functionality. Featuring a 20+ hour battery life, thoughtful ergonomics and rugged design, these transmitters feature improved RF circuitry with expanded 24 MHz bandwidth. MIPRO’s ACT technology syncs the transmitter and receiver frequency automatically.
Delivering the performance and intuitive operation today’s audio professional expects, the ACT-30H handheld transmitter incorporates PiloTone squelch technology for interference-free operation, a lockable, silent on/off switch, a 4-segment battery status meter, and its LCD displays group, channel, and error message codes.
The ACT-30H is a top performer with its standard MU79b cardioid condenser capsule. For even greater performance, the MU89b super-cardioid true condenser or MU39b super-cardioid dynamic capsules are optionally available.
The ACT-30T miniature beltpack transmitter offers a comprehensive feature set that includes high SPL input with MIPRO’s proprietary “Photo-cell Coupling” high dynamic range modulation circuitry to increase system performance.
With a selectable impedance switch for mic, guitar, or line inputs, mute button and optional remote mute switch, bright backlit display, programmable RF power and audio gain levels, a silent on/off switch, a 6-segment battery status meter, ACT circuitry for easy frequency setup, mini-XLR connectivity with a threaded bayonet attachment, and durable lightweight polymer construction, it’s ready for the rigors of everyday use.
Fred Canning, national sales manager for Avlex Corporation, commented on the new MIPRO ACT-3 Series UHF Diversity Wireless Microphone Systems.
“The ACT-3 Diversity Wireless Microphone Systems represent an exceptional and highly cost-effective wireless solution,” notes Canning. “With their ability to provide 961 selectable frequencies and 8 preset compatible channels per band, the ACT-3 receivers offer the flexibility today’s audio professional demands at a cost that is highly competitive without compromising the innovative features, superior sound quality, and reliable RF performance that MIPRO is known for.”
MIPRO’s ACT-3 Series Wideband Wireless Microphone Systems are expected to be in stock Q3, 2011 and is expected to have the following MSRP pricing:
ACT-312/2 3H: $760.00
ACT-312/2 30T/2 MU53: $760.00
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.
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.
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.”
Middle Atlantic Products
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
By Bob Katz
The Inventor of Stereo
By Robert Charles Alexander
Package 2: Live Sound & Recording Production
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.