Thursday, May 12, 2011
Cadac Announces The DM1600 Modular Console & Personnel Appointments At Prolight+Sound
At the show, Cadac appointed Vincenzo Borrelli as Sales Development Manager
Cadac announced a number of strategic initiatives at Prolight+Sound 2011, with major significance for its on-going business development.
The company announced the appointment of Vincenzo Borrelli to the newly created position of Sales Development Manager.
Borrelli has previously worked for companies as diverse as Harman, Mackie, Sound Technology and, most recently Stage Electrics, and brings a wealth of experience in the most competitive areas of the pro-audio sector to the new position.
Commenting on the appointment, Cadac Director of Sales Bob Thomas stated, “Cadac is actively developing a retail focussed distribution network as a major element in its future growth strategy, in support of its new compact analogue and digital product lines.
Vince brings invaluable experience and knowledge of that market to the new role, and it’s my pleasure to welcome him to the Cadac team.”
On the product development front, Prolight+Sound saw the unveiling of the Cadac DM1600.
The all-new proprietary DSP mix platform is a powerful, cost competitive modular design that addresses both traditional Cadac sound installation applications and potential new markets where compact high quality audio reproduction, control and processing are required at an affordable price point.
Optional Firewire and MADI interfaces combine with a 32 in / 12 out stage box to enable system expansion, up to 48 mic channels.
Operational features include 16 motorized faders and scene recall of all functions. A total of four 4th generation 32/40-bit floating-point SHARC processors provide a massive reserve of processing power and quality headroom, while I/Os feature 24-bit / 96kHz Delta-Sigma AD/DA converters.
Specially developed ultra-low distortion EQ filters and analogue sounding compressors.
The DM1600 has a wide dynamic range, low noise mic pre-amps featuring premium input ICs with outstanding CMRR, and advanced EQ algorithms, employing proportional-Q techniques.
Commenting at Prolight+Sound, Thomas said, “The DM1600 is a unique premium offering at its price point; nothing currently available offers the expandability, or this level of quality and control.”
“Furthermore, the control surface and user interface are designed to ensure the mixer is as easy and as fast to operate as a compact analogue device. Each function has a discrete control with no doubling up or menu scrolling, and the stereo output section has fully dedicated EQ and dynamics controls.
“It’s hard to overstate the significance of the launch of the DM1600 for the Cadac product range. In one move it takes us into so many different new market applications and offers an unrivaled compact digital offering across our traditional customer sectors.”
“This was reflected in the number and unprecedented range of potential new distributors who we met with at the exhibition.
“The market should be aware that the DM1600 is a first; we will be showcasing further digital console developments at PLASA.“
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Current Jamiroquai Tour Features Midas XL8 Systems Supplied By Britannia Row
European tour started in March and continues throughout the summer with the addition of a second XL8 on monitors
Front of house engineer Rick Pope is out on the Jamiroquai tour with a Midas XL8 live performance system, supplied by Britannia Row and babysat by Britannia Row’s Warren Grimsley, who is out for the first time with the system.
Originally on the tour as PA tech, Grimsley was promoted to his position with little training on the XL8, but picked it up in no time.
“I had the luxury of playing with one a few times in lunch breaks at the warehouse before the tour,” he says. “I’ve found that the console is easy to get around, especially when using the POP(ulation) groups. Especially useful is a function which allows you to see any audio in the patch bay when you scroll over the I/O in question; very handy for troubleshooting.”
Pope, working with an input count of 60 with a further 22 for FX returns, says, “Out of all the digital boards that I’ve used in the live environment, the XL8 is sonically by far the best. The definition in one’s mix can only described as 3D; I have not heard separation like this before. The board is also very intuItive and once you have coloured-coded your VCA groups it is quick and easy to navigate to selected channels at the touch of a button. I use the automation between scenes for all of my keyboard rides, and I basically run the rest of it as an analogue board.
“I’m now looking forward to using the desk on our summer festival run, where I expect to be even more impressed with the sound as there won’t be the reflections that you get in some of the arenas that we have to deal with on the touring circuit.”
Jamiroquai’s European tour started in March and continues throughout the summer with the addition of a second XL8 on monitors, manned by Midas digital aficionado Tristran Farrow.
Kramer Electronics Introduces New Model 910 Digital Audio Preamplifier & Mixer
Can be controlled using the front panel buttons as well as remotely by RS-232 serial commands (with the included Windows-based control software), Ethernet, or IR with the included RC-IR2 remote control transmitter
Kramer Electronics has announced the introduction of the 910 digital audio preamplifier and mixer that accepts balanced and unbalanced stereo audio, S/PDIF digital audio, and a microphone input. It then processes the signals and outputs them to balanced, unbalanced and S/PDIF outputs.
The 910 is intended for professional audio applications, sound studios, boardrooms, classrooms, and training rooms.
The 910 has 4 inputs; 1 unbalanced stereo audio input and 1 S/PDIF input on RCA connectors, 1 balanced stereo audio input on a 5-pin terminal block, and 1 mono balanced microphone input on an XLR (F) connector.
The microphone input has a switch to choose between a condenser or dynamic mic input (it provides 15V phantom power when the MIC switch is set for a condenser microphone). These inputs can be selected individually or at the same time when using the talk over, mix, or override modes.
The 910 has 1 unbalanced stereo audio output and 1 S/PDIF output on RCA connectors, and 1 balanced stereo audio output on a 5-pin terminal block. All outputs are live at the same time.
The 910 features various audio controls, including volume, balance, bass, mid, treble, loudness, 7-band equalizer, delay, mute, expand and compress.
The 910 is outfitted with a 24-character by 2-line LCD display, and can be controlled using the front panel buttons as well as remotely by RS-232 serial commands (with the included Windows-based control software), Ethernet, or IR with the included RC-IR2 remote control transmitter.
It also includes memory locations that store up to four presets to be recalled and executed as needed, and also features a USB port for convenient firmware upgrades.
The 910 is powered by a standard worldwide power supply and is housed in a standard 19” rack mount size with rack mount “ears” included. It sells in the United States at a list price of $1495 per unit.
Kramer Electronics Website
d&b Audiotechnik Loudspeakers Chosen For The Salle Albert Rousseau Theatre
The theatre is pleased with the new d&b system which visually suits the space, unlike the old system which was very large, black and visually intrusive.
As eighties theatre venues go, Salle Albert Rousseau has weathered the ravages of time better than most.
It has been well cared for by the citizens of Quebec city, Quebec, Canada and despite self-imposed changes from being principally a classical music venue to the more contemporary multi-purpose centre, it has lost none of its charm or character.
Recent revamps have seen the house sound system totally replaced and the stage entirely remodeled to accommodate current trends. Steering that remodeling was the audio consultant Alexandre Forgues of 20k inc., a man who more than most, had reason to inject some sentimentality into the project.
“I started my career as a system engineer and had visited the theatre many times; I know it well and have a great fondness for the room. On several occasions I had taken in a d&b audiotechnik system from Axion (now part of Solotech), a rental company that used to be based in Quebec.”
“The house had always liked the sound of d&b equipment so when I established my consulting company 20k some years later and was asked to design a system installation it was natural that I would look at the d&b range to replace their old PA.”
Forgues was fortunate in being familiar with the venue as the acoustics present some problems, “Having been originally designed for classical concerts the room has many issues for sound reinforcement with much reflection and bounce.”
“The new system has been in since last September and we will be implementing in May 2011 the acoustic modifications I have recommended. The balcony lips will have absorbent acoustic panels added, and we will re-position the acoustic reflectors across the top of the stage.”
“Removing these traditional orchestral reflectors would have been too expensive as aesthetically they conceal the ceiling void, but a change in angle makes all the difference to the listening environment.”
The system 20k has designed consists of Qi-Series loudspeakers; Qi10, Qi1 and Q subwoofers flown left right, with E6 loudspeakers mounted to the proscenium walls as fills to the boxes at the sides, and again as front fills to the stalls.
“Unlike the old system which was very large, black and visually intrusive, we have had d&b color match the fills to the walls, and further work has now been completed to the stage lip so the front fills are built in. The main left right system is tiny compared to what was there before.” And how does the system sound?
“Since the theatre re-opened visiting engineers have been really happy. We asked if there was any tuning to the system EQ they would like modified and in eight months the only request has been to ‘leave it exactly as it is’.”
The Pixies sound engineer, Ray Furze, was a typical example, “We played there only last night and when I saw the Q system in there I decided immediately that we could leave our rented d&b J-Series on the truck.”
“I have a lot of experience with d&b and other makes and found this installation to be well chosen, properly implemented, and tuned just how I like it.”
“The horizontal array of B2-SUBs is especially nice, in conjunction with the flown Q-SUBs the two elements are set to negate any low end hotspots in the room, something I really appreciate with a high energy band like the Pixies.”
In the end 20k provided a complete system re-vamp to the theatre, as well as the new PA they also specified a Yamaha M7CL desk, “a simple standard for many users,” and d&b M4 wedges with a mobile rack of D12 amplifiers, “an incredible wedge for its size and such a sweet sound, vocal clarity has to be heard to be believed,” said Forgues.
“And above it all we have implemented a Crestron control system that as well as controlling the house and stage lights, also has presets for controlling sound when the venue is used for such things as comedy nights, and similar simple cabaret style presentations.”
“The PA system is so predictable you could almost leave it unattended for such an entertainment.”
Symetrix Jupiter DSP Utilized In Numerous Ontario Audio Upgrades By The Weinstein Group
Jupiter allowed Weinstein to “finger-proof” several of his A/V designs in upscale establishments.
The Weinstein Group is an A/V installation and event production company located in Fergus, Ontario, and is owned by Michael Weinstein.
Over the decades that he has been building, tuning, and fixing A/V systems, Weinstein has observed that most systems go awry not through any fault of their own.
Rather, it is the busy fingers of employees with just a little bit of A/V knowledge (a dangerous thing, you may recall) attempting to make “improvements” that are anything but.
Recently, Weinstein has had great success “finger-proofing” his A/V designs at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa in Cambridge, the University of Guelph’s University Club, and the city’s Victoria Road Recreation Center using Symetrix’ new Jupiter-series of “zero learning curve” DSPs.
Unfortunately, Langdon Hall had wrestled with a dirty little secret for years before Weinstein came through with a solution.
“Because the music they played in the restaurant and throughout the common areas of the hotel varied so much in its perceived loudness, the staff was forever turning it up or down too much,” said Weinstein.
The advent of the ubiquitous “normalize” function on mp3 devices and software did little to help Langdon Hall’s troubles.
“No, the true fix came with the Symetrix Jupiter, which allowed me to very intuitively and very powerfully adjust the automatic gain control to work with the hotel’s program material. An additional – and critical – component of the solution is that none of the staff can make any adjustments. That’s a feature that I promote very heavily to managers.”
In addition to the new Jupiter 8 (which provides eight inputs and eight outputs), Weinstein added two new mp3 players, a new mic input, and a new auxiliary line-level input. To transform the Jupiter hardware into the perfect software for Langdon Hall, Weinstein downloaded the “Sound Reinforcement #9” app from the Symetrix website.
The University Club at the University of Guelph is a private dining facility for faculty members, and it had a related problem. To begin with, its audio system was horribly outdated and suffering from coverage issues.
“The old system was centered on a combination mixer-amp that was driving an insufficient number of general-contractor-grade tin speakers that could have been at least thirty years old,” said Weinstein. “But age was only part of the problem. It was also a finger issue.
The mixer-amp presented ten knobs of various functions to would-be improvers in a dark cabinet behind the bar. No one knew how to use it, and worse, no one could appreciate the fact that no amount of knob twiddling was going to fix the coverage issue.” In a well-intentioned, but utterly misguided effort to improve the situation, the staff invariably made it worse.
Weinstein gutted the old system and replaced it entirely with an appropriate number of high-fidelity EAW CIS80 and SMS-1990 ceiling speakers powered by new QSC amplifiers. In place of the old (and tempting) mixer, he installed a Symetrix Jupiter 4 (which provides four inputs, four outputs, and zero temptations) running the “Sound Reinforcement #4” app.
With the Jupiter processor and a Symetrix ARC-2i wall-panel remote, Weinstein was also able to deliver much more sophisticated (yet simple) zone and volume control to the actual users of the system.
The most popular draw at the City of Guelph’s Victoria Road Recreation Center is its well-used indoor dual pool facility, which is available for recreational swimming and a range of aqua-fitness classes. The high-ceiling room houses a loudspeaker centered for each pool for background music or fitness leader instructions.
An old mixer, wasted from the humidity and chlorinated air, served the decades-old system with increasing unreliability. “They called me in fairly regularly,” recalled Weinstein. “But despite the age of the system and the challenging environment, most of the time it was human error. For example, I’d get called in because the system had become ‘super boomy,’ only to find that someone had cranked the gain to +10dB on the low-end parametric EQ.”
Weinstein brought the system into the 21st Century with an all-new iPod docking station, a wireless headset, and a wireless handheld mic. He even updated their CD player and, yes, cassette tape player.
A Symetrix Jupiter 4 combined with a Symetrix ARC-2i wall-panel remote provides all of the necessary control options…and nothing more!
Outlook: Everything Changes…Or Does It?
Balancing modern demands and the essentials.
Technology in professional audio (and technology in general) has changed so much and so quickly that it’s become difficult to get up to speed and stay up to date.
The learning curve for some aspects of what we do is quite steep and appears to be accelerating.
Analog consoles are challenging enough, but the number-crunching digital beasts are even more complex. We hardly used wireless 20 years ago, now it’s everywhere.
Outboard effects have become plug-ins, and what were once knobs and buttons have become virtual knobs and buttons on tablet computers. And so on.
Yet other things haven’t changed. The laws of physics, for example (and despite the advertising claims of many), remain a constant, as do many of the truly fundamental concepts and skills.
Let’s add some context by focusing on specific aspects and situations.
Power & Grounding
“No power, no anything. That’s not exactly how my electronics teacher put it, but you get the idea.”
“Expertise in electrical power is important, but when I started touring, I had very little knowledge about it.”
Fortunately, some veterans above me made it my business to learn, in particular Joe Dougherty, who had experience with these things from a very practical background of “doing it.” ( Joe has gone on to work with Clair Brothers the past 15 years or so.)
One thing that I did bring to the table, even then, was an understanding of power supplies and how they work.
The combination of this “book” knowledge, combined with OJT (on the job training) and people willing to teach resulted in my having just enough knowledge about power systems to know to get experts involved with anything critical.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an analog, digital, or quantum sound system—power matters, and clean power is really important for good sound.
Grounding is related to power, but is another specialization, really. You can be doing everything right in supplying adequate, clean power to a system, but if the grounding’s not right, audio quality is in peril (usually from hum and buzz).
The transition from wedges to “ears” has been a major shift in the way we do sound. IEM has radically improved things on stage, from less cable to lower stage volume.
At the same time, it’s introduced new challenges. Monitor engineers and techs must have solid knowledge of wireless and everything that goes with it. They also need to be able to satisfy artists who can’t hear the audience or other musicians clearly.
Regardless, though, monitor engineers still have to have the right personality and temperament to deal with what can be such a high-pressure situation.
Basically, if the artist isn’t happy, the engineer isn’t doing the job well enough, but if the artist doesn’t say anything, then the engineer is probably doing quite well, thank you.
Many monitor mixers end up doing front of house once the artist realizes that “this person gets it.” So get your head around wireless systems and high-end earbuds, but don’t forget who the boss is and where your paycheck comes from.
With digital consoles, we finally have perfect sound forever! Right.
There are still many who prefer analog desks. The reasons don’t really matter - only that there are good sounding desks and those that aren’t.
Nevertheless, the way we interact with consoles has changed quite a bit. No longer is there a knob for every function.
Menus, layers , presets and so on have to be understood. Digital technology gives us incredible flexibility and in many cases, greater speed.
The downside, to me, is that no longer can you figure out a new console just because it is 92.6 percent the same as the last one you were using. (That’s just a rough estimate.)
Yamaha, DiGiCo, Midas, Avid, et al, use different labels, different menu structures, etc.
So the learning curve for each is fairly steep, and in many cases, requires specific training to be proficient. That said, what consoles ultimately do is still exactly the same as before!
Signals come in, signals get processed, signals get mixed, signals go out. In other words, understanding signal routing in general still allows you to know the basics of using anything from a 12-channel analog board all the way up to the latest digital space shuttle console.
In my humble opinion, it’s far better to learn on an analog console (or two), and then begin to get an understanding of what a digital desk can do.
Further, it’s a good career move to move on to learning how each of the major digital consoles is different.
This way, when the next big product comes along, you’ll be at least 78 percent there (another rough estimate), and that’s a lot in today’s world.
One thing that has absolutely not changed is “how things are done” on the road and at the gig.
Despite the increased technical comprehension required of us, overall aspects such as solid, fundamental knowledge of craft, competence, attitude, respect, and teamwork remain exactly the same.
These are things I’ve covered several times in past articles, and for good reason. Most employers in our field would much rather hire and work with people that have initiative, a good attitude, are conscientious, and just flat-out “get ‘er done.” What is not appreciated are divas, know-it-alls, and those lacking discipline.
As professionals, it’s our responsibility to at least keep up with current technology to the point where we can discuss things and make decisions from an informed point of view.
Technology will clearly continue to change at an ever-faster rate.
But the bottom line is that good, basic skills still matter, and the laws of physics haven’t changed at all. That is, until April 1 of next year.
Karl Winkler is director of business development at Lectrosonics and has worked in professional audio for more than 15 years.
Sennheiser Names Peter Claussen As President Of Installed Sound Business Division
Claussen will lead the young division which was only recently introduced into Sennheiser's new corporate structure.
Sennheiser has announced that effective August 1st, 2011, Peter Claussen will take over responsibility of the Installed Sound Business Division.
The 47-year-old expert of marketing and sales joins Sennheiser from the IT company Höft & Wessel AG.
His last post at the company was as Deputy Chairman of the Management Board. With the Installed Sound Business Division, Claussen is taking over a young division that Sennheiser has only recently introduced as part of its new corporate structure and which has until now been provisionally led by Dr. Heinrich Esser.
As divisional President, Claussen will become a member of Sennheiser’s Executive Management Board.
In his future post, Peter Claussen will be responsible for Installed Sound technology. His core responsibilities will include the operative business and the strategic development of the Installed Sound division, with the task of ensuring that Sennheiser addresses the many and various customer demands even more successfully in this product area.
His commitment forms the basis for even more efficient and long-term market activity. “I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, as the Installed Sound area is increasingly becoming a systems business.”
“I can therefore apply my extensive experience from the IT sector to firmly establish Sennheiser’s position in meeting the market requirements in the long term,” explained Peter Claussen.
Before joining Sennheiser and before his time at Höft & Wessel AG, Peter Claussen worked for seven years in various posts at Hewlett-Packard in Germany and the USA.
The Foundation Of The Perfect Worship Mix
The instruments you select as the foundation of your mix can make all the difference.
Guest Post from Derek Sexsmith
The title on this post is a little misleading, as the “perfect mix” could mean different things to different people.
But, I think most would agree the foundation for the perfect mix, when mixing a typical “rock” band (drums, bass, guitars, keys, vocals) would be the kick drum and the bass guitar.
Robert Scovill, a very experienced and very talented engineer said, at the Gurus of Tech conference in Chicago in February, that “no one goes home humming the kick drum.”
Very true. But, that kick drum, mixed properly with the bass guitar, is what gets people into the music.
Next time you’re doing sound, try turning down the bass guitar for a chorus in a driving song, then bring it up for the next chorus and I would bet there is a noticeable change in the way the audience/congregation reacts.
When I mix the kick and the bass together there are a few important things to note.
First, is having a competent drummer and bass player. They need to work together and the bass player needs to follow the kick drum.
Secondly, EQ. I’ve seen a lot of sound people just take the kick drum and the bass and turn up the low EQ knob.
Some more experienced ones will turn up the high EQ knob to get some clarity. I find just doing that ends up making them sound muddy because you are now boosting them in the same frequency range and you get no definition of which one is which.
When I am EQing them, if on a digital board with sweepable EQ’s, it’s real simple, I boost the Kick at about 50Hz with a fairly slim curve so that I can then cut that EQ by somewhere around 80 or 100Hz.
Cutting that Kick drum in the 80-100 range allows us to then boost the Bass guitar in that range, and then you don’t get them overlapping each other in the low range.
I also add a Hi Pass Filter to the bass to cut anything below about 60Hz, so I don’t get any unwanted overlap there.
I will also boost the bass guitar around the 1-1.5kHz range which helps add clarity to it, while boosting the Kick drum around 2-3kHz helps add a good slap to it.
Those really depend on the exact sound you want from those instruments as to where and how much you boost. A good boost in the mid-hi or high frequency range really adds some clarity, making the kick and bass not just sound like a thud coming out of the subs.
One comment on the EQ. I am currently using an analog board, an Allen and Heath ML3000. I don’t have the ability to change the bandwidth or “Q” on the curve. I also have fewer options for which specific frequency I am boosting.
What I tend to do is on the kick drum, I actually turn the low EQ knob down, to cut that frequency. It is commonly anywhere from 60-100Hz on an analog board. Then I boost the mid-low at 50Hz. So I am still boosting at 50, I’m just using the mid-low sweepable mids to do it.
Then I boost the bass guitar with the low EQ knob. From there I can use the Mid-Hi sweepable EQ to boost the highs.
I just wanted to point this part out for sure though, so that people know that just because it’s the bass guitar or the kick drum doesn’t mean you have to boost the low EQ, you can still find those low frequencies and dial it in more precisely using the Mid-Low sweepable EQ.
Gating and Compression
On the kick drum I will also add a gate as well; this again depends on the sound you want on the kick.
For real punchy sounding upbeat songs, a fast attack with a 3-4:1 ratio and a slower release time. The more dynamic the sound, the slower you will want that attack.
A compressor setting with a ratio again around 3-4:1 sometimes even more, with again a fast attack time and a slow release time will just add to that punchy sound on the kick.
Be sure not to “over” compress it though, we don’t want to lose all the dynamic of the kick drum.
Bass players tend to hate hearing that you’ve compressed them at all, and it isn’t always necessary.
If they’ve got their own compressor with a foot pedal, or they are just very controlled then you can get away without one, but I generally have one either way, I just may be very generous with it.
I won’t say any settings on here for a bass compression because that all depends on the bass player and how they play. You have to listen and see if you need them to be compressed.
Driving the Music
Once you get a good EQ and comp/gate setting on the bass and kick drum, listen to them during one of the more upbeat songs and the two instruments should be able to drive the song.
Notice the difference when you lower those two channels, and as I said before, I am certain that you will see a noticeable change in the audience/congregation’s response to the music.
Don’t be afraid of the low end. I was afraid of it when I first started, but if it’s EQ’d and compressed right, people will feel it and it’s often what captures them into a song.
I don’t mean to lessen the effect of a great vocalist or a well tuned guitar with a great amp tone…or even just some great lyrics.
All these things have the potential to be the driving force of a song, but I will say that the kick/bass combination will often be the foundation on which the best mixes are built.
How do you typically build your mix? On what instrument do you build it? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!
Derek Sexsmith is the Director of Technical Services at Heritage Park Alliance Church in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Check out his blog which chronicles his experience working on the technical aspects of a Church at dereksoundguy.com or follow him on twitter @dereksoundguy.
Ready to learn and laugh? Chris Huff writes about the world of church audio at Behind The Mixer. He covers everything from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians. He can even tell you the signs the sound guy is having a mental breakdown.
Midas Pro3 The Choice In Recent Eiffel Tower Presentation Space Audio Upgrade
The cramped control room was an ideal candidate for the Pro3, hosting countless events that require quality sound.
A Midas PRO3 live audio system, supplied by French distributor EVI Audio, was recently installed in one of the most sought-after presentation spaces in Paris, the Gustave Eiffel room, on the first floor the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
The 300-capacity venue commands 360 degree panoramic views of the city and hosts a wide variety of events from show cases to seminars and product presentations to business conferences.
“For a venue this unique, we have to have the best,” says Alain Phillipon, the Eiffel Tower’s resident sound engineer for the past eight years, who previously worked on a Midas Heritage 1000.
“I wanted the versatility of digital as we host so many different kinds of events here that we need maximum flexibility. But I also wanted to keep the warmth of the Midas sound. The PRO3 offered the perfect solution.”
Once the PRO3 was installed, the sound team at the Eiffel Tower underwent initial training to put the new system through its paces in various situations, including a live concert and a recording session.
“The team handled the console easily,” says Phillipon. “The system architecture is clearly laid out, making FOH mixing easy to handle. The sound is really clear and warm. We are now ready to challenge it!”
Phillipon particularly appreciates the user-friendly, ergonomic design of the PRO3 which has ensured a smooth transition from analogue to digital.
Another big advantage he cites is the comprehensive package of effects, EQ and dynamics available on a digital console which is compact and mobile to maximize the variety of layouts and set-ups required by clients. The system’s flexibility is further enhanced by the two DL451 modular I/O units purchased with the system, allowing connections in remote rooms.
“Next year we are looking to completely refurbish the space, and I know that the Midas PRO3 will see us into the future,” Phillipon concludes.
Kurzweil Announces Free PC3K Sound Download Library
Many more samples and program collections will be provided in the near future further, adding value to owners of PC3K keyboards.
Kurzweil has announced the release of the new Sound Download Library exclusively for the PC3K line of Synthesizer Workstations.
Now available for free download on Kurzweil’s web site, the first two collections of samples and programs available in the library are from Kurzweil’s acclaimed Synthscapes and Take 6 Vocals.
Originally developed for the legendary K Series keyboards, these incredible sound collections have been brought forward to the PC3K series continuing Kurzweil’s commitment to non-obsolescence by design.
Many more samples and program collections will be provided in the near future further adding value to owners of PC3K keyboards.
These extensive sound collections were developed with painstaking attention to detail and recorded in some of the world’s best studios. They helped to build the legacy of the famous K Series keyboards and now they’re available to enhance the latest generation of Kurzweil instruments.
Synthscapes provides a palette of rich, complex digital waveforms, many of which are layered together and combined with analog filters. Bearing the name of the acclaimed vocal group, the Take 6 library features numerous vocal articulations, with a variety of single and ensemble voices.
The samples and keymaps used in both collections complement the PC3K’s existing sound ROM; they can be used on their own or they can serve as starting points for completely new sonic creations.
“These sound collections helped make the K Series the industry standard and now we’re passing that value along to another generation of Kurzweil customers”, says Mike Papa, National Sales Manager for Kurzweil USA.
“Bringing these past successes forward to the present is what non-obsolescence by design is all about!”
In the upcoming months, Kurzweil be releasing additional sample collections to the Sound Download Library online, including the Bass Gallery, Classic Analog Synths and Up From the Curb (percussion loops featuring Bashiri Johnson).
The sounds are available from the Kurzweil Website.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Stewart Audio Announces New Web Portal And Webinar Series
The new website is a great resource of information for installed sound professionals.
Stewart Audio has announced a new web portal and the first in a series of webinars specifically designed for installed sound professionals.
The new web portal can be accessed here.
The inaugural webinar dates are Friday, May 20, 2011 at 10:30 AM PST and Friday June 10th at 10:30 AM PST. A link to register for the webinars can be accessed in the web portal.
One of the most notable aspects of registering with the Stewart Audio web portal is the fact that users will have access to detailed drawings of products and single line drawings of applications showing how to use the products.
All drawings are in ACAD and VISIO formats. Further, the drawings will be available as TIFF files to be inserted into documents, which consultants and designers present to clients, and PDF format for quick printing and presentation.
Stewart Audio has also compiled libraries of Visio and ACAD stencils which can be downloaded from the portal and used by consultants and designers to create their own drawings quickly.
Another tool that can be downloaded in Word format from the portal are Master Format 04 construction specifications. The construction specification is not like other manufacturer construction specifications.
This construction specification covers everything in an AV system – faceplates, cables, amplifier, display (monitor or projector and screen), speakers—even cables for connecting devices to the faceplates. The consultant is provided instructions in the margins for where to place specific part numbers or make required choices.
Once completed, the consultant and designer will have a complete system specification for most typical small to mid size AV systems such as classrooms, conference rooms, board rooms, and restaurants/bars.
Other resources on the portal include pricing information posted on product pages, calculators and spreadsheets used for designing AV systems, articles and archives of the webinars, and other resources that will help to further their education and make designing simpler.
Stewart Audio’s first webinar will be entitled How do I use this Box? Participants will learn how amplifiers can be used in specific applications and what to consider when selecting an amplifier.
At completion of the webinar, there will also be an introduction to the Stewart Audio web portal and a guided tour of the site and the available tools. Future webinar topics in the series will be announced in the coming months.
Eric J. Marshall, the webinar series host who serves as Stewart Audio’s consultant liaison and oversees both the new web portal and the company’s training initiatives, is a BICSI certified trainer and technician as well as a Registered Communication Distribution Designer (RCDD).
A former teacher, Mr. Marshall has been consulting, designing, and project managing AV installations since 2004. He has designed over 40 schools, many with converged infrastructures and systems.
Marshall commented on the new Stewart Audio web portal and its significance to the installed sound professional, “The portal will have resources designed to make the consultant’s job significantly easier.”
“The amount of time they will save by not having to create or adjust specs and drawings is significant. Further, the portal’s resources are much like having a coach to ensure areas in a system that may have been overlooked are properly addressed and how best to accomplish specific tasks.”
“Designing and implementing today’s AV systems can be a very challenging process,” said Sean O’Malley, President of Stewart Audio. “There are frequently a tremendous number of products from a variety of equipment manufacturers that, ultimately, must work together as a unified whole.”
“I envision our new portal and the webinar program becoming a ‘go-to’ destination for a wide range of project information. These new efforts further demonstrate Stewart Audio is a consultant friendly company providing the tools and products to streamline their projects.”
On Stage: Catering To Multiple Needs
Inside the mic box of touring engineer Matt Vice.
Working primarily in the Midwestern U.S., mix engineer Matt Vice stays very busy, working with bands from the thriving Indianapolis music scene as well as artists hailing from such far-flung locales as New Orleans and the U.K., including New Mastersounds, Old Union, American English, Zoogma, and several others.
Like many in the regional scene, Vice finds himself catering to multiple markets.
Around a third of his time is spent on running corporate gigs - the world where “production crew” turns into “A/V staff,” where fly-in shows are the norm, and where the engineer is often at the mercy of the equipment provider.
Faced regularly with unfamiliar territory, Vice finds it helpful to have a small but worthy microphone collection on hand.
In a pinch, he overcomes holes in a rider with his Shure Beta 52, a pair of Oktava MK-012 condensers, an ART (Applied Research Technology) M-Five ribbon, a variety of CAD clamp-on drum dynamic drum mics, as well as pairs of Samson C05 condensers and Audio- Technica AT4050 stereo condensers.
When Vice isn’t traveling to “exotic hot spots” like Atlantic City and Tampa for corporate work, the kit he deploys for both house and live recording is expanded, centered around a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 digital console.
He’s particularly fond of the StudioLive’s digital signal processing, and favors the consoles versatile channel strip for nearly every input and output, especially when recording.
Matt Vice mounting an Oktava MK-012 prior to a recent gig.
Facing changing conditions from one gig to the next, Vice rarely relies on a “standard” setup. Rather, he generally makes the best use of the house kit, such as during a recent evening at The Mousetrap live club in Indy.
He dealt with two very different bands - Fresh Hops and IndigoSun - which presented some challenges, in addition to the fact that the venue records the board mixes and sells them to the crowd, with commensurate quality expected.
For IndigoSun, Vice took bass (fretless and otherwise) direct with Whirlwind IMP 2 DIs, with keyboards also taken direct. The drummer was mic’ed with Vice’s Beta 52 on kick, CAD clipons for snare, and his two A-T AT4050s as overheads.
The second band, Fresh Hops, required a more elaborate approach, with Vice using an expanded version of his original input list for the seven-piece ensemble.
Lead vocals were handled with the house Sennheiser evolution e 835 dynamics. Bass and keys were again, and Shure SM57s were applied for guitar mic’ing as well as saxophone.
The CAD clip-on mics came in handy for the percussionist, and rounding out the approach were the Beta 52 on kick, more CAD clip-ons for snare, and dual AT4050s as overheads.
Kyle P. Snyder is Associate Editor of ProSoundWeb and Live Sound International.
True Workhorse: Medium-Format Analog Consoles For Your Church System?
While often considered “old,” the medium-format analog console is an excellent tool for worship services and can handle a variety of live mixing tasks.
In 1965, the Beatles took the world by storm with a stadium tour using unbelievably minuscule PA systems, usually headed by five-input, rotary-pot, tube mixers most likely often bearing the Altec Lansing brand.
(And the band’s 30-watt instrument amplifiers were often louder than the PA, which is why we hear more screaming girls than music on many of those early recordings.)
What followed rather rapidly, and in fact, was spurred at least in part by the Beatles and other stadium-type shows, were dramatically improved sound reinforcement tools capable of meeting demands for much more sophisticated production.
One of those tools, which itself might be considered “old,” is the medium-format analog console, offering anywhere between 24 and 42 channels and enough facilities to handle many live mix applications, church sound among them.
These consoles perform invaluable service, and usually, outstanding return on investment.
Sometimes they truly feel like an old friend. We get used to them, tolerate their faults, learn their good and not-so-good “moods” and ways of working around them.
We count on them to deliver no matter what, and sometimes even give them a nickname certifying our affection.
My own experience with medium-format consoles has pretty much run in parallel with their history. My first mixing was done on a six-channel Shure Vocalmaster that offered one very broad filter for equalization. (That would be the bass/treble knob.)
Analog consoles have grown up, and so have I. Now we see channel faders, multiple EQ filters per channel, pre- and post-aux sends, sophisticated matrixing…
Well, look at a spec sheet of any console and you see pages and pages filled with feature sets. And the sonic quality continues to improve – just check out the mic preamps on many “average” medium-format desks.
While digital consoles have come on to be a force – and there’s certainly no wonder why – it’s still hard to top a rock-solid analog console offering enough to get the job done. As a result, I suspect our old analog friends will nicely co-exist with their newer digital siblings for some time to come.
Analog consoles continue to improve while costs have stayed quite reasonable.
There’s also a lot of variety in terms of application, feature sets, sound quality and in turn, what you pay for it. In short, there’s something for almost anyone.
With a plethora of medium-format mixing consoles on the market, how do you go about selecting the “right” one for your needs? Well…back at you!
We all go about making these determinations our own way, but perhaps the way I go about it can offer some useful instruction.
Analyze your needs now as well as the next three-to-five years.
It’s a fact that the realistic lifecycle for many audio products has dramatically shortened.
In my view, this isn’t due to issues of product reliability but to the reality of an ever-rapidly changing market and always increasing production demands.
Take this into careful consideration, and don’t hesitate to pull out your crystal ball. (I’m only partially kidding!) But try to intelligently project out the life of a console.
Will it work well as a main, staple unit for now, and then become a lesser important but still-needed part of the inventory in five years?
These are the types of questions to ask.
Staple items along these lines:
Anticipate the total number of channels needed
Forecast the number of additional sends (monitors, recording feeds)
Evaluate rider friendliness that will operate the board
Think through how you like to manage a system and mix with subgroups and outputs. For example, do you want/like need left-right, left-right-mono or left-center-right?
My opinion is that the greatest advancement in medium-format consoles has to be the extended routing capabilities.
It’s so common now to find at least six aux sends and even some matrix outputs on lower prices models.
With the proliferation of in-ear monitors, live recording, web streaming, audio for video recording, auxiliary meeting sites and the like, it seems like there’s always a need for an additional aux send.
Next on my list of advancements is extended EQ capability. No longer are we limited to “just” the typical high, mid and low EQ knobs.
Now we have sweepable functionality for so much more fine-tuning precision. It’s really rather remarkable.
Price, of course, plays a big role as well. But go beyond “how much now” and look at the investment.
In other words, you might well be able to get by for a while with a 24-channel board with “good enough” routing and feature sets, but how will that investment look in three years?
Also keep in mind that a quality used console, in good condition, can fetch a nice price, so if you’re going to be looking to “trade up,” factor this in. (And keep it in mind if you’re looking for a less-expensive way to move up.)
I’ve spent a lifetime mixing on medium-format (and their smaller offshoot) consoles, and we have something in common: neither of us is remotely close to being done with providing useful service.
So just watch who you’re calling “old”!
Gary Zandstra is a professional AV systems integrator with Parkway Electric and has been mixing sound for churches for more than 30 years.
Recording Techniques: Virtual Instruments To The Rescue!
Are you willing to utilize virtual instruments if they're the right solution for the project?
I recently finished up a fun little EP project with an artist who is a phenomenal female singer/songwriter.
Early on in the project she told me she wanted everything to have a very acoustic, folky feel - almost bluegrass.
To that end, we avoided using drums or any heavy percussion, and we stayed away from “electric” instruments, like electric guitar and bass.
While this approach kept the instrumentation fairly simple, it also posed all sorts of fun challenges.
For two of the six songs, we sent the files to her brother to add some banjo/upright bass parts which came back sounding very cool.
The problem was, he’s a busy guy and didn’t have time to record parts for every single song. So, while adding upright bass to these songs took them to a new level because, frankly, it’s just what they needed. Unfortunately, I only had upright tracks for two of the six songs.
At least two more tracks could benefit from a nice upright bass part. Otherwise the project as a whole could sound a bit disjointed and unorganized.
The solution? Virtual instruments.
While a purist may hold his nose up at the idea of using software instruments on a folk/acoustic recording, I don’t have a problem with it at all.
I like to do whatever it takes to make the project sound good. If we’re going to be honest here, that should be everyone’s response.
I whipped out Xpand2 (a virtual instrument software included in Pro Tools), and found an upright bass patch which sounded great. I then proceeded to recorded a quick (and very simple) bass line for one of the songs.
Once mixed in with the rest of the instrumentation, it sounded fantastic. If I solo’d the part, could you tell it was a “fake” instrument? Absolutely! However, when I place it properly within the mix it’s very hard to tell.
The key here was to keep the performance simple. If I started doing all these funky riffs on the bass, it would start to stand out.
Keeping it simple helps it “hide” inside the mix, without drawing undo attention to itself.
Two Lessons to Apply to Your Next Session
1. Don’t be afraid to use virtual instruments.
Some of you may already use them all the time. Others may think they sound fake and unusable.
These, just like everything else, are tools you can use to make great recordings. Become familiar with them…you never know when you might need one in a pinch.
2. Don’t write off something because it sounds weird by itself.
This is especially applicable to virtual instruments and recorded sounds.
Just because something sounds funny or “off” by itself doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect thing for a particular song.
I honestly don’t care what any of my tracks sound like by themselves as long as they blend together well to create a fantastic end product.
What are your thoughts on virtual instruments? Do you suffer from “it must sound perfect” disease are you ok doing what must be done to fulfill the clients needs? Somewhere in between? Whatever your stance, be sure to let me know in the comments below!
Joe Gilder is a Nashville based engineer, musician, and producer who also provides training and advice at the Home Studio Corner.
Nexo Selected By The Gordon College A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel
The GEO system was a perfect choice to provide audiences with clear and intelligible speech while also meeting the expectations of professional and touring artists.
The A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts is among one of the top Christian colleges and the only non-denominational college in New England.
The chapel seats 1,600, making it one of the largest venues on Boston’s North Shore. Recently, MFI Productions of Hooksett, New Hampshire, installed a 21st century audio system based around a new, white NEXO GEO S12 line array.
“The Chapel on campus is the largest performance venue on campus, bringing international speakers, scholars, musicians and events to its stage annually,” states Chris Imming, director of media services.”
Along with the Gordon’s academic curriculum, the space hosts Chapel services, Convocation programs, and special events, to promote learning, Christian community and opportunities for engagement. Students gather in the Chapel for large services and presentations throughout the week, but the space also serves as a performance stage.
Large-scale ensembles, choirs, and bands often practice and perform there. Gordon’s worship teams include four to eight musicians, vocalists, acoustic and electric guitars, piano, bass, violin, and percussion. “We needed a system that would meet all of these components, “ said Imming.
“We wanted to provide audiences with clear and intelligible speech reproduction while also meeting the growing expectations of professional and touring artists.”
Over the years, Gordon’s Chapel has offered sold out performances to several touring artists, including Third Day, Caedmon’s Call, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Jars of Clay, the Art Music Justice Tour (Sara Groves, Charlie Peacock, Brandon Heath, Derek Webb), and Jeremy Camp.
“Often there is little to no time to flip the space,” said Imming, who helped research solutions to support the venue’s needs. “Having a system with the NEXO GEO S12 at its core allow us to continue to host touring artists with less dependence on outboard gear.”
“We hope this reduction in production set up time and expenses will allow us to host additional tours in the future.”
“The primary goal of the new system design was to address both coverage and intelligibility issues,” states Denis Gosselin, MFI Productions. “Both had been lacking since the facility’s construction in the early 1990’s.”
“The initial system was designed to support speech since the use of the venue was more traditional during that period. As praise and worship performances increased, a ‘portable’ system was purchased for use when the praise team was leading worship.”
“That system relied heavily on a pair of single 18” subs and a single 15” 2-way cabinet on the stage platform. While that system did provide full range audio support, it was never intended as a long-term solution since components were undersized for the venue and left huge gaps in coverage.”
The College researched their system analysis and design needs in-house—a testament to their passion for the space, its need, and the needs of the community. As an educational opportunity, students were also involved in the design and installation process.
“Both InfoComm and NSCA training was essential in our ability to carry the project from the design stage through completion,” notes Imming.
“Throughout the design process, we evaluated both point source and linear array systems from six or seven companies.”
“While linear arrays are certainly not the best solution for every venue, we chose to pursue compact array designs for the project after completing some EASE modeling of the hall.”
“Satisfied by the computer modeling, we felt that arrays would provide a cleaner install and, in white, disappear into the stage proscenium.”
“We narrowed the list of manufacturers down to three and scheduled onsite demos. Each demo system came in for two days to allow time for flying and tuning.”
“The extended demo period also allowed us to utilize each system for a worship team rehearsal, a regular chapel with a full house, and critical listening demos with various faculty and staff members whom regularly utilize the space.”
Gosselin added that one of the challenges in a space like the A.J. Memorial Chapel was to balance system design with aesthetics by maintaining the clean look of a traditional New England chapel.
“Considering no existing rigging was in place, previous touring groups always had to ground support arrays or utilize speaker stacks on the stage, taking up real estate on the stage and providing a disproportionate amount of SPL to the front section.”
“Several months into the design stage, we came up with a rigging platform that would provide us with great flexibility to accommodate system demos and fine-tune array placement during the install.”
“With limited weight capacity of the rigging platform, the NEXO GEO S12 Series provided an aesthetically pleasing install while maintaining intelligibility and musicality.”
The complete system includes 14 white GEO S1210 boxes and 14 GEO S1230, two NEXO RS15 white subs, four NEXO PS8 speakers and two NXAmps 4x4 and one 4x1.
“We were all very impressed with how the GEO S12s made it all the way to the back of the room and remained warm and clear even under the balcony,” notes Gosselin.
“Since this building has a wide range of audio demands ranging from traditional services, full theatre productions, and full concert applications, it was extremely important to get a box and design that would fit the bill.”
“The NEXO rig delivered the sound to the room in a very specific and predictable manner, which helped to cover the listening area evenly and keep as much reflection off of the hard surfaced walls as possible.
Lloyd Kinkaid, Yamaha design specialist, and his knowledge of NEXO’s GeoSoft was a huge time saver and allowed us to play around with SPL and pattern options before the first GEO S12 box was hung.”
“Most importantly, it was accurate, with the end result reflecting what was predicted on our laptop! To an audio contractor, Lloyd and GeoSoft are a very powerful source of knowledge, instrumental in getting it right the first time.”
For the upper balcony, MFI Productions chose to hang two NEXO PS8 speakers to the ceiling to help restore any high frequency loss after the 100 throw. “Despite their small size, Gosselin says, the PS8 puts out an amazing level of full frequency sound.”
“The asymmetrical high frequency horns allowed us to dial in coverage to both the upper and lower sections of the balcony without throwing extraneous sound on the back wall and added just a little extra sparkle at the very top of the balcony. Perfect!”
MFI also installed an Aviom Pro16 Digital Snake, Aviom Pro 16 Personal Monitoring System, Sennheiser IEM300 G2/G3 Series, Sennheiser Antenna Combiner, Professional Wireless Helical Antenna and Low Loss cable, Sennheiser EW335G2 Wireless Handhelds Microphone, HME DX200 Wireless Intercom System, HSA Rolltop Desks, Bag End Floor Monitors, and a Listen Assisted Listening System.
“It was a pleasure to work with MFI Productions on both the demo and install as they were very accommodating when it came to partnering with us on the install.”
“Our students had the opportunity to get some real hands-on experience flying and installing our tour-grade system. Now that the new system is installed we finally have an audio system that is up to par with the rest of the video, projection, and lighting capabilities.”