Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Waves Partners With SAE Institute To Make Certification Available To All Incoming Audio Students
The Waves Certification Program will arrive pre-installed on the laptop computers received by incoming SAE students.
The Waves Certification Program (WCP) has partnered with the SAE Institute to incorporate the WCP into all Audio Technology Program students’ laptop package and curriculum.
The WCP is an extensive training curriculum that provides a high-quality, standardized means of mastering Waves plugins and the concepts behind them. Under the agreement, students will also be eligible to gain the certification once passing the Waves certification exam.
This program is included in all six SAE United States locations.
The WCP, which includes five Waves plugins (Renaissance EQ, Renaissance Compressor, C1 Parametric Compander, Renaissance Reverb, and SuperTap Delay), teaches the fundamentals of working with Waves processors and gives students hands-on experience.
Students gain mastery over the Waves user interface on multitrack “mix-minus” sessions, using directed demonstrations and Waves’ OpenMix technology. They also learn how to solve common mix problems using Waves processors.
Founded in Sydney, Australia, in 1976 as The School of Audio Engineering, SAE Institute now has campuses in over 50 cities across the globe and is a leading international provider of audio engineering, animation, multimedia and film production courses.
Developed as the first combined practical and theoretical curriculum in audio engineering, SAE’s unique education approach remains the only one of its kind in the world. By providing hands-on training in combination with access to the very latest in state-of-the-art equipment, SAE ensures students’ knowledge and skill levels are relevant to industry expectations.
Its first courses began humbly within its four-track recording studio, and have developed into a worldwide network of campuses, boasting some of the most advanced equipment and facilities available to students studying in the creative media industries.
SAE Institute currently has its U.S. campuses in New York, Nashville, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles, with plans to expand to several other cities in the near future.
Chris Davie, SAE Vice President of Operations, stated, “We are extremely excited to have the Waves certification program as part of SAE’s curriculum and student laptop package, we feel there is great value in each of our Audio Technology students having both the software and certification wrapped into their studies.”
Roland Announces The Availability Of Software Updates For V-Mixer Consoles
Roland will continue to release updates for all V-Mixer consoles as new features become available including the virtual soundcheck ability.
Roland Systems Group (RSG) has has announced the availability of software updates for their popular Digital Mixing Consoles - the M-400, M-380 and M-300 V-Mixers.
One of the significant updates includes full project file compatibility and interchangeability between different models of V-Mixers.
That means a project created on any model of V-Mixer including the new M-480 V-Mixer can be loaded via USB flash drive or RCS software to another model of V-Mixer.
The V-Mixer Consoles based on the REAC Ethernet audio protocol are the central component of a V-Mixer System with integrated Digital Snakes, multi-channel recording and the world’s finest Personal Mixing system.
This new update demonstrates the continued support of the M-400 V-Mixer following the introduction of the new flagship M-480 V-Mixer Console.
Roland will continue to release updates for all V-Mixer consoles as new features become available including the virtual soundcheck ability when linked with the new R-1000 48-track Player/Recorder.
All updates are available online by choosing the correct V-Mixer model and downloading the update.
Note that there is also a companion Remote Control Software (RCS) update with each V-Mixer update (available on the same page).
Alan Parsons Debuts Master Class Training Sessions In Argentina
Thirty-two students were present for the first of Parsons training sessions.
The first in a series of live studio training events with Alan Parsons was recently held at the Universidad Nacional de Lanús (UNLA) in Buenos Aires on Thursday, May 5th.
Master Class Training Sessions (MCTS) comprise a hands-on, live recording session with Alan Parsons, complete with placing musicians in the studio, selecting and plugging in mics, recording, processing and even a basic mix.
Attendees get to sit in the control room, actively assisting on the session.
The event in Buenos Aires featured local indie rockers Vaqueros Paganos and was sponsored by AES in Argentina with Sound Pro Latin America, distributors of Alan Parsons’ new Art & Science Of Sound Recording video series, on which much of the MCTS approach is based.
Thirty-two students got ringside seats with Alan in the Pro Tools HD and Yamaha 02R-equipped control room with an additional 100 people viewing a live video feed in an adjoining theater on campus.
Key stages of the event were also webcast live on Facebook.
The MCTS are focused on old-school recording techniques and principles: re-positioning equipment rather than fixing problems later on, and with the emphasis on creating a musically satisfying result as opposed to spending hours creating a recording that looks good in the DAW.
At one point a student questioned Alan’s EQ of the overhead drum mics, asking why the left and right settings were not identical. “Unintentional,” replied Alan.
“But it sounds right. You don’t always have to go for digital perfection.”
One of the biggest surprises was how much separation Alan was able to get between the instruments – including a full drum kit, bass and two separate guitarists – simply by positioning amps and use of appropriate mics and polar patterns.
Remarkably, given the fact that gobos were only used to minimize some ambiance during the recording of the lead vocals, there was almost no spill between any of the instruments.
Universidad Nacional de Lanús director Susana Espinosa was thrilled with the event, saying that the day was a complete validation of her personal efforts in getting the UNLA’s impressive recording facilities built in the first place.
The Universidad Nacional de Lanús is a public university (completely free to students) with more than 500 students enrolled in their 4-year audio and video production degree courses.
Master Class Training Session dates in the U.S. are due to be announced later this month, starting in July.
Fly-on-the-wall footage from the day is already on the Art & Science Of Sound’s youtube channel; and more information can be found on his website.
Pulsar Announces The Wireless DMX Transmitter & Receiver Now Shipping
The wireless units provide a cost-effective and flexible solution for connecting standard DMX controllers and fixtures.
Pulsar has announced that its newest product, the Pulsar Wireless DMX Transmitter and Receiver, is now shipping.
Pulsar’s Wireless DMX Transmitter and Receiver Interfaces provide an extremely cost-effective and flexible solution for interconnecting industry-standard DMX controllers and fixtures.
Pulsar Wireless DMX (PWDMX) Receivers and Transmitters incorporate the latest Wireless Solution Sweden AB W-DMXTM G4 receiver and transmitter cards. PWDMX units transmit and receive in the global 2.4GHz ISM band.
The use of an Adaptive Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum technology ensures interference is kept to a minimum, allowing co-existence of PWDMX and other local wireless systems.
Error Correction: Duplicate transmission of DMX packets on different frequency channels with robust error checking and correction ensures all data sent over the air is protected from corruption.
DMX packet integrity: The G4 technology accurately re-creates the timings and properties of the DMX packet that are presented to the transmitter. So PWDMX may be considered to be an invisible wire.
With only one button to press, setting up PWDMX is exceptionally easy and a PWDMX transmitter will drive an unlimited number of PWDMX receivers.
A PWDMX transmitter will transmit 512 DMX channels (1 Universe). To control more than one Universe simply add one transmitter per Universe.
Ranges of 100m are readily attainable, with ranges of 250m being possible when the transmitter and receiver pairs are in the clear and correctly oriented. Greater distances can be achieved with an external antenna – please consult Pulsar.
The PWDMX-TX needs +6…32VDC at 350…75mA on pin 5 of the XLR
The PWDMX-RX needs +6…32VDC at 65…20mA on pin 5 of the XLR
The Low Voltage Supply (LVS) found in most PULSAR fixtures may be used to power PWDMX units.
PSU1-XLR5 is an optional indoor rated mains power supply for use when an LVS supply is not available. This operates on any mains voltage from 100-240 VAC, 50-60Hz, 0.3A and provides +24VDC at up to 0.5A.
Transmit / Receive full 512 ch. Universe
Compatible with all DMX512 equipment
+6 to 32 V DC Low Voltage Supply
Auto-powered from PULSAR DMX fixtures
100-240 V AC Power Supply available
IP 65 rated for external use
High quality IP67 rated XLR5 connectors
Features the latest W-DMXTM G4 technology
Uses the global 2.4Ghz ISM band
100m typical range with up-to 250m range possible in clear line of sight
Long-range antenna available
AFHSS Adaptive Frequency Hopping
Multi-Mode DMX packet error correction
Accurate DMX packet timing integrity
Simple one button setup and pairing
Unlimited receivers to each transmitter
Yamaha Announces Co-Sponsored WATS Seminar In San Jose
The WATS Seminars are open to all members of worship teams.
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems along with Yamaha Corporation of America, Shure, ProPresenter, and Elation Lighting have announced they will hold the next Worship Arts Technology Summit (WATS) at the Cathedral of Faith Church, July 14-16, in San Jose, California.
The success of the WATS Seminars continues to grow with an outpouring of response from attendees. As in past seminars, several ‘track’s will take place including Musician, Audio, Vocal, Lighting, and Media.
For complete description of the tracks, visit the WATS web site. Audio master classes will feature front of house engineer/monitor engineer for Chris Tomlin and many others, Kyle McMahon.
The WATS Seminars are open to all members of worship teams, and the training schedule has been reformatted to allow for a two-day event so that attendees have ample opportunity to attend one or both days.
With an understanding that many worship teams require basic training session in the area of audio and other aspects of technical ministries, a WATS Boot Camp will be held the day prior to the opening of the WATS Seminar.
“The best word to describe the WATS seminar is personal,” states Matthew Lewis, Pastor of Worship & The Arts, Beachpoint Church, Fountain Valley, Calif. “By the end of the conference, I felt like I had made friends with those who attended and those who taught us.”
“I’ve never felt that at another conference. Typically, people talk at you and present ideas to you; but the WATS teaching team actually takes the time to show you new concepts and ideas. WATS is a seminar for the entire worship team to be equipped with practical wisdom and teaching.”
“The instructors are the real deal; they are worship leaders, musicians, and techs that are in the trenches.”
Allowing each instrument to have its own space is key, but so is having musicians that know how to play together and complement one another.
For the past year I have been attending a weekly bible study that meets in a church multi-purpose room.
The group is rather large, around 400 people, and includes a 40 minute lecture so sound reinforcement is needed.
For my taste, the sound reinforcement always seems a touch loud. It’s not painful or anything like that, but I find in annoying. I think the main reason it bothers me it that it doesn’t feel natural. It sort of feels like the person lecturing is yelling.
Normal conversation is usually around 60 dB. So, when there nominal level is in the upper 70’s (a normal vacuum cleaner at 10’ is in the 70’s) with peaks hitting into the 80’s (a car passing by at about 10’) it just doesn’t feel right.
I also was also recently in a church service where they added a violin and horns into the normal rock band (drums, guitar, keyboards, and bass). The horns sounded great, but I found myself not enjoying the violin much.
After the service I talked with the front of house guy and he told me that because of the stage volume and the fullness of the mix, he had a hard time bringing the violin out in the mix.
To allow the violin to breathe, he ended up making it sound thin and attempted to lay it on top of the mix. Again, it just didn’t sound natural.
Recently, I also visited a service where three acoustic guitars were used along with keyboard and some auxiliary percussion. After the service I went up to compliment the front of house sound guy for the excellent job that he did, knowing how difficult it is to get three acoustic guitars to sound good together.
When I inquired how he was able to make it work so well he told me that individually the guitars didn’t necessarily sound that great, but all together it worked. I thought about it and it really makes sense. He eq’d each guitar so it would have its own space in the mix so when they all played it sounded like there was just one guitar being played.
In closing, he added this important zinger, “I would like to take all the credit, but it really helps when you have musicians that know how to play together and complement each other, not fighting each other for the same acoustical space”.
Well said, and if the front of house sound guy knows his job and can assist in making things sound natural he’s definately a winner in my book.
Gary Zandstra is a professional AV systems integrator with Parkway Electric and has been involved with sound at his church for more than 25 years.
Every engineer or producer has gone through a session where the entire band is present, and each wants to hear “more me” in the mix.
The result usually takes a well-balanced mix and turns it into a sonic goo that just doesn’t work any more.
While we usually associate this kind of action with young bands with little studio experience, it can happen to well-established hit makers as well.
Here’s a quick video that shows what metal producer Martin Birch went through with Deep Purple during the making of their breakout album Machine Head.
Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. For more information be sure to check out his website and blog.
AETA Launches Audio Recording & Live Broadcasting App For iOS, Mac, & PC
The Apps design focuses on convenient, easy use in the pressure of a live situation.
AETA AUDIO Systems has announced the launch of eScoop, a professional audio recording and broadcasting tool for devices including iPhones, iPads, Macs, and PCs.
eScoop provides breakthrough facilities for recording, editing, transmitting, and publishing audio for live broadcasting, allowing users to record and transmit simultaneously through mobile wireless networks and on desk-based IP networks as a client or a server.
Developed in collaboration with the Dutch pro-audio developer Technica Del Arte (TDA), eScoop supports many protocols such as SIP as well as both one-way SHOUTcast/Icecast streaming and two-way streaming when a return channel is required.
In addition to broadcasting live material, eScoop also enables the playout of prerecorded material while broadcasting. A simple editing tool allows the user to isolate any item being used.
Available now as an app for the iPhone, the iPad, Macs, and PCs, and with an Android™ version available soon, eScoop makes it easy for reporters in the field to capture live audio instantly and broadcast it with professional quality codecs, without specialist equipment other than an external microphone, if required.
The wide range of built-in codecs includes MP2, AAC, AAC-HE, AAC-HEV2, G711, and G722, and eScoop is the first professional software codec to include support for the N/ACIP standard.
A high degree of service protection is guaranteed by the use of the SIP protocol, which makes it easier to establish a connection and maintain network security through session border controllers.
“The design of eScoop is focused on convenient, easy use in the pressure of a live situation,” said Claudia Haase, international sales manager at AETA AUDIO Systems.
“eScoop’s very clear and elegant interface allows anyone at an event to set up a link to the studio and begin broadcasting audio within seconds, choosing from a wide range of professional formats.”
“eScoop will be an invaluable tool for reporters reacting rapidly to unfolding news, and will help widen the contribution of crowd-sourced coverage of many different events. With eScoop, anyone with an iPhone can be a live reporter.”
eScoop is available now from €319. Test versions can be requested by calling +33 141 36 1262.
Factory Direct: Inside The Powered By Crown Monitoring & Control Solution
Amplifier monitoring and control made possible with iOS native Apps.
The digital revolution roars ahead at a mind-boggling pace.
Ten years ago, few of us would have imagined that, by 2011, comprehensive power amplifier monitoring and control would be so easy, robust, portable, and almost ridiculously inexpensive.
We sought to extend this capability even further, leveraging the recent developments in mobile device technology to create a new iOS native app called Powered by Crown.
It allows the operator of networked Crown amplifiers to control settings and monitor performance from anywhere in range of the connected WiFi access point, using an iPad, iPhone, or even an iPod Touch.
Available from the Apple App Store (at a cost of $3.99), Powered by Crown can be installed from a computer via iTunes, or with newer versions of iOS, downloaded directly to the iDevice.
It’s important to emphasize that this is not merely a VNC remote desktop for a computer; the iDevice is exchanging real-time data directly with amplifiers on the network.
Although a computer running HiQnet System Architect can connect to the same network, it’s not needed. All networked amplifiers can be controlled and monitored directly by the iDevice.
Fast-track development of Powered by Crown was possible largely because the foundation was already in place.
Nearly a decade ago, Crown made the transition to Ethernet-based monitoring and control systems, which means that all data traffic is carried by standard, off-the-shelf networking components.
Click to enlarge.
No “two-step” translation process was required: all we had to do was plug Apple’s iOS framework into our compatible TCP/IP-based protocols.
From there, it was an intuitive step for Bruce Vander Werf, a senior software engineer at Crown. Earlier, he had developed similar functionality for Crown IQwic on Windows Mobile, a platform that (for various reasons) never found widespread professional use.
The user friendliness of the iPhone immediately captured his imagination, and he was well underway with a proof of concept using iOS when Apple introduced the iPad.
Although the concept worked smoothly on an iPhone, the limited screen real estate required scrolling from one panel to another.
With iPad, multiple panels could be viewed simultaneously, making it a far more useful tool.
Fork In The Road
Since much of the nuts-and-bolts work had already been done, by our own team and by Apple’s, we could focus on the essentials.
What feature set should be included in the app? And what kind of graphic user interface would be most useful and least prone to “uh-oh” moments?
The project was undertaken by Vander Werf, Brian Pickowitz (market manager for tour sound), Bradford Benn (director of application engineering), and myself.
Within the first few weeks, we came to a fork in the road. We realized that the potential for integrating the in-depth functionality available for Crown products via System Architect was practically limitless.
But what features really made sense – for the majority of users – on this compact, highly mobile format? On the other hand, what if advanced users wanted to access sophisticated features?
We resolved the dilemma by giving Powered by Crown a dual personality.
The app comes equipped with default control panels for all networkable Crown amplifiers, as well for as JBL VerTec loudspeakers with DP-DA modules. Each amplifier can be called up for monitoring and control as needed.
Click to enlarge.
However, for advanced users, we created an option for importing custom control panel files (for Crown products only) from System Architect.
It’s a simple drag-and-drop operation via iTunes, and the custom panels can include multiple amplifiers and the entire range of amplifier monitoring and control features.
How It Works
The download and installation process is the same as any other iOS app, and the Crown amplifier network needs to be in place, with all firmware updates, and connected to a wireless router. We also advise that your network be password protected.
Once you log on to your network, simply tap the “Crown” button. The app opens instantly and within seconds you will see it populate the amplifiers on the network. Everything should be up and ready in a fraction of the time it takes just to boot Windows.
It is possible to make changes to amplifier parameters in the app when the amplifiers are offline.
However, when they come back online, parameters in the app immediately revert to those stored in the amplifiers, assuring there will be no unexpected changes to your system.
As a side note, anyone without networked Crown amplifiers can still satisfy their curiosity by downloading and running the app in offline mode.
A full system using any combination of amps can be created, and most configuration and level controls will work. But, of course, no monitoring parameters will display.
Panels & Features
Each amplifier model has its own dedicated monitoring and control panels.
Features available will depend on the number of channels in the unit, as well as input options (analog, AES3, CobraNet).
We can’t describe each in detail in this limited space, but in brief the factory defaults provide the following functionality:
Devices Tab Shows all amplifiers on the network as automatically populated when going online. (In offline mode, it shows the amps you put there using the “+” button.)
This tab also has a refresh button and a counter of online and offline devices. Tapping on an amplifier selects it and takes you to…
Factory Panels The default control panels for the selected model will display. On an iPad, all three or four panels will show at once. On an iPhone or iTouch, you swipe from one panel to the next.
Panels displayed for most models are Metering, Levels/Mute, Input Routing, and Signal Generator; panels for the JBL DP-DA modules will look and function similarly.
Again, control and configuration features will vary, but most panels will offer input selection and routing, muting, level control (with manual keyboard entry option), and signal generator.
Click to enlarge.
The Metering panels show levels (input with clip indication, output, gain reduction) and also monitor temperature, limiting, load status, and, often quite handy, line voltage of the AC input. The signal generator function is selectable for pink or white noise, and includes channel routing and level fader.
Overall, functionality of the app is intuitive. Meters and warning indicators are clear in any lighting conditions, the buttons are responsive yet not hypersensitive, and faders have a “tactile” feel.
To prevent inadvertent changes, panel functions can be locked on the devices tab for a “monitoring only” mode.
When it comes to importing custom panels from System Architect, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Tour sound operators, for example, can create panels for monitoring levels on all amps in one or more racks, or for muting amp channels in arrays.
For installed systems, contractors can create custom panels for setting levels or muting in different zones of a restaurant, club or casino.
What to Do?
How users choose to deploy Powered By Crown in the field is up to their imagination, though some uses are obvious.
Many operators of small systems will discover that, in conjunction with what’s on their digital console, Powered by Crown is all they need for all set-up, configuration and operation.
Unless the deep-level functionalities of System Architect is needed on a daily basis, the iDevice should take care of business on everyday gigs.
Click to enlarge.
Making tweaks to the system from anywhere in the venue is simple. For example, if a fill or delay is needs a bit of boost or attenuation, it can be done right on the spot. It’s also a handy troubleshooting tool as you walk the venue.
If that fill or delay isn’t working, or is distorting, you can check the status immediately. And even if you’re already in the amp room, the app can be very handy when you’re working behind the amp rack. No more wishing that the front panel display was also on the back.
Finally, for those who don’t yet own an iDevice, it’s important to note that both the hardware and the iOS software have an solid track record for durability and stability.
Though technically consumer products, they have earned the trust of professionals.
For a touring systems tech, Powered by Crown can be a tool that saves time and even adds a degree of optimization accuracy - particularly in seats away from front coverage - that will enhance the audience experience.
For system contractors, a new iPad that’s pre-loaded with custom panels can be a value-added deliverable at system handover.
Powered by Crown is a significant step toward offering our customers a better user experience, one that ideally complements the power and performance of our amplifiers.
Eric Friedlander is business developer - tour sound for Crown Audio International.
Logic Systems Rely Upon NEXO And Yamaha To Support Carolina Rebellion Festival
Barring a few announcements between bands, the festival was non-stop music for the entire day, requiring a reliable setup for both stages.
Hard-hitting rock acts performed at the first ever Carolina Rebellion Festival that took place on May 7 at the Metrolina Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Co-produced by Right Arm Entertainment and AEG, over 35,000 fans throughout the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic were treated to a full day of non-stop rock on two side-by-side stages.
Performers consisted of My Darkest Days, Cavo, Saving Abel, Halestorm, Hinder, Skillet, Alter Bridge, Bullet for My Valentine, Theory of a Deadman, Seether, Stone Sour, Three Days Grace, Godsmack, Avenged Sevenfold, and more.
Logic Systems Sound & Lighting, Inc. of St. Louis provided the main PA, which consisted of a 96-box NEXO GEO T line array, 36 NEXO CD18s (six clusters of six), and 12 NEXO PS8s used for front fills.
Two Yamaha PM5D-RH digital audio consoles were used for monitors.
“The day was scheduled so that one band was playing on one stage while the other band set up on the other stage,” states Chip Self, President of Logic Systems.
With a 40’ work area between the two stages, each stage area was 60’ x 40’, connected by one very large stage. The stage deck itself was 220’ x 64’ with two complete loading docks. “The audio crew was divided into two teams (one per stage) so that each stage and crew could run autonomously to help keep everything on schedule,” notes Self.
Other than a few announcements between bands, Carolina Rebellion was non-stop music for the entire day.
“The NEXO PA performed very well, and the system itself sounded great,” says Self. “We were able to provide even concert level coverage for an area over 400’ wide and 600’ deep.”
“An event of this scale adds a level of complexity that can be overwhelming if not properly planned for. The Logic Systems crew did an exceptional job planning every detail of the project.”
“As a result, the day went according to schedule, according to plan, and guest engineers commented that they appreciated that we put together a proper concert sound system.”
Clear-Com Honors Student With USITT Stage Management Award
Their decade-long sponsorship underscores Clear-Com’s commitment to live sound and theater industries.
Clear-Com has continued its commitment to the live sound industry with its ongoing participation in the USITT’s (United States Institute for Theater Technology) Young Designers & Technicians (YD&T) Awards.
This year, as sponsor of the organization’s Stage Management Award, Clear-Com and USITT honored University of Delaware senior Siobhan Ruane for her dedication to the performing arts.
The award is part of USITT’s annual Conference & Stage Expo, which attracts roughly 4,000 design and production technology professionals each year.
The YD&T Awards are presented to novices in the industry who demonstrate excellence in areas such as stage management, technical production, makeup design, lighting design and more.
Clear-Com’s Regional Sales Manager, Southeastern USA and Caribbean, Patrick Hamp, was on site to present the honoree with the award during a presentation at this year’s Expo in Charlotte, NC.
Clear-Com has been sponsoring the Stage Management Award for the past decade as part of its active involvement in the industry it serves.
“Clear-Com’s success, just as the students who are being recognized for this award, has grown out of the live sound/theater industry,” says Judy Cheng, Clear-Com’s Director of Marketing.
“With this said, the USITT Awards are an excellent way for us to recognize those starting their career in the field. In addition, the USITT Awards serve as a significant platform that unites members of the industry while also honoring the exceptional skills of individuals in the field.”
“We are extremely proud to participate in such a unique and important event.”
The United States Institute for Theater Technology is an association for design, production and technology professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry to connect, create and communicate their craft with each other.
It has served the industry since 1960 in an effort to highlight the work and dedication that goes into set design, lighting, costumes, sound, make-up and stage managing. USITT first launched its annual awards ceremony in 1995.
Each award includes cash prizes, the opportunity to interact with key professionals, meet with the awards sponsors and enjoy the accolades of their peers.
The nomination process for all nine YD&T awards for 2012 will open this fall. Detailed information is available online, including a list of past winners. The deadline is mid-October.
Heart And Soul On Tour: Mixing It Up With Rod Stewart & Stevie Nicks
Inside the live sound and system for two legendary artists
On the surface, this spring’s Heart and Soul tour may have seemed an unlikely pairing in its attempt to combine the growling rasp and peacock strut of Rod Stewart with the smoky, stirring lyricism of Stevie Nicks, but in truth the juxtaposition was far from uneven.
Playing hit-after-hit in North American venues ranging from Madison Square Garden to the Hollywood Bowl, Stewart proved that his amped-up rock star antics can indeed serve as the perfect foil for Nicks, who did her own share of hard rocking too, fueled by a six-piece band featuring longtime guitarist Waddy Wachtel.
Sound for the stage legends came to courtesy of Major Tom Ltd., a U.K.-based concern owned by Lars Brogaard, who also manned the helm at front-of-house for Stewart from behind a DiGiCo SD7 digital console.
In addition, Brogaard handled even broader tasks as production manager, plucking a Meyer Sound-based MILO line array rig from the Major Tom inventory to meet the tour’s sound reinforcement needs.
In addition to the prominent role he plays at Major Tom, Brogaard is a permanent fixture within the Stewart camp, having spun his own odometer in a seemingly endless stream of miles with “The Rodfather” since 1985.
The main system in full, headed by Meyer Sound MILO line arrays. Photo by Steve Jennings.
Known for his sparing use of outboard gear on past tours - going little if anything beyond a Smart C2 compressor on Stewart’s vocals and a T.C. Electronic System 6000 for vocal reverb that he says he has had “forever” - Brogaard maintained the same Spartan approach this time out, opting for the most part to keep everything comfortably cozy in the console.
All The Luck
A committed, unabashed “Meyer guy” by his own admission, Brogaard also helped DiGiCo develop the first D5, and took possession of the first SD7 on Stewart’s Greatest Hits 2008 tour.
Running the new desk in parallel with a D5 while programming was underway, after a few shows back in ’08 he swapped over to the SD7 and never looked back.
For Heart and Soul, the mix formula remained the same, as did Stewart’s reliance on in-ear monitors, a practice that extended to all corners of the stage.
Some guys have all the luck, and to this end Brogaard has indeed led a charmed life.
Having combined his considerable skills with the best talent of all stripes at every turn throughout much of his career, he has worked with a number of renowned engineers while touring with Stewart, David Bryson being one.
Together some 20 years, the two weaned the gravel-voiced singer away from his towering monitor system to in-ears.
Today, following in Bryson’s footsteps, Sven Jorgensen created the stage mixes for Stewart and his band with the help of a DiGiCo D5. With IEM still the order of the day, Jorgensen and Brogaard topped their input list with a wireless vocal microphone system from AKG, Stewart’s regular brand-of-choice.
Just Feels Right
Working the Nicks side of the Heart and Soul fence, David Kob turned the clock back a notch, with great result.
Subscribing to a philosophy that the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line, Kob, front of house engineer for Nicks, explains that “I keep things as simple as possible.”
“This a function not to be confused with ‘simplistic,’ however. I use analog whenever I can get away with it because it just feels right.”
Kob began each of his feel-right analog days on the tour from his perch behind a venerable Yamaha PM5000.
“I recently finished reading Keith Richards’ book Life, and in it, he maintains that all guitar players should become proficient on an acoustic before ever even picking up an electric and plugging into an amp,” he says.
“This is because the acoustic is the foundation upon which all else was built in the house of rock and roll.
Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart performing together on their recent tour, both on AKG wireless systems.
“The same line of reasoning can be extended to analog versus digital mixing,” he continues.
“It’s essential that an engineer fully comprehend and become proficient in the use of analog devices prior to delving into the infinitely more complex and often perplexing digital domain.”
“Music, for the most part, is derived from analog sound sources, and its ultimate resolution is captured by our most decidedly analog ears. Analog is the acoustic guitar of audio, digital the Les Paul pedal-board Marshall.”
Inherent In The Process
According to Kob’s way of thinking, mixing Stevie Nicks live is an intuitive, organic, and sometimes fickle process as opposed to a digital game of recalling a series of finite scenarios guided by the maxim He With the Most Plug-ins Wins.
“Both mediums are inherent in the process of making and reproducing today’s music for me,” he concedes. “But that old acoustic guitar still feels - and sounds - the best.”
Stewart monitor engineer Sven Jorgensen at his DiGiCo D5 console, wrangling some AKG handhelds. Photo by Steve Jennings.
Contributing to the analog Heart and Soul culture was Stevie Nicks herself, a veteran performer who “knows what she likes” according to Kob. Her tastes in this case ran towards the hard-wired.
Although she’s been seen extensively on the tour in photos (this article being no exception) with a firm grip on an AKG wireless handheld transmitter, that mic, in fact, was only used during the two songs she sang with Stewart.
The rest of the time she used a hardwired beyerdynamic TGX-80, a dynamic microphone built for providing studio qualities in live applications where high SPL vocals are the norm and maximum gain before feedback is a necessity.
The hardwired ethic wound its way throughout the input scheme, calling upon the reliability and sonic qualities of a mic box including a pair of AKG C 430s for ride cymbal, two Audix SCX25 kick drum mics, Beyer M 201 TG mics on snare bottom, Sennheiser MD 421s on toms, and Milab M96s on overheads. Like Nicks’ own vocals, backing vocals were captured the hardwired way with more beyerdynamic TGX-80s.
On the processing side, Aphex gates joined dbx 160A compressors, while a pair of Summit TLA- 100s, a Tube Tech CL 2A, Emperical Distressors, an Eventide H3500 and Yamaha SPX2000s complemented Kob’s aural palette further.
Onstage, Nicks’ monitor engineer David Coyle blended personal mixes for the band from behind an Avid VENUE Profile system.
Nicks’ show mined gems from her solo days as well as her Fleetwood Mac songbook, including songs from her 2001 release Trouble in Shangri-La. Ever the old pro, Stewart belted out his trademark rock and soul on the tour, turning away from his Great American Songbook in favor of his legendary pop hits.
David Coyle, who handles monitors for Nicks, pre-show at his Avid VENUE Profile. Photo by Steve Jennings.
At the Hollywood Bowl in April, the pair sang together on Stewart’s “Young Turks” and Nicks’ “Leather and Lace,” explaining to the crowd that each had handpicked one of the other’s songs to sing together that night.
As of late April, co-headliners Stewart and Nicks appeared on Billboard’s Hot Tours list for the third week in a row, posting their best ranking to date.
The pair landed in the number 3 slot with $2.9 million in ticket sales reported from two major U.S. markets.
A date at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia drew a sellout crowd of 13,127, followed by a date in Chicago with more than 14,000 in the house.
A total of seven shows from the tour were reported with grosses topping $10 million.
Gregory A. DeTogne is a free-lance writer and publicist who has served the pro audio industry for the past 30 years.
Pacific Northwest Studio Summit 2011 Presented By Local Recording Academy Chapter And P&E Wing
The annual symposium hosted local producers, studio owners and keynote speakers Ed Cherney and Rose Mann-Cherney.
On Saturday, May 7, 2011, The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest (PNW) Chapter, in partnership with the Producers & Engineers Wing, Guitar Center Professional, Seattle Weekly and Experience Music Project (EMP), presented the 12th Annual PNW Studio Summit.
Held at EMP’s JBL Theater and Learning Labs, the day-long event featured panels, song demo critiques and a networking reception with the region’s leading recording professionals.
This year’s Summit featured input from some of the industry’s and area’s most successful producers, engineers and business figures, with the keynote presentation from GRAMMY-winning engineer/producer Ed Cherney and Rose Mann-Cherney, the President of Record Plant Recording Studios.
After opening remarks by PNW Chapter president Jeff Heiman, the day began with the Local Producer’s Panel, led by author and Hal Leonard developmental editor Bill Gibson, and consisting of composer/producer Pete Droge, engineer/producers Matt Bayles and Jack Endino, and up-and-coming composer/producer Charles Hopper, who shared insights into their personal philosophies and the work styles they’ve carved out while living in the Pacific Northwest.
After lunch, “Keeping the Doors Open: Successful Studio Owners Panel,” saw PNW studio owners Geoff Ott, Johnny Sangster, and Gary Reynolds, with digital media maven Steve Mack as moderator, delving into what it takes to run a successful studio in 2011.
Running concurrently with the studio owners panel was the GRAMMY U Demo Review Session, in which attendees joined a group of esteemed producers and artists including Martin Feveyear, Ryan Leyva, Jeffrey McNulty and Jonathan Plum, as they critiqued students’ recordings and provided them thoughtful feedback on their work and how it could be improved.
The keynote interview, moderated by Seattle producer/engineer/author/educator and Recording Academy secretary/treasurer Glenn Lorbecki, began with a candid conversation with engineer/producer Cherney, who covered the breadth of his career from his early days assisting the likes of Quincy Jones to recording live stadium concerts for the Rolling Stones.
Record Plant President and partner Rose Mann-Cherney joined the latter part of the interview, offering big picture industry perspective and revealing insights and advice about what it takes to run one of the world’s most famous recording studios. Following the Summit, panelists, speakers and attendees adjourned to the Solo Bar for a reception.
“Over the last twelve years, the Studio Summit has consistently brought high-quality programming to our Pacific Northwest members, and it has become a highly anticipated event,” said P&E Wing Senior Executive Director Maureen Droney.
“Being able to feature industry luminaries like Ed Cherney and Rose Mann-Cherney, along with informative presentations and outreach to young producers and artists with the GRAMMY U program, make this both an educational and inspiring event.”
The Recording Academy’s Pacific Northwest Studio Summit is an annual event that gathers together studio owners, engineers, producers and artists for a summit designed to strengthen and promote the Northwest recording industry.
The Summit features prominent keynote speakers, Northwest-based panelists and trade tables. Past participants include Steve Albini, Larry Crane, Funk Daddy, Jack Endino, Glenn Lorbecki, Keith Olsen, Nile Rodgers and Al Schmitt.
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.“
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