Tuesday, March 18, 2014
New Products & News Highlights From Prolight+Sound/Musikmesse 2014
The international Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound trade fairs last week in Frankfurt attracted about 110,000 visitors from 142 countries, according to figures released by Messe Frankfurt.
It represents a slight decline in visitors compared to the record of more than 113,000 set last year. Altogether, 2,242 international exhibitors from 57 countries presented their products and services at the show
“This year’s Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound were characterized by a high visitor standard and a willingness to place orders,” states Detlef Braun, a member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt, noting that this compensated for the slight decline in visitor numbers compared to last year.
The Prolight+Sound 2014 sector attracted a total of 897 exhibitors from 42 countries. According to a Messe Frankfurt statement, “The exhibitors gave the fair a positive rating in all respects with almost 80 percent saying they were satisfied to extremely satisfied with the course of business.”
The show also underscored its status as international sources of impulses with a comprehensive spectrum of seminars, lectures and workshops. At the Musikbiz Lounge & Congress Area, participants could find out about music marketing, copyright law and publishing, and hold discussions. The Eventplaza Conference offered numerous information events on trends, strategies and expertise for the live-entertainment and theatre sectors with particular attention being paid to the subject of event safety. Additionally, speakers from the media-technology sector passed on their knowledge about sound and event technology at the Prolight+Sound Conference.
Let’s take a look at the new products unveiled at the show. Check back oftan as this roster will be updated regularly.
Consoles & Mixers
Yamaha Commercial Audio QL Series Digital Consoles
Soundcraft Large-Format Vi3000 Digital Console
Roland Systems Group S-2416 Digital Snake
Avid Expanded Live Sound Plug-In Platform For S3L Mixing System
Allen & Heath Version 1.4 Firmware For GLD Digital Mixers
Midas PRO X Digital Console With Neutron Engine
New Optocore Software Implementation For DiGiCo
Behringer “Artist Presets” Library For X32 Digital Console
Salzbrenner Stagetec Polaris evolution Modular Networkable Mixing System
Aviom D800-Dante A-Net Distributor
Yamaha Commercial Audio Version 2.0 CL Series Digital Consoles
M.A.R.S. SoundPad For Innovason Eclipse GT Console
SM Pro Audio uMiX Series Wi-Fi Remote Controllable Digital Mixers
SSL Trio Of Duende Native Plug-Ins
DiGiCo D2-Rack For Use With SD8 & SD9 Consoles
Loudspeakers & Studio Monitors
NEXO GEO M6 Loudspeaker Series
Five Coaxial Loudspeakers From Eighteen Sound
Mackie Upgrades SRM450/350 Powered Loudspeakers
RCF HL Stadium Series Joins Installed Sound Line
Eighteen Sound Announces 18iD High Performance Subwoofer
VUE Audiotechnik hs-20 Compact Subwoofer
Celestion CDX14-3030 1.4-Inch-Exit Ferrite Compression Driver
Meyer Sound LYON Line Array System
Adamson Systems Energia E12/E218 Touring Packages
One Systems 118IM-SUB All-Weather Subwoofer
Amadeus PMX 4 Miniature Loudspeaker
Beyma 18-Inch Cone Drivers
Dynaudio BM mkIII Nearfield Monitors & BMS II Subwoofers
Mackie Thump Series Power Increase, New Subwoofer
Amadeus ML 8 Compact Subwoofer
Cerwin-Vega! P1000X 10-Inch Powered Loudspeaker
Beyma MC500 Family Of Woofers
Microphones & Wireless
Shure Wireless Workbench Version 6.9
AKG DMSTetrad Digital Wireless Microphone System
DPA Microphones Necklace Mic & Reinforced Cabling For d:screet 4060
Shure Headset & Centraverse Lavalier Microphones
Powersoft X Series Power Amplifiers
d&b audiotechnik D80 Power Amplifier
PreSonus Music Creation Suite Recording Kit
Radial Engineering JX62 Guitar And Amp Switcher For Live Touring
d&b audiotechnik ArrayCalc Simulation Software V7.6.11
RCF RDNet 2.0 Control & Management Software
Waves Audio MetaFilter Plug-In
AFMG EASE Version 4.4 Acoustic Simulation Software
Harrison 832c Filter Unit Joins Analog Studio Product Line
Radial Engineering ProMS2 Single-Channel Mic Splitter
TASCAM UH-7000 High-Resolution USB Interface & Microphone Preamp
Waves Audio Abbey Road Reel ADT
Audient ASP880 8-Channel Mic Preamp & ADC
Radial Engineering Next-Generation JDI Duplex 2-Channel Direct Box
Harman Releases JBL Performance Manager 1.7
New PreSonus Distributors For France, Israel, Russia And Spain
VUE Audiotechnik Expands Global Footprint With New European Operation
Focusrite Names Damian Hawley Director Of Global Marketing & Sales
Soundcraft Presents “Mixing with Professionals” Sessions
TC Electronic Announces Development Plans For Universal Audio UAD Platform
FaitalPRO Appoints Andrew Richardson To Manage OEM & Area Sales In UK, India
JBL Professional Hosts Forum Seminar On VTX Line Arrays
Celestion Celebrating 90th Anniversary Of Manufacturing Loudspeakers
Henning Kaltheuner Leading Market Research At d&b audiotechnik
Ashly Audio Appoints Mike van der Logt As EMEA Sales Manager
Biamp Systems Appoints Vibhav Singh As North India Area Manager
DPA Microphones Appoints GerrAudio To Lead Canadian Distribution
The next Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound will be held in Frankfurt on April 15-18, 2015.
Monday, March 17, 2014
WavesLive Continues Master Class Series With Las Vegas Event
Upcoming Live Mixing Workshop with Ken “Pooch” Van Druten, Peter Keppler and Jim Ebdon
Waves Audio is continuing its new WavesLive Master Class workshop series with an upcoming event in Las Vegas.
The event, being held Sunday, April 6, will feature a mixing workshop with leading live mixing engineers Ken “Pooch” Van Druten (Linkin Park, Alter Bridge), Peter Keppler (Katy Perry, David Byrne, St. Vincent) and Jim Ebdon (Maroon 5, Aerosmith), who will demonstrate how they use Waves plugins in their live mixing.
Cirque du Soleil
Resident Shows Division
1151 Grier Drive, Suite C
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Sunday, April 6, 2014
10 am to 3 pm
Sign up here.
Waves product specialist Luke Smith and WavesLive marketing manager Noam Raz will also be on hand to provide in-depth information on plugins and new technologies and to show how Waves plug-ins can be integrated into live mixing consoles. The presentation will be followed by an open Q&A session. Attendees will have the opportunity to do some hands-on mixing using the various consoles and plug-ins.
Waves EVP of sales & marketing Mick Olesh says, “WavesLive is proud to sponsor this event. For participants, this is a great opportunity to experience the world of live mixing with plugins and receive tips and tricks directly from mixing legends Pooch, Jim and Peter.”
Van Druten adds, “This Waves event is not to be missed. Jim Ebdon is one of the finest live sound engineers in the industry. I can’t wait to pick his brain about how he works and what plugin choices he makes. Peter Keppler, also joining us at the Waves event, is a monster engineer with great talent. I intend to discover his secrets – especially how he makes Katy Perry destroy the competition with Waves plug-ins.”
Friday, March 14, 2014
In The Studio: Meet The New Loudness Measurement Standard
In December of 2013, a new law called the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act when into full effect.
The rule requires TV stations, cable operators, satellite television providers to control the audio loudness of all programs and commercials that are broadcast. The law is in response to years of complaints about commercials being much louder than program because they had been more heavily compressed.
The law has some serious teeth in it for violations, including heavy fines and loss of a violator’s broadcast license for continued offenses. Because of that, all networks and broadcasters are now especially concerned about the level of any program or commercial supplied, and have a zero tolerance policy for volume that strays outside of the spec (officially called the Advanced Television Systems Committee A/85RP).
As anyone who’s mixed or mastered knows, the relative volumes of two different songs can be very different even though their levels can look the same on a variety of meters, thanks to the amount of compression added. That’s why a new metering system had to be developed to measure the loudness of a program as our ears hear it.
Meet The LKFS Scale
The new measurement is called LKFS, which stands for Loudness, K-weighed, relative to Full Scale, which distinguishes itself from the normal dBFS peak meters found on all digital gear in that measure the loudness not instant by instant, but over a period of time. In Europe, the measurement is called LUFS, which stands for Loudness Units relative to Full Scale.
At one point there was a difference between the two, but today they are identical, so most loudness meters indicate both. LUFS is easier to say, so that seems to take precedent when engineer’s talk loudness.
The new federally mandated loudness specification is -24LKFS +/- 2dB, which means that the loudness of your program better be between -26LKFS to -22LKFS or the program is getting kicked back to be redone.
It’s even trickier than that though, since the measurement must be made around an “anchor element,” which for television means dialog. That means that the dialog must always be around the -24LFS level, while music and effects can momentarily peak above, maybe as high as -16LKFS for brief periods.
While the spec calls for -24LKFS at +/- 2dB, many broadcast networks have even tighter specs, holding their clients to +/- 1dB. That means that there’s little room for error when mixing a program intended for television with dialog.
There’s really no way to estimate LKFS from a VU, peak or PPM meter, so it requires a specialized metering tool made just for this application. The Dolby Media Meter 2, TC Electronic LM2 or LM6, or the Waves WLM meter are the most widely used products on the market at the moment.
Keep in mind that television networks are very strict with their specs, and a violation will result in the project being kicked back to you to do it again. So on those times that you’re asked for television delivery, paying close attention to all the details will ultimately result in a lot less hassle.
Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. Get The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook here.
Universal Audio Announces New Analog Classics Bundles For UAD-2 & Apollo Interfaces
Enhanced bundles add more classic UA plug-ins, new 610-B Tube Preamp, and Softube Guitar Amp emulations
Universal Audio has announced new Analog Classics plug-in bundles for its Apollo interfaces and UAD-2 DSP Accelerator cards.
Building upon the original Analog Classics bundle — which is still offered on select UAD-2 titles— the reconfigured Analog Classics line adds new analog emulation plug-ins such as the 610-B Tube Preamp & EQ Plug-In to new Apollo audio interfaces and UAD-2 PCIe and Satellite DSP Accelerator Cards.
2014 Analog Classics Bundle Lineup for UAD-2 and Apollo:
Analog Classics Bundle
Free with new UAD-2 PCIe SOLO/DUO and Satellite DUOs
Providing legacy versions of UA’s flagship 1176 and Teletronix LA-2A compressors and the Pultec EQP-1A and Pultec Pro equalizers, the Analog Classics bundle also features the popular RealVerb Pro and CS-1 channel strip.
Analog Classics Plus Bundle
Free with new UAD-2 PCIe QUAD/OCTO and Satellite QUADs
This new bundle includes all of the plug-ins in the Analog Classics bundle, plus the new 610-B Tube Preamp & EQ, legacy Fairchild 670 Compressor, and UA Precision Enhancer Hz plug-ins.
Realtime Analog Classics Bundle
Free with new Apollo Twin SOLO/DUOs
The new Realtime Analog Classics bundle features all of the plug-ins in the Analog Classics bundle plus UA’s new 610-B Tube Preamp & EQ plug-in and vintage guitar and bass amp emulations from Softube—both of which work seamlessly with Apollo’s onboard Realtime UAD processing.
Realtime Analog Classics Plus Bundle
Free with new Apollo DUO/QUAD and Apollo 16s
This new bundle includes all of the plug-ins in the Realtime Analog Classics bundle, plus the legacy Fairchild 670 Compressor and UA Precision Enhancer Hz plug-ins.
PreSonus Lands New Distributors For France, Israel, Russia And Spain
All four new firms are recognized for being at the top of their respective markets
PreSonus has announced new distribution agreements for France, Israel, Russia, and Spain.
“We’re honored and very fortunate to have reached agreements with four outstanding distributors,” says PreSonus Europe Ltd. managing director Michelle Lynch. “Each of these companies is a leader in its market, and together, we’ll make an unbeatable team.”
Established in 1971, and boasting 230 employees, ALGAM France is the leading distributor of MI and professional audio products in France and the Benelux.
“When PreSonus first contacted us, we were happily surprised and honored, as PreSonus is a fast-growing and highly innovative company,” says CEO and founder Gérard Garnier. “Moreover, we share the same state of mind: to keep moving forward. ALGAM France will draw on the largest network in France and our local marketing expertise to help PreSonus’ efforts.”
Established in 1972 by CEO and owner Avinoam Yarkoni, A.B. Electronics has been at the top of professional audio and lighting distribution and marketing in Israel for more than 40 years. Remarks Yarkoni, “A.B. Electronics are proud to be able to offer its current and future customers PreSonus’ vast array of excellent and innovative professional audio solutions.”
Adagio is one of the top music-industry distribution companies in Spain and Portugal, with a network of more than 400 dealers and a highly professional team. “We are very happy to have PreSonus onboard,” states product manager Roque Molina. “We look for brands that bring high added value and advanced technology, and PreSonus’ impressive product portfolio perfectly fits and complements our product family of computer-music and live-sound solutions.”
Established in 2012, OKNO-AUDIO is a division of Russia’s premier broadcast systems-integration company OKNO-TV, which has been in operation for more than 20 years. The company distributes a number of key pro-audio brands. Notes Kirill Pavlov, general director of OKNO-AUDIO, “It was extremely important for us to become a distributor for such an innovative and respected brand as PreSonus.”
Adds Vladislav Manaenkov, co-founder and executive director, “We are proud to be an integral part of the PreSonus international team and will do our utmost for the brand’s development in all spheres of the Russian professional market.”
Focusrite Names Damian Hawley Director Of Global Marketing & Sales
Will manage the merged marketing and sales departments for the Focusrite, Novation and RedNet brands worldwide
Focusrite Audio Engineering has named Damian Hawley as director of global marketing and sales, where he will manage the merged marketing and sales departments for the Focusrite, Novation and RedNet brands worldwide, including Focusrite Novation, Inc. (the U.S.-based wholly-owned subsidiary).
Both Phil Wagner (president of Focusrite Novation, Inc) and Giles Orford (marketign director) remain in their respective positions and will continue to serve on the board of directors while reporting to Damian Hawley.
Dave Froker (managing director) states: “Following a period of strong company performance we have decided to bring marketing and sales together as a single organisation to position the business for it’s next phase of growth.”
Hawley, who joined Focusrite in 2004 and became sales director in 2009, adds, “The Focusrite and Novation brands have seen significant growth over the last five years and I now look forward to the privilege of leading our newly combined team of highly talented marketing and sales professionals.”
Harrison 832c Filter Unit Joins Analog Studio Product Line (Includes Video)
Provides eight channels of high/low pass filters from Harrison’s renowned 32c console
The new Harrison 832c Filter Unit, joining the Analog Studio product line, provides eight channels of high/low pass filters from Harrison’s renowned 32c console.
Housed in a 1RU rack-mount package, each channel of the 832c provides independent controls for both the high and low-pass filters, as well as a “bump” button, two sweepable filter knobs, and a 7-segment LED input meter.
When engaged, the bump button creates a resonant boost just above the selected high-pass filter frequency - re-creating the signature low-end of the Harrison 32-series consoles. This feature keeps instruments from sounding thin when you roll off the unwanted low frequency energy.
Combined with proper execution of the low-pass filter, the bump feature makes the 832c a great tool to fatten kick drums, beef up bass lines, and add body to guitar tracks—all while helping each instrument find its place in the mix.
The audio connections are provided on AES59 (Tascam DB-25) connectors. Combined with other Harrison hardware, setup becomes painless and clutter-free, as the input connector of the 832c matches the output connector of the Lineage mic preamp. When used in tandem, the 832c Filter Unit and the Lineage mic preamp provide a complete Harrison 8-channel input section with preamps, filters, and metering.
The new 832c Filter Unit is now available at Harrison’s online store.
Yamaha Commercial Audio Announces Version 2.0 Of CL Series Digital Consoles
Yamaha CL V2.0 Available in May
Yamaha Commercial Audio has announced Version 2.0 of the CL Series of digital consoles at Prolight+Sound/Messe in Frankfurt.
The update includes enhancements for sound reinforcement applications as well as mix-minus capabilities for the broadcast market, broadening the range of applications where CL Series performance can be advantageous.
Another significant enhancement in v2.0 is discovery and head amp control for the compact QL Series consoles, also launched at PL+S, that inherits CL Series features and performance. A QL console can function as both monitor mixer and I/O rack, for example, while a front-of-house CL console can remotely control the head amp gain of the QL console’s I/O.
New features in CL v2.0 include DCA Roll-Put: Channels assigned to DCA groups can be instantly called up to the console faders for enhanced operational flexibility; output DCA enables the stereo/mono bus masters, mix bus masters, and matrix bus masters to be assigned to DCA groups. Mix minus, an important feature in broadcast applications, is now provided; with one simple operation the signal from a particular channel can be removed from a specified bus.
“CL v2.0 not only adds features that are also included in new the QL Series launched today, but provides additional support for our core sound reinforcement customers with features that were only previously available on PM digital mixers,” states Marc Lopez, marketing manager, Yamaha Commercial Audio. “Future plans include built-in Dugan automatic mixing similar to the new QL Series and additional support for broadcast applications in the CL Series. We will continue to keep a close eye on the market in order to provide features and performance that will maximize our customers’ investment in CL.”
With Read Only Scene Memory, it is now possible to create read-only scene memories. A new daisy chain insert feature allows two devices to be inserted into one channel or bus for enhanced processing freedom. A GR meter (dynamics meter) option within the channel name display will show the dynamics 1 and dynamics 2 gain reduction meters in the channel name display.
The CL v2.0 update will be available for download from the Yamaha Commercial Audio web site in May and is free of charge. Those attending the upcoming NAB show in Las Vegas can also check out v2.0 at booth C2143.
Yamaha Commercial Audio
Dynaudio Professional Announces BM mkIII Nearfield Monitors & BMS II Subwoofers
Each new BM mkIII monitor comes bundled with an IsoAcoustics monitor stand
Dynaudio Professional has introduced four new nearfield monitors, mounting solutions, and two new precision subwoofers at Prolight+Sound/Messe in Frankfurt.
New monitors include the BM Compact mkIII, BM5 mkIII, BM6 mkIII and BM12 mkIII, and on the subwoofer side, the BM9S II and BM14S II.
The smaller BM Compact mkIII and BM5 mkIII models both offer expanded frequency response and SPL due to a combination of improvements, including drivers design and Class D amplifiers. Each providess an auto standby mode as well as both XLR and RCA input connectors.
BM6 mkIII and BM12 mkIII have been re-voiced and now include Dynaudio Professional’s proprietary waveguide that enhances precision when distributing high frequencies. Both of the BMS II subwoofers have also been further optimized to compliment the new range of mkIII monitors.
Each new BM mkIII nearfield monitor comes bundled with a dual-branded IsoAcoustics monitor stand that allows the monitors to “float” in free space.
This provides an authentic and uncolored sound that is achieved by eliminating energy transfer to surrounding surfaces. The advantages are significant and apart from a tighter bass response, overall imaging is enhanced and the monitors are able to always perform to their full potential.
BM Compact mkIII and BM5 mkIII come with an ISO-L8R 155 stand. BM6 mkIII and BM12 mkIII come with ISO-L8R 200 stand.
Further support is offered in a range of accessories spanning new mounting solutions for larger studios and broadcasters to precision level controls for the desktop – the volume box for BM Compact mkIII, the TC Level Pilot for BM6 mk III and BM12 mkIII, and the TC Electronic BMC-2 monitor controller.
Fred Speckeen, global brand manager for Dynaudio Professional, states, “We’re tremendously proud of this next step in the evolution of the Dynaudio Professional product range, a brand that has been chosen by ear by the world’s most discerning studio professionals and broadcasters.”
BM Compact mkIII: $629.99 Suggested US retail / 519 € EUR SSP / £429 UK SSP
BM5 mkIII: $729.99 Suggested US retail / 549 € EUR SSP / £449 UK SSP
BM6 mkIII: $899.99 Suggested US retail / 799 € EUR SSP / £649 UK SSP
BM12 mkIII: $1,229.99 Suggested US retail / 1.079 € EUR SSP / £889 UK SSP
BM9S II: $999.99 Suggested US retail / 999 € EUR SSP / £819 UK SSP
BM14S II: $1,849.99 Suggested US retail / 1.849 € EUR SSP / £1,519 UK SSP
Availability—April for Europe and ROW, and May for North America.
Behringer Launches Free “Artist Presets” Library For X32 Digital Console
Free downloads from live and studio engineers available online now
Along with feature set and workflow improvements in version 2.0 firmware, Behringer has announced a free library of “Artist’s Presets” for the X32 digital console.
The library was created by noted sound engineers for use on the X32 for specific situations or instruments. Included are collections of presets from the Whisky A Go Go nightclub in LA and Big Blue Meenie Studios in NYC, as well as engineers Peter Moshay (Live from Daryl’s House, Hall & Oates), Rick Camp (Jennifer Lopez) and Terry “TJ” Jackson (Earth Wind & Fire).
Located on Sunset Strip, Whisky A Go Go installed X32 consoles at front of house and monitor positions in 2013. The “Whisky A Go Go Collection” presets come straight from those X32 consoles, which serve are starting points for engineers who often don’t get sound checks for the up to six bands that perform on any given night.
Located just across the Hudson River from the heart of New York City, Big Blue Meenie is one of the oldest, largest and most prolific “Open for Hire” private production houses for rock music on the U.S. east coast. The “Big Blue Meenie Studios Collection” from studio owner and mix engineer Tim Gilles frames a typical rock mix on the X32 and provides an extensive set of complete instrument channel strips and effects presets. These presets give users an in-depth look at Gilles’ favorite effects and channel strip settings on the X32.
Peter Moshay began his live sound career in the early 80s, hitting the road as a tech and consultant with some of the biggest names in popular music, including Journey, Kenny Loggins, The Cars and Hall & Oates. Currently he continues to work with Daryl Hall on the TV series “Live from Daryl’s House,” and over the past year, he’s used the X32 on live shows with the group and has provide some of his starting points for EQ and compression on the console.
Known for his work Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, among other A-list talent, Rick Camp—considered by many as the “best in the industry”—offers vocal and instrument presets from a consummate audio engineer in the “Rick Camp Collection.”
The “Terry ‘TJ’ Jackson Collection” comes from the noted engineer who’s traveled the world running FOH for such top acts such as Michael Jackson (Project Africa Tour), George Benson, Anita Baker, Whitney Houston and Al Jarreau. Jackson has provided the presets he’s using on the current Earth Wind & Fire tour, which includes an X32 and the Powerplay P16 personal monitoring system.
“TJ is known for his powerful and immaculate mixes,” says product manager Jan Duwe. “We’re proud to support the legacy that is Earth Wind & Fire – and we’re thrilled TJ has agreed to share his signature presets with our X32 users. This is just the beginning of a dynamic library of X32 presets, that will only grow – as more and more world-class artists and engineers turn to the award-winning X32 Digital Mixing Console.”
The “Artist’s Presets Library” comes with the v2.0 firmware download for X32, and is available free of charge at www.behringer.com.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
TC Electronic Announces Development Plans For Universal Audio’s UAD Platform
Companies have agreed on a partnership, but other details to be announced later
TC Electronic has announced future development of its audio tools for the Universal Audio UAD Powered Plug-Ins Platform.
“Our audio signal processing has been regarded as world-leading for decades whether in the form of hardware or software,” says Thomas Valter, VP of Business Management, Broadcast & Production. “We’re very excited to able to offer genuine TC Electronic processing to users of the UAD platform.
“Our effect processing tools have been in heavy demand for some time in a plug-in format,” he continues, “and we feel that now is time to take this significant next step for our plug-ins portfolio.”
“We’re pleased to add TC Electronic to our growing list of Direct Developers for UAD-2,” adds Bill Putnam Jr., CEO and founder of Universal Audio. “Their decades-long commitment to high quality and innovation with their effects line will give our customers more choices for their music projects.”
The companies have agreed on a partnership, but release dates, prices other product-specific details are to be announced at a later time.
Tech Tip Of The Day: Proper Care & Storage Of Analog Tapes
Q: I remember reading that the group Boston had major problems years ago with some tape that had gone bad due to not being stored properly. I have some 2-inch master tapes I’d like to take care of. Advice?
A: The best way to take care of those tapes is to keep them in a cool and dry place. Moisture is the worst thing for tape. It can absorb it, which further aggravates existing problems that cause the magnetic material to come off of the backing.
When this happens you’ll notice an excessive amount of oxide shedding from the tape as you play it. Quite often it will gum up the heads and rollers within minutes.
This is what happened to those infamous Boston tapes and many others over the years. There is a remedy that temporarily restores them to playability, but it gets worse and more difficult as time goes on.
There are places that, for a fee, will store tape in special atmospherically controlled rooms. Assuming you don’t want that expense, probably the most practical advice we can give you is to keep them where you’re comfortable they will be reasonably well off—no attics, basements, etc. They’re still going to break down, but it will take longer and the damage won’t be as bad.
Store them vertically. If you lay them down the edges can get bent and you’ll compromise the material on the outside tracks.
Also, store them “tails out.” That means the end of the tape is what’s hanging off the reel, not the beginning. Tape suffers from a phenomenon called “print through.”
While it’s wound up on a reel with itself, highly energized (magnetized) parts will cause the less energized parts in close contact with them to become somewhat magnetized, which results in audio occurring in places on the tape where it shouldn’t.
Have you ever listened to a recording and been able to hear a very faint echo of the material before it actually starts? That’s from print through. Print through is worse in the outward direction of a tape pack so if you store the tape tails out the worst part of the print through happens after the song (or section) starts, instead of before.
For more tech tips go to Sweetwater.com
PreSonus Introduces Music Creation Suite Recording Kit
Integrated solution for educators, students, and home studios
The new PreSonus Music Creation Suite is an integrated music creation solution designed educators, students, and home studio enthusiasts.
In addition, PreSonus will offer lesson plans and instructional videos to help music educators get the most from the new hardware/software recording and composition kit.
The package includes:
AudioBox USB Audio/MIDI Interface
—Bus-powered USB audio and MIDI interface
—24-bit resolution, 44.1 and 48 kHz sampling rate
—2 combo mic/instrument inputs with Class A mic preamps
—Works with any audio software that supports ASIO or Core Audio
—48V phantom power for condenser microphones
—Zero-latency monitoring via internal mixer
—6-foot (1.8 meter) USB cable included
Studio One Artist Recording & Production Software (DAW)
—Single-window work environment
—Intuitive drag-and-drop functionality
—Unlimited audio tracks, MIDI tracks, buses, VIs, and FX channels
—Instantly configures to PreSonus audio interfaces
—28 Native Effects 32-bit effects and 4 virtual instrument plug-ins
—Compatible with Mac and Windows
—Integrates with free Nimbit account for distributing recordings on the web
Notion Notation Software
—Easily compose, play back, and edit music
—Playback with orchestral samples recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra and more
—Perform scores using Notion as a live instrument
—Create a score on a Mac or PC and edit with Notion for iPad (not included)
—Import/export files via MusicXML
—ReWire support (host and slave)
PS-49 USB 2.0 MIDI keyboard
—49-key, unweighted, velocity-sensitive keyboard
—Assignable controllers: pitch and modulation wheels, volume slider, and four knobs
—Sustain-pedal jack (pedal not included)
—Octave shift button (+4 / -3 octaves)
—Send program change commands
M7 Studio Condenser Microphone
—Mic stand adapter
—9-foot cable and cloth carry bag included
—Lightweight and durable
—Comfortable design for extended use in class or at home
—Adjustable size fits students and adults
—Extended frequency response
—USB 2.0 hub
—Four ports-connect AudioBox USB, PS-49, and two more devices
U.S. map/street price is expected to be $399.95. Custom site licenses for multiple units can be generated when the products are registered.
In The Studio: The Two Most Controversial Topics In Music Production
As engineers we tend to form strong opinions. We base our decisions on what we hear and what we feel. And it’s important to trust these sensibilities with confidence.
Oftentimes, certain subjects will come up in which we lack technical understanding. But we don’t always need technical understanding — we need results.
Unfortunately (and fortunately) when we get those results, we equivocate that with having a correct technical understanding of everything that happened along the way.
So here’s a couple things that tend to get us audio engineers all prickly.
1) Sample Rates
What’s “the best” sample rate to record and/or mix at? Is it 44.1? 48? 88.2? 192?
We tend to divide ourselves into two camps on this one: Higher is better or lower is better. Here’s my take.
The crux of this argument to me is “accuracy.” First and foremost, we are asking what will give us the most accurate results when translating the continuous analog signal into the discrete digital signal.
In order to make this determination we have to first define what “accuracy” actually means.
We can take accuracy to mean the degree of similarity between the analog and digital information. If we don’t consider mechanical errors, than the higher the sample rate the higher the accuracy. We can simply capture more information at higher sample rates.
However, there are two big caveats here.
First of all, we can’t factor out mechanical errors.
They exist, and they skew accuracy. We don’t have error free conversion. And while technology is getting better every day, the fact remains: the higher the sample rate, the greater the mechanical error of the conversion process.
So while we might capture more information at 192 kHz, it’s actually less accurate than the information captured at 44.1 kHz. Oops.
Luckily, caveat number two is that we don’t need unlimited accuracy.
We actually only need accuracy to the degree in which we can use it. It’s not very important if sound above 22 kHz is accurate — or even there at all. While it can be argued that we still sense super frequency sound content, we certainly don’t sense it in a way that makes it more important than what we can clearly hear.
When coupled with reduced storage space and better computer performance, this makes 44.1 kHz to 96kHz all perfectly fine choices, and in my opinion, superior to 176.4 kHz or 192 kHz.
Mind you, one of things we love about recording to tape is the inaccuracies it prescribes on the sound. There’s nothing to say one might not like the sound of 192 kHz—that’s subjective. And if you do—rock out. If it sounds better to you, then it is.
BONUS: When converting sample rates it is a complete myth that 88.2 kHz translates to 44.1 kHz more easily or accurately than 96 kHz translates to 44.1 kHz. Just because it’s vastly easier for our math-challenged minds to divide by two, to a computer, it’s no different at all.
2) Tuning Systems
This one is sure to stir the pot.
The statement is this: The tuning system A 432 is superior to our current tuning standard of A 440. In other words, the theory is that we are currently tuning everything about a quarter tone sharper than where we should.
The problem with this theory is that it’s extremely hard to test and also supremely subjective.
Throughout human history our tuning systems have varied quite widely. In the last 50 years or so we have tuned concert A as high as 446, with more common standards being 442 and 440.
During the Baroque period we tuned A down to 415Hz. That’s more than a semi-tone in variation. And that’s just western tuning. Tuning systems have varied so much that even the harmonic relationship between notes has been adjusted.
Tuning fundamentally comes down to the tension placed on the vibrating element of an instrument. The less tension, the lower the frequency of vibration and vice versa. Changing the tension not only changes the pitch, but also changes the way the vibrating element interacts with the rest of the design.
For example, a guitar in standard tuning will sound tonally different than a guitar in drop D, even when the same notes are being played.
Does drop D sound better than standard tuning? Obviously. I mean, no, it’s completely subjective. It’s a different sound, and functionally speaking, drop D will not give you the same vibrancy that the standard tuning will. It will give you an exciting characterized tone, but not a “functionally better” tone.
The point of all of that is to say that “technically” the best tuning system is the one that the instrument was designed for. Tuning a harpsichord to A 432 would sound odd—though it might be cool.
As for the conspiracy theories and “science” behind the value of A 432… well… I can’t say that any of that is assuredly true or untrue. I’ll have to leave that for you to decide on your own.
So there it is. My take on two of the most annoyingly controversial subjects in the field of music production. Feel free to flame, curse, badger and troll in the comments here.
Matthew Weiss engineers from his private facility in Philadelphia, PA. A list of clients and credits are available at Weiss-Sound.com. To get a taste of The Maio Collection, the debut drum library from Matthew, check out The Maio Sampler Pack by entering your email here and pressing “Download.”
Also be sure to visit The Pro Audio Files for more great recording content. To comment or ask questions about this article, go here.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Business Savvy: Doing the Numbers
The importance of having goals and objectives in your business
Entertainment technology professionals—including sound contractors, recording engineers, and live event technicians—are often driven by creative or artistic goals and dreams, and frequently downplay their financial and personal aspirations.
They assume that someone else is going to handle the business, so they can focus on making the show go on. From my standpoint, that is too risky. You’re in a better position than anyone else to determine what your goals and objectives should be.
How much do I want to earn? How hard to I want to work? What am I willing to risk to get what I want? Many technical people never really address these questions.
Having realistic written goals and objectives is your best tool for managing the inherent challenges in balancing your technical work, business, family, and other interests.
Essentials Of Planning
There’s an old expression that goes “What gets measured, gets done.” This is an important business truism. Having written business goals and objectives are essential for planning, for creative and personal development, and for congruity with your personal values.
You may be thinking, “I have goals in my head. I don’t need to write them down.” It’s good that you have goals. It’s better to write them down and turn them into a set of actionable objectives with milestones.
Goals and objectives are different from one another, but they work together. Here are the definitions.
Goal: A desired result; often long term. Something good that you aspire to over a long period of time.
Objective: An aspect or subset of a goal that is specific, measurable, and achievable.
For example, many people have a goal to get rich and retire young. That’s a desirable result and likely to be a long-term proposition. Now let’s turn this goal into a set objective.
Objective: Own a $2 million investment portfolio by age 60 and be able to live on the interest or dividends.
This is a clear statement of objective. It is specific ($2 million in investments by age 60), measurable (can be tracked over time) and - for the sake of discussion - achievable.
Goals In Three Categories
Goals and objectives relate to all aspects of your technical and personal life, not just finances. For most audio professionals, goals fall neatly into three categories: creative, financial, and personal. Let’s look at a few examples of each.
Creative Goals: Creative or artistic goals are the long-term results that you desire from your audio work, whether you make money from them or not.
Goals in the creative category define the business playing field before adding the financial elements. Here are examples of creative goals:
Live show dates produced: provide technical support for successful live events.
Sound systems designed and installed: be a successful systems integrator.
Records recorded, produced, and released: be a successful recording engineer.
Products or techniques invented: earn a patent for audio technology.
Award nominations and wins: get nominated and perhaps win a prestigious industry award.
Financial Goals: Even if you’re working as an audio technician part time or on a not-for-profit basis, you need financial goals. Your financial goals need to tie to your creative goals.
Once you “do the numbers” you will be better grounded in reality. Your financial goals may include:
Revenue from live show production: earn a living (or part thereof) as a live event technician.
Revenue from systems design, installation, and integration work: earn a living as a systems contractor or integrator.
Revenue from recording sessions: earn a living as a recording engineer.
Revenue for inventions and patents: earn a living as a product designer.
Profit (revenue minus expenses): be profitable; have something left over to save or invest.
Personal Goals: Your creative and financial goals need to be consistent or in harmony with your personal goals.
By identifying those goals up front, you can optimize all results and prevent problems down the road. Personal goals may include:
How much you work in the course of a year: work enough to make a living and get ahead while preventing burnout.
Family time, projects, and relationships: have plenty of time for family and personal life.
Spiritual growth and activities: have time to develop my spiritual beliefs” or “be active in my church.
Educational development: have time to learn new things, business and otherwise.
Health and fitness: stay youthful and live long.
When In Doubt, Quantify
When you feel those uneasy feelings coming on (like wondering if your goals are realistic), it’s time to do the numbers. Quantifying your goals is the first step in designing a set of objectives that are specific, measurable, and achievable.
Everything, including non-financial goals, can be quantified in terms of number of units, pricing or revenue, and timing or date the results are achieved.
As they become quantified, your creative, financial, and personal goals turn into objectives. Here are a few examples of solid, trackable objectives in each of the three categories.
Produce “X” live shows each month.
Design and install “X” systems each year.
Create “X” patent-able products or processes each year.
Earn “X” from pro audio work each year.
Increase average per-project fee earned from “X” to “X” by “X” (date).
Earn “X” from non-traditional sources (patent royalties, consulting etc.) by “X” (date).
Work “X” days per year (the rest is free time).
Contribute “X” ($) or “X” (time) to my local charity, church, school, or community.
Get my weight to “X” pounds and cholesterol level to “X.”
Are My Goals Realistic?
If your entertainment business information comes primarily from the general media - television, radio, newspapers, and magazines - you would conclude that all music industry people are either rich or dead.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Still, think about it. Working technical people are rarely talked about in the media. Some are lured to the entertainment field by the promise of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” along with the “American Dream” scenario of getting rich doing something glamorous.
I trust that most readers understand that the chances of getting rich quick in audio production are about the same as in any other line of business: pretty low.
Is there a middle ground between celebrity and oblivion? You bet. In fact, that’s where most of the thousands of professional audio people and live event technicians in North America are: somewhere in between.
Here’s the point. You don’t need to be a technical superstar to make a good living in pro audio.
Portrayals of music business celebrities—including their roadies and record producers—in the media can be illustrative and entertaining, but seldom serve as a real business model.
What’s Realistic For Me?
How much can I possibly earn in pro audio? Do I need to aspire to technical stardom to make it all worthwhile? Many audio people just want to be able to “pay for their habits” (like buying more gear) and be near the action in the entertainment business.
Others want to make a modest living doing audio work full time. Others want to “get rich and retire young.”
Theoretically, all the above are possible. Your business plan, including detailed goals and objectives, is an important tool for achieving what you want and staying in control throughout the process.
Goals and objectives are essential for financial success, creative development, and personal growth. Writing down your goals and objectives is a powerful exercise that provides clarity and the ability to communicate the information with others.
Along with developing technical chops, the time you spend on developing business chops is your best investment in your career as an entertainment technology professional. And remember, “What gets measured, gets done.”
John Stiernberg is founder and principal consultant with Stiernberg Consulting.