Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Kaltman Creations Introduces New CPArray Antenna For Wireless Microphone Systems
Designed to reduce interference and drop-outs, improve RF signal to noise, and enhance reception of signals propagated through and around objects
The new CPArray antenna for wireless microphones from Kaltman Creations features micro technology that’s designed to deliver better reception than larger paddle and beam-style antennas.
With a circular polarized pick-up pattern and multi-directional focusing ability, the company states that CPArray antennas will reduce interference and drop-outs as well as help improve RF signal to noise and enhance reception of signals propagated through and around objects.
Measuring 6.7 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches (it fits in your hand) and weighing 1.2 pounds, CPArray antennas are very low-profile, well-suited for intimate venues and facilities such as auditoriums, theatres, boardrooms and worship centers.
In application, two CPArray antennas are mounted on a microphone stand Tee-bar, joined by a low-loss antenna combiner that offers the ability to selectively cover in opposing, off-set, and multi-elevation directions. This configuration provides the unique ability to focus reception in selected areas for maximum efficiency, and to avoid extraneous and interfering RF.
The IWxCPArray (model number) is passive, with a 60-degree beamwidth. The pattern is circular polarized in the 470 MHz to 960 MHz range. The antennas are painted theater black with a 50-ohm, low-loss BNC connection.
The antennas are sold in a twin-pair configuration with the Tee mounting bar for traditional “diversity” connections for $549, or with the antenna combiner for multi-directional focusing for $599. An optional 6-inch wall-mount is available for $49.
Kaltman Creations LLC
Monday, January 05, 2015
AKG Names Karam Kaul To Lead Marketing & Eric Boyer To Head Worldwide Sales
Both working with Bryan Bradley, general manager of Harman Professional’s loudspeaker business unit who was appointed to lead AKG in July 2014
Harman Professional has announced a new leadership team for AKG’s professional business, naming Karam Kaul as director of marketing and Eric Boyer as vice president of worldwide sales, working with Bryan Bradley, general manager of Harman Professional’s loudspeaker business unit who was appointed to lead AKG in July 2014.
Boyer and Kaul will both be based out of Harman Professional’s Northridge, CA headquarters and will work closely with the AKG team in Vienna, Austria. The AKG home base in Vienna will be managed by Martin Thaler, head of AKG Austria GmbH.
“AKG is a storied brand with strong appreciation in the marketplace but also considerable untapped potential,” Bradley states. “With Eric and Karam in these critical leadership positions, I’m confident that AKG will realize its vast market potential and provide customers and channel partners with the products and programs that make them successful.
“Similarly, I’m pleased to have an operations professional of Martin Thaler’s caliber to be our site leader in Vienna — which continues to be the cradle of AKG innovation and R&D.”
Boyer was previously director of marketing and global business development at Beijing Pacific Budee Technology Development Co. in Beijing, China, and prior to that director of business development at Burl Audio in Santa Cruz, CA. He also previously served as VP of operations at Audio Agent, led marketing for PreSonus, and was director of marketing and later VP of manufacturing at Blue Microphones. He is a Pro Tools-certified producer/engineer and a voting member of the Recording Academy, as well as a member-at-large of the Audio Engineering Society.
Kaul joins AKG from Guitar Center, where he held various cross-functional positions, most recently as the director of marketing for Guitarcenter.com. Previously, he also held roles as director of business development for Tech Merchandising and director of training for the Tech Division.
“Im very excited to take on the global marketing role at AKG,” Kaul says. “I look forward to learning everything about this incredible brand, to meeting as many customers and team members as I can and then putting the right plan in place to grow this brand. In doing so, we’ll tap the passion and commitment within these walls to put winning products in the hands of our customers and dealers.”
Boyer adds, “AKG has phenomenal technology, great people and a culture of commitment to the professional audio and MI communities. Our long-standing tradition of innovation and engineering excellence continues to push the boundaries of transducer design and manufacturing.
“Since 1947 when Dr. Görike and Mr. Pless founded the company in Vienna, AKG has racked up numerous patents, awards, and industry accolades and remains a fixture in live sound production, installed sound, studio recording, and broadcasting,” Boyer continues. “I look forward to working with Bryan and Karam and the entire AKG and Harman Professional organizations in growing this business into the market leader it’s destined to be.”
Monday, December 22, 2014
Nineteen Attain Sennheiser RF Expert Certification
Follows successful completion of nine months of intensive wireless system and RF coordination training
Nineteen wireless professionals from Sennheiser have been awarded RF Expert certification following successful completion of nine months of intensive wireless system and RF coordination training.
The last of three on-site training sessions took place in Delhi, and in the meantime the new RF experts have been supporting Sennheiser customers and partners in their projects.
“The system of extensive on-line training and close supervision by mentors combined with several weeks of on-site training has proven itself,” states Kirsten Wessendorf, manager, Sennheiser Sound Academy.
Some of the new RF experts have already completed their first major projects. Ryan Burr of Sennheiser Middle East provided support for his client Doummar – Q2 Advanced Technology in planning the conference and entertainment facilities for the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Centre in Doha (Qatar). This included carrying out a thorough analysis of the wireless conditions at the location, planning the conference/interpreting systems and the wireless microphone channels, coordinating all wireless frequencies and programming and testing the systems on site.
“This project is simply gigantic,” Burr says. “Five conference rooms are equipped with ADN-W wireless conference systems with a total of 380 delegate units, while a further six have SR 2020/HDE 2020 interpreting systems with a total of 4,000 receivers. 150 channels of wireless microphones, mostly 5000/3000 systems, are used in the event venues. One room alone has 72 channels. It’s the largest single project that Sennheiser Middle East has ever worked on, and my further training as an RF expert came just at the right time for me.”
Vincent Tilgenkamp of Sennheiser Benelux achieved top results in all tasks and was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award. He can also look back on a number of successful projects, including the television show “Utopia,” devised by John de Mol and produced by Talpa, in which he supported the multimedia company Dutchview by providing a special wireless solution.
Dutchview was faced with the challenge of picking up the wireless microphone signals from the reality show participants over an area of 12,500 square meters. Tilgenkamp and his team succeeded in covering this vast area with a single rack of receivers and a number of antenna distribution combiners that were custom-built for the show. .
“I particularly liked the on-site training sessions where we had to solve tricky problems,” Tilgenkamp says. “Our mentors made a lot of effort to manipulate the equipment, introduce all sorts of RF interference and additionally put us under time pressure. For example, they would invite a big audience to a concert and ask us to get the band miked and the RF wireless systems running in virtually no time at all. In the end, of course, the audience was let in on time and enjoyed a top-quality gig.”
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Coming Up: SynAudCon Wireless & OptEQ In-Person Training Workshops In January
Each is an in-depth, 2-way seminar, hosted back-to-back at the American Airlines Convention Center
SynAudCon is presenting “Making Wireless Work” and “OptoEQ” in-person training workshops in Dallas this coming January (2015). Note that SynAudCon in-person workshops usually sell out, so those interested in attending should register as soon as possible.
“Making Wireless Work” is a 2-day seminar focusing on wireless microphone technologies, frequency coordination, band planning, RF fundamentals, FCC and spectrum allocation issues, and site survey commissioning procedures. It will be held in Dallas on January 3 and 4, 2015 at the American Airlines Convention Center.
Top wireless professionals, including noted RF consultant James Stoffo, who also works with Radio Active Designs, as well as Karl Winkler of Lectrosonics and Tim Vear of Shure, will share their extensive knowledge about how to best utilize wireless systems in audio applications. The instructors from the manufacturing side will provide “under the hood” expertise on how products function, while the instructors from the non-manufacturer side will offer an objective perspective and show how to implement optimum solutions.
Those interested in staying in Dallas for an additional 2 days can also take advantage of SynAudCon’s “OptEQ” in-person seminar being held January 5 and 6 (2015), also at the American Airlines Convention Center
OptEQ will present a comprehensive approach to sound system tuning that combines contemporary and legacy design and equalization practices into a logical, accurate and repeatable process. Instructors are Pat Brown, John Murray and Deward Timothy.
The cost for each workshop is $750. Get more information and register for one or both workshops at www.prosoundtraining.com or by calling Brenda Brown at 812-923-0174. And, note that these workshops have been submitted for Renewal Units.
Monday, December 15, 2014
New Dual Wireless Microphone Receiver Cards Available For Galaxy Audio Traveler Portable Systems
With addition of card, up to four wireless mics can be used with a single Traveler portable PA
The new TV-DREC and TV5-DREC from Galaxy Audio are dual receiver cards that can be added to the company’s Traveler portable PA systems, facilitating the use of two additional UHF wireless microphones.
Traveler systems already come with an onboard dual wireless receiver that works with two UHF wireless mics, so the addition of a TV-DREC and TV5-DREC card doubles that capacity, meaning that four UHF wireless mics can be used with a single Traveler.
Each receiver card is outfitted with two volume controls (one for each receiver), as well as 96 selectable frequencies. Also included are channel selector, RF and AF indicator, volume control, and LCD display.
The new cards are designed for easy after-market installation. The TV-DREC card is for Traveler TV8 & TV10 models, while the TV5-DREC is for Traveler TV5i & TV5X models.
Both cards have street pricing that starts at $229.99.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Back & Better Than Ever
Fall Out Boy is back, and as this year’s recently concluded months-long concert tour demonstrated, the American rock/punk quartet is more popular than ever. The tour comes following the band reuniting after going on a hiatus, in advance of the release of its sixth studio album, American Beauty/American Psycho.
Originating in Chicago’s punk scene, Fall Out Boy formed in 2001 and is still comprised of original members Patrick Stump (guitar), Pete Wentz (bass), Joe Trohman (guitar), and Andy Hurley (drums). All players contribute vocals, with Stump taking the lead role in that regard.
In the process of reuniting, the band also sought to reinvent its sound, focusing a bit more on a pop style. Two veteran touring engineers were on hand to support that effort: Chad Olech (Alice in Chains, Deftones, P.O.D., Thin Lizzy) at front of house and Pasi Hara (System of A Down, Slash, HIM, Serj Tankian) at monitors. And as with all previous Fall Out Boy tours, Clair provided the systems and tech support.
Olech’s been working with the band for more than a year, and he called in Finland-based Hara to handle monitors while the tour was in Europe. Both agree that it’s a great group to work with, and that the mantra, shared by the artists, is to keep things straightforward.
Engineers Pasi Hara (left) and Chad Olech at front of house with an Avid VENUE Profile console. (Credit: Pasi Hara)
Methods Of Capture
A long-time staple of Fall Out Boy’s gear approach is Shure microphones and wireless systems, and that continues. Stump utilized a KSM9 capsule in tandem with a UHF-R wireless system, which he’d switched to prior to Olech and Hara coming onboard. Despite that, the two engineers worked with him in evaluating several other options, but they all kept coming back to the KSM9.
“This mic works well with Patrick’s tonality,” Olech explains. “He has a pretty strong upper-midrange voice that the KSM9 fully captures,” with Hara adding, “In my experience there aren’t many people that this mic does not work well with. The KSM9 is a really, really good microphone.”
Bassist Pete Wentz using his tried and true SM58. (Credit: Steve Jennings)
As they’ve done for years, Wentz and Trohman sang into hard-wired SM58s, while drummer Hurley was supplied with a BETA 56A supercardioid dynamic that works with his vocal signature while being compact and unobtrusive, mounted on a boom with a gooseneck for extra control of positioning.
A relatively new development was that the guitar amps were miked – previously they had been taken direct. Initially this was handled with KSM32 side-address cardioid condensers before a transition to KSM313 bi-directional ribbons that everyone was quite pleased with.
Hara used a single mic on each amp, positioned at the center. Bass was taken direct via a Tech 21 SansAmp, with no amp cabinet on stage.
The drum kit was captured with a largely rock n’ roll approach. A BETA 91A was inside the kick and a BETA 52A was in the hole, with Olech applying a bit of Waves InPhase plug-in at front of house to put the two in sync.
A dual mic method was also taken on snare, with a BETA 56A on top and a KSM32 on bottom, and they were also phase aligned with an assist from the plug-in. “The Waves tool makes a world of difference,” Olech notes.
BETA 98A miniature cardioid condensers were applied to the toms, another mic drawing high praise from Olech. Meanwhile, overheads were technically underheads, with KSM137 end-address condensers positioned closely under both of Hurley’s crash cymbals. The same went for ride and hi-hat.
Keeping It Simple
Both engineers did their mixing on Avid VENUE Profile consoles that have been another tour staple. Neither goes over-the-top in terms of processing, with Olech noting that he utilized Phoenix CraneSong as well as Waves C6 and SSL ChannelStrip plug-ins to tailor Stump’s vocal mix, completing it with a bit of reverb and delay.
Fall Out Boy in concert on the recent tour. (Credit: Steve Jennings)
Hara inherited the previous show file, and stripped back the processing to an extent. The goal was keeping each monitor mix tight and with minimum latency. “These guys want to keep it simple, have their own instrument and vocal on top of their monitor mix, and everything else significantly below that,” he explains. “Other than that, there’s some click and stereo backing track blended in, and that’s it.”
The Fall Out Boy stage was devoid of loudspeakers – not a wedge, side fill or even drum “thumper” to be found. It helped keep down overall noise and wash, contributing to a very clean, distinct sonic signature in the house.
All of the musicians wore JH Audio JH16 Pro in-ear monitors fed by Shure PSM 1000 wireless personal monitoring systems. Hara is forthcoming in his praise of the PSM 1000s. “They’re the most solid systems in terms of RF that I’ve ever worked with, and provide excellent sound that can be punchy when you want it,” he says. “At this time they’re really hard to beat.”
Hara was responsible for all RF coordination on the tour, with more than 30 active channels (plus spares) to get in line at each stop. This included the Shure guitar wireless systems favored by Wentz (UR4D), Stump (also UR4D) and Trohman (ULXD4Q). He performed frequency scans prior to each show, utilizing the Shure Wireless Workbench platform and Axient 600 spectrum manager to help get it all coordinated.
The tour’s Clair i5 arrays deployed at a stop on the tour. (Credit: Pasi Hara)
Hara and Olech both enjoy long-standing working relationships with Clair, further aligning their goals and those of the band.
Clair provided i5 full-range line array modules joined by i5b low-frequency array modules, typically deployed 12 per side to cover the amphitheatres and arenas visited by the tour. Lower octaves were reinforced by 24 BT-218 dual-18-inch subwoofers on the deck.
Olech notes that the draw at each venue was exceptionally strong, with mostly sold-out shows. “It’s kind of interesting,” he concludes. “The band went away for a few years and actually managed to grow their fan base when they returned. They’re also a real pleasure to work with, and our vendor support was amazing. That kind of enthusiasm makes for a great tour.”
Thursday, December 11, 2014
AKG Introduces APS4 Wide-Band UHF Active Antenna Power Splitter
Can feed up to four receivers with the RF signal coming from one pair of antennas
Harman’s AKG has introduced the new APS4 antenna power splitter, which can be operated in an extended frequency range of 470 to 952 MHz for maximum flexibility and is available for DMS700, WMS4500, WMS470 and WMS420 receivers.
The APS4 offers multiple technical improvements, including a flat frequency response. It is a wide-band UHF active antenna power splitter that can feed up to four receivers with the RF signal coming from one pair of antennas. It also supplied power to all connected receivers via BNC cables (each of which is individually protected against short-circuits).
Adjustable RF-level attenuation settings guarantee maximum operating distance, even when using difference cable lengths and different types of cables. The APS4 comes in a rugged half-rack metal housing and works with all active and passive AKG antennas available on the market (including the RA4000 B/W, RA4000 W, SRA2 B/W and SRA2 W).
It’s shipped with additional accessories, including 10 BNC antenna cables (MKPS), plus a rackmount unit (RMU4000) that includes two antenna front-mount cables.
Two rear panel antenna inputs provide a 12 VDC supply voltage for powering up to three active elements per antenna path—for example, one active antenna (RA4000 B/W or SRA2 B/W) and two AB4000 antenna boosters connected to one RF input. Also located on the rear panel are two sets of four BNC antenna output connectors for feeding up to four diversity receivers and two additional antenna outputs for cascading up to three further APS4 devices. Remote power for antennas and receivers makes installation even easier.
The APS4 also features a new black front for a sleeker appearance. APS4 sets are available in four different power supply variants: EU, US, UK or none included.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Prof. Dr. Jörg Sennheiser Hands Over Chairmanship Of Sennheiser Supervisory Board
Placing management of company fully into hands of third Sennheiser generation
Having recently turned 70 years old, Prof. Dr. Jörg Sennheiser is handing over the chair of the supervisory board of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG to Dr. Frank Heinricht, as of January 1, 2015.
Heinricht has been chairman of the board of management of Schott AG since 2013 and became a member of the supervisory board of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG five years ago.
Daniel and Andreas Sennheiser, CEOs and shareholders of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG, jointly state: “Dr. Heinricht has a profound technical expertise and brings experience in managing large family-owned companies to his new role. We are very happy that he is taking over as chairman of the supervisory board of the Sennheiser Group.
In withdrawing as chairman of the supervisory board, Jörg Sennheiser is placing the management of the company fully into the hands of the third Sennheiser generation. His sons, Daniel and Andreas, have been running Sennheiser electronic GmbH und Co. KG as CEOs since July 2013.
Jörg Sennheiser adds, “My goal has always been to pass a healthy, thriving company on to the next generation.” The Sennheiser family has laid down the principles of this long-term sustainable policy in a Family Charter. This not only defines core company values such as fairness and trust, the charter also includes the commitment to maintain Sennheiser as a family business.
“The company’s independence is our most precious asset,” says Jörg Sennheiser. “The family is committed to pursuing its strategy without any influence from third parties, a strategy that focuses on absolute customer orientation, technical innovation and first-class quality. This is an aim I have always pursued, and it is the basis of the decades of success that we have enjoyed and will enjoy in the future.”
Jörg Sennheiser became Sennheiser’s director of technology in 1976 before taking over management of the family business as executive shareholder in 1982. During his time at the helm, Sennheiser developed to an internationally successful brand. This involved setting up new manufacturing facilities in Ireland and the USA, while at the same time expanding production in Germany.
In addition, Sennheiser internationalized its sales organisation during this time. As a result of this sustained growth strategy, Sennheiser today has over 2,500 employees across the globe and is active in more than 60 countries.
The Sennheiser Group based in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, was founded in 1945. Sales in 2013 totaled 590.4 million euros. The company has a worldwide network of subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Germany, Denmark (Nordic), Russia, Hongkong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, and the USA.
It also has long-established trading partners in other countries. Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin, a maker of studio microphones and monitor speakers, and Sennheiser Communications A/S, a joint venture making headsets for PCs, offices and call centers, are also part of the Sennheiser Group.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
RF Venue Releases Two New Antenna Distribution Products
COMBINE4 four-channel transmitter combiner and DISTRO4 updated to include cascade ports
RF Venue has released two new antenna distribution products: COMBINE4, a four-channel transmitter combiner, and DISTRO4, which has been updated to include cascade ports.
COMBINE4 is a professional, affordable combiner for any brand of in-ear monitoring system. It joins four IEM signals into a single RF output for dramatic improvement in signal quality and extended range via optional directional antennas.
“With performers of all kinds demanding IEMs, the challenge is for engineers to minimize dropouts and interference,” says RF Venue CEO Chris Regan. “Using a robust antenna combiner like the new COMBINE4 paired with a dedicated transmit antenna makes an enormous difference, even on small IEM systems.”
RF Venue’s updated DISTRO4 retains all features of the previous generation antenna distributor, but adds a fifth cascade port to allow multiple DISTRO4s to cascade together for 16 or more receivers running through a single diversity antenna pair.
“The original DISTRO4 has been one of our best selling products because it has everything the audio pro needed for professional grade antenna distribution, and it works with any wireless microphone brand,” Regan notes. “The only request we consistently received for that model was the addition of a fifth cascade port, and we’re pleased to announce that the current DISTRO4 now incorporates this feature.”
Both COMBINE4 and DISTRO4 include internal power supplies, DC jacks for elimination of wall-warts, and ship with all RF and power jumpers required for four-channel operation and cascading. Both products are also available in discounted packages with RF Venue’s high performance directional antennas.
DISTRO4 is priced at $559 MAP, and COMBINE4 $575 MAP.
Friday, December 05, 2014
Sennheiser Mics & Wireless IEM Systems The Choice For Kylie Minogue On Tour
Sennheiser microphones and wireless monitor systems playing a vital role in Eighth Day Sound’s audio production.
The recent European leg of the “Kiss Me Once” concert tour by pop artist Kylie Minogue saw Sennheiser microphones and wireless monitor systems playing a vital role in Eighth Day Sound’s (Highland Heights, OH and the UK) audio production.
The tour’s microphone package includes Sennheiser SKM 5200 microphones with MD 5235 capsules and EM 3732-II receivers, with monitoring via SR 2050 IEM transmitters and EK 2000 IEM belt packs.
“The SKM 5200/MD 5235 combination really suits this show, as Kylie spends a lot of time out in front of the PA system on the B stage,” explains Kevin Pruce, front of house engineer for Minogue. “Other combinations gave me less headroom, while the size and weight of the microphone are also very important. We have a great relationship with Sennheiser, in particular Mark Saunders. He is always available for advice and the backup is superb.”
Production manager Kevin Hopgood adds, “Sennheiser – what can I say? We have a working relationship with Mark and the team going back over 12 years and the support on the 2014 tour has been, as ever, exemplary. Kylie hasn’t picked up another brand of microphone by choice since the first time we tried them – the weight, feel and audio quality are all perfect for her.
“Sennheiser has always delivered assistance with customization to tie in with the show aesthetics, this year with microphone bodies in scarlet, hot pink and chrome. Kylie is all about quality and attention to detail, so Sennheiser equipment is the ideal complement.”
Eighth Day Sound’s
Musical Instrument Characteristics As They Relate To Mic Placement
Instruments and other sound sources are characterized by their frequency output, by their directional output, and by their dynamic range.
Frequency output is the span of fundamental and harmonic frequencies produced by an instrument, and the balance or relative level of those frequencies.
Musical instruments have overall frequency ranges as found in the chart below. The dark section of each line indicates the range of fundamental frequencies and the shaded section represents the range of the highest harmonics or overtones of the instrument. The fundamental frequency establishes the basic pitch of a note played by an instrument while the harmonics produce the timbre or characteristic tone.
It is this timbre that distinguishes the sound of one instrument from another. In this manner, we can tell whether a piano or a trumpet just played that C note. The following graphs show the levels of the fundamental and harmonics associated with a trumpet and an oboe each playing the same note.
Instrument frequency ranges.
The number of harmonics along with the relative level of the harmonics is noticeably different between these two instruments and provides each instrument with its own unique sound.
A microphone which responds evenly to the full range of an instrument will reproduce the most natural sound from an instrument. A microphone which responds unevenly or to less than the full range will alter the sound of the instrument, though this effect may be desirable in some cases.
Directional output is the three-dimensional pattern of sound waves radiated by an instrument.
A musical instrument radiates a different tone quality (timbre) in every direction, and each part of the instrument produces a different timbre. Most musical instruments are designed to sound best at a distance, typically two or more feet away. At this distance, the sounds of the various parts of the instrument combine into a pleasing composite. In addition, many instruments produce this balanced sound only in a particular direction. A microphone placed at such distance and direction tends to pick up a natural or well-balanced tone quality.
Instrument spectra comparison.
On the other hand, a microphone placed close to the instrument tends to emphasize the part of the instrument that the microphone is near. The resulting sound may not be representative of the instrument as a whole. Thus, the reinforced tonal balance of an instrument is strongly affected by the microphone position relative to the instrument.
Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, to place a microphone at the “natural sounding” distance from an instrument in a sound reinforcement situation without picking up other (undesired) sounds and/or acoustic feedback. Close microphone placement is usually the only practical way to achieve sufficient isolation and gain-before-feedback.
But since the sound picked up close to a source can vary significantly with small changes in microphone position, it is very useful to experiment with microphone location and orientation. In some cases more than one microphone may be required to get a good sound from a large instrument such as a piano.
Dynamic range is the range of volume of an instrument from its softest to its loudest level.
The dynamic range of an instrument determines the specifications for sensitivity and maximum input capability of the intended microphone. Loud instruments such as drums, brass and amplified guitars are handled well by dynamic microphones which can withstand high sound levels and have moderate sensitivity. Softer instruments such as flutes and harpsichords can benefit from the higher sensitivity of condensers.
Of course, the farther the microphone is placed from the instrument the lower the level of sound reaching the microphone.
In the context of a live performance, the relative dynamic range of each instrument determines how much sound reinforcement may be required. If all of the instruments are fairly loud, and the venue is of moderate size with good acoustics, no reinforcement may be necessary.
On the other hand, if the performance is in a very large hall or outdoors, even amplified instruments may need to be further reinforced. Finally, if there is a substantial difference in dynamic range among the instruments, such as an acoustic guitar in a loud rock band, the microphone techniques (and the sound system) must accommodate those differences. Often, the maximum volume of the overall sound system is limited by the maximum gain-before- feedback of the softest instrument.
Intensity level in decibels (at distance of 10 feet).
An understanding of the frequency output, directional output, and dynamic range characteristics of musical instruments can help significantly in choosing suitable microphones, placing them for best pickup of the desired sound and minimizing feedback or other undesired sounds.
Another instrument with a wide range of characteristics is the loudspeaker. Anytime you are placing microphones to pick up the sound of a guitar or bass cabinet you are confronted with the acoustic nature of loudspeakers.
Each individual loudspeaker type is directional and displays different frequency characteristics at different angles and distances. The sound from a loudspeaker tends to be almost omnidirectional at low frequencies but becomes very directional at high frequencies.
Thus, the sound on-axis at the center of a speaker usually has the most “bite” or high-end, while the sound produced off-axis or at the edge of the speaker is more “mellow” or bassy. A cabinet with multiple loudspeakers has an even more complex output, especially if it has different speakers for bass and treble. As with most acoustic instruments the desired sound only develops at some distance from the speaker.
Sound reinforcement situations typically require a close-mic approach. A unidirectional dynamic microphone is a good first choice here: it can handle the high level and provide good sound and isolation. Keep in mind the proximity effect when using a uni close to the speaker: some bass boost will be likely.
If the cabinet has only one speaker a single microphone should pick up a suitable sound with a little experimentation. If the cabinet has multiple speakers of the same type it is typically easiest to place the microphone to pick up just one speaker. Placing the microphone between speakers can result in strong phase effects though this may be desirable to achieve a particular tone. However, if the cabinet is stereo or has separate bass and treble speakers multiple microphones may be required.
Placement of loudspeaker cabinets can also have a significant effect on their sound. Putting cabinets on carpets can reduce brightness, while raising them off the floor can reduce low end. Open-back cabinets can be miked from behind as well as from the front. The distance from the cabinet to walls or other objects can also vary the sound. Again, experiment with the microphone(s) and placement until you have the sound that you like!
Supplied by Shure. For more information visit www.shure.com.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Lectrosonics Plays Key Role In Capturing Audio For Documentary On Lions
Four-part series focuses on animal behaviorist's up close work with lions, requiring electronics to be robust
Location sound recordist Sebastian Dunn utilized Digital Hybrid Wireless technology from Lectrosonics for his work on a 4-part series with a working title of “The Origin of Cats,” scheduled to be shown on British Sky Broadcasting’s Sky 1 TV.
The documentary, which took Dunn to Namibia and South Africa, focuses on animal behaviorist Kevin Richardson’s work with lions. A requirement is that the electronics used to capture audio have to be robust.
“I’ve been using Lectrosonics gear for over 20 years,” Dunn reports. “I started with the company’s M185 transmitters and CR185 receivers, later upgraded to the UM and SM transmitters, UCR411 receivers and, from there, I acquired SMQV super miniature transmitters and SRb dual slot ENG receivers.”
Dunn has been working in location sound since 1993. The first milestone in his career occurred when he covered the post-apartheid elections in South Africa for Sky News. In 2013, he was nominated in the Sound Factual category for the illustrious BAFTA Television Craft Awards. The nomination was received for his work on “Brazil” with Michael Palin.
“My contribution to the show took place in Namibia and South Africa,” he continues, “and for this, I used two SMQVs and the SRb—both on block 26. I also used a Lectrosonics SNA600 dipole antenna.” The production company is Bristol-based Offspring Films in the UK, slated for release mid-2015.
“Throughout most of my career,” he explains, “I’ve been traveling and, for the most part, working in technically challenging environments. Having used almost every wireless system on the market, there is none more robust and durable than Lectrosonics. I’ve successfully used them in extreme 130 degree heat as well as sub-zero environments.
“As my locations are always so varied and unpredictable, I can’t always check frequency compatibility but, for the most part, have not encountered problems severe enough to rule out the use of wireless mics. The SNA600 antenna is also a valuable part of my kit—particularly when the RF range is questionable. The addition of the LectroRM app for my iPhone has also been extremely useful so that I can make hasty changes on the fly.”
Dunn describes what the equipment typically encountered with Richardson” “The fully grown lions can be very rough and physically jump on him and push him around. When I asked to wire Kevin up, he said it was a huge risk. Having worked with many film crews in the past, Kevin said that most transmitters got damaged by his lions. When I mentioned that I only use Lectrosonics transmitters, his eyebrows lifted. ‘They’ll handle the punishment’ he said. Reluctantly, I clipped my SMQV onto the inside of his belt.”
“Once the crew was safely on the vehicles,” Dunn adds, “the female lioness Olivia was released and immediately launched herself onto Kevin—knocking him right off his feet. For 5 minutes, they ‘played’—with the 300 pound lioness rolling onto him and knocking him about like a ragdoll. The audio was solid throughout the interaction. Then Kevin said that the vehicles were too much of a distraction for the lions. He wanted to go further into the bush to get away from us. We mounted a few GoPro camera’s onto him and off he went. I estimate he went a third of a mile away but, with the use of the SNA600 antenna, my signal was rock solid.”
Monday, December 01, 2014
Countryman Assists International Storydancer Zuleikha Bethami
Ability to communicate with audience while dancing to live music enhanced by a E6i earset mic
International storydancer Zuleikha Bethami—known professionally as Zuleikha—inspires dynamic creativity and rejuvenation through movement, with the ability to communicate with her audience while dancing to live music enhanced by a Countryman Associates E6i earset microphone.
Zuleikha’s performances take place in a wide range of venues, including theaters, schools, auditoriums, conference rooms, and other gathering places. In addition to her dance performances, she also conducts a core wellness program called TAKE A MINUTE for young people and adults in group settings.
“My use of the Countryman E6i has made performing a lot more fun,” Zuleikha reports. “Since I don’t have to try to make my voice ‘louder,’ I can concentrate on the quality of dance and movement, as well as working with the rhythm of my ankle bells. The combination of speech and movement is now a joyful, seamless experience.
“I’ve been using the Countryman E6i for about four years and I find it makes my presentations more effortless. I use the mic with a Shure wireless microphone system and, together, they make a great setup.”
Zuleikha cites the E6i’s audio characteristics and fit. “I love the fact that my Countryman mic is so easy to work with,” she says. “I never experience any difficulty getting enough level for the audience to hear clearly. Speech intelligibility with this microphone is clear and very natural sounding.”
“I also love the way the microphone fits,” she continues. “The E6i has a very flexible boom that can be bent and reshaped repeatedly, making it very easy to position the mic’s capsule exactly as you want. The E6i is both comfortable and it stays securely in place. This is very important because the last thing any performer needs is a distraction.
“With the E6i, I can forget about the sound reinforcement aspects of my work and focus on the creative. This microphone enhances the performance without ever requiring me to focus on the technical aspects of operating it.”
She’s also happy with the level of service the company provides in support of its product: “Rosa Pimentel, the company’s General Manager, is a joy to work with. The help that Rosa gave me enabled me to learn how to properly position the microphone in order to ensure a secure and comfortable fit. Recently, when I took delivery of a new earpiece and different neck gear, she took the time to help me get really comfortable using them.
“It’s wonderful to be able to move and work with others without having to strain my voice to be heard. I appreciate the kind technical support provided by Countryman. It seems this is a company that enjoys working with its customers. The Countryman staff actually takes the time to speak with us. In these times of automated customer support, this is a very welcome change.”
Friday, November 28, 2014
Leading UK Tech Service Supplier Hawthorn Names DPA As Microphones Of Choice
Adds wide range of DPA mics to inventory, including d:fine headset, d:screet 4060 lavalier and d:vote 4099 instrument models
Hawthorn, a leading UK-based independent supplier of technical production services, has named DPA Microphones as its primary mic brand.
Established in 1987, Hawthorn employs over 120 staff from offices several offices in the UK, handling more than 1,000 events each year, including gala dinners, product launches, conferences and parties.
The company’s product portfolio has seen a substantial investment over the last two years and now includes a selection of top sound, AV, lighting, rigging, and staging gear. Among this inventory is a wide range of DPA mics, including d:fine headset, d:screet 4060 lavalier and d:vote 4099 instrument models.
“It all started a few years ago when we were looking for headset microphones to replace the brand we had previously been using,” says Jon Curnew, head of sound at Hawthorn. “We discovered the DPA d:fine headset microphone range and were immediately taken with the fact that they came with single- and dual-ear attachments. That versatility really appealed to us. We now have a stock of about 35 d:fine mics and we use them all the time. They are much easier to position than any other headset mic we have tried, and our customers love them.”
Although Hawthorn also offers DPA d:screet 4060 lavalier mics, most of its customers prefer a headset so they don’t have to worry about accidentally knocking the mic or forgetting to take it off when they go off stage. “Headsets are also better at picking up weaker voices because the microphone is positioned so close to the mouth and doesn’t have to compete with background noise,” Curnew says. “Once the mics are in place, they tend to stay in place. We even had a guy wear one while he was doing aerobics and the mic managed to survive.”
For musicians, Hawthorn has 17 DPA d:vote 4099 instrument mics in stock, and recently added six d:facto vocal mics, which were purchased from Sound Network, DPA’s UK distributor. “We use the d:vote with a variety of clips and they are great because they deliver such a clean, transparent sound,” Curnew adds. “We saw the d:facto at PLASA two years ago, but we needed the right event to inspire us to buy some. That turned out to be SunWalk in London’s Battersea Park, a charity event raising money for breast cancer research, for which we delivered full technical production.”
Four wired and two wireless d:factos were immediately put to use on the SunWalk live music stage. “Everyone loved the d:facto,” Curnew continues. “They sounded amazing and we had no issues with feedback or rejection. The mics worked well across a range of artists and really brought out the subtlety in the vocalists’ voices. We have since used them on other events, including an opera. It’s interesting to note how often they are cropping up on artists’ riders. That’s another reason we felt the time was right to invest in some of our own.”
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Dante Card & New Firmware For Sennheiser Digital 9000 Series Wireless Now Available
Card provides 16 audio inputs to send digital audio and command signals over Dante network
Sennheiser has announced the availability of a Dante card for the EM 9046 receiver, enabling the flagship Digital 9000 wireless microphone system to be integrated into Dante audio-over-IP networks.
Also available – as free downloads – are the associated new Digital 9000 firmware version 3.0.3, and the new Wireless Systems Manager 4.2 with a set of optimized monitoring functions.
“With the EM 9046 DAN extension card, broadcast and live audio engineers can now easily integrate Sennheiser’s top-of-the-range wireless microphone system into a Dante network,” states Claus Menke, head of portfolio management pro for Sennheiser. “They benefit from the system’s exceptional sound with the incredible convenience of routing high-definition audio data via Audinate’s Dante Controller.”
The EM 9046 DAN extension card is simply inserted into the expansion slot of the EM 9046 8-channel receiver. Internally, the card provides 16 audio inputs to send the digital audio and command signals over the Dante network.
Connection is via two Gbit RJ45 sockets that serve to either establish two redundant network circuits or daisy-chain the signals. The card works with sampling rates of 44.1/48/88.2 and 96 kHz at a resolution of 24 bits.
Front and back views of the Sennheiser EM 9046 receiver.
The new firmware version 3.0.3 for Digital 9000 can be downloaded free of charge here. With this firmware update, the receiver’s clock menu will be expanded to include a “MAN” (multichannel audio network) option, enabling the receiver to synchronize to the word clock of the Dante network.
Additional features of the new firmware version include the monitoring of up to four daisy-chained receivers via any of the receivers’ monitoring outputs and the automatic assignment of frequencies after a scan. Engineers are now also able to scan just a 24 MHz portion of the spectrum instead of the entire booster range of 168 MHz. This increases speed in critical frequency situations.
The new firmware also includes the highly sophisticated refinements made by Sennheiser to address the highly difficult conditions experienced during the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. The event took place in a very reflective venue with a near all-metal construction, but the capabilities of the Digital 9000 system were enhanced still further to be able to detect and cope with this extremely reflective environment. In addition to this advance, version 3.0.3 also ensures improved network capability with managed enterprise environments.
In addition, Sennheiser has adapted Wireless Systems Manager software to include a monitoring function for the Dante card. The new version 4.2 allows users to monitor the EM 9046’s Dante audio streams from any point in the network, and to listen to the headphone monitor audio stream of connected EM 9046 receivers without any additional hardware.
WSM (Sennheiser Wireless Systems Manager) Software Version 4.2 is available from the same download address as the Digital 9000 firmware or here.