Monday, June 01, 2015
Sennheiser Introduces New SL Headmic 1
Uses capsule of omnidirectional MKE 1 broadcast mic combined with unobtrusive design
At InfoComm 2015, Sennheiser is unveiling its new SL Headmic 1 presenter’s microphone – at just 7 grams, a lightweight that is sturdy enough even for the toughest corporate applications.
The condenser microphone for talks and presentations uses the capsule of the omnidirectional MKE 1 broadcasting microphone, while its design ensures that it is unobtrusive when worn. The SL Headmic 1 is connected to a bodypack transmitter via the 3.5 mm jack cable included.
“The SL Headmic 1 leaves nothing to be desired in terms of audio quality. It ensures excellent voice clarity and outstanding speech intelligibility right through to the very last row of seats,” explained Kai Tossing, portfolio manager business communication. “At the same time, the microphone is almost invisible to the audience – and its feather-like weight of just seven grams makes it extremely comfortable for the presenter to wear.”
Alongside its high level of speech intelligibility, the SL Headmic 1 also features clear and pleasant trebles. The microphone can be optimally adapted to the shape of the head, and the microphone boom can be worn either on the left or right. Its modular design means that all components of the SL Headmic 1 can be easily and conveniently replaced.
The SL Headmic 1 ensures that speech and even music vocals are transmitted naturally and with their full frequency and dynamic range. This makes it the perfect partner for the corporate and hospitality sectors, as well as for live shows and broadcasting. The headworn microphone comes with a 3.5 mm jack plug cable that connects it to a bodypack transmitter, for example from Sennheiser’s evolution series. For bodypacks with a 3-pin audio socket, such as the SK 5212-II, an adapter is available as an accessory.
The SL Headmic 1 is now available in black or beige. The set includes a windshield, a frequency response cap to raise the trebles when the windshield is being used and a soft case that can also accommodate a bodypack transmitter.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Avlex And MIPRO Deployed
At Auburn Grace Community Church
Combination of microphones and wireless technology
provide dependable audio performance for active church.
Auburn Grace Community Church recently deployed a sizeable arsenal of wireless microphone technology from Avlex Corporation.
El Dorado Hills, CA-based Clarity AVL (Audio-Video-Lighting), a design / build firm with a focus on both the commercial and worship markets, was contracted to design and install a new sound reinforcement system at the church.
As part of the facility upgrade, church officials emphasized the need for clear speech and equipment that would better support their ambitious music program.
This resulted in the deployment of Avlex HSP-49BG headset mics and MIPRO MU-55HNSX headsets, as well as ten MIPRO ACT-71Ha handheld transmitters, four ACT-71Ta beltpack transmitters, and three ACT-747a wireless receivers—all of which is distributed by Kansas City, MO-based Avlex Corporation. Mark Thompson, Clarity AVL’s principal and primary system designer, discussed the project.
“Auburn Grace Community Church has a large sanctuary,” reports Thompson, “and there were a number of issues with their previous sound reinforcement setup. Music plays a vital role in the church’s activities. For most services, they use a full band plus a vocal team of 4 – 6 members. During the Holiday Season, the church had one of their biggest events— Christmas Desserts— where they have full productions of seasonal music with an orchestra, full choir, and a dozen lead vocalists. Because of events like this, wireless microphones were essential as a means of providing both freedom of movement and a high level of audio quality. This is precisely what prompted us to specify the combination of Avlex and MIPRO equipment.”
According to Thompson, the pastor uses either a MIPRO ACT-71Ha handheld transmitter or an Avlex HSP-49BG headset mic with the ACT-71Ta transmitter—depending upon the nature of the service. Vocalists are always provided the MIPRO ACT-71Ha handheld transmitters.
“Sound quality was, first and foremost, the most important aspect of this equipment,” Thompson states. “I’ve also been pleased with MIPRO’s drop-out free performance. I was there just last week, and took a handheld mic out into the atrium area, then walked into the parking lot, then asked them to shut the doors to the outside. Not once through all of this did I experience a single dropout. Further, I’ve been very impressed with MIPRO’s monitoring software, which enables us to remotely mount the receivers and track performance from the computer at front of house.”
When working with wireless microphone systems, questions frequently arise regarding frequency settings and other challenges common to all wireless equipment, so quality customer and technical support services are crucial. Here too, Thompson gives Avlex Corporation high marks, “Kevin Lake and Fred Canning are great to work with. One of the great things about working with them is that they’ll take concerns or ideas that we have on the dealer side of the business and work hard to turn them into products. They take customer service very seriously.”
“Everyone immediately heard a huge difference,” says Thompson, “not only in the main system, but in the quality and character of the wireless mics as well. My favorite quote comes from Loren Miller, the church’s associate pastor and worship leader, who said, ‘I have never sounded so good through a microphone before. If I look at this mic I sound better.’ We’ve been using MIPRO systems for several years, and have found them to be a great value to our clients. They offer exceptional value, sound great, and have terrific build quality.”
Thursday, May 28, 2015
DPA Microphones Capture Audio For Dancing With the Stars
d:screet 4060 and d:dictate 4017B mics capture behind-the-scenes audio for the 20th anniversary season.
Capturing pre-recorded materials for a fast-paced reality production, like the 20th anniversary season of Dancing With the Stars (DWTS), is never short of challenges.
When production sound mixer/supervisor Daniel McCoy, CAS, owner of California-based audio production company ToneMesa was given the task, he turned to DPA Microphones.
Calling on 28 d:screet 4060 omnidirectional miniature microphones, one of the first applications in the U.S., and his d:dicate 4017B shotgun microphones, McCoy utilized the mics to record the audio amidst the contestants’ frenetic pace during rehearsals, a critical component of the show’s broadcast, which ended its season on May 20.
Based on the British BBC series Strictly Come Dancing, DWTS is a competition-style show that pairs celebrities with professional ballroom dancers. Due to the physicality of the routines, whenever the celebrities and professional dancers were rehearsing off the lot, the audio equipment would frequently be handled by both the cast members and audio crew.
“Throughout the entire season, which began in February, we had zero ‘loss and damage’ for any of the DPA 4060s,” explains McCoy. “Not a single record of any damage at all. ”For previous seasons, McCoy was provided with a competitor microphone for the production and can recall having mic heads pop off and connectors break, which ultimately led to audio cable failure.
Often, the crew was left with up to 40 percent of the mics being destroyed. McCoy also says that during this season period he noticed much better fidelity to his ear while using the mics.
“I thought that DWTS was a really good demonstration of the DPA d:screet 4060’s ability and consistency,” he explains. “There are often things that you can’t control. A lot of the time, I couldn’t personally be present for every contestant rehearsal, so I had producers and talent mic’ing themselves. That’s always a red flag and prediction for disaster. In this case, with the steel housing jacket of the DPA 4060s, the production was flawless.”
Another reason McCoy chose the 4060s was that the output impedance of the mics has a higher sensitivity. “This feature proved beneficial when the producers, who are not trained audio technicians or engineers, were traveling all over the country with the contestants during rehearsals,” he explains. “In those cases, the 4060s provided the producers with maximum audio output so they didn’t have to tinker with the gain stages.”
In addition to the 28 d:screet 4060s, which were supplied direct from DPA’s Denmark HQ through collaboration with Location Sound Corporation, McCoy also used his DPA 4017B shotgun microphones with CMB amplifiers to capture the “behind-the-scenes” action and interviews. All materials were recorded using Sound Devices’ 633 and 688 Production Sound Mixers.
“I primarily used the Sound Devices 633s because it’s usually just a couple of wires and a boom,” he adds. “All of the rehearsals, packages and interviews were captured by lavs and a boom, so the 633s and DPA 4017s covered that amply.”
Overall, McCoy says that due to the performance of the DPA mics, the show’s senior field producers were ecstatic with the quality that they were able to bring to the show’s edit. “They were very happy to receive consistent audio,” he adds. “I felt like I was giving them the best possible sound without having the usually-required six mixers in every rehearsal room all of the time. I’m going to use the DPA d:screet 4060s on every show of this nature that I’m involved with from now on. They are ToneMesa’s new standard for any show that has consideration of possible equipment damage.”
Posted by House Editor on 05/28 at 08:46 AM
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Lectrosonics Announces Milestone Retirement And Two Company Promotions
President Larry Fisher retires, Gordon Moore promoted to president and Karl Winkler promoted to vice president, sales/service.
Lectrosonics announces the retirement of long-time company president Larry Fisher as well as the promotions of Gordon Moore to president and Karl Winkler to vice president sales/service, effective June 1, 2015.
Retiring president Larry Fisher, who has been with the company for 43 years, will remain active with Lectrosonics as chairman of the board of directors, and will continue his presence on industry-related social media sites where he has become known as a valuable contributor.
During Fisher’s leadership at the company, Lectrosonics has garnered a number of industry awards including winning the Cinema Audio Society award for excellence in technology on two occasions. The company’s products have long been a mainstay for major movie and TV productions, theatrical and installed sound. Today, Lectrosonics products are sold in nearly every country in the world.
“After more than 40 years of design engineering and administration, I’m going to take time for fast cars, slow comfortable hammocks and interesting travel,” explains Larry Fisher. “The very capable Lectrosonics management team has been in place for over a decade and I expect continued innovation and advancement in the coming years as they rise to the challenges of new regulations and spectrum allocations.”
Taking the reigns as Lectrosonics president is Gordon Moore, a 26-year veteran of the company and longtime vice president sales/service. Moore has been active in the audio and AV industry since joining Lectrosonics in 1988. In 1991 he became an instructor for the ICIA (International Communications Industries Association) Academy, teaching audio systems design, theory and troubleshooting. In 2000, Moore was voted Educator of the Year by the INFOCOMM Professional Education and Training Committee (PETC) and for 2015 he was named chairman.
“Speaking for the entire bunch of fanatics at Lectrosonics, we wish Larry a well-deserved and fun retirement. Besides, he really doesn’t get off that easy - he is only a phone call away and just down the road…” says Moore.
Karl Winkler is being promoted to the position of vice president, sales/service. Winkler, who has been with Lectrosonics for a decade, was previously the company’s director of business development. Karl Winkler has worked in the professional audio industry since 1992, when he joined the U.S. Air Force Band in Washington, DC as an audio engineer. He has also given seminars on microphones, audio and wireless microphone systems at Audio Engineering Society conventions, Syn Aud Con seminars and many colleges and universities.
“I’m very excited by this new opportunity with Lectrosonics,” says Winkler. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working for the company thus far and look forward to many more years of success with this great team.”
Other executives on the Lectrosonics management team include Bob Cunnings, vice president - engineering; Wes Herron, vice president - production and Bruce Jones, vice president - marketing.
Posted by House Editor on 05/27 at 01:23 PM
Five Star Qatar Hotel Selects Sennheiser For Conference Center Renovation
Sheraton Doha deploys one of the largest wireless conference and translation systems in the Middle East.
In what has been one of the largest and most complex wireless audio system deployments in the Middle East, the Sheraton Doha, a five-star hotel in the capital of Qatar, has successfully leveraged Sennheiser solutions to roll out wireless conference and translation system across its entire meeting and conferencing facilities.
The project, which was handled by the DOUMMAR Group, ensures that the Sheraton Doha can offer the very best event, meeting and conference facilities to its customers.
“The Sheraton Doha spared no expense and every system that has been utilized is absolutely first class,” said Esber Nasrallah, operations manager for Q2 Advanced Technology Contracting, a member of the DOUMMAR Group of companies, which handled the entire AV portion of the hotel’s renovation.
“It was decided to use wireless systems in order to deliver maximum flexibility in terms of mobility, portability and scale. The hotel wanted to be able to add or remove microphones and receivers effortlessly across the twelve expansive conference rooms as per guests’ requirements.”
Besides the challenge of accommodating over 200 channels into the UHF spectrum while avoiding intermodulation and interference, the team had to convince the regulatory authority in Qatar that it would not operate in certain frequency bands. The meticulous planning required to accomplish these tasks was aided by a specialised software called Sennheiser Intermodulation Frequency Management (SIFM) which allowed the team to input the frequency ranges and receive a detailed frequency distribution plan for the building. As there is no frequency overlapping of channels, Sheraton Doha can move transmitters about for portability without concerns of intermodulation and interference. The stringent wireless security requirements were overcome by a combination of Sennheiser‘s proprietary signal encoding and industry-standard 128-bit AES encryption.
The project saw the deployment of 120 Sennheiser 3000/5000 Series microphones with Neumann KK-105 capsules – a combination used by many music artists. Also utilised were 400 ADN-W wireless delegate units for the portable conferencing systems, as well as 4000 Sennheiser HDE-2020 receivers and 21 SR 2020 transmitters for the translations systems – representing the largest and second largest global deployments for the Sennheiser conference and translation systems respectively.
Q2 Advanced Technology Contracting and Sennheiser Middle East managed to plan, supply, commission and test all these systems in a short five-month timeframe.
“We flew in experts from our headquarters in Germany and scaled our production to meet the project demands. Even with the extremely tight deadlines, we did not compromise on quality and attention to detail. We have received no negative feedback on the installation and no calls to assist or remedy any defect in the installation. This is despite the fact that the system is being used for daily events at the iconic venue, which I believe is best testament to the quality of the systems and the implementation,” concluded Ryan Burr, Technical Sales Manager for Sennheiser Middle East.
Mr Jean A. Doummar, ceo of the group, stated, “The success of our endeavour at the Sheraton is the result of a quality-centric management team and spirit and a tight collaboration between our partner Sennheiser, our back office in Beirut and front office in Doha, orchestrated and led by our Operations Manager Mr. Esber Nasrallah.”
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
FKA twigs Makes DPA Microphones’ d:facto Her First Choice
U.K. singer FKA twigs prefers the DPA Microphones’ d:facto vocal microphone to deliver her vocals to audiences across the U.S.
After using a competitor brand, FKA twig’s switch to the DPA Microphones d:facto was inspired by her front of house engineer, Andy Carrington, who recommended a wireless version, in conjunction with a Sennheiser 5000 wireless system, to give her maximum flexibility on stage.
“DPA’s U.K. distributor Sound Network introduced me to d:facto and, when I first tried it, I was very impressed with its natural response,” Carrington explains. “It was quite a surprise to A/B the capsule with the model I’ve been using for a number of years and hear how colored the other model actually sounded. I couldn’t believe the difference. I’d been using the other model for so long. I was very happy to make the switch so that I could get FKA twigs’ voice as it is supposed to sound.”
Carrington, who has worked with several of top acts, including The Kills and Super Furry Animals, says DPA’s d:facto is perfect for capturing the essence of FKA twigs and conveying her vocals. “As we are using the sound system from each venue, we are not travelling with a lot of gear,” Carrington adds. “However, what we do carry has been chosen for its ability to deliver great results. The d:facto certainly falls into that category.”
Carrington is no stranger to DPA microphones and has recently been using the company’s d:vote 4099 instrument microphones to amplify the brass section on the Super Furry Animals tour. “I was really pleased with the results of the d:vote,” Carrington continues. “The mics handle a wide dynamic range with ease, picking up lots of subtleties on the quieter parts and coping with the harsher moments, all the while retaining a natural response.”
FKA twigs began singing in clubs as a teenager. After moving to London at the age of 17, she was a backup dancer in videos for various artists, including Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran, Taio Cruz, Jessie J and others. Her first EP was released in 2012 and she has also released a number of music videos highlighting her talent as a dancer and a musician. Her rise from obscurity attracted plenty of media attention, along the way—not least because she is Twilight star Robert Pattinson’s fiancé. FKA twigs’ international tour continues over the summer and will take in a number of key festivals, including Glastonbury, Parklife and Bestival in the U.K., Lollapalooza in the U.S. and Fuji Rock in Japan.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Sennheiser Introduces SpeechLine Digital Wireless System
New digital wireless microphone system designed exclusively for speech application
At ISE 2015 in Amsterdam, Sennheiser unveiled SpeechLine Digital Wireless, a digital wireless microphone system designed exclusively for speech applications.
“Our aim was to develop the first microphone to be optimally designed for the spoken word and public speaking,” explains Kai Tossing, portfolio manager at Sennheiser Business Communication. “Therefore, we wanted to know exactly which features are the most important, not only for users but also for technicians and decision-makers, and we needed to find out what their special requirements are when it comes speech applications.”
Following detailed discussions with focus groups of users as well as intensive research, the findings were that the most important requirements placed on microphones for speech applications are easy installation and operation, a high level of reliability and future-proof technology.
“In order to meet the needs of our customers, our engineers developed a completely new wireless microphone from scratch,” says Tossing. “Installation, operation and adjustment are easier than those of any other microphone. Once the microphone has been configured, users do not require any audio know-how – it’s already built-in. This enables speakers to focus entirely on their speech during meetings, lectures or presentations instead of having to think about the microphone they are using.”
SpeechLine Digital Wireless has an Automatic Frequency Management feature that automatically searches for free frequencies on-site, eliminating the need for frequency planning in advance.
In addition, Integrated Audio Level Management automatically adapts the system to the application scenario and the person speaking in order to optimize speech intelligibility. Network integration enables the system status to be remote controlled and monitored “at a glance” using the Wireless System Remote (WSR) app, AMX or Crestron.
If wireless transmission is disturbed, Automatic Interference Management automatically and seamlessly switches the system to an alternative free frequency. The lithium-ion battery technology provides a battery life of more than 15 hours. In addition to various flexible charging possibilities, the battery can also be recharged via USB if required.
Speech intelligibility is further optimized by various selectable sound profiles and processing algorithms, such as presets for more bass-intensive male voices or higher female voices.
SpeechLine Digital Wireless operates in the license-free 1.9 GHz frequency band, and no registration is required. It also incorpoates 256-bit AES encryption for additional security.
Systems are available with handheld transmitter or beltpack that accomodates lavalier or headset mics. All three include a mobile transmitter unit – a handheld or a bodypack system, a battery, and a receiver station that can be integrated.
The SpeechLine Digital Wireless systems and the Wireless System Remote (WSR) app will be available in June 2015.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Talamas Broadcast Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Lectrosonics
Dave and Diane Talamas also celebrate 35 years in business, starting Talamas Broadcast in 1979 as a sales-oriented firm, then adding rental capabilities.
For Dave and Diane Talamas, the couple behind dealer Talamas Broadcast, 2015 marks the 35th anniversary of providing their customers with technology and service. This year also marks the 25th year of Talamas’ partnership with Lectrosonics, which they celebrated by ordering the company’s latest products straight off the production line: 20 of the new L Series kits with patented digital hybrid wireless technology, including 10 LMb/LR kits and 10 LT/LR kits.
“We are still going strong because we are constantly evolving our business; we anticipate what our clients’ needs are now and what their needs will be in the future,” says Dave Talamas. “Lectrosonics is known for their excellent products, and when they manufacture something new, we are a part of the process; they listen to us and respond to our customers’ needs.”
“Talamas is committed to ensuring that our customers have the latest technology; we have to be able to offer them the best,” adds Diane Talamas. “I am honest when I say that I know Lectrosonics’ performance, reliability and support are something that my customers can count on. Lectrosonics products set the industry standard.”
Talamas even has an in-house RF technician who specializes in Lectrosonics’ products, Dave Goldblatt. “We have a fully-equipped RF Lab here for Lectrosonics that we call, “The Dave Cave,” says Dave Talamas.
After early experience building a film dubbing studio for Stuart Cody then working in sales and rentals as well as studying Electronics at Lowell Institute, Dave Talamas enlisted wife Diane, and together they started Talamas Broadcast in 1979. Starting off as a sales-oriented firm, then adding rental capabilities, Talamas has always kept current with technical innovations in the industry, and has been growing ever since. Throughout the years, this dynamic duo has kept their focus on customer service, with Dave Talamas crediting his wife Diane with excellent customer communications.
“Several years ago, we learned that CNN was refitting all their cameras will new wireless mics, so Diane and I flew to Atlanta to make a presentation. It was a time when analog and digital television signals were still in play together and we had to offer them a solution that would work then and into the future. I spoke with the various engineers, but Diane was the one who developed a relationship with them,” says Dave. “Taking Diane to CNN was like JFK taking Jackie to Paris – I am with her. We ended up outfitting them with Lectrosonics SRs and HMs as well as SMQVs. Since then we do business with them all over the country.”
“Talamas and Lectrosonics both have something big in common,” adds Diane. ”As companies, we both care greatly about customers and are very open to their needs – that’s why our companies have a great working relationship together.”
Over the years Talamas has installed wireless microphone and communications equipment for clients such as CNN Washington, WFXT, WCVB, WBZ and WHDH TV. Talamas has engineered and managed rental of the video production unit for WGBH’s ‘This Old House’ since 1982, for ‘The Antiques Road Show’ for over 17 years.
Posted by House Editor on 05/19 at 12:47 PM
Broadway Show “On The Town” Supported By StageTec And Sound Associates
Broadway show audio mixed on Aurus digital console, with signal management from Nexus and Nexus Star router.
Currently playing at Broadway’s beautifully restored Lyric Theatre in the heart of Times Square, On the Town tells the story of three wide-eyed sailors on a whirlwind musical tour of the city that never sleeps. To ensure that both vocal and instrumental performances are their very best, On the Town is mixed on an Aurus digital console with signal management handled by Nexus and Nexus Star routers from Berlin, Germany-based Salzbrenner StageTec Mediagroup.
Yonkers, NY-based Sound Associates, a design / build provider of professional audio and video systems for a wide range of applications, coordinated the rental of the StageTec equipment for On the Town. Greg Reif, project supervisor at Sound Associates, oversees all production system builds and facilitates stock and purchasing for all shows from bid through installation. Patrick Pummill, production sound engineer for On the Town sat down with Greg to discuss the placement of the StageTec equipment and how it was implemented for use with On the Town.
“We took delivery of our StageTec equipment in early August,” Reif reports. “Being that the Aurus console’s primary use will be in Broadway theatres for mixing live Broadway musicals, it was critically important that the board be intuitive, fast, and reliable because an operator/engineer on this type of project doesn’t have a spare moment to hunt for a control or contend with several button presses just to get to that control. Any time spent thinking about how to get to a necessary EQ setting or Gain setting is time not spent on the mix—potentially leading to missed line pick-ups.”
“And speaking of controls,” Pummill continues, “the encoders on the Aurus are extremely accurate and pleasing to use. The indented rotary encoders allow for exacting, tiny adjustments as well as large sweeping changes. One single click changes the value by one step. Conversely, a faster spin changes the value by a much larger degree. This behavior is very natural and, because of this, adjustments become second nature very quickly. This same design approach can be said of the faders as well. The fader is the most used encoder on the desk, and it is clear that StageTec‘s design team put the same enormous amount of thought into this behavior as well. Mixing a musical requires many tiny adjustments. The faders are constantly moving, so the 1/4 dB step over the entire range of the fader is no small accomplishment.”
Pummill has also been impressed with the Aurus console’s ability to adapt to the nature of any given project. “As this console will be used for many musicals in different theatres over its lifetime, its high level of customization—like the ability to change the board’s channel layout or bussing structure—will prove to be an invaluable asset. Different sound designers and engineers have different workflows and preferences. In this regard, the Aurus is very adaptable and this attribute really sets it apart in the crowded market for mixing consoles.”
StageTec Nexus and Nexus Star routers are handling signal management at the theatre. Here, too, Pummill has been very impressed with the equipment’s performance. “We use fiber to connect the three base devices to the Star Router and fiber also connects the Aurus to its controller cards in the Star Router,” he explained. “This has significantly reduced the amount of copper wire that has to be fished through crawl spaces, catwalks, and plenums. A small run of fiber has replaced a three to four inch bundle of multicore snakes. In addition, the Nexus design allows any input to patch to any output anywhere in the system, regardless of which base device they are on, meaning that an audio tech working backstage can quickly and easily monitor any input in the system. This approach also enables the physical microphone inputs to be closer to the sound sources—like you would have in an orchestra pit.”
The show’s RF monitor system is also heavily influenced by StageTec engineering. “StageTec created a rack mounted listening station for monitoring the thirty wireless mics used on the show,” says Reif. “It’s basically a 3RU unit that contains several rows of illuminated buttons as well as a headphone amplifier. Using the Logic functions built into the Nexus—along with an XRI card—we’re able to program each button to patch one of the wireless mic inputs to an output on the headphone amplifier. This gives the technician responsible for maintaining the wireless mics the ability to instantaneously listen to each of the actors without disturbing the mixer out front. It’s kind of like having an outboard PFL of the console.”
Before turning his attention to other business, Pummill offered these parting thoughts on his StageTec experience, “The physical layout of the Aurus is very similar to most large format analog consoles, so when one walks up to the desk for the first time, there is an immediate familiarity that is comforting. This types of intuitive design, combined with StageTec’s responsive and thorough support, makes working with the equipment that much more assuring. Sound for musical theatre is a world of almost infinite variables. Having the Nexus and Aurus in the mix eliminates so many of those variables that we are better able to focus on the music, and that’s what it’s ultimately all about.”
Salzbrenner StageTec Mediagroup
Professional Wireless Systems Provides Solutions For Opening Of Orlando Eye
The latest Orlando attraction, a 400 foot observation wheel, opening celebration supported with wireless from PWS.
When the world’s fifth largest observation wheel, the Orlando Eye, celebrated its opening, Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) went along for the ride, providing wireless solutions for the Merlin Entertainments attraction’s nationwide-anticipated press event.
Bob Glickman, Glickman Productions event producer, along with Glickman Productions’ audio designer, Travis Hill, collaborated with PWS in managing wireless communications during large-scale entertainment events. LMG was the main audio provider for the event.
“Hill specifically wanted to work with a team that would be comfortable handling the press,” says Evan Hall, PWS project manager. “Having worked hundreds of press events, the team is well-equipped to handle check-in and understand how to effectively communicate and coordinate with all production personnel on a high-profile entertainment project to ensure a smooth, interference-free event.”
During the event, daredevil Nik Wallenda walked across the rim of the 400-foot observation wheel untethered in front of hundreds of journalists from around the country during a live, national television broadcast.
Under the leadership of Hall, the PWS crew, including Eric Radvanyi, RF assistant; and Chris Caiazzo, press interface and PWS freelancer, handled the wireless intercom for all stage managers positioned around the observation wheel and supported all communications to the stage managers and safety personnel surrounding Wallenda during his stunt.
“We had to cover production crew members stationed on the ground surrounding the observation wheel, as well as the stage managers positioned inside some of the 30 passenger capsules who were in constant communication with additional team members spread out across multiple rooftops,” he says. To complement the audio, video and lighting equipment provided by Glickman Productions, PWS supplied a wireless systems package, including Radio Active Designs’ UV-1G systems with 24 belt packs for wireless intercoms for their range and ability to work within the VHF spectrum, as well as an assortment of PWS VHF panels and Helical Antennas.
“Utilizing the VHF spectrum during this event was a game changer for us, as we were able to manage wireless communications for the event with only two zones of intercom,” Hall adds. “If we relied on the UHF spectrum instead, we would have had to deploy more antennas and run more cables, complicating the entire setup.” In all, Wallenda’s stunt and the opening of the latest attraction to grace the Orlando I-Drive 360 entertainment complex proved successful.
“Hall, Radvanyi and Caiazzo all did a terrific job in anticipating any concerns and maintaining effective communication with all involved production personnel,” concludes Jim Van Winkle, PWS general manager. “We are very thankful to have been given the opportunity to work closely with Glickman Productions, Travis Hill and LMG to ensure an incredible, action-packed unveiling.”
Professional Wireless Systems
Friday, May 15, 2015
Purposeful Evolution: Refined Monitoring For Lionel Richie
Over Dan Housel’s two-year stint as monitor engineer for Lionel Richie, he’s sought constant improvement in presenting the iconic singer’s classic, distinctive vocal signature. We spoke recently, just prior to the final show at London’s O2 arena on the European leg of Richie’s latest tour, about what he’s been up to lately in that regard.
“I mix on digital consoles – I’m an Avid Profile user – but having learned on analog gear and having spent time working in the studio, there are certain things I miss about analog, a certain ‘flavor’ lacking on digital preamps that analog pres have,” he notes.
It’s something the LA-based engineer says that he’s come to notice while running monitors for other acts in his 15-plus years in the business, including work with blues guitarist Keb’ Mo’, Filter, Pitbull and Maynard James Keenan’s bands Puscifer and A Perfect Circle. During Richie’s gigs, particularly on fly dates, Housel continues, he started considering how to add that same type of flavor, not only to better the overall sound for Richie and his band, but to allow him to compensate at times when Richie’s approach to performance and sonic considerations collide.
“We sometimes have struggles,” he says, explaining that at times Richie experiences difficulty finding himself in the mix the way he wants, which is a function of his desire to connect with the audience. “He’s a Shure SM58 user, which is – for lack of a better description – a very active microphone on stage,” Housel continues. “He moves the mic around a lot, from in front of his face to down by his chest. But when I asked him about it, he looked at me and said, ‘Baby boy, they don’t want to see the microphone, they want to see my face’.”
Dan Housel at his Avid VENUE Profile console on the recent European leg of Lionel Richie’s latest tour.
Housel mitigated the problem by backing off on reverb and turning on downstage wedges to provide additional presence to compliment Richie’s in-ear monitors, and he also began looking for other ways to add more definition. Over time, he’s floated a variety of other solutions with fellow engineers, including Avalon 737 mic preamps that he uses on Keenan’s vocals during A Perfect Circle gigs while mixing on an Avid Venue SC48.
“The 737s are fairly commonplace, but I needed two channels because Lionel uses two microphones during performances, a hard-wired 58 at the piano and a wireless 58,” he says, noting that carrying two of the units wasn’t a compact enough solution and adding, “They’re a bit sensitive for travel.”
The search also included BAE 1073 and Midas XL42 preamps. “I’ve seen the XL42 used for the same application, but they’re discontinued now and the few people who are willing to part with them are asking a handsome price, so I did more research. The name Radial came up during a discussion with one of the Puscifer guys, who suggested the company’s 500 series preamps.”
Already a long-time user of Radial Engineering direct boxes, Housel reached out to company president Peter Janis, who he’d met during his own time as a manufacturer’s representative.
“I tested out a Radial PowerPre along with a Q4 four-band EQ and Komit compressor/limiter during pre-production for the European leg,” he says. “I could definitely hear that there was more separation compared to the console preamps, but I was still considering the more sensitive tube gear. I was sitting in my hotel with the PowerPre chassis in hand, researching the PowerTube and thinking that, if they’re built the same as the PowerPre, they’re going to be all right.”
Depth & Detail
As it’s name implies, the PowerTube incorporates a 12AX7 tube drive and a Jensen Transformer input. “To me it sounded like the first time I listened to a hi-def audio recording,” he states. “It was just next-level separation, depth and detail. I also added the Q4, but I don’t use EQ within Lionel’s vocal signal chain, so that’s bypassed. Again, he moves the microphone around a lot, so if I EQ for one mic position – at the chest or higher up – when it’s in the opposite position, I’m down the river.”
Left to right, Radial PowerTube, Q4 and Komit 500 series modules in Workhorse racks.
The 500 series rack form factor was another plus in addition to the sonic characteristics and durability, and as a result, dual sets of PowerTube preamp, Q4 EQ and Komit comp/limiter modules have achieved the desired result in Radial Workhouse 500 series racks that occupy just 2RU.
Richie noticed a difference immediately, Housel notes. “He pulled his in ears out, stopped the band, got on the mic and asked me what I’d done differently. I told him we spent a little money to make his vocals sound better and he started singing alone, then stopped and said, ‘I’m gonna sue your ass for not having these before’.”
Housel details the overall vocal chain for Richie: “We go out of the 58 and hit the split. Then rather than running into the stage rack for my Profile, we hit a cross patch that’s also carrying all 10 channels of our Pro Tools rig.” That, he adds, varies from song to song, mostly providing syncopated and rhythmic support – “shaker and tambourine, ear candy” – and goes directly into the front of house rack on line level inputs.
After the cross patch, the signal goes to a PowerTube, the bypassed Q4 and then to a Komit. “I set the compression at 3:1 on a slow attack cycle for the vocal so it really only grabs the latter portion of the vocal, but the compressor’s output circuit is giving us another 6 dB,” he explains. “With Lionel, the mic pre isn’t necessarily your best friend, especially with that 58 – it’s a bit of a fire hose, and there’s a risk of more ambient than direct sound at times – so I try to get as much output gain in as many places as possible.
“I don’t EQ his voice within the console either, with the exception of the high pass filter set at 160,” he continues. “It’s boomy at times, but I started inserting a McDSP MC2000 multiband compressor plug-in about a year after I started. Each compression band also provides some output level, so it does work like an equalizer in the respect that you can give it more or less gain within the signal chain, which helps make up for when Lionel holds the mic at his chest.”
Serving The Ethic
In addition to Richie, four of the members of Richie’s five-piece band sing backup vocals, all using SM58s with the exception of Dino Soldo, who’s on a Crown CM311 headworn mic.
“He plays all the wind and utility instruments so he uses the CM311 with a Shure RF system, which makes it easier for him as some of his vocal passages come up just after saxophone sections. But the MC2000 is applied to everyone’s vocal chain,” Housel says. “That’s all I use. Previously, I was using a Fairchild 660 plug-in stacked with an 1176 to ‘peg’ the final output for the vocals.”
Housel had employed a similar setup with Keenan’s bands previously, but the band noticed a bit of latency so he switched to the MC2000. “I didn’t hear it, but it’s the job of an engineer to work harder to produce a better product for people because we have such great tools available. It’s a musician thing,” he says, referencing his work as a guitar player in the past. “You want to keep learning and get better.”
He’s also made a variety of mic changes for the band in service of that ethic, including Sennheiser 904s on drummer Oscar Seaton’s toms. “To me, it sounds like a Sennheiser 421,” Housel notes. “It’s got the boom and the transient attack, but unlike a 421 I can put it within a very small, confined area.”
Kick in and out are handled with a Shure BETA 91A and beyerdynamic M88, respectively. Snare is captured with SM57 on top and a BETA 57 on bottom, with a second snare covered by an additional SM57. Neumann KM 184s are applied for hi-hat and ride, with AKG C414 XLS multi-pattern condensers for overheads.
A screenshot of the McDSP MC2000 compressor plug-in on Housel’s console that’s applied to everyone’s vocal chain..
Housel has moved from a combination of ribbon and condenser mics to a pair of dynamics – SM57 and beyerdynamic M201 – for guitarist Ben Mauro. “I like those for their frequency response, to my ear, in terms of what a guitar should sound like,” he explains. “On the console EQ I use a lot of high-pass and low-pass to narrow in on what the actual guitar sound is without having to go in and boost, say, somewhere in the mid band from 600 Hz to 1 kHz. Low end isn’t necessarily a guitar player’s friend, but if there’s too much high end you’re going to have an endless battle between hi-hat, kick, snare and guitar, which is what many guitarists have blazing in their mixes.”
There’s also a good deal of direct (box) action on stage, the domain of more Radial gear. J48s handle acoustic guitar and bassist Ethan Farmer’s rig, with JDI Duplex passive boxes for keyboardist/MD Chuckii Booker, keyboardist/sax player Dino Soldo and Richie’s piano, a Nord Stage in a slim grand chassis.
“On bass I’m also using a Radial SGI re-amp module because we’re a long distance from the receiver of the wireless to the stage, and he’s got an octave pedal and a local tuner I’ve got to catch,” Housel adds. “The RF receivers for his bass are all the way stage right. When I first came on, the tech had a long 1/4-inch cable that he was putting in a loom.”
Audio-Technica ATM35 cardioid condensers are utilized with Soldo’s alto and tenor saxes, with another SM57 for his soprano sax and an SM58 for his harmonica. The mic package is completed with four Sennheiser MKH 50s deployed in L/R and L/R/C to capture audience ambiance.
All performers wear Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors, ranging from UE 11s to UE 18s, with signal delivered via Shure PSM 1000 personal monitoring systems. “I also carry six Clair 12AM active stage monitors for emergencies, all downstage and on a single mix,” he says, noting that Clair Brothers is serving as the tour’s sound company. “But in two years, I’ve turned them on maybe twice.”
The stage is also outfitted with two Clair “bowtie” dual-18 subs, one per side, and eight CO8s, four per side, as side fills, receiving a mono mix of kick, snare, toms and bass. “I try to use as few sources as possible that might interface with Lionel’s microphone when he wanders the stage,” he says, “and I want to stay out of the way of our house engineer’s mix, but while I’m mixing for a smaller audience, if they don’t have a good show, he’s not going to have a good show.”
Housel still considers the monitor rig a work in progress and is mulling over other possible changes, including a potential switch to a DiGiCo console. The overall mantra is achieving a balance between what the performers are comfortable with while trying to make things better for them in the long term.
“I got lucky with Lionel and the band,” he concludes. “My first gig was a fly date and I’d never met our tour manager, Glen Matthews, or the band. Then, our input list was mostly Shure products, which are known commodities to me, and their gain structure was a known thing to me. So we got the band on stage, I put up a quick mix, we went through a few songs, made a few changes, and the band came off after sound check and said, ‘Sounds great. Are you a musician? Because it’s really musical sounding.’ And that’s one of the biggest compliments I could ask for as an engineer.”
Based in Toronto, Kevin Young is a freelance music and tech writer, professional musician and composer.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Radio Active Designs UV-1G Simplifies Production Of Billboard Latin Music Awards
Using the VHF frequencies on wireless intercoms to free up UHF bands for almost 200 channels of wireless used for the event.
The Billboard Latin Music Awards, held at the BankUnited Center in Miami, recognizes finalists and winners determined by their performance on the Billboard charts. The Latin music industry’s longest running and most prestigious awards are also broadcast live on the Telemundo network, using wireless intercom systems from Radio Active Designs.
Telemundo tapped Professional Wireless Systems (wireless audio), Acoutech (PA) and East Shore Sound (communications) to handle audio and communications for the event. In total there were 140 channels of wireless for the main show and another 60 in use between the red carpet and other media areas. Telemundo also specified UV-1G wireless intercom systems from Radio Active Designs to free up more RF channels for the occasion.
“We set up wireless world back stage up in the bleachers,” explains Sisse Jonassen, wireless intercom systems technician. “We used a total of five UV-1G base stations with 25 RAD beltpacks in use by the producers and audio crew. Because they transmit in the VHF range, it cleared up a lot of the spectrum for mics and IEM.”
Radio Active Designs introduced the UV-1G in late 2014 and since then the units have been picked up and used by a number of high profile events with great success. The UV-1G unit features Enhanced Narrow Band technology which is 10 times more spectrally efficient than current FM technology. As a result, the UV-1G offers RF channels possessing an occupied bandwidth of a mere 25 kHz the audio characteristics one would expect from a traditional FM system. In addition, the system utilizes the relatively unused VHF range for all belt pack portable devices, leaving more room for operation of other wireless devices, such as wireless microphones and in-ear monitors.
“Programming both the base station and belt packs is very intuitive and easy,” continues Jonassen. “Plus they bothered to include features that make using it so much more efficient. Simple ideas like making the battery rechargeable and putting an internal antenna on the beltpacks are just smart. They save the production money on batteries and replacing lost $30 antennas and they save on labor, because I didn’t have to chase anyone around who can’t communicate because they lost an antenna.”
The 2015 awards featured performances by Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Carlos Vives, Romeo Santos, Afrojack and Ne-Yo and Gerardo Ortiz. With such notable artists performing and broadcasting live, it was extremely important that the artists gear performs flawlessly.
“The RAD systems made this the easiest Latin Billboards to coordinate in my 16 years of working the show,” adds James Stoffo, RF coordinator. “For the first time we had spare frequencies for wireless microphones and in-ear monitors due to the spectral efficiency of the UV-1G.”
Radio Active Designs
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
JBL and Crown Provide Sound For Saddleback Church’s 35th Anniversary Celebration
Mixing more than 96 inputs, 70 channels of wireless and 70 different mixes inside Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA.
Saddleback Church is the seventh-largest church in the US, with headquarters in Lake Forest, California and nine regional and four international campuses. For its recent 35th anniversary celebration, the church wanted to get all the campuses together to commemorate this major milestone.
Although accustomed to thinking big, with the expectation of more than 20,000 people attending, Saddleback Church had to think even bigger – as in holding the event in Angel Stadium of Anaheim with a sound system including more than 150 Harman JBL VTX and VERTEC line array loudspeakers and 112 Crown I-Tech HD Series amplifiers.
Brentwood, Tennessee sound contractor CTS Audio handled the audio system design and installation, which involved constructing two 40-foot tall truss towers at first base and third base on the baseball diamond. As if to underscore the daunting logistics of the event, the motto “The Church That Dared” was emblazoned across the infield.
“With the start of the baseball season just a few weeks after, there was no way the stadium would allow us to bring a 50-ton crane onto the field. So we had to scrap our original plan and design and build custom towers,” said Mike Taylor, vice president of CTS. Since CTS could not use a crane in the construction, the towers had to be made of aluminum rather than steel.
However, even with designing the towers to be as large as they were, they could only hold so much weight, which meant CTS had to revise their plans, which originally included JBL VTX Series V25 line arrays, yet again. “With the weight limitation we couldn’t get enough V25s set up for stadium-wide coverage.” That’s when lead engineers Brooks Abbott and Jon Schwarz turned to the JBL Line Array Calculator software to determine if the VTX V20 smaller-format line array loudspeaker would work.
“We figured out that we could hang them 20 deep and would get excellent pattern control. The V20 provides 105-degree coverage so we were able to cover the stadium really well with just two main hangs per side, plus a small rear fill for the outfield.” A total of 96 V20 line arrays were complemented by 16 JBL VERTEC VT4881ADP arrays used as Lo/Mid-frequency loudspeakers and 40 VTX S28 dual-18-inch suspendable subwoofers – 20 per side, located between the main loudspeakers.
Abbott noted that the tallest seat in the venue is 115 feet high. “No other PA would have been able to provide the up-fill that the V20 was able to deliver at that height.” CTS placed a total of 20 of the V20 speakers tilted 12 to 13 degrees upward. “We achieved true coverage for the entire stadium by arranging the clusters in this manner.”
A total of 118 Crown I-Tech 12000HD amplifiers powered the loudspeakers. “The high power output and the ability to optimize the amps with the JBL boxes made them an easy choice for us,” Taylor said. The amplifiers feature a host of DSP sound-tailoring capabilities including V5 preset tuning support for VTX and VERTEC line arrays. A BSS Audio Soundweb London BLU-806 Signal Processor with BLU-link and Dante and BLU-32 I/O Expander with were employed as networked audio interfaces.
“We have been using JBL HiQnet Performance Manager software on all of our setups including this one,” Abbott pointed out. “It’s great because it allows us to set up an entire rig in the shop and then get onsite and everything is already configured, which saves us a lot of time.”
Certainly, time was of the essence for the Saddleback Church event. “Every second counted from the moment we started load-in. We had to build the entire system in one day. One day.” The load-in began on Friday – and CTS had to be ready for a sound check at 5:30 am Saturday.
They couldn’t take it any easier once the event started. “Because so many different campuses and groups of people were involved, there were a lot of different performances and many people moving around,” said Abbott. The front of house engineer, Jon Schwarz and monitor engineer, Joey Eaker, had to mix more than 96 inputs and more than 70 channels of wireless and 70 different mixes. “We had to make sure that everyone in the crowd could hear and see their church being represented.”
The angels must have been smiling on Taylor and his crew. “Overall it turned out to be a great event thanks to the ingenuity of our CTS team and the power and performance of the V20 boxes paired with the Crown I-Tech HD amps. With every tour sound installation it becomes more and more apparent to me that this combination can handle anything, and handle it better than any system we’ve ever used before.”
Listen Technologies ListenLoop Systems Installed At NIDCD Institute On Deafness
Two mid-sized conference rooms and two large multi-use spaces have been outfitted with the ListenLoop system.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), in Bethesda, Maryland, is an institutions for research into hearing and auditory health issues. The clinic has chosen not one but four ListenLoop assistive listening systems from Listen Technologies Corporation, designer, manufacturer and distributor of assistive listening products for over 16 years.
The systems were installed in late 2014 by CTSI, based in Chantilly, Virginia. The systems were integrated into two mid-sized conference rooms and two large multi-use spaces at the Institute, used for meetings, conferences and clinic trials. Each of the systems utilizes a Listen Technologies CLS2 Loop Driver to amplify the signals. Patients and others at the clinic using T-coil-enabled hearing aids or cochlear implants can now listen in at conferences, training sessions and other activities, without the need for external devices such as earbuds, ear cups or headphones.
Patrick Eason, senior account executive at CTSI, says that the ListenLoop fulfilled every requirement the clinic had: It can be deployed either from above, atop ceiling tiles or even within ceiling moldings, or from below, underneath carpeting or other flooring. In this case three rooms had their ListenLoop cabling run under the carpeting and one in a dropped ceiling.
The ListenLoop’s usable field can be precisely tuned in terms of area covered. That, says Eason, is especially critical in healthcare settings such as this one, where Federal privacy regulations such as HIPAA must be strictly enforced. “You don’t want patient or other strategic information to spill over into other areas and be able to be overheard by someone else,” he says. “That’s a huge deal in the healthcare sector, and a way in which the Listen Loop really makes a difference.”
Then there’s audio quality, and the ListenLoop delivers that with full-range sound, says Eason. “The sound is full and rich,” as he describes it, adding, “It also always delivers a very high degree of intelligibility.” He cites the CLS2 driver in particular as being an exceptional piece of technology — “very simple to install,” he points out, and capable of driving loop areas in excess of 4,300 square feet with clarity of sound for both music and speech for intelligibility.
In fact, says Eason, assistive listening systems from Listen Technologies are the only ones he’ll specify. “They’re the leaders in this field of technology, the support they give us is spectacular and unmatched in the industry, and we’ve had nothing but success with their products in every project we’ve used them in,” he says.
Listen Technologies Corporation
Posted by House Editor on 05/12 at 10:17 AM
Friday, May 08, 2015
Kaltman Creations Announces New RF-ResQ Wireless Antenna Processor
Antenna signal processor designed to help resolve congestion and "spectrum squeeze" issues by salvaging unusable frequencies
Kaltman Creations has announced the RF-ResQ (Receiver Enhancement System), an antenna signal processor designed to help with the RF congestion and “spectrum squeeze” issues that have plagued the pro audio industry in recent years.
“We secured the rights and ownership to advanced filtering technology that was previously used in military, nuclear plant and critical data communications,” states Kaltman Creations president Mark L. Kaltman, “and adapted it for the UHF bands used in pro audio wireless.”
Housed in a rugged single-rack space unit, RF-RexQ is a stand-alone wireless microphone filtering system employing multiple military-spec, high-Q bandpass filters. ResQ will clean up the received RF spectrum, allow for closer adjacent channel spacing (potentially doubling available channel counts without sacrificing power), remove the issue of intermodulation effects, and improve the reception of weaker transmissions.
RF-ResQ’s onboard 8-channel antenna distribution amplifier with RF router allows its filters to adapt to various receiver and distribution configurations. This provides one filter/frequency per receiver channel, which ultimately means that the user’s receiver only sees its assigned transmitter frequency and nothing else – with no out-of-band RF interference to bog down or de-sensitize the receiver’s input. Alternatively, users can select “combined signal routing” to feed integrated receiver/distribution systems, as found in some newer digital mic systems.
RF-ResQ assigns a single, frequency-cleaned-up, bandpass filtered feed for each transmitter’s frequency, and its eight amplifiers can maximize the individual RF signals up to 10 dB. This means that there’s no need for an amplified antenna. Or as Kaltman explains, “Why amplify all of the RF – including the RF noise – when the ResQ amplifies only specific frequencies as needed?”
DiverseQ, the RF-ResQ’s new antenna diversity technology, pre-filters the antenna A/B signals in the IF stage for fast, accurate and quiet antenna switching. This improved, ‘best signal detection’ function is performed within the RF-ResQ, so there’s no need for a two-antenna connection at the receiver input.
Installed between the antennas and receivers, the RF-ResQ works with industry-standard antennas, in analog and digital wireless mic systems in the 470 MHz to 928 MHz range; one model – worldwide. Frequency, gain and routing assignments are easily performed via a LAN or USB/laptop connection to the rack unit. With its router capability, the RF-ResQ can be used either as a direct replacement or in conjunction with existing antenna distribution system.
“The RF congestion solution is not at the transmitter or receiver,” added Kaltman. “For peace of mind in critical wireless applications, the solution is a RF-ResQ.”