Friday, September 28, 2012
Line 6 Now Shipping New Relay G55 Digital Wireless Guitar System
12 channels of 24-bit audio, full 10 Hz–20 kHz frequency response and 117 dB dynamic range (A weighted)
Line 6 has announced shipment of Relay G55, a tour-grade digital wireless for guitarists in a compact, half-rack format.
Relay systems do not employ signal companding to compress and expand the signal, and therefore have the ability to deliver full dynamic range.
With 12 channels of 24-bit audio, full 10 Hz–20 kHz frequency response and 117 dB dynamic range (A weighted), the Relay G55 digital wireless has a range of up to 300 feet.
Proprietary selectable Cable Tone functionality simulates the subtle frequency roll-off characteristics of a standard 25-foot cable.
Relay G55 operates in the 2.4GHz ISM band, which is free from audio interference from TV broadcasts, white space devices and countless other sources that plague analog wireless systems.
In addition, Line 6 digital wireless systems use encoded DCL (Digital Channel Lock) technology to distinguish and protect signals from third-party sources.
Relay G55 is easy to set up, with users able to simply pick any of the 12 available channels and the transmitter and receiver lock together instantly. Worldwide, license-free operation eliminates worry about fees or compatibility issues.
All Line 6 digital wireless products share the same technology platform, making it easy for customers to mix and match instrument and vocal systems to suit their needs.
Up to 12 Relay G55 systems can be used simultaneously, or combine Relay and XD-V products, to create a versatile rig.
The bodypack transmitter, with metal body, is rugged, reliable and ready for the road. The receiver is housed in a solid aluminum chassis and fits easily on top of an amplifier—while the optional rack mount kit makes it easy to adapt Relay G55 to any professional installation.
“Proven on countless stages worldwide, Relay guitar wireless systems are the only option for musicians who really care about their tone,” says Steve Devino, live sound product manager at Line 6. “The new Relay G55 system brings the superior audio quality and reliability of the patented, fourth-generation Line 6 digital wireless platform to touring musicians who need a compact form factor for amp-top or rackmount use.”
Relay G55 is now available at a USMSRP of $629.99.
PWS Provides Equipment, Technical Services For Startlight Theatre’s First Indoor Production
PWS, working in conjunction with Vista Productions, provided 32 wireless microphones and antenna systems for the show
When Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre produced its first summer musical indoors at its new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, it turned to Professional Wireless Systems (PWS), a Masque Sound company, to supply audio equipment and technical services for the Elton John and Tim Rice musical spectacular Aida.
“Since the 1950s, the Starlight Theatre has been known for its outdoor wireless performances,” says Brooks Schroeder, project manager, PWS. “So when they came to us to help provide audio equipment and technical services for its first indoor show in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, we wanted to make sure its loyal subscribers would be able to hear the performances just as well, if not better, than they had become accustomed to at the outdoor amphitheatre.”
During Aida’s 13-show run at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, which began last August PWS, working in conjunction with Vista Productions, provided 32 wireless microphones and antenna systems for the show. Propriety gear included Masque Sound’s AF8-X antenna distribution system and Masque Sound LM series to monitor all the mics. In addition, PWS utilized a remote to handle the opposite end of the stage.
The 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre includes multiple balconies and box seating on either side of the theatre, placing attendees much closer to the stage than in most other auditorium-type venues. With a 5,000-square-foot stage, an orchestra pit that can house up to 90 musicians and a 74-foot-tall fly tower, it is the performance home of the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, as well as the site of many other theatrical, musical and dance productions.
“For the past five seasons, Starlight has allowed PWS and Masque to really combine our strengths as a company. Having the support of Masque Sound as a leading sound provider for Broadway certainly gives us an advantage,” adds Schroeder. “The show looked and sounded absolutely amazing.”
As part of PWS’s services and solutions, Schroeder remained on site during the two-week run to oversee all of the show’s audio and wireless coordination as well.
Professional Wireless Systems
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Nady Introduces 16-Channel Plug-In Micro Wireless Series
Building on the popularity of Nady's
MGT-16 UHF wireless system (introduced in 2010), several new models have been added to expand the system’s numerous applications and instrumentation.
Building on the popularity of Nady’s MGT-16 UHF wireless system (introduced in 2010), several new models have been added to expand the system’s numerous applications and instrumentation.
In addition to the MGT-16 plug-in system for guitar and bass, the new Micro Wireless (MW) Series now includes the MHT-16 (for brass and woodwinds), the WHM-16 headset system, and the Link-16 for microphones.
All models are available with either the compact, portable “pedal style” MGT-16 receiver (powered by DC adapter or AA batteries), or the “pocket size” MRX-16 receiver (AA battery operated only).
All systems feature 16 user selectable PLL frequencies for interference-free operation, up to 250’ operating range, and ASC (Auto-Sync Channel) infrared wireless download that pairs transmitter to selected receiver frequency for quick, easy setup.
The miniature, lightweight MT-16A/MT-16R instrument transmitters plug directly into a guitar, bass, or portable keyboard; the MH-16 woodwind/brass transmitter clips directly onto the bell of the horn; the compact and comfortable WH-16 headset transmitter fits snugly on the back of the head; and the LK-16 plug-in transmitter easily converts wired dynamic microphones to wireless.
With a built-in audio connector, no cable or bodypack transmitter is required for any of the models…these systems are truly “plug and play”.
The MW Series’ selectable channels fall within the TV channels-free UHF 902-928MHz band and the systems are available with any combination of transmitter/receiver.
All models of the new MW Series are now available.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Lectrosonics Wireless Microphones Integral To Filming Of “Trash Dance”
For independent filmmaker Andrew Garrison, C.A.S., an assortment of challenging conditions put his Lectrosonics wireless transmitter and receiver systems to the test during the filming of his documentary feature TRASH DANCE.
Few production environments are harder on electronic equipment than those commonly encountered by location sound professionals. From sun and sand to snow and ice, the gear must keep working—failure brings a project to its knees.
For independent filmmaker Andrew Garrison, C.A.S., an assortment of challenging conditions put his Lectrosonics wireless transmitter and receiver systems to the test during the filming of his documentary feature TRASH DANCE, the story of a choreographer who finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks, and against the odds, rallies reluctant city trash collectors to perform an extraordinary dance spectacle.
Working with a Lectrosonics UM400a Digital Hybrid Wireless beltpack transmitter mated with a UCR411a compact receiver, along with his trusty CR185 receiver and M185 transmitter (two early products that put Lectrosonics on the audio pro’s shortlist), Garrison brought TRASH DANCE to life.
Since then, the film has gone on to win a Special Jury Recognition at SXSW (South by Southwest), the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Full Frame Documentary and Silverdocs Documentary Film Festivals, as well as the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Woods Hole Film Festival. Garrison talked about the audio challenges of the project.
“Most of TRASH DANCE was shot in 2009, with some segments done as far back as 2008 and extending into 2010 before the film’s premiere at SXSW in March of 2012,” Garrison reports. “We shot the film using the Lectrosonics gear recording directly to a Sony PMW-EX1 high definition camcorder, occasionally swapping out one wireless system for a camera mounted mic or a Schoeps with an MK41 capsule on a boom.
“While I don’t recommend it, I was often a one-person crew working both camera and sound. I needed performance I could count on. What was particularly notable in terms of the audio production on this project was the fact that we shot in extremely hot weather and in close proximity to all sorts of potential electrical interference.”
“With TRASH DANCE,” he continued, “we shot in 101-degree plus weather for months at a time—hopping in and out of trucks in order to capture all that we needed. At times, we worked from a distance while at other times, we were right up close.
“I was very impressed with the fact that the Lectrosonics gear delivered excellent range performance for those takes shot from afar. Equally impressive was the fact that when we were working in or right around the trucks—where all sorts of electrical fields were generated by the trucks’ motors—the equipment continued to work flawlessly. Simply put, the Lectrosonics wireless systems proved very rugged, had great signal, and sounded terrific.”
“From the favelas (hillside shantytowns) in Brazil to the frigid Chicago winters, I’ve used my Lectrosonics gear seemingly everywhere” he said. “These are my workhorses. I’ve used these systems for everything from dramatic shoots like ‘SLACKER 2011’ to MTV’s ‘I Hate My Hair’ and the gear consistently delivers solid performance.
“The company’s support is equally impressive. Lectrosonics is one of the best models for any industry of prompt response and their customer service department always provides useful information. I am always impressed by the wealth of information available on the company’s website.”
With all the critical acclaim TRASH DANCE has received, Garrison has much to be proud of. Reflecting on the project and the manner in which the film’s audio was captured, he offered these parting thoughts. “It is amazing how clean and full the Lectrosonics 411 series sounds. I always captured the dialog I needed—even under the most difficult situations. This project literally would not have been possible without my Lectrosonics gear—especially the UCR411a.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 09/17 at 10:56 AM
PWS Provides Rock-Solid RF Coverage At Lollapalooza 2012
For the second year in a row, Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) was hired to handle frequency coordination for the wireless microphones, in-ear monitors and communications for all of the performance stages and media at the annual Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago's Grant Park.
For the second year in a row, Professional Wireless Systems (PWS), a Masque Sound Company and experts in supplying and supporting wireless systems for live and broadcast events, was hired to handle frequency coordination for the wireless microphones, in-ear monitors and communications for all of the performance stages and media at the annual Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Despite severe weather and the delays it brought along with it, careful preparation ensured the team could successfully coordinate three days worth of performances.
PWS’ crew of five was responsible for managing 400 frequencies per day between the eight stages and on-site media at the festival. To help coordinate all these activities, PWS worked closely with the production company C3, the media organizers and stage managers.
“Chicago is the third largest broadcast market in the United States, making this one of the most challenging environments from an RF point-of-view besides New York City and Los Angeles,” says Brooks Schroeder, project manager, PWS. “With the location of the festival between Willis(Sears) and Hancock Towers, there is not a lot of bandwidth. Add 300 bands into the mix, along with all of the media present for Lollapalooza, and we really have our work cut out for us.
“Pre-planning an event of this size is critical to its success, especially in the case of this year’s unexpected delays and cancellations due to the weather and necessary evacuation.”
To ensure proper frequency coordination, PWS sent out coordination forms to the Lollapalooza stage managers and media reps one month prior to the festival. The stage managers and media reps then forwarded the forms to all the entities attending the event. According to Schroeder, “We try to get as much information about the RF needs of the performers and media ahead of time. This minimizes the potential for problems. It’s a challenging event, but our team of experts has extensive experience in coordinating large events and does a fantastic job.”
In addition, the company’s Helical Antennas were utilized by PA companies 8th Day Sound and Crossroads Audio. PWS’ Dome Antennas were also utilized by many of the bands to reduce the risk of drop-outs and guarantee the strongest possible signal for microphones and in-ear monitors.
Lollapalooza is an annual music festival featuring popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip-hop bands, dance and comedy performances and craft booths. It hosts more than 100,000 people per day of the three-day event. Lollapalooza has helped expose and popularize such artists as the Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Stone Temple Pilots, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, The Cure, Rage Against the Machine, The Strokes and many more.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Shure Named One Of Chicago’s 101 Best And Brightest Companies To Work For
Award honors companies that recognize associates as their greatest asset
For the fifth time, Shure Incorporated has been named one of “Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies To Work For” by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR).
The award was established to honor companies that recognize associates as their greatest asset.
As the only audio company to be honored on the list, Shure was selected because of its commitment to excellence across human resources practices and employee enrichment programs. The company won the same award in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011.
“Sidney N. Shure often said he was building an organization of people, not an organization that built products,” states Sandy LaMantia, president and CEO of Shure Incorporated. “Thanks to his philosophy, our company has dedicated and creative Associates across the globe.
“Today we are celebrating an award that honors companies that recognize employees as their greatest asset.”
In May 2012, Shure Associates were chosen at random and invited to complete an online survey through a website administered by the NABR. The survey covered various areas of employer excellence and included companies whose programs and policies are considered best practices.
The evaluation included ten categories that Associates value in a company: communication and shared vision, community initiatives, compensation and benefits, diversity and inclusion, employee education and development, recruitment and selection, strategic company performance, employee achievement and recognition, employee enrichment and retention, and work/life balance.
“I am especially pleased that we have received this recognition so many times,” said Paul Applebaum, executive vice president, human resources, and general counsel. “It reflects the hard work and devotion of many Associates, including our Human Resources professionals, who work tirelessly to ensure that our Company remains a great and rewarding place to work.”
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Road Test: Kaltman Creations Invisible Waves RF-id SOLO
If working with wireless is part of what you do for a living, the SOLO deserves a place in your toolkit
Along with a “greenie” screwdriver, needle nose pliers, and polarity checker, a new tool from Kaltman Creations is ideal to have in an audio production kit.
The Invisible Waves RF-id SOLO immediately and accurately determines the frequency of virtually any wireless transmitter, saving the time and hassle of numerous measurements when you have a group of wireless equipment that needs to work together.
The compact handheld unit instantly reads both analog and digital wireless single-carrier frequencies, from 50 MHz to 2.5 GHz, for wireless microphone and instrument systems, in-ear monitor systems, assisted hearing systems, intercom systems, walkie-talkies, and more.
To determine the frequency of a new transmitter being added, or to confirm its current frequency setting, simply turn on the transmitter and hold it near the RF-id SOLO for a reading that is accurate to within 10 Hz.
Form & Function
The unit measures only 1.9 x 3.3 x 0.75 inches, and includes a switchable backlit LCD screen. Three membrane buttons, labeled Light, Menu, and Hold, provide access to all features and functions. When in Menu mode, the buttons perform up, down, and select actions.
The RF-id SOLO from Kaltman Creations. (click to enlarge)
A lithium-ion rechargeable battery is installed, and the unit is supplied with an external 5-volt DC power supply that plugs into the side of the unit via a small barrel connector.
Power consumption is low for many hours of use before recharging. Use of the auto-off feature further extends operating hours. The screen’s battery level display advises when a recharge is needed.
The RF-id SOLO is supplied with two antennas. The near-field antenna is basically a short, threaded RF coupler covered with a rubber boot, effective for measurements when the transmitter is held within inches of the source. A 3-inch antenna can be substituted for moderately far-field measurements.
Note that multi-frequency, frequency hopping, or spread spectrum transmitters do not emit a single carrier frequency, and are not read specifically by the RF-id SOLO; however, you may be able to iterate a frequency or frequency range from the display.
The RF-id STATION is also available, consisting of a rugged plastic carrying case with shielded slots for up to eight wireless handheld or beltpack transmitters, and a backlit near-field frequency counter readout for each one.
Dry-erase strips are provided with each slot to identify the transmitters by user/function. With the STATION, the user can confirm the transmitter frequencies for each mic while still in the case, deploy them for the show, and store them for travel when done.
Menus & Settings
The basic menu headings are Range, Gate, and User.
The first two menu selections apply mainly to the actions of the internal RF scanner, while the User category opens a sub-menu for choosing button functions and other preferences.
Range adjusts the RF-id SOLO to scan in either the 1 MHz to 2.6 GHz, or the 10 Hz to 50 MHz band.
For all pro audio purposes, the first range is where it will be used, with the aid of the included antennas. The latter range requires a high impedance input source, and is included for specialized measurement purposes.
Gate provides a selection of time windows for the RF scan, with the default position being 0.064 second, which results in a reading to three decimal places (527.625 MHz) as is typically specified in wireless microphones and similar equipment.
A second setting – 0.64 – yields a reading at four decimal places, and is also recommended in the manual for a slightly finer resolution. Other settings include 0.064 milliseconds (ms), which resolves to the megahertz level (638 MHz, for example) and the slower 6.4 seconds, which goes out to five decimal places – a resolution to the nearest 10 Hz.
User leads to a list of options for Save, Hold, View, Filter, and Auto-Off. Settings of Auto and Off are offered for Save and Hold, the Filter and Auto-Off are either On or Off, while View leads to a list of frequencies that have been saved.
Choosing Auto for both the save and hold functions will automatically save any measurement the user has made, just by holding an active transmitter close to the SOLO.
A rendering showing some of the RF-id SOLO screen functionality. (click to enlarge)
Otherwise, manually saving a frequency is as easy as pressing the Hold button when you have the desired measurement, and then pressing the Menu button to place it into a memory slot in the View menu for later access.
The normal setting for Filter is on, because when it is off, the unit seems to continually detect weak ambient frequencies and the display flashes through various readings; when a transmitter is brought close, the SOLO locks in to its frequency.
The Unit In Use
Using the RF-id SOLO is as simple as turning it on and holding a wireless transmitter close to it. Immediately, the frequency is displayed to up to 4-digit accuracy – 502.4257 MHz, for example. With the push of a button, this reading can be held on the display, and with a second push it can be stored for later recall.
In practice, the small nearfield antenna detects and reads wireless devices at a distance of 6 inches or closer – so you can be sure which device you’re detecting. The far-field antenna extends the measurement range up to perhaps 18 feet when is positioned so that it’s exactly polarized with the transmitter, and about 4 feet when it’s perpendicular to the transmitter’s RF output.
The signal strength bargraph meter that appears at the bottom of the LCD screen when a transmitter is detected can be useful to roughly detect the relative strength of the transmitter, though no numerical scale is provided. With the near-field antenna, only the first bar is typically visible when an accurate, consistent reading is displayed, because the signal is highly attenuated.
Using the far-field antenna exercises the signal strength meter, and when a transmitter is nearby, most or all of the bars appear; the frequency is accurately displayed at one bar. This meter might be useful in detecting the polarity of the transmitter’s signal, since as you rotate the SOLO, the displayed level changes.
Moving through the displays and menus is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. A quick click of the Menu button leads to the main categories, and a second quick click leads to the selections. To get back out to the main screen, hold the Menu button for a couple seconds.
The exception to this rule is in the User menu, where two click-and-holds to return are required. In addition, waiting 20 seconds without pushing a button will return to the main screen.
The Save bank has 99 memory slots, and saved frequencies are entered into the slots in the resolution in which they were measured.
Data entry into the slots is sequential, and runs from 01 to 99 and then returns to 01 and rewrites over that slot.
To read the measurements, go to User > View, and use the up and down buttons to scroll through the list one at a time.
A clear function is not provided for the memory slots, so the user has three options to pinpoint the current set of saved measurements.
You can check the View menu and determine the first open slot number and remember it; not as satisfactory a solution. Or, you can save a 0.000 reading as a marker. Finally, you can reset the SOLO to its default settings, which empties the memory slots.
One useful note is that the RF-id SOLO is calibrated to be accurate to within 10 Hz. The user will typically find that the measured frequencies differ from the nominal carrier frequencies on which the wireless transmitters are said to operate – often by 2 kHz or more, either lower or higher. Wireless device operating frequencies are usually rounded to the nearest 0 or 5 kHz.
The RF-id STATION with slots for eight wireless transmitters. The backlit near-field frequency counter readout and corresponding dry-erase strips reside along the front edge. (click to enlarge)
If desired, SOLO can be user-calibrated so that the measurements match your nominal wireless frequencies, basically introducing a slight degree of measurement bias into the tool.
The RF-id SOLO and STATION are part of the Invisible Waves line of RF measurement tools that also includes the Invisible Waves X RF Command Center. This hardware/software blend combines radio spectrum analysis with the ability to select/monitor wireless channels and other frequencies of interest, as well as detect and identify potential interference, listen to the signals, seek clear spectrum, and set various alarms to warn of impending RF problems. It’s a solution that interfaces with a PC for processing and display of the signals.
In conclusion, the RF-id SOLO provides a simple and accurate way to read the frequencies of your wireless audio and communications equipment, gain information to troubleshoot frequency problems, aid in frequency coordination, and otherwise render the invisible visible.
If working with wireless is part of what you do for a living, the SOLO deserves a place in your toolkit. The RF-id SOLO retails for $225, and the RF-id STATION for $899. Find out more at www.kaltmancreationsllc.com.
Gary Parks has previously served as marketing manager and wireless product manager for Clear-Com Intercom Systems, and has also worked with Electro-Voice and Meyer Sound. He is currently with EDX Wireless and is also a free-lance writer.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Shure Axient Raises The Calgary Stampede To New Levels
Audio for theCalgary Stampede event was handled by the Calgary office of Sound Art, who chose to use the new Shure
Axient wireless system to better manage the complex RF environment at the Stampede.
Celebrating its 100th year in 2012, the Calgary Stampede is a 10-day event that includes everything from a major rodeo and chuck wagon races to stage shows, concerts, and carnival activities.
Audio for the event was handled by the Calgary office of Sound Art, one of Canada’s leading production and sound rental companies. It chose to use the new Shure Axient wireless system to better manage the complex RF environment at the Stampede.
One of the event’s longstanding traditions and biggest attractions is the TransAlta Grandstand Show, a fast-paced theatrical variety show with music, comedy, dancing, and acrobatics, which concludes each day’s festivities.
As he has for the past 16 years, Sound Art general manager Dan Frerichs took responsibility for coordinating wireless frequencies.
“It’s not Broadway or Las Vegas, but the Stampede’s Grandstand show is a pretty big deal,” he says. “It’s an outdoor show that occurs while other stages are still running nearby, like the Nashville North area.”
To celebrate the Stampede Centennial, the 2012 Grandstand show featured country music star Paul Brandt along with perennial cast members The Young Canadians. “
To make sure nothing went wrong, we decided to use four channels of Shure Axient wireless for Paul Brandt – three for his various vocal positions and one for his guitar. And they were flawless for all 10 show days,” states Frerichs.
Shure Axient is designed to ensure uninterrupted wireless transmission through a suite of technologies, most notably its ability to detect and avoid interference. It also handles frequency coordination through its Wireless Workbench software and the AXT600 Spectrum Manager.
In addition to the four channels of Axient, Sound Art also supplied 16 channels of Shure UHF-R wireless for the Grandstand show, along with various in-ear and intercom systems.
“Between mics, in-ears, and comms, I was coordinating over 100 frequencies,” reports Frerichs. “In the past, I’ve always relied on my own scanner and third-party software. This year, I used the Axient Spectrum Manager and Wireless Workbench 6 software.
“The new version is really well integrated. It’s compatible with the UHF-R, and allows you to enter the information on devices from other manufacturers and still get an accurate list of available frequencies. It’s pretty impressive.”
That capability is critical when dealing with an ever-changing wireless spectrum over the course of a 10-day event like the Calgary Stampede.
“With video crews from the CBC and bands showing up at the other stages with their own wireless systems, you never know when one of your frequencies is going to be stepped on,” notes Frerichs. “During the Stampede, we had two instances where Axient detected a conflict on Paul’s microphone, and the system changed frequencies automatically. With any other system, those incidents could have been disasters. With Axient, you didn’t hear a thing.”
With transmission distances of up to 300 feet involved, Frerichs set up Paul Brandt’s main vocal mic in high power mode.
“Paul makes his entrance on a platform that flies over the back of the stage, so there’s a lot of trussing and plywood sets between him and the antennas, which are mounted to the grandstand. But I was picking him up with full RF bars on the receiver. It never wavered.”
In addition to Axient systems for his mics and guitar, Brandt also used the new Shure PSM 1000 personal monitor system. “Paul was very happy with everything – his vocals, his guitar sound, and his in-ears,” says Frerichs. “And for me, it was very nice to be able network it all, including all the UHF-R systems, and monitor everything through Wireless Workbench.”
Another Axient feature that Frerichs appreciates is the rechargeable batteries.
“First, there’s no sacrifice in system performance with the Shure rechargeables,” he reports. “Battery life and headroom are both excellent. When you consider that my battery order for the Stampede Grandstand show is roughly 3,000 AAs, you’re talking about a significant cost. It’s great to see a system that addresses that.”
The 2012 Calgary Stampede was a major test of Axient’s abilities for Sound Art. “With two weeks of setup and 10 days of shows, we really got to see how well the system works. This business is all about results, and I must say, Axient delivered exactly as advertised. I really think it’s a game-changing product,” concluded Frerichs.
CAD Audio Debuts StagePass Frequency Agile 16-Channel VHF Wireless System
Scan-Link technology instantaneously scans all channels and selects clearest one
The new StagePass WX1200 wireless system from CAD Audio provides 16-channel frequency agile VHF operation for increased operating range and the flexibility to scan, select and link to the optimum channel in any performance setting.
In addition to diversity operation that minimizes multipath interference, StagePass features CAD’s unique Scan-Link technology that instantaneously scans all of the channels in the RF environment, then selects the clearest one.
The receiver then automatically looks for and links to the transmitter to lock in that channel.
The series systems are available as the WX1200 handheld, WX1210HW condenser hypercardioid headworn system, WX1210LAV cardioid condenser miniature lavalier system and WX1210GTR body pack guitar system.
StagePass WX1200 handheld (TX1200) and body pack (TX1210) transmitters have soft touch multi-function On-Off/Mute/Low Battery/ScanLink status switches with multi-color LED indicators.
High quality alkaline double AA batteries provide more than ten hours of battery life for the transmitters.
The WX1200 receiver is housed in a metal chassis for durability and effectiveness as a formable RF enclosure with 1/4-inch and XLR outputs for additional flexibility.
Pricing for StagePass wireless systems is $199 (street).
Lectrosonics Names R.Scott Woolley Sales Manager For U.S. Western Territory
Background encompasses a blend of application and sales experience
Lectrosonics has announced the appointment of R. Scott Woolley to the position of sales manager for the U.S. Southwest and Northwest regions, including California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Alaska, Idaho, Arizona, and Hawaii.
With a background that encompasses a blend of application and sales experience, Woolley will be tasked with increasing Lectrosonics’ presence throughout the critical Western U.S. territory.
Based out of South Jordan, UT, Woolley most recently served as senior engineer for the LDS (Latter-Day Saints) Church Media Services Department. In this capacity, his responsibilities were to manage and lead the conference room design team, overseeing the design of sound and audiovisual systems for conference rooms, theaters, museums, and other spaces.
Prior to this, he was director of product management at Salt Lake City, UT-based ClearOne Communications, where he was responsible for the company’s global marketing efforts for the ClearOne professional and NetStreams networking product lines.
In addition, Woolley held the position of consulting engineer – technology systems for Spectrum Engineers of Salt Lake City, UT as well as sales manager for General Communications of Draper, UT.
“With its comprehensive line of both wireless microphone and audio processing products, Lectrosonics represents a terrific sales opportunity for me,” Woolley says. “Lectrosonics’ wireless microphone systems are very highly regarded throughout the professional audio and broadcast markets and their audio processing equipment has a well-earned reputation for versatility and a highly detailed sound.
“I look forward to the opportunity to extend the company’s reach throughout the vital Western territory and am eager to work with my new associates both at company headquarters in Rio Rancho and throughout my sales region.”
Gordon Moore, vice president of sales at Lectrosonics, states, “We welcome Scott to our team of fanatics. His experience in the AV industry and knowledge will be an exciting addition to our AV and professional audio presence. And in all honesty, adding Scott to our team was an easy decision—he had photos of us from a convention we really needed to get back.”
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Lectrosonics Wireless Brings Audio To “The Ultimate Fighter”
Lectrosonic wireless microphone sound quality, battery performance, and rugged build quality ensure hassle-free production.
Today’s reality TV shows focus on everything from interior and clothing design to marksmanship and even kitchen warfare. None of them, however, show brute athleticism quite like FX Network’s The Ultimate Fighter.
The show features up and coming MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters in Las Vegas and follows them as they train and compete against each other for a contract with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
Capturing audio for the show is anything but routine. With demanding production schedules and being among one of the most RF saturated cities in the country, the show’s audio relies heavily upon a sizable arsenal of wireless microphone technology Lectrosonics.
Fernando Delgado, owner and chief engineer of Las Vegas-based Stickman Sound Inc, has served as The Ultimate Fighter’s sound supervisor for the last five of fifteen seasons. He is an accomplished location sound professional who started his career A2’ing with HBO Boxing and, in 2005, received a Sports Emmy Award for outstanding live event audio.
Delgado routinely faces a variety of daunting production challenges. This is why he relies on Lectrosonics equipment—all of which utilizes the company’s highly acclaimed Digital Hybrid Wireless technology.
“Our setup includes twenty-four SMQV variable power super-miniature transmitters accompanied by an RM remote, two HM plug-on transmitters, and three T4 compact IFB transmitters,” Delgado reports. “On the receiving side, we use forty-eight VRT receiver modules housed in eight fully stocked Lectrosonics VRM Venue series receiver mainframes.
“We have four Venue receiver systems in use at both of the show’s primary venues: the ‘house’ where the competitors reside and the gym where the fighters train and compete.”
In addition to these systems, Delgado reports there’s quite a bit more Lectrosonics gear.
“We also have twenty-eight Lectrosonics UCR411a compact receivers that are part of seven ENG mixing bags used on the show. Further, we use a combination of Lectrosonics SNA600 adjustable dipole and ALP600 log periodic dipole array antennas.
“I’ve been working with Lectrosonics wireless gear for more than ten years,” Delgado says. “In addition to great sound quality, I never cease to be impressed with the rugged build quality and the reliability this equipment delivers.
“These guys are fighters—not actors—and they tend to be pretty rough on the gear. I’ve never had a piece of Lectrosonics equipment go down on me because of physical damage. Simply put, you can beat the hell out of it!”
When queried about the single most important Lectrosonics attribute that really makes a difference in the production of this show, Delgado immediately singled out the SMQV’s battery performance.
“The SMQV’s variable transmission output is huge,” Delgado said. “We use as the transmitter’s low output as much as possible for all the close range work and, of course, we have the option to increase the unit’s transmission output if we need it. Even at 100mw I get twelve hours from the SMQV using two lithium batteries. On this type of show, that’s priceless.”
“We frequently have twenty-two hour shooting days,” he continued. “We can shoot for twelve hours without a battery change and this capability saves tremendous time, energy, and manpower during the shoot day.
“We typically insert batteries at 6 AM to start and replace them at 6 PM. The fact that we’re able to get so much time from the batteries goes a long way toward minimizing production down time.”
Delgado is equally enthusiastic about Lectrosonics’ customer and technical support services, “They’re a great company to work with. Whenever I have questions, I get right through to people who understand what I’m looking to accomplish and if a piece requires servicing, the company’s response time is very quick.”
Before resuming prep for the upcoming season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter, Delgado offered these parting thoughts. “With great sound, reliable performance, and exceptional battery life, the Lectrosonics equipment enables us to focus on the creative aspects of capturing sound for the show as opposed to worrying about the mechanics of making it happen. Lectrosonics builds terrific, rock solid gear that never lets me down.”
Friday, August 24, 2012
Edens Edge Tours The U.S. With AKG C520 L Head-worn Microphones
With an active set, intricate instrumental backings and an extremely high energy level, Edens Edge relies on AKG C520 L head-worn microphone for quality, clear and reliable sound.
With deep country roots, all connected through similar upbringings in Arkansas, Edens Edge is an up-and-coming modern country trio currently touring as the opening act on the Farmers Insurance “Changed Tour,” headlined by Rascal Flatts.
With an active set, intricate instrumental backings and an extremely high energy level, Edens Edge relies on AKG C520 L head-worn microphone for quality, clear and reliable sound.
Known for its acoustic sounds, the trio recently added a complete band to its set for larger, more in-depth performances. FOH Engineer and Production Manager Todd Wines began the search for a lavalier microphone that would minimize the potential for sound bleeding during performances due to the band expansion. The trio’s previous headset mics were not capable of adapting to the increased stage volume, especially with the cymbals and snare drum, nor did they provide the quality Wines desired.
Wines approached AKG for a solution and was introduced to the C520 L. With an external shock mount for high mechanical noise rejection, miniature gooseneck for precise vocal positioning and the ability for left or right side address, the C520 L provided the ideal solution for Wines and Edens Edge.
“The AKG C520 L has improved the band’s performance on multiple levels,” stated Wines. “Sonically, the vocals are much clearer, even with the increase of instruments and stage noise on tour. We can play anywhere from a small theater with a compact stage, to a large stadium and the background pickup is minimal at all levels. There is also less work required to achieve their sound through the mics; less work to overcome any technical issues that arise as well.”
The band finds the C520 L to provide much more comfort than its previous head-worn mics. “Hannah [Blaylock], Cherrill [Green] and Dean [Berner] put on a great, very active show,” continued Wines. “The durability of the AKG mic combined with the comfort aspect helps the performers concentrate on the music, rather than worrying about the possibility of a technical issue.”
Monday, August 20, 2012
Shure Helps Power Nintendo Orchestra Tour
Wireless Personal Monitoring System Performs Flawlessly on the Road for 90-piece Orchestra
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of video game franchise “The Legend of Zelda,” Nintendo commissioned an original symphony to tour the U.S., giving fans a nostalgic live experience of music and cinematic visuals.
To create the complex audio components of the live production, “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses,” Producer Jason Michael Paul tasked the show’s Sync and Program Director, Alex Levy, to find the industry’s best personal monitoring systems that are durable and best suited for the job.
Levy needed a wireless solution to support 65 instrumentalists, 24 vocalists, and a conductor, while handling a variety of RF and logistical challenges. After testing several models, Levy determined the Shure PSM900 to be the winner, as it offers superb audio quality, rugged design, and a category-leading feature set.
The traveling symphony production is a collection of orchestral works based on the last 25 years of Zelda game music that is meticulously-timed with scenes of gameplay.
Directed and arranged by Chad Seiter, the two-hour show is powered by a click track system. This required Levy to find a wireless transmitter that could accurately reproduce the click track levels—which switch from extremely loud sounds to completely off within milliseconds—while still accommodating challenging RF environments.
The PSM 900 systems addressed this demand, as they produced accurate, consistent, and clean sounds for all orchestra members.
“The Shure [PSM 900] was the only system that allowed full frequency,” Levy said. “The sounds of the click in other products were muddy or soft. With the PSM 900, the orchestra’s audio could go from completely off to full volume, while still maintaining a high-quality sound. It was definitely the best sounding system out there.”
The musicians, who all wear Shure’s P9RA wireless bodypack receivers, were also impressed. “Every musician—from violinists to trumpet players—loves having their own volume control and freedom from wires, especially the percussionist, who moves around frequently during the performance,” commented Levy.
It wasn’t just the sound that sold Levy on using PSM 900.
“With more than 21 tour stops, I had to be able to find an available frequency upon arrival in each performance city,” he says. “And with a 90-piece orchestra, there’s no real wired option as a backup, so the wireless has to work.
“Before I used Shure, I remember I would go through three or four different frequencies trying to find a clear, available option. Now, with PSM 900, the front-end RF filtering lets me find a clear, open frequency quickly—saving my technical team valuable time prior to each show. It’s a huge, huge time saver and a feature that makes my job easier.”
In addition to PSM 900’s superior sound, durable design scored highly when Levy was investigating systems—and the gear’s quality has delivered. “The Shure gear is great; metal bodied and rugged,” he said. “It’ll be put on the floor, dropped by musicians and stepped on, but we haven’t lost or broken any units.”
A live sound production can always present unexpected challenges, especially when travel, accompanying visuals, and a large number of musicians are put into the mix. Fortunately, the PSM 900 enables Levy and his team to be confident in their performance onstage.
“Shure’s personal monitoring system is one of the most dependable pieces of gear in our tour,” continued Levy. “We wrestle with a lot of technology, and the wireless is one of the few things that gives us no trouble, it’s ironic actually.”
Conductor Eimear Noone was also in need of quality gear—a pair of reference headphones for hearing and cueing the click track. Levy chose Shure’s SRH440 professional headphones for their enhanced frequency response, accurate audio reproduction, and comfort. “The sounds the conductor hears need to be loud and really clean, and the [SRH] 440s will give you that.”
Friday, August 17, 2012
Church Sound: Transitioning From Stage Wedges To “Ears”
An introduction to personal wireless monitoring
Many worship venues have made the transition from “wedges” to “ears” for stage monitoring purposes, and often find that this can be a surprisingly tricky process.
Essentially, wedges are loudspeakers that are laid sideways and angled up and at the performers.
The signal content, or “mix,” in each monitor or group of monitors is customized for the performer’s needs and sometimes will sound quite different than the house mix that the audience hears.
Wireless personal monitors have become popular in recent years.
These little monitoring earphones place the signal directly into the ears of the performer, usually eliminating the need for a wedge monitor.
There are several immediate advantages of such wireless personal monitoring systems, particularly wireless ones, as opposed to wedges, including:
• Lower stage volume (no open wedges blaring
• Better house sound, greater gain-before-feedback)
• Artist mobility (no sweet spot to stand in)
• Lower monitoring levels (hopefully) for better hearing safety
• The ability to listen deeper into the monitor mix
• A custom mix and volume for each user
• A discreet path for talkback to the user’s ears
• System portability (wedges weigh a whole lot more than bodypacks)
• Better aesthetics
• Improved acoustic isolation
Those last two points may be arguable as disadvantages too, but most users agree that earphones are less distracting than wedge monitors.
Worship leaders and techs transitioning to wireless personal monitors should plan for increased communication and expect to spend lots of time building the right monitor mix.
The acoustic isolation of wireless personal monitoring systems offers extreme control, but also requires more attention to detail in the monitor mix. But before going further into that, let’s cover a few things about hearing/monitoring.
Consider this scenario:
• A worship leader is on stage front and center with a single wedge monitor and his guitar and vocal mic. The tech mixes both signals into the wedge, plus any other signals he requests, which might include other instruments. He monitors comfortably.
• Does he hear in mono or stereo?
Well, it is true that a single wedge monitor reproduces a mono/single signal, but is that all he hears? No! He not only hears the sound from the wedge, but also the sounds from all around him including other performers, audience sounds, room reverberation, and more. He hears all these things with a true sense of space and dimension.
Next, consider this scenario:
• Your church buys its first wireless personal monitoring system to replace the worship leader’s front/center wedge. The tech removes the wedge, and routes the regular monitor signal into the new wireless personal monitor system.
At sound check, the worship leader puts his earphones in and starts to sing and/or play. He quickly says “my mix is different!” The tech responds “nope, it’s the same mix you’ve always had.” Who’s right?
They both are. With the wedge, the WL heard the monitor signal AND his acoustic surroundings as a total package. Now that his ears are essentially plugged by earphones, he hears only the monitor signal provided, and DOES NOT hear his acoustic surroundings. He relies 100 percent on the monitor mix he receives. For this reason, the transition can be startling and potentially frustrating for new wireless personal monitor users.
Professional wireless personal monitors for stage monitoring are designed to seal the ear, acoustically isolating the user from nearby sounds.
When people with normal hearing close off the opening to the ear canal, the loudness of low-pitched sounds (presented by bone conduction) increases.
In audiological terms, this phenomenon is called “occlusion.”
The worship leader experienced a pronounced increase in low and mid-range sounds when he inserted his earphones for the first time.
He didn’t hear much of his voice through air conduction any longer, and most of what he heard was the remaining bassy/muffly sounds of his voice conducted through the bones in his head.
For this reason, vocalists often have the toughest time adjusting to wireless personal monitors—that is, they mostly hear their own voice via bone conduction.
So a vocalist using wireless personal monitors is certainly going to need to hear others on the stage (such as the band or orchestra) in their monitor mix, but usually needs a lot more of their own vocal.
If they do not hear sufficient level of their own voice, the bone-conducted, “muddy” tone of their voice is predominant and they are uncomfortable.
Ever heard a vocalist trying wireless personal monitors for the first time say, “I sound really weird!”? This is probably why.
Instrumentalists using wireless personal monitors do not have the issue of bone-conducted voice in their head, but they do experience the same isolation.
So now we know that wireless personal monitor users are isolated by these ear plugs—err… earphones!—and we must pay very careful attention to exactly what elements are in their mix. They will no longer hear sounds naturally, as they do with wedges. If there is something they want to hear, it must be routed to their monitor mix.
So it becomes critical that the sound tech auditions the monitor mix frequently with earphones of preferably the same type.
And mix adjustments that required four or five “clicks” with a wedge might need only two or three “clicks” in a wireless personal monitor. Sonic details are simply much more obvious. Consider a worship leader with a choir behind him: in a wedge application, he may hear plenty of the choir without any choir being folded back.
But with “ears,” he will certainly want the choir mixed into his ears! So the acoustic isolation offers wonderful control but requires increased attention and effort from the sound tech.
Full Vs Partial Mixes
A full wireless personal monitor mix might sound much like the front-of-house mix, a commercial CD mix, or similar. It will have every element mixed at the proper “finished product” balance.
A partial wireless personal monitor mix intentionally omits non-essential elements (for that particular user!) so that the remaining/critical elements may be monitored clearly, without unnecessary clouding from a “busy” mix.
For instance, a bass player’s wireless personal monitor will certainly have his bass, the kick drum, the basics of the rhythm section, the lead vocal, and maybe a few other things he may request. But it might eliminate the choir mics, orchestra sounds, background singers, or other elements that are not really essential in helping him get the pitch and time cues he requires.
It is often helpful to remind each other (musicians and techs alike) to contrast the terms “listening” and “monitoring,” and remember the purpose of stage monitoring. This can sometimes become a race for the perfect full mix in a user’s wireless personal monitor, when oftentimes on the worship platform that’s really not the point at all!
“Downward” or “subtractive” mixing describes the idea of “less is more” in monitoring mixing, and this is one technique that applies well to both wedges and earphones.
So when we have an artist continually asking for more and more level from various sources in their ears, we should instead turn other things down.
The artist still gets the balance adjustment they desire, but without an overall volume increase.
And this is also a better approach when it comes to the science of proper gain staging in our mixing consoles and in-ear products (wired or wireless).
Mono Vs Stereo Mixes
Mono wireless personal monitor mixes can be made to work successfully.
But those that use their systems in stereo eventually discover that there is a world of increased monitoring flexibility available to them. A mono wireless personal monitor mix means that everything is heard “dead center.”
That is, above the head in the virtual center of the sound image. A stereo wireless personal monitor mix allows the placement of sources to be panned across the stereo space “in” the head.
Here, various sources are intentionally panned in different places across the image for the purpose of “un-mixing” them.
It is interesting to watch and see that musicians can certainly (whether consciously or not) train themselves to “point” their listening to different directions in their head, depending on what sound they want to focus on at any moment. It is important that the user’s “me” signal stay in the center/top of their head.
Say a musician has his acoustic guitar and the worship leader vocal both placed center in his head (good), and the electric guitar is panned to 11:00 in his ears, the keyboards might be panned to 1:00, and some other sources might be panned to 10:00, or 2:00, and so on.
While we would usually not do this for a “full mix” for the audience, this “un-mixing” by stagger panning can be very effective for monitoring.
One very good worship musician once stated:
“When running an IEM system in mono, I hear the mix dead center. That is a problem when I need to hear kick, snare, overhead drum mics, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, click, percussion, back-ground vocals, the worship leader, a choir, loops, etc…. I have to choose 3-5 things to monitor and everything else takes the back seat…”
(He just described clouding from a full mix)
“...when I use IEMs in stereo, I have a much larger sound field to use. I’ll pan background vocals slightly left, the worship leader slightly right, acoustic around 30 percent right, piano around 30 percent left, kick and bass dead center, overhead drum mics around 50 percent right, and so on…”
(And there was his idea of stagger panning)
“With a stereo mix, things don’t compete as much… In mono, the only way to get more room is to increase the gain, which takes my mix louder, whereas a stereo mix allows me to take my mix wider. In fact, I am able to use 25-35 percent less volume with a stereo mix!”
-Andrew Catron, Associate of Worship, Lee Park Baptist Church
And here is a quote on this topic from a full-time worship monitor mixer:
”...I’ve found that creating a stereo mix with slight spread of sources with the artist’s own voice or instrument dead center allows me to keep levels under control. I also get a lot less of the ‘more me’ requests with this approach.”
-Scott Fahy, Lead Audio Engineer, Living Word Christian Center
While Catron has a good working audio knowledge, he is a musician first, and it is interesting that he sorted out the above thoughts on his own while transitioning from a mono to a stereo wireless personal monitor mix.
He was mixing his own ears at this time with an Aviom A16II personal mixer. Fahy is at the other end of the spectrum—he is not a worship musician but a veteran audio engineer, and usually mixes many wireless personal monitors (on a dedicated console) in a complex worship environment.
Both of these men, from opposite ends of the spectrum in very different worship environments, seem convinced that stereo wireless personal monitors using stagger panning makes for easier monitoring, happier users, and lower volume.
Hopefully you’ve fund this introduction to wireless monitoring useful. Stay tuned for next week when we’ll take a look at part two of this series on how to achieve the perfect mix for wireless monitors.
For more worship audio tips and techniques, go to Sennheiser.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Shure Axient Wireless Takes The Stage At 46th Montreux Jazz Festival
Throughout the festival, Axient Wireless Systems from Shure were used on the main stage in the Auditorium Stravinski, including the “Freak Out Party” on July 13, where Chic, Mark Ronson, Groove Armada, Tavares, Ultra Naté, and others performed.
The 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival, which ran from June 29 through July 14, welcomed various world-class artists and bands performing on 15 different stages. For the 19th consecutive year, Shure was the Official Technical Partner for Microphones and Wireless Systems.
Throughout the festival, Axient Wireless Systems were used on the main stage in the Auditorium Stravinski, including the “Freak Out Party” on July 13, where Chic, Mark Ronson, Groove Armada, Tavares, Ultra Naté, and others performed.
As in years past, Michael Wolf, Technical Support Manager for Shure EMEA, was responsible for frequency coordination and provided onsite technical support throughout the festival. In all, more than 1,400 Shure products were used, including 20 PSM1000 Personal Monitor Systems, 50 channels of UHF-R, and 16 channels of Axient Wireless.
“The Axient system is completely networked,” says Wolf. “Via Ethernet connection, I monitored the components with my laptop if I couldn’t be on-stage.
“The Wireless Workbench software offers a bunch of options, such as doing live frequency scans. I can change the transmitter’s audio gain setting without the need of physically holding it. I don’t need to chase the singer on stage and can adjust everything on the PC or the receiver.
“This was a huge advantage at the festival, where handhelds were used by various singers.”