Dani Bennett Spragg Meet this year's MPG Awards Breakthrough Engineer
Live depends on us “Rivage is dependable, flexible, powerful and sounds amazing!” Terry ‘TJ’ Jackson - FOH Engineer, Earth, Wind & Fire
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MONTH 2019 www.psneurope.com • Twitter.com/PSNEurope • Facebook.com/ProSoundNewsEurope • Instagram.com/PSNEurope EDITORIAL Editor: Daniel Gumble firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0)203 871 7371 Staff Writer: Fiona Hope McDowall email@example.com • +44 (0)798 3168221
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n the wafer thin slithers of time that connected the NAMM show, ISE and our March print deadline, the team here at PSNEurope towers has endeavoured to produce a magazine that comprehensively reﬂects on the two biggest trade shows on the professional audio calendar (would another week or so between them not provide a welcome breather)? Irrespective of the hectic schedule that ensues at this time of year, I can honestly say I don’t remember the last time I met with such positivity at a trade show/s. As you’ll ﬁnd in the NAMM and ISE reviews mentioned above, the overwhelming praise lauded upon both the LA and Amsterdam gatherings by exhibitors and visitors was virtually unanimous. The heaving halls and claims of signiﬁcant business being done at the booths across the board certainly provided cause for optimism. NAMM’s new audio village seems to have given the show a new lease of life as far as its pro oﬀering is concerned, with many hailing it as the event’s best outing in recent memory. Meanwhile, the halls of the RAI o en felt gridlocked, such was the vastness of the crowds, making its move to Barcelona in 2021 all the more welcome.
All of which signals an exciting future for the market in general. Both shows have been registering record breaking visitor and exhibitor numbers for several consecutive years, suggesting the sector is in the very rudest of health. Quite what this means for the next big trade show on the calendar, we’ll have to wait and see. Prolight+Sound has endured a tumultuous few years, following various changes to its infrastructure, but endure it has. While the huge success of NAMM and ISE may set alarm bells ringing, it could also signal a strength in the market that could go some way towards supporting what has historically been a vital and much loved event. Ultimately, the pro audio community will vote with its feet, and the organisers at Messe will be going all out to deliver a show that can go toe-to-toe with the competition and oﬀer something unique. As has been the case for a number of years now, the next Prolight+Sound will be considered one of the most crucial in its history. What we can be certain of is that come April, the gaze of exhibitors past and present will be ﬁrmly ﬁxed on Frankfurt. n
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P4 MARCH 2019
In this issue... People P6
Kenton Forsythe Returning EAW co-founder Kenton Forsythe tells PSNEurope why he is rejoining the company three years after his departure and what his ambitions are for the future of the brand
P14 Chris Lord-Alge The legendary US mix engineer talks us through his partnership with Waves and the newly launched CLA MixHub plugin
P11 COLLEEN HARPER
WE HEAR FROM THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT THE AES
P17 NAMM 2019 With the sun now set on another NAMM, major exhibitors reveal why they believe the show’s audio oﬀering is better than ever before P28 Reinventing Harman Pro Harman Pro president Mohit Parasher takes us inside the company’s ongoing reconstruction P35 Normal Not Novelty returns The monthly Red Bull Studio initiative returns for 2019, as our columnist Katie Tavini reports
P23 ISE 2019 LEADING EXECUTIVES OFFER THEIR TAKE ON THIS YEAR’S SHOW
Interviews P32 Dani Bennett Spragg The winner of this year’s Breakthrough Engineer of the Year MPG Award discusses her route to becoming one of the UK’s most exciting studio talents P44 Michael Dugher UK Music CEO Michael Dugher gives his take on the increasingly complex reloationship between the tech world and the music industry
P50 ON KALL US PRODUCER KALLIE MARIE TALKS GEAR AND FREELANCING
Holistic growth. The KSL System line array loudspeakers employ a combination of techniques to accomplish seamless broadband directivity control. The low frequency geometry uses cardioid technology with a driver and port layout producing a coverage matched perfectly to the coaxial arrangement of an extremely eﬃcient midrange horn and waveguide mounted high frequency drivers. In total harmony with the system’s usability, an extraordinary performance delivers sound exactly where it’s wanted. Just another true adherent to the holistic d&b approach.
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P00 P6 MARCH MONTH 2019
hat a busy year it’s been for EAW. Since the US loudspeaker manufacturer was acquired by Italy’s RCF Group in 2018, the company has been investing heavily in new staff and a fresh infrastructure that will bring all of its operational and administrative operations in-house. All the while, the firm has been spreading the word that it has a renewed sense of purpose and a mission to tackle the European market head on. In January, the company made the headlines again when it revealed that co-founder and former VP of strategic engineering, Kenton Forsythe, was returning to the company on a part-time basis, aer three years away. Forsythe's design, the mid-1970s vintage BH215 dual 15-inch bass horn, became the basis of some of EAW's earliest products, while its KF850 was the model that helped put the brand on the map. Here, he tells PSNEurope what coaxed him back into the business and his ambitions for the next generation of EAW… What made you decide to return to EAW? Aer a year of tending to my wife and I's “honey-do” lists, I was ready to get back into speaker work. I talked with a few organisations, then following the takeover of Loud by new investors, [EAW president] TJ Smith gave me a call one day in late March 2018. We cut a deal quickly and now I am back where I belong. A lot has changed since you le the company. How have you found the process of returning to the fold? Easy. The core group here is very desirous of returning to the days of greatness through technological designs and strong marketing. What will your responsibilities be now? I have the very good fortune of basically reporting to my son Jeremy, now manager of product development at EAW. I also work closely with Geoff McKinnon, who is doing a brilliant job as engineering director. We are currently working on three new ranges of installation appropriate designs. What are your thoughts on the RCF acquisition? Did this prompt your return to EAW? I have known and respected Arturo Vacari [RCF CEO] for 20+ years now, having first met him at RCF. I find the work he has done miraculous, following pulling RCF from bankruptcy by Mackie Designs/Loud. People love to work with him, as do I.
Homew a bound Aer three years away from the company he co-founded over four decades ago, Kenton Forsythe has returned to resurgent US loudspeaker company EAW. Daniel Gumble caught up with him to find out what drew him back into the fold and where he sees the brand headed in 2019 and beyond…
RCF has made many key pro audio acquisitions recently. How beneficial is it for EAW to be part of such a fast growing organisation? The RCF Group has a very entrepreneurial leader in Mr.
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P7 PXX MARCH MONTH 2019 2017
Vacari, who made an additional strategical aquisition with EAW. Appropriate new resources have become available to use for advanced product development that will enable lower cost manufacturing and advanced technology, particularly on the electronics side. Outside of the US, EAW has been perceived as something of a sleeping giant in the loudspeaker market. How do you plan to remedy that this year? New products with advanced technologies. Several new product ranges are under development, and they will continue to move the state-of-the-art in loudspeakers forward. Several are based on the technologies we already possess, such as Adaptive, while others are more advanced implementations of more conventional techniques. We continue to look into improved manufacturing technologies as well. How crucial are trade shows for spreading the word of the companyâ€™s rejuvenation? Major trade shows are very helpful in exposing EAW to current and potential users. We will continue to support such shows, with a noticeably larger presence than in the past. However, we may have a smaller presence in regional shows, or pass them by as others are doing. We do anticipate having regional EAW-focused events to bring our products to a wider audience.
What are you ambitions in 2019, both personally and for the company? My personal goals are to complete the three ranges of new product within 2019, and to bring them to the market. I will be working with consultants and contractors to get exposure for the designs. We see ourselves on a major growth cycle, eager to regain ground lost since the first acquisition in 2000 and years of investment group management. What do you perceive to be the biggest opportunities in the market for EAW in 2019 and beyond? EAW continues to see many opportunities in the pro audio market. We see room for growth in our current market segments and in additional aspects of the market. High performance with advanced technology is always welcomed, even at the somewhat premium price such products must command.
And what are the biggest challenges? The main obstacle is fighting to achieve aggressive growth targets. Hiring new key people is a great opportunity, however, it is also a challenge in finding the right people. We are fortunate in recent hires to have gained some very talented and skilled people. ď Ž
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P8 MARCH 2019
Movers and shakers Stay in the loop with the latest job appointments and movements in the professional audio industry...
Joe White appointed as Nexo business development manager, south east Asia, India, and Oceania EFFECTIVE from February 1 2019, Nexo has appointed Joe White as business development manager for south east Asia, India, and Oceania. Since 2011, he has been running his own business in Indonesia, but he desired a return to pro audio. Of what he will bring to his new role, White commented: “Having luckily worn the Nexo hat for a number of years and been based at the company’s HQ, I quickly understood how a central message and strategy implemented on a global scale is not only important for a company’s brand presence, but also directly for the company’s end users. "A big part of my approach to growing the brand in these regions is to ascertain that all aspects of communication, education, and product and business
strategies are solidified across these regions and worked on collectively by distributors.” When asked of the challenges of the role, and how he will approach them, White explained: "It is important to understand that the brand’s message and methodologies can be easily applied to these cultures, so as to have a unified message across this vast region. My challenge will then be to make myself as present as possible across the region so that our distributors and their end users see that everyone in the region is working together using the same methodologies. "As the countries in south east Asia become more receptive to multi-culture, we can see huge growth potential in the entertainment and worship sectors. This is a very exciting time to rejoin my friends at Nexo.”
A CENTRAL MESSAGE AND STRATEGY IMPLEMENTED ON A GLOBAL SCALE IS NOT ONLY IMPORTANT FOR A COMPANY'S BRAND PRESENCE, BUT ALSO DIRECTILY FOR THE COMPANY'S END USERS JOE WHITE
Active Audio names Eric Allen & Heath selects Markus
Grandmougin as marketing and
EAW names John Mills as
Sinsel as sales director
customer support director
senior applications engineer
SINSEL has joined Allen & Heath with a wealth of experience in the pro audio industry as sales director, having worked for Allen & Heath distribution companies in Germany and the UK for the last 18 years, and as a sound engineer for almost 30 years. When asked what he brings to the role, Sinsel replied: “I believe I bring a good understanding of the needs and demands of our distribution and customers. More importantly, I understand the product.” In terms of the challenges of the industry that the company faces – most imminently the threat of Brexit – and how to approach them, Sinsel explained: “Allen & Heath is rapidly growing. With Brexit just ahead and the new import duties in several countries we face some challenges, but with our team, that is working very hard, and the support of the Audiotonix group, I know we will be able to find smart solutions for all.”
ACTIVE Audio has selected Eric Grandmougin as its new marketing and customer support director, effective since January 2 2019. Grandmougin has a strong background in sound; he pursued an engineering degree in acoustics, and an early career as a sound engineer, later graduating to the pro audio industry. Active’s CEO, Régis Cazin emphasised that “Eric has a very strong reputation in the world of pro audio and acoustics in France." Grandmougin will provide Active Audio's senior management and strategic committee with insight into market trends and technologies, as well as proposing new products. Grandmougin commented: “Aer spending 20 years with users, designers and investors, I can provide good feedback on user experience and use this in our communication and analysis of product applications.”
EASTERN Acoustic Works has appointed renowned audio engineer, John Mills as senior applications engineer. Mills is an industry expert of 25 years, having most recently served as VP of Nashville's Morris Light and Sound, where he worked for the past eight years. Mills has mixed front-of-house at virtually every major arena and stadium in the continental US and Canada. He is most recognised for his FOH work with stars such as Chris Tomlin, Lincoln Brewster, Shane and Shane, and Paul Baloche, as well as for being systems engineer for country musician Kenny Chesney. Mills commented: "EAW is moving forward with innovative, forward-looking solutions. The future looks bright with an engineering team under Geoff McKinnon, and Kenton Forsythe's return. "It's a great time for me to bring my experience and skills to EAW."
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ATM350a Versatile instrument mic
P11 MARCH 2019
Executive decision Fiona Hope recently caught up with Colleen Harper to discuss her new appointment as executive director of the Audio Engineering Society…
olleen Harper was selected as executive director of the Audio Engineering Society on January 21 2019, and now reports to the executive committee of the AES board of governors. Despite being relatively new to the pro audio world, Harper has extensive experience in running associations of similar stature, most recently working as the COO and interim CEO of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. Other associations that Harper has served in senior roles at include such vast and varied organisations as the National Investor Relations Institute, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and the Geoprofessional Business Association. Notably, she has been a Certified Association Executive (CAE) since 2012 and was formally recognised with an Association Forum of Chicagoland’s Forty Under 40 Award in 2014. Not only does she have an array of interesting experience, but she brings a fresh perspective as a woman in a highly male-dominated industry. Harper tells PSNEurope’s Fiona Hope about her actions to develop and propel AES forward, using her wealth of experience with nonprofit societies and associations and passion for the cause to assert it as the top professional organisation in the pro audio world... What are the biggest opportunities your new role offers? AES has such an incredible reputation and has done so much work on behalf of those in pro audio. Now that I’ve been on the AES team for a few weeks, I believe the biggest opportunities my role offers are to increase the collaboration between traditional and emerging specialties within the Society; keep us up-to-date with technological developments in areas such as virtual reality, gaming, and streaming; and solidify AES as the professional home for the pro audio community. How is this role different to your past positions? The largest difference is the industry itself. While I have worked with engineering societies in the past, I have not been this closely involved with audio specifically. Otherwise, there are actually many similarities and overlaps to my past positions. Running an association
requires a skill set specific to associations, and I’ve been able to hone those skills – such as membership engagement, marketing, budgeting, and so forth – throughout my nonprofit career. I believe my past positions and experiences will help a lot as I work with the team to move AES forward. What are you bringing to the role? I think my background of focusing on membership and member value will be a significant contribution to AES, as well as the experience of running the business operations of a nonprofit professional society. My career has also included working with younger professionals specifically and increasing their involvement with the organisation, which I think will be a great fit at AES given the high number of student members and student sections that we have. How do you define the importance of AES? AES generates critical information in the form of standards, journal articles, and other technical content that is presented at our European and US conventions. For example, AES3, AES10, and AES67 are monumental standards that have changed and improved the business. The members and volunteers who work on this important research keep the whole audio industry up-to-date and operationally efficient. We have a diverse community made up of both academics/researchers and practitioners, and the vibrancy of the community makes it a necessary part of the career of anyone in pro audio. Why do you believe in AES? We live in a world than can change in the blink of an eye. Absolutely everyone benefits from ongoing professional development and education – if you are unwilling or unable to learn about current issues, trends, and developments, your business or career can suffer greatly from that. AES is 100 per cent committed to leading the education and training related to pro audio, and making sure that audio’s contribution to so many other industries is both respected and celebrated. What do you think the biggest challenges facing audio engineers in today’s market are? I think the biggest obstacle relates to audio not being such a standalone discipline anymore. Many audio engineers
now have to learn new skills – such as networking, video, gaming, and streaming – in order to keep up with the interdisciplinary nature of their jobs and carve out a viable career. Additionally, the way people consume audio now is very different than it was 10 years ago, and that can be a challenge as well. What will AES be bringing to 2019? We expect to explore and generate more collaborations with manufacturers and like-minded organisations, with a strong focus on providing stellar education. What makes you passionate about pro audio? I have never seen a community as passionate, energised, and familial as the pro audio community. I have the utmost admiration for all of the AES members and volunteers who have given so much to the Society. Now that I have a greater understanding of the importance of the pro audio industry, I want to do whatever I can to drive it forward and provide even more to the people who comprise this unique community. What will your day-to-day look like as executive director? Honestly, I’m still figuring this out! I expect my day-to-day to be a combination of business operations, membership, and content generation. AES has so many wonderful opportunities in front of us, and I’m excited to spend my time working with the excellent AES team to capitalise on them.
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P13 MARCH 2019
The vinyl frontier
At NAMM 2019, Audio-Technica introduced a brand new turntable and cartridge duo to the market, highlighting the company’s ongoing commitment to the DJ sector. Joe France, Audio-Technica UK’s DJ specialist, tells PSNEurope why the world of vinyl is still ripe with opportunity…
ack in January, Audio-Technica unveiled its latest offering to the DJ market at NAMM 2019 in the form of the AT-LP140XP turntable and AT-XP3 cartridge. Designed in Tokyo, the fully manual turntable features a hightorque direct drive motor, ensuring quick start up, and an anti-resonant, mass-damped, die-cast aluminum platter for stable, on-axis rotation at 33, 45 and 78rpm. Its S-shaped tonearm allows adjustment for height, tracking force and dynamic anti-skate control, while additional features include selectable quartz-controlled pitch lock and pitch change slider (with +/-8%, +/-16%, and +/-24% adjustment ranges), stroboscopic platter with a speed indicator and a retractable plug-type stylus target light. The product is available in black or silver, with DJ-approved features such as a start/stop button, forward/reverse play, selectable pitch change, a stylus target light and more. The AT-XP3 cartridge, reflecting Audio-Technica's leading innovation as a phono-cartridge designer of over 50 years, comes with a V-Mount dual magnet construction, carbon fibre-reinforced ABS cantilever and nylon wire suspension for precise tracking. Here, Joe France, Audio-Technica UK’s DJ specialist, explains why he believes the future is bright for the DJ sector and why the ongoing rise in vinyl sales in the UK represents a serious opportunity for the market... At NAMM 2019 you released a new DJ turntable. How important is the DJ market for the brand? The DJ sector is very important for Audio-Technica, and turntables are still a big part of the DJ world, which is why we see continued development in this product area. Audio-Technica’s previous DJ turntable, the AT-LP1240, is widely recognised as a major player in the sector, and the release of the new AT-LP140XP, plus high fidelity DJ-oriented cartridges, reflects the commitment the company has to DJs and their product needs. For many, there’s still no better feeling than opening a brand new piece of vinyl and playing it out to wow a crowd. As a result, there still remains a real desire and demand from DJs for high-performing, great-sounding turntables and cartridges. How has this corner of the audio market evolved in recent years?
I'M REALLY EXCITED BY THE NEW PRODUCTS AND THE FACT THEY REFLECT SUCH A HEALTHY MARKETPLACE – IT'S A GREAT TIME FOR VINYL AND THE DJS WHO PREFER TO USE IT JOE FRANCE Vinyl has become much more accessible than it was even a few years ago, with more and more artists releasing on vinyl only and chains like HMV stocking records again; specialist shops are thriving and even supermarkets sell vinyl these days. There has been some innovation in DJ turntables themselves, although the tried and tested design might not have changed that much, what is noticeable is the improvement in the components used, and a better understanding of how to get the most out of recorded material. As such, I think DJs who play vinyl and buy turntables are much better informed and discerning when it comes to the hardware they rely on. How much of an appetite is there for traditional DJ turntables in 2019? Interestingly, alongside DJs who are strictly vinyl-only
and always have been, we’re seeing guys who have learned on controllers, but are looking to spice up their skillset by playing vinyl. Evidently, the demand is being driven by both types of DJ, which is really encouraging. Vinyl still offers DJs a unique world of rare, underground music that you can’t always find or purchase as digital files. Some of the record stores we partner with, such as Phonica in London and Rush Hour in Amsterdam, sell limited-edition records from around the world that might not have been played for decades; that’s part of the reason that vinyl sales were up 14.6 per cent in 2018. What are the biggest opportunities for A-T DJ products in today’s market? Are there any key markets where you're pushing the new product? In today's market, people are looking to match the sound of high-end hi-fi systems, so if they can achieve that in the DJ booth, they’re happy. Audio-Technica’s origins are in the design and manufacture of hi-fi cartridges, so we have the opportunity to build upon decades of experience and a reputation for delivering high-quality sound to the DJ sector. Given the market’s increasingly demanding consumers, Audio-Technica’s recent DJ cartridges – the AT-XP3, AT-XP5 and AT-XP7 – are really designed for audiophile DJs. These guys are very selective, and by pairing the cartridges with the likes of the AT-LP140XP, the quality of the turntable is fully realised by ensuring the signal path isn’t compromised. The fact that the XP cartridge models deliver audiophile quality while also being robust enough to withstand back-cueing means they’re ideal for the rigours of the DJ booth. Tell us about the new turntable. What was the production process and what has feedback from users been like? The AT-LP140XP launched at the beginning of 2019 and isn’t available for retailers as of yet, but it has been really well received by the trade and those who saw it at the NAMM show this year. Designed in the heart of Tokyo, It was conceived as a pro-level, fully manual turntable that gives DJs all the control they need. I’m really excited by the new products, and the fact that they reflect such a healthy marketplace – it’s a great time for vinyl and the DJs who prefer to use it.
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Wave machine At NAMM 2019, Waves presented its new CLA MixHub plugin, developed with Grammy-winning engineer Chris Lord-Alge and described by the company as one of the most significant releases in its history. Daniel Gumble caught up with the man himself to find out more about the collaboration and why he considers the Waves team ‘part of his extended family’…
s anyone present at this year’s NAMM will attest, the overriding spirit across the LA show was one of warmth and positivity, and not just because of the glorious sunshine in which the Anaheim Convention Center was bathed for its duration. Throughout its four-day run (as you can read about more in our post-show recap on p17) NAMM 2019’s pro audio contingent was virtually unanimous in its praise for the show. A vast and varied array of new products and innovations were launched over the course of the event, and among the most notable studio-related releases was Waves Audio’s new CLA MixHub plugin, developed in close collaboration with Grammy Award-winning mix engineer Chris Lord-Alge. Indeed, the mood was no more upbeat on day one of the show than it was at the plugin giant’s booth, with company executives hailing the product as one of the most important additions to its portfolio in its history. The partnership with Lord-Alge is certainly a significant one, with the engineer having built a reputation as one of the most successful exponents of his cra in the business. With multiple Grammy Awards to his name, he has worked with the likes of Green Day, Muse, Sugarland, Keith Urban and many others. The new CLA MixHub is the culmination of a lengthy collaboration with Waves in order to capture the essence of the engineer’s studio style.
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P15 MARCH 2019
Chris Lord-Alge doing what he does best
The CLA MixHub allows users to mix up to 64 tracks – all from the same plugin window – using channel strips modelled from CLA’s personal console. According to Waves, it is the first plugin to work in ‘buckets’ – groupings of up to eight channels, in up to eight buckets in total. By mixing tracks side by side in buckets, users can gain a mixing perspective that allows them to immediately hear how one track’s processing affects others within a song. The channel strips were modelled directly from Lord-Alge’s personal console. Once CLA is inserted on the channels in your mix, you can assign your tracks to buckets and begin making adjustments, such as mixing dynamics, EQ, saturation, and more without needing to switch plugin windows in your DAW. While mixing, you can flip between two plugin view modes: Bucket view, with control of up to eight channels at a time, or Channel view, focusing on a single channel’s processing chain. Each channel consists of five sections: Input, Dynamics, EQ, Output, and an Insert point. Each processing module can be expanded to reveal additional functionality. Speaking to PSNEurope, Lord-Alge explained that his relationship with Waves has been a close one, spanning several years. “Waves approached me about presets for the SSL plugin some 12 years ago, and once I started using that plugin I became a believer,” he says. “We then went on to create my CLA classic compressors and the CLA
signature series. And every step of the way we worked together on the CLA MixHub. I give the credit to Mike Fradis, my product designer and friend; we spent a long time bringing this workflow to a plugin. I went to Tel Aviv and worked directly with everyone there and Mike came to LA to continue fine-tuning it right up until its release.” Crucial to the product was its ability to convey LordAlge’s signature touches, not to mention the ‘mixing in buckets’ feature, which has been so central to his approach in the studio. “I just wanted to make sure it had features that were important to the way I work,” he continues. “It was created from scratch emulating my console and sound; dual compressor flavours and a super gate that is packed with features. “Mixing in buckets is what I have been used to for 30 years. It gives the user the ability to see and make changes quickly because you can see eight channels at a time and up to eight buckets on one screen, making it possible to see 64 channels of EQ or Dynamics or Meters. It lets you see your whole song and adjust settings rapidly as you hear them.” According to Lord-Alge, the sound and style he has cultivated over the past three decades has been shaped largely by problem solving in the studio, making the ability to adapt absolutely essential. “All the key moments [in developing my style] were solving problems that are easy now, but 30 years ago were a challenge… SMPTE, synchronising , flying vocals, using drum samples, tuning vocals, punching in record with no way back, cleaning noise from tracks… endless! I have seen 16-track become 24-track then 24 become 48-track then analogue become digital and Pro Tools become endless. And everyone becomes an audio hoarder. The biggest thing that created my style was attitude – positive and confident. We then went on to discuss how the role of producer has changed over the years, and what his approach is to making a record. He posits: “The songwriter or artist becomes the producer and everyone can record in their home. My approach is still old school. Rehearse the band; go to a great room and get great sounds; then do the overdubs however you can to get the best performance, and mix as you go.” As for his preferred set up in the studio, he offers: “I have so much gear it could make a book! But I use all the tools I can – analogue and digital. I have a 72-input SSL G desk; SSL Automation; a 64-channel Pro Tools set up loaded with every plugin; racks of outboard gear, compressors, EQs, delays and reverbs. However, the most important gear are my ears and my discipline.” On the subject of the future and his relationship with Waves, he confirms there is strong intent from both parties to continue working together. “I look forward to making more products with them. Waves is like my extended family, we have fun together.”
I WANTED TO MAKE SURE IT HAD FEATURES THAT WERE IMPORTANT TO THE WAY I WORK CHRIS LORD-ALGE
CHRIS LORD-ALGE’S TOP 5 SOUNDING RECORDS Back In Black, AC/ DC Produced by Mutt Lange. Do I need to say more? American Idiot, Green Day Produced by Rob Cavallo. Sound and performance at its best. Thriller, Michael Jackson Produced by Quincy Jones. Timeless recording that is not over compressed, and simple and concise production that is Quincy Jones. Hysteria, Def Leppard Also produced by Mutt Lange. Again, Mutt changing all the rules and stretching the boundaries. To this day it’s a big rock record. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles Produced by George Martin. Geoff Emerick and George Martin, four tracks and a lot of imagination. This was where we began and the path was struck for the future.
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Put the spotlight on your brand content.
#thinkdifferentbeheard S O C I A L M E D I A • P R • C O N T E N T C R E AT I O N 0 1 4 9 4 5 0 1 1 3 3 • W W W. S O U N D M A R K E T I N G LT D. C O. U K
P00 P17 MARCH MONTH 2019
NAMM 2019 served up a show to remember in January, with attendees and exhibitors across the board hailing it as one of the best outings in recent history, while attendance figures soared to record highs. PSNEurope hears from a raÂ? of industry heavyweights to get their take on why NAMM is endearing itself to the pro audio community more than ever before...
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Top to bottom: Alan Macpherson (Yamaha Corp. of America, general manager), David Bruml (Funktion-One, sales director), Giles Orford (Focusrite, brand director), Joe Lamond (NAMM CEO), Mike Igglesden (sound engineer, FunktionOne), Miles Rodgers (Meyer Sound), and Udi Henis (Waves),
NAMM 2019: 'The centre of the music universe'
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he blue skies and soaring temperatures that permeated Anaheim back in late January certainly set the mood for NAMM 2019, matching perfectly the mood of much of the pro audio contingent at this year’s show. The NAMM show was a huge hit this year, with 115,301 attendees flocking to LA for the event – the biggest audience in its 118-year history. Numerous exhibitors cited it as one of the most vibrant trade shows in recent memory, pointing to everything from the daily breakfast seminars and live performances, as well as to the multitude of new products and innovations as major highlights. Held between January 24-27 at the Anaheim Convention Center, this year’s attendance built on 2018’s then record-breaking figure of 115,085, which at the time represented a 7.5 per cent increase from 2017. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 exhibiting members graced the show floor in January, representing 7,000 brands. The show also saw significant gains in its global reach, achieving a targeted year-on-year increase of 14 per cent in international participants. Notable news from the show included the much discussed launch of new company LEA Professional, a brand new venture masterminded by Harman Professional’s former president Blake Augsburger and other ex-Harman execs. The new firm is an amplifier technology manufacturer, with its debut product range expected to come in the shape of a series of professional grade two- and four-channel amplifiers for small to medium-sized applications. Waves also caught the show floor’s attention with the release of its CLA Mixhub, developed in collaboration with legendary producer Chris Lord-Alge. The company told us at the show that it fully expects the product to become one of the most successful products in its history. The CLA MixHub allows you to mix up to 64 tracks – all from the same plugin window – using channel strips modelled from CLA’s personal console. It is the first plugin to work in ‘buckets’ – groupings of up to eight channels, in up to eight buckets in total. The channel strips were modelled directly from Lord-Alge’s personal console, which he has used to mix a number of hits, from Green Day, Muse and Sugarland to Keith Urban and many more. Other significant showcases included the launch of Powerso’s Armonia Plus System Manager and T Series, while Neumann was busy revealing its first ever pair of studio headphones, as well as a new KH line subwoofer. d&b audiotechnik’s long-anticipated KSL system was presented for the world to experience, and NEXO finally lied the lid on its GEO M12 line array. Unsurprisingly, many exhibitors were quick to sing NAMM 2019’s praises. “For four days, the centre of the music universe is right here at The NAMM Show, where we’re connecting with our top customers and artists,” said David Glaubke of Harman Professional Solutions. “This continues to
be the premier event to launch products that will shape how music is made, performed and recorded for years to come.” Alan Macpherson, general manager of Yamaha Corporation of America, was equally full of praise for the 2019 show: “Overall, we feel it was Yamaha’s best ever NAMM. It was gratifying to see so many people coming to experience the wide array of products that allow our customers to create their perfect systems. Of note was the global launch of NEXO’s GEO M12; the response from our customers was immediately positive. He continued: “The pro audio team worked their usual market-leading magic as well. The new DZRDante speaker line up made its NAMM debut, and the team launched the new Steinberg AXR4-T premium Thunderbolt 2 interface, which features Rupert Neve Design’s famous SILK processing on microphone preamps. The Yamaha Grand Plaza Stage, dominating the NAMM Show, featured NEXO STM speaker systems, and Rivage PM10 Digital Audio Consoles along with the NEXO GEO M12 speakers.” David Claringbold of d&b audiotechnik was also keen to highlight the benefits of exhibiting at the show: “We launched the KSL System, the new addition to the SL Series, our top range concert line array series,” he said. “This was d&b's most significant product release outside of Germany in the company’s history. We chose the NAMM Show for a launch of this stature because the timing and location of NAMM is so well suited to our global market. We were inundated with people wanting to get up close to the KSL System and talk with our people on the booth and had a packed demonstration room for our d&b Soundscape immersive technology presentations. We look forward to returning next year.” Andy Munitz of Sony Pro Audio added: “I love this show, there are so many types of customers that come through, people that have used our products for years and love them and people that also want to learn about the new products constantly. We have videographers, recording performers, engineers, singers, and musicians; you have quite the cross-section and that’s great for allowing us to promote our product, and of course at Sony, since we make so many different kinds of products.” Meanwhile, Miles Rodgers of Meyer Sound explained why he believes that trade events with NAMM’s global reach are so vital to the industry: “The question on everyone’s mind… are trade shows still valuable? With the addition of the Pro Audio Hall at the NAMM show we can now better focus on our market. This year was an awesome step forward, and we were able to connect with existing and new customers in the market. “The Pro Audio Hall was great as we could easily connect with the other manufacturers that provide equipment to our customers. I look forward to the future of NAMM!” Giles Orford, brand director of Focusrite, reflected on
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this year’s NAMM and what he considers to be a new lease of life for the show: “Focusrite has been attending NAMM for 29 years, and I’ve done 20 of them. It is the most important trade show in our industry and a good platform to exhibit on, but we’ve oen felt like the show provided much of the same each year. This year was unique as the audience seemed to have become more diverse; NAMM as an association is clearly working hard to drive diversity in our industry, especially in the US. It was a good NAMM, it’s promising for the future of the show and the year ahead in our industry. “Opportunities like NAMM, to meet everyone face to face, and have meaningful experiences that can drive our industry forward, that’s priceless; we need to engage with and support human interaction in an increasingly digital world. It’s not about a bunch of manufacturers on a trade floor, but about sharing minds in our industry. ”In terms of highlights, I think the breakfast and AE3 seminars were inspirational and well executed, whilst Gibson’s presentation as a brand was upliing for the entire industry, and the quality of musical performances were phenomenal.” Funktion-One’s sales director David Bruml noted the diversity and positivity that helped to define 2019 as a vintage year for NAMM: “With the new focus on pro audio announced for the NAMM Show 2018, FunktionOne supported this expansion with a large booth last year, which was very successful. We decided to return for 2019, and it was remarkable to see the development year on year. “NAMM 2019 was undoubtedly amongst the most positive trade shows in all my many years of exhibition experience. Such a remarkably diverse mix of people from all sectors of the music industry and beyond attended – from major musicians, through to top level entertainment venues, tour and event production companies, sound rental users and system integrators. “All trade shows are melting pots of potential connections, but NAMM excelled in this regard; the organisers clearly have a highly developed sense for how to choreograph and stage a great convention. I was impressed by all aspects of the show and there’s no doubt Funktion-One and Sound Investment both look forward to returning in 2020.” Mike Igglesden, Funktion-One sound engineer, agreed: “The varied crowd made it lively – it felt like it was full of people who are very passionate about music. The facilities are great, and it’s well laid out; even without a map, you could work out where companies were likely to be.” Udi Henis from Waves also conveyed the feel good factor that appeared to be so infectious at this year’s NAMM: “Waves had an exceptional NAMM this year. We benefited from a full booth, partly due to our artist presentations including Andrew Scheps, Greg Wells, Jack Joseph Puig and Chris Lord Alge’s presentations of the CLA MixHub, released on the first day of the show.
OPPORTUNITIES LIKE NAMM, TO MEET EVERYONE FACE TO FACE AND HAVE MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES THAT CAN DRIVE OUR INDUSTRY FORWARD, THAT'S PRICELESS; WE NEED TO ENGAGE WITH AND SUPPORT HUMAN INTERACTION IN AN INCREASINGLY DIGITAL WORLD GILES ORFORD
“The show saw the showcase of the V10 updated Waves eMotion LV1 mixer, and it was a great opportunity to meet our users, learn from their feedback and show intrigued visitors the benefits of our products.” Reflecting on this year’s outing, NAMM CEO Joe Lamond concluded: “We live in accelerated times with technological developments, and global business and market conditions, which can create unpredictability in any industry. However, if you take a look around the NAMM Show, one could find many reasons to feel quite comfortable about the importance of music around the world and future of the music products industry. From the exciting innovations of our exhibiting members, the creativity of our retail members in finding enhanced ways to serve their communities, especially music educators, to the expanded live sound, lighting and event tech professionals and companies who made the trip to Anaheim, the connections, business opportunities, and education offered each the tools needed to succeed in the year ahead.”
Anaheim Convention Center
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ISE 2019: THE PSNEUROPE REPORT We found out from top pro audio exhibitors about what made this yearâ€™s show special in its biggest outing to date...
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n amidst Amsterdam’s inevitable darkness and drizzle at this time of year, ISE (literally) shone bright with all of its AV attractions and audio innovations. The 16th edition of the show was the biggest, widest-reaching and most exciting yet, as confirmed by exhibitors, and asserting it as the international destination of choice for AV professionals. With the largest ever ISE show floor hosting 1,301 exhibitors – 17 per cent of which were companies exhibiting there for the first time – the show closed with 92 per cent of the available floor space at ISE 2020 having already been sold. As well as hosting 15 halls containing the latest technologies and solutions for pro AV and systems integration, the show provided a diverse professional development programme, extending its coverage of major vertical market sectors. Indeed, a key theme of the show was how AV technology enables creative imaginations to produce rich experiences, which was explored in its array of sessions and seen across the show floor. Mike Blackman, managing director of ISE, summed up this year’s event: “As an exhibition, an unbeatable source of education and professional development, and a destination for a global industry to come together and do business, ISE 2019 has delivered. Our Opening Address, Closing Keynote, and two projection mapping features were fantastic showcases for how event professionals and others can harness AV technology to better realise their creativity.” Exhibitors made the most of the opportunity to launch new products and showcase their latest solutions. Among the technology trends revealed were 8K displays; smart building technology; AI-equipped devices; the continued progression of conferencing and collaboration technology; 3D projection mapping; LED displays; and further developments in AV over IP and audio networking. PSNEurope spoke with top pro audio exhibitors to find out their perspectives on this year's show, and the response was certainly positive… John McMahon, SVP of marketing, Meyer Sound, reported on the brand’s experience of the event: “Meyer Sound launched three new products at ISE this year, creating a platform for one of our most successful trade shows ever. New products included the ULTRA-X40 point source loudspeaker, the UPQ-D3 ultra-wide coverage loudspeaker, and the MPS-482HP power supply. Within a week of the show, we already sold over 2,400 units of the ULTRA-X40, which also earned itself the Best of Show Award from PSNEurope. “The preview demos of our latest in spatial mixing systems, Spacemap LIVE, already has the market anticipating its launch later this year. ISE was also the first trade show debut of M-Noise, a new test signal that
promotes standardised measurement of a loudspeaker system’s maximum linear output. “As Meyer Sound marks its 40th birthday this year, we couldn’t be more excited about the collaboration within our own team and with our partners around the world as we continue to innovate and provide solutions across all segments of our business.” James King, director of marketing at Martin Audio, commented: “ISE 2019 continued its strong year on year performance. The show seemed busier with record numbers into our audio demonstration room and a consistent flow of traffic to the Martin Audio stand. "Importantly, we received a lot of visitors that were new to the brand. Partly, this was due to the success of the show and partly, because the momentum around the brand has increased exponentially in the last year. The recent launch of the optimised Wavefront Precision Longbow line array, as well as the new cardioid subwoofer SXC118, created a real buzz, as did the ADORN commercial series." Genelec’s marketing director, Howard Jones, also illustrated the impressiveness of this year’s show: “We felt that ISE 2019 ranked as the busiest ISE we’ve ever experienced. In addition to the sheer visitor numbers involved, our increased booth traffic is a clear reflection of Genelec’s enhanced presence in the AV market. There’s no doubt that we’re now a serious contender in the premium AV installation business. “We had an amazing response to the unveiling of our Smart IP audio platform; it’s a unique proposition and customer feedback made it clear that people are crying out for this single cable solution that can deliver power, audio-over-IP and flexible speaker management tools. “Our S360 high-SPL smart loudspeaker was also very well received. Again, visitor reactions made it clear that there is a market for a compact installation loudspeaker that offers high acoustic power coupled with Genelec studio-quality precision, which is great news for us as it extends our field of application still further and broadens our AV offering.' He continued: “One of the things that we appreciate so much about ISE is that it is a truly international event. Many other long-standing shows that have served the pro audio market for years, although international in name, in reality are becoming more and more regional. That’s not the case for ISE. We see customers from all over the world – it’s probably the only show that has such an extended reach and has definitely been instrumental in enabling us to gain a foothold in AV markets beyond the Nordic regions, where we are already very well established. "ISE is an absolutely essential element in our continued global expansion into the AV space.”
Top to bottom: Adrian Hogg (Focusrite, European sales director), Chris Merrick (Shure, director of global marketing), Dave Haydon (Outboard TiMax, director), James King (Martin Audio, director of marketing), Johan Gunsing (Adam Hall, international sales manager), and John McMahon (Meyer Sound, SVP of marketing)
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ISE as busy as ever
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OutBoard TiMax, director, Dave Haydon, said: "Feedback from new visitors and existing associates confirmed to us that our evolutionary TiMax developments continue to lead the way in spatial reinforcement, immersive audio processes and in ensuring smooth workflow." Johan Gunsing, international sales manager, Northern Europe, Adam Hall Group illustrated the company’s experience: “We are pleased to look back on a successful ISE 2019, where we announced a series of new product innovations as well as a new technology partnership with Xilica, the Canadian DSP developer. As part of this cooperation, the Adam Hall Group is expanding its installation portfolio within its pro audio brand, LD Systems, including the introduction of the new IMA and IPA amp series, in order to provide AV planners, integrators, installation service providers and end users with a wide range of integrated solutions for fixed installation. The Xilica partnership also makes it possible to further expand upon the functionality as well as the Universal Control approach of Xilica’s Designer So®ware as the central control platform for installation projects.” Chris Merrick, director of global marketing, Integrated Systems at Shure, expressed: “ISE was an important event for Shure, not least because it was the first showcase of the company’s refreshed identity outside of North America. This new positioning now aligns the divisions within the company, to present Shure as one organisation. Importantly, this is a progressive move on our part as both Systems and Pro have many common challenges and solutions across both markets – and the rebrand will now allow us to showcase our solutions in one ‘common’ environment. “The increased numbers of end users visiting the show was positive, especially as many of those attending were from world leading enterprises looking for partners that they can work with throughout the value chain. This year, integrators bringing customers to the booth were greeted with a range of themed zones covering the likes of government, corporate and educational facilities. All offered a range of audio solutions that could be ‘physically’ experienced, plus spaces for mic demonstrations and event production solutions. It allowed us to bring all of our products to life, addressing customers' individual audio requirements. “The diversity of visitors to ISE this year was a real bonus, too, particularly with an increase in Pro end users interested in our Axient Digital offering, while we also enjoyed great conversations regarding the availability of MicroFlex Complete wireless for all types of government and international events. "We were also honoured to be named ‘Best Stand Design’ in the large category award for the second
year running, reflecting our ongoing commitment to customers' needs.”
ISE 2019 RANKED AS THE BUSIEST ISE WE'VE EVER EXPERIENCED. IN ADDITION TO THE SHEER VISITOR NUMBERS INVOLVED, OUR INCREASED BOOTH TRAFFIC IS A CLEAR REFLECTION OF GENELEC'S ENHANCED PRESENCE ON THE AV MARKET HOWARD JONES
Adrian Hogg, European sales manager of Focusrite, stated: “One of the great things about shows like this is the sheer variety of technology that you can get stuck into. Members from many of our technology partners were also at the show, such as Audinate, the Media Networking Alliance, and the OCA Alliance. Having all those brains together makes for an interesting time, and it’s great to be up to date on the latest developments. “It’s a busy, busy show. Had I not been on our booth the whole time I still doubt that I would have found time to see everything. Some parts of the hall were solid with people, which is both a good and bad thing depending on how you look at it! ‘There’s no new expansion planned for next year, which isn’t surprising considering that the RAI was at full capacity this year and is guaranteed to be next year. I’m expecting a similar show next year with the really big change coming in 2021 when the show relocates to Barcelona, allowing it to expand and hopefully reach its full potential.”
The AV world coming together at ISE
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Reinventing Harman Pro Clive Young, editor of PSNEurope’s US sister title Pro Sound News, speaks to Harman Pro president Mohit Parasher for an update on the company’s ongoing restructure since its 2017 acquisition by tech giant Samsung…
e went through a massive change last year,” said Mohit Parasher, president of Harman Professional Solutions & EVP of Harman, speaking in early January inside the company’s new Experience Center in Los Angeles. The understatement kicked off his first major sit-down with the press since Harman Pro began a radical corporate transformation in September 2017. During the months that followed, the company was largely mum as the process played out, but with the first results of changes starting to come in, Parasher was ready to provide some insight into the past two years – a whirlwind that began when consumer electronics giant Samsung acquired all of Harman for $8 billion in November 2016. “We are already seeing the positive impact from the restructuring we completed last year,” stated Parasher. “In fact, 2018 was a record year for orders booked. This was driven by our highest ever year of audio product sales, as well as record growth in sales outside of the US. In addition to this record setting revenue, we also drove strong growth in profitability.” In summary: “We
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Harman Pro president Morit Parasher
PEOPLE CALL IT A RESTRUCTURE; I CALL IT RECONSTRUCTION. WE BELIEVE WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY, AND A RESPONSIBILITY, TO TRANSFORM THE PRO INDUSTRY MOHIT PARASHER
saw good growth despite all the disruption.” And there was disruption. Harman Pro’s changes affected all of its brands – AKG, AMX, BSS, Crown, dbx, DigiTech, JBL Professional, IDX, Lexicon, Martin, Soundcra, Studer and SVSI – with 650 layoffs as it closed numerous offices and facilities worldwide, consolidating into three “Centers of Competency,” with acoustics headquartered in Harman Pro’s existing facilities in Northridge, CA; electronics, DSP, and video and control tackled in AMX’s hometown of Richardson, TX; and lighting centered in Martin Professional’s longtime base, Aarhus, Denmark. While the effort may have appeared, from the outside, to be all about paring back, Parasher explained the thought process behind it – and the considerable investment that followed, ranging from IT outlay and reinventing facilities to hiring upward of 350 new employees. “Many people were skeptical, and I understand that, but we were very clear from day one that this is a business that we are going to invest in and grow,” he expressed. Bringing together the various brands’ teams into physical proximity with the Centers of Competency was key to that strategy. “The idea behind it was that we have a collection of many brands, but we never really got to leverage the power behind them the way we should, because each brand operated in its own silo,” he said. “There was a huge potential to combine them all and put them in a platform [the Centers of Competency] that includes engineering, sales and marketing, aer-sales service, tech support, and pre-sales. People call it a restructure; I call it reconstruction.” The changes continue: new Experience Centers have been built around the globe to demonstrate the company’s solutions for different markets, from recording to live sound to immersive retail environments. Elsewhere, within Harman, a new company-wide IT platform handles sales forecasting up to raw materials procurement and supply chains, also aiming to break down silos between engineering teams. “We created a big repository of all of [our] engineering knowledge – terabytes and terabytes of knowledge – on one platform,” recalled Parasher. “Any engineer on any of our sites can access anything at any time and learn from each other.” Parasher, likewise, sees placing engineering teams under one roof as a learning opportunity, aiding cross pollination between the brands’ technologies. Building on that, the various Centers now have standardised labs so that hardware and soware engineering teams can collaborate with the same resources and equipment – a move he expects to provide fast ideation, with talent pools handing off work across time zones as the day progresses around the world. Many of the company’s new hires, notably in engineering and soware, are from outside the pro audio industry; Parasher himself came to Harman Pro two
years ago aer a successful run on Harman’s consumer electronics side. While consumer audio tech oen adapts advancements from pro audio, Parasher wants to draw from the consumer world, namely its design philosophies. “There is a massive need for making things easy to use and install,” he asserted. “Our industry is a little bit slower to adapt because the installs are bigger [so] the decisions are larger; it’s not like buying a $100 speaker or $200 headphone.” At the same time, he also wants to rethink products’ industrial design (“just because it’s behind a rack doesn’t mean it has to be ugly; you can make it good-looking at the same price”) and their ability to integrate with not only other Harman products, but the industry in general. “In the old AMX world, we had our own programming language, our own way of doing things, so we were closed off to the world,” he lamented. “Make it open, discoverable, connectable. It’s ok – customers will choose some competitors’ products to connect with yours? It’s fine, it puts reverse pressure on us to be best in everything we do. The customer should get the best product, the best choice. “We believe we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to transform the pro industry,” said Parasher," because we have this portfolio of products, this great team, this great business channel, and a great owner like Samsung that is willing to invest, so there’s no excuse.” To that end, there’s both short- and long-term goals in play. This year, the company will be placing emphasis on specific segments, notably video and control, with a number of products hitting in mid-2019: “We are very confident that what we bring to the market will be a disruption that will enable us to offer customers what they deserve.” For the long-term, widescreen view, Parasher plans to draw from the R&D elsewhere in Harman and Samsung, and bring it to bear on Harman Pro’s world. “You’d be surprised at the amount of technology that we can draw from the connected car business,” he shared. “Nobody in the pro industry can afford the thousands of engineers needed to develop products in secure Linux. Almost 80 per cent of the work on Linux that would be required is already done, so we can bring it into the pro industry. It’s the same thing with industrial design, except that’s from the consumer side, the services side and the Samsung side. Bringing all these things together is the opportunity for us to unlock value.” For now, however, buoyed by Harman Pro’s record sales in 2018, Parasher is looking for the company to continue hitting milestones in the months and years ahead. “We are right on target to achieve what we committed to as a team,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to say, 'what do you think the industry should look like?’ And we should drive towards that. We started that journey 20 months back, and I’m very pleased with where we are.”
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The AudioLab listening room
Machine learning A Sennheiser AMBEO Smart Headset is in use at York University's AudioLab, enabling spatial recordings for an innovative PhD soundscape project in the form of an app, designed by student Marc Green. Simon Duff delves into the project, speaking to the Professor of soundscapes and virtual acoustics, and the designer himself…
ork University's AudioLab creates high quality Ambisonics recording and playback, and is part of the Department of Electronic Engineering Communication Technologies Research Group. Based around a sphere of 50 loudspeakers, the rig in the Lab comprises of 40 Genelec 8030s and 10 Genelec 8040s. A mh Acoustics Eigenmike, Soundfield mics, and the notable Sennheiser AMBEO Smart Headset, paired with a powerful Max MSP system and an exciting anechoic chamber, make up the rest of the AudioLab. Work at the Lab consists of audio-laborious research on signal processing, acoustic modelling, and machine learning, with experimental projects also taking place with a focus on psychoacoustics and perception. It has a strong track record of working with the pro audio industry – Google, Huawei, the BBC, York Theatre Royal, Meridian Audio, ARUP and AECOM – using expertise to present creative solutions for audio and bio acoustic applications. In addition, the university's Lab has been part of Sennheiser's AMBEO Developers Programme since 2018. The AudioLab has been in existence in one form or another for the past 25 years. At present, the key members of its faculty are Professor Damian Murphy (soundscapes and virtual acoustics), Dr Gavin Kearney, (immersive audio), Dr Helena Daffern (researching voice science, acoustics and performance), Dr Jude Brereton (interactive sonification and performance), Professor Andy Hunt (interactive sonification) and Dr Frank Stevens (acoustic environments). Professor Murphy's own research work over the years has focused on virtual acoustics, spatial audio, physical modelling,
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Le to right: Student Marc Green, and Professor Damian Murphy
and audio signal processing. An active sound artist, in 2004 he was appointed as one of the UK’s first AHRC/ ACE Arts and Science Research Fellows, investigating the compositional and aesthetic aspects of sound spatialisation, acoustic modelling techniques and the acoustics of heritage spaces. AMBEO AMBEO is a series of systems designed to enhance the Virtual and Augmented Reality experience, aiming to push the boundaries of spatial audio with a mission to create compelling audible AR experiences. The manufacturers' claim is that by blending virtual 3D sound with a user's real acoustic world, and with the help of Sennheiser's unique so¢ware and hardware tools, they will be able to take full control of their AR and MR experiences. Professor Murphy said of the benefits of AMBEO: “It is a novel technology that has real potential as a tool for developing binaural immersive experiences that do not close the subject off from the wider world. There is significant opportunity to develop new augmented audio experiences with better interaction between individuals sharing in the same experience. The AMBEO headset is also a really interesting, compact and creative device for making immersive binaural recordings.” PHD SOUNDSCAP AR Marc Green is a current York University PhD student researching at the AudioLab, who has made extensive use of AMBEO while working under the guidance of Professor Murphy. One of Green's recent publications is 'EigenScape: A Database of Spatial Acoustic Scene
Recordings.' Originally trained as a classical pianist, his career has progressed through music production courses and studio work to, at present, high level sonic research. Much of his work is based around "Environmental Soundscapes', both in practice and research, and he is currently working on measurement systems, which constitutes looking into the sonic content of a landscape and how people react to it. He is also investigating how machine learning can be deployed to create new ideas. For his degree, a few years back, Green created a music, sound, and visual art work featuring content around human speech, based on the condition Hyperlexia, a form of autism, and for his Masters research, Green worked on Acoustic Feedback Processing in conjunction with Allen & Heath. As part of his current PhD studies, Green has developed a new app called Soundscap AR, now available on the Apple App Store. Intended to analyse the sounds of local environments, the app uses machine learning to go beyond the traditional decibel level measurement techniques, and instead, give users readings for how much natural, mechanical, or human sound makes up a given sound scene. Green has long argued that current noise level measurements give no information on the actual content of a sound scene or, in other words, how loud an environment is. Therefore, his intention has been to use machine learning to better inform by creating readings that can be done remotely. Soundscap AR uses AR to add a selection of virtual sound sources, or a virtual sound barrier, to a given scene, monitoring how these affect the readings and perception, and the app works best with Sennheiser’s AMBEO Smart Headset. AMBEO Smart allows users to
hear augmented sound, featuring built-in microphones so users can hear their environment, real and virtual, as though they are not wearing earphones. Green has been more than happy with AMBEO: “The best thing about the headset is that the microphones are really good quality and very easy to use.” Green explains further about his Soundscap workflow: "The first thing I did was use a em32 Eigenmike and a surround sound microphone, recording in multiple locations in the north of England, from cities to nature. The em32 is an incredible mic made by mh acoustics, and is composed of multiple professional mics positioned on the surface of a rigid sphere. Based on those recordings, I worked to create a computer-based machine learning system, hoping that the computer would learn what those spaces are and how they behave. Machine learning is based on the idea of creating a device that would react to sound without having to take people to a location, and not necessarily based on a decibel reading alone." The second part of the app consists of 'Positive Sound', which overlays sounds made by Green to create a Virtual Sound Objects Soundscape; four layers are currently available as virtual objects, a Virtual Water Fountain, a Virtual Bird Song, an Acoustic Barrier and a Car. Impressively, users can also create their own virtual sound objects. Looking forward, Green is developing various new ideas and projects: “Future ideas will involve using the Eigenmike and new work on source tracking within recording, using more detailed sound measurement. I am also thinking about news ways of creating original audio and music scene generation for the gaming industry that will react to a users location.”
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Record breaker On February 28, Dani Bennett Spragg was crowned Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year at the 2019 MPG Awards, further establishing her status as one of the most exciting talents in the business. Daniel Gumble met up with her ahead of the ceremony to find out how she has managed to amass such a stellar list of clients in such a short space of time...
wanted to work in music forever, but I didn’t know in what capacity,” Dani Bennett Spragg ruminates over a green tea in a central London coffee shop a couple of weeks prior to the 2019 MPG Awards, where she will emerge as Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year. Not that either of us are privy to this at the point of our meeting. “I wanted to be a drummer for a while and then I just thought I might not meet the right people and that I might not be good enough. I thought about studio work for a while, but, to be honest, I didn’t know anything about it.” For someone who, in their own words, had no knowledge as to how to go about pursuing a career in audio, Spragg could hardly have foreseen that in a few years time she would have picked up liner note credits alongside the likes of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Ed Hardcourt, Baxter Dury, Palace, Unloved and a stream of other high-profile artists. But at the age of 16, she was presented with a life-changing opportunity that would fuel her obsession with sound and place her alongside some of the biggest names in the business. At the age of 16, Spragg's father, who works in the film industry, happened to be involved on a project with a director who lived next door to British producer Flood (New Order, U2, Nine Ince Nails, Depeche Mode, Foals, The Killers, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and many, many others). Email addresses were soon exchanged and an internship at London’s Assault & Battery Studios was arranged. “I got in touch with him and asked if I could come in for some work experience,” she picks up the story. “He replied about six months later, by which point I’d completely forgotten about the original email, inviting me to come by for a week. So I did, and to start with I had no idea what was going on, but I loved it. That was the moment I thought, I could pursue a career in this. "I was still at school and I was staying at the studio every night until about 11pm. My mum would say, ‘What
PHOTO: Phoebe Fox
Dani Bennett Spragg in her element
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PHOTO: Phoebe Fox
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Spragg in the studio
are you doing, you’re working for free making tea for people, why are you there until so late every night?' I was just enjoying it.” Alongside Flood, Spragg would also be sitting in on sessions with some of the most prominent producers and recording engineers in the industry at Assault & Battery, from which she would soak up as much knowledge as she could. “Alan Moulder and Catherine Marks were downstairs, Steve Lipson was upstairs working on all of the Hans Zimmer soundtracks, so it was a building full of people working on amazing records,” she recalls. “Now, some of my favourites are Flood and Alan Moulder records, but at the time I hadn’t started listening to that stuff. I really got into Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails a couple of years a¤er I started working there, and knowing that these were the guys I’d been working with was quite a weird realisation. I could’ve named maybe five producers when I first started there – my knowledge of music was fairly broad but my knowledge of the technical side was non-existent. “I did that in the October half-term and I went back in the Easter holidays to do a session for a week with Catherine. I got on well with all the engineers and assistants working there and they said to let them know whenever I wanted to come back. There was a guy called Drew who sat down with me and explained everything about mics, going through polar patterns; I would memorise all the mics in the mic cupboard. I was o¤en there for 15 hours a day as an 18-year-old while all my friends were going to uni, but eventually I got my first
assistant engineer job, which was a session with Gianna Nannini. That was the first job I got paid for. I still wasn’t doing loads and was watching a lot. It was a nice session to start with, it wasn’t particularly stressful. I had a few like that before it got really intense, which was a nice way to start.” Having impressed those around her during her time at the studio, more projects, and indeed more responsibilities, began to present themselves. “The first project I got really stuck into was Furnaces by Ed Hardcourt, which Flood produced,” Spragg continues. “That was the first full record I was involved in. It was a long period, and we moved between the big studio at Assault & Battery and the little programme rooms. "I was involved with that for five or six months in total, and it was the first one where I felt I was there from start to finish. I loved it, but it was really hard. Flood really pushed me on that one – he was like, ‘you’ve been here for long enough now’ – and he put me wholly in charge of stems. I’d also done a couple of months with Alan Moulder looking a¤er stems. "Flood makes you work super hard, but he’s amazing at making everyone feel important. He wants to push you to do well and if you don’t think you’re doing a significant job, you probably won’t do that job very well. There were a lot of people working on that record, and a lot of really long days, but it was one of my favourite records I’ve been a part of.” For numerous reasons, Spragg ranks Furnaces among the most enjoyable and memorable records
she has worked on to date. Not only did it mark a clear progression in her burgeoning career, but it also paved the way for a multitude of future projects that would establish her as one of the most exciting young engineers in the industry. Spragg continues: “The more involved you are in a record the bigger place in your heart it has, but even some of the records that I just assisted on and watched the process of are still memorable. Baxter Dury’s last record, Prince Of Tears, was the first record I officially engineered. I love that record. More recently, I did a bit of work on a record for Palace, which was fun. They worked with Catherine and a few others, and it was one of the easiest recorded processes I’ve had. We got on well, it flowed and I would leave the studio in the best mood. There are some records that are among my favourites where the recording process was so hard and exhausting, but the Palace one was so different to that. “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds last record (Who Built The Moon?) was definitely one of my favourites,” she adds. "I absolutely love that record; it sounds ridiculous and I had an amazing time working on it. David Holmes produced it and this guy called Emre Ramazanoglu was engineering and drumming on it. Noel played all the guitars, and quite a lot of it is sample-based. It was not Noel’s normal process – he relinquished quite a lot of control for that record and really trusted David. I was slightly nervous going into that album but it was so much fun to work on. "David blows my mind. He’s one of my favourite people to observe. He picks little samples out of the most obscure, weird stuff and you’re wondering how on earth he’s going to make something from it. I can’t foresee stuff like that. He just has an ear for the weirdest sounds and it always comes out sounding amazing.” With the clock running down on our time together, talk shi¤s to music and the records that have shaped her approach to her cra¤. “I know that some people talk about how when they were younger they would listen to songs and pick apart all the different instruments and parts, but I just liked songs as a whole,” she concludes. “When I was about 14 I watched a film about Joe Meek and that was one of the first things that got me interested in production, his process got me intrigued by the sound of music. And The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I listened to that a million times. Some of the records that were made in the ‘70s and ‘80s blow my mind. I can’t imagine how you could make stuff that sounds like that even now, with all the resources we have, compared to what they had to work with. "More recently, I absolutely love the latest Arctic Monkeys album Tranquility Base Hotel And Casino. It took me a few listens to full get it but it just sounds so weird and amazing. James Ford is incredible. These days, all I do when I listen to a record is think about the sound and the production.”
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WWW.NEUMANN.COM 90 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE IN SOUND
Return of the Legend
Back in production, reproduced to the original specifications.
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PHOTO: Rianna Tamara
Katie Tavini at the Red Bull HQ
Normal Not Novelty returns Red Bull Studios’ Pro Sound Award winning Normal Not Novelty series is back for 2019, offering workshops, Q&As and masterclasses for women in the pro audio industry. Katie Tavini, a regular presenter at the NNN events, sent back this report on its return…
his is a slightly delayed reaction, but this month I want to tell you guys that Normal Not Novelty is now back for it's third year. For those of you who don't know, Normal Not Novelty is a free monthly event, masterminded by Brendon Harding, held at Red Bull Studios (and sometimes other cities around the UK). Each event is comprised of DJ, production, and engineering workshops running simultaneously, followed by networking and drinks. Oh, and it's only for women. I have been hosting the engineering workshop at Normal Not Novelty events since they began in January 2017, and I'm pretty convinced that it's the only reason I'm still currently working as an engineer. Normal
Not Novelty gives women a safe space to learn, ask questions, network and gain contacts. And it's a right laugh too! Honestly, each month when I get on the tube home my face is always so sore from laughing and chatting, which is a feeling I rarely get aer mixed events. (Side note: the last time I attended a mixed pro audio event, I was one of a handful of women, and no one other than the other women there would talk to me. Male attendees actually turned their backs on me during the networking part.) Normal Not Novelty has been a game changer for numerous reasons, and it was an amazing achievement at PSNEurope’s Pro Sound Awards in November 2018 to win the event’s first ever Campaign Award on account
of the impact it has made on the industry. Receiving this award was such an incredible honour, and it was fantastic to have Brendon Harding's work recognised. Brendon and the team at Red Bull Studios have gone above and beyond with organising these events. (For the December 2018 edition of PSNEurope, I wrote an article on why these events are needed – if you're reading this and wondering why they're a thing, have a read of it before continuing). Lauren Deakin-Davies, Breakthrough Studio Engineer winner at the 2018 Pro Sound Awards, has described Normal Not Novelty as "an amazing unique event that truly highlights great talent. It creates a safe, friendly environment where you can discuss your music with like-minded people and also learn new skills and techniques you maybe didn't even know existed! It's a great place to meet new people and have fun”. Meanwhile, musician and composer Abi Wade said of the initiative: “Normal Not Novelty builds connections and friendships. In an industry where females/nonbinary are the minority, NNN gave me the opportunity to choose a masterer or engineer that would otherwise not have been available to me. I also reconnected with musicians I had lost touch with and it really opened up a lot of new possibilities and opportunities through the friendships I made there.” Towards the end of 2018 we paused Normal Not Novelty for a short time whilst the Red Bull HQ moved from London Bridge to Covent Garden; the new facility is incredible (and the studio has the coolest studio clock you'll ever see, trust me). We also said a very sad goodbye to Brendon, as he le Red Bull to pursue other cool stuff. But in January 2019, we relaunched, in the beautiful new Red Bull HQ, with Rohan Courts doing the organising. And it was fantastic! The engineering session was a mix feedback session, something I'm really passionate about. I think it's really important to have a safe space to play music and get constructive feedback, because good feedback is so hard to come by. We all learnt so much and heard some amazing new music, I feel so lucky that so many people brought music to share. Normal Not Novelty has expanded so much over the past two years, giving women a huge network of creatives in music to collaborate with and learn from, and I am so excited to see what this third year brings. Our February event will be a NLV Records takeover, with Nina Las Vegas showing techniques in the production workshop, Nina will be giving a hand on the DJ workshop, the engineering session will be with Olga Fitzroy, and Kota Banks will be on vocal recording. We are so excited about this stunning lineup, and I can't wait to announce future events! If you would like to attend a Normal Not Novelty event, go to this web page which is updated monthly: redbull.co.uk/normalnotnovelty
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The Verd degree Having undergone a comprehensive audio overhaul, the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory recently took stock of a ra of high-end new gear to tackle an increasingly complex programme of projects. Mike Clark spoke to those involved to find out more...
urin’s Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory, with a teaching history that dates back to 1866 when it was initially opened as a liceo musicale (music academy), recently installed new cutting-edge audio and production facilities, including a 5.2 surround control room hosting a Solid State Logic AWS948 delta console. The control room was designed by acoustic adviser Marco Fringuellino, who was also responsible for the acoustic treatment and supervision when realising the room, with an aim to provide a state-of-the-art facility system that would meet international standards. The project’s ambitious plans were devised by the Conservatory’s Carlo Barbagallo and Giovanni Blasi of Milan-based SSL distributor CaBlaTeam. Musician, composer, producer, and sound engineer Barbagallo also has his own record label (Noja Recordings) and his works have premiered at various international festivals. He studied at the Conservatory’s School of Electronic Music (SMET) and from 2018 was involved in creating the control room, as far as equipment setup and testing were concerned. He is now technical manager of the Conservatory's audio recording, production and artistic documentation and manages the control room; this includes recording, mixing, mastering and archiving Conservatory concerts and productions by students, as well as coordination of SMET’s audio production activities. Barbagallo explains: “Due to our complex educational and production requirements, with music ranging from classical to contemporary through electro-acoustic experimentation to jazz, the hardware chosen for the control room was specified by a team made up of myself, Stefano Bassanese (coordinating SMET lecturer), Renato Campajola (expert in multi-track recording, lecturer in electro-acoustics and microphone techniques at the Conservatory) and Marco Masoero (lecturer in sound engineering at Turin Polytechnic).” Blasi adds: “The console installed normally comes without a patch bay, but it’s always better to have one to increase flexibility when using the console. The two halls closest to the control room are cabled directly with the console, but the main concert hall is quite a distance away, so Focurite preamps were connected with the recording computer (an Apple Mac Pro with Bootcamp Windows 10/12core) via redundant Cat 7 cable runs
PHOTO: Federico Cardamone
The Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory
(circa 80ms each). This type of connection was also installed for the two smaller rooms, in the event of having to use the Focusrite preamps.” The preamps are three Rednet MP8R units and Millennia’s HV-3D eightchannel model, whereas Yamaha A/D-D/A is courtesy of two accelerators and five Nio500-A16. The impressive DAW set-up features Avid Protools Ultimate, Apple Logic Pro X, MOTU Digital Performer 9, Reaper, Sadie 6 Sound Suite and a wide mic assortment, including ribbon models by Beyerdynamic, Royer Lab and Coles. Genelec monitoring is channeled through five Genelec 1237A, two 7360A subs and a pair of M030 near-field boxes. The Dante protocol means it is technically possible to record activity in all halls connected to the Conservatory’s network, even those not in the same building as the control room. The audio cabling via Ethernet, plus a high-speed fibre network, offers the setup even greater potential, enabling the facilities to be put at the disposal of other (third-party) locations connected to the network, and therefore providing real-time multi-
channel audio streaming and the ideal infrastructure for remote teaching. Barbagallo enthuses: “The great versatility of the SSL desk is also thanks to the fact it combines automated control of the studio’s computer-based resources with the possibility of totally analogue recording, taking advantage of its characteristic sound (particularly suited to jazz). Even having studied the SSL in depth before using it, hands-on work has enabled me to appreciate other features; the possibilities it offers in terms of routing and management are surprising, and features such as the Total Recall and parameter automation in both directions via DAW are exceptional.” Aer the fine-tuning of the system, recording activity began in September last year and to date has included compiling the Conservatory’s concerts, recordings by the Conservatory’s Brass Band and by the top graduates from the 2018 Jazz Composition course. Students and staff can also take advantage of free recording and production services.
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ince starting her career behind the desk at none other than Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, Rhiannon Mair has been earmarked as one of the UK’s brightest audio talents, as exemplified by her place on the shortlist for both the Breakthrough Engineer and Breakthrough Producer categories at the 2019 MPG Awards last month. Her versatile skillset as a producer, engineer, musician, and songwriter has lead to projects with artists such as Laura Marling, Bryde, Emma McGrath and Kimberly Anne, resulting in airplay on BBC Radio 1 and 2, 6 Music and Spotify New Music Friday. PSNEurope caught up with her ahead of the 2019 MPG Awards to discuss her studio techniques and her path to becoming one of the most exciting young stars in the business… Congratulations on your MPG Breakthrough Engineer Award nomination. How did it feel to be on this year’s shortlist? It felt great. It’s a huge compliment to be recognised for your work and to be up there with some incredibly talented producers. What first attracted you to a studio career? I think it all started when I was a kid and I used to watch my mum’s band play. I always wanted to hang out with their engineer and ask about everything they did. Things grew from there as I started playing instruments and became interested in recording them. At 15, I borrowed a Boss eight-track digi recorder from a friend, as I wanted to have a go at recording some songs I had written. I became hooked on how I could layer up sounds and add effects, it was awesome. I went on to study music tech at college and spent most of my spare time in the college studio experimenting with recording drums, and playing with MIDI. It never felt boring or like work to me – it was always fun. How did you go about gaining experience behind the desk? I very much learned on the job. I learned the basics of how a desk works from uni days, but it was only when I started going into studios as a producer that I just had to figure it out. You started your career working at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. How did that come about? I was in a band and we met with a producer who was based at Real World. There was some interest in working together and we ended up, as a band, going over to see the studios and chat with the producer. We never ended up recording there, but I kept in touch with the producer and started asking for engineering tips while I was studying at university. He then contacted me and asked if I wanted to come and do some work
Break on through Last month, Rhiannon Mair was shortlisted in both the Breakthrough Engineer and Breakthrough Producer categories at the 2019 MPG Awards. Here, she tells Daniel Gumble about her career to date, how she got where she is now, and her method in the studio…
experience there, which I of course said yes to.
IT'S AMAZING HOW MUCH YOU LEARN FROM JUST WATCHING A GREAT PRODUCER AND ENGINEER AT WORK, HOW THEY INTERACT WITH THE BAND, WHAT THEY SAY AND DON'T SAY RHIANNON MAIR
What was it like to work at such a revered studio during your formative years? How much of a learning curve was it for you at that stage in your career? I learnt so much, more so than when studying. It’s amazing how much you learn from just watching a great producer and engineer at work, how they interact with the band, what they say and don't say. It was invaluable for me, especially as I was starting my career in music. I also assistant engineered on an album for a band called Port Evin. Tell us about some of the most memorable projects you have worked on to date. I engineered a session for Laura Marling on her Reversal Of The Muse project. Working with insanely talented artists is always incredible and inspiring to be around. I’ve really enjoyed working with Emma McGrath over the past few years; I’ve felt really lucky to be a part of her musical journey from quite early on and watch her grow as an artist. She is definitely one to watch.
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Mair mastering the studio
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use, then we’ll record it in wet, and I spend time tuning drums, getting the right snare sound. Which records and producers have been a key influence on you? When growing up I was obsessed with KT Tunstall’s album Eye To The Telescope, which was produced by Steve Osborn. Just a cracking album, great songs, and I think the production is very clever in how it all falls around the acoustic guitar parts, which drive the songs rhythmically. Steve Osborn also produced my favourite Placebo album Without You I’m Nothing. Those two records and Absolution by Muse were on repeat during my teens. What are the biggest challenges faced when embarking on a career in the studio? For me the biggest challenge is the hustle, having to be out there networking, meeting people and getting the jobs. Being in the studio itself is the easy part, it never really feels like work. What's next? I'll be working with a few new artists this year, both for production and songwriting, alongside extending my studio to make it more flexible and cost effective for artists and bands. I’ll be adding some more gear so I'll be looking into a second set of monitors and some more mic preamplifiers, I've got my eye on a couple of Neve 1073LBs. I'll also be putting more time into an indie label and publisher I co-founded last year (Palm Bay Music), created for songwriting and band and artist development. Talk us through your home studio. I’m currently using a Universal Apollo 8 interface and Twinfinity 4-710d. I run the Twinfinity as a slave via adat from my Apollo. I love that I can dial between tube or solid state tones, it makes it very flexible. This paired with the super clean pres on the Apollo means I have more options when tracking guitar or vocals and the UA plugins come in handy too. I monitor on a pair of Amphion one15s that I am totally in love with. The detail is incredible and the mixes translate really well onto other systems. I also find that my ears don’t fatigue as easily as they did on my last set of monitors, working on them is pure joy.
Photo: Matthew Wilkinson
Do you have a particular approach or signature sound you adopt in the studio? It does vary from project to project but one thing that I always do is spend quite a bit of time with preproduction, especially if using other studios for tracking. Preparation is key for me. As for signature sounds, I would say not really. I do like to try and record parts as how they will sound on the record, for example, if a guitarist has a particular reverb pedal or delay they
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Scala Radio breaks the glass wall As radio and audio services continue to expand, broadcast engineers are searching for ways to put stations on air ever more quickly and cheaply. The studio for Bauer Media's latest offering, classical channel Scala Radio, uses both virtual IP technology and existing spaces to achieve this, as Kevin Hilton reports...
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The Glass Studio and Simon Mayo (le )
new digital radio station goes on air in the UK this month in the form of Scala Radio. With the aim of "offering classical music for modern life", new national service joins competitors BBC Radio 3 and commercial channel Classic FM in a market largely dominated by rock and pop stations. The impending launch on March 4 has attracted attention due to former BBC Radio 2 presenter Simon Mayo being among the weekday line-up, but behind the scenes it is also notable for coming from a studio with a glass wall, as well as being based on virtual audio and control technology. Scala Radio will broadcast from parent group Bauer Media's One Golden Square headquarters in central London. This houses 14 on-air studios based on Axia Audio consoles and an audio over IP (AoIP) networking/ distribution infrastructure. The London Broadcast Centre already houses Bauer's other 'brands', including Absolute Radio, Magic, Kiss and Heat Radio, plus the recently launched Hits Radio and Greatest Hits Radio. Alongside these is a smaller studio built into a former meeting room that went into operation last year, which will be used for Scala Radio broadcasts, and can be seen as a precursor to more fully realised 'virtual' facilities that Bauer is planning to put on air in the near future. The Glass Studio, as it is known, was originally conceived as both a multi-purpose facility for podcasts and voice tracking and a proof of concept exercise for the design of the proposed studios. The room designated for the studio has three solid walls with a glass partition dividing it from a main office area. "It was originally built as an R&D project to prove we could build an affordable studio from glass in a short
four-week time frame," explains Mark Farrington, senior broadcast systems engineer with Bauer Media. "The idea was for it to have a touch-screen mixer and allow us to extend the studio space for Golden Square, as well as being a proof of concept for future projects in London and elsewhere in the UK." The studio was specified and designed by Bauer's inhouse projects team, including Farrington and broadcast engineer Hannah Austin, and built by the broadcaster's contractor, Transmation. Like the existing studios, the new booth sits on the London Broadcast Centre's AoIP infrastructure, which is carried entirely using CAT6 cables. "There are no legacy audio ties in and out of the studio," says Farrington. "Golden Square is fully AoIP between the studio and the transmission chain. This enabled the addition of a fully IP studio quickly and easily because it was built on the strong foundation provided by our existing infrastructure." Bauer already uses Axia broadcast mixing systems, but extended the concept of IP operation that the manufacturer is known for by opting for a touch-screen instead of a conventional on-air desk with physical faders. Broadcast Bionics, which distributes Axia in the UK, worked with Bauer in both supplying equipment and designing the presenter interface. "We've been working with Broadcast Bionics to make the touch-screen as user friendly as possible for live operation," says Farrington. "This is an ongoing piece of work responding to user feedback." The studio equipment makes up one rack, with all links going to the Broadcast Centre's central technical area (CTA) on the IP network. "With the touch-screen mixer, we wanted to be innovative but also save time," comments Austin. "It is
based on the same Axia engine as the desks in the other studios, and it looks the same." Glass studios are not unusual in radio – the BBC World Service had a series of booths using the notoriously difficult material at its former Bush House headquarters – but they still have to be approached carefully. Farrington explains that -50dB of isolation is used in relation to the Acoustic Glass partitioning. "The solid walls are of a more traditional construction, with acoustic treatment to reduce reflection and deaden the space." To further prevent reflections, the glass wall is tilted and a window is angled, while ceiling tiles provide additional absorption. Microphone selection was another serious consideration, with Neumann KMS 105 super-cardioids eventually specified for the presenters and guests. "We've found these to be the optimum mic choice for acoustic performance," recalls Farrington. "They have a directional and close pick-up in the Glass Studio. There haven't been any complaints about sound quality from those that have already used the studio." The Glass Studio will be fully dedicated to live broadcasts of Scala Radio; other studios will be available for production work, including pre-recording shows. Farrington comments that some "cosmetic and usability changes" have been made to the facility to tailor it for Scala Radio, including the installation of cameras for 'visualised radio' and specific station branding. With the concept of virtual radio studios proven, Mark Farrington reveals that Bauer is working towards commissioning more studios that also take the template of the Glass Studio, possibly during the third quarter of this year.
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Northern soul Making a name for yourself as an up and coming producer isn’t an easy task amongst an increasingly crowded pool of talent, so basing yourself in a prime location can be key to unlocking success. Dean Glover, producer and engineer at Manchester’s VIBE Recording Studio – owned by former lead singer of The Mock Turtles, Martin Coogan – tells PSNEurope why his city is offering some of the best opportunities for the next generation of audio professionals…
guess I’ve been producing from about the age of 14, plugging a home made 1/8” jack to jack into the back of an old HP computer, with an adapter on the other end to stick into my beginner’s electric guitar, on a demo version of what was then called Fruity Loops. Since then, I’ve cut records in warehouses, office spaces, living rooms, lockups, attics, sheds, airing cupboards, kitchens, toilets, pub basements, and in actual recording studios, of course. But I still think back to the bodged, fragile, twisted together mini-jack cable I was using to stack-up layers of electric guitar over the top of primitive drum sample rhythms and synthesised electric bass. It taught me a valuable lesson – to be resourceful. I didn’t necessarily have the right equipment, but I had enough to get me started. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION There’s a bit of a myth about the music industry (or any entertainment industry for that matter), that you have to go to London to ‘make it’. When it comes to being a producer, I’d argue a very strong case for Manchester being the best place in the world to launch your career in audio. For a start, geographically, Greater Manchester is about a tenth the size of London, so when you’re leaning against the sound desk at Jimmy’s, stood round the le hand side of the stage at Night & Day, or hanging around the backstreets of Soup Kitchen, you won’t be surprised to bump into the same bunch of characters, buzzing around on various different errands and missions. There’s a short generational turnover of musicians and creative-minded people here too, young and old, with a new batch seemingly spawning every year: be it a gaggle of homegrown musical Mancs, a hoard of well-schooled BIMM students, or a mob of hungry young beatniks originating from anywhere north of the Watford Gap who’ve upped sticks and made Manchester their new home, they're all pouncing on the city's vibrant music scene. This rich vein of ambitious and talented personnel is the ultimate resource for producers keen to put their creative stamp on some fresh material, as well as build up their all-important list of experiences.
TAKING RISKS, MAKING BRAVE DECISIONS, AND GETTING YOURSELF OUT THERE IS A STRATEGY PERENNIALLY REWARDED IN THIS CITY DEAN GLOVER
NETWORK CONNECTIONS But what use is a vast influx of musicians and creatives to a wannabe producer without the infrastructure to support it? Well, we’ve got the most fertile circuit of independent live music venues in the country, and that goes right through to the upper echelons of the UK’s largest indoor venue in the Manchester Arena (second largest in Europe, too), plus, there are also fantastic educational institutions such as Spirit Studios (formerly SSR), BIMM, Royal Northern College Of Music, and more. But if you want to be a producer, you’re going to need a dedicated recording studio, right? Not necessarily. I get so many emails from people asking for a job in a studio, begging to make brews or sweep up, and
while that career path is well trodden, it’s considered by a few to be somewhat ‘old school’ in this day and age. However, there’s lots of people who think that their career as a producer can’t get out of the starting blocks until they get on a studio’s payroll. Obviously, I’d love to take on as many assistants and runners as possible, but they’d be queuing all the way down Cheetham Hill Road if I said yes to everyone. And while most of these CVs boast state-of-the-art DAW skills and the ability to operate a deluge of different mixing desks, the main trait I keep an eye out for is the ability to get out there amongst it, to start networking and building connections, and most importantly, actively producing records. OUTSIDE THE BOX Taking risks, making brave decisions, believing in your abilities and getting yourself out there is a strategy that’s perennially rewarded in this city – from way back with our revolutionary industrial heritage, to being home to the likes of Emmeline Pankhurst and one of the world’s first modern computers, to name but a few. Great musical examples are when 10cc self-produced 'I'm Not In Love' in Stockport’s Strawberry Studios using all sorts of never before tried techniques, or when Owen Morris decided to go full bore brick wall mastering on Oasis’ era-defining debut album, Definitely Maybe, or even when Bugzy Malone decided to play London at their own game and revamp modern grime from within the confines of the M60 outer ring road. Individuals that are prepared to take a leap of faith and think outside the box are more oen than not the ones who reap the rewards and encounter the amazing opportunities around the next corner. So, rather than waiting around patiently for a reply to your email or a notification from a jobs website about a new studio engineer vacancy, make yourself known as a producer and be where the action is. Whether that’s your local music scene, the nearest big city or round here in Manchester, you don’t always need expensive equipment, or the keys to a recording studio, to start producing the various weird and wonderful artists and musicians who are forever buzzing around this talent-heaving place.
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Tech-sploitation? For several years now, the music industry has been at war with YouTube over the royalties – or lack thereof – that it pays music creators. Here, Michael Dugher, CEO of industry trade body UK Music, reveals why he believes tech giants need to be held to account in order to ensure a ‘fairer future’ for the music business...
oes Google pay enough tax? Is enough being done by tech giants to protect our data and our democracy? Are social media companies doing all they can to tackle terrorism or online bullying? Can the boss of Facebook really refuse to answer questions from MPs? How much screen-time should our children have before bedtime? Questions about our relationship with the internet and technology are never out of the spotlight. Essentially, this is a debate about getting the balance right. It’s about how we harness the enormous benefits and the huge opportunities that technology brings, whilst ensuring that proper protections and safeguards are in place for the negatives. In the first industrial revolution, at some point people said: “It’s great we have a coal industry. But you know what? It’s not OK to send kids down the mines”. Eventually change came. Today, aer years in which a free, unfettered internet was allowed to run riot without any restrictions, people and governments around the world are now saying that it’s time for large global technology firms to recognise they have social responsibilities, as well as multi-billion dollar rewards. This debate about the behaviour of big tech is every bit as relevant for the music industry. In recent months, as the Copyright Directive was debated endlessly in Europe, creators and rights holders have been slogging it out with Google’s YouTube. But when we accuse YouTube of ripping-off creators, that doesn’t mean we’re ‘anti-big tech’. We’re not latter-day Luddites and we’re not seeking to live in the past. We just want the future to be fairer, to protect the long-term sustainability of a music industry that brings enjoyment to millions and contributes £4.5 billion to the UK economy. But let’s be clear about this: the music industry is not anti-big tech; it's anti-bad tech. Astonishing developments in technology have meant aspiring artists can create and record the sound of a whole orchestra from a laptop in their bedroom, and then have their music and videos streamed across the world to reach previously undreamt-of audiences. In the music industry, we have productive
relationships with companies like Spotify and Apple Music. Global industry revenues for these paid services amount to £4.7 billion, meaning streaming is now the largest single source of recorded music industry revenue. UK artist Ed Sheeran’s song 'Shape Of You' is the most streamed track of all time on Spotify. But, as Labour’s shadow culture secretary, Tom Watson, pointed out in a speech he gave on big tech and its responsibilities in February, there are problems too. Using UK Music figures, he highlighted what he called the way some platforms “cater to the business interests of the few at the expense of the many”. He went on to say: “Just look at how YouTube profits from musicians’ work without fair remuneration. YouTube pays creators just £0.00054p per stream.” YouTube is now one of the main ways people listen to music. It accounts for 84 per cent of all video streaming services with 85 per cent of visitors regularly coming to the site for music. However, at present, a song needs to be streamed on YouTube 14,500 times before a creator can earn the equivalent of just one hour on the National Living Wage for a 25-year-old. How can we encourage kids from all backgrounds to become singer/songwriters or performing artists if they would be better off working at Sports Direct? Tom Watson was also right when he put the spotlight on Google for the amount it was spending on Brussels lobbyists to undermine “simple copyright reforms” that would benefit many creators in the music industry. YouTube exploits legal loopholes, which enables it to pay creators a tiny amount in royalties and rates that are way below that of other digital music services. These loopholes are a result of so-called ‘safe harbours’ created long before something like YouTube could even be imagined. That’s why we need copyright changes to close those loopholes. YouTube and its allies spent a fortune running scare stories about the impact of copyright changes. Contrary to what has been dramatically predicted by YouTube, copyright protections will not mean the “death of the internet”. Neither will it spell the end of memes and mash-ups. Those are just myths spread as part of a desperate attempt by certain tech companies to keep
the vast majority of money they make out of the creative content of others. Ultimately, tech giants must not allow their services to be used to subvert democracy, to spread online abuse or to cheat music creators out of their deserved rewards. I am certain that Margot James, the government’s minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, gets this. So too does the Conservative chair of the cross-party DCMS Select Committee, who has been trying to hold the Facebook CEO to account. In an era when politicians from all parties seem divided on almost every issue facing the country, the need for big tech to face up to its responsibilities would appear to be a refreshing source of political consensus. Legislation, a new regulator, is all on the way. Once they were the great change-makers, empowering people, bringing innovation and forging a brave new world. Today it is the likes of Google that are swimming against the tide of history. Our rapidly evolving relationship with them – in the music industry and in every other part of our lives – is turning into one of the defining battles of our times. In a song that has been streamed more than 53 million times, somebody once sang, “a change is gonna come”.
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Targeting new talent Aspiring audio engineers, sound designers and musicians today have more access to technology and the creative tools needed for realising their ideas than ever before. However, the difficulty remains in getting their finished work heard. Kevin Hilton reports on a new collaborative initiative between the BBC and the Arts Council that aims to provide a showcase for young talent...
he BBC and the Arts Council have launched an initiative to develop young, emerging talent, with a specific focus on audio, in addition to filmmaking and interactive projects. The ambition behind New Creatives is to commission 500 artists across the three disciplines over two years, with the resulting works to be available on BBC outlets and other platforms. The New Creatives scheme was announced at the beginning of February, with an application deadline set for March 10 2019. Targetting creatives between the ages of 16 and 30, the project brief is to produce creative pieces that are relevant to the artists themselves and their community, and which could spark interesting debate and discussion. Not only a stand alone section, audio is a key component in all three of the categories. The film commissions section is looking for short films of up to three minutes duration that display an experimental approach to sound as well as image, structure and storytelling. Immersive technologies such as binaural audio and 360 video, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are encouraged for interactive commissions. The audio commission category itself encompasses works from micro-stories of one minute or under to
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New Creatives was launched by the BBC Arts sector and the Arts Council of England Tyneside Cinema is working with sound designer Eloise Whitmore and audio technologist Tony Churnside
longer form pieces of no longer than 15 minutes. As with the other two groups, the brief is for applicants to be as inventive as possible, both stylistically and technologically. Among the forms that can be used are episodic stories, soundscapes and audio storytelling, interpreted as spoken word, performance, drama, music or sound design. The BBC and the Arts Council have collaborated on previous occasions, notably in forming the digital creative portal, The Space. Commenting on the new venture, Jonty Claypole, director of arts at the BBC, says: "The scheme will offer fantastic opportunities, not only for the artists themselves but also for our audiences, who will be able to enjoy ground-breaking cultural content from an exciting array of the best emerging artistic talent today." Owen Hopkin, director of audience insight and innovation, explains that the scheme was conceived to "explore and encourage audience development", while at the same time developing digital skills amongst the next generation of artists. Audio is a major component of the enterprise, Hopkin says, as it is a foundational element of creative work, especially with all of the innovations in audio we have today: "We need to concentrate on it because there are lots of opportunities to produce
different content for different platforms." Hopkin observes that many young people are now listening to a variety of content on streaming platforms, which have proliferated over the last 10 years with the appearance of such streaming services like SoundCloud and with "the explosion of the podcast". He adds that the decreasing cost of equipment and technology in the same period has provided the necessary tools, not just for sound-only works, but for visuals as well: "There's also the interactive and VR aspects, where immersive and binaural come in, and, of course, audio is an extremely important part of video production." A New Creatives network has been set up to run the project, with dedicated "media production organisations" overseeing the commissioning process in five regions of England. The organisations are Tyneside Cinema for the North, Rural Media (Midlands), the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London), Screen South (South East) and Calling the Shots (South West). While some of these bodies have in-house sound expertise, others do not. Tyneside Cinema is working with sound designer Eloise Whitmore and audio technologist Tony Churnside of Naked Productions in Manchester, who will support the sound artists of the northern region. "The aim is to encourage young people to produce
something that appeals to them, not content that is like something already on services such as Radio 4," comments Whitmore. "We want people to really think about audio as a medium, not just the pictures and the words." Churnside adds that he and Whitmore will be working with the young artists to give "all the support and expertise they can to help deliver something of professional broadcast quality." This will involve providing and advising on different technologies, both new and older techniques, such as dummy heads for binaural recording. "I think there will be a mixture of people and abilities involved,â€? Churnside says. "Some may need a lot of support and there will be others who are happy to go off on their own. We wouldn't restrict what equipment anyone wants to use but we would like to encourage people to get outside of their comfort zone and not just rely on Pro Tools and plugins." Owen Hopkin at the Arts Council concludes on this technological note: "It's about using technology that gets the stories across, rather than the technology driving the story or coming as the first priority. We're hoping that the expertise exists to realise the artistic visions, and I would be surprised if that didn't involve using all of the diverse options available in audio." ď Ž
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record attendance of 81,268 and the largest show floor in the event's history (56,100 net square metres) confirm that ISE 2019 was another highly successful year in the history of the Integrated Systems Europe show. The RAI centre’s Hall 7 – where the majority of audio exhibitors were situated – was certainly busy throughout the four days of the show, with attendees taking the opportunity to preview and test out new solutions from both veteran vendors and newer names. Amplification leader Powerso made a visceral impact with Mover, a new transducer product that lets audiences feel sound through haptic perception. It works by vibrating the surrounding environment, which the body picks up, and through bone conduction, these vibrations are then translated into perceivable frequencies. Mover is expected to find favour with a variety of install applications – including 4D cinemas, theme parks and venues with vibrating floors – as well as project types that “go beyond entertainment”. Entertainment applications – specifically those involving concert halls, theatres, festivals and stadia – were very much on the mind of EM Acoustics. As its name suggests, the HALO-B line array sits between HALO-A and HALO-C in both physical size and overall system output. Founded on the same ‘maximum headroom’ design principles as HALO-A, the new system can perform three core roles: as a standalone system for small- to medium-format touring applications and small- to medium-sized fixed installations; as a companion system to HALO-A for delay, outfill and/or infill for larger shows; and as a companion to HALO-C where HALO-B is the main system and HALO-C acts as delay/fill. Another loudspeaker giant, L-Acoustics, brought news of both fresh products and significant internal changes at the company. The new items included the X4i coaxial loudspeaker, billed as the smallest speaker L-Acoustics has ever manufactured. Suited to a host of install applications, the four-inch enclosure has a depth of less than 10cm and weighs less than a kilo. Meanwhile, on the personnel side, there was information about a newly configured product management team featuring Jeff Rocha, Germain Simon and Scott Sugden, as well as multiple appointments to sales and application teams focusing on sports facilities and cruise ships – all with the objective of “furthering [L-Acoustics’] immediate and long-term goals”.
ISE 2019: Pro audio underlines its creative credentials Several significant announcements about audio networking and a focus on innovative, user-friendly design characterised this year’s edition of ISE, writes David Davies…
THE OVERRIDING IMPRESSION AT THIS SHOW WAS THAT PRO-AUDIO IS CURRENTLY IN EBULLIENT, FERVENTLY CREATIVE FORM DAVID DAVIES
NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES As has been the case for at least the last 10 years, ISE 2019 witnessed some major product launches in network-based audio – but surely one of the most significant was Audinate’s addition of video to its Dante solution with the Dante AV Module. The Dante AV module supports one video channel and eight bi-directional channels of uncompressed Dante audio,
and offers complete interoperability with the 1,600-plus Dante-enabled audio products already on the market. Joshua Rush, SVP of marketing and product development at Audinate, acknowledged the “keenly awaited arrival” of Dante AV. He added: “The Dante AV Module and the Dante AV Product Design Suite, which facilitates a complete AV over IP endpoint design, will enable manufacturers to quickly get integrated audio and video products to market.” Meanwhile, there were definite signs that another approach to networking – Audio Video Bridging (AVB) – is now entering a second, more productive phase with a series of showcases for the open standard, AVB-based Milan protocol. In the works for more than two years, Milan was created by some of the prime movers behind the AVB-promoting AVnu Alliance. Accepting the pro AV market’s specific requirements for moving timesensitive video, audio and data across a network, Milan builds upon the foundation of AVB with interoperability at the application layer.
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with a slew of new products due to be released in 2019. Emphasising that the restructure commenced before the acquisition of Harman by Samsung was announced in November 2016, the ensuing changes have included “the creation of three centres of competence: Aarhus in Denmark for lighting; Richardson, Texas for DSP, soware and electronics; and Northridge in California for acoustics.” Although the acquisition by Samsung was undoubtedly one of pro audio’s biggest business stories in several years, the impact day-to-day has apparently been fairly minimal. “Two years [since the deal] we are still operating as a separate company. But what being owned by Samsung means is that we have access to a great deal of engineering and expertise [that can inform new product developments].” Underlining Glaubke’s claim that there is now a “robust product roadmap” in place across the portfolio, new launches at ISE 2019 included the AKG CBL Series Boundary Layer Microphones. Available in two coverage patterns to support a variety of meeting space sizes and shapes, these microphones are suitable for environments including conference rooms and educational facilities.
ISE bustling as always
The result, said d&b head of strategic business development and market intelligence, Henning Kaltheuner, at an early evening Milan event, will be a generation of products that work together “with new levels of convenience, reliability and functionality”. Indeed, the first fruits of the initiative were on show at ISE 2019: d&b audiotechnik’s DS20 audio network bridge is the company’s first product for connecting its loudspeaker systems to Milan, whilst Adamson Systems Engineering’s CS7p is the initial model in the CS Series, described as the world’s first family of mobile loudspeakers to feature onboard Class D amplification, DSP and Milan-ready network endpoints.
Martin Audio's booth at the show
HARMAN RESURGENT? If AVB is now showing definite signs of a resurgence, then the same might also be said of Harman Professional. A conversation with David Glaubke, director of global corporate communications, confirmed that the multi-year internal restructure is now complete,
EASE OF USE Elsewhere on the ISE showfloor, there was plentiful evidence of manufacturers thinking ever-smarter about how to develop solutions that are flexible, easy-to-use, and which suit a variety of live and install applications. For example, QSC exhibited its Premium Business Music Solutions range in Europe for the first time, with specific products including the MP-M Series paging and music mixers, the MP-A Series multi-channel amplifiers and AcousticDesign SUB/SAT loudspeakers. Meanwhile, Martin Audio confirmed that it was maintaining an impressive creative streak that has seen it introduce more than 30 new products in the last three years, with the latest items including a new model in the Wavefront Precision Series of line arrays. Designed as a complete system with external iKON multi-channel amplifiers, DISPLAY automation soware and the VUNET control platform, the Wavefront Precision Longbow edition is geared towards large-scale touring and installation applications. With many other innovative launches taking place across the Amsterdam show, the overriding impression was that pro audio is currently in ebullient, fervently creative form. Unsurprisingly, given the consistently strong attendance figures, there is also considerable goodwill towards the event itself, with countless exhibitors using words like “invaluable” and “essential” to describe its contribution to their annual calendars. Therefore, the omens already look very positive for ISE 2020 and then the all-important move to Gran Via at Fira de Barcelona in 2021.
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PHOTO: Bahram Foroughli
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Kalling the shots
Over the past decade, Kallie Marie has been carving out a career as one of the most versatile studio talents in the business. Daniel Gumble met with her at the NAMM 2019 show located in her native California, to talk life as a freelancer, gear and an obsession with early ‘90s alt rock producers…
or some people it can take decades to discover their calling in life; for others, the path appears to be set before they themselves are even aware of it. In the case of New York-based producer, engineer, composer and musician Kallie Marie, the latter was very much the case. “When I was a kid my parents had to hide tool boxes from me because I used to take the light switch plates off the wall and dismantle the vacuum cleaner,” she recalls as we sit in a bustling Anaheim Hilton Starbucks on day one of NAMM 2019. “I was only three years old! And I would spend hours sat in a cupboard under the stairs where the record player was, just listening to anything I could.” Her early fascination with music and technology was complemented by a precocious musical talent, which would see Marie attain all manner of honours and qualifications in performing arts and audio production on both sides of the Atlantic. In turn, these skills have helped establish her as a dynamic and versatile force in the studio. To date, she has worked with such artists as Jeff Derringer, Rain MKERS, Makes My Blood Dance, Charley Hustle, Natalie Mishell, (e)motion Picture, Ashley
WHEN I WAS A KID MY PARENTS HAD TO HIDE TOOL BOXES FROM ME BECAUSE I USED TO TAKE THE LIGHT SWITCH PLATES OFF THE WALL AND DISMANTLE THE VACUUM CLEANER. AND I WAS ONLY THREE YEARS OLD! KALLIE MARIE
Hicklin, ROYST, Indirah, and January Jane. She also writes and produces work for her own band Explosives For Her Majesty. Yet, while the framework for a career in audio was in place from the moment she located her parents’ tool box, it took her a little while to figure out that it was possible to make a living from her unique skillset and albeit unusual childhood hobbies. “I didn’t realise [audio engineering] was a job that existed,” she reflects as we struggle to hear each other over the crowd of NAMM patrons clambering for their morning caffeine. “When I was younger I used to cut and edit music for the dance studio I was at from a record player on to a cassette, I must have been 11 or 12. I went to a performing arts high school and there was a theatre programme where they had lighting and sound courses, which I didn't get involved in, but my friend did. When we le school she said ‘You should take these studio recording classes with me’. I was like ‘Why’? And she said, ‘Well, if you take these recording classes no one will ever be able to control your sound.' So, it was really accidental, but I loved it so much. I became obsessive about it.
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Kallie Marie means business
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“When I was a kid people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I used to say a science artist. They would say ‘That doesn’t exist’! But I knew from a young age I really loved technology and gadgets and I was always fascinated by how things worked. I listened to a lot of CDs, I was heavily into grunge and industrial rock in the ‘90s, and I used to spend time studying the liner notes, trying to memorise the names of the production teams to see if I could find other records they had worked on to figure out if they sounded similar. I wanted to know how they affected the sound. I knew they must be integral if their names were there, so I quickly became familiar with Butch Vig and Steve Albini’s work and would study their albums to see what qualities were shared amongst their bodies of work.” Between them, Vig and Albini did indeed play a definitive part in defining the alternative rock sound of the ‘90s, the former coaxing the melody out of the raw material presented to him and coating it with a fine sonic gloss, the latter applying a minimalist touch, ensuring the starkest, most authentic representation of an artist possible. Nirvana famously worked with both,
calling on Vig to produce their commercial breakthrough Nevermind and Albini to work on it’s sonically stripped down follow-up In Utero. Both records showcase two vastly different production styles – it’s worth noting Albini has always considered himself an engineer, not a producer – and according to Marie, the definition of precisely what the ‘producer’ label means is becoming increasingly blurred. “It’s something that’s very confusing for a lot of young producers when they start out because it seems so nebulous,” she says. “Are you more of a songwriter producer, are you more of an engineer, or more like a coach dealing with different personalities? Personally, I’m definitely more song and artist focused, but I’m super picky about where mics go in a room and which mics are used. I’d like to be more of an engineer-type producer, but I can’t fully focus on the artist if I’m wondering about what Pro Tools is doing or not doing, and I don’t want that to be their experience of working with a producer. I’m also very keen on pre-production, which a lot of people leave out. I need to know what the artist needs from me. A lot of it is about identifying their pain points and making sure they have an understanding of what they think they need, and sometimes you cover a whole lot of things they didn’t realise they needed, which can be a really sticky process.” For Marie, the process of defining what kind of engineer or producer she was going to be stretches back to her years as a student and the formative experiences that came about as a result of her travels across the US and the Atlantic. “Aer college [in California], I had a bunch of friends from England who had been exchange students saying I should study in Leeds because there was a great university there. So I applied and spent four and a half years in Leeds, where I did my Bachelors and Masters degree in music production. Aer that I moved to New York in 2008. When the economy crashed, everyone was making music on their laptops, and I had to define what I wanted to do. So, I started an internship at Skyline Studios on my first day in New York, and I just fell into a network of great people who wanted to help and teach me things. The first few years were really rough; I wasn’t sure there was a clear path for me. It took a long time to realise I didn’t have to be tied to a specific studio, for instance. Work was easier to get once I could define myself, otherwise, people would offer me a live sound gig, or a job at a studio. Some people do all of it, and that’s great for them, but I can’t. “One of the first projects I worked on at the end of my degree was my band Explosives For Her Majesty. When I came to New York I was still writing material for the project but my band was still in Leeds, so I carried on with it as it was a chance to make my own record and show what I could do. It was like a calling card. I was given some great advice which was ‘If you don’t have work, make work’, because as long as you are creating
something you have something to show, rather than sitting on your hands thinking about work you don’t have. Sometimes the biggest, most important thing can be a change of mindset.” When asked what it was like to move from sunny Cali to the chill of Northern England, Marie laughed: “It was not what I expected. I was very naive. I had friends there and had visited before, so I thought it’d just be the same. I thought, 'We all watch The Simpsons, we all speak English, we like the same music'. I got there and the spiders were huge – which nobody warned me about! – and I got really sick in the first year because of the lack of sunlight compared to California.” These days, Marie is based in New York, where she works between her own home studio and a number of other facilities in the city. “[My studio] is very modest,” she notes. “I have the Universal Apollo Twin and I run Pro Tools HD, but I spend a lot of time in Ableton if I’m creating, especially if someone wants sound design. I’m lucky enough to have a beautiful pair of huge KRK original monitors that my friend is letting me use. I use my home studio if I’m writing something for film or TV, and for working with artists who are on a really tight budget or at the demo stage and just want to flesh out some stuff before going to a bigger studio. "I always like to work with the artist to select the right environment. I tell them that we will pick the studio in accordance with their sound and budget. I have this philosophy that you make the art you can afford to make, which is a hard pill for a lot of artists to swallow, because they want to make 10 songs and want them to all to be amazing. I’ll say, 'Maybe you make two songs at a high quality budget', because it makes more sense to me to have a gourmet dish but a small portion, than to have a lot of cheap food. Sometimes they get half way through trying to get 10 songs done, then realise they can’t afford it and start cutting corners, like, 'Maybe let’s not have a mastering engineer'. At which point I’m like, 'Woah, we’re not doing that!'" Like many freelance producers and engineers, Marie has become accustomed to dealing with the challenges of working as a gun for hire, as well as capitalising on the wealth of opportunities it can present. Clearly, it’s a balance she has become adept at maintaining. “The best thing is that you can change your path at any time, but you have to be super aware of yourself as a brand and you have to be able to communicate that,” she concludes. “If you confuse people about what you do, they don’t know how to approach you. That can be tricky because if you’re hungry for work you don’t want to start taking things just because, and that’s a challenge. And not being affiliated with a studio can sometimes be an issue. Some people can think you are more legit if you are associated with a studio, but that can also tie you to projects that maybe you’re not as passionate about."
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THIS MONTH: Legendary London Ally Pally theatre has been restored with the help of top pro brands L-Acoustics and Digico, and is now hosting productions, whilst music and audio professionals are embarking on charity initiatives to raise money for those in need. We've also curated a run down of the most exciting industry events coming up and a look back at pro audio news of the past. To let us know of anything exciting you're doing in the coming months, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ally Pally Theatre is back with a bang
ALEXANDRA PALACE is a legendary building with a history inextricably linked to the narrative of London and Londoners. Opened in 1873 as a grand Victorian public gesture and hosting pantomime, opera, drama and ballet, it was known as ‘the people's Palace,’ until it became affectionately nicknamed ‘Ally Pally’. However, it struggled to compete with the West End and its days as a theatre ended...until now. Alexandra Palace Theatre opened again in December last year. A complete technical infrastructure had to be installed in the process, including a substantial L-Acoustics Kara PA system, Sennheiser microphones, and a Digico SD12 mixing console. The decision to restore it to its former glory was made in 2012, and with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Borough of Haringey secured, work on the ambitious project to turn the Grade II listed space into a 900-seat working theatre began in 2016. Steve Brookes, now head of production and technical at the venue, helped with the reconstruction
and realisation of the theatre. His aim was to bring a modern infrastructure to the space so that no company or touring production would hesitate to perform there, but at the same time he wanted to honour the heritage of the building. "There were restrictions," Brookes said. "Whilst the theatre itself is Grade II listed, the stage is Grade I listed, meaning it cannot be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission. However, it had to be strengthened and is now supported with a sympathetic scaffold structure. Then it was a case of bringing in all the systems that we needed: PA, lighting and trussing.” The L-Acoustics system and Digico SD12 were then supplied and installed by HD Pro Audio under the direction of HD’s Andy Huffer. “Andy and the team at HD have been a huge help,” noted Brookes. “Although audio isn’t my main area of expertise, I have always had a preference for L-Acoustics, and aer conferring with my geekier friends, the Digico SD12 was clearly the best fit.
CHARITY CORNER DIGIGRID BRAND MANAGER OF FIVE YEARS, DAN PAGE, IS DEFINITELY DOING HIS BIT:
SINGER/SONGWRITER BEATIE WOLFE IS CONTINUING HER PROJECT THE POWER OF MUSIC & DEMENTIA:
So, I’m a bit of a serial charity fundraiser. In 2017, aer I lost my brother to cancer, I cycled 1,000 miles in nine days raising money for two cancer charities. Last year, I swam several long distance open water swimming events in aid of Level Water, which provided one on one swimming lessons for disabled kids. This year, I’m raising money for the National Autistic Society by marathon running. I’m really not a runner, but I figured I’d push myself a bit. I’ve got my first event in March, the Surrey Half Marathon, and I will do at least one full marathon later in the year, but the exact one is yet to be chosen. Training is well under way though: 120km in January! To show support and encourage Dan on his endeavours, check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/danscrazychallenges/ and justgiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/running2019
The Power of Music & Dementia project, looking at the power of music to impact the symptoms of dementia and the general well-being of care home residents, was founded by singer/songwriter Beatie Wolfe in 2014. It has since being picked up by Stanford Research, The American Alzheimer’s Association and Oxford University. It has also been read at the House of Lords as part of the initiative to get music in all UK care homes by 2020, and was used to develop the UK programme Music for Dementia 2020. This year, Wolfe will be continuing to work on the project. As part of the campaign, Wolfe performs live in care homes across England, and aerwards provides her music on MP3 players for the residents. What was discovered during the research study period of four months was that the residents became more lively and present, withmemory and communication improved. For more information, check out her website: www.beatiewolfe.com/pom
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P53 MARCH 2019
Find out what pro audio and tech events are happening in the coming months…
AES DUBLIN 2019 The Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland, March 20-23 2019
PROLIGHT AND SOUND 2019 Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, April 2-5 2019
AES Dublin is the 146th AES pro audio convention, covering pro specialties including studio recording, networked audio, broadcast and streaming, music production, post production, live sound and game audio. There will be showcases of the latest audio hardware in the industry and soware tools on the exhibition floor and in demo rooms, as well as a full programme of educational tutorials and workshops for all.
The annual Prolight and Sound event will display a diverse programme of conferences and lectures, offering industry expertise with speakers from the media-technology and events sectors, and open-air presentations of products. Hosting visitors from over 150 countries, it offers a great opportunity to network with a variety of professionals, from retailers and distributors, location and studio operators, planners and event managers, to engineers, DJs and AV systems integrators.
2019 AES INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON IMMERSIVE AND INTERACTIVE AUDIO Contemporary Music Research Centre, University of York, March 27-29 2019 This three-day conference will underline how new developments of immersive audio and its systems are taking sound experience to the next level, and will reveal how the combination of interactive technology with immersive audio creates this technological higher dimension. New advances that will be explored include human computer interaction, particularly head and body motion tracking and artificial intelligence, working towards intelligent, adaptive and personalised audio technologies.
NAB SHOW Las Vegas Convention Center, Nevada, April 6-11 2019
Processing and Effects, Audio Production and Recording, Music and Sound Libraries, Broadcasting, and Microphones.
PLASA 2019 London Olympia, National Hall, 15-17 September 2019 Plasa is a recognised event for the entertainment technology industry, presenting from London, the entertainment capital of the UK. The show consists of product launches and creative solutions, seminar programmes ranging from talks and panels, and workshops to immersive demos. The show's audio offering has increased year aer year since relocating to London Olympia.
NAB SHOW takes place in the heart of Las Vegas, calling all media, entertainment and technology professionals to come be inspired. NAB boasts 100,000 attendees from over 160 countries, all of which attend to witness technological innovations and new trends in huge array of professional sectors. In the audio editing and post production sections, notable exhibitors presenting at the show include Audinate, Avid, Nugen Audio, Waves and Digigrid, Yamaha Corporation of America, and Solid State Logic. This Other notable exhibition categories include Audio Mixers, Audio
BLAST FROM THE PAST FROM... MARCH 2015
PSNEurope takes a trip down memory lane to some of the most memorable stories from this month in years gone by…
SENNHEISER COUNTERFEITER CONVICTED BY BRITISH COURT
REBECCA FERGUSON ALBUM IS FIRST TO BE CREATED WITH PMC QB1A LOUDSPEAKERS
PANGAIA STUDIOS LAUNCHED IN STOCKHOLM BY GEO SLAM
An online trader from London caught selling counterfeit Sennheiser equipment was convicted, put on probation and given a community sentence. Anton Dyleuski sold counterfeit Sennheiser headphones with a total value of £170,224 to over 7,000 customers on Amazon, trading as ‘Prime Electronics’. This was an ongoing problem for Sennheiser, as in April 2013, another British counterfeiter, Michael Reeder, was given a twoand-a-half year sentence. “Combating product piracy is not just about averting financial loss,” said CEO Dr Andreas Sennheiser. “We are also concerned about the loss of brand image. Customers are disappointed with the shoddy workmanship of counterfeit products, oen unaware that they’ve been deceived.”
British singer Rebecca Ferguson’s third album, Lady Sings The Blues, is the first in the world to be recorded, mixed and mastered on PMC’s QB1-A loudspeakers. Ferguson, who rose to fame on The X Factor in 2010, recorded the album of Billie Holiday covers at Capitol Studio, Los Angeles. Producer Troy Miller chose to record at Capitol because it's “one of the few remaining studios that was around in the 1950s when Billie Holiday was recording”. Holiday herself recorded there, as did Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole., Miller recalling “the [Neumann] U47 we used had Frank’s name written on it! “The session engineer didn’t hide the fact that they had rejected all other offers of monitoring and assured me that the PMC QB1-A’s were the one!’
PanGaia Studios, based in Stockholm and headed by Swedish producer/songwriter Geo Slam, opened in March 2015 with a launch party attended by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Franz Ferdinand), Eric Racy (Nicki Minaj, Pharrell), and Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy). PanGaia has six recording studios, a private conference room, press room, live streaming video system, personal artist lounges, and “modern, parametric décor”. The studio’s partners include SSL, Yamaha, Fender, Jackson Guitars, EVH and Charvel. Desks are SSL Dualitys, while monitoring comes courtesy of Yamaha, ADAM Audio, KRK, TAD, ATC and Genelec. Studio owner Slam has written and produced for One Direction, Blue and Jason Derulo.
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P54 MARCH 2019
Tew of a kind
Phil Ward talks to Terry Tew, founder of one of the UK’s go-to rental outfits on the crest of a broadcast wave...
he list of microphones in the Terry Tew Sound & Light inventory says it all: Sennheiser; Shure; Wisycom; AKG; DPA; Audix; SoundField; and Coles commentator mics. His mic array is used in the Premier League football grounds, on every type of television programming and on blockbuster movies. Tew also provides the mics for the BBC music show Later… With Jools Holland. “We have the broadcast-friendly mics,” Tew says, and they do indeed glister: some have red noses; some shine bright like a diamond. It’s all a long way from DJ-ing Girl Guides discos at the age of 13 in the local church hall. “I grew up in Loughton, and the company is still based locally. I did move on! I DJed at under-18 discos, and then I did my first wedding when I was 16. At 18, I joined the BBC and did the boom operator training course in Evesham. They always had two to four proper ‘fisher’ booms in every studio, and I used to work on One Foot In The Grave, ‘Allo ’Allo, Bread, and Juliet Bravo, all in Shepherd’s Bush. I started buying equipment during the 10 years I was there, mostly disco gear at first, and then le to set up a hire company.” How could you leave such a cosy world? It changed, and I wanted a new challenge. When I found out that the producer of Top Of The Pops wanted some gold radio mics, and the sound department didn’t have any, I had some made and rented them to him. Two years later he moved to CDUK, and because I’d sorted his mics he took me with him. Ten years at Elstree with Ant, Dec and Cat Deeley…
What do you like about working in broadcast? Every job is different. Instead of a long tour, we do oneday hits. Although, Strictly does take three months, with one trip to Blackpool. But it’s not all TV: we still do sports days for schools, with our good old-fashioned PA horns. What else dominates your inventory? Speakers, which are mostly French and German – I’m sure you can guess – and consoles that consist of most of the Digico SD range, Yamaha, analogue soundcra (which is ideal for schools and churches, anywhere they can turn up the aux as they are 16 channel desks), and Studer Vista 8 broadcast desks to match BBC studios. Times have come a long way since every BBC studio had eight ‘Jones column’ loudspeakers. You must have quite a turnover of gear… Every year we have a sale on eBay, so we satisfy the WEEE regulations; even if we get 99p for it, it’s disposed of properly. For each of the past four years, we’ve invested around £1.25 million in new gear. Speaker technology has gotten much better, especially in the realm of beam steerage and spatial audio. In fact, Dave Wooster from 2BHeard has been telling me about the combination of K-Array and Astro Spatial Audio, which they’re trying to get into TV studios. The budgets will dictate that progress. If a production manager could get away with eight loudspeakers despite needing 12, they’d do it just to reduce costs by a third, but immersive needs more speakers, more amplifiers, more processing and more
rigging effort. We’re more likely to concentrate on monitoring and voice-of-god solutions for directors. In Tunisia we did a 100-way IEM system on Star Wars: each Stormtrooper had an IEM receiver. How does live sound reinforcement differ on TV? With a live audience show, some sound supervisors like to have 12 loudspeakers distributed above the audience, with the audience mics right next to the speakers. That means there’s no delay; if you have two line arrays 30 metres away, the front rows get a different colouration to the mid and rear rows, so there are oen three arrays in total. Is it becoming more like full-scale touring? It is for some. We are acquiring more large-scale production products, but there’s a limit. Because we do video and lighting as well, we stop at an audience capacity of about 1,000 people – although we do crosshire IEMs and radio mics. Radio mics for broadcast were our USP initially, but we’ve expanded into all types of sound application for TV and other media. To be honest, I’m happy with the size we are. Shows come and go. Something may finish but then, for example, we picked up Top Gear because Plus Four Audio went with the original team to do Grand Tour. It ebbs and flows as people move around and switch companies. Some of the former ITV shows have gone to Television Centre, which we’ve always looked aer. It’s at the level I like.
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S O M E WA I T. S O M E S E E K . OTHERS JUST
MA MA AK AK KE KE E IIT IT TH HA H AP AP PP PP PE PE EN N N. MAKE M HAPPEN. A
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