A league of its own Inside the groundbreaking sound system at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Live depends on us “It’s the most reliable and easy to use console on the market. And it sounds great!” Horst Hartmann - Monitor Engineer, P!NK
Perfecting The Art of Live Sound #43032 - PM Horst Hartmann strip ad.indd 1
P3 MAY 2019 www.psneurope.com • Twitter.com/PSNEurope • Facebook.com/ProSoundNewsEurope • Instagram.com/PSNEurope EDITORIAL Editor: Daniel Gumble email@example.com • +44 (0)203 871 7371 Staff Writer: Fiona Hope McDowall firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0)203 871 7371
Group Content Director, B2B: James McKeown email@example.com • +44 (0)207 354 6015 Designer: Sam Richwood firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0)207 354 6030 Managing Design Director: Nicole Cobban email@example.com Production Executive: Matthew Eglinton firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0)1225 687525
ADVERTISING SALES Head of Advertising and Brand Partnerships - Music: Ryan O’Donnell email@example.com • +44 (0)203 889 4907 MANAGEMENT Managing Director/Senior Vice President Christine Shaw Chief Revenue Officer Luke Edson Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Lissau Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to www.psneurope.com/subscribe-to-newsletters-digital-editions faqs or email firstname.lastname@example.org ARCHIVES Digital editions of the magazine are available to view on ISSUU.com. Recent back issues of the printed edition may be available please contact email@example.com for more information. LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS PSNE is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw firstname.lastname@example.org Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, NP12 2YA ISSN number 0269-4735 (print) © 2018
t the time of writing, 12 hours have passed since Tottenham Hotspur pulled off one of the greatest victories in its history, prevailing over Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final. Without going into details, I’ll assume that anyone with even the most fleeting interest in football will be aware of the circumstances that lead to this famous win, and that they can accurately be described as lifeendangering dramatic. For those unaware, I am a lifelong, long-suffering Spurs fan, and as such, am still in a frenzied state of delirium, euphoria and post traumatic stress. For this reason, I must confess that my frame of mind is somewhat distracted and my ability to pen this welcome note somewhat fractured. Thankfully, as you may have gleaned from our glorious cover shot, the subject of Spurs is of some significance to this issue, and not just because it has enabled me to gather my thoughts and proceed with the job at hand. On April 2, the day before its grand opening, I was given an extensive tour of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, including discussions with the club’s tech team and, indeed, numerous Harman
executives - the stadium’s official audio supplier keen to talk about the brand new system that has been deployed, as well as the complex acoustic design. So, while I feel no shame in the childlike excitement I experienced walking out on the pitch and snooping around the changing rooms 24 hours before attending as a fan the following night, I can honestly say the conversations we had with those involved in the audio spec were truly enlightening. As you’ll discover on p26, the task of supplying audio for the venue was truly monumental. With a brief to deliver a system in keeping with the hi-tech nature of every aspect of the ground, whilst battling ever-changing demands from the club and working to retain the atmosphere of the old stadium, what’s been achieved by the audio team is quite remarkable. Of course, there’s plenty in this issue that’s not Tottenham-themed. We hear from some of the key players in spatial sound, have an extensive review of Prolight+Sound 2019, an exclusive interview with L-Acoustics founder Christian Heil on the company’s acquisition of DeltaLive UK and all manner of news, views and opinions from across the industry. Right, I’m off for a lie down. n
Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Richard Huntingford Chief financial officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244
the dialogue noise suppressor that anyone can use CINEMA AUDIO SOCIETY
location studio live
In this issue... People P8
P6 STRATEGIC POSITION PHIL WARD DELVES INTO MEYER SOUND’S IMMERSIVE INNOVATIONS
Movers and shakers A round up of the biggest new appointments from across the pro audio market
P13 Prolight+Sound 2019 review We hear from some of this year’s key exhibitors to find out what they made of the 2019 show P22 Tony Andrews and John Newsham The Funktion-One audio pioneers discuss their background in spatial sound and discuss its future potential
Report P18 Royal Albert Hall A close-up look at the newly installed d&b audiotechnik sound system - the larget single room sound system in the world P28 Shure thing Shure tells PSNEurope about its plans to take on the theatre and broadcast markets with its new TwinPlex mic range P33 Sound of the silver screen An in-depth look at the latest trends in immersive cinema sound
P10 CHRISTIAN HEIL THE L-ACOUSTICS FOUNDER TALKS THE FIRM’S DELTALIVE UK DEAL
Interviews P42 Bear’s Den The folk rock duo discuss the production process behind their brand new album P46 Hannah V Acclaimed producer and former session musician for the stars Hannah V reflects on her production processes P50 Wild at heart Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones discusses his role as co-producer on the band’s eighth studio album
P26 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR A CLOSE LOOK AT THE AUDIO SPEC OF SPURS’S NEW HOME STADIUM
P00 P6 MAY MONTH 2019
ith a pedigree of some 25 years, Spacemap is hardly a new technology. Its spatial audio processing has been featured in various productions across the Vegas, West End and Broadway diaspora, as well as in theme parks and many other attractions that love to take you for a ride, but until now its unique properties have not yet been exploited in live sound for concert and touring. This year’s Prolight + Sound show promised to change all that, with regular demonstrations – in a brand new wing of the Frankfurt Messe – of the prototype of a new version of Spacemap called, appropriately enough, Spacemap LIVE. This heritage is something of a USP for Meyer Sound, which can confidently point to real-world experience of immersive audio that stretches further back than any other company now engaged in it. Overall, though, the market should welcome this expansion of activity into live sound, which needs a few more shots in the arm in order to catch up with multimedia production, just as the digital console and the IEM markets needed more players out there in the field to get the crowds on their feet back in the day. This is the final frontier, after all. Flow rider As designers of IEM, line arrays and digital mixing consoles have all witnessed over the last 20 years, the live sound workflow is a place where angels fear to tread. Until you have won over the hearts and minds of committed and exacting sound engineers in systems, monitoring and FOH, you have nothing. You can only win at this game if you can smoothly integrate your innovation within touring systems almost without their users noticing. In common with the other spatial systems addressing this market today, Spacemap LIVE does this consummately. It had to. Meyer Sound’s strategic position was made very clear by recent activity in this sector, especially given that the default, anecdotal and entirely unofficial trinity of market leaders in loudspeakers for touring still includes the brand from Berkeley. The other two will have to be left to the imagination, but put it this way: now there are three offering a bespoke spatial processing package in order to keep them somewhere near that pole position. Meyer’s Prolight demo featured Nina, not a new Meyer box but a female vocalist from Amsterdam; Pro Tools backing tracks; and a “mainstream” Avid console: simplicity itself. Up to 32 outputs from this or any other suitable desk are fed to a single Meyer Sound Galaxy 816 Audio Processor where all the spatial magic happens, and this is important. Instead of having to build a new box into which to put these tricks, Meyer has utilised an established platform with thousands of users worldwide – something of an immersive Trojan horse – with the details of the Spacemap LIVE upgrade yet to be finalised. The one break with normal workflow, at least for
PSNEurope’s Phil Ward witnesses the new generation of Meyer Sound’s im introduction of a new version of Spacemap for live music installations, Spac Meyer's director of spatial sound, Steve Ellison, and of digital product experi
IN THEATRE THE MUSIC IS THERE IN SUPPORT OF THE ACTION. BUT NOW THE FOCUS IS ON MUSIC 100 PER CENT STEVE ELLISON
the demo, was the use of three iPads for the GUI. New software is to be released that creates a ‘spatial mix position’, and the use of these iPads divided the interface into various visible pages from macro to micro mixing throughout the Galaxy matrix. Of particular note is Spacemap LIVE’s ability to mix reverberation returns spatially for relatively static mixes, in a way far more natural than the conventional pinning of a reverb tail on the signal donkey and, with the likelihood that very limited motion will suit most concert music applications of immersive audio, this is crucial. Equally important is Spacemap LIVE’s complete integration into existing show files and content, including groups or stems, with no need to rebuild the rest of the mix around it. “Spacemap was developed for music originally,” confirms Meyer Sound's director for Spatial Sound, Steve Ellison, who wrote the algorithm, “but it was then adopted by and adapted for live theatre and Cirque du Soleil-style spectaculars. "Last year, we had the opportunity to sponsor Moogfest, the art and technology festival in North Carolina, and used it to create an immersive system for
P7 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
channel frontal image; along the sides and rear of the room were a number of LINA ultra-compact line array modules; with a pair of 750-LFC compact subs in the rear corners and an extra pair of USW-210P subs at the back. A ring of UP-4slims and an MM-10 miniature sub provided central coverage above a small B-stage, and came into their own as the means of localising Nina as she slinked towards the centre of the room. There is no fixed loudspeaker configuration for immersive audio, but Meyer does emphasise the need for consistency across the range. Naturally, this suggests a proprietary solution every time but, beyond this, careful consideration must be given to the dimension and performance relationships between each enclosure as the images pass between them: the more dynamic the mix, the more solid the bedrock required. Without one single formula, such as 5.1, immersive live
mmersive sound tools with the cemap LIVE. He catches up with ience, Tim Boot, to find out more...
a room of about 800 people – with 10 artists over three nights. So, it was for people who wanted to use their ‘art’ brain rather than their ‘AutoCAD’ brain, meaning quick ways of accessing spatial mixes and then being able to dig into more detail, and that was the impetus for Spacemap LIVE.” The Moogfest example is apposite. Just as hi-tech MI has developed intuitive ways of accessing music technology for rewarding expression, so too Spacemap LIVE attempts to reveal the technical reach of spatial mixing in a creative way. “We’ve been able to exploit advances in multi-touch technology,” confirms Ellison, “especially the iPad Pro. Three of them provide access to a great many channels, although you can of course make good use of only one or two.” Future GUI integration into plugin territory within a console is purely theoretical and, as Meyer Sound’s director of digital product experience Tim Boot points out, the processing is outboard. “It’s downstream from the console,” he says, “and that’s where all the power happens. The GUI is part of the evolution, and the iPad implementation is just an
sound needs a strong bond between the entirely flexible processor and its multifarious outlets. Above all, Spacemap LIVE will contribute to the greater efficacy and creativity of FOH mixing afforded by immersive audio. “It’s a lot easier to mix multiple channels with this system than in stereo,” confirms Ellison. “The individual elements no longer compete with each other, and many of the traditional problems are solved.” “You don’t have to EQ the hell out of something to make it fit with something else,” adds Boot, “and when it comes to reverb, things are a lot more natural because it can be separated from the source much more flexibly.” L to R: Tim Boot and Steve Ellison
example. But there is a roadmap.” Join the Cue Spacemap is a core processing element of D-Mitri, Meyer Sound’s large-scale digital audio platform programmed by CueStation software. It should come as no surprise that custom iOS apps have already been made for this combination on previous largescale shows in Las Vegas, third-party control being one of D-Mitri’s calling cards. These have pointed the way for new spatial mixing workflows, beyond cue trajectories, and further iterations of this FOH-meetsspatial engineering paradigm are being perfected at this month’s Moogfest in Durham, NC. Elsewhere, traditional models of FOH engineering are expected to incorporate Spacemap LIVE as it suits the individual production. The loudspeaker configuration for the demo was, of course, optimised for the room: three of the newly launched Meyer Sound ULTRA-X40 compact speakers covered the ‘proscenium arch’ with one UPQ-D1 wide coverage enclosure in each corner to create a five-
Math production Ellison’s original algorithm has not been reinvented, but it has been streamlined to take account of the subtleties of live music performance. “The underlying math is the same,” he says. “But the approach to using it is a little different. This is designed to take advantage of the ability to blend between space maps, and to do that we need to standardise on the size and the shape. Traditionally, if you’re working on a desktop computer, the scenes and shapes may differ from one to the next as you use one or the other. Spacemap LIVE is more like a gel in lighting: the transitions between spatial settings are much smoother, and you can customise them. The balance of focused to diffuse is entirely flexible, and what’s really new is how fast and intuitive it is to use in relation to the dynamics of live music.” It’s a genuinely American algorithm too, with some British roots, courtesy of Ellison’s early association with sound designer Jonathan Deans and the work Deans did to bring Spacemap to Cirque du Soleil. “In theatre the music is there in support of the action,” Ellison says, reflecting on some of the limitations set for the programme’s first implementations. “But now the focus is on the music 100 per cent.” n
P8 MAY 2019
Movers and shakers Stay in the loop with the latest job appointments and movements in the professional audio industry...
EM Acoustics hires sound designer Greg Clarke EM Acoustics has appointed award-winning theatre sound designer, Greg Clarke, to its team. Clarke will be responsible for system design and client liaison on behalf of EM Acoustics, as he simultaneously continues his career as a sound designer. Clarke regularly designs Broadway and West End shows, as well as working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and many others. Of the connection between his new role and his career as a sound designer, Clarke explained: “The two roles will be separate but symbiotic. I’m uniquely placed to bring perspective on current trends and practice “home” to EM, and to offer constructive input on design and
application to our diverse and fascinating client base.” When asked how he got to this point, Clarke said: “My early career as a production sound engineer developed in me an early appreciation of the critical importance of loudspeaker placement, timing, and focus in delivering coherent audio to an audience. This path also exposed me to a huge range of loudspeaker equipment, and gave me a very strong feel for the inherent characteristics and styles of manufacturers. Once designing musicals and plays of my own, the search for kit that actively excited me led to EM. I found their approach to loudspeaker design refreshing and honest, and this showed in the transparency and veracity of the kit.”
2B Heard selects Mark Morley
Andy Simmons joins Nexo UK
Lawo appoints Patrick
to advance business
Warrington senior director for
development Mark Morley has joined UK pro audio distributor 2B Heard in a business development capacity. In his new role, Morley will be responsible for driving the company’s expansion into new markets. The company’s high-end brand roster includes SSL, Astro Spatial Audio, K-Array, and Innosonix. Morley brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked in virtually every field of the entertainment industry from FOH to TV studios. Morley commented: " What I’ll be concentrating on is getting these unique loudspeakers in front of potential clients, and in that way the contradiction of aural and visual perception is dispelled. Joining a dynamic distributor like 2B Heard is an incredible opportunity. As a well-established, industryleading brand, it's easy to admire what the company has accomplished and I'm excited to be part of its future."
ONCE DESIGNING MUSICALS AND PLAYS OF MY OWN, THE SEARCH FOR KIT THAT ACTIVELY EXCITED ME LED ME TO EM ACOUSTICS GREG CLARKE
technical business development Andy Simmons has joined Nexo's UK sales team after nearly five years with Orbital Sound, where he served as director of sales. With more than 25 years of experience working in pro audio, Simmons has worked for ‘household’ names like Crest Audio, XTA and KV2. Starting out in an audio rental company, he has since held key roles in distribution, domestic and international sales. In his new role he will work closely with Nexo UK sales manager Gareth Collyer. “Nexo is a powerful brand,” said Simmons, “and I’m looking forward to getting out there, spreading the word and raising the profile of this truly distinctive manufacturer, which has created so many benchmark products over the last 30 years. Gareth has done a great job in the UK, my mission now is to broaden NEXO’s appeal across the wider British market.”
Patrick Warrington has joined Lawo as senior director for technical business development. In this role, he will support clients in their migration to IP-based systems and infrastructure, as well as working with the Lawo Advisory Board to steer the company’s strategies and technology during a transitional period. Warrington holds an honours degree in Physics and Computing from Warwick University. He began his career in professional audio in 1986 with AMS Industries, serving the industry in various roles before becoming R&D manager and the technical director for mixing console manufacturer, Calrec Audio, over the course of 20 years. Warrington commented: “It’s rare to find an organisation that combines the engineering talent, passion and focus that Lawo does, and I am really looking forward to being part of the team."
P00 P10 MAY MONTH 2019
Left to right: Paul Keating and Christian Heil
xxxxxx n wwwww
The French connection On April 11, L-Acoustics announced the acquisition of AV services and rental firm DeltaLive UK. Here, company founder and president Christian Heil tells Daniel Gumble what the deal means for the company in a PSNEurope exclusiveâ€Ś
P11 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
-Acoustics founder and president Christian Heil has described the loudspeaker giant’s recent acquisition of audiovisual services and rental company DeltaLive UK as “an exciting opportunity that presents us with the opportunity to explore completely new market segments”, in an exclusive interview with PSNEurope. Last month, the French company confirmed that it had acquired a majority stake in DeltaLive UK (Delta Sound Incorporated (UK) Ltd.) in a deal designed to take the L-Acoustics brand's immersive audio technology L-ISA into new, previously unexplored markets. DeltaLive UK has been a long-standing customer of L-Acoustics as a member of the L-Acoustics Certified Provider Network. The partnership between the two companies had recently been bolstered by DeltaLive UK’s deployment of L-ISA in a number of high-profile events, such as the award-winning production of the BBC Proms 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall. According to Heil, the decision to acquire DeltaLive UK came about after careful consideration of how the two companies could work together to the mutual benefit of both parties, with L-Acoustics keen to broaden its presence in a multitude of new fields. “It’s quite unusual for a manufacturer to invest in one of its customers,” he told PSNEurope. "There is a risk associated with this type of move; we weren't considering it as an option for a while, as it was not our plan to acquire a rental company. However, we saw an opportunity. L-ISA has two different branches, one of those is professional, and it is demonstrating success in the market of live audio at different events running all over the planet. "We want to develop another sector that is completely different, a kind of private sector covering luxury sound, art, therapy, and architecture. This new market is very difficult to detect but it is quite present. There are a lot of people who seem to have been trusted to put sound, lighting and visuals into many different areas – exhibitions, architectural presentations, galleries, medical treatments, etc. – so these contacts we’re trying to develop are quite new to us, and for the past few years we didn’t make any progress. "Whenever we would meet these people they would be interested in a full package solution and we were not able to deliver that. This is what pushed us to consider acquiring the majority shares of DeltaLive UK. In recent years, I have been working with [DeltaLive UK founders] Paul Keating and Mark Bonner on various projects, and when I became aware that they were considering selling the company it started to intrigue me. This is a new path I was happy to explore with L-Acoustics.” Heil was keen to point out that DeltaLive UK will continue to operate independently with no change to its services or staff. “It will be business as usual,” Heil stated. “That means L-Acoustics will not be involved in the management
or interfering with DeltaLive UK’s relationships with customers. I don’t want to go down that route. We will not interfere with any DeltaLive UK business. What I’m interested in is opening new paths in different sectors that present some kind of interest in us, and that it will also bring some new business to DeltaLive UK.” For Heil, the acquisition will also be pivotal in introducing new customers to the company’s innovative audio solutions. “My big concern, when you are an innovative company like L-Acoustics, is that it is always very hard to convince users to adopt new technologies,” he elaborated. “L-ISA is a new technology and it is challenging for us as well as for our customers. In order to solve these challenges we have to increase awareness of our brand to decision makers, including artists, production professionals and many other people who are making decisions from the early stages. From the professional side, this has been achieved and we are happy with the results. But in other domains, if I talk to someone at Google or Amazon or people from museums and galleries, they have no idea who L-Acoustics are. So, that makes it difficult to bring them a new technology which has no name recognition for them. He continued: “I’m hoping that using our connection with DeltaLive UK, we will be able to raise awareness of the brand to these kinds of people. There are a lot of fields that need sound but are not aware of it at all. If you talk to an architect, for example, this is someone who is providing design and is bringing more and more lighting into their design. While an architect’s design now includes lighting, it doesn’t yet include sound. We want to bring awareness to these people so that sound becomes an important factor and not one that is disregarded or not considered.” The deal was also hailed by Hervé Guillaume, CEO of L-Acoustics Group, who commented: “Welcoming DeltaLive UK into the L-Acoustics Group of companies
BBC Proms 2018 - photo by James Cumpsty
was a natural next step in our already productive relationship, but DeltaLive UK’s positioning within the group, and in relation to L-Acoustics Network of Certified Providers, is totally unambiguous. DeltaLive UK will continue to operate independently under the joint management of Mark Bonner and Paul Keating. “The medium-term strategy is for DeltaLive UK to venture into markets that have hitherto remained unexplored by L-Acoustics, with the commissioning of private and professional multichannel auditoria such as Island or Ocean, featuring best-in-class L-ISA technology under the banner of ‘L-Acoustics Creations’.” Meanwhile, Keating noted the opportunities the deal has to offer for DeltaLive UK: “Delta has always had a strong professional and friendly relationship with L-Acoustics,” he said. “Excuse the pun, but very much the French connection. This year is our thirtieth year and we felt it was time to move the business forward for the future. Nothing will change in terms of the day-to-day management of the company, and the excellent team at DeltaLive UK will continue to exceed." He added: “L-Acoustics is a great fit. With the company’s leading technology and reputation for the highest quality audio products and performance, we are excited by our next phase of development. In particular, the revolutionary L-ISA technology will strengthen our specialist audio services to clients. At a personal level, I am really looking forward to the challenge ahead and working closely with L-Acoustics, growing their private, lifestyle and sound art sector. These are exciting times.” “The collaboration with DeltaLive UK will help L-Acoustics better understand the needs of the markets,” Heil concluded. “It’s a branch that is helping us understand what is useful or not to a user, and I see that as a benefit for all of our industry. Instead of blindly designing products secretly, we are more open to discuss what the next generation of product could be and what the challenges will be as well.” n Es
P13 MAY 2019
EXHIBITION SPACE Phil Ward gauges the shopfloor reaction to Prolight+Sound 2019 in Frankfurtâ€¦
P14 MAY 2019
hen the aisles get wider, you know. When the lounge areas increase, the massage stops multiply and the opportunities just to stand around and natter start to get more and more abundant… then it’s time to ask a few questions. Not that the concentration of pro audio in one hall lacked appreciation: the focus was strong; the traffic was dedicated; the shoe leather spared. It was more a case of it not being the same hall as last year – Hall 8.0 rather than Hall 3.1 – and divided again by some distance from lighting (Hall 12), just when some of the dust was beginning to settle. It makes you wonder if the new additions of Hall 12 and the ‘Portalhaus’ demonstration area simply demand more shuffling of the cards for the sake of it, and whether the very expansion of Frankfurt’s already huge Messe site is the right backdrop for an industry on the fidget. Less is Moore’s law The absence of large, domineering corporations from a trade show is usually good news for start-ups, small-tomedium operations and anyone used to flying under the radar and finding themselves suddenly clearly visible on the scanner. Here was no exception: without Harman, apart from Martin Professional lighting, without MUSiC, Sennheiser, Shure, the LOUD Technologies of old… many were the mice that played with everything from microphone to speaker while the cats were away. Yamaha and Peavey flew the flag for multiple-application catalogues, without bullying the room, and in truth seemed liberated from their MI roots. The absence of guitars and amps from these brands gave the lie to the planned synergy between PL+S and Musikmesse. With such a condensed MI showcase, it’s hard to see the advantages of any such symbiosis. Therefore, identifying the added value of PL+S kept coming down to the individual experience of each booth. At Digico, marketing manager Maria Fiorellino explained the company’s unexpected return to the fold. “When [managing director] James [Gordon] said we wouldn’t be back in 2019, it was realistic,” she said. “We’d had a really good ISE and we thought maybe that could be our main European show. But we do see different people here compared with ISE, and by the end of last year’s Prolight+Sound we’d had a really good four days. So, we sat down with the sales guys and reconsidered. Pockets of the hall were very busy, and people came from all over the world – they still are. We pushed to give it another go, and although James is still ‘on the fence’ he does trust in his team. As for next year, the jury’s still out. It was a very quiet load-in and setup this year, the surrounding areas are very quiet and here in Hall 8.0 parts of it are empty.” “The show has been through a number of structural changes over the last few years in terms of overlap with Musikmesse, target audiences and even reallocations of the halls of the show,” said Alex Lepges, Audio-Technica’s
marketing director, EMEA. “It seems to us that with each of these changes we left some exhibitors behind and as of today we are lacking both our main competitors and a number of clients at the show. In the next few weeks, we’ll be reviewing this last show and examining the balance between pro users versus retail customers, and at the same time, the ratio between German and international customers to have a better understanding how to present Audio-Technica within the given framework. Certainly, we wish for a more stable setup for this show to allow more accurate planning of our activities.” “Our booth has been appropriately busy,” pointed out Al McKinna, director of product management for Live Sound at Avid, “but then I have been contained on the booth so it’s a bit more difficult for me to tell whether the overall show is the same. Even here, where we’re slightly tucked away from the centre, it still feels that there’s a strong footfall. It’s difficult to get into the toilets, put it that way…” Davey Smalley, director at networked power expert Linea Research, confirmed the suitability of this show for business evolving its own brand.
WHAT REMAINS IS A MIXED RESUME: IMPORTANT CUSTOMERS AND PROFESSIONALS WITH AN INTEREST IN THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY ON ONE SIDE, BUT A LESS ATTRACTIVE ENVIRONMENT WITH LESS EXHIBITORS AND VISITORS WOLFGANG HUBER, LAWO
“We’ve moved from 100 per cent OEM to a more balanced portfolio,” said Smalley, “so all trade shows are successful for us, although it’s difficult to judge our experience against the overall trajectory of the show. Perhaps the value of trade shows has to be weighed against the amount of information we get from the internet these days.” Dave Haydon, director and co-owner of UK spatial audio pioneer OutBoard, was typically upbeat. “We’ve had the opportunity to do a successful product launch [Tracker D4], we’ve had good walk-up, as well as meetings with key distributors, and I’m contributing to the Immersive Technology Forum – which is Messe’s commitment to educating the market. We’re very pleased to able to participate in initiatives like this, because it’s more than just a product pitch. We always have a positive Frankfurt.” Lawo’s Wolfgang Huber described his experience this
year: “We were happy to be back in Hall 8.0, the traditional 'Audio Hall'. However, even though we were satisfied with the number of important visitors on our booth, the overall impression was that of rather sparsely populated aisles. Both Prolight + Sound and Musikmesse were obviously smaller, with less exhibitors on smaller booths and visitors in general, and Hall 8.0 had seen better days when the whole place was bursting with visitors.” He continued: “It seems that innovative technology alone no longer leads automatically to a run of enthusiasts to Prolight + Sound for the sake of opportunities to see as much as possible. So what remains is a mixed resume: important customers and professionals with an interest in the latest technology on one side, but a less attractive environment with less exhibitors and visitors. “For Lawo, it was coming home to the traditional Audio location. In previous years, the dwindling attractiveness of both shows with less value for money for exhibitors led to the withdrawal of a number of companies. Subsequently, the show experienced the swapping and the closing of halls, companies being moved to halls like 3.1 and 4.1, which caused unrest amongst some exhibitors who perceived their positions as unattractive, with booth building restrictions and a reduced flow of visitors. However, as IP technology has gained more and more momentum for the live, install and performing arts applications in the past years, our IP solutions always attracted a good audience. But the trend of decreasing visitor numbers continues – and this needs to be approached so that Prolight + Sound, in combination with Musikmesse, is not being reduced to a regional European trade show rather than the international industry platform it used to be.” Network vision Belgian-based Luminex Network Intelligence held interoperability demos on the booth that showcased its data distribution equipment for pro audio, lighting and video – and this is the glue that might just hold PL+S together. Luminex couldn’t be better positioned as the markets converge, and CEO Bart Swinnen stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Meyer Sound’s director of digital product experience Tim Boot as they extolled the virtues of connectivity. Swinnen, with a lighting background, had some very interesting observations about incorporating audio into the company’s portfolio. “Since we moved into audio and video,” he said, “and support for advanced clocking mechanisms, we’ve seen that they have much more sophisticated protocols than lighting. Timing is much more accurate, sample and refresh rates are much higher and so is bandwidth usage, so the impact of shaping it and running it at the right priority on the network is way more critical. And for AV, unlike broadcast, the video must remain compressed for the greatest efficiency.” Yorick Brunke, the son of Optocore founders Marc and
P15 MAY 2019 Left: John Newsham and Tony Andrews from Funktion-One
Left: Yorick Brunke of Optocore
Below: Alex Lepges of Audio-Technica
Above: The Avid booth
P17 MAY 2019
Prolight + Sound 2019 in full swing
Tine Brunke, emphasised how fibre-optic links continue to offer a superior infrastructure for AV networks. “We are protocol-independent,” he said, “because the conventional way of protocol transport is for the device to decode it, work with it and then, at the other end, put out either the same or a different protocol. The key is this decoding and manipulation. Optocore’s networks simply ‘tunnel’ the protocols without decoding – we don’t look at them or touch them. It’s transportation, and that’s it. We can even convert from one protocol to another without decoding it. With our Festival Box, that happens in conjunction with multiplexing so you can have unlimited channels on one fibre.” At Funktion-One, which launched Vero VX, a more compact spin-off to its flagship loudspeaker concept Vero and was in development for three years, manager Ann Andrews summed up the rather stoical mood. “It’s been a great show for Funktion-One, and a successful platform for Vero VX’s global launch. The reaction was extremely positive and we look forward to shipping Vero VX this summer. We had a new position on the show floor and a completely redesigned stand layout, so we went into the show with some uncertainty about how it would go, but the stand was almost always busy and the new design worked very well. We also participated in the Vintage Concert Audio showcase, which is a valuable element of the show – it was a pleasure to be involved in that.”
WHILE THERE IS AN AIR OF UNCERTAINTY AROUND THE FUTURE STRUCTURE OF THE SHOW, OUR PARTICIPATION HAS ALWAYS BEEN FRUITFUL AND WORTHWHILE ANN ANDREWS, FUNKTION-ONE
In terms of the show’s future, she said: “As far as we’re aware, it’s business as usual for next year’s show. We’ve got our eye on future developments and will, as we do every year, assess how this year’s show went before looking forward to 2020. While there is an air of uncertainty around the future structure of the show, our participation has always been fruitful and worthwhile.” VP of marketing at Meyer Sound, John McMahon was similarly upbeat: “This year’s show was exceptional for Meyer Sound. We hosted a series of very successful demos to showcase our new point source loudspeaker, ULTRA-X40, and a prototype of our new spatial sound mixing platform, and we could not have asked for a better turnout. The show provided the perfect environment for interfacing with key clients and customers, and Meyer Sound really values that face time.” He continued: “Last year we abstained from having a presence at the show, but this year we took a more integrated, larger approach, which made for an incredibly exciting experience and an equally exciting turnout. As a flagship tradeshow in our industry, attendance continues to grow year-over-year, and this was particularly evident to us this year, as every demo was full to capacity. "Next year we plan to leverage our success for an even better show in 2020. We imagine the volume of attendees will only go up, and we are excited for the next opportunity to get in front of this audience.” n
P00 P18 MAY MONTH 2019
xxxxxx n wwwww
Piercing the veil The Royal Albert Hall’s new 465-speaker d&b audiotechnik system, happening to be the biggest single-room audio installation in the world, finally delivers sound fit for a prince, discovers Jon Chapple…
here’s an old joke about the Royal Albert Hall, the venerable Victorian venue on the southern edge of London’s Hyde Park, that says it’s “the only place where a British composer could be sure of hearing his work twice”. In fact, the hall’s infamous echo – a consquence of its original glass roof – has been almost eradicated in the 148 years since it opened: first, by cladding the glass dome in fluted aluminium panels, and later with its famous disc-shaped fibreglass acoustic diffusers, known affectionately as the 'mushrooms', which were installed in 1969. But jokes are not so easily extinguished, and when PSNEurope visits the hall in early April for the launch of its new £2 million d&b audiotechnik house system (the largest audio upgrade since the mushrooms), it isn’t long before the echo makes a reappearance. “In the old days, they used to say you’d get value for money because you heard every concert twice,” says Royal Albert Hall (RAH) chief executive Craig Hassall, who gives a short welcome address before a demonstration of the d&b system. “The new system
IN THE OLD DAYS, THEY USED TO SAY YOU'D GET VALUE FOR MONEY BECAUSE YOU HEARD EVERY CONCERT TWICE. THE NEW SYSTEM COMPLETELY ELIMINATES THE ECHO CRAIG HASSALL
completely eliminates the echo.” Eliminates the echo it definitely does – and much more besides. Comprising 465 permanently installed loudspeakers (see box out) – the world’s largest singleroom speaker install – the new set-up is nothing short of a revelation, with the main flown system augmented by circle, gallery and box speakers that ensure equal sound quality throughout the acoustically challenging 5,544-seat venue. Hassall describes the d&b V-Series system, which is paired with Digico SD10 and SD7 mixing desks, as “democratising” the RAH’s sound by providing “access for all”, from the stalls right up to the upper gallery. According to Hassall, the hall is the “world’s busiest venue” by number of events (a staggering 401 shows took place in its main auditorium last year, and more than 1,000 events in its secondary space, the Elgar Room), and, remarkably, AV partner SFL Group was able to carry out the install without closing the venue, by working overnight over the course of six months. d&b audiotechnik’s Steve Jones praises the RAH team, as well as English Heritage, for giving d&b,
P19 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
The new main array, circle, gallery, and box speakers
SFL and acoustic consultant Sandy Brown – who created a 3D model of the hall that can also be used for further upgrades – the freedom to implement their “uncompromising” design, which involved drilling directly into the ceiling of the grade I-listed building. “I’ve never worked on a project like it,” he comments. “Usually the first thing people say is, ‘I don’t want to see the speakers’, but we were allowed to design and put in a system where it has the most impact.” Jones reckons the improvement is most noticeable in the circle, which sits above the boxes and below the gallery, describing how “the touring guys used to have to fire the audio from a distance, and you’d get this really mushy sound. It needed the most work, so it puts the biggest smile on my face [to hear the difference].” In the venue’s 144 boxes, meanwhile, the front and rear speakers add reverb, so guests don’t feel like they’re sat in a “padded room”. Audio engineers have a choice of seven reverb levels, which can be tweaked to replicate different concert halls, such as the Großer Saal in Vienna. With the RAH install, the sound team, Jones recalls,
KIT LIST: AMPS & DESKS Amplifiers d&b 10D d&b D20 d&b 30D d&b D80 Mixing consoles FOH Digico SD7 Quantum (with Waves DMI card) Digico SD10 (with Waves upgrade kit) Monitor Digico SD10 (with Waves upgrade kit)
paid particular attention to getting speech right. “With a concert, the audiences know the music, so they know roughly what’s coming,” he explains. “But with spoken word you don’t know what’s going to be said next, so there has to be consistent sound for everyone.” (Hassall, an Australian, was effusive in his praise for the system’s skill in handling speech, joking that he “understood everything” when Clydebank-born comedian Kevin Bridges, who has a strong Scottish accent, gave a performance at the hall as part of the recent Teenage Cancer Trust shows.) Speaking to PSNEurope after the launch, Jones asserts venues like the RAH aren’t alone in their pursuit of quality sound: According to him, d&b is increasingly dealing with artists directly, in addition to its usual noiseboy clientele. “The creatives' connection to us as a manufacturer is getting closer and closer,” he states. “I’m now employing people in my technical support team for their creative element – people who can go and work alongside creatives instead of just the sound engineers. The
P21 MAY 2019
Sandy Brown created a 3D acoustic model of the hall
KIT LIST: SPEAKERS Main system Mains (left/centre/right) 27 d&b V8 (3 x 9) and 9 d&b V12 (3 x 3) Outfills (left/right) 16 d&b V8 (2 x 8) Circle delays 42 d&b Y8 (7 x 6) Gallery system 23 d&b T10 Choir stalls (left/right) 8 d&b Y8 (2 x 4) Subs Flown subs 4 d&b SL-Sub Floor subs 2 d&b SL-Sub Fills Frontfills d&b 16C column loudspeaker, rigged horizontally d&b Y10P Floor sidefills d&b 24C column loudspeaker d&b Y10P Choir frontfills d&b 16C column loudspeaker
TECHNOLOGY IS NOW AVAILABLE IN SOUND SYSTEMS THAT ALLOWS THE CREATIVES TO NOT JUST PLAY SOUND TO THE AUDIENCE, BUT TO IMMERSE THEM IN SOMETHING MUCH MORE CREATIVE AND TOUCHY-FEELY STEVE JONES landscape is changing. “Technology is now available in sound systems that allows the creatives to not just play sound at the audience, but to immerse the audience in something much more creative and touchy-feely, if you like,” he continued. “We’re doing immersive sound, 360° sound, and object-based mixing technology, all really affecting the art that is being transferred to the audience creatively. Therefore, it’s natural that the creator of that art wants to delve in and make the choices.” Although d&b doesn’t seek artist endorsements, Jones continues, the likes of Kraftwerk and Imogen Heap are unofficial ambassadors for its Soundscape system, having used the immersive sound platform for recent tours. Festival clients, meanwhile, include UK event World of Music, Arts and Dance (Womad), where the company created a 900sqm (10,000sqft) marquee stage/arena, the d&b Soundscape Stage in 2018. How does working directly with artists and events, PSNEurope wonders, differ from the traditional audio company–sound engineer relationship? “It’s a completely different language,” says Jones. “Rock’n’roll sound engineers are the most abrupt, in-your-face [people]: black T-shirt, ripped jeans, been drinking till late
the night before… “The creative world is a lot more flexible, with different terminology to describe a lot of the same stuff: you need a different vocabulary, a different view of the process of what we’re trying to do over what time period and in what way… It’s quite a different mindset. It’s a challenge to get into, but you just need the right people.” Take-up by artists and concert promoters of the Albert Hall’s new d&b system has been “extraordinarily high”, confirms Hassell: around 96 per cent since it was completed last September. Hassall says he’s confident RAH hired the right people for its install, with the “groundbreaking” V-Series-based system laying its technological foundation. "This building will be here long after we're gone, so our job was to make sure we've futureproofed the next 150 years of sound delivery." Jones reminds us that d&b’s ethos, both for the RAH and its other clients, is to deliver “democracy for listeners”. However, even with the new audio setup, audiences are to an extent “still at the mercy of the band and the engineers. If the artist is having a great night, and they’re playing a great show, with this system you can be confident you’ll be part of it.” n
P00 P22 MAY MONTH 2019
xxxxxx n wwwww
Left to right: FunktionOne co-founders Tony Andrews and John Newsham
ADVENTURES IN SOUND Funktion-One founders Tony Andrews and John Newsham have been experimenting with surround sound and immersive audio since the 1970s. In that time, they’ve made important discoveries when deploying these types of setups, particularly in large-scale environments. Here, in their own words, they share some of their experiences with us…
P23 MAY 2019
lthough common wisdom holds sight as our primary sense, vision only perceives information from less than half a sphere through a relatively narrow electromagnetic window. It can also be ‘switched off’ by closing or covering the eyes, or by darkness. Sound, however, is sensed full sphere and with a much greater number of octaves. Perceived light has one octave, whereas sound is perceived across 10 octaves. Hearing can never be completely avoided, even the strongest earplugs only muffle, plus sound is also received by the body, not just the ears. As such, it is the major contributor to our sense of where we are in space and the nature of that space, in a much more complete and accurate manner than light. Sound conveys a constant stream of information about events located anywhere in our audio sphere to which the brain devotes considerable resources to achieve sound localisation. The brain would not use this much energy unless sound localisation was of major importance and is therefore intrinsic to human survival. We propose that at an early stage in human evolution, a moving event would be prioritised because of its indication of immediate danger, such as the possibility of being eaten, or alternatively the presence of possible lunch, and is consequently more stimulating to the emotions than stationary sound. Stimulation of the emotions implies that moving sound has high entertainment value, which was recognised as far back as the late 1930s and implemented by Walt Disney and Leopold Stokowski in their collaboration to produce a surround sound system for Fantasia. During the late-1960s, it was realised that there was commercial value in bringing surround sound to the living room. No doubt, the expansive mood of the times was part of the driving force. Stereo was being used to its maximum effect on albums such as The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper and Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. The stereo panning on Electric Ladyland’s 'Voodoo Chile' is astounding and made a permanent impression on our young minds. By 1971, a number of systems were on the market, the most prominent being CBS’s SQ, Sansui’s QS and JVC’s CD4. Most of them were matrixed quad with left and right rear channels derived from extra information within the standard stereo grooves of vinyl records. JVC’s CD4 system was different in the fact that it employed a high frequency component around 35kHz to carry the rear channel information, requiring a special stylus as well as a decoder. Opinion has it that the Sansui QS system with its Vario Matrix decoder gave the best results at the time. All of these systems were still restricted to four loudspeaker positions with a front and rear orientation and derived right and left rear channels, although they did allow play on standard stereo setups. The ambisonic
OUR FIRST FORAY INTO SURROUND SOUND WAS WITH JONNY ROTTEN'S PUBLIC IMAGE BACK IN THE 1970S, EMPLOYING THE EMINENTLY SIMPLE APPROACH OF USING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TWO NORMAL STEREO CHANNELS TO DERIVE A THIRD REAR CHANNEL AS PER HAFFLER ANDREWS & NEWSHAM
system – developed by Michael Gerzon, John Hayes, John Wright, David Brown and Professor Felgett of Reading University – was, to our knowledge, the first serious development towards a system capable of regenerating a full audio sphere with a multiplicity of powerful loudspeakers. Our first foray into surround sound was with Jonny Rotten’s Public Image back in the 1970s, employing the eminently simple approach of using the difference between the two normal stereo channels to derive a third rear channel as per Haffler. It was reasonably effective and drew the apparent sound away from the stage and into the audience. Signals panned hard to either side would be more present in the rear channel. We also built an eight-channel Haffler system for Steve Hillage's Rainbow Dome Musick at the first Festival of Mind, Body and Spirit in 1979. After discovering ambisonics in the late 1970s, we acquired a Minim decoder with which we attempted enhanced stereo. We knew that as ambisonics relied on subtle phase information, it was important that the loudspeakers were as accurate as possible in terms of time coherence and fidelity. To avoid upsetting the bands with delayed percussive information we avoided aiming any of the loudspeakers directly at the stage. In the early ‘80s, we used the Minim decoder to carry out our first ever large-scale experiments with the enhanced stereo at the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage after we finished building it in 1981. The first Experimental Soundfield was at Glastonbury in 1992 and used Pink Floyd's quad mixer for panning between four stacks. The four-point setup featured a central FOH position in the middle, which doubled-up as a performance space. By putting the control position in the middle of the sound field, we not only halved the distance to the loudspeaker positions, it also put those involved – musicians (Underworld), DJs (Danny G and
Darren Emerson) and engineers (us) – in the same sound field as the audience and in close proximity to each other, removing the separation of the stage with its dedicated monitoring system. Live input could be monitored on headphones to overcome the delay issues. It was an unforgettable experience for all concerned. The Experimental Soundfield attracted a lot of attention and opened the door to more adventures in sound. Soon afterwards, we sketched some ideas for building an automated panner using voltage controlled amplifiers (VCA), which led to the original analogue Azi Controller being developed by Chris Blythe and Bill Croston of Audio Dimensions, with input from Ben Duncan particularly on the VCAs. In 1993, we used the newly built auto-panner with Underworld, Danny G and Roy Roach for an ambisonics stage at the Anti-Racism Alliance’s ARAfest in London. Despite some hardware and software teething problems, the audience reaction was astounding, and we were encouraged to continue the evolution. From this event we realised that we should leave the centre of the dancefloor for the people and move the FOH position to a halfway point between the perimeter and the centre. We also learned that four stacks of loudspeakers placed equally on a 30m diameter circle was too large a spacing. Despite using ambisonics, a person located close to an individual loudspeaker would get the impression that the loudspeaker was turning on and off when the entire programme material was rotated. We decided that in future we should use six positions and, anyway, it was more cosmic that way. We took our six-point ambisonics to Brixton Fridge (now Electric Brixton) on a couple of occasions for Escape From Samsara and then back to Glastonbury for the festival’s first ever dance tent in 1997. We deployed a 12-point ambisonic system at the Millennium Dome in 1999.
P25 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
Funktion-One at Glastonbury 2017
We went on to meet Dr Peter Lennox and Bruce Wiggins of Derby University in the mid-2000s through a shared interest in ambisonics. We’ll always remember Peter telling us that in audio you can trade level for precedence. Anyhow, with the advent of decent affordable DSP and Peter and Bruce's help, a digital system for ambisonic panning was developed using a laptop computer, a multichannel soundcard and the VST ambisonic plugins designed by Wiggins. This was used from 2006 onwards, firstly with Sancho Panza and then the Origin Stage at the Glade Festival in Aldermaston before we returned to Glastonbury with the Experimental Soundfield in 2009 onwards. In 2016 we merged with The Glade and deployed our latest loudspeaker innovations in a six-point system. It comprised main left and right stacks of Evo 7s and Evo 7T-215, four surround positions of Evo 6SHs and BR221s to create a 38m diameter hexagonal configuration, and our asymmetric bass setup featuring F221s and F132s. By then we were fully digital – with Dante and amps with crossovers built in – meaning we could run a network cable and control everything on a laptop. It worked very well. In fact, by 2017 we felt we’d got it as technically good as we could possibly make it, but any large-scale surround sound or immersive audio environment is challenging – mainly because the speed of sound (343m/s) is so slow compared to the speed of our perception.
WE'RE FINDING THAT THE LOUDSPEAKER TECHNOLOGIES WE'VE DEVELOPED IN RECENT YEARS ARE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TRULY IMMERSIVE STEREO IMAGE FROM JUST TWO SPEAKER POSITIONS. THIS IS ACHIEVED THROUGH DESIGN, ENGINEERING AND GEOMETRY RATHER THAN DIGITAL MANIPULATION ANDREWS & NEWSHAM
Once a surround sound environment is larger than 10m in diameter, it presents challenges in terms of delays and arrival times. It’s possible to manage those challenges up to around 30m but beyond that the whole thing begins to unravel. To avoid the annoyance of a sound at the perimeter that is doubling, we aim the speakers so that the focus of their directivity is around two thirds of the distance – point to point – of the hexagon. Effects and nonpercussive elements are less reliant on timing, so it’s possible to introduce movement, even in an environment that isn’t coherent and immersive in the purest sense. That said, it is the dimension of the enveloping sound that we’re most interested in. Once you get beyond the workable size of surround sound setups, we’re finding that the loudspeaker technologies we’ve developed in recent years are capable of producing a truly immersive stereo image from just two speaker positions, without the constraints that we've encountered with surround sound during this rather long journey. This is achieved through design, engineering and geometry rather than digital manipulation. Large-scale shows we’ve done with Vero have been particularly rewarding in this respect. Our experiments and adventures in surround sound and immersive audio are set to continue. This work is such an exciting and stimulating experience when it is done well. n
'Home advantage': The new home of THFC
P00 P26 MAY MONTH 2019
Home is where the Hart is xxxxxx
On April 3, the new home of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur officially opened for business, after an extended development period of nearly two years. PSNEurope editor and lifelong Spurs fan Daniel Gumble drew the long straw and was given a tour of the venue to check out its vast and complex audio specification 24 hours before its grand opening…
he new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium looms over Tottenham high road like something that’s arrived from outer space. Its metallic grey and glass exterior is punctured with hundreds of fine slithers of purple light, illuminating the surrounding streets and prompting the masses outside to stop for selfies in its glow. The roar of the 59,000-strong crowd eagerly awaiting the first official match at the team’s new home is ear-splittingly loud. The (very) few who aren’t in full voice as the home side prepares to take on visiting London rivals Crystal Palace appear awestruck by the occasion, such is the sense of anticipation gripping all in attendance. The date, April 3, 2019, will indeed go down as one of the most significant in the club’s history; its new stateof-the-art home sending a clear statement of intent to the rest of the footballing world. As many football fans will be aware, it’s a night that’s been a very long time coming. And for those fortunate enough to have secured a ticket, it’s one they’ll never forget. When construction work started on the club’s new home back in the summer of 2017, a temporary stay at London’s Wembley Stadium was mooted to last until approximately September 2018. A series of technical issues and problems arising from the new stadium’s critical safety system, however, triggered numerous setbacks, resulting in a far longer than expected spell away from the Tottenham faithful’s home territory (a subject that the club and virtually all involved have been reluctant to elaborate on, although a Harman
Professional Audio Solutions spokesperson did confirm to PSNEurope in January that the delay “was not connected to the audio installation”.) Rumours had circulated that the new stadium’s grand opening was to be pushed back until the 2019/20 season, causing unease and uncertainty around the club and adding further still to the desire of everyone associated with it to get into their new home. As the final whistle blew on the opening fixture – a 2-0 victory – the unanimous verdict among the fans was that the wait had been well worth it.
OUR VENUE IS DEFINITELY THE BEST STADIUM IN THE WORLD SANJEEV KATWA, THFC
Rewind 24 hours and PSNEurope is stepping out from the tunnel and on to the touchline at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. A tour of the venue’s world class facilities ensues, during which we are filled in on, among all manner of technical specifications that single it out as one of the most advanced stadia on the planet, its all important audio set up. In July 2018 it was revealed that Harman Professional Audio Solutions would be the official audio supplier for the stadium, providing audio to the bowl and hospitality
areas through to the dressing rooms and extensive array of bars and restaurants. With a brief issued to deliver the best, most technologically sophisticated stadium in the world, Harman’s Ryan Penny, senior business development manager, large venues, EMEA, says the company was always confident it could deliver on the astronomically high expectations set by the club. “We’ve been very lucky to work with a fantastic client and design team, who have had the vision and expertise to maximise the use of the technology, to pull ideas from other industries and venues, and deliver them into this stadium,” he tells PSNEurope in the stadium’s media cafe, where first team coach Mauricio Pochettino is also chatting with backroom staff over a coffee. “We have a huge amount of experience in large venues. We’ve been the market leader in that space for many years, especially in the US, as well as the EU and the Middle East, so we felt comfortable that we had the technology to deliver. Obviously, this stadium has a brand new system in the bowl, and it was certainly a challenge to make sure we delivered that to the quality and specifications needed. From all reports so far, everyone’s expectations have been met. The new system in question is comprised of 156 JBL VLA-C2100 loudspeakers and 72 JBL VLA-C125S subwoofers, all powered by Crown DCi Multi-channel Dante amplification." Penny continues: "Around the rest of the venue, it’s been about taking great products from our portfolio and
PHOTOS: Getty Images
being able to deliver sound that meets the expectations of all those different areas. So, for example, in here (the media cafe) we have pendant speakers from our Control 60 series, in the auditorium/press conference space we have AC16s and CBT speakers. It’s a large scale project but our position in the audio sector means we were comfortable about the delivery of those products.” In addition to the extremely ambitious nature of the project, Penny also highlights frequent changes to the original brief as one of the biggest challenges the company faced. “The desires of the club changed quite a lot, so we had to be quite dynamic and flexible in our approach,” he explains. “Most of those changes were around the hospitality spaces. These are often owned or managed by stakeholders. So, as areas were redesigned there were things to change. The press conference area is a good example, where the ceiling design was very architecturally lead. We had to work around that to make sure we could deliver. The screen in the auditorium space is a Daktronics LED direct view screen, but traditionally, in that kind of space it would be a projector with cinema grade speakers mounted behind the screen. We had to move out to the side of that and use quite a narrow space to put a large speaker in.” One of the major concerns for the club when moving into its expansive new home was ensuring that the intense atmosphere that defined the old White Hart Lane ground would not be lost. Like many old-fashioned stadia, the stands at White Hart Lane were extremely close to the pitch, with the more compact nature of the venue helping to amplify the volume of the crowd. In order to retain that atmosphere in the new space, the acoustic design was crucial. “Vanguardia Consulting essentially looked after everything, in collaboration with Populous, from the acoustics of the bowl space through to the sound system design, so it was a holistic approach,” says Penny. “It wasn’t a traditional approach, where the acoustics are done by one person and the sound system is done by someone completely different. They always had the consideration that they must maintain atmosphere in the bowl whilst also making it suitable for speech reproduction for safety and music reproduction and performance and entertainment. Trying to get into that golden sweet spot where you have a reverberation that creates a fan experience but doesn’t become overwhelming and lose clarity was key.” According to Penny, Harman’s work in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium provides a fitting showcase of its capabilities with venues of such scale. "We’re in a position where we can use the space to highlight what audio can do for a venue like this when working to the level of granularity and quality that has been delivered here,” he offers. “You could just take a stadium concourse in the traditional sense, place very few speakers to get the coverage required, and that’s it.
MAY MONTH 2019 2017
The new Spurs ground has 'changed technology in stadiums'
That’s the traditional approach. What’s been achieved here is the creation of a much more intelligent system that can change depending on the usage of the space with a ‘365 venue’ nature." Also keen to shine a spotlight on the stadium’s highly complex AV element is head of technology at Tottenham Hotspur Sanjeev Katwa. Having also spent time working at fellow Premier League club Manchester City, his experience in this area is vast, and he’s certain the standard that’s now been set in North London will have a ripple effect around the globe. "We’ve changed technology in stadiums," he tells PSNEurope. "Our venue is definitely the best stadium in the world. I’ve worked in two venues for two football clubs, and what we’ve done here exceeds everything I ever imagined. It’s been helped by the partners we’ve chosen, who were chosen on their capabilities. We’ve looked at new technologies and audio is a good example. In the bowl, we went with Harman’s newest speakers, which were not even out at the time, so we were prepared to take that risk. On the AV side it’s been a five year journey. The difference between AV in this venue compared to any other is that we have an integrated IP-based solution. That’s huge.” At the time of this issue going to press, the feedback on everything from the stadium’s acoustics and sound system to the AV and tech capabilities has been positive across the board, from fans, players, club staff and all in between. Time will tell how the venue copes with the NFL matches that are scheduled for the future, along with the eventual hosting of concerts and other large-scale events. But for now, it would appear a new standard has been set. n
THE TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM IN NUMBERS The bowl 156 JBL VLA-C2100 Loudspeakers 72 JBL VLA-C125S Subwoofers All powered by Crown DCi Multi-channel Dante amplification. Press conference room 2 JBL CBT 1000 (left and right of the LED Wall) 4 JBL ASB6112 – compact high power subwoofer 12 AC16 JBL surround speakers + additional for PAVA in the ceiling soffit All Powered by Crown DCi Multi-Channel amplification and BSS Soundweb Blu DSP processing Concourse/hospitality and BOH A total of 4000 various loudspeakers from the JBL installation portfolio including: n Control 10 Series – Ceiling Speakers n Control 40 Series – Premium Ceiling Speakers n Control 60 Series – Pendants n Control 25 & 28 Atrium Over 30 AM5212/64 – due to high ceilings and large areas of coverage Mixing Consoles Soundcraft Vi1000 Studer Micro (in THFC Production Gallery)
TwinPlex in action
P00 MONTH 2019
xxxxxx n wwwww
JUST ‘ THE BEGINNING’ The long-awaited launch of Shure's TwinPlex line of subminiature omnidirectional lavalier and headset microphones has been described as one of its most significant releases to date. Daniel Gumble spoke to Shure’s Stuart Moots, associate director, pro audio, and John Born, senior product manager, microphones, to discuss their plans to take on one of the most challenging markets in the business…
P29 MAY 2019
n April 8, 2019, at the annual NAB show in Las Vegas, Shure finally pulled back the veil on a product that has been waiting to see the light of day for just shy of 10 years. While the company’s business in the world of microphones and wireless digital systems was booming, monumental efforts were being exerted in the name of research and development behind the scenes, in preparation for what many of Shure's senior figures have called one of the most important launches in its storied history. The product in question, of course, was TwinPlex, Shure’s new line of subminiature (5 mm) omnidirectional lavalier and headset microphones. Designed primarily for the theatre, broadcast, film/TV and corporate presentation markets, TwinPlex has been painstakingly engineered to provide natural audio at both high and low frequency for when professional vocal performance is needed. The new patent-pending capsule technology is suitable for the frenzy of theatre: quick costume changes or to be discreetly placed under a wardrobe with no impact on sound quality. The range consists of four lavaliers (TL45, TL46, TL47, TL48) and a light and adjustable headset microphone (TH53) in multiple colours with extensive accessories and options. The dual-diaphragm omnidirectional design aims to deliver off-axis consistency and low self-noise, creating lifelike vocal clarity and warmth. The product has already been garnering serious praise. “We’ve put these mics on a number of different people, and they simply sound outstanding,” said Peter Schneider, owner of Gotham Sound. “The noise floor is really low, and there’s an appreciated lack of handling noise – clothing noise from the cable is nonexistent.” To simulate years of intense use, the TwinPlex cable was flexed, stretched, and pulled to the absolute limit in internal tests. Available in 1.1 mm and 1.6 mm options, the paintable cables offer immunity to kinks and memory effects and have a spiral construction with redundant shielding. “The mics just lay flat, and they lay flat every time, for the whole length of the run, whether we were trying to place the mics in a wig, or another discreet part of the costume, there were no kinks,” commented Zoe Milton, theatre sound engineer. “They did exactly what you wanted them to do, which was fantastic.” According to Stuart Moots, associate director, pro audio at Shure, the arrival of TwinPlex marks a major step into a somewhat new territory for the brand. “TwinPlex is the next step in taking our microphone technology into avenues where we have previously had some success, but now have a product that can deliver what we have come to expect from all Shure products,” he told PSNEurope. “Technology, longevity and second-to-none sound quality is what our customers expect from Shure, from the ubiquitous SM58 to the new technology found in Axient Digital. We’re confident that TwinPlex will deliver on all fronts, and in doing so
become the de facto choice for a lavalier solution across a huge number of markets. “The possibilities with TwinPlex are not to be underestimated; we have taken key learnings from our KSM8 Dualdyne technology and applied it to the lavalier microphones,” he continued. “It would be easy to dismiss this as just another subminiature microphone, but the technology and processes we used to produce it were developed specifically for this mic. From the dual-redundant ground within the cable to the dualdiaphragm capsule, every aspect of how lavaliers are used from theatre to broadcast were considered in producing a lav that can stand up to the extremes of any performance, while consistently upholding the sound quality expected at this level. Wired microphone development continues at Shure, and when you consider how complimentary TwinPlex and Axient Digital are as a package, this is a hugely significant launch.” John Born, senior product manager, microphones, at Shure, concurred: “This is arguably one of the most significant microphone launches for Shure in the last 10 years. For years, our customers looked to other manufacturers to fulfil premium needs for either sound or durability… that is no longer the case with TwinPlex. TwinPlex offers best-in-class sound quality, specifications, and durability. Combined with multiple colour, connector, sensitivity, and frequency response options, the TwinPlex portfolio can drop into virtually any workflow or use case with minimal effect to the engineer. Also, we have significant plans for further developments off this new transducer platform.” Despite the fiercely contested nature of the theatre and broadcast markets, both Moot and Born believe that this area of the industry is ripe with opportunity for Shure to capitalise on. They are, however, more than aware of the challenges that come with successfully establishing a new product amongst some long-
standing, competing heavyweights. “We knew that taking on entrenched leaders in this market is challenging, that is why we spent so much time perfecting and field testing this portfolio, with years of extensive research, tweaking, and refinement from the cap to the accessories,” Born explained. “TwinPlex will be a portfolio that lasts for decades. It has been a joy to see the market react so positively to it.” Moots added: “The multitude of options, from headsets to cables, connections and accessories, allows it to be used with any system, be it wired or wireless. This is obviously a huge advantage for anyone wishing to invest in a product that needs to work across different scenarios with different manufacturers. We are aware it won’t be easy as the market is very established, but we have listened to what the market wants and we’re confident TwinPlex will deliver. “TwinPlex, along with Axient Digital, now provides a complete solution to a number of different markets, but one of the biggest opportunities is theatre. We know we have a great package with Axient Digital and the ADX1M micro pack, but we can now build on its success with TwinPlex. If we can apply our unmatched quality, reliability and durability to a microphone that is subjected to the most harsh of environments in theatre, then that can be carried over to all areas of content creation from sports to conferencing and everything in between.” As for how receptive the market is to a new player looking to take on the established order, time will tell. Shure unquestionably has sufficient heft and reputation in its more traditional markets, and if the amount of time spent designing and refining TwinPlex is anything to go by, there’s little reason to doubt it can excel in the field. The ambition is certainly there, as Born concluded: “We wanted to offer the most durable, best sounding subminiature lavalier and headset products to mate with our premium wireless solutions." n
Taking centre stage: TwinPlex
P00 P30 MAY MONTH 2019
A TOUCH OF FROST Tony-award nominated sound designer Sebastian Frost tells PSNEurope about his experiences with d&b audiotechnik Soundscape on Elēkrŏn, an action-packed production requiring a rollercoaster of immersive sound effects, and Sting's musical, The Last Ship…
ony-award nominated sound designer Sebastian Frost is back with his second major production utilising d&b audiotechnik’s Soundscape: the adrenalin-fuelled Elēkrŏn, showing at the Studio City arena in Macau, China. Produced by London and Hong Kong-based ‘entertainment architects’ STUFISH and set in 2088, Elēkrŏn is an action-packed spectacle, featuring daredevil circus skills, acrobatics and breath-taking stunt driving sequences involving cars, bikes and buggies. It’s a rollercoaster of immersive sound effects and sonic ambition, experienced by a capacity audience of 2,500. Seating is arranged on three sides of the space, leading Frost to specify a horseshoe-shape of hung Y-Series line arrays and V-Series SUBS around the front of the arena, with T10 front fills and delays circling the rest of the area. A complement of nine B2-SUBS underneath the seating completes the system. A series of d&b D80, D20, D12 and D6 amplifiers are on duty, fed by a d&b DS100 Signal Engine processor – the digital backbone of the d&b Soundscape system – offering 64 x 64 matrix Level and Delay in every crosspoint. “People come to theatre expecting to hear something more akin to a cinematic experience, and d&b Soundscape has really changed the game,” Frost tells PSNEurope. “What we used to do is put all the sound into a single channel output, effectively so you had a mono sound – rarely in musical theatre do you get
YOU HAVE A SENSE OF SOUND OCCURRING IN DIFFERENT PLACES. IT MAKES IT FAR MORE INVOLVING. YOU STOP LISTENING TO THE SPEAKER CLOSEST TO YOU AND START SIMPLY ENJOYING THE FULL SOUND EXPERIENCE SEBASTIAN FROST
stereo, because the coverage isn’t even across. People will hear too much to the left, and everyone else to the right. Generally, you’re listening to a mono mix in a theatre. But now, we’ve got to a point where we can split those sounds up individually, make it louder, keep the coherence, the positioning and the imaging. That’s one big factor especially in musical theatre, the biggest advantage it can afford. “The intention here is to create a soundscape that actually works for everybody within the building. All the same sounds are not from the loudspeaker directly in front of you, not just big arrays down at one end, so you can really build a world in a space this size.” Most of the action takes place in the centre of the arena, but some of the actors move around and their positions are followed throughout the show. Soundscape enables Frost to position sound effects and actor’s voices throughout the space, optimising the listening experience for everyone in the venue, regardless of where they are seated. “You have a sense of sound occurring in different places,” he says. “It makes it far more involving. You stop listening to the speaker closest to you and start simply enjoying the full sound experience.” Frost discovered Soundscape at the d&b audiotechnik HQ in Backnang, Germany. Hailing from a family of musicians and audio enthusiasts, he was fascinated with sound manipulation from an early age. So, when
PXX MONTH 2017
Elēkrŏn in action
d&b offered him a sneak preview of the processing innovation that was fresh from its R&D department, he jumped at the opportunity. “What I heard was much more than simple panning or delay of sound; you were not just placing sound objects in specific places,” he recalls. “This was a more scientific approach – the creation of a sound field within which the creative possibilities appear unrestricted.” Frost first transposed his Soundscape experience to his design for Sting’s Tony award-winning musical, The Last Ship, which started its UK run at Northern Stage in Newcastle in March 2018. “Sting’s great. He really understands technology, and he absolutely understands a mix and what he’s listening to,” he says. “The musical is very personal to him, and I wanted to ensure the personal stories delivered by the actors are heard from that person – it’s not just about some brilliant Sting tunes.” The wide but low auditorium at Northern Stage meant there was not much height in the centre to hang a full array. However, it offered a large, 20-metre width. “It seemed like the perfect space in which to try out Soundscape,” says Frost, who, in conjunction with d&b and Sound Stage Services, used d&b ArrayCalc to assess the space. The team specified a horizontal array of six d&b V10P across the top of the stage, each laid horizontal with the horn rotated to present the 110 degrees wide dispersion; six Y10 down the room on the
delay line; and 12 E8 front fills. The Y-Series are tucked away up on a bridge above the audience. The system granted Frost creative freedom in the placement of instruments and actors around the stage as a whole. “It’s great for the audience, as they have a sense of the soundscape, the positioning of all the sound information as you have determined you want it to be heard. This idea that you are within a sound field presents a different listening experience for the audience. Being able to do that is fantastic. “People were reporting how strong and powerful the cast voices were. They thought they were hearing that person naturally, from a seat at the edge, halfway back, when normally you’d hear it out of a loudspeaker. The sound moves when, and where, the singer does. The way you get separation around the instruments and the voices is a totally different sound, and it’s something that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with since I started using it – it does stuff for me I can’t do with other systems.” Frost admits that using Q-Lab for control was “a bit of a head scratch” at the beginning. “I got the guys in rehearsal to take a video of the last run through and I then spent two days locked in a hotel room in Newcastle to watch it with Q-Lab in front of me. There, I plotted every movement, every position of everyone on stage throughout the entire two-and-a-half hour play. I ended up with around 4,000 different positional cues. With Q-Lab, it has to be done
individually. You do it for each object, and each move, inputting a timing for each of them. Then, as we started rehearsing on stage, there were bits of tweaking and doing other things.” The two software modules that accompany d&b Soundscape are En-Space and En-Scene. The former is used to enhance or build an acoustic environment, either indoor or outdoor, based on convolution of the audio signals on a large number of impulse responses captured in acoustically renowned performance spaces, ranging from chamber recital to large concert halls. En-Scene is for object-based signal management. This extends the basic matrix function of the DS100 with an object-based positioning tool for every input. “I’ve been using En-Space from the beginning of the project,” says Frost. “I started off using it on the band and orchestra – they’re more fixed, sonically – but I have also added it on to vocals, using different reverbs for different scenes. Some scenes are set in a church, which is great because I can use the En-Space reverbs for that, drop the low pass, send the microphones to it, getting it to sound like a natural church. It’s much better than using an external reverb.” A year into his Soundscape experience, Frost is sold. Soundscape is an evolving innovation – with updates and new software launched to enhance the sound designers’ toolkit and simplify execution – and Frost is on board for the journey. n
P33 MAY 2019
Immersive cinema sound Immersive audio creates a fully encompassing environment but is still regarded as a premium feature in the world of cinema. But, writes Kevin Hilton, new specifications for delivery might democratise the sector...
dvances in audio processing have realised the long-held wish for a fully immersive cinema sound experience. Object-based audio (OBA) has gone beyond the limitations of discrete 5.1 and 7.1 channel systems such as Dolby Digital and DTS and enabled height to be added to the established representation of width and length. Dolby is again at the centre of developments with its Atmos format; competition comes from Auro Technologies and DTS, which moved back into the cinema sector in 2015 with DTS:X. Introduced in 2012, Dolby Atmos has a foundation of 7.1 channels with 118 objects available for the creation of height and movement. Auro Technologies initially stuck to channels with the 11.1 Auro-3D system but expanded into OBA via AuroMax. DTS:X uses objects that are rendered on playback according to the number of loudspeakers. Also in contention is the IMAX 12-channel system, built to work with the IMAX wraparound screen. As with their channel-oriented predecessors, OBA cinema systems are incompatible, which led SMPTE set up a technical committee in 2013 with the brief to develop a consistent delivery method for digital cinema sound. Three standards for immersive audio were set in September 2018: ST 2098-1, specifying immersive audio metadata; ST 2098-2, covering the bitstream specification; and ST 2098-5, detailing digital cinema audio channels and soundfield groups. "By supporting delivery of a standardised immersive audio bit stream within a single interoperable digital cinema package [DCP], the new SMPTE standards simplify distribution while ensuring cinemas can confidently play out immersive audio on their choice of compliant immersive sound systems," says Brian Vessa, chair of the SMPTE Technology Committee on Cinema Sound Systems. Tom Bert, senior product manager for digital cinema at Barco, which holds the exclusive film licence for Auro Technologies audio formats, feels ST 2098 has been a "good catalyst to grow the market" as well as promoting some degree of compatibility: "Gone are the days of parallel formats co-existing; studios now create content in one format and distribute to owners of different branded renderers. The total screen count [for immersive audio] is between 5,000 and 10,000. That is a strong achievement." Wilfried Van Baelen, founder of Auro Technologies and developer of Auro-3D, sees ST 2098 as "good news" for immersive audio. "It solves the issue of having
Technological advances could 'expand the footprint of immersive cinema sound'
different delivery formats, which means the same DCP can be used to playback a movie over a Dolby Atmos system or the AuroMax OBS technology," he says. "Tests have been done by Dolby together with Barco and Auro Technologies to check if the artistic intent is being translated well when a Dolby Atmos movie is played back over an AuroMax speaker system." This, Van Baelen comments, might have initially been thought impossible due to the different structures of the two systems - Atmos has two layers while AuroMax comprises three - but the results have proved this wrong. "Due to the object-based technology of AuroMax and the natural vertical spread over its three layers, it is amazing how well the system translates the same immersive experience by using Barco's APX AUROMAX renderer," he says. As AuroMax operates on existing Auro 11.1 by Barco installations, he adds all that is needed is the rendering device and some extra amplifiers to work with the proscenium loudspeakers. Van Baelen invented Auro-3D in 2005, launching it on the pro audio market five years later. In partnership with Barco there are approximately 650 Auro-3D installations, more than 500 of which are beyond the companies' home market. "The number of movies released as DCPs is growing," Van Baelen says. "According to figures available at the beginning of this year, about 170 films were released in Auro-3D; around 350 in Dolby Atmos." Guy Hawley, senior manager of cinema sales for Europe at Dolby Laboratories, estimates there are more than 4,800 Atmos equipped screen internationally, with over 1,300 titles mixed and mastered in the format. Immersive audio, he states, is still more frequently
installed in Premium Large Format (PLF) rooms, although it is rapidly becoming standard, especially for new cinema builds. Barco's primary business is producing LED screens and laser/bulb projectors that comply with Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) specifications, a joint venture between major Hollywood studios. This means it is also able to offer a combined image and audio package in conjunction with Auro. DTS is pairing DTS:X with the ScreenX five projector system, which is exclusive to the Cineworld chain. John Kellogg, VP of DTS advanced professional audio solutions, production services and digital cinema at Xperi Corporation, explains that the combination of DTS:X and ScreenX is helping to "expand the footprint of immersive cinema sound", noting that "as the technology evolves and matures, it is becoming more of a standard feature in mid-sized and even smaller rooms." As much as the film and cinema business has changed in recent times, the studios - Sony, Disney, Warner Bros - still have considerable say and power over what is made and how it is distributed. Jerry Murdoch adds that these organisations have little interest in producing multiple DCPs with different audio formats, which, coupled with its Hollywood history, explains why Dolby tends to be favoured over other brands. While Dolby's established position cannot be denied, the adoption of the SMPTE cinema distribution standard may well, in the words of Van Baelen, "lower the threshold of fear" and encourage more operators to install immersive audio, with the freedom to select the format that suits them best". n
P00 P34 MAY MONTH 2019
xxxxxx n wwwww
PSNEurope columnist Katie Tavini talks to her studio mentor Bill Leader, an English record producer and engineer particularly connected with the British folk music revival of the '60s and '70s â€“ Paddy Tunney, Davey Graham, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Frank Harte â€“ about his own audio story that spans 60 years, tracing how he found his footing as a label manager with no experience...
P35 MAY 2019
bout 10 years ago (although it absolutely doesn’t feel that long), I found myself working at a small studio in Manchester with a ballroom for a live room. Limefield Studio is a magical place where beautiful records are born, and after one of my university tutors (shout out to Brendon Williams at Salford Uni) linked me up with studio owner and keys wizard, John Ellis, I soon found myself deep in this surreal world. I began working with John on a regular basis, engineering for a variety of sessions, which I felt quite out of my depth on but was still extremely pleased to be there. This is where I met Bill Leader. Our first session together was a fun, chaotic gathering of folk musicians. I was fascinated by Bill’s skill as a producer and how he managed to keep everything under control, but still make time for fun (and tea and soup). Bill taught me so much about engineering and production, I wouldn’t know most of what I know right now if it wasn’t for him. So to celebrate a whole decade of him being a super inspiration to myself, I thought I’d have a chat with him and share the story of his career with PSNEurope readers, in his own words... “The first recording I did that was intended for release on disc was done in 1955, and it also happened to be the first recording I ever made. I did it because there was no one else around to do it. My audio story – a story that stretched over some 60 years – continued to be like that: a series of happy accidents. “A lad of 25, I’d gone from a place then called the West Riding of Yorkshire to a place then called, with great accuracy, ’The Big Smoke’. I’d come to London to take up a minor job in the film industry, but found myself involved in a very small, enthusiasts' label called Topic. No sooner was I involved, I was made label manager. Another one of those happy accidents. “In reality, there wasn’t much to manage, except myself. There were, however, records to be put out. The Topic label was an offshoot of the Worker’s Music Association, a left-wing organisation, which also published books and sheet music. This bunch of politically minded enthusiasts had struck a deal with a small stateside company to produce recordings of UK folk songs for sale in the US. We’re speaking of the mid'50s, a time when the American market was beginning to boom, but the British public were still very canny and careful about the records they bought. "At that time, the public bought records mainly to hear the music. Occasionally, records were bought because the performer was admired – a name like Bing Crosby; Frank Sinatra; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf or Sir Thomas Beecham might have been attraction – but it was usually repertoire that the average record buyer went for. “I had been a record collector since the age of 10, but, like fellow enthusiasts, I knew little to nothing about the workings of the industry. Producers and recording engineers were not spoken of in polite society. The
days were still to come when the activities of eccentric Welshmen doing strange things in Holloway Road were known about. So for me, not having come up the conventional route of sweeping the floor at Abbey Road; Decca; Star Sound; IBC or Levy's, I knew hardly anything about the role of the record producer. What little insight I did have came from meeting and being taken under the wing of Dick Swettenham, at the time a techie at Abbey Road and later a renowned designer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art studio equipment. “So there’s me, label manager, with neither technical or commercial experience and, incidentally, no studio or the money to buy studio time, but with a commitment to supply recorded material to the US. Fortunately, the Workers Music Association had premises and members, some of whom were able to contribute skilled, voluntary labour. So, led by Dick Swettenham, it was decided to convert a couple of rooms and start to assemble some equipment. Not easy.
BACK IN THE '50S, IF YOU WANTED AUDIO GEAR, YOU COULD ONLY GET IT IF YOU ALSO HAD A WORK BENCH; A SOLDERING IRON; SKILL; PATIENCE; ENTHUSIASM; AND A BUNCH OF BACK ISSUES OF THE WIRLELESS WORLD BILL LEADER “Over in the US, with its prolific commercial radio scene, it seemed to us Brits that every one horse town over there had its own radio station and ready-made, just-off-the-shelf supplies of all sorts of wonderful gear. Here in Britain, recording activity was limited to the BBC; a few record companies; a tiny handful of commercial studios; an even smaller number of film studios; and a scattered bunch of enthusiasts who were happy to do you a direct-cut acetate of a message you could send home to your mum. “Back in the ‘50s, if you wanted audio gear, you could only get it if you also had a work bench; a soldering iron; skill; patience; enthusiasm and a bunch of back issues of the Wireless World. And don’t think that you would've been able to import gear from America. The UK was in a terrible financial condition and using dollars to buy frivolous things like recording gear was not something that the government or the Bank of England were keen to permit. So, until our group of volunteer helpers had built some stuff, we begged from this person, borrowed from that person, or hired from Magnegraph of Hanway Street. We did the recording wherever the performer
was: in their home, while they were performing, or in the particular case of a family of travellers, in their caravan – my first literal field recording. “The other sort of recordings that cropped up were sessions in venues or location recordings where there was a lot going on. Remember, all we had was a recorder and a microphone (or two, when we eventually embraced the joys of stereo). No mixer; no equaliser; no compressor; nothing. In these circumstances I found it was necessary to prepare in at least two ways. Firstly, you have to have a very clear idea of how your microphone will be hearing the world; it’s frequency response, it’s pick up pattern, stuff like that. Next, trying all the time to hear the world the way your mic does, place your mic as near as you can to the place you think is the hot spot. Now cross your fingers. If you have crossed your fingers correctly, you will discover that, on replay, the recording will sound quite good. If what you recorded sounds reasonably coherent on playback, the part of your brain that’s involved in listening will, to a great extent, sort out the detail and make sense of the whole thing. “The equipment I used was primitive and sparse but all I had to hand. Over the years I left Topic and developed my freelance contacts. Sometimes I could afford to hire a studio, but often not. After all, although some of the artists I recorded did eventually became household names, at the time of recording they were unknowns, and not considered a particularly good investment. I used the bedroom method, then selecting the best takes and sweetening them in a good, reasonably priced studio. “Things have moved on quite a bit since then, but always remember that the best is yet to come. When the record buying public first came across the magic of what was known at the time as ‘electrical recording' in the late 1920s, they looked back and laughed at the folks of the 1800s who had been staggered by the lifelike sounds that emanated from Edison’s cylinder phonograph. “But how important is technical perfection? We have been able to record performances in sound and vision for almost 150 years. For millions of years prior to that, creative musicians had no accurate knowledge of their forebears’ playing style. "A lot of music of the last few decades was created around musical styles of something like 100 years ago – I’m thinking about R&B’s inspiration from early blues singers, for instance. Wouldn’t it be useful to find out whether Mozart actually played his music as written? What did jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden really sound like? What did concert singers sound like before they had to earn their livings entertaining vast audiences in huge opera houses? “It’s today’s Top 40 that pays the rent, but most of today’s Top 40 will be tomorrow’s forgotten 40. Ultimately, once the rent has been paid, we can settle down and start to listen to the music that matters; the music and genres that actually intrigue you.” n
P00 P36 MAY MONTH 2019
Breaking with Convention The 146th international AES Pro Audio Convention took place in Dublin at the end of March, delivering four days of enlightening presentations and events covering the tech and topics shaping the industry. PSNEurope spoke to some of those most closely involved in the event to reflect on its key talking points…
rom March 20-23, Dublin provided the setting for the 146th AES (Audio Engineering Society) Pro Audio Convention. Marking its first visit to the Irish capital, the event saw some of the most influential figures from the world of audio engineering come together for four days of panel sessions, keynote talks and presentations addressing the most pressing subjects and innovative technologies impacting the sector. Among those who participated in and contributed to the convention by way of keynote speeches and panel appearances were AES Dublin Convention co-chairs Mariana Lopez, lecturer in Sound Production and Post Production, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York; Enda Bates, assistant professor, Music & Media Technologies, School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin; and acoustic consultant Ben Kok. Here, they discuss event highlights and why the AES Convention series is so vital to the pro audio industry... What were your highlights from this year’s AES Convention? ML: The fact that we introduced novel aspects to the convention format. Often conventions follow a predefined structure that's quite difficult to innovate, but we managed to introduce a few new things. For example, for the first time in the history of European conventions (I believe) we offered students hands-on workshops. The workshops were organised by Becky Stewart (Imperial College) and focused on immersive audio. The workshop delivered by Becky was on building wearable binaural systems with Bela, and the one delivered by Enda Bates was on Composing and Producing spatial audio for 360 video using freeware. Another highlight was the keynote by Professor Stefania Serafin. I’m a huge admirer of
Stefania’s work, so I was delighted to hear her speak on sonic interactive design, whcih she described as "a fertile field of investigation at the intersection of sound and music computing and interaction design." She introduced us to an array of exciting projects she has designed together with collaborators at Aalborg University, including work on physics-based simulations of musical instruments, new interfaces for musical expressions, cultural heritage, walking and rehabilitation, as well as virtual and augmented reality. Of course, we shouldn’t forget that a huge highlight was the people themselves. Working with Enda and Ben was a wonderful experience, but we weren’t the only ones contributing to the organisation. AES Dublin was only possible because lots of people volunteered their time to make a great event come true, and we are truly grateful for their fantastic contributions. EB: Highlights included the keynotes and opening remarks, which brought welcome attention to this convention’s increased focus on diversity and inclusion, a feature specifically recognised by many attendees as a welcome development. It was fantastic to bring the AES Convention to my hometown of Dublin for the first time, and to have so many Irish engineers, researchers and composers presenting their work. The convention was also used to launch the new Ireland Regional Section of the AES, which will continue to present interesting topics on audio all around the country over the coming months. It was also great to see such a large attendance at the spatial music concert, and the technical tours. BK: My personal highlight was also that it was held in Dublin, and revealed the formal start of the convention's Irish Section. Dublin has such a vibrant musical and cultural life, and there is some interesting audio-related research going on at Irish universities, so it is logical that
AES Dublin's student volunteers
the local AES members are recognised and supported by the international society of AES. What subjects were particularly important to you at this year’s event? ML: In terms of the topics covered, we tried to make sure film sound was represented. A particular highlight for me was the panel ‘The Present and Future of Audio for Film and Television’ which brought together four extremely talented sound professionals: Howard Bargroff, Anna Bertmark, Emma Butt and Fiona Cruickshank. Furthermore, two complementary talks were also delivered on the subject, one of them by Anna Bertmark on ‘Emotive Sound Design in Practice’ and the
Mariana Lopez at the Opening Ceremony
P37 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
Moreover, the shortlisted students were then invited to present their work at the convention and received additional feedback. EB: As well as being one of the co-chairs for the convention, I am also the chair of the AES Ireland Section which was officially launched in Dublin. I presented a paper on spatial audio, 360 video and spatial music, chaired a panel discussion on adapting spatial music and theatrical content to different loudspeakers and venues, and presented a hands-on student workshop in immersive audio. The latter was the first time such a hands-on workshop was presented during an AES convention and it was very well attended. BK: It is hard to define what goes into organising such an international event; on one side you have to follow set tracks because that is what one is used to, while at the same time people are expecting something new and exciting. A specific problem is that you are largely dependent on submitted papers and proposed workshops and tutorials. We were lucky to have very good chairs both for the papers and for the workshops and tutorials, those teams did a great job. During the convention itself, I kept a low profile, just making sure everything went properly, but of course, I could not resist chairing the papers session on Room Acoustics which has my personal interest.
other by Thomas Görne on ‘Emotive Sound Design in Theory’. In addition to this, Ana Monte also challenged participants to think about the technical and creative processes involved in capturing sounds in conflict zones as part of documentary work. In relation to the overall ethos of the event, we did a lot of work on addressing gender equality as part of the process of organising the convention. This required us to reflect on strategies to encourage participants to consider diversity as part of their proposals. For example, we did our best to try to reduce the presence of all-male panels (often referred to as manels) in the convention. It was refreshing to work with panel proposers that had already considered equality as key, and that were willing to rethink their proposed configurations. It was great to see the latter reflect on how diversity had improved their panels by introducing balanced opinions, different perspectives and new exciting avenues of enquiry. It’s about making sure all voices are represented, but, of course, there’s more to be done to achieve better gender diversity at audio events. EB: The AES conventions are often a little more studentfocused than conferences, and we saw this continue in Dublin. It was particularly nice to see so many Irish students taking part, and from so many different institutions. Spatial audio is my particular area of interest and I enjoyed seeing a continued focus on this at the convention, particularly the various papers and sessions
on spatial music. BK: Immersive/3D audio – there is a lot going on in this field and the results were presented at our convention. Tell us about your involvement in this year’s event. ML: In addition to the role of convention co-chair, I also took an active role in a number of sessions. I chaired the panel on ‘The Present and Future of Audio for Film and Television’, which was a particularly exciting event as I was thrilled to be able to bring together such wonderful sound professionals and hear their thoughts on the technical, creative and interpersonal aspects involved in sound for film and TV. I was also delighted to chair a panel on ‘Audio, Accessibility, and the Creative Industries’ which brought together Emilie Giles (The Open University), Sarah McDonagh (Queen’s University Belfast) and Ben Shirley (University of Salford). As part of the session we discussed how audio technology, sound design and e-textiles could be used to provide accessible experiences for visually impaired audiences and those with hearing loss. Additionally, I was asked to act as one of the judges for the student recording competition for the category of Sound for Visual Media. I got to listen to all the entries students make from all around the world and work with two more judges to provide students with lots of feedback to help them move forward with their work.
Why are events like this so important for the industry? ML: I personally think it’s a great opportunity to catch up with new developments in the field. Listening to researchers, practitioners and industry developers talk about their work is a way of keeping up with new developments. I also find this type of event is crucial to develop professional networks that may result in collaborations, exchanges of ideas and friendships. EB: These events are particularly important as they bring together such a diverse range of people with an interest in audio, including composers, sound designers, artists, professional audio engineers, acousticians and manufacturers, alongside academic researchers and students. This sort of holistic gathering is so integral to the industry and yet rarely occurs. BK: This is where the latest and upcoming developments in audio are presented, but even when you are not in the upfront of development or research, the workshops and tutorials offer an opportunity to learn from the leading figures in the industry. Most importantly, it is a networking event where you can meet others working in the same industry with the same interests. You can bump into audio celebrities and talk to them, most of them very happy to share their knowledge. You might meet your next employer or client, or get the idea to start your own business. And, of course, you can present yourself through a paper on your research results, by giving a tutorial or by participating in a workshop. n
39 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
Creating Rock Tech
Revered FOH engineer Ben Hammond, in his first monthly column in the mag, talks life on the road, immersive sound and what made him decide to launch his own business…
t's been a long old time since I have written one of these. A good couple of years in-fact. So, when I was asked if I was interested in writing a monthly column for PSNEurope, I thought the time might be right for me to once again unleash my tour-jaded thoughts and opinions into the world. The last couple of years has been a busy time for me as a touring FOH engineer – UK, Europe, Japan, Australia, Russia, Canada, spending what seemed like my whole life in the US... Artists such as Don Broco, At The Drive In, AFI, Lawson, Babymetal, Florence and (some) of the Machine have been keeping me busy and insuring that everyday is different to the last. Recently, I was given the opportunity to become a shareholder and director in a new PA company with some very good friends of mine. It’s often been a thing at the back of my mind, 'What’s next?' None of us want to be the four-time divorced Del Preston character regaling stories of brown M&M’s and living firmly in the past, but on the flip side we do want to give this allencompassing, life consuming career all that we have. The huge amount of sacrifices we have to make, missing friends, families, events etc. means that to make it all worth while, we have to give it 110 per cent all the time to be as successful and financially set as we can. I know, personally, I set myself lots of often unachievable goals and then pull myself to pieces when I don’t achieve what I think I should. While this does keep me pushing on and moving forward when I’m missing home, or that friend’s wedding, I have to make sure I
sit myself down and take stock of what I have achieved, rather then focussing on what I haven’t. There is currently a huge public push on the mental welfare of touring personnel, which I won’t get into here, but I do think a healthy tour/not on tour life balance is key here. I have found myself, on multiple occasions, in a position of having to go away when I really knew I needed some time off, but in order to maintain the home life that I have worked so hard to build, I had to be away. Surely that’s not right? I wanted to use my skills and contacts to make being at home pay the bills, and remove that claustrophobic feeling of HAVING to go away. This in turn would restore some of the enjoyment that had over the years disappeared from the job. Bottom line is, I’m sure there are people among us who will be happy touring everyday until their 100th Jack Daniels fuelled birthday, but for those of us who have/ want families, finding a way of structuring life to allow work and home is imperative. As a result, Rock Tech Events was born. It is a partnership between Rock Tech Projects in my home town of York, an existing, extremely successful audio install and events company, and my good friends and industry professionals Phillip Adlam, Luke Bell, Rachel Hill, and myself. I will endeavour to report on interesting events and projects that we take on in the coming months, but in keeping with the immersive audio theme of this issue, I wanted to talk briefly about a system that we (Rock
Left to right: Phillip Adlam and Ben Hammond of Rock Tech
Tech) have just installed for the sold out AES Conference on Immersive and Interactive Audio at York University with our good friends and colleagues at Hill Pro Audio. We were approached by the AES with a brief of providing an immersive surround sound system for its main performance auditorium. Using seventh order ambisonics, the system needed to provide full-sphere (periphonic) surround sound, capable of producing a concert level flat response which would exceed 110dBC with 12dB of dynamic range before the threshold of any dynamic DSP. On top of this, the system had to be extremely lightweight and compact to allow us to deploy the amount of points needed. Rock Tech system consultant Phillip Adlam, and Tomasz Rudzki of York University together designed an ambisonic 20.2 system utilising the Hill Pro Audio M10, and the MS218 sub. Phillip said: "It was a real success. We had so many positive comments from the top immersive audio designers from around the world. Using a speaker system with such even coverage, open dynamic range, and flexible rigging allowed us to deploy quickly and accurately to deliver the full immersive experience to every seat in the house." One of the many brilliant performers at the AES conference was Ben Eyes, who commented: "It was so refreshing to use a high spl system that sounded better than my studio monitors. The sub bass detail far surpassed my expectations." For more info, check out www.rock-tech.events. n
P00 P40 MAY MONTH 2019
Aural ID Last month, Genelec introduced its new Aural ID headphone monitoring technology, which constructs a 3D model of the user's head to provide personally-tailored, immersive sound through headphones. Genelec R&D director Aki Mäkivirt gives PSNEurope the inside track on the new software…
ack in March, Genelec announced the arrival of its new Aural ID software technology, which works by acquiring a person’s ‘exclusive acoustic attributes to create a detailed modelling of their unique anatomical features affecting hearing’. Recognising that traditional ‘one size fits all’ headphone reproduction can sometimes fail to yield a reliable reference for audio professionals, Aural ID has been designed to calculate the user’s personal Head Related Transfer Function (HRTF). This describes the acoustical properties of the head, upper torso and external ear: elements that interact in complex ways to affect sounds reaching the eardrums. To help us understand precisely how the new technology can be deployed to maximum effect for audio professionals, PSNEurope spoke to Genelec’s R&D manager Aki Mäkivirt... How does the new Aural ID software work? Aural ID is a reliable and accurate method of obtaining your personal Head-Related Impulse Responses (HRIR, in time domain) for hundreds of different orientations of arrival for audio. This information is also referred to as the Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF, in frequency domain). HRIR and HRTF both explain how sound changes when it travels to your ears from a certain direction. The main changes have to do with amplification and attenuation of certain frequencies depending on the direction of arrival, and the timing and phase relationship related changes in audio, and between the same audio signal arriving at your two ears. These combine to create your sensation of the direction for the audio signal. Aural ID contains this information in a file and is specific to the user. The Aural ID is a complete acoustic field simulation
of hundreds of directions of arrival for sound. The simulation is based on constructing a fully detailed 3D model of the person’s head, external ear details and the upper parts of your body. This model is created based on a video you can take using a mobile phone camera, making Aural ID completely personal. These are uploaded to Genelec's Aural ID service, and the production process delivers the Aural ID in a SOFA format file back to the customer via the service website. Talk us through the development process of the technology? Work on Aural ID started several years ago. Audio engineers use monitoring loudspeakers as their sonic reference for monitoring and essentially trust completely in what they hear. They also know that acoustic calibration, such as Genelec GLM software, improves the way studio monitors can perform in an acoustic space. The idea behind Aural ID is to help bring this reliability and sonic truthfulness to headphone reproduction. The use of photogrammetry to map the 3D shape of the head, external ears and upper torso is now feasible with modern computer technology and is increasingly used in mapping terrain, charting archaeological sites, and creating renderings of apartments, statues and other objects. Using this technology for mapping the personal detailed shapes of a listener opens vastly new possibilities. We can calculate the exact characteristics of the audio signal reaching the ear and hence bring all the personal features to determine what changes sound experiences when it arrives to your ears. How does it change the listening experience for users? The world is around you, and only recently have those
AUDIO ENGINEERS USE MONITORING LOUDSPEAKERS AS THEIR SONIC REFERENCE FOR MONITORING AND ESSENTIALLY TRUST COMPLETELY IN WHAT THEY HEAR. THE IDEA BEHIND AURAL ID IS TO HELP BRING THIS RELIABILITY AND SONIC TRUTHFULNESS TO HEADPHONE REPRODUCTION AKI MAKIVIRT
P41 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
who record and present audio mechanically, using microphones, loudspeakers and headphones, started to approach the true reality of audio. Now, we talk about immersive audio, meaning an audio presentation that actually tries to mimic what we experience in reality. For a wide seating area, we can introduce a dense grid of loudspeakers that everyone in the audience can locate correctly. This includes horizontal and vertical direction, and is the foundation for all modern loudspeaker-based immersive audio presentations. After this comes the challenge of creating virtual sound images between these real sources, which is called panning. Today, we have panning methods that allow us to pan audio inside a triangle formed by the three nearest loudspeakers. The network of loudspeakers forms a number of triangles that can be used in this way to create a full sphere of sound – complete immersion. When headphones are placed over or inside the ears, the human sound localisation system of the head size and external ear shape is removed from the equation – this is the reason why sound mostly seems to be inside an earphone listener’s head. Once the HRTF
measurements exist, for the first time, we have the ability to present sound properly using the headphones. The process is relatively simple but requires an amount of signal processing and the additional information available in the Genelec Aural ID. When the direction of arrival for a certain sound component is known, this sound can be processed with the relevant HRTFs for that particular direction to create the correct directional cues for ears. The key to enabling this process is having access to the HRTF information. Scientists have found that although we all share the same broad principles in how the HRTF looks, we are all individual with slight differences in details, and these details do not successfully translate from one person to another. Therefore, borrowing someone else’s HRTFs for listening will not be successful. You need your own, personal HRTF information.
and Augmented Reality systems, game engineers calculating sound dynamically as part of the gaming process, cinema and immersive audio designers, and researchers working with 3D audio. Ultimately, we all will be able to benefit, once the method of presenting immersive audio develops to include information about sound arrival direction and the processing needed to use personal HRTF information for headphones. This will elevate headphone listening to be more reliable and accurate, closer to using loudspeakers in a good room. In order to use the HRTF data, we need some software that enables one to process the audio to apply the HRTF information. Such software already exists on the market, starting with media player software, VLC plugins for audio workstations intended for professionals, and other more researchoriented implementations. This makes adopting Aural ID technology easy and straightforward.
Which applications will this technology be most applicable to? Potential users are those operating in Virtual Reality
Aural ID has now been launched and will enter into regular service using the Genelec Community website – www.genelec.com/auralid – during Q2 of this year. n
P00 P42 MAY MONTH 2019
n March 2019, Women Produce Music launched its most ambitious initiative to date: In Kolab, a new collaboration series bringing together established and emerging composer-producers to collaborate in various studios and pop-up locations. Supported by the PRS Foundation’s Open Fund, and a growing number of ambassadors from the independent music sector and community, the first group of composerproducers are preparing to make waves with Moog Music Innovation Award recipient Suzanne Ciani. Ciani is a five-time Grammy award nominated composer, electronic music pioneer, and neo-classical recording artist whose work has been featured in countless commercials, video games, and feature films; over the course of her 40-plus year career, she has released 16 solo albums, including Seven Waves, The Velocity of Love, and most recently, her impressive comeback quadraphonic Buchla modular synth performance recording LIVE Quadraphonic. Composer-producer Katia Isakoff and founder of In Kolab fills us in on the initiative... The title for this first series is Making Waves. Anyone who knows anything about Suzanne Ciani will know that she lives by the sea, loves the sea and waves, and named her first album Seven Waves. Then there’s the connection with sound waves, and our hope that there will be positive waves of change rippling through as we make this journey. In terms of format, each series will have four members. For this pilot we’ve invited emerging artist Anil Aykan of Fragile Self and award-winning recording engineer Marta Salogni to join us. Our preparatory session at Marta’s studio in London, Studio Zona, a couple of weeks ago was really quite special; we bonded rather naturally and excitement has started to build about the future of In Kolab and its potential to become a global network of collaborators. It should be noted that this is not a genre specific series or initiative. At the end of May this year, we’ll compose and record in an iconic London studio where we’ll assist Suzanne while she patches her Buchla and talks us through her process. I’ll bring along the three Mother32s kindly donated by Moog, my DFAM and other instruments for us to try, and Anil will bring her voice and other rhythm machines. Marta is due to provide her three reel-toreel tape machines, processors and effects. We will be filming throughout, capturing conversations, insights, gear talk, studio vibes and fun… with a few surprises for all to enjoy. And, most importantly, we are making an album. This will be a rare opportunity to hear the sound of the Buchla, Moog, tape looping, delay and echos, rhythm and voice combined in one long movement. At the end of these sessions there will be hours of recorded performances, so I will take the session files to my studio to start working and experimenting with arrangements with the group remotely. We will next
Inside In Kolab In Kolab is an innovative new project launched by Women Produce Music, aimed at bringing together a diverse range of composerproducers in a variety of studios and locations. Founder of the initiative, Katia Isakoff, tells us more...
converge at Marta’s studio to mix, after which, we will commission the remixes or re-imagined soundscapes, with the names of the sound artists to be announced very soon. The final stages will be to master the mixes (the mastering engineer will also be revealed soon), design the album cover and graphics, then send it off for pressing. All of this is in preparation for the incredible launch event we have planned, which will include live performances, a screening of the ‘making of’, followed by an interview and Q&A. Plans are already underway for In Kolab Berlin, Prague, New York and our next UK location. The aim is to build a global network with women composerproducers at the helm, with no gender restrictions otherwise; we will be collaborating with men too. WPM is a self-funded non-profit organisation. If you or your organisation would like to be involved, partner with us, or support us in any way, we would love to hear from you. You can also sign-up to receive our news and follow us on our social media accounts: @in_kolab and @wpm_org.
Background and Stats: When we launched Women Produce Music (WPM) in January 2015 we had a number of objectives, which we later presented at the 2016 The Great Escape music festival in Brighton. Our first objective was to understand and alter the factors preventing women entering and progressing within the profession. Being one of the first female professional producers in the UK – contracted by Mute Records/EMI in 2002; a partner in a West London commercial studio for 12 years; composing and producing my own album; as well as collaborating with others – gave me first-hand insight into some of the challenges faced by women in music. I also spent eight years designing and delivering undergrad and postgrad music technology and production courses in a department where I was the only female music tech lecturer working in the same department as my partner with 15-plus guys – now that was an experience! I was also a full professional member of the Music Producers Guild for a number of years, serving two as an elected director of the board.
PHOTO CREDIT: In Kolab
P43 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
something a technical standards organisation could effectively address”. • In 2011 Katia Isakoff and Richard James Burgess (CEO, A2IM) presented the outcomes of a first stage research project in which student recruitment of 505 UK music technology and production courses for the six-years prior revealed that despite the availability of these courses within HEI’s in the UK, it remained a fact that 90 per cent of students enrolled on these courses were male. We also looked at representations on boards, membership numbers, in-house studio engineer numbers and interviewed several, along with studio managers and producers in the US and UK. Access to technology and courses had not greatly impacted the number of women in the profession.
Left to right: Anil Aykan, Marta Salogni and Katia Isakoff
What we already knew when we launched WPM: • In 1980 at the 66th AES Convention, Pamela W. Patterson postulated a primary reason for the lack of women in audio as “a historical separation from the practice and theory of technology combined with a gruesome lack of entry-level positions”. • In 1995 AES formed a Women’s Audio subcommittee, which launched the Women in Audio Project: 2000, to focus on researching “the disproportionate number of women in the field of audio engineering”. • In 2000 Cosette Collier of Middle Tennessee State University wrote to the AES educators group announcing the dissolution of the AES Women in Audio Committee, of which she was chair, saying: “Our research showed that the average number of women in recording or audio engineering programmes was about 10 per cent. The problem did not seem to be within the industry, but actually something more related to society and early education; the AES didn't feel that this was
TO ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT MORE WOMEN INTO THE PROFESSION, WE MUST ALSO LOOK TO THE POOL OF TALENTED SELF-PRODUCING ARTISTS, AND ACKNOWLEDGE THEM AS PRODUCERS AND NOT SECOND-CLASS PRODUCERS KATIA ISAKOFF
Since Patterson presented her paper 39 years ago, we have witnessed a technological evolution, which has rendered a personal studio both feasible and reasonably cost-effective. There is also a plethora of music and audio courses, therefore, should we have witnessed vastly increased numbers of women entering the profession? Well, we haven’t witnessed vastly increased numbers of women who record and produce the work of others. However, we have seen vastly increased numbers of self-producing artists and DJs who consider themselves ‘music producers’. Therefore, more work needs to be done to support and promote what we are doing, rather than focusing on what we are not. Articles asking “Where are the Phyllis Spectors?" and ‘’Where are all the Female Producers?’’ and variations thereof, whilst valid questions, remain focused on a historical model that privileges male dominance and artist co-dependency and discounts self-producing artists. The glaring fact is that many women appear to favour self-producing over producing the work of others or ‘being produced’. This is what access to technology has afforded all music-makers, but it does not mean that we all always want to work solo and don’t miss the social aspects of collaboration. To encourage and support more women into the profession, we must also look to the pool of talented self-producing artists and acknowledge them as producers and not second-class producers. All too often the narrative looks to the next generation, or those at the peak of their career, and talks about it taking another 10-20 years before we see more women in the profession. There is a blind spot that falls outside of these two categories, and much of it stems from ageism and a lack of knowledge or recognition of the fact that the generation that encountered these obstacles that these industry initiatives are designed to tackle are still making music. And they really don’t need another 10-20 years to progress, they just need some tailored support and to be seen and valued. n
P00 P44 MAY MONTH 2019
xxxxxx n wwwww
BEAR ESSENTIALS London folk-rock duo, Bear’s Den, have just released their latest record, So That You Might Hear me, an album about communication that saw a significantly smoother recording process than their 2016 release, Red Earth & Pouring Rain. Fiona Hope catches up with lead singer Andrew Davie and mixer Craig Silvey to find out why, touching on songwriting, their individual creative processes, and old-school analogue...
o That You Might Hear Me, released on April 26 by Communion Records, is the follow-up to Bear’s Den’s debut album, Islands, which earned the band an Ivor Novello nomination and a devoted following worldwide. The band is a British folk-rock duo, formed in London in 2012 and made up of lead vocalist Andrew Davie, and Kevin Jones. Their 2016 album Red Earth & Pouring Rain was written in just three weeks, squeezed in between tours and festival slots, so the band wanted to take a more slow and steady approach for their next studio offering. The band now has their own studio, Josiah Booth Studios in Crouch End, providing a sense of freedom in recording previously unknown to them, enhanced by the fact they were free from the constraints of a deadline for the record. The album made its way through a couple of studios before being finalised, demoing in the band’s studio until landing in producer Phil Ek’s – The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty – hands at several studios
in Seattle over the course of seven weeks. Finally, it was mixed by Craig Silvey – REM, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Portishead, The Magic Numbers, Arcade Fire, The National – at Eastgate Studios in London. Bear’s Den’s four-man touring band also appear on the album, joining the band in Seattle throughout the recording process to beef up the songs with brass, drums, electric guitar and more electronics. Here, Fiona Hope finds out from lead singer Davie, and mixer Silvey, about the upcoming album and their personal processes in the studio, as well as the importance of collaboration and a love of analogue... What was the album's recording process like? Andrew Davie: On this album we worked in multiple different studios. We started writing and demoing the songs at Josiah Booth studios before heading to Seattle to work with the legendary Phil Ek. We worked in AVAST!, Studio Litho and Elektrokitty. It was a really awesome process working with Phil and his engineer
P45 MAY 2019
writing songs in Cornwall on my own and it probably took about six months in total to write the bulk of the songs on the album. At the same time, both Kev and I were working on song ideas in our studio in Crouch End, building up layers of different textures and experimenting with new sounds and instruments. I think each separate process shaped and informed the album enormously. What was your general inspiration for the album? AD: The sense of trying to reach someone who cannot be reached was a major theme and inspiration.
Left to right: Andrew Davie and Kev Jones
Garrett. Phil has incredibly high standards for what he wants to achieve and really encourages you to deliver something you didn’t think you were capable of. How did your process differ to previous albums? How much of an input did you have in the sound production? AD: I think our demoing process has changed a bit. Since making our first album, Islands, production ideas are becoming more and more intertwined with the writing. In terms of our input on sound production, we often try to provide a blueprint for where we want the songs to go musically and sonically in our demos. Once we were working with Phil, it became a very collaborative process of trying to figure out how exactly to achieve that. What are your songwriting and studio processes? AD: It's a bit of a mixture. I spent about three weeks
What were your sonic influences for the album? AD: Our songs incorporate all sorts of sounds, but not in a pre-ordained way. We could start with a weird pocket synth sound or Kev playing a creaky old upright piano. We just tried to follow our collaborative intuition and go whereever each song suggested. We talked a lot about Steve Reich when it came to Kev's piano ideas and about Johnny Marr's use of tremolos; we wanted to incorporate those textures across the record. We knew the album was going to be called So That You Might Hear Me pretty early on, so we were dealing with ideas around communication and connection. The aim was to be more honest and instinctive, like when you blurt something out and can’t take it back so you have to deal with it. We messed around with sampling the sonar from submarines and using morse code messages, quantising them to become part of the rhythm tracks. On a lyrical level, I was listening to Phoebe Bridgers’ record a lot and found that hugely inspiring. How would you describe your signature sound, and how do you go about trying to project that in the studio? AD: I don't know if we really have a signature sound; I think we're always trying to make music that is moving in some way, but we're not very precious about how we get there. Whether that’s drum machines, synths, banjos and/or pianos, it’s about whether we're telling a compelling enough story both musically and lyrically. We also spoke to the album’s mixer, Craig Silvey, about his approach to the art... What is your studio set up? Craig Silvey: So, for my sins, I still mix in a mostly analogue set up. I mix through a 1972 Neve 8026 desk with mostly 1084 modules. It has 40 inputs, so on big sessions I do have to do some summing inside PT, but I try and keep as much summing on the analogue side as possible. I have a wide range of outboard delays and reverbs that I prefer, the Ursa Major Space station
and the Lexicon Super Prime Time being a couple of my favourites. I also use a lot of old standards like the Eventide H3000 and the AMS RMX-16. My latest purchase is a Hawk He-2150, which is a Japanese reel to reel tape delay from the ‘70s. Apparently in '70s Japan, there was a market for home enthusiasts to 'remix' albums they bought, and Hawk made echo and reverb units for that purpose. I guess a form of Japanese dub! I also have quite a few analogue compressors that I have on PT hardware inserts so that they are readily available without patching and can be pre-automated. How did you work with Bear's Den's sound? Do you adapt your approach to a band's unique sonic DNA? CS: Every band is different. The albums I work on vary a lot, from electronic pop to acoustic anti-folk, so I have to approach each one differently. When it comes to mixing a record, you need to quickly assess what is required for the tracks and what the artist is trying to get out of the mix. Sometimes it is a radical transformation, and sometimes it is just doing really posh versions of the rough mixes. The skill is in recognising that. Bear’s Den came to me with some very well recorded tracks and some well done rough mixes. I think the band thought (and I agreed) that they were missing a distinct colour or character. I also felt the song arc was being lost too. The band had written and produced some beautiful songs that had a story to tell; they had a journey, and I felt that needed to come out in the mix. So, instead of thinking about mixing it to just sound “good”, I looked for places where I could find contrast, where I could emphasise light and dark, dirty with clean, small to expansive, all to work around the story Davies’s vocals were expressing. What are your processes and techniques? CS: I often use the same standard techniques, but I would say the process is more interesting to me. The sound of analogue is great, but it is the tactile-ness of analogue that I really enjoy. The immediacy, the ability to change multiple things at the same time (like grabbing eight faders with eight fingers and finding a balance in real time). Trying to listen more and look at screens less, and the limitations, which make you make decisions quickly and decisively. Having recently recorded an album to tape instead of PT reminded me that a two” 24-track machine is not just about a great sound, it is also about making decisions. It means that you don’t just record every idea with 10 tracks and figure it out on the mix. You have to decide in the moment what is the best way forward for right now and go for it. It adds a spontaneity and rawness that is often lost in much of today’s music. Sometimes there is too much control. I try and bring that attitude to mixing as well. So That You Might Hear Me is available now. n
V for vision: Hannah V
P00 P46 MAY MONTH 2019
VISION SOUND &
Having produced music and served as a sessions musician for some of the biggest names in the business, Hannah V has become one of the most in-demand talents in the industry. Daniel Gumble caught up with her to discuss her incredible career to date and her ambitions for the futureâ€Ś
P47 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
rior to becoming a highly sought after artist and producer, Hannah V was known primarily as a session keyboard player for a multitude of pop luminaires. Among the names gracing her touring CV are Jessie J, Rihanna, Anastacia, Girls Aloud, Nicola Roberts, Sugababes, Jason Derulo, Jay Sean, Taio Cruz, Daniel Merriweather, ABC, Will Young, David Jordan, Bugz In The Attic and Charlotte Church. During whatever scant spare time she was able to lay her hands on, she would be composing and producing music and fine-tuning her skills behind the desk. In 2013, after eight years of traversing the globe, she decided to quit touring and focus full-time on her production efforts. Since then she has signed to Pitched Up Records at Sony Music as a producer-artist and registered a number of hits, working with the likes of JP Cooper and Stormzy, Mumu Fresh, Stylo G, Misha B, Shystie and many others. Daniel Gumble spoke to her in her East London studio to discuss her career progression and the expectations of a producer in 2019... What first sparked your interested in music production? I went to the Royal Academy of Music and studied Jazz Piano Performance. As part of the course they had a small production module and that was my first time ever seeing a sequencer. It was a small, basic module, but it was very interesting for me. The rest of the class were recording free jazz and I was there chopping up Janet Jackson samples and I had a singer friend lay down a chorus. I didn’t really know what I was doing but I knew I was going down a different route to everyone else. That was my first time working in a studio seeing how music was recorded, and afterwards I really wanted to explore it more. I got a PC and Logic and (very basically) started recording, having sessions at my house with loads of jazz musicians coming through and cutting stuff. We never usually finished tracks, they were like jam sessions, but as a producer. After a while I started working with my friend, a house DJ called George Begaya. We started a business together and I started producing and releasing some funky house, white label stuff. It was quite low level but it was good to be releasing music. At that point I was also touring as a session musician; I toured with Bugz In The Attic for two years. For me, that was a turning point in terms of production. I was on the road with these amazing producers who took me under their wing and taught me about analogue synths, and introduced me to all these jazz funk records I’d never really heard, as I’d come from a classic jazz background. After that my session gigs got bigger and bigger. My main focus was being a session keyboard player, but I was always producing, and it was all just for me. It was important for me to have something on the side of the session work, because as a session player you’re not playing what’s in your head, your playing parts that are given to you, and I felt I needed another outlet. As a jazz
musician I wanted to create something fresh and new, to keep being original. So I did a little side project – writing and producing for a singer – and I was about to drop a single when one of my friends, Felix Howard, at the time an A&R person at Sony, said: ‘Let me shop this around for a second’. I then got signed as a producer to Pitched Up Records and was there for two years. It was crazy because I wasn’t even a full-time producer then, and I got signed as a producer-artist. So, I quit being a session musician and became a full-time producer. It took me a year to learn the ropes. Until then, I didn’t know all the rules – stuff like doing radio edits, working with the mix guys, all the deliverables… I just had no idea. My friend Alex Cores Hayes, who was Professor Green’s producer, co-produced everything with me, showing me what it takes to be a professional producer. How big a learning curve was it when you signed with Sony? It was crazy. You think you know how it’s going to feel, and at this point I’d been working with stars for a long time as a session player, so I’d been on the inside a lot and thought I knew what I was getting into. But you don’t, until you’re there, sitting at a table with 10 people around you talking about how to present yourself and your project. The first year I didn’t really know what I was doing. They gave me total freedom but I’d been a session musician for eight years, so I wasn't sure what I wanted to make. It took me about six months to get over touring; I was at the height of my career and when I quit the tour with Jessie J I was immediately offered four other world tours and I turned them down. There was a lot of emotional baggage I had to deal with, aside from the music I was producing. What were your biggest challenges as a producer at that time? I wasn’t prepared for how emotionally attached I would be to everything. I was so attached to my music and I found it really hard at the beginning when anyone said anything about it, whether it was constructive or not. That was something I had to learn, that everyone has an opinion and that’s their job and I as the creator can take it or leave it, but I can’t get so upset about it. It’s a business and when you sign that contract you’re entering into a partnership. My first release went really well and my second release didn’t, so that was hard. With the first one it was great and I was loving being an artist, then you see the other side to it and it’s difficult to take. One of the things you learn is that, as artists and producers, we have no control over what the audience is going to dig or not. It’s not in our hands, so all you can do is make the best music you can. What happens when it goes out to the public, you can’t control. How does the process differ between selfproducing and producing for other artists? When I produce for myself I’m too emotional about it.
When I produce for someone else I see the vision in my head so clearly and I know what needs to be done from the beginning. I love being able to put their words and feelings into music to represent them and the song well, to cut the best vocals I can. I definitely find it harder producing my own work – I start second guessing things; you can overthink it, because it holds a different weight. It’s not that it means more or less, it’s just different. What have been some of the most memorable projects you’ve worked on? Working with JP Cooper stands out. He was a friend and we came from the same background, and I initially started playing some little bits on his records. Then, fast forward three or four years, and I ended up producing the title track on his album Raised Under Grey Skies and co-writing and producing the song ‘Momma’s Prayers’ featuring Stormzy. Being able to hire all my friends and musicians meant a lot to me. It was great to get all these killer musicians on the record. The song was also my first Top 10 chart success. It means so much because I think JP Cooper is one of the best artists in the world, and to be able to make great music with a friend I respect so much, and it doing commercially as well, is a dream. That for me is a real highlight. What did you learn from your years as a session musician that you could take into the studio as a producer? One of the main skills you learn on the road is how to deal with different characters. You’re living with people on the road and everybody's different. It really helped on the job, because you never know what you’re going to get. You don’t know if somebody is going to be nervous, if someone is going to be over confident (which actually is nervousness). You just don’t know how you’re going to get the best out of them, or what you need to do to get the best out of them, and that’s my job as a producer. Who have been some of your key production influences? I feel like I have two different production styles. Either I'll work with a classic live production, a full band, etc., or gritty, urban, beats-driven music. When it comes to live stuff, I’m obsessed with Leon Ware, Quincy Jones, Jerry Wexler, and Stevie [Wonder], all amazing people who knew how to assemble and arrange the best teams. But on the more computerbased production, I’ve always been a fan of Kanye, Dr Dre, Timbaland, and Diplo’s Major Lazer project. I love something that is really gritty but also really musical. As for producers I’m really digging right now, I love Swindle’s new record No More Normal; I love CallMeTheKidd, another UK producer whose production is so crazy I don't even understand how he does what he does. There are so many. n
P00 P48 MAY MONTH 2019
xxxxxx n wwwww
Exploring fusion’s furthest frontiers
Snarky Puppy’s music is full of light and life – qualities never so urgently needed than in these turbulent times. David Davies speaks to bandleader Michael League about creative evolution, the NYC studio scene, and working with ‘The Croz’…
narky Puppy leader, bassist and producer Michael League is pondering the challenges of translating a famously formidable live band to the studio environment. “The band’s mojo really lies in its ability to create a moment together, and since everyone is such a perfectionist, taking an overdub-heavy approach to tracking can result in a degree of cleanliness that can border on sterility,” he says. “I prefer to keep it raw, live and messy!” The casual listener might be hard-pushed to detect too many blemishes on Immigrance – the instrumental jazz-rock collective’s newly released 12th studio album – or in the performances of the band's hugely talented line-up, which currently totals 19 members including three guitarists, three drummers and four keyboardists. But there is no denying the creative progression that the group has undertaken over its 15 years of existence, and it’s particularly evident on the latest release. “I think that everyone individually is getting more and more interested in composing songs with nice grooves, nice melodies, nice chords, and an identifiable emotion,” says League. “That might sound obvious, but what I
ROOMS ARE LIKE MUSICIANS – THE MORE YOU GET TO KNOW THEM, THE BETTER YOU WORK WITH THEM MICHAEL LEAGUE
mean to say is that they aren’t trying to create bombastic or overly impressive moments anymore. I guess that’s just part of the process of getting older as a musician – you become more attracted to subtle things and turned off by showy stuff. And we have a lot of showy stuff in our back catalogue.” Unlike some previous albums where League’s compositions were dominant, Immigrance features five different writers across eight songs. “Everyone writes their songs completely themselves. It’s the arranging process that makes all the songs sound like Snarky Puppy because everyone puts in their own individual flavour and personality.” The new album was made at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, where 2016’s Culcha Vulcha was also recorded. Being a long-standing resident of Brooklyn, League observes the changing studio scene back in NYC with mixed emotions. “Everything is changing constantly in New York, and there are several studios I loved and worked in for years that have closed,” he says. “But three years ago I teamed up with my friend Diko Shoturma and became a partner at Atlantic Sound Studios in
PHOTOS: Stella K
P49 PXX MAY MONTH 2019 2017
League and Snarky Puppy
A League of his own
Brooklyn. The space wasn't huge, but we made some beautiful records together there. We’ve actually just moved into a gigantic space a block away called Shapeshifter Lab – a venue run by bassist Matthew Garrison. We put in a control room next door and now we have an enormous tracking space.” It is clear League relishes the prospect of logging many more studio hours there – after all, as he remarks: “Rooms are like musicians. The more you get to know them, the better you work with them.” A lot of instruments As might be expected of a musician and producer who is often involved in multiple projects at any one time, League has plenty of favoured gear. “When I’m tracking on the road I use an Apollo Duo and Audio-Technica 4041,” he says. “At Atlantic Sound, Diko and I have loads of gear: a Trident desk; preamps from Neve, API, UA, etc; a full selection of mics from Audio-Technica; stuff from Soyuz, Charter Oak and Earthworks; and plenty of vintage mics.” Recording takes place in Pro Tools and most sessions
involve the use of an Avid S3 control surface. League exclusively uses Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones for monitoring, and has two pairs of ATH-R70x headphones for checking mixes. Monitor world is wellequipped with equipment from ATC, ADAM Audio and Yamaha. “And then we have a lot of instruments. A lot.” Unsurprisingly, given the number of players and the complexity of some of the arrangements, mixing Snarky Puppy music can be an exacting task. “The general process is that I spend a week or two editing on my own, then send the sessions to our engineer, Nic Hard,” explains League. “I give him general instructions about tones and levels, but let him use his creative instincts as he sets up the basic mixes. When they’re all prepped, I come in and we spend about a day getting each tune into ‘Mix Ref 2’ condition. When all the songs are at this point, we both make notes and I come back in for revisions, which generally takes anywhere between 30 minutes and three hours per tune.” Final mixes can sometimes end up being very different from initial expectations – and that’s as it should be, believes League: “From the beginning of the mix I have a sound in mind, but it’s important to allow your vision to evolve according to what seems to work and what doesn’t. You can end up in a much different (and more interesting) place than you imagined.” Cruising with the Croz Touring Immigrance will keep League on the road for large swathes of 2019, but it’s important to note that Snarky Puppy is only one aspect of his work. Since 2016, he has also been a member of world/blues ensemble Bokanté, whose latest album What Heat – a collaboration with Jules Buckley and the Metropole Orkest – was released last September. Plus, he is very
active as a producer, with records from artists from Mali, Portugal, Colombia, Turkey, the USA and Cuba “currently on the docket”. It is, however, his association with David Crosby that he is perhaps best-known outside of Snarky Puppy. The legendary singer/songwriter has enjoyed a remarkable creative resurgence over the last five years, with League producing and playing on two superb albums: 2016’s Lighthouse and 2018’s Here If You Listen, the latter credited equally to Crosby, League, singer/keyboardist Michelle Willis and singer/guitarist Becca Stevens. “One day Becca, Michelle, Crosby and I were in my studio writing lyrics to a song that David had begun writing on guitar,” recalls League. “We were doing long days, and on this particular one, Croz dozed off in the process. The girls and I kept plowing through until we got to the chorus, which stumped us. We spent 10 to15 minutes trying but couldn’t come up with anything. Then, all of a sudden, Crosby snaps awake and yells ‘Buddha on a hill!’ We thought he was in the middle of a dream and sleep-talking or something. We cracked up and told him to go back to sleep. But then he said, ‘No, really. “Buddha on a hill” is the chorus lyric. Play it. I'll sing it for you.’ So we did, and he sang the hook exactly as it is on the record. The lyric didn't make sense to us until that moment. It seemed to sum up everything we were talking about in the verses, and how he feels about the comfort of being at home. It was amazing.” Along with his involvement in Snarky Puppy’s own label, GroundUP Music, and festival, it’s a safe bet that League is one of the busiest musicians of his generation. Balancing all the commitments can be tough, he says, “but when it works out it’s the perfect amount of variety to keep me inspired and fulfilled.” Snarky Puppy’s Immigrance is available now. n
P00 P50 MAY MONTH 2019
xxxxxx n wwwww
Call of the Wild On April 5, Idlewild released their eighth studio album Interview Music, recorded between LA and guitarist Rod Jones’s Post Electric Studio in Edinburgh. Daniel Gumble spoke to Jones about collaborating with producer Dave Eringa and feeling ‘free and fearless’ in the studio…
our years after the release of their seventh studio album, 2015’s Everything Ever Written, Scottish indie rock cult heroes Idlewild are back with album number eight: Interview Music. Co-produced by the band’s guitarist Rod Jones and intermittent producer and collaborator Dave Eringa, Interview Music was conceived in LA back in 2017 while the band was touring the US and finalised in Edinburgh at Jones’s own recording facility, Post Electric Studio. Here, Jones tells PSNEurope editor Daniel Gumble what it was like to team up once again with Eringa, discussing the role of the producer and the stark contrast between their eighth record and anything they’ve done before... Dave Eringa features once again as a producer on the new album. Tell us about your relationship with him. We had started the record in Los Angeles while on tour and then carried on in Edinburgh at my studio (Post Electric Studio) with myself at the controls, but after almost two years we still hadn't finished the album and needed a catalyst to push us forward. We’ve worked as a band and on solo work with Dave on and off throughout our careers; he has a great understanding of how we work and how to get the best out of us as musicians. So, we decided to record five additional songs with him to try and reinvigorate the record. This really pushed us on to finish the other songs. Dave has always been a mentor to me since I started to produce and I still feel I always
P51 MAY 2019
Pop Idles: Idlewild
learn so much from him every time we work together. he would almost always win! I guess that’s one of the It made total sense after this to have him mix the whole biggest reasons we got him on board for those five album, both the songs he had recorded and the ones we songs. Not just to produce but to moderate and guide had done ourselves. all of our sprawling ideas and opinions. That's the sign of a great producer I think. Someone you can trust to How heavily involved were you in the guide you through all those decisions and curate all production process of the record? the ideas and differences to make something coherent On the ‘non Eringa’ sessions I was at the helm/controls, and exciting, rather than convoluted. It was yet another although as a band we were very collaborative in inspirational session with him for me. terms of sonics and imaging the recordings. With Dave, although we all still weighed in, we were much more What does Idlewild look for in a producer? keen to let him lead. I think for us it's a mediator and almost a sixth band member who can collaborate and sort through ideas and Was there a specific sonic identity you were contrasts. Someone whose opinion we trust to be able looking for for this album? to take the best bits from everyone’s differences and knit We all have such vast ranging idea about sonics and them together. There is a way that Idlewild sounds when all of us almost pre-produced our own sounds for our Dave works with us, certainly, and that's something to instruments, so for me, it was about trying to create a do with the way he pulls certain things out of each of us. psychedelic space that facilitated such contrasts to work together. Allowing sonic clashes to compliment and How did the recording/production process of merge without sounding confused or mismatched. It this record compare with the last one? was really about sounding free and fearless. It was really different in that the last record was made with people joining mid process and was much more How closely did you collaborate with Dave fragmented in recording, so I had taken much more Eringa in the studio? control of it. Also, I was still learning my trade then We have always had an open dialogue with Dave (I – although I’m always learning, as all producers are. personally speak to him most weeks as a friend and This time was much more a band working together mentor) so we know how to work together well. We and sharing ideas from the get go. This in itself had would discuss almost every sonic decision and although challenges with the curating of ideas and making we don't always all agree, we all trust Dave so much everyone's voices heard. Without the Dave session, it
may have ended up very convoluted but he snapped us back into focus, giving us the momentum to finish the other songs and centre the record.
Where did you make the album? We started at Kingsize Sound Labs in Eagle Rock LA on our US tour and recorded, or at least started, six songs before moving on to my studio in Leith, Edinburgh. Here we recorded the rest of the album, some ourselves and five songs with Dave. Can you tell us a little bit about the studio? Myself and my friend Kris Pohl took over the studio (formerly Tape Studio) in autumn 2016 and renamed it Post Electric Studio. The band rehearses and records there, but we are also a commercial studio. It was built by our “landlady” and owner Fiona Bryant around five years prior to us taking over. The live room is Munro Acoustics designed and we have a well-curated selection of analogue outboard to complete our SSL Duality 48 channel console, and of course all our amps, pedals, guitars and gear we’ve collected over the years. Currently, we are running Kii mini mains and Amphion One_15s for monitoring. We also have a couple of mix suites and creative offices as a sort of music hub with mixers, labels, music managers, a music festival and a youth music initiative in the building. It feels very much like a community and collaborative space where we try to make bands and artists feel as welcome and relaxed as possible so they are free to be creative. n
THIS MONTH: Finnish cello metal band Apocalyptica adopts Genelec speakers in a Finnish alliance, whilst UK charity initiatives work to empower young and struggling people through music and audio. 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 and different you're doing this month, or later on, email email@example.com
Apocalyptica and Genelec join forces with ‘Finnish mentality’
Platinum-selling Finnish band Apocalyptica combines the unlikely match of cellos and heavy metal, starting out in 1993 as a classical tribute to Metallica. Given the challenges posed by an instrument with an “unpredictable, dynamic sound”, the band has long pursued a sonically superior recording set-up, particularly as they now often record and mix in different locations. They found this in (also Finnish) brand Genelec, as they’ve adopted The Ones 8341 three-way coaxial monitors to use wherever they work. Band member Paavo Lötjönen commented: “The sound of a cello is very dynamic, whereas many electric instruments are far simpler to capture in terms of EQ and forming an audio image. In contrast, the sound of a cello is everywhere, there’s a lot of bass, a lot of high frequencies, many different colours. If you have low quality monitoring, you can’t hear all of those colours.” “I’ve never had a speaker with such high definition, it’s just so natural,” added fellow band member Eicca
Toppinen. “You don’t hear left and right, you hear precisely where the sound is located in the stereo image. Also, we work in different rooms which sound completely different. I have my own studio where I work and then the guys often listen somewhere else. So, for us, it’s a big benefit to be able to calibrate each of those spaces using Genelec’s GLM software, and to achieve a consistent, reliably neutral sound.” Musing on the similarities between Apocalyptica and Genelec, Toppinen pointed to Finland itself as being powerfully influential. “Here we are living in the woods, in the middle of nature! We need to create new ways of living, surrounded by nature. That’s something we share with Genelec. I see a bright future for our relationship because the basis of our cooperation is heartfelt. We want to create something together.” Lötjönen agreed: “What we do is kind of unique. But you must trust yourself and your vision and follow your own path. The same is true of Genelec. It’s the Finnish mentality.”
CHARITY CORNER RAW MATERIAL PROVIDES MUSIC & AUDIO OPPORTUNITIES FOR LONDON YOUTHS
CLOTH CAT CHARITY IN LEEDS HELPS LOCAL PEOPLE EXPLORE MUSIC
Raw Materials focuses on improving the lives of young people, whether that be economically, mentally, or physically through music, audio, and live event activities. Based in Brixton, the charity offers a range of training, mentoring, and professional arts projects, including a meetup for ‘New Producers’ every Wednesday evening. The staff are experts in the field and help the students gain an AQA qualification through the programme. The charity also works within mental health in hospitals and the community, with young offenders, and children and young people in challenging circumstances.
The charity uses music training, whether that be instrumental or in the live industry, to help local people in the city of Leeds improve their quality of life. They offer a variety of courses and support, including courses in Live Sound Engineering, Singing and Songwriting, an Introduction to Ableton Live, and Ukulele playing for beginners. The courses are set at an affordable price, and free of charge for anyone in receipt of benefits. The charity also hosts regular events and open mic nights to encourage people to participate.
Another project is ‘Raw Roads’, a national touring programme featuring free public performances and artist-led workshops, helping young artists and live industry professionals to develop their skills and emerge in their fields. https://rawmusicmedia.co.uk/
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org and to donate, follow this link: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/clothcat Volunteering involves setting up and running events with the backstage team, spreading the word with the street team, working with the tech team or helping the events run smoothly with the cabin crew.
P53 MAY 2019
EVENTS SOUNDGIRLS BAY AREA CHAPTER MEETING CCSF, Broadcast Electronic Media Department, Arts Extension 165 studio May 6, 2019 SoundGirls host a Bay Area meeting on every first Monday of the month, and also allow you to be there virtually by ‘ZOOMing’ in via ZOOM Meeting. Visit the event page for information on how it all works: https://bit.ly/2FyNX95 SoundGirls gives women working in the audio industry an opportunity to meet and network with other industry professionals, creating a strong support network. However, membership and events are open to all genders, as long as you have a desire and drive to succeed in professional audio. PLASA FOCUS LEEDS 2019 Royal Armouries May 14-15, 2019 Plasa Focus Leeds brings the latest of entertainment technology to the North of England. The programme list looks exciting, with the announcement that Stormzy’s audio engineer will present how he plans to approach the audio setup of Stormzy’s Glastonbury headline slot. The show offers the best from Audio, Lighting, AV and Stage Technology brands with seminars, workshops and product demonstrations providing industry insights.
Find out what pro audio and tech events are happening in the coming months… IBC 2019 RAI Amsterdam September 12-17, 2019 Occupying the same venue as ISE, yet later on in the year, IBC is a far-reaching media, entertainment, and technology show. As well as exhibitions and conferences, IBC has developed a series of events and free-to-attend features to enhance the show's experience: theatres hosting demonstrations, presentations and briefings; the future of technology and research from leading R&D labs; and blockbusters on show at the custom built Big Screen. The show also includes the IBC Awards, for which entries are now open, recognising notable contributions from organisations and individuals to the industry. In fact, the 2019 show is adding two new Awards to the bill, including the Young Pioneer Award that acknowledges young and emerging talent in the creative, commercial or technical spheres. Also, the Social Impact Award, which will represent achievements in inclusivity, diversity, and the environment. Other Award categories include the Innovation Awards, Outstanding Achievement Awards, and Exhibition Stand Design Awards.
in all things pro audio: Studio Recording, Home Recording, Music Production, Live Sound, Broadcast and Streaming, Networked Audio, Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality, Game Audio, and Sound for Picture or Product Development. As well as exhibits and demos, there will be comprehensive papers, workshops and tutorial programmes. AES New York 2019 will be co-located with the Independent NAB Show New York, and an all access registration to ISE includes access to the NAB show as well.
AES NEW YORK 2019 October 16-19, 2019 This show, the 147th Audio Engineering Society International Convention, is made for those interested
BLAST FROM THE PAST FROM... MAY 2016
PSNEurope takes a trip down memory lane to some of the most memorable stories from this month in years gone by…
OPTOCORE CELEBRATED ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY
HARMAN PROFESSIONAL SOLUTIONS APPOINTED MOHIT PARASHER AS PRESIDENT
ITALY’S ARCADIA WAS FIRST CINEMA IN WORLD TO INSTALL MEYER SOUND’S LEOPARD SYSTEM
The initial 1993 patent was “really quite basic – just establishing the basics of the technology,” according to founder, Marc Brunke, but a mere three years later the first Optocore products were on the market. The eight-channel A-D and D-A converter modules dubbed the ‘Brunke Modules’ were the first audio network systems to feature multiple nodes, with the first sales made to Polish Broadcast in advance of a Papal visit. Brunke said at the time: “We are where we hoped we would be… it just took a little longer than I expected. But when you are young you think that everything can happen quickly."
Harman named Mohit Parasher as executive VP and president for the Professional Solutions division in May 2016. The appointment saw the exit of Blake Augsburger, who had led Harman’s Professional Solutions since 2007. Parasher was previously VP and general manager for Harman’s Consumer Audio and Professional Solutions businesses in Asia Pacific. “Mohit has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership and success in general management, sales, marketing and channel management, achieving rapid growth for Harman’s audio brands and Professional Solutions in Asia Pacific,” said CEO Dinesh Paliwal.
The Sala Energia auditorium at the Arcadia Melzo multiplex in suburban Milan, Italy became the first cinema anywhere to power all of its screen channels with Meyer Sound LEOPARD line array loudspeakers. The 630-seat venue is said to now contain the most powerful permanent Meyer Sound cinema system in the world, as well as one of Europe’s largest Dolby Atmos systems. “When I first heard the LEOPARD-based system in our Sala Energia, I was so excited and enthusiastic that I was moved to tears,” recalled Piero Fumagalli, owner of Arcadia Cinemas. “I sensed immediately the clarity, dynamics, and musicality of the LEOPARD arrays."
P54 MAY 2019
Acclaimed engineers Olga Fitzroy and Rhiannon Mair were recently added to the MPG’s executive board, with Mick Glossop and Andrew Hunt stepping down as board members. Here, they outline their vision for the organisation and plans for the future…
n April 2, it was announced that revered studio engineers Olga Fitzroy and Rhiannon Mair had been elected as MPG (Music Producers Guild) executive board members at an Extraordinary General Meeting, where it was also revealed that producers Mick Glossop and Andrew Hunt would be stepping down from their board positions. For the past two years, Fitzroy has been an assistant director of the MPG and represented it at the UK Music board. She is also founder of the Parental Pay Equality campaign, working tirelessly to turn an idea for shared parental leave for freelancers into a Bill being debated in Parliament. Meanwhile, producer, songwriter and artist Mair is a full member of the MPG and has been actively involved in representing it at social and industry events across the UK. She was also nominated for both the Breakthrough Producer and Breakthrough Engineer awards at this year’s MPG Awards ceremony. Speaking to PSNEurope, Fitzroy and Mair highlight their top priorities as board members and shared their vision for a more diverse industry… What is your top priority as an MPG executive board member? Rhiannon Mair: To find ways to increase and diversify the membership of the MPG. I’d like to encourage not just more women to join, but also younger producers and engineers who perhaps aren’t aware of the benefits of being a member.
What are you going to bring to the board? OF: Over the years, I have developed a really good network of people and groups in the industry who are also committed to increasing diversity. RM: Coming from a songwriting background I’m hoping I can bring a different insight. Writer-producers are largely unrepresented at the moment and I think there is a current grey area where the role of a producer who also writes is being exploited. I want to represent writerproducers by campaigning on their behalf and liaising with the industry to create a kind of universal agreement. What are the key issues that need to be addressed by the MPG? OF: We need to attract more BAME members, as our current membership doesn’t really reflect the makeup of our country, or even the music industry. We also need to do more to clamp down on unpaid internships, as people from less well-off backgrounds are excluded from getting their foot in the door. How will you address these issues? OF: In terms of diversity, we need to talk to engineers and producers that we'd like to see in our membership and find out what’s important to them, as well as make sure our message is getting out and to the right places. We were recently part of an industry-wide campaign on the European Copyright Directive, meaning our members should get increased payments for their work being viewed on YouTube. Tackling unpaid internships
is not going to happen overnight, unfortunately, but discussions I’ve had with other industry partners have been positive. I realise that a lot of studios and small labels are working to really tight margins, but there is never an excuse for relying on unpaid labour. How can the MPG attract more members? OF: Asking professionals we'd like to take part if they are aware of the MPG and the benefits membership brings. Would they find social events or networking useful? Do we have enough of a presence outside London? I think there’s definitely scope for doing more events on film and TV music as well. RM: By showing the growth in diversity across the Guild. Having two women elected onto the board is a great starting point for this. How vital is the MPG’s work for both members and the wider music industry? OF: We offer free legal advice, social networking and member benefits, with a huge list of manufacturers offering membership discounts. The MPG has continued to support my own campaign, Parental Pay Equality, something that doesn’t just affect our membership, but musicians, composers, and the wider freelance workforce. RM: Without the Guild, producers and engineers would not only be mis-represented, but it has also become a pillar of support for many members and a respected organisation by the music industry. n
A league of its own. Inside the groundbreaking sound system at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.