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Issue 25 • December/January 2009/10

LIVE • COMMERCIAL • RECORDING • BROADCAST

www.audioprointernational.com

GETTING TUBED

A look at the good, the new and the indispensible outboard gear on the market WIGWAM • DIGIDESIGN VENUE • HAYDN BENDALL• AT-101 REVIEW

AKG DMS 700 Digital Wireless System Now available in the UK on Band 1 which covers Channel 38, the future-proof frequency channel. For more information or to arrange a demo please contact Sound Technology on 01462 480000 or email akg@soundtech.co.uk.

NOW AVAILABLE ON

CHANNEL

38


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EMI Music Publishing London with VTC 48 channel console

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ISSUE 25 December/January 2009/10

CONTENTS > IN THIS ISSSUE NEWS JOE MEEK AWARD • 6 MPG decorates Les Paul for innovation

KLEIN & HUMMEL • 6 Sennheiser incorporates the German brand

SAVE OUR SOUND UK• 8 British entertainment brands back radio frequency issue

RTS AWARDS 10 TSL recognised for outstanding achievement

EVENTS

NAMM • 15 What is in store for those making the trip to sunny Anaheim

ISE PREVIEW • 16 A preview of the industry’s fastest growing trade show

LIVE SOUND/INSTALLATION

WIGWAM ACOUSTICS• 24

Chris Hill talks about getting to the top of the game

DIGIDESIGN VENUE • 22 Sheldon Radford gives an up to the minute report of the Venue live sound team

BATTLE OF THE BANDS • 26 Live sound for the Kerrang’s event at the British Music Experience

STUDIO/BROADCAST

BILLY CHILDISH • 34

UK’s most prolific recordiing artist on his recording techniques

HAYDN BENDALL • 36 The ex-Abbey Road engineer talks talent

COVER FEATURE STUDIO OUTBOARD • 39 A rundown of the best racks on the market

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

> Regulars: Behind the Board 45 In Session 46 People 48 Products 50 Marketplace 53 Mixdown 56

EDITORIAL

W

hile closing the chapter on the final pages of our last issue of 2009, my initial reaction is what a shit year it has been. Those working outside this industry have experienced the a prolonged recession, companies have gone under or had to restructure and many have lost jobs and houses. Professional audio has seen much of the same as projects have been cancelled, jobs lost, budgets slashed, festivals cancelled, studios closed and manufacturers have been forced to consolidate. It seems like there hasn’t been a day this year without a report on, or forecasting major economic meltdown. I can even remember friends prophesising mass societal breakdown, as the collapse of the banks meant that everyone would need to arm themselves for battle over the last bits of food and water remaining on earth. Luckily, none of these forewarned disasters happened and I am sitting in a well-lit and heated office, drinking coffee and deciding if I will have a pasty or curry for lunch. In retrospect, I am very impressed at the resilience of this industry. Rather than calling it a day and claiming administration when times got tough, many merely needed to tighten their belts and go back to the drawing board to devise new products and services that fit the constraints of slashed budgets and tougher competition, both of which were done without sacrificing the quality or methods that each company was founded on. It seems the general assumption of those outside of this business is that we are all drug-addled exrockers with few brain cells left. However, the smart and effective ways that pro audio businesses have dealt with the recession is proof of the superior business acumen liberally sprinkled among us. As we move into 2010, there is also a great feeling of optimism; we saw and felt it at recent trade shows and hear about it from people out in the field. Personally, I am going to sell my Armageddon survival gear and get ready for recovery.

Andrew Low - Editor andrew.low@intentmedia.co.uk A bookmark us in your phone

mobile.audioprointernational.com Contacts for Audio Pro International

Editorial: +44 (0)1992 535646 Ads: +44 (0)1992 535647 Fax: +44 (0) 1992 535648 Editor: Andrew Low andrew.low@intentmedia.co.uk Deputy Editor: Rob Hughes rob.hughes@intentmedia.co.uk Advertising Manager: Darrell Carter darrell.carter@intentmedia.co.uk Editorial Production: Helen French helen.french@intentmedia.co.uk Ad Production: Rosie McKeown rosie.mckeown@intentmedia.co.uk

Subscriptions Manager: Hannah Short hannah.short@intentmedia.co.uk Designer: Claire Brocklesby claire.brocklesby@intentmedia.co.uk Managing Editor: Andy Barrett mipro@intentmedia.co.uk Publisher: Dave Roberts dave.roberts@intentmedia.co.uk


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> AUDIO PRO AWARD WINNERS

Pro audio’s winning grins r gongs to say thanks for the API readers for

Audio Pro Award winners gather around thei

The Audio Pro Awards, announced in API November, displayed our readers’ picks of the best in the business. Chosen by a panel of over 100 industry experts, the awards are truly representative of those companies that

Peter Gabriel (main pic) proudly displaying his award for Lifetime Achievement, as does Rupert Neve (inset, top) for Best New Company and Gary Bradshaw who was voted Best Live Sound Engineer.

are setting the bar for innovation in all sectors of pro audio. Delta Sound’s Lee Dennison was certain that the Atrium at Westfield Mall, which won the Award for Most Innovative Installation, was designed

to be a winner. “With the equipment we specified, we had no reason to doubt that it would sound great from day one,” he commented. ” Lab.gruppen’s CEO Ulf Larson was delighted that the C:88:4 won Best

the recognition

New Installation Product award. “It’s great to know that C88:4 emerged as the winner after the judges actually sat down and discussed the merits of each product individually. We’re obviously doing something right.”


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AUDIO PRO AWARD WINNERS <

(L to R) Red Square’s Andy Reeves, David Baker, Hilary Nicholson and Paul Nicholson

(L to R) Midas’ Karl Brant (Service Manager), Andrew Shewring, John Collymore and Nigel Turner (Service Engineers).

The Brit Awards won Best Broadcast Sound for the efforts of CTV OB and Brit Row

Avid Digidesign’s Simon Caton, professional music sales, UK and Ireland (left) and Tim Hurrell, audio sales manager, EMEA

Audio Technica UK’s MD, Adrian Rooke, is flanked by his award-winning team, who took the Best After-Sales Support category in Studio and Broadcast Sound

Lab.gruppen’s CEO and his team with their Best New Installation Product award

Delta Sound’s Lee Dennison (left) and Mark Bonner


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Reproduced Sound

Haydn Bendall

Studio outboard

> NEWS

Les Paul wins the MPG Joe Meek Award Producer and musical inventor awarded posthumously for innovations that shaped 20th century music commercially by Ampex. Music Producers Guild chairman Steve Levine commented: “This award, more than any other, recognises the originality and experimentation of the producer. The ability of a great producer to push the boundaries is often imitated thereafter, resulting in the contemporary recording techniques that many musicians now take for granted. In the case of Les Paul, his innovations changed the course of 20th century popular music and it is safe to say that rock and roll as we know it would not have existed without him.” The Music Producers Guild Awards for Innovation in Production is named in homage to UK producer Joe Meek (1929 – 1967), who was renowned for his pioneering spirit, innovative style and experimental approach. Last year’s winner was Brian Eno.

THE MUSIC Producers Guild (UK) has announced that Les Paul will be the recipient of its 2010 Joe Meek Award for Innovation in Production. The Award will be presented at the annual Music Producers Guild Awards, which takes place at the Cafe de Paris in London, on February 11th 2010. Les Paul, who died on August 12th 2009 at the age of 94, was best known as a Grammy Award-winning guitarist and the inventor of the Gibson Les Paul – one of world’s most used and copied guitars. Les Paul was also responsible for a number of breakthrough recording techniques, including close miking, echo delay and overdubbing. In the 1950s he introduced the concept of multitrack recording, which he pioneered with his experimental eight-track recordings of Lover (When You’re Near Me) and Brazil. This early eight-track machine was eventually adopted and built

> mpg.org.uk

RSA teams up with Gearsource Europe

Mark Ray 1960-2009

Strategic alliance will help potential customers release capital from used equipment FOLLOWING THEIR union at the recent PLASA show, Red Square Audio and Gearsource Europe have continued working together to help realise their respective market goals. RSA MD Paul Nicholson explained: “Due to the economic downturn, I was looking at ways of making what we believe are already extremely competitively priced products – namely the Tannoy VQ Live and the Innovason Eclipse – even more affordable. It’s clear that some rental companies are reluctant to enter into finance schemes when interest rates are virtually at zero, yet lenders are still asking for ten per cent APR interest on leasing and hire purchase deals. So, we decided that one particular route to owning new cutting edge audio products would be a brokerage scheme, whereby Gearsource Europe could directly manage a deal to move on a customer’s existing or redundant equipment in order to release funds for new purchases from RSA.” Gearsource Europe’s Keith Dale added: “Gearsource Europe, along with US-based Gearsource, collectively, is the world’s largest e-seller in used and B-stock production gear. To maintain this position, we are constantly looking for new sources of products to list on our website. By working with Red 6

audioPRO

Gearsource Europe’s Keith Dale (left) will work with RSA’s Paul Nicholson

Square Audio we have been able to develop new vendor customers, from whom we have identified many items to place in front of thousands of potential customers around the world. By selling slow or obsolete rental stock on behalf of these customers, they, in turn, are able to invest in new products from RSA. “Although we normally encourage vendor customers to list the items they have for sale directly on our website, we have offered a free service to customers of RSA whereby we do this for them free of charge. All they

December/January 2009/10

need do is send us a list of items with pictures. And if they haven’t got pictures we’ll even visit their site to take these for them.” Gearsource Europe’s Garry Nelsson continued: “Between us, we have many years of experience dealing globally and can efficiently move any item, from small amplifier through to sea container, anywhere in the world, thereby making sales into countries that might be out of reach to many individuals, possible.” > redsquareaudio.uk > gearsourceeurope.com

CADAC HOLDINGS has announced the sudden and tragic death of its sales engineer, Mark Ray. Ray died of a heart attack on a recent trip to New York, aged 49. He had fronted Cadac’s sales and marketing activity around the world for nine years, having joined the company in November 2000. Cadac's MD Bob Thomas said: "We are all devastated, losing a good friend as well as a colleague. Mark gave every element of his life 100 per cent – as a passionate advocate for Cadac, as a gifted musician and as an active contributor to the profesional audio industry. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mark's family and friends. Every one of us here at Cadac will miss him enormously.” After serving in the Army, Ray’s career had included spells at FCN, Gibson USA, Adam Hall and 3G, prior to joining Cadac. Ray is survived by his two daughters, Nicola and Louise. www.audioprointernational.com


Inside and out, the new I-TECH HD is one of the most technologically advanced professional touring amplifiers on the market today. Building on the decades of innovation, invention, and insight Crown is known for, the I-TECH HD features five new patents – three on the power supply alone – giving you an amp that goes well beyond the expected. At the heart of the new I-TECH HD is the BSS OMNIDRIVEHD OMNIDRIVE processing engine. Four times faster than its predecessor and featuring Linear Phase FIR filters and LevelMAX™ limiters, OMNIDRIVEHD provides unmatched clarity and sonically pure signal processing. All this, plus the versatility of System Architect software, combine to make the new I-TECH HD truly bad to the bone. Learn more at itechhd.com or call your local Crown representative.

ITHD_PSN_Full_CRO134.indd 1

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> NEWS

Sennheiser incorporates Klein + Hummel Studio and installation manufacturer integrated into parent company SENNHESIER HAS announced that it will incorporate Klein + Hummel into the Sennheiser and Neumann companies. Volker Bartels, speaker of the Sennheiser Executive Team, made the announcement: “We would like to benefit from the strength of the Sennheiser and Neumann brands in this business area, too. Neumann and Sennheiser are firmly established in the studio and installed sound areas, respectively, and promise a much better market penetration than is at present possible under the brand name of Klein + Hummel.” Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin will be responsible for the studio monitor business, while Sennheiser will continue to manage K + H’s installed sound portfolio. “Under these well-known brands, we hope to considerably increase sales of these premium products,” is how Volker Bartels describes the aim of

Save Our Sound launched 21 British oranganisations get behind radio frequency issue SAVE OUR Sound UK, a new initiative launched in response to the Digital Dividend Review, has gathered together 21 associations, organisations and unions against the sale of airwave frequencies to the mobile phone industry. The new group, headed by figures such as Harvey Goldsmith, has issued a public statement announcing its formation and campaign to secure the future of radio mic-dependant events. It will lobby the Government to allocate a proper ‘home’ frequency for radio mics and adequately fund the costs of equipment replacement. “If the Government does not,” it stated, “then live music, newsgathering, musical theatre and other events, including those listed above, are likely to become impossible to stage. There is little doubt that companies will go bust, individuals will go bankrupt, employees will be made redundant, and charitable organisations will have to divert funds from 8

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the integration. “Neumann – as the studio brand – will expand its portfolio, and Sennheiser will further strengthen its installed sound business, which is the company’s third ‘pillar’ so to speak, besides the consumer and professional business.” Wolfgang Fraissinet, president of marketing and sales at Neumann, added: “In its long company history, Neumann has set many milestones in studio technology worldwide. We will now also use this expertise for studio monitors and offer optimum solutions to our customers, to international artists in the areas of TV and radio broadcasting, recording and audio productions.” Bartels has stated that the integration of Klein + Hummel is estimated for completion by the New Year. Most current employees of K + H will be employed by Sennheiser and Neumann. > sennheiser.com

ISCE appoints new President for 2010 Terry Baldwin succeeds Bryan Robinson

Harvey Goldsmith: ”The time to act is now.”

core services.” Harvey Goldsmith CBE, the music promoter and organiser of events such as Live Aid, said: “Save Our Sound UK has written to Lord Mandelson to raise these crucial issues and urge the Government to intervene. The valuable real estate we are talking about will be sold off soon and there will be no second chance to secure the future of those affected. The time to act is now.”

December/January 2009/10

Louise de Winter, National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) director, added: “We see this as a matter of moral obligation as well as public policy. It would not be right for those affected to effectively pay for their own eviction. This process will generate very significant sums for the Government and it must put aside some of the proceeds to compensate those forced to move.” > saveoursounduk.com

THE INSTITUTE of Sound and Communications Engineers named Terry Baldwin as its new President during an annual Institute Day in Watford, UK. Baldwin takes over from Bryan Robinson FInstSCE, who held office for the past three years. Both Robinson and Baldwin gave a speech in remembrance of past president and council member, the late David Hopkins OBE. Baldwin has been a prominent figure in the

audio industry for over 50 years. He was a joint founder of Baldwin-Boxall Communications. The Institute stated that it is extremely grateful for Baldwin's acceptance of the Presidency at short notice, after the sad death of Hopkins, who was due to take on the role. It also noted that it looks forward to the next three years of working on new projects that benefit both its members and the industry in general. > isce.org.uk www.audioprointernational.com


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L-R: Jeanette Langstaff - ASC, Northern England & Scotland; Logan Helps - Training and Product Support Specialist; Adrian Rooke - Managing Director; Claire Timmins - ASC, Midlands & N Ireland; Sarah Styles - ASC, Southern England & MI

Customer Service Excellence We would like to thank the readers of Audio Pro for voting for us and for recognising the efforts that have been made in continually improving our customer service. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their business during these challenging times and to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We look forward to continuing with improvements to our customer service and to welcoming both old and new customers alike throughout 2010. To experience our award-winning customer service, contact our UK sales office on 0113 277 1441 or email sales@audio-technica.co.uk

www.audio-technica.com


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> NEWS

TSL wins Royal Television Society award PAM2-3G16 pro audio monitor recognised for innovation in the development of new technologies TSL PROFESSIONAL Products Group has won a Royal Television Society 2009 Innovation Award for its development of the PAM2-3G16 Professional Audio Monitor. The RTS Innovation Award recognises outstanding achievement in the development of new technologies. The PAM2-3G16 won the Gizmo Award in the Hardware Device category, which recognises the introduction of hardware that makes a major, ‘concrete’ contribution to the industry in terms of functionality, ease of assembly, integration, maintenance, understanding and usability, whether professional or consumer. In making the presentation, RTS Innovation Awards’ chair Jeff Henry said: “The jury recognised that getting audio right these days is in many cases becoming more tricky than video and this new audio monitor brings real operational convenience to the increasingly hectic broadcast environment.” Designed and developed by TSL and its partner Celtic Audio, the PAM2 3G16 is a compact 2U multichannel audio and video monitor unit that provides advanced and previously

L to R: TSL MD David Phillips and Martin Dyster, Celtic Audio's David Lyon, and TSL Chairman, David MacGregor

unavailable audio monitoring functionality and performance. The multi-standard, multi-format PAM2-3G16 simplifies monitoring of multi-channel audio using preset menus and shortcut keys for rapid and intuitive access to critical elements of complex broadcast audio systems. Flexibility is offered in terms of user selectable scales, ballistics, range of standard input/output signals

supported and the ability to intelligently dissect and monitor any multi-channel audio signal structure, including mixed mono, stereo and 5.1 surround sound. TSL Professional Products general manager Chris Exelby said: “This is a deeply gratifying award from a prestigious organisation, which validates our mission to provide professional technology and service

Lab.gruppen gets Crestron Partner certification

that is derived from more than 25 years of experience in the field. It is a credit to our engineers and product managers, who have listened closely and delivered a level of technical excellence that our customers worldwide have been seeking. The end result of this work is a new product that is by far the most advanced and intuitive in its sector.” > tsl.co.uk

Glastonbury wins Best Major UK Festival

Amps and Lake products now available in open platform

UK Festival Awards recognise the best of the season

LAB.GRUPPEN HAS announced that it is now a fully certified member of the Crestron Electronics, Inc. Integrated Partner Program. This news comes after the companies worked together on the co-development of a Crestron Integrated Partner control module, which sees Lab.gruppen amplifiers and Lake products operable with other hardware in an openplatform Crestron systems environment. The platform consists of A/V, security, HVAC, lighting and other controlled devices that may be incorporated into commercial systems. The module is a custom control protocol developed for Lab.gruppen by Crestron. It is currently available at www.labgruppen.com for Lab.gruppen C Series and FP+ model ranges, and will soon be available for the PLM Series of Powered

GLASTONBURY took top spot in the UK Festival Awards by winning the Best Major Festival award. The award was given at a special event held at London’s IndigO2. Created in 2004 to recognise the UK’s world-leading music festival scene, the annual event is known as the ‘Oscars of the contemporary music festival industry’. Virtual Festivals.com produces the awards, first as an online only event and then as a live event from 2006. Votes are collected online by festival-goers during a threeweek public voting period. All festivals are weighted by their capacity, to give smaller events a fair chance against ones that are much larger. Other winners on the night included Bestival for Best Medium Sized Festival, Beach Break Live for Best Small Festival, Camp Bestival for Family Festival Award,

10

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Loudspeaker Management systems that feature Lake Processing inside. According to Lab.gruppen product manager Doug Green, the new Crestron module is an essential tool for all its users working in the installed sound sector: “With our entry into the Integrated Partner Program, our products can be seamlessly integrated into any Creston-based, and Crestroncontrolled system anywhere.” As one of the world’s leading providers of third party control hardware and

December/January 2009/10

touch panels to the installed sound sector, this is a great way of making Lab.gruppen products even more usable. It’s also good for Crestron, as it offers the firm a greater choice of hardware when developing its network solutions.” “Installed systems are growing ever more complex,” continued Green, “and often the biggest headaches faced by system designers and specifiers are about getting pieces of equipment to communicate and integrate effectively with each other.” > labgruppen.com

Oxegen 2009 (Republic of Ireland) for Best Overseas Festival, Creamfields for Best Dance Event, Camden Crawl for Best Metropolitan Festival, LeeFest for The Grass Roots Festival Award, Croissant Neuf Summer Party for The Greener Festival Award, Sonisphere for Best New Festival, T In The Park for Best Toilets and Blur for Best Headline Performance. www.audioprointernational.com


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IN ASSOCIATION WITH

THIS MONTH IN BROADCAST<

Extreme audio

Flying high above the crowd

The summer’s X Games was declared the best-sounding event to date by ESPN’s Kevin Cleary. DTS-Neural gear was an integral part of the surround sound for the event. Andrew Low reports… SUMMER X GAMES 15, the biggest yet, used DTS-Neural equipment for the first time to provide surround sound for events in LA. Kevin Cleary, senior technical audio producer for the ESPN broadcast, declared it the best-sounding so far as well, due in large part, he said, to the granular level of access that ESPN, which also produces the event, offers audio. “We could put microphones in places you typically could never get to,” he explained. This year, that included the jump ramps. For instance, Cleary positioned several of ESPN’s own piezoelectric X-ducer microphones along a lip of coping at the top of the ramp, where turning and skipping skateboards made a memorable clang when they hit. “It was like ringing a bell and everyone in the arena heard it clearly,” he recalled. “Capturing that sound so directly and putting it into the surround mix really puts the viewer into the arena, hearing

everything the fans there did.” The surround formula placed announcements in the centre channel and crowd ambience in the surrounds. The left/right channels were the most fluid, using a method similar to ESPN’s Nascar speed-shot audio setup, with approach microphones following the rider. On the skatepark course, X-ducers and Sony ECM-77D lavaliere microphones were attached to the wooden riding surface with screws anchored through the wooden backing and into the concrete behind, transferring the vibrations from the riders. Via the DTS-Neural surround-sound equipment, the Staples venue had its surround effects submixed through a Digico SD8 console, connected via MADI

to the main mix on a Calrec Alpha in the Denali Summit truck and a MADI remote rack connected the ramp mics via a five-pair coaxial cable, which replaced the many DT-12 cables previously used. In the Home Depot Center, the Moto Venue SS-20 truck had a Calrec Sigma main mixer supported by an analog Midas console for submixes. The skatepark/street/vert venue was mixed on a Calrec Alpha located in SS-25 and the

Radio France opts for Sadie Location recording and editing systems used for mobile production across France

RADIO FRANCE, France’s public service radio broadcaster, has purchased three Sadie LRX2 portable multi-track location recording systems and two PCM2 laptopbased editing systems. The units will be used for mobile production across France to provide content for the broadcaster’s seven national stations. “There are things that make Sadie really easy to use, even by people with a poor knowledge of computers, especially the project, the clipstore and the slip modes in the playlist editing. For high-end users especially, the trim window is wonderful,” www.audioprointernational.com

commented Radio France’s Philippe Destrebecq. The Sadie LRX2 location audio workstation has been designed to fulfil the needs of increasingly complex recording environments and to serve as an option for a wide variety of remote recording applications. It combines Sadie’s professional audio input and output ‘slither card’ I/O modules with a tactile hardware control surface and the ability to use a standard laptop via USB2 as the host computer to provide a combination according to the particular

application. The Sadie PCM2, meanwhile, is a non-destructive hardware audio editing system, complete with Sadie version 5 software. It provides the ability to edit audio professionally wherever the user can take a laptop running Windows XP. “The LRX units have been used at musical festivals in Beaunes, Saintes, La Roque d’Anthéron, and the theatre festival of Avignon,” reports Destrebecq. “We’re currently planning to buy three more of them in 2010 to increase our coverage across the country.” > sadie.com

vert (vertical) was submixed on a Soundcraft Vi6. Where the skatepark and the street course were set up, a Calrec Omega on the tower was mounted on a dolly, allowing it to turn and swivel between events. The most exciting audio came from two ESPN reporters who rode shotgun inside the rally cars and interviewed drivers during runs, speaking into lavalier microphones inside their helmets. “That was amazing stuff,” said Cleary. “I can’t wait until next year.”

Holophone provides 5.1 for Italian soccer Production company turns to H2-Pro FRAME SPA, a leading Italian-based television production company, has turned to Holophone’s H2-Pro for Italy’s Soccer Championship and several Champions and Europa League events. The soccer events were shot in highdefinition video and Dolby surround sound using the H2-Pro and were broadcast on leading Italian television networks Mediaset, Sky Italy and Rai. Holophone’s H2-Pro was used to build a 5.1 audio setup to capture ambient sounds from the crowd as well as player interviews for each of the games. The H2-Pro was positioned in the centre of each stadium at a convenient height in order to capture the sounds of the entire venue. “The hardest challenge was to capture the sounds of the games as they were in motion, such as the sounds of the players kicking the ball, especially when the stadium was filled with 60,000 screaming fans,” said Stefano Gianolli, head of research, development and engineering of audio and communications at Frame SPA. “The realistic discreet output of Holophone’s H2-Pro made it the ideal fit for these broadcasts.” > holophone.com

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NAMM EVENT PREVIEW <

January 14th-17th Anaheim

Waiting for the sun

NAMM is the place to see the gear that will be drooled over by many a muso, but there’s always been a strong audio contingent, too. Rob Hughes finds out that there’s even more emphasis on the pro side this year… t’s only the summer incarnation of the NAMM show that really requires the seasonal prefix, because it’s the winter convention that everyone knows as the NAMM Show. It’s also the only one of the two that us pro audio types are interested in, because over in Nashville you’ll be lucky to spot a solitary microphone amid the banjos and steel guitars. So why is the winter show the NAMM Show? Well, it’s in Southern California. Yes, fine weather is practically guaranteed. You’re only half an hour from the beach and a host of exotic watering holes, theme parks and golf courses. But none of this (cough) has any bearing on why we make the annual pilgrimage to Anaheim, right? Surely we go there purely to see the latest musical products that the New Year has in store. If you’re an MI professional, this kind of goes without saying – you only

I

have to look at the kind of instruments launched at the show over the years – Gibson Les Paul, Fender Strat and Tele, Hammond organ, Mini Moog and the Yamaha DX7, to name but a few. But what about us audio fans? Well, interestingly, the very first ‘big’ NAMM launch happened in 1925 when Thomas Edison introduced a new model of his Edison Recorder, which in modern terms was as significant as Christian Heil’s first concert line array. It was pretty big news at NAMM 25. NAMM 2010 will be a major year for pro audio too. For starters, the association has devised a new initiative aimed directly at our community, which should help pull in exhibitors and visitors alike. NAMM has invited various member organisations to rethink, rebuild and plan for the future of the industry by

participating in the new HOT (handson training) zone. This new forum is designed to address current challenges and create custom solutions targeted especially to professionals in the recording, live sound, house of worship, stage and lighting industries.

Those who invest in their companies by attending the show will be in a better position. Joe Lamond NAMM

More than 15 industry partners, organisations and associations will offer a series of free training seminars, face-to-face meetings, networking opportunities and one-on-one mentoring to strengthen the knowledge base of the industry. Phew.

And what of any effect that the ‘big R’ might have? NAMM’s president and CEO Joe Lamond said: “Although we don’t know exactly when, we know there will be a recovery. Those who invest in their companies and themselves by attending the 2010 NAMM Show will be better positioned to take advantage of the better times ahead. “This year, I attended LIMS and was impressed by seeing the passion and energy of the UK’s music community; I’m looking forward to seeing that community come to Anaheim and add its energy to this year’s NAMM.” And if you needed convincing any further: “Airlines are offering sizable discounts on air fares to the US, so it’s a great time to visit. With all of the new products, learning and networking opportunities, the return on that investment will be substantial.” > namm.org


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> EVENT PREVIEW ISE

February 2nd to 4th RAI, Amsterdam

ISE the future…

… And it’s Europe’s biggest professional AV and electronic systems integration expo. Rob Hughes looks forward to a grand show in 2010… y all accounts Audio Pro International missed a (quite literally) storming ISE show early in 2009 as it waited for a plane, which, due to the UK’s heaviest snowfall in 18 years, never arrived. But as we returned to the warmth of our office with grave concerns for the success of the event, over in Amsterdam show organisers were packing in more AV pros than you can shake an optical cable at. They subsequently smashed all records to make it the most successful B2B event ever staged for Europe’s professional AV and electronic systems integration industry. Marking an increase of 12 per cent on the record set in 2008, 24,912 visitors braved the elements to make it through the doors of the RAI centre in February 2009, while the exhibitor figure also built substantially on 2008’s total, with 564 companies all contributing towards a 16 per cent rise on the previous 484. In all, the show occupied 48,500 square metres, up from 38,500 in 08. Provided precipitation levels don’t increase by similar margins, it’s difficult to imagine how the show won’t grow again this February. This seems even more likely when you consider that over 70 per cent of exhibitor space for ISE 2010 had already been reserved before 2009’s show had closed its doors. “Our resilience reflects the resilience of our industry,” said ISE’s MD, Mike Blackman. “Professional AV and systems integration is a robust business which, through rapid advances in technology, is helping its customers to become more efficient, reduce costs and maximise

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Our resilience reflects the resilience of our industry. Mike Blackman MD, ISE

revenue. We are not complacent, we know that we will have to redouble our promotional activities in order to maintain our growth in 2010, and we are working with our advisory board to develop a range of new attractions that will make next year’s ISE a better place to do business than ever.” One such attraction, particularly for audio pros, will be the rooms of RAI’s newly built Elicium building, which ISE will offer as audio demonstration rooms for the first time in 2010. Located in the upper floors of the building, the demo rooms will give exhibitors the chance to showcase the latest in audio technology in a controlled, invitationonly environment, while visitors will have the opportunity to hear sound at higher levels than has previously been possible at the show. Available in a range of sizes from 27 to 40 square metres, all 12 rooms are fully soundproofed and air-conditioned. With more than three months yet to pass until ISE 2010, there is very little in the way of company-specific information in relation to the show. But since nearly all the floor space has already been sold, we can give you an idea of the firms you can expect to find exhibiting there. In no particular order: Yamaha, Harman, Kling & Freitag, Beyerdynamic, LAcoustics, Alcons, CUK, HK Audio, Digigram, Audio Technica, Genelec, Opus, QSC, Sennhesier, Ateis, Lab.gruppen, PMC, DAS, Biamp. MC2 and XTA will make their first appearance at ISE 2010. Both companies have been delivering

devices for performance critical applications for almost two decades but, recently, XTA’s experience of providing remote monitoring and control in the live arena and MC2’s credentials in fixed installations have been brought together to develop a range of new products for the AV integrator. XTA will show its DC1048 integrated audio management system, which provides matrix mixing with full DSP functions and the DCBob8/16 network breakout boxes, while MC2 will be demonstrating a the Ti series system and associated iCore Windows software interface. Meanwhile, InfoComm International and Cedia, ISE’s two supporting associations, have revealed their education sessions for Integrated Systems Europe 2010. The sessions cover a range of topics, from technical to business-focused. Of note for Audio Pro readers is Digital Audio Today, in which, respected audio consultant Roland Hemming will discuss the technology available, what the current options are and where the future trends are leading us. Introduction to the Audio Coverage Uniformity Performance Standard will be given by speaker Scott Wills about InfoComm’s first system performance standard approved by the American National Standards Institute. This will include procedures for measuring spatial coverage and discuss criteria for the design and commissioning of audio systems. > iseurope.org www.audioprointernational.com


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Everything available. All of the time.

32 inputs, 4 stereo inputs, 24 bus outputs, 8 matrix, 12 VCAs, 8 mute groups

Love digital mixing but hate toggling between menus? Soundcraft Si Series is the ‘one box’ digital live sound console that makes everything available, all of the time. Dynamics, Gates, EQs, Effects – they’re all right where you need them, right when you need them. Available in three sizes, the Si Series makes it easy to bring the power of digital mixing to theatre, houses of worship or tour sound applications.

48 inputs, 4 stereo inputs, 24 bus outputs, 8 matrix, 12 VCAs, 8 mute groups

Just plug it in where your analogue console used to be.

64 inputs, 4 stereo inputs, 24 bus outputs, 8 matrix, 12 VCAs, 8 mute groups

Soundcraft T: +44 (0)1707 665000 E: soundcraft@harman.com Soundcraft US T: 888-251-8352 E: soundcraft-USA@harman.com

www.soundcraft.com


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> EVENT REVIEW THE AUDIO EXPLOSION

The science of sound Over 100 of the UK’s pro audio industry professionals gathered at the Thistle Hotel in Brighton in November for the Reproduced Sound show. Titled The Audio Explosion, the two-day event was an in-depth look at all things relating to modern audio and acoustics. Andrew Low went to Brighton to bring you this report… nlike the more product focused trade events on the calendar, the Institute of Acoustics’ annual Reproduced Sound show has a more academic focus concerning the principals of modern professional audio. As such, this year’s hot topics examined the technologies and practices that are sacrificing the quality of audio in live and recorded music, and thereby listeners’ experiences. Funktion-One founder Tony Andrews led a discussion on the transient performance of live sound systems in a presentation titled ‘Reality or soft focus? A discourse on transient performance, a very neglected area of audio understanding’. Andrews feels that manufacturers and engineers alike have lost their way in developing and employing line array systems and digital equipment. He stated that the fault inherent in these products sacrifices the transient information in music and smear distinct sounds, rather than producing intelligible and ‘exciting’ audio. He said: “The main difference between the two perceived conditions of reality and soft focus is a sound system’s transient response. If the transient response is poor then the audio will be soft focus. Definition will be missing, speech will lack intelligibility, musical instruments will be confused and the sound source will seem distant, culminating in what can only be described as mush.”

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Thiele (left) accepting his award

Steve Fenton examined audio quality

Funktion-One’s Tony Andrews (right)

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“I understand the spirit of rock n roll to be making for the far horizons, while the actuality is a lowestcommon-denominator, bland mush. The sad outcome of all of this is that performance audio has not properly progressed in decades and the audiences are being short-changed in audio quality.” Steve Fenton, senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, discussed the pilot study he worked on with colleagues Bruno Fazenda and Jonathan Wakefield, called ‘Objective quality measurements of audio using multiband dynamic range analysis’. He, too, looked at the loss of audio quality – in this case he said that it can be the result of the overuse of compression in the mastering stage. “Since the mid-1980s, a trend has developed in music production that has resulted in the loudness of completed productions being increased during the mastering process,” said Fenton. “This increase in loudness has seen the gradual reduction in dynamic range of produced music.” The Huddersfield researchers examined whether, courtesy of the loudness war, the public’s perception of audio quality was distorted due to an acceptance of louder music versus reduced dynamic range. He said: “I think it’s abused, to gain overall loudness over competitors at the expense of upsetting the spectral balance of the music. Ultimately, the music consumer is the one losing out.”

The MP3 phenomenon was covered in many seminars, with special attention paid to the fact that young people are growing accustomed to the inferior file format, and not being exposed to the full dynamic range of music as a result of the original files being hugely compressed during conversion from richer audio formats. Tony Andrews commented on this topic in his seminar by stating that younger generations listening only to MP3 risked their “auditory perception being badly programmed”. He also sees this problem in the live sound world: “Anybody who is auditioning their rig on MP3s is either working with substandard equipment or they can’t hear the difference, in which case they really should be doing something else.” Loudspeaker designer Neville Thiele added that modern music has “no beauty” and is aimed “at the commercial market” in his presentation, ‘The Loudspeaker parameters and their evolution’. Thiele is an 88-year-old Australian who is considered a legend among electro-acousticians. He travelled to Brighton to accept the Peter Barnett Memorial Award. Peter Mapp received the award for Distinguished Services to the Institute Of Acoustics and Emma Greenland received the Peter Barnett Student Award. The event will be held in Cardiff next year, from November 18th to 19th. > reproducedsound.co.uk www.audioprointernational.com


CTV AudioPro Award Brochure Advert

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Award Winning Outside Broadcasts for Winners

“THE OB COMPANY OF CHOICE” Unit 4 Matrix Park, 900 Coronation Road London, NW10 7PH Telephone: +44 (0)20 8453 8989 Contact: Adam Berger • Email: adam@ctvob.co.uk or Bill Morris: bill@ctvob.co.uk www.ctvob.co.uk


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> PRODUCT REVIEW ANALOGUE TUBE AT-101

Stuck on the tube Wes Maebe puts the Analogue Tube AT-101 through the paces on a new track by guitarist Elliot Randall…

ANALOGUE TUBE AT-101 Valve Power! This box is going to knock your audio sox off. You’re going to listen to it and try it out and you are not going to want to give it back. HOW I MET THIS GEM Simon Saywood’s Analogue Tube first caught my attention at the AES in San Francisco last year. We were putting the APRS stand together in the UK Village and across from us, Simon turned up with the biggest Peli Case I’d ever seen. Out came what I thought was a very new looking 670. Gear sluts that we engineers are, we all rushed over and got introduced to the stunning AT-101. THE TECHIE BIT Based entirely on the original Fairchild 670, the AT-101 took about four years to develop. The unit uses point-to-point wiring throughout, the audio path is free from printed circuit boards and it has been entirely made by hand. JJ Electronics helped Analogue Tube develop a new generation 6386 remote cut-off triode tube, of which there are eight in the unit. The front panel looks exactly like the original, except for the Lat/Vert markings, which have been replaced by a Stereo Link switch. 20

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Coming back to the tubes, the AT101 has 20 tubes in total, so needless to say that this beast needs to be in a well vented area. My test unit came with a 1U low noise three-fan unit to cool things down, but it didn’t manage to cool down my enthusiasm. The AT-101 gives you a plethora of attack and release times, ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 milliseconds and 0.3 to 25 seconds respectively. The compression/ limiting ratio ranges from 1:1 up to 1:20 and because the AT101 employs a gain reduction amplifier and a pushpull amplifying stage, producing a high voltage side chain controlling the gain reduction, for each channel, you never get any of those annoying thumbs or pops. THE REAL WORLD Elliott Randall drafted me in to mix one of his tracks at my studio, The Sonic Cuisine. We set up the AT-101 on the SSL X-Desk inserts to process electric guitar and bass.

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I drove both channels quite hard. A lot harder then I usually would with an original 670, which could be down to the DC threshold. The result was instant smoothness, an extremely nice round bottom end without sounding squashed. The instruments, recorded in the digital domain, sounded sweeter and were much easier to place in the mix. As this particular song is quite a soft track, we wanted to throw a few more different mixes at the AT101 and see how it behaved with more rocky material. I linked the unit into my usual mastering chain and used it as the front end compressor on four of Elliott Randall’s songs. All four from different studios, recorded in different formats and all pretty different in terms of programme material, giving me the opportunity to thoroughly use all of the AT-101’s features. Whatever you put through this work of art, you end up with a fuller, smoother lower end and an old-fashioned quality combined with a fresh and modern clarity.

As long as I had this unit on loan, I was going to take advantage of it. When The Love Express, a house and techno production duo, came to The Sonic Cuisine to have their Love Express track mixed, the AT-101 got put through its paces once more. Given the nature of this track, I really wanted to see how aggressive you can get with the unit. The analogue synth bass was perfect for this and, I have to say, the unit did not disappoint. Its usual qualities came to the forefront and we ended up with a richness reminiscent of going to tape. TO RACK OR NOT TO RACK? A piece of equipment that’s been developed and built with so much care and passion just has to be good. The AT-101 is more than good - it is stunning. Whatever you put through it comes back sounding nicer. You can use it to control material, to gently tweak it or to drastically shape a sound. This unit is a faithful reconstruction of an old-school favourite with added crispness. If I had to pigeonhole the AT-101, I would call it Simon Saywood’s Acoustical Force Field I really didn’t want to give this one back, but I had to. > analoguetube.com www.audioprointernational.com


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> BRAND SPOTLIGHT VENUE

Avidly aligned Between launching the SC48, joining the Avnu Alliance and the rebranding of all Avid brands, The Venue line has been busy putting strategy to action. Andrew Low talks to Sheldon Radford to find out the method behind the madness… aunched in May of this year, Avid Digidesign’s Venue SC48 console is the smallest and most affordable console in the Venue live sound line. The desk was designed to bring all the features of the bigger desks in the series into clubs, houses of worship and smaller tours. Along with a rebranding and joining the Avnu Alliance, Digidesign has rapidly expanded from its recording studio roots. Venue’s senior product manager, Sheldon Radford, helped introduce the new brand in 2005, with the launch of the D-Show console. The new desk came with the promise of bringing studio-quality Pro Tools to the live setting, with the added bonus of providing the same recording and plugin options. The new board was quickly accepted and taken on to big name tours as engineers and artists alike were drawn to its ability to access the same functionality during their live gigs as used in the studio. The addition of the SC48 to the line sees these features put in the hands of emerging artists and venues like NYC’s Knitting Factory and California’s Saddleback Church, audiences Radford feels are the best candidates for the new technology. He explains: “In a flight case the SC48 will fit under a tour bus, so a lot of touring acts that have long wanted to carry a Venue console but couldn’t because they are on a smaller budget or because of their trucking and gear handling capabilities, are now able to take an SC48 on the road. Engineers are able to have the sound quality and

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the plugins on the road or in a venue in an affordable, compact package. “The real challenge was to bring some of the key features down and still make it sound good. Our customers are looking for an alternative to other consoles at that price point. We wanted to make sure we addressed that, so we brought our preamp designs from other systems down into a lower priced product. We also wanted to make sure that it ran the same D-Show software to avoid additional learning curves and enable them to move their show files from one system to another. It gives them portability and flexibility in terms of which system they are working with on any given day. If you don’t have the luxury of being able to carry a console with you everywhere you go, you can still specify from a range of Venue consoles and have all that work carry across each one. With the addition of a laptop, they have an integrated Pro Tools recording system that allows them to capture the signals directly from the board at the highest quality.” While the Venue boards pioneered Pro Tools recording, other manufacturers quickly followed suit to provide some form of Pro Tools functionality for live recordings and virtual soundchecks. However, Radford contends that Venue is still the only console that connects directly to Pro Tools in a qualified, tested and sanctioned way. “There are other ways to connect other consoles to Pro Tools, but they require the use of third-party equipment, which isn’t endorsed or tested, and it is an extra piece of gear in the chain,” he says.

Venue is all things live sound for Avid the company. Sheldon Radford Avid

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VENUE BRAND SPOTLIGHT<

Below: Sheldon Radford

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“Our consoles connect directly to Pro Tools HD or LE with nothing in the middle, so it really is the simplest possible option. With four digital cables, you get 128 tracks out of the console straight into a Pro Tools system. It is a simple, elegant, and costeffective method for engineers to start taking on the road and recording literally every single show. At the end of the tour, they have gigabytes of shows that they can pass on to artists and engineers that are in the industry standard Pro Tools file format.” The biggest recent news in Digidesign’s world was the rebranding of all things Avid to the namesake company. Avid was formerly a conglomerate of separate businesses including Avid, Digidesign, M-Audio, Pinnacle Systems and Sibelius, each serving its respective audiences independently. The rebranding brings the fusion of these businesses and the convergence of its digital audio and video technology. Radford sees this unification as a gradual process that will maintain Venue as the driving brand for the live sound market. “Ever since we launched Venue five years ago, it has always been big Venue logo, small Digidesign logo. At first we only had one console, but we now have new products that flesh out the line and Venue is all things live sound for Avid the company.”

The Venue team, along with all of Avid’s brands, have also been heavily involved in the promotion of the Avnu Alliance, a group of leading AV electronics companies whose goal is to enhance professional-quality audio/video by promoting emerging IEEE 802.1 audio/video bridging (AVB) networking standards for a broad range of markets including automotive, consumer electronics and professional AV. Radford comments: “We are very committed to making sure that we come up with a standard that can be deployed and adopted widely across the AV industry. The challenge we have had to date is choosing which of the multitude of audio over Ethernet protocols to offer our customers. From their side it is a decision of choosing and implementing them in certain applications, which is a daunting task because there is a new protocol released at every trade show. You can’t support all of them in a cost effective and meaningful way. “We have been waiting for something like Ethernet AVB to come out as the clear winner, because it has all the things we need in the AV industry, in terms of providing reliable low latency audio that scales hundreds of channel counts and multiple video streams. It has the promise that other protocols have fallen short on. Now we have to get together as the alliance and work amongst ourselves to come up with that interoperability approach and create a new way that devices can intelligently connect and pass media between each other. There are lots of ways that audio can be passed with many channels of audio in a live sound system. “If you think about the broader Avid world, we cover all aspects from the consumer to the professional in audio and video. We see it not just relevant to live sound, but a key technology that we want to drive and adopt as broadly as possible in all our product lines.” > digidesign.com

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> INTERVIEW WIGWAM

How to build a Wig As Chris Hill, director of event hire and installation firm Wigwam Acoustics, prepares to he tells Rob Hughes what it’s taken to get the company to the top of the game – and Anita McCarthy, the first recipient of the Charlie Jones Scholarship

I have to have a project on the go or I go mad. Problems keep me busy. Chris Hill

Wigwam has grown from local events to huge big-ticket shows

n the job vacancies page of the Wigwam Acoustics website is a rather exciting opportunity for someone with considerable experience in the touring and corporate events sector. The successful applicant will work alongside current hire director Chris Hill with a view to taking over the running of the rental division within two years. As Hill says: “Yes, this is my job. Minus the car.” At the helm of the company since its launch 24 years ago, Hill has steered the good ship Wigwam through a hundred or so local events and into the more treacherous but lucrative waters of international touring and big-ticket shows. Now he feels it’s time to pass the baton to a younger but equally dynamic professional who can see the firm through continued growth, taking full advantage of the solid foundations he has laid. In other words, he wants to retire. Audio Pro thought it was an opportune time to pick his brains…

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What does it take to run a successful hire/installation company in 2009? Common sense, no ego, attention to detail, good staff, training and a sense of humour. To what factors do you attribute Wigwam’s substantial growth over the past few years? Nothing was planned – it was just a natural growth to deal with our client base. Is expansion an entirely positive experience or does it have a downside? I have to have a project on the go or I go mad, so I guess having the problems that occur during expansion keeps me busy. But it’s not just about buying more equipment – it’s more staff, more warehouse space, more servicing and so on. It’s been a positive experience overall. What kind of obstacles do you have to overcome in order to grow a company such as Wigwam?

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Learning how to run a business. Coming from working down the pit in Barnsley to running a company with a £6 million turnover has involved an extremely steep learning curve. Also, having no life outside the company for many years. But we are getting there. What do big tour clients look for in a service/hire company? They all differ. I guess for most of mine, knowing that we can make anything happen at any time and that we have the backup and service facility to fix anything, should it go wrong. Having a personal relationship directly with the owners of the company is a big thing too. What are the chief considerations in ensuring the success of large-scale events? Planning, attention to detail, backup, spares, enough crew on the contract and not being scared to say no if you think it won’t work. Do you think the industry has changed for the better or worse in recent times? A bit of both I guess. It’s getting better in terms of becoming a proper industry and adopting standards and coming into line with the real world, but there are still a lot of companies and individuals undercutting just to get the work. How has Wigwam reacted and adapted to these changes? We’ve done nothing really, other than what we’ve always done, in our own way. What do you think are the biggest issues faced by the industry right now? Not making a big enough margin to provide the level of service required and dealing with ongoing technology changes. Not having the resources to invest in people, training and education. Digital technology was supposed to make everything smaller, better, quicker. In fact, it’s probably made everything bigger and www.audioprointernational.com


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WIGWAM INTERVIEW< slower and, in some instances, backwards. Manufacturers are producing equipment that works well on its own, but when you bolt several items together, sometimes they don’t want to work like that and it’s a nightmare to work out the problems. But the biggest issue for me is that we have, for years, all gone out looking for the best type of connector to use in terms of connectivity, moisture ingress, and ruggedness and what are we being forced to use is an RJ 45. This is madness. We are going backwards here, people. How does Wigwam deal with these issues? We’ve started our own training programme and live sound training course, we provide scholarships within this programme, we have a placement scheme from the training school and we are looking at setting up a live sound training facility with accredited courses and industry-led tutors. We’re also in discussions with Manchester City Council about a facility in the city centre. Given the power, what changes would you make to the industry? I’d make training and qualifications mandatory.

How is Wigwam different to its competitors? That’s something our customers could answer, not me. How will the industry change over the next few years? It’s hard to say. Every year I think this will be the year that some people fall by the wayside, but it never happens. There are too many companies with too much equipment for most of the year and this is why undercutting is becoming an issue. It’s hard for companies such Wigwam, Skan and Brit Row to invest in infrastructure, training and so on when some of the smaller companies don’t do the same and we are all expected to compete on the same basis. What is your vision for the future of the company? To carry on without the two owners – hurray! Adapt the technology that will come along and pioneer it within the industry, provide employment for the staff that have been loyal to us over the years, restore analog consoles, use the company’s resources to fund organisations and people that are doing good within the community. And, finally, make enough money to buy Barnsley Football Club.

wam usher in his replacement, how to keep it there…

The industry’s getting better, but there are still a lot of companies undercutting just to get the work. Chris Hill

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> BRAND SPOTLIGHT K-ARRAY

K-errang! Welsh rockers Reaper in Sicily scored their first record deal last month after winning Kerrang’s Battle of the Bands. Rob Hughes was there at the final to take a look at K-Array’s brand new KR200s system… he KR200s may look like a rather hi tech portable PA – and in effect it is – but while its size might allow it to be squeezed through the back door of your local pub, its 4,000-Watt potential is possibly a little ‘overkill’ for the average karaoke evening. What K-Array has done with the KR200s is take the kind of sound reinforcement needed to deliver respectable SPLs in a dedicated gig venue for several hundred people and squeeze it into a package of a similar size to that which Disco Dave loads into the boot of his car every Friday night.

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THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE INVISIBLE PA I’m a tad shortsighted (in the literal sense) and when I arrived at the British Music Experience in London’s O2 last month for the final of Kerrang’s Battle of the Bands, I hadn’t bothered to bring my glasses. This proved to be an oversight (no pun intended), because when I met with the relevant folks at the back of the performance space during rehearsals, I had no choice but to feign comprehension and nod as the new system was pointed out to me. I didn’t want to look like an idiot, but, embarrassingly, I couldn’t see it. After scouring the stage and its surroundings for several minutes, all I could make out were some meaty stacks of backline and a fairly attractive Slingerland drum kit – that’s 26

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right, I could read the brand name on the kick drum, but I couldn’t spot the PA. I may not quite be the eagle-eyed youth I once was, but my neglecting to take glasses to a gig is nothing new and I’m fairly certain that this was the first time I’ve not been able to see the loudspeakers. I had to wait for a clandestine moment and go in for a closer look – a much closer look as it turned out, because by the time they came into view, I was well inside what would have been the dangerous area for non-metal fans had the gig been in full swing. All this was little wonder since, although the KR200s’ HF unit – probably the more conspicuous element of the two-way system, if we’re splitting hairs – comprises a substantial number of drivers, each of which are just two inches in diameter and the cabinet that surrounds them is hardly any wider. The associated subwoofer features a 1,600-Watt, 18inch drive unit and, again, fits in a box that is just about big enough to house it, despite that fact that it also carries the amps and DSP for the whole system, which, remarkably, can deliver a constant 127dB. When the bands started playing, the experience was something like changing a baby’s nappy for the first time. Now, before K-Array’s distributor Sennheiser begins to wish it never invited me and picks up the phone in an uncontrollable www.audioprointernational.com


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K-ARRAY BRAND SPOTLIGHT<

rage, I think I’d better qualify this: it was comparable in the sense that, although I’d been told what to expect, I was still astonished that something so big could come out of something so small. I look after my ears and it was loud enough to make me reach for my earplugs – or toilet tissue, because I’d forgotten those, too – despite the fact that I was standing at the back of the room. At this point, some of you will be thinking that I was probably listening to 120dB of distorted, eq-ridden, tinnitusinducing noise and I’m sure we can all think of small and powerful PAs that sound big and awful. But this certainly wasn’t one of them. Acoustically, the room wasn’t ideal and one or two of the bands may have lacked a bit of experience in the stage sound department but, all things considered, it rocked. Moreover, as the night wore on, the sound got better and better. The show was mixed by Gibson Guitars FOH engineer Pete Freeman on Soundcraft’s recently launched Si3 console. Gibson, Sennheiser’s fellow BME sponsor, offered the space to Kerrang for the show and between them the two companies provided all the equipment and crew for the show, including mics and monitors and, of course, the drum kit. The PA was specified by Freeman and Sennhesier’s UK artist relationship manager Phil Cummings, after proving itself at Gibson’s London HQ. “We demonstrated it to Pete at Gibson’s live space,” recalls Cummings. “He was confident that despite its lack of physical size, it would handle the event, for which they were expecting 400 people. Once set up at the venue, it more than coped, www.audioprointernational.com

sounding better and better as the evening progressed and the band’s performances improved. The last band of the night included Charlie Simpson, formerly of Busted, in his band Fightstar. They performed acoustically and sounded really good through the K-Array.” Freeman adds: “I’ve been working with Phil and Sennheiser mics for years and he mentioned that they were looking for somewhere to demo the new K-Array. I had a listen to the system and I knew it could work for Battle of the Bands. I’m very happy with the result – the power and depth of sound quality from such a compact unit is absolutely amazing. I could fit the whole thing in my wife’s Mini. I’m definitely going to put it up for more shows. In fact, I plan to do an orchestral event with it next and I’m really looking forward to it. I think it will cope effortlessly and lend itself perfectly to the dynamics. I can’t wait to see what the KS4 and KH4 panel array units can do.” “K-array produces truly innovative products that really need to be seen and heard to be believed,” concludes Cummings. “The kit is so light and easy to set up that the PA was up and working in ten minutes with the first band soundchecking through it. There aren’t many 18-inch subs you can lift with one hand, even without a built-in power amp. The satellite line arrays fold and can be carried under one arm, yet the system delivers 4,000W of power. Immense. K-Array also produces larger line arrays and we would be very interested in getting a hire company to trial them for us.”

The power and depth of quality from such a compact unit is amazing. Pete Freeman Gibson Guitars

> k-array.com

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MOZART L’OPERA ROCK LIVE SOUND <

Life on

MARS While turning classical connoisseurs into metal moshers, Mozart, the Rock Opera is making fine use of Innovason’s Eclipse and its onboard recording system, MARS. Rob Hughes gets the lowdown from Paris…

oming to the end of a hugely successful stint at the massive palais des sports in Paris, Mozart L’Opera Rock is preparing to go on tour throughout France in the New Year. The 12 to 14 articulated trucks that will be required, purely for the scenery, gives an idea of the scale of the production The show’s sound design was a joint effort between FOH engineer Jean-Philippe Bonichon and Hervé de Caro, Innovason’s product manager and designer of the Eclipse digital console, which was duly specified for the production. Bonichon is ably assisted by networking expert Jean-Jacques Dialo on an Sy48, who creates a mic premix for all voices before sending it on to the Eclipse, which takes direct feeds from all the musicians and the Pro Tools sequencing tracks. A critical aspect of the brief was the need for a recorder and with its onboard recording facility, MARS, the Eclipse offered an instant solution and a substantial cost saving over external options. This was met with open arms by the team, which was given a surprisingly small budget for the size of the production. Using pre-recorded tracks stored in MARS, the team is able to carry out ‘virtual soundchecking’ without the musicians present, requiring only final tweaks once they arrive and saving the show even more time and money. But the clincher for Bonichon & Co was the Eclipse’s ‘Broadway’ function, which was designed by de Caro for the show and now forms an integral part of MARS. The Broadway function allows the operator to substitute a live feed with recorded track in the event of a problem during the show. The switch between the live musician or vocalist and recorded track is performed at the touch of a button and is entirely seamless. The monitor engineer also receives the playback feed as soon as the change is made so they are kept in the loop. Bonichon says that over the course of 50 shows, he has used this function at least a dozen times to cover up glitches and problems. “It’s fantastic,” remarks Bonichon. “The superb ergonomics and the fact that it is fully integrated is just amazing. There is no external equipment, other than a PC, which we’d have

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had anyway, and no external interface. Everything is there at the touch of a button and it is ultra-simple to use. It works like a dream and is totally stable. We use it every day, several times a day, for different things such as Virtual Soundcheck and the Broadway function and it has never let us down. That’s an important issue when you know that you’re going to have to rely on it totally when you’re on tour. It also has to be said that it is way faster to use MARS for backup than having to go via ProTools, which would have been our other option. Cheaper, too.” Complementing the Eclipse, de Caro uses an Auvitran AVM500-ES EtherSound network matrix, which is capable of linking and routing up to five ES networks together. In this case it only needs to handle two – one network for the voices, and another for all the rest – which it then combines and puts out as a separate, single network, ready for recording. The recording for the show DVD is not being done on MARS, since the system is already being used during the course of the show for its Virtual Soundcheck and Broadway functions. The Broadway function means that MARS is required to flip between record and playback mode. Clever though it is, MARS cannot record and playback at the same time. Instead, the combined network is taken from the AVM500-ES and recorded onto two Digigram LX6464ES soundcards. This simple setup replaces two entire racks of Pro Tools equipment. And the enthusiastic dumping of unnecessary gear doesn’t stop there – once the run at the Palais des Sports finishes at the end of the year, the show will go on tour only with the Eclipse. The SY48 will stay behind, as will the musicians – instrumentation will entirely consist of playback from the MARS recorder. “The whole show could have been done from the outset with just the Eclipse and MARS,” continued Bonichon. “There’s no doubt that the desk is capable of handling it all, but to be frank, I wasn’t sure that I was,” he laughs. “It’s a huge responsibility to run a show like this on your own, and for a first time using Eclipse, I just preferred to have Dialo and the Sy48 as well. Dialo is our networking expert, and without him I’d have sunk.”

The whole show could have been done from the outset with just the Eclipse and MARS. Jean-Philippe Bonichon

> innovason.com

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> INTERVIEW SUNE SNELLMAN JAKOBSEN

The palace players The live sound press tends to report mostly on arena shows and festivals, while overlooking some of the most hardworking and educated engineers in the business. Mew engineer Sune Snellman Jakobsen talks to Andrew Low about how he makes the band sound great at every gig… une Snellman Jakobsen had just come off mixing Mew as a support act for Nine Inch Nails when he arrived in London for a gig at Shepard’s Bush Empire. The NIN shows, which took them to huge, cavernous venues like London’s 02 arena were a far cry from the more comfortable and intimate venues that the band plays as a headlining act, and would seemingly require a raft of extra gear and subsequent worry and frustration by Jakobsen. However, he doesn’t seem flustered at what seems like a massive mix mountain produced by Denmark’s most decorated prog, indie band. “The only time I really get nervous is when I am mixing at home, in Copenhagen,” he explains. The tour the band is on now makes it difficult for Jakobsen to take his console or PA system to each show, so each night is a blank canvas, which he combats by employing a compact system based mostly around Metric Halo’s Mobile I/O 2882 and ULN-8, and Apple Logic’s Main Stage.

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He explains: “The Metric audio interfaces has DSP and gives me good dynamics processing. I used the Halo ULN-8 for kick, snare, bass and lead vocal preamps, dynamics and eq, as well as drum group processing and system eq. I then send the signals to my laptop via Firewire and use MainStage for effects like vocal delays and drum reverbs.” Adding to the puzzle is the fact that Mew’s new album, No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away, No More Stories the World Is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away, as its title would suggest, it not a simple record. Produced by Rick Costey (Franz Ferdinand, Doves, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer), the album is a rich audio experience with layers on top of layers. The same effect is achieved live as the band plays to cinematic audio effects played through a Bonsai Drive video hard drive, which is assigned to seven faders on the house board and mixed with the full band. The audio and video are

The only time I really get nervous is when I’m mixing at home in Copenhagen. Sune Snellman Jakobsen

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SUNE SNELLMAN JAKOBSEN INTERVIEW<

Packed crowds await the sound of Mew

played through the PA and projected on video screens respectively, to represent things like a children’s choir, a singing bear and cats and dolls playing violins and trumpets. Jakobsen has to start from scratch to replicate the effects made in the studio in the live shows. “I have to listen to the album and then find a delay that sounds similar and try to reproduce it on a mic through Main Stage,” he says. “Once we start rehearsing, I then adjust the settings and see what works best. I also use a TC Electronics Reverb 4000 for extra reverb on the vocals.” This process, along with having to use a different FOH configuration for each gig, requires Jakobsen to do a lot of onthe-fly mixing. “Once the sound check is over and everything is set in the computer I only have to change my settings from song to song and change the presets in Main Stage, but otherwise I just mix on the desk. What comes off the Bonsai Drive are additional instruments tracks, so it makes seven more channels of the mix. “There are lots of sounds going on at the same time from key boards, guitars, drums, vocals and backing tracks, but I am used to mixing music like that and I know where the frequencies need to be in the mix. After working with the band for so long, I know the set and what is important in certain parts of each song. For instance, I need know when to pull the keys back in a certain parts to make room for the guitar, or if something on the backing track needs to come up for a certain verse or chorus. The vocal is always difficult, so I need to know the important elements during the different parts of each song.” Working with so many different pieces of gear and venues forces an engineer like Jakobsen to be well versed in almost every major console, in addition to learning the intricacies of many different rooms and PA systems, a process that has pushed him to favouring certain brands and clubs. “The best venues on this tour were Botanique in Brussels and ABC in Glasgow. The Brussels venue had a great modern L-Acoustics PA. I also really like the d&b Auditotechnik J series and the Meyer Sound Milo system. “You just have to do the best with what you are given. The clubs we have played on this tour have been good every night. We do have to work a lot on tuning PAs, especially the older systems. We played in gig in Cologne and I don’t even know what the system was because it was very old, but it just took longer to eq. “I use a Waves Maxx BLC as a master compressor and limiter. It is very good for a system that can’t really handle the whole mix because you can get it up and then compress and limit it a little bit so the systems can still work as full capacity. “As for consoles, I love the Midas Heritage. I am a big Midas fan because they sound amazing and have great preamps and eqs. I prefer to have a good analog board, but I don’t mind digital. I always prefer an analog board for one-off shows because it is always faster and you don’t have to set up the internal www.audioprointernational.com

patches and all that, so in those situations I prefer analog. Digital is great if we play a festival and work on a board that I have used before, because I can just use those files and tweak them to fit the show. “We also use mostly Shure mics – I definitely favour the Beta 58a for vocals; I know them and they always sound good. We also have 57s for snare and guitar, KSM137s for overheads, high hats and snare bottom. A KSM32 is used for one of the guitar amps and another paired with a 57 is used for the stereo guitar.” The Mew tour has taken Jakobsen to several venues and outdoor festivals with varying noise limits. He explains: “The band doesn’t want to be loud just for the sake of it. They want to be loud and punchy, but still maintain dynamics. We keep the level around 102dB. In smaller clubs it gets a lot louder. It really depends on the venue, because in smaller venues as soon as the drummer starts playing you are already up to over 100dB. “There is a festival in Copenhagen that has a 95dB limit, which just doesn’t work. I think it should be at least 98dB, . Some festivals, like Roskilde, work on an average. The max is 103dB over 15 minutes, which is cool because you get ear damage over time – if you do it as an average it works.”

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Mew rock the stage thanks to Snellman’s hard work

I prefer an analog board for one-off shows, because they’re always faster to set up. Sune Snellman Jakobsen

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> OPINION SARAH YULE

Screen burn

Sarah Yule returns with her column to give her two cents on using your ears before your eyes to get the best mix… or many, finding ways to arouse the five senses influences many of our leisure decisions. Finding ways to invigorate feeling through sensory indulgence forms the basic platform for the notion of pleasure in most humans. Within music, we tend to link audio with vision, which may have stemmed from the association of seeing a band or orchestra perform in all their glory while enjoying listening to their musical talents at the same time. In recent years, the music video generation has helped to continue the visual association with audio. However, I do feel that this focus, transferred into the world of audio engineering, has actually become rather detrimental to the way that we work, especially over the last decade as we work more in the advancing digital domain. There are many sessions I have both witnessed and participated in where we are all guilty of obsessively watching (staring at!) the cursor glide across the screen of the Pro Tools or Logic Arrange page whilst listening back to a mix. It is as if we feel that the colourful bars and pretty patterns of blocks from different instruments, takes and edits, are essential viewing to fully hear what is happening, as if to say, “how will I know when the second chorus starts or the string section comes in unless I’m staring at my beautiful Apple cinema screen representation?” I personally feel that the focus on the screen whilst mixing really takes away from the way that you listen to the mix in several different ways. Firstly, when looking at the screen, especially when there is so much crammed onto the arrange page, it distances the mind from other thought processes like and distracts it from hearing the nuances of the audio. Also, like reading a book, the brain actually scans ahead of what you are looking at, so subconsciously you have already read/ looked ahead of where you are focusing. This means that your brain is already preparing for the blocks of instruments it’s

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seen are coming in within the next four bars. Will you really notice if the second verse starts at the right level and balance, if you are already preempting and expecting the rather ‘triumphant sounding’ brass section that you added yesterday? Possibly not. The focus on the screen can also force us to become far too precise. I remember smiling to myself watching an engineer turning a channel fader up by 0.5dB. I do not think you are going to audibly notice that. If you were using a real console I doubt you would really turn something up by 0.5dB, if you were just listening to it rather than watching it. Another big problem that comes with sitting and staring at the arrange page whilst listening to a mix is the position of the computer screen within your setup. Is your screen located in a place where you can see it clearly whilst staying in the ‘sweet spot’? Are you in the ideal listening position when at your screen? Or are you, like in many set ups I see, located quite severely off centre and quite possibly at risk of encountering some phasing issues or sitting in a bass peak or trough? Listening to your mix in different parts of your room, or even outside the room, can be useful for detecting problem frequencies, but doing any major percentage of your listening off-axis cannot be helpful at all, and will make well balanced mixes a lot harder to achieve. I want to start a mono sensory revolution. Let’s get back to focusing just on the sound and boycott the screens as much as possible when mixing. Just focus on the music and listen. So I urge any guilty readers to come to your audio senses and try listening and mixing without staring at that beautiful arrange page with your carefully constructed edits, to come back into the sweet spot and mix in an easier positioned environment and not let the visual data override what your ears are actually hearing.

AUTHOR BIO: Sarah Yule is an experienced audio engineer and Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) graduate. After graduation, Yule became one of the first sales staff for Dolphin Music. She currently works for TL Audio where she was promoted to the position of sales director, which is partially due to the success of her conceptual design of the Fat Track Tube Production Suit. Contact her at: sarahyule@tlaudio. co.uk.

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> INTERVIEW BILLY CHILDISH

I don’t have a problem with modern technologies, apart from when they destroy old ones. Billy Childish

Drums and racket

Recording artist Billy Childish took control of his recordings 20 years ago, after being forced to use traditional methods and hating the results. Over 100 releases later, and he’s still using the techniques that he learned early on. Andrew Low talks to Billy Childish about getting back to the basics… illy Childish, Chatham, UK’s best-kept secret, emotively states: “I don’t listen to music, because it is a load of drums and racket.” With over 100 full-length LPs released in his 20-year career, perhaps Childish is just sick of sound. But after speaking with the artist, musician and filmmaker, it is evident that he has very strong views on the methods and ideas used by both the record industry and recording studios. While Childish’s music is not heard on major radio stations, and after listening to one of his songs a professional recording engineer might assume that he is not too concerned with the sound of his recordings, he has influenced the likes of Kurt Cobain and Jack White and his approach to music is an extremely specific and intellectual process. A mainstay in Childish’s recording process for bands like The Milkshakes, Thee Mighty Caesars and Musicians of the British Empire is an old Revox G36 half-inch tape machine (in England named the ‘Revox 736’), frequently used with one mic to capture drum and bass sounds and one for the guitar. This set-up is the result of years studying the sounds of old recordings and Childish’s desire to best present the energy behind his music. He explains: “The only thing that is important to us is getting as much tape and as many valves between us and what is happening, whether we are recording to a digital system or

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not. It is difficult to avoid digital in this day and age. I don’t have a problem with modern equipment and technologies, apart from when they are destroying old ones. We are often portrayed as an old-fashioned band, but that is not true. “When we were in a punk rock group in 77, the recording engineers tried to turn everything down, dampen everything, separate the recording on different tracks and then try and get it to sound like a real group again. They wouldn’t let us record the way we wanted to. We then made some recordings on the G36 and thought, ‘this sounds better’. “We always wondered why some records sounded exciting and others didn’t – that was the pure place we were coming from. Like a lot of punk groups, we had been listening to rock n roll since we were kids. We would listen to Small Faces or the Kinks and couldn’t understand why You Really Got Me sounded more vital or energised than our recordings, which was the result of methods we were being forced to use in the studio. We also listened to someone like Link Ray and wondered how he recorded his music, and we started to try to figure it out by listening closely to it. The first mistake we made was thinking there was quite a lot of room around it, so we started to record things in live rooms. Gradually, we worked out by listening that one of the biggest tricks of old recordings is using low volume recorded at high levels. www.audioprointernational.com


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BILLY CHILDISH INTERVIEW< “It’s difficult to achieve this, because it’s hard to restrain and even harder to get engineers to ride in the red and trust that the tape will compress enough and take the load that you want it to put on it. It’s a matter of making the equipment work to our advantage. In some ways we sound very purist, although we are not trying to achieve an old sound, rather something exciting. If you listen to Link Ray or early Bo Ridley albums, they seem more modern and energised than newer recordings. When you are listening to the sound it is more emotive. We tried to create space for the song without sounding over-rehearsed or continually re-recording a song and running the life out of it. “When you listen to the old recordings made 40 years ago, they seem more dynamic, less controlled and more performed. Really, you are trying to trick the listener into hearing a performance, so what we are talking about is recording, not production. The really weird thing is there is an awful lot of production involved in trying to make something sound like it isn’t. “What we are doing is not letting the digital process dictate to us – we are dictating to it. We are disguising the problem with digital sound, which is that it’s too clean. You can reproduce things with it if you already have a good sound. It is like digital reverb – you have endless numbers of options, but we try to limit that back down to one or two choices and try to take some of the very high end and very low end out to increase the area that you actually hear, the mid and top area. We try to get it to sound like what it is meant to sound like, which is an approximation of a room, like real reverb. THE BILLY FILTER “People ask me why I didn’t produce the White Stripes album that made them big. The first thing I said, is that they are far too sensible to ask me,” he laughs, “and secondly, if I had, it wouldn’t have reached number 60 in the independent chart, let alone number one on the pop chart. It is a different remit and it has a different job. “I recorded an album for my friend Pete Molinari a few years ago and someone said they would have preferred not to hear it through a ‘Billy filter’, which presumably means that they would prefer to hear it through a Michael Jackson filter. It is interesting that they used the term ‘Billy filter’, which was meant to be slightly disparaging, but it does show that we have a specific aesthetic. I would contend that our specific aesthetic is to allow the recordings to speak for themselves. “Most people want to use the latest technological advancements, but anybody who looks at technology will see that it usually arrives very plush and gradually downgrades. The best radios were built when they first built radios – when the technology entered the arena. It only got worse when they worked out how to do it cheaply. “People are starting to appreciate that you need to add something with excitement like a real drum to a recording, rather than using a drum machine. The same goes for valve equipment and vinyl, because it adds the mystery and gives something to it. It is similar to the difference between drawing with a lead pencil and a lump of charcoal; the charcoal will always win because the charcoal loves to be drawn with. In the same way you can say that the tape loves the music and valves love the sound. LIMITATIONS “The recording process that I use is very limited, which at times can be a bit frustrating, but the idea is to find the freedom in the limitation, because that is what made the best rock and roll records, classical recordings, film and art. The limitation of the material is what gives you the freedom. Most people go into the studio with the limitless possibility of a digital system and limitless reverb and the technology becomes what guides them, whereas we dictate to the technology. The result is we have far more control because we are performing and trying to render that down on to a couple of tracks. The limitations are the things that give us the freedom to be creative. I am not afraid of those limitations – I embrace them because they are what makes the thing alive and worth doing. > billychildish.com www.audioprointernational.com

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> INTERVIEW HAYDN BENDALL

The Real Stars? On accepting his Audio Pro Industry Excellence Award, Haydn Bendall reminds us that we should never forget what really makes a great record – a brilliant artist. Rob Hughes reports from Strongroom…

Nothing compares to the importance of the artist. We as an industry of engineers and producers are in danger of looking upon engineering and production as being more important than they actually are. Haydn Bendall

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he response from the winners of our inaugural Industry Excellence awards has, across the board, been a humbling one, but a handful of winners spring to mind for the sincerity of their reactions. One of these is producer, engineer and label owner Haydn Bendall, who took the gong for Best Studio Engineer. Bendall was truly appreciative of the award and noted what an honour it was to be nominated and voted for by his peers. It was only in February this year that Bendall narrowly missed out to James Towler at the MPG Awards where he was nominated by the industry for Recording Engineer of the Year. With this in mind, when I went over to Strongroom in East London last month to get Bendall’s post-award thoughts over a cup of coffee, the first thing that I was keen to put forward was that being recognised by his fellow professionals for the second time in a year speaks volumes about the quality of his work and the respect he has earned during his career. Bendall was somewhat philosophical in his response and immediately sought to divert some of the attention from his work and onto to that that of the artists whose records he had helped create. He was keen to put the relative contribution of each into perspective and seemed uncomfortable with the idea that engineers should take a lot of the credit for successful recordings. “I’ve made some great records,” he comments, “but I’ve also made some really bad records. In each case, the engineer, myself, was the same. I used the same eqs and the same compressors, etc. The only thing that changed each time was the artist. I should imagine that if you’ve heard any of my stuff it’s only been the stuff that has been popular. Everybody’s

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made stuff that’s been really unpopular, but you don’t tend to hear about it. “The artist is the most important person in a studio, without any doubt. Obviously I do think production and engineering are important and I care a lot about them, but it’s nothing compared to the importance of the artist and I think, quite often, we as an industry, not necessarily the music industry, but we as a group of engineers and producers are in danger of looking upon engineering and production as being more important than they actually are. They are undoubted skills, and experience, talent and creativity are a huge part of getting them right, but they just need to be kept in perspective. “It’s quite difficult to express exactly what I feel because I do see the importance of my job. For example, there are certain microphones that I really do love and some people would think that that’s a bit fussy, but when I’m recording an orchestra, there are certain microphones that I really do love using at Abbey Road or at Air. I’m very relaxed in sessions, but I’ve got eyes and ears everywhere, looking at the positions of microphones to ensure they are where I think they will capture the performance as well as possible. If somebody says: ‘the strings are a bit harsh’, I know that it’s not the microphones and I know it’s not the room, so I’ll speak to the orchestra and maybe suggest that they don’t dig in quite so much, for instance. So anything that I’ve recorded that does sound really good is due to that interplay with the musician. “I care passionately about my work and I put in a great deal of effort to do it as well as I can. I care about the microphones I use, I care about the acoustic environment I record in and I care about the equipment I use. All of that is essential and I www.audioprointernational.com


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HAYDN BENDALL INTERVIEW <

You’ve got to work really, really hard, if you’ve got a great artist, to record them badly.

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think it’s essential for me to do my job properly. I’m a fairly old-fashioned engineer, I suppose, and I like working in big studios with big desks. Likewise, when producing, I take that very seriously; the arrangement of the track, vocal, the key of the song, the tempo are all vital. But sometimes we get it slightly wrong in lauding various engineers and producers. “I don’t want this to sound as though I don’t care about this award, because it’s an honour to know that one is respected by one’s peers and I am very grateful for it. I’m not being churlish, but I’m nervous about the self-promotion thing. “If you think about what our job is, it is to co-ordinate and record a record and you’ve got enough egos to contend with. Quite often, with the artist, managers, A&R people, lawyers, accountants, everybody wants to have a say in the record. So in a way, our personality is one of understanding, compliance, decision and flexibility. That doesn’t sit easily with trying to sell yourself, really. It should be part of your character. One of the prerequisites of being in a studio is basic awareness, good manners and an understanding of what’s going on. Hopefully, if you understand other people, then you also understand yourself and vice versa. “I’m quite happy to admit that if somebody says: ‘I really like what you’re doing’, it gives me pleasure. Everybody likes getting a pat on the back. Only this morning I came in and one of the guys said: ‘I heard what you were doing at Air the other morning; it sounded fantastic’. Those sort of quiet compliments, I like. It’s just the accolades that are linked to a successful record that I’m not fond of, because they don’t demonstrate anything except that, maybe, the producer helped get a certain great performance out of the artist. “For example, do you know who produced the last Elton John record? Does it matter? Who engineered it? Does that matter? There are certain producers who consistently give something innovative and creative-Trevor Horn, for example, but I think there are only a handful of those producers in the world who have that creativity. And you can quite often recognise a Trevor Horn production. He occupies a special place. People like Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois I’ve got a lot

of respect for, because they are always trying to push boundaries and a lot of their stuff is very commercially successful, but really, it’s the song and the artist that people respond to. “If you look at The X Factor stuff, you assume that it’s all being produced and put together by the same team because it all sounds the same and if anyone is remarkable on that, it isn’t because of any production, it’s down to the artist. “We’ve got a very powerful Pro Tools HD3 system here with Prism converters and loads of wonderful plug-ins and it’s fantastic. I’ve spent quite a lot of cash getting it together, but even with all that stuff, you can never make a bad singer sound good. You might be able to make a bad singer sound in tune and in time, but they’re never going to be good - you’ll just be listening to a bad singer in tune and in time. Music that communicates emotion and passion is something wonderful that only a talented musician can create and you’re never going to get a great recording of a terrible artist. Likewise, you’ve got to work really, really hard, if you’ve got a great artist, to record them badly. “A good friend of mine, the drummer Ralph Salmins, as soon as he starts playing you’re transfixed because his groove is fantastic and his sound is amazing. And people say: ‘Wow, what a great drum sound’, but I haven’t done anything really. I’ve chosen the mics, which are the mics that I’ve chosen for the last 25 years generally, I’ve put them in the positions that I think sound nice, where I know they will work with Ralph’s kit, but that’s all. “And it’s the same with orchestras and the same with vocals. I did a tremendous amount of work with Kate Bush and people said: ‘how did you get that vocal sound?’ Well it’s how she sings; it’s her. I’ve got friends who have worked with Michael Jackson and they say the same thing. There’s nothing to replace talent and it’s very difficult to obscure it. Real talent is the thing that makes music so wonderful. “But we musn’t become too polarised with these views, because the fact is that we do help and quite often we’re a catalyst, that’s for sure. It’s just that, if you’re going to claim ownership of some of the recordings you’ve done, you’ve also got to claim ownership of the bad ones. And I’m quite happy to do that, I don’t want to forget the bad ones.” > myspace.com/haydnbendall

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buy now: tickets available for the music producers guild awards 2010 The MPG Awards ceremony will see the UK music industry coming together in one room to celebrate with the shortlisted candidates and sponsor companies. Starting with a champagne reception for all guests, the awards ceremony will be hosted by BBC 6’s Nemone Metaxes. After the awards presentation will be the after party till 1am, along with a charity raffle. The MPG is supporting the RNID’s Don’t Lose the Music campaign. There will be a limited amount of tables available on the night to sell and individual seats on these will be sold on a first come first serve basis. Balcony tables and standing tickets will also be sold – all provide a great view of the ceremony and include the champagne reception, some free drinks, food and entertainment. Early Bird Discount (until December 23rd) and Full MPG Membership costs are: • Seated Downstairs - £125.00 - SOLD OUT • Balcony Standing - £60 • Balcony Seated - £85 The Café De Paris, is located in the heart of London and accommodation can be found in many local hotels. To buy tickets visit www.mpgawards.co.uk. To reserve a ticket please email mpg@bubblesqueak.co.uk headline sponsors

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STUDIO OUTBOARD SECTOR SPOTLIGHT <

Frequency response While studio gear design has recently switched focus to creating more compact systems, fat racks of studio outboard remain a stalwart ingredient in a digitally dominated world. Andrew Low looks at the latest and most used studio outboard... hese days you will often find the only thing standing between a real instrument and the digital world of zeros and ones is a warm and smooth sounding piece of outboard gear. While some studios have ditched the metal racks in favour of plugins, many stand by their outboard as the last means of affordable and essential recording hardware. As such, freelancers working with small budgets are frequently forced to bring tracks recorded in big rooms to a kitted out home studio set up for mixing and overdubs. These spaces are laden with glowing stacks of metal outboard racks that add depth and character to the sound. There are plenty of manufacturers cranking out racks to satisfy the needs of those who don’t have 30 grand to spend on a Fairchild 670, but still want buttons and dials to tweak on the outside of the box. The manufacturing of this highend gear maintains a high level of engineering attention that combines modern DSP processing with tubes and transistors.

T

BRICASTI M7 STEREO STUDIO REVERB Some of the world’s leading studio engineers have been raving about the Bricasti Model 7 (M7) reverb ever since its introduction. The Grammy Award-winning engineer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, U2, The Shins, Frank Zappa) states: “From the instant we turned on the reverb returns, it was obvious – this is one serious quality piece of gear.” The M7 is a high-resolution digital reverb unit, which incorporates the latest DSP processors providing a giant leap forward in reverb processing alogorithms, while a fully differential analog section and dedicated transformer-based linear power supply conforms to high-end specifications. Designed with a user-friendly interface, the Model 7 features 100 individual reverb presets, the True Stereo Reverb Process algorithm, 12 parametric program parameters, 100 user registers and four front panel favorite dials. The analog junkies will also be happy to know that the M7 comes in separated digital and analog modules. > bricasti.com

TL AUDIO EBONY A2 TL Audio has gained a loyal following from engineers and artists, including Dizzee Gillespie, Coldplay and Hank www.audioprointernational.com

Shocklee, for its Class A circuitry and valve designs. The Ebony series is TLA’s latest range of discrete processors, consisting of three units with Class A circuitry and an optitonal and controllable tube stage. The A2 is a stereo valve processor and features balanced I/O, multi input options, analog VU metering and intuitive controls. It also offers DO-2 digital SPDIF interface for connectivity with high quality conversion. It has a three-band eq with swept mid, a compressor section with variable ratio, threshold, attack, release, knee and gain make up, eq switchable pre and post compression stage, +10dB metering for use with DAW. > tlaudio.co.uk

DAKING FET III STEREO COMPRESSOR Nirvana’s producer of the Nevermind album, Butch Vig says: “If you’re looking for that vintage sound of a Trident A and you want to add warmth to the digital recording chain, look no further. Daking’s mic preamps add a distinctive sonic character that really make your recordings come alive.” With a long history of name dropping by pro engineers, Daking has recently released the FETIII stereo compressor, a dual channel limiter. The FET III compressor circuitry and gain stages are all discrete and fully Class A. This version has been designed to match its predecessor for speed, performance and versatility, with the addition of variable high pass filters from 0 to 200Hz added to the detector stage of each limiter channel and variable linking between channels when compressing two different tracks. The product is two independent units in one box and thus uses audio summing and That Corp differential amp I/O (electronically balanced). The common mode rejection in FET III is equal to that of FET II and output level is +24. > daking.com

CARTEC EQP-1A KMR Audio has the exclusive worldwide rights to the new Cartec EQP-1A. The unit is said to be a no-compromise remake of the Pultec passive programme eq, being handwired, point-to-point and has a power supply that utilises the same rectifier valve as the Pultec original.

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> SECTOR SPOTLIGHT STUDIO OUTBOARD It features all valve gain and power supply sections, intuitive design and a low noise floor. Other features include military grade Grayhill switches and PEC pots, custom wound transformers and inductor, an engraved faceplate and balanced XLR inputs and outputs. > kmraudio.com

From the instant we turned on the Bricasti, it was obviouysly a serious piece of gear. Joe Chicarelli

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UNIVERSAL AUDIO 1176AE LIMITING AMPLIFIER The 1176AE anniversary edition is a limited-run, ‘hod-rodded’ version of the original, built over 40 years ago. The hand-built model was limited to a run of 500 and features the program-dependent characteristics from the original Revision A Bluestripe, in addition to the class-A low-noise circuit and custom transformers of the 1176 Revision E. The 1176AE offers a ratio array of 2:1, 4:1 and 8:1 for compression, while a 20:1 ratio is preserved at the top for full limiting. Its slow, 15ms attack setting adds additional versatility to the unit. Lastly, the 1176AE offers something new for bass-heavy tracks or over-the-top effects, with a unique super-slow attack setting of 10ms, cleverly repurposed from the redundant off/bypass position from the 1176’s attack control. This gives the user an option not achievable with the original unit, allowing transients to pass more freely and furthering the versatility of the 1176AE beyond its predecessors. > uaaudio.com

EMPIRICAL LABS DISTRESSOR The Distressor can be found in most high-end studios, serving its duty as an automatic gain (or volume) control device. The Distressor electronically controls the volume of nearly any source in a ‘musical manner’. The Distressor is a digitally controlled device that benefits from the integration of digital controls to switch different circuits in and out. Its custom designed gain control circuit is meant to add a warm sound to digital recordings. Adding to this are several modes, integrated to color the signal, with or without compression or gain control.

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Extended modes are included to allow emulation of vintage gain control units and deliver a classic knee sound. The dynamic range is 110dB from maximum to minimum output in 1:1 mode. > empiricallabs.com

MANLEY LANGEVIN MINI MASSIVE STEREO EQ In Wes Maebe’s API review of the Manley Mini Massive (issue 24), he explained that the unit is the smaller companion to the Massive Passive. Housed in a 1U chassis, it shares the same components, has a similar circuit layout and is based on the same passive eq design as the bigger model. Four Manley Rapture amplifiers provide gain for the unit, combined with with series and shunt PSU regulators to provide low noise power supply. The back of the Mini Massive provides balanced and unbalanced +4 or unbalanced -10 inputs and optimised headroom. If they are put in the circuit or pushed, the transformers provide Discrete Class A sound. Frequencies in the low band range from 22Hz to 1k and provide a bottom end similar to a Pultec. The band starts from 560Hz and goes all the way up to 27k. > manleylabs.com

SUMMIT AUDIO ECS410 CHANNEL STRIP Summit Audio’s ECS-410 Everest channel strip is a foursection analog processor and mic preamp. Each section is completely independent and features its own fully balanced I/O with the ability to route each section together internally with the Touch Patch routing section. The Everest provides thru-hole parts for reliability and easy repairs and gold-plated circuit boards. The I/Os are all balanced and use high-end connectors. Each section is laid out by hand, so trace routing is the result of experiment and testing, not the accidental routing coming from a computer generated ‘auto-route’ feature. > summitaudio.com

THERMIONIC CULTURE CULTURE VULTURE STEREO VALVE DISTORTION The Culture Vulture was originally designed as a distortion box to simulate the distortion of a 200-Watt valve guitar stack, but has found use on drum loops, vocals, piano sounds or across a final mix.

www.audioprointernational.com


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STUDIO OUTBOARD SECTOR SPOTLIGHT <

The unit is designed to provide a 0.2 to almost 99.9 per cent distortion, changeable from even to odd harmonics. With independent channel operation, it provides high impedance line or instrument inputs, and 4kHz and 7kHz filters in addition to overdrive and bypass switches. > thermionicculture.com

CHANDLER TG1 ABBEY ROAD SPECIAL The Chandler TG1 is a recreation of the classic EMI TG12413 limiter with the original design information and circuit board drawings, provided by Abbey Road and EMI. Originally designed to model the Fairchild 660/670, it ended up with a sound of its own. Its limiter/compressor features a discrete circuit with transformer balanced I/O. The limiting element is a unique diode network for smooth distortion. Engineer Michael Brauer (Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan) has found many uses for the TG1. He says: “When used across the drum room, the EMI-inspired stereo compressor brings out an aggressive quality that I’ve not yet heard from any other compressor (and I’ve got 46 to play with). When used as a send it brings out the punch and clarity of instruments without effecting the overall level of the stereo output. I love them, I can't wait for Wade to make the EMI inspired eqs.” > chandlerlimited.com

DRAWMER DL241 COMPRESSOR The DL251 Spectral compressor is designed with a variable Dynamic Spectral Enhancement section, which is meant to restore the high frequency energy lost during full-band compression. Its circuitry is said to be very effective for compression and limiting during broadcast transmission, and equally across a stereo mix. Its compressor section can be switched to provide either hard or soft knee compression. In soft mode, the ratio increases gradually over a 10dB input level range until it reaches the ratio to achieve a more natural sounding compression. > drawmer.com

PRISM SOUND MASELEC MMA-4XR MIC PREAMP The MMA-4XR has been designed to meet the challenges of modern digital media in order to provide high quality signal levels from the offset of the recording process. It was created to provide accurate gain adjustment with minimal noise and a transparent signal path. The preamp was developed in association with engineer/producer Leif Mases, who has worked with internationally renowned artists, including Abba, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck and Black Sabbath. The minimalist design approach sees each channel of the MMA-4XR with controls only for gain (69dB in 3dB steps), phase invert, cut (mute) and 48V phantom power.

TUBE TECH CL1B COMPRESSOR The Tube-Tech CL 1B compressor is an optical, all-tube based compressor designed for single tracks of audio. It features a gain-reduction element, positioned immediately after the input transformer. It is controlled by the sidechain amplifier, which contains the two time control circuits – one for fixed and one for variable attack/release. The two time controllers can be used separately or combined and the circuit contains semiconductor OP amps for the entire control. The gain-reduction element is followed by a tube-based push-pull amplifier with variable gain up to 30dB.

> prismsound.com

> tube-tech.com

> Lexicon

www.audioprointernational.com

The EMI-inspired compressor brings an aggressive quality I’ve not yet heard (and I’ve got 46 to play with). Michael Brauer

SSL X-RACK Desiged with the same circuitry found in SSL’s Duality and AWS 900+ consoles, the X-Rack is a modular rack system with total recall. With room for up to eight modules, it offers the option of combining two different varieties of mic pre (Super Analogue and VHD), eq, dynamics and master section. It allows users to create a summing mixer with analog mix bus. The X-Rack features MIDI I/O connections and a mix bus link port that provides the option of connecting two X-Racks.

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> APPLICATIONS

Jacquire King falls for UA on Norah Jones’ latest offering Host of Universal Audio gear graces singer’s latest album and comes up trumps for top producer JACQUIRE KING (pictured), the engineer and producer behind the platinum-selling Kings of Leon album, Only by the Night, has recorded Norah Jones’ latest offering The Fall using Universal Audio converters, mic preamps and UAD-2 powered plugins throughout. “It's so exciting the way Universal Audio is partnering with original hardware manufacturers to make UAD plugins really legitimate,” said King. “It's already impacted the way I work. Since getting these plugins over the last few years, it’s the most significant shift in my work in terms of the way I’m doing things and able to approach things. "The EMT 250 plugin is amazing. That's one of my favourite digital reverbs,” he continued. “It’s all over Norah’s record, on all of the songs. It just puts this beautiful halo of space and sound around her voice. It was really helpful to have. I've always liked the hardware unit and this did the exact same thing.”

The EMT plugin is amazing. I’ve always liked the hardware unit and this did the exact same thing.

Jacquire King King also employed a well-chosen selection of analog gear for Jones’ record. “I used the 2-610 mic preamps extensively for bass and Wurlitzer. I also used it for background vocals,” he noted. “I love the way the eq works, especially the top end. It’s got a really nice shape to it and you can really crank it. It doesn't sound harsh – it's very pleasing.” > universalaudio.com

Berns Salonger gets the Alcons treatment

>> DAME VERA LYNN HAS… ...A brand new version of her 22-year-old version of We’ll Meet Again, made possible by Audionamix. The company’s signal processing technology allowed Dame Vera's original 1930s vocal to be isolated for the first time. Audionamix ADX technology turns mono or stereo audio recordings into fully separated tracks and allows voice extraction and up-mixing to create 5.1 spatialisation, re-mastering and sound restoration. Universal Music approached Audionamix to place a young Vera Lynn singing with the Fron Male Voice Choir on its latest album. The challenge was that the original classic recording dated from 1939 and was in mono. Audionamix worked with Universal’s engineers to extract the vocals from the original orchestration and then used ADX to clean up and remaster the voice track into a high definition stereo component. The whole project was completed within a week. 42

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THE 120-year-old Berns Salonger restaurant venue, an iconic landmark in the centre of Stockholm, has been brought up to date with the installation of three separate Alcons sound reinforcement systems. The exclusive Club 2.35:1 is located in the Berns Salonger basement and features three vast 37-metre and eight 12-metre video screens discreetly hidden behind black glass, providing a unique visual experience for guests. A high quality audio system was required to match the cutting edge visuals, so local specialists Electrosound chose an Alcons 7.1+1 surround system. It comprises four Alcons VR12s for the front left/right arrays, with eight VR8s for the surround and a further four VR12s covering the dance floor

and rear surrounds. The main sub cluster is formed in a Bessel-array and comprises nine Alcons CRMS single 15-inch cabinets, built into the ceiling and facing down, with two BF362 and two BF302 subs helping maintain the club vibe. Amplification is primarily from Alcons ALC2 units with SDP speaker processing, while a TiMax matrix feeds the audio to the speakers. A major challenge of the installation was the club’s owners insisting that the audio system should not be seen. Of note is the venue’s architecturally stunning main live music space, which has seen an older system replaced with eight Alcons LR16 per side, complemented by four BF362 dual 18-inch subs. www.audioprointernational.com


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APPLICATIONS <

Boutique retail therapy Adam Hall’s LD System gets jiggy at Souls of Mischief’s release party COVENT GARDEN’S Carhartt store rocked the block with thumping beats from Souls of Mischief’s album launch. The packed store hosted the Oakland, California hip hoppers along with other DJs, whose sets were played through loudspeakers and amps from Adam Hall’s LD Premium range. The gig was part of the launch of the band’s new album, Montezuma’s Revenge. While the venue was a small in comparison to the usual London venues the group performs in, it served as an intimate ‘boutique’ show for press and a dedicated group of fans to build hype about the new album.

Although cassal, the event needed a professional sound system, compact enough to suit the venue’s size and acoustics. As such, LD Systems product manager, Ben Millson, mixed the show through two LD V15 15inch, full-range cabinets with two LD V115B 15-inch subs, all from the LD Premium range. These were amplified by two LD LDSP6K amps. To split the frequencies fed

to the amps, he used the LD DS21 digital crossover. On stage, two of the new LD EB102A active, ten-inch Stinger cabinets were used for monitoring. Millson also provided LD WS1000HHD21000 series dual wireless system mics, while the host used an LD WS100HHD. The mics were sent through an LD LAX16D 16-channel desk with just a touch of reverb from the board’s built-in effects. > adamhall.com

Funktion-One for the Brit School New sound system for the UK’s only free performing arts establishment FUNKTION-ONE collaborated with the Brit School to provide students with a new sound system for events, including stage and music shows, as well as musical theatre. The Brit School is Britain’s only free performing arts and technology school, dealing with education and the vocational teaching of performance, media, art and design and the technologies involved with all of the above. The UK loudspeaker manufacturer supplied four stacks of self-powered Resolution 4As and F218As for the school’s Obie Theatre, with an AX88 for centre fill and RM15 wedges powered by Funktion-One E-Series amplifiers. The purple systems have also been installed in the practice rooms, including two Resolution 2As and RM18 wedges, two Resolution 1s, an RM18 wedge, two F81s and an MB308. “We felt it important that these students get an idea of what good audio is all about,” commented John Newsham of Funktion-One. “The entire system is horn loaded for good www.audioprointernational.com

efficiency and pattern control, so they can learn about pointing the speakers where the sound should go. “With these speakers, it’s a real joy to mix a show. You can really hear everything you do; a small fader movement or a minor eq adjustment makes a big difference. They're really very sensitive.”

Theatre technician Alex Marchant concurred. “It sounds fantastic. It’s easy to set up and reconfigure for different events, and it’s easy to move for outside shows. The technical theatre students work these shows and the ease of setup and predictable results make it a pleasure to use.”

SCRATCHING

THE PAD Recent industry deals UK RENTAL company Canegreen has recently taken a short residency in London’s Royal Albert Hall and supplied a Nexo Geo T tangent-array system for back-to-back shows by Michael Bolton and a ‘who’s who’ of rock for the PRS Fund featuring The Faces. The event used 20+3 Geo T enclosures in each main array, with a further 14+3 for the outfill hangs. “Dynamically, Geo T is at its best for a light rock act like Michael Bolton,” commented Canegreen’s Yan Stile. “It was very well suited to the PRS Fund concert, because it was mixed like a charity gala event at 98dB. “Michael Bolton has already asked for it again on the next leg of his tour in January.” > nexo.fr THE RCF TT+ series was used as the main sound reinforcement at the Osisko en lumière festival in Rouyn-Noranda, Canada. Rental company Projecson chose the PA to broadcast headliners Simple Plan and Scottish rockers Nazareth during the four-day festival. Emanuele Morlini, RCF TT+ product specialist, flew in for the event as PA manager and worked closely with Projecson’s staff and with Frank Teoli of Sound Distribution, the RCF distributor in Canada, during the setup phase. > rcf.it BOB FIX MASTERING has invested in a Prism Sound DA-2 DA converter for its studio based in the Italian city of Naples. Studio owner, Bob Fix explained: “In the case of a DA converter like this, it’s a lot more than just features – it’s the sound that’s important. I just like it. I find that it fits in very well. I have been using it about 90 per cent of the time compared to the other DA.” The 96kHz, 24-bit DA-2 avoids the effects of jitter. The exceptionally stable PLL has high jitter-attenuation, and the DA-2's digital outputs can provide a dejittered digital feed-through for reliable digital transfers.

> funktion-one.com

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BEHIND THE BOARD WITH… DONAL HODGSON Sting’s engineer of choice explains that, although he’s a ‘mix in the box’ guy, plugins sometimes just don’t cut it... Which band/project are you currently working on?

I am working with Sting, who’s latest album If on a Winters Night has just been released. We are doing some promotional shows. Where are you at the moment?

New York. We have two shows at St John the Devine, then one in Paris. What audio console are you utilising? And how many channels?

Do you utilise any outboard effects/eq, and if so, what are they used on and why?

My favourite compressor and limiter haven’t been converted to plugins yet, nor does it look likely that they will be. With this project I am recording straight off our Millennia HV3-Ds – it’s a great sound. Favourite console?

I’m using a 72-input Pro Tools rig to record the shows, with 64 channels of Apogee AD-X16s and eight channels of Prism ADA8 conversion. I use Prism for vocals, guitars and lute.

My all-time favourite console is the SSL4K. I have used many of them over the years and they are fantastic. Shame there isn’t instant recall.

What decision process was behind the choice of this audio console?

Favourite PA or monitoring system?

I have evolved into a mix in the box guy – with my Neve 8816 summing box – I tend to record and mix with a small control surface (Command 8) and my 8816 for monitoring duties. For broadcast mixes I use the Venue for ease of use and sound, because I am so used to the plugins. I can’t go back to analog, not without feeling that my way of working and what I can offer has been compromised. I need full and instant recall.

ATC are my monitors of choice and I do most of my monitoring on T16s, but I still haven’t broken away from NS10s and my Quad 405 for some of my mixing.

www.audioprointernational.com

Favourite venue/festival/studio?

Best sounding live space has to be the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore with its reverberation chambers and variable acoustic canopy. That place sounds amazing. Studio-wise, my

current favourite would probably be British Grove. Best toy you take on tour or have in the studio?

In the studio it would be a hard fought battle between my C2 compressor and my Manley Slam and on the road it’s my Zoom H4 hand held recorder. I have made some great recordings with that little machine. What’s been your worst professional experience to date?

I made some clangers when I was a

tea boy, but if you don’t make mistakes, how do you learn? It’s ok to make a mistake once, but you can’t ever make the same mistake twice and expect to get away with it. What makes you happy when working?

Being at the controls in the middle of a good take when you know it’s all come together – it just feels great. And if you weren't working now, you'd be?

Riding my bike and wondering how to buy that next bit of gear.

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> IN SESSION

Studios:

People and equipment behind studios in the UK and around the world...

Rooms: Studios 1, 2, 3, 4 and live room Console: SSL 4072 GTR, SSL 9080 J, Neve Air Custom A6630 Mics: Neumann, AKG, Coles, Telefunken, RCA, Royer Outboard: GML, Pultec, Empirical Labs, Urei, dbx, Drawmer, Fairchild, Neve Monitoring: KRK, Genelec, Yamaha

Rooms: Control room, live room Consoles: Digidesign C24 Mics: Neumann, Shure, Blue, AKG, Royer, Earthworks, Sennhesier Outboard: Summit, Focusrite Monitoring: Quested, Yamaha, Avantone

Warehouse, Vancouver

Limehouse, London

THE WAREHOUSE RECORDING studio started in late 1987 in a basement of a house and ten years later on July 9th, 1997, it opened the doors to its current location on Powell St in the vibrant Gastown area of Vancouver. The building that now houses this studio was built by the Oppenheimer family during the gold rush in the 1800s. Its original purpose was a Klondike supply warehouse and it even served as Vancouver's first City Hall. It is now the oldest brick building in Vancouver, with restorations to both inside and out that have retained the historical integrity of the original structure. The inside now hosts a coveted live space along with a mass of prestige and state-of-the-art recording equipment. Warehouse benefits from technical and acoustic design by Ron Vermeulen. Its primary recording space, located on the second floor of the facility, is a large, acoustically controllable brick and wood room with three large isolation booths. The main recording space is 1,190 cubic metres with a floor space of 170 square-metres, making it suitable for orchestral sessions of up to 60 musicians.

OPENED IN RECENT months by Rupert Pfaff, former MD of London audio equipment retailer Turnkey, (part of the defunct Sound Control group), Limehouse is a brand new canal-side recording studio in East London. It is billed as providing audiophile recording at affordable prices. Limehouse is a very contemporary recording studio, particularly in the sense that it has been conceived from the ground up as an ‘in-the-box’ facility – and unashamedly so, according to the owner. The studio offers high-quality acoustic recording, virtual instrument programming, and mixing and mastering in a single studio. Alongside a raft of high-end recording equipment, Limehouse keeps a large collection of quality instruments, which are all included in the price, including a Yamaha C3 grand piano with MIDI and DW Custom drum-kit. Other favourites include a Rhodes Mk1 Suitcase 88 (one of only a handful in London), MiniMoog Voyager, guitars by Fender, Gibson and Martin, together with some prestige backline, stomp boxes, and lots of percussion. Acoustic design is by London’s famous Recording Architecture

Room decay and acoustics can be controlled via retractable Roman diffusion panels, which are adjusted electronically (with recall) from the control room. Each of the three isolation rooms face the main studio and are in full view of the control room. These rooms are acoustically semi-dead, with additional damping that can be provided via custom-built adjustable panels. The Neve Air Custom console housed in Warehouse’s studio 2 is one of just three commissioned by Sir George Martin and Geoff Emerick in 1977 for Air Studios. The 6630 was the third to be built and was installed in the Oxford Street facility. It later went to Atlantic Studios in New York until 1991, when it was brought to Vancouver. It was then overhauled, refurbished and modified by Vermeulen. Over 30 years after it was built, it is still considered to be one of the best sounding consoles ever made. The Warehouse Studio is highly regarded by top record labels and producers and has hosted the likes of R.E.M., Avril Lavigne and Nickelback, with engineers such as Bob Clearmountain and David Bottrill.

The building that now houses this studio was built by the Oppenheimer family during the gold rush of the 1800s and even served as Vancouver’s first City Hall. Telephone: +1 604 688 7602 Web: www.warehousestudio.com

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partnership. It has created a highly flexible recording space with reversible/removable panels, a folding vocal booth, hidden amp chamber and deliberately ‘live’ and ‘dead’ areas. In the extremely quiet and detailed control room, soffit-mounted Quested VS3208s are partnered with dual VS1112 subwoofers calibrated to Bob Katz’s K-System. Also included in the Limehouse deal is free parking, and, apparently, as much tea and coffee as you can drink. The studio overlooks the Limehouse Cut canal in East London; both control room and live room are naturally lit. Pfaff noted: "Although it's well known that the demand for commercial studios isn't what it used to be, we feel that there will always be a market for a high-quality acoustic spaces with a nice collection of mics and preamps to record drums, piano and more. As such, we've really strived to pay attention to detail in both the equipment selections we've made and the way that everything has been put together, from acoustic design, to the use of balanced power and high quality cabling throughout. Above all, this is my passion.”

Limehouse is a very contemporary recording studio. It has been conceived from the ground up as an ‘inthe-box’ facility – and unashamedly so. Telephone: +44 20 7987 5831 Web: www.recordingstudiolondon.co.uk

www.audioprointernational.com


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IN ASSOCIATION WITH

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// To have your studio featured in this section, please send all details to: andrew.low@intentmedia.co.uk or call +44 1992 535646

Prism Sound mastermind Graham Boswell on why digital doesn’t mean less musical

Digital potential

Rooms: Control room, live room, dead booth Consoles: 40-channel vintage Neve 8026 Mics: Neumann, Shure, Audix, AKG, Coles, Bruel & Kjaer, Sennhesier Outboard: Thermionic Culture, Valley People, GML, Tube-Tech, Summit Monitoring: Boxer, Genelec, Yamaha, Auratone

The Garden, London TOUTED AS A ‘vintage tracking heaven’, The Garden is the Miloco studio group’s new vintage band tracking room, based in East London. In 2009 it entered an new era when producer Craig Silvey moved in with his exceptional collection of vintage analog gear, joining a long-standing partnership between Miloco and studio owner Matt Johnson. The Garden is one of London’s legendary vintage band rooms. It was built in the late 1970s by Ultravox's John Foxx and studio designer Andy Munro. In its 30-year life it has produced major albums by bands such as The Cure, Depeche Mode, Spritualized and Arctic Monkeys. The studio lives in the basement of a large period building in Shoreditch, one of London's most dynamic and creative districts. The secluded space consists of a control room, main live space and a large, dead vocal booth. The studio is now centred around Silvey's truly vintage Neve 8026 console, a classic and highly soughtafter board dating back to the early 1970s. It has been meticulously maintained to produce the purest sound, and features an incredibly rare

24-channel monitor section, plus a selection of the very finest Neve modules: 1084s, 1076s and a 1066. The desk is complemented by the exceptional Boxer T2 monitors and stacks of esoteric vintage outboard. Silvey has enhanced The Garden's outboard spec by adding an amazing collection of vintage modules including a Urei LA4, Eclair LaLa model 62 and a GML 8900. There are now two very special vintage Helios Channels, a John Hardy M1, GML 8304, Focusrite Tone Factory, and two Telefunken V72s for equalisation and an array of reverbs including two Ursa Major Space Stations and a Roland R880. AMS Phaser, Lexicon Super Prime Time, Mutron Bi Phase and TC 1210 Enhancer delay units complete the line up. The Garden's 470 square-foot live space is widely considered to have one of the best drum sounds in London, to which producer Mike Crossey recently attested. Bands will have a sizeable range of backline at their disposal, plus an impressive collection of classic keyboards, among them, a Valve Wurlitzer and Hammond, in addition to a Yamaha drum kit and numerous amps.

The Garden is one of London’s legendary vintage rooms. It was built in the late 1970s by Ultravox’s John Foxx and studio designer Andy Munro. Telephone: + 44 20 7232 0008 Web: www.miloco.co.uk/garden

www.audioprointernational.com

Digital recording is everywhere, but there remains a fascination about pure analog. Comments like ‘more musical’ and ‘less tiring’ are often made. A popular misconception is that, in conversion, much information is lost between the sample-points, leading to the notion that more samples could provide a better result. However, in today’s converters, the sample rate at the analogdigital interface is almost always much higher than Nyquist’s theorem would suggest – in fact between 64 and 128 times higher. Co-incidentally, DSD (direct stream digital) is 64 times oversampled too. Today’s converters have something else in common with DSD – very few bits in each sample. Yet strangely, by the time we end up with something that you can record on your hard disk, the sample-rate has been reduced to something typically between 44.1kHz and 192kHz and, magically, we end up with as many as 24 bits. This raises the question of resolution, precision or accuracy – or how many bits a converter is. So, when the change in a signal is smaller than the least significant bit in the converter, can the change be recorded or captured? If you think about it, it must be possible, if the business end of a converter is between one and six bits. Otherwise, how could we ever derive 16, never mind, 24 bits from it? We don’t have space to explain in detail here, so I’ll just have to summarise: today’s over-sampling converters employ noise shaping in their one to six-bit modulator stages to push noise out of the audio band. The noise itself dithers the converter, miraculously resolving and capturing changes smaller than

the bottom bit. Then a low pass filter is applied to band limit the source audio, remove aliasing products and the high-frequency noise products resulting from noise-shaping. In an A/D, the next step is down-sampling to the desired rate, such as 44.1kHz or 96kHz. The lower-order bits (extending to 16, 20 or 24 as we choose) are the product of our mathematical calculations, a bit like the remainder figures after the decimal point when we try to work out what 1/3 is in decimal. We keep as many as we need and, once again, we dither and optionally noise-shape when we truncate the result, but

A popular misconception is that, in conversion, much information is lost between the sample-points, leading to the notion that more samples could provide a better result. Graham Boswell

this does not limit resolution of the fine detail. So, near perfect resolution of large and small signals unconstrained by the supposed number of bits is a feature of both DSD and so-called PCM (pulse code modulation) systems and, in fact, they both share broadly the same kind of sampling circuit. Prism Sound’s recent UK and US university seminar programme included a demonstration on how we can fade a signal up and down between, say, 120dB and 100dB without distortion in a dithered 16bit system with 93dB dynamic range and hear it quite clearly – even more so if we noise shape down to 16 bits.

Graham Boswell founded Prism Sound in 1987 as an audio consultancy business. After an early spell in avionics and telecom, his audio career began in 1981 when he joined Neve as an R&D engineer. During his time there, he created the digital transfer console and an early digital mastering console. He is currently sales and marketing director at Prism Sound.

To contact Prism Sound Tel: +44 1353 648888 Email: sales@prismsound.com www.prismsound.com


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James named new Shure MD

IN BRIEF

Commercial installation manager replaces the late Dennis Harburn B&C SPEAKERS has opened a sales and distribution centre in Brazil, which will see it selling direct to that market. It will take on all regional activities from its predecessor Pro Shows. Based in Porto Alegre, the new B&C operation will be managed by Maicon Hendler, who has 11 years of experience with a Brazilian speaker manufacturer as an engineer in product development. “We are thrilled to have more direct contact with this key audio market.” said Ron Tizzard, B&C’s director of international sales. “We are confident that Maicon will be a real asset to both B&C and our customers, helping us to develop relationships with the manufacturers and retailers.” > bcspeakers.com FURMAN HAS announced a new partnership with Almo Professional AV, which will see Almo establish distribution and manage sales growth for Furman's Pro 120V power management solutions in the US. With 12 distribution centres across the US, Almo specialises in a variety of AV markets. The company will be adding to its offering with Furman's power management solutions. > furmansound.com MILAB MICROPHONES has announced that FDWWorldwide will serve as the exclusive distributor for its microphones in North America, Milab hopes that the deal will improve product availability and customer service. “We have put a lot of work into finding the right partner for these markets,” said Mattias Strömberg, marketing manager for Milab . “That means someone who feels as strongly about our brand as we do and has the brains and the muscle to represent and market us.” > fdw-w.com

SHURE DISTRIBUTION UK’S former commercial installation sales manager, Peter James, has taken on the role of managing director, as of November 1st, 2009. In this new role, James takes the helm and ultimate responsibility for the direction and strategy of the company and has overall responsibility for all its divisions, management team and staff. Following the sudden passing of Dennis Harburn in February, Shure Distribution UK has been functioning without a UK-based managing director. “It has taken time and careful consideration to decide on a new figurehead to lead the UK division. I’m pleased that Peter has accepted this position as he offers a wealth of enthusiasm, determination and experience,” said Markus Winkler, Shure’s EMEA managing director. “His understanding of the industry, dynamic attitude and longterm aspirations will help lead Shure Distribution into a new era of growth and competitiveness.” Peter James brings more than 20 years’ experience to the role of managing director, 12 of which have been with Shure Distribution UK. Having arrived in the pro audio industry during the MI boom years of multi-track home recording, he has since worked closely in all major vertical markets including MI, DJ, leisure, broadcast, live and AV.

JAMES: Long-term aspirations

With a keen eye on customer service and a deep understanding of the importance of good customer relations, Shure believes he is ideally suited to the role. “Taking on the challenge of progressing the company in the current environment is an opportunity that I relish. I want to ensure that we build upon our reputation as the industry’s leading

pro audio distribution company and continue to develop and adapt to our customers’ needs,” said James “Having worked with and been inspired by Dennis Harburn for many years, I’m extremely pleased to be able to carry on the legacy that he created for Shure Distribution and help to continue our long history of growth and profitability.” > shuredistribution.co.uk

Treanor moves up to director Marketing and communications manager to uncover new support efficiencies KIM TREANOR HAS been promoted to the position of director of customer service and sales support for Aviom. She has been with the company for several years, most recently as its marketing and corporate communications specialist. In her new position, she will oversee the company’s customer, technical, and sales support functions and its staff. “Aviom has always had a reputation for excellent customer service and support, but we know there are still lots of ways we can work more efficiently and, at the same time, improve our customer experience,” said Carl Bader, Aviom’s president and CEO. “She has extensive knowledge of the company and has a track record of identifying concrete ways to move Aviom forward.” > aviom.com

48 audioPRO December/January 2009/10

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DISTRIBUTION <

Adam Hall appoints Musico for Ireland New Irish agent to represent UK/German company’s brands, including LD Systems and Eminence FOLLOWING THE successful launch of LD Systems products into the Irish market, Adam Hall has announced the appointment of Padraig Whelan and his company Musico as Adam Hall’s new Irish sales agent. Musico, based in Carlow, is dedicated to importing high quality MI and audio products for distribution throughout the island. Its portfolio currently includes Taye Drums, Gator Cases, Ketron, Quiklok stands and Orange amps. The company will now be responsible for the entire Adam Hall portfolio in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This includes brands such as Eminence, LD Systems, Palmer, Defender and Trabes Towers, as well as Adam Hall’s own brands of hardware for the audio industry.

“Padraig’s knowledge and experience of this market is vital to our continued promotion and support of all Adam Hall’s brands into Ireland,” explained Adam Hall’s general manager in the UK, Andrew Richardson. “He has already built a portfolio of accounts for LD Systems and, more recently, for Eminence products. This new agreement represents a considerable boost to our continued growth on the Emerald Isle.” Whelan added: “I'm really excited about this new arrangement. This will help to strengthen the Adam Hall group of products here in Ireland and, in particular, LD Systems, which has already enjoyed healthy growth among Irish dealers. LD Systems will now be more available with better price stability.” > musico.ie

WHELAN AND RICHARDSON: Better stability

Sennheiser Group sets up shop in the Middle East

Apex teams up with Nicholson’s Red Square

New branch office established in Dubai Airport Free Zone to fill in the gaps for regional supply

Belgian brand joins growing portfolio for UK distribution through third party audio supplier

MIDDLE EASTERN TEAM: Amin Hagroo, Mig Cardamone, Ryan Burr

Renaud Schoonbroodt and Paul Van Hees of Apex flank Paul Nicholson

SENNHEISER HAS expanded its operations by setting up a Middle Eastern branch office in the Dubai Airport Free Zone. Mig Cardamone, business area manager for the Middle East, will head up the new operation. Sennheiser Middle East is a branch office of Sennheiser UK. Key areas such as consumer headphones and multimedia headsets – an area in which Sennheiser has achieved significant success in Europe and the US in recent years – as well as cockpit and cabin solutions for the aviation sector and its pro audio lines, including automated guided tour systems and digital interpretation www.audioprointernational.com

systems, offer new opportunities in the region. Cardamone will also be responsible for all Sennheiser brands, including Neumann and Klein+Hummel, as well as distributed brands such as K-Array, NetCira and Rycote. “This is a logical step for Sennheiser as we look to grow the group’s direct sales in the Middle East,” said Cardamone. “We know that consumers in the region have used supply from international distributors and in some cases system integrators, notably in broadcast, from outside the region and naturally gaps need to be filled. > sennheiser-middleeast.com

APEX HAS inked a deal with Paul Nicholson’s Red Square Audio, which sees the company taking on exclusive distribution for the UK. The Apex brand has been around for nearly 20 years and its products include the SL series of noise control systems, as well as a range of outboard equipment and speaker management systems. It will be an important asset to RSA, which, although established as recently as 2008, already counts Tannoy VQ Live and Innovason among an impressive portfolio. Apex’s managing director, Paul Van Hees, believes that the partnership with Red Square Audio will be pivotal for building brand awareness in the UK market.

“Appointing Red Square is an important strategic decision for us,” said Van Hees. “Paul Nicholson has an excellent reputation within the UK and we are looking forward to developing a long-term partnership.” “Apex products are quite simply superb and we are pro-actively marketing the range through direct demonstrations,” added Nicolson. “We are also in the process of appointing strategic dealers and welcome enquiries from interested companies. We want to put Apex on top where it belongs. I would like to thank Paul and his team for their support and I look forward to many years of success with Apex.” > redsquareaudio.co.uk

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> PRODUCT

NEW GEAR >> Recent releases in audio technology 1

2

3

4

Digico EX-007 expander unit

Soundcraft Vi2 digital control surface

CMS Sub

JTS UT series miniature transmitter

THEY SAY: The EX-007 substantially increases the number of faders and channels that can be simultaneously controlled by an SD7. SPECIFICATIONS: The EX-007 was designed to network to the SD7 with its own power supply and PC. It features 24 faders, touch screens, metering and other standard functions. It can be set up at a distance of up to 100 metres away from an SD7 via a Cat5 cable connection. It is also possible to augment an SD7 with two EX-007s, each acting as control panel. The EX-007 is substantially smaller than the SD7, which frees up more seats in a venue. It is compatible with all SD7 and SD-7T consoles, as well as future products in the SD-7 family.

THEY SAY: The Vi2 inherits all the basic functionality of the Vi4 and Vi6, but measures just half the size of a Vi6. SPECIFICATIONS: Equipped with one channel section of eight input faders and a master section, holding eight faders. Handles as many inputs as a Vi4 or Vi6 (72 and 96 channels) using the standard stagebox and local rack hardware, with access to eight inputs at a time on the channel bay. Its Vistonics screen of the master section allows control of inputs on the channel faders via touch sensitive input meters. Channel functions, such as eq, aux and groups accessible from this screen. Three customisable layouts of eight input faders are available and show files are compatible with Vi4 and Vi6 consoles. Processing is accessible via the Local Rack, including 30-band graphic eqs via the paging system.

> vdigico.org

THEY SAY: The CMS Sub has been designed to complement the CMS50 and CMS65, where extended low-end monitoring frequencies are required. SPECIFICATIONS: The CMS SUB is an active sub equipped with an 11-inch polyglass cone woofer and a 300W RMS amplifier. It includes both LFE, left and right inputs, left and right outputs, plus numerous settings such as phase, volume and low-pass filter. Its frequency response is 30Hz 250Hz (+/-3dB); Max SP is 113dB SPL (peak @ 1 m) with dimensions (with spikes) of 435.5 x 366 x 440mm (17.1 x 14.4 x 17.3-inches) and a net weight of 23kg (50.7lb).

> scvlondon.co.uk

THEY SAY: The UT Series provides musicians with a true experience of wireless technology. SPECIFICATIONS: The UT-16GT has a flat frequency response across 40Hz to 18kHz with a tone squelch circuit built in to maintain an optimum RF performance. It runs on AAA 1.5V battery for eight hours, while a standby function keeps wireless link and prevents interference. It is designed with interchangeable microphone for wind instruments or a quarter-inch phone plug for various guitars. Its clip is made with soft material to protect the instruments. Its PLL 16 selectable channels permits larger number of systems to work simultaneously. Two choices of receivers; one is half rack type, UR816D, or the UR-816PD for guitarists.

> jts.com.tw

> soundcraft.com

5

6

7

8

RCF ND 850 2.0 Compression Driver

Cedar HDA digital sixway headphone amp

d&b audiotechnik E12X-Sub

Kush Audio Clariphonic parallel eq

THEY SAY: The ND 850 is well suited for professional high performance applications, from high power two-way to multiple-way long throw systems. SPECIFICATIONS: The ND 850 2.0 is a three-inch diaphragm compression driver with a two-inch exit throat. Its diaphragm is formed from pure titanium with a suspension on a vented and damped design for low distortion. The voice coil assembly of the ND 850 was designed using a high temperature kapton former. It can maintain 220W continuous programme power handling. With a frequency range of 500Hz to 20kHz, it features a neodymium magnet assembly and a copper inductance ring for extended response.

THEY SAY: Suitable for a wide range of pro-audio applications. SPECIFICATIONS: The Cedar HDA is a 1U rackmount device designed to receive an AES/EBU or SPDIF digital input signal and convert it to six individually buffered, quarter-inch TRS stereo headphone outputs, each with its own volume control. It allows users to monitor audio directly on headphones without additional converter stages and cabling. Single balanced XLR inputs for the AES/EBU input and a single unbalanced phono connector for the SPDIF input. A rear panel button selects the two. Decodes 50/15Âľs emphasis when indicated by the status bits in the incoming audio data. Support for all standard sample rates up to 96kHz and a dynamic range of >100dB at its outputs

THEY SAY: The E12X-Sub contributes to highly economic reinforcement packages for mobile or permanent use in smaller applications. SPECIFICATIONS: The new D&B sub is a compact, lightweight, low profile, bass-reflex subwoofer fitted with a 12inch long excursion neodymium driver. It can be deployed in active mode with a dedicated d&b amplifier configuration with the E-series speakers or in operational mode with an internal passive crossover enabling connection in parallel with an E8 speaker driven by one d&b amp channel. Weighs 18 kg, measures 358mm x 530mm x 448 mm and produces 124dB SPL and 127dB SPL when driven by the D6 and D12 respectively. Support/downloads available for all current d&b amplifiers and the latest version of R1 remote control software.

THEY SAY: Clariphonic eq lifts your sounds out of the mud and brings your elements, busses and mixes into extreme focus with the simple twist of a knob. SPECIFICATIONS: The Clariphonic eq is a dual-channel parallel shelving eq with 12 switches and four knobs for tone control adjustments. It features a minimal mastering grade signal path with components such as capacitors by Wima and Panasonic. Four frequency-bending engines work in parallel with both fullrange signals and all six paths are blended inside an onboard mix buss with minimal phase distortion. The four shelving options offer 16 possible filters per channel. Each filter simultaneously lifts HF while tightening LF, as they run in parallel and blend with unaltered input signal via its mix buss.

> cedaraudio.com

> dbaudio.com

> rcfaudio.com

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> kushaudio.com

www.audioprointernational.com


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10-11 February 2010 Thistle Glasgow, UK The entertainment and installation technology showcase for the North of the UK evenTech Scotland is a focused networking forum for the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s key decision-makers to keep up-todate with the hottest technologies and latest industry trends and developments. evenTech will provide manufacturers and suppliers with a unique regional platform to make face-to-face contact with a quality audience involved in the Northâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major entertainment and installation projects and initiatives.

To find out more about evenTech Scotland and the exciting opportunities the North of the UK presents contact:

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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

DB TECHNOLOGIES DB TECHNOLOGIES has made quite a name for itself in the past few years. Its boxes can now be found at sizeable gigs and prestige installations. A growing reputation among the pro community was cemented three years ago with the DVA (digital vertical array) series, while the upper echelons of the passive Arena range continues to be a mainstay for pro mobile applications and fixed installations. RCF’s influence? The current president, Arturo Vicari, who founded the parent company, AEB (Acoustic Engineering Bureau) back in the 1970s, bought RCF in 2004, from Mackie. While this might seem to place dB and RCF head to head in the market, in practice, they tend to focus on different areas and, in fact, both benefit from the other’s technical expertise – AEB having a strong background in electronics and RCF in speaker design. “We started with one or two models and now have expanded the range with a lot of very professional products – and that’s where the synergy with RCF lies,” notes international sales manager Harald von Falkenstein. “With us having a very good R&D department for electronics and amplification and with RCF acknowledged as one of the world’s best speaker chassis manufacturers, we have synergies where we supply all the electronics for its active systems and in

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“ It’s great to know that your mastering job is in a really safe pair of hands.” When you hand your precious music project over to Wes at the GHQ Sonic Cuisine you can relax, knowing you have chosen an experienced and passionate sound engineer who will care about getting it right for you. With a tried and tested combination of classic production values and contemporary technology, Wes will deliver a finished master you can be proud of. You won’t have to pay double the price to attend the session either, nor will you be charged exorbitant prices for reference copies. If you can’t attend the session, everything can be done on-line via Wes’s website. If you do attend, you can expect a warm welcome, excellent coffee and lashings of Belgian chocolate - well, he is Belgian after all. Which means he speaks Dutch, German, French and English fluently. Book your first mastering session quoting SAFEHANDS09 and get a 10% discount on the total cost of your job.

E-mail your name and address to info@wesonator.co.uk and enter Wes’s monthly draw to win a box of the best chocolates in Belgium!

Wes Maebe The GHQ Sonic Cuisine, West London Freelance recording, mixing, mastering and live engineer. T: 020 8749 5654 M: 07875 401114 E: wes@wesonator.co.uk

www.wesonator.co.uk Photo by Stefan Lubo. www.stefanlubo.com


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The Audio Pro paparazzi is infiltrating all audio events, snapping away for our monthly Mixdown, which features friendly faces of people in the business and shots from industry events. If you have any pictures from an event that you would like us to include, please send them to andrew.low@intentmedia.co.uk.

The last word in Audio Pro PICS OF THE MONTH

SPOOKY SOUNDS Loud Technologies did a limited run of fruit-inspired loudspeakers, in this case a pumpkin, and by limited we mean one, to celebrate all things Halloween. Only since Charlie Brown’s great orange beauty have we awaited for a pumpkin of this resonance.

DOMINOES Riedel provided a comprehensive video, audio and communications distribution network for the multiple stages and video walls used for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The massive event included live performances, shows and festivities on five stages, plus a 1.3 mile (2 km) model Berlin Wall made out of 1,000 styrofoam dominos. 56

audioPRO

GIRLS UP FRONT Above is a moody shot of Odds On Records & Studios latest signing, pop/electro band Ultraviolet Sound. The band, also known as UVS, was named the 2007 winner of Amplify, Las Vegas’ battle of the bands, one of the prizes for the first-place win was studio time at nearby Odds On Records & Studios. After just one session at the studio, the band was sold and consistently returned to the studio each time it was in town. In fact, when Odds On Records & Studios announced the launch of its independent recording label, Ultraviolet Sound was one of the first groups to sign on.

APRS board member, Audio Pro International gear reviewer and general top bloke, Wes Maebe was recently married to the lovely Debbie at Bush Hall in London. After the ceremony, Maebe, his new bride and Elliott Randall (Steely Dan guitarist who performed the legendary solo on the band’s hit Reelin’ in the Years) all played in the wedding band, much to the delight of guests at the reception. The happy couple then cut through the marzipan marvel pictured above – an amazing audio cake in the shape of a Ampex reel-to-reel tape recorder – to rapturous applause. Audio Pro International wishes Wes and Debbie Maebe a long and happy life together and a fantastic time on their honeymoon in Montserrat.

December/January 2009/10

Engineer Nahuel Gutierrez lurks behind his Midas PRO6 before The Noisettes show at Shepard’s Bush. www.audioprointernational.com


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AUDIO ARCHETYPES Shure Model 55 Unidyne Microphone

PULL UP, PULL UP! Continental Air Show Productions travels across America with a powerful Community sound system for use on its air shows. Dave Olmstead and the crew from Continental Air Show Productions recently completed the Cleveland Air Show, with a rig that covered a show line over 4,000 feet long. A total of 24 Community Professional R.25 loudspeakers were arrayed to cover the crowd, utilising a pair of 5.8 GHz wireless remote systems to streamline the setup and minimise cable runs. A pair of Community RSH462 long throw systems covered the far reaches of the exhibition, and six R.5 subwoofers provided ample power in the low end.

With a futuristic look that wouldn’t have seen it out of place in a science fiction movie when it was launched in 1939, Shure’s model 55 is categorically the most visually recognisable mic ever produced. Not long after its debut, the mic became a mainstay in the world of audio professionals and its reputation, through looks, performance and reliability, quickly spread to celebrities, entertainers and politicians. Scores of photographs and films show 55s in the company of kings, queens, presidents and generals. They stood in front of Frank Sinatra and Doris Day and, perhaps most famously, Elvis Presley. In fact, to many, the 55 is known simply as the Elvis mic. Also known as the birdcage, the original model 55 was superceeded in 1951 by the classic ‘small Unidyne’ version. This was the first single-element unidirectional microphone. This design made it smaller, less expensive and therefore more accessible to all. Today the microphone remains relatively unchanged from the 1951 version, particularly in terms of its looks. Other than a modification to the base and the elimination of the multi-impedance selector switch in the late ‘70s, it is the same mic that stood alongside ‘The King’ throughout his career.

BEHIND THE BILLBOARD

TRIPLE THREAT

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 1.) Bruce Fairbairn, AC/DC, Mistress for Christmas 2.) Steve Lillywhite, The Pogues & Kirsty McColl, Fairytale of New York 3.) Phil Spector, John & Yoko, Happy Xmas (War is Over) 4.) Pete Wiggs, Saint Etienne & Tim Burgess, I was born on Christmas Day 5.) Chas Chandler, Slade, Merry Christmas Everybody 6.) Frank Konigsberg, David Bowie, Bing Crosby, Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy 7.) Roy Wood, Wizzard, Wish it could be Christmas Everyday 8.) Robin Geoffrey Cable, Chris de Burgh, A Spaceman came Travelling 9.) Hal Davis, Jackson 5, Frosty the Snowman 10.) Midge Ure, Band Aid, Do They Know it’s Christmas?

www.audioprointernational.com

Chris Madden’s box of tricks for Pink’s tour contains RF condenser microphones for the live DVD of her Funhouse Tour, including two MKH 8040s and an MKH 800 Twin doublecapsule microphone. “I used them for recording ambience at FOH. The MKH 800 was recording Front/Back and the 8040s were doing L/R and were pointing slightly backwards, away from the stage. The handling of the pattern on the Twin works really well,” he said. audioPRO

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AUDIO FISH OF THE MONTH Due to unprecedented popular demand, our Audio Fish of the Month section has been expanded into a yearly calendar. See all of your favourite pro audio professionals posing with their mammoth catches every day of the year. The calendar is be available on our website for free download. Visit www.audiopro international.com to catch your copy.

GIBSON GUITAR FOH ENGINEER PETE FREEMAN ON THE SOUNDCRAFT VI3

INCREASE THE PEACE LEMMY The soundtrack for Flip skateboard company’s latest film, Extremely Sorry, was produced by Baron, UK producer and DJ. He is best known in the UK for his Drum & Bass productions and work with record label Breakbeat Kaos Besides making some instrumental tracks, Baron also collaborated with Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead (pictured), Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Jim Lindberg (Pennywise), Early Man, Snoop Dogg and Warren G.

I would call the SI3 my new favourite desk. It has all the features I need, sounds great and just looks cool. Having been with the SI3 on promo since the pre-beta stage, I have literally seen the desk come to life – button by button in the early days – and I have to respect Soundcraft’s vision. The board has a really simple and easy to use, tactile workflow system, great pre amps with no thinning out after 30 channels, lexicon effects and, the way I have it set up, it’s quick and easy to explain to other engineers. I haven’t yet used more than 48 channels, but with 64 onboard inputs, I have found it especially useful and time saving for its ability to simply ‘drop in’ on an installed multicore without needing a stage box. This is the desk I feel most comfortable and confident behind at the moment, so I use it for most shows.

To discuss advertising contact Darrell Carter on 01992 535647 darrell.carter@intentmedia.co.uk For editorial enquiries email Andrew Low andrew.low@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535646 Audio Pro International is published 11 times a year by Intent Media ~ Saxon House, 6A St. Andrew Street, Hertford SG14 1JA, England

Intent Media is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the Periodical Publishers Association

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© Intent Media 2009. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owners. Printed by Manson Group, AL3 6PZ

ISSN: 1755-4918

SUBSCRIPTIONS UK: Free Europe: £60 Rest of world: £90 If you or one of your colleagues would like to request a subscription to Audio Pro International, please email audio.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883848

If you would like to receive your own copy of Audio Pro International, please email our subscriptions department on: audio.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883848

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1.22”/31mm

In 2008 we ticked36.35”/923.5mm all the boxes. 0.47”/12mm In 2009 we˙ve created some 14.09”/358mm new ones... Feature

rotary assign

SD8

SD8 Overdrive

Complete with 48/8 Stage Rack with 100m Digital MADI snake.

Up to 60 mono or stereo channels with full processing (equal to 120 channels of DSP processing).

24 mono or stereo busses + Stereo Master with full processing (equal to 50 busses of DSP processing).

On Board local I/O with 8 Mic/Line inputs, 8 Line Outputs and 8 AES I/O.

Open format & platform recording.

12 x 32 Graphic Equalisers.

12x12 Matrix with full output processing.

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lights

usb

channel processing

6 stereo floating point FX processors.

✓ alt in

2 independent solo busses for monitoring.

in

Snapshot cue control with crossfade.

lpf

in

Touch screen control.

✓ eq-dyn

hpf

dyn-eq

Full worksurface precision metering.

freq

Networking and remote control.

comp gain

Floating point processing.

q

curve

comp gain

Future proofed FPGA audio core.

freq gate

Remote studio grade mic pre’s.

gain eq on

insert a

q

MADI connection.

✓ AW-293-00040-A

insert b

USB compatible for session saving & transfer.

direct

gain

Offline & online session control.

C q

curve

Optional Stereo or LCR Master Buss.

L

dynamic automation

freq

R

all record

✘ freq

24 x 32 Graphic Equalisers.

S

gain

16x12 Matrix with full output processing.

S

8 stereo floating point FX processors (including Stealth FGPA FX imported from SD7 Mach 2).

solo 1 afl

rtn to audio

trim undo selected

update

Snapshot Scopes and Crossfades expanded to allow per channel settings and per feature.

sip FIRE

afl

clear

single

auto

insert new

trim

macros

sip

solo 2

group

option all

clear

single

surface online

✓ ✓

auto on

redo 2nd

all play

undo q

✓ snapshot

powered by

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Ÿ

Dynamic EQ 8 on any input or output path on each band, equivalent to 64 dynamic Eqs in DSP processing.

Multi Band Compression Available on any 8 input or output processing paths, mono or stereo. This is equivalent to 48 touch-n-turn Multi Band Compressors in DSP processing.

Snapshot List per snapshot editable text styles for Snapshot names (uses snapshot notes style).

Snapshot Timing Progress Bar.

screen assign

aux

MIDI Machine Control this has been implemented to allow Play/Stop and Locate commands to be triggered by Snapshots. Assign / Unassign allows the building of custom fader banks via channel functions on the worksurface.

aux master

Dedicated Talkback Channel.

Security Modes Unattended and custom Live mode with user definable password protection.

Optical I/O Option.

left

right

AW-293-00030-A

AW-293-00034-A

snapshot lcd function previous

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Overdrive software available for both SD8 and the new smaller footprint SD8 - 24 www.digico.org AW-293-00032-A AW-293-00036-A

Checklist Advert Audio Pro 2.indd 1

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Audio Pro December/January - Issue 25