Issue 26 • February 2010
LIVE • COMMERCIAL • RECORDING • BROADCAST
INSIDE OUTSIDE Sound Forms brings indoor acoustics to the outdoor stage
MIDAS BUYOUT • RED SQUARE AUDIO • ISE PREVIEW • MODERN WORLD STUDIOS
EMI Music Publishing London with VTC 48 channel console
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ISSUE 26 February 2010
CONTENTS > IN THIS ISSSUE NEWS RSG EUROPE • 4 Restructuring of RSG’s European operations
AKG GRAMMY • 4 Mic firm honoured for contribution to the arts
AMPCO BELGIUM GOES INDY • 5 Belgian pro audio firms part company from Ampco Flashlight
AINLAY & MASSENBURG 6 Legendary US engineers host masterclasses
EVENTS ISE PREVIEW • 11 The latest news from the industry’s fastest growing show
NAMM REVIEW • 15 What went down in the California sun
LIVE SOUND/INSTALLATION MIDAS BUYOUT • 16 An exclusive chat with Uli Behringer and Midas MD John Oakley on the recent aquisition
RED SQUARE AUDIO • 24 Interview with industry veteran Paul Nicholson
COVER FEATURE MAPS • 26 A new stage construction devised to bring indoor acoustics to the outdoors
STUDIO/BROADCAST MODERN WORLD • 29 Tetbury UK’s state-of-the-art recording complex
NEVE 2254 R REVIEW • 32 Wes Maebe reviews the classic reissue
WAM • 34 An organisation devoted to getting more women involved in audio engineering
> Regulars: Behind the Board 33 In Session 38 People 40 Products 42 Marketplace 45 Mixdown 48
he big news of the month, or even the year, was Behringer’s purchase of British live console mainstay MIdas from Bosch. While some had a field day on our website making speculations on the future Midas’ desks as a result of the MI manufacturer’s history of producing entry level, Chinese-made kit, Midas was sitting quiet and revelling in the fact that being backed by a company with a huge bank roll and massive buying power means more resources and cheaper raw materials. If Uli Behringer is smart he will support the legendary brand and history and leave things as they are. See a full exclusive interview on pages 16 to 18. We were lucky enough to make a trip out to the Cotswolds to check out Nick Cowan’s Modern World Studios (pg 29). Cowan’s hidden complex is Tetbury UK’s one and only rock n roll recording studio, fully equipped with a SSL Duality and a guitar collection like you have never seen. Modern World reminded us of the luxuries and positive working environment that a well-planned studio can offer, while still remaining competitive enough to keep its doors open. This month we focus on the history and gear at Modern World, but we had a good chat with producer Greg Haver and engineer Clint Murphy during our visit about recording techniques and trends, and that will appear in a later issue. San Francisco’s Women’s Audio Mission (pg 34) is an inspiring group of people who have rallied together to get more women involved in audio engineering. Led by Terri Winston, WAM has a fully kitted-out recording studio with gear donated from generous manufacturers who share its feeling that more women should be given the opportunity and encouragement to get involved in pro audio. Finally, Europe’s biggest show for AV system integration, ISE happens this month. It will be a true indicator of what’s in store for 2010 and we’ll be scouring the floor to bring you a full report on the gossip, news and hot new products at the RAI.
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Roland Europe restructures RSG restructures brands and merges Edirol Europe operations and the European Roland JV subsidiaries THE ROLAND Corporation has announced a restructure of its brands and a merger of its Edirol Europe operations and the European Roland JV subsidiaries in order to ‘give more focus and strength to its distribution throughout the UK and other key markets in Europe’, according to a statement from the company. In the UK, the Edirol sales and marketing operation in Chiswick will now merge with and be run by Roland UK in Swansea, effective from January 1st, 2010. The Edirol brand will focus on its video products and field recorders. It will become fully integrated with Roland Systems Group’s audiovisual solution products alongside Roland’s awardwinning RSS Digital Snake and V-Mixer range, based on the Roland Ethernet Audio Communication protocol. Edirol Europe started 11 years ago in London as the sole distributor in Europe for Edirol branded products manufactured by Roland and was specifically designed to address new markets in the fields of audio and video recording, editing and mixing. The company premiered many pioneering products in various areas such as USB and FireWire audio capture interfaces, hand-held field recording products, video editing suites, vision mixers and visual effects processors. The statement explained that the Roland and Boss brands will still lead the way in the musical instrument
Barbini (left) will be moving to France to launch RSS, while Edirol in the UK comes under Tim Walter’s jurisdiction
sector, while the Cakewalk by Roland brand will be focused on computer music hardware and software products, effectively becoming Roland’s desktop music production brand. Roland’s desktop music products will therefore be branded Cakewalk by Roland. “We are extraordinarily proud of what we have achieved in Europe with Edirol over the last 11 years,” said Edirol Europe’s founder and managing
EvenTech Scotland postponed Recession suspends Scotland’s 2010 show EVENTECH SCOTLAND, the sound and light trade show that was to be held in Glasgow this month, has been postponed. Show organiser Scattered Media has attributed the move to the recession. An official statement read: “Following a detailed review of the marketplace and taking into consideration the current economic climate and the strain this is having on many companies' budgets at present, the decision has been taken to postpone the upcoming edition of evenTech Scotland.” The show was due to take place at the Thistle hotel from February 10th to 11th next year. Following the postponement of the event, Scattered Media has assured concerned parties that it
is currently considering potential dates later in the year and will make an announcement as soon as a suitable time slot can be confirmed. The company will contact exhibitors to discuss the matter in more detail. > eventech-scotland.com
director, Massimo Barbini. “We have managed to enter completely new markets from scratch and build some amazing success stories along the way by working very closely with key partners in the industry. The merger of operations with existing Roland JV companies will guarantee the continuity of this success story and allow Roland to focus on its brands with a whole new level of coordinated efforts inside the group.
“I would like to thank all of my colleagues for having spent many great years together and for all of their hard work in making Edirol what it is today.” This merger of operations will take place in all territories where both Roland and Edirol Europe currently operate and will result in a more streamlined distribution network throughout Europe with Roland. > rolandsystemsgroup.net
AKG to receive Technical Grammy from NARAS AKG HAS received a Technical Grammy Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS). The award has been given in honour of the company’s contribution to the art and science of music recording and performance, as it is recognised as a microphone and headphone innovator. The award, which was presented at Grammy Week in Los Angeles in January 2010, represents an historic first in AKG’s history. From The Beatles’ watershed performances in Shea Stadium in 1967 to Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, and today’s
most progressive and successful artists like Jay Z, Missy Elliot and Kayne West, AKG microphones and headphones have provided great sounding technologies to support some of the most demanding and creative projects. AKG is in good company, with this year's only other Grammy Technical Award presented posthumously to Thomas Edison, inventor of the phonograph, early motion picture technologies, and the incandescent light bulb. Harman's JBL brand also earned a Grammy Technical Award in 2005, the first and only loudspeaker manufacturer to be so honoured. > akg.com www.audioprointernational.com
Red Square Audio
Ampco Belgium and Candela go independent Belgian pro audio firms split from Ampco Flashlight as Marcel Albers arrives to oversee Synco operations THE BELGIUM-BASED sales companies Ampco Belgium and Candela, which specialise in the distribution, supply and installation of professional audio and lighting equipment to the Belgian market, have become fully independent from the Ampco Flashlight Group. Both companies will continue under the direction of managing director Karel de Piere, who has acquired the ownership of Ampco Belgium and Candela from Ampco Flashlight, left the Ampco Flashlight Group and sold his shares in the Ampco Flashlight Group. The newly independent companies will focus exclusively on sales activities and will not operate in the rental market. Co-operation between Ampco Belgium and Candela and the Ampco Flashlight Group will continue as before, with all arrangements between them remaining in place to serve the best interests of clients, manufacturers and both parties.
Karel de Piere commented: “Although I’ve had many fantastic years at Ampco Flashlight, it was time for me to face a new challenge. As I started Ampco Belgium in 1992, and later expanded with Candela, it is a great feeling for me to take a step forward by returning to my roots. “I am happy to have the support of the key team members of Ampco Belgium and Candela, as their support is crucial to me in taking this step. We’ll continue to support the existing brand portfolio as usual and our clients can count on the service that they are used to.” Dick van Berkum, chairman and CEO of the Ampco Flashlight Group, added: “We are sorry to see Karel leaving our group, as he has made a large contribution to the growth of Ampco Flashlight over the past 17 years. Since he knows Ampco Belgium and Candela so well, we are confident he is the right man for the future of these companies, their
HHA adapts to spectrum changes Investment plan in place to aid in switchover
Marcel Albers will oversee Synco operations from the Ampco HQ announced the appointment of clients and manufacturers. We wish Marcel Albers (pictured) as its new Karel all the best with the further commercial director. development of these businesses.” Albers is a well-known In related news, Synco, the panentrepreneur in the Dutch music European alliance of audio rental and entertainment industry. companies established by Ampco Flashlight founder, Fred Heuves, has > ampcobelgium.com
MPG Awards announces shortlist Steve Lillywhite and Rick Rubin among the list THE MPG (UK) has announced the shortlist for its 2010 Awards, which takes place at London’s Cafe de Paris on February 11th 2010. The finalists are as follows:
UK Single of the Year 09: Bat For Lashes – Daniel Florence & The Machine – Rabbit Heart Muse – Uprising
Producer of the Year: Jim Abbiss Paul Epworth Ethan Johns Steve Lillywhite
Best Re-mixer: Simian Mobile Disco SixToes Skream (Oliver Jones) The Go! Team
Recording Engineer of the Year: Haydn Bendall Mick Glossop Tony Platt
The Joe Meek Award: Les Paul
Best Mix Engineer: Flood (Mark Ellis) Mark ‘Spike’ Stent Cenzo Townsend RADIO MICROPHONE and in-ear specialist Hand Held Audio has announced an investment plan that will allow it to fulfil clients’ requirements through the changeover from radio mic Channel 69 to Channel 38. The plan includes offering systems from AKG, Sennheiser, Shure and Trantec. After settling into its new HQ in Enfield, UK, Hand Held Audio has spent some time re-organising its wireless rental stock. The object has been not only to anticipate the coming www.audioprointernational.com
changes in spectrum availability, but also to offer more choice to rental customers in terms of price and brand. Ofcom recently announced that from January 4th this year Channel 38 would be available for users (with regional restrictions) for radio mic use in the same way as Channel 69 was. This was done to smooth the path to the loss of Channel 69 on January 1st 2012 (resulting from the Ofcom spectrum sell-off, which follows the Digital Switchover). > handheldaudio.co.uk
Best Mastering Engineer: Tony Cousins; Ray Staff; Tim Young Best Live Album: Buena Vista Social Club – At Carnegie Hall Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood – Live at Madison Square Garden Van Morrison – Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl UK Album of the Year 09: Dizzee Rascal – Tongue N Cheek Florence & The Machine – Lungs Muse – The Resistance
Best Breakthrough Producer: Carl Bown Jason Boshoff Paul Savage Best Breakthrough Engineer: Mark Rankin Jimmy Robertson Paul Savage Best Studio: AIR Lyndhurst British Grove Studios Kore Studio Livingston Studios Best International Producer of the Year: T-Bone Burnett Brendan O’Brien Rick Rubin > mpg.org.uk
February 2010 5
Ainlay and Massenburg to host London seminars Legendary US engineers will head recording masterclasses at London’s British Grove studios CHUCK AINLAY and George Massenburg, the Grammy Awardwinning US producer/engineers and founding members of Metalliance, are to jointly host two recording masterclass seminars in London this May. Scheduled to take place immediately after the forthcoming AES convention, the two-day sessions will be held at the prestigious British Grove Studios in West London on May 26th. They will cover all aspects of the recording process, including preproduction session planning, studio set-up for tracking, mic placement, overdubs, mixing, delivery and archiving. They will also cover effective use of tools such as microphones, analog and digital equipment, outboard effects and plugins, in-the-box as well as analog console mixing, plus detailed stereo
and innovative multichannel mixing techniques. The seminars will be open to all but delegate numbers will be strictly limited. For studio owners, engineers, producers, recording musicians and audio engineering students, this will be an extraordinary opportunity to study the workings of a world-class facility under the tutelage of two of the most respected and admired producers in the world. There will be a charge for attending these events, but the organiser hopes to to keep this to a minimum. Those interested in attending the seminars should register their details online at www.sablemarketing.co.uk/sessions. Those who register will be contacted with further information, including the attendance fee. > sablemarketing.co.uk
GreenHalse launches Mute16, strikes distro deals CPC and CIE-Group sign on for new audio mute system
UK MANUFACTURER GreenHalse Electronics has launched the Mute16 – a multi-channel, rack-mounted audio mute system, designed to allow safety systems to be heard clearly in the event of an emergency or a critical public announcement. The product is already making headway, as Preston-based electronics distributor CPC, and Nottingham’s CIE-Group 6
audioPRO February 2010
have signed on as suppliers of the Mute 16. The Mute16 uses voltagecontrolled amplifiers (VCAs) to simultaneously mute up to 16 channels of balanced, line level audio. The control input is an optically isolated, normally closed signal. When the control signal becomes open-circuit, the audio outputs are all quickly muted. When the control signal is restored, the audio output
level gradually rises back to normal over a period of approximately two seconds. Typical applications of the Mute16 are muting of sound systems during emergency announcements, such as those at discos, theatres, nightclubs, festivals and any public entertainment venue. It can also be used as part of an automated venue sound pressure level control system. > greenhalse.co.uk
Audio-Technica announces Upgrade for UHF switchover Compensation programme offers discounted replacement wireless systems AUDIO-TECHNICA HAS recently introduced the Upgrade Pass programme to aid customers through the 2012 UHF band switchover by offering 55 per cent off the price of new equivalent replacement systems. The company has stated that Ofcom’s decision to auction off the sections of the UHF band currently utilised by wireless microphones to the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) industry for the provision of wireless broadband services has made it very difficult for its customers in need of new wireless systems, as they will be made redundant after the switchover. The upgrade pass programme is valid on the majority of its wireless systems from January 1st 2010 until December 31st 2011. The offer gives customers the opportunity to ‘trade in’ any eligible
Audio-Technica wireless system in exchange for a new equivalent system. The changes proposed by the 2012 switchover will affect the frequencies 854862 MHz (TV channel 69), which is currently available in the UK nationwide on a light licence and professional licence basis and used by nearly 80 per cent of the wireless microphone systems currently in use. Other frequency ranges affected – mostly used by professionals in the rental and broadcast media on a professional licensed basis – are 550-606 MHz (TV channels 31-37) and 790-854 MHz (TV channels 61-68). The impact of this means that, by law, anyone who operates a wireless system in these bands will have to update or upgrade their products in order to comply with the new situation. > atupgradepass.com www.audioprointernational.com
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
THIS MONTH IN BROADCAST<
Belmont raises the stakes to 7.1 First 7.1 broadcast brings added dimension to Triple Crown race with additional channels joining the LCR array THE FIRST live network broadcast of an event in 7.1 surround sound was made during the Belmont Stakes TV broadcast. Viewers were granted the full 7.1 monitoring capability in their hometheatre setups as a result of ABC senior technical audio producer Kevin Cleary employing DTS’s Neural Audio codec, the same one used to process an LT/RT 5.1 surround broadcast. This was modified with two additional side ‘presence’ channels joining the LCR array and two rear surround channels. The highly-watched Belmont Stakes is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) thoroughbred horse race, which is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, following the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Cleary stated that the broadcast went off without a hitch, perhaps signaling the next shift in broadcast audio since stereo began coexisting with 5.1. The sources for the additional side presence channels were a pair of Sennheiser MKH-416 short shotgun microphones placed one on either side of the grandstand. “This opened up the
spatial relationship and added a dimension between the crowd and the track,” Cleary explained. In addition, the DTS Neural Surround proprietary 5.1 microphone Cleary uses on 5.1 broadcast mixes was beefed up by DTS to a 7.1-channel version with the addition of two more microphones. The additional microphones
required their spacing apart to be reduced to 51 degrees from the 5.1 ratio of 72 degrees. This puts microphones in front, two very nearly to the side, and two in the left-back and right-back position, Jim (JJ) Johnston, chief scientist at DTS Neural, explained: “This captures both time and amplitude cues in a way that gives you a wide listening area, a very strong sense of image for direct sounds.”
HHB to introduce Genelec 8260A three-way DSP monitors at BVE Latest addition to the TEC Award-winning 8200 series boasts even more DSP HHB’S DISTRIBUTION division, Source Distribution, will debut Genelec’s brand new 8260A three-way active DSP monitors at next month’s Broadcast Video Expo (BVE) at Earl's Court 2 from February 16th to 18th. The 8260As will be on permanent demonstration on Source’s booth (H42) and, as sponsor of the BVE Audio Room, HHB will be supplying a full 5.1 Genelec DSP system. The Genelec 8260A is the latest addition to the TEC Award-winning 8200 series and sits alongside the existing 8240A and 8250A models, with a corresponding larger enclosure size that ensures that the 8260A offers a wider frequency response of 29Hz to 21kHz, with a maximum SPL of 120dB. The 8260A also features Genelec’s MDC (Minimum Diffraction Coaxial) mid/high driver technology. Like all models in the 8200 series, the 8260A features internal Genelec DSP signal processing responsible for all loudspeaker functions, such as the crossover filters, driver equalisers, driver position alignment, room response alignment, calibration and equalisation related filters, as well as distance 8
compensating delays. The Genelec loudspeaker manager (GLM) software manages all these functions, allowing the 8260A to be used together with other 8200 series DSP monitors and 7200 Series subwoofers in the same setup. The Genelec AutoCal fully automated room calibration and sound system alignment method provides consistent and accurate frequency response for a multichannel audio system in widely varying room environments. The 8260A accepts standard line level analogue inputs as well as all AES/EBU digital formats and is equipped with three driver units, all powered via internal matching power amplifiers. The ten-inch LF unit is complemented by a five-inch MF unit and a quarter-inch HF unit, with the MF/HF units combined in the new MDC coaxial driver. This helps ensure that the drivers are coupled coherently over their full operating bandwidth, as well as creating coincident midfrequency/high-frequency point source. This coaxial driver design provides very accurate imaging and improved sound quality both on the acoustical axis as well as off-axis. > hhb.co.uk
Cleary used the 7.1 microphone as the basis for the 7.1 and 5.1 mixes. The microphones, the same ones used for 5.1 and made for DTS by an originalequipment manufacturer, have a hypercardioid pattern that is a bit tighter than a standard hypercardioid, with a bit more negative rear lobe. “The intended amplitude panning pattern is by degrees, not by the angle-to-next-channel,” Johnson explained. Cleary said he alerted his production and operations team to the 7.1 mix, although he didn’t need to specifically seek additional support from either ABC or ESPN. “We wanted to keep this project close since it was an experiment and wanted see if it would translate without additional support,” he explained. The point, he said, was to illustrate that a 7.1 mix can be done concurrent with a 5.1 mix with no impact at any point in the broadcast-distribution chain until it reaches a 7.1-capable receiver. About 66 per cent of consumer AV receivers shipping this year will be 7.1-capable, according to figures from the Consumer Electronics Association. > dts.com
Yamaha throws down for Ultimate Fighting Championship PM5D console used for international broadcast THOUSANDS OF blood-thirsty fans flocked to Manchester’s MEN Arena last month for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). FOH engineer Ant Standring chose a Yamaha PM5D-RH console for the event, which was broadcast around the globe. “With the number of channels I was using, theoretically I could have used one of a number of mixing consoles,” said Ant. ”But when you bear in mind it was being broadcast live to something like 90 countries worldwide, I needed something that I would be 100 per cent certain wasn't going to let me down. That’s the main reason I chose the PM5D-RH." Supplied, along with the rest of the audio system, by London-based Capital Sound Hire, the PM5D had around 32 input channels, made up of VT feeds, commentators and the event’s MC. “Some VT is broadcast live, some only to the arena and some a combination of both,” said Ant. “At any one time I could be listening to up to four different comms feeds for various camera and program directors. I was mixing partly for the live audience and partly for the main OB truck, so it was actually a strange show to mix.” > yamahacommercialaudio www.audioprointernational.com
ISE EVENT PREVIEW <
February 2nd to 4th RAI, Amsterdam
The Dutch connection ISE 2010 is set to jump start the year as AV companies from around the world show off their latest and greatest gear for systems integrators. Andrew Low takes a sneak peak at what’s on offer…
n recent years, the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade show has skyrocketed to the top of the heap in the systems integration sector, and is now taking a top spot as one of the leading pro audio events in the business. This year’s show, held at Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Centre from February 2nd to 4th, will feature an additional 100 exhibitors, which is 20 per cent up from last year and raises the show record to 500-plus companies. New pro audio faces to grace the floor will be L-Acoustics, HK Audio, Sonus, Ateïs, Out Board/TiMax, Baldwin Boxall, Seeburg, Cloud Electronics and XTA/MC2. Despite bad snow that closed down all of the UK’s airports, last year’s event hosted over 24,000 visitors, a number that the organisers hope to exceed in 2010. Mike Blackman, managing director of Integrated Systems Events,
explains: “No trade show can thrive without bringing new customers and new markets to its exhibitors. Right from its first showing in Geneva in 2004, this is something ISE has proved it can do. “AV manufacturers are turning to ISE as a platform from which to launch their products and services into new and emerging sectors, and that is one reason why we are hosting so many new exhibitors in Amsterdam in February.”
the show along with the new VQ series. Designed to overcome intelligibility problems associated with highly reverberant surroundings, QFlex are suited for use in airports and other transportation hubs,
TANNOY 5N110 Steadfast brands in the installation market, like Tannoy, will be among the slew of newcomers at the event. The Scotland-based company will be exhibiting an extensive range of its loudspeakers, ranging from digitally steerable arrays through to high-end home cinema audio systems. The QFlex range of self-powered digital beam-steering array loudspeakers will take centre stage at
Mike Blackman Integrated System Events
No trade show can thrive without bringing new customers and markets to its exibitors.
shopping centres, conference facilities, museums, houses of worship and many other locations with problematic acoustics. Tannoy will also demo its line of in-ceiling and in-wall loudspeaker technology, including the compact CVS4 Micro and the CMS 401DCe
‘eyeball’, along with surface-mount products including Designer Install and i9VP Vandal Proof and the Definition Install range, which is aimed at the medium to high-end home cinema market. > tannoy.com
ALCONS AUDIO 1J123 Alcons Audio will introduce the three-way CRMS reference system designed for AV projects, high-end screening rooms and home theatre installations. CRMS Unique has a design which provides an MHF section that acts both as MHF section for the main/front system, as well as full-range surround system. The company will also be pushing the LR7 micro pro-ribbon line-array system, the latest and smallest member of Alcons’ pro-ribbon linearrays, which features a single 6.5inch woofer and the Alcons RBN401 four-inch pro-ribbon driver in a 15degree vertical projection
February 2010 11
> EVENT PREVIEW ISE
configuration. Its 16 Ohms impedance and a choice of 90-degree or 120-degree horizontal projection make the LR7 suited for AV projects, where very compact form factor with optimised line-array throw and imaging are required. A selection of other Alcons products, including the QR36 proribbon column array system and the V-series, will be on the booth. It will also hold low-SPL demonstrations to highlight the benefits of its VR8 monitors and BF151 subwoofers. > alconsaudio.com
DIGICO 1J113 Digico will be showing its full range of digital mixing consoles and accessories, including the SD7 and SD8, in addition to the new SD8-24 and the new EX-007 expander unit. Designed with a smaller footprint for the corporate events sector, the SD824 features the same functionality and number of inputs and outputs as the SD8 console with the same fixed architecture, while employing the same smaller Super FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). The EX-007 expander unit was designed to substantially increase the number of faders and channels that can be simultaneously controlled by an SD7. The EX-007 can be set up at a distance of up to 100 metres via a Cat5 cable connection. > digico.org
ALLEN & HEATH Allen & Heath will make the European debut of its new iDR-16 MixRack and the iLive-R72 rackmountable Control Surface in
Amsterdam.The fixed I/O iDR-16 MixRack features 16 mic/line inputs and eight XLR outputs in a 3U frame, with a further eight-in/eight-out available locally at the iLive-R72 surface. All MixRacks, including the new iDR-16, feature the same 64x32 RackExtra DSP mix engine, providing processing for 64 channels, 32 mixes, and eight stereo FX processors. The latest dualcore DSP technology handles all the FX and mixing along with the full dynamics,
Allen & Heath will make the European debut of its new iDR-16 MixRack and the iLive-R72 rackmountable Control Surface at the Amsterdam show.
eq and delay for all inputs and outputs simultaneously. The iLive-R72 surface can be fitted in a universal 19-inch rack, and features a similar iLive fader strip layout with 12 faders in two banks and six layers, providing a total of 72 colour assignable channel ID control strips. A built-in touchscreen provides swift access to the processing, memories and system configuration. > allen-heath.co.uk
HARMAN INTERNATIONAL 1I105 Harman International will feature its range of professional products, which form the complete signal chain from microphone to loudspeaker, including AKG microphones and wireless systems, dbx signal processing and zoning systems, BSS Audio digital programmable processing systems, Lexicon effects processors, Soundcraft mixing consoles, Crown power amplifiers, JBL ceiling and loudspeakers and cinema system components from Revel, JBL Synthesis, Mark Levinson and Lexicon. > harmanpro.com
GENELEC 1K73, 1L72 Genelec will preview the compact 4020A and 4030A loudspeakers at ISE.
These high performance, two-way active loudspeakers have been designed for indoor commercial and professional installations and have many new connectivity and installation features aimed to benefit systems integrators. Both of the models in the new 4000 series are fitted with ‘Phoenix’ screw terminals and the 4000 series’ integrated amplifier. In-built protection circuitry has also been used to enhance the reliability of the loudspeaker system in all operating conditions and to ensure that drivers are electronically protected from signal peaks and misuse of the system. > genelec.com
XTA/MC2 3A116 XTA and MC2 will show a new range of 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 the Ti series system and associated iCore Windows software interface. > xta.uk.com > mc2-audio.co.uk
AUDIO TECHNICA 1L112 Audio Technica has over 40 years of experience in the production of high performance stage, studio, broadcast, film sound, installation sound and wireless microphone systems. This history has produced what the company is calling unique, marketleading innovations in the fields of transducer and wireless transmission technology. The new ATCS-60 infrared system conference will take a strong position on the company’s stand. > audio-technica.com
SINOLIGHT 3A127 As ISE is a systems integration show, a raft of lighting companies will naturally be showcasing their latest AV solutions for systems integrators. Among them will be LED manufacturer Sinolight, which will be introducing a new LED display series designed for the rental and staging market and fixed installations applications. Its design provides hot swap capability that offers a
convenient solution for tile changing that will ensure a spectacular event. This new platform was designed to provide an enhanced display, which offers high quality moving images of advertising messages that can be targeted to a location, time or date. Sinolight will also have its full range of LED display solutions at its booth. > szsinolight.com
LAB.GRUPPEN 5O108 Lab.gruppen will be showing its full line of C Series installation power amplifiers, the FP+ series amps for touring sound and the PLM Series of powered loudspeaker management systems. The PLM series combines high power amplification with Lake digital speaker processing in addition to continuous monitoring. The LM 26 Lake digital audio loudspeaker management system and accompanying Lake Controller software will be fully demonstrated for the first time in Europe. Lab.gruppen has also teamed up with a number of pro audio manufacturers to provide a special training seminar on Audinate’s Dante networking solution. > labgruppen.com
YAMAHA 1I79 Yamaha Commercial will show its latest audio networking technology at the show, with a focus on Commercial Install Sound and Engineered Install Sound and Broadcasting. The MY Card for Dante and the new MY8-SDI-ED interface card will be on display, in addition to the demonstration of audio integration with many different digital audio formats and the integration of Media Control systems. > yamahacommercialaudio.com > iseurope.org
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Europe’s No.1 show for professional AV and electronic systems integration presented by
2-4 February, 2010 Amsterdam RAI
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See the latest in AV technologies, spot the newest integration trends, take advantage of unrivalled education opportunities, and network with business contacts old and new. ISE is the AV tradeshow that doesn’t know how to stop growing. Platinum Sponsors:
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NAMM EVENT REVIEW < January 14th to 17th Anaheim
Winter? Really? Those fortunate enough to flee the UK’s icy weather for Anaheim found that the 2010 NAMM show had more to offer the audio enthusiast than ever before. Rob Hughes brings you this report… he name ‘Winter NAMM’ is just not a fair reflection of what is happening in Anaheim right now as I type in the genuinely wintry town of Hertford. But it’s okay, because luckily for us, the Audio Pro correspondents currently posted in California are exhibiting sufficient willpower to steer clear of pools and bars, and instead, are sniffing out and relaying all the big news stories to back to the UK. And with the biggest audio contingent in some years, 2010’s ‘winter’ NAMM show generated an abundance of the kind of news that tickles our audio fancy. Nearly every unveiling was an upgrade or enhancement of something that had gone before. Nevertheless, there was still plenty to see. The Allen & Heath stand in Hall A was an immediate draw, where the
Cornwall-based firm was debuting the iDR-16 MixRack and the iLive-R72 rackmountable control surface. The iDR-16 and iLive-R72 connect using Allen & Heath’s proprietary ACE (Audio Control Ethernet) link, which allows long distance point-to-point control and audio communication over a single CAT5 cable up to 120m. The fixed I/O iDR-16 MixRack features 16 mic/line inputs and eight XLR outputs in a 3U frame, with a further eight I/O available locally at the iLive-R72 surface. All MixRacks, including the new iDR-16, feature the same 64x32 RackExtra DSP mix engine, providing processing for 64 channels, 32 mixes, and eight stereo FX processors. The latest dualcore DSP technology handles all the FX and mixing along with the full dynamics, eq and delay for all inputs and outputs simultaneously.
Meanwhile, Focusrite unveiled the OctoPre MkII Dynamic with – you guessed it – eight channels of Focusrite’s mic preamplification and new single-dial, VCA-based compressors derived from the recently discontinued Focusrite Red 3 on each.
The 2010 NAMM show featured an abundance of notable pro audio news and new products.
When desiging the circuitry, Focusrite tuned the compressor by ear to ensure that its ‘knee’ matched that of the Red 3 exactly. It can be used to provide a clean, controlled sound, or, using the new ‘more’ switch, it’s
possible to transform the behavior of the VCA, doubling the ratio to deliver an invigorated effect compressor. Elesewhere, Universal Audio pricked up a few ears with the latest generation of its UAD-2 plugins, for which the firm has teamed up with Harman Pro, and Shure attracted interest both at the show and on our very own website for its newest in-ear monitoring system, the PSM 900. Set for release in late spring 2010, the system promises a wide stereo field with exceptional L/R separation for enhanced detail and clarity usually lost in an in-ear monitoring system. The PSM 900 transpires to be a highly anticipated system, with one observer noting: “As a user of Shure ear systems for the last 12 years, I can’t wait to test the new PSM 900. As a monitor mixer I need a system I can trust night after night.” > namm.org
> INTERVIEW BEHRINGER
Just listen Negative reactions to The Music Group’s acquisition of Midas were to be expected, given Behringer’s less than enviable reputation in some parts of the industry. But were the dismal forecasts made in haste? In a rare interview, Uli Behringer and John Oakley tell Audio Pro that the Behringer touch is just what Midas needs…
here’s no question that Behringer is a massive success story at the MI end of the industry. Its products are incredibly popular among audio ‘prosumers’, doubtless because they offer them, at least in terms of practical functionality, ample bang for their bucks. Ultimately, however, the bottom line in the pro audio industry is – or should be – sound quality and Behringer’s slogan ‘Just listen’ is considered ironic by many. It was little surprise then, when last month, a large chunk of the industry immediately denounced Behringer’s acquisition of Midas and Klark Teknik under the guise of a holding company named The Music Group. According to comments left on various pro audio websites, it seemed most thought that, simply because the companies involved were the antithesis of each other, this marked the beginning of the end for Midas and Klark Teknik. But a handful of pensive observers were a little more optimistic in their response, reserving condemnation and evaluating the acquisition on its business merits alone, independently of each company’s predispositions. One astutely pointed out that Uli Behringer has proven himself a consummate businessman and would not be so foolish as to do anything other than inject Midas with the financial shot in the arm that it needs to develop. Taken on this premise, it’s a little easier to believe that Behringer might just have what it takes to foster continued growth and success from Midas. Are some of us letting elitist ideas stop us from seeing the potential of this new relationship? In the following interview, held remotely with
Uli Behringer (of Behringer) and John Oakley (of Midas/KT) while they were travelling in the Far East, the two make it clear that they feel this is absolutely the case… How did you hear about the sale? Was it an approach from Bosch or did you make the approach? Uli Behringer: That is one of life’s secrets, I’m afraid. How this sort of deal gets started is a key commercial advantage, so why would we share this with our competitors? I’ll be happy to tell you 20 years from now, although this might happen sooner if we were to share a few bottles of good red wine – then I might spill the beans. On face value, it seems that Behringer can gain a lot more out of this purchase than Midas/KT. What qualities or assets do you think Behringer can bring to the deal? What sort of money will you be injecting into Midas/KT? UB: Before I answer this question, allow me to zoom out for a moment. When you acquire a company, what do you really buy? Finished goods, raw material, some IP, a building? 20 years of experience in the business have taught me that a company is only about people, who are the only real asset. So before you go out and acquire a company, you have to ask whether this potential marriage will work. Does the culture fit, do people want to work together and does everyone believe in the new vision? History has demonstrated that only ten per cent of all mergers and acquisitions work out and our industry is no exception.
Before you go out and acquire a company, you have to ask whether this potential marriage will work. Uli Behringer
BEHRINGER INTERVIEW< With Midas/Klark Teknik, it is even more about people, as they truly live for their brands. John Oakley: During the first meeting I was honestly quite sceptical. Uli didn’t bring any corporate presentations with him and just said: “Why don’t you come and visit us? I want to show you the real Behringer.” He told me to leave my tie and suit at home and when I arrived in Willich he left me alone with the people so I could freely interact. Going behind the scenes was a true eye-opener as it fundamentally changed my perception about Behringer. Many of the employees in Behringer have stayed for up to 16 years with the company, which tells you a lot about the culture. UB: Michael and I always said that the real test would be to meet the people in Kidderminster and see if they were truly excited about the idea to join the Music Group. We would never acquire a company if the people didn’t welcome the idea. JO: There were several potential buyers for Midas/Klark Teknik and indeed both Uli and Michael Deeb (CEO, Music Group) asked me many times how our people felt about this potential acquisition. I can wholeheartedly say that we have chosen the Music Group to partner with us as we feel that there is a great fit with both Uli’s and Michael’s vision. Also no one else could offer us the opportunity to pursue the dreams we always had in Midas/Klark Teknik. UB: Over the last few months, I had the pleasure of really getting to know John and his team. These are the most amazing and passionate people I have ever met. It is a great honour for us to work with this worldclass team and we will provide them with all the resources needed to enhance their position as dominant player in the high-end audio arena. There is no doubt that Midas/Klark Teknik are the undisputed leaders in terms of sound quality, reliability, innovation and cutting-edge technology – we will make sure this remains. We see this acquisition as a marriage, which is all about give and take. Once the honeymoon is over, the real work starts and we will help to provide all needed resources and infrastructure to Midas/Klark Teknik to allow them to pursue the execution of their technology and products. Let me quote Michael Deeb: “Midas/Klark Teknik will have full access to the group’s extensive resources and advanced automated system platforms in areas such as product development and lifecycle management, supply chain, logistics, decision support and finance.” Building effective and highly efficient business systems is a passion for us at the Music Group. We have invested over $25m in building what we believe to be the most advanced system in the industry. Midas/Klark Teknik will be able to make use of this system to greatly streamline business practices. In addition to that, we have probably more buying power than anyone else in our market for the premium components required by Midas/Klark Teknik. Also, both Michael and I are both musicians who understand and use pro-audio equipment personally. That means we can bring a passion for the products to the management mix as well as financial muscle. On the other hand, Midas/Klark Teknik will give the Music Group brands access to cutting-edge experience and the technology Midas/Klark Teknik have developed in the past 35 years. This comes at a perfect time, as Behringer is now equally heavily investing in technology to reach the next level. Our engineers are excited to learn from Midas/Klark Teknik.
JO: Both parties will get a great deal out of this. Uli has spent a fortune on sophisticated management systems to increase efficiency, which I would refer to as the ‘totally lean enterprise system’ and I am blown away by it. Midas/Klark Teknik themselves have been using lean manufacturing techniques for several years now with remarkably good results. Being able to leverage off Uli’s approach will take us to a new level of performance in the areas of the business, which noone ever sees and this will translate into more Midas and KT products in a shorter timeframe. And the extra financial investment will help, too. Does the Music Group have any plans to expand, or significantly invest in, Midas/Klark Teknik? UB: Yes, of course. Midas/Klark Teknik have been restricted in the investments needed to achieve its ambitious product plans. This has been a particular problem in terms of recruiting extra staff, which is often faced by small operating units in large corporations. We have already asked John to revise his 2010 business plan to include recruiting the key staff he’s needed for some time. The plan is to build a centre of excellence which includes a high-tech R&D team in the UK. We know there is a large pool of world-class engineers out there and we welcome everyone to apply. Since Midas already has plans for a full range of digital mixers, it’s now the Music Group’s goal to help bring these products to market as quickly as possible. We are determined to enhance the leading role of Midas/Klark Teknik, which also means investing substantially in research of new technologies and user interfaces. Do you think the Music Group’s ownership of Midas/Klark Teknik can improve the brands in any way? JO: Strangely I would say yes, despite the fact that Midas/Klark Teknik are already at the very pinnacle of brand desirability. The really important thing is that we are part of the Music Group. We have not been ‘bought by Behringer’ as some of the more colourful postings to web forums would have you believe. We have chosen the Music Group. UB: John makes a very important point. The Music Group is a corporation with two very separate operational structures. On one side we have what you can call ‘common operational assets’ such as sourcing, high volume manufacturing, engineering services, logistics and warehousing, information technology and infrastructure services, system development, finance, back office operations such as graphic, technical authoring, internet and legal services, etc. Those are functions which benefit from ‘scale and critical mass’ and by design are provided through separate companies employing best industry practice and technology. They are wholly owned by the group and are there to provide, strictly where applicable, a shared services resource. On the other side we have the brands such as Midas, Klark Teknik, Behringer and Bugera. Those are distinct and separate companies with their own identities and intrinsic critical infrastructure such as management, R&D, sales, marketing, channel distribution and even medium scale manufacturing which all goes towards making them who they are. This separation is essential as the brand values are different and the intended use of the products is in very different market segments. This kind of operational framework provides all our brands with a competitive advantage and tremendous operational efficiencies which would be otherwise unattainable economically within each entity. JO: This is extremely important to us and to grow we need more infrastructure and resources. The funds we had originally allocated to building our own services can now be redirected to research and product development. I’ve now had a chance to see most Music Group offices and services. I have never seen such a lean and efficient enterprise. But what excited me the most is the level of passion and engagement among the employees who truly enjoy what they are doing. People have no idea what’s under the Behringer hood and I hope this interview will begin to dispel some myths. Will we be seeing Midas/Klark Teknik technology in Behringer products in the future?
February 2010 17
> INTERVIEW BEHRINGER
UB: In specific cases there is that opportunity, such as with the AES50 based audio networking technology pioneered by Midas/Klark Teknik, which we believe is so sophisticated that it should become a leading standard in the industry. There won’t be a ‘free-for-all’ transfer of technology between brands, but Behringer and other Music Group Brands will be given access to learn best practice from Midas/Klark Teknik. JO: To reinforce that, we will not be seeing, for example, original Midas mic pres or eqs in Behringer products. IP that is so closely related with the brands will remain with the brands, but Midas will help Behringer to further improve its designs and provide tailor-made solutions. How will the Music Group’s purchase of Midas/Klark Teknik affect the actual products made under the two brands? UB: The brands will keep their current brand values and positioning. There will be absolutely no change in this. What would be the point of changing? Midas, Klark Teknik and Behringer are all brand leaders in their respective markets. We would be crazy to change a winning formula. If you do intend to change anything about the overall operation of the firm, what are your reasons for making these changes? UB: I am completely blown away by the technology in the Midas XL8 and PRO6 digital mixers and the way the R&D team developed these mixers in such an incredibly short time. We intend to expand the current R&D team to a cutting-edge ‘centre of excellence’ for digital mixing and networking technology. With value-adding products, I am convinced that customers will see this as a positive step. There is talk of the buying power that Behringer has and the potential reduction in Midas/Klark Teknik’s manufacturing costs as a result. Is this an accurate observation? Will this affect products and customers? UB: Midas/Klark Teknik will continue to use all the specialised high performance parts that they’re currently using in products with absolutely no change. Where these parts are supplied from the same vendors and used by other parts to Music Group companies, there will obviously be increased buying power and cost benefits. But I like to strongly emphasise that, rather than lowering the prices of the products, we will be using the profits to re-invest in R&D. In the long run this will translate into a clear advantage to Midas/Klark Teknik customers and also enhance the brand equity and resale value of the products. Would you like to add to the Midas/Klark Teknik product ranges in any way? For example, smaller format or less advanced products that bridge the gap somewhat between the current crop of products and the ‘prosumer’ category of gear offered by Behringer? 18
UB: Since we now have products at the ultimate high end of performance and the ‘prosumer’ level it would be natural to add ‘in-between’ products where there is market space for them. Midas/Klark Teknik already have plans in this area and we will continue with this strategy.
Behringer and Oakley claim the Midas name and reputation will be upheld
Many sound engineers – particularly American engineers who are traditionally big fans of Midas – think that this marks the beginning of the end for the brand. How do you intend to prove them wrong? JO: I have had a chance to speak with a large number of our loyal customers and end users and have had zero bad reaction to this acquisition. Once I explained the advantages for Midas/Klark Teknik they have become excited at the possibilities going forward. For those that I or my team have not had chance to speak to personally, please listen to Uli’s words in this interview and join in my excitement for the future. Do you think Behringer’s purchase of the firm might change the demographic of Midas and Klark Tekinik users? UB: Behringer is a sister company to Midas/Klark Teknik and both are owned by the parent, the Music Group. The existing Midas product strategy will extend the demographic anyway. Access to the Music Group resources will accelerate execution and time to market. Nevertheless, Midas/Klark Teknik will expand within the parameters of its own distinct market segment. Which company do you think will benefit more from the acquisition, Midas and KT, or Behringer? JO: I recently visited the Music Group’s R&D and manufacturing facilities. I was amazed at the incredibly advanced business and R&D management systems that it’s developed and deployed. These will give Midas/Klark Teknik a whole new competitive advantage. Equally, at Midas/Klark Teknik we have some world-class capabilities which can be deployed to help the Music Group’s other brands. We’ve seen it many times before, when corporates buy smaller companies and promise ‘no change’ and autonomy for the company bought. This never lasts long and the brands invariably get sucked into the corporate structure and effectively disappear as autonomous entities.
I am entirely confident that Midas/Klark Teknik will remain autonomous. John Oakley
Are you guaranteeing that M/KT will remain autonomous? If so, how do you think you will succeed where others have failed. UB: I can guarantee that Midas/Klark Teknik will remain autonomous under the leadership of John Oakley and his team. JO: I have been part of a number of substantial corporations such as Harman and Bosch in the past. But I have never seen anything like the way the Music Group is organised and managed. I am entirely confident that Midas/Klark Teknik will not only remain autonomous, but will be significantly enhanced by this acquisition. www.audioprointernational.com
> SECTOR SPOTLIGHT INSTALLATION
Installation gold It’s the industry that doesn’t know how to stop growing and if ISE doesn’t smash its footfall figures again this month, we’ll eat our collective hat. On that note, Rob Hughes and Andrew Low bring you a selection of truly mesmerising installations… ver the Christmas period, I went round to my aunt’s house to try and get her television working, but sadly it proved to be another lifeless cathode ray box that would no doubt sit outside her house and be ignored by the waste operatives for seven weeks. So I returned the next day whereupon she presented me with a new-fangled flatscreen LCD model that I proceeded to mount on her wall for her. Now I’m not completely useless with a drill and spirit level, but if there’s one thing I cannot do, it’s wire a television into the wall. Before you lose interest, my point is this: even my long-sinceretired aunt is having a flat screen TV mounted to her wall, albeit in a rudimentary and slightly precarious way. Then there’s my mother, also into her 60s, who has spent the last year on a mission to achieve the ‘minimalist look’, which has largely involved the customary hiding of wires and throwing out of anything with a whiff of analog. I might be wrong, but it seems that, these days, folk who are happy to stuff cables behind a TV stand or use some other kind of furniture to conceal them are in the minority. Now if that’s an exaggeration, it can’t be light years from the truth, because the transit van with ‘home integration’ listed among the services on the side is a common sight down our street these days. No one knew what home integration was five years ago. And unlike many areas of technology, it seems that the domestic end of the market is driving things forward, as opposed to the other way round. I can only speculate, but maybe this originates in the current obsession for an ‘ultra modern’ interior with all the wireless and wall-mounted trimmings. This, in turn, educates your average householder – including those who commission commercial AV installations for a living – on just
what is possible when it comes to system integration. At any rate, AV customers are becoming much more ‘system savvy’. They know what they want from their installations and will no longer be impressed by the simple fact that it works – it has to be invisible wherever possible or, at the very least, discreet. Slick and streamlined go without saying and installers who think that these things are a trade-off against performance won’t be long in business. And there’ll be a queue of contractors waiting to step into their shoes because the installation industry is nothing short of burgeoning. It has its very own show now of course – Integrated Systems Europe – which is set to take place this month. And I’ll bet you that it’ll be substantially bigger than the last, just as it has been every consecutive year since it began in 2004. ISE was launched on the back of a need for a pan-European forum for what were then emerging markets of professional AV and electronic systems integration. It has grown so rapidly because AV systems have become an absolutely integral part of modern buildings and the show’s audience is constantly expanding to include architects, interior designers, property developers and project managers, as well as the regular audio and visual boffins. For more information on what’s going on at this year’s ISE, turn to page 11 – but not before you’ve checked out the following examples of installation gold…
AV systems have become an absolutely integral part of modern buildings and shows like ISE have an audience that is constantly expanding.
BUDDHA BAR, BEIRUT Elie and Maya Louaizi, owners of Beirut-based SPL-Sound Pressure Level, recently specified and installed an Alcons loudspeaker system at the Lebanese capital’s latest hip nightspot, Buddha Bar. Built on three levels and adorned with exotic red www.audioprointernational.com
INSTALLATION SECTOR SPOTLIGHT< and gold décor, the venue features an open plan design with a 15-metre ceiling height. Among the challenges that had to be overcome were the ceiling height, architectural restrictions, the material used in the construction, décor and the venue’s intended use. “The major challenge for us was the huge volume of space to cover and none of the areas of the venue being separated from each other. Another factor was that there was nothing to absorb the sound on the walls,” says Maya Louaizi. “The potential for the sound dissipating in the space was very real, so we had to choose speakers which were powerful enough to cope with this, but not driven so hard that they were distorting. Buddha Bar functions as a restaurant and pub, but later in the evenings it becomes a 2,500-capacity nightclub. Both functions have to be served by the same loudspeaker system.” The system designed and installed by SPL features 16 Alcons TS3 single 6.5-inch loudspeakers covering the ground floor restaurant, ceiling mounted to point down towards the diners. Three VR8 eight-inch pro-ribbon loudspeakers are mounted on wall brackets in the reception bar area, while 18 ceilingmounted VR8s and six floor-mounted BF302 twin 15-inch subs cover the mezzanine. Two further VR8s are installed in the DJ booth as monitors and the whole system is powered by ten ALC2ST amplifiers with SDP processing. “Alcons speakers were an excellent choice for the distribution pattern we designed,” added Elie Louaizi. “We thought that aiming the speakers from the outside, in, was the best solution to prevent sound interference between floors and to ensure that audio was only targeted at the desired areas.” ROCK BAR, LEEDS, UK After the last record has been spun and the Ibiza summer ends, weary UK dance heads travel back to England with their heads down longing for next year’s parties. Fortunately for the kids in Leeds, ex-footballer Dominic Matteo has opened the Rock Bar to bring a bit of the Balearic feel to the city. Pro Sound, a well known DJ retailer and supplier in the area, was asked to supply a system that would stand up to the high-end audio systems that Ibiza is known for. Pro Sound’s Clive West explains: “The promoters who partnered with Matteo on Rock Bar have been doing events in Ibiza for years, so they completely understand the difference between a good system and one that is merely passable. The success of super clubs in Ibiza comes down to the sound systems and they were looking for something of comparable quality that would give it a simliar feel.
“We have been selling a lot of the LD systems speakers though the shop and have used them in smaller installations, so I had them down for a demo and they were really impressed. The speakers feature very high-level components at a very reasonable price that can be passed onto the customer. “They already had a couple of demos of equal quality installation speakers, and after they heard the LD speakers they said that if we could get Rock Bar to sound like our demo room they then they would go for it.” As such, Pro Sound equipped the bar with LD boxes throughout all the rooms in the venue. The main systems feature two LD VAPS-215s for LF, in addition to five of the 12inch LDV12s. The bar’s VIP area is also utilising numerous LDV-8s and LD Sat 62s for peripherals. “We were really impressed with the amplification provided by the LDSP4K and LDSP6Ks,” West continues. “They are very powerful, sound great and do not get too hot, while remaining. powerful and efficient in an appropriate way. They are also very reasonably priced. “The LD speakers are very versatile, which means that club can be used for DJ nights, while the VIP area doubles as a stage area with the addition of some monitors and a small mixer.” ST. CAROLUS BORROMEUS CHURCH, BELGIUM When Ohm Benelux’s Willy van de Velde was awarded the job of installing a new sound system in the St. Carolus Borromeus Church he needed to design an installation scheme that would provide proper coverage for the vast venue that also fit with the church’s 17th century architecture. Built by the Jesuits between 1615 and 1621 and decorated by the Flemish painter Rubens, Borromeus’ interior could not be obstructed by big bulky speakers. As such, Willy van de Velde chose Ohm’s dual eight-inch BR-8s and six-inch KS-1s loudspeakers for the church. The Ohm BR-8s were designed with two eight-inch expanded envelope drivers, with a two-inch voice coil and a one-inch compression driver fitted to a proprietary diffraction horn, thus providing the venue with 160-degree horizontal dispersion. The BR8s were designed for optimised vocal intelligibility, and their compact size also allows them to be unobtrusive as possible while providing an equally distributed sound to all parts of the large church. PALAZZINA DI CACCIA DI STUPINIGI, ITALY RCF has provided the audio system for the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi, one of the residences of the Royal House of Savoy, built by architect Filippo Juvarra in 1731. The building is located in the of Stupinigi near Turin, and has been added to the World Heritage List by Unesco. Designed by the RCF Project Design Office, based on the original design made by Mr Sergio Berno from the EL Engineering Service of Turin, Orion Gesta completed the installation under the supervision of engineer Ivan Catellani. The main audio system is the RX4000, a completely integrated system for voice evacuation, paging and background
February 2010 21
> SECTOR SPOTLIGHT INSTALLATION XXXXXX
music, which is EN 60849 CEI 100-55 compliant. The main control unit manages two more units, located in other parts of the building and connected to the first through CAT 5e UTP cable. All three units are equipped with boards for the diagnostic of the amplifiers, and the speaker line (ground, short circuit, etc) and microphone consoles. The two slave units are also equipped with EOL boards to check the connection with the main central unit, while the central unit controls the three different banks of recorded messages. The audio system has been divided into 11 zones, managed entirely by the main unit, CP4100, that processes and sends all the standard paging an emergency calls that come directly from the fire alarm system. The microphone consoles are BM 4716s with an LCD display to control the system, which manages the announcements and the background music for all the 11 zones, and a fireman’s paging console. For the big oval shaped manor hall, which represents the core of the palace, DP1TG sound projectors have been installed, which were chosen for their directivity and high-quality audio, in order to offer the best coverage for the hall’s large reverberating spaces. Thanks to their compact size, high quality, controlled dispersion and very good frequency response in vocal reproduction, MQ80P have also been installed in the main hall. To amplify the sound in the four corridors that start from the main hall, DU100X have been used. SANTA PARK, FINLAND Loudspeaker manufacturer dBTechnologies’ wireless microphone and loudspeaker systems were installed at this year’s SantaPark, Finland’s festive theme park, by newly appointed Finnish distributor Live Nation. The project involved upgrading the stage entertainment arena at the underground attraction, where dB Technologies’ Opera 410D speakers and PU920 series wireless microphone systems were installed. Jori Asikainen of Live Nation says, “It was an easy decision when specifying the sound equipment for this project; both systems we used were exactly what we needed. The install went smoothly and it is proving to be reliable even in Finland’s Arctic temperatures.” The digitally controlled 16-channel PU920 wireless microphone system features extensive working range, long battery life and a newly-developed digital squelch control, offering extremely high operating reliability. The Opera 410D is part of the newest Opera Digital range, which boasts digital bi-amping, dual active limiter, digital sound processor and asymmetrical horn design, all packed into a rugged yet lightweight polypropolene housing. 22
UC SANTA BARBARA EVENTS CENTER, CALIFORNIA The UC Santa Barbara Events Center, a 5,600-seat, indoor multi-purpose stadium also known as The Thunderdome, recently upgraded its sound system to meet the increased audio demands of sporting and entertainment events. Project designer Acoustic Dimensions specified a distributed EAW loudspeaker system, powered by super-efficient Powersoft amplifiers to meet with the installation’s physical and electrical restrictions. “The hurdles the UC Santa Barbara Events Center installation presented were three-fold regarding power amplifiers,” says Vance Breshears, LEED accredited design consultant for Acoustic Dimensions and veteran of over 500 installations worldwide. “We were dealing with a very limited pre-existing rack space for the installation, yet still had to provide the wattage necessary to do the job. The amplifier room was passively vented and not AC cooled, so amplifier heat generation was a big consideration. Also, the electric service to the amp room was limited, so current draw was a factor.” The Events Center, which hosts basketball, boxing, wrestling and entertainment events, was serviced by an aging end of stadium cluster setup that was limited by directional coverage and hot spots, with reduced clarity and volume at the other end of the stadium. The new Acoustic Dimensions specified system, installed by AMT Systems, employs nine Powersoft K6 amplifiers driving the distributed EAW MK2364 and MK2396 speakers. This design approach yields greater clarity and consistent volume throughout the stadium. SOUTHLANDS CHURCH, CALIFORNIA Southlands Church in Brea, California recently installed a new sound system following its relocation from a temporary to a permanent facility, selecting an Allen & Heath iLive digital system as its centre point. It hired Paul Dexter of 7k Audio, a Grammy-nominated studio mixer. Dexter has earned quite a reputation in the area, as he has designed systems for some of the best-sounding churches in Orange County. “While I’m a record producer first, I’ve managed a few rock and roll church installs in the area, and word gets around,” notes Dexter. “My job was to give the church the sound it wanted and the knowledge it needed, while working within a pretty modest budget. One of the keys to making that happen was choosing an Allen & Heath iLive-112 system as the main mixing console.” The new facility is actually an industrial space that has been converted for worship use. The room was gutted and divided into a worship space, with other areas reserved for future
My job was to give the church the sound it wanted and the knowledge it needed, while working within a pretty modest budget. Paul Dexter on Southlands Church
INSTALLATION SECTOR SPOTLIGHT<
development. To create a reasonable sonic footprint in this steel and concrete space, the floor was carpeted and the ceiling covered. During the design of the sound system, Paul Dexter needed to find a console that could fit into the budget without compromising on either sound quality or functionality. He eventually selected an Allen & Heath iLive system, comprising an iDR10 MixRack and iLive-112 Control Surface. Southlands’ iLive handles both FOH and monitor duties and is set up with 32 input channels and 16 outputs in the iDR10 MixRack, which is located behind the stage and connected to the iLive-112 Control Surface via a single CAT5 cable. “The band is on wedges currently, but the system is wired up for in-ears in the future. They also plan to have a Pro Tools recording studio in the future, so we left room for expansion.” The main PA outputs feed a SymNet system for processing before going to the speakers. As the room is wider than it is deep, Dexter opted for a stereo point source approach, with a pair of EAW speakers hung on each side, reinforced by three subwoofers in the centre, all powered by QSC amplifiers. “The new system is simply brilliant,” says Southland’s Dudley Rogers. “With a good speaker system and a new building, we expected it to sound good but this is so clean, it sounds like a CD! We pushed for digital because we wanted the flexibility and ability to save our settings. Of course, the iLive does all that but what surprised us was how easy it was to learn for the volunteers. AUDI TERMINAL, DENMARK Audi’s newest facility, the 10,200 square-metre ‘Terminal’ in Fredericia, Denmark, opened recently following a sound system installation by AVC (Audio Visuelt Centrum), one of Denmark’s leading AV installation companies with more than 40 years of industry experience. The building is one of the first of its kind in the world, with cutting edge architectural features, and boasts a 360 square-metre event space, which can serve as a function area for presentations and launches. The client had some specific requirements for a sound system that could deliver high SPLs without compromising the clarity of audio content. Equally, the installed system had to be discreet in order to avoid any impact on the architectural design of the space – effectively, the speakers had to be heard and not seen. Following a demonstration of Tannoy’s CMS12 TDC large format speaker (featuring a single 12-inch Dual Concentric driver), the Audi project manager and appointed acoustic consultant gave the nod for 12 of the loudspeakers to be installed in the main space. The final specification included a broad mix of products including the compact shallow-back can CVS4 Micro, CMS501 DC, CMS 601DC and CMS 801DC speakers for use in various acoustically tricky areas around the showroom. CMS110 SR subwoofers provide ample low frequency response, which means that the system can be driven at high volumes if necessary. The entire audio system is powered by a relatively compact rack of Lab.gruppen’s installation dedicated C Series amplifiers, with just seven units in total, comprising five models, ranging from the four-channel C 10:4X to the eight-channel C 20:8X.
February 2010 23
> INTERVIEW RED SQUARE AUDIO
All the right angles Red Square Audio founder Paul Nicholson is looking forward to a big year. With exciting lines and an unmatchable enthusiasm, he expects that RSA will soon become a major player in pro audio. Andrew Low talks to the Audio Pro Award winner for Best New Company about being creative in challenging times… aving been formed at the beginning of the recession in November of 2008, Red Square Audio (RSA) is now determined to beat the current bad financial times by offering the most interesting and relevant products. Combined with a new partnership with used gear reseller Gear Source Europe, RSA is confident it has the kind of service to help it trade strongly through these trying times. Although RSA is a young company, owner Paul Nicholson is no rookie to the business. He has 20 years’ experience as the owner of pro audio sales, rental and installation company Midas Pro Sound and another ten years with the French speaker maker L-Acoustics. Nicholson feels that the key to RSA’s continued success is offering innovative products and being creative. “I am selling the Innovason Eclipse, which is a fantastic console that I chose because it is the best,” he says. “We moved a couple post-PLASA and we will definitely sell more in 2010 by being creative, but not by offering discounts. People will buy it for the right reasons at the right price because it is a high-quality product. We can also offer people buy-backs through our relationship with Gear Source. If someone has an analog or digital console that they want to exchange for an Eclipse I can move it on through
Gear Source, which will give them the funds to invest in some new kit. People want new equipment because it is exciting. It is like driving a new car – it gives you a buzz and a lift and that is what you want to offer your customers. You have to work with them to give them something that enhances their business and gives a return on their investment. “A few years ago we would have been selling a lot more of everything because the industry was very buoyant and finances were easily available. Interest rates are very high now and the banks aren’t lending. We are working very hard to keep the ball rolling and the energy going. “I took on the Eclipse console because it is different and very cool. It’s extremely compact and has 96 faders that can be configured for any function, plus it has the option for a built-in 64-track recorder. It sounds wonderful and there is nothing on the market like it. Now that Lawo has a majority share holding, the company is very healthy financially. It really didn’t do itself any favours with its past representation in the UK, but we are picking up the reins and making it happen. The same is true for Tannoy’s VQ Live
People are listening and excited about what we are doing for all the right reasons. Paul Nicholson
RED SQUARE AUDIO INTERVIEW<
Red Square’s partnership with Gear Source gives it an edge over others
line. I was instrumental in redesigning the install version and bringing it to the live market. Apex is also a brilliant company that we took on because it was struggling with its market profile in the UK. In addition, we have a strategic partner for Lab.gruppen, so having an association with the TC Group and working with Tannoy is a big advantage for us.” Despite hosting big brands, Nicholson knows that he is not dealing with steadfast names in the UK’s live music market. “Tannoy does not have a history in high-end pro audio, so I am trying to bring a new product to the market – and that is tricky even at the best of times, but we know that we have a stunning and cost-effective product and I think we will do really well with VQ this year,” he explains. “There isn’t a ready market for many of our products and we started RSA in a recession, but the message is getting out and there is a real feel good factor about what we are doing. People are listening and excited about what we are doing for all the right reasons.” While the engineer used to be the one speccing the latest desks and cabinets to take on the road, Nicholsen is finding that such is not the case any longer and the companies that have to buy the gear themselves don’t have the money they used to. He is working around this problem by offering the right products at the right price and through his association with Gear Source. “We already have cost-effective gear to start with, but we can make it even easier for companies to buy with our trade-in deal,” he points out. “You can buy a new VQ Live system without spending any money. You end up with a smaller and more powerful system that takes up less room in the truck and the warehouse, and it’s much greener to run because the power consumption is so low. It just makes sense. “Last week a client called in who wants to trade in his old system and it won’t cost him a thing; actually, we might end up giving him some money back. He had a look at the VQ Live and realised that not only did it sound amazing, but it will take up far less space in the van and the warehouse and save him money. “The same is true with the Eclipse, because it has an integrated recording system, two onboard PCs and it’s smaller than a Yamaha M7CL. It’s modular, no outboard or recording racks are required and it’s fully MADI compatible. The hard drive can be taken out at the end of a gig and given to a studio engineer for mixing. You can also use it for virtual sound checks and drop in live channels via the cue buttons.” Having a long legacy in the business and a history as Toyah Willcox’s FOH engineer is another big bonus for RSA, as Nicholson will be taking the Eclipse on tour with The Humans this February, a band that features Willcox, her husband, Robert Fripp of King Crimson and Bill Rieflin of REM. He will also be using the Eclipse’s MARS systems to record all the rehearsals and shows. With the help of Nicholson’s wife, Hilary, Andy Reeves and David Baker, RSA is making its name known in the industry. “2010 is big year for us and we need to help get the feelgood factor back into the industry,” he concludes. “Unfortunately, we can’t control the economy or exchange rates, but we can control a lot of other factors and it’s all going in the right direction for us. We are a very stable group financially and we are here for the long term.” > redsquareaudio.co.uk www.audioprointernational.com
February 2010 25
> COMPANY PROFILE MAPS
Shock Frustrated with the acoustic problems of outdoor performances, acclaimed classical music conductor Mark Stephenson garnered a team of experts and devised the Mobile Acoustic Performance Shell. Rob Hughes catches up with Stephenson as the concept gathers momentum… et’s face it, while we probably wouldn’t choose our tiled bathrooms to mix a major label album in, if there is one place that convinces us that a rendition of New York, New York is a good idea, the bathroom is it. This notion certainly isn’t lost on Mark Stephenson and, ten years ago, when he began to get downright fed up of lacklustre outdoor orchestral performances, he would probably have preferred a suitably-sized bathroom over an acoustically inert tent for conducting the musicians in his orchestra. “You only need to sing in the bath to know that it sounds much better and it feels much better and, because of that, you just want to carry on singing,” enthuses Stephenson. “Well, a musician operates the same way. It doesn’t matter if he’s got a Stradivarius violin, if he’s playing in bad acoustic conditions, it’s not very rewarding, so he doesn’t play so well. He can’t hear his colleagues properly either, so the overall quality of the performance is third rate.” Now before you get excited, I have you tell you that the idea of using a bathroom as an outdoor stage never came to fruition. You see, as lively sounding as they are, a bathroom’s acoustics aren’t always ideal, and furthermore, an orchestral-sized bathroom would probably be a little on the cumbersome side for the very mobile world of live outdoor performance. Happily, Stephenson anticipated this and, rather than waste his time designing a very large portable bathroom, theorised a much more bespoke solution. A decade on and after teaming up top architect Jason Flanagan and consulting with Arup Acoustics’ Ian Knowles, his concept is on the cusp of becoming a functional reality. The Mobile Acoustic
Performance Shell (MAPS), as it is known, has been fully designed, modelled and tested, and the team’s company, Sound Forms, is currently raising two million pounds under the Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme to build the first full-size prototype. The quandary to which the quest for a solution became the driving force behind MAPS is that, since the musicians at outdoor events are typically surrounded by nothing more than a traditional tented structure, the sound waves they create are not reflected and therefore travel upwards and behind them as frequently as they do towards the crowd. This is a double-edged sword for acoustic acts, because they also struggle to hear themselves, which leads to problems with timing, tuning and the multitude of intricacies that lead to a great performance. MAPS has been designed to provide three major advantages over a standard, tented rock and roll stage. By including sound reflecting panelling above and to the side of the orchestra, a stage acoustic can be created that will assist the musicians to hear themselves and each other, motivating them and promoting better performances. Miking requirements, either for amplification or broadcast, will be less complex and yield better results without signal processing and finally, by extending the shell in front of the platform edge, sound is projected out of the shell and redirected onto the audience area, thereby increasing the direct sound level. “The profiling shape means that sonic energy hits the ceiling and most goes forward, but some goes back onto the musicians, so you do get a stage acoustic,” explains Arup’s Ian Knowles. “It’s not very live, but it’s not like playing outdoors
As a classical musician, the idea that half of the sound I make isn’t going to just disappear off the back of this thing is fantastic. Mark Stephenson MAPS
MAPS COMPANY PROFILE<
A very sophisticated acoustic panelling process is used to construct MAPS
where there’s no support, no reverberance at all. The intention was to improve the acoustic conditions on the platform and by doing so improve the performance, but we’ve taken that a stage further by introducing an extension of the shell forwards. We call that the ‘peak’ and that extends the reflected sound onto the audience. We looked at optimising the height and shape of the platform, the angle of the peak and the extension of the peak, and the patent that has been lodged actually deals with the ratios involved. We’ve modelled it in Odeon (acoustic software) so we know the subjective improvements it makes and the support figures we’re getting on the platform – a measure of how much energy is reflected back to individual musicians – are comparable to those of a good quality concert hall.” “From my point of view, as a classical musician, the idea that half of the sound I make isn’t going to just disappear off the back of this thing is fantastic,” adds Stephenson. “It’s a terribly obvious principal, but it’s just not been done before, other than in permanent structures such as the Hollywood Bowl. The premier league orchestras in the States have got quite good outdoor summer versions, but the second league orchestras such as Pittsburgh, which are huge, still have nothing. Even New York Philharmonic, which is already very interested in MAPS, doesn’t have a quality outdoor performance shell yet. “I want the top-class, premier league orchestras to be prepared to go and play outside and at the moment quite honestly, they’re not. I was a cellist in the Philharmonia for ten years and I put up, as we all did, with the conditions of playing outside and felt that the audiences were getting second best. We’ve had the BBC’s chief acoustician look at MAPS, because at the moment what you’ve got is the wonderful Royal Albert Hall for the Last Night of the Proms with that great big resonant sound, then you zoom up to Glasgow and you hear this farting French Horn in a tent. And however hard the BBC tries – and its brilliant, still the best broadcaster in my mind – it can’t mitigate that.” Exciting stuff, but what about the traditional values of a music stage? What about speed and ease of setup and, moreover, how many people would have the need or desire to www.audioprointernational.com
make a serious investment in a platform that was exclusively for the use of orchestras and other acoustic performers? Well, on the first point, remarkably, Olly Watts from the ES Group, which will construct the full-size shells, has predicted that they will come in on the standard orbit installation and dismantling times, which can be considered a great achievement given the sophisticated acoustic panelling process used to construct the mobile stage. This brings us to the second question, which could be bluntly summarised as: what about good old rock n roll acts? Well, it seems they’re catered for too. “No-one in their right mind would design something purely for orchestral music,” Knowles astutely points out. “If you were the operator of a venue or a festival, you would want to put on a mixture of different types of music from one day to the next, or even consecutively. To this end, all the acoustic panels are easily demountable and you’re left with essentially a rock n roll stage, which is suitable for amplified stuff. And I’m sure that there’s a halfway house. For example if you were doing some jazz stuff, maybe you’d want to leave some of them in place. It’s up to the operator how they use the different acoustic conditions that the platform can provide. “But one of the greatest benefits of what we’ve created, is that you won’t need 40 or 50 sets of microphones and an enormous console to try and make head and tail of it all. Not only will this make rigging a lot easier, but the pickup sound quality will be better. You’ll get a better performance, better sound quality, easier rigging, less processing and, overall, a better product.”
By including sound reflecting panelling above and to the side of the orchestra, MAPS creates a stage acoustic to assist musicians in hearing themselves
February 2010 27
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 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.
MODERN WORLD STUDIO COMPANY PROFILE <
Everything in its right place Modern World Studio is hidden in an industrial estate in the quaint country town of Tetbury, UK. White Mark designed the rooms and owner Nick Cowan picked a raft of key gear that has made it commercially successful and busy since day one. Cowan explains to Andrew Low how it’s entirely possible to accidentally start a successful recording studio…. ith an average age of 70, Tetbury, where Modern World Studio is based, is not the place to go to if you are looking to party and rub elbows with industry reps. Nick Cowan, the owner of Modern World Studio, laughs: “We have these Scottish metal bands coming to town for the studio and they ask us where all the chicks are, and we have to say: ‘There aren’t any, it’s Tetbury’.” Despite the absence of nightclubs and rock venues, Cowan assures us that the studio is a great place to get bands to focus on their record. This is also one of the reasons why producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals, Catatonia, Lost Prophets and Bullet For My Valentine) has taken residence in the studio for almost three years. Modern World was not started as a commercial venture, rather a place for Cowan to work on his own music and film scoring. After 20 years of living a hectic London life, Cowan gave it all up and began building his ultimate studio in the heart of Tetbury’s countryside. Fronted by an SSL Duality console, prime outboard from API, Chandler, Emperical Labs, Thermionic Culture and Lexicon and an Exigy 5.1 surround monitoring system with Quested S7 nearfield, Cowan worked with White Mark to develop a high-end project studio that soon took on a life of its own. He comments: “It began as a shitty room with holes in the roof. We stripped it back to a shell and White Mark took care of the live and control rooms. “We really wanted to use the height of the industrial building. You go to a lot of London studios and you are in the basement with no windows and restricted head height, which I always find weird because you just don’t feel like you want to be there. “I wanted to finally have a go at recording some of my own stuff and record film scores and advert jingles – that was the
original logic behind it. In the planning stages, White Mark asked if I was every going to rent it out commercially, and I said ‘absolutely no way’. The guys at the firm explained that if I ever was going to make it a commercial space that I should start thinking about it then, rather than in two years’ time, and consider things like health and safety guidelines and installing a wheelchair ramp.” MAKING A MARK White Mark designed the studio’s main live room as 460 sq ft of open plan recording space. The room’s large size, oak flooring, oak diffusers (16 in total), and fabric walls are complemented by natural daylight from windows and overhead skylights. Acoustic screens are also provided for separation during live recordings. It includes a full eightchannel Aviom mixing system for headphone balance, with recording and foldback via Quested S8s. Cowan comments: “The room sounds great and we also have all sorts of mood lighting, like LEDS in the diffusers that are nice little White Mark touches. “When I started to think about using it as a commercial space, I also changed my mind about the desk I wanted. Originally I had a SSL AWS 900 coming, which was only 24 tracks, but I thought that a 48-track desk would cover all the bases if it was a commercial studio and could also gave me a lot of flexibility with my own work. “Mike Banks of SSL sold me the desk and said that I should call in a few producers to test it to get some feedback and Haver was one of them. From him, the client base just kept growing and to this day, three years later, I still haven’t been in my own studio. It is an accidental recording studio.”
It began as a shitty room with holes in the roof. We stripped it back to a shell and White Mark took care of it.
Nick Cowan Modern World Studio
February 2010 29
> COMPANY PROFILE MODERN WORLD STUDIO Nick Cowan (third right) and company love the accidental studio that is Modern World
Modern World maintains an exclusive 24-hour locked policy for the bands. It also features an edit suite with a Pro Tools HD system, a collection of vintage and high-end guitars, amps that would make any musician fall to their knees and a lounge with a widescreen TV, kitchen and a pinball machine. Cowan’s space seems the perfect model for a modern studio: self owned, built from the ground up and just big enough to fit a live band and orchestra without being too big or expensive, thus fitting in with the budgets of self-financed bands and independent labels. As such, the studio is fully booked throughout the year. Despite its great success Cowan is leery of getting too big. He states: “Six months ago I would have said that I wanted to expand. If I could do anything here it would be to open an expanded edit suite, something that complements the studio. I don’t want bands to lose that priceless exclusivity. “I wouldn’t buy the building next door and spend another three quarters of a million quid building another studio, because on paper it doesn’t add up. I built this studio for myself and it has become profitable, which is great, but when I look at other studios, especially those in the heart of London, I can’t figure out how they are turning a profit – and the answer has to be that they aren’t. This building cost £100,000. The guys in London who don’t own the freehold are paying £30,000 to £40,000 a year on rent alone. I don’t know how they make it work, because unless you have orchestras or are really highend it must be really hard to keep the rooms full every month. 30
“We get 90 per cent unsigned bands here, which means it is their money and they want to work hard and use the time. Haver drives them hard and they leave with an amazing product. We have a day rate of £500 with free accommodation. You can leave at midnight and get back in here at nine am and it is still the same price. “Client attention to detail is my main priority. I really want to look after the client, because I think that’s really what’s been missing from this industry.” BUT DON’T JUST TAKE THE OWNER’S WORD FOR IT Producer Greg Haver and engineer Clint Murphy have been using Modern World for three years as a home away from home. After travelling all over the globe using studios in New Zealand, Ireland and Latvia, the pair found Modern World and have booked it out in monthly blocks ever since. “When the studio I regularly used in Cardiff was bought by the Manic Street Preachers, it became private and I could only work around the band’s sessions,” Haver says. “We used to spend four months in the UK and then four in New Zealand. The idea of being based somewhere so we could see our wives seemed like a good idea and it is a great place to work. “I love the desk and the monitoring. We get a good price and in return we bring in a huge amount of business and practically live here. Due to the amount of work we bring to the studio, Cowan was prepared to make some changes for us and acquire some gear that we wanted to use. It is a two-way street: Modern World Studio gets a large amount of work and
We get a good price and in return we bring in a huge amount of business and practically live here. Greg Haver Producer
MODERN WORLD STUDIO COMPANY PROFILE < studio’s gym because it is quite splashy, and it actually sounds really cool. And now we get some of the best drum sounds in there. “What really brought me here was the desk and the monitoring. Especially for mixing – the SSL Duality is great to work on because you have the digital control surface combined with the analog side as well. I still mix the old way on the desk, so it is nice to be hands on.
we get a studio that is comfortable to work in.” Murphy explains: “Bands don’t seem to mind travelling here because it is only an hour from London and lots of them come over from New Zealand because the conversion rate is in their favour. At the moment, the pound is so much weaker than everything else. Modern World throws in accommodation as part of the studio price, so having a band over with free accommodation for a four-week session is a big savings. “When we first started coming here and it was new, there were a lot of new products. We soon got used to the rooms. And eventually Cowan started buying some gear that we were after too. “The main room is a very dry and dead drum sound, which is good for an AC/DC drum sound. We suggested using the
GETTING TO KNOW YOU “The more I get to know the SSL,” Murphy continues, “the more I have enjoyed tracking on it. I grew up as a Neve man and a fan of that classic punchy sound, but the SSL has a variable harmonic function that you can wind in on the second or third order harmonics to get a valve transistor sound, and it actually makes quite a difference. I usually record strings on Neves, but I have really liked recording them on the Duality and using the third harmonic function.” “It has almost become our home studio, albeit a very expensive one,” Haver explains. “The Duality is designed really well and is compact. I always worked a lot on E and G series and this board is similar – the monitor section is a digital interface, but the channel strips are essentially the same. “These days records have to be financially transparent. You shouldn’t be able to listen to a recording and be able to figure out how much is cost to make. Every record has got to sound like it took a million bucks to make it. You can’t say that you just didn’t have enough money – that is not an excuse. It is our job as a producer and engineer to make the record sound as good as possibly can, so you find the facilities to do that. “Why would we want to be in our bedrooms at home doing that? We have seen a lot of producers set up a studio in their homes to try and save money and the quality of their work suffers. We spend nearly every single day of our lives in here. The other good thing is that bands like being upstairs and it keeps them out of my hair.” Murphy laughs: “Although sometimes it can be quite hard to get the bands into the control room, because they are in the middle of their Halo game or Guitar Hero.” Haver continues: “I do get a bit down on them when they are playing Guitar Hero rather than learning their guitar parts. They will be whizzing through the game and then they come down here and they don’t know their parts, and it’s like, ‘you have just been playing Guitar Hero for ten hours’. “We really love being at Modern World Studio – it is a great facility. It has all worked out well for everybody. We have this little Kiwi enclave in Tetbury and it is all down to Cowan building the studio here – we have lowered the average age of Tetbury by about ten years.”
The more I get to know the SSL, the more I enjoy tracking on it. Clint Murphy Engineer
February 2010 31
> PRODUCT REVIEW AMS NEVE 2254 R COMPRESSOR
Back to the future
Wes Maebe has a go with AMS Neve’s 2254/R compressor on the volcanically active island of Montserrat... ’m writing this review on a hot night in Montserrat, where the first ever mixing desk to be installed was the Neve, designed by Rupert Neve and Geoff Emerick and custom-built for Air Studios. Sadly, the studio is now inaccessible as it’s in the exclusion zone, but the Montserratians have very fond memories of its days as one of the pre-eminent international recording facilities. I remember being amazed by the sonic quality and vintage smoothness of the original 1970’s 2254, years ago when mixing Zero Cipher’s Diary Of A Sadist. It was one of those experiences all we audio junkies go through from time to time when we find ourselves thinking, “Wow, I’d really love to have one of those in my rack.” So, when the guys at Neve asked me to review the 2254 Reissue, I jumped at the opportunity.
The day before we flew to Montserrat, Jules Dickens from Abstract Source came over to have his latest track mixed and I put the 2254/R through its paces. One of the coolest and newest features of the outboard range is Total Recall. The installation procedure for the Total Recall Software was extremely straightforward. Before even getting into mixing, I wanted to acquaint myself with the 32
software side of the unit. The 2254/R connects to your computer via a USB connection and the Total Recall software package stores and recalls any settings you want. You can store the settings for up to 16 units. All the soft switches will recall at the press of a button and all the rotary encoders are recalled manually, referring to the on-screen graphical representation. And while on the subject of the graphics, they’ve been well-thought through and look fantastic. The 2254/R’s comprehensive programme meter section is operated by a drive circuit with rapid attack and slow decay times, corresponding to the typical PPM characteristics. There’s a green LED to the top righthand side of the meter that will light at a threshold of about -10dBu. This LED turns red when the programme reaches a level of +25dBu, indicating imminent clipping. The meter can be set to display either the input signal level (in), output signal level (out) or the amount of gain reduction (control) by adjusting the adjacent meter knob. Next to the meter section is the power button, whose Neve N logo lights up bright red. The ‘in’ switch will be yellow once the 2254/R is put into the chain, regardless of the limiter or the compressor being active. If the unit is in by-pass the input is sent straight to the output.
The compressor section features a ratio knob, ranging from 1.5:1 to 6:1. The 2254/R compression characteristic is smooth and the actual ratio value is reached within the first five to ten dB above the threshold. Following the ratio are the threshold, gain make-up and recovery knobs. Finally, there is the limiter section with its limit level, limit recovery, fast attack switch and fast attack time controls.
The Neve 2254/R is a versatile machine, capable of dealing with a wide range of source material. Even if you haven’t come across the original, this unit is going to blow your mind. It’s a solid piece of gear that can handle everything you throw at it. The 2254/R sounds amazing. Even when it is not compressing or limiting and is just inserted in the chain, it will add that delightful Neve sound we all know and love.
THE NEVE 2254/R IN ACTION
VOLCANO ATE MY HOMEWORK
As the Abstract Source material is mainly electronically generated, I tend to mix it as much out of the box as possible. Listening to the preproduction of the song, we decided the kick and the vocals would benefit the most from being processed by the 2254/R. The unit brought the kick drum to life instantaneously. Apart from providing an overall level of control, it also brought out a lovely tonal quality and made it a lot snappier. Equally, the vocals got bouncier and much rounder.
We’ve had ash falls and power cuts. I’ve learned all sorts of new words, like pyroclastic flow and partial dome collapse and lapilli. I’ve swept enough ash to make a new mountain, gazed in awe at the glowing dome at midnight on a clear night and seen an explosion send clouds of super-heated gas, ash and debris thousands of feet into the sky. The flow almost reached Air Studios this time. It’s good to know that Neve is still making world-beating analog gear, embracing the digital era, thirty years on. > ams-neve.com
BEHIND THE BOARD WITH… PHIL HARDING From a Christmas number one to a spot of birdwatching, former PWL man Phil Harding reveals all… Which band/project are you currently working on?
Mixing the single Beautiful Dangerous People by new artist Ellis. Where are you at the moment?
In my home project studio at the bottom of my garden, surrounded by the snow. What audio console are you utilising? And how many channels?
Yamaha Digital 01V (original version) – 16 analog/eight digital via ADAT optical optional I/O card. The Yamaha is supplemented by my Nautilus Nemo DMC-8 preamp, which acts as a high quality master channel strip with three external stereo inputs that have individual gain controls for A/B comparisons. The Nemo also has stereo VU meters and a wonderfully large monitor pot as the control room master for a choice of two sets of speakers. What decision process was behind the choice of this audio console?
I needed a good compact console that allowed me to do everything I wanted at the time of purchase, to go with my first Pro Tools system, especially with the very useful digital
I/O option card. The Nautilus Nemo preamp has completely changed my typical DAW system into something that feels like a classic 1970s studio with a high quality discrete Class-A resolution technology. Do you utilise any outboard effects/eq, and if so, what are they used on and why?
Yes, I still use my AMS RMX 16 digital reverb for the classic drum ambience setting. Favourite console?
SSL What has been your career highlight?
Favourite PA or monitoring system?
ATCs, Genelecs or JBL control 1s with SB1 passive sub. Favourite venue/festival/studio?
Having my coproduction of East 17’s Stay Another Day hit Christmas number one in 1994 and stay for a five-week run.
London’s Strongroom Studios and the Latitude Festival
What really pisses you off?
What’s been your worst professional experience to date?
Trying to mix Matt Bianco at The Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1985 – a frightening experience.
Bad singers and cocky and incompetent engineers. With hindsight, what job would you have chosen for yourself?
And if you weren't working now, you'd be?
Birdwatching, though it’s little chilly for that today. Otherwise, maybe reading an enlightening book, such as something from Vladimir Megre’s Anastasia series. Harding has recently published a book entitled PWL – From the Factory Floor. The memoir provides an insight into SAW/PWL recording and mixing techniques. It is available for a mere £10 from Harding’s website, www.philharding.com..
audioPRO February 2010 33
> COMPANY PROFILE WOMEN’S AUDIO MISSION
In it for women San Francisco-based Women’s Audio Mission is an organisation dedicated to training and supporting women interested in audio engineering. Its web seminars, hands-on training and studio have already helped hundreds of women get ahead in an otherwise male-dominated world. Andrew Low talks to founder Terri Winston about getting more women behind the board…
rom its inception, Women’s Audio Mission’s (WAM) main goal has been to increase the number of women working in the recording industry. But the fact is that women only represent five per cent of the business. WAM founder Terri Winston believes that it is more to do with a lack of familiarity and the way women are socialised around technology from a young age than sexism. She explains: “WAM doesn’t tend to focus on the sexism aspect because you are going to find some kind of ‘ism’ anywhere you go. The industry has been really supportive of us. We are more trying to pick apart why women don’t naturally pick up a soldering iron or get excited about recording technology and I tend to think it is down to familiarity. My father is a traditional engineer and my mother comes from a biology background, so I was familiar with technology because I was around it all the time and now we use that model for WAM. If we can introduce women to audio engineering, it hopefully gets them over that hump so that they can grow more interested and comfortable with it. “The bulk of what we are doing is training, all the way down to girls aged nine to 16. When you go into middle school, the girls have no idea that audio engineering exists, but when you show it to them they go crazy and are amazed that you can make a living doing it. Although I do tell them that I don’t know how much money they are actually going to
make,” she says laughing. “As with any art form, if they love it then it doesn’t matter.” In addition to getting the word out to young girls, WAM has also established many programmes to help women already established in the industry. Winston states: “We are doing advanced lectures for established engineers and bringing in more guest speakers. We just did an in-depth tour at Meyer Sound that was excellent, which was for both the established engineers and student members. We are about to do another one with a local TV and radio station. We have also been trying to focus on female students who may need extra training. “Our recording studio is open for use by engineers and artists. It is very well staffed and the rates are extremely low for women who are WAM-certified, so that is the other benefit – bands get a great deal, women earn album credits, and once our students get out of school they can use a studio with excellent gear.” WAM began off the back of Winston’s successful recruitment of women students while teaching at The City College of San Francisco. “I got the enrolment of the school up to 50 per cent female and decided, rather than travelling to schools everywhere, to get more girls involved and get all of the best practices together in one place, and from there it just kind of exploded. I didn’t expect it to mushroom so quickly. The industry has been great.”
When you go into schools, the girls have no idea that audio engineering exists – then they are amazed. Terri Winston Women’s Audio Mission
WOMEN’S AUDIO MISSION COMPANY PROFILE <
Support from the industry has come in the form of donated equipment for WAM’s training studio. As such, it is equipped with a Pro Tools HD2 system with two 192 I/Os, Pro Control, and Sound Workshop 34 C and Sony DMX-R100 consoles. It also features Barefoot monitors, mics from Audio Technica, Heil, Mojave, THE and Shure, as well as high-end outboard gear from Daking, Lavry, Universal Audio, Millennia, A Designs, TL Audio, Great River, Purple Audio, Urei and Lexicon. “All of the gear was donated from the industry. They wanted to see women using it and they want to see women getting credit on records and films. I have seen a lot of panels about getting more women into studio work, but to me the most important thing is getting them familiar with the gear and its applications, and the manufacturers have been very supportive of that.” Although the studio and hands-on training is only available in the Bay Area, WAM members from around the world can benefit from the web-based training materials and read and watch interactive modules and videos to familiarise themselves with the gear and processes. Winston explains: “The online training materials were developed from a college training course that I developed. They are intense science-based training materials, which will serve everyone, not just women. “The web materials are not intended to replace hands-on training, but they are very helpful for people in rural areas, or those who don’t have access to this kind of gear. We have members from all over the world. For instance, women in the Philippines have told us that they don’t have anywhere to go to use the gear, so even though they don’t have access to the www.audioprointernational.com
equipment, they can watch the processes and see where to plug a microphone cable. This way they get to learn about the theory, science and concepts behind the processes used in a recording studio.” The success rate of the programmes has been very high and WAM graduates have been placed in varying capacities throughout the industry. “One of the first women I placed had been hired as a right-hand person at Barefoot monitors,” Winston states. “Barefoot then donated a beautiful set of monitors that she designed. We have also placed a few people with Tracy Chapman. The last person did all the live recordings on her last tour. Then there is someone else at Pixar and most the studios in the Bay Area have worked with our women in some form. One of our graduates has recorded audio for the Discovery Channel, as well as Animal Planet and Comedy Central.” Despite enjoying several success stories, Winston admits that it is still very challenging to train women as audio engineers, mostly because of the way they are socialised around technology. “When I get some that are good they really latch onto it, but that is a rare person.” She continues: “But I find that’s true with men as well. You see the same success rate, percentage wise. I think this is changing, but it is still a challenging area.” As for the future, Winston believes that expanding online options is key to cultivating WAM’s international membership and keeping members informed on the latest it can offer. “We just started doing our member meetings online only. We have 850 to 900 women all over the world and online conferencing has been a great thing for us. Women from Canada, England, Texas and NJ are getting involved, and we are now more connected as a community. “Our big focus is this online training, because we have a very high-quality product that is revolutionary in the way that it is presented. We are really excited about men and women having access to these kind of materials.”
Above: WAM helps to get more women interested in audio Inset: Terri Winston
It’s important to get women familiar with the gear and the manufacturers have been very supportive. Terri Winston Women’s Audio Mission
February 2010 35
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 firstname.lastname@example.org headline sponsors
SARAH YULE OPINION <
audio Sarah Yule examines how pro audio companies could move into cloud computing... he advancement in computer-based hard disk recording, software integration, digital live consoles and affordable pro-sumer recording and mixing equipment over the last ten years has been substantial. Looking at the way technology and trends are moving in other industries, there is one very sensible progression I see coming to the world of audio in the very near future: cloud computing. Google is doing it, Microsoft is doing it, they’re all working towards it. When global corporations are championing a technology, you know it is just a matter of time before it is employed into business practise and then home computing, too. For those who have not seen the many articles on the subject, cloud technology basically enables you to store and share data in a dedicated virtual (online) ‘cloud’ space and access hosted services and software via the internet. Within the audio world, this could be very interesting. Although there are already some provisions for online music making and sharing data, they can still be a little clunky and there are no official services from the main audio software giants like Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase/Nuendo, Apple Logic, Propellerhead or Ableton. With the current economy driving the change of business models, it could be a perfect time to adapt to a way of working that would benefit both the manufacturer and the consumer. As a software manufacturer, you suffer from software piracy and it’s tough to attract a constant, steady income beyond an
initial purchase. As a software user, keeping up-to-date with software is hard too. Being left with a DAW that doesn’t work because of version incompatibility between your software/ plugins/OS is a nightmare. Wouldn’t it be great to not have to spend hours installing new software, going through Challenge/Response and iLok complications and be able to access a session anywhere in the world, from any computer with the internet? This could be a winner all round. Software companies could attract a steadier income stream by offering a ‘lite’ version for free/demo, then a pro version either by utility type usage or via subscription fee. You could have features where you can access plugins in real time with a ‘trial or buy’ functionality. As internet speeds increase and it becomes more accessible worldwide, this technology will get even better. Imagine musicians working on a session in five different parts of the world simultaneously, linked via an online cloud session; you could join the cloud and start comping and editing files ready to mix down the track in your studio later on. A finished track in a day, recorded with musicians from around the world without any travel expenses. It also will make recording and production software available to anyone with an internet connection – this alone could tremendously diversify the creative output into the music world. There are so many possibilities with cloud computing – let’s see who from our industry will be the first to harness it.
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 recently promoted to the position of sales director, which is partially due to the success of her conceptual design of the Fat Track Tube Production Suite.
> IN SESSION
People and equipment behind studios in the UK and around the world...
Rooms: Studios A and B, mix/overdub suites A and B Consoles: API Legacy, Focusrite Control 24, Digidesign D Command Mics: Neumann, AKG, Coles, B&K, Royer, EV Outboard: GML, Alan Smart, Tube-Tech, Joe Meek, Universal Audio, Urei Monitoring: Genelec, Yamaha, Mackie
Rooms: Control room, two live rooms Consoles: Solid State Logic SL8072 G+ Mics: Neumann, Coles, Royer, AKG, AEA, Schoeps, B&K Outboard: Summit, Tube-Tech, Chandler, API, Neve, Valley People, GML Monitoring: ATC, Barefoot, Yamaha, Quad, Auratone
ONE OF the top recording studios on Nashville’s ‘music row’, Omnisound specialises in helping to create topquality recordings for independent artists and songwriters. The company will co-ordinate and organise entire projects, from tracking and overdubs, to mixing and mastering in a simple one-stop process. To help achieve this, the studio has close ties with some of the finest Nashville session players, engineers, hit songwriters and major label producers. The studio has recorded projects for Warner Bros, Sony Music, BMG, Capitol Records and many Independent labels and publishers throughout the world, in places as far flung as South Africa, Puerto Rico, Australia, France, Norway, Iceland and Japan. Fast approaching its 25th birthday, Omnisound Studios has not only survived, but thrived during its quarter of a century in business, by consistently adding new services and re-evaluating its business model. As well as the typical services you would expect from a studio, Omnisound also offers artist development and consulting to help customers achieve various goals within the music industry.
THE MILOCO studio group has kicked off 2010 with the launch of yet another world-class residential. The firm has formed a new partnership with producer and former Jamiroquai keyboardist/songwriter, Toby Smith, to develop the studio, which was completed last year. Hidden away in the heart of rural England, Angelic is designed to provide artists with an exclusive and idyllic setting to record in. It is constructed within two charming farm buildings, which have been converted and refurbished to uncompromising standards. The studio is built around a large and spacious Sam Toyashima control room featuring a SSL SL8072 G+ console with Total Recall and Ultimaton; the same desk which used to live in Townhouse Studio 2. It is complemented by a top-rate selection of monitors: ATC SCM200s, Barefoot MicroMain 27s and the obligatory Yamaha NS10Ms, powered by Quad and ATC amps. The outboard rack is extensive, with too much to list here, but the vintage Neve mic pres – four 1084s, six 1100s and eight 33114s – are of note. Recording is done on a Protools HD3 rig with three 192
The company recently purchased the studio complex next door to Omnisound at 1808 Division Street. This became its newest studio, the Icon A Mix, named after the Digidesign control surface, which forms its centrepiece. It has since proved to be one of the best ProTools Mix Suites in Nashville, with a HD3 system, a plethora of top plugins and some prestigious analog gear. Studio A, meanwhile, will appeal to analog tape fans with its onsite Studer A800 Mark III 24-track machine. Studio A also offers a sizeable array of analog outboard gear, alongside an enticing selection of instruments of the less portable kind – pianists and fans of keys in general will appreciate the Yamaha C-7 concert grand, Hammond C3 with Leslie 122, Wurlitzer electric piano and Fender Rhodes complete with speakers in the live room. Omnisound has seen its fair share of hitmakers through the doors – acts such as Joan Osborne, Natalie Imbruglia and Art Garfunkel have all recorded there, while visiting engineers have included Chuck Ainlay and Chip Matthews. The studio has also worked on special projects for the likes of Pixar.
Telephone: +1 615 482 1511 Web: www.omnisoundstudios.com
interfaces and two Apogee converters, providing 48 inputs and 56 outputs. The first of two recording rooms features a high gabled roof, grand oak floor and three tall stone walls, which result in bright and lively acoustics. There are two very large windows looking out to the country surroundings that saturate the space with daylight. Drawing the large curtains will dampen the acoustics to achieve a more controlled sound. There is also a large selection of absorbers and screens to vary the acoustics. The room houses a drum kit and a stunning and tuned white Yamaha G3 grand piano. The second live room is a guitarist's dream, filled with countless beautifully maintained models by the likes of Fender and Rickenbacker, and amps by Ampeg, Fender, Marshall and Vox, plus an equally impressive pedal and FX collection. Synth keyboard players are also well catered for. The second live room offers something different to the first – there is a large carpet and several acoustic panels for a more controlled sound. However, it still features the building's original stone walls and high ceiling.
Miloco has formed a new partnership with producer and former Jamiroquai keyboardist/songwriter Toby Smith, to develop the studio Telephone: +44 (0) 207 232 0008 Web: www.miloco.co.uk/angelic
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// To have your studio featured in this section, please send all details to: email@example.com or call +44 1992 535646
Prism Sound’s Jody Thorne on why digital looks after analog
Rooms: Studios A to G with live rooms and iso booths Consoles: SSL 4040 G, SSL AWS 900, Digidesign Mics: Neumann, AKG, B&K, EV, Beyer Outboard: Urei, Tube-Tech, API, AMS Neve, Eventide, Lexicon Monitoring: Genelec, Yamaha, Auratone
Finnvox, Helsinki FOUNDED IN 1965 with just one room and four-track capability, Helsinki’s Finnvox was the first studio in Finland to be designed and built specifically for music recording. Since then, it has maintained a unique position in the Finnish music industry, with a client list that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of popular music in the country. Today, Finnvox is a complete, state-of-the-art music production facility, increasingly attracting artists and producers from outside Finland. The facility currently comprises seven studios (appropriately named A to G). What is now studio A was originally Finnvox in its entirety, but today it serves as a roomy and wellappointed mixdown environment. The facility’s principal studio is now Studio B, which boasts its largest live room at almost 2,000 square feet of hardwood flooring. This is the room for general recording, since, as it verges on an orchestral-sized space, even the largest bands will have plenty of room to breathe. The firm notes that it is especially suited to music that needs to shift a lot of air. An array of rotatable wall elements and a selection of movable room-height screens allow
for the tweaking of acoustics. For vocals, two glassed isolation booths run along one side and to the back of the studio. Studio B’s control room is well equipped with an SSL AWS 900 console and Neve 1081 preamps. This will more then suffice for most tracking requirements, but for those who require a bigger console, Studio C has the answer. Housing a Solid State Logic 4040 G console, the studio was originally built in 1980 and has since been modified extensively. Studio C is usually manned by celebrated Finnish engineer Mikko Karmilla and comes complete with a 22 by 16-foot live room and a separate, windowed isolation booth. Finnvox also offers a mastering service, which a great deal of metal bands have taken advantage of. Most of the mastering work is carried out by Mika Jussila, who, to date, has mastered over 3000 records at the studio. These have included notable Finnish acts such as Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, Finntroll, HIM, Moonsorrow, Holy Knights, and RamZet. Nightwish has also had albums recorded and engineered at Finnvox by Aksu Hanttu.
Founded in 1965 with just one room and four-track capability, Finnvox was the first studio in Finland to be designed and built specifically for music recording Telephone: +358 20 755 9291 Web: www.finnvox.fi
DIGITAL ARCHIVING is ubiquitous in preserving records and documents. When older formats of recording and logging information reach the limit of their shelf life, digital archiving technology takes over. These priceless artifacts can then be stored and restored for many more generations without risk of further degradation, as long as the digital data is correctly managed. Once the recording is in the digital domain, it can be duplicated and backed up with bit for bit accuracy with no further generation loss. Digital technology also allows non-destructive editing and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to be tried without risk. Old audio specimens will have many flaws, but the original media is delicate and this means repeated playback is out of the question. However, once in the digital domain it is possible to effortlessly apply audio equalisation, click removal, de-hissing and other processing without worrying about damaging the master. There may also be an advantage here in having a multi-channel device when digitising old masters, even mono media, as different channels can be set up with different input configurations (different pickups, using different gain levels or using different microphones with nonelectronic playback devices and so on) so that the master only needs to be played once and the maximum information is available for post processing. Some say that the character of analog can never be accurately captured digitally. Basic physics confirms this is true, but it is a question of degree. The boundaries of digital recording performance continue to be pushed back to levels unimaginable only a few years ago. Despite the subjective appeal of vintage tape machines and processing devices, such equipment has significant technical limitations. The tape recorder,
loved for its tape compression, was a significant limiting factor. It introduced noise and distortion in addition to compression effects that would be utterly unacceptable in an A/D converter today. However, sometimes an analog device might seem to do exactly the job required. Using a good A/D and D/A converter system, analog processing can be used today with digital archive media, allowing audio recordings to be restored and re-mastered for a more enjoyable listening experience. Whether using analog signal processing or not, faithfully transferring from analog to digital is of the utmost importance during the transfer. Traditional sound recording may allow some
The boundaries of digital recording performance continue to be pushed back to levels unimaginable only a few years ago. Jody Thorne colouration during the conversion process; however audio archiving demands that the digital recording is as faithful to the original as possible. Audio archivists look for the highest quality and transparency in audio converters such as Prism Sound’s ADA-8XR or Orpheus. This means the frequency response must be flat, dynamic range must be large, and the clock must be super stable. During the remaster of the Beatles original catalogue, great care was taken to digitise the original analog tapes using the Prism Sound ADA-8XR and ProTools. SADiE was used along with CEDAR to remove noise, pops and clicks but still maintain breaths and coughs so ambience and originality and authenticity was maintained.
Jody Thorne holds the position of sales and marketing manager for Prism Sound Group. He has worked for the company for the past 12 years and is a graduate of Salford University. Prior to joining Prism Sound, he worked for renowned producer, songwriter and musical director Mike Stevens.
To contact Prism Sound Tel: +44 1353 648888 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.prismsound.com
IN BRIEF RADIAN AUDIO Engineering has recently appointed industry veteran Mark Pinske as its new executive director of sales and marketing. Pinske has over 20 years of experience in the pro audio industry and is well known for his seven-year association with Frank Zappa as his chief recording engineer. Based in Southern California, Radian is a manufacturer of loudspeaker systems and speaker components for permanently installed and touring live sound applications. Pinske joins Radian Audio from Peavey Electronics, where he was general manager of Media Matrix, Crest Audio and Architectural Acoustics for nearly a decade. > radianaudio.com KLAUS HANSEN has been appointed as Meyer Sound’s business development representative, Scandinavia, in response to an expanding customer base in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Prior to joining Meyer Sound, Hansen was in the sales force for several renowned Scandinavian rental and installation companies, and founded Copenhagen Sound Production in 1995. He is the sound engineer for The Olson Brothers, a winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000, and the systems engineer at the annual Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Hansen’s appointment is part of an effort to bring Meyer Sound even closer to the Scandinavian market. > meyersound.com BEXEL HAS announced that Helen Carr will take on the role of pro audio sales manager. Carr joined the company in 2003 following a 20-year career in broadcasting, having worked for Quantel and Snell & Wilcox. > bexel.com 40 audioPRO February 2010
John Booth to head Roland’s European operations
RTW appoints Jochen Wainright
Tim Walter promoted to MD of Roland UK AS OF January 1st 2010, John Booth (pictured), the current managing director at Roland UK, begins a new job within the global Roland group, assuming the title of director of European operations, and Tim Walter, currently Roland UK’s commercial director, will assume the role of managing director for the UK operation. Booth will continue to represent Roland UK as chairman. Since 2007, following Booth’s appointment to the main board of
directors at the Roland Corporation, Japan, his time has been split between the UK, Japan and, increasingly, Europe. The creation of this pan-European role is Roland Corp’s recognition of the importance of a collaborative approach between the European joint venture companies and that the growing needs of these businesses are identified and developed. “I am delighted to be widening my role at a European level, representing the Roland Corporation, Japan,” commented Booth. “My main focus will now be helping Roland Corporation improve and harmonise our operations across Europe, although I will remain as chairman of Roland UK.” Walter, having joined Roland in 1996, quickly progressed from a junior position in Roland UK’s education department, spending time in a variety of roles in the business before joining Roland UK’s board of directors in 2003. More recently, his roles have included sales and marketing director and, since 2008, the role of commercial director, responsible for all UK operations. Walter has spent over 20 years in the music business, during which he served retail and distribution roles. > roland.com
RTW HAS appointed Jochen Wainwright to position of international sales manager. Wainwright’s appointment comes as RTW looks to expand its operations worldwide. He has previously served as head of audio production at Wige-Media in Cologne, where he was responsible for large-scale TV productions, such as Formula One and Champions League football broadcasts, as well as networking the company’s OB vans and planning and designing activities for its television studios. For the 2006 FIFA World Cup championship in Germany, he co-designed the switched country-wide fibre audio network for host broadcaster HBS and Deutsche Telekom. Before joining RTW, Wainwright worked as a product manager for Riedel in Wuppertal, where he was responsible for most of the Riedel product range. “We are very happy to have Jochen Wainwright join us,” said Andreas Tweitmann, CEO. > rtw.de
Harman Music Group names new group VP Craig Paller promoted to worldwide, group-wide sales role for several brands THE HARMAN Music Group has announced that Craig Paller has been promoted to the role of group-wide vice president, worldwide sales. The promotion will see Paller responsible for strategic planning and sales initiatives at the brand, market, and dealer level for BSS Audio, dbx Professional, DigiTech, as well as Lexicon Professional. Rob Urry, President of the Harman Music Group, commented: “Craig Paller is an outstanding sales executive with a proven understanding of the markets Harman Music Group serves and deep empathy for the needs of our dealers and customers. In this new role, his experience, enthusiasm, and
leadership skills will benefit all of our brands in growing and strengthening in each of their specific markets.” Paller joined Harman Music Group in November 2005 as vice president of worldwide sales for BSS Audio & dbx professional. Prior to joining, he was the director of US sales for Shure. Commenting on his new position, Paller stated: “I’m excited about the opportunity to lead our worldwide sales team and continue to build each brand’s presence in established as well as emerging markets. I want our customers and dealers to know we have a great team in place that will continue to develop strong relationships.” > harmanpro.com
PALLER: Now leading strategic sales www.audioprointernational.com
Midas and Klark Teknik maintain distribution Companies answer customer questions regarding distribution channels after Music Group purchase
MIDAS AND Klark Teknik’s distribution is to remain unaltered, according to a press release issued this month, following the news of the Behringer purchase from Bosch Communications. To avoid confusion in the purchase, Uli Behringer and
Michael Deeb created a new holding company, the Music Group. Midas and Klark Teknik has acknowledged the questions regarding the deal and looked to reassure its customers by stressing that its ‘carefully chosen and highly focused distribution
XTA Electronics takes on new exclusive distributor for Spain SeeSound adds another big pro audio brand
Delighted: XTA feels that SeeSound’s lines are a complement to its own
XTA ELECTRONICS has recently announced the appointment of SeeSound as its new exclusive distributor for Spain. CEO Nacho Alberdi, who formed the company in 2004, heads up Barcelona-based SeeSound. Today it is the exclusive distributor of many top pro audio brands such as DPA and Optocore. Alberdi, who has more than twenty years’ experience in the industry, is supported by a team that offers a broad range of expertise in sales, marketing and technical support. Alberdi commented: “XTA is a key www.audioprointernational.com
factor in our catalogue because we consider that it is the best at doing what it does – and that is being the control part of any modern pro audio system.” Speaking for XTA, sales and marketing director Bill Woods added: “XTA is delighted to be working with SeeSound, whose other lines truly complement our existing product offering. I am very pleased to be working with Nacho and his excellent team, who already have a number of nice sales under their belts.” > xta.uk.com
companies worldwide will remain in place and the brands will not be available through other channels’. “Over the last five years we have secured the industry’s leading professional audio distribution channels to ensure that Midas and
Klark Teknik customers in each territory get the same standard of support that our award-winning team provides in the UK,” commented David Cooper, sales and marketing director for Midas. > midasconsoles.com
dB Technologies appoints Intellimix for Canada Montreal-based company secures exclusive deal
INTELLIMIX CORP has recently been named the exclusive Canadian distributor for dB Technologies. Intellimix handles audio products for the arena, club, theatre, restaurant and DJ markets out of its office in Montreal. It has continued to expand into other areas with a strong emphasis on customer service. Intellimix president Stephen Kosters commented: “With retail and small rental companies, the Opera series fits the bill; whereas we are finding the larger touring, install and contractor markets are well served with the line array.” Harald von Falkenstein, dB Technologies’ international sales
manager, agreed. He said: “Working with Intellimix Corp, which has a variety of pro MI and pro audio products in its portfolio, means dB Technologies can now reach a far wider range of customer groups in this territory.” “I am very proud to be the new distributor in Canada,” Kosters continued. “The sound and price points for dB Technologies are incredible. The people at dB Technologies have been professional and fun to work with. We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership for all.” > dbtechnologies.com > intellimix.com
February 2010 41
NEW GEAR >> Recent releases in audio technology 2
GreenHalse Mute 16
API 527 Compressor
RSS S-0808 Digital Snake
THEY SAY: Mute 16 is suited for the silencing of sound systems during emergency announcements and as an automated venue SPL control system. SPECIFICATIONS: A compact 2U high multi-channel audio mute system, using voltage controlled amplifiers to mute up to 16 channels of balanced, line level audio. Its control input is an optically isolated, normally closed signal that is connected to a ground during normal operation. When the control signal becomes open-circuit, the audio outputs are all quickly muted. When the control input is restored, the audio output level rises back to normal over approximately two seconds. A control signal from an emergency system is connected via a two-pin Camden plugin screw terminal. On the front panel, indicators are included on channels for signal in/out and mute status.
THEY SAY: The 527 is based on API’s 225L discreet channel compressor and measures just half the size of a Vi6. SPECIFICATIONS: API’s 527 compressor is a single channel module that features controls including variable attack, release, ratio, and output gain controls. The unit also includes API’s patented ‘Thrust’ circuit, first offered on the 2500 Stereo Bus Compressor. A ten-segment LED meter is switchable between gain reduction and output level. “Anyone who has used the 225L compressor found in API consoles has expressed a longing for the same kind of flexibility and control in the 500 Series for some time,” said Larry Droppa, president of API. “We’re delighted to now offer the 527 to complement our vintage 525 compressor, which has been many engineers’ favourite compressor over the years.”
THEY SAY: A problem solver for many hard-to-reach miking applications, including choir, plays, and orchestra. SPECIFICATIONS: The MicroBoom is a 50-inch (1,270 mm) carbon fibre rod that can be utilised with any of the condenser microphones in the Micros series. It was designed to be lightweight and attach to any microphone stand. It can be used with a choice of capsules in the Micros series. A high quality shielded cable is used internally to insure the cleanest audio signal path between the microphone and the bottom of the boom, which terminates in a mini-XLR male connector. Its stand adapter allows for control over the angle, rotation, and position of the carbon fiber rod. The final angle and position of the microphone can be controlled using the flexible metal gooseneck just below the microphone.
THEY SAY: World’s first battery and remote powered digital snake added to V-Mixing system. SPECIFICATIONS: The S-0808 is an eight-in/eight-out compact digital snake that supports multiple power options, including battery power, embedded power over REAC and power over Ethernet (PoE), which can stream from multiple REAC units back to RSS M-400 and M-380 V-Mixers. The inputs offer remote controllable preamps, phantom-power, 24-bit 96kHz A/D conversion and choices of XLR, TRS line and even Hi-Z capability to reduce the need for DI boxes. Audio and power can be transferred over Cat5e cable using the RSS S4000D Splitter and Power Distributor or the new S-4000M REAC Merge Unit. The S-4000M can power up to four S-0808 units.
Genelec 8260A 3-way DSP Monitoring System
LD Systems Stinger series speakers
THEY SAY: It features major advances in audio driver technology in a sophisticated enclosure design. SPECIFICATIONS: The 8260A threeway DSP monitoring system features the Minimum Diffraction Coaxial Mid/ High driver technology for improved imaging and sound quality both on the acoustical axis as well as off-axis. The 8260A combines a coaxial driver (MDC) with a modern waveguide technology (DCW), ensuring drivers couple coherently over their full operating bandwidth, as well as creating coincident mid-frequency/ high frequency point source. The 8260A features Genelec DSP signal processing for loudspeaker functions such as the crossover filters, driver eqs, room response alignment, calibration, and equalisation related filters as well as distance compensating delays.
THEY SAY: Powerful performances and easy handling for full-range applications. SPECIFICATIONS: The Stinger speaker series is powered by Eminence drivers and features BMS compression drivers, available in passive and active models. The active models feature Bang & Olufsen Ice power amp, line I/O, mic in, volume control, ground lift, two-band eq, birch ply box with black textured finish. LDEB82 passive: Multi-functional loudspeaker with eight-inch custom made speaker and BMS one-inch compression driver. 18mm plywood cabinet structure, highly durable textured lacquer finish, integrated speaker stand receptacle. LDEB82A active: As above with B&O amp and Speakon passive output allowing the connection of a passive speaker. Its speaker also features the new Volex power plug.
> genelec.com 42
JZ Vintage series – V47
JDK Audio R22 compressor
THEY SAY: The V47 gives users a great microphone with legendary U47 sound. SPECIFICATIONS: The first in the JZ Vintage series, the V47 features a unique double capsule and optimised smart shock-mounting system. The mic also features an original design in a flask shape, a built-in shockmounting system, swivel mount for multiple positioning options, and golden drops sputtering technology on capsule. The mic also comes with a five-year warranty. Its frequency range is 20Hz to 20 kHz. It features a cardioid polar pattern and an output impedance of 50 Ohms.
THEY SAY: The R22 shines with a rulerflat frequency response out to 50 kHz. SPECIFICATIONS: The R22 is a twochannel, rack-mount compressor with linkable stereo operation that uses true RMS power summing, a patented Thrust circuit for low-end and intuitive parameter control. The R22 interconnects with both balanced XLR and quarter-inch inputs and outputs. LED indicators and switchable analog metering of the output level and gain reduction provides an optimised gain structure. It also features switchable hard- or soft-knee compression, combined with variable threshold, ratio, and make-up gain controls. It offers the same inline compressor formerly found only in Paragon consoles
> ld-systems.com www.audioprointernational.com
February 2010 43
MARKETPLACE < DISTRIBUTION
MARKETPLACE ADVERTISERS INDEX Adam Hall
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+1858 535 6060
+31 50 52 64 993
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+44 (0) 1983 811 441
01296 621 052
AUDIO MARKETPLACE CLASSIFIED RATES: Minimum 12 Months One Annual Charge Quarter Page £1,495
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MARKETPLACE < PR
“ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
www.wesonator.co.uk Photo by Stefan Lubo. www.stefanlubo.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last word in Audio Pro PICS OF THE MONTH
MAN IN BLACK In preparation for President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, Oslo City Hall, Norway went through an overhaul of its sound system, including the installation of Allen & Heath digital mixing and audio distribution systems. It also installed Allen & Heath’s iLive digital mixing system to manage live events, The ceremony was attended by the Norwegian royal family and celebrities, including actor Will Smith.
MATTER OF FACT As Carl Cox wowed the gathered punters during his five-hour RoomOne set at Matter London’s first birthday party, he made the most of the 3D room sound effects created by a TiMax audio delay matrix and triggered live via an M Audio Oxygen8 MIDI keyboard. TiMax is intrinsic to the sound system design in the Thameside superclub and is the key to the ‘tight’ but spatial soundfield achieved in the very large and industrial, high-ceilinged Room-One space.
The Music Producers Guild (MPG) UK is to honour Island Records founder Chris Blackwell with an award for Outstanding Contribution to UK Music. This will be presented on February 11th at the Music Producers Guild 2010 Awards at the Café de Paris in London. During the1970s, Island signed many more reggae masters including Toots and the Maytals, Third World, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, and Sly & Robbie. Blackwell also maintained his interest in progressive rock by signing artists such as Roxy Music, Brian Eno, John Cale, and Marianne Faithfull, and he also extended Island’s influence into punk and New Wave with signings such as U2, the Cranberries, Melissa Etheridge and Tom Waits.
EMPTY ROOM OF THE MONTH
JAY REATARD 1980 - 2010 We learned of the unfortunate passing of Jay Reatard this month. The 29-year-old garage and punk rock innovator recorded hundreds of songs in his rudimentary home studio set up. He said of his recording process: “It’s like a Polaroid picture. I’m just trying to get the idea out before the inspiration is gone. Everything I do is motivated by the fear of running out of time. I’m not trying to be low fidelity,” he added. “I’m trying to be handmade.”
The Minotaure Complex, France We at Audio Pro love nothing more than a good old empty room and its sound system. This month we thank Outline’s Michele Noselli for this exciting image of France’s Minotaure Complex, complete with its new Mini-COMPASS system.
SOLID STATE LOGIC G SERIES We’re not going to get pernickety about particular models – that’s a debate for the geeks on Gearslutz.com. If someone gave us the opportunity to mix on one of these, we wouldn’t have the cheek to question which model it was. Except maybe out of pure interest. And we’re not alone, because when ‘gangsta rapper’ The Game talks about legendary producer Dr Dre being sat behind one in his track, Dreams, he doesn’t care to mention which model it was either. And this tells us just how far the G Series has wormed its way into popular culture, because The Game tends to stay on the other side of the control room window, yet he knows full well what a G Series is, as does nearly anyone with even a passing interest in recording. SSL claims that the G Series – and if we must be specific, the 4000 – has been the mixer behind more platinum selling albums than all other consoles combined. It’s a bold claim, but one that is somewhat supported by statistics. The 1996 Billboard Studio Action Chart showed that over 83 per cent of the year’s number one hit singles were produced on SSL consoles. >
Award-winning UK music writer/producer Fraser T Smith, the man behind multiple hit songs for artists such as Tinchy Stryder, Pixie Lott, James Morrison and Taio Cruz, has become the latest high-profile customer to begin using one of Prism Sound’s ADA-8XR multichannel converter. With four number ones under his belt, 2009 has been a highly successful year for Smith, but 2010 will see him working with Willoe, Clare Maguire, Adele and a follow up with Tinchy Stryder. audioPRO
February 2010 49
AUDIO FISH OF THE MONTH
Adam Hall’s purchasing manager, Lee Barnaby pulled this 20 lb+ Common Carp from a syndicate lake in Essex in the middle of the night. While Barnaby’s fish looks impressive, it is a few hairs short of the 94 pounder recently caught by Angler Martin. Send pictues of your big catch to: Andrew.Low@intentmedia.co.uk
THEM CROOKED CULTURE VULTURES
Josh Homme, renowned producer and frontman for supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, was presented with his very own limited edition Thermionic Culture Culture Vulture (try reading this after a few beers) at Reading festival. Homme used the processor extensively on the last Queens of the Stone Age album, Era Vulgaris.
HAYDN BENDALL ON THE NEVE 88R I suppose with my sort of background many people would expect me to wax lyrical about some of those mixers and bits of equipment that we had at Abbey Road. Well, no, I’m afraid. I’m not and never was an aficionado of the TG Mixers that seem to attract crazily high prices now. There are many, many things that I loved about Abbey Road and many things that I love now, but those mixers are just not on the list. My mixer of choice is one that constantly amazes and surprises me even after all these years. What we have to do as engineers and producers is to try and help make good sounding records. This mixer sounds fantastic and there has not been one occasion where I wished I was using a different mixer when utilising one of these beauties. Is it a coincidence that my favourite studios, Abbey Road, AIR, British Grove and Forward Studios, house one of these mixers? Actually, I think it is, but what a glorious choice these incredible studios have made. My desert island desk (or anywhere else desk) is the Neve 88R.
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50 audioPRO February 2010