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SAUDI STARS BKP reveals plans to establish Saudi biz p07 LONG ROAD AHEAD SHO? wins Dubai Road to Sound City event p10 CONSOLE CAPERS Avid debuts new VENUE console range p12

LIVE & KICKING The best live microphones in the business tried & tested

Vol: 4 Issue: 1 January 2010

An ITP Business Publication 1 Licensed by International Media Production Zone


STUDIO AL FAN, IS BACK AGAIN MTV LEBANON.

MAC 700 PROFILE

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MAC 700’s CELEBRATES THEIR TALENT.


CONTENTS 14

January 2010 Volume 4, Issue 01 07 Regional News BKP plans Saudi market assault, Behringer parent buys Midas, Klark Teknik; Buddha Beirut invests in Alcons Audio.

10 Long and winding road SHO? wins Road to Sound City battle of the bands, wins Sennheiser kit.

12 Live and loud Avid showcases new VENUE mixing console range during gala launch in Dubai.

14 COVER STORY: Training day S&S touches base with the UAE’s leading professional training institutes about their plans for 2010.

20 Live & kicking S&S showcases a host of the leading live production microphone technologies available on the market.

27 Hot products Scarbee Jay-Bass, Philips CK LEDs, Neumann TLM 102 studio mic.

31 The Hitlist Online guide to Protools 8; upcoming conferences and trade events.

32 Backstage

07

12 20

JANUARY 2010 SAS

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www.digitalproductionme.com

WEB LOG DPme.com

NOVEMBER’S TOP STORIES

MOST READ SOUND & STAGE NEWS STORIES

1 Behringer parent buys Midas, Klark Teknik

2 Sony confirms closure of videoconferencing biz

3 Top 5 Middle East AV projects of 2009

Live Nation confirms iTunes live production deal Live Nation and iTunes have formed a partnership to sell exclusive audio and video recordings of the promoter and venue operator’s concerts online. Gigs staged at Live Nation’s network of ‘wired’ venues will be available for purchase and download through iTunes. “We are thrilled to offer artists a new highquality platform to share the magic of their live

shows with their fans,” said Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation. The initiative launched last month with archived recordings of artists including OK Go, Duffy and Ziggy Marley. Live Nation’s Studios division, regularly records concerts in more than 80 of its venues, which have been transformed into next-generation ‘wired’ live recording studios.

MOST READ NEWS STORIES OVERALL

1 Google’s ‘iPhone killer’ breaks cover

2 First layoffs at OrbitShowtime

3 Behringer parent buys Midas, Klark Teknik

EDITOR’S CHOICES NEWS

IN PICTURES

TOP 10 BROADCAST TECH INSTALLATIONS

LOUDER THAN HEAVEN

Showcasing the best broadcast infrastructure projects of 2009.

Nervecell discuss touring tech and techniques.

SPOT POLL

HAS ABU DHABI STOLEN DUBAI’S MANTLE AS THE GCC’S NUMBER ONE LIVE EVENTS DESTINATION?

35.7%

28.6%

YES, AND BY A FAIR MARGIN

ABU DHABI’S SPENDING POWER MEANS IT WILL NEVER BE ECLIPSED

2 SAS JANUARY 2010

14.3% 10.7% 10.7% THEY’RE LEVEL, AS IT STANDS

NO. DUBAI STILL RULES THE ROOST

DUBAI WILL CLAW BACK GROUND IN 2010


EDITOR’S COMMENT

Money, it’s a gas... An interesting sidenote to this month’s cover story focusing on professional training services were comments made by the founder of EMDI Institute, Nowshir Engineer, regarding the apparent reluctance of some graduates entering the live events production field to consider starting positions offering salaries of less than around AED15,000 (US$4000) tax-free per month. “Placement is something we look at if required, when required,” he said. “The problem that we are finding at the moment is not that there aren’t any jobs; it’s that wages have come down to a level that many graduates aren’t interested in working for.” Nowshir’s insight into the situation is enlightening, particularly given the economically challenging times we find ourselves in. For anyone unfamiliar with the dynamics of this region, it may seem a bizarre concept that a graduate would snub a starting salary of four grand per month tax-free, regardless of their chosen profession. The fact we’re discussing the live events production industry, where roadies and some engineers would be lucky to earn that sort of figure for a 24-day touring month, is laughable. Still, it could be seen as an unfortunate consequence of the privileged position many of these graduates have found themselves in.

While training academies such as those featured in this month’s cover story should be applauded for their commitment to cultivating professional standards in this region, one has to question whether ‘the message’ is being relayed to graduates who have unreasonable financial expectations of an industry which, by international standards, is still in its relative infancy. Perhaps a reality check is what’s really required by those looking for an easy path to the top and a killer salary to boot. On a completely different note, 2010 is shaping up as a bumper year for the industry and your favourite publication, Sound & Stage. Planning for this year’s instalment of the Sound & Stage Awards is in full swing, with various new categories currently being considered for inclusion. Full details of this year’s awards programme and nomination processes will be posted on DigitalProductionME.com in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for them. Despite 2009 proving a challenging year for many, it was a landmark period for the GCC events industry, so competition is set to be fierce. Be sure to get your nominations in!

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THE BRIEFING

BKP plans Saudi market assault EXCLUSIVE The founder of UAE-based audio production specialist BKP, Barry Kirsch, has confirmed the company is considering opening a new studio facility in Saudi Arabia as it looks to tap the booming demand for audio post work in the Kingdom. BKP currently operates studio facilities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai that service KSA clients remotely. It also operates an ISDN link to a production partner in Beirut. “We’re currently assessing the potential of opening a division in Saudi Arabia,” said Kirsch. “It’s a very logical step, but the challenge lies in how

BKP founder Barry Kirsch. we go about it and finding a strong local partner… it makes sense for us to have a base in Saudi in the long-term.”

Kirsch said the market for audio production services in Saudi was growing rapidly. “The government’s launch-

ing a bunch of FM radio stations, which will provide us with opportunities in terms of producing radio spots,” he said. “We have a growing number of Saudi clients as well as requests for Saudi accents in commercial work produced by us, which we have limited access to here in the UAE. “Saudis like to hear their own accents used by talent in television and radio commercials. But locating that talent outside the country is very challenging indeed. “We also have plans to further develop our operation in Abu Dhabi, as business is very much booming in the capital.”

NUMBER CRUNCHERS S&S’ old mate and lighting designer Beau McLellan has completed the installation of the world’s largest chandelier in an office THE FIXTURE’S tower in Doha, Qatar. The stats make for LENGTH, IN remarkable reading. METRES

38.5M

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NEWS BRIEFS

SONY TO MAINTAIN SHOWTEX GOES VIDEO BIZ IN MENA SOFT AT DIFF 2009

Sony execs have confirmed the company will continue its videoconferencing business in the Middle East and North Africa, despite its failure in Europe. “We will discontinue the range in Europe by the middle of the year,” confirmed Masahiro Soga, senior GM, marketing, B2B solutions, Sony.

Showtex supplied a range of products to last month’s Dubai International Film Fest, including four 25m ShowTracks and a cloth scrim cyclorama fabric measuring 250sqm. The main Madinat Arena venue was also equipped with ShowTex FrontScreen Supermat Perforato projection screens.

SENNHEISER BOOTS CREAMFIELDS FINDS UP FOR FIFA COMP FAVOUR IN UAE Sennheiser supplied a range of wireless technology to last month’s FIFA World Club Championship staged in Abu Dhabi. Zayed Sports City Stadium was kitted out with six channels of Sennheiser’s new 2000 series wireless monitoring transmitters. Trevor Cronin oversaw the systems integration.

More than 10,000 electronic music fans descended on Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace for last month’s inaugural Creamfields dance music event. “The multi-stage, multi-act format of the festival was a great success,” said the MD of festival organiser Flash Entertainment, John Lickrish.

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www.digitalproductionme.com

THE BRIEFING

Behringer parent snares Midas, Klark Teknik TAKEOVER German pro audio giant Behringer has snuck in to acquire leading console manufacturers Midas and Klark Teknik from Bosch Communications Systems for an undisclosed amount. While industry speculation had suggested a deal was in the works for some months, Behringer has taken the unexpected decision to incorporate the acquistions under a new holding company based in Bermuda called the Music Group, which is chaired by Behringer founder Uli Behringer. The umbrella organisation will also assume commercial control of the Behringer brand. Curiously, while the Music Group is largely an unknown quantity, a statement on its website claimed the current managing director Michael

The Music Group acquired Midas and Klark Teknik for an undisclosed amount last month. Deeb, had held the position since January 2003. Behringer and Deeb were unavailable for comment at the time of press. Still, elsewhere on the website, the company confirmed it was seeking to make further acquisitions in the pro audio sector and has invited expressions of interest from organisations keen to do business.

Midas and Klark Teknik have been two of the more successful pro audio manufacturers in recent years. Midas was awarded this year’s Sound & Stage pro audio technology award for its PRO6 console, while Klark Teknik has received considerable acclaim for its DN360 EQ range. Midas’ director of console engineering, Alex Cooper, was

upbeat about the takeover. “For more than twenty years I have devoted my life to [this business],” he said. “I am convinced that working with the Music Group will provide us with advantages that will help us maintain our high standards and grow the business for the long term.” Robert Mulatz, senior VP of Bosch Communications Systems, said the sale of both companies resulted from the fact that neither had ultimately “been defined as a core business area” by the German electronics giant. “With the Music Group, we believe we have found both the passion and the financial ability needed to grow Midas and Klark Teknik,” he said. “Of all potential buyers, Music Group [was] the best fit.”

BUDDHA BAR BEIRUT BOOSTS AUDIO TECH

CT TEES OFF AT DUBAI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Buddha Bar Beirut has completed the installation of a range of Alcons loudspeakers supplied and installed by Lebanese systems integrator SPLSound Pressure Level (SPL). The system, designed and installed by SPL, features 16

Creative Technology (CT) Dubai supplied the full on-site television production rig and various presentation technologies to the Dubai World Championship golfing tournament staged at Jumeirah Golf Estates last month. CT currently provides the on-site television service to the European PGA tour (trailer mounted LED screen, 35 LCD TVs, Tournament Television programme and distribution services) but for this event was asked to provide an enhanced service comprising of four ad-

08 SAS JANUARY 2010

Alcons TS3 single 6.5” ceiling mounted loudspeakers. Three VR8 8” + pro-ribbon loudspeakers are mounted on wall brackets in the reception bar area, while 18 ceiling-mounted VR8 and six floor mounted BF302 twin 15” subs cover the mezzanine. Two further VR8s are installed in the DJ booth as monitors and the whole system is powered by 10 ALC2ST amplifiers with SDP processing. “No extra equipment or processing was needed to manage the system,” said SPL partner Elie Louaizi.

ditional LED screens, 56 LCD TVs, 23sqm (6x5 panel) and 62sqm (10x8 panel) Lighthouse R7 LED screens. The standard service trailer-mounted 18sqm Barco Olite 612 LED Screen, used during the European tour, was specially shipped in for the event.


www.digitalproductionme.com

INDUSTRY HAPPENINGS

LONG AND WINDING ROAD Punters, musos and assorted industry types rocked up to Dubai’s Alpha nightclub last month to witness local act SHO? crowned the winner of The Road to Sound City battle of the bands event, sponsored by Sennheiser. Celebrity judges including Beyonce’s drummer Kim Thomson and CSI’s Gary Dourdan as well as Sennheiser’s own Ryan Burr declared the group the winner from six finalists. The band took home a range of Sennheiser audio products for their troubles, including an ew500 935 G3 wireless microphone system, two e935 wired micro-

10 SAS JANUARY 2010

phones, two e906s, two e914s, an e902, e901 and an e905, all of which were used on stage during the competition, plus a full day’s training session on optimum microphone positioning. “The Road To Sound City has been a fantastic event to be involved with,” says Mig Cardamone, business area manager for Sennheiser Middle East. “The level of talent and accomplishment of the bands taking part was phenomenal, but SHO? are well deserving winners. We’re very much looking forward to following their progress and providing them with support along the way.”

SHO-ING THE WAY Dubai-based rockers SHO? have been creating quite the buzz in recent months. THE BAND IS: Zara Quiroga - Vocals Rizal Khan - Guitar Fab - Bass Justin Blincoe - Drums


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INDUSTRY HAPPENINGS True Colours perform on stage at Duba i Creek Golf & Yacht club.

Zlatan Filipovic and Seth Thompson. Nikkhihari Haran, Leonora Pacini, Charmaine Hernane and Sue Pengelly.

LIVE AND LOUD VENUE technology expert Rob Allan.

Avid showcases new VENUE mixing console range during gala launch in Dubai. Avid officially introduced its new VENUE Live series consoles in the Middle East during a gala concert event recently staged in Dubai. VENUE technology expert Rob Allan was on-hand to outline the consoles’ new features, ably supported by backing band True Colors. VENUE D-Show, Profile and SC48 systems were located on-site during the launch, which was staged at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and attracted a large number of the UAE pro audio industry fraternity.

12 SAS JANUARY 2010

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COVER STORY

TRAINING DAY The demand for professional training courses catering to the audio engineering, event management and live production sectors is booming in the UAE. S&S checks in with the country’s top training providers about their plans for 2010.

W

ith the UAE consolidating its reputation as the number one country in the region specialising in media production, it is little wonder that some of the world’s leading specialised training services providers have set up shop in the emirates. One of the best-known independent training service providers is the SAE Institute. Hailing originally from Sydney, Australia, SAE operates campuses in Dubai’s Knowledge Village precinct and in Amman, Jordan.

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The institute has been one of the key organisations working to improve professional standards in the regional pro audio and live events production industries, providing a range of courses catering to specific sectors of the market. “At the moment our focus is on ensuring our students learn multiple disciplines relating to their chosen vocation, whether it is audio engineering or multimedia production,” says Giorgio Ungania, SAE’s head of commercial services, who is based in Dubai. “We have been surprised by the sheer

volume of demand for our pro audio engineering training programmes. We are looking to create one-year courses that have a variety of components. We have all the expertise in technology.” Ungania claims this noticeable upswing in interest has come from young Arabs keen to pursue careers in audio production. “The numbers of Arab nationals who are both interested in studying this field and who can also afford to enrol in the courses has increased dramatically,” he says. “We haven’t really seen a drop off in enrolments


www.digitalproductionme.com

TWOFOUR54 TADREEB Abu Dhabi’s content production precinct has been making big noises about its training programmes of late. Unfortunately for those looking to pursue a career in pro audio, AV or live events production, the organisation’s training schemes catering to each area remain limited. Still, with former SAE Institute Dubai associate regional director Alex Heuff heading up tadreeb as operations director, expect this situation to change rapidly over the next 12 months, as the training academy adds new modules to its broadcast technology focused training roster. Pros: World-class coursework steered by

expert technicians; practical approach to training; small class sizes; Courses endorsed by leading institutions including BBC, CNN and Thomson Reuters. Cons: Pro audio focused training programmes sorely lacking, although this is set to change; early days for tadreeb compared to established rivals in the UAE.

Tadreeb programme interconnect digital audio equipment.”

Digital Audio Standards and Measurements (5 days).

We say: DASM is definitely NOT a course

Twofour54 says:

for novices.

“This course aims to provide engineers with a thorough knowledge of how to test and

Fast Fact: Overseen and endorsed by British broadcast giant BBC.

SAE INSTITUTE The SAE Institute ranks as the largest private education provider specialising in audio engineering, multimedia and film production. One of the region’s leading training institutions, SAE maintains campuses in Dubai and Amman and offers a comprehensive array of courses catering to novices and experts, ranging from certificates, to diplomas, degrees and master certified programmes. Students are provided access to practical training in commercial environments and a range of employment opportunities following graduation. Those looking to further their studies can do so by applying to attend SAE’s graduate school in Oxford, UK.

engineering training services provider operating in the Middle East. Cons: With 24-month degrees costing anywhere up to US$35K, professional kudos does not come cheap.

SAE Institute Dubai training programmes – Audio engineering Bachelor of Audio Production Degree Digital DJ Certificate Electronic Music Production Certificate SAE Music Boot Camp Certificate SAE-Tonmeister (Masters Level) SAE says: “Our buying power enables us to provide the very best selection of equipment and our limited enrolment guarantees you will have substantial access to it.” We say: Given SAE owns legendary console brand Neve, its claim stands to merit. But students definitely pay for the privilege.

campuses in India and the UAE, offering courses ranging from disc jockeying to radio and music production. EMDI’s focus is on practical training programmes in commercial environments. The institute maintains partnerships with leading regional live event production businesses including AEG Middle East and HQ Creative. Pros: With a four-month course costing around $2,000, EMDI is a far more affordable option than rivals such as SAE. Cons: Pro audio-focused training programmes are limited in both scope and depth compared to the institute’s live eventfocused curriculum.

EMDI Institute training programmes Diploma in Disc Jockeying and Music Promotion Diploma in Radio Jockeying and Programming Certificate in Disc Jockeying EMDI says: “EMDI alumni are in middle and senior management positions at virtually every event management company of repute. They study the craft in classrooms, train on events, and finally intern with event management companies.” We say: Well-rounded courses, but not quite as technically challenging as rival offerings available elsewhere.

Pros: Still recognised as the leading audio

EMDI INSTITUTE Founded as a professional training institute specialising in event management in 2002, EMDI has expanded rapidly in recent years. The organisation currently operates seven

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COVER STORY

A typical EMDI Dubai classroom and (inset) the organisation’s founder and director of international operations, Nowshir Engineer. even despite the impact of the recession. “We’ve also seen a number of working professionals contact us about our shortterm training courses. It’s an industry where the rate of technological change means you have to constantly review your skills.” In regards to young Emiratis enrolled in SAE’s training schemes, SAE Dubai’s head of marketing and strategic alliances, Anthony Frantzis, places the figure at around 10 percent of the total student body. But he claims this figure does not reflect the sheer number of graduates who stay on working in the industry in the UAE after graduating. “A large number of our graduates remain based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi because they are recognised regional production centres,” he says. “Some of our graduates also continue their studies abroad. We offer post-graduate degrees in the UK and Australia. “We work quite extensively with the industry. Part of our commitment as an international school is to partner where possible with regional organisations. “As a result, many of our courses are de-

veloped in collaboration with industry leaders, so what we present to students is in fact timely and relevant. Having said that, we also have to bow to other masters [the accrediting bodies in each market]. “In Australia, for example, the Department of Education has accredited our film and audio curriculums in accordance with the various state-based higher education requirements. We’ve always been wellknown for our vocational training capabilities, but we’ve now gone up another level as a higher education training provider, as opposed to our objectives-based training, which is vocationally-orientated.” SAE’s emerging rival in the UAE training services sector is EMDI Institute, which specialises in live event production courses. EMDI’s founder and director of international operations, Nowshir Engineer, claims the organisation hasn’t been adversely impacted by the recession. “During late-August and early-September, we saw a huge upsurge in enrolments,” he says. “The

“At the moment our focus is on ensuring our students learn multiple disciplines relating to their chosen vocation, whether it is audio engineering or multimedia production.” Giorgio Ungania, head of commercial services, SAE Institute Dubai. 16 SAS JANUARY 2010


www.digitalproductionme.com

onset of the annual winter events season usually results in a rise in enrolments. I’d say our numbers will be as good in 2010 as last year, if not better.” Engineer attributes EMDI’s success to the partnerships it has forged with leading industry stakeholders, which guarantees its students gain access to practical and relevant on-the-job training. “Our relationship with companies is built on the fact that we might hold 150 sessions per year taught by key stakeholders,” he says. “Whenever these stakeholders stage an event, our students are able to work with them as interns and trainees.” He does admit the institute struggled in 2009 to find full-time placements for its best students compared to previous years. “Typically, around 80% of our graduates find full-time employment in the event sector straight out of training. However, last year

The UAE is the leading location for live events production training.

with the downturn it was probably more like 45%,” he concedes. “If we work with 80 companies in any given year, we figure each of those companies will recruit at least one person from each graduating class, depending on their individual requirements. “Placement is something we look at if required, when required. The problem that we are finding at the moment is not that there aren’t any jobs; it’s that wages have come down to a level that many graduates aren’t interested in working for. “If they’re already employed in another profession, they’re not willing to pursue their new career at this point.” The latest player to enter the sector is Abu Dhabi’s content creation precinct, twofour54, which launched its tadreeb training academy in 2009. While the academy has primarily focused on vocational training for existing media professionals, it plans to expand its range of technical training courses this year to include audio engineering and other related media production sectors.

SAS JANUARY 2010

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Top: twofour54’s Tony Orsten; bottom: SAE students in action.

“The key issue restricting the growth of th Middle East content production secthe tor to is the lack of professional training,” says Tony Orsten, CEO of twofour54. “We need T to t provide individuals with the skill sets to match their creative aspirations.” m Orsten says the academy aims to attract more than 3,000 students within its t first two years of operation, a large number of whom he expects to travel to Abu Dhabi from across the region. “We have students from right across the Middle East and North Africa – everywhere from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait to Sudan and Morocco,” he explains. “This diversity highlights the need [for training services] throughout the regional media sector. Through tadreeb, we are taking major steps forward in developing the Arabic content creation talent pool across the MENA region.” Orsten says the academy was consulting with various regional stakeholders before rushing to create new training programmes. “Rather than running standard courses

and trying to fit people in, we are going to do it the other way around,” he says. “We will discover what professionals need to cover their academic and vocational requirements by going to companies and asking them: ‘What would you like or require your staff to learn?’” twofour54 tadreeb has enlisted the cooperation of some of the world’s largest media companies to assist in developing and conducting the training programmes, including the BBC, Thomson Foundation and Thomson Reuters Foundation. Long-term, the tadreeb academy will develop training programmes for Arab nationals looking to pursue careers in media production. Orsten says twofour54 is aiming to provide these graduates with a career path working within the media production precinct in Abu Dhabi. “It’s all very well and good turning out tremendous numbers of young professionals but if they don’t have jobs at the end of their training then it’s an opportunity wasted,” he concludes.

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MICROPHONE SPECIAL

Live & kicking S&S showcases some of the leading live microphone technologies for man and machine.

RODE M2 Beyerdynamic The stalwart of beyerdynamics’ live vocal range is the M 88 TG. The hypercardioid microphone has established itself as a clear favourite among rock and blues acts. Rugged housing, high SPL handling abilities and impressive bass reproduction have seen the M 88 TG hold its own since the 1960s. The mic was given a modern twist at Prolight + Sound last year with Beyerdynamic launching a range of customisation services. Options included engraving a user’s voice pattern on the shaft, the representation of a user’s birthday with a series of metallic rings and a choice of colour options.

The Rode M2 live performance microphone picks up where the S1 left-off. Rode claims the sound quality of the M2 is the equal of any of its studio mics. It also features integrated shock mounting, a heavy duty metal body and a locking on/off switch. The condenser mic also has a super-cardioid pick-up pattern to reduce the risk of feedback on stage.

Sennheiser

Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner.

20 SAS JANUARY 2010

Sennheiser’s e900 series microphones have proven hugely popular with touring acts since their introduction in 2005 and are still winning over bands today. The e935 dynamic cardioid microphone was developed to offer vocalists maximum power to cut through competing audio sources onstage. The mic has found favour among headline touring artists including Keane, Arctic Monkeys, The Ting Tings and last but not least Girls Aloud.


www.digitalproductionme.com

Neumann

Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler.

Best-known for its range of studio microphones, Neumann only entered the live performance market in 1999 with the launch of the KMS 105. Since then, it has developed a wireless version – the KK 105 S – based on parent company Sennheiser’s SKM 5000 wireless system. The KMS 105 and its wireless sister product are now firmly established on the touring circuit.

AKG AKG recently introduced live versions of its Perception range of studio mics. The Live series includes two robust ‘frontman-proof’ vocal microphones with a metal casing and a strong spring steel grille. According to AKG, the P3 and P5 vocal mics feature cardioid and super-cardioid characteristics and a high maximum SPL, making them appropriate for live sound in a multitude of venues. The P2 and P4 instrument mics take care of any additional miking required on stage. The P4 has been designed for use with drums, amps and wind instruments. The P2’s integrated humbucking coil is designed to eliminate atmospheric noise interference.

MIC CHECK

money on features you don’t need, but to most people quality is a feature they cannot compromise.

DPA microphones offer some advice on how to select and test the right mic for the right job… Before buying a microphone, it is essential to ensure it will do the job you want it to do. This means that you have to clearly understand which application, or applications, the microphone was designed for. There is no such thing as an all-purpose microphone that is ideal for every application. Differences in pick-up pattern, maximum SPL constraints and noise floor should all be taken into account during the selection process. All microphones are made for a certain purpose or sometimes a compromise between several related purposes. Is it primarily for recording in a studio or home studio, is it for live use or perhaps both? Is it meant for one specific instrument or sound source or should it be for more general use? Is it to be mounted on a stand, an instrument, a head or is it handheld? Is your budget limited? Quality always costs. You can save

Testing your microphone Never test a microphone alone. It’s always easier to hear a microphone’s character if you compare it to something. It is important to keep in mind that the acoustic memory of the human being is only a few seconds. You can’t rely on your memory of a microphone you tried last week – you need to be able to switch back and forth – A/B-testing. You can either test against an alternative microphone you are considering buying or one of your own microphones that you are very familiar with. For all microphone testing using a really challenging sound source can be very revealing. Try testing with a large ring of keys. The sound of jangling keys has some very complex high frequencies that are difficult to reproduce. Good mikes can, but lesser mikes sound like you are crumbling a piece of paper. To test a live microphone you wish to hear its performance in its normal environment, so standing in front of a PA facing the stage

would be ideal. Place the microphone as it will normally be used – usually very close to the sound source, and again always test multiple mikes at the same time. In live use, gain-before-feedback is important. You need to test at high volumes to see which microphone feeds back first. Next, compare their off-axis sound On directional microphones you need to check the suppression of off-axis sound. How hard is the suppression and – also very important – how good it sounds. For live use, you generally want as much suppression of off-axis sound as possible. You only wish to hear the sound source itself. But very hard suppression often gives a very uneven off-axis sound that will give the impression of ‘unnatural’ sound reproduction. Usually, this compromise relates to the genre of music you play. An acoustic low volume genre really appreciates an open, natural and clean sound, whereas the louder the volume and the higher the need for gain before feedback, the higher tolerance towards ‘unnatural’, amplified sound.

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Instrument mics:

Sennheiser

BAND AID

Sennheiser’s evolution 900 series includes a number of specialised instrument mics. The e906 offer a flat head designed for use with guitar amps that is also appropriate for percussion and horns. The e901 half-cardioid was developed for kick-drum applications and other lowfrequency instruments. The stubby e904 has a very short body and an integrated clamp mount for drum applications. The e908B condenser microphone is specifically designed for use with brass and wind instruments.

Rental companies and AV firms must be able to supply a raft of microphone technology to support the full spectrum of events from providing a simple-to-use mic for novice users at corporate events and private functions, to the challenge of miking up an entire orchestra. The increasing popularity of in-ear monitors has gone some way to reducing the potential number of sources of feedback, while providing more freedom for mic placement and relinquishing the reliance on hypercardioid and supercardioid mics and their very narrow pick up patterns. Live vocal microphones will be placed under the greatest scrutiny at most gigs. The importance of instrument mics, particularly for percussion instruments, is paramount. However, selecting the right microphone and positioning it correctly can go a long way to mitigating against these issues and boosting ultimate sound quality during a live event.

Shure SM27 Sh Shure offers a wide variety of instrument mics ics with a variety of characteristics to match a number of applications. The SM27 is one of the best among them. The side address uniform cardioid mic features a unidirectional pick-up with three separate mesh layers and a low-frequency filter that serves to reduce wind and other unwanted background noise.

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DON’T MISS A BEAT One of the most complex instruments to mic-up is the drum kit. The following tips should keep even the most volatile drummer grounded, without adversely impacting the desired sound. One mic placed between every two toms is sufficient if you have the space for a stand. If you are wading through a forest of cymbal stands you’ll need to use a clamp-on mic for each tom. The more angled towards the rim the mic is, the lowerend the output will be. The snare drum is the most versatile component of the kit and your mic set-up here will vary depending on what your picky percussionist is looking to achieve. The standard set-up is the same as a tom with the mic positioned between the hihat stand and the rack toms. Shure’s SM57 is the default choice for this task but if a

drummer is going to have a personal preference over any miking issue, this is it. Kick-drums can produce a variety of sounds depending on the method used and again, the set-up will be dictated by the sound you are looking for. Position a mic just inside the front of the drum to start with and move toward the beater and deeper inside the drum to trade-off bass for crack. If there is no hole in the front of the kick-drum, you’ll need to angle it toward the head and about four inches away as a starting point. Cymbals require overhead miking; just be sure to keep them out of the line of fire of any monitors. Some advocate the use of a split pair covering either side of the kit but a centrally located single condenser mic may be sufficient, especially if the size of the rig is less Whitesnake and more White Stripes.

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THE

THE GUIDE

GUIDE

INSIDE This month’s hottest product releases, upcoming events and classifieds

ALL ABOUT… 50 years of Jazz Bass

PRODUCT: Scarbee Jay-Bass MANUFACTURER: Native Instruments WHAT’S THE STORY: The Scarbee Jay-Bass is a new software application designed to replicate the sound produced by Fender’s legendary Jazz Bass bass guitar. The app is the latest release developed by Native Instruments and sampling expert Thomas Hansen Skarbye.

SOMETHING TO RILE THE PURISTS THEN? Yep, absolutely. Still, it’ll surely appeal to the digital generation (and those who don’t know their bass guitars from their sitars).

ALAN PARTRIDGE WOULD BE PROUD NO DOUBT Well, it does have a slap bass function, so old AP could indulge in a bit of air bass if he so desired. Powered by the Kontakt engine and play-

able both via the full Kontakt 4 sampler, the app recreates the full sonic spectrum of the Jazz Bass in both slapped and fingered playing styles. All four strings of the original instrument have been sampled in nine velocities, resulting in more than 4,000 individual studio-grade samples. The sample material was recorded through a DI for maximum sonic flexibility, retaining the distinctive original character of the instrument, and using round-wound strings for a bright and punchy sound. Specific player profiles for various genres as well as EQ and effect controls allow users to further customise the sound and behavior of Jay-Bass to fit the musical context.

The Jazz Bass (or J Bass) was the second electric bass guitar developed by industry legend Leo Fender. The percussive bass produces a brighter, richer tone compared to Fender’s Precision Bass, which preceded it. As a result, the guitar found favour among rock groups, particularly three and four-pieces, during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Current Jazz Bass players include U2’s Adam Clayton, Chili Pepper Flea and Sting.

SOUNDS LIKE A WINNER. WHAT’S THE DAMAGE? While a 1964 Fender Jazz Bass will set you back around $10K, the Scarbee Jay-Bass retails for $89. Food for thought for even the most ardent purist.

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www.digitalproductionme.com

THE GUIDE scale and long-throw event applications.

IMPRESSIVE STUFF. TECH DETAILS?

PRODUCTS: ColorReach Powercore and iW Reach TR Powercore MANUFACTURER: Philips Color Kinetics WHAT’S THE STORY? ColorReach Powercore and iW Reach TR

Cable ties Klotz has introduced its latest range of cables specifically designed for powering stage lighting fixtures. The PCF1325C mains multicore cable has 13 cores, each with a crosssection of 2.5 sq mm. It is designed to be ultra-flexible with no corkscrew

28 SAS JANUARY 2010

Powercore are the road-ready versions of ColorReach Powercore, Philips CK’s flagship floodlight. The company claims the rental-friendly floodlights, which debuted at LDI 2009, generate enough light output to replace multiple flood and wash fixtures for large-

effect, remaining flat and free from internal torsion when laid out. This is achieved by using fine copper wires each with an individual diameter of 0.20mm and core stranding with ultrashort twisting lengths – a design that ensures long cable life in mobile operations. The cable features an outer jacket of ul-

Powercore offers more than 5,000 lumens of output, light projection over a distance of more than 500 feet, and the ability to generate millions of colour combos without gels, filters, or the like. iW Reach TR Powercore produces washes of tunable white light in colour temperatures ranging from 2700 K to 6500 K. It also offers more than 10,000 lumens of output and light projection in excess of 800 feet. WHAT ELSE? Philips CK released a bunch of other tech at LDI including the iColor Flex LMX – a flexible strand of up to 72 individually controlled RGB LED nodes; the ColorDial Pro ethernet-based controller for colour-changing LED lighting fixtures; and the ColorBlaze linear LED fixture designed for full-colour scenery and wash lighting in theatres, TV studios, concert halls and other venues. VERDICT: New products consolidate Philips CK’s growing reputation as one of the world’s leading LED lighting technology developers.

tra-flexible, flame-retardant PVC that is designed in compliance with the IEC 60332-3-24 standard, category C (test certification for flame spread of vertically-mounted bunched wires or cables), ensuring durability under the most challenging conditions.


THE GUIDE

The UK’s No.1 for power distribution!

PRODUCT: AT-LP120-USB turntable MANUFACTURER: Audio-Technica WHAT’S THE STORY? The AT-LP120-USB turntable is Audio-Technica’s latest professional direct-drive system. The top-line turntable is rugged and durable to meet the demands of professional use and includes a direct-drive turntable and phono cartridge, PC- and Mac-compatible software, a USB cable and other accessories.

TALKING TECH:

Choose from a wide range of standard boxes or have one custom built to your specifications.

The turntable features a high-torque direct-drive motor for quick start-up. It also supports forward and reverse ‘backcueing’ capabilities, selectable 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM operation, with a highaccuracy quartz-controlled pitch lock and pitch change slider control with +/-10% or +/-20% speed adjustment ranges, and a stroboscopic speed indicator. The turntable’s built-in switchable phono preamp, RCA output cables and adapter cables allow connection to a wide variety of music and home entertainment components and systems, including A/V receivers

that do not have a dedicated phono input. OTHER FEATURES: The turntable features a heavy-duty cast aluminium platter with slip mat, and a balanced pickup arm with soft damping control and adjustable tracking force, anti-skating and vertical tracking angle (VTA) for optimum playback performance. The AT-LP120-USB is supplied with a precision Dual Magnet stereo phono cartridge with replaceable stylus. VERDICT: Feature-packed addition to Audio-Technica turntable range.

PRODUCT: TLM 102 MANUFACTURER: Neumann STUDIO STAR: The manufacturer

Check out our website or

give us a call Tel: +44 (0) 1282 477530 Fax: +44 (0) 1282 477531 www.rubberbox.co.uk info@rubberbox.co.uk

30 SAS JANUARY 2010

of the legendary U47 microphone returns with yet another new studio mic that aims to replicate the sound and dynamics of its older brethren. DETAILS, DETAILS: In the interior is a newly developed large-diaphragm capsule (cardioid) with a maximum sound pressure level of 144 dB, making it ideal for recording drums, amps and other highoutput audio sources. With a slight boost above 6 kHz, the mic is also suitable for vocal recordings. VERDICT: At around $900, the TLM 102 is a relative bargain.


THE GUIDE

Hitlist

The

THE ONLINE GUIDE TO… PROTOOLS 8 The trend towards manufacturers releasing online tutorials prior to major product releases has provided novices and professionals alike the opportunity to get to grips with the latest technologies before they consider flashing their cash. Released in late-2009, Digidesign’s ProTools V8 is no exception, with a wealth of content being made available online both preceding and following the software’s commercial release. Digidesign’s YouTube channel (www. youtube.com/digidesign) offers a host of video tutorials and podcasts bigging

up th the b bestt aspects the llatest t off th t t version, i not to mention the full raft of other Digidesign pro audio products including Venue and Icon. Check it out.

ALSO CONSIDER… NAMM 2010 Anaheim Convention Centre, California, USA January 14 – 17 The US music technology industry’s top event, NAMM will provide a vital gauge of the industry’s fortunes in 2010.

CONFERENCE CAPERS Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2010 RAI Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands The first of the major European industry events scheduled for 2010, ISE will provide muchneeded clarity as to how the continental-based pro audio and AV manufacturers are shaping up in the post-recession era.

MIDEM 2010 Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France January 24 – 27 MIDEM is to Europe what NAMM is to North America. Still, give us the south of France over Orange County any day.

COMING UP IN SUE THE NEXTalIS a launch Burj Dubai g

the principals We catch up with toric launch of the involved in the his r. world’s tallest towe

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BACK STAGE DON’T GIVE UP YOUR DAY JOB Five actors whose musical ambitions should have never been indulged William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk) The Canadian actor best known for his definitive role as Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek series went a little loco in the late-‘60s, combining his acting chops with a spoken-word k d singing career that included classic covers of Lucy in Sky with Diamonds and Rocket Man. Shatner cashed in on his early notoriety by teaming with various indie acts in the late1990s, and even released an LP with Ben Folds in 2006, which later became the basis of a rock-opera known as Gonzo Ballet. Of our five pretenders to the title, Shatner should arguably be the least embarrassed by his latter-day musical exploits. Stefan Dennis (aka Paul Robinson from Neighbours) fr Kylie, Jason… Stefan? Just K doesn’t have quite the same do ring to it, does it? Dennis’ rin short-lived musical career sh followed in the footsteps fo of Neighbours alumni Kylie o Minogue et al, but fell short M by a fair margin. b Iff ever there h was an excuse for adopting a stage persona, Dennis should have bagged it. Yet, while a man can’t help the name he’s born with, he can help recording Don’t it make you feel good. If you ever needed proof regarding Stefan’s questionable acting talents, do yourself a favour and track down the accompanying film clip. Or don’t. Russell Crowe (aka Russ Le Roq) Long before his star-making turn as Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator, Russell Crowe was a struggling musician living in New Zealand, better known as Russ Le Roq (we kid you not). His one and only single was the forebodingly titled I want to be like Marlon Brando (if giving way to mainstream mediocrity and the middle age spread was the goal then he surely succeeded).

32 SAS JANUARY 2010

Once Crowe became famous, he embarked on a diabolical musical vanity project known as 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. Things only got worse for Rusty (and the general public) when the actor confirmed he was ditching the Grunts to go solo in 2005. Think The Office’s David Brent singing Freelove Freeway and you’ve got some idea of where Crowe is heading. God help us.

OFF THE RECORD “Best described as the British Stevie Wonder, Morrison’s music incorporates a variety of elements from the soul music maters (sic) such as Ray Charles, Bob Seger, Rod Stewart, and Joe Cocker.” What the…? A press release issued last month promoting James Morrison’s headline appearance at the Dubai International Jazz Festival left us dumbfounded – and offended – by their invocation of such legends, particularly the long-neglected Bob Seger. BTW, sack the sub!

David Hasselhoff (aka The Hoff) A controversial selection this one, given the Hoff’s massive popularity in Germany and various former Soviet bloc terrritories. Ironically, te while his personal life has w sspiralled out of control in recent years (try YouTubing re ‘Drunken Hoff’s shirtless, ‘D Wendy’s burger-eating W antics in Las Vegas’ to see what we mean), Hasselhoff has managed to assuage some public sympathy, tagging a bumbling demeanour to a masterful penchant for selfparody. He has also managed to cash in on his growing notoriety, most recently via the stageshow, David Hasselhoff: The Musical. “It sounds like a bad joke, but it is really going to be a good show…totally campy,” he said of the musical. Touche.

“On Celebrity Come Dine With Me, I discuss the plastic surgery I had done between 1980-1981 and blame only myself for being so foolish, especially not Michael Jackson nor anyone else. I was an idiot.”

1. Joaquin Phoenix (aka Bum Rap) Various explanations have been put forward regarding Phoenix’s transformation from A-list actor to mumbling and bearded folkrapper, the least convincing of which is that it’s all an act and the joke is on us. Given his shambolic public appearances and the fact he’s recruited Sean Puff Daddy Combs as his manager, we’re thinking the joke is actually on him. Can’t wait for his inevitable duet with old mate Russell Crowe. Can you imagine?

“It was my idea to put in a clef chin and cheek bones – not Michael’s. Sometimes when you are young you are foolish and you get carried away.”

Liza Minelli’s ex David Gest. He’s right aboutt the last bit. Not sure if we should be more offended by the fact Gest claims the last time he had plastic surgery was nearly 30 years ago, or the fact he aired his ruse on a TV series by the name of Celebrity Come Dine With Me. No wonder Minelli left him.

Gest again. We’re thinking from the recent file photo above he might have had them put back in and then some.


Sound & Stage Middle East - Jan 2010  

Sound & Stage Middle East - Jan 2010 - ITP Business

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