An EXCLUSIVE chat with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child sound designer Gareth Fry P40 P30
IN YER FACE
WHICH AUDIO INTERFACES ARE FINDING FAVOUR WITH THE PROS?
NO TEARS FOR THE CREW ON THE CUREâ€™S TOUR OF THE USA
TIME FOR A CLOSER LOOK AT AMP MODULE MAKER ANAVIEW
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ULTRA-COMPACT MODULAR LINE SOURCE Packing a 138 dB wallop, Kiva II breaks the SPL record for an ultra-compact 14 kg/31 lb line source. Kiva II features L-Acousticsâ€™ patented DOSC technology enhanced with an L-Fins waveguide for ultimate precise and smooth horizontal directivity. WSTÂŽ gives Kiva II long throw and even SPL, from the front row to the back, making it the perfect choice for venues and special events that require power and clarity with minimal visual obtrusion. Add to that a 16 ohm impedance for maximized amplifier density and a new sturdy IP45 rated cabinet, and you get power, efficiency and ruggedness in the most elegant package. www.l-acoustics.com
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03/11/2016 12:26:34 10:04:33 10/10/2016
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P3 DECEMBER 2016
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Contributors: Kevin Hilton, Marc Maes, Mike Clark, Phil Ward, Erica Basnicki, David Davies, Marc Miller, Tom Carpenter
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Cover image: (L-R) Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley) and Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Credit: Manuel Harlan)
DAVE ROBINSON Editor
s is customary at this time of year – for me at any rate – it’s time to look back at a few personal highlights from 2016. It’s been a year like no other, we can all agree that: political turmoil first in the UK, then in the US; scandal and corruption in the sporting world; and a celebrity death almost every other week. In our little pro-audio universe, we’ve seen takeovers a plenty, and we lost Zenon Schoepe, Rick Clarke and Adrian Kerridge. This is a year that will be remembered with a wringing of hands, rather than a warm and fluffy glow. But! At PSNEurope, I’ve still managed to chalk up many a satisfying experience or memory worth hanging on to with a smile. Here are ten for you: 1) Jungle-Ized, the Audio-Technica/Soundwalk Collective soundscaping headphone project in NYC’s Times Square 2) A whole weekend of Steve Reich’s music at the Barbican to celebrate the composer’s 80th birthday (and a BBC Prom in a multi-storey car park, no less) 3) The arrival of Sarah Sharples, our new deputy editor! 4) Goldie and the Heritage Orchestra performing Timeless at the Wilderness Festival 5) Meeting the likes of Youth, Phill Brown, John Metcalfe and Munzie Thind via our PSNPresents social evenings 6) Roland’s Peter Heath becoming PLASA boss 7) Our shiny new office behind the Globe Theatre on London’s South Bank – PSNEurope returns to SE1 after five years in the hipster hinterland of Islington 8) Discover Weekly on Spotify. Brilliant! 9) Winning a pair of PMC speakers at the Sir George Martin lunch (all above board, I assure you) 10) Not recognising Bombsquad/Public Enemy producer Hank Shocklee at a party during the LA AES show, then acting like a complete fan-boy when I did. Whatever the year, if we take a look at our own lives, there’s always something to celebrate, no matter if the rest of the world seems to be going stark-staring mad. n
the dialogue noise suppressor that anyone can use location studio live
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P4 DECEMBER 2016
In this issue... P50 THEATRE’S TRANSFORMATION THE AUDIO AND VISUAL EXTRAVANGZA OF PUTTING ON A SHOW
P24 CIVILISED SOCIETY AARON CUPPLES OF CIVIL CIVIC TAKES THE ROOF OFF THE BAND’S UNUSUAL WORKING METHODS
P57 SIR GEORGE MARTIN COMMEMORATIVE LUNCH APRS ACADEMY FELLOWS, FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES CELEBRATE HIS LIFE
Studio P42 THE QUEEN ELISABETH HALL AND CONGRESS CENTRE THE BELGIAN PROJECT’S AMBITIOUS ACOUSTICS
Business 6 7 8 10 12 14
Røde owner snaps up SoundField brand from TSL L-Acoustics buys Camco PSNPresents – all that happened on the night Vocal channel: David Hamilton-Smith Movers and shakers: industry appointments PSNTraining: what’s on
Technology 14 18 20 30 50
New Products Product special: DPA Microphones competition Looking back at 2016 FEATURE: Pro audio interfaces FEATURE: Theatre
Aaron Cupples of Civil Civic Montreux Jazz Festival digitises archives
Ofcom speeds up 700MHz clearance
Live 36 38 40
DiGiCo touring with Daughter UK legends The Cure rock Manhattan Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Installation 42 46
Belgium’s Queen Elisabeth Hall and Congress Centre New OEM power module range Anaview
Hither and dither Q&A: James King
www.psneurope.com 04 Contents FIN.indd 1
THE LEO FAMILY TRUE SOUND IN LINE ARRAYS.
The LEO Family provides power and clarity for nearly every application, from intimate performance spaces to the worldâ€™s largest outdoor festivals. LEOPARD, the smallest in the family, is gaining a following for being the most lightweight and versatile line array in its class. From small to midsize to large-scale, this family of line arrays has you covered.
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P6 DECEMBER 2016
SoundField views mass market after TSL sells brand to RØDE Surround technology bought by Peter Freedman’s expanding Australian electronics business. Kevin Hilton reports
he SoundField immersive audio microphone range could be repositioned for the larger volume market to capitalise on the growth in virtual reality (VR) following its acquisition by the Freedman Electronics Group. The Australian company, which also owns RØDE and Aphex, bought the historic brand from TSL Products for an undisclosed sum and will maintain its existing products for the filmmaking and music production markets as well as VR. Under the deal Freedman bought SoundField’s 360-degree mic products and intellectual property, with the brand’s name to be retained. Support and warranty responsibility for the current range, including the DSF-B MkII digital broadcast system, DSF-1 digital music recording package, SPS422B variable pick-up mic and the ST450 MkII portable, will pass to the Freedman Group. The sale does not include SoundField’s UPM-1 stereo to 5.1 upmixer, which remains with TSL Products and will be rebranded. The original SoundField microphone was developed in the early 1970s to record the Ambisonics spatial audio format invented by Michael Gerzon. The mic was initially manufactured by Calrec and then by a company also called SoundField. When managing director Ken Giles decided to retire and sell the business in 2012, TSL Products bought the mic and processor ranges with their associated rights. TSL Products managing director Chris Exelby
says the decision to buy SoundField made “obvious sense” at that point. “We were selling a lot of products, such as tally and power units, into the broadcast sports market for OB trucks and to TV studios for productions such as The Voice”, he says. “We saw this as an opportunity to sell Ambisonics mics and upmixers into those markets.” Exelby acknowledges that the discrete surround sound format “did not explode as expected”. SoundField remained a niche product, with what Exelby describes as good sales. “But about 18 months ago SoundField SPS200 sales for the ST450 and surround microphone SPS422 increased, which bemused us a bit,” he says. “They were all being bought by filmmakers moving into VR who needed 360-degree audio.” While SoundField was the right product for this
potentially lucrative new market, Exelby realised higher volume manufacturers, such as Sennheiser, would also see the opportunity. “If you’re a filmmaker using a low-cost camera for VR you’re not going to pay £4,000 (US$4,969) for a mic to go with it, you want something under $500 (£400),” he comments. “We had to decide whether to invest a lot of money developing for this new market or stay where we are or sell to a manufacturer that has higher volume capacity.” TSL Products made an assessment approximately eight months ago, after which it decided to sell SoundField and concentrate on audio monitoring and power. “We are keeping the upmixer because it is very broadcast centric,” Exelby explains. Peter Freedman, founder and managing director of RØDE, said he was “extremely excited” to add SoundField to the Freedman Electronics Group roster: “The applications for cinema, home theatre, music, gaming and, crucially, the rapidly growing VR medium are astounding.” Pieter Schillebeeckx, who was head of R&D at SoundField and subsequently product director with TSL Products, will join the Freedman Group as new product development director in January next year. A RØDE spokesman said all SoundField production, distribution and service will stay in the UK for at least 12 months. Sales will be handled from RØDE’s Australian headquarters, with new email addresses being created for the purpose.n www.rode.com
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P7 DECEMBER 2016
L-Acoustics and Camco: “What took them so long?” The two companies tie the business knot after ten years of co-relationship, writes Dave Robinson
-Group, parent of French loudspeaker designer L-Acoustics, announced the acquisition of Camco, the German amplifier manufacturer last month. Camco, which employs 50 in Wenden, 75km east of Cologne, has over 25 years of experience designing power amps; it holds several patents and distributes its products in 60 countries around the globe. Ahead of the deal, Camco supplied components to some of L-Acoustics’ rival professional sound system manufacturers. Camco says it will maintain its full team in Germany, and will continue to manufacture its signature i-series, Vortex, D-Power and Q-Power amplified controllers. Camco becomes a sister company of L-Acoustics, woodworking manufacturer SIMEA, and L-ISA, L-Acoustics’ nascent spin-off brand creating immersive sound art solutions. “For over a decade, Camco has been a key supply partner of L-Acoustics,” says Hervé Guillaume, MD of the L-Group holding company. “Their expertise in electronics for the professional sound industry has contributed to the success of the L-Acoustics amplified controllers.” Camco was well-known as a supplier of amplifiers to competing French brand Nexo, until Yamaha took a majority stake in the brand in 2008. “We are excited to join forces with a leader in the professional sound industry,” says Reiner Sassmann, a managing director at Camco. “The united strength of our teams will open up multiple and exciting opportunities for mutual future growth.” John Penn, head of leading UK-based PA provider SSE Audio Group and a longtime customer of both brands, told PSNEurope: “My first reaction was, What took
them so long? “It’s entirely logical. Two great businesses whose commercial successes are inextricably linked to the other. “The amazing technology Camco has delivered has helped L-Acoustics products keep taking a step forward – all for the benefit of the user base,” continues Penn. “I’m very pleased for Camco founders Reiner and Joachim.” n www.camco.de www.l-acoustics.com l-group.com
(L-R): Hervé Guillaume (L-Group); Reiner Sassmann and Joachim Stoecker, Camco joint-managing directors; Christian Heil, founder and president at L-Group/L-Acoustics
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P8 DECEMBER 2016
packs the punches The crowd was entertained with stories about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, UB40, Johnny Cash and a sweaty Elvis impersonator, writes Sarah Sharples
onspiracy theories, serial killers and people losing their virginity as well as music, films, studio gear and recording, were all discussed in a packed room for PSNPresents 4 in Londons’ Sway Bar. Grammy-award winner Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day) appeared alongside the Pro Sound Awards’ Sound Engineer of the Year Wes Maebe (UB40, Ellie Goulding), and Peter Gabriel arranger/collaborator John Metcalfe for the panel on recording studios, hosted by writer/consultant Barney Jameson. Scheps has worked with everyone from Johnny Cash, Metallica and Michael Jackson (he started off his career mixing for the so-called ‘King of Pop’). But he admitted he stills gets star stuck every time he meets a musician. He said the Chili Peppers are one of his favourite acts to work with after he heard them play at Punk Flow in 1986, but never got to meet them after the concert, as a brawl broke out.
“With the Chili Peppers, being able to work with a band I always liked was tremendous, and it turned fantasy into reality,” he said. “They are amazing musicians and have worked together for so long, that they write in the studio constantly… and just jam… and if you see them live they may play a riff a few times on stage and that will then end up on their next album. It can be chaotic recording them – you just have to be prepared for everything – and always have everything miked up.” Scheps also worked with Johnny Cash on his seminal recording of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus. “It was one of his simpler songs and it was just about how loud can you get Johnny’s voice and still hear some instruments,” he quipped. Maebe has also worked with a range of famous faces, but originally started out studying the psychology of serial killers, before he was kicked out of a Belgian university. With the help of his father, he moved to
London to study sound engineering at the City of Wesminster College (now part of the University of Westminster). He recalled how, while recording a presidential campaign song at Sensible Studios with a Congolese band called Wenge, a fist-fight broke out in the control room after it became clear the band couldn’t use the studio overnight to make their own album. Mostly recently he was recording with UB40 (the Ali Campbell version of the outfit), who they have been reworking their hits as an “acoustic, reggae album without bass – it’s going to freak people out”. Maebe is based at RAK Studios and said his favourite part about it is the API console. “I haven’t heard anything like it – it’s so much fun. My wedding ring has the faders of the console and they move – that’s always good fun at trade shows as the API guys always find me and drag me around and say, ‘You think you’re passionate – check out this dude’.”
It was a full house for the event!
Host Barney Jameson, with Andrew Scheps, John Metcalfe and Wes Maebe
The crowd were keen to ask questions
Scheps, Metcalfe and Maebe entertain the crowd
Scheps speaks to people after the presentation
PSN Editor Dave Robinson with James Mather
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P9 DECEMBER 2016
Robinson thinks he’s so funny
Munzie Thind talks about advertising
The crowd goes wild
The crowd enjoyed the free drinks before the event
Student Harvey Allen (right) of Rose Bruford College, Sidcup, walked off with a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 USB audio interface
When it came to the audience Q&A, Scheps was asked about his switch from mixing on a console to a computer – or “the box” – as he calls it. He said it gives him the ability to remain fresh and mix an entire record at once. “My favourite conspiracy theory is that I still mix on the console, but I lied about it as I want people to buy my plug-in,” he said, to much laughter all round. “I use a MacBook Pro with some plugs… When I first made the move [to it], it was revelatory and terrifying, but I love it and wouldn’t do it any other way. I don’t track as much as I like – I love being in a room with a band or orchestra, but the fact I’m mostly mixing means I could move here and no one noticed. A tonne of people still think I live in LA.” He doesn’t, of course: earlier this year, Scheps moved to the UK and set up his equipment in Monnow Valley Studio in South Wales, after spending 25 years in California. Scheps said he loves the weather in this country. “When I’m at the local [pub], people don’t care what I do; when you’re in LA you spend your entire life talking about the gigs you didn’t get,” he said. “You’re bringing art to the masses… and it’s amazing what we do, but we do not save lives or we’ve not creating things to save lives or feeding people, so it’s nice to get perspective.” Meanwhile, Metcalfe – string player by training – recently recorded his own album The Appearance of Colour and said he was more interested in the sound of words, rather then writing songs about love or “Jeremy Corbyn”. This spills over into his arrangement work as well. “Technology is changing very fast, but with mixing desks or ribbons or controllers… what really interests me is the actual quality of the interface when furnishing something and the gradation or resistance it gives you –
The bar was packed before the event
I’m interested to see how it develops over time.” Being asked to rework Gabriel’s songs was a “completely terrifying and onerous task”, he said. He had to do 14 or 15 arrangements for 30 songs in two months. “The songs are already written, so you’re adding another dimension … Peter gave me a blank canvas, but you have these incredibly well known songs like Heroes… and everyone has the DNA of the song in them, it might be the first time they had sex… I’m sure someone out there lost their virginity to Heroes.” The second panel was made up of Munzie Thind, sound designer at Grand Central Recording Studios – the man behind the audio sync for the BBC Music’s God Only Knows video, along with James Mather, supervising sound editor on the last four Harry Potter films. Mather said he decided to work in sound as the digital technology was way more advanced than in film and he is also a fan of working “in the box”. He said his job as a supervising sound editor on films is about collaborating with the editor and director and understanding people’s ideas. He then goes to a team of editors to either explain exactly what they want or try 15 different versions of something. He admitted the composer is the “biggest pain in the ass” out of all the sound roles in film. But working in sound means “we are the midwives of the film – we are the last people to bring the film out,” he said. Thind has worked on a range of advertisements from the ‘Flat Eric’ Levi’s Jeans ads, to dubbing on the ‘You’ve Been Tango’d’ ads, as well as PG Tips, when the brand bought back ‘Monkey’. “TV audiences are 10 to 15 million people on prime time, so you’re influencing a lot of people,” he said. Thind said he was particularly proud of working on an advertisement promoting the diversity of Radio 2 – where he had the unenviable position of using Elvis’
iconic voice to introduce a range of musicians. But he faced the dilemma of when did Elvis ever say names such as Marvin Gaye. “The only dialogue I had was ‘I want to introduce the band’ and the editor’s voice saying ‘Noel Gallagher’ etc … but how does Elvis say Noel Gallagher – we listened to old tapes, but he’s just a Southern boy who speaks in a certain way,” he said. He brought in actor Tim Whitnall who had played Elvis in the West End musical. “When Elvis was doing concerts he was in a happy place, he had audiences of 1.2 billion, and he looked a bit sweaty and hairy, so I got Tim Whitnall to run around the block so he could be in that sweaty zone to record.” PSNPresents 4 was sponsored by Focusrite and Roland. A prize draw, held at the end of the night, saw student Harvey Allen of Rose Bruford College, Sidcup, walk off with a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 USB audio interface, worth around £140. Feedback from attendees on the night was glowing. Comments included “an essential gathering for those passionate about the industry”, “an invaluable night for both aspiring and working sound engineers”, “engaging and entertaining” and a “great line up of top professionals from music and post (production)”. The gushing continued: “Nothing beats the opportunity to hear, see, speak with, and learn directly from the industry’s leading practitioners, in person, who are able to share some really important personal tips that may never be revealed in any other format.” And finally a ringing endorsement: “Always a fantastic evening with just the right mix of discussion, networking and socialising. There’s no reason not to go.” Watch out for audio clips from the night, online and downloadable soon! n www.psnpresents.com
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P10 DECEMBER 2016
Dealing with poor quality sound
S DAVID HAMILTON-SMITH
is a sound engineer working in post-production
omeone once said that the difference between a recording engineer and a dubbing mixer is that the former creates their own shitt while the latter has to deal with other peoples. Come to think of it, it might have been me! Anyway, due to budgets being squeezed in the glamorous world of post-production, we professional audio plumbers are often presented with sound that appears to have been laid down either by accident, or possibly by someone who can’t vote yet, has been on a two week course and now possesses a diploma. But they’re cheap! Often their attempts are not good enough to broadcast in whatever medium is the project’s target market, so I’m brought in to ‘polish’ their work. Out-ofphase content, distortion, over-compression, sibilance, lighting buzz, clicks, out-of-sync dialogue, ADR that doesn’t match the
location sound, extraneous background noises (dog barks, pigeons cooing, director’s mobile), are just a few of the delights I have had to deal with on an all too regular basis. Occasionally I have found that what has been recorded is usable once it has all been mixed properly. But it’s a rarity. Frequently I find myself thinking the best course of action would be to start again, seldom a winning formula as far as producers are concerned! So I keep schtum and tackle what I’ve been given. Where to start? I focus first on what tells the story. In most genres, dialogue is king. So the first thing I do is position all the dialogue, ADR and any voice-over tracks next to each other: a simple concept but it amazes me how often the dialogue tracks are scattered around the track layout. I assign all the voices to a ‘DIAL’ group fader. I play the project through, solo-ing the voices, making
sure each track contains one person’s dialogue, not a cast of thousands with totally different sounding voices. I have to admit I don’t have a ‘Colonel Sanders’’style secret recipe for dialogue or mixing. I use my ears! I delve into my plumber’s bag of tricks and using combinations of EQ, noise filters, de-essing, compression, level, room sound reverbs and delays, I try to match the sync sound and ADR in each scene. Then I pre-mix the dialogue until it’s as good as I can possibly get it. Only after painstakingly repeating this process for all the other usual suspects – spot effects, Foley, background atmospheres and music – can I begin a full mix. In conclusion, production companies could save a lot of time and money, and get a better result, if they’d employed someone experienced like me from the very start. Maybe I should say something! n
www.psneurope.com/business 10 DHS Column FIN.indd 1
35 Years xy
d&b is 35. Markus is d&b. Markus Hammerschmid is a Sales Support Specialist for d&b D.A.CH. He’s been on board since 2010. “Being part of d&b feels like being part of something huge. A family, a leading brand, a place where customers come first. d&b is simply special.” In 35 years d&b has evolved from a small garage venture to a worldwide standard in professional sound systems. It’s people like Markus who make this story possible, and just that bit different from the rest.
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P12 DECEMBER 2016
Movers and shakers
Morbey and Johnston bring sunshine to Rane sales Former Focusrite heavyweight joins inMusic
nMusic has appointed two new international channel managers – David Morbey, who was previously a product manager with Martin Audio, and former UK sales and marketing manager at Focusrite, Neil Johnston. Morbey brings over 15 years experience, and will focus on driving the growth of the Denon Professional, Marantz Professional and Rane Contractor brands (recently acquired by inMusic) across the EMEA and APAC regions. Johnston joins following a successful career building
Tannoy has hired Jamie O’Callaghan as head of global sales for its Lifestyle Division. O’Callaghan says: “We are assembling a team of very passionate sales people to build even stronger relationships with our global distribution partners.“ He adds that Tannoy’S 90-year heritage drew him to the job. www.tannoy.com
LOUD Technologies has appointed Thom Stalcup to the position of vice president of operations. He has 30 years experience in operations, engineering and program management, including in new product introduction and supply chain management. www.loudtechinc.com
the sales and marketing infrastructure of Focusrite and its distributed brands in the UK. He will focus on the Denon DJ, Numark, Rane and Alto Professional brands. Richard Seymour, executive VP international operations, says: “The appointments of David and Neil strengthen our ability to focus on the diverse needs of each brand across our growing distribution and retail networks and complement our existing team of Jeremy Lumsden (Akai Professional and M-Audio) and Nathan Cole (Multi-Brand International Sales).” www.inmusicbrands.com
Stage Tec has promoted long term employee Dirk Berar to head of software and systems development. In his new role, the senior system architect will coordinate and moderate software development. In 1999, the graduate engineer began his career at Stage Tec in software development. www.stagetec.com
SSE has appointed Lucy Jenkins as a new sales executive. She will work alongside sales manager Peter Codron at SSE’s Park Royal facility, further increasing the company’s sales presence in the South East. Previously, she was a sales manager for a London based theatrical audio supplier. www.sseaudiogroup.com
Joseph Strovas has joined the team at Radial Engineering in the new role of international sales manager for Hafler, Dynaco, Jensen Transformers and the Primacoustic Install Division. He previously worked for audio/Hi-Fi companies including AudioQuest, Madrigal Audio Laboratories, BDI and Densen Audio. www.radialeng.com
Also joining the sales team at SSE is Jotham Jackson, who previously worked for LMV Audio. He will work alongside sales director Alex Penn, sales manager Richard Watts and sales administrator Tom Munn who are all based at SSE’s HQ and he will cover UK contracts. www.sseaudiogroup.com
DEALER NETWORK Pliant Technologies, the new professional intercom division of CoachComm, has named Media-Sys as its distributor for Spain and Portugal. José María Foguet, CEO at Media-Sys says: “We immediately looked to Pliant Technologies when we were trying to fill the gap for wireless intercoms in our product portfolio.“ Gary Rosen, global sales manager for Pliant Technologies, says: “Media-Sys, S.L.’s outstanding reputation in Spain and Portugal is what inspired us to secure this partnership. We’re looking forward to working together in these markets as we continue to grow internationally.” www.mediasys.es www.plianttechnologies.com Svetlost Teatar has been appointed as Outline distributor for Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. PR manager at Svetlost Teatar Jovan Dunjic says: “With its superb quality, Outline will definitely open the doors to markets we were not previously involved in. Outline’s large, medium, and small format loudspeakers, as well as its innovative DSP-based and related technologies, enable us to ensure top-grade equipment for a really wide range of applications, such as performing arts venues, cinemas, sport halls, etc.” There are several projects on which the company has installed Outline products, such as the cultural centre for the Serbian city of Gornji Milanovac. www.outline.it www.steatar.rs German manufacturer KLANG:technologies have appointed msonic as its distributor for Finland. Mikko Palomäki, msonic’s managing director, says: “KLANG products are the perfect addition to our top brands, Avid and d&b audiotechnik. We are proud to offer our customers the latest technologies revolutionising the current pro-audio market.” Comments KLANG:technologies’ founder and marketing director Dr. Pascal Dietrich: “We want to ease the work of musicians and improve their performance by heading towards a perfect in-ear monitor sound … (msonic’s) excellent technical knowledge and customer support, combined with their outstanding reputation in the pro-audio market, makes them the perfect sales partner for KLANG.“ www.klang.com msonic.fi
www.psneurope.com/business 12 Movers and shakers FIN.indd 1
Photo: Adam Kaplan
Photo: Johannes KrĂ¤mer
Vero is a large format sound system, which has been engineered for new levels of audio and operational performance. It has been designed, developed and perfected over the last six years by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced audio engineers in the world.
Its meticulously crafted proprietary waveguides and driver technology produce naturally even frequency response and coverage.
The result is uncompromised system dynamics, headroom and coherency combining to present an incredibly spacious stereo image, which is why Vero is already gaining the plaudits of sound engineers from around the world.
T H E
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P14 DECEMBER 2016
AMS Neve expands education scheme BY SARAH SHARPLES
After partnering with six universities and institutions a year ago, AMS Neve has expanded its educational scheme, with the University of Salford signing on. Already hundreds of students have visited the factory in Burnley and the new exhibition centre and have been able to try out the latest consoles. Designers and engineers have also held masterclasses at campuses as far afield as Plymouth, Bristol and London. The idea for the partnerships came from AMS Neve’s founder and owner, Mark Crabtree. He says: “Britain has a leading place in the world for the creative arts – and sound for music, TV and film is a keystone in this field. AMS Neve has been responsible for many innovations in the recording and production process and we feel that enabling students to understand how good sound can be and why current techniques have evolved is an important grounding for the new generations of talent. “This development path also signposts where these techniques are heading. The first year of operation has been really inspiring for us as well as for the students as they set out to become world class like their predecessors.” Other partners include The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Leeds Beckett University, the University of West London and the School of Recording Sound in Manchester and London.n www.ams-neve.com
Prism Sound: Mic to Monitor London, UK www.prismsound.eventbrite.com
Wireless Mics and Monitoring Essentials Riga, Latvia portal.sennheiser.co.uk
Soundcraft Vi Series Console Letchworth Garden City, UK www.soundtech.co.uk
Live Sound Day at NAMM Los Angeles, US www.namm.org
Free Dante certification BY SARAH SHARPLES
University invests in Yahama to train future engineers BY SARAH SHARPLES
NAMM 2017 will feature free Dante training and certification sessions at its annual Anaheim, California trade show from 20-21 January. The sessions will be presented by Audinate. The on-site Dante Training Program will offer three educational courses beginning with the program’s ‘First Steps into Digital Audio Networking,’ a 90-minute course recommended for those people who are brandnew to audio networking, or are unsure if they should delve into a full Dante Certification course. The second course is the ‘Dante
Training and Certification Level 1’, which is also 90 minutes and designed to provide a useful background in audio networking for audio professionals. The third course, ‘Dante Training and Certification Level 2’, is a three-hour course designed for intermediate to advanced Dante users and should only be taken once Level 1 has been completed. It will take place in the Laguna Meeting Room on the fourth floor of the Hilton Anaheim. Interested participants should register.n www.audinate.com/namm17
Teesside University in North East England recently invested in a number of Yamaha MG12s for its BSc (Hons) degree in Music Technology. The course features modules in composing, recording, engineering and producing music. Technician and assistant course lecturer Jamie Donnelly says the university has been using Yamaha mixers for 12 years and the MG12s are principally used to aid lecturers. “Each music lab holds around 22 students and the MG12s are used to interconnect the multiple audio interfaces of the PC-based presenter machine, the lecturer’s MacBook Pro, hardware synthesisers, auxliary cables and microphones. “The synthesisers even include a venerable Yamaha DX7, which is still going strong,” he comments. “The MG12s offer an unparalleled experience for us. Not only do they provide maximum bang for our buck, they’re robust and offer all the connectivity and reliability we could ask for.”
There are also lives sound modules that give students the chance to experience hands-on mixing with the QL1 and LS9-16 and are used in lectures, are lent to students to use on live shows and also for final year performances. Course lecturer Chris Allen adds: “From a teaching point of view, the QL1 develops the familiar workflow of previous generations of Yamaha console, allowing us to show students similar workflows on a wider range of digital mixing consoles, without having to learn completely new systems. “These transferable skills are crucial in training our future live sound engineers.” n www.yamahaproaudio.com
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P16 DECEMBER 2016
TOUCH-MIX 30 What is it? A 32-channel digital mixer for production professionals, musicians and bands, as well as live performance venues. Details: A large (10”) multi-touch screen offers more on-screen information, while also providing greater hands-on control. Anti-feedback and room tuning wizards simplify complex equalisation tasks and two real-time analysers provide instantaneous analysis of channel tonal balance and room response. And another thing… The 32-channel direct-to-hard-drive record/ playback captures and recalls performances without the need for an external computer. www.qsc.com
What is it? These new passive loudspeakers are designed for installations where audio quality, rigging options and discreet cosmetics are critical.
What is it? A new addition to its professional wireless range – a radio microphone that will offer audio quality and rock-solid RF wireless transmission for demanding live productions, the company says.
What is it? Self-powered portable PA systems and ultracompact, high SPL loudspeakers for fixed installation applications.
Details: There are four two-way models – 8, 10, 12 and 15” – and an 18” subwoofer. Using a curvilinear, double-roll surround system for the LF driver, stability is ensured for low and mid-range frequencies.
Details: Comprising a two-channel receiver in two different versions, a bodypack and a handheld transmitter as well as a rack-mount 19” charging unit, it will be available from March 2017.
Details: It can deliver ultra-short bursts of 500W RMS or 1,000W peak power. Readouts of protect/mute, temperature and clip signals are accessible for DSP and network or wireless control implementations, and I/O stages.
And another thing… The height and overall size of the cabinet has been reduced with a new angled-corner port system. www.wharfedalepro.com
And another thing… For data security, it features switchable AES 256 encryption. www.sennheiser.com
And another thing… The system minimises the requirement for heat sinks and cooling. www.pascal-audio.com
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P17 DECEMBER 2016
MPR50-IEM WIDEBAND IEM RECEIVER
DBA DIGITAL BELT PACK TRANSMITTER
What is it? Designed for professional in-ear monitoring applications, it includes an updated ENS compander that caters to live events and music shows/ broadcasts.
What is it? Ideal for use in theatres, film making and touring, the compact and lightweight belt has a ‘rugged machined mental construction’ ensuring that the new transmitter is a durable choice for tough environments, the company says.
Details: The ENS compander in the MPR50IEM significantly increases the quality of audio transmission during the transfer of complex data, such as high dynamic audio inputs. Vocal transmission is also refined in this new system.
Details: The DBa features wideband tuning (470698MHz), a highly linear RF output stage for reduced intermodulation distortion and a 50mW transmission RF power for excellent range and resistance to dropouts. And another thing… With advanced encryption technology, the DBa transmitter is also ideal for use where privacy is of paramount concern, such as corporate boardrooms, shareholder meetings and government facilities. www.lectrosonics.com
And another thing… There are new channel switching capabilities, giving the user freedom to switch from IEM to IFB mode with a simple click on the menu. www.wisycom.com
What is it? A FET-style compressor marking homage to the classic 1176LN model, but with an entirely modernised and discrete signal path utilising custom-engineered MIDAS input and output transformers.
What is it? Produced specifically for the broadcast and production markets, it will allow sound engineers and mixers to implement loudness metering into their music-based workflows and applications.
Details: The compressor offers three ratios: 4:1 for moderate compression; 8:1 for severe compression: 12:1 for mild limiting; and 20:1 for hard limiting. Additionally, the all-button mode is included for aggressive vocals and especially effective when applied to drums, bass, guitar and room microphones. And another thing… An illuminated vintage-style VU meter keeps the 1176-KT in style with the original Universal Audio processor. The meter applies visual confirmation of gain reduction and output level based on which button is selected. www.klarkteknik.com
Details: It features vectorscope, PPM/TruePeak or VU, realtime analysers, loudness vs. time charts, as well as numerical and graphical loudness display and zoom modes. All of these features can be accessed with a simple swipe on the touchscreen. And another thing… The display is able to be adjusted into vertical or horizontal modes to accommodate the workflow of its users. Supported audio inputs include analogue, SPDIF and USB, and an SPDIF output delivers a buffered stereo signal or downmix from a 5.1 stream. www.rtw.com
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P18 DECEMBER 2016
DPA competition uncovers cracking stories From blizzards in Antarctica, tank engines exploding, chariots and horses running over them as well as being hidden under the mask of Bane in The Dark Knight – DPA microphones have seen a lot of action, writes Sarah Sharples
Eilam Hoffman’s microphones have survived a lot of abuse on film sets
One of the strongest blizzards was recorded at Casey Station in Antarctica
A series of short cables with DPA MicroDot connectors were created so Bane could remove any part his costume while filming The Dark Knight
Willem Sannen’s personal recording library has 6,500 sounds
PA Microphones launched a competition in October asking the audio community to tell them how they use their products and they were overwhelmed with more than 700 entries from around the world. Philip Samartzis, the current Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellow, won the grand prize of €2,500 with his story about travelling to Casey Station in Eastern Antarctica earlier this year to record the sound of Katabatic wind. “I used two d:dicate 4006 omnidirectional microphones to record numerous environments and weather events, including two blizzards. One of the blizzards measured 100 knots and is the strongest blizzard ever to be recorded at Casey Station during summer. The recordings are amazing,” he said. Belgian Willem Sannen, who has a personal sound library containing over 6,500 sounds, loves using his d:screet 4060 miniature omnidirectional microphones and also scooped one of the eight prizes on offer. He told PSNEurope he works part time as a sound designer for movies, games, apps and video art. “I like to capture my own sounds since they are original as opposed to commercial sound banks and therefore you can tailor the audio for the context that it is used in,” he said. “I also have just released an album called Brussel Noord at gruenrekorder. It is a field recording album. The last few years I find myself more and more recording my environment with a more artistic purpose: trying to capture a place in sound, the equivalent of landscape photography, but then in
sound. Listening to a place can be a profound cinematic experience although there are no images involved.” Sannen said some of his favourite sounds recorded were walking in a cornfield, which was captured with two omni mics, and the “end of summer” – rain drops on the plastic canvas of the swimming pool, which was done with two cardioid mics in AB under a table facing the swimming pool. He adds: “I have placed my DPA’s on my own head for binaural stealth recording of crowds. I attached them near the exhaust and the motor of a driving car. I lowered them in drains, air vents, grilles and they swung down off the roof from the eighth floor. They took rain, wind, dirt and mud.” Another winner, Eilam Hoffman – a film and video game sound designer – said his DPA microphones have gone through a lot of abuse, from engines of tanks exploding and burning oil slashing everywhere, chariots and horses running over them, fire from fighter jets and hungry big cats trying to eat them – but they have always survived. “I have been using DPA for about 15 years. The biggest challenge of them all has been recording fighter jets with onboard microphones. The DPA microphones could stand the high SPL and produce a tonality unlike other condenser microphones,” he said. “The compact DPA mics are small and light, they are great for mounting on or inside sound effects/foley props and even mounting on animals.” Hoffman’s film credits include the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Transformers: The Last Knight,
Ben-Hur, Bridget Jone’s Baby, The Legend of Tarzan, Everest and The Theory of Everything. Getting into the festive spirit was Matt Thomas from Switzerland, who submitted a DPA holiday poem, which played off the original ‘Twas the night before Christmas. Lines from his poem included “So I hung a DPA 4006A by the chimney with care, In hopes of recording St Nicholas there … The omnidirectional’s sensitivity was such, That through my headphones I heard a tiny “crunch, crunch. Could it be the diaphragm was so lively and quick, It had captured the allusive sound of St Nick?” Thomas was a musician for years, but now creates iOS apps and said the idea for the poem came from a discussion from his wife a few days earlier about how everyone knows the first line of the famous poem, but no one knows the rest. He added: “I’m now working on my first music based app, which I’m really enjoying, it’s pretty novel, but I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag yet.” His poem ends with ‘Twas the night before Christmas, but as it turned, in this house, There WAS a creature stirring, there was one hungry mouse.” And when asked if he might capture Santa this year? “Well this year I’ll have a DPA mic, so I think my chances are much better,” he quipped. Other winners included Ed Novick, who used his d:screet 4061 miniature omnidirectional microphone under the mask of Bane, played by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises and Giovani Capeletti, who wanted to preserve the flamenco guitar sound. www.dpamicrophones.com
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www.mc2-audio.co.uk Tel. +44 (0)1404 44633 Fax. +44(0)1404 44660 MC2 AUDIO | Units 6-8 Kingsgate | Heathpark Industrial Estate Honiton | Devon | England | EX14 1YG
P20 DECEMBER 2016
Review of the year
EUROPE AND UNITED KINGDOM
2016 will go down in history What a year 2016 has been – from the death of many greats, including legendary musicians David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen – to Boaty McBoatface, Brexit, the Pokémon craze and Donald Trump being elected president in the US. But what happened in the pro-audio world? Sarah Sharples takes a look back at the year. JANUARY Acquisitions were a theme of 2016 with loudspeaker component manufacturer Eighteen Sound of Reggio Emilia kicking off the year by purchasing fellow Italian brand Clare of Senigalilia for an undisclosed fee. In a good sign for the industry, new studios were also opening throughout the year, with the first featured in the January magazine, the Angel’s Wings Recording Studio & Arts Center (sic) in a villa in north-eastern Italy. But other studios were confronted with gentrification and the weather. Popular online was a story on the on-going battle to prevent an “iceberg basement” from being built in close proximity to London’s Air Studios, which received additional support from the likes of George Michael, Joanna Lumley and Brian May. Meanwhile, York-based recording facility Melrose Yard Studios faced over £20,000 in damages to its facilities and water-logged equipment after the wettest December in the UK, before a GoFundMe campaign started helping out. Crowdfunding was all the rage this year with Remic Microphones the first in the new year to launch a Kickstarter campaign for its new W3000 mic for brass and woodwind instruments. Capital Sound began its rise when it invested in a substantial quantity of Outline GTO long-throw high-SPL line array cabinets.
FEBRUARY In a world exclusive, PSNEurope interviewed Steev Toth, the tour manager of Eagles of Death Metal, after terrorists attacked the Bataclan while the band was David Bowie’s death shocked the world. playing. Toth recalled Credit: ChrisTaylorphotography.copm the terrible night in November 2015, where he barricaded himself in an ante-room, how he was rescued from the bloodbath and how he was reunited with the band. He also posed critical questions on security measures for musicians and their audiences in the new wave of terrorism. After David Bowie’s shock death in January, we
The UK public voted to Brexit
looked back at some of his artistic highpoints and the collaborators, studios and technological advances that helped to make them possible: from 1969’s Space Oddity, which was rendered by the late Gus Dudgeon to the 1970’s, Visconti-produced The Man Who Sold the World, which was captured at London’s Trident and Advision studios, to Bowie’s greatest commercial success 1983’s Let’s Dance. Meanwhile, Blackstar – which was released two days before his death – was captured at The Magic Shop and Human Worldwide studios in NYC. David Davies summed up a decline that continues to be felt in 2016: “As the importance of recording in the overall music landscape continues to dwindle, David Bowie’s death is a sobering reminder of an era in which groundbreaking studio work was a weekly, if not daily occurrence.” Also, little did we know that a story on Allen & Heath’s dLive console taking on a central role as 20 years of Pokémon game music made its European stage debut, would precede the craze that hit the world in July – when the augmented reality game was released and people went mad to hunt the creatures.
MARCH Avid announced changes to the company’s structure – including jobs cuts and “darkening underutilized facilities” – that were expected to yield over $68 millions (approximately €61.7 million) in savings. The world’s most famous producer, Sir George Martin, who set up the Association of Independent Recorders in 1965 and the AIR studios, passed away. On a lighter note, Calrec Audio engaged in some clever marketing by compiling 177 features of the ultimate broadcast desk into a periodic table of broadcast consoles. We also took a strategic look at the company, which is now under the Audiotonix group, and how it was emboldened by a new factory extension and a change of managing director. The new studios kept coming with work starting on one of Belgium’s biggest recording facilities, named DAFT, while Abbey Road opened a Paris training centre. The rise of virtual reality continued with a story about a new CGI animated film debuting at the Tribeca Festival, which was exploiting object-based immersive audio – a theme that would come up throughout the year.
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APRIL Another new studio appeared with recording engineer and producer Nicolas Stawski opening Miscendo Recording Studio in the western outskirts of Paris. Companies continued to combine and consolidate with column loudspeakers and installation specialist ActIve Audio taking a majority shareholding in APF, while Dynaudio ceased production of its AIR series of reference monitors. After a large exodus, AVB-promoting organisation the AVnu Alliance downplayed the exit of several notable players, including Audinate and Powersoft, while highlighting the boom in its industrial sector. But as project manager and RH Consulting founder Roland Hemming said: “The decline in audio interest is clear. It’s simply not worth it for audio manufacturers to currently invest in AVB when there is not market for it.” Meanwhile, the market for professional headphones has never been stronger then in 2016, as the magazine’s feature story took a look across the range, from high-end headphones suitable for recording in the studio and on the road – to more personalised products reflecting the user’s style.
Shure celebrated 50 years of SM58 with an anniversary edition
administrative support centre in Florida. In a revealing interview, Paul Jenkins, vice president Denon Professional-Marantz Professional, said that after acquiring the brands in 2014, the next year or two would see almost an entire changeover from older product to brand-new products, conceived and designed by the company.
JULY MAY Adele came back with her third tour, taking the unusual step in the UK of engaging Berlin’s Black Box Music for PA supply, and for the first time she was won over by Sennheiser’s D9000 digital wireless system. In another exclusive magazine interview, Toshifumi Kunimoto – affectionately known as Dr. K – spoke about nearly four decades of groundbreaking R&D and the pivotal part he has played in Yamaha’s most important audio innovations from the VL 1 modelling synthesiser to the RIVAGE PM10 console. In new ventures, Glenn Roggermann’s AED group opened its own museum of rental equipment and was the first outfit to place a substantial order for L-Acoustics’ KS28 subwoofer and LA12X amplified controller. In May, the company had some 4,000 L-Acoustics speakers across its European bases. Popular online was a Q&A with Dr Andreas Sennheiser where the young co-CEO talked about the $50k Orpheus headphones, the restructuring of the company, the fiercely competitive marketplace and what gets him out of bed in a morning. Another story that had people clicking was about ex-Genesis drummer/vocalist Phil Collins’ entire back catalogue of eight solo albums being remastered.
JUNE Oh Brexit – this dominated the news for much of the year and there are no signs of it abating…. In the somewhat surprising result, the UK public voted to leave the European Union. Prior to the vote, industry figures who PSNEurope canvassed were, by a slim majority, in favour of remaining within the EU. In general, the feeling was that trade with EU member states could
Bose Professional launched its new Showmatch DeltaQ array loudspeakers
be hindered, whilst impact on future legislation and regulations would undoubtedly be dramatically reduced. But there were also plenty who felt that the welldocumented inefficiencies and ‘democratic deficit’ of some EU institutions should override all other concerns. Post vote, uncertainty about the duration of negotiations required to arrange post-EU trade agreements and the future perception of UK-headquartered businesses, both in terms of manufacturing and touring/installation service provision, were chief concerns. Sparking interest online was a story on David Bell, director of design house White Mark, and other highprofile signatories from the recording sector, writing a letter requesting an urgent review of the design and procurement process used to create educational facilities in the UK. Back to Avid’s restructuring and it was revealed it had shifted much of its product development, R&D and customer support overseas, expanding those departments with new workplaces in Asia and Europe. This included hiring 250 employees to staff new facilities in Analogue tape made the Philippines, Taiwan a comeback in 2016 and Poland, and a new
Featured this month was editor Dave Robinson surviving the Amazon, where he wrote about the JungleIzed interactive audio experience after he wandered around an eight-square grid of streets in New York, with his Audio-Technica ATH-M70x headphones plugged into a smartphone, listening to a jungle soundtrack created and mixed by a mobile app. On the studio side of things, a full refurbishment of the Foundry Sheffield’s Studio saw the installation of the largest Audient ASP8024 mixing console ever built. Then after years out of commission, the Grand Cru barge started sailing again by providing world-class recording and mixing facilities from a new berth in London’s St. Katharine Docks with its ‘captain’, producer/engineer Myles Clarke. Stories that captured attention online were the reopening of O2 Shepherd’s Bush venue after a six month closure and major refurbishment of the roof, as well as upgrading audio systems, the auditorium, bathrooms and backstage. Another was Peavey Commercial Audio returning to holding stock in the UK, following an 18-month absence, after new distributor agreements expanded the company’s presence across Europe. While Metropolis revealed it had survived a torrid time over the last decade and its record label will make more money then the studio business this year. Looking forward to a well deserved break was Dynacord, Martin Traut, who was known for his legendary power amplifier stunts featuring heavy duty tools, and who retired after 34 years in the business.
AUGUST Vinyl revival was on the out in 2016. To be a truly modern audiophile, the turntable was put away to make
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Review of the year
room for the reel-to-reel. It was analogue tape’s time for (another) comeback and Mulann Group had torches at the ready to carry it into the future. Analogue tape was not the only thing being resurrected. After major setbacks at the seaside attraction – Hastings Pier – a historical place in the annals of rock music – was looking to regain its position on the gig circuit. While Capital Sound – who went on to win the Grand Prix award at the PSAwards – had been busy in 2016, continuing its growth with a warehouse shake-up, investment in European equipment and a new strategy. The new studios, makeovers and recoveries kept coming. Producer/engineer Fabrizio “Simoncia” Simoncioni opened his new venture D:PoT recording studio in Prato, Tuscany, while Livingston Studio 2 in Wood Green London, underwent a major refurbishment with a new tracking room centred around a brand new Custom Series 75 console powered by Neve. Suburban Home Studios, owned by Leeds-based band Hookworms’ Matthew Johnson, recovered after being devastated by Storm Eva in the UK in December and after a devastating fire at NEP Visions’ UK base last year, the OB specialist introduced the first of four new trucks
Paul Timmins, general manager, Capital Sound “2016 has been a tragic years for losses of creative talent from Lemmy to Bowie and Prince to Leonard Cohen. The touring scene appears to be dominated by established artists and we ask the question where is the talent coming from to fill such big shoes in the future? Are the rising stars getting the support and backing that is needed to carry them onto stardom. The festival that support both HD and UHD TV production, making its debut at Wimbledon 2016.
SEPTEMBER One of our most read stories online for the year was about Apple dropping the industry standard 3.5mm jack from the iPhone 7 in favour of the Lightning connector and how pro audio companies, including Sennheiser and Shure, felt about the announcement Joint Sennheiser CEO’s Daniel and Andreas Sennheiser summed it up: “Audio connections have always been continuously evolving. Digital outputs, such as Apple’s
scene would appear in good shape and where promoters appreciate the need to deliver the full experience then good times lie ahead. As far as pro audio supply is concerned it’s been a busy year, choice of systems is key in a market place that demands engineers first choice needs. Bring on 2017 and let’s see some rising proper bands come through.” Lightning connector, will offer new opportunities to take a step forward and to further enhance the sound experience for the customer. For example, 3D audio technology using digital signals is just one possibility.” Also well received online was a story on the world’s largest rock band, Rockin’1000, which staged a concert in Italy to 13,000 fans. In a month of celebrations, Shure introduced an anniversary model of its most popular microphone, the SM58, to mark its 50th year, while Eve Audio reached its fifth anniversary and Ardent Studios its 50th. Producer/engineer and recording industry stalwart
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Adrian Kerridge died of a heart attack. While Focusrite founder Phil Dudderidge was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement at the PSAwards.
OCTOBER The acquisitions began to snowball. German intercom specialist Riedel acquired the Netherlands-based company, ASL Intercom BV, while Blackmagic Design brought the name, product line and intellectual property of Australian audio manufacturer Fairlight. In good news, NAMM’s Oral History Program clocked a milestone by reaching over 3,000 interviews and loudspeaker giant JBL celebrated 70 years of speaker innovation. Shure microphones, Clair Bros loudspeaker systems and Lab.gruppen power amps appeared at Rockin’1000
John Merriman, director, Crown Lane Studio “Working in the creative sector is has created more than its fair share. As the hatches, but look outwards and world, technologically, creatively and
DECEMBER Just before December crept into view (SPOILER ALERT: we’re writing this in November), Samsung sprung on Harman and bought it for $8bn. It’s business as usual at the home of JBL, but what will happen in future to brands such as Soundcraft (not exactly core to automotive connected technologies) is anyone’s guess. And the takeover fun continued just ahead of press time with RØDE Microphones snapping up SoundField
primarily about solving problems, and 2016 a creative industry we mustn’t batten down upwards to a more connected and unified relationally.” from TSL (see p6). Another year goes by then, and once again, consolidation is a key factor. Our beloved pro-audio industry gets a little bit smaller, a little bit tighter packed, a little more competitive, a little more squeezed... As we look forward to 2017, there’s just time to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Here’s hoping Trump doesn’t do anything too daft..n wwww.psneurope.com
F��ed��. Online people were interested in reading about Bose Professional launching its new Showmatch DeltaQ array loudspeakers, which gives the ability to change directivity or “Q” for each array module. It was described by the company as the next generation of array technology. While the near death experience that prompted John and Ruth Merriman to open Crown Lane Studios almost 10 years ago was also a favourite.
NOVEMBER Interest was peaked online by a white paper, commissioned by Dante developer Audinate, which was released to provide an insight into the objectives, benefits and limitations of the AES67 AoIP networked audio standard. Another acquisition was announced – the newly formed L-Group, parent company of French loudspeaker designer L-Acoustics, announced the acquisition of Camco, the German amplifier. The news ventures continued with familiar ex-Avid audio sales duo Tim Hurrell and Ben Nemes creating an online marketplace for trading digital consoles and control surfaces, called resurface.audio. While more celebrations were in store, with Liverpoolbased Parr Street Studios marking its 25th anniversary with a plan to record a series of documentaries over the next 12 months. Another recording facility also opened, The Anexe Studio, in Exeter, UK. Famous nightclub Fabric won a reprieve, after closing earlier that year, with Islington council agreeing to it reopening with strict new licensing conditions, including an over-19s policy and ID scanners.
With its tiny size and feather weight, the Lectrosonics SSM bodypack transmitter gives you the freedom of placement on your talent. Wig? Ankle? No problem. And the SSM never heats up, so it can even go against the skin. The patented, compandor-free Digital Hybrid Wireless® transmission gives you the freedom to choose your favorite lav or headset mic without concern for coloration. And Lectrosonics has always been famous for freedom from RF problems, with the SSM being no exception. Then there’s the ability to use a smartphone app for changing settings, the wide 75 Mhz (3-block) tuning bandwidth, and the choice of 25 or 50 mW RF power, right in the menu. Of course, you have the freedom to spend quite a bit more than the SSM on other minature bodypack transmitters, but why would you? Demo the Lectrosonics SSM and prepare to be amazed.
<< Scan here to learn more about the SSM
www.lectrosonics.com or 1-800-821-1121 In Canada, call 877-753-2876 Made in the USA by a Bunch of Fanatics.
In Europe, call +33 (0) 78558-3735
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P24 DECEMBER 2016
Aaron Cupples in his north London studio
The duo that form post-rock outfit Civil Civic are based in two different cities – and yet they’ve still managed to create two pulse-quickening, throttle-engaging albums of irrepressible instrumentals. Dave Robinson sat down for a civilised chat with the band’s Aaron Cupples
ource-Connect. Gobbler. Aspera’s SAM systems. File encryption in general. Damnit: even paying for a courier to deliver a harddrive safely. Nope. Civil Civic don’t use any of these methods to transfer the precious artistic cargo between their two bases in London and Barcelona. “Nothing so beautiful,” smiles Aaron Cupples, the UK-based component, as we sit in his Tottenham Hale studio. “Just email attachments, maybe a bit of Dropbox or Google Drive. No albino carrier pigeons or such like!” They don’t even extend to DAW-specific file types. “I’d love to send an Ableton Live file to Ben, but he uses Logic, and I use Ableton and Pro Tools. We’re incompatible: so we have to dumb it down.” MP3s, then? “Just MP3s at first with demo ideas,” he admits, “until we approach the point where we might be nailing takes. Then we might send stems.” Civil Civic are two Australian musicians, originally from near Melbourne. They made a huge impression on the post-punk, math-rock scene in 2011 with the release of Rules, a noisy, brutal, angular-but-alwaysmelodious album of instrumentals featuring Cupples on guitar and Benjamin Green on bass, plus the band’s mysterious, relentless, ultimately primitive drum machine providing the rhythmic glue. Green moved to Europe first over a decade ago, eventually settling in in Barcelona. Cupples headed to London in 2007, with a vision for what would later become Civil Civic. Tracking down Green via demos
posted on myspace (remember that?), Cupples realised he had found the collaborator he needed. “If left to me, the band would probably have been a bit more serious – a bit more pretentious, let’s say,” laughs Cupples, “but Ben bought the fun element in.” The promotional spin for Rules – effectively a collection of EPs and demos dating from 2009, mostly written by Cupples – was that the pair worked remotely but ultimately came together for final recording (“the old school way”) and, of course, subsequent playing live and touring. The band has just released a second album The Test, featuring ideas of a greater complexity and a wider timbral palette, but the original modus operandi is still in place. “We utilise the powers of the internet,” Cupples reiterates. “I’m the guitarist, he’s the bass player, but we’ll both play both instruments on our demos. We send stuff to each other via endless streams of emails. We’ve never written a song by sitting in the same room and thrashing it out, which is the romantic idea of songwriting. I’m not sure how many bands actually write songs like that… Probably a lot! [Laughs] But not us.” Cupples’ has been in his Tottenham studio for around six months. It’s compact and somewhat chaotic, “but a good size for me”, he says. The styling is all his own, created with acoustic panels and rockwool and a little research. Main monitors are Dynaudio BM6As, with Yamaha
WE’VE NEVER WRITTEN A SONG BY SITTING IN THE SAME ROOM AND THRASHING IT OUT
NS10s and a ‘Behritone’ for reference. (“It’s a powered Auratone knock-off. I haven’t compared an A/B between the two, but the idea is not to sound hi-fi, is it? I love mixing in mono through that speaker. And when I switch back to the main ones, the mix is generally in a good place.”) Other go-to kit in Cupples’ cave is a Neve 1073 copy, built from a kit by Brisbane-based supplier JLM Audio (“great, affordable pre-amp kits”). He highlights the PreSonus Central Station for switching between the headphones and the speakers – and the headphones themselves, a pair of beyerdynamic DT990 Pros. “The [Empirical Labs] Distressor compressor is fantastic too, it’s a real Swiss Army knife.” When Civil Civic play live, the stage set-up comprises the two musicians separated by a large, battered, box, on top of which rests a couple of beaten-up back-to-back Novation SL37 keyboards. But, you won’t find them using pre-recorded synth parts to any great degree to beef up the sound. “Synth lines we play. Seriously! That was one of the
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These guys are just so engaging!
Cover artwork for 2011 album Rules (top) and new album The Test
rules of the band: we wanted to use a drum machine but we didn’t want a laptop on stage. So, the drum machine plays a series of loops, really dumb stuff… Simple rhythms keep the audience focused on the rich harmonic and melodic content. “To have a really complicated drum line would be too much, because we are so noodly. We’re all over the place – by design.” Just what is that drumbox then? “It’s a mystery which we can’t really discuss,” laughs Cupples, “a big box-shaped roadcase with lots of flashing lights. It might be an old Dr Who prop or something. It was a founding member of the band – we hope to flesh out
its backstory on the third album.” He laughs again. “The machine has a light for the kick, the snare, the percussion and the cymbals: four lights and four tracks to spit out to the FOH for mixing.” The drum machine is one of the more reliable members of the band, jokes Cupples. “Ben made a particularly flamboyant move with his bass during one show and knocked both of the keyboards off the stage. That was a showstopper – literally – for about ten minutes until we’d plugged them back in.” Cupples sees his musical influences in no-wave post-punk bands such as Sonic Youth, alongside The Cure, The Smiths, Gang of Four and Steve Albini’s Big
Black, a punk band that used a drum machine rather than a live drummer. But he’s also a producer in his own right, as he was before he left Australia, and has recently been working with Jason Pierce aka J Spaceman of Spiritualized. Ultimately then, does Cupples see himself as a Civil Civic member with a production side-project, or a producer with a Civil Civic band side-poject? “I think I like to think of Civil Civic as a side project, because it makes me think I can do whatever I want with it. When I think of it like that, it’s more fun and the music is better. “The first album sounded like it did because we didn’t care: we just made music that we wanted to hear. “The second album was harder because suddenly we had booking agents and fans and expectations and managers – and that’s sort of stifling, and stops being fun. “I want to make something really noisy but now everyone’s gonna hear it and I don’t know whether that’s going to sell. If it excites me and Ben, that should be the only pre-requisite. So – Civil Civic is a side project that takes up the most of my time.” n civilcivic.com
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Asgeir performed at this year’s MJF. Their contribution will be archived and eventually digitised. Credit: Daniel Balmat
Archiving with Nobs on Forever ahead of the technological curve, the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival has recently been digitising its entire archive in conjunction with the Claude Nobs Foundation, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and data specialist HGST. David Davies finds out more about this ambitious, multi-year project
stablished in 1967 by a team led by Claude Nobs – a legendary figure in the music industry who also served as the event’s general manager and all-round global cheerleader – the Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) remains one of the world’s best-loved music festivals. Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett and Santana are among the countless major acts to have played historic sets at the Festival, whilst the fire that devastated key venue the Montreux Casino during a show by Frank Zappa in 1971 famously inspired Deep Purple to pen one of rock’s most sacred texts, Smoke On the Water. Despite the tragic death of Nobs in a 2013 skiing accident, the spirit and purpose of the festival he spearheaded for so many years remains undiminished. An integral element of this vision was an interest in documenting performances that saw it become one of the first festivals to instigate the systematic recording of concerts for the benefit of future generations. Since then, it has explored the potential of technologies such
as 3D (in partnership with the Nagra Kudelski Group in 2010), 4K 3D (with NVP3D and RTS in 2012), and, most recently of all, 360-degree video and 3D audio in collaboration with the companies PRG and Audioborn. So it is perhaps unsurprising that it has also been a trailblazer with regard to the digitisation and long-term preservation of its considerable archives. Initiated in 2007, the Montreux Jazz Digital Project sees the festival and the Claude Nobs Foundation working in partnership with the Metamedia Centre of research institute/ university École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and aims to digitise the entire, near-five-decade archive. We are talking here about some 5,000 hours of concerts, involving more than 14,000 tapes covering 11,000 hours of video recordings and 6,000 hours of high-quality audio (including multitracks). Underlining its long-term importance, the collection is logged in the Memory of The World register – the UNESCO initiative that recognises documentary heritage of global significance.
MJF HAS ALWAYS BEEN AHEAD OF THE CURVE TECHNOLOGICALLY AND THE RESULT IS AN ARCHIVE THAT IS REGARDED AS A GLOBAL TREASURE
JEFF GREENWALD, HGST
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‘Global treasure’ A few years back EPFL engaged the services of data specialist HGST, whose Active Archive technology provides the basis of the new storage infrastructure. Speaking to PSNEurope during IBC 2016 in September, HGST senior director market development Data Center Systems Business Unit Jeff Greenwald says that the archiving team – which includes many students at EPFL – had an immediate advantage in the fact that “they had audio and video of everything! Nothing was missing at all. And the quality of the coverage has consistently increased over the years; they started filming in HD as early as 1991, whilst today they can be doing a 17-camera shoot in 4K/HDR [High Dynamic Range], with 360-degree audio. So they have always been ahead of the curve technologically and the result is an archive that is regarded as a global treasure.” The primary workflow for the project entails EPFL’s own software being used for duties including ingest, management, transcoding and playout. The Institute’s students are conducting the not inconsiderable task of metatagging all the content, whilst the HGST Active Archive System provides storage. Designed to address the need for rapid access to massive data stores, the Active Archive System delivers 4.7PB (3.5PB usable) in a single rack. (HGST has just increased that capacity to 5.8 PB with the new 10 TB HDDs.) “Effectively we are delivering [the archive systems all] ready to rock’n’roll; they just have to plug them in,” remarks Greenwald. Lynn Orlando, senior manager outbound marketing Data Center Systems Business Unit at HGST, notes that the EPFL and MJF teams are also “adding all kinds of other material, such as press cuttings and interviews, to the archives. They will really help to tell the stories of
The Montreux Jazz Digital Project has involved the digitisation of the festival’s entire half-decade of live performances.
the concerts and the events surrounding them.”
‘Sustain phase’ Whilst the digitisation process is now nearing a conclusion, Alain Dufaux – operations & development director of the EPFL Metamedia Centre – says that there are numerous other ongoing aspects to its collaboration with the festival. “Around this famous archive, the engineer school in Lausanne has launched many innovative projects in technology, adding value to the archive through the competences of researchers working in domains such as signal processing, acoustics, design or architecture,” he says. “Automatic video defect detection and correction, musical recommendations, solo detection, aesthetic song thumbnail creation, or virtual acoustic reconstitution for the Montreux concert venues are topics that were or will be developed in the future.” In terms of public access to archive material, Dufaux
adds that “a new building is about to open on the EPFL campus, with a special Montreux Jazz Café to present [these innovations] to the public – for example, allowing people to discover the archives on iPads placed under sound showers, or in an immersive video + 3D audio platform called the Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab.” In addition, the scope of the overarching archival initiative is set to expand further in the future. “Next to the ingestion of new festival recordings every year, the sustain phase of the project will now start,” says Dufaux. “As a challenge, it aims to maintain access to the archives for the researchers [for many years ahead]. New projects will start improving metadata and develop studies in different fields of digital humanities, such as musicology, history and social sciences.” n www.claudenobsfoundation.com www.epfl.ch www.hgst.com www.montreuxjazz.com Who knows what magical performances are recorded on some of these tapes?
Part of the presentation by the MJDP at September’s IBC show
Over 5,000 hours of concerts have been captured
This is the masterplan for the project
A glimpse of another part of the archive
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P30 DECEMBER 2016
Audio interfaces: What’s in, what’s out Its a crucial piece of kit that comes in a bewildering variety of flavours. Despite this, the latest trend in audio interfacing seems to revolve around one key question. Erica Basnicki finds out what it is...
Speed and a reliable connection are essential to an interface, says producer Glenn Nicholls
t wasn’t so long ago that quality A-D/D-A conversion was of primary importance when choosing an audio interface. Today, quality conversion is expected of even the most budgetfriendly models, and users are demanding a lot more from their boxes. From a manufacturer’s point of view, there are many features to consider when designing an interface. Red and RedNet product manager, Will Hoult, lists just a few Focusrite is keeping its eye on: “Firstly, there’s the connections available on the computers available in the market: historically FireWire (400 or 800), USB (1.1, 2.0 and recently 3.x), Ethernet, Thunderbolt, PCIe etc. The list goes on. Secondly, audio
PreSonus offers an improved user experience with its Studio One DAW, says product manager Wesley Smith
transport: so interfaces such as analogue line, MADI and AES3 for example. Finally, and perhaps the most important, we need to pay close attention to workflows across a variety of user groups, as well as how our products need to integrate into the modern studio environment.” The more manufacturers you speak to, the longer the list grows: onboard processing, low latency monitoring, quality preamps and preamp emulation. But is that what users are really asking for? British musician/producer John Mitchell (It Bites, Lonely Robot) came to be a devoted fan of Focusrite interfaces almost by chance: “I do quite a lot of mixing
abroad; I went to Australia about two years ago and produced a band called Prepared Like A Bride. While I was there I was invited along to the launch of the iTrack Solo. On whim I went out and bought it because it was tiny and it could fit in my luggage.” Since then, Mitchell has added a Scarlett 2i2 and 2i4, a Saffire PRO 40, a Liquid Saffire 56 and several OctoPre dynamics to his arsenal. “The GUIs that come with my interfaces are so selfexplanatory; within 30 seconds you can install the driver and before you know it you’re up and running. One minute I’ll be in my main studio doing drum edits on my iMac and then I’ll take my interface and go to another
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room – I just plug it in and away I go. There’s a reason the 2i2 is so popular; you can be a tone-deaf monkey and get it running, it’s foolproof. “The thing is, I’m forever switching between computers... so whatever (interface) it is, it needs to be super-quick and have reliable connectivity.” London-based producer/remixer Glen Nicholls, who has worked with the likes of The Prodigy, Bomb The Bass and Erasure, recently invested in two Prism Sound Titan audio interfaces. “I’ve been in a lot of big recording and mastering studios for years and I’ve always seen the Prism Sound gear, so I’ve come to associate it with that ‘high end’ sound. I was mastering a project at home and hired in an Orpheus and loved it. I didn’t want to give it back – but I had to (laughs). I literally bought one the week after that, and I’ve had that for a few years. “FireWire on the Orpheus was quite temperamental. It wasn’t until I got the Lyra which is a USB connection that I thought ‘OK, this is smooth running’. My interfaces are all USB now and I have no issues with that. I can take it on the road with me, plug it in wherever, which is pretty handy.” So while ease of use and the “sound” of an interface are mentioned by Mitchell and Nicholls in the first instance, there is one major feature users and manufacturers alike are talking about. It’s whether the vital connection is made with USB or Thunderbolt. “To a certain extent, there is a clamour for the latest ‘buzz word’, like Thunderbolt for example,” confirms Rob Masters, product manager at Synthax Audio. Among the products the company distributes are RME’s range of audio interfaces. “The main strength of Thunderbolt (and USB 3.0) are their high bandwidth, so you will find these protocols on the Fireface UFX+ and the MADIface XT which have an astonishing 188 and 394 channels respectively. USB 2.0 is still the primary choice for RME’s lower channel count offerings.” USB’s ubiquity is being challenged by the relatively new Thunderbolt connection, co-developed by Apple and Intel. Just to add a bit of mud to the water, Thunderbolt 1 and 2 used Mini DisplayPort connectors. The latest incarnation – Thunderbolt 3 – uses USB Type-C ports, which are not the same as USB 3.0. The latter is backwards compatible with – and uses the same port as – USB 2.0. Rather than betting on a clear winner, RME is hedging its bets and adopting a ‘You name it, you connect it’ approach. “The pace of change across all electronic technology markets is incredible,” says Masters. “In this rapidly shifting environment, flexibility is king. You can face this with some confidence when you can rely on your audio interface to reliably cope with almost any platform – Mac, PC, tablet and mobile – and to offer connection formats for new and old external equipment.
RME’s MADIface XT boasts 394 channels of audio thanks to USB 3.0
Universal Audio’s Apollo interfaces were the first to embrace Thunderbolt
For example, RME’s flagship Fireface UFX+ has both USB3 and Thunderbolt, as well as an extensive range of analogue mic, headphone and line level connections, ADAT, SPDIF, AES/EBU and MADI digital I/O … The options are extensive.” Universal Audio on the other hand is more certain that Thunderbolt is the way forward. The Apollo interface was the first Thunderbolt interface on the market and many other manufacturers have followed suit. “Thunderbolt was the first external connectivity protocol to offer the bandwidth necessary to truly realise Universal Audio’s roadmap for Apollo,” says Universal Audio product manager, Scott Greiner. “No other interface offers Apollo’s low latency plug-in workflows in real-time, plus those same plug-ins from within the DAW. This requires a lot of bandwidth, speed and stability; and Thunderbolt offers this by the truck-load.” Apple’s latest MacBook Pro laptops forgo all but Thunderbolt/USB-C connectors, but it was an announcement from the Microsoft camp in January of this year that makes Thunderbolt’s reign a very real possibility: “The addition of ‘official Thunderbolt support
under Windows 10’ from Microsoft is big news for all interface manufacturers,” says Geiner. “This news, combined with the addition of Thunderbolt 3 ports on PCs (and now Macs) represents a major shift for most companies with Thunderbolt audio interfaces. There is now great potential to expand into this new market, and customers are asking for it. We’re proud that our line of Thunderbolt Apollo Interfaces and UAD-2 hardware are compatible with both Mac and Windows 10 for Thunderbolt 3 PCs.” There are two things to keep in mind: the first is that this is not the first time an Apple-led development takes the world by storm. FireWire was once “the next big thing” but is ultimately on its way out. “The FireWire implementation wasn’t as robust and there were variations; the standard was constantly evolving, there was only a limited number of chipset choices and none of them were perfect, which gave rise to potential incompatibilities and difficulties with one connection or another,” explains Prism Sound’s Graham Boswell. The company’s latest interfaces use USB connections, but there is an indirect way of getting around the USB/Thunderbolt debate using another recording mainstay.
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“Because Pro Tools is somewhat ubiquitous, we’ve supported customers on that format for many years, and we continue to make a compatible interface for it,” says Boswell. “It’s also a good way of syncing multiple interfaces together. For instance, using Pro Tools HD Native, which is a Thunderbolt interface, with a DigiLink connector on the other side. That’s actually a really neat set up. If you like, we’re relying on them to provide a less expensive ‘current flavour’ interface to the Mac platform .. We’re keeping up with the Pro Tools format, we’re letting them do the consumer end of it.”
A soft(ware) trend No audio interface manufacturer is more ‘connected’ to Pro Tools than Focusrite. The two companies share a long collaborative history including the original Digidesign Mbox. the world’s first plug-ins to feature a fully skeuomorphic GUI and Control|24, Avid’s first midformat console. At Winter NAMM 2016 it was announced that Focusrite and Avid were in “deep discussion” once again. “The first and most obvious fruit of the partnership with Avid is the inclusion of Pro Tools First with our second generation Scarlett USB audio interfaces. This gives our customers greater choice than ever over the DAW they use to get working with straight out of the box,” says Hoult. It hasn’t hit ‘buzz word’ status (yet), but there is something to be said about a growing trend towards audio interfaces coming bundled with a more robust software package. Manufacturers have long included software with their audio interfaces to the point that it is now expected. “However, in most cases, the bundled DAW is a third-party OEM solution that provides a limited user
Prism Sound believes in the staying power of USB, with the Atlas and pictured below, the Lyra
experience,” says PreSonus product manager Wesley Smith. “One of our immediate goals in developing Studio One, in addition to creating a revolutionary recording and mixing experience, was to provide PreSonus customers with an improved, ‘PreSonified’ user experience. To that end, we’ve focused our development effort on deep
hardware/software integration “The release of the first StudioLive mixers, which are audio interfaces as well as mixers, was a watershed because the mixer/interfaces offered integration with software for both wired and wireless systems. So although customers long expected to get some sort of recording software with their interface, the classic StudioLive and our subsequent mixers and interfaces have created a demand for deeper integration with a DAW and with control software, including for tablets and smartphones.” n www.focusrite.com www.presonus.com www.prismsound.com www.rme-audio.com www.synthax.co.uk
Thinking inside the box Audio interfaces are responsible for the accurate translation of analogue sound into the digital domain, but as Prism Sound’s Graham Boswell points out, an audio interface cannot compensate for a computer that is poorly configured for recording audio. “When you’re trying to do quality recordings what you don’t want to do is have to be constantly on the lookout for things like clicks that mess up the recording. It’s almost the major aspect of audio quality that we face, because you can buy a Prism Sound interface, plug it in to the computer and think to yourself ‘I’ve got that now so everything’s going to be fine and dandy’. Actually, if you’re computer’s not set up right, it might not be. “Now what are those clicks? Sometimes they’re just part of the source; somebody’s hit the rim of a snare with a drumstick or it’s part of the sound
you’re recording. More often it’s actually indicating that there’s a flaw in the set-up of the computer. It’s massively more common than what people realise. It’s one of the things that we feel very strongly about because in the early days – we’ve been doing digital for a long time – the focus was on ‘Well, the converters aren’t that good, the levels are low’... “We’re all aware of this issue – the clicks and things that seem to pop up in our recordings. A lot of the times its just because the computer is not properly setup and optimised to record audio. It’s particularly important to get it right in the context of Windows, as opposed to the Mac platform – although the Mac platform is not immune by any means – and we spend a lot of time trying to make sure that our systems are properly installed and set up, so that they’re reliable and they don’t produce clicks.”
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Ofcom has decreed that 960-1164MHz is the new frequency band for PMSE wireless tech: it’s currently used by distance measuring transponders on commercial aircraft
PMSE upheaval flies forward as Ofcom accelerates 700MHz clearance UK broadcasters and wireless equipment users have been prepared for changes to spectrum allocation but the situation is now moving faster than expected. Kevin Hilton reports
K broadcast and frequency regulator Ofcom is speeding up the clearance of the 700MHz band to make frequencies available for mobile data operators by the second quarter of 2020. This is 18 months earlier than originally proposed and could have serious implications for digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasters and wireless microphone users in the PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events) sector. Ofcom says: “The benefits of accelerating the programme... outweigh the costs of doing so and... can be achieved whilst minimising disruption to viewers and without compromising our objective of safeguarding the benefits that PMSE provide.” The government is to support a grant scheme for PMSE users who have to leave the 700MHz sooner than anticipated. Earlier this year Ofcom decided on 960-1164MHz as the new home for PMSE. Also known at the Air Band this is used by DME (distance measuring equipment) transponders on commercial aircraft in UK airspace. Ofcom says this arrangement will be implemented “in accordance with spectrum management rules agreed with the Civil Aviation Authority”. During September the Association of Professional Wireless Production Technologies raised concerns over the allocation of 960-1164. Questions are: if there was an air traffic accident caused by interference, what would be the liability of any PMSE operators involved; will PMSE users receive compensation or support for having to re-equip to operate in the ‘new’ band; and who would pay if PMSE operators were penalised by clients for poor quality audio? The latest organisation to join the argument is the DTG (Digital Television Group), which formed a PMSE Group earlier this year. This is supported by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Ofcom with the aim of delivering “timely enhancements both to PMSE audio equipment available in the
The initial DTG PMSE meeting in July was boycotted by some, including BEIRG spokesperson Alan March market and to the operational arrangements that enable its use to be maintained while safeguarding spectrum users”. The DTG held an inaugural meeting of the PMSE Group in July, inviting wireless equipment users and manufacturers as well as its own members. A number of leading figures in the PMSE/ spectrum debate did not attend. These included Alan March, senior manager for spectrum affairs at Sennheiser and a key spokesman with British developing new equipment but the real problems could Entertainment Radio Industry Group, who objected be in the mid to long term.” because the DTG was asking non-members to pay Tuomo George-Tolonen, manager of the Pro Audio £3,500 to join the organisation. Group at Shure Distribution, adds that not all the Air Alex Buchan, head of Wireless Technologies at the Band would be available as the requirements of the DTG, acknowledged that the DTG had mainly been existing user need to be protected. But he says the lower involved in the development of DTT rather than PMSE portion has “some fairly usable spectrum available”. To but explains its role now is as an “UK collaboration address this Shure has produced prototype equipment centre for digital media innovation”. He adds: “Many of that is being tested at various locations in the UK. our members, such as Sony, are involved in broadcast “So far these have proven to be positive from an PMSE. There isn’t an existing forum for people to share operational standpoint,” George-Tolonen says. “The their experiences of the 700MHz situation, which is why concerns that remain and need to be answered are if we wanted to set this up and involve non-members further DME transponders are to be introduced into this who may be worried by what is happening. We offered band over the coming years it would noticeably reduce a heavily discounted rate but that was still too much for the available spectrum for PMSE, which would be a smaller organisations.” concern for the longevity of the band. Secondly, 960A full DTG PMSE meeting was held in September, 1164MHz is currently a UK solution only, which would with contributions from APWPT, Ofcom and the BBC. severely impact the appetite manufacturers have for Mark Waddell, a lead BBC R&D engineer, was elected producing equipment.” chair of the PMSE Group. As George-Tolonen observes, it is too soon to say how A major concern voiced by the DTG and other viable the Air Band will be for PMSE. If it is successful interested parties is the loss of spectrum for PMSE and that could lead to clearing frequencies below 694MHz, possible inference in the Air Band. “We’re going to lose which might deliver the “killer blow” to PMSE. n 96MHz and 960-1164 is not full mitigation for the loss of www.beirg.co.uk the 700MHz band,” says Alan March. “Manufacturers are dtg.org.uk
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TOGETHER IN ONE DEVICE
RIEDEL widens its SMARTPANEL app portfolio with the new MEDIORNET CONTROL app. Switch video, audio or combine in macrosâ€¦ all while using your intercom.
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Neil Dodd at FOH in the O2 Brixton Academy
DiGiCo fathers clever control for Daughter SD11 and SD10 at FOH and monitors respectively are the perfect choice for the big-sounding indie darlings
ormed in 2010, London-based indie folk band Daughter released their second album Not to Disappear on 4AD in January this year. The trio, whose line-up of a Swiss guitarist and French drummer is complemented by the dreamy vocals of UK native Elena Tonra, have just completed the UK and European leg of their supporting tour (with Adlib on equipment supply duties), before heading out to the US. Two DiGiCo consoles – an SD11 at FOH and an SD10 at monitors – are being deployed for the shows and there is some clever stuff going on… Production manager and FOH engineer Neil Dodd has been working with the band pretty much since their formation, but only moved to using DiGiCo consoles around 18 months ago. “I was offered the use of an SD7 at FOH when Daughter were as supporting Ben Howard and I haven’t looked back since. That comes down to the fact that whatever the question is, there is always a yes answer – no matter what you want the console to do, you can find a way,” he says. “I used an SD7 for that whole run, moving to an SD9 for some small shows, then to an SD10 for the headline runs. I have now downsized to an SD11 and it’s working out great.” A requirement to save on trailer space and weight was the reason for the shift. “Although we were trucking in the UK and Europe, I wanted consistency when we returned to the States for a
five-week trailer tour at the end of the year,” he explains. “The Stealth Core 2 upgrade came at a perfect time, giving me an incredible amount of processing in a 12-fader format. This was ideal, as the band added an extra fourpiece brass and percussion ensemble, which meant a total of 16 extra channels were added for the UK tour, so Stealth Core 2 allowed me to up the channel processing count, but without having to move to a larger console.” Dodd’s SD11 currently has 52 inputs, eight FX, four stereo groups and four mono outputs. He uses a Waves Extreme server for most of his dynamics and effects; the on-board dynamic EQs are engaged for a few select things, allowing him to use 32 separate racks of FX dynamics, EQ and so on. “I’m using a DiGiGrid MGB for record and virtual sound check via MADI, plus I’m using a small dual footswitch connected via GPIO as a next scene switch, since the master screen and next snapshot recall are in such close proximity.” At the monitor position, Jamie Hickey is using an SD10, which he says is the perfect choice. “I’ve been working with the band since 2013 and have been using DiGiCo consoles for the past three or four years. Since I started using them, I haven’t specc’d anything else. The power and flexibility of the SD10, combined with the fact that it also sounds ridiculously good, means I never thought about using anything else for this tour. The console’s integration with Waves is a
massive benefit for me, giving me access to a vast array of extra FX and processing... “Using Waves alongside the SD10 allows me to really sculpt the sound in a way that the band are used to in the studio. They use certain plugins whilst recording/ mixing, so being able to pull up an SSL buss comp or H-Delay on request really helps to create a soundscape they can enjoy. It’s no longer just about ‘more me in the monitors’, we’ve taken it to a whole different level!” Hickey also has 52 input channels from stage, 16 wedge splits, 10 stereo FX returns, plus 12 channels of comms/talkback stuff. For outputs, he has four stereo mixes for the band, three stereo mixes for the techs and tour manager, and a stereo Matrix as a spare. “One of my favourite things about DiGiCo is that you can truly personalise a show file,” the monitor engineer continues. “I’ve programmed some quite complex macros, giving me direct talkback to each band member. Each macro auto-cancels the previous one, so I know that I’m always talking only to the person I want to. Each member of the band and crew also have a talkback, so we can all communicate easily, or just have a laugh!” As with FOH, the additional band members dictated an extra 16 inputs and eight outputs at monitors. “To facilitate this easily, we just added an SD Mini Rack into the Optocore loop,” says Hickey. “The Mini Rack was located on stage, under the ensemble’s riser, to enable easy patching of inputs and hard wired IEMs. We also added a second SD11i at FOH for the support band. This was also in the Optocore loop, meaning it could pick up the inputs from stage.” What of support from DiGiGo? Says Hickey. “The support from DiGiCo is always excellent and no matter where you are in the world, there’s always someone at the end of the phone to bail you out. In fact, a while ago James Gordon [CEO of the Audiotonix Group] even answered a Facebook post about unlocking presets! “For me, having the band turn around and say ‘It sounds awesome’ means I’m doing something right. If the band are happy, management are happy and the knock-on effect means we all have a great tour.” n www.digico.biz Jamie Hickey at the monitor position
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M-5000 & M-5000C LIVE MIXING CONSOLES
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P38 DECEMBER 2016
Live The Cure returned to Madison Square Gardens after 29 years
From The Hanging Garden to Madison Square Garden
Clive Young reports on UK pop-goth legends The Cure as they play Manhattan
he Cure first played Madison Square Garden in 1987, and 29 years later, the stalwart pop-goth band returned once again to the fabled venue to play the last indoor shows of its 2016 North American tour. The 26-date run took the production through a variety of venues, from arenas in Dallas and Chicago, to amphitheatres in Miami and Denver, to theatres in Kansas City and Las Vegas – and the journey isn’t over yet, as now the European leg is currently underway, running through December. Working with the group every step of the way, much as it has since 1979, is UK audio provider Britannia Row, which fielded a full audio system for North America rather than pick up a stateside PA. FOH engineer Paul Corkett, who’s respectively engineered and co-produced two Cure albums with bandleader Robert Smith, explains: “Robert puts a lot of time and attention into rehearsals, listens to everything and he’s very hands-on and articulate about what he wants, so I think he wanted to carry one consistent rig with him.” And what Smith wants coming out of that rig, it turns out, is an open-sounding show built around the dynamics of the carefully plotted arrangements. In many ways, “the band mixes themselves,” concedes monitor engineer Rob Elliot.
As a result, the Avid Venue Profile console at the FOH position wastes little horsepower on processing. “I have some scenes that recall some delay times, but otherwise, the board is pretty live,” says Corkett. “Just a vocal delay and a tiny bit of parallel compression on the kit; that’s it. All the dynamics come off the stage. When I first started, I was squashing stuff a bit; Robert listened afterwards and said, ‘We’re playing hard here and it’s not opening up.’ So it went – no gates.” Corkett has roughly 80 inputs coming into his desk between the five-piece band, various audience mics to flesh out archival efforts and more. The tour carries two Avid Pro Tools rigs – a main and back-up – that recording tech Colin Burrell uses to preserve every show. “There are a lot of pre and post signals taken,” says Corkett. “It’s to be mixed down the line, so we’re providing options where you can reamp something, but once again, Robert does all that himself – he’s pretty good with a Pro Tools system.” Capturing everything on stage are a slew of different microphones, starting with Smith’s new vocal mic for this tour, a DPA D:facto II. “Paul started using it in rehearsals, and I thought it was going to be a nightmare for monitors because it’s a really loud stage for a condenser mic,” recall Elliot. “I put it on, set the gain
levels the same as for a 58 and basically it’s great. Sounds very similar, the rejection is good and I’ve managed to get the gain before feedback higher than the 58.” That’s necessary as Smith’s mic position is right in front of the drum riser. “There’s a lot of cymbal information that could go straight down that mic and we found this one helped,” says Corkett. “It’s still there, but it has a smoother top end – and Robert seems to like it. If he felt uncomfortable, he would’ve said straight away.” Because the stage is loud, there’s as few mics on it as possible. Drummer Jason Cooper’s kit is captured with a Shure Beta91A and Beta52A in and outside the kick, respectively; Shure SM57s and Neumann KMS105s on the snare tops and bottoms; Shure KSM137s on the high-hats; AKG C414s on overheads; and Sennheiser e604s on toms. Otherwise, the rest of the instruments skip the microphones. The volume onstage is due to the 10 d&b audiotechnik M2 monitor wedges present, with four pairs across the front and single wedges behind Smith and Gallup. “Robert’s wedge behind him has the full band mix in it, and it’s loud. And it’s getting louder as the tour progresses,” says Elliot, who mixes on a DiGiCo SD5 desk.
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The Little Big One With the original Uniline, APG revolutionised the industry with true modularity and the ultimate benefits of scalability. Now, APG’s Uniline Compact delivers those same benefits in an ultra-compact format. From intimate venues to mid-sized shows, APG’s Uniline Compact is the one system that will cover it all without any compromise on sonic performance.
The Cure in 2016
Keeping The Cure’s sound alive and well at Madison Square Garden in New York City were (L-R): Laurie Fradley, crew chief; Luke Chadwick, monitor/stage tech; Adam Smith, system engineer; Colin Burrell, recording engineer; Paul Corkett, FOH engineer; and Rob Elliot, monitor engineer.
The audience, too, gets its fair share of sound – in this case, an L-Acoustics PA overseen by system engineer Adam Smith: “Our touring inventory consists of a total of 48 K1 elements and 28 K2 elements, generally configured with a main hang consisting of 14 K2 and the side hangs with 10 K1 and eight K2. They’re for largeformat applications, but it also gives us the flexibility venue-to-venue so we can change configuration. We have 24 additional Kara hangs for around the back, beyond the 180 line, as needed, as well as 24 K1-SBs flown subs, which are flown cardioid, and then a series of SB28s on the ground, with Kiva, Kara and Arcs IIs around as fills.” While the concerts are not quiet, they aren’t a start-to-finish aural onslaught either. “I figure we’re running 98 to 102dB, but it’s a three-hour set,” says Corkett, “and when its seated, you can’t run it that hot all the time and go 100-plus. It’ll take you out – but the diehard fans go for it upfront; binge on the bass bins!” Corkett prefers mixing the band’s earliest songs (“They were written for a three-piece, so they’re a joy to mix because you can have space”), but no matter the song, he has one singular goal, handed down by Smith: “His guide to me was make it sound exciting. He listens to everything, so I certainly know if I’ve gone wrong.” But if the bandleader expects the best from his crew, Smith is just as demanding of himself and the band, changing the 30-40 song setlist nightly as he draws from a pool of 80-plus songs worked up for the tour. Corkett provided insight into that epic work ethic, explaining, “I think he experienced seeing an artist once only play for 40 minutes when he was 18 and he’d saved up a load of money to see him at Earl’s Court. He felt really short-changed, so he swore he’d never do that as an artist – and he hasn’t. He’s so focused on it; he really wants to give the audience a whole experience.” n britanniarow.com dpamics.com
UNILINE COMPACT SYSTEM UC206W - UC206N - UC115B
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P40 DECEMBER 2016
Harry Potter and the Accursed Chimes Gareth Fry has had a magical task over the last 18 months: preparing the sound design for the West End debut of JK Rowling’s boy (now man) wizard and his pals (and his kids). But there was one sound Fry wasn’t prepared to use. Dave Robinson spells it what it is
Which way to Hogwarts? Credit: Manuel Harlan
ickets for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have become as rare as unicorn droppings. The play opened in June 2016 at the Palace Theatre in London and will no doubt run for years, as it gives its massive fanbase a (final?) fix of all things Hermione and Hogwarts. Gareth Fry was brought onboard to design the sound for the play. Fry has worked with director (and co-author) John Tiffany since 2006. “It means you have a shared vocabulary for talking about things, shared reference points, and an understanding of each other’s tastes for things,” says Fry. (Under the strict guidelines administered by the producers of the play, Fry isn’t allowed to talk about specific brands or equipment used in the production itself.
You’ll just have to use your imagination…) No spoilers of course, Gareth – but can you give us a brief synopsis of the plot? Gareth Fry: The play carries on from where the last book [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows] left off: from the last chapter of that story, we jump forward 19 years, and find Harry, Hermione and Ron all grown up with children of their own. Young Albus Severus Potter and his pals are being sent off to Hogwarts, as did their parents before. So the first scene is from that point onwards, exploring these characters and their situation. Harry is an overworked Ministry of Magic official, for instance.
The show explores what it’s like for the parents living in the shadow of what has happened in the past, and what it’s like for the children living in the shadow of their parents… Were you a Harry Potter fan to begin with? I’d read the books and watched the films, but I’ve since met a lot of people who are much more fans than I am! I really loved the books, so it was a real privilege to get to read the script and know what happened next before anyone else did! Then we started looking at how we could tell the story. Obviously, there’s a lot of magic in Cursed Child. That’s one of the fun parts: how do you make that magic
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real for the audience? As a sound designer, if I work on, say, a play set in 19th Century London, I’d start with various recordings of horses and carriages and so on. But for this, because virtually everything is magical, we’ve had to create the sounds from scratch. You can type “horse and carriage” into a sound effects database and get lots of results, but if you type the name of a spell into it you get nothing! Myself and associate Pete Malkin set ourselves two rules to create the spell sounds: no wind chimes and no ‘whooshes’. We ended up breaking that last rule a few times but it was a good limitation to set when starting out, so everything wasn’t just a ‘whoosh’. But there are no wind chimes! It’s useful to set yourself rules, especially ones to avoid the most obvious route – it makes you work harder and find more interesting ways of doing things. Then there are magical creatures to bring to life, and that most everything has a magical quality of one kind or another to it. It is as important as making the magic seem real, as it is to create that sense of magic in how the story is told. I think this is why this play works so well as a theatre piece: theatre is a great form for conjuring the fantastical without having to render it into naturalistic form. That the magic is all real, is all done live in front of you, just adds to the evocation of the world. How do you build the sounds for the production? I do everything in Logic and Ableton Live. For Cursed Child, I was in the rehearsal room full-time from day one, and all through the technical rehearsal process and preview period. I made everything either in the rehearsal or the theatre. It proves much more effective to be making it ‘in situ’ rather than in isolation in a studio. Meaning, in the studio you can lose sight of the original effect you were after? Exactly. If you take it away to work on you can get carried away with what sounds cool, rather than with what sounds right. But if you construct it there [in the theatre], you can check it relates to the actor’s performance; to the gesture they are making, or the timing of it. Equally as importantly is that it should sound like it is coming from the correct place. I occasionally see theatre shows where the sound effects come out of the proscenium speakers, a sound that is supposed to relate to something happening onstage, whether that’s a phone ringing or a spell being cast. Sometimes that’s OK, it works for a particular moment, but often you want the sound to seem to originate from its supposed source. That’s something I spend a lot of time working on. Equally for a lot of shows the actors reinforced or amplified voice originates from a central speaker above the proscenium, which makes it difficult to work out which actor is speaking – as all their voices seem to come from that one place. Many designers now are imaging the reinforced voice to the position of
of the equipment I wanted to use finding out how to get the best from it. They were very supportive, and of course we were very well supported by hire company Autograph too. We did do a fair bit of tinkering once we got into the theatre of course, adding things here and there, cutting others, moving things around – refining things rather than changing them. But actually the technical and preview process on this has been one of the smoothest I’ve worked on.
IT’S USEFUL TO SET YOURSELF RULES, ESPECIALLY ONES TO AVOID THE MOST OBVIOUS ROUTE – IT MAKES YOU WORK HARDER AND FIND MORE INTERESTING WAYS OF DOING THINGS
the performer on the stage. Sometimes that is done manually by programming the performers moves around the stage into the mixing desk – which is very time consuming, as during the tech and previews the choreography and blocking are often changing a lot. But increasingly we are seeing the use of performer tracking systems where the performers wear special tags and a computer tracks their position onstage and routes their microphone accordingly. While you were going through previews, did you have to change a lot of what you’d created? No. The whole system just slotted in to place very easily, and that’s partly because we spent time planning it, but also because we spent time with the manufacturers
(L-R) Poppy Miller (Ginny Potter) and Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) in the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Credit: Manuel Harlan
Was there anything ‘out of the ordinary’ in the set-up? A few of the radio mics had to be mounted in unusual places in unusual costumes, I think that’s fair to say [laughs]. Also, we have two sound operators: even the biggest West End musicals don’t normally need that, and we’re a play not a musical. But this is really complex, so we have Chris Reid mixing the mics, and vocal effects, and Callum Donaldson, [triggering] the sound effects and music. There are a lot of sound effects, and a lot of Imogen Heap’s music that moves between underscoring and the foreground. She has a great love of sounds and timbres and electronics – did you work together with her? Yes, very much: Imogen and I started work about 18 months ago, I went to visit her in her Essex studio a couple of times, and she was at a lot of the workshops and rehearsals. We were both using Ableton Live a lot so that became a useful way to throw various sounds back and forth, and to eventually play back the music in the show. Martin Lowe worked as musical supervisor on it too, and between all of us we’ve done a lot to integrate the sounds and the music so they feel all part of the same world. Sometimes that was about embedding sounds into the music, and sometimes about matching the rhythm of an effect to the musical rhythm. We were all kept very busy on it! Phij Adams worked on the Ableton files for the production. Go on: tell us about your favourite bit of the show… Some of the smaller scenes between two of the fathers and between the sons, they talk about what it’s like in the parent-child relationship, those are my favourite parts: the writing is so strong and has such heart to it, it brings me to tears every time… And that is what was always the strongest about the books too – not the magic, but the relationships between those characters. And that’s why people are coming to see it. It’s been an amazing show to be part of, because our audiences come along completely vested in those characters, knowing them inside out. It’s rare for a theatre audience – or any type of audience for that matter – to have such an emotional attachment to what they are watching, and that makes the show far more electric to watch than any show I’ve worked on. n www.harrypottertheplay.com
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God save our new Queen Elisabeth! The Royal Flemish Philharmonic practice in the space, ahead of the official opening. Credit: Jesse Willems
Belgium-based AV specialist Face was assigned the essential equipment installation in the rebuilt Queen Elisabeth Hall and Congress Centre in Antwerp. It’s a highly prestigious project in terms of acoustics, and required top class engineering and design, notes Marc Maes
he transformation of the Queen Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp is nearly complete. In 2009, plans were put in place to create a modern multifunctional concert venue and a spacious congress in the facility – the Flanders Meeting & Convention Centre Antwerp – and the building is due to open at press time for this edition of PSNEurope. The original building, owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp (KMDA), dates from 1890; it was demolished after WWII and rebuilt in 1960. “The initial  idea was to renovate the building, but we decided to start from scratch,” explains Roel Wouters, senior project manager with KMDA. “Today we’re looking at 25,000sq m of new building holding four elements: the 2,020-seater Queen Elisabeth Hall venue; the accommodation for the Royal Flemish Philharmonic orchestra; the expansion of the congress centre and the integration of the new building in the ‘Historical Wing’. Linking all this together is the spacious daylight Atrium hall, also the main access for the building.” “The multi-functionality of the Queen Elisabeth hall is two-fold : concerts and congresses but also classical music combined with theatre and dance and modern shows and pop-rock concerts,” Wouters continues.
“The hall is designed for fast change-over times: say, a rehearsal of the Philharmonic in the daytime, then a pop concert in the evening. All possible thanks to the new technology in place.” The complete re-building of the ‘QEH’ represents a budget of some 85 million euros. A joint venture team consisting of Ian Simpson Architects, acoustic consultants Kirkegaard Associates, Bureau
IT’S PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST COMPLEX INFRASTRUCTURES THAT WE HAVE IN BELGIUM. MORE THAN 1,000 WORKING DAYS AND MORE THAN 1,500 DRAWINGS
Bouwtechniek architects and theatre consultants Charcoalblue won the international architectural competition for the redesign of the venue. “The QEH venue has a classic shoebox design,” explains Paul Franklin of Charcoalblue, the project’s
head of technical design. “It was the idea of Kirkegaard to adjust the shape of the building, achieving optimal acoustic qualities of the room – completely driven by the acoustics.” In 2013 Face, through the main technical contractor Putman, was assigned to install the audiovisual system, lighting and cabling for the complete building. “The choice of the speaker system was crucial. The new venue is designed to become Europe’s most ‘silent’ concert hall, so self-powered active speakers, lighting or switches with fans were no option in the venue and the direct surrounding rooms,” says Steven Kemland, manager of Face’s project division. Kemland opted for a FOH combination of RenkusHeinz VARIAi flown array clusters containing 11 VAX101 front speakers and three flown VAX15S subs on either side of the stage. When not in use, a smart system of pulley blocks above the stage lifts the arrays and hides them in the acoustic ceiling elements. The L and R arrays further comprise two extra VAX101 speakers for the movable choir stall, and three conventional RHX81 speakers serving the side balconies of the hall, ensuring 270° coverage for each cluster. With the stage being tailor made for the Philharmonic and divided in three moving stage elements, Face
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had to install 26 customised versions of the RH CFX41 stairstep speakers in the three rows. A mobile ground stack with two additional DRS218” subs, two extra VAX101 array modules serving as infill, plus three RHX101 delay speakers on the upper balconies complete the venue lay out. “Throughout the whole process, engineers of Renkus-Heinz have been thinking along,” adds Kemland. “They drew up the original EASEdesign and did the first simulations for the placement of the speakers.” The wedges consist of a mix of Martin Audio LE1200 and DD6 wide angle enclosures. The main speaker and monitor sets are powered by three X8 and three X4 new Powersoft X-series amplifiers, while a Powersoft Ottocanali amplifier, featuring a switching device designed by Face, serves the front fill speakers – all amplifiers have Dante networking on board. Processed by the Powersoft Armonia software, with internal DSP and Matrix on board, this amplifier platform allowed the integration of a very complex set-up, to be operated with a very user-friendly interface. In addition to the FOH system, Face installed a discreet speech system consisting of two RenkusHeinz ICONYX IC24 on either side of the hall and 2 IC8 enclosures for the balconies, to be used with the FOH’s front-fill and delay speakers. “I was very keen that it was a single brand doing everything in the main venue, because I wanted that things like the front fills, being used for both the FOH and speech system, had a voicing to be suitable for both,” comments Ian Stickland, sound designer with Charcoalblue. The venue is also equipped with a hearing loop system, split in five independent zones, each powered by an Ampetronic D14-2 Class D amplifier with Dante cards. “The system is IEC-approved and guarantees a uniform audio level and frequency spectrum on all the seats,” explains Kemland. “We had Ampetronic engineers over who took on the DSP fine-tuning of the system and adjusted the levels and controls. To avoid possible damage in the venue’s building process, we put all cables 30cm below floor level.” Face also installed Martin Audio CDD5 series passive speakers for the public address system in the artist areas and corridors, the rehearsal rooms and backstage dressing rooms. “The twelve scalable congress rooms are equipped with Martin Audio CDD8 compact twoway passive loudspeaker and C6.8 T ceiling speakers,” Kemland adds. A Dante-network controls and links up the whole audio configuration for both the main system and the external zones via a MediaMatrix NION platform. “The fact that all the components of all different brands we used, have Dante on board allows full and swift control over the system,” says Kemland. Face installed an impressive length of audio and lighting cable, adding up to over 100kms in the main venue alone. “We used all low smoke halogen-free
Queen Elisabeth Hall overall view (artist’s impression)
opticalCON fibre optic connection system
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cable, manufactured and supplied by Van Damme (VDC), making this the first venue in Belgium using this kind of cabling: the disadvantage being that the cable is more rigid, making it more difficult to install in the 180 connection boxes – with a specific design for each of them – in the building. The whole network consists of Cat-6 ethernet cabling for the audio network, cue lights, DMX and intercom, making the whole installation futureproof – each element in the configuration has its specific cable colour,” explains Kemland. “It was a challenge, pleasure and honour for myself, our project manager Stijn Vermeiren – on site for more than six months – and our entire project team, to arrange this installation,” concludes Kemland. “It’s probably one of the most complex infrastructures that we have in Belgium. More than 1,000 working days and more than 1,500 drawings and plans made, from the concept to the result that we can see today. Yes, we are tired, but more than that, we are proud!” The new Queen Elisabeth Hall opened its doors during the Nov 25-27th weekend – the congress centre hosts the first events in the spring of 2017. n face.be fmcca.com www.elisabethcenter.be
Flanders Meeting & Convention Centre cross section picture (artists’s impression), with Martin Audio CDD5 speaker and connection box in the dressing room
Steven Kemland: “We used low smoke halogen-free cable and installed 180 connection boxes”
The Renkus-Heinz main speaker clusters
Audio showcontrol Dynamic delay-matrix Moving 3D surround TimeLine and PanSpace
Spatial wizardry 3D performer tracking for real-time vocal localisation
outboard.co.uk www.psneurope.com/installation 42-44 Installation QEH FIN.indd 3
Steerable sound isn’t just about being heard, it’s about being understood.
ICONYX Gen5 steerable loudspeakers deliver clarity to every seat. It didn’t matter how far back their seats were. Or how cavernous the hall was. All they heard – all they felt – was sound that was warm, intelligible and personal. With clear, precisely-controlled sound from Iconyx Gen5 steerable loudspeakers, their seats were the best in the house. To learn more or for a demo, visit www.renkus-heinz.com.
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AMS1000 module. Credit: J.Wulff
Anaview with an amp wire The OEM power module market has just been re-charged, reports Phil Ward
hat do Drawmer, Parasound and Amphion have in common? No, they’re not unassembled Marvel Avengers. They are in fact the UK signal processing legend, a Californian amplifier builder and a Finnish studio monitor specialist, and they share OEM amplifier modules supplied by ETAL. These modules are now part of the product range known as Anaview – following the corporate assimilation of the latter by the former. The design company Anaview was founded in Sweden in 2003, making custom Class D amplifier and power supply modules for the wider audio industry. In particular, two circuit solutions drew
Dan Phelan, president, ETAL Group
attention: Adaptive Pole Control (APC) and Adaptive Modulation Servo (AMS), now the basis of the three product series of most interest to pro audio manufacturers around the world. The ETAL Group is a bigger Swedish organisation with key sales satellites in the UK, Boston MA and Asia and manufacturing facilities in China, Sri Lanka and Estonia. An even larger Swedish technical conglomerate, called the KAMIC Group, maintains ETAL as its magnetics specialist. As one of several acquisitions, Anaview is part of ETAL Group president Dan Phelan’s mission to integrate new technology sectors and generally
improve ETAL’s financial footing. “Pro audio was an opportunity we took when it became possible to acquire Anaview from Abletech Electronics,” he explains, “a move that fitted with our strategy towards this type of business and this type of addedvalue product. It was also in a complementary area, as we’re looking for new opportunities outside our traditional telecom and industrial markets. Pro audio amplifiers use a lot of the components for which we have the manufacturing capability.” Based in Stockholm, Stefan Ruuth is now ETAL
Richard Schram, president and founder of Parasound, with ZoneMaster using ETAL Anaview ALC-180 Class D Amplifier
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“After months of planning, testing and finding the perfect sound solution for a venue, for me it’s all about that moment when a project truly comes to life.”
THE SOUNDMAKERS > HK Audio is the German pro audio brand offering the easiest way to the best sound. From portable to professional live sound to install solutions for over 30 years, we build PA systems for those who are fascinated by the energy of sound. Giving them a stage. Giving them a home. www.hkaudio.com
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Installation have the performance of hi-fi that, previously, was only associated with Class A/B.” The product range is divided into three series: ALA; ALC; and AMS. While ALA is a small module without on on-board power supply, optimised for mobile devices or what Ruuth calls “lifestyle equipment”, ALC and AMS are aimed at MI and pro audio. ALC, holding an original patent, comes in five different power levels from 100W to 1,000W; while AMS is the premium offer. “ALC can typically be found in backline, subwoofers, PA speakers and monoblocks,” explains Ruuth, “and AMS is for applications with tougher demands like studio monitors. Actually they share typical applications; it just depends on the level of sound performance you require.” The closest ETAL will get to finished amplifiers, for the foreseeable future, are the enclosed ‘evaluation’ blocks for compatibility testing by, for example, potential loudspeaker customers – a straightforward input and output signal – so ‘Anaview’ will not be appearing in a rack near you any time soon. The
Drawmer CPA-50 amplifier incorporating Anaview Class D modules
Group sales manager. “We deliver the heart of the amplifier and, of course, let our customers design all the infrastructure and functionalities around that,” he states. “What we do is amplify a signal from one level to another, with minimum distortion – the rest is up to you.” Ruuth was an ETAL R&D engineer for many years, designing inductive components many of which are still made today. The sales role now finds him liaising with leading pro audio manufacturers, among many others across entertainment technology and telecoms, and it’s clear that whatever they do with the modules they do it from a starting point called Class D. What does this topology mean to ETAL? “When Class D first appeared it was far from the quality of Class A/B,” says Ruuth, “but eventually a few companies – and we are one of them – discovered how to keep that sound quality while getting all the benefits of Class D design. The benefit for the customer is that, with the use of Class D, the efficiency is so much higher: with Class A/B, 50 per cent or more of the power you put in was just wasted into heat, which you have to deal with in one way or another; with Class D, around 95 per cent of the energy you put in can be converted into sound. “That means the models can be made much smaller, and less has to be done do tackle heat – otherwise you need more cooling fans or heat sinks in your design, because eventually heat will destroy your components. Today you can buy Class D and still
modules are very user friendly anyway, Ruuth says. “First of all they’re all UL and CE certified, so time to market is very quick for our customers – no further qualification is needed. Upon request, the right cable-set is supplied, and an experienced engineer can be up and running with an application in minutes. It’s not the widest portfolio, but each series has a good range of different power outputs, plus the ALC and AMS series complement each other well. There’s something for everyone.” n www.anaview.com
TODAY, YOU CAN BUY CLASS D AND STILL HAVE THE PERFORMANCE OF HI-FI THAT, PREVIOUSLY, WAS ONLY ASSOCIATED WITH CLASS A/B
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P50 DECEMBER 2016
The show must go on Theatre has transformed over the last 20 years with dazzling productions requiring the sound to match. Sarah Sharples looks into the role audio is playing on the stage
The Starlight Express opened at Bochum’s Stadionring featuring for the first time MLA Compact
he floating stage of the Seebühne juts into the waters of Austria’s Lake Constance. The foundations of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, on the southwest slope of the Acropolis Hill, Athens, was built in 161AD. The angular Oslo Opera House emerges from the Oslofjord like a mighty iceberg. And in Cornwall, the Minack sits atop the cliffs, brooding over the Atlantic waves. Yes, there are certainly some spectacular theatres out there. Theatre productions have also transformed into an audio and visual extravaganza over the last two decades and crowds are lapping it up. A National Theatre report in 2014 found almost twice
as many people visited the theatre every year in London – 22 million – as those who attended England’s Premier League football. Meanwhile, the Society of London Theatre found gross sales of £633 million in 2015 for West End theatre shows, up 1.6 per cent on the previous year. It is harder to find overall figures for theatre attendance in Europe, but considering the range of shows on offer, it also appears to be a popular pastime. With high audience expectations, the rise of outdoor theatre, heritage considerations and touring performances, audio has never been more important on the stage.
Changes and emerging trends Ian Thomas, Allen & Heath’s install sector specialist, has spent the best part of a decade installing technical systems in auditoriums. He says one of the main emerging trends has been the uptake of digital technology and the need for installers to have in-house networking experience. He comments: “In a bid to future-proof venues for as long as possible the requirements for structured cabling, whether that be copper and/or fibre has increased dramatically. The majority of technical theatre equipment is now networked, whether that be audio, lighting, video and communication, with each of these systems requiring an increasing amount of bandwidth.”
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James Kennedy, operations manager for Peavey Commercial Audio, which recently installed audio in the break-out zones at the Birmingham Hippodrome, agrees that networked audio is a major trend. “New protocols and standards, like Dante and RAVENNA are key for distributing audio cleanly over five connections, rather than lots of analogue lines. It’s better to make theatre cable-free from an architectural point of view, and from an installation time point of view it’s more economical.” Being able to connect into a system through a tablet or smartphone is also key, he adds. “From a wireless point of view, it’s important these days as people want the ability to walk around and tweak systems, rather than being in one central place.” For Dave Haydon, from UK-based company Out Board, vocal localisation in real-time, is becoming a strong trend theatre both in London and Europe. Haydon says the TiMax SoundHub delay-matrix, either Cue-driven or with TiMax Tracker performer tracking to control is being used in shows such as Hamburg’s Disney’s Aladdin production, which recently won a European LEA award for Best Show. “The London Aladdin show which opened at the Prince Of Wales Theatre in June 2016, uses the same TiMax “source-oriented reinforcement” vocal localisation with SoundHub and Tracker, and also uses the TiMax object-based dynamic 3D spatialisation for immersive panning of genie reveal sound effects and floating surround deep spooky voice effects for the Cave of Wonders scene,” he says. Producers Stage Entertainment are also currently using vocal localisation for the European tours of Ich War Noch Niemals in New York and Polanski’s Tanz der Vampirs, which will open in Moscow, says Haydon. James King, director of marketing at Martin Audio, has seen theatre transformed over the last 20 years especially for musicals, where he says the audience expectation of a visual and audio feast has continued to rise with each new extravaganza. “Propelled by advances in technology, the bar has never been higher and the combination of high ticket prices and social media has meant that audiences are equally quick to denounce as they are to stand in ovation,” he explains. “It’s also worth mentioning that it wasn’t until 2004 that sound design was recognised as a category in the Laurence Olivier awards and a generation of theatre practitioners have been busy leading sound design deeper into the realms of art.”
Theatre heads outdoors The increasing popularity of outdoor theatre not only presents challenges from a technical perspective, but also for its management, as it is treated much more like an event, rather than the traditional indoor theatre production, says Thomas. “Suddenly the very controlled environment of a theatre space is
72 stage performances at drama festival Audio engineer Rolf Dressler put Allen & Heath’s dLive to the test during the 58th annual Bad Gandersheim outdoor theatre festival in Germany over summer. His work included three musicals Comedian Harmonists, The Three Musketeers, Highway to Hellas, a children’s play called Emil from Loenneberga, as well as the play The Cherry Orchard. “Altogether I took care of 72 stage performances – five different musicals and plays – as well as three festival days and six different independent drama groups on top,” Dressler says. The setup comprised the S5000 and DM 64, plus one DX 32 with 2 x 8 analogue inputs at the FOH to integrate the wireless microphones. The play, The Three Musketeers, was particularly challenging as it contained two big scenes, in which one of the soloists was accompanied by a chorus and the director had asked for a directional orientation from the middle of the stage, says Dressler. He routed the chorus not only to ‘centre’ but also removed and so many external factors have to be taken into account,” he comments. A major influence is the weather, especially in countries where it can be unpredictable, adds
PROPELLED BY ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY, THE BAR HAS NEVER BEEN HIGHER AND THE COMBINATION OF HIGH TICKET PRICES AND SOCIAL MEDIA HAS MEANT THAT AUDIENCES ARE EQUALLY QUICK TO DENOUNCE AS THEY ARE TO STAND IN OVATION
Thomas. “Technical equipment requirements include being rated for outdoor use and should also be rugged and as light as possible to withstand the rigours of being rigged and de-rigged on a regular basis. Production techniques have to be adapted as natural light and background noise can distract the audience, making blackouts, scene changes and creative lighting more challenging,” he says. Autograph Sound’s Nick Lidster knows all about dealing with the external factors of outdoor theatre
to a stereo group, which he could then put out on L/R. “Over the duration of the song I wanted to create a broad and very churchlike sound. Thus, I could slowly pull up the group without any phasing problems. The result was that the chorus got ever broader and the desired effect could be achieved,” he says. Dressler adds: “One more nice thing to tell: The recording for when the audience entered the theatre and the background music for the plays, as well as smaller sound effects, could be played from the built-in USB.” as he has been the sound designer for fives years for the oldest permanent outdoor theatre in the UK, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. He is responsible for loudspeaker design and set up for all their shows, including a six-week run of a new production of Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS) earlier this year. “The Regents Park Open Air Theatre auditorium is very large, it is in a central London park, there is no natural acoustic in the seating bowl, it is surprisingly noisy during the summer evenings as it is on the Heathrow flight path, there is traffic noise, various local sports activities and The Hyde Park concerts to overcome,” he explains. “You literally can’t hear what is going on during a show if the sound system fails. My basic loudspeaker design is very large, and is based around two large drops of Martin W8LM.” But for JCS, Lidster rigged ten MLA Compact per side and six MLX subs in a reverse cardioid design, two stacks of three per side. “This meant we could get lots of energy firing into the audience, especially at the low end, to give us that typical early 70s rock gig sound,” he says. “There was also the noise leakage issue, with local residents and park users to consider, which is why I swapped out the LM for Martin MLA.” In terms of overall EQ, Lidster went for the rock preset, but softened it to give a more suitable, clearer sound. He continues: “We used the Hard Avoid setting to be just above the mix position, dropping off sharply just above the operators’ head. There was no
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Ian Thomas, Allen & Heath’s install sector specialist
Jesus Christ Superstar at Regents Park Open Air Theatre. Credit: David Jensen
bleed at the back of the stage either, as the level was extremely low. We programmed just a 3dB variation from front to back of the auditorium so that I had a massive and consistent sound everywhere; the show ran at around 95dB average.” Meanwhile, the TiMax is well established for largescale open-air theatrical productions such as the yearly lakeside Thunerseespiele, which has featured fully spatially-amplified productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Titanic and Aida, plus even Romeo & Juliet on skateboards and stunt-bikes in a massive halfpipe stage, says Haydon.
Heritage theatres Many theatres are over 100 years old, which means heritage comes into play for installations. Allen & Heath has helped with sound system upgrades at theatre venues such as Vienna’s Konzerthaus – opened in 1913, the Buxton Opera House in Derbyshire, UK, which began in 1903, and the The Cirkus Arena in Stockholm that was
originally established as a circus in the 19th Century. Thomas has encountered constraints due to some form of listing and says the ability to install a system with minimum disruption to the building, in terms of structural alteration and aesthetics, should always be a consideration. “Digital and networked systems are a key development in mitigating these issues as facility panels (and containment runs) can be limited to a couple of RJ45 or fibre connectors/cables, rather than the large and unsightly analogue versions of the past,” he says. “This also has the added advantage of future-proofing the building for longer and ultimately reducing costs in terms of cabling, man-power and future upgrades.” Earlier this year, both the King’s Theatre Glasgow, which was established in 1904, and the Bristol Hippodrome, which opened in 1912 – and has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building – had K-array KP102 systems installed. Stuart Graham, Ambassador Theatre Group’s head
‘Everything has to be possible anywhere’ In the Netherlands, The Atlas Theater, which has one large auditorium with two balconies and 822 seats and a black box theatre/event hall that holds 300 seated or 800 standing guests, recently had an audio upgrade. The project was led by consultant Steven Kemland from Theateradvies BV and implemented by Ampco-Flashlight Sales project manager Frans van Houten. Kemland’s motto was: ‘Everything has to be possible anywhere’. The install includes a single ethernetwork, which connects all audio systems across all venues and allows the engineers to route audio from any input to any output. In the large auditorium a d&b audiotechnik Y8 line array system has been installed in left-centre-right configuration for theatre plays.
d&b audiotechnik E-series in- en outfills support the line array system for a balanced and very clear sound for all seats. For the black box theatre, with its retractable seating system, a d&b audiotechnik T series line array system is supplied with flexible grid systems so that the clusters can be installed in different configurations to support the multitude of seating arrangements. The theatre has a DiGiCo SD-8 and a SD-9 console, together with D2 IO racks, which can be used separately or combined as needed. For communication between engineers and stage crew an extensive intercom system is created based on Clear-Com digital Eclipse HX Delta matrix frames, with 12 channels of Helixnet and six wireless Freespeak II Beltpacks.
of technical operations, which owns both theatres, was a driving force behind the audio upgrades, but said putting in a big line array system was not a good option considering heritage requirements. At a K-array system demo at Stage Electrics’ Bristol headquarters, Graham says he was blown away by the clarity at distance and the punch from such a little box. “Add to that the size of K-array cabinets and the fact that we’re in listed buildings with narrow prosceniums and not particularly great rigging positions, we needed something that could bolt to the wall and stay there, but leave the rigging points free for touring productions to bring in their own PA,” he comments. “In some of the old cantilever theaters with large balconies, some have restricted views, there is more and more automated equipment and more and more equipment in the air, so we don’t want to be restricting sight lines anymore by putting big speaker boxes up and that’s where we get the benefit from the K-array.”
Rental stock and touring theatre Autograph have deployed Martin Audio’s CDD-LIVE! in London’s West End production of The last 5 years at St James’ Theatre, while over at Hackney Empire, Sleeping Beauty will start this month. King comments that CDD-LIVE! is set to have a significant impact on live theatre events as it will mean fewer speakers for less hardware costs, as well as less set up time and intrusion on line of sight. For UK sound rental specialists dBS Solutions an investment in several Allen & Heath Qu Series mixers this year, was specifically to cater to a growing need for compact touring mixers. These were used for international touring productions of James And The Giant Peach and Red Riding Hood The Musical and key to the requirements of both productions was a ‘fly-able’ mixing solution of under 30kg. dBS provided a Qu-16 partnered with an iPad Mini and MacBook. Director of dBS Chris Bogg was commissioned to sound design the international tour of Roald Dahl’s James & the Giant Peach, which opened in the UK,
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P54 DECEMBER 2016
Technology feature Audience expectations
Skating through the Starlight
Hamburg’s Aladdin production recently won the European LEA award for Best Show
Bristol Hippodrome got its first sound system this year
Chris Bogg from dBS Solutions invested in several Allen & Heath Qu Series mixers this year
before jetting off to Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE. The show was a challenge –originally it was set out and budgeted as a play with some music – but then with newly commissioned music by Harry Sever, the production expanded into a full musical complete with live instruments on stage, comments Bogg. “The tour took in such a wide variety of venues from the very well equipped to places with the most basic of speaker systems. I knew we would have to
take everything we needed apart from a speaker system,” he adds. Bogg used the QU 16s USB audio and Midi, which allowed for playback directly into the console along with MIDI commands to change the desks many scenes throughout the show. “Although the desk is compact it’s full of features. I even made use of the onboard DCAs jumping cast members into and out of boys and girls chorus DCAs in the musical numbers.
When the updated production of Starlight Express opened at Bochum’s Stadionring in Germany, it featured for the first time the MLA Compact. Advertising itself as “the fastest musical in the universe” it fell to sound supervisor Riccardo van Krugten and system engineer/installation manager, Georg Hentschel to ensure the production had a single system to cope with the fast roller skating action. “We wanted a stereo set-up for the orchestra, and a separate system for vocals, positioned above the main performance area,” he says. “This required a PA solution that would reproduce music and vocals equally well.” Another issue was the need to reduce spill and crosstalk from the PA speakers into the fast moving 25 Microport headsets. Since the new production promised “to take audio engineering to the highest level”, van Krugten knew that audience expectation today is far greater than it was two decades ago. He was also mindful of past complaints concerning vocal intelligibility and clarity in parts of the auditorium. Nine manufacturers were invited for two shoot out sessions of (mono) arrays rigged side by side. To evaluate the competing systems, Riccardo prepared a file in ProLogic containing samples from the show (and other vocal recordings of different tonalities) – as well as music that everyone would recognise. “For the second half of the session we had the Starlight rhythm section and three cast members perform live from different positions on stage,” he said. “The MLA Compact never left any doubt it would handle reliably whatever kind of audio we threw at it.” martin-audio.com This worked well for the busy numbers and helped get the mix under control,” he explains. Rental company Orbital Sound also made investments this year with theatre in mind, including in Powersoft’s X Series amplifier technology. This saw the company graduate from driving the sound during pantomime season to full touring duty in provincial theatres around the UK on the hit musical, Chicago. Orbital’s new Powersoft X8 8-channel amplifiers provided the touring production with 32 channels of amplification in just 8U. The increasing importance of sound in the theatre is, in part, down to new and improved technologies as well as going hand in hand with the trend towards more immersive theatre, and cross-fertilisation between theatre, film and radio, Kings adds. Hopefully the audience is standing to applaud. n www.allen-heath.com www.k-array.com www.dbaudio.com peaveycommercialaudio.com
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Daniel Lamarre, CEO and president of Cirque du Soleil, live on-stage The Closing Keynote at ISE 2017
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P57 DECEMBER 2016
Hither and remember Familiar faces from 50 years of UK recording history gathered to celebrate Sir George Martin’s legacy
It was no surprise that the APRS’ Commemorative Lunch for the late Sir George Martin was a sell-out. Friends, collaborators and ex-colleagues lined up to pay tribute to the producer who died in March this year. Those who couldn’t make it to the Kensington Roof Gardens in November sent video messages. The Caribbean island of Montserrat was inextricably linked with Sir George’s life and work, so it was fitting that special guests at the lunch, hosted by Lady Martin (in the red
dress) and compered by broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, included Montserrat’s Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo and HM Governor of the island, Elizabeth Carriere. The event raised funds for The Monserrat Foundation, and the Young Person’s Concert Foundation, two of the charities supported for many years by Sir George and Lady Martin. Now then… which faces from the great days of the UK recording industry history can you spot among these pictures? (ALL photos: Judy Totton)
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P58 DECEMBER 2016
The 12 days of Christmas – James “We Three” King
ames King has been director of marketing at Martin Audio for nearly four years but is a relative newbie to the industry, having previously worked for Motorola and Dyson. He’s passionate about the role that marketing can bring to any company and when he’s not banging on about that, he tries his hand at screenplay writing. We’re not sure if he’s bringing gold, frankincense, or myrrh, but we wanted to know what’s on his Christmas list. Day One: A room full of sound engineers that can agree the sky is blue I do love this industry for its passionate views, it’s probably what sustains us all. But by the same token, I’ve yet to come across two sound engineers that can agree on almost anything. The precarious nature and abundant thick skin required to perform such a role clearly aligns them to their own clarity of thought, but can make for very interesting fly on the wall observations. I just think they need a hug and a lot more “thanks” for doing a great job. Day Two: That we stop being surprised by elections and referendum results; moreover, stop bitching about them months later Brexit. Yep, get over it. Trump. Well, of course he won. I learned early on in life that shit happens and its far better that after 10 seconds of shouting at the moon, you suck it up and start dealing with what has to come. You’re better for it; my Facebook feed will be less toxic for it too. Day Three: An auto-responder that says, “No, I’m not interested in a new stand builder” Yes, I’m sure your website is lovely if you like that sort of thing, and all those images that you’ve just filled my inbox with will showcase that you really are no different to any other stand builder, and yes I have no doubt you
can beat the cost of my current provider, but please stop contacting me! Every industry has them, but it appears that stand builders are perhaps my biggest cold caller and spammer. You have been warned! Day Four: Bring back queuing for gig tickets Showing my age, I know, but I do miss the fact that if you were prepared to get there at the crack of dawn (or midnight) and queue in the freezing cold, you could actually get front-row-centre tickets to see Bob Dylan (or your hero of choice). Nowadays, you have an online feeding frenzy that half the time you are losing out to some robot that is working for the secondary ticketing market and the whole things spirals so you pay over the odds to get a Row Z seat. It stings also that I entered the industry 10 years too late so now getting free passes is an art form in itself. Day Five: Lost icons of 2016 are allowed to return to earth for one more concert What a year?! Bowie, Lemmy, Prince, Cohen, Frey and more. Let’s be allowed to have them back for one more concert. Obviously MLA is the PA, and of course I get front-row-centre tickets. Day Six: Trump makes it compulsory to install CDD Who knows what this guy will do, but let’s put this on the list somewhere. Actually, every venue would benefit from CDD with its unique coverage pattern and stellar sound, so it could be a policy that would make him really popular. Day Seven: That more trade publication websites get digitally savvy This industry was slower into digital and social media, but based on a recent survey we conducted that has well and truly changed now.
Surprising then, that so many trade websites (and some pretty popular ones at that) look like some jumble sale that was thrown together after 17 pints. Equally, media owners need to get real on how they sell their online space and be much more alert on providing metrics (it is not the same as print!). Day Eight: That sound gets its day in the sun We don’t go home whistling the lights, and most of us have pretty fancy TVs at home, so when it’s called live music, why does the most important element to that so often get relegated to third place? Discuss amongst yourselves, I could fill pages on this but Dave’s telling me I already have too many words and [Snip! – Ed]. Day Nine: De Niro starts making good films again You want people to respect you in interviews? Start making good films again. Whatever your need for cash in the last 20 years doesn’t forgive the slew of rubbish that’s been served up. Get back with Scorsese, say hello again to Tarantino, and introduce yourself to Christopher Nolan. There are roles out there! Day Ten: Dave Martin turns up, alive How trippy would that be?! Day Eleven: I get a ‘more for less’ calculator I don’t think a year goes by that I’m not asked to deliver more for less. I either want to wake up and find it’s the 80s again or I get a special calculator that works it out for me. Day Twelve: I get a new pack of colouring pencils Marketing is seen as the colouring in department. Right? Sod off and Merry Christmas! n www.martin-audio.com
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