Beyond Paris February 2016
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Contributors: Kevin Hilton, Marc Maes, Dave Wiggins, Mike Clark, Phil Ward, Erica Basnicki, David Davies, Simon Duff
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Cover image: Editorial Credit: onickz / Shutterstock.com
DAVE ROBINSON Editor
wo months ago, I sat staring at the page, struggling for words to express how I felt after the terrible events in Paris. As well as being appalled and upset, I was so very, very thankful that a friend of the magazine had survived the attack unscathed. That person was Steev Toth, the tour manager for Eagles of Death Metal. This month, I’m honoured that Steev has volunteered to tell Phil Ward and PSNEurope the story of that terrible night from his own perspective. How he barricaded himself in an ante-room, how he was rescued after the bloodbath, how he was reunited with his band. It’s an amazing story. But more than just recalling a harrowing tale, Steev poses important and critical questions, to which I don’t think there are any clear answers. What do you do, if you’re a major act in the public eye, in this age of terror? Do you insist on stricter security controls before you play, or do you just take a deep breath, grit your teeth and press on with your show, because what will happen will happen, regardless of how prepared you are? Remarkable events at the end of 2015, indeed; and with the loss of Bowie, an unprecedented beginning to 2016. I was never a huge fan of the artist, I must admit. It’s only when I was reading David Davies’ superb tribute and retrospective on his recording career (pg. 26) that I started paying attention to his output, for the ﬁrst time in years. I started with Outside, his album from the mid-90s, and I was immediately surprised at the diversity of songs and styles in just that one collection. I saw Bowie play, but only once, at the Yahoo Online Music Awards in 2000. Even then, when the internet was still a child, he was being commended for his visionary ideas: for bowienet, and the Bowie Bonds scheme. Receiving his gong from Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Bowie came on stage asking if anyone knew how to reboot his Mac G5. The whole affair, at the old Studio 54, was quite bizarre. Then he performed Life on Mars, accompanied by a solo piano. I can still remember to this day, that feeling of complete awe.
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In this issue... P36 BROADCAST CONSOLES WILL IP TECHNOLOGY RECAST THEIR ROLE?
P6 WORLD EXCLUSIVE: ESCAPE FROM BATACLAN EAGLES OF DEATH METAL TOUR MANAGER STEEV TOTH‘S FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF THE ATTACKS IN PARIS
P42 AED: 30 YEARS OF REVOLUTION GLENN ROGGEMAN ON TRANSFORMING A VISION INTO REALITY
Studio P22 JAZZANOVA A PERFECT PARTNERSHIP WITH SENNHEISER ATOP A FORMER STASI LISTENING POST
Business 6 10 12 12 14 16 18
Exclusive: How we escaped Bataclan Shure’s “revolutionary” KSM8 New goodies from DiGiGrid Threepeat! PSNPresents returns in March Vocal channel: Erica Basnicki and Andy Huffer Movers and shakers PSNTraining
Technology 20 36 46
New products Feature: Broadcast consoles Feature: Remote control
22 26 30
Jazzanova Studios comes out on top David Bowie remembered Wu-Tang’s saga continues with PMC
Broadcast 34 35
DPP issues new HD standards Boiler Room: Where streams come true
Live 40 42
From game to stage with Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions AED ﬂying high after 30 years
Installation 50 54
AES70: new control standard is a go ISE Preview: it’s all happening in Hall 7
Back pages 57 58
Hither & Dither Backtalk: Stuart Wilson
â€œThe LEO Family is the right choice for providing the best quality sound to our clients and their audiences. The Meyer Sound brand is the perfect match for Wigwam Acoustics, in terms of its reputation for quality.â€? Chris Hill, Co-founder and Spencer Beard, Managing Director, Wigwam Acoustics
Read the full interview at meyersound.com/wigwam
Editorial Credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com
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LD R WO USIVE L C X E A man lights a candle in front of the theatre Le Bataclan in tribute to victims of the 13 November attack
How we escaped Bataclan – by the EoDM tour manager “It was a gruesome task”: Eagles Of Death Metal tour manager Steev A Toth recounts the Paris nightmare – and its repercussions for touring. Interview by Phil Ward
teev A Toth has been around. An experienced and level-headed tour manager, he’s seen tragedy at Danish festival Roskilde ﬁrst-hand and toured South America with armed guards. But nothing could have prepared him for the horriﬁc events of Friday 13 November at The Bataclan, a small club in central Paris, when terrorists stormed an otherwise modest gig by his close-knit colleagues, rock icons the Eagles of Death Metal, and began executing innocent fans. The appalling events unfolded in TV pictures beamed around the world, followed by rare interviews by band and crew as they tried to come to terms with what happened. The precise details are inevitably blurred, but Steev A Toth was in greater proximity, and for a longer time, than anyone else connected with the band – including several weeks since of trying to piece together the band’s belongings, the musical equipment involved and the very spirit of the act. It has all left him with a new perspective on the whole business of being on tour, and with much to say on how this industry might respond...
Shawn London, escaped relatively quickly. But, with no exits on their side of the building, Toth and those band members standing stage left – guitarist David Catching and bassist Matt McJunkins – were trapped throughout the entire three-hour ordeal until rescue came. Speaking for the ﬁrst time since then, after weeks of difficult and at times stomach-churning recovery, here he relates his experience of the events and their far-reaching aftermath. Phil Ward (PW): How did you get through it? Steev Toth (ST): “We barricaded ourselves in a small technical area off to the left of the theatre. The bass player (Matt) managed to get one ﬂoor up to the actual production office and guitarist (David) found a small bathroom; I was in a ground-ﬂoor equipment room. There isn’t much you can do in a state of panic. There were 1,500 people panicking, as well. I must say I’m quite together in situations – it’s not my ﬁrst incident at a show. Nothing to this degree, but you’ve got to keep a level head. I’m not saying it’s easy, but there were points when I knew I has to keep lucid and deal with what’s happening. It’s completely unbelievable, what happened… but it did.
THE ATTACK As a consequence of the layout of the venue, most of the band and stage crew, along with front of house engineer
How did you know it was safe to come out? Special Forces or French Police came in and rescued
Tour manager Steev Toth: “The EoDM just happened to be in town that night”
I knew I has to keep lucid and deal with what’s happening. It’s completely unbelievable, what happened… but it did Steev Toth
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us from the room – which was a little intimidating, because there was the question of whether it was the terrorists or the police. I don’t speak French very well, but I had to ask who was trying to get in… at some point we had to decide, and we decided it was the police. It was ‘hands up’, and they march you out telling you to look up all the time. Naturally, you look down – and at that point you see… well, you know.” You walked out through the bodies, and body parts…? “Yep; those who’d died were still lying on the ground and then of course I saw our merch guy Nick [Alexander] lying there. I was the one who identiﬁed him; that’s why his name probably came out ﬁrst. He looked very peaceful… no scars or damage, unlike what I was stepping over. “My job was to try and collect all my guys together, which we ﬁltered through one-by-one until we managed to ascertain that everyone except Nick was alive. Nobody knew about us till we came out, of course. Those who got out ﬁrst had made it to a police station sometime after it started, worrying about where we were. I borrowed a phone and got through to the FBI in the States, and the ‘command centre’ for us in LA. They told me most of the band were in a police station near the Bastille; my job was to try and get us there, but it was quite strange because the city was in lockdown and there was a siege mentality. I eventually managed to persuade the police to take us there, as if through a war zone, but they did and we were reunited with the rest of the group. “We then started the interview process, and met up with the psychology teams. It was difficult, with the language barrier, but something you had to do. It’s very important to accept the fact that you’ve just seen something really horrible. As hard-core as you think you are, you’re not that tough…”
Eagles of Death Metal’s core members Jesse Hughes (left) and Josh Homme
You have to accept the fact that if you’re working in the entertainment industry, when you’re touring, you’ll always be a target for something
THE AFTERMATH By coincidence, the U2 entourage was in the city loading into the Palais de Bercy for two shows. They offered help and advice, and forged a strong bond as Toth and his band were kept under high security in a city hotel. Negotiations began with the FBI to repatriate the band, while the theatre was locked down and combed for forensic evidence – trapping all band and crew possessions inside. Only weeks later was Toth able to begin the harrowing process of recovering what was left… PW: Did you go back to the theatre? ST: “No, it was decided that wasn’t right for me. I sent a French team in, somebody over from the UK, the French promoter (Nous Productions) and the head of the merchandising company. They swept through the building to clear the backline from the stage and all the personal effects from the production office
and dressing rooms. It was all put in a van and driven back to England, where I sifted through it at [North London equipment supplier and rehearsal studios] John Henry’s. “I can’t stress enough the kindness and helpfulness of John Henry’s & Matt Snowball Music, they’ve been absolutely amazing – giving us facilities, letting us use their warehouses, providing crew to help… and it was a very gruesome task, I can assure you.” Why was that? “Everything else was shot up and covered in body parts, basically. One of the suicide bombers blew himself up on stage. That included most of back line and my microphones – all the mics were supplied by me – but I have a few left. They can possibly be cleaned up, and the guitars have been cleaned up… but generally it was a mess.”
So you saw it before it was incinerated? “Yes, I had to sort through it to decide what could be salvaged and what would have to be incinerated. Once the van was back, John Henry’s provided me with a crew – John Henry himself was there, and his son Jamie – and we opened the van to ‘lift the lid’ on things. It was a quick decision: incinerate or keep. I kept most of the band’s stuff, but we needed to incinerate all the [guitar effects] pedal boards and most of the mics. You can imagine the stage: it was a mess, and I saw it when I came out around 12:30am that night, after three hours of carnage. I’m pretty sure that what I saw was… we weren’t going to be using much of this stuff again. “Everything was house except backline. I always choose to use my microphones, but we didn’t take cabling. Drums, amps and speaker cabinets were on loan, and we ﬂew 16 pieces from the US of guitars, pedal boards and work boxes – what’s left is still in storage at John Henry’s, many thanks to them.” One report suggested the mixing desk took some bullets… “People’s recollections differ greatly. One thing you have to remember is most the band and crew got out reasonably quickly, When you start to analyse people’s statements, the fear they had, they tend to vary – of course they exaggerate: three guys walked into the Bataclan and started killing people! That’s a pretty tense situation to be in, and nobody’s memory
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PAIX, Love, Music
Flowers, messages, photos and French ﬂags in honour of the dead
is ever going to be 100% efficient – including mine. It’s very difficult to quantify a lot of it. But I do have photographic evidence of everything, and I can assure
you it’s not quite how it was originally remembered.”
THE LONG-TERM IMPACT But the consequences of this unprecedented attack go far beyond the scrapping of some audio equipment. There are emotional scars for the band and crew to deal with, and the key question of how the industry as a whole should respond: not simply to one band, but to a new threat to one of he most vulnerable and concentrated sections of society. UK-based recording facility Tom Donovan Studios and video production specialists Chromaquay have joined forces to create PAIX, a creative fundraising response to the Paris attacks. Among the 130 lives claimed in the French capital was studio owner Tom Donovan’s college friend and producer Nick Alexander from Essex. The charity project was set up to provide bands from all over the country free recording and video promos to cover the Eagles Of Death Metal’s song I Love You All The Time. Eagles of Death Metal has asked artists from all genres to cover the song as part of their Play It Forward campaign, donating 100% of their publishing rights to charity, The Sweet Stuff Foundation, created by guitarist Josh Homme in support of families affected by the attacks. The covers are being released on all major online platforms including Spotify, Deezer, Amazon MP3 and Groove, with videos of each session available on Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/ album/3693811). At press time PAIX has recorded 24 versions out of over 40, with all genres of music represented. “We have been astounded by the global interest and the passion and commitment of the bands, ALL keen to make the song their own,” says Donovan. “This project is a wonderful response by musicians demonstrating solidarity through music following the horriﬁc Paris attacks in November”. www.facebook.com/thePAIXproject www.tomdonovanstudio.com www.chromaquay.com
PW: Do you get the impression that the entertainment industry is now a speciﬁc target? And if so, can tour management do much about it? ST: “You have to accept the fact that if you’re working in the entertainment industry, when you’re touring, you’ll always be a target for something, whatever that may be – because all shows are high proﬁle, inasmuch as there’s a high number of people from mixed nationalities. There’s a high concentration of people out to enjoy themselves with their guard down; no one ever believes anything‘s going to happen. “But today it’s big business and high proﬁle: if you’re trying to make a statement on behalf of Daesh or whoever you will pick events like these – Germany vs France in a huge stadium? That’s pretty big, a lot of people. Anything that happens will get on the news. That’s the whole point. I don’t think it’s a case of pinpointing particular people, whether they’re French, Cuban, German whatever… for me that’s not it. It’s just a high concentration of people. When we got out of the Bataclan, we heard that there had been four simultaneous attacks – that really was to push all the buttons and stretch the police to the limit. “The EoDM just happened to be in town that night; it could have been The Deftones the next night. They came to our show, and left half an hour before this all happened because they had an early load-in for The Bataclan. They emailed me and said ‘We enjoyed what we saw but are back at hotel with a 7am call to load in same venue for three nights’. It could have been them. I don’t think anyone can say the EoDM were speciﬁcally a target, even if they are American.”
THE RETURN OF EoDM Nick Alexander
And what next for the band? Such a devastating experience has changed things forever, but at the same time a resolute deﬁance remains. Some reports suggest that the band is deliberately keen on being the ﬁrst back on stage at the Bataclan, but that’s a long way off. Before that there are rescheduled dates starting on February 13th in Sweden, and a new Paris date at The Olympia: with a bigger capacity here, Toth conﬁrms that the band is offering the ﬁrst 1,500 tickets to those who were at the Bataclan and will be selling a further one
thousand to ﬁll the venue. They leave for South America at the beginning of March, so the remaining European dates have been slotted into August. PW: Do you anticipate any ‘special attention’ when you get back on the road? ST: “There’ll obviously be a lot more interest, because we’re ‘that’ band I suppose. I know the band and the management are not trying to court any of that kind of publicity or exploitation. It will be a by-product of what’s happened, but one you can’t dismiss. You can’t ﬁght it, so you may as well embrace it. Yes it’s us, and we are coming… what do you do? You can’t say ‘don’t come and see us if you feel sorry for us’…” Some might be apprehensive… “I would suggest they would be, yes, and I can quite categorically state that, within our very small organisation of band and crew, I suspect one or two
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The band spoke exclusively to the Vice website a few weeks after their ordeal
Security are there for crowd control, not to stop armed insurgents! If you want bodyguards I can get them, I know some of those guys – if you want to pay ‘serious money’ that is. We can’t afford that. And it still won’t stop them, unless our guys are armed too.”
Editorial Credit: onickz / Shutterstock.com
of our guys are apprehensive too. And I will hold my hand up and say that I am very apprehensive.” Won’t any venue or festival look at you and think, hmm..? “That’s the negative side I have to deal with. I have to say yes, it is us, we are coming, we’re not going to let this beat us… but I also have to look at the other side of the coin: some organisers might be unsure. It’s not about us; it’s about a set of attacks in Paris and, as I said originally, it could have been any band. Were we the target? No. We were just in Paris at the time. Perhaps if U2 had opened that night, they’d have targeted the Stade de France and The Bercy… It’s very difficult to say. “I do personally feel there’s going to be a lot of apprehension, nonetheless. Let’s face it. You don’t do gigs with the intention of protecting yourselves against three gunmen. That’s never crossed my mind.
You certainly wouldn’t want to make Europe more like South America because of what happened in Paris; that would change the whole nature of the business… “I would not want to send in Navy SEAL over-site teams to every hotel and venue a week before every gig! Extraction routes, ABC routes, decoys… That is what you do in some countries – U2 and everyone that high proﬁle. But to do that for the Olympia in Paris… phew, that’s a bit heavy. “There will obviously be discussions with all promoters in advance, they know who we are… and I will initiate them. I’m not a security expert but I have worked with some quite heavy teams before. I know what I’m looking for, and I will be consulting people I know and I will take advice. But I don’t want to be turning up with large close protection teams, blacked-out cars and buses and sweeping in through underground car parks. We’re playing clubs!” But it is now on the agenda, surely… “Well, we had years of trying to improve crowd control after those deaths at Roskilde, because it
made it a high priority. (Nine fans were killed in the mosh pit during Pearl Jam’s performance on the main stage. Appropriate safety measures were introduced subsequently – Ed.) Unfortunately, Bataclan will now go down as a similar watershed. No one’s every been in that situation at a gig – 90 people killed at one show, out of 1,500 – so it has to rise to the top of the agenda. We can’t just keep talking about safe rigging; there might be something more dangerous out there…” It strikes me they’ve got the right guy, Steev, to strike this balance of cool head, light touch and safe hands… “I’d like to think so! I’m not a panic merchant, but at the same time I don’t want to be too relaxed about it. I just don’t want it to appear like we’re anything different. We’re a very small team, nine people! We just want to continue the rock and roll we’re doing, and honour those kids that came to the Bataclan…” + At press time, concert promoter Live Nation announced it had upgraded security at its US concerts and events following the Bataclan attack. More than a dozen arenas have announced beefed-up security at Live Nation’s request, screening fans with metal detectors and limiting what type of bags fans can be brought into concerts and events, according to online magazine Amplify (www.ampthemag.com).
Police in front of the theatre to protect crime scene after the attack
Editorial Credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com
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KMS8 with nickel ﬁnish, wired version, with grille removed
No proximity effect gets closer Shure unveiled the “groundbreaking” KSM8 Dualdyne cardioid dynamic vocal microphone at the NAMM Show, writes Dave Robinson
n the eve of the NAMM show in Anaheim California last month, Shure unveiled the KSM8 Dualdyne cardioid dynamic vocal microphone, which the company says represents “the most signiﬁcant dynamic microphone technology advancement the industry has seen in more than 50 years”. The statement is a nod to one of Shure’s best-selling microphones, the SM58, which just happens to be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Designed for live sound performances, the KSM8 is said to have virtually no proximity effect, excellent off-axis rejection and an output accuracy that requires none of the presence peaks or roll-offs that are typical of other dynamic microphones. This is made possible by Shure’s patented Dualdyne cartridge housed within the KSM8, which features two ultra-thin diaphragms – one active and one passive
Be proud of your sound
– and a “groundbreaking” inverted airﬂow system. “In order to make the Dualdyne concept a reality, we had to reinvent the way we make dynamic microphones,” says John Born, Shure product manager. “We knew the only way to bring the concept to life was to set all pre-existing parts and template designs aside, and start from scratch. Since then, we’ve put over seven years of engineering and development into creating something we knew the industry needed, but had never seen. As a result, the introduction of the KSM8 brings an entirely new dynamic microphone element to the world.” In a special press preview ahead of the four-day California gearfest, Born revealed how he had been working on the KSM8 for 80% of his time with the microphone giant. He traced the lineage of the new product from its ﬁrst 1939 patent for the Model 55 (the Unidyne mic), the 1951 Model 55s patent (the Unidyne II, made famous by Elvis and Sinatra among others) and the mid-1960s patents of the 545 and 565 models, which were remodelled as the now familiar SM57 and SM58 respectively. Born noted how the KMS8 bears a brand new grill reminiscent of the 55s, the “most photographed microphone in the world”. He also demonstrated the 8’s “huge sweet spot” and how effective the mic is at reducing proximity effect issues (whereby the bass response increases when the audio source is close to the capsule).
Product manager John Born launches the KSM8 at the NAMM Show
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Introducing a new live vocal mic is a bold move for Shure, as there are more than a few well-respected “standards” available to choose from, including the aforementioned SM58. However, the company has a host of testimonials from beta-testers already, including Hozier, Little Big Town and James Taylor’s FOH engineer David Morgan. On a recent Mumford & Sons tour, FOH engineer Chris Pollard commented: “Marcus really enjoyed the KSM8 on his ﬁrst gig with it... As did I. Really clean, ﬂat response, smooth HF and the reduction in spill is quite amazing! He’d like to change the mic out mid tour, Marcus also commented on how good the mic looked, and wanted to use it immediately....” The KMS8 is available for wired and wireless applications now, says Shure, for an RRP of $499 (£350/€460). www.shure.eu
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DiGiGrid boxing clever at NAMM Four new interface additions to the growing networking series, reports Dave Robinson Zito, Jon Garber for example, using Our MGB/MGO interfaces; or Matteo Cifelli, who, as Sir Tom Jonesâ€™ live sound engineer and producer, is using a combination of devices to form the audio backbone of both the live sound recording and studio productions at La Boutique Studios. â€œThe list of those now integrating DiGiGrid technology into their day to day workďŹ‚ow has exploded, on a global basis. â€œWhy is this?â€? continues Page. â€œItâ€™s really very simple. The business continues to evolve with a network-based system capable of working with ease with either Mac or PC-based systems and any preferred DAW. DiGiGrid systems provide such ďŹ‚exibility that they meet the needs of todayâ€™s engineers and producers, allowing them in turn to deliver 100%, meeting all the needs of their own clientele, in a quick and trusted manor, where the audio reproduction is second to none.â€? Â„ www.digigrid.net
DiGiGridâ€™s Dan Page with [M] and [Q] interfaces at NAMM
iGiGrid expanded its proďŹ le with a concerted focus on the I/O market at the NAMM show last month. The brand â€“ a collaboration between DiGiCo and Waves ďŹ rst announced at NAMM three years ago â€“ launched the stylish and compact Desktop series comprising the [Q] Headphone ampliďŹ er, [D] Desktop interface, [M] Musician recording interface, and [S] PoE Switch. The [Q] Headphone AmpliďŹ er is a 90mm-cubed high-end audio interface, capable of driving headphones at â€œseriousâ€? volume (â€œloud enough for any drummerâ€? says DiGiGrid). [Q] features 1/4-inch and 3.5mm outputs, so can accommodate in-ear or headphone product, and has four input options to suit all users: XLR (for professional use), Ethernet/Cat-5 (to connect to the SoundGrid Network for further audio networking, should it be required), analogue (for the consumer audiophile), and Bluetooth. The [M] Musician recording interface is deisgned for plug â€™nâ€™ play use, with simultaneous monitoring and recording capabilities through two dedicated I/O. Input one is a dedicated mic/line, and input two is instrument/line, which allows for many musical combinations. Thereâ€™s also an optional mic-stand adapter plate, which works with both [M] and [Q]. Designed in much the same way as [M] and [Q], the DiGiGrid [D] is the more expansive option, allowing the user to get even more creative. With four inputs rather than two, and six outputs, [D] provides great ďŹ‚exibility in all applications. Inputs one and two are mic/line, and three and four are line/instrument. There are two outputs with level control (suitable for monitoring) and two further ďŹ xed level line outputs. Finally the DiGiGrid [S], is the â€œultimateâ€? in ďŹ xed networkable power sources. Staying with the distinctive styling of the series, it features one upstream (nonPoE) port, and four downstream PoE ports, which allows connection to four further DiGiGrid devices. [S] is also Dante compatible. DiGiGridâ€™s Dan Page told PSNEurope: â€œSince the launch three years ago, DiGiGrid systems have grown into a â€˜must haveâ€™ part of so many differing audio applications: whether itâ€™s the ease of live sound recording for such luminaries as Dave Bracey,
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P12 FEBRUARY 2016
Threepeat performance! P SNPresents, the social and networking event by PSNEurope, will return for a third time on 10 March. Recording engineer Phill Brown and Nick Keynes, the man behind who keeps London’s Tileyard Studios running on a day-to-day basis are the ﬁrst conﬁrmed guests for the evening, which will take place at 7pm at the luxury Soho Hotel at 4 Richmond Mews. Entry is free, but there’s a limited number of seats, so we encourage you to register as soon as possible to guarantee a place. And, on the night, you’ll want to get there early to secure a free drink to kick things off! Brown has engineered some of the world’s most successful artists, including Mott the Hoople, David Bowie, Sly Stone, Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley & The Wailers, and put his ongoing career in studio magic
Phil Ward chats to Dru Masters at PSNPresents 3 in November
into words with his 2010 biography: Are We Still Rolling?: Studios, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll - One Man’s Journey Recording Classic Albums. Former songwriter/producer Nick Keynes has been part of the team that has over the past two years, successfully transformed Tileyard into London’s leading creative hub. Located right next to the impressive new King’s Cross development, Tileyard’s tenants include Basement Jaxx, Mark Ronson, Chase & Status JHO Management, Sound Advice and the MMF. More guests will be announced over the coming weeks. The second PSNPresents, sponsored by Focusrite and Roland, took place on 4 November. It kicked off with Q&A by industry personality and former Pro Sound News Europe editor Phil Ward with guests composer Dru Masters (The Apprentice),
Dave Robinson gets a laugh out of Becky Pell
A variety of sponsorship packages are available for the event. Contact PSNEurope ad manager Ryan O’Donnell (email@example.com) or account manager Rian Zoll-Khan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Recording engineer Phill Brown will sahre more of his stories.
Haydn Bendall (former chief engineer at Abbey Road Studios) and legendary producer Flood before PSNEurope editor Dave Robinson took to the stage for a live panel with “rock ‘n’ roll yogi” Becky Pell and FOH veteran Roger Lindsay.
Did we mention a free welcome drink?
To reserve your FREE tickets, email email@example.com. More information at www.psnpresents.com
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P14 FEBRUARY 2016
Magical mastering tool
I ERICA BASNICKI is a writer and sound designer
love that iPads are being recognised as the productivity-enhancing tools that they are (depending on what apps you’ve installed on it, of course). What I love even more is and how quickly console manufacturers are claiming to be the ﬁrst to see the iPad’s utility in Phil Ward’s piece about controlling a desk remotely via tablet (see pg. 46). If it weren’t for the fact that my iPad can’t take an SD card (yet) I probably wouldn’t even own a computer as my iPad can, in fact, accomplish just about anything I need doing on a day-to-day basis. Despite my affinity for my tablet, I must admit I am somewhat saddened to hear that the ﬁnal piece of the music production process – mastering – can now also be accomplished via an app. With all kinds of microphones and monitors being released during the NAMM Show, you may have missed IK Multimedia’s launch of Lurssen
Mastering: an app developed in cooperation with the multiple GrammyAward winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen. Download the app, load up a track, choose from 20 presets, tweak and...done. One mastered track. It seems like it’s not much different than someone slapping a multi-band compressor across the master buss in their DAW, or uploading a piece of music to a website that uses “complex algorithms” to create an “expertly mastered track” in just under a minute... and for only $5! I don’t like those options any better. It just feels like before the app, I stood a chance arguing (successfully!) against mastering the quick and easy way. I love the idea of mastering being a “dark art”, requiring years of experience and a small fortune’s worth of gear to do it properly. I love how mastering seems, to me, like magic.
But once you can do something via an app, the convenience of it often trumps the purity of the real deal. To be fair to IK Multimedia, I haven’t heard the app or what it’s capable of. I have no doubt, given the expertise and the studio on which it’s based, it sounds great. It just feels like what little mystery was left in recording an album is now gone. The last bastion of musical voodoo has fallen. All you need is your index ﬁnger and you can play, record, mix and master as much music as you’d like, anywhere you want. Then again, just because you can record an entire album on an iPad doesn’t mean budding musicians wouldn’t prefer to record in a studio. Maybe making the mastering process so accessible can actually increase an iProducer’s desire for the years of experience and the highend kit, simply by making it appear so simple. And therein, perhaps, lies the magic of the app...
Lights out for the Nightfly
ANDY HUFFER is sales director of HD Pro Audio and “skateboarding is not a crime!”
onducting one of our regular speaker demonstrations recently, the thin tones of Donald Fagen singing through the air once more, I started to wonder: will I ever escape from the same, tired old playback material? Why, in fact, has this audio hegemony come to pass? We’ve all been there, we all know the tracks. Shotgun cocked and ready, these ﬂy into the air, as I shout “Pull!”: Jennifer Warnes, Somewhere Somebody; Sting, Fields of Gold; Steely Dan, Cousin Dupree; Eric Clapton, Layla (Unplugged); Diana Krall, Temptation; AC/DC, Back in Black. I could go on. Thankfully, I won’t. How did these songs gain entry to the showcase pantheon? What’s more, can they ever be toppled from their pedestals? I think the overriding factor here is familiarity, given a kick-start by their hallowed “good production”. The ﬁrst time I was ever made aware of this classiﬁcation of “good production” was when Dad
pointed it out as we listened to the Carpenters in 1980. (“Yeah, but they’re boring. Can I listen to Adam and the Ants, now?”) Years of use as set-up tracks have engrained them in the collective consciousness, with their dynamic range, instrumentation and detail effectively creating an audio test-card, allowing a range of loudspeaker systems to be compared to a common reference point. But this familiarity brings with it a degree of contempt. Aren’t those lyrics a little trite? Isn’t that arrangement a bit safe? Here comes that kick drum… The musical soul cries out for something emotionally engaging, however trashy the production. Don’t get me wrong – through a musical form of Stockholm Syndrome, or just creeping middle age, more of these albums have found their way into my own eclectic collection over the years. Not just as musical test-tone generators, but through
genuine appreciation. I think my ﬁrst was KD Lang’s Ingenue back in the mid-‘90s (ignoring the copy of Fagen’s The Nightﬂy, issued as standard to all sound engineers). But is there room for a few more? I think the main problem lies in the much-debated Loudness Wars. Increasingly, I’ve often found myself loving a new record, then being crushingly disappointed as it sounds awful once cranked up on a PA system (the Haim album was the last one of these). There seems to have been an optimum period in the ‘90s when productions had detail and guts but the waveform wasn’t packed into a rectangle. It’s getting harder to ﬁnd that “good production” these days. Next time we conduct a speaker demo, then: can clients bring their own tracks to try out the system? As long as it’s not a low-res MP3 mixtape you’ve ripped off YouTube, you will be welcomed with open arms. You see – as I might explain it to my father – our demo tracks have lost their taste, so let’s try another ﬂavour.
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P16 FEBRUARY 2016
Movers and shakers
Powersoft’s power play Marc Kocks appointment an “important investment in 2016”
owersoft has recruited pro-audio veteran Marc Kocks as business development manager for the ﬁxed install market in the EMEA region, with the goal of strengthening its presence there worldwide. The company calls the appointment “an important investment in 2016”. Powersoft’s sales and marketing director, Luca Giorgi, comments “Marc was looking for a new opportunity to apply his vast experience in install projects, by working for a company with
Jamie Ward has joined Community as international sales manager, EMEA. “He has the same strong ethos for customer service as [us],” says CEO Steve Johnson. www.communitypro.com
Nikke Blout has taken the new position of global marketing director at Adam Hall Group, encompassing both corporate and individual brand initiatives. www.adamhall.com
an international exposure. At the same time, we were planning to create a stronger team capable of communicating Powersoft’s unique selling points more efficiently with the major players in the ﬁxed install market. It was a fortunate that we managed to click the two needs together.” Kocks has previously been involved in selling Powersoft ampliﬁers while running the company’s Dutch distributor, TM Audio. He recently worked with reseller Sales-All in the Netherlands.
Adam Hall Group has named Tom Mikus as the new global integrated systems director. His focus will be on expanding the customer base in the pro-audio area. www.adamhall.com
Fulcrum Acoustic has appointed William Sauer, formerly of a law ﬁrm(!), to the newly-created position of director of marketing and communications. www.fulcrum-acoustic.com
“We really believe that this strategic appointment will mark another important phase in Powersoft’s growth. We also envisage that a new application team will be built around Marc’s activities in the near future,” concludes Giorgi (pictured above left with Kocks). www.powersoft-audio.com
VUE Audiotechnik has added Greg Kirkland to its technical sales team. Kirkland has 30 years’ experience designing and programming audio systems. www.vueaudio.com
Mike van der Logt has been made Izotope’s EMEA sales manager. The appointment represents an expansion of iZotope presence in those regions. www.izotope.com
Polar Audio is to exclusively distribute Radial Engineering’s Tonebone range of guitar pedals in the United Kingdom. “This strategically important country plays a critical role in how music is played and sets the trend as to which equipment is used to create the performance,” explains Radial sales manager Roc Bubel. “This is eventually echoed in countries around the globe. With the global economy slowly improving, we are following suit with a number of new Tonebone products along with this important appointment.” www.polaraudio.co.uk www.radialeng.com www.tonebone.com VUE Audiotechnik has announced that Zwanenburgbased Ron Vogel Audio (RVA), is now its exclusive dealer for the Netherlands. The relationship will help reinforce VUE’s presence across Europe, working closely with VUE Europa in Germany and augmenting existing distributor offices in Italy and Norway. “Being familiar with the people at VUE Audiotechnik, hearing about the technology and hearing the VUE loudspeakers made it an easy decision to represent VUE when the opportunity arose,” says RVA owner Ron Vogel. www.vueaudio.com www.ronvogelaudio.com
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P18 FEBRUARY 2016
InfoComm: training gets personal at ISE 2016 BY ERICA BASNICKI
29 February HD Pro Audio: AVID S6L London, UK www.hdproaudio.co.uk
1-2 March AV Academy: What is Sound London, UK www.avacademy.co.uk
10 March One-on-one consultations will provide a tailored training plan for career advancement
InfoComm International will be offering free personalised professional development consultations at ISE 2016. The 20-minute one-on-one consultations will be conducted by InfoComm staff, with the goal of helping individuals and companies identify courses of study for advancing their careers and businesses. “Workforce development has been identiﬁed by our European members as a critical need. InfoComm is pleased to devote our efforts at ISE to helping address that need,” says Pamela M. Taggart, senior director of development Europe, InfoComm International.
At the end of the consultation, participants will receive a tailored plan of training opportunities not only from InfoComm, but also from other sources inside and outside the AV industry, including courses devoted to information technology and networking, as well as business management. “InfoComm’s professional development assistance is designed to offer a holistic picture of the opportunities available to learn new AV skills, technologies and best practices,” adds Taggart. www.infocomm.org
ISCEx2016 seminars announced
The Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers (ISCE) has announced dates for the ISCEx2016 exhibition, along with details of its seminar programme. The two-day event returns to Coombe Abbey, bringing consultants, speciﬁers, installers and manufacturers together under one roof (last year’s event pictured, above). ISCEx2016 begins with the Institute’s AGM during the afternoon of 8 March, followed by a networking dinner and entertainment in the evening. The seminar programme will be held the following day beginning with a presentation by Jamie Angus, professor of audio technology at
Salford University, discussing whether or not Class-D ampliﬁcation is really the best choice when it comes to energy efficiency. AMS Acoustics company principal Helen Goddard will discuss new solutions for providing PA/VA to noise sensitive sites based on a decade-long challenging PA project. Martin Bonsoir, EMEIA applications engineering manager, Biamp Systems will close the seminar with an exploration of networked audio protocols: AVB, CobraNet, Dante and AES67. Entrance to the seminar and the exhibition that runs along it is free of charge. www.isce.org.uk
PSNPresents 3 London, UK www.psnpresents.com
16 March AV Academy: Corporate AV London, UK www.avacademy.co.uk
Ongoing Yamaha Commercial Audio: Self-training Online www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/training_ support/selftraining
Powersoft sponsors new AV Academy Debuting in London next month is the AV Academy; a comprehensive InfoComm CTS accredited training course organised by AV Magazine and RH Consulting. Italian-based manufacturer Powersoft has signed on as one of two headline sponsors for the educational series (biamp is the other), making its products available to participants for the foundation and application-speciﬁc courses. The AV Academy is aimed at both the AV channel and AV end-user working in the professional audio visual, IT and event markets. Training will be lead by audio consultant Roland Hemming, along with Ryan Penny and Richard Northwood of RH Consulting. Each participant must complete the two-day foundation course What Is Sound before choosing from one to three specialist modules in either Corporate AV, Education AV or High Performance Sound. Attendees of the AV Academy will gain up to 40 CTS points, nearly half of the 100 points annual requirement by InfoComm. Powersoft is able to offer a discount code worth 20% off your course. Please contact marketing@ powersoft.it for more information. www.avacademy.co.uk
www.Discover The Freedom Of Sound.com
P20 FEBRUARY 2016
SF-112 AND SF-215 CABINETS What is it? Two new models in D.A.S.’s Sound Force series of club systems based on Powersoft’s M-Force technology (see PSNEurope October 2015). Details: The mid-range of the SF-112 is handled by the new D.A.S. 12HQ loudspeaker. Two subwoofer options are available in the Sound Force series: the SF-221 double 21” subwoofer and the SF-30A powered ultra-low system. And another thing… The Sound Force Series of club systems is designed for highlevel dance venues where exceptional sound, power and looks are key requisites. The mid-bass SF-215 completes the series. www.dasaudio.com
What is it? A linear phase spline EQ with ﬁlter morphing, EQ matching, stereo midside operation and automated spectrum analysis.
What is it? The newest iteration of the company’s ﬂagship audio restoration and speech enhancement system.
What is it? The Boulder Active Bass Extender (B.A.B.E) is designed to transform the Unity Audio Boulder MkII from a 3-way near/midﬁeld monitor into a 4-way system midﬁeld/main monitor for higher SPL and extended low frequency applications.
Details: SEQ-ST allows audio to be massaged and corrected with very high resolution that is not possible using a traditional parametric interface. And another thing… You can also use SEQ-ST to capture the ﬂavour of a piece of source audio and then transfer it to your current work – great for restoration and harmonisation work. www.nugenaudio.com
Details: Cambridge V10 comes with three new processing modules: FNR Process, Retouch 7 and DNS One with Learn. And another thing… The Cambridge V10 history trail not only saves the current state of the audio but also the complete Undo/ Redo stack so that you can later reload the sessionw and step back all the way to the ﬁrst time that the audio was loaded. www.cedaraudio.com
Details: The woofer is a single 12”/300mm driver with a large 5”/130mm Hexatech external voice coil wound with a hexagonal-shaped aluminum coil wire,. And another thing… The B.A.B.E maintains the same sealed cabinet approach used throughout the Unity Audio range. www.unityaudioproducts.co.uk
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P22 FEBRUARY 2016
Jazzanova Recording Studios owner Axel Reinemer
Room at the very top Jazzanova’s Axel Reinemer has the facility he always wanted, a partnership with Sennheiser to boot, and he’s ready to record. Now. Right now. Really. Dave Robinson ran along for a look
here’s no lift, so you have to clamber up four ﬂoors if you want to visit Axel Reinemer’s Jazzanova Recording Studio. While that might knock the breath out of some artists, it hasn’t stopped R’n’B star Jason Derulo, New Zealand’s Lorde, US singer Melody Gardot or UK indie rockers Sundara Karma making the ascent to see the palace of recording delights above. The view across the city’s not bad too. Hang on, below us: isn’t that where the Wall used to be? “Oh yes,” conﬁrms Reinemer. “This used to be a Stasi listening post.” It’s not obligatory to talk about how life changed for East Berliners from 1989 onwards, but a brief glimpse of it seems appropriate here. Reinemer recounts the excitement he felt after buying his ﬁrst “western” drum machine when the Berlin Wall came down; how he was “crazy about music and technology”, began as a freelance engineer using “compressors and ADAT” and how he would “read manuals late into the night”. This last point, he wears like a badge of honour. Reinemer formed the Jazzanova collective with friends in about 1996, absorbing DJ and hip hop culture to form a fusion of jazzy beats and
electronics, which deﬁned his band’s “nujazz” output (three albums, over 25 singles and EPs, a wealth of remix and compilation appearances). And while Jazzanova had its own studio, yes, and a successful record label (Sonar Kollektiv) too, it was only when Reinemer discovered the rooms at the top of this tower in the northern part of the city that he would rest in his search ﬁnd to the space he always desired. Two-and-a-half years after moving in, Jazzanova Recording Studios comprises a central 38sqm live room, an equally spacious control room, a couple of smaller recording spaces for drums and keyboards, plus a separate project studio room (currently rented out to Colombian multi-instrumentalist, David Lemaitre). The layout and design is very much Reinemer’s own, with building work undertaken by Berlin-based acoustician Karlheinz Stegmaier. Creating the studio included, ﬁrstly, gutting the place (“It smelled so smoky!”) and then laying down a ﬂoor sufficiently acoustically absorbent to enable Reinemer to work “when I like”. Also a priority was a comprehensive cabling infrastructure, linking together the recording rooms for any kind of audio (or video) transmission around the studio and, ultimately, into the control room.
“Quick set-up is very important to me,” emphasises Reinemer. “When the bands come in, everything should be prepared and ready to go. This way you can work fast and don’t stop the artists’ creativity. They say, ‘Can we set up this mic?’, I say, ‘Yeah!’ Boom!” He may be on the fourth ﬂoor, but he knows how to hit the ground running… Now the studio has shifted up another gear, as it has become the ﬁrst commercial facility to partner with Sennheiser/Neumann as a showcase for the company’s microphone and monitor technology. “I worked with producer Mousse T. (Sex Bomb, Horny),” Reinemer explains, “and he loved the studio and said I needed to meet Sennheiser. He introduced me to [joint CEO] Andreas Sennheiser. I thought it would be good for me to form a partnership/ collaboration.” It couldn’t be more logical, given the studio’s centrepiece. “It’s a Neumann desk, they were all custom made for radio stations, theatres and recording studios. This one was at the Berlin Opera House.” No question, it’s a dark and handsome analogue beast, bristling with channel strips, modules, buttons and faders and more. “When I had my ﬁrst studio I had a console and ADATs and stuff. Then I went totally in the box with
P24 FEBRUARY 2016
The custom Neumann console and a view into the main live room
Pro Tools for a couple of years. Then I decided I needed a desk. I wanted to have faders!” The partnership, led by the manufacturer’s Pierre Morant, head of the Artist Relations Department, has seen Sennheiser supply a range of microphones (Neumann and Sennheiser) and a suitable arrangement of control room monitor speakers to the studio. Reinemer reveals how he’d started out with a trusty pair of Pristine outboard, old and new, is in plentiful supply Genelecs, but a particularly demanding bigname client requested more “bottom end”. The Neumann 420s, still in their box, were has got a lot of use, especially with younger talent unpacked and set up with a subwoofer – and they did who seem to like its slightly brighter, more ‘modern’ the job. “I’m really happy with them,” says the young character. The sound is more toward the Sony C800 producer. “There’s a lot of headroom, no distortion, which a lot of RnB singers use.” they always feel relaxed to listen to.” He’s a big fan of the Sennheiser MKH series too. “The clients have to be happy,” he continues. “One “The MKH800 is the best for nylon guitar, bright but client told me, ‘We want to use the Genelecs’. I said, so detailed.” I can set them up but you should try the 420s ﬁrst… For room and ambient recording, Reinemer favours and the Neumanns stayed.” the Neumann KMA system, with its ability to swap Visiting artists will not ﬁnd Jazzanova short on capsules as need arises. “The KK133 capsule,” he microphone choices, of course. pinpoints, “is an omnidirectional diffuse ﬁeld capsule; “Before the partnership I had many tube mics I quite often use them as ambient mics for drums already: U 67, U 47, C 24, ribbons etc. I was very placed as an A-B stereo pair in the kitchen.” There’s a vintage! Now I also have the modern mics which I also tip you won’t ﬁnd in a cookery book. “Compress it hard enjoy working with.” for a massive sound.” It’s always a good idea to compare mics when it But while JRS is a Sennheiser partner, Reinemer is comes to tracking vocals, says Reinemer. “Usually not conﬁned to using German microphones exclusively. we end up with a 67, 47 or C 24, but lately, the M 149 “This is what’s fun about recording: to choose the
mics to paint the sound picture, to create depth, to alter EQ. It depends on the style of the music and it’s nice that we have a full palette of mics to choose from,” he says. While being able to work with agility is a key component to Reinemer’s methods, he’s also learned to be bold with his tools. “I’ve learned that from working with other producers; when they record they put the sounds with compression, EQ and FX direct to tape rather than doing all that in the mix. They just commit to the sound during the recording process.” He gives an example: “When I worked with Justin Stanley (Beck, Eric Clapton), it was nice to see [his] tempo, [his] decisionmaking. I got a lot from that: don’t be shy, put your energy into it!” Getting to know the Neumann console intimately has, of course, played its part in his conﬁdence. “I can crank the EQs and it doesn’t hurt. I can boost and cut: the sound is nice and round. You don’t have to think so much. The desk is reliable even though it’s 24 years old.” A testament to solid German engineering? “Yes, and it’s easy to service because it’s modular. I have the service manual and, if something goes wrong, it’s easy to ﬁnd out where the problem is. “It also meant that we could take it apart to get it up the stairs. Even so, it was tough because the frame alone is heavy.” Should have ﬁtted that lift after all. www.jazzanovarecordingstudio.com
P26 FEBRUARY 2016
Station to (work)station: Bowie’s studio milestones remembered After a lifetime of innovation in and out of the recording studio, David Bowie’s musical odyssey came to an end with his death last month aged 69. David Davies looks back at some of his artistic highpoints – and the collaborators, studios and technological advances that helped to make them possible
detour into soul with 1975’s Young Americans, Bowie embarked upon his most intensely creative period in the studio with the following year’s Station to Station.
he shock and sadness expressed at the news of David Bowie’s death when it was announced on 11 January was without recent parallel in popular culture – but then so too was his ability to inﬂuence every area of the arts, becoming in the process the very deﬁnition of the multidisciplinary artist. Tony Visconti – Bowie’s regular co-producer and collaborator from the late 1960s through to his ﬁnal release, 2016’s Blackstar – perhaps knew this best of all. “He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way,” he wrote on Facebook shortly after the news was announced. While Bowie’s extraordinary qualities as a live performer will rightly be celebrated, it is his recorded legacy that will inevitably be the greatest focus of attention in the months and years ahead. Of course, this was founded upon his own visionary songwriting voice – present and correct from his ﬁrst, eponymously-titled album released in 1967 – but also on an ever-astute selection of collaborators in both production and performance. Without doubt his ﬁrst individual studio landmark was 1969’s Space Oddity, whose shimmering production by the late Gus Dudgeon renders it otherworldly even today. But it was 1970’s Visconti-produced The Man Who Sold the World that represented Bowie’s ﬁrst cohesive LP-length statement – a surprisingly heavy rock album captured over little more than a month at London’s Trident and Advision studios. As it turned out, the album initiated a golden period lasting until 1980’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) during which Bowie would barely make a bad move creatively. Decamping to Trident again – this time in the company of co-producer Ken Scott – he would next record some of the era’s most immediate and enduring pop-rock songs on albums such as Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Having made an unexpected but hugely successful
David Bowie at the launch of his book, Little Pieces from Big Stars, for the War Child project, 27 September 1994
Informed by the emerging wave of experimental German bands such as Neu! and Kraftwerk, the album possesses an unsettling ambience that makes it the most obvious antecedent of Blackstar.
Bound for Berlin Shifting operations to Château d’Hérouville (aka the ‘honky château’) and Hansa Studios in the then-West Berlin, Bowie worked with Visconti and Brian Eno on the unofficial trilogy comprising Low, Heroes and Lodger.
Emotionally vexed yet futuristic in feel, the albums found Bowie experimenting with instrumental textures and beneﬁting from some historic outboard, not least the Eventide Harmonizer H910 that is particularly evident on Low. “Tony Visconti has used Eventide effects in wonderfully creative ways throughout his career,” conﬁrms Eventide director Tony Agnello, adding that the connection continued through 1980’s Ashes to Ashes (a rack-mount Instant Flanger to deliver the ‘warbling’
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P28 FEBRUARY 2016
David’s philosophy towards the studio was about using it as a tool and sometimes instrument. He was efﬁcient and got in and out without much fuss or time-wasting
Mario J. McNulty, engineer on The Next Day keyboard effect) right up until Blackstar (an H9 on some of Bowie’s guitar parts). New York’s Power Station studios are indelibly associated with the glossy, high-spec pop of the 1980s – so it seems only appropriate that Bowie’s greatest commercial success, 1983’s Let’s Dance, was recorded there. Again underlining his reputation as a man with his ﬁnger forever on the pulse, Bowie’s co-producer this time was Nile Rodgers – the Chic co-founder who would bring a thrilling funk edge to so many great records of the era. Global success of the scale bequeathed by Let’s Dance did not sit comfortably with Bowie, and his disenchantment with the recording process is perhaps underlined by the fact that he had less to do with the making of his subsequent ‘80s albums – contributing fewer instrumental parts and reportedly leaving more crucial decisions to his collaborators. It took until the mid 1990s for him to fully re-engage, but while subsequent releases were more widely spaced they contain music that may ultimately be regarded as being among his very best. Recorded with Eno and the late David Richards at Montreux’s Mountain Studios and New York’s The Hit Factory, Outside (1995) took a frequently jaw-dropping journey through jazz-tinged rock and electronica, while the Visconti co-produced Heathen and Reality were expansive rock albums imbued with post-9/11 dread.
BowieNet service, which provided a then-unprecedented level of interaction with fans as well as a wealth of exclusive content. Meanwhile, the so-called Bowie Bonds scheme afforded a new way of generating income from back catalogue work by giving investors a share in future royalties for ten years. After a lengthy break, 2013’s assured The Next Day resembled a concise history of Bowie styles. Recalling the sessions to PSNEurope, engineer Mario McNulty says that the artist’s philosophy towards the studio “was about using it as a tool and sometimes instrument. He was efficient and got in and out without much fuss or time-wasting.” The sessions proved highly instructive for McNulty, although “maybe the main thing I took away was that you stick with what your ideas are, but also allow for the players around you to create. “David knew better than anyone how to pick the best parts from a player – he knew when to let them free, and how surrounding yourself with the ﬁnest musicians in the world would make something unique and powerful. He did all of this while sticking to his original intention [since] the song was written when he
Eventide director Tony Agnello, and an original H910 Harmonizer, much used on Low
ISP innovation Away from music, he demonstrated a remarkable level of prescience about the impact the internet was set to have on music-making with the 1998 launch of the
arrived at the studio most of the time. He knew where he wanted to go, then the process would start on how to put it down as a recording.” Although captured at the same two primary studios as The Next Day (The Magic Shop and Human Worldwide, both in NYC), Blackstar – released just two days before his death – felt like something else entirely. Opaque and sonically seductive, the album was recorded with a new band featuring some of New York’s ﬁnest young jazz players. Arguably Bowie’s most signiﬁcant artistic shift since the late 1970s, the album appeared to mark the beginning of an exciting new phase – although in light of subsequent events, its wintry mood and ominous lyrics have assumed the air of an epitaph. 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. In reﬂecting upon his achievements, it is to be hoped that more contemporary artists and producers are encouraged to look beyond demographics and download charts to create work that is informed by artistic ambition above any other consideration.
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P30 FEBRUARY 2016
One of a kind Wu-Tang Clan unique album sale included the PMC monitors it was mixed and mastered on, writes Steve Harvey
n March 26, 2014, the Wu-Tang Clan made the surprise announcement that, in addition to releasing A Better Tomorrow, a new album celebrating their 20th anniversary, they would be making a second, secretly-produced album available as a single-copy collector’s item to the highest bidder. According to Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, a longtime Wu-Tang affiliate and producer, “The whole concept of the album was to inspire debate about the value of music in today’s digital age.” Six years in the making and featuring all eight surviving members of the Wu-Tang Clan, the album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, comprises 31 tracks and skits, is 128 minutes long and features various guests, including Cher. It was recorded in part at the Wu-Tang’s base in Staten Island, NY. The sole copy was put up for bid in March, 2015, by
auction house Paddle8 on the understanding that there are no other physical or digital duplicates in existence. The terms of sale stipulate that the buyer may not release any of the content for a period of 88 years. In an effort to bring value back to music, or at least spark debate on the matter, “We wanted to do something that was radical and the complete opposite of everything the music industry stands for,” says Azzougarh, speaking via Skype from his home in Morocco. “Which is, instead of selling the most amount of records, we’re going to sell the least amount, one, price
Wu-Tang’s RZA pictured with the PMC towers
it in the millions and, to show people that this is not some marketing stunt, slap an 88-year non-commercialisation clause on top.” He emphasises, “I’m not just talking about the monetary value, I’m talking about the experiential and artistic values
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P32 FEBRUARY 2016
as well.” In the past, record releases were more of an
concept, was inspired by the patronage of art in ancient
being part of their innovative and world record-breaking
event. “They were soundtracks to moments in your life,”
Europe. “It’s patronage in reverse. We made an album then
art project has been extremely exciting,” comments Keith
he says. But now, “It feels like it’s something you play in the
found a patron, instead of the other way around.” The auction attracted controversy in early December when Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, had placed the winning bid of $2 million. (The Guinness Book of Records has since certiﬁed it as the most valuable album in existence.) Shkreli was widely viliﬁed in September for increasing the price of his company’s toxoplasmosis drug by over 5,000%. As part of the bid process, Paddle8 had arranged for potential buyers to listen to excerpts from the album – Shkreli sent an assistant, and at press time claimed to have still not listened to it. According to Bloomberg’s interview with Shkreli after the auction, he would like more artists to make private albums for him. That request now seems unlikely, following his arrest in December on fraud charges. There have since
Tonge, UK-based creative director for PMC. “It has given us
background while checking your Twitter feed and updating your Facebook status.” The album package includes an engraved silver-andnickel box and a 174-page manuscript containing lyrics, credits and anecdotes, printed on gilded parchment and encased in leather by a master bookbinder. It is also accompanied by a pair of customised PMC MB2-XBD studio monitors. “Every artist curates how he wants his art to be perceived,” says Azzougarh. “We would like to curate the listening experience of this record, so let’s use the speakers that we used during mixing and mastering.” Azzougarh co-produced the one-off release with WuTang Clan founder RZA. Both are longtime fans of PMC monitors. “He’s been mastering on them for a very long time. I ﬁrst experienced PMCs in 2007, when I mastered at a studio in Belgium,” Azzougarh reports. “They just make everything sound incredible. I like hearing my music super-duper loud, and what I love about those monitors is that you can go so loud and they simply won’t distort. It’ll keep the sound and the mix intact.” Azzougarh, who icame up with the album-as-artifact
been calls from fans for the album to be “freed”. RZA, in an email to Bloomberg Businessweek, stated, “The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a signiﬁcant portion of the proceeds to charity.” “The Wu-Tang have been long standing clients and
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the opportunity to convey our ‘Studio to Home’ message where we believe that there are huge beneﬁts of using loudspeakers with identical characteristics throughout the production chain and ﬁnally in the home. “We understand that the negotiations for the purchase of the album started many months ago with an undisclosed buyer. With this in mind, no party, apart from the buyer, would have been aware of what would unfold in recent weeks. These are certainly exceptional circumstances.” “We wanted to do something to inspire artists,” says Azzougarh. A painting can sell for millions, yet a Kanye West song costs just 99 cents. “You can argue that Kanye will win by sheer volume; that’s true, but does it make it a fair price? Shouldn’t he have the right to price his own creation? Or maybe he wants to release it in a different way.” To stimulate debate, “Let’s sacriﬁce a record for that point to be made,” he says. “It will only hit home if you make it untouchable, which is sending it into the next century, when all of us are dead. It’s a statement we’re making, not about the money we’re making.” pmc-speakers.com
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P34 FEBRUARY 2016
The new report was one of the subjects ‘roadmapped’ at the DPP meeting in central London in November (Pic: DPP/Danielle George)
DPP issues HD short-term standards with loudness guidelines R128 and “creatively quiet” material are highlights of new UK broadcast delivery specs, as Kevin Hilton reports
K broadcasters are making another move towards greater consistency in the material it receives for transmission with the announcement of common technical delivery standards for high deﬁnition (HD) commercials/ sponsorship and promotions/presentation programming. Loudness is a key part of these newly published documents, which were drawn up by the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) and extend the EBU R128 guidelines on short-form material to HD advertisements and interstitials. The regulations were launched on 14 January and work with the DPP’s HD Programme Standard, which is designed to maintain uniformity of material and prevent any increases in the number of ﬁle formats and speciﬁcations being used by broadcasters. The DPP technical guidelines cover the main UK broadcasters, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, BT Sport and Channel 5. Under the new standards there is now one speciﬁcation for delivering commercials and sponsorship material to ITV, Sky, C5 and C4, in addition to channels that work with C4 Advertising Sales, including those under the UKTV umbrella, The Box Plus Network, PBS America and BT Sport. Promos and presentation clips for the BBC, ITV C4, Sky, BT Sport and C5 are also covered by the standards. As part of these common technical delivery standards for HD the DPP is implementing the EBU’s loudness parameters for short-form content, which includes adverts and promos and was incorporated into R128 as a supplement published in November 2014. ITV’s head of media standards, Bill Brown, observes that while common delivery for SD commercials and interstitials was brought in by the DPP in May 2015, a maximum shortterm loudness speciﬁcation had not been incorporated. “That requirement for short-term HD material now aligns with R128,” he says. Brown adds that up until May last year every UK
broadcaster had its own technical delivery spec for commercials and promos. He comments that this new set of HD standards now offers a common target for broadcasters to work towards. The DPP set 1 October 2014 as the date for British TV channels to either begin ﬁle-based operations or, as in the case of the BBC, start the transition from tape. The R128 s1 standard, incorporating rules for short-term momentary loudness, is now included in ITV’s speciﬁcation for delivery, as well as those of other broadcasters. Brown explains that all newly commissioned programming, including commercials and promos, is mandated to be R128 compliant for delivery. Archive material is not covered by the loudness standard, mainly, Brown says, because of the cost implications of updating it. “But we have come a long way,” he comments regarding meeting loudness targets. Another critical part of the DPP HD short-form standard is an ‘Exception Process’ for material that has a deliberately quiet soundtrack. This is sometimes done by advertising agencies and producers for creative reasons but as Brown observes, while this could be accommodated in pre-R128 days, this style of production would easily fall foul of loudness checks. “On the old PPMs something that was intentionally quiet would peak at 1 and we were still able to log it,” he says. “But when we implemented R128, everything had to hit the average of -23 LUFS [Loudness units relative to Full Scale], which took away quite a bit of creatively quiet material. What we are able to do now is treat something like that as an exception and allow it to go through the workﬂow without being normalised.” Brown explains that the process enabling this will be a manual one, with creative agencies and producers ﬂagging up intentionally quiet material to the broadcasters by ﬁlling in three ﬁelds of the metadata set that accompanies clips. “The content can then be quality control checked and
We don’t want to open the ﬂoodgates for people to deliver shed loads of intentionally quiet content
Bill Brown, ITV head of media standards rated as ex-R128, meaning it is outside the spec and so excepted,” he says. “It will be a manual process to begin with because we think the amount of quiet material will be really small, although we will see if there is merit in automating it. But we don’t want to open the ﬂoodgates for people to deliver shed loads of intentionally quiet content. In general, however, people want their commercials to be as loud as possible.” ITV will be the ﬁrst ‘mainstream’ UK broadcaster to bring in the HD commercials/sponsorship standards. Brown estimates that the broadcaster will begin transmitting HD adverts in the spring. www.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk
P35 FEBRUARY 2016
Streams can come true LiveU’s brand new partnership gives Boiler Room the tech it needs for streaming in practically any location. Chris Barker steams in
estled somewhere between TV and radio, Boiler Room is an online global phenomenon in the music world. At just ﬁve years old it has become the number one platform for streaming live DJ sets and music performances. With millions of people tuning in for both the live streams and the recorded archive, the concept has made a huge impact in a relatively short time. Currently, Boiler Room has offices in London, New York and Berlin, it is expanding and creating events all over the world, often in places where reliable internet connections aren’t easy to come by. With live streaming such a core element of Boiler Room’s growing success, there has to be some robust and reliable technology behind the scenes. So what keeps Boiler Room bubbling? Over to Larry Gale, Boiler Room’s head of broadcast: “When we started Boiler Room, we just relied on the venue to provide the audio mix, then send that feed from the front of house and use it for broadcast. This was ﬁne for just a straight up DJ set but now we have two engineers on site; one to take care of the sound in the room at the venue and then another engineer in charge of the broadcast mix.” Beyond this feed, ambient mics and a roaming camera are part of the Boiler Room’s appeal, putting the online audience directly in touch with the venue’s atmosphere. “The person in charge of our mix for broadcast will have those ambient room mics feeding into the mix,” explains Gale, “and that engineer will be in charge of riding those levels to blend the atmosphere of the venue when appropriate. It’s not an easy skill to be able to read the crowd and the DJs performance to know when to bring in the ambient sounds.”
Mixing the action for IP streaming
Boiler Room brings the party to wherever you are!
Recently Boiler Room has partnered with LiveU, a company who provides IP-based live video services. The newly delivered LU500 backpacks connected to a LiveU Central hub means Boiler Room can deliver high quality audio and video streams from much more ambitious locations. The units enable Boiler Room to broadcast from locations with any type of connectivity and bond those connections together into one robust stream. So, 3G/4G, Wi-Fi and Ethernet can be used all at the same time. “A new version 5.1 ﬁrmware for the LiveU system has meant we can now stream audio at a higher 192kbps bit-rate than previously,” says Gale. “Workﬂow generally stays the same but the mix engineers and gear choices will be hired in depending on the act.” He references a more complicated situation: “We were recently in the London Barbican for a Kamasi Washington performance and we were given a MADI
split via BNC. This meant our engineer had to mix down in analogue from this feed, before giving us that mix as two XLRs that can go into our production switcher, where the video and audio gets embedded together before going into our LiveU LU500 via HDSDI and transmitted back to our master control room back in Wapping London.” Gale continues, “One thing we always make sure of with the audio, is that we try and use a desk that can do multi-track audio recording. “Our streaming live productions go though a fairly rigorous remix and mastering process before they are uploaded to our archive, where the majority of our audience experience Boiler Room. But for the streaming this new LiveU system had enabled us to transmit far more securely than before and given us the opportunity to add in a master control room in between the broadcast site and the end user. This allows us to ensure a much higher overall quality.” www.liveu.tv boilerroom.tv
P36 FEBRUARY 2016
Feature: IP technologies in broadcast
Calrec Apollo desk in an OB truck at the UEFA Champions League ﬁnal
Controlling influence Networking? Routing? Audio consoles have been there and are doing that. And now the IP technologies making that possible have the potential to turn the sound mixing desk into a central broadcast production hub. Kevin Hilton ponders the evolution
n today’s data-driven world having one device perform several, often disparate, tasks at the same time is more viable and achievable than it has ever been. IP is seen as the way forward for both audio and video in terms of combined operations but instead of concentrating on the mixing, editing and transport aspects of the technology, developers and broadcasters alike are considering what all this means for control of both production and automation. And after years of being the piece of equipment consigned to its own room and largely ignored by vision types, the sound console is well placed to become the central point in many broadcast centres. Audio over IP (AoIP) has given the sound desk a new role in routing and switching sources. This, combined with sophisticated automation, is allowing the development of desks that can operated by nonspecialised staff who are also handling other aspects of TV production, including running robotic cameras and lighting. Among the manufacturers looking at this is Fairlight, which has a long history in post-production consoles but only moved into live TV production desks
over the last few years. Its EVO.Live combines the two disciplines and chief technical officer Tino Fibaek sees the basic concept of the sound desk continuing to evolve and develop. “In the mid-1990s you could have a good understanding of a desk and and its capacity just by looking at it,” comments Fairlight chief technical officer Tino Fibaek. “The wider it was, the more channels it had and the more faders meant more inputs and outputs. Today the situation is almost the opposite. There are still the essential elements: capability, capacity, I/O and the console itself. But everything is going more into automation and control on a single console. That’s not just for the audio but also for one to two cameras and basic lighting. So you can do relatively complex productions under human control in one place, which is more responsive and dynamic.” Fibaek observes that the trend now is towards a general purpose console that would replace up to ﬁve individual desks with speciﬁc functions, albeit without compromising how any of the tasks were performed: “There is so much processing available today, which brings capabilities for control. You can use GPIOs
(general purpose inputs/outputs) for lights and cameras, as well as connecting to the video switcher, which gives ﬂexibility. You can also take traditional consoles and run them remotely from laptops, desktops or tablets. A lot of working these days is drag and drop, so you can assign sources and routes, as in putting MADI input 7 on Talkback 3. Its traditional hardware with IT ﬂexibility.”
AIMS on target This degree of integration has been made possible partly by greater co-operation between audio
The wider a mixer was, the more channels it had and the more faders meant more inputs and outputs. Today the situation is almost the opposite
Tino Fibaek, Fairlight
P37 FEBRUARY 2016
AIMS aims for audio and video integration through open IP technologies In the last few years the broadcast technology market has shifted from an almost fully proprietary approach to far more openness. The latest initiative is AIMS (Alliance for IP Media Solutions), announced during December 2015. Including Lawo, Imagine Communications, Grass Valley, Nevion and SAM (Snell Advanced Media) onboard, AIMS is looking to create IP systems based on open standards for full interoperability. Among the technologies involved right now are SMPTE 2022-6, the standard for carrying high bit-rate signals not already in MPEG-2
transport streams; the Video Services Forum (VSF) TR-03 and TR-04 for the transport of uncompressed elementary stream media over IP; and AES67, the emergent standard providing an interchange point between different AoIP formats, including Dante and Ravenna. Mark Hilton (pictured – no relation) of Grass Valley, says that as well as employing established standards such as AES67, AIMS will be promoting the use of “commercial, off-the-shelf infrastructure” in the development of new IP-based production environments for both audio and video.
companies and manufacturers of vision switchers, routers, camera control systems and lighting equipment. The creation of new protocols and industry initiatives, such as AIMS (Alliance for IP Media Solutions, see box-out), has greatly facilitated both development and collaboration. “We are talking more to third party manufacturers, such as manufacturers of news automation and other systems used in broadcasting,” conﬁrms Roger Heiniger, product manager at Studer Professional Audio. “The demand is there and we’re mainly using the Ember protocol, which is supported by most of the main broadcast console manufacturers and is helping run news systems.” Heiniger comments that initiatives such as AIMS will enhance existing standards and formats, such as SMPTE 2022, and bring the advantages and variety of combined audio and video. “Things could start out SDI and have audio independently in the IP stream, which would allow people to take it out without grabbing the whole video stream with embedded audio,” he explains. Calrec Audio has similarly been working with the video sector, something that vice president of sales David Letson says the company has done over the last ten to 15 years. “We’ve been working with Ross, Grass Valley and Sony in that time, accommodating routers and other video equipment coming into our consoles using standard protocols,” he says. “What is new is the real convergence requirement to have infrastructure and having the internet on local networks.” Letson observes that “these are early days for IP and emerging technologies that will make it happen”, such as the proposed video formats TR-03 and 04, which are part of the AIMS project, as well as the ASPEN standard developed by video router manufacturer Evertz in conjunction with other companies. ASPEN is centred on IP but also uses MPEG2-TS (transport stream) standards. It is designed for carrying uncompressed Ultra HD, 3G, HD and SD signals over MPEG-2 transport streams; working in conjunction with SMPTE ST 302 (audio over TS), SMPTE ST 2038 (ancillary data over TS) and the SMPTE 2022 it can carry video, audio, and data over scalable IP networks. Manufacturers and their clients are seeing the potential brought by IP in both audio and video for
greater capacity compared to SDI base band. Letson gives the example of Evertz incorporating Calrec Hydra networking cards into its routers, which he says can replace eight MADI boxes. Higher channel and stream counts are providing the necessary foundation for increasingly bigger TV productions, particularly in sport. Letson cites US outside broadcast companies Game Creek and NEP each having two to three “super-trucks”, which provide more than one desk, all of which are capable of handling more inputs and outputs.
One man (broad)band At the same time there are small regional and local broadcasters, both in the States and on mainland Europe, needing something that can be easily operated by one person and integrate with other on-air functions. “We’re seeing the requirement for a lot more content [to be broadcast] but there are fewer people to make more programmes in situations like regional news and sport,”
he says. “So they’re looking at the audio console being controlled over the production switcher and in some instances we’ve been asked about consoles with small surfaces or on surfaces at all.” Phil Owens, Eastern US sales for Wheatstone, comments that in most situations “one man shows” are automated and the person running the show usually isn’t sitting at the audio board. “That’s why it’s important to have a board that can run not only under automation but under other types of external control, like inputs from a remote fader pack or a touch screen,” he says. “The ACI (Automation Control Interface) that Wheatstone TV boards use can accept inputs from a number of controllers, including our Screenbuilder custom touch screen application, our Directors Panel four-fader remote pack and the Glass-E virtual console software.” Wheatstone is addressing coming technologies not only with the WheatNet-IP system but also systems such as the ip-88 Blades, which are used as I/Os in an
Fairlight’s EVO.Live desk is an evolution from traditional post-production duties for the company
Feature: IP technologies in broadcast
AoIP network, providing onboard mixing, routing and
Audio, broadcasting and the Internet of Things
processing. Solid State Logic has similarly addressed the growing needs of broadcasters and engineers with the coming of IP operations, producing the System T “networked production environment”, which uses
What is new is the real convergence requirement to have infrastructure and having the internet on local networks
Dave Letson, Calrec Audio Audient’s Dante Ethernet AoIP technology for distributed routing and access to sources.
What Knowles knows Tom Knowles, product manager for broadcast systems at SSL, explains that System T builds on the company’s C Series TV consoles, offering similar facilities for single person operation. “Automix is obviously a good supporting feature that frees up some operator time to deal with other things,” he says. “As with the C Series, the System T Automix function works per-channel and adds the ability to assign master and slave Automix channels. Another important feature for live broadcast is the ability to change console conﬁguration on the ﬂy, without interrupting audio, such as last minute routing, assignments and signal path changes.” At the other end of the broadcast production spectrum, Knowles says that the number of consoles used for large events and how they are set up tends to
The internet has already made a signiﬁcant impact on the way television is produced, acting as both an information resource for research and a means to carry data, including programme material in ﬁleform and details of what it is. The Internet of Things (IoT) will increase the amount of networking and integration possible within speciﬁc business areas, linking not just devices and other ‘physical objects’ but also vehicles and buildings. Everything on a network will be ﬁtted with embedded technology, such as electronics, software and sensors, which will enable the objects to receive and swap data. In broadcasting, SMPTE vary depending on the country, with some broadcasters preferring music mixing to be handled by an additional engineer or having another technician dealing with routing, EQ and Automix assignments. “A traditional multi-user broadcast system would require multiple instances of a complete console,” he explains. “A DSP and control combination would be employed for one purpose, normally restricted to one location. This might be one reason why multi-operator operations are not more common. With System T however, you can deploy several controllers anywhere on the network with simultaneous control over a single Tempest DSP core to create a System T ‘ecosystem’.” This kind of ﬂexibility and the thought that one, scalable console would offer the market just about everything a user could ask for – rather than a several models within a range or a manufacturer’s portfolio – is changing the way people think about audio mixers. Add to this the possibility of control from a newsroom
Solid State Logic’s System T was launched at IBC last year
(Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) has developed SMPTE ST 2071, a series of standards to identify a framework, protocol and means of discovering services for media devices to control objects within an IoT. Right now, established protocols such as DMX 512 for lighting and Sony camera control are being used to connect systems to audio consoles, a situation Tino Fibaek at Fairlight describes as “a convenient stepping stone” but one that will change in the future. “Once the IoT is fully established there will be a more generic protocol on the back-end of everything else,” he says. system or the ability to run cameras and lights and there is the thought that the sound desk as it has been for years could change radically. Especially, as Tino Fibaek at Fairlight points out, with the coming of new protocols, including SMPTE 2071, and the brave new world of the Internet of Things (see box), offering networking and self-discovery. Reassuringly, Fibaek observes that this would be going on in the background: “It would still be a recognisable console, which is what people still want and need. But it would do more than just audio, it would be a powerful controller for lighting and cameras as well. Audio would be at the centre of all that, though. The difference is that the physical mixer would be a general purpose control device.” Not bad for a piece of equipment that for many years was either tucked away in the corner of the production gallery or consigned to its own room while vision and lighting equipment took centrestage.
P40 FEBRUARY 2016
Over 90 microphones were used for Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions
Gotta patch ’em all An Allen & Heath dLive console took on a central role as 20 years of Pokémon game music made its European stage debut, writes Erica Basnicki…
he unstoppable cultural phenomenon that is Pokémon has, over the past 18 months, extended its reach to the live arena with Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions. Featuring orchestrated music from the franchise’s video games from the last 20 years, Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions made its European debut in December last year at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith in London. The event was presented by Princeton Entertainment and U-Live, and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Taking responsibility for the show’s audio was FOH engineer Ian Barfoot: “I was contacted by production manager Mark Dawson, for whom I had worked earlier in the year on Classical Quadrophenia,” explains the man who can often be found mixing sound for Rick Wakeman. For that Quadrophenia production, Barfoot used an Allen & Heath iLive system. A similarly complex Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions gave him the occasion to take one of the company’s latest dLive series consoles for a spin. The main audio requirement for the event was the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, which comprised 38 strings, nine woods, six French horns, eight brass and a great deal of percussion along with harp and piano. Additionally, there were six tracks of audio from the video content and two vocal mics for the presenters. “The brief was to create a big ﬁlm score soundtrack
feel to the production, so close micing of all the instruments was the order of the day. The channel count was never going to be small! Around 90 microphones were used,” says Barfoot. “The production also required the cleanest, most natural sound possible, so the choice of mixing console is paramount for me. For a long time, I have been a great fan of the iLive series, so when there was the opportunity to try out the new ﬂagship dLive, I was intrigued.” The dLive system comprised an S7000 control surface with DM64 MixRack, utilising approximately 70 physical inputs that fed the L-Acoustic K2 house speaker system, a relatively new system installed by SSE Audio Group in July 2015. “Our mission was to get everything up and running as quick as possible with minimal rehearsal, so it made complete sense to use the installed system rather than waste time, effort and money bringing another one in,” says Barfoot. “The K2 system seems quite warm, which I like. The coverage was even throughout the room with very good imaging, plenty of detail too. Another positive is the K2 does not sound over processed like some systems these days; they can strangle the sound no matter what you do. All in all I think the system designers/installers have done a very good job indeed.” Microphone-wise, Barfoot’s preference was to closemic the majority of the instruments using a combination of DPA, Schoeps, Audio-Technica and AKG microphones.
The biggest challenge, he explains, was miking the percussion, which he did using a combination of Lewitt, Audio-Technica and Line Audio microphones. “This show had so much of it (percussion). I think just about anything that could be hit, banged rattled or dLive test drive: Ian Barfoot says the new console is a “game-changer”
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Mics from Audio-Technica, DPA, Schoeps and AKG featured in the show
shaken was in there, so a kind of very wide overhead style was used. â€œI must also pay tribute to the two guys on stage in the team: putting out 90 odd microphones takes a great deal of time and thought. Erik Jordan (EJ) and Steve McManus (Mac) know me so well now I rarely have to look what is going on. If the audience and client liked the sound then it was as much down to those guys as me, I just stick the faders in a straight line and go for it.â€? EJ and Macâ€™s excellent work on stage also afforded Barfoot the freedom to really listen to the sound of the new dLive desk during the showâ€™s brief rehearsal period: â€œMy ďŹ rst impressions of the desk was the stunning mic amp, which is very analogue in nature but with amazing detail and clarity. Listening to a single source is one thing but as you add more signals to the mix sometimes it can start to blur; not in this case â€“ as each section of the orchestra was added to the mix, the warmth and lushness came but the individual clarity and detail could still shine through when required. â€œThe ability, as with iLive, to lay the console out the
way I want it is wonderful. However, the number of custom views available on dLive takes this to the next level. â€œI ďŹ rmly believe that iLive was one of the great innovations in the world of live digital consoles, and dLive is all this and more. I honestly believe this is the ďŹ nest digital live sound console I have used to date. It seems to have a three-dimensional sound, certainly with an orchestra, that is not there with other consoles. Itâ€™s going to be a real gamechanger.â€? Â„ www.allen-heath.com
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Glenn Roggeman joined the company in 1985
Flying high AED group invited over 1,500 A/V professionals to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary in December. Marc Maes asked CEO Glenn Roggeman how he created one of the most signiﬁcant pro-audio players businesses in Europe
t’s 30 years ago since 16-year-old Glenn Roggeman started a professional rental company. “The roots of AED (originally Acoustic and Electronic Development) date back to 1977 – a small pro-audio and hi-fi retail shop named Eglantier. Four years later, in 1981, Eglantier was renamed AED Ltd and started import and distribution of Richard Allen and Beyma loudspeakers and AEQ amplifiers,”
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remembers Roggeman, who joined the company in 1985. One year later, in 1986, QSC named AED as distributor – a commitment still standing today. “And by investing in 32 QSC 1700 ampliﬁers we could support clients who bought four amps with us, but needed extra gear for a festival,” he explains. “We wanted to grow in professional sales and so established a unique formula where we could assist our clients in their business. That’s why, in 1987, we actually started up AED Rent because we wanted to help our customers when they had a major assignment coming up. Rental to support sales…” Roggeman explains. With Beyma and Richard Allen components, Roggeman designed over 200 types of speaker enclosures – in total over 20,000 units were sold in the Benelux as AED Bassbins, Touring Compact, and B218, C215, C2215, C318 cabinets. Under the AK brand (Acoustical Kits) AED sold DIY kits for rental companies and supplied the enclosures, speakers and crossovers.
5 – 8. 4. 2016 prolight-sound.com
Let’s master it.
We had to break a new business model, unknown until then, while facing some scepticism
Glenn Roggeman “Few people in the business know that we supplied thousands of Beyma speakers and crossovers for fairground attractions in the Benelux, Germany and France. Those activities were the roots of AED Rent: supporting the sales of Beyma and QSC gear,” underlines Roggeman. “And that’s when we invented the term ‘rental support’.” From 1987 onwards, with the addition of professional light equipment, AED Rent continued its expansion both in Belgium and abroad with France (1993) and the Netherlands (1995) establishing AED Rent subsidiaries. Throughout AED’s history, the company has proven itself to be a trendsetter. Alongside its continuously expanding range of audio and lighting equipment, AED Rent also invested time and money in optimising the workﬂow. “Driven by a constant quest for efficiency, AED was the ﬁrst to standardise rigging gear and trolleys,” continues Roggeman. “In doing so we started the industrialisation of our business. All the
Broadcast, Production & Recording When change is the only constant – keep track of the rapid transformation of Broadcast, Production & Recording and mix with the best at Prolight + Sound 2016. Find out at ﬁrst hand how technology can transform entertainment into a unique experience – and take part in the world‘s largest gathering for the event industry! email@example.com Tel. +44 (0) 14 83 48 39 83
Roggeman with early Touring Compact speakers
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Upping the ante at AED On the occasion of the (9-10 Dec) AED Customer Nights, the company traditionally hosted a demo show offering audio/visual suppliers and manufacturers a display stage with the business’ new products. Sound engineer/account manager Koen Conaerts revealed that AED Rent invested in L-Acoustics new X-series monitor range. “L-Acoustics is a steady value in our rental range and has become a brand we have been growing up with together,” comments Conaerts. equipment on the rental list had to be tested, ‘spick and span’-clean and in demo condition. Same for our warehouses and trucks – this was unique in the trade and put us where we are today.” Another innovation on the market was AED Rent’s price list; ﬁrst issued in 1986, the list has been generally accepted and serves as a reference guide for professionals worldwide.
Take it to the bank In 2003, four years after AED Rent moved to new 5,600sqm warehouses in Willebroek, Roggeman decided to stop doing production assignments and to become a fully-ﬂedged ‘material banker’: to become an asset-based all-in partner for professional AV companies without competing with them on the market. AED would let the market decide – organically – whether to buy, rent, sell, or lease their kit. “At that point, our dryhire rental really gained momentum. It took us 10 years to break the concept to the professional users and, by 2003, we counted some 200 clients for equipment rental jobs. From then onwards we concentrated on the further development of AED,” comments Roggeman. He admits that, with a continuous growing turnover since day one, AED suffered a decline of some 50% in business ﬁgure in the years 2003-2005, as a result of the new strategy of focusing on dry-hire instead of taking on production assignments themselves. But Roggeman survived the revolution, both inside his own company and with his clients, making his vision of becoming a material banker come true. “We had to break a new business model, unknown until then, while facing some scepticism,” he says. A familiar story in every country where AED sets up a subsidiary – the company had to overcome quite some resistance but, in the end, the market reactions were very positive. “The ﬁrst reaction in the UK was typical: ‘What are your plans here?’,” remembers Roggeman. “Today, with AED Rent UK in the market for ﬁve years, the majority of the top 10 ranked rental companies make use of our support.” While continuously expanding and upgrading its audio, light and video inventory, AED added new activities like the AED Cases factory, AED Store, AED
The X15HiQ cabinets will be used as stage monitors for live touring – the X12 and X8 speakers will serve all-round purposes and small setups. AED Rent ordered some 700 X-series speakers altogether. “The X-series were demo-ed in a separate hall and we got overall positive reactions,” Conaerts enthuses. In the same move, AED Rent expanded its existing L-Acoustics inventory with extra LA4X and LA8 ampliﬁers, SB28 and SB15m subs plus 100 additional KARA enclosures. Second Hand, the demo hall for equipment shootouts, training and demos and their in house repair service AED Repair. In 2011, Glenn Roggeman launched AED Lease, a unique formula allowing audio-visual companies to innovate while creating or maintaining a healthy cash-ﬂow. “Today, AED Lease is our biggest grower in the group,” enthuses Roggeman. “This unique asset/banking formula where clients, after four years, have the option to decide whether to buy the equipment (opening new ﬁscal opportunities while debiting investments) or return it to our secondhand ﬂeet network and buy new kit is a key activity in our group. Since 2011, we have dealt with €120 million worth in leasing contracts.” A second stronghold for the AED group is the company’s Master Distribution division, where AED’s
Roggeman with a rack of vintage QSC ampliﬁers. The California company was an early partner of AED
successful 1985 business model was exported abroad. “Equipment rental is supported via distribution – with extra inventory and trade-in campaigns, we support the local brand distributors by giving them unique tools,” continues Roggeman. “If someone wants to trade in his old line array, let’s say in Germany, we can, thanks to our pan-European structure, provide new kit within 24 hours.” In 2013, the AED group acquired the former Alfacam Media Centre estate: a 55,000sqm industrial site offering room for 16 ﬁlm and TV studios, rehearsal
Congratulations, AED, from those who know “Today, the AED group is a global powerhouse in the audiovisual industry. The vision and guts of born entrepreneur Glenn Roggeman has resulted in this impressive company: A group that provides the sounds, lights and sights for many leading events around the globe. This is a company we are really proud of – an exponent of creativity and entrepreneurship – and above all, a group that provides jobs for 300 people in ﬁve different countries. I therefore want to congratulate Glenn Roggeman and his team with this jubilee and wish them a prosperous future with their new projects.” Kris Peeters, Belgian deputy prime minister and minister for economy and employment
Deputy PM Kris Peeters with Roggeman
“I have had the pleasure of working alongside the extraordinary AED team as colleagues and partners in a shared vision for an industry we all have a passion for. Watching AED’s evolution is a testament to their vision – never to rest on what has passed, but always looking to the future. “From all of us at QSC: Happy anniversary AED! Wishing you continued success in the next chapter and we look forward to being a part of the journey.” Gina Bergmann, senior director, international sales-pro, QSC Audio “AED Rent introduced a business model to our industry that has become a reference to many companies. To this day they carry a respectable stock of all current L-Acoustics products that are in high demand by the market. Looking back on our relationship, we’ve always experienced a fair, loyal and straightforward partnership with AED Rent that has proven to offer effective solutions with a clear vision.” Jochen Frohn, international business development director, L-Acoustics
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rooms, offices, 120 backstage rooms, wood, prop and clothing shops, a helicopter port, casting rooms and restaurant facilities. “When we took over the studios, they had an occupation rate of some 4%. I’m happy to say that today, we’re looking at an annual average occupation of 36%. The last four months, 80% of our studios were booked up solid,” says Roggeman. “The site was refurbished to become the most complete production facility in the world. We’ve built 3,000sqm of office space with 2,000sqm extra to come in 2016. AED Studios’ activity also attracted some 20 TV or movie related companies to the site.” Looking ahead, Roggeman expects much from the newly released ‘Budget Solutions’ price list, revealed on the occasion of AED’s 30th anniversary. “By issuing this ‘alternative’ price quotation list, we want to avoid our business to degrade into price-undercutting,” he explains. “By going cheaper and cheaper, we don’t leave too much of a business for the next generations.” Roggeman says that whereas 25 years ago, a 3.5% return on investment on festivals was the average, today companies have to do with a mere 1%. “Technology has become eight times more expensive, requiring much more capital invested in audio, lights and video.” With the Budget Solutions price list, AED Rent is creating an ‘economy class’ inventory, allowing rental companies to enter budget-friendly but proﬁtable offers to their clients. “In order to offer ﬁrst-class tickets, we need economy-class tickets as well,” says Roggeman, with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the 30th anniversary’s airline theme. The AED group’s 2015 turnover noted a 14% growth compared to 2014 – despite a downward audiovisual market in sales and rental. The company’s sales division posted a growth of 50% in 2015, thanks to the Master Distribution concept. Prospects for 2016 show another 30% increase. Wherease 15 years ago, Belgian business accounted for 75% of the group’s turnover, the company’s foreign subsidiaries in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the fast-growing UK take on 60% of the business today. Audio accounts for some 25% of the turnover, followed by video (40%) and lighting (35%). With some €120 million of leasing contracts under its belt, over 50,000 rental assignments per annum, another €120 million invested in new equipment and a staff of over 300 people working for AED group, the company’s future looks promising. “Am I a trendsetter? Yes – and a visionary gamechanger? OK – but I wouldn’t call myself a powerful man,” opines Roggeman. “There’s a lot of creative people staging concerts, events and festivals with a unequalled passion and energy and my goal is to professionalise our industry, allowing us to leave a beautiful story behind us for the next generations.” www.aedgroup.eu
Doors to manual and crosscheck? Not at the AED 30th anniversary party!
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Technology feature: Remote control
Avid Pro Tools control app running on a tablet
Phil Ward investigates the manufacturing response to iOS and tablet usage in live production
ome folk have been using tablets for a very long time. One of the ﬁrst ever prescribed that ‘thou shalt not steal’, which has become a motto for the legitimate software industry with special resonance for sound and vision. Perhaps if Moses had been given today’s technology he would have had far better clarity of reproduction at his gigs and all of our nasty habits, like coveting thy neighbour’s version of Pro Tools, would have been nipped in the bud. But he didn’t, so we’re stuck with them. The new tablets are being taken with increasing regularity. Live sound engineers are following the trajectory of smaller, modular consoles to its ultimate conclusion: breaking anchor from the FOH position and its apparent sweet spot to exploit iOS technology and its legacy for wider remote control from more locations – anywhere, potentially, that a wireless network allows. As ever, a small battle is being played out between Mac and PC versions, but the overall acceptance of mixing truly ‘on the ﬂy’ has prompted all the manufacturers to act.
Total production Each has absorbed the paradigm uniquely; those with larger platforms naturally view it as a limited extension while more modest solutions now suggest a wholesale transformation. All, though, see the logic of ‘releasing’ the touchscreen from the board. “If you think about it, our consoles’ touchscreens are
really like a big tablet,” claims James Gordon, MD of DiGiCo, explaining his thought that “the advent of this new way of working is an enhancement on DiGiCo’s offering. When you’re mixing live productions with lots of channels and outputs, there’s no doubt you need to have fast access to physical controls and the feedback they offer. You can’t get that from tablets, but as additional
We foresaw the potential that touchscreens and gesture control offered for the next leap in console development and put it right at the heart of our CDC eight design
Richard Ferriday, Cadac www.psneurope.com
interfaces or accessories they’re really useful. “For example, if you’re a monitor engineer you can stand in front of your wedges or talk to the artist while adjusting the mixes; and if you’re at FOH, as the engineer or a system tech, it’s great to be able to walk a room and adjust EQ, time alignments... all of which provides more ﬂexibility, more freedom and speed of control. With our iPad app you can create your own macro panel that opens lots of possibilities for additional user-deﬁned buttons.” At Cadac, director of sales and marketing Richard Ferriday agrees that the adoption of tablets and smartphone apps has extended the operating capabilities of mixers for minimal cost. “It’s fair to say though that Cadac has been well ahead of that particular curve,” he adds, “in going further and incorporating gesture control technologies as the basis of a ground-up redevelopment of the console operating system.” He cites both the CDC eight and CDC six consoles as evidence. “We foresaw the potential that touchscreens and gesture control offered for the next leap in console development and put it right at the heart of our CDC eight design,” he continues. “Adopting gesture control as the basis of the console UI was a fundamental shift, exploiting all of the control advantages of tablet operation but without the constraints of the limited control real-estate and unreliable data connectivity of an
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PC world Designed for touchscreen interfaces, Waves’ new software mixer eMotion LV1 (pictured) places complete reliance on the post-console interface, according to live sound product specialist Björn Seeländer. “It’s a computer application that will run on any Mac or PC laptop”, he says of the LV1, “but I use it on a Dell touch PC. Apple screens don’t support multitouch, only single-touch. PC pads and tablets let you use all 10 ﬁngers, letting you, say, bring the gain up and the fader down at the same time – more like a real mixing surface. “With the LV1 all the DSP power comes from a server: you need the I/O, but the processing external CE device.” “The ultimate proof of the validity of our approach is user reaction. The CDC eight ﬁrst appeared just one year after the launch of the iPad; now when people come to the CDC eight or CDC six they instinctively know how to approach the console navigation.” Ferriday’s point is that the engineer’s learning curve is now “a fraction of the time” of pre-iOS digital consoles, but agrees that there are still physical restrictions to the interface. Meanwhile Yamaha was very early to deliver any kind of app to remote control a digital mixer: for the M7CL, in 2010. Manager of PA application engineering Andy Cooper reﬂects on the challenges it threw up… “During its development, we had the chance to re-evaluate the best way to visually represent an EQ or compressor, and how to control it with gestures and multi-touch. Also, the form factor of an iPad forces you to evaluate how to efficiently navigate through all the functions: do you choose clutter by using a single screen with everything, or do you prefer clarity with logical menus and shortcuts?” Yamaha’s solution was StageMix, aimed ﬁrstly at monitor engineers but soon upgraded for FOH users and registering over 200,000 downloads in its ﬁrst three years. An iPad app has since become de rigueur for every Yamaha mixer and, for the latest TF-series, the layout and operation of the onboard touchscreen actually mirror an iPad – again, meaning only one GUI for the operator to learn.
happens like a plug-in. That’s why all the applications will work. We’re seeing users adopt the LV1 with a small PC with three screens on a graphic card, giving full access to 2x16 channels.” of signals, the patching or routing of apps provides fast and intuitive access to parameters that before could only be controlled by the engineers at their respective consoles. Apps give system techs a wealth of additional features allowing mixing engineers to concentrate on what they do best. It’s now very hard to see a world without apps for consoles and system peripherals.” Harman Professional Solutions has pioneered smartphone and tablet usage throughout sound reinforcement. JBL uses iOS and Android apps for setting optimum speaker placement and speaker angles, real-time audio measurements and adjustment tools. HiQnet’s System Architect-based Performance Manager application enables detailed remote control and tuning of very large networked systems, while both dbx’s DriveRack VENU360 Control app and the Poweredby-Crown app provide ﬂexible ways to integrate wireless
Avid was the ﬁrst live console manufacturer to offer remote control of every parameter on the console by leveraging VNC – remote desktop – technology
Derk Hagedorn, Avid control of systems from end to end. As marketing director Keith Watson points out, Soundcraft has developed several similar mixing solutions from the ViSi Remote app for Vi and Si Series consoles to the Ui Remote Controlled Digital Mixer. “The ViSi Remote app allows users to move throughout a venue and not only adjust input channel levels and mutes,” he says, “but also adjust aux send levels and matrix sends, and Level and Graphic EQ settings on buss outputs. A single ViSi Remote app can control a network of mixed consoles from the Vi and Si Compact series. “The Soundcraft Ui system packs a complete digital mixing system into a road-rugged stage box format, with built-in WiFi and the ability to be controlled by any
The mix The chorus continues. “It’s now a given that all ﬂagship audio products brought to market require remote control via iPad or apps,” conﬁrms Simon Kenning, Roland UK sales manager. “The ﬂexibility it provides engineers and users is now key to the success of a soundcheck, concert, gig or event. Whether you use the app at FOH or on stage, or for remote monitoring
US vocal group Pentatonix on tour with Roland’s new iPad-friendly M-200i for monitors
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Technology feature: Remote control
connected device via a standard web browser. Ui is simple and secure, and empowers users to mix easily
The Yamaha CL5 has a built-in rest for your iPad or tablet!
from anywhere in the venue, as well as supercharge the live sound with powerful digital mix features and dedicated processing from dbx, Lexicon and DigiTech. Additionally, the versatile HTML 5-based user interface is accessible from a wide range of devices including PC, tablets and smartphones.”
Sound on stage Understandably, the claims for technical nativity come thick and fast – now that the paradigm has shifted. “Avid was the ﬁrst live console manufacturer to offer remote control of every parameter on the console by leveraging VNC – remote desktop – technology that runs on iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as Windows and Mac laptops for a truly cross-platform solution,” states Derk Hagedorn, senior marketing manager for Live Systems. “Because all Avid live sound consoles run the same VENUE software, any customer familiar with VENUE will be able to instantly navigate and control any Avid live console remotely. Avid is aware that many customers want specialized applications for their mobile devices and has begun creating apps to meet these needs. An example of this is the new Pro Tools Control, a free iOS app that provides customers with the tight hardware/software integration and high-speed
An iPad app has since become de rigueur for every Yamaha mixer
Andy Cooper, Yamaha communication power of Avid’s EUCON technology with the multi-touch advancements of iOS, enabling them to record and mix faster and easier than working with a mouse and keyboard alone.” “The Allen & Heath team could see the ubiquitous use of mobile devices on the horizon years ago,” adds product manager Léon Phillips, “and made sure the core control language of our ﬁrst touring-grade digital console would easily port over to the most popular smartphone at the time. We produced the Tweak iOS app which was the ﬁrst on the market to offer remote control mixing tools such as channel PEQ, delay and
GEQ, saving a lot of shoe-leather in a concert venue! “In our rack-based solutions we had already mastered direct remote control of the processing in the form of computer software connected via TCP/ IP. This offered the advantage of being able to be used in addition or instead of a ‘traditional’ mixing surface, allowing engineers the option of a smaller footprint if needed, reducing setup and production costs.” Allen & Heath’s iLive and dLive systems are designed to be fully functional using remote control, making the difference between being able to carry a mixing system around easily or having to pick up hardware locally. They also claim beneﬁts for installed sound where a surface may not always be required in any one location. “The expectations and demands from musicians with this technology mean control elements can be handled where they are, not off-stage,” continues Phillips, “leading to better synergy with the sound system and the crew to the point that dedicated and ‘locked-down’ apps are designed for personal control of monitor mixes on all of our digital consoles.”
Future music Tablets and smartphones have opened up new opportunities for nearly every type of business, and tablet mixing is now an integral part of a mix engineer’s toolbox. The PreSonus StudioLive Remote app for iPad and StudioLive mixers introduced wireless control to this inventory, liberating PreSonus users from the FOH position. “Gone are the days of running back and forth through the venue to dial in a mix and leaving an assistant at FOH for emergencies,” says PreSonus senior product manager Ray Tantzen. “Musicians also can control their StudioLive aux mixes onstage with QMix for iPhone/iPod touch. “In late 2014, PreSonus launched UC Surface for Mac, Windows and iPad, which provides complete
control of StudioLive AI consoles and RM rack mixers in layout designed for live mixing. With this type of software-based mixing, you can do things that can’t be done with a physical control surface. Information can be presented, and control provided, in the context of what you’re doing, so you always have the information and control you need for the task at hand.” Most recently PreSonus added Studio One Remote for iPad, providing wireless control of PreSonus’ Studio One 3 DAW for Mac and Windows and enabling control of the recording process and editing from an iPad – live or in the studio. Overall, it’s a way of working with clear demographic connotations. Much as you may castigate your children for paying more attention to a buzzing extension of their arms than to other human beings, at least they’re ready for the next generation of ergonomics in the workplace… “As a younger generation of music-makers comes of age, there’s an increasing demand for more tech-based audio mixing,” says Grant Murray, product marketing specialist at Phonic Corporation. “That being the case, I can only see the market for tablets in mixing growing, and potentially taking over.” One caveat: this will take longer than 40 days and 40 nights.
PreSonus Studio One Remote for iPad
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Jigsaw falling into place With the publication on 2 January of the AES70 control standard, the next piece of the networking puzzle has been moved into position. David Davies talks to some of the key players involved in the development of the new standard – and hears some tantalising hints about their next initiative…
n audio networking circles the continuing adoption of AES67 – the interoperability standard for IP audio networking technologies – was difficult to overlook during 2015. Audinate (Dante) and ALC NetworX (Ravenna) were among the technology developers to highlight compliance with the standard, while a 22-device demo at AES New York in October ﬁrmly underlined the impression that the standard is on course to be a fundamental part of audio networking’s future. Simultaneously, however, another piece of the networking jigsaw was about to fall into place as a new control standard passed through its ﬁnal phases of development. Deﬁning a scalable control protocol architecture for the control and monitoring of professional media networks, AES70 is the end-result of ﬁve years’ intensive work by the OCA (Open Control Architecture) Alliance. Two of the prime movers behind the OCA Alliance – Ethan Wetzell, platform strategist at Bosch Communications Systems, and fellow Bosch staffer, senior scientist Jeff Berryman – conﬁrm that the ﬁnal standard is “about 95%” unchanged from the OCA architecture as it was submitted to the AES in late 2013. They attribute this relatively smooth journey not just to a well-deﬁned set of goals at the start of the project, but also a more intangible – and unpredictable – quality. “There was a remarkable level of agreement throughout the development of OCA; in fact, I have never seen so much consensus [during a project of this scale],” says Berryman. “There really was a kind of ‘group magic’ that went on.”
KEY FUNCTIONS The primary objective of AES70/OCA is to enable the change and monitoring of all operating parameters of a network device, including the creation and deletion of signal paths, parameter adjustments for signal processing objects, network device ﬁrmware updates, and management of access control. In addition, control may be limited to facilitate simpler ‘operator’ functionality such as level, mute, power on/off and fault indication. Operating on commodity Ethernet networking hardware or via standard 802.11 Wi-Fi, the control architecture may be used in conjunction with any available transport protocol, including Dante, AVB, CobraNet and AES67 – although it should be noted that AES70 does not itself provide a means of media transport or deﬁne the internal programming of a network device.
Whilst the OCA project has only assumed a high proﬁle in the industry in the last couple of years, its roots run deep. OCA was based on a control protocol, OCP, which was developed by Bosch in 2009. In turn, that technology was informed by an embryonic control protocol standard referred to as AES24. “A lot of time was spent ensuring that we were not reinventing the wheel” at the beginning of the project, says Wetzell, but it is clear that the stakes were much higher than for any other previous attempt at creating a control standard with mass appeal: “Everything that happens in this area is driven by evolution. When you had the original incarnation of audio transport over a network, the activity focused on getting a bunch of audio signals down a cable – it started and stopped there. But as systems have evolved, the concept of integration has become much more critical for a lot of people. You’re not just transporting audio back and forth anymore now – you are also sending data, intelligence and so forth. “To support that you need [reliable] audio transport technologies and the means by which these devices can interoperate with each other. And that is where standards like AES67 – and now AES70 – come into the picture.”
PUBLIC AWARENESS Between 2011 and 2013, the members of the Alliance set about completing primary development of OCA. “It was more a case of reﬁnement and ﬂeshing out of details, rather than massive changes or additions,” says Wetzell. The prospective standard was turned over to the AES in November 2013 – mere months after the publication of AES67 – for further ﬁne-tuning. The standard public consultation process began in late 2015 and prompted no comments at all, paving the way for the publication of AES70 in the ﬁrst few days of this year. “It is not unusual for there to be no comments during the public consultation phase, but it is slightly out of the ordinary for a standard as big as this. I’d like to think that it is because it is very well-written!” says AES standards manager Mark Yonge. As allowed by AES policy, the standard will be the subject of further amendments in the future. In the meantime, there will be substantial efforts to explain the beneﬁts and practical implementation of AES70/OCA – not least at this month’s ISE show in Amsterdam. A live demonstration on the OCA Alliance stand will show products from multiple manufacturers – including Bosch, d&b audiotechnik and
Ethan Wetzell (top) and Jeff Berryman, and a demo of OCA in action
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The graphics clearly demonstrate how to delineate between the protocols, and, more speciﬁcally, what OCA/AES70 has control over
PROCESS OF DISCOVERY
Focusrite – operating with different network transport platforms under a single interoperable control system. Control will be provided simultaneously by OCA hardware, an iPad app and Chrome browser-based GUI. Also on display will be OCA MicroDemo, a new compact and lightweight reference design that was developed between OCA Alliance member companies. This OCA implementation is designed to illustrate how OCA can be implemented efficiently in even
the smallest devices, such as wall controllers and hardware designs where software and hardware resources are limited. AES67 has taken a while to seep into the industry consciousness, and both Wetzell and Berryman agree that educational efforts around the latest standard will need to be extensive. “It’s very much an ongoing process, but we will be keen to emphasise the ﬂexibility that [AES70/OCA] can provide,” says Wetzell.
Interest in AES70 is also likely to be fuelled by a proposed “certiﬁcation tool” for compliant device development. “It won’t be a certiﬁcation scheme along the lines of that established by the AVnu Alliance, but it will provide a programme that can be downloaded and run against the development of an OCA/AES70 device,” says Berryman, who points out that the process of ensuring that existing OCA devices “will just be the matter of a few days’ work at most, and often none at all.” And what about network discovery? Fortunately, work is already underway within the OCA Alliance to create what Berryman describes as a “directory standard. It’s the third piece of the puzzle and a very important one. I am hoping that we will have concrete proposals for the standard within about 18-20 months from now.” Although each of these standards will be implementable in their own right, it is evident that a utopian vision of a comprehensive, fully standards-backed audio networking environment is at work here. “Absolutely, that is the plan,” conﬁrms Wetzell, “and it might not be too far away now.” ocaalliance.com www.aes.org
POINT-AND-SHOOT MIXING TouchMix Series
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With TouchMix you don’t need to be an experienced sound engineer to sound like one. In the hands of an experienced photographer, a modern DSLR camera can create stunning images in any number of shooting conditions. But see the presets for portraits, landscapes, close-ups and more? The camera is pre-programmed by experienced professionals so that anyone can get a quality image in just about any condition. Just point and shoot. The camera knows what it needs to do to give you a great shot. Same with TouchMix. It’s one of the most advanced digital mixers ever made, with features that rival consoles costing thousands more. But its real genius is how the Presets, Wizards and Simple Modes put all that power to work easily and seamlessly to deliver you an amazing mix that will have everyone convinced that you are a professional sound engineer. How? Just like the DSLR, our own team of pony-tailed professionals* put everything they learned over decades of mixing live sound into TouchMix so that whether you’re a pro or not, you’ll get NYLH[YLZ\S[ZX\PJRS`LHZPS`HUKVU`V\Y]LY`ÄYZ[NPN5VV[OLYTP_LYJHUTHRL[OPZJSHPTHUK that’s why we say that TouchMix is Simply Genius. © 2015 QSC, LLC all rights reserved. QSC, and the QSC logo are registered [YHKLTHYRZPU[OL<:7H[LU[HUK;YHKLTHYR6ɉJLHUKV[OLYJV\U[YPLZ
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THE ULTIMATE DRUM MIC PACK, FROM THE INNOVATORS The Audix DP7 Drum Pack is the standard for capturing the unique sound of your drums in studio and for live sound. The DP7 is jam packed with our popular D6 for kick drum, an i5 mic for snare, two D2s for rack toms, a D4 for the ﬂoor tom and two ADX51s for overhead miking. With a sleek, foam-lined aluminum case to keep the mics safe, the DP7 is truly everything a drummer needs in a single package.
DP7 www.audixusa.com 503.682.6933 Photo of Stephanie Snyder, Deer Park Avenue
©2015 Audix Corporation All Rights Reserved. Audix and the Audix Logo are trademarks of Audix Corporation.
P54 FEBRUARY 2016
ISE : Seventh heaven Exalt audio above all? But of course, for there is much worthy of adoration – and all happening in Hall 7
t may be tempting to spend a signiﬁcant amount of time at Integrated Systems Europe’s Drone Arena, but ﬁnding the time to tear away from all the new product launches in ISE’s new dedicated audio zone will prove difficult. This is not exhaustive, only what we could gather at press time. Here we go then…
The new FreeSpace ampliﬁers offer 120W per channel ampliﬁcation for either high- or low-impedance applications
Four new dual-channel ampliﬁer models have broadened the Bose FreeSpace line, optimised for premium commercial applications such as retail, restaurants and hospitality. There are two mixer ampliﬁers (IZA 2120-HZ, IZA 2120-LZ), and two expansion ampliﬁers (ZA 2120-HZ, ZA 2120-LZ), each at 120W per channel. FreeSpace ampliﬁers boast the ability to be quickly conﬁgured without the use of a PC, enabling each installation to be easily customised, according to Bose. The IZA models include integrated audio DSP, providing Bose loudspeaker EQ, Bose Dynamic EQ, Optivoice paging/ducking, audio mixing/routing, bass/treble adjustments, remote control options and an auto standby feature. The ZA models support sound system expansion when using front-end Bose products such as FreeSpace integrated zone ampliﬁers and ControlSpace engineered sound processors.
include six line inputs, four microphone inputs with VOX priority over music signals, remote music mute triggered via a NO or NC contact and compatibility with Bose, Amina and Active Audio EQ cards. In addition, MIC 1 input can be conﬁgured as a transformer isolated telephone input for tele-paging applications.
The Model K Control Surface sports a physical interface for operators
The Model K Control Surface for all networkable Dan Dugan automixers, including the recently introduced models M and N, has started shipping, and will be on display at the RAI. The Dugan Model K is a physical interface resembling a keyboard. It gives the user tactile buttons for controlling a system so operators can have their eyes on the production and their ﬁngers on the keys. The Model K includes manual, automatic, and mute keys for each channel, plus rotary encoders for setting weights and other values. There are also LCD displays for the channel names and parameter values. The brightness of indicators and displays can be adjusted for dark or bright environments.
It comes with an XLR for a wired solution, but also as a MicroDot version that can be used in a wireless conﬁguration by employing the company’s adapter range, which is already used for other miniature microphones. The Hacousto International 4 EVAC Compact 500 voice evacuation system is being introduced at ISE. EN54 compliant, this addition to the 4 EVAC range of commercial voice-alarm control and indication equipment solutions delivers digital audio distribution technology using a networked VACIE (voice alarm and indicating equipment) solution. Based on a distributed boxed ampliﬁer concept, the Compact500 features a variety of compact, selfcontained and wall-mounted control and indicating voice alarm panels that create a ﬂexible and easy to control platform. Describing the Compact 500 as ‘a system in a box’, Hacousto said it “fused the simplicity of a standalone system with the beneﬁts of global network topology”.
The VHD4.21 consists of active and passive purpose designed enclosures, each containing two custom designed large format 21in woofers The Model K Control Surface sports a physical interface for operators
The revamped MPA mixer amps feature new balanced auxiliary, utility and music-on hold outputs
The Cloud Electronics MPA-120 and MPA-240 MixerAmpliﬁer line has been refreshed and will be exhibited for the ﬁrst time at ISE. The newest models of the MPA-Series build upon the success of the original MPA (launched in 2008) and provide output of 120W and 240W respectively at low impedance, 100V, 70V and 25V. The newest MPA models provide a new balanced auxiliary output, a new utility and music-on hold output, both with mic/line level controls. This is in addition to the range’s existing features, which
A microphone solution aimed at addressing problems in the conference and AV install markets is being showcased in Hall 7. DPA Microphones claims that one of the biggest issues faced when using lectern mics is the speaker drifting off-axis. DPA’s solution to this is the d:screet SC4098 Podium Microphone, which features a directional supercardioid polar pattern. DPA says the completely linear SC4098 is designed to deliver a more natural sounding off-axis response. The d:screet SC4098 capsule is intended to ensure that speakers are always clearly heard, while still attenuating ambient noise. The miniature capsule is mounted on a delicate gooseneck and comes in several lengths for hanging, table or podium mounting, or on ﬂoor stands.
KV2 Audio has introduced a new subwoofer ampliﬁer design, representing an evolution of the VHD2.21 2 x 21inch subwoofer for large-scale live music and playback performance. KV2 says the VHD4.21 Active Subwoofer Module features high current delivery, coupled with a class leading ‘green efficiency’ low consumption power supply. It is aimed at dancehalls and music-driven nightclubs, and can be used as a ‘seismic’ subwoofer to be added to any KV2 Audio or third party manufacturers system, according to the company. The VHD4.21 module consists of two purpose designed ‘low loss-band pass’ enclosures, one active and one passive, with each enclosure containing two speciﬁc custom designed large format 21in woofers. The VHD4.21 active can power an additional passive VHD4.21 sub and deliver 14,000W of peak power while
P55 FEBRUARY 2016
being plugged in to a standard 13A wall socket. The latest IP video and audio routing and processing solutions from Lawo are being showcased at ISE 2016. The IP products include the latest A__line I/O units for audio, as well as networked based processing and mixing engines, such as the V__link4 AV IP stage box solution. The Lawo A__digital 8 and A__madi 4 are the latest members of Lawo’s A__line series of high-quality Audio-to-IP interfaces for install, live and broadcast applications. In combination with the existing A__mic 8, the compact 19-inch 1RU devices provide transport for analogue and digital audio signals via IP network environments, and can establish IP-based audio networks.
of the HMa is 40Hz -20kHz +/-1dB. Phantom power is selectable at 5V, 15V and 48V, or can be turned off for use with dynamic microphones and line level signal sources. The newly launched One Systems Hybrid loudspeaker series is making its debut ISE appearance in Hall 7. The series has effectively merged the company’s directweather loudspeakers with One Systems’ marine-grade features. The new line of direct weather loudspeakers features 304-grade stainless steel covered in a new poly coating that prevents against corrosion like marine-grade stainless. This translates into products capable of withstanding the level of moisture and corrosion that was in the past only associated with the higher grade marine versions of each product. In addition, all hanging hardware is now manufactured in 316-grade stainless only, ensuring that all units can be hung outdoors in any venue anywhere in the world. An additional design enhancement includes internal transformers that will allow system integrators to select between 4ohm/8ohm (depending upon the model) or switch over to 70V or 100V.
The upgraded Ottocanali series ampliﬁer lines are being showcased by Powersoft. The upgraded Ottocanali series consists of three 8-channel power ampliﬁers delivering up to a total of 12,000W at 4 ohms. Powersoft said this makes it an ideal, economical option for multi-zone applications in mid to large-scale installs, where space saving is also a requirement. The new Ottocanali DSP+D versions feature signal processing and support two redundant Dante digital streams. A new version of the Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Gen5 Series, integrating media networking technology Dante, has been launched. All Gen5 Series models including Iconyx and IC Live (ICL-F-RN) are now available with Dante control. The implementation, based on Dante Brooklyn, features dual RJ45 connections for fully redundant operation, while a single cable carries both Dante and RHAON II control data for streamlined connectivity. Iconyx Gen5 represents the ﬁfth generation of Renkus-Heinz’s Iconyx Series, incorporating UniBeam Technology for more uniform coverage, increased output, and faster setup, with new conﬁgurations for easier and more cost effective installation, according to the company. Dante-enabled models will be designated with a suffix of RD -for example IC16-RD.
The HMa plug-on transmitter is able to match any microphone or line level source
The HMa plug-on transmitter is the latest addition to the Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless range. Lectrosonics claims the HMa will ideally match any microphone or line level source, with its input gain range of 44dB and tuning range of 76MHz in 100kHz or 25kH steps, up to 3,072 frequencies per band. A USB port makes ﬁrmware updates possible in the ﬁeld. The HMa is aimed at a variety of wireless microphone applications including wireless boom, plant miking and ENG in particular.
These digitally controllable column speakers can now be integrated into a Dante network
A new Dante solution for the Pan Beam series of active beamsteering sound columns is being showcased in Hall 7. Using the Pan Acoustic’s multibeam technoogy, Pan Beam columns can be operated with two independent audio streams with a sampling frequency of up to 192kHz. The priority circuit in the Pan Beam columns allows automatic switchover of the audio source, for example switching between programme and announcement signals. Pan Acoustics says its Dante option provides a primary and secondary port, which can be used in a redundant or daisy-chain mode. The latter enables other compatible Dante devices, such as a digital stagebox, to be added into the network.
One Systems claims the Hybrid series provides one product line with multiple beneﬁts
The HMa combines 24-bit digital audio with analogue FM transmission resulting in superior radio reliability with superb audio performance. Audio frequency response
The distinctive 5000W Powersoft X 8 series condenses eight channels into 2RU
The DVM-HDT-KIT can be installed in SYSBOXX or any standard 2 RU 19-inch rack
The HDMI 2.0 Engineers Toolkit is a new measurement tool for HDMI installation, testing and controlling of HDMI sources, sinks, and cable lines. Cardinal DVM, a division of Sommer Cable, said the DVM-HDT-KIT would address challenges that can result from faulty set-ups, cabling, EDID communication, or HDCP, and claimed it could easily analyse and rectify them. The toolkit is conﬁgured as a HDMI signal generator and analyser, available as 19-inch 2 RU quarter-rack device, or in a portable desktop version. In addition, there are two compact HDMI cables and 24V power supplies. The kit is built on a high-performance FPGA platform and supports HDMI 2.0 with resolutions up to 4K and all popular colour formats. It offers HDCP 2.2 support (HDCP switchable: disabled /1.4 / 2.2) and has an integrated 3-inch 16:9 IPS display (240p) in the generator and the analyser, with WYSIWYG monitoring of input and output on the screens. www.iseurope.org
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P57 FEBRUARY 2016
Hither & counter Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed!
The man who built the AED group, Glenn Roggeman, quite rightly attempts to steal a piece of his own birthday cake without anyone seeing
Joining the much-lauded ‘Pro Sound Brews’ collection, it’s the AED 30th anniversary beer!
The scene, FOH, during Craig Charles’ DJ set during the Edinburgh Hogmanay. Were they expecting rain, do you think?
QSC CEO Joe Pham at NAMM with the ‘World of K’ counter denoting the number of K series speakers sold. Just a few hundred to go…
Sometime writer and National guitars aficionado Dave Arcari tears it up in Camden last month
P58 FEBRUARY 2016
SPECTRE © 2015 Danjaq, LLC, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.
The multi-award nominated sound recordist talks to Kevin Hilton about how his early love of sound led to recording the world’s best-known secret agent
cots-born Stuart Wilson’s credits stretch back to the early 1990s. In the 2000s he began working with maverick, genre-hopping director Michael Winterbottom, as well as on international features including four ﬁlms in the Harry Potter series. More recently Wilson has become involved with two of cinema’s biggest franchises: James Bond and Star Wars. In January he was nominated for Academy, BAFTA and Association of Motion Picture Sound awards for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, while AMPS also listed him for 007’s latest, Spectre.
mix, but I never learned to take shortcuts when sound editing. Being on a shoot suits me more than the cutting room where I’d always want to do a bit more and a bit more. These were small ﬁlms with the same circle of people, so this, combined with wanting a shot at bigger things, made me decide to concentrate on location work.
he was coming into an established franchise. Similarly with Bond, Sam Mendes came into an existing set-up. He didn’t want to be the new guy so he wanted to bring in other new people.
You ﬁrst worked with Michael Winterbottom on 24 Hour Party People (2002) and made six more ﬁlms with him. Is it common for directors to have ongoing relationships with production sound mixers?
Were sound and ﬁlms a childhood interest?
Some are able to have regular relationships, because there isn’t as many sound recordists as directors. But a ﬁlmmaker might only make a ﬁlm every two years, so you can get out of sync with people. Michael Winterbottom is so proliﬁc, however, that he’s able to keep his core team and tries to get the same people. Working with him was an important relationship and he’s been a big inﬂuence on me. When I ﬁrst met Michael he wanted to be able to look anywhere with a hand-held camera, for the cast to improvise and change things each take. We ﬁlmed in real locations with real people and no control of noise. That drives you to ﬁnd solutions, be brave and try things people didn’t do. Everyone had to be miked, I had to multitrack, have a portable rig ready and plan ahead so the next location was already pre-rigged. A lot of the techniques I’ve developed come from being pushed by Michael Winterbottom.
Sam Mendes is all about the performance and likes to get stuff while ﬁlming. He doesn’t want to let things go to post. Sam takes a lot of time to work with the actors and 50 percent of it is the voice. I suppose he’d be disheartened if he thought he’d have to do things again in the dubbing suite. So sound has to be part of the prep. I get together with the special effects supervisor to talk about what they want to achieve. If we need fans for wind I’ll record a test and send it to post to see if they can ﬁlter out the noise. Often it can’t be done so we’ll hire an industrial blower, put it outside and bring in air through pipes. It’s down to me to me to sort something out before it becomes a problem.
Sound was my ﬁrst love. I was interested in it before I was interested in cinema and ﬁlms. When I was seven my Dad bought a cassette recorder and I recorded my birthday party on it. After that I would make tapes by recording from the radio and TV. When my Dad got a cassette radio with a built-in microphone, that added the ability to record feedback, mix it with the World Service and edit tape-to-tape.
How did you get into ﬁlm sound recording? On leaving school I thought I would work in a recording or TV studio. I knocked on the doors of production companies asking if I could go out on a shoot. Eventually somebody said they were doing a freebie for someone and did I want to work on it? I worked as a trainee for a year in Scotland then worked professionally for another year in various sound jobs. But the work wasn’t very creative so I applied to the National Film and Television School (NFTS), where I spent three years. That’s where I knew I’d found my spot.
What attracted you to location work rather than working in post or anything else? I was doing both location and post work and it was great creatively to see something through from script to ﬁnal
You’ve made two Bond ﬁlms – Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015) – with Sam Mendes. Was coming on to such a long-running series daunting? My big break was working on the Harry Potter ﬁlms with David Yates. He was the new director for the ﬁfth of the series and he wanted to bring in new people because
Is working on ﬁlms like Bond and Star Wars more difficult because of the action involved?
You’ve received several Oscar and BAFTA nominations in recent years, including for Skyfall and War Horse (2011), and now you’re part of the teams nominated for Spectre and The Force Awakens. What’s your reaction to that? I don’t think it can get better than this. It’s such a privilege to be part of the teams that have made these great ﬁlms. It was a bit disappointing that Spectre was overlooked for the Oscar and the BAFTA; it was a massive achievement from the production side. I’m really happy with the track on The Force Awakens; what the post guys have done sounds fantastic. I heard about the nomination for The Force Awakens yesterday and I’m busy doing prep for Star Wars: Episode VIII, so I haven’t quite let the excitement sink in today while I’m trying to make sure the next one turns out well. www.stuartwilson.com
Big thinking For smaller boxes
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