LAS VEGAS, NV USA â€¢ NABShow.com
Wild life! A dormouse in a boot and delight at the BAFTAs: Louise Willcox from Springwatch tells all P34 P22
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Packing a 138 dB wallop, Kiva II breaks the SPL record for an ultra-compact 14 kg/31 lb line source. Kiva II features L-Acousticsâ€™ patented DOSC technology enhanced with an L-Fins waveguide for ultimate precise and smooth horizontal directivity. WSTÂŽ gives Kiva II long throw and even SPL, from the front row to the back, making it the perfect choice for venues and special events that require power and clarity with minimal visual obtrusion. Add to that a 16 ohm impedance for maximized amplifier density and a new sturdy IP45 rated cabinet, and you get power, efficiency and ruggedness in the most elegant package. www.l-acoustics.com
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PSNEUROPE Editor Dave Robinson firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contributors: Kevin Hilton, Marc Maes, Phil Ward, David Davies, Guilllaume Schouker, Laurent Dupuy, Tom Carpenter
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P3 JANUARY 2017
DAVE ROBINSON Editor
o, you haven’t picked up a copy of BBC Wildlife magazine by mistake. Though, as soon as I read Sarah Sharples’ excellent interview with Louise Willcox, and glimpsed some of the images supplied, I knew this feature was going to eat any cover rivals for lunch. So: forget yer stadium gigs and yer huge consoles in mix rooms: here’s a little fat rodent in an old boot!. We met Louise at the Pro Sound Awards in September (she collected the gong for Broadcast Team of the Year for Springwatch on behalf of the BBC/Arena TV) teams), and we were instantly charmed by her experience but also her approachability and humility. If you only take one thing from the piece beginning on p34, it should be one of her closing remarks: “There are no obstructions whatsoever for women coming into this industry.” How refreshing is that? In a double whammy for women in audio – and the world of animals, in fact – immediately after the pictures of giraffes and the wild boars “being friendly”, Kevin Hilton talks to sound effects guru Ann Kroeber, who worked on ﬁlms such as The Horse Whisperer and The Elephant Man. (We planned all this, you know, we really did.) While renowned sound engineer Jon Lemon shares tales of wisdom on p44, I’m particularly grateful to the management at Neutrik UK for their hospitality earlier this year (p24). I was already on a family holiday not far from the factory in the late summer, so it would have been rude not to drop in and say hello. It always struck me: if Neutrik AG HQ is based in some remote European principality in the mountains, the immediate location of which is not obvious, then it seems ﬁtting – almost inevitable – that the UK office should be somewhere equally, um, esoteric. If you can really use that word in relation to the Isle of Wight. Anyway, MD Chris Arnold is an amazing man. Not only can he tell you the quantities of connectors produced by different areas of the factory, he can probably tell you the serial numbers of each one too. But you don’t get to be part of the world’s most successful connector group by only counting your blessings.
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P4 JANUARY 2017
In this issue... P40 CENTURIES OF ECHO ELY CATHEDRAL’S SOUND STYLING
P28 R&D CROSSOVER THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN PRO-AUDIO AND MI TECHNOLOGIES
P58 Q&A: CRISPIN HERROD-TAYLOR FROM PAINTPOT TO SOUNDBUCKET
Technology 20 28 50
P38 ANN KROEBER THE SOUND EFFECTS WIZARD AND HER LIBRARY
New products FEATURE: Crossover/’prosumer’ technologies FEATURE: Hotel installations
Broadcast 34 38
The adventures of Louise Willcox Sound effect wizard and pioneer Ann Kroeber
6 7 8 12 14 16 18 22 24
40 42 44 46
BRITs drop best producer award Pete Tong on tour and Unity wins damages NAMM Show 2017 preview Vocal channel: French engineer Laurent Dupuy Movers and shakers: industry appointments PSNTraining: what’s on Training extra: six tenets of audio testing Strategic position: Megahertz Strategic position: Neutrik UK
Echoing icon Ely Cathedral equipped by B&H Sound Sound reinforcement loudspeaker manufacturer Kyu systems The world of sound engineer Jon Lemon Anastacia’s comeback with Avid
Back pages 57 58
Hither and dither Q&A: Crispin Herrod-Taylor
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THE LEO FAMILY TRUE SOUND IN LINE ARRAYS.
The LEO Family provides power and clarity for nearly every application, from intimate performance spaces to the worldâ€™s largest outdoor festivals. LEOPARD, the smallest in the family, is gaining a following for being the most lightweight and versatile line array in its class. From small to midsize to large-scale, this family of line arrays has you covered.
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P6 JANUARY 2017
MPG producer recognition amplified as BRITs drop award for 2017 Important award omitted from BRITs list until future voting methods can be agreed, writes Dave Robinson
here will be no Best Producer recognition in the 2017 tally of BRIT Awards winners, the BPI has announced. However, the Music Producers Guild will, once again, present its lauded UK Producer of the Year trophy at its annual ceremony in February. A statement issued by the MPG and BRIT Awards have agreed to “rest” the Best Producer award for 2017, following “recent changes made to the BRITs Voting Academy”. Tony Platt, managing director of the MPG Awards Group, said: “For the last eight years we have been proud to present the BRIT’s Best Producer Award to our UK Producer of the Year and we sincerely hope to be able to do so again. “The MPG Awards are peer-led and winners are voted for by established and experienced working professionals during a carefully monitored voting and judging system. We hope that we will be able to work alongside the BRITs in future years. In the meantime, the BPI is continuing to support the MPG Awards through sponsorship.” The Best Producer Award was unceremoniously dropped by the BPI at the end of the ’90s and, shortly afterwards, there were protestations in the likes of Billboard from the then Music Production Guild led by producer Robin Millar. The accolade was only reintroduced after the re-invigorated MPG initiated its own awards ceremony in 2008, and the BPI offered its award as part of a sponsorship support package. A spokesperson for the BPI (who did not wish to be named) explained the situation further: “Over the last eight years, we’ve been delighted to present a BRIT Award for Best Producer to the winner of the MPG Producer of the Year. Until now that selection has been based on the MPG’s voting and judging processes. The two awards are, however, entirely separate, even though the same person has previously received both. “This year, as people may be aware, the BRITs has signiﬁcantly changed the composition of its Voting Academy, and we also annually review our award categories and voting processes. The voting mechanic for the Best Producer Award differed substantially from our other votes and we have not had time to complete a review as to how this might best be structured. As a result, we have decided to
Paul Epworth won the MPG and BRIT Producer Award three times, the last time (shown) in 2015
rest the Best Producer Award for a mutual agreement on how 2017.” that would work for 2017, we Platt went on to add: “When we sincerely hope that there will instigated the MPG Awards it was to be one in the future.” celebrate the talents and effort of all Now in its ninth year, those creative people who support the Music Producers Guild the artists in our industry. We still Awards features 16 awards do that. categories that recognise “The MPG UK Producer of the the brightest names in Year Award is unchanged and will music production. The 2016 be presented to the winner chosen Producer Award was won by our recent Judging Panel. That by Alt-J producer Charlie person will have been nominated, Andrew, while previous years voted and judged using our usual fair, have seen the likes of Paul Ethan Johns won the awards in 2012 transparent and inclusive process, Epworth (2013 and 2015), which will continue unaffected.” Flood and Alan Moulder Both parties seem to be very aware of the (2014) and Ethan Johns (2012) honoured in the frustrating nature of the situation – especially as category. Other winners across the categories have the DJ/producer role is increasingly coming to the included Sir George Martin CBE, FKA Twigs, Brian fore in the media – and hint that the Award could reEno, Catherine Marks, Trevor Horn and Dave Stewart. emerge for 2018. “We fully recognise the important The 2017 Awards will take place on 16 February, role producers play in the music industry and will 2017 at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London. be considering further how best to reﬂect this going Tickets for the 2017 MPG Awards are also on forward,” said the BRITs source, while Platt noted: sale and there are still a limited number of super “We have been delighted to work with the BRITs over discounted tickets available, reports the Guild. the last eight years, and while we couldn’t come to www.mpg.org.uk/mpg-awards/2017-tickets
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P7 JANUARY 2017
Pete Tong is all right The 65-piece heritage orchestra was on the run of dates, along with a myMix system
erforming their anthemic Ibiza Classics, Pete Tong and The Heritage Orchestra embarked on a run arena dates late last year, with special guests, including Ella Eyre and John Newman performing the Rudimental collaborations. Candi Staton joined them onstage for a rendition of You Got the Love, 30 years after her original hit. Chosen for the tour was mxMix for its ability to offer a large number of musicians their own monitor mix. Synthax Audio (UK) met up with the all Dutch team of system designer Fred den Dulk, Ron Peeters on monitors and FOH engineer Tom Gelissen at the O2 London soundcheck last month. Peeters, who is the regular monitor engineer for
the heritage orchestra says: “We were looking for a hard-wired monitor system, which was able to handle sufficient inputs to have at least the ability to give every musician a direct out of their own mic or a blend of both mics on one instrument, so they were able to control their own level in their mix.
He adds: “So, the main purpose of our search was to ﬁnd a system that could handle that many inputs. myMix is unique in this way because it gave us the required 54 stage mic inputs/direct outs and 30 channels of sub-mixes and there are no other systems that can handle this many channels.” The orchestra was fed a number of sub-mixes – Pete Tong, strings, brass and band – to their myMix mixers with the section leader and their own instruments being made available on separate channels. The myMix mixers were attached to their seats using a K&M microphone bar and all were then networked using eight Cisco switchers spread around the stage. Capital Sound was responsible for the shows and used a Martin MLA PA system. www.synthax.co.uk
Unity wins damages against Cartec Audio Judge rules against equipment manufacturer after distribution deal runs aground, writes Dave Robinson
ro-audio distributor Unity Audio has won a two-year dispute with Cartec Audio, a Manchester-based manufacturer of “classic” studio outboard compressors and EQ (such as the THC Compressor, shown). In a court ruling on 21 October 2016, Cartec was told to pay nearly £30,000 in damages and £25,000 in costs to Unity. Cartec went into administration on 31 October. The dispute between Liam Carter of Cartec Audio and Kevin Walker of Unity Audio began in mid-2014. Unity built up a reported £40,000 worth of backlogged orders for Cartec gear, while some faulty units were returned to Cartec and were in repair for an alleged ﬁve months. Later, Carter issued a statement to dealers trying to cut Walker out of the agreement and saying Cartec
“will continue making all products and running as normal, but Unity Audio will no longer be involved.” The court judgment from 2nd November 2016 reads:
Unity Audio Ltd have been in a long legal dispute with Cartec Audio Ltd regarding breach of distribution agreement and its obligation to supply back orders under the terms of the agreement, and in addition to retaining returned products for service belonging to Unity Audio and its customers. On 21st October Birmingham County Court awarded the Judgement to Unity Audio Ltd. The Defendant’s counter claim was dismissed and it’s application for appeal was refused. Cartec Audio Ltd was ordered to pay £29,198.50 damages and £25,000 costs to Unity Audio. On the 31st October Cartec Audio Ltd went into Administration. www.unityaudio.com
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P8 JANUARY 2017
Show preview: NAMM 2017
Safe and warm in LA
It’s California dreamin’ time again with the annual NAMM 2017 taking centre stage in mid-January. As usual, PSNEurope previews what promises to be some of the most signiﬁcant launches at the show… ﬁrst, an interview with Joe Lamond, the show’s president and CEO The 2017 NAMM Show will be the ﬁrst to host a dedicated live sound education day. What should visitors expect? Live sound day will offer a deep dive into the most relevant, important topics for this community. The opening session, for instance, will feature an exciting panel of pre-eminent front-of-house mixing engineers, moderated by live sound engineer Mark Frink. A session on Dante networking technology will reveal how major manufacturers are using Dante in their products, and also preview what’s to come with Dante training and certiﬁcation on the following days at the show. Plus, there will be sessions on DSP tools for enhancing a live sound system, future-prooﬁng your wireless inventory, live recording and more.
Why is The NAMM Show a good home for the US live and touring sound community? The NAMM Show takes place on the doorstep of one of the world’s most active and exciting live sound hubs, and with so many pro-sound and touring professionals already attending the show, the depth and opportunities for the community continues to grow. Our goal is to deliver career-enhancing opportunities each day through next-level education from industry luminaries and peer-to-peer networking – all taking place alongside the many exhibitors and participants who make up the broader musical ecosystem. For manufacturers who attend the show or are thinking about attending, the show offers a stable and reliable platform to access the global buyers and distributors representing over $10 billion in purchasing power. For professionals thinking of the same, I would encourage them to attend, enhance their skill sets and industry connections, as I suspect for exhibitors and professionals alike that you will ﬁnd your home is at NAMM.
Audinate will offer Dante certiﬁcation throughout the show for all visitors, for free. Is this a sign of things to come? We believe that becoming proﬁcient in the latest technology will help our friends in the live sound community be more successful in the year ahead. By offering these important opportunities at NAMM, we hope to continue to build on our reputation as the place to go to learn and grow as an industry professional. In the future, I can see even more education, events and
networking opportunities for live sound professionals at The NAMM Show.
The recording industry has become a part of the fabric of The NAMM Show, how will that remain the case? Along with a robust show ﬂoor spotlighting the latest innovations in the recording market, recording will also be a centerpiece of the education program at The NAMM Show. TEC Tracks sessions will cover everything from vocal micing technology to studio design to mastering to vinyl – the most relevant topics for this community of professionals. Saturday’s TEC Tracks program will even have a special focus on recording and feature special sessions by super producers Peter Asher and Jack Douglas, who will be inducted into the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame at the TEC Awards that evening.
The NAMM Show has a unique atmosphere – you have LA rock stars mingling in the aisles. How do you keep the show feeling fun while still making it a place for business? I suspect that one of the things that make the NAMM Show unique is that in spite of the wide range of attendees we are all united in our love of music and the desire to learn and grow. When artists are walking the aisles they are not thinking ‘celebrity’, rather they are a part of as community of musicians who are simply looking for the latest tools to practice their craft. Journeyman players who are respected for their music not who they might be dating… And the business of making and selling the latest innovations will always be one of the primary reasons so many make the pilgrimage to Anaheim. New product introductions drive our market, as they drive any market, and NAMM is the place where more new products have made their debut for over 100 years.
By 2018, The Anaheim Convention Center will have expanded with a new hall and a lot more ﬂoor-space. Are your plans for 2017 indicative of how The NAMM Show plans to grow? Each year, The NAMM Show is renewed by innovations in the industry, new companies and a fresh sense of energy, so in many ways, we plan for a new show every year. While we are constrained by the size of the Anaheim Convention Center, we are eagerly awaiting the opening of the expansion in 2018 to meet the demand of attendees and companies, which have wanted to expand for years and welcoming the many new companies and crowds that we’re so fortunate to be attracting to the show. High tides make all ships rise, as the saying goes and as we enter 2017 and look to 2018, we will continue to enhance the NAMM Show experience for all attendees and members www.namm.org
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P10 JANUARY 2017
Show preview: NAMM 2017
The aisles of Anaheim …or what to see at the huge show, from 19-22 January 2017 in Orange County, California
ew from interface specialist Antelope Audio is a Synergy Bundle for its Thunderbolt and USB interfaces. Each interface now comes packaged with a special Antelope Audio version of the PreSonus Studio One 3 Artist DAW platform, as well as six plug-ins from Overloud Audio for use in cross-platform DAW software. Adding these digital tools from PreSonus and Overloud Audio to the Antelope Audio ecosystem helps turn these interfaces into a comprehensive music production and creation package, it is said.
64 Audio’s U18 Tzar
The new Sound Force SF-158 from D.A.S.
In advance of the show D.A.S Audio. revealed details of two new products. The Ovi 12 is a two-way loudspeaker system designed for optimum versatility – it can be mounted on walls, placed in ceiling structures, or suspended as a pendant speaker, making it suitable for a variety of AV installation projects. A 12-inch coaxial loudspeaker enables it to deliver excellent speech intelligibility and rich music reproduction in spaces such as restaurants, convention centres, houses of worship and nightclubs. Key attributes include 300 RMS (average) power handling, a peak power handling rating of 1200W, and a 90-degree conical beamwidth.
Also new from D.A.S is the Sound Force SF-158, a three-way, full-range system. It expands the applications covered by the Sound Force to include a high-power, stand-alone system capable of providing coverage to any areas where high energy dance music is required. For the high impact, low frequency reproduction required in a system of this type, D.A.S. employs the 15GNR loudspeaker, a 15² device incorporating a 102 mm (4²) edge-wound voice coil, and a lightweight neodymium magnet assembly. Multi-channel recording specialist JoeCo has announced a further addition to the Bluebox range of workstation interface recorders. The 24-channel unit represents a professional multi-track ﬁeld recorder, and a back-up solution to ensure no audio is ever lost – all in a single 19-inch rack-mounted unit. Offering 24 balanced line inputs, 16 ADAT Lightpipe inputs
with SMUX11 support for higher sample rates, and 24 balanced outs, the BBWR24B will back-up all work, providing the ‘ultimate safeguard’ against unexpected DAW freeze and failure. Each BBWR24B will carry up to 24 channels of 24-bit/96kHz audio in both directions simultaneously over USB 2.0. All recordings are in professional standard broadcast WAV (BWF) format, while the FAT32 local disk format supports both Windows (via dedicated drivers) and Mac (via Core Audio). Meanwhile, for the launch of the balanced BBWR24B, a substantial update to the JoeCoControl app is also making its debut at NAMM. Available for free from the JoeCo website, the updated software delivers features including: full control over gain parameters; the creation
The FaderPort 8 from PreSonus
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P11 JANUARY 2017
of multiple headphone output sub-mixes with volume control and panning, solo, mute, and PFL; support for in-studio talkback and studio monitor switching capabilities; a dedicated transport control panel with record and stop buttons plus useful disk information; and more. “The Bluebox range has already received a fantastic welcome, and now we’re delighted to introduce a version that will work no matter which mic pres you choose to use,” comments JoeCo managing director Joe Bull. “The BBWR24B, particularly when used with the expanded control and customisation options of the updated JoeCoControl app, is an extremely powerful but affordable solution for interfacing with your DAW, recording in the ﬁeld, and ensuring that none of your work is ever lost, even if the power fails.” New from PreSonus, the FaderPort 8 Mix Production Controller connects via USB 2.0 to provide precise tactile control over a favourite DAW’s mix and automation functions, including complete transport control. With eight touch-sensitive, motorised, 100mm faders and 57 buttons covering 78 different functions, it is possible to quickly zoom in on audio ﬁles for editing, adjust a click-track tempo with a simple tap, modify plug-in parameters, manage aux mixes, and control track levels with the touch of a ﬁnger. Among the features, Session Navigator provides easy access to eight ‘mission critical’ functions for optimum ﬂexibility. Dedicated buttons are provided to instantly arm all tracks for recording; control mutes and Solo Clear and view only the tracks, buses, and VCAs you want to see. There is no limitation to preset controls, either, with four programmable user buttons making it possible to easily access your favourite functions. 64 Audio is to showcase its latest innovations in in-ear technology, the tia Fourté, U18 Tzar and A18 Tzar. Integral to the products is a proprietary tia system featuring custom tia drivers, the tia single bore, and special acoustic chambers. The tia driver stands apart as an open balanced armature that produces sound with a direct-radiating, fully unobstructed diaphragm. Coupled with this new driver is a single large bore that provides an extremely short path between the driver and the ear. This bore acts as a natural sound-shaping chamber, tuning the tia driver without the sound tubes used in traditional in-ear monitors. On a business level, Blue Partners will be highlighting its partnership with JMP Electronics, intended to further strengthen the Summit Audio brand. After acquiring Summit Audio four years ago, Blue has worked to ﬁnalise new products, energise A new addition to the JoeCo BLUEBOX range
NAMM conﬁrms eight more audio milestones for TECnology Hall of Fame The NAMM Foundation will honour a further eight ‘culturally signiﬁcant’ musical inventions at its TECnology Hall of Fame event on 21 January. Presented by pro-audio journalist George Petersen, the ceremony will honour a host of innovations dating from 1954 to 1998. The ﬁrst of this year’s recipients dates from 1954. The Decca Tree microphone stand was created by Roy Wallace and Arthur Haddy, and utilises three omni-directional microphones – often with left and right outriggers. It continues to be used as a set-up today by both pros and hobbyists. From 1960 comes the Neumann U67 Condenser Microphone. The multi-directional condenser microphone was the ﬁrst of its kind, compensating for proximity of studio musicians who preferred to sing directly into the microphone. A deﬁning part of some of the most notable guitar riffs of the last 50 years, the third celebrated innovation (from 1966) is the Wah-Wah Pedal. Discovered ‘nearly by accident’ by Brad Plunkett of Warwick/Thomas Organ Company, the wah-wah pedal has found its way onto iconic hits by Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and many others. Entries four and ﬁve constitute some of the most signiﬁcant studio innovation of the late 1980s. The Tascam 80-8 eight-track analogue recorder (unveiled in 1976) quickly became the standard in small professional and home studios, while Wendel – developed by late, great studio engineer Roger ‘The Immortal’ Nichols – was a pioneering distribution channels, and get popular products back into production. Now, as part of Blue’s long-term vision for Summit, JMP Electronics will manage customer and dealer relations and provide support for products, warranties and other service requests. “We are proud of the Summit Audio brand and are excited to see it continue to grow and evolve,” says John Maier, CEO of Blue Microphones. “JMP Electronics has a pedigree in pro-audio that includes some of the most prestigious brands, so they are the perfect partner to manage Summit. Together, we look forward to providing complete support for customers and dealers, as well as products that meet the needs of discerning audio professionals.” The transition to networked audio remains a ‘hot button’ topic in the industry, so it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that there will be plenty of related training at the NAMM Show. For example, Audinate will
creation in the art of digital drum replacement. Designed to sample audio drums, Wendel was used during some of the era’s greatest albums, including Steely Dan’s Gaucho and Donald Fagen’s The Nightﬂy. Invented in 1985, the API Audio Lunchbox 500 series gave pro-audio professionals the opportunity to customise their rigs with API components as required. The company would go on to offer a number of variations of the 500 series. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017, the Neutrik Speakon has become a standard for professional live sound speakers. Upon their release in 1987, both the cable and chassis versions of the connector met international regulations, featured a solderless connection, and deﬁned a streamlined signal chain experience. The AEA R44-B/C ribbon microphone was designed (as the R44B) in the 1930s but proved to be an extremely enduring piece of design. Described as the most multi-purpose microphone available for sound professionals, the mic was brought back to market as the R44-C in 1998. Finally, winners in the Outstanding Technical Achievement and Outstanding Creative Achievement will be announced during the TEC Awards show. Aerosmith co-founder and lead guitarist Joe Perry will receive the prestigious Les Paul Award and perform several songs, while the band’s engineer and producer, Jack Douglas, will be inducted into the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame. conduct a variety of training sessions pertaining to its Dante media networking solution. Starting on Thursday January 19, Mark Frink will moderate a Tec Track Master Class called Dante: Practical Uses in Live Sound and Recording. In this 45-minute panel discussion, representatives from Yamaha, Shure, Focusrite and Mackie will talk about how they use Dante in their products. They will also feature real-world applications that involve their Danteenabled equipment, as well as Audinate software, including Dante Virtual Soundcard and Dante Via. As an added bonus, a free copy of Dante Virtual Soundcard will be given to everyone attending the panel discussion. On January 20 and on January 21, Audinate will offer a full day of Dante training courses at the Anaheim Hilton designed for Dante users of every level. A total of three courses (First Steps with Digital Audio Networking, Dante Level 1 Training: Introduction to Dante, and Dante Level 2 Training: Intermediate Dante Concepts) will take place each day. To register and ﬁnd out more about the Dante training sessions, visit www.audinate.com/ namm17.
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P12 JANUARY 2017
Taking the time in the studio – for your live mix
LAURENT DUPUY is a double Grammy Award-winning engineer based in London
here are many masters in the art of FOH mixing but all too often I’m disappointed by the quality of mixes at gigs. What makes a good mix has been discussed many times so I won’t go into detail here, but, at the very least, a mix has to respect the music that we, as sound engineers, channel in our work. The instruments all pass through our hands and the least we can do is make sure that each one is heard and understood. It’s true that FOH engineers often ﬁnd themselves up against fairly challenging conditions, playing venues with varying acoustic qualities, often ill-adapted to sound systems. However, open-air festivals where there are no acoustic constraints offer a place where you can really analyse a mix – and that’s where a lack of ﬁnesse becomes more apparent. Having spent time mixing as much in studios as for live gigs, I’ve realised how
these two worlds can complement each other. Mixing FOH you usually have no time to experiment, whereas in the studio you often have the chance to try out options. One way to enhance your FOH mixing skills could be to sit in a recording studio with the multitrack recorded from your live session and take the time to understand what mix you want and how to achieve it. It doesn’t have to be a big studio, it’s a matter of taking the time. Things to look for might include the right reverb and delay for your lead vocal or the best compression and EQ for your snare sound, or maybe ﬁnding a nice space for your horns. In the studio you will also be able to go deeper into certain parameters like attack and release for compressors, using your compression pre or post EQ, or what you can get from parallel compression. Creating your own toolbox for mixing and designing your mix in the studio means you
are then much better prepared to start the gig. You know where you are going so you can focus on all the live sound speciﬁcs. At soundcheck you can set up the whole PA to achieve your mix: EQ and phase of the PA; adapting the position of the desk if necessary; EQ the monitors to lessen the impact of the stage sound. Mixing the show will then be a question of adapting your mix to the venue to achieve the same effect, for example modifying the EQ or the density or length of your reverb so that when you add the venue acoustics to this digital effect you get the same reverb designed in the studio. Recently, progress in this area has been facilitated greatly by the Dante format, which makes recording a multitrack from a show very easy. I invite all the young engineers to have a go and put their multitrack into any Pro Tools or Logic or Cubase. I’ll be listening out for the improvements!
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FABRICâ€™s NEW SOUND
pioneerproaudio.com | #madeintheuk | Pioneerproaudio
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P14 JANUARY 2017
Movers and shakers
Tim Carroll quits Avid for Focusrite CEO post The move gives Focusrite a major advantage in the interface/DAW sector
he Focusrite Group has appointed Avid stalwart Tim Carroll to the role of group chief executive officer. Carroll will take over from Dave Froker (who also worked for Avid in the 1990s). In his most recent position, based in Berkeley, California, Carroll was a VP with global responsibility for Audio Products at Avid. Carroll has extensive management and sales experience – he was a key member of the team behind the launch of the S6 control surface – and is familiar with many of Focusrite’s existing customers, products and sales channels. He is a professional musician by background, having attended the New England
Martin Audio has appointed Dan Orton to the newly created position of product group manager. He will be responsible for the product portfolio and support team to ensure the company’s catalogue remains strong and relevant. Previously, he worked at L-Acoustics and Turbosound. www.martin-audio.com
Outline has created the new position of worldwide technical support, application engineer and GTO Network Manager, which will be held by Vincent Perreux. He has worked as everything from PA manager to FOH and crew chief with U2, Muse, Justin Timberlake, Smashing Pumpkins and Leonard Cohen. www.outline.it
Conservatory of Music, and having recorded and toured for nearly 20 years as a keyboard player, before joining Avid. Carroll has relocated to the UK and will operate out of Focusrite’s High Wycombe headquarters. Executive chairman Phil Dudderidge says: “I have known Tim for many years, and my colleagues and I are delighted to welcome him to Focusrite. Carroll adds: “The Focusrite team has a tremendous passion for providing state-of-the-art solutions for musicians and audio engineers, and I share that vision.” www.avid.com www.focusrite.com
Nicolas Sturmel has joined Merging Technologies as a senior technologist. Previously he was project manager and head of research at Digigram and was involved in RAVENNA/AES67 projects. President of Merging Technologies, Claude Cellier says his expertise will help champion its wider adoption in audio. www.merging.com
Harry Lewis re-joins Audient as a product specialist. His main role is to create educational and promotional videos for sales and end-users alike. He has Grade 8 in classical double bass. “It’s great to be an environment of like-minded people who love music and audio, it creates a nice family atmosphere...” he says. www.audient.com
Jack Flower has joined Audient as marketing assistant to help boost the company’s e-marketing with social media and digital mailouts. “I already loved Audient products before I was working here,” he says.“It means I can be really passionate about new ideas...” He records and mixes musicians in his spare time. www.audient.com
dock10 has appointed Brian Hardman to the newly created position of head of broadcast operations for post production. Hardman joins from The Farm North, based in BBC North, where he worked as director of operations. He will lead on technology and operational matters. www.dock10.co.uk
DEALER NETWORK ETAL Group has strengthened its distribution channel in Europe with the appointment of Lautsprechershop to support the Anaview range of Class D ampliﬁer modules. Lautsprechershop has a team of technical specialists who will support systems integrators and retailers and sell the products from its online shop. The company will ship to the DACH region and the rest of Europe. Daniel Gattig, sales and marketing director at Lautsprechershop says: “The Anaview module is a high quality Class D ampliﬁer that produces a really great sound…” Mark Stanley, European sales manager at ETAL adds: “Lautsprechershop signiﬁcantly enhances our customer service here in Europe.” www.lautsprechershop.de www.etalgroup.com Out Board has appointed Nordic Pro Audio ApS to distribute the TiMax SoundHub audio showcontrol spatial processors and TiMax Tracker performer tracking systems throughout Denmark. Out Board’s Dave Haydon and Nordic’s Torben Aalykke sealed the deal on the company’s stand at a busy Monitor Expo show, where Nordic also won an award for Best AV Dealer. Nordic Pro Audio MD, Torben Aalykke, says: “It is a product that has a great deal to offer theatres and AV installations here, and the key for us now is to focus on educating our customers...” www.nordicproaudio.com www.outboard.co.uk Warsaw-based Phono Media has been appointed by Martin Audio as its new distributor in Poland. Director of Phono Media Jacek Stanislawski says: “We had a gap in our portfolio for a top quality brand which offered high-powered cabinets.” Phono Media wasted no time in opening their account, installing the new ShowCase music club with four Martin Audio Blackline F12+ and two S218+ subs. Martin Audio’s sales manager, EMEA, Bradley Watson adds: “They have an established network of system integrators, venues and links to rental companies, and have the expertise and drive to push and develop Martin Audio into 2017 and beyond.” www.martin-audio.com www.phonomedia.pl
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Inspiring Every Moment Audio-Technicaâ€™s In-Ear Monitor Headphones Bringing the worldwide critically acclaimed sonic signature of the M-Series to an in-ear design, the Audio-Technica in-ear monitor headphones have been designed to fully answer the needs of demanding sound professionals and musicians from the studio to the stage and the DJ Booth.
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P16 JANUARY 2017
Calrec’s new training tutorials launch Brio users BY SARAH SHARPLES
January 19 Live Sound Day NAMM, Anaheim Convention Center, LA www.namm.org
January 24 Wireless Mics and Monitoring Essentials Aalborg, Denmark portal.sennheiser.co.uk
January 26 Designing for speech intelligibility Production Park, Leeds, UK www.isce.org.uk
February 8-9 CMDU/CMDSE course Quay House, Manchester, UK www.music-group.com
Sound Technology’s 2017 training programme Calrec Audio has launched a series of tutorial videos to demonstrate how to use Brio console and to help owners get up to speed quickly. The ﬁlms are less then two minutes in length and designed to teach users how to perform fundamental operational tasks – for example, Assigning Audio Paths to Faders and Connecting Inputs and Outputs. Dave Letson, Calrec’s vice president of sales, says: “Brio was launched to great acclaim at the NAB Show ... and we have already sold many
units across the globe. Brio’s target audience is wider than that of our larger products and spans broader markets. These videos address the need to provide widespread training to new and prospective customers and distributors alike.” Each bite-sized tutorial can be easily accessed on a range of platforms. This allows users to watch them on the ﬂy, such as on their phone while sitting at the console. The videos can be accessed online on Calrec’s website or on their YouTube channel. calrec.com/brio-training-and-demo-videos
BY SARAH SHARPLES
PLASA brings expanded education programme to Scotland BY SARAH SHARPLES
PLASA Focus Glasgow, returns to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on 18 and 19 January, 2017, bringing with it an expanded programme of seminars, panel sessions, console training and equipment demonstrations. On day one, panel sessions led by audio journalist Phil Ward, will include, Is Point Source Fighting Back? It will include an exploration of the varied
applications of point source over line array, with examples coming from Scottish based sound designers. Also happening is a session on The New Front of House – using tablets for mixing, a look at when and where you should take advantage of iOS and Android as a mixing interface. On day two, Dave Philips from Shure UK, presents, Wireless Mastered. It will cover the digital TV switchover to the rise of mobile phone ownership the demand for a clean RF spectrum for wireless microphones. He also uncovers the new RF landscape and why people should be looking at digital wireless systems as part of their arsenal. Hot on the heels of their success at PLASA 2016 in London, The Association of Sound Designers, presents the session Pin the Mic on the Actor and will look at the different options for mounting wireless mics and transmitters. Running alongside the show, The AV User Group regional meeting, lunch and networking drinks will take place at the conference centre on 19 January. PLASA Focus Glasgow is a free-to-attend two-day exhibition showcasing the latest technology used in live events, concerts, tours, theatre productions, venue installations and leisure attractions. www.plasafocus.com/glasgow
Sound Technology, distributor of HARMAN Professional Solutions in the UK and Ireland, has announced 2017 training dates for the Soundcraft Vi Console and HiQnet Audio Architect courses. Sound Technology offers a free one-day training course on Soundcraft’s Vi Series consoles, which run monthly and are open to engineers, venues, hire, installation and production companies. The sessions are designed to adapt to the requirements of the participants and includes hardware components and connections; Vistonics interface and console operation; conﬁguration of the console for FOH and monitor applications; diagnostics and fault ﬁnding; shows and snapshots; Soundcraft Realtime Rack; ViSi Connect iPad app, offline editor and integration with other equipment. The dates for the ﬁrst half of 2017 are 25 January at Adlib in Liverpool and 22 March, 17 May and 19 July at Sound Technology, Letchworth Garden City. There is also HiQnet Audio Architect training, which is the software application used to conﬁgure, control, and monitor hardware devices from several HARMAN brands, including AKG, BSS, Crown, dbx, and JBL. The course dates for the ﬁrst half of 2017 are 8-9 February, 12-13 April and 14-15 June. www.soundtech.co.uk/professional-audio
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P18 JANUARY 2017
The Six Tenets of Testing David Mathew, of audio analyser manufacturer Audio Precision, explains the six main tests that lie at the heart of all audio testing
asic audio test and measurement: there’s nothing too taxing about that, right? In simple terms, audio T&M is just a matter of running test tones of known frequency and amplitude into a Device Under Test (or DUT, as they are often known in this domain) and measuring what emerges from the output. Easy A-Peasy (if you will). Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. But there is a surprisingly small set of simple performance measurements, which have come to be regarded as the minimum set used to describe the technical performance of most audio devices, and from which a standard printed speciﬁcation is usually derived. At Audio Precision, we call this stripped down set ‘the Big Six’, and they are as follows: Level; Frequency Response; THD+N (Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise); Phase; Crosstalk; and Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). This article explains half of these basic tests in more detail, and points out some different ways in which they may be conducted.
Level Any DUT may have a number of level measurements that are of interest. You must choose which level you are seeking. Target levels include: 1. An input level that produces a given output level, such as 1 volt, or 1 watt, or unity gain (see below for a discussion of DUT gain); 2. An input level that produces a certain output distortion, such as 1 per cent THD+N; 3. A level that provides good noise performance with comfortable headroom, often called the operating level; 4. An input or output level speciﬁed in a testing document. Any of these levels may be used as a reference level on which we can base further measurements. Frequency response measurements, for example, are expressed relative to the level of a mid-band frequency; THD+N measurements are made at speciﬁed levels, which should be reported in the results. The ratio of a DUT’s output voltage level to its input voltage level is the voltage gain of the DUT. For example, in a DUT with a gain of two, an applied input of two volts will produce an output of four volts. A gain of one, where the output voltage equals the input voltage, is called unity gain. Some DUTs offer no gain adjustments, and are said to have ﬁxed gain. The gain may be ﬁxed at unity, or at some other value. A DUT with a volume control or other setting that affects gain is a variable gain device. When setting and measuring level, it is essential to consider whether or
not the DUT gain is variable (not only volume controls, but tone controls and other settings can change gain), and, if it is, how to set the DUT controls for the desired test results.
Frequency Response A frequency response measurement reports the output levels of a DUT when stimulated with different frequencies of known level. The simplest of all frequency response measurements consists of only two or three tones, the ﬁrst near the middle of a DUT’s usable Typical set-up for measuring the ‘Big Six’ – in this case, the ‘DUT’ is an AV receiver frequency range, and followed by a tone near the higher extreme of the range and sometimes a tone near the lower extreme. Assuming the tones are all generated at the same level, the DUT’s output levels describe its response to these different frequencies. Full-range frequency response measurements can be made by a number of different methods, the classic being a sweep of a sine wave from the lowest frequency in the range to the highest, with the results plotted on a graph. A ‘ﬂat’ response describes the shape of a graph where the DUT responds equally at all frequencies, producing a trace with a slope of 0 and with minimal variations.
THD+N THD+N stands for Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise. Harmonic distortion and it is the unwanted addition of new tones to the audio signal. These tones are harmonically related tones to the original signal: when the signal is one sine wave of frequency f1, harmonic tones are f2, f3 and so on, at integral multiples of the original tone. Total harmonic distortion is the sum of all of the harmonics measured in the DUT’s bandwidth. Why THD+N? Why not just measure THD (the distortion) and N (the noise) individually? Well, in the pre-FFT days of audio measurement it was difficult to measure the THD by itself, without the noise, but it was relatively simple to measure the THD and the N together. So the accepted techniques handed down from years past specify THD+N, because that’s what was practical. In addition, THD+N is a convenient and telling single-number mark of performance, widely understood and accepted. The measured THD+N of a device will vary with the measurement bandwidth. You will almost always want to restrict the measurement
David Mathew is a senior technical writer at Oregon-based AP
bandwidth using high-pass and low-pass ﬁlters, and you must include the bandwidth used when you state the result. THD+N is typically measured and reported in a 20Hz–20kHz bandwidth. The measured THD+N of a device will also vary with level and frequency of the applied signal. Audio THD+N is typically measured and reported at a mid-range frequency (1 kHz or so) at either the device’s nominal operating level or at its maximum output level. The remaining three tests – Phase, Crosstalk and SNR are tackled in the second half of this article, which can be found at www.psneurope.com/bigsix
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P20 JANUARY 2017
TSL PRODUCTS/CINELA PIANI-SPS200
What is it? Described by the company as the “ultimate virtual reality recording package”, it enables surround sound and VR content creators to capture high quality, immersive sound with minimum of handling and wind noise to complement their images. Details: It consists of TSL Products’ SoundField Standard SPS200 mic slotted into the Cinela Pianissimo windshield, which contains ﬂexible inner extensions using SoundField’s original connectors, maximising the isolation of vibration and noise handling. And another thing… The microphone can capture SoundField B-Format, surround and stereo simultaneously, is powered by standard 48v phantom power and incorporates four low noise, studio grade condenser capsules. www.cinela.fr
What is it? A large-format, active line array platform equipped with polyurea-coated 18mm multiplex wood enclosures and ampliﬁer rain covers to make it ready for all types of events, including outdoor festivals and concerts.
What is it? New in-ear headphones with a specially developed high-frequency resonator, which expands the frequency response upwards and reduces the undesirable peaks at the same time.
What is it? A range of DSP ampliﬁers in an installation targeted, contractor friendly package, says the company.
Details: VIO’s L210 full-range line array module features two high-powered 10” woofers with 2.5” voice coils and a 1.4” compression driver with a 3” voice coil. VIO’s S318 subwoofer is a low-frequency module with three 18” woofers in a compact enclosure. Two of the S318’s woofers are half horn-loaded and one is front loaded, and they feature mechanically-aligned voice coils for LF phase response. And another thing… An integrated 3-point rigging system offers precise adjustments and fast, one-person setup while VIO’s specially designed transport carts speed system load-in/load-out. www.dbtechnologies.com
Details: Silver-plated cables provide as little resistance as possible to the sound ﬂowing through. They are coated with Kevlar and were tested in 40,000 bending cycles. Gold-plated MMCX plugs ensure good contact, fast and easy replacement and mean the product can withstand years of outdoor use under the harshest conditions. It will be available from February. And another thing… Countless silicone casts were made, heads measured and computer data evaluated so that the Xelento remote nestles into the wearer’s ear. This has resulted in anatomically shaped eartips in seven sizes – from XS to 3XL. www.beyerdynamic.com
C SERIES AMPLIFIERS
Details: Comprising three 4-channel and three 8-channel models C Series ampliﬁers all offer full featured DSP control and an optional Dante interface in a compact 2u chassis with a tamperproof front panel. There is additional third-party control via the built-in contact closure, fault relay, RS232, RS485 and TCP/IP interfaces. And another thing… The ampliﬁers can operate on any supply voltage from 100 to 240 volts, and the design ensures lower current draw and thermal dissipation. “This efficiency is one of the reason’s we’re able to deliver our power ratings with all channels driven, even with a sine wave source” explains Ben Ver, Linea research’s engineering director. www.linea-research.com
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P21 JANUARY 2017
MEASUREMENT MICROPHONES What is it? A series of calibrated measurement microphones, which are free-ﬁeld, pre-polarised systems combining mic capsules with low-noise preampliﬁers. Details: The family includes two half inch and two quarter inch measurement mics, as well as an occluded ear simulator. Each measurement microphone and microphone system is TEDS programmed to the IEEE 1451.4 standard for SMART transducers. And another thing… The company says pre-polarised mics offer a lower cost per channel (cabling, power supplies, and preampliﬁers), are better suited to environments with changing, or high humidity, and offer reduced set-up and test time owing to easy access to CCP power, interchangeability with other CCP sensors and measurement efficiency. www.ap.com
What is it? A small membrane condenser microphone for use in the studio or live recording, which is suited to all kinds of instruments, can capture orchestras and choirs ﬂawlessly, as well as overheads for drum kits, the company says. In addition, the microphone will perform well on a lectern or in a radio/TV studio, where its small size is an advantage. It is made in Sweden.
What is it? A complete, small form factor PCB that allows for rapid development of Dante-to-analogue endpoints. Manufacturers can use this module in a variety of small footprint enclosures with analogue connectors to bring ﬁnished products to market.
What is it? A new stand for the company’s d:screet SC4098 podium microphone for architects, AV consultants, system integrators and installing electricians.
Details: It has a low noise transformerless pre-ampliﬁer and can be used with two different, newly developed, capsule heads (cardioid and omni). It can be purcahsed with either capsule head or both. And another thing… It has a durable black chrome ﬁnish and is delivered in a shock- proof carton tube with enough room for both capsule heads. The 1820-T clip is included. It can also be ordered with windscreen and shock mount. www.pearlmicrophones.com
DANTE ANALOGUE OUTPUT MODULE
Details: It supports one RJ45 Dante input, and one or two balanced analogue outputs. The module can receive audio channels from a Dante network and provide studio-quality, low-latency audio via balanced output connectors to analogue audio equipment. Any audio available on the Dante network can be routed via the outputs to an ampliﬁer, powered speaker, mixing console or digital signal processor. And another thing… Other features include compact form factor, complete board for rapid product development , one or two output channels and supported sample rates of 44.1 Hz, 48kHz, and 96kHz. www.audinate.com
Details: Designed to be placed on a table or podium, or attached to the ceiling or even the wall, the microphone base is available in two colours - black and white - and comes with either a MicroDot connector, an XLR connector, or unterminated leads for connections to Phoenix blocks. And another thing… To help installers choose the right microphone and base, DPA has assembled a range of kits, each containing a different connector solution. For tabletop applications there are three kits consisting of a black base and a d:screet SC4098 with a 45cm (18”) gooseneck, while for ceiling applications there are three kits consisting of a white base and a d:screet SC4098 with a 15cm (6”) gooseneck. www.dpamicrophones.com
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P22 JANUARY 2017
The strategic position: Megahertz
Megahertz CTO Steve Burgess looks at the challenges for the OB truck builder/integrator – and explains why times have never been busier
here are several OB truck builders in the business – NEP Visions, Arena TV, Gearhouse Broadcast – but it’s systems integrator, Megahertz, who’ve had a particularly busy 12 months, building a host of different vehicles types in the areas of news gathering, national sports coverage and even camel racing. Dave Robinson invited Steve Burgess, CTO at Megahertz, to identify common themes and trends in the market, to talk about the evolution of mobile broadcast units and explain why DSNG trucks are still the content gatherer of choice in the ﬁeld... Steve Burgess: With the increasing variety of different technologies becoming available to transport high quality broadcast media, one would have thought that the market for the traditional Digital Satellite News Gathering vehicle (DSNG) would be diminishing. Certainly, more sites are being served by ﬁbre, which can offer a much lower operating cost than satellite links; and with bonded cellular connectivity, deployment can be faster and simpler. However, nothing can beat the reliability of a satellite link, either as the back up to a high proﬁle event where the main path is via ﬁbre, or in the case where the cellular network coverage is patchy, which could be in built up or in remote areas anywhere in the world. These factors may help to explain why Megahertz Ltd has delivered more DSNG-type vehicles in the last 12 months than any time in its long history.
More compact, more complex Many of the challenges of building DSNGs have remained the same since Megahertz started building these vehicles in the 1990s. Systems Integrators need to be equipment contortionists and possess a professional aptitude in squeezing the maximum amount of kit into a conﬁned space, whilst ensuring the equipment is cool, the operators are warm and that the vehicle is under its gross vehicle weight limit. This is of course, on top of ﬁnding the best of breed solutions that meet the broadcaster’s technical, budgetary and futureprooﬁng requirements. There is no doubt that equipment is getting physically smaller for the same processing power. In the early days, encoders alone would ﬁll 6RU of rack space and now they take up just half of 1RU. The very ﬁrst OB vehicle we built, for Muslim TV, comprised of satellite equipment that occupied 46RU; we can now achieve the same functionality in just 2RU.
BBC 1 trucks
Of course, technology is now moving quickly away from bespoke hardware processing to IT-based processing; however, off-the-shelf IT equipment isn’t generally designed with mobile broadcast vehicles in mind, so it’s up to systems integrators such as Megahertz to source, test and recommend the most robust and most reliable versions available, as well as mount them in a way that will prolong life expectancy in an environment where endurance for ﬂuctuations in temperature, vibration and humidity levels from day to day, is critical. Although broadcast systems are certainly more compact, on the ﬂip-side, as vehicles acquire more safety features, lower emissions and better fuel economy, the chassis generally become heavier with internal systems. This leaves us less payload for technical equipment. In addition, because vehicle manufacturers’ internal systems have become more complex, there are more challenges and considerations to make when it comes to interfacing.
BT Media & Broadcast van
achieved Mercedes approved body builder status, warranting direct access to Mercedes’ technical resources and documentation as well as to its vehicle
Having long-established relationships with vehicle manufacturers helps manage such interfacing challenges. Such partnerships mean that an integrator can inﬂuence design and access crucial technical information freely. For example, Megahertz has
specialists to consult with on speciﬁc aspects of the design. Obtaining a status like this also allows us to gain fast approval to modify a vehicle on behalf of a broadcast client.
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P23 JANUARY 2017
Inside the second UHD vehicle that Megahertz delivered to BT Media & Broadcast, which was based on 4 x 3G-SDI interconnections
History! The very ﬁrst OB vehicle Meganertz built for Muslim TV
From single-operator to box body mobile units
4K/UHD is picking up
Over the last 12 months, the team at Megahertz has delivered a wide variety of DSNG vehicles. The low-cost, higher volume end of the market was made up of mostly IP-based shoot/edit VSAT (‘very small aperture terminal’ - a compact satellite station, effectively) based on Mercedes Vito or VW Transporter-sized chassis. Typically, these trucks are designed with a single operator in mind, usually for live breaking news situations; someone who will drive the vehicle, shoot the material, edit and send the package back to base via satellite or bonded cellular. As the skills of the operator are mainly focused on acquiring and editing the story, rather than the technical operation of the DSNG, smarter technology needs to be built in to the vehicle to make the operation as straightforward as possible. For example, a single button-push can instruct the satellite dish to locate and peak on the satellite and satellite operators back at base can take remote control of the functions of the vehicle from there. The core of these vehicles is IP-based which means that once the media is on the network, it can be sent back to base by the most efficient transport stream available. But, traditional, mid-sized and large production DSNG vehicles are still the most popular. Mercedes Sprinter-based vehicles with on-board generator, large satellite dish, enough space for 2-3 people and a small amount of production equipment are commonplace; and those larger production units covering, say, big sporting events or high-proﬁle music festivals are built on vehicles such as the 7,000kg Iveco Daily panel van, or the Mitsubishi Fuso with a box body to accommodate three to six cameras, graphics, slow-motion server and separate sound operator.
The requirement for larger bandwidth transmissions, i.e. for UHD/4K, is another emerging trend this year. This is no surprise, seeing as the Cisco Visual Networking Index of June 2016 estimates that by 2020, not only will 40 per cent of installed ﬂat-panel TV sets be UHD, up from eight per cent in 2015, but UHD (or 4K) IP VoD will account for 21 per cent of global VoD traffic. In August this year, BT Media & Broadcast hit the road with the ﬁrst OB vehicle in the UK able to transmit multiple HD and UHD/4K visions via simultaneous ﬁbre and satellite. The vehicle, which primarily covers highproﬁle sporting events, was designed and assembled by Megahertz. It is capable of transmitting media both through its roof-mounted, Ku-band, satellite antenna and via BT’s own ﬁbre network, which connects over 150 major sports venues and news outlets across the UK. At the IBC show, three visions of live UHD/4K content of two rugby matches were passed through the one vehicle in three different manners over two days, one of which involved the use of the new Ericsson HEVC encoder and one of which saw the truck run HEVC over satellite. We believe this was a world ﬁrst. TES52 is the second UHD vehicle that Megahertz has delivered to BT. These types of UHD projects however have been based on 4 x 3G-SDI interconnections. Single link UHD is possible with 12Gb/s coax or ﬁbre, but the future is deﬁnitely IP in this scenario.
Custom builds Of the 36 vehicles by Megahertz over the last 12 months, a couple of the more unusual projects were delivered to the Middle East. We supplied a ‘chase’ car, built for the coverage of camel racing and other
WE SUPPLIED A ‘CHASE’ CAR, BUILT FOR THE COVERAGE OF CAMEL RACING AND OTHER SPORTS. BASED ON A FULL-SIZE LUXURY SUV MERCEDES GL500 AMG, WHICH CARRIES BOTH THE CAMERA OPERATOR AND COMMENTATOR...
STEVE BURGESS sports. Based on a full-size luxury SUV Mercedes GL500 AMG, which carries both the camera operator and commentator, the vehicle is ﬁtted with a Cineﬂex stabilised camera on the roof. The main video and audio is linked back to the OB via a 2GHz COFDM transmitter ﬁtted in the rear. The return video to the chase car is via an inexpensive DVB-T transmitter operating at UHF and the communications is via VHF radios.
Early days for IP Megahertz has also seen increasing requests for IP-based OB vehicles, but it is still early days in terms of vendor technology interoperability. The current landscape is made up of single-manufacturer solutions who have large R&D budgets to develop IP workﬂow tools rather than the more ﬂexible mix-and-match scenario that is currently the norm around HD-SDI installations. And while video over IP is without a doubt the future of broadcasting, it is still a few years away from being the universal standard. www.megahertz.co.uk
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P24 JANUARY 2017
The strategic position: Neutrik UK
Along for the Ryde On an express visit to Neutrik UK on the Isle of Wight, Dave Robinson learned all about the status – and statistics – of the booming connector maker
t was Neutrik UK’s 30th anniversary in 2016. The factory in Ryde on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of the UK mainland, produces 60,000 etherCON connectors per week, as well as 70,000 powerCON chassis. The facility, on the site since 2004, is capable of producing 250,000 pieces per week. “We’re running at about 200 to 220 thousand at the moment,” says managing director Chris Arnold. It’s the late summer of 2016, and Arnold – at the company for some 27 years, but not the longest-serving employee, oh no – is PSNEurope’s host for this factory visit. He is, from the off, very much a man who knows his business. Particularly in a numerical way. (“But when you are running with such tight margins, you have to know the ﬁgures,” he emphasises later.) Neutrik UK serves two roles: it’s the subcontracting manufacturer for the Neutrik AG parent in Liechtenstein, and supplies and distributes all Neutrik products to the UK and ROI markets. Additionally, the outﬁt is the European distribution hub for Neutrik’s Rean “budget” connector range (Chinese-made components). But – Arnold notes – if it says Neutrik on the box, it’s made either in a small landlocked European principality nestling between Austria and Switzerland, or on an island in the English Channel. The ‘Swiss-made’ association still goes a long way. Neutrik AG celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015, and has established itself as the world’s leading brand for quality connectors, right across the entertainment industry – audio, video and more. From the notion in the mid-1970s by company founder Bernhard Weingartner
The factory employs 160 full-time, plus temporary staff when required
(L-R) MD Chris Arnold, stock controller and sales & marketing administrator Lynn Charlton, and business development manager Andy Croucher, near Ryde pier, summer of 2016. Note tube train pier shuttle!
that the ‘XLR’ connector of the time could be seriously improved, Neutrik produced it’s one billionth XLR in 2015. Though still based in Weingartner’s Liechtenstein, Neutrik now has subsidiaries around the world (USA, Japan, France, Hong Kong, China and Germany). The Ryde operation performs all the soldering work for the whole group, as well as putting its completed goods in the aforementioned boxes. “We package everything with European air, no vacuum packing,” notes Arnold. No, ‘European air’ is not a short-hop carrier operating off the Isle: he means the stuff in the atmosphere. “Some of the piece parts go back to contract manufacturing in China, and where they’re made of quality nickel silver, they tend to tarnish quite quickly [because of China’s air pollution issues].”
Hence, packed with European air here, the parts won’t tarnish when unpacked in Asia, suggests Arnold. All goods are shuttled between AG and UK by road and ferry: pieces arrive on a Tuesday from Liechtenstein via Southampton and the Solent, then the truck returns with completed goods (“18 palettes at the moment”) on a Thursday. The IoW facility work on a four to ﬁve week lead time for the whole process: building, bagging, labelling, and ﬁnally shipping. How come the IoW office does this work for Neutrik AG? It’s a long-standing arrangement, says Arnold: the UK buys in the piece parts from AG, builds the connectors and sell it back, all at a Swiss franc rate. Then pieces to be sold to the marketplace are bought by Neutrik UK at a GBP rate. “That’s the way it’s always been,” explains Arnold, underlining that it has proven to be the best way to minimise exchange rate issues. The Isle of Wight wouldn’t be ﬁrst choice for most manufacturing businesses. Arnold takes a breath: “It’s a long story…” Technical Projects, he recalls, was a company acquired by Neutrik AG but based in Westminster developing test sets for broadcast applications. In 1986, an offer was made by the IoW Development Board and the TP directors took it, moving
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P26 JANUARY 2017
The strategic position: Neutrik UK
Hundreds of completed XLR connectors, ready for bagging
WE ARE 30 YEARS OLD AND WE’VE GONE FROM SEVEN PEOPLE TO 160 – THAT’S ONE MAJOR SUCCESS STORY FOR 2016!
CHRIS ARNOLD the operation to Cowes (the town on the north of the island famous for its yachting) in return for six months’ free accommodation and other perks. Arnold joined what had then become Neutrik UK in 1989 as a test engineer. The company was expanding and moved to Ryde in 1991, ﬁrstly to a former potpourri factory (“It smelled very nice!”) where the semi-automatic assembly lines were installed. With
staff levels numbering 50 by the Millennium, further investment was required. “We bought the current Ryde plot in 2002, then we had a change in leadership – and it became my project to build the ﬁrst part of the factory, and we moved in in 2004” he says. Space became tight within months due to the continued growth of the operation, leading to a second 2010 expansion: “And we’re already planning the third one.” Neutrik UK is in the top ten biggest employers on the island (after the NHS, the government, and engineering companies such as GKN and British Aerospace). “We are 30 years old and we’ve gone from seven people to 160 – that’s one major success story for 2016!” smiles Arnold. What’s more, the company has only had to make three people redundant in 28 years because of operational changes. “We’ve always found work for people.” Arnold has been at the company for 27 years, but is not the longest serving? “The quality guy – he’s been here 30 years next April. He was here right at the beginning. We’ve got a lot of long-serving employees – the production manager, he’s been here 25 years. The ﬁnance controller 21 years and some of the shopﬂoor workers have been here 20 years.” The subject of Brexit inevitably arises. Arnold reveals that after the referendum, the exchange rate plus surcharge levied for buying parts from AG (as mentioned earlier) went up by 14 per cent after the EU referendum, so his margins had decreased by 14 per cent. “I can’t live with that forever,” he warns. “At the moment, it’s all about productivity, when we’re running on these tight margins.” He discusses how increasing the awareness of staff has increased productivity; equally, how, by his simple calculations, it can be shown by knocking just
30 seconds off the working day, it would clearly reduce the number of components completed by several thousand. “You have to be efficient,” he insists. “You have to be.” The last time PSNEurope spent any amount of time with the Neutrik team, it was for the launch of the Xirium digital wireless system. (So impressive was it, PSNEurope made a short ﬁlm showing it in use.) Xirium uses Neutrik’s own DiWA (Digital Audio Wireless) protocol in a system of base units and modules which add up to a discreet, compact and attractive way for transmitting audio at live events and presentations. Arnold is very pleased to report that the Xirium Pro is now with us: it’s built in Liechtenstein, and it’s a major improvement. “It works in the ISM, Industrial Scientiﬁc and Medical band, 5GHz, so it’s clearer. It’s efficient and it’s got an iPad app to support it. So if for any reason you lose the signal, you can see why. “You can tune the antennas for maximum gain, and it is more plug’n’play than ever. It has good battery life, it’s IP54 ready and a lot more robust. We do it as a starter kit of a transmitter and receiver and two aerials. “We’ve already had some success with that, we did a Tom Jones concert at Aintree using it!” While Xirium Pro has potential for growth, unexpectedly, the imminent project that represents the largest opportunity for Neutrik UK is from a totally different sector to pro audio. “It’s a very big industrial application for Hilti: we’re going to produce power leads for their tools,” says Arnold. “Hilti recognised that goods were mainly being returned for repair with a broken power lead. Just like your [clothes] iron breaks at the cable entry point, that’s what happens with the power tools. So Hilti have commissioned Neutrik to come up with a plug and socket, which makes the lead replaceable by the customer rather than the vendor.” A simple idea, and yet one never implemented until now. “We moved into data by producing Cat-5e and Cat-6a connectors; that’s already a ‘little bit less pro audio’. But, that’s where the growth is: new markets in the industrial sector. We shall no doubt be employing people with experience in that sector too.” Arnold, of course, has done the numbers: the Hilti deal could represent “348,000 pieces per annum by 2020” and will be a gateway to new markets and new possibilities for the 30-year-old outﬁt. After the visit, PSNEurope discovers a quote relating to the purchase of the land where the factory now stands. “One million and 71 pounds” say the notes. Surely, that was meant to be £1.71m, and Chris Arnold mixed up his words? An email from Arnold later conﬁrms: “1,071,000 was the exact ﬁgure.” Of course. Never doubt Mr Arnold when it comes to his numbers. www.neutrik.co.uk
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P28 JANUARY 2017
Crossover stars The increasing crossover between pro-audio and MI technologies is one of the deﬁning manufacturer trends of the last few years. David Davies hears the reasons for – and implications of – the R&D crossover
rom an R&D perspective, it makes perfect sense. From a customer point of view, the beneﬁts can also be substantial, if not always quite so easily delineated. But there is no denying that the last few years have witnessed an unprecedented degree of crossover between the pro-audio and MI spaces in terms of both product development and marketing strategies. Monitor systems, in-ear monitors, microphones, mic pres and interfaces are among the most salient examples of this crossover tendency, although there is also evidence of uniﬁcation around plug-ins, DAW software, video/podcasting solutions and more. The most obvious beneﬁts – chieﬂy, optimisation of expenditure on R&D work and the ability to cover a wider range of end-users with a smaller selection of products – don’t require elaborate explanation. But there are other, more debatable implications, such as the possibility of a fresher and more comprehensive approach to market research that may pick up on some aspects missed by a more niche-oriented approach to individual sectors. To ﬁnd out more about the pro-audio/MI crossover – the, “if you will, prosumer crossover” (as This Is Spinal Tap’s Marty DiBergi might say) – PSNEurope put some key questions to three leading industry voices: Martin Dockree, country sales manager – UK and Ireland, Pioneer DJ Europe; Tim Riley, director of brand development at POLARaudio, distributor of brands including beyerdynamic, Biamp, Mackie and RenkusHeinz; and Martin Warr, MD of Synthax Audio UK, which distributes brands such as interface/converter specialist RME and headphone company Ultrasone.
headphone market, for example, some years ago professional footballers started to emerge from coaches wearing Audio Technica ATH-M50, beyerdynamic DT770 pro, and other headphones that had previously been classed as ‘professional’. At that time certain people sat up and took notice. “As consumer markets become saturated with ever more hyped products that are clearly average at best
1. The ‘prosumer’ crossover – is it genuine? DOCKREE: “It’s deﬁnitely happening. Our entry-level products like DDJ-RB [portable controller] and WeGO4 [software controller] are doing really well in some of the high street multiples alongside the PLX-500 turntable and DM-40 speakers. We even put together our DJ Starter Pack bundle, which contains speakers, headphones and WeGO4 controller all in one box to give the customer everything they need to start DJ-ing.” RILEY: “If further proof was needed that ‘prosumerism’ was everywhere then surely the success of Amazon with what our industry would consider to be ‘pro’ type products is testament to the fact that any selling platform is open season with regards to sales. In the
THE SIGNIFICANT DRAWBACK OF DESIGNING A PRODUCT ONCE AND THEN TRYING TO SHOEHORN IT INTO VARIOUS MARKETS IS THE LACK OF FOCUS ON THE FINAL APPLICATION... MD of Synthax Audio UK Martin Warr
MARTIN WARR SYNTHAX AUDIO UK
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(take a bow all you celebrity rappers with a headphone brand!) then a discerning buyer will inevitably gravitate towards quality. It’s at this point that quality, or what could be seen as professional, becomes consumer.” WARR: “As a brand RME are always striving for the best price performance ratio when delivering product to speciﬁc markets. Historically our products have been designed with the pro audio market in mind, and do not cater to the consumer market by design, often being regarded as a bit technical and industrial looking
Martin Dockree from Pioneer DJ Europe
3. What are the beneﬁts – and drawbacks – of a more uniﬁed approach to R&D?
2. What are the primary factors driving ‘prosumer’?
for the home. At the high value end we still see the two markets’ requirements as very different. However, there have been examples of RME product that did ﬁnd favour in high-end consumer applications (such as HDSPe AIO in high-res streaming for domestic music servers) despite RME not marketing speciﬁcally to that market. Interestingly, we have just released a new ADC called ADI-2 Pro, which we fully expect to sell well in both pro-audio and high-end consumer markets, and we will promote to both markets accordingly. “I would say that resistance has traditionally been by the consumer market not willing to accept that a pro product (which doesn’t always look as pretty) is nevertheless equal to or even superior in functionality to the consumer equivalent. I think pros have long been more willing to use a consumer product (speakers, for example) if it served their purpose to get the job done. I do think these barriers are slowly eroding, but we are in the ‘education’ stage at present. High-end consumer reviews still sound surprised that a pro-audio brand could produce something that lives up to their exacting standards!”
were looking for home electronics.” RILEY: “I think it’s the slow descent of quality in mass market products. Clearly the more you sell the more you need to manufacture, and when that happens it comes down to economies of scale. If a Chinese manufacturer is offering to make your product for half the price you’re currently paying you’d be mad not to at least consider it. So what I believe is driving the development of a ‘prosumer’ culture is the quest for quality in the face of average components, sloppy quality control but essentially great design. They may be poor products but they always look stunning!” WARR: “Converging technologies outside our industry. [Speciﬁcally] things like tablet manufacturers attempting to get us all to believe that you can do every task on a tablet that you used to do on a desktop. Therefore, RME’s Fireface audio interfaces, which were the very ﬁrst to offer multichannel audio in and out of a tablet (perhaps useful for surround sound playback of ﬁlms), may have inadvertently become crossover products. However, their cost relative to the cost of the tablet itself has tended to prohibit them taking off as a viable ‘accessory’.”
DOCKREE: “The explosion in popularity of dance music. The scene is now generations in and schoolkids are being exposed to DJ and club culture through everyday TV/magazine/online/social media advertising campaigns for all sorts of FMCG brands and products using the ‘cool’ of the DJ to market their products. This gives everyone a taste of the DJ experience, kids and adults alike, without them ever even stepping inside a club or festival – and naturally they start looking in the same places for this technology as they would if they
DOCKREE: “The beneﬁts are obvious. It turns a niche business into a strong commercial business and also gives it longevity. The only drawback I can see is [that] the commercialisation takes away some of the cool.” RILEY: “The drawbacks will inevitably be that the pro products that attain high sales will suffer by being mass produced. How many times have we seen the quality of products that we’ve all known and loved for many years do a nosedive when manufacturing has to respond to higher sales? As recording studio numbers decrease the music produced to a releasable point in DAW situations
The DDJ-WeGO4 is pitched as a computer accessory by Pioneer DJ Europe
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P30 JANUARY 2017
POLARaudio’s Tim Riley
increases. This will inevitably mean that a crossover selection of equipment used in a home studio will suffice. Call me a cynic but there won’t be many U87s used in your average garage!” WARR: “Obviously if R&D can design one set of electronics or software for a product, which then sells into multiple markets there should be some cost-saving for the end-user. But since each new generation of technology offers more functionality for less cost to the end user anyway, this R&D cost saving is only what the consumer expects. The signiﬁcant drawback of designing a product once and then trying to shoehorn it into various markets is the lack of focus on the ﬁnal application, and therefore severe risk of compromise in design. A generic ‘middle ground’ product ends up no longer satisfying the true professionals, while simultaneously becoming too complicated for your average non-technical consumer. I think we can all think of a few examples of this in both directions from big companies right now!”
end-user who considers himself or herself to be either discerning and to some extent professional or at least has aspirations to be so. We must never underestimate this lucrative section of any market.” WARR: “The obvious example is the ADI-2 Pro, which is a super high end ADC and DAC with two beautiful headphone preamps, and a plethora of professional features including separate EQ on every channel (separate left and right EQ even for the headphone outputs), DSD recording, playback and monitoring capabilities, and RME’s rock solid reputation when it comes to computer connection and sound quality. This was originally designed with those who require the highest possible ﬁdelity in audio reproduction from a computer, perhaps mastering engineers and their like in the professional world. But interestingly, with its astonishing headphone preamps, this unit is already ﬁnding favour with the audiophile consumer community as a DAC for playback from domestic high resolution audio servers, and also as a headphone preampliﬁer for those seeking the ultimate headphone experience.”
5. Finally, what are your prosumer predictions for 2017? DOCKREE: “I see signiﬁcant growth provided the offering isn’t too complicated. Products need to be intuitive for the end-user to keep them engaged and want to upgrade, rather than lose interest.” RILEY: “I think that if you have a brand that is respected you can do pretty much anything you want. Beats are an ideal example of a brand that are the clear winners in this ﬁeld and have lots of lessons to teach us if we’d only listen.
“The existence of a ‘prosumer’ market can be proven by the fact that Beats bring out a consumer headset and they then migrate to what could be called prosumer. Next they get all ‘pro’ with extended dynamic range and muted colours, and ﬁnally move into wireless in-ears with a vengeance. “One of the more silly but obvious reasons Beats have done so well is that they are clearly visible from 100 yards away. Therefore if you are wearing them, you’ll be seen and so will your headphone of choice. Selfperpetuating marketing! “Sadly in-ears cannot be as easily seen and they consequently don’t make that ‘statement’ that the wearer wants so badly to convey, so a way to make in-ears (which cost far less to manufacture) more popular will be on the minds of all major headphone manufacturers this year.” WARR: “I think any manufacturer who produces single products and then tries to sell them to multiple markets runs the risk of falling between two stools and satisfying neither market. Therefore, I predict the trend from sensible manufacturers will be to leverage the same technology in different markets, utilising the same product innards and software, but packaging them differently for the different markets. This would include changes to the industrial design, the precise functionality made available to the user, the style of documentation, and of course the marketing approach.’ www.pioneerdj.com www.polaraudio.co.uk www.synthax.co.uk
The beyerdynamic DT770 pro
4. A current product from your range that has achieved a level of crossover… DOCKREE: “The DDJ-WeGO4. We pitch it as a computer accessory as it allows tactile control over DJ software applications on smartphone and tablet as well as laptop, devices that are commonplace with every consumer. Our HDJ range of headphones and DM-40 and SDJ-X speakers also do well for the same reason; they’re great sounding accessories to listening to music on any device even if you’re not using them to DJ with.” RILEY: “The beyerdynamic DT770 pro is a product that falls into that section I mentioned earlier. A deﬁnite crossover product that was never originally manufactured to do what is asked of it today. The extraordinary sales of this product mean that it’s not just professionals who are using them. It’s back to that
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P34 JANUARY 2017
Watch out! From dealing with 95mph gusting winds on a live broadcast, ‘Badger-geddon’ on Springwatch and ensuring the lion pride was not attracted on set with pre-recorded sound, Louise Willcox has a treasure trove of stories. Sarah Sharples discovers the adventures the former BBC sound supervisor has been on
ouise Willcox has a long list of credits to her CV after working at the BBC for 28 years and as a freelance sound supervisor and location recordist since 2006. As a trainee she worked on the longest running radio drama The Archers. She then went on to mixing live television music show Pebble Mill and worked as a sound recordist on TV drama Doctors as well as Big Cat Live, which was ﬁlmed in Kenya. Impressively, she has been the sound supervisor on almost every season of Springwatch and has worked regularly on Autumnwatch and Winterwatch. She has also mixed at Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games and Premier League football matches. Her interest in sound goes back to her childhood – sparked by a documentary on Abbey Road Studios – and her father playing around with quarter-inch tape machines (tragically, he was killed in an accident when she was only 13 years old). Despite Willcox failing her music ‘A’ level, an overheard conversation led her into a career she loves…
How did you get into sound and why? My brothers and I were making a lot of music, so I was always standing at the back of the hall saying ‘Turn this up’ and ‘Turn that down’, while they played. I also watched a lot of television and listened to radio so worked out that they must need sound designers too. That said, I took all the wrong exams! I went the music route, but should have taken physics. I failed my music A level – I could get a tune out of anything, just not up to Grade 8! In 1977, I took a quick secretarial course and got into the BBC as a shorthand typist. One of my managers heard me talking about mixing my brothers band, and asked me
These pigs are playing!
‘Do you want to do sound?’ and got me an interview. The feedback was that I knew a lot of operational stuff, but I didn’t understand enough physics, so I took a night class. The BBC interviewed me again six months later and I got through! So, after 12 months of being a typist, I managed to move across into a BBC audio unit. I had to move to Birmingham where, effectively I did a mentored apprenticeship.
Tell me a bit about your career to date… I was in a BBC Network Production Centre audio unit, which worked across radio and television, studios, post and outside broadcasts. If you worked in Birmingham, you had to work on The Archers, so six days out of every four weeks, there were four people working on the serial. Mixing a big live television music show called Pebble Mill was hardest I’ve ever worked; three live
bands per show. I was sound recordist on the ﬁrst two series of BBC One’s daily TV drama, Doctors and it’s still on air. It was quite ground breaking at the time – we recorded up to 16 pages of dialogue a day, which is very fast in comparison with most TV drama. I became a television sound supervisor in December 1990. In April 2006, my ﬁrst freelance job was to dub Doctors for about three months – which I thought was wonderfully circuitous!
Springwatch has been running for over 10 years. How long have you been on it and how did you get involved? From its conception, I’m lucky enough to say! In 2003, there was a TV programme called Wild In Your Garden planned for Bristol. This show evolved into Britain Goes Wild with Bill Oddie from Devon, then
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Look away if you’re scared of spiders
Watch programme presenters Martin Hughes-Games, Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham
Springwatch two years later, at the same location. With the exception of SW 2011 – when a new director came in – I’ve been sound supervisor on the series. I was asked back for Autumnwatch 2011. When I ﬁrst turned up on this Wild In Your Garden OB, they had put cameras in bird boxes, but didn’t tell me. It wasn’t thought worthy of mention – to them it was just a shot. I did have stereo mics for birdsong around the feeders in the gardens, but nothing in the bird boxes. So, in Devon the next year, we put (Sony) ECM 88 personal mics in every bird box that had a camera. Live sound is always possible, you just have to make an effort – and have the budget! We’ve been putting microphones wherever we have wildlife camera ever since.
Describe what it’s like to work on the show… It’s a pleasure. I sit there thinking I can’t believe I am paid to do this. With Springwatch, the job starts by working out where the infrastructure has to go to get the wildlife camera and sound signals back to main site. The engineering manager, the Gareth Wildman [Great name! – Ed], plans that infrastructure, and I then work out how many mics, what type and where we’re going to put them. I use the wildlife ﬁbre infrastructure to transport up to ﬁve stereo atmosphere mics for use behind all live presentation: to hear the ﬁrst cuckoo, or booming bittern live. All the feeds come back to the one sound desk – roughly split left and right. Left side manages the
Willcox on deck for Big Cat Live recording
wildlife feeds, right side is my mix to air. Wildlife sent to multitrack sends post EQ/dynamics pre fader, for marrying in a matrix – the size of which varies depending on how much we’re covering. When birds ﬂedge or die we take that kit out and put it somewhere else – we had ‘Badgergeddon’ the second weekend in 2014 at Minsmere. A badger literally ate all of our waterfowl ‘characters’ on the ‘Scrape’. That caused a massive re-rig! One of the three crew is employed solely to manage the wildlife
audio rig (Tim Hunt, ex BBC Bristol, and Casualty recordist). He does this exclusively during the day – rigging the mics, routing to the broadcast truck from the ﬁbre hub, setting levels/EQ-ing on the broadcast desk, ensuring the correct mics are married to the correct cameras in the two matrixes; then he joins the other two sound people, so that I have three on the ﬂoor – one for each presenter. The guarantee on the truck manages the communications that I’ve planned. There are
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One still has to get the overall gain structure right, and you still have to mix, but it’s a really helpful tool.
What are your thoughts on large furry mic shields versus omni-directional personal mics?
Big Cat Live was the show Willcox found most challenging
generally ﬁve duplex radio channels, three IEM channels and four simplex, as well as a Riedel talkback system to plumb-in around the main site – editors, production office and dubbing suite.
How has the series developed over the years? Around 2006 we beat late evening Big Brother’s viewing ﬁgures with one of our innovations: a BBC Two daily, late-night, live show, called Nightshift. No presenters – just live wildlife pictures and sound from our wildlife cameras, with a graphic ticker of emailed comments from the public. Someone then had the bright idea that, if everything was already switched on 24/7, what if we made it available to live stream on the BBC website? By 2009, it was the norm for us to be providing four live web streams – there were reports of bankers stopping trading to watch the last Blue Tit ﬂedge! Then we started doing Red Button transmissions with Springwatch Unsprung. An audience hastily ﬁled in, audience mics un-cut, small PA system activated, boom operators in position, animals brought into the studio – starlings perching on boom ops heads was not uncommon and, most recently, some shows played-out by live music!
What are the biggest audio challenges when ﬁlming? Presenters Simon King or Martin Hughes-Games diving, or abseiling down cliffs, or presenting an item from in a tree canopy are some I can think of. But for me the biggest challenge was on Big Cat Live – we had two Land Rovers following the lion pride and a family of hyenas. The cameramen and comms engineers said there was no point putting microphones
on the Land Rovers – said we wouldn’t hear anything interesting, and that hyenas would eat our cables. We ignored them and we got the most fantastic sounds; lions having stand-offs with hippos which no one had heard before; hyenas cackling at each other, and crunching through carcass bones! I put a few stereo pairs out for general atmosphere, one only 100m from my ‘sound gallery’ tent. I could hear chomp, chomp, chomp every so often, and when I brought the mics in for the night I found a hippo had completely devoured all the grass around the microphone stand. I could see the tripod imprint where it had stood – mic and stand left completely untouched! I was also told not to play any VT insert sound that had lions on it on the small fold-back speakers on the set, because it would attract the pride of lions into the set! Very large red pen used on my script, telling me which VTs to cut fold-back on – never had a direction like that before or since!
Favourite piece of equipment and why? Calrec make what I consider to be the industry standard live sound desk – it seems like they are designed by people who have done the job. I guess that 98 per cent of all outside broadcast trucks and studios I work in have a Calrec sound desk of one type or another. I love them! The auto-mixer built-in to the latest Apollo and Artemis series desks is really helpful. If you have a one plus seven interview, where contributors are speaking at widely differing levels, the auto-mix can react far faster to back off spill of a loud male onto a quiet female’s microphone than I can.
On live shows, in my opinion, personal mics should always be ‘on top’. All personal mics have different grades of windshield, but sometimes, outdoors, even their own discrete ones can’t cope with the wind speed. Then, the only alternative is a windshield like the Rycote Windjammer. Fluffy windshields like these are great, aurally, in high wind, at making a personal mic usable. Visually, however, they are pretty awful, and if there’s one thing a TV sound supervisor is trained to do, it is to try to keep the sound rig as visually ‘low impact’ as much as possible. No can do with a Windjammer! Rycote now make smaller versions – the Ristretto – and they also do them in a selection of colours. So, if your presenter is wearing a bright green puffer jacket – à la Chris Packham – Rycote have a Ristretto that matches that perfectly, and I now look for sound assistants who have an eye for style. I have to say, ugly as they are, they have ensured that the ‘Watches can keep broadcasting on several occasions. The last time being the ﬁnal show of Winterwatch 2016, where the wind gusted up to 95mph, and where our director insisted that our presenters be outside in the weather for the ﬁrst 15 minutes of the show! There is a shot of Chris Packham camera left and Michaela Strachan camera right. Her hair is horizontally being blown further camera right. We came out of a short VT to these two trying to speak to each other. They could just about keep their eyes open in the howling wind and sleet, but, after a slightly muffled start, I’d ﬁltered out up to 200Hz on Michaela’s mic – wind blowing directly into her chest, Chris’s mic in the lee of his shoulders – I could hear every word she was saying! Without that Windjammer, she would have been inaudible. I believe Rycote have downloaded that show.
Sound can be a very male dominated area. What’s your advice to other women? There are no obstructions whatsoever for women coming into this industry. I think the thing that can discombobulate women in broadcasting is coping with the repercussions of it being a 24/7 industry. It’s something that can be coped with, and taken advantage of, with enough thought and life planning. I’ve had a fantastically, varied, entertaining job, with only one day in 30 years that I’ve hated. These days, the varied job that I’ve been lucky enough to have may not exist, but there are still broadcasting sound careers in areas both men and women can love – sport, light entertainment, drama. www.dwrassociates.co.uk
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Kroeber is queen in Brighton Ann Kroeber, sound effects wizard and pioneering woman in audio, made a big impression at last year’s The Sound of Story symposium. Kevin Hilton caught her presentation and talked to her about 30 years of work in ﬁlm
he Sound of Story, billed as an Sound recordist and queen of sound effects Ann Kroeber speaking at The Sound of exploration of sound and music in ﬁlm Story in the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre Photos: Adam Bronkhorst and programme making, was staged in Brighton during November 2016 for the third year running. The now three-day event included workshops on Foley and sound design and talks by sound designer Paul Davies and composer Matthew Herbert. Both the main symposium and the new Women in Sound forum featured sound effects doyenne Ann Kroeber, who spoke about her work and experiences as a woman in a still male dominated business. Introducing this year’s symposium, Emily Kyriakides, senior producer with the organiser – culture agency Lighthouse, said in three years The Sound of Story had grown not only within the UK but also internationally through an event in The Hague. She described the Women in Sound programme as “a great addition”, with support from Creative Skillset and AMPS. “During the selection process we were both impressed and encouraged by the excellent work being done by women across the country,” Kyriakides commented. “It’s clear there is plenty of talent, Speakers at the ﬁrst Women in Sound forum. (L-R): Catherine drive and passion out there.” Hodgson, Judi Lee-Headman, Jo Jackson and Ann Kroeber In addition to Ann Kroeber the line-up featured supervising sound editor Catherine Hodgson, whose credits include The King’s Speech and Atonement; sound recordist, she discovered an intuitive aptitude sound editor/ADR mixer Jo Jackson (Long Walk to with audio. “I was given this Nagra and as soon as I put Freedom, Suffragette); and sound recordist Judi Leeon the headphones this world just opened up,” she said Headman, whose varied 20-year career includes TV during her presentation. productions such as Holby City and The Bible. The move into feature ﬁlms came when Alan Splet Speaking to PSNEurope after her symposium offered her a job on The Black Stallion (1979). Splet had presentation, Ann Kroeber said she enjoyed being part established his reputation as a sound editor working of the Women in Sound forum: “It was really great to be with David Lynch on Eraserhead; he and Kroeber quickly with all those technical women. I was amazed at Judi formed a working relationship that, six months after Lee-Headman, from what I hear she’s one of the great meeting, led to marriage. production recordists and she’s such a strong person. I “We worked together like two kids in a sand box,” she have incredible respect for that.” said. “It was exciting – we had a kind of chemistry in our Kroeber admits she has had some “painful” episodes sound sensitivity that was exciting and funny.” in the US as a woman in the sound industry but says her Both Kroeber and Splet recognised the importance experiences have been much more positive in Europe. of sound effects and the need to record and mix sounds Kroeber started out in ﬁlm at the United Nations in in ways different to what was offered by the stock New York. After her boss suggested she tried being a libraries.
Over the years the couple built up a collection of effects, from Splet’s work with Lynch on Eraserhead to joint projects such as Dead Poets Society, The Elephant Man, The Mosquito Coast and Blue Velvet to Kroeber’s own contributions to many other ﬁlms, including The Horse Whisperer. These form the basis of the Splet-Kroeber Library, much of which has been digitised, with nearly 2TB of sounds. A feature of Kroeber’s effects work is her use of contact mics, particularly the FRAP (Flat Response Acoustic Pickup), which she saw demonstrated on a BBC programme she saw while ﬁlming The Elephant Man. “I thought I could use it to record sound effects,” she said. Her presentation included examples of such work, including a recording of a Slinky that sounded like a laser gun and an iron recorded with both a FRAP and a Schoeps stereo mic. “There’s so much you can do with sound effects,” Kroeber observed, illustrating this with clips from Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The English Patient. “You can hear the same sound and it can be so useful for something so different, depending on what you’re going to use it for.” Kroeber is recognised for her skill in recording animals, while Splet’s speciality was winds. “That was Alan’s fascination,” she said. “I think winds are lovely too and I love using them in movies. They can be so evocative, the depth of the wind, the way it’s blowing. It can really affect the mood of a scene. Alan was fascinated by winds and he was a master at recording them. They’re hard to record but he perfected it.” One hundred of these recordings will feature on a forthcoming CD release by Pro Sound Effects. “I’m really happy to make it available to people so they can try to use them,” Kroeber commented. As well as her own scheduled contributions to the programme, Kroeber attended the other presentations and asked questions or made observations during most of them. A report on these sessions will feature in next month’s PSNEurope. www.soundmountain.com www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/the-sound-ofstory-2016
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Steerable sound isn’t just about being heard, it’s about being understood.
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Carol kings B&H Sound tackles Ely Cathedral’s centuries of echo, writes Phil Ward
f you stood forty-one EMT 140 plates end to end, they’d stretch as long as the nave of Ely Cathedral. But, sound engineers take note, their combined reverb time wouldn’t even come close. As echoing ecclesiastical icons go, Ely is up there with the best and quite rightly engenders a hushed reverence in all who enter. Good job, too. You wouldn’t want any shouting. As you can imagine, Christmas here has a rareﬁed bearing. Even the secular seasonal events are prim and polite, embroidered with prayer and properly associated with good causes. Like, for example, A Festival Of Carols, organised by The Cambridgeshire Freemasons in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and featuring heartwarming turns by The Choristers & Gentlemen of Ely Cathedral Choir, guest soloist Laura Wright, yuletide readings and poems, and a children’s choir named, in a rare helping of jaunty mirth, The Ely Imps. So apart from 20 or so very high voices, the sound reinforcement has to take account of a male choir, a piano and the euphonious Ms Wright. The cathedral organ is left to its own devices, of which there are many. On the whole, the mix is like trying to squeeze a hot-air balloon into a matchbox, so the choristers, gentlemen and ladies of Ely must have been very grateful that expert ministrations were on hand. Based in Peterborough, B&H Sound Services was founded by MD Brian Hillson in 1987 with an initial focus on location recording. Live sound and general event support soon followed, however, as a natural adjunct to Hillson’s committed involvement in The Salvation Army and other religious organisations. As video and projection bolstered the inventory, bigger premises were secured and the recording business was sold on as a separate entity. Today the corporate events, concerts and worship proceedings are as varied as people and music can be, and the emphasis is on ﬂexibility and scalability from small conferences to sweeping festivals. Sam Lynam is business development and project
Sing, choirs of angels… a little later on
Ely Cathedral to tackle the delicate job of delivering the programme to every seat in the house without setting off a tsunami of reverb around a building whose medieval stone is still vibrating from the squeak in Cromwell’s armour. To this end several d&b Y10p and Y7p 2-way passive speakers were chosen, crucially powered by d&b’s D12 ampliﬁers with their onboard delay settings. “These speakers have a very narrow dispersion and they’re 14m apart, projecting very directly at the audience to avoid reﬂections,” explains Lynam. “They also blend in really well. For the delays we measure out to the front set of speakers and time-align to those, using the delay function in the D12s to convert the metres to milliseconds. I then walk the nave to listen myself, not just relying on the numbers, and I have the iPad app for the Yamaha QL1 mixer to adjust the levels.” Further seating is provided for this concert across the transept and is served by two K-array KB1 portable line arrays owned by the Cathedral. “We sold a small system to the Cathedral for services and speech,” Lynam reveals, “but to deliver to the whole venue the high-quality vocal and piano accompaniment that Laura adds we needed much more. She speciﬁed a Shure UR2/SM58 transmitter
Soloist Laura Wright rehearses with a wireless Shure UR2/SM58
manager, a role that has taken on extra signiﬁcance since the acquisition of B&H by the SFL Group, the Reading-based full service rental company and now an approved d&b audiotechnik dealer in the UK. “That’s really opened a lot of doors and made my job a lot more effective,” Lynam says, adding that B&H is to retain its identity completely under the new deal and act as a new dimension to the group with recognised expertise in house-of-worship applications. Not surprisingly, he and the team of Jamie Aston and Dan Bowater installed several d&b loudspeakers at
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(L-R): Dan Bowater, Sam Lynam and Jamie Aston
Shure MIcroﬂex gooseneck on the foldaway lectern
with the UHF-R receiver, and on the piano there are two AKG C3000s – again to transfer as much direct sound as possible down the nave and suppress the reverberant waves. It’s not so much mixing as creative muting…” A tiny patch of sound absorption is provided by the cloth ‘antependium’ that falls from the lectern, but it’s a small token: the gooseneck Shure Microﬂex has to
be mounted on a boom stand as the lectern itself is a ﬂimsy, foldaway wooden frame. “We have to blend the natural acoustics of the organ with the choir, so we have four AKG SE300 B overheads with CK98 riﬂe capsules to give them that little boost – especially with an audience of 2,000. There are sightline issues too so, unusually, two of the overheads are at the
side. It’s a typical cathedral: the curved stonework and the very high ceilings create a low-end rumble, so we have to be very careful what we’re pushing into it. A tiny amount of feedback will go a long way in here.” In the end, Ely Cathedral proved the perfect echo chamber for B&H Sound’s crisp, dry delays – a use of natural resources alongside electro-acoustic artiﬁce that EMT founder Wilhelm Franz would have appreciated fully. www.bhsound.co.uk
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The four-day Festival Nördik Impakt. Credit: Jacob Khirst
Kyu systems creating curiosity abroad The market for sound reinforcement loudspeakers is competitive for manufacturers, but this French company is making its mark with its product’s directivity control, reports Guillaume Schouker
n the booming and harsh world of the live industry, many sound reinforcement loudspeaker manufacturers claim their products have precision sound, maximum directivity, ﬂexibility, durability, ease of use and feature their sonic signature, whether it is for touring or ﬁxed and permanent installation. In this very competitive market, the ‘best’ sound is the key word. A French company has made its way, slowly but surely: Kyu systems. This SR loudspeaker manufacturer is located in Normandy, within the city of Caen, and was ﬁrst created in 2010 by Thierry de Coninck, Romain Cahu, David Hoffmann, Jérémy Anne and Marc Weyant. Today, the company is a subsidiary of SAS Audiotech rental company. Kyu systems managing director, Marc Weyant explains: “The name of Kyu is simply the phonetics of “Q” or quality factor, a term used by acousticians.” He adds: “The company employs just two workers, with all the jobs surrounding the manufacturing of the outside cabinet works being sub-contracted. Only the assembly part of the components, ﬁlters, loudspeakers and waveguide are produced within our workshops. I personally deal with the QT [quality control] before packaging. The R&D are carried out now mainly by David Hoffmann and me.” Romain Cahu used to be part of the team, but has moved to other projects since. ”Other stakeholders are involved in speciﬁc jobs in research and development in particular, mechanics,” says Weyant. He reveals that: “The principle of Kyu systems rests
The crowd goes wild. Credit: Jacob Khirst
on the index of directivity “DI”, which wants to be the most homogeneous as possible and the most correlated with the frequency. All in all, any accident of directivity is avoided, so that the environment [of reﬂected sound] does not colour in a destructive way the sound emitted by the speaker.” He adds: “A speaker system emits a threedimensional ﬁeld which depends on the nature of the transducers, the slopes and the cross ﬁlters, as well as possible delay correction networks, which are electronic or DSP. This electronic correction acts only in one twodimensional ﬁeld, it would be vain to hope to correct an acoustic problem with an electronic solution. All our
work is based on real measures in 2D and 3D, which we confront with simulations of BEM FEM [based on the structure of ﬁnished elements].” He mentions: “Another important point which constitutes the DNA of Kyu systems is the research of the smallest denominator concerning the harmonic distortion of odd row. We do not select the transducers, which claim to have the most output, but those which display the lowest harmonic distortions. We prefer the polymeric diaphragms to the metal ones. In general the Klippel GmbH diagnostics in audio systems help us in decision making.” Weyant states that: “The credo of Kyu systems
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company is the effectiveness and the speed of installation. We have the easiest and fastest line array systems to install whatever the environment, and with only one or two persons. Thanks to the patented polarisation actuator, it is the angles that are in conformity with the prediction and not the reverse. Because the angles are adjustable continuously with an accuracy of 0.25 degrees.” He recalls: “Each manufacturer has developed their own acoustic wave guides, and we patented ours in 2005 – a convergent unicellular acoustic lens ‘UCAL’, which is the spinal column of our line sources. By the way, this one has inspired a very wellknown European manufacturer. “There is no difference in the development of the systems dedicated to the ﬁxed installations such as concert halls, theatres, and that of rental companies. On the contrary, you may have noticed that our product range is very succinct, however it satisﬁes all the areas we carry from the smallest to the largest stages. Why should we propose a plethora of acoustic devices if we can control directivity? The rest is only a question of scale.” In October, during the four-day Festival Nördik Impakt, an independent and electro music festival in Caen, Kyu systems were installed in two of the three concert halls. In Hall 3, one could see line arrays with 24 Kryter12, plus 8 Tk36 sub-woofers and 16 Xo15. In Hall 1 were placed 24 Kryter10, 6 Tk36 subs and 6 Xo15. In addition to those two large concert venues, Le Cargo hall also featured Kyu systems. Ro15 series are being added to Le Cargo’s permanent installation this month. Weyant says: “More and more concert halls ask us for demonstrations of our diffusion systems in view of a replacement and this is very encouraging.” Adding: “Curiously, Kyu systems technology arouses more great interest abroad then in France where the market comes down to three or even four major trademarks.” www.kyu-systems.com
The Little Big One With the original Uniline, APG revolutionised the industry with true modularity and the ultimate beneﬁts of scalability. Now, APG’s Uniline Compact delivers those same beneﬁts in an ultra-compact format. From intimate venues to mid-sized shows, APG’s Uniline Compact is the one system that will cover it all without any compromise on sonic performance.
The line arrays in action
UNILINE COMPACT SYSTEM UC206W - UC206N - UC115B
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Jon Lemon on the recent ** tour in North America Photo credit: Vic Wagner
The juice from Lemon Highly respected sound engineer Jon Lemon – in demand for major tours around the world for the likes of Beck, Depeche Mode, Seal and many more – dropped into London earlier this year. Between dates for Lana Del Ray and Sia, he squeezed in an interview with Dave Robinson
You were in the UK in the summer – what brought you here? Jon Lemon: Three reasons. One was for the 40th birthday celebrations of HHB Communications; the second, a friend’s wedding; thirdly, to catch up with all at Britannia Row.
Then you went home to your nice new mixing room? I didn’t go directly home. First, I did a festival run with Lana Del Ray in Europe, before jumping on a few shows for Sia in the US. Then I went back to my new house down near McLaren Vale, on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, where I’ve built a dedicated mixing room for various projects. I’m trying to spend the summer months down in Australia and head back to San Francisco in March when the touring season starts.I’ve started mixing singles and albums for young Aussie acts and have had mild success. I want to hone that more over time and I thought the best way to achieve that was to have an acoustically solid space to do it in.
How did you get started in live sound, Jon? That all started in South Australia when I was about 14 and had to go to a YMCA event where my sister helped run a nightclub for under eighteens. I helped the guy with the two columns of PA load in up the stairs. He was a professor of electronics at Adelaide University, named Trevor Marshall – who, incidentally, went on to invent
certain ﬁlters for ARP synthesisers. But he got me ﬁrmly interested in the whole PA thing and I started working for him on weekends. Then my intention was to go to law school, but as that started to happen I was diagnosed with a rare eye condition called Stargardt disease [which causes macular degeneration], so that was it: sex, drugs and rock‘n’roll for me! I worked around Australia for several years with different bands and got serious about the audio thing. I ended up working at [rental company] Jands Production Services, before moving to the UK in 1984 to do a tour with John Williams and Sky, and from there I never looked back.
Which three artists have you enjoyed working with the most? Mark King from Level 42 taught me so much about the value of rhythm. Then Robert Smith from The Cure because he made me understand the value of a really well written song. Finally, NIN’s Trent Reznor because he was a hard taskmaster who pulled the best out of me and made me really reﬂect on how I mix.
You have earned tremendous respect in the live community, and have won, or been nominated for, many awards over the years. Why do you think that is? I’m good at buying people drinks! No, I’m being ﬂippant. I don’t know why, but another thing Mark King taught me was to be nice to people in the industry and they
will always look after you. I’ve always tried to do that and to build teams around me, because nothing in this wonderful world of audio happens without a big team effort and collaboration.
You’ve been a big DiGiCo user for many years: what was your main desk before that, and why the love of DiGiCo? I was always a Midas guy, the XL3 and the iconic XL4 of course. But in 2003, [ex-Midas] Bob Doyle and Dave Webster got involved with Soundtracs and the D5 Live was born. Once I saw that and understood the implications for my work, I immediately got involved. I had one of the ﬁrst prototypes. The guys at DiGiCo – John Stadius, James Gordon and the team – were always so responsive in the early days to the needs of the sound engineer. Consequently, along with many others, I had input, which started appearing in various versions of the software. The upshot of that is it always feels familiar to use – it’s comfortable like an armchair in front of your ﬁreplace at home. Not to mention their consoles just sound great!
What’s your approach to preparing for a gig? Number one for me is being familiar as possible with an artist’s music, so listening to their albums, remixes and YouTube clips. I usually try to talk with the artist to ﬁnd out what they want out of their live show, rather than just imposing my thoughts and ideas. If you can get to a point where it just
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becomes a great collaboration, that’s when things get more special and you’re fully invested in their vision. I always arrive with the basic session and the tools I suspect I’ll need, but I’m happy to change it up as rehearsals and early shows change.
What are the essential plug-ins/outboard you couldn’t do with out? (up to three items) Number one: Waves MaxxBass outboard box. I haven’t done a gig without one in over 10 years. Number two: Waves SSL bus compressor. Number three is the Waves C6 multiband compressor and I have to include the Rvox vocal compressor in that chain. Give me one more? The Waves NLS summing plug-in, which has become essential.
What is your involvement with Adelaide University? When I’m spending the summer months in Australia, I am involved with the new Sia Furler Institute of Modern Music and Media Studies as their ﬁrst artist in residence. I’m there to talk to the kids to let them know about the real world and how hard you have to work to get anywhere in this business.
…and the South Australia Music Development Office? The Music Development Office is a great programme by the SA government to encourage and promote all aspects of the music biz, from management through to publishing, songwriting, producing and engineering. I recently helped them spec out a couple of writing rooms; I called in favours from companies like Røde mics to help equip them. The Office has announced the ﬁrst ‘Jon Lemon, artist in residence’ programme, where young songwriters, producers and engineers submit applications to spend time in the studio and I help them.
What one thing would you like to see improve in the live/touring world? I’d like to see more real world education for all technical disciplines across the board. I would like the ‘higher-ups’ in our industry to realise that artistic endeavours are not just a vehicle to make money, but the focus should be on delivering the best show possible to fans.
We want to see a band in your home city Adelaide: where should we go, and what’s great about that venue?
Lemon and company founder Ian Jones at the 40th anniversary party for HHB Communications Photo credit: Chris Taylor
Weirdly, I have never really liked going to gigs when I’m not working, whether in San Francisco or Adelaide. However, last year in the Aussie summer I had my friend Dave Kob come down to Adelaide and he was mixing Fleetwood Mac at the smaller (25,000 capacity) stadium and I enjoyed it so much. I decided right then and there that I had better go to more shows – mind you, he’s an incredible engineer! Also last summer, Pablo Boothroyd was down there with AC/DC and we had a ball at the show. It appears my summers in Adelaide offer the chance for me to catch up with friends and see some great shows as a relaxed punter… who’d have thought that would happen! www.jonlemon.com
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Anastacia with guitarist DeeRal Aldridge (left) and Orefo Orakwue on bass
Avid assists Anastacia in hitting the ‘Ultimate’ high notes Just before she renewed her proﬁle courtesy of the BBC’s Strictly, the American songwriter/performer hit the road for a major European tour
aving sold over 52 million records and topped the charts in multiple countries across the world, pop superstar Anastacia is back on the road celebrating her catalogue of hits on the Ultimate Collection Tour. During the summer of 2016, the ﬁve-month European theatre and festival tour took in multiple stops in the UK, Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe. After completing a host of world tours with multiplatinum artists, including Pink, Jessie J, Joe Cocker and Sade, front of house engineer Chris Madden supported the recent Anastacia tour with the Avid VENUE S6L. “VENUE is my favourite console hands down,” Madden says. “Everything I’ve done since 2005 has been on Avid, working on D-Show and Proﬁle, and pretty much everything I’ve done this year has been on the S6L.” Madden initially tested the S6L in his home studio and instantly knew he was in good hands with the live mixing console. “I was immediately aware that it made everything sound incredible. I ran some previous show ﬁles that were recorded on a Proﬁle system at 48k, which I upscaled. Even though I hadn’t yet done a gig or recorded any material on it at 96k, the console sounded great!” Madden’s ﬁrst show using the desk was in February 2016 with pop starlet Jessie J, for a performance on the Swiss TV event Art on Ice. “I’ve always completed great shows on Avid Proﬁle desks and the VENUE S6L is no different. Avid desks just sounds better than everything else, period! I plug it in and the clarity is instantly there.” His workﬂow on the S6L is “tremendous” and the of navigation “so smooth”. “I’m never a button press or two away from where I want to be,” he says. Running the VENUE S6L-32D, with the muscle of the
E6L 192 engine, Madden explains how much more time the console gives him back in the run up to a show. “The S6L is just so much quicker – everything is where I need it to be straight away. The Anastacia tour was a big 60-input production designed for theatres, and thanks to the advanced processing power and track counts available it was ﬂawless in performance and recording every channel directly to Pro Tools every night. I currently only have one HDX card in my console with a possible max of four and I wasn’t pressurising the card with the amount of plug-ins I use at all.” During the Prague stop-off of the Ultimate Collection Tour, there was an extra treat for the audience as a full orchestra joined the production for one night only. The orchestra prepared their own arrangements of Anastacia’s hit-ﬁlled set list. Madden continues: “Because of time constraints, another mixer joined the fold in Prague and was backstage solely mixing the orchestra on another console. He sent me through 10 or 12 extra stereo input stems, which the S6L handled easily thanks to the high channel count. It was a really special show on the tour.” Madden describes the Virtual Soundcheck on the desk as a “life-saver”. “For this tour, we had a very short rehearsal period, so it helped me save hours of prep and pre-show across the tour. The fact that I’m able to switch out from live to Pro Tools playback so quickly and easily without going offline and restarting the console is just brilliant: the desk does all the hard work!” For vocals, Anastacia used a Sennheiser SKM 5200 with MD 5235 capsule (as did female backing vocalist Maria Quintile) with male backing vocalist and guitarist DeeRal using an MMD 945 head on a 2000 series
The artist played a host of dates between April and August 2016
wireless system. An extensive collection of evolution e9XX mics were used for the musicians and drummer. Following the tour – which was supplied by Clair UK (formerly Concert Sound) and featured Horst Hartmann on monitors – Madden mixed a live album of material recorded from the many dates travelling. “Once the discussion was had about making an album, I recorded and archived every show for the rest of the tour and I set up various mics to capture audience ambience at 96k. That’s a lot of data and a lot of shows to record, but the S6L performed, no sweat.
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couldnâ€™t be prouder of my part in it.â€?) Anastacia has announced a further UK leg of the tour in 2017, following her appearance on the BBC One prime-time show, Strictly Come Dancing. Madden will once again be joining her supported by the VENUE S6L. â€œI really am appreciative of Avidâ€™s hard work thatâ€™s gone into the development of this console, getting it to such an incredible standard. Iâ€™m looking forward to future shows and tours as this incredible technology develops and advances.â€? Â„ www.anastacia.com www.avid .com
The view from the FOH positionâ€Ś
Weâ€™ve been through the desk mixes of each night of the tour and weâ€™re almost there with the versions that will be used. Thanks to the S6Lâ€™s faultless integration with Pro Tools, the option to record every show wasnâ€™t even questioned!â€? (At press time, the album had just been released: on Facebook, Madden posted: â€œIt would appear Iâ€™m making
records again and I really, really enjoyed the whole process. Great artist, great songs, great band, great management and hopefully a great time had by all with a great result. [The] album was released this weekend and I
..and the view of the FOH position
GLASGOW | 18-19 JANUARY, 2017 " "" """'#!" ' " " !%! !! # " !"!" "! !%! % "! ' & "! """" $ !"!
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Invisible audio installation by CGA Integration at The Balcom, Soﬁtel London
Hotels are demanding audio systems that are ﬂexible but discreet to help them create the right ambience. Sarah Sharples checks in on the sector
hile sound systems in hotel rooms can be pretty standard these days, there is a growing emphasis on quality audio for the restaurants, bars, lobbies and spas, as customers demand more. Hotels are also becoming more aware of the importance of audio, says Chris Gunton, managing director and founder of CGA Integration. “Historically, audio responsibility was placed somewhere between IT and maintenance and no one actually took ownership of it, but this is gradually changing,” he comments. He adds that being a part of design planning is also crucial. “We always say to our clients that it’s key for us to work with the designer as early as possible in the project to ensure that the AV has minimal visual impact,” he says. “If you can integrate the sound system design with the interior design you can maintain a beautiful interior, whilst creating a beautiful sound – the two work hand in hand.” SSE Audio sales manager Ryan Thomas agrees that the industry places a lot of emphasis on design,
whether it’s refurbishing a listed building or bringing a recent build up to today’s speciﬁcations. “When we are briefed, a common request is to install speakers that are ‘discreet’ – for example, cannot be seen – but are capable of producing a quality output. They don’t want the audio installation to detract from the design.” Customer expectations have also grown as they often have good audio all around them; in their cars, on their phones and at home with television and home cinema surround sound, Gunton says. “Customers will know if the sound in a hotel is poor. Sound should be full and balanced and reﬂective of the mood you are trying to create within the soundscape you are in, which will vary for the many different areas of a hotel. Within spas for example you need a relaxing warmth to the low end but not a disco bass, but this will change as you move into conference facilities, or into the bar or restaurants or into the lobby,” he explains.
Discreet designs SSE Audio works closely with Bose on hotel
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installations, because of the style of enclosures they produce, while the brand is associated with quality in the domestic market, says Thomas. “This makes the brand attractive to hotels, who are keen to present a quality image. For DSP we have used the Bose ControlSpace ESP-880 sound processor along with the CC16 controller, which provides intuitive controls for hotel staff in an elegant enclosure,” he adds. The company has worked on a number of audio installations for Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group, who operate luxury boutique hotels in Scotland. The ﬁrst Manorview project was at the Busby Hotel in 2014, which underwent a £2.5 million refurbishment, including the installation of an integrated audio system to cover the bars, function rooms and all other public spaces. Thomas comments: “Manorview were keen for the audio to be low proﬁle and visually unobtrusive.” Bose speakers were installed throughout the public areas and the entire venue was matrixed together, so any audio source in the building can be routed to any speaker. This was achieved with a Bose ControlSpace ESP00 II DSP engineered sound processor. In total, nine zone controllers were installed, which allows staff to select audio source and adjust volume in each area of the building. Where a more full-bodied audio system is required – such as for live music in a large banqueting hall or ballroom – Thomas says the company has looked for options that will provide the necessary output, but that again can be hidden for view. “We have found Fohhn’s columns – that utilise compact line source technology – work well and can be either built in behind grills or
Chris Gunton, managing director of CGA Integration
CUSTOMERS WILL KNOW IF THE SOUND IN A HOTEL IS POOR. SOUND SHOULD BE FULL AND BALANCED AND REFLECTIVE OF THE MOOD YOU ARE TRYING TO CREATE WITHIN THE SOUNDSCAPE YOU ARE IN, WHICH WILL VARY FOR THE MANY DIFFERENT AREAS...
RAL colour matched with the surrounding décor,” he explains. “Using Fohhn, we can also use QSC Q-Sys ampliﬁcation and DSP, which is an option that we developed across a wide range of installations.” SSE is currently preparing to install a system into the ballroom at Manorview’s most recent acquisition, Cornhill Castle Hotel, where a Fohhn speaker has been speciﬁed, powered by Q-Sys. Paul Todd, SSE’s technical specialist has also developed bespoke touch-screen solutions, with a graphical plan of a hotel’s building, making audio zoning easy for venue staff. It enables a high level of automation, such as running playlists, which can be managed locally or remotely. SSE can also remotely access the Q-Sys system for fault diagnosis. For CGA, limited ceiling voids and zero visual impact was required when the company worked on the Soﬁtel London St James, which is English Heritage grade II listed, and combines traditional British design with a contemporary French style. Audio upgrades were required at the grand brasserie, The Balcon – which features private dining, the Charcuterie Bar and the St James Bar, inspired by the 1920’s Paris apartment of Coco Chanel. As a result, AIW 5x plaster in speakers were installed in the St James Bar and private dining areas, with the miniature K-array KZ-10 and KKS-50 in RAL spec colour matching for The Balcon and Charcuterie Bar. The system brain featured Netmax N8000 processor, CPS 8.5 amp, local controls, zone linking and 2012 ready Sennheiser G3 radio mics.
Creating the mood
SSE Audio did its ﬁrst installation for Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group at Busby Hotel, Glasgow
When people listen to warm rich sound with depth and clarity, it can envelop them with feelings of opulence and quality, like sinking into a big comfortable chair from which you don’t want to get up, comments Gunton. “Conversely, sound that is thin, scratchy and sharp is irritating and something you wish to shut out and move away from as quickly as possible. So getting the delivery of the soundtrack in a venue right is just as crucial as getting the right interior design and customer service,” he says. Gunton has had the opportunity to work on some special projects to enhance the customer experience. “It is always a delight to work with Michelin starred chefs, as we can reﬂect the attention to detail they demonstrate in their cuisine in the sound system we design and create…” he explains. “It is also satisfying to incorporate new technology into our sound systems to create real state of the art results. We have installed invisible speakers behind gold leaf, such as in The Balcon Soﬁtel London St James, and underwater sound in swimming pools in venues, including the award winning spa at the Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park and the Mandarin Oriental resort in Bodrum Turkey.” CGA Integration was also responsible for upgrading
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Hotel La Tour
The four-star, 174-bedroom Hotel La Tour is located in Birmingham city centre and had several meeting and executive boardrooms with an AV requirement when Reﬂex took on the project. The brief was to provide the practical necessity of AV, but reﬂect the hotel’s ambition to be leading edge in its design and technology. Ease of functionality was also a key objective. The hotel wanted clients to be able to just plug in their laptops and connect to the technology. Within the conference room, Ecler ceiling speakers and ampliﬁers were used for sound reinforcement. A central ‘communications’ room houses the racks holding the equipment for the entire hotel’s AV the sound system for the spa at Congham Hall, a privately owned Georgian Manor in the Norfolk countryside. When the company took the project on, partial wiring had been installed, but was not completed by a previous contractor. To get the mood right, CGA installed EV S40 in room speakers, which offered a smooth response, with soft dome tweeters for easy and fatigue free listening.
system, as there was no space for them in each area. This resulted in a huge amount of cabling – almost 10 miles of it. Andi Allan, senior design engineer at Reﬂex explains that one of the most innovative products installed was the C-Burn music library system with an Ecler audio set up. “Designed for the leisure industry it allows the easy management of music within different areas of the hotel. The system is ultimately ﬂexible, allowing different ‘moods’ and volume of music to be scheduled according to the time of day and location,” he says. “The speaker systems within the hotel are designed with the assistance of acoustic modelling software to ensure even coverage and appropriate volume levels for each space. The bar and gym have sub woofers for a more upbeat and energetic ambiance. Hotel La Tour receives 40 new music tracks a month, automatically downloaded.”
SSE Audio sales manager Ryan Thomas
audio system used to pull background music from a server might on another occasion need to accommodate a full live band PA. The more ﬂexibility that can be built into the audio set up whilst keeping operation simple, the better the value of the system to the hotel.” Recently, Pure AV completed a new video and audio distribution system in Twickenham’s South Stand Conference Centre and AV systems for the ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel at the O2 Arena. Marshall says that the project at Twickenham is a good example of a system designed to offer the client maximum ﬂexibility in the conﬁguration of their hospitality spaces. “The high deﬁnition video and audio distribution system is built to give the in-house AV team the potential to connect multiple HD source devices and display devices to any number of Cat6 points in multiple
Busby Hotel’s Bose ampliﬁcation and system control
Flexible audio Alan Marshall CTS-D consultant at Pure Audio Visual says audio systems should be ﬂexible enough to adapt to the different functions that the room needs to fulﬁll, yet be simple enough for staff to operate and reconﬁgure as required. “The speciﬁc demands on the audio will vary signiﬁcantly depending on where within the hotel the audio is situated. Many spaces have multiple uses; what is a meeting room one day might be used for food service or as an event space the next,” he remarks. “An
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Park Regis Hotel’s Rofutu Bar
Park Regis Hotel’s Fohn ampliﬁcation and Q-sys core
rooms throughout the venue. A number of Extron XTP matrices were used to achieve this,” he says. “The audio systems in all rooms have also been upgraded with Martin Audio loudspeakers to increase room coverage, intelligibility and sound pressure levels to cater for all types of functions and events.” Meanwhile, in the ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel, Pure AV were able to offer the venue a similar level of ﬂexibility, but due to the large scale of the space, this was achieved with a ﬁbre optic patching system, comments Marshall. This allowed external AV rental companies to traverse the vast expanse of the ballroom with audio signals, he adds. SSE also had to focus on ﬂexibility when installing a full audio system into Park Regis in Birmingham. The company was contracted to provide audio systems for the restaurant and cocktail bar, Rofuto, which occupies the entire 16th ﬂoor. The requirement was for an audio system that could provide background music for the diners and drinkers, but was also capable of delivering much higher volume levels for DJs and live performances. Thomas and Todd speciﬁed a QSC Q-Sys platform. At the heart of the system is a Q-Sys 500i integrated core that is able to manage all the inputs and outputs, provide signal routing, equalisation and level control all over a Cat5e network. In the restaurant, SSE designed an audio system that gives the impression to listeners that the sound comes from a single stereo source. A pair of Fohhn LX500 Line Array cabinets with a pair of Fohhn ARCS Series AS-31 subs were speciﬁed for placement either side of the bar
Hotels want a discreet look, so at the Park Regis Fohn speakers and subs were integrated into the furniture
at one end of the room. To minimise their visual impact and maintain the design ethos of the room, the cabinets were integrated into custom fabricated furniture built to SSE’s speciﬁcations. Further down each side of the room an additional two pairs of Fohhn LX 60 Compact Line Source speakers have been positioned to supplement the LX500s. Two additional Fohhn Series AS-10 subs were added at the rear of the room to provide additional bass reinforcement. Again, all the cabinets are integrated into the static furniture of the room to minimise their visual impact. Gunton agrees that the focus when installing audio is delivering the best sound system design and functionality for both staff and customers. “So often hoteliers may just request a system with all the ‘bells and whistles’ and this may well be over speciﬁed and consequently some of the functionality may never be used. It’s about understanding how the space is going to be used and creating the best ﬂexible AV system to deliver this,” he says. Gunton adds that there is a growing body of evidence, which supports the fact that audio affects people’s moods and emotions and can change the way in which they react and behave. “Audio is a critical strand in determining how hotel guests will feel when they experience a venue, not just at the time, but for many years to come, as music is also a powerful tool in evoking memories,” he says. www.cga-integration.co.uk www.sseaudiogroup.com www.pureav.co.uk www.reﬂex.co.uk
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Connect with the key players from the professional audio industry Over 60% of ISE visitors are responsible for purchasing audio systems
The presence of professional audio at ISE represents a success story within the wider context of the showâ€™s year-on-year growth. ISE is now the worldâ€™s largest AV systems integration show, with over 65,000 visitors participating. It is a key destination for those interested in the latest audio technologies, audio training and education opportunities.
Find out more: www.iseurope.org
Integra ated Sy ystems Events A joint venture partnership of
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Where the entertainment, media and technology industry does business
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P57 JANUARY 2017
Hither and quizzer The Nordoff Robbins annual quiz is quite the hardest pop quiz you’ll ﬁnd anywhere
Here’s the winning team from this year’s Nordoff Robbins Christmas quiz– We Thought This Was Speed Dating – who beat 19 other winners for the top spot. Yes, that’s Bob Stanley, formerly of St Etienne, on the left…
Spotted in The Bird’s Nest live music pub in Deptford: these two tipples are made by Signature Brew in Leyton London, who have a philosophy of putting “the highest quality beers … directly in the hands of music lovers”. I’ll drink to that!
…here, on the other hand is a team made up of journalists from Music Week, PSNEurope, CMU and Record of the Day. Still, we did come in the top ten. At position ten, in fact
Here’s Bruford Rose College student Harvey Allen with the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 interface he won at our PSNPresents event in November. Well done (again)
Master Station serves up to 24 remote stations
Connection of User Stations via LAN with PoE switches or via powered daisy chain lines Full color high-resolution displays 48 kHz / 16 bit uncompressed audio 4 Master Stations may be linked Remote Speaker Station
DIGITAL INTERCOM - CUE LIGHT CONTROL - GPO TRIGGER
Channels for Cue Light Control, GPO Trigger or Listen Only Full duplex intercom channels Program audio feeds over network
4-ch Master Speaker Station
FLEXUS is designed & manufactured by: ASL Intercom BV, Utrecht, The Netherlands www.asl-inter.com
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P58 JANUARY 2017
An audio primer From the Paintpot mic-preamp to the SoundBucket: Dave Robinson has a brush with the king of high-ﬁdelity, Crispin Herrod-Taylor
rookwood Audio Engineering was created in June 1992 by Birmingham University graduate Crispin Herrod-Taylor and his partner Penny. The company’s ﬁrst product was the Paintpot, a 2-channel. “Our mastering consoles are also highly regarded, both for their incredible ﬂexibility, and for their neutral sound character,” says Crispin. “We have probably made more mastering consoles than any other company worldwide.” In June 2015, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the SoundBucket, a colourful, hi-ﬁ quality portable Bluetooth speaker.
Crispin: you have quite the surname… Everybody remembers it!
But it was clear that digital was coming, and big consoles and studios were going to wane. I saw a huge role for sonically competent analogue kit that could integrate well with digital and I set up Crookwood to work on compact digitally controlled analogue gear.
Who are some of your higher proﬁle clients? Where does the name of your company come from? I chose the name of the farm where I grew up: Crookwood. It’s in rural Stonehenge-land where there is a wood shaped like a shepherd’s crook. Crookwood farm is in the Domesday book, making us the oldest name in audio! I’ve had a few raised eyebrows, because it contains the word ‘crook’, but we’ve been trading for nearly 25 years now, so I think we’re OK!
You went to Birmingham University... I studied Physics at Brum, because I wanted to know why, rather than how stuff worked. This all went swimmingly well until we got into quantum mechanics. As fascinating as it is, it’s a whole mindset away from everyday reality, so I focused instead on semiconductors and acoustics. But mostly I ended up at the Student Union running the technical events side…
How was Solid State Logic? There are certain points in time, where everything comes together; SSL in the ‘80s and ‘90s was such a place. I had the most brilliant time there, and met and worked with some truly expert and visionary colleagues and clients, who even 30 years later are worth their weight in gold. SSL had everything: fabulous products, wonderful R&D, challenging installations, and lots of cash which made anything possible.
Then you decided to start your own company. What did you think you could do differently? After SSL, I worked for (the new) Focusrite, and designed probably the last big format analogue console.
5.1, 7.1, Atmos etc without redesigning anything. Our gear is inﬁnitely expandable and upgradable, and built to be maintained. I hate planned obsolescence and throwaway culture.
Tell us about the Paintpot... This was our ﬁrst product – a portable, digitally remote controllable mic preamp. Pretty advanced for 1992! Running miles of cable from mic to console was a guaranteed way to lose quality, so we designed a mic transducer ampliﬁer that you could place next to the mics, driving the cables back at line level, yet operate it from the control room. People will remember it from the shape and colour, but it had a lot of interesting analogue technology in it...
What have been other key products from the company?
I am particularly thick when it comes to recognising names. I remember having a drink with Brian May in a bar at Metropolis during a Focusrite console install, and asking him if he played in a band… However, when we started to market the SoundBucket speaker, we thought we should see what artists our clients had worked with, and the list and our client list is incredible.
From Paintpot to SoundBucket: is this closing the circle? Ha! The SoundBucket is nearly where it all started: I designed a cylindrical speaker as part of a physics project back at Uni – cylinders have certain unique properties. The SoundBucket came about for lots of reasons, but I wanted to go back to my roots with Meridian Hi-Fi and make a competent contemporary small speaker that could work well equally in a studio, or a home environment. Oh, and my kids dared me!
What has been the response to the SoundBucket?
Our mastering/routing/monitoring systems are used widely around the world and have set the standard for efficient and sonically accurate production gear.
Excellent! We put the money into proper drivers, and good analogue design, rather than plastic and DSP, and it’s paid off. We’re still tweaking in response to user’s feedback, and there’s a lot to do to get them better known, but we’re really pleased with the results.
What sets Crookwood stuff apart today?
What of 2017?
Our gear is based on modular digitally controlled analogue processors. This lets us easily adapt products to meet a speciﬁc need: we change software and add processors, so we can add features or (for instance) go
Crookwood is 25 years old this year, and there’s lots bubbling: so many ideas, so little time – keep watching this space! crookwood.com
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Big thinking For smaller boxes
Game-changing innovations in coaxial speaker design At Celestion, we’re always looking to ﬁnd innovative solutions to the challenges faced by PA manufacturers. That’s why more and more forward-thinking brands are choosing to work with us. Take our coaxial drivers for example: unlike conventional designs, our FTX range uses a cutting-edge common magnet motor design to deliver big improvements in signal coherence and time alignment for a more natural sound from a very compact and lightweight speaker. Visit our website or contact us now to ﬁnd out more about our innovative PA driver solutions.
Find out more
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