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May 2017


Hear us roar! Men can achieve in pro audio: they just need to be as good as the women... Mandy Parnell and friends explain all P30 P8









An evolution in digital mixing Drawing on 30 years of digital mixing know-how, Yamaha’s flagship RIVAGE PM10 system continues to evolve with a new compact control surface, support for 400-channel single-mode optical fiber and V1.5 firmware updates including Eventide H3000 Live UltraHarmonizer and Dan Dugan Automatic Mixing plug-ins.

NEW CS-R10-S Compact Control Surface

For more information please visit www.yamahaproaudio.com

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ULTRA-COMPACT MODULAR LINE SOURCE Packing a 138 dB wallop, Kiva II breaks the SPL record for an ultra-compact 14 kg/31 lb line source. Kiva II features L-Acoustics’ patented DOSC technology enhanced with an L-Fins waveguide for ultimate precise and smooth horizontal directivity. WSTŽ 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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18/04/2017 12:26:34 10:19:13 10/10/2016

PSNEUROPE Editor Dave Robinson drobinson@nbmedia.com

Group Commercial Manager, Music Ryan O’Donnell rodonnell@nbmedia.com

Deputy Editor Sarah Sharples ssharples@nbmedia.com

Senior Account Manager Rian Zoll-Khan rzoll-khan@nbmedia.com

Content Director James McKeown jmckeown@nbmedia.com

Sales Executive Alex Goddard agoddard@nbmedia.com

Head of Design Jat Garcha jgarcha@nbmedia.com

Production Executive Jason Dowie jdowie@nbmedia.com


P3 MAY 2017

DAVE ROBINSON Editor Contributors: Kevin Hilton, Marc Maes, Phil Ward, David Davies, Marc Miller, Mike Clark Wes Maebe, Steve Harvey PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe to PSNEurope please go to www.psneurope.com/subscribe-tonewsletters-digital-editions should you have any questions please email subs@psneurope.com Please note that this is a controlled circulation title and subscription criteria will be strictly adhered to.

NewBay Subscriptions: The Emerson Building 4-8 Emerson Street London SE1 9DU Email: subs@psneurope.com 2017 subscription rates for nonindustry/non-European readers are: UK: £39/€62 Europe: £54/€86 Other countries: £106/$170

is published 12 times a year by NewBay Media Europe Ltd, The Emerson Building, 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street, London SE1 9DU www.psneurope.com

@PSNEurope NewBay Media Europe Ltd is a member of the Periodical Publishers Association Copyright NewBay Media Europe Ltd 2017 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of PSNEurope are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems. Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, NP12 2YA ISSN number 0269-4735 (print) 2052-238X (digital) Accreditations to memberships of industry associations and media partnerships

When you have finished reading this magazine please recycle it

Cover image: Mandy Parnell with her custom pink speakers. Photo credit: simonweller.com




ull disclosure to start with. Messe Frankfurt have paid for my trip to attend Europe’s most important pro-audio/MI event for about seven years. Which, you know, is rather flattering, and, on a practical level, reduces the PSNEurope expenses claim for April. I feel honoured, and, more acutely, our accounts department feels relieved of 700 quid. (I’ve been the editor for 16 years. Quite why it took someone at the Messe so long to invite me in the first place, well, I don’t know. But I’ll let it pass.) While I welcome and embrace the hospitality from the Messe gestalt, their generosity has no bearing on PSNEurope’s coverage of the show. There are always product launches, embargoed exclusives, strategic alliances, surprise appointments, significant sales and so on to report on. Writing about events at the show in PSNEurope is inevitable because, you know, stuff happens there. See page 8! However. Having returned from Frankfurt after what I’ve calculated to be my 21st visit, I find myself compelled to comment on the last three days. WHERE WAS EVERYONE? WHERE?! There was a peak on the Wednesday, when Musikmesse opened, but, other than that, it was NOT the Frankfurt we know. I got bored of people asking me, ‘What do you think?’ AND particularly bored of the letters I, S and E. Yet, strangely enough, I found myself questioning at least three brands on the Thursday – a mixing console maker, a portable PA developer, a high-end monitor company – and their response? Like an apologist open letter,:‘The show’s been good for us’. But, you know, not on the record. Of course. It was the crappiest Frankfurt show I’ve been to. It was! THERE WAS NO ‘VIBE’. Just like the Avnu Alliance (see p22), I welcome the Messe’s correspondence. And, for next year, the Steinberger Frankfurterhof is a very fine hotel. Just sayin’. In more important matters, read Sarah Sharples’ BRILLIANT piece about women in pro audio, starting on p30. n


Visit ams-neve.com/where-to-buy to find your local Neve dealer For recording as it’s meant to be heard, it has to be Neve - no question. www.ams-neve.com

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P4 MAY 2017





Business 6 7 8 12 14 18 22 24

Harry Potter sound designer wins Olivier Award What’s happening at the AES Convention The lowdown on Prolight + Sound 2017 Vocal channel: Nuno Fernandes Movers and shakers: industry appointments PSNTraining: what’s on Strategic position: Network alliances Q&A with PLASA boss Peter Heath

Technology 20 30 46


26 28

POsitivo recording studio takes on Tuscany See the wildflowers at YellowRattle studio

Broadcast 36 38

An appetite for AES67 in TV and radio Canford creates fibre termination business

Live 40 42

Entrepreneur Jim Sides’ new venture Eklektric Qu-32 is right at the heart of the sunrise

Installation 50 54

IPE’s stamp on studios and live production systems Margate amusement park gets makeover with SSE Audio

Back pages 57 58

Hither and dither Q&A: Eric Joseph

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21/04/2017 21:10

35 Years xy

d&b is 35. Vier is d&b. Werner ‘Vier’ Bayer is a Product Manager at d&b. He’s been on board since day one. “You dream of being somewhere, and then… most of it comes true. d&b is my life. Full of lunatics.” In 35 years d&b has evolved from a small garage venture to a worldwide standard in professional sound systems. It’s people like Vier who make this story possible, and just that bit different from the rest.

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P6 MAY 2017

West End Production of the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Photo credit: Manuel Harlan


Harry Potter sound designer part of Olivier Awards haul It’s a wizard of a win for Gareth Fry, writes Dave Robinson

It’s very exciting! It was a nice surprise: I thought Paul Arditti was going to get it for Amadeus.” So sound designer Gareth Fry told PSNEurope, following his victory at the Olivier Awards. Fry won the ‘Best Sound Design’ category for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which went on to win nine out of the 11 categories it was nominated for: a new record. The play also won best actor for Jamie Parker (who plays the adult Harry Potter) and best supporting actress for Noma Dumezweni, who plays Hermione Grainger. Fry says getting up on stage in front of 4,000 people in the Royal Albert Hall – where the Olivier Awards were announced on 9 April – was “very daunting”. Why was the play – note, not a musical – so successful?

“I think it’s because of the combined energies that the creative team brought to the show,” said Fry, who has won the Olivier Award on two previous occasions (in 2007 and 2009). “It was a difficult thing: on every other page there was an ‘impossible’ stage direction – and it was up to [the team] to make it happen. Every effect was ‘not real’ – it was magic! – so everyone had to make that big, imaginative leap.” Fry says it was fantastic to be recognised, but it’s not life-changing. “I like to keep things in perspective,” he said. “When I won it for Waves in 2007, all the smaller companies stopped calling me, because they thought I’d be working on more important projects!” Fry’s design can be heard at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End – if you can make a ticket magically appear… Out Board, maker of the TiMax audio spatial placement technology tweeted: ‘Congratulations

Gareth for Best Sound Design (with a little spatial audio help from TiMax), as Harry Potter…’ shortly after the award was announced. n www.harrypottertheplay.com

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21/04/2017 15:58

Show preview : The 142nd AES Convention

P7 MAY 2017


Variety will enhance Berlin Mel Lambert previews the upcoming AES Convention, which will be held at the Maritim Hotel in Berlin from 20-23 May


escribed as Europe’s “premier pro-audio education and networking event”, the 142nd AES Convention will be held in the creative heart of Berlin later this month. Convention co-chairs Professor Sascha Spors from University of Rostock (and also chair of the AES North German Section) and Nadja Wallaszkovits, chief audio engineer at Phonogrammarchiv, Austrian Academy of Sciences, have arranged a rich and varied technical programme. It includes papers and presentations from such luminaries as engineer Morten Lindberg, sound designer Richard King and producer George Massenburg, together with David Miles Huber and André Maletz (on electronic-music production), Darcy Proper and Jonathan Wyner (on mastering), plus Chris Pike, Paul Morgan and Matthieu Parmentier (on broadcasting). Digital coding presenters include Juergen Herre and Jamie Angus, joining transducer measurement and perception experts Sean Olive, Wolfgang Klippela and Christopher Struck. Student and career events range from the Education Fair to Student Delegate Assembly, plus recording and design competitions. “Our European members comprise one of the most innovative segments of our global membership,” states AES president-elect David Scheirman, who assumes his post this October. “The Berlin Convention is going to be an energetic gathering place for attendees ranging from Serbia, Turkey and Poland, to Denmark, Belgium and Austria. In the near-term, the Society hopes to engage these many members, and evolve to better serve their unique needs and interests.” The four-day programme also comprises presentations that will cover the latest developments in audio research through workshops, tutorials, technical tours, plus student and career development events. More than 100 paper presentations will cover live sound, game audio, product design, recording and production, ranging from loudspeaker design to 3D audio rendering, guitar-tone perception analysis and on-line collaboration and beyond. The workshop sessions will embrace a wide swath of topics, ranging from music mixing and metadata, to audio encoding, mics and virtual reality. A full tutorial program will focus on signal processing in music production, streaming, audio forensics and creating audio for VR. The convention’s Heyser Memorial Lecture, entitled A Historic Journey in Audio-Reality: From Mono to Ambeo, will be given by Dr. Jörg Sennheiser, who joined the

Inside the architectural wonder that is Berlin’s Reichstag building

family business in 1976 as technical director and in 1982 took over management as executive shareholder. His many years of experience in electro-acoustics will provide a backdrop to his in-depth discussion of the evolution of audio and the listening experience. The need for more emotionality in the hearing experience, he will argue – especially together with visual presentations – has resulted in a need for new approaches and solutions throughout the workflow in the entertainment industry, including gaming and augmented/virtual reality that call for immersive audio technologies. A two-part special event chaired by André Maletz will focus on Berlin’s growth as a centre for electronicmusic production and sound design, with panelists JanMichael Kühn, Richard Roloff, Andreas Schneider and Brian Smith. Since the 1980s, Berlin has developed into a vivid creative environment with clubs, studios, festivals and creative communities, all of which have impacted

on professional audio. A number of Technical Tours have been arranged including to the Museum of Communications and Emil Berliner Studio. Other venues on the tours include Meistersaal/ Hansastudio (where David Bowie and Depeche Mode all recorded) together with HEDD Audio, nHow Studio, Tegeler Audio Manufaktur, Stage Tec, Riverside Studios, SAE Institute Berlin and Funkhaus Studios. One stand-out session entitled Loudness War II: The Streaming Battle, to be chaired by Florian Camerer, will consider loudness normalisation for emerging platforms. The traditional organ concert by co-presenters Sigrid Erbe-Sporer and Francis Rumsey – this year entitled Jazz Meets Classical – will offer a new twist, with classical themes morphing into jazz style played on one of the city’s finest pipe organs in the St Matthias church. AES executive director Bob Moses is optimistic about the value of European Conventions. “In this rapidly changing world, audio professionals can benefit from sharing their needs and ideas to work out solutions that might become the next big music format or the next media delivery service,” he told PSNEurope. “That communication doesn’t happen over Facebook; it happens at our conventions and conferences, which is where the world’s top minds push forward innovation. If you’re an AES Member in Croatia, or Berlin, or Seattle, you need up-todate knowledge, skills, relationships, and opportunities to succeed in this brave new world of home recording, digital delivery and evolving formats.” Europe remains a challenge, however, because of its fragmentation. “There seems to be a trend toward further separation and isolation, propelled by forces much stronger than our small community,” states Moses. “AES has to be agile and bring people together so they can bring solutions back to their respective communities. Ideally, these challenges bring people together to create viable solutions – they do not divide and conquer us.” The companion exhibition will have several dozen companies and distributors, together with a Dante Audio Networking pavilion, while exhibitors will also participate in educational sessions held on the Prosound Expo stage. n www.aes.org/events/142/

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21/04/2017 15:58

Show review: Prolight + Sound

P8 MAY 2017


Pretzels and products at Prolight ....Plus the sound of bottles popping, music competing to be heard, and new gear being revealed at the Frankfurt show


rolight + Sound 2017 saw a number of new products launched with fanfare at the show from live music performances, demonstrations, champagne celebrations and offsite dinners. And, while visitor numbers were down, there’s was still plenty to see. Adam Hall Group held a large unveiling ceremony for the MAUI P900 powered column PA system, which was revealed by the company’s pro audio brand, LD Systems, and demoed by musician Kiddo Kat. It’s a near-production concept PA system developed in collaboration with Porsche Design Studio. The system, which will be available in white, grey and black, includes class D amplification and Lynx DSP technology and to shape the beam, SonicGuide and WaveAhead technologies. It has been fitted with 50 mid-high transducers in the columns, and two bass woofers in the base. Additional features include stereo Bluetooth streaming, stereo line input and a dedicated output for system pairing.

Musician Kiddo Kat helped demo the MAUI P900 powered column PA system from Adam Hall Group

Alcons Audio showed the LR28 Larger Format Line Array, which was designed as an extension of the existing three-way, 80º dispersion LR28/80. Featuring the same faceprint downfill and components (two 14” woofers, four 6.5” midrange and a RBN1402rsr proribbon driver) on an 110º waveguide, the LR28/110 is powered and controlled by four channels of the Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controller.

Quieter than usual? PL+S 2017

The DIVA M²is the newest middle format line source system from Amadeus. The system has a 3-way enclosure, bi- amplified design, with two active drivers. The enclosure features one direct radiating 8’’ neodymium LF transducer, mounted in a bassreflex enclosure, and two neodymium diaphragm compression HF drivers, coaxially-mounted with a single acoustical output, and coupled to an individual proprietary waveguide. APG unveiled its subwoofers from the SB Series, consisting of four models – the SB110, SB112, SB115-M2 and SB118. All subwoofers were engineered using the same acoustic load based on the variation of band pass design to maximise performance: 300W for the 10” SB110, 600W for the 12” SB112, 1000W for the 15” SB115 and 1400W for the 18” SB118. Astro Spatial Audio demonstrated Stagetracker II, which has been re-engineered for modern immersive applications. The IP67-rated product offers precision and ultra-fast vector-based tracking in all three dimensions, the company says, while Astro Spatial Tracking uses discreet tags that can be easily concealed within a performer’s outfit, and which broadcast to state-of-the-art RadioEye RF receivers. Audio-Technica announced a new addition to its flagship 50 Series studio microphone range – the AT5047. Based on the distinctive four rectangular diaphragm design of the AT5040, the AT5047 is a

Peter Hearl was on hand to take interested parties through the basics

cardioid condenser with a transformer-coupled output that delivers a noticeably smooth sonic character and ensures high SPL handling without the risk of overloading mic preamps or console inputs, the company says. The AT5047 is hand-assembled and crafted from aluminium and brass, with an advanced

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21/04/2017 21:29

P9 MAY 2017

Luke Jenks from CODA Audio launches the Arrayable Point Source s (APS) system

Here’s the DPA team: a new digital product is planned for later in the year, so revealed CEO Kalle Hvidt Nielsen

L-Acoustics marketing newcomer Dominic Purvis and – hang on – that’s the new head of market development Jeff Rocha from EAW!

internal shock mount that decouples the capsule from the microphone body. Cadac debuted the CDC seven digital seven, which doubles up on both the large format LCD touch screen, and associated encoders, and the physical fader count; also expanding the number of inputs to 96. The new console retains the CDC six’s 56 busses; with 54 of them now being configurable with the latest V4.0 software update. Peter Hearl was on hand to take interested parties through the basics. Celestion showed the 10” diameter FTX1025 and the 15” FTX1530. Like others in the FTX line, these new loudspeakers offer a full range frequency response in a single self-contained driver by concentrically aligning low and high frequency drivers, providing improvements in signal alignment and off-axis response when compared to a traditional twoway system, the company says. CODA Audio launched its new 3-way Arrayable Point Source System (APS) in Frankfurt. The main

Martin Audio’s Dom Harter with the Wavefront Precision Series

element of the system is the 2 x 10” 3-way arrayable APS loudspeaker and completing the picture is the APS-SUB an 18” high output compact subwoofer. Driven by CODA LINUS amplification, both APS and APS-SUB are easily ground-stacked or flown. d&b audiotechnik offered visitors the first chance to explore the ArrayCalc Viewer app, , as well as the new R1 Array verification tool. The ArrayCalc Viewer app is a mobile interface providing key information needed for positioning and flying an d&b loudspeaker system. The R1 Array tool works by identifying the position of a loudspeaker in an array, then comparing its order within the array to the one in ArrayCalc. DiGiCo announced that SD consoles will now be able to integrate with a Waves Multirack system, which is running on an external PC, while maintaining a high level of integration. Digico also revealed a new DiGiCo S App for controlling S Series consoles straight from an Apple iPad, as well as a newly designed 32-bit SD ‘John Stadius’ mic pre-amp card.

German manufacturer Ferrofish revealed the Pulse16, which offers 16 x 16 balanced analogue inputs and outputs, and can handle pro studio levels up to +20dBu. It also unveiled the Verto series – a range of compact digital format converters, designed to provide simple integration of ADAT and MADI devices into an existing Dante network. HARMAN Professional Solutions introduced JBL by HARMAN VTX A12 line array loudspeakers. The new high-frequency (HF) section features three uniquely designed drivers that combine the HF phasing-plug and waveguide into one part, yielding better tolerances and increased sensitivity above 6kHz, while reducing distortion and overall weight. The company also introduced the AKG foldable studio headphones line, the K275, K245 and K175. The K275 and K245 models feature largest-in-class 50mm transducers that provide greater low-frequency extension and detailed bass reproduction. K175 utilises an on-ear design with largest-in-class, 40mm

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P10 MAY 2017

Show review: Prolight + Sound

Maciek Janiszewski, Optocore’s applications engineering manager, demonstrates how the controller is nine times smaller than the previous one

transducers. The AKG K275, K245 and K175 are the first headphones in their class to offer a foldable design made possible through an innovative threeaxis hinge and a self-adjusting headband. Meanwhile, three new Soundcraft Notepad mixers were also revealed – the Notepad-5, -8FX and -12FX are desktop analogue mixing surfaces that include HARMAN signal processing, and USB I/O connectivity. Martin Audio unveiled an ambitious line up of ten new products across multiple categories including line arrays, stage monitors and amplifiers. First up was the Wavefront Precision Series, a new generation of multipurpose line arrays comprising the WPC (2 x 10” LF) and WPM (2 x 6.5” LF). Dom Harter, managing director explains that the MLA family consists of fixed resolution systems. “And what we wanted to do with Wavefront Precision was to introduce a solution whereby customers could have a flexible and scalable approach to resolution and control of coverage,” he says. “Simply put the more boxes with dedicated amplifier channels, the higher the resolution and scale of coverage control achievable.” Two new subwoofers were also unveiled the SX118 and SX218, a single 18” and double 18” respectively. Next in the roster of new products was the XE Series, combining sleek, low-profile enclosures with unique Coaxial Differential Dispersion technology and a patent pending third static waveguide, the XE300 (1 x 12” LF) and XE500 (1 x 15” LF) are designed to deliver perfect monitor sound with a defined coverage pattern that allows the artist freedom of movement, while reducing overlap with adjacent monitors, the company says.

Thomas Riedel with the Bolero beltpack. Yep, you can open bottles of beer with it

Patrick Almond on the Studiomaster/Carlsbro booth

Finally, the last series to be unveiled was a brand new LE range of stage monitors – the LE100 (1 x 12” LF”) and the LE200 (1 x 15” LF). The LE Series monitors deliver cut-through sound with a coverage pattern that allows performers greater freedom of movement compared to conventional monitors. Instead of the typical ‘hot-spot’, they produce a nearrectangular coverage pattern over a listening plane at head height— with a wide horizontal coverage close to the monitor that reduces gradually as distance increases to maintain consistent SPL and tonal balance, the company says. Optocore unveiled the SFX7 Network Interface Controller, which offers direct fiber connectivity, a 1000 channels of audio and data for advanced control purposes. As a full IP system, it will offer the built-in Ethernet switch to create one large IP network with all other nodes — without the need for any external

equipment. It boasts up to 512/512 channels per module, and features: two redundant Optocore links (hot-swappable SFP slots for multimode or singlemode LC); two SANE (Synchronous Audio Network with Ethernet) Cat5 extension of Optocore ports; two LAN ports, and third party board integration slot. Italian loudspeaker manufacturer Outline debuted the Newton – a full-featured, FPGA-based Multi Media Nucleus. In addition to loudspeaker system control facilities, it offers media conversion, sync and clock management, plus audio distribution with networking capability, along with a very high potential I/O count (up to 216 in both directions simultaneously). Out Board also debuted a new product – the TiMax SoundHub VR playback, spatial audio and showcontrol variant. Configured in a compact half-depth 2U rackmount chassis, it features 16 playback tracks

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21/04/2017 21:30

P11 MAY 2017

and analogue, Dante or MADI outputs, 12-24VDC or 90-230VAC PSU options, plus the new TiMax Portal MicroServer multimode showcontrol hub and custom GUI server. Two new flexible, compact and highly specified modules were launched by Powersoft – the LiteMod 4HC and MiniMod 4. The LiteMod 4HC is an extremely versatile amplification platform integrates a PFCequipped power supply for universal mains operation, as well as four output stages, delivering a maximum total of 2,400W, all in a compact solution, the company says. MiniMod 4 is an integrated module offering universal mains switching mode power supply with PFC, and a total of 600W of audio amplification. Riedel unveiled what the company describes as the world’s first control panel designed to serve as a powerful multifunctional user interface – the 1-RU SmartPanel. It also introduced what it describes as a game-changing new wireless intercom solution. Bolero is an expandable, full-roaming, DECT-based intercom system in the license-free 1.9GHz frequency range. It offers features and connectivity that can be applied three ways: as a wireless beltpack, as a wireless keypanel, and — in an industry first — as a walkie-talkie radio, the company says. It can even

open a beer bottle! It runs over a standards-based AES67 IP network. This year’s show provided a launchpad for the Schertler Group’s latest products. ROY is a combo amplifier for acoustic instruments. The 400W, 7-channel amp includes 4 input channels with various mic / instrument combinations; inserts (as on a professional mixer); 3-band EQ and phantom power; an additional unbalanced instrument input channel; a stereo input channel for playback devices and an FX return / additional input channel. TEDDY is Schertler’s new 200W compact stage monitor. It features a coaxial speaker for constant sound directivity, with a specific inclination angle that makes it ideal for both standing and seated performances. SSL presented the new L200, a new mid-scale console, which features a row of three 12-channel Fader Tiles, providing a total of 38 faders including the Master and Focus Faders in the Master Tile. A centrally-located 17” multi-gesture touchscreen gives access to all of the consoles’ functions, and combines with Quick Controls in the central Fader tile to provide intuitive, immediate hands on hardware control. Stage Tec introduced AVATUS – a fully IP-based

large mixing console with 21” multi-touch displays. Control elements and interfaces are connected through standard Ethernet. The console control surface and other elements communicate via IP networks, enabling remote production. n Next year’s show will be held from 10 to 13 April 2018. www.prolight-sound.com

Funktion-One’s Tony Andrews (right) with Remco van der Werff of Think! AV, who has jkusgt invested in a VERO system



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21/04/2017 21:30

P12 MAY 2017

Vocal channel

Contemplating the mix


is a recording and mix engineer and has worked with Bryan Adams, Jeff Lynne and KT Tunstall

ith budgets forever shrinking, efficiency is of the upmost importance. Engineers are expected to be able to do great work in a short time or it’s not worth your while. A template is often a good way to mix efficiently. If you look at interviews with many mix engineers at the top of their game, you will see that they often use a template. Opening your session in your favourite DAW and you have it all laid out for you: you just have to add in your tracks and, voilà!, instant starting point. It’s a plug-in preset on steroids! With all your processing tools at hand, you can hit the ground running and make creative decisions quickly. However, the use of templates also raises some concerns. There is a temptation to skip an important step: getting a good

balance and trying to get the track you are working on sounding good using that super useful tool, the fader. Of course, many mix engineers using templates receive recordings that already have great balance if you were to set all the faders to zero. Unfortunately, the mere mortals among us don’t get this and adjustments need to be made. One issue I have in the template being loaded with the ‘typical plug-in’ for a mix is, well, the word ‘typical’. Music styles and recordings are so varied that there never is a ‘typical’ type of anything. I like to think about the options. Why am I using the Sound Radix SurferEQ on the bass instead of a Pultec? Does the vocal need to go through the Maag compressor or not? If you have all your toys loaded when you start mixing there will be a temptation to use them all.

You end up with what I call an ‘engineering solo’ – and no one likes a pointless solo! But there is a middle ground. If you take an analogue mindset, you can have a template with your favourite console emulation loaded up and a plate, a good algorithmic reverb, a convolution reverb, and one or two delays. Something similar to walking into a studio and having your desk all reset and the sends configured but no extra patching done. If you are mixing a full album, after mixing the first song and finding the sound and colours you and the artist are going for, you can create an album template where you can start mixing all the songs in the album to give it some sonic cohesion. There is never a single solution to a problem or any magic bullets. Time saving tools are great but have to be used with caution. n

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21/04/2017 15:59


ShowMatch™ DeltaQ™ loudspeakers provide better coverage for outstanding vocal clarity. ©2017 Bose Corporation.

With DeltaQ technology, new ShowMatch array loudspeakers more precisely

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direct sound to the audience in both installed and portable applications. Each array module offers field-changeable waveguides that can vary coverage and even create asymmetrical patterns. The result is unmatched sound quality and vocal clarity for every seat in the house. Learn more at SHOWMATCH.BOSE.COM


17/01/2017 10:26:18

P14 MAY 2017

Movers and shakers

Former Sydney Opera House director joins d&b He succeeds Sabina Berloffa and reports directly to CEO Amnon Harman


&b audiotechnik has appointed David Claringbold as chief marketing officer. The former director of the Sydney Opera House, and member of the d&b audiotechnik Advisory Board, joins the management team. Claringbold has relocated from Australia to Germany. As chief marketing officer, Claringbold’s leadership covers marketing communications, public relations, brand management, market intelligence and product management. His appointment will support the company as it further develops its segment strategy particularly within the installation market, while maintaining a strong position in mobile sectors. At the Sydney Opera House, Claringbold held several senior management positions over a period of almost 20 years, most recently as director of theatre and events with responsibility for commercial performance, presenter marketing, technical direction and event operations.

CODA Audio has appointed Ton Groen as managing director of the newly-created CODA Audio Deutschland GmbH. He has more than 30 years experience in the music industry having worked for companies such as Meyer Sound and RCF. The new division will be responsible for sales and distribution in Germany. www.codaaudio.com

Rycote has promoted Richard Hall to the new position of chief marketing officer. He says listening to customers and better understanding their markets will be important in achieving long-term growth plans. His role will be to build upon brand strengths and to grow global brand awareness. www.rycote.com

“David is a leader with an exceptional track record of achievement at the highest level of the arts, technology, and business, globally. For decades he’s not only been familiar with the international pro audio industry but also with d&b systems and with our values,” says CEO Amnon Harman. “David has a clear vision of how markets around the world will change and how new demands and opportunities for pro audio solutions emerge. Together with David we have initiated Sound Futures, a strategic platform for our future development, which will strengthen d&b and pave the way for new sound experiences and audio technologies.” Claringbold adds: “d&b has changed the game in terms of what sound quality – and realising expectation – is all about. My relationship with d&b goes back to the late 1990s and throughout that time I’ve been continuously impressed by the quality of the products and engineering.” n www.dbaudio.com

Cain Cookson has been appointed as senior relationship development manager at VDC Trading, heading up the UK pro-active sales team. With over five years’ B2B sales experience, Cookson also has a first class honours degree in Audio and Music Technology from the University of the West of England. www.vdctrading.com

Also at VDC Trading, Herpreet Kaur Sing has taken on the role of customer service manager, with responsibility for the company’s growing international client base. With more than three years’ experience in pro-audio sales, Herpreet is also a qualified commercial solicitor. www.vdctrading.com

VDC Trading has also promoted Adam Jafrabadi as export / technical consultant. With over 17 years’ experience working at VDC in a variety of roles, including as technical manager, he will drive VDC’s continued international expansion and extend the company’s distributor network globally. www.vdctrading.com

JHS have appointed Matt Flavell as their pro-audio area sales manager for Southern UK and Ireland. He has worked at Sony Music in their digital operations team and most recently was responsible for a vast array of event technology products within the Adam Hall Group acting as a sales representative. www.jhs.co.uk

DEALER NETWORK Calrec Audio has signed Mediatronik to distribute the full range to broadcast customers throughout the Czech Republic. Mike Reddick, international sales manager for Calrec, says: “Through our new partnership, Mediatronik will provide the technical expertise, market knowledge, and local support we need to expand Calrec’s presence in the Czech Republic.” calrec.com mediatronik.net POLAR Audio has become Radial Engineering’s sole distributor in the UK, which has brands including Tonebone and Primacoustic. John Midgley, POLAR managing director says: “Radial is synonymous with high performing, durable and exceptionally well constructed products for the professional audio environment … Primacoustic is the first acoustic treatment product line we have been involved with and will dovetail well not only with our range of studio equipment, but also into the wider installation sphere.” www.polaraudio.co.uk www.radialeng.com Audio-Technica has appointed Ertekin Elektronik as its new distributor for professional audio products in Turkey. Ertekin Electronik currently distributes more than 50 brands including Yamaha, Panasonic, Celestion and Denon in the territory. Matthias Exner, Audio-Technica director of sales and marketing EMEA says: “The company’s proven track record, with full coverage of the country and involvement in all our market segments including conferencing, makes it an ideal partner.” www.audio-technica.com www.ertekin.com.tr Danmon Group has been appointed distributor for Optocore and BroaMan fibre solutions in Sweden. “We primarily see Optocore and BroaMan penetrating a number of key sectors like broadcast, live OB, and theatre,” says Danmon Group managing director Marcus Lundahl. “Sweden has been an early adopter of new ways of distributing content — especially over fibre, where the interest is very high.” Further staff training, plus a series of roadshows and seminars is being planned. www.danmon.com www.optocore.com www.broaman.com

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Up to 10 beltpacks per antenna 100 antenna, 100 beltpack system capacity Best-in-class voice clarity “Touch&Go” beltpack registration 6-channel beltpack plus dedicated REPLY button Built-in microphone and speaker for Walkie-Talkie mode Smartphone integration via Bluetooth Ergonomic, robust beltpack design Sunlight-readable display with Gorilla Glass™ Decentralized AES67 IP networked antennas Seamless integration into RIEDEL‘S ARTIST intercom matrix


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P16 MAY 2017

Movers and shakers

New general manager for DiGiCo He brings experience from the professional broadcast sector


iGiCo has appointed Austin Freshwater as its general manager. Freshwater joins the DiGiCo team from Canon, where he spent 10 years working in sales, latterly becoming sales director for UK and Ireland. “During my time with Canon I developed sales into the professional broadcast sector working with the likes of NEP, the BBC and Sky as well as the AV market

via their range of projectors. This gave me a valuable insight into some of DiGiCo’s markets before I joined the company,” Freshwater says. He will be working closely with DiGiCo’s VP sales, Ian Staddon. “It’s great to have Austin on-board as he brings different expertise and a new perspective to the team,” says Staddon. n www.digico.biz

RTW has hired Ulrike Lauterbach as director of sales and marketing. She will oversee all domestic and international sales activities, as well as marketing communications, tradeshows and digital media. She previously spent 12 years with AVT Audio Video Technologies GmbH in Nuernberg, Germany. www.rtw.com

Joining DirectOut Technologies is Lorenzo Sassi as business development manager. He grew up inside the industry and has worked as an AVL technician, operation manager and logistics coordinator for an Italian production company and, recently, business developer for Outline. www.directout.eu

Kai Klöppel has been appointed a member of the executive board at Amptown System Company as the chief financial officer. He was previously a senior manager with the Munich-based management consultants Dr. Wieselhuber & Partner and with Air Liquide, the French manufacturer of technical and medical gases. www.amptown-system.com

DirectOut Technologies has also appointed Luca Giaroli as business development manager. He brings 25 years of experience in the professional entertainment market, gained from working as a sound engineer, production company owner and business development manager for companies such as Optocore, Powersoft, Audiosales and Outline. www.directout.eu

L-Acoustics has hired Alex Soto as applications engineer, supporting the rental and install markets in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has worked with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Chayanne, Rammstein and Maroon 5 and is also renowned for his sound designs for festival stalwarts Hell and Heaven Fest, Electric Daisy Carnival abd MTV World Stage. www.l-acoustics.com

Focusrite has hired Richard Johnstone as UK sales and marketing manager. He joins from Propellerhead where he was partner marketing M manager for UK, Benelux and Germany. He formerly had UK management roles at Steinberg, Line 6 and Yamaha and will manage the strong UK sales and marketing team, and work as part of the wider European team. wwww.focusrite.com

DEALER NETWORK DPA Microphones has appointed two new distributors in Switzerland – Z-Audio and MusicNetwork AG. Remo Zollinger, managing director of Z-Audio says: “We have worked with DPA in the past on various projects, most notably in the broadcast sphere. The company’s products fit well with our existing portfolio, particularly with the MIPRO wireless system.” MusicNetwork already represents AVID, M-Audio, iZotope and Apogee Electronics in the region. www.z-audio.ch www.musicnetwork.ch www.dpamicrophones.com PMC Speakers has appointed Synthax as its distributor in Germany. Based in Planegg near Munich, Synthax already represents RME, Ferrofish, Mogami, Ultrasone, Lake People, IsoAcoustics, and StudioLogic. Synthax CEO Christof Mallmann says: “Whilst PMC has almost a cult following here in Germany, Synthax will be able to add further to the success by providing the market with readily available stock and a full suite of demonstration equipment.” www.pmc-speakers.com www.synthax.de Community Professional Loudspeakers has appointed SeeSound as its distributor for Spain and Portugal. SeeSound represents over 25 pro audio brands, including AVID, DPA, Powersoft, Optocore, Symetrix and XTA. Carles Ribo, SeeSound’s product manager says: “It is a leading brand with diverse applications for installed sound and a big reputation for outdoor loudspeakers, including EN54 and very long throw requirements.” www.communitypro.com www.seesound.es Audiologic has secured exclusive UK distribution for Swedish-based manufacturer SONAB. It manufactures System 9, a wireless sound system. Paul Simpson, hospitality and retail business manager at Audiologic, says: “At Audiologic we continually strive to identify brands that will add another dimension to our portfolio, in order to help our customers provide the widest possible range of options. SONAB’s ingenious wireless concept, discreet appearance, excellent sound and simplicity of operation is a unique and very welcome addition to our portfolio.” www.audiologic.uk www.sonabaudio.com

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SSL Live.

More Dynamic Range New L200 console, new High Capacity Dante I/O, new features, new iPad Personal Mix Application. Find Out More : sales@solidstatelogic.com

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P18 MAY 2017

Music school introduces new live sound degree BY SARAH SHARPLES

May 16

14 June

25 May

28 June

Sound Measurement Techniques Unity Works, UK www.isce.org.uk Prism Sound Mic to Monitor Dublin, Ireland www.prismsound.com

HiQnet Audio architect Letchworth, UK www.soundtech.co.uk Yamaha console training Reading, UK www.sflgroup.co.uk

Students use Prism Sound interface to record orchestra BY SARAH SHARPLES

dBs Music in Plymouth have launched a new, three year live sound degree. Designed by an exclusive group of top industry practitioners and experienced educational professionals, the new live sound degree course combines the latest developments in audio networking, digital technology and the most advanced loudspeaker systems in the pro audio industry. The skills combination of technology, science and artistry is the goal and foundation of the BA (honours) degree. dBs Music course leader, Jim Parsons explains the reasons behind launching the new course. “Live Sound has changed a lot since I started teaching the subject,” he says. “It is significantly more complex and there are new technologies such as IEM (in ear monitoring) and Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) systems from Martin Audio which

have revolutionised sound quality at live events. We therefore decided that we needed a full three year programme to produce the skilled, smart and flexible graduates that this fast changing industry needs.” He adds: “Teaching live sound at degree level requires many very specific resources to be a success. These are things such as having a purpose built teaching space with room to rig equipment and make noise. Access to industry standard technology from respected names like Martin Audio, Yamaha, A&H, Midas and Avid. Industry professional tutors helping students gain commercial live gig work experience that is embedded in the course. It’s also crucial that there’s a guest lecture programme which allows networking with industry experts and showcases new products and technologies. Other courses may have some of these, but at dBs Music we have the full package in spades.” n www.dbsmusic.co.uk

AES sets full programme for students at Berlin convention BY SARAH SHARPLES

The Audio Engineering Society will hold the 142nd AES Convention in Germany from May 20 to 23, 2017 at the Hotel Maritim Berlin. From recording and design competitions, to educational forums and the Education and Career Fair, the convention offers something for people

looking to launch their career to those looking to take it to the next level. “Today’s audio students are the future of the industry and the future of the AES,” says AES past president John Krivit. “At AES Conventions, students can learn and practice leadership and expand and refine their audio knowledge. They can meet and learn from the best minds in audio, and build relationships that enhance career development.” The education forum Audio Education: What Does the Future Hold will be held on the second day. The Education and Career Fair will be held on the third day with the aim to match jobseekers with companies and prospective students with schools and educational programs. Attendees will also be able to experience three days of manufacturer exhibition and participate in AES Technical Tours to local audio facilities. n aeseurope.com

University of Suffolk Music Production students integrated a Prism Sound Atlas audio interface into the recording set-up they used to capture a Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performance at London’s Cadogan Hall. Andrea Healy, course director for the University’s BA (Hons) Music Production course, has been working closely with the RPO’s education and concerts team since 2013. This collaboration has now resulted in ten recordings, with two more set for this semester, including one at the Royal Festival Hall. “Having both an orchestral and technical background has been paramount to our relationship with the RPO,” she explains. “Originally these recording sessions were just for the BA (Hons) students, but they have proved so popular that all students – including those studying on our FdA course - now get to attend at least one, with some students requesting to attend all sessions. Students are assessed whilst setting up and recording, thus giving them a real opportunity to deploy taught techniques in many different venues across the country and to work under pressure in a professional setting.” The concert was recorded into Pro Tools at 44.1kHz/24BIT via the Prism Sound Atlas interface. After the concert, Prism Sound’s Adam Hebbard visited the University and ran some listening comparisons for students as part of a lecture on the features and technicalities of analogue to digital converters. The recordings from Cadogan Hall are now being mixed so that the RPO has a stereo reference CD of the event. n www.uos.ac.uk

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Grand Production Console

mc 96 2

Read more @ tinyurl.com/lawo-mc2-96


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P20 MAY 2017

New products


What is it? Formidable monitors to meet the needs of live sound. “The powerful, low profile Mastiff line is the guard dog every musician needs on stage”, says the Italian company. Details: Comprised of the KM312, KM312P, KM112 and KM11P, the Mastiff line produces ultra-low distortion giving vocals and instruments incredible clarity and precise sound. The monitors feature an asymmetrical 100° by 30° horn granting performers the possibility to select a wide or narrow sound emission. And another thing… With an incredibly strong stainless steel grill and sturdy birch wood chassis, these monitors are built to withstand any onstage abuse that may incur from the musical acts. www.k-array.com




What is it? The LEO Family of linear sound reinforcement systems has been expanded with the addition of LINA – a very compact linear line array loudspeaker.

What is it? This new intercom station provides all intercom functions known in partyline-systems and can be used as a “shoutbox” for stage hands. It is ideally suited to FOH sound engineers and is also an ideal tool in artist wardrobes to communicate in full duplex mode with directors or with sound engineers to artists waiting back stage.

What is it? A remote wall-mounting input module for use with Cloud products fitted with an RJ45 Facility Port.


Details: LINA has been outfitted with new drivers and an updated amplifier and signal processing package. The newly designed class D amplifier affords greater efficiency, and an upgraded power supply enables higher peak output. The 3” HF compression driver incorporates a new magnet structure for reduced distortion. And another thing… Because LINA shares the same structural footprint as Meyer Sound’s current MINA line array loudspeakers, owners of MINA systems can add LINA to their existing inventory using the same rigging and mounting hardware. www.meyersound.com


Details: A powerful amplifier/loudspeaker combination allows loud communication up to 115 dB peak. When a headset is used, the loudspeaker automatically switches off. In addition to headset operation, an external dynamic microphone may also be used. And another thing… It features a switchable large LED tally signal light on top of the unit, activated by a simple push button - to signal urgent need of communication. www.axxent.de


Details: It enables compatible portable devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones to stream audio wirelessly to the interface, and then into the audio system of the Zone where the interface is installed. The BT-1F is simple to install; the rear RJ45 connector is wired to one of the host unit’s Facility Ports with a single screened Cat 5 cable using standard shielded RJ45 connectors at each end. The Cat 5 cable carries DC power as well as balanced audio. Each module may have one of 16 unique identifiers to differentiate receivers in areas where multiple modules are installed. And another thing… The BT-1F will route a (L+R) mono sum of the streamed audio to the host unit. www.cloud.co.uk

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P21 MAY 2017


What is it? The next generation of the company’s K Family line of powered loudspeakers. The new K.2 Series is comprised of the 8” K8.2, 10” K10.2 and 12” K12.2 full-range loudspeakers.


Details: Each loudspeaker model is equipped with a 2,000W power module carefully matched to high-performance woofers and compression drivers. On-board DSP provides Intrinsic Correction voicing and advanced system management. The models additionally provide operators with a library of preset contours for common applications such as Stage Monitor, Dance Music, Musical Instrument Amplification and Hand-held Microphone. And another thing… QSC is also introducing the KS212C, a first-in-class, single-box powered cardioid subwoofer. www.qsc.com




What is it? The interface is able to serve as the powerhouse centerpiece of any studio, the company says.

What is it? The world’s first speech-specific, stand alone separation software, says the company.

Details: It features 64 channels of high-quality audio I/O and powerful upgrades including the adaptable new Accusonic preamps. Antelope’s HDX Delay Compensation makes sure any analogue or digital input arrives in Pro Tools HD sample accurately in the timeline, enabling unmatched and refined integration of digital sources with Pro Tools HD software.

Details: It isolates speech from background elements in mono or stereo recordings. It also separates speech from any kind of noise, improves speech intelligibility in archival recordings and seamlessly cleans up dialogue in film post-production without the need for ADR. Features include automatic speech targeting, automatic consonants detection, automatic extraction options, speech-optimised pitchogram, full-frequency spectral toolkit and tonal/noise filter.

What is it? A networking chip designed for mid-channel count audio products. Available in 8x8 and 16x16 channel options, it is suitable for adding Dante audio networking to products such as small mixers, power amplifiers, DSPs, hardware interfaces and conferencing solutions.


And another thing… The Goliath HD’s front panel has also been enhanced with monitor and level indicators and a responsive touchscreen that provides easy access to preferences. Meanwhile 16 convenient push-andturn knobs allow for Mic Preamp selection and gain control for the Goliath’s built-in preamps. antelopeaudio.com


And another thing… The company will also make a lite version available for a lower price, which will include all features, except for the additional spectral editing capabilities. audionamix.com


Details: Dante Broadway blends the small form factor of Audinate’s Ultimo products with the most popular features of the powerful Brooklyn II module, including latency as low as 0.25ms and support for Gigabit Ethernet. Redundancy is also supported in specific configurations for high-availability applications. And another thing… There is a rich set of control interfaces (including SPI, UART and GPIO), plus support for Dante Device Protocol, packet bridging and AES67. www.audinate.com

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The strategic position: Network alliances

P22 MAY 2017


Networking the networkers Although their emphases and outlooks may vary (sometimes dramatically so!) there is more collaboration going on between separate audio networking-related alliances than might be expected, writes David Davies

(L-R): Michael Cronk representing AIMS; Rich Zwiebel for MNA; and Patrick Pothe of the Avnu Alliance


s part of the long and ongoing debate surrounding audio networking technology, there has been a great deal of talk about pro audio finally coming together over ‘shared interests’, ‘joint objectives’ and so forth. And frankly in an industry that has – at times – been characterised by pronounced commercial hostilities, it’s hardly been an unwelcome development. So as Audio Video Bridging (AVB) and multiple Audio over IP (AoIP) related technologies have come to the fore, there have been a raft of new industry alliances – some formal, others less so. The Avnu Alliance, the Media Networking Alliance (MNA) and the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) are just three of the organisations to have promoted a more collaborative approach to audio networking. But the existence of multiple alliances working in similar areas does raise a few fundamental questions, including: is collaboration between them encouraged and, if so, how is it progressed? And to what extent does collaboration actually occur in the first place?

“We have become a more collaborative industry” A quick glance at the NAB 2017 schedule of AIMS – the not-for-profit alliance formed in 2015 that promotes the broadcast industry’s transition from SDI to IP-based workflows using standards including AES67 for AoIP interoperability – suggests that there is indeed plenty of inter-alliance collaboration taking place. As well as delivering no fewer than 15 papers through its leadership and member companies during the show, AIMS joined the aforementioned MNA – along with (deep breath) AES, ANWA, EBU, NAB, IABM, SMPTE and VSF – in the IP Showcase area throughout the exhibition.

“I think that we have become a more collaborative industry,” says Mike Cronk, who is chairman of the board at AIMS as well as being VP of Core Technology at Grass Valley. “In fact when we established AIMS we put forth five priorities and one of those is industry collaboration – hence we have made concerted efforts to reach out to other organisations to come together in support of a common set of protocols, and for interoperability in general.” By way of example, Cronk points to a formal liaison agreement with MNA – which was established specifically to promote the awareness and adoption of AES67 – whereby the MNA can “participate in any working group meetings – something that they do frequently.” Where there are more general IP-related industry gatherings, “we are very active in planning communications and actively participating in the events themselves”. With the forthcoming SMPTE 2110 specification set to “leverage” AES67 as part of a set of standards to specify separate essence streams over IP for the purposes of live production, the need for meaningful partnership between vendors and alliances is bound to intensify, agrees Cronk. “This kind of collaboration did have to happen, and AIMS formed at the right time when forces around the market were priming everyone for more [cooperation],” he says. Even as a separate entity, AIMS is evidently now a highly dominant force in the IP debate, with 71 members and counting at the time this article was submitted in mid-April. The most recent additions include Atos, Encompass Digital Media, sonoVTS and Jupiter Networks. The MNA also continues to grow, with Symetrix being announced as its newest member at ISE 2017. MNA

chairman Rich Zwiebel – who is also vice president, Systems Strategy at QSC Audio – draws attention to cross-alliance activity taking place at major trade events such as ISE, NAB and InfoComm, in the form of demos and presentations. This is perhaps only natural given that, in the words of Zwiebel, “a lot of people really do now see the benefit of true interoperability between networks [that is facilitated by AES67], and without there being any need to change [the actual networking technology] that they are using.”

“Many members in common” The less seasoned observer might wonder if there has been much in the way of collaboration between the aforementioned organisations and the Avnu Alliance, given the latter’s continued focus on a Layer 3-oriented approach for network traffic and other primary differences. And indeed the Alliance does not stint from emphasising its “unique” focus, for example its promotion of “independent, third party certification for interoperability,” as highlighted by John McMahon, vice president of Solutions and Strategy at Avnu member company Meyer Sound. McMahon continues: “Some other organisations may promote ‘plug-fests’ where you connect things to show that they work in a controlled environment. In contrast, Avnu, in conjunction with its testing lab, has gone through the IEEE specification and developed hundreds of tests that each device must pass to make sure the transport layer is absolutely reliable. I think that’s an important distinction.” Nonetheless, what might be termed a holistic approach to the networking issue means that there is still capacity for inter-alliance collaboration. Patrick

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P23 MAY 2017

Certificate… or not! In the main text, writes Dave Robinson, John McMahon makes a point about the rigour of the Avnu Alliance’s testing procedures: a device must pass through “hundreds of tests” the Alliance has developed, he says, in order that the transport layer is “absolutely reliable”. While this is a very commendable strategy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that non-certified kit won’t work. To this end, at PL+S last month, experienced sound engineer Robb Allan on the AVID booth was demoing the features of the S6L console using audio/ video playback of a student concert recorded at the LIPA college earlier in the year. Allan’s set-up incorporated an LA4X amplifier controller (Avnu certification due soon) hooked up, via the AVB

protocol, to the AVID S6L (Avnu certification date unknown). Allan remarked that this arrangement –

however unofficial it might be – had been rock solid throughout his demos.

industry forward. Avnu has created liaison agreements with various protocol and networking organisations across markets to make this a reality and we currently have a formal liaison relationship with MNA and AIM. This has always been in the charter of Avnu and is an important part of working to move the industry forward.”

they are the first Avnu-certified amplified controllers to be launched with both Bridge and Listener technology, according to the company. To accompany the introduction of the LA12X and LA4X, L-Acoustics has also updated its LA Network Manager software with an AVB controller, which “eases connection with other systems and integrates seamlessly via an easy and natural user interface”. Like L-Acoustics (which joined in April 2015), d&b audiotechnik is a fairly recent addition to the Avnu ranks (since July 2016) and remains a firm advocate of AVB. In an open letter submitted to PSNEurope editor Dave Robinson, d&b audiotechnik GmbH head of market intelligence and business development Henning Kaltheuner queried the thrust of some recent AVB coverage in the magazine, and highlighted the increasing levels of engagement with AVB (also, see box). “The changes in system infrastructures and business parameters that are introduced by AVB technology are wide and deep,” he wrote. “As a manufacturer that mainly sells long-term investment products to customers we feel responsible for maintaining the lifetime market value of our systems for our customers. Therefore, the perspective we are taking for our strategies is always on a long-term.” With Prothe alluding to the development of an educational programme “to drive awareness and knowledge of next generation networking in pro-AV, clarify myths and help simplify system installation”, it seems that there is as much scope for cross-alliance collaboration about training as much as specific technologies. Since the future ubiquity of networked audio and video is now beyond question, it is surely through clarity of communication to the broader industry that the greatest number of end-users will be able to take advantage of the advantages that effective network infrastructures can bring. n aimsalliance.org avnu.org medianetworkingalliance.com

“Inevitable” AVB transition?



Prothe, who is Pro AV segment chair at Avnu as well as being marketing communications director at Biamp, comments: “There are many layers to the solutions for audio and video being transported, managed and configured in a full system. Avnu has many members in common with the open organisations comprised of member companies working together to move the

As well as collaborating where there are shared interests, Avnu is also working to counter perceptions in some quarters – not least in previous articles published in PSNEurope – that the AVB project is in some way or another lagging behind various AoIP initiatives. By contrast, Prothe claims that the “the emergence of video onto networks really signals the transition to AVB as inevitable”, whilst the TSN (Time Sensitive Networking) extension of AVB has helped to drive interest in certain segments, notably industrial applications. “We have seen rapid adoption of AVB/TSN in a number of industries where guaranteed reliability of data delivery in a time sensitive fashion is critical,” says McMahon. “We’ve seen widespread activity, for example, in automotive and industrial control systems and in financial networks, and the Avnu Alliance has been a focal point for that broader activity. Adoption in the pro-audio industry continues at a more deliberate pace, in part because of intense competition from proprietary solutions. It may take some trip ups or falls of these other technologies in demanding scenarios to push wider acceptance in our business.” Prothe admits that “certification may seem like a slow process” but expects “the rate to increase as time progresses”. For Meyer Sound, McMahon says that the manufacturer’s CAL series of loudspeakers and Galaxy network platform have already been certified, and “we expect to submit the I/O modules for our D-Mitri digital audio platform this year”. Elsewhere, L-Acoustics recently announced availability of the the Avnu-certified amplifier controller LA12X, with the LA4X due to be certified imminently. Together,

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Show preview: PLASA Focus

P24 MAY 2017


PLASA, focused

A year after his appointment as head of PLASA, Peter Heath tells us what’s coming up, in Leeds and beyond… (PSNEurope) Hello Peter... tell us about PLASA… Peter Heath: PLASA is a complicated business with many moving parts, whether it be the commercial events and magazines or technical guidelines, member initiatives and skills programmes. I have learnt a lot over the last year and there are three key areas we have been focussing on at PLASA including a product review, a streamlined approach and collaboration. Through our product review, it highlighted improvements on our approach enabling us to re-shape how we run our business to a more streamlined way. We have restructured internally and merged the two offices, encouraging better communications and more joined-up working practices, which will ultimately benefit our members with a collaborative approach. We have identified new opportunities including member training events, international prospects for the National Rigging Programme and some exciting new developments for the Leeds and London show to name but a few. Collaboration is at the heart of the re-focused PLASA. We are working closely with all verticals of the industry to ensure our benefits, developments and future plans are in line with the needs of the industry. We have dedicated a lot of time and will continue to do so visiting our industry bodies, customers, competitors and members to ensure we engage and receive feedback from the very people we are here to benefit. Some great examples of our collaborative work to date include the PSA and PLASA joining forces to bring you the first in a series of panel discussions highlighting the emotional and psychological issues faced by so many in the entertainment and creative industries, as well as regular audio steering groups, which have already led to a positive re-engagement with the PLASA Show in London. We have the 2017 PLASA AGM coming up in June which is another great opportunity for us to share our developments with the members and receive their valuable feedback. The PLASA Team is focused to ensure we shape and deliver benefits and business opportunities that better reflect the needs of our industry.

responsibilities to the membership and being guided by a constitution, as well as the products. These elements are very different requiring a different approach, albeit in many cases the customer is the same.

PLASA Focus is coming up – what’s different/ better this year?

How does an organisation like PLASA differ from a manufacturer like Roland, where you were for 19 years?

With PLASA Focus Leeds only a couple of weeks away, on 9-10 May at Royal Armouries Leeds, we are excited to share a stellar line-up! Not only will the show welcome the latest launches to the pro audio industry but also a BBC Yorkshire Tour, Dante Networking events and the very latest insights at the free to attend seminar programme. PLASA Focus is known for its relaxed networking and is the first UK debut of the latest launches allowing you to try and test the latest technology in the market. To name but a few we are expecting to showcase Cadac’s CDC seven - the newest addition to its CDC series digital console line, Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision Series (a new generation of multi-purpose line arrays), iKon amplifiers, LE range of stage monitor, XE Series high-performance stage monitors, d&b audiotechnik’s 24S and 24S-D and 21S-SUB point source installation loudspeakers, Nexo’s GEO M10 mid-size line array and RCF’s HDL 6-A new mini line array. If these exciting products weren’t enough, for the first time at PLASA Focus Leeds you can learn more about Audinate’s Dante networking tech, including presentations, training workshops and live tabletop displays from sponsors including Bose, d&b audiotechnik, Focusrite and Roland [Yay! – Synth Ed]. This event is recommended to anyone involved with the installation of networked audio systems including design consultants, system integrators and live sound engineers. PLASA Shows are renowned for industry leading seminar content, which provide an opportunity to further your professional development and stay up to date with the latest technologies. Listen to talks from industry experts including; ‘Is Point Source Fighting Back?’, a panel session chaired by Phil Ward; In-Ear Monitoring: Getting It Right from Justin Grealy, Soulsound; and Precise and Predictable Performance goes one step further with Oran Burns, d&b audiotechnik.

Many things are very similar between the two businesses, the main differences being the

Then there’s the ‘PLASA’ show in London in

Peter Heath

the autumn – what are your expectations? As a business we have been working exceptionally hard to relaunch the PLASA Show at Olympia in London. With fantastic feedback from the 2016 show and the buzz likened to the Earls Court days returning to the show floor we are excited to build on this for the 2017 show and the 40th anniversary of the Show. We have been working closely with the audio manufacturers to develop the show for 2017 and 2018 with more interactive elements and more brands re-engaged. With still four months to go we are excited to announce that we already have a 26 per cent increase in audio companies signed up for the show and more opportunities are being developed. PLASA has a lot of heritage within the industry and with our renewed focus and collaboration we aim to deliver a show packed with the latest pro audio products, interactive showcases, the leading industry experts giving you technical insights and sharing their experiences and knowledge and many networking opportunities with the manufacturers and your peers.

Anything else we should expect from the organisation this year? We have some exciting new developments being planned across the business which will be launched later in the year so watch this space….n www.plasa.org

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21/04/2017 19:43



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P26 MAY 2017


POsitivo thinking A new multi-function facility fills a gap in Tuscany, writes Mike Clark


lthough a cultural association from a bureaucratic point of view, POsitivo is to all effects a facility featuring a recording studio and a multi-function room, which recently opened in the Tuscan city of Prato. The idea for the setup came from two of the association’s founding members, Silvio Brambilla and Roberto Miscali, who financed the project and manage the facility. Miscali explains: “We’re both Florence-born, but live in Prato, and some time ago we realised that there was a total lack of this type of service in the metropolitan triangle of Florence, Prato and Pistoia. “The recording studio is also cabled with the stage in the multi-function room, enabling bands performing live to record, as well as making multi-track recordings of larger formations playing classical music, for example.” Although Miscali is an amateur musician and singer, his professional background is in the expo stand design and construction field throughout Europe. In the case of Brambilla, as John Miles sang in the seventies, it would be impossible to imagine his life without music in some form or other: whether behind an audio console, playing on-stage or composing. However, this eclectic Tuscan hasn’t a rock ‘n’ roll-only diet. He is head of the AV department at Florence’s new Opera Theatre, which hosts the famous Maggio Musical Fiorentino (MMF) and its programme of concerts, opera and ballet, now at its 80th season. With the MMF since 1981, Brambilla leads a team with an array of digital audio equipment at its disposal, used to mix all the live shows in the theatre, for multi-track recordings and live TV broadcasts. The team records all the theatre’s productions, not only for the venue’s archives, but also for state broadcaster RAI and other networks. His work with MMF involves increasing use of new technology in Operatic applications, such as live surround sound reinforcement and live electronics. He recently began work on digitalising, restoring and editing of the tapes in the MMF archives for a series of CDs: Historical Maggio Live and Maggio Live. With his own mobile recording studio, he records MMF operas and concerts, audio for soundtracks and advertising spots. At POsitivo, as well as session drumming when needed, Brambilla plays with several bands such as Zero.55, DeadBurger and Jardin des Bruits, with genres ranging from classic guitar, bass and drums rock to more experimental sounds. The Prato recording facility is ProTools HD 11 based (Avid HD I/O Avid HD OMNI Avid HD Native) and almost

The multi-function room hosts a stage complete and a 24-channel Yamaha 01V digital mixing console

all the equipment was selected and purchased by Brambilla, who explains the reasons for some of his choices. “I particularly like the Avid HD cards and the Focusrite (OctoPre MK II) preamplifiers, which ensure top-grade audio and enable us to exchange files with top studios,” he says. “As far as the multi-function room is concerned, I’m really happy with our Behringer X32 40-input, 25-bus digital console and the 48-channel S32 digital snake. I think a lot of folk underrate this desk, but it offers excellent quality, thanks also to its 32 programmable Midas-designed preamps, and a vast range of functions.” Brambilla also finds the studio’s iCON Qcon Pro control surface fantastic and adds: “It guarantees complete control of all the Pro Tools functions, with the feeling and speed of a mixer – I could throw my mouse away!” The facility’s control set-up also includes a PreSonus Monitor Station V2 (monitors are a pair of Genelec 8020A and two Yamaha HS4) and an M-Audio Keystation 49E USB/MIDI keyboard controller. The multi-function room, which hosts a stage complete with sound reinforcement courtesy of compact two-way Electro-Voice EVU-2082/95 enclosures and a 24-channel Yamaha 01V digital mixing console, is used to rehearse tours by bands, concerts and theatre productions, record videos and other projects, as well as hosting cameos and presentations.

(L-R): Roberto Miscali and Silvio Brambilia

It has also been transformed into a dancehall, hosted fashion parades, exhibitions, music lessons and a recently staged course for live sound engineers. Florence’s Campus Della Musica recorded a live set for the presentation of the new compilation CD for its 3rd edition and video maker Giacomo Castellano shot a clip by singer/songwriter Noah Tortelli. Numerous emerging artists have made their studio recording debut at POsitivo, and an eight-band compilation is in the pipeline, as well as an interesting collaboration with the Centro Studi Musica e Arte music school in Florence. After just over a year’s activity, Brambilla and Miscali are rightly pleased with the facility’s really POsitivo results! n www.arturia.com www.avid.com/pro-tools www.eventideaudio.com www.genelec.com www.global.focusrite.com

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P28 MAY 2017


Behind the barn doors Paul Dackombe is a former pop sensation in Japan, a drummer turned engineer and songwriter of swing and bebop songs. Sarah Sharples rattles his cage to find out about his new studio


ack in the 1980s, producer, songwriter and drummer Paul Dackombe was part of a pop band called Explained Emma, who’s song When My Heart Rings went to number one on the vinyl charts in Japan. “Regrettably we didn’t go out and tour, because logistically it was too much. That band had quite a big horn section, so the logistics of getting 10 people out to Japan for a month’s tour felt like a bridge too far really,” he says. Despite the band breaking up, Dackombe has continued to forge a career in the music industry, including working as a producer in studios and on consoles such as the Neve 88RS at Abbey Road and at La Fabrique in France, and writing songs with former band-mate Peter Higgins. He also established his own label, Wire-Sound, with Dave Formula from Magazine/ Visage after working with him on his solo album Satellite Sweetheart in 2010. This year, Dackombe also opened YellowRattle Studios in the English countryside in Essex, a project that he poured a year of his life into by building the facility from scratch, alongside designer Howard Turner of Studio Wizard. “We built it as a barn-like construction so it fits in with the environment and it doesn’t stand out too much,”

Paul Dackombe with his Genesys Black G32 console

explains Dackombe. “It has really been a labour of love. I didn’t place each brick, but I’ve done a lot of the building work myself, and with every stage of the process I’ve been heavily involved. I’ve not just given it to a studio builder where they do the turnkey solution. It saves a bit of money obviously, but you know it’s been done right as The barn-like studio comes with its own dog!



there is no going back!” Turner says he has been working with Dackombe for a few years as he investigated possible venues for his studio. “Once we realised we had a chance at a groundup build on virgin land, though, then we knew we had a chance to do this ‘properly’,” he comments, adding that he encouraged Dackombe to put his creative stamp on the end result. “A studio is a creative environment and has to be a place where musicians feel inspired. I remember hanging oil wheel projectors off the roof of my control room back in the 80s to get the right vibe – that is still essential if the place is to shine as an inspirational beacon – oil wheels or not,” explains Turner. “No one ever has no regard for costs when building a studio, but luckily the location and layout we had to play with for Paul meant that we could make this shine for minimal

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P29 MAY 2017

The live room had to have a set of drums for Dackombe

The control room

bucks. Now with the incredible gear he has to fill it – it’s really a proper world class facility –and he can still walk home at the end of the session.” YellowRattle is a two-room, 60sqm affair, with a live room and control room, as well as a relaxation area and onsite accommodation above the garage, which isn’t fully up and running yet, but will sleep three to four people. “I would say the control room is quite generously sized,” observes Dackombe. “The live room can host four players max – I didn’t want acres of space in [there], I’m not intending on doing orchestral stuff.” Dackombe also wanted as ‘green’ a studio as possible, which includes solar panels on the roof. “The house is heated by ground source and it just felt right to power as much as I could with solar. It cost £6,000 to install, which isn’t cheap, but I felt worthwhile for the long run,” he explains. The name, YellowRattle, comes from a wildflower that grows in the field next to the studio, plus is a play on rattle as a percussive instrument. It is also “a little psychedelic,” says Dackombe. The centrepiece of Dackombe’s studio is his new 16-channel Genesys Black G32 console, which replaced an SSL desk. “I looked at a variety of what I would call ‘hybrid’ desks – a blend of analogue front-end with DAW

control and functionality, as I prefer to mix in a hybrid manner. The Neve sound made the Genesys Black a leading contender and, coupled with the modular structure and DAW capabilities, it was a clear winner. “I don’t think anything else came really close when all those factors were considered. The ability to choose between classic and modern mic-pres and EQs is pretty unique outside of a rack of 500-series modules, although I went for all the classic choices with the Genesys Black set-up.” Dackombe adds that his preference to work in a hybrid manner means he chooses his hardware carefully, but he also has “ a lot of stuff in boxes and tonnes of plug-ins”, including the 1176 compressors, the Neve 33609 compressors, Pultec EQs and Massenberg EQS and a combination of Lexicon and TC effects. “The monitors are ATC – I really love them, they are just articulate – you hear every nuance and mid-range, it’s great. People say there is not enough bottom end to them but there is plenty of bottom-end! “I use a combination of in the box and Out Board gear when I’m mixing,” he continues. He admits that Genesys Black has been a learning curve for him, but that it didn’t take long for him to become ‘in tune’ with the desk. “It is really modular. The workflow options are

phenomenal. You can solve a problem in a number of different ways, so today I may route things one way and tomorrow I’ll route the same challenge in an entirely different way – that flexibility is brilliant. It’s got enough control with Pro Tools and the ability to have Pro tools faders on the desk, as well analogue faders is a winner,” he comments. Dackombe goes on to boldly claim that drummers make the best engineers as they are done recording in the first couple of days and end up sitting around waiting for everyone else to finish. “You might as well sit at the desk and do something. There is an awful lot of drummers I know that migrated to be engineers simply because they were bored and they had nothing else to do once their parts were done,” he explains. And Dackombe is being kept busy at YellowRattle, with a variety of projects planned for the studio. This month a singer/songwriter from Barbados is coming in, while local bands and a video maker friend also intend to use the facility, with word of mouth the idea behind advertising the studio. “I’m going to let it grow organically. I’m not in a desperate rush to be full 350 days a year. I’ve got to make sure we have enough slots for my writing with Peter [Higgins] and then I’ll just fit in bookings around that. There are range of things from folk, to indie to pop planned and that is kinda my sweet spot,” explains Dackombe. In particular, the writing pair’s latest project involves an album with 12 songs written in swing, bebop style for a specific artist, who they are in discussion with about recording. Meanwhile, he is really pleased with sound of the live room and control room and says it’s a great listening environment. “What we set out to do is not to the build biggest studio, but to build the nicest with a lovely comfortable environment, and with great gear and that’s what I think I’ve done,” he says. n yellowrattlestudio@gmail.com

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21/04/2017 19:46

Feature: Women in Audio

P30 MAY 2017

Bryony October at FOH


The female effect

The audio industry is dominated by males, but women are now infiltrating every sector of sound and wielding their influence, writes Sarah Sharples


n this special extended feature, we are celebrating women in audio and the diverse roles they occupy throughout the industry. From Mandy Parnell who battled discrimination early on in her career and who now owns mastering studio Black Saloon, to live FOH engineer Bryony October, who has mixed for crowds of 88,000. Then there’s RAK Studios manager Trisha Wegg, who was awarded an APRS Sound Fellowship and is behind initiatives to get more girls into the studio. There’s Jo Hutchins, who spent 10 years designing audio mixers, as a software engineer and project manager. And there’s Emma Penny, an OB sound engineer who has been the only woman in any department she has worked in; MPG Breakthrough Engineer winner Manon Grandjean and Nicki Fisher, who leads a sales team at intercoms developer Clear-Com. “Everyone can name George Martin or Pharrell if you ask them who a famous producer is, but ask them for a female producer and I don’t think they could name one,” says Trisha Wegg, studio manager at RAK Studios. “I wonder how many people know Susan Rogers was Prince’s engineer for a number of years? Or Alicia Keys’ engineer is Ann Mincieli?” Wegg is talking about the representation and visibility of women in the audio industry and what can be done to encourage more women into the male-dominated field. She says it starts with education – she doesn’t think the career is offered as an option to girls when they are in school. Plus raising the profile of women in the field is necessary to encourage and inspire other women, she comments. Last year, RAK hosted its 40th anniversary party. RAK

has played host to Sam Smith recording his debut album In the Lonely Hour, High & Dry from Radiohead, Birdy’s People Help the People, The Pet Shops Boys’ It’s A Sin and Simply Red’s Holding Back the Years. Other artists who have passed through RAK’s doors include The Who, Duran Duran, Boy George, The Cure, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, INXS, Ed Sheeran, Royal Blood and David Bowie. Wegg has been with the studio since it opened. She is also one of three women awarded an APRS Sound Fellowship – a personal highlight of her career. (The other two were Maggie Rodford, music supervisor and managing director at Air-Edel Group, and Colette Barber, who retired as studio manager at Abbey Road in 2015). Wegg says most studio managers tend to be female, but when you get to engineers and assistants, they are largely male. She hired RAK’s first female assistant back in 1984/85 and she thinks it was one of the first studios to have a female tape operator. “Over the years we’ve always had female assistants and some who have gone on to be engineers and producers. Manon Grandjean who won MPG Breakthrough Engineer of the year worked at RAK for a couple of years in a freelance capacity. The situation is changing – women are coming through – but this is still disproportionate to the numbers of men and we are hoping to rectify that,” she says. “I recently participated in a seminar, which included three female engineers, for a group of female students looking to enter this industry. RAK has recently hosted the Dice Music Day – over a weekend at the studios – for girls wishing to make a career in the technical side of recording. This is a part of other initiatives to help

redress the balance and show young women they can have a career in the recording industry behind the console.” For Grandjean, she loves being at the mixing desk, despite the long hours, which she says, makes having a social and personal life tricky. “I love being part of a team and being involved in an album from the beginning until the very end and seeing all the different stages of evolution

Mandy Parnell in Black Saloon Studio

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P31 MAY 2017


What do you love about working in the audio industry?

of a song. Then hearing a project that you worked on for days – sometimes nights – being played on the radio, or hearing people’s feedback is a great reward,” she enthuses. “On a technical point of view, I like the fact that there are no rules, you can make your own, you can always try to push boundaries, to find interesting sounds and it is very creative.” The French engineer, who is currently working with Grammy-award winning writer/producer Fraser T Smith in his own studio, was particularly proud about winning the MPG award as she believes it will encourage other women to pursue a career. “It is important that women see that they can also do these so called ‘men’s job’ if they want to. It is also important to give a positive message,” she comments. “Sexism does exist no doubt, but I have personally never experienced it in my job as a sound engineer, so I don’t want people to think that it is systematically happening in a male dominated environment, because it’s not.”

You hold a very senior position in an audio company – do you feel like a trailblazer for women in the industry?


Trailblazers Mastering engineer Mandy Parnell, owner of Black Saloon

The diversity of markets that Clear-Com serve with its portfolio of intercom and infrastructure solutions. One day, I can be discussing RF coverage needs with the lead sound engineer managing the broadcast of an international football match; to a marine engineer working on the bridge of a ship; to the front of house on a leading West End production; to the operations and maintenance manager of an entertainments theme park.

By comparison to other companies in the industry, Clear-Com is a very diversified company. We have a good balance of women on the executive team and in senior management positions: our CEO, myself as EMEA sales director, our Asia Pacific sales director and our marketing director. So we definitely bring a different set of qualities to the table than our male counterparts, which we may outnumber on occasions. We don’t get short changed in terms of mindshare either, so I would say that Clear-Com is a trailblazer in the industry.

Have you ever experienced any discrimination or problems in the audio industry as a result of your gender?

Have you ever had your technical knowledge questioned because of your gender? In the early days of my career in demonstrating radio test sets, I made it my mission to know every technical detail by heart, as there was always one radio shop technician that would bombard me with questions, however with a rapidly expanding portfolio, I soon realised that it was an impossible task to know everything. I soon learned that it was acceptable to say: ‘Can I come back to you and address that point?’ In reality it’s nothing to do with gender but capacity to hold that level of technical information in one’s head!

Why would you encourage other women to work in the audio industry? It’s a fabulous industry. Lots of interesting people, applications and innovation. Come and join the team! www.clearcom.com

Early in my career, years prior to joining Clear-Com, I applied for a people management position in a technical discipline. I was advised in the interview process that as the executive team was all male and that my age and gender wasn’t a strong fit for the management team. I trust that this experience and reasoning wouldn’t cut it today, but funnily enough this personally made me stronger, encouraged me to work harder and fight for the position, and prove that I was exactly the diversity the team needed.

Studios, has been in the industry for 32 years. Parnell has added the polish to albums including Jamie xx’s In Colour, Aphex Twin’s Syro, and has worked with the likes of the Chemical Brothers, Max Richter and Brian Eno. Björk’s has called upon her services for many years: Parnell mastered Biophilia (2011) and Vulnicura (2015); she also worked on Björk’s digital exhibition last year, which included VR music videos, with Parnell responsible for the audio inside the headsets. Parnell never liked playing with dolls as a child, she says, but had a keen interest in music from the age of five, when she would get the old records from the jukebox in the café her parents owned in Essex. Her parents bought her a portable Dansette record player and she would drive

them insane by playing the same song 10 times in a row. She then ran away from home when she was 13 and ended up on the streets. But things turned around when she visited a friend who was working as a housekeeper at the The Manor in Oxford, then owned by a young Richard Branson. She met an assistant engineer who took her into the control room and explained how it all worked. “It really was a euphoric moment and something really clicked. I was just, like, ‘wow’. So I came back into London and looked into courses,” she says. Parnell attended the School of Audio Engineering in London, after which it took her about three years of running, interning, cleaning and being an assistant engineer – whatever she could do – before she

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P32 MAY 2017

Feature: Women in Audio


How did you get started in sound? It was only once I started working in radio as a newsreader and producer that I realised I was much more interested in the more practical and technical side of the job than the creative. I started to chase work experience opportunities in more ‘hands on’ technical roles and eventually began working as a freelance autocue operator in a news studio. I spent a lot of time hanging round the sound department though because I was familiar with driving a desk from my background in radio. I was really lucky to be shown the ropes by some great supervisors and eventually took a staff job as a sound supervisor mixing live news for TV in London and the Middle East.


Tell me about your career to date. Some of the highlights, achievements and projects… I’ve been really lucky to work in a few different areas of the audio industry as a mixer and more recently in a planning and engineering role. Mixing the general election for ITV in 2015 was a huge highlight. I’d also promised myself that I would eventually start going to festivals in a professional capacity rather than just a punter, so working alongside the very talented people at BBC radio to put the ‘Other Stage’ on TV last year was also a highlight. My most recent project was engineering all the communications and presentation for The Voice 2017, which was a big task to achieve in a small space of time. It was very satisfying to see the show go to air every week to nearly nine million viewers knowing I’d worked towards making it happen.

How do you find working in sound as a woman? I have never found working in sound as a woman a big issue. Generally speaking I am treated as an equal by my male peers, although there are definitely occasions I’ve been spoken down to by older men in the industry. Perhaps more sad, though, is that people (both men and women) are often surprised to

find a woman in a position as an overseeing engineer at all. I am the only woman in my department at my current job and have always been the only woman in the department at every staff position I’ve ever held. That being said, I’m happy to say I’ve worked for a number of clients recently in an OB truck entirely staffed by women. It’s positive that this is happening but it shouldn’t be such a rarity in the 21st Century.

Why would you encourage other women to pursue a career in sound? A female engineer can do all the same things as a male engineer. It involves listening to what producers/ editors/ clients want to achieve in whatever programme they’re making and working to achieve it. I believe women are naturally more empathetic and understanding than men, so are naturally suited to this kind of role. Not to mention that scientifically speaking a woman’s hearing will have a better range for much longer than a man’s...!

got a paid job in the industry. This was as an assistant mastering engineer at the Exchange, although she says she was considered to be the ‘joke’ interview as she had handwritten a CV – complete with spelling mistakes – and popped it through the doors of the studio on the closing date for applications. Parnell has experienced a little sexism in the industry. One example was when her bosses told her they wanted her take on the role of studio manager as the previous person had been fired. “I said, ‘Excuse me I’m an engineer, I don’t want to be a studio manager. I’ve studied to do this, I’ve worked really hard to get here – I don’t want to go sit behind a desk in the office’,” she recalls. “I said: ‘If that’s really what you want me to do then I’m going to have to leave as it’s not something I’m happy to do’. This was a sign of the times in the 80s, where we started the big change about sexism in the workplace. They didn’t put me in the office or ask me to leave and look where I ended up.” But Parnell is proud to be a trailblazer for women in the industry. “I can show young women coming into the industry that you can have a career here, and you can achieve respect across the globe for your work,” she says. Another trailblazer is Bryony October, FOH sound engineer, who has toured with artists such as the Noisettes, Foxes, Billy Ocean, Laura Marling, Marika Hackman and SOAK. Her start in the industry came about when she was 15 and she wrote a letter to her favourite band, The Levellers, asking to do work experience. From there she worked as an assistant merchandise seller with the band, she joined the tech crew at the student union while at university, and the Levellers FOH engineer also got her to help with the PA load-ins, as well as mixing the support bands. “The first time I ever mixed a band it was The Fish Brothers supporting the Levellers in Ryde (Isle of Wight) ice rink, which was a 3,000 capacity venue. It was on a state of the art Yamaha PM4000, which has an awful lot of buttons. It was a baptism of fire but I was totally sold on mixing sound from that moment,” says October. She has now been in the industry for 21 years, touring with The Noisettes for four years and living through hairy moments such as when front woman Shingai would hang backwards off various balconies around the world... Then there was mixing Laura Marling on tour and having to dial

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Trisha Wegg, studio manager at RAK Studios, is introducing women to the technical side of the industry

her whole channel list in from scratch – old school style, with no soundcheck – for her second headline show on the main stage at Latitude in 2015. “The adrenaline hit when she opened her mouth and the first notes came out in glorious, perfect sound is something I can’t ever forget,” she says. In the summer of last year, the band Foxes, with whom October has worked with for the past couple of years, supported Coldplay around stadiums in the USA. “We had very little in the way of time or budget to be ready for that tour and as opening act there was little chance of soundcheck as we weren’t able to even set up on stage until the doors were open,” she explains. “I had one day in (Wandsworth-based) Cato’s small rehearsal space to build the monitor and front of house files before we started the tour at the 88,000 capacity Mel Life stadium. Again it was the most incredible feeling to have the band walk out on stage, not really knowing how the rehearsal file would translate up to that scale and it all working better than I could possibly have hoped for.” But like Parnell, she has also experienced discrimination in the industry, “almost on a daily basis to some extent”, although she said it is hard to decipher whether its sexism or bad-tempered employees. “Some days you’ll be pushing flight cases around a venue when you’re packing up – all the rest of the crew will be doing the same thing – and the security guy will single you out and ask to see your pass,” she explains. “I’ve also had moments where you just get such dirty looks when you say you’re mixing the show, or huge amounts of interference or comments when you want to make changes to the way things are set up in a venue. Again you can never really tell if that’s because you’re female though, it could equally just be a really grumpy house guy.” October says that because of the way the industry works it’s impossible to gauge how much a person’s career success is from getting lucky with a band who have a hit, or being in the right place at the right time, but she can’t help

and wonder sometimes if her career has been stymied by the fact she is female. “Conversely, I also work with a huge number of successful female artists because they want a woman around. However, I’ve certainly got peers who started off working at a similar time to me with similar level bands who are now mixing and getting offers of work at a consistently higher level than I do,” she says. “I wonder if I missed out on opportunities because when there is a choice of engineers and one is a woman they just don’t have faith in women as front of house engineers, because there aren’t very many of us at all. “I would be lying if there haven’t been occasions when I have been told ‘off the record’ by tour managers that soand-so artist ‘won’t have a girl doing FOH’ or that ‘you can do monitors but not FOH’ or ‘we are worried about balance on the crew as we already have a girl doing monitors and how will we be able to lift all the gear with so many women around’.” While the touring lifestyle is not especially conducive to domestic arrangements, especially having children, October doesn’t want to discourage women. She is enthusiastic about the career it offers. “It is a really fun life and when you’re successful, it’s lucrative too. You travel all over the place in a gang and it’s like living in a bubble where the real world doesn’t really matter. It’s getting paid for pure escapism,” she says.

Technical skills Jo Hutchins studied electronic engineering at university and was one of three girls on a course of 70. Three years after graduating, she started as a software engineer at Soundcraft, working as a designer on the first generation of digitally-controlled analogue consoles. She has a number of highlights from that job. “The opportunity to design the user interface for the first moving-fader automation system for recording applications enabled me to transfer my vision of the most effective creative practices for making music

Sadie Groom, managing director of Bubble Communications Groom is the founder of Females in the Broadcast Industry (FBI), a group aimed at women working in roles such as sales, operations, marketing, engineer and business, which was launched in January 2016. She says from anecdotal evidence she recently gathered at a major trade show, of the 1,500 company’s exhibiting, there were only seven female CEOs. “I’m trying to get numbers so I can say: ‘Actually, there is a problem’,” she explains. “Some people don’t see it as a problem… but then I think when you say it, then do you have a daughter, niece or sister? Wouldn’t you like them to be inspired to go into the industry? I think it does go back to seeing other women that are doing it and encouraging women at an early age, so they think they can do it.” bubbleagency.com

into products for professional sound engineers to use,” she explains. “Secondly, providing training for our distributors in how to sell these new products meant that I was getting direct feedback on how these products would impact the working practices of engineers. Most importantly, it was exciting to be part of a talented team of engineers within a company where every employee had the opportunity to feel the buzz of our industry.” Hutchins went on to be a project manager with the Soundcraft R&D department. And again, she’s faced prejudice in the industry for being female. “It’s annoying, but if you know where you’re heading and why, then you will work out ways to overcome it. You might just have to shout a little louder to get heard – and I do have a very quiet voice, as sound engineers always point out!” she says. “The nice thing about engineering is that if you’re right then it works. I have been in situations where my methodology has been questioned. I am a strong believer that men and women have very different ways of thinking,

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Feature: Women in Audio

Susan Rogers worked with Prince, and now teaches at Berklee in Boston Photo credit: Berklee/Kelly Davidson

....polaroid picture of Susan Rogers in a mobile recording truck during the Sign ‘o the Times tour, Rotterdam, June 29, 1987 Photo credit: Jandro Cisneros

Tomboy or feminine?

Jo Hutchins was a software engineer at Soundcraft in the 1990s

so inevitably they will take different approaches to solving a problem. Perhaps we just need to take a little time to teach the men around us that we might know a few things they don’t,” she comments. Currently Hitchins works for Interfacio and specialises in recruiting for R&D engineering positions for manufacturers of audio equipment, which still requires her to draw on her first-hand working experience and technical skills. Parnell remarks that her technical skills have also been doubted, particularly early on in her career. “The Exchange was really known for electronic music and the dance scene and we were cutting [vinyl for] everyone. Occasionally guys would come in with me and they would say, ‘Do you know how to cut a loud record?’, and I would retort: ‘Do you see where I work? Why wouldn’t I be able to? Do you think I would be able to work here if I didn’t?’ Whereas they would never ask that if they walked into one of the guy’s rooms,” she comments. “They would also hang out with the guys and just be chit-chatting about anything, but with me they would want to know every little thing I was doing. They would really question me about why I might be using that setting on a compressor or limiter or why I am EQing it like that. It was just a very different relationship. I’d have some producer who would be quite challenging on that level [but] luckily I was a ‘geek girl’ and had been taught well.”

Be yourself, says October, who likes to wear a dress on her days off. “Don’t feel you have to be a tomboy or butch,” she says. “I’ve kept my femininity but at the same time not made it a hindrance. The trouble is you have to be careful. I’ve seen women take it too far in terms of ‘Don’t try to help me of course I can lift this, how dare you insult me by offering to help’!” October’s advice is to try not to think of gender as an issue. “Remember that most people are just grumpy and have their own shit going on and it’s not really about you. Be thick-skinned around bored bunches of men who have been doing it too long. Kill miserable local crew and house engineers with smiles and kindness no matter how hard a time they give you. And remember it’s OK to be girly,” she comments. Parnell agrees that females shouldn’t try and be like one of the guys. “I talk about using your feminine energy in the studio. We can be gracious, you don’t need to be macho,” she says. Eight years into her career, Parnell met a Native American woman, who realised she was working in a very male-dominated environment. She gave Parnell medicine bags to keep close to her, so she could maintain her femininity. “This was a great spiritual lesson for me,” she says. Parnell adds that some studios just need more pink in them. “Brittany Hampton, daughter of [Paisley Park technical director] Dave Hampton, had a pink edition of the speaker specially made up for me. They are awesome.”

industry, “today we are lucky”, she says. “There are great female figureheads across every genre for any young women coming into the industry,” she says. Like Wegg, she points to Susan Rogers, Prince’s mix engineer, who worked with him on Sign o’ the Times and who is now director of the Berklee Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory. Parnell also goes on to namecheck Jungle City’s Ann Mincieli, who has engineered for Alicia Keys, Drake and Jay Z. “How about Leslie Ann Jones over at Skywalker Sound. It’s also great to be able to say look at EveAnna Manley and the equipment she makes over at Manley Labs,” she enthuses. Wegg adds: “This is a changing situation. There are already women out there making their careers in this industry and there is room for more. Love and have a real passion for music – that is your starting point.” n www.blacksaloonstudios.com rakstudios.co.uk www.interfacio.com

The future Is it doom and gloom for women looking for a career in the industry? Not so much these days. While it took Parnell five years to meet another female when she first started in the

Manon Grandjean with her MPG award

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at st m re o te .c in nts ur se yo re er np st ps gi w. Re w w

s ! et EE ck R Ti e F ar

THE STUDIO IN 2017 6th June 2017, Sway Bar, Holborn, London HOSTED BY

Barney Jameson Director of The Inside Story


Phil Ward Former editor of PSNEurope

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PSNPresents takes place as part of MediaTech 360

5th – 9th June 2017, Central London, UK


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P36 MAY 2017


AES67 uptake boosted by Plug Fests AES67 is regarded as a key element in audio networks, working with Dante, RAVENNA and other formats. As Kevin Hilton reports, the push is on to raise awareness of its capabilities, particularly in broadcasting


etworking, in general, and connectivity over IP technologies, in particular, have wide ranging applications and implications for all types of pro audio installation but broadcasting is in many ways the archetypical target sector. Which explains why many of the recent events promoting the potential of networking through the AES67 interoperability standard have either had a broadcast bias or been held in TV or radio centres. This year alone has seen AES67-oriented presentations and demonstrations at post-production specialist Scrub, BBC Broadcasting House (BH) and IT/ post reseller Jigsaw24. The high attendances at all of these highlights the level of interest in audio over IP (AoIP) networking and an appetite for more educative information regarding how technologies such as AES67, Dante and RAVENNA can be used and integrated. Since the original version of AES67 appeared in 2013, compliance with the standard and the ability of equipment to integrate with it, and each other, has been given practical exposure at a series of Plug Fests. These gather together manufacturers and broadcasters to test systems and discover how much AES67 is capable of and what changes could be made to it. Until February this year all Plug Fests have taken place in mainland Europe. The first UK event took place at BH and featured equipment and technology – connected by great coils of cable – from Merging Technology, ALC NetworX (RAVENNA), Audio-Technica US, Bosch Security Systems, Audinate (maker of Dante), Calrec, Digigram, DirectOut, Genelec, Imagine Communications, Riedel, Prism Sound, Neumann, Shure, Sonifex, Thum+Mahr, Tektronix, Telos, Swedish Radio and Yamaha. Newly appointed AES standards manager Richard Cabot was among the 50 attendees, together with AES standards chair Bruce Olson, who was also representing his acoustical and technical systems design company Olson Sound Design. Cabot outlines the role of Plug Fests as “an opportunity for manufacturers and some users [in this case broadcasters] to test out the interoperability of equipment”. He adds that they also allow people to explore aspects of the standard that

Plug Fests have included “great coils of cable”

might appear confusing, especially to those coming to the technology for the first time. Olson does not see AES67 as still being in its early days, but does acknowledge that there are manufacturers and users that either are just implementing the standard or are yet to do so. “What we’re finding, and it’s the point of the Plug Fests, is there’s a whole new group of manufacturers with their first implementations of AES67,” he comments. “So it is early days for some people and we want to see how they and their equipment works with everybody else that has been using AES67 for the past four years.” AES67 is undergoing what Olson describes as a “steady take-up”, with broadcasters, including the BBC, developing systems for the future. The UK Plug Fest was, Olson says, “audio centric”, with a primary focus on radio broadcasting. Richard Cabot observes that AES67 now covers a wide variety of devices, from microphones to mixing consoles and everything in between. He characterises the standard as being in its adolescence, with the basic pieces necessary to create networks and systems. Roland Hemming of RH Consulting, which has been involved in a separate series of events discussing AES67 and AoIP, feels this is still a period of “ironing

out the bumps” in implementation. He comments that anecdotal evidence suggests there is only a 10 per cent take-up of IP-based networking. “There is still a huge educational task because not all flavours of AES67 are the same,” he says. Attempts to offer more education in this still tricky subject began with RAVENNA and Genelec co-hosting an event at Scrub in Soho. This has been followed by RAVENNA teaming with Merging Technologies at Jigsaw24 to launch the Audio Network Manager (ANEMAN) software programme, which is designed to offer new ways to patch AES67 audio. Jointly developed by Merging and Digigram, ANEMAN has two main functions: to configure networks quickly and efficiently and to monitor network activity. “Users don’t want to worry about IP addresses or complex system set-ups, they just want to patch audio,” comments Merging’s Audio-over IP expert Nicolas Sturmel. Further events looking at RAVENNA and AES67 are planned for this year. There will be a Workshop session during AES Berlin this month presenting ‘The Plug Fest Reports’, with contributions from Nicolas Sturmel and Bruce Olson. n www.aes.org www.alcnetworx.de

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Canford’s new fibre termination business sees growth already The UK distributor and specialist manufacturer has targeted broadcasting with a dedicated connector-fitting operation for fibre optic cable. Kevin Hilton reports.


cable is only as good as the connector on either end of it. This technical adage holds especially true for fibre optic cables, which are used increasingly for high volume transport of audio, video and data in many applications. Broadcasting is taking the optical route for large-scale studio complexes and outside broadcasts, the latter often involving RF-overfibre to support radio mics, IEMs and wireless cameras. UK distributor and enclosure/component manufacturer Canford has responded to this changing situation by setting up its own in-house fibre termination service. This is able to produce cables to specific lengths for broadcast projects with connectors most commonly used in, or best suited to, TV and radio production. Canford was already known for the wide range of cables it supplies, including some designed by chief executive and founder Iain Elliott. This latest departure, explains head of design John Driver, who leads the fibre termination project, is a reaction to the developing cabling needs of the broadcast market. “For a long time Canford has been recognising the need to terminate fibre optical cables,” he says. “It’s the way the industry is moving and the big push is the shift towards Ultra High Definition [UHD] production and transmission. The amount of data that has to be moved from the camera and onwards is very high. The capability of copper to do that is not so great, so we decided it was the time to invest.” Driver says he looked at the connectors being used by Canford customers and what was being done with cable in the market. He also discussed the move with representatives of Senko, a supplier of cable connectors and ancillary components, including ceramic/zirconia ferrules, which some experts see as the most important part of a fibre connector or patch cord. “Senko supplies to other manufacturers and was very helpful in guiding us in what we needed to do and how,” Driver comments. Initially Driver, his Canford team and Senko looked at basic termination products, such as LC and SC fibre patch leads, before examining specific broadcast connectors. “LEMO SMPTE and Neutrik opticalCON are what are being adopted by broadcasters and those are what we are putting on the fibre cables,” Driver says. Previously Canford had bought in ready-terminated optical fibre cabling with LEMO or Neutrik connections. The drawback with this, Driver explains, was how long the process took. “We were very aware of the lead times,”

Fibre cables undergoing termination in Canford’s new facility

he comments. “It could take six to eight weeks and broadcasters being broadcasters, they want something fairly quickly once they order it. Which is another reason why we decided we needed to terminate cables in-house.” Canford has built a dedicated fibre termination facility within its headquarters at Washington, in the northeast of England. The work is carried out in a clean area, to which access is restricted. Food and drink is not allowed in and Driver says that while the personnel do not have to don special suits they are encouraged to wear dark clothing to show up any stray fibre shards, which are nine micron wide. A total of £60,000 has been invested in establishing the facility. Driver explains that the main cost was the equipment rather than the space itself: “We’ve bought the full interferometry system, which looks at the profile of the end of the fibre connector [using electromagnetic waves to extract precise measurements]. The industry standards work in nanometers and we have to meet those standards so we can be sure that one connector will mate exactly with another.” The staff terminating the cables were already working at Canford and volunteered to work in the new department. Driver adds that specific training has been carried out with LEMO, with Neutrik to follow in June. The fibre cable itself is being supplied right now by Furukama and Draka. In terms of specific audio connectivity, Driver says Canford is looking at the requirements of console manufacturers such as DiGiCo, which produce large desks for big broadcast and live events: “There are options for

John Driver, Canford’s head of design who lead the fibre termination project

fibre there, with all digital transmission to and from stage boxes. We’ve started with LEMO and Neutrik but there’s also the possibility of providing HMA connectors, which would require further training, and even MPO units, which contain 12 fibres as opposed to two or four, and are 10mm across.” Canford’s fibre termination operation has been running since November last year and, according to Driver, has already outstripped expectations, with much of the output being exported. On the distribution side of its business Canford announced during April that it has signed an exclusive deal with TC Electronic. The company is now sole UK distributor for the MUSIC Group subsidiary’s range of audio meters, monitor controllers, audio converters, processors and loudness management systems. n www.canford.co.uk

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P40 MAY 2017


Sunny Sides up

Jim Sides, a well-known figure in the world of live sound and loudspeakers, is about to make his next move. Dave Wiggins gets the angle


o-founder of not one but two successful loudspeaker manufacturing businesses, Californian Jim Sides is one of the industry’s most experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders. Between his two start-ups (Apogee Sound Inc in 1986 and Vue Audiotechnik in 2012) he has also held senior management positions with Nexo and Meyer Sound. Consequently, his perspective on the global pro-audio industry and especially those matters pertaining to loudspeaker design, development, sales and distribution is always interesting. As Sides prepares to launch his new consultancy venture ‘Eklektric’, PSNEurope talks with him about the past, present and future…

The pro-audio loudspeaker business is so different now to when you started with Apogee. What were your main challenges in those early days? Yes, it is remarkably different! Remember, in those years, most big rental and installation companies were still making their own systems out of various components they were able to purchase easily, built up in their own woodshop and painting booth. The idea of buying a complete sound system from a manufacturer was really in its embryonic stage. What I miss from those days was the passion that many of us had for building reliable working PAs and our joy at having it all work!

You led Nexo’s sales charge in the US for some years. What specific challenges did you face representing a European brand in the USA? Well in the first place, it was the name ‘Nexo’. Almost no one had even heard of the company in the US, and there was a famous cell-phone company around then called Nextel. When I did a cold call, people thought I was trying to sell them a phone! Another challenge for me was communications and company culture – the US is very different from Europe in basic company ethos and business concepts for our industry. My challenge was creating distribution and sales channels and creating a marketing message that would resonate in the US within the parameters I was given. It was difficult at times trying to articulate my ideas clearly. All that being said, it was great fun and (Nexo founders) Micky Johnson and Eric Vincenot are fantastic guys and remain friends to this day.

You successfully set up Meyer Sound Germany in 2006 and moved your family there too. Did you enjoy the change in culture? That was a real eye-opener. By that point I had worked all over Europe for many years, but actually living there was very different. I think it was far more difficult for my family since none of us spoke a word of German and just getting by day to day (with) things like grocery shopping, was a bit hard. But it was and remains an amazing time for all of us. We still have many close family friends in Europe so our ties remain strong there.

The appearance of VUE Audiotechnik (in partnership with EAW co-founder Ken Berger) was perhaps unexpected by the global proaudio community - what was behind it? I know that most industry people who knew both of us thought it was odd that people with such different backgrounds and diverse philosophies could contemplate joining together and forming a company. My reason was quite simple: I was not fulfilled with what I was doing at the time and it seemed like a challenge that I was prepared to undertake. Starting any business is no small thing, especially when producing loudspeakers. I am pleased that the company is up and running quite well and that I helped in getting it established.

What have you learned about speaker design and business management that you will take into Eklektric? Principally that the pro-audio business is driven in large part by the passion and enthusiasm of the individuals involved. The application of developing technologies and forging new market segments still creates new products and services for reasons other than a quarterly balance sheet. This business – which began with a group of entrepreneurs serving regional market or specific market segment demands – has matured into something global. From a manufacturing and distribution point of view, client product education is paramount to gaining market share, as well as understanding and facilitating pricing structures and marketing endeavours that speak to each regional market and drive local supply and demand. It’s also essential to embrace the technical and business differentials in the global market and to maintain and

Jim Sides: launching new consultancy venture ‘Eklektric’

grow relationships. At the end of the day, our industry is still a ‘people’ business.

Name one way our industry could be improved? I still favour the nimble thinking of smaller companies in our industry as many opportunities require solutions that cannot be purchased as an ‘off the shelf’ product so must be designed, produced and brought to market quickly. Larger firms often miss opportunities because they (don’t do that and) are not in touch with the end user’s changing demands.

Looking back, as you prepare for your next chapter, what would you have done differently? Well, hindsight is always good to analyse what one did right or wrong in a particular situation and hopefully learn something in the process. Mis-steps and successes are both part of the learning process. While some of my decisions have not produced the results I intended originally, these decisions often lead to other opportunities that might have been missed if I had taken a different path. Overall, my philosophy of embracing change has served me well in my career and will lead to more exciting challenges ahead. I am privileged to have worked in the entertainment industry for most of my life. I love this business! n


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(L-R): Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson: the “holy trinity of Yes”. Photo credit for all: Lee Wilkinson


How can you mix with the synths all around me?

Erik Jordan is the man in command of Rick Wakeman’s keyboard conundrum. Dave Robinson tunes in (with apologies to Jon Anderson for the headline)


ick Wakeman owns nine Minimoogs. Not the re-booted Voyager version, synth fans, no: the former Yes keysman owns nine of the original Model Ds. The ones that put Moog (ahem, rhymes with ‘vogue’) on the map, and in the history books. They’re currently selling at three grand a pop, if you can track one down. Erik Jordan is in charge of Wakeman’s monosynth menagerie. In fact, he’s the Caped Crusader’s engineer, systems tech, programmer and co-producer: “I first met Rick when I was a tape-op at CTS in the mid-90s,” he says. And he’s been with him every since. Wakeman, the keyboard player, raconteur and – is PSNEurope the first to suggest this? – ‘national treasure’, has been on tour with prog rock’s own Angel Gabriel, Jon Anderson, and fretboard demon ,Trevor Rabin. The Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman tour – the “holy trinity of Yes”, according to one classic rock website – has conquered the USA and travelled the length and breadth of the UK. When PSNEurope caught up with Jordan, he was a day away from catching a flight to Japan. “Everything’s so varied,” he says of working with Wakeman. “We might be touring with the Grumpy Old

Picture Show, then with ARW or with the English Rock Ensemble, or a solo classical piano tour. That’s one of the things I love about working with Rick, it covers so many musical styles, so you never get stuck in a rut. And he’s such a nice guy!” Wakeman’s live performance is akin to watching the back room of a music store get up on stage. He surrounds himself with multiple keyboard and modules. (There are 11 synths for this tour, including two of his nine Minimoogs.) But, look beyond the ivory-tickling: the biggest change to Wakeman’s keyboard rig (Jordan: “in all the years that I’ve known him”), is the Allen & Heath Qu-32 digital mixer.

Jordan sets the scene “The way Rick creates his sounds, he uses multiple keyboards and multiple racks, but layers up sounds, so uses single patches from synths, rather than a multitimbral ‘performance’ sound from one keyboard. “Once he’s got a sound, it becomes a case of blending the sound from individual instruments. It’s about building up layers. It also has to work where he’ll be within the rig. It takes an awful long time to get the sound palette you’re

after by the right instrument in the right position – then you get the overall balance correct with one piece, but then you start again with another song, with different gain structures etc. “With the old analogue [LEM] desk, we would be stuck with the old static set-up. It was literally being used to submix. You could do a few things with MIDI Volume, [but that was it]. A demo of the Qu-32 “changed my life”, says Jordan. “When we’re coming up with sounds for instance, Rick is often thinking about tech of the past, like, ‘That’s great but it’s lacking a bit of this or that’. That might just be some FX. I can say, ‘Right Rick, I know what you’re after… I can go to the board and tweak something by using the internal effects, and he’ll say, ‘Oh that’s brilliant!’ So we’re altering the FX using the Qu. “Before I would keep everything flat all the time, because the sounds would be changing from piece to piece. Now I’m able to go in and EQ every channel as I would like it for that one song. I’m changing the routing if there’s a combination of keyboards that are only being used as solo instruments; I can buss them out separately so FOH has more control of that, but on a different piece

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there might be another of keys that I want to buss out. So being able to change the routing, the effects the gain structures … and we don’t run out of processing. “ Jordan claims he’s never once used the manual, the Qu-32 is “so intuitive” to use. “You touch it, it feels expensive, which gives you confidence.” “I look at it, it’s a much smaller board than the iLive and dLive, but in its price bracket, I don’t think there’s anything else that touches it,” he enthuses. “It’s powerful, you can use it for so many different things. In rehearsal I’ve used it as a monitor board at the same time as [mixing within] his main keyboard rig. I view it as a really useful bit of toolkit. It’s totally reliable and I’ve never had any issues with it.” Jordan submixes to two main stereo pairs which go to monitor and FOH positiongs – main stereo keys on one pair, solo lines and “whatever needs to be kept separate – usually the Minimoogs” on the other. In the UK, Chris Fudurich was on FOH duties, with Tour Tech (old mates of Wakeman, of course) doing PA duties. Clair Bros handled the US leg. “I then take those two pairs and route them at the same time and pass those to his powered monitoring (EV ETX speakers currently) – so when he’s standing

Wakeman and his 11-keyboard rig. Note Minimoogs front and back

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in his rig, from behind him he’s hearing his keys, then in front he’ll hear the rest of the band from the stage monitors. He feels completely enclosed in this wall of sound, but he can take the fader and change his own volume within his own monitors without affecting anyone else.” There’s a moment during the encores – after Long Distance Runaround, Heart of the Sunrise and a stupendous Awaken – that Wakeman jumps on to a keytar and goes wandering off into the audience, with Trevor Rabin in tow. “That used to be cabled – then after the [Six Wives] Hampton Court gigs in 2009 we went wireless. In the past, it used to a 100-foot MIDI cable, which was useful, because if he wandered off too far, we could reel him back in again! “Whereas now there’s no stopping him … and he will wander out and sometimes wander in to the front lobby, sometimes you have go running out and shove him back in again... “We use a Kenton Wireless MIDI system – it’s not audio, it’s purely a controller. And it’s been rock solid.” But what can’t be so dependable are those Minimoogs, right?

Tech supremo Erik Jordan with the Allen & Heath Qu-32 digital mixer

“Oh yes!” laughs Jordan. “They are notorious for not liking touring. We need two to be working all the way through the show, one is featured more than the other but Rick has such a big layout, it’s down to geography. Where will he be within the rig at a point where he needs to be playing it? He might be far stage left, but he needs to add a Moog line, so have a Minimoog there. If there’s a mid-show

crisis [meaning one fails] he can always jump over to the second. “But it’s always the first thing I do, after the Minimoogs have warmed up, is make sure they are working properly. Broken keys, retuning, a dry joint – there are lots of things you can fix as you go along to keep things running!” n www.allen-heath.com

Encore! What do you do after you’ve given the performance of a lifetime? You deliver an encore, of course. Introducing the K.2 Series. The next standard in powered loudspeakers.

qsc.com K10.2



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A NEW ERA IN LIVE MIXING CONSOLES MAD I In a rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt is needed to excel. OHRCA brings the power of adaptability to the world of live audio mixing. It conforms to the needs of both the application and the operator by delivering 128 freely definable audio paths, flexible user interface and workflow, expandable protocols, and multi-format I/O choices -all delivered at a pristine 24-bit / 96kHz sound quality.


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23/05/2016 16:37

Feature: Acoustic treatments

P46 MAY 2017

A Jocavi acoustic shell is featured at the Malta Symphony


Panel discussions Phil Ward wonders if acoustics are designed… or tamed


coustics: the black art of knitting fog. All the same, you’ll soon know if you ignore this art and, to help, we can try to turn as much of it as possible into science. There is a lot of reliable measurement available, but in the competitive professional field there is still a certain amount of faith, some hope and a dwindling amount of charity.

Material world Manufactured acoustic treatment is a booming sector, and the staple materials used in the typical products are gradually changing. “When we started out making our first acoustic panels, we used petroleum-based products such as urethane foam,” recounts Peter Janis, CEO of Canada-based Primacoustic. “But over the years, several factors led us to changing to glass wool. The first was the performance: foam is very effective at absorbing high frequencies, but for low frequency bass absorption it simply doesn’t have sufficient density. Typical foam is about 1lb per cubic foot. We use high-density glass wool in all of the Primacoustic absorptive panels: the density is six times greater – 6lb – which delivers uniform absorption across the audio spectrum.” New materials emerging seem to be driven by appearances, more than acoustics. “We recently developed a series called Paintables that enable the end user to colour-patch the room décor by spray painting the white panels on site,” says Janis. “These are now available in a variety of sizes and formats to fit on wall surfaces or be suspended from the ceiling. The latest is called



houses of worship, the regulations drive a lot of choice.” “Foam cannot be safely used in any commercial installation,” points out Janis. “Once it ignites, it produces poisonous cyanide gas and will act as a driver for flames. Finally, the fire retardant that is used to slow the ignition has been proven to be a carcinogenic. Foam deteriorates due to UV exposure and oxidisation and then produces fine dust particles that should not be ingested.” Nevertheless the percentage of sales to studios compared to ‘commercial’ spaces like restaurants, Peter Janis, CEO of Primacoustic

Element – a hexagonal design that can be used to create fun patterns on the wall.” Terry Hayes, international sales manager at Indianabased Auralex Acoustics, agrees that change is slow but new markets are forcing some revision. “It’s a pretty conservative corner of the industry,” he says. “Some parallels can be drawn with the guitar market, where the users have fixed ideas about how things should be made, although in acoustics it’s not necessarily the customers keeping things traditional. Like us, all of our competitors are focused on acoustic foam and fibreglass: we tend to use fibreglass for our high-end solutions, and not just for aesthetics. Our fibreglass panels are fabric covered, offering a lot more colours and textures, but in the US at least they’re also Class A fire-retardant. In a commercial space, such as restaurants, nightclubs, schools and

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P47 MAY 2017

Primacoustic was responsible for musician and rocker Tommy Lee’s private studio


nightclubs, schools and houses of worship is adjusting. “At this time,” says Janis, “due to the very high popularity of our London Room Kits, I would suggest that the split is probably 50-50 between studio and install. As awareness for acoustic treatment gains momentum, something we’re now seeing, the installation business will take on a greater share over time.” “We really see no boundaries for the application of these products,” adds Hayes. “We find ourselves in

João Vieira, CEO of Lisbon-based Jocavi Acoustic Panels

commercial spaces, studios, education and even industrial spaces where noise has to be controlled.”

Homebass The studio business has moved into private homes as rentable studios have declined, and this has expanded the acoustic treatment footprint. “The studio business hasn’t gone away, it’s just changed,” confirms Hayes. “The old style commercial studio business has moved away from new-build projects, with a small amount of re-modelling of existing premises. The revolution has been in home studios, and that can extend from the typical music shop customer buying a DAW, monitors and a couple of microphones right up to the pro studio – including the artists themselves – installed in a private space. We do a lot of business in Nashville, just to take one example, where this is exactly what’s happened. With file sharing, producers, engineers and session players don’t need to meet up in one place – and you can imagine the global demand for native Nashville guitarists. If they have the right acoustic environment, they can deliver a consistent contribution every time.” Auralex, founded in 1977, helped literally to build the project studio market. Even if it’s all done ‘in the box’ for some producers today, this type of treatment still plays its part, as Hayes confirms. “Even electronic and dance music customers are embracing acoustics, because at the mix stage – or more accurately, monitoring and mixing as an ongoing process – you still need a good sounding room, or

Phil Croft, studio facilities manager at Summerfield Studios in Birmingham, is a disciple of renowned studio designer Philip Newell and proof that you don’t have to be Philip Newell – or Richard Branson – to get results. “Newell’s theory regarding reflective surfaces says that at least 20 per cent of a wall’s surface should be altered in order to hear any perceived difference,” explains Croft, “so to spread direct reflections in the upper frequency band from the wall at Summerfield this principle was applied by placing convex panels of 5mm MDF raised from the wall with varying distances of between 40mm to 110mm from the flat wall surface depending on the shape and curvature of the figures. “It’s a very cost-effective way of diffusing the response of the room. The three panels cost around £10 each to make and I made a feature of them by illuminating the back with strips of LED to add depth to the wall’s appearance. The five diffusers in the room cost less than £100 to make and they keep the room live, improve the reverb trail, reduce the audible potential of room chatter and are visually pleasing. These two simple steps can keep a live room ‘live’ without compromise. If you find you have to add room absorbers to tame a room, it’s likely that the effect will be to kill off the room sound completely.” www.summerfieldstudios.co.uk

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P48 MAY 2017

Feature: Acoustic treatments

at least a room that you know and trust. “Meanwhile sound isolation is a perennial issue. Even if you don’t need total accuracy inside, you surely need to prevent sound getting out and outside sounds getting in. We spend a lot of time educating people on the difference between acoustic treatment and acoustic isolation.” As this sector moves beyond the studio, it must adapt its product ranges for new horizons. “Integrators are usually concerned with aesthetics,” says Hayes, “so they go for the fabric covered panels and maybe wooden diffusors. In temporary or mobile sound reinforcement, we sell our ISO series that serves less to absorb ambient sound in a venue, than to control sound on stage. For example, we have an isolation platform series called SubDude for subwoofers, bass cabs and monitor wedges: it’s common in nightclubs to find poorly made stages that will resonate and rumble, so we can help to combat those condition. We also have a range of portable baffles made of foam, some of them fabric covered, so we’re still using a lot of the traditional studio materials in touring – although you wouldn’t take the top-of-the-range panels out on tour to get kicked around…” “There are several building blocks used in acoustics when ‘fixing’ an existing space,” explains Janis. “The usual starting point will be the absorptive acoustic panels: these are used to essentially ‘conceal’ surfaces that will produce powerful first order reflections and eliminate excessive room reverberation. Whether this is a studio, restaurant or gymnasium, the same absorptive qualities are sought after. For hockey rinks and interrogation suites, more robust panels are usually employed. “For the studio, the next challenge is bass absorption. The BBC developed bass traps using diaphragmatic resonators and we copied the technology in the MaxTrap. Proper bass management evens out the room modes and enables you to hear the music without as many peaks and valleys as you move around the space. Bass traps are rarely used in commercial installations. Managing ceiling reflections is usually the third process involving installed ‘clouds’ that spans the workspace. Clouds are often used in commercial spaces as putting up absorptive panels on the walls is not always convenient. Finally, if budget permits, diffusers are usually positioned behind the listening space to give you a greater sense of air or space. Again, these are mostly the domain of the recording studio.” “Yes, we’ve expanded from studios to concert arenas, nightclubs and even food courts – as well as our unique acoustic shell for theatres,” agrees João Vieira, CEO of Lisbon-based Jocavi Acoustic Panels. “This is for diffusion; it’s not an absorbent solution but the opposite, in order to increase the reverberation time from the stage to the audience.” The products may change as they export from studios into the real world, but one abiding principle at Jocavi is to avoid using fibreglass materials across the entire range. “There is a huge variety of shapes, sizes and raw materials,” reveals Vieira, “all manufactured here in

Portugal, from cork to different foams and composites, but we don’t use any form of fibreglass because it’s not good for the environment. It’s not a safe or healthy raw material – a lot of our business is replacing the fibreglass with new materials like BASF’s Basotect. This is why we’ve developed what we call the ECO-iso system: it uses only coconut fibre and cork. We combine these materials to create acoustic treatment with ecological integrity.”

Primary colours Of course, you can always just get it right in the first place. In Birmingham, England sound engineer and music executive Phil Croft has masterminded a brand new recording studio called Summerfield, and grateful clients are flooding in. His inspiration was veteran studio builder Philip Newell. “I’m not an acoustician, but studied the subject enough to apply it to my studio design and it worked,” Croft says. “I simply accepted Newell’s principles and applied them to my design. Regarding the live room at Summerfield, and sticking to the principles of Newell’s book Recording Studio Design, the mechanics of acoustic control are built into and onto the walls to tame LF and scatter upper frequencies. The result is a very calm and controlled space with excellent LF response. LF increases near the sidewalls, as can be expected, as they’re not treated for LF absorption other than the in-built tarred felt and Rockwool layer. “No one listens critically from the side of the room and once the sound enters the rear wall waveguide system it’s all over! Non-treatment of the side walls and upper ceiling has the advantage of keeping the room ‘real’ with regards to natural conversation in the control room area. All these treatments are essential if you intend to make professional recordings and they’re all done with widely available standard building materials.” ‘Standard’: now there’s a word to set pulses racing in this caper. Is there any such thing in the universe of molecules? “There are many fallacies that need to be understood,” points out Janis. “Sound is made of air compressions with unlimited frequencies. And as sound hits and reflects off surfaces, these frequencies either combine or cancel out depending on their phase relationships and where you’re positioned in the room. Artificially changing the phase or equalizing the response curve to ‘fix’ a problem in one position means you are introducing problems into others. There is no way around it. “The best solution – whether you’re setting up a recording studio or conference room – is to bring the room acoustics under reasonable control first. This means addressing all frequencies. Keep in mind: no room is perfect. You have to get used to the sound of your room. This is why the best engineers prefer to work in the same room all the time. They know what to expect.” Another eminence gris in studio design is Andy Munro, who avoids taking sides in the standards debate currently exercising the acoustics set. “I think our philosophy remains somewhere in the middle, between standard

design-and-build projects and a range of off-the shelf solutions that fit a number of situations,” he says. “We have our own warehouse/workshops in Bicester and a fully-fledged building company so we do generally do a full service. “We’ve been incredibly busy with Abbey Road and a dozen other projects: the ARS film room is interesting as it’s for both Dolby ATMOS and general film music mixing in 7.1. It has three monitoring formats, two of which are a completely custom built, switchable soft-dome, horndriven ATMOS system, designed and built by our team. The third is a typical ARS B&W set-up that rises up out of the floor, just like a Wurlitzer! “It’s less about what you use than the way you use it – you could use almost anything! It’s a combination that creates a sound that translates elsewhere, a kind of standard. Lots of claims are made for various materials, but in the end it’s down to getting a measurement of the room: checking the reverb and the reflections. One of the best studios I ever heard had mattresses on the wall…” n ww.auralex.com www.primacoustic.com www.jocaviacousticpanels.com www.munro-associates.com The Auralex pro panels and sustain diffusors

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21/04/2017 20:00

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P50 MAY 2017

BBC Radio 1 studios


IPE freely IPE is setting about putting itself on the map of the UK’s leading broadcast systems integration companies, discovers Dave Robinson


nless you’ve been living in a cave, you will have watched a TV programme or heard radio broadcasts that were produced in studios built by IPE Limited – everything from Strictly Come Dancing to shows on Radio 1. Few, however will have realised the identity of the company who built these facilities. Over the years, IPE has acquired a strong reputation for delivering state-of-the-art solutions into live production environments with minimal disruption, on time and on budget. IPE started out in 1983 as a specialist systems integration company working mainly in audio. Decades on, the company has completed a huge number of projects, becoming one of the BBC’s principal audio suppliers. In addition, it has built several hundred radio studios and has, more recently, installed television and complex audio visual systems for ITV and Tate Modern (the Starr Cinema, featured in PSNEurope October 2016). A key offering from IPE – part of its ‘out of sight’ technologies, as highlighted on its webpage – is IDS, a scaleable, network-based display and control system that integrates with essential broadcast equipment: “We realised that there was an opportunity for a flexible, network-based solution, capable of delivering that same information and much, much more using off-the-shelf display devices connected and managed via IP,” explains Judge. “Since then, IDS has evolved into a sophisticated, modular display and control system that can be tailored

to fit any installation. It gives users a powerful toolbox to create bespoke network systems using their own custom-designed information for display and control purposes, enabling them to carry out a range of critical and non-critical operations.” The intuitive software employed by IDS provides a simple user configuration that enables it to display a wide range of broadcast and media information. No longer limited to clocks and cue lights, the system allows the user to display information from a wide range of sources (XML, IPTV etc ). It is this flexibility and IPE’s ability to solve the client’s problems in a simple and cost effective way, which has stood IPE in good stead to flourish in today’s competitive environment. IPE’s customers drive many of its key developments, including both manually operated production timers and countdown timers driven by playout schedules. ITV, for instance, wanted an interface to a newsroom system to show the availability of audio and video media files that were being moved from site to site. “We’ve developed the remote control of PTZ cameras and robotic camera systems,” explains Judge. “There is an increasing trend for IDS to become more of an integrated solution. Operational simplicity is the key, people just want to be able to press a button and have the system do what they want. This is particularly important with the increase in unskilled, non-technical staff using the system.” Having long-standing relationships with clients such as the BBC, ITV, CNN, Tate Modern and Chatham House, IPE is not only seeing a move towards IP but also



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P52 MAY 2017


BBC radio studios

recognises that it is only a matter of time before core hardware products become applications running in the Cloud or on virtualised in-house servers. “Ultimately, all the key broadcast systems will exist as software applications,” explains Judge, “and IPE is well positioned to meet this changing environment. Having our own in-house team of software developers gives us the flexibility to adapt to changing market needs whilst having direct control of our comprehensive support offering for both IDS and our systems integration business.” Over the last year, the team at IPE has also seen the speeding up of the convergence of ‘high-end’ AV and broadcast solutions. “IDS has now reached a critical mass in so much as it is fully proven in broadcast critical situations and everyone wants it. For many years, our core business has been broadcast, but we are now seeing AV system requirements that challenge or exceed the complexity of those from the broadcast sector,” he says. IPE is currently working with the BBC to deliver its ViLoR (virtualised local radio) initiative. This project will see IPE refurbish all of the BBC’s local radio stations over a three-year period. Unlike traditional local radio stations, the ViLoR stations have most of their audio processing and control systems running on virtualised servers in just two BBC data centres, with each local station essentially having only control surfaces and local audio monitoring on site. This gives the BBC several advantages, not least the fact that it massively reduces the number of equipment racks required at each local radio site, which in turn simplifies maintenance. Centralisation and the use of virtualisation also reduces the amount of physical hardware needed in the data

Channel 4 gallery

Control room at the Starr Cinema in the Tate Modern

centres and greatly simplifies both maintenance and software upgrades. Always looking to innovate and integrate with third party systems, IPE recently installed a combined digital cinema and presentation auditorium at the Tate Modern. The Starr Cinema was an opportunity to combine innovative systems design with an operationally friendly IDS solution. “Traditionally, cinema audio systems are kept separate from auditorium presentations systems,” explains Judge, “but this, in effect, means that two separate audio PA systems are installed. This is not cost effective, particularly when the cinema sound system is based on Dolby Atmos, requiring over 40 loudspeakers. IPE came up with a single integrated technology solution for the Tate that met all the requirements of Dolby

Atmos certification, whilst also delivering exceptional auditorium PA sound, largely using the same equipment. “IPE is proud to have delivered The Starr Cinema as it is the first facility in the UK to incorporate presentation, live performance and Dolby Atmos sound in a single fully integrated room,” says Judge. Looking forward, 2017 is already looking very promising for IPE with an increase in overseas projects. “IPE is going from strength to strength and this success is thanks to the experience of the entire IPE team,” enthuses Judge. “We are able to give clients everything from initial design and implementation through to comprehensive support. IDS is very popular because it’s unique and, quite frankly, it’s the best there is.” n www.ipe-technologies.com

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P54 MAY 2017


More than amusement in Margate A new 15,000 capacity live music venue is opening up in an amusement park in Kent, with d&b helping the music to play, writes Sarah Sharples


s part of a major refurbishment of the iconic, but dilapidated Margate amusement park, a new 15,000 capacity live music venue is being introduced. The first gig at the seaside location is set for May, while the venue will host the Demon Dayz festival in June, which is curated and headlined by Gorillaz. The new venue includes an open-air Park Stage (3,500 capacity), undercover space called Hall by the Sea (2,000 capacity) and the Roller Disco (1,500 capacity). The Hall By The Sea (previously known as the Dreamland Ballroom) has a strong musical history having played host to The Who and The Rolling Stones. SSE Audio were responsible for installing the audio in the Hall By The Sea (HTBS), with a d&b audiotechnik V Series line array system chosen. It is a touring version with 16 x V8/12s tops, 8 x V-SUBs and a J-INFRA sub. There is also a V10P centre fill and a V7P delay, which are all driven by d&b 6 x D80 amplifiers. There is also a d&b DS10 network bridge to interface with Dante- enabled consoles, while on stage there are 10 x M2 monitors on 6 mixes. The UK installer wqw also responsible for specifying

a mobile system – a d&b Y series 16 cabinet (Y8/12) line array with 8 x Y-SUBs to be used elsewhere around the site – all driven by 3 x D20 amplifiers. Peter Codron, sales manager at SSE Audio, explains the installion further: “The client wanted a ‘rider friendly’ touring package for the HBTS venue and I recommended d&b audiotechnik as I have been selling their systems for over 13 years and know they will provide the necessary SPL, intelligibility and reliability.” Codron says there was some uncertainty about the layout of the venue – as the stage was going to be used in different positions at either end of the room. “So a quick and easy system to rig/derig was necessary to hang from their ground supported truss. Again d&b’s systems can easily be rigged/derigged, which is a real benefit, and the client also has full remote control of the system through d&b’s R1 remote software. The system design was produced using d&b’s ArrayCalc software and they are also running the V system with Array Processing.” The installation took three days, says Codron. “They are very happy with the system, although they still have to complete some minor acoustic treatment for the venue. I expect the first gig to go well – sometime in late May.

We did a test gig there last September to prove that the V series was the correct system to use.” Dreamland Margate’s director of events, Rebecca Ellis, says having a venue attached to an amusement park, with a beautiful aesthetic and a rich heritage – as well as the infrastructure to support live events – makes it unique. “It’s also different to academy venues and venues that have headline sponsors. They all have fantastic venue infrastructure but perhaps feel a little bit more like chains,” she comments. One-day festivals are part of the plan for the venue, as well as working collaboratively with artists to support something like an album release. “But we are also looking at lifestyle events, such as car shows, outdoor markets and separate attraction,” Ellis adds. Codron is also excited about the venue’s future plans. “Obviously, it is very nice to be involved in the Dreamland upgrade as they have big plans for the next few years to expand the user experience with a cinema, nightclub and large conference room – hopefully we will be involved with these too,” he says. n www.sseaudiogroup.com www.dreamland.co.uk

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21/04/2017 19:52

Save the Date Conference 14 – 18 September 2017 Exhibition 15 – 19 September 2017 RAI, Amsterdam


Where the entertainment, media and technology industry does business Join over 1,800 exhibitors showcasing the latest technological innovations, 400+ speakers delivering the latest industry insights and 55,000 attendees providing unlimited networking opportunities at IBC’s 50th annual conference and exhibition. Add dates to your diary IBC.org/savethedate Follow us on social media for the latest news and updates #IBCShow

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Please send all contributions for possible publication to drobinson@nbmedia.com

P57 MAY 2017

Hither & dither

Big horns, big awards, big applause and big stars are busting out of this month

Here’s Status Quo’s Francis Rossi reading PSNEurope, c/o John Otway and Judy Totton

Finally! PSAwards live sound engineer of the year winner Gary Bradshaw drops by to pick up his award. In the words of ELO’s Jeff Lynne, ‘It’s a livin’ thing’…

This is the ONLY man at the Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman gig at the Brighton Dome who stood up and cheered at the end of Hold On from Yes’ 90125 album. What, 32 years ago is a bit modern for the rest of you, is it? Dear me…

Celestion’s John Paice with a massive horn: “The Axi2050 is a big driver, so we needed something suitably sized to show it off”

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www.psneurope.com 57 Hither v1FIN.indd 1

21/04/2017 17:15

P58 MAY 2017


Speculate to accumulate Isaiah Bird talks to the man behind one of the UK’s first Pro Tools resellers


ric Joseph is managing director of Glasgowbased Mediaspec, one of the UK’s first digital audio and post-production technology resellers and still a leading force after over 20 years in business. Joseph speaks about how ‘viva voce’ is the most important form of marketing, and how his experience as a restaurant jazz pianist and being signed to Island Records made him the man he is today…

What was your first love: music or film? I would have to say music. My parents were from Dominica in the West Indies, and I was brought up in North Lanarkshire in Scotland with my two older brothers in a working class community outside of Glasgow. Back then, there were very few black families in the area and it was important to make friends. Music was and is a great way to connect people. Although my dad was a wonderful piano player – resident pianist at Gleneagles Hotel and Golf Course, no less! – I taught myself to play piano, and by my late teens I was getting paid gigs in bars and restaurants. As digital synths and drum machines became a big thing in the ’80s, music technology and production techniques began to fascinate me. I can still remember spending hours in my teens with my best mate discussing the merits of certain recorded snare drum sounds and synth stabs, and the importance of good sound separation. A love of film wasn’t far behind though. I can recall playing video tape sequences of movies backwards and forwards over and over again just to admire a piece of direction or a great sound effect.

Is it true that you went on a world tour with Womack & Womack? Oh, well that was an amazing experience! In my early 20s, I started to work as a session musician for a Scottish R&B band called Tissum. When they signed to Island Records I was asked to join the band and

we went on a world tour with Womack & Womack. On return from the tour we recorded two versions of our first album with two producers in two studios, but due to artistic differences the band called it a day before we could release either version. It was an exhilarating experience, but also a valuable insight into the workings of the music industry – both good and bad.

Was that the end your own involvement in the creative music industry? In a way it was. I felt very little inclination to be in the spotlight again after that. I continued playing piano in and around Glasgow, but became more and more interested in music technology. I started work at Sound Control music store in Glasgow and quickly became head of technology there. Working with people and helping them to achieve their own musical goals always felt comfortable to me and suited my personality. I still get an enormous buzz out of knowing that we’ve played a part in getting the right equipment to help someone realise their dreams, and that we’re there for them when things go wrong and when they need support to get back on track.

How did Mediaspec come about for you?

Scotland, when so many of the main studios and companies are in London and Manchester? We’re proof that you can. The main thing that big studios, artists and post-production facilities are looking for from a reseller is knowledge, plus a genuine desire to be there for them when they need after sales support. I’ve always hated the word reseller – it has connotations of just selling a box at the right price. That’s such a small part of what we do. I feel we are creative, knowledgeable people supporting other creative and knowledgeable people to realise their goals. When you have that connection, you can be based just about anywhere! Without empathy and the ability to see what someone wishes to achieve, you can’t sell anything. Well, you can. But you can’t do it continuously for over 20 years. And yet with very little advertising? It’s true. Mediaspec does very little traditional promotion of our brand and services compared with other companies... ‘Word of mouth’ has always been what’s grown our company, and I don’t see that changing [All right, no need to go on – Commercial Ed].

Are the musical ambitions totally dead and buried now?

When I joined Mediaspec it was just me and a partner selling the very early versions of Pro Tools and Apple computers back in the early ’90s – way before the iPod or the iMac – trying to explain non-linear editing to people still talking about the love of analogue and tape, and believing that digital would never really take off. It was a bit like being the first settlers in a new and hostile land. A few years later, I bought out the company. As Pro Tools, Digidesign, Apple and Avid grew, so too did Mediaspec, and we’ve served the music, post and education sectors across the UK ever since.

Well, once you’re a creative person you never quite lose that side to yourself and it needs to find a way out. I see what we do at Mediaspec as being equally as creative as the clients we support, so there’s not really a frustrated artist trying to get out. Having said that, I now have a converted garage that is steadily being equipped with musical tech, so who knows where that may take me!

Can you run a successful reseller business from


But no more world tours? Well, my wife and I have a passion for travelling. In our spare time, our feet rarely touch the ground. So, in a way, the world tour has never ended. n

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26/04/2017 11:08

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21/04/2017 10:07:17

Big thinking For smaller boxes

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Profile for Future PLC

PSNE May 2017 Digital  

PSNE May 2017 Digital