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October 2017

www.psneurope.com

The One and only Inside the mind of audio pioneer and 2017 Pro Sound Awards Lifetime Achievement winner Tony Andrews P14

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10/10/2016 10:19:58 12:26:34 14/06/2017


Welcome

PSNEUROPE Editor Daniel Gumble dgumble@nbmedia.com

Production Executive Jason Dowie jdowie@nbmedia.com

Staff writer Tara Lepore tlepore@nbmedia.com

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

Content Director James McKeown jmckeown@nbmedia.com

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

Head of Design Jat Garcha jgarcha@nbmedia.com

Sales Executive Mark Walsh mwalsh@nbmedia.com

P3 OCTOBER 2017

DANIEL GUMBLE Editor Contributors: Kevin Hilton, Marc Maes, Phil Ward, David Davies, Marc Miller, Mike Clark, Mel Lambert 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.

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D

epending on when you’re picking up this October edition of PSNEurope, you’ll either be gearing up for a big night out at the fifth annual Pro Sound Awards, or likely nursing a sore head on account of the previous night’s festivities. So - to ensure all bases are covered - it’s only fitting for me to start by wishing all of our fantastic nominees the best of luck and a huge congratulations to each of our deserving winners. And, in addition to the pre/post awards feel good factor, I feel as though I’m not the only one to detect a distinct whiff of positivity in the air since penning this section a mere four weeks ago. Of course, the Pro Sound Awards always serves as a great platform to celebrate the industry’s finest people, companies and achievements - of which there have been many - but there’s been plenty going on elsewhere to provide cause for optimism as 2017 enters its home straight. Just two weeks ago, PLASA celebrated its 40th anniversary in style, with footfall seemingly up significantly on recent years and several audio exhibitors hailing this year’s outing as a triumphant return to form. There may still be some way to go before returning to the heady heights of decades gone by, but this was certainly one of the best PLASAs in recent years. Sticking with trade gatherings, Amsterdam broadcast extravaganza IBC has also just taken place. A mammoth show by anyone’s standards, it appears that those in the business of broadcast audio continue to see value in this ever-expanding corner of the biz, with a vast contingent of pro sound brands making their presence felt. Furthermore, if two trade shows and the Pro Sound Awards all in one month wasn’t enough, we’ve also just published our annual PSNLive guide, detailing everything you need to know about what has been a stellar year for the live sector. If this has yet to pop through your letterbox, fear not, it’ll be winging its way to you imminently. So, with trade show chaos temporarily at a halt and festival season officially over, what better time to take a breather and reflect on one of our busiest months? Take it while you can, we’ll be gearing up for NAMM before you know it. n

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P4 OCTOBER 2017

Contents

In this issue...

P14 SUB CONSCIOUS

P6 WEB SIGHT

FUNKTION-ONE’S TONY ANDREWS ON HIS CAREER IN PRO AUDIO

AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ‘WEBBY’ ON HIS MOVE TO CODA AUDIO

P18 CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ JOHN AND HELEN MEYER ON THE PAST AND THE FUTURE OF AUDIO

P10 CHANGING THE GAME CUK TAKES US EXCLUSIVELY INSIDE THEIR LANDMARK BUYOUT

Business

P6 David ‘Webby’ Webster on his new role at Coda Audio P8 Shure gives us the lowdown on its educational seminar programme P10 CUK tell us exclusively about its game-changing management buyout

Technology

P28 A comprehensive guide to the world of studio monitors

Studio

P36 MI Pro editor Laura Barnes on the crossover between audio and MI

Installation

P38 A peek behind the scenes of the Kiss Me, Kate theatre production

Live

P14 Funktion-One’s Tony Andrews ruminates on the pro audio industry P18 Meyer Sound’s co-founders reflect on their career in audio

Broadcast

P22 HHB managing director on the firm’s new deal with Studer P25 Digital audio goes local with open formats and specialist hardware

Back pages P40 P42 P44 P46 P49 P50 P53

TVBE editor Jenny Priestley on the world of broadcast audio TV Centre reopens with new console set-up Sound designer Scott Lehrer on designing audio for the stage 300 Coda Audio cabinets deployed for Bastille Day ACM recently took stock of a new audio set-up A look at the biz’s social media highlights from the past month Studio mixer Cenzo Townshend takes this month’s Backtalk Q&A

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ED SHEERAN WORLD TOUR 2017 Congratulations to Major Tom on another successful LEO Family Tour We're proud to support you on bringing the highest quality audio to stages around the world.

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P6 OCTOBER 2017

The strategic position: David Webster

Web sight Industry stalwart and Digico co-founder David ‘Webby’ Webster was recently appointed by Coda Audio as its new director of global marketing. PSNEurope landed an exclusive interview with the man himself to gain an insight into his vision for the burgeoning loudspeaker company…

F

reshly installed as the new director of global marketing at one of the most rapidly expanding loudspeaker manufacturers in the business, PSNEurope finds David ‘Webby’ Webster ensconced in the south of France with his new colleague and friend of some 30-plus years, Coda Audio director of global business development, Paul Ward, when our call is connected. It’s his first interview since news of his arrival at Coda was made public – a mere 20 minutes after the announcement was made, in fact – and, unsurprisingly, we catch our subject in high spirits. And not just because of the sunnier climes – it’s a blustery, drizzly day around PSNEurope’s London HQ. He’s in chipper mood and keen to talk business, and it’s easy to see why. Over the past year, Coda has set about assembling a crack team to elevate itself to the industry’s uppermost

echelons. As Webster points out later, there are parallels to be drawn between Coda and Digico – the console giant he co-founded and helped establish as one of the world’s biggest audio brands. And, having effectively retired back in April, it’s fair to say it must have taken a pretty attractive proposition to reel him back in so soon. The company boldly claims to have made numerous technological advancements, singling it out as a cut above its sound reinforcement competitors, while other key appointments, such as Rich Rowley as MD of Coda Audio UK and Steve Norman as its UK head of application, have bolstered its heft in the market. In essence, Webster’s task is pretty straightforward: spread the word. Here, Webster and Ward share their vision for the business and discuss why its new recruit is the “missing piece of the jigsaw…”

Dave, what was it about Coda Audio that drew you back into the industry? Dave Webster: Around April this year I decided to retire, and Paul came down to have a break here in the south of France. And what we have in common is that we always carry on talking about work, even when we’re on holiday! He said he thought that I would be a great part of the organisation and asked if I would be interested in getting involved, because there’s a big piece missing in the jigsaw and it would just fit really well. So we had a chat and it just went from there. Paul Ward: I’ve known Webby for 32 years now, and although he’s been working in processing and consoles and I’ve always been engaged with loudspeaker systems, we are in the same industry and, apart from

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P7 OCTOBER 2017

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE WILL BE HOW MANY PEOPLE WE CAN SEE IN THE SHORTEST SPACE OF TIME. ANYBODY WHO HEARS THE PRODUCT WILL WANT TO BE A PART OF IT. IT’S JUST SO EXCITING

DAVID ‘WEBBY’ WEBSTER

to see if there was anything that would excite me and make me want to do something. I looked around and the only thing that excited me was Coda. To me the analogy, relative to Digico terms, was that we had a quantum leap when we launched the Digico SD7 and the technology that was involved in that. It made a huge difference to the growth of Digico and it put us on the map. That was 2007, and we started Digico in 2002, so even though we had great product, that leap forward came five years later. For me getting involved now, I’m as excited as I was when we were launching the SD7, because Coda has technology that nobody else has got. They design their own drivers and the way they make them, and the patents they have on them, makes it very much like Digico with its digital processing.

What are the main assets you will bring to the role?

the obvious credentials Dave has, as individuals we are very like-minded in how we see the market and how we approach it. So working together is just so easy. Where this really works is that Coda is still a relatively young company, but it’s getting a lot of traction and we’re getting to the next growth stage. When Dave started Digico it was from the ground up, and together they made it one of the finest brand names in the industry. We are on that same trajectory of where we’re trying to go, and I knew that working with Dave would be perfect in all respects. My perception is that Dave is not going to get involved in just another gig, because he doesn’t need to. He wants to get involved in a project that excites him. Was there a particular thing that drew you to Coda? DW: When I retired in April I decided to go to InfoComm

DW: I’ve always been involved in all facets of a company, irrespective of title. At Digico, for example, I did the IT for the company; there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the background that people don’t realise. My skillset allows me to be involved in all the growing parts of the company, so helping the US, the UK, Germany and France in terms of creating their structure. And there are many channels where we don’t have distribution yet; a lot of consultants and installers will probably have heard the Coda name but maybe haven’t heard the product. If you like, it’s my contacts base that I bring. It’s about the relationships you have in the industry.

It feels very much like Coda is gaining momentum with its senior appointments this year. PW: The way I see it is that the company is just crying out for communication with the industry and the marketplace. And what better guy to do that than Webby? Technologically what Coda is doing is a leap forward from the transducer end, because a lot of the other speaker manufacturers are addressing issues with DSP and computer technology, which is all relevant, but when you look at the heart of the speaker systems, the technology is actually quite old and has been around for a long time. What Coda has done is invent technology, which is patented and unique. That

in itself is one benefit, but it also gives advantages to the user that most other brands, if not all of them, can’t give. That puts us in a unique position, and we’ve got to communicate that. A lot of these other famous brands are to be respected and have done a great job, but we see Coda as the next generation of audio. When you’re going into the market and people say, What is it? And you say a speaker brand, people say – as I did when I was first approached – Oh no, not another one! That’s generally the state of play. But I got involved because I see what Dave sees, and it’s a fantastic opportunity. It’s a marketing man’s dream in a way, and Webby is at the top of that tree.

Where do you see the biggest opportunities for Coda? DW: To be honest, it’s all market segments. It’s great from a rock’n’roll point of view in terms of what I call the magical fairy dust. You’re out on the tour, people see it and they link the artist to it. Also, if you use a Coda system you can hang more video screens and lighting because it’s a smaller product. From a lighting designer’s point of view, or a stage set designer, it gives them a lot more flexibility, because they don’t have to worry about horrible black boxes being in the way. It’ll be a welcome change for those people - if you can do anything to make their lives easier it’s great. And it sounds good – really good. There is no compromise. It’s the same with installs. There are many installs where you have to compromise just because of weight or position of the system. That’s another key market segment. For instance, houses of worship are a very big market, and it’s linked quite closely to the rock’n’roll side of things. People don’t realise that, in Europe especially. You can find churches that are 20,000-seater auditoriums. We think of churches as being these places where your grandmother and her friends go to on a Sunday and that’s about it!

What are the toughest challenges you face in the market? DW: To be honest, I think the biggest challenge will be how many people we can see in the shortest space of time. Anybody who sees and hears the product will just want to be part of it, whether they are purchasing it, designing it or installing it. It’s just so exciting. There are so many opportunities with what we are doing and where we are going. PW: The challenge is communication. You can have all this quality but people have got to be aware of it. We couldn’t do that before because we didn’t have the infrastructure to do it successfully. So that’s what we’re about to do, particularly stateside; we’ve got these subsidiaries set up but our main route into the market is via our distributors. DW: “Watch this space!” n

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P8 OCTOBER 2017

Business

UNITED KINGDOM

Learn the secrets of audio networking with Shure Shure’s Audio Networking Seminars continue to be incredibly well attended by sound engineers, AV technicians and more. However, Andrew Francis, senior applications engineer at Shure Systems Group UK, explains here why AV and IT professionals would make great attendees at these sessions on transporting audio digitally across a network…

T

he audio visual industry is continuing to create systems and connect products using networks which have created a very real requirement for us to look seriously at networking technology, its language and love of protocols and acronyms, and who we share our digital environment with. There’s also issues that might come into play about how troubleshooting in the digital world differs from what we’re traditionally used to. Fundamentally, because networking is transporting ones and zeros, we needed to carefully look at the industry that has been doing this for years – that is, IT. The result is a seminar that addresses the limitations of analogue audio signals and how they are converted into digital bit streams, while also looking at a brief bit of networking history and discussing why it’s useful for us to understand how different bits of equipment communicate with each other. For example, if you’re running a Layer 3 network, what type of hardware are you likely to come across, and, more importantly, how should it be configured? Another example might be a mixing console which has its own stage box, connected using CAT5e cable in a point-to-point manner and running its own protocol as a Layer 1 network. You wouldn’t need to worry about IP addressing and can simply connect the two pieces together. Layer 1 networks cover protocols such as AES, SPIDIF, ADAT, MADI. Layer 2 networking builds on the foundations of Layer 1 and looks at protocols like Cobranet, Ethersound and AVB – now we’re adding some source and destination information to the bit stream, which gives us the ability to route traffic between specific devices. Layer 3 builds on this again and allows us to start routing traffic between subnets and across networks or vLANS. Some of the protocols that use Layer 3 are Dante, QLAN and Ravenna. Another important aspect to understand is how the network is physically and logically connected together – its topology. Throughout the day, we examine the various physical topologies: bus, ring, star and hybrid, explaining how you can physically connect your kit together, along with the pros and cons of each. For example, if your

audio equipment has a switch-mode Dante chip, you can daisy chain them all together, but bear in mind that if you lose one link in that chain, everything lower down will lose its connectivity.

Speaking the same language? Meanwhile, there is also a belief within the audio industry that AES67 is the saviour of digital audio networking, but we believe that might not be the case. As AES67 has been designed as an inter-operability standard, rather than a fully-fledged one, there are some aspects missing from it. Plus, many people are wary of multi-cast traffic, but AES67 by design is only multi-cast traffic. So, potentially, there’s a lot more network management to do if you’re putting hundreds of channels of AES67 on the network. The point is to arm AV professionals with the knowledge that will enable them to engage with IT contractors and departments in the language those professionals speak. It will also help live sound professionals to understand digital networks and troubleshoot problems that arise onsite. This aids the process of getting networked audio kit up and running. If clients don’t have an IT department, it’s about helping contractors understand how to put the audio kit together, and how they can better manage the integration. On the flip side, these seminars allow IT departments to understand what audio equipment does, why it’s sitting on the network and, importantly, recognising that it’s not pushing around too much data – but that this data needs to be managed properly and given high priority on the network. Our seminars aim to show IT professionals that once the audio kit is set up on the network and starts pushing data around, it’s usually quite stable and doesn’t really need any intervention. As such, there are no software patches as there are with traditional software platforms. We recognise that technology is constantly evolving, and so, to that end, we continually make amendments to the seminar sessions. We have had great feedback from people who have attended our audio networking seminars – finding

“Audio equipment data needs to be managed properly”: Francis

that our sessions go hand-in-hand with other training available elsewhere, especially as we show real-life demos with working equipment – setting it up, showing what is going on, implementing VLAN changes and demonstrating what’s going to happen. It’s very hands-on and can be applied to the real world immediately. n For more information or to book a place at a seminar visit Shure: https://www.shure.co.uk/support/shure_ audio_institute/events/audio_networking

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P10 OCTOBER 2017

Business

Restructure and recruitment: Inside CUK Audio’s landmark management buyout deal Colleagues and friends: (L-R): Stuart Thompson, Simon Druce, Stuart Cunningham

PSNEurope can exclusively reveal that CUK Audio MD Stuart Thompson has spearheaded a management buyout of the company, alongside general manager Stuart Cunningham and sales director Simon Druce, to take the distribution specialist to the next stage of its evolution. Daniel Gumble spoke to the trio to find out what this landmark deal means for the firm...

I

suppose it was my fault I got us into all this,” laughs CUK Audio managing director Stuart Thompson, as we begin our conversation about what is unquestionably one of the most crucial – let’s be honest, the most crucial – acquisitions in the distribution specialist’s illustrious 12-year history. Of course, we’re not talking about a run of the mill brand acquisition here, but the outright purchase of the company itself by Thompson and his cohorts Stuart Cunningham (general manager) and Simon

Druce (sales director). The trio have just completed a management buyout of CUK that sees them take full ownership of the business, as they bid to attain a more autonomous, nimble footing in the market, which, they say, will enable them to grow the company in a fashion that fits their collective vision. And it really is a collective vision. The three have been colleagues but, most importantly, friends for a great many years. Between them, they have

amassed a wealth of experience across the fields of pro audio manufacturing, sales and distribution – all contributing to a holistic approach that has paid dividends from day one, when the company launched with just one brand on its roster. Today it represents some 23 brands, many of which have been cherry picked in its bid to assemble a fully complementary portfolio. Now, following a year’s worth of restructuring and recruitment, which has lead to the creation of four

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P11 OCTOBER 2017

distinct sales channels – MI and retail, live sound, AV and conferencing and commercial installation – Thompson and co insist that the time is right to ramp up its presence in the market. Here, Thompson, Cunningham and Druce give us an exclusive insight into what the buyout means for CUK and what their plans for the company are for the months and years ahead…

Starting at the beginning, how has CUK progressed to this point from its humble origins as a one-brand supplier when it launched in 2005? Stuart Thompson: In 2005 we started Community UK Ltd. At the time I was looking after international sales for Community Professional loudspeakers, and in revamping Community’s business in Europe, Middle East and Africa, it was quickly discovered that the UK was a problem [with the existing distributor]. It was deemed that the best way to develop Community’s business in the UK was to start a distribution company, which I did with Christine Howze, who was one of the owners of Community at the time. So, while it started as a solution for one brand, it was never what I had in mind for the long term. We always wanted to build a multi-brand distribution company; we wanted to take brands that hadn’t reached their potential or hadn’t been present in the UK market. A year after we launched we had grown our portfolio to five brands, and in 2006 we rebranded the company to CUK Audio.

Was 2005 a difficult time to launch the company, what with the recession in 2008? ST: It was a bit of an inconvenience! We were quite lucky in the sense that, because of everybody’s background in the company, and because we had developed a product portfolio, we were already becoming a solutions provider. Don’t get me wrong, it was tough, but we continued to grow through that period. And the reason we did that was because, prior to the crash, there were companies who just installed bars and nightclubs, or just did churches. When the world fell off an economic cliff, all of that changed and everyone was taking whatever work they could. As a result, you were getting AV companies who had no idea how to do the staging, but they knew that we did. So by being more than just a provider of products, we became a trusted advisor, simply because we were more than just somewhere to buy loudspeakers.

So what lead to the buyout? How long had you been thinking about it? ST: There was always a plan to bring other people into the business. It’s great to have a vision, and as the business diversifies you need a team of people around you who can act as a sense check. Stuart

CUK worked with Symetrix to deliver a meeting space solution for ITV earlier this year

WE ALWAYS WANTED TO BUILD A MULTI-BRAND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY; WE WANTED TO TAKE BRANDS THAT HADN’T REACHED THEIR POTENTIAL YET

STUART THOMPSON

Cunningham is more technical than I and, dare I say it, a little more cautious. A few years ago we worked out that myself, Stu and Simon together had all the knowledge and skills to give the company the best opportunities for moving forward. We needed an ownership and director team that shared the vision of sensibly developing the brand portfolio and the continued diversification of the company.

Tells us about the restructure of the company and how it has impacted the business. Stuart Cunningham: About a year ago we decided to restructure how we did everything, and that’s based around four distinct market sectors – MI and retail, live sound, AV and conferencing, and some general commercial installation. One year on, we have now built our sales team and our website around that. Previously, our sales team were selling anything to everyone, but now we have sales leaders who are more specialist in particular areas, who have an understanding of particular products and applications and they are tasked with growing those parts of the market.

Do any of those sectors need more attention than others? ST: Not really, no. At the moment, because of our background and our history, we are pretty strong when it comes to install sound, AV and conference. The MI retail and live sound channels are getting the investment they need to develop. As much as margins are squeezed in retail – and while you’ve the giant online German retailers causing pricing issues all the time – there are still significant areas of growth to be had, both with the brands we have and the brands we are looking at. The same is true for the live sound side of the business.

Has the restructure made a tangible impact upon the company yet? ST: One of the biggest challenges is that, as you grow, you diversify, and the way you present yourself has to change. If you try to continue like, We are CUK and here are our 23 brands, all people see is loads of brands and loads of products; it looks complicated and you look like you don’t understand their business. But we do. And we have the right people with the right knowledge, not just of the things that we sell, but also in our various areas of business and with competitors’ products and applications. The idea of the restructure was that we maintain that connection with our customers. We can’t forget what got us through the recession, which was being relevant, understanding people’s business and being able to help them. It wasn’t about having a product at the right price or offering them a bigger margin or bigger discounts.

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P12 OCTOBER 2017

Business nothing we can’t say to each other. It’s a bit more of a challenge for Simon because he’s out on the road, he has a customer base and he has a sales team to manage. But generally speaking it’s an evolution for the three of us. We’re having to work together on ideas to take the company forward.

CUK and AUDAC, which the company took distribution of in 2016

How does this buyout position CUK in the UK market? Simon Druce: I don’t know of any other distributor in the UK – and believe me, I’ve worked for a few of them – that offers the portfolio we do and the way it complements the marketplace. And I also don’t believe there is anyone out there with the same structure. We are a unique proposition in the marketplace as we are agile, technical and supportive. I don’t think any other distributor can match that. ST: We’re also very unique to our team, particularly our sales staff. In every other distribution company on the planet, the owners make all the decisions about the products and the brands they represent; they don’t work on them with the channel managers the way we do. Everything is done as a team. The relevant channel managers are involved in every single decision, even down to the focus within a brand and the products we are going to push to the market. We don’t have a dictatorship. As much as the buck stops with us three, the channel managers also have heavy involvement in what we do and how we do it.

What’s the strategy going forward? Do you plan to take on more brands, or is there a particular size or number of brands you are aiming for? SC: We want to keep growing the business but turnover isn’t really what’s driving us at the moment. It’s more about looking after our customers and the brands we work with. There’s still a huge amount of growth we can achieve. Looking at how our portfolio has developed over recent years, you can see there has been a number of brands coming in but also a number of brands going out, so it’s almost like curating a portfolio that is relevant to customers,

and the brands need to be complementary so you can maximise sales on other brands. One of the drivers for taking on Outline was to help with sales of Powersoft’s live sound amplifiers. We didn’t really have a complementary product for those amps, so we needed to find a brand of loudspeakers that could help sell them. It’s that kind of thing that will drive us forward. By doing that, as a consequence, our turnover will grow, but if we had a number in mind as a target we might start doing things that are not good for the long-term health of the business. Like becoming a box shifting operation, which we’ve seen other people turn into.

So it’s all about quality over quantity? ST: The company will grow naturally and, by constantly staying relevant to customers and by having these separate divisions, we want to become even more relevant in retail. The by product is we get better at understanding our customers and dealing with the brands in our portfolio. And we’ll probably part ways with some brands. What’s completely unique about us is that normally a distributor is a distributor – they look at the world from their perspective and their customers’ perspective, but they don’t understand the manufacturer. All of this is about a partnership. We are in partnership with our customers and we are in partnership with our suppliers. And I understand the challenges of being a manufacturer and dealing with distributors, particularly those with a multi-brand portfolio. It makes us a unique proposition and an easier partner to work with.

How will your individual roles change with the buyout? ST: We can’t carry on as we were. That’s part of the change. We’re in a fortunate position where the three of us work together and are also friends, so there is

SD: This is the second time I’ve worked for CUK and one of the things that drew me back was the evolution of the company and where the two guys I’m now partners with were going. Their vision for the future is something that really interests me, which is why I came back from [previous employer Sennheiser. My role is more to do with the sales, so if you wanted to distinguish titles and what we do, I look after all the sales aspects and the everyday commercial stuff. Stuart Cunningham is more of a technical director, and then you have Stuart Thompson who oversees the managing of the company from the back room. It is difficult managing all those things, but we have three people here that work together, talk together and abuse each other! The company structure we have now means that the role of managing the team is a lot less stressful. I still need to see what’s going on, but it’s a lot less intensive because we have dedicated market managers who effectively run their own companies.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in the market? ST: The challenges moving forward are probably the same as they’ve been for the last few years. You start up with a portfolio of brands; they are not necessarily the strongest brands, and they are not necessarily the brands that will build the company to where you want it to be. But over time, things change. It’s important for us to be checking the pulse in all four sectors to make sure we are bringing the right products and technologies to the industry. It’s not just about revenue streams – we were the first distributor to properly start bringing Dante products to the UK, and we still have the largest portfolio of Dante-enabled products of anybody in the UK. It’s also about us investing a lot more in training and customer development and supporting our customer base.

How much of a difference will this buyout make to the rest of your staff? ST: It’s easier to manage and motivate because everyone becomes self-motivated. With all due respect, with some companies, everyone has been told exactly what they have to do and how to do it every day of their lives. For that person to then have the freedom to put their own style on their work, and to be able to work with the owners of the company to bring products to the market is really refreshing for them. That in itself motivates them. n

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mc 96 2

Grand Production Console Read more @ tinyurl.com/lawo-mc2-96

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Business

Sub conscious: Inside the mind of an audio pioneer Genius, industry icon, outspoken outsider: Funktion-One founder Tony Andrews has spent the best part of the past five decades evangelising about the transcendental power of sound and making it his personal mission to open the minds of those yet to fully experience its transformative effects. Following the announcement that he was to receive the coveted Lifetime Achievement honour at the 2017 Pro Sound Awards, Daniel Gumble sat down with him to discuss his audio legacy, the state of today’s market and what the future holds for Funktion-One…

I

see the world as one big science lab, and it’s an opportunity to experiment.” Simply put, there is no one else in this industry of ours who could express such grandiose sentiments on the subject of audio than this year’s Pro Sound Awards Lifetime Achievement winner, Funktion-One founder, Tony Andrews. Of course, anyone who has ever come into contact with Andrews will be instantly familiar with this unique, kaleidoscopic approach to sound. Where others in the audio world seek earnestly to consistently improve their products and keep their businesses on a growth trajectory – both perfectly noble ambitions – Andrews’ intentions take on additional, loftier dimensions. Not content with producing some of the finest, most iconic loudspeaker products on the market – not to mention the purest bass one is ever likely to hear – he has made it his lifelong mission not only to offer music fans a superior audio experience, but also to expand their consciousness and create shared spiritual experiences. For Andrews, audio is an art form. And if the aim of any artist is to elevate their art form and shatter the boundaries of possibility, then Andrews has done more than his fair share for the cause. Underpinning his fierce creativity and audio artistry is an even more ferocious work ethic, which has been equally crucial to Andrews’ and Funktion-One’s success over the past four decades. To this day, wherever his products are in use across the globe, be it festivals, nightclubs or concerts, you’ll be sure to find him out in the field, checking that everything is in keeping with his exacting standards. Indeed, when PSNEurope arrives at Funktion-One’s Surrey HQ for our conversation with Andrews, we find him hard at work in the warehouse, keen to demonstrate the power of a vast bass enclosure sat in the centre of the workshop – an enclosure we can testify delivers a sound powerful enough to rattle every bone, tooth and vital organ in the human body without losing an ounce of sonic purity. It is this undimmed passion for audio that has

Tony Andrews: “I’ve always been obsessed with audio, and I want to share it with people”

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driven Funktion-One to consistently raise the bar, with the company still creating products capable of blazing a trail through the market. The Vero loudspeaker system is a prime example, having graced major live tours and festival stages the world over since launching last year, drawing rave reviews aplenty along the way. Furthermore, at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, rental firm Sound-Services partnered with FunktionOne to bring its ‘Experimental Ambisonic Soundfield’ to Worthy Farm’s Glade Stage via its Evo range, providing Andrews with what he describes as one of the most powerful audio experiences of his life – more of which later. And while there are still new experiences to be had and greater heights to scale, it’s unlikely you’ll find Andrews putting his feet up and reflecting on former glories any time soon, as he quickly points out when we settle in for a cup of strong tea in the living quarters located just a few yards away from the company’s Surrey manufacturing facility. “We’ve been following Vero around wherever it goes, because, the way things are, Vero cannot do a bad gig, and we’ve been at pains to be there and train everybody up,” Andrews explains. “You need the real experience. And you need to be where the crowd is to hear what they are hearing, that’s something that really gets me. The only people around the artists that actually get out and experience the show the same way the crowd do is the sound engineer, but typically they are in a special place, and if it’s outside at a festival in England they are inside a plastic tube, which is not representative of what it’s like in the crowd. And I like big audio, so it’s no hardship. “I’m enjoying it but also I’m learning,” he continues. “In some regards I’m a production manager’s worst nightmare, because to them nothing matters much as long as the show runs like clockwork! And that is their job. But we started doing this split bass thing, and the number of people that got upset because it isn’t symmetrical…it’s like, Hang on a minute, this is audio, not architecture, you’ve got to stop thinking like that. Audio doesn’t follow those rules, and it shouldn’t do.”

‘Audio ecstasy’ and false perceptions Such attentiveness to what the crowd is experiencing has paid dividends, both in a business and spiritual sense. On the business front, products like Vero continue to impress and find new customers, while Andrews claims he is edging ever closer to the sonic perfection he has sought throughout his working life. “I’ve got this vision of what audio ought to be like, and for the first time, this year the experiences I’m having are beginning to fit the vision that’s been with me for about 48 years,” he says. “It’s so consciousness expanding. I’ve had four or five moments where it was just sublime. You could call it audio ecstasy; it was clean and the signal was able to express it.”

New York’s Cielo nightclub, featuring a Funktion-One system

Hit the decks: Carl Cox performs to a packed crowd, backed by a Funktion-One system

For all the acclaim and high regard in which Funktion-One has been held for much of its lifespan, the brand has been dogged throughout the years by suggestions that its products are best suited to the world of DJs and electronica. Needless to say, such suggestions have been aggressively rebutted by Andrews, who believes there are some within the market who have a hard time living with those willing to think outside the box. That said, the company is still present on the live front, although perhaps not quite as present as Andrew would like. “We are doing a certain amount of live, but because of politics and our success in the dance world, that’s being used against us,” he laments. “People like to pretend there’s a difference between audio for DJs and audio for live, and there isn’t, of course. It’s anti-marketing and myths have a way of gathering momentum. I don’t know why people want to say things are that different, because it’s still the same

frequencies. Typically, electronica is harder because there is a shedload more bass and it can typically be on for 10-12 hours non-stop, and because people compress things so much there’s not much breathing room, so things have to be more reliable.” For proof of Funktion-One’s prowess in the live sector, Andrews harks back to a time when the brand dominated the market. And he also highlights what he considers to be the moment when perceptions of the brand became falsely skewed. “In the ‘80s we were pretty much the No.1 live system in the world – we conquered America,” he asserts. “When we first went out there there was nothing else like it. We did Pink Floyd’s global tour, and people have told me that is still the best sound they’ve ever heard. “Do people think we could’ve been that good then and suddenly have our batteries pulled out? Glastonbury back in 2007 was the nail in the coffin...”

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Business

Space, man: Space Ibiza 2017

Out in the field: Tony Andrews

Glastonbury Andrews’ history with Glastonbury is a long and complex one, which can be traced all the way back to the early 1970s. Having been an integral member of the sound crew at Glastonbury Fayre in 1971, Andrews tells PSNEurope that it was he who convinced festival founder Michael Eavis to bring back the festival in 1979 and make it an annual event. He was also a prominent member of a seven-man-team that built the permanent Pyramid Stage two years later in 1981. The sound reinforcement designed by Andrews and his team served the Pyramid Stage for several years, with the renowned Flashlight system making its debut on the iconic stage before being put to use on Roger Waters’ legendary Wall Concert in Berlin 1990.

However, after becoming disillusioned with the direction of the festival, Andrews and Funktion-One parted ways with the Pyramid Stage in 1991, opting to bring its Experimental Soundfield to the festival: “[The festival] began to get successful and, rather than having bands on that might have been meaningful, Eavis started to go for bigger bands,” claims Andrews. “There was no spiritual value in it whatsoever, so we did the Experimental Soundfield.” Several years later in 2007, however, Andrews made a return to the Pyramid Stage, on what transpired to be an ill-fated outing for all concerned, but particularly for Funktion-One, which bore the brunt of what quickly proved to be entirely unjustified and ungrounded criticism. The treacherous weather conditions that blighted

the festival that year came to an unprecedented head during The Killers’ slot, producing all manner of audio anomalies and causing offsite volume levels from the festival to soar. To combat the offsite issues, the Pyramid Stage was incorrectly forced to reduce its volume levels, prompting fans to complain about the lack of sound or simply vacate the stage. The situation was exacerbated the very next day when Eavis, confronted by the media, wrongly claimed that the low volume levels for The Killers was due to the sound system not being powerful enough. Within hours he retracted his comments, but by then, the damage was done. Andrews picks up the story. “It was some of the worst weather we’d ever had there,” he comments. “We knew something was up when we were told the noise police were coming to turn us down because the offsite noise levels were so bad. So we turned it down 3dB, at which point you could hear people talking in the crowd. This still wasn’t reducing the offsite levels because it was the noise of the whole site, but they were focused on the Pyramid. I don’t know why – it stinks, to be honest... Anyway, nothing changed, so they said turn it down another 3dB. Well, if you turn it down 3dB and nothing changes, why would another 3dB make any difference. It was obviously not the Pyramid Stage. “When I heard Eavis’ statement I actually cried because I knew what was going to come. Even though Eavis retracted it, the media was still talking about it three days later. We got hate mail for fucking up Glastonbury! It’s been shitting on us ever since.” Despite being completely absolved of any blame in the 2007 debacle, the fallout delivered an unequivocal blow to the brand’s reputation outside of the clubbing and DJ market - for a company made of lesser stock it may well have proved fatal. And it is testament to Andrews and all at Funktion-One that it has not only weathered that storm, but come back to bolster its status as one of the most revered audio brands on the planet. It also made a triumphant return to Glastonbury last year with its Experimental Soundfield, which this year, says Andrews, drew universal acclaim from all who visited the festival’s Glade Stage. “We were being told all weekend it was the best sound onsite,” he enthuses. “Granted it was smaller, but we weren’t even using the big stuff. If we were offered the Pyramid again we would do it. Carl Cox said to us this year, I’m not doing this 10,000-person venue unless it’s Funktion-One and Tony Andrews engineers it. That’s the first time we’ve ever had that from an artist.”

A consciousness machine Throughout his career, Andrews has never been shy in criticising the state of the sound reinforcement sector, describing a perceived lack of innovation in the industry as “like rigermortis setting in”. Noting

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the introduction of the first ever line array as a major technological breakthrough, it is his view that the rest of the biz’s continued efforts to emulate the WEM 4 x 2 has lead to stagnation, as opposed to advancement. “There’s a cycle to human affairs,” he says. “The lesson from history is that we do not learn anything from it. The WEM column – the 4x12 – was a dramatic advancement in technology, and it worked quite well because everything was naturally time aligned and all the sound came out of one speaker. I remember going to the Bath & West Showground and seeing Dr John and the Night Tripper, Jefferson Airplane, Frank Zappa, all on the same bill, out of this giant Charlie Watkins PA. We could hear the music, we’re all tripping together, and someone turned to me while Zappa was playing this amazing solo and said, Is he God? Audio expanded my mind so much and has got me into all sorts of crap! “I’ve always been obsessed with audio and I want to share it with people. When it gets to a level of purity and beauty it is a consciousness machine. This year I’ve actually experienced that. I’ve seen a crowd all on their phones jabbering away during the warm up DJ the sounds ain’t great - and then someone with good audio comes on a couple of hours later and everyone is transfixed. The phones are gone. The jabbering stops. We’re all focused on the same thing with the better part of our minds. Shit starts to happen when people do that – that’s the whole point of a church or a religious gathering, to get everyone’s mind focused on a spot, because that’s where the power is. People have the power if they just let go and get zen together. “When there are no sounds your mind and hearing just keep on stretching out until it they find something. It expands your mind. When you’re really listening, which is different from hearing, you’re going out there until you find something. It’s 360-degrees, it’s not a narrow tunnel.” So why aren’t there more big audio players approaching sound with the same expansive outlook? “Why would the big names change anything when they are selling so much?” he asks. “They’ve all become businesses. I remember some of the founders and they were enthusiasts, but they aren’t there anymore. We’re dealing with human nature most of the time and it’s very fickle and hopeless in a lot of ways. But there are great untapped areas of the mind that aren’t accounted for. In the beginning it’s all enthusiasts and pioneers, and people are really passionate. Now, everybody’s doing the same thing and 99% of it is all emulations of that original idea. “Line arrays are very convenient, but it’s self-evident that audio has taken a backseat to the visuals, because the audio is not turning anybody on.”

The future In spite of Andrews’ evident fondness for analogue technology, he does believe that digital solutions

Holding out for a Vero: The Vero range has received rave reviews since launching in 2016

are beginning to show signs of improvement – significantly in the case of Dante. “I think we’re turning a corner,” he offers. “We’ve had Dante arrive, which is as good as anything I’ve ever heard. Certainly we’ve got a digital protocol we can hang our hats on. And the fact we’ve got a digital desk that is good – the Cadac CDC seven high end sounds sweet, and that’s a description that has never applied to anything digital.” He is still, however, keen to point out that analogue still has a place at the cutting edge of audio. He continues: “In the DJ world there has been two purely analogue mixers come out from Formula Sound and Model 1. So suddenly in the DJ world there are two analogue mixers that sound absolutely great and they are selling, because people are liking it. There are enough people that, when good sound is put in front of them, get it. And when good things come out enough people notice it. People are not giving up on analogue until digital pulls it’s socks up and gets sorted out properly.” As for Funktion-One, the future is looking especially bright. With Vero garnering glowing reviews across the board and the potential for more additions to the line in the not too distant future, Andrews is far from ready to take a step back from the business at this stage in his career. “We’re open to working with more mass market players,” he says. “There are a couple of things in that area that might come off. Vero has been so successful that we’re working on a smaller one. If there were more things going on in live we’d probably make a 15” monitor. We made an 18” one, which bass players and drummers really love. And we’ve got a 12” that sells steadily, but we’re not really in that world.” With our time almost up, conversation turns to Andrews’ audio legacy and what he considers to be his biggest achievement to date.

And while there is plenty to choose from, be it a long list of high end products from the past four decades, attaining figurehead status as an industry pioneer, or simply providing an outspoken, alternative voice in a closely knit industry, it’s hardly surprising that he veers towards the bigger picture when looking back at his myriad career highlights. “It’s definitely been a lesson in human nature and it’s definitely been an endurance test,” he reflects. “Shit doesn’t come easy. I feel good because we have got through to enough people to be a valid part of the story, and there are people all over the place who are copying us and being inspired by us. What I don’t feel great about is the Machiavellian behaviour that has been rife through the business. “I have begun to realise that when you really get audio you get spaced out, and when you get spaced out you start to realise other things about yourself and the universe and the bigger spiritual picture. I say to students, One day you will come across something that’s really weird that you don’t understand; the textbooks will say one thing should happen but something else happens instead. Don’t just go, Oh well, next. Try to understand it - you might just discover something. “Really good shit happens to all of us all the time, it’s just about whether we know it or not. I really like talking to younger people because, when people are getting what I’m saying, it really pulls out more. If I could get as much of this stuff as possible handed over to others then I would love to. To pass on good knowledge is a very gratifying thing.” He concludes: “I could be a much richer man than I am, but I’ve got my soul and my integrity, and I know what it’s like to fight a good fight. To really understand the power of audio you’ve got to be able to shut your eyes, push everything out of your brain, and just fucking listen.” n

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Live

‘It’s always been about pushing the envelope’ Half a century on from when John and Helen Meyer first met and 38 years since the pair launched their own sound reinforcement business, Meyer Sound continues to strengthen its position as one of the true giants of pro audio. This year, the US company was unveiled as the recipient of the 2017 Pro Sound Awards Grand Prix honour. Daniel Gumble caught up with its iconic co-founders to reflect on a glittering career in audio and why the future looks brighter than ever…

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t’s been 50 years since the paths of two of our industry’s most influential and iconic figures crossed during the 1967 ‘Summer of Love’. Amid a burgeoning culture of creative freedom, artistic expression and sonic experimentation, the founders of what would later become one of the biggest professional audio brands on the planet came together, laying the foundations for decades of dominance across the world’s biggest stages. During that time, technological advancements and myriad changes to the business of pro audio have altered the complexion of the industry immeasurably, yet Meyer Sound’s standing within it has not only

held steadfast but has also strengthened with each new launch. A brief glance at the brand’s client roster tells you everything you need to know about its clout among heavyweight stars across the musical spectrum, with acts from Metallica to Ed Sheeran, taking Meyer’s LEO Family systems out on the road with them. In spite of all of the above, Meyer remains a privately held company that has never lost sight of its roots and passion for innovation and delivering best possible audio for its customers. Here, co-founders John and Helen Meyer reflect on a partnership that has spanned half a century

and take a look ahead at what the future holds for the business…

This year marks the 50th anniversary of when you both met. Tell us how this laid the foundation for what became Meyer Sound and how the company developed into the brand it is today? Helen Meyer: Yes, it has been 50 years since John and I first met, though only 38 since we started this company. A lot has changed over those years, but really at a fundamental level we operate the same way as when we started. Our formal name, Meyer

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Live

The LEO speaker family has been out on tour with acts including Metallica, Justin Bieber and Dierks Bentley

Sound Laboratories, Inc., reflects the fact that we focus on developing new technologies and new products in response to customer needs. That’s why Steve Miller recruited John for his onstage system in 1967, and that’s how we went about developing our Bluehorn System for studio monitoring, which we introduced last month. It’s all about pushing the technology envelope to give a better experience, to audio professionals and to audiences.

What have been the biggest changes that you have seen in the industry over the course of the past five decades? John Meyer: Back when we started, most sound rental companies were designing and building their own loudspeakers. That’s what I did at McCune in San Francisco. Now it’s a global market, with high-end touring systems dominated by a handful of companies. So it’s very different than when we first started, working primarily with Bay Area customers like Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead, and with [film director] Francis Ford Coppola on bass for Apocalypse Now. Today we have a worldwide scope, which is challenging but also very gratifying.

How significant is the studio sector for Meyer Sound in 2017? JM: Our very first product was the ACD studio monitor, and it’s always been important to us because we want artists to hear an accurate representation of the music they have created. It’s still important today, but obviously the relative

shrinkage in the market for large commercial music recording studios has had an impact. However, the market remains healthy for private and home studios, served by smaller products like our HD-1 and Amie. In larger monitors, we’re focusing more on the cinema post-production market – which remains very strong – with our Acheron series and our new Bluehorn System.

Are there any particular technologies that have changed the game for how Meyer Sound operates and creates its products? JM: Quite a few, with some developed in the company and others adapted from outside. Certainly the development of dedicated loudspeaker processing was key in the early years, and with our complete self-powered series we launched an industry revolution. Digital technologies have had a huge impact in recent years, both inside the products and with our SIM measurement system and MAPP acoustical prediction tools. Fundamentally, it’s a total integration concept, where we can control quality from the initial design concept through final system optimisation.

What have been the most significant product launches for Meyer Sound over the years? Are there any in particular that you look back on as being pivotal to the company’s continued success? JM: That’s difficult to answer as there have been so many. Certainly it all started with the UltraMonitor

and UPA-1 with dedicated processors, and the UPA was an instant success on Broadway. The SIM measurement system was a foundation for future developments, and the HD-1 monitor – initially created as an in-house measurement tool – was our first self-powered system. The MSL-4 was the industry’s first large-scale self-powered loudspeaker and now, with our LEO family, we have a complete range of line arrays that offer uncoloured, linear reproduction at all levels. This year, with Bluehorn, we have achieved absolute phase coherence from 27 Hz to 20 kHz in a large-format, multi-way loudspeaker – an unprecedented achievement. Those are just some highlights. I might pick different ones if you asked me tomorrow!

Which areas of the pro audio industry do you see the most potential for growth in? And how much of a focus is there on continuing to expand the brand’s global presence? HM: The concert touring market remains very strong, with our LEO family systems out with acts like Metallica, Ed Sheeran and Dierks Bentley. We expect that to continue, but because sound matters everywhere, we are increasing our focus on corporate and educational applications, particularly with our Constellation active acoustics. We’ve done a number of large installations for high-profile global corporations, many which we can’t name due to non-disclosure agreements. With Constellation and our Libra passive acoustics we are moving into the hospitality market as well. As far as our

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global presence, we are continuing to build our international distribution network so we can respond to customer needs anywhere in the world.

What are the biggest challenges that face a company such as Meyer Sound? HM: We are a relatively small, privately held company, yet we are operating on a global scale. That inherently involves challenges as we have to deal with changing economic conditions and currency fluctuations. We also have competitors that are owned by global electronics conglomerates and therefore have access to greater financial resources. On the other hand, we can be more responsive to customers in the pro audio sector as we don’t have to answer to a board that may see the pro audio part of their business as relatively unimportant.

Bluehorn System for high-end studio monitoring took over six years, as we set out to realise absolute phase coherence in a high-power loudspeaker across the complete audio bandwidth. This was extremely challenging and required multiple iterations in both the hardware and software domains to achieve the ultimate result.

What does the future hold for Meyer Sound? JM: Continued innovation! We will continue to pursue results-focused sound solutions across all areas of our business. We expect to leverage new technologies to meet customer needs in touring sound and entertainment venues, as well as in houses of worship, cinemas, restaurants, universities, corporate facilities and museums.

What do you consider to be Meyer Sound’s greatest achievement to date?

Could you talk us through how a product makes its journey from inception to hitting the market? How much time and effort goes into R&D, , product testing etc? JM: The process depends a lot on the product and just how far we are pushing the technology envelope. For example, we were able to bring our new LINA compact line array to the market in a relatively short time, as we had already developed the core LEO Family technologies and LINA shared the same cabinet footprint as its predecessor, the MINA line array. Here we only had to build in new amplifiers and processing, upgrade the drivers and modify internal enclosure acoustics. In contrast, our new

HM: I don’t think it would be possible to single out any one product or technology. It’s all a continuous stream of development from day one. So perhaps I would consider our greatest achievement to be assembling the remarkable team that helped us create all these products and technologies. These are enormously talented and dedicated people, and some have been with us for decades. We could not have accomplished all of this without them, so they all share in our Pro Sound Awards Grand Prix award. “What a long, strange trip it’s been,” if I may quote our friends in The Grateful Dead. But it’s been a great one, thanks to these amazing people. n

The Galaxy networked audio processor is one of the company’s newest technologies, launched at InfoComm in Las Vegas in 2016

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Broadcast

UNITED KINGDOM

Mixing things up HHB Communications was recently unveiled as a UK distributor of Swiss mixing console and routing systems specialist Studer. Daniel Gumble caught up with managing director, Ian Jones, to find out more about how the deal was struck, how Studer complements its current product line up, and what HHB has in store for the iconic brand...

F

or many years, Studer has been revered as one of the leading console manufacturers and routing systems specialists in the professional audio market. Among the company’s impressive and extensive product range sit several acclaimed products. Large-scale consoles, such as the Vista and Infinity Series, are well-established leaders in their field, while its OnAir Series radio consoles and D23 and Infinity digital audio and I/O routing systems have been widely lauded across the professional audio industry. Now, in a bid to ensure that the brand maintains its strong presence in the market, it has partnered with London-based distributor HHB Communications. According to Studer’s global head of broadcast sales, Mark Hosking, the ongoing expansion of the firm’s product range was a key factor behind the new partnership with HHB. At the time of the announcement, he explained: “We recognise HHB’s unique position as an experienced supplier of audio technology to UK broadcasters and systems integrators, with a reputation built on decades of high-level customer service and technical support. We’re confident that HHB can demonstrate the significant benefits of our new mixing and media routing systems to a wider market.” Hosking’s sentiments were echoed HHB’s director of sales Martin O’Donnell, who added: “We know just how highly our broadcast customers rate Studer’s large-format consoles, so we’re particularly excited to be involved at a time when Studer’s impressive technology is being applied to an ever-expanding range of products.” Clearly, both companies share similar lofty aspirations to bolster the Studer name in the market and ensure its new products gain the furthest reach possible. But what exactly does its new UK distributor have in the pipeline for the brand? Here, HHB’s MD Ian Jones gives us the inside track on what promises to be a significant addition to its product portfolio…

‘We have always admired the Studer brand’: Ian Jones

How did the HHB deal with Studer come about? We have always admired the Studer brand, having been involved with them as a reseller for many years. Following the recent relocation of their HQ and state of the art manufacturing facility to Hungary, they decided to move to a distribution model (as they do in all other

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for flexible workflow solutions that are as futureproof as possible. Having access to Studer’s large and small format consoles, complemented by the other brands that we represent, allows us to offer our customers complete solutions.

Are there any particular areas of the market HHB is looking to develop or move into?

Studer’s range shows “incredible product diversity”

territories in the world apart from the US) in the UK, we were delighted to be considered as their distributor for the UK and Ireland. After a lot of discussion based around product road map and customer support requirements we reached an agreement to become their distributor, commencing in July 2017.

What makes the Studer brand such a good fit for the HHB roster?

for designing innovative, intuitive and dependable technology. The product range is presently expanding, which will give Studer the opportunity to access new emerging broadcast and complementary markets, for which the new Studer Micro is exceptionally well suited. One key trend in the market at the moment is AoIP and Studer technology - it’s a perfect fit for customers wishing to deploy a networked-base infrastructure.

For more than 25 years HHB has served the broadcast, post and system integrator market with their pro audio equipment needs. We have supplied a number of Studer On-air consoles during that time; it is always rewarding to specify and install these products as the customers really appreciate the build quality and intuitive operational aspects.

How big an acquisition is this for the company?

What will HHB be able to bring to the table for Studer?

The UK creative industries are showing steady growth at the moment, mainly driven by the increase in demand for multi-platform content. To deliver content in a fast and cost efficient way, broadcasters and facility companies are always looking

A very high level of customer support, as we really understand and pride ourselves on offering solid and reliable pre-sale technical advice and post-sale technical support and service, we are fortunate to have one of the best tech support teams in the industry who will work with the existing Studer support team to maintain and exceed the already high level of aftersales support that existing customers have become used to. Actually, there can be no excuses for falling short with this – the show has to go on, no question!.

This is a huge and very exciting opportunity for HHB. It takes us firmly into the world of IP based studio infrastructure and networked audio, a very interesting and exciting place to be right now and in the future.

Yes absolutely. HHB has a very diverse customer base, particularly in the television, radio, outside broadcast, post-production, education and music recording sectors, and we see our customers increasingly investing in integrated audio technology systems and not simply individual products. Over many years we have built up a knowledgeable, experienced and expert team who can propose, design, build, deliver, install, commission and train end users on these systems. The addition of Studer to our manufacturer portfolio will strengthen the work we do in television and radio, and give us the opportunity to elevate the awareness of the Studer brand and its ground-breaking technology to new markets.

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to taking on a brand like Studer? None really, it is a truly professional company to deal with. It designs and manufactures innovative and reliable products born out of years of design experience and frontline user feedback. Product evolution has never been more important as the industry goes through a big change in the way content is produced, delivered and consumed.

What are your immediate plans for the brand? How does the Studer brand complement the rest of HHB’s product line-up?

As a company, we feel that the brand is strong enough to carve a steady path, so we are really there to facilitate that and maximise the opportunities. The new Glacier and Micro series products offer amazing features for its price points, which makes it possible for us to make Studer technology accessible to a number of new market sectors. n

What kind of opportunities are there in the market for Studer? Are there any trends in the market you will be able to capitalize on? Studer has an incredibly diverse product range from large-scale digital mixing consoles for live television production to compact digital mixing systems for radio. The console systems are respected worldwide for their superb sonic quality and Studer is renowned

“Studer technology is a perfect fit for customers wishing to deploy a networked-base infrastructure”

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17/01/2017 10:26:18


Broadcast

P25 OCTOBER 2017

Radio times Once the preserve of national networks and big stations, digital radio is now becoming available to smaller local and community services through open source technologies and lower cost multiplexers. Kevin Hilton reports…

A

s the impetus to move larger radio networks and stations on to DAB or DAB+ multiplexes grows across Europe, there is an equally strong movement to secure the future of local and community services, in terms of both technology and coverage. In the last five years digital radio for these small-scale operators has become a more realistic option through the development of lowercost coding and multiplexing systems. That momentum increased this year, with the UK passing a new law to formally license localised DAB radio, with tests taking place in Germany and Norway looking at smaller stations becoming part of its FM switch-off. On the equipment side, Norwegian manufacturer Paneda has supplied its all-in-one, DAB head-end systems to a variety of radio broadcasters across the Nordic region, while German developer AVT launched what it claims is the smallest DSP-based Ensemble Multiplexer at last month’s IBC in Amsterdam. The beginnings of small-scale, or open source, DAB can be found in a test project carried out between September 2012 to January 2013 by Rashid Mustapha, senior broadcast specialist at UK regulator Ofcom. Using a multiplex based on a Raspberry Pi board, Mustapha, working in his own time and not under the auspices of Ofcom, created a test service in Brighton (see PSNEurope, November 2014), which led to the development of a device for coding and multiplexing signals from IP feeds or a satellite receiver. In February 2015, Ofcom advertised 10 test multiplex licences. These were awarded in April the same year for Aldershot, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Greater London, Norwich, Manchester and Portsmouth. Further support came from Kevin Foster, Conservative member of parliament for Torbay in Devon, who drew up a Private Members’ Bill to ensure full-time small-scale DAB broadcasting. This received Royal Assent in April this year and is now on the statute books as the Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Act 2017. With this legislation in place, the 10 trial licences have now been extended for a further two years, running until March 2018. The government was due to issue a new consultation in September for a full rollout of small-scale DAB services in the near future. “We hope that by the autumn we should have more details, with a plan in place [for more licences] by the first quarter of 2018,” comments Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital Radio UK, the body that promotes and supports DAB in Britain. “There are 140 small-scale services on air at the

moment and we are keen to extend that to other parts of the country.” Tests began earlier this year in Germany using the ‘small-scale DAB’ concept and open source technology. The trial facility is based in Bretzenheim, a region of the Rhineland-Palatinate state of western Germany. The service is operated by Studio Nahe, which is using transmission equipment supplied by systems company Shortwave Service. Initial research into small-scale DAB+ in Germany was carried out by a number of regional media authorities in association with the Federal Network Agency. Christian Milling of Shortwave Service comments that the implementation of localised digital mulitplexes depends on location and which media regulator has jurisdiction. “Our transmitter comes under the State Media Authority of Rhineland-Palatinate (LMK) and they are very interested in DAB small-scale,” he says. “They have developed a portable transmitter and also support our project.” Milling explains that with crowded FM bands in Germany, DAB+ is providing the only opportunities for new broadcasters on terrestrial frequencies. “We have some statewide multiplexes and a national multiplex, with a second to follow, but in most of Germany regional or local DAB muxes are not on air yet,” he says. “This is where small-scale could be a good alternative to traditional hardware. There is demand and the relatively low cost of €200 per channel per month per mux seems to be very attractive for smaller broadcasters, who are mostly in the private sector.” The approach taken by Studio Nahe and others developing small-scale DAB in Germany is a combination of audio coding and multiplexing using the Open Digital Radio (ODR) Association Software Suite and professional RF transmission, in this case through Harris equipment. “You can easily work with Raspberry Pi for audio encoding and put programme contributions to the mux over the internet, which is reliable,” Milling comments. “So you save money by not using dedicated lines. But if you try to save money on the RF part you won’t be satisfied at all.” The Studio Nahe test runs until February 2018, after which Milling hopes regular broadcasts will begin in March. German manufacturer AVT has supplied its Magic DAB MUX multiplexer range to several DAB head-end installations and sub-systems, including for regional public broadcasting group ARD. Sales director Wolfgang Peters comments that in addition to this, interest is growing in small-scale installations, particularly

“The solution is to create small regional muxes”: Christian Milling

SMALL-SCALE DAB COULD BE A GOOD ALTERNATIVE TO TRADITIONAL HARDWARE, AND SEEMS TO BE VERY ATTRACTIVE FOR SMALLER BROACASTERS

CHRISTIAN MILLING

from smaller commercial operations in Bavaria. “There are now four additional regional multiplexes and Bayerischer Rundfunk has created the technical platform to include many commercial broadcasters as well,” he says. “Mixing public and commercial broadcasters on an ensemble is politically desirable and the right way to switchover from FM, which is something the Association of Commercial Broadcasting (VPRT) is calling for.” As ever, money is an issue in all this, and Peters explains getting regional advertising is essential for commercial stations. “The situation is even more difficult for community and campus radio stations, which are financed by donations and student contributions,” he says. “The solution can only be to create as many small regional multiplexes as possible but that is only realistic if two conditions are met: the costs for a DAB head-end

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21/09/2017 10:47


P26 OCTOBER 2017

Broadcast

The Magic DABMUX Go is due to be available by the end of the year

must be reduced and the operation has to be efficient and simple.” With this in mind, ODR asked AVT to adapt its Magic AE1 DAB+ Go Encoder for the Open Source DAB MUX Ensemble Multiplexer. “Up to 20 programme providers can use their DAB encoders to transmit to the Magic DABMUX Go over the internet,” Peters says. “Encoders can also be installed locally at the multiplexer itself.” The Magic DABMUX Go is due to be available by the end of the year.

Paneda claims to have approximately 90 percent of the local DAB market in Norway and offers three configurations: dedicated hardware, a virtualised server environment and a full cloud-based system. International sales manager Lars-Peder Lundgren says Norwegian local services are now realising they cannot stay on FM only and are looking at DAB. “Some local radio stations, with maybe better financial status, are building DAB networks and then sell capacity to other operators in the same area,” Lundgren

says. “Others build a very small transmitter network with maybe one to three transmitters covering a few smaller towns and villages.” Lungren also points out a distinction between local DAB on commercially available technology and equipment and small-scale services using the open source approach: “The market for what the open source people call small-scale DAB is in the UK, where Ofcom is promoting this. It’s almost impossible for us to compete with open source and free technology with an organisation like Ofcom as the promoter. It’s sad because I know there will be a day when these stations need support and a better systems in general, but we do see an upcoming market in Switzerland and France.” Small-scale broadcasters will make their own choices but the fact they have options is a positive development in the ongoing and contentious evolution of digital radio. n www.avt-nbg.de www.getdigitalradio.com www.opendigitalradio.org www.paneda.no www.shortwaveservice.com www.studio-nahe.de

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21/09/2017 10:47


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14/09/2017 12:46:04 08/09/2017 11:21


P28 OCTOBER 2017

Technology: Studio monitors

Studio monitors As one of the biggest studio investments you’ll make, Tara Lepore takes a look at some of the best monitors on the market…

I

t’s no exaggeration to say that a quality range of studio monitors will serve to improve every mix carried out by using them, and the market for these essential pieces of kit remains strong. With more and more bespoke options available to fit all size ranges, from small listening rooms to large-scale recording studios, getting the perfect studio monitor is an essential investment and one of the most important pieces of pro audio kit you’ll need to hear an accurate representation of the work you’ve created. We asked some of the top manufacturers in the field to present their best studio monitor products, to suit all budgets and room requirements. This is what they came back with…

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P29 OCTOBER 2017

Adam Audio – S3V “The S3V is a three-way studio monitor optimised for vertical use and designed primarily for midfield applications, although it may also be used in more compact listening environments,” Adam Audio's head of marketing André Zeugner tells PSNEurope. “Bass frequencies from 32 Hz to 250 Hz are handled by Adam Audio’s entirely new 9" Extended Linear Excursion (ELE) LF driver, which incorporates the company’s Symmetrical Magnet Assembly (SMA) and delivers a powerful and accurate low-end extending right down into the sub-bass region. Mid-range and HF information is reproduced with equally analytical precision thanks to the combination of Adam Audio’s newly developed 4" DCH mid-range driver and the highly refined S-ART folded-ribbon HF driver. “Together with the brand-new HPS waveguide, the latter offers high-frequency reproduction with a broad sweet spot with fine, highly detailed imaging and a natural-sounding sense of depth. “The S Series’ custom-designed DSP optimises the loudspeaker crossovers to create linear responses for the entire range, as well as providing

user equalisation and in-room tuning and voicing functions. “The S3V’s built-in amplification is generously specified, comprising Class D units for the bass and mid-range drivers (500W and 300W RMS respectively) while also boasting a 50W Class A/B amplifier for the S-ART tweeter. "Offering great reproduction of audio frequencies between 32 Hz and 50 kHz, the S3V is a standout offering for anyone demanding highly accurate imaging and localisation from their reference monitors."

THE S3V’S BUILT-IN AMPLIFICATION IS GENEROUSLY SPECIFIED, COMPRISING CLASS D UNITS FOR THE BASS AND MID-RANGE DRIVERS ANDRE ZEUGNER The custom-designed DSP optimises the loudspeaker crossovers on the entire range

Focal – Shape "Focal is committed to providing innovative nearfield monitoring solutions, as demonstrated by the new Shape line with its double passive radiators, new woofers and tweeter dome," says Eva van den Kerchove from the company. "The three monitors are all made in France, in Focal’s plant, and integrate five innovations to maximise acoustic transparency. Designed to meet the needs of nearfield monitoring, Shape monitors combine an innovative design and numerous settings optimised for the acoustics of small listening rooms. They enable great monitoring quality, in the lowest to the highest frequencies. "These innovations provide remarkable acoustic transparency. The new work tools distinguish themselves through the wide and extremely precise stereo image, with the bass register being articulated and controlled. "The lower mid-range and mid-range benefit from extreme neutrality – and without any masking effects – making equalisation of these essential registers much easier. "Finally, the new tweeter is what’s at the source of the very high definition. It reveals any hissing, and it’s also very precise in the very high end. "Considering technologies, the Flax sandwich

Focal’s new Shape line aims to 'maximise acoustic transparency'

cone has proven to be a considerable improvement over the Polyglass cone in terms of weight, rigidity and damping. TMD surround provides a linear frequency response curve between 1 and 2kHz, and the mid-range register benefits from remarkable neutrality, and it contributes to the great precision of the overall stereo image. Finally, Neutral Inductance Circuit reduces harmonic distortion and intermodulation."

SHAPE MONITORS COMBINE AN INNOVATIVE DESIGN AND NUMEROUS SETTINGS OPTIMISED FOR THE ACOUSTICS OF SMALL LISTENING ROOMS EVA VAN DEN KERCHOVE

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P30 OCTOBER 2017

Technology: Studio monitors

Genelec – The Ones "Genelec’s big launch this year has been The Ones series of compact three-way studio monitors – now comprising the 8331, 8341 and 8351 models – which has been the culmination of many years of sustained R&D," explains Genelec marketing director Howard Jones. "As well as being the world’s smallest three-way coaxial models, The Ones are what the company calls Ultimate Point Source monitors, in that the two concealed woofers and a coaxial MF/HF driver deliver sound from a single point source – eliminating off-axis colouration and creating a very wide sweet spot. This colouration is known to contribute significantly to listener fatigue, so The Ones allow the user to work much more effectively, for longer periods. For stereo that’s really important, but with increasingly complex mixes, precise uncoloured imaging becomes even more crucial. "The company is also aiming to reduce the influence of the room on the sound that’s being heard, so The Ones’ ability to deliver an ‘ultranearfield’ listening experience – where the listener can position themselves just 40cm from the monitors without any loss of precision – is a major breakthrough that increases the ratio of direct-toreverberant sound heard by the listener."

KRK Systems – V-Series 4 "KRK Systems V-Series 4 nearfield studio monitors are specifically designed for audio production applications where accurate reproduction is critical," a spokesperson tells PSNEurope. "KRK worked with hundreds of pro engineers, producers and mixers to develop these groundbreaking monitors. Recording and broadcast studios as well as sound design and audio production houses will benefit from adding the V Series 4 as the go-to monitor of choice. "V-Series 4 includes 49 user selectable EQ settings to ensure proper setup for room acoustics and placement anomalies as well as taste and individual preference. The KRK design team has painstakingly modelled and analysed hundreds of monitor placement and room acoustic situations to ensure that KRK delivers the most useful tools with minimal adjustments." Producer Mark “Spike” Stent, who has mixed for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Muse, Madonna and Coldplay, says: “I have been using KRK since 1994 and these are the best powered monitors KRK has

The Ones series has been the result of ‘many years’ of research and development

THE ONES’ ABILITY TO DELIVER AN ‘ULTRA-NEARFIELD’ LISTENING EXPERIENCE IS A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH THAT INCREASES THE RATIO OF DIRECT-TO-REVERBERANT SOUND HEARD BY THE LISTENER HOWARD JONES ever made.” The V Series 4 builds on KRK’s 30-year legacy in developing and building world class studio monitors, from their custom made amplifiers and proprietary drivers to their construction and voicing. KRK’s V-Series is also available in the company’s ‘White Noise’ finish.

I HAVE BEEN USING KRK SINCE 1994 AND THESE ARE THE BEST POWERED MONITORS KRK HAS EVER MADE MARK "SPIKE" STENT

KRK worked with ‘hundreds’ of pro engineers and mixers to develop these monitors

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P31 OCTOBER 2017

Mackie – MR Series "Designed for home studios, content creators and multimedia, the Mackie MR Series delivers unmatched performance and superior mix translation so artists, producers, and content creators can listen with confidence that their mix will sound great anywhere," a Mackie spokesperson tells PSNEurope. "Featuring Mackie’s proven logarithmic waveguide, MR monitors provide enhanced stereo imaging for higher fidelity and consistent sound over a wide listening area. "Utilising extensive tuning by Mackie acoustic engineers, precision transducers, and highperformance amplifiers, MR Series monitors deliver an honest, accurate representation of the mix, so users can count on their projects to always sound the way they intended. "Equipped with versatile Acoustic Space Control and HF filters, MR monitors can be easily optimised for your environment to ensure a flat

response. Three acoustic space settings allow for monitor placements near walls and corners. High-frequency EQ control provides further adjustment to ensure an accurate response, and acoustic isolation pads are included that decouple the monitor from the desk or stand for increased performance and accuracy. The Mackie MR Series includes the 5” MR524 ($209.99), 6.5” MR624 ($279.99), 8” MR824 ($349.99) and the 10” MRS10 ($559.99).

MR MONITORS PROVIDE ENHANCED STEREO IMAGING FOR HIGHER FIDELITY AND CONSISTENT SOUND OVER A WIDE LISTENING AREA

MR monitors can be easily optimised for an environment to ensure a flat response

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P32 OCTOBER 2017

Technology: Studio monitors

Meyer Sound – Bluehorn "After six years of intensive research, Meyer Sound is setting a new benchmark for accuracy in studio monitors," says PR manager Jane Eagelson. "A system that marries acoustic precision and digital modeling to offer completely flat amplitude and phase response across the entire audible frequency spectrum, from 25 Hz to 20 kHz, Bluehorn is designed with acoustic transparency in mind." Advanced driver mechanics and alignment technology, along with precision tuning, further minimise phase anomalies that can colour sound. A large-format, three-way system, Bluehorn builds on proven components found in Meyer Sound’s Cinema Series and LEO Family of line array loudspeakers. "Powerful digital processing is also at the heart of the Bluehorn System," Eagleson continues. "Propriety correction algorithms cancel out nonlinearities, inherent in all mechanical transducers and loudspeaker cabinets, to bring acoustic output into frequency alignment with the input signal.

Meyer Sound’s Bluehorn System is designed for midsized rooms in stereo and LCR configurations

"The Bluehorn System is designed for highresolution monitoring applications in mid-sized

rooms for recording, cinema post-production, and music mastering, in stereo and LCR configurations."

BLUEHORN IS DESIGNED WITH ACOUSTIC TRANSPARENCY IN MIND... ADVANCED DRIVER MECHANICS AND ALIGNMENT TECHNOLOGY MINIMISE PHASE ANOMALIES THAT CAN COLOUR SOUND JANE EAGLESON

Neumann – KH 80 DSP "The KH 80 DSP two-way active biamplified monitor features a DSP engine with network control, a Mathematically Modeled Dispersion Waveguide (MMD), an analogue input and an extensive range of mounting hardware," a Neumann spokesperson tells PSNEurope. "This allows the loudspeaker to be used in diverse acoustical conditions, with any source equipment, and in a wide variety of physical locations. The KH 80 represents the latest in acoustic and electronic simulation and measurement technologies to ensure the most accurate sound reproduction possible. "The KH 80 DSP is designed for use as a near-field monitor, as a front loudspeaker in small multi-channel systems, or as a rear loudspeaker in a compact multichannel systems. It can be used in project and music studios, broadcast centres, OB vans, and post production studios for tracking, mixing, and mastering. It is also well suited for use in domestic environments. "The new DSP engine optimises output to achieve reference class sound, with mathematically modelled dispersion delivering excellent detail in any surroundings. The monitors are available in metallic anthracite and white."

The monitors can be used in project and music studios, broadcast centres, OB vans, and post production studios

THE KH 80 REPRESENTS THE LATEST IN ACOUSTIC AND ELECTRONIC SIMULATION AND MEASUREMENT TECHNOLOGIES TO ENSURE THE MOST ACCURATE SOUND REPRODUCTION POSSIBLE

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15/09/2017 15:25:47


P34 OCTOBER 2017

Technology: Studio monitors

PreSonus – R80 "PreSonus’ R80 active studio monitor speaker offers a custom 6.8sq" Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter that delivers an extremely fast transient response, responding to the subtlest waveforms and high frequencies, making it an ideal choice for hearing subtle ultra-highs that add ‘air’ and a sense of space," says PreSonus PR manager Steve Oppenheimer. "It also offers wide lateral dispersion for a broad sweet spot, along with narrow vertical dispersion, which helps reduce ceiling reflections that can muddy the sound. The R80’s 8" coated Kevlar woofer delivers cohesive, less time-smeared audio with minimal colouration and extremely punchy bass. "This biamped monitor features Class D power amplifiers, with 100W RMS driving the woofer and 50W RMS driving the AMT tweeter. An Acoustic Space switch controls a second order, low shelving filter that helps to compensate for boundary bass boost when the monitor is placed near a wall or corner. "An HF-driver level control is also provided to help mitigate room problems. An onboard four-position highpass filter makes it easy to integrate a subwoofer into your monitoring setup."

The R80 studio monitor delivers an ‘extremely fast’ transient response

AN ONBOARD FOUR-POSITION HIGHPASS FILTER MAKES IT EASY TO INTEGRATE A SUBWOOFER INTO YOUR MONITORING SETUP STEVE OPPENHEIMER

Yamaha – HS Series "The iconic white woofer and signature sound of Yamaha’s nearfield reference monitors are an industry standard for a reason – their accuracy," according to a Yamaha spokesperson. "HS Series monitors embody this philosophy, delivering detailed audio with a flat response. "The HS5, HS7 and HS8 respectively feature a 1” tweeter plus 5”, 6.5” or 8” cone woofer. The 1” dome tweeter delivers smooth, distortion-free high end up to 30kHz, while the ultra-responsive woofers produce low distortion sound with a welldefined bottom end at any output level. "The bi-amp amplifier section ensures that each HS Series unit consistently delivers highresolution sound with flat response across the sound spectrum. "This is aided by a low resonance design enclosure, resulting in a reduction of audible noise of up to 6dB. This allows HS Series studio monitors to meet the demands of strict professional production environments. Both ranges are available in black or white finish and are complemented by the HS8S 8” bass-reflex powered subwoofer, available in black only. n

Yamaha’s ‘ultra-responsive’ woofers produce low distortion

THE BI-AMP AMPLIFIER SECTION ENSURES THAT EACH HS SERIES UNIT CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS HIGH RESOLUTION SOUND WITH FLAT RESPONSE ACROSS THE SOUND SPECTRUM

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21/09/2017 14:01:43


P36 OCTOBER 2017

Opinion

Blurred lines

Increasingly affordable audio equipment is allowing novice producers to record near-perfect sound in their bedrooms. MI Pro editor Laura Barnes asks if the popularity of home studio kits is threatening the role of the pro audio professional…

T

he musical instrument and pro audio industries have always had a close relationship. Many audio brands dip their toes into each pool, some MI brands realise their tech can be fully utilised in higher-end setups; other times, pro audio brands grasp the opportunity to encourage musicians and novices to delve deeper into the world of producing, engineering and more. A raft of new products that have sprouted up recently suggest the lines are becoming even more blurred between these two innovative industries. Today’s ever-increasing advancements in technology have meant that musicians and beginner bedroom producers are able to get their hands on incredibly powerful tech and software to help them produce professional-grade projects. This means that a compact studio set-up, a DIY PA setup in a coffee shop, or a wireless microphone system in a local theatre no longer need to be of a sub-par standard – or require the expenditure of a significantly large amount of money to sound surprisingly professional.

IF THERE’S MORE PRO AUDIO EQUIPMENT OUT THERE AIMED AT PEOPLE WHO AREN’T PROFESSIONALS, SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED THAT THE INDUSTRY MIGHT BE ENGULFED BY THE MI MARKET?

The Harman brand introduced three new compact models aimed at podcasters, singer-songwriters and audio professionals who require small format mixing solutions earlier this year. In the home studio department, there have been some interesting kits from the likes of IK Multimedia and Audio-Technica. IK’s ‘Advanced Room Correction System’ enables users to mix in an environment capable of an exact representation of the audio being produced, regardless of the acoustic characteristics of the room. Audio-Technica announced in September that it had joined forces with Audient to create the ‘Essential Studio Kit’. The kit comprises a microphone, interface and headphone bundle ideal for budding producers and musicians in home studios or on the move.

Audient and Audio-Technica have recently paired up to produce an ‘Essential Studio Kit’ for budding producers

Moving out of the studio, there’s also some interesting wireless microphone systems and portable PA products from Adam Hall Group’s LD Systems brand, that is available in various configurations to appeal to smaller stages and spaces, including the U500 Series microphone range and the MAUI 11 G2 and MAUI 28 G2 PAs that are specifically designed for medium-sized gigs or fixed installations.

Cause for concern So if there’s more ‘pro audio’ equipment out there aimed at people who aren’t professionals, should you be worried that the industry might be engulfed by the MI market? Will those working as pro audio professionals find themselves competing against near-future technology that will make their roles redundant? Personally, I don’t think there’s a need to panic anytime soon. While these products show just how quickly audio technology is advancing, no matter how great they are, they will always be ‘compact’, ‘portable’ or ‘amateur’ versions of their bigger brothers. And of course, it doesn’t matter how powerful the technology is at your fingertips, if you don’t have the skills to properly utilise it, you’re not going to get the results you hoped for. The situation reminds me of some MI industry news that I covered back in August when supermarket Aldi announced that it has launched a musical instrument range – with very cheap price tags. I spoke to MI retailers, distributors and manufacturers

to see how much of a threat they thought these beginner instruments to be, and, a large majority of their responses were very positive. They said that there is room in the market for all price points, and the people buying these cheap instruments aren’t typically going to be the ones walking into an independent guitar shop. They also touched on the fact that the people who do buy these cheap instruments will get a taste for making music and inevitably end up visiting a ‘proper’ music shop to upgrade to a more professional instrument. As those interested in pro audio are able to get their hands on more compact and affordable gear to experiment on, I image they will follow a similar path, and end up investing in bigger pieces of kit.

The DIY musician While we could argue that this increased interest in DIY is possibly taking jobs away from pro audio workers, I would argue that this new wave of small-scale products will probably get more people interested into producing, engineering, working at live venues, and discovering the wide range of ways they can make a living out of their passion for music that the pro audio market offers – rather than just the pipe dream route of becoming a world-famous rock star. With this interesting fusion of MI and pro audio gear showing no sign of slowing down, it will be interesting to see what powerful bits of kit will be modified for bedroom producers in the future, and how they will shift the goal posts of what’s considered ‘pro’. n

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P38 OCTOBER 2017

Installation

BERLARE, BELGIUM

Kiss and tell

For the open-air performance of Cole Porter’s musical Kiss Me, Kate, organiser Pretoria combined a star-studded cast and some 100 extras with quality studio recording and efficient sound design, discovered Marc Maes...

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hirty years ago, the beautiful Donkmeer lake in East Flanders served as the backdrop for an open-air performance of musical The White Horse Inn (1987) on a floating stage. Since then, the Festivaria event has been staged every two years, steadily attracting larger audiences. In the early '90s, the municipality of Berlare in Belgium decided to transform the floating stage into a more solid concrete construction, and to build a 2,500-capacity covered stand in front of the stage. With Kiss me, Kate, the Festivaria production team have taken on their biggest theatre production ever. “The full length [approximately 60 metres] of the outdoor stage is transformed into a Baltimore street. Moving panels allow swift shifting between scenes, and we have horses and old-timer cars driving by during the piece,” comments director Tijl Dauwe. For some 10 years now, the sound design has been handled by renowned sound engineer Arno Voortman, who also intermediates for the supply of audio and light equipment for the show. “It’s important to understand that this production, and theatre in general, is so much more than light and sound – it’s all about feeling and the right atmosphere,” explains Voortman, who had just returned from an FOH job for Lollapalooza headliner Arcade Fire in Chicago. “The big challenge here is the distance between actors and audience: there are some 40m [of water] between the downstage edge and the stands. Delay and synchronisation are the key issues we are dealing with.” The solution was found in using pre-recorded audio content, with actors miming their lines.

“All of the production’s sound scores, dialogues and songs are recorded in advance,” says Voortman. “In doing so we avoid the delay time [around 1.6 seconds] that occurs when principals should perform live with wireless systems – and we don’t need to look for a stand-in when one of the actors is taken ill, for example.” The musical’s soundscape was recorded in Galaxy Studios – with chief scoring engineer Patrick Lemmens using Galaxy’s AMS Neve 88D for the assignment. “We have been recording tracks for the productions since 2009,” adds Ton Eijkemans of Galaxy Studios. “Patrick recorded all of the actors’ voices and the musical score performed by the Chapelle de Lorraine orchestra in our main hall.” Voortman decided to put in place an L-Acoustics configuration, supplied by rental company Phlippo. “The set up consists of two stacks of six L-Acoustics K2 cabinets, 2 x 2 SB28 subs, six Kara line array speakers and 2 x 2 Kudo line source sets as fills,” he says. “Four 5XT and eight 8XT discreetly-placed monitors complete the audio inventory.” The FOH system is steered by a Dante-enabled Yamaha CL5 console, with Thomas van Hoepen and Pieter Doms as mix engineers. “Using Dante as part of the set-up helps us to keep the cabling simple, and allows us to stream all of the computer’s content along with the main signal transport,” comments Voortman, adding that the only outboard he takes along are two Apex Intelli-X processors. In addition, he provided an extra backstage monitoring system, consisting of 12x Turbosound M10 and four Yamaha NSP5 active studio monitors.

The big defiance remains that each of the 12 performances took place on an open stage and that actors are confronted with meteorological circumstances and… synchronisation issues. “The principals are very focused on music and mutual interaction – and they’re very sensitive to delay,” Voorman continues. “Actually I see it as ‘trial and error’ – because, as said, all this has to do with experiencing the musical.” In 2019, Festivaria plans to implement a live wireless system for the next production: “I hope that, by then, the new technology, microphones and processors will be able to solve the immense delay problem we have,” comments Johan Lateir, head of production at Festivaria. “Today, we have some five microphones on the stage grabbing the actual vocal performances, in addition to the pre-recorded tracks, also for the monitoring system.” Actor Jan Schepens, one of the principals in Kiss Me, Kate praised the modus operandi for the musical. “We have been able to record our tracks in the best possible conditions, resulting in pristine quality,” he says. “The musical score was also recorded in Galaxy Studios and Cole Porter would be happy with the result – the studio is one of Europe’s top recording facilities, the result is there to prove it.” “It’s a completely different world than I’m used to work in…this is art – compared to the – if you don’t mind me saying – factory work in arenas, stadiums and on festivals,” concludes Voortman. n www.festivaria.eu

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P40 OCTOBER 2017

Broadcast

‘The broadcast landscape has gone through major developments in recent years’: Jenny Priestley

Changing times

Similar to radio’s digital revolution of the mid-’90s, innovations in television broadcast are happening rapidly – and they’re completely changing the game. From ongoing discussions in how the move to IP will work, to the rise of social media input, TVBEurope editor Jenny Priestley reflects on the huge shifts in TV production and ponders where it could go from here…

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ack in the mists of time, or the mid1990s, radio went through a fundamental change. Out went quarter-inch tape and in came digital. Racks of carts, news clips and interviews found themselves on the scrapheap, replaced by computers where journalists and producers could edit without the need of a razor blade and white sticky tape. It was a game changer for everyone working in the industry. I was in my first job at Capital FM; I’d spent my college years studying for the dreaded Media Studies degree and doing as much work experience as possible. Then six weeks in, the world changed when Capital moved from the old Euston Tower to its new home in Leicester Square, and with it everything I knew about radio production went out the window. Of course for radio, the introduction of digital has been huge. Now we have digital-only radio stations, shows simulcast around the country on multiple stations as owners consolidate and get ever bigger, and the advent of the podcast – anyone can podcast now, from the big stations to a group of film fans recording their reviews in a pub. I mention all this because it seems to me that broadcast is going through another fundamental change at the moment. Whenever I talk to colleagues in the industry our conversations cover the same key themes again and again. From the production

side, it’s all about IP and the Cloud. Both are shaping the industry in the present and also in the future. Manufacturers and broadcast executives are busy discussing standards and how the move to IP is going to work. BBC Wales’ new headquarters in Cardiff will be the first of the Corporation’s facilities in the UK to deploy IP across both its production and broadcast operation. In terms of audio, I keep hearing the phrases VoIP and AoIP from manufacturers like Riedel and Dante. Meanwhile, the Cloud is featuring more in terms of playout and moving content around the world. The other big change is the current move to Dolby Atmos. Sky announced in August that it is broadcasting 124 Premier League games in Dolby Atmos during the 2017/18 football season, while Netflix has already adopted both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision for its new original content. That of course is one big change that the viewer, or listener, can see as a positive change to their experience. From a viewer’s perspective, the broadcast landscape has gone through major developments in recent years. We have these key phrases now: OTT, VoD, second screen, streaming. The way we consume TV is completely different to how it was five, 10 years ago. Linear TV is still key for live events, such as sport or breaking news, but now viewers are watching what they want when they want. Binge-

MANUFACTURERS AND BROADCAST EXECUTIVES ARE BUSY DISCUSSING STANDARDS AND HOW THE MOVE TO IP IS GOING TO WORK

JENNY PRIESTLEY

watch was added to the Oxford online dictionary in 2014 after the site noticed its usage had increased four-fold from February to June of that year. It looks like the next big technological change for the viewer will be the rise of social TV. The big tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat have identified an opportunity within the broadcast sector and are ready to grasp it. Just in the last few weeks, Facebook has launched its new Watch platform in the US featuring exclusive content from the likes of Discovery Channel. Social TV is more than just tweeting or posting about a show or event. It is a new way for viewers to find premium content not necessarily available through traditional broadcasters or even OTT platforms. It’s an interesting time in the world of broadcast and media. There’s a lot to watch, or listen, out for. n

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21/09/2017 16:18


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P42 OCTOBER 2017

Installation

The Studer Vista X is the main mixing desk at the sound control gallery in TV3

Get with the programme Programme making returned to the BBC’s old Television Centre site in west London at the end of August. Technological interest in the ‘new TVC’ will probably focus on its 4k IP vision infrastructure, but the audio side is equally significant, with new Studer consoles and the first deployment of Riedel’s DECT wireless intercom. Kevin Hilton went to look around…

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he distinctive 1960s building looks much the same, even though the last of the building works obscured the central ‘horseshoe’ area that will be so familiar to British people who grew up with television in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. The BBC logo on the side of Studio 1 (TC1) has gone, but the ‘atomic dot’ pattern remains as another indication that this is a place where TV programmes were and still will be made. There are only three studios now. These and their supporting technical areas have been joined by many new developments: luxury apartments, a branch of media hangout and hotel Soho House, bars and restaurants and a spa/gym. The TV production operation is now branded as ‘BBC Studioworks Facilities at Television Centre’ and is run by the BBC’s studios and post-production subsidiary. David Conway, managing director of BBC Studioworks, says the intention was to preserve as much of the Centre’s TV heritage while refurbishing and updating it. There is a new reception and audience-handling area, while inside the studio complex itself there is a series of green rooms, dressing rooms and production offices. Because BBC Studioworks is a commercial operation, TVC will no longer be a dedicated BBC facility, although the public broadcaster will be using the facilities. As most independent productions are staffed by freelancers, much of the equipment and technology specified by BBC Studioworks

had to be familiar or popular with crews. Another consideration was accommodating current trends in TV production. Often presenters move beyond the studio into backstage and public areas, while the production staff need to be in contact with each other wherever they are.

This last requirement was a major factor behind TVC being the first major installation of Riedel’s new DECT-based wireless intercom system, Bolero. BBC Studioworks has been using Riedel Artist at Elstree, where it moved the bulk of its operations from TVC in 2013. “Productions want to come into a space

The TC2 production office at BBC Studioworks’ new facility in west London

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P43 OCTOBER 2017

and say how they want to use it,” explains sound supervisor Andy Tapley. “We had Riedel as the wired part of the intercom for that, but we really wanted a joined up system with wireless comms as well.” Tapley says he considered a hybrid installation with Clear-Com FreeSpeak II but then discovered that Riedel was in the process of developing a new wireless product. “We signed a non-disclosure agreement and worked with them for the last couple of years,” Tapley comments. Tests were later carried out to integrate what is now Bolero with the Artist frame, including a test on celebrity dance show Strictly Come Dancing at Elstree last year. Bolero was completed in time for the launch of TVC. “We’ve taken it to the max,” Tapley says. “The system can do 100 belt packs and we’ve done that, split across the three studios.” This breaks down as: 40 belt packs in TC1, 40 in TC3 and 20 in TC2. These run on an AES67 network under DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications), which, Tapley explains, is how full roaming around the whole Centre is achieved. Both TC1 and TC3 have their own Artist frames, while TC2 shares one with the central apparatus

WE’VE TAKEN IT TO THE MAX. THE [RIEDEL BOLERO] SYSTEM CAN DO 100 BELT PACKS AND WE’VE DONE THAT, SPLIT ACROSS THE THREE STUDIOS

ANDY TAPLEY

room. Each frame is fitted with an AES67 card, which connects to an AES67 switch that also links to the Bolero aerials. “Each Bolero belt pack has six full duplex channels and is effectively a portable panel,” Tapley says. “Each antenna is capable of connecting to 10 belt packs and we’ve covered the site with 22 antennas.” Further connectivity is provided through CAT5 points around the building, which are part of the AES network. CAT5 also plays a part in the audio console installation. The sound control galleries at TVC feature Studer Vistas as the main mixing desk (Vista X in TC1 and TC3, with a Vista 5 in TC2), together

with the new Glacier for ‘grams’ (music and sound effects). BBC Studioworks has been using Studer’s OnAir board for grams operations and, Tapley says, this product provides the back-end of the Glacier, which has a new control surface. “One CAT5 connects into the panel, which means you’re not so rigid in the way your desk area is set up,” Tapley continues. “Operators might want to move a panel to the other side because they find it better ergonomically.” The consoles run on a MADI highway that also connects to hybrid routers. A MADI feed also links the Vista to the Glacier, which means the grams desk would be able to take over programme content and run a video machine and microphones if there was a problem with the main console. The ‘new’ TVC studio started making programmes almost as soon as it opened, and not without a couple of ironies. It is providing a home for ITV’s breakfast show This Morning due to the redevelopment of The London Studios on the South Bank, and also welcomed The Jonathan Ross Show as its first production. Ross, you might remember, left the BBC under something of a cloud in 2010, but is now back where he used to work. n

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P44 OCTOBER 2017

Live

NEW YORK

‘Timing is everything’ Sound design expert Scott Lehrer has been applying his magic touch to Broadway’s latest revival of comedy musical Hello, Dolly! Here, he tells PSNEurope just how he achieves his award-winning designs on the biggest of stages…

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roadway’s latest revival of Jerry Herman’s classic comedy musical Hello, Dolly!, directed by Jerry Zaks and starring Bette Midler, features an expansively spatialised sound design by Scott Lehrer, adding an enhanced dimension of audio to a much-loved spectacle. Having applied his intricate designs to a vast array of shows throughout his career, Lehrer’s sonic signature is based around highly intelligible spatial reinforcement, intended to fully engage the audience. “I want the audience to actually hear sound coming from a close approximation of where it is being sung or spoken,” Lehrer explains to PSNEurope. “I want the band to be rich in sound and coming from different apparent locations in the sound system, so that it is not just a flat mono system. I want the sound to come alive for the audience.” To create his dramatic soundscapes, Lehrer says that he makes extensive use of TiMax delay-matrix spatialisation, hailing it as a staple of his itinerary: “It’s part of my toolbox and when people hear it, they hear my work sounding better because of it.” Winning his first Tony Award for Sound Design of a Musical, he claims, led him straight to TiMax. “It was so difficult to use certain other DSP processors as a dynamically cue’d delay-matrix, that it led me to TiMax for my next show and I’ve stuck with it. TiMax is now my preference and it contributes to the sonic success of my shows. It’s easy to use and the most straightforward, simple matrix product on the market right now.” For the latest Broadway run of Hello, Dolly!, 17 TiMax’d vocal zones were mapped across the stage of the Shubert Theatre. Five time zones serve the passarelle area in front of the band, five zones downstage, five mid-stage and a further three upstage. With that wide spread across the stage, Lehrer pulls as much vocal differentiation from the big choral numbers as possible. “When there’s a group of people singing, there can be four people singing lead vocals and we can actually time them across the stage from left to right,” he said. “Also, when the voices are coming from a wider stereo field time-wise rather than volume-wise, it makes it a lot easier to hear those four people singing. We’re not piling them up in one position in the centre of the stage.” Midler’s Dolly moves down into the passerelle on several occasions for her numbers, getting very close to the audience: “When she’s way down front on the

“TIMax makes the show sound a whole lot better for the audience”: Scott Lehrer

passarelle, we can get that timed so well using TiMax,” Lehrer continues. “Singing to the audience from the centre of the passarelle, it really sounds like she’s right there and when she moves from left to right the timings get more extreme because she’s so close to the audience. So, she’s all the way right or all the way left and we just cue the timings into TiMax and the audience hears her from where she’s singing. Ultimately, we have TiMax for that purpose, it makes the show sound a lot better for the whole audience.” The band have five time zones imaged separately across the stage. From the central conductor’s position, the left and right front zones map the front section of the orchestra. There’s also an up-left, up-centre and up-right orchestra zone. Lehrer uses this spread to distribute the orchestra across the sound system so that all the musical parts can be heard clearly. After laser measurement, Lehrer trims his TiMax

zone parameters manually, which is detailed work requiring close attention to the action, but he also tries to rationalise the quantity of cues for the sound operator to handle “because she still has to mix the show too”. Keeping the spatialisation cues to a minimum also lends their discreet and strategic use all the more impact – nevertheless Hello, Dolly! utilises around 100 timing cues, according to Lehrer, in a show with very few background sound effects. Each cue morphs actors’ mics seamlessly and transparently between the TiMax time zone level/delay imaging setups. And as for what Lehrer calls ‘manual tracking’: “We don’t do long sequenced cross-fades too often as it’s hard to know how fast people will do things – but it’s a fun thing to try and using the matrix to enter the timings is very straightforward,” he concludes. “As simple as putting numbers in a spreadsheet.” n

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E V E SA H E! T T DA 8th November 2017, Sway Bar, Holborn, London Join us in November for another fascinating evening of lively discourse and discussion with leading lights from the pro-audio spectrum.

Register for your free tickets at www.psnpresents.com Following our hugely successful evening of fat-chewing and beer-drinking in June, PSNEurope announces the sixth PSNPresents in November 2017.

If you have any questions regarding PSNPresents then please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team below Event enquiries Emine Partalci epartalci@nbmedia.com +44(0)203 829 2614

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@PSNEurope 21/09/2017 14:04


P46 OCTOBER 2017

Live

FRANCE

Tour de force A massive Coda Audio set-up catered for a special French national holiday Bastille Day event, with over 260.000 people attending the NRJ Music Tour concert. Marc Maes reports on the company’s progress in the touring market…

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taged by French radio station NRJ, a Bastille Day concert featuring artists such as David Guetta, Black M, Clean Bandit and David Peretta was held at the Prairie des Filtres in July, a 700-metre wide festival ground along the Garonne river in Toulouse, France. Concept Group France, who took on the audio and lighting for the event since 2000, decided to premiere its new Coda Audio configuration for the occasion. “We decided to bank on the quality of the brand we were already familiar with, with the ViRAY series in our catalogue,” explains Baptiste Hazera, system engineer with Concept Group. “Following last year’s presentation and demo sessions by French Coda Audio distributor LTS Solutions, with the AiRAY and ViRAY, we decided to invest in a fully fledged concert and touring system. Today we have an inventory of some 100 Coda loudspeakers.” For the NRJ concert, LTS Solutions provided extra support to back up Concept Group’s substantial investment. “We got word from LTS’s demand for extra Coda kit,” says Hans Engelen, managing director of [Benelux Coda distributor] Viladco. “Studio Haifax came up with the solution. They have become a nice display company for Coda and have grown, in a relatively short stretch of time, from a modest player on the rental market, to a highly reputed AV company. Studio Haifax were the first AiRAY users worldwide, and combined with the company’s central location in Europe. They are very often solicited to support local rental companies in countries such as Denmark, Norway, France, Italy and Finland.”

For the NRJ concert, Studio Haifax system engineer Yves Van Moerbeke teamed up with Concept Group’s Baptiste Hazera to set up the configuration, consisting of an impressive amount of loudspeakers. “We used 52 Coda Audio AiRay and 56 Coda Audio ViRay cabinets; 24 SCV-F and 34 SCP sensor controlled subwoofer enclosures; 12 Coda Audio TiRay line array modules; 40 Coda Audio HOPS8 point source systems and 16 Coda Audio G308 cabinets as speakers on the bridges over the Garonne river,” says Van Moerbeke. “Some 300 Coda Audio cabinets altogether.”

A COLLABORATION LIKE THE ONE IN TOULOUSE HELPS TO PUT CODA AS A TOURING AND FESTIVAL SYSTEM IN THE MARKET. SYSTEM TECHS WHO WERE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE SYSTEM SHOW A GROWING CONFIDENCE IN THE BRAND

HANS ENGELEN

The AiRAY cabinets were mainly used as FOH and riverside delay speakers; the ViRAY modules were used as main delay and additional riverside delay. Hazera designed the system together with Concept Group system tech Thibault Melsbach. Van

Moerbeke, with his long-time experience with Coda set-ups, took on the configuration of the Coda Audio Linus Live software. “We also helped in flying the SCV subwoofers and positioning the SCP subs in clusters of six, resulting in a long front of line source array cabinets with a remarkable result in audio quality.” adds Moerbeke. The building of what is considered Coda Audio’s biggest configuration ever took a full week, with system techs from all companies involved teaming up. Eddie Krueger, technical support manager from Coda Audio, flew in to overlook the installation. “He taught us some new tips and tricks, things I hadn’t even discovered in the six years working with Coda kit,” enthuses Van Moerbeke. “But it also illustrates the commitment of the brand towards its users and the sound quality.” Hazera was positive overall about the system’s performance. “The whole set-up did a great job, without problems or compromises, and the mechanical system facilitates the building of the configuration,” he says. “The advanced annular diaphragm speaker technology results in extreme precision in the mid/high, taking away the aggressive edge you tend to hear with similar systems. Also, the sensor-controlled subs work with extreme precision.” Concept Group supplied three Yamaha CL5 consoles for FOH and monitors and two Yamaha QL1 mixers for sound play back management and security messages. Pieter Begard, managing director of Studio Haifax, says the company regularly provides extra Coda kit to rental companies on a dry-hire basis.

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“The growing need for line array systems has fuelled the demand for Coda products like the AiRAY and ViRAY – at present, Coda users are modestly setting up a cross-border network to offer mutual support, stimulated by the Coda brand,” adds Engelen. He underlines that the support offered by Coda Audio inspires rental companies to invest in the brand. “A collaboration like the one in Toulouse helps to put Coda as a touring and festival system in the market. System techs who were not familiar with the system show a growing confidence in the brand. The visibility of Coda systems, like with the recent Placebo tour or the NRJ event in Toulouse, boosts our brand notoriety.” “Coda is gaining its way on the touring market,” echoes Begard. “It’s still got quite a long way to go, because companies don’t tend to invest in a completely new brand. “We were different because our first steps in line array systems were with Coda and we have consequently been investing in Coda. And we do see an increasing amount of rental companies who want to test the system on the road,” Begard concluded. n

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AV Technology Europe

September 2017

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Installation

P49 OCTOBER 2017

UNITED KINGDOM

On the Metro line Last month, the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) worked with Metropolis Studios to equip its Guildford campus with a world class recording facility. Neil Martin from ACM’s technical team explains how it will benefit students... How did this partnership come about? ACM and Metropolis are intrinsically linked and have formed a really strong collaborative relationship; Nick Wrate (head of technical at Metropolis) and I have been in contact with each other over various projects during the last four years, so I had great confidence that we could make a real success of the design, and have a significant effect on student experience. Nick has also done a lot of studio builds at Metropolis and recently re-built Studio B last year, so his experience was critical for creating the best acoustic environment.

How collaborative was the studio design process between ACM and Metropolis? I came up with the initial concept of how we would use the space we had, to get as much functionality out of it as possible and to achieve the desired de-coupling between spaces. I often consulted with Nick, using his wealth of knowledge to fine-tune the spaces and bring them up to the standard of a world-class facility. Nick provided the entire electrical specification, which is an immensely important consideration when designing studios.

Talk us through exactly what the studio has to offer and how you arrived at the final set up. The studio will be a versatile space, offering a main live room large enough to record anything from a band to a large ensemble, an isolation booth with stone diffusion on the walls, and a vocal booth adjacent to the control room. The console will be a 24-channel SSL Duality, with Dynaudio monitoring, and a full suite of Digital Audio Workstations, such as Pro Tools, Ableton and Logic, as well as plugins from Fab Filter, Native Instruments, Plugin Alliance, Steven Slate and many more. We will also have the ability to connect from here to all sorts of other facilities, such as the Electric Theatre, which is the latest live venue for the students. We arrived at the design from several angles. We had to think about what students require to become confident and knowledgeable in a recording environment; incorporation of the ideal room shapes with the requirements to teach to a group of people, and how to balance the aesthetics of a teaching environment retaining as much natural light as

‘The new studio will provide the space for experimentation’: Nick Martin

possible, while keeping the recording facility at the forefront of our minds. And also making use of the fantastic characteristics of the Grade II listed Rodboro building in Guildford.

How much of a benefit will this new facility be for ACM students? Learning to understand recording requires lots of experimentation, and the new studio will provide the space and the versatility to experiment with all sorts of combinations of microphone setups and live recording techniques, using the separation capability of the spaces. It will also provide the students with experience of how a studio is set up and functions in a realworld environment, meaning that after graduating here, they can walk into any studio environment, understand those spaces implicitly and work confidently. Giving this kind of experience to our

students means that they are eminently more employable as engineers once they progress into the music industry. The space will have benefits for other students too; if you’re in a band you will get realworld experience of being recorded.

How will the studio be used? Will it have further applications beyond student use? We will be able to use the studio to teach both studio and live sound techniques, connect to the Electric Theatre as well as other spaces in ACM to record performances, and use the space for live band and ensemble performances. We will be able to run a multitude of different sessions. For example, we would have the ability to use the space for filming recording sessions as you might in the broadcast industry, and the students could run these sessions, giving them experience of various studio applications. n

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P50 OCTOBER 2017

Sound and vision

Calling all snap-happy smartphone addicts! As part of a new regular feature, we’ll be publishing the best pro audio pics shared on social media in the past month. From gig shots to get-out selfies, the industry’s online community is thriving and we want to share the great work that’s going on. Want to be featured in the next issue? Tag your photos with @psneurope

@martinaudio The absolutely stunning @szigetofficial with #MLA provided by @capital_sound, @bgevent & @maciejmusnicki. Delighted to be part of the 25th anniversary of the Island of Freedom!

@dpamicrophonesfrance REPOST: @dpauserforum. d:dicate 4011 et 4017 en action

@deltaliveonline Proms Microphone Selfie! #bbcproms @royalalberthall #neumann #microphone

@dandoeslights #FOH #view is alright today #Gibraltar #thevaccines

@penguinmediagroup We’re back at @kingscrossn1c this weekend with @classiccarbootsale and @hemingwaydesign. Full high quality site-wide audio from #PenguinMediaHire and @martinaudio. Technical consultancy by @esseevents #ATeam #PoweredByPenguin

@crownlane We regularly clean all our windshields on every vocal microphone. I wonder how many venues/studios do that?! Even this regularly... not sure you want to see the colour of the water…

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Twitter and

Instagram @psneurope 20/09/2017 17:08


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06/09/2017 15:28:02 06/09/2017 12:08


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14/09/2017 10:43:12


Backtalk

P53 OCTOBER 2017

Cenzo Townshend One of the UK’s top mixing engineers, Cenzo Townshend has, and continues, to work with some of music’s biggest names. Daniel Gumble finds out what’s in the pipeline...

W

ith a CV boasting a liberal sprinkling of stardust, Cenzo Townshend has put his magic touch to a plethora of records from some of the world’s top recording artists throughout his career. Among those to have passed through the doors of his Decoy Studios - based out in the sticks of Woodbridge, Suffolk - include none other than Ed Sheeran, Tom Jones, Christine and the Queens, Kaiser Chiefs, Everything Everything, Jamie T, Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and a great many more. During that time, Townshend has seen a fair few changes to the industry, having worked his way up the industry ladder from tea boy all the way to mixer extraordinaire. Here, Daniel Gumble finds out how he made that journey and what he predicts for the future of the studio sector…

I started my working life as a DJ, ending up in Miami in the mid ‘80’s – a tough life! A year or so later, I realised that I’d better get back to London and get a ‘proper job’. My first interview was at Trident Studios, in St Anne’s Court, Soho. I turned up in a suit, felt like an idiot and got the job. I became a tea boy.

Tell us about the most recent project you’ve been working on? One of my most recent projects is Everything Everything’s forthcoming album, produced by James Ford; such a great band and it’s a blinding album. Other than that, I’ve recently been mixing albums and singles for Haim, LP, Magic Gang, Rat Boy and Sherlocks. I’m currently working on the forthcoming Lighthouse Family album and Ten Tonnes EP.

How did you get involved with pro audio and the studio sector?

What is the most challenging project you have worked on?

You have worked with several huge artists and albums throughout your career. Which for you stand out as being among the most special, and why?

My most challenging sessions have all been with U2, who are rarely constrained by rules. On a mixing session of All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Brian Eno, who was producing, called me from U2’s studio in Dublin to tell me that he would be concerned for my sanity should we facilitate the band’s request for more tracks. He’d say “48 is more than enough”! I remember finding myself in a control room with U2, Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, mid-mix, re-recording drums, while Bono is standing next to me between the monitors, performing into a Shure 58 at the top of his voice. That I found challenging.

I’m very proud of the Maccabees’ albums I was involved with, one of the very best British bands. Another highlight has to be working on Graham Coxon’s album Love Travels At Illegal Speeds, produced by Stephen

Tell us about the biggest changes you have seen in the industry during your career, and how they have impacted upon your job.

What made you want to work in the industry? A long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be involved in making records. I spent most of my school life listening to great albums by David Bowie, The Stranglers, Fleetwood Mac, and Pink Floyd. I remember thinking that working in a studio would be like making history.

Street. All the instruments were played by Graham. What a genius! I am really proud of both Regret and Distant Past by Everything Everything. Also, Jamie T’s albums: Panic Prevention and Kings & Queens. And Florence and The Machine’s debut album Lungs. That really is a timeless album.

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P54 OCTOBER 2017

Backtalk

Obviously the biggest change to the way we record and mix has been the progression from tape to DAW countless tracks and endless possibilities. The upside is the enormous scope for creativity; the quality and affordability of portable interfaces is a real game changer. For mixing, I still use an SSL console, but these days it’s hardly stretched at all. All the automation happens in Tools; just summing, drive and compression comes from the console.

What are your three most essential pieces of kit, and why?

An essential bit of kit would be my Audient ASP8024, there’s something great about recording a band with this console, almost gluing a thread between tracks. I’d have to say that NS10s driven by a Bryston, and my old 1176 are also indispensable to me. Oh, and there’s my Amphions ... my SSL and Waves and UAD plugins.

What advice would you offer to your younger self at the start of his career? Get into property! Apart from that, I’d say be the most hard-working person in the room and always be super organised. Also, keeping good relationships with clients

and colleagues is far more important than I realised when I started.

What are your predictions for the next few years in the world of studio mixing? Do you see any major technological shifts/ revolutions on the horizon? As for what’s next, who knows? We’ll always need great sounding rooms to record in, acoustically sorted mixing rooms to listen in, inspiring monitors to judge our work with and natural sounding microphones. What more can I say? All that and more can be found at Decoy Studios! n

Townshend’s Decoy Studios

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21/09/2017 15:31


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07/07/2017 10:02:56


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PSNE October 2017 Digital