PSNE September 2016 Digital

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September 2016

If you build it, they will come How volunteers in Ampthill created a festival and snared the Fratellis P44 P30









PM. The new generation. A new era of digital mixing has arrived. For more than four decades Yamaha has been at the forefront of live sound mixing technology. Now we deliver the culmination of years of dedication to the art of the digital mixer, our new flagship - the RIVAGE PM10. The future is here. Discover RIVAGE PM10 at

Expanding the Rivage family with RPio222

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Connect with experience

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In creating the X Series, we brought all of the experience gained in designing the K2 to bear on a new series of reference coaxials. Optimized design, ergonomics, acoustical performance and weight make the X Series the most advanced coaxials on the market. Four distinct enclosures with format, bandwidth, SPL and coverage angles perfectly adapted to short throw rental or install applications, the X Series offers studio monitor sound quality, compact design, consistent tonal balance, no minimum listening distance and exceptional feedback rejection.

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04/08/2016 11:52:58


PSNEUROPE Editor Dave Robinson

Advertising manager Ryan O’Donnell

Deputy Editor Sarah Sharples

Account manager Rian Zoll-Khan

Group managing editor Jo Ruddock

Head of design Jat Garcha

Content director James McKeown

Production executive Jason Dowie

Contributors: Kevin Hilton, Marc Maes, Dave Wiggins, Mike Clark, Phil Ward, Erica Basnicki, David Davies, Marc Miller

PSNEurope NewBay Media, Emerson Studios 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street London SE1 9DU Editorial: +44 20 7354 6002 Sales: +44 20 7354 6000 Press releases to: Circulation and subscription: Refunds on cancelled subscriptions will only be provided at the publisher’s discretion, unless specifically guaranteed within the terms of the subscription offer. NewBay Media may pass suitable reader addresses to other relevant suppliers. If you do not wish to receive sales information from other companies, please write to Circulations and Subscriptions, NewBay Media, Curwood CMS Ltd, The Barn, Abbey Mews, Robertsbridge TN32 5AD

© NewBay Media 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the copyright owners. The contents of PSNEurope are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems. NewBay Media is now the Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 in respect of your personal data. NewBay Media will only use your data for the purposes originally notified and your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998 are not affected by this change. The publishers reserve the right to refuse subscription applications considered inappropriate and to restrict the number of free copies sent to a company or organisation. 2016 subscription rates for nonindustry/non-European readers are: UK: £39/€62 Europe: £54/€86 Other countries: £106/$170 Printing by Pensord Press, Tram Road, Pontlanfraith, Blackwood NP12 2YA

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PSNEurope is published 12 times a year by NewBay Media, Emerson Studios 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street London SE1 9DU ISSN: 0269-4735 (print) 2052-238X (digital)

Cover image: The Fratellis’ Jon Fratelli at AmpRocks 2016 (credit: Beth Mercer)





he shortlists have been compiled! Yes, we can now reveal who is in the final four in each category for the fourth annual Pro Sound Awards, being held once again at the salubrious Ministry of Sound nightclub in SE London. Laid-back but acerbic Canadian laughmeister Sean Collins is hosting the event, and for the first time, our headline sponsor is speaker specialist Tannoy (90 this year!) We are delighted to announce that the Lifetime Achievement Award is to be presented to the innovator, business leader and all-round good egg Phil Dudderidge, while rental house extraordinaire Capital Sound will scoop up the Grand Prix gong. The other winners? You’ll have to wait until 22 September! Get your tickets now (just 55 quid) from While we’re blowing our own General MIDI trumpet presets (...that ages me!), the PSNEurope team are putting in an appearance at the AES Convention in Los Angeles on 1 October (the second day of the Californian expo). Yes, we’re taking the PSNPresents vibe to the USA for the first Genius! Live. I shall be presenting a panel discussion/Q&A on the Saturday morning, at 10.45am precisely, with a number of bona fide pro-audio geniuses – the sort of person you might find in the pages of the second edition of our occasional supplement, Genius!, which will also be published next month (who knew, huh?). We’ll be discussing the notion of ‘genius’, the process of inventing, the triumphs of the individual guests, who they think are the smart people in this world, and lots more besides. And we hope to make it entertaining! If you are at the AES next month, be sure to come and join us in Room 404AB. It’s been a tough month, doing all this organising lark away from the mag, but we’ve still managed to put a tasty issue together for you. Check out (far-from-prehistoric) Phil Ward’s overview of RAVENNA starting on p36 – bumping up against David Davies’ brontosaurus-sized survey of other network tech over the same pages – for a start. Alternatively, hit the bar with TommyD on p58, and hear about his grab-bag of projects and productions – and finest blend whisky. Mmm, that’s given me a right old thirst... 03 WelcomeLeaderFIN.indd 1

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Technology 16 20 36 52

New products IBC2016 Conference RAVENNA, AES67 and other networking solutions Virtual reality’s impact on sound

Studio 24 26

Ardent Studios’ still attracts the big names Low Four – the new TV home for bands


30 34

Behind the scenes at The Proms The latest on aptX technology


Business 6 7 8 10 12 14 18

d&b audiotechnik’s new advisory board A renwed PLASA Conference Pro Sound Awards latest Vocal channel: Dave Wiggins Movers and shakers: industry appointments PSNTraining: what’s on The strategic position: EVE Audio

Live 42 tube UK’s influence on the arts 44 S tarting a festival from scratch: two tales! 48 Rockin’1000 plays stadium gig

Back pages 57 58

Hither and dither Q&A: TommyD 04 Contents v1DR.indd 1

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Don’t have spare time before the show? Get the best possible sound right from the start. LEOPARD Native Mode captures the collective wisdom of sound system experts. With hundreds of LEOPARD systems in use worldwide, Meyer Sound users are proving that Native Mode saves them time – again and again.

Learn more at

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Future growth focus for d&b audiotechnik The shake up of the loudspeaker manufacturer continues with the appointment of a new advisory board to work on company strategy


&b audiotechnik has created a new advisory board to develop the company’s strategic growth, with a focus on strengthening its segment strategy, including installed applications, as well as working on internal structures and processes. The company appointed Dr Rolf Hagemann, ex-CFO and deputy CEO of Media-Saturn, as chairman of the board to support development of the company’s strategy. The board is also made up of Paul Whiting, former president of global sales of Sennheiser and member of the Sennheiser Executive Committee, and David Claringbold, former director of the Sydney Opera House. Whiting, with his background in global sales, will support d&b with its go-to-market and globalisation strategy. Claringbold, who implemented major technical upgrades at the Sydney Opera House, will drive signiďŹ cant revenue growth and develop d&b’s segment strategy.

d&b CEO Amnon Harman says the wealth of experience within the new advisory board is a huge resource. “Individually, they are all remarkable businessmen with exemplary careers and an impressive list of achievements to their name. Collectively their experience is just staggering, and I am very proud that they have chosen to share it with d&b. The advisory board’s support will strengthen our strategic development and ensure that we are optimally positioned for future growth,� he says. Hagemann says: “With their passion and their commitment the management and the employees have put d&b in an outstanding position in the marketplace and have achieved a tremendous business success over the years. The whole advisory board is delighted to support the management team to continue the success story and steer the company into a new dimension.� The advisory board appointments come in a year of

(L-R) Chairman Dr Rolf Hagemann, with other advisory board members, David Claringbold and Paul Whiting

change for the German-based loudspeaker manufacturer. In late February, private investment company Ardian, working alongside the existing board of directors, announced its intention to acquire d&b audiotechnik GmbH from current owners Odewald & Compagnie and COBEPA. In July, d&b announced that it was joining the AVBsupporting AVnu Alliance, which in recent months has only witnessed members leaving its number. d&b does not presently offer any AVB-compliant products, “but obviously, having just joined the AVnu Alliance this can be expected to change in the future,� say d&b product manager Vicent Perales (for more on this: see boxout, p36-40). „

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24/08/2016 14:34



PLASA repowered The live entertainment technology show has been rejigged with a venue change, party, awards and more audio content


eturning to West London, PLASA 2016, which runs from 18-20 September, will see live demo opportunities for the audio sectors, product shoot-outs, technical workshops and training and networking sessions. Managing director Peter Heath says his joining PLASA in the spring meant it left him little time to put his stamp on this year’s event. However, he believes that relocating to Olympia will result in a show that is “friendlier to visit”. “In the evenings there’ll be more of that community that you used to find at Earls Court that we never found at ExCeL.” So what else will be different about this year’s show? “There’s definitely more content, and more audio content” – including a day of Dante seminars presented by Audinate – “and we have brought back the after-show party, and the Innovation Awards, which we didn’t do last year.” The Dante seminars are aimed at audio professionals, including design consultants, system integrators and live sound engineers and will be held on 20 September in the Apex Room. Hosted by Kieran Walsh, regional manager for global support services at Audinate, the seminar is sponsored by Audinate, Focusrite, Solid State Logic, Roland, Yamaha and XTA. It will include Dante Level 1 and 2 training, live table-top displays and a session on deploying Dante networks in live events. Meanwhile, Yamaha Commercial Audio and Nexo will be demonstrating the connectivity of their products. The jointly-hosted stand features a unique, zoned design which showcases a range of scaled audio solutions – from the smallest room to the biggest stadium, including a comprehensive Dante network. The stand will feature a new Yamaha’s flagship RIVAGE PM10 and CL/QL series digital mixers, the commercial installation solutions (CIS) series of

processors, mixers, amplifiers and loudspeakers. Key Nexo products on show will include the ID Series (ID24 and S110 sub), GEO M6 compact line array and DTD amplifiers and controller. A number of audio-focused seminars are also being offered. On 18 September, a seminar on whether it is time to say goodbye to analogue in the live music industry, is being held by Jon Burton, who runs a recording studio in Sheffield as well as maintaining a growing collection of vintage mixing desks for rental. Another session from Simon Bishop, sound recordist and chairman of the IPS, will discuss what is good and bad sound. On September 19, seminars include Broadcast Meets Live Sound, which is presented by the Institute of Professional Sound, while another session will look at The New Front of House – using tablets for mixing – and when and where it is favourable to take advantage of iOS and Android technology as a mixing interface. Meanwhile, Wireless Mastered examines how RF spectrum for use by wireless microphone operators has changed a lot over recent years. Tuomo George-Tolonen, pro-audio manager at Shure, will run the session and will cover the role of sound engineers and why digital wireless systems should be part of their arsenal. Roadie Etiquette will also be examined in a seminar, including the role of the roadie at different levels of the industry – from the one-man sound/backline department, through to touring control packages and monitors, up to full-scale touring with a several truckloads of gear. Seminars on 20 September include Noisy Neighbours – managing perimeter sound – and the New Safety Standard for audio, radio and TV, which was merged existing computers/office equipment regulations. Online registration for the show is open now.

More audio content is expected at this year’s show 7 PLASA FIN.indd 1

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Finalists revealed!

The Capital Sound team

Find out who is being recognised for a Lifetime Achievement award and who secured the Grand Prix


hile judging on the Pro Sound Awards is underway, PSNEurope can announce that Phil Dudderidge, executive chairman of Focusrite will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement. He has been recognised because of his “constant striving to make Focusrite one of the top employers in the country, his ongoing drive to innovate; his encouragement of bright young talent; and his continuing support for the rest of the industry”, alongside a history of creating jobs. Dudderidge says he is delighted to receive the award. “It is a privilege to work in the professional audio industry and, with the democratisation of recording technology, this includes professional

quality products for all musicians, professionals and aspirational amateurs,” he says. “With both Soundcraft and Focusrite/Novation, I have had the benefit of working with the most talented engineers and all the other talents that make for successful businesses. For over forty years, with both companies, we have pioneered audio technology that has broken cost barriers that has enabled millions of musicians achieve their creative ambitions whilst improving the sonic performance of products available to the market, at all price points.” Rental house Capital Sound will be awarded the Grand Pix award and were nominated in part for “their impressive roster of touring/production events, and their shrewd investment in a range of

LIVE/TOURING SOUND Engineer of the Year • Jose Rivera/Marc Anthony/Meyer Sound • Gary Bradshaw/ELO • Dave Bracey/Adele/ Black Box Music • Gavin McComb/Junun/Allen & Heath

Best sound (post-production) • WB De Lane Lea/various projects • Sound24/Everest/Avid • Meyer Sound/Rotor Sound Germany • Envy Post: Saving Lives at Sea

Best tour/production sound • London Speaker Hire/Eli Saunder-Deutsch, OnBlackheath • SSE/Reading Festival • Avid/S6L/a-Ha/Gerard Albo • Adlib/Florence & the Machine

INSTALLATION Best permanent installation project • SSE/Shrek Adventure • Funktion-One/Lux Fragil • Meyer Sound/Sala Energia Milan • Parc Olympic Lyonnaise/Powersoft

Best theatre sound • Digby Shaw (various projects) • Funktion-One/Once at Olympia Theatre • EM Acoustics/The Color Purple on Broadway • Mick Potter/School of Rock/Meyer Sound

Best temporary installation project • SSE/London Palladium • Gatwick Skybridge/Merging/Delta • Audio-Technica Jungle-ized • UK Milano Expo/Meyer Sound

STUDIO – SPONSORED BY FOCUSRITE Engineer of the Year • Danny Evans for Guy Garvey Courting the Squall • Nigel Godrich/Sam Petts-Davies for Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool • Jake Jackson (Divine Comedy, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture) • Wes Maebe (various) Best Studio • Snap! • Edge (UK) • Brighton Electric • Angel’s Wings (Italy)

Headline Sponsor:

Team of the Year • Martin Audio for CDD success • Meyer Sound/projects worldwide • Shure various projects • IPE/Veale for Tate Starr Cinema

BROADCAST Best facility • WB De Lane Lea • Goldcrest Post-Production • dock 10/MediaCity

technologies”. Paul Timmins, general manager of Capital Sound, says: “The entire Capital Sound team were delighted to hear the news of this award. To be recognised for the route we have taken, adapting and investing in ‘choices’ of new loudspeaker systems to give our clients and artists what they choose underlines that we remain as one of Europe’s leading sound rental suppliers.” Finalists in the other categories, which celebrate excellence in live, studio, installed and broadcast audio, have also been announced (see box). Tickets for the awards are on sale now for a bargain £55. Best broadcast event • Rugby World Cup/SIS Live • NEP Visions/BBC Proms coverage (2015) • Eurovision Song Contest/Riedel • European Championships/Lawo Team of the Year • Toby Alington/EMA MTV • Al Jazeera Sound Team • VSS/Britain’s Got Talent Team • BBC Springwatch/Autumnwatch Team/Arena SPECIAL AWARDS Best marketing initiative • Powersoft DEVA • Audio-Technica Jungle-ized • Calrec Audio Periodic Table • HK Audio Soundmakers Rising Star – sponsored by Harman in association with Audio Media International) • Matt Haslam, owner of mhaslam Tech • Joe Masters, Clear-Com • Jack Langfeld, crew member and warehouse technician • Jack McKenna, engineer • Dan Langridge, head of sound for ChristChurch London • George Murphy, projects at Eastcote Studios Lifetime Achievement chosen by the Pro Sound Awards team: Phil Dudderidge Grand Prix chosen by the Pro Sound Awards team: Capital Sound

Partners: 08 PSAwards FIN.indd 1

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Vocal channel

Choice? What choice?

O DAVE WIGGINS is a freelance marketeer and pro-audio pundit

ne of the many interesting paradoxes of the pro-audio business is that while there is now more choice of truly professional loudspeaker systems than ever before, the vast majority of top-level touring and event business (excluding Clair Global clients) is undertaken with products from just three brands. Where once the primary calling-card of a PA hire operation was its loudspeaker system, now we see the results of globalisation where the ‘gold standard’ products have secured what presently looks like an unassailable international hold on the top end. This process arguably started with the launch of L-Acoustics’ ground breaking V-DOSC line-array system in 1994, the last true paradigm shift in loudspeaker design. For all its revolutionary engineering, the real shift was V-DOSC marking the point when sound companies stopped doing it their way and started doing it how a manufacturer told them

to, using an empirical ‘whole-system’ ethos. In turn this enabled productions to specify systems with greater confidence, knowing that they would be essentially identical regardless of location. That confidence subsequently manifested itself in global sales for the French pioneers and others. Wind the clock forward two decades, and there is now clear water between the top three and the rest within this market segment. This is obviously an enviable position for those brands, one that is undoubtedly coveted by other manufacturers with comparable technologies to sell. Their pre-eminence is maintained both by their own efforts and reinforced by the companies who have invested in them. Any manufacturer wanting to sell major concert loudspeaker systems into the top level would have somehow to break the hegemony of those brands – several have tried (and are trying) but, as far as I can see, they’re not getting anywhere fast. Now more

than ever there is an abundance of systems that contribute operationally and technically to the efficiency of a touring production but they all seem to hit a glass ceiling defined primarily by technical riders. One could argue, of course, that the companies who dominate the top end of concert sound don’t actually account for the majority of overall sales and that the rest of the market has the real spending power for the manufacturers, but leaders always exert an influence. The current situation has polarised the market even further, not necessarily in terms of performance but certainly in terms of acceptance. It’s very odd that the more successful one becomes, the less choice one can exercise; in a further paradox, the hire companies who don’t service the upper end – those who are not ‘rider driven’ – have the luxury of being able to choose freely from an expanding array of amazing products. Funny old world... 10 Columniosts FIN.indd 1

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16/08/2016 10:18:29


Movers and shakers

Source Distribution em-Powered by new hire Source Distribution has appointed Darren Power as the director of sales and marketing


esponsible for ensuring continued growth of the business, Darren Power is now in charge of overall strategy and management of the sales, marketing and admin teams at HHB’s Source subsidiary, as well as the development of innovative and effective new initiatives. Joining Source following his role as European director of Yamaha Music Europe’s Professional Music Division, Power’s strong management record includes leading pan-European sales and marketing strategic planning and operation, as well as developing and championing best practice in his teams. Additionally, Power brings many years experience as both a senior manager and sales manager for Yamaha Pro Audio in the UK, fostering extensive connections within the UK dealer network. He says: “The opportunity to work for a company with such an entrepreneurial ethos, matched by the fantastic and market leading lines it distributes, is very attractive and exciting.”

DPA Microphones has welcomed René Mørch as the company’s new product manager. He will act as the bridge between the sales, marketing and research and development departments.

Chris Doss has joined Audix as vice president of sales and marketing. He is a 25-year veteran of the music industry and prior to joining the company was managing director of Monterey Jazz Festival. He has served as the founding marketing executive of AT&T Performing Arts Center.

DEALER NETWORK CODA Audio appointed Rubicon as its new distributor for Norway. Rubicon is also a rental company and will be taking CODA’s new AiRAY system out on a number of upcoming shows including those by Earth, Wind and Fire and Norwegian star KYGO. Petter Norby, founder of Rubicon says: “There was a buzz about the new AiRAY system and all the messages we were getting said how fantastic the sound quality was …The technology is cutting edge and supports a perfect audio package. We’re determined to not just put CODA Audio on the map in Norway, but to make it number one.” Paul Ward, marketing director of CODA Audio, says: “A real feature of a number of our recent distribution deals is that in the first instance, as with Rubicon, we are approached by top audio companies telling us that they have heard great things about CODA Audio systems.”

Pro Audio Systems welcomes new sales manager, Asher Dowson. He is an experienced musician, producer and sound engineer and joins following time in musical instrument retail.

French manufacturer, APG’s R&D department has expanded with the appointment of Charlotte Gegout, who brings 10 years experience as a sound technician. She has been working on a research project on the development of new technologies in acoustic loads.

APG’s sales department has hired Maxence Castelain, who is the company’s new client support engineer. He has been working on the development of the new Uniline Compact range.

Mira Wölfel has assumed responsibility for the new sales & planning department of Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound. She is responsible for the sales activities, customer support and planning and organisation of the two fairs.

Community Professional Loudspeakers announced Atempo as its distributor for Turkey. Atempo has been established for 30 years and has a portfolio of brands that includes Shure, DiGiCo, Robe and ETC. Volkan Konuralp, Atempo’s Istanbul regional director says: “We have always known the great brand reputation and product reliability of Community products, especially for outdoor applications such as sports facilities which is a large market in Turkey. The horn-loaded, IP rated systems will also help us to develop a strong presence in the expanding mosque market in Turkey.” Community’s EMEA sales manager, Jamie Ward adds: “With three strategically located offices, and an experienced team of 150 staff supporting dealers and projects of all sizes, (Atempo) offer a full value added service across the country.” Audio-Technica has chosen NAN Audiovisuals as its Portugese distributor operating in the PA rental, theatre and concert hall markets. This follows the appointment of Total Music as nonexclusive distributor for Audio-Technica’s MI and entry-level installation products in Portugal. Founded in 1995, NAN Audiovisuals counts d&b audiotechnik, ETC and Avid among others in its current portfolio. Correia Neves, NAN Audiovisuals’ commercial director says: “Audio-Technica is well recognised and appreciated in the marketplace – we look forward to building awareness and acceptance of the brand and we are very pleased to add another market leader to our portfolio.” 12 Movers and shakers FIN.indd 1

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Desired directivity and better impulse response

Measures 10db less noise pollution on stage Digital acoustic steering Hyper-cardioid dispersion Self powered

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16/06/2016 10:15:59


Tileyard Studios teams up with contemporary music school BY SARAH SHARPLES

September 14 Soundcraft VI Series Console Letchworth Garden City, UK

September 15 Making Waves Production Park, Leeds, UK

September 26-28 SynAudCon Digital Los Angeles, CA The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) has announced a new partnership with Tileyard Studios based in Kings Cross, central London. It will provide ICMP students with a unique opportunity to study and engage in an immersive industry environment, while building their networks among some of the music industry’s biggest names. Tileyard Studios is the largest professional music community in the UK, with more than 70 state of the art music studios and 100 businesses that provide a home to a wide spectrum of companies working in music, film, television, fashion and creative new tech sectors. Artists and companies at Tileyard include Mark Ronson, Tynchy Stryder, The Prodigy, John Newman,

Lily Allen, Notting Hill Music, Marathon Artists, Spitfire Audio, Musicgurus and The Ticket Fairy. Paul Kirkham, chief executive at ICMP, says: “ICMP will have access to teaching and learning facilities, recording studios and live rooms as well as three writing/mixing rooms to allow our students to work collectively on music creation and production and harness their skills in a studio environment. Students will also have access to technology suites for interactive teaching, plus a wide range of support, mentoring and networking opportunities.” Final year students and post-graduate students will be the first to particpate starting this month.

November 15-17 Institute of Acoustics, Reproduced Sound Southhamption, UK



Sony DWX Digital Wireless introduced at the National Theatre BY SARAH SHARPLES Autograph Sound, Stage Sound Services and new UK distributor Sound Network held a ‘hands on’ seminar on a range of Sony wireless systems and microphones for sound designers and theatre technicians at the National Theatre. Assisted by a team of professional actors, the system was put through its paces with a series of duologues and songs, from whispers to high volume singing. Industry standard DPA Microphones were used, including head worn, boom mics and handheld microphones. Stage Sound Services’ James Lewis says: “We are really excited about the Sony DWX Digital Wireless. As the industry looks at digital systems more and more due to the contracting radio bandwidth, we will need a digital standard for radio mics and the feature set and sound quality of the Sony DWX makes it a leading candidate.”

The seminar included some of the top theatre sound designers and operators working in theatres in London’s West End and Broadway. The DWX system weighs less than 125g, with batteries.

Most sound engineers who operate mixing consoles in concerts, conferences and festivals have learned their trade by hard graft and experience, rather than formal training. This course from ISCE covers the fundamentals of mixing and operating a sound system in live events, with hands-on time on analogue and digital desks and an opportunity to mix and remix multiple music sources. It is designed for young engineers and musicians aspiring to work in live sound, or experienced engineers who will benefit from advice and practical teaching. Presenter Brian Hillson has done productions in studios such as Abbey Road and EMI. It will take place on October 6 at High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Herts. 14 PSNTraining v1FIN.indd 1

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New products



What is it? The TC-22 replacement condenser capsule for professional wireless mic systems. It offers a wide dynamic range and very low touch noise, making it suitable for stage applications where the highest quality reproduction is required. Details: Available in two models one to fit JTS and Shure wireless systems and one to fit Sennheiser systems. It offers a frequency response of 50-18,000Hz and a high sensitivity, plus it weighs 143g. And another thing… It comes with a gold-plated PC board connector and is available through FBT Audio in the UK.




What is it? Earplugs that are designed for life long use by music and events professionals, who work in loud sound environments.

What is it? Two mics designed to give budding recordists an affordable entry into the world of professional sound recording.

What is it? A studio workstation desk for the avant-garde producer/musician. For accommodating smaller hardware devices and cabling in one location.

Details: Says Flare: “Traditional earplugs rely on absorption to attenuate sound, which rapidly meets its limit particularly with bass frequencies. Isolate protectors reflect sound away from the ears.”

Details: The LA-220 is a large diaphragm truecondenser studio vocal microphone, while the LA120 is a pair of FET instrument condensers.

Details: At a height of 950mm, the 1.5m-wide top-level panel is best for studio monitors and computer screens, while the deeper depth, 1.5m-wide workstation panel can store smaller hardware.


And another thing… Launched through crowd-funding site Kickstarter, the campaign for the earplugs achieved its £25,000 target within 44 hours.


And another thing… If the room or source is boomy, or if there is lowend rumble from outside noise, recordists can turn on the low-cut filter and eliminate much of the problem.


And another thing… A solid-wooden frame, tinted with a unique dual-colour finish that looks more like metal than wood. 16 New Products v1FIN.indd 1

24/08/2016 15:03

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21/07/2016 14:55:24


The strategic position


EVE cock-a-hoop at fifth anniversary Berlin-based monitor company celebrates five years of growth, writes Dave Robinson


SNEurope first visited EVE Audio in September 2012. Your correspondent documented how Roland Stenz, formerly of ADAM Audio, had set up the company with his (life and business) partner Kerstin Mischke in May of 2011. The business was small but ambitious: the huge ‘painting hall’ that cradled them, in a Berlin ‘media city’ development park, certainly suggested the couple’s confidence and determination. Five years later, Mischke and Stenz celebrate their fifth anniversary at Prolight + Sound with a party, guests, and a lot of smiling faces. That ambition is being realised, it seems. Speaking after the bash, the couple reflects on their experiences. Mischke describes how their first HQ was part of a huge building built in the mid 1970s for the “one and only” GDR broadcaster, ‘Fernsehen der DDR’. “The building used to house the scenery making department for the broadcaster. Our paint hall is Europe’s largest, for when printers/plotters did not exist and all large-format posters for movies and theatres were hand-painted,” she says. It was a no frills, no ornamentation affair. “You knew you were in East Germany!” smiles Stenz. With company growth has come a new facility. “We are still in the same building, but in a larger part. Now we have a new space. We had 750sqm, now we have 1,100sqm, with separate spaces for production and storage.” The 2.0 EVE factory is newly decorated, with a new production facility and – importantly – new windows! GDR planning didn’t extend to double-glazing, certainly: “One of the reasons not to be there was it was quite cold in the winter…” A more significant reason has been the bigger models of speakers which have been delivered in the last few months. “Four-way systems, the 3010s, the 3012s, the big subwoofers, they all take a lot of space if you store them,” details Mischke. “And with increased production too, we needed more room.” Since PSNEurope’s first visit, the staff has grown to 15 from five. “More people in production,” notes Mischke, “[including] guys from the SAE (School of Audio Engineering).” This isn’t just a cheap way of getting labour: you sense the couple have a genuine interest in giving young people a start, and harvesting the enthusiasm they bring: “They have a fresh brain,” underlines Mischke, “they don’t care about the industry, and they have energy, which is something we appreciate.”

(L-R) Mischke’s and Stenz’s best-laid plans have paid off after five years

Not only that, but EVE receives regular visits at the factory from the SAE and dBs Music school in Berlin, plus Sonic College from Denmark. “They come here for an education programme we offer, to learn about acoustics. With our anechoic chamber and reverberation room, we can demonstrate to them things they have only learned theoretically.” EVE’s smaller speakers are manufactured in Asia, while the larger ones (3010 and 3012 main monitors and the large TS subwoofers) are assembled in Berlin, and that includes the building of the drivers. Inside the cabinets, you’ll find Hypex power amps from the Netherlands (Stenz: “I like these products! They are special”). “We test every speaker,” notes the designer. “We unpack the units and check every one. The LED ring, for instance, we make sure they are the same brightness and so on.” Then there’s a 24-hour power test, and a switch- on-and-off procedure too: three minutes on, one minute off, for 24 hours. “That means around 400 times on and off – and we can connect up to 72 speakers [for concurrent testing] like this.” While fail rates may have been a slight concern when the business started, now they are “negligible” says Mischke. “Quality control was very much in focus from the beginning,” she adds. Obviously, with this intense QC procedure, the company avoids later problems, which makes support easier, notes Stenz. “People say the products are super reliable. We are all

about establishing good service, reliability, solid social networking… with all these things coming together, you can establish the brand step-by-step.” So, who, in this competitive marketplace, are EVE’s customers? Who is buying the speakers? “We are in 60 countries,” reveals Mischke, “and the only markets we are having a hard time to get into is South America and the Middle East. But the rest of the world, we are nicely covered – because the impression to begin with was of having a complete range of speakers.” It was a strategy that worked: start your business with as full catalogue of products as possible, rather than one or two, and not only can you better-serve a wider range of customers, you can also impress upon distributors and dealers that you are here for the long haul. (“There are not so many full-range monitor manufacturers,” opines Stenz.) Mischke continues: “… so this ‘complete range’ approach attracted ‘Grade A’ distributors in a lot of regions. The more we work our way up, by adding to the ranges, the more other distributors take notice…” Regarding end users, Mischke says “they don’t call us but we hear about them… the more high-profile they are, the less they want to talk about it!” She notes that EVE customers come “right across the board” in terms of occupation or status – though she does highlight “gamers” as fans. The twodesktop-speakers-and-sub bundles that EVE offers is certainly winning some bonus points (and possibly extra lives…) Meanwhile, the company will keep chipping away 18-19 eveAudio The Strategic position FIN.indd 1

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at the higher end of the market. “You have to remember, the bigger speakers have only been available for 18 months, and ďŹ ve years is still young for a company.â€? And in that ďŹ ve years, EVE has found many friends for the SC207 (2-way 7â€? active monitor) and 205 (2-way 5â€?) – these are the bestsellers (“I like the 203 – it’s a killer!â€? claims Mischke.) Up until February of this year, around 30,000 total units shifted in all in fact. What does EVE still need to do as a company, what could be better? “We are quite surprised at how fast our growth is, and how stable we are in the market,â€? says Stenz after some thought. “We don’t have sleepless nights because something is wrong.â€? What about the trend for digital networking? Stenz seems unfazed. “All this networking stuff: we don’t have any yet‌ lots of people are asking for a networking solution, but, really, no one is using it very much. It’s the same with digital inputs and 192kHz: they are asking for it but they are not using it.â€? No major investment in Dante or AES67 any time soon then, perhaps. Instead, says Mischke, they’ll keep on with some tough marketing, and establishing the company further. See you in another ďŹ ve years’ time, then? “Oh deďŹ nitely!â€? „

Let the sunshine in! The upgraded production office in Berlin

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Show preview: IBC 2016

Landing at IBC Find out the future of the broadcasting technology sector when the show kicks off in Amsterdam on 8 September


t’s take-off at the IBC2016 Conference, where companies will exhibit new technologies and products, while visitors can also learn how NASA experts predict that by the 2030s the first manned landings will happen on Mars – and a worldwide television audience will be with them. Carlos Fontanot, imagery manager for the International Space Station and Kelly Humphries, the voice of mission control for more than 50 shuttle missions and hundreds of space station activities, will lead this unique NASA showcase session. They will be showing material from the history of space exploration, and discussing their plans for future journeys, including the work already underway for Mars. They will also be joined by key suppliers, to talk about the challenges of working in space – like 100˚ temperature changes in an instant – and how to get high resolution video across thousands or even millions of miles. Strap in for details on some of the companies showcasing from 9-13 September. Aaton Digital will present the complete CantarX3 digital sound recorder package at IBC, including the new Cantarem2. The CantarX3, among other unique features, can self-generate PDF and CSV sound reports, with ALE files embedded within deliverable media. The Cantarem2 is a USB quick add-on extension mixer panel to extend the control capabilities of the CantarX3. With 12 full travel 100mm linear faders, 12 solo buttons, two shift buttons and four assignable buttons it offers the production sound mixer many options. A new audio insertion manager for automating text-to-speech conversion is being launched by ENCO. Designed to deliver clear and concise emergency alert audio to visually impaired audiences, the compact 1RU system also brings lifelike sound to automated audio content on primary TV channels. The new AIM-100 audio insertion monitors incoming XML or TXT files from news tickers and other master control systems, and prioritises and converts that information to audio. ENCO’s built-in automation intelligence delivers the

The new Cantarem2 from Aaton Digital, a USB quick add-on extension mixer panel, will be at the show

audio in a natural sounding, non-fragmented human voice. All information is precisely logged and timestamped to prove compliance. Unveiled by Etere will be an all-new cloud-ready solution that allows significant time savings in QC tasks. Etere Advanced QC is part of Etere MAM at no additional cost, and this latest release is built with an integrated modular architecture designed to perform comprehensive QC via workflow. The video quality check software system is able to analyse an expansive list of file formats, including support for all major wrappers and all compression schemas. WEtere Advanced QC

See the AIM-100 monitors from Enco

is cloud-ready and is able to automatically detect and mark audio/video issues such as freeze frames, black frames, scene changes, audio loss and video block. Visitors can find C-Next, the brand new live connected tool from EVS at IBC. This contribution network platform gives remote teams the ability to share files and metadata content over IP, from any OB truck, broadcast centre or production HQ. EVS is also demonstrating its new-generation IPWeb – a remote access application that lets users browse and select content no matter where they are – and the IT/software-based, fully scalable architecture of its IP-based DYVI production switcher. Enabling more creative and productive program assembly based on a pooled resources model,

DYVI is being shown in full 4K/UHD mode. Version 2.0 of the Dan Dugan Sound Design control panel for iPad will be available. This new app, free from the Apple iTunes store, provides the same control functions as the Dugan Control Panel for Java, which is supplied with networkable Dugan automixers. The Dugan Control Panel for iPad works on any size iPad and controls any combination of the Dugan Models E, E-1, E-1A, E-2, E-3, M, N, Dugan-VN16 and Dugan-MY16. It can be paired with the Model K Control Surface. It allows users to set up channels, name units and channels, assign groups, set weights, mute channels, and manually override the automix. Exhibiting in conjunction with its Dutch distributor, Amptec, DPA is showcasing its range of mics. On display will include the bodyworn d:fine headset microphones, which can get very close to the sound source, ensuring high speech-intelligibility, while some variants come

The Dan Dugan Sound Design control panel for iPad 20-22 IBC/PlasmaPreview FIN.indd 1

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4/21/2016 9:50:05 AM


Show preview: IBC 2016

The DPA dfine mic on a presenter in a TV studio will be on show

with integrated in-ear monitors. Other broadcast offerings include the d:facto interview microphone and the easy-to-use mobile d:mension surround solution. All of these microphones will be available to demo at the show. V_matrix, a software defined IP Core routing and processing platform, has been launched and is being brought to IBC by Lawo. This new IP broadcast video core infrastructure is based on data centre principles of flexibility, fabric computing and COTS economics and offers a completely virtualised real-time routing and

Making its debut is RTW audio processor hardware, APRO-CLC01

processing infrastructure. V__matrix features a ‘physical world,’ which includes the physical V__matrix hardware and the physical control panels, and a ‘virtual world,’ where broadcast functions normally found in dedicated hardware are created by the various software modules that can be loaded onto the hardware. NETIA will introduce a new monitoring tool for Media Assist, giving radio staff a single, easy-to-use interface for managing and optimising multisite workflows. Staff can now monitor priority levels on all launched processes to help minimise their impact on bandwidth, while facilitating content delivery within the group and increasing time-to-air ratios. The new NOA VideoPlayer for jobDB will be featured at the show and allows users to set up workflows for the ingest, reshaping, and analysis of media for archiving, re-transcoding or other complex processes. A range of video settings, such as de-interlacing and field order adjustment, ensure correct replay behaviour

and later transcoding of material. Also featured at IBC is the N7000c audio interface, the latest addition to the company’s hardware product line. Features include NOA’s latest ‘BitProof’ support as well as a Dante Interface. PSI Audio will co-exhibit with synergy Swiss partners from Merging Technologies and Nagra Audio. PSI Audio’s booth will display a selection of their product range such as broadcast targeted weapons: A14-M Broadcast, A17-M, A21-M and A25-M 2-way and threeway speakers, SUB A225-M LFE/Subwoofer as well as our R&B -Router & Bass Management System and AVAA C20. For the first time, RTW will show its new audio processor hardware, APRO-CLC01 for Continuous Loudness Control (CLC). The combination APROCLC01 provides the first OEM hardware for the CLC algorithm that RTW developed in cooperation with the German Institut für Rundfunktechnik. The CLC signal processing algorithm allows users to constantly control and regulate to a given program-loudness value and definable loudness range with minimal obstacles for unknown, live content. RTW has also announced that a new software version 4.0 is available for its Loudness Tools and Mastering Tools software. The new version adds support for Mac OS X 10.11 A series of new visualisation tools for Qligent’s Vision cloud monitoring platform has been released in time for IBC. “Our new visualisation features for Vision are based on customer requests and industry trends

Find out about the new visualisation tools for Qligent’s Vision cloud monitoring platform

we see taking shape as more broadcasters transition to cloud services,” says Ted Korte, COO of Qligent. New visualisation features include a regulatory tool that monitors and records how long a station has been off-air or out of compliance; bitrate monitoring; and multi-dimensional dashboards ideal for systems with thousands of monitoring points; and impact analysis, a quick 1-2-3 step process that determines the overall impact a problem has on the broadcaster’s viewership. Sonifex is showing a number of new products at IBC this year, which include the new range of AoIP products, including the new PC-AD2 PCle Half Height Sound Card, the AVN-GMCS, a PTP GPS receiver and grandmaster clock used for synchronising AoIP audio networks and the AVN-TB Range of Talkback Intercoms using audio over IP. The company has also added to its sound and radio capture cards with the addition of a dual stereo analogue and digital PCIe half height card. The PC-AD2 is a dual stereo analogue input/output and dual stereo AES-3 digital input/output sound card in the PCIe half height format. Sound Devices will be showcasing its 688 mixer/ recorder with MixAssist and Dugan automixing capabilities. Jon Tatooles, chief business development officer at Sound Devices, says: “Both the Dugan Speech System and our MixAssist algorithms have the same goal, turning off unused mics. The inclusion of Dugan automixing gives the sound mixer a choice, situation dependent, on which automixing tool best suits their application.” With Tedial marking its 15th anniversary this year, it will be at IBC celebrating it’s award winning Version

The AVN-GMCS, a PTP GPS receiver and grandmaster clock, from Sonifex

Factory – a media factory workflow that can be managed from a single operator screen. It is designed to interface to content management/rights management/ traffic/work order systems for automated operations, and it stacks chosen media engines (transcoders, quality control and DRM, CDN). It employs SMPTE standardised designs for future proof “N-input to N-output” operations and provides the maximum flexibility and scalability for OTT/VOD platforms and network operations. Veset will reveal a new version of the cloud playout Veset Nimbus. It has been substantially redesigned to offer self-service SaaS based on the Amazon Web Services cloud platform. It provides 100 per cent cloud-based all-in functionality, covering full linear channel workflow from ingest to MAM to automation, playout and encoding. Apart from its entirely new and redesigned user experience, Veset Nimbus also offers live event management and VOD integration. The objective of the service is to eliminate CapEx and operational costs and risks associated with managing hardware or edge-based playout solutions. 20-22 IBC/PlasmaPreview FIN.indd 2

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Inspiring Every Moment Audio-Technica’s In-Ear Monitor Headphones Bringing the worldwide critically acclaimed sonic signature of the M-Series to an in-ear design, the Audio-Technica in-ear monitor headphones have been designed to fully answer the needs of demanding sound professionals and musicians from the studio to the stage and the DJ Booth.



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18/07/2016 10:15:46




As the studio looks today

Ardent Studios and the pursuit of authenticity Isaac Hayes, Big Star and The Replacements are just a few of the legendary acts to have passed through the doors of Ardent Studios. As the Memphis recording institution celebrates its 50th anniversary, David Davies discovers that a blend of old and new technology is helping to keep it relevant


atrick Scholes – who has been involved with Ardent Studios variously as senior manager for technology, co-owner and, latterly, chairman since 1979 – is reflecting on the qualities that continue to make the studios a stop-off for regional and international acts since they opened for business in their first incarnation 50 years ago. “I think our strength has always been our ability to capture the authentic sound of a band in its rawest form then infuse it with the spaces and gear that were original to the craft,” he says. “So there is a vintage

The studio in the 1960s

aspect to it, but also the mix of digital and analogue that we can offer is a rare thing these days.” Business development director Jody Stephens’ association with the studios is even more extensive. As a drummer with the much-loved US power-pop band Big Star, he recorded at Ardent’s first incarnation on National St and, from November 1971 onwards, its current location on Madison Ave. In the mid ’80s – long after the dissolution of Big Star – Stephens returned to the studios as a full-time employee, helping to develop acts through Ardent’s production wing. 24-26 Ardent v1FIN.indd 1

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Patrick Scholes, there since 1979

“It really all goes back to John Fry,” says Stephens of Ardent’s founder and designer, who passed away in December 2014. “He had an amazing ear for music and he put together some really great sounding rooms. Even at the start Ardent was equipped with plenty of state-of-the-art gear. So his founding vision is still very much present.”

CREATIVITY FLOWING Fry’s repeatedly stated dual-passion for both music and technology saw him become one of the first in the region to acquire EMT plate reverbs and 24-track recording equipment. While Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul, Led Zeppelin’s third album (mixing only), and immortal singles from the Staple Singers and Booker T and the MGs helped to distinguish the studios’ first phase, Ardent undoubtedly entered a golden age after its relocation to Madison Ave. At this time a two-studio complex, Ardent attracted an increasingly diverse rollcall of rock, blues and soul performers – among them Freddie King, Joe Cocker, Cheap Trick and ZZ Top – as the 1970’s progressed. Then there was Big Star, whose Ardent-recorded classic albums #1 Record and Third/Sister Lovers are now classic texts of alternative rock. As Stephens recalls of the band’s early studio experiences, “we felt immediately comfortable at Ardent. John Fry gave us the keys to the studio and encouraged us to sharpen our engineering skills – which [band co-leader] Chris Bell and others did – and also let our creativity flow without the clock ticking. We were extremely unfortunate to benefit from that kind of generosity.” There is no doubt that this generosity was to some extent repaid, particularly during the 1980s, when the evocative and emotional pop of Big Star drew an entire generation of bands keen to acquire some of the Ardent sound. Green On Red, The Replacements, the Georgia Satellites, the Gin Blossoms, Canada’s Tragically Hip and

Ardent founder John Fry, who died in 2014

Jody Stephens (credit: Nichole RIco)

When you come into Ardent you feel a sense of purpose and energy pushing you forward

Jody Stephens the Afghan Whigs were among the many acts to pass through Ardent during what might be regarded as its second golden age. The 1990s were no less successful, with a burgeoning interest in the contemporary Christian music market (encouraged by its own label) complemented by ongoing popularity among blues

and country artists, including Robert Cray, Jeff Healy, Albert Collins, BB King, Tanya Tucker and Steve Earle. Further diversification followed in the 2000s and 2010s with hip-hop and film soundtrack projects, while Cat Power, Bob Dylan, the Raconteurs and the resurgent Big Star confirmed Ardent’s enduring appeal to major international acts.

STUDIO TOUR A look at the studios’ specification in 2016 confirms that Ardent has indeed remained true to Fry’s desire to blend the best of old and new. At 25ft x 40ft [7.5m x 12m], Studio A is Ardent’s premiere tracking room and is today based around a Neve VR60 60×48 console and Pro Tools 10.3.1 HD3 Accel system – although a Studer

Vaughan Family Style with Stevie Ray, Jimmie, John Hampton and Nile Rodgers 24-26 Ardent v1FIN.indd 2

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Studio A

(L-R): Adam Hill, Jack White, John Hampton and Patrick Keeler

A827 24-track recorder is also available for those wishing to record to tape. The other key tracking room, Studio C, was overhauled in 2011 under the watchful eye of technical director Chris Jackson and now features an SSL Duality SE 48 channel console. Once again, the latest Pro Tools technology is complemented by a vintage Studer recorder, and Stephens confirms that a significant number of artists are keen to move smoothly between analogue and digital domains. “Of course it is economical to stay on Pro Tools, but we do have artists who want to track to 24”, 16” or even 8” track, and then jump onto Pro Tools – or conversely track in Pro Tools and then jump over to tape to touch analogue. Then there are quite a few

Our strength has always been to capture the authentic sound of a band then infuse it with the spaces and gear that were original to the craft

Pat Scholes who will record everything in Pro Tools and then mix to half-inch or quarter-inch tape.” Rounding out the Ardent complex is Studio B – based around a Solid State Logic 6056 E console with G

Lester Snell , Zeshan Bagewadi and Adam Hill in Studio C (credit: Antar Hanif)

computer and primarily geared towards overdubs and mixing – and an Audio Production Suite, opened in late 2012 and conceived as a “more affordable alternative to our full production studios”.

SENSE OF PURPOSE A recent project with Chicago-based soul star Zeshan Bagewadi neatly illustrates Ardent’s continuing ability to cover a wide range of musical bases. Resident producer/engineer Adam Hill recalls that Zeshan’s session was “a new and exciting adventure, marrying traditional Indian instruments and vocal techniques with the classic Memphis sounds and feel of the Goldwax, Hi and Stax labels. Producer/arranger Lester Snell is a genius, and I learn something new from him every time I work with him. The rhythm section consisted of topnotch local legends Steve Potts, Dave Smith, Michael Toles and Lester. All basic tracks went down live to twoinch tape, and were eventually transferred to Pro Tools for editing and overdubs. The deep grooves supporting Zeshan’s harmonium, tamboura and vocals yielded some great-sounding tracks that had one-foot planted firmly in the Mississippi and the other in the Ganges!” While many albums now have their roots in home or project studio recordings, Stephens believes that the current popularity of Ardent and selected other iconic studios can be ascribed to the fact that “people want to walk in the doors and be sure that the magic will happen. It’s not like walking through someone’s doors and not knowing whether you are there for dinner or to record! When you come into Ardent you feel a sense of purpose and energy pushing you forward.” “In the ’80s and ’90s you might have artists camping out here for weeks on end,” adds Scholes, “so in a way I think things have almost gone back to a ’60s feel, where local and international artists are coming in and spending a few days or sometimes just a few hours to experiment and do artist development-type work. So you have that kind of incubator feel for new talent as part of what we do… it’s really exciting.” 24-26 Ardent v1FIN.indd 3

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12/08/2016 09:44:56




Forgotten recording studio revived for music on IPTV Low Four is a new broadcast platform and facility in Manchester operating from the old Granada TV studios. As Kevin Hilton reports, the aim is to provide a showcase for news and established bands through streaming media


usic and broadcast television have had a fruitful yet difficult relationship over the last 50 years. TV has given a platform to up-and-coming performers, as well as some of the biggest names across the genres, while at the same times subjecting music to the vagaries of scheduling, ratings and fashion. This remains true today, which is why new media outlets such as IPTV are providing opportunities for programme producers to showcase both current and next generation acts. In the UK, Low Four is doing this from one of the most famous broadcast centres in the country. Manchester’s Granada Studios produced programmes for the ITV network, notably the soap opera Coronation Street, as well as regional news coverage. Through the Granadaproduced show So It Goes, Tony Wilson, a local news presenter and later founder of Factory Records, gave early exposure to bands of the post-punk era, notably Joy Division. When ITV/Granada moved into new facilities at MediaCityUK in 2013, the old broadcast centre looked to have an uncertain future. But through a recently established arts initiative, the studios have become home to several creative projects. Low Four, headed by Dan Parrott and Brendan Williams, was set up as a new TV home for bands, featuring both established and emerging acts. Parrott did something similar for the Manchester music scene with local TV service Channel M, which closed in 2009. “Now we’ve got a new opportunity by taking over an arts space to run both an Internet TV platform and a commercial studio,” he says. The space in question is the old recording centre within Granada Studios, comprising a large live room and a control booth. Opened in 1979 this was used for recording large orchestras on the soundtracks of drama series including Brideshead Revisited and The Jewel in the Crown. Brendan Williams, who looks after the audio side of Low Four productions, says the studio is comparable to the BBC’s studios at Maida Vale. Sadly, this facility was scaled back in 1989 and became used less frequently for music as more work was sub-contracted out. Its voice booth was used for ADR and, recently, the studio was the hospitality area

The studio space was used for recording soundtracks for the likes of Brideshead Revisited, back in the ’80s

(L-R): Dan Parrott and Brendan Williams of Low Four

There’s plenty of backline available at the facility

for the Jeremy Kyle Show. But, says Williams, some of the infrastructure, as well as the acoustic, remained intact. “There were still 34 lines from the studio into the control room,” he explains. “We’ve reinstalled another 12 lines, giving us 46 independent lines distributed over the original wall boxes.” Low Four sessions are based round bands performing live in the main recording area. A small PA rig currently based on Mackie 450s has been installed; Williams says discussion are underway to replace this with a Turbosound system in the future. “But what we’ve got works,” he comments. “There’s only an audience of 60 people so we don’t need to push it. And in a great room like this any system sounds really good.” Low Four’s debut broadcast featured angular artpop foursome Everything Everything, whose front of house

engineer requested a Midas PRO 2 console. The Music Group provided the desk with DLT 251 side box. Sessions are recorded using studio mics, including dynamic models for voice and even ribbons on drums. The control room houses a 36-channel Audient 8024 console, with two UAD Apollo units. “I do a two-track mix of the sessions and master that. There’s also a simultaneous multitrack recording made into Logic. I’ve shied away from lots of hardware effects because I really rate the UAD emulations. But there is some classic outboard, including Lexicon.” Low Four aims to broadcast two sessions a month and when not recording for transmission, it is running as a commercial studio. Not bad for a facility that most people had never heard of or forgotten about. 28 lowfour FIN.indd 1

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Producing the Proms Covering daily concerts over a two-month period is a considerable undertaking. Philip Stevens finds out what is involved

The Last Night! (credit: all Proms pictures, Chris Christodoulou)


nown more formally as The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts but usually as just ‘The Proms’, the BBC series is an eightweek programme of daily orchestral concerts based mainly at London’s Royal Albert Hall. This year, a number of other venues – including a multi-storey car park - will also host the musical events. In all, between 15 July and 10 September more than 90 concerts will be played. And one must never forget the world renowned Last Night of the Proms, where many patriotic songs are enthusiastically supported by the hundreds of concertgoers. All concerts are broadcast live in stereo on BBC Radio 3, while many are to be seen on BBC television either as live or recorded productions. “Within the BBC there is a Proms team that plans

the festival and other events,” explains Huw Robinson, operations manager, Classical, Radio and Music Operations. “Of course, we work very closely with them from the beginning of the year to find out how the season is shaping up.” The Operations department comprises between 120 and 130 staff who are responsible for most audio broadcasts for network radio. Those teams operate out of bases in London, Salford and Bristol. There is also a facility in west London where the outside broadcast vehicles and equipment is stored. The actual classical music team consists of around 25, although this number increases as the time for the concerts approaches. “We had 15 different persons carry out the audio balance on the Proms broadcasts last year,” says Robinson. “Some may handle one or two concerts, while the more experienced may cover six to eight.”

KEEPING BUSY Robinson says the biggest challenge is the sheer scale of the season with daily broadcasts and the number of concerts at different venues. “We might be doing three different activities in one day – with rehearsals, the additional activities and then maybe two live concerts.” The opening concert of the season always takes place on a Friday evening, and the various crews – lighting, display equipment, television riggers, as well as the audio team, start their work the previous Monday. “The team have two to three days to put everything together on the slings and then they are all tested and wired. We have to make sure all the slings are locked and chained on the balcony. Normally we complete by the Wednesday or Thursday and the team can look at rehearsals and doing all the line checks that are necessary,” states Robinson. 30-32 BBC FIN.indd 1

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Where else? The Royal Albert Hall

Balloon drop for Proms

Many microphones are high above the stage and so an individual run of 50 metres is not uncommon

Huw Robinson This year, some of the routing has been changed to accommodate a different parking spot for the broadcast vehicles in the compound next to the Royal Albert Hall. “We are parked near Door 8. Some of the cables run under the pavement and into Door 11 of the venue. Others need to run along the surface. It’s a complex rig.” Robinson estimates that there are probably 10kms of cable runs necessary to serve the 120 or so microphones that are rigged for the season. “Obviously, we cannot change those slings each day to suit the upcoming concert, so from the outset we need to plan for all eventualities. And many of those microphones are high above the stage and so an individual run of 50 metres is not uncommon.” It is not unusual for up to 100 microphones to be used for a single concert. Some musical items call for a

microphone on every desk or for several soloists in a choir.

MIXING IT UP Although many of the microphones are shared Huw Robinson between radio and television operations and are connected together with MADI, the audio mixes are carried out independently. The radio mix is handled by the BBC, while an independent company, The Sound Alliance, looks after television requirements. “We provide a sound mobile unit and crew, and pass on the mixed audio to the OB provider, Visions,” explains Andy Payne, TV sound supervisor and a director of The Sound Alliance. “In the Visions truck, presentation is added. However, on simpler Proms, we handle this element, as well. Our own mobile is equipped with Stagetec Nexus and Cantus mixing along with 128-track Pyramix recording and editing. Monitoring are Bowers & Wilkins in fully Dolby specified 5.1.” Payne reveals that the TV output is delivered in Dolby 5.1 surround, with stereo derived from this feed. “There are challenges in producing stereo without compromise

from 5.1 and TV uses a somewhat different approach to microphone coverage to Radio 3. For radio, the mix is principally in stereo and can be expanded up to a 4.0 surround feed, which is accessible online.” Although there are necessarily independent approaches to microphone coverage, television and radio share a good deal of what is rigged. Schoeps, DPA, AKG and Sennheiser type microphones make up the main coverage. Mostly, Schoeps and Neumann are used for on-stage soloist and spot mics, although others may be used from time to time. Robinson picks up the story from the radio side. “Our OB truck is located right next to that of The Sound Alliance. This vehicle is just a few years old and is The venue for one concert is the disused municipal car park in Peckham, south London 30-32 BBC FIN.indd 2

24/08/2016 16:53




The patriotic crowd cheers

equipped with a Stagetec Aurus desk and Giethian RL901 monitoring system.” He continues, “Radio 3 broadcasts a wider dynamic range than TV, but our output does depend on the platform. There’s DTT, DAB, FM and online, and although there are not separate mixes, there are different bit rates for each platform. The highest bit-rate online is 320kbps, but DAB is normally 192. Sometimes, we have

to reduce it to 160 depending on what is happening on other services.” In addition to the regular online offering, the Proms are also available in four channel surround sound on the Internet. The aim is to create a listening experience close to the one heard by the audience in the unique acoustic of the Royal Albert Hall. The BBC chose to use four channels because the operational setup is based on the stereo balance heard on all the Radio 3 platforms. In addition to all the microphones deployed for regular broadcasting, others are placed in various positions around the hall to offer a sense of the space and acoustic. The stereo and surround mixes are both created by the Radio 3 balancer in the vehicle outside the hall.

REHEARSING FOR THE SHOW Rehearsals can be a problem when there are two

opticalCON fibre optic connection system

Proms in a particular day. If there is a late night concert, the radio crew would prefer to rehearse the morning of the performance. That enables the earlier Prom to be rehearsed in the afternoon and the set up retained for the live concert. “It makes a very long day for the team doing the later Prom – but there isn’t always time to reset the stage a couple of times during the day.” He continues: “The Radio 3 truck has a multi-track recorder which, among other uses, is very useful during rehearsals. This enables the person mixing the concert to go back and check the recording at places where he or she might think a better balance can be achieved during the subsequent live broadcast.” Beyond the concerts, Radio 3 broadcasts 76 Proms Extra programmes. These are a line-up of Radio 3 presenters and musical and cultural experts who introduce the music of that evening’s Prom and explore literary or historical themes. This year those include Shakespeare’s anniversary, the birthdays of Charlotte Brontë, H. G. Wells and Capability Brown, as well as the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. “We have a room at the Imperial College Union located quite close to the Royal Albert Hall. Here there are a couple of Roland consoles – one for broadcast, the other for front of house. We can use them as master and slave or independently – depending on requirements,” reveals Robinson.


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One of the concerts will originate in an unconventional venue in Peckham, south London. Christopher Stark and the Multi-Storey Orchestra make their Proms debut in a disused municipal car park. The programme includes Reich’s Music for a Large Ensemble – his first work for a full orchestra – and his single-movement ‘octet’ Eight Lines. According to Malcolm Stokes, BBC’s logistics manager for the event, moving the equipment to the higher floors could present problems. “The headroom at the entrance to the car park is too low for our trucks to pass through. And pushing trolleys full of all the equipment needed for the broadcast could prove difficult when the gradient of the ramps is taken into consideration. But it is a challenge that we will meet.” One thing that is known is that the mixing will be carried out using DiGiCo consoles. “Both we, and the company providing the PA, are utilising this equipment,” reports Stokes. Robinson says the Corporation broadcasts on an E1 circuit, and has recently installed a very high capacity fibre. “In the future, we will be using IP to get our signals back to Broadcasting House. That offers very fast file transfer and we can post a file directly after the concert ready for the repeat broadcast – often the next day. The Proms are always popular, and it is our job to ensure the listening public will always get the very best possible sound for their enjoyment. ” 30-32 BBC FIN.indd 3

24/08/2016 16:54

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Champs du Sound: Behind the scenes of Bastille Day 2016 in Paris

15/08/2016 15:39:33




The codec that gave Bluetooth teeth

New logo after the Qualcomm takeover

Jonny McClintock brings Dave Robinson up to date on aptX technology, for the consumer and professional audio sectors AptX, eh? A few years ago, an AES or IBC show wouldn’t go past without some update, feature extension or licensing deal involving the magical codec from Belfast being announced. Then it all seemed to go quiet for a while… or did it? Jonny McClintock begs to differ. He’s been involved with the aptX audio algorithm since 1993, initially as sales and marketing director and shareholder of APT Licensing, prior to the operation’s acquisition by CSR (a Cambridgebased semiconductor developer) in 2010. McClintock’s role at APT involved the licensing of aptX into the professional audio market sector, including digital cinema, radio broadcast, ADR, voice-overs, and stereo/5.1 mix approvals. Since joining CSR, and latterly Qualcomm (formally QTIL, or Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd), which acquired CSR in April 2015, McClintock has been introducing aptX into Bluetooth to ensure the consistent transfer of high quality music. Ahead of IBC and AES Los Angeles, McClintock approached PSNEurope in order to set the record straight. Let’s just make it clear to start with: what’s Qualcomm aptX audio codec? Jonny McClintock: The aptX audio codec is an alternative to SBC (sub-band coding, the codec specified by Bluetooth) which preserves high sound quality in audio when transmitted over a Bluetooth connection. aptX is widely supported in high-performance Bluetooth equipment including headphones, headsets, automotive audio and home entertainment systems from over 320 leading audio brands. What can you tell us about how it came to be? The algorithm originated as the result of research undertaken at Queen’s University Belfast in the late 1980s. Back then, the work was focused on bit-rate reduction for wide-band stereo audio. In more detail? CD audio requires 1.411Mbit/s of data to transfer music sampled

Sennheiser Momentum 2 headphones implement aptX

at 44.1kHz FS (full scale) – the use of aptX reduces this bit-rate to 354kbit/s. Thanks to these significant bit-rate efficiencies, aptX is also able to preserve audio quality and perform the mathematical process in an incredibly quick time: under two milliseconds. Jonny McClintock: “It feels like we’ve come a long way These simultaneous since the academic days features were unknown in the ‘80s, and even today no other wide-band audio coding technique can deliver this holy grail of bit-rate reduction. How has this Bluetooth codec impacted the professional audio scene? For one thing, aptX was the first codec to enable digital surround sound and the low-frequency sound effects that make those thunderous booms possible in cinemas. Many big names in the film industry began using aptX to deliver the high quality audio, and effects that Hollywood demanded with aptX powering the sound for movies like Jurassic Park. Then there was the standardisation with ISDN, when aptX was bundled with the digital dial-up telephone lines provided by telecoms companies. This enabled the film industry to standardise on aptX for multiple applications, such as mix approvals, voice-over, ADR and foreign language overdubs. I guess the final thing to mention is that the global radio broadcast industry became increasingly reliant on aptX during the 1990s and 2000s. They used it to deliver digital sound with near-CD quality. Over 30,000 radio stations worldwide, and thousands of cutting-edge film studios started using the aptX codec for high-quality audio delivery. We’ve seen aptX on the packaging of many consumer audio products too. Is it the same technology? Yes. In 2009 the aptX audio codec began to bring high-quality audio to wireless consumer electronics applications. This was actually kind of important for

The codec technology is used in studio for voice-over and ADR work and much more besides

consumer audio because until then, Bluetooth Stereo had an unfortunate reputation for providing only average audio quality. aptX helped Bluetooth-enabled products overcome this barrier. What about the recent developments? Especially since the completed acquisition of CSR by QTIL last year. Well, the major development is aptX HD, our nextgeneration bit-rate efficiency solution. aptX HD that enables high definition sound quality that is indistinguishable from ‘hi res’ (24/96) content – again, when transmitted over a Bluetooth connection. This was launched at CES in January this year, and already there are aptX HD enabled products on the market, including the LG G5 handset and LG Tone headset. Then there’s the latest aptX codec used in the professional industry: aptX Live. aptX Live was designed specifically for digital wireless microphones. It’s a 16-bit, 48kHz mono codec that was brought into play as a result of the migration from analogue to digital television almost a decade ago. It delivers exceptional acoustic performance, low latency and a high resilience to bit errors; features which are fundamental for live performance applications. How do you see aptX and the audio ecosystem evolving? In particular, the aptX team is focusing on low latency audio – reducing the transmission delay over Bluetooth even further so that it can be used for gaming and video applications. We have developed a version of aptX with a latency of just 40 milliseconds – lower than any other audio codec. 34 APTX FIN.indd 1

24/08/2016 16:56

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2/12/2016 9:18:22 AM


Technology feature

Audio backbone Phil Ward considers the adaptation and survival of RAVENNA as one of the fittest audio networking protocols; then David Davies presents an update on some of the competing solutions, including a slight resurgence for AVB


e’re often asked to consider Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species as a metaphor for technological development. It works, but not if you excuse aggressive capitalist manoeuvring on the grounds of strength over weakness. Darwin’s magnum opus, published in 1859, has provided generations of grateful arrivistes with this justification, but only because they fundamentally misunderstand its core message: fitness for purpose and environment is the key, not for kicking your competitors in the coccyx and running off with their business. The skeletons in Paris’ Museum of Natural History are matched by another kind of scaffold that reveals clues about where we came from and where we’re heading. Digital audio networking is itself evolving with various cells making their claims as they mutate into one application or another. In Paris, the RAVENNA protocol developed by Munich-based – and Lawo-owned – ALC NetworX is part of a fibre-optic network feeding commentary and sound effects around the exhibition, and is important not least because it represents an adaptation of the technology for installation rather than broadcast, which is the sector habitually associated with it.

“It forms the crucial connection between Merging Technologies’ Ovation media server and the Horus interface,” explains Merging’s sales operations and marketing manager Chris Hollebone, “but in truth you could now complete an entire installation like this with RAVENNA. MADI was chosen for the output to the zoned speakers, but it would be simpler with an all-RAVENNA spine. Horus is the perfect device to link between RAVENNA and any more traditional digital interfaces.” Merging’s latest AoIP offers are being exhibited at IBC this month in conjunction with the Media Networking Alliance in Hall 8, with RAVENNA well to the fore.

THE MISSING LINK France seems to be getting the lion’s share of RAVENNA applications in live performance and installation at the moment. For Bastille Day, as well as the established broadcast links between FOH and Lawo’s DALLIS I/O and Nova37 router, RAVENNA was used on stage to link the Nova37 to the 40-fader Lawo mc²36 monitor console: an encroachment into the MADI ecosystem that would have Darwin reaching for his quill. But if you were to characterise the spread of protocols in broad terms, you would nominate Dante as the plug-and-play solution making its biggest

strides in sound reinforcement and installation, with an ongoing broadcast agenda; and RAVENNA as the broadcasters choice – with an ongoing installation agenda. “Broadcasters know about Dante,” comments independent consultant Roland Hemming, “so this development is for technical reasons rather than lack of exposure or marketing. I would say that Dante offers greater ease of use, but RAVENNA is more flexible while requiring more effort in implementation. “Broadcasters are turning to it because it sits better among network traffic. It’s modifiable, and this is the dichotomy: because you can’t modify what Dante does beyond a limited degree when you put in down a network, it will either exist with other network traffic or it won’t. With RAVENNA you can mould it to fit around most other traffic, but you’ve got to know how to do that. That does essentially make it more difficult to use.” Certainly the calendar of global TV events is now dominated by RAVENNA or AES67-based IP infrastructures. Topical though the Olympic Games are, it’s too early yet to discuss the critical technical solutions employed in Rio, even in the trade press. This, as we know, is because any mention of RAVENNA in this context, right here, might affect sales of McChicken sandwiches in Cleveland, Ohio. But we can say that the 36-40 Tech FT Ravenna ONE CHANGE AT END AND FIN.indd 1

24/08/2016 15:56


Olympics, the UEFA European Championship soccer tournament, the FIFA World Cup and the Eurovision Song Contest all provide good conditions for RAVENNA propagation. For example, Austrian broadcaster ORF used RAVENNA and AES67 to route audio at Eurovision in Vienna last year, using the familiar combination of Lawo’s Nova 73 audio matrix and DALLIS I/O systems, while two years ago at the World Cup in Brazil the technology saved the day for a celebratory concert at the HSBC Arena in Rio when it emerged that Olympic preparations had hampered the audio production: building work had shifted the OB truck beyond the reach of coaxial MADI and gigabit Ethernet, and audio producer Jesse Lewis found that only RAVENNA could handle the 128 audio channels, via Horus, over 100m of Cat-6E.

RAVENNA networking was implemented at the Paris Bastille Day celebrations (overshadowed by the tragic events in Nice later that night)

THE SOUND OF MOSAIC These are flagship occasions enthusiastically disseminated by the powerful lobby of Lawo, ALC NetworX and its closest allies such as Merging Technologies. The challenge they face is a certain reluctance to roll up technical sleeves in a way that, clearly, Jesse Lewis did, while at the same time combating the attractiveness of Dante’s off-the-shelf convenience. “Our latest findings at RH Consulting indicate that the issue of mixed network traffic is not being fully tested,” suggests Hemming. “About 70 per cent of users we surveyed are just using one dedicated network, which in a way means they’re not really ‘networking’: they’re using network technology, but they’re not exploiting the potential to share combined facilities. It’s one discrete fibre or copper network and, to me, that does not fulfil my vision of how you can mine the advantages of true networking.” Beyond broadcast, the type of high-end corporate AV environment in the ascendancy today usually sits

From AES67 to AVB: an audio networking update IP Layer 3-centric solutions continue to make the lion’s share of the networking headlines, but could AVB be on the verge of a second wave thanks to its extension, TSN, writes David Davies?


he interoperability standard designed to complement existing audio over IP (AoIP) networking technologies, AES67, has been a mainstay of industry media since it was published three years ago this month. While opinions vary on its long-term relevance to a fast-moving IP landscape, there is little doubt that it has contributed usefully to the current momentum behind AoIP in various industry segments. The standard’s adoption continues to be encouraged by a number of organisations, including the Media Networking Alliance and – since its

inception last autumn – the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS). The non-profit trade alliance has been created to promote the open standards that broadcast and media companies can use to move from legacy SDI to an IP-based future. In its initial phase, the Alliance is focusing on a group of four key standards: SMPTE 2022-6 for video transport; VSF TR-04 for video with embedded audio; AES67 for separate IP addressable audio streams; and – billed as the ‘final step in the seamless evolution of standards’ – VSF TR-03 for the transport of uncompressed elementary stream media over IP.

The Alliance’s approach is certainly proving popular with vendors and broadcasters, with some 45 full or associate members at the time of writing. Regarding the position of AES67, Thomas Edwards – who is VP engineering & development at FOX and an AIMS member – confirms that “in the broadcast industry, AES67 is felt to be the multivendor standard solution to uncompressed audio over IP for live production. VSF TR-03 uses (a slightly constrained) AES67, and [prospective IP for live production standards set] SMPTE ST 2110 will also use AES67. Broadcasters seek AES67 support that is 36-40 Tech FT Ravenna ONE CHANGE AT END AND FIN.indd 2

24/08/2016 15:56


Technology feature


ROLAND HEMMING alongside a similarly high-end business network – and this synergy, Hemming believes, is not being harnessed as readily as it could. “Users in the corporate and installed sound world do not expect to have to mould into other networks and mix up the traffic effectively,” he says, “whereas broadcast engineers take that for granted. Their attitude is that you have to make this kind of shared networking resource work – otherwise there’s almost no point to it – and, quite frankly, that’s why they’ve chosen RAVENNA.” The kind of IT prerogatives common to broadcast are now appearing for installed sound and, via the type of clients and the major source of budgets, are taking over key aspects of any project. “Audio and AV tends to be part of the IT budget now,” says Hemming, “and when once it was the remit of the facilities manager it’s

ALC’s Andreas Hildebrand: “For large events that combine broadcast, live sound, video and comms, RAVENNA is a technology that you can adapt to specific conditions”

now the IT manager. Most things in the system have an Ethernet port, and there’s an increasing trend towards unified networking – even in live sound. At the London Olympics in 2012, our expectation was to use shared infrastructure wherever possible. Frankly, we can’t remain in our own little world of audio any more.” Where RAVENNA can most naturally adapt to its surroundings is anywhere that digital audio – especially Lawo digital audio – already lives, and a good case in point is at the global MotoGP motorcycling championship: 18 races per year in 13 countries. Madrid-based Dorna Sports is the management company with the TV rights, and when it updated from SDI to IP – not just for audio but for video, data and comms – it did so through Lawo’s landscape of RAVENNA and AES67 devices and connectivity. Less familiar territory was conquered when Stéphane Evrard, technical director of the Orchestre Nationale de Lille, used a RAVENNA network to connect

as ubiquitous as AES3 or SDI support.” Invited to consider the strongest aspect of the standard, Edwards highlights “the support by many vendors as well as its standardisation by the AES. This helps the broadcast industry feel that there is solid support for the standard across audio vendors, and that multi-vendor interoperability will be possible. The fact that the standard is simple and concise is also good.” Looking towards the next piece of the IP puzzle, Edwards hopes that the current AES X238 project towards an AoIP directory standard will be “in harmony” with the AMWA/NMOS project that, among other aspects, provides a way for network-connected devices to become listed on a shared registry. “Registration and discovery standardisation is important because it brings the power of IP to provide capability greater than just transport,” he says. “Also, it may be a key part of a standardised flow management solution as it is important to track flows and end-points in network systems to avoid oversubscription and to enforce security.”

DANTE DIRECTION Audinate’s Dante – by some distance the most rapidly growing AoIP networking solution – is among those to have announced support for AES67. Invited to consider what kind of impact the standard has had on the overall adoption of AoIP, and whether there has been specific benefit for Dante itself, Audinate vice-president marketing Joshua Rush responds that “there has obviously been a lot of discussion over the last year about AES67. At Audinate we see AES67 as an important building block that goes into a complete networking solution like Dante that ensures interoperability with other systems. While it seems like AES67 is still in its infancy in terms of actual use


VICENT PERALES in the field, the benefit we have seen is that having AES67 support in Dante gives integrators and endcustomers peace of mind around interoperability in the future.” Meanwhile, Rush reports that Dante currently stands at 328 licensed manufacturers and 855 enabled products, while the Dante Via software product – which was launched last autumn – has been “really well-received. People have found it to be an inexpensive ‘problem solver’ for a variety of situations, but the two that we hear about the most are customers using Dante Via to isolate an individual application to route on a Dante network, and using Dante Via in conjunction with Dante Controller to monitor a Dante network. It has also helped people get started using audio networking and Dante. The fact that you can have a computeronly audio network just by running two copies of Dante Via has lowered the bar for people to start using Dante.


Greg Schlechter: “Advancing interoperability among pro-AV devices and deeper education.. are the top priorities for the AVnu Alliance”

While Layer 3-centric solutions – RAVENNA included of course – continue to garner the lion’s share of the audio networking headlines, there are signs that Layer 2-oriented AVB could also be on the rise again. 36-40 Tech FT Ravenna ONE CHANGE AT END AND FIN.indd 3

24/08/2016 15:56

The new Sennheiser EK 6042


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EK 6042 – Two channel camera receiver Our new EK 6042 two-channel slot-in receiver can connect to virtually every Sennheiser wireless system – be it analog or digital (including G3, 2000 series, 3000/5000 series and digital 9000). With the built-in web server, setup is easily managed using any browser including imports and exports of the entire conďŹ guration. The EK 6042 is SuperSlot™-compatible and works seamlessly with your existing equipment. Same goes for ARRIÂŽ, PanasonicÂŽ and SonyÂŽ. And, yes, the EK 6042 works stand-alone as well. When we say, “One receiver ďŹ ts allâ€?, we mean it.

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18/08/2016 15:51:52


Technology feature

Merging’s Ovation theatre/FX playback package, now controllable via smartphone

Lawo consoles, Sennheiser and Neumann microphones and a Pyramix DAW for the orchestra’s 40th Anniversary concert. The hall has been renovated to include a digital recording studio, but with networking the integration of live sound and media production is significantly enhanced. As the hall’s digital audio specialist Fred Blanc-Garin pointed out: “Initially we were running everything over AES, which worked fine but required a lot of cumbersome cabling compared to a RAVENNA installation which just uses Cat-5e cables and a basic network switch. As a result, it’s therefore much easier to distribute the DMIs [Neumann’s digital microphone interfaces] around the stage if necessary, which is almost impossible with an AES set-up.”

THE LAYER CAKE Andreas Hildebrand, senior product manager for RAVENNA at ALC NetworX, agrees that there is an effort of will required to get the best out of RAVENNA – making it as much a business case as a technical one – but points out that the technical distinctions are both worthy and compelling. “Manufacturers have the freedom to add to the basic technology description that is RAVENNA,” he explains, “because it’s not a black-box, closed solution. So it does make demands but it also offers so much more. It’s especially those who deal with large corporate environments, like Crestron and AMX, who should care about how the network is operating and get their hands on it. It comes down to how much you want to get involved.” Some OEM deals have created plug-and-play RAVENNA modules too, it should be noted, so it’s not all test tubes and tinkering to get this thing working in every case. The other distinction is found when you drill right down to the seven layers of the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model: proprietary Dante and ‘open’ RAVENNA sit on Layer 3; while AVB operates on Layer 2, using Ethernet standard extensions. “That means you have to buy AVB-enabled switches,” Hildebrand points out, “and it’s not routable so that all the devices have be within one single sub-net. That’s not the typical large, corporate AV model.” What’s not going to happen, clearly, is the creation of one digital audio networking model that suits all applications – any more than one guitar would suit

Audinate’s Joshua Rush: “We see AES67 as an important building block”

Although automotive, in particular, has generated a steady flow of new members for AVB-promoting organisation the AVnu Alliance in recent times, fresh recruits from pro-audio have been a little rarer of late. But then in July, loudspeaker manufacturer d&b audiotechnik announced that it was joining the Alliance. As d&b product manager Vicent Perales indicates, the move acknowledges an increase of interest in AVB and its extension, Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), which is now generating excitement in IT circles. “AVB has actually recently become more widely available – both in implementation technologies and components as well as in switching products,” he says. “Cisco is now actively supporting AVB in enterprise switch products which makes AVB far easier to deploy in professional audio systems and very reasonable to system designers as an efficient and futureproof network standard. “With the TSN initiative AVB has become recognised by the IT industry itself in its broad relevance for many future network applications. This means that professional audio users will be confident that they are using IT structures and standards that are familiar to IT people. This is a very important factor for the integration of media streams within IT systems and we believe that it is still a relevant practical problem for most other existing audio network standards.” d&b does not presently offer any AVB-compliant products, “but obviously, having just joined the AVnu Alliance this can be expected to change in the future.” In terms of other networking technologies, all guitarists. But like the Christmas-dog paradigm, RAVENNA is not just for broadcast… “Specifically for these large events that combine broadcast, live sound, video, comms and anything else,” confirms Hildebrand, “RAVENNA is a technology that

Thomas Edwards, FOX Networks: “Broadcasters seek AES67 support that is as ubiquitous as AES3 or SDI support”

the company will continue to take an inclusive approach: “In general, it can be said that d&b will endeavour to provide connectivity solutions for audio network protocols that are relevant for professional loudspeaker systems.” Updating PSNEurope on the current activities of the Alliance, its marketing workgroup chair – and also technology marketing strategist at Intel – Greg Schlechter remarks that “advancing interoperability among pro-AV devices and deeper education on AVB/TSN for end-users, such as AV/IT managers, consultants and integrators, are the top priorities for the AVnu Alliance through the remainder of the year and into 2017. You can also expect to see more and more AVnu-certified products being added to the already hearty ecosystem of products, from our members across all segments, as we move forward into the era of networked IoT. “With AV increasingly residing on the network, it becomes part of the larger IT ecosystem. As we look forward, the next natural step of the communications evolution is for pro-AV to become part of the IoT [Internet of Things]. For this to happen, you need a network that is continuously evolving. Advances in AVnu certification allow the design of reliable, synchronised networks that will work today and be futureproof for tomorrow’s evolving network – ready to handle the increasing data transmission needs of the future including audio, video and control on the same network. AVnu Alliance is working to ensure that network infrastructure is going to support system needs no matter how the network evolves.” you can own and adapt to the very specific conditions of your event.” Now, that sounds like evolution. 36-40 Tech FT Ravenna ONE CHANGE AT END AND FIN.indd 4

24/08/2016 15:57



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21/07/2016 09:49:55


Live The frozen river was a challenge of the opening ceremony for European Capital of Culture in Turku, Finand in 2011


Recently, tube UK took on the managing the sound for Albert Hall Manchester, including for this Armin van Buuren gig tuke UK are heavily involved in helping artists with sound for Manchester Day

Hop on the art express with tube UK A passion for the art has seen audio design and installation company tube UK carve out a niche in the area, writes Sarah Sharples


nusual spaces for sound, particularly involving artistic performances, are a speciality of audio design and equipment hire company tube UK. From shopping trolleys, frozen rivers and noisy train stations to old cars and a disused warehouse, the Manchester-based company has hooked up sound in a range of wacky places. Managing director Melvyn Coote started the company in 2001 and expanded in 2011 when he opened another office in Slough, which is west of central London. “We specialise in bespoke services for events, whether that be conferences, outdoor arts spectacles, the music industry, classical performances, spoken word, theatre, so pretty much across all areas and we obviously hold equipment ourselves and do full service jobs,” he says. Coote explains some of the more unusual jobs have been outdoors, including for European Capital of Culture celebrations in Turku, Finland, where the aim was to create 3D movement of sound across a frozen river.

“The width of the audience was 400m wide and 150m deep and we had PA speakers on the near side of the bank and on the far side of the bank. It was for an outdoor theatre show and we wanted to create movement both left and right across the audience scape, and from the near side of the river to the far side of the river,” he comments. “So we were designing a system that would incorporate all of those attributes and manipulating the sound… and making people sound like they were jumping from one side of the river to the other side.” Hiding sound systems is also a specialty of tube UK, Coote explains, including for client Walk the Plank, which runs community based projects in the arts, including a parade called Manchester Day. One of these parades was where sound systems were hidden in shopping trolleys. “We developed a way of putting in small sound systems that were battery operated and the speakers were attached to the shopping trolley and they were able to create their characters on top of that and so it

was a disguised sound system, it worked really well,” he says. Then there was the local group from Oldham, who were modified car enthusiasts – they had older style cars that they had renovated and upgraded with larger sound systems, suspension and exhaust systems and the aim was to sychronise the car’s sound systems, explains Coote. “So it became six cars acting as one sound system, so each car was linked to a central car via a radio transmission. We had an RF link that connected all the cars together, so there were no cables between the cars, but they could all receive the same audio signal and play out the same music at the same time,” he says. Coote says he has a keen interest in theatre and the arts, which has been developed both from watching shows and also running the sound for them, and this has spilled over into his business. “(These projects) are generally tight on budget because of where they are funded from, they generally take a lot of resources that are quite low revenue, but 42-43 Live v1FIN Check 'live' signpost top left..?.indd 1

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we do it as a company as it’s what we enjoy doing and getting involved in,” he says. “Certainly in community arts it’s definitely a driver for doing it and wanting to make a success of what they’ve created and enabling them to showcase their artistic talents, and it becomes a passion, rather than a business decision.” Historically corporate business has been the majority of tube UK’s work, although it has decreased in the last five years due to the economic recession, Coote comments, with the company securing more work in the music industry. Recently, it has been contracted as the sound provider for the Albert Hall in Manchester, which runs around 150 shows year, as well as doing inhouse sound for Manchester music venue, called Gorilla. “Corporate is still a huge backbone of our work, probably about 50 per cent, while music warrants 40 per cent and the other 10 per cent is arts, theatre and special events. Another source of work to shout about is that we are a sound provider for Manchester City Council, so most of their big outdoor annual events we have worked on for the past 10 or 15 years,” he says. With equipment, Coote says the company uses d&b for speakers and amplifiers, Sennheiser for radio mics and Yamaha for desks and system management.

“The downside is they are all very expensive, the upside is they are all excellent quality, they also – as a hire company – retain value very well as the quality is robust, sturdy, reliable, which is all things you need when you are doing anything with sound hire work because you want it to work when it arrives,” he says. Working within a building’s architecture is also key to tube UK’s work and most often audiences don’t realise the planning and technical precision that goes into delivering a project, comments Coote. One example is when tube UK installed the sound in an old disused warehouse for the Manchester International Festival, where an actor was delivering a famous prisoner of war monologue in the centre of the room with the audience 360 degrees around him. “The remit was to create a transparent audience system, so when he had his back to the audience they could still hear him, but so it wasn’t obvious that the sound system was there, so placing sound systems in the architecture of the building,” he explains. “The result was quite staggering if you were technical and knew what was going on, but from a standard audience point

of view they didn’t realise anything was there as they couldn’t see it.” Coote’s passion for the arts is evident from his story about getting a phone call 12 hours before Victoria Station in Manchester was used as a ‘pop-up’ public tribute to Victoria Wood – the English comedian, singer, songwriter, screenwriter and director, who died in April. A choir had put the tribute idea out on social media and expected a few people to turn up, but as the day drew closer, hundreds of people were expected to attend. As a result, the event had to move to a different part of the station to accommodate the capacity of the audience, says Coote, but there was the problem of no power or sound equipment. “So we put the system together, all running off car batteries; we put it in the morning of the event. It consisted of the choir, a piano, a cornet solo, speeches from the lord mayor of Manchester and it was hosted by Sue Devaney, who-co starred with her in Dinnerladies, so she also spoke as well. The audience that turned up was probably around 300 to 400 and everyone could hear absolutely clearly even though we were on a noisy platform.” Tube delivered at the station – how could it not? 42-43 Live v1FIN Check 'live' signpost top left..?.indd 2

24/08/2016 15:31


Live : Festivals Extra


A tale of two festivals Dave Robinson talks to Mark Frary of Ampthill’s AmpRocks, and Paul Dunton of Tunbridge Wells’ Local & Live, and discovers the rewards and the risks of growing a music festival from the ground up

AmpRocks and Mark Frary


e just had a bit of a Spinal Tap moment,” laughs Mark Frary. “We unwrapped all the banners, and one of them has come out three foot wide, instead of the width of the stage.” It’s Stonehenge all over again. You couldn’t make it up. “Every year you get something unexpected… but it’s nothing we can’t handle.” Frary is a key cog in the AmpRocks machine – a group of volunteers who put on a ‘big Friday night’ of bands in in Ampthill Park in Bedfordshire as part of the three-day Ampthill Festival. What started as a fairly humble Sunday summer fete several decades ago has evolved into something far more exciting. Frary takes up the story: “Eight years ago, there was a discussion among the organising committee: it cost a lot to hire a stage for music on the Sunday afternoon, so why not do something on the Saturday night too?” Hence a ‘proms in the park’ event was proposed, and executed the following year. “We formed a ‘scratch’ orchestra just for the event, made up from members of the other local orchestras. We have a very strong music department at our local upper school too.” The classical event attracted 2,500 people to the park on a Saturday night. “That got the committee thinking… and it was suggested we could add something for the younger people, on the Friday…” At the point Frary, a journalist by day but already a volunteer at the festival for some years, rolled up his sleeves and really got stuck in. Working alongside fellow enthusiast Francesco Bove and Chris Hayes, the first AmpRocks was launched. “We had Pauline Black from The Selector; we probably had about 200 people in the Capability Brown-designed park. It was a lovely night, everyone had a good time, we probably didn’t’cover our costs, but everyone thought, that was a great night…” Then another local, Andy Hampshaw of tour arrangement specialist The Appointment Group jumped in. “We started doing it more formally from that point on,” recalls Frary. “I got the job of being artist booker and

Everyone loves AmpRocks… especially the volunteer bar staff (credit: Joshua Sherwood)

The Pigeon Detectives were second on the bill (credit: Katy Layton)

liaison, Fran sorts out stage management; Andy does pretty much everything else. Every year, we’ve grown a bit bigger, a bigger audience, bigger acts. This year we increased capacity to 6,000… and sold out in three days.” While AmpRocks attracts festivalgoers from further afield, around 90 per cent are from “just within the postcode”. “That’s why I think it works quite well,” says Frary. “That’s why people buy tickets without hearing the line-up, because they know they’re going to have a good time. It’s two minutes down the road to their local park, and it’s not going to cost them a lot. You look at prices in general and how they have rocketed in recent years – but our top price ticket is £30. For that sort of money, you wouldn’t be able to get to London and see

a gig. We’re not doing the whole weekend for that price but it’s still very affordable. And also, the price is a differentiator: we’re not competing with other festivals around the country.” This year’s event featured The Fratellis as the headliner, with the Pigeon Detectives and Fickle Friends (just signed by Polydor) earlier in the bill. An innovation for 2016 was installing Radio 1 presenter Huw Stephens to host the night and spin tunes between the bands. The opening act, meanwhile, continues a tradition of inviting a local act to play, sourced via a ‘Battle of the Bands’style competition at a local school. “The whole festival is run by something like 100 volunteers, they fit it in around their day jobs,” notes Frary. AmpRocks, then, is very much about serving – but also involving – the local community, in as many steps along the way as possible. “Boutique festivals is an overused phrase, but we like it,” says Frary. In the current climate, it would be foolish to think that running this festival is – as it were – a walk in Ampthill Park. “We’ve seen a number of festivals go under over the years,” agrees Frary, noting how the number of UK festival has been reported as growing from around 100 to perhaps seven or eight times that number – in just 44-77 Live Festivals v1FIN.indd 1

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The show is a favourite with the locals (credit: Chris Shotton)

10 years. “It’s a challenging time to be a festival. There’s much more competition now: not just in attracting festivalgoers, but also in the fees that bands charge; they are far more in demand, so we’ve seen their fees go up. “We spent a few grand in the first year – and now the fee that some bands are asking has more than doubled; so if you are a festival trying to make ends meet it’s a real challenge now,” he says. “It’s not just the UK either – there are new festivals popping up in Europe too – and Britain being a world leader in music globally, British acts are very much in demand. “We have this meeting every year now where we say, we are probably going to have to dedicate more money to paying the bands, but how do we stick to our ethos of not being too expensive? It’s a challenge.” The expectation has grown, notes Frary, for the ticket-buying public: it’s about the whole experience. It’s a common discussion at the AIF (Assocation of Independent Festivals) meetings which Frary attends. “People want more than just to listen to a band,” he says. Well, of course: and for every addition, there is a cost. “Things like oil prices are not helping, that rolls into everything. Plus production costs have gone up…” While AmpRocks has been fortunate in its the organic propagation, with locals committing time and effort to ensure it goes ahead each July, the festival has also reached its “allocated capacity”. “What do we do? Increase capacity and risk changing the nature of the festival?” postulates Frary. “It’s a huge park and there’s no reason why we couldn’t double

A commanding view of the main stage (credit: Debbie Gillett)

Graham Baker is the MD and founder of Centre Stage, a 16-year-old production hire company based out of Hemel Hempstead. Baker cut his teeth working in theatre production, particularly lighting, before becoming increasingly involved in arts councilfunded projects and local authority-driven events, such as small community festivals. In the late ’90s he realised that more and more clients were requesting a “one-stop shop” solution to their production needs, and so he set up Centre Stage in 2000 as a turnkey supplier of audio, staging, lighting, fencing, power distribution and more: “We don’t do toilets, we don’t do security. We do pretty much everything else,” he says. Centre Stage has supplied a full package of show kit to AmpRocks for the last couple of years. Following a referral by someone on the committee, he began providing lights for the event; Baker quickly realised he could relieve a lot of the organisational pressure by coming onboard as a full production partner. The committee took him at his word, and that is exactly what he now does. PA-wise, Baker specifies Martin Audio W8LC line array with WSX subs and W8LM as infills, plus Martin Audio LE700 wedges for holdback. FOH sits a Midas PRO 2, with a Yamaha M7CL on monitors. Speaking to PSNEurope after the event from Brockwell Park in south London, where he was setting up mains distros for the fledgling technoalldayer, Sunfall, Baker discloses what he though was the secret of AmpRocks’ success: “The are such a nice bunch of people,” he begins. “They are phenomenally good at what they do. I work for a lot of people who does this sort of thing full time, and AmpRocks do a better job. And I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to you!” “I’m not surprised at it’s grown,” he adds. “There’s a real sense of community – it’s like being at a big party for 6,000 friends!”

or triple the number of people there, but, do we really want to have that impact on the small market town of Ampthill [Pop: 7,500]? We always make sure we have minimum impact on the site. The legacy after the event [is paramount]. You don’t want the main attraction of the town to be unusable afterwards…” What advice would Frary pass on to aspiring festival promoters? “If you are passionate about it, you can make things like this happen,” he says thoughtfully. “It can seem incredibly difficult, all these hoops to jump through, but you should not underestimate how passionate people get and are prepared to share their time…” Look around your community and work out who are

What makes a good festival? “When 6,000 people have a good time. After all, we sometimes forget, we’re doing it for the audience.” Baker says, that’s really all there is to it. So: what makes a bad festival? His answer is not unexpected. “Lack of organisation when you arrive on site.” But then: “It happens regularly!” What’s wrong with the festival business at the moment, then? “Technical suppliers are pushing themselves too hard,” he says of the wider market. “The pricing structure is extremely low, so some companies have to do too much work, grab as much as possible, to make money.” Baker says, without naming names, the sector could do with more promoters giving more work to more suppliers at competitive rates. Spread the love, in fact. Now, in festival philosophy, could there be a better message?

the people that have the skills to make it all happen, says the journalist. “We have a really good mix of talent here from their day job, they can bring those skills to a volunteer committee.” The other big challenge is booking acts, he admits. “In the early days it’s incredibly difficult. You’ve got no track record whatsoever, it’s difficult to get agents to even speak to you in the early days. Typically they won’t answer their phones to you unless they know more about you, so there’s a lot of legwork in that early stage. “But don’t give up! Go to gigs for acts that you like, book up-and-coming acts, and don’t forget your local community: you never know who is out there…” 44-77 Live Festivals v1FIN.indd 2

24/08/2016 17:02


Live : Festivals Extra

Local & Live and PAul Dunton A professional golfer by day, Paul Dunton is a hyper-busy live music events organiser and promoter – and performer in his own right. “I am really passionate about new original music and in particular unsigned up and coming soloists and bands,” he says. For the last 10 years, Dunton has been the lynchpin of the Local & Live Music Festival in Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent. The festival has grown and grown over the years… until this year, when L&L had to take its foot on the accelerator and regroup.

How did Local & Live take shape? Paul Dunton: In 2006, I really wanted to do something to mark Tunbridge Wells’ landmark 400th birthday and so I decided to stage a small festival of local original acts on the historic bandstand situated in The Pantiles area of the town. This took place over the August Bank Holiday weekend and, despite our very low budget PA system and very limited resources, the event was really well received. It inspired me to make it an annual festival, ‘Local & Live’ was born the following year. The ethos of the event is all about showcasing a selection of the town’s leading original acoustic acts and bands. I chose these from the Local Music by Candlelight showcase I started in 2005 at The Grey Lady Music Lounge in the town: at that stage it was a weekly event and I had built up a roster of around 50 acts in just one year. What were the biggest issues you face setting up the festival? Attaining permission to stage the event was not a

The Orange Circus

David Migden and The Twisted Roots

The Paul Dunton Orchestra (all pics: Local & Live)

straightforward process! It required many letters of approach, and details of what I was planning to the then landlords of The Pantiles. But once a firm understanding was agreed, the next set of goals included arranging public liability insurance, attaining a ‘TENs’ license from the local authority [so alcohol can be sold there on a temporary basis], booking all the acts and persuading my good friend Ollie Nicholls to run the sound. The final hurdle was to endeavour to market and promote the event on a budget of £75!

an attendance of around 15,000 people across the four days. We then ran after party gigs on all four nights at The Forum [central Tunbridge Wells venue] and The Grey Lady to supplement the late night programme. I was driving the expansion: my vision was Local & Live to become a leading free festival of unsigned, original music. Something the local musicians and community could be proud of. 2012 proved to be our last year staging the festival on The Pantiles. This was due to lack of room as the attendance was beginning to out grow

Did you involve local businesses? Nothing at first; then from 2007 onwards , a number of Pantiles food & drink traders agreed to make a contribution towards the festival and we staged a latenight after-party at The Grey Lady Music Lounge. We also received organisational support and sponsorship from local business Insafe Ltd. You started to expand… Each year, the festival became more popular and wellknown, so there was a natural growth to the event. We found all our major costs spiralled upwards: insurance, security, a medical team, refuse bins and collection, PRS License, equipment and staging, marquees, sound and lighting engineers. Sponsorship was absolutely vital to help us fund our costs and over the years we have had varied success in this regard. [Peavey and Fender supported L&L on a couple of occasions.]

Paul Dunton (left) with Mike Wilton of The Standard Lamps (headline band of 2015)

And you grew…

the space we had available. After a scaled-down fundraising year in 2013, playing indoors at the Forum and the Grey Lady, I knew that for 2014 and beyond, it was time to find a new home for the main stages. Calverley Grounds, a beautiful park situated in the heart of the town was the new venue of choice and provided an idyllic setting and the much needed space for the crowds. We were given permission to run the music across two days in Calverley Grounds, with a medium-size main festival stage.

Local & Live grew year upon year in terms of attendance, artist programme and the number of days. By 2008 we were a three-day festival; by 2009 a fourday event; by 2011 we had a second stage to run. At this point I was showcasing over 125 acts and drawing

I felt we needed to create a ‘fringe’ element for the festival to support our new main stage and ensure the majority of the Local & Live roster could have the opportunity to perform too. Fourteen venues were invited to participate: a mix of bars, cafes and pubs 44-77 Live Festivals v1FIN.indd 3

24/08/2016 17:02


Local crew for local people Paul Dunton: “Our staging and PA was provided by Stuart Roberts’ SRD Group (based locally) who did us a very favourable price on the entire equipment hire! Our sound team was led by Joe Turner of Amber Creative (pictured, right, with Roberts). I cannot stress enough the importance of using professional equipment and sound engineers.â€?Â

alongside The Forum and The Grey Lady. The fringe venues ran music from late afternoon through to late evening. In 2014 a total of 220 acts took part in the festival.

an intended return to Calverley Grounds and the full festival scale format. SigniďŹ cant sponsorship and funding will still be required to achieve this goal however.Â

working on my new album for my band The Paul Dunton Orchestra which we plan to release in the winter of this year. Â„

You have done an enormous service to music in the area, Paul! What’s next? For the foreseeable future, I will continue running all my original music showcases at The Grey Lady Music Lounge, The Pheasantry (in London), The Music Room (Maidstone) and Local & Live events at The Forum and Trinity Theatre (both in Tunbridge Wells) which all total to around 220 events per year. I plan to continue to run the Local & Live Music Festival on a yearly basis, perhaps with a year off now and then!  On a personal note, I am currently

Higgs and the Bosons at a fringe event


But, you were a little too ambitious‌ Whilst last year’s festival was a success in terms of attendance, presentation, music and atmosphere, the event failed to attract enough funding and sponsorship to cover its outgoings, resulting in a sizeable debt, something we are still trying to resolve. I also felt very tired having organsied the event for the past 10 years! So for 2016, I felt the best plan was to stage a scaled down indoor fundraising festival again: a small entry charge applying at each of four venues each day, or the opportunity to access all the venues for the duration in the shape of a ÂŁ20 golden wristband. Proceeds from this year could then help us alleviate the shortfall from last year and help us put some money in the kitty for next year, and

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<< Scan here to learn more about the SSM or 1-800-821-1121 In Canada, call 877-753-2876

PSNEurope editor Dave Robinson performing at L&L in 2011

In Europe, call +33 (0) 78558-3735 44-77 Live Festivals v1FIN.indd 4

24/08/2016 18:18




Rock’1000 saw 250 drummers play at the Cesena stadium Photo credit: Marco Onofri

The ultimate big band Over 13,000 fans supported the first concert by the world’s largest rock band, Rockin’1000, reports Mike Clark


hat’s Live, a concert by the world’s largest rock band, Rockin’1000, was recently staged at the Orogel Stadium Dino Manuzzi in Cesena, the Italian city that hosted the July 2015 recording of the original viral video appeal by 1,000 musicians to the Foo Fighters to come and play there – which they did. More than1000 musicians (250 drummers, 250 guitarists, 250 bassists, 250 singers, keyboard players, violinists and pipers), conducted by Marco Sabiu – who arrived at his podium on a motorbike – played to an ecstatic crowd of over 13,000. Pro-audio veteran Francesco Penolazzi, the event’s sound designer and audio chief, explains: “The project, one of the most complicated I’ve

designed, had to take into consideration microphone placement for sound reinforcement for the stadium crowd, and for recording a documentary DVD of the band with a frontline of about 100 metres!” Prase Media Technologies (PMT) was the event’s technical sponsor and collaborated with Roadie Music Service for the supply of over 170 hardwired Shure microphones, Clair Bros loudspeaker systems and Lab.gruppen power amps. Penolazzi continues: “Thanks to the top-notch audio team, including Alfonso Barbiero (responsible for cable runs) and my team from Cesena (Fabio Clementi, Mirco Mazzoni, Andrea Brighi and Stefano Martini) we had no technical problems and were ready for any

Francesco Penolazzi (left) worked with Emanuele Luongo of PMT to set up the gig

emergency. Finding all the necessary gear at a very busy time of year and with a limited budget was no easy task, but thanks to the perfect understanding of the sponsors, the result was impeccable.” As well as the Shure mics, there were 20 Sennheiser ME104 for the strings,

and seven Jecklin (sound-absorbng) disks with 14 Sanken COS-11 red mark omnidirectional mics positioned seven metres above the musicians – all supplied by Paride Prironi’s TD Rent. Test work prior to the event included the fibre network, five DiGiRacks and a 48-50 Rockin1000 gig FIN.indd 1

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DiGiCo SD7 at the HQ of Amek & Vanis (who recorded the event on 194 tracks with their White Mobile) and cables and mics at TD Rent’s premises. Delta Sound UK supplied 500 channels of IEM were also tested here, as were 700 wireless headphones. FOH engineer Luca Stefani put the whole thing together and gave support with fibre and MADI routing on the consoles. The main desk was an SD7 and a SD10 fed all the signals to the PA, IEM, service signals and the system for the musicians. Penolazzi explains: “With Emanuele Luongo of PMT we established the characteristics of the PA, including stack positions. Luongo then simulated the design and optimised it according to my requests, with Clair Bros PA man Josh Sadd and Mauro Laficara of Roadie Music Service (RMS), then tweaked the rig to ensure even coverage around the venue.” The Clair PA comprised eight ground stacks of four C15 each, plus two stacks of four i212M strategically positioned round the orchestra, forming a virtual semicircle, to maximise time alignment and maintain an appropriate balance between the band and the PA.

’That’s Live’ wasn’t just mics, cables, mixers, loudspeakers and lighting – it was real emotions and vibrations

Francesco Penolazzi

DiGiCo desk at FOH

For bottom-end punch, four CS218M subwoofers were positioned at each stack. The Lab.gruppen powerhouse featured 34 PLM20K44, while processing and signal management of the 22 feeds from the FOH mixer was courtesy of Lake. The distribution of the signals for the PA system was via a redundant Dante network, with 22 Extreme Networks switches, interfaced with the Yamaha RMio64-D I/O at FOH. The wireless mics supplied by RMS were also connected to the Dante network and the RF set-up handled by Ivan Omiciuolo (PMT) and Ilaria D’Agostino (RMS), with a Shure AXT600 spectrum manager. For the (all-Shure) set-up, 56 channels of ULX-D system were used to amplify the instruments, including violins and keyboards; for the pipers who played the intro to AC/DC’s It’s A Long Way to the Top, two UR3 transmitters were used with wireless mics on boom stands. As well as the 1,000 amateurs, wellknown pro musicians from several top bands also played. The playlist including classics by Eddie Cochran, Steppenwolf, the Stones, Clash, Nirvana, Patti Smith and Neil Young, and the show ended with – what else? – Learn to Fly, the Foo Fighters track that originally brought the players together last year. At one point, Fabio Zaffagnini, the project’s general manager, spoke to the crowd on behalf of the band. “They’re

The view from the bass players’ section Photo credit: Andrea Bardi

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The night was a truly moving performance Photo credit: Marco Onofri

just themselves, but they perform like rockstars,â€? he announced, “showing that with passion, dedication and fucking hard work we can transform our lives. So stick together, no more conicts‌ and play rock’n’roll!â€? The founders of Rockin’1000 were

Fabio Zaffagnini takes the podium, centre, to greet the band and crowd Photo credit: Tobia Faverio

rightly proud of the result, an incredible experience with fans of all ages on their feet shouting, dancing and singing from start to ďŹ nish (more than one hardened technician was seen to shed a tear after the truly moving show). “’That’s Live’ wasn’t just mics, cables,

mixers, loudspeakers and lighting,� said Penolazzi later. “It was real emotions and vibrations created by musicians and communicated thanks to a production team working under a scorching sun and for weeks before the event, giving its best. I’m

honoured to have been part of that team!� „ 48-50 Rockin1000 gig FIN.indd 3

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Technology feature

Auro 3D’s Wilfried van Baelen with his AMS Neve 88D 3D-audio large-format mixing console

Immersive audio – virtually a reality? Surround sound and now immersive audio are realities in professional mixing and production but, as Kevin Hilton reports, it could be the emerging world of virtual reality, hand-in-hand with the consumer market, that is setting the pace


irtual Reality won’t merely replace TV. It will eat it alive.” Novelist and futurologist Arthur C Clarke’s pronouncement on the all-encompassing, alternative world technology has not been fully realised but VR is now beginning to break into the mainstream, with gaming and cinemas exploiting its potential. Sound is a major part of the experience, with somewhat generically termed 3D audio adding to the spatial involvement. Using Clarke’s rationale, immersive audio should be chomping up stereo and mono and spitting them out. That may never happen completely but surround sound has evolved to offer a more realistic approximation of how we hear sounds in the real world. Modern headphone technology – for mobile devices and games consoles as well as VR headsets – combined with sound bars for TV screens are making a specialist interest technology that called for multiple loudspeakers and additional receivers more generally accessible. Jack Wetherill, senior market analyst for home electronics with technology analysis company Futuresource Consulting, observes that the market is dividing into “convenience versus quality”. While there is still “very solid demand” for high-end audio systems in custom home theatre installations, Wetherill says wireless speakers and sound bars are offering a way for

Futuresource Consulting’s Jack Wetherill: the market is dividing into “convenience versus quality”

people to have a more immersive audio experience in their homes for less outlay and effort. “Manufacturers such as Onkyo, Denon and Pioneer are adopting formats such as DTS:X and Dolby Atmos,” Wetherill comments. “But the hardware is only one part of this. The other is the content. There are now more than a handful of DTS:X discs and over 50 Atmos titles.” As for VR, Wetherall says sound is an integral part of the experience: “It does not work without the right type of

sound to sync with the orientation.” As VR and the associated field of augmented reality (AR) move beyond the confines of professional broadcast and film production, audio producers and engineers are looking at how to complement the 360-degree images sonically. Post-production engineer Andres Mayo is co-chair of the inaugural AES International Conference on Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality., which will take place from 30 September to 1 October during the AES Convention. While acknowledging that both VR and AR will play a part in further raising awareness of what immersive audio can do, Mayo does not see them as the sole deciding factor: “I don’t think VR will be the game changer but it will certainly be one of the main components in the new way we perceive entertainment,” he says. More specifically Mayo feels it is a component of VR – the headphones – that will have a major influence on greater appreciation and uptake of spatial sound. “Headphones are already playing a major role towards massive adoption of VR and 3D audio,” he says. “Everybody uses headphones. That’s the real game changer for 3D audio. Many years ago, when binaural technology was developed, setting up a decent listening environment could prove challenging. Nowadays, with 52-54 Immersive v1FIN .indd 1

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good quality headphones being massively adopted at very low prices, they become one of the biggest drives for 3D audio.” Rob France, senior product marketing manager with Dolby Laboratories, agrees that headphones are playing a major role, particularly for VR: “With that there is not a single point of reference. As people move around while wearing the headset – headphones are key.” France adds that after moving into 3D audio for cinema with Atmos, Dolby is extending that technology’s immersive reach into other areas, although with different considerations for each. “The whole point with Atmos objects is the location,” he explains. “3D audio is for more creative work and when it comes to home cinema and TV the key things from cinema still apply. You need to be able to locate sounds anywhere in the room and while there are difficulties with putting loudspeakers in the ceiling, we’ve designed the system to go across many more sound formats, including sound bars as well as home cinema installations.” Dolby developed the Rendering and Mastering Unit (RMU) to produce a version of Atmos for the home, which delivers a bigger production audio feel for filmic episodic TV series such as Game of Thrones. Auro Technologies’ Auro 3D channel-based immersive system has not as yet made inroads into TV but the company does see potential for it in non-linear video streaming. Auro 3D is beginning to feature in the home market on Blu-ray Disc (BD); the most recent notable release is the original 1974 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 4K Ultra High Definition with a 13.1 immersive mix. While Dolby Atmos has begun to dominate the market in the same way Dolby Digital did with 5.1, Auro-3D has found favour with mainland European film producers and facilities. The Belgian developer has also moved into object-based spatial processing with Auro-3D Max for the cinema market. Auro Technologies chief technology officer Bert Van Daele says there are several elements to reproduce in

Andres Mayo: “VR will certainly be one of the main components in the new way we perceive entertainment”

David McIntyre: “DTS is putting a lot of effort into VR innovation”

the home, with the starting point being 9.1: “The number of speakers is not that different from Atmos. It is 5.1 plus four height speakers.” NHK, 22.2, like Auro-3D, is a channel-based system and aims to have a realistic representation of height. NHK developed 22.2 in conjunction with Fairlight as the 3D audio component of the 8K Super Hi-Vision

television and video format. During the 2016 Rio Olympics NHK worked with host broadcaster OBS to reproduce both 22.2 sound and 8K pictures for a number of Super Hi-Vision test sites in both Brazil and Japan. The technologies featured on coverage of the opening and closing Ceremonies and five featured sports: judo, swimming, athletics, basketball and the men’s football final. The BBC was also carrying out tests of new technology during the Olympic Games, with its 360-degree VR feeds available on Android, iOS and Samsung Gear VR, as well as online through the BBC Taster service. Details of the accompanying audio were not made available during the Games but the project can be seen as a continuation of the work the broadcaster has been doing into both VR and immersive sound in recent years. BBC R&D has been looking at different approaches to immersive audio, using both Ambisonics and binaural. As reported in the March edition of PSNEurope, Turning Forest, a CGI animation with a 3D binaural soundtrack, was produced by the BBC under its Audio Research Partnership with the S3A Future Spatial Audio for an Immersive Listener Experience at Home project. Originally produced as a sound-only piece for listening tests, Turning Forest was expanded to have CGI VR graphics and debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes Exhibition during April, . Earlier this year Fairlight’s chief technology officer Tino Fibaek commented that a “phenomenal amount of investment” was going into VR. “There is a lot of VR coming out and it will be the perfect place to roll out immersive sound,” he said. “It will be easy to render 3D audio into a headphone mix.” Fairlight, which recently put its audio products division up for sale, produced the 3DAW application for digital audio workstations. This allows an immersive soundscape to be created and then mastered in Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, 22.2 or DTS MDA. As well as MDA (Multi-Dimensional Array), DTS also produces the DTS:X system for both the cinema and BD/home AV markets.

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Technology feature

BBC Sport’s 360 VR coverage of Rio 2016

David McIntyre, senior vice president of corporate strategy, standards and business development at DTS, observes that while “the future of VR is still to be written”, it’s driving innovation Game of Thrones was the first TV in the production of show broadcast in Dolby Atmos programming and other material, as well in distribution and playback. “It has the potential to be a game changer and DTS is putting a lot of effort into innovation in the VR arena,” he says. “The critical element will be if content creators can come up with compelling VR experiences that resonate with consumers. Our job at DTS is to provide the tools and technologies to enable content creators to do just that.” McIntyre sees “a symbiotic relationship between home formats and professional formats”, explaining that all material for the domestic market has to be authored in a professional environment with the appropriate systems and standards. He adds that immersive audio and NGA (next generation audio) codecs have taken some time to be developed and are only now beginning to be rolled out; this started with AVR (audio visual receiver) products over the last year, with TVs and other products over the coming few years. “The systems are fully developed in concept and now we are at the rollout stages,” McIntyre says. “You see different products in different markets. For BD there is DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, whereas in other markets you might see MPEG-H, with DTS:X, Atmos and Auro in cinema. I do not expect to see other formats emerge and fully expect to see the market coalesce around the three traditional major providers: DTS, Dolby and MPEG.” Recording the 3D binaural soundtrack for Turning Forest

Immersive audio for music and live performance Music has not had the most creatively satisfying or commercially rewarding relationship with 3D audio. In the 1970s quadrophonic surround sound had a brief heyday but was ultimately defeated by imprecise spatial image reproduction and the need for special playback equipment. During the 1990s the advent of Dolby AC-3 and other 5.1 technologies breathed new life in the concept of audio-only surround recording. Super Audio CD and the short-lived DVD-audio format were seen as real contenders, but the market did not go beyond the enthusiast and audiophile into the mainstream. The industry has never given up completely on surround music and virtual reality could be a key factor in its revival. “Coming from the music industry and having worked as a post production engineer for over 25 years, I feel I identified mostly with music and think that there is still a great role for it to play in VR and 3D audio,” says Andres Mayo. “I am currently beta testing the Dolby VR suite and for many projects we’ve been working on in the past three to six months involving concerts, there is a huge interest in post-producing them in VR and adding 3D audio as a main attraction.” David McIntyre at DTS agrees that VR might be the first area where “music goes immersive” as people begin to experiment with a new medium but feels this does not necessarily mean a major breakthrough for the technology: “For music it is an interesting artistic tool but the industry is so heavily focused on stereo I don’t see any large scale move to immersive audio for music any time soon,” he says. Others see great potential in immersive music. Researchers at the Eurecat Technological Centre of Catalonia have developed Sfëar for production, distribution over streaming platforms and live performance. The technology is based on emulating binaural sound and made its debut last year on 3D recordings made by artists including Mr J and Timothy Schmele. It has also been tested live at this year’s Sonar+D festival in Barcelona in a demo area MPEG-H Audio was published as an international standard in 2015, the same year Fraunhofer IIS, Technicolor and Qualcomm demonstrated a full broadcast chain using the format, which has three transmission modes: conventional loudspeaker channels, audio objects,or a scene-based coding system based on Ambisonics. The standardisation of MEPG-H Audio is unlikely to

Eurecat’s SFËAR demonstration with Amate Audio’s SA3D ‘enabled’ JK26A speakers at the Sonar+D event in June

fitted out with Amate Audio’s SA3D DSP platform installed in 25 JK26A+ two-way cabinets. Adan Garriga, director of Eurecat Audiovisual technologies, commented at the time, “3D sound will be the new standard in the audio industry, just like stereo sound erupted in the 1950s and the shift from stereo to 5.1 surround sound [was made] in the 1980s. The technology is so innovative that it has the potential to completely change the music market, as well as streaming and sales platforms such as discos and live music events.” A key manufacturing partner working with Eurecat on Sfëar is Amate Audio, which is supplying its SA3D distributed DSP loudspeaker technology for live reproduction of the format. “It has been used in a festival situation but there will be more development before we go to other ‘real life’ festivals,” comments head of research Joan Amate. “The system has different processing for each channel, which runs through a computer, a dedicated processor or at each cabinet.” A more esoteric approach to an enveloping soundscape that aims to accurately reproduce a performance is Learprint, developed by Alain Français. Also known as the ‘Ear Footprint’, the system is designed to produce a natural soundscape using temporal distribution, with sources mixed through a Yamaha Nuage controller. clarify the immersive sound situation, which will most certainly evolve with a number of options for different applications. Only not as many as 22.2. + Futuresource will be discussing virtual reality and immersive audio at the Audio Collaborative conference, on Tuesday, 8 November at the Ham Yard Hotel in London. 52-54 Immersive v1FIN .indd 3

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TommyD From DJ to producer to whisky maker: Dave Robinson meets the man who can’t help mixing it up


ommy Danvers has certainly tried his hand at most things. Travelling to New York as a teenage DJ, he was influenced by the house music of the Paradise Garage. On his return to London, he became an early resident at the nascent Ministry of Sound. His production break came through Right Said Fred’s irresistible I’m Too Sexy; he went on to produce two huge albums for Welsh pop act Catatonia, including the bestselling International Velvet and Equally Cursed and Blessed, and other indie acts. Since 2009 he’s been recording as Graffiti6 with Jamie Scott, and two years ago he launched his own drinks company.

Your Wikipedia description suggests you are quite the polymath… It sounds like I’ve got ADHD, or I can’t make my mind up! But a), I can’t sit still, and b), I can’t stand following the crowd. Everything I’ve ever done musically has been a) challenging myself and b) chasing that magical thing as a kid when you hear music for the first time. And for me it was a weird combination of Ian Dury, Stevie Wonder, Genesis and [Holst’s] The Planets! And right in the middle of all that was the guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, all these amazing players. I come from an entertainment family, my parents were both actors (Ivor Danvers was in BBC drama Howard’s Way). My father taught me, you have to devote your life to your art.

How did you meet Right Said Fred? Around 1989, I met Jeremy Healy who was recording with E-Zee Possee, they wrote banned single Everything Starts With An ‘E’. We worked on an album together, and that really refined my way of understanding about production. I was using an Atari, Cubase, an MPC, an Akai S900, a TR808… That was my first taste of being signed to a record company. I was still DJing at the time, and I met these two guys at a club, Richard and Fred (Fairbrass) who were

running a nearby gym. One day they gave me a demo cassette, and on it was I’m Too Sexy. I listened and thought it was quite funny but very Germanic. So I knocked up a version of it on an S1000 and Cubase, I gave them what I’d done, and they loved it. They booked a studio, we went in recorded and mixed it… then it all went quiet. Couple of months later, this plugger at Island Records picked it up and liked it; a month later they were playing it on Radio 1, then it just blew up. You know that old Lottery advert with the voice, “It could be you?” It was like that. I went from earning 100 quid a week as a jobbing DJ, to suddenly having people phone me up from America and big artists wanting to work with me. And I was thinking, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing!

But off the back of that you became a producer… I got asked to do a lot of remixing – back then you could make 25 grand a mix, so I coined it in. And then got disillusioned with it. But I learned my first lesson in music: you absolutely have to love your output and not do things for money. It’s hard now for kids coming through because the emphasis is on recreating something that’s already been successful. And that’s not me: I don’t want to make a death metal record; I don’t want to make a girl band record. I want to make… a death metal girl-band record! [Laughs]

You turned away from dance music though. In the ‘90s I went away and travelled and saw the world, then began working with Geoff Travis of Rough Trade. That opened my eyes to the indie world; through Geoff I got access to Catatonia. I was inspired by [lead singer and his partner for a while] Cerys [Matthews]. I’d been inspired by hi-hat parts and kick drums – then to go to that world of ‘D, G and A and here’s the lyric’… that was really exciting! Then I took two years off from production to learn about songwriting. I could see in the early Noughties, the way the world was going with the Internet: that if you wanted to continue to make a living out of music, you had to write

the music, that’s where the royalties are. As a producersongwriter, in 2009, I met Jamie scott, and we just clicked, and we became [pop-soul act] Graffiti6.

Is that about you maturing, do you think? I think it’s more about the soulful side of the music I like coming through.

The important bit: your whisky. It’s always been my drink of choice. And I saw that there was an angle, for a cool quality whisky, if we dressed it up in the way ‘beats’ have done with headphones, we could open it up to a new audience. Plus I saw the parallels between the science of making whisky and the science of making music. I created the 808 Drinks Company with a business partner, named after my first drum machine. The original (TR-)808 has this soulful arrogance about it, and the sounds are just as relevant now as they were: trap music is built of 808 sounds. The kick has got this ’sub-iness’ to it. I think my whisky is the sub-bass of drinks: when it’s in a mixer you’re not sure if it’s there. But if you take it away, you miss it.

Why do it, though? Eventually, through 808, we’d have a fund called Create. Musicians could apply to it: we say, here’s five grand to make a song, ten grand to make a video. That would be a fantastic place to be in. Yes, like the Prince’s Trust. We’re not anywhere near that, but that’s what we’re aiming towards, certainly in 2017. To do that we need scale, so we have the whisky made at the North British Distillery.

Did you create the blend? We met a whisky expert, Jonathan Driver, who ‘held our hands’ at a whisky house in Mayfair where we sampled the different tastes to come up with the right blend. Just like we were mixing a record! 58 Backpage FIN.indd 1

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