Casting call September 2017
It’s a broadcast special this month, as Europe’s biggest broadcast technology show, IBC, arrives in Amsterdam P25
An evolution in digital mixing Drawing on 30 years of digital mixing know-how, Yamaha’s flagship RIVAGE PM10 system continues to evolve with a new compact control surface, support for 400-channel single-mode optical fiber and V1.5 firmware updates including Eventide H3000 Live UltraHarmonizer and Dan Dugan Automatic Mixing plug-ins.
NEW CS-R10-S Compact Control Surface
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ULTRA-COMPACT MODULAR LINE SOURCE Packing a 138 dB wallop, Kiva II breaks the SPL record for an ultra-compact 14 kg/31 lb line source. Kiva II features L-Acousticsâ€™ patented DOSC technology enhanced with an L-Fins waveguide for ultimate precise and smooth horizontal directivity. WSTÂŽ gives Kiva II long throw and even SPL, from the front row to the back, making it the perfect choice for venues and special events that require power and clarity with minimal visual obtrusion. Add to that a 16 ohm impedance for maximized amplifier density and a new sturdy IP45 rated cabinet, and you get power, efficiency and ruggedness in the most elegant package. www.l-acoustics.com
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P3 SEPTEMBER 2017
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TEC AWARD WINNER 2017: MICROPHONE PREAMPLIFIER
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t the time of going to press with our September issue, both PSNEurope and the industry as a whole are gearing up for one of the busiest month’s on the pro audio calendar. By the time your October edition drops through your letterbox, we’ll have enjoyed a bumper crop of trade shows and audio biz gatherings in the form of PLASA, IBC, BPM and, last but by no means least, the annual Pro Sound Awards. All of these events are covered extensively in the pages overleaf in order to ensure you get the most out of each, but it is, perhaps predictably, the awards I would like to draw your attention to here. Taking place on September 28, 2017 is truly a landmark year for Pro Sound Awards. First of all, we’re celebrating our fifth birthday. And to mark this milestone we’ve made a few tweaks to ensure that this year’s event is the best yet. As you’ll have noticed, we’ve moved to a new, more spacious home – London’s Steel Yard – to ensure overwhelming demand for tickets on the night is sufficiently met. What’s more, we’ve fine-tuned the list of categories to make sure the awards are hitting all for corners of the industry. Full details can be found on P6. And, indeed, it is the astronomically high calibre of this year’s finalists that promises to make the 2017 instalment of the awards such a special outing. From the moment nominations opened, the PSNEurope team was flooded with entries and submissions of an incredibly high standard. Companies, individuals, events - the standard this year is higher than ever. Especially impressive is the standard of finalists for this year’s Rising Star Award. Chosen by our good friends over at sister publication Audio Media International, the award recognises those laying the foundations for the future of our industry. And if the quality of 2017 entries is anything to go by, then we’ve got much to be excited about. So, whether it’s in London, Birmingham, or Amsterdam, our paths will almost certainly have crossed by the time I come to writing this page for next month’s issue. See you on the road! n
THE DEFINITIVE MIC PRE/EQ
Visit ams-neve.com/where-to-buy to find your local Neve dealer For recording as it’s meant to be heard, it has to be Neve - no question. www.ams-neve.com
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P4 SEPTEMBER 2017
In this issue... P25 IBC 2017 PREVIEW A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE AMSTERDAM EXTRAVAGANZA
P16 BEAT GENERATION BPM|PRO BOSS MARK WALSH ON WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE 2017 SHOW
P28 CAST AWAY A LOOK AT SOME OF THE TOP BROADCAST CONSOLES ON THE MARKET
P18 SOUND WAVES
Pioneer Pro Audio trials a brand new system at Lovebox Festival
WE SIT DOWN FOR A CHAT WITH WAVES EXEC MIKE OLESH
A close look at what’s on offer at this year’s IBC show
28-34 This month, we zero in on the world of broadcast mixing desks
Business 6 7 8 10 12 14 15 16-17
Five reasons why you can’t afford to miss the 2017 Pro Sound Awards This year’s Pro Sound Awards shortlist in full 2016 Rising Star winner George Murphy on his career progression JAMES and MPG chief Tony Platt talks audio education The inside track on K-array’s growing distribution network How the Women’s Audio Mission is making waves in the industry Revered engineer Olga Fitzroy on her Shared Parental Pay campaign A look at the evolution of the BPM|PRO show with Mark Walsh
Waves’ Mike Olesh on how the firm continues to lead the market
38-40 Inside the new audio installation at Berlin’s Boulez Saal concert hall
42-43 Electro pioneers OMD on their new album and clashing with producers 44 Alcons Audio’s new system gets an outing at Dance Valley Festival 46-47 The Cribs on working with Steve Albini on their new record 49 Autograph’s new MD Scott Arnold discusses his new role 50 Sonic City Studios and Auro Technologies on their new partnership
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35 Years xy
d&b is 35. Sara is d&b. Sara Sowah is Head of Marketing Communications at d&b. She’s been on board since 2014. “Being part of the d&b team is like being surrounded by your brothers and sisters – they’re annoying, they’re fun, they’re determined. It’s a big passionate family totally obsessed with sound. I feel like it’s where I belong.” In 35 years d&b has evolved from a small garage venture to a worldwide standard in professional sound systems. It’s people like Sara who make this story possible, and just that bit different from the rest.
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P6 SEPTEMBER 2017
Pro Sound Awards 2017
Pro Sound Awards 2017: What you need to know
The professional audio industry’s biggest awards are back for 2017 with an all-new London location. Now in its fifth year, PSNE’s Tara Lepore tots up five reasons why you can’t afford to miss September’s event...
ow in its fifth year, the Pro Sound Awards reflect on the excellence in the pro audio industry over the past 12 months. Once the business cards have been shared out, celebrating the best goings-on in the business over a few drinks can also be a lot of fun. From live sound production to innovative installation, the stellar nominees shortlisted by our team of expert judges demonstrates the sheer level of talent in the sector at the moment. In an age where you can connect with clients, colleagues and customers at the tap of a button, face-toface networking is more essential than ever. Making an effort to catch up with familiar faces – and familiarising yourself with new ones – is paramount to the success of your business (and the future of the pro audio industry as a whole). If you need any more reason to attend the biggest night in the pro sound calendar, we’ve come up with a few ideas below. But really – with tickets at just £55 per person – what are you waiting for?
CEOs, executives, MDs and engineers all under one roof, why pass on the chance to meet them in person? The networking opportunities on offer are unrivalled; from the moment you’re greeted at the door with a welcoming drinks reception, right the way through to the afterparty (which’ll go on ‘til midnight, by the way…)
1. All-new venue
As always, we’ll be commending up-and-coming industry talent in the form of the Rising Star award (chosen by the editorial team on our sister mag Audio Media International). We’ll also be recognising the efforts of a longstanding company taking home the Grand Prix prize, and looking back on the decade-spanning career of the winner of our much-coveted Lifetime Achievement award.
After four memorable years at Ministry of Sound, this year’s event will be held at The Steel Yard in central London. A stone’s throw away from Monument, this Grade II-listed building underneath Cannon Street station will provide the perfect ambeance for a night of getting to know fellow industry folk.
3. Celebrating excellence in the industry Did we forget to mention the prizegiving ceremony that’ll take place in between the drinks and afterparty? The Pro Sound Awards wouldn’t be anything without, er, the awards element, so why not support your industry peers and celebrate the award-winning work that’s gone on in the industry over the past 12 months. If you’re up for a gong yourself, you won’t want to miss the moment all your hard work is rewarded, or – if not – there’s nothing more in the spirit of this friendly biz than patting the winner on the back (and maybe buying them a pint afterwards).
4. Raise a toast to current and future - talent…
2. Old-school networking There really is nothing better than getting to know people face-to-face (rather than by their email addresses). With such a wide and diverse range of
5. It’s our birthday! If you’ve not been before, now is the perfect time to get your name on the guest list. The Pro Sound
Awards were initially set up five years ago to recognise excellence in the industry, and each year the level of talent has gone from strength to strength. All in all, it’ll be an unmissable night to catch up with the biggest names in the business, relax after busy Plasa and IBC trade shows and raise a toast to all of those on the shortlist. We look forward to seeing you there! The Pro Sound Awards 2017 take place on Thursday September 28 at The Steel Yard, London, EC4R 3UL. Tickets are £55pp (plus VAT); buy them on the website or email Johanna O’Brien on email@example.com. n www.prosoundawards.com
All the info... Date: Thursday 28 September 2017 Location: The Steel Yard, London, EC4R 3UL Getting there: Cannon Street/Monument are the nearest Underground stations Tickets: £55pp; email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.prosoundawards.com to buy Itinerary: 19.30 Drinks reception and canapes 20.15 Awards ceremony 21.30 After party 00.00 Carriages Dress code: Smart casual Accommodation: The events team has compiled a HotelMap of accommodation within walking distance of The Steel Yard, type this URL into your web browser to view: www.bit.ly/2tQCyZF
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in association with
in association with
P7 SEPTEMBER 2017
in association with
SOME OF LAST YEAR’S WINNERS
Whittling down the plethora of outstanding entries for this year’s Pro Sound Awards was a major challenge. But after close examination of the nominations we received, we were able to arrive at the shortlist you now see before you. PSNEurope would like to wish a huge congratulations to each and every finalist and the very best of luck on the night… Sound Engineer of the Year
Best Marketing Initiative
■ Colin Pink ■ Laurent Dupuy ■ Antony King ■ Kate Davis ■ Gareth Owen
■ Digico – SD12 ■ Copper Leaf Media – Peavey Commercial Audio ■ Adam Audio – A77X monitors ■ Riedel – Bolero Wireless Intercom launch
Studio of the Year
■ Britannia Row / Clair Global – One Love Concert Manchester ■ Astro Spatial Audio – Outdoor production of Loreley ■ Capital Sound Hire – Demon Dayz Festival at Dreamland ■ NEP UK – BBC Wimbledon 2017 ■ L-Acoustics – Global Citizen Festival India
■ Artesuono Recording Studios ■ Eastcote Studios ■ The Hideout Recording Studio ■ Edge Studios ■ Q Radio ■ Spinroad Studios ■ Studio H ■ River Studios ■ Directors Cut Films ■ Destudio ■ Brighton Electric Recording ■ Miloco Livingston ■ Miloco Assault And Battery
Broadcast Team of the Year ■ Toby Alington Ltd – One Love Manchester ■ VSS Limited – X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent ■ Encore Post – Fortitude and Ripper Street ■ BBC R&D – Proms in Binaural
Best Live Sound Production
Best Installation Project ■ Sennheiser – Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition ■ Pioneer Professional Audio – Fabric’s Room Two venue ■ RH Consulting – Derby County FC Pride Park Stadium ■ d&b audiotechnik GmbH – Amsterdam ArenA ■ Powersoft / FACE – Queen Elizabeth Hall Antwerp ■ SSE Audio Group – Cornhill Castle Installation ■ Visual Systems – Corporate entertainment venue, listed stately home and grounds, Berkshire ■ Renkus-Heinz – Oslo Airport Terminal 2
Lifetime Achievement Award
Grand Prix Award
Winner revealed on the night
Winner revealed on the night
■ Louis Morgan ■ Luke Pickering ■ Will Hoult ■ James Hill ■ Jake Miller ■ Arran Paul
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P8 SEPTEMBER 2017
Shining star Last year saw budding studio engineer George Murphy honoured with the coveted Rising Star gong at the 2016 Pro Sound Awards. Daniel Gumble asked him what he’s been up to since and how his career has continued to blossom… It’s been a year since you won the Pro Sound Awards Rising Star award. What have you been up to since then? I have been working out of Eastcote Studios in London. It’s been quite a year, with loads of different projects coming through. The studio has such a variety of clients that it’s rarely ever the same type of record twice in a row. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some incredible records over the past year. Some of the highlights have been producing and mixing Yowls’ last single My Headache Likes To Speak; engineer and production for HMlTD’s To The Door and mixing John McLaughlin’s Live at Ronnie Scott’s. We’ve also had an extensive refurb that’s really boosted the popularity of our Studio 2. We’ve packed it full of amazing gear and instruments and redecorated to make it feel like a comfy living room that you can make records in.
Has the award helped to boost your profile in the industry? I received a lot of congratulations from people I really respect, which was incredible to hear. I also got to meet many people at the awards show itself that I’ve stayed in touch with ever since. In this industry you’re never sure exactly what got you a certain project, but the publicity surrounding the award was very helpful.
What is the project you are most proud to have worked on over the past year? I engineered the latest Coronas album Trust the Wire. It’s an amazing album from a really great band. It ended up going to No.1 in the album charts over in Ireland.
And what has been the most challenging project during that time? I’ve mixed two film scores recently for feature films. There’s so much more to consider when mixing in surround and for picture, I find I can’t work as quickly as when I’m just doing music. It’s very rewarding though, and it’s always nice to do projects that make you think differently.
Tell us about how you came to get involved in the audio industry. I played in bands as a teenager, and was lucky enough to make a couple of records in some half decent studios. While we were in there, I became fascinated by what the engineer was doing, and I was definitely the annoying kid client asking hundreds of questions while he was working! I was so interested that I set up a little home studio in my parents’ spare bedroom and started recording local bands. I went to the University of Surrey and did the ‘Tonneister’ course, which included a year working in the industry that I spent at Ignition Studio, I think
that may be called The Library now. After graduating I freelanced as an assistant and an engineer at a few different places and eventually got offered a full-time position at Eastcote Studios. I’ve been there ever since and it’s been an amazing place to establish myself. It’s a fantastic studio and you’re surrounded by a community of incredible producers, engineers and musicians.
What advice would you offer anyone just starting out in the industry? If you want to work in a studio, it is very competitive but there is work out there. Unfortunately, a degree in music/engineering is considered by most places a requirement to be a tea boy/girl, so you have to turn up with a decent amount of prior knowledge. Studios now expect you to at least know the basics when you arrive. Keep up to date with all the latest software and techniques, particularly stuff from smaller companies that may not have a lot of users yet. In music production, a lot of people who may hire you will be experts at the equipment they use, but that equipment may be quite old. If you can show them something new or use a new piece of software much faster than they can, suddenly you’re very useful. Make sure you develop skills in all areas of production; all the most successful engineers I know have a good musical ear and are able to contribute more than just recording skills to a project. n
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P10 SEPTEMBER 2017
Lessons in audio
In a new regular feature for PSNEurope, every month we will be sitting down with leading figures across the industry who are playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of pro audio. Here, Daniel Gumble chats to MPG managing director and JAMES events director Tony Platt to find out what the organisation is doing for the next generation of audio professionals… Tell us about JAMES and how it was formed? JAMES was originally formed by MPG and APRS to spearhead both organisations’ education initiative. It has since broadened its reach and now includes as associate members AMPS (Association of Motion Picture Sound), PLASA, UK Screen Association, MIA (Music Industry Association), ABTT (Association of British Theatre Technicians) and Drama UK. BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) and IASIG (Interactive Audio Special Interest Group) are endorsing members of the JAMES Accreditation Scheme.
What is its main objective? The principal objective initially was to accredit courses at universities that focus on music and music technology. However as more industry bodies have joined us we have expanded the range of courses that we accredit. Our specific remit is to act as the industry liaison with the education sector but we see ourselves very much as a support network for the courses and especially the students. We want to make sure that the courses match up to their prospectus and deliver on what they promise – naturally having first ascertained, via the accreditation process, that the courses in question are offering industry standard qualifications.
EDUCATION IS VITAL - THERE IS NO TANGIBLE HELP OR SUPPORT COMING FROM GOVERNMENT AND THE TRADITIONAL PATHWAYS OF TEA-BOY, TAPE OP, ENGINEER IS NO LONGER VIABLE
Tell us about any recent initiatives you have been working on? Most recently we ran another of the JAMES/GDF (Gus Dudgeon Foundation) courses. This took place at Leeds Beckett University and was overseen by Ken Scott. You can find out more about that and the initiative as a whole at www.jamesonline.org.uk. We are in the process of organising another version of this initiative featuring classical recording.
During the course of the year I have organised a number of lecture/workshop series for some of the accredited courses.
How crucial is it that the pro audio industry continues to ramp up its focus on the producers and engineers of tomorrow? Quite frankly it is vital – there is no tangible help or support for this aspect of our industry coming from government and the traditional pathways of tea-boy, tape operator, engineer, producer is no longer viable. It is also important because a direct result of the “democratisation” of music means the tools of the trade are readily accessible to anyone. Naturally this is exciting because it overcomes many of the obstacles that previously existed and provides opportunities that simply didn’t exist when I first started. However, it also means that the natural filters are no longer applied, which can result in a lowering of standards and loss of good practice. It is important that the skills are passed on, too – I’m a great believer that passing on skills and methods is essential, so upcoming engineers and producers can decide what they would prefer to take forward and, as a result, develop new approaches of their own.
Do you have any examples of how JAMES has helped boost people’s career progression?
When we go to conduct an accreditation, we spend a good deal of time talking to students. During one of these exchanges we asked whether the JAMES accreditation influenced their decision to take that particular course – a significant majority of the students told us that they chose that course over others because of the JAMES accreditation. We are in the process of establishing a database of graduates so they can pitch themselves to prospective employers.
How can people get involved with JAMES and make use of its educational offering? For students it’s easy – just go to www.jamesonline. org.uk to access the advice and resources. Manufacturers, dealers and distributors can also become Friends of JAMES and support our initiative by visiting the website. Educational establishments wishing to accredit their courses should apply via the website http://www.jamesonline.org.uk/accreditation/ accred_process/. We are always looking for more professionals to get involved in the running of JAMES – currently it is all done by a core of us on a voluntary basis – anyone interested should contact here http://www.jamesonline.org.uk/ contact/contact_general/ n
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P12 SEPTEMBER 2017
2B or not 2B: Dave Wooster
Special K Last month, K-array’s UK distributor 2B Heard struck a deal that saw Ireland’s Professional Audio named official dealer for the brand across the country. 2B Heard director David Wooster gives Daniel Gumble the inside track on the new agreement…
or David Wooster, director at K-array’s UK distributor 2B heard, the Italian-based speaker specialist is entering something of a purple patch. Despite boasting an impressive line-up of high-end compact audio solutions, the K-array brand has arguably been seen by some as an “alternative option”, as opposed to a “go to product”. Now, however, the perception of the brand is starting to change. The company is currently ramping up its presence on the international market, most recently with a new exclusive official dealership agreement with Ireland’s Professional Audio, and, says Wooster, consultants and designers are waking up to the possibilities of what K-array has to offer. “Globally, the brand is changing and is becoming more accepted, with people appreciating how good it sounds,” Wooster enthuses. “It’s establishing itself as a go to product. More consultants and designers are realising it is exactly the right product. They are going to it now, rather than it just being an option, because they know it ticks all the boxes.” So what can Professional Audio bring to the table? According to Wooster, the shared vision and symbiosis between the companies will provide the perfect platform for long-term success in the region. “We needed a reliable partner who is strong in the pro audio install sector and they really fit the bill in Ireland,” he explains. “They are growing in a really strong way. They have exactly the same outlook and vision as us, and that will hopefully benefit our growth.
K-array products bring them a high-end loudspeaker system that is unique in the market, in terms of quality, performance and form factor.” Another appealing aspect for 2B Heard was Professional Audio’s history with K-array, having served as its official dealer when the brand was previously distributed by Sennheiser. Gareth McCarthy, business development manager at Professional Audio, tells PSNEurope: “We already have experience in selling K-Array into the country and it was only natural that this deal would come at this time of growth in this sector in Ireland. Both companies (Professional Audio and 2B Heard) focus on high quality product and top customer service. Our past experience in selling K-array gives us a unique position within the Irish market and will allow us to go back to our past customers with good news and some new products to promote and sell.” McCarthy also claims that the business is ready to hit the ground running with K-array, with a raft of promotions and sales initiatives already in place. “Besides the usual social media and marketing channels, the first thing we intend to do is the K-array open day in October,” he continues. “We have already spoken to a few key accounts within the country and interest in this is high. We also have the advantage of having a man on the ground who can visit the customers directly, and finally we have a 25-plus-yearold address book with whom we can spread the word. “We have also discussed looking into offering some
initial buy-in discount or solution based deal – for example, if a customer buys a K-Array system we can look at offers within our full product catalogue to offer the most complete solution possible.” The biggest challenge, and, indeed, opportunity, McCarthy adds, is differentiating K-array from the rest of the competition and enabling customers to experience exactly what it has to offer. “We need to demonstrate why K-array is a premium solution as compared to brands that are positioned towards the lower end of the market,” he says. “But we have a tremendous advantage because as soon as customers experience K-array, they understand what makes it special. It’s all about giving people the chance to see the quality and hear the fidelity of K-array solutions, and that’s precisely what we’re going to do.” As far as new products and launches are concerned, mum is very much the word as we enter Q4 2017, although Wooster hints at some big announcements on the horizon. “There’s a lot of exciting stuff coming up from K-Array over the next 12-18 months,” Wooster concludes. “Globally, America and Asia are really driving forward, but orders we are trying to place are in the queue and are having to wait because there are such significant orders coming from outside the UK at the moment. As a brand it really is growing. K-array have a vision other companies don’t seem to have, and they follow that through in everything they do, which is good for us but also for the market as a whole.” n
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35% more compact, 100% dLive Experience next generation digital mixing with the full power of dLive’s 96kHz XCVI processing core, intuitive Harmony UI and DEEP embedded plugins. Now in an agile new compact class.
3 new Surfaces + 3 new MixRack sizes Includes 19” rack mountable C1500 surface 128 inputs / 16 FX returns / 64 configurable busses Dante, Waves, MADI + Optical option cards Full dLive ecosystem - apps, software, expanders + remotes
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P14 SEPTEMBER 2017
Across the pond, the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) has been doing great things to redress the gender imbalance in the professional audio industry. Here, the US organisation’s founder and executive director, Terri Winston, explains why such initiatives are so vital… Tell us about the origins of WAM? WAM started as a club for the women in the Sound Record Arts degree programme that I had started at City College of San Francisco when I was a professor there. I managed to get the enrolment of women in the programme up over 50% and after our first showing at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in 2003, everything took off. We had gear donated to start a studio and a lot of interest in how we were addressing gender inequity in audio. I founded WAM as its own nonprofit entity in 2003 and have been riding the tiger ever since. We own and run the only professional recording studio in the world built and run by women here in San Francisco where we now train over 1,500 women and girls every year, and we have just opened a second location in Oakland that will allow us to reach over 3,000 girls every year by 2020. What are the organisation’s main goals? WAM addresses two critical issues: the fact that less than 5% of the people creating and shaping all of the sounds, messages and media in our lives are women, and the alarming decline in women/girls enrolling in college STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) programmes (a 70% decline since 2000). Girls are not getting the proper messages in their lives to succeed and become leaders because less than 5% women are involved in the production of those messages. If girls learn to create the music and media to amplify their own voices and creatively solve problems, they will create meaningful change in messages about women, decrease the gender gap in tech and become the next innovators and leaders. What have you achieved since launching? Have you seen a rise in women working in the industry? WAM has provided over 2,500 courses to 10,000 young women in pro audio, recording engineering, music production and STEM. And we have placed over 500 women in positions at Dolby Labs, Google, Pixar, Electronic Arts, Skywalker Sound, Sennheiser, Facebook, NPR, Pandora, Comedy Central, on tour with Tracy Chapman and in most venues in across Northern Californa. Our graduates have worked on projects with Kronos Quartet, Angelique Kidjo (2015 Grammy win), Tune Yards, National Geographic, Academy-Award nominated soundtrack to the film Dirty Wars, sound design for Harry Potter films and for acclaimed authors
‘Pretty far behind’: Terri Winston says the industry has a long way to go before achieving gender equality
Salman Rushdie and Cleve Jones.” How important are initiatives likes this for raising the profile of women in the industry and creating more opportunities for career progression? It’s extremely important for girls to be exposed to the wide variety of technology career paths available including non-traditional careers where women are greatly under-represented, such as audio and tech. WAM has made great strides with our programmes, which provide consistent access to role models and mentors, as well as hands-on experience across a wide variety of career paths that intersect or use audio skills. What are the biggest obstacles facing women looking to start a career in the industry or progress further ? We still have a pervading culture that isn’t beneficial for women entering or staying in the industry. It’s an industry pretty far behind in terms of diversity and inclusion, so much so that there is very little mastery in the appropriate language. We still have to deal with questions about whether women are suited for this work or worse yet, crazy statements that our brains are different and not able to perform as well as a man’s in an audio environment. Then there is the common comment that women aren’t interested in audio. As cutting edge as our industry is in tech, one would hope it would translate to gender diversity, but we are not there yet.
And what are the biggest opportunities? The biggest growth areas cross over into computer science, as well as large scale A/V design, followed closely by game audio. How has the rest of the audio industry embraced WAM? WAM has been fortunate to have strong partnerships and support, especially from companies like Dolby Labs, who not only made a significant financial investment but also hired 14 of our graduates and now is providing access to women engineers as mentors. 90% of the equipment used in our courses and in our studio has been donated by partner manufacturers, and we have built a strong community of male allies – almost 50% of our social media subscribers are men. What advice would you give to women considering a career in audio? Jump in! Follow your curiosity, face your fears and find a mentor. Women’s Audio Mission is a worldwide community that supports women and girls entering professional audio. We offer online training at SoundChannel.org if you would like to get an introduction to audio studies and our social media network reaches over 30,000 people from around the world. Also, come visit us at the upcoming Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York, October 18-20. n
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P15 SEPTEMBER 2017
Campaign for parental pay equality – what’s it all about? Revered recording engineer Olga Fitzroy is launching a petition to make shared parental pay available to the self-employed. Here, she tells PSNEurope why this subject is so important for the audio industry…
started my career nearly 15 years ago, at Sir George Martin’s AIR Studios, and worked my way up through the ranks for a decade. In 2013 I went freelance to engineer Coldplay’s sixth studio album, Ghost Stories, with producers Rik Simpson and Paul Epworth. My son was born in November 2015 and I was looking forward to sharing the childcare with my husband, as the new Shared Parental Leave regulations had just come into force. When it came to filling in the forms I realised that I wasn’t eligible because I was self-employed. I could get Maternity Allowance but couldn’t share this with my husband. As a self-employed woman with no job-security, other than the loyalty of my clients, I was expected to take 39 weeks off with only 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days to maintain client relationships. How would people know that I was still alive and hadn’t decided to ditch the mixing desk in favour of baby massage and prosecco in the park? I couldn’t quite believe that there would still be legislation that so thoroughly tramples the notions of equality that I grew up with, but this is very much the case for nearly five million self-employed people. I ended up stretching my 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days to their limit; my husband took holiday for childcare and I cut short my maternity period in order to be able to do the projects I wanted to maintain my career. In February 2016 I won the MPG Recording Engineer of the Year award, and consequently did numerous interviews for industry press, and was often asked how I was juggling motherhood with work. A valid question, but not one I ever recall reading in an interview with a male engineer or producer with a young family. After yet another question about this, I ended up having a bit of a vent about the inherent sexism in the current parental benefits system for freelancers and, on reading it back, I decided to actually get off my arse and do something about it - as a good friend of mine often says, ‘nobody likes a moaner’. I first contacted the MPG (Music Producers Guild) to see if they could help with a campaign. They were hugely supportive and got UK Music, the industry
Olga Fitzroy Photo credit: Blake Ezra Photagraphy
lobbyists, on board. While the music industry does have issues with underrepresentation of women and people from BAME backgrounds, there seems to be a real willingness to change this. I have had nothing but support from the people in the music and filmindustries that I’ve spoken to. In just a few months we’ve run a survey, submitted a report to a government review (which incidentally went on to recommend exactly what we’ve been asking for), met with politicians, seen our policy in the Labour manifesto, and have now launched a petition. As Shared Parental Pay/Leave itself is relatively new, many people aren’t even aware there’s an issue. So some of this campaign is about raising awareness - telling self-employed people what they’re missing out on, by talking to membership organisations, including trade unions, and asking them to highlight the issue to their members. There are reports of a 1-4% uptake of SPL amongst employees, but in our survey 75% of respondents said they’d take Shared Parental Pay/Leave if they became eligible in the future. 43% of people in the creative industries are self-employed, with much of the work being project-based and very reliant on clientrelationships. It can be a business and family-finance
disaster for mothers to hide away for the first year and let their businesses slide, and besides, most fathers want to spend more time with their kids. Without paid holiday or shared parental leave, there are many self-employed fathers who simply cannot afford to take time off work to help with childcare, therefore leaving women literally holding the baby. Our aim is to explain the issue as simply as possible, highlighting the effect it has on people, and put pressure on the government to make the change. We’ve recently joined forces with maternity discrimination pressure group Pregnant Then Screwed and are supporting their ‘March Of The Mummies’ protest, a family march from Trafalgar Square to Westminster on Halloween, where we will put a list of demands to the government - including Shared Parental Pay for the self-employed. The change we are proposing shouldn’t cost more money, it is simply a case of making the £140 a week that mothers are entitled to available to either parent, I am hopeful we can find the political will to do this. At a time when the 18% gender pay-gap is rightly under scrutiny, particularly in media, the government cannot afford to do nothing, and I’m proud that the music industry is leading this change. n www.parentalpayequality.org.uk
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P16 SEPTEMBER 2017
The beat goes on The annual BPM|PRO show has been the subject of much change in recent years, with venue moves and the addition of new features keeping the event in a state of perpetual evolution. Mark Walsh, CEO of event organiser Marked Events, tells Daniel Gumble why 2017 is a key outing and what attendees can expect from the Birmingham extravaganza…
t’s hard to believe that BPM celebrates its tenth birthday this year. The annual DJ expo, which launched back in 2007 specifically for the electronic music and DJ market, has undergone numerous overhauls and facelifts over the past few years, giving it the feel of a new show when it arrives every September, as opposed to one that has been a staple on the UK pro audio events calendar for the past decade. The moment when things really started to change for BPM can be traced back to 2014, when the new PRO event was added to the mix as a conjoined, yet separate entity, with a core focus on the professional audio and lighting industry. The following year, BPM and PRO followed the same template, sharing a venue yet serving two different audiences. Then, in 2016, both BPM and PRO parted ways with their traditional home at the Birmingham NEC to take residence in the city’s Genting Arena as one united show under the BPM|PRO banner. It is this format that the show will stick to this year, as it bids to carve out a steady and consistent identity. According to Mark Walsh, CEO of event organiser Marked Events, BPM|PRO may finally have found its
ideal format. “The layout of the space really works with us on this one, the Forum Live will house the core DJ brands, features and Learn zones specific to it, with the Arena taking centre stage for the sound and lighting brands,” Walsh tells PSNEurope. “Add in some clever lighting (or lack thereof in some instances) and the flow between works really well, as well as being suitable for the brands within. “It does have it’s challenges, especially when you’re trying to make sure there is something for everyone to see and to surpass expectations as we have always endeavoured to do… but with our features, education sessions and, not to mention the amazing effort our brands put in each year, I think the mix works really well. I also don’t think that any one visitor, or exhibitor for that matter, comes for any one thing anymore… they have a wide range of interests and, in the brands’ case, target audiences, and the show really ticks a lot of these boxes for them.” According to Walsh, last year’s BPM|PRO garnered positive responses from across the pro audio industry, with both exhibitors and attendees praising the PRO
element’s offering. He is, however, also conscious that there are still refinements and improvements that could help stretch the reach of the show further still. “Last year in general was a really positive year… the new space worked amazingly well for our pro audio brands, and the visitor profile widened again on the previous year,” Walsh explains. “Of course, there are areas that we need to work on and tweaks to be made to our offerings to make this event work even more for them… but we have always had such a strong audio presence at the show, and we are certainly here to learn and listen to what they want to achieve and how this can be done.” While the format remains untouched, the 2017 edition of the show is not entirely without change. A number of features will take on a new look this time around in a move to offer exhibitors more bang for their buck and a more cohesive experience for visitors. He explains: “The PA Experience will become a more brand-led feature instead of our usual shoot off style, allowing the brands to be able to show the systems they want to show, instead of what fits into our ‘categories’. They will also gain more control over the music and be able
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P17 SEPTEMBER 2017
to showcase their brand a lot better. Then our Pro Audio Demo moves outside - something we have been asked to do for a couple of year - and which will give it a completely different feel and sound of course. “In addition to our already hugely popular FX stage and Arena, we will also be demonstrating some Timecode integration of sound/lighting and video on the show floor. “On the DJ side of things, we have an amazing new Portable Turntable Zone and are holding the world premier of the European Portable Turntable conference, which is obviously really exciting, and a completely new element for this year.” A key concern for any trade show at present is the highly competitive nature of the pro audio events space. Since around the same time that BPM spawned PRO, the sands have well and truly shifted when it comes to business expos of this kind. Frankfurt’s once rocksteady Prolight + Sound and Musikmesse shows have faced mounting criticism for severe format changes and an apparently dwindling trade audience, while Amsterdam
gatherings, such as ISE and this month’s IBC, have soared in popularity among exhibitors and visitors. Winter NAMM, meanwhile, continues to bask in its status as the must-attend outing for many in the global audio market. So what is BPM|PRO doing to ensure it remains competitive and offers the business something it can’t already get elsewhere? “Aside from having quite a consistent sound offering year-on-year, both on the show floor and in our features, I think, because we tend to think outside the box when it comes to trade shows, we can offer something a bit different to the usual scene,” Walsh says. “So, if brands tend to have something they want to do, and it doesn’t fit into the normal format… we’d like to think we’d be the first call, we are always open to new ideas of how to showcase product.” He continues: “Changes to shows both national and international have been huge… the reasons brands use them for, and why they don’t anymore, have been something that, whilst throwing up challenges for
us, have been interesting to see in terms of how the industry is evolving… it certainly is never dull.” As for the immediate future, there appears to be little doubt in Walsh’s mind that the forecast is bright for both segments of the BPM|PRO show. Though challenges are inevitable, he insists that with each twist and turn in the industry’s evolution, there will always be opportunities to capitalise upon. “Just getting a clear message out there and making sure the event is firmly down in people’s minds as a year-on-year must visit is a challenge to a certain extent,” Walsh concludes. “Brand support is vital for us to make sure we have a consistent offering so those visitors know what to expect each year when they walk through our doors. Even if that expectation is to find something new and interesting. “The space we are in lends itself to so much to that - we are quite literally in a venue that is purpose-built for the type of products that are on display and we are not governed by the sq/m which is really exciting… the possibilities are endless.” n
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P18 SEPTEMBER 2017
2017 has been a big year for plugins specialist Waves, with a raft of products making a big splash in the market place. Daniel Gumble caught up with the companyâ€™s EVP of sales and marketing, Mike Olesh, to find out how it continues to be the brand of choice for engineers the world over and what it has up its sleeve for the rest of the year and beyondâ€Ś
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P20 SEPTEMBER 2017
Sound Waves: The LV1 software mixer
ake a peek inside the toolbox of just about any audio producer or engineer, be they from the live, studio, broadcast or any other sector, and more often than not you’ll find an abundance of Waves plugins. For years, Waves has been the go to brand across the industry in this regard, featuring prominently on everything from hit records and live shows from some of the biggest artists on the planet, through to blockbusting films, video games and international broadcasts. Ever since the business was established some 25 years ago, launching the world’s first audio plugin in the form of the Q10 paragraphic equalizer, it has continued to blaze a trail through the industry, taking every opportunity to fine tune its classic lines, whilst constantly looking to evolve its offering of new and innovative products. This year alone has seen the introduction of numerous successful plugins, including the Dugan Automixer + Dugan Speech Bundle, the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ, the Smack Attack transient shaper, the Brauer Motion and, last but not least, the CLA MixDown plugin.
As with every successful operation in the pro audio world, product evolution across the board has been hastened by the increasingly rapid development of new technologies. Yet, where some see the fast-paced nature of the biz and the constant need to adapt as a problem, others view it as an opportunity to be seized. This, explains Olesh, is where Waves comes into its own. “Generally speaking, Waves caters to and reaches a wide range of customers that use, or will be using, our tools, all of whom are affected in one way or another by the ever-changing paradigms of the industry,” he tells PSNEurope. “Some perceive these changes as a hindrance or an obstacle. We see it as an opportunity to adjust and perfect our strategies and tactics, may it be regarding the products we develop to suit these changing modes, or the manner in which we communicate and sell our products to the user.” He continues: “One big opportunity is our growing involvement in VR via Waves Nx. We cautiously predict that 3D audio technology will revolutionise the music industry. Since the adoption of stereo in the music industry in the 1950s, there hasn’t really been any
change to the format itself and, even throughout the digital revolution, the stereo format didn’t change. There were attempts for creating music in Quad and later - 5.1 formats, but they were never widely adopted, mainly, since very few people have the means to listen to these formats. Today, this is even more so, as more and more people tend to listen to music on headphones and less on speakers.” Olesh says that, via technologies like Waves Nx, there is a real opportunity for the firm to push the envelope. “With Nx, any user with a mobile device and a set of headphones can listen to surround and multichannel content. It can breathe new life into surround music production, now that everyone can listen to it on their headphones. In the future, it will also support formats that are unlimited in speaker count and positions. “Such formats will be initially adopted for VR, and there will most likely be applications in the music industry as well. Also, Waves Nx Head Tracker and Nx Virtual Mix Room over Headphones, has opened up new doors to headphone mixing, which has become more and more popular.”
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Going live Despite initially making tentative steps into the live market, Waves has made strong and steady progress in this corner of the industry. And with an ever-growing profile in the field, Olesh insists that the expanding avenues into the sector could hold great significance over the coming months and years. “What was, relatively not that long ago, a foray into live, Waves has now established itself as a major player, be it through the success of the Waves eMotion LV1 software mixer, via Waves SoundGrid technology and applications, which have become an industry standard for enabling a cost efficient, extremely low-latency environment for high-precision audio processing and efficient Audio-over-Ethernet networking. “It would be fair to say, that Waves SoundGrid has entirely changed the workflow possibilities of an engineer or a musician, as it has created the only networking system that allows real-time processing, networking and offloading. It provides low latency for SoundGrid-compatible plugins, runs on standard Intel CPUs and 1Gbit/s Ethernet networks, uses standard computers and switches, integrates with analogue and digital mixing consoles, provides redundancy and recovery, splits output to record on a standard DAW and can be used to comprise network infrastructure for sound installations.”
R&D One of the key drivers behind Waves’ ability to consistently introduce new technological innovations to the market, says Olesh, is its ongoing investment in the R&D process. Plus, with a team comprised almost exclusively of musicians and sound engineers, Olesh believes that the expertise of Waves staff provides it with a significant advantage over the competition. “Our goal has always been, and still is, to contribute the very best tools possible
Another big focus for Waves is its training initiative. Entitled Bridging The Gap, it is focused primarily on explaining both the opportunities and requirements that are now part of the live market, which, according to Waves, were previously only expected to be of relevance to those in the realm of the recording studio. “We are working to provide entry-level musicians and music creators, a system, where they are able to realise the potential of creating quality sound with suitable tools, together with an infrastructure that will be part of their long-term passion,” Olesh elaborates. “We train the wider spectrum of music creators on how they are Figure of Speech: Waves recently launched its Dugan Speech Bundle now able to use and take the same tools and technology to the artistic and creative process and to develop and that they use at home, in the studio, the rehearsal room provide solutions that enable unparalleled sonic quality and their live gig. The opportunity of using software for all audio applications. tools, racks and connectivity, that transfers from one “Waves invests a substantial amount of resources in location to the other, with seamless integration while R&D and every decision at Waves is a joint one. We have maintaining audio quality, is key to their success. Waves a yearly plan that goes through an ongoing revision is actively playing a big part in training and providing key process. Sales, product management and colleagues in elements in that process.” the industry all contribute to the decision process. He continues: “Evidently, many of the newcomers, “Considering the fact that most of our staff are are not trained, nor do they have similar educational either musicians or recording engineers themselves: backgrounds, as known producers or engineers have. employing an open work environment, where They speak a different language and operate on a employees can and are expected to express their views different level. Hence, our approach is done accordingly, re developing products and projects, contributes to the by including and creating audio tools that generate a validation of the decision process. We strive to make vibe and sound that they can relate to, a new type of GUI tools for the needs of a diverse user base. From novices, and UX /UI, that not only responds to their needs but to bedroom producers, to the very high end of audio also translates their ideas and mindset into music. This engineering needs and standards. This means that we is a great challenge that we are taking upon ourselves, have an obligation to cater to every kind of user out for the studio as well as in the live market.” there, including all music genres and all sound oriented As for those already well versed in Waves products, fields be it studio, live, broadcast, post production, sound Olesh states that the company forges close bonds design and more. With that in mind, at Waves, being with engineers and producers to ensure that it is ahead of the curve is an essential necessity. constantly assessing and meeting the demands of audio professionals working in the industry. “The majority of engineers and producers are Waves users. We work closely with them and in many cases, the interaction works both ways,” he concludes as our time draws to a close. “They have ideas that they forward to us, or we initiate a discussion with them. Before finalising, our products are first Beta-tested by a number of the industries’ top engineers. Where plugin emulation is concerned, most of Waves’ emulated products are created either with an engineer/producer or manufacturer. Obviously, our Artist Signature Series is done in collaboration with a designated engineer/artist, and certain emulated plugins are always done in tandem with experienced and proven engineers. Their feedback is an invaluable contribution to the quality of High Brau: Waves’ Brauer Motion was launched earlier this year our products.” n
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P22 SEPTEMBER 2017
Fab-ulous: The packed out Fabric tent at Lovebox 2017
Boxing clever This year’s Lovebox festival saw Pioneer Pro Audio’s new XY-3B system take pride of place at the event’s Fabric stage. Daniel Gumble went along to London’s Victoria Park to find out what the range has to offer…
pon arriving at Mile End Tube station for this year’s Lovebox, one could be forgiven for thinking they’d emerged from the underground, up the escalators and directly into the festival itself. The grey, overcast conditions hanging moderately heavy overhead are at odds with the sights and sounds surrounding the station’s exit. Filling the air as I navigate my way to Victoria Park are howls of shrieking laughter and the clatter of thickly inebriated conversation, while glaring splashes of glitter and neon permeate the horizon, with almost everyone in sight headed in the direction of the venue, other than yours truly, bedecked in minimal, brightly coloured outfits, many spattered with body paint. For a retiring, 30-something indie type, I feel ever so slightly out of place. Around half an hour later I’m through the festival doors and in the refuge of the backstage area at the Fabric tent, where Pioneer Pro Audio’s brand new XY3B system is currently blasting out pulsating beats as a revolving door of DJs take to the booth. The stage is set up with 10 XY-3B (five per side) and 12 XY-218HS subs. For the DJ booth, four XY-218S and four XY-152 have been deployed, while two rear-fill clusters of two XY-122 project outside of the tent. Though the system may be new, the relationship between Pioneer Pro Audio and Fabric is anything but,
I learn from chatting to the Pioneer crew milling about side-stage. Last year, the iconic London club installed an XY Series system into its Room Two, delivering results that evidently impressed. “The club wanted a regular audio partner that could ensure its audio values were consistently maintained as it branches out with future live events,” Pioneer Pro Audio manager Alex Barrand tells PSNEurope. “The positive response of DJs and clubbers to the Room Two install led to Pioneer Pro Audio becoming that partner. It’s a pretty unique relationship in that Fabric will specify the use of our systems for all its external events in order to faithfully recreate the club’s special atmosphere. This year’s Lovebox was the first of many Fabric events we’ll be involved with in 2017.” Over the course of the two-day Lovebox festival, Barrand claims that the response from DJs, fans and engineers was overwhelmingly positive. “We received excellent feedback from everyone involved,” he asserts. “For many of the protagonists there was bound to be a degree of uncertainty in advance because XY-3B is a brand new system, but tour managers, engineers and DJs alike put their trust in the judgement of Fabric’s owners, did their jobs and gave it a universal thumbs up. Judging by the attendance in the tent and the reaction of the punters, everyone was very happy. Lovebox was one
of a number of events this summer where XY-3B was being put through its paces - we prepared well and continued to monitor and tweak things as we went along, so the data we gathered was hugely valuable as well.” With such strong ties to the EDM and clubbing scene on account of its partnership with Fabric, Barrand is also keen to point out that the new system is equally well suited to a vast and diverse array of genres and applications. “It’s certainly not limited to one generic area of use,” he continues. “The whole idea behind the system is that it is voiced as flat as possible to allow its fine-tuning for use across the widest variety of applications. Whether it’s dance, rock, thrash metal or drum and bass, the system is designed to allow end users to achieve the precise results they require, not by being voiced in one direction or another, but rather by being as high-quality and neutral as possible. To risk a metaphor, you might say it’s a high quality audio ‘blank canvas’ on which to start work - so the user isn’t having to ‘paint’ over anything first!” Set for an official release date at the end of September, Barrand says that the XY-3B represents a major addition to the company’s product line-up, telling PSNEurope there are huge opportunities in the offing for it to become a regular fixture at all manner
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of live events. “XY-3B, as a festival and touring system, is an important addition to our line-up and definitely expands our scope in terms of enabling us to offer solutions for the widest possible range of applications,” he says. “Taken together with our existing range, you could argue that Pioneer Pro Audio is now a one-stop shop for a solution to meet any requirement. There are as many opportunities as there are diverse events. The system is flexible, of very high quality and therefore has the potential to provide a solution in pretty much any situation. As has already been said, XY-3B isn’t restricted to one genre or field of application, so the opportunities are limitless.” Of course, as with any new product launch in this hyper-competitive area of the market, the biggest challenge lies arguably not in convincing people of XY-3B’s capabilities, but in distinguishing itself among a diversity of already established, highquality lines. “When we were developing the system, our challenge was to aim way above the bar in every respect and we believe we’ve achieved that,” Barrand elaborates. “Now, the real challenge is successfully breaking into a tough marketplace. The market is populated with some very high-quality systems and we need to demonstrate that this system is not just another good addition to the scene, but something that in every sense meets the very highest expectations of excellence. Rising to challenges is the hallmark of Pioneer Pro Audio’s progress, and we are confident that we can succeed with XY-3B.” With a heaving crowd growing steadily and more and more revelers descending upon the Fabirc stage, it’s time to let the crew get back to work and for PSNEurope to part ways and catch some of the rest of the festival. And while the XY-3B may have made its festival debut at the tail end of the 2017 festival season, if its Lovebox performance and subsequent feedback are anything to go by, it could well be set for a storming outing at festivals and live events of all shapes and sizes come this time next year. n
Loved up: Pioneer Pro Audio’s XY-3B in action
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28th September 2017
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Broadcast IBC 2017
P25 SEPTEMBER 2017
What not to miss at
IBC 2017 Having started as the International Broadcast Convention at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel in 1967, one of the industry’s biggest trade shows is celebrating its 50th anniversary year. PSNE’s Tara Lepore rounds up what’s on offer at this year’s IBC...
ow in its 50th year, the annual IBC expo is gearing up to open its doors once again to more than 1,700 exhibitors at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam. Taking place from September 15-19, the unmissable media, entertainment and technology trade show kicks off with a conference day – featuring discussion and debate from some of the industry’s key figures – before the main exhibition opens to visitors on the 16th. With so much to see and do, we’ve rounded up a list of the exhibitors from the pro sound sector that we reckon are worth paying a visit to. With exhibitors demonstrating their newest products along with flagship staples, the best of the professional audio industry will be on show at IBC in September. If you haven’t already, register for IBC 2017 tickets here: https://show.ibc.org
Audinate Audinate will demonstrate its new Dante firmware v4.0 for the popular Brooklyn II audio networking module. Dante firmware 4.0 delivers critical support for Dante Domain Manager (DDM), alongside performance improvements and bug fixes. This release allows manufacturers to immediately provide field upgrades for existing products to make them DDM-ready. Dante 4.0 firmware is standard for all Brooklyn II modules shipped by Audinate beginning
Calrec’s Artemis Ray monitor panel allows more faders in a reduced surface area
early in Q4 2017. Brooklyn II v4.0 is a key component in the Dante 4.0 system update, which will implement DDM support across the Dante ecosystem. Only products that are updated with the v4.0 firmware will be able to fully participate in Dante Domains. Audinate’s DDM brings essential new functionality to Dante networks, including user authentication, rolebased security and audit capabilities, while allowing nearly unlimited expansion and organisation of Dante systems over any network topology. Dante Domain Manager is a virtualised application that runs on Windows and Linux desktop and server platforms, with an intuitive and highly responsive web interface. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.A15
Calrec Audio’s Artemis Ray digital audio console will make its European debut at IBC. Artemis Ray has 456 fully featured input channels and can handle up to 72 faders. Via a brand-new fader/monitor panel, Artemis Ray sports a new surface layout that allows more faders in a reduced surface area. The panel is the same width as a standard Artemis fader panel and includes eight full-size faders to give operators even more control and a higher fader density in a smaller footprint. This configuration saves around 200 millimetres when compared with similar control surfaces, delivering more power than ever in such a small footprint. Calrec is also exhibiting its RP1 remote production unit, a live broadcast product allowing high quality content from remote locations. Remote production offers the ability to capture a broader range of live events, such as sports, news, or regional music festivals. Broadcasters can’t always justify the time or expense of sending a dedicated outside broadcast truck – and a team of skilled onsite operators – for niche events, so RP1 ensures that the same high broadcast standards are met whatever event you’re covering. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.C61
Cedar Audio Cedar Audio is dedicated to the research, development
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P26 SEPTEMBER 2017
Broadcast IBC 2017
and implementation of noise suppression systems for broadcast, post, live sound, remastering, archiving and audio forensics. At IBC, it will be highlighting its DNS 2 product. The two-channel dialogue noise suppressor can already be seen in studios worldwide, providing clean audio for broadcast. Also found on the sets of major movies and TV productions, it’s simple to operate and can be used to clean the audio ‘there and then’ – or for confidence checking that all will be well in postproduction. It will also be demonstrating the DNS 8 live noise suppressor, together with the latest Cedar Studio suite of VST and AAX plug-ins that eliminate noise problems encountered in film and TV post. Also on show will be its flagship Cedar Cambridge workstation, which addresses audio restoration and speech enhancement needs. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.D98
dB’s ASI monitoring equipment has been popular with broadcasters for more than 20 years
the stand. This receiver was speciall engineered for the demands of DVB-T2 and its reliability has been proven across the UK transmission networks and at remote transmitter sites. Also on show will be the Cardinal Range of MDUs – of which dB Broadcast is one of the largest suppliers – with over 1,500 supplied in the last two years to Arqiva, Atos, BBC, Ericsson, Google, ICC and many others. Where? Hall 10; stand 10.A28
Digico Digico’s flagship SD7B and SD12 models are built to handle large stadium and event projects, which often require increased channel counts. The broadcastspecific SD7B delivers advanced audio processing for over 250 input sources, an integrated 5.1 monitor matrix, plus multiple embedded touchscreens for control and monitoring. With additional fader units, multiple network options and 192Khz processing, Digico’s SD7B is a future-proof console for the most demanding broadcast projects. The SD12 features 72 input channels, 36 aux/group busses, a 12x8 matrix, and LR/LCR buss, all with full processing capability. The SD12 has a compact footprint, yet still benefits from multiple touchscreens and is the first SD console with a built-in recording interface. The SD11B and S31 are small footprint consoles for OB, flypack and venue requirements. The ultra-compact SD11B broadcast console has an 80-channel capability with full processing and routing flexibility, including LCRS and 5.1 mixes plus stereo and LCR. The latest S-Series range delivers Digico performance including 48 flexi input channels, multiple touchscreens and 96Khz processing. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.C62
Experts from dB Broadcast will be on hand at this year’s IBC to discuss any broadcast-related challenges that visitors might have experienced over the past year. Several high profile projects will also be highlighted on the stand, including recent international feats in the Middle East, India, Australia and the Netherlands. The company’s experience includes IP-based systems that are designed to deliver step change benefits for your business, and ensure investments are future-proofed for tomorrow’s needs. Products on show will include the Hawkeye modular range of ASI monitoring and switching equipment, popular with broadcasters for more than 20 years. The self-contained Merlin monitoring receiver will also be at
On show for the first time in Europe is DPA’s new D:vice Digital Audio Interface – an audio accessory for ‘on the go’ content creators and mobile journalists. The D:vice MMA Digital Audio Interface works with any iOS device, Mac or PC computer, making it simpler for users to broadcast or record audio from anywhere in the world. Journalists already use smartphones to report the news, capturing high-quality pictures and videos on the spot. However, it could be argued that the missing component on several models has been high-quality audio – something that is vital for news broadcasts where audio quality must match the visual footage for the message to be understood. “This is the first pocket-sized digital audio interface that can deliver sound that rivals studio recordings,” says René Mørch, product manager at DPA Microphones. “The D:vice Digital Audio Interface was designed with broadcasters and mobile journalists in mind, but can also be used by other content makers for recording music, filming on location and during both live
Digico will have its SD consoles on stand 8.C62 at IBC
and recorded broadcasts. With this interface, users can portably record and stream clear and professional audio from the connected microphones.” When used with a DPA microphone, the D:vice can capture or stream audio to a studio quality. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.D70
Lawo Lawo’s MC² 96 display with Kick 2.0 video production programme
Lawo will present its complete product range, including the MC² 96 Grand Production Console, specifically designed to provide optimal performance in IP video production environments. Available with 24 to 200 faders, the MC²96 console features 21.5“ full HD touchscreens as well as multiple mini colour-TFTs in channel strips and touch-sensitive colour-coded encoders, providing fast overview and user-friendly operation. Lawo’s new production console features LiveView real-time video thumbnails right at the fader’s mini TFTs for intuitive channel identification. Touching a fader changes the LiveView thumbnail to full-screen mode, providing a more detailed view of that channel’s video source, such as a camera or a replay machine. Addressing live broadcast and performing arts applications, the MC²96 offers many innovative mix-assist systems enabling the sound engineer to concentrate on the overall balance and sound quality of the production. It supports Lawo’s automated close-ball mixing solution for sports such as football, hockey, basketball and more. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.B50
Lectrosonics Lectrosonics will be showcasing the Duet digital wireless monitor (IEM) system. The new system consists of the M2T half-rack transmitter and M2R diversity belt pack receiver, uses digital modulation for transmission and can accept analogue inputs or digital inputs via Dante networked audio. The 24-bit digital audio stream guarantees high-resolution sound quality with wide dynamic range, low noise floor, and rock-solid stereo image. The Duet system is designed and developed with professional touring, installation, theatre, filmmaking and broadcast customers in mind. Lectrosonics will also be showing its full range of wireless microphone products including the award-
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Axient Digital builds on the superior benefits of Shure UHF-R, ULX-D, and Axient wireless systems to create a new, highly scalable system featuring a universal receiver that works across two transmitter ranges (AD and ADX series) to effectively replace UHF-R and Axient. Designed from the ground up with customer input, the new system proudly features the world’s first microbodypack with an internal antenna. Its wide tuning bandwidth makes it easier to find clean, compatible frequencies across Europe. Outdoor events with multiple broadcasters and OB trucks can coordinate primary and backup frequencies to move and avoid interference if it occurs, with no impact on the audio quality. Axient Digital’s ShowLink feature enables broadcasters to confidently control any transmitter parameter remotely. Other products on show will include PSM 1000 In-Ear Personal Monitoring System, ULX-D and QLX-D Digital Wireless Systems and the MOTIVTM MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.B35
Lectrosonics Duet monitors have been designed with broadcast customers in mind
winning SSM micro transmitter, the Venue 2 multichannel rack receiver system, the SRc dual-channel portable receiver, the HMa plug-on and HHa handheld wideband transmitters, the WM watertight transmitter, and the award-winning SM Series line of compact transmitters. In addition, Lectrosonics will show the Aspen line of digital matrix mixers and conference units with 48 mix bus architecture. Also in the booth will be the DNT line of Dante networked audio components, including the DNT16i input module, the DNT0212 output unit, the DNTBOB88 breakout box, and the 2x2 series of Dante end-points. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.C73
Nugen Audio Nugen Audio will be showcasing its advanced solutions for surround upmixing and end-to-end loudness management, metering and correction. New products at IBC will be the Halo Upmix 3D Immersive Extension with Ambisonic output and native Pro Tools 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos stem compatibility. The 3D Immersive Extension builds on the Halo 9.1 Extension, adding further options beyond the existing Dolby Atmos bed track capability. The 3D Immersive Extension now provides Ambisonic compatible output as an alternative to channel-based output for VR, game and other immersive applications. This makes it possible to upmix, repurpose or convert channel-based audio for an Ambisonic workflow. At this year’s IBC, the Halo Upmix will also be on display at the Avid stand in the company’s new native 7.1.2 tracks in Pro Tools. Nugen Audio will also be demonstrating support for new formats for its Audio Management Batch (AMB) processor, its modular software designed for automated batch analysis and
modification of audio and video files, for loudness, dynamics adaptation and upmixing. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.D56
Shure’s ADX-series Axient Digital Wireless System
Rode Microphones Rode Microphones started 2017 by previewing a number of new products at their anniversary Rodeshow event in Las Vegas. At IBC, it will also be showcasing some of these products– notably the VideoMic Pro+. Still with the Rycote Lyre suspension system onboard, the VideoMic Pro+ improves on the existing VideoMic Pro capsule, line tube and windshield. The upgraded version has a number of new features including an auto-off function and new power options with the included lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery or continuous power option via micro USB. Rode has also added new digital switching options including a two-stage high pass filter, three-stage gain control, high frequency boost and safety channel to help ensure the signal does not clip. “The VideoMic Pro+ is a new benchmark in oncamera microphones,” comments CEO Damien Wilson. “We have listened to our customers and are delivering the microphone they’ve asked for.” Alongside the VideoMic Pro+, Rode will also have their full range of existing broadcast microphones on display at the show. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.D96
Shure Shure will be highlighting its new Axient Digital Wireless System at IBC 2017, a microphone system with stability and audio clarity, while offering a solution to shrinking RF spectrum.
Yamaha Commercial Audio Yamaha is exhibiting its flagship Rivage PM10 with both the CSR-10 and the new CSR-10-S control surfaces. The CSR-10-S offers the same outstanding operability and functionality as the CS-R10, but is approximately 30% smaller for use in environments with limited space. The system also features the latest V1.5 firmware, which includes Dan Dugan Sound Design automated mixing, providing automatic gain adjustment of up to 64 speech microphones in real time. As well as suppressing feedback and comb filter effects, it is designed to free the engineer from the need to keep track of numerous faders in challenging, unscripted speech situations. At the other end of the scale, TF-Rack is a digital mixing solution for mobile or local broadcast studios where space is at a premium. Occupying just 3U in a standard 19-inch rack, the digital mixer features 40 input mixing channels, 20 Aux buses, eight DCA groups with roll-out and comprehensive I/O connections. It can be set up and operated by wireless apps, allowing it to be used in even in the smallest space. Where? Hall 8; stand 8.C71 n www.show.ibc.org
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Technology: Broadcast consoles
Broadcast consoles: Getting the mix right PSNE’s Tara Lepore takes a close look at some of the best broadcast consoles on the market...
ith so many broadcast consoles options available – and new technology being developed year after year – choosing a scalable model to suit different projects and requirements is no mean feat. As such, an important component of this kit is flexibility, and – increasingly – portability. For this month’s product feature we spoke to senior experts at established pro audio manufacturers about their top broadcast desks. With multiple add-ons and tools to assist mixing methods, here’s our round-up of some the best models in the industry for your broadcast needs.
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Allen & Heath “Allen & Heath’s dLive is a flexible, networkable, scalable mixing system,” says product manager Nicola Beretta. “Installed in several TV studios from Germany to Panama, dLive has also mixed countless TV shows, such as The Voice in Turkey, Holland’s Got Talent, Dance With The Stars in France, and the Gadget Show in the UK. “Seven different MixRacks and six surfaces are offered, catering for all requirements and applications, from full redundancy to compact, lightweight options. The MixRack houses the 96kHz XCVI Core, with 64 configurable busses and 5.1 surround sound. I/O Expanders are available in fixed, portable or modular format, and up to 46 can be deployed in a single dLive system thanks to the newly released DX Hub. “An array of networking cards, including Dante, Waves SG, MADI and no less than four AES3 options, adds to the system capability to deliver over 800 system I/O with flexible routing and seamless format and sample rate conversion. The new 128x128, 96kHz
The dLive supports a number of networking cards, from Dante to Waves SG
superMADI card helps integrating with broadcast matrix systems and OB vans over long-distance fibre
runs, while network-based GPIO interfaces can be configured for on-air lights or fader start logic.”
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Technology: Broadcast consoles
Calrec Audio “Our RP1 console is a remote broadcast mixing system in a 2U rackmount box,” explains Calrec’s Ian Cookson. “It provides local DSP to enable the generation of monitor mixes and IFBs with no latency. RP1 gives an operator in a remote studio control over channel functions as though it was an extension of the transmission console. “In other words, the operator sits behind their
Apollo or Artemis and controls the remote channel paths via local faders, like any other channel. This includes channel path fader levels and cuts, as well as aux send levels and ons, and aux master levels and cuts. “I/O connects to the RP1 via Hydra2 using either the modular slots or the Hydra2 port on the rear. This can provide a mechanism to directly embed audio into existing backhaul technologies, such as SDI.
The RP1’s simple set-up enables broadcasters to cover a wide range of content
Digico “Digico’s SD7B premiere live-to-air console is designed to handle growing multi-channel mixes and large event projects,” a Digico spokesperson tells PSNE. “With extensive expansion options, 192Khz processing and built-in hardware redundancy, the SD7B delivers a future proof console that can tackle the most demanding broadcast assignments. Featuring advanced processing power, the SD7B offers up to 254 processing channels with full processing such as Dynamic EQ and multiband compression, plus 128 of these channels can be busses configured as either mono, stereo, LCR or 5.1.
“In addition, the SD7B has a 32 x 32 Matrix and 36 Control Groups (VCA style), integrated 12 source Monitor Matrix, Back Stop PFL on all channels, Downmix capability and extensive Talkback facilities. Dual redundant internal removable processing engines and dual hot-swappable power supplies provide total peace of mind.
RP1 IS SIMPLE TO SET UP AND EASY TO USE, ENABLING BROADCASTERS TO COVER A GREATER NUMBER OF SPECIALISED EVENTS IAN COOKSON “All IFB routing and remote monitor mix levels can be achieved onsite - without connecting to the host console - via Assist, a browser-based application from the company. RP1 is simple to set up and easy to use, enabling broadcasters to cover a greater number of specialised events, such as regional sports and smaller entertainment events, at significantly reduced cost. This makes it possible to maintain an increasingly wide range of content.”
“For control and monitoring, three 15” TFT LCD touchscreens each sit above a bank of 12 faders, each complimented by Interactive Dynamic Metering. Expander fader units allow the physical fader count to reach 100, while extensive network and Digico rack I/O options expands the SD7B’s connectivity including multiple high speed Optocore loops.”
The SD7B can handle large event projects and multi-channel mixes
FEATURING ADVANCED PROCESSING POWER, DIGICO’S LIVE-TO-AIR SD7B CONSOLE DELIVERS A FUTURE PROOF SOLUTION THAT CAN TACKLE THE MOST DEMANDING BROADCAST ASSIGNMENTS
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Stage Tec “The Aurus platinum is our flagship multi-format production console, available in models comprising eight to 96 faders,” Stage Tec’s Kerstin Leppin tells PSNEurope. “The console offers fully motorised fader dynamic automation, editable snapshot and scene automation. “The Crescendo platinum mixing console is a response to the increased demand for slimmed down control surface and price but with high DSP power. Snapshot and scene automation is extensive with ability to set glide times between snapshots. “The On Air flex is a modular, flexible and scalable system aimed at the radio and smaller TV broadcast markets. The work surface consists of self-contained fader modules and a monitor module. The browser based GUI software runs on any PC linked via Ethernet to the controller unit mounted in the system frame. Avatus is a fully IP-based large mixing console with 21” multi-touch displays. “The console control surface and other elements
communicate via IP networks, enabling remote production. Avatus provides more than 800 input channels and 128 sum buses. Channel formats
range from mono to 7.1. Interconnectivity with other systems will be further enhanced by implementing the AES70 standard.”
Avatus is a fully IP-based large mixing console with 21” multi-touch displays
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Technology: Broadcast consoles
Studer “Studer’s Glacier series of customisable audio control surfaces enable broadcast and production facilities to adapt to a variety of applications and enhance overall efficiency,” says the company’s Sophie Latish. “What sets the console apart is it the fact it’s customisable, which provides the flexibility that facilities need to address continually evolving workflows and requirements. “Two streamlined modules and an intuitive multi-touch graphical user interface make it easy to address different use cases and deploy the console in various configurations throughout a facility. The Glacier Series offers forwards and backwards compatibility with Studer DSP platforms, while bringing new levels of control and versatility to any broadcast environment. “The Studer Glacier Series includes two highly simplified physical surfaces providing streamlined controls for live operation. The Central Screen Module features a vibrant display for assigning
Studer’s Glacier series provides flexibility for ‘continually evolving’ workflows
and adaptable virtualised control surface and easy integration with third-party studio systems.” Also on offer at Studer is the Vista 1 console. Harman’s Lauren Jones says: “Legendary Studer mixing is now more affordable than ever. The Vista 1 Black Edition packs everything you need into a
expanded parameters. Rather than scrolling through pages of control options, Vistonics provides everything they need at their fingertips. FaderGlow allows users to assign colors to channels or groups for effortless channel layout and management. This feature enables quick identification of important
VISTA MIX AUTOMIXES LIVE, MULTI-MICROPHONE PRODUCTIONS, ENSURING INTELLIGIBILITY AND A CONSISTENT, CLEAR SOUND SOPHIE LATISH and accessing graphical user interface controls. The Fader Vistonics Module provides simplified tactile control for quick multitasking and features Studer FaderGlow for easy function or channel identification. Each module is a self-contained unit that connects to the Studer DSP Core via TCP/IP. Multiple modules can be connected together to create versatile, customised surfaces that fit any use case. “Other features include modular, IP-based scalable architecture, intuitive GUI providing a highly
compact console. The mixing system combines an industry-leading Studer control surface with advanced DSP, fully-configurable I/O, and redundant power supplies. The console comes with your choice of 22 or 32 motorized faders and an optional TFTmeter bridge. “The Vista 1 Black Edition includes many high-end features and is ready for easy integration with AoIP networks. The Vistonics user interface streamlines and simplifies the mixing process as users seamlessly gain access to single
sources dramatically improves reaction time, and reduces stress that often accompanies live productions. “Vista Mix automixes live, multi-microphone productions, ensuring intelligibility and a consistent, clear sound. Virtual Surround Panning allows users to easily create realistic surround sound mixes from mono sources. With so many highly acclaimed features built into the console, the Vista 1 offers premium functionality at an affordable price.”
The Vista 1 includes many high-end features and is ready for easy integration with AoIP networks
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Technology: Broadcast consoles
SSL “SSL’s System T is a complete networked audio production environment designed from the ground up as a powerful, scalable, and flexible system for anything from large multi-studio broadcast facilities, to stadiums, trucks, and everything in between,” comments SSL’s Paul Macdonald. “System T has an entirely IP-based networked control and audio infrastructure and a highly configurable architecture. All audio connectivity is
via Dante (AES67 compatible) with direct routing control of more than 1,000 third-party devices directly from the console software GUI. System T’s agile software and technology platform is capable of incorporating SMPTE 2110-30 audio transport and emerging NMOS IS-04 registration and discovery, when it’s ratified, for an even wider set of audio connections. “A single T80 Tempest Audio Engine can handle more than 3,000 inputs and 3,000 outputs and has a capacity of 800 fully processed audio paths.
Engineers work from the SSL System T console
Yamaha Commercial Audio “Broadcast applications demand much in terms of features, adaptability, sound quality and reliability,” says Yamaha product manager Chris Irvine, “making the CL and QL series digital mixing consoles the choice of many broadcast studios and vehicles.” “Available in a total of five models – CL1, CL3 and CL5; QL1 and QL5 – all versions include the same high-specification broadcast features, the different frame sizes ensuring that an ideal solution is available for studio, venue or mobile use. “A key inclusion is up to 16 channels of Dan Dugan automixing, delivering smooth, natural level control of speech microphones for panel discussions, unscripted talk shows and similar situations that would otherwise depend on skilful manipulation of multiple faders. Feedback and comb filtering are also effectively suppressed. “Also included are 5.1 surround panning, simultaneous 5.1 surround mix and stereo downmix, plus a Surround Monitor Matrix with delays for monitor alignment. “The Buss Comp 369 is a Virtual Circuitry Modelling (VCM) recreation of the acclaimed 70s buss compressor which is still relied on in broadcast
Control options range from large multi-operator consoles to flypack solutions like the new Tempest Control Rack (TCR) to single-fader panel or PC-based software control. The system is compatible with Ross Overdrive, Grass Valley Ignite, Sony ELC, and Vizrt Mosart production automation. “At IBC 2017, the range of System T Network objects and options will be expanded and enhanced again, allowing broadcasters to further refine their own IP workflow.” SSL’s System T is a scalable console with IP-based control
and recording studios around the world, while Mixminus – an essential feature for relay broadcast applications – is fully supported, and Frame Delay
allows easy synchronisation with a wide variety of video formats. Support for AES67 audio networking is also included via the built-in Dante interface.”
Up to 16 channels of Dugan automixing deliver smooth microphone control
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It’s only Rec ‘N Roll but I like it: Lacroix (left) and Werner (right)
Rec ‘N Roll stars The purchase of a five-storey building by the main motorways entering Brussels marked the start of substantial investment in Belgium’s Rec ‘N Roll’s studios, reports Marc Maes. Now, the company has cut the ribbon on a brand new recording studio...
ec’N Roll Studios was founded in 2006, by Marc Lacroix, Stéphane Werner and Charles Deschutter, initially focussing on audiovisual work. One year later, Rec’N Roll decided to invest in a music recording studio. The acquisition of the building in July 2015 was crucial for Rec’N Roll Studios to invest some €300,000 in new recording facilities and the upgrade of the existing studios. Today, the studio’s workflow mainly (70%) consists of dubbing, mixing (for TV and cinema), postsynchronisation, voice over for documentaries, ADR and foley work – the remaining 30% are an increasing amount of sound recording jobs. End July, Rec’N Roll finalised their brand new mixing studio on the building’s first floor. “We stripped the whole floor and started from scratch, something you can’t do as a tenant,” laughs Marc Lacroix, commercial director. “The studio was built as a floating ‘box-in-box’ studio. The acoustics were designed by Luc Laret of Sounds Cube – the company is specialised in music studios and we were the first cinema mixing studio they worked for.”
The central element in the spacious (5.50 x 6.40m) studio is an Avid D-Control console. “We used to work with an Avid C24 control surface but we wanted to attack a new market, with more pre-mix assignments for cinema and TV – the S6 was quite a big investment,” admits Stéphane Werner, audiovisual director. “The D-control was a good alternative.” The mixing room is designed both for 5.1 and Dolby Home Atmos (DHA) work: a huge projection screen with a JBL 5.1 THX wall and JBL 3678 (front), plus JBL 8320 (L and R surround) speakers. “For the mixing of Dolby Home Atmos content, we have installed four KEF Ci200RR THX ceiling speakers, resulting in a standard Home Atmos configuration.” With Rec’N Roll’s core business being dubbing, the new studio will predominantly be used for dubbing assignments, but Lacroix predicts the future lies in pre-mixing and mixing for the TV market. “The main idea behind this mixing suite is that it’s hybrid, and can be used for all kinds of mixing. We have clients for which we do the pre-mix here – we then finalise the product in big auditoriums like with Dame Blanche, A-Sound
or Studio L’Equipe,” explains Werner. “And we see that more and more TV-series are being produced – we want our share of that cake.” Lacroix and Werner remain realistic as to the penetration of Dolby Home Atmos in the consumer market. “We just mixed a series in Home Atmos. Today, only a few households have a DHA set – but the series is distributed by Orange in France, an influential player on the market, who wants to offer this content in Home Atmos,” says Werner. “Compare that to the evolution from video tape/ Betamax, DVD, Blu-Ray and Dolby Home Atmos today,” echoes Lacroix. The new mix studio came just in time. With lots of assignments coming their way, resulting in 24/7 working weeks, Werner and Lacroix set up a pool of some 20 freelance sound engineers. A luxury problem? “I have a double feeling about this,” Werner says. “The full-time occupation of the studio is great – but it’s quite complicated to raise the rates. Each year, we’re asked to do more for the same rate – this is a bit of a problem in the A/V sector.”
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On the record: One of Rec ‘N Roll’s recording rooms
On the same first floor, a new 5.1 dubbing stage is planned – instead of eating away precious time in the mix studio, this mixing lab with a compact structure will cater for changes or corrections to existing files. The building’s two basement floors (formerly owned by Studio L’Equipe) house two dubbing stages and a big auditorium for foley work. “The two –1 floor dubbing studios are identical,” continues Werner. “Based on ProTools 12, with Raven MTI digital workstations, UAD Apollo Twin DUO recording interfaces and Neumann U-87 microphones. The identical set-up allows us to spread the workflow: a 60-episode series is then split in batches with two studios working on the same job. We’ve opted for a simple, compatible set up as we work with external engineers and each job must start in time. And actors are expensive, we don’t want them to wait.” On the –2 floor is a foley and post-synchronisation auditorium with variable, remotely controlled acoustic curtains, a wide screen with a new JBL 5.0 THX wall, JBL 4722N (front) plus JBL 9300 (surround) speakers, a Pro Tools HD12 workstation and Sonosax SX-ES64 console for microphone summing. The auditorium is equipped with a mini pool, different kinds and types of doors and ceilings, and all kinds of ‘props’ needed for foley jobs. Both basement floors were in use since 1968 as acommercial mixing studio in Brussels, but with Rec’N Roll becoming the owner of the building, an intelligent double flux air conditioning system is being put in place at press time, as well as new elevators, while the building’s mains network was completely reviewed.
With recording assignments for Universal Music France coming their way in 2007, Rec’N Roll decided to invest in a fully fledged music recording facility. “The studio’s concept combines analogue equipment with ProTools HDX 12.8,” explains Charles Deschutter, recording and production studio director at Rec’N Roll. “For my recording work, I use a full scale of analogue outboard for a job that is, especially when it comes to mixing, quite ‘in the box’.” Over the years, the workflow in Rec’N Roll’s sound recording studio, located on the third floor of the building, has evolved: in addition to recording, Deschutter also takes on artistic production. “Clients come in with guitar-vocals files and we do the production with extra musicians, strings…,” he says. “But we really do a lot of recording – the studio is booked up solid until February next year.” The recording room is the centre of the floor – two (A&B) control rooms allow visual contact with the musicians. “The challenge was to manage the available space in an intelligent way,” continues Deschutter. “Sometimes we have many musicians playing simultaneously – our B control room serves as additional recording booth. And the artists’ residence on the 4th floor has keyboards in the rooms, linked to the control rooms downstairs.” With an Avid D-Command 24 fader desk in the A studio (“a real life-changer in my mixing workflow” says Deschutter) and an Avid C24 console in the B studio and a collection of ‘much wanted’ back-line instruments like an original C&C drum kit or an Audio Kitchen amp,
Rec’N Roll offers an attractive technical set-up. “But I’m convinced that artists come to record here because of our personal approach and the top recordings that have been made. Whether I use my Shadow Hills mastering compressor either as vintage outboard or as plug-in… musicians don’t care – we pick what’s best for the song,” Deschutter says, adding that, with more artists managing their own record-label, the business seems to evolve from the big studio’s in mega-structures to people-based production rooms. “I think the people make the difference throughout Rec’N Roll studios – we’re not offering a ‘niche service’ and we’re very reactive towards our clients: they come in with some mix-corrections and leave the same day,” says Lacroix. “Even dubbing sessions in the weekend: we set it up and that’s where we stand out amidst our colleagues. And the amount (or volume) of the different assignments makes our studio economically viable.” Both Lacroix and Werner believe that there’s still some growth potential for Rec’N Roll. Werner concludes: “There’s work enough for studios like us – it’s an interesting and developing market: merely 10% of the French language dubbing work is recorded in Belgium. We think this could add up to 15 or 20%, resulting in twice as much work for studios here.” “We have the infrastructure and competence, but compared to France we are short in actors,” adds Lacroix. “There are some 250 voices in Brussels – in Paris they have over 2,500…But we come cheaper in rates, engineers, offering the same or better quality.” n www.recandroll.com
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See us at IBC booth 10.A31
THIS IS STATE-OF-THE-ART WIRELESS COMMUNICATION
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Up to 10 beltpacks per antenna 100 antenna, 100 beltpack system capacity Best-in-class voice clarity “Touch&Go” beltpack registration 6-channel beltpack plus dedicated REPLY button Built-in microphone and speaker for Walkie-Talkie mode Smartphone integration via Bluetooth Ergonomic, robust beltpack design Sunlight-readable display with Gorilla Glass™ Decentralized AES67 IP networked antennas Seamless integration into RIEDEL‘S ARTIST intercom matrix
P38 SEPTEMBER 2017
Hall or nothing A highly ambitious new music academy and concert hall build in Berlin has incorporated an acoustic design by Yasuhisa Toyota and a voice alarm system from Amptown System Company GmbH. Simon Duff reports…
he Pierre Boulez Saal building in Berlin houses a new 683-seat concert hall, as well as a new home for the Barenboim-Said Akademie. The hall has been designed by the famous American architect Frank Gehry, and will be the public face of the Akademie, which was founded by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said in 1999. It teaches up to 100 fellowship students from the Middle East and it’s also where the newly founded Boulez Ensemble – which consists mainly of members of the Staatskapelle Berlin and of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra – has found a musical home. Along with the concert hall, the new facility contains a 100-seat lecture hall, several seminar rooms and 21 rehearsal rooms. Berlin-based RW + Architects was responsible for the project schedule, tendering procedure and site supervision. The building itself is the former stage depot of the German State Opera House, where Amptown System Company has designed the newly-installed architectural lighting and voice alarm system. Project construction started in May 2014 with completion in March 2017, at a total cost of €35.1 million, funded by a mixture of state and private finance. The concert hall has been named after the French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez who died in 2016. Its oval, modular design is characterised by two
ellipses, the axes of which are offset against each other, creating the impression that the tiers are floating weightlessly in space. The Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, from Nagata Acoustics, is responsible for the acoustics of the concert hall, designed to serve as an ideal venue for soloists, chamber music and small orchestras. Toyota’s other notable projects include the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, Suntory Hall, Tokyo and the renovation of the Sydney Opera House. The Pierre Boulez Saal’s innovative design organises the seating in an oval shape around the performers in the centre of the square room. The audience enters the performance hall on one side from a four-story tall atrium separating the performance hall from the academic facilities, at the top of five rows of seats which step down to the central stage area. A dramatic oval balcony with two rows floats above the audience, and is rotated gently against the oval shape of the seating below. In order to accommodate the seats as well as the space for a large orchestra rehearsal, a highly flexible seating layout was developed. At the centre of the room, on the same level as the musicians, there are three rows of loose seats. Then, four rows of seats are installed on retractable risers. Finally, at the level of the audience entry, one fixed row of bench seating is installed as the
last row of seating surrounding the stage. Together with the balcony above, the loose seats and retractable risers offer many different performance configurations. The seating can be adapted to the number of musicians and, above all, to the repertoire being performed. Each vantage point offers a different take on the concert. Yasuhisa Toyota, talking to PSNEurope, explains the design process: “Our acoustic design is accomplished using the proprietary computer simulation software which we have been developing and refining in-house over the last thirty years, which helps us to analyse the room shape which produces the structure of sound reflections which is composing the acoustical character of the room. “The acoustical design of the hall is focused on providing a space for a full orchestra rehearsal within a concert hall for chamber music,” continues Toyota. “The most important design direction to accommodate a full orchestra is to keep enough ceiling height above the stage. Since the project is the renovation of an existing building, there were many restrictions. The final result places the stage at the bottom of the building so that we can make the most use of the existing structure. Thus the entire volume is used acoustically. The overall shape of the hall is a typical shoebox. The best direction of acoustical design remains to use this basic shape. To
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keep the strong benefits of the shoebox style, our aim was to design the floating balcony with the greatest acoustical transparency. The guard rail in front of the audience is made of thin pipes to keep maximal transparency. The overall structure of the balcony was designed to be acoustically transparent, resulting in the concrete truss punctuated with many large holes.”
THE ACOUSTICAL DESIGN OF THE HALL IS FOCUSED ON PROVIDING A SPACE FOR A FULL ORCHESTRA REHEARSAL WITHIN A CONCERT HALL FOR CHAMBER MUSIC
The maximum distance between the conductor and the farthest seat is about 14 metres. The balcony is designed like a ring and tied back into two new concrete shear walls. Toyota elaborates: “The balcony structure is a
concrete truss with a trapezoid cross section, with an openness factor of over 35% for acoustics. The open face of the structure is clad with acoustically transparent material that lets the sound pass through and reflect off the main walls of the room. With the audience positioned so close to the musicians and performers there is no need for a permanently installed venue PA. However, when IRCAM projects, for example, are presented at the venue, PA can be accommodated.” The walls and the ceiling in the concert hall are made of vertical grain douglas fir panels. The surfaces requiring air permeability are either left open or clad with speaker fabric. For acoustic reasons, the wall and ceiling surfaces are slightly undulated, and the windows are built out of three layers of glass to achieve sound separation to the street. The Pierre Boulez Saal public call for tenders included the voice alarm system, with Amptown System Company awarded the job. The company worked in collaboration with PAV GmbH to install a fully digital DSM40 system certified to DIN VDE K20833-4, which is interconnected with a fire alarm system certified to the European Standard ISO DIN 14675. Aside from its principal application, it can also be used as a PA system or for background music The
intercom system was customised and can be operated via an ADUNAS Media Control System. The highly ambitious 2017/2018 season opens in September, featuring concerts by the likes of Daniel Barenboim, François-Xavier Roth, Emmanuel Pahud, Zubin Mehta, and Sir Antonio Pappano. Commissioned new works by Luca Francesconi, Aribert Reimann, and Benjamin Attahir, Pierre Boulez’s last student, will also have their world premiers. A new theatrical work, Luther: Dancing With the Gods, will be staged in October featuring texts by Martin Luther and music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Knut Nystedt, and Steve Reich, in collaboration with the Rundfunkchor Berlin for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In addition, jazz and early music offer new programmatic aspects. Trumpeter and vocalist Till Brönner will host a series of five concerts, Music from the Middle East and Northern Africa will feature prominently, with the Arabic Music Days in December 2017 as the centre piece. Kinan Azmeh, Naseer Shamma, and others will be headline acts. n www.boulezsaal.de www.nagata.co.jp www.amptown-system.com
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Room for Manoeuvre Electro pioneers OMD and self-proclaimed “control freaks” have always opted to keep everything in-house when it comes to writing and recording. With new album The Punishment Of Luxury out on September 1, Daniel Gumble caught up with co-founder Paul Humphreys for a chat about warring with other producers and the lost art of engineering…
’m the technical one,” OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) co-founder, keyboards whizz and cosongwriter Paul Humphreys chuckles as he settles in for his chat with PSNEurope. “This is why you got me and not Andy [McCluskey, frontman and fellow co-founder].” And for the purposes of this interview, Humphreys is indeed the appropriate half of the band’s two-pronged creative engine. Since forming in the late ‘70s in England’s North West, OMD have produced some of the most iconic electro-driven rock and pop ever to emerge from UK shores. Hit singles such as Enola Gay and Electricity helped define the synth boom of the 1980s, while seminal albums like Architecture & Morality and Dazzle Ships are long-established electro staples. And, though the band’s keen ear for an incisive melody and a ubiquitous presence on the live circuit have no doubt been central to their success over the past four decades, equally crucial to the mix has been Humphreys’ forward-thinking approach to production and engineering. Barring the occasional ill-fated pairing with a producer from outside the tightly wound OMD unit - more of which later - Humphreys’ close attention to sound and texture has often helped elevate a cracking pop song into something transcendent and otherworldly. According to Humphreys, this has much to do with his and McCluskey’s DIY work ethic. “We’ve always been very self-sufficient with our recording,” he says. “When we started OMD – because we thought we’d be dropped after the first album we spent all of our first advance on equipment and built a studio (The Gramophone Suite) in the centre
of Liverpool. And it was a really good studio – we did our first four albums there – so we got used to being independent and engineering and producing ourselves. Plus, Andy and I are control freaks. And we’re still that way. I have a studio in London where I live, and Andy has one in his house in Liverpool. He continues: “We work in Pro Tools and we have almost identical systems with the same plugins and everything. We basically start the song – I go up to Liverpool and we throw ideas around and record into Andy’s Pro Tools system, then I bring them down to London and hone up the music, he does the same with the vocals, then we get back to Liverpool, hone it up again, and then I bring it to London where I do a basic mix of the tracks.”
THERE’S A LOT OF BOLLOCKS SPOKEN ABOUT ANALOGUE GEAR. I LOVE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH DIGITAL. I BUILT A LOT OF OUR EARLY STUFF WHEN WE STARTED OUT AND I DON’T MISS IT
The self-sufficiency Humphreys speaks of has served them well throughout much of their career, particularly in the case of new album The Punishment Of Luxury. Imbued with a contemporary sound, the
record maintains all the hallmarks of a classic OMD release. At least partially responsible for TPOL’s fresh sound is Humphreys’ refusal to reminisce on the good ole days of analogue synths and ‘old school’ production techniques – an ethos that has always underpinned the OMD approach. “We didn’t want to do a retrospective sounding OMD album,” he states. “We’ve always tried to keep going forward. Architecture & Morality was one of our biggest albums, but it was a strange album for its time. Then we did Dazzle Ships, and samplers had just come out. Prior to that our sampler was a B77 tape machine, so we were experimenting a lot with the technology. But we took it a bit too far with that album. Although it’s probably our fans’ favourite, it was a commercial disaster. But we’ve always tried to keep pushing forward. We’re not one of these bands that still uses all the synths we used in the ‘80s, we’ve gone right into the virtual synth world, because there are so many great ones out there.” Not only does Humphreys believe that the digital revolution has been beneficial for musicians and producers, he insists that there is a degree of “snobbery” when it comes to analogue vs digital. “There’s a lot of bollocks spoken about it,” he laughs. “I’ve done many tests, and I come from an electronics background - I’m an electronics engineer. I built a lot of our early stuff when we started out because we couldn’t afford anything, and I don’t miss analogue. I love what you can do with digital. The new converters are so warm, like the Apollo 16 from Universal Audio, just sounds fantastic. I get really annoyed with some
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of these plugins that put the hiss and hum on for that analogue sound. I’m like, Fuck that, get rid of it! I used to spend all my time trying to get that off! Why do you want to put it on?!” Humphreys also claims that OMD’s deviation from analogue gear has provided endless benefits in the songwriting process. “To be able to do the level of editing you can do in Pro Tools is fantastic,” he adds. “Quite often, when we wrote a song, we would do it in sections because we could never quite work out the arrangements. So we’d either have to hack up the multi-track tape, which was always a scary moment, or we would never hear the final version of the song. We’d just mix it in bits, so we never really heard the song until it was finished. “However, digital tools can get in the way of the songwriting process. So we put together a palette of things. We’ll have five kick drums, 10 snare drums and choose the synths that will make the type of sounds we want, and then we’ll just use those.” As an electronics engineer who cut his teeth with hands-on experience in studios, Humphreys also feels that the art of engineering is slowly being eroded away. “It is in some ways a dying art,” he sighs. “We engineer and produce all our own stuff, but I learned
from some of the greatest engineers in studios over the years. I learned a lot from Tom Lord-Alge, we spent a lot of time working together and he was an amazing engineer. I used to look over his shoulder and drive him mad, asking, Why are you doing that? What are you doing that for? But I learned, and he had learned from being a tape op and learning the trade through the studio system. Now, there are graduates from all these audio schools but there are barely any jobs to go to because there’s not really an infrastructure of studios any more, so everyone has to go into their bedroom and learn techniques from YouTube tutorials. And that’s not the same. I live in London and it seemed like there used to be a studio on every street. But they’ve all been either turned into luxury apartments or left as empty shells. It really is a shame, because people can’t learn in that same way. Things like how to properly mic a drum kit, that’s an art. You can’t learn to do that in your bedroom.” Unsurprisingly, having fine-tuned their skills in the studio through years of making their records with minimal outside interference, Humphreys and McCluskey have seldom gelled with other producers. “We’ve always got frustrated with producers,” he says. “We have used them in the past, but we end up in battles with them because me and Andy always know what
we want to do. We used Stephen Hague a little bit in the ‘80s, but that was because he’d done stuff like New Order and the Pet Shop Boys and all that. But he was an American producer and there was huge pressure on us to break America. We were told by the label we need to sound a certain way and had to work with an American producer. I like Stephen, he’s a very talented producer, but we did have huge battles over how we sounded. Andy and I have a complete vision and we don’t like to pollute it and have it watered down.” For the foreseeable future, it appears unlikely that OMD will be coerced into following any other path than their own. With TPOL, it looks as though the band have produced a piece of work that is true to their philosophy of looking forward and doing things on their own terms. As we prepare to part ways, Humphreys reflects upon the band’s refusal to stray from their creative vision, for better or worse. “Largely we have always ignored pressure put on us by record labels,” he concludes. “Some genius at Virgin once said, You just have to make Architecture & Morality 2 and you’ll be the next Genesis. We were like, We don’t want to be the next Genesis! So we made Dazzle Ships and fell off a commercial cliff! It was probably the wrong thing to say to us!” n
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Let’s Dance SPAARNWOUDE, THE NETHERLANDS
Seven years after Alcons Audio announced its plans to launch into the touring sector with a clear-cut large format set at the Frankfurt Prolight + Sound exhibition, the LR28 pro-ribbon line source system now takes centre stage in its native market at the annual Dance Valley festival. Marc Maes sent PSNEurope back this report...
utch company Jurlights recently decided to invest in a substantial inventory of the new Alcons Audio LR28 line-array and BC543 cardioid subwoofer cabinets. The new configuration was premiered on two consecutive festival weekends in August in the Netherlands, catering for three different musical programmes, each requiring a specific approach. “In the 20 years of our existence we have grown from A/V rental company to what I see as ‘live communication’, combining all kinds of A/V elements (audio, lighting, video, content and production) as a total experience solution provider,” says Jurjen Hesseling, founder and managing director of Jurlights. “We have been Alcons users from the very start but for larger assignments we had to rent in d&b and L-Accoustics kit because, until now, Alcons Audio had no touring or festival system.” Hesseling, as the country’s largest Alcons rental partner, had the privilege to witness the development of the new system – since 2013, he has been testing the ‘LR24’ concept embryonic versions in various rental applications. “We have been waiting four years, but today we’re looking at a great finished product,” enthuses Hesseling. “Also, our business has grown. In the last two years, we posted a growth of 30% and this year’s prospects combine consolidation with another 15% increase. The time was right to invest in a large format line array configuration.” Jurlights premiered the new Alcons Audio festival and touring system, consisting of 48 LR28 three-way line array cabinets (as main and delay), and 40 BC543 triple 18” cardioid subs as FOH system plus 60 LR18 compact line-arrays (as front-fill, outfill and delay and the VIP area) and VR12 monitors and BQ211 21” subs on the Dance Valley festival’s mainstage. A total of 55 Sentinel 10 amplified loudspeaker controllers are driving the system, steered by a Soundcraft Vi4 and controlled by ALControl remote control software. “I’m very excited – the fact that Alcons Audio preferred to wait until the system operated flawlessly and the fact that we, after seven years of R&D, can hang the speakers is quite special,” Hesseling says. “The fact that we cater for three totally different festivals with
‘New market, new potential’: Dance Valley Festival
the same configuration and speaker lay-out is another bonus. The Dance Valley DJ-festival is followed by Dutch Valley with 19 Dutch artists performing, while the Latin Village combines live bands and DJ’s – each of the festivals attract some 30.000 people.” The new system was introduced to Jurlights’s clients, rental companies and festival organisers on the festival’s main soundcheck. “Until now, Alcons couldn’t look towards the touring and festival market. Many people thought our pro-ribbon transducer technology wouldn’t fit pro-audio applications, let alone big festivals,” comments Tom Back, founder and CEO of Alcons Audio. “We started from scratch to design a new system. A first development was the Sentinel platform: a 4in/4out amplified loudspeaker controller, with onboard DSP for all Alcons systems and configurations. Then came the LR24 array cabinet – a ‘mule’ that served as prototype to collect feedback from engineers, serving the further development of the LR28 system.” Back cites three reasons for the development of the LR28. “We wanted access to a new market with new potential,” he says. “The spin-off of bands and events using our brand is extremely important, and, last but
not least there’s the ‘proof-of-concept’ of the proprietary pro-ribbon transducer technology, contradicting historical perceptions of ribbon technology.” In terms of power handling and possibilities, Hesseling describes the LR28’s mid and high as “never before heard in comparative existing systems”. “I’m convinced that the new loudspeakers will become an interesting challenge for mixing engineers,” he says. “The LR28 offers so much power, clarity and dynamic headroom that you cannot rely on routine. Another forte of the system is the drastic drop of 24 to 42 dB less on the stage side of the system. The BC543 subs are selfcontained cardioid subwoofer cabinets – the speakers have dedicated amplifier and processor channels, offering a better control without compromises.” “I always wanted to ‘play along’ in this business and today, we have a number of really big projects in our worldwide portfolio,” concludes Hesseling. “With the new system, we have the tool to provide amplified sound on big events and festivals the way we want it. I gather this system will put Alcons further on the international forefront in terms of audio amplification, taking touring systems to a next level.” n
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Raw power Back with seventh album 24/7 Rock Star Shit, The Cribs have partnered with alt rock producer extraordinaire Steve Albini in what many consider a match made in sonic heaven. Daniel Gumble spoke to the band’s Ryan Jarman to find out more….
s Ryan Jarman, one half of The Cribs’ creative driving force puts it so early on in our chat, a Steve Albini-produced record has come to represent something of a confrontational statement; a symbol of mainstream rejection and opposition to anything even remotely slick in its sonic DNA. And while some would gladly revel in such anti-establishment sentiment, it’s a reputation that is almost entirely without merit. Throughout his career, Albini has left his indelible fingerprints all over some of the most iconic albums in history. His style is one based on economic use of studio time and no frills recording, capturing a sound that Jarman describes as “going straight to your soul, rather than to your ears”. Ultimately, the antagonistic label was created by those who view an absence of radio-friendly sheen as being somehow provocative. The starkest example of this from the Albini oeuvre was Nirvana’s 1993 masterpiece In Utero, which, following the earthshattering success of 1991’s Nevermind, was deemed unlistenable by some and commercial suicide by others. The Cribs’ new album, the splendidly titled 24/7 Rock Star Shit, sees the Wakefield trio presented with a similar predicament. With 10 blistering tracks packed into just 36 mins, it is an album that marks a significant departure from their pop-infused previous outing For All My Sisters (2015). Dripping with feedback and sandblasted with discordant, distorted guitar, not to mention the searing vocals of twin bothers Ryan and Gary - the latter sounding like a man who’s just swallowed a pint of gravel and lighter fluid (in a good way) – the album sees the band return to their raw, punk rock roots armed with a war chest of monolithic choruses and infectious melodies. As I take my seat opposite Jarman in the unlikely setting of a West End Patisserie Valerie, Jarman is quick to address the judgement some have been quick to cast upon the record after hearing of Albini’s involvement. “All I’ve heard, even from people that have been supporters of ours, is, Oh, it’s too lo-fi,” he says. “Some people see recording with Steve as an inflammatory
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move, like you’re trying to make a statement. That’s not why we did it. He is a great engineer who makes records that sound great.” The band’s relationship with Albini stems from a session dating back several albums, and has been highly anticipated by fans ever since. So why did it take so long to come to fruition? “It all starts with Johnny [Marr] leaving the band,” explains Jarman. “We made our fourth record (Ignore The Ignorant, 2009) and we’d been wanting to work with Steve for years, so I said let’s do that for the next record, but Johnny wasn’t into it. When he left we became fixated on upping our game, because the grown-ups had started to take notice of us.” The resulting record, 2012’s In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, saw the band work with producer David Fridmann, although they did find time to fit in a brief session with Albini, spawning one track that made the album and a clutch more that later surfaced as B-sides. However, it would be another album – the Rick Ocasekproduced For All My Sisters (2015) - and another five years before they would begin work with Albini on 24/7. “We got a lot of aggression out on the fifth album, so we weren’t in a hurry to go back and indulge that again; that’s how we ended up working with Ric on something
that focused on the pop side,” says Jarman. “By the end of touring that record we were ready to go. We had a cache of songs to do with Steve and we recorded and mixed the album in five days. The decision to wait until sufficient aggression was restored before re-igniting sessions with Albini has paid off, insists Jarman, who feels the time was right for both parties to enter the studio together. “As the band got more mainstream success we found ourselves making slicker records, so it felt right to go and make the Albini record,” he states. “What surprised us most was how instantaneously he gets that sound. It’s so quick. He got in at 11am and by midday you’re tracking and he’ll say come and have a listen, and it’s just that Albini sound. A lot of people talk about him being this acerbic guy and build him up to be some scary dude, but that’s just not the case. He’s a great guy, really professional and efficient. If you go in and have your songs written and rehearsed, it’s an absolutely ideal situation. “Maybe having worked on big records with bands like Nirvana, he has found labels and bands thinking he can give them the ‘Nirvana treatment’. But he doesn’t get involved artistically at all.” While Albini may not involve himself in the creative
process, Jarman notes that his signature is in evidence throughout the album. “Even though he considers himself just an engineer for hire, his DNA is so interwoven in the album,” he says. “This album couldn’t exist with anyone else recording it. I don’t think we would have written it. And we’ve never written an album with someone’s production in mind.” While The Cribs haven’t released a self-recorded and produced album since 2005’s The New Fellas, Jarman believes keeping things in-house could be the way forward next time out. From day one the band have been extremely hands on when it comes to gear, and they are more than a little au fait with analogue and digital recording tools. “The future for us is recording ourselves,” he concludes. “Our early demos recorded on our very basic gear are my favourites of our recordings. Even now I feel like it’s exactly how I imagined it would sound. The only thing that gets in the way is we go off down rabbit holes. You get obsessed with chasing a specific thing, and it’s often like, if we’ve done a rough recording of a song on our phone, there’ll be some artefact you can’t replicate. You get so used to listening to the rough version you can spend forever chasing it. That’s the sort of thing we obsess over. We’re the worst for demo-itis!” n
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Taking the (managing) director’s seat: Scott Arnold
The show must go on Theatre sound company Autograph Sound Recording has appointed a new managing director for the first time in 17 years. Here, incoming MD Scott Arnold talks career highlights, overcoming challenges and the future of theatre sound design…
cott Arnold has worked at Autograph for 20 years, almost half that of the West End sound provider’s 45-year history, bringing top quality audio to some of the world’s most famous musical theatre soundtracks. As former MD Terry Jardine assumes the role of group chairman, Arnold will manage operations at Autograph Sound Recording, while also taking on a directorship at the company’s sales division, Autograph Sales and Installation. While some West End show runs share a similar lifespan as Autograph itself, evolving technology is increasingly altering the game, but some day-to-day necessities – such as budget restrictions – remain unchanged, as Arnold tells PSNEurope...
so on – is an essential part of my role and that will not change. We are also expanding our activities in various directions and those new opportunities will occupy me.
You’ve been at Autograph for 20 years. How did you start working in the audio industry?
What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?
Sheer chance! My brother was a performer in Starlight Express and after visiting the show a number of times I got to know a few people there. One day the ‘sound number three’ technician broke her leg and they asked me to help out until she returned – she never came back and here I am…
ambition of the sound designer and the financial realities of the individual show is a vital part of our role.
What advice would you give to newcomers just starting out in the industry?
THE ONGOING ISSUES WITH WIRELESS SPECTRUM AVAILABILITY ARE OF GREAT CONCERN – IT’S ESSENTIAL THAT A SYMPATHETIC, WORKABLE AND FINANCIALLY VIABLE SOLUTION CAN BE FOUND SCOTT ARNOLD
There have been many, not least because of the productions and creative geniuses behind them that Autograph has worked with over the last 40-odd years. However, the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert at the O2 in 2010 was a proud moment for me personally. It was a massive technical and logistical undertaking that was really enjoyable and a great success for all.
How will your day-to-day role at Autograph change now you’ve assumed the role of MD?
And the biggest challenge?
Very little in the short term, but slowly I will pass things on to Will McGonagle (our new and very capable hire manager), who will soak up the day-to-day stuff. Dealing with the key people in our industry – clients, sound designers, producers, suppliers, manufacturers and
Balancing budgets with expectations! Theatre sound designers have bigger ‘toolboxes’ than ever before, which is great of course, but even the biggest productions have budgets that we have to meet. Bridging that space between the imagination and
Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom, watch your peers carefully, never stop learning and be punctual! On-thejob experience is everything; you can tell so much about a person’s potential just by a week’s work experience.
What changes have you seen in the theatre world over the years that have altered the way you work? Expectations and budgets! Aside from that issue but connected to it, is the change in equipment and technology. The evolution of digital consoles, wireless microphones, spatial imaging systems and compact line-arrays has changed things for everyone working in this field. The ongoing issues with wireless spectrum availability are also of great concern and it’s essential that a sympathetic, workable and financially viable solution can be found.
What are your predictions for the future of theatre sound design? Ours is still a relatively young industry and the art and science of sound design is still developing, as are the technical facilities required to turn those designs into reality. It’s very pleasing to me that there are so many young sound designers – both male and female, who are all looking to make their mark on our industry – that it can only be a great future ahead. n
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Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam‘s Sonic City Studio recently partnered with Auro Technologies to provide its producers with immersive sound mixing capabilities. Daniel Gumble finds out what the upgraded facility has to offer…
ituated right at the very heart of the Netherlands’ capital city, Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam’s Sonic City Studios has only been in business since last September, yet it is already proving itself an invaluable asset to the area’s burgeoning audio community. Offering purpose-built facilities, from bespoke studio spaces to classrooms and work stations, it has sought to provide budding engineers and pro sound professionals a top of the range hub from which to hone their craft and develop their skills. Now, as it approaches its first birthday, Sonic City Studios has treated itself to an audio makeover to become a certified Auro-3D audio post production studio. With a 10.1 speaker layout, the school has teamed up with Auro Technologies to provide the company’s Auro-3D concept, designed to create “the most natural immersive sound experience on today’s market”, according to the firm. The decision to partner with Auro was an easy one, explains Robin Reumers, co-owner and chief engineer of Sonic City Studios. Having previously served as CTO of Galaxy Studios at the time that the Auro-3D format was being developed, he says he benefited from gaining knowledge of not only 3D audio using channel-based technology, but also object and scene-based formats. “Working so closely with and on the format, made me aware of all the possibilities Auro-3D has to offer,” Reumers tells PSNEurope. “I also believe it’s a valuable addition to the training of our students at Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam, who use the Sonic City Studios facilities. It will enable them to obtain great insight in 3D spatial audio, they can learn the recording and reproduction techniques of a 3D space and it pushes them forward in developing projects in immersive audio. In the end, I believe the Auro-3D 10.1 speaker set-up has the best translation and compatibility with all immersive sound formats.” Meanwhile, Wilfried Van Baelen, CEO of Auro Technologies and inventor of the Auro-3D format, told us why he believes that the technology will benefit students and engineers using the facility. “Having the Auro-3D format expands its offerings in many ways and will lead students and professionals worldwide to use this great facility to create their content in the Auro-3D format,” he says. “Auro-3D is in fact the only choice for ‘music in 3D’, which is an important focus of the total package at Sonic City Studios.”
Wilfried Van Baelen: ‘It is important that 3D sound is part of an audio engineer’s education’
Van Baelen continues: “I don’t believe I can say that demand [for Auro-3D] in the Netherlands is growing at a faster rate than other parts of the world, but since I first came up with a total market solution in 2010 to bring 3D Sound to all audio markets, many started to realise the final dimension in sound was missing. “The immediate emotional impact was apparent the moment people first experienced an Auro-3D demo, and consumers and content creators immediately wondered how they could add this in their homes and on their mobile headphones. We now finally have true 3D sound after 140 years of evolving sound recording and reproduction, and I believe it is important this becomes part of an audio engineer’s education. “In the meantime, more than 10 universities worldwide have already installed the Auro-3D system and made it part of their educational packages. What I like about Sonic City especially is how it integrated this in the analogue workflow, which is a great educational
offering to students.” According to Van Baelen, feedback from Sonic City regarding the upgrade has been extremely positive, with many engineers now enquiring as to the benefits of the Auro-3D technology and how they can use it. He concludes: “I know that Robin had a few immediate Auro-3D projects when he announced the ability of a full Auro-3D production studio. Many artists are interested in using this new format because of the new creative possibilities. Music or movies are all about storytelling, and I believe that out of the many technical innovations of the last decennia, the Auro-3D format is probably the strongest tool that improves the emotional impact of the storytelling. “The feedback we got in the entertainment industry is translating that same idea, so I can’t wait to see the many productions coming out of Sonic City where they have the knowledge and experience to produce Auro-3D content the way it was envisioned.” n
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14 – 19 SEPTEMBER 2017, RAI, AMSTERDAM
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P53 SEPTEMBER 2017
Heath’s ledger As the industry descends upon Olympia, Phil Ward quizzes PLASA managing director Peter Heath about his new role at the helm of the association...
fter almost 20 years as a figurehead at Roland, Peter Heath has swapped kimonos and keyboards for the front line of trade association politics. In truth, he had more to do with mixers than MIDI, and a desire to elevate professional audio and video to new heights of dedicated management. Perhaps now, at PLASA, which is happening on 17-19 September, he’ll see his visions realised even without the knobs and faders to hand…
You went to school in Wiltshire, not known for its rock and roll edginess… You’d be surprised. True, I was a child chorister, without any say in the matter, and later was taught how to play the trumpet. But when I achieved some autonomy – meaning I became a teenager – I taught myself guitar. Naturally the band I was in at school had no PA, so we built our own, including lights. It was completely illegal, even then. We took it very seriously. My dad’s attitude was, if you’re going to be a pop musician, be the next Beatles. But it applied to everything: I was also a golfer, and he’d say if that’s what you’re going to do, be the next Tony Jacklin. Just be the best at whatever you do, he would say, or there’s no point in doing it.
Unless I missed it, I don’t remember you being on Top Of The Pops… I did achieve the dizzy heights of supporting a number of cheesy pop bands on tour that did appear on Top Of The Pops in the mid-‘70s… Then I worked in music retail – before MIDI! – and it gave me the chance to see and meet a lot of bands and musicians from the area, including XTC who were just breaking big at the time. In Swindon, the main gigs were The Brunel Rooms and The Affair nightclub, which had The
This year’s PLASA takes place on 17-19 September at London Olympia
Clash, Elvis Costello, Buzzcocks and everyone coming through, while Andy Partridge and the rest of the XTC boys used to come into the shop regularly. As the ‘80s began I formed a duo with my brother and we were gigging every night, complete with the classic shitty record deal and a few plays on BBC Radio 1. Support tours in those days included Shalamar, Odyssey, Showaddywaddy… poptastic. My brother remains a very successful songwriter and music therapist. All too soon I had to get a real job to pay the bills, and ended up in real estate. Dreadful. I just walked out, eventually, and went back to working in a music store. Still playing, obviously. I’d built a small recording studio, too, but I was much more interested in PA.
I persuaded the store to stock more live sound equipment, and carved out a great niche for myself installing and operating PA systems. That was more like it.
And the big break into manufacturing? My first position was at Roland UK, which by that time had moved to Swansea. When John Booth took over in 1996, he wrote to all the dealers saying he had vacancies. I kept it for ages, wondering if I was worthy, but finally applied and got a position as area sales manager. At my first NAMM, they told us they were introducing a raft of sound reinforcement products and I jumped in immediately. That was my gig! My first trip to Japan was with a group of guitar
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P54 SEPTEMBER 2017
PLASA has benefitted from a ‘change in culture’ in recent years
dealers, ironically, but it was always an organisation attuned to the musician-consumer. Latterly they’ve connected with video professionals and, through that, more so with pro audio. But I kept getting pulled back into MI, and didn’t really get stuck into proper, pro AV till around 2006. There was a vision for it by then, and Mr Kakahashi was still leading the way. Going to Japan to listen to his speeches became a real highlight. We sold a huge amount of M-400 V-Mixers, which drew a lot of compliments, especially for the sound of the preamps.
Could you explain your departure from Roland? This is still a very young industry and generally we are behind other areas of electronics and entertainment – including MI. That’s far more mature. They look similar, but only in the way that football teams and rugby teams are similar: same grass, similar shirts, white posts… but they address the ball – which is a different shape – uniquely. They will never play together, and they will never play against each other.
I spent much time trying to explain this to Japan, pressing for stronger pro AV sales channels, but after the management buyout of Roland by Taiyo Pacific Partners in 2014, there seemed to be a return to the dilution of pro management into MI. That, I felt, marked out a departure from my aims and so, sadly, it was time to leave. It was a wrench.
Why PLASA? I just couldn’t see myself working for another manufacturer. I felt I had orange blood! PLASA was a very attractive alternative, and luckily there was a vacancy right at that time. They lost my CV, at first! But I got an interview anyway, and that was it.
What are you bringing to the party, following retail, Japan and Showaddywaddy? I arrived at the tail end of a bad patch, with the show receding and the merger with ESTA taking a financial toll. My first priority was to complete the plan put in place by the executive team to get the organisation commercially stable and viable, so there’s been a lot of focus on internal issues. I’d like
to think the work I’ve done already has helped us to turn that corner. The London show is back in growth; Lighting & Sound International [what’s that? Ed] is an audit-proven, market-leading product; and all PLASA staff now work from one location, maximising collaboration. It needed a change in culture, and that’s a value I learned from John Booth and Roland UK. If you get that right, things like strategy and tactics fall into place – because people ‘get it’.
What are you selling now, as opposed to products? Good question. There are times when I do miss a button or a knob to twiddle. The focus is on membership, skills and technical support – reaching out to members and offering new skills training like sales management, a new branding workshop and other career development benefits. At this month’s show, we’ll be setting up new Working Groups on many topics from HR to salaries to finance. Our membership benefits are used every day, and the industry needs to know about them. n www.plasa.org
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