May / June 2014
AV System Integration | Installations | Live Events | Studio PRO Audio
Cover Christian Revival Church Story Ofer Lapid Prolight+Sound, Frankfurt report AVB Networking Miss South Africa Martin M-Series user review Studio Monitor Round-up
DVA S09DP Active Subwoofer 15” 1000 Watt RMS Frequency Response (+/- 3dB): 45 - 120 Hz Max SPL: 134dB LF Driver: 15” Driver LF Amp: 1000 W RMS Weight: 37.5Kg Dimensions mm: 515(W) x 440(H) x 720(D)
DVA S10DP Active Subwoofer 18” 1000 Watt RMS Frequency Response (+/- 3dB): 40 - 120 Hz Max SPL: 136dB LF Driver: 18” Driver LF Amp: 1000 W RMS Weight: 48Kg Dimensions mm: 515(W) x 640(H) x 720(D)
MODEL DVA T8 DVA T12 DVA S09DP DVA S10DP
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PRICE incl R43 917 R67 150 R28 017 R38 167
Professional Active speakers
All you need from one system
THE FUTURE OF LINE ARRAY
Full of Technology
3 Way Active Line Array Module with DSP processing
3 Way Active Line Array Module with DSP processing
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB): 66 – 18 000Hz
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB): 60 – 19 000Hz
Max SPL: 132dB
Max SPL: 136dB
HF Driver: 2 x 1” Neodymium Compression Driver
HF Driver: 3 x 1” Neodymium Compression Driver
MF Driver: 1 x 6.5” Neodymium Compression Driver
MF Driver: 2 x 6.5” Neodymium Compression Driver
LF Driver: 8” Neodymium Compression Driver
LF Driver: 12” Neodymium Compression Driver
Power Rating (RMS): LF 350 + MF 175 + HF 175W
Power Rating (RMS): LF 710 + MF 350 + HF 350W
Dimensions mm: 580(W) x 240(H) x 327(D)
Dimensions mm: 580(W) x 386(H) x 430(D)
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Viva Afrika Sound and Light (Pty) Ltd Unit 2, 2 Drakensburg Road Longmeadow Business Estate West, Westfield PO Box 4709, Rivonia, 2128, South Africa Tel: 011 250-3280, Fax: 011 608-4109 email@example.com, www.hybrid.co.za
In This Issue Managing Editor Every issue I fear that we will never have enough content to fill the magazine and every time I am amazed that not only are we able to fill the magazine with fabulous content, but we land up with an overflow of articles which carry over for issues to come. Well done team! Welcome to our new advertisers ETC, System Solutions and Digital Fabric. It’s great to see that we are gaining support directly from international suppliers as well as local AV integrators. Must read articles for this issue include David Davies’ AVB Standards article on page 12 for our AV gurus. For the live event and integration sector, a host of new products were launched at Prolight+Sound, Frankfurt; check out pages 36 to 44. The much anticipated Christian Revival Church install on pages 26 to 29 saw a number of suppliers in the industry come together to create a space fit for a large scale rock concert. I would also recommend industry icon Ofer Lapid’s take on the local live events industry in South Africa on pages 46 to 48. For those of you are heading over to Infocomm in Las Vegas, don’t forget to play number 5 on the roulette table. - You’re welcome. For those of you who aren’t going don’t despair, Pro-Systems will be bringing Infocomm to you in the July/August issue. Happy reading. Claire Badenhorst
Deputy Editor Friends, I present to you the May/ June issue of Pro Systems News. As usual we’ve done our best to cover as much as possible and bring you as much industry news as we can. Needless to say, the year is already almost half way over and the industry has been bustling with many goings-on. In this issue we showcase CRC church in Pretoria where some of our leading technical equipment suppliers were involved in a state of the art audio, lighting and AV installation. The Viva Afrika company profile tells an engaging story of humble beginnings to burgeoning success; something that is sure to inspire. We also take a look at the comprehensive overhaul of the systems at Tony Raciti’s The Venue in Melrose Arch; a revamp that is set to breathe new life into the locale for years to come. Be sure to check out our story on the future of line array technology where I attempt to explain traditional line array theory versus systems like the Martin MLA and the EAW ANYA. If you like hearing from industry lighting professionals, the Martin M-Series lighting control platform user review might give you an insight as to why the M-Series is catching on in lighting circles. Enjoy the mag and until next time! Greg Bester
CONTENTS Five A/V technologies that will
NEWS The Knight of Illumination Awards
define the next five years – Part 1................22
announces launch of ‘KOI South Africa’.......3
Christian Revival Church................................26
Moving forward at InfoComm 2014...............3
‘The Venue’ that covers all bases................30
Tadco takes on Clear-Com distribution.........3 Shure opens MEA office...................................4
Dennis Hutchinson takes home
Viva Afrika revealed.......................................32
two Naledi Awards...........................................4
Prolight + Sound Frankfurt 2014.....................36
Lighting upgrade for local
Prolight +Sound Feedback............................37
Microsoft training facility..................................4
Prolight + Sound products..............................40
Barco acquires X2O Media.............................4
SA creatives design media wall
Miss South Africa 2014....................................50
for new Miami museum....................................6
Simplicity abound at
Lifetime award for Clay Paky chair................6
Zambian music festival ..................................52
Gearshack acquires SCAME...........................6
Martin M-Series –
Revolabs acquired by Yamaha......................6
how does the software perform...................54
MGG Productions invests in
Martin M-Series –
Harman and Shure...........................................8
Matthias Hinrichs and Paul Pelletier..............57
Martin Audio appoints
Are line arrays chasing the sunset?..............58
Studio PRO AUDIO
Local audio distributors and retailers sponsor 2013 ASE graduation ceremony.......8
Monkeying around with
Calrec Audio acquired
the Banana Turbo...........................................62
by Electra Partners............................................8
Unpacking the studio monitor.......................64
NEWS GETshow Guangzhou Entertainment
Prolight + Sound..............................................67
Technology Show 2014...................................10
Prosound Midas launch..................................67 LPS Lasersysteme.............................................67
System Integration & INSTALLATION
AVB networking standards:
Prolyte Rigging training..................................68
a progress report.............................................12
Local radio migrates from
analogue to digital.........................................16 Limited warranties...........................................18
Contributors Chanelle Ellaya | A Journalism graduate from the University of Johannesburg. Chanelle has experience in both the magazine and television industry. She has a keen interest in the Media in various capacities, as well as in music and technology.
Louise Stickland | Professional journalist and photographer with huge passion and enthusiasm for technology and the production industry. Louise initially worked and toured as a lighting designer after graduating from university. She has many years experience in the music and live event sector, and works closely with leading international designers, production companies and technology manufacturers.
David Davies| A journalist who has been covering professional AV and broadcast technology for 14 years. He is reelance managing editor of Sports Video Group (SVG) Europe and continues to contribute to a host of trade publications, including PSNEurope, PSNLive and Installation. He has also been a part of the team for The AES Daily, The IBC Daily and, since 2005, The ISE Daily, for which he served as an executive editor in 2013 and 2014. In addition, he is active as a copywriter and sub-editor.
Publisher| Simon Robinson | firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor | Claire Badenhorst | email@example.com Deputy Editor | Greg Bester | firstname.lastname@example.org In-house Journalist | Chanelle Ellaya | email@example.com Sub-Editor | Tina Heron Advertising Sales | Simone de Beer | firstname.lastname@example.org Design | Trevor Ou Tim | email@example.com Subscriptions | Albertina Tserere | firstname.lastname@example.org Accounts | Natasha Glavovic | email@example.com Sun Circle Publishers (Pty) Ltd | Tel: +27 11 025-3180 | Epsom Downs Office Park, 13 Sloane Street, Bryanston, Johannesburg | PO Box 559 Fourways North 2086, South Africa
Publishers & Projects
The Knight of Illumination Awards announces launch of ‘KOI South Africa’ The Europe-based Knight of Illumination Awards, which celebrates outstanding achievements in lighting design, is expanding internationally with the launch of ‘KOI South Africa’ in 2015. Knight of Illumination Awards organisers Pio Nahum and Davide Barbetta from Clay Paky, Jennie and Durham Marenghi, and The Fifth Estate’s Sarah Rushton-Read announced that work is already in progress for next year’s debut South Africa KOI Awards, which will run concurrently with Mediatech Africa trade show in Johannesburg. Mediatech is scheduled for 15 to 17 July 2015 and the southern hemisphere event will run in addition to the existing London awards. “Clay Paky is proud to have been at the forefront of creating the hugely successful Knight of Illumination Awards, which is now in its seventh year and growing,” says Pio Nahum. “We feel the time is now right to launch a sister KOI, and we are delighted to be doing so in South Africa. Clay Paky is committed to supporting the emerging markets worldwide, and has made many great friends in Africa over the years. We look forward to announcing more details of KOI South Africa very soon.” Durham Marenghi, an award winning lighting designer in his own right and coordinator for the Knight of Illumination Awards “The lighting industry increasingly
Moving forward at InfoComm 2014 More than 10 000 of the hottest technology products from more than 950 companies will be featured at InfoComm 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 18 to 20 June, at the Las Vegas Convention Centre. InfoComm 2014 has more than 500 000 net square feet of show floor exhibits and special events space. More than 36 000 professionals are expected to attend the show. Showcasing the latest AV
Pio Nahum and Duncan Riley
receives huge support from companies across South Africa. We are keen to celebrate great lighting design wherever in the world that it is happening and we’re looking forward to working closely with our friends and colleagues in the region to create a KOI South Africa we can all be proud of.” Duncan Riley, from South Africa’s Clay Paky dealer, DWR Distribution, concludes: “We’re thrilled that the international community will be able to celebrate the outstanding achievements of African lighting designers with the launch of KOI South Africa. DWR has long been a passionate supporter of lighting, and we’re proud to be a part of this fast developing industry in our country. KOI South Africa is a fantastic step forward for all of us working in the industry.” Pro-Systems’ News Africa has confirmed its support as the event’s official media partner and will be bringing regular updates on the developments of the event through our magazine and online mediums.
technology, InfoComm 2014 provides the multi-billion dollar industry and its customers with a thriving show floor, along with education and training. Attendees will hear from all the leading audio brands, get connected with collaborative conferencing in the Unified Communications and Collaboration Pavilion, see the latest in signs at the Digital Signage Pavilion and experience the latest in illumination and production in the Lighting and Staging Pavilion. The InfoComm Executive Director and CEO David Labuskes Technologies for Worship
Tadco takes on Clear-Com distribution
Local audio equipment suppliers Tadco recently added world professional voice communications equipment manufacturer Clear-Com to their stable of products. Clear-Com is a long-established company founded in 1968 in the California bay area and their products are used in a variety of technical environments such as broadcast and live events where party line communication is of paramount importance. They were the first to pioneer this technology that was aimed primarily at rock and roll concerts and tours. Tadco will be exclusively supporting and supplying Clear-Com products to the live events and installations sectors outside of the broadcast segment and, according to Tadco’s Josh Oates: “We are very pleased to have been appointed by Clear-Com. Our clients have been requesting that we offer comms systems for some time; therefore it is fantastic to finally be able to offer them to the industry leader. Clear-Com fits perfectly into Tadco’s commitment to supplying and supporting world-leading audio products to the southern African market.” Pavilion will feature the latest AV technology applied for House of Worship staff and volunteers, while the new Security Pavilion will feature the latest technology solutions. “The AV industry continues to grow each year,” said InfoComm Executive Director and CEO David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD. “Demand for AV technology, including control systems, conferencing, digital signage and networked audio, has increased dramatically in the built environment…This interest has resulted in a thriving show, and I’m certain that InfoComm 2014 attendees will experience technologies that they haven’t seen anywhere else.” InfoComm 2014 is sponsored by Christie Digital, Crestron, Microsoft, Panasonic, Samsung, Aurora and Blackmagic Design.
Shure opens MEA office
Jan Villumsen, Freddy Sicko, Remina Castro and Chicco Hiranand
Shure EMEA has officially opened a regional Shure office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with a view to providing more local distributor and customer support. The new Shure MEA (Middle East & Africa) office opened its doors on 1 May 2014 and is led by Freddy Sicko, who has long been involved in sales and management in the EMEA region from Shure’s offices in Germany
and who is now promoted to the role of General Manager Shure MEA. The new office is responsible for managing the Shure distribution centres in the region, and provides application support, training and seminars for the complete Shure and DIS product portfolio across the Middle East and Africa. Markus Winkler, Managing Director of Shure EMEA comments: “The establishment of the new MEA office in Dubai will increase the presence of the Shure brand and enable us to further develop the market in the region by strengthening the relationships with our local distribution partners. As part of this commitment, we will shortly begin holding regular seminars and training sessions. We look forward to welcoming existing and new customers to one of these sessions in the near future.”
Dennis Hutchinson takes home two Naledi Awards The 11th annual Naledi Theatre Awards took place in March at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City to acknowledge notable professionals in the theatre arts in 25 categories. Local pro audio, lighting and trussing suppliers and founding sponsors Audiosure were once again sponsors of two categories under two of their brands; Wharfdale Pro and Chauvet Lighting. Noted lighting designer Dennis Hutchinson took both awards, respectively Best Set Design and Best Lighting, for his work in a single production, Sunset Boulevard. Also in attendance was John Silver, General Manager of Audiosure’s ’Pro’ division, Chris Andrews, Marketing Manager and Gavin Atkinson, Audiosure’s lighting guru and compliance officer. This is the 11th consecutive year since the founding of the Naledi Theatre Awards that Audiosure has supported the ceremony.
“The importance of private sector involvement in the arts cannot be overstated,” says Andrews, “and as it’s an industry that is very close to our (Audiosure’s) hearts, it’s the ideal opportunity to show the artists, designers, producers, technical crew and the theatre venues themselves that we appreciate all that they do to keep the theatre not only alive, but world class in South Africa. This was amply demonstrated in Monday’s superb performances where we were treated to snippets of some of the finest shows SA theatre had to offer in 2013.”
Barco acquires X2O Media Barco recently announced the acquisition of Montreal-based enterprise communication specialist X2O Media. In line with Barco’s strategy to move beyond display and projection technology, this acquisition expands the portfolio with a complete solution to deliver enhanced and cross-divisional content distribution and workflow, based on advanced networking and connectivity capabilities. X2O Media was established in 2006 as a spin-off from VertigoXmedia. X2O’s innovative platform enables the connection, management and delivery of real-time data through dynamic and interactive channels, from any source to any screen, anywhere. “X2O Media perfectly complements our offering and skills portfolio, and is an important step in our strategy to expand our portfolio beyond video and imaging,” says Eric Van Zele, CEO of Barco. “Customers’ expectations regarding workflow and content management shift to end-to-end and easy-to-use visualisation systems and cloud-based solutions. X2O Media’s platform will play a crucial role in allowing Barco to tap into these new opportunities, while differentiating itself further from competition. The X2O software platform versatility and its capability to address any display – be it fixed or mobile – will prove to be an important asset and allows Barco to link any content from any media to any device.” X2O Media will be integrated in the Barco organisation as a business venture, allowing it to continue the development of its platform technology, while leveraging its business growth from Barco’s worldwide sales and service presence. In addition, the X2O specific capabilities and technology will be integrated gradually in solutions for all of Barco’s markets.
Lighting upgrade for local Microsoft training facility During the past year, Microsoft Bryanston has enjoyed the use of a new training facility particularly set up to equip staff operating their call centre. The intimate cinema style venue, which includes a stage on which four call centre desks have been set up, has been kitted out with four Robin 300 LED Wash Fixtures, two Robin DLXs, 10 Philips Selecon Acclaim Profiles, a 6-Way Philips Strand dimmer and LSC Clarity for control. The project was awarded to Dimension
Data and overseen by their Project Manager, Andre Parsons. “The client and their PM were very accommodating and understanding, and the project in general went very well,” said Parsons. “Feedback I received has been very positive and the few times that I have been there after completion, has seen the venue being used without any problems.” DWR Distribution supplied the lighting gear. “The Robin 300 LED fixtures are positioned above each of the four desks for colour change,” said Keith Pugin from DWR.
Philips Selecon Acclaim fixtures hang off a 12m custom designed lighting bar, positioned over the seating area. The units provide crisp, white, profile lighting for the stage area. The DLX units, which circulate the Mircrosoft logo around the venue, have been suspended midway, on either side of the concrete ceiling. Dimming is via a 6-way Philips Strand Dimmer and all fixtures are controlled by LSC Clarity, a PC and Mac-based lighting and media control package.
SA creatives design media wall for new Miami museum A SA creative team is to design a groundbreaking responsive media wall at the new Miami Science Museum. Formula D Interactive and Digital Fabric have been appointed to design and build a groundbreaking, large-scale audiovisual installation for the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida. Formula D have the creative lead and are responsible for all software and content with Digital Fabric delivering the design, engineering and integration aspects of the project. The museum is set to open in 2015, and the team is busy designing an 18-metre interactive projection environment that will represent the Gulf Stream – a powerful, warm ocean current off the coast of Florida – and
Lifetime award for Clay Paky chair
Pasquale Quadri, founder and chairman of Bergamo-based Clay Paky SpA, received the lifetime achievement prize at the MIPA/ PIPA awards held in Frankfurt during Musikmesse. The ceremony took place on 13 March 2014 and the winner was chosen by an overwhelming majority of the jury. This is the fifteenth time the annual MIPA awards have been presented. They have been extended this year, for the first time, from the world of musical instruments to the field of stage lighting and sound (PIPA
Scaled mock-up of the wall in Cape Town
its impact on the marine world. Visitors can influence the virtual environment in real time thanks to high resolution tracking cameras, making the experience akin to a scuba dive. The projection system will feature an autoalignment system to maintain the complex warp and blending required for the curved, multi-projector setup. Brainsalt Media interactive servers will deliver all content via a fibre optic backbone, with dedicated machines for real-time rendering, tracking and multi-channel audio. Digital Fabric recently built an 8-metre section of the wall in a venue in Cape Town, with a fully operational playout and tracking awards). The fact Pasquale Quadri is the first person from the lighting industry to receive this prestigious award is therefore particularly significant. Every lighting professional knows that Pasquale Quadri is the creative power-house behind Clay Paky. Now it is the music industry that wants to sing Pasquale Quadri’s praises for his contribution to innovation. His passion for technology has given rise to products that use light to bring out the rhythms and atmospheres of musical notes and create emotions. With this MIPA/PIPA Lifetime Achievement Award, Pasquale Quadri joins an exclusive club whose members consist of the mythical personalities who have received it before him for having made the history of the world music industry, such as the two Meyer brothers, who founded Meyer Sound, Fritz Sennheiser, inventor of the wireless microphone and Jim Marshall, whose guitar amps are legendary throughout the world.
Gearshack acquires SCAME Gearshack Design and Distribution has been given the sole distributorship of SCAME black, single phase and 3 phase sockets and plugs. Black is discrete and unobtrusive and optimally suited for events. The black range is widely used in Europe as opposed to the traditional red. The products are available immediately in 16A / 32A and 63A.
system for client approval. A team of three from the museum visited Cape Town to review the concept and approve key content decisions. The team won the contract against stiff opposition from 20 interactive design firms, primarily based in the US. “Formula D interactive has all the right ingredients in their proposal,” says Jennifer Santer, vice president for Content and Programs at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, and project manager for the interactive media wall project. “The creativity of their response, combined with their ability to include the right partners to achieve our objectives, made us certain we wanted to work with them.”
Revolabs acquired by Yamaha Revolabs recently announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Yamaha Corporation. This merger will help Yamaha further grow its enterprise presence for audio equipment. Yamaha has also been developing, manufacturing and selling voice communication devices and professional audio equipment for the expanding audio equipment market for many years, and the sharing of product lines, technology, know-how and sales networks of both companies will enable the Yamaha Group to provide high-quality solutions for the diversifying needs of the market. “With the market for conference room equipment expected to expand worldwide, I am extremely happy to welcome Revolabs — a company that has earned a high level of trust from customers and grown rapidly in this market — as a member of the Yamaha Group,” said Mr. Takuya Nakata, president of Yamaha Corporation. “Revolabs’ ethos of creating products that provide value for customers with strong technical capabilities as a base meshes well with the Yamaha Group’s corporate philosophy. “By combining Revolabs’ wireless microphone systems and wireless conference phones with Yamaha’s voice communication devices and professional audio equipment we expect to be able to create even more appealing solutions for our customers. In the future we aim to accelerate our progress in expanding sales in the electronics business domain, by combining the technology and know-how of both companies.” Revolabs will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation and follow its existing roadmap led by the current management team.
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MGG Productions invests in Harman and Shure
MGG’s newly aquired gear
Johannesburg-based rental company MGG Productions recently added a number of Harman Group equipment along with one of the first Shure Axient wireless microphone systems to their inventory in a bid to add increased versatility to their existing systems and offer more options to their clients. In addition to their existing Soundcraft digital, a further Vi6 surface, a local rack and two more Vi6 stage racks (64 input; 32
output) were purchased from local distributors Wild and Marr. “We now offer a complete Vi6 monitor and FOH solution to our clients,” says MGG Productions owner Mark Gaylard. Also from the Harman camp and bought from Wild and Marr were a combination of PRX710 and PRX712 self-powered loudspeakers. Twelve PRX710s and twelve PRX712s were added to MGG’s stock. “The PRX712, I think, is a fantastic sounding speaker for corporates and for monitors. It looks great; it’s lightweight and good to put on a stand or to attach to a sub. We’ve already got our existing stock of PRX 600-series speakers so now we’ve got 10(the PRX710s), 12- and 15-inch powered speakers which kind of takes over from where our Eons were.” Also to note that a Shure Axient system, the only one of its kind available from a rental company in South Africa, was added to the MGG stable in the past year.
Martin Audio appoints industry heavyweight To support its consistent sales growth With the launch of the new MLA Mini and to further their credentials within the timing couldn’t be better, and the install space, Martin Audio has we are delighted to be able to recruited the experienced Robin recruit someone with Robin’s Dibble to the new position of outstanding pedigree.” Applications Engineer. Speaking of the opportunity, Dibble has a distinguished Dibble responds: “Martin Audio not Robin Dibble reputation within the industry having only has a fantastic reputation and recently been the Head of Audio product portfolio but is also at the Engineering at RaceTech in London forefront of current professional and previously Project Engineer at Glantre loudspeaker development and technology. Engineering in Reading. He is also a member Couple that with their passion for providing of the Audio Engineering Society and an the best possible sound in any given accredited technician in the Institute of environment; the opportunity to become Acoustics. part of that was too good to resist. Martin Audio sales director Simon Bull, “While the MLA range is a real ‘game says: “This appointment reflects the growth of changer’, there are also some fantastic new the company and at the same time products in the pipeline. I am looking recognises the need to bring in additional forward to these and working with our expertise to drive our installation business. customers, both current and future.”
Local audio distributors and retailers sponsor 2013 ASE graduation ceremony Johannesburg-based Academy of Sound Engineering celebrated its 2013 graduates at the Linder auditorium in April. The audio college came together to honour graduates in the Diploma in Sound Engineering and
Neill Pash, Mari Potgieter and Chris Andrews
Higher Certificate in Audio Technology. A number of top achievers received awards from the ceremony’s sponsors valued at over R160 000. Sponsors included Audiosure, Wild and Marr, Surge Sound, Music Connection, Prosound, Stage Audio
Calrec Audio acquired by Electra Partners Calrec Audio recently announced its acquisition by Electra Partners. Calrec will become a sister company to Allen & Heath, which Electra Alex Fortescue acquired last year. “When we made our initial investment in the professional audio sector by supporting the buyout of Allen & Heath, Electra provided all of the new financing to ensure flexibility with respect to further acquisitions in the sector,” said Alex Fortescue, chief investment partner of Electra Partners. “The acquisition of Calrec shows the benefits of this approach, and both companies are well-placed to accelerate growth as a result.” “We are delighted to have funded the acquisition of Calrec,” said Charles Elkington, investment partner of Electra Partners. “Part of our investment strategy in the professional audio sector is to acquire additional businesses to create a group of marketleading professional audio brands. We look forward to working with Roger Henderson and his team to continue to invest in developing new products for Calrec’s customers.” Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Calrec Audio is exclusively dedicated to excellence in audio mixing for on-air and live production. Over the past 50 years, Calrec has developed a range of digital consoles relied on by the world’s most successful broadcasters. Works and AVL Distribution. Sound GP handled the sound and AV for the event. The overall top student, Mari Potgieter with 96% for electronics and an average of 88% for all subjects (the second highest top student average since the school’s inception), received the Top Student Award of an Allen & Heath QU-16 mixing console, sponsored by Audiosure. She was also presented with a pair of Shure SRH440 headphones, JBL 5” two-way powered studio monitors, a Shure PG27 general recording microphone and a Shure studio windscreen from Wild and Marr for taking the Top Diploma Student in Music Production award.
GETshow Guangzhou Entertainment Technology Show 2014
Judy Wang (Pro-Systems China) and Mr Dave Liang – Deputy Director of Industry Association of South China Entertainment Equipment / president of PR Lighting Ltd
The opening ceremony
The show site
The 2014 GETshow exhibition area was the largest in the history of the show so far. With six halls and outdoor squares of Pazhou Poly World Trade Center Expo Hall in Guangzhou, China, occupied by 425 international brand enterprises and 48 659 visitors from 68 countries the 2014 GETshow had a 10 percent growth on last year’s numbers. Held at the end of February and early March the scope of the exhibition covered stage performance stereo, card pack stereo, public broadcast, meeting system, stage lighting, LED, microphone, power amplifier and stage peripheral devices. During the four-day exhibition, participating brands presented a grand feast for the professional lighting and stereo industry. Many participating enterprises launched their new products at GETshow 2014 amid important clients and competitors. In addition to carrying out the successful experience of past years, 2014 GETshow took the lead in building China’s first high-end silent exhibition and advocated the exhibitors within the three stereo halls to present silent demonstrations during the four days of exhibition. Gathering to discuss major programming on 27 February, Guangdong Entertainment Equipment Industry Chamber led the organisation of the 2014 China Entertainment Equipment Industry Guangzhou Summit Forum. Over 40 Registration representatives of elite manufacturers and quality engineering merchants from all over the country gathered together to conduct discussions under the themes; competition, cooperation, win-win and development.
Stage Art 600’s latest works To introduce innovative thinking and development concepts of the industry, 2014 GETshow continued to join hands with Stage Art Society of China to hold the ’2014 China Stage Art (Guangzhou) Annual Exhibition’ together. This year’s stage art annual exhibition was in Hall of Poly World Trade Center Expo and included works which won awards in domestic and foreign key activities in 2013. Over 80 stage art works of 60 designers from the 10th China Art Festival, the 13th China Theatre Festival and the British WSD International Stage Art Exhibition were selected and 600 latest works of theatre, film and TV design from teachers and students in 10 domestic tertiary institutions were exhibited as well. The audience came in an endless stream during the entire exhibition period because of novel and rich annual exhibition contents. Mr. Dave Liang, Standing Vice President of the Industry Association of South China Entertainment Equipment, and the managing director of PR Lighting Ltd comments: “It is exciting that the entertainment technology is being manufactured in China, many international events are using Chinese products and it means those products fit the needs of international standards. It is delightful to see China is stepping up from ’made in China’ to ’innovation in China’, a new phase.”
Integration & Installation Networking
AVB networking standards: a progress report
With no shortage of announcements during the recent ISE 2014 trade show, the audio networking bandwagon evinces no sign of slowing down. But is the apparent objective of true interoperability in sight now, asks David Davies? “We are very proud of Extreme Networks’ dedication to furthering the momentum of AVB and of all our members working together toward a true ecosystem of AVnu-certified devices,” says Rick Kreifeldt, chairman and president, AVnu Alliance. On 25 August this year, the AVnu Alliance – the organisation created to support and promote the AVB (Audio/Video Bridging) networking standards – will celebrate its fifth birthday. There is no doubt that it is a landmark anniversary – and not just for what it says about progress towards a universal approach to audio networking. At the most basic level, and to its credit, the Alliance has prompted an unprecedented amount of collaboration within and beyond the AV and IT industries. From a founding quintet of companies including Harman, the Alliance has grown to a current membership of 65, with residential systems specialist Crestron the latest to climb aboard, in January this year. Biamp, Dolby, Focusrite, Meyer Sound and Sennheiser are among a very considerable pro-audio contingent
participating in the project – and the level of uptake in what had historically been a distinctly protectionist sector has certainly taken some by surprise (as one notable industry figure remarked to me at the time of the Alliance’s launch:, “We don’t really tend to do collaboration in this industry!”) But perhaps even more importantly, the group’s creation confirmed a significant, if at times painfully slow-dawning realisation, within the audio industry that a networking future based around closed protocols was likely to be an extremely limited (and limiting) prospect. Speaking at the SVG Europe Sport Facility Integration Summit, held during this year’s ISE, Rick Kreifeldt – chairman and president of the AVnu Alliance as well as being VP research and innovation of Harman International’s Corporate Technology Group – recalled that the industry’s inward-looking approach had at times left it: “stuck in a wheel of doom.” With the AES among the other industry organisations to have spearheaded standards-backed interoperability efforts, the last half-decade has – if nothing else – confirmed that Kreifeldt’s believe in unified solutions is now pretty much universal. Powerful networks, runs the philosophy, boost efficiency and allow installations or live/ broadcast deployments to be scaled in size with maximum ease and flexibility. But how close are we really to that Edenic land in which devices from multiple manufacturers can be brought onto the same network with guaranteed interoperability?
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Integration & Installation Networking
A brief history If one is tempted to date the beginning of the latest ‘phase’ of networking to the creation of the AVnu Alliance, the truth is that concerted moves in the direction of seamless digital networking really began in the mid ‘90s. Arguably the most significant technology to emerge at this point was CobraNet, developed in 1996 by US-based Peak Audio but subsequently acquired by Cirrus Logic. Without doubt the first properly commercially successful implementation of Audio over Ethernet, CobraNet allows 64 channels of uncompressed digital audio to be carried through a single, inexpensive Cat5 cable. The technology became particularly popular in the ‘fixed’ install markets of convention centres, stadiums, airports and theme parks. Although it remains widely used today, hardware costs and a latency issue (delays of 11⁄ 3 milliseconds per network traversal meant it was impractical for some applications) meant that CobraNet was unlikely ever to be an all-purpose panacea. So the development of other technologies continued apace, with Harman’s HiQnet and QSC’s QSys among the solutions to garner credible market traction. But an abundance of options hardly helped to sway those who were firmly not of the early adopter persuasion to consider moving away from simple point-to-point connectivity. Simultaneously, an increase in the expectations of what AV networks might be able to deliver in terms of traffic and complexity meant that more decisive action had to be taken if full networking was to achieve a meaningful breakthrough.
Towards interoperability It was to be several more years before, in the mid-noughties, the emergence of new IEEE standards suggested that a useful point of congruence might be in prospect. Beginning to take shape in 2005 but not completed until August 2013, the group of standards that came to be known as Audio/Video Bridging (AVB) provided the specifications to allow time-synchronised low latency streaming services through IEEE 802 (typically Ethernet) networks. By 2009 a group of companies from the audio, video, broadcast and IT communities were sufficiently convinced by the technology’s possibilities to create the AVnu Alliance to promote the adoption of the related standards – and, equally crucially – ferment a certification programme that would guarantee the interoperability of devices sitting on AVB networks. After several years in development, the certification programme finally got underway in early 2013 and delivered its first AVnu-certified products – the Extreme Networks Summit X440 AVB switch series – in time for this year’s ISE show. With the aforementioned announcement about Crestron to flag up at the Amsterdam gathering, Kreifeldt was upbeat, describing the past year as an “extremely productive period” for AVB. Referring to the Extreme Networks switch series as the first of many AVnu-certified products in the pipeline, Kreifeldt says that “we have also (been) actively developing programmes for wireless audio, audio over IP and automotive, with pro video to come in 2014. We are very proud of Extreme Networks’ dedication to furthering the momentum of AVB and of all our members working together toward a true ecosystem of AVnu-certified devices.” But the reality is that – led by the likes of influential audio consultant Roland Hemming – the AVB movement has lately been the subject of increased debate and even dissent. “It seems to have taken an extraordinary length of time (to get a product through certification),”
Rick Kreifeldt – chairman and president, AVnu Alliance
says Hemming. “I’d also argue their approach to promoting the technology has been poor and that (the AVB camp) hasn’t really engaged with the market sufficiently.” And notwithstanding the Extreme Networks switch development, Hemming remains concerned about the availability of the dedicated switches required to make AVB networks run. Such switches, he says, are limited in number at this time and are: “more costly to purchase than comparable non-AVB-enabled switches.” The reality check, he adds, is that: “the audio gear simply isn’t there.” Not surprisingly, Kreifeldt is inclined to offer a rather more positive spin on the current AVB product landscape. “Most of the pro AV manufacturers (in AVnu) are designing products with AVB included or have AVB-enabled products already shipping,” he says. “Some notable examples are from many of the members that exhibited in the AVnu Alliance Pavilion at ISE 2014; including the Tesira Family from Biamp; Extreme Networks’ multiple switches; Harman’s 64x64 BSS Audio Soundweb London processor; Riedel’s Artist digital matrix intercom platform; Meyer Sound’s CAL column array loudspeaker and D-Mitri digital audio platform; Avid S3L live sound system and Avid Pro Tools 11; and Yamaha’s CL 1 console with 64 channel talker/ listener.”
AES67 arrives As Hemming notes, Layer 2-oriented AVB can create: “A significant hurdle for some applications, not least those where there is a requirement to route across subnets.” Momentum behind approaches geared towards Layer 3 transport can therefore assume a higher profile of late. Dante is increasingly a ‘go to’ technology for demanding network applications. In the words of its developer, Audinate, Dante delivers a: “no-hassle, self-configuring, true plug-and-play digital audio network”…that uses standard IP over 100Mb and/or Gigabit Ethernet.
Dante technology can distribute digital audio plus integrated control data with, notes Audinate: “Sub-millisecond latency, sampleaccurate playback synchronisation, extreme reliability and high channel counts.” Audinate announced its 100th Dante OEM partner in September 2013 – since when Glensound and Digital Labs, among others, have joined the fray. “Not only are we the market leader in live and commercial live and commercial audio, we are seeing the same phenomenon in broadcast networks and public address and evacuation systems,” says Audinate CEO Lee Ellison. “Audinate has made it very easy with our developer tools to integrate into our OEM products so they do not need to spend multiple years in development.” Then there is the Ravenna technology developed by ALC NetworX, which again uses standard network protocols and technologies. Providing real-time distribution of audio and other media content, Ravenna can operate in existing network infrastructures – a feature that has seen it enjoy particularly enthusiastic take-off in the broadcast world, as evinced by the technology’s year-on-year profile increase at IBC. The latest news pertaining to Ravenna includes the announcement, late last year, of a ’deeper collaboration‘ between ALC NetworX and Digigram that will allow the full Digigram product line to be powered by Ravenna for real-time IP-based distribution of audio and other media content. With a partner list that includes Genelec, Merging, Neumann, Schoeps and Sonifex, Ravenna – like Dante – has already garnered a robust market profile. But in this new era where integrators increasingly seek reinforcement by standards, both solutions look set to benefit from the arrival of AES67. Developed by the Audio Engineering Society and published last September, AES67 is a Layer 3 protocol suite designed to allow interoperability between various existing IP-based audio networking systems. Andreas Hildebrand, senior product manager at ALC NetworX, explains the meeting place-style role that can be played by AES67: “Audio over IP technologies, including Ravenna, was in existence for quite some time, but although featuring some commonalities, they were not able to interoperate with each other. The motivation for AES67, then, was to define interoperability guidelines to which existing solutions can be adapted with reasonable effort to facilitate synchronised inter-system stream exchange. It is important to note that AES767 is not intended to be a solution on its own, but rather (provides) means for exchanging audio streams between areas with different networking solutions or technologies already in place.” Indicating its likely importance, ISE was frankly awash with AES67-related announcements. Through the formal incorporation of the standard via a firmware update to be released to OEMs within 12 months, Dante will add a Layer 3 RTP (Real-Time Transport Protocol) option to its existing Layer 3 UDP (User Datagram Protocol) transport. ALC NetworX, meanwhile, highlighted the fact that Ravenna is already AES67-compliant. The extent to which AES67 might provide a unifying path for audio networking will be explored in greater depth in next issue’s follow-up feature in Pro Systems News. But whatever the standard’s potential, casual conversations with integrators at ISE 2014 underlined the high level of continuing confusion about the pros and cons of different approaches to networking. Whether to invest and in which solution to invest their faith are abiding questions. The commercially-sensitive nature of many of these developments can understandably limit the spread of information, but a more joined-up philosophy with regards to industry education is surely essential if comprehensive networking is to become the norm.
Integration & Installation Radio Station
Local radio migrates from analogue to digital
Big things are happening at Highveld 94.7 and Talk Radio 702 with a total overhaul of their broadcast facilities including the addition of new studios, an analogue to digital upgrade and a state-of-the-art digital media installation with the help of Spectrum Visual Networks and local AV experts Electrosonic.
Departing from the original idea of a simple makeover of the radio stations after several meetings, Primedia set in motion a fresh new take on studio design and decided to implement more than just a cosmetic makeover and an upgrade to their broadcast equipment from analogue to digital. Therefore this overhaul is limited not only to the audio broadcast end and includes a number of modern visual elements such as video walls for live streaming of presenters and guests and for displaying third party content. They have only recently completed phase one of the upgrade, starting with the Highveld studios, causing 702 to â€˜camp outâ€™ there
while their own new studios are being completed downstairs. According to Grant Vick, project manager at Primedia, the original plan was to install single screens in each of the new studios to display feeds from social media, live sporting match broadcasts and breaking news as they happened. An additional goal was to display branding at strategically chosen times during the day and night as opposed to traditional fixed print media. Spectrum Visual Networks, a local digital media solutions provider, was approached by the Primedia team and the aforementioned plan was tabled. Since Primedia is a 24-hour operation, a solution had to be reached that offered around the clock stability and support. Grant Neill, business development manager at Spectrum Visual Networks with many yearsâ€™ experience in the field, took on the project and unveiled a comprehensive solution consisting of multiple ultra-narrow-bezel NEC X463UN direct backlit LED displays arranged in co-incident configurations to form a series of 2x2 and 2x1 video walls. To drive the video walls, a single GALAXY video wall processor was proposed per studio floor (there are two studio floors), offering the user the ability to display branding of any sort during radio shows and interviews, multiple live DStv feeds and computer graphics on any of the displays at any time. Of course, Primedia was sold on the idea immediately and, along
Hydraport retractable boardroom pop-ups Modular cable retractor cartridges for: HDMI, VGA, Ethernet and Display Port with Neill, visited the Electrosonic SA (NEC and GALAXY distributors) showroom in Northcliff, Johannesburg for a comprehensive demo of the proposed solution. However, this installation like many others was not without challenges. First and foremost, the LED screens had to be mounted flush with the acoustic panelling in the studios which left very little space for mounting hardware and required the use of standard flat brackets. While this solved one problem, it presented another of increased difficulty in panel alignment. In a studio environment, noise is a critical issue. Microphones and recording equipment do not discriminate and will pick up any ambient sound in the room which made the initial plan of implementing the GALAXY processor in the call screening room a challenge due to its relatively high intrinsic noise level. The call screening room is used to record telephone calls and therefore has to be very quiet and the GALAXY, while not an overly loud processor, did not meet the required decibel level. As a result, the GALAXY had to be moved to the server room downstairs which once again provided a seemingly concrete solution with the caveat of also providing more challenges. The most pressing of these challenges was the distance between the processor and the video walls which presented signal loss problems due the distance being too far; around 90m. In order to drive HD signals over that distance, active Kramer HDMI transmitters and receivers were installed to transport the signal over Kramer DigiKat7 shielded twisted pair cable specifically designed for this application. This solution enabled full HD signals (1920 x 1080, 60Hz) to be transmitted flawlessly from the GALAXY to the displays. Abrie Du Ploy, NEC and GALAXY product manager at Electrosonic SA, was deployed to programme the GALAXY processor. On the challenges faced programming the GALAXY, he says: “In the GALAXY wall control software layout, the entire wall was displayed as one canvas instead of the multiple smaller walls in the studios. This was easily overcome because I simply had to keep my focus while designing the layouts. Another challenge was the layout selection from individual studios. Each studio has five or six different layout options and because it is driven by a single controller, we had to carefully design layouts to accommodate both studios. This was also not too big an issue as we created a lookup-table of 30 layout combinations in order for each studio to operate independently from the other and still have maximum flexibility.” For the end user, a simple, intuitive and user-friendly control interface is paramount. A single Crestron CP3 control processor was implemented into the GALAXY/NEC system along with three 7” TSW750 wall-mounted full colour touch panels for source selection as well as to control lighting zones throughout the studio complex.
The wrap The final product was a streamlined, effective and efficient system that accomplished exactly what Primedia sought and will conceivably serve them for years to come.
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Integration & Installation Limited Warranties
Limited warranties Being at the tip of Africa we can often feel like we’re at the bottom at the world, a long way from everything. This makes buying imported products a dubious exercise because while it’s nice to have nice new toys, support is often a huge concern. While these products do have limited warranties we still tend to dread the day something goes wrong. So what happens when something does go wrong? Who do we turn to, what are the terms of the warrantee and who takes on what responsibilities? Chanelle Ellaya finds out more from Crestron Electronics, Kramer Electronics, Extron Electronics, AMX and PTN Electronics.
warranty warranty Warranty period: Seven years from the date of original purchase. Except for: Fiber Optic cables and Kramer speakers – one year. What does the warranty cover: Product defects in materials and workmanship. Limitations? The limited warranty is void if (a) the label bearing the serial number of the product has been removed or defaced, (b) the product is not distributed by Kramer Electronics or (c) the product is not purchased from an authorized Kramer Electronics reseller. The limited warranty does not cover any damage, deterioration or malfunction resulting from any alteration, modification, improper or unreasonable use or maintenance, misuse, abuse, accident, neglect, exposure to excess moisture, fire, improper packing and shipping (such claims must be presented to the carrier), lightning, power surges, or other acts of nature. The limited warranty does not cover any damage, deterioration or malfunction resulting from the installation or removal of the product from any installation, any unauthorised tampering with the product, any repairs attempted by anyone unauthorised by Kramer Electronics to make such repairs, or any other cause which does not relate directly to a defect in materials and/or workmanship of the product. The limited warranty does not cover cartons, equipment enclosures, cables or accessories used in conjunction with the product. Who provides support for Kramer in South Africa? Electrosonic SA. Are Kramer (still under warranty) products repaired in South Africa? Yes, by Electrosonic SA. If products under warranty cannot be repaired in South Africa, who covers the shipping costs? Shipping from South Africa to Kramer – Electrosonic SA is responsible. Shipping from Kramer to South Africa – Kramer Electronics is responsible. How does Kramer handle warranties on parallel imports? In order to pursue any remedy under the limited warranty, the customer must possess an original, dated receipt as proof of purchase from an authorized Kramer Electronics reseller. If the product is returned under the limited warranty, a return authorization number, obtained from Kramer Electronics, will be required.
Warranty period: Three years from date of purchase, (excluding: Crestron Lighting Control Systems). Except for: • Disk drives and any other moving or rotating mechanical parts, pan/tilt heads and power supplies – one year • Touchscreen displays and overlay components – 90 days. • Batteries and incandescent lamps – not covered. What does the warranty cover? Manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship under normal use and service. Limitations: Crestron shall not be liable to honour the terms of the warranty if the product has been used in any application other than that for which it was intended, or if it has been subjected to misuse, abuse, accidental damage, modification, improper wiring, improper repair, incorrect repair or improper installation procedures. Furthermore, the warranty does not cover any product that has had the serial number altered, defaced, or removed. The warranty shall be the sole and exclusive remedy to the original purchaser. In no event shall Crestron be liable for incidental or consequential damages of any kind (property or economic damages inclusive) arising from the sale or use of this equipment. Crestron’s liability on any claim for damages arising out of or in connection with the manufacture, sale, installation, delivery, or use of the unit shall never exceed the purchase price of the unit. Crestron is not liable for any claim made by a third party or made by the purchaser for a third party. Who provides support for Crestron in South Africa? Crestron’s local repair centre. Are Crestron (still under warranty) products repaired in South Africa? Yes, Crestron’s local repair centre performs a multitude of Crestron repairs. Technicians are always on standby to assist with any Crestron related problems. We use team viewer to assist dealers on site with programming or setup issues. If products under warranty cannot be repaired in South Africa, who covers the shipping costs? Crestron will ship products both ways at their own cost. How does Crestron handle warranties on parallel imports? Do you track serial numbers? Crestron track serial numbers before accepting products to be repaired under warranty.
warranty Warranty period: 3 years from date of delivery. Except for: • LCD and LED panels – three years from the shipping date, except for the display and touch overlay components – one year from the shipping date. • Disk drive mechanisms, pan/tilt heads and external power supplies – one year • AMX lighting products are warranted to switch on and off any load that is properly connected to their lighting products, as long as the AMX lighting products are under warranty. AMX also warrants the control of dimmable loads that are properly connected to their lighting products. The dimming performance or quality thereof is not warranted, due to the random combinations of dimmers, lamps and ballasts or transformers. • AMX software and firmware – ninety days from the shipping date. • Batteries and incandescent lamps – not covered • AMX EPICA, Enova DGX (DGX Enclosure and respective IO boards only), Modula, Modula Series 4, Modula Cat Pro Series and 8Y-3000 product models will continue for the original installation until five years after the issuance of a product discontinuance notice (“PDN”) with respect to termination of the applicable product model. However, if the product is moved from its original installation to a different installation, the warranty period will automatically become three years from the shipping date and, if more than three years have elapsed since the shipping date, the warranty period will automatically expire. • Warranty period for products repaired – 90 days or the balance of the original product’s warranty period, whichever is the greater. What does the warranty cover? Product defects due to materials or workmanship issues Limitations? The limited warranty does not apply to any AMX product that has been modified, altered or repaired by an unauthorized agent or improperly transported, stored, installed, used, or maintained; damage caused by acts of nature, including flood, erosion, or earthquake; damage caused by a sustained low or high voltage situation or by a low or high voltage disturbance, including brownouts, sags, spikes or power outages; or damage caused by war, vandalism, theft, depletion, or obsolescence. Who provides support for AMX in South Africa? Support for all AMX products in Southern Africa is provided by Peripheral Vision. Peripheral Vision provides loan equipment to their dealers on all warranty equipment while repairs are being done. However, all dealers that receive SLA revenue from their customers for AMX installations are expected to maintain adequate levels of SLA support stock for their SLA contacts. Are AMX (still under warranty) products repaired in South Africa? For products that are under warranty, first line repairs are done locally by Peripheral Vision Technicians. When it cannot be repaired locally product is returned to AMX for repair If products under warranty cannot be repaired in South Africa, who covers the shipping costs? Shipping from South Africa to AMX – Peripheral Vision is responsible. Shipping from AMX to South Africa – AMX is responsible. Unless priority shipping is required by client. How does AMX handle warranties on parallel imports? Peripheral Vision is the sole distributor of AMX products in Southern Africa and all products are recorded and tracked by serial numbers. Any products not sold through the valid channel (Peripheral Vision) will not be supported.
Integration & Installation Limited Warranties
Warranty period? Five years (not including accessories). PTN Power Supplies – lifetime warranty What does the warranty cover? The warranty is limited to defects in workmanship or parts which will either be repaired or replaced; it does not extend to accessories such as remote receivers & remote controls, nor does it cover manuals, packaging, power or interconnecting source cables. Limitations: The warranty does not cover batteries, or any other consumable item. The warranty does not cover any defect caused by an accident, misuse, abuse, improper installation as determined by the product user manual or operation, lack of reasonable care, unauthorized modification, loss of parts, tampering or attempted repair by anyone not authorised by the company. The warranty will not apply if any factory-applied seal or serial number has been altered or removed from the product. The warranty will not apply if damage, malfunction or failure resulting from alterations, accident, misuse, abuse, fire, liquid spillage, use on an incorrect voltage, power surges and dips, force majeure, voltage supply problems, tampering or unauthorized repairs by any persons, use of defective or incompatible accessories, exposure to abnormally corrosive conditions or entry by any insect, vermin or foreign object in the product. The warranty does not cover damage arising during transportation, installation or while moving the product, or to any transportation costs of the product or any parts thereof to and from the owner, unless otherwise specified in the warranty. Who provides support for PTN Electronics in South Africa? Audio Visual Centre (PTY) Ltd is the Southern African Importers and distributor of PTN Electronics Range of Products. All product and technical support is done by AVC. AVC has branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
Warranty period: Powered products – three years from the date of invoice. Touchscreen display and overlay components – one year parts and labour warranty. Flat Field®, SoundField®, SpeedMount®, and System INTEGRATOR® speakers – five years. Lifetime Limited Cable Performance Warranty – If, at any time, the cable fails due to manufacturer defect, Extron will repair or replace the cable to ensure that it meets original performance specifications. Extron will test and evaluate all cable products claimed defective. What does the warranty cover? Defects in materials and workmanship. Limitations: Reduced performance due to normal wear and tear, or damages caused by misuse or negligence will not be covered. Who provides support for Extron in South Africa? Extron has a regional sales office in Johannesburg which provides convenient access to Extron for customers in Africa. The facility is home to sales and technical support representatives who are fully trained to provide expert help to customers Are Extron (still under warranty) products repaired in South Africa? Yes, the majority of repairs are done locally. If a repair is needed, customers in South Africa simply deliver the product to Extron’s Johannesburg office. The product will be repaired within seven days and returned to the customer’s location. If products under warranty cannot be repaired in South Africa, who covers the shipping costs? In the event that a product cannot be repaired locally, the shipping costs will be paid for by Extron.
Are PTN Electronics (still under warranty) products repaired in South Africa? Component repairs and replacements are done locally by Audio Visual Centre (PTY) Ltd. If products under warranty cannot be repaired in South Africa, who covers the shipping costs? PTN Electronics covers all shipping costs. How does PTN Electronics handle warranties on parallel imports? Every product brought in under warranty must retain a purchase receipt or invoice as proof of purchase and as proof of the date on which the purchase was made. The purchase receipt or invoice must be presented when making a claim under the Warranty; failure to do so will render the warranty as invalid.
This article was compiled from information obtained from the manufacturer’s limited warranty policy as well as comment from manufacturers and distributors. Please refer to the complete warranty documents on the manufacturer’s website for full details. Pro-Systems does not take responsibility for any misrepresentations or erratums therof.
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Integration & Installation White Paper
Five A/V technologies that will define the next five years – Part 1
By Joseph D. Cornwall, CTS-D
Technology Evangelist—Lastar, Inc. (C2G, Quiktron)
Perhaps the most commonly desired quality when investing in or upgrading an A/V system is the ability of the installation to be ‘future proof’. Future proof projects, if they existed, would anticipate new developments in technology and market direction. This would minimise negative consequences while simultaneously capitalising on fresh opportunities. Of course it is impossible for anyone to completely and accurately predict the future. In this paper we will analyse past and current industry and market trends in order to identify with confidence, those topologies and systems that are most likely to be of critical concern in commercial and consumer A/V system design and installation from now through 2018. In doing this we aren’t predicting the future so much as we are identifying current trends and market forces and illuminating the most likely market outcomes. We will focus on the five technologies likely to show the greatest market growth and/or market impact on general A/V integration.
Introduction In the paper Putting Analogue Sunset in Perspective we explored the trend of an essentially global transition from analogue to digital content and connectivity in A/V systems. We came to the conclusion that Bus Low Voltage Differential Signalling (BLVDS) and Multipoint Low
Voltage Differential Signaling (M-LVDS) will likely be phased out of use, taking the ubiquitous analogue Video Graphics Array (VGA) connection (DE 15 connector) with it. General industry opinion is in agreement with this conclusion, with many analysts noting that both analogue VGA and digital DVI-D connectivity will be essentially discontinued and irrelevant to the industry by 2017. Analogue VGA connectivity has been a staple of PC hardware since its introduction more than a quarter century ago. Originally developed as an evolutionary step in IBM’s line of Monochrome Display Adapter (MDA) and Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) technology, the Video Graphics Array became an industry standard because of its inclusion in the Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits (VLSI) built into the motherboard of the original PS2 series of IBM personal computers. On 8 December 2010 a joint press release from AMD, Dell, Intel Corporation, Lenovo, Samsung Electronics LCD Business and LG Display announced: “intentions to accelerate adoption of scalable and lower power digital interfaces such as DisplayPort and High Definition Multimedia Interface® (HDMI) into the PC.” The press release went on to say that Intel plans to “end its support for VGA by 2015.” Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced it would phase out support for DVI by 2015.  Since VGA and DVI have been the dominant video connections in PC and A/V applications for so long, the question became “what will replace them?” Changing a worldwide video connection standard doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Each change will have effects that ripple through the industry, inspiring new and even more powerful
White Paper Integration & Installation
changes as device connectivity is adapted to real world applications. Tying this technological evolution together is the requirement for universal inclusion of High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). There are now over 500 companies licensing HDCP technology, which is a specification developed by Intel Corporation to protect digital content from illicit use as it is transported across various digital interfaces.  In the digital world there are no copies, there are clones. The need to protect intellectual property rights and ensure the desired distribution and use of content, has spurred HDCP technology to become a critical component of every major system in the A/V ecosphere. As it turns out, the replacements for VGA, DVI-D and other analogue video connections aren’t hard to identify. HDMI has grown to dominate in both consumer and commercial A/V connectivity since its introduction in 2003. DisplayPort was introduced in 2006 specifically as a replacement for analogue VGA connections.  With the market shift favoring smaller, lighter, more efficient digital devices, the newly updated DisplayPort Multi-Mode (DisplayPort 1.2, typically marked as DP++) connection has become the de facto standard for accessing A/V content from desktop and laptop computers, ultrabooks, tablets and netbooks. The DisplayPort Mini connection is also at the heart of the next generation Thunderbolt connection. HDMI and DisplayPort connections aren’t optimised for mobile devices, structured wiring or wireless connectivity, so equivalent and compatible new formats have emerged for those applications. Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) and its closely related cousin SlimPort (also known as MyDP), offer wired solutions for integrating mobile devices such as tablets, phablets and smartphones into fixed A/V systems. Miracast provides a point-to-point wireless connection between the same classes of device. We believe these are the five technologies that will have the greatest transformative impact on the business of A/V integration in the period from 2013 through 2018. Let’s examine each in a little more detail.
DisplayPort DisplayPort is a digital display interface standard developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) designed to facilitate the transfer of video, audio and data, between a source and sink device. DisplayPort 1.2 is capable of emitting HDMI or DVI-D TMDS signals through the use of a simple passive converter. DisplayPort has been HDCP compliant since the DP1.1 standard. The DisplayPort 1.2a standard was released in January of 2013 and
includes support for Multi-Stream Transport (MST), Ultra HD resolutions and many more performance enhancements. DisplayPort is replacing VGA connectivity on most computers because of its rich feature set, its compatibility with CMOS fabrication techniques and its compatibility with HDMI and HDCP technologies. DisplayPort was included in about 1-in-20 desktops and 1-in-50 laptops as of 2009. DisplayPort use is expected to be included in 19-of-20, or 95%, of all computers by 2014 as the industry continues to phase out LVDS. Much of this exponential growth in DisplayPort++ deployment is expected to occur in 2014 and 2015. While the three major vendors of central and graphics processing units—Intel Corp., AMD Inc. and nVidia—have moved to integrate DisplayPort into their current products, this doesn’t signal a competition between DisplayPort and HDMI as A/V connectivity standards. Both interfaces will serve distinct markets. The DisplayPort standard defines an HDMI “compatibility mode,” identified by the DP++ logo that allows devices so equipped to seamlessly switch to an HDMI output format when a passive adapter is connected. This ensures that computers and devices leveraging a DisplayPort connection remain compatible with the very large installed base of HDMI-enabled devices. According to International Data Corporation (IDC) analysis, DisplayPort market penetration will experience a compounded annual growth rate of 106% between 2009 and 2014. The firm, ‘Research and Markets’ stated in its ‘Global HDMI and DisplayPortenabled Equipment Market 2012-2016’ report that DisplayPort Multi-Mode market penetration would grow at a combined annualised growth rate (CAGR) of 31.6% over the four year period covered by the report. DisplayPort is quickly becoming a key technology of the A/V market, with no end to its growth in sight.
Integration & Installation White Paper
HDMI HDMI LLC was founded by Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Technicolor S.A, RCA, Toshiba and Panasonic in 2002. Their goal was to create a connector for digital A/V devices that featured a small form factor and was capable of transporting uncompressed digital video, multi-channel digital audio and control signals while maintaining backwards compatibility with the existing DVI-D standard. HDMIenabled devices emerged into the market in 2003. HDMI is based upon, and includes compatibility with DVI-D functionality in its operational specifications. No active signal conversion is needed to allow an HDMI-enabled device to connect with a DVI-D single link-enabled device. Simple, passive adapter cables are all that’s necessary, but the functionality of such a connection is limited to the lesser feature set included in the Digital Visual Interface standard. On September 4, 2013, HDMI LLC released the much anticipated HDMI 2.0 standard. HDMI 2.0 is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specification, but addresses several parameters that provide increased performance and functionality. Specifically, the HDMI 2.0 standard includes the following: • • •
• • • •
4K@50/60, (2160p), which provides compatibility with emerging Ultra HD and D4K video performance levels. Up to 32 embedded audio channels for immersive audio reproduction. Up to a nearly unprecedented 1536kHz audio sampling frequency, for the highest audio fidelity available in a playback format. Simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen. Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (up to four). Support for the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio, which offers a 30% wider field of view. Dynamic synchronisation of video and audio streams.
In the decade since its introduction, the HDMI Specification has been licensed by more than 1 300 HDMI Adopters who have gone on to manufacture over 3 billion HDMI-enabled products. Despite this immense market penetration, the global HDMI-enabled equipment market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 19.7% over the period of 2012 to 2016. This growth will be driven by the near universal inclusion of HDMI connectivity in flat panel displays and video projectors.  Certainly HDMI technology will continue to be a driving force in the A/V market.
MHL Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) is an HD video and digital audio interface for connecting mobile phones and portable devices to HDTVs and other display devices. The MHL standard was created by the MHL consortium, an industry group comprised of Nokia Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Silicon Image Inc., Sony Corporation and Toshiba Corporation. The standard was released in June of 2010 with products first reaching the market in May of 2011. MHL currently has more than 200 adopters and the MHL ecosystem has grown to an installed base of more than 260 million products. MHL is, essentially, a technology that adapts a micro USB connection on a mobile device to an HDMI jack. An HDMI cable is then used to connect the dongle to a display. It is most emphatically not an HDMI signal, however. MHL is a 5-pin or 11-pin topology that requires an MHL-enabled display device to function. Since the HDMI connection is ubiquitous, it is only logical that it was chosen as a convenient physical layer connection. Many new flat panel displays and Android smartphones are including MHL technology. Today, MHL capability is included in more than 330 million devices. In August 2013, the MHL Consortium released the MHL 3.0 specification. The new standard supports Ultra HD (D4K) resolution, deep colour, up to eight channels of digital audio, and support of peripherals including mass storage, keyboard, mouse and touch screen devices. Many industry analysts project that MHL technology will continue to grow at nearly unprecedented rates, reaching an installed base of more than 1.5 billion products worldwide over the next five years. MHL is positioned to be a global solution for connecting mobile devices to fixed A/V assets.
To be continued in the July / August 2014 issue of Pro-Systems.
This white paper was used by permission from Commercial Integrator: www.commercialintegrator.com
K-LA Series Core Technology The K-LA series is primarily used for ﬁxed installation and touring systems. The result of in-depth research, the Audiocenter R&D team has developed the unique PTVTM technology which combines phase and waveguide engineering together seamlessly.
K-LA28 Dual 8” 2 Way
Passive Line Array
Frequency Response (+/- 6dB): 60 – 20 000Hz Average Sensitivity: 96dB/1W/1m Driver: Customised Beyma and Faital driver Connectors: 2 x NEUTRIK Speakon NI4MP Power Rating (AES): LF 200 + MF 200 + HF 50W Passive X-over Frequency: 450Hz / 2.2kHz Passive
VA Series Amplifiers
Weight: 19Kg Dimensions mm: 590(W) x 236(H) x 436(D)
VA series is the result of excellent circuit design, robust mechanical structure, with the best components selected for this category.
VA401 • VA601 • VA801 • VA1201 Specifications: • Range offers 800W-1950W/Channel/2 Ohms • LCD Display • Stereo, parallel and bridge modes • Balanced line inputs • ACL (Automatic Clip Limiter) • DC protection • Soft start • Two speed fans, thermal protection • Inrush current protection
Viva Afrika Sound and Light (Pty) Ltd Unit 2, 2 Drakensburg Road Longmeadow Business Estate West, Westfield PO Box 4709, Rivonia, 2128, South Africa Tel: 011 250-3280, Fax: 011 608-4109 email@example.com, www.hybrid.co.za
Integration & Installation HOUSES OF WOrSHIP
By Greg Bester
Photos by Duncan Riley
Christian Revival Church
The Christian Revival Church (CRC) calls itself ’one church in many locations’. Indeed, CRC has seven branches all over South Africa including Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Welkom, George, Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo and has seen substantial growth over the past 20 years since its establishment. The Christian Revival Church’s senior pastors At and Nyretta Boshoff founded the house of worship in 1994 in Ladybrand and it has flourished from its humble beginnings there into several large congregations, culminating in their latest building, CRC Pretoria; a 7 000-seater sanctuary auditorium. CRC Pretoria was established in 2004; starting off in a school hall and later moving into a 2 500-seater tent auditorium. Through hard work and an ardent ‘debt-free’ ethos, the Boshoffs set their goals on building the state-of-the-art CRC Pretoria auditorium that was finally completed in February 2014 after breaking ground in 2012. A large part of building a state-of-the-art auditorium is sourcing and installing state-of-the-art audio, lighting and audio visual equipment. Churches all over the world are following this trend not only to make the experience for church-goers more exciting and
engaging, but to make sure the message is broadcast clearly and effectively. Bringing a twist of practicality to an installation of this nature is the fact that while church services and activities happen quite regularly, much of the time the auditorium is left unused. For this reason, one of the main points of the client brief was to create a venue that was capable of being utilised by third parties for large events when the church was not using it for its own activities. What this means is installing top-shelf equipment and in order to do that you need the help of local distributors and installers that carry premium brands that not only local professionals are familiar with, but potential international guests as well.
Audio The audio system at CRC is exclusively L-Acoustics (apart from various stage monitors held over from the previous installation) supplied and installed by local distributors Sound Harmonics under the auspices of co-director Joseph Mandy. “CRC required a world class sound system that would cover all of the church’s requirements, from their usual services, to youth services, church conventions such as the annual ’Dream Week’ and potential internal church productions of a theatrical nature,” says Mandy. “The system coverage needs to be even throughout the venue and be able to produce a high SPL when required.”
HOUSES OF WORSHIP Integration & Installation
Jean Kruger is sound and maintenance manager at the mother congregation in Bloemfontein and he had a big hand in the appointment of Sound Harmonics for the project. On how they were introduced he says: “Gearhouse did a massive CC Winans tour and (at the time) we were looking to update our PA system in Bloemfontein. They stopped off in Bloem where Jaco de Witt set up the system and we were so impressed with how it sounded that I went looking for the supplier of L-Acoustics. Long story short, we
installed a DV-DOSC system identical to what was used at the concert and we have been happy ever since. We also have international artists come through like Hillsong United, Israel Houghton, Planet Shakers and the Parachute Band. When they hear it is an L-Acoustics system they are usually happy to work on it.” Resultantly, a multi-hang KARAi system was finally decided upon and installed for maximum coverage of the large 7 000-seater hall that includes a massive, semi-circular floor seating area and a sizeable balcony. Both the main PA and the delay hangs consist of KARAi elements. KARAi is the installation version of the KARA touring system and includes the M-BUMP/M-BUMPiW rigging structures. The main left and right hangs which cover the main downstairs section consist of nine KARAi cabinets a side with four SB18i subwoofers flown per side in a cardioid configuration. The system was set up with a four-way crossover. A further two SB28 dual-18’ subwoofers a side were ground stacked. For the delay hangs, four arrays of four KARAi cabinets were positioned to cover the balcony area. As Richard Smith, co-director at Sound Harmonics says: “This allows for fantastic stereo imaging upstairs.” For additional fill, a variety of constant curvature and coaxial L-Acoustics loudspeakers were placed throughout the auditorium. Two arrays a side of dual ARCS Focus cabinets were flown vertically to cover the side raised seating area. A further six 8XTi coaxial enclosures were mounted into the front of the curved wall of the stage for coverage of the front rows. Finally, four 12XT floor wedge monitors were supplied for Pastor At. All amplifiers supplied to CRC Pretoria were L-Acoustics. A combination of LA8 and LA4 amplified controllers were installed and networked to allow L-Acoustic’s L-Net amplifier network to provide control and monitoring of the system via LA Network Manager software. The feeds to the amps are both analogue and digital on the AES/EBU protocol with analogue fallback redundancy should the digital inputs fail. When asked how he felt about the end result of the installation Kruger says: “There are many good brands out there but L-Acoustics was the one that ticked all the boxes for us and the good support we receive from sound harmonics is the best part of it. Sound harmonics installed what they promised when they promised regardless of many challenges that they were faced with and we are very happy with
. . . w h e n
t h e
d e t a i l s
m a t t e r .
MUS EUM | VIS ITO R ATTRA CTIO N | SYSTE M IN TE GRATIO N
Integration & Installation HOUSES OF WOrSHIP the install and service we were given. It is a top quality installation and I am very happy with the products they supplied.” Getting into the console side, a total of three DiGiCo consoles were supplied to the church through local distributors Tadco with the installation being overseen by Kyle Robson, operational support manager. FOH received an SD10 while monitor world and the broadcast suite each received an SD8. A single SD-Rack was supplied to act as the central input capture and distribution point with FOH retaining full redundancy while, all of the other consoles feed off of the auxiliary MADI ports. There were challenges, however. “It’s great to see three consoles feeding off of one rack have independent control,” says Robson. “However, a problem we faced was with the monitor outputs. The client needed 12 mixes but the consoles only offer eight on-board outputs. The solution was running the fifth BNC to FOH from the second MADI output on the SD8 monitor console into the second MADI input on the FOH console and using one of the new tools on the latest update, Copy Audio. We were able to route what was being sent to us from the monitor console directly to the outputs of the rack without having to bring them up on the FOH console surface. The SD-Rack has 32 analogue outputs which can be accessed by FOH and monitors.” On the broadcast end, feeding the monitor and FOH consoles with live feeds from outside services was the goal. Robson achieved this by running a BNC out of the broadcast console MADI port into the second MADI input port on the monitor console. The feeds were then routed back out to FOH the in the same way he described in the monitor dilemma, the only difference being FOH would simply patch that feed onto their surface.
Lighting Having been involved with the lighting installation the Bloemfontein branch it was only natural that the lighting system for CRC Pretoria was supplied and installed by Johannesburg lighting specialists DWR. One of the main points of the brief given by Pastor At was to create a lighting system that could accommodate live events in the same league as Idols without bringing in any additional equipment. “The first proposal we did was more of a wish list and from there we cut it down into a phased approach that Pastor At would work towards over the period of a few years,” says Robert Izzett from DWR. “The initial phase was to put the needed infrastructure in: trussing, cabling, control and the minimum amount of lighting needed to broadcast their services. There was a big interest in LED and the majority of the lighting we supplied was LED. It’s interesting to note that when we started the project there were going to be 72 dimmers in the project but as the years past and technology improved it was reduced down to only 24 dimmers, with the rest substituted with LED sources.” Three large trusses were custom-made by Prolyte to accommodate the phase one fixtures and for later upgrades. These included two massive concentric arches of H40V truss (90m in total) that follow the curvature of the seating below. Two further 20m trusses were suspended above the stage comprising H40V and S52V varieties. In total, the following fixtures were installed: • • • •
24 x Robe Robin 1200 LED Wash 12 x Robe Robin Pointe 24 x Longman Hi-powered LED Cans (truss warmers) 24 x Selecon SPX Profiles
The entire system was designed to be ‘rental company friendly’; notes Izzett, with the inclusion of multiple DMX tie lines between each of the trusses, the stage and FOH. A custom patch rack was fabricated to
facilitate outside customers who wish to plug in their own dimmers or hot power into the existing socapex network. This would instantly supply dimmers and power to each truss and stage point. Currently there are 48 x 15A circuits of hot power permanently installed in the venue. A major concern for this installation was safety regarding the massive trusses and motors. According to Izzett: “The church did not have anyone on staff suitably qualified to take the job a rigger. So the decision was made to increase the safety factors on all trusses to 10:1. All motor points in the church are rated at 500kg per point, but we installed 1 000kg motors to increase the factor of safety to 10:1. What’s really nice is that at 500kg per point each truss can take quite a load.” The lighting console supplied was a Grand MA2 Light along with the aforementioned 24-channel Strand wall rack dimmer, eight LSC DMX splitters and a Strand DMX Merge. DWR also supplied the house lighting for the venue which is, interestingly, all wirelessly controlled. A GDS Arc system was employed which features 33 x 8 cells, 64 x 4 cells, 50 x MR16s and 25 x 1 cell, all at 2 700K colour temperature. “The great thing about this system is it allowed the electricians (DC Electrical) to install all the fittings just as they would install conventional fittings without any complicated data lines. And we came in afterwards to configure the system wirelessly,” says Izzett. Like any large installation of this nature, the project was not without challenges, a main challenge being that DWR was relied upon to supply both design and implementation. To help ease the process local top lighting design professionals Joshua Cutts and Francois van der Merwe were brought in to handle the design side which enabled DWR to focus on the installation. “We worked on the project for a number of years before the building finally got to the point where it was ready for us to come in and install and then we put under tight deadlines for completion,” says Izzett. “We ended up doing a temporary installation for the church while we were waiting for some of the equipment to arrive, and then we re-installed everything into its final resting place.”
AV and LED The audio visual system at CRC was supplied and installed by Adriaan Booyens of Aridian Consulting while the large central LED screen was installed by Pixel Displays, coordinated by Mike Theunissen. In an unusual twist of events, Aridian came on board as a matter of happenstance and a keen sense of opportunity. “Initially I was driving up the road here and saw the structure being built,” says Booyens. “At first I thought it was a shopping centre but the next week I saw that it was a church. So I started investigating for contacts and eventually got hold of the main pastor, Pastor Russell. He said he wasn’t really involved in the technical side and that I should talk to Clinton at media. Clinton told me that they hadn’t brought anyone on board yet for projectors and video distribution, so at that point I got on board at site meetings and started supplying quotations.” In total, the following equipment was installed by Aridian: • • • • • • • • • •
AMX DGX 16x16 chassis with HDMI input and output cards AMX NI3100 central controller AMX Precis DSP Celerity fibre optic to HDMI cables 2 x SONY VP500FHL 7000 ANSI Lumens projectors 3 x Samsung 23” computer monitors 6 x Sony 55” TV screens 1 x Harman Kardon Sound Bar 2 x Stewart Audio plenum-rated amplifiers SpeakerCraft ceiling speakers
The screens selected by CRC and installed by Aridian were two Screen International Flatmax 600 x 337cm screens with a 1.0 gain and micro-holed fabric, supplied by Electrosonic and installed on the walls flanking the stage. The micro-holed fabric makes the screens acoustically transparent which allows for speakers to be mounted behind the screens if need be. The projectors installed were both Sony and included two VP500FHL 7000 ANSI lumen models. Video distribution is handled by AMX control equipment. Booyens explains: “Two signals get fed from the broadcast rack via HDMI to an AMX DGX 16x 16 Matrix switcher. We then distribute video to the various monitors and TVs using fibre optic cables. The first signal is a local mix and the other is a broadcast link from Bloemfontein CRC. The broadcast link gets displayed on one of the reference monitors on stage and on a TV in front of stage. This is to provide the preaching Pastor with a live link to see what is happening in Bloemfontein. The other feed is sent to the mother’s rooms and another two monitors on stage. We used Stewart Audio plenum-rated amps for the sound in the mother’s rooms as well as SpeakerCraft speakers. The two projectors are fed directly from broadcast with HDSDI and they project onto the Screen International screens.” Interestingly, Aridian custom fabricated the three playback monitor enclosures on stage to look, to the untrained eye, almost identical to the L-Acoustics wedges. This makes them blend in nicely with the rest of the on-stage kit. When asked about challenges during the installation Booyens says: “Firstly we could not use scaffolding to install the projectors; the roof is too high. We had to make use of a professional rigger to hang from a rope from the trussing to get to the projectors for installation and alignment. Access into the ceilings was very hard as it is all flush plastered ceilings with very limited man holes. This led to many fibre cables being broken.” The LED screens installed were all Pixel Displays’ own Pixel PH6mm SMD Indoor and totalled 112 cabinets 6mm cabinets (576 x 576mm) in a 14 x 8 configuration. The total area of the resulting LED wall is 8064 x 4608mm with a true pixel resolution of 1344 x 768. A LVP 603S processor was installed to control the screen and is based on a Linsn system for sending the feed. An HD SDI signal is sent from the controller with a backup HDMI feed coming from the AMX controller. On the challenges faced when installing the LED wall Theunissen says: “It was a pretty much a one-night installation so once we actually started building the screen it took about nine hours. The main challenge was getting everything safe and secure. Robert (Izzett) and the other guys from DWR got heavily involved in the rigging and stress points in the roof so that helped us a lot. ” “The church has installed state of the art equipment and we are extremely proud to be associated with CRC and the rollout into their other branches,” adds Theunissen.
The wrap What more can be said? A lot of work and tech went into CRC Pretoria. In fact, there’s more to report on that we just don’t have space for. But what is clear is that only the best was good enough for CRC and very little compromises were made. If you ever have the pleasure of visiting the church you’ll get a great idea of exactly what South African technical supply and installation companies are capable of and I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion we did: excellence.
Integration & Installation Venue Solution
‘The Venue’ that covers all bases... To be clear, Tony Raciti’s ‘The Venue’ in Melrose Arch is not a club. It is so much more which is exactly what has made its longevity in the business and its reputation for comprehensive event solutions a key part of the company’s ethos and legacy.
The Venue prides itself as a one-stop-shop events locale with very little if not any need for outside assistance. This is something they’re very passionate about because for them, it’s all about meeting their client’s needs to the highest degree. Indeed, while I was there during my research for this article, a client had walked in last minute because they had not received the room they had booked at another venue. The Venue and their staff bent over backwards to meet their needs and accommodated them immediately. This is their modis operandi. This is their ethos. “We are a corporate functions venue,” says Marijana Abt, sales and function director at The Venue. “The key elements here are versatility, turnkey solutions and that we offer in-house technical support. It’s all already here so that if you come to The Venue and you host a function you shouldn’t have to bring anything in at all.” Following this philosophy, a recent and comprehensive overhaul of the entire venue took place including their sound, lighting and video systems which was paramount in tackling the future at The Venue. The renovation took place from 17 December 2013 to 24 March 2014. Local audio equipment suppliers Tadco have a long standing relationship with The Venue going back many years so when Tony Raciti contacted his old friend and owner of Tadco Simon Oates, he was more than happy for to oversee the upgrade of the technical systems there. Tadco then brought in Andi Rodgers of Fifty South System Integrators – another long standing friend – to help with the installation which was by and large designed and facilitated by Tadco. Tadco supplied and configured the audio systems while DWR supplied the lighting and Electrosonic the video control equipment.
Audio The previous audio system at The Venue was completely analogue so to bring the venue into 2014 a fully digital migration was facilitated by Tadco under the auspices of Kyle Robson, head of operational support, while Rodgers performed the bulk of the installation. But that was just the beginning. Starting with loudspeakers, the original stage system consisted of four Nexo PS15s, two PS15B bass extenders and four LS1200 subwoofers. All of these cabinets were re-coned and re-foamed, bringing them back to like-new condition. Additionally, new rigging frames were installed and re-aligned to maximise coverage and to lessen slap back on the stage that was previously experienced off the overhanging wall of the mezzanine, which is now fully covered in
By Greg Bester
sound absorptive material. This change also caused the fortuitous knock-on effect of reducing feedback issues on stage and virtually eliminated the slap back. A number of Quest HPI5s were installed in various zones throughout the venue for coverage and controlled by a Quest Q Matrix 88 which is also connected in tandem to a Symetrix Symnet audio matrix. The goal here was to create seamless intelligibility regardless of the listener’s position; the main points of concern being underneath the balcony, the mezzanine areas to the rear and left side of the venue, the cigar lounge and the pre-conference area. The mezzanine is an L-shaped balcony that extends from the back of the room around to the left side, past the pre-conference area and onwards to the cigar lounge which is situated behind the stage, one floor up. While Rodgers physically installed the HPI5s, Robson was the man who configured and time aligned the zones to tie in with the main PA and adjacent zones. The result was a smooth and seamless coverage of the entire venue. Raciti was ecstatic about the discretely installed speakers in the zones, saying that he was blown away by the clarity of an on-stage speaker at a recent event, particularly in the mezzanine zones. When you’re handling corporate events and conferences, being heard is of paramount importance and the properly configured HPI5s delivered fantastically. Furthermore, increased flexibility in the zones was afforded by the installation of Quest control panels. Robson comments: “This system has its own control panel (Quest QT IWML Remote Control) to select on the spot what they would prefer to listen to. On top of that they could plug a microphone or any line in source and run it from there.” The main conference system received Quest 2040 ceiling speakers to remain discrete and for even distribution. This system too has its own Quest QT IWML Remote Control wall mounted panel. These panels include source select toggle switches, a stereo line input and source, music and mic level controls. “This is mainly meant to setup a little mixing console which would feed into the wall panel enabling conference clients to run a private show without interfering with any other room,” says Robson. The foyer maintained the Quest MS801 speakers that were previously installed there. However, they are hidden in the roof to supply ambient source material upon entering The Venue. It too has a wall mount control panel that accepts a variety of inputs and offers source selection. The toilet speakers were also plugged into the Quest Matrix for additional zone control. An interesting aspect of this installation is the inclusion of a paging system that feeds into the change rooms. Ceiling speakers were installed which are fed directly from the console’s talkback facility and multiple comms points were installed for calling shows. This is helpful in maintaining a smooth program and works well for The Venue.
Venue Solution Integration & Installation Speaking of consoles, the hub of this digital system is a DiGiCo SD11. All input sources are fed to the console which, in turn, feeds the audio matrix. The stage received an accompanying DiGiCo SD-rack for 32 inputs and eight outputs, along with a mobile PS10 monitor rack that offers two on-stage mixes. The monitor rack consists of a single Crown VS3600 and a controller. “The reason for making this (the PS20 monitor rack) mobile is in case there needs to be a chunkier PA in the venue they would be able to set it up; in the conference room for example,” says Robson. He goes on: “The ’brain‘ is the SD11 so all inputs get fed through there. There are a couple of feeds that go directly to the matrix such as the radio, or background music. Whatever is happening in the conference area is also fed directly to the matrix so any zone you go to you can select what you want to hear. You can split the conference over the venue or you can split the stage mix over the entire building.” In the rack, there is a combination of new and existing kit. As mentioned, a Quest Q Matrix 88 was employed to manage zones and various inputs. The existing Symetrix Symnet 8x8 was tied in with the Q Matrix 88 for speaker zone management while a Symetrix 8in DSP and a Symetrix 8out DSP were employed to receive feeds from the matrix and send to the amplifiers, respectively. A Nexo NX242 was then installed to turn the system over to an ‘active’ state, supplying “crossover, sensed-amplifier control and system alignment acoustically matched to each NEXO” component. Meanwhile, a Nexo PS15 TD controller was used as a crossover for the LS12000 subs. For amplification, the pre-existing Crown amplifiers were used along with some new additions. A Crown MT2400 was utilised for the HF drivers of the PS15s while four Crown VS3600s were used for the PS15s, the PS15Bs and the LS1200s. Three Crown CH1 100V amplifiers were used for the ceiling mounted speakers in the conference, foyer and toilet areas. Finally, three Quest 3004 amps were used for all the HPI5s in the building. Forming part of the digital migration at The Venue is the inclusion of a booth installed next to the main seating area in front of the stage that includes tie lines from the stage to both the booth and the upstairs control room. A CAT5 cable runs from the booth to the stage for any video, audio or lighting requirements in this digital era.
Lighting Phase one of the new lighting system at The Venue was supplied by DWR through Schalk Botha and installed by Kevin Stannett and Ken Crossley under sub-contract to Fifty South. The new additions included a combination of Robin 100 LEDBeams, Robin 300 LED Wash fixtures, Philips Selecon PL1LED luminaires and Longman F4 high power LED parcans. An Avolites Titan Mobile lighting console and LSC DMX splitters were also supplied to cater for the distribution system. Phase two of the installation will see a further six Philips Selecon PL1 RGBW Zoom Profiles installed into the roof of the mezzanine overhang. One of the motivations behind choosing the Titan Mobile console is
that it is easy to operate and poses no threat to any clients who bring their own technical crew. This was of paramount importance to The Venue as their vision was to create a system that can be utilised by both novices and professionals. Rigged above the audience, the Robin 300 LED Washes create soft ambient light on the tables for seated guests however, should there be a need, they can also swivel toward the stage for front lighting. The LEDBeam 100s, on the other hand, will be used for effects and beam work. Notably, the PL1LED luminaires are the first light sources that can deliver full control of the beam colour composition despite the chosen intensity. Sherryn Riley at DWR says: “On behalf of everyone at DWR, it was a pleasure to be part of this sale and we wish The Venue everything of the best.”
Video The video system at The Venue, supplied by Electrosonic and installed by Andi Rodgers, is all digitally distributed by a Kramer KRAVS88HN 8x8 matrix on CAT6 cable. The goal here, like the audio, was to send any available source anywhere in the building, whether it’s menus, conferencing, corporate, promotional or informational material. Rodgers explains: “The video (system) is quite simple, actually. The Kramer 8x8 matrix has got eight inputs and everything runs off of CAT6 splitters. They’re all discrete sends so they can be split physically if needed. You can put something different on every screen and projector and there are also four outlets for roving screens. Everything can go anywhere, and that’s the point.” A Sanyo PLC-XP200L projector was installed in the main room while a Sony VPL-FX40 projector was installed in the conference room. Seven Samsung 32” flat panel displays were installed at the bars and two 55” flat panel plasmas were installed on the proscenium. Four further 42” plasmas were supplied for mobile use by plugging into any of the various CAT6 wall sockets installed throughout the venue, allowing optimal flexibility where displaying any and all client material is concerned. To transmit the signals from the switcher over CAT6 to the displays Kramer TP-573 HDMI, bidirectional RS-232 and IR over twisted pair transmitters and TP-574 receivers were employed. Regarding the versatility of the system, Rodgers says: “You can do HDMI over CAT6 from the stage; you can do VGA which up-converts to HDMI. We’ve got composite inputs that upscale to HDMI as well. But that’s emergency stuff for when someone brings something really weird in or wants to play off an old video camera or VHS machine. So everything ends up in an HD format, regardless of input.” This was a very specific vision on Raciti’s part. “If you go to a function and order, you don’t know what’s on tab or what’s not on tab. This is what the screens are for,” says Raciti. “If the client chooses a beverage list, we put it up there. That’s the main core of the idea. If they want to put their logos up, we can do that too. It gives a bit of comfort to the client.”
The wrap A little goes a long way and attention to detail is what separates excellent service from the mediocre. All the newly installed systems at The Venue have been designed with this in mind because what Tony Raciti and his team understand, like everyone else involved in the upgrade, is that the client comes first. From the audio, to the lighting, to the video, The Venue is a welcoming locale for almost any client looking for a quality experience and, just like the rest of their departments, they cater to almost any technical need.
LIVE EVENTs COMPANY PROFILE
Viva Afrika revealed
By Greg Bester
Bernard Pienaar and Luis Madiera in the Viva Afrika warehouse
The story of Viva Afrika is one that inspires those who came from humble beginnings; who wish to make a name for themselves through hard work despite the challenges. Indeed, there are many companies in South Africa that supply all manner of technical equipment to our market but very few have taken the path Viva Afrika has. Their products are ubiquitous, despite their low-profile status, and to top it all off, they have built their foundation on manufacturing local products for local people and not just by bringing in a handful of expensive international brands that compete in a very competitive sphere.
company called Specialist Audio. Pienaar was a technician in the army after which time he attended technikon and went on to work for Specialist Audio where, as mentioned, he met Madiera. Both Pienaar and Madiera have a background in electronics, which is pivotal in this story. Pienaar eventually left Specialist Audio and went to work for an audio visual company handling installations. Needless to say, he was not happy there. “I didn’t like it,” explains Pienaar. “Then, one day I ran into a guy I knew at the technikon named Pierre Brydges and I asked him what he was doing. I was 21 and I was just out of technikon and he said: ‘I’ve started a company.’ I asked him what it was called and he said: ‘It’s called Hybrid. I’m going to sell computers.’ These were the days when Windows was just taking off and he had a very good idea but it was a difficult market because you were dealing with big players. So I told him that I was bored with my job and I would join him by making amplifiers. I then started designing and building amplifiers and the computers slowly starting falling away.”
First big order Today Viva Afrika is distributor of Hybrid and Hybrid+; their own brands; along with international brands Real Sound, dB Technologies, AudioCenter, Beyma, RAM Amplification, Numark DJ equipment and Monkey Banana. However, Rome was not built in a day so without any further delay, this is their story.
Humble beginnings Viva Afrika had its primordial beginnings in late 1988 when current partners Luis Madiera and Bernard Pienaar met while working at a
As time with this newly formed company called Hybrid went on, eventually a breakthrough was made and a large amplifier order was placed by a company called Comptronics. As great as an opportunity as this was it posed a challenge because at this point the company was only a two-man show. The question rang in their minds: “How can we speed up our production?” Immediately Pienaar’s ex-colleague Luis Madiera at Specialist Audio came to mind and he decided to give him a call. Madiera was studying at the technikon at the time which then eventually got
pushed into part time status as a result of the burgeoning opportunity. “So we ended up working all hours just making amplifiers because every time we delivered 20 amps to Comptronics they would tell me that they wanted another 20, sometimes the next day. We were used to making three or four amplifiers a week and suddenly Comptronics was ordering large quantities daily.” In the early 1990s Hybrid Electronics grew into an OEM company that manufactured amplifiers for other brands. Companies that they produced products for included TOMS Music, Paul Bothners Music, Mahachi (Zambia), Comptronics and IT Music for whom they manufactured an amplifier under the brand name ‘Titan’. IT Music also allowed Hybrid Electronics to sell Titan products independently as a shared brand, which worked out well for them. The key point which made Hybrid Electronics such a successful OEM company was that there were very few brands coming into the country as a result of sanctions. This opened up a gap in the market for them as they could fill it with locally manufactured goods which turned out to be cheaper for their customers due to no importation costs and locally sourced components. Eventually there was an internal fall out between the guys at IT Music which resulted in the sale of the company and a prohibition put on Hybrid to sell under the Titan brand name. However, as is so often the case in life, when one door shuts another one opens so the idea came about to manufacture their own brand. But, for some reason or another, a catchy name eluded them. “We starting thinking about what name we could use. We were puzzled,” explains Pienaar. “One day we just clicked; we decided to call the brand ‘Hybrid’. Hybrid was never a brand; it was the company name but now it all made sense.” The Hybrid brand was born and the product line began to grow. “Initially we manufactured speakers, amplifiers and passive crossovers,” says Madiera. “We then went over to DJ and band mixers. However we got the Beyma agency early and we put them into 99% of our speakers. So we expanded quite a lot on the carpentry and acoustics side of things.”
XT Range High performance co-axial loudspeakers suited to sound reinforcement applications such as front of house, floor monitor and d i s t r i b u t e d s y s t e m s . T h e XT r a n g e delivers a complete sound reinforcement solution to fulfil the highest demands of audio professionals for both the fixed installation and rental production markets.
AR C S W I DE - AR C S F O C U S Constant curvature line source at a v e r y a f f o r d a b l e p r i c e . AR C S a r e optimized for medium-throw rental a n d i n s t a l l a t i o n a p p l i c a t i o n s . T he y are a plug-and-play package, with quick set-up and easy flying. With scalable directivity from 15° x 90° to 360° x 90° by 15° and 30° increments. T his system is best for f i l l s , d i s t r i b u t e d s y s t e m s , F O H a nd central clusters.
K AR A Medium format line array inspired by the K1 system. Compact and lightweight design. Kara has immense clarity, intelligibility and precision for vocal, speech and lead instruments. With 110° horizontal directivity, best for FOH applications, fills and central clusters. State-of-the -art rigging system for high accuracy and quick set-up.
K2 New and exciting release in large format line array for large events, launched 2014!! Based on the K1 system design, rescaled into a 12” compact and flexible format. With the same SPL and bandwidth as its successor VDOSC, except with 10° inter-element flexibility. Al s o i n c l u d i n g 7 0 ° / 1 1 0 ° s y m m e t r i c and 90° (L/R) asymmetric horizontal directivity.
(Tel) 011 708 1194 www.soundharmonics.co.za ● firstname.lastname@example.org
An early Hybrid product – the Hybrid A-1000 power amplifier
LIVE EVENTs COMPANY PROFILE The game changes At that stage the OEM side diminished and the Hybrid brand started to take over the bulk of their business. The knock-on effect of sanctions being relaxed in 1994 enabled companies to start importing products directly from overseas which contributed to the complete dissolution of the OEM side of Hybrid as the tables had flipped to Chinese manufactured products which were more affordable. Madiera explains: “The pioneer of bringing completed [audio] products to South Africa from China was Joss Pack. He opened up a company called Audiosure who had Fane and Behringer and I would say that in the first two years they saw phenomenal growth. We at that time had about 60 or 80 staff trying to manufacture Hybrid products locally which were competing against product that was just as good, if not a little better, at half the price. Our market share was starting to shrink.” Around 1998, despite not running at a loss, Pienaar and Madiera were concerned that they were not showing any growth. As a result, it was decided that they should retrench most of their staff and start sourcing products from China. Their partner, Brydges, had also recently left the company and a new partner, Zak Calisto, had come on board to take over his shares. However, because of the sudden change of directors, a new company name had to be established so the name Zelpy was decided upon; a name they traded under a few years. Eventually, because of dissatisfaction with the name, the company was re-named to Viva Afrika, the name they trade under today. Nevertheless, a plan was formulated and the chaps at the newly formed Viva Afrika had their sights set on China. A fantastic skill to have when sourcing electronic equipment is a background in electronics. Pienaar and Madiera had been manufacturing amplifiers for the past 12 years so armed with that knowledge it gave them an edge, so to speak, when sourcing audio electronics in a country that had thousands of offerings from just as many companies. Madiera explains: “When buying an amplifier in China, you’ve got, say, 200 companies that are going to sell you an amplifier of which 20 will be decent and five will be really good. If you don’t have a background behind building an amplifier, you’re basically just looking at a box.” In order to keep the company profitable before going to China, it was decided to stock up on amplifiers. Over 3 000 amplifiers were manufactured and warehoused which gave them enough time to decide on which company to partner with in China. However, the process was a lot easier than what they initially thought and a deal was struck up at a trade fair with a small Chinese company called AudioCenter, the company who supplies them to this day and whose brand they distribute in Africa.
Day of the underdogs The core ideal of the Hybrid brand is value for money. The big difference between what Pienaar and Madiera were doing and other suppliers was that they weren’t focussed on other brands; they were focussed on their own. This has been the secret of their success. “If you want that specific brand name, it costs you money whereas with Hybrid, it’s our own brand. We choose our own OEM suppliers and we cut out the middle man in the chain because we’re not paying for a brand,” says Madiera. Despite their keen cost-cutting modis operandi and the growing ubiquity of their brand, Hybrid remained the underdogs in a market flooded with overseas brand name gear that, ironically, was also
made in China. The power of the brand name must never be underestimated but nonetheless, Pienaar and Madiera were realistic enough to know what their place in the market was. “The problem was we were always the underdogs. Everyone would talk our brand down. If a guy owns a Hybrid amp he would say: ‘Well, it was all I could afford’. Some guys even went to the trouble of scratching our name off and would say, ‘The amp performs but when people see the name Hybrid, ugh, we can’t use it.’ It even kind of got ingrained in us that we were the dirty name. But yet thousands and thousands of people used our amps.” Indeed, despite the brand adversity Hybrid has found its way into thousands of hands throughout the last several years because of its quality and price point. However, despite being associated with the ‘entry level’ Hybrid has gone through many changes and as a result its face changed suddenly with the introduction of Hybrid+, their premium range of loudspeakers, in 2013. “With Hybrid+, since we did our launch a year and half ago, we have basically grown about 300% off of a small base,” says Madiera. “It’s our brand that’s grown the quickest and we’re targeting the mid-market level. We’re not targeting any companies that are doing high profile rental because you need product that goes on technical riders. We know that Hybrid+ is far away from competing with brands like Nexo and L-Acoustics. So it’s anyone that’s doing shows that don’t require tech riders such as churches or schools.”
Yesterday, today and beyond Today Hybrid and Hybrid+ remains Viva Afrika’s biggest brands. Madiera and Pienaar admit that they didn’t see the brand’s full worth at first and it was actually their third partner, Calisto, who pushed them into promoting it instead of taking on more stock and agencies. Pienaar muses: “We didn’t see ourselves coming!” However, regardless of what brands Viva Afrika may have in its stable, a core idea of their business has always been client relations. Keeping a close, personal relationship with their clients has kept them afloat during the tough times. “Calling on dealers is another key thing for us,” says Madiera, “and we’ve been personally calling on dealers for the past six years. We’ve got sales reps, but I still cover the Northwest province because I like going out and I like seeing what my dealers are doing and how they feel. Normally, if 10 dealers are complaining about something, it’s usually an issue country wide. Also I like to see what’s happening in the market, what dealers are stocking and selling. I think that’s really important.” Viva Afrika, along with their brands, runs three retail stores in Rosebank, Durban and the Carlton Centre in Joburg central. While these stores give them great insight into their market, it is not their goal to open a mass chain out of respect for their dealers.
The wrap If you ever get to meet Bernard Pienaar and Luis Madiera, you’ll instantly get the impression that they’re two regular guys who share a solid, straightforward and humble approach to business. The story of Viva Afrika epitomises what the fruits of persistence can bring, from underdogs to being at the forefront of a market that by and large they have created here in South Africa. Indeed, as their namesake implies, Viva Afrika!
LIVE EVENTs Prolight + Sound REPORT
Prolight + Sound Frankfurt 2014
Prolight + Sound, the international fair of technologies and services for events, installation and production took place from 12 to 15 March this year. The innovative power of the event-technology sector and the investment potential for perfectly staged events were evident at the Prolight + Sound fair this year, with a total of 897 exhibitors from 42 countries demonstrating their innovativeness, versatility and dynamism with the latest products from the worlds of audio, lighting, theatre and stage technology, AV media technology and visual communication and systems integration. It was almost on par with last year’s 901 exhibitors from 41 countries. Combined with Musikmesse, the two events drew a total of 2 242 exhibitors from 57 countries, with a grand total of 107 629 visitors from 142 countries. Prolight + Sound as always featured a wide array of conferences, presentations and workshops and informal networking opportunities for the live events industry. Prolight + Sound Director Michael Biwer comments: “This year’s fair was characterised by an all-embracing image of the sector and a mood that is improving all the time in the live and event sector. Eighty percent of exhibitors rate the economic climate in the sector as being at least satisfactory to good. This represents a solid foundation for the development of new and future-oriented technologies – and therefore, for the future of Prolight + Sound.” The exhibitors gave the fair a positive rating in all respects with almost 80 percent said they were satisfied to extremely satisfied with the course of business. The response from visitors was even better as 98 percent declared they had achieved their goals for the fair. Prolight + Sound also underscored its status as an international source of impulses with a comprehensive spectrum of seminars,
lectures and workshops. The Eventplaza Conference offered numerous information events on trends, strategies and expertise for the live-entertainment and theatre sectors with particular attention being paid to the subject of event safety. Also speakers from the media-technology sector passed on their knowledge about sound and event technology at the Prolight + Sound Conference. The significance of Prolight + Sound as an information and training platform was emphasised by Detlef R. Schulz, Head of the National Politics and Communication Division of the Association for Media and Event Technology (Verband für Medien- und Veranstaltungstechnik): “Prolight + Sound is a very important platform for us. In particular, the seminar programme is a relevant part where the focus is on training for specialist personnel, a subject of great importance for our sector, because the demands on events and, therefore, on specialist staff who continue to grow.” New to the Prolight + Sound fair this year was the Prolight + Sound International Press Award (PIPA). Under the auspices of MM-Musik-Media-Verlag publishing company, a jury of international trade visitors met in Frankfurt and gave out the PIPA awards for the first time this year. The awards were presented to the winners for outstanding products in the recording, pro-audio and lights / video categories at a grand event with over 300 representatives of international manufacturers and distributors. The next Prolight + Sound will be held in Frankfurt am Main from 15 to 18 April 2015.
Prolight + Sound REPORT LIVE EVENTs
Prolight +Sound Feedback We chatted to some of the South African representatives that attended Prolight + Sound this year to get their opinions on the show. Here’s what they had to say…
Theo Rood (MJ Event Gear)
Nick Matzukis (AVL Productions)
I am very fortunate as it was my second visit to Prolight + Sound and I found it bigger and better than my previous trip. It is probably the biggest and best trade show for our industry in the world. Everything and everyone is at the show. You can see new developments, trends and designs and interact with industry friends. One product I was most impressed with was the new lighting fixture by Clay Paky B-Eye. This fixture is just extremely versatile and can be used for multiple applications. I was also impressed by the new Varilite fixture, the VL4000, the new range of Martin units, the ROBE Pointe and the Ayrton Magic panels. Robe, Clay Paky, Phillips, DTS and Martin all had very impressive looking stands and the PRG demo room that absolutely blew everyone away. As company owners we all look at development of LED in lighting and how this will impact on the future of production and lighting rental by reducing the daily running costs and saving on power consumption.
It was as large and vibrant as ever, but perhaps with fewer product innovations than in previous years. Many brands seemed to be replicating the same trends as their competitors. Brands that have unique patented products or systems, like Nivtec (which is the only company to have patented a stage-locking system that does away with the need for 60% of stage legs without sacrificing load), kept to their core products and reinforced them. I saw an SGM moving head light that was completely waterproof, ie. operated with water spraying on to it all day. This was a very interesting innovation. Gerriets introduced an innovative device called a ’Batten Clew’ that allows for equipment to be hung from fly-bars of varying and moving height. The Gerriets Batten Clew allows heavy loads to be evenly distributed over several pipe battens using a venue’s existing overhead rigging system. The existing rigging system now becomes more useful and efficient with the use of the Batten Clew. Gerriets also introduced a new range of projection screens that are very different. One, called the ’Optiblack’ is a black rear projection screen – that is a first. Another, called ’High Gain’ is designed for large screens with low-luminance projectors and gives a smooth and easy transition from front projection to rear projection, or both, without losing gain. In general, Gerriets’ range of screens and fabrics looked to be the most innovative on the show.
Thomas Peters (lighting designer) It was a great show, great to meet and catch up with all the manufacturers from all around the world, very interesting and informative conference sessions. I noticed a trend or movement toward ’pixels’ instead of ’lights’, and heavy integration of lighting and video. Products that stood out for me were: NA Company Multiflash, Expolite TourPanel FX 25, Lichttechnik Bag-o-light and Chauvet Nexux Aq5x5.
LIVE EVENTs Prolight + Sound REPORT
Richard Smith (Sound Harmonics)
Duncan Riley (DWR Distribution)
I enjoyed this year’s show. It seemed a little quieter and slightly smaller than in previous years but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It seemed more focused and in general, the quality was higher. Ayrton’s new Radical Series of LED moving lighting fixtures created a real stir, and their large show on their booth was very impressive! Ayrton are doing some amazing things with the optical systems on their fixtures and it is good to see them gaining the acceptance and recognition they so deserve. The much anticipated official L-Acoustics K2 launch was heartily welcomed and signals a new era for large format Line Source Arrays. L-Acoustics is once again setting a very high benchmark with this product and its wide acceptance in the market already is an indicator of its high quality, innovation and the trust people have in the brand. (Over 230 K2s were used on the Winter Olympics recently.) The PRG show was impressive as always and integrated a good deal of moving trusses, which we only see occasionally here. Lighting design and Video/LED have begun to merge and so it is great to see designers being creative and using structural elements as. (We were glad to see that MOVCAT variable speed motors were used, as it is a new brand we are importing.) There are some interesting things going on in the digital mixing console segment, especially with some new innovation from smaller manufacturers. There are a few trends emerging that may fundamentally change the way people use them, but we will have to see if people accept the change in paradigm, or if the megamanufacturers try and keep the status quo. We also acquired some new clients; HazeBase smoke and haze machines (made in Germany), MOVCAT motors and hoists and CORDIAL cables (both also made in Germany).
The show was amazing and very informative, it was an opportunity to meet and greet old faces within the industry on an international scale. From a product point of view , I am starting to realise that most manufacturers in the pro segment are really coming to the party with new and innovative equipment – it’s all getting much closer and comes down to relationships , service and support when making decisions on new equipment.
Josh Oates (Tadco) The most important facet of the show is that we get ALL our international suppliers in one place. It is further, consistently an event attended by many distributors and users from around the globe and to this end the networking factor is critical. This year did not disappoint. The new Coda Audio TiRAY and NEXO GEO M6 are very exciting new products with the versatility and flexibility that you achieve with these smaller format line arrays can open up a host of possibilities. We were appointed the rental, HOW and performing arts distributors for Clearcom, a division of HME.
Ofer Lapid (Gearhouse) As always the show was very big and very busy, however I do not usually go to look at products but rather to maintain relationships and I have managed to do that. There was a great variety of products. I have generally identified what and who I want to see before I go. Having said that though, things that were of interest to me this time were new seating stand products, new Lighting boards and new LED screens. I went mainly to attend a conference with the global AV Alliance network, for which Gearhouse is the South African representative. The AV Alliance meeting is purposefully aligned with the Prolight+Sound Expo every year so that the Alliance is able to keep abreast of all the new developments and meet with manufacturers and suppliers at the same time. It is a very beneficial arrangement.
“Having said that though, things that were of interest to me this time were new seating stand products, new Lighting boards and new LED screens.” – Ofer Lapid
High quality light at an approachable price
ETCâ€™s Source Four LED Series 2 profile spot and Selador Desire wash luminaires bring every lighting design to life. With adjustable white light for all skin tones and brilliant saturated colours for dramatic effects, ETC LED luminaires add design flexibility, low energy usage and long service life to every lighting application. Supported by the future-proofed ThruPower technology of the cost-effective and compact SmartPack Wall Mount power control system, LEDs and tungsten luminaires can be powered simply and correctly from the same pack with the flip of a switch. All ETC products are backed by high quality service and support, including end user training from official ETC dealer Prosound.
t +27(0)11 470 6800 w www.prosound.co.za
LIVE EVENTs Prolight + Sound REPORT
Prolight + Sound products As always, there was a plethora of products released and showcased at Prolight + Sound Frankfurt 2014.
ETC showed visitors the latest updates to the Source Four LED™ family – the Source Four LED Series 2™ Lustr®, which adds lime green emitters to the x7 Colour System™, ensuring the best spectral range and about twice the output of the Source Four LED Series 1. They also demoed the new Source Four Mini LED™, which allows small-scale installations to benefit from the powerful Source Four® optics, while also saving energy. A Gallery option with a high CRI value ensures that the best possible colour reproduction can be achieved, meeting environmental and aesthetic targets. ETC also showed visitors the new Cobalt 10™ desk, along with Eos Ti™ and Gio® consoles. Cobalt 10 fits the power of the Cobalt 20 desk into a 20% smaller footprint, making it ideal for when space is restricted. The Cobalt family provides enviable hands-on control of complex lighting rigs, with direct-access tools that eliminate the barrier between the programmer and the light. Distributed by Prosound: www.prosound.co.za Clay Paky had multiple new products on show – the B-EYE, the SuperSharpy and the Stormy. The B-EYE is a high-performance wash light, a beam light, and a generator of completely new spectacular visual effects. Clay Paky presented a complete family of B-EYE lights, including the B-EYE K20, B-EYE K10, B-EYE K10 Easy and B-EYE K10 CC versions. The SUPERSHARPY is about four times as powerful as the Sharpy, although the indoor fair surroundings did not allow its power to be fully appreciated. The STORMY, a new LED strobe is reminiscent of the effect of a classic strobe, but provides the versatility typical of LED technology. Distributed by DWR Distribution: www.dwrdistribution.co.za Robe showcased a raft of innovative new products including: LEDBeam 1000TM. This is a brand new strong and powerful fixture was launched at the show. It utilises the latest LED technology and can be used as a beam or a wash light. With flexibility to the fore, it features a unique proprietary optical system enabling a zoom of 4 to 60 degrees with full beam control. CycFX 4TM. The highly versatile CycFX 4 takes all the flexible parameters of the CycFX 8 and presents it in a smaller, half size package. Truss or floor-mountable and offering four individually controllable LEDs, an 8 to 67 degree zoom and lightning-quick movement – it is a unique fixture ideal for creating spectacular sweeps and curtains of light and colour across a stage or area. PARFect 100TM. The first LED PAR of its kind, Robe’s PARFect is based
on the LEDBeam 100 technology, with the same optical system and light engine in a static housing. The PARFect uses 12 x 15W RGBW LEDs and has a 7-degree beam angle with the option of additional diffusers to achieve 10, 20 and 45 degrees. Distributed by DWR Distribution: www.dwrdistribution.co.za
Ayrton launched several major new products: NandoBeam™S6 and its new range of lighting fixtures, the Radical Series (R Series). Twice as powerful as its little brother NandoBeam S3, NandoBeam S6 is a very compact, ultra-fast moving head. Equipped with 37 RGBW LED emitters, NandoBeam S6 shares the S3’s lightweight optical system and ultra fast 5:1 zoom. Ayrton’s new Radical Series takes its name and inspiration from the world of high-performance vehicles, the Radical range exhibits a streamlined appearance, a very narrow and intense beam, state-of-the-art thermal management and an incredible output which increases its scope to suit all arenas and stadiums from small to large. The major power comes from the new 67mm optics in association with ultra efficient RGBW multi-chip LED sources. This creates an intensive 4.5° beam with a massive output and a centre beam luminous intensity of over 100 candela per lumen. Distributed by Sound Harmonics: www.soundharmonics.net Avolites Media showcase the new S-Series Media Servers, along with the latest generation in the Infinity line, the Ai Infinity EX series. The Ai S2, S4 and S6 media server are the latest server systems from Avolites and offer two, four and six Display Port / DVI outputs respectively. They feature third generation PCI Express motherboards, graphics cards and RAID SSD drives along with 4K Ultra HD capability in the S4, S6 and S8 servers. The Ai Infinity server, offers eight unique full HD DVI outputs, and has also been upgraded to the Infinity EX. Like the S-Series, the Infinity EX now boasts third generation PCI Express motherboards and graphics cards. Avolites also previewed the Titan V8 software and the Tiger Touch Wing. Distributed by DWR Distribution: www.dwrdistribution.co.za
LumenRadio debuted the smallest wireless DMX solution ever seen, CRMXchip. Available exclusively from LumenRadio, the patent protected CRMXchip is the world’s first wireless DMX ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) solution. By using the latest in chip technologies, LumenRadio has managed to reduce the size of a wireless DMX receiver to that of less
Prolight + Sound REPORT LIVE EVENTs
than a fingernail. With the 6x6mm CRMXchip, manufacturers can for the first time fully integrate a multi-functional wireless DMX receiver into high volume products where cost and size are prioritised without compromising quality or performance. Built on the award-winning CRMX technology, the patent protected CRMXchip is fully compatible with all existing LumenRadio products. Distributed by DWR Distribution: www.dwrdistribution.co.za
Philips Entertainment’s four premier brands – Selecon, Showline, Strand Lighting and Vari-Lite – debuted exciting new products at Prolight + Sound. Philips Vari-Lite debuted the much anticipated feature rich VL4000 Spot luminaire. The VL4000 Spot represents the first in a new generation of Vari-Lite luminaires designed to provide designers, rental companies, venues and productions with luminaries that offer even more creative possibilities without compromise on quality. The VL4000 Spot includes all the tools required to create dynamic, artistic lighting for any application. Featuring low ambient noise, high lumen output, precision optics and a full feature set. Among a plethora of new LED products from Showline was the much anticipated SL NITRO 510C, which follows hot on the heels of the SL NITRO 510 LED, launched at last year’s PL+S. The SL NITRO 510C LED strobe adds full RGBW capabilities into the same compact size luminaire while maintaining similar massive output, multiple zone control and continuous-on abilities.
Also debuting from Showline was the SL WASH 350, a compact moving washlight with three independent zones of homogenized RGBW control. In addition budget minded projects will appreciate the new SL ePAR 180 and SL eSTROBE 130. These two luminaires offer high output and innovative features in a compact size. Philips Selecon premiered the LED RAMA Fresnel, which provides an adjustable cone of light, a soft edge, and is easily blended with adjacent beams for even illumination. Distributed by DWR Distribution: www.dwrdistribution.co.za
PR Lighting provided a strong product line-up, products such as the new XR230 Spot, with its linear zoom from 3.8°-42°, and the compact XR330 which delivers outstanding brightness, were among the highlights. PR Lighting also presented the new XR 1000 moving head, which will exist in Spot and Beam versions. The new XLED 2007 Beam was also a major highlight. This mini unit, weighing just 4.36kg, has all the advantages of the XLED 336 but in addition can rotate endlessly (as well as operate in sound to light mode). The fixture contains seven of the Osram Ostar light sources, rated at 15W each, with 4 in 1 LED colour mixing. Distributed by Prosound: www.prosound.co.za
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LIVE EVENTs Prolight + Sound REPORT Robert Juliat chose to refocus attention on its followspot range. This proved an excellent choice as the models on show – the Cyrano 2500W HMI, Lancelot 4000W HTI and Victor 1800W MSR – proved a great hit with visitors to the show. Robert Juliat also presented, for the first time in mainland Europe, its new motorised yoke accessory designed specifically for Robert Juliat Fresnel fixtures. The yoke was put through its paces on the 2 500W tungsten RJ Cin’k 325LF which drew much attention. Robert Juliat’s LED solutions, in the form of the LED Zep range, alongside the compact ‘mix and match’ Tibo profiles and Fresnels completed the line up on show. Distributed by DWR Distribution: www.dwrdistribution.co.za
Le Maitre previewed the Salamander Quad Pro, the latest flame unit from Le Maitre. The Salamander Quad Pro is a larger, more versatile system than the Salamander. A four canister system, it can be operated with each canister being fired independently and the option of multiple colours being loaded to provide a truly stunning visual display from a single machine. Firing the canisters sequentially can also be used to increase the duration of the effect, with up to 120 hits in total and each flame reaching around 4m in height. Alternatively, all four canisters can be fired at the same time to produce a much bigger single flame reaching up to seven to eight metres! Distributed by DWR Distribution: www.dwrdistribution.co.za
DiGiCo revealed a new version of Optocore for all optically enabled DiGiCo consoles. This new format will provide connectivity to X6R, DD2FR and DD4MR units, allowing Optocore devices to live on DiGiCo’s optical loop. DiGiCo announced other software upgrades on the stand, among them were: Expansion of Waves Multi-rack. The development teams at DiGiCo and Waves have further increased the Waves flexibility across its entire range of SD consoles, with the number of Stereo Waves racks doubled from 16 to an impressive 32. This gives the ability to have up to 256 insertable plugin instances on every Waves-enabled console in the range. Currently, the SD9 offers the largest amount of bussing in its market position. With this new release, DiGiCo takes its lead even further, increasing the user assignable bussing from 16 Flexi Busses to 24 Flexi busses, bringing the total buss count to 63 busses across the console. This 50% increase in Flexi bussing will be released on all new SD9 consoles and provided as a free of charge upgrade to all existing customers. Like the SD9, the SD11 has seen a number of upgrades to its Stealth Digital Processing. This latest software upgrade sees its channel processing increased from 32 Flexi Channels to 40 Flexi Channels, with no impact on processing allocation; these additional channels come with no compromise to any other processing resource and no additional hardware is required. Just like the SD9 upgrade, the new SD11i and B software will be released on all new consoles and provided as a free of charge upgrade to all existing customers. Distributed by Tadco: www.tadco.co.za
launched the new ETX Powered Loudspeaker family. A versatile high-end choice for live entertainment venues, rental companies, pro musicians and DJs, and installed sound, the ETX Powered Loudspeaker family offers technologies from EV concert/touring systems. Three two-way models (10-inch, 12-inch and 15-inch, all with a precision HF titanium compression driver), a three-way model (15-inch with a 6.5-inch MF driver and a precision HF titanium compression driver) and two subs (15-inch and 18-inch drivers) are available. Distributed by Prosound: www.prosound.co.za
L’Acoustics showed the new K2 Variable curvature line source. K2 offers the K1 Wavefront Sculpture Technology® performance in a rescaled package. K2 can perform as a standalone system, with K1-SB/SB28 subwoofers or can be deployed as a complement to K1 – all with a record-breaking performance/weight ratio and fast on-site deployment. Distributed by Sound Harmonics: www.soundharmonics.net Alcons launched two new compact loudspeakers, as additions to the V-series and B-series. Featuring the all-new RBN202 2” pro-ribbon driver for the first time, the V-series is extended with a versatile micro monitor for use in a wide variety of applications, where non-compromise fidelity is required. Another series extension is shown, now being the smallest of Alcons B-series subwoofers; a long-excursion 12” custom-designed woofer in a reflex-loaded configuration, as the perfect low-frequency extension for the smaller V-series monitors. Alcons also showed the new R-series RR12 modular point-source array. Featuring a passive two-way 6” pro-ribbon driver and 12” high-output woofer, the system is designed as a ‘building block’ to create flown or stacked tight packed arrays for controlled sound coverage. The asymmetric 30°x 60° MorphMax™ waveguide provides increased throw to the rear to distribute sound evenly front-to-back.
Coda Audio launched the LINUS10 two channel DSP amplifier. LINUS10 is a standalone unit and also the key component of the LINUS RACK20 and LINUS RACK40, which provide complete system management solutions including amplification, DSP, network, comparator and power distribution for various Coda Audio systems. Also on show were Coda Audio’s TiRAY, a brand new, ultracompact line array module designed for small venues where high fidelity sound and outstanding intelligibility are required. Coda also launched the TiLOW bass extension for increased low frequency response, providing audio companies with an extremely flexible system for a wide range of applications. Distributed by Tadco: www.tadco.co.za
Martin Audio officially launched the new multi-purpose DD12 loudspeaker which combines onboard networking, DSP and Class D
amplification with state-of-the-art transducers and Differential Dispersion™ horn technology to achieve best-in-class performance in terms of fidelity, output capability and coverage consistency across the audience. Martin Audio also previewed the self-powered subwoofer PSX.The PSX is a companion self-powered subwoofer for the DD6, XD12 and XD15 full-range loudspeaker systems. Featuring a powerful 15” (380mm) /4” (100mm) voice coil, long-excursion driver in a very compact reflex-ported enclosure, it houses two channels of Class D amplification – one channel for itself and one channel to power an XD12, an XD15, or up to three DD6s. Distributed by Audiosure: www.audiosure.co.za
Yamaha launched the QL series of digital audio consoles at Prolight+Sound. The QL Series is said to deliver all of the audio quality, processing power and flexibility of the CL series, but in a size and with local I/O facilities aimed at smaller-scale installations and productions. The new QL series comprises two models, the QL1 and QL5. The QL1 features 16 inputs and eight outputs in a 468mm wide chassis, with the QL5 32 ins/16 outs, measuring 828.4mm wide. The QL1 has 32 mono and eight stereo input channels, with the QL5 64 mono and eight stereo. QL consoles are suited to small-to-medium sized productions on their own; however, onboard Dante networking allows them to be integrated into bigger systems with Yamaha’s R-series I/O units and CL series consoles. Up to eight R-series units can be simultaneously controlled by a QL console, offering as many as 256 input sources. HARMAN’s JBL Professional announced the latest addition to its legendary EON portable loudspeakers with the new EON600 Series. A complete departure from traditional approaches to affordable, selfcontained and portable PA systems, the EON600 Series was purposely designed and built from the ground up using JBL’s advanced waveguide technology and proprietary transducers. The EON600 Series brings the extraordinary quality of high-end studio monitors to a highly flexible, easy-to-use PA system. The first model in the EON600 Series is the EON615 15-inch 2-way loudspeaker. It features built-in, 1000-watt power amplification, custom JBL high- and low-frequency transducers delivering massive sound pressure levels with lower distortion throughout the frequency range. JBL Professional also introduced the new LSR310S powered studio subwoofer optimised for use with the highly successful JBL 3 Series studio monitors. The first studio monitors to incorporate JBL’s patentpending Image Control Waveguide; the recently introduced 3-Series models provide an unprecedented level of accuracy, with exceptional imaging and detail at most affordable price points. Rounding out the 3-Series line, the new LSR310S subwoofer extends the low-frequency response of the system into the 20Hz range while including an innovative feature that will make the sub attractive to dance music producers. Distributed by Wild and Marr: www.wildandmarr.co.za
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HARMAN’s Soundcraft introduced its brand new Vi3000 ’all-in-one’ digital live sound console, offering a host of state-ofthe-art features including the groundbreaking internal DSP Soundcraft® SpiderCore, a new industrial design, 96 channels to mix, onboard Dante compatibility and much more in a
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LIVE EVENTs Prolight + Sound REPORT very compact footprint. The Vi3000 utilises the new internal DSP SpiderCore with Soundcraft’s Vi Version 4.8 operating software, offering the new 3D Vistonics user interface while adding a fourth 24-channel fader layer to improve access to the console’s 96 input channels. Distributed by Wild and Marr: www.wildandmarr.co.za
HARMAN’s AKG showed the DMSTetrad digital wireless microphone system. Ideal for a variety of applications this license-free wireless system offers uncompressed audio transmission, superior RF performance and 128-bit AES standard encryption. The AKG DMSTetrad digital wireless microphone system features an integrated four-channel mixer, and an antenna front mount kit. With 24bit, 48kHz audio coding, it provides uncompressed studio-quality transmission and a linear frequency response, for uncompromising vocal and instrumental performances. Audio-Technica showed its new range of updated M-Series professional monitor headphones as well as the BP894. Alongside these were existing Audio-Technica wireless and installation products from its widely-used Unipoint and Engineered Sound lines. Taking cues from the sound and proprietary design of the company’s acclaimed ATH-M50 professional monitor headphones, the new ATH-M20x, ATH-M30x and ATH-M40x deliver accurate audio and outstanding comfort, perfect for long listening sessions. The ATH-M20x, ATH-M30x and ATH-M40x all feature 40mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminium voice coils, as well as a circumaural design that contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments. The ATH-M50x (featuring 45mm drivers) has the exact same sonic signature as the original ATH-M50 and adds refined earpads and three detachable cables. The BP894 features a rotating capsule housing with talk-side indicator for use on either ear and has perfect polar pattern placement. The MicroSet BP894 takes headworn microphones to the next level, by allowing the cardioid capsule to be aimed directly at the sound source. The uniform pickup pattern provides excellent rejection of outside noise, with exceptional gain-before-feedback when used with live sound systems and stage monitors. Distributed by Prosound: www.prosound.co.za Christie showed the award-winning D4K2560, a high-end 3-chip DLP projector that has native 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution offering ultra-realistic images and smoother video. In addition, the PIPA award particularly highlights the achievement of the unique Christie TruLife electronics, a breakthrough in high frame rate and high-resolution video projection. Christie TruLife enables 4K DLP at 120Hz performance through its support of a video-processing pipeline of up to 1.2 Gigapixels per second – 10 times faster than full high-definition bandwidth – which not only benefits the Christie D4K25 and D4K35, but also permits the Christie Mirage 4K25 and Christie Mirage 4K35 to support various 3D interconnectivity formats. Distributed by Stage Audio Works: www.stageaudioworks.co.za Absen showed A3 Pro. A3 Pro is a small-spacing indoor rental product released by Absen at the end of 2013. It uses the world leading second generation of spot-by-spot correction, therefore all correction data can be simultaneously loaded to the receiving
card and the module, avoiding re-correction when changing the module or the receiving card. Reserving characteristics such as lightweight, thinness, seamless stitching and front maintenance, A3 Pro focuses on the optimisation of module maintenance and a modularised power supply board. Distributed by Shenzhen Absen Optoelectronic Co. Ltd: www.absen.com
Clear-Com® announced the launch of ProGrid™ at Prolight + Sound this year, a fibre-based infrastructure system that will enable users to transport and distribute audio, intercom, video and control data. The introduction of these new products means that, in addition to world class communications systems, Clear-Com now provides end-to-end solutions for many types of installations requiring signal distribution. Clear-Com also showed the BroaMan MUX-22 video distribution device, which further broadens the company’s distribution capabilities to include up to eight 3G/HD-SDI video signals. The MUX-22 can operate with the ProGrid systems or as a stand alone solution. Distributed by Tadco: www.tadco.co.za
EAW presented Anya. Anya is a complete, self-contained, high-power sound reinforcement system that adapts all performance parameters electronically, allowing it to be used in virtually any application. Columns of Anya modules hang straight, without any vertical splay and Resolution 2 software adapts total system performance to produce asymmetrical output that delivers coherent, full-frequency range response across the entire coverage area as defined by the user. It is extremely powerful and immensely scalable, making it suitable for anything from small venues to the largest stadiums. Distributed bySurgeSound: www.surgesound.co.za
Chauvet Professional launched a new series of moving heads, the Rogue series; a rugged line of moving head fixtures that offer a host of highperformance features like multi prism rotation, zoomable prism, variable speed scrolling, LED gobo morphing and a massive light output for their price range. The four new fixtures include the R1 Spot, R2 Spot, R1 Beam and the R2 Beam. The R1 Beam uses an Osram Sirius 132W HRI light source. The R2 Beam uses the 230W version of the same lamp. The R1 and R2 Spot fixtures use an LED source – 140W and 240W, respectively. Distributed by Audiosure: www.audiosure.co.za HARMAN’s Martin Professional revealed the MAC Quantum Profile™, the latest addition to its new MAC Quantum line. The profile features innovative LED technology and Martin’s proprietary optical designs to deliver super-bright light output. Martin also introduced an expanded family of its proprietary VC-Grids™ and VC-Strips™ family to include 15, 25, 30 and 60mm pixel pitch fit for architectural installations, stage design and TV set design. Martin Professional also introduced two new RUSH (by Martin) LED fixtures—the RUSH MH 5 Profile™ and RUSH DC 1 Aqua™. The RUSH MH 5 features two colour wheels, two gobo wheels and a rotating three-facet prism, in a compact yet super bright LED profile moving head. The RUSH DC 1 Aqua is a compact and bright LED fixture featuring full electronic dimming, variable manual focus, and five selectable colours to deliver aquatic decoration effects for shows, clubs and other entertainment venues. Distributed byElectrosonic: www.electrosonic.co.za
LIVE EVENTs Industry Expert
Ofer Lapid Ofer Lapid, founder and managing director of the Gearhouse Group, has an interesting story to tell and a wealth of knowledge to share. From Joffa, Israel to the military to Johnny Clegg to contributing immensely to the South African technical production services industry, he is both an enigma to those who have only heard his name and a serious force to contend with to those who know him. Pro Systems caught up with him at the Johannesburg offices of the Gearhouse Group to talk with him about the past, the present and the future.
Industry ExpeRT LIVE EVENTs
“We are ‘sticks and stones’ fighters in a very young industry. I would love to see the Technical Production Services Association (TPSA) playing a greater role in the development of our industry.” – Ofer Lapid You came from Israel to work and live in South Africa in the early 80s, what made you choose South Africa and what was your impression of the local production services at that time? Lapid: Actually, I did not specifically choose South Africa; it was a combination of circumstances that made things turn out the way they did. I was working on a world tour of Israeli bands playing to Jewish communities around the world and South Africa was the last stop on the tour. Allan Geen from Sound Hire, a company operating in Pritchard Street, saw the show and said: “Nice lighting mate! I have a band that arriving in three weeks’ time, do you want to stick around and do the lighting for it?” I had no plans so I stuck around and the rest is history. Once I started working in South Africa though, I understood very quickly that I had knowledge in regard to the touring industry that others here did not.
What was that? Lapid: Well, I had knew things about working with rigging, sound and lighting that had not yet filtered through to South Africa. I realised that I had knowledge to share with the local industry; how to do quicker setups, faster strikes and how to work with touring grade rigs; that kind of thing.
How has the industry changed since those days and what do you think was the catalyst for these changes? Lapid: The demolishing of apartheid opened doors across all industries, including ours. South Africans started believing in their own country again, international artists started trading with us and promoters started doing business. They started bringing in International music acts as well as corporate events. People started investing in local shows and the rental companies started acquiring equipment to meet international riders. In fact, it was the international production managers demanding a certain technical standard that really brought about change. People were blown away by what they saw on international shows and the local industry started copying those standards and acquiring the technology. It’s not as though the industry suddenly became passionate in 1991 or 1994; the passion developed as a result of the international artists and productions that came here.
Your background is in lighting and being ‘hands on’ was what you loved. How did you end up running a group of companies instead? Lapid: I come from a lighting background but in a small country like Israel, you need to learn all disciplines, so I had a good all-round foundation. It doesn’t really matter what discipline you’re working in; the crew starts the show and finishes the show so everyone needs to work together to get the job done. Besides I like to poke my nose into other disciplines to learn whatever I can about them. In short, I have had exposure to all, but I will never be an AV technician. I also never wanted to be a businessman but I realised that if I wanted to see changes in the industry, I was going to have to find an investor and make them happen myself. And that is exactly what I did. In 1991, I found a partner who was willing to invest and with that
investment we developed from a small company into three lucrative companies: Lighting Unlimited, Stage Design and Woza Power, over the next five years. When Gearhouse PLC bought all three companies in 1996, I stayed on to work for Gearhouse and I was really glad I made that transaction because Gearhouse taught me how to run a company properly. It taught me how to balance the technical aspect with the human side. It was not only about the revenue, it was about the knowledge we brought into the country. Gearhouse PLC eventually went belly up so I bought the company back and kept the Gearhouse name
What is your take on the technical production services industry now and where do you feel it is headed? Lapid: There is less of an influence from the international production managers. Nowadays it is more of an internal urge, it is passionate people wanting to be better and wanting to compete that is driving the industry forward. Technology is moving forward too fast for a simple guy like me to predict where we are going. AV and LX are converging more and more to improve the visual look of shows. Sound is using software to check the acoustic properties of venues and work out the best arrangement for the line array far ahead of load in. Everything can be prepared in advance which is helping the industry develop even further. Structures development is a bit slower, only because they have not yet managed to invent a skyhook.
How do South African rental companies shape up against international service providers? Lapid: I believe we compare very well, bearing in mind that every show here is a once-off whereas in Europe once a show is prepped it will usually travel for a while. Here you need to set the whole installation up for just one or two shows. Until recently we had to quickly shift stages between cities but last weekend we had three full, outdoor stages up at the same time. That was a first for Gearhouse and both production managers for Eminem and Santana congratulated us on our delivery, so we continue to make progress all the time. South African suppliers are also attending more and more trade shows which are helping us to keep developing despite reduced event budgets, thanks to the depreciating rand.
How can our industry players contribute to the growth of the industry? What are the issues and how do we improve upon the current state of affairs? Lapid: We are ‘sticks and stones’ fighters in a very young industry. I would love to see the Technical Production Services Association (TPSA) playing a greater role in the development of our industry. Companies need to try to drop the barriers of the past and work together to make large and serious investments into the new generation. I would like to see more investment from all the local players in terms of teaching young technicians fundamental skills like marking out floor plans, fault finding, calculation of load bearing capabilities, etc.
LIVE EVENTs Industry ExpeRT
“This industry is like a soccer game. A very fast one. The moment you take your eye off the ball your chance has gone.” – Ofer Lapid Gearhouse is contributing to the development of the local industry by running courses in technical production services through our own Kentse Mpahlwa Gearhouse Academy. There are one and two year courses which teach entry level skills to technicians around the country, but we only take on a small percentage of graduates ourselves each year, so we believe that we are raising the standard of the industry overall by creating a new generation of technicians who can deliver to very high standards. Unfortunately, there are also still companies who are pulling the industry backwards because of lack of knowledge, lack of experience, cutting corners to make more profit and in the process opening the industry up to health and safety risks.
Are these issues the same for all technical suppliers or do they differ depending on what business sectors you are servicing? Lapid: I think the challenges are common across all sectors. We might be servicing 5 people in a room or 50 000 in a stadium, depending on the day, with bigger or smaller problems but it comes down to the one single challenge which is always to develop and to continue to raise the standard every time.
Gearhouse at work at the SAMAs 2010
How do you think your approach has impacted your company and/or the industry at large? Lapid: Historically, the South African situation pushed us [Gearhouse] towards taking a multi-disciplined approach. Some South African companies have specialised in a single discipline but the majority are multi-disciplined. Which way is better, only God knows! Gearhouse is a fantastic company and whether it’s a measure of my success, I don’t know, but I am very proud of it because it’s mine. I increase the level of delivery constantly. This industry is like a soccer game. A very fast one. The moment you take your eye off the ball your chance has gone. So our success is about having the best equipment and having the best crew – always. I like to think that Gearhouse offers a career instead of a job and my policy is to give my people fishing rods, rather than fish, as the saying goes. So people must not join Gearhouse and expect things to be given to them on a silver platter. I am offering a platform for people to succeed, if they want to. I can give you the opportunity but it’s up to you to make something of it. Nobody ever handed me anything, I fought for what I have and I believe that I am a better person because of it. If there is a legacy I would like Gearhouse to leave in the industry, it is to have bred the next wave of people to carry our industry forward with passion, enthusiasm and integrity across the whole of Africa. We are already taking our first steps onto the rest of the continent, so watch this space.
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LIVE EVENTs Show REPORT
Miss South Africa 2014 Joshua Cutts of Visual Frontier relishes creative challenges, so being asked to design lighting and set for his first beauty pageant – Miss South Africa 2014 at Sun City Superbowl – ticked a few boxes and presented some aesthetic challenges. – Which were a long way away from the more familiar territory of lighting a music concert or show! Joshua was initially asked on-board for this year’s event by Glenn Van Loggerenberg and Anton Cloete from Don’t Look Down Productions, who were contracted by Sun International to produce the event. They asked Joshua to assist with the design and visual concepts, and Johannesburg-based AV Unlimited to deliver the full technical production package. The brief for all was to bring a fresh and vibrant feel to the classic beauty pageant model, and specifically to give it a more contemporary edge than previous Miss SA shows. Josh sat down with the Don’t Look Down Team and AV Unlimited’s Project Manager Guillaume Ducray. “It was a very collaborative process,” explains Joshua adding that this was also: “A very satisfying way to work,” as they all brought different ideas, outlooks and experience to the table. They decided to put projection right at the core of the visual design to provide a dynamic and highly versatile medium to could help transform the stage as the show unfolded. A 30-metre wide by 7-metre high projection surface was split into three sections – a central one at 10 metres wide flanked by two 9-metre wide wings. These three flat surfaces were surrounded by scenic ‘shards’ above.
By Louise Stickland The video content commissioned from Motion Cult was 2D, but mapped across the screens and the scenic pieces it had a real 3D effect and the two different surfaces became fused so seamlessly into one environment that a whole new layer of spatial dimension was added to the space. The projection also enabled the creation of simple but dramatic changes in the backdrop and mood for the three live entertainment sections that interspersed the different parts of the pageant. In front of the screen was the stage which housed a 13-piece orchestra and a large central staircase. The stairs were skeletal and so LED screens were placed behind to fill any dark spaces at the back. There was also a 12-metre runway emanating from the stage into the audience – the front part of which comprised 600 seated VIP dinner guests, and behind them, another 2 000 general public in the tiered seating. The video content was loaded onto two Coolux Pandora’s Box media servers and programmed and run by Martin Slabbert. The projection hardware was specified by Guillaume, comprising three Barco 20Ks and three 14Ks, which were run as three doubled-up pairs – one feeding each section of screen. Once the parameters of the projection were established, Josh started thinking about lights. The key was to get a nice soft, even wash across the main stage that would cover all 12 contestants when they were all onstage even when spread out. With that as a base state, he needed to make the flesh tones look beautiful, glowing and natural on stage and on camera with have minimal shadows, especially on the faces – a tricky task requiring lots of precision and fine-tuning of his general stage wash lights. Once that was established he could overlay colours to add secondary hues and more spectacle to the different sections of the
Show REPORT LIVE EVENTs show which were couture, swimwear, evening dress and the finale – ‘ascension’ moment – leading up to the crowning of the winner. Several over-stage trusses were installed. The upstage ones were populated with Clay Paky Sharpies which were used for tight beam-work and effects above the screens and reaching down across the stage. The trusses directly above the stage were rigged with Robe ROBIN LEDWash 1200s to form the base of the contestant key wash. He used 12 Vari*Lite VLXs on the front truss to subtly wash the stage and also illuminate the audience, together with a selection of PAR cans. Other moving lights used for general stage colouring and washing included Martin MAC 700 profiles and MAC 101 LED washes. Josh programmed and ran all the lighting from his grandMA2 light console with and OnPC wing for backup. MA has been his control platform of choice for some time for its sheer power and flexibility. The grandMA2 was also used to trigger the Pandora’s Boxes playing back the video cues, and in addition to this, the media servers were also running multi-track audio including the stereo backing tracks, the click, SMPTE timecode for the lighting and vocal cues for the orchestra, so the MA2 was essentially running the whole show! The final sequence – the crowning – saw some slick choreography with the dancers and video footage interacting. The video had the shards exploding and splitting apart, then re-forming into the Miss SA logo behind the winner’s throne with the dancers pretending that they were manipulating and shaping the video. This received a great reaction and was one of a number of intelligent visual flourishes bringing the new, imaginative live staging edge to the show that the producers were looking for.
LIVE EVENTs CONCERT REPORT
Simplicity abound at Zambian music festival
By Greg Bester
This is not a story about massive line arrays or state of the art technology, or of a sea of faceless thousands dancing the night away to Top 40 radio artists in a dusty field somewhere. This is a story of obscurity, unity, of the love of music and how little one actually needs for music lovers to have a good time. This story is about Siavonga, a little known music festival set deep in the heart of Africa on the shimmering shores of mesmerising Lake Kariba in Zambia. Our journey starts in Lusaka after a two hour flight from Johannesburg. I was commissioned by local progressive/experimental/psychedelic/ jam rock outfit albinobeach to handle their mix at the show and, despite receiving a general technical list of what was available, we didn’t really know what to expect. Foolishly we hoped for a large stage with all the technology we were used to at local festivals. We could not have been more wrong but, as time was to show us, this was not a problem and turned out to be part of the festival’s allure. But there were challenges. Just getting there was quite a task as the roads in Zambia – even the T2 national ’expressway‘ – were undergoing construction with dirt road deviations, as they call them, being thwarted upon us almost immediately as we left Lusaka. Then there was the M15; the road to Siavonga, that made the roads in our Northwest Province look freshly tarred; and finally the long dirt road which descends to the Eagle’s Rest resort, our final destination and the location of the festival. To say it was a bumpy ride would be a gross understatement. Slightly shaken, we arrived just after nightfall and set up camp near the shore. At this point the beauty of Lake Kariba could not fully reveal itself to us but the twinkling of the Milky Way upon its expanse gave us a lingering sense of where we were. The moon shone brightly and the waters lapped softly and we were struck for that minute in a sense of wonder. The first thing I do when I arrive at a festival to ‘white glove’ for a band is to introduce myself to the house engineer and check out FOH, the PA and stage. Alessandro Borzi of Zambian events
management company Zirbo Zambia Limited supplied all of the technical requirements for the show including the audio, lighting, staging and projection. He, like most people in Zambia, is a friendly, jolly guy who was more than helpful in getting us sorted. As I might have expected, the audio system was entirely analogue. I don’t think I’ve worked on an analogue console locally for the past few years given the rise of digital so this reminded me that I might have to redress my rusty analogue chops to adapt to the otherwise ‘older’ way of doing things. Nevertheless, the console was an otherwise good sounding 48 channel Allen & Heath GL4800 which was connected to a variety of outboard such as DBX 266 and 166 compressors, BBE and DBX graphic EQs, and various effects processors from Yamaha and Alesis such as the SPX 990, REV 500, SPX 90 and a Quadraverb. The main PA was an RCF-loaded Proel system that included four CP15P point-source mid-high cabinets hung vertically two aside and eight Proel Edge SW181P subwoofers configured four a side in 2 x 2 stacks. The subwoofers too were loaded with RCFs while the mid-high cabinets were fitted with larger HF drivers. For sidefills, two JBL M350s were employed while six Proel NEOS12AXS active monitors handled stage monitoring duties. For powering the system, a combination of QSC, Carver and Crest amplifiers were used while a BSS Omnidrive was used for speaker management. Lighting was also quite basic with a combination of DTS 500 parcans, DTS 250 washes and a couple of DTS 2600W blinders. The lighting console was a Proel 24/48, the dimmers were Ianiro 6/2200s and the smoke machine was a DTS 1500. Probably one of the most interesting aspects of the show was the inclusion of a Retro Projection screen to the right of the stage that was backlit by an NEC 3600. Various camera feeds of the on-stage performers were fed to the screen which helped immensely in bolstering the overall feel of the gig. So, as you can see, the system was far from state-of-the-art. To be honest, I struggled a little at first to get the band to sit nicely because the bass seemed to be strongest at the sides while at mix point there was very little. However, the crowd seemed to care less and I can understand why because standing there in the middle of the starry sky and soft sand underneath my feet, the sound took a back seat to the magical vibe that seemed to permeate around us. If there’s one thing I can say about Zambia; people are happy. It felt to me that regardless what was played for them a sense of unity prevailed, irrespective of genre, nationality or creed. Needless to say, the gig went well and we all shared a whisky as albinobeach’s set came to a close.
The wrap The rest of the weekend was spent laughing, drinking and eating with old friends while we made new ones. On Saturday morning we took a house boat cruise along Lake Kariba that included a live reggae band on board. Two speakers, a power amplifier, a small mixer, a drum kit (with no cymbals), a tambourine, a keyboard, a bass guitar and couple mics was all they needed get a serious party off the ground. It was absolutely astonishing how much was done with so little and that is what embodied our trip to Siavonga: simplicity, good vibes and happy people.
LIVE EVENTs PRODUCT user REVIEW
Martin M-Series – how does the software perform In the digital age, lighting consoles abound. While there may have only been a few go-to names in the past, there are now a plethora of options available in many price ranges to meet the needs of any budget. However, selecting a console is not always a matter of price point. Support is important, as is features, flexibility and longevity. So, why do lighting professionals choose the consoles they do? Martin Professional is a big name in the lighting business. The Aarhus, Denmark-based intelligent lighting fixture and control systems manufacturer has been around since the early 80s and has remained a massive player in the market worldwide ever since. Indeed, despite many competitors in the ever changing world of event tech you would be hard pressed to find an event, both internationally and locally, that is without any of their products. Martin, of course, is famous primarily for their MAC range. The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics saw Martin take on the role of the main lighting provider with over 1100 fixtures being employed for the opening ceremony. Moreover, their luminaires are used by some of the world’s top touring artists and major festivals. But Martin doesn’t stop there because in addition to their lighting fixtures they also manufacture a wide range of lighting controllers which have seen great success over the past few years and have amassed quite a following.
About the Martin M-Series software The Martin M-Series range consists of a set of controllers that run the M-Series software platform. This has the obvious advantage of allowing users the freedom to migrate from controller to controller seamlessly and without the worry of having to learn a new platform. There is also an offline version of the software that you can download off of the Martin controller support website for PC or Mac that allows the user to create show files before ever stepping into a venue. The M-Series includes the M1, the M2GO, M2PC, the M-PC and the newly released flagship M6 controllers.
Martin M-Series Tech Specs •
Support for 64 DMX universes on Pro Edition and 8 on Basic Edition
Offline and online programming
1024 channels in Demo mode using Martin USB Duo DMX or Martin Universal USB DMX interface
Mx Manager Software for programming and triggering via time and calendar schedules
Customizable Graphical User Interface with context sensitive toolbars and integrated help menu
Powerful effects engines
Parallel execution of multiple cuelists
Full compatibility across M-Series consoles
On-the-fly global timing adjustments
Networking with Maxedia media server CITP protocol
Controls up to 32768 fixtures in Pro Edition (4096 in Basic Edition)
1000 cuelists with motorized fader control
1000 cuelists with playback control buttons
12 customizable function keys
3D visualizer integrated
Submaster, groupmaster and override functionality
Auto update for presets and cues, including ‘track backwards’
PRODUCT user REVIEW LIVE EVENTs
Pro Systems tracked down several users of the platform to get their opinion and thoughts. This is what they had to say.
Owner, Keystone Productions Using Platforms: Maxxyz Compact | M2 | M-PC | M6 “After my purchase of the Maxxyz Compact the leadership of development team of the consoles changed to Paul Pelletier and Matthias Hinrichs and so the M-Series was born. Enough can’t be said about these guys and their team and what they did for Martin Controllers. The development of the software on an on-going basis and constant improvement in every update made buying their Flagship the M6 a no brainer for me. The best thing about the M-Series is there is a platform for each person’s pocket. A freelance lighting designer can install M-PC on his laptop and for a small price then buy a USB to DMX and do a show. The compatibility across the range of consoles is a huge bonus! With a simple network switch I can run my laptop next to my M6 as a back-up. The flexibility is astounding. What I do like about the M-Series is that it has a very clever layout which makes it easy to teach someone, even if they have never programmed lighting before. The ease of networking is a BIG benefit. In the software itself, the preset manager is second to none! For someone who programmes offline a lot it’s important that my presets are easily editable and visually nicely laid out. The FX engine is very powerful; the ability to quickly link FX parameters creates some very cool different looks. But it’s also very easy to use! The software is very intuitive. It can be set-up to suit any designer’s requirements.”
Freelance Using Platforms: M1 | M6 “I have been around since Martin launched the first Maxxyz and fell in love with the console. As Martin launched console after console, I have kept up-to-date and can operate any of them. I still get to operate some gigs with a Maxxyz Compact, which I do enjoy, but my first choice now is the M1 or the M6. M-Series thinks the way I think. With some other brands I have to learn to think the way the console thinks. I find the platform very user friendly and logically laid out. One of the features I like about the console is the effects engine. It is very powerful and it is easy to access on the fly and enables me to create any attribute effects on the fly as well as being simple. The console does all the thinking and calculations for me; I just have to tell it what I want, where and how fast, etc. Other features, such as the new screen layout, have made things a lot easier and faster to access.”
Freelance Using Platforms: USB Duo DMX Interface | M2GO | | M1 | M6 “One day I asked Robbi Nassi from Electrosonic to show me a few things when he was in Cape Town. After he showed me how versatile and how easy the software platform is I knew I needed to have it. However, as a young freelancer I was not able to afford an M2go so my next best thing was a USB dongle. I feel the M-Series platform is in a league of its own and is definitely a worthwhile investment there has never been anything that M-Series could not do
for me on a show. The feature I love most about M-Series is the effects engine. It is extremely easy to use and understand and does not take long to build the effect you would like. All of the built-in colour effects are great for quick programming, especially in environments where you load in and do your show all in one day. The M-Series works well with third party generic controllers. I often run one of them into DMX in on my USB dongle to add some sub-master faders and flash buttons. I also run a Touch OSC MIDI controller on my iPad to be able to have a touch screen for M-PC and it works well for programming and fast playback. [In terms of support] the M – Series support in South Africa is phenomenal. Robbi Nassi and Jesse Dullabh from Electrosonic have always been a phone call away no matter the question or the time, and are always willing to help.”
Grant Williams LD, Sun City Casino Theatre
Using Platforms: One Key dongle | USB Duo DMX Interface “I find that the Martin software makes sense and even if you have not worked in it before you can find your way around with ease. It is great value for money, you can build up as and when you have the money to do so and it caters for newbies to pros. They can all work on the same system with ease. What I like about the M-Series platform is being able to set up the screens the way it suits you. You can program on a full desk then run off the PC version or vice versa.”
Lenin Baren Mokoka Freelance Using Platform: M1
“Before my move to M1 my desk of choice was older ETC and 088 consoles. These lighting consoles could accommodate very few fixtures. We had a live music event that required a lighting console that could accommodate 80 LEDs and 40 moving heads and for a rig this size our dinosaur 48-channel couldn’t handle it. After good research we opted to go for the Martin M1. Since acquiring the M1 we have been able to produce great lighting effects that we previously couldn’t achieve with older consoles. We have been running the Martin M1 for just over two years now and so far it has lived up to expectations. I particularly like the soft programmable functions. With these functions you can playback a show from a single button without ever touching the hard faders and buttons. The default, go, select and release soft buttons are on the same screen should you need to clear the programmer and engage other playbacks. I also like the labelling scheme. All playback labelling is on screen so labelling on white tape with a marker is indeed a thing of the past. When lighting theatre productions and live music shows that will require plenty of cues, chases, jumps or links or sub-masters for specials, the M1 is definitely my desk of choice. The only snag I’ve come across is creating functions for amber-white LEDs but it was quite easy to resolve with support. However, as awesome as the M-Series is, I absolutely cannot say it’s any worse or better than competing brands. Eventually it’s all about how comfortable the user is with their console of choice as every operator forms a bond with whatever lighting console they prefer.”
LIVE EVENTs PRODUCT user REVIEW Nicci Spalding
Technical director, National Arts Festival Using Platforms: M6 | M1 | M2GO | M-PC “I think in terms of value for money the M-Series is probably the best in the country at the moment. The desks are incredibly powerful for their size and price bracket. It makes it a very logical choice for the cash strapped theatre industry. I like how the platform is very versatile and how you can make it behave how you want. It doesn’t take long to work out how an M Series controller works. I like the straight forward command line syntax of the desk. Martin has always been very similar to the Hog; it’s just now that the consoles finally feel better than they did before. They are very intuitive desks and because the layout is pretty much the same across the range you can be up and running in no time really. The customisable screens/pallets are great and the fact that you can flip between them instead of having lots of open windows on top of each other is also great. I am very much of fan of the imbedded help manual. The effects engines are pretty cool and I do like the programming parameter windows. The fact that the palette screen follows what you do makes programming nice and quick. However, I’ve been nailed twice by the cue tracking on the M2GO, which has caused all manner of misery. I definitely don’t like the way it handles that but to be honest I think it’s really a great line of products and have nothing other than stupid little programming niggles against it– which go away after an afternoon with Jesse Dullahb. Consoles come down to personal preference. Personally I like them; I’ll admit we had a rocky start but now I’m a fan. As with all the hardware you buy it’s only as good as the support you receive. Martin’s support worldwide is always excellent and I applaud the chaps at Electrosonic for more than meeting that mark.”
Pure Event Gear Using Platforms: M2GO | M1 “I have always liked the Martin consoles so it was an easy choice to go for a console that runs the M-Series platform. I find it very user-friendly and easy to use. It does everything I want and need from a lighting console and our good relationship with Electrosonic also helps when it comes to technical back-up of the consoles. The main aspect I enjoy on the M-Series consoles and platform is that if you can read, you will be able to programme and operate the console. Everything you need and want is in front of you. If you want to edit, you press ‘edit’; if you want to update, you press update, moving cues, groups, playbacks; anything you press [you can] move and there you go. It is truly the case for everything you want to achieve on the console. Everything is quickly and easily accessible and this saves time. Programming on the console is easy and straight forward. The effects engine is quick to access, saves programming time and the possibilities are endless. That’s great for those ridiculous setup and show deadlines. It has great options with playbacks, and has a number of options to access and trigger cues from. The M-Series consoles are great to run events from, whether you are running a cue to cue production or busking a live music event. You can setup your playbacks the way and from where you want. All in all I like the way the consoles are put together and the options you as a programmer or operator have on the consoles are really great. I must say that at this stage there is nothing really that I would say I don’t like about the consoles. I have found the support for the M-Series absolutely great in South Africa. Help is never further than a phone call away and the guys from Electrosonic are always willing to assist in any matter whatsoever when you need them.”
Ronnie van Jaarsveld
Owner, Line Out Pro Sound, AV and Lighting Using Platforms: M2GO | M-PC “I was running a production that necessitated extensive live cueing for audio, video and lighting with specific time coded playback. I was looking for a console that was intuitive, easy to use and able to receive external cues from MIDI. The M2GO proved to be the right platform as I could, as a sound tech with little experience in lighting, get into the desk quickly and program a basic show with no trouble at all. Lighting techs with more experience found the interface user-friendly and workflow logically interwoven. The GUI was flexible and very customisable. We use an Elo touch screen as well as keyboard and mouse and this gives instant access to any control in any way. I like being able to record pre-sets for all parameters and the touch panel on console allows for quick access to fixture parameters and settings. MIDI in, out and through is another great feature. Patching is easy as pie with the Autopatch feature. The Q-Binding feature allows for interesting and very handy control over multiple fixtures in fanned or stacked arrangement simply utilising the slider level. The sky is the limit with creative movement effects using Q-binding. Support has been excellent in our case. Even when clients hired our console they had direct access to the Martin technical team for support, sometimes even outside of work hours.”
LD, Gearhouse SA Using Platforms: M1 | M2GO “Gearhouse Durban decided to invest into an alternative solution for an operating system from what the group currently holds. This allows us to be versatile in the group. At the moment Gearhouse Durban is the only branch to carry the M-PC operating system. M-PC is easy to use; the user manual is on-board and can be easily accessed and understood. The software carries powerful effects engines and user customisation options so you can set up the software on your device just the way you like it. Martin is constantly improving the software with new patches coming out on a regular basis. Things I like about using the M-PC software include assigning shortcuts to any button or fader I like, the powerful effects engine and the easy macro options. The networking facility gives me the ability to easily connect to any M-PC console. All data syncs seamlessly. It has fast patching features with the option to clone fixtures while the grouping tools give me the ability to update groups and create groups and pre-sets. Playback buttons give me the option to multi-select and fire countless cues on one click. Cue lists are easily manipulated; the editing options are nice while updating cues and moving them around to other cue lists or faders is no problem. The Virtual Console is nice if you do not have a console connected to the software. M-PC comes with a Virtual Console on board. The speed at which you can execute commands is impressive; the blind function allows me to set up a look in blind mode on the fly and releases it when I am ready. Finally, support in South Africa is very good. Electrosonic are the agents for Martin and have done a wonderful job over the years. They have well trained staff who know their products. They have customer loyalty to the point that they will go out of their way to ensure you are happy with your Martin product.”
PRODUCT user REVIEW LIVE EVENTs
Martin M-Series – Matthias Hinrichs and Paul Pelletier What the developers of Martin M-Series had to say.
What do you think has contributed to the success of the M-Series hardware and software platform worldwide?
system architecture greatly and saves the customers a lot of money. If you run 30 or more universes on an M6, it’s all done right in the desk; or even better, on a laptop. That’s a big difference to our main competitors and in price comparisons of larger systems we are sometimes a third of the price of a comparable system. It all adds up for better value to the customer and is part of our philosophy to keep things simple.
Paul: I think we have achieved quite a nice product range with a console tailored for specific applications. The M1 is a good example of a console that redefines what a so-called ’small console’ should be, i.e. lots of faders and plenty of power. M2GO is a first of its kind; a small, portable, intelligent lighting console the size of wing but with a fully integrated processor. It had never been done before. The latest and greatest M6 once again redefines how a lighting console should be designed in today’s world. It’s modular, robust and extremely powerful with more direct access to parameters and playbacks than any other console in its category; all this at a very competitive price. Matthias: The platform is very accessible to entry level users with the M-PC Free Edition and the interface and processing scales wonderfully from a small tablet to a large full-size console like the M6. We have thousands of M-PC downloads every month and are excited that our user-base is growing rapidly all the time. Customers tell us that they can get a show done with our consoles faster than any other desk. You are patched and able to programme cues in minutes after you fire up the system. Our workflow seems to be simpler; less menus and sub-menus to worry about. It’s sorted all right there on the desk without having to dig around much.
Is there anything that you feel separates the M-Series from competing brands? What, to you, makes it special? Paul: Simplicity is definitely our motto. We spend a whole lot of time refining each new feature and reworking current ones so the user has access to the full potential of the software without the need for complex commands. Take our networking system. It is the easiest system in the industry. Connect the consoles together and go; it works immediately. There’s no need for complex IP addresses and subnet settings. Our software has grown up so much in the past few years. It is very stable with a lot of additional features still to be shown over the coming months and years. Matthias: A big separation for us is that all DMX processing is done in the console, not in costly external processing nodes. It simplifies the
The M-Series has won awards. What do you think were the key contributing factors to this? Paul: When I heard we were nominated for the M6 I asked this question too. Then I took a look at our competitors that were also nominated and realised we were offering something fresh, innovative and very different but yet familiar with the M6. I believe that is what secured us this award. Matthias: I think our modular design on the M6 and the attention to detail was a factor. For example, we wanted to make the best touch screens on any lighting desk in the market so they work well in the sun or in a bright arena, and we succeeded in that.
What does Martin hope to ultimately achieve with the M-Series? Paul: A complete integrated system where light, video, 3D space and even sound are fully in harmony with each other. A system where the user will spend more time being creative, and less time being a computer scientist. As Matthias likes to say: “Programme your show, not your console.” Matthias: I find most consoles, including ours, still way too technical. We are supposed to facilitate a creative process and the consoles are often in the way and too much button pushing is involved. Translating the picture in your head onto the stage is often too difficult, which involves many protocols and systems that do not speak to each other. I hope that over time we are able to innovate on user interfaces and workflow to really provide designers a collection of creative tools that he enjoys and ultimately makes for a better show.
LIVE EVENTs Line Array Technology
Are line arrays chasing the sunset?
Itâ€™s safe to say that line arrays have been at the forefront of large format sound reinforcement for the past 20 years or so and in some ways still feels new despite its longevity. This, in part, has to do with the refinements and improved designs that have emerged throughout its evolution, but as we take a look back from our vantage point half way through the second decade of the 21st century the question has to be asked: is the line array a tired technology?
Some theory A line array is defined as a loudspeaker system that is comprised of a number of identical elements, or enclosures, mounted vertically and fed in-phase in an attempt to create a seamless isophasic/cylindrical wave front. In comparison, a traditional point source creates a spherical wave front. The caveat here is that while these definitions all sound great and work in theory neither exists in the physical world because for a line source to exist it must be infinitely narrow and long and for a point source to exist it must be infinitely small. Regardless, clever engineering and a thorough understanding of the limits of the
physical world has enabled system designers and manufacturers to produce systems that come very close to acting like line sources through ingenious workarounds. This, of course, has historically been mostly a function of physical loudspeaker design, with speaker configurations, waveguides and enclosures exhibiting increasing sophistication to combat the limitations of the line source array in the physical world. But what are the limitations? The main limitation of a line source array is, as stated, that there is no such thing as a true line source. Hence we have the designation â€˜near-line sourceâ€™. The way a line array is designed to work is through constructive and destructive interference between the array elements. To illustrate this point, a single conical driver in an enclosure exhibits varying directivity with frequency. Low frequencies are omni-directional and as frequency increases it narrows into a beam that is, for most applications, too narrow to be practically useful. The remedy is to design an enclosure that employs crossovers and two or more elements, possibly with specifically designed waveguides or horns, to achieve more constant coverage across the spectrum. Now, if you had to stack two identical speakers and feed them an identical signal in phase, a completely different directivity pattern is exhibited. On-axis to this simple array there will be constructive interference where the sound pressure will increase by 6dB. Off-axis, cancellations are measured due to path length differences relative to each driver which results in a lowered sound pressure level (SPL) and
in some cases full cancellation. This is often referred to as ‘combing’. So we see that maintaining constant directivity across the spectrum is the challenge and, of course, incredibly difficult to achieve. The main goal in constructing a line array is to get all drivers working in unison instead of against each other and, since frequency is the key variable here, the theory goes that all drivers must be closely coupled with the distance between them being less than half the wavelength of the highest frequency you want to reproduce. Of course, with low frequencies this is less of a problem. Most low frequency drivers are arranged well within the ‘half the wavelength’ limit. Mid and high frequency drivers present more of a challenge where the physical dimensions of the drivers exceed their desired wavelength. This results in individual point sources as opposed to a seamless cylindrical wave front. To illustrate, if we want to reproduce a frequency of 20 000Hz and we take the formula that wavelength equals the speed of sound divided by frequency, we see that 20 000Hz should be reproduced by a driver no larger than 8.6mm. This is obviously not possible. How does a traditional line array deal with these problems? What is the future set to bring us now with the advent of inexpensive and widespread DSP? As we will learn, the limits of the physical world are slowly being eroded and researchers are starting to move the line source array into new territory; accomplishing things that were never thought possible.
3dB drop-off per doubling of distance? Classical line array mathematics proposes a drop-off of 3dB with doubling of distance due to its proposed cylindrical wave-front, which, by way of expansion, doubles in surface area by doubling of distance. By comparison, a point source will, as stated, radiate in a sphere and will, with doubling of distance, expand to four times the surface area which in turn results in 6dB of a loss in level. This is commonly known as the inverse square law. This gives a line array a clear advantage in long throw applications. However, the 3dB drop in sound transmission per doubling of distance has been shown to only work in the near field. Loudspeaker manufacturer Meyer Sound has concluded in their research that in the physical world – and despite the marketing hype – this effect is true only of a line array with 16 cabinets containing 15-inch drivers at around 350Hz between two and four metres from the array. Further than that, however, and the wave front starts to become spherical again once again loses 6dB per doubling of distance. This is known as the critical distance and varies with distance and frequency. Therefore, in practice, line array theory is best demonstrated at low frequencies. As the frequency increases, more progressively smaller drivers placed closer together are required to maintain directivity and this is why many line arrays implement a mid-band where eight-inch drivers are crossed over to handle the mid-range. This means that in the physical, practical world line arrays only act as near-line source systems in the low and mid frequencies. It also stands to reason that for the high frequencies other methods must be employed to match the directional characteristics of the low and mid sections. Of course, the most common of these methods is the high frequency wave guide coupled to one or more compression drivers or by implementing ribbon drivers, such as we see in Alcons Audio and SLS loudspeakers systems.
The high frequency wave guide Instead of using the classical line array model of using constructive and destructive interference (remember, the half wavelength
LIVE EVENTs Line Array Technology distance is too small); wave guides produce a directional wave front by reflecting sound, by way of the guide’s design, into a specific pattern. The aim should be to closely match the very narrow vertical and very wide horizontal coverage of the low frequency characteristics of the array. By using correct crossover and equalisation, phase plugs and other clever engineering tricks, the high frequency beam and the constructive interference of the low frequencies can be made to phase align, resulting in consistent coverage. There are many designs for these wave guides or ‘horns’, as they are colloquially called, and every manufacturer has their own. In fact, some would say that this aspect of line array design is what gives the line array its ‘sound’. The ribbon driver has been proposed as the perfect line array driver, particularly for short wavelengths, because it is very narrow, extends the entire vertical length of the enclosure, and is spaced very close to adjacent drivers (a natural line source). Compression drivers have been touted by some manufacturers such as Alcons Audio as insufficient for line array use because they exhibit distortion above 8kHz and are slow. They also surmise that the waveguides needed for compression drivers introduce distortion as well. The combined effect of the ‘break-up’ effect of the compression driver at 8kHz and the distortion introduced by the wave guide supposedly results in a bad signal to noise ratio. However, this is neither here nor there because there are manufacturers producing great sounding line arrays using either method so it ultimately comes down to research, development and overall system design.
The future So we’ve established that while modern line arrays have done much to overcome the limitations of classical line array theory in the practical world, there are still challenges. It’s plain to see that while a line array is a near-line source system, it is far from a true line source. The sidestep implementation of the high frequency wave guide is proof of this as is the impossibility of practically implementing the half wavelength rule across the spectrum. Other peripheral and helpful systems like delay towers and fills notwithstanding, a line array can still exhibit directivity and coverage problems and start to act like a point source beyond the critical distance. Because of the widespread availability of DSP, some companies are beginning to do some very clever things with their latest offerings and, according to my research, so far only two companies are getting it right: Martin Audio and EAW with their MLA and ANYA systems, respectively.
Martin Audio MLA Martin Audio has taken a completely different approach with their Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) technology. The MLA may look like a line array – it’s still a J-shape after all – but, according to Martin Audio, it isn’t. MLA provides independent control of up to 144 individual drivers by using discrete DSP and amplification feeds to each driver and the claim is that they are able to break the
constraints of the typical 3dB loss per doubling of distance and deliver exactly the SPL, frequency response and coverage specified by the system designer. According to Martin Audio, the MLA offers the following advantages over traditional line arrays: • Uniform coverage across the listening area. • Noise pollution reduction by limiting the audio delivery outside the defined audience area. • The elimination of delay speakers in venues that would otherwise require them. • Software-driven changes in the acoustic model without the need to drop the arrays for physical adjustment. Martin audio addressed these issues by starting from scratch and focussing on what was desirable in the audience area rather than what was happening at the speaker grille. One of the stepping stones to achieving this was developing the Boundary Element Model (BEM) where they investigated the inter-cabinet relationship between elements in an array. This allowed hundreds of virtual array configurations to be assessed in a 3D environment and clarification of the previously ignored effects of adjacent enclosures. The conclusion was that the output of a single element drastically changes when it is inserted into an array, even when the other elements are not even turned on! This is key to the MLA optimisation process. In contrast to early line arrays that were one zone systems and modern large format systems that may be split up into as many as three or four zones with progressive level and EQ towards the top of the array, MLA provides discrete software controlled phase, level and EQ optimisation for up to 72 different high frequency cells. This is what allows for adjustment of the acoustic model on the fly. The MLA Display2 optimisation software is the brain of the system. With Display2 you start with what you want to hear and the software works backwards to tell you what combination of position, shape and individual elemental EQ is required to achieve that result. The process starts with the entry of venue dimensions, how many cabinets you want to use, the array position and the coverage area. You then set the coverage parameters including the audience area; hard avoid areas, reference position, front-to-back SPL, and atmospheric conditions. The software will then calculate the splay angles upon which time you rig the arrays. Optimisation is then the next step where you set optimisation targets for non-audience, audience and hard avoid areas. 3 200 filter coefficients are calculated per enclosure which are then exported and uploaded to the enclosures via VU-NET.
EAW ANYA EAW has done a similar thing to Martin Audio except the design of the cabinets is radically different and the array is completely straight. This has the obvious advantage of a once-off rigging job without the need of having to adjust any splay angles and also allows out fill
Line Array Technology LIVE EVENTs are independently fed by 22 class-D amplifier channels (10 000W in total) and 22 channels of DSP, similar to the MLA. EAW’s Radial Phase Plugs and Concentric Summation Array technology is implemented to ensure the MF drivers enter the horn and sum coherently with the HF wave front. Interestingly the 15-inch LF drivers use what EAW calls an ’off-centre aperture’ loading to increase the spacing of the apparent acoustical centres which extends the horizontal pattern control into the LF range. Needless to say, given that this is a very new system, the specifics of how it actually creates an asymmetrical wave front are unclear. However, it was debuted at the Coachella festival in California. Dave Rat, who was instrumental in the development of the ANYA, says: “We don’t expect it (ANYA) to compete or replace [for example] the L-Acoustics K1, we expect it to be complementary – something that’s got more control; a different tool for a different job. Something that’s better at getting rid of the sound of the room.”
The wrap arrays to be hung coincidentally. Using EAW Resolution 2 software, total system performance is adapted to produce an asymmetrical output to deliver a consistent coverage and frequency response throughout the coverage area. EAW calls the technology implemented in the ANYA array ’adaptive performance’, which allows ANYA to produce virtually any 3D wave front surface while simultaneously optimising system frequency response to match the requirements of the venue. Each cabinet contains 22 transducers (2 x 15” LF, 6 x 5” MF, 14 x 1” HF) that
So, indeed strides are being taken in the world of large format sound reinforcement. The traditional line array format doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon; no one would expect it to, but there are definitely some exciting things happening in the DSP-driven world that were previously thought impossible. Systems like the Martin Audio MLA and the EAW ANYA are sure to usher in a whole slew of competing systems that will follow suit and one can only guess where that road will take us.
ST O R A G E S O L U T I O N S TRUSSING & RIGGING P O W E R D I ST R I B U T I O N S P E C I A L I TY AV & A U D I O P R O D U CT S ACCESSORIES W W W . G E A R S H A C K D A N D . C O . Z A
E m a i l : p e d r o @ g e a r s h a c kd a n d . c o . z a
Studio Pro Audio Product Review
Monkeying around with the Banana Turbo By Greg Bester
Studio monitors are almost entirely about taste. No one has been able to agree on the subjective meaning of ’flat’ for the past 50 years but nevertheless, that term gets thrown around indiscriminately in the marketing literature of almost all studio speakers. In truth it’s very difficult to make a loudspeaker with a ruler flat response and even if there was such a thing, it is at mercy of your room’s acoustics. Never mind that the frequency response of a speaker is measured in an anechoic chamber. In real life we work in the real world with real challenges, not anechoic chambers. So before we get on with this review I would like to point out that auditioning speakers in an unfamiliar environment is for the most part futile. It might give you a fairly general idea of the differences between models but it will never give you an accurate view of how they will perform in your studio. So before you go out and buy the latest, greatest pair of studio monitors because you read about them on a forum, it might be a good idea to request a trial period from your local retailer before you
buy them. If they’re serious about selling speakers, they’ll oblige and it might save you money and a huge hassle in the long run. One company that was more than happy to lend me a pair of studio monitors to review was Viva Afrika, one of our market-leading distributors of loudspeaker systems and DJ equipment. The studio monitors in question are the Monkey Banana Turbo 8s but do not be vexed by the name; these monitors are German-designed and are actually quite serious. So without any further monkeying about, let’s check them out.
Construction and features The Turbo 8s have a unique shape and the overall look is like an elongated hexagon. Apparently after much research and development Monkey Banana came to the conclusion that the ’non-regular hexagonal‘ shape of the enclosure was most effective in eliminating internal standing waves. Standing waves cause resonances within the enclosures of speakers and are generally undesirable as they cause distortion and erratic frequency responses. The bass-reflex box is made from custom-shaped MDF and, according to Monkey Banana: “...employs serious engineering to achieve the best possible acoustic performance,” and that “...the MDF material ensures proper damping vibrations from the drivers that can create audible distortion in the enclosure.”
Product Review Studio Pro Audio
The rest is pretty straight forward. The LF driver is an eight-inch magnetically shielded polypropylene/ceramic membrane. The HF driver is a one-inch silk dome tweeter that is protected by a dome of black metallic mesh. The front baffle also includes an LED backlit Monkey Banana logo that illuminates when the monitors are turned on. The rear panel consists of a variety of inputs that includes a XLR/TRS combo jack for +4dBu balanced line level inputs, a RCA input for -10dBV unbalanced inputs, and an S/PDIF RCA digital input. This means that the monitors can be fed from either an RCA or AES/EBU output (using an adapter) directly from your interface. Logically, this also means that they have built-in digital to analogue converters so you’ll have to decide whether they sound better being fed via analogue from your converters/interface or digitally. Since stereo digital signals are sent down a single cable, the Turbo 8s also include an RCA S/PDIF output for linking the monitors in digital mode. You can assign each monitor to left or right via a toggle switch on the back panel. The crossover of the Turbo 8s is set at 3Khz which is pretty standard. The LF driver receives 80W while the HF tweeter receives 30W for a total enclosure power handling of 110W. There are HF and LF EQ pots available as well which give you a range of +6dB to -6dB at 10kHz and
100Hz respectively. They have a frequency response of 45Hz to 30kHz, which is quite a broad range for most studio monitors. Lastly, the monitors come in two colours; red and black, and have a gross weight of 15kg. We were supplied the black version for this review so let’s see how they fared.
Sound I took the Turbo 8s to my current studio in Johannesburg, Pan Music, to take a listen to some selected source material on the monitors and compare them to the monitors we have there. The goal here was to compare them to monitors in similar price range; in this case a pair of Yamaha HS80s. The music we used to audition the music was selected from the albums Adele, 19 and Lady Antebellum, Need You Now. These were both high resolution versions played through Lynx Aurora 8 high end converters. Of course, we started with the Turbo 8s. My first impression was they have quite a bit of bottom end, particularly in the 100 to 200Hz region, which gave them a lot of punch. The mid-range seemed forward enough but had a slight dip in the upper midrange region of 1.2kHz to 3kHz. The top end seemed a little bit lacklustre but thanks to a slight HF adjustment I was able to get them to sparkle a little more. Turning to the HS80s, the low end subdued somewhat, but the mid- and top ranges seemed to open up. I had spent a lot of time level matching the two speakers and this is crucial because without it it’s impossible to form an accurate impression. The HS80s seemed to have more in the upper mid-range region and, being that they are quite bright speakers to begin with, that gave the impression of a more open sound stage. Switching back and forth between the Turbo 8s and the HS80s gave the impression of shrinkage in overall bandwidth. However, the Yamahas lacked the low end punch of the Turbo 8s, so it’s up to you to decide what you prefer.
The wrap The Monkey Banana Turbo 8s are good, solid monitors. While they’re somewhat in the same price range as the Yamahas they sound vastly different and given the impression they made on me, I would wager that they are aimed at the DJ market where bass is a priority. However, they are by no means bad monitors as the overall construction is robust and the inputs options are flexible and, after all, there is also the option of EQing them to your liking via the tone controls on the rear panel.
Studio Pro Audio Monitor Round-up
Unpacking the studio monitor
In ‘studio land’, the last stop before our ears are studio monitors. Room acoustics notwithstanding, they are arguably the most important component in the chain when it comes to critical listening. After all, if your studio monitors are lying to you, how can you ever be sure what you’re hearing is ‘gospel’? The number one descriptor for a desirable set of monitors is undoubtedly ‘flat’. But what does this often nebulous word mean? Well, in a general sense, studio monitors should represent the material you’re listening to as accurately as possible with as little as possible of the equally vague quality of ‘colouration’. There are so many variables during the recording process that compounds the issue so if your monitors are misrepresenting the recorded sound you may as well be a blind man poking his stick around in a cave. There are caveats, however. For instance, a set of studio monitors that works for one person may not work for another. Given the highly subjective nature of audio, studio monitors are by and large selected as a matter of personal taste. Indeed, once an engineer finds a set of monitors that works in his or her working environment, it is pretty common for them to stick with them for a number of years. This is because while their room may have minor shortcomings, they eventually ‘learn’ how their monitors translate into the real world.
By Greg Bester
Joel Assaizky –
owner/operator, Score Machine
Award-winning Johannesburg composer Joel Assaizky has scored films ranging from comedies such as Bunny Chow, Big Fellas and White Wedding to darker films like Man On Ground (2013 AMVCA award for Best Soundtrack and Sound Design). Joel has been a prolific composer in television, scoring such series as End Game, The Lab, Hard Copy, High Rollers, Geraamtes In Die Kas and several more, as well as a very large body of work for the soapies Rhythm City, Scandal and The Wild, with three consecutive SAFTA nominations for composition work.
Options It can also be helpful to have more than one set of monitors to audition your work on so we find many engineers opting for this approach. If your mix sounds great on all of them, chances are they’ll translate to the real world a lot more effectively. From esoteric, rare specimens to stock standard, off-the-shelf varieties, the options are endless which is why we find all manner of monitors in studios around the world that work for those working there. Often it’s a matter of budget and sometimes money is no object. However it’s safe to say that there are engineers doing great work on monitors in all budget brackets so the question arises: why do studio engineers choose the monitors they do? Pro Systems caught up with a few local and international engineers to find out what makes their monitor selection tick and here are the results of our findings.
| Focal SM9 | Unity Audio The Rock | | Avantone Mixcubes | Yamaha NS-10 | “The most important thing in a speaker for me is translation. For example, I need to know that the sub bass I just put in isn’t going to overwhelm a piece of music when it’s played back over Dolby
Monitor Round-up Studio Pro Audio
surround in a cinema, or in the car or on a home system. I need to be able to trust with a reasonable amount of certainty that the vibe I’ve got going in my room is going to translate into many vastly varied spaces and situations. “I’m a bit of a monitor junkie – I’ve got several pairs. Focal SM9, Unity Audio The Rock, Avantone Mixcubes and the good old NS-10s. My go-to monitors are the SM9s. I’ve been using the Focals for around two years and the Mixcubes and NS-10s for a good 10 years. “The Rocks are new to my setup but I’m really enjoying them. I decided on the Focals after trying most of the competing brands available locally at the time. The SM9s had the best translation for me and a very short learning curve. The SM9s are great because they just give so much information; the lows are nice and punchy and detailed and I can hear small EQ moves all the way up and down the spectrum. I do my main mixes and work on these and then run a ‘midrange focussing’ check on the Mixcubes and NS-10, especially for the film/TV/commercial work where the playback system might be, for example, a mono TV speaker incapable of properly reproducing bass. “The Mixcubes are especially useful for that task. As a footnote, I’m equally happy with the Rocks and the SM9s and could work interchangeably with them. If I had to point out the differences, I’d say the SM9 have slightly better bass, and the Rocks are a touch more detail in the mid-range!”
“Currently I have Klein and Hummel O300D and 5 Genelec 8030s with a Genelec 7070A Sub. I’ve been using the K&Hs for about 10 years, the Genelecs for about three years and the sub for about five years. Ideal monitors present an even soundstage in all aspects of critical sound reproduction. They must ensure all frequencies are evenly presented at the mix point and consistently allows for accurate decision making when applying dynamic and equalisation processors. A consistent stereo image in all areas of the control room is also vital in ensuring client satisfaction. “Initially I got the K&Hs for a really good deal and was attracted to them because I always prefer three-way speaker enclosures. I then needed to upgrade my Yamaha HS80s and opted to go for a 5.1 Genelec 8030 system as I had been impressed by them in another studio and I already owned a Genelec sub. “I find the K&Hs to be the most realistic speakers I have encountered with a few exceptions. I think the three-way soft dome configuration is really an ideal combination and suits the size of my control room perfectly. The Genelecs are more cluttered in the upper mid-range and don’t extend as far down as the K&Hs but are really useful for tracking, location work and an alternative mixing reference as they often accentuate and help identify over sibilant vocals and overbearing low-end.”
William Wittman –
Gavan Eckhart –
New York-based producer/engineer
owner/operator, Soulfire Studio
William Wittman is a Producer/Engineer based in New York, USA. His multiplatinum credits include Cyndi Lauper’s seminal debut She’s So Unusual, Joan Osborne’s Relish, The Outfield’s Play Deep, The Hooters, Graham Parker, The Fixx, Bob Dylan, Dar William, and Too Much Joy. He and long-time collaborator Lauper connected this year to produce the Kinky Boots original cast recording, which won them a Grammy.
Gavan Eckhart is the owner of Soul Fire Studio and a freelance sound engineer specialising in many aspects of the music industry. Since his SAMA nominated (as Best Engineer) debut recording of Miriam Makeba’s Reflections in 2004 he has recorded, mixed and produced many highly regarded albums, live shows, theatre productions and film scores all over the world including Freshly Ground’s Shake It, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s No Boundaries (Grammy nominated), Stimela , William Kentridge’s Refusal of Time and The Girl soundtrack (Emmy nominated).
| JBL LSR28p |
| Klein and Hummel O300D | | Genelec 8030A with 7070A sub |
“To me, monitor speakers are all about two aspects: firstly, being comfortable to work on; you feel you know what you’re listening to, you’re hearing everything that’s there and you’re not missing anything somewhere in the spectrum. They sound MUSICAL. Secondly, and this is the most important thing: it’s what they ‘make you do’. Do they encourage you to mix the bass up or tuck it in? Do they suggest you need more mid-range because they’re scooped in
Studio Pro Audio Monitor Round-up the middle? Do they make you want more shininess on top or less? (The question is): what does working on these monitors do to my work? “I’m a big fan of good, well-designed, large soffited monitors in a seriously well designed control room. And then I like that a studio might introduce its character like that into the work, but that’s if it’s well designed and cared for. I love George Auspurger’s rooms; I love Tom Hidley’s rooms, but I also almost always bring my JBL LSR28p speakers along. They give me a base standard against which to compare the big speakers and of course in a lot of rooms, where the big monitors are not well set up, the LSRs are all I use. And they’re what I use in my own home mix room. They’re the original first generation LSR28p powered monitors and I think they’re fantastic. “I have used them since they first came out in 1999. I periodically get to try other speakers but as I said, it’s about what they make you want to do. I don’t particularly like the trend towards monitors with scoopy mid-range. It just doesn’t work for me. I don’t want flattering. I want the speaker to encourage me toward the right tonal and level balances. (With the LSR28ps] you can listen really softly and the image holds together or you can play them rock and roll loud (and anyone will tell you, I do) and they sound musical and full; not painful or unpleasant. I find they translate, for me, incredibly well. I know I can walk out with a mix I’ve done on them that I can walk into Sterling (mastering facility) and not have to do anything much to ‘correct’.”
Max Dearing – owner/operator Dark Pines Studios, Graham, North Carolina, USA
| Alesis M1 Active Mk.1 | Avantone Mixcubes | | Focal Twin6be | “A good monitor shouldn’t flatter the music. It should just present the audio as flat and accurately as possible for the environment that they will be used in according to air volume and room dimensions. I am currently using Avantone Mixcubes, Alesis M1 Active (Original Mark 1), and Focal Twin 6bes. “I have been using the M1 Actives for the better part of 15 years and the Focals since the studio opened in 2010. The Mixcubes were purchased shortly after we opened, and have essentially been my reference check, with the majority of the work being gauged upon the Focal Twin 6bes. The Focals give me a great deal of accuracy, in that my control room response apparently is phenomenally flat (+/-1.5db from 30Hz to 800Hz and +/-3.0db from 800 to 30kHz). “The high end is not harsh or brittle as so many eight-inch and six-inch driver-based monitors in their price range are. I find that I can mix pretty much continuously for hours on end with little ear fatigue. I double check for low end mud/woofy and loose low frequencies with the M1 Actives. The Mixcubes I use to double check kick/bass tightness and balance, the midrange and high end for any wonky frequencies that might have been masked and to get an idea what ear buds and standard car speakers will sound like.”
The wrap Max Dearing is the owner/operator of Dark Pines Studios in Graham, North Carolina. Originally a drummer and holding a degree in electronics engineering technology, Max opened Dark Pines Studio in 2010 after many years of running a mobile recording right aimed at live recordings. Max specialises in performance-based recording both in the remote work, which he continues, and in the studio. Some of the bands he has worked with in the USA includs M4B Jazz featuring Tom Browne, Fred Wesley and Melva Houston, Martha Bassett, Raymond Bradley and Ramblin’ Fever, The Ends, Twisted Measure, Odds and The Ends, Jive Mother Mar, and most recently JuJu Guru.
Studio monitors are clearly personal. From award winning platinum producers like William Wittman to the average home studio, preferences abound for different reasons. However, if there is one thread of truth that resonates it’s that the primary criterion for good monitor speakers is that they represent the listening material as accurately as possible without any flattery or colouration. For in the studio, monitors are the ‘microscope’ and our ears are our ‘eyes’ through which we decode the listening process.
Prolight + Sound – Frankfurt, Germany
Josh Oates, Simon Oates, Gustav Barnard and Will Deysel
Jeremy Roberts, Ian Blair and Joshua Cutts
Joseph Mandy, Richard Smith, Josh Oates and Travis Vermeulen
John Harrison and Joshua Cutts
Travis Vermeulen, Richard Smith, Sandrine Pignon and Joseph Mandy
Donovan Calvert, Adrian Brooks, Nasser Abbas, Ofer Lapid and Freddie Nyathela
Mark Gaylard, Duncan Riley, Joshua Cutts, Theo Roodt and Schalk Botha
Theo Roodt, Mark Gaylard, JP Wilson, Marcel Bezuidenhout and Richard Gild
Vimal Rawjee, Schalk Botha, Mark, Marcel, Richard and Sushil
Prosound Midas launch – Prosound, Johannesburg
Lindsey McGuire, Justin Mamulis, and Stuart Duncan
Selby Bopape, Jerry Kekana and Elias Tsebe
LPS Lasersysteme – Johannesburg
Athena Norenius and Angus Campbell
Sizwe Dhlamini and Terrence Motlhatlhae
Johan Marais and Cristo Hattingh
David Butcher and Lee Thomson
Margie Punshon, Reineir Smuts and Kerri Katz
Corrie Scheepers and Anthonie Wijnja
Mark Malherbe and Donovan Calvert
Andrew Philip and Victor Vermaak
Lee Oosthuizen and Siegmund Ruff
ClearOne – Killarney Country Club, Johannesburg
Anton van Wyk and Gustav Teitge
Simphiwe Molsiri, Ronny Shaku, Martin Mmola and Kabelo Seeletso
Pieter DeVrye and Lloyd Langenhoven
Sipho Tollie and Don Wood
Prolyte Rigging training – DWR, Johannesburg
Johnny Scholdz and Kevin Rieck
Chris Hall and Johann Liebenberg
Nick Fairclough and Rudy Schutte
Tshepang Rafout and Jonathan Fenske
Epson shootout – Silverwood Manor, Johannesburg
Belinda Wilson and Kim Kotze
David Wilsnagh and Mark Norris
Deon du Plessis and Joel Kopping
Dean Jules and Izak Brand
Nicky James and Karli Stock
Cobus Venter and Chris Pugh
– Crestron House, Johannesburg
Adam Hooper and Rupert Denoon
Bradlin Basson and Jonathon Craik
Corrin Scheepers, Elrico Pedro and Tertius Klazen
Coaxial Wedge Monitor
Coaxial Wedge Monitor
Coaxial Wedge Monitor
RMS Power: 300W
RMS Power: 400W
RMS Power: 400W
Impedance: 8 ohms
Impedance: 8 ohms
Impedance: 8 ohms
Average Sensitivity (1W/1m): 96dB
Average Sensitivity (1W/1m): 98dB
Average Sensitivity (1W/1m): 99dB
Continuous SPL/1m: 121dB
Continuous SPL/1m: 124dB
Continuous SPL/1m: 125dB
Frequency Response (-6dB): 68~20000Hz
Frequency Response (-6dB): 65~19000Hz
Frequency Response (-6dB): 58~19000Hz
Cabinet Size (H x W x D) mm: 261 x 444 x 390
Cabinet Size (H x W x D) mm: 297 x 504 x 437
Cabinet Size (H x W x D) mm: 352 x 580 x 502
Net Weight: 15kg
Net Weight: 19kg
Net Weight: 25kg
Two NEUTRIK Speakon NL4MP with link through
Two NEUTRIK Speakon NL4MP with link through
Two NEUTRIK Speakon NL4MP with link through
Cabinet Material: Hard Plywood
Cabinet Material: Hard Plywood
Cabinet Material: Hard Plywood
Textured Touring Grade Waterproof Coating
Textured Touring Grade Waterproof Coating
Textured Touring Grade Waterproof Coating
Viva Afrika Sound and Light (Pty) Ltd Unit 2, 2 Drakensburg Road Longmeadow Business Estate West, Westfield PO Box 4709, Rivonia, 2128, South Africa Tel: 011 250-3280, Fax: 011 608-4109 email@example.com, www.hybrid.co.za
ExclusivE Distributor for south AfricA: DWr DistributioN Itâ€™s all about the people
block c, unit 1, Kimbult industrial Park, 9 Zeiss road, laserpark, honeydew, 2170, Johannesburg tel: +27 11 794 5023 | fax: + 27 11 794 5702 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.dwrdistribution.co.za