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July / August 2013


AV System Integration | Installations | Live Events | Studio & Broadcast Audio

Cover Houghton Mosque Story Installation Mediatech Africa Show Report Dolby Atmos Feature Guide to System Integration Kings of Chaos Sound Engineer Interview Innibos Concert Report Rhema Audio Installation

Performance beyond it’s price

Great sound with brains



Line source speaker system

LF Subwoofer

For audiences up to 50 000

Suitable for indoor and outdoor live performances

Frequency Response (+/- 6dB):

Frequency Response (+/- 6dB):

50~18 000Hz

30~1 100Hz

Maximum SPL /1m (Calculated):

Maximum SPL /1m (Calculated):

134dB Continuous

136dB Continuous

137dB Program

139dB Program



Ferrite magnet, 3” In/Out voice coil

Ferrite magnet, 4.5” In/Out voice coil

Power Rating: 900W RMS LF + 200W HF

Power Rating: 3 000W RMS

Weight: 63Kg gross

Weight: 96Kg gross

Dimensions mm:

Dimensions mm:

960mm(W) x 377mm(H) x 488mm(D)

1 080mm(W) x 580mm(H) x 780mm(D)

All you need from one system

to match!!

Hybrid+ 2.1

Hybrid+ 2.2

Hybrid+ 4.1

High power class D amplifier

High power class D amplifier

High power class D amplifier

Frequency Response:

Frequency Response:

Frequency Response:

20~24 000Hz (1W +/- 0.5dB)

20~24 000Hz (1W +/- 0.5dB)

20~24 000Hz (1W +/- 0.5dB)

Maximum Rate Power (RMS):

Maximum Rate Power (RMS):

Maximum Rate Power (RMS):

at 4 ohm: 2 200W/channel x 2 channels

at 4 ohm: 3 200W/channel x 2 channels

at 4 ohm: 2 200W/channel x 4 channels

at 8 ohm: 1 200W/channel x 2 channels

at 8 ohm: 1 600W/channel x 2 channels

at 8 ohm: 1 200W/channel x 4 channels

Signal to noise ratio: 103dB (A-weighted)

Signal to noise ratio: 103dB (A-weighted)

Signal to noise ratio: 103dB (A-weighted)

Weight: 7.7Kg

Weight: 11.7Kg

Weight: 12.5Kg

Dimensions mm:

Dimensions mm:

Dimensions mm:

489mm(W) x 88mm(H) x352mm(D)

489mm(W) x 88mm(H) x 480mm(D)

489mm(W) x 88mm(H) x 502mm(D)

With built-in digital signal processor controlled using Windows 7 or 8. Android 4 & iPad IOS 6. Wi-Fi control software for laptop or tablet included.

Digital Signal Processor Features: • Input delay up to 100m • 31 Band graphic EQ with flat top response • 8 Band parametric EQ with band-pass • High-pass, low-pass, notch and shelving • User configurable look ahead limiter • Crossover with selectable slope of 6, 12, 24 or 48dB/octave and L-R, Butterworth or Bessel slopes • Input matrix configurable • Output delay up to 15m • 30 User presets

viva afrika

Viva Afrika Sound and Light (Pty) Ltd Unit 2, 2 Drakensburg Road Longmeadow Business Park West, Westfield PO Box 4709, Rivonia, 2128, South Africa Tel: 011 250-3280, Fax: 011 608-4109,

In This Issue Deputy Editor


Ladies and gentleman, as the new deputy editor of this publication, I present to you the July/August issue of Pro Systems News. Needless to say, the magazine you have before you emerged out of a whirlwind of activity following the resounding success of Mediatech Africa 2013, which exposed the ever apparent growth of the audio visual, pro audio, lighting and staging industries here in South Africa. We are, as always, proud to deliver it as comprehensively as we can for your reading pleasure with a post-show report, interviews with international visitors, a review of the outdoor live sound demos, and an interview with Florian Camerer, the EBU 128 loudness guru. The passion and drive of our team has made the effort fantastically worthwhile while the warmth and camaraderie of the industry that has embraced us really is a testament to the special people involved in a community that is steadily marching to the forefront of an increasing technological prowess. Well done to you all! Supplementing the Mediatech report this issue features an AV systems integration guide white paper, courtesy of AMX USA, and integration stories spanning from Durban to Maputo. International stories are always a valuable part of what we try to bring to the magazine so you’ll find coverage of Bruce Springsteen at Wembley Stadium and a look at a festival called Chillfest in the UK, organised by a production company – the first of its kind. Also, Eddie “el Brujo” Caipo, the sound engineer and production manager for Kings of Chaos who recently visited our shores spills the beans on his career. I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Regards Greg Bester


Live Events

Wild and Marr acquire RTW.............................3

Mixing ‘The Boss’.............................................34

Robert Juliat appoints DWR.............................3

Trevor Peters profile.........................................38

Electrosonic distributes Green Hippo ............3

Just chillin’ at Chillfest.....................................39

‘Virtual’ first sale for Tadco...............................3

A ‘sorcerer’ among kings...............................42

Splitbeam supplies Starlight Express................4

Steering Innibos music festival to record

PENMAC nominated for Business Day ...........4


FBT Audio joins Sound & Light City stable......4 Electrosonic aquires Milos agency.................6


Prosound named exclusive distributor of

Mediatech Africa –

Audio-Technica in South Africa......................6

casting a global footprint..............................50

DWR relocates to Laserpark............................6

Mediatech Africa –

MGG chooses Christie......................................6

global leader interviews.................................52

Electra Partners acquires Allen & Heath........8

Florian Camerer interview..............................56

Stage roof made from genie towers collapses

Sounding out the Big 5...................................60

in North Carolina...............................................8 Eric Lawrenson joins Questek Group..............8 PLASA 2013 features new exhibitors...............8

Studio & Broadcast Allen & Heath Qu-16 review..........................62 Recording and mixing drums in the modern

System Integration

DAW: Part 2 – Finding the right spot.............64

Smart up your home.......................................10

Gavan Eckhart profile....................................66

Connecting communication in Mozambique.


12 Digital Signage –

Seen at Mediatech Africa 2013....................67

the greener alternative: Part 2......................14

Mediatech Africa 2013

Classroom projector comparison.................16

Platinum Stand Award Winners.....................68

Guide to system integration..........................18

CEDIA Evening.................................................68 Digico Training.................................................68

Installations Dolby Atmos – the future in surround is now.........................24 Listen up – Jacaranda has moved...............28 Houghton Mosque installation......................30 Rhema acquires new sound.........................32

Contributors Greg Bester | Musician and audio engineer – proficient in both the analogue and digital domains and has extensive experience mixing live music, setting up and configuring loudspeaker systems, monitoring and general stage management. He has mixed hundreds of events and is comfortable on large and small-format mixing consoles.

Claire Badenhorst | Industry expert with eight years experience in event management, PR, marketing and advertising within the professional audio, video, lighting and staging sector. Claire has played an integral role in the development of the concept and content creation of Pro Systems and works closely with our advertisers and readers.

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.

Paul Watson | After touring professionally with several bands in the UK and then the US, Paul went on to open his own commercial recording and rehearsal facility, where he was resident producer/engineer for six years. For the last five years, he has been a regular contributor for a number of UK titles, covering live sound, studio sound, lighting, video, broadcast and post-production. He is also European Editor for one of the major US trade music publications.

Publisher & Editor | Simon Robinson | Deputy Editor | Greg Bester | In-house Journalist | Chanelle Ellaya | Sub-Editor | Tina Heron Advertising Sales | Simone de Beer | Design | Trevor Ou Tim | Subscriptions | Albertina Tserere | 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




Wild and Marr acquire RTW agency

RTW building in Cologne

Wild and Marr (Pty) Ltd is proud to announce the addition of RTW GmbH & Co. KG as one of their premium equipment suppliers. RTW, based in Cologne, was founded in 1965 as a specialist service provider of audio

equipment. RTW’s innovations include instruments and technologies for visual audio metering in broadcast, production, post-production and quality control. It is no coincidence that the very first African Loudness Summit, which was held recently at MediaTech South Africa, accompanied the confirmation of the strategic partnership between Wild and Marr and RTW. It was announced at the summit that South African broadcasters would be adopting the EBU R-128 standard and RTW with their state-of-the-art systems were Wild and Marr’s first choice with their audio metering, loudness metering and signal monitoring products, technology and software.

Robert Juliat appoints DWR Robert Juliat is happy to announce that, DWR Distribution cc has joined the Robert Juliat distributor family. From 1 June 2013 DWR has assumed responsibility for sales activity across South Africa, promoting and supporting the full range of Robert Juliat lighting equipments. “It is a privilege for us to be associated with Robert Juliat and the fantastic people who make up their team,” comments Duncan Riley from DWR Distribution. “This appointment allows us to offer one of the best brands in the entertainment industry to our clients.” The Robert Juliat followspots were officially launched by DWR at Mediatech Africa

DWR Distribution team and clients viewing the Lancelot, Robert Juliat’s largest fixture

in July. These followspots were also used on a followspot seminar course titled The Art of Followspotting, during Mediatech, which was held daily at the expo.

Electrosonic distributes Green Hippo

Bruce Schwartz of Electrosonic South Africa and Tom Etra of Green Hippo. Photo courtesy PLASA Media

UK Pioneers in real-time video manipulation Green Hippo are pleased to announce Electrosonic SA cc as their new distributor in

South Africa. With over 12 years of experience in developing software and hardware platforms, Green Hippo has developed leading solutions to pixel mapping and video mapping, and the integration of such into entertainment shows and installations. Green Hippo is focused on ensuring these shows run daily, on tour, on Broadway or television. Electrosonic SA, a leading supplier of stage, theatre and entertainment lighting for over 21 years, has similar ideals and the same

‘Virtual’ first sale for Tadco Virtual Productions recently took delivery of a new Coda ViRAY system and are the first to purchase a ViRAY sound system from Tadco. Coda ViRay system Virtual Productions was started in 2007 with the assistance of individuals dedicated and passionate about perfection in their endeavours and all aspects of events and its facets. In the past year the company have assisted with technical support in numerous noteworthy events such as The PRISA Prism Awards, The Traditional South African Music Awards, Massbuild Conference, ABSA gala dinner, MTV Base Hunters Oasis tour, Banyana Banyana Sponsorship Confirmation and product launches such as the Cherry J3 and Mahindra, to name a few. Mel Pellissier, sales manager at Virtual Production comments: “The ViRAY system is light and easy to use as it takes mere minutes to rig and is simple to manage. The output combined with the clarity from the system is amazing and always leaves attendants to an event with the WOW factor that we strive for. The influence and support from Tadco pre and after sale was a major influence in the decision to go with the Coda system. “Virtual Productions’ mission statement includes building long standing relationships with suppliers, clients and partners in the industry to deliver on consistently successful events time and time again. The Tadco team has been and proves to be a great partner in achieving this,” concludes Mel. Virtual Productions strives to be a dominant force in the events and function industry, they may not be the biggest in the industry but they strive to be the best. The Coda ViRay system embodies this goal perfectly and assists in delivering the dream.

passion as Green Hippo. It sees this partnership as an exciting extension to the range of world class brands that it represents, such as Martin Professional, CM Loadstar, ADB, Compulite Litec and Milos Structural Systems. Entertainment Lighting Manager Bruce Schwartz says: “We are really honoured to represent Green Hippo and predict tighter integration and increased growth between video and lighting with this partnership. We look forward to offering the backup, service and knowledge that Electrosonic is renowned for, with the entire range of Green Hippo products and growing the world-wide rental network.”



Photo courtesy Joburg Theatre

Splitbeam supplies Starlight Express

Starlight Express stage at The Mandela, Joburg Theatre

Gearhouse Splitbeam was the theatre lighting supplier of choice for the South African production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express at The Mandela, Joburg Theatre in Johannesburg. According to Splitbeam’s Managing Director, Alistair Kilbee, Starlight has always been a larger-than-life kind of production and the scale on the South African version lives up to expectations. The Splitbeam team worked closely with UK-based Declan Randall, a professional lighting designer who, Kilbee says: “loves to push the limits of theatre design.” “For me, the key motif in the show is movement,” explains Randall, “I tried to recreate the sense of constant movement and speed through lighting, using the

physical movement of light beams and changes in colour and light intensity. We also designed some custom ‘train track’ gobos for the VL3500s which were used in the races and at other key moments to reinforce this idea.” “Declan’s style is very distinctive. His rigs are large and complex and he uses more programmed cues than most,” says Kilbee. “At the same time, his planning is at the highest level and his paperwork is flawless – every detail is outlined on the plan.” “The guys at Splitbeam really understand the nature of theatrical design and the role of the designer. They were extremely helpful and supportive and did everything possible to help me achieve the vision for the show,” says Randall. It seems the choice of Splitbeam as supplier worked out well for Randall. “The gear arrived all well-prepped and ready to be rigged. Fittings and fixtures were all in a great condition which made for an easy fit-up. The team was very supportive and willing to assist and nothing was ever too much trouble. I simply cannot imagine doing a large-scale musical, or any other

PENMAC nominated for Business Day PENMAC Audio Visual is nominated for a Small Business Award in the 2013 Business Day BASA (Business and Arts South Africa) Awards and they couldn’t be more ecstatic: “It was during the Mediatech Exhibition that PENMAC received the unexpected news of being nominated as finalist in the annual BASA awards supported by Anglo America,” says Malcolm Finlay, Director at PENMAC Audio Visual. “We feel very privileged to be part of this national award which has been made possible through our involvement over the past year with the Johannesburg Youth Ballet Company. The enthusiasm of this young cast under the direction of Mark Hawkins has been inspirational to us all as we watched


Malcom Finlay

passion advance way beyond reward. WATCHOUT is used in the production to provide visual stage backdrops as well as stream all audio content,” comments Finlay. Other nominees include the Johannesburg Stock Exchange for its work with the Three2Six School for Refugee Children, which has seen it nominated for an Increasing Access to the Arts Award; Rand Merchant Bank, which in 2013 has earned nominations in the Long Term Partnership

FBT Audio joins Sound & Light City stable Sound & Light City have recently entered into a partnership with FBT Audio to distribute their brand within South Africa. FBT products are designed and manufactured in Italy. The factory is a single comprehensive structure that includes everything from the research and design lab, the electronic sector, the injection moulding department, carpentry shop, mechanical workshop, paint shop and test department. ’Innovation in tradition‘ is FBT’s secret. Extensive knowledge built up over the years, highly specialised engineering and an impulse for the discovery of new important frontiers in audio enable FBT to conceptualise and develop top quality professional audio systems. FBT is driven by ongoing renewal, constant evolution that never forgets tradition and their original starting point: a passion for music. Gregory De Villiers, marketing manager at Sound & Light City says: “It has been a long time coming and we are finally realising an ambition we have been working hard at for months now. FBT has always had huge potential and we believe we are the best local distributors to realise this potential.”

production for that matter, without the support and help of the Splitbeam team – thank you guys.”

Award category for the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company’s Instrumental Training and Development project; as well as two nods in the Youth Development Award category for the Durban Music School and the Dance XChange Project. The spectrum of business and arts partnerships celebrated by this year’s Business Day BASA nominations is impressive. “What we are clearly seeing with the nominations for several big and medium sized enterprises is the ROI that partnering with an arts project can bring,” comments Michelle Constant, CEO of Business and Arts South Africa. “This is a strong signal to South African business that working with an arts project is far more than a feel good exercise but brings shared value.” Chairperson of the judging panel, Dr Andrew Human, notes the evolution in the range and quality of entries this year. “There is definitely far more recognition of the mutual benefit and value that arts can lend to business, as opposed to seeing a partnership with the arts as a charitable sponsorship.” A total of 12 categories were open for entry in the 16th annual Business Day BASA Awards.

SA Dealers: Jasco +27 11 266 1500 | Visual Impact +27 11 788 9879 | SBSS +27 21 425 6337 | Protea +27 11 719 5700 Sony Broadcast & Professional +27 11 690 3200 |


Electrosonic aquires Milos agency

Bruce Schwartz, Electrosonic SA’s entertainment lighting manager

Milos Structural Systems has appointed Electrosonic SA as its new distributor in South Africa. Since 1994 Milos Structural Systems has specialised in aluminium structural systems. Milos offers a wide range of applications from small truss display booths, to giant outdoor stages including lighting and PA trusses for large events. Milos’s production facilities span across 90 000 square feet and

manufacturing processes include the latest semi-automated welding processes and CNC technology. Electrosonic SA has been a leading supplier of stage, theatre and entertainment lighting for more than 21 years. When Milos Structural Systems took Litec into its stable, Electrosonic saw the opportunity to offer the entire Milos range as a perfect complement to its existing product range of world class brands. Bruce Schwartz, Electrosonic SA’s entertainment lighting manager says: “Our customers rely on us to provide top class solutions but at competitive prices. With Milos in our stable we are able to deliver on this mandate. We are honoured to represent Milos Structural Systems and see their large range of products as a natural extension of our business. We look forward to growing the Milos brand in South Africa.”

Prosound named exclusive distributor of Audio-Technica in South Africa Prosound is pleased to announce its new role as exclusive distribution partner in South Africa for Audio-Technica. Prosound will distribute the full range of Audio-Technica’s professional audio products. “We are very pleased to have Prosound as our new South African distributor,” says Matthias Exner, business development Director EMEA of Audio-Technica. “They have a long history of success within the industry and solid relationships with customers. Audio-Technica’s commitment on delivering excellence in its products is

shared by Prosound and we are excited that they are representing Audio-Technica’s professional products in South Africa.” “We are extremely delighted to become a member of the Audio-Technica family and the opportunities this partnership provides us,” says Terry Acres, Chairman of Prosound. “The addition of Audio-Technica as a leading manufacturer in microphones and headphones to our portfolio enables us to serve our client base even more efficiently by providing leading brands for the complete signal chain.”

DWR relocates to Laserpark DWR Distribution has relocated to Laserpark, Honeydew. The larger premises enable all departments from stores to demonstration and training facilities, to operate under one roof. “A big thank you to MJ Event Gear, Dream Sets and Pan Tilt for allowing us to use their trucks to help with the move,” comments Duncan Riley from DWR. “ Also, thank you to my team who have kept a great attitude and have been amazing during this hectic time.” A few delays from building suppliers have


The new DWR premises Laserpark

held up the process. “That said, we will be pleased to see any visitors if you don’t mind stepping over a few boxes!” laughs Riley. DWR’s new address is Block C, Unit 1 Kimbult Industrial Park, 9 Zeiss Road, Lasperpark, Honeydew. Their office telephone number is 011 794 5023.

MGG chooses Christie

Phil Lord, Mark Gaylard and Gustav Barnard

Christie®, a global visual technologies company, recently announced a deal with MGG, one of the largest rental staging companies in South Africa, for four Christie Roadster HD20K-J 3-chip DLP® purpose-built, event-staging projectors. These will be the first of the new J-Series projectors to be deployed in Africa. The Roadster HD20K-J DLP projector enables customers to create visually compelling Pro-AV shows with Xenon colour-rich, high definition images. MGG has been steadily increasing their investment in Christie Pro-AV systems, starting with LCD and 1-chip DLP, moving to 3-chip DLP, UHP illuminated M-Series and now onto the J-Series digital projectors. Mark Gaylard, owner of MGG, says: “Over the past couple of years we have purchased a number of Christie products and have been particularly impressed with their quality and reliability, so when we were looking for projectors that could enhance our capabilities and offerings, they had to be Christie.” Gustav Barnard, Technical and Education Manager at Stage Audio Works, adds: “We are delighted to have MGG, a true pioneer in the event technology rental sector, on board as the first owners of the Christie Roadster HD20K-J digital projector on the continent to meet the growing demands of the African market. Congratulations to Mark on his investment.” “We have been building a strong relationship with MGG via our partner Stage Audio Works over the past two years, so we are particularly pleased that they have chosen our Roadster HD20K-J projectors to enhance their rental staging offerings,” comments Phil Lord, Christie’s territory manager for Africa.


Electra Partners acquires Allen & Heath

Glenn Rogers, Managing Director at Allen & Heath

Electra Partners has announced the acquisition of mixing console manufacturer, Allen & Heath, from D&M Holdings. £43 million of equity and debt has been provided by Electra Private Equity PLC and Allen & Heath’s management. Founded in 1969, Allen & Heath designs and manufactures audio mixing consoles for live sound, such as concerts, theatres and houses of worship. Commenting on this acquisition, Alex Fortescue, Chief Investment Partner at Electra Partners says: “The ability to invest

across the capital structure, in this case funding both the equity and debt instruments, is a great example of Electra’s flexible investment mandate being put to work to ensure a swift completion for the vendor and a straightforward structure for the business to capitalise on both organic and acquisitive growth opportunities.” Charles Elkington, Investment Partner at Electra Partners adds: “We believe that Allen & Heath has a bright future and we will be looking to work with Glenn Rogers and his team to grow the business through further investment in new product development, improved marketing and distribution and through acquisition.” Glenn Rogers, Managing Director at Allen & Heath, says: “We are very excited about working with Electra Partners and the opportunities it presents for the next phase of Allen & Heath’s growth. We have an excellent catalogue of existing products and a number of exciting prospects in development. We see opportunity for expansion into new areas and look forward to building Allen & Heath’s long-term future alongside Electra Partners.”


Eric Lawrenson, a Broadcast Systems Engineer, has recently joined Questek Advanced Technologies. Eric has been in the industry for 30 years Eric Lawrenson working for broadcasters, facilities companies and resellers. Prior to joining the Questek Group, Eric spent eight years with Spescom/Jasco. Eric’s experience includes system design of studios, control rooms, transmission centres and in recent years has completed projects for the Namibian Broadcast Corporation, Swazi TV, the Free State Department of Health, SABC and M-Net SuperSport. George van Gils, Questek Director, says that Eric’s knowledge and expertise within the industry as a broadcast specialist will add great value to Questek’s product offering. ‘Eric knows his way around the industry and his extensive experience will enhance our capabilities as a leading supplier of broadcast technologies.’

PLASA 2013 features new exhibitors

Stage roof made from genie towers collapses in North Carolina A staging structure in Charlotte, North Carolina collapsed due to circumstances that are still under dispute on Saturday, 10 August. The event, part of the American Legion’s World Series concerts was set to be the platform for MercyMe, a popular Christian Band in the region, to perform in front of more than 10 000 fans leading up the famous World Series baseball tournament that runs from 16 to 20 August in Shelby, North Carolina. The dispute is whether shoddy construction or bad weather was the cause of the stage collapse at the Cleveland County fairgrounds, the chosen venue for the event. The collapse occurred at about 4pm during the band’s sound check with no reported injuries. The audience had not yet arrived. Eddie Holbrook, co-chair of the local American Legion World Series committee comments: “We knew we were going to get what looked like scattered showers and nothing

Eric Lawrenson joins Questek Group

real bad,” Holbrook said. “Then all of a sudden, within a five-minute span, the winds shifted and immediately there was a severe weather storm alert.” Despite L&N Productions, the company that built the stage, being highly reputable, others have pointed blame at the production company as it has been alleged that the structure fell well before the 70mph storm hit. Other irregularities have also been claimed such as the genies lacking outriggers, truck straps being employed to secure certain parts of the structure and the roof being picked incorrectly with spansets. Incidents like this might well be good cause for our local production companies to reassess their safety practices and ensure they are following adequate safety guidelines.

PLASA London 2013 will feature more than 30 companies that did not exhibit in 2012, including Pioneer, Samsung and Sony, while many existing exhibitors have taken bigger stand space than last year. PLASA London takes place at the ExCeL Centre, London from 6 to 9 October 2013. Jennie Barratt, show manager, PLASA London 2013 explains: “PLASA London delivers an attractive proposition to exhibitors with over 12 000 high quality visitors who are in a position of purchasing influence. ” Alex Barrand, Audio Specialist at Pioneer, says: “We are returning to PLASA after a few years’ hiatus as it is the ideal platform from which to launch our new professional audio business. We’re also delighted to present the first public showcase of our club speakers at PLASA.” Pioneer will demonstrate its new speakers in PLASA London’s new AudioLab pro audio arena, theatre and interactive lab. Other new exhibitors for 2013 include Samsung, Sony, Creative Technology, Aspen Media, PRG, Pyrojunkies and Sound Network. Companies including Shure, Martin Audio, Roland, SSE Audio and Harman have increased their stand space this year. PLASA London features over 250 exhibitors.

define Legendary Performance.

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System Integration HOME AUTOMATION

Smart up your home

By Greg Bester

We’ve covered a lot of corporate and institutional AV installations here in Pro Systems which, by and large, are always impressive given the gravitas of most these organisations. But one forgets that there’s a whole other market out there for AV and automation systems in what has become known as ‘smart homes’: up-market, modern and sophisticated dwellings that make most of what we live in look like mere shacks.

Of course, much of the same components you’ll find in a corporate AV installation are found in smart homes, too: projectors, screens, control systems, advanced networks, tablet and PC control, touch panels, and remote system management, etc. The list goes on; the only difference being that these installations are almost always more aesthetically pleasing because homes are meant to be lived in and enjoyed when you’re trying to forget about the boardroom! Mod ‘n Sound based in Umhlanga Ridge, KZN has been doing this sort of work for about 30 years, specialising in such areas as high end stereo systems, home theatres, distributed audio, AV systems, control and automation. In fact, they have over 100 years’ experience in those areas collectively. I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with Andre Hoareau, owner of Mod ‘n Sound, to show me around a recent installation they performed in a home at the Hawaan Forest Estate, a seaside lifestyle complex of homes on KZN’s North Coast. Let’s take a gander.

The brief The brief from the customer was to design, supply and install a state of the art automation system for a new domestic residence in the up-market Hawaan Forest Estate in Umhlanga. To this end Mod ‘n Sound chose the Elan G system for control and AV distribution. For the lighting and switch gear the new QS Lutron din rail mount products


were the preferred choice and speaker systems spec’d were Bose and Paradigm. The home was to be fully automated and had to include the following: 1. Security: The ability to view individual CCTV cameras from anywhere in the world, open doors, open and close curtains and blinds was required along with arming and disarming the alarm system from mobile devices, nine colour touch screens and three wireless hand held colour touch screen remotes. 2. Lighting: All in all 66 circuits including exterior, pool, wall, vanity and general lighting (both incandescent and florescent) and the installation of an optic-fibre ’star light’ ceiling system for the kids’ bedroom. All lighting was to be controlled from backlit keypads, colour touch screens and mobile devices. 3. Water features: Three water features with lighting and pool pump control. 4. Climate: Multi-zone Dakin VRV with independent control of temp and fan speed in all zones. 5. Blinds and curtains: Independent and global control. 6. Audio & video: 12 independent zones of audio and video were spec’d including a complete 7.1 home theater system with automated screen and projector lift with the inclusion of music and video servers with the ability for the customer to access their entire music and video collection with cover art

HOME AUTOMATION System Integration

The kit from TV screen or remote controls, iPhone, iPad or Android devices. Ability to control all media from mobile devices, nine colour touch screens and three wireless handheld colour touch screen remotes was required. 7. Fireplaces: Control of two gas fireplaces. 8. Intercom: The ability to page the entire house from any phone. The ability to view the intercom door station hiresolution camera from hand held remotes and mobile devices. The client can phone the system and leave messages to be retrieved from the main lounge touch panel by anyone in the house. The entire house falls under the control of one Elan G system. The project took about 12 months to complete, from in house CAD drawings to final installation and programming and due to the complexity of the project, Mod ‘n Sound had to project-manage and liaise with all the relevant subcontractors.

First impressions As I walked into the home, hosted by Mr. Hoareau, I was immediately impressed by its clean lines and slick, modern look and subsequently the high tech installation. This is a dream home for most. The architectural design was performed by Patrick Ferguson of Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects. Mr. Hoareau proceeded to give me a demonstration of some of the automation features of the home and I was taken aback at how simple and intuitive each component was. Quite simply put, EVERYTHING is under control in this home. From the projector that descends via from a cavity in the ceiling, to the water features, to the lighting, to the fireplaces, to the aircon and fans, to security; the entire house is covered through the Elan G system and its peripherals. What amazed me the most is that every single automation and control feature of the house can be controlled remotely via iPhone, iPad or Android. Mr. Hoareau comments as he demonstrates the audio system: “Now, you could be in China doing what I’m doing now. It’s irrelevant where you are because it’s all done over the internet. So if he’s in China and someone comes to the door, he can pick up and they might think he’s in the house.” This has obvious security advantages because along with CCTV surveillance being available over the internet, the owner can monitor the house at all times and give the impression he’s not away. The audio system in the home has 16 independent zones. This enables the dwellers to listen to different music in any area mutually exclusive of the others. Now the kids can listen to Justin Beiber upstairs while mom and dad listen to Bublè downstairs.

LIGHTING 8 x LUTRON LQSE-4A-D DIN-RAIL adaptive power module 9 x LUTRON LQSE=-4510D DIN-RAIL relay module 1 x LUTRON Ethernet/RS232 interface 1 x LUTRON HW1-CC1input/output devices 1 x LUTRON HPS-CE processor 13 x LUTRON FT-6BRL-W keypads 150m x LUTRON CSPCREST cable AIRCON 1 x COOLMASTER 1000 aircon interface 1 x LUTRON RS-232/485 converter AUDIO & VIDEO & CONTROL 1 x ELAN HC12 system controller 3 x ELAN GPASL licenses 1 x ELAN DT22 dual Fm tuner 2 x ELAN S86a zone controller/amplifiers 1 x ELAN C2 communications controller 2 x ELAN DSF3 door stations with Hi-Rez camera 8 x ELAN TS2 wall-mount colour touch screens 1 x ELAN TS10 wall-mount colour touch screen 3 x ELAN HR2 wireless colour touch screen remote controls 1 x INTEGRA DTR 40.4 home theatre receiver 1 x INTEGRA DBS 30.3 Blu Ray player 3 x PARADIGM AMS150R-30 in ceiling speakers 4 x PARADIGM CS60 ceiling mount speakers 14 x PARADIGM CS80 ceiling mount speakers 2 x PARADIGM CS60 SM stereo in ceiling speakers 2 x PARADIGM DSP3100 subwoofers 2 x BOSE AM5 speaker systems 76m PLANETWAVES cable 100 x PLANETWAVES RCA interconnects 1200m CAT6 data cable 1600m TITAN 14 gauge speaker cable 400m RG179 video cable 200m MYLAR cable 1 x AXIS 24IQ composite to IP convertor 1 x PANASONIC PT-AE100E High Def projector 1 x MOTORISED SCREEN 2500 x 1400 1 x MEDE8ER 500x media server 1 x 19-inch 46u equipment rack 1 x 1KVA online UPS 1 x CLEARLINE surge protector

The wrap Mod ‘n Sound obviously knows what they’re doing in the world of home automation and AV systems. The smart home shown to me at the Hawaan Forest Estate was masterfully installed with all the bells and whistles – to use an old adage – that one could ever want or imagine and sets the bar high in terms of what is available and what is doable in smart home technology today.


System Integration Parastatal Installation

Connecting communication in Mozambique By Greg Bester

The Republic of Mozambique is a country with a tumultuous past filled with war and struggle. Indeed, since the end of the Mozambican Civil War in 1992, the country still faces many challenges and continues to be one of the world’s most underdeveloped and poorest countries.

Where there’s growth there’s investment opportunity and the mobile market in Mozambique has experienced huge strides with companies like Vodacom moving in to compete with mCel, the mobile subsidiary of the national telecommunications parastatal, Telecomunicações de Moçambique (TDM). Plus immediately after the Mozambican Civil War the government also embarked upon telecommunications reform. While the government has been reluctant to privatise the TDM, all other telecommunications sectors are open season pending licensing from the industry regulator, the Instituto Nacional das Comunicações de Moçambique (INCM). The Instituto Nacional das Comunicações de Moçambique, like any regulatory body, is necessary for a robust market. Being as such, it is imperative that their internal mechanisms are as streamlined as possible so decisions can be made quickly and decisively to combat an economic climate and a market that is otherwise challenging. The INCM recently performed an upgrade of their AV infrastructure, commissioning local integrators Converged Connectivity to perform the installation, led by Kevin McMillan Craig, a long time industry player and AV convergence expert. Converged Connectivity has an Africa-wide footprint with a presence in countries like Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania.

The brief The brief from the INCM was procurement of a solution to unify the audio and video components of their AV infra-structure as well as data sharing and collaboration into one unified network. All in all the system was specified to supply VOIP (Voice Over IP), AV monitoring and emergency systems over one comprehensive backbone. Craig comments: “The INCM has multiple offices. In these offices they’ve deployed a unified communications system that’s Microsoft Lync compatible. So they’ve got audio conferencing and video conferencing all running through that server which allows them permanent access to contacts. Now what they want to do is they want to be able to share the content of their meetings.” In summation, the installation of AV systems consisted of the convergence of four different areas in the INCM campus on one network: 1. Auditorium AV control 2. Boardroom AV control 3. Meeting room AV control 4. Unified audio in public areas The areas are managed from a single central processing rack, with local control in the venues.


The network Over and above an extensive LAN infrastructure already installed, and a Crestron Network Control Infrastructure, there exists a third network: The EPSON EasyMP and MeetingMate network. The EPSON network ensures that smart and mobile devices, tablets and notebook computers are able to connect to display devices anytime and anywhere, ensuring fast and efficient collaboration. From an interactivity and connectivity standpoint, the EPSON MeetingMate compliments a Unified Communications network well. It allows interaction and connectivity between spaces in the same building, same city or vast geographic locations using WAN technology. The EPSON projectors in the venues are EasyMP and MeetingMate enabled enabling visual communication between the auditorium and boardroom as an example. This component is crucial to the interoperability of devices and methods of communication.

The auditorium The auditorium AV systems centres around a Crestron MC3 3-series control system, with local control via a Crestron iSys wireless touchpanel and two Crestron wall-mountable touch panels. Additionally, many other Creston peripherals were integrated to facilitate media and lighting control. A Creston 8x8 digital media switcher fitted with a four Digital Media 8G+ input cards and a 4 DM 8G+ w/2 HDMI output card was also installed and is the central hub from where all media is matrixed and distributed. For lighting, a Crestron SP12 12-channel dimmer pack was installed to handled lighting control up to 27KVA. Auditorium AV components feature around an Epson Z-Series pojector with an Epson lens kit. The Epson projector, via the iProjector app for tablet and smart devices, enables the user to share presentations, images and video via their device simply by logging onto the EPSON WiFi network, either peer-to-peer or in infrastructure modes. Audio systems centre around a Biamp Nexia CS digital sound processor, two Bittner power amplifiers, two Bose Panaray loudspeakers and four Bose DS100Se surface mount speakers. Further inputs are accommodated through a custom input panel installed into the audio control room.

The boardrooms In the boardroom we see Crestron’s Digital Media presentation system which essentially routes signals via the local network for control and content management. It integrates the control system, multimedia matrix switcher, microphone mixer, audio DSP, amplifier and DigitalMedia distribution centre snuggly into a single 3u rack space. Input peripherals are courtesy of Kramer electronics centred on several TBUS-1 table-mount multi-connection systems with termination input points for VGA, mini-jack audio, USB, HDMI and RG45 instet modules. Lighting control is facilitated by a Crestron DIN-PWS50 50W Crestnet power supply and a DIN-1DIM-4 universal dimmer. AV hardware installed in the boardrooms include two Kramer VGA/ audio switches, eight Bose Freespace 3 satellite speakers, two Bose Freespace 3II bass modules, two Yamaha Integrated amplifiers and two Yamaha CD/DVD players.

The meeting rooms Unified control components installed in the meeting rooms include two Crestron BPCI8 basic presentation controllers and, similar to the boardroom, Kramer input peripherals including VGA, mini-jack audio, RG45, HDMI and USB terminating at TBUS-1A table-mount recepticles. AV components included two Elite Screens Electric84H and two Epson EB-1945W projectors with mounting kits, and four Bose DS16 ceiling mount speakers powered by a Kramer Tools stereo amplifier with RS-232 control.

The public address system The INCM public address system is handled by a networked Biamp Vocia system. The features of this system include distributed processing and page routing, VIOP paging, system-level monitoring, logging and control, and it works over standard IP networks and the Cobranet AoE protocol. A VA-8600c multi-channel amplifier was installed with six AM-600c amplifier module cards. The VA-8600c offers eight channels of modular amplification with up to 2400W of power per unit. The VA-600c modules offer 600W of continuous and support 4Ohm, 6Ohm, 8Ohm, 70V or 100V loads. The VA-8600c is certified for use in an EN 54-16 life safety system. Further Biamp equipment installed includes two Vocia VA4030 30W per channel amplifiers, nine Vocia EWS-4 wall-mount paging stations, ten Vocia WR-1 wall-mount IP POE control panels, an LSI-16 Vocia life safety interface and one Vocia CI-1 control interface. The Vocia system feeds 125 Bosch LBH0606 ceiling speakers installed throughout their facilities connected by a massive 1.4km of screened speaker cable. Microphones used are all Beyerdynamic including the Quinta Delegate microphones and a single Quinta Chairman’s microphone, all powered by a Quinta power supply unit.

The wrap Given the installation performed by Converged Connectivity and their partership with EPSON Visual Instruments at the Instituto Nacional das Comunicações de Moçambique, it is clear that their internal processes are streamlined and effective to the point of being state of the art. Despite the challenges Mozambique has faced throughout the last few decades, the fact that their telecommunications regulator has spent so much time and expense integrating a system of this calibre, one can only genuinely hope that it helps to bolster their market competition through decisive and efficient decision making.


System Integration DIGITAL SIGNAGE

Digital Signage – the greener alternative: Part 2 environmental concerns is particularly fascinating because it recognises there’s far more to a digital signage network than hardware and software. In fact, the reason for being of any digital signage network is to communicate messages —often finely defined, narrowcast communications. Balancing that mission with the unrelated goal of communicating to the public about environmental concerns recognises that there’s more to communicating successfully than a welldefined message. It’s almost as if the Screen Forum transplanted the concept of public service announcements from the television medium to the arena of digital signage, except digital signage networks have no government mandated public service obligation to fulfill.


Striking the right balance

Digital signage: a green machine

The Screen Forum, an independent working group focused on sharing best practices in the digital signage industry, has released a list of one dozen steps aimed at ensuring digital signage networks deliver the maximum impact with the minimum affect on the environment. The steps, available on a popular news portal (http://www. prweb. com/releases/2010/05/prweb3948684.htm), are a well-reasoned list of prescriptions for minimizing the impact of digital signage networks on the environment. While the list is publicly available on the Web and self-explanatory, one aspect of the Screen Forum’s 12 steps is particularly fascinating and worthy of consideration. Achieving balance underpins much of the list —the balance between environmental impact and performance; the balance between achieving communications goals and doing so in a way that does not diminish, or is sympathetic to, nearby landmarks; and the balance between fulfilling its main purpose as digital signage and giving back to the community by promoting environmental awareness. Balancing performance and environmental impact touches many phases of digital signage network rollout and operations. The concept laid out in the steps seems to focus on drawing a distinction between saturation and sufficiency. Many of the steps advocate doing no more than is necessary to accomplish the desired mission of communications. Limiting the number of computer components, the size of the network and number of displays therein as well as the power requirements of the network seeks to balance the task at hand with the environmental cost of accomplishing it. Achieving equilibrium in terms of digital signage performance and placement vis-à-vis nearby landmarks gets at the most basic of environmental concerns, namely impacting the locale in which the sign hangs. The concept is akin to the stark contrast between states that have outlawed or restricted placement of billboards along highways and driving down the Las Vegas Strip. The Screen Forum’s admonition balances the legitimate desire to communicate important messages via digital signs with the need to appreciate the surroundings of the signs and minimise whenever and however possible the likelihood of the sign’s detracting from their local environment. Acknowledging the opportunity to use the network —if even only on a periodic basis— to raise the awareness of the public about

Without question, few people would commit to digital signage as a communications medium solely on the basis of its environmental impact. Digital signs must fulfil their primary function, namely effective communications, or they are of little use to marketers, advertisers and other professional communicators. That being said, there is no reason why their environmental friendly status shouldn’t be considered as another strong reason to consider replacing traditional printed signs where appropriate. The green nature of digital signs offer communicators an opportunity to shrink the amount of plastic, ink and chemical coatings introduced into the environment, a way to reduce the number of trees cut for paper products, and eliminate the transportation emissions associated with the entire workflow chain from producing to displaying and ultimately replacing printed signs. Beyond these benefits to the environment, going green via digital signage also positions communicators to realise cost savings, enhance productivity, improve responsiveness to changing communications requirements and make more efficient use of display space. This synergy between the environmental and business benefits of digital signs contributes to a healthier world and a more profitable bottom line. However, simply replacing printed signs with their digital equivalents isn’t enough to reap these benefits. Digital signs have their own set of environmental concerns, such as power consumption and the use of certain toxic or greenhouse gas producing chemicals in the production of displays and electronic components. However, with proper planning electrical consumption can be diminished, and industry efforts to remove elements like arsenic and cadmium from computer components are reducing the release of these chemicals in landfills. Often businesses and their employees seek ways to be greener as they pursue their objectives but find it difficult to identify concrete steps they can take. For professional communicators, however, there is a greener way to disseminate vital information. That means is digital signage —a powerful medium that’s also environmentally friendly. The following is reprinted with permission from the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA). For more information, go to This white paper was reprinted with permission from the Digital Screenmedia Association . For more information go to

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System Integration PROJECTOR ROUND-UP

Classroom projector comparison Brightest

Panasonic PTDZ770UL WUXGA DLP Projector

InFocus IN114 DLP Multimedia Projector

Mitsubishi WL7200U WXGA LCD Projector

Panasonic’s new PT-DZ770UL twin lamp, single chip DLP projector is a high brightness (7 000 lumen rating), high resolution (WUXGA – 1920 X 1200) projector that also delivers a super sharp image. As you would expect, the PT-DZ770UL has a complete set of connection options for a PC, Mac and other video sources, including the traditional VGA cable, DVI-D, HDMI, 5-BNC component video, S-video and composite video. There is also serial control and pass through capability.

The InFocus IN114 is an ultra portable projector that packs a lot of power into a pretty small package. Of course there are smaller projectors on the market, but the IN114 has a really low MSRP of $399 and its performance proved to be quite impressive. What the projector might lack in features, it makes up for in image quality.

The Mitsubishi WL7200U is a high brightness (5 500 lumen rating), WXGA (1280x800) LCD projector that is targeted for use in a large venue like an auditorium. The WL7200U has a complete set of connection options for a PC, Mac and other video sources, including the traditional VGA cable, DVI-D, HDMI, 5-BNC component video, S-video and composite video.





Longest lamp life

Christie LWU501i LCD Projector The Christie LWU501i is a feature-rich, 3LCD projector that offers 5 000 ANSI lumens at 3000:1 contrast ratio for bold, detailed images. The optional lens suite includes a selection of zoom lenses with repeatable position recall. The Christie LWU501i has an intuitive LCD menu for easy set up and maintenance. With the projector’s USB port, presenters can use wireless devices to present their data. The Christie LWU501i also has a text message function that is ideal for displaying emergency or evacuation messages.


Technology: DLP

Technology: BrilliantColor™

Technology: 3LCD

Technology: 3LCD

Native resolution: WUXGA (1920 x 1200)

Native resolution: 1024 x 768 XGA

Native resolution: WXGA (1280 x 800)

Native Resolution: 1920 x 1200 WUXGA

Brightness: 7 000 lumens

Brightness: 2 700 lumens

Brightness: 5 500 lumens

Brightness: 5 000 ANSI lumens

Contrast: 2500:1

Contrast: 4000:1

Contrast: 2000:1

Contrast: 3000:1

Aspect ratio: Native 16:10

Aspect ratio: Native 4:3

Aspect ratio: Native widescreen

Aspect ratio: Widescreen

Zoom ratio: 1.7 – 2.4:1

Zoom ratio: 1.1:1

Zoom ratio: 1.8:1

Zoom ratio: 0.8:1

Lamp life: 2 000 hours

Lamp life: 6 000 hours

Lamp life: 3 000 hours

Lamp Life: 3 000 hrs

Dimensions: 19.59”W x 18.34”D x 6.875”H

Dimensions: 11.81”W x 9.25”D x 2.76”H

Dimensions: 18.9”W x 6.8”H x 16.5”D

Dimensions: 19.6”W x 18.7”D x 5.8”H

PROJECTOR ROUND-UP System Integration Editor’s choice

Best bang for buck

Canon REALiS WX6000 WXGA+ LCOS Projector

Epson BrightLink 436Wi Interactive LCD Projector

The Canon REALiS WX6000 is a high brightness (5 700 lumen rating), medium-high resolution (WXGA+ – 1440 X 900) projector that is aimed at projection venues where there is usually (if not always) a fair amount of ambient light. As you would expect of a projector at this price point (about $4 000), the WX6000 has a full set of features, including power zoom, focus and lens shift. Connection options are fairly minimal for a projector of this type, with inputs for only three video types (RGB, DVI-I and HDMI). There is also serial control and audio in/out.

Epson has once again released a very well thought out 3 000 lumen projector. With the educator in mind, Epson has created a collaborative projector that is extremely feature rich, produces an excellent image and doesn’t break budgets. The Epson 436Wi is an interactive projector that uses software to help make educating fun and more engaging. All this interaction takes place with the use of a special pen. The unit comes with only one pen but you can purchase another so that you can annotate on the board simultaneously with a student or other collaborator.

Sony’s VPL-SW500 Series data projectors achieve large-screen projection from very short distances, thanks to an ultra‑powerful short-throw lens. These powerful projectors also deliver installation flexibility with an optical zoom and lens shift capability. VPLSW500 Series projectors are economically designed for optimum energy efficiency, thanks to their auto powersaving function, picture muting function with lamp control technology, long‑lasting lamp, and low power consumption. Additionally a variety of network functions such as Web Control and Network Presentation. Rich inputs and outputs are provided.




Sony VPL-SW536C Projector

NEC NP-M311X XGA LCD Multimedia Projector The NEC M311X is a compact, XGA (1024 X 768) LCD projector with a feature set that should be appealing to both educational and business presenters. In addition to network and PC-free presentation capabilities, the M311X features a 10-watt speaker, quick on and off, DICOM SIM mode and the ability to project an image from an angle. The M311X can be connected to a computer or video source via a standard VGA cable, composite and S-video, HDMI, USB and wired or wireless (with optional module) 802.11 b/g/n. It can also present directly from a USB thumb drive.


Technology: LCOS

Technology: 3LCD

Technology: 3LCD

Technology: 3LCD

Native resolution: WXGA+ (1440 x 900)

Native resolution: WXGA (1280 x 800)

Native resolution: UXGA 1600 x 1200 dots

Native resolution: XGA (1024 x 768)

Brightness: 5 700 lumens

Brightness: 3 000 ANSI lumens

Brightness: 3 100 lumens

Brightness: 3 100 lumens

Contrast: 1000:1

Contrast: 3000:1

Contrast: 2500:1

Contrast: 3000:1

Aspect ratio: 16:10

Aspect ratio: 16:10

Aspect ratio: 16:10

Aspect ratio: 4:3 (XGA)

Zoom ratio: 1.5:1

Zoom ratio: 1.0 – 1.35:1

Zoom ratio: 1.05:1

Zoom ratio: 1.7:1

Lamp life: 3 000 hours

Lamp life: 4 000 hours

Lamp Life: 4 500 Hours

Lamp life: 5 000 hours

Dimensions: 15”W x 16.9”D x 6.69”H

Dimensions: 13.6”W x 11.7”D x 6.2”H

Dimensions: W 384.4 x H 122.5 x D 423.4 mm

Dimensions: 13.4”W x 10.1”D x 3.9”H


System Integration WHITE PAPER

Guide to system integration Introduction Computer technology has advanced to the point where an incomprehensible amount of processing power exists in a microchip the size of a grain of rice. This has in turn advanced audio and video technologies to the point where we are on the verge of delivering true 3D images and true full-bandwidth audio – with an ever-diminishing level of distortion – on devices that be carried in one hand, using delivery systems developed in the IT world. The merging of the computing and audio visual worlds creates a synergy that magnifies the potential of each. It also creates new opportunities for everyone involved. To maximise the benefits of this convergence, knowledge must be shared between the worlds of pro audio, AV, broadcast, IT and other technologically related fields. Collaboration requires a common language. It also requires that professionals in each of these fields acknowledge the special expertise that they bring to the table, and abandon the attitude that one field is bound to ‘prevail’ over another. AV technologies can enhance a myriad of business and communications objectives. For the user and the technology manager, all of these technologies converge in the areas of decision-making, budgeting and practices. This guide is intended to: 1. Demystify technology behind AV 2. Provide building blocks to achieving AV best practices 3. Help users communicate with professional AV systems suppliers

The design and implementation team

Because of this, users rely on AV consultants, systems integrators and professionals from other disciplines involved in the AV system design and installation process if a successful outcome is to be anticipated. These include architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, facility managers, and other specialty consultants. In this section we will describe the functions various professionals serve in the design and implementation of an AV system.

Architects When a system is critical to overall business operations and being designed into a new structure, an architect and other specialists may be involved in system design. The architect is ultimately responsible for helping users translate their vision into a physical reality. That ‘big picture’ is too often lost on the AV/IT integrator, whose focus is on the relative minutia (e.g., projectors, loudspeakers and floor-box locations, etc). A successful outcome requires that all parties pay attention to these areas:

Communication Make sure you have established open lines of communication with the architect, and that they understand your goals for the systems. Learn about their methodology for delivery of information (in documents and drawings). Set a schedule for regular communication with the architect and the client.

Consultation While standardised systems are appropriate in many cases, each project has its unique aspects. The key to working with architects is to listen. Approaching a project with understanding and empathy builds camaraderie. Speaking with perspective and candour shows honesty and integrity. Express your creativity with the language of possibility.


AV systems have long ago advanced beyond the portable systems that were simply rolled into the room on a cart when needed, and returned after use. Installed AV systems have become an integral part of a building’s infrastructure, like HVAC, lighting, and furnishings.


Commit yourself and your team to the success of the project. Successful and creative solutions come from joint exploration of potentials. Exploring alternatives, demonstrating out-of-the-box thinking, and respecting creative ideas that can come from non-technical sources can be equally valuable to the end result and will build stronger relationships. (Some of the preceding content originally appeared in an article by Craig Park AIA, Systems Contractor News.)

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System Integration WHITE PAPER General contractors


One of the general contractor’s (GC) concerns is the successful coordination and installation of all ‘architecturally integrated equipment’. From the AV standpoint, this includes items such as front and rear projection screens, projectors, monitor and loudspeaker cluster mounts, and motorised window shades. These may be designed and/or provided by the AV designer or integrator, but they are often actually installed by the GC or one of its subcontractors. Since the GC has the overall responsibility for the installation, significant coordination with the AV contractor is required. In addition, other fundamental issues need to be addressed. The first is whether the AV is subcontracted to the GC. The second involves how the GC controls the installation schedules. Since the GC and their project managers determine who works, at what time in the schedule they’ll work, and priorities for work completion, there is an impact on the AV installation sequencing. Sequencing issues include the timing of cable pulls, and determining which areas will be ready for AV equipment installation. It’s important to keep in constant communication with the building project’s general contractor and communicate all potential concerns about the sequencing of AV equipment installation in the overall construction process. • Interior designer: Responsible for furnishings and the aesthetic appearance of the building’s interior spaces. The location of necessarily visible equipment (like screens, loudspeakers, displays, etc.) is a common topic of interesting dialog with the interior designer. • Mechanical consultant: Primarily responsible for systems such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), especially as they related to heat producing AV equipment and its location within a building. • Electrical consultant: Designs the high voltage power distribution systems, and as well as conduit and cable tray layouts to support low voltage systems. For AV systems, the electrical consultant may also be involved with transient voltage and surge suppression (TVSS) systems, uninterruptible power sources (UPS), and an isolated ground system for AV gear. • Plumbing consultant: Needs to communicate and work with AV designers in the routing and location of hidden infrastructure such as water pipes and gas lines as they relate to AV and electrical infrastructure. • Structural consultant: Fundamental decisions and knowledge of building load capacities are important since large audio and video systems require significant structural support. The structural consultant provides these perspectives, and may also play a role when building structural members could potentially interfere in issues related to sightlines. • Lighting consultant: Responsible for required lighting and specialised lighting control in spaces where AV systems are used. • Network/data/telecom Consultant: Since AV systems have become integrally tied to IT systems, consultants in these areas play a key role in the overall functionality of the successful AV project. • Acoustical consultant: Analyses the effect of building materials and interior design on the acoustical environment and determines treatments or building plan alterations that best address any potentially negative acoustic conditions. • Security consultant: Responsible for equipment such as cameras, microphones, video recording equipment and displays that may be used in security systems design and share infrastructure such as network access. • Life safety consultant: Life safety issues typically involve audio and/or visual alert systems, which may be tied into operating AV systems.

Managing user expectations A common problem in any user/service provider relationship is when the user doesn’t believe that they got what they paid for. This probably happens more often when the product or service is technology-based, since so many users have little understanding of exactly what it is that they are paying for. Every user comes to the table with a set of expectations of what they would like the provider to deliver. The problem happens when communication – the intersection of the message delivered and the message received – is less than perfect. In the attempt to communicate AV needs and expectations, the user is limited by lack of knowledge of what is technically possible. They may also have grandiose expectations of what modern AV systems can deliver. AV professionals will help to educate your users on the true capabilities of the technologies they offer. Their emphasis needs to be about what can – and cannot – actually be delivered. There must be discussion of what is not possible. It will minimise misunderstandings and potential litigation.

Tips to manage user expectations: • Understand needs and develop a plan to demonstrate return on investment. • Present solutions to their communications problems or challenges. • In the early stages, do more listening more than talking. • Develop a complete understanding of the user environment in which the AV/IT will operate.

Managing the project There are three ‘generic’ roles that are important in any AV/IT integration project. • The project manager • The designers • The installers

The project manager The Project Management Institute (, a professional association that creates standards and practices for project management, has developed a body of knowledge (PMBOK) that formalises the functions of project management. The eleven functions are classified into three groups: General PM processes, Basic PM functions, and integrative PM functions.

WHITE PAPER System Integration The designers The designer has technical expertise to assess the user’s needs and translates them into documents that convey the design intent to the installers, usually in the form of drawings and specifications. Designers exist in almost all trades. The designer may work with a separate project manager or may serve as the project manager for their organisation.

The installers Installers are responsible for interpreting the design intent depicted in the documentation created by the designer, and assembling the item or system in the manner described. By law, the installer may need to be certified or licensed, and may or may not be part of a labour union, which may affect how some projects are constructed in certain localities.

Design team This group designs the building and the systems and may include the following groups or individuals: • Architect • AV designer • Interior designer • Mechanical consultant • Electrical consultant • Plumbing consultant • Structural consultant • Lighting consultant • Data/telecom consultant • Acoustical consultant • Security consultant • Life safety consultant • Other industry or trade-specific consultants

Installation team

Any AV/IT project necessarily involves the combined efforts of multiple teams who may have different perspectives and interests in the overall project. (The balance of this section references highlights from InfoComm’s Best Practices book.)

This group provides construction and installation services and may include the following groups or individuals: • General contractor • AV integrator • Mechanical contractor • Electrical contractor • Plumbing contractor • Structural contractor • Lighting contractor • Data/telecom contractor • Acoustical contractor • Security contractor • Life safety contractor • Other trade-specific contractors

Owner team

Management team

This is the entity or entities that are the actual ‘buyers’ of the AV/IT systems. The owner team may include several groups who participate in the project process: • End-user • Facility manager • AV technology manager • Building committee • Buyer, purchasing agent, or contract representative

This group provides management services on the project and is usually associated with, or represents, the owner in some way: • Developer • Constructions manager • Building management agency • Move consultant

Photo: © EPH Productions

The project team

WATC H O U T P R E M I U M PA R T N E R S O U T H A FR I C A P E N M AC P h o n e: +2 7 11 47620 6 6 a v @ p e n m a c .c o. z a p e n m a c .c o. z a


System Integration WHITE PAPER The programme phase During the programme phase, the architect, AV/IT professionals, and other design team members discover the end-user’s needs by examining the required application(s), the tasks and functions that support the application, and the wishes and desires of the end-user. All of the information gathered in the programme phase is interpreted and presented in a written programme report. Once this document is distributed, reviewed, and approved, it becomes the basis for the design phase.

The design phase The design phase translates programme information into drawings and specifications. It also includes two interrelated parallel processes, one for infrastructure involving the entire building design team and one involving primarily the AV designer for the electronic systems.

The construction phase This phase is focused on three key processes: coordination, procurement and installation. Prepared designs are finally translated into physical form and the systems are brought into functionality. The major steps for the AV/IT professional in this phase include: 1. The construction kick-off meeting 2. Preparing the submittals 3. Procuring the AV/IT equipment 4. Preparing the site 5. Pre-assembling and testing the AV system 6. Site installation 7. Finalising the documentation During the construction phase, project managers need to coordinate the on-site activities of the various contractors to avoid potential conflicts. All trade should be aware of the activities of each of the others at the various stages of construction.

Commissioning and training No integration project is fully complete until the system has been commissioned and the owners (and sometimes end-users) have been trained on its operation. System commissioning plays a pivotal role in the overall AV/IT integration project. The commissioning agent (usually the AV consultant or system integrator) ensures that the standards have been followed, verifies that all contractual obligations


have been met and checks that the system is ready to perform properly in its intended use. All aspects of the system are tested, adjusted and optimised. After the commissioning process is complete, training is the next step to complete the handoff to the owner/ end-users.

Project documentation Projects documentation falls into three major categories: 1. Contract documents 2. Project drawings 3. Project specifications

Contract documents These documents describe and define the business issues associated with the project. They typically include scope of work, contractor performance requirements, proof of insurance, description of building issues, duration and deadlines for each project element, and exclusions to the contact. Although the building owner creates them, the AV designer may have input regarding some of these documents (e.g. descriptions of the AV systems elements and performance requirements). Some of the specific documents included in the contract documentation include: Liability/insurance bonding: AV/IT system integrators carry typical business insurance, including worker’s compensation insurance, comprehensive general or commercial liability insurance, business automobile liability insurance, and employer’s liability insurance. Installers in particular may be required to post performance bonds and payment binds, assuring the owner that performance work will be covered as well as any payments due to subcontractors. Letter of transmittal: This form is used whenever documents, drawings, samples, or submittals are sent. It clearly indicates the addressee sender, contact information, a list of what is sent (including date or revision number), and any action expected to be taken by the receiving party. This form is used whether the items are sent by mail, courier, overnight carrier, or fax. Request for interpretation (RFI): As the project progresses, questions inevitably arise about the project. They generally revolve around three basic types of issues: • Design issue • Site issue • Owner change or request The structure normally set in place for this process is the request for interpretation (RFI). This process is usually based on a paper or electronic form established for the project and that includes the RFI originator, the RFI receiver and a space to enter the question and the response. Some RFIs are simply resolved by a clarification from the recipient of the RFI without a change in anyone’s contract. Others may need resolution through a change in the construction contract. In the latter case, other structured communications, such as a change order, may be generated. Request for change (RFC): A request for change (RFC) is submitted (ultimately to be approved by the owner) if the integrator or consultant wants to change contractual obligations, equipment models or specifications, or system design. When an RFC is generated (or answered) by the integrator, pricing and impact throughout the project must be included. Issues that can trigger an RFC are: • Change in intended use of the system • Discontinued product • Architectural, mechanical or millwork changes • Discovery of system or product incompatibilities or function

WHITE PAPER System Integration Any member of the project team can submit the RFC, although on an AV project, the integrator or consultant most commonly creates the document. An approved RFC then becomes a change order. Change orders (CO): Despite extensive due diligence during the design and bidding processes to ensure an appropriate system design, design and contract changes, requested with a change order (CO), may be needed as the project unfolds. Because of its ability to change the contract scope and pricing, this is arguably the most important form used during the construction phase. A few of the many reasons for AV system COs are: • Changes or clarifications in anticipated use by end-user personnel • Architectural, millwork, finish, or other physical changes to the installation site • Design conflicts, omissions or errors • Change in product availability or specifications • Availability of new products or technologies • Discovery of hidden site conditions • Budget adjustments • Schedule changes and delays by others Punch lists: The punch list is a key element in the project process, because it becomes the final checklist for a complete installation and contract closeout. Depending on the contract language and relationships, the punch list may be created by the AV consultant, the owner’s AV project manager or the AV integrator’s project manager or other internal personnel. The preliminary punch list may be internal to the integrator under many design-build projects, but is usually required for distribution to various design and owner team members under most other methods. The final punch list generated after the final commissioning test and alignment is usually distributed to the designated project team stakeholders under any method. During the preliminary checkout, a preliminary punch list that includes all of the discovered system deficiencies, along with the possible resolution of each deficiency and the party responsible for each item, should be developed. This punch list should be distributed to the responsible parties for completion and should include due dates for completion of each item. Each punch list is unique to the project for which it is generated, but some typical items that may appear on a punch list are: • Poor AV connector terminations • Damaged wiring • Workmanship issues with equipment installation or aesthetic components of the work such as damaged wall finishes, undesirable cable management, and other problems that are visibly objectionable • Physical installation issues such as projector positioning, loudspeaker locations, and alignment and integration of devices into furniture • Delays in delivery of AV equipment • AV equipment failures • Slow delivery or no delivery of goods by non-AV service providers (e.g. millwork, electrical, and other contractors) • Slow or no delivery of OFE or communications and network services While some items are the direct responsibility of the integrator, some are caused by delay in work by other parties. To resolve these issues, the AV integrator must play an active role in seeking timely solutions from the other parties. Proper planning, documentation and communication are crucial.

Project drawings Architectural drawings Architectural drawings are used by contractors to determine how to build all of the structure elements. Small jobs may have only one or two drawings; bigger jobs have entire sets divided into different groups based on the construction process. Architectural drawings provide a technical illustration of all construction details including: • Site work • Foundation • Structure • Electrical • Mechanical • Finishes • Details

AV facilities drawings AV plans describe how the AV system components are interconnected. These plans provide the equipment placement, interconnection schematics and rack elevation drawings. The drawings used most often by an AV project team are: • Floor plan • Reflected ceiling • Electrical • Elevation • Riser

AV systems drawings Typical components of the AV design drawings package include: 1. Title page and index 2. Typical power, grounding and signal wiring details 3. Floor and reflected ceiling plans showingdevice locations 4. Rack elevations 5. Custom plate and panel details 6. Miscellaneous details and elevations, including: • Speaking aiming info • Large scale plans, such as equipment or control room plans • Architectural elevations showing AV devices, their location, and relationship to other items on the walls • Custom-enclosure or mounting details for projectors, microphones, loudspeakers, media players, etc • Furniture integration details • Any special circumstances or detail that may be required for the installer to properly understand the design intent

Project specifications Most construction projects in North America use the document format produced by the Construction Specifications Institute called MasterFormat. MasterFormat is a specifications-writing standard for commercial building design and construction projects. It lists titles and section numbers for organising data about construction requirements, products and activities. By standardising such information, MasterFormat facilitates communication among architects, specifiers, contractors and suppliers, which help them to meet building owners’ requirements, timelines and budgets. (Some content from this chapter originally app eared in the AV Design Reference Manual, published by InfoComm/BICSI.

This white paper was used by permission from AMX. For more information go to



Dolby Atmos – the future in surround is now By Greg Bester

When one thinks of Dolby the immediate reaction in the mind is the phrase ’surround sound’. Despite being pioneers in other areas such as noise reduction, Dolby is probably most famous for their contribution to multichannel theatre and home cinema sound and they continue to push the limits in that arena to bring the movie goer’s experience as close as possible to actually being in the scene. Now, with Dolby Atmos, a newly developed 64-speaker theatre surround sound system, the movie goer is put in a virtual 3D realm of aural excitement. Let’s explore what Dolby Atmos is and the technology behind it. But first, to find out where we’re going we need to know were we came from, so…


…a little history. Dolby Laboratories first appeared as a company in 1965, founded by Ray Dolby, an American engineer and inventor who devised the famed noise reduction system known as Dolby NR. He is also responsible for the co-invention of video tape recording in collaboration with Ampex. Dolby is the winner of multiple technical awards and is a fellow and past president of the AES (Audio Engineering Society) not to mention a billionaire with a place on the Fortune 400. As mentioned, Dolby’s first pursuit was noise reduction, starting with the Dolby 301 unit which included Type-A Dolby NR. This was a ‘compander’ (a compressor and expander combination) based system and was intended originally for use in recording studios. Dolby continued with noise reduction development through their B, C, S, SR and HX Pro ranges for the tape recording world and Dolby FM for radio until they eventually started seeking to improve film sound. The first film to use Dolby noise reduction on all pre-mixes and masters was Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange in 1971. In 1972 Dolby introduced the X-Curve (eXtended Curve), which replaced the long-standing Academy Curve, an equalisation standard for cinema sound stemming from the thirties. In 1975 Dolby Stereo, a Left, Center, Right and Surround cinema standard, was released and in less than ten years 6 000 cinemas around the world were equipped with a Dolby Stereo system. This

technology later evolved into Dolby Surround for home use and eventually into Dolby Pro Logic, which is the consumer market equivalent of Dolby Stereo for cinema. Eventually the digital age rolled around and Dolby started to foray into compression codecs for cinema sound. Dolby Stereo Digital (now called Dolby Digital) appeared in 1992 and was first featured in the film Batman Returns. It was later introduced into the home market as Dolby AC-3 in 1995 with the laserdisc release of Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford. Despite initial unpopularity due to the requirement of additional hardware it was eventually adopted as part of the DVD specification. Dolby Digital is now a household name that is found worldwide in HDTV, DVD players and satellite – and cable-TV receivers. In 2010, Dolby Surround 7.1 was released and set up in theatres across the planet. Toy Story 3 was the first film to debut with this format and a further 50 releases followed suit thereafter, culminating in over 3 600 Dolby Surround 7.1 theatres around the globe. Building on this success, Dolby Atmos was released in April 2012 which is a new cinematic audio technology and the focus of this article. There are currently over 100 theatres around the world that have this new technology, including one at the Ster Kinekor Gateway cinema complex in Durban, and the first movie mixed for the format was Pixar’s Brave.

Overview Dolby Atmos takes the current limit in multi-channel surround technology and traditional approaches to cinema surround sound and throws them out of the window; the basic idea being to surround the audience in as many speakers as possible, eliminate traditional surround ‘zones’ and to deliver discrete, multichannel audio to the speakers through positional metadata. The ’Dolby Atmos Cinema Processor CP850‘, the first generation Atmos cinema hardware, supports up to 128 discrete audio tracks and up to an incredible 64 unique speakers feeds. Because there can be up to 64 discrete speakers placed throughout the theatre, sounds originating from overhead can now be experienced along with sounds emanating from discrete point sources throughout, including above the audience. These are the two main aspects that differentiate Dolby Atmos from previous surround formats in that they enable the sound designer or mix engineer to individually place sounds at any point source speaker or array of speakers behind the screen, to the side walls, the rear walls or overhead; the goal being to further immerse the audience within the scene. It also enables panning of elements creatively into the upper hemisphere instead of just along the horizontal plane which negates the brain from having to construct an artificial phantom image. Feasibly, a missle could be launched from the rear of the theatre and it’s travel experienced and accurately followed overhead until it detonates on the screen. Also, now because of discrete feeds to the speaker arrays, if actors react to sounds happening at a specific point outside the screen, the sounds can now placed exactly where they are looking, instead of in a general surround zone as would be the case with 5.1 and 7.1. Another step forward with the Dolby Atmos system is improved audio quality and timbre matching. In past surround systems that use ‘zones’ instead of discrete point sources inclined to deteriorate the quality of some sounds due to speaker array phase distortion. The ability to place these sounds in discrete speakers greatly increases their perceived localisation and eliminates any array phase artifacts. Additionally, Dolby Atmos includes improved system equalization to combat acoustical problems and surround sound bass management so that the mixer can address each speaker directly without being worried about tonal differences. Furthermore, accurate level


calibration between the speaker arrays means that there are no level discrepancies when performing pans and precisely angled speakers closer to either side of the screen assure smooth transitional pans for audio events emanating from and entering the side of the screen.

Beds + Objects = Dolby Atmos Given the relative complexity of Dolby Atmos compared to past formats, the way soundtracks are produced, mixed and played back has been changed through the implementation of audio objects and positional data in the form of metadata. But what are audio objects and beds? Audio objects can be thought of as individual sounds or groups of sounds, such as tracks in a session, that occupied the same location in the theatre. These objects can be stationary or can be panned and panning automation is analogous to positional metadata. This metadata instructs the decoding hardware – the Dolby Atmos Cinema Processor – where the object should be at any point in time. When these objects are played back, they are manifested according to this positional metadata depending on what speakers are present, as opposed to being fed to a specific channel. This is a dramatic shift in approach compared to how soundtracks are currently produced but the upshoot is that it integrates well with the workflow of audio workstations. All that being said, channel-based workflows are still retained. This is where ‘beds’ come in. Beds are simply channel-based stems or submixes that can be delivered for final playback either by combining several into a single bed or individually. They can be created in several exisiting formats such as 5.1, 7.1 or even 9.1. beds create the desired effect based on the mix of the submix and the perceptual field depth and movement within the submix. The last noteworthy element of Dolby Atmos that it is backwards compatible and boasts simplified delivery. This means that the final mix in 64.2 (Atmos mix), and a number of other format such as 22.2, 11.1, 9.1, 7.1, and 5.1 can be delivered in a single file wrapped in the industry standard MXF (Material Exchange Format) format which is then received by the digital cinema packaging facility where it is validated before packaged into the DCP (Digital Cinema Package).

The workflow concept As mentioned, Dolby Atmos allows up to 128 tracks to be delivered within the DCP, which consists of a combination of beds and objects. These beds and objects are mixed in the same manner as in previous formats and object audio and metadata, panning automation, etc, are recorded within the session in preparation for the dubbing theatre pre and final mix. This metadata is integrated into the mixing console, allowing full control over the processing of both objects and beds and can be edited either by using the console surface or the workstation GUI. Monitoring is reflected in the Dolby Rendering and Mastering Unit (RMU). All metadata and the associated audio data are recorded during mastering which results in a ‘print master’ which includes the


Atmos mix along with other formats before wrapping, as described in the previous section. Within the single DCP framework which is delivered the cinema, the main audio mix comprises the main audio track file while the Atmos mix is part of an additional track file. This track file is ignored by systems that can not support it thus allowing the Dolby Atmos packaging scheme to be deliverable to any theatre regardless if it is equipped with Dolby Atmos hardware as it is identified as a compatible package.

Personal experience I had the chance to see Man of Steel in Theatre 1 of the Ster Kinekor complex at Gateway Mall in Durban, which is the only theatre in Africa installed with a Dolby Atmos system. My first impression was: “Wow, that’s a lot of speakers”. The first thing I noticed was that the film’s mixers did not depart too much from the traditional approach in film mixing by getting overly creative with the surround speaker arrays. Most of the dialogue and music was for the most part up front, which kept my attention anchored at the screen and minimised distraction. This approach is very sensible because it keeps the focus on the scene and the main elements of the film. What I did notice, however, was that the ambience of the film was very dimensional and certain beds and effect elements were more immersive, ie. they pulled you into the scene a bit more by discrete use of the speakers within the cinema. Only the big moving audio effects moving into and out of the screen were tracked through the surround arrays and the movement was immediately perceivable and accurately followed. At one point I had to duck because it felt like a missle was flying right above my head! As our auditory senses have evolved, humans are primarily attuned to aural perception in the horizonal plane. That is a result of most of our predators back in prehistoric times being in front, to the sides, or behind us and is why the focus of the evolution of our localisation awareness was in that plane. Our ear/brain complex is not very good at perceiving localisation above our head in the upper hemisphere, which is why when something wizzes over your head, like a low flying aircraft, you get a big fright. This is also why you don’t perceive it until the last minute. This makes the inclusion of overhead speakers a very exciting element. It is something that takes our brain by surprise. Very cool, indeed!

The wrap Dolby Atmos is the multichannel cinema audio delivery format of the future, which is here, by the way. There’s not much more to conclude about it than that. After all, surround sound has come a long way since Disney’s Fantasia in the forties and it’s difficult to imagine what engineers and system designers may come up with next. They certainly have a lot to top with Dolby Atmos around.


Providing flexible, cost-effective disPlay solutions An integrated platform for digital signage that eliminates the need for external media players and streamlines the deployment process, saving time and money for integrators and businesses. Mediatech Africa 2013 showcased the strength of the large format displays (LFDs) market in South Africa, but with so many options out there, how does a company go about selecting solutions that fit their budgets and that are easy to use? This is especially important considering that LFDs are used to not only drive corporate communication, but draw attention to the brand and position it in the hearts and minds of customers. Moreover, companies need flexible solutions that let them focus on managing their content easily while worrying less about wires, media boxes, and unwieldy software. Using a manufacturer like Samsung who has a trusted brand name in the market is one way to approach it. Yet, the solutions being offered need to be able to support that trust and provide an effective way of reducing the total cost of ownership of LFDs. To see the value proposition that Samsung offers one only needs to look at how a traditional digital signage network runs. Normally, a separate media player running its own operating system is attached behind the screen. Both devices require power and cabling to link them. This not only uses more electricity, but the additional cabling is often unsightly. Having said that, this has been the only way to effectively manage digital displays – until now! The recently announced Samsung Smart Signage Platform incorporates a media player as a system-on-chip on the same board as the display chipset, eliminating the need

to have external media players for customised content. This means that fewer cables are required, installation is virtually plug and play, and the point of network failure is significantly reduced. With the Smart Signage Platform, more impactful messages can be delivered to customers in real-time irrespective of the display being viewed. Through innovation such as this, Samsung is showing its commitment to minimising equipment and installation costs for customers and let them better manage their operational costs.

e-Board combines the simplicity of a white board with the power of a computer to create a more interactive learning environment through technology. Ultimately, Samsung is focused on providing solutions that meet the unique needs of the South African market. Cost-effectiveness and flexibility are two components integral to our design philosophy. We believe in offering a design for businesses that bring our client’s vision to life on the big screen.

“Cost-effectiveness and flexibility are two components integral to our design philosophy” An added enhancement is the Samsung MagicInfo S authoring solution for content management. It ships as an open source development kit to enable partners to provide expanded software services to business users. Naturally, we believe in letting our customers experience the solutions first-hand to see them in action. At Mediatech, Samsung Electronics South Africa showcased a 75-inch whiteboard on display that is ideally suited to board rooms and schools. This is especially relevant given the importance of education in South Africa. The Samsung

Manoj Bhoola Business Leader for B2B Samsung Electronics South Africa


Installations RADIO STATION

Listen up – Jacaranda has moved

Radio will never die, if the past is anything to go by. It seems it is as immortal as it is ubiquitous and there is little doubt whether our existence here on planet Earth would have turned out the same without it. The first automobile, the first air flight, the Russian Revolution, both World Wars, the neon light, the helicopter and instant coffee; the radio was there to broadcast it all. Simply put, the radio has shaped our lives in an immeasurable way and we owe a lot to it.

One radio station that’s stood the test of time is Jacaranda FM, previously known as Jacaranda 94.2. They have been broadcasting English and Afrikaans programmes in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northwest Province since 1986 and now boast an audience of more than 2 million, which is nothing to sniff at and is very important to Gauteng, the nation’s most competitive radio market. Equally impressive, they are the number one station among Afrikaans home listeners and South Africa’s number one independent radio station. While other radio station’s listenership figures have been dwindling, Jacaranda’s figures are on the rise with an estimated May 2013 audience census of 1 855 000 which is almost 100 000 more than last years’ June figures. Given this state of rising popularity it only made sense that after many years at their studios in Centurion they announced the development of a new studio location in 2012. This location is now revealed as their newly built facility on 14th Road, Midrand next to the M1 highway. Of course, new premises call for an overhaul and often a complete replacement of studio equipment. This is exactly what was done.


By Greg Bester

Jacaranda FM’s new premises in Midrand

Out with the old, in with the new Upon entering the new studios, it is clear that Jacaranda’s new facility was designed to be slick, modern and state of the art. All of the right trimmings are in the right places with all the current amenities that one would expect along with some you wouldn’t: fingerprint access, a broadcast technology museum, funky music-related wallpaper, a gym and even a health spa. The reception area is brightly lit with natural light and if you had to glance up you would see the words ’LEKKER TO BE HERE‘ on an upper wall. For those that work there, I could see how that might be the case. Andrew Pike, Technical and IT Manager at Jacaranda FM, was kind enough to show me around the studios and all the new gear installed there. Andrew was responsible for procuring and commissioning the installation of the new equipment and is incredibly knowledgeable in radio technology. Built from the ground up, planning for all the new equipment to be installed at the new Jacaranda FM occurred from the very beginning. There are two on-air studios; one for the breakfast show and afternoon drive and another for the mid-day shows. The core system at Jacaranda is based around a Telos Systems Axia system interconnected via network over an AoE protocol called Livewire. Telos Systems is a world leader in broadcast equipment technology and its Omnia division is found throughout most

Radio DJ Barney Simon in the studio

commercial radio stations worldwide. They are also the progenitors of the Livewire protocol for radio station applications. “The heart of how the studios work is based around the Axia equipment,” says Pike. “It’s all IP-based so if I’ve got mic one open, it’s got an IP stream number so it’s available anywhere in the building. I can route it or I can move it around on the desk. One of the great features of having the Axia system is V-Mix. You can mix sources together, route them so basically what we do is take the two studios, mix them together virtually and send them to the broadcast processor.” In terms of specific Telos hardware, Axia Powerstation Console Engines along with Element control surfaces were installed. The Powerstation is the ‘brain’ of the on-air mixing system that provides a multiple of inputs in both the analogue and digital domains and connects to the control surface via one six-pin cable. In the case of Jacaranda FM, each studio receives two Powerstations for complete redundancy in case of failure and all of them are connected over the Livewire network. Playout and scheduling duties are handled by RCS GSelector and Zetta software running on 12 server PCs running Intel i7 chips, 16GB of RAM and Microsoft’s SQL server platform. Pike comments: “Really what we see here is just the GUI interface. There is a server where all the audio is all stored and plays out from. So if I log in from this studio, what I look at is just a picture of what’s happening on the server.” As mentioned, all audio and play out material is stored on a server which turned out to be housed in a very well air-conditioned glass-cased room a little down the hall from the studio we were standing in. This room also contains some very big racks that house all the broadcast processing required to get a station on the air. However, since Jacaranda FM broadcasts to multiple regions, there are multiple processors employed to handle each region. First, each region is fed via a Telos Zephyr XSTREAM ISDN transceiver over Telkom ISDN lines. The main transmitter is then paired with an Orban 8600S, which is their flagship processor and all other regional transmitters are paired with Orban 3500 processors. The main transmitter is a Rohde & Shwarz NR8200 10KW FM.

The wrap The radio world, like any audio platform, has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. It too has experienced the ebb and flow of change from the days of analogue right through into the convenience and power of digital. Jacaranda FM’s new facility is certainly testament to this necessary adaptation that many studios have had to go through and given the technology at this level it is easy to see that they are secure in transmitting into the near future and beyond.


Installations HOUSES OF WOrSHIP

Houghton mosque installation

By Greg Bester

The house of worship market is indeed diverse. No matter what your faith may be, the need to get the message across in a clear and concise way will always be of paramount importance. To that end, the Houghton Mosque on West Street is no different. A new Mosque in the area, they commissioned industry veterans Prosound to handle the installation of their loudspeaker and recording systems. I met Lee Thomson, technical sales consultant at Prosound, at Houghton Mosque to take a look at the new building and to check out the installation. Having never been into a Mosque before I was quite intrigued as to what was in store. After a brief introduction by Lee, we were led to the rear of the building and entered a small air conditioned room where the recording equipment, amplifiers and effects equipment are kept. Impressively, audio streaming is also part of the service as was explained to me by Yaseen, one of the technical personnel at the mosque: “What we’ve done is, with the audio streaming, we’re pushing more kilobits. Instead of 32kbps we’re streaming at 128kbps. All this month we have a prayer that goes on for about two hours and the listeners love it. The clarity they’re getting; they love it. We’ve got between 230 to 270 people streaming the prayer every night and we haven’t advertised or promoted it. We’ve even got four radio stations in the US pulling the audio stream as well.” In the rack there are a number of units that perform different functions around the Mosque. Starting at the top, there is a Tascam CD-RW901SL CD recorder that is used to make recordings of prayer services. Next there is a TC Electronic M-One XL dual effects processor that is used to apply voice effects. What interesting about this setup is that it is paired to a MIDI Solutions F8 eight-input MIDI


footswitch controller which is used to change the patch from a switch panel in an alcove in the main prayer area. All audio distribution is handled by an EV NetMax N8000 digital matrix controller. This unit supplies 32 channel routing and matrixing and incorporates a massive range of 48-bit filters, EQ, dynamics and delay DSP. The N8000 is also fitted with an AO-1 eight-channel analogue output card which feeds the specific zones throughout the Mosque and an MI-1 module; the eight channel mic/line input card that features programmable preamp gain and phantom power. In terms of microphones, two DPA4080-F lapel mics were supplied, each with a DAD6030 adapter unit for the EV WTU-2 body pack transmitters that were employed. The body packs transmit to two EV RE2 Pro receivers. There are also three EV PC-Plus-18 gooseneck microphones placed throughout the Mosque for further address: two in the alcove in the main prayer area and one in the minber, a pulpit where the imam gives a noonday prayer on Fridays and holidays. Also found in the alcove is a four-channel snake head that the three gooseneck microphones plug into. This snake is then connected to the MI-1 input module in the N8000. Finally, there are five EV CPS4.5 four-channel class-D amplifiers that power the

specific zones throughout the mosque. These 2000W (500W x 4) amps are commercial installation grade and can be configured per channel to output at 2/4Ohms or 70/100V for distributed systems. After we had checked out the amp room I was led into the mosque itself which is beautifully crafted inside and out. It is customary to take your shoes off when entering the courtyard, so I obliged and stored them away in the provided receptacle shelves. The main courtyard is a wonderful, naturally lit space with thick, comfortable carpet perfect for walking shoeless. For the courtyard system there are four One System 103IM outdoor loudspeakers which were chosen for their ruggedness. These two-way speakers feature 3.5-inch low frequency driver and a high frequency driver coupled to an elliptical constant-directivity horn which provides a coverage pattern or 100 degrees. They have a frequency response of 85Hz to 20kHz. Throughout the rest of the mosque including the main prayer area there are a variety of speakers. 13 Martin Logan Ticket loudspeakers were spec’d and placed strategically throughout. These are wall mount-type speakers that are recessed into the internal pillars and archways and feature dual four-inch aluminium low frequency drivers coupled to a one-inch neodymium tweeter with a 75Hz to 20kHz frequency response. A further 13 EV EVID C4.2 ceiling-mount speakers were also employed that employ 4-inch coaxial drivers with a .75-inch Titanium mylar laminate dome with a 65Hz to 20kHz frequency response.

The wrap Not knowing what to expect when entering the mosque it became immediately evident that the distributed audio system was designed to fit as seamlessly and as discretely as possible within aesthetic of the building. However, that does not mean that it is lacking technology in any way. The inclusion of the MIDI switch to change FX patches on the M-One was a surprising twist that brought a modern edge to an ancient tradition, which, I’m sure, further enhances the message. The overall topology of the system, while relatively simple, is powerful and streamlined and I’m sure will serve the mosque for many years to come.

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Installations HOUSES OF WOrSHIP

Rhema acquires new sound

Rhema, the celebrated ministry that caters for thousands of people each Sunday over multiple services, is one of South Africa’s most established churches. Founded in 1979 and revelling in over 40 years of longevity, it has grown from strength to strength over the expanse of its lifetime in such areas as music, television ministry, social work and constantly evolving administration to cater for its ever-growing fellowship.

Considering its constant growth and evolution, getting Rhema’s message out to the congregation in a clear and fidelitous way is of paramount importance. For this reason a comprehensive and ‘first-of-its-kind in Africa’ upgrade of their audio systems was recently performed, helped in no small part by local audio equipment distributors Wild and Marr and Cristo Hattingh of Sound GP. If you have ever had the chance to step inside the Rhema sanctuary in Randburg you’ll know that it is simply cavernous. A rough semi-circle in shape with a sloping floor, it, like many indoor venues, presents the difficulty of coverage. Not to mention the fact that the church has got an existing broadcast infra-structure to interface with so signal routing and splitting was also an important consideration. I had a chance to meet Cristo Hattingh and Darren Durbach from Wild and Marr at the Rhema church to take a look at the system, get a feel for the equipment installed there and what makes it significant.


Greg Bester

The core system The core system installed at Rhema centres around JBL’s brand new VTX line array, supplied by Wild and Marr. There are 24 VTX V25s arranged in four hangs of six and in addition to that there are two Vertec 4886 downfills on each hang, totalling eight. The VTX range is a brand new series in the JBL line and is a ’full size, three-way, high-directivity line array element‘. Each box features two 2000W 15” Differential Drive woofers fixed in die-cast aluminium baffles with four 8” Differential Drive midrange drivers and three of JBL’s new D2 dual-diaphragm, dual voice-coil compression drivers coupled to a 3rd-generation waveguide. This new HF system also includes a newly patented RBI (Radiation Boundary Integrator) assembly. While we’re talking about the HF component of the system it might be worthwhile to mention the D2 driver. The D2 is a revolutionary new HF component. As mentioned, it is a dual voice-coil compression driver which JBL claims overcomes the drawbacks of conventional compression driver technology. The two main hurdles when designing a compression driver is the mass of the diaphragm and voice coil which limits high frequency extension and distortion that occurs due to breakup modes of the dome, traditionally titanium. The D2 combines two compression drivers into a single unit with a combined acoustical output. Each of the dual voice-coils are comprised of their own separate, lightweight polymer annular ring diaphragm, their own magnet and their own patented phase plug. The purpose of the phase plugs is to combine the two drivers into a single output by feeding their energies to a single exit point. There are six JBL VTX S28 subwoofers in cardioid configuration. These subwoofers feature dual differential drive 2269H 18” drivers and the cabinets are designed to be used in cardioid configuration due to their cabinet design. When asked about whether six subwoofers are enough to cover the needs of the large Rhema sanctuary, Hattingh says: “They more than compensate for this venue. I actually had to remove ceiling tiles that were falling out. It’s quite

HOUSES OF WORSHIP Installations phenomenal to hear what they do. The distortion ratio is so low that your perception of the low end is totally different to what you’ve ever heard before. It’s really clean low end and the power behind it is amazing.” Speaking of power, 23 Crown IT-12000HD power amplifiers drive the entire system, which is obviously passive. This includes the delay system which is comprised of eight two-way, passive JBL STX815s, strategically placed at the rear of the room to cover the rear alcoves. Cristo comments on the coverage of the system. “The main cluster covers the floor and the delays get a full mix with a high pass filter for speech enhancement. So with what you see, we’re covering this room as close to 100% as we can. We’re not hitting the back wall (with the main clusters) on purpose. In other words, we’re hitting the third last row accurately so the last two rows are a little bit in the shade to control the slap back of the esses and the tees.” An interesting aspect of the setup of the system is that the out-hangs are running in reverse stereo. In other words, the left out-hang gets the right signal from a stereo source, the left in-hang gets the left signal, the right in-hang gets the right signal and the right out-hang gets the left signal. This results in 70% of the audience getting an accurate stereo signal, albeit flipped on the left-hand side of the venue. This works very well since the audience is largely stationary and therefore can benefit from the textural depth of the stereo field. In terms of consoles, Soundcraft was the preferred vendor, also

Christo Hattingh

supplied by Wild and Marr. A Vi6 control surface with a local rack was selected for FOH control along with two Vi1s for on-stage monitoring and broadcast. Two stage boxes, one full size and one compact were spec’d; the compact stage box receiving an Aviom card for the personal monitoring systems employed. The system is entirely digital and uses MADI as the primary audio transport protocol to bus audio to and from the stage boxes and throughout the routing and matrix systems. A noteworthy and, as mentioned, first-of-its-kind aspect of the system is the implementation of a Direct Out Technologies M.1k2 MADI routing system. The M.1k2 offers 16 MADI ports for a total of 1 024 channels. “The M.1k2 can handle channel matrixing and not just port matrixing,” says Hattingh. “So you’ve got your 16 I/O ports which enables you to patch port A to port B but it also goes as far as enabling you to patch individual channels across to any port. For example, we play iPods from FOH, obviously there’s click tracks and stems running for the band and in the back there’s VT running for broadcast. So what we’ve done is, we plug the VT into the Vi1, the iPod, etc, into the other Vi1 and the playback into FOH and then on the M.1k2 we’ve dedicated certain MADI channels as tie lines between us. So, It’s like having a digital version of the old school patch leads but much more flexible and extensive.” There are a total of 96 channels coming into the FOH Vi6 from the full size and compact ViSi racks and there are 64 channels fed to the Vi1s since they can only handle a maximum of 64 channels. Any further channels are sent from FOH via the MADI bridge as tie lines.

System processing is all run on-board the amplifiers, managed by JBL HiQnet Performance Manager. Performance manager is a hybrid piece of software that combines system architect and line array calculator facilities into a graphic user interface. What is interesting is that any real time changes are purposefully lagged in order to prevent sudden tonal changes. Power shading, system configuration, delays and all other system processing options are available through Performance Manager in real time.

The sound and a walkaround After I arrived and spent a good deal of time talking to Hattingh and Durbach about the system, a variety of playback material was showcased so we could take a listen to the performance of the VTX system in the room. My initial impression standing at FOH was the immediately noticeable smoothness of the top end due, I assume, to the D2 compression drivers in the VTX V25 boxes. The tonal balance was clear and unobtrusive. Having had experience mixing on the previous Vertec range, I knew that they could sound a little ‘bitey’ in the upper midrange, which makes it a good system for rock and which is why the Vertec range has seen huge success in that arena. However the VTX gave me the sense of higher fidelity and a top end that seemed to dance around my ears instead of pierce into them. The midrange proper was also very polite and seemed to glow or emanate from the arrays. Granted, this was a very large room and from FOH, which is for better or worse in the centre of the room, we were getting a bit of supplementary reflection but it was easy to hear that the fundamental ranges of the instrumentation and vocals were very well reproduced. The low end was surprisingly full, even from FOH and I was greatly surprised at the power of the six subwoofers that were commissioned to handle low end duties. It wasn’t by any means large bass as you would find in a dance club but they supported the mid/high system just right and added to the feeling of a proper tonal balance. Now, the coverage. After being encouraged to walk the horizontal and vertical planes by Darren Durbach, I started a semi-circle walkabout towards stage right starting from FOH and following more or less the middle row. Attempting to take note of coverage seams between the coverage of the hangs I only perceived a slight hand-off as I was out of direct line of the HF waveguide of the right in-hang. The right out-hang then took over without much of a drop in level. As usual, I am always interested in hearing what the last person in the last row is going to hear and I am glad to report that there was no loss in fidelity from that position. What is remarkable about this system is that the bass is consistent from end to end of the venue, possibly only dropping a dB or two from the front to the back. Walking from the extreme right of the venue towards the subwoofers I was also quite surprised to hear a consistent tonal balance not just in the mid/high ranges but also in bass. The bass simply did not get overpowering the closer you got to the subwoofer clusters. The 4 886 downfills covered the front rows perfectly as well.

The wrap Quite clearly, the VTX system installed by Cristo Hattingh and Wild and Marr at Rhema is a masterfully executed job. Cristo has a long track record of producing quality work for many high profile acts and productions and along with Wild and Marr’s turnkey approach they have really come together in a powerful symbiosis to produce a system that I’m sure Rhema Church will be happy with for years to come.



Mixing ‘The Boss’

The Boss Rocking the crowd

Troy Milner and Monty Carlo have worked seamlessly side by side for more than 10 years, riding the faders for Bruce Springsteen and his 17-piece E-Street band at stage left and stage right respectively – and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Paul Watson reports from London’s Wembley Stadium during Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball world tour...

PW: So, four hands are better than two, then? TM: [laughs] I guess so! We are completely independent of each other though; we each get our own splits and we each have our own set of stage racks and Waves servers. MC: Yeah, with 18 people on stage, it’s pretty involved; and with Bruce, you never know: he does a set list but he doesn’t follow it, ever, so we’re always on our toes! TM: They’ve actually always had two monitor engineers; Monty’s been here a lot longer, but I have been here since 2000. It’s actually the way they’ve always liked it for 20 plus years, but we can do a lot more now due to the technology advancements. Monty Carlo and Troy Milner


How does your partnership work, exactly? TM: Well, I take care of the drummer, the violin player, the guitarist, the bassist and the keyboard player who is right here next to me; then I deal with various wedges that are located around the stage for some solos for Bruce.

And what about you, Monty? MC: Pretty much everybody else, really. We each have a lot going on and there are a lot of cues for each song; and again, as Bruce doesn’t follow the set list, well....

I can’t see any wedges on stage – where are you hiding them, exactly? MC: [smiles] There are a number of proprietary Solotech wedges imbedded in the stage: there’s a mixture of double 12s, single 12s and single 15s; and we’re using JBL 4888s for the side fills. The rest of the band has in-ear systems, but Bruce is completely old school.

What in-ear systems are you running, and do you have any RF issues? TM: We use Shure kit: the PSM1000s and the Axient mic system, which we like a lot; and these boxes underneath are Albatross headphone amps which I use for the drummer; he is hard wired, so when he sits down he plugs right into his seat on his left side and he never moves, so he doesn’t need to be wireless. MC: We have 70 channels of RF between backline and me and Troy, and although here (in the UK) it’s not too bad, when we’re in Italy... well, it’s notorious for RF issues! Thankfully, the kit we are using makes life a whole lot easier than it could be!

And what does Bruce like to hear in his wedges? MC: He’s got a little bit of everything – it’s so tough as each musician has their own wants and needs, but with Bruce I just kind of fill it up around him between the side fills and the floor wedges so that he hears everything, and I have everything panned to make it feel more ‘live’: the piano is coming from his left and the organ from the right – the same with the horns, just to kind of open things up, and so he knows where it’s all coming from.

Imbedded monitor wedges


LIVE EVENTs CONCERT REPORT How advantageous is it having banks of 12 faders on the console rather than eight? TM: Oh, very – and for drums especially. Also, having 12 in the centre for the control groups is a real bonus: I have a bank for mixing control groups and another bank for mute groups and that works really, really well. Additionally, the console’s assignable rotaries are perfect for me on my drum bank; I’m always writing thresholds on the gates for the drums because he is so dynamic, and so that I always know when I am in the drum bank – it’s just a visual thing. These functions save me huge amounts of time.

What are your mix counts? TM: With all the reverbs, tech mixes and crew mixes, we’re at 60 outputs; and there’s two of us, remember! I scratch my head and think ‘how did I get to 60?’ But I have a lot of sends that I use and the keyboard player has his own mixer, so instead of doing direct outs I just send 16 stem mixes to his mixer, then he sends his mix back to me so I can broadcast it wirelessly for him. Bruce Springsteen’s Shure SM58

After all these years, Bruce is still on a classic wireless Shure SM58... MC: Absolutely – it still does the job great; we’ve tried a few different things, but it’s still the best sounding and most reliable solution. Also, when it rains and Bruce is out running through the crowd, we don’t have to worry about it falling apart. You can build a house with it! TM: Yep – it’s super-reliable. And like Monty says, if it’s raining, he’s 100% gonna be out in it! The SM58 is extremely robust, that’s for sure.

You both use DiGiCo SD7s. Is it essential that you’re on the same console? TM: For our setup, absolutely. We have snapshots for all of the songs, and I’m up to 205! There are some songs that I know Bruce won’t do, but everyone is programmed for me on the snapshots. I couldn’t do that without the SD7. MC: Yeah, on the whole, the SD7 has been really flexible. It’s also great for moving stuff around. Troy double-assigns the drums so the drummer has his own set of drum inputs and the rest of the band has their own set too, so in terms of tailoring things quickly, everything’s just so easy to do on this desk. TM: That’s right – the drummer is a little more demanding, so I kind of mix him old school; the control groups are pretty static for him. I’ll hammer him with certain parts that he just wants to hear: for example, he might want two bars of the opening riff from the guitar player, then he wants to get rid of it, so I have to be very hands-on. Monty’s obviously got different stuff that he handles, too.

So on one hand you’re mixing dynamically, yet you’re also relying on hundreds of snapshots... What happens if he throws you a curveball, so to speak? TM: Oh it can get pretty crazy, that’s for sure! Although the SD7 is pretty much instant access with regard to recalling snapshots, because Bruce has so many songs, it does slow the process down a little: for example, 27 of his songs start with the letter ‘S’, so it can still take me a second to locate them even with the shortcut buttons! In fact, I recently asked one of the software guys at DiGiCo if he could give me the first two or three letters rather than just one to search snapshots as that would be perfect, and he was like: “You guys are worse than Broadway!” [laughs]


Is there much digital processing in Bruce’s vocal chain, or is this also old school? TM: Personally, I’m real simple on it, because Monty is doing Bruce’s monitor mix; I take care of the vocal for everybody else, so I can tailor it a little more and control it as he is so dynamic and all over the place, which is awesome.

But again, it means you have to ride the fader? TM: That’s right. I am feeding Bruce’s vocals to the six people I take care of; I run the multiband compressor, which is just great, and then I use a little bit of EQ before running it through the Waves Blue 76 just as an overall ‘grab’.

How are you finding the Waves SoundGrid? TM: It’s been great, but obviously the stuff in the desk has been great too. We do have some guitar amp sims and distortions though – Bruce plays the harp through his vocal mic and it sounds like a distorted miced amp which we’re using a Waves guitar simulator for.

You’ve got two DiGiCo SD Racks each... TM: Yes. In my world, I am running old school copper snakes from Monty and Monty is basically ‘control central’. MC: That’s right, I have all the splits of everything and we split copper to Troy, copper to me and then copper to FOH. We have talked about sharing racks between us; we haven’t done it yet, but maybe down the road it’s something we can do.

Communication between the two of you during a show must be crucial – how vocal are you, exactly? TM: Well, it depends – but we do have a great talkback system. I basically have a stereo mix of all the talkbacks that I send to a matrix, then I send whatever I am cueing to that same matrix to my wireless cue system, so no matter what I am listening to, the talkbacks are also there too. MC: Exactly, so if there’s a problem on my side I can say: ‘hey we’re gonna switch this’. We always make sure we have direct communication, as it’s another tool to keep us ahead of the band. Some shows we’re more vocal than others, but we’re always on top of things.

Sounds like you’ve got the perfect setup going on... TM: Unless we’re in Italy... MC: [laughs] Yep, we’re all good until we go to Italy!

Not a new kid on the block. A whole new block.

MLA. Welcome to the cellular revolution Defining a new direction beyond line array, MLA’s award-winning cellular drive technology makes distant seats front-row, puts an end to lengthy tuning sessions and reduces sound spill. Straight out of the box.



Discover more at 09/04/2013 14:56


Trevor Peters started as an Industrial Psychology student at the University of Witwatersrand, but his love for music drew him into the world of sound engineering and sound design.

As the founder of Matrix Corporate & Theatre Sound, a partner in Pan Tilt Lighting and a partner in Fogtech Video, Trevor has designed sound for theatre shows and corporate events both locally and internationally. Pro Systems journalist Chanelle Ellaya caught up with Trevor to discuss how it all started and what’s still to come.

How did you get involved in the sound industry? Was it always the plan? Trevor: I never really had a plan when I left school, the one thing I was interested in was music, and I played in a band. One day one of the engineers that was mixing our band on an event asked me if I was interested in coming to work with him and that’s basically how it started. I got into that company and learnt a tremendous amount in my time there. At that point I was hooked, my studies fell by the wayside and this became my career, seven years later I left the company and started Matrix Sound. So you could say I am a musician turned sound engineer, and more recently I spend my time doing sound design for theatre shows and large corporate events.

Out of interest, what was the name of your band and what instrument did you play? Trevor: The band was called Cherry Fox and I played the drums, so I wasn’t a real musician (laughs).

You’ve designed sound in various productions around the world. What has been the highlight of your career so far? Trevor: Opening the musical Umoja at the Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End of London. That was my single most nerve wracking and most amazing experience so far. We received a standing ovation for nearly three minutes at the end of the show. It was also the first time that I was working in the West End with an international supply company where I designed the sound.

What excites you the most about sound engineering? What is it that keeps you interested? Trevor: Well the situation currently is that I spend more time in my office running the company than behind the sound desk, but when I do get an opportunity to get behind the desk I consider myself another member of the band. So connecting with the band and creating music and sound with them is what I find most exciting. A sound engineer needs to actually be a part of the music, immersed in the music, to actually understand and complement the music from behind the desk. When you make that connection with the band, where mixing becomes almost second nature, that for me is really awesome.


Trevor Peters On that note, would you say that your musical background has given you an advantage in this industry? Trevor: Yes, I definitely think it has given me an advantage. It would have given me more of an advantage had I played a real instrument like the piano or guitar (laughs), but yes understanding the music and the sound from a musician’s point of view is a huge advantage.

What do you feel is the greatest audio invention of the past few years? Trevor: Oooh, that’s a tough one. I would say the greatest advance in audio is the switch to digital mixing consoles; user friendly digital mixing consoles. Digital mixers have been around for many years, in 1996 we designed a musical at Victory Theatre using two digital mixing consoles and it was a very cumbersome and difficult process. The new generation of digital mixers in my opinion, have taken sound to a new level entirely. They give you untold power compared to what we had with analogue desks many years ago.

What have you not yet achieved in your career that you still wish to? Trevor: The one thing that I haven’t done is toured with a band, where I’m mixing and we’re going from city to city or country to country performing. I’ve done a huge amount of corporate events, I’ve done theatre shows, I’ve done some studio work, I’ve done a lot of television work but I have never been on the road with the band concentrating on good old fashioned rock ‘n roll night after night. That is something I will do before I retire…at a very young age (laughs).

What is your personal favourite gadget that you use daily? Trevor: Mmm, to be perfectly honest, that would be my iPhone. It allows me to run my office from anywhere at all times.


Just chillin’ at Chillfest Photos by Louise Stickland

By Louise Stickland

Little Mix performing Friday night at Chilfest

The first ever two-day Chilfest event, staged in picturesque Tring in Hertfordshire, UK started off – like many inspirational moments – in the pub! Aided by a flow of alcohol and animated discussion, real lively social interaction continued to liberate a gazillion thoughts, ideas and dreams … many of which stay right there!

Steve Butcher of Universal Event Productions (UEP) – a technical solutions provider working primarily on high end corporate and live events – was enjoying an evening with some of his regular crew and friends, reflecting on a busy year at the end of 2012, and looking forward to the company’s 15th anniversary year in 2013. Butcher, a keen music fan, wanted to do something special, different and unique to celebrate this landmark and lobbed into the conversation that he’d always fancied actually staging a festival. It was met with unanimous agreement that this would be a very cool thing to do. A couple of days later, the conversation cropped up again, this time while completely sober and in the office. The seed was planted! Over Christmas, Butcher discussed the concept more seriously with his wife Gina, and particularly the fact that to do it properly, he’d have to commit and risk around 250K of his own / UEP’s money! That’s

a big deal! By 2 January the decision was made. Chilfest – the first music festival in the UK ever to be promoted by an industry technical production company – was to be a reality. “From that moment on I never doubted myself or looked back at all,” he comments. “It was heads down and let’s make this work!” Six months of serious graft began – finding the venue – Pendley Activity Meadow, adjacent to the luxury Pendley Manor country hotel; applying for the license, analysing the demographic of the area, being realistic about the acts they wanted, could afford and were likely to be popular; scouting the available talent; creating a brand from scratch; establishing social media and advertising outlets; dealing with the press; setting up ticketing infrastructures getting concessions on-board; forging a relationship with the local police, and so on. All things that Butcher – not being a regular concert promoter – had never had to deal with before. “It was an absolutely massive learning curve,” says Butcher, “But that was also part of the entire experience.” He adds that some things were a lot more straightforward than others! The one thing that presented absolutely no challenges at all was the full technical production, because that’s what UEP does. However because of this, Butcher set his own dizzily high personal goals of delivering production values and an overall design that would be the best and to the highest standards. The whole ‘tech production scenario’ galvanized into a fantastic showcase for the creative skills and technical services that UEP could achieve. All the people he worked with on the production side he had


Photos by Louise Stickland


Tich in full song

known for several years and most of them are also close friends. This meant a large amount of mutual respect and a dream team already used to working seamlessly on large shows and events together. Formatting the programme, he decided on a pop night on the Friday as there are a lot of families with pre – and early teen children in the area. Being in his mid-forties, an eighties night on the Saturday was a bit of a no-brainer for the adults to remember the heady – and as they like to say ‘not so distant’ – days of their yoof! With an excellent array of top level artists from the era available a very strong line up was soon assembled. The pop themed night was headlined by Little Mix who were joined by The Lovable Rogues, Heather Small, Tich and others. On Saturday, some of the best of the eighties was reincarnated by Tony Hadley, Rick Astley, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, Hazel O’Connor and Carol Decker. Negotiating and booking all of these required a degree of brinkmanship, especially as it was a new event with no track record – a characteristic that Butcher doesn’t lack as a seasoned industry professional – and something he soon learned to lay on the table! On the first weekend of July, glorious weather – the start of an unprecedented run of sunny and warm summer weather unseen in the UK for many years – a line-up which included some world class musicians, the novelty of it being the first event of its kind in the area and a fantastic atmosphere … helped attract nearly 5 000 people the first day, and fully sold out the Pendley Activity Meadow venue to its 7 000 capacity on the second night. This was all enjoyed with the scrupulously high production values so close to UEP’s hearts – with technical and design standards rarely seen in festivals of this size, let alone an event in its infancy. Butcher was “completely blown away” with the response and the outcome. The personal feedback was incredible and the social media channels were bursting with positive comments and messages. “I sat at the back of the stage on Saturday with everyone, it was well into Tony Hadley’s set,” (which closed the event) he recalls: “The field was rammed with people all jumping up and down and having fun .. and I thought we created this – it was the most incredible feeling, and I felt very, very emotional,” admits the usually unfazed Butcher. He expands: “I have always known my crew are fantastic, I am really lucky, but they all absolutely excelled themselves in every way, and although I should not be surprised, I was truly humbled by what we did as a company and as a team.”


Staging Chilfest The low rise 15-metre wide Orbit stage supplied by Trust Events tucked neatly into the corner of the Pendley Activity Meadow site inconspicuously hugging the tree line. Blending sympathetically into the surrounding countryside was always fundamental to the site design. UEP supplied all lighting equipment and visuals – LED screen, cameras and IMAG mix – and asked HPSS from Hull on-board to look after the PA system. Ben Cash and Dave Amos of Flare Lighting – a London based visual design duo – were commissioned by Butcher to create an overall adaptable and dynamic production design that could cover the range of acts playing and accommodate any last minute requests. They sub hung two trusses from the Orbit which were shaped to the roof curvature to maximise all the available height and ensured it looked super neat, while a further upstage truss was installed to fly five columns of UEP’s Glux 12 LED screen. Cash ran the lighting. The moving lights were primarily Robe products including 12 brand new Robe ROBIN Pointe fixtures just purchased by UEP and doing their first gig. Robe ROBIN LEDBeam 100s were arranged in vertical columns at the back between the strips of LED screen, looking highly effective, together with Robe LEDWash 600s and 300s which were dotted all over the stage together with a few ColorSpot 1200E ATs. In addition to these, six Clay Paky Shot Lights were used on the floor as fillers down both sides of the stage; 24 x Showtech Sunstrips framed the LED columns and outlined the front truss; and two Novalight High Grounds were placed at the downstage edges for big bold effects shooting right into the audience. A couple of six lamp PAR bars were used for basic stage washes from the front truss. Four Robert Juliat Korrigan follow spots were stationed at FOH. Flare lighting provided the control package. A grandMA full size ran the lighting and a grandMA light triggered their Catalyst media server storing and playing back all the video content, which was specially compiled for the show by Dave Amos. This appeared on the onstage column screens, making a vibrant backdrop for all the acts, most of which took to the stage in daylight. It was a smart move by Butcher to get Flare involved and they brought a great sense of visual harmony to the picture. Two Glux 12 side screens were supplied by UEP together with six cameras – five Sonys – two at FOH, a hand-held onstage, one in the pit on track and one locked off side-stage – and a GoPro remote behind the drum position for reverse shots. These were directed by another regular UEP face, Mike Kane, who

worked with Jay Martinez on the IMAG side of the video. The sound system was designed and specified by a combination of stage manager Andy Nurse, who is one of UEP’s regular sound engineers, Steve Bull who looked after FOH for the event and Steve Butcher. It was an L-ACOUSTICs system which filled the gently raked auditorium perfectly. The main hangs were 12 boxes of dv-DOSC, a side complete with seven SB28 and four dv subs a side, with four ARCS for in-fills. The FOH Yamaha PM5D console was spec’d by Saturday’s house band, Blueprint, who backed up all the main performers and spent several days rehearsing with them before the gig. Some bands brought in their own engineers and those who didn’t were mixed by Steve Bull. Howard Jones played with his own band plus their full monitor system and video package. At the stage end of the action the monitors were L-ACOUSTICS Hi-Q wedges with ARCS/SB28 side fills and a couple of SB18 drum subs – all powered by LA8 amps together with the main stacks. The monitor console was a Yamaha M7 with two external cards boosting the outputs to 32 channels. Shure and Sennheiser wireless systems were supplied, plus a full mics-and-stands package, primarily comprising these two brands. Andy Nurse shared stage managing duties with Mike Lindsey, James Fickling was the overall site manager and Charlotte Jackson took care of all the health and safety and dealt with the concessions. The backline was supplied by John Henry and the generators from Charles Wilson – two 350 KVA synched sets behind the stage and another at the back of the arena to power all the site lighting and concessions. Power distribution and infrastructure was sorted out by UEP with some kit from DPL Lighting. The excellent security by London-based EMS, with whom UEP works on many high profile corporate, impressed everyone with their discreet presence and attentive attitude that cut a note with the whole Chilfest vibe. Steve adds: “Thanks also to Rob Merrilees at Dry High Lighting for providing the six Clay Paky Shot Lights and some additional Robe LEDWash 600s and big thanks also to my old mate Darren Parker at DPL for supplying 12 Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs along with the four follow spots, mains distro and dimming.” With 12 000 Chilfest fans flooding into Tring to enjoy a show stopping weekend and not a single crime reported, the police were also extremely impressed with the results. Butcher has also been inundated with complements from the artists on how well organised everything was and what a good time they had. So …. Looking to the future, the pressure is now well and truly on for him to make it an annual event! Although one part of Butcher wants to go for it, he had to do some hard thinking about it while he was on holiday in August. He needs to also assess the impact – if any – it had on UEPs core business. The company is very busy anyway and Chilfest consumed copious extra amounts of his energy in the first six months of the year. There’s also the fact that it was a ‘special’ event to mark an important landmark – their 15th anniversary. It was a resounding success and in some ways to leave it there retains the magic and truly exclusive nature of what he set out to do! Many things are buzzing around Butcher’s brain right now – including the fact that he feels he’s established a brand, with the possibility of attracting sponsorship. “My heart says ‘yes’, continue and do it every year,” he says, however this month, he’ll be engaging in some straight discussions before making any hasty decisions! 012-345 5303 082 924 9046

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A ‘sorcerer’ among kings

Eddie ‘el Brujo’ Caipo at the mixing desk for Kings of Chaos

Kings of Chaos, a super band consisting of members of arena rock groups Guns N’ Roses, Collective Soul, Deep Purple and Velvet Revolver visited South African shores recently to deliver an otherwise once-off collaborative concert, helped in no small part by their touring FOH engineer and Production Manager, Eddie ‘el Brujo’ Caipo. Peruvian and therefore Spanish-speaking by birth, ’el Brujo‘ translates to ’the Sorcerer‘, a fitting pseudonym for a man with a big smile, a twinkle in his eye and a sensibility for BIG, magical sound. Throughout his career, Eddie has worked with such top names as Enrique Iglesias, Smash Mouth and Tears for Fears and is a veteran of the industry not only in the live sound arena but in studio work as well. Pro Systems journalist Greg Bester caught up with Eddie in the Super Bowl at Sun City to find out more.


There isn’t a lot of information online about you, Eddie, but I did see that you’re from Lima, Peru. How did a young man from Lima get into doing sound for top acts? Everyone in my dad’s family are musicians. He owned a night club restaurant and there were always like five or six acts a night so I was the guy in charge of sound. Also any time he had gigs anywhere else I would do sound, back when there were still knobs instead of faders! So that’s kind of what I did. I have cousins that are artists, engineers and producers in Peru as well as my brother producer/songwriter/ drummer Juan Caipo in San Francisco. I just followed the same path.

When did you move to the United States? Well, I was born in Los Angeles but when I was five years old my parents moved us back to Peru. Then I came back to the States when I was 18. I started working for a jingle house doing jingles and voiceovers for the Latin market and that was around 1991.

So you’ve been a professional sound engineer since then? Yeah, I was doing mostly studio stuff back then but later when I moved to San Francisco I started doing sound at famous venues there like Slims, Paradise Lounge, Yoshi’s, the Fillmore, etc; just working the club scene at night and doing studio stuff during the day.


Kings of Chaos rocking the crowd at Sun City Super Bowl

They call you ’el Brujo‘, which means ’the Sorcerer‘. Why do they call you that?

So making the transition to King of Chaos was quite easy for you in terms of the rock approach?

I was in a band with my brother and my cousin. Before I was in the band I was their sound engineer and of course back then they were just starting out so they were playing in really crappy bars and the sound was really bad. Sometimes they couldn’t even get it to work. So they would always ask me to help them with that and it didn’t matter how bad the PA was, or how badly wired it was, I would somehow make it work. The singer gave me the nickname ’el Brujo‘. He said: “You’re like a warlock!” It just kind of stuck and when credits came around people started using it.

Oh yeah, I’ve always done all kinds of music. Like I was saying earlier, doing the club scene and working the Bay area in Berkley Square, which was another place, you really get your feet wet a lot because it’s like four bands a night, always with different backline. One day it could be all death metal, the next day it could be all punk rock, the next day it’s pop or Latin, etc, which made me find good things about all styles of music. Music is music, after all. I’m very lucky to be able to handle all styles.

Do you play an instrument? You have album credits on for El Rey, Avance, Cell Block Five, Conga Club and Skull Funk Tribe. Have you worked on a lot of Latin music in the past? Yeah, as far as the records go, a lot of them are Mexican punk rock, funk, metal and ska records. At one point I was producing every Spanish rock band in the Bay area in San Francisco. I was kind of like the go-to guy for that.

So it wasn’t like the more traditional Buena Vista Social Club-type of Latin jazz? No, I was more on the rock/alternative side but I have done records like that. That’s something that I really like and I’m really happy to have worked in a lot of genres. I did do a record with Karl Perazzo and Raul Rekow from Santana. That was an amazing experience, recording and mixing two of the best percussionist in the world.

I play a little of everything but I always like to play percussion.

Do you think it’s important to have a musical ear in order to be a good engineer? Absolutely, I think it’s very important. If I had to choose a guy to sub for me, I would go for the musical guy as opposed to a guy who’s purely technical. Of course you have to have the technical knowledge but ultimately the people listening to it don’t know about that. So if it’s pleasant to them they’ll go: “The band was great!” So I would say you have to be musical when you mix. It’s not always a technical problem. Sometimes it’s just a balance issue. I think having a musical background has helped me a lot and I think it would help any engineer, even if it’s a love for music or knowing the differences between the instruments. Everything starts at the source so therefore it’s very useful to know what an instrument is supposed to sound like.



So you would say the technical aspects are incidental to purveying the music? Yes, absolutely.

I noticed that a lot of your subs are flown. Is that something you usually do? No. I don’t normally but that’s just kind of how this setup came about. I have mixed experiences when the subs are flown. They actually just brought me more today because we were having issues with covering holes so now we’ve got 20-something subs strewn all over the place not for volume but for coverage. Plus, those flown subs are part of the PA.

I noticed the PA is a d&b J series. Is that your go-to PA? No, I’m usually an L-Acoustics guy. I love the V-Dosc and K1 systems but I like d&b too. In Cape Town they provided a Vertec system, which is very good for rock. d&b is a bit smoother so you have to push it a little bit more.

I’ve heard through the grapevine that you’re a big Avid VENUE guy. You spec them for FOH and monitors on all your shows. However, I’ve seen on some of your pictures that you’re standing in front of big analogue consoles. Do you miss those days? No, not really. Those were old pictures and I was probably thinner, too (laughs). Analogue consoles are amazing but to be honest I don’t miss them too much. What we’re able to do with digital consoles today is pretty amazing. My preference has always been the VENUE Profile, pretty much since they came out.

What about the VENUE consoles drew you to them? The flexibility, the sound and of course the biggest thing, which most people say, is the fact that you can use your plugins. Coming from the recording world, that’s a big thing. The fact that I can use my favourite processors without lugging around racks and racks of gear is great. All the good stuff that digital consoles bring; Avid is just really good at that. It’s also super stable. I did a tour with Julio Iglesias a few years ago in Syria where it was about 120 degrees outdoors and it was flawless. It didn’t even budge.

What are some of your favourite plugins? I like the Bomb Factory 1176 and the Fairchild emulations. I like the SSL bundle as well, especially with Enrique. He likes the compression on his vocals. I like the Waves C6 multiband as well. I try to use the stock stuff a lot of the times for when we’re travelling to keep show file compatibility consistent. We use the Crane Song Phoenix tape saturation a lot and I often ask for the Eventide Harmonizer stuff for doubles.

You have a fantastic drum sound and your kick drum is fat and present without getting in your ear. How do you process your drums? I have two stereo sub-groups where I apply parallel compression. On one I have the Avid Smack! plugin doing some heavy squashing on the Opto setting and the other one is wide open so the blend of that makes the drums sound in your face. However I do have separate processing that do at the channel level, but just with the on-board stuff. As far as the kick goes, I’ve put a lot of top on the kick for metal but this is hard rock so it doesn’t really apply here. I also go for more of the mid part of it like around 1kHz to 2.5kHz. There’s a bit of top end on the kick too but just enough to get clarity. Of course, we have two mics on each kick drum.

What mics are you using for the drums? There’s a SM91 and D12V on each kick. Matt Sorum is endorsed by AKG so all the mics are AKG except for the snare where I’m using a Beta57 on top and an SM57 underneath. I was pleasantly surprised with the tom mics, which are AKG C518M. I used to dislike the previous model but this new model is pretty good. Great top end and the new mounts are way superior than the previous version. For overheads we used AKG 414XLII. I really like them. It allows me to use them in any form. Sometimes I used them for the whole kit and sometimes just for cymbals and with the pattern options it makes it an easy choice for me.

What about guitars? I’m using Shure SM57s and KSM32s. I like to put them together on one speaker. I listen to the cabinet until I find a good spot and then I put them together until the phase is correct. Sometimes I’ll pan them or sometimes I’ll be crazy and delay one of them, depending on the situation. It just allows me to separate and manipulate the guitars without EQing.

The bass guitar is quite growly and distorted for the most part. How are you handling that? He’s got a pedal. He’s also a hard hitter so the way I route the bass is, I go from the bass to the DI, from the DI to the pedal and from the pedal to the amp. That way I have one clean sound and a distorted sound coming from the amp, which is mic’ed. It allows me to balance it depending on what the song requires.

What do you do on your time off? I play video games (laughs)! Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is my favourite while on the road. Also, hanging with the family and getting some quality time with them is also important to me. And maybe having a glass of Scotch.

Being from Peru, have you ever been to Nazca? I never made it to Nazca or Cuzco. I’m actually planning a trip for the family to go to there so I’m looking forward to that.



Photos by Leon Pheiffer

Steering Innibos music festival to record crowds

Innibos is South Africa’s largest Afrikaans annual music festival. The four-day event attracted 106 000 people to Nelspruit this year from 26 to 29June, where 48 bands took to five main music stages as punters went through 22 000 litres of beer, almost 25 000 pancakes and a rather alarming 8 646 rolls of toilet paper! Considering Afrikaans only makes up about 10% of South Africa’s speaking language, the festival numbers at Innibos are even more impressive – on the Saturday night alone, 54 000 people were in attendance. And it was an impressive billing this year, featuring the likes of Bok van Blerk, Oros in ‘n Lang glas, Die Tuindwergies, Karen Zoid, Frankie Fire, Bittereinder and VanFokKingTasties; and there was also a flea market, various works of art on show and even a fairground thrown in for good measure. Sound Headquarters provided the lighting and audio for the main stage, the latter of which centred on EAW’s new KF Series: 28 KF760s made up the main PA; 12 KF740s were provided for the delays; and 24


KF730s were chosen for side fills. In addition, 18 SB1000 and 12 SB2001 subwoofers provided low-end reinforcement and 14 Microwedges were deployed for fold back. In terms of control, two Soundcraft Vi1s did the trick at FOH and monitor position respectively, and the microphone setup constituted a dozen Shure BETA 58s, each with its own ULX-D receiver. The main stage lighting rig was designed by Johan Ferreira at JSF Productions and was predominantly Robe-centric: a full-size GrandMA console was in command of 24 Robin Washes; 12 Robin 600 Beams; and six Robin 600 Spots made up the core, which was complemented by 24 Clay Paky Sharpys, 12 2K Fresnels and 24 Briteq LED banks. It also required a sizeable amount of LED – enter long-term AV specialist, EPH Productions, which provided 250-square metres of LED via its own 7, 12 and 16mm resolution Top Vision screens. Company owner, Leon Pheiffer, brought in trusted colleague Penmac’s Malcolm Finlay to lend a helping hand. “I brought in Malcolm about six months prior to the event, We’ve worked together many times on projects like this, but none are ever quite the same,” Pheiffer says. “The whole stage was run with (Dataton) Watchout graphics and video, which is Malcolm’s speciality.” Finlay used Watchout to cater for seven sources including two outer

LIVE EVENTs CONCERT REPORT screens, two huge towers (one at each side of the stage), two square blocks in front of the drum risers and the back panels. “We started with the drawing of the stage, then took every panel and mapped it to the logical video resolution – basically, each one had its own resolution; and then we put all of those panels together as they needed to make up one composite image as viewed by the audience,” Finlay reveals. “In addition to that, we were feeding all of the music tracks for the band and click tracks out of Watchout. Furthermore, although not spec’ed initially, later on we put live camera feed onto the surface as well, across the whole stage or onto individual panels as required.” Despite being somewhat of an old hand when it comes to these kind of events, Finlay insists that every one retains a uniqueness that doesn’t allow him to even consider going on ‘auto-pilot’. “We break up the stage and design every panel and feed, and when we know what that is, we put the content together,” he explains. “The amount of planning for this job was huge due to the fact that what we’re really doing is creating a big music video that runs across the whole surface for the duration of the show; all of those screens were produced into one huge video which we mapped initially and then had our content creator make background videos to fit all the panels as if they were one surface – we then split them up into separates. “Like any job, you have to look out for certain things that could go wrong, but because we’ve been doing it a long time, we know what we’re looking out for, so we’re never coming in cold, so to speak – for example, if we’re spacing the LED panels apart, we know that we need to allow for gaps in-between and thankfully we can do all of that very easily on Watchout.” The EHP and Penmac partnership is impressive for a number of reasons, not least the level of detail that went into certain elements of the pre-production work for Innibos. “Because you’ve got four different artists on the main stage each night, there are never any repeats, which means we’ve got to study what they’re all going to do,” says Pheiffer. “For this reason, we had them send us their music videos, which enabled us to then incorporate their respective look and feel on stage using a


click track.” Resolution has come on leaps and bounds in the world of LED, especially in the last few years, which is why it’s such major talking point in the live industry. But isn’t a 5mm or 7mm screen overkill for an outdoor event? “Oh, the 5mm screen is awesome even for Powerpoint,” says Pheiffer, with a smile. “But the benefits of the higher quality screens are huge across the board. With an LED screen, you’ve got a much stronger power lamp life, and for these kinds of events you don’t get washed by the stage lighting, so if you’re doing a show for a client on a hi-res screen on stage, you can see everything perfectly, and it’s as bright as you can imagine. Nowadays clients really like that. “I’ll give you an example: we did an outdoor event in Durban with a 70-piece orchestra and 40-piece choir and covered the PA towers with 7mm LED as video walls, and although the audience were only four metres from the stage, from where they were standing it looked absolutely awesome, so there are certainly major advantages in using these higher resolution screens.” EPH also provided kit for several other stages: for the MK stage, a Eurotruss roof structure was deployed along with a 12mm LED screen centre stage and two 16mm screens for the sides; two hangs of 12 JBL VerTec made up the main PA system with a Soundcraft Vi4 at FOH and Vi1 on monitors; and lighting came courtesy of 60 Martin Professional fixtures. For the more modest Huletts and Arts stages, smaller JBL VerTec setups were provided along with 16 Martin Professional fixtures respectively. According to Pheiffer, the event was a major success, and although EPH is firmly established as one of the leading companies in its field, he’ll never take his eye off the ball. “Ourselves and Penmac are certainly pushing the envelope when it comes to LED setups, and also, Watchout itself is pushing it too in South Africa,” he states. “EPH is always trying new designs and coming up with new ideas to keep us ahead of the game, so as a company we are always evolving; that’s why we’re one of the frontrunners in the country.”



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Mediatech Africa – casting a global footprint If there is any speculation as to the level of growth in media and entertainment technology on the African continent, Mediatech has proven that there is unlimited potential, delivering another successful show in 2013. With exhibitors and visitors still overwhelmed with the widespread industry relevant turn out, an increased African interest and an on-going trajectory of valuable business leads and brand exposure, the biennial trade show has earned its place as the continent’s largest and most successful advanced technology exhibition.


Over 130 leading exhibiting companies introduced ground-breaking innovations, services and products at Mediatech Africa 2013 to an increased visitor attendance of media and entertainment professionals with concrete buying interest. This year saw a record-breaking 6 924 feet through the door attracting crowds from all over South Africa including 424 international visitors of which 197 were from Africa. The presentation zones were extremely well attended and provided expert advice and captivating information for visitors wanting to gain knowledge on film, broadcast and production as well as pro AV, sound and lighting. Beyond a generous scope of dynamic products and services, Mediatech 2013 saw an increase in events, informative workshops, training as well as pertinent conferences that initiated significant industry conversations for planning and development. SACIA hosted two member networking breakfasts that were fully booked. “It was an extremely positive experience, with great feedback from our members and a lot of interest from the broader industry,” remarks Kevan Jones, executive director of SACIA. Asikhule proudly introduced the first African Loudness Summit at Mediatech and director Duncan Todd, was impressed with its significant success, affording Asikhule the opportunity to meet all the Summit objectives, which included: initiating a conversation between distribution and production around the prickly topic of loudness fluctuations in broadcast material. “The Summit was full to capacity, thanks in no small part to the efforts by the Mediatech event organisers to promote attendance to

their Africa-wide audience. Our delegates valued the convenience of attending our Summit and being able to visit the continent’s largest broadcast and production tech exhibition at a single venue.  “In addition, the Meditech-facilitated opportunity to present on this important loudness content to the delegates of the SABA Digital Broadcasting Infrastructure Platform Workshop that was held in parallel with the Africa Loudness Summit, was extremely valuable and, according to formal presentation assessment feedback received, very well-received by delegates from all over Africa who attended the SABA event,” says Todd. The outdoor sound demonstrations proved once again, to be a show achievement, with top sound specialists showing off the latest audio sound, amplifiers and line array systems. Bernard Pienaar, director of Viva Afrika, said: “Our experience at the outdoor demo area was very positive and one of the highlights for us and the dealers who visited us at the show.” Matrix Sound was able to showcase the Alcons LR24 system for the first time at Mediatech and Trevor Peters believes it was a risk that paid off. He says: “We were congratulated by so many people who heard the system that it felt like we had won an award on Friday. We had nothing but positive remarks about the Alcons Audio LR24s from competitors, engineers, company owners and the general public. It was very rewarding.” Without a doubt, 2013 saw a huge jump in the number of attending international manufacturers and principles, increasing to 178, who had an engaging and worthwhile experience at Mediatech. Key players in content creation and live event technology were able to participate in a unique platform for cutting edge technology, ample industry networking and product engagement with a relevant audience. Exhibitors across a number of different industry divisions agreed that this year’s exhibition was a monumental and beneficial event. “Mediatech 2013 really was an experience for us on another level, we knew we would have a high amount of client visits but didn’t expect the amount we got, there was stages we couldn’t fit enough people on a huge stand of 90sqm which is fairly big as it is. There was definitely an increased African presence this year which became evident when we were going through our leads and more than 40% were from African countries.” – Maldwyn Greenwood, CEO, SEGMA “Overall, we received very good exposure, good publicity and found Mediatech to be a worthwhile event for PENMAC and Dataton. It is very much at an International standard with very impressive participation from the local community.” – Malcolm Finley, Director at PENMAC Audio Visual



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“Mediatech was a definite step up this year, it certainly felt that of an international trade show, I always got great service and lively smiles out of the organisers and exhibitors, and had a fantastic feel for the event in

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general. A true Benchmark for Mediatech with recognisable growth from 2011›s rendition.” – Shaun Xavier, Marketing Manager, Stage Audio Works “We are absolutely ecstatic with the overall standard of the exhibition, with the international quality stands and the professional approach that the exhibitors took in leveraging their involvement at the exhibition. We are delighted with the attendance figures and the increase in African delegates. The amount of international manufacturers who made the trip out to support their local distributors was also fantastic. This made for a truly intercontinental show.” – Show director, Simon Robinson The next Mediatech Africa will take place at the Coca-Cola Dome from 15 – 17 July 2015.

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Mediatech Africa – global leader interviews Vale`re Huart-Gyors (Export Manager) Ayrton Vale`re shared with us that it was his first time at Mediatech and his first time in South Africa. “Mediatech is a very professional trade show, I have to remind myself that we are in Africa because in terms of organisation, product presentation and quality of visitors there is no difference in comparison to trade shows in Europe,” he says. Ayrton displayed their entire range of products at Mediatech 2013 but most notably and new to their product line are magic panels. “Magic panels are the new flagship of Ayrton in terms of innovation,” says Huart-Gyors. “Magic panels can be used in groups of 2, 4, 6, 8 and so on. They provide an endless rotation in both span and tilt movements, you can display video with them, and they can be used as a luminaire radio wireless receiver. If you have a large number of magic panels they can be used as a moving giant screen that provides 3D without the need for glasses,” explains Huart-Gyors. On Ayrton’s partnership with Sound Harmonics, he says: “We have a new exclusive distribution partnership with Sound Harmonics here in South Africa for two months now. They are a really great, proactive team with a good knowledge of our products so we are very happy to be working with them.”

Anthony Harrison (Middle East and Africa Sales Manager) Calrec Audio Ltd This was Anthony Harrison’s second time at Mediatech: “Mediatech 2013 has been really good for us this year; the show seems much busier, there are lots of very established customers and lots of students which is great because it gives us a chance to inspire the next generation of audio engineers.” “Calrec is doing pretty well at the moment in South Africa as our consoles have just been picked up by SuperSport and the SABC. Our


consoles are on the higher end of the market and I think we are definitely penetrating this market, but we do still have some work to do,” says Harrison. Calrec brought some cutting-edge audio technology to Mediatech: “The Hydra is our audio networking technology, what this allows is stage boxes to be distributed around a facility; multiple consoles linked together which allows you to switch productions between control rooms, in other words broadcast flexibility. It is a proprietary network protocol developed entirely by Calrec. Bluefin was the first audio DSP based on FPGA designs and we’ve expanded on that. With the Artemis console there’s Bluefin2 which, with the latest silicone technology, means it is more powerful. So in terms of innovation we’ve expanded on existing products in terms of energy efficiency and space saving,” explains Harrison. On Calrec’s partnership with Tru-Fi he says: “Tru-Fi Electronics are one of our longest standing distributors in the world, we’ve been with them for over 15 years now and they represent us really well.”

Stephane Gressier (International Sales Director) Chauvet Lighting It was Stephane Gressier’s first time at Mediatech. “We’ve had a wonderful experience at Mediatech. A lot of people inquiring about our product line, especially our professional range which is being launched here in South Africa for the first time. I think Mediatech is definitely on an international level, I visited a few other regional shows in the Middle East and this show is a notch up in my books,” says Gressier. Chauvet Lighting has been in partnership with Audio Sure for 10 years and Gressiercommented that the Audio Shure team are great to work with.

Ian Staddon (Vice President of Sales) DiGiCo “It’s my first time at Mediatech and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the

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MEDIATECH AFRICA SHOW REPORT stands, the presentations and more especially by the number of international representatives that have come down to South Africa for the show. The quality of the attendees here at Mediatech has been my personal highlight,” says Ian Staddon. DiGiCo manufactures a range of digital mixing consoles, Staddon explains: “Our main focus is live sound. The beauty of our consoles is that the platforms remain the same all the way through so if you learn how to use one console you can operate all of them. We use a different technology called FPGA (field-programmable gate array), which allows us to have all of the features working all of the time whether we’re working at 48kHz or 96kHz, and we can also add additional features to the software such as broadcast features which allow us to enhance the software in a number of ways.” Staddon adds that Tadco has been the DiGiCo distributor for a quite a few years: “DiGiCo is a small independent brand; we still manufacture everything in the UK. What we try to do when finding a distributor is not necessarily choosing the biggest distributor in the region but the most passionate about the industry, and we found that in Tadco.”

Anthony Wilkins (International Sales Manager) Jünger Audio It was Anthony Wilkins’ first time at Mediatech as well as his first time in South Africa. “Mediatech is extremely busy! I go to many trade shows around the world and personal experience usually shows that the attendance is getting less and less. It’s crazy how busy Mediatech has been, it’s fantastic! I wish every trade show was like this, Mediatech definitely holds its head up with the best of them,” says Wilkins. Jünger is a German company specialising in audio processing. The big focus for them at the moment is products to manage loudness, especially for television transmission. Jünger has numerous solutions to help broadcasters both measure and metre loudness to ensure that the viewer receives a consistent experience.

Michael Strathmann (Technical Sales) MA Lighting This is MA Lighting’s second time at Mediatech, Michael deals with technical sales and expressed to us that he loved South Africa and its people so much that when the opportunity arose to return to the country and Mediatech for a second time, he took


it immediately. “There are more people here, and much more to see, definitely of a higher frequency. It is a good mixture from sound, video, broadcast and lighting, and you don’t find that very often. So in that sense Mediatech is quite unique,” says Strathmann. MA Lighting brought with them their random gMA2 range of consoles, live software versions for video servers, 3D simulation and their new fader wing and command wing. On MA Lighting’s partnership with DWR, Strathmann says: “They are a fantastic team. They always know exactly what is going on, you never get the answer: ‘I don’t know’.”

Christian Latzelsberger (Head of Sales & Director Business Development) RME “It’s my first time at Mediatech and I’m very excited. The show has exceeded my expectations; there are a lot of quality attendants and a variety of interests,” says Christian Latzelsberger. RME have always been innovation leaders in the audio industry, Latzelsberger told us a bit more about their latest innovations: “Here at Mediatech we have the world’s first OctaMic XTC, it has eight microphone channel ins and four instrument ins, and in addition we also implemented ADAT, MADI and AES, so now it also functions as a router and a converter allowing you to use it for multiple applications.” “We also have the world’s first USB 3 sound card, the MADI XT; it is intended to have three MADI streams in. If you have a digital mixing console or other digital ins you can bring them in, and it also has two microphone ins. On the other side it has USB 3, and PCI express connectivity. So it is a very versatile and powerful unit which will be arriving in South Africa in two to three months,” explains Latzelsberger.

Freddy Sicko (Sales Manager) Shure Europe While it wasn’t Freddy Sicko’s first time in South Africa, it was his first time at Mediatech: “I’ve been really surprised by the size of the show. We have made a lot of very interesting and valuable contacts here. It’s a nice mixture between end customers, professional users and companies. I have no doubt that Mediatech will continue to grow.”

SHOW REPORT MEDIATECH AFRICA Shure brought their new retail wireless systems; PG, SM and Beta digital and analogue wireless microphone systems to Mediatech 2013. In recent research they discovered that their end customers are really microphone-centric: “All they really want is a quality microphone without a cable,” says Sicko. We asked him about his longstanding relationship with Wild and Marr: “We have been in a partnership with Wild and Marr for over 18 years. We have a very professional partner in them. They are able to offer any kind of solution or service, and besides the hard facts it is truly fun, the guys are wonderful and we have a very close relationship with them.” According to Sicko, Mediatech is of an international standard: “Besides the size of the show, I sense no major difference in comparison to international trade shows. Regarding the booths, the products and the quality of the visitors, I think that Mediatech is just as good as any international trade show.”

Thomas Valter TC Electronic “I’m really enjoying Mediatech, it is such a broad trade show covering everything from musical instruments, to production, to broadcast; there’s something for everyone. I’m truly surprised by the amount of guests at the show. It stands up to other international trade shows, the quality of the show is just the same,” says Thomas Valter.

TC Electronic is part of the TC Group. TC Electronic recently came out with a new model in their Dual Parameter Equalizer (DPE) Series, the DPM 50, these speakers are angled. TC Electronic is heavily involved with the loudness debate: “We have been contributing for many years to the development of new loudness standards. We are working hard to integrate those standards into our products and to actually get them out into the market,” explains Valter. The latest TC Electronic product launched is also a new technology platform for them – the DB6. The DB6 is a television and mobile television transmission processor that can handle loudness metering at the input and output stages, up or down conversion, loudness processing, on-line lip-sync delay and logging of all relevant loudness statistics all in one process.

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Florian Camerer interview

By Greg Bester

Mediatech 2013 saw the emergence of a three-day seminar entitled ’The African Loudness Summit’, organised by partners Asikhule, training professionals in the pro audio and broadcast industries; the issue at hand the grossly fluctuating levels between channel programming. We all know the frustration of having to lunge for the volume control every time there is an ad break and this is what the loudness seminar aimed to address, helped in no small part by its guest speaker, Florian Camerer. Camerer is a member and chairman of the European Broadcasting Union’s PLOUD (EBU group on loudness) and architect of the proposed solution to the problem: the EBU R128. Pro Systems journalist Greg Bester caught up with Mr Camerer to talk about the summit and what it means for broadcasters in South Africa. Florian, what drew you to audio? Very early on I started to play instruments, sing in choirs, playing in bands and stuff like that so I was always really keen on music. Most audio engineers come from the music side but I was always interested in sound in general. So when I looked at a career path I didn’t look at broadcasting specifically but it was high on the list so I started with electrical engineering for a technical background and then I did some sound engineer courses too. So the combination of the music side, the sound side and the technical side of it kind of led me to job opportunities in broadcast. ORF was the first employer I had and still my only employer. I then realised what universe lay ahead of me and I’ve never looked back. I am audio to the core.

So when you started out was the digital age starting to take over? Well, yes, it was slowly happening. It was the beginning so we were still on analogue components in TV. DAT recorders started appearing in 1993 so it was the beginning of the transition period.

And you were the first to mix surround sound for a documentary about the Russian Artic? Yes, at that time it was matrixed surround – so Dolby Surround – because we only transmitted two channels. But I was also pushing discrete surround sound very heavily around the company which resulted in the ORF becoming the first public broadcaster in Europe to transmit surround sound in 2003 with the New Years’ concert. It was also the first European 5.1 live concert transmission ever. So we are pioneers in surround sound and continue to be. We followed two years’ later with our main cultural programme broadcast on satellite radio with around 20 5.1 concerts per month.


Florian Camerer

So working back in those days did you start picking up a loudness problem at that time? (Laughs) Well who hasn’t? Everybody knows from the consumer side starting 15 years ago the loudness differences due to hypercompression. The effects started becoming more noticeable.

MEDIATECH AFRICA SHOW REPORT I’m aware of problems on the music side called the ‘loudness wars’ but also in broadcast?

Please tell me a bit about your involvement in the R128 standard.

Yes, absolutely. Of course, it was always the ads that we blamed; commercials too loud, promos too loud. That was the generic crystallisation stone where we could point blame. But it wasn’t only the ads and commercials; others used hyper compression as well to crank it up such as hyper compressed documentaries. So the loudness war, while not to the extent that it reached the music world, still reached the broadcasting world to a very noticeable and annoying level. It was listening complaint number one for many years.

Because I have been the coordinator and chair of PLOUD and a sound engineer myself, I have contributed some of the figures and hard facts that went into R128. For instance the 400ms momentary time window is my initiative. There’s some background behind it but it certainly came from my side. My main role has been political in that I have driven to synchronise manufacturers and users so that our standard is as open and neutral as possible with no proprietary technology in that all the measures are totally signal agnostic; the lowest common denominator and a standard that will work anywhere.

Why do you think that was – a lack of education or of production sensibility? You know, it’s kind of a hen and egg problem. We had a certain modulation scheme in the analogue days when still transmitted in FM, which I’ve learned is still happening in South Africa. We had this meter called the ’quasi-peak programme meter’ where you don’t see everything including all the nice peaks that contribute the openness of a mix. This still allowed transmission, however, because of analogue headroom. At one point in time which is entirely impossible to trace, the modulation paradigm; having a certain studio level with headroom and translating that to the frequency modulation side with a certain reference deviation and maximum deviation to provide that headroom, was violated. The reference level in the studio has been attached to the maximum deviation and that meant that all the headroom vanished. So all these nice transients of the original content had to be cut off with limiters and the result was the station then appeared a few dB louder than the rest but all the headroom was gone so it sounded more compressed.

So do you think they saw that as an advantage? Absolutely! The louder station wins. If you zap through the dial, that was the idea. This is slowly turning around but at least that was the paradigm and how it started. And so, other broadcasters were kind of forced to follow because they couldn’t afford to be the softest station. It was all about advertising revenue and management asking you why it was the case.

Do you feel that the processing employed by many broadcasters is almost like a band aid or fix for a problem that shouldn’t be there in the first place? Yes, absolutely. Because you get more or less compressed material that in the world of peak level normalisation leads to higher or lower loudness. In order to counteract that, processors were put into place that levelled out these things with compressing the more dynamic material. That was a solution that can only be a band aid solution because it’s the worst of both worlds. It destroys the dynamics and it’s not a systematic solution to the problem.

Tell me about PLOUD. PLOUD is a group within the EBU that has initiated all this loudness work. I have tried to get such a group going in the EBU for quite some time and after two years or so the EBU agreed, ok, you get your group but you have to chair it. So I slipped into that role. The ‘P’ comes from an old structure in the EBU where it was divided into the Production Management Committee and the Network Management Committee so we were originally P/LOUD. Eventually there was a restructuring and we got rid of the slash.


And by keeping is simple. Yes, keeping it really simple. R128 is in essence one page. However, keeping it simple is usually the hardest work. We really thought about every single word in R128 and we’re pretty happy with it.

You mentioned K-weighting in your talk. Is that related to Bob Katz’s K-system? No, it’s a misunderstanding and is not related to Bob Katz. That’s why I’m not entirely happy with the letter K. The ITU guys had no clue about Katz’s K-System which is related to dynamics and loudness. He has a set of different numbers for listening levels which forces one to mix more or less dynamically. But it doesn’t have anything to do with the K-weighting filter. Although, Bob Katz is very aware of it and he will love the day when he can master to our R128 specs. He is actually a member of a sub-group of PLOUD together with Bob Ludwig and Thomas Lund from TC Electronic. They are a small group called the Music Loudness Alliance.

Being here in South Africa have you had a chance to talk to any broadcasters? Yes, I have been to M-NET twice and talked to the guys there, which was highly encouraging. It was very good; they know their stuff. It looks like R128 is going to happen there. I also spent two days talking at the SABA conference talking to African delegates from all over the continent to acquaint them with the idea of what this is all about. Many guys from production houses also ask questions, so it’s looking very good.

You said we’re in transition phase because we have a lot of analogue broadcasting going on. Do you think this is our biggest hurdle? You know, there are ways to combine both worlds. It comes down to the receiver manufacturers that levels coming out of the digital and analogue decoders match. That’s entirely doable. Coming from one source feeding both analogue and digital chains with the same R128 compliant material ensures deviation and demodulation levels match.

So it’s a calibration issue? Yes, it’s a calibration issue. So if the calibration that is in place now is set up properly it shouldn’t be impossible at all to match both worlds. Of course, if analogue is phased out completely there’s less room for error.

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Sounding out the Big 5 One of my favourite parts of Mediatech Africa, whether as a visitor in previous years or as a journalist, is the outdoor sound demos. It’s a rare opportunity to be able to listen to almost all of the major loudspeaker systems available in our market in one area in order to

By Greg Bester However, luckily for us it arrived the on the last day and we were finally able to hear what all the fuss is about. From the first note it was clear that the claims made by Alcons were more or less true. I was instantly impressed by the clarity and ‘quickness’ of the top end. The midrange seemed smooth and natural and because of the increased top end intelligibility, the stereo image danced around my ears in an ethereal way. I like. I like a lot.

get a bird’s eye view of their performance and overall


sound quality. However, to extract an effective comparison in these kinds of demonstrations it is of paramount importance to listen to the same programme material at the same perceived loudness, otherwise the ear will be easily tricked into thinking a system is better when in fact it is just louder. Well, that is exactly what was done this year. In the intro sessions, a pre-mixed track of three sample recordings was given to each distributor to play back through each system at 85dBSPL so that the listeners may form an objective opinion. I was there to listen to multiple sessions throughout the three-day ordeal and this review outlines my top 5 contenders for the best sounding systems showcased at Mediatech.

Alcons Audio LR24 Truth be told, the Alcons LR24 is not available in South Africa yet but has been in the pipeline for release for quite a while and has left many fans of the Netherlands-based company waiting eagerly with bated breath. The LR24 is a dual 12-inch medium format line array system that features a 14-inch tall high frequency ribbon driver, which is the secret to its sound. Alcons Audio, unlike many other manufacturers using dome compression drivers through specially designed waveguides, opted instead to develop the Pro-RBN driver because, as they claim, it produces a ’naturally cylindrical wave front‘ which is essentially the goal of any line source system. Alcons also claims that due to the inherent agility of ribbon drivers, transient response is increased dramatically and colouration due to compression driver distortion is basically eliminated. At Mediatech Africa 2013 we almost had to give up hope in hearing the LR24 since there was a problem with the plane that was set to deliver the system to our shores via SA distributors Matrix Sound.


The VTX V25 is JBL’s latest offering in line source technology. Following on the success of their previous Vertec systems, the VTX brings a slew of new technologies and patents the table and a heightened sense of quality that is immediately evident when hearing the system. The V25 is a full-size three-way high-directivity line array element. It features dual 15” differential drive woofers coming in at 2000W each, mounted in die-cast aluminium baffles. Probably the most interesting aspect of this system is the inclusion of the new D2 driver, a dual diaphragm compression driver that includes many innovations like specialised phase plugs and dramatically decreased distortion at higher levels. The VTX as a whole boasts many new patents in its design. After hearing the VTX at the Rhema church in Randburg thanks to SA distributors Wild and Marr, I knew exactly what to expect. These speakers seem to ‘glow’ audio and have a fantastic tonal balance. The top end is dramatically different from the Vertec series and seems to have smoothed out quite a bit while the midrange is clear and unobtrusive. Of course, coupled to the S28 subwoofers they make an immensely powerful system with a lot of headroom and an even coverage.

Nexo STM The STM system concept is to provide three different modules that can be assembled into their rigging system to create smaller or larger systems based on the application. The three modules include: The STM M46 main module, the STM B112 bass module and the STM S118 sub module. The main module incorporates four 6.5” LF/MF drivers and four HF compression drivers with a max peak SPL coming in at a gargantuan 145dB. The bass module includes a single 3000W +/ – 3cm excursion 12” LF driver with a max SPL of 141dB. The sub module includes a single 18” LF driver with a peak SPL of 143dB. The system assembled at Mediatech by SA distributors Tadco was three main, three bass, and three sub modules per side in ground stack configuration. Firstly, for the size of the system, the sound was simply huge. I and others could not believe the amount of bass that we were hearing from six single-18” drivers. However, because the arrays were ground stacked the HF waveguides were pointed directly at my head so the top end sounded a little bit hyped. I assume that if the arrays were flown we would get a lot better impression.

Martin Audio W8LM Martin Audio is gathering a huge following worldwide thanks the success of their ground breaking MLA series. At this years’ Mediatech SA distributors Audiosure rigged up the W8LM, a dual-8” mini three-way line array system. The enclosure features an eight-inch LF frequency driver, an eight-inch MF driver and twin one-inch HF drivers fed into Martin Audio’s proprietary constant directivity horn as seen on their W8L Longbow and W8LC line arrays. The W8LM impressed me immensely on the day with its fantastic transient response and overall clarity. Given its small size it is quite astonishing what big sound this system can produce and I was left wanting very little from it in terms of tonal balance and stereo imaging which, by the way, was fantastic. The localisation cues were going off like fireworks in my brain and it just immersed me into the sound further. My only complaint was that the second day I heard the system it seemed to sound a little different but that just could have been me!

dB Technologies DVA T4 I love underdog systems that deliver the goods when everyone least expects it. dB Technologies, distributed in South Africa by Viva Afrika, showcased their DVA T4 system among others at Mediatech Africa this year and gave the competitors costing much more a big run for their money. The DVA T4 is an active three-way line array system that combines an eight-inch LF driver, a 6.5-inch MF driver and dual one-inch HF

SHOW REPORT MEDIATECH AFRICA compression drivers in an active line source enclosure. The built-in Class-D amplifier delivers a total of 420W RMS to the drivers in 100W(HF) x100W(MF)x220W(LF) configuration. The on-board processing includes 24-bit/48kHz DSP and a dual active limiter for multiband RMS/peak limiting and thermal protection. After hearing three other high end contenders before the DVA T4 the bar was indeed high and expectations were low. But this little line array held its ground and turned out to be one of the favourites of the day, delivering an astonishing tonal balance across the spectrum. Paired with a ground-stacked end-fire array of DVA S30N dual-18” subwoofers, the sound was full and chest pounding. However the impression was not heightened solely because of the bass. The top end was sparkly and clean with little perceivable distortion while the midrange retained the clarity and warmth expected from a high end system. Given the price of this little system, power, clarity and sweetness were delivered effectively.

The wrap One thing that the outdoor sound demos showed me this year is that there are many good line arrays on the market today, irrespective of price. In fact, I don’t envy the person who has to choose one between them all to add to their arsenal. There were others not mentioned in this review that also impressed me which made it even more difficult to pick five that I liked. The margin of quality is narrowing in this arena which, I suppose, is a good thing for the listener!

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Studio & Broadcast PRODUCT REVIEW

Allen & Heath Qu-16 review

Following the success of their GLD range, Allen & Heath once again brings a versatility and power together into a compact package with the Qu-16, their latest digital console offering. But this little beast is so much more than merely a mixer. It boasts a fantastic array of features across multiple applications, sealed up nicely into a slick, modern package.


By Greg Bester

Allen & Heath, the British audio company famous for their warm sounding analogue consoles and fantastic EQs, have evolved like any front leading audio equipment manufacturer, starting with the custom MOD1 quadraphonic console built for Pink Floyd in the early 1970s, and culminating in their flagship iLive digital console series today. Their name can also be found on a number of studio mixer/audio interfaces in the ZED range and their GS-R24M is an innovative mix of a high quality analogue console, a Firewire audio interface and a DAW control surface. Given this wide range of digital and analogue technologies A&H has under its belt, it is no wonder that the Qu-16 was born, filling the gap between the GLD-80 and ZED ranges and bringing their technologies together.

Features Allen & Heath describes the Qu-16 as a: ’rack mountable digital mixer for live, studio and installation’. The goal here was obviously compact versatility. Basically, to cut to the chase, the Qu-16 is three things: a digital mixer, an audio interface, and a DAW controller. But it doesn’t end there. It has a few more tricks up its sleeve that we’ll talk about shortly. First, the main I/O features. The Qu-16 has got 16 local mono inputs (mic/line, XLR and TRS), a dedicated talkback input, three stereo inputs (TRS), four stereo FX returns, 16 busses, 12 mix outputs (LR, Mono, Mix 1-4, Stereo Mix 1 – 3), four stereo FX engines, an Alt out, a 2TRK out, and one AES3 digital

PRODUCT REVIEW Studio & Broadcast output. The Alt, AES3 and 2TRK outputs can be individually assigned in the mixer routing facility to be fed from a variety of sources. Considering its size, this is already impressive. Also, there is a dSNAKE remote audio port for connecting to A&H’s GLD-AR2412 or GLD-AR84 remote stage boxes and a network port for connecting to a computer for MIDI over TCP/IP control or to a wireless router for live mixing control via the Qu-Pad app. I’m told that when using the 24-channel GLD-AR2412 only the first 16 inputs are available. Each input channel is driven by A&H’s recallable AnaLOGIQ preamps. This means that you get total recall with every scene change without having to physically adjust each preamp again. Of course, you can’t have total recall without motorised faders and the Qu-16 is no exception. Every fader moves. As mentioned, the Qu-16 is also a multi-track audio interface. A USB port on the rear of the console enables users to connect to their Mac for instant, 24x22 Core Audio-compliant multi-track recording. This disappointed me a little bit; however, as this means that it does not work with a Windows PC. Hopefully A&H will decide to add PC drivers in future updates. In any case, using the Qu-Drive direct multi-track recording feature, it is possible to record and playback multi-track audio directly from USB drives plugged into the console. Nice! The usual suspects that one would expect to get on any digital mixer are all there. There’s trim, polarity, HPF, gate, insert, 4-band PEQ, compressor and delay for all inputs; inserts, 1/3 octave GEQ, compressor and delay on the main LR and mono mix outputs; and inserts, 4-band PEQ, compressor and delay on stereo mix outputs. There are four stereo iLive FX engines as well, and along with the built-in signal generator and RTA with peak band indication, you’ll never need to lug an external rack again. Rack? What’s that? Additionally, all features are nicely indicated and navigable in the 800x480 full colour touchscreen display. Still, there’s more. The Qu-16, as mentioned, is a DAW controller. When connected as a USB audio interface, control data will be streamed concurrently to and from your DAW. All that is required is to assign it in your DAW. What protocol this data is carried by, exactly, is not clear from the A&H documentation. Now, there’s one thing to know about the Qu-16 in terms of its firmware. V1.0 does not support the following features: • USB key transfer of scenes and mixer setup user assignable custom layer • Qu-Pad wireless remote app for iPad • dSNAKE port for remote audio connection • Compatible with ME personal mixing system • User permissions to restrict operator access Apparently these features will be added to the V2.0 firmware in the summer of 2013.

In use Unpacking the Qu-16 from its box I was immediately impressed by its sleek construction. It looks somewhat similar to a serifed ‘L’ on its side, which brings a very modern twist to the whole package. This makes the enclosure very thin and lightweight, which of course belies the true power of this little mixer. First thing I did was put it next to my home studio setup, plug in the USB cable to the Mac, plug my studio monitors into the Alt outs, and turn it on. Sure enough, it was instantly recognised by the Audio and Midi Setup dialogue of OS X. Since I only had a couple of days with the Qu-16 and didn’t really have a gig to use it on at that point in time, I decided to take the route of using it as an audio interface and feed

it some audio from the computer to get a feel for its facilities and processing. I must admit it took me a little while to understand how to assign the incoming audio streams from the computer as, of course, I didn’t read the manual first and kind of just took an approach of happenstance discovery. Turns out the USB functionality has to be switched from Qu-Drive to USB-B Streaming in the USB setup dialogue and the USB button in the preamp section of each channel turned on. Once all was assigned properly I was getting clear audio on every and any channel from the computer. I then chose to feed an un-mastered mix of previous material I had recorded to get a feel for the on-board processing. I enabled all the FX channels and fed the audio into the first stereo input channel in order to link the stereo processing I was about to apply. First thing I did was play around with the EQ and compression. I found the EQ was typically smooth, which is to be expected of Allen & Heath. Boosts and cuts sounded great and even at extreme settings, there was minimal phase shift and brittleness. I found the compressor to be very effective and it fattened things up nicely. This particular mix was a live mix directly off of the stereo bus of a console so it had a lot of snare and lacked bass. Setting the compressor to a fast attack with a medium release quelled the snare a bit and caused the bass to step forward a little due to the decreased dynamic range. I then turned my attention to the FX engines to see if I could add a bit of space to the otherwise dry and tightly focussed recording. I set the first FX engine to an EMT plate reverb and, to my ears, it was just luscious. It really gave the mix the space it was lacking and I was sold. What I liked about the FX is that the graphic representation of the processor changes through the categories to look ‘retro’, for want of a better word. To me this just makes the process a bit more pleasant than looking at a sterile GUI.

The wrap I had a chance to check out the Qu-16 at Prolight and Sound 2013 in Frankfurt and was instantly impressed by its features. I found it easy to navigate and a joy to mix on, which added to its allure. Being such a small footprint mixer it’s actually quite amazing how many features they’ve been able to pack in and personally I can’t think of any other product in its class that can accomplish the same things, never mind with equal precision, but even at all! Well done, A&H, you’ve hit this one out of the park.


Studio & Broadcast STUDIO TIPS

Photo by Matt Thomas. Courtesy of Whitewood Recording Studio

Recording and mixing drums in the modern DAW: Part 2 – Finding the right spot

Greg Bester discusses choices and placement of mics around a drumkit in a studio recording situation. Finding the right spot to put the close mikes is a similar exercise which sometimes requires an assistant. The fact of the matter is that there is no way you can merely eyeball where and how to place your close drum mics. It’s just not humanly possible. You may get lucky. That’s entirely possible. But the only way to truly know is to move them around the relevant drum until you capture the right tone and the least amount of bleed. Every room and drum set setup is differently so they will come with their own set of variables. These cannot be circumvented by speculation so it is wise to always find that sweet spot before pressing record. So, once we have assembled the best possible components we can in our recording chain, placed the drummer in a comfortable position in the room that sounds best to our ears, it is time to start miking.

I The fact of the matter is that there is no way you can merely eyeball where and how to place your close drum mics. It’s just not humanly possible. You may get lucky. That’s entirely possible. 64

These are generally the types of mics I tend to use for each drum:

Kick/Inside – AKG D112: I use the AKG D112 because it is a large diaphragm dynamic microphone that can handle the low end and high SPL of a kick drum whilst allowing for a clear attack and chunky mids. I also like the Sennheiser e602 or the Audix D6 for a more tailored or scooped sound. Nowadays I would say the D112 and the Shure Beta 52 are the most common mics that I see for this application. The D112 is known for being more on the ‘thuddy’ side whilst the Beta 52 has more of a tailored, ‘pillowy’ sound. Other notable mentions to handle this duty are the EV RE20, the Audio Technica AE2500, the AKG D12, or the Beyerdynamic M88.

Kick/Outside – Rode NTK: Or any other quality large diaphragm tube condenser. This is a large diaphragm tube condenser from the Australian microphone company, Rode. I use this mic to give a little extra low end and a more air to the kick drum to round out the isolated and sterile sound of the inside mic. Most LDCs will handle this duty well because most of them can handle high SPL very well. The Neumann U47 was the professional standard for this application for many years and if you have one available, use it!

Snare/Top – Shure SM57 (or Beta 57 for a brighter sound): An industry standard. If you’re looking for more attack from your snare but want to attain that naturally (without EQ), try the Shure Beta 57

STUDIO TIPS Studio & Broadcast because it has a more pronounced upper mid-range presence peak than the SM57. Dynamic mics are mostly selected for drums because they handle the transients better as a result of their rugged and slower moving elements and can also take high doses of sound pressure. However that doesn’t mean a condenser microphone can’t do a great job. There are millions of other options out there that would work just as well on snare drum but what I would suggest is start with the SM57 to gain a reference and move on from there as it has been used on countless albums and is tried and tested.

Snare/Bottom –

(or beta 57 for a brighter sound): The main purpose of this mic is to pick up the sound of the strainer on the bottom of the snare drum. I like to use the same mic as the top as I find that when you flip the polarity, a more even sound is produced. But that’s just my personal taste. Other engineers may prefer another mic. This is a matter of taste so you may find you need either a brighter or a darker sound and will have to choose a mic accordingly. That will provide that sound. This is one of those things that cannot be taught and comes by experiencing different microphones. NB. As far as the snare mics go, generally the bottom mic’s polarity is flipped in relation to the top mic and is blended accordingly to mix in the sound of the strainers. This is because the bottom mic, being that it’s pointed up at the bottom head underneath the snare drum, will naturally be opposite in polarity to the top mic. This occurs as a result of the diaphragm’s movement being directly analogous to the movement of the drum skin when struck. When the top head is caused to depress by being struck by the drumstick, the bottom head reacts oppositely in relation to the axis of the bottom mic and is captured as such. In short, the bottom microphone is capturing the opposite motion of the bottom head in relation to the top head, i.e. the reverse polarity of the pressure wave created by the striking the top head. This will usually cause certan phase cancellations when combined with the top mic so initiating a polarity reversal by way of your mixers’ channel polarity switch will bring both signals back into phase. However, this does not mean that it will sound best for the material so check to see if the polarity reversal will supply the sound you are looking for. Once again, let your ears decide.

Hi Hat – AKG c418 mini-condensor: This is a mini condenser that was originally created by AKG for percussion instruments. Being as such, the microphones’ response is bright with a presence peak in the high upper midrange and a gentle bass roll-off starting at around 500Hz at a 6dB/oct slope. This, to me, makes it a perfect candidate for miking hi hat as it’s nice and bright with an unobtrusive midrange and a nicely rolled off low-end. This supplies me with a good sound before it hits the tape that never needs to be EQed. Alternatively, any other decent small diaphragm condenser will work such as Shure SM81 or an AKG 451.

Toms – Sennheiser MKII 421: These microphones have been the industry standard for miking toms for decades although any good quality cardioid dynamic microphone will work as well. SM57s will handle these duties just fine and so will some large diaphragm condensers (some engineers use U87s!), which is fine, but I prefer dynamic mics for rock/pop because they are more directional and therefore tamer when it comes to cymbal bleed. What makes the 421’s so nice is that they are clean, punchy, and focused while supplying a great deal of top end rejection from the outward extremes which makes them perfect in the battle of minimising cymbal bleed when recording drums. This is

“In my experience, a seasoned studio drummer who is aware of the basics of studio recording will be able to adapt his kit slightly to accommodate microphones. All drummers should know that failure to compromise might mean a compromise in sound quality if the engineer cannot capture what is necessary to suit the material.”

because at the upper frequencies the polar response of the microphone becomes narrower so cymbal bleed is minimized while the on-axis sound, ie. the tom, is maximised.

Overheads –

Neumann TLM 103 matched pair: I prefer large diaphragm condensers for the overheads but any matched pair of small diaphragm condensers (as best quality as possible, of course) will work fine as well, especially if you’re using an X/Y configuration, which is the method of aligning the capsules of two microphones vertically at around 90 degrees. This results in a focused stereo image that collapses well into mono. To me, the overheads are the most important in the drum kit miking process, so careful attention must be paid to their position and the quality of their capture. A quick note on overhead mics is that, for me, this is where the sound of the drumset starts. Early on, it was a major revelation to me when I realized that the overheads are not there to merely capture the cymbals. In fact, I would say that starting with a great overhead sound that captures a balanced image of the entire kit (as always, to match your production goals) is probably the best approach. This forces you to, firstly, get the drums themselves sounding as best as possible and, secondly, to get a good sound with just two mics. Finally, when it comes to choosing overhead microphones, the options are myriad and varied. Would I recommend dynamic mics as overheads or even a single mic, i,e, a mono overhead? Sure, if it fits the vision of the production. I do think it’s safe to say that the options are open. In my experience, the most common choice of microphone when it comes to overhead miking is the condenser or capacitor variety followed in close second by ribbon mics. Notable mentions for overhead applications are: AKG C12V, AKG 414, Royer Ribbons, Neumann U67/87, RCA 77 and many others, including worry free stereo microphones. The overall placement of the microphones all comes down to knowing their polar responses and placing them in order to capture what you want and to reject what you don’t. This can be a tricky exercise, especially when dealing with a drummer who sets his kit up very tightly so getting a mic in there proves to be almost impossible. In my experience, a seasoned studio drummer who is aware of the basics of studio recording will be able to adapt his kit slightly to accommodate microphones. All drummers should know that failure to compromise might mean a compromise in sound quality if the engineer cannot capture what is necessary to suit the material. So, after you get the guy to move his splash over a few inches, the tracking can begin.


Marius Marais

Studio & Broadcast INDUSTRY EXPERT

Gavan Eckhart Gavan Eckhart is one of South Africa’s top Sound Engineers that rules under the radar. He is a virtual expert in almost every area of audio including but not limited to recording, mixing, live sound, post-production, mastering and broadcast audio. Quite simply, he can handle anything you throw at him. Looking at his client list, the mind boggles: Miriam Makeba, Stimela, William Kentridge, Freshlyground, Lucky Dube, Marcus Wyatt and Phillip Miller, to name a few, which gives testament to his output of excellent work and steadfast production ethics. He’s recorded orchestras, mixed film scores, recorded and mixed a plethora of artists and bands, handled location recording for top local TV shows and toured the world as a live sound engineer, representing the cream of the crop of our local professional community. Pro-Systems journalist Greg Bester caught up with Gavan at his studio to learn more about him and get his perspective on all things audio. Here’s what he had to say. Tell me how you got into sound. I got into sound because it was easier than music, or so I thought. Or rather, playing music as an instrumental skill. I had grown up around music and always sought out to be a musician. I went to music lessons from the age of five and music was always in the family.

Yes, your father is the famous saxophonist Eckie Eckhart, isn’t he? Yes, he bestowed upon me a great many gifts he got from working at a music shop like harmonicas and drums and recorders. And not just recorders but nice recorders like Yamahas, etc. From recorder it was piano and from piano it was the saxophone. I then tried drums for a while and then tried bass after carrying around drums. I then got a massive bass amp which made me not want to play bass anymore! (laughs).

When did audio come into the equation? Well one day I happened to walk by a jazz club when my dad was looking for a gig and the owner was in need of a sound engineer. Of course, before that I was throwing rave parties with my friends and since my father owned a PA, I was always roped into being the sound provider for these no budget, teenage jaunts which would include things like procuring electricity from lamp poles at Zoo Lake. Then I learned very quickly about electricity and how it hurts! So I already had a bit of grounding in audio, which prepared me for working at the Bassline in Melville, which was my first real gig.

How did the Bassline help develop your skills? Well, I got a lot of guidance along the way from some very good teachers, one of whom was Ian Osrin who suggested I bypass the EQ at the Bassline, which I wasn’t allowed to touch being a junior engineer, and which subsequently made the system sound like a real sound system.

So that was your first encounter with Mr Osrin? It was indeed. That was my first foray into sound as it should be as a basic philosophy. Because we become so involved with the process


Gavan Eckhart

we often don’t look at the basics and go back to the principles of the fundamentals. Any adjustments you make should be well considered because often the best thing to do is nothing at all as opposed to over complicated smoke and mirrors. I generally try to maintain a neutral profile as a conduit between the material and audience.

Did you study audio at all? Well while I was working at the Bassline I went further with my audio studies at In House Audio College which had a supplementary effect in that I then started understanding the peripheral, fundamental and theoretical approach to audio. Of course, I had already had a very hands-on experience at the Bassline which pulled it all together. As time went on my position at the Bassline became tenuous and that is where Ian Osrin, who owns a studio, came into the picture again.

What did you learn from Mr Osrin? Well, Ian is multi-faceted. He does a lot of broadcast recordings, studio work and multi-track live recordings so those are the three main branches of the audio world that I got exposed to, along with some really interesting clients.

Did you find that an easy transition? Did you get more inspired by the studio? At the time as a budding young engineer I was able to buy myself a PC at great expense along with some software which allowed me to produce music in my bedroom on PC speakers. I initially started recording live performances at the Bassline on a Roland VS880, would dump them into Cubase one at a time and then line them up manually. The point is that I was learning all the time and attempting to achieve certain things without much guidance. I also had friends who were interested in the same thing so that helped.

Tell me about your work with Miriam Makeba. By the time I started working at the Digital Cupboard I wasn’t completely oblivious to what was going on so it wasn’t long before I had progressed from basic tea boy and tracking guy to a little bit more in control. Often projects would begin with me as tea boy and end with me mastering them and Miriam Makeba’s Reflections album, on which I was only supposed to work on the pre-production, was one of them. That was the first album I really started functioning on and I ended up being nominated for Best Engineer at the SAMAs.

All this time were you still working in live sound? I think it initially started when I subbed for Dave Seagull because he was unavailable and because I was more available than the other guys I got a chance to do a lot of touring with bands like Stimela and Marcus Wyatt. At the time there were a lot of opportunities in the live music festival scene. There were big festivals happening every weekend so it was quite lucrative to be a studio engineer during the week and then a live engineer on the weekend.

Social Seen at Mediatech Africa 2013 – Coca-Cola Dome, Johannesburg

Marcus Bowes and Jubulani Khoza

Newton Stanford, Steve Goldberg, Paula Zapata, Lauren Badenhorst and Pieter Badenhorst

Chanti Raven, Matt Raven, Timothy Hamman and Carl Nicholl

Atul Joshi and Khalid Kachawa

Andre Bragard-de Naeyer, Robbi Nassi, Suren Lutchman, Mags Schoeman, Linda Swart and Grant Olivier

Basey Nchoe, Gladwin Letsoalo, Denzil Francke and Dennis Msimango

James Garden, Quentin Barkhuizen and Michael Hall

Jess Goedhals, Johan Chandler, Bryan Deuchar and Gordan Hiles

Dennis Herold and Shaun Kerr

Zane Cretten, Harry Gladow, George van Gills, Mark Geldoff, Jaoao Martins Bastos, Remco van Kuilenberg, Helmut Protte and Kevan Jones

Tumelo Zulu and Teboho Monare

Melanie Robinson, Simon Robinson, Chanelle Ellaya, Greg Bester, Ida Achiume, Carly Barnes, Jessica Neumann, Claire Badenhorst and Simone de Beer

Tagwireyi Rungano and Allan Chiweshe

Shaun de Ponte, Marius van Straaten, Stephen Nell and Werner Uys

Bernard Pienaar and Luis Madeira

Mark Hull, Gustav Teitge and Anton van Wyk

Gianluca Dalessandro and Oscar Brinkman

Chris Vermaak and Sarel Hlungwani


Social Mediatech Africa 2013 Platinum Stand award winners – Coca-Cola Dome, Jhb

Prosound: Francois Lotter, Grant Scott and Terry Acres

Concilium: Andrew Cole and Steve Alves

DWR Distribution: Joshua Cutts, Bruce Riley, Nick Britz, Robert Izzett and Duncan Riley

Christie: Dale Miller, Brant Eckett, Phil Lord and Annalise Hodgson

VIva Afrika: Luis Madeira and Bernard Pienaar

Inala: Viwe Gantsho, Colin Wainer, Zak Shaikh, Hanli Reinecke, Leander Serrao, Anton van Staden and Goodman Siwela

CEDIA Evening – Black Eagle Conference Centre, Roodekrans

Ivan Potter (iLed), Richard Jowett (AV Designs) and Bruce Kinnear (iLed)

Justin Mamulis (iLed) and Bartho Erasmus (Elite Tech)

Pieter Venter (AV Gurus), Kyle White (Radionics Distribution) and Justin Fothergill (Radionics Distribution)

Dean Tapuch (Integrated Homes) and Wendy Griffiths (CEDIA)

Darren Salkow (Élan), Oren Prato (Intello Home), Sebastian Maritz (iLed), Justin Mamulis (iLed) and Warren Hunter (Intello Home)

Christian Beukes (Sphere Custom Design), Geoff Meads (Presto AV), Matt Dodd (CEDIA) and Kevin Bishton (KMB Digital)

Digico Training – Tadco offices, Jhb

A training session in progress


Supersport’s Refilowe Kotsedi and Sanele Gumede with Tadco’s Kyle Robson

Perry Elias (Tadco)

3-Way Active 3-Way Active Line Array Model

Line Array Mod 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

Weight: 14.2Kg

Weight: 29.9Kg

Dimensions mm: 580(W) x 240(H) x 327(D)

Dimensions mm: 580(W) x 386(H) x 430(D)

Active speakers Pro-active investment viva afrika

Viva Afrika Sound and Light (Pty) Ltd Unit 2, 2 Drakensburg Road Longmeadow Business Park West, Westfield PO Box 4709, Rivonia, 2128, South Africa Tel: 011 250-3280, Fax: 011 608-4109,

Block C, Unit 1, Kimbult Industrial Park 9 Zeiss Road, Laserpark, Honeydew, 2170 Tel: +27 11 794 5023 Fax: + 27 11 794 5702

Ps july aug13 web  

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