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Vol.XXV No.4

CONTENTS

August 2014

D E PA R T M E N T S 9 Input What Goes Up Must Come Down By Derek Sylwesterzak

10 Signals Record Number Of Attendees Move InfoComm 2014 Forward; Harman Announces Acquisition Of AMX; IMSTA FESTA Coming To Toronto For 2014; Techni+Contact Appoints New Western Canadian Sales Rep; Yorkville Sound’s Jack Long Named To Order Of Canada … and more news inside.

18 Profile André Doucette Ryan McCambridge Jim Yakabuski

22 Product Tests Yamaha QL1 Digital Mixing Console Beyerdynamic TG 100 Wireless System Applied Acoustics Systems String Studio VS-2 Plug-in

44 Products Yamaha NEXO GEO M620 Line Array; Lab.gruppen D Series Amplifier Platform; Bose ControlSpace Input & Output Accessory Cards; Auralex Hemisphere Model 180 3D Sound Diffusors; Audio-Technica ES945/LED & ES947/LED Boundary Microphones … and more products inside.

53 Advertisers’ Index 56 Sound Advice 58 Itinerary 60 Classifieds 62 Project File

F E AT U R E S 26 Doubling Down On Sound

By Michael Raine

At Grey Eagle Resort & Casino

When Grey Eagle Resort & Casino began a $65-million expansion in fall 2012, there was little doubt about who would handle the AV components. After all, Westbury National had designed and implemented the casino’s audio and video systems during the original construction, and when you’re on a roll, you stick with what’s working.

30 New Scotland Yard

By Andrew King

Nova Scotia’s Quaint & Quirky New Creative Hub After watching his previous private studio fill up with gear – so much that he eventually had to rent a separate storage space – musician Joel Plaskett went in search of a bigger facility that could properly house his wares and, more importantly, boost his recording capabilities and enhance his workflow. Read the story for what he found.

34 TD Place Stadium

By Andrew King

A New Look & Sound For Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park

COVER PHOTO: The new theatre at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, courtesy of Westbury National.

Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park has hosted one of the city’s most iconic sporting venues since the 1870s; however, in 2007, cracks were found in the south side structure. On July 18, 2014, though, the Ottawa RedBlacks played their first home game to a packed house with great sound thanks to Solotech’s Gatineau office and its supplier partners.

CONTENTS PHOTO: Heading North Mastering’s modded Avid/ Euphonix System 5 console by Trevor Weeks.

38 A New Home & New Direction For Heading North Mastering

By Andrew King Professional Sound recently caught up with Ron Skinner of Toronto’s Heading North Mastering to discuss his recent move, his approach to mastering, the industry surrounding him, and the future direction of his revamped studio.


editor ANDREW KING aking@nor.com assistant editor MICHAEL RAINE mraine@nor.com contributing writers MARK DESLOGES, PAUL LAU, FRANK LOCKWOOD, RYAN SHUVERA, DEREK SYLWESTERZAK production manager KAREN BASHURA kbashura@nor.com art director JULIE FLEMING jfleming@nor.com publisher JIM NORRIS jnorris@nor.com consumer services director MAUREEN JACK mjack@nor.com business manager LIZ BLACK lblack@nor.com computer services coordinator ELIZABETH READING breading@nor.com marketing services coordinator MELISSA LOSIER mlosier@nor.com administration assistant ELIZABETH ZACHAR ezachar@nor.com advertisers’ index For more information on products advertised in Professional Sound, please see page 53 or visit www.professional-sound.com. Send all press releases and news to: press@nor.com. Professional Sound is published bi-monthly by Norris-Whitney Communications Inc. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted without written permission from the publisher. Subscription rates: Canada - 1 year $20.33, 2 years $37.67, 3 years $56.00. Outside Canada - 1 year $26.95, 2 years $42.95, 3 years $60.95. Single copies: $5.00. Canadian residents add 5% GST, HST (13%), BC (12%), NS (15%) to be added where applicable. To change your subscription address, please send your new address with your old address to Subscription Dep’t., Professional Sound, at least six weeks before moving. Unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork are welcome but Professional Sound takes no responsibility for the return of such items. Printed in Canada. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO.0040069300, RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO CIRCULATION DEPT., 4056 DORCHESTER RD., #202, NIAGARA FALLS, ON L2E 6M9, 905-374-8878, mail@nor.com.

HEAD OFFICE 4056 Dorchester Rd., #202, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6M9 905-374-8878-3471, FAX 888-665-1307, mail@nor.com, www.nor.com US MAILING ADDRESS 4600 Witmer Industrial Estates, #6, Niagara Falls, NY 14305 6 Professional Sound


— in

Put

What Goes Up Must Come Down By Derek Sylwesterzak

S

ince the advent of recording sound onto a disc for storage and playback, there has always been the issue of signal to noise. Putting aside the original old wind-up drum recorders, the 78 RPM (revolutions per minute) disc had an inherent scratchy sound because of the mechanical noise of the needle running in the grooves, so it was important to keep the maximum amount of level in the grooves to better balance music loudness to mask the scratchy surface. The 45 RPM disc came along with better quality vinyl and the ability to put more recording level onto the greater surface area of the record. This type of disc was most common for the popular music of the era, and since AM (amplitude modulation) radio was the king of pop at that time, they found that the louder the disc and the more consistent the level, with heavier compression and limiting, the better it sounded on the radio. With the advent of CDs, there was no surface noise and no apparent loudness issues, but as time passed, producers and record companies got into the battle to “make mine louder than yours.” Because digital has a ceiling that cannot be penetrated, loud can only be so loud and no more, so in order to make recordings sound louder, it was necessary to over compress the signal, thus sacrificing dynamics, transients, and overall harmonic content. Does the trade off for “loud” overcome the importance of creativity, detail, and artistic vision? If not, then as the old saying goes, “What goes up must come down.” Today, mastered audio levels are at the extreme maximum. The crest factor of some mastered material is very close to one. Now, if you are looking to win the new upcoming loudness war, there is only one way to go from here, and that’s down. So how will we get there? Loudness normalization, not to be confused with peak normalization, is the answer. Regardless of peak level, loudness normalization functions by matching the

perceived loudness of audio. Much like a digital mastering ear, the algorithm interprets perceived loudness and aligns it to a target. If your master is too hot relative to the target level then loudness normalization will turn it down. This ensures consistent playback loudness across all material.

Loudness normalization is a technology that really grabbed my attention after mastering an album project with Bob Katz. Bob is a mastering engineer who is at the forefront of the battle against the loudness wars. According to Bob, the loudness wars have already been won. iTunes radio has implemented its loudness normalization algorithm, Sound Check, into all its program material. This means that regardless of your master’s final level, you will be aligned to the same perceived loudness as all other audio material in your playlist. This is definitely bad news for mastering guys who compete to have their tracks louder than the next guy's. Musicians, producers, audiophiles, engineers, if you haven’t listened to your product through Sound Check, I encourage you to give it a go. Put your product in a playlist among other mastered work, make sure Sound Check is enabled, and take a close listen. Those of you who have masters that were processed to retain dynamics will likely be very happy with

what you hear. Those of you who wanted a competitively loud master may be left scratching your head, not only because you’ve lost the level you worked so hard to achieve, but also because it just sounds small and lifeless. As far as the album Bob and I had mastered, I was all smiles. Loudness normalization is already in more places than most would think. Back in 2007, the ITU introduced the BS-1770 algorithm to control the relative and often very different levels between TV programming, film, and advertising. The 1770 algorithm has since been updated twice and has proven to be very effective. As a matter of fact, most HDTV broadcasters have adopted the 1770 algorithm (partly due to the CALM act in the U.S.), making it very difficult to make your product sound louder than the competition. Music streaming service Spotify has had a loudness normalization algorithm since it first launched, meaning any loud music master streamed through Spotify will be turned down to match all other material. Personally, I have always felt that any presentation of audio material that has inconsistent levels is unprofessional. Services like iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, etc. need some way to keep the perceived levels close. No one wants to constantly adjust and readjust their volume. Loudness normalization seems to be an answer for the future. When all online services adopt some sort of loudness normalization technology, there will be no incentive to make recordings loud. Thankfully, recent history is telling us that the trend is slowly moving towards adopting loudness normalization in almost any service that utilizes audio. Soon, musicians, producers, engineers, and other audio professionals will be demanding greater quality and dynamics in their audio, and the tedious hours spent detailing the sounds, tonality, and dynamics will not be sacrificed to the hammer of the brick wall limiter.

Derek Sylwesterzak is chief engineer at The BEACH Advanced Audio Production Inc. and heads up music and film mixing services. The BEACH has been Alberta’s mainstay in audio production since 1989, hosting international recording artists and broadcast and film projects. Musically speaking, Derek is an experienced producer who has worked with Ben E. King, Nas, Common, Finger Eleven, Paul Brandt, Kalsey Kulyk, and Our Lady Peace, to name but a few. He is also the only 7.1 surround sound mixing engineer in the province. www.soundslikearecord.com. Professional Sound 9


siGnals

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InfoComm 2014

Breaks Records

F

rom June 14-20, 37,048 AV professionals from more than 114 countries visited InfoComm 2014 in Las Vegas. This represents a 5.5 per cent increase in attendance over InfoComm 2013. “InfoComm is the ideal place to make AV purchasing decisions, connect with contacts, and learn principles that will boost your effectiveness,” says David Labuskes, executive director and CEO, InfoComm International. “The marketplace strongly supports the InfoComm show, and we are grateful for the attendee support and for the innovative exhibitors who are committed to making InfoComm a can’t-miss event on the industry calendar.” More than 5,700 people attended InfoComm University sessions, which provided practical training and attracted instructors and students. Topics ranged from acoustics to videoconferencing and beyond. Popular courses included “BYODs: The New Reality,” “The Future of Video Collaboration,” “CTS Prep,” “Designing Classrooms,” and “4K is Here: Are You Ready For It?” There were 947 exhibitors participating at InfoComm this year, occupying more than 490,000 net sq. ft. of exhibit and special events space. For more information, go to www.infocommshow.org.

Futuretainment author Mike Walsh delivers the 2014 keynote address.

CHECK US OUT ONLINE! • Website: www.professional-sound.com • Online News: www.professional-sound.com/news • Blog: www.professional-sound.com/blog 10 Professional Sound

• Facebook: www.facebook.com/professionalsound • YouTube: www.youtube.com/norriswhitney • Digital Edition: www.professional-sound.com/online


SC Media Names New Ontario Sales Rep SC Media Canada has announced that Jeremy Power has been added to its Ontario sales team. Beginning Aug. 1, 2014, Power will handle the same accounts as his predecessor while fellow Ontario rep David Petican’s customer base will remain the same. “Jeremy will be a great addition to our team, especially for the Ontario market. His knowledge base and past experience make him the perfect candidate. We feel fortunate to have David Petican and now Jeremy Power taking care of our Ontario customers. Their skills and expertise nicely complement each other,” says Sami Midani, VP of sales Jeremy Power and marketing. Jeremy Power can be reached by phone at 416797-8970 or by email at jeremy@scmediacanada.com. For more information, contact SC Media Canada: 514-780-0808, information@scmediacanada.com, www.scmediacanada.com.

Wieslaw Woszczyk delivers the keynote speech at the 136th AES Convention in Berlin.

AES 137 Returning To LA

The AES 137 th International Convention is gearing up to take place Oct. 9-12, 2014, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, located in the re-vitalized L.A. Live district. Returning to Los Angeles after nearly 12 years, the AES Convention will bring audio professionals from around the world together for four days to showcase the latest of what the industry has to offer. Attendees will be able to hear from top audio industry figures while also sharing in the latest research and technology

information through papers, tutorials, workshops, and special events. A topic of special focus will be networked audio and its integration into standard workflow, with particular attention paid to standards such as AES67, MADI, and other networking protocols. As a recent addition to AES conventions, the Project Studio Expo (PSE) serves as a venue for focusing on some of the timeliest and most relevant areas of interest facing today’s personal and project studio users. For more convention details as they become available, go to www.aes.org/events/137/.

Professional Sound 11


Big Increase In Pro Audio Exhibitors At Summer NAMM

NAMM has reported that the number of pro audio exhibitors at Summer NAMM 2014 was up 27 per cent over 2013. Summer NAMM 2014 ran from July 1719 at the Nashville Music City Center in Tennessee. NAMM attributes the increase to the growing number of hobbiest musicians who are making their own recordings and cites American sales figures that show in the past five years, sales of pro audio equipment have increased by nearly 23 per cent, while sales of plug-in software and loops have increased by 29 per cent in the past year. For more information on Summer NAMM, go to www.namm.org/ summer/2014.

Music Producers Back Indies In Battle Against YouTube T h e M u s i c P ro d u c e r s G u i l d (MPG) has put its support behind independent record labels in their battle against YouTube. In recent weeks, indie labels have been publicly battling with YouTube because, the labels say, the video streaming giant is trying to impose an unfavourable contract on indie labels regarding the use of their music on YouTube’s to-be-launched music streaming service.

In a statement, MPG says, “Independent record producers everywhere, in common with recording artists, rely upon the income from sales and streaming of music files, the production of which they have been responsible, often with little or no credit (itself ironic in this digital age). Attempts by international media conglomerates to throttle ne gotiati on and impose unfavourable and unjust terms upon independent record companies, whom they perceive to be ‘small fry’ and thus ‘fair game,’ should be opposed at every opportunity.” For more information and to read the MPG’s full statement, go to www.mpg.org.uk.

Jack Long Named To Order of Canada

On June 30, the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, announced the 2014 appointments to the Order of Canada. Included on this esteemed list of recipients is Yorkville Sound and Long & McQuade Founder and Chairman Jack Long. The Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation. Long is being recognized for his “engagement as a pioneer in Canada’s music retail and manufacturing industries who is committed to musicians, customers, and employees across the country.” For the full list of appointments to the Order of Canada, go to www.gg.ca.

12 Professional Sound

Jack Long


The International Music Software Trade Association (IMSTA) has announced that its annual annual event celebrating music technology, IMSTA FESTA, will be coming to Toronto for the first time. The event will be held on Sept. 6, 2014 at Ryerson’s Rogers Communications Centre and in partnership with SOCAN. IMSTA FESTA brings music technology companies together in an environment where they can interact with music makers face-to-face. Visitors include professional and semi-professional musicians, DJs, songwriters, music producers, audio engineers, music students, and music educators, as well as anyone else interested in the art of music making. IMSTA FESTA also features numerous panels with music industry professionals who discuss the current and future state of the music business, music technology, and more. IMSTA FESTA has been held in Tokyo since 2008, in New York since 2010, and in Los Angeles since 2013. Admission is free with registration. To register and to find more information, go to www.imsta.org.

Photo: Courtesy of IMSTA

IMSTA FESTA Coming To Toronto

A demo session at IMSTA FESTA L.A. 2014

Luke Jenks

Meyer Sound Names New Director of Product Management

Meyer Sound has promoted Luke Jenks to the newly created position of director of product management. Most recently serving as the company’s loudspeaker product manager, Jenks now represents the full range of company solutions. As director of product management, Jenks is responsible for defining market needs, articulating customer requirements, and representing customer feedback throughout the lifecycle of a product. He also assumes direction of a newly formed product management team that encompasses market requirement definition, new product introductions, and technical documentation. For more information, contact Meyer Sound: 855-641-3288, sales@meyersound. com, www.meyersound.com. Professional Sound 13


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siGnals

Harman International Executive VP Blake Augsburger & AMX President & CEO Rashid Skaf.

Harman Acquires AMX, Appoints New VP Of Global Marketing

At InfoComm 2014, Harman International announced the completion of its acquisition of AMX LLC from The Duchossois Group for $365 million. Based in Richardson, TX, AMX is a provider of enterprise control and automation systems as well as audio/ video switching and distributing solutions and will be integrated into Harman’s professional division, servicing audio, video, and IT professionals. “From the addition of Martin lighting and Duran Audio in 2013 to the completion of the AMX acquisition today, Harman Professional is aggressively pursuing opportunities to provide customers and partners with systems solutions that advance the integration and application of AV technology in the enterprise,” says Blake Augsburger, president, Harman Professional division. In other Harman Professional news, the company has appointed Erik Tarkiainen as VP of global marketing. Tarkiainen will lead the global marketing strategy and execution across the professional division and will drive new initiatives in online marketing, social media, public relations, events marketing, and education. For more information, contact Harman Professional: 818-841-4600, www.harman.com.

14 Professional Sound

Freeman AV Canada Wins InfoComm Sustainability Award

Freeman Audio Visual Canada has been awarded the 2014 InfoComm Sustainable Technology Award (formerly Green AV Award) for its contributions to the AV industry and its focus on sustainability. This marks the company’s second time winning the award after its first win in 2010. “It is immensely rewarding to see the sustainability efforts of our employees at every level recognized in such a meaningful way by Freeman CEO Joe Popolo Jr. & Freeman Audio Visual Canada the trade association that President Johanne Bélanger. represents the professional audio visual and information communications industries worldwide,” says Johanne Bélanger, president of Freeman Audio Visual Canada and InfoComm International. This award calls attention to the people who have taken a lead in adopting green measures whether in the manufacturing of products, the design, programming, or integration of AV systems, the staging of events, or the implementation of sustainable initiatives in the workplace. For more information, contact Freeman Audio Visual Canada: 800-868-6886, www.freemanav-ca.com.

Techni+Contact Western Rep Chris Germain

Techni+Contact Appoints Western Canadian Sales Rep Techni+Contact has appointed Chris Germain to the position of regional sales representative for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. In his new role, Germain will be responsible for sales of Techni+Contact’s commercial products, including Media Matrix, Architectural Acoustics, Crest Audio, beyerdynamic, Cambridge Sound Management, Aviom, Procom, and any applicable Techni+Contact branded products. He can be reached at 780-803-9451 or by email at chrisg@technicontact.com. For more information, reach Techni+Contact: 866-320-9451, www.technicontact.com.


Biamp Names BG Media As Ontario Distributor

Biamp Systems has announced its partnership with BG Media Solutions, a firm specializing in manufacturer representation for commercial and professional markets. Under the agreement, the company will distribute Biamp’s professional audio solutions in Ontario, with the exception of Ottawa. “Collaborating with a market leader such as Biamp is an enormous opportunity for our company,” says Bryan Guidolin, owner of BG Media Solutions. “Their reputation for providing innovative commercial audio products and their commitment to superior BG Media Solutions Owner Bryan Guidolin. customer support is unparalleled within the industry, bringing scalable, superior audio systems for installations of all sizes. We look forward to continuing the customer excellence within the Ontario marketplace.” For more information, contact BG Media Solutions: 905-331-7349, info@bgmediasolutions.com, www.bgmediasolutions.com.

Sonifex Buys Innes Corp.

Innes Corporation’s John Innes (left) & Sonifex’s Marcus Brooke.

In its first international acquisition, Sonifex has purchased Australian broadcast manufacturer and distributor Innes Corporation. Innes manufactures a range of PCIe PC cards, which include professional analog and digital audio cards and AM, FM, and DAB+ radio capture cards together with Flashlog, a multichannel audio logger. This is the third corporate acquisition by Sonifex, which bought Nicral Ltd. in 2001 and the ProAVM audio product range from SBS in 2006. For more information, contact Sonifex: sales@sonifex.co.uk, www.sonifex.co.uk.

d&b audiotechnik Appoints Amnon Harman As CEO

d&b audiotechnik has appointed Amnon Harman as its CEO. In this newly created position, Harman will drive the continued success of the German company, taking responsibility for the further development and implementation of the company strategy. Prior to joining d&b, Harman was an independent consultant. From 2006 to 2012 he served as chairman of the management board of AUGUSTA Technologie AG. Previously, he was a member of the management board and COO at SUSE Linux AG. Harman comments, “d&b has an admirable reputation in the market for professional sound reinforcement systems and is uniquely positioned to benefit from the growing requirements for cutting edge technology at concerts and large events. The product portfolio has been continuously expanded in recent years and combined with the founding of d&b CEO Amnon Harman subsidiaries in Europe, the U.S.A., and Japan, has paved the way for the internationalization of the company. I look forward to being a part of this development, supporting the growth strategy, and contributing to the further success of the company.” For more information, contact d&b audiotechnik Canada: 418-843-2410, 828-6815405, info.ca@dbaudio.com, www.dbaudio.com. Professional Sound 15


Managing Director Luke Ireland

Product Manager David Morbey

Schedule Released For CITT’s Rendez-vous 2014

The Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology (CITT)’s annual Rendez-vous trade show and conference has released its full conference schedule. The event will be held at the Ottawa Convention Centre from Aug. 14-16, 2014. The conference offers three days of sessions, workshops, backstage tours, social events, and networking opportunities. Specific to sound, this year’s conference includes an introduction to QLab 3 for technicians, designers, and artists to learn how to build a show in QLab for purposes of audio and video playback. As well, GerrAudio will host two hands-on training sessions; one on the DiGiCo SD9 and SD11 consoles and another on live instrument and actor microphone placement using DPA microphones. Other sessions include Meyer Sound hosting a session on essential principles involved in the design and measurement of complex sound reinforcement systems. For more information and a full schedule, go to www.citt.org.

(L-R) PreSonus Chairman Kevin Couhig, WorxAudio CEO Hugh Sarvis & PreSonus CEO Jim Mack.

PreSonus Acquires WorxAudio

PreSonus has acquired North Carolina-based loudspeaker manufacturer WorxAudio Technologies. WorxAudio designs and manufactures a broad range of line array, pointsource, sub-bass, stage monitor, and related loudspeaker systems and accessories. According to company, with this acquisition, WorxAudio will augment core elements of PreSonus’s professional loudspeaker development efforts, particularly drivers, system and mechanical design, system tuning, and rigging system design. In addition, WorxAudio’s knowledge of the commercial sound and portable/touring markets will help PreSonus develop the infrastructure required to support the specific requirements of those customers. Erikson Audio distributes PreSonus products in Canada. For more information, contact PreSonus: 225-216-7887, www.presonus.com. 16 Professional Sound

Operations Director Bash Akhtar

Martin Audio Appoints New Managing & Operations Directors; Product Manager

Martin Audio has announced a number of new hires, including the appointments of new managing and operations directors and a new product manager. First, Martin Audio has appointed Luke Ireland as its new managing director. Ireland’s role will be to lead Martin Audio by developing reliable business structure and scalable process capabilities to increase innovation and reliability of supply. Ireland’s 24-year career spans multiple sectors of technology, IT, and media. Second, Bash Akhtar has joined Martin Audio as operations director. He has previously served as operations and manufacturing director of RLC Callender, Smiths Detection, and Harmonic Inc. Third, David Morbey has joined as the company’s first dedicated product manager. He has previously served as global product marketing manager at D&M Professional. These three appointments are in addition to a number of other recent hires: Andy Weingaertner has been added to the sales team in EMEA; Robin Dibble has been added to the product support engineer team; Alan Josey has been confirmed as the new finance director; Carl Davies has joined Martin as junior mechanical design engineer; and finally, Nicole Thorne has supplemented the North American team in sales admin support. For more information, go to www.martin-audio.com.


Mobile Devices Survey As mobile devices, namely smart phones and tablets, become increasingly integrated into audio equipment, Professional Sound surveyed audio professionals to find out how/if they are using these devices and how they would like mobile devices to be used in the future. Here are the results… Do you currently use mobile devices, namely smart phones and/or tablets, as part of your audio set up? (Integrated with your audio equipment, and not standalone for scheduling, planning, etc.)

Always Often Sometimes Rarely Never

13.79% 31.03% 18.97% 10.34% 25.86%

SST Managing Director Jörn Erkau

In which area do you use mobile devices for your audio work? Studio setting Live setting In the field/location recording Two or more of the above None

6.90% 34.48% 6.90% 20.69% 24.14%

When did you first try integrating mobile devices into your set-up? 5 or more years ago 3 or 4 years ago 1 or 2 years ago In the past year Never

10.34% 25.86% 32.76% 8.62% 22.41%

Over the next two years, do you plan to make mobile devices a more integral part of your set-up? Absolutely Most likely Perhaps Not likely No

41.38% 24.14% 15.52% 13.79% 5.17%

Speaking Out How would you like to see the use of mobile devices evolve over the next five years with regards to professional audio equipment? “If we can get all manufacturers to agree to an interface standard, I’m positive we’ll see an explosion in smartphone-based hardware and software dedicated to pro audio.” “Seamless integration using standards-based technology and protocols. As an integrator of unified infrastructure, we only work on network-based systems so we see the need for vendors to adopt open standards.” “Mobile devices need to be faster and more powerful to do this first. Too much lag time in process and signal losses are too common!”

Sennheiser Creates Streaming Solution Subsidiary & Two Additional Entities Sennheiser has founded a new subsidiary specializing in innovative streaming solutions, which is called Sennheiser Streaming Technology GmbH (SST). SST combines Sennheiser’s experience in audio technology with futureoriented development in the area of streaming. The subsidiary is based in Hamburg, Germany and is initially focusing on low-latency streaming to cellular devices. Jörn Erkau has been appointed managing director of the new company. SST is currently working on CinemaConnect, a streaming system that offers live, low-latency audio descriptions and assistive listening to be accessed directly using a smartphone, slated for a fall 2014 premiere. In other company news, Sennheiser has created two corporate entities dedicated to strategic collaboration and research and innovation. These entities will be headed by two top-level managers, Paul Whiting and Volker Bartels. Both Whiting and Bartels have stepped down from the executive management board to concentrate on these two tasks. Both appointments will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. For more information, contact Sennheiser Canada: 514-426-3013, info@sennheiser.ca, www.sennheiser.ca. Professional Sound 17


ProFile

Ryan McCambridge By Ryan Shuvera

T

he “soft skills” of the audio engineer can make all the difference during a studio session. Sure, they’re expected to know how to properly position microphones or dial in the right amount of reverb, but as Ryan McCambridge attests, “You have to be able to manage personalities, keep a good vibe in the studio, and make sure everyone is comfortable so that they can do their job as best as they can.” These skills aren’t often taught in schools, but he believes they’re the ones that make each engineer unique and can help turn a good session into a great one. McCambridge has been a musician for most of his life and is used to spending lots of time in the studio on that front as well. His passion for the arts in general comes through when he explains how he came to be a freelance audio engineer. McCambridge attended Ryerson University for its Image Arts program, which he says is “totally unrelated, except that it really taught me about what it means to be an artist.” As he had before enrolling, McCambridge was constantly helping out in commercial studios during his studies, working on music with other artists. His first venture into the world of freelance audio engineering came when he started doing on-location classical recordings, but his most important move came when he signed up for a sound design course that he admits he took for an easy credit. The course actually presented him the opportunity to work with producer/engineer Brian Moncarz. “That whole experience set things in motion, really,” McCambridge explains of their meeting, and the two would collaborate regularly over the following few years. McCambridge actually took over teaching the sound design course at Ryerson when Moncarz left. Although he only taught at Ryerson for a few years, he says he’s always enjoyed being an educator and continues that path with his audio blog BitCrushing.com, full of ideas and tips for his fellow audio enthusiasts. He’s a self-proclaimed gear and technical nerd at heart, but it’s his passion for the arts and artistic community that drives his professional endeavours. “I love experiencing and being part of the creation of other people’s art. Creative people are often so passionate about what they do and whether you like their art or not, you have to respect how deeply they believe in it,” he says. Interestingly, one of his favourite parts of the job is the challenge of facing unique projects all the time. “There are a few constants,” he says about his day-to-day activities, but adds, “Everyone who I’ve worked with has been unique, with distinct expectations and different visions. You have to be able to adapt and roll with the challenges as they arise.” Asked about his hobbies, McCambridge rhetorically asks: “Who needs a hobby when you have music in your life?” He’s not joking either. His time “outside the studio” is spent working on his own music – sometimes in the studio. Most recently, that includes work on his latest solo project, A Calmer Collision. He says it’s not always easy to balance his life as an artist and his life as an engineer, but A Calmer Collision offers him the perfect mix because he is both the musician and the engineer. Quite humbly, he adds, “I suppose I may have been more successful at being a musician or an engineer had I specifically chosen a path, but it was always important to me to express myself artistically while helping others do the same.”

McCambridge says he’s grateful for the guidance of his colleague, friend, and industry icon David Bottrill over the years, particularly with regards to his co-production efforts on A Calmer Collision material. As he says, self-producing can lead you down a difficult road. “I’ve had many days where I’ve felt lost at sea and that’s around the time when Dave throws me a lifeline,” he says. McCambridge also continues to work with other artists like Erik Alcock of The New Royales. He likes working with artists like Alcock because “his seemingly boundless creativity is always an incredible challenge to capture,” but he’s not one to shy away from a challenge… Besides all of his musical projects and time spent in the studio, when he does have free time, he also dabbles in visual art and design. “I’ll also try to catch up on reading and I recently got my scuba diving license, though it isn’t all that useful in Toronto!” Travelling is a part of McCambridge’s job that he enjoys and is thankful for. Almost hand in hand with the mobility associated with the job is opportunity – clearly a key word for him. “I’ve found over the years in this business that crazy, unexpected opportunities arise all over the place and I’ve learned to just roll with them while always trying to keep pushing forward.” McCambridge has a dual citizenship between Canada and Ireland and hopes to do some work in Europe at some point in the future. He’s polished his soft skills and knows how to bring out the best in other artists and himself. Keeping his plate balanced won’t get any easier, but he’s ready for another challenge, wherever it may take him.

Ryan Shuvera is a music journalist and an avid music fan. He loves to talk and write about all things music related. He has a passion for Canadian music and can be found lost in the stacks of used book and record stores when not writing. Follow him on Twitter @ryebread891. 18 Professional Sound


ProFile

André Doucette By Ryan Shuvera

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hen you’re 16 and you start a band, it feels like a big moment when you get behind the glass in a professional studio and record your first track. Whether your weapon of choice is a guitar, saxophone, or your voice, laying down a quality recording gives you a rush that you’d go back for again and again. But what about the people on the other side of the glass? How do the producers and engineers who capture that magic find their way into that chair? In Andre Doucette’s case, he started on the path of the young musician and entered the studio as a teenager, quickly realizing there was likely more promise and stability for him behind the mixing console. “I realized that I really enjoyed being in the studio and everything that it entailed,” he says. “I could hear the simplest idea of a song and imagine it as a grandiose masterpiece. So it made sense to me immediately during that recording session that I wanted to be the producer." While most his age wouldn’t have that kind of foresight, he was aware enough of this particular vision to recognize that there is more than one way to live a life immersed in music. “I felt like what was going to sound good came to me naturally and I wanted to be in control of creating the image that I could see in my head.” Doucette says he owes the development of his skills to his parents. “Music was instilled in me through my father and my attention to detail comes from my mother. Music and skilled crafts took up the majority of my existence outside of school. Following my first recording experience, my father informed me that he had a mixing console that he kept in the basement – a Fostex 2412.” This new tool intrigued Doucette enough to want to start a recording business out of his home. Doucette and his father built a studio above their garage where Doucette taught himself most of what he needed to know to make recordings. “I took what I had as a college fund at that point and invested in a multi-track digital recorder that would match with the console and I started teaching myself and bringing bands in to make some recordings,”

he says. “I later made arrangements with a studio in a neighboring city for a personalized one-on-one education on recording and production and have since found many recognized mentors.” Doucette says his parents have always been very supportive of his work. “I was the kid that got to make as much noise as I wanted to. Every week there was a new band crashing in our living room, if we slept at all,” he says with a smile. “Looking back, what they put up with is commendable, to say they least.” The support he’s received from his parents, as well as his sister, who he says is a very talented singer-songwriter and recording artist, has been the single most important building block of his career. His self-motivation, hard work, skills, and talents didn’t go unnoticed. When he was 19, Doucette had the opportunity to meet the members of Thirty Seconds to Mars, who took him under their wing and brought him on the road and into the studio. “They basically taught me that if you can dream it, you can do it, then showed me how it’s done,” he says about his experiences working with the group, adding that Jared Leto, the band’s front man (and a major film star), is one of his most significant mentors. Now 28, “Music and sound certainly encompasses the mass majority of my life,” he says. “I spend a lot of time in studios or mixing live sound, and I enjoy writing my own songs as well.” Doucette says the best part about the work he does is the opportunity to collaborate with “the variety of gifted musicians I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with throughout the years. Working with them has been its own reward.”

Ryan Shuvera is a music journalist and an avid music fan. He loves to talk and write about all things music related. He has a passion for Canadian music and can be found lost in the stacks of used book and record stores when not writing. Follow him on Twitter @ryebread891. 20 Professional Sound


ProFile

Jim Yakabuski By Andrew King

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pilot or a sound engineer. Those were the career options that a 17-year-old Jim Yakabuski was considering for himself as a high-school senior. Indeed, they share a few similarities – elaborate control consoles, heavy reliance on metering, huge headphones… But opting for the skies would have taken this B.C. native and live sound veteran on a very different “Journey.” Yakabuski was born in Victoria, spent his childhood in Vancouver, and teen years in Cranbrook. Following high school, he headed back to Vancouver to learn recording arts at the Columbia School of Broadcasting. He was on course to become a studio engineer just as he’d planned, but that’s when a friend from Cranbrook who happened to be a singer moved to Vancouver to pursue his career. “I took him to his first audition,” Yakabuski recalls. “They loved him and he got the job.” But the band didn’t have a sound engineer, so Yakabuski offered his services. “I told them I’d never done live sound before but I was taking recording lessons, and since they were a pretty new band, it didn’t seem to matter, so I got the job that night, too.” His next five years were spent out on the road, living on little and loving life, but eventually, he started feeling “restless for bigger things” – and what could be bigger than the “world’s biggest music festival?” Back in Vancouver, Yakabuski met a waitress who introduced him to her friend Harry Witz of dB Sound. That chance meeting led to a spot on the audio crew at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI and the beginning of his career in the U.S., working as a PA tech and occasionally mixing monitors and FOH. Then came his next big break. In 1990, he was tapped to mix monitors for Aerosmith on the band’s Pump tour, “and from there,” he says, “things took off.” The following year, he was manning monitor world for Poison and Van Halen. Then, in 1993, he moved from the side of the stage to the front of it to mix FOH for Van Halen. “I had picked up a few smaller tours mixing FOH before that,” he says, “but Van Halen was definitely the launching point to all my other big FOH gigs.” Over the years, those gigs have included stints with a diverse list of acts like Luis Miguel, Engelbert Humperdinck, Avril Lavigne, and Julio Iglesias; however, the majority of his work has come from the arena rock realm. In 2012, he began his stint with rock powerhouse Journey that continues to this day, having just recently wrapped a tour alongside Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power. Now, Yakabuski is enjoying a bit of downtime at his home in Celebration, FL, just west of Orlando and close to Walt Disney World, where he fills some time doing freelance work for corporate gigs. “It helps keep me a little closer to home for a big part of the year,” says the dedicated husband and father of three daughters and a son. Outside of audio, other activities he enjoys include keeping fit through yoga, pilates, and running, and he’ll happily hit the links when given the opportunity. He’s a big TV sports fan, en-

joys getting out to the movies with his family, and aims to lead a positive lifestyle in line with his Christian faith, which is very important to him. At this point in his life and career, Yakabuski’s biggest personal and professional challenge is trying to find a balance between working at home and being on the road while maintaining a steady and sufficient income. One means of achieving that balance that he’s passionately pursuing is teaching. Despite not having completed his post secondary program, Yakabuski took his education into his own hands and built a successful career that many would covet. “My truest passion is to be able to pass on some of the things I’ve learned to the new wave of engineers who are getting set to jump onto their first tour bus,” he says with a smile. And who wouldn’t want to learn from the 2013 Parnelli Award winner for FOH engineer of the year? He also knows that an effective way of teaching is to lead by example. “I still love the craft of taking a bunch of instruments being played by talented musicians and doing everything in my power to have it come out of the speaker system the way the artist would like and the audience expects. I also like that there are no remixes or overdubs with live sound – just moving to the next venue with what you learned the day before.” And even though being on the road means he’s not home with his family, he still enjoys seeing new parts of the country and the world, as well as returning to favourite destinations like Australia and Japan, always reconnecting with old friends or making new ones. Indeed, soaring through the skies for a living would have made for quite the adventure, as would a spot behind the console in a recording studio. But it doesn’t seem Jim Yakabuski has any regrets; he seems to be enjoying his Journey just fine.

Andrew King is the Editor of Professional Sound. Professional Sound 21


Product tests

Yamaha QL1 Digital Mixing Console By Mark Desloges

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year and a half ago, I was approached to review the full-size Yamaha CL5 digital console. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the machine – and I was far from disappointed when I did. It was everything I had hoped for and more. So when I was asked if I wanted to give the new QL1 a try, of course I was up for it. I like the direction the company has been going with its most recent digital console offerings, so I was understandably excited to see and hear where the QL series would take it next. Having heard rumours of its compatibility with the CL series in terms of transferable data and show files, I was intrigued to see how these latest two desks would compare to the three from the CL series. I’m not especially old yet, but I’m wise enough to know that I don’t want to learn five new mixing platforms every year. A modern trait amongst digital mixing consoles is a sense of uniformity and scalability. I don’t need 56 channels for every show; sometimes I can get away with only 24, or hell, even eight! But while there may not always be a need for a large-format console, that doesn’t mean I want to sacrifice anything in the way of features or performance. This is the first feature of the QL series that tickles my heart. As a longtime and happy Yamaha user, and being familiar with the CL, I could bang out a mix on the QL within minutes. It just makes sense to people who are familiar with the interface and performance of Yamaha’s digital desks. Here’s the next important topic to discuss, and one that I found consistently at the forefront of my discussions with my peers about the new QL1. While few would say that the popular Yamaha consoles of years past were difficult to operate, spare perhaps the PM5D with its fairly significant feature set, most people I spoke with about the new series wanted to know what the QL1 would be capable of and, of course, how it sounds. A few features worth mentioning off the bat: the QL1 has 32 mono and eight stereo mix channels; 16 aux mixes; and eight matrix busses with 16 in and eight out via the local I/O. I also have to mention that the counts are expandable via Cat-5 cable to stage racks over the Dante network. Also worth noting are the exceptional preamps and EQ and effects algorithms. Other cool features include the built-in internal processors, including the Portico 5033/5043 created in tandem with Rupert Neve, as well as the built-in Dan Dugan Sound Design automatic mixing functionality for speech applications, providing optimal channel balance so the operator can focus on the overall sound. And on that note, how does it actually sound? Well, I’ll tell you this – these preamps, identical to those found in the CL series, are miles ahead of those found in earlier offerings from Yamaha and its competitors as far as tonality. Once again, I was impressed with where Yamaha is taking its game.

As I continued to get into the nitty gritty of this little rig, more features came to light that are worth pointing out, and I don’t have enough space to explain or even mention them all, so I highly suggest that you research the QL series yourself to learn about all it has to offer. Here are some of the things that stuck with me the most: the QL1 boasts eight dedicated GEQ rack spaces, eight dedicated Effects rack spaces, and eight dedicated Premium rack spaces to fully explore the world of sound manipulation. Another attractive feature is the expandable and flexible Dante system over Cat-5 cable. This allows you to integrate multiple consoles of different flavours with multi stage heads at the same time and change the input and output routing in almost real time. This system also allows users to introduce playback and mix recorded multi-tracks live on the console itself, making virtual sound check a breeze. Lastly, I would like to briefly mention the mixing tools themselves. The addition of the touch and turn knob is a great feature for mixing on the fly while the flip faders with nine selectable colours on channel colour bars and custom labels make a huge difference in accuracy when doing so. Finally, there’s something about that classic M7CL-based touch screen that just can’t be beat for speed. All and all, I’m very pleased with how this console performs for its intended use and market. I also see it making its way into the larger-scale market for artists who are few in number or travel light. The QL series has a lot to offer. It’s everything you love about a Yamaha desk but with more to love and a better tone. Give one a try; it’s not like you’ve got anything to lose.

Mark Desloges is an audio technician at Tour Tech East and freelance live sound engineer/production manager. In his many years of professional touring, he has crossed Canada, the United States, and China. He has shared the road with acts such as Cancer Bats, Classified, and Johnny Reid. He can be reached at markthedrifter@gmail.com. 22 Professional Sound


Product tests beyerdynamic TG 100 Wireless System By Mark Desloges

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ith every passing day, products in virtually every technologically driven industry grow increasingly less dependent on wires. The trend towards going wireless – or at least using less wires – is everywhere: Internet signal, phones, portable speakers, Bluetooth… Hell, I’ve even mixed concerts on an iPad that’s wirelessly linked to a mixing console. So, as a modern integrator of audio equipment for an increasingly widespread end user base, why not take advantage of a trend that’s making the freedom that wireless provides more available and less expensive than ever? In recent years, I’ve seen an increasing amount of wireless technology being used in everything from meeting rooms and community facilities to stages by even weekend warrior cover bands, and all with great results. Be it a wireless transmitter on a rock guitarist’s axe or lavalier and beltpack on a church minister, users at all ends of the spectrum of tech know-how are enjoying the world of wireless as major manufacturers continue to roll out entry-level products with simple operation and minimal price points. Never to be left out, German audio manufacturer beyerdynamic’s latest crack at the world of entry-level wireless systems is the new TG 100. This is a system designed for smaller applications or installations available in both handheld and belt pack configurations. The system boasts a list of features aimed directly at a minimally technical market with none of the costly bells and whistles that the average user doesn’t need. For this test, I had a chance to put the handheld set through its paces. The receiver is compact, so it doesn’t chew up a lot of real estate, making it the ideal choice for hobbyists who aren’t looking for a larger rack mounted unit. Unlike higher end units that require a certain

level of technical savvy, the TG 100 is extremely simple to understand and operate. Let’s not kid ourselves – not everybody wants to pull out a frequency scanner and crossreference the local TV stations. Some of us just want to plug in a unit and enjoy the freedom and mobility that wireless affords. That’s probably the feature that most impressed me with the TG 100 – how simple it was to plug in and start using, with zero hassle. I’ve seen artists roll in to venues I’m working with wireless racks that stand five feet tall, though most events and shows only run a handful of channels of wireless at any given time. My mother is a church minister, and her church runs two wireless headset microphones for services. They have actually been having problems with their entry-level wireless system lately. I’ve attended her services and have cringed at the horrible RF interference. This is why it is so crucial to research and pick your product wisely – to ensure that you’re not investing your hard earned money into something that won’t deliver the results you want. For improved signal transmission, the TG 100 wireless system uses a pilot tone to identify that a proper signal is being received. The unit automatically crossreferences the pilot tone to the received tone to ensure audio quality. It’s also used to transmit a low battery warning as well as the audio mute information to the receiver. There are eight selectable channels

that are adjusted on the unit via a rotating dial, and that’s virtually all there is to operation for the handheld set. Virtually fool proof, and during my tests in a shop full of audio gear in the middle of an industrial park, I didn’t experience any hiccups as far as signal transmission or audio quality. I recently re-watched one of my favourite music documentaries, which featured an interview with the late Ray Charles. In it, he discussed the advances in technology that he got to experience later in his career that he wouldn’t have imagined being available when he first started performing. The part that really stuck out to me, though, is when he rhetorically asked: “But what does it sound like?” If you’re not familiar with beyerdynamic’s product line, I will tell you this: while they’ve got some higher-end systems with killer quality and feature sets that would blow you away, if you’re looking for a cost-effective wireless system that still puts audio quality at the forefront of its performance, I suggest you give the TG 100 a try.

Mark Desloges is an audio technician at Tour Tech East and freelance live sound engineer/production manager. In his many years of professional touring, he has crossed Canada, the United States, and China. He has shared the road with acts such as Cancer Bats, Classified, and Johnny Reid. He can be reached at markthedrifter@gmail.com. Professional Sound 23


Product tests

Applied Acoustics Systems String Studio VS-2 By Paul Lau

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tring Studio VS-2, a string-modeling synth plug-in from Montreal’s Applied Acoustics Systems, is a fresh and exciting software instrument that delivers a wide array of string sounds along with a level of control that offers virtually endless creative possibilities. At first glance, the interface seems quite simple and intuitive – and that’s where the fun begins. Usually when using soft synths, I’d use my keyboard and launch the program via my sequencer as a plug-in, but for now, I am using Arturia’s BeatStep controller and sequencer and running String Studio VS-2 as a stand-alone. So let’s take a close look at this stringmodeling synthesizer. The first patch that comes up is from the Arpeggiator bank with a very cool sequence called A Dark Dawn kit that could be used on any organic or EDM track. The Crystal Guitar patch was just as impressive, with a very usable soft, piercing tone. And no, I’m not going to go through a play-by-play of each program; I just wanted to make it clear that even off the bat, it’s obvious the program offers some impressive, highquality creative tools. I believe users will appreciate the simplicity of the interface yet relish in the complex sound designs. Of course, with a tool like this, the ability to manipulate sounds and, most importantly, create something original is paramount. But even just having the 50 Sean Divine signature presets alone (try the Toronto Haze patch) makes String Studio VS-2 worth the price of admission. So how does it work? String Studio VS-2 is easily broken down into three sections: the Play, Edit, and Effects pages. The Play page is very user-friendly and also essentially divided into three “parts.” The top section gives you access to the libraries (Banks and Programs) and the ability to select any of the three pages. You can control the number of voices per program here as well. In the middle (or second) section, we find the front-face and on/off and gain controls of a compressor, equalizer, vintage chorus, delay, and reverb. Now all of

these parameters can be fine-tuned in the third section, the Effects page. The bottom part of the Play page is comprised of six parts: Clock, which can sync to Host and lets you manipulate rate; Keyboard Mode, which gives the option of poly or mono; Unison, which gives the option of using two or four voices; then there’s Glide, Vibrato, and the Arpeggiotor – all basically self-explanatory. There is a very small keyboard strip under each of these (which I somehow almost missed while initially poking around). At first, I wasn’t too sure how functional or practical it would be until I took my mouse and rode it back and forth over this small keyboard, creating a very cool gliding effect with the program patch – sort of like the ribbon effect on a keyboard. (Try this with the Toronto Haze patch – spooky and cool.) And finally on this first page, we also have a modulation and pitch wheel on the left side. The Edit page has what I would consider 10 “modules” that you can select and program. The first, going left to right, is the Exciter, followed by Geometry. Then we find Damper, String, and Termination as the next grouping. Then we have LFO, Filter, and Envelope, and finally, Body and Distortion. What these modules all do is allow you to get creative and alter and

mess with the various sounds and edit them in combinational ways. The crazier I went with these, the more fun I had and the more interesting the sounds I stumbled upon. You can kind of get lost as you start to edit the programs, so just remember to save your creation, because you may end up with something very cool but not remember what you did to get there. The Effects page is very straightforward and easy to understand. As mentioned, you can control the compressor, equalizer, etc. on the Play page, but the fine-tuning and customization of these effects happens on the Effects page. There’s a high degree of sound shaping on offer here. I should note that String Studio VS-2 also supports Microtonal Tunings via Scala scale files. And for those that have the original String Studio VS-1, you can convert those patches into VS-2 and use all the capabilities of this new version on your older patches! String Studio VS-2 offers a new palette of colours for your music and creativity. I am very impressed with how intuitive the interface is and I love how quickly you can edit and save. There are seemingly endless possibilities on offer here and it’s definitely a tool worth trying out.

Paul Lau B.Sc. Musician/Producer/MIDI & Digital Audio Specialist (www.DocAudioTech.com). Managing Director of PowerMusic5Records (www.powermusic5.com). Member of the cool Christian pop band Scatter17 (www.scatter17.com). 24 Professional Sound


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W

hen a $65-million expansion of the Grey Eagle Casino began back in September 2012, it had been just five years since the casino opened on the Tsuu T’ina reserve in southwest Calgary. In those five years, then-Chief Sanford Big Plume told reporters, the casino funded the building of 140 new homes, which allowed Tsuu T’ina to over­come a housing deficit that had plagued the community for a generation. Casino dol­ lars also funded cultural liter­acy and language programs and helped enroll 70 community members into post-secondary programs. While it’s never a sur­prise to see a casino turn a profit, the Grey Eagle Casino had been even more successful than expected, and so it was time to expand. There was little doubt about who would be tasked with taking care of the AV components. Westbury National designed and implemented the casino’s audio and video systems during the original construction and those for the Casino New Brunswick complex in Moncton, NB, another project by the same casino developers. For the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, there were three facets to the project. First, there was an expansion of the casino’s gaming floor, but the largest changes came with the building of a 178-room, 4.5-star resort hotel and a 2,500-seat performing arts theatre. From the start, Westbury was tapped by NORR Architects to ensure that the AV needs were considered before the construction. “The key was that the architect recognized the value of bringing us in earlier than later,” begins John Coniglio, senior project account manager at Westbury. “During the construction stage, clients hate the words ‘change order’ because that means it is going to cost a lot of money. So when the architects bring us in at the design stage, it saves a lot of change orders during the construction.” This, combined with the experiences and insights gained at the Casino New Brunswick build and installation, meant that surprises

26 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

were few at Grey Eagle. To start in the casino, the most substantial change to the audio design, keeping in mind the original system is only seven years old, was a rethinking of how the performance stage would be utilized. In the corner of the casino floor is a bar area, just less than 1,000 sq. ft., with a thrust stage for live music. Under

gnilbuoD nO nwoD dnuoS

At GREY EAGLE R By Michael Raine

the original concept for the casino, this stage was meant to host live bands and project the music across the gaming floor. With the expansion of the gaming floor and the addition of a separate theatre, the purpose of this stage was rethought. “Prior to the theatre, it was the only performance space, so they wanted to do larger scale talent on there and have larger impact shows, whereas now with the theatre, [they wanted] to make it a little more lounge-y and keep the audio isolated and not throw out onto the entire gaming floor,” explains Guy Wallace, systems installation manager at Westbury. “It had a mid-sized PA that played out to the entire floor and what they wanted to do there was reduce the size of it and localize the audio to keep it off the gaming floor and more just right in front of the stage.” For this, the existing four JBL VRX932LAs were removed and later repurposed in the newly-constructed theatre. Taking their place were four Renkus-Heinz PNX82/12s. “For archi­tectural reasons, I needed a high output and low profile PA cabinet, so I went with the Renkus-Heinz,” Wallace says. “[The loudspeakers] were in­ stalled and distributed evenly around the bulkhead above the stage. The stage is in a thruststyle configuration with three front projection screens at the three downstage edges of the thrust. Speakers were placed to

Grey Eagle Casino


Doubling Down On Sound

fit evenly between the screens.” Throughout the rest of the casino area, changes were minimal on the audio end as the exis­ting Tannoy CMS801 DCBM in-ceiling speakers and Lab. gruppen C 16:4 amplifiers were still more than adequate for the job. The only addition, Wallace explains, is the expansion of the 70-volt background music

E Resort & Casino The new theatre at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino.

system into the expanded area that acts as an entranceway to the theatre. For this, 24 additional CMS801 DC-BMs were added. The biggest change within the existing casino involved upgrading the video system. The facility had a first generation Magenta Research twisted pair MondoMatrix switching system that was not expandable. With the expansion and renovation, Wallace and his team opted for an SVSi HD video streaming system that runs in parallel with the previous analog system. As such, TP receivers were replaced by SVSi decoders to transition the old areas to the HD streaming system. In the six-floor hotel, Westbury was responsible for television and RF distribution systems for the 178 guest rooms, as well as distributing audio, primarily background music, to the various zones throughout the hotel. These zones included the lobbies, pool area, gym, restaurant and bar, outdoor patio, and the aboveground link that connects the hotel and casino. “There are four DMX satellite music receivers located in the casino that we have then distributed to both the hotel and theatre via CobraNet over fibre,” Wallace explains. For network infrastructure, the Westbury team installed nine Cisco SG500X-48 10-gig Ethernet switches linked via fibre that carry multiple VLANs across the casino/hotel/ theatre complex. This allows Grey Eagle’s AV staff to send

content to all three buildings from one location as well as manage the AV systems from any building. The most challenging part of the hotel was the divisible meet­ing room that requires com­­bin­able audio. For this, Wal­lace opted for the Biamp Tesira digi­tal signal platform. “The casino itself was a Biamp AudiaFLEX system, which was nearing its capabilities, so we decide to upgrade to the latest platform, Tesira, and start using its functionality to do our expansion via AVB and then legacy linking via CobraNet,” says Wallace. “Biamp does a very good job with its room-combining modules, which simplified the programming. The Tesira platform also has the ability to set up partitions so that when we’re working in the meeting rooms, we can be making DSP changes, uploading to that system without affecting all the public areas.” While the hotel at Grey Eagle was more complex than its counterpart at Casino New Brunswick due to its greater number of public spaces and divisible meeting room, the theatre, on the other hand, was nearly identical. And as the saying goes, if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The 2,500-seat theatre is identical in configuration and size to the one at Casino New Brunswick, which meant that lessons learned in that project could carry over. It is an abnormally shallow and wide theatre, measuring 63.5 metres wide by 37.5 metres deep, making horizontal coverage a key concern. The floor seating in the front and tiered seating in the back wraps around the thrust stage at roughly 140 degrees. “The room was an identical model to what they had already built [in Moncton],” says Coniglio, “so Guy and I were looking at it and going, ‘Well, we could look at changing the speakers to something else.’ But the system works so well in the other room that we just said, ‘Let’s stick with this brand. It works well in this application.’ It was very cost effective and so we decided to keep it JBL.”

PROFESSIONAL SOUND • 27


GREY EAGLE’S THEATRE GEAR LIST

MAIN PA

• 24 JBL Vertec VT4888DP-DA Line Array Speakers • 12 JBL VRX932LAP Compact Line Array Speakers (4 left, 4 right, 4 front fills) • 8 JBL Vertec VT4880DP Dual 18-in. Subwoofers

GREY EAGLE Resort & Ca The JBL Vertec rig consists of 24 VT4888DP-DA line array speakers flown in a left/right configuration of two hangs of six boxes. These are complemented by eight VRX932LAP compact speakers as left/right fills and four more as front fills. To align the PA, mapping was done using a combination of the JBL Line Array Calculator and EASE to determine the horizontal coverage, placement, and angles. With the seating wrapping 140 degrees around the stage, Wallace and his team were able to achieve 160

FOH

DiGiCo SD8 CONSOLE Includes UB-MADI USB Adaptor, Waves SoundGrid Server & Waves Essential Bundle

MONITORS

DiGiCo SD8 Console 3 WNSS CUSTOM MONITOR RACKS WITH: • 2 dbx DriveRack 260 Loudspeaker Processor • 1 Lab.gruppen FP6000Q Amplifier • 2 Lab.gruppen FP9000 Amplifiers 1 WNSS CUSTOM FILL/SUB RACK (1 STEREO SIDE FILL MIX/4 SUB CHANNELS) WITH: • 1 dbx DriveRack 260 Loudspeaker Processor • 1 Lab.gruppen FP4000 Amplifier • 3 Lab.gruppen FP9000 Amplifiers 14 JBL STX812M 12-in., Two-Way Stage Monitors 4 JBL STX815M 15-in., Two-Way Stage Monitors 2 JBL STX825 Dual 15-in. Two-Way Loudspeakers (Flown as Side Wash) 4 JBL STX818S Single 18-in. Subwoofer

MICROPHONES

they opted for the Vertec rig, aside from its success in Moncton, was rider friendliness. “Vertec has been around for a long time and is well recognized. We wanted to create a rig that was rider and artist friendly so that the front of house engineer could walk in and go, ‘Yup, Ok, I will mix off of that’ and not require them to remove it,” he says. “The only thing that a touring band would need to bring in is their own FOH desk that

Meeting space.

Sennheiser 9000 Series Eight-Channel Wireless Package With: • Sennheiser EM 9046 SU System Unit Mainframe • 8 Sennheiser EM 9046 DRX Digital Receiver Modules • Sennheiser EM 9046 DAO Digital Output Module • Sennheiser EM 9046 AAO Analog Output Module • 8 Sennheiser SKM 9000 BK Handheld Transmitters • 8 Sennheiser ME 9004 Cardioid Condenser Capsules • 4 Sennheiser SK 9000 A5-A8 Body Pack Transmitters • 2 Sennheiser AD 9000 Active Directional Antennas 6 Sennheiser MD421Us 8 Shure SM57LCs 8 Shure SM58LCs 6 Shure Beta87As 4 Shure Beta91As 2 Shure Beta52As 2 AKG D112s 8 AKG C518 Ms 4 AKG C1000 Ss 4 AKG C480 B-ULS w/CK61s 2 AKG C414 XLIIs 4 DPA 4066 Omni-Directional Miniature Headset Mics 6 BSS AR-133 Active DI Boxes 6 Radial JDI passive DI Box with Jensen Transformers 14 K&M 259-Black Short Tripod Stands with Booms 24 K&M 210/2 black Long Tripod Stands with Booms 12 Atlas MS-12CE Round Base Stands 28 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

Casino bar area.

degrees of horizontal coverage. “So the problem with that is just matching, time alignment wise, to create a cohesive sound. So we spent a considerable amount of time aligning the three stacks versus the front fills that we put in to create a nice cohesive image,” says Wallace. Considering the primary use of the theatre is live music, Wallace says the main reason

they want to use or their own monitor rig, things like that. But the PA was designed to suit that room and was of an acceptable quality and standard that everybody would be happy with it.” Of course, there are desks ready to go for FOH and monitors as Wallace opted for two DiGiCo SD8s. “In Moncton, we had gone with [Yamaha] PM5Ds, again, industry standard digital


& Casino consoles; everybody knows them. But this time around we chose to go with a newer model than the 5D. If you’re putting consoles into a touring venue, there’s pretty much only two choices; you’re either going to go DiGiCo or Avid. The DiGiCo platform met the budget, met the performance, and we were able to tie the two of them together using the Optocore platform, which allows you to clock them at a full 96 kHz,”

comprehensive rigging system throughout the theatre than was implemented in Moncton. One of the regular uses of the theatre at Casino New Brunswick, they learned after the fact, is live MMA fights. But because the ceiling structure was not designed to host such an event, a lot of ground support is needed in that theatre for the box truss and other elements. With that in mind, a much more comprehensive plot of rigging points was created at Grey Eagle so

learned in Moncton and the architect’s cooperation and foresight. The one unexpected issue, however, was finding the ideal placement for the eight JBL Vertec VT4880DP dual 18in. subwoofers. In Moncton, Westbury had supplied the portable stage themselves, which allowed them to control the height of the stage and place the eight subs underneath the corners of the deck. At Grey Eagle, however, the upstage half was fixed, which determined the Theatre configuration.

says Wallace. As well, there is a Waves SoundGrid server so that touring engineers can access their own Waves plug-ins using an iLok key. As previously mention­ ed, the Westbury team was brought in by the architect and engineers early in the planning phase, which was helpful in the theatre. To start, by working with the engineers, Wallace was able to ensure that the ceiling space over the stage was cleared. This meant that the main HVAC ducts were kept as far to the outside and as high as possible to keep them clear of rigging points. As well, and again learning from previous experience, Wallace worked with the engineers to create a much more

that MMA, boxing, car shows, or any other type of event can move in with little hassle. “Also in Moncton,” Wallace says, “we put in a floor trough system to be able to go from the front of house to the stage and then stage left and stage right. There is also an alternate mix position at the rear of the room. So the floor trough continues all the way through. It was a great idea but the execution in Moncton was not as good and so the covers are problematic. So this time, we went with a pair of 10in. ABS conduits that are poured in the floor. It is the same functionality but instead we’ve gone with the direct pours.” In general, the audio design for the theatre was problem free, thanks to the lessons

height of the stage and precluded the same placement. “We did some modifications, put the subs under, and realized that because of having the fixed portion of the stage behind us, all of a sudden you now had a horn that shifted the low end up a full octave and just caused all sorts of harmonics and sounded horrible,” recalls Wallace. From there, he considered putting the subs in front of the deck, but that idea was nixed by the owner, architect, and promoter. “We moved them to the back wall, which was sort of out of sight but it did not perform well there. We tried another configuration where we put them further outside but standing on-end downstage and did a sort of wrap, which acoustically

worked really well but because we’re only dealing with a 3-ft. high stage with seating that is fairly close, there is that visual impression that you’ve got loudspeakers right in front of you,” continues Wallace. “The client asked us to fly the subs instead, so we were able to do a little bit of re-rigging and fly the subwoofer arrays behind the main arrays themselves. We added more DSP outs to give me an individual output per sub so that I could then, with the use of delays, steer the low end down into the floor and keep it out of the ceiling.” This ended up being an effective compromise. Wallace attests that when Paul Anka performed at Grey Eagle in June, “The front of house engineer was ecstatic with the low frequency response in the room and not seeing subs on the ground.” As far as EQ goes, Wallace says the philosophy at Westbury is that less is more. “You find the room nodes that are causing problems and then do what you can to blend the array through the vertical coverage and then leave a lot of it to the factory processing in the box so that when a guest engineer comes in, they turn it on, listen, and go, ‘Yes, that’s a Vertec rig, and not a rig that’s been EQ’d to hell by somebody else.’” And it is not just FOH en­ gineers who are benefitting from Westbury’s work. With a revamped casino and completely new hotel and theatre, the Tsuu T’ina First Nation is ready to welcome any and all visitors, and with them come new opportunities for the community. “We now have the opportunity to fully realize our potential as Tsuu T’ina and our nation is now in a position to fully implement our vision of economic prosperity,” said Chief Roy Whitney at the complex’s official opening on May 2, 2014. So far, it looks and sounds like this was a vision worth gambling on. n

Michael Raine is the Assistant Editor of Professional Sound magazine

PROFESSIONAL SOUND • 29


New Scotland Yard

Nova Scotia’s Quaint & Quirky New Creative Hub By Andrew King. Photos by Ingram Barss The first time I met Joel Plaskett was the fall of 2009. That was my first year as a Maritimer, having moved from the Niagara Region of Ontario to Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, on New Year’s Eve 2008. As a member of the music industry both then and now, I spent a lot of time during that first year on the East Coast immersing myself in the music its residents were making. It was an exciting time for contemporary music in a part of the country that had long and primarily been known for producing sounds with more folk and traditional influences. Two of the acts often credited with leading the charge during that period were, oddly enough, two of the few I’d been familiar with before moving – Two Hours Traffic and Joel Plaskett. The former, based on PEI, hit national critical acclaim with their 2007 release Little Jabs and its follow-up, 2009’s Territory. Plaskett was in the producer’s chair for both, and it was actually just days following Territory’s September 2009 release that I was dropping in on him at his private studio, Scotland Yard, tucked behind an apartment complex in a residential neighbourhood in Dartmouth, NS – just across the harbour from Halifax. In contrast to his collaborators in Two Hours Traffic, Plaskett had been a staple of the coast’s rock scene since his time with Thrush Hermit in the early ‘90s. Over the course of nearly two decades, he was quite prolific. Though Thrush Hermit would dissolve in 1999 shortly after finishing the now-classic Clayton Park, Plaskett would go on to release seven full-length studio albums, a handful of EPs, a live DVD, and collection of demos and rarities, some as solo albums and others under the moniker of Joel Plaskett Emergency alongside

30 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

his band mates. Some of Two Hours Traffic’s Territory was tracked at Scotland Yard with Plaskett in the producer’s chair, as was work by the likes of David Myles, Steve Poltz, and Tim Chaisson, with Plaskett producing, engineering, or just helping out with songwriting. But most significantly (at least to me), it was there that Plaskett composed and ultimately recorded the final versions of the vast majority of his 2009 Juno-winning triple album Three – still one of my favourite records to ever come from the Maritimes. So here I was, shaking hands with the tall, denim-clad, and strikingly humble figure I’d seen perform a few times during my university years in south-western Ontario and whose music, whether delivered from the speaker or stage, was an integral part of my formative years as a music writer and fan. And here we were, at a place that had been an integral part of so many records I was in love with at the time. After a quick jig of his key, I followed him in to the small boxlike space, separated and sheltered from the outside world by only four thin-but-well-treated walls. It wasn’t much to behold at first, but there was something special about it. Maybe I was fooling myself, but at the time, I thought that I could then go back and hear this room in those records. I spent the first few seconds scanning the space, catching something new with each tic. There was a very expensive-looking Neumann mic set up in the middle of the room, a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red with a few fingers missing (only notable because of a line in “Penny For Your Thoughts”), and on one wall hung the unmistakable Middle Eastern carpet from Three’s cover art.

It was crowded but tidy, and everything there was there for a reason – some things functional, others fashionable, some funky and some (the scotch) just for fun. Much like its owner, despite its modesty, there was something undeniably cool about that studio. “I got frozen in there one time,” recalls Plaskett with a laugh, this time sitting in front of the 32-channel Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console in his current space, New Scotland Yard, alongside his full-time engineer, Thomas Stajcer. “I still have the scars on my fingers because I was pulling the door handle so hard and it gave way and the screws cut up my fingers.” After renting his previous space for years and watching it fill up with more and more gear – so much that he eventually had to rent a separate storage space – Plaskett went in search of a bigger facility that could properly house his wares and, more importantly, boost his recording capabilities and enhance his workflow. The one he found about two years ago is located on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth, just steps from some of the burgeoning neighbourhood’s restaurants and bars and a few more to a stunning view of Halifax Harbour. It had previously belonged to a furrier, and Plaskett recalls first walking in and seeing it full of two levels of fur coats. “I remember being surprised after taking measurements because I didn’t realize it was that big,” he says of what’s now the main tracking and control room, boasting almost 1,000 sq. ft. of space. As fate would have it, despite looking deceptively like cinder blocks, the room was actually entirely covered in cork. “When I discovered that, I had actually been reading a book called Temples of Sound about


some of the famous American recording studios, and one of them was an old avocado storage locker with cork covering the walls. That just put a huge smile on my face.” The main room is tucked just behind the entrance and main lobby, loaded with a pool table, ample seating, a small kitchenette, and Plaskett’s entire vinyl collection (or, as Stajcer calls it, the “reference material”). After he’d taken ownership of the property, what’s now the main room was still full of the furrier’s steel bars. Plaskett found someone who agreed to remove it for free if he could keep the steel. “They went at it all with grinding wheels and turned the place into something that felt and smelled like a metal shot that had been here since 1940,” he recollects, shaking his head. His friend Ken Friesen, the namesake of Ken Friesen Audio Services and owner of Signal Path Studio in Almonte, ON who does recording, live sound, broadcast work, and studio design, agreed to fly out and help get the studio set up, just like he’d done at Scotland Yard years earlier. The first task was cleaning up the steel dust – “and we both ended up with sinus infections,” Plaskett adds. Next came the audio measurements, which identified the ideal spot in the room to place the console – then a Toft ATB24. They also treated the ceiling, first putting insulation bats under the roof, then a double layer of drywall and acoustic sealant. That’s when the HVAC and electrical infrastructure went in, all eventually covered by the drop ceiling. Also of note is the fact that the entire audio infrastructure was put on an isolation transformer, with lighting and the other fixtures on a separate ring. Their mutual friend Joe Dunphy,

one of the co-owners and engineers at Revolution Recording in Toronto, also put Plaskett in touch with acoustician and studio designer Martin Pilchner of Pilchner Schoustal International. “I told him about the cork on the walls and that the room was already pretty dry, told him about the maple hardwood floors…” Plaskett says. “He asked me to send him the dimensions of the space and then he sent me a layout saying, ‘This is what I’d do…’” In accordance with Pilchner’s input, Plaskett finished the ceiling with a choreographed combination of plywood and acoustic tiles to manipulate reflections in the best possible way. It’s also loaded with Roxul bass trapping

two tiles deep. Plaskett credits Friesen, Pilchner, Dunphy, contractor Stefan Scarola, and electrician Dan Hennebury as being instrumental to the project. Despite being exponentially larger than Plaskett’s previous studio, New Scotland Yard has a very similar aesthetic and feel. The eclectic décor of both the recording room and lobby includes vintage instruments and amps galore along with photography and plenty of paraphernalia from Plaskett’s collection. Those similarities are intentional, and also extend to its practicality. “I wanted to keep the open single-room vibe,” Plaskett shares. “The lobby is fully wired, so we can record

PROFESSIONAL SOUND • 31


New Scotland Yard

out there, but I like having most of the work done in the room with the console. I found that to be very effective at the old studio.” That’s largely informed by the fact that Plaskett himself will be a frequent patron. He adds that the layout improves communication and, subsequently, the fluidity of the sessions. “Everyone’s here and everyone’s present; I think you get more focus, whereas when there’s people in isolation or in the lobby or on their phone, it can really detract from a session.” The configuration adds to the initial set-up time, dialing in headphone mixes and such, but once the work starts, as Plaskett says, “You’re off to the races.” He continues, noting they have enough rugs to almost entirely cover the hardwood in the live room and deaden the space. Another little trick they’ve employed recently is recording in the lobby space. “It’s way more reflective since it’s cinder block instead of cork, so we can open up the door, put mics out in the lobby – maybe a drum mic – and you get this really big, John Bonham kind of boom. It sounds great.” Stajcer had never worked in the old Scotland Yard, though was part of its newer iteration right from the start. A graduate of Metalworks Institute in Mississauga, Stajcer cut his teeth interning at Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton before heading to Belgium to work at the massive Galaxy Studios. He declined an offer for a permanent position there due to its remote location in a country thousands of miles from his home, returned to Ontario, and spent time at Revolution Recording in Toronto before making the decision to move east. After arriving in Halifax, he quickly landed a gig mixing live sound at the Carleton Music Bar & Grill where he met Tim-Jim Baker, a deep-rooted member of the city’s music community and owner of The Shed studio in nearby Shad Bay. After working at The Shed, he connected with Charles Austin of the Echo Chamber, one of the city’s busiest commercial spaces, and came highly recommended by both when Plaskett asked some close friends for a lead on an engineer that could be “the guy” at New Scotland Yard. For its first year of operation, a Toft ATB24 console that came over from Scotland Yard anchored the studio. “It had done me well for a long time, but did have its limitations – especially in terms of head room,” Plaskett explains. “I could get that console sounding hi-fi

32 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

if I spent a lot of time being judicious with all the levels, gain structure, and everything, but things kind of got mashed a bit in the midrange.” With the intention of opening New Scotland Yard to commercial business and making it more suited to external projects, Plaskett and Stajcer set out on a search for a new desk. While tracking for Mo Kenney’s upcoming release earlier in the year, Plaskett rented a 16-channel Neve 5088 that didn’t have any mic pres or EQs – “it was just the lines,” he says. “So I was just using our external pres and seeing what the desk did simply on a mix level – just coming back down through those transformers to hear how it sounded.” They were impressed and sought a used model at the right price, which they found via Vintage King not long after – a 32-channel model with 16 5032 mic pres/EQs. “We checked the serial number with Rupert Neve Designs and were told that the console used to belong to Usher,” Plaskett notes. The signal chain is virtually identical to what Plaskett was running at Scotland Yard, albeit with a few new additions. The most notable of those is the Endless Analog CLASP system, of which New Scotland Yard was one of the first adopters in Canada when it was purchased a year ago. The unit essentially turns the tape machine into a slave to Pro Tools, so you can run a session seamlessly in Pro Tools with everything hitting tape and passing through the converters. Stajcer says that the CLASP and tape machine have been used on every session in the studio thus far – a list that, to date, includes the likes of Mo Kenney, Gloryhound, Old Man Luedecke, Dave Gunning, and David Francey, among others. “It’s super easy for us to switch back and forth between digital and tape, so if we record something digitally and then run it to tape, the artist or producer can hear the difference, and in every case, they’ve chosen tape.” The unit has also led to other engineers bringing their digital recordings into the studio to hit tape before mixing. “I think we met the goal of making that the selling point of the studio – just how easily we integrate tape and good vintage gear into our projects,” Stajcer says. “People don’t even realize in some cases we’re recording to tape; the CLASP takes out so much of the hassle and basically operates like a plug-in.” They also brought in a pair of Universal Audio Apollo units along with the CLASP, offering 32

channels of conversion and monitoring with minimal latency and a dual core processor in each. And though they’ve done a few digital-only mix jobs for clients on a tight budget, 90 per cent of the material they mix also hits the Studer A-827 two-channel 1/4-in. tape machine as well. And since J. LaPointe at Archive Mastering in nearby Mineville, NS, which also has a 1/4-in. machine, puts the finishing touches on most of the projects that leave New Scotland Yard, they can be mastered straight from the reels – “and J’s got some nice converters at his place,” Stajcer adds. Revisiting his reasons for taking on this new challenge at this point in his career, Plaskett says he was trying to bring something unique to the coast’s already rich musical landscape. “To be honest,” he begins, “there wasn’t a facility – and don’t get me wrong, there are great studios in Halifax run by close friends of ours – but there wasn’t a facility that totally operated the way I wanted it to as far as my own workflow. So this was about building something that satisfied what I personally wanted in a studio, which is that open concept with a really good console and analog gear that coexists in the digital world. And then I figured I might as well share it with anyone that it might interest.” And there’s been a fair bit of interest thus far. In addition to the previously mentioned clients to have visited New Scotland Yard in the recent past, one in particular left a lasting impression for taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the


Joel Plaskett & Thomas Stajcer at New Scotland Yard’s Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console.

equipment and layout of the space that its owner just described. Stajcer tells me about a session with gypsy jazz/indie crossover act Gypsophilia, comprised of seven musicians. The group recorded a few songs all together in the live space, off the floor. “They had a keyboardist playing the Wurlitzer and Rhodes at the same time, a stand-up bass, violin, three guitar players – one acoustic, one electric, and one switching between the two during the song – and the band leader right in the middle with a cow bell and Clav.” He pulls up the session as he speaks, and what soon comes out of the monitors is a treat both in execution and delivery. “It was crazy,” he adds, beaming. One of the things currently keeping him busy is drumming up ways to entice other local musicians and engineers to check out the space for themselves. One they’re pursuing is in tandem with the Halifax Urban Folk Festival (HUFF), where all of the international headliners are set to hit New Scotland Yard before their performances to rehearse. “So we’re kind of the artist headquarters for that, which is awesome because they’re all set up with these kind of all-star bands of Halifax musicians, so they’ll all get a chance to come in.” There are similar plans to host an event during the 2014 edition of the Halifax Pop Explosion coming up in the fall. He’s also reaching out to local schools like the nearby campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, which offers a recording arts program that could benefit from experience in a mostly analog environment.

While it’s been up and running for well over a year at this point, the studio still feels fresh to its owners and, in my case, a first-time visitor, and there’s no sign of Stajcer and Plaskett hitting auto pilot anytime soon. Both are dedicated to boosting their room’s profile and sharing its special qualities with their friends and peers in Atlantic Canada and beyond. “One of the things I really like, especially after reading about Sun Studios or Cosimo Matassa’s place in New Orleans – the studios that weren’t built from scratch to be acoustically sound; I knew that wasn’t in the cards for me. I was more about finding a funky little room. There are limitations to the cork, but I find that’s been a good thing. I kind of like the idea of having a certain sound that, when you hear it, might make you say, ‘Oh, I know that room!’ That’s what I love about a lot of the old Motown records – something that sounds like you’re in a specific place with its own special vibe. That’s what we’re aiming to do here – have a bit of a sonic stamp.” Of course, in addition to a unique space, that comes with having a good selection of gear and, most importantly, some seasoned ears operating it and running the session. It may be awhile before its catalog is long enough for listeners to pinpoint a specific sound, but it seems that so for, Plaskett’s New Scotland Yard is on the right track.

Andrew King is the Editor of Professional Sound.

CONSOLE Rupert Neve Designs 5088 32-Channel (16 with 5032 Mic Pre/EQs) RECORDERS & SOFTWARE Studer A-80 2-in. 16 track (15 & 30 ips) Studer A-827 1/4-in. two track (7.5, 15 & 30 ips) Universal Audio Apollo Digital Conversion (32 channels) Endless Analog CLASP 16 Pro Tools 10 Logic Express Mac Mini with SSD Drive HHB Burnit CD Player/Burner MONITORS Klein & Hummel 0-300 (x2) Dynaudio BM-5A (x2) Auratone 5c (x2) MICROPHONES Neumann M-150 Tube Condenser Neumann KM 184 Small Condenser (x2) Neumann TLM 103 Condenser Neumann KM 105 Vocal Condenser (x2) Advanced Audio CM47 (U-47 copy) Mojave MA 300 FET Condenser Royer 122V Ribbon Cloud JRS-34A Ribbon Cascade Fathead Ribbon Audio-Technica ATM 31 Small Condenser Audio-Technica AT4041 Small Condenser AKG D112 Sennheiser e902 Sennheiser 421 (x2) Shure SM7 Shure SM 57 (x3) Shure SM 58 Sennheiser 835 Realistic PZM PREAMPS, COMPRESSORS, EQ’S & DIS Rupert Neve Designs 5032 Mic Pre/EQs (x16) Helios 500 Series Mic Pre/EQ Electrodyne 501 Mic Pre/DI SSL XL Channel Strip Mic Pre/Gate/Compressor Universal Audio 6176 Tube Mic Pre/Compressor Universal Audio LA 610 Tube Mic Pre/Compressor Ward-Beck M470C Mic Pres with M472 EQs (x4) Altec 1567 Tube Mixer/Mic Pre Summit DCL 200 Stereo Tube Compressor API 2500 Stereo Buss Compressor Rupert Neve Designs 5043 Stereo Compressor Shadow Hills 500 Series Mono Optograph Compressor Anamod AM660 Limiter (Fairchild 660 Copy) Empirical Labs Derresser De-esser ART Pro VLA Stereo Compressor JLM Audio PEQ500 EQs (x2) Electrodyne 511 EQ Avalon U-5 Direct Boxes (x2) UREI stereo EQ Radial Tank Driver Reverb Send & Return Radial PhazeQ Phase Adjustment Tool Radial SGI Guitar Interface Radial EXTC Effects Send & Return Radial Gold Digger Mic Preamp Selector EFFECTS EMT 240 Stereo Plate “Gold Foil” Reverb (Solid State) Orban Stereo Spring Reverb Fulltone Tube Tape Echo Dynacord Tape Echo Electro-Harmonix Memory Man Analog Delay Pedal DeltaLab Effectron Jr Delay/Flanger PROFESSIONAL PROFESSIONALSOUND SOUND• • 33 33


A NEW LOOK & SOUND FOR OTT

TD Place S By Andrew King.

Renovated north grandstands at TD Place Stadium

Just a few years ago, the future of Frank Clair Stadium at Lansdowne Park – one of Ottawa’s longest-standing and cherished landmarks – was uncertain; however, thanks in large part to the efforts of a consortium of investors known as Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, Ottawa City Council approved a redevelopment plan to renovate the stadium and update several other areas of the park. This summer, the revamped facility – including an all-new audio system installed by Solotech – will host home games for the CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks and NASL’s Ottawa Fury Football Club and, subsequently, droves of frenzied hometown fans.

A RICH HISTORY

T

here’s little doubt that the site most Canadians would first associate with our nation’s capital of Ottawa is Parliament Hill. Built in 1859, the longtime home of the Parliament of Canada greets approximately 3 million visitors each year and is deeply rooted in many fond memories of citizens of the capital. But just a few kilometers south of the Hill, right by the bank of the Rideau Canal, sits another site rich in history and likely the root of its own share of cherished memories held by locals and tourists alike. Lansdowne Park is a 40acre sporting and exhibition facility owned by the city that was first established in 1868. The site was the longtime home of the annual Central Canada Exhibition – from 1888 through to 2010 – and, throughout the years, has played host to a wide variety of concerts, sporting events, community programming, and much more. There was also a playing field on the grounds first cleared during the 1870s and

34 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

used for equestrian, lacrosse, and other team sports. In 1908, the first permanent grandstand was erected on the north side of the surface that essentially made the field into a stadium. A smaller grandstand on the south side followed, constructed during the 1920s. Decades later, in 1960, the south stands were rebuilt and then a second level was added during the ‘70s. Following suit, the north side seating was demolished in 1967 and in its place went a new set of stands with a hockey arena built underneath. Over the years, the stadium at Lansdowne Park was home to professional and amateur sporting clubs like: the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders (1908-96) and, later, Renegades (2002-05); QJFL’s Ottawa Junior Riders; minor league baseball’s Ottawa Giants (1951) and Athletics (1952-54); as well as various teams representing the Carleton University Ravens and University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. It was an official venue of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, hosted five CFL Grey Cup matches, and dozens of

other special events. In 1998, the stadium that had simply shared its moniker with the site it sat on was renamed Frank Clair Stadium in honour of the coach and general manager of the Ottawa Rough Riders during the 1960s and ‘70s. And in 2005, Frank Clair Stadium played host to rock royalty when The Rolling Stones performed for over 40,000 fans. Basically, when it came to sporting and entertainment in Ottawa, Lansdowne Park and its stadium was one of the top destinations in the city.

THE END OF ONE ERA… In the fall of 2007, cracks were discovered in the concrete structure of the lower south side stands. After conducting an engineering study of the north and south structures, the south side was condemned and the lower section was demolished in June 2008. That same summer, a group of local investors formed a consortium called Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to explore the potential of bringing a

CFL team back to Ottawa. The league accepted their bid, with the condition that Frank Clair Stadium be upgraded before the franchise was activated. OSEG and the City of Ottawa were back and forth with proposals and assessments over the following couple of years until, in June 2010, word was received that Ottawa City Council had approved OSEG’s latest redevelopment plan. It included the overhaul of Frank Clair Stadium along with other conditions pertaining to the redevelopment of Lansdowne, including the implementation of retail space, residential housing, and an urban park. In November 2011, the remaining south side structure was demolished piece-by-piece, its concrete and steel recycled and seats reused for a new skating rink at city hall. Demolition was completed come January 2012 and the new facility was underway shortly thereafter. The plan was to completely reconstruct the south stands while renovating and upgrading those on the north side. The partly revamped and partly reconstructed facility, of­fi­cially renamed TD Place Sta­


FOR OTTAWA’S LANSDOWNE PARK

e Stadium Photos by Samantha Everts.

Newly-built south stands.

dium in January 2014, would be home to the CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks and North American Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury FC, with each club set to make its debut in the summer of 2014.

…BEGINS ANOTHER Solotech’s Gatineau office first entered discussions to take on the AV integration for the entire stadium and grounds back in 2010, right around the time the proposal to rebuild was approved and it was announced to the public. Claude Régimbald, branch manager of the Gatineau location, headed up communications with the client, OSEG, to secure the contract. “We’re definitely happy to be a part of such a milestone for the city,” Régimbald tells Professional Sound. Texas-based firm BAi Consulting completed the initial spec for the audio infrastructure in early 2012, when the redesign was still in its infancy, and shortly after, Solotech was officially awarded the contract. Because of the time lapse between its delivery and when work on the project actually got underway, the team at Solotech spent a fair amount of time reviewing the spec as construction plans for the stadium proper were developing. It originally called for sound reinforcement product from a specific loudspeaker manufacturer; however, getting word

of the project, Montreal’s SFM, along with manufacturing partner Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW), worked with Solotech to present an alternate proposal. From the main office in Whitinsville, MA, EAW’s Application Support Group (ASG) produced several acoustic models using the physical measurements of the stadium compiled by Solotech to deliver a system design with uniform coverage of the stadium seating at its core. Whereas the original design called for line array boxes to handle reinforcement for the north and south stands, that from EAW’s engineers suggested a mix of clustered and individually-hung point source loudspeakers. OSEG had also specified certain colours for the enclosures, and so EAW produced weatherized versions of all of the loudspeakers, some with customized colour finishes to match their surroundings. The design was approved by OSEG, though the time frame to get the speakers delivered to Gatineau – just like virtually every other leg of the job for the various trades – was extremely tight. The loudspeakers were delivered at the end of February 2014, just eight weeks following the confirmed order, with kickoff for the RedBlacks’ home opener versus the Toronto Argonauts set for 8 p.m. on Friday, July 18. That timeframe, and the

subsequent fact that it was shared by the 10 or so different trades on site at any given time, is what Gregory Frechette cites as the most challenging component of the project. “As you can imagine, it takes a lot to successfully orchestrate that number of people in one spot at one time.” Work was also underway on the concessionary and hotel components, which, as Frechette puts nicely, “basically triples the amount of people having to work around each other without walking over each other.” Frechette was Solotech’s project manager for TD Place, working out of Solotech’s main Montreal office. Frechette is often sub-contracted by the company to head up project management on large construction-based jobs because of his experience in both AV and construction and came into the fold for this one back in November 2013. Daniel Couvrette is the integration department supervisor with Solotech’s Montreal office and also began his work on the project in late 2013 – “just as things were starting to come to life with the physical install, making sure that the dots were all connecting with the various teams we had on site,” he explains. “Since the project was unfolding so quickly, we had to work hard to keep up with all of the changes and work

closely with the other trades onsite,” he says, echoing Frechette’s comments. Another challenge they faced was running all of the necessary cabling throughout the facility – over 300 km of fibre, copper, Cat-5 and -6, and more – often in lengths of 1,250 ft. without termination. “The client wanted to be able to utilize the existing technology onsite, which still relies on copper, but for the future, there’s also infrastructure for the digital formats,” explains Gaetan Laniel, Gatineau’s technical director. There are three primary hubs for all of the processing equipment – two on the south side and one on the north. The fibre ties the two buildings together, despite each running on its own separate Cat-6 network. “As far as good learning opportunities, the logistics of putting in a broadcast and IT cabling network for a stadium is definitely one,” Frechette chuckles. Régimbald and Laniel continue on that tangent, discussing some of the difficulties that came with the task – working in tandem with the site engineer, ensuring they didn’t interfere with other trades, keeping aesthetics ever in mind… While he himself has taken on projects with similar cable infrastructure, Frechette notes how, once the cable was actually onsite and the team was getting ready for the actual PROFESSIONAL SOUND • 35


TD Place Stadium installation, many were astounded by the shear volume and amount of labour it would take to complete the task. The kicker? Most of the runs were done in the dead of winter, sometimes pushing -40 degrees C. The entire audio system of both sides of the stadium is based on QSC’s Q-Sys scalable integrated audio solution. “It being relatively new to the market, we spent a lot of time getting to know the Q-Sys product leading up to this,” Couvrette shares. A key contributor to that was the support the company received from the manufacturer and, again, SFM, which handles Canadian distribution and support for that brand as well. “They were very good about helping us ensure that, before anything shipped, it was all in line with the spec. We didn’t have any issues at all, and I know that’s because of the support of our vendors.” Between the public areas – the stands, concessions, hallways – and private ones – meeting rooms, locker rooms, administration offices – the number of zones throughout the facility managed via Q-Sys is understandably extensive. And as Frechette alluded to, the broadcast infrastructure is also significant, with several patch bays for trucks to link into the system. For simple zone control, no less than 56 QSC TSC-3-B touch screen controllers were provided, primarily for the areas that are locally controlled, along with multiple paging stations. The programming was a joint effort between Solotech and SFM, leveraging one another’s resources to meet the tight deadline. That was one of the last parts of the job and ran right through to commissioning, ensuring the home opener went off without a hitch. “It’s a very big system, but the way it was designed was all about simplicity and making it user-friendly,” Couvrette says. “It could have been very complex, integrating multiple 36 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

systems with consoles left and right, but with Q-Sys, everything is directed to one place, so it’s very easy to manage.” Being on such an open platform also makes future expandability a non-issue. “It’s nice to see the evolution of large-scale sound systems like this headed in that direction,” he tacks on.

END ZONE TO END ZONE As for what the Q-Sys is actually driving, reinforcement for the stands is provided entirely via EAW boxes, with a significant array of Atlas Sound and some JBL Control products handling the localized audio through the concessionary areas and the rest of the facility. Reinforcement for the upper level of the revamped north side stands is handled via 11 EAW QX364-WP weather-protected boxes with 60- by 45-degree coverage. The lower level has 14 QX366-WP boxes with 60- by 60-degree coverage, arranged into seven clusters of two boxes. As for the newly erected south side, the lower level stands get sound via 14 QX326-WP full-range boxes with 120- by 60-degree coverage. The upper level is covered by eight clusters comprised of: two MK2326i-WP boxes with 120- by 60-degree coverage; one MK2394i-WP box with 90- by 45-degree coverage; and one SB250zP-WP dual 15-in. sub. For the wings of the upper level near each end zone, there are four clusters each consisting of one MK8126i-WP, one MK2394i-WP, and SB150zP-WP. All of the EAW speakers throughout the facility were finished with a special weather-protected coating, with those in the upper level of the south side also having a custom Pantone colour as per OSEG’s spec. Getting the boxes into place came with a few unique challenges based on the building’s design. The roof for the renovated north side was en-

tirely rebuilt and the overhang was actually scaled back by approximately 20 ft. between the architect’s initial design that was used to build the spec and the actual construction, making for a bit of a curve ball. “There were several changes put forth by the architect throughout the course of construction and we were constantly working to keep up with those and adhere to the specified design,” Frechette explains. With input from EAW, the integrators were able to keep roughly the same design, just moving the boxes back and re-aiming to achieve the same coverage and SPL levels. Physically getting the speakers in place on the roof also required a unique solution, as the skating rink made it impossible to employ a crane or scaffolding. That solution? Apex Rope Services, a small company based in Toronto that specializes in rope access, rigging, high-angle rescue, and other high-flying feats. In the rafters, there was just enough room to install a beam clamp and get riggers and equipment into the air for the crew to handle the installation. “The boys were a-one on that one,” Couvrette says about Apex, noting he’s worked with the team a few times in the past. “I’ve been doing this job for 18 years, and they’ve always impressed me with their methods.” In fact, they impressed the bosses from the other trades so much that one of Apex’s team members ended up sticking around on standby rescue for the other trades working above ground for the remainder of the project.

The south side didn’t call for as elaborate an execution, though its shape did offer a certain level of difficulty. “There’s nothing conventional on any point for that roof,” Frechette says with a chuckle. “As far as positioning, aligning, tuning… there were a lot of logistics that went into that process. In most cases, we’re working in a facility with a few corners; for this, it’s like trying to find a corner in a round room.” All of the cross members on the roof are constructed of wood, so weight was a consideration, though there was also an insistence on clean sightlines, hence the elaborate cluster design and reason there were so many more boxes for the upper level than the lower. The curve also informed the slightly different cluster configuration for the seating closest to the two end zones. As for reinforcement across the rest of the facility, Atlas Sound’s FAP62T 6-in. and FAP82T 8-in. two-way in-ceiling loudspeakers handled the majority. For spaces requiring boxes, a complement of Atlas Sound and JBL products were employed – primarily Atlas’ SM82T 2-way boxes, JBL’s install-ready AWC-82 all-weather boxes, and Control 25T all-weather boxes. Some were used for the meeting rooms, which also feature small AV systems with a display, mics, and so on, all tied into the main system. “So theoretically,” Laniel offers as an example, you could tie one of the meeting rooms to the main PA. That just shows how everything is pretty much plug-and-play.”


EAW QX326-WPs on front lip of upper south stands.

QSC TSC-3-B touch panel for Q-Sys system.

Digital signage in public area with JBL Control 25T. Cluster of one MK8126i-WP, MK2394i-WP & SB150zP-WP covering far end of south stands.

SPORTING EQUIPMENT A look at some of the key audio components integrated into TD Place Stadium, courtesy of Solotech. 118 x Atlas Sound FAP62T 6-in. 2-way in-ceiling speaker 38 x Atlas Sound FAP82T 8-in. 2-way in-ceiling speaker 54 x Atlas Sound SM82T 175 W 8-in. 2-way loudspeaker 16 x EAW MK2326i-WP 2-way switchable weatherproofed loudspeaker

North stand reinforcement, with single EAW QX364-WPs covering upper level & 14 QX366-WPs

12 x EAW MK2394i-WP 2-way switchable weatherproofed loudspeaker

arranged into seven clusters

4 x EAW MK8126IPL-WP passive 2-way weatherproofed loudspeaker

of two boxes for lower seating.

14 x EAW QX326-WP 2-way full-range weatherproofed loudspeaker 11 x EAW QX364-WP 2-way full-range weatherproofed loudspeaker 14 x EAW QX366-WP 2-way full-range weatherproofed loudspeaker 4 x EAW SB150zP-WP 525 W, 8-ohm 1x15-in. weatherproofed subwoofer 8 x EAW SB250zP-WP 1050 W, 4-ohm 2x15-in. weatherproofed subwoofer 2 x EAW UX8800 Digital Signal Processor with EAW Focusing 34 x Electro-Voice SX300 PIX 300 W 12in. weatherproof speaker

OVERTIME D Place Stadium was a massive undertaking for Solotech’s Gatineau office, though plenty of support came via its Montreal headquarters and supplier partners. When asked about aspects of the job that the team hadn’t faced in the past that offered a good learning opportunity, Laniel and Régimbald share a laugh – “just about the whole job,” Laniel says, but adds that the process went relatively smoothly and there were never any major concerns. “At the end of the day,” he says, “it’s been very gratifying being part of a project of this

size. We got to explore a lot of new technologies to find the best solutions, and in all, it was a great experience.” Ultimately, the goal is to deliver a similarly great experience to patrons cheering on their local clubs with uniform and intelligible sound, and after just a few football games, it’s pretty clear that’s the case. The system is performing like a first-liner, especially considering it’s tough to compete with 24,000 screaming fans. n

62 x JBL AWC-82 8-in. 2-way compact all-weather loudspeaker 14 x JBL Control 25T 150 W 5.25-in. two-way speaker w/ transformer 6 x JBL MTC-PC2 input panel cover for JBL ControI 21 x JBL 150 W 70 V 2-way speaker 27 x QSC CIML4-KIT Q-Sys std. mic/line card kit (4 channels in w/ 48 V) 36 x QSC CODP4-KIT Q-Sys DataPort output card kit (4 channels) 10 x QSC COL4-KIT Q-Sys line level out card kit (4 channels) 4 x QSC CORE-500i Q-Sys Core w/128 channels, 8 card slots, 2 CPIO 6 x QSC CX108V 8-channel amplifier (100 W/70 V) 10 x QSC CX1202V 2-channel amplifier (800 W/70 V) 3 x QSC CX204V 4-channel amplifier (200 W/70 V) 14 x QSC I/O-FRAME Q-Sys input/output Module (4 card slots)

Andrew King is the Editor of Professional Sound.

25 x QSC PL340 2-channel amplifier (800 W/8 ohms) 4 x QSC PS-1600H Q-Sys 16-button page station 56 x QSC TSC-3-B Q-Sys touch screen controller (320x240 pixels)


A New Home & New Direction For

G N I D A E H

Ron Skinner’s Heading North Mastering has been a steady staple of Toronto’s audio community since 1999 and has put the finishing touches on a heap of celebrated recordings from a long and stylistically varied list of clients – from the current crop of buzzed-about indie artists like Dan Mangan and Tokyo Police Club’s Graham Wright to Juno-winning alt-country outfit Elliott Brood, Canadian jazz icon Jane Bunnett, and soon-to-break Newfoundland folk trio The Once and beyond. During that time, the studio has also occupied a few different locations throughout the city. Most recently, the studio was housed in Skinner’s own two-story home in the burgeoning creative hotbed of Leslieville; however, in recent years, Skinner found himself searching for a new location that would offer more space and a separate entrance for the business. Last year, he found one – one street over from his old place. “Since I was moving and going to have to dismantle the entire studio, I thought it’d be a good time to look at upgrading a lot of my infrastructure,” Skinner asserts. “I was doing mostly mastering up until that point, with a little bit of in-the-box mixing here and there. I wanted to start doing more mix work, so that also factored in to the decision.” Over the course of the past year, since moving his professional and personal lives into a single-storey bungalow in the neighbourhood he knows well, Skinner has been taking on new types of projects while outfitting his space with some new tools to enhance his workflow and supplement his service offerings. Professional Sound recently caught up with Skinner to discuss his recent move, his approach to mastering, the industry surrounding him, and the future direction of Heading North. 38 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

North M

Professional Sound: What are the key differences between your current studio space and the last one that informed your decision to relocate last year? Ron Skinner: It’s in a space in my basement that I’ve converted. The main thing here was that my old space didn’t really have everything I was looking for – a separate entrance to the business, for example. So I was looking for a house with a separate basement entrance that would let me put in a little office and lounge area as well. My previous place was a one-room studio, and I knew that, with some of this new equipment, I’d need some sort of machine room. So I wanted a space with more rooms – so I’ve got a control room and a small overdub room that I didn’t have before. And then there’s an even smaller machine room to house the equipment. It has higher ceilings and just a lot more room. PS: What kind of work went into converting the basement as far as infrastructure, acoustic treatments, and so on? RS: In my previous space, I had worked closely with an acoustician and purchased a lot of treatment products. With this major upgrade, I decided to reuse a lot of my treatments from the old space. I took what I learned building the last studio and applied it to this one, so I didn’t hire an acoustician or ask for much advice; I just used the tools and experience and was able to reuse about 90 per cent of the treatments I had in the last space. I’m just wrapping up this whole upgrade now, and one of the last things I purchased was new doors for the studio that

Heading North Mastering’s current control room.

are more soundproof, and some new acoustic panels because I was having a bass problem at the back of my room and needed to deaden it a bit. PS: So as far as your setup, you’ve now got an Avid System 5 console anchoring your control room that wasn’t part of your last studio. RS: Yeah, I was looking for a mixing console and was hoping to do something digital with full automation. I was dealing with the people at Avid, with their System 5, and they turned me on to someone who was selling one, and I kind of got the deal of a lifetime on it. The System 5

used to be a Euphonix product, though Avid bought the company a few years ago. PS: What was it that attrac­ted you to that model in the first place? RS: It’s a console I’ve used a lot and I always enjoy working on


By Andrew King. Photos by Trevor Weeks.

h Mastering

Ron Skinner in Heading North’s

previous location.

it. There are two sides to it. It’s a digital DSP-based console with EQs and compressors and full channel strips, and then it’s also a Pro Tools controller. So having both of those technologies in one system was attractive to me. If there were clients that just wanted to mix in the box, I could do it that way, though I prefer

mixing outside of the box, so I can offer both of those services. It’s also very scalable. Mine is probably 10 years old or so, and they’ve made major upgrades over that time, so I just kept the control surface and upgraded all of the back end components. I basically picked the pieces I wanted to keep that

were still viable with the newest software, and then bought a brand new DSP core on the back end. The coolest thing that happened was probably about two months ago. My console didn’t have any mic preamps, so I was toying with the idea of buying the Avid mic preamps that would be controllable from the console. Prior to that, I was using a bunch of outboard mic pres. I found some mic pres at a really good price, and after inquiring a bit, I found out they came from the console they used for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. So I ended up with 24 channels of remote mic pres that are controlled by the console and 24 channels of AD converters.

PS: So did the move or the new parts of your set-up end up changing your workflow in any significant way? RS: Yeah, there was a huge shift. Prior to this I had a lot of analog gear for my mastering – some really high-end pieces. And I would use my DAW, which is Sadie, to go in and out of the analog pieces for mastering. Adding the console, the biggest thing was I kind of had to rethink my whole mastering chain, and how I would get things to and from different pieces. The console actually has a monitoring section with speaker switching, headphone cues, and so on. There was a whole bunch of equipment I used to do these things that the console ended up replacing in an instant. That was a great thing. I had some nice high-end pieces – a Dangerous Music monitoring controller, for example, which was a totally awesome unit, but it’s a $4,000 piece that I was able to sell to help pay for the console with that feature built in. Also, just the recall abilities on the console. There was more analog in my chain before, so there were things I’d have to write down in detail instead of just hitting “save,” but now that I have full snapshots on the console, I can do snapshot recalls – though there’s still a lot of writing things down as far as settings with some of my analog gear. Having routing capability with the console is great as well. It really increased my flexibility and has probably sped up my workflow a bit. PS: So you had help throughout the whole process from Nick Bonin, the other mastering engineer at Heading North. Tell me a bit about your relationship with him and how he helped you out. RS: I’ve probably known Nick for about five years. He’s a Fanshawe [College] Music Industry Arts grad [Ed.’s note: Skinner himself is an alumnus of the program.] He emailed me shortly after graduation because he want-

PROFESSIONAL SOUND • 39


H

G North Mastering N I D EA

ed to meet me, and we ended up hitting it off. He started bringing some clients into my mastering space and our relationship kind of grew from there. He’s always been somewhat of a sounding board. I call him a lot and ask for help or for his opinion, or if we have to move something, he’s always there to offer a hand. When we first met, he helped me with a major acoustic overhaul of my last space. Maybe a year and a half later, I’d told him I was moving, and he was like, “We just got this place sounding great! Why are you moving?” But I told him we’d found a better space, and once again, he helped me move and install things and offered a lot of good advice. PS: Have there been any projects you’ve taken on lately that maybe you wouldn’t have been able to take on in your previous space for any reason? RS: As I mentioned, I’ve been taking on more mixing projects. Before, when I was mixing in the box, I kind of felt limited; I wasn’t always comfortable doing mixing projects with my set-up. I think the clients were happy, but I wasn’t happy – just missing the tactile feel of a console. Since, I’ve taken on a few projects – mostly indie projects. I’ve been working with a guy named Marc Nadjiwan who has been a friend and a musician I’ve worked with for years. So I’ve done a few indie projects with him, and we’re actually just in the middle of mixing a jazz record by Cheri Maracle – an aboriginal singer songwriter who’s doing her first jazz record. We tracked that up at Jukasa Studios [in Caledonia, ON], and that’s a project I might not have taken on prior to getting the console. PS: Whether it’s a mix you’re doing yourself, or one that someone else has done that’s coming to you to be mastered, what are some traits of an ideal mix as far as you’re concerned?

40 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

RS: When I’m getting a mix delivered for mastering, first, the artist has to be happy with it. A lot of people see mastering as this magic thing that’s going to fix all of their problems, but that just isn’t the case. It’s also important that it hasn’t already gone through a lot of mastering-type processes. The worst thing is getting a mix that’s super compressed or already really loud or over-limited, where the mix engineer has already done lots on the two-mix bus. That can be detrimental to the project. PS: On the note of loudness, we’ve had some guest editorial lately talking about the loudness wars finally coming to an end thanks to volume normalization tools employed by iTunes and some of the major streaming services, which can make an overly-loud master sound shrill and lifeless. How have you navigated the constant push in loudness over the last several years? RS: To some extent, I think the loudness wars are over, though I think it may have more to do with people having hit that ceiling – where now we know what records sound like that have been over-mastered and made too loud. There have been a lot of big, commercial examples of those things, and I think people have regretted going that far and, as an industry, are starting to scale back. Now that we have these tools – digital limiting, multi-band compression, and those kinds of things – I think it’s going to be almost impossible for some genres of music to go back to not using those kinds of tools. Yeah, there’s some damage being done by going too loud, but those same tools do great things to improve the sound of a song when used properly. Over my past 15 years of mastering, my levels have gotten louder. Not substantially louder – maybe about 5dB, which I guess could be con-

Heading North’s overdub space.

sidered substantial – but I’ve always tried to be conservative with that. Sometimes, I’ll deliver a master that I think is competitive as far as loudness with other albums in the genre they’re in, and they’ll come back and say it sounds great, but they want it a little louder. You have to do what your client wants, so I’ll tell them I can make it louder, but there’s a point where I’ll tell them that they’re going backwards in terms of quality. The loudness wars may be over, but the idea of making loud masters isn’t, if that makes sense. We’ve hit the ceiling, and we all know that’s too much, and now we’re taking one step back. But going back to how digital audio was mastered, say, in the ‘80s, I don’t think that’s going to happen. It’s just too competitive of a field. Loudness still matters; it’s just about knowing how to use the tools and knowing when you’re working against yourself. PS: I’m backtracking here, but you mentioned your 15 years of mastering. You opened Heading North in 1999. What was your career tangent at the time that led to you opening the studio? RS: I always thought of myself as a recording engineer and a mixer, but people kept asking me to master their records, and in this business, you can’t really turn down work. Sometimes it was projects I was mixing, and in the early days, I’d say, “I don’t think I should master this. I think

we need to go to somebody else and get fresh ears on this project.” But then other people that had mixed elsewhere would call and ask if I did mastering. That happened enough times that I had to think there was something to it. If enough people ask you to do something, you’ve got to think maybe that’s a calling. That led me down this path. It’s a really different head space that you have to be in for mastering, but it’s one I’m comfortable with and enjoy. I also engineer and I mix, but I know that, if I’m mastering a project I also mixed, I’ll need to walk away and cleanse my palette. Then, when I come in for mastering, it feels like I’m working from a totally different part of my brain. I’m sure that sounds strange, but that’s how I feel about it. PS: It’s no secret that the major recording studios have gone through some tough times over the last decade-plus. How has the mastering field fared during that period where the traditional recording studios were struggling? RS: Well I’ve always done my work out of my home, so I’m sure people with facilities that are purpose-built for mastering look at somebody like me and consider it lower quality because I work out of my basement. I’m not sure that is true; I spent a lot of time making sure my room is suitable for what I’m doing.


PAG Canada Ltd. 1-866-9 PAG CAN (972-4226) • E-mail: sales@PAGcanada.com


G North Mastering N I D HEA

GEAR AT A GLANCE �  Avid/Euphonix System 5

Large Format Audio Console with Full Auto­mation & EuCon Control

Skinner’s modded Avid/Euphonix System 5 console.

�  Sadie 6 Mastering Software �  Pro Tools HD 10 �  TC Electronic 6000 Reverb

& Mastering

�  iZotope Ozone 5 Complete

Mastering System �  iZotope RX 2 Advanced Audio Restoration �  Avalon 2055 Mastering Equalizer �  Millennia Twincom TCL-2 Limiter/Compressor �  Manley Massive Passive EQ �  Manley Variable Mu Stereo Limiter/Compressor �  Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Suite �  Universal Audio 2-1176 Twin Vintage Limiting Amplifier �  Smart Research C2 Dual/ Strereo Compressor �  JDK Audio R22 Dual Channel Compressor �  Universal Audio 2192 A-D/D-A Converter (x2) �  Genelec 5.1 System �  Genelec 8050A Front �  Genelec 8040A Surround �  Genelec 7050B Subwoofer �  Avantone Active Mix Cube (x2) �  Studer A-810 Analog ¼-in. Stereo Tape Recorder �  Pinguin Audio Meter Software 42 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND

I feel like the decisions I made during those early years were sort of in line with that trend of people working from home. I was conscious of that – keeping my overhead low and offering a price that’s competitive and within reach for artists on smaller budgets. Even 15 years ago, I could see that was the trend, so my approach has always been to keep it simple. It’s not necessarily about the room; it’s about me as a mastering engineer and what I bring to a project that people are paying for. They want good gear and good quality, but in my experience, they’re not paying for appearances or bells and whistles; they’re paying for results. PS: Are there other current trends or ones that are starting to emerge, whether technological or related to workflow, that are affecting your industry at large? RS: It’s not a new trend, but with the whole vinyl resurgence, more and more clients are wanting vinyl masters, which is exciting as an audio professional, but also being that it’s another

source of revenue for a mastering studio. Say five years ago, 90 per cent of the projects I did wouldn’t include a second master, but now people recognize that CDs sound different than vinyl, and that you want certain things on your vinyl master that you wouldn’t want on a digital master. More and more artists want both digital and vinyl masters. That is a good trend. PS: Let me close with this. Your list of credits is pretty diverse, though I think it’s fair to say the majority of them come from in and around the Toronto area, or at least Ontario. How are you finding the overall health of the various music scenes that you’ve got a hand in? Are they keeping you excited? RS: It’s amazing how diverse it is, and how I’ve been able to work on so many different kinds of projects – from jazz to world music to heavy metal. It’s also interesting because my business has always been word-of-mouth – not a lot of me going out and waving a flag and

saying, “Hey, come to me!” So it always seems my next project comes from my last project, and what amazes me is how the music community is so tight-knit, even when the types of music are so diverse. It’s not uncommon that I’ll master a metal project one day, and then a month later, a classical violinist might call and say, “I was talking to a friend of mine in a metal band, and he told me I should come to you to master my record.” People think of music as existing in different worlds – a jazz world and a pop world and a rock world... That’s true to some extent, but when someone contacts me that I haven’t worked with before, I always ask how they found me, and 90 per cent of the time, it was a referral from somewhere else, and a lot of those times, the connections are pretty shocking. It’s a big world, but it’s a small industry. n

Andrew King is the Editor of Professional Sound.


Grundorf 75-110 Compact Rack Drawer

Grundorf Corporation has introduced the 75-110 Compact Rack Drawer for wireless racks, which features a metal design with multiple compartments and foam lining. Featuring a short depth body to fit in most wireless racks, the 75-110 drawer provides three compartments with metal dividers designed to provide separate space for microphones, beltpack or plug-on transmitters, and a host of related items. With its ball bearing draw glides, the 75-110 is designed to slide smoothly and is built to provide a long product life against the rigors encountered while touring. In addition to its metal construction, the Grundorf 75-110 Compact Rack Drawer incorporates high-grade foam in all three compartments. The Grundorf 75-110 Compact Rack Drawer measures 3 1/2 x 19 x 8.25 in. and weights 7 lbs. For more information, contact Grundorf Corp.: 712-322-3900, FAX 712-322-3407, info@grundorf.com, www.grundorf.com.

4-Channel Line Output Card II

General Purpose I/O (GPIO) Card II

Bose ControlSpace Input & Output Accessory Cards

Bose Professional Systems has expanded the functionality of its ControlSpace and digital audio processing and amplifier systems with the introduction of new input and output accessory cards. The ControlSpace cards, each for the ESP-00 II engi4-Channel Mic/Line Input Card II neered sound processor, include the ControlSpace 4-Ch Mic/Line Input Card II, ControlSpace 4-Ch Line Output Card II, and ControlSpace General Purpose I/O (GPIO) Card II. These cards expand the interconnection options available for the Bose ESP-00 II, making the processor suitable for a wider range of installation applications. The ESP-00 II processor features eight available I/O expansion slots that accommodate any combination of analog and digital cards, and supports up to 64 bi-directional channels. The ControlSpace Mic/Line Input Card II boasts >117dB dynamic range, improved distortion and crosstalk performance, with adjustable gain up to +64dB to accommodate both microphone and line level analog sources. The ControlSpace Line Output Card II features >115dB dynamic range and is capable of +24dBu analog output. The ControlSpace GPIO II 8x8 expansion card provides enhanced general purpose analog and digital connectivity for easier integration with output devices. For more information, contact Bose Corp.: 877-428-2673, www.bose.ca.

Auralex Hemisphere Model 180 3D Sound Diffusors

Auralex Acoustics has introduced the Hemisphere Model 180 3D sound diffusors, which are designed to combine shape and high-impact hardness to diffuse sound evenly across the room to control flutter and echo effects. In addition to the standard fire-rated Hemisphere, custom versions are available with added absorption for additional control. Hemispheres are available in their natural textured white finish, which can be painted, and in two fabric finishes to match Auralex’s ProPanel series. Auralex Hemispheres are made of recycled 0.125 thermoformed copolymer and have a 1 1/2-in. thick fiberglass backing. They measure 23 x 23 x 7 in. and have a two-part clip system (not ceiling grid compatible). For more information, contact Auralex Acoustics: 317-842-2600, FAX 317-842-2760, auralexinfo@auralex.com, www.auralex.com. 44 Professional Sound


Applied Acoustics Frontier Sound Bank

Applied Acoustics Systems has released of the Frontier sound bank by artist and sound designer Daniel Stawczyk for the String Studio VS-2 string modeling synthesizer and AAS Player plug-ins. Frontier is Daniel Stawczyk’s third sound bank with AAS following the releases of Starlight and Cinémathèque. Frontier is a collection of 130 sounds inspired by deepspace exploration. They are split up in the arpeggiator, gated, lead, keys, plucked, effects, and synths categories and present a survey of what is found around the farthest celestial bodies. The instant download delivery package includes both a String Studio VS-2 bank file and the free AAS Player plug-in. The AAS Player plug-in runs on both Windows and Mac OS X and supports the VST, Audio Units, AAX Native, and RTAS plug-in formats. For more information, contact Applied Acoustics Systems: 888-441-8277, sales@applied-acoustics.com, www.applied-acoustics.com.

Audio-Technica ES945/LED & ES947/LED Boundary Microphones

Audio-Technica has introduced two new table-mount LED microphones: the ES945/LED omnidirectional and ES947/LED cardioid condenser boundary microphones. Both feature a 360-degree red/green LED indicator ring. Part of Audio-Technica’s Engineered Sound line, these microphones are available exclusively to contractors and system integrators. The ES945/LED and ES947/LED are designed to provide highly intelligible audio for video conferencing, teleconferencing, audio recording, and other sound pickup applications. Each mic is protected by an all-metal case with a dual-layer steel mesh grille and features a low-profile design that allows it to be mounted unobtrusively on a tabletop. Users can locally mute and un-mute each microphone with a capacitive-type touch-sensitive switch. The red/green LED indicator that encircles the grille alerts users to audio status. These phantom-powered mics are equipped with a three-pin XLRM output and UniGuard RFI-shielding technology for rejection of radio frequency interference. Both models are available in black and silver. For more information, contact Erikson Audio: 514-457-2555, FAX 514-457-0055, info@eriksonaudio.com, www.eriksonaudio.com.

Professional Sound 45


Products

Lab.gruppen D Series Amplifier Platform

Lab.gruppen has introduced the D Series flagship install-dedicated four-channel DSP amplifier platform. The D Series amplifier platform is designed to offer “genuinely open interoperability” and integrate seamlessly with a wide range of digital audio and control protocols. The D Series platform is available in two variants – one featuring Lake, the other featuring Tesira by Biamp Systems. The Lake variant offers a package of Lake Processing DSP with analog, AES, and a dual-redundant Dante network solution. It is supported by custom software to provide integration potential with most key systems manufacturers. With the Tesira variant, a collaboration between Lab.gruppen and Biamp Systems has resulted in dedicated models equipped with Tesira DSP, with AVB audio and control, to offer amplifier and DSP platform integration, designed to ensure seamless interoperability between respective systems. D Series also marks the debut of Lab.gruppen’s Rational Power Management (RPM) technology, which allows flexible power allocation across all channels to ensure efficient use of total amplifier inventory. For more information, contact TC Group Americas: 519-745-1158, FAX 519-745-2364, inquiries@tcg-americas.com, www.tcgroup-americas.com.

EAW Otto Adaptive Subwoofer

EAW has introduced the Otto Adaptive Subwoofer, which is the first subwoofer in the Adaptive Performance Series. This sub is equipped with two 18-in. woofers with acoustic energy exiting from four spaced apertures in the corners of the enclosure. The Otto has an output of 131dB and a response that extends down to 22 Hz (-10dB). As with the Anya full-range modules, each Otto transducer is separately powered and processed, allowing multiple directivity patterns to be created from one module. Also, Otto modules can be combined in arrays and have system coverage and output characteristics designed to be easily changed in real time without moving or changing the set-up. Each module is engineered to generate any three-dimensional wavefront surface and determine the processing needed to achieve optimum coverage and tonal balance. EAW Resolution software generates DSP parameters to simultaneously adapt the 3D wavefront surface and optimize frequency response to match the requirements of any venue quickly. For more information, contact SF Marketing: 514-780-2070, FAX 514-780-2111, info@sfm.ca, www.sfm.ca.

Yamaha NEXO GEO M620 Line Array

Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems has unveiled the NEXO GEO M6 compact loudspeaker series. The GEO M6 Series is comprised of the GEO M620 arrayable cabinet and the GEO M6B bass extension. The GEO M620 is a full-range unit for stand-alone, curved array, or line array applications. Compact and weighing 22 lbs., the GEO M620 uses a NEXO-designed long-excursion high-efficiency 6.5-in. LF driver and 1 x 1-in. throat driver on a BEA/FEA optimized HR Wavesource to deliver a frequency response of 80 Hz-19 kHz ±3dB, with a nominal peak SPL of 127dB. HF dispersion is 80 or 120 degrees horizontal, with 20-degree vertical coverage, and 0- to 20-degree splay when arrayed. Using NEXO’s HRW patented waveguide for optimum HF coupling, the M620 performs in a variety of configurations, facilitated by a fully-integrated three-point rigging system. The GEO M6B is a low and mid-frequency extension box. With one 6.5-in. 8-ohm longexcursion driver, the M6B weighs a little under 17 lbs. and shares the same physical footprint as the M620, allowing the cabinets to be arrayed together in the same column. For more information, contact Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems: 714-522-9011, FAX 714-522-9334, www.yamahaca.com. 46 Professional Sound


DiGiCo D2-Rack

DiGiCo has launched the D2-Rack, which comes with either BNC or Cat-5 MADI connections, allowing it to be used with a number of DiGiCo consoles. By using the latest converters found in DiGiCo’s SD Racks, the D2-Rack offers a more compact, efficient, and affordable rack solution for connection at either 48 kHz or 96 kHz with no I/O reduction. The D2-Rack offers two I/O versions. The first features 48 mic inputs, 16 line outputs, and two blank output slots allowing an additional 16 outputs in the user’s desired format (analog, AES, and Aviom), while the second offers 24 mic inputs, 24 AES inputs, 16 line outputs, and two blank outputs, again permitting an additional 16 outputs in one of three formats. For more information, contact GerrAudio Distribution: 613-342-6999, FAX 613-342-8499, info@gerr.com, www.gerr.com.

Professional Sound 47


Products

DPA d:fine 88

DPA d:fine 66 & 88 Miniature Headset Microphones

DPA Microphones has introduced the d:fine 66 and d:fine 88 miniature headset microphones. The d:fine 66 and d:fine 88 combine the 4066 Omni and 4088 cardioid microphone capsules with features of the modern d:fine headsets, such as an advanced mount and flexible ear hooks. The d:fine 66 omnidirectional and d:fine 88 directional headset microphones, which are recognized by their rounded capsules, are intended for use by actors, musicians, and singers who require grid cleaning/changing options. In total, there are four capsules – two omnis and two cardioids – and three headset mounts – single-ear, dual-ear, and personalized mount. For more information, contact GerrAudio Distribution: 613-342-6999, FAX 613-342-8499, info@gerr.com, www.gerr.com.

Radial SB5W Wall-Mount Stereo Direct Box

Radial Engineering has released the Radial SB5W wall-mount stereo direct box. The SB5W is a stereo direct box that fits inside a standard light switch electrical enclosure and employs a Decora wall plate cover for the fit and finish. As the design is completely passive, no local powering is needed. A choice of RCA or 3.5 mm mini TRS inputs makes it easy to interface with laptops and iPhones. A simple level control sets the output. This is augmented with a “set and forget” switch to sum the stereo audio file to mono plus a ground lift to eliminate hum and buzz caused by ground loops that often appear when interfacing computers and video projectors with audio equipment. Connections from the SB5W are done with simple screw-down terminals and tie wraps for strain relief. Made in Canada from 16 gauge steel, the electronics are fully enclosed in a metal casing to reduce susceptibility from outside magnetic interference. For more information, contact Radial Engineering: 604-942-1001, FAX 604942-1010, info@radialeng.com, www.radialeng.com. 48 Professional Sound


Galaxy Audio DSPOT Digital Signal Processors

Products

Galaxy Audio is now shipping its DSPOT line of digital signal processors. These DSPs allow the user to manage and clarify the sound produced in their speaker system in both fixed installation and live sound applications. Designed to be easy to use and occupy one rack space, the DSPOT series has features designed to optimize the loudspeaker system, all accessible via USB and the software architecture or the front panel. There are six models in the DSPOT line: two full speaker management systems; two equalizer models; and two compressor/limiters. The speaker management systems feature a three in, six out configuration (DS-SP36) and a two in, four out configuration (DS-SP24) with parametric EQ, delay, limiting, polarity, and more. The two equalizer models are a full 30-band EQ (DS-EQ230) and a 15-band EQ (DS-EQ215), both featuring compression, delay, and limiting among other features. The compressor models (DS-CP22 and DS-CP25) are two in, two out, and the DS-CP25 has multiband compression. For more information, contact Audio Distributors International: 450-449-8177, FAX 450-449-8180, info@adi-online.net, www.adi-online.net.

Professional Sound 49


Roland XS Series Multi-Format AV Matrix Switchers

Roland Systems Group has launched the XS Series of multi-format matrix switchers designed for fixed installations requiring highquality integrated video and audio conversion and switching. The series is adaptable, supporting eight HDMI, RGB/ component/S-video/composite inputs and up to four HDMI or HDBaseT outputs with scalers to support picture-in-picture, resizing, rotating, and flipping. Audio can be embedded into outputs via eight stereo audio inputs (two microphone) and/or HDMI audio as well as de-embedded on output. Additional features include iPad control, EDID emulation, and HDCP management. The XS Series is available in three configurations: 8-in x 4-out (XS-84H); 8-in x 3-out (XS-83H); and 8-in x 2-out (XS-82H), and is ideal for many applications that include conference rooms, education, 4K switching to 1080p, performing arts centres, churches, convention centres, and teleconferencing. For more information, contact Roland Systems Group Canada: 905-362-9707, FAX 905-362-9708, info@rolandsystemsgroup.ca, www.rolandsystemsgroup.ca.

SSL X-Saturator Plug-In

Solid State Logic has launched three new Duende Native plug-ins, including the X-Saturator. The X-Saturator delivers a wide range of analog-style distortion effects. It is an emulation of an analog circuit that introduces either second order valve style or third order transistor style distortion or a blend of the two. At low drive settings, the distortion is mild and can add gentle warming to help instruments sit in a mix or to add a little extra edge to help instruments cut through a mix. As drive levels are increased, so too is the level of distortion until at high drive levels heavy distortion occurs. The controls have a simple design: a Harmonics control selects second or third order distortion or a blend of the two; a Drive control sets the drive level; a Depth control adjusts the amplitude of the distortion; and a Shape control adjusts whether the distortion has smooth or hard edges. A Headroom button provides an additional 6dB of headroom for creating heavily boosted/distorted signals without digital clipping. A dedicated wet/dry mix control facilitates parallel processing. There are input and output meters and input and output level controls. For more information, contact HHB Communications Canada: 416-867-9000, FAX 416-867-1080, sales@hhbcanada.com, www.hhbcanada.com.

Adamson E219 Subwoofer

Adamson Systems has launched the E219 Subwoofer, which was developed to bolster the low end of the Energia line of products. The enclosure contains two lightweight, long excursion, 19-in. SD19 Kevlar Neodymium drivers utilizing Adamson’s Advanced Cone Architecture and Symmetrical Drive Technology. The drivers employ dual 5-in. voice coils for power handling, with a dual-spider suspension system for extra stability and are mounted in a front-loaded enclosure, designed to reproduce clean, musical low frequency information. The E219 can be ground stacked or flown utilizing the Energia Modular Rigging Frame. For more information, contact Theatrixx Technologies: 514-939-3077, FAX 514-933-0087, info@theatrixx.com, www.theatrixx.com.

50 Professional Sound


Martin Audio DD12 Loudspeaker System

Martin Audio has introduced the DD12 loudspeaker system, which combines onboard networking, DSP, and Class D amplification with transducer and Differential Dispersion horn technology. Differential Dispersion technology delivers more consistent audience coverage than systems with X-degree by Y-degree horns, providing more throw to the rear to distribute sound evenly front-to-back, with close-up horizontal coverage for the front rows. The DD12 system is designed to meet a multitude of premium stand-alone and distributed sound reinforcement requirements. Ideal as the main PA in smallto-medium size rooms, it can also be used as an infill loudspeaker in large-scale systems. Whether configured as part of a stand-alone DD12 system or part of a larger MLA/MLA Compact system, individual DD12s can be controlled and monitored from a laptop or tablet PC via VU-NET proprietary software. For more information, contact Martin Audio North America: 519-747-5853, FAX 519-747-3576, www.martin-audio.com.

Professional Sound 51


Products

ATC SCM20PSL MkII Near-Field Reference Monitor

Acoustic Transducer Company has introduced the ATC SCM20PSL MkII near-field reference monitor. The passive monitor improves upon the previous ATC 6-in. twoway passive model and is ATC’s smallest and least expensive monitor in the ATC Professional lineup. Built to the same standards as its active Pro Range siblings, the SCM20PSL MkII is ideally suited for critical near-field applications or smaller rooms. The ATC SCM20PSL MkII is based around the ATC 6.5-in. Super Linear LF driver with integrated midrange, utilizing the same ATC-developed SL technology used in the larger 9-, 12-, and 15-in. based monitors. The SCM20PSL MkII incorporates ATC’s in-house built Dual Suspension 25mm tweeter. An ATC-designed/built passive crossover has been incorporated, combining second and third order features to offer improved imaging and precision. Neutral output extends across the audible spectrum and within a new cabinet design, minimizing size and weight. For more information, contact HHB Communications Canada: 416-867-9000, FAX 416-867-1080, sales@hhbcanada.com, www.hhbcanada.com.

52 Professional Sound

Chandler TG2-500 Preamp Chandler Limited has released the TG2-500 Preamp. Building on the company’s TG2 Preamp/DI, the TG2-500 is designed to deliver the classic sound of the EMI TG12428 preamp used in EMI/Abbey Road recording and mastering consoles in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s but in the company’s 500 series module form factor. Using the identical TG2 circuit, transistors, and transformers, the TG2-500 delivers 10 to 60dB of gain and uses a coarse gain control and a fine gain control as found on EMI consoles. The unit provides 300 and 1,200 Ohm input impedance as on the TG2. The Chandler TG2-500 delivers frequency response identical to the TG2. Additionally, the TG2500 has the same high frequency bump and mid forward tone as the TG2. For more information, contact Sonotechnique: 514-332-6868, FAX 514-332-5537, sales@sonotechnique.ca, www.sonotechnique.ca.


ADVERTISERS' INDEX AUGUST 2014 PG. ADVERTISER 61

AES

57 52

WEBSITE

E-MAIL

www.aesconvention.com

info@aes.org

AUDIO-TECHNICA (ERIKSON AUDIO)

www.eriksonaudio.com

info@eriksonaudio.com

BEYERDYNAMIC (TECHNI+CONTACT)

www.technicontact.com

juliel@technicontact.com

www.eriksonpro.com

info@eriksonpro.com

6

DB TECHNOLOGIES (ERIKSON PRO)

4

D&B AUDIOTECHNIK

www.dbaudio.com

info@dbaudio.com

13

EAW (SF MARKETING)

www.sfm.ca

info@sfm.ca

41

ELECTRO-VOICE (BOSCH)

www.pagcanada.com

sales@pagcanada.com

51

FACTOR ELECTRONICS

www.factorelectronics.com

danny@factorelectronics.com

15

FLEX RENTAL SOLUTIONS

www.flexrentalsolutions.com

info@flexrentalsolutions.com

15

FONICA (VELLONE COMMUNICATION)

www.vellone.com

info@vellone.com

19

OUTLINE (GERRAUDIO)

www.gerr.com

info@gerr.com

11

KV2 AUDIO CANADA LTD.

www.kv2audio.com

rpilon@kv2audio.com

45

MERGING (HHB CANADA)

www.hhbcanada.com

sales@hhbcanada.com

www.meyersound.com

sales@meyersound.com

www.nor.com

mlosier@nor.com

www.ontariostaging.com

customerservice@ontariostaging.com

www.theatrixx.com

info@theatrixx.com

www.sfm.ca

info@sfm.ca

www.radialeng.com

info@radialeng.com

www.soundsdist.com

sdinfo@soundsdist.com

www.rolandsystemsgroup.ca

info@rolandsystemsgroup.ca

www.sfm.ca

info@sfm.ca

www.theatrixx.com

info@theatrixx.com

www.yamahaca.com

info@yamahaca.com

www.yorkville.com

canada@yorkville.com

www.omnimedia.ca

client@omnimedia.ca

2

MEYER SOUND

51

NWC MARKETING SERVICES

48

ONTARIO STAGING

8

POWERSOFT (THEATRIXX)

7

QSC (SF MARKETING)

54,55

RADIAL ENGINEERING

47

RCF (SOUNDS DISTRIBUTION)

59

ROLAND SYSTEMS GROUP

3

SHURE QLX-D (SF MARKETING)

49

THEATRIXX

63

YAMAHA – CL & QL SERIES

43

YORKVILLE SOUND

64

ZOOM (OMNIMEDIA)

To view the digital version of Professional Sound, please go to www.professional-sound.com/online. Professional Sound 53


Mackie SRM750 Eighteen Loudspeaker Sound & SRM2850 15NCX750 Subwoofer has launched two Transducer Mackie additions to the SRM family

Eighteen Sound has debuted the 15NCX750 high output neodymium coaxial transducer. The 15NCX750 is a 15-in. neodymium coaxial transducer designed for use in compact reflex enclosures and stage monitors as small as 40 lt with a nominal dispersion of 90 x 90 degrees. The 15NCX750H is available with the proprietary horn assembly and has a nominal dispersion of 90 x 40 degrees. Due to its high damping pulp composition, the curvilinear profile LF cone provides smooth response within its intended frequency range. The 75-mm LF copper voice coil employs Interleaved Sandwich Voice coil (ISV) technology. The low distortion and sound quality are improved by an aluminum demodulating ring (SDR technology) that improves LF impedance and phase with constant power transfer, for low distortion. Equipped with a proprietary hybrid radial tangerine phase plug, the integrated HF compression driver has been designed to give a smooth, coherent wavefront at the horn entrance in all working frequency ranges with a high level of manufacturing consistency. For more information, contact Universal Music LLC: 305-499-9393, FAX 305-499-9663, contact@universalmusicusa.com, www.universalmusicusa.com.

54 Professional Sound

of powered loudspeakers: the SRM750 1,600 W dual 15-in. high-definition powered loudspeaker and the SRM2850 1,600 W dual 18-in. powered subwoofer. Both models include features and technology from the SRM Professional Series. 750 SRM This includes a 1,600 W amp kie c a M platform paired with custom transducers housed within internally-braced all-wood cabinets. Like all the SRM full-range boxes, the SRM750 features Mackie HD Audio Processing. This sound-enhancing DSP includes patented acoustic correction algorithms for high-definition sound plus system optimization tools like application-specific speaker modes and a feedback destroyer. For more information, contact AudioOne Corp.: 905-859-9038, FAX 905-859-9040, sales@audioone.ca, www.audioone.ca.


Products Electro-Voice ETX Powered Loudspeakers Electro-Voice has introduced its ETX Powered Loudspeaker family for both portable and installed applications. The ETX loudspeakers feature technologies from EV’s concert/touring systems. EV-engineered high-efficiency transducers and high-powered Class-D amplifiers, Signal Synchronized Transducers (SST) waveguide design, and FIR-Drive DSP work together to provide improved sound quality and precise coverage at high SPLs. Included in the ETX range are three two-way models (10-, 12-, and 15-in., all with a precision HF titanium compression driver), a three-way model (15-in. with a 6.5-in. MF driver and a precision HF titanium compression driver), and two subs (15- and 18-in. drivers). Within the ETX products are 1,800 W (subs) and 2,000 W (full-range) Class-D power amplifiers with integrated DSP to produce high SPLs utilizing high-sensitivity, low-distortion transducers, including DVX and SMX series woofers and precision DH3-B HF titanium compression drivers. For more information, contact Bosch Security Systems: 877-863-4166, FAX 952-887-5585, pro.sound@us.bosch.com, www.boschcommunications.com.

Professional Sound 55


Recording Healey Willan’s “The Reproaches” Part 3

By Frank Lockwood

The recordings described here were done at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Toronto from January to May, 2009. This article is based on a presentation given by Frank Lockwood to the AES Toronto chapter in January 2014.

T

Editing & Processing The Mix

he next stage was to assemble the whole piece, with the correct timing, from the various takes. The Pyramix DAW is the choice of most classical music recording specialists worldwide because of its superior editing controls. The crossfades and the sound material can all be shifted in time independently in order to perfectly align the “Out” and “In.” The crossfades can be made longer or shorter, and the fade shapes can be modified as spline curves. The goal is to create a seamless transition from one take to the next so that the listener is not distracted by any sudden shifts or changes in the sound quality that are not part of the music. I completed the editing from all the selected takes and then identified which sections belonged to either of the two choirs. The Choir II sections, with all the fades, were moved (constrained in time) to four new tracks so that each choir could have its own processing chain.

Edited Takes Separated The intention was to create an antiphonal performance, where one choir sounds close and fairly narrow, as though positioned in front of the listener, while the other sounds distant and spread apart, as though standing in the aisles near the back of the church. Processing the “near” choir was relatively simple, since they had already been recorded with the suitable perspective. A very light amount of compression was used to tame some of the louder peaks, and then the stereo panning 56 Professional Sound

was narrowed, creating a more compact grouping to contrast with the wider, distant choir. Creating the impression of a distant choir required more elaborate processing: equalization to change the tone quality; dynamic range compression to reduce the soft to loud range; and stereo adjustment to increase the width. I had to consider the characteristics of distant sound and then synthesize them as naturally as possible. High frequency sounds traveling over distance are absorbed by the air more readily than low frequency sound, so I used an equalizer to roll off the highs. At the same time, some of the lows were reduced as well, to diminish the power and presence experienced when a choir is standing close to a listener. With increased distance, the difference between soft and loud sounds becomes much less pronounced, so a compressor was used to reduce and control the dynamic range of the main microphone pair’s signal, allowing the room mic signal to predominate. Next, I used a stereo width control – essentially an M/S matrix – to reduce the middle component and increase the side, spreading the distant choir sound apart to contrast with the narrowed grouping of the closer choir at the “front.” Finally, impulse response reverberation was applied to both choirs with a plug-in processor, using one of the impulses created from the impulse response collection session described in part one of this article. This restored any reverb tails impacted by the de-noising process, while bringing everything together into a single room. In this graphical representation of the postproduction, starting on the left it begins with

the noise-reduced and edited takes, which are split into the two choirs. The close choir has only gentle compression applied and is panned inward towards the centre. The distant choir is equalized, rolling off the top and bottom, compressed more radically, and its width is adjusted. Both choirs are sent to the IR reverberator with the SMM impulse response. The outputs of both choirs plus the reverb plug-in are sent to the master stereo summing bus where the peaks are limited and the low end rumble is removed. Everything is mixed down to a single stereo file for placement in the CD running order.

“The Reproaches” was just one of several pieces of music featured on the CD, so another Pyramix session was created to place all the stereo mixes in the proper order and timing, along with CD start and stop ID markers. Copies of this recording can be obtained directly from the choir of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, or through CD Baby, Amazon.ca, and iTunes.

Parts 1 & 2 of this article appeared in the April & June 2014 issues of Professional Sound, respectively. An expanded version of this article, with audio examples and more pictures, can be found online at www.LockwoodARS.com/ production. Frank Lockwood is the owner/operator of Lockwood ARS. Based in Toronto, he specializes in classical and acoustic music recording, editing, mixing, restoration, and mastering.


itinerarY

Industry Events & Shows

CITT Rendez-vous 2014 Ottawa, ON August 14-16, 2014 888-271-3383, FAX 613-482-1212 info@citt.org, www.citt.org

InfoComm India 2014 Mumbai, India September 17-19, 2014 703-273-7200 www.infocomm.org

TecnoMultimedia InfoComm Mexico Mexico City, Mexico August 20-22, 2014 703-273-7200 www.infocomm.org

Prolight + Sound Russia 2014 Moscow, Russia September 18-20, 2014 +7-495-649-8775, FAX +7-495-649-8785 pls@messefrankfurt.ru, www.prolight.messefrankfurt.ru

Integrate 2014 Darling Harbour, Australia August 26-28, 2014 www.integrate-expo.com AES 55th International Conference: Spatial Audio Helsinki, Finland August 27-29, 2014 212-661-2777, FAX 212-682-0477 www.aes.org IMSTA FESTA Toronto Toronto, ON September 6, 2014 416-789-6849, FAX 416-789-1667 info@imsta.org, www.imsta.org PLASA Focus: Austin Austin, TX September 10-11, 2014 212-244-1505 info@plasafocus.com, www.plasafocus.com Radio Show 2014 Indianapolis, IN September 10-12, 2014 888-740-4622 radioshow@experientinc.com, www.radioshowweb.com CEDIA Expo 2014 Denver, CO September 10-13, 2014 info@cedia.org, expo.cedia.net IBC2014 Conference & Exhibition Amsterdam, Netherlands September 11-16, 2014 +44-0-20-7832-4100, FAX +44-0-20-7832-4130 www.ibc.org

NAB Small Market Television Exchange San Antonio, TX September 18-20, 2014 800-622-3976 nab@nab.org, www.nab.org/2014smte/ PALM Expo Delhi 2014 New Delhi, India September 18-21, 2014 +91-22-2660-4560, FAX +91-22-2660-4923 www.palmexpo.in InfoComm AV Executive Conference & Golf Tournament Scottsdale, AZ September 23-25, 2014 703-273-7200 www.infocomm.org C.C.B.E. 2014 Barrie, ON September 25-28, 2014 800-481-4649, FAX 519-442-1912 information@ccbe.ca, www.ccbe.ca IMSTA FESTA New York New York, NY September 27, 2014 416-789-6849, FAX 416-789-1667 info@imsta.org, www.imsta.org 2014 BICSI Fall Conference & Exhibition Anaheim, CA September 28-October 2, 2014 813-979-1991 www.bicsi.org

PLASA Show 2014 London, U.K. October 5-8, 2014 +44-0-20-7370-8665, FAX +44-0-20-7370-8660 info@plasashow.com, www.plasashow.com Prolight + Sound Shanghai Shanghai, China October 8-11, 2014 www.prolightsound-shanghai.com AES 137th Convention Los Angeles, CA October 9-12, 2014 212-661-8528, FAX 212-682-0477 www.aes.org InfoComm Middle East & Africa Dubai, U.A.E. October 12-16, 2014 703-273-7200 www.infocomm-mea.com Music & Media Finland 2014 Tampere, Finland October 16-19, 2014 +358-50-529-0308 anu.aittoniemi@musiikkimedia.fi, www.musiikkimedia.fi

SMPTE Technical Conference & Exhibition 2014 Hollywood, CA October 20-23, 2014 914-761-1100, FAX 914-761-3115 www.smpte.org Rocky Mountain Audio Video Expo Denver, CO October 29-30, 2014 303-771-2000 info@expomasters.com, www.avxpo.biz Integrated Systems Russia 2014 Moscow, Russia October 29-31, 2014 +49-89-638-7929-0, FAX +49-89-638-7929-29 ekondakow@iseurope.org, www.isrussia.ru

Visit www.nor.com/events for more pro audio, lighting, music, and MI events. 58 Professional Sound


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EDUCATION Training for the Musical Trades Guitar Building and Repair Live Sound Recording Tube Amps C.N.C. Training Courses and Workshops

Summit School of Guitar Building 6114 W. Island Hwy Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2E2 www.luthiers-international.com 1-888-901-9903

EMPLOYMENT Sales Engineer - Roland Systems Group Mississauga, ON Job Description Join Roland Systems Group Canada and share your enthusiasm for innovative A/V products and systems in live performance, broadcast, and post production applications. Providing demonstrations, presentations, support, and training to customers and prospects, the successful candidate will also travel nationally and bring special focus to assigned territories, categories or applications. Through relevant product and application knowledge, this position will help develop sales of Roland professional audio and video products to designated Market Category(s). Typically with a national focus, the Sales Engineer will, through his/her own direct-tocustomer sales and support efforts, be effective in working with a variety of channel partners to increase both sales and market awareness of relevant Roland products. Desired Skills and Experience Candidates will have 5 years experience with A/V systems and services or equivalent. Related qualifications and experience in A/V retail, rental, systems design or support are highly valued. Assets could include bi-lingual (French or Spanish), technical knowledge, or sales and presentation skills. About this company: www.rolandsystemsgroup.ca Contact:    jdevries@rolandsystemsgroup.ca Audio Distributors International (ADI) is seeking an Ontario Sales Representative for its Pro Audio Division. Leading national distributor of professional audio, sound reinforcement, broadcast, and installed sound products including Rode Microphones, Avalon Design, Event Electronics, Funktion One, Mc2 Audio, XTA, FBT, Galaxy Audio, etc. requires professional sales and representation for Ontario. Applicants must be self-motivated, own a vehicle, be available full time, and located in the GTA (or be willing to relocate). 60 Professional Sound

Sales experience as well as knowledge of the music and recording, sound reinforcement, and installed sound markets are an asset. Compensation package and conditions to be discussed. Applicants respond by email to: richard@adi-online.net. Western Sales Representative Techni+Contact is looking for a dynamic and self-motivated individual interested in making an impact within a young and fast growing division.

The sales representative will be responsible for maintaining and developing new accounts, with a focus on promoting our commercial audio lines: Aviom, Beyerdynamic, Cambridge Sound Management, Peavey (Crest Audio, Architectural Acoustics, Media Matrix) in the British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba markets.

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PRODUCTS LARGEST SELECTION OF SPEAKERS YOU HAVE SEEN! JBL-SELENIUM, BSA, EMINENCE, MOTOROLA Over 150,000 speakers in stock. Speakers, crossovers, terminals, wires, connectors, cabinet hardware and much more.

This individual should be able to work autonomously as well as have a team player attitude and the ability to easily multi task. They should possess strong verbal and written communication, project management and organizational skills. 

ACCUSONIC CORPORATION Toll free: 1-866-323-4625 905-940-3602 accusonic@rogers.com www.accusonic.ca

This position allows for flexibility, growth and offers very competitive compensation.

CELESTION - EMINENCE - B&C RADIAN GOLDWOOD Case and enclosure hardware, connectors and speaker accessories too!

Responsibilities •Responsible for driving revenue and building relationships with new & existing customers •Promote advanced product features and benefits •Expedites the resolution of customer problems and complaints. •Analyzes the territory/market’s potential and determines the value of existing and prospective customer’s value to the organization. •Creates and manages a customer value plan for existing customers •Must understand how to use technology to meet business and product goals Please send resume to jpx@amx.ca.

Upgrade, repair or build your own pro sound or guitar rig and save. WE STOCK SPEAKERS and related parts for musical instrument, pro sound, home stereo, home theater, commercial sound, and for just about everything else in between. Get them from Canada’s only factory authorized distributor. Dealer inquiries welcome. Q-COMPONENTS 638 Colby Dr Waterloo ON N2V 1A2 Toll free: 1-800-363-6336 www.qcomponents.ca sales@loudspeakers.ca

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Quick & Easy Musical Instrument Insurance 24/7! Exclusive to members of SOCAN, RACS and CCMA. Front Row Insurance Brokers have a new online system that offers musicians quotes in 30 seconds. Policies in 5 minutes by answering 8 questions. No need to talk to a broker. Worldwide coverage. No minimum premium. The cost to insure $5,000 of gear is just $75. $10,000 costs $125. Fire, breakage, and theft all covered. Get a free quote at: https://musicians. frontrowinsurance.com. For a limited time, receive $20 off by using discount code: CM1013

MUSIC BOOKS PLUS – www.musicbooksplus. com. Your one-stop resource for books, instruc tional DVDs, C D-ROMS, Digital Downloads Covering Pro Audio, Recording, Live Sound, Lighting, Staging, Safety, and more. The site features over 13,000 titles including an extensive variety of new products. www.musicbooksplus.com is optimized for mobile browsers, offering a safe, secure shopping experience, and ships worldwide.

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ProJect File

When One Direction kicked off their Where We Are world tour in front of 60,000 fans at the Estadio el Campin in Bogota, Colombia, sound company C. Vilar LTDA was charged with providing sound reinforcement. Company owners Mauricio and Cesar Vilar designed a system that featured Adamson Systems’ Energia line arrays along with an assortment of other Adamson loudspeakers in supporting roles. “The Energia system is extremely powerful,” says Mauricio Vilar.“Other line arrays would need a flown subwoofer to provide low frequency energy. Energia didn’t need that at all.” The left-right line arrays each consisted of 18 E15 and four E12 enclosures, which were flown at 16 metres to cover as much of the stadium as possible. Additional low end was provided by 24 T21 subwoofers, ground stacked three by four under each array. Front fill was covered by eight pairs of SpekTrix enclosures and five Adamson M15 monitors were stacked on top of the SpekTrix pairs. Outhangs consisted of two Y18 line arrays, which were comprised of 12 enclosures hung at the outer edges of the stage.

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, BBC Sport relied on two of TSL Products’ SoundField X-1 Upmix/Downmix Processors during its production. The two devices supplemented the existing six that are permanently installed at the broadcaster’s MediaCityUK base for other regional and international major events and tournaments. During the World Cup, long periods of the transmissions use genuine 5.1 actuality sound and crowd atmosphere, along with panned commentary and studio dialogue; however, when broadcasting out of match play time, the majority of the audio is stereo or dual mono content. BBC Sport routed this audio material through a signal path to an X-1 in upmix mode, with the upmixed audio then contributing directly to the 5.1 mix bus. 62 Professional Sound

Ontario’s Frontier Sound and Light recently purchased Canada’s first Outline GTO C12 sound system from new Canadian distributor GerrAudio. Frontier was able to team up with Brampton’s Show Works by setting up an 18-box rig for the One Love Order at the Border concert in Niagara Falls, ON, a weekend festival featuring performers like Faith Evans, The Whispers, Freddie McGregor, and more in early July. “Between the power amps they use and the speakers themselves, the Outline GTO rig delivers phenomenal sound quality – right on par with the top-end products out there – but at half the weight and half the footprint,” comments Frontier’s Michael Kerwin about the investment in Outline. “The other factor that made the system so attractive to us is GerrAudio’s insanely good support. There’s nobody in Canada that supports product like they do. That’s one of the main reasons we also own seven DiGiCo consoles…”

New York-based cellist Dane Johansen embarked on The Walk To Fisterra, a 600-mile musical/walking journey along the Camino de Santiago, a popular pilgrimage route through France and Spain. Over the course of his six-week journey, Johansen stopped at several of the 36 historic churches along the ancient Roman footpath, where he performed Bach’s “Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello” while a team of filmmakers and music producers captured content for a documentary about the pilgrimage. Sound engineer Kyle Pyke and Grammy Award-winner Jesse Lewis, who is the music producer and co-sound engineer on the project, used several pieces from DPA Microphones’ product line. Included in their arsenal were d:dicate 4007A omnidirectional microphones for location recording and a combination of d:dicate 4011F cardioid podium and d:vote 4099 instrument microphones for close pickup of the cello. A variety of d:mension 5100 mobile surround and d:dicate 4017B shotgun microphones were used to capture ambience along the trail, while d:screet 4061 Miniature microphones picked up dialogue.



Professional Sound - August 2014