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Archive for September, 2012

Aphex® Exciter Keeps the Music Moving for Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers

— Franchisees of the fast-growing pizza chain now have the power of the Aphex® Exciter available to them via approved AV systems integration vendor FirstComm, for which the Exciter has become a crucial component for achieving great sound cost-effectively —

— Aphex®’s Exciter offers a cost-effective solution to maximize Mellow Mushroom’s audio —

Aphex®, a leader in audio enhancement technology for over 35 years, is proud to see its Exciter becoming the key processing component in the sound package put together by FirstComm, the approved-vendor AV systems integrator for Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, the fast-growing Atlanta-based pizza restaurant brand that now has over 120 locations nationwide. Two Mellow Mushroom locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area have recently had sound systems featuring the Aphex Exciter installed; three more, in Pooler, Georgia; Spring, Texas; and Decatur, Alabama, are scheduled to be the next stores that will feature the Exciter’s unique DSP capabilities. Each Mellow Mushroom franchise is individually owned, and each franchisee develops its own theme for the store, such as the “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Woodstock” motifs found at the Charlotte area stores. What the Aphex Exciter will assure is that its stores will have consistently great sound, all the time.

“Music is a big part of the Mellow Mushroom brand,” says Jacob Fuerstman, Director of Operations for FirstComm, which started in 2003 as a sub-contractor for the Muzak Corporation and has grown into a full-service commercial low-voltage systems designer and integrator with a specialty in designing and installing high-performance but cost-effective audio systems for restaurants. “Our mission has been to develop great sound systems for restaurants that don’t break the bank, and the systems we’ve been using for Mellow Mushroom locations do exactly that, thanks in large part to the Aphex Exciter. We’ve found that with the Exciter products we can add a lot of performance to systems through its DSP, giving the systems a rich, full sound without having to employ other kinds of DSP that would be overkill and too costly for most restaurants. The Exciter is virtually invisible as a line item because it’s so reasonably priced, but it makes a significant difference in the audio quality of the sound system. In the world of commercial installs, there’s no other product that gives you this kind of performance boost for such a low cost.”

As an approved vendor, FirstComm has found that Mellow Mushroom clients have responded very positively to both the upgrade in audio and the financial savings. “They especially like the ‘perceived loudness’ feature of the Aphex Exciter, which lets the music fill the restaurant with more impact, without getting too loud to talk over,” Fuerstman explains. “We’ve made the Aphex Exciter a standard part of the package we provide for their restaurants, as well as for other food service clients, such as the Cinebarre movie theaters in Charlotte, which also use the Exciter to enhance its system. Future projects will include Aphex Exciter retrofits to existing restaurants. “The Exciter is a great retrofit product because of its price point,” he says. “It increases the performance of the sound system so much, for such a small amount of money, it’s foolish not to use it. There’s nothing out there that can give you this kind of bang for the buck.”

For more information, please visit www.aphex.com.

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GC Pro Outfits New Auditorium at Mother of Perpetual Help Parish Church in Garland, Texas

— GC Pro’s unmatched inventory translates into a full sound system design adapted exactly for the customer’s needs, and installation from one of GC Pro’s Affiliate Program integrator partners results in another successful project —

Mother of Perpetual Help Parish Church in Garland, Texas, serves the vibrant Vietnamese Catholic community in the Dallas and Ft. Worth areas. The church recently constructed a new auditorium with a multi-purpose mission: as a place to hold conferences and seminars, and as the venue for the elaborate wedding ceremonies and receptions that are part of Vietnamese culture. And all of these applications would require sound that could accommodate the full frequency range of music and the high intelligibility demands of spoken word. That’s why the church turned to Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, to fulfill this multi-part mission. Working with a budget typical for non-profit organizations like houses of worship, the Dallas GC Pro office was able to draw from a wide range of vendors that could not only provide cost-effective equipment and technology solutions but also offer design capability that would assure the system perfectly fit the specific needs of the church. The project also drew upon the deep installation base offered through GC Pro’s acclaimed Affiliate Program of highly qualified AV systems integrators to execute the design.

Kevin Deal, Account Manager at the Dallas GC Pro office, brought an understanding of the church’s needs to the table, as well as a long relationship with Kahn Nguyen, the church’s music consultant, who is responsible for operation and maintenance of the church’s sound systems. “We listened to what they were looking for, and we also were aware that the church was considering other bids,” Deal recalls. “But we knew that we had a much broader range of options we could choose between, from which we could put together a system that would both fit their budget but also perfectly fit the needs of the room and the applications.”

GC Pro presented a solution that used a DAS sound system consisting of 15 DAS Aero 8A Line Array Boxes, 6 DAS Avant 118A Subwoofers and a DAS DSP 4080 Processor. On the stage, eight DAS Avant 112A floor monitors would be managed by DBX 220i loudspeaker processors. Live sound is mixed through an Allen & Heath iLive T112 large-format analog console with an Allen & Heath IDR48 mix rack. Zoned sound is provided through DAS Arctec 26T speakers managed by a DBX ZonePro® 640 and powered by QSC CX108V amplifiers. DAS agreed to provide a detailed design plan for the system that precisely covered the entire auditorium, and it was all expertly installed by GC Pro Affiliate DJ Sound & Lighting.

Deal points out that the competing bid would have used a more expensive system that, based on the church’s budget, would have resulted in some areas insufficiently covered for sound. “The church had given us the CAD drawings of the auditorium and DAS worked from those, so there was a custom system perfectly suited for this project before they had even spent a penny,” Deal says. “That gave the church an enormous amount of confidence and gave us a huge competitive advantage.”

DAS and GC Pro arranged for a DAS systems specialist to fly in to tune the PA system after it was installed, to maximize its performance, at no additional cost to the customer. Kahn Nguyen was more than pleased with the entire project. “Myself and the church have been customers of Guitar Center for a long time, so we knew to expect the utmost from GC Pro,” he says. “And it’s been great so far. Kevin has been very professional and knowledgeable.”

That kind of service – intimate understanding of the needs of a client through patient listening, the ability to source that widely for cost-effective solutions offering both products and services such as design, and the capability to bring installation as part of a turnkey package would be considered above and beyond the call of duty for any other pro audio retailer. But for GC Pro, “’Above and beyond,’” says Deal, “is what we do every day.”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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Auralex 2012 CEDIA Press Kit

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Wharfedale 2012 CEDIA Press Kit

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Lowell Manufacturing 2012 CEDIA Press Kit

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GC Pro Helps the Bridgeway Community Church with Its Wireless Systems

— Substantial changes in the ways wireless spectrum is allocated have led to upheaval in how wireless microphone systems are used, and GC Pro helps its clients find their way through the new reality —

The “White Space” issue has changed the way the wireless world works. As a result of the transition to digital broadcasting over the last three years, the region of the RF spectrum where wireless microphones have worked – mostly between the 700 MHz to 800 MHz range (aka the “White Spaces” between analog channels) is no longer available. That’s meant that wireless microphone users have had to replace their systems with new ones that comply with the newly constricted spectra available to them, beginning at 470 MHz up to about 698 MHz, and a small band above 900 MHz. House-of-worship users have been particularly affected, as many churches today rely on wireless audio for everything from worship services to theatrical and music performances. That was the case at the Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland, a nondenominational, multicultural house of worship that puts an emphasis on dramatic presentations and music concerts and uses up to 24 channels of wireless for them. So when the new regulations governing the RF spectrum came into being, the church turned to their long-time collaborator for keeping its AV systems working at peak performance: Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Working with Mitchell Shaivitz, Account Manager at the GC Pro Baltimore area office, the church’s Technical Director Derwent “D” Williamson was able to source all of the wireless systems and products he needed to keep the church’s productions at the cutting edge of technology and regulation.

“We do a very wide range of performances here,” says Williamson, noting that the church’s location in a suburb of Baltimore means that it has to be acutely aware of changes to frequency allocation rules that particularly affect large urban areas that have a lot of sports, broadcast and entertainment venues that use substantial amounts of RF. “We’ve often had as many as twelve wireless channels going at once on stage, between actors and musicians. We need our wireless to be as reliable as possible.”

In the past, says Williamson, the church has had problems with dropouts, and the arrival of new regulations regarding wireless spectrum allocation meant it was time for an upgrade across the board. Working through GC Pro, the church purchased 14 channels of new Shure ULX-D wireless, including handheld transmitter and bodypacks, plus Shure PSM900 in-ear system and a Shure PA821A 8-channel antenna combiner.

The system was delivered in time for Williamson and his staff of technically astute volunteers to install it for the church’s annual Easter stage event. “We took a bit of a risk in putting such a new system to work on such a high-profile event on short notice,” Williamson says. “But on the other hand, we’ve been customers of GC Pro for seventeen years now, and we know that there’s a level of reliability and trust that would let us feel good about something like that. They helped us decide on what we needed, provided extremely competitive pricing and made sure they were delivered on time,” including most recently a TOA line array system and a Behringer X32 digital mixer for a multi-purpose room. “It’s a great feeling to know you have that kind of support behind you.”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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424 POST Acquires New Meyer Acheron 80 Speaker System Installed by Guitar Center Professional & Malvicino Design Group

— GC Pro once again guides leading Hollywood post facility as it chooses critical new monitoring system for its newest sound mixing stage and provides reliable system installation through its renowned Affiliate program —

Academy Award-nominated 424 POST is an all-digital post-production sound facility based in Culver City, California, committed to meeting the needs of the entire range of postproduction sound projects, from sound design to editorial, for both big-studio projects and independent features. Most recently, 424 POST handled the sound for big-screen dance-musical feature Perfect Pitch and for Dwayne Johnson’s forthcoming action thriller Snitch, a pair of films that bookend the wide variety of audio necessary in Hollywood feature work, from full-range music scores to high-SPL action sound effects. 424 POST, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, handles all of it effortlessly, thanks in part to a new Meyer monitoring system sourced through Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, with whom 424 POST has a long-standing and successful relationship. In addition, the new Meyer Acheron 80 Screen Channel loudspeaker system that is now the centerpiece of 424 POST’s newest sound mixing stage was installed by Horacio Malvicino of the Malvicino Design Group, one of GC Pro’s approved vendors in its hugely successful Affiliate program.

The new Meyer Acheron 80 monitoring system was part of a larger equipment and technology purchase by 424 POST through GC Pro that also included a number of Apple Mac computers and Avid Pro Tools components also integrated by GC Pro. This was done in part to support Hollywood’s ever-growing fascination with multichannel film audio, from the 7.1 systems that 424 POST President and Partner Kami Asgar says have become the basic configuration, on up to the newly introduced multi-array Dolby ATMOS system, which will allow up to 128 discrete sound tracks and up to 64 unique speaker feeds, expected to be installed in 1,000 cinema locations next year. “Film sound is changing quickly and we knew we needed an advanced monitoring system for the new mix stage,” he says. “7.1 is now almost entry level,” Sean McCormack, Asgar’s Partner and 424 POST CEO, agrees. “Hollywood is looking for immersive sound, and our new Meyer system provides the kind of monitoring that addresses that.”

GC Pro excels at helping Hollywood professionals like 424 POST get what they need to be competitive. McCormack says he and Asgar and Partner/Vice President Tim Tuchrello spent considerable time reviewing various monitoring options, even as they constructed the critical front wall of the new theater, which would have to accommodate the behind-screen L-C-R monitors. “Bill Learned at GC Pro in Los Angeles made us aware of the Meyer Acheron monitors,” says McCormack. “They helped us further research them and provided all the additional information we required.” Asgar further notes that these particular monitors weren’t a regular product through GC Pro, but that the store’s staffers went out of their way to make them available. “One of the things that’s great about GC Pro is that with them, it’s not about selling the customer what they have – it’s about determining what the customer really needs, regardless of whether it’s on their shelves, and then getting it for them.” It’s also about making sure products are installed correctly and on schedule. McCormack says that the Malvicino Design Group worked closely with technicians from Meyer Sound and 424 POST to make sure that the new monitors were put in on time and performed to factory specs. “It would have been simpler for GC Pro to simply point us to one of their regular off-the-shelf products, but that’s not how they work,” he says. “As customers, they put us first, and that’s why we go to them first, and always will.”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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GC Pro Takes Care of AV for Wellsville, Ohio’s Holy Trinity Parish Church

— GC Pro provides turnkey solution for Holy Trinity Church and calls upon the services of Affiliate Program member Koko Brothers Entertainment to provide the AV systems installation and integration —

The AV systems at Holy Trinity Parish Church, in Wellsville, Ohio, needed an upgrade, and Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, knew just what to do. Billy Walker, Senior Account Manager at GC Pro’s Northeast/Mid-Atlantic office in Wilmington, Delaware, working with regional service provider Koko Brothers Entertainment, outlined a plan to upgrade all of the church’s sound systems, as well as some of the audio and video systems at the affiliated St. Aloysius School. Koko Brothers is a member of GC Pro’s acclaimed Affiliate Program, which provides approved AV systems integrators as vendors for complex AV integration and installation projects.

The project was completed this summer and included systems and products such as the QSC AD-S282H-WH dual 8-inch 2-way speaker enclosure, Crown XTi 4002 power amplifiers, Shure wired and wireless microphones, a Countryman E6DW5l1SL E6 directional earset, BenQ MX717 3D-ready DLP projector, Da-lite matte white screen and PM2425 Pixmate monitor cart.

“It was really a tune-up and an upgrade, and it was a very smooth project that left their systems in a much better state,” says Walker. “The church’s sanctuary now has all-new speakers and amplifiers, and the intelligibility of the system has been greatly improved,” with new audio zones also added around the church’s interior. The school’s gymnasium and cafeteria also received new audio systems, and the BenQ / Dalite projection system is cart-mounted, making it available throughout the school for AV educational and instructional applications.

“Father Peter Haladej at the church had visited one of our local Guitar Center stores and when they realized that the customer needed design help and larger components, they sent them to GC Pro,” Walker explains. “We went in there with Koko Brothers Entertainment, evaluated their needs and created a plan that would give them the benefit of a proven installation vendor and access to GC Pro’s wide inventory and pricing. When you factor all of that in, GC Pro can’t be beat.”

Angelo Kokkinakos, Partner with his brother Lou Kokkinakos in Baltimore-based Koko Brothers Entertainment, which has done a number of projects at houses of worship, restaurants and retirement communities in partnership with GC Pro, says the church’s existing sound system wasn’t fulfilling its needs. “That’s really one of the great benefits for us and for clients in working with GC Pro,” he says. “We can take the time to really analyze what needs to be done to make a project fit the particular requirements of each location, and we have access, through GC Pro, to a much greater array of possible solutions. It’s never about one-size-fits-all; it’s always about what works best for each customer’s needs. And we were able to make a big difference in the sound at the church – when we came in, one of the biggest problems the church had that I found was a 12 dB drop in the back of the sanctuary. After the install it is less than a 3 dB drop.”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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Hackenbacker Tackles The Audio Post For Hunted – A Major New Series For BBC One and HBO Cinemax

After completing the audio post production for all 10 series of the drama Spooks, Soho-based post production facility Hackenbacker has returned to the world of espionage – this time tackling the audio post for Hunted, a new eight-part suspense thriller produced by Kudos Film & Television in association with Big Light Productions, for BBC One and HBO’s Cinemax channel.

Written and created by the award-winning American television writer and producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, Strike Back), Hunted stars Melissa George (The Slap, In Treatment) as Sam, a highly skilled operative for an elite private intelligence firm who survives an attempt on her life that may have been orchestrated by members of her own team. Once she returns to the firm, she performs her secretive duties without knowing who to trust and who wants her dead.

Adam Rayner (Hawthorne, Mistresses) plays Sam’s colleague at the firm and love interest. The dedicated and complex members of the firm operate in the shadows and must often confront life and death situations on secret missions where sometimes they are unaware of who or what they are fighting for.

Filmed on location in Scotland, London and Morocco, Hunted is scheduled to be screened by the BBC from October 4th at 9 pm. Additional cast includes Stephen Dillane (Game Of Thrones), Morven Christie (The Sinking Of The Laconia) Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Strike Back), Lex Shrapnel (Captain America: The First Avenger), Uriel Emil (Criminal Justice), Patrick Malahide (Five Days, Billy Elliot), Stephen Campbell Moore (The Bank Job, History Boys) and Oscar Kennedy (Toast).

Hackenbacker was chosen to handle the audio post production for Hunted on the basis of its Award-winning reputation for creating superb broadcast audio.

Frank Spotnitz says: “It was a joy collaborating with Nigel and his team at Hackenbacker. The work they did on Hunted was nothing short of spectacular. Their passion, attention to detail and artistry shine through in every moment of the series. They are true storytellers.”

Nigel Heath, founder of Hackenbacker, adds: “It was such a thrill to be approached by Kudos and HBO to provide sound services on this great production. For me, there was the added bonus of being able to work again with returning director SJ Clarkson for who’s work I have huge respect – and, of course, Frank Spotnitz, who has created so much incredible entertainment over the years. The producers have encouraged bold and original use of sound in this show, and the mix review sessions have had that wonderful feeling of everyone in the room (and there are sometimes quite a lot of us!) really wanting to achieve the same end result. For what is actually a large and technically demanding show there’s been a lot of fun in the studio, too. The composer Ruth Barrett has done a superb job and all of us on the sound crew are really quite chuffed with the final result. It’s been a real pleasure to work on and a fantastic experience for all of us.”

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About Hackenbacker:
With more than 25 years experience in the audio post production business, Hackenbacker provides a first class service to the film and television industries. Its award-winning team of sound editors, designers and mixers combine a thorough knowledge of today’s technology with an understanding of the importance of deadlines in order to deliver an exceptional service to all Hackenbacker customers. The facility offers full time technical support and access to the very latest equipment as well as some more esoteric specialist devices. www.hackenbacker.com

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Season 7 of Rachael Ray Moves to New Studio and Yamaha Consoles Move Along As Part of ‘the Mix’

BUENA PARK, Calif.—On September 17, 2012 the Rachael Ray Show will officially move to beautiful new digs for the Season 7 opener, and broadcast mixer Bob Aldridge and front of house mixer John Bates, are taking along their trusty Yamaha M7CL-48 and DM2000 Digital Consoles. Produced by CBS Television Distribution and KWP Studios, in association with Harpo Studios, Scripps Networks and Watch Entertainment, the hugely successful syndicated daytime program originally launched in the fall of 2006.

“An M7CL-48 and DM2000 are both used for the audience mix,” states Bates. “The DM2000 is the production mix desk while the M7CL is used for the music mix.” Aldridge and Bates are also using the new Dugan-MY16 card with the DM2000 to tighten up the show’s sound, and Aldridge said ‘it works great.’

“Season 1 of the Rachael Ray Show had the M7CL as the audience console and it worked quite well as both the production and music console,” says Bates. “We had 16 RF mics, some production inputs, and support for 24 channels of music inputs. Then the show decided that we should be ready to support 32 channels of music inputs and the M7CL was no longer big enough so we moved it to the monitor position. Shows rarely get smaller as they develop, and it was at that point that we brought in a Yamaha DM2000, some outboard mics preamps fed through a bunch of Yamaha MY16-AT ADAT cards, bringing us up to 56 mic inputs, and mixed both production and music on the DM2000 through the end of Season 6.”

The Rachael Ray Show set has several different locations that Rachael could be in at any point in time,” notes Bates. “We took advantage of the Yamaha DM2000 to recall different scenes depending on where in the studio we were working. The four remote layers enable us to customize the surface layout for the scene at hand. The built-in channel and bus delays allow us to really dial in the mix without the need for any outboard processing.

The number of music inputs the mixers have been asked to support has increased to 48 so the decision was made to add an additional M7CL-48 to the house position to mix music and the DM2000 becomes a production only console. “We now can split 48 mic channels between broadcast mix, FOH mix and monitor mix, a far cry from where we started,” adds Bob Aldridge.
All of the features that made the DM2000 a great fit for the show before are still in play in the new studio and Bates said it’s been fun stripping back the show and building it up again.

For more information on the Rachael Ray Show, visit http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/.

For more information on Yamaha products, visit www.yamahaca.com.

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PHOTO ID: L to R: John Bates and Bob Aldridge

About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.

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