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Archive for February, 2013

Stone Sour and Papa Roach Hit the Road with Clay Paky and grandMA2

Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700 luminaries and a grandMA2 console are racking up frequent flier miles accompanying American alternative metal band Stone Sour and rockers Papa Roach on their world tour, which continues in 2013. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky lighting and the grandMA in North America.

Stone Sour released its fourth album, “House of Gold & Bones – Part 1,” last fall and Papa Roach is hot off its eighth studio record, “The Connection.” The co-headliners began their world tour in Europe and will wrap up in Denver Colorado, with Stone Sour continuing on in Australia; they’re currently playing dates across the United States.

Lighting designer/programmer/operator Michael Smalley was tasked with bridging the Metal and Rock worlds with his more electronic-based style for the show. “We have a really clean stage with no backline – It’s basically a big white canvas to work on with colors and gobos.” he says.

Christie Lites is supplying a dozen Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700s along with a full grandMA2 console and a grandMA2 onPC command wing for the tour. The Alpha Beam 700 is the first and original 700W beam moving light on the market.

“The Alpha Beam 700s are great. They have a tight, narrow beam, a nice soft frost filter , and a great prism. Add on the color mixing and it’s an extremely flexible fixture” Smalley says. “They give us an upstage washy look one song, and a new school techno approach the next song. Truly a full range fixture that is the glue of the show.”

Smalley deploys the 12 Alpha Beam 700s on six towers, making up the tallest points of the ground rig. “I used them on the last tour I did with Bassnectar and fell in love with them. They’re a really punchy light, especially on a large stage. I like to build dynamic, geometric looks and the Alphas proved highly capable at defining and finishing those lines. They provide the sharp lines of the look, while my washes provide the body and my spots the frosting and texture.”

He runs a full grandMA2 desk with a grandMA2 onPC command wing and computer for backup, all going into NPU. “I’ve been using the grandMA2 for about two years,” says Smalley. “It’s the only console that has the flexibility I need, especially for shows where the house fixtures are changing day to day. It’s loaded with useful features that make it a must have for me. I use worlds, filters and macros for most gigs, making sure that when cloning or storing information that it’s clean, direct, and exactly what I want to be doing. These features make programming fast, easy, and precise. I was able to build my entire show file as well as cuestack 75% of the songs in the show in the short week of pre-programming at my home studio. I then finished the work for the show in the 2 days of on-site preproduction. A task I would have not been able to achieve without this desk.”

“You used to be able to tell a designer or artist something wasn’t possible with a desk, but that’s not the case any more,” he reports “The grandMA2 can do it all if you can think outside the box”. “In addition to how effective it is on this tour, the grandMA2 is great for my gigs with Jambands and Electronic acts who require the kind of flexibility in programming and improvisation. The grandMA2 operates and runs so smoothly from programming to show operation. I feel completely comfortable and at home behind it. In the best possible situation a console is an extension of you as an artist. It’s a tool and an instrument. I’ve yet to find anything that feels so right for me.

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PAC Engineering Selects Hitachi DK-Z50 HD Cameras for Union-Tribune San Diego Production Studio

WOODBURY, NEW YORK – Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, a leading provider of affordable, high performance cameras, today announced that PAC Engineering—a full-service systems design and integration firm in San Diego—installed three Hitachi DK-Z50 multi-format HDTV box cameras at a news production studio they built for Union-Tribune San Diego. The cameras are situated on CamBot robotic camera systems from Ross Video.

Located on the third floor of the Union-Tribune San Diego building, the new studio enables the publishing company to expand its reach from traditional newspaper readers to cable television, as well as online, mobile and social media outlets. U-T San Diego’s new broadcast news channel, U-T TV, launched in June 2012, is carried by Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse as well as streamed via its website. While the channel began producing three to four hours of live newscasts per day, this schedule quickly expanded to 12 hours of news and other local programing during the day, with 12 hours of replays overnight.

“We chose these cameras for U-T San Diego because their attractive price-point worked well with our tight budget and they produced a beautiful HD picture from a very small, unobtrusive studio footprint,” said Craig Claytor, who co-owns PAC Engineering with his partner Gail Pineda. “We knew that the DK-Z50’s in combination with the Fujinon lenses would work well with the CamBot robotics system. We’ve held the Hitachi brand in high regard based on our years of experience with the company’s products, sales, and service.”

While PAC Engineering was hired by U-T San Diego in late March 2012, the broadcast studio needed to go live by June because advertisers were already scheduled. When Claytor and Pineda went to NAB with their U-T San Diego clients to select suitable cameras for the new studio, Hitachi Sales Representative David Morris moved quickly to secure and deliver the three DK-Z50 HD box cameras they needed in advance of the channel launch. Art Kubota, Hitachi’s Western Sales Regional Engineer also provided training and technical support to U-T San Diego.

“The Hitachi DK-Z50 camera was not only priced right, it offered operational savings that were extremely important to this client,” said Pineda. “The camera’s IT-friendly TCP/IP interface enabled us to use an RJ45 connector and Cat 6 wiring, which were significantly less expensive than the triax cabling and components required by full-sized studio cameras. And the camera’s three-pound form factor was a perfect fit for the affordable, compact CamBot system, which also saved us money compared to more expensive high-end studio pedestals.”

Two of the DK-Z50’s are situated on CamBot Series 500 pedestals, which provide pan and tilt along with accurate robotic camera controls. One DK-Z50 resides on a CamBot 700 series pedestal, which performs pan/tilt plus elevation so the camera can move up and down. The cameras are set-up and shaded via Ethernet using the Hitachi SU-1000 Master Setup control panel. The cameras move about in a studio space that accommodates three sets for news, sports, and other reports as well as an 80-inch touchscreen display.

U-T TV’s live, multi-camera newscasts are switched using a Ross Vision production switcher, which can be driven by a Ross OverDrive automated production control system. The studio also uses Ross Xpressions for graphics, a Yamaha DM2000 audio mixer, EditShare storage and asset management, and Ross Inception for social media production. With more than 80 reporters on staff, U-T San Diego also leverages its reporting staff, giving them cameras and camcorders to capture video of the stories they cover for the newspaper.

“The Hitachi DK-Z50’s have been performing exceptionally well,” said Claytor, “and this affordable, IT friendly camera produces images that look fantastic whether they’re watched on big-screen HDTVs or streaming over the Web.”

About Hitachi

Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT / TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 400,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2009 (ended March 31, 2009) consolidated revenues totaled 10,000 billion yen ($102.0 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials, logistics and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company’s website at www.hitachi.com.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. designs, manufacturers and markets video cameras, digital transmission, processing and recording devices for the broadcast television, cable, video production, and industrial vision markets. For more information, please call (516) 921-7200 or visit Hitachi’s web site at http://www.hitachikokusai.us . Hitachi Kokusai Electric, Inc. (TSE, OSE: 6756), is a Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT) group company.

Full versions of all press releases and product images are posted on the web site in the pressroom section: www.hitachikokusai.us

Editor’s Note: Color product photographs are available upon request.

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Platinum Tools® Announces EZ-DataLock™ Strain Relief

CAMARILLO, Calif., Feb. 27, 2013 – Platinum Tools(R) (www.platinumtools.com), the leader in solutions for the preparation, installation, hand termination and testing of wire and cable, is proud to announce the launch of EZ-DataLock™ Strain Relief. Designed to secure network cables from tampering, the EZ-DataLock is now shipping.

“Safe and secure networks, large or small, in today’s world is top priority,” explained Lee Sachs, Platinum Tools, Inc. president and general manager. “Our new EZ-DataLock Strain Relief has been designed to protect and secure a data network 24/7 by locking cables in place that are not to be disconnected. When locked, the cable will remain so until the ‘Key-Holder’ unlocks it. It also doubles as a snag-proof strain relief.”

Added Sachs, “The Platinum Tools EZ-DataLock Strain Relief’s patented design prevents cable disconnects, malicious disconnects, unauthorized access, downtime, and tampering in numerous applications, such as in data, commercial and professional, military, medical centers, monitoring devices, financial, transit, government, and manufacturing centers and institutions.”

EZ-DataLock Strain Reliefs are available in two sizes and work with Platinum Tools EZ-RJ45® Cat5e connectors, and all standard RJ45 (all brands including Platinum Tools) and Platinum Tools EZ-RJ45 Cat6 connectors. Specifications for the EZ-DataLock Strain Relief include patented ‘OD-Flex’ technology allows for wide range of cable OD sizes (maximum cable OD: 6.8mm /0.268 inch; minimum cable OD: 5.0mm /0.197 inch); made with polycarbonate materials; and are UL, RoHS, CSA and CE compliant.

For pricing and more information on Platinum Tools and its complete product line, please visit www.platinumtools.com, call (800) 749-5783, or email info@platinumtools.com.

About Platinum Tools
Platinum Tools, founded in 1997, was created based upon two very simple objectives. First, develop the absolute best possible solutions for the preparation, installation, and hand termination of wire and cable. Second, implement an operational infrastructure that can deliver these products in an efficient, timely, and high quality manner.

All of our products must absolutely satisfy three critical benchmark criteria…utility of function; quality of function; and economic value. Our people are our company. They, too, must be focused on and work to satisfy three critical benchmark criteria…customer satisfaction; product knowledge and expertise; and willingness to learn and adapt.

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MASQUE SOUND HEADS TO CHICAGO, ON TOUR WITH THE BOOK OF MORMON

CHICAGO, February 27, 2013—The Book of Mormon, winner of nine Tony Awards® including Best Musical, has made its way to Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre. For the Second National Tour, sound designer Brian Ronan once again turned to Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company specializing in live concert, television broadcast, corporate, industrial, theatrical, house of worship and sports events, to supply audio equipment for the satirical musical.

“For this production, one of our main concerns was ensuring that our sound system and speakers would not interfere with the layout of the staging for the show,” says Cody Spencer, Brian Ronan’s associate sound designer. “A lot of our process involves strategizing ways to provide optimal sound coverage—so that every word is heard throughout the theatre—while making the scenic department happy by keeping our system out of audience view and preventing it from inhibiting the main frame of the show.”

For The Book of Mormon at the Bank of America Theatre, Masque Sound is providing Sennheiser MKE-1 microphones for the lead actors and MKE-2s for various other cast members. Other gear included DPA 4061 microphones, L’Acoustics speakers and a Digico UB MADI interface sound console – used to route a QLab directly to a Digico SD7, digitally.

Spencer also notes that Masque Sound was extremely helpful in getting him and his team urgent pieces of equipment when necessary. He noted, “If there was something that we were in need of, we just called over to Masque and they took care of us. They were able to get us the equipment within a day or two, which was great. We really enjoy working with Masque Sound.”

Throughout the years, many world premiere productions and pre-Broadway performances have called the 2,016-seat Bank of America Theatre home. Steeped in history, dating back to the vaudeville era, this Chicago performance venue has presented such iconic performances as Movin’ Out, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Jersey Boys and Monty Python’s Spamalot, among others.

About Masque Sound
Founded in 1936 by a trio of Broadway stagehands, Masque Sound evolved into one of NYC’s most successful theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design companies specializing in theatrical, house of worship, sporting, corporate, TV broadcast and live concert events. Celebrating more than 75 years in the industry, the company is lead by Geoff Shearing, the firm’s 3rd generation owner, and General Manager Stephanie Hansen. The company also operates Florida-based Professional Wireless Systems, a leader in the development and implementation of wireless technology. Credits range from major Broadway shows and tours including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Lion King,” “Jersey Boys,” “Memphis,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Newsies” and “Once” to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including New York’s New Victory Theater and historic St. Bartholomew’s Church. Masque Sound’s 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and main assembly facility is located at 21 East Union Ave., East Rutherford, NJ, 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. For more information, call (201) 939-8666 or visit www.MasqueSound.com.

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HARMAN’s Soundcraft Studer to Hold Open House Sessions at Church at the Mall

LAKELAND, Florida — HARMAN’s Soundcraft Studer mobile truck will be coming to the First Baptist Church at the Mall on March 4 and 5, 2013 for Open House sessions focusing on live sound mixing for houses of worship. The Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida can accommodate almost 2,500 congregants and is equipped with a Studer Vista 5 M2 digital console.

The sessions will provide hands-on training about how to use Soundcraft and Studer consoles in a house of worship environment, along with instruction about the particular requirements of house of worship mixing and audio production for live sound and broadcast.

“Mixing audio for a house of worship can be just as complex and demanding as mixing sound for a rock concert or theater production, especially when you have to mix a full praise band, choir, preacher and others, deal with the acoustics of a large sanctuary or mega church and possibly also create separate mixes for a live broadcast, recording, foyer and other areas” said Katy Templeman-Holmes of Soundcraft Studer. “The Open House is an opportunity to learn from us and from some of our users basic through advanced theory to hands-on tips and tricks on how to get the most out of Soundcraft and Studer consoles and the specific features that make them ideal for house of worship applications.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to work with Soundcraft and Studer factory experts to receive demos and training on various consoles, from their general operation and signal flow to the consoles’ unique features. Jason Bethune of HARMAN Professional’s regional rep firm Dobbs Stanford will be on hand both days to cover all HARMAN-related questions.

The Open House will be held at the First Baptist Church at the Mall, 1010 East Memorial Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33801. Details are available at usa.soundcraft.com.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets — supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,400 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.4 billion for year ended June 30, 2012.

SunBriteTV Takes Interactive Digital Signage Outdoors with Full Range of New Outdoor Touchscreen Models at DSE 2013

Las Vegas, Nevada, February 27, 2013 — SunBriteTV, maker of industry-leading all-weather digital signage popular in commercial applications across the United States, has unveiled a range of new Dispersive Signal Technology (DST) touchscreen products at the 2013 Digital Signage Expo (DSE) in Las Vegas, Nevada. These new, robust and affordable interactive digital signage products, available in 32-, 47-, and 55-inch screen sizes, build on the success of the direct sunlight-readable Marquee Series of portrait and landscape models.

SunBriteTV’s new direct-sunlight readable all-weather outdoor touchscreens start from as low as $4,595 (32-inch DS-3204TSL), giving professional installers and integrators an opportunity to reach a wide variety of vertical markets in the commercial retail space including outdoor shopping malls, sports venues, cinemas, airports, public transportation centers and more. These innovative products, which can be used as interactive information terminals or cost-effective self-order kiosks, offer consumers a new level of convenience and value-added services, while allowing businesses to reduce overheads, increase sales and build a stronger brand relationship with customers.

“There is a burgeoning market for touchscreen digital signage in the amusement/parks, hospitality, retail, sports, and transportation sectors,” said Tom Dixon, Vice President of Marketing, SunBriteTV. “SunBriteTV’s new Marquee landscape and portrait mode touchscreen digital signage products deliver an unprecedented combination of direct sunlight readability, robust design, reliability, and affordable cost to the outdoor space. These products open up a whole new world of possibilities for outdoor venues and facilities.”

SunBriteTV’s full range of products is currently on display at booth #854 at Digital Signage Expo, Las Vegas.

Model Description Key Features
DS-5507TSL 55” Marquee Touchscreen – Landscape 700NIT Super-Bright 1080p Dispersive Signal Touchscreen
Enhanced Solar Tolerance (EST) prevents isotropic blackout
DS-4707TSL 47” Marquee Touchscreen – Landscape 700NIT Super-Bright 1080p Dispersive Signal Touchscreen
Enhanced Solar Tolerance (EST) prevents isotropic blackout
DS-4707TSP 47” Marquee Touchscreen – Portrait 700NIT Super-Bright 1080p Dispersive Signal Touchscreen
Enhanced Solar Tolerance (EST) prevents isotropic blackout
DS-3204TSL 32” Marquee Touchscreen- Landscape 450NIT Heat tolerant Dispersive Signal Touchscreen

For more information about SunBriteTV please visit www.sunbritetv.com.

About SunBriteTV
SunBriteTV’s all-weather televisions have been time-tested in home installations, outdoor sports arenas, restaurant and hotel patios and even on military vehicles participating in field operations. All models are available through SunBriteTV’s network of Authorized Dealers. To inquire about becoming an Authorized Dealer, contact SunBriteTV at 866.357.8688, or visit the Dealer Inquiry page at www.sunbritetv.com.

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The Who Reign O’er Quadrophenia With DiGiCo

The Who‘s 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia—which sets the tale of teen Jimmy Cooper amidst the global sociocultural upheaval and psychological angst of the times and the rivalry between Britain’s mods and rockers—has been reprised in a multimedia display on the band’s latest outing. The 37 date tour, which began in November and runs through the end of February, celebrates the four-decade anniversary of the album’s release and marks the band’s first major North American tour in four years. Even long-departed drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle make cameo appearances, joining remaining original members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Entwistle’s virtuosity and famous bass solo on “5:15″ are showcased in live footage shot at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000, which streams onscreen. They also pay tribute to the late Keith Moon; their performance of “Bell Boy” incorporates video footage of a 1974 performance, with Moon’s vocals dubbed in from the LP (one of the only times in Who history his vocals were heard on an album).

The Quadrophenia tour also reunites the band with production partners Eighth Day Sound, who have worked with the iconic rockers on their last three major tours. This time out they’re carrying a pair of DiGiCo SD7 desks (each running the latest MACH III software) for FOH and band monitors, plus an SD-Rack at FOH and a d&b audiotechnik J-Series PA. The audio crew is comprised of longtime Who FOH engineer Robert Collins, Simon Higgs on monitors with support from Eighth Day’s Senior Audio Engineer Mark Brnich, and sound techs Drew Marbar and Carl Popek. [Pictured: Popek, Marbar, Collins, Higgs and Brnich.]

Collins started with the band in the late 1990s-early 2000s, and has also worked with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend on their solo projects, trading tours with engineer Paul Ramsey in between tours with Eric Clapton and others. “Paul used to look after me; he was my systems tech on The Who. I made sure the team was put in place, you know, ‘cause an English band should have an English engineer—or British, I should say. I’m Welsh, though. So here I am back. They wanted to get me back for this, and luckily it worked out timing-wise with the schedule. It’s worked out with Eric so I can go do that as well this year.”

A relative newcomer to the SD7, Collins is certainly no stranger to DiGiCo (he’s an early D5 adopter and part of the DiGiCo family). Collins says he wouldn’t part with his trusty D5 until this tour. “She’s been really good to me. Y’know? Obviously, I’ve grown up with the D5, so I was like, ‘I’ll just stay on my D5, thank you very much.’ I wasn’t ready to go to the SD7 until I knew we had the new racks… and honestly I couldn’t justify going to an SD7 working with a four-piece (like Clapton) playing blues and such, you know? I mean, that thing can run a small country, can’t it?! But for this tour, it seemed like it was time.”

Right out of the gate, he was floored by the SD7’s sonics. “It just sounds great, doesn’t it? And the biggest thing for me personally with digital desks is, I’m old-school. I come from the old analog school. I feel like I’m a part of the band. I learned the music. I’m into the music. I do the music. I know what everybody plays, what everybody does. That’s my thing. I’m not into the technical side. I just want a bass drum to sound like a bass drum. I want the piano to sound like a piano. And if you don’t get a feeling off a desk… I find that this console is musical. I feel musical on it. I feel as if I’m doing something on it. Not to mention any names, but there are other digital desks and I don’t get anything out of them. It’s like working a laptop, for God’s sake! That’s one thing about all the boys at DiGiCo: they came from the old school. They knew what we wanted. They spoke to engineers. But they didn’t just speak to them like every other company; they listened to them.

“I think DiGiCo consoles are the best out there. What you can do with this one is way beyond me. I don’t need to go down that line. Don’t tell James [Gordon, DiGiCo’s managing director], but I’m still not using Snapshots! I still do it all myself; I like to do it myself. I want to be part of it. I want to switch the guitar on when it’s supposed to be on. I feel part of it, and that’s what I want to feel. I don’t think in the digital domain.”

Monitor engineer Simon Higgs presides over the other SD7 at stage left, managing approximately 112 inputs for IEMs and such for the nine-piece band. He’s also a veteran Who member, starting in ’98 with Townshend on his Lifehouse project. He’s a diehard DiGiCo engineer, having also used the consoles since their release a decade ago.

“It’s the only digital console that I really care to use and the only one I really like,” Higgs explains. “I used a D5 with the Los Angeles band Sparks when they did 21 albums in 21 shows back in 2007, and that was the first time I really used the D5 for an extended tour… 150-odd songs, all programmed in. The Who’s monitor mix was analog for a long time until it started getting bigger and bigger and we realized we had to move to digital. So we started using two D5s, but that filled up quick. We currently are using an analog console for Pete, who has his own operator, and I look after the rest of the band on the SD7.”

With nearly 112 channels of odds and sods, Higgs says he has a lot going on managing the band’s in-ears, a few random wedges around the stage and submixing stems for Townshend’s mix. “My desk is pretty full; 112 channels and they’re pretty much filled up. A lot of outputs. I’ve still got some floor monitors up there. I’m mixing down to the analog console as well, which is just a 16-channel desk, so I’ll mix all the drums, drum floor monitors, drum sub, floor shakers [drum thumpers] under his seat…”

Having everyone on in-ears has made his job a bit easier. “Roger decided that in order for The Who to work again, he had to get used to in-ears… he couldn’t have a half-dozen wedges all around him like he used to. So he’s gone through the whole process of getting used to in-ears. They’re all on Jerry Harveys, and that’s really enabled the band to work again. Pete’s still got conventional fill monitors; he’s got four around him, just split up, one doing vocal, a stereo pair doing something else, and there’ll be acoustic guitar in the wedge, and then a monitor behind him that has sound effects for ‘Quadrophenia’ or the loops that are in ‘Who Are You’ and ‘Baba O’Riley.’”

For effects, he’s primarily using what’s in the console, save a few outboard pieces, including a Lexicon PCM 60 for the snare drum, and a Bricasti M7 reverb for Roger’s vocal that he says “is absolutely amazing.”

‘Amazing’ is often the tone of reviews streaming in from critics and fans, not only heralding the show but also the durability of both Townshend and Daltrey. Their “My Generation” anthem notwithstanding (”I hope I die before I get old”), the founding members did just that (both are now in their late ‘60s) and if the Quadrophenia tour is any indication, they still have a lot of rockin’ left to go. As for engineer Robert Collins, it’s a full-circle homecoming of sorts, having grown up on their music.

“I got a good memory on me,” he laughs. “It’s very short. But The Who have been part of my musical thing. Them, the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks—that’s what I grew up on. In fact, I was pissed off at them, actually. As a teen, I queued up in the top rank in Swansea in Wales to see The Who, and they didn’t fucking turn up! I was pissed off. They had a fight or something. This was the ‘60s. But it’s kind of funny… Who’d have thought that when I was growing up trying to play in little bands and not very good, listening to all these great singers, that I’d end up engineering for many of them?”

DiGiCo Takes Top Honors At GRAMMY® & Academy Awards

UK manufacturer DiGiCo held the coveted position as console provider for the second year in a row at the annual GRAMMY® Awards this year. The 55th installment of “Music’s Biggest Night” was overall a bigger show musically, with 20 acts on the schedule, up from 2012′s 18. As the show’s live performances have expanded, so has its audio footprint. With audio production facilitated by ATK AudioTek (and consoles provided by Hi-Tech Audio), the digital desk count handing both music and production included five DiGiCo SD Series desks: four SD7s (an upgrade from last year’s SD10s) and the addition of an SD5, as well as 11 SD Racks (up from last year’s six).

At the MusiCares event the Friday night preceding the GRAMMYs, engineer George Squires manned a DiGiCo SD7 with four DigiRacks at monitors to provide 170 inputs to 28 stereo ear mixes and 30 wedge mixes. Delicate Productions handled the audio production. On the 85th installation of the prestigious Academy Awards, ATK provided audio production with a Peterson-designed system comprised of three SD Racks, an SD5 at FOH helmed by Pat Baltzel and an SD10 run by Mike Parker. Hi-Tech Audio provided console support for all these events.

The GRAMMY and Oscar systems were both designed by ATK’s FOH Tech Jeff Peterson. On the GRAMMY event, Peterson also served as the system tech with assistance from Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher. The GRAMMY audio team again included consultant Ron Reaves mixing all of the live performance elements at FOH on an SD7, and ATK’s VP of Special Events Mikael Stewart on an SD5 managing all the nonmusical production assets. At stage right (“A”) and left (“B”), respectively, Tom Pesa and Mike Parker facilitated artist monitor mixes using a pair of SD7s (with an additional “guest” rig used for sets by Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars). [Pictured LtoR: ATK FOH Tech Jeff Peterson; Leslie Anne Jones, The Recording Academy®, Producers & Engineers Wing®; Production Mixer Mikael Stewart, ATK; Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher, Audio Consultant; FOH music mixer Ron Reaves (seated).]

“Overall, we have a massive total of 276 mic preamps and 176 outputs distributed between five consoles and 11 DiGiCo SD Racks,” explains Peterson. “Those four consoles, plus eight SD Racks, are on one optical loop, each connected to one of ATK’s 56-pair splitters. The guest monitor SD7 console is on its own optical loop, with three more SD racks. Also new is JBL’s newest line array, the Pro VTX V25 3-way system (powered by Crown ITech 1200 HD amps).

“In addition, we have more than 50 wireless microphones this year,” he adds, “which take up an entire splitter. We have almost an entire splitter dedicated to what we call high-level items, which are things like playback from the truck, Pro Tools lines, all of the production elements, and the podium mics (that are not for use with a band) are down the fourth splitter. The first two splitters are dedicated just for band inputs, one for stage right and one for stage left. This year we’re using AES outputs directly from SD racks in three locations to drive the amplifiers to the PA system. So it’s a whole digital system path again. What we eliminated was a second optical loop just to do the amplifiers. So everything is on one optical loop, with the SD Racks and the consoles.”

The transformer splits themselves are where the copper stops, Peterson explains, and are the dividing line between the live PA side with the DiGiCo SD racks and the trucks. From the ATK splitters, the signals go on to all of the different head amps: one to the two recording M3/Music Mix Mobile trucks, one to the main Denali broadcast truck, and one to the head amps for the DiGiCo consoles. “From there, it’s all various flavors of fiber, whether it’s Optocore to us or MADI to the M3 truck, or Hydra to the Denali. Once it leaves the transformer split, it’s pre-amped and converted to digital from there on. So the inputs come from the stage and then they are split up and sent to multiple destinations. The broadcast truck gets all of the raw microphones the same way we do. They do their mix, package it together with the broadcast items, the show elements and the production elements and send it out for broadcast. They also generate a lot of signals that we take out here: all of the videotaped packages, all of the music play-ons and play-offs, any band’s Pro Tools backing tracks—all of those are generated and routed from the truck through another splitter system to the rest of our consoles.”

“The SD system worked flawlessly,” sums up FOH production mixer Mikael Stewart. “The flexibility of the SD5 and SD7 are exactly what is needed for a show like the GRAMMY Awards.”

“I have continued my love affair with the DiGiCo console,” adds Ron Reaves, “having done quite a few gigs this last year on both the SD10 and the SD7. We started using these last year, and decided that this is all we wanted to use moving forward. This year, both monitor mixers switched from SD10s to SD7s, and that worked out great. The SD7 continues to be the best tool for my particular job at the GRAMMYs, and helped contribute to another great-sounding show out at FOH. I’ve particularly enjoyed the new dynamics package, and feel that between the new de-essers, and the dynamic EQ (a gift from the sound gods), that there’s no vocal ‘problem’ that can’t be tamed with this console. I’ve enjoyed some of the best vocal sounds I’ve ever gotten, too, thanks to this console.

“This year, there was a bit of extra pressure put on us at FOH to get mixes together faster in soundcheck,” Ron continues. “The demand has grown to have the first pass of a song be as close to the full band sound as possible and the console has helped me to accomplish this with the use of presets. I use a lot of presets and pre-dial pretty much everything so I’m never starting from scratch when we start rehearsing a band. That’s been a very helpful tool to have. The addition of the “presentation performances,” where a performer does a song and then introduces another performer, was also tricky and another place where the console excelled. I wrote separate snapshots in order to switch between these segments instantaneously and that worked great. For example, Hunter Hayes performed out on that dish stage in the middle of audience. When he finished, he immediately introduced Carrie Underwood—and bang, snapshot change. The console did what we hoped it would do with no glitches in the audio. In the time it took the audience to applaud, the console had already switched and we were ready to rock on the next act. It was really cool. That was a great example of how quickly this console can switch snapshots and turn on a dime.”

After two years of working on a DiGiCo SD10, the process of building snapshots was made much easier for engineer Tom Pesa, who handled the inner monitor workings on an SD7 this year on the A-Stage at stage right. “It begins with a strong template,” he explains, “a snapshot that is laid out to accommodate anything that comes down the pike with 10 A-stage acts to soundcheck. The common functionality between the DiGiCo platforms means that session structuring, labeling, grouping, building macros, etc., is all very familiar. I had only two days to dive into my SD7 on-site and plan a basic template based on the volumes of band info. Each act provided input lists, band plots, monitor layouts and in-ear requirements. Once my fellow monitor crew created the plan on monitor wedge quantities and in-ear assignments, I added that info to the input list to create the snapshot for that band. Each act is so different when it comes to instrumentation, microphone type, mono mixes and stereo mixes, but the ability to truly customize each snapshot with every parameter being specific to that act means that almost any request can be satisfied. If time permits I try and get ahead of the game by focusing on individual processing for each input, high-passing, EQ and compression as well as FX presets and mix content. The availability of powerful processing onboard the SD7, including the dynamic EQ and multiband compression, allows me to keep things well contained and sonically tight, which is important, especially when creating smooth, coherent in-ear mixes. There is no doubt how good the dynamic range is with the new generation of DiGiCo consoles. I knew how good mixes sounded on SD10 and the SD7 continues this experience for me, just on a much larger and customizable platform.

“Once again this year at GRAMMYs, the entire FOH and monitor consoles were on an Optocore loop utilizing shared head amps. Monitors were in charge of band input gain and FOH was in charge of RF vocal and production mics as well as Pro Tools inputs. We have worked hard the last two years to create a system of trust when trimming each other’s gain while soundchecking, and it has worked well. Once everyone is happy with where the individual inputs of gain are, we switch to digital trim and can fine-tune our own inputs and not affect anyone else. This whole symbiotic relationship of all the mixers at the GRAMMY Awards is why session saving, snapshot updating and recall scope is so important, and all of us have done well in making sure everything is as it should be through soundchecks, dress rehearsal and show. All in all, the use of the DiGiCo systems at GRAMMYs continues to be a leap forward in how everyone’s mixes sound and the sheer utility of how they create those mixes.”

“Honestly, no other console is touching what DiGiCo can do right now,” declares Peterson, who, since last year’s GRAMMYs, has also worked extensively on SD5s and SD7s for a host of award and music shows, from the Oscars to The X Factor. “You can’t network the other consoles the way you can the DiGiCos, so there’s really no other game in town. On shows like these, half the engineers coming in that we work with are jealous that they don’t have a DiGiCo, and the other half come in and are thankful that we’re using them now.”

Photographs courtesy of The Recording Academy®/Wireimage.com © 2013.

VME’s Martin Audio MLA Compact Wins Plaudits At TPi Awards


Described as an audio graveyard for sound designers, the ballroom at the Novotel Hammersmith presented no such pitfalls for Manchester-based VME when they were asked to provide sound reinforcement for the recent 2013 TPi (Total Production International) Awards.

“Everyone has had a crack at it, and this time it was our turn,” said VME director Dion Davie. “We knew that performing in front of all our industry peers would be challenging.”

VME were early adopters of Martin Audio’s MLA platform, and turned to an MLA Compact solution for the main arena, rigging six elements on either side of the stage which were used in tandem with an additional four providing a central hang to ensure good, even coverage over a very wide area. This arced out into the banquet room, where Lauren Laverne presented this year’s awards.

The array was underpinned by four DSX subs, while Martin Audio X12+’s were used as outfills, discreetly hidden behind the LED screens that formed the set to provide coverage at the tables that fell slightly off-axis from the arrays. Martin Audio DD6’s were used as stage front fills and foldback due to their compact size and innovative differential dispersion horn.

There was also a low-level area at the rear for which VME also provided reinforcement. “The trick was to get the two MLA Compact arrays and distributed systems syncing up seamlessly with each other,” said Davie. Fortunately three Martin Audio DX2 (4-in 8-out) dedicated management systems provided all DSP necessary. System tech Mark Edwards used Smaart software to time align the entire system; when the presenter moved from the main stage to the smaller B stage, an alternative snapshot was recalled from the DX2’s to reconfigure the system.

“We knew the MLA Compact would cover the main area, and mapped the room on the MLA [Display v2.1] software to achieve the optimization,” said Dion Davie.

VME’s Ben Hyman project managed the event, Steve Brierley mixed the sound and Martin Shaw, assisted by Mark Edwards and Martin Audio’s Nigel Meddemmen, were system techs.

Hyman stated, “The two main requirements for the system were coverage and clarity — particularly at the back — ensuring that every person, no matter where they were sat, could hear the audio at the right level. And we certainly achieved that.”

Dion Davie added, “Guests were absolutely gob smacked by the sound quality for the first time in the history of the event. Judging from the number of calls it was an outstanding success and we feel we have set a benchmark.”

Ben Chadwick, Event Manager at organizers, Mondiale Publishing, agreed. “We got the sound absolutely right this year. Because of ceiling height variations it’s a tricky room to provide even coverage with high intelligibility, but we completely nailed it.”

For more about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.

About MLA™ (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array)
The result of many years of intensive R&D, MLA’s methodology replaces trial-and-error array design with intelligent numerical optimization of the array’s output based on a highly accurate acoustic model. The multi-cellular format has six individual cells in each enclosure, each with its own DSP and amplification.

With up to 24 enclosures, each MLA array has up to 144 cells — too great a number to optimize manually, or by ear. Instead, Martin Audio’s proprietary Display2™ system design software automatically calculates FIR DSP filters for each cell and a redundant-ring audio network (U-NET™) downloads the settings into each array enclosure. Martin Audio’s VU-NET™ software provides real-time control and monitoring of the system.

MLA delivers a frequency response and SPL consistency never before achievable; a very high system output (140dB peak, per cabinet @1m); Automatic optimization of the array, both physically (splay angles) and electronically (DSP); Computer control and monitoring of the entire system, and total control of sound system balance for engineers and sound technicians.

MLA is fully integrated, with Class D amplification, DSP and U-NET digital audio
network built into each enclosure. MLA complete systems are ready-to-use, with MLA, MLD and MLX enclosures, flying hardware, software, cabling and training all supplied. Everything needed is included. All ancillary items—from tablet PC and Merlin™ controller to network interconnects and mains distro—are also included in the complete system package. This ensures full compatibility worldwide, down to cabling and accessories.

Additional features include 90° x 7.5° dispersion; a compact size (1136mm wide x 372mm high x 675mm deep), one-box-fits-all (festivals to theaters) application range and a global voltage, power factor corrected power supply.

MLA’s compact size and very high output allows it to be shipped using smaller trucks, offering considerable savings and reduced carbon footprint. The system also includes the MLX powered, flyable subwoofer capable of an unprecedented measured peak output of 150dB @ 1m; MLD downfill cabinet, and Merlin 4-in/10-out system controller and network hub. Audio input is via analog, AES3 or U-NET.

By adopting these principles and system components MLA is optimized for every member of the audience — from a 2,000 capacity theater, to a 20,000-seat arena, to a 100,000-person festival site. It will deliver the engineer’s exact mix to every seat (up to over 150 meters) with precision, exceptional power and clarity.

About Martin Audio®
Founded by audio engineer David Martin in 1971, Martin Audio pioneered the use of all-horn-loaded bass designs in world-class touring loudspeaker systems for groups such as Pink Floyd, ELP and Supertramp. Located outside of London, Martin Audio now embodies a sophisticated mix of acoustic design, research, mathematical modeling and software engineering for a wide range of products in the installation, cinema and touring sound markets.

Ford Audio Drives Pacific Northwest’s First L-ACOUSTICS KARA Rig

BURBANK, Washington – February 2013 — Tri-Cities-based sound reinforcement and AV service/rental provider Ford Audio Service, Inc. has now taken delivery of the first L-ACOUSTICS KARA system in Washington State. The initial order was comprised of 24 KARA, accompanied by 12 SB18 and eight SB28 subs, four 12XT coaxial monitors, and eight LA8 amplified controllers.

Located on the southern edge of the state — a five-hour drive southeast of Seattle — Ford Audio is well positioned to service corporate clients, venues, festivals and regional tours throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. more

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