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Archive for May 30th, 2013

Rock & Roll’s Top Artists & Icons Get Amped With Firehouse & DiGiCo

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony returned to the West Coast for the first time in 20 years this April, to induct a new class of musicians and industry icons in a nearly 5-hour evening of music and merriment at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre. The class of 2013—Public Enemy, Rush, Heart, Randy Newman, Donna Summer, Albert King, Quincy Jones and Lou Adler—were honored by a who’s who of music past and present. For the 13th year, Firehouse Productions handled the audio portion of the show, with Mark Dittmar spearheading the onsite crew comprised of Production Mixer Barry Warrick, Music Mixer Ron Reaves (on a DiGiCo SD7) and Mike Parker handling monitors (SD7).

The show has grown exponentially over the years into what Dittmar calls ‘fast and stupid.’ “And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way,” he laughs. “It’s just that this is the sort of show that keeps growing and giving and growing and giving, and they will never get smaller. There’s so much more desire for content, and there’s a lot more figuring it out on-site. Ten years ago you would spend a huge amount of prep time. Now you fly in and the producer’s like, “Oh, I just added a band.’ Last year they added Green Day, literally two days before the show and we’d already loaded in. We don’t get to say, ‘I’m sorry you didn’t tell us that three weeks ago, we can’t do it.’ You say, ‘OK, we have an hour to set them up.’ You look at what we do routinely now, and if you had asked us to do it 10 years ago, we would have freaked out. We simply didn’t have the tools or the technology to accomplish it. Two years ago we outgrew our Yamaha PM1Ds at FOH and in monitor world because the show kept adding inputs to the point that our only choice in inventory were the DiGiCo SD7s, and it was a logical move for doing these shows. The pace has become very, very fast and we have a great team and great tools in place now that can get the job done easily.”

The show’s drive system is all on fiber optics now with the SD7s and a trio of SD racks networked via Optocore. “Everything is digital, front to back,” Dittmar adds. “The signal path from the input of the SD7 into the amplifier is digital the entire way. You couldn’t easily accomplish that 10 years ago; we would’ve run out of horsepower with the consoles. Several yeas ago, we thought that we’d probably never fill a 96-input desk, and then we filled a 96-input desk… and more. Now that these things can do hundreds of inputs, the question is, ‘how much can a guy like Ron mix?’ You know, where does your brain give out and say, ‘I can’t find the fifteenth snare drum?!’ We’re doing things very powerful and very fast now, and a key component is the SD7, which allows us to do these shows. The SD7 is powerful and you can put a lot of inputs and outputs into it. Once you’re into an SD7, you no longer need to think about the layout. We just go very, very large with the splits, we give the mixers everything instead of having to repatch in the middle of the show. Parker and Ron don’t have to have a conversation about what they want to see where. We simply send everything to everyone and it’s very easy for them to deal with.”

“The challenge for me on a show like this, where I have a house band and artists walking on and off—as compared to one that’s a bit more ordered like the Grammys, where you have 20 separate bands and 20 different snapshots—is that you have to be a bit more flexible here because it’s all going to change… sometimes multiple times. This is an outstanding band, with some of the top session players, who’ve played on tons of hit records: drummers Steve Ferrone and Jim Keltner, bassist Will Lee, guitarists Waddy Wachtel and Ray Parker Junior, Greg Phillinganes on keys under the direction of Paul Shaffer… it sounds amazing! But for example, on day one of rehearsals, we were on version 10 of our input list. And it changed even more before we took the stage.”

“I’m using my basic Grammy template file because it’s a good starting point for music,” Reaves continues, “and I can just switch the inputs around from there. I’m landing about 112 inputs for the music performance. I do a lot of pre-dialing and I use a lot of presets on this desk, which enables us to go very fast, which is very important for doing TV. And as long as I have plenty of faders, I’m good. And that’s the beauty of the SD7. I can make it as big as I need it to be and can have 256 faders if I need them. I can put everything in the entire show in the console and have it there all night long. And no matter what anyone calls for at the last minute, it’s there. That’s why this is the perfect tool for jobs like this. You can build yourself a giant console so to speak, in terms of layers, and have everything right at your fingertips. These shows keep getting bigger and bigger because we keep pulling it off, but it would never have fitted on the consoles we were using previously. This is the perfect example of how the hardware helped fix the problem.”

At monitor world, it was only Mike Parker’s second time on an SD7, although he’d mixed numerous times on SD10 for events ranging from the Grammys to the Video Music Awards. He found the console’s updated software features exceptionally powerful in managing approximately 130 inputs and 84 outputs for the show.

“The DiGiCo platform is so versatile you can layout any show they throw at you and it can handle it,” he offers. “Not only does it sound good, but it’s probably the most advanced live mixing console in use today. I love the functionality and how you can route things… its quick, easy and very helpful. It enables me to sketch out the console in rehearsals and start dialing up the EQ.

“Monitors are in a critical place for shows like this,” Parker adds. “If the artist is happy with their monitors, chances are you’re gonna get a better performance. But it requires everyone: that means the house mix is good, the crowd reacts and the artist reacts off the crowd… it’s a loop. It creates a great energy that is not seen, but felt. When the monitors and house couple together it’s called a ‘lock’—when everything locks together. I’ve witnessed it several times and it’s magic.”

“This is one of my favorite shows,” Dittmar muses. “I’ve been doing this show longer than anything else in my career and it’s a night of amazing talent. The house band is incredible and you’re getting to hear your favorite bands growing up. Go on YouTube and watch Prince doing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from the ceremony several years ago… everyone’s jaw was just on the floor, including Eric Clapton’s!

“When we do large shows like this, I like having the cool tools like the DiGiCos. I like pushing the technological barriers and having the slick setup. But we also like when they work and the SD7s have been flawless for us. We also had a pair of them on the Tony Awards and not only do you have an immensely powerful platform, but you also have the reliability and that makes them very viable. They’re certainly the most popular desk right now, too!”

Pictured LtoR: Production Mixer Barry Warrick, FOH Tech Michael Bove, Music Mixer Ron Reaves and Production manager Mark Dittmar.

BTX Technologies InfoComm 2013 Preview

BTX Technologies InfoComm 2013 Preview
June 12-14
Orlando, Fla.
Booth 3759

Company Quote:
“InfoComm 2013 will be an exciting show for BTX. Not only are we introducing our new fiber lab capabilities, but we are also releasing our new 2013 A/V Catalog and unveiling our brand new website. At our booth, attendees will get to experience demonstrations from ZeeVee for delivering HD video over coax cable; Just Add Power’s HD over IP video solutions; Net Display Systems’ digital signage software; and Stinova’s Android digital signage solution. All demos will be shown using Philips digital signage displays. There will also be new products from many of our distributed lines, making BTX a must-see booth at InfoComm for new products and technologies that help deliver faster, better, and more profitable installations.”
– Greg Schwartz, President of BTX Technologies. more

Atlona(R) and D-Tools(R) Renew Partnership

SAN JOSE, Calif. — May 29, 2013 — Atlona(R), a leading digital connectivity solutions provider for residential and commercial applications, today announced that the company has renewed its partnership with D-Tools(R) Inc., a worldwide leader in system integration software. As part of the D-Tools Manufacturer Vantage Point (MVP) program, Atlona makes its detailed product specifications directly available to users of D-Tools Systems Integrator(TM) (SI) software for use in their client engagements. more

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VNS 104 Multi-Stream Decoding Software Now Available

Extron VNS 104Extron Electronics is pleased to announce the immediate availability of its VNS 104 Multi-Stream Decoding Software. This new software decodes and presents one or four video sources and one associated stereo audio source streamed from VN-Matrix® 225 or 200 Series Encoders, or a VN-Matrix Recorder. VNS 104 multi-stream decoding software includes text overlay and status messaging features, which are valuable for distinguishing between AV sources during operation and system commissioning.

“VN-Matrix streaming systems often manage many sources, therefore we’ve seen a real need to present multiple source streams on a display,” says Casey Hall, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Extron. “VNS 104 software, provides a convenient, cost-effective solution to decode and monitor one or four streams on a single display.”

VNS 104 multi-stream decoding software operates on Windows® PCs and is managed as a part of a system by a VN-Matrix Enterprise Controller. It offers aspect ratio management for VN-Matrix streams, including FILL, FOLLOW, and a 1:1 mode, which can be applied independently to each decoded source. VNS 104 provides an effective method for monitoring multiple streaming sources in a variety of environments including command and control, after action review, training and simulation, and medical or geological visualization.

Electrosonic Engineers MicroTiles Video Wall and Provides AV Support for LKAB Visitor Centre Above Arctic Circle

It may not be the Aurora Borealis, but the giant Christie MicroTiles video wall engineered by Electrosonic at the LKAB Visitor Centre in Koskullskulle, Sweden, is lighting up the north.

LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag) is the world’s technical leader in supplying iron ore pellets, acquired from underground mining, to the global steel industry. Its rich magnetite mines are located in the north of Sweden above the Arctic Circle. A new research centre in Koskullskulle includes a visitor centre that welcomes guests to the nearby Malmberget mine. LKAB’s iron ore mining operations are among the most productive in the world and feature automated processes that result in the “greenest” production of iron.

Electrosonic’s Stockholm office was tasked by LKAB consultant WSP with designing and engineering the audio-visual facilities at the visitor centre, including its showpiece video wall comprised of 192 Christie MicroTiles. The video wall dominates the flexible main presentation space, which can seat 120 people classroom style. The wall is arranged in a 16×12 configuration for an image size of 6.5 x 3.7 meters (21.4 x 12 feet). The display consumes little floor space and is bright enough to be used with full room lighting and with natural light streaming through an exterior glass wall at the opposite end of the room. During the Arctic winter, the MicroTiles display is highly visible from outside the building.

A Vista Spyder image processor, configured for eight inputs and eight outputs, feeds the video wall ensuring that all images are displayed at their full resolution and providing flexibility in image placement. The high resolution of the MicroTiles themselves means that no pixels are visible no matter how close the audience gets to the display.

Permanent inputs to the display include a Blu-ray player, a dual-output high specification computer mounted in the source system rack, a digital video tuner (set top box) and facilities for connecting sources like laptops. An Extron JMP 9600 player is used to present a show that introduces visitors to LKAB, its products and processes. Spectacular high-resolution aerial photographs of LKAB’s operating sites are used as backdrops to formal and informal presentations.

Electrosonic also supplied the presentation room with a comprehensive audio system comprised of a BSS Soundweb DSP controller that accepts inputs from the video sources and from five microphones deployed as needed, plus Crown amplifiers and JBL loudspeakers. A four-channel Bosch infrared system was also installed; it benefits the hearing impaired and may be potentially useful for simultaneous translation.

Two AMX NI-3100 controllers provide overall system control. The user interface is a touchscreen mounted at the lectern and supplemented by an Apple iPad, which enables control from anywhere in the visitor centre.

Adjacent to the presentation room is a board room for management meetings, which Electrosonic has outfitted with basic AV facilities that offer a growth path as the use of the space becomes better defined.

The main display in the board room is comprised of four NEC X551UN 55-inch LCD monitors in a 2×2 array; they feature ultra narrow mullions, sport LED illumination and are bright enough for all ambient light conditions. A Blu-ray player, set top box and two Kramer SID-X1 twisted pair transmitters feed a Kramer presentation switcher. Once again, an AMX room controller with touchscreen user interface provides overall control of the NEC display.

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic is an international audio-visual company that creates tailored, state-of-the-art solutions for a wide range of markets including theme parks, museums, control rooms, and corporate meeting rooms. Since its founding in 1964, Electrosonic has built a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic provides a comprehensive scope of services including technical design, projector lamp sales, maintenance and operational support.

Learn more about Electrosonic. Visit http://www.electrosonic.com

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grandMA2 Joins Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden

credit: Tom Case

grandMA2 met Clapton at the Crossroads when the guitar legend held his triennial guitar mega-jam with his friends and musical contemporaries. Four grandMA2 light consoles were on hand for Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013, which was staged for two nights at Madison Square Garden. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighitng in North America.

Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival has been held every three years since since 2004 as a fundraiser for his Crossroads Centre, an addiction treatment facility in Antigua. This year, each five-hour show featured a roster of guitarists as legendary as Clapton himself, including Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy – with a surprise appearance by Keith Richards.

Two grandMA2 lights were used for concert lighting and TV/key lighting; two additional units acted as back ups. The shows were designed with the Crossroads’ branding in mind and the guitar motif was prominent. “There were lots of bright colors and images of guitars – all the content emphasized these thematic guitar images,” says Dave Maxwell, Clapton’s lighting and show designer who also crafted the TV lighting.

“This was the first Crossroads show we used the grandMA2 on – and I’ve done all the Crossroads shows with Dave. This was a huge show,” says Eric Wade, head programmer for the concert lighting. “It was our best show yet; it really turned out well.”

Wade did all the preprogramming in New Jersey. “We programmed for three or four days with all the bands. I could even call up some of the songs on YouTube and partially cue to them,” he reveals.

“There were so many guitar solos, and we could do a lot of overriding and adapt on the fly. In layout view you can place the lights where they are in space and easily locate them quickly – it’s so fast. Dave did the key lighting and audience matching. I did all the cue-to-cue. It was a lot of fun!”

The grandMA2 also ran all the media and graphics, he notes. The stage sported a 56 x16-foot 10 mil LED wall and a pair of 20 mil walls; two 11 mil walls displayed IMAG for the audience, all via four Catalyst servers. “We faded in and out cameras all the live video through the consoles,” he explains.

Wade praises the flexibility of the grandMA2 and “the great layout.” He reports that he and Maxwell “didn’t have to make any concessions in the show due to the limitations of the desk. That’s amazing – and unheard of with other consoles.”

“grandMA2 is all I use,” Maxwell declares. “I like the feel, and it’s very stable. I usually program it then leave it to the operator. With the wide array of macros and the extensive programming options you can let a lot of it run on its own. No other consoles have as wide an array of automators.”

Wade rifs on grandMA2 one more time. “There’s nothing better out there in the market today,” he concludes.

About A.C.T Lighting

A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.

For more information call 818-707-0884.

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DPA Microphones Appoints Niels Jørgen Øhrgaard

In a move that will significantly strengthen its market position, DPA Microphones has appointed Niels Jørgen Øhrgaard as its new Executive VP for Sales.

Øhrgaard joins DPA Microphones from Reson where he was Executive VP Global Sales and Marketing. He has also held similar positions at other high tech companies including Hasselblad A/S and ScanView A/S – Purup Eskofot A/S.

Christian Poulsen, CEO of DPA Microphones, says: “Niels Jørgen has spent the last 20 years developing and growing sales globally for a range of companies and we are delighted that DPA will now benefit from this extensive experience. His appointment comes at an exciting time for DPA. We have recently introduced the new d:facto™ Vocal Microphone, which has been well received by the audio industry, and we are also introducing other new product ranges that will appeal to a wide variety of industry sectors. Having Niels Jørgen on board will allow us to capitalize on existing business channels and extend into new business areas.”

After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, Jørgen Øhrgaard moved into R&D and then sales where his negotiation skills and ability to motivate staff produced outstanding results for the companies he worked for. Now based in Copenhagen, he has travelled extensively and has lived in various countries including the Philippines, Chile and Kenya.

Commenting on his appointment, Øhrgaard says: “DPA’s microphone products have an international reputation for audio accuracy, reliability and superb engineering and this heritage offers enormous potential for the company to grow its global business. There are numerous applications for DPA’s technology and this gives us plenty of scope to develop new business channels. I hope that my experience in dealing with strategic sales will ensure the profitability of the company and extend that profitability to DPA’s partners around the world.”

-ends-

Editors’ information:
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphones and microphone solutions for professional applications in studio, broadcast, theatre, video/film and sound reinforcement environments. All DPA microphones and components are manufactured at the company’s purpose-built factory in Denmark.
For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

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BOX HILL INSTITUTE CHOOSES API 1608 FOR STUDIO R

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 2013: When the Box Hill Institute’s Centre for Creative Industries console needed replacing, they looked no further than the API 1608. The 32-channel console can be found in Studio R of the Institute’s Whitehorse campus in Melbourne, Australia. Here, students use the console to earn degrees in Applied Music, specializing in audio production courses that teach both analog and digital recording techniques.

Adam Quaife, former freelance engineer and producer, who is now a lecturer in audio production, heard of API in past professional experiences with other respected engineers and producers. “We searched for a new console that would give our students the very best experience of what analog audio could offer.” he said. The obvious choice was the API 1608.

The API 1608 was chosen for its quality of sound, level of control and solid build, as well as the reliability and timelessness of API’s products. “We are very happy with our choice of an API 1608. The sound of the console and the 550A EQ is awesome. The whole thing feels and functions like a high-quality studio instrument,” said Quaife. The department also uses other API products such as the 2500 stereo bus compressor, 5500 dual equalizer and the A2D mic pre amplifier.

“Box Hill institute has long been regarded as a great institution to study creative arts, audio production and music,” said Quaife. “Our students immediately appreciate the flexibility and quality of sound that this console brings to their productions.”

ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES, INC.) Established more than 40 years ago, Automated Processes, Inc. is the leader in analog recording gear with the Vision, Legacy Series and 1608 recording consoles, as well as its classic line of modular signal processing equipment.

www.apiaudio.com

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Stay up to date on the latest technology news. Select press representatives post company news several times a day. Check back often to get the latest news on product releases, mergers and acquisitions, and product applications. To be included in this virtual press conference, please contact The Wire.

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