A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive by Heather Davis

SYMETRIX SYMNET RADIUS 12X8 DANTE NETWORKED AUDIO DSP DELIVERS PRESENT AND FUTURE AUDIO EXPANSION FOR WISCONSIN HIGH SCHOOL

JACKSON, WISCONSIN: Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School serves over four hundred students from in and around Jackson, Wisconsin, a town 45-minutes northwest of Milwaukee. In the last decade, the school has expanded its facilities, and the crowning jewel of that expansion is the 750-seat Performing Arts Center. The center includes facilities for the school’s choirs, bands, and theatrical productions, as well as a state-of-the-art venue for Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School and other area schools and artistic organizations. Because funds were limited, the school asked Professional Audio Designs of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin to build a cost-effective sound reinforcement system that could start with simple coverage for Sunday services and have the ability to scale up to handle full theatrical productions as the funds became available. To accommodate that challenging request, Professional Audio Designs built the system around the Symetrix SymNet Radius 12×8 Dante Network Audio DSP.

“At the outset, the money allocated to the sound reinforcement system was generous, but the building itself ran way over budget,” explained Kim Leonard, president of Professional Audio Designs. “They came back to us and asked us to pare down the sound reinforcement system initially, while at the same time laying the foundation for the more expansive system that they will eventually have. That future vision includes a full-sized mixing console, dozens of mics and inputs, and a full stage monitoring system. But for now, they have a modest four microphones and a line-level input. We’re using the SymNet Radius 12×8 to auto-mix them.”

With the core system now in place, Fulcrum Acoustics loudspeakers powered by QSC amplifiers provide high-impact, high-fidelity coverage of the auditorium’s seating area. Three Symetrix Radius 12x8s provide the modest processing needed for basic sound reinforcement and will go on to provide the more advanced processing necessary. A Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote control gives users simple and intuitive control of volume for all four microphones, volume control for the line level input, and an overall master volume control.

When they get the funds, the school can simply plug in the digital mixer, the assisted listening system (ALS is installed now), the online streaming system, and a back stage monitoring system. Additional Symetrix ARC-2e units in the control room, in the house, and on a future portable backstage paging rack complete the system. Importantly, the simple quick-mix system that is already in place is selectable from the main ARC-2e so that the school and church can hold simple events and services without requiring an audio technician on hand.

“The whole system is networked via Dante,” said Leonard. “We built a primary network and a secondary network for backup. We’re glad Symetrix is leading the charge with fully-integrated Dante technology. It’s extremely cost-effective and robust and the fidelity is excellent. In addition, we always use Symetrix with Fulcrum loudspeakers because the FIR filters required by Fulcrum are fully supported within the SymNet software.”

ABOUT SYMETRIX Symetrix is dedicated to making life sound better. As a world leader in the development and manufacturing of digital audio signal processing (DSP) systems and accessories, Symetrix provides best in class audio management solutions to businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations.

For more information on Symetrix products visit www.symetrix.co

SYMETRIX SYMNET EDGE AND RADIUS DSPs HANDLE PERFORMING ARTS CENTERS IN HOUSTON’S KATY SCHOOL DISTRICT

HOUSTON, TEXAS: The rapidly growing Katy Independent School District serves over 65,000 students in the greater Houston area. To meet their growing audio and visual media demands, school officials recently earmarked funds to update the performing arts center A/V systems in four of its seven high schools. Broadcast Works of Tyler, Texas was contracted to do the installation and used SymNet Edge and Radius AEC open architecture Dante network audio DSPs.

“The old A/V systems were 1990s vintage and entirely analog,” explained Aaron Comer, project manager with Broadcast Works. “The system designer, Erich Friend of Teqniqal Systems assessed their existing systems and determined that they could transform the performing arts centers from outdated to cutting-edge by revamping only the front end and control systems. The existing QSC amplifiers and Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers were basically in excellent shape.”

Although the original design called for another DSP manufacturer, Comer and his team lobbied hard for SymNet Edge and Radius DSP. “We had worked with this other manufacturer’s products in the past, and it was always a challenge,” he said. “In contrast, we’ve done a lot of Symetrix jobs, and they always go well. Ryan Curtright, Symetrix’ senior technical sales engineer, worked with us to put a nice package together centered on SymNet solutions. Based on our past experience, we knew it would work well and reliably… and would save the district some money.” The new systems make use of the Dante network’s stability and flexibility to send signal long distances without copper and provide digital patch bays that allow users (including first-year students) to select among each stage’s 70+ inputs for allocation to a 48-channel Avid SC48 console.

Stage inputs include a multitude of wired input plates together with a portable rack feeding a SymNet Edge and SymNet xIn12 expander. Rather than home running all of the stage inputs back to the sound booth, as in the old design, the new system uses a stage-located SymNet Radius AEC to collect them for transfer to the sound booth via Dante. That same Radius AEC, together with a SymNet xOut12 expander, receives the final house mix from the sound booth (again via Dante) for output to the stage-located amp rack. The portable SymNet Edge rack pairs up with a sixteen-count wireless microphone system or an additional twelve-count hardwired microphone collection and can connect to the system via any one of four Dante ports located around the stage.

Each sound booth contains three SymNet Radius AEC units with additional input cards, three SymNet xIn12s, and three SymNet xOut12s. Broadcast Works designed a custom computer interface using Symetrix’ SymVue software that allows users to connect any input source to any channel on the Avid SC48 console. In turn, the console outputs thirty-two channels that feed back into the SymNet system for transfer to the amp rack via Dante. “The students love it,” said Comer. “We trained a group of freshmen who had zero experience with a system like this. Within a couple of hours, they were completely comfortable and playing with the whole thing. Despite its complexity from our perspective, SymVue makes it simple from their perspective. They get it.”

For less elaborate events, Broadcast Works gave each school an iPad outfitted with Crestron control that would allow them to turn the system on with a minimal number of commonly-used microphones and input sources. The iPad gives them control over which commonly-used inputs are active, their individual volumes, and the overall volume.

The new systems’ easy learning curve made it possible for the theater and music departments in all four schools to start production on fall programs without delay. A few of the highlights include The Wizard of Oz, a Masquerade Serenade concert, and a play called The Cherry Orchard.

ABOUT SYMETRIX Symetrix is dedicated to making life sound better. As a world leader in the development and manufacturing of digital audio signal processing (DSP) systems and accessories, Symetrix provides best in class audio management solutions to businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations.

For more information on Symetrix products visit www.symetrix.co

DANLEY SOUND LABS LOUDSPEAKERS AND SUBS CONTRIBUTE TO TRUE STEREO IMAGING AT FIRST FREE CHURCH

ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS: First Free Church has been a cornerstone of spiritual life in Rockford, Illinois since 1884. Over the decades, First Free has occupied several buildings of ever-growing size and, since the advent of A/V technology, ever-growing technical sophistication. Its current sanctuary seats close to 1,800 congregants in an arc spanning nearly 180 degrees, with a balcony and under-balcony area that stretches from wall to wall. Tired of poor coverage from a faux-LCR system of mid-1990s vintage, First Free hired SVL Productions of nearby Cherry Valley, Illinois to build a new system that would provide nearly every seat with crisp stereo imaging. Of course, this would be no small feat to achieve. SVL Productions turned to Chicago-based Johnson AV Engineering to help design and commission the new system, which relies on the tight pattern control of Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers to meet – and then greatly exceed – the church’s expectations.

“Music is a vital component of First Free’s services,” said Aaron Johnson, president and principle engineer at Johnson AV Engineering. “The old system had three clusters to cover different wedges of the room’s wide arc, but despite the fact that they were set up as a Left-Center-Right system, none of the seats had any true imaging to speak of. The church wanted true imaging, where each instrument seems to emanate from the empty space between the loudspeakers, but that’s very hard to achieve in such a wide arc. You can’t simply place a couple of clusters on either side of the stage and expect even coverage and convincing imaging. The relative volume and time delay of each loudspeaker at the listener’s location have to be nearly equal to make the stereo effect work.”

The solution was to divide the room into three 60-degree wedges, each of which would receive its own stereo image. Although that’s easy to conceptualize, it’s very difficult to actually implement because almost all loudspeakers spill energy “off-axis.” That spillover would cross the dividing line between one wedge and the next and destroy the stereo imaging effect. “Danley’s tight pattern control made it the obvious choice for this application,” said Johnson. “No other loudspeaker manufacturer comes close to Danley’s razor-sharp pattern control, which extends even to lower frequencies.”

Because of their specific coverage patterns and the geometry of the room, Johnson specified a Danley SH-60 on top of a Danley SM-96 at each loudspeaker location for coverage of the main seating area. A total of six such clusters comprise the main system: three sets of left and right. Four monophonic Danley SH-Micros provide front fill for seats very near the stage. Partitions separate six under-balcony areas, four of which seat thirty to forty each and two of which seat only eight. For the larger partitions, a stereo pair of Danley SH-Micros deliver convincing stereo imaging, whereas a single Danley SH-Micro in each of the smaller partitions deliver a monophonic summed signal.

“I don’t know of another loudspeaker that can achieve the kind of pattern control that Danley has managed,” said Brent Hayes, president of SVL Productions. “Aaron and I walked the room during commissioning, and it was truly astounding to step just past the edge of one loudspeaker’s pattern. It fell off immediately. One more step and we were clearly into the pattern of the next loudspeaker. I remember seeing it on paper, but it’s a whole other thing to experience it.” Johnson agreed: “I love that Danley products always model exactly like they work, and they work exactly as you expect them to.”

But the miracles of great pattern control don’t stop with the loudspeakers at First Free Church. Johnson designed a directional subwoofer cluster comprised of three Danley TH-118s flown near the ceiling, just in front of the stage. By paying careful attention to each unit’s phase and signal delay, the bass volume on stage is a full 18 dB lower than it is in the seats, which is an obvious and significant difference. The dividing line is, in Johnson’s words, “like a curtain,” and even the first row of seats is fully immersed in bass. By keeping so much low-frequency energy off the stage, the sound quality captured on stage by open microphones is much better and far less likely to growl or feed back.

Processing support for the new system is extensive, as proper alignment required a separate processing channel for almost every individual loudspeaker and subwoofer. BiAmp Audia provides that fine-scale level of control. Because the Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers require only a single amplifier channel, the total number of amplifiers was kept to a minimum, but the sheer number of loudspeakers and subwoofers involved still amounted to an impressive 26 channels. Powersoft K-Series and Ottocanali-Series amplifiers provide that power. “The new system requires more power to the loudspeakers and subs than the old system did, but the efficiency of the Powersoft units allow us to draw less AC power!” said Hayes. “As a result, we didn’t have to call in an electrician. Moreover, their physical compactness left an entire rack from the previous installation wide open. In summary, we had more processing channels, more amplifier channels, and more loudspeaker power, but less current draw and less space consumed.”

New video projectors and screens, together with a new high-end Chauvet lekos and LED lights completed the installation.

ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology.

www.danleysoundlabs.com

NOW YOU CAN MIX IN THE BOX

JESSUP, MARYLAND – OCTOBER 2013: Automated Processes Inc. (API) takes great pleasure in announcing the latest addition to its line of highly acclaimed analog consoles: THE BOX® project console. THE BOX is specifically designed for audio professionals with project or home studios who require a smaller format console with that “big console sound.” True to its heritage, THE BOX features the same circuitry, performance and legendary API sound as the company’s highly successful Vision, Legacy Plus and 1608 consoles. The new console debuted to a highly enthusiastic AES show in New York, and is now shipping from the company’s factory in Jessup, Maryland.

“THE BOX offers an easy, turnkey solution for recording and mixing,” said API President Larry Droppa. “It’s a great option for people who record a few channels at a time, but demand the warmth and punch that a large API console delivers. In addition to four inputs, full center section control, and 16 channels of API’s famous summing, the icing on the cake is a classic API stereo compressor on the program bus. Now you can truly record and mix… in THE BOX.”

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

HISTORIC GIBSON’S BOOKSTORE EXPANDS USING AN ASHLY NE8250.70PEM PROCESSOR/AMPLIFIER FOR DIVERSITY OF PLANNED EVENTS

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – OCTOBER 2013: Gibson’s Bookstore opened in Concord in 1898 and has been a cornerstone of the community’s cultural and intellectual milieu ever since. Seizing on the revitalization of the city’s historic downtown, owner Michael Herrmann recently moved the bookstore down the street to the first floor of a brand new five-story office building. At 10,000 square-feet, the move more than doubled Gibson’s floor space and incorporated the newly-acquired Imagination Village educational toy store. The fact that it was new construction gave Herrmann the opportunity to design the store to his exact specifications. Included within those specifications is a sophisticated sound reinforcement system that will gracefully accommodate events of varying sizes and styles. A single, two-rack space Ashly ne8250.70pem eight-channel 250W network amplifier with an on-board Protea™ DSP processor is paired with four Ashly neWR-5 wall-mounted remote controls to form the cost-effective heart of the new location’s flexible, easy-to-use sound system. Factory-installed microphone preamp inputs complete the amplifier package.

“The old location was small enough that a simple, consumer-type sound system could do the job,” explained Rick Elliott, production manager at MFI Productions, the firm that designed and installed the new sound system at Gibson’s Bookstore. “When the owner was looking over the plans with designer Kat Whouley of Books In Common, he realized it would take something more high-tech to do it right. He wanted the flexibility to accommodate any type of event, but he also wanted to make sure that his staff could operate the system intuitively.” Herrmann stopped in at Concord’s Capitol Center for the Arts (literally right across the street from the new location) for recommendations, which led him to MFI Productions. The firm worked with Herrmann for an entire year to ensure that the sound system they installed would be right in every respect from the beginning. After all, they had the opportunity to install it while the building-to-be was still nothing more than steel and concrete.

As the design evolved, the number of zones grew from just a few to eight. Separate Pandora music boxes allow different content to play in the children’s section, the main floor, the café, and the on-hold phone system. A handful of line and microphone inputs accommodate a simple acoustic music setup, a presentation, or a lecture. Two outdoor speakers handle the café’s outdoor seating area, while Twenty-four Electro-Voice Evid C8.2 coaxial ceiling speakers cover the bookstore and are zoned so that speakers can be either muted or used for events of various sizes in either the children’s section or the main section. Since it was easy to install during construction, Elliott ran a few extra input lines that the store can grow into if needed. Four Ashly neWR-5 network wall-mounted remote controls placed at strategic locations allow staff to intuitively select zone inputs and control the volume in each zone.

A single, two-rack space Ashly ne8250.70pem provides all of the necessary microphone preamplifiers, input processing, I/O matrixing, and loudspeaker processing, along with eight channels of amplification at 250W per channel into 70V. “The Ashly ne8250.70pem was the right solution because of its simplicity and flexibility,” said Elliott. “It could do everything that the expanded Gibson’s would require, and, when paired with four Ashly neWR-5 wall-mounted remote controls, could deliver that functionality in a way that would be transparent for the staff. When you consider that the two-rack space ne8250.70pem is handling all of the processing and amplification for the entire store, its cost is more than fair.” To help with the evolving system use, the IT contractor allowed Elliott to get through the bookstore’s firewall so that he can make adjustments to the ne8250.70pem from anywhere in the world.

ABOUT ASHLY AUDIO Ashly Audio Inc. is recognized as a world leader in the design and manufacturing of high quality & high performance signal processing equipment and power amplification for use in the commercial sound contracting and professional audio markets. The 37-year old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A. www.ashly.com

DANLEY TH-812 “ROCK MONSTER” SUBS SHAKE BIG-10 FOOTBALL FANS IN ILLINOIS AND WISCONSIN

CHAMPAGNE, ILLINOIS/MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 2013: The University of Illinois’ 60,000-seat Memorial Stadium and the University of Wisconsin’s 80,000-seat Camp Randall Stadium each received a huge new Daktronics video board in time for the 2013-2014 season. At 3,500 and 4,200 square feet, respectively, the new boards dwarf their predecessors in both size and quality. With them came new Daktronics-designed and installed sound reinforcement systems, each with abundant musical low-end supplied by four giant Danley TH-812 “Rock Monster” subwoofers. For the throngs of ardent Illini and Badger fans that pack the historic stadiums on game day, the powerful low-end inspires new levels of enthusiasm!

At four hundred and counting, South Dakota-based Daktronics has installed more sound reinforcement systems in large sports venues than any other company in the U.S. “Our clients never ask for more high end,” laughed John Olsen, a Daktronics regional sales representative with a focus on large sports venues. “And when it comes to low end, no one ever complains that there’s too much! With the program material that is being played by students these days, thunderous low end has become an essential component of the game day experience. Danley provides a clean and punchy low end that we like better than most other manufacturers.” Daktronics has a complete in-house design team that includes system design engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, structural engineers, marketing experts, project managers, field installation engineers, and site supervisors. “It’s a big team that, together, builds very engaging sound solutions for our customers and their fans,” said Olsen.

Both new systems use JBL VLA line arrays for full-range content. A BSS Hi-Q Network and Crown amplifiers provide processing and power at Illinois, and a QSC Q-Sys Network and QSC amplifiers do the same at Wisconsin. Each stadium’s complement of four Danley TH-812s hang from its new scoreboard and provide, in Olsen’s words, “seat-shaking bass” fifty feet off grade at Illinois and one hundred feet at Wisconsin, using 128,000 watts of power. “Our design team keeps specifying Danley’s Rock Monster because it gives our clients a rich low-frequency response that extends below that of most normal subwoofers.”

Olsen continued, “When a client’s new system is operational, it’s always a great day. And when we bring the subs into the mix, the usual reaction is stunned silence and big smiles. The contrast is stark: they had been using a system with only partial low-frequency response that had reached the end of its life. Moving to a new system with the kind of deep low-frequency response that the Danley TH-812s deliver really puts an exclamation point on the new experience!”

ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology. www.danleysoundlabs.com

WESTLAKE PRO SPEAKS OUT ABOUT ITS NEW 1608

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 2013: API announces the placement of another 1608 console in Southern California, this time into the newly0complete and fully-furnished demo room at Westlake Pro.

The choice to add the 1608 to Studio A came with ease. “The API 1608 is a fantastic tracking console with an impressive legacy. It appeals to anyone looking to keep analog production techniques in today’s digital workstation environments,” said Westlake’s CEO George Adjieff. “The high-quality circuitry, the classic analog look, feel, and sound of an API console are unmatched.”

“It is customizable so that you can add any API 500 Series® modules that you need, enabling you the flexibility to craft your perfect console,” said Westlake President Joe Taupier. “The layout is intuitive and easy to understand, allowing a wide range of producers, mixers, and engineers to focus all their attention on what they do best – making the music sound just right.”

As longtime API supporters, Westlake Pro knows the value of quality products with a longstanding reputation. “API has a legendary lineage, great brand recognition, and everything about this mixer is well-conceived,” said Taupier. “The layout is smart, the board is made from quality components, and any studio will instantly receive esteem and credibility if an API console is in the room.”

The 1608 has become a popular addition to Westlake Pro and a regular spot to find pro audio lovers and gear enthusiasts. “Clients are wildly impressed with the API 1608 in our space,” said Adjieff. “Our clients enjoy spending hours trying it out, listening to mixes, and demoing and evaluating other pieces of equipment. It really is the central piece of gear in the room, and really enhances the studio that we’ve designed around it.”

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

FOH ENGINEER BOB COKE USES METRIC HALO’S SPECTRAFOO TO MIX THE BLACK CROWES

SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 2013: When we caught up with him, Bob Coke was drawing on his decades of FOH experience to mix The Black Crowes with the help of Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo sound analysis software as the band toured the U.S. in the fall of 2013. The path that took Coke from a “penniless” musician with proficiency on Indian Tablas, sarod, and acoustic guitar to the trusted ears of one of the biggest rock acts of the modern era is a case study in serendipity well-played. Shortly after love relocated Coke – still a struggling musician – from his American home to France in 1980, a friend who had relocated to Los Angeles called him up. That friend, J.P. Plunier (who now owns Everloving Records), had started managing a singer/songwriter Ben Harper and needed someone with a European license to drive the band around on their first European tour. Coke obliged and, trustworthy and capable soul that he is, was promoted to tour manager within the first week. With the new role came responsibility to help with the backline, to help with the monitor mix, and to mix the band at FOH.

“All of this was a very ‘seat-of-the-pants’ learning experience,” Coke laughed. “There was lots of trial and error… oh yeah, lots of error! [laughs] My ears and previous music experiences helped me a lot, as did several sound engineers that I met along the way. After two years, I made the decision to stop the road manager duties and concentrate on sound engineering, which I was (and still am) truly passionate about.” Coke observed that the musical and cultural palette in Europe at the time was much more diverse than it was in the U.S. Mixing, both live and studio, was a wide open field with only a few key players. So in an indirect way, Europe was an exciting and encouraging place to live and work for someone with a good head on his shoulders, a musician’s ears, and a passion (though no formal training) for mixing.

Between then and now, Coke has worked with a broad array of musicians. He said, “My proudest moments are those I’ve spent together with incredibly talented musicians while they created or expressed music: waking up at 4 a.m. to sing with Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar; all the recordings and concerts playing Tablas with New York’s finest soprano saxophonist, Eric Person; co-producing Ben Harper’s second album, Fight For Your Mind and the subsequent tour; recording pianist Pete Drungle; recording, mixing and touring with French rock band, Noir Désir as well as the French singer, Alain Bashung; touring with Grammy-winning French band, Phoenix; and, of course, touring with The Black Crowes. And there are so many others. That’s just a start.”

Coke stumbled upon Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo after complaining to Marco de Fouquières of Dispatch/Dushow (the largest sound company in France) that there seemed to be no Mac-based sound analysis software. Fouquières alerted Coke to SpectraFoo, which is proudly and only Mac-based. “At the time, there was a huge shift in our approach to system installations with the arrival of the L-Acoustic line array, concurrent development of sound analysis software, and the way that sound analysis software was being applied in the field,” recalled Coke. “Every system tech here in France was using the same software, but I opted for SpectraFoo. I quickly recognized SpectraFoo to be a more precise measuring tool that proved equally useful in the studio environment. The Dolby Lake EQ corrections I make are the exact same frequencies Spectra Foo indicates, whereas the PC software frequencies at the time were generally off by several Hertz. This was a cause of consternation with several of my system techs. They went so far as to upgrade their ADDA audio interfaces… but still without achieving a more accurate reading!”

These days, Coke runs SpectraFoo on all of his tours. He uses it to align the mains, the subs, front fills, side hangs, and delays, and he uses it to analyze room acoustics and the room’s response to amplified sound. For both live and recording applications, Coke uses SpectraFoo to verify phase rotation and to visualize tonal balance. “SpectraFoo gives me a visual reference for what I’m hearing and can help me identify in real time what’s occurring acoustically,” he said. “It is an invaluable aid in live sound reinforcement because the working environment is extremely fluid and composed of constantly changing variables. As well, any changes in the sound are immediately perceived by the audience though perhaps not always consciously. I refer to a broad palette of tools in SpectraFoo from the moment I’m powered up and running in an empty venue until the end of the show and I’m measuring audience applause after the artist has departed the stage.”

Although The Black Crowes represent a return to straight-up rock ‘n’ roll and although Coke mixes them in that vein, he asserts that modern sound reinforcement equipment would not respond well to a retro approach to system tuning. “Live sound has evolved dramatically in the past twenty years. As the precision of FOH sound systems has increased, the room for error has decreased. Nowadays, speaker technology and system tuning can be very unforgiving to a bad sounding mix – or even a mediocre sounding one. In our modern day-to-day lives of digitized mp3 sound and small speakers, going to a rock concert can and should be a felt experience. SpectraFoo helps me dial in that experience quickly by providing an accurate visualization of what my ears are hearing, thereby complementing my aural understanding with a purely scientific visual reference.”

ABOUT METRIC HALO Now based in the sunny city of Safety Harbor, Florida, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware.

www.mhlabs.com

FOH ENGINEER BOB COKE USES METRIC HALO’S SPECTRAFOO TO MIX THE BLACK CROWES

SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 2013: When we caught up with him, Bob Coke was drawing on his decades of FOH experience to mix The Black Crowes with the help of Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo sound analysis software as the band toured the U.S. in the fall of 2013. The path that took Coke from a “penniless” musician with proficiency on Indian Tablas, sarod, and acoustic guitar to the trusted ears of one of the biggest rock acts of the modern era is a case study in serendipity well-played. Shortly after love relocated Coke – still a struggling musician – from his American home to France in 1980, a friend who had relocated to Los Angeles called him up. That friend, J.P. Plunier (who now owns Everloving Records), had started managing a singer/songwriter Ben Harper and needed someone with a European license to drive the band around on their first European tour. Coke obliged and, trustworthy and capable soul that he is, was promoted to tour manager within the first week. With the new role came responsibility to help with the backline, to help with the monitor mix, and to mix the band at FOH.

“All of this was a very ‘seat-of-the-pants’ learning experience,” Coke laughed. “There was lots of trial and error… oh yeah, lots of error! [laughs] My ears and previous music experiences helped me a lot, as did several sound engineers that I met along the way. After two years, I made the decision to stop the road manager duties and concentrate on sound engineering, which I was (and still am) truly passionate about.” Coke observed that the musical and cultural palette in Europe at the time was much more diverse than it was in the U.S. Mixing, both live and studio, was a wide open field with only a few key players. So in an indirect way, Europe was an exciting and encouraging place to live and work for someone with a good head on his shoulders, a musician’s ears, and a passion (though no formal training) for mixing.

Between then and now, Coke has worked with a broad array of musicians. He said, “My proudest moments are those I’ve spent together with incredibly talented musicians while they created or expressed music: waking up at 4 a.m. to sing with Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar; all the recordings and concerts playing Tablas with New York’s finest soprano saxophonist, Eric Person; co-producing Ben Harper’s second album, Fight For Your Mind and the subsequent tour; recording pianist Pete Drungle; recording, mixing and touring with French rock band, Noir Désir as well as the French singer, Alain Bashung; touring with Grammy-winning French band, Phoenix; and, of course, touring with The Black Crowes. And there are so many others. That’s just a start.”

Coke stumbled upon Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo after complaining to Marco de Fouquières of Dispatch/Dushow (the largest sound company in France) that there seemed to be no Mac-based sound analysis software. Fouquières alerted Coke to SpectraFoo, which is proudly and only Mac-based. “At the time, there was a huge shift in our approach to system installations with the arrival of the L-Acoustic line array, concurrent development of sound analysis software, and the way that sound analysis software was being applied in the field,” recalled Coke. “Every system tech here in France was using the same software, but I opted for SpectraFoo. I quickly recognized SpectraFoo to be a more precise measuring tool that proved equally useful in the studio environment. The Dolby Lake EQ corrections I make are the exact same frequencies Spectra Foo indicates, whereas the PC software frequencies at the time were generally off by several Hertz. This was a cause of consternation with several of my system techs. They went so far as to upgrade their ADDA audio interfaces… but still without achieving a more accurate reading!”

These days, Coke runs SpectraFoo on all of his tours. He uses it to align the mains, the subs, front fills, side hangs, and delays, and he uses it to analyze room acoustics and the room’s response to amplified sound. For both live and recording applications, Coke uses SpectraFoo to verify phase rotation and to visualize tonal balance. “SpectraFoo gives me a visual reference for what I’m hearing and can help me identify in real time what’s occurring acoustically,” he said. “It is an invaluable aid in live sound reinforcement because the working environment is extremely fluid and composed of constantly changing variables. As well, any changes in the sound are immediately perceived by the audience though perhaps not always consciously. I refer to a broad palette of tools in SpectraFoo from the moment I’m powered up and running in an empty venue until the end of the show and I’m measuring audience applause after the artist has departed the stage.”

Although The Black Crowes represent a return to straight-up rock ‘n’ roll and although Coke mixes them in that vein, he asserts that modern sound reinforcement equipment would not respond well to a retro approach to system tuning. “Live sound has evolved dramatically in the past twenty years. As the precision of FOH sound systems has increased, the room for error has decreased. Nowadays, speaker technology and system tuning can be very unforgiving to a bad sounding mix – or even a mediocre sounding one. In our modern day-to-day lives of digitized mp3 sound and small speakers, going to a rock concert can and should be a felt experience. SpectraFoo helps me dial in that experience quickly by providing an accurate visualization of what my ears are hearing, thereby complementing my aural understanding with a purely scientific visual reference.”

ABOUT METRIC HALO Now based in the sunny city of Safety Harbor, Florida, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware.

www.mhlabs.com

SYMETRIX SYMNET RADIUS 12X8 DANTE NETWORKED AUDIO PROCESSORS GET RAVE REVIEWS AT THE WEBER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN: The new Weber Center for the Performing Arts in La Crosse, Wisconsin is a dream come true, not only for the residents of the Mississippi River city, but also for the two institutions that partnered to build the $8 million facility. The La Crosse Community Theatre endured the cramped and ill-suited conditions of its previous space while theater and performing arts students at Viterbo University put up with rehearsals in hallways and other inconveniences not befitting so prestigious a liberal arts institution. Beyond a spacious lobby, patrons will now find a 450-seat main theater with ideal sightlines and a versatile 100-seat black box theater. To achieve maximum flexibility and to accommodate future expansion on a very tight budget, Commercial AV Systems of nearby Onalaska, Wisconsin designed and installed a sound system centered on four SymNet Radius 12×8 processors.

Split between the two performance spaces the four Radius 12x8s at the Weber Center effectively behave as one large custom processor because they communicate via Dante. Together, they also handle the routing logic for nine zones of paging. Like the Dante-based SymNet Edge system, the Radius 12×8 is configured using SymNet Composer open architecture software.

“We designed the system so that you can essentially route audio from anywhere to anywhere,” said Ryan Van Berkum, the Commercial AV Systems project manager who designed and oversaw the installation of the new system. “Nothing is hard-patched – Dante takes care of everything.” Eight channels of audio can flow simultaneously between the two performance spaces in overflow situations. In addition, the community theatre and school both anticipate scenarios where one performance space may serve as a prop room or dressing room for the other. By allowing audio to flow between them, critical cues and other information will not be missed.

The main theater is configured as a mono cluster of two EAW loudspeakers, a Yamaha 1218 subwoofer, under-balcony Yamaha IF2205 fill speakers, a comprehensive monitor system, and a hearing loop that can take as its source a pair of ambient microphones or a direct line from the Yamaha digital console. The console is outfitted with two Dante network cards, one for transfer of signal to the SymNet Radius 12×8 system and one for transfer to a Yamaha digital stage box. In addition, a presentation mode in the main theater supports four input channels – mic, line, or audio from a direct box.

The black box theater makes use of the theaters’ existing Allen & Heath console. A fixed Yamaha IS1118 subwoofer provides low-end support in either full-range or discrete mode. The presentation mode has similar behavior and channel count as the main theater, simplifying training requirements for staff and volunteers while facilitating use of the black box space for simple events without a tech on hand.

The La Crosse Community Theatre will kick off its new season in the Weber Center for the Performing Arts with the comedy Noises Off. The students of Viterbo University will break it in with a performance of Little Women – The Broadway Musical.

ABOUT SYMETRIX Symetrix is dedicated to making life sound better. As a world leader in the development and manufacturing of digital audio signal processing (DSP) systems and accessories, Symetrix provides best in class audio management solutions to businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations.

For more information on Symetrix products visit www.symetrix.co

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