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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

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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

CS&A APPOINTED AS SYMETRIX MANUFACTURER’S REP IN MID-ATLANTIC AND NEW ENGLAND REGIONS – EXPANDING CS&A’s COVERAGE TO ENTIRE NORTHEAST

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 2013: Symetrix, manufacturer of professional DSP products and accessories, announces the appointment of East Coast-based Cardone & Solomon & Associates (CS&A) as their rep in the critical Mid-Atlantic and New England regions.

Founded in 1997, CS&A focuses on audio, video, and information technologies for clients in the corporate, higher education, finance, legal, and Fortune 50 and 500 markets, as well as for houses of worship and live sound. With offices in metropolitan New York City, upstate New York, eastern Pennsylvania, Baltimore, and Boston, CS&A will represent Symetrix from Maine to Virginia.

CS&A will promote the entire Symetrix line of digital signal processors and control devices, including SymNet Edge, Radius, and Radius AEC Dante network audio processors. In addition to the Symetrix digital signal processing devices, CS&A’s customers will also benefit from the family of user interfaces including the modular ARC volume controllers and source selectors and the ARC-WEB browser based control interface for smart phones and other Internet-connected devices.

Noted Craig Richardson, VP of Global Sales for Symetrix, “We’re very excited to expand our relationship with Cardone & Solomon & Associates into our New England, and Mid-Atlantic regions. Through this appointment, Symetrix will be leveraging some of the best technical sales talent in the industry, improving our sales coverage, more consistently communicating with our partners, and supporting our continued growth in our audio and audio conferencing product lines. When you have a sales team like CS&A that is performing so well it is natural to expand their territory.”

“Symetrix has an enduring reputation for building quality equipment and backing it with phenomenal support,” said Mike Solomon, who, together with John Cardone, founded and continues to head CS&A. “Symetrix has positioned itself for growth, and its commitment of resources to that goal really impressed us.” Added Cardone, “We’re aiming to build the Symetrix brand in the A/V space and to return feedback from our integrators, consultants, and end users that will continue to allow Symetrix to stay ahead of the curve. Our expertise and connections in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions will give a real boost to Symetrix.”

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

IDEAL ACOUSTICAL ENVIRONMENT MEETS 48-CHANNEL API 1608 AT STRANGE WEATHER STUDIOS

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: With an API 1608 console, a jaw-dropping collection of analog equipment, and a straight-up rock ‘n roll recording vibe, Brooklyn’s Strange Weather studio is growing at an incredible rate. A move to a larger space with custom acoustical design by Wes Lachot of Wes Lachot Design is destined to help Strange Weather thrive in the years and decades to come.

In addition to Lachot’s accurate acoustic design and owner Marc Alan Goodman’s ever-growing collection of gear and his valued partner Daniel Schlett, the new space benefits from an expanded API 1608 analog console with 48 fully-automated channels and 24 expansion slots for API 500 Series modules. But beyond the particulars, the studio’s greatest strength derives from the cohesion of its acoustical, electrical, and creative environments.

Lachot takes a broad and balanced perspective to studio design and recognizes that a lot of what makes Strange Weather successful is out of his hands. “The most important component of a successful recording studio is the talent, and Marc is at the hub of a vibrant creative community,” he said. “They have the songs, the instruments, and the performances that have the potential to become enduring recordings. After the talent, the acoustics are most important. That’s coming from an acoustic designer of course, but if the acoustics aren’t there, then the musicians don’t feel right and the performance suffers. The accuracy of the acoustics on both sides of the glass also impact how well a performance is captured and how well it translates. After the acoustics, the console is the next critical component because everything will travel through it multiple times.”

Goodman acquired Strange Weather’s original API 1608 in 2008. “The idea of having something new and reliable with an honest vintage sound was very appealing,” he said. “I love the simplicity of the API 1608. It has eight aux’s, eight busses, and no crazy routing. Unlike everything else that’s being made today, it’s not overbuilt. And of course the sound is very attractive, especially to our mostly rock-based clientele.”

Lachot regularly recommends API consoles to his clients. “Our rooms are very quiet and very accurate,” he said. “When we’re finally done and we fire up the tunes, the quality of the console is obvious. And if the quality of the console isn’t there, it can be a brutal realization. API’s all-discrete analog consoles have a hugeness, clarity, and depth that’s unbeatable. And the people at API are great to work with. They stand behind their products.”

Because the API 1608 is expandable, Goodman was able to grow his console to its current 48 channel form, and even included an additional bucket to accommodate 16 additional 500-Series slots. “If anyone can fill those slots up fast, it’s Marc,” Lachot joked.

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

MEXICAN STADIUM – JUÁREZ VIVE – COMES ALIVE WITH DANLEY

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, MEXICO – SEPTEMBER 2013: Located in the US border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the recently-completed Juárez Vive is a stunning sports stadium and a proud symbol of the recently-embattled city’s rejuvenation. Indeed, the bold, exposed angles of its support structure give one the impression that the stadium is rising into the air. When the baseball season got underway in April, the newly-completed stadium accommodated 12,000 fans for a thoroughly-modern game-day experience. An important component of that experience is now a highly-intelligible, pleasantly-musical sound reinforcement delivered by Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers, with support from Ashly amplifiers and Symetrix processing. The Mexican government had great expectations for the sound system’s performance, and the Clarity Incorporated-design not only exceeded those expectations, it did so on the narrowest of budgets.

Ciudad Juárez’ strategic location in the context of Mexico’s drug wars threatened to smother the rich cultural life of its 1.3 million people, but things have turned around in recent years and the city is regaining its footing. The new stadium thus bears a level of personal investment from city and government officials that have influenced its design and construction. “The Governor of Chihuahua, César Duarte Jáquez, toured the construction site frequently to track and encourage the progress,” explained Rich Mason, president of North-Carolina-based Clarity Incorporated. “Our charge was to deliver ‘sound that was befitting the best of Mexico.’ They expected us to jump a very high bar.” The construction company, Afirma, only involved Clarity Incorporated after first determining that the original sound system designer wouldn’t be able to deliver that kind of performance on budget. As a result, Clarity Incorporated started the design three months late and operated on an emergency schedule.

Bill Weir, Clarity Incorporated’s director of technology designed the system with assistance from Ivan Beaver, Danley Sound Labs’ chief engineer. A small crew from Clarity Incorporated spent three weeks on site to assist Afirma with the installation. “This is a value-engineered system,” asserted Weir. “Occasionally, you get a big-budget project in which issues can be overcome simply by throwing money at them. You don’t have to give them a lot of thought. But in this day and age, and especially for a government client, money is tight and you have to carefully balance the tradeoffs inherent in any decision, but in such a way that no one feels that it’s a compromise. That’s a value-engineered system.”

Loudspeaker and subwoofer placement at the new stadium looks deceptively simple. Nineteen Danley SM-80 full-range loudspeakers ring the lip of the roof that covers the stands, and every other SM-80 is joined by a Danley TH-118 subwoofer. “We’ve been huge fans of Danley from the very first moment we heard their loudspeakers,” said Mason. “Their phase coherence and pattern control are unrivaled, and they present the most natural sound stage I’ve ever heard short of studio monitors.” Weir, a loudspeaker designer himself, originally drew up the plans with a Danley SH-69 and a Danley SM-96 at each location. “I was able to quite nearly create an equilateral triangle between the slant of the seats and the point at which the loudspeakers would hang,” he said. “I wasn’t aware of the new SM-80, and so the SH-69 and SM-96 would combine to give me the appropriate coverage. Ivan realized the SM-80 would be as effective, but at a fraction of the cost, and suggested them as a replacement. I’ve worked with him enough to trust his recommendation on an unproven product. Sure enough, he was right. I’m blown away by the SM-80.”

Weir observed that subwoofers are often omitted from stadium designs. “With conventional subs, it’s hard to retain low end definition or clarity in a stadium situation,” he said. “It’s just mud. In contrast, Danley’s tapped-horn subwoofers have vastly lower group delay and a very definite focus that you can’t get from conventional designs. Put another way, it doesn’t matter how loud or low something goes, it’s the manner in which it does so that matters. And Tom Danley’s bass is not only loud and low, it’s musical and defined.” The stadium’s roof and appropriate spacing also contribute to exceptional low frequency definition.

Heil microphones and a handful of other input sources feed a 16-channel Yamaha LS9 console, which in turn feeds a Symetrix 8×8 DSP with a Symetrix BreakOut 12 for additional outputs. “Given the circumstances, we didn’t have a lot of design cycle time on this job,” said Weir. “And as well as one might plan things out, the system requirements are likely to change on site. Symetrix has a reputation for building solid algorithms that are supported by well-designed analog circuitry. Its flexible open-architecture topology allowed me to perfectly tune the system functionality while I was in Juárez.”

Nine Ashly pe3800 and four Ashly ne2400 amplifiers power the system. All of the Ashly amplifiers are networked to allow Ethernet control from a central location. “Ashly is another company that puts sound and reliability first,” said Weir. “Their network amps are a great example of appropriate functionality. They sound great and maintain a robust low end even with a lot of speaker cable. Of course, that kind of sound quality is paramount. Beyond that, the network capabilities meet the client’s needs without adding any costly – but ultimately unnecessary – bells and whistles.”

He continued, “Clarity has no obligations to any manufacturer. I can use whatever I want in my designs. Given the design expectations and constraints at Juárez Vive, I’m certain that this is the only combination of gear that would have succeeded. It’s a very unique synergy, and I’ve never heard a better system for anything less than five times the price. From the client’s perspective, it’s simple: they have a far better audio system than even dared imagine possible, and they stayed on budget.”

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

SYMETRIX SYMNET EDGE DANTE NETWORK AUDIO DSP REVITALIZES SOUND SYSTEM FOR THE LEXINGTON LEGENDS

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – SEPTEMBER 2013: Located in the heart of bluegrass country Whitaker Bank Ballpark is home to minor league baseballs’ Lexington Legends. Completed in 2001, its’ original sound system held up well until recent years. As components of the head-end began to fail, AV integration firm New World Resources helped maintain the system with band-aids and quick fixes. When the original DSP died New World replaced it with a SymNet Edge system that immediately revitalized sound quality while providing cost-effective ARC-WEB iPad and SymVue PC control.

“We provided the ballpark with a quote for a new head end a few years ago” explained New World Resources owner, David Humphreys. “This year, I updated everything in the quote and included the latest SymNet Edge hardware. Following installation the system ended up being more powerful and even less expensive than what we had previously quoted.”

Two SymNet Edge frames and a SymNet xOut 12 analog output expander handle all of the processing and matrixing. Inputs include a main announcers’ mic, four wireless microphones, three Click Effects units, a radio tuner, a CD player, and a handful of inputs on the field. On the output side the main stadium is divided into three sections, and each of those sections is further divided into three vertical coverage zones. Additional zones include the outfield bleachers, a kids’ zone, east and west concourses, bathrooms, a restaurant, offices, corporate suites, a picnic area, and a party deck.

“This was my first Dante project,” said Humphreys. “It was easier than the CobraNet systems I’ve done. I set up the busses from one SymNet box and it just worked. I didn’t even need a network switch.” Humphreys fitted one Edge frame with four 4-channel analog input cards and the second frame with four 4-channel analog output cards. The SymNet xOut 12 brought the total output count to twenty-eight.

The original quote specified a separate third party control system that, at the time, was one of the only ways to offer mobile control. “I hadn’t used Symetrix ARC-WEB and wasn’t sure that it could provide the control system functionality the client was looking for,” said Humphreys. “However, after I installed the SymNet Edge system, I set up ARC-WEB and handed it to the ballpark’s lead tech on an iPad. It gave him intuitive, customized control over input selection and zone-specific volumes. He was totally happy. Given ARC-WEB and SymVue PC-based control for the announcer, we removed the third party control system from the project. That saved them even more money which they allocated to replacing the few loudspeakers that had died prematurely.”

The SymNet ARC-WEB gives users control over zone volumes, and because it is deployed on an iPad, the tech can walk around the park while making the adjustments. The SymVue PC-based control goes further, allowing the user to drill down to adjust, for example, the three subsections within each of the three main stadium sections. The announcer has access to the SymVue control so that he can control inputs to the system during the game along with the Click Effects units. In addition, a hardwired Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote in the bar/restaurant allows the staff to switch between local inputs and the ballpark content. A second ARC-2e wall panel remote in the main office allows simple day-to-day system control for music during practices.

“All of the amplifiers and loudspeakers are from the original system,” Humphreys emphasized. “Yet the system now sounds noticeably better than it did with the original DSP. It’s like a whole new system. The clarity is better and the dynamic range is enhanced. They’re also very happy with the new user control. It’s a night and day difference!”

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

ASHLY AUDIO’S FREE IPAD® REMOTE CONTROL APP A REAL VALUE FOR JIMMY’S FAMOUS AMERICAN TAVERN

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 2013: The success of Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in San Diego inspired owner and restaurateur David Wilhelm to open a second location an hour north in Dana Point, California. Both establishments effuse a hip, industrial vibe accented by a touch of mid-century modern and offer great regional American comfort food, wines, craft beers, and creative cocktails. Dana Point patrons can relax at the centrally-located bar, on the expansive patio (with two fireplaces and a living wall), or in the main restaurant itself. One of the luxuries afforded the staff and management at the new location is the new (and completely free) Ashly Remote App for the Apple® iPad®, which provides customized control of the two Ashly ne8250pe network eight-channel amplifiers with onboard Protea™ DSP processing that power its high-fidelity, eight-ohm sound system.

Based on the success of its work at the San Diego location, Wilhelm asked No Static Pro Audio of Burbank, California to design and install the sound system at the new location. No Static CEO Eugene Gordon personally commissioned the system. “I brought my own wireless router and iPad with me to make tuning the system easier,” Gordon said. “I showed the Ashly Remote iPad App to one of the managers, and he was intrigued. He pulled out his iPad and in literally ten to fifteen minutes, I had designed a custom interface made to order from scratch. It was incredibly simple. And because it’s zero cost to me and zero cost to them, it’s purely value added.” The Ashly Remote iPad App is available from Apple’s iTunes® store (a link from the Ashly website makes finding it a snap). The app can control all Ashly Network amps with onboard Protea DSP processors and the NE-series DSP processors.

“The Ashly iPad app is absolutely perfect for a restaurant,” said Wilhelm. “I can walk into any part of the restaurant with it and immediately adjust the volume to the appropriate level without having to run back and forth to a control panel in the back. The app has plenty of capacity for multiple circuits and changes the volume instantly. I wouldn’t use anything else now that I’ve tried the Ashly iPad app, and I plan on using it in all the new locations that we open.”

The core of the system is a straightforward restaurant/bar design with plenty of focus on fidelity and impact. Inputs include a music server, audio from the selected television channel, a DJ or band input, and a wireless microphone, all of which feed two Ashly ne8250pe network eight-channel x 250W amplifiers. The built-in Protea DSP Processor lets No Static replace an entire rack of separate components with two 2U boxes. The outputs feed seven zones – bar, dining area, private buffet, patio, private patio, restrooms, and kitchen – covered by twenty-one Community Veris 2-8B loudspeakers, four JBL SB210 subwoofers, and a handful of ElectroVoice Evid c8.2 in-ceiling loudspeakers for the restrooms and the kitchen. Three Ashly WR-5 wall-mounted remotes provide backup control.

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

HARDPOP CLUB ELEVATES TO DANLEY SOUND LABS SUBWOOFERS AND LOUDSPEAKERS

JUÁREZ, MEXICO – SEPTEMBER 2013: The Hardpop Club in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico is both a source of immense local pride and a beacon to serious DJs and electronic musicians around the world. Indeed, the hard-partying citizens and electronic music fanatics of Ciudad Juárez regularly fill the Hardpop Club to its 500-person capacity, and international DJ and club publications consistently rank it within the top one hundred clubs globally. Over the past two years, the Hardpop Club has – with the help of North Carolina-based Clarity, Inc. – switched out its old sound system for a cutting-edge Danley Sound Labs system with abundant headroom, crystalline fidelity, and honest, chest-crushing bass. The improvement over even the best conventional club sound systems is obvious, and artists and fans alike are hailing the new sound at Hardpop Club. In addition, Danley’s new optional club aesthetic makes a bold visual statement that underscores the unique sonic characteristics of Tom Danley’s innovative designs.

As a border town that was especially hard hit by Mexico’s drug war, Ciudad Juárez is both a city and a rallying point, and the returning health of its vibrant cultural life is a metric of hope for its citizens. “The owner of Hardpop Club is in a city that is attempting to recover from its bad reputation,” said Bill Weir, vice president of technology at Clarity and the mastermind behind the club’s sound design. “He feels that he has to go above and beyond to attract A-list performers from around the world. He wanted a new sound system that would be unique and that would reinforce Hardpop Club’s position as a leader in the industry.” With its focus squarely on the music – most of the club’s patrons are electronic music fans first and club-goers only second – that meant taking the new sound system to the next level.

“Clubs are obligated to refresh their sound and look every so often and Hardpop Club was due for an upgrade,” explained Rich Mason, president of Clarity. “Electronic dance music is one of the most demanding forms of music on a sound system because its creators fully and deliberately exploit the entire frequency range – from 20Hz to 20kHz. Rather uniquely, Danley offers a lot of legitimacy in the low end, particularly the bottom octave. Beyond supplying a ton of bass, Danley subwoofers are truly musical. Because Danley full-range boxes are horns, we can keep energy off the walls, and their phase coherency is phenomenal. Hearing a loud Danley system is a unique experience because it is devoid of the distortions inherent to conventional subwoofer and loudspeaker designs.”

Four Danley SH-96HO full-range boxes paired with four Danley DBH-218 subwoofers comprise the main output of Hardpop Club’s new system. Because of their excellent pattern control, which extends octaves below conventional designs, Weir was able to toe the SH-96HOs in to keep energy off the walls and on the main floor, reducing the room’s decay time by 300ms. Four Danley SM-96 full-range boxes paired with four Danley TH-118 subwoofers fill in the sound from the back of the room. Weir was careful to use the DSP capabilities of the Powersoft K- and M-Series amplifiers to properly delay and phase all of the system components so that everything sums in phase in the middle of the room and so that no components are fighting. A pair of Danley SH-46s and a pair of Danley TH-212 subwoofers at the DJ booth inspire great performances. A Lake LM44 DSP provides modest overall system tuning.

“Working with Danley on this project was great,” said Mason. “We suggested a number of add-ons or options that would raise the Danley brand in the eyes of club owners, and they took us up on every one. The most conspicuous suggestion was a bold color contrast between the horn and the rest of the box. For Hardpop Club, the horns are red and the boxes are black. It doesn’t even look like a speaker!”

“High-SPL sound reinforcement systems are typically either forgiving and lack resolution; or they have the resolution but are merciless and unforgiving of material produced in a less than stellar fashion. The greatly reduced distortion in the mid-band Danley means that even with material that’s less than perfect there is a level of effortlessness that is always present. And since the large format horns are full range and have no convergence error, the sound in the venue is exceptionally warm, friendly and consistent,” says Weir.

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

THE ICE PLANT STEPS INTO THE MODERN MUSIC FRONTIER WITH AN API 1608

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 2013: When Wayne Silver and Adam Zirkin chose the analog API 1608 console as the sonic centerpiece of The Ice Plant, they knew they would deliver big-studio sound at rates that working musicians could afford. Recently established at the heart of a thriving New York City music scene in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, The Ice Plant is the creation of these long-time friends. Both owners are accomplished multi-instrumentalists, composers, and arrangers, as well as effective producers and engineers. Drawing on those strengths, The Ice Plant offers everything a musician could hope for, from straight-up recording to full production, arrangement, and performance services.

The project has a rich history. Zirkin and Silver formed their friendship when they were just ten years old. In the decades between then and now, they have mastered their instruments. Silver prefers the guitar and Zirkin favors the piano, but both are proficient on a range of instruments. Now studio owners, they both have plenty of experience – some good and some bad – in the musicians’ role.

“My passion for great gear started a long time ago,” said Zirkin. “I purchased some of The Ice Plant’s equipment well over ten years ago, and for as long as I’ve been collecting gear, Wayne and I have been talking about what a modern studio should be and what it should offer. Ultimately, we want the room itself to serve as a creative tool. We want not only to get great recordings, but we want to inspire better performances and better songs.”

In stark contrast to the live room/control room paradigm, The Ice Plant gets its creative vibe by placing almost everyone – including the producer/engineer – in a single room. “It’s a warm, comfortable atmosphere,” said Silver. “There are different stations, such as guitar, keyboard, and bass, as well as an isolation room for the drums. Everything is out in the open and ready to play. A musician could walk in here empty-handed and be ready to go. We’ve got everything.” And yet the duo deftly organized the room so that it doesn’t feel crowded. “The idea,” explained Zirkin, “is to create an environment that is conducive to creativity and communication. Whatever we may lose in terms of isolation, we more than make up for in vibe and collaboration.”

The 16-channel API 1608 shares the space with the musicians and is loaded up with twelve API 550A EQs, four API 560 EQs, a vintage API 525b compressor, and a handful of other processors that fit the API 500-series protocol. “The API 1608 is a small-format board with large studio quality, and that was very attractive to us,” said Silver. “It has an earthy vibe – that true warm analog sound. I basically harvest all of the music that’s happening in the room through the 1608, and everything sounds better through it. With the sonic part of the process taken care of, I can focus on helping the musicians stay in their zone.”

The Ice Plant’s API 1608 is flanked by one of the most eclectic collections of gear in the industry. The outboard racks and microphone cabinets include many studio staples alongside products from some of the industry’s best up-and-coming “boutique” manufacturers. Zirkin is an avid guitar and keyboard collector, and he and Silver have made their entire collection of nearly fifty instruments available to clients. With seemingly everything from sixty-year-old Guilds and Gibson, to modern-day Suhrs and McInturffs, Zirkin and Silver hope The Ice Plant’s instruments will inspire ideas and performances that were elusive in their client’s rehearsal spaces and writing rooms.

On the brave new frontier of modern music, The Ice Plant is stepping outside the box to maintain focus on the most important link in the chain: the music itself.

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

To learn more about The Ice Plant visit: www.theiceplant.com
To “Like” them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IcePlantMusic

SPARTAN STORES HEADQUARTERS SOUND MASK WITH ASHLY PEMA 4250.70 DSP/AMPLIFIERS

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 2013: Spartan Stores operates over one hundred locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana under the Family Fare, Glen’s Market, D&W Fresh Market, Felpausch Food Center, and VG’s Grocery brands. Its operations are headquartered Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the company originally opened as a coop in 1917. Spartan Stores continues to flourish in the 21st Century, and it recently added office space at its corporate headquarters to accommodate additional personnel. Because cubicles would populate the open space, Spartan Stores hired ASCOM Communications Contractors of Holland, Michigan to design a masking system that would allow its employees to focus amid the noise of conversations, as well as afford them privacy in those conversations. ASCOM used the Ashly Pema 4125.70 combination processor/four-channel amplifier to give Spartan Stores a reliable and cost-effective sound masking system.

“The Ashly Pema 4250.70 gives us all of the processing power we need – including the noise source itself – and four 250-Watt amplifier channels in just two rack spaces,” said Tim Vandermeer, project manager at ASCOM. “We divided the space up into multiple zones so that each could be precisely equalized to meet the sound masking NC 40 standard. Moreover, if they come back to us to request paging functionality or music playback, we can simply add the feature. That’s always a much better answer than, ‘sure, but it will cost you a bunch extra.’ We can also add scheduling, if they like.”

In addition to the Ashly Pema 4250.70 and the necessary wiring, the only other component in the system is a collection of forty Atlas M1000 loudspeakers. For more effective masking, the loudspeakers are installed above the suspended ceiling facing up. “Although the DSPs and amplifiers of some other manufacturers can often be challenging to connect to, the Ashly products are always fast and trouble-free,” he added. Vandermeer used SysTune to tailor the Pema 4250.70’s equalization curves to precisely match the prescribed sound masking frequency response.

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

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