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Archive by Heather Davis

Wisconsin Realtors Association Upgrades to Transparent Teleconferencing via a Symetrix SymNet Radius AEC Dante Network Audio DSP

Wisconsin_Realtors_AssociationMADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 2014: Headquartered in Madison, the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) is 13,000 members strong and one of the largest trade organizations in the Badger State. Among the many services that it offers its members, continuing education is perhaps the most prominent. Throughout most of its hundred-plus year history, members traveled to the WRA headquarters to keep current with seminars, workshops, and conferences, and its building contains flexible training and conference rooms to deliver those services. With the advent of modern telecommuting technologies, the WRA has sought to bring its continuing education to its members. However, the staff’s early experimentation with free web-based software and homespun A/V technology proved frustrating on both ends due to poor audio and video quality. WRA hired Peak Systems Group of Reedsburg, Wisconsin to update their rooms with modern remote conferencing technology, and the A/V integrator obliged with a new system centered on the uniquely functional Symetrix SymNet Radius AEC Dante network audio DSP.

“They were trying to adapt their existing technology for use with free web-based remote conferencing software,” said Jason Keagy, president of Peak Systems Group. “They set up a camera on a tripod and brought in a portable audio mixer, but making that all work correctly was not easy for someone without an A/V background. They had a lot of failures and poor audio quality led to a lot of frustration. Folks were struggling to understand the presentations, and they weren’t free to participate. On the video end, the staff tried to zoom the camera in on the screen, with predictable results.”

In addition to the entire pedigreed collection of audio processing modules that Symetrix has perfected, the SymNet Radius AEC includes connectivity and specialized processing to make remote conferencing transparent and pleasurable. The 1U rack unit contains eight mic/line wideband echo cancellers, eight line outputs, and four auxiliary line inputs. Each individual channel has AEC processed and direct outputs plus dedicated reference and auxiliary inputs, allowing any source connected over Dante to take advantage of the onboard processing. “They needed better audio for web feeds, as well as phone-in technology,” said Keagy. “The Radius AEC was the perfect choice. We used its expansion slot for a Symetrix 2 Line Analog Telephone Interface Card. The Radius AEC’s native Dante networking capability assured us that future system expansion, if needed, would be easy and cost-effective. But perhaps most importantly, our past experiences with Symetrix have always been predictable and trouble-free. Symetrix equipment just works – and it works well.”

Most of the system components are used in the training room, but the Radius AEC has enough inputs, outputs, processing power, and flexibility that it’s handling audio for the conference room as well. A Crestron digital media system delivers transparent A/V system control via a Crestron touch screen and coordinates video I/O and routing with the audio I/O and routing of the Radius AEC. For fine-scale control of audio processing, Peak Systems Group gave the WRA staff Symetrix ARC-WEB internet-based control, which they can access via their smartphones or via the training or conference room computers.

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 JERICHO HORNS COVER NORTH TO SOUTH AT PENN STATE UNIVERSITY’S BEAVER STADIUM

Penn_State_Beaver_StadiumUNIVERSITY PARK, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 2014: The Penn State Nittany Lions play all of their home games at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. With an astounding capacity of over 106,000, Beaver Stadium is the second largest stadium in the Western hemisphere (after the University of Michigan’s stadium) and the fourth largest in the world. A recent off-season upgrade to high-definition LED scoreboards inspired a parallel upgrade to a new high-definition sound system that relies on Danley Sound Labs Jericho Horns to throw sound from the south end zone clear across to the north end zone – and all areas between – with point-source, horn-loaded fidelity. Coverage is a remarkable ±2dB across that huge expanse, and eight Danley TH-812 subwoofers support the full-range content with honest, musical low end that shakes the stands.

Clair Solutions Senior Systems Designer Jim Devenney (Manheim, Pennsylvania) designed the system with assistance from Chad Edwardson at Danley Sound Labs and Al Harris from Populous Architects (Kansas City, Missouri). Jason Hertz led the installation for Clair Solutions with assistance from Jonathan Hoffman and Forrest Brewer from Barton-Mallow/Alexander, the general contractor. “The new scoreboard would no longer be able to accommodate the old sound system,” said Devenney. “It simply wouldn’t fit. Mike Hedden, Danley president, came up from Georgia to demo a Danley Sound Labs solution, and the school officials liked its full-bandwidth sound, dynamic response, and even coverage.” Importantly, the Danley solution would allow Devenney to cover the entire stadium with a much smaller footprint. Hedden commented, “Our demo was an opportunity to do a side-by-side with a very popular line array. At 800 feet the Jericho Horn was clear and present, like it was fifty feet away. When we switched to the existing line array it was as if the sound stepped backwards three hundred feet. It was a stunning difference. One of the officials asked me how I could explain what everyone was hearing. I replied, to paraphrase the founders, we hold these truths to be self evident, that all loudspeakers are not created equal!”

The system hangs from three levels on the new scoreboard, and each side is a mirror image of the other side. At the top level, two Danley J4 Jericho Horns hit the stands beyond the opposite end zone. Below that level, four Danley J3 Jericho Horns cover the far half of the east and west stands. At the lowest level, two Danley J3 Jericho Horns cover the near half of the east and west stands, and two Danley SH95-HO loudspeakers provide near fill. All told, eight Danley TH-812 subwoofers, four on the top and four on the bottom, provide abundant bass. Devenney left a distributed system of fill speakers under overhangs in place. Lab.gruppen LM26 processors running Lake software provide equalization and protection for the system. Lab.gruppen FP-Series amplifiers with the NLB-60E controller provide system power as well as network control and monitoring.

“Everything worked out very well,” said Devenney. “Coverage is excellent: plus or minus 2dBA throughout the stadium, except in club areas where I intentionally made things quieter. The system has good articulation, nice fullness, great dynamics, and impressive vocal clarity. The J4’s do a great job getting high end to the far side of the stadium, and the efficiency of the Danley components reduced the footprint considerably from where it had been.”

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

RECORD API 1608 SALES ALLOW FOR SUPERIOR COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY CURRICULUMS ACROSS THREE CONTINENTS

Hochschule_Musik_NurnbergJESSUP, MARYLAND – SEPTEMBER 2014: Since introduced at the 123rd AES Convention in New York City in October 2007, the API 1608 console continues to make its way into colleges and universities across the globe. In the past year alone, more 1608s have been placed in educational institutions compared to any other year since 2007. These full-featured consoles, each with various channels of recording and mixing capabilities, now grant students, ranging from high school to graduate school, the opportunity to learn on the analog technology used in professional studios all over the world.

“We’re very pleased to have placed so many of these highly-versatile consoles in the past year,” said Larry Droppa, president of API Audio. “Each of these 1608s will now join the ranks of top audio schools including the New England School of Communications, American University, and California State University.”

Since the summer of 2013, nearly a dozen consoles have been placed in schools including Nashville’s Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, and Blackbird Academy. Colleges and universities in the United States include Emerson College in Massachusetts, Mesa Community College in Arizona, Broward College in Florida, Glendale Community College in California, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Locations outside the United States include the University of Western Ontario, Canada, Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico, the University of Örebro in Sweden, and Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg in Germany.

SUNY_PurchaseThe 1608 offers sixteen input channels, each with a mic pre and equalizer. It also has the option of adding sixteen-channel expanders, allowing for a 16, 32, or 48 channel console in total. API also offers its optional motorized fader automation system called P-Mix. Derived from the technology used extensively in API’s large format consoles, P-Mix offers a host of features found only in the most sophisticated console automation systems, often costing many times more.

“Since the 1608 is built to the same standards as our Vision and Legacy large-format consoles, it’s a powerful tool for students to learn with,” said Droppa. “It’s the same equipment used in some of the best recording facilities around the world, where many of the students will want to work after graduation.”

ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES, INC.) Established more than 45 years ago, Automated Processes, Inc. is the leader in analog recording gear with the Vision, Legacy Series, 1608 and the BOX recording consoles, as well as its classic line of modular signal processing equipment.

www.apiaudio.com

(PHOTO CAPTIONS) IMAGE 1: Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg in Germany; IMAGE 2: State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase.

STOP BY AND SEE US AT AES 2014 BOOTH #1219

COUNTRY MIX ENGINEER BILLY DECKER DISCOVERS REAL TALENT IN METRIC HALO PLUG-INS

BillyDeckerNASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 2014: Mix engineer Billy Decker scored his first #1 single in 2006 with Rodney Atkins’ “If You’re Going Through Hell,” which is among the first (if not the first) #1 country song to be mixed entirely in Pro Tools and bounced to disc. He recently celebrated his eighth #1 single with Parmalee’s “Carolina.” An in-demand engineer stationed in Nashville, Decker gracefully negotiates the happy demands of a 22-year marriage and two children by maintaining a rigorous work schedule. “I come in at 8:30 in the morning and leave by 5:30 or 6:00,” he said. “I mix entirely in Pro Tools, where instant recall of everything allows me to juggle multiple projects at the same time.”

His knack for delivering radio-friendly mixes that play to the artists’ strengths has earned him work with a who’s who of country music talent: Darius Rucker, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Colt Ford, Montgomery Gentry, Frankie Ballard, Brett Michaels, Bubba Sparxxx, Josh Thompson, Josh Kelly, Kenny Loggins, Trace Adkins, John Michael Montgomery, and Billy Dean, in addition to the already-mentioned Rodney Atkins and Parmalee. As far back as he can remember, Decker has been using Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip plug-in, including all of his #1 songs, and he recently added Metric Halo’s Production Bundle plug-in collection to his streamlined workflow.

“I once found myself in a situation without ChannelStrip, and I tried to mix anyway,” Decker laughed. “It didn’t work. The mix sounded terrible, and I won’t ever try it again. ChannelStrip is absolutely indispensible to everything I do.” Basically, everything he’s ever mixed has ChannelStrip all over it. Apart from handling all of his routine and unusual equalization tasks, Decker relies on ChannelStrip for the all-important vocal compression. “I typically run three or four instances of ChannelStrip to get multiple compressors going at the same time,” he said. “Each compressor does a little bit, and in a different way, so that in the end I get a vocal that’s locked right in your face and that requires almost no gain riding. Recently, I’ve started adding ChannelStrip’s limiter at the end, which gives me a little bit more control and smooths out the top end.”

To keep his workflow speedy, Decker doesn’t fool around trying to listen for the right frequency to de-ess. He uses Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo sound analysis software, which is always running in the background to quickly diagnose issues. “That gives me the right starting point, and from there, yes, I use my ears to dial it in,” he said. “I use Metric Halo’s Precision DeEsser plug-in to do the de-essing; actually, I use two instances. One for traditional de-essing and the second for what I call ‘de-honking.’ Using so much compression brings a lot of junk to the surface, including the nasty nasal sound that pretty much every voice has between 1.5kHz and 2kHz. By setting the second Precision DeEsser to that frequency, everything smooths out and sounds much nicer. I’ve used a lot of de-esser plug-ins, but I find that Metric Halo’s version is noticeably smoother and more transparent. Where other plug-ins can sound grainy and degrade the signal, Precision DeEsser is colorless and pleasant.”

Decker has also been enjoying Metric Halo’s TransientControl plug-in for snares and toms. “Sam Hunt’s ‘Leave The Night On’ is climbing the charts, and it’s got TransientControl all over the drums,” Decker said. “It set a record for the most-added debut for a male country artist. I love the sound I get from TransientControl. I used to use its main competitor, but Metric Halo’s version sounds smoother. It tops a little tighter, has a better release, and a cleaner decay. I’d say that TransientControl rolls over each peak rather than falling over it. I’ve been very pleased.” Hunt’s single also contains Metric Halo’s HaloVerb on the snare. “I usually like plates on my snare drum with no pre-delay,” Decker continued. “For Sam’s single, I used a medium plate preset with a 700-800ms decay. It’s the perfect snare reverb – very thick and three-dimensional. After every snare hit, I can hear the little bits of dust crumbling in the background, little fairies floating around in the background. It’s very deep!”

Although collaborators frequently ask Decker to mix on a console at such-and-such famous studio, he staunchly refuses. “Technology has come a long way,” he said. “Digital has caught up, and it’s a much faster way to work. If you can turn on the radio and tell me which songs were mixed in the box and which were mixed on a console, well, I’ll buy you dinner. Hell, I’ll buy ya the whole restaurant!”

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

INTRODUCING THE ATC SCM20ASL PRO MKII: ATC IMPROVES ITS MOST POPULAR SMALL-FORMAT, 2-WAY ACTIVE REFERENCE MONITOR

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 2014:ATC_SCM20ASLPro_MkII TransAudio Group, U.S. rep for ATC and other boutique professional audio companies, introduces the ATC SCM20ASL Pro MkII near-field reference monitor. The ATC SCM20ASL Pro MkII improves upon the ATC SCM20ASL Pro. Like its predecessor, the MkII is a high-performance two-way active loudspeaker that is ideally suited for critical near-field applications or as surround channels in larger systems. Its exceptionally neutral output extends across the audible spectrum and is now improved by a new amplifier design, a new ATC-made dual suspension tweeter, and a new cabinet design.

“ATC is well-known for designing and building studio monitors that are unflinchingly truthful and that help engineers deliver mixes that translate everywhere,” said Brad Lunde, president of TransAudio Group. “ATC founder Billy Woodman and his team of R&D engineers never tire in the pursuit of perfection, and improvements to the passive SCM20PSL Pro MkII led to parallel improvements in the active the SCM20ASL Pro MkII.”

The new SCM20ASL Pro MkII is based around the ATC 6.5-inch “Super Linear” LF driver with integrated midrange, utilizing the same SL technology developed for the larger nine-, twelve- and fifteen-inch based monitors. Constructed with a 75mm/three-inch voice coil and a short-coil, long-gap topology, it combines the high-power handling and low-power compression usually only found in large, high-efficiency systems with the fine resolution and balance of modern high fidelity systems.

Five years in development, the new ATC dual-suspension 25mm tweeter offers lower distortion, higher output, and greater reliability. The electronics in the active design have also had considerable development time invested in them, resulting in reduced noise and distortion (a further -10dB @ 10kHz) and a reduced operating temperature for improved reliability. The amplifier design is a revised version of ATC’s discrete MOSFET Class A/B design with 200W and 50W continuous power available for the bass and high-frequency sections, respectively. The user controls have also been improved over the previous generation with more flexible input sensitivity controls and a revised low-frequency shelf control to help achieve good balance in difficult acoustic conditions. The amplifier includes protection circuits for both DC offset and thermal overload.

The new cabinet design maximizes linearity and minimizes size and weight. The cabinet has been restyled to more closely follow the larger monitors in ATC’s professional range and is constructed from heavily-braced MDF. Highly damped, elastomeric panels are bonded and stapled to the cabinet’s inner walls to suppress cabinet panel resonances, while the enclosure’s front panel is heavily radiused to reduce cabinet diffraction, improving the frequency response and imaging.

“Even given the excellence of the previous design, these new features lead to a substantive improvement,” Lunde concluded.

MSRP $6,695/pair

ABOUT TRANSAUDIO GROUP TransAudio Group, founded by industry veteran Brad Lunde, has quickly become the premier U.S. importer/distributor and/or U.S. sales and marketing representative for high-end audio. Success hinges on TransAudio providing dealers and end users with a higher standard of product expertise and support far beyond the norm.

www.transaudiogroup.com

BE SURE TO STOP BY AND SEE US AT AES 2014 BOOTH #1110

NEW YORK CITY’S EXCLUSIVE UNION LEAGUE CLUB UPGRADES TO ASHLY

Union_League_Club_NYCNEW YORK, NEW YORK: The Union League Club of New York City was founded by Union loyalists during the Civil War and has grown since then to become one of the city’s most exclusive clubs, where the public-minded members of New York’s upper class meet away from the bustle of urban life. Its elegant clubhouse on East 32nd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan thus serves as an oasis, and the Union League recently refurbished many of its rooms to add modern audio/visual technology where appropriate. Based on its functionality and rock-solid reliability, A/V integration firm Audio Production Services (Amawalk, New York) specified an Ashly ne24.24M Protea™ DSP Matrix Processor and an Ashly ne4250.70 Network Four-Channel Amplifier for the Union League Club’s new system.

Although most of the clubhouse areas provide a refuge from technology, club members requested video and audio in one of the large lounge spaces, the nearby coffee bar, and some ancillary lounge spaces. Inputs to the new system are many and include all manner of video feeds, wireless microphones for events, and iPod® connectivity. Those inputs feed into an Ashly ne24.24M matrix processor, which handles all of the routing, mixing and equalization. Audio Production Services biased the modular I/O of the ne24.24M to accommodate the huge number of inputs, reserving just four outputs to feed a four-channel Ashly ne4250.70 amplifier. Those four amplifier channels power 70-volt RCF ceiling speakers in four separate zones.

“I’ve used Ashly products on many previous installations,” said Simon Nathan, president of Audio Production Services. “They are very flexible and easy to work with. In addition, they are reliable, which was critical for the Union League clubhouse. Ashly’s Protea processing worked well with Key Digital’s user interface technology and allowed us to give the staff an iPad that could control the new A/V system. In all, it was a straightforward design and an easy installation, and the client is happy with its sound and performance.”

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 40-year old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A.

www.ashly.com

THE API BOX BREAKS INTO AUSTRALIAN MUSIC SCENE THROUGH FAMED SONGWRITER/PRODUCER STUART CRICHTON

Crichton_Sloss_1VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA: As the API BOX makes its way to recording studios around the world, it has now found its first home in Australia through world-renowned songwriter/ producer, Stuart Crichton. Crichton has been a contributing factor in numerous top ten hits internationally, primarily in the U.K. He consulted Deb Sloss at Studio Connections Australia, API’s Australian distributor, when looking to make the addition to his home studio.

In just a short period of time, the BOX has already made a difference for Stuart. “The API BOX has totally changed the quality of my mixes, adding the warmth and width of a large room console,” Stuart shares. “The ease of set up and use is amazing – so straight-forward.”

Quality of sound is the most important feature for Stuart, who works with major artists including Kylie Minogue, Guy Sebastian, and Pet Shop Boys. “The mic pres and EQs are that beautiful API sound that many crave. The bus compressor is also now a major part of my mixes. Once I’m done mixing, I put it over the whole mix and BANG! There it is – a real vintage sound for what are usually digital-sounding mixes.”

Stuart relocated from the U.K. to Australia in late 2009, where he continues to make his footprint in the Australian recording scene, as well as work with top artists from around the world. He’s finding that his new console is the perfect tool to achieve a big studio sound in a relatively small space. “The BOX is an affordable way for a home studio to get that big room sound, which usually costs a lot of money per day.”

ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES, INC.) Established more than 45 years ago, Automated Processes, Inc. is the leader in analog recording gear with the Vision, Legacy Series, 1608 and the BOX recording consoles, as well as its classic line of modular signal processing equipment.

www.apiaudio.com
(PHOTO CAPTION) Stuart Crichton with Deb Sloss of Studio Connections Australia. (PHOTO CREDIT: © 2014 SCA)

HOSANNA LUTHERAN CHURCH GOES HI-FI WITH DANLEY

MANKATO, MINNESOTA – AUGUST 2014: Growing with the community since its founding in 1972, Hosanna Lutheran Church is now a cornerstone of religious life in Mankato, Minnesota. With four contemporary services a week, plus one traditional service and plenty of high-SPL youth events, its sanctuary sound and video systems were tapped to provide a huge range of content. Despite having loudspeakers made by a respected manufacturer, intelligibility and low-end extension were poor and a regular source of complaints until recently, when Audio Video Electronics (AVE) (Maple Grove, Minnesota) renovated the system. Citing their excellent fidelity and intelligibility, AVE installed a pair of Danley Sound Labs SH-60 loudspeakers. To give Hosanna Lutheran Church plenty of bass when needed, AVE also gave the church a beefy Danley DBH-218 subwoofer.

“Before AVE’s renovation, we always had complaints,” said Matt Kotthoff, technical director at Hosanna. “The system was muddy, and a lot of our disciples, especially some of the senior members, had a hard time understanding what was being said depending on where they were sitting. Also the system lacked intelligibility and power.” Stefan Svärd, president of AVE, added, “Not only that, the low-frequency extension was simply missing. This was despite its big name components and the fact that it looked like a good system on paper. It simply didn’t translate to real-world performance.”

Svärd designed an elegantly simple new sound reinforcement system for Hosanna. An exploded mono cluster of two Danley SH-60s leverages Danley’s excellent pattern control to cover all of the seating without energizing the rest of the structure. Between them, also on the ceiling, is the Danley DBH-218 subwoofer. Svärd repurposed Lab.gruppen C-series amplifiers for the mains and added a Lab.gruppen FB14000 for the subwoofer. An existing Biamp Nexia and EV-DC1 processor condition the system, albeit less now than with the previous components, as the Danley boxes are naturally flat and transparent. A new Midas Pro 3 mixer gives Kotthoff and his techs control of the system for complex services, and a Crestron control system provides simple control of audio, video, lighting, and HVAC via iPad or iPhone. Finally, a new 8000lumen Digital Projection HD projector gives the congregation crisp imagery.

“I’ve had a lot of experience with loudspeakers from all sorts of manufacturers,” said Svärd. “To me, Danley’s unique designs offer the smoothest, most ‘studio-monitor-like’ performance in the sound reinforcement market. They have accurate phase response, great pattern control, and true hi-fi sound. The Danley DBH-218 subwoofer delivers a lot of clean output, and because it’s horn-loaded, it affords a degree of pattern control. For the youth services, they have that subwoofer shaking the whole building! Together, the whole system sounds phenomenal.”

Kotthoff agrees, “The Danleys sound great! Everything sounds crisp, clear, and clean. Nothing sounds harsh or painful. The intelligibility in the whole worship space is outstanding, everything from feeling the bass guitar rhythm to the clear natural sound of both singing and speaking voices. The DBH-218 subwoofer is awesome, every chance I get I love to crank the kick drum and feel the beat go right through me! I have received so many compliments, from ‘the audio is so clear’ and ‘now that’s an HD presentation’ to things like ‘I got bass in my butt!’ and ‘can you turn it louder?’ The system is amazing! It totally enhances Hosanna Lutheran’s strong music ministry in so many ways!!”

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

JOEL HAMILTON RECORDS AND MIXES “PUSS N BOOTS” DEBUT USING ATC SCM25A’s

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – AUGUST 2014: Puss n Boots is a three-piece, all-female, alt-country band led by singer-songwriter Norah Jones and backed by accomplished vocalists Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper. All three women learned new instruments for five years before recording their debut album with engineer/musician/producer Joel Hamilton (Tom Waits, Black Keys, Sparklehorse, Elvis Costello) at Studio G Brooklyn. Titled No Fools, No Fun, the album was recently released on Blue Note Records. As co-owner of Studio G Brooklyn with Tony Maimone, Hamilton installed ATC SCM25A three-way reference monitors and ATC SCM0.1-15 subwoofers in Studio A, a change that happily coincided with his first Grammy nomination (Pretty Lights, A Color Map of the Sun), a Latin Grammy nomination (Bomba Estereo, Elegancia Tropical), and a Latin Grammy win (Gaby Moreno, Postales). The ATCs were purchased from Audio Power Tools in New York.

“The ATCs have changed the way I work and improved the quality of my work,” said Hamilton. “I’m lucky to have a nicely tuned control room with an SSL and plenty of vintage outboard gear, and with the ATCs, I’m suddenly able to make decisions that are smaller – and yet more critical – than I have ever been able to make before. I have the ability to resolve a finer shade of the colors I’m hurling at the end-listener, and it’s been a revelation. It’s not a small thing, and that’s why I’m reaching for dramatic words like that. It’s tectonic. The entire continent has shifted.”

The glorious harmonies delivered by Jones, Dobson and Popper are a huge part of Puss n Boots’ magic. They form the emotional foreground. “The balance of those harmonies is crucial,” said Hamilton. “You’ve got these three gorgeous women with gorgeous voices, and they’re all coming at you like gangbusters because they can all project. We recorded everything live to analog tape, including the vocals. That gives a particular nuance to how the instruments sit against the vocals. You can feel the beat push and pull so beautifully. I needed to make sure that all of that nuance would come shining through for the listener. Striking the right midrange balance of those harmonies is critical, and I had to make sure all of that beauty would be immediately apparent to, say, my mom!”

While Norah Jones’ existing albums might safely be described as “polished” and most classic country albums might safely be described as “rough,” Hamilton had to walk the line between those extremes. “The balance is deliberately raw, which is perhaps unexpected by traditional Norah Jones standards, but it also has to be informed,” he said. “We were shooting for a tiny bulls eye, but we also had to make sure that everything felt unfettered and natural; just on the edge of scratchy so that it felt rough but didn’t actually hurt people. With the ATCs, I could find that line and make adjustments with confidence. I could tell where I was overcooking it on purpose. I could dial in just the right amount of ‘road house.’”

With the introduction of the ATCs, gone too is the need to translate for the client how a mix will sound outside of the studio. “After spending a lot of time in front of other monitors, I could tell when certain things would sound bad in the studio but fine outside of the studio,” Hamilton said. “The challenge beyond that, however, was convincing the client that those bad things would be fine later on, which is just one more thing to heap onto the already-skittish nature of an attended mix session. And so clients would ask, ‘why don’t you just get monitors that sound like it will sound like?’ It seems so simple, but of course it’s not.”

Hamilton used to switch between a number of monitors and loudspeakers all day long, but now he just hangs out on the ATCs. Depending on the task at hand, he can turn the ATC subwoofer on or not. “With the sub on and the volume cracked, the ATCs rock and serve as ‘mains,’” he said. “When I’m listening closely and resolving small moves, the ATCs are my nearfields. Either way, I now have complete confidence in what I’m hearing and doing. When a mix sounds good on the ATCs, I know it will sound good everywhere else. With Puss n Boots, we were able to make solid decisions that stuck. We totally avoided the hell of endless revisions!”

ABOUT TRANSAUDIO GROUP TransAudio Group, founded by industry veteran Brad Lunde, has quickly become the premier U.S. importer/distributor and/or U.S. sales and marketing representative for high-end audio. Success hinges on TransAudio providing dealers and end users with a higher standard of product expertise and support far beyond the norm.

www.transaudiogroup.com

METRIC HALO GEAR NO MYTH FOR FOH ENGINEER SUNE SNELLMAN JAKOBSEN

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – AUGUST 2014: Sune Snellman Jakobsen is a live mix engineer stationed in Copenhagen, Denmark whose credits include world tours with The Raveonettes, Mew, Mercury Rev from NY, Kashmir from Denmark, and, most recently, Trentemøller. An avid Metric Halo user, Jakobsen owns a ULN-8 interface and a LIO-8 interface and regularly uses their SpectraFoo sound analysis software to set up shows and to help identify and solve problems while mixing. His interfaces carry Metric Halo’s optional +DSP, which allows him to run their powerful plug-ins on critical live channels (including the whole mix!).

Jakobsen’s entry into the industry was not so worldly, nor so high-tech, but it set him on the right path. “I became interested in audio as a member of the underground punk scene in Copenhagen during my teenage years,” he said. “I played guitar in punk bands and hung out in a punk club where some older guys taught me the basics of mixing consoles, multi-way speaker systems, stage monitors, and all that. Neither the bands nor the audience cared too much about fidelity or clarity, so I could mix shows night-after-night and no one complained about my dreadful mixes. It was hard on the ears but good practice for a novice.”

One of Jakobsen’s punk rock mentors recommended him for a job with one of Denmark’s leading PA companies, and he spent the next several years prepping outboard racks, packing house-boxes for rentals, driving trucks, rigging PAs, and patching microphones on tours and festival stages. “The whole time I was looking over the shoulders of all the experienced and skilled monitor and FOH engineers,” he said. “I soon moved from rigging and miking to actually operating the boards, which was exciting. I got pretty good at mixing monitors, and I was able to mix FOH for a few up-and-coming acts.”

As his skills and industry contacts grew, more bands hired Jakobsen to engineer their shows, prompting him to make the move to full-time freelance. After some years of regional touring with local bands, he signed on to a worldwide tour with The Raveonettes. “The band had just landed a major label deal and had a lot of hype going so we went back and forth from European to U.S. club tours and festivals,” he said. “We performed on the Late Show with David Letterman a few times, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, numerous radio sessions, and support-tours with Depeche Mode, Interpol, The Strokes, Supergrass and many others. Those support tours were great because they gave me new opportunities to learn from great live engineers.” When The Raveonettes finally took a break after six years of constant touring, Jakobsen signed on with Mew and, later, Trentemøller.

“As a FOH engineer, I think it’s important to embrace the sonic ideals of the artist,” Jakobsen said. “I don’t see any point in applying my own favorite flavor if it doesn’t appeal to the artist. Along those lines, it’s critical to build a relationship of trust so the artist feels I have an understanding and appreciation of what their music should sound like. It was an interesting transition to go from The Raveonettes’ minimal, noisy, and reverb-y soundscape to Mew’s big sonic universe, with big pounding drums and layers of pads, guitars, and backing vocals.” Although still working with Mew, Jakobsen began touring with Trentemøller in 2010, which took him to European arenas in support of Depeche Mode, 3,000-seat headlining gigs, and plenty of European festivals. “I’m still fascinated by the way a good mix can lift a music experience (and how a bad mix can ruin a show), and I’m still intrigued by how difficult it is to reinforce audio and to mix,” he said. “I like the combination of creativity, technical skills, and science. It’s an ongoing learning experience, and that’s cool.”

SETTING UP THE SHOW
Jakobsen seldom has more than a short window to load in, set up, check the PA, and sound check before doors open. One of the first things he addresses is the PA system performance: “The frequency response should be full range and both level and response should be as uniform as possible throughout the audience area. I use Metric Halo SpectraFoo sound analysis software on most every gig to analyze and help tune the PA system.” He typically sends pink noise to one side of the PA, feeds the same signal to SpectraFoo’s Transfer Function source channel, places his Earthworks M30 measuring mic somewhere on-axis, and feeds its output to the Transfer Function response channel. He then time aligns the two signals with SpectraFoo’s Delay Finder and takes a snapshot of the response. He repeats this process with the mic at several other locations – a little farther or closer, and on or off axis. He marks the snapshots in SpectraFoo’s overlay list and asks it to calculate an average.

“That,” he said, “is then my visual reading of the system. I immediately get an idea of the PA at hand and whether it’s reasonably linear or not. Sometimes I’ll spot an issue even before I listen to music. For example if there’s a broad dip in the 1k-6k range it could indicate the gain settings in the system crossover aren’t right and the hi-mid drivers are gained too low. Or a dip at the crossover frequency of the sub and the low-mid could indicate phase or timing issues with the subs. It’s of course important to listen to reference music and tune with the ears in addition to the SpectraFoo output, but the visual plot is a great help in locating problem frequencies.” He uses SpectraFoo’s Delay Finder along with the phase response of the Transfer Function to time-align subwoofers, fills, and delay speakers if necessary. During sound check, he uses its Correlation Meter and Phase Torch to verify phasing between sources (e.g. bass DI and bass mic). Ringing the system with Spectragraph allows him to quickly identify and notch out problem frequencies with the Metric Halo EQ plug-in.

MIXING THE SHOW
Jakobsen described his mix philosophy: “The mix itself must complement the music and should hopefully impress and overwhelm the audience. All of the instruments should be well-defined within the mix. Vocals should almost always be on top of the mix, and lyrics should be audible. I tend to favor ‘wall of sound’ mixes, with gaps in the soundscape filled by anything available from stage, perhaps by mixing guitar parts up very close to the vocal or adding lush reverb to drums or percussion. I like to be overwhelmed by sound when I’m in the audience, so I aim to do the same when I’m mixing. I think one key to an interesting mix is to feature supporting roles as much as lead roles, be it a rhythm guitar or a tambourine or whatever; I think it helps keep people’s attention when all the different roles are well defined.”

Jakobsen uses his Metric Halo ULN-8 and LIO-8 along with the free Metric Halo MIO Console control software as an audio “multi-tool.” MIO Console allows him to route signals and to operate the DSP resources he has installed on the interfaces. With Trentemøller, he reserves the Metric Halo gear for the tracks that need the most processing: vocals, kick drum and snare drum. “I’m not aware of any other interface that has the combination of such great-sounding preamps, transparent converters, sublime mix bus processing, and all of the DSP tools necessary: unlimited bands of precise EQs, compression, limiting, delay, and ‘character’ modeling. At the same time, it gives me a straightforward interface for recording and playback.”

For vocals, Jakobsen uses Metric Halo’s “Classic British Mic Pre” character, followed by a “MIOstrip” loaded with a six-band EQ for sweetening, two compressors with complementary fast and slow settings, a second six-band EQ for notching out problem frequencies, and a very fast compressor with a side chain high-passed at 5kHz to serve as a de-esser. “In addition, I use the ‘California Vocal Box’ character on the vocal’s master strip, which I find adds a nice grainy texture,” he said. “For the current tour, Trentemøller asked for a vocal distortion for a few songs. I made a virtual MIO channel and tried different combinations of the Pedal and Amp macros. I ended up with a combination of the ‘Screamer’ into the ‘MHClean’ with some delay and a lot of compression and EQ. It sounds great!”

Jakobsen uses similar processing for the kick and snare drum. ” I almost always mix drums into a group and insert a stereo ULN-8 or LIO-8 input, split that into two stereo channel strips in MIO Console – one with no processing (or perhaps just Metric Halo’s Transient Designer) and one with a hard squashing compressor, Transient Designer, and often a bit of soft clip to give the drums an edgy character,” he said. “Those channels sum to a stereo output that’s a killer parallel compression drum group insert. I even have the option to add different characters to the drum group, for example the ‘Soft-Saturation’ character for a fatter and more punchy sound, and I have an EQ on the output bus that allows me to cut boomy frequencies in the low end or add high-end brilliance on the fly.”

Finally, Jakobsen sends the entire mix into a stereo MIO Console channel that gets routed to two auxiliary groups, one with “SoftSat” Character applied and one without. “I can then mix between these two depending on the PA system of the day,” he said. “It’s like having a wet/dry control on the SoftSat Character, which can really make the PA system sound like it’s ‘in your face.’ Then I route that mix to multiple master busses with different EQs and delays for the main PA, the subs, fills, and delays.” During the performance, Jakobsen keeps SpectraFoo open with a Level Meter on the house sound, a Spectragram and a Spectragraph on the mix bus, and a Spectragraph on the solo bus for quickly diagnosing problems with individual channels. “It’s especially helpful for getting the low-end even. If I hear a boomy note in the bass, it’s easy to identify with SpectraFoo,” he concluded.

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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