A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive by Sue Sillitoe

DPA Microphones Hits the Corporate Limelight

The exceptional comfort offered by DPA’s d:fine™ Headset Microphones has inspired London’s Blitz Communications to place an initial order for 20 units.

Blitz provides audio-visual equipment and services to the live event industry, and the company’s Theatre Production Assistant, Kelly Morris, is the first port of call for support for theatre shows. She acts as a technician on corporate jobs, which is primarily the sector for which Blitz acquired the d:fines.

The company is involved in producing a roster of events in venues such as London’s ExCel where, as Morris explains, “a lapel mic doesn’t always pick up enough level from a presenter. A headset mic gives us that extra help”.

Blitz has been a DPA customer for many years, Morris explains, and had used a large number of DPA’s 4066 omni headset microphones over that time. However, the stock was in need of replacement. Initially, Blitz intended to replace the mics on a like for like basis, but changed its mind after demoing the newer d:fines.

“Put simply, the d:fine Headset Microphones offer our clients a more comfortable solution than they have been used to,” Morris explains. “The audio quality is also very good, which is important consideration because we need to ensure that conference speakers can be heard by everyone in the room.”

Available in both omni and directional versions, DPA’s d:fine range offers accurate, natural voice intelligibility, very high SPL capabilities and intensive protection against pop and wind noise. The microphones come in a range of colours (black, beige, brown and lime green) and with single- or dual-ear mountings. Their tiny size makes them barely visible on the face and they are ergonomically designed to fit easily and adjust to any ear size and head shape. By rotating the boom and the earhook, the mic can be moved from left to right ear, or into the optimum position. The mics can also be used with any professional wireless system.

Blitz Communications bought their d:fine Headset Microphones from DPA’s UK distributor Sound Network.

Adam Pierce, UK Sales and Marketing manager at Sound Network, says: “The corporate and conference sectors are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of delivering great audio, and this is translating into plenty of interest in high quality audio products like DPA microphones. The d:fine Headset Microphones are especially popular because they are so reliable and, thanks to their modular construction, very easy to maintain.”
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About Blitz Communicaitons
Blitz is the UK’s leading technical supplier to the events industry. Backed by a £12.5m equipment inventory, offering a fully comprehensive service, with technical experts from every discipline including video, sound, lighting, graphics, digital and staging. Blitz delivers events of all sizes in the UK and across Europe, which they aim to make more innovative, interactive, sustainable and ultimately, more cost effective.

About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

The Music Producers Guild Gets BPI and AIM Backing For Its Broadcast WAV Initiative

Just months after officially launching its ‘ISRC in Broadcast WAV’ initiative, the Music Producers Guild has received the support of the BPI and AIM, two trade bodies representing the music industry. Both have agreed to adopt Broadcast WAV as standard.

“We are really delighted to have the support of the BPI and AIM,” says Alchemy Mastering’s Barry Grint, who has led the MPG ISRC campaign. “This is fantastic news for all recording artists and copyright owners because adopting Broadcast WAV will make file identification and content tracking much easier and more accurate. It will also help royalty agencies develop more precise systems for payments, thereby safeguarding the incomes of artists and copyright owners when their recordings are played on air.”

With two major UK music industry organisations now firmly behind the new format – and with a number of mastering hardware equipment manufactures also on-board – the Music Producers Guild believes it is only a matter of time before Broadcast WAV is adopted by the music industry world-wide.

“WAV is the standard format for music interchange in the production process, but MPG members were frustrated that there was no method of embedding industry standard ISRC information in the format to enable more accurate identification the content of files,” Grint explains. “Working in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union, which created a professional version of the WAV format called Broadcast WAV, we have been able to ensure the carriage of ISRC information in this type of file, thus removing the need for it to be re-entered and reducing the opportunity for error.”

The inherent good sense of using Broadcast WAV is now being recognised.

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor says: “BPI is pleased to support this MPG initiative and we’ll be encouraging our members to adopt Broadcast WAV as a standard. By incorporating ISRC data into the WAV file, we can provide a more accurate and reliable means of identifying recordings when they are exchanged between labels and studios.”

James Farrelly, membership manager of AIM, adds: “In an environment where labels of all sizes now understand that effective metadata management is the key to maximising revenue from their master rights, the work MPG is doing to adapt the BWF format will result in a clearer, more accurate approach to identifying tracks and minimising potential mis-allocation of income from repertoire usage. AIM is proud to support this initiative and looks forward to working with the MPG and their partners to build industry wide adoption of the format.”

The MPG is now planning to address mastering engineers by holding a seminar to demonstrate the ease with which Broadcast WAV can be implemented. This will take place in London in early November (see www.mpg.org.uk for more details).

“For engineers using Magix/Sequioa or Merging/Pyramix, switching to Broadcast WAV will simply involve a software upgrade as both of these workstation manufacturers are already backing the Broadcast WAV initiative, ” Grint explains. “Now that this issue is higher up the priority list, we hope other manufacturers will quickly follow their lead.”

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About Music Producers Guild (UK):

The Music Producers Guild (UK) is an independent and democratic organisation that encourages the highest standards of music production, and actively engages with other music industry organisations to campaign and lobby on matters of important mutual interest.

The MPG represents and promotes the interests of all those involved in the production of recorded music, including producers, engineers, mixers, re-mixers, programmers and mastering engineers. www.mpg.org.uk

Partner Conference Allows Distributors To Get Under DPA’s Skin

More than 120 pro audio distributors, dealers and opinion leaders travelled to Denmark for DPA Microphones’ Partner Conference.

Guests from around the world attended three days of meetings and seminars in Copenhagen and at DPA’s headquarters in Allerød. They were also taken on a tour of DPA’s production facility in Asnæs where they were shown the different processes involved in making a DPA microphone. The conference culminated in a live, hands-on workshop at the Nørrebro Theatre in Copenhagen, where a singer/actor and a band demonstrated various DPA microphones.

DPA Microphones’ CEO Christian Poulsen says: “The conference was a huge success as it allowed those attending to really get to know the company. DPA has changed a great deal in recent years thanks to the introduction of a new management team and significant developments in R&D that have led our product range in new and exciting directions. We held this conference because we wanted our distribution partners and invited guests to get a real sense of the DNA of the new DPA – a company with true forward vision.”

Among those attending was sound engineer Chris Ekers, who was involved with the London Olympics 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Commenting on his time in Denmark he says: “I use DPA microphones all the time for theatre and classical opera work, so I know what they can do. However, I was very interested to see the production facility and learn more about how they are made. I was amazed at the amount of work and care that goes into each microphone. I met one lady who had personally touched every DPA 4060 miniature microphone ever made – and that must be an awful lot of microphones.”

Ekers adds that the seminars and demonstrations were extremely useful, even for an experienced engineer. He also enjoyed meeting the DPA team and learning more about the company’s approach to design and manufacturing.

“This is obviously a young and vibrant company with lots of good ideas for expanding its product range in an intelligent way,” he says. “It was a privilege to be invited to DPA’s Partner Conference and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and DPA’s hospitality.”

His views were echoed by Rui Lisboa, DPA’s Portuguese distribution partner. “I was surprised to learn that every DPA microphone is hand-crafted, and also amazed by the rigorous test procedure each one goes through,” he says.

Sound engineer Bernard Schmid, who attended the partner conference as a guest of DPA’s Austrian distributor, adds: “For me, the practical demonstrations were the most useful as these gave me a chance to compare different models. I have been using DPA microphones for many years yet I still learned a new and easier way of hiding a miniature microphone in the hair.”

Another guest was Akira Fukada, the inventor of the surround standard Fukada Tree, who says: “Being able to participate in the conference was a great honour and a very stimulating experience. I now understand the direction in which DPA is aimed and I learned about the quality control of these wonderful products. DPA is an indispensable microphone for my music production, and I look forward to new developments at DPA.”

Other attendeed included artist and sound engineer Seigen Ono; Takeru Yamazaki, product manager at DPA’s Japanese distributor Hibino Intersound and Chul Hoon Choi and Soo Hwan Kim from DPA’s South Korean distributor Best Leading Solutions.

“It was a fascinating experience and I came away with a much better understanding of DPA, its business philosophy and its approach to R&D and product design,” says Soo Hwan Kim, sales manager at BLS. ”We got a few hints about some of the new products that are coming along next year and these look really exciting. DPA already has a strong reputation for quality, but seeing the care that goes into the manufacture of each and every microphone leaving its factory makes you realise just how exceptional these products really are.”

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About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

SADiE Helps Producer Steve Portnoi Capture Elgar

Producer and engineer Steve Portnoi used a SADiE LRX2 to produce Elgar’s The Apostles – a double CD that was recently awarded a much coveted Gramophone Classical Music Award.

Portnoi’s recording of the Hallé Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Sir Mark Elder, won the 2013 Gramophone Award in the Choral category. Earlier this year, the CD also won BBC Music Magazine’s Recording of the Year and Choral Recording of the Year Awards.

“I use the LRX 2 at every stage in the process,” explains Portnoi. “I record both the live concert in the Bridgewater Hall and the rehearsal direct to the LRX. We want to keep the excitement that you only get at a live performance, so what ends up on the CD is essentially the concert recording. The rehearsals are only used to cover points where audience noise is obtrusive, or where there are minor blemishes, which could become annoying on repeated listening.”

Portnoi’s LRX configuration is two mic input cards, giving him 32 mic amps, and an AES card which he uses to connect to external devices and to give him extra track inputs for large projects such as this. Using a 16 channel A to D increases his track count to a possible 48 – he used 44 tracks on The Apostles.

“There were a lot of elements in this recording,” Portnoi says. “Not only did we have a full symphony orchestra to contend with, but we also had two choirs, six soloists, and for the first time on a recording of this work, a separate Apostles chorus, not to mention an offstage Shofar (a Hebrew horn).

Back at his studio, Portnoi used the LRX to create his stereo mix.

“For such a small box, the LRX is a remarkably powerful mixer, enabling me to create the sound-world that I require, as well as matching the sound of the empty hall to the concert mix,” he says. “Also, any shift in perspective of the soloists can be smoothed out using the LRX automation.”

Any patch editing is also carried out on the LRX. At this stage Portnoi uses Izotope RX2 to remove some of the noises inherent in a live performance, meaning that he can use less of the rehearsal patches and more of the live performance.

Portnoi has been a Sadie user since the early 80s and upgraded to Sadie 6 at the first opportunity, having helped with the Beta testing. “Of course, I also use Sadie for the final, mastering stage. Sound Suite gives me full PQ and DDP mastering facilities.”

Gramophone Magazine described The Apostles as ‘a set not to be missed’ and reviewer Andrew Aschenbach drew particular attention to Steve Portnoi’s production, which he described as ‘astutely balanced’, ‘thrilling’ and with a ‘colossal dynamic range’. This is the second of the great Elgar Oratorios that Portnoi has recorded for the Hallé Label and the second time his efforts have been rewarded with a Gramophone Award.

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About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987, Prism Sound manufacture high-quality professional digital audio equipment for the International broadcast, film, music production, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors. The range now includes SADiE digital audio workstations and location recorders. Prism Sound also manufactures audio test and measurement products such as the DSA-1 and the dScope Series III audio analyzer.

For more information please visit www.sadie.com or www.prismsound.com

DPA Microphones Are Chosen For New Jazz Venue The Standard

Danish Jazz legend, producer and internationally acclaimed pianist Niels Lan Doky has teamed up with Claus Meyer, co-owner of the Michelin-starred noma restaurant, to launch The Standard, a new Jazz club in Copenhagen that includes two bars and three world-class restaurants.

Officially opened on October 3rd, 2013, The Standard’s audio equipment list highlights another famous Danish name – DPA Microphones.

“We have between 10 and 15 DPA microphones permanently in the venue and we will be hiring in more when larger ensembles are playing,” says Niels Lan Doky, who is musical director of the new venue. “When our stage was completed in September we conducted a series of rehearsals and tests on site with the DPA team to determine exactly which microphones we needed. The list, which is exclusively DPA, includes various d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones and a selection of d:dicate™ 4011 and 4006 Recording Microphones.”

As The Standard features vocalists as well as instrumentalists, Doky and his team have also invested in a new DPA d:facto™ Vocal Microphone that will be made available to every singer performing at the club.

“We are very excited about this microphone, which is the perfect microphone for us,” Doky says. “Our highly experienced house sound engineer, Jonas Nakel, tried it and was very impressed because it has the trademark qualities of DPA, coupled with the specific needs of a vocal mic.”

The choice of DPA Microphones reflects Doky’s philosophy that, at The Standard, it is the quality of the performance, the music that emanates from the stage, the sound of the room and the overall experience shared by the musicians and audience that matters, not the reputation or image of the artist performing.

“We are aiming to capture the timeless values that define jazz and that the greatest artists in jazz have in common,” Doky explains. “What counts is the quality of the music performed, so we will be working with incoming artists to help them prepare and enhance their shows in order to go beyond themselves and reach new levels of artistry. We also have a great sounding room with top level equipment and this is a very important part of the equation because although we are creating a classic jazz atmosphere, we are also ensuring that the room’s equipment and acoustics reflect professional recording studio standards so that we can give our audiences an exceptional sonic experience.”

Doky adds that choosing DPA was an easy decision for him to make as he already owns a selection of DPA 4011 and 4021 microphones that he uses for all his concerts and recordings.

“I have never done a recording without a large selection of DPAs,” he says. “They are the most transparent and precise microphones I know because what you put in is exactly what you get out at the other end of the chain. In the old days people didn’t always appreciate this as they were used to hearing the transformed and sometimes aesthetically altered sound that many other microphones produced. However, in our increasingly technically sophisticated world, especially in the world of A/V production, it is very important to get as close as possible to a natural sound. I believe that was DPA’s vision from the start and I am glad that they have stubbornly stuck to it.”

Doky has an elegant touch when it comes to studio work and his recordings are renowned for their superior technical quality. His latest album, Scandinavian Standards, will be released on Parlophone to tie in with the opening of the new club, which will host an album launch party.

“Like all my albums, Scandinavian Standards was recorded using DPA microphones,” Doky says. “I play piano and, given how hard it is to record and amplify that instrument, I don’t think the quality of my recordings would have been possible without the clarity and precision of my loyal travel companions, my DPA microphones.”

The opening of The Standard brings the worlds of gastronomy and music into close orbit and focuses attention on Copenhagen’s unique jazz history, which dates back to the 1950’s when many American ex-patriot jazz legends settled there.

“We take deep pride in Copenhagen’s jazz legacy and we want to reflect it in The Standard’s creative choices and decisions whenever possible,” Niels Lan Doky says. “We will be looking to bring in dynamic, vibrant and engaged jazz artists who know how to be daring and courageous without compromising integrity and quality.”

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About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

Prism Sound Helps Composer John Lunn Create His Unique Sound

Noted TV and film composer John Lunn has recently acquired a Prism Sound/Maselec MEA-2 analogue equaliser, which he has been using to create the score for the ITV/Carnival Films and Television period drama Downtown Abbey.

Lunn, who received Emmys in 2012 and 2013 for Downton Abbey, has a highly intelligent and sensitive approach to sound that allows his compositions to hit at the emotional heart of a piece. His award tally also includes an RTS Award in 2010, nominations for a BAFTA and Ivor Novello for Sky’s Going Postal and a BAFTA Award for the BBC Dickens adaptation, Little Dorrit. Classically-trained yet contemporary in attitude, he combines the highest production values with a continual desire to discover new colours and sounds, and is continuously in great demand.

Lunn’s audio setup embraces an eclectic mix of equipment, which has been assembled to suit his needs.

“Most of it analogue, as I’m not convinced by digital emulations,” he explains. “A couple of months back, I bought the Maselec MLA-2 tri-band compressor for a project I was working on, The White Queen, which used lots of low percussion and sound design, plus a real orchestra. However, the mastering EQ I had been using up to that point suddenly needed repair and I thought I would take the opportunity to try a few things out.”

As an existing Prism Sound user – he already owns a Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel converter and an Orpheus FireWire interface – Lunn needed little persuading to try the company’s Maselec MEA-2. Once he did, he says it was immediately obvious that this was the Equaliser he was looking for.

He explains: “It was particularly relevant for Downton Abbey where I needed a very clean and totally transparent treble boost for the piano and strings to cut through the dialogue. KMR gave me the unit to demo and it worked immediately with absolutely no problems.”

Lunn says that he now uses his MEA-2 unit as mastering EQ for all of his film and TV work. The latest series of Downton Abbey, mixed using Lunn’s MEA-2, has been a runaway ratings hit, peaking at 10.4m viewers, a 39.4% market share of the British TV market (source: The Hollywood Reporter).

Prism Sound’s MEA-2 is a stereo or two-channel, four-band precision analogue equaliser with stepped Q/shelf, frequency and cut/boost controls on each band. Designed for recording and mastering applications where ultimate sonic performance, musicality and precision are required, it provides fully-stepped controls for precision and repeatability, across all parameters.

The MEA-2 is extensively used in mastering but also works well on an insertion point in recording or mixing. The MEA-2 features a fine 0.5dB gain adjustment at low cut/boost settings, and a maximum cut/boost per band of 8dB. The MEA-2 can provide precise equalisation with minimal side effects, as it is designed to provide a very transparent signal path where only the desired equalisation effect is obtained without adding any particular sonic signature.

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About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987, Prism Sound manufacture high-quality professional digital audio equipment for the International broadcast, film, music production, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors. The company’s product range includes the Prism ADA-8XR precision 8-channel converter unit, which is regularly used for music and film soundtrack projects by clients such as EMI Abbey Road, BBC, Sony, Lucasfilm and Walt Disney. Prism Sound also manufactures a range of audio test and measurement products, including the de facto standard DSA-1 handheld digital audio generator/analyser and the dScope Series III audio analyser system.

For more information: www.prismsound.com

Prism Sound Adds Titan To Its Audio Interface Range


Internationally renowned manufacturer Prism Sound is expanding its family of audio interfaces with the launch of Titan, which will be on show for the first time at the 135th AES Convention in New York (Booth 3032).

Prism Sound’s new Titan multi-channel audio interface offers recording professionals ultimate quality analogue and digital I/O for Mac or Windows PC at sample rates up to 192kHz via a simple USB interface.

“As with every product we release, Titan came about as a direct result of customer feedback,” says Graham Boswell, sales and marketing director of Prism Sound. “For some time now, customers using external hardware devices such as Pro Tools™ have wanted easy access to Prism Sound’s high quality audio interfaces, but at an affordable price. Titan is our answer. It offers all the award-winning features of the competitively priced Orpheus but with the USB functionality that users want.”

In addition to the USB host interface, Titan is the first Prism Sound device to feature the new MDIO interface expansion slot. This miniature expansion slot can be used to expand Titan’s connectivity, for example by adding a direct connection to Pro Tools|HDX systems.

Titan draws on Prism Sound’s conversion and clocking expertise developed over many years in products such as the AD-2 and DA-2 and the popular ADA-8XR modular converter family. It offers eight analogue inputs, eight analogue outputs plus S/PDIF and TOSLINK optical digital I/O ports. The optical ports can also be used for ADAT, giving Titan a maximum capability of 18 concurrent input and output channels plus dual stereo headphones.

Titan also features high quality digitally-controlled preamplifiers – four for microphones and two for instruments, which are automatically select when the respective sources are plugged in. An assignable rotary control is provided for monitoring or output level control, which can be applied to any desired set of output channels. In addition, dual stereo headphone outputs are provided, each with its own volume control.

Building on the versatile DSP features of the Prism Sound Orpheus interface, Titan has a powerful built-in DSP engine which provides high precision input and output conditioning functions, as well as a fully-featured mixer for every Titan output channel, including ADAT channels. Each output can be driven with its own zero-latency mix of input channels and DAW feeds, allowing flexible performers’ foldback feeds to be created, as well as stereo or 5.1/7.1 surround monitoring feeds, controlled by the front-panel rotary control if desired. Titan’s high quality analogue outputs are ideally suited for use with analogue summing boxes.

All of Titan’s functions, aside from the front panel monitor and headphone level controls, are controlled from the Titan Control Panel app, which opens on-screen as a separate panel alongside the user’s existing editing software.

Titan will be officially unveiled at AES New York, which runs from October 17th – 20th, 2013. For more information please visit www.prismsound.com or visit Prism Sound’s AES Booth 3032 for a demo.

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About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987, Prism Sound manufacture high-quality professional digital audio equipment for the International broadcast, film, music production, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors. The company’s product range includes the Prism ADA-8XR precision 8-channel converter unit, which is regularly used for music and film soundtrack projects by clients such as EMI Abbey Road, BBC, Sony, Lucasfilm and Walt Disney. Prism Sound also manufactures a range of audio test and measurement products, including the de facto standard DSA-1 handheld digital audio generator/analyser and the dScope Series III audio analyser system.

For more information: www.prismsound.com

Mandy Parnell Adds A Prism Sound Lyra 2 Audio Interface To Her Mastering Set Up

London-based mastering engineer and Black Saloon Studios founder Mandy Parnell has acquired a Lyra 2 audio interface from Prism Sound. The unit has already been used on remixes for Bjork, The xx, Hejira, Medieval Babes Christmas Album and Johann Johannsson’s soundtrack for the film Prisoners.

“I love being the facilitator for artists and helping them realise their dreams in audio,” says Parnell. “It is an immense feeling when I hear the tracks I have worked on and see how much pleasure it gives the listener.”

Based on the award-winning and critically acclaimed Orpheus interface, Prism Sound’s Lyra allows music recording professionals to access the power and sophistication of the Orpheus audio path and clock circuitry, but in a smaller package and at a much improved price point.

The Lyra 1 interface has two analogue input channels – one for instrument/line and one for mic/line – plus two DA output channels and optical-only digital I/O. Lyra 2 includes two AD input channels with switchable microphone, instrument or line input modes and four DA output channels. Both versions incorporate new ARM Cortex processor design offering class-compliant USB interfacing that allows for seamless integration with both Macs and PCs. Both versions also offer digital volume control, a low latency ‘console-quality’ digital mixer for foldback monitoring and optical SPDIF capability.

Mandy Parnell says she evaluates new equipment constantly and is very particular when it comes to introducing new gear into the Black Saloon environment. However, in the case of Lyra 2, she was happy to include it because it contained features she liked.

“First and foremost, it has Prism Sound’s clear and neutral sound,” she says. “I also like the USB connection and its compact size.”

A long-time user of Prism Sound and SADiE equipment, Mandy Parnell says she is also constantly comparing AD/DA converters to ensure she has the best.

“Some AD/DA convertors, in my opinion, add a distortion into the sound that I do not find acceptable,” she explains. “Artists, producers and engineers often describe the sound I bring to their mixes as ‘dynamic’ and ‘wide’. Prism Sound products play an integral part in helping me to achieve what my customers want because they deliver a very neutral sound that is wide and has great separation. The company’s kit is also very reliable and I can have complete confidence in what I am hearing via my playback and record systems. That is invaluable for me. I have never doubted the sound of Prism Sound.”

Black Saloon has a client roster as long as it is diverse, featuring artists such as Bjork, Matthew Herbert, Feist, Max Richter Frightened Rabbit, The xx, Lianne La Havas, Jónsi, Mount Kimbi and Brian Eno.

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About Mandy Parnell
Mandy Parnell became interested in music aged five, listening to records on a portable Dansette player. She studied music and music technology, trained and worked in recording studios and landed an internship at a mastering studio where she became a world-renowned mastering engineer. After establishing her name in the music industry, Mandy launched her own Black Saloon Studios. Her 24 years of experience have allowed her to discover and develop her philosophies in analogue and digital audio, while working with an amazing array of artists. She is a Grammy Award winner, a Music Producers Guild Award winner and has been nominated or numerous other awards. She is also an active member of the AES, Grammys, APRS and MPG, frequently lecturing on mastering and the music industry.

About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987, Prism Sound manufacture high-quality professional digital audio equipment for the International broadcast, film, music production, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors. The company’s product range includes the Prism ADA-8XR precision 8-channel converter unit, which is regularly used for music and film soundtrack projects by clients such as EMI Abbey Road, BBC, Sony, Lucasfilm and Walt Disney. Prism Sound also manufactures a range of audio test and measurement products, including the de facto standard DSA-1 handheld digital audio generator/analyser and the dScope Series III audio analyser system.

For more information: www.prismsound.com

Red TX Captures Stephen Lawrence’s Tribute Concert

Broadcast audio specialists Red TX was at London’s O2 Arena on September 29th, 2013, to capture the broadcast audio for Unity – A Concert For Stephen Lawrence.

Artists including Rita Ora, Beverley Knight and Jessie J were joined by Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran for the concert, which was held to mark the 20th anniversary of Stephen’s death in southeast London.

Red TX was commissioned to handle the broadcast audio by Paul Dugdale, who was directing the project on behalf of ACME TV. Dugdale previously worked with Red TX during the summer when the company recorded The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park.
For the Unity concert, which was broadcast on BBC 2, Red TX used its main Red 1 outside broadcast vehicle, with engineers Tim Summerhayes and Ollie Nesham at the controls.

“We knew the event was going to be challenging due to a tight schedule and the shear amount of artists and tracks involved,” Paul Dugdale says. “As a director, it’s such a blessing having someone like Tim involved, not only because I know he’s great in those high pressure situations, but that you know the finished product will come out sounding amazing, too.”

Tim Summerhayes adds: “We recorded the concert as live because we had enough time to create snap shots during the sound check. We also had some time the following day to tidy up the audio before delivering it to The Farm where it was dubbed and made ready for broadcast on the evening of Tuesday October 1st. Although there were a large number of artists involved, it was a relatively straightforward project and we were all really pleased with the results.”

The concert was part of the SL20 Campaign, which is celebrating Stephen’s life with a series of awareness-raising events through the year. Funds from the show will go to The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which aims to create brighter futures for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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About Red TX:
Red TX provides a comprehensive concert recording and broadcast service to the music and television industries. The company has state-of-the-art mobile recording facilities and can handle projects of any size or complexity. As well as recording audio for broadcast, the company also records live music events for subsequent release on CD or DVD. It is headed by Ian Dyckhoff and Tim Summerhayes, both of whom have extensive experience in delivering high-quality audio for broadcast. www.red-tx.com

Funky Junk Helps Steve Honest Fulfil A Life Long Ambition

If you were a music professional who already owned a house, a car and even a two studio recording complex, what would be the next item topping your wish list?

For recordist Steve Honest, the owner of Rock of London Studios in Shoreditch, the answer was easy: a vintage Fairchild 670 compressor dating from the late 1950s. Finding one, though, was more difficult – and for that Honest needed the help of specialist audio equipment supplier Funky Junk.

“I’ve always wanted to have my own Fairchild,” Honest says. “When I was younger I was fortunate enough to do sessions at Konk Studios and they had them. One of the engineers put a 670 across the output of the desk as he was making me a cassette to take home and the difference it made to the sound was amazing. It was so wide, open, full, dense and controlled that it seemed as though the Fairchild 670 was using sleight of hand with my ears. From that day on I was hooked.”

Honest is not alone in this sentiment. For studio gear aficionados, the Fairchild 670 is the ultimate compressor. The undisputed king of Tube limiting, it has 20 vacuum tubes and weighs in at 30 kilos, making it both the heaviest and the most expensive compressor in the world. It is also as rare as a hen’s tooth.

“Fairchilds had been on my mind since the late 1980s, but I had other things to buy at the time,” Steve explains. “Then about three years ago I started putting the feelers out in earnest, but although a couple of units came up I wasn’t happy about the source they were coming from. For such a costly purchase I wanted to be sure that I could get proper after sales support if I needed it – and that’s where Funky Junk came in.”

In 2012, Honest learned that Funky Junk Paris was about to take delivery of a Fairchild 660 compressor – a mono version of the much loved 670 – so he snapped it up and put it to work straight away.

“I used it on everything – bass, kick drum, guitars, vocals horns – the lot,” he says. “After a couple of weeks I couldn’t hear what was so special about it anymore, so I stopped using it. Suddenly everything seemed flat and boring, with no tone, density or power, so I plugged it straight back in again. That’s what I mean about Fairchild sleight of hand.”

Although he was delighted with his Fairchild 660, Honest still wanted a 670 and so the search continued. Earlier this year he lost out on a unit in Germany, so he was really delighted when Adam Crowe at Funky Junk London called to say they had one.

“I bought it on the spot,” he says, “and it’s now in Rock of London where it is performing beautifully. With both compressors, Funky Junk had done all the checks and servicing pre delivery, so they were in good working order when they arrived.”

Owning vintage gear does bring its own set of issues, not least the problem of finding spare parts when things need replacing. But Honest says that when he buys from Funky Junk he also gets peace of mind because everything comes with a warranty, and Funky’s technicians are there to help if anything does go wrong.

“I’ve been dealing with Funky Junk for years because they are great people to work with,” he adds. “It doesn’t matter which branch you are talking to – London, Paris or Milan – it’s always a two-way conversation because they listen to what you want, remember what gear you are looking for and alert you if anything of interest comes along. I’d say more than 60% of the gear I use has come via Funky Junk – and that list includes some really lovely vintage pieces such as a 1960 Telefunken U47, a pair of Neumann KM84s, a racked pair of Neve 33135 channel strips and a really punchy Neve 33609 compressor. And, of course, there are Rock of London’s two consoles – a Neve 66 desk, which Funky Junk installed, and an SSL 4000E, which was lovingly restored by Bob Stewart who Funky Junk introduced me to.”

Since starting as a session musician in the mid-1970s, Steve Honest has held many roles within the music recording industry, including that of studio owner. He opened his first studio in Hoxton in 1981 and continues to be involved in studios because he enjoys watching songs take shape and come to life.

“As I have spent the last decade supporting the idea of self-release, I tend to offer my studio and services to artists that want to make their own records and release them themselves,” he explains. “My prices facilitate people who don’t have huge budgets, but who do know you can’t make a big sounding record on your laptop. I do some label work, but supporting the emerging self-releasing artist is what I am about.”

Most recently Honest has been working on two projects with guitar virtuoso Colin Pollock and recording Maddy Carthy, one of a number of artists who are currently keeping Rock of London busy.

-ends-

About Funky Junk:
Funky Junk is Europe’s leading supplier of new and refurbished professional recording equipment and services. It has offices in London, Paris, Milan and Spain and has been in business for over 20 years. The company is renowned for its high level technical knowledge, backed by extensive workshop facilities. As well as handling sales and repairs, Funky Junk also acts as a distributor to a number of equipment brands and deals with their service and warranty.
For more information please visit www.funky-junk.com

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