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Yamaha Commercial Audio Provides Sound System for Concert Celebrating Company’s 125th Anniversary

BUENA PARK, Calif.—Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) played a major role in parent company’s 125th anniversary celebration, providing the sound system used at a concert held at the Disney’s Hyperion Theatre during the NAMM Show in Anaheim. YCAS managed all live audio production equipment requirements including the design and implementation of a large-scale Dante network from inputs to speakers and were on hand for assistance to guest artist engineers.

The concert, which featured performances by Amy Grant; Chaka Khan; Dave Grusin; Earth, Wind & Fire; David Foster; Dave Koz; Michael McDonald; Sarah McLachlan; Toto; Lucy Schwartz; new artist LEOGUN; the USC Marching Band; and house band, under the musical direction of Nathan East.

Three Yamaha CL5 digital consoles were used at front of house (one for the orchestra, one for the house band, and one for guest bands) for a total of 150 inputs, two CL5s were used at monitors, two DME64N digital mix engines were used for Dante Network Bridging and FOH speaker system processing, NXAMP4x4s for amplification with NX-DT104 Dante cards, NEXO RS18 and S118 subwoofers, NEXO PS10 speakers for front fill, NEXO 45N-12 stage monitors, LS600 and DXS15 subwoofers for drum mix subs, and, for flown for the first time in the U.S., the new NEXO STM line array used as FOH Mains.

“The new CL5 console is amazing,” states front of house engineer Bryan Lenox, who mixed many of the guest artists as well as the house band. “The three CL5s were linked together and talking to one another during a very complex show. We had a multitude of artists, background singers, multiple pianos, horns, percussionists, a multi-track recording truck, and a live broadcast stream of audio and video. The console is very user friendly and quick to get around; the flexibility, touch screen, and color-coding groups of faders are very helpful especially when having to make quick moves. The console routing is great, and although you can do just about anything with the routing, the layout can even be customized by the engineer.” Lenox said the Neve and Pultec plug-ins sounded great on kick, snare, bass, and vocals. “The new NEXO STM rig sounded unbelievable and very rich sounding while retaining detail, clarity, and punch. It was very easy to get a great sound with the combination of the consoles and the STM.”

The night’s crescendo, however, was Sir Elton John who ended the concert with an amazing five-song set. A historical evening for Yamaha Pianos as John played a Disklavier reproducing piano onstage, accompanied by a 60-piece orchestra, as his actual piano keystrokes were faithfully played, note for note, in real time (via MIDI data) on remote Disklavier pianos all over the world. He and the orchestra were visible on adjacent monitors in perfect sync with the remote piano performance, and even fans from around the world without a Disklavier were able to witness the event via a live streaming feed.

“I enjoyed using the CL, in fact, when we have solo shows with Elton similar to the Yamaha event, it will be my desk of choice,” states Matt Herr, front of house engineer for Elton John. “I’m a fan of Yamaha desks and have been for many years. The product reliability and global service is second to none.” Herr has been using a PM5K when the band performs with John. “The CL is very user friendly and sounded really good in my opinion. The Neve inserts sounded fantastic; I used one of the compressors on Elton’s vocal. Normally, I use an outboard compressor, but this one worked quite well. As far as the NEXO STM line array, it sounded nice and smooth, and I’d like to get my hands on it with the band and really drive it to see what it can do. It seems like it would be a good large line array as opposed to some of the smaller ones out there.”

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Photo 1: Matt Herr, Photo 2: Bryan Lenox

About Yamaha CAbout Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Celebrating 125 years of Passion and Performance, and 25 years in the manufacturer of high quality digital audio consoles, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.

DPA’s d:facto™ Vocal Mic Makes Its Rental Debut

After a live try-out of DPA’s d:facto™ Vocal Microphone at London’s Royal Festival Hall, sound production and rental company RNSS was so impressed with their performance that it has placed an order for six of the new d:facto II Vocal Microphones.

RNSS specified DPA d:facto Vocal Microphones as part of the audio equipment for the London Jazz Festival, an annual event produced in association with BBC Radio 3. Hailed as the capital’s biggest pan-city music festival, The London Jazz Festival featured artists such as Herbie Hancock and Lucinda Williams.

Richard Nowell, director of RNSS, says: “We have had a long association with DPA Microphones and already carry a large stock of the company’s products. I was intrigued by the new d:facto Vocal Microphone and was keen to try it out. The Jazz Festival gave us the perfect opportunity to put it through its paces. We borrowed two d:factos from DPA’s UK distributor Sound Network and used them as high end alternatives to our usual vocal mics. They performed flawlessly and delivered exceptional sound that was much appreciated by the artists and the sound crew.

“Their ability to filter out unwanted noise meant that we could safely use them for singers who were performing in front of an orchestra without the risk of their vocals being drowned out.”

One of the artists who used DPA’s d:facto Vocal Microphone was Kris Kristofferson who performed at the Royal Festival Hall shortly after the Jazz Festival.

“We had hung onto the microphones because we liked them so much and wanted to use them for Kris’s concert,” Nowell says. “Kris is interested in sound and is always open to trying something new. He really liked the structure and tonal quality of the d:facto and was very happy with the results it delivered.”

Equally at home in sound reinforcement and recording applications, DPA’s new d:facto II Vocal microphone offers an extraordinarily natural sound, high separation and extreme SPL handling, giving users unlimited possibilities for their performances. In addition to use with the new wired DPA handle, the d:facto provides singers and engineers with the added benefit of a state-of-the-art adapter system that allows for seamless integration with many professional wireless systems including Sony, Lectrosonics, Shure, Wisycom and Sennheiser. The d:facto provides improved audio performance as it is superbly linear in frequency and phase, both on- and off-axis, while its impressive definition and accuracy reproduces a singer’s voice effortlessly.

RNSS will be taking delivery of its new DPA d:facto Vocal Microphones in a few weeks time and is already anticipating plenty of interest.

“We have decided to buy six of the new d:facto II microphones so that we can use them with our existing wireless systems,” Richard Nowell adds. “We see huge potential for these microphones as rental items because they are so versatile. The adapter system will give our customers plenty of options as they can either use a wired DPA handle or the professional wireless system of their choosing, with no loss in the sound quality.”

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

Mid-America Sound to Host Yamaha CL Digital Audio Console Orientation

Mid-America Sound will hold a Yamaha CL Series Orientation/Learning Session and Open House on
Wednesday, February 27 from 1:00 – 8:00 pm

6643 West 400 North, Greenfield, Indiana

Learn about the Yamaha CL Series
from Yamaha Representative Mike Eiseman

Refreshments and snacks will be served from 4pm to 8pm.

For registration and information visit, http://midamericasound.eventbrite.com/

RSVP Jason Wells at Jason@midamericasound.com or call 317-947-9980.

Vintage Takes on New with Yamaha CL

BUENA PARK, Calif.— Vintage Trouble formed just three short years ago, and now are the opening act for The Who’s “Quadrophenia and More” tour, already completing 25 shows with 12 more to go. Recording their first CD The Bomb Shelter Sessions, successfully selling it at gigs, and, as luck would have it, began receiving requests to feature their music in several commercials. Their good fortune continued when they opened for Brian May’s “Anthems” tour; followed by Bon Jovi dates in stadiums and arenas in the UK, Ireland and Germany.

25-year veteran front of house engineer, Brian Anderson, is mixing the band using a new Yamaha CL5 digital audio console and Rio3224-D, provided by Sound Image (Nashville). Anderson’s credits include Blues Traveler, Spinal Tap, Hoobastank, Batlord, Lovehammers, Brother, just to name a few. He has also mixed a Cirque Productions show entitled “Pop Goes The Rock”.

“The CL5 is operating the front of house mix as well as four in-ear monitor mixes on stage and a 24-track ProTools recording using Audinate’s Virtual Sound card,” states Anderson. “The fact that the console allows everything to be done from one surface with one operator has been invaluable to the band in regard to staying on budget. We have a relatively controlled environment that keeps things very consistent from day to day.”

Anderson said he has been mixing on digital consoles since the Yamaha ProMix01. “The CL sound is far superior to previous consoles, and the amount of available effects, Premium Rack plug ins, iPad control, Dante interface (no heavy snake to carry), and control surface ergonomics are great benefits. Other manufacturers’ consoles have often been unreliable, so I always request a Yamaha whenever possible.”

For more information on the Yamaha CL Series, visit www.yamahaca.com.

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About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Celebrating 125 years of Passion and Performance, and 25 years in the manufacturer of high quality digital audio consoles, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.

METRIC HALO’S ULN-8 CONVERTER PERFECT FOR PRODUCER DOC MCKINNEY

SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2013: Veteran producer Doc McKinney has worked with a wide range of innovative musicians, including Drake, Florence & the Machine, Santigold and most recently, The Weeknd. A close friend and accomplished mix engineer turned Doc on to the clear, faithful preamplification and conversion of the Metric Halo ULN-8. Doc now uses the ULN-8 for most of his audio production work.

“A good friend initially told me about the ULN-8, and when I heard it, I was blown away,” said Doc. “Shortly after that I went to a Santigold show that sounded incredible. Afterwards, her musical director, Ian Longwell, told me they were using the Metric Halo ULN-8 I/O for everything and thankfully put me in touch with them. I absolutely love the ULN-8’s depth and clarity. I feel like I can hear everything. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s really true: there is a night and day difference; the improvement is not at all subtle.”

Doc used the ULN-8 to take The Weeknd’s debut label release, Trilogy, to the next level, both sonically and emotionally. Trilogy is comprised of remixed versions of three lo-fi “mix tapes” that were originally freely available on the Internet. However, the three bonus tracks included were all recorded on the ULN-8. “This started as a lo-fi project, and of course that has its own charm,” said Doc. “But it’s nice to open the songs up and to bring them to a higher level sonically.”

Doc has integrated the use of his Metric Halo ULN-8 into all of his production work. “I work with many different types of musicians, from singer-songwriters – who tend to have everything mapped out in advance – to urban pop or electronic artists, where recording is integral to the writing process,” he said. “The Weeknd is a very fast and very prolific writer. He comes up with a lot of stuff right off the top of his head. Whatever the situation, it’s important to have a transparent and flexible recording process that inspires, rather than kills, creativity. And when the quality of the recording is lacking, it can lead to other production decisions, which is poor compensation for an element that isn’t doing what it should be doing.”

With over 100,000 albums sold in its first week out, Trilogy’s success speaks to the power of great production. After all, everything except its three bonus tracks was freely available on the Internet in a more lo-fi form. “The overwhelming consensus is that ‘Trilogy’ takes The Weeknd to the next level,” concluded Doc.

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

www.mhlabs.com

SYMETRIX SOLUS 16 STANDALONE FIXED I/O DSP PROVIDE UNIQUE, ZONE-SPECIFIC AUDIO SYSTEMS IN 50 BEST BUY STORES

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – FEBRUARY 2013: Starting with a single location in West Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1966, Best Buy has worked to become the largest electronics retail store in the eastern United States. It currently operates over one thousand stores around the country and in select locations throughout the world. In its rise to the top, Best Buy has innovated and re-conceptualized the way consumers buy electronics, and the company continues to innovate to keep ahead in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of consumer technology. In that tradition, fifty renovated and newly-constructed Best Buy locations are pioneering a new concept in store sound. Rather than blanketing the entire footprint with a wash of music, discrete zones with very little bleed give the stores a feeling of calm and deliberately direct guests’ attention to the sources of the sound. Because of its powerful open-architecture programming, high sound quality, easy networking, and cost-effective pricing, the Symetrix SymNet Solus 16 standalone fixed I/O DSP underpins the new concept.

“They wanted sound in some areas of the store, but not in other areas,” explained Jon Bormann, owner of Bormann Marketing and the designer of the new system. “It is a directed approach, which is very different from the usual approach taken in retail stores. For example, the store’s Magnolia Audio/Video section, which features really high-end equipment, is better served if sound isn’t spilling into it from the ceiling. In another application, they play a video message every fifteen or thirty minutes, and we’ve arranged the sound so that it effectively emanates from the screen’s location. Since our brains are programmed to look toward the source of a sound, the video message is way more effective than if the audio were raining down from wall to wall.”

The new concept identifies four separate zones per store, the output of which is realized via concentric rings of unobtrusive, ceiling-mounted Innovox miniature steerable line arrays. A pair of energy-efficient Lab.gruppen E-Series amplifiers power the system, and their asymmetrical design allows different loads to be placed on each channel. The 16-input/8-output SymNet Solus 16 DSP handles all of the processing, including robust ambient noise sensing and gain compensation, sophisticated equalization for the line arrays, and flexible multi-zone performance. The emergency and telephone paging systems tie into the new system.

“In contrast to the typical store audio system, this system delivers high fidelity, foreground-quality music, and voice,” said Bormann. “Symetrix is well known for building equipment for installed systems that has studio-quality sonics. Moreover, the SymNet Solus 16 is priced right, which helps allow this new system to go into many stores.” Each SymNet Solus 16 is given a unique IP address, and an engineer stationed at Best Buy’s Richfield, Minnesota headquarters monitors and adjusts system performance in all fifty stores. Although it is seldom used, a Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote in each store can override the system’s preprogrammed auto-gain in the event that program material appears too quiet or too loud.

ABOUT SYMETRIX Symetrix engineers high-end professional audio solutions, specializing in DSP hardware and software. Symetrix products are distributed worldwide, and designed and manufactured in the U.S. at the Seattle area headquarters. Since 1976, customers have enjoyed the benefits of Symetrix’ independent ownership and management. For more information on Symetrix professional audio products, please visit www.symetrix.co or call +1 (425) 778-7728.

ASHLY AMPS SERVE UP RARE AND WELL DONE AT PERRY’S STEAKHOUSE AND GRILLE

TEXAS – FEBRUARY 2013: Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille truly is rare and well done. From its humble beginnings as a butcher shop more than thirty years ago, Perry’s has grown to become one of the premier steakhouses in Texas. Today with nine locations, each uniquely customized to the neighboring community, Perry’s Steakhouse is located in greater Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

One of the premier A/V integration firms in Central Texas, Intelligent Lighting Services, has designed and installed state-of-the-art sound systems in the most recent Perry’s Steakhouse locations. Intelligent Lighting Services’ Eric Bernstein recommended Ashly’s ne8250pe eight-channel Network Amp with integrated Protea™ signal processor for the Katy, Dallas and San Antonio restaurants.

“I was already looking to make some changes after the first installation at Austin because the big-name DSP we installed there seemed to time-out every other day,” explained Bernstein. “I’d had previous good experiences with Ashly gear and knew that it was reliable. Since I already knew we’d be using Tannoy CMS801 ceiling-mounted loudspeakers, I had my tech wire up an Ashly ne8250 amplifier and another from the manufacturer we had used at the first location. I did a blind comparison in controlled conditions and came away convinced that their clientele would hear no perceptible difference, at least with those loudspeakers. So there it was: an affordable, great-sounding amplifier with optional on-board DSP that I knew was flexible and reliable. And to top it off, Ashly is a nice, contractor-friendly manufacturer. We went forward in the next three locations – Dallas, San Antonio, and Katy, Texas – with the Ashly ne8250pe at the heart of the design.”

Because ambient live music is an integral part of the Perry’s experience, all three locations feature an Allen & Heath console adjoining a modest stage. Its output joins a handful of cable TV channels, a Muzak player, and a wireless microphone at the input to the Ashly Protea DSP environment. Because each of the Perry’s Steakhouse locations is unique, the Dallas location uses four Ashly ne8250pe eight-channel amplifiers, whereas San Antonio and Katy use three. The Ashly Protea DSP Matrix Mixer is used as a room combiner in the private dining rooms, allowing the restaurant to host any size dinner meeting or event. Other common zones include the bar area, lobby, hallways, restrooms, entry, patio plus four or five private dining rooms. Because the Ashly ne8250pe includes separate processing on each output, Bernstein was able to perfectly signal align all of the zones for maximum impact and coherence.

User control is simple. At the Dallas and Katy locations, each zone features a Ashly WR-5 programmable wall-mounted remote. Its simple push buttons allow selection of different input sources and overall volume. The San Antonio location adds a URC KP-4000 wired controller behind the bar for more in-depth control, along with a URC MX-5000 wireless remote that allows the manager to make changes on the fly from any location.

Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille is currently considering new location sites. Because the owner has fallen in love with the sound of the newest restaurants and the way his team is able to so easily control them, Bernstein’s Ashly-based design will serve as the blueprint for all future Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille locations moving forward.

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

RFvenue AND CUSTOM AUDIO MAKE PRO BOWL

HONOLULU, HAWAII – FEBRUARY 2013: Managing wireless audio systems at football games is notoriously challenging. There are critical coach communication channels, referee mics, and ENG sideline systems that crowd out a lot of useable RF spectrum. Hawaii-based Custom Audio, Inc. has been working the NFL Pro Bowl for many years and specializes in production sound, corporate video, as well as installation projects for commercial, educational, and government clients. For this year’s Pro Bowl, Custom Audio turned to RFvenue’s Diversity Fin remote antenna for rock-solid signal reception from their stage mics throughout the halftime show – even in adverse RF conditions.

“We were given 700kHz spacing between frequencies from the NFL game day coordinators,” said Custom Audio’s Jeff Kang. “So we were worried about intermodulation issues, but we also had to deal with a 24-foot wide LED video wall located directly next to the antenna position. RF emission from the wall was definitely a huge concern on our primary vocal mic.”

Custom Audio used a Shure UHF-R wireless mic system, with a U4R-D dual receiver and UR-2 handheld transmitter set at 10mW. The two antenna connections on the Diversity Fin provided polarization diversity performance from a single antenna mount position. The unique design of the Diversity Fin reduces the chance of a dropout due to cross linear polarization fades when wireless mics are moving around or where multi-path nulls are encountered indoors. It also prevents diversity microphone receivers from constantly switching RF input channels, which can create noise.

“We had dropout and noise issues on some other active paddle antennas we used on our wireless microphones, but there were no dropouts or noise on the Diversity Fin- and it got great coverage even when the transmitter wasn’t on the stage,” noted Kang.

RFvenue’s Chris Regan commented, “signal dropouts are routinely the number one complaint among wireless system managers and end users alike. We are pleased to see the Diversity Fin improving quality of signal on any brand wireless mic for live and installed systems.”

ABOUT RFVENUE RFvenue manufactures hardware wireless system accessories including remote antennas, RF distribution equipment, and cable assemblies. The company’s patent-pending antenna products include the interference mitigating RF Spotlight, the lightweight foldable helical antenna CP Beam, and the polarization diversity antenna dubbed Diversity Fin. For more information visit www.RFvenue.com

ABOUT CUSTOM AUDIO Custom Audio, Inc. is a complete live concert and installation sound system provider as well as pro audio/visual rental house in Hawaii. The company has provided equipment and services for major concert tours, professional sports events, and conventions among others. Installations include large theaters, houses of worship, schools, and government facilities. For more information about Custom Audio visit www.customaudiohawaii.com

Yamaha CL Premium Rack and Familiarity Key Factors For Youth Event

BUENA PARK, Calif.—Held in late January 2013 at the Pheasant Run Convention Center in St. Charles, Illinois, Willow Creek Community Church hosted Blast 13 a youth group retreat for approximately 1,400, produced by the Willow Creek Student Impact Ministry, with audio support provided by TC Furlong (Chicago).

One Yamaha CL5 digital audio console accompanied by two Rio3224-D input/output racks were used at front of house with a CL1 selected for monitor mixing along with two ProPlex Gigabit switches for network redundancy. “Network redundancy was important because of the high-profile nature of the event,” states Chris Wintz, Rental Manager, TC Furlong. “The crew at Willow Creek likes to have backup/redundant systems whenever possible.”

”Since the CL5 was already specified as the front of house console after the Willow Creek team attended a demo, and challenged with keeping the monitor mix area to a small footprint yet needing a system with ample mix buses, the CL1 was a one-stop solution,” says Wintz. “In the 13 years with have collaborated with the Willow Creek team, this was one of the most streamlined solutions we’ve put together.”

“We decided on the CL system for a number of reasons,” states Nathan Miller, Systems Designer/Engineer, Miller Audio Services (Chicago), audio contractor for the event (assisted by systems engineer Matt Satorius). “One factor was the ability to use the Premium Rack Portico plug-ins. We used the Portico 5033 EQ and 5043 Compression on the lead vocals at both front of house and monitors. We also used the U-76 plug-in at front of house across the drum bus as well as the Opt-2A plug-in to add a mastered sound to the IEM mix busses at monitors. The other major factor was the overall efficiency of the setup and strike. Switching to a digital snake really helped make the overall load in/load out easier. Not only were the FOH/MON runs much cleaner, but the split was much cleaner and easier to troubleshoot.”

Miller said the CL5s were easy to operate by event engineers Stephen Kendeigh and Ryan Pribyl due to console familiarity since the pair use Yamaha consoles for regular youth services. “Blast 2013 represented a major step forward not only in our audio system architecture, but in the overall sound quality of the event,” states Troy Bartholomew, Technical Director for the ministry who oversaw all of the production for the event. “Nathan’s choice of the CL Series streamlined our setup while giving us more features and flexibility than we have had in past events. Also, Ryan and Stephen’s ability to utilize the fantastic new features really elevated the audio experience for all of our students. Throughout the weekend, I received a lot of positive feedback from industry veterans, audio contractors, and Willow production staff who were able to come in and listen to the system.”

One of the largest churches in the U.S. with an attendance of 20,000 on any given weekend, Willow Creek regularly host retreats for youth and adults for their congregation. This particular event featured guest presenters along with a church house band of seven musicians and vocalists. For more information on Willow Creek, visit www.willowcreek.org.

For more information on TC Furlong, visit www.tcfurlong.com.

For more information on Miller Audio Services, visit www.masiaudio.com.

For more information on Yamaha CL consoles, visit www.yamahaca.com.

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About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Celebrating 125 years of Passion and Performance, and 25 years in the manufacturer of high quality digital audio consoles, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball Delivers With DiGiCo

The perennially touring Lady Gaga is at it again. The five-time Grammy winner is in the midst of the Born This Way Ball tour, a seemingly endless succession of dates that will hit virtually every corner of the globe for more than a year—or longer. The elaborately gothic-inspired production was birthed in Seoul, Korea, in April of 2012 and has received glowing reviews (“the best live show you will see this year,” per the UK Sun newspaper) and was honored as Major Tour of the Year at the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards.

Eighth Day Sound is again at the helm of the production, coordinating multiple universal stadium systems that at times are air-freighted with the stage set, leapfrogging across several continents to meet the tour.

“Each tour system is comprised of two DiGiCo SD7 Mach III systems at FOH outfitted with Waves and two Waves servers, with one running on a UPS for redundancy,” explains Eighth Day Chief Technology Officer Jason Kirschnick. “A 192kHz DiGiCo SD Rack at FOH is loaded with 32 analog ins/32 analog outs, as well as 24 AES ins/outs for local I/O. At the stage end for FOH are two more 192 SD racks loaded with 48 analog ins, eight AES ins, eight AES and eight analog outs. We are deploying an Optocore switcher so there are three fiber loops for FOH—one loop of all three racks for FOH is connected to a Route 66 Optocore fiber router device. The primary console is in a loop with the two respective engines to the Route 66 as well as the second SD7 at FOH in a loop with the Route 66. This enables us with a push of one button to move the entire rack loop between the two FOH consoles for support acts and dual redundancy. At the monitor end is another SD7 running two Waves 9 servers (with one running on a UPS). There are two more 192kHz SD Racks at monitors loaded with 48 analog, eight digital inputs, 40 analog and eight digital outputs each.”

The PA system is d&b audiotechnik, comprised of 96 d&B J Series made up of a combination of J8 and J12s (4 x hangs; 24 boxes deep), 32 d&B Flow J subs (4 x hangs of 8 deep), 48 d&B B2 subs on the ground (stacked on each side of the stage and along the front of the stage), 12 d&B Q7 front fills (spread across the front of the stage), with a stadium delay system consisting of 4 x hangs of 12 d&B V8 and V12s. [pictured: Chris Rabold FOH with Eighth Day Sound Chief Technology Officer/Project Manager, Jason Kirschnick]

“The system is all-digital at 96kHz,” adds Kirschnick, “with a complete analog backup comprised of Dolby Lakes and LM44s with wireless control of the complete system. The d&B amplifiers are all monitored and controlled remotely through the entire system as well.”

The five-piece band consists of bass, two guitars, a sizable drum kit and a lot of stereo bass and keyboard elements, plus a programmer who supplies various stems. There are 70-some inputs at FOH, including talkbacks and audience mics and Lady Gaga’s various headset and handheld mics.

“I came onboard between legs of the tour,” explains Chris Rabold, whose previous gigs include stints with Beyoncé, The Fray and Widespread Panic. “I knew I’d only have a couple days of rehearsal before the first show so I went ahead and put a plan into effect that would ensure that I’d be as close to show-ready as I could be once we hit Bulgaria, the site of the first show on the second leg of the tour. I spec’d an SD7 for me at FOH above all else for its sonic quality. It has a million and one great features but at the end of the day, it’s the sound of the desk and the sound of my mixes through the desk that matter the most. The DiGiCo consoles simply sound better than anything else out there. There are several strong platforms in the digital console realm, but this is the one. Period. [pictured: FOH Tech/Recording Engineer Wayne Bacon; FOH Engineer, Chris Rabold; Systems Engineer, Mike "Stacker" Hackman]

“I built the console offline on my computer and sent the file to the guys at Eighth Day, who prepped the desk. From there I was able to get on the console in Los Angeles for a few days, where I worked with the tour programmer on some tracks. The desk then bounced back to the Eighth Day shop in Cleveland where I worked some more on it, concentrating on some of the finer details with routing, system integration, etc. By the time we made it to load-in, I had a basic gain structure in hand, my EQs were at a decent starting point, I had a good idea of what dynamic processing I needed, snapshots written for each song, effects laid out… Basically every last detail was in place before I even saw the band—and this was on a show with a pretty sizable number of inputs. All of the work I was able to do beforehand was absolutely invaluable.”

Rabold cites the flexibility of the snapshot section as one of the main features of the desk that aids in his daily workflow. “With a big pop show like this that is scripted very carefully, the goal is consistency and more or less perfection every single night. I don’t think we’ll ever get the perfection part of that equation down, but we can sure get the consistency through the use of snapshots. The SD7 is so much more configurable than other platforms. You can tweak it snapshot by snapshot, not just globally across all snapshots because automation is and isn’t recall safe. This is tremendously helpful and keeps you from being tied to an all-or-nothing kind of mindset. For example, if I know I want to handle a bass guitar input in the traditional sense and just EQ on the fly for a few numbers, I can do that. But if I also know that by snapshot 17 I want it to have a very specific sort of treatment, I can have it where the recall safe feature comes off and suddenly that input is recalling precisely what had been written previously. It really allows you to be flexible when you need to be and by-the-book-exact when you want to go that route, all on a per-song basis.”

Asked about outboard gear, he says he’s using a combination of outboard and onboard plug-ins. “I basically use some of the same analog things I’ve used on and off for years on certain inputs just because I know they work for me. Lead vocal and drums see the outboard devices. I use the console’s onboard complements of EQ, effects and dynamics for the real nuts-and-bolts work. The overwhelming majority of the inputs see nothing but onboard processing. As far as plug-ins go, I try to use the Waves server more as an effects device. I pull a lot of delays and specialty things from there and it’s definitely a crucial part of the mix structure. I use C6s on the playback stems. A lot of times tracks can be overly bright or overly boomy for what really works live. These allow me to reshape certain frequency ranges yet keep the overall feel and intent of the tracks in place. These are my go-to problem solvers for playback stems in the live pop world. I use the Super Tap delays and H Delays as well. They sound great and can be synced to a song’s BPM. Both of these are very flexible with how you can color them and how you can manipulate individual left and right sides of a stereo delay. Very cool. I use an L2 limiter on the output of a two-track mix as well. This is very handy when I know a board mix might be taken from the night and then played back by the artist right next to fully mastered album mixes. I want my mixes to sound competitively loud with anything they might be referenced to. You never know. Little stuff like that can go a long way toward keeping everyone happy.”

Rabold says he multitracks nightly, mainly just for virtual soundchecking and to tweak his mixes during downtime. “When time permits, I can play back a show and tweak things in the mix. I do rely on this ability and have for several years now. Soundchecking in an empty room can be pointless. Listening to a mix with nearfields or headphones that have a response that you’re familiar with can be way more helpful when it comes to listening critically and judging what’s needed in a mix. We go standard MADI out of the desk and convert that to optical MADI via an RME MADI Bridge. From there the signal goes into SSL Delta-Links, where it is converted to HD so that we can record to Pro Tools. Pro Tools 9 is running on a MacPro with a ridiculous amount of memory due to the staggering track count. Because there are so many tracks and because we’re recording at 96kHz, we split the audio files across three SSD drives.”

Ramon Morales, who’s mixed monitors previously for Beyoncé as well as other A-list artists including Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige and Pitbull, handles monitors for the band members, all of whom are on Sennheiser 2000 series IEM systems (with JH Audio JH16 custom in-ears), as well as the audio techs. He oversees a total of 12 stereo mixes, flown side fills, bass and drum subs, two mono mixes (for drum subs and thumpers on bass and drums) and several stereo FX sends. [pictured: Monitor Engineer, Ramon Morales; Audio Crew, Lee-Fox-Furnel; Audio Crew Chief/Monitor, Tech Klocker]

“Everything about the console is great,” he enthuses. “Sonically, it’s one of the best consoles out there and definitely my favorite. I can have as many ins and outs as I need or want, and having the backup console mirrored—as well as all the other features it has—what else would you want? I’ve found the Macro feature to be very useful. We’ve set many of them up to do specific things for the show and no matter where I am on the console, I can access what I need on the macro section without having to scroll through aux sends or layers and banks. Our show intercom system is also routed through the monitor console, so the techs that need show comms in their mix can have it and plenty of talkback mics using the macros.

“I’m also using many of the built-in effects including Waves to add different colors to the mix. My favorite has to be the SSL channel and the C4, which I mainly use for my vocal inputs, since the console itself sounds great. I just use them to enhance what is already there. The only outboard gear we’re using is a TC Electronics 6000 reverb system for a vocal verb. It’s a Gold Plate and one of my favorites for vocals; it’s very smooth and cuts through just enough to hear it and not overpower anything else going on in the mix. I also use it for a drum verb.”

The console’s ability to receive a video feed aids both Morales and Rabold in managing the spontaneous stage antics of the mercurial artist. “This is crucial when mixing monitors from under the stage,” says Morales, “and having limited sightlines. Having a program feed straight into the console really helps.”

“I barely even look at the stage now,” adds Rabold. “This especially comes in handy when I have to watch for the moments where she yanks off her headset mic and goes for the handheld. There’s no cue for that and being able to see it on a screen two feet in front of my face sure beats trying to see what she’s doing 150 feet away across a sea of fans!”

A great deal of time and planning was invested prior to launching the multiple systems in the field, to ensure the production ran as smoothly as possible with no margin of error. “I personally spent weeks researching and testing the fiber loops and to failsafe the redundancy on as many things as possible,” Kirschnick reflects. “I did this research and testing at our shop in Cleveland, and a great deal of time was spent making sure everything was running smoothly weeks before the tour embarked on its first show last spring. And now, with over six months of time logged with the systems in the field, the band and crew think the console and sound system sound incredible and unmatched.”

Eighth Day tour crew:
Chris Rabold: Foh Engineer
Ramon Morales: Monitor Engineer
Dan Klocker: Audio Crew Chief / Monitor Tech
Wayne Bacon: Audio Crew
Christopher Bellamy: Audio Crew
Bill Flugan: RF Tech
Lee Fox-Furnell: Audio Crew
Mike “Stacker” Hackman: Systems Engineer
James La Marca: Show Coms / Audio Tech
Matt Strakis: Audio Crew

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