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Alicia Keys Sets The World On Fire With DiGiCo & Clair Global

With over 50 international dates on the horizon in support of her latest outing Girl on Fire, Grammy award winning artist Alicia Keys has surrounded herself with an adept team of engineers with support from Clair Global and DiGiCo mixing systems. With a total of five SD racks (two for FOH, two for monitors, and one for opening artist, Miguel), they’re also carrying a pair of SD10s (one at FOH and monitor world) to handle the eight-member band including the headliner. Newly positioned at FOH is Tim Colvard, who took over the European leg of the tour. Although Colvard’s employed DiGiCo consoles for many of his clients international tours, this was his first time on an SD10 (as well as his debut outing with both the artist and with Clair Global). He joins Clair FOH tech Randy Weinholtz and monitor mixmaster Antonio Luna for the already-in- progress global tour.

The challenge of a one-day rehearsal prior to his first live show could’ve been cause for a bit of nail-biting. However, Colvard’s extensive previous hands-on experience on an SD7 with Madonna, Usher and others lent itself to getting up and running quickly on the new console and Keys’ eight-piece outfit, comprised of keys, bass, drums, guitar, and a trio of background singers.

“A phone conversation with Alicia convinced me that she really cares about her sound,” says Colvard. “And being intrigued by her music made joining an already-in-progress tour an easy decision. With Alicia having one of the most powerful and dynamic voices in the industry, DiGiCo’s dynamic EQ really came in handy for smoothing everything out, especially when she’s really belting it out in the high-end. Also, I’m maximizing all of the dynamic compression available on the SD10 for all of the Pro Tools channels.

“It is also important for me to use snapshots, which I time to run consecutively. This allows me to do certain mutes on the piano, particularly when it goes down the lift in the middle of the song and gets disconnected, as well as for other microphones in different parts at the stage. Using these features gives me more time to mix instead of trying to remember what inputs should be muted or un-muted.”

Colvard’s also carrying a rack of external effects, including a TC Electronic 2290, TC D2, Eventide H3000 ES, a couple of Yamaha 990s and a Lexicon 960L, which gives him “a variety to cover most algorithms needed to do duplicate the album effects.”

“We love the flexibility of the SD10 desk,” adds Weinholtz. “The dynamic EQ is really nice and having the ability to create a fader bank of multiple input/outputs, and whatever your brain can think of, is great.”

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the tour’s audio specs is Antonio Luna’s employment of an Aviom personal monitor mixing system—typically found in House of Worship, theatre and studio settings primarily, but not so much in touring. Luna’s using this in tandem with his SD10 to allow the band to customize and control their own individualized monitoring needs.

“The Aviom has been pretty cool,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d ever use it again after Aerosmith in 2009 but the musical director wanted to and so we figured out a way to incorporate it and it’s been working well since day one. I’m able to send 16 sends to the primary band members, who are all able to mix themselves, which means I get left alone to mix the three background vocalists and the singer. The band doesn’t ask me for anything during the show, so I can concentrate 100% on the artist. I would assume there are other engineers out there using Aviom, although I just don’t know anyone off-hand who’s doing it. It’s definitely made my job easier and I’m still able to deliver quality mixes to the band via that source. The band seems really happy with it, and if they’re happy I’m happy.”

Concentrating on Alicia, Luna keeps the effects to a minimum, relying mostly on the internal effects, with the exception of a TC Electronics M4000 plug-in via AES at 96kHz. “That reverb sounds really good on her vocal and we really like it. But everything else I’m using with her is internal. I find I use a lot of compression on her vocals. She has a lot of dynamic range, so I need to take that down a little bit to make it fit when she’s singing loud or soft. Because she’s primarily a piano player, the mix is very important. The piano can easily get lost or washed out if you have too much vocal or too much ambient sound. So the vocal and piano are the important parts of the mix, and the rest follows those two key elements. I make sure I can always hear the vocal and the piano, and if I can always hear the vocal and the piano, with the band fitting in nicely underneath, we’re going to have a great day!”

They’re also tracking 80 inputs on Nuendo at monitor world and FOH and 80 channels of Pro Tools to split off the stage racks.

Another technological advance on the tour is the use of a Signal Hound RF Spectrum Analyzer. “When we were deciding the gear spec, Scott Evans introduced me to the product and we decided to get one for the tour,” says Luna. “We’re getting really good results and the manufacturer has been fantastic. They’re excited for the feedback because apparently no one in our industry is using it, so it’s kinda cool to be breaking new ground like that.”

Both the artist and management have been happy with the production, both onstage and off…. And are verbal about it. “We’re getting a lot of compliments,” Luna offers, “and a couple of shows ago Alicia said it sounded wonderful at soundcheck… I’m not used to getting that kind of positive feedback from artists, so it’s refreshing, especially coming from Alicia, because she’s such an awesome talent.

“Other than that I’m really grateful that I’ve got a good relationship with the vendors, not just with sound company, Clair Global, but with DiGiCo as well,” continues Luna. “It’s a killer combination for service. I feel confident that no matter where I am in the world, if I need something, it’s going to happen. Thanks to both Clair and DiGiCo for helping me out on this tour… it’s very been appreciated.”

“In today’s touring industry where cost of gear and truck and rack space are ongoing issues,” adds Colvard, “it’s important to have a console that can solve many of these challenges, the DiGiCo SD10 meets all of the needs for getting on the road—from the sonics of the sound to the dynamic EQ, dynamic multi-band compression overdrive [DiGiTubes] and delay on channels, to its great gates and ducking capabilities. Having these tools makes the selection of DiGiCo consoles live an easy choice for me.”

Photo Credit Tim Colvard: Kathy Beer

DiGiCo SD8 Brings Oktophonie Opus To Light At NYC’s Park Avenue Armory

Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s electronic masterpiece OKTOPHONIE made its New York premier at the end of March at Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. Stockhausen was a compositional pioneer who grappled with spatial music as he bent the rules and redefined the listening experience. The German composer’s magnum opus “Licht” (or “Light”) OKTOPHONIE is a trailblazing electronic musical experience where the audience is surrounded by eight groups of loudspeakers, enveloping them in a sonic environment. The piece was performed by Kathinka Pasveer, an early Stockhausen collaborator, and Igor Kavulek who has been Stockhausen’s personal sound technician since 1998. A DiGiCo SD8 and Meyer sound system was specified by Kavulek for the show and provided by Production Resources Group.

Staging the work as the composer originally intended—in outer space—artist Rirkrit Tiravanija was commissioned by the Armory to create a ritualized lunar experience, a floating seating installation within the Armory’s soaring drill hall that heightens the listeners’ octophonic experience and transports them to another realm. The audience donned white cloaks for the journey, carried along by the all-encompassing score, which was broadcast from the SD8 console placed at center stage.

Pasveer has worked with DiGiCo consoles (SD7s, SD8s and D5s) over the last several years on previous performances around the globe and has been impressed with their ease of use, flexibility and reliability.

“Igor always specifies DiGiCo consoles and Meyer loudspeakers on our technical rider because they sound fantastic together and translate the music the way the composer wanted it to be heard,” explains Pasveer. “Oktophonie encompasses 64 channels that were mixed down to eight tracks, which were totally spacialized and played back from a laptop into the console. This very simple but sophisticated sound system gave us huge sound but was not too loud. The DiGiCo SD8 being so compact and flexible is very easy to work with and we use it often for our large productions. You can set it up exactly the way you like and individualize all the channels very easily. And the sound was so beautiful in the Armory. I think everyone was impressed by the sound and sound quality.”

About Park Avenue Armory
Part palace, part industrial shed, Park Avenue Armory fills a critical void in the cultural ecology of New York by enabling artists to create—and audiences to experience—unconventional work that cannot be mounted in traditional performance halls and museums. With its soaring 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall—reminiscent of 19th-century European train stations—and array of exuberant period rooms, the Armory offers a new platform for creativity across all art forms. Since September 2007—Aaron Young’s Greeting Card, a 9,216-square-foot “action” painting created by the burned-out tire marks of ten choreographed motorcycles—the Armory has organized a series of immersive performances, installations, and works of art that have drawn critical and popular attention. Among the highlights are: Bernd Zimmermann’s harrowing Die Soldaten, in which the audience moved “through the music”; the unprecedented six-week residency of the Royal Shakespeare Company, in their own theater rebuilt in the drill hall; a massive digital sound and video environment by Ryoji Ikeda; a sprawling, gauzy, multisensory labyrinth created by Ernesto Neto; the final performances of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; and the New York Philharmonic performing Stockhausen’s Gruppen with three orchestras surrounding the audience. The most recent project was the event of a thread, a site-specific installation by Ann Hamilton.

DiGiCo-Driven Broadway Shows Take Home Coveted TONY Awards

Building on the success of the DiGiCo D5T, still in current use on shows such as Cinderella, SD7T consoles have become a mainstay in the audio trenches on Broadway and in the West End (UK) for many a year, with their potently powerful hardware, Stealth engine and theatre software kit capable of handling the most intricate demands of theatre audio today. This June, a slew of the newest productions utilizing DiGiCo consoles took home coveted 2013 TONY Awards.

Using an DiGiCo SD7T:
Kinky Boots – Best Musical; Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Billy Porter); Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell); Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics, Cyndi Lauper); Best Sound Design of a Musical (John Shivers); Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus).

Pippin – Best Revival of a Musical; Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Patina Miller); Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Andrea Martin); Best Direction of a Musical (Diane Paulus).

Matilda The Musical – Best Book of a Musical; Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Rob Howell); Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Hugh Vanstone); Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (Gabriel Ebert).

Since his involvement designing The Lion King for Singapore in 2010, John Shivers has been using DiGiCo SD7Ts on just about every show since. The award-winning sound designer says the console offers a lot of flexibility, especially with the “T” software, which he says brings features and functionality specific to their needs on theatrical productions as well as a solid sounding foundation in a very compact package. 



“The SD7T software has added these very beneficial features thanks to [award-winning sound designer] Andrew Bruce’s involvement in the development. Having onboard compression, gating and delay—along with the programmability and recallability of those parameters on every channel—opens up possibilities that you just can’t have with an analog console. It’s definitely been an upgrade for us from that standpoint. A positive byproduct has definitely been the size of the console, which allows you to get into smaller spaces and require less seats be removed and has served as a large financial windfall for producers. For me, from a purely creative and design standpoint, it’s about the capabilities of the console. I’m not one to follow the crowd necessarily, but the SD7T has become a standard of our industry and the reason everybody’s using them seems clear. It has proven itself to be a very capable and reliable console.”

Additionally, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which utilized DiGiCo’s 5DT, was awarded Best Costume Design of a Musical (William Ivey Long).

To discover more about DiGiCo’s line of theatre-ready digital consoles, please visit: www.digico.biz

Rollin’ Across The Globe With Limp Bizkit, Rat Sound & DiGiCo

After two decades and over 40 million albums sold worldwide, Limp Bizkit is back with a new lineup, a new album (Stampede of the Disco Elephants) and a new tour hitting mid-sized venues in the US and Europe through the summer. Rat Sound is handling the production, consisting of a DiGiCo SD5 and a 16-input SD Mini Rack at FOH with a 56-input SD Stage Rack. 

Engineer Bryan Worthen spec’d the SD5 for the tour, following its use on a string of shows with the Foo Fighters promoting frontman Dave Grohl’s “Sound City” documentary.

“I’ve used the D5 extensively with the Foo Fighters since 2005 and with Limp Bizkit since 2009,” he states. “Now that there is a next generation of D5 available, I chose the SD5 for the Sound City Players shows because it was so great on that. Consequently, I brought it with me over to Limp Bizkit world from RAT Sound. I don’t have very much experience using other digital consoles, but enough to be able to say that the DiGiCo sounds a ton better than most. It’s versatile and all 3 screens are functional, giving me the visual of an analog console. The layout makes it very easy to make things happen fast.”

“Limp Bizkit is 43 inputs from stage,” he explains. “In front, I have a Left and Right out, with subs running sometimes off an Aux. Subs off two Matrix outs (sometimes when subs are stereo) and I also have I/O’s for three Avalon 737 preamps and 4 channels of XL 42 mic pres, plus nearfields at left, right and sub outs.

Additionally, my recording is very minimal, used for virtual sound check purposes only. I’m recording out left and right to a hard disc recorder and multi-tracking to Logic with my MacBook Pro via the DiGiCo UB MADI interface.”

In the past year, Rat Sound has added DiGiCo SD5 and SD10 consoles to its rental inventory. “In our quest to provide our clients and engineer friends with the tools they desire and to maintain our focus on offering world class pro audio gear,” says president Dave Rat, “the SD5 and SD10 expand the diversity of premium consoles we offer. There are a lot of choices out there with a wide diversity of applications and preferences, and DiGiCo consoles are among the best of the bunch. The SD5 and SD10 are currently out on tour with Ed Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as well as Limp Bizkit respectively.”

‘DiGiCo Master Series: From Power On to Expert’ Seminar Provides Comprehensive Educational Resources To Pro Audio Community

DiGiCo has long been committed to providing comprehensive educational resources and support to the professional audio community. Working in conjunction with its US distributor Group One Limited, it recently launched a series of educational training seminars—DiGiCo’s Master Series: From Power On to Expert—focused on showcasing DiGiCo’s current line of SD Series systems.

Full Sail Live, an award-winning School for Entertainment Media located in Orlando, Florida, hosted the inaugural seminar on April 23-24, 2013, facilitated by DiGiCo/Group One’s top audio trainers, National Sales Manager Matt Larson and Technical Sales & Support Ryan Shelton.

Over 90+ people were in attendance—comprising a diverse group of systems integrators, audio consultants, production companies, houses of worship and performing arts center operators, as well as Full Sail students and faculty. Over the course of two days, they were given in-depth tutorials with the opportunity to get hands-on with virtually all of DiGiCo’s SD Series consoles (SD5, SD Ten, SD11, 3xSD9s, and an SD8). The training covered the gamut from basic system setup and cabling to features and operation, as well as a hardware and software review. DiGiCo’s, new to be launched at Infocomm13, SD software (V621) was showcased on several of the consoles (adding 96KHz capacity for the SD9 and SD11 on Cat5E as well as a offering a new MADI Router for all SD consoles).

Industry veterans Howie Lindeman and Mark Frink were also in attendance to answer questions and to share their real-world, hands-on experience and road stories. Lindeman, who is currently on tour with The Elvis Presley Concert Tour, has mixed in many iconic studios from the Record Plant to the Hit Factory and on tour with Roberta Flack, Natalie Cole and many others. Frink is the former Technical Editor of MIX Magazine and is currently mixing monitors on a DiGiCo SD10 for Grammy awarded artists, the Zac Brown Band.

“Our goal with the new Master Series is to take people wherever they need to go,” explains Shelton, “whether they’re already owners of our consoles or just thinking about investing in one. These hands-on training opportunities will take the intermediate to advanced production engineer deeper into our systems, provide a tool kit to sharpen their mixing skills, offer helpful tips, tricks and shortcuts for using our consoles and impart information as to what sets DiGiCo apart from the competition.”

“The DiGiCo Master Class brought us together for one major purpose: DiGiCo consoles,” offers Lindeman. “The workshop gave us an understanding of what is new, what is coming, and the inner workings of these kick-butt consoles. Having each of the console models at our reach was invaluable in being able to understand the differences of each of their personalities—from the frame and up. Not only was it informational, but we also had a great time with lots of laughs and dinner too! Thank you Matt Larson and DiGiCo!”

For upcoming training seminars in your area, sign up for our online newsletter and/or visit our website (www.digico.biz) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DiGiCo.Official) pages. DiGiCo also offers an extensive catalog of training resources available online at www.digico.tv.

Fishman Names Ron Kronewitter Key Accounts Manager

Andover, MA––As part of a concerted effort to grow and optimize their sales team, Fishman has recruited Ron Kronewitter as Key Accounts Manager. In his new position, Kronewitter will be responsible for handling major retail accounts including Guitar Center, Musician’s Friend and Sam Ash, as well as a number of other important independent dealers.

A longtime veteran of the MI industry, Ron has over 30 years of music products retail experience, including 13 years at Fender Musical Instruments where he served as VP Marketing for Acoustic Instruments and VP, Marketing Operations. During his time at Fender, Kronewitter first started working with Larry Fishman and head of OEM Sales Rob Ketch where they eventually transitioned the entire Fender Acoustic line into exclusively using Fishman products.

In addition to Fender, Ron has worked extensively in MI retail, with Musician’s Friend and Guitar Center’s e-commerce and business development teams, and spent several years with his own successful independent consultancy, Foundry Marketing.

Prior to entering the music industry, Ron attended Indiana University and graduated with a BS degree in Business, majoring in Marketing, Marketing and Advertising, and Management and Administration with a minor in Communications.

Ron lives in the San Luis Obispo, CA area with his wife Robyn and daughter Anya.

For more information about Fishman, go to www.fishman.com.

SYMETRIX CEO MARSHALL CONFIRMED

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JUNE 26, 2013: Symetrix announces today the appointment of Mary Marshall to the position of CEO. Marshall has worked in an advisory role with Symetrix for many years and has been an integral part of the management team. As CEO she will be able to bring her experience as a leader and strategic driver to the forefront of the Symetrix story. Marshall’s experience includes growing companies from the ground up, owning and operating multiple businesses, orchestrating corporate financial planning, and designing and executing business development strategies. Recently, Marshall ran the U.S. Western Division of Vistage International, running business development programs, leadership development programs, and working with hundreds of companies and their leaders through Visage’s network of partners.

“Symetrix is perfectly positioned to move to the next level with our strong product line and the most dynamic team in the industry. After decades of building our brand we are excited to include Mary’s successful track record as a change agent and a builder of companies,” said Dane Butcher, Symetrix Chairman.

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. Please visit www.symetrix.co for more information.

Yamaha Training Sessions Set for Phoenix and California

BUENA PARK, Calif.—Yamaha Commercial Audio Training Seminars (YCATS) will hold training sessions in Phoenix, Arizona July 16-18, 2013 consisting of M7CL for Beginners, M7CL for Advanced Users, Yamaha CL Operational Training, and Digital Audio Networks for Engineers.

The YCATS training team will also host several training sessions at the Buena Park, California headquarters on July 24 and 25 for those interested in Yamaha CL Operational Training and Digital Audio Networks for Engineers.

For more information and to registration visit: http://yamahacommercialaudiosystems.com/training.php?catID=11001.

-END-

Gand Helps River Edge Park Kick Off Opening Concert Season

BUENA PARK, Calif.—Along the banks of the Fox River in Aurora, Illinois, the new River Edge Park represents a strong collaborative effort between the public and private sectors, including businesses, environmental advocates, developers, and community members. The 30-acre park has a 10-acre Music Garden, with its John C. Dunham venue seating 8,500 including the lawn area. At a cost of 13.2 million dollars, the city of Aurora has taken a huge step in upgrading a former rust belt industrial area and turning it into the place to go for music during the summer months.

To kick off its first season, Gand Concert Sound (GCS) Elk Grove Village IL, aka “the NEXO guys” provided a NEXO Geo T sound system along with Yamaha PM5D-RH and M7CL-48 consoles for the opening weekend. The NEXO rig included 24 GEO T speakers, 12 CD-18 subs, plus PS-15 monitors and Alpha side fills powered by NX 4×4 amps. Entertainment included Buddy Guy, Dr. John, JJ Grey & Mofro, Tommy Castro, Robert Randolph Family Band, and the Stone Foxes for the weekend’s “Blues on the Fox” Festival.

GCS President, Gary Gand said, “It was a great way to start off our outdoor summer season here in the Midwest. BBQ, beer, and Buddy Guy are about as good as it can get under a star-filled sky by the Fox River.”

Audience comments overheard by crew covered the gamut from “I’m all the way in the back, and it sounds great,” to “I’m right in front and it sounds great,” showing off the even coverage provided by the NEXO speakers and GeoSoft plotting software.

Florida swamp rocker JJ Grey, the first artist to play on the park’s stage, had never been to Aurora before the park’s opening night, and called it “beautiful” saying the venue’s sound system, equipment procedures, and crowd made a great impression. Grey announced to the audience, “They killed it.” during his 90-minute set, referring to the new park.

For more information on Gand Concert Sound, visit www.gandconcertsound.com.

For more information on Yamaha and NEXO products, visit www.yamahaca.com.

-END-

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.

API 1608 VENTURES INTO THE CANADIAN NORTH

QUEBEC, CANADA – JUNE 2013: When singer-songwriter Florent Vollant updated his studio, it was a 32-channel API 1608 console that found its home in an interesting place in the far north. Established in 1997, Vollant’s Studio Makusham is located in Mani-Utenam, Quebec, Canada, a part of the Innu Reserve, where over 3,000 indigenous people reside.

Florent Vollant’s music history runs deep. He has released three albums in his Innu-language and is well-known in the Inuit community. His Christmas album, Nipaiamianan, received a blessing from Pope John Paul II and the Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year in 2001. Throughout the years, Studio Makusham was very interested in API gear and finally, in December 2012, they made a major upgrade to the facility, acquiring an automated 1608 console through API’s dealer Studio Economik in Montréal.

“The Makusham home – it is the traditional dance, this is a gathering, a feast, a celebration of the rhythms Teuaikan. I am pleased to invite you to this place of creation to live an experience of freedom, sharing, exchange and respect for the music of the world,” said Vollant of Studio Makusham.

The first endeavor on the console was Vollant’s upcoming album, but the 1608 has also lent its capabilities to Quebec recording artists such as Richard Seguin and many others. “The sound is very pleasant and surprising and the build quality is undeniable,” said Volant. “Thanks to Marc-Andre at Studio Economik for consulting on the deal. We are extremely happy customers!”

ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES, INC.) Established more than 40 years ago, Automated Processes, Inc. is the leader in analog recording gear with the Vision, Legacy Series and 1608 recording consoles, as well as its classic line of modular signal processing equipment.

www.apiaudio.com

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