A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive of the AES Newslink Category

JDK AUDIO RELEASES TWO NEW 500 SERIES MODULES: V10 MIC PREAMP AND V12 COMPRESSOR

JESSUP, MARYLAND: JDK Audio, the brand developed and engineered by legendary analog innovator API, announces the release of the V10 single-channel mic preamp and the V12 single-channel compressor. Both units are built in accordance with API’s 500-series modular lunchbox® format, which has become the industry-wide standard for modular signal processing equipment. The V10’s circuit is identical to a single channel of the JDK R20 mic preamp, and the V12’s circuit is identical to a single channel of the JDK R22 compressor (itself a replica of the famed inline compressor on ATI Paragon consoles).

“JDK is all about sonic integrity, a great pedigree and extraordinary value,” said Larry Droppa, president and owner of API’s JDK Audio. “As with all JDK Audio products, the V10 and V12 feature the same build quality and five-year warranty for which API products have been famous for decades.”

JDK’s V10 is a fully-featured mic preamp, with 54dB of mic-level gain, 45dB of instrument-level gain, padding, phantom power, and phase inversion. The JDK V12 offers the patented “Thrust” circuit that preserves high-frequency content even under aggressive compression settings and is paired with responsive threshold, ratio, knee, and gain makeup controls. MSRP is an affordable $695 for each unit.

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

SYMETRIX SYMNET EDGE DSP INTEGRAL TO HIGH-END HOME THEATER BASS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

MILFORD, CONNECTICUT: When the owner of a high-end home theater sought professional help to update its components and improve its audio quality, he didn’t realize just how far cutting-edge technology and expertise could take things. As part of the process, the owner hired Connecticut-based SH Acoustics to give the room proper absorption and diffusion so as to optimize the cinematic effect. Recognizing that the room’s inherent architectural properties would create tremendous inconsistencies in the bass response from seat to seat, SH Acoustics engineered an eight-subwoofer solution using the powerful open-architecture processing of the Symetrix SymNet Edge system to effectively nullify the impact of the room modes at each of the room’s twelve seats.

“The room was built into a concrete bunker, which caused prominent room modes,” explained Marc Cote, director of design at SH Acoustics. “Moreover, the proposed design for the renovation, which originally called for two large subs at the front of the system, didn’t address bass management. Even the most advanced surround sound processors don’t begin to address such problems.” SH Acoustics’ Senior Consultant Jeremiah Flaherty served as project manager. “We used a combination of volume, equalization, delay and subwoofer placement to effectively manipulate the acoustical signature of the room for the better,” Flaherty said. The flexibility and massive processing power of three open-architecture Symetrix SymNet Edge frames gave the experts at SH Acoustics all of the tools they needed to dial in the ideal bass response, as well as proper fine-scale tuning of the system’s many full-range components.

The screen channels are traditional cinema screen channels, with left-center-right served by beefy biamped JBL units powered by QSC amplifiers. Four James Loudspeaker Power Pipes subwoofers are located at the front of the room under the stage, whereas six Pro Home Cinema subwoofers line the sidewalls for the purpose of balancing out the room response. Finally, four rbh D’Apollito loudspeakers serve each of the three rear channel positions for a total of twelve surround sound components. Because the Symetrix SymNet Edge system uses a modular I/O topology, Flaherty was able to outfit the three Edge frames with eight analog inputs (fed by the surround sound processor) and twenty-eight analog outputs.

As far as the end user is concerned, the three Symetrix SymNet Edge frames are simply magical black boxes, but using the Symetrix SymNet Composer software, Flaherty and Cote were able to use them like a comprehensive audio chemistry set. “We had complete control over each loudspeaker and subwoofer component,” said Cote. “Getting connected to the system with SymNet Composer was easy, and because the SymNet Edge system networks via the Dante protocol, dealing with eight inputs and twenty-eight outputs was no problem. All of the time-tested DSP modules from earlier-generation systems are still there, with some nice additions, such as Flex Filters.” Flaherty added, “Designing the system within SymNet Composer was straightforward, despite the complexity of the program we created. I really like having the ability to group modules with a common purpose into ‘super-modules.’ I could have four conceptually-simple super-modules, but within each might be fifty constituent modules. It’s a clean way to work.”

Apart from its simplicity, a key advantage of the Dante protocol is its almost un-measurable latency. “With earlier systems, we had to be careful to group common elements within a single processor, or the network latencies might mess with the tuning process,” said Cote. “Dante removes that concern and prevents us from chasing our tails.” With comprehensive programming that addresses every aspect of room tuning, the three SymNet Edge frames are only using 50% of their processing power, leaving plenty of room to address future requests. “You never know exactly what you’ll need until you get into a room and start tuning it,” said Cote. “With SymNet Edge, we were able to include all of the processing blocks that we thought we might possibly use, which made the tuning process much more efficient.”

He continued, “We appreciate that Symetrix is always conservative with its releases, such that there are no bugs or broken elements. Even though the SymNet Edge system is new, there was no problem in specifying it. Symetrix also provides excellent customer support, which can be critical when things get complicated and the client is watching. In addition, the audio quality of Symetrix equipment, including not only floating-point DSP and great algorithms, but also top-notch analog preamps and converters, makes its inclusion within high-end home theaters possible.”

ABOUT SYMETRIX Sound professionals rely upon the performance, value and reliability of audio mixing, routing and processing products from Symetrix. For more information on Symetrix professional audio products, please visit www.symetrix.co or call +1 (425) 778-7728.

SYMETRIX EDGE PROCESSORS DELIVER SOPHISTICATED AUDIO SYSTEM IN GARDNER-WEBB UNIVERSITY’S STUDENT CENTER

BOWLING SPRINGS, NORTH CAROLINA – NOVEMBER 2012: Gardner-Webb University, a private institution serving 4,300 students in North Carolina, recently completed a $30 million construction project at the heart of the campus. University President Dr. Frank Bonner described the new Tucker Student Center as “the single-most impressive and most transformational building ever built on Gardner-Webb’s campus.” The building’s high-fidelity sound reinforcement system is consonant with that description. Its event space is equipped with a 7.2 surround sound system that is perfect for movie screenings and rider-ready for high-profile bands. Local A/V firm A Sound Experience designed and installed the system around a pair of Symetrix SymNet Edge processors networked together and with a Yamaha CL5 console via the new Dante protocol.

The heart of the audio system resides in the event space, which is a complex of divisible and combinable rooms that will host movie screenings, performing arts events, concerts, and meetings. However, its tendrils extend throughout the student center to provide high-quality background music in the building’s restaurants, store, recreation area, and common areas. “The new system at the Tucker Student Center is tremendously powerful and flexible, and just a few years ago a comparable system would have cost two or three times as much,” said Preston Hinson, systems engineer at A Sound Experience. “The SymNet Edge possesses a tremendous amount of processing power, and the use of the Dante network reduced the labor costs substantially while simultaneously improving system performance.”

Inputs to the system include six wireless microphones, Dante ports located in each of the divisible rooms, output from a 7.2 surround sound processor, several media inputs, and stage boxes. The SymNet Edge frame possesses a modular I/O topology, and one frame, dubbed “Dante In,” is fully loaded with sixteen analog inputs. Its considerable processing power is devoted to conditioning each input, which is then available anywhere in the system via the Dante network. “I’ve worked with virtually all of the older digital audio distribution protocols, and they were always tedious and somewhat problematic, said Hinson. “ In contrast, I simply plugged in Dante and it worked. The simplicity and robustness of it blew my mind. The Yamaha CL5 integrated seamlessly. This was the first job I have completed in which all of the patching is done via Cat5.”

The second SymNet Edge frame is dubbed “Signal Management” and handles all of the routing, combining, and output conditioning for the system. “Symetrix’ new SymNet Composer design software proved to be very intuitive,” said Hinson. “It was all drag-and-drop.” The second Edge’s modular I/O slots are outfitted with sixteen outputs for distribution to several loudspeakers and zones. The heart of the system is in the surround-sound room, where the Yamaha CL5 resides. Its loudspeaker complement is comprised of iSP HDL 3112 line array cabinets, iSP HDM 210 fills, and iSP dual twelve-inch horn-loaded subwoofers. Other rooms in the complex that combine also use the iSP HDM 210s. Elsewhere in the building, output from the SymNet Edge feed an iSP HDDS system, which distributes audio to iSP ceiling speakers via Cat5 cabling.

For expert users, the Yamaha CL5 provides the main point of control for the system. Keys allow different users to access different levels of control, ranging from full concert mixing access to modest volume changes for meetings. Students and staff access the video playback system from the surround sound processor, which has the look and feel of a consumer-grade stereo component. Elsewhere in the building, iSP wall plates allow users to plug in any line level source with an eighth-inch jack. However, when Hinson and the school’s A/V staff realized the potential of Symetrix’ ARC-WEB technology, they plan on using it in conjunction with ARC-WEB.

“ARC-WEB allows us to give staff and students customized control of the audio system – and anything with RS-232 control, such as the video playback system – via any smartphone or Internet-connected device,” said Hinson. “They are very excited about that. In addition to providing control of the video system, we may move all audio input sources to a common location and then let an ARC-WEB interface provide input selection and volume control.”

ABOUT SYMETRIX Sound professionals rely upon the performance, value and reliability of audio mixing, routing and processing products from Symetrix. For more information on Symetrix professional audio products, please visit www.symetrix.co or call +1 (425) 778-7728.

DANLEY SPEAKERS DELIVER 7.1 A/V FOR FLORIDA STATE SENATE CHAMBER

TALLAHASSEE FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 2012: The Florida Senate Chamber is a large, circular room, with desks for the forty senators and lecterns for the Senate President, the Senate Secretary, and invited speakers on the main floor. Visitor galleries surround the chamber. Tallahassee-based A/V integration firm and instrument retailer Music Masters recently renovated the chamber’s thirty-plus year old sound reinforcement system. A new 7.1 surround sound system comprised of Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers rings the floor from above and delivers natural and highly-intelligible sound reinforcement for A/V playback, live performances, and senate business.

Music Masters renovated the Florida House of Representatives Chamber last year, replacing everything except the loudspeakers, which were of a newer vintage. “We installed a 144×16 Media Matrix DSP and tuned everything up so that the system sounds great,” explained Les Stephenson, owner of Music Masters. “However, the Senate’s system needed a complete overhaul.”

“In the Senate, you have forty important people discussing vitally important business,” said Stephenson. “Intelligibility and pattern control were therefore key, and that immediately led me to consider Danley Sound Labs. The center speaker would sit up above the President of the Senate’s desk, but twenty-six feet was the very lowest it could be mounted. Danley’s excellent pattern control could fire from that height and cover the floor without energizing the glass and rotunda above. Moreover, Danley’s transparent sound would naturally allow the Senate to have intelligible conversations. I wouldn’t have to fight with the processing for a week to make it sound good.”

Music Masters mounted a Danley SH-46 sideways for the center channel, which delivers a 60-degree horizontal by 40-degree vertical pattern. A pair of Danley SM-60s provides left and right channel coverage. Four Danley SM-100s serve as side and rear channels. A Danley TH-118 subwoofer fills out the low end from inside the projection room. Stephenson ordered all but the SM-100s with self-power, and the fact that none of the units require bi- or tri-amplification added an element of simplicity to a system that was otherwise not very simple. Therefore, each speaker is a fully independent sound system unto itself, allowing very complex sound field imaging.

Music Masters installed a new Shure Beta 87 microphone at each of the senators’ desks, Shure MX418 on the podiums, and AKG CK47s on the President’s rostrum. Those microphones, together with new A/V inputs (suitable for musical accompaniment!), feed a 56-input/Peavey Media Matrix NION processing system. At some point in the 1990s, each desk was wired for its own DSP channel, and Stephenson recognized how valuable that would be in a fully time-aligned system. Thus, the DSP contains 64 outputs, enough for every individual desk, where new five-inch OAP loudspeakers reside, as well as for the Danley 7.1 system. Biamp amplifiers power all of the small loudspeakers and QSC powers the Danley SM-100s.

Stephenson used the power of the Media Matrix NION system, together with the fact that the Senate conducts business in an orderly fashion, to time-align all of the system’s many loudspeakers. “When a senator is recognized,” he explained, “he or she is given the opportunity to speak. When that mic is switched on, the Media Matrix automatically calculates appropriate delays at every loudspeaker, like ripples from a pebble dropped in calm water. Even the output from the Danley loudspeakers shifts so that listeners spatially locate the origin of the person speaking to his or her actual location in the chamber. It makes a tremendous difference in the transparency and impact of the system.”

Everyone who has heard the system agrees, “It’s an excellent sounding system,” Stephenson concluded. “Which will enhance the Florida Senate Chambers for many years to come. It is a system befitting so august a body.”

ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology. www.danleysoundlabs.com

MASTRO’S PENTHOUSE FAVORS ASHLY

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA: Mastro’s stands among the nation’s premier steak and seafood houses, and its Beverly Hills location is one of its most celebrated. In fact, business was so brisk that the management decided to expand upward, literally. After renovating the third floor of its North Canon Drive location, Mastro’s Penthouse recently opened to offer drinks, sushi, and deck lounge dining. In addition, a private dining room with its own private balcony is sure to be well used by the restaurant’s upscale clientele. Mastro’s hired Clean Media – the same A/V integration company that helped create the ambiance in the first two floors – to design and install a video and audio system that would be consistent with Mastro’s exclusive aesthetic. Clean Media obliged, relying on Ashly Audio amplifiers with integrated Protea(tm) DSP to guarantee reliable performance with audio that is grilled – or rather, tuned – to perfection.

Clean Media is based in Scottsdale, Arizona and enthusiastically endorsed by well-known All-Pro football player, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. He loved the home theater that Clean Media built for him so much that he’s been helping to promote the company ever since. Not that Clean Media is really hurting for business; it is the go-to company for many of the country’s high-end chains, including Eddie V’s Restaurants (owned by Darden Restaurants), Oreganos Pizza Bistro, Twin Peaks Restaurant, and, of course, Mastro’s Restaurants.

“A little over a year ago, Ashly Audio sent some engineers to give our company a presentation,” recalled Dylan Vicha, the owner of Clean Media. “We shared all of the problems and issues that we had run into with other manufacturers, and they clearly articulated how an Ashly-based system would circumvent them. We tried out Ashly at the Red Revolver Lounge in Scottsdale, a club that I also co-own, and everyone agreed that Ashly delivered tremendous processing power, great user control integration, reliability, and ready technical support – and all at a very fair price point. Having now used Ashly for almost every project initiated in the last year, we’re confident that Ashly gear will meet and exceed our clients’ needs and will uphold the reputation that we have earned for building easy-to-use, great-sounding, and bullet-proof A/V systems.”

Inputs to the new system include a PC, Blu-ray, two channels of DirecTV, a DJ/band jack, a live music feed from the second floor, an MP3 input from the second floor, and DirecTV from the second floor. A Crestron audio matrix switcher selects and routes the inputs appropriately, with a Crestron HDMI video matrix switcher doing the same for the associated video inputs. A Crestron Series 3 control processor with wall-mounted touchscreens and an iPad interface give the Penthouse staff intuitive control over relevant system parameters. One eight-channel Ashly ne8250.70pe and one four-channel Ashly ne4250.70pe, both with built-in Protea DSP matrix mixer & processor, handle signal amplification and signal processing duties simultaneously. JBL in-ceiling loudspeakers cover five output zones: the bar, the restrooms, the dining area, the hallway, and the private dining area. Atlas weather-resistant loudspeakers cover the patios.

“The Ashly amplification and processing has been extremely reliable in all our commercial 70-volt applications, and the clients always comment on how easy our systems are to use,” said John White, project manager with Clean Media. “We have used Ashly both as a standalone audio control system and as an amplifier/processor integrated with Crestron & RTI control systems. The Protea DSP control is easy to set up, and we’re always able to dial in great sound in each zone, no matter what the acoustic obstacles are. We will be using Ashly Audio products in all our future projects.” In the coming months, completed Ashly projects will include Federal Pizza (Owners of the Postino Wine Café chain), Hopdoddy Burger Bar (former owners of Eddie V’s Restaurants), and the additional Oreganos, Eddie V’s, and Twin Peaks locations.

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

ASHLY NE8250.PE AMPLIFIER SAVES THE DAY AT CHURCH OF THE SAVIOR

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY: Church of the Savior is a growing mid-size church nestled amid the bluegrass of Lexington, Kentucky. In order to support increased programming, the church raised funds to build an annex comprised of three high-tech classrooms anchored by an equally-high-tech foyer area. Kentucky-based Pro Sound & Lights designed a forward-thinking A/V system for the new space, but requests from the church’s knowledgeable liaison threw a wrench into the plans at the eleventh hour. Additional processing and amplifier channels would be needed, and Pro Sound & Lights’ systems engineer Chris Naughton accommodated the requested additions without going over budget by calling on an eight-channel Ashly ne8250.pe amplifier with optional onboard Protea(tm) DSP processing.

“All three rooms can be combined into one larger room, with all of the technology routed appropriately,” explained Naughton. “It’s functionally similar to a small conference center. Moreover, the foyer area – which will have a little coffeehouse and plenty of comfy places to hang out – can be used as a fourth classroom, so we included all of the A/V infrastructure there as well.” Naughton already had a processor and amplifier ordered when he received a call from Dave Grosz, Media engineer, for the media communications department at Asbury University and a member of Church of the Savior. “Dave knows his stuff. He’s behind one of the leading telecommunications programs in the country,” said Naughton. “He felt the new classrooms would be better served with JBL Control-series full-range loudspeakers paired with JBL Control-series subwoofers.”

At first, Naughton imagined that the easy fix would be to order a second four-channel amp to power the subwoofers, one per zone. But while he was revising the layout he realized that the processor on order had only six outputs. He needed eight outputs to do the crossovers. “That’s when I began to panic,” he laughed. “Contracts were signed, we were good to go, and now this! Money was very tight, and so I needed to find a solution that would not only work, but would work for not a lot more money than we had already committed to.”

Naughton did some research and realized that the Ashly ne8250.pe was the cost-effective solution that the project now cried out for. Within its two-rack unit frame, it offers eight 250-watt amplifier channels plus an on-board Protea digital matrix mixer & processor. He could keep the original processor, which was inextricably linked to the Extron control system to which the church had already agreed. Only four of its outputs, one per zone, would feed the Ashly ne8250.pe, which would supply the necessary crossover processing, along with modest delay and equalization. “No other manufacturer has a quality solution that is as affordable as the Ashly ne8250.pe,” said Naughton. “Despite the inclusion of the processing power, the ne8250.pe was still less expensive than two of the original four-channel amplifiers, which had no processing at all. In addition, Ashly’s shipping time was phenomenal. I received the unit two or three days after I ordered it. That gave me enough time to have the two original amplifiers rerouted back to the manufacturer!”

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

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY’S WELLS FARGO ARENA GOES FOR DANLEY!

TEMPE, ARIZONA: The Wells Fargo Arena is the home of Arizona State University’s basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling teams. At six stories high and with over 10,000 seats, it also hosts concerts, graduation ceremonies, and other events. Over its nearly forty years of service, the Wells Fargo Arena has had several sound reinforcement systems, all of which lacked power and were unintelligible to one degree or another. But that changed recently, when the school raised funds for a whirlwind renovation project that resulted in a new system centered on Danley Sound Labs full-range loudspeakers and subwoofers. The new system conveys impressive bass and highly-intelligible speech.

“From conception to commissioning, this job spanned a mere three weeks,” said Ron Klaus, design engineer with Phoenix-based Audio Video Resources (AVR). AVR had worked with Arizona State University on a number of projects in the past, and so the school trusted the firm to guide the project to a successful completion – even on such a compressed timeline. Anthony James Partners (AJP) served as the project consultant, and AVR partnered with the Arizona contingent of Clearwing Productions on the installation. Under the guidance of Project Manager Jared Bigelow, AVR managed the project and procured the equipment, whereas Clearwing Productions provided all of the speaker rigging, rack building, and cabling. Engineers at Danley Sound Labs designed the system in consultation with Anthony James Partners, Director of Audio Engineering, Larry Lucas.

The new system is comprised of a primary ring, together with a delay ring, for the upper tier. Twelve two-box hangs form the primary ring. On each, a Danley SH-69 delivers 60- by 90-degree coverage for the closest seats, whereas a narrower Danley SH-60 delivers 60- by 60-degree coverage for the mid-level seats. Twelve Danley SH-100s form the delay ring that covers the “nose bleed” section. Four Danley TH-118 subwoofers, one in each corner situated above a two-box hang, supplement the main boxes with generous low end. “The Danley engineers took the wire frame of the arena and optimized loudspeaker choice and placement in EASE,” explained Klaus. “The experts at Clearwing Productions turned those plans into reality, a process that was expedited by their familiarity with the rigging at the Wells Fargo Arena. Clearwing Productions is frequently contracted to do the staging for events at the Wells Fargo Arena.”

Everyone involved in the project, including Lucas and engineers from Danley Sound Labs, was present for the system commissioning. “The guys from Danley were very thorough,” said Klaus. “For example, they went into the processor and custom tuned the attack, release, and thresholds on the limiter for each box. It was well done.” Only two days after the booms were removed, the school was already sanding the floor to paint on new stripes for the rapidly approaching fall season.

“It’s an impressive system,” summarized Klaus. “Even when the arena is empty and its reverb time is hovering around five seconds, the direct sound coming from above is full and highly intelligible. Then you look up and realize that that big sound is coming from a couple of relatively small boxes. Moreover, the low-frequency extension is impressive, despite the fact that the system only possesses four subwoofers.” The Wells Fargo Arena marks the second largest Danley installation in the Grand Canyon State; further south, the University of Arizona’s football stadium employs four of Danley’s massive Jericho Horns to efficiently and effectively cover 52,000 seats.

Noted Mike Hedden, Danley Sound Labs’ president, “Using the current design trend, many design engineers would have chosen the line array approach. In comparison, the Danley Synergy Horn/Tapped Horn subwoofer solutions yield vastly better pattern control and frequency response in a fraction of the cabinets for substantially less money. Plus, from the time Danley Sound Labs received the order to the product being on the job sight was less than three weeks. Cutting edge technologies, delivered in extremely short time frames, at a very competitive price, these are some of the reasons Danley is enjoying such incredible growth.”

ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology.
www.danleysoundlabs.com

ACCLAIMED HEAVY METAL PRODUCER, ENGINEER, AND MUSICIAN ANDY SNEAP “TOTALLY LOST” WITHOUT HIS METRIC HALO PLUG-INS

SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA: As a founding member of pioneering thrash act Sabbat, Andy Sneap secured his place within the canon of British heavy metal at a very young age. A devastating guitarist and a talented songwriter, Sneap also showed an interest and proclivity for the critical tasks that took place on “the other side of the glass.” Indeed, he produced two of Sabbat’s successful and highly-respected albums, which, combined with a network of industry friends and a reputation for good work and dependability, earned him a steady flow of production and engineering work for his early-1990s, ADAT-centered home studio. As his prestige grew, his circle of friends and clients grew to encompass the big players in the genre, and Sneap is now credited with over one-hundred works with acts such as Exodus, Machine Head, Napalm Death, and Kreator. He received Grammy nominations for his work with Killswitch Engage and Megadeth.

Sneap is as busy as ever these days. He recently completed producing, recording, mixing, and mastering Testament’s Dark Roots of Earth and Accept’s Stalingrad from his now vastly-updated digs, Backstage Studios. At the same time, he’s active in the 2006 reformation of Sabbat and the 2008 reformation of associated act Hell, both of which keep him busy during the summer festival season. When we spoke with him, Sneap was mixing Saxon’s forthcoming release (the band’s twentieth album!) between festival dates and gearing up to mix a new one for Killswitch Engage and to record Anonamar’s latest. Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip plug-in is one of the essential tools that Sneap has relied on to deliver the kind of mixes that put big, big smiles on the faces of musicians, label executives, and fans. He recently expanded his Metric Halo palette with the Production Bundle, a comprehensive collection of Metric Halo plug-ins.

“I was turned onto Metric Halo ChannelStrip way back in the late 1990s, when I first started using Pro Tools,” said Sneap. “A friend suggested that if I liked the SSL sound, I’d like Metric Halo ChannelStrip. He was right, and it has since become absolutely essential to the way I mix. Truly, every single mix that I have completed in the last fourteen years used Metric Halo ChannelStrip. There are no exceptions.” As part of the continual upgrade of Backstage Studios, Sneap recently added an analog outboard Solid State Logic processor. “It’s great,” he said, “but there’s no way it can replace Metric Halo ChannelStrip!”

Sneap is happiest and most satisfied when he can pilot a project from start to finish, filling the roles of producer, recording engineer, mix engineer, and even mastering engineer. And because he is an accomplished guitarist, his rapport with the musicians he works with makes his sessions uniquely productive, characterized by an easy exchange of ideas and suggestions that never come off as offensive. However, Sneap also recognizes that shrinking budgets have forced many bands and labels to shoulder the recording responsibilities all on their own. As a result, more of his work is shifting to mixing and mastering only.

Associated with that shift is a greater need to “fix” aspects of the recording that don’t arrive in good condition to meld with his mixing style. Here, he is beginning to explore the world of processing possibilities embodied by the Metric Halo Production Bundle, which includes ChannelStrip 3, Character (an analog circuit modeler), HaloVerb, Multiband Dynamics, Precision DeEsser, TransientControl, and Multiband Expander. “The TransientControl has been especially useful for highlighting the ‘ring’ in Saxon’s snare sound,” he said. “And I’ve been using the Multiband Dynamics to zone in on the vocals, where some awkward and nasty stuff was happening around 2kHz.”

Although Sneap bemoans a certain lack of songwriting polish in modern metal that has strayed from the genre’s origins in the late 1970s, he’s quick to assert that modern metal’s sound is nearly ideal. “It’s true that things are becoming a bit too corrected… a bit too cut and paste,” he said. “I prefer a more raw recording, one that conveys the energy and emotion of the actual performance. But at the same time, I think that if I was turning in mixes that sounded like late 1970s albums – though a lovely retro thing to do – people would be disappointed. The power of a modern metal record stands far above those old recordings.”

And Sneap cannot fully convey that power without Metric Halo ChannelStrip. “I’ve tried every plug-in, every channel strip, and nothing can give me the smack, the front-end pop, and the warmth of Metric Halo’s classic,” he said. “I simply cannot complete a mix at a remote location without it. I would be totally lost. With the release of ChannelStrip 3, that is not a concern. The Production Bundle and all its plug-ins are authorized via iLok so I can take the software wherever I go. I’m grateful that Metric Halo continues to update ChannelStrip.”

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

Acoustics First Sound Diffusion Demonstration Video

Click here to view the demonstration:
DIFFUSING / SCATTERING SOUND: Sound Diffusion Explained

Acoustic Diffuser DemonstrationAcoustics First has just released another in a series of videos to help explain acoustical principles using simple, easy to understand video demonstrations. This latest demonstration tackles the mystery of acoustic sound diffusion. Using an array of ping pong balls to represent sound visually, this video simply demonstrates what occurs when sound strikes the surface of an acoustic diffuser. First, you will see what happens when sound hits a flat reflective surface with no acoustical treatment. Acoustic Sound DiffuserThe balls all bounce at the same time and in the same direction. This represents what happens to the sound when it hits a flat reflective surface like a wall. Then you see what happens when sound hits an acoustic sound diffuser. You will immediately notice the energy of the wave of balls is scattered in all different directions as well as deflected at different time intervals. Diffusers, disperse or scatter the sound like crowd control, preserving the sound to maintain sound clarity without destructive interference. This is the basic principle behind acoustic sound diffusion.

Click here to view the demonstration: DIFFUSING / SCATTERING SOUND: Sound Diffusion Explained

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Acoustics First Corporation supplies acoustical panels and soundproofing materials to control sound and eliminate noise in commercial, residential, government, institutional applications worldwide. Products include the patented Art Diffusor®, sound absorbers, noise barriers, acoustical fabrics and accessories. Acoustics First® products are sold for O.E.M applications, direct, and through dealers. For more information on acoustical materials and their application, please visit www.AcousticsFirst.com or call Toll Free 1-888-765-2900 (US & Canada).

Gardner-Webb University Installs Two Dante-enabled Yamaha CL Consoles

BUENA PARK, Calif.—Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina has experienced remarkable growth, perseverance, and maturity since it began as a movement initiated by the Kings Mountain Baptist Association in 1905. The University began as Boiling Springs High School and later became a junior college in 1927, and renamed Gardner-Webb College in 1948. The institution officially became known as Gardner-Webb University in 1993, culminating years of preparation. Today, Gardner-Webb is flourishing with five professional schools, two academic schools, and 11 academic departments that offer just over 5,000 students, 60 undergraduate and graduate fields of study.

Recently, the University installed Yamaha CL1 and CL5 digital consoles and two RIO3224s purchased by Full Compass and installed by University staff in cooperation with the ASE Group. The consoles are located in their new 110,000-sq. ft. Tucker Student Center in Stewart Hall. Stewart Hall is unique in that it can be separated into three separate spaces.

“The performance space is non-traditional and very flexible,” states Wayne E. Johnson, Associate VP for Operations, Gardner-Webb University. “Stewart Hall works in either a coffee house/club setting by lowering electric disappearing Skyfold walls, or in an auditorium or banquet setting by raising the walls. When lowered, the center room has a balcony on three sides with bistro table seating.”

About the new CL consoles, Johnson says that the system sounds great and has a superb operational design. “We had previously been using an LS9 in older venues, but the CL Series offers much more flexibility. We also integrated with Symetrix for Dante distribution and are using MYMIX cards as well, so there are no traditional audio connections. The entire project (audio, video, monitor, lighting) is all running off Cat5. Due to the flexibility of the space, we wanted to be able to re-patch anything from speakers to light fixtures over one single wiring network.”


For more information on Gardner-Webb University, visit www.gardner-webb.edu.

For more information on Yamaha CL Digital Consoles, 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.

Ryan Larkin
Sales & Marketing
www.AcousticsFirst.com
Acoustics First Corporation
PH: (804) 342-2900

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