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Dual DiGiCo SD10s Propel Alison Krauss & Union Station’s ‘Paper Airplane’ Tour

The nearly sold-out Alison Krauss & Union Station tour this year in support of the band’s new album, Paper Airplanes, is certainly proof-positive that they’ve never been more popular, bringing a tightly knit fusion of bluegrass and country to fans old and new. Though Alison’s award-winning 2007 collaboration with Robert Plant may have briefly elevated her stature to a whole new audience it’s abundantly clear that as a group they don’t need an A-list rocker to pack the house.

Taking charge of the tour’s production is longtime audio frontman Cliff Miller of North Carolina’s SE Systems. Last summer, Miller put a pair of newly minted SD10 console through rigorous paces at the 2010 MerleFest, one of the country’s premier Americana and roots music festivals. With that experience being so positive and productive, Miller decided to entrust the Union Station tour to DiGiCo, placing the consoles at FoH and monitors for himself and monitor team Bernie Velluti and daughter Haley. The nightly challenge of presenting acoustic music in venues ranging from indoor auditoriums to outdoor sheds isn’t lost on Miller, who’s been at it for over 40 years, working with some of the most prominent artists of the genre. He says the SD10 has been a key component on this tour, showcasing the nuances of the band’s sound.

“The console is so amazingly consistent and I’m very pleased with the clean quality of sound we’re getting out of it,” Miller offered. “Mixing an acoustic band like this is probably one of the more challenging things for a digital console… it’s really the sum of all the parts and what goes into the console that affects what comes out. There’s a lot of detail with stringed instruments that you never hear with electric guitars and a lot of the other typical rock ‘n’ roll instruments. It’s important to understand the sound of these instruments because when they’re amplified, it’s literally a balancing act to get that right blend—where the sound system is equalized and isolated enough to keep the instrument resonance minimal and as natural as possible, and the low-end frequencies maintained. And that can change, too, depending on the facility and whether it’s indoor vs. outdoors. Outdoor sheds with vinyl roofs over the audience are a real challenge. There’s a lot of reflection even when you make a point of keeping the PA out of it. It’s very live. I find that even in the varying circumstances, once I get the overall PA tuned the way it needs to be, then my presets work well from day to day, inside or outside, pretty consistently. The only thing that may change is the EQ from day to day. Sometimes Ron [Block; banjo/guitar] may change the EQ on his Fishman Aura DI, depending on what he’s hearing in his ears. That affects what I’m getting at front of house, so I just compensate for that on a daily basis. I let him get it to suit his taste and then I set it to suit mine!”

In addition to the pair of SD10s, Miller’s carrying two DiGiCo SD-Racks, with one serving as an emergency spare, and loves hearing the warm, analog preamp sound.

The outboard gear is non-existent with the exception of the Lab Gruppen Dolby Lake LM 26 processor. “The way I’m inserting the Lake processor—which is digitally inserted using the AES sends and returns for my mains, front and side fills—I’m driving it with matrix outputs to the input of the delay. But on the returns, I have three stereo aux sends set up so its coming into the insert IN, so the biamped output of my Lake for my front and side fills and my stereo subwoofers are all being sent from stereo aux sends. Having the insert features is really handy on the console for driving multiple lines and getting signals. Depending on the venue, and if we’re using an in-house sound system, I’ll send all the sends off the console to analog outputs, if that’s where their inputs are. Otherwise, I can send them from the SD Rack on the stage. It’s very versatile, easy to route outputs, and you can rename them for whatever you need. You always have enough. And I really love having those two-two spaces on the SD-Rack underneath for a total of 4 rack spaces. On one side I have a UPS just as a backup in case we lose power, and on the other side, I have the Lake processor, a spare USB pre for my Smaart rig [the Rational Acoustics’ equalization software], and a receiver for a TM400 Lectrosonics test and measurement microphone. There’s not an outboard rack, you just set up the console, plug it in, and I’m ready to go!”

The core of Union Station is a 5-piece band featuring Dobro phenom Jerry Douglas, with the addition of a drummer and a keyboardist for this tour. Miller’s utilizing approximately 34 inputs for the band, much of which is dedicated to a band-wide package of Shure microphones for drums, fiddle, guitars, banjo, lap steel amp and vocals, a Neumann TLM 193 on the bass cab, as well as Fishman Aura DI’s for guitar, banjos and Dobro [the Jerry Douglas signature model], and various inputs for playback iPod, etcetera. A nightly encore finds the group singing in old-timey fashion gathered around a Shure KSM44.

Miller’s output section is fairly minimal, comprised of Left and Right outs, with the occasional Left Right Upper and Left Right Lower. “I always have a Left/Right, side fill, front fill, delay mix, and always provide an ADA house mix for the hearing impaired. One is dedicated for my Smaart computer. It’s an industry-wide reference software package that I use for tuning the sound system into the room environment itself, and for PA time alignment. It’s invaluable and I use it every day… very affordable, very versatile and it really fills a niche for me.”

Within the console, Miller’s effects rack is minimal, consisting of about 4 reverbs and 2 delays. “I’m using the simple vocal plate for Alison’s vocal and the backup vocals, and a simple delay that I use mainly for the Dobro to get a pan effect in some of the slower songs that we do. Other various reverbs I use are for percussion, and I have a warm hall delay that I use on guitars. Obviously in an auditorium, a little reverb on the instruments is always nice. It’s a pretty basic setup because, after having worked with them for 11 years, I try to be as true to the instrument’s sound—and to the recordings—as possible. The music they play has a wide dynamic range, and I like to make the most use out of that, so there’s very little compression.”

Macros and snapshots are two of the must-have features for Miller’s daily workflow. “I like being able to record a macro of an EQ setting that I can use for one particular instrument in one particular song. Typically, I have my console set up so when I have an EQ for a guitar it stays the same through all the snapshots. But when they change instruments using the same line, using the macros I can bring up the EQ I prefer when, say, Ron plays the Banjola on ‘Sinking Stone,’ which is a radically different EQ then I use for his guitar on another song. It’s very simple for me at FoH to be able to recall what I need quickly. I also have an ADK Lyve Tracker digital workstation recording 56 channels at 96K to create a ‘virtual soundcheck’. The SD-10 outputs MADI to Lyve Tracker and at the bottom of the playlist I have a playback snapshot for recalling the output from the Lyve Tracker to the inputs of the console for playback. I’m also using Time Fade a bit between songs, where they go from one song right into another. I can use that to ease in the drums and other instruments and it works very nice. I can just hit the scene and let it transition.”

The SD10 at monitor world is set up and shared for Haley Miller and Bernie Velluti to manage their respective areas—Haley for Alison specifically, and Bernie for the rest of the band. “I set the console up and layered it so I have all my channels on one side of the board and Bernie can have the other side for his. This worked well for us, and it was great to have two sets of eyes on the band at all times. I love the versatility of the board. Being the first time on a DiGiCo, I found it seemed almost limitless in how I could customize the console to my specific needs. The rotary knobs are assignable. For example I’m able to bring my head amp, high pass filter and Pan control right above my channel fader. Within a push of a button the rotary knobs toggle between my settings and Aux sends. The best feature for me, though, is the ability to control the surface offline, although it will get you in trouble if you are not careful. We have a scene for every song and everyday there are some variances in instrumentation, such as proximity of the subs, it changes day to day and affects the level of bass that is put in the ears. As well as pedal boards, they are never the same, even when you mark every knob. Making the appropriate adjustments for these channels has been so easy. Without interrupting audio within the current scene, I’m able to take the surface offline, fire any scene make changes, save and return to audio before the song ends. If I need to make the same change in all or just select scenes, I can edit Range, make the change and confirm it within all the ones selected.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with this console and it will be difficult to jump back on something else when we get back into the shop. The clarity is there for Alison, who is using the Sensaphonics 2Max earbuds with a Shure PSM 900 belt pack. She has told me, ‘It’s so clear and full’. You can really gain it up and it has such a nice fluid transition.”

That low latency rate is one of the console features that resonated with Miller, as well. “I own probably 6-7 other digital consoles now, and these were the first two DiGiCo’s I’ve purchased,” he explained, “and I couldn’t be happier with them. Quite frankly, I really like using the digital consoles we used before, but it came down to the fact that I was looking for a company that was taking advantage of the newer technologies. Having a 96k sampling rate is very important for a low latency sound—and especially for Alison’s in-ears, which is critical. Not to mention the Optocore system. The fact that I can use a tactical fiber for my whole snake line for 96 channels is great. It saves me so much time every day and in some of the situations where I run snake that can be like 500 feet long sometimes! It’s small and easy to hide up against the base of the step where no one’s tripping on it. Frankly, I couldn’t be happier with these consoles.”

“And also, I knew these consoles were going to be versatile after this tour, when we get back to business at home,” he added. “We do a lot of concerts with symphony and a rock & roll bands playing together and having a console where I can get 96 inputs and not take up anymore than 4 seats in an auditorium, 3 rows deep is great. Promoters love that! They’d rather sell tickets.”

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Sound Devices 788T Reaches New Heights in Kathmandu for Recording of Nepalese Music Album

USBPre 2 Proves Invaluable as Stand-Alone Preamp and Portable Interface

KATHMANDU, NEPAL — When Alejandro Sánchez-Samper, assistant professor and assistant director of commercial music at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida, traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal, to record an album of traditional and contemporary Nepalese music earlier this year, he brought Sound Devices 788T digital audio recorder and its USBPre 2 (Sound Devices AES Booth 139) with him to do the job. Sánchez-Samper relied on the Sound Devices 788T to capture live performances for the upcoming album, titled Nepali Ho, while using the USBPre 2 as a stand-alone preamp. more

Auralex to Unveil New ProMAX Panels During AES 2011

Stand-Mounted StudioFoam Absorbers Offer Convenient, Portable Solution

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21, 2011 — Auralex Acoustics, Inc., the industry leader in innovative sound control solutions, will be unveiling its new ProMAX Panels — stand-mounted, portable StudioFoam absorbers — during AES 2011. more

Gepco® International Launches RunOne™ Powered Speaker Cables at AES 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21, 2011 — Gepco International (AES Booth #838), an industry-leading brand in professional audio and video interconnect products, is pleased to introduce a new line of powered speaker cables at the Audio Engineering Society Show (AES) October 21-23, 2011. The new Gepco® Brand RunONE™ Powered Speaker Cables combine audio and power, along with optional data, under one durable yet flexible jacket. With multiple uses for corporations, DJs, lighting rigs and tours, RunONE allows the user to run just one cable in place of multiple cables, providing a portable and neat solution that saves time and hassle.

Each RunONE cable combines one channel of power with two, eight or 12 channels of 110 Ohm balanced audio for line level, mic level or digital AES audio signals and can be used with self-powered speakers or in DMX lighting control. Additional configurations include two channels of Category 5e cable that can be used for data drops in remote power and audio applications. Snakes with optional data can also be used for digital audio transmission while running power to Front of House (FOH) for remote locations. Shielding around the power channels eliminates power noise from interrupting the audio/data signal, ensuring high-quality performance.

Terminated with industry-standard connectors, RunONE cables offer the option of Edison, IEC and Neutrik® powerCON® connectors for the power channel; 3-pin XLR, 5-pin XLR (for DMX lighting), TRS and Neutrik® convertCON® connectors for audio channels; and RJ45 and Neutrik® etherCON® connectors for optional data channels. RunONE cables are available in pre-defined and custom configurations.

“The RunONE cables are a great solution for anyone looking to save time,” said Joe Zajac, Market Development Manager for Gepco® Brand Products. “With up to 12 channels of audio combined with power and the optional two channels of data, the RunONE cables will also provide for much cleaner set-ups.”

General Cable (NYSE:BGC), a Fortune 500 Company, is a global leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products for the energy, industrial, and communications markets. In August 2009, Gepco International was acquired by General Cable. For more information about General Cable products, please contact your local sales representative or visit our Web site at www.gepco.com or www.generalcable.com.

Gepco International has been an industry-leading brand of studio, stage and broadcast AV cables and cable assemblies for 30 years. As a complete solutions-based supplier, Gepco also offers value-added service and distribution of connectors, cable management products, patch panels, and wire and cable accessories.

Sound Devices Introduces New Mix Assist Feature for its 788T Digital Audio Recorder at AES 2011

Distinguishes Background Noise from Speech During Recording

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21, 2011 — Sound Devices, experts in portable hard-disk recording for audio, introduces Mix Assist, a new feature for its 788T Multi-Track Digital Audio Recorder, at AES 2011 (Booth 139). This new feature is available as a no-charge firmware update to all new and existing 788T customers. more

Gepco® International Announces Addition of Two-Channel Heavy-Duty Tactical Cat 5e Cable at AES 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21, 2011 — Gepco International (AES Booth #838), an industry-leading brand in professional audio and video interconnect products, is pleased to announce the addition of CTS2504HDX to the Gepco® Brand CT504HD Series of Heavy-Duty Tactical Category 5e Cables at the Audio Engineering Society Show (AES) October 21-23, 2011. An ideal solution for applications that require multiple or redundant channels of Cat 5e cables in remote production or staging applications, the CTS2504HDX 2-channel snake consists of two elements of Gepco’s CT504HDX heavy-duty tactical Cat 5e cable under an overall rugged TPE jacket for exceptional durability and flexibility.

The CT504HD series was created to meet the increased demand of audio/video professionals who require a rugged, reliable, portable and flexible cable solution. Typically, the electrical performance and bandwidth of conventional Cat 5 cable is degraded through physical damage when used in portable applications. The unique double-jacket construction of the CT504HD series eliminates this issue. While the inner jacket maintains the proper physical spacing between pairs to achieve ISO/IEC or TIA/EIA Cat 5e specifications, the durable TPE outer jacket protects the cable from physical damage or abuse.

In addition to the new CTS2504HDX, the CT504HD series of heavy-duty Cat 5e cables includes three other types. The original CT504HD has 24 AWG stranded conductors for exceptional flexibility, while the CT504HDX features 24 AWG solid conductors for lower attenuation that allows for the full, recommended TIA distances for Cat 5e network cable. With the same basic construction as the new CTS2504HDX, the CTS4504HDX is a 4-channel snake consisting of four elements of CT504HDX under an overall rugged TPE jacket.

Heavy-duty Tactical Category 5e Assemblies provide a pre-terminated cabling solution for hostile environments. The CT504HD, CT504HDX and each element of the CTS2504HDX and CTS4504HDX can be terminated with either standard Cat 5 RJ45 connectors or ruggedized Neutrik® etherCON® connectors.

“The concern among Cat 5e cable users in the professional audio/video industry has been that it isn’t durable enough to handle the traditional wear and tear associated with the workload,” said Joe Zajac, Market Development Manager for Gepco® Brand Products. “Our CT504HD series was designed specifically to meet the needs of portable applications and provides the answer to professionals who are looking for a Cat 5e solution in remote environments.”

General Cable (NYSE:BGC), a Fortune 500 Company, is a global leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products for the energy, industrial, and communications markets. In August 2009, Gepco International was acquired by General Cable. For more information about General Cable products, please contact your local sales representative or visit our Web site at www.gepco.com or www.generalcable.com.

Gepco International has been an industry-leading brand of studio, stage and broadcast AV cables and cable assemblies for 30 years. As a complete solutions-based supplier, Gepco also offers value-added service and distribution of connectors, cable management products, patch panels, and wire and cable accessories.

RTW Brings Its New Design for the SurroundControl Series to AES 2011

Changes Include a Product Redesign and Addition of New LRA Instrument to the 3.0 Software

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21, 2011 — RTW, a leading vendor of visual audio meters for professional broadcast, production, post-production and quality control, will be showcasing at AES 2011 (Group One Booth 530), its newly designed version of the SurroundControl series. As a result of the new worldwide EBU/ITU loudness regulations, RTW took the opportunity to give one of its flagship products a facelift, which includes a modern, sleek design and the inclusion of its new loudness-range instrument (LRA). more

RTW’s New TM3 TouchMonitor Makes North American Debut At AES 2011

Latest Addition to the TouchMonitor Range Offers an Affordable Solution for Pro-Level Loudness, True-Peak and PPM Metering for Analog and Digital Stereo and 5.1 Signals

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21, 2011 — RTW, a leading vendor of visual audio meters for professional broadcast, production, post-production and quality control, is proud to announce the TM3, the latest addition to the company’s successful TouchMonitor range. The new TM3 will be on display for AES attendees to see first-hand at the Group One booth, #530. more

SSL ANNOUNCES NEW NATIVE RTAS VERSIONS OF ACCLAIMED DUENDE PLUG-INS AT AES 2011

RTAS Versions of Duende Native Plug-ins are First Fruit From New SSL Avid Developer Partnership

NEW YORK – Solid State Logic, the world’s leading manufacturer of professional analogue and digital audio consoles, announces the imminent release of new RTAS versions of the acclaimed SSL Duende Native plug-in collection at AES 2011 (Booth 623).
more

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HARMAN’s AKG IVM 4500 In Ear Monitor Offers Audio Quality Without Compromise

NEW YORK, New York – Building the company’s global reputation for leading wireless sound monitoring systems, HARMAN’s AKG introduces the IVM 4500 IEM in-ear monitoring package at AES 2011, providing higher level audio quality without compromising reference capability. Ideal for tour and installed sound, IVM 4500 caters to all needs of engineers with leading edge reference audio technology.

IVM 4500 IEM offers a highly diversified system, which includes high-end radio electronic signals and a manual radio signal attenuator for more RF dynamic; enhanced frequency setup to show the number of free channels and supported TV channels and quick frequency change functions to support monitors, all within a rugged housing and offerings of new bands: 1, 3, 4 and 9. Battery life for the IVM receivers has been tested up to 10 hours.

Antenna diversity, with two matched antennas and a new reference radio electronic design contribute to the stable signals of the receiver. IVM 4500’s audio quality boasts a high-end and powerful headphone amplifier, ultra linear frequency response and dual mode for individual mix. The quick frequency change functions support monitor engineers throughout performances to make their projects easily adjustable.

“The AKG IVM 4500 IEM in-ear monitoring hardware sets a new standard in audio quality and radio performance as we continue to provide engineers with the best and highest functioning equipment available,” stated Wolfgang Fritz, product marketing manager – tour sound, AKG. “With the launch of IVM 4500 IEM, AKG adds another wireless system to the continually growing arsenal of wireless systems on the market. It will truly be a groundbreaking system to the touring industry as the search for the ultimate monitoring sound continues.”

Included in the IVM 4500 IEM system are the SPR 4500 IEM diversity receiver, which automatically shows the number of free channels and supports TV channels with pre-programmed preset frequencies; the SST 4500 IEM transmitter, which is adjustable to 10, 20, 50 and 100 mW depending on country laws; and the IP 2 ear-channel headphones, providing excellent acoustics and low impedance. The SPC 4500 antenna combiner, the SRA 2 W directional antenna and the RA 4000 W omni-directional antenna complete the package.

For more information on IVM 4500 and AKG, please visit http://www.akg.com.

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