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METRIC HALO SUPPORTS LIVE ORGAN RECORDING AT ST. PETER’S LUTHERAN CHURCH DURING AES TECH TOUR

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 2011: It was a unique confluence of events in late October that led to a mind-expanding technical tour for participants of the annual AES conference in New York City. Veteran classical music engineer and educator Bill Siegmund of Digital Island Studios, LLC, organized the “Live Organ Recital Recording” tour, a rather grey title for an event that ended up lively and colorful. The recording took place at New York’s famed St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Well known as ‘the jazz church,’ St. Peter’s current sanctuary resides below the Citigroup Building and was constructed with an ear for music. Celebrated organist Walter Hilse played the church’s massive Klais manual tracker organ, and Siegmund recorded it with the help of his trusty Metric Halo interfaces. The event allowed participants to reflect not just on the mechanics of mic placement and remote monitoring, but also on the philosophical underpinnings of recording and the place of recorded music in today’s technological zeitgeist.

Although Siegmund was excited to encourage experimentation regarding many aspects of the session, the core of his rig was, after years of development, set. He placed a Metric Halo ULN-8 and an LIO-8 (outfitted with mic pres) on stage, minimizing delicate mic-level cable runs. The Metric Halo boxes provided high-end preamplification and AD conversion. The digital outputs fed an RME MADI converter for the long run downstairs to the makeshift control room where DA conversion was handled by another LIO-8. There, a MacBook and a surround sound ensemble of Neumann KH 120 monitors paired with a Genelec 7070A subwoofer allowed all participants to travel back and forth between the hall and the control room for an “is it live, or is it Memorex?” experience.

Siegmund originally converted, so to speak, to Metric Halo converters in 2005 with a 2882+DSP. “The flexibility, compactness, and sound of the 2882 is what drew me to Metric Halo originally,” he said. “And when they introduced the 2D card I added one in 2009. But as I came to appreciate a few of the 2882′s limitations, I petitioned Metric Halo for an updated box that would overcome them. Quite independently, they introduced the ULN-8 just weeks later. Although I’ve never been an early adopter, the ULN-8 was like a dream come true. I purchased mine two days later, taking advantage of the deal Metric Halo extended to existing users. And when it arrived, my new ULN-8 came straight out of the box and with me to Nashville to record Schnittke violin sonatas for Naxos with classical producer and fellow MH user Jamey Lamar.”

“Now I use my ULN-8, together with the sibling LIO-8 (with mic pres), on every date. They’re road warriors! I appreciate the fact that each unit packs eight channels of fantastic preamplification, conversion, DSP, routing, and mixing into just one rack space. With all their mic gain, my ribbons never break a sweat, and my Schoeps, DPA, Neumann and Sennheiser condensers work to their full potential. Moreover, I can adjust gain and routing from a remote control room. I was able to sell my Rosetta 800 and eight channels of John Hardy M-1s, shaving valuable pounds from my remote recording rigs.”

He also cites the ability to pre-configure sessions via Metric Halo software – away from the stress of the actual event – as a great contributor to more effective workflow. “In May 2010, WFMT in Chicago hired us to do the first live radio broadcast from the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. We had mics for performers onstage, our two radio hosts, and their guests, set up in the stage left wing and we set up a control room in the back of the house. The ULN-8 was onstage, one of my 2882s was in the wing, and another 2882 was in the control room (I hadn’t gotten my LIO-8 yet). We didn’t know how many guests we were going to have nor when they would appear. And ISDN transmission lines out of the hall were only installed on the afternoon of the show! But with MIO Console I was able to set-up a mixer in advance, one with enough flexibility and room for expansion to accommodate the inevitable “oh, by the way” changes at the venue. The broadcast went to air flawlessly.”

Meanwhile, back at St. Peter’s, Siegmund began with a mic setup that he has used successfully there before. A pair of DPA 4006 TLs (with acoustical pressure equalizers to form an M 50-like polar pattern) together with an M-S pair of Schoeps MK 41 and MK 8, formed a Decca tree for the principle pickup. A pair of Schoeps MK 21s in an NOS-array was pointed away from the organ and used for surround pickup. “To produce the final mix, I use the surround mics to feed a reverb unit,” he explained. “It’s a wonderfully diffuse input.” The tree plus surrounds were about thirty-five feet off the floor on a custom mic stand. And since this was also an AES tech tour, Siegmund added three alternate stereo pick-ups for comparison. A pair of Neumann Solution D digital mics hung fifteen feet up. Sennheiser MKH-800s were used in a Blumlein array. Lastly, and most curiously, he used the room’s catwalk to suspend a spaced pair of Schoeps MK 2H omnis sixty feet off the floor.

“One of the students asked the very reasonable question, why are we putting mics in places where no human ears ever go?” recalled Siegmund. “Resident cantor and organist Thomas Schmidt beat me to the answer. He pointed out that, for instance, you can go to Carnegie Hall, sit in the back row, and still have a wonderful musical experience. But if you stuck mics there, you’d never be hired again! The information content and context of recorded music is quite different from the live experience, and the recording technique demands a different approach. As recording engineers, it’s our responsibility to keep a listener engaged when the visual and visceral elements of a live performance are not present. It turns out that an organ recording will often convey the excitement of the live experience with the mics high up off the floor.”

Very special thanks for a successful AES Technical Tour go to Allen Rowand and Jon Stern of Metric Halo, Chris Spahr of Sennheiser USA, Duke Markos of Duke Markos Audio, and AES Convention Chairman Jim Anderson.

ABOUT METRIC HALO Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, 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

API 1608 INSTALLED AT CANYON HUT RECORDING STUDIO

LAUREL CANYON, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 2011: Constructed in rocker Alice Cooper’s former house in 2008, Canyon Hut Recording Studio has recently acquired and installed a fully analog, all-discrete API 1608 console. According to co-owner Tim Hutton, picking the right console was an easy decision once he heard the 1608.

“When making the decision to buy a console, I knew it had to feel ‘right’ in my gut,” said Hutton. I tested many and most of them were fairly linear. The 1608 was the only console that was un-darkened, incredibly warm and all embracing. Its design is flawless and I felt right at home when I first sat down and started tracking.”

Hutton is a songwriter, producer and bassist, and co-owns the Canyon Hut with his brother, Dash. The brothers were born into a musical family, as their father, Danny Hutton, was a founding member of classic rock band Three Dog Night. Touring as children with the group, Tim and Dash were able to interact with influential musicians such as Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Glen Campbell and America. After attending the Hamilton Music Academy and later touring with his band, the Telacasters, Tim started to record and produce tracks for some of his friends’ bands. The recording hobby later turned into a full-time gig, and Tim knew he needed to find a professional soundboard.

“Things really took off at that point,” he said. “I decided I needed ‘the best’ console. I was already very happy with my API 554s and 525s, so I decided to test the 1608. I was floored. It was exactly what I needed, wanted, and demanded to make the Canyon Hut one of the best studios in Los Angeles.”

Two famous studios were the inspiration for Canyon Hut’s “2001 meets the 1950s” design, with the control room situated so that it looks down into the live room, similar to Abbey Road and Motown. Canyon Hut’s live room also shares dimensions close to those of Motown. The studio offers an extensive microphone selection, a 1959 B3 Hammond organ and a 1929 Parlor grand piano. Canyon Hut’s past clients include Film School, TS and The Past Haunts, Three Dog Night and HB Surround Sound.

“I really want the world to know that we are a one-stop shop. We can engineer, produce, mix, play, sing, whatever the record needs, all with the best gear – the 1608.”

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

Brainstorm Introduces SR-112 Time Code Distripalyzer and DCD-12 Word Clock Distributor

New Versions of Industrywide Favorites for Time Code and Clocking Solutions

Brainstorm Electronics, the world leader in time code and clocking solutions, has introduced two new versions of its industrywide favorites for time code and clocking solutions.

Brainstorm SR-112

Brainstorm’s new SR-112 Time Code Distripalyzer, replaces the industry standard SR-15+. It is a time code reader, distributor, reshaper, analyzer and generator all in a 1U rack mount device. The analyzer indicates format, frame rate, errors and video phase and outputs a comprehensive report; the 1×12 distributor reshapes the signal; the optional generator repairs drop-outs and generates new code. All SMPTE and EBU SD/HD rates are supported. Ethernet is included for reporting and to set parameters and update firmware.

Brainstorm DCD-12

The new single domain DCD-12 Word Clock Distributor/Generator is an excellent companion for the popular DCD-8 and includes the same exceptional jitter rejection. The DCD-12 can run as a master generator on internal crystal or locked to an external reference such as WC, Video Sync (HD & SD), AES31, S/PDIF, 10 MHz (GPS or Rubidium clock). The rate of the reference (input) is “learned” by the DCD-12 automatically while the output rate can be identical or set independently. Ethernet is included to monitor and set parameters and update firmware.

About Brainstorm
Brainstorm products deliver complete solutions for all sync requirements in the post- production, recording and broadcast environments. Designed for operations ranging from audio recording studios to large post-production houses and major broadcast facilities or remotes, Brainstorm offers the most comprehensive package for all clocking needs, providing versatility in the widest range of applications.

For more info about Brainstorm, visit distributor plus24:
http://www.plus24.net or phone 323.845.1171

WIRELESS FIRST USES NEW CLAIR GLOBAL WIRELESS ANTENNA TO HANDLE EIGHTY-SIX RF CHANNELS AT ROCKEFELLER TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY

rockcenter_xmaslighting_2011.JPGNEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 2011: When construction workers decorated a twenty-foot tree with paper garlands, cranberry strings, and the tinfoil ends of blasting caps in the early years of the Great Depression, they had no way of knowing they were starting a beloved holiday tradition. Today, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in midtown Manhattan is a national symbol of the season. The tree’s lighting ceremony in late November has blossomed into a two-hour television special, complete with nostalgic hosts, the Radio City Rockettes, and performances by pop music icons, both contemporary and enduring. As in years past, NBC hired Wireless First, a Clair Global Company, to wrangle eighty-six channels of mission-critical wireless RF that spanned a full city block. In addition to an encyclopedic knowledge of all things RF and decades of in-the-trenches experience, Wireless First’s successful package included the new, innovative more

Canadian Indie Music Fest Rifflandia Gets Amped With DiGiCo

Canada’s Rifflandia Festival has been called Victoria’s version of SXSW, featuring some of the best and brightest Canadian and international indie artists. This year’s stellar lineup included 4 days of 110 artists on 9 stages and showcased bands from City and Colour and Cold War Kids to De La Soul and Blackalicious. Doug Lyngard of Victoria’s D.L. Sound & Lighting Productions handled three stages of the audio production for the event, rounding up two DiGiCo SD9s from its inventory, supplemented by an additional SD9 and SD11 provided by Vancouver’s Gerr Audio. The feedback from engineers handling the event—as well as the guest engineers who sat in with their bands—was nothing short of glowing, with all citing the ease of use and stellar sound among their favorite DiGiCo traits.

Lyngard purchased the SD9s back in 2010 and has used them on myriad festivals and events over the last year with great success. “The sonic quality of the console is the main reason why I purchased them,” he explained, “and of course, the DiGiCo name. I also like the fact that once you learn one SD console, you’re good to go on the rest of the series.”

At FOH on the festival Side Stage was Craig Brittain on an SD9. No stranger to DiGiCo, he’s been using DiGiCo consoles handling monitors for the better part of the last four years with Michael Buble. “After falling in love with DiGiCo and a D5 on a European tour with Michael, it became my go-to console of choice for any tour/artist. I am a big fan of the DiGiCo sound and currently am using an SD7 as we tour around the world.

At Rifflandia, having a chance to spend a bit of time on the smaller SD9, I was impressed at how DiGiCo have managed to keep the sonic quality utilizing the Stealth Digital Processing. It’s nice with the DiGiCo to know what you are getting yourself into and how things are going to sound. From the SD9 to the SD7—and now the new additions to the SD line—nothing matches where DiGiCo is at sonically. Having taken the next step in processing using Stealth technology, it’s easy to forget the limits of traditional DSP chip configurations. I have said it before and will repeat it until I am blue in the face, but nothing on the market compares to that of any DiGiCo consoles!”

“When looking at the festival line-up I was responsible for, and knowing I was going to be using an SD9, I simply came up with a template the day/night before the first day of shows that I programmed in to accommodate all of the bands and was good to go for the first soundcheck the following day. I knew that my knowledge of the console would aid the visiting engineers with little or no experience on the desk. Any artist with the luxury of a morning soundcheck, I simply stored the snapshot and carried about the rest of the day!”

Over at the Metro Theatre stage on an SD11, it was FOH engineer Jim Kent’s first time on a DiGiCo. With only a day of preparation prior to the fest, he found the console’s interface and layout extremely intuitive to use. “The graphic interface was fantastic! I found it very helpful that the screen was speaking to me in an analog/graphic way. I really liked the channel layouts and found them very natural for mixing on the fly. I had some guest FOH engineers with a few of the bands and they found it very easy to navigate. We all particularly liked the fact that the controls were right below the compressor graphics, i.e. threshold/ratio/attack. I also found the FX rack to be very easy to manipulate the same way, and was able to pull live echo repeats and reverb effects on the fly. Being a festival setup, we went from 4 channels to 32 in less than 30 minutes… add a vintage guitar pedal as a vocal effect and a video feed, and all was accomplished well within time. The SD9 performed perfectly and did not get in the way of the creative process. The DiGiCo, too, sounded great. I had a solo artist on stage at one point and the console was able to reproduce voice and guitar with all the meat one needs and get the spit in the throat that I like to hear on an intimate vocal.”

Another DiGiCo newbie was engineer Tim Herron, stationed on an SD9 at monitor world at the Alix Goolden Hall. Given the task of operating both lights and monitors for multiple bands an evening—and with no hands-on time prior to the event—Herron found the console allowed him to work quickly and efficiently. “Arriving at 1pm we did the first show at 9pm and that was without even having seen the board before. I was able to learn how to navigate everything I needed and get up to speed relatively easily without having to have a dumbed-down feature set, and the SD9 had a nice combination of great features combined with pure usability. I felt like the board was working for me and not the other way around (which is not always the case with digital consoles). The SD9 had the look and feel of an analog console with its ability to label and save during soundcheck. During the festival, we had some very hardcore analog-console-using FOH engineers. One said that it was the best-sounding digital board he had encountered and another said that it was the most sonically transparent console she had used. My impressions were that the sound quality was superior to the other digitals I have used and that the console certainly was an excellent choice for an event like Rifflandia where sonic quality was the major consideration in intimate event venues. I know that I will be looking forward to using this console again.”

Mixing FOH at the Alix Goolden Hall was Paul Gatien on another SD9. Gatien’s extensive experience mixing on the console for the 2010-2011 summer seasons at Victoria’s Butchart Gardens proved invaluable—with a diverse entertainment schedule showcasing around 64 shows from folk and Jazz to classic rock and the Victoria Symphony. “The SD9 proved handy especially for the store and recall ability when dealing with the repeat and weekly shows, both at Butchart and Rifflandia. The sonic quality of the SD9 was amazing, too; it didn’t have that ‘digital edge’ that I have encountered with other digital consoles.”

Handling up to 32 channels of inputs from the stage at Rifflandia, Gatien opted for a basic festival stage microphone patch as they were missing some of the technical riders from the artists. Fortunately, most bands were able to soundcheck prior to their sets, which helped with changeovers.

“To avoid gain sharing, we used a passive splitter snake and sent a monitor split to a D-Rack located at the monitor mix position and another split to a D-Rack located at the FOH position. At FOH I used 2 line outs from the D-Rack for the Left and Right speaker mains and 1 output for the lip fill speakers. I also used 2 line outputs for the balcony fills. I ran all of these outputs as Matrix outputs off the Master fader. Being able to store the soundcheck and then recall the settings for the show was probably my favorite feature of the SD9. I stored each soundcheck as a session file and then recalled it for the show. In order to be consistent, I made up a session file template and at the end of each soundcheck made sure that I was consistent in what channels I had muted and/or left turned on, such as the music from the laptop. This way as I was loading the next band’s session file all parameters would stay the same and there was no noticeable transition from one bands session file to the next.”

SYMETRIX ANNOUNCES 2011 INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR AND REP AWARD WINNERS

(Pictured from left to right) Hock Thang and Paul Roberts of Symetrix, Jun Zhu and Alan Ho from Sanecore Audio Ltd.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 2011: Symetrix announced its international distributor and sales representative award winners for fiscal year 2011. UK-based World Marketing Associates earned International Rep of the Year for the tremendous strides it made in introducing Symetrix’ innovative solutions to a broad range of industry professionals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Norway-based Fotophono earned Symetrix’ Distributor of the Year Award in Europe. For the second consecutive year, China-based Sanecore Audio Ltd. in the Asia-Pacific region and Canada-based SF Marketing in the Americas earned International Distributor of the Year Awards.

“We’re doing everything we can to build DSP solutions for a wide range of applications,” said Paul Roberts, director of sales and marketing for Symetrix. “But all of our efforts are for naught if our products don’t find their way into the hands of industry professionals. Therefore, we are grateful for the efforts and successes of our reps and international distributors as exemplified by World Marketing Associates, Fotophono, Sanecore, and SF Marketing and are excited for 2012.”

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.

PERCUSSIONIST AND COMPOSER JOHN ARRUCCI USES THE METRIC HALO ULN-8 TO RECORD AND MIX METAPHORS

HOPEWELL JUNCTION, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 2011: Although one is tempted to write baldly that John Arrucci is a percussionist just as, for example, Albert Einstein was a scientist, Arrucci’s modest nature would probably not tolerate the comparison. So… suffice it to say, Arrucci is very talented. His biography includes twenty-plus years on the faculty at Princeton University; study on three continents; mastery of Classical, Jazz, North Indian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, and other traditions; and a fine and very extensive list of composition and performance credits on high-profile albums, movies, and commercials. Arrucci’s latest passion is demonstrated in Metaphors, the first of three albums of his original compositions. Months of painstaking research led him to the Metric Halo ULN-8 preamp/converter/interface, on which the entire album was both recorded and mixed.

“I was updating my studio in preparation for Metaphors,” Arrucci said. “I needed preamps, AD converters, and a monitor controller. I was grateful for the help of three friends, each of whom is an expert engineer with a unique and strong opinion about audio.” Arrucci resolved to purchase only equipment upon which all three engineers could agree. “Two were Mac guys and the other was a PC guy,” he continued. “But that was just the start. They each had very different feelings and criteria.” To arrive at an unbiased decision, the group gathered together the contenders and then conducted a blind shootout. “The Metric Halo ULN-8 was the clear winner and earned each of their approvals,” he proclaimed.

One of the consulting engineers was Mike Cirile, who would also later record the initial session tracks for Metaphors. But before he did, Cirile gave Professor Arrucci some homework. “I am certainly not an engineer,” Arrucci asserted. “But I’m making a good-faith effort to become more knowledgeable about engineering. The Metric Halo ULN-8 is a deep piece of gear and it ships with some powerful routing and mixing software. Mike knew I wanted to really learn how to use it, so he gave me assignments to build [virtual] mixers in Metric Halo’s MIO Console. The assignments were complicated. I had to create big mixers that had all kinds of groups with ‘pre-fader-this’ and ‘post-fader-that.’ Although it was initially challenging, I learned a lot, and now I feel empowered.”

The first, Cirile-engineered sessions featured piano, bass, and, of course, drums. After that, Arrucci took over the engineering duties for his own overdubs, which included marimba, conga, vibraphone, alto flute, and a handful of other exotic instruments. “The ULN-8 was utterly solid,” he said. “I had had problems in the past with interfaces that didn’t want to play nicely with my Mac, but the ULN-8 was not only well-integrated in terms of the user-interface and stability, but there was also zero perceivable latency. It was nice to just use the box, without having to jury rig a work-around solution for latency on overdubs.”

He continued, “Everyone involved in the initial sessions commented about the strikingly beautiful sound on playback, before anything had been effected, processed or mixed. I felt gratified that my rigorous vetting process had paid off. The Metric Halo ULN-8 was really going to put the music, on which I’ve worked so hard in its best light.” Arrucci edited in Digital Performer and then used Digital Performer together with Metric Halo MIO Console to mix. Metaphors is now available at www.JohnArrucci.com, as well as from the usual suspects (iTunes, Amazon, etc.). A portion of the proceeds from album sales will go directly to the Rotary Foundation’s global fight to eradicate polio.

ABOUT METRIC HALO
Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, 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

Capitol Theatre Chooses Yamaha PM5D for Sound and Reliability

BUENA PARK, Calif.—The Capitol Theatre in Moncton, Canada, is an architectural jewel and one of only a few examples anywhere in Canada of pre-war theatres that have been authentically and historically restored. The 800-seat beauty has been completely improved upon over the past two years and most recently, added a Yamaha PM5D digital audio console for front of house, joining the previously-installed LS9 digital console used as the house monitor console.

Purchased by the City of Moncton in 1991, the theatre hosts over 200 events per year ranging from local graduations to full theatre productions, regional and national touring companies—musical events counting for 80% of the hall’s performances. The venue’s Capitol School of Performing Arts offers various programs for children as well as adults on a continual basis.

“We knew we wanted go to digital,” states Eric Hache, technical director of the Capitol Theatre. “We looked at what products were available on the market and were given demonstrations of various products. We spoke with the touring staff coming into the theatre and knew the product we wanted had to be user friendly, and that within minutes, the engineer would be able to control the board even if they had never experienced it previously. The console also had to sound good and be reliable.”

Hache said they had heard the Yamaha PM5D on various tours and although there were newer consoles on the market, it became clear that the Yamaha PM5D was the logical choice. “Installing and using it for the past six months in the Capitol Theatre confirmed our decision. I didn’t want a console that was overly computerized, and I wanted it to be much like analog in its operational
aspect.”

The Capitol Theatre has a wide range of microphones consisting of AKG, Shure, Neumann, and Sennheiser. The theatre also added a new Christie DHD700 projector, with three screens to choose from, the latest being a 13×21 DaLite Series 300. The lighting system consists of an ETC ION with two universal 20 fader wings, six Mac250 Entour movers, 12 SGM Palco 3s, 15 LumiLED700s, and 96 ETC conventional fixtures.

For more information on the Capitol Theatre, visit www.capitol.nb.ca.

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

-END-

About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
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.

CLAIR GLOBAL INTRODUCES THE CF 1090 FRACTAL ANTENNA

cf1090_fractalantenna.JPGLITITZ, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 2011: Clair Global is introducing the CF 1090 Fractal Antenna for live entertainment applications worldwide. The creation of the CF 1090 is a study in guided serendipity.

In the summer of 2010, Clair Global acquired Wireless First. Both the company’s founder, Kevin Sanford and his chief engineer Josh Flower had been working on a new wireless antenna in their shop for several years. Now, as part of the Clair team, they moved quickly to take advantage of Clair’s innovative spirit and talented staff. The final stroke of genius was the inclusion of Dr. Nathan Cohen, whose decades of experience as founder of Fractal Antenna Systems Inc. make him one of the world’s foremost experts on the technology at the CF 1090′s heart. Using fractal technologies, whereby self-similar scaling of antenna elements both reduces housing size and increases frequency range, more

Philadelphia’s Annenberg PAC Celebrates 40th Anniversary With 
Complete Audio Overhaul

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. As one of the nation’s preeminent urban performing arts centers on a major university campus, the center has a storied history in the performing arts, presenting world-renowned and emerging artists and companies in its four-decade history. Leading up to the anniversary, the goal was to bring one of its main venues, the Zellerbach—a 900-seat proscenium theatre that accommodates a wide array of events, including dance, theatre, music, comedy, lectures, meetings and teleconferences—up to date and revamp its nearly 20-year-old audio system in its entirety. This complete renovation encompassed the upgrade of the FOH console to a DiGiCo SD9, and replacing the archaic PA with a Clair Brothers R2T PA system in a LCR configuration, comprising Clair CS18-II subs, QSC PL series amps and BSS London processing. 



“The Zellerbach Theatre has a rich history in the Philadelphia area and the hopes for the upgrade were to have all the elements in place for the anniversary—as a sort of unveiling,” explained Annenberg sound engineer, Daniel Araco, who ran point on the project and worked with both Clair and the Annenberg’s finance department to secure funding and approve work schedules. “The project was sparked by Madison Cario, Director of Operations and Special Artistic Initiatives at the Center. Replacing the system would have been the most desirable outcome, however that was not in the budget, so renovation was the best option. Since Roy Clair installed the original system, we scheduled Clair Bros. to tackle the project. Clair’s Project Manager/System Designer Timothy Owen Mazur put together a scope of work to replace the speaker and horn components, repower the system and upgrade the amplifiers/DSP, and to purchase a new console. The goal of trying to achieve a lot with a limited budget was the challenge.”

For consideration as a console option, Mazur pointed Araco in the direction of a DiGiCo SD9 as a viable solution and with the capability to handle both FOH and monitor functionalities from its location on the theatre’s right side under the balcony. Taking several consoles for trial runs, Araco knew immediately that the SD9 would fill the bill and more.

“The SD9 had many of the desirable features we were looking for and the price point was right in line with what was budgeted for our space,” Araco added. “However, one function was most important to us when we considered the best choice console for the theatre: for a multi-disciplinary venue like the Annenberg Center—where everyday we serve the needs of theatre, dance, university events, student productions, many different music genres and even televised events—flexibility was a key factor. Being able to quickly and easily serve all of those artists is not just cost-effective it’s what we’ve built our reputation upon. The large full-color 15″ LCD touch screen and scribble strips ensured that all functions of the system were available immediately without having to scroll through multiple menus or having to use a mouse. The automation and ‘snapshot’ capabilities made it easy to store cues for multiple theatrical situations with ease, and the sonic performance/transparency that the SD9 provided to my ear is what sold me on the worksurface immediately. To my ear, the DiGiCo sold itself. Probably the most challenging hurdle in spec’ing the SD9 was the digital divide. I’ve spent my entire career on an analog desk, so for me it was like going from a typewriter to computer. The DiGiCo was the best possible solution to drag me into 21st century and the transition was very smooth with Clair Audio Systems and DiGiCo. We have gone through the DiGiCo training and they have always been available for questions should we need it, and this has really solidified our relationship.”

In addition, and with monies saved, Araco was able to put together an on-stage monitor system with the house analog console and the purchase of a split to add-on to their existing floor monitors a few additional db Technologies speakers.

Now that the theatre’s new system is up and running and the 2011/2012 Season is well underway, everyone involved is thrilled with the outcome. “Everyone is pleased with the sonic performance of the new systems, and other engineers are excited to see the new workspace and eager to check out the interface—even first-time engineers are able to understand the basics of the console with a few short lessons. The venue staff are happy to see the replacement of several large snakes near the aisle with a nearly invisible CAT-5 cable. But perhaps the biggest endorsement is from the stage crews, who no longer have to lug massive, heavy analog rentals up and down two flights of stairs to reach the mix position!”

“The project, which started with discussion and budgets during the summer of 2010,” Araco recalled, “was completed in several stages over the course of the spring and summer of 2011. We are now poised to show off the completed renovation for our 40th anniversary season… just as we had hoped.”

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Stay up to date on the latest technology news. Select press representatives post company news several times a day. Check back often to get the latest news on product releases, mergers and acquisitions, and product applications. To be included in this virtual press conference, please contact The Wire.

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