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DiGiCo/Optocore System Streamlines Complex 2013 TED Conference

Leading thinkers and doers from around the globe recently gathered in Long Beach, California, for the annual TED Conference. The topical event, which was held February 25-March 1, 2013, was structured around a theme: “The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.”

The fast-paced format of 50+ TED Talks and musical performances presented a dizzying array of talent exploring science, business, the arts and global issues facing our world, and introduced attendees to people who are collectively shaping the future. The production was recorded live, simulcast throughout the Long Beach Performing Arts Center and a satellite location in Palm Springs, and also mixed down for broadcast via webcast to a worldwide audience.

McCune Audio TED Crew: Pete Bender, project manager, McCune; Nick Malgieri, monitors/head of audio (SD10); Erik Sandberg, Front of House mixer/System Tech (2x SD10); Louis Adamo, assistant broadcast mixer/Pro Tools (SD5); Bill Knight, head broadcast mixer (Stage Tec Crescendo fed via MADI from SD5); Matt Chavez, grounds mixer (SD8-24); John Wolcott, Technical stage manager; Chris ("Crimson Avenger") de la Fuente, wireless mic wrangler; David Roth, RF/asst com; Mike Breckenridge, com/asst RF

McCune Audio/Video/Lighting, one of the oldest and largest rental/sound service companies in the country, has been handling TED’s production since the first Conference was held in 1984. McCune is responsible for cameras, live sound/broadcast mixes, amplification, graphics and video projection, and simulcast.

For the 2013 event, McCune’s Nick Malgieri, with cooperation (and console support) from Hi-Tech Audio’s Louis Adamo and freelance FOH engineer Erik Sandberg, undertook the massive task of retooling the audio footprint to handle the ever-growing demands of the multifaceted conference. The decision to go with an all-DiGiCo/Optocore network offered speed, flexibility and a streamlined infrastructure for the elaborate production. Preproduction alone for the event took nearly a week.

The overall audio system was comprised of two SD10s for FOH, an SD10 for monitors, an SD5 that handled live music mixes for broadcast, an SD8-24 for submixing/distribution, four D racks, and an SD-Rack for all I/O, complemented by an extensive, 12-zone Meyer PA and McCauley wedges.

“The TED Conference is the most technically challenging project that I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of,” says McCune Project Manager Pete Bender, who has been involved since TED3 back in 1992. “It has become the conference by which all others are measured, and every year they raise the expectations on content and quality. There is such a wide variety of content, and so many different audiences and recording needs that need to be managed, that it requires an extremely flexible audio system. The DiGiCo and Optocore system was an enormous improvement over previous years. The flexibility of the networked DiGiCo consoles, as well as the Stage Tec console in the TV truck, gave us the ability to route submixes and outputs to virtually any location on the stage or in the truck. This streamlined the system and allowed the engineers to respond to every last-minute request that we could possibly throw at them. And we threw them a lot. Additionally, the fiber network contributed to savings in time and manpower on both the install and strike days.”

At FOH, a pair of side-by-side DiGiCo SD10s helmed by Erik Sandberg handled the live audio mix—approximately 200 inputs, including 26 channels of wireless, 24 channels of stereo playback devices (primarily video sources), 48 inputs allotted for guest artists and bands as well as a number of submixes for the other consoles.

One SD10 was set up specifically for the corporate production inputs, while the other managed all the live music inputs. A third monitor SD10 console was housed in a rolling road case and wheeled on and offstage to accommodate six ear mixes and a dozen wedge monitor mixes, as well as backstage monitors and production monitors. At FOH, a D Rack handled all FOH inputs and outboard gear inserts, and an additional two D racks at the A2 position onstage handled production inputs such as wireless mics and outputs to the PA system or monitors. An SD-Rack in video world served all of the I/Os, and a fourth D rack was mounted in the thrust staging to manage on-the-fly presenter and artist inputs, mainly for the musical performers.

“As we started doing rehearsals, I was able to cover all my bases with this setup and jump between the two consoles,” says Sandberg, who has handled TED’s FOH for the past eight years. “I had the console split with mics on the left bank and playback devices on the right – with a show this fast-paced and complex, it’s important to keep the structure of the consoles as simple as possible. On the production console, I pretty much ran it from one snapshot and relied instead on presets for each presenter’s EQ. On the music console, every act had its own snapshot. Often bands will show up [at the conference] with their own engineer, and it made life easier to have a separate console so that they could check PFLs, and check channels before they went on. I had it set up like a typical nightclub system, simple and similar to what they’re all accustomed to: kick, snare, hat, rack, floor, right down the line, effects and delay. We had two foldback lines from FOH but a vast majority of onstage monitoring was done backstage by Nick [Malgieri].”

The show consisted of 26 channels of wireless; the first 12 were DPA 4088 headset mics. “TED is known for using the headset mics,” Sandberg explains, “and it’s become part of the look of the TED Talks. The DPAs worked well for that. We also had a series of handheld mics that floated around the audience for Q&As. Onstage, there were five rolling podiums with audio that presenters could plug into with their laptops, plus there was an incoming feed from Palm Springs via Polycom. A lot of playback originated at FOH and I was able to send that as a console send into the network. This made it really easy for everyone to customize their inputs based on what they needed. In the past when we’ve had analog splits, it’s been a challenge because I’d end up with more inputs at FOH and I’d have to do separate snake runs to all the other consoles so they could get what I was getting. It’s one of the reasons we decided to go with the DiGiCo/Optocore network—and it’s made a big difference. It sounds good and it’s easy to use and flexibility is key. Setup time was a fraction of what it used to be.

“The SD10 is a very easy console to navigate. The surface is extremely intuitive, so I was able to organize the desk the way that made sense to me from where I physically sat; I was able to put anything I wanted anywhere, which was invaluable. I was able to put all headset mics on the left side of the console near the Dugan auto mixers, which I inserted on all the channels for panel discussion or multiple mics. They helped to get a clean, lower noise floor. I used a WAVES server on the production console. The plugin was a WNS Noise Suppressor that I inserted into each of my headset mics. It’s a giant, wooden and very reverberant room; the plugin helped knock down reverb. I relied on those noise suppressors quite a bit and they certainly help with intelligibility.”

Backstage, Malgieri found that the Optocore network allowed his monitor console to be mobile and also cut down the amount of gear needed to do the gig. “All risers, band equipment, scenery, grand piano, and whatever else they decided to put onstage went in and out through there, so real estate was a really big deal on stage left,” he explains. “Not running copper snakes this year was huge, and was another benefit of the DiGiCo consoles because I got rid of three split racks and a rat’s nest of cable. We’ve shrunk the footprint from about 50 feet down to half that, to sharing mic pres, no splitters and a lot of fiber—and I was able to leave six to eight large boxes at our warehouse. Also, we used to have this enormous hod [bundle] of cables, and it was a 12-guy, eight-hour ordeal to pull it through the PVC conduit to FOH… This year, with just the two fiber cables and two guys, we were able to save a lot of labor and man-hours. And because I was able to keep the monitor desks tethered down to a loom, it was easy to roll on and offstage for soundchecks. We only had one-and-a-half hours between sessions and, in that time, we had to rehearse four speakers and soundcheck a band in 20 minutes.”

In addition to mixing wedges and in-ear monitors for all the bands and presenters, Malgieri handled Announce from the truck for monitors onstage and off. “I was like the production switchboard for anything around the stage,” he laughs. “Anyone that showed up and needed a temporary speaker, that was me. The stage Announce output from the trucks’ communication system came in and through some creative sidechain-ducking programming I built a Program Interrupt to the backstage monitors, which were time-aligned to the video monitors but fed from the FOH mix, not the broadcast mix. So when anyone was speaking from the truck it cut the monitoring to all the backstage monitors like a TV studio. The flexibility of the console allowed me to do that. I can’t think of any other console that’d allow me to do that in the same way. Another huge thing was that I was able to program a macro to undo that interrupt function without having to get back into my layers and figure out the complicated routing and processing I did. One button press undid it and I didn’t have to think about it on the fly. I just hit the button as an emergency bailout.”
Situated between the venue and the truck, an SD8-24, run by mixer Matt Chavez, with optics on optical loop, served as a distribution hub, routing to lobbies, tents, the plaza, the loge and the balcony. It also broadcast TED’s Walk-in Music at the beginning of each session, and controlled the announcement system that covered the entire venue.

Inside the mobile truck, an SD5 run by Adamo served as an interface between the venue’s audio consoles and truck, running more than 200 I/Os. All channels from the venue were routed over Optocore into the truck and were tied into the main broadcast console via MADI. Additionally, Adamo mixed the musical acts and sent them to the truck, and multitracked to a 128-channel Pro Tools rig via two MADI streams.

A few of the conference highlights were the Kinshasa Orchestre Symphonique (introduced by Ben Affleck), a choir that consisted of 100 members onstage and many more coming in via 32 live Skype feeds, Amanda Palmer and her punk rock ukulele, and Wang Li, the extraordinary master of the Jew’s harp. “The awesome DiGiCo EQ shined during the Jew’s harp performance,” Sandberg recalls, “as he was going for loud volume, which (surprisingly) really put my subs to work. There were lots of small notches under 80hz! The Optocore network was amazing. Because we used very little copper this year, we never had a problem with strange buzzes and hums that have popped up during install and rehearsals in years past. Also, the ability of all five consoles to grab any and all inputs was invaluable. All in all it was great, and DiGiCo shone as expected.”

“The system worked fantastically,” Malgieri adds. “We had no failures or issues; no hums or buzzes. This year was the easiest TED conference so far, due in large part to the DiGiCo/Optocore system. It was also the fastest load-out in the history of the show… by a lot! Every year TED gets a little bit bigger and they request a new technology or infrastructure. Every year, with new changes, we add more gear to our inventory to keep up with the changes, and it’s grown at just the right pace so that we can keep up. This gig ended up raising the expectations for our other clients because they see the benefits of the new gear and systems we’re adopting and implementing. This is the first time I’ve done more than two consoles on an Optocore network so anytime this scenario ever comes up again, it will become a new standard for a large McCune show.”

ASHLY AUDIO NE4250 MULTI-CHANNEL AMP/DSP CONNECTS WITH THE NEW JONESVILLE FIREHOUSE

JONESVILLE, NEW YORK – APRIL 2013: For ninety years, the Jonesville Volunteer Fire Department (JVFD) has been protecting the people and property of what was once a farming community and is now a thriving suburb of Albany, New York. In response to the growing population and infrastructure for which it is responsible, the JVFD recently completed construction on a second firehouse. Pro Sound Associates (Guilderland, New York) and Live Sound, Inc. (Troy, New York) worked with electrical contractor Tech Electric (Waterford, New York) and electrical engineers M/E Engineering (Schenectady, New York) to design and install a forward-thinking, robust, sound reinforcement system centered on an Ashly ne4250.70pe combination four-channel amplifier and digital signal processor.

“Of course this was a public bid, and we had to stay very competitive,” said Dominick Campana, owner of Pro Sound Associates. “The two-rack space Ashly ne4250.70pe offered us all the functionality we needed at a very reasonable price. The control room is very small and there was no place for a wall rack. We had to fit all of our equipment in existing cabinetry. Moreover, we had to cover four zones, each with different types of loudspeakers and different acoustics. The Ashly ne4250.70pe has plenty of power to drive the system, and its DSP capabilities allowed us to effectively deal with the different acoustics.”

Two channels of amplification feed three customer-specified Bogen loudspeakers each in the apparatus bay, which is where the trucks are parked and ambient noise is often substantial. The third channel of amplification feeds four more Bogen loudspeakers in the gear room and flex bay, where ambient noise is less of a problem. Finally, the fourth channel of amplification feeds an extended string of eight contractor ceiling speakers in the radio, fitness and training rooms, and the office and corridors.

Inputs to a Shure SCM-262 mixer with priority ducking include a Tascam CD player with iPod input, a feed from the fire radio dispatch, and a desktop paging microphone. In every room, except the apparatus bay, simple wall attenuators provide adequate volume control. Because the apparatus bay loudspeakers were tapped at their highest setting and receiving 250W per string, a wall attenuator wasn’t a good choice. Instead, Campana installed an Ashly WR-1, which provides separate DSP-based control of the apparatus bay volumes via two rotary dials.

“We have a long history working with Ashly and have always found their products to be rock solid,” said Campana. “Moreover, Ashly’s Protea™ DSP software is one of – if not the – easiest to program. They’ve worked out the networking so that all we have to do is plug it and our computer into the network, scan for devices, and it comes right up. You’re right into it. It’s great to have that kind of consistently stable performance to rely on.”

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

JD PRODUCTIONS TO INSTALL 32-CHANNEL API LEGACY PLUS IN NORTH CAROLINA STUDIO

SANFORD, NORTH CAROLINA – APRIL 2013: A new API Legacy Plus Console with Vision automation will find a home at JD Productions in Sanford, North Carolina later this year. The 32-channel console is being built by API with many custom features for the Raleigh-area space. The recording studio’s design is being overseen by the legendary Wes Lachot of Wes Lachot Design for well-known producer John Davenport.

John Davenport grew up in Sanford, where his passion for music soon took him to New York, where he learned the recording business from the ground up. When he began in the late 70s at Secret Sound Studio, he learned the craft from some of the best engineers and producers of the times.

John spent the 80s as a recording engineer at the iconic Hit Factory in New York where he worked with a variety of impressive acts such as the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, John & Yoko, Cindy Lauper, Judy Collins, and Little Steven. He received Platinum Album awards from the United Nations for Little Steven’s Sun City, where he was chief engineer. Now returning to his hometown, it seems John has come full circle, in more ways than one.

Aside from returning to his old stomping grounds, it appears as though John will also be returning to his analog roots. Being a former staff engineer at the Hit factory, John was trained on analog consoles exclusively. After a period in digital, he will connect with his analog past using the API Legacy Plus.

“The smile on my face is because, after three decades of working at professional and makeshift studios, I finally have the opportunity of building my own dream studio,” he says. “It didn’t take long to select my choice of console. API, the sound and workmanship, is like no other. Thank you, Dan Zimbelman (of API), Wes Lachot Design, and the craftsmen at API making my dream possible.”

John’s recording studio is located along the Deep River in North Carolina where he continues to develop artists and produce films. His skills as an engineer, producer, and artist developer have led him to the title of Co-Founder and Vice President of Music of JD Productions.

The studio will be built from the ground up as a 1,300 square foot space designed by Wes Lachot of Wes Lachot Design. “I can say that I recommend API consoles to my clients because they represent the very best in analog design and sound quality and always make the room sound the best,” said Lachot. “Very best sounding rooms are nothing without the best sounding gear.”

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

A TEAM OF ASHLY EIGHT-CHANNEL NE8250 AMPLIFIERS & THE STARR GROUP WIN THE GOLD AT THE LAKE PLACID CONFERENCE CENTER

LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK: Set in the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains of New York at the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, the newly-constructed Conference Center at Lake Placid pairs the splendor and story of its surroundings with amenities that far surpass those of most big city convention centers. The architecturally stunning three-story building boasts over 90,000 square-feet of flexible ballrooms, meeting rooms, and pre-function space, not to mention decks and verandas from which to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Starr Entertainment Group designed and installed a flexible and abundantly powerful A/V system for the center, in part by relying on Ashly ne8250 eight-channel network amplifiers that deliver 250-Watts of power to 104 zones of distributed audio speakers.

The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), which manages the state of the art conference center, tapped Starr Entertainment Group to design a thoroughly modern A/V system that could flexibly accommodate a wide range of uses. Pleased with the company’s competence and communication, ORDA invited Starr Entertainment Group to bid on the installation of its design. The bid was successful, and so the company saw its design through to completion.

The system collects its audio inputs from wireless microphone systems, wired microphones, media input panels, visual media players, and a background music system. In addition, several small-frame consoles in rolling racks accommodate events with live music. The inputs feed a Peavey Media Matrix NION processor, which allows system-wide inputs to be assigned to any output zone. Thirteen Ashly ne8250 eight-channel amplifiers deliver 250 Watts to each of the 104 zones distributed throughout the building. The meeting rooms and common areas use 180 JBL Control 26 in-ceiling loudspeakers, and the ballrooms use sixty 12-inch JBL Control 322 in-ceiling loudspeakers.

“ORDA wanted a high-quality system. They wanted to do it right,” said Peter Starr, owner and chief designer of Starr Entertainment Group. “About a year-and-a-half ago, we used some Ashly ne8250 amplifiers in a hotel system. I loved the fact that we could get 250 Watts per channel. It’s ideal for these kinds of systems. Of course, there are other multi-channel amps on the market, but nothing combines the specs, affordability, and reliability of Ashly’s ne Series. It is certain, the Conference Center at Lake Placid sounds great and is capable of some serious volume when needed.”

A 32 x 32 Crestron digital video matrix processor allow any video input to be shown on any combination of the center’s approximately 120 video output devices. Those devices include Sanyo HD projectors and flat-screen monitors. In addition, a large Visix-based digital signage system provides the conference center guests with way-finding and other information. A Crestron Pro2 system with 22 wall panels allow user control of every aspect of system performance, such as video and audio input selection and volume, room combining, as well as room functions such as room temperature and lighting. In addition, the building’s functions can be accessed via secure Internet and LAN connections. According to Bob Hammond, ORDA’s director of planning and construction, “the Starr Group has exceeded expectations,” and was noted by Ted Blazer, ORDA’s president and CEO, to be “the most dependable and cooperative contractor on the project.”

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

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DANLEY GETS INTO THE IVY LEAGUE: THE HUN SCHOOL OF PRINCETON UPGRADES THEATER SOUND SYSTEM WITH DANLEY SOUND LABS LOUDSPEAKERS AND SUBWOOFERS

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY: The Hun School of Princeton is a private school for students in sixth grade through high school. Located near Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, the school serves five-hundred students from over a dozen states and nearly two-dozen countries. A third of the students board there. School assemblies, dramatic and musical performances, and other events take place in the Hun School’s 350-seat proscenium theater, but a low ceiling and overly-diffuse loudspeakers had given the it poor sound reinforcement for many years. Recently, the school hired local A/V design and integration firm Reid Sound, Inc. to identify the weak links in its sound reinforcement chain and to make strategic improvements on a budget. Reid Sound installed Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and a subwoofer. Their combination of high fidelity and excellent pattern control elevated the theater’s sound quality from poor to excellent.

“The theater is used for a variety of events, including musicals, dramas, presentations, dance performances, and more,” said Darren R. Sussman, owner of Reid Sound, Inc. Sussman designed the new system together with Timothy Pearce, Reid Sound’s director of installation services. Sussman continued, “Vocal reinforcement was a major concern, but the system had to deliver excellent music reproduction as well. The space is very wide, but it’s not very deep. Moreover, the ceiling height is only around eighteen feet. Because the loudspeakers would be hanging very near the front of the stage, precise pattern control was critical.”

The previous system consisted of a pair of popular commercial powered loudspeakers mounted to the walls next to the proscenium. Although a number of deficiencies existed within the entire system, the project’s budget only allowed for a partial replacement, and Sussman and Pearce identified the loudspeakers as the most significant weakness. “The old loudspeakers weren’t very directional,” Sussman explained. “They spilled a lot of energy onto the walls and ceiling, which contributed to poor intelligibility, and there were seats that were inadequately covered by direct sound.” In short, the coverage was indistinct and uneven.

The team selected a pair of Danley Sound Labs SH-50 loudspeakers for the center cluster. “The arrayed pair gives excellent 100-degree horizontal coverage to the entire seating area, and the tight 50-degree vertical coverage keeps energy off the ceiling and on the seats,” said Sussman. The center cluster is primarily responsible for vocal reinforcement. They also installed a pair of Danley Sound Labs SH-95s, one on either side of the proscenium, for reproduction of program material or reinforcement of musical instruments. Again, the SH-95s deliver pattern control that excites the listeners, but not the space itself.

Although Reid Sound had done a handful of smaller systems involving Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers, this was the company’s first experience with a Danley subwoofer. “Normally, I would have installed a pair of subwoofers, but when I read the Danley TH-118’s specifications, I realized that a pair would be tremendous overkill,” said Sussman. “Those specifications proved to be accurate. A single TH-118 provides an incredible amount of low-frequency extension in the space. It’s not even turned up halfway, and it can shake the room.” In addition to the Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers, Sussman and Pearce installed a new Biamp Nexia processor and new QSC CX-Series amplifiers.

“We completed the job in February and we’ve heard nothing but great comments from the school,” said Sussman. “They just completed a production of Hairspray using the new reinforcement system. Spoken word was perfectly intelligible and music was full-frequency and engaging. The new Danley system is a great improvement for the Hun School of Princeton.”

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

TWO SYMETRIX SYMNET RADIUS 12×8 DANTE NETWORKED AUDIO DSP CONTROLLED BY A CUSTOM IPAD MIXER AT SIGNAL HILL LUTHERAN CHURCH

BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS: Signal Hill Lutheran Church is located in Belleville, Illinois, southeast of St. Louis. Its sanctuary is gorgeous and inviting, seating 125 people in rows of wooden pews under a natural wood framework that supports a sharply peaked ceiling. Natural light filters through stained glass, and a beautiful alter forms the focus of the cozy room. However, Signal Hill’s sound reinforcement system was not cut from that same fine cloth, a fact made evident by the church’s recent move toward more contemporary music in worship. The sound quality was not very good and a complete lack of user control meant that if something sounded bad, it stayed that way clear to the end of the service. Committed to remedying the problem, Signal Hill hired A/V integration firm Film Otter Inc. and design firm Design and Ideas Inc. The first round of upgrades is now complete, and a pair of Symetrix SymNet Radius 12×8 Dante network audio DSPs provide sophisticated audio processing and, together with a CommandFusion iPad interface, remote user control from anywhere in the pews!

“Signal Hill is a traditional church with a sound system that was not only old, but no longer an appropriate fit for their style of service,” said Phil Mahder, the semi-eponymous owner of Film Otter Inc. “The most difficult issue was that they have no tech booth and no tech person. The sound system equipment was in a closet that no one touched. If the system worked, it worked. But if it didn’t, there was no recourse.” The church contacted Mahder, a commercial A/V veteran of three decades, keenly aware of their problems but unsure whether an affordable solution existed.

Given the church’s budget constraints, Mahder will execute a complete renovation in stages, only the first of which is completed. Signal Hill’s existing amplifiers, loudspeakers, and lighting will be upgraded as funds become available, but for now things are sounding worlds better with just the inclusion of two Symetrix SymNet Radius 12×8 Dante network audio DSPs. Inputs to the system include spoken word microphones at the pulpit, lectern, and altar, as well as wireless microphones, Praise Band inputs, with microphones for up to five vocalists. The reason for two Radius 12x8s is was to get the input count necessary. The processed outputs feed the amplifiers for the speakers in three independent zones, monitor lines for powered stage monitors, ALS, and a digital recorder. The inputs and outputs at each Radius 12×8 meld via the Dante network into a fluid whole, and their open architecture design allowed for a powerful, customized processing and user control.

“Symetrix processing is excellent, and – critical for this job – the Symetrix automix/gain-sharing algorithms are stellar,” said Mahder. “The Radius 12×8 allowed us to create a predominately automatic system with convenient and simple manual controls that communicate wirelessly via a custom configuration of CommandFusion’s iViewer 4 iPad app. This solution is better than giving them a dedicated tech booth because the operator can sit with his family in the pews! Moreover, the tool is simple enough that an usher can easily run sound for the more traditional service and, by simply including additional pages on the iPad app, complex enough to mix sound for the band, multiple singers, and two monitor mixes.” CommandFusion iViewer 4 software integrates robustly with the Symetrix hardware and software to provide that customized iPad control.

Mahder continued, “This small traditional church with a small budget had the foresight to invest in tools that will allow them to grow not just in their musical expressions, but also in the technical infrastructure that enables those expressions. They went from an archaic system to one that is way ahead of the curve. The credit for this change goes to the church leadership’s willingness to trust advice even though it is something that they had never heard of, and especially to the system design and programming genius of the system designer, Philip Houser of Designs and Ideas. He not only programmed the DSPs, but actually built a custom interface that provides all the functions that they needed from a traditional audio mixer using the CommandFusion platform. There is no conventional audio mixer in the system; it is entirely the iPad app wirelessly controlling the two DSP units. The church was even able to select fader size, color, labeling, layout, and much more. Have you ever before seen a church that was able to have a mixer built to perfectly meet their needs and imagination?”

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

Sure Shot Adds DiGiCo’s SD10B Console To Its Newest Mobile Broadcast Truck

Sure Shot Transmissions is a mobile production and satellite services outfit with offices located in New York, Dallas, and Youngstown, Ohio. Last fall, owner Dennis Kunce added a fourth 40′ full-service expandable truck to its offerings. The Cynthia Lee, outfitted with DiGiCo’s SD10B console, will handle sporting and entertainment events under the direction of EIC Kory Loy. Kunce picked the SD10B based on a recommendation from one of the audio principals at ESPN, as the console has been a mainstay in X Games’ submix trucks for the past several years at events around the globe.

Since hitting the road back in September, the Cynthia Lee has made its debut handling install feeds at a host of high-profile events including the 39th Ryder Cup for the UK’s Sky Sports News, the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship and the Daytona 500 for ESPN in the U.S., as well as the 2013 Super Bowl for Nippon TV in Japan. The console’s ability to interface with the other trucks via MADI and fiber networks, as well as its easy learning curve, made it a natural fit for these fast-paced events.

“Our intention when we built the truck was to meet ESPN’s need for a mid-level production truck; one that was more like a 6-8 camera production rather than the typical 10-15 one,” explains Sure Shot owner, Dennis Kunce. “We worked closely with ESPN to determine what audio board would be suitable for them in this specific application and DiGiCo is what they recommended and gave us their blessing. The people at DiGiCo worked with us to meet our price point to stay within the budget. But more importantly, the SD10B’s footprint, versatility, and power—all those things came into play in our decision. DiGiCo was also very supportive with their training; they came to our facility in Ohio and worked with Kory and our chief engineer Scott Tucker to show us the things needed to make the board workable out in the field. You’ve got to have a console that is very user-friendly or else you’re in trouble and the DiGiCo console offers us the kind of flexibility and versatility we have to have as an independent contractor working with all the major networks including NBC, Fox, Turner, ESPN, Sky Sports… right down the line. The exposure we’re getting by having the board in our truck has been very positive. Overall, it has been a very positive experience across the board.”

“As the engineer in charge of the mobile unit,” explains Loy, “I’m tasked with ensuring that all the pieces of equipment in the truck are up and running for the freelance crew to operate—everything from the audio console to the video switchers to the cameras. So, even though I’m not one of the hands-on operators at these events, I do have to train, or at least show the different operators how to use the console, with only a couple days training. A lot of our events are setup, shoot and strike and in a single, 10-hour day and I’ve got to give individuals that have never operated the console before a generic overview in 45 minutes to an hour time before I have to move on to doing other functions in the truck. And I believe I’m able to do that rather well because the console is very easy to use.”

This spring, Sure Shot will be covering a host of major league baseball and basketball events for the major networks and ESPN, as well events as for the NHK channel in Japan. “We will be handling a lot of split feeds for them, the same thing as we did for the Super Bowl,” Loy says. “Nippon TV operator Shuhei Anraku took generic feeds from the NFL, supplemented by several of their own cameras, to create and produce their own game with their own announcers, which was fed to the broadcast headquarters in Japan.”

Loy says the fact that everything can connect via fiber is a huge bonus for them. “Another benefit is that the console is scalable, you can literally have as many inputs/outputs as you want. So, if we ever find a need for more ins or outs, we can add a few and connect them via fiber. Having MADI available in and out (the SD10 has 2 MADI ins and 2 MADI outs), also makes it very flexible to integrate either into a router or an intercom system. Another added benefit of DiGiCo is being able to assign any input to any fader on the console.”

For Janice Stief, a 30-year audio veteran who has worked on sporting and entertainment events ranging from the Olympics to the most recent Ryder Cup in the Sure Shot truck, this was her first outing on a DiGiCo of any variety. “I was handling cut-ins for the Sky Sports news show back in London. I had about 8-10 mics set up around the course, from stick and RF mics to in-studio lavalieres. I was handling EVS inputs into my console for playbacks, as well as program feeds from NBC and the world feed, which added up to about 36-40 inputs on the console in addition to mikes I was controlling. Prior to getting started, I was given a quick tutorial from Kory, who was fantastic and very knowledgeable. There’s a lot to the console that clearly you have got learn over time; you can’t learn it all on one show. It has a lot of depth. I liked that once I would attention a fader, I could do most of my adjustments to that fader input right from the corresponding touchscreen strip, without moving to other areas of the console. Adding delay, which we often need to do on golf in order to sync up on-air talent to RF cameras, is quick and easy.”

“I think the neatest feature of the DiGiCo SD10B is the ability to have MADI interfacing to the trucks and Optocore to the SD Racks,” adds Shawn Peacock, who was the main console operator for the Daytona 500 and has worked with DiGiCo consoles on several X Games events in Los Angeles. “The ability for us to talk across MADI in these situations is huge.”

Ultimately, however, the measure of a good manufacturer goes beyond that of its gear, and Loy says DiGiCo’s customer support is stellar. “When every single thing in the truck is a computer, chances are stuff is going to fail. It’s how a manufacturer supports its products after the gear is sold and installed that gives a good or bad impression. DiGiCo’s training and customer service in that area is exceptional.”

SAMMY HAGAR’S RED ROCKER STUDIO CONTINUES TO ROLL OUT THE PROJECTS WITH ITS API 1608

JESSUP, MARYLAND – MARCH 2013: The original plan was simply to upgrade Sammy Hagar’s project studio – Red Rocker – so that he and his super group Chickenfoot could deliver decent-sounding demos, but in consultation with his engineer, John Cuniberti (Stevie Wonder, Dead Kennedys, Joe Satriani), Hagar ended up purchasing a 16-channel API 1608 analog console. They recorded Chickenfoot’s first demo on the 1608 several years ago, and, owing to the magic of a few takes and the sonic integrity imparted by the 1608, several of those demo recordings made it to the album. Inspired by what they could accomplish at Red Rocker, they did the entire recording for the ironically-named follow-up album, Chickenfoot III on the 1608. Currently, Hagar is tracking on the 1608 for an as-yet unnamed solo project.

“We’re an old school bunch, it’s true, and we wanted the feel and sound of an analog console for Red Rocker,” said Cuniberti. “We weren’t going to go so far as to roll in a two-inch tape machine – we’re not that old school! We appreciate the virtues of digital recording and editing when it’s handled properly. But a nice analog console would tie things together with a workflow and a sound that we were all comfortable with.”

Cuniberti has spent over three decades behind vintage consoles of all stripes. “They have their charms, of course, but they’re also a pain in the ass,” he said. “You really need full-time maintenance. I didn’t want to burden Sammy or myself with that level of investment. We wanted something new, and I was therefore happy that API released the 1608. API is one of my favorite console manufacturers of all time, but I don’t think we could have justified the jump to one of their large-format consoles. It turns out that the 1608 was an excellent choice. In four years, we’ve never had a single issue with it – not even a burned out light! Having spent so many years dealing with unreliable vintage consoles, it’s nice to know that when I show up to the studio, everything will be working.”

Cuniberti finds the sound of the API 1608 meets the high expectations he had from his previous work on other large API consoles. “It’s classic API,” he said. “It has clarity and punch, and it’s very pleasant sounding. I don’t want to say it’s transparent; I just want to say that it has a great sound. It passes signal like nothing I’ve ever heard. It has tons of headroom. You can abuse it and it still sounds great.”

The 1608’s architecture allows Cuniberti to maximize his productivity with just sixteen channels. “API worked hard to optimize the flexibility of the 1608’s signal path,” he said. Its modular design allows one to swap 500-series processors to suit the needs of a project, and Cuniberti replaced the four stock API 560 graphic EQs with four API 550b four-band sweepable EQs. Because it’s been such a pleasure to work on, Hagar and Cuniberti are currently contemplating adding a 16-channel expansion unit for their 1608 to bring Red Rocker up to 32 channels.

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 JUPITER 8 APP BASED TURN-KEY DSP JOINS THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – MARCH 2013: When the new owner of the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars sought to boost team morale and solidify team camaraderie, he focused on renovating the locker room – the place where the team members gear up, hang out, and let off steam. It’s a sign of the times that perhaps the most critical and appreciated improvement came in the form of a brand new, high-impact audio-visual system. Under the direction of Neil Cooper, senior project manager for Florida Sound Engineering, they designed and installed the Jaguar’s new A/V system, which relies on a dependable and cost effective Symetrix Jupiter 8 app based turn-key DSP for critical signal conditioning and routing.

“The team came to us with a simple request,” Cooper explained. “They wanted a rockin’ sound system with plenty of screens to go with it. They really wanted to give the players a place to associate with… a place to retreat to and enjoy. Because we pride ourselves on building long-lasting systems, I place a premium on reliability and quality. When I looked at my options for processing, the Symetrix Jupiter 8 DSP was an obvious choice. It’s powerful and easy to set up, and nothing else comes close to matching its feature set for the price. And since I’ve already used a number of Jupiters on other jobs, I know they’re reliably solid. I never have to go back.”

In addition to the literal locker room, the new system covers all of the more extensive facilities that go with it, including the showers, the drying area, the restaurant, the cool- and hot-tanks, the therapy room, the equipment room, the manager’s area, and more. All thirty-three of the inputs, only two of which are audio-only, are fully matrixed such that any input can be selected in any zone. Apart from the locker room itself, which uses a DBX Drive Rack processor, the rest of the system relies on the Symetrix Jupiter 8 DSP, which takes its inputs from a Crestron control and matrixing system. Its eight outputs feed separate zones. QSC amplifiers, loudspeakers, and subwoofers fill the audio portion of the new system.

“Despite the complexity of the Jaguar’s new A/V system, programming the Symetrix Jupiter 8 DSP was super easy,” said Cooper. “I used the Sound Reinforcement #6 App, which gave me great sounding equalization and dynamics. I know that there are other manufacturers who make 8 x 8 processors of good quality, but the price isn’t there. The Symetrix Jupiter DSP delivers the quality, flexibility, reliability, and affordability that makes my clients smile.”

The Jaguar’s new video system is comprised of two 80-inch, five 52-inch, four 46-inch, and seven 42-inch full-HD Sharp flat screens. Inputs include ten Comcast TV sources, a Blu-ray player, Apple TV, and two wall plate inputs. The Crestron DM system scales everything appropriately such that the full screen is filled for any input/output combination. A 15-inch Crestron interface in the equipment manager’s area provides total system control, and a smaller nine-inch Crestron interface in the locker room allows selection of presets, such as “pre-game,” “half-time,” and “post-game.”

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

ORMOND BEACH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER GETS NEW DANLEY SOUND SYSTEM

ORMOND BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 2013: Over twenty years ago, the city of Ormond Beach, Florida purchased an old church building and had it retrofitted. In 1991, the gorgeous space opened as the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, with capacity for 600 in a fan-shaped auditorium. Today, it hosts national, regional, and local musicians, theatrical troupes, dancers, and other performing artists, as well as school groups, seminars, and other events. Since veteran pro audio designer and engineer Marc Schwartz became the center’s director several years ago, he longed to elevate the room’s sound reinforcement capabilities to equal its stellar acoustics. Recently, that wish came true as local integration firm and new Danley dealer Protechs installed a system comprised of Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers. Schwartz designed the system with input from Danley’s application engineers.

Schwartz owned his own sound production company for decades before settling down to direct the Performing Arts Center. “I was a regular on Pro Sound Web, and that’s where I first heard about Danley Sound Labs,” he explained. “Of course, I knew about Tom Danley through his ServoDrive subwoofer technology, which was a very advanced idea. I was impressed by that sort of innovative engineering. Then I heard that he and Mike Hedden got together to form Danley Sound Labs and would be introducing a range of new designs. I was intrigued, but I didn’t have the opportunity to hear Danley loudspeakers or subwoofers for a while.”

It was a few years later that Schwartz attended InfoComm with his supervisor from the city’s parks and recreation department. “Danley had a demo room that we checked out,” he said. “Of course it was a convention room, which was terrible, acoustically-speaking. Nevertheless, when they fired up, my supervisor turned to me and said, ‘we need some of these for the Performing Arts Center.’ I couldn’t have agreed more. What was really impressive was the pattern control – I felt like I was listening only to the loudspeakers; the room was out of the equation.”

In anticipation of the old sound reinforcement system’s eventual replacement, Schwartz had the room modeled in EASE five years ago. That proved useful because it allowed him to pick the ideal coverage patterns from Danley’s now-extensive catalog, patterns that would allow him to provide uniform coverage over the seating area without energizing the walls. Danley’s application engineers assisted, directing him to the right models and helping to keep the project on budget.

Most of the seating is covered by a stereo pair of Danley SH-60s, which are 60-degree versions of Danley’s flagship SH-50. Flanking them are two single-fifteen Danley TH-115 subwoofers, which Schwartz asserts deliver as much bass as most other manufacturer’s double-eighteens, but with far less distortion. Finally, two Danley SH-100s occupy the outside positions to provide front- and side-fill. An existing 40-channel Soundcraft console provides input to the system, and new QSC and Crown amplifiers power it.

A basic DBX unit handles straightforward processing. “We only really needed the processor to filter out subharmonic content for the subs,” explained Joseph Carpenter, principal at Protechs. “It’s a great sounding room by itself, and the Danley’s are naturally well-balanced. Of course, we’re still tweaking things here and there, but it doesn’t take much.”

Given the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center’s busy schedule, Carpenter took advantage of the MLK holiday weekend to quickly pull the old system out and put the new system in. “I’m accustomed to having happy clients,” he said, “but this one’s special. Marc is a true audiophile, and he was certain that Danley was the way go. Indeed, the system sounds fantastic!” As a bonus, Carpenter gets to use the new system from time to time when the center hires him as a guest engineer.

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

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