A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

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METRIC HALO’S SPECTRAFOO THE BACKBONE OF THE OAK RIDGE BOYS LIVE ENGINEER MARKO HUNT

SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA – MAY 2013: Marko Hunt is closing in on four decades behind the mixing console, and he has spent the last thirty-two of them with The Oak Ridge Boys – first at monitors and then later at FOH. Before securing that enduring gig, Hunt cut his teeth touring with the Little River Band in its heyday. He also spent several years touring with Johnny Cash. Suffice it to say, Hunt is no newbie! And after all those countless gigs in the innumerable venues of the nation and the world, he can hear things with awe-inspiring precision and objectivity, although he’s too modest and soft-spoken to admit it. Perhaps because of that ability, Hunt is also keenly aware of the multiple advantages of regularly “calibrating” his ears with the analysis software that has been his constant companion for the last decade: SpectraFoo by Metric Halo.

“As good as my ears may or may not be (that’s an opinion!) it’s still a good idea to use a measurement tool to maintain accuracy,” Hunt said. “Anybody who does what I do knows that there are so many things in a room that can throw you off. I can hear a frequency and call it. By now, I’m good at that. But I can still get fooled; it’s not uncommon to mistake a frequency for one that’s an octave higher or lower. Moreover, I’m used to calling frequencies in the standard 1/3 octave bands. But with SpectraFoo, I can objectively see what’s going on with much greater resolution, switching to 1/6 or even 1/12 octave, which allows me to pinpoint a frequency on my parametric EQ. Very often, that center point may sit between the 1/3 octave bands.”

In addition to the tricks and phantoms that acoustical spaces and PA systems love to conjure, there are often physiological reasons why the objectivity afforded by SpectraFoo and Hunt’s Earthworks M30 omni-directional measurement microphone can be a life saver. “Because of the timing of things, there are some days when I go over the mountains flat on my back in a bunk,” he said. “God never meant for you and your ears to go over the mountains on your back! Or I may fly, and the pressure change may leave my ears completely whacked. But my computer doesn’t care. My mic doesn’t care. And SpectraFoo doesn’t care. I can still tune a room – close to perfectly – even if my ears are still recovering.”

When working with The Oak Ridge Boys, a well-tuned room is essential. With four vocalists, four soloists, and percussion, there is a lot going on and a lot of open mics. Indeed, the high pass for bass vocalist Richard Sterban (think “oom-pa-pa-oom-pa-pa-mau-mau” from “Elvira”) is often as low as 80Hz, and he’s a fairly quiet singer. If Hunt doesn’t take care of the 200 to 300Hz especially, his mix will invariably turn to mud. “Although I travel with my own console, every night I’m faced with a different room and a different PA,” he said. “SpectraFoo helps me to maintain consistency from night to night.” Of course, Hunt also relies on his ears – you can often find him walking around a venue before a show listening to Steely Dan, Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and other “clean recordings” that he’s very familiar with.

Apart from helping Hunt to objectify his experience, SpectraFoo can also make it easier to communicate with others about sound, which can otherwise be a very subjective topic of conversation – or of disagreement. “I remember one time when I was setting up, and the left side of the PA sounded funny,” he said. “I talked with the venue technicians, who insisted that they had just had someone out to tune things up and that the problem must therefore reside with our gear. So I showed them with SpectraFoo: first the right side where everything looked good, then the left side, where things were obviously messed up. Then they said, ‘it has to be your console!’ So I hooked up the console output to SpectraFoo and it was obvious that both channels were fine. They couldn’t fix it that day, but they did call me later to say thanks and that, yes, a few of the components had been wired out of phase.”

Although he doesn’t use them all, Hunt appreciates the huge diversity of tools available in SpectraFoo, and he uses a fair number of them – both on the road and in the studio. “The main tools that I use for tuning a room and for the actual performance are the Spectragraph (volume versus frequency) and the Spectragram (volume versus frequency versus time),” said Hunt. “I’ll usually compare the output from the console with the output from my Earthworks mic using the Transfer Function (source versus mic). If I hear a frequency poke up, I can turn to the time-based Spectragram, and that lets me know where it is and whether it’s in the console or only in the room.” He uses many of the additional tools, such as the oscilloscope, the Lissajous phase scope, THD Distortion Analyzer and the Phase Torch to confirm the operation of his equipment and to help out in the studio. “I also can route my monitor buss to the source input and compare any channel on the console to what’s coming out of the P.A. or using separate busses compare any two channels on the console, i.e. kick and bass guitar. Once you’re set up it’s as simple as switching window sets.”

ABOUT METRIC HALO Now based in the sunny city of Safety Harbor, Florida, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware.

www.mhlabs.com

API 1608 STARS IN ONE-OF-A-KIND STUDIO IN MILAN

MILAN, ITALY – MAY 2013: A new studio in Italy features a 16-channel API 1608 as the main attraction for a one-of-a-kind studio experience. INDIEHUB, located in Milan, is a “co-working” facility with a primary focus on creating music. Here, engineers, producers and musicians can rent space using either their own equipment (such as a laptop, audio interface, etc.) or supplied equipment and the recently installed 1608.

It all started with the idea that people in the music industry should have access to quality equipment in order to create quality music. Giving them the opportunity to meet each other and encouraging the comparison in a professional workflow is the goal of the INDIEHUB.

Owner Andrea Dolcino was introduced to a similar idea in a different type of facility, and thus the idea for INDIEHUB was born. “Before starting INDIEHUB, I’d been working for ten years as an audio engineer, specializing in post-production for advertising jingles. Three years ago, a customer took me to a co-working facility for a job,” says Dolcino. “So I decided to start the first co-working facility dedicated to music production.”

When it came time to choose a console, INDIEHUB worked with Paolo Orizio of Funky Junk in Italy. The API was the clear choice. “For our budget, the 1608 was the only console with a strong personality and a comfortable and modern routing,” says Dolcino. “It’s modern and vintage at the same time. The routing is perfect for HD recording and the 1608 preamplifiers are really attractive, especially for their response to the bass frequencies. For that money, it’s the best choice.”

The INDIEHUB facility invites clients to rent space for as little or as long as they like and can also host concerts and showcases, making this a unique experience – not only because of the facility, but also because this is the first 1608 console in Milan. “We are excited to spread our wings in Italy,” said Mark Seman, API sales. “This is a great endeavor for both API and INDIEHUB.”

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

ASHLY AUDIO INTRODUCES THE nX AMPLIFIERS: A WAVE OF TREMENDOUS POWER, EFFICIENCY, AND FLEXIBILITY FOR THE PRICE OF A MODEST SPLASH

WEBSTER, NEW YORK – MAY 2013: With founder Billy Thompson’s invention of the “Loud Amp” in the early 1970s and the introduction of its path-breaking MOS-FET amplifier technology in the early 1980s, Ashly Audio established itself as a company that would lead the industry in technological innovations. It continues that tradition with the new Ashly nX family of Class D amplifiers, which deliver up to 12,000W of clean power while drawing less than 1W in sleep mode. nX amplifiers are offered in four- or two-channel versions with selectable high-Z (70/100V) or low-Z output on each channel. nX model variants include the addition of Ethernet control, and onboard Protea™ DSP with load monitoring, to meet the many and varied requirements of modern fixed installation and live sound applications. True to the craftsmanship that launched the company, Ashly hand-builds nX amplifiers in the United States and backs their performance with a five-year warranty.

“nX amplifiers are lightweight and efficient, yet pack a tremendous amount of power and flexibility into a 2U chassis” said Anthony Errigo, director of communications for Ashly. “We have designed them to meet the demanding requirements of stadiums, arenas, performance venues, worship spaces, and convention centers – anywhere big sound and modern performance requirements are needed. nX amplifiers are especially appealing for value-engineered installs because they offer features, performance, and reliability that Ashly is known to deliver.”

Ashly is offering three series of nX amps with feature sets that build upon each other. The base nX amplifiers are available in four- or two-channel models at 3000W or 1500W per channel (@ 2 Ohms) and feature a defeatable automatic sleep mode. nXe series amps add Ethernet control, serial data control, aux preamp outputs, programmable standby mode, preset recall, fault condition logic outputs, event scheduling, and optional network audio and digital audio capability (CobraNet® or AES3). Finally, nXp series amps feature everything in nXe plus onboard 32-bit SHARC Protea DSP processing (48 or 96kHz sampling rate) and precision swept load-impedance monitoring.

Additional features include multiple independent power supplies for increased channel separation and reliability; front panel power switch and level controls (defeatable in nXe and nXp models); front panel LEDs for temperature, current, signal, clip, mute, bridge mode, protect, sleep, and more; Neutrik® Combo XLR – 1/4” TRS jack plus Euroblock input connectors; Neutrik speakON® twist locking loudspeaker connectors for security, safety, and reliability; rear panel DIP switches per channel for selection of high pass filter, limiter, input gain, and High-Z or Low-Z speaker output configuration; remote DC level control on each input channel; switch mode power supply automatically detects 120V or 240V AC operation; and extensive protection circuitry, including continuously variable cooling fans.

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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SYMETRIX DEBUTS DEDICATED AEC PROCESSOR

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – APRIL 2013: Symetrix announces delivery of the SymNet Radius AEC, a core acoustic echo-cancelling device for deployment in teleconferencing installations of any size. The 1U rack unit contains eight mic/line wideband echo cancellers, eight line outputs, and four auxiliary line inputs. Application specific input or output expansion of a single Radius AEC is facilitated with a configurable slot supporting any SymNet I/O card including the recently released 2 Line Analog Telephone Interface.

As a building block in larger systems Radius AEC uses Dante for network audio connections to additional Radius or SymNet Edge DSPs, and to the cost-effective SymNet 12-channel I/O expanders.

Paul Roberts, Symetrix CEO was quick to point out, “We designed mega DSP into this box. In addition to the eight full-band, low-latency channels with direct outputs, we have a flexible general purpose DSP to handle all the other processing that is truly required to support high-intelligibility speech and effective communications. Corporate and educational end users are raising the bar every day. We purposefully designed Radius AEC to stay ahead of the curve.”

As with all SymNet DSP products using Composer open architecture software, Radius AEC supports an array of user controls including the ARC-WEB browser, ARC wall panels, SymVue custom user screens, and third party touchscreens.

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.

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MUSICIANS INSTITUTE OF LOS ANGELES INSTALLS API 1608 FOR AUDIO ENGINEERING EDUCATION PROGRAM

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 2013: A 32-channel 1608 console will contribute to the education of many audio engineering students at the Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music for years to come. The 1608 console can be found in Studio C of the college and was installed in the beginning of January, just in time for the spring semester.

The school, located in Los Angeles, has been an important part of music education in southern California since the late 70s and offers a variety of programs, such as Guitar Craft, Music Industry and Audio Engineering, where the 1608 will be used. Approximately two hundred students are currently enrolled in the Audio Engineering program.

The console was sold and installed by Westlake Pro, an API dealer located in North Hollywood. The 1608 was selected to replace the aging large format console in Studio C after a complete rework of the patch bay. “The API was chosen based on recommendations. When we decided to get a new console, many of the instructors requested an API. The final decision was made by our previous program chair after discussing the options with Westlake,” said Krystal Schafer, studio manager.

“The API 1608 is perfect for teaching classic, all-analog, signal chain theory, operation and patch bay to MI’s beginning audio engineering students,” says instructor Barry Rudolph. “The Practical Recording Class is one of the first exposures they have to professional recording consoles.”

Audio Engineering students will learn the basics of the 1608 console in the Practical Recording course during their first quarter and will dive deeper into recording during their second quarter in the Mixing and Mastering course. Students are also able to book studio time on weekends to practice and work on projects.

“API was the overwhelming choice, as everyone involved knew of the API 1608’s value as a high-quality, easy-to-use, great-sounding, traditional recording console,” said Gadget Hopkins of Westlake Pro. “The API 1608’s rich heritage, based off the renowned vintage 1604, is classic API sound and quality, while adding new modern features that are valuable for today’s engineers, producers and musicians. These features fit the schools requirements for their curriculum perfectly.”

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

API 1608 CONSOLE INSTALLED AT UPSTATE NEW YORK’S SOUNDSCAPE STUDIO

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – APRIL 2013: James Calabrese, owner of Soundscape in Buffalo, New York has purchased a 32-channel 1608 with an expander. The veteran composer, engineer and studio-owner chose the 1608 console as the prized piece of his upstate New York dwelling.

“I first heard an API when I was in New York helping to cut tracks for Miki Howard’s debut album Come Share My Love and the engineer used a Lunchbox to EQ the massive electric piano part,” says Calabrese. He has been in the market ever since.

His studio also features other API gear such as the 3124 four-channel mic pre, a 500V rack, and four 550 EQ’s, as well as two 525 compressors, now in the console. The console was purchased from API rep, Vintage King of Detroit.

James started as a composer, where he recorded original music for commercials, corporate and broadcast video scoring, in pop, rock, jazz, and classical styles. Some clients include Fisher Price, Hasbro, Xerox, Kodak, Phillips Electronics, and artists like Pointer Sisters, Ray Charles, and the Goo Goo Dolls. He even co-wrote the track, Where You Are on Whitney Houston’s multi-platinum second album, Whitney. “I’ve collaborated with New York composer Ken Higgins to score a few films and documentaries along with the globally-syndicated miniseries Hemmingway for Daniel Wilson Productions,” he says of his experiences.

As of late, he has completed sessions on his new 1608 with pianist arranger transcriber Krista Seddon, remixed a tune for LA-based guitarist Michael Campagna for a Varese Sarabande library, and has also mixed an Old Navy commercial.

“There really wasn’t any other choice,” says Calabrese. “I’m still only at the beginning of my knowledge of the 1608; still learning the center section, love the sound, love the build quality and I’m looking forward to some larger tracking sessions in the next few months. I liked the fact that API was going to be around a while. I wanted a desk that I’d probably keep the rest of my career.”

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

METRIC HALO DONATES ULN-2 CONVERTER AND SPECTRAFOO SOUND ANALYSIS SOFTWARE TO THE WOMEN’S AUDIO MISSION (WAM)

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 2013: The Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) is a San Francisco-based, non-profit organization “dedicated to the advancement of women in music production and the recording arts,” a worthy undertaking given women’s serious underrepresentation (less than 5%) in professional audio. To that end, WAM operates a professional recording studio staffed by women and intermixes its operation with collegiate-level classes for women, as well as introductory-level classes for girls. In addition, WAM sits at the center of an online network of aspiring and established women in the professional audio industry, which provides support and community to members around the world. Recently, Metric Halo, maker of boutique audio interface technology and professional audio software, donated a two-channel ULN-2 preamp/AD/DA interface and eight SpectraFoo Complete sound analysis software licenses to WAM in support of its mission.

“WAM exists to get more women and girls into audio because we feel that the more they have access to and participate in production, the more they can influence music, media, the Internet, and, ultimately, popular culture,” said Terri Winston, veteran musician, engineer, and producer, as well as Founder and Executive Director of WAM. “The more access our students have to high-quality production, the more prepared they will be to participate and the more successful they will be in professional audio. That’s why we’re excited to receive support from Metric Halo. We’re big fans of their gear and software, and our students will benefit from their exposure to the ULN-2 and SpectraFoo.”

The Metric Halo ULN-2 will be used within WAM’s studio environment for mic preamplification, as well as conversion into and out of Pro Tools. “Our students often ask, what’s the difference between the very inexpensive pro-sumer gear and the more expensive professional-grade equipment?” Winston said. “Rather than give them a theory, we say, ‘let’s listen to the difference.’ It’s important for them to gain exposure to as much as they can. Apart from being a useful high-end tool for our studio, the Metric Halo ULN-2 will serve as a reference for high-quality preamplification and conversion.”

In WAM’s classes, Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo sound analysis software will provide a visual reference for the audio manipulations that students are learning about. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” said Winston. “When students are equalizing a source, SpectraFoo shows them the effect of the equalization and cements the physical reality of what’s actually happening. It’s an eye-opener for them. They appreciate that there’s a science and a reality to what they’re hearing.”

ABOUT METRIC HALO Now based in the sunny city of Safety Harbor, Florida, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware.

www.mhlabs.com

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.”

BNY PRODUCTIONS ELIMINATES IEM DROPOUTS WITH RF VENUE’S CP BEAM ANTENNA

SIOUX CITY, IOWA – APRIL 2013: Fed up with in-ear monitor signal dropouts, popular Christian rock band Bread of Stone’s lead guitarist Bill Kirstijanto set out to find the best IEM remote antenna to end his band’s wireless headaches once and for all. And with a packed schedule for The Promises Tour with Sanctus Real, JJ Heller, and Unspoken, those headaches were starting to feel like migraines.

“On our last tour, I was getting a lot of complaints from the guys about drop-outs on our ears monitors,” said Bill. “We were having trouble getting a consistent signal with our paddle antenna, so that led us to seek out a solution for our IEMs.”

Whenever Bill isn’t on tour with Bread of Stone, he’s at the helm of Sioux City, Iowa-based live production and consulting company BNY Productions. Equally at home configuring wireless systems for clients as he is on tour using IEMs in Bread of Stone, Bill follows a common routine for system setup. “We always perform an RF scan a couple times before setting up, and then walk the stage area to see if there are any dropouts,” explained Bill. “I also try and place the pack beside our belts, instead of on our backs, so that the signal has fewer objects to travel through and ideally has line of sight when the transmit antenna is positioned at the side of the stage. IEM antenna placement is important; side stage versus rear stage can make a big difference and influence where IEM packs should be positioned.”

Bill found time in between shows to transform the BNY shop back in Iowa into a wireless test range, comparing the leading directional antennas on the market to the CP Beam from RF Venue.

“We did a normal field test – where the CP Beam performed very well – and then we did something a little more rigorous. We tuned the IEMs to occupied frequencies, and recording each antenna’s performance from the same spot. This was to test the worst case scenario.” As a result of their extensive shootout, BNY Productions now recommends the CP Beam to its clients, and Bread of Stone relies on it for The Promises Tour.

“Under extreme conditions, using the paddle antenna, we got pretty spotty performance- like we’d experienced on tour. With other helical antennas it was much worse, dropping out for ten seconds or more at time. The CP Beam was hands down the best antenna we tested,” remarked Bill.

The circularly polarized CP Beam is designed for IEM systems as well as long range wireless microphone applications, providing high gain and consistent signal, all in a lightweight foldable design that fits in a 2RU rack drawer. RF Venue CEO Chris Regan commented, “We are encouraged to see live production companies and artist monitor teams adopting the CP Beam for their IEM systems. Last year was really the first full tour season for the CP Beam, and while performance is paramount for any wireless equipment, the portability and lightweight design of the CP Beam has made a big impression on monitor engineers who are used to hauling heavy flight cases.”

“Since we’ve been using the CP Beam no one has said anything about dropouts,” commented Bill. “And in fact we’ve noticed there isn’t as much background noise with the CP beam either, so audio quality in general has improved.”

ABOUT RF VENUE RF Venue manufactures wireless audio equipment including remote antennas, RF distribution equipment, and cable assemblies. The company’s primary antenna products include the interference mitigating RF Spotlight, the lightweight foldable helical antenna CP Beam, and the polarization diversity antenna dubbed Diversity Fin. For more information visit: www.RFvenue.com

ABOUT BNY PRODUCTIONS BNY Productions provides turnkey production services for an extensive list of worship, entertainment, and commercial clients in the Midwest. The company specializes in live audio systems, video projection and distribution, as well as staging and production consulting. For more information about BNY Productions, visit: www.bnypro.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

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