A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive of the NAMM Newslink Category

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN’S DUDERSTADT MULTIMEDIA CENTER NOW FLUSH WITH API ANALOG CONSOLES

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN: The Duderstadt Center on the University of Michigan campus is a unique facility, not only because it is outfitted with three API consoles. In addition to housing libraries for the Art, Architecture, and Engineering programs and various computing facilities, the Duderstadt Center also houses the Digital Media Commons, which now includes three audio creation, recording, and production rooms designed by Walters-Storyk Design Group. Two of the rooms are recent additions and, in conjunction with the original Audio Studio’s 48-channel API Vision console, feature a 32-channel API Vision console and a 16-channel API 1608. As one might expect, the sophisticated, yet easy to navigate, rooms are used for art, music, and recording classes and provide students with first-hand experience in professional facilities. Importantly, any University of Michigan faculty member, staff member, or student can receive training on the use of the Duderstadt Center facilities and then use those facilities for any purpose whatsoever, school-related or not.

“The Duderstadt Center functions more like a lab than it does a classroom or a commercial studio,” explained David Greenspan, managing producer, University of Michigan. “We complement the audio facilities with video production resources, including computer animation workstations, a video capture studio, and editing suites. Users can take their video projects directly into the audio rooms. We were careful to design the whole facility in a way that would effectively flatten the learning curve. We would much rather have our users creating inspired art than worrying about which buttons to push. Because all three audio rooms use API consoles, users can [easily] move between them.”

The smallest of the three rooms is lovingly referred to as EMS A, short for Electronic Music Studio A. It is organized around the API 1608 console, which features slots for any 500-series modular processor. EMS A employs that flexibility to offer users three flavors of compression in dual-channel pairs: two API 525s, two API 527s, and two Pendulum Audio OCL-500s. Monitoring uses a 5.1 combination of Adam full-frequency loudspeakers and Genelec subwoofers. The larger EMS B is organized around the 32-channel API Vision console, which was custom built by API to deliver either 7.1 or 8.0 surround sound via Genelec 1037 loudspeakers and subs. Comprehensive networking between EMS A, EMS B, and the original Audio Studio’s 48-channel Vision allow sharing of resources – and even synchrony for large and involved productions.

When deciding what consoles to install in the new rooms, many factors came into play. “First, I wanted to protect the University of Michigan’s investment,” said Greenspan. “Signal flow is signal flow, whether you’re working with an analog console or a digital console. But digital protocols change, and I couldn’t promise the provost that a digital console we installed today would still be relevant twenty years from now. With an analog heart, we can be flexible and stay current with the evolving digital technologies that surround it.”

Given the Duderstadt Center’s positive experience with the original API Vision console, Greenspan was inclined to fill the new rooms with API consoles as well. “When they go out of warranty, it will be less expensive to maintain a single manufacturer than it would be to maintain multiple manufacturers,” he said. “But it also makes the training less onerous and the transition from room to room much easier. That sounded like the most inspiring approach to take.”

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

AUSTRALIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY VETERAN PHIL RIGGER CHOOSES METRIC HALO HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Phil Rigger got his start in the music business the old fashioned way – in a rock band. That was the early 1980s, and the band was Outline. With Rigger on trumpet (boosted by a board loaded with pedals that launched his horn to the stratosphere) and acing the role of front man and lead vocalist, Outline tore up Australia, headlining packed shows and opening up for international acts that stopped down under. It was only a few years after the band split that Rigger formed Monstereo Music, a music and video production company that Rigger heads to this day. Now several decades into a financially successful and stable career, Rigger has written hit songs for other Aussie artists, produced and engineered innumerable albums, composed and produced for television and film, and, above all, continued to let his enthusiasm for the creative life keep him on a path that’s true. Along the way, he found Metric Halo and is now a dedicated user of Metric Halo’s hardware interfaces, its sound analysis program SpectraFoo, and its flagship plug-in ChannelStrip.

In addition to the intangible aspects of music production, Monstereo Music possesses a full-fledged recording studio and video production suite in Sydney. Like most people who get in the business and stay in the business, Rigger is opinionated about sound and the gear that improves (or sullies) it. The studio starts with a collection of tube mics from BeezNeez, Groove Tube, Neumann, and Rode, as well as solid-state microphones from those manufacturers and Shure, AKG, and Sennheiser. Outboard gear includes dual-channel Peach Audio tube preamps, Groove Tube SuPRE preamps, a Groove Tube MP-1 preamp, and a six-channel Audio Developments Class A mixer. The main Mac runs Cubase 7 and possesses 32GB RAM, 20TB of storage, and a Blackmagic video input card and 3GB output card. Event Electronics Opal studio monitors provide transduction at the other end. The video production suite possesses a cyclorama, three cameras, monitoring, and video switching. The video room and the control room are connected optically and via analogue so that users can monitor video input/output, as well as multichannel audio for webcasting and in-house shoots.

A collection of Metric Halo interfaces handles input and output conversion, as well as preamplification when Rigger is using a tube mic (he doesn’t necessarily like to go tube mic to tube pre for vocals). The collection includes one ULN-8, one 2882, and two ULN-2s, (one in the recording studio and one in the video production suite). “I got my first Metric Halo 2882 over a decade ago when my friend and frequent collaborator David Quinn discovered it,” said Rigger. “Because Metric Halo so faithfully supports its products with hardware and software upgrades, I’m still using that same 2882 today! What other piece of computer-related equipment evades obsolescence for so long? Between David and I we have three ULN8s, three 2882s and three ULN2s all with 2D cards.

He continued, “The reason I like Metric Halo interfaces is because they have that solid, high-quality sound. I’ve worked on a bunch of different high-end consoles over the years, and Metric Halo easily has the sound quality to compete with any of them. Of course, the portability is also fabulous. I’ve recorded so many live sets with my Metric Halo interfaces. They’re always solid and reliable.” Rigger also cites the on-board DSP as useful, especially the Character emulations that give the preamps different colors. “I’m a fan of the Classic British Pre emulation,” he said. “It adds a nice warmth to the recording that isn’t overbearing. In combination with a nice tube mic on vocals, the Metric Halo preamps produce a beautiful, rich recording.”

But Rigger’s use of Metric Halo gear doesn’t end there. In the studio, he keeps a second Mac up that runs SpectraFoo. It’s digitally connected to the main system for mixing and mastering. “SpectraFoo works beautifully,” Rigger said. “I’ve had it for nearly a decade. Other sound analysis programs have come along, but SpectraFoo’s display is par excellence. Having it up on a second computer works really well for me because the machine has nothing else to do but analyze the input. The great thing about that setup is that while I’m working, I can solo any individual track, any group, or even the entire song and analyze it.”

Finally, Rigger uses ChannelStrip as his go-to equalization and compression plug-in. “If I want to surgically adjust something, de-ess a vocal or brighten an acoustic track, ChannelStrip is fantastic,” he said. “It doesn’t put much of a load on the system, and although that isn’t such a huge concern these days, it’s a testament to good software design. I have a large collection of plug-ins, most of which I acquired for a particular sound or function, but ChannelStrip is more neutral and allows fine adjustment without imposing itself on the sound – a great feature! Metric Halo equipment and software are the foundation for my business.”

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

FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY INSTALLS 64-CHANNEL API VISION CONSOLE FOR RECORDING ARTS ACADEMIC PROGRAM

WINTER PARK, FLORIDA: Full Sail University’s Studio B is now the official home of a 64-channel API Vision console. The console will be the centerpiece of the university’s Recording Arts Academic Program. After a rigorous process, Full Sail’s new Vision eventually became the console of choice, primarily due to its distinct analog sound and highly teachable signal path. Installed on January 2nd, Full Sail has completely integrated the console into its Academic Program and is more than pleased with this next level of professional gear offered to students.

“We are excited to have the API Vision Console installed into one of our on-campus studios,” said Darren Schneider, advanced session recording course director at Full Sail University. “This addition to campus provides another opportunity to work on a professional platform and prepares them with knowledge of the technology they will encounter when pursuing careers in the music industry.”

Founded more than thirty years ago, Full Sail University, according to Rolling Stone Magazine, offers one of the top five best music programs in the country and is home to over 18,000 students from all over the world. “We’re honored to have an API console at such a prestigious educational facility,” API President Larry Droppa commented. “Students enrolled in the Recording Arts program learn all aspects of console technique and we’re convinced API products are an excellent way to both teach and understand signal path and signal flow.”

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

1608 IN KOREA – API NAMES MI CORP A 1608 DISTRIBUTOR

SEOUL, KOREA: When MI Corp signed on as a distributor earlier this year, it was clear that they would make a great API representative in Korea. Now, taking the next step, MI Corp has become Korea’s representative, making the coveted console available to an entire market that was previously untapped.

MI Corp experienced much initial success with API products such as the Lunchbox®, 500 Series modules and the 3124+. As they began to design recording studios, it was clear that one thing was missing: the API 1608 console.

“MI Corp is designing prominent recording studios and meeting the most difficult demands of sound engineers,” said Sunny Park, Manager of the Import Department. “Many engineers [in Korea] would like to own and operate an API 1608 console.” And thus, the authorization to sell the 1608 console began. The 1608 that was shipped just a few weeks ago features its own demo room at the MI Corp headquarters.

Situated in the Gangnam-Gu area of Seoul, MI Corp originated as a musical instrument distributor back in 1997. As of 2009, they began to expand their services, aiming to become a leader in the multi-media industry. Expanding to professional audio and video, as well as the architecture and design of studios, they have been known as MI Corp ever since. Sales director and former recording engineer, Ted Suh, was familiar with the API reputation and knew the impact it would have in Korea and API soon became a fundamental part of their inventory.

“In the current digital audio equipment market, customers missed analog music equipment. We think API is the leading company, not only for consoles, but analog modules,” said Park.

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

RASCAL FLATTS FOH ENGINEER JONATHAN LOESER RELIES ON METRIC HALO SPECTRAFOO SOUND ANALYSIS SOFTWARE

SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA: In only a dozen years, Jonathan Loeser has risen from newly-minted SAE Institute graduate to FOH engineer for multi-platinum country act Rascal Flatts. Along the way, he has worked as FOH engineer & production manager for Olivia Newton-John, FOH & monitor engineer for Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” tour, and FOH Engineer for Colbie Caillat’s 2011 Tour. The amiable engineer secured those gigs by delivering consistently excellent results, largely free of hiccups or hassles, through careful planning. One of his go-to tricks is careful metering and sound analysis. On the recommendation of colleagues, he recently upgraded to Metric Halo’s sound analysis software, SpectraFoo, which is paired with his Metric Halo LIO-8 interface, itself recently upgraded to include preamps.

“I originally purchased the LIO-8 to give myself a serious, professional interface that would be flexible enough to do anything I needed it to do,” said Loeser. “Prior to that, my converter was cheap. It felt like it was going to break in my hand. The LIO-8, together with its companion MIO Console software, gives me all of the routing and flexibility I need.” Although he had previously used a wireless DBX measurement microphone with line-level output, for the new Rascal Flatts tour, Loeser wanted to expand his monitoring options. “I added the mic preamp option for the LIO-8, which now gives me even more flexibility and portability.”

Previously, Loeser had used sound analysis software primarily for its transfer function. “With SpectraFoo, I’m still able to do that, of course, but I’m also able to do so much more,” he said. “SpectraFoo is very flexible. For example, when I do a time capture, I can move the point that I want to correlate with, which makes it a much more useful tool. Once I learned how to compose and save snapshot window sets, I configured SpectraFoo to show me everything I want to see for tuning and, separately, for the actual show.” Part of that functionality includes making up for his Studer Vista 5’s seeming only weakness: metering.

Tuning the system requires dealing with Rascal Flatts’ somewhat unconventional stage setup. “We have an extensive thrust, and there’s an apron in front of the stage that makes it hard to fill the gaps that it creates,” Loeser explained. “I have some under-hangs that do the trick, but they are touchy. For this tour, I’ve added two Audix measurement mics. During system tuning, I’m able to place them in the questionable zone of seating. Then, using SpectraFoo, I can actually see what the down-fills are doing. That’s critical because squeezing good vocal volume out when the main vocal mic is in front of the PA is my biggest potential headache.”

During tuning, Loeser’s custom SpectraFoo screen includes full-frequency transfer functions on the wireless RTA mic, as well as on the thrust mics. He also includes high-resolution, low-frequency transfer functions to properly align the subwoofers. For the show itself, Loeser flips to another custom SpectraFoo screen. He moves the Audix microphones to a near-audience position on stage that is also used by the monitor engineer for crowd capture. In addition to watching the transfer functions for those microphones, Loeser also takes a feed from the Vista 5 that parallels his send to the PA and gives it a big, fat meter in SpectraFoo.

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

DIVERSITY FIN ANTENNA ON TOUR WITH BRYAN ADAMS

VANCOUVER, CANADA – JULY 2013: Veteran monitor mixer and founder of Vancouver-based audio company Gearforce, Robert Nevalainen ensures the many channels of wireless audio systems used on Bryan Adams’ international tours function flawlessly. After reading an article on polarization diversity for wireless microphone antennas, Nevalainen decided to evaluate the Diversity Fin cross-polarized antenna, from RF Venue, against other directional antennas while on a six-city tour through Australia. “We did an A to B type test comparing the Diversity Fin against our stock Shure and Sennheiser systems, and were quite impressed,” Nevalainen remembers.

“Gearforce supplies Bryan Adams with our universal tour kit which now includes RF Venue’s Diversity Fin,” says Nevalainen. “The kit also includes seven wireless channels using Shure UHRF receivers and UA845 amplifiers. Both Adams and lead guitarist Keith Scott use UR-1 body-pack transmitters with U845 combiners. For personal wireless monitoring they use Shure PSM1000s with a PA821A combiner.”

“I carry this exact same equipment around the world with me. So, when we change out a piece, its quite easy to see how well it works, because everything is known,” Nevalainen states. “In addition to its reliability and predictability, the Diversity Fin worked well because of its compact footprint in our congested left stage area. We were also quite pleased with the reduction in switching noise. The antenna basically forces the diversity receiver to choose between signals less frequently, and as a result you get more silent switching.”

Nevalainen has just returned from a series of June stadium shows in Denmark. “We have now been using the Diversity Fin exclusively with Bryan’s guitar setup,” he reports. “It has really simplified our setup and given us very reliable and predictable directional antenna coverage.”

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

METRIC HALO ANNOUNCES 2013 SUMMER SALE: BEST PRICES EVER

WHAT: Metric Halo announces their 2013 Summer Sale Extravaganza, running now until September 15, 2013. Featuring the best deals ever offered on Metric Halo’s award-winning products, the 2013 Summer Sale provides you with an excellent opportunity to experience Metric Halo’s legendary quality first-hand.

A 30-day, money-back guarantee backs Metric Halo’s hardware products so you can try them out in your studio with no risk. Metric Halo also provides a free 30-day demo for its software products, so you can try before you buy.

WHY: If you’ve been lusting after a Metric Halo interface, but it was just beyond your reach, Metric Halo’s announcement of the 2013 Summer Sale is great news for you!

WHO: Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and hardware.

WHEN: Now until September 15, 2013

WHERE: Metric Halo products are available during the Summer Sale from authorized dealers worldwide (http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/buy/dealers.html) and direct from Metric Halo (https://www.mhsecure.com/mhdirect/home.php)

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

IMT Joins AT&T Partner Exchange as Platinum Solution Provider

Integrated Media Technologies to Provide Customized AT&T Solutions

 

 

 

Integrated Media Technologies, Inc. (IMT) has joined the AT&T* Partner Exchange (sm) reseller program as a Platinum Solution Provider and is now authorized to resell services from one of the leading worldwide providers of IP-based communications to businesses. Bundling AT&T solutions with IMT’s solutions will provide innovative, customized choices for customers.

“We can help our clients further now by providing the network piece between facilities and data centers,” commented IMT’s Chandos Mahon, VP Sales of the company’s new Interactive Video Learning division.  “We can resell AT&T cloud services in particular, which will further help IMT provide optimum backup and archiving for our customers, which is ideal for the media and entertainment industry.”

 

 

 

 

 

“We welcome IMT to the AT&T Partner Exchange. Our collaboration will enable IMT experts to bundle our innovative services with their in-depth knowledge to deliver tailor-made solutions to businesses,” said Randall Porter, Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Emerging Business Markets, AT&T Business Solutions.

IMT will initially resell the following solutions with additional solutions to be added this year:

AT&T Synaptic Compute as a Service (sm) – offers on-demand virtual machines and associated networking resources in a self-service, pay-as-you-go model.

AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service (sm)- provides highly-secure, virtualized storage that adaptively scales to any size your customers need, and is accessible from virtually any device, nearly anywhere.

AT&T Synaptic Platform as a Service (sm) – a complete development environment that allows users to build custom applications and bring them online quickly and efficiently.

AT&T Virtual Private Network Service – provides the foundation that connects the main office, data centers, branch offices, and remote and mobile workers to each other, and to the applications they need to be productive.

AT&T Managed Internet Service
– high-speed dedicated Internet access, with the features businesses need to connect with customers, partners, and employees.

AT&T Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) Private Network Transport – - businesses can couple their AT&T Managed Internet Service with a point-to-point, network-based connection for increased security and availability.

AT&T IP Flexible Reach – a managed Voice over IP communication solution that supports inbound and outbound calling on your data network, providing local, long distance, and international calling for U.S. sites.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

ABOUT INTEGRATED MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES
Integrated Media Technologies Inc. (IMT) is a digital media and technology company with offices in Los Angeles, San Jose, Dallas, and NYC.  In 2011, Inc. Magazine ranked IMT as the 25th fastest growing private company in the Technology Services industry.  IMT serves the broadcast, telecommunications, media & entertainment, IT, institutional, commercial real estate and hospitality sectors with a broad range of solutions designed to drive new value and efficiencies from technology.

Learn more at: http://www.imtglobalinc.com tel: 877.761.9770

DiGiCo SD10 Tames Mega Monitor Mixes On Frampton’s ‘Guitar Circus’

Peter Frampton reclaims his guitar throne on the blockbuster ‘Frampton’s Guitar Circus’ tour, which kicked off at the end of May in Nashville, TN at the Ryman Auditorium. The guitarist-turned-frontman/singer is sharing the stage and going toe-to-toe with a dizzying array of axemen on the summer outing including Steve Cropper, Dean DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), Don Felder (formerly of The Eagles), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Vince Gill, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), Davy Knowles, Roger McGuinn (founder/lead guitarist of the BYRDS), Richard Thompson, Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Vinnie Moore (UFO) and Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), with B.B. King, Steve Lukather, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Sonny Landreth trading off opening the shows.

With Clair Global providing the consoles and a full stage package, Frampton engineer Matt Fitzgerald—who has worked with Frampton for the past four years, and with Ringo Starr and Blue Man Group prior—kicked off the tour with a new audio footprint at monitor world to handle all of the ramped-up monitoring requirements. Fitzgerald chose a DiGiCo SD10 for Frampton’s 5-piece band and the guest guitarists.

Heading into rehearsals with the new system, Fitzgerald was a bit hesitant at first, but his fears were allayed once he powered up on day one. “This was my first experience using one of the new SD consoles in-depth,” he explains. “I’d had lots of mixing experience on a D5 working with opening acts. But for this summer tour, I opted in favor of a smaller footprint and more flexible solution by trading up two linked digital desks that I was using prior for an SD10. Not only was it difficult mixing inputs between the two desks, but it was sluggish also as I had to treat each one as an individual mixing surface.

“Obviously making a big switch was a bit nerve-wracking. Peter’s the kind of guy that wants to be able to walk into rehearsal and just go. I did a lot of research and spent time with DiGiCo’s Ryan Shelton in Nashville and worked with the offline software to build my big session files. We had a decent amount of rehearsal time, about two weeks, because the band was learning the other guitar players’ material, so that was of huge benefit to me. I was able to get really comfortable on the desk, storing snapshots, making scene-to-scene files, etc. Literally after the first day, I was shocked and awed at how easy it was to get around on the desk and how small the learning curve was. I felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulders and I was able to just concentrate on mixing, not on the new gear. I was really blown away by the desk and really liked that everything was laid out so naturally. The buttons were right where I needed them, not to mention that the features are fantastic and you can have the channel strip wherever you want and create the desk to make it the way you want it to be. It’s really comfortable and I really enjoy it.”

With all of our band on Westone ES2 in-ears, Fitzgerald was looking at a lot of variables with the guest guitarists—some would be on ears, some on wedges; some had big stereo rigs and others had simple combo amps, acoustic guitars, etc. “I wanted to have a lot more flexibility and room to grow. With the SD10, I’m able to build a bigger show file as well as have extra wedge and ear mixes built-in. And it’s been awesome as far as changing the layout of the desk from show to show. For instance, we just played with Steve Cropper, who uses wedges, and I was able to move my wedge mixes to my top layer and restructure my file, and it was so cool and easy.”

Fitzgerald makes use of all of the onboard effects from the desk: reverbs for drums, acoustic guitars and keys, slap delays for vocals, plus a bit of multiband compression for vocals and DiGiTuBes on the bass for a little bit of drive. The only external effects he’s employing is an Eventide H3000 harmonizer for the acoustic guitars.

One of the challenges is creating a controlled environment on a day-to-day basis, blending the audience mics and stage sounds in everyone’s in-ears. “The tonality, spaciousness and imaging are really great and big-sounding on this desk. There’s a real clarity to the sound. Any inputs like Peter’s LCR Marshall and stereo Leslies for is his guitar rig, the Hammond organs and keyboards that are hard-panned left and right, sound so clear and natural. The imaging is excellent and sounds like you don’t have ears in at all. I’m able to fine tune the EQ of the audience mics to each room, so the audience sounds the same even though you’re in an arena, theater, or event hall… When someone in the audience yells in between songs I want Peter to be able to look into the audience and know where and who is yelling and make eye contact with them. With the SD10s imaging and clarity I can pan audience mics exactly where I want. It’s as if I’m mixing the audience just as much as I mix the band. Peter’s mix is a very full range, dynamic mix of the entire band with his inputs just top,” he adds. “He wants to hear everybody and what they’re playing. If someone solos I ride my programed control groups to give them a nudge in his ears so he hears all important parts of the songs…”

With the tour well underway, the feedback on the new console among band and front man has been unanimously positive. “This band is so great to work with because they respect my input and ideas as we move forward with this new console. I try to open up the spectrum in their ears and create a ceiling for them instead of monaural mixes. I want it to sound as natural as possible and at the same time have full control of what’s going on onstage so I’ve created a big open stereo spectrum with Peter in middle and the guitar players panned on each side to create that image of what’s really going on onstage. If you take your ears out, that’s what it’ll sound like. And the fact that I’m able to recreate all of this in the in-ear monitors and have it sound so natural is really cool.

“And Peter, being an audio guy himself is great to work with, he is very particular about his sound,” Fitzgerald continues. “He’s involved in a lot of choices in the audio spectrum and loves this desk, too. He’s blown away with it and loving the sound of the desk in his ears. Peter and his band are all on in-ears monitors and we have a couple of subs onstage for feel. I’m able to have a nice, controlled environment and a lot of good mixing. So far, it’s been a seamless transition and awesome!”

“This DiGiCo desk is amazingly ‘analog’ sounding,” raves Frampton. “It’s very warm and, with its full band width, has incredible smooth high-end response. Matt can run monitors and multi-track record every show with ease. This is due to the foresight of design. It’s like not having ‘ears’ in but instead, listening to a really great pair of studio monitors. But… I’m playing live on stage!”

The variety of the material from night to night and city to city has kept Fitzgerald on his toes and had made for a musically stimulating tour. “The fact that we’re doing both Peter’s material but also songs from the other guitarists, has been a bit of extra work for me and the band, but it’s been really fun overall. It’s made for an exciting, unique and fun tour. Again, having the flexibility on this desk has allowed me to simply have fun mixing… Needless to say, I’m really in love with this desk.”

Alicia Keys Sets The World On Fire With DiGiCo & Clair Global

With over 50 international dates on the horizon in support of her latest outing Girl on Fire, Grammy award winning artist Alicia Keys has surrounded herself with an adept team of engineers with support from Clair Global and DiGiCo mixing systems. With a total of five SD racks (two for FOH, two for monitors, and one for opening artist, Miguel), they’re also carrying a pair of SD10s (one at FOH and monitor world) to handle the eight-member band including the headliner. Newly positioned at FOH is Tim Colvard, who took over the European leg of the tour. Although Colvard’s employed DiGiCo consoles for many of his clients international tours, this was his first time on an SD10 (as well as his debut outing with both the artist and with Clair Global). He joins Clair FOH tech Randy Weinholtz and monitor mixmaster Antonio Luna for the already-in- progress global tour.

The challenge of a one-day rehearsal prior to his first live show could’ve been cause for a bit of nail-biting. However, Colvard’s extensive previous hands-on experience on an SD7 with Madonna, Usher and others lent itself to getting up and running quickly on the new console and Keys’ eight-piece outfit, comprised of keys, bass, drums, guitar, and a trio of background singers.

“A phone conversation with Alicia convinced me that she really cares about her sound,” says Colvard. “And being intrigued by her music made joining an already-in-progress tour an easy decision. With Alicia having one of the most powerful and dynamic voices in the industry, DiGiCo’s dynamic EQ really came in handy for smoothing everything out, especially when she’s really belting it out in the high-end. Also, I’m maximizing all of the dynamic compression available on the SD10 for all of the Pro Tools channels.

“It is also important for me to use snapshots, which I time to run consecutively. This allows me to do certain mutes on the piano, particularly when it goes down the lift in the middle of the song and gets disconnected, as well as for other microphones in different parts at the stage. Using these features gives me more time to mix instead of trying to remember what inputs should be muted or un-muted.”

Colvard’s also carrying a rack of external effects, including a TC Electronic 2290, TC D2, Eventide H3000 ES, a couple of Yamaha 990s and a Lexicon 960L, which gives him “a variety to cover most algorithms needed to do duplicate the album effects.”

“We love the flexibility of the SD10 desk,” adds Weinholtz. “The dynamic EQ is really nice and having the ability to create a fader bank of multiple input/outputs, and whatever your brain can think of, is great.”

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the tour’s audio specs is Antonio Luna’s employment of an Aviom personal monitor mixing system—typically found in House of Worship, theatre and studio settings primarily, but not so much in touring. Luna’s using this in tandem with his SD10 to allow the band to customize and control their own individualized monitoring needs.

“The Aviom has been pretty cool,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d ever use it again after Aerosmith in 2009 but the musical director wanted to and so we figured out a way to incorporate it and it’s been working well since day one. I’m able to send 16 sends to the primary band members, who are all able to mix themselves, which means I get left alone to mix the three background vocalists and the singer. The band doesn’t ask me for anything during the show, so I can concentrate 100% on the artist. I would assume there are other engineers out there using Aviom, although I just don’t know anyone off-hand who’s doing it. It’s definitely made my job easier and I’m still able to deliver quality mixes to the band via that source. The band seems really happy with it, and if they’re happy I’m happy.”

Concentrating on Alicia, Luna keeps the effects to a minimum, relying mostly on the internal effects, with the exception of a TC Electronics M4000 plug-in via AES at 96kHz. “That reverb sounds really good on her vocal and we really like it. But everything else I’m using with her is internal. I find I use a lot of compression on her vocals. She has a lot of dynamic range, so I need to take that down a little bit to make it fit when she’s singing loud or soft. Because she’s primarily a piano player, the mix is very important. The piano can easily get lost or washed out if you have too much vocal or too much ambient sound. So the vocal and piano are the important parts of the mix, and the rest follows those two key elements. I make sure I can always hear the vocal and the piano, and if I can always hear the vocal and the piano, with the band fitting in nicely underneath, we’re going to have a great day!”

They’re also tracking 80 inputs on Nuendo at monitor world and FOH and 80 channels of Pro Tools to split off the stage racks.

Another technological advance on the tour is the use of a Signal Hound RF Spectrum Analyzer. “When we were deciding the gear spec, Scott Evans introduced me to the product and we decided to get one for the tour,” says Luna. “We’re getting really good results and the manufacturer has been fantastic. They’re excited for the feedback because apparently no one in our industry is using it, so it’s kinda cool to be breaking new ground like that.”

Both the artist and management have been happy with the production, both onstage and off…. And are verbal about it. “We’re getting a lot of compliments,” Luna offers, “and a couple of shows ago Alicia said it sounded wonderful at soundcheck… I’m not used to getting that kind of positive feedback from artists, so it’s refreshing, especially coming from Alicia, because she’s such an awesome talent.

“Other than that I’m really grateful that I’ve got a good relationship with the vendors, not just with sound company, Clair Global, but with DiGiCo as well,” continues Luna. “It’s a killer combination for service. I feel confident that no matter where I am in the world, if I need something, it’s going to happen. Thanks to both Clair and DiGiCo for helping me out on this tour… it’s very been appreciated.”

“In today’s touring industry where cost of gear and truck and rack space are ongoing issues,” adds Colvard, “it’s important to have a console that can solve many of these challenges, the DiGiCo SD10 meets all of the needs for getting on the road—from the sonics of the sound to the dynamic EQ, dynamic multi-band compression overdrive [DiGiTubes] and delay on channels, to its great gates and ducking capabilities. Having these tools makes the selection of DiGiCo consoles live an easy choice for me.”

Photo Credit Tim Colvard: Kathy Beer

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