A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive of the NAMM Newslink Category

DiGiCo SD9 Rack Pack Shakes the Cage at All-Star Opening of Mick Fleetwood’s Hawaiian Venue

fleetwoods-on-front-street-maui.jpgDiGiCo rocked the house at the grand opening celebration of Mick Fleetwood’s new restaurant and club, Fleetwood’s on Front Street, in the heart of downtown Lahaina, Maui. The four-night musical celebration boasted a star-studded roster of performers. Night one kicked off with the Grammy-nominated Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, featuring guitarist/singer Rick more

Group One Ltd Launches SD5 Trade Up Program

With the launch of the new SD5 console earlier this year, DiGiCo U.S. distributor, Group One Limited, initiated a limited-time trade up program within the United States to get the new system into as many hands and inventories as possible. The premise of the program is that Group One will take back any make or model large-format analog or digital desk with a credit towards the purchase of a new SD5. The trade up program not only offers a financial benefit, but is also an easy way to stay on the leading edge of technology and upgrade to current technology. The advantages, in particular for a black box theatre or house of worship, is that it would allow them to put in a request for funding and once approved, the venue could swap out the old for the new seamlessly without any downtime, or having to worry about hassling with resale. Several large production companies took immediate advantage of the offer including Alford Media, Clearwing Productions, Hi-Tec Audio, and Beach Sound.

Jonathan Lieurance

Alford Media Services is a nationally recognized event technology support company providing audio, video, lighting and show coordination services for a wide range of clientele from corporate to concerts worldwide. With two of each D1s and D5s in service since 2003, they took advantage of trading up the two D5s for two SD5s with an additional purchase of two 56×32 SD-racks, as well as a pair each of SD9′s and SD11′s and six DRacks. “For our needs, the SD5′s offer the advanced feature sets that our engineers need and tour riders request but don’t cost what the SD7 does,” says John Caswell, Manager of Audio Services. “Upon taking delivery, we did a week in Dallas for Ambit Energy, followed by another event for Sam’s Club in Kansas City and one of our SD5′s was at FOH for both events. That same console was also used at the California Women’s Conference in Long Beach.”

Clearwing Productions, a key resource for audio, video, and lighting, traded up a Soundcraft digital console for an SD5 and also purchased an additional SD9 for its inventory. “We went for one of each for versatility,” explains president Gregg Brunclik, “and planning ahead, the next purchase will be another one of each as we usually buy pairs of each desk. We had an upcoming tour (Bob Dylan) that was interested in using the SD5 so the timing seemed right. We like to make cutting-edge purchases that position us as a primary resource and with the pending tour that ended up taking the SD5 there was instant ROI. We’ve found great success being early adopters with L-Acoustics (we were one of the first five US companies to adopt the K1) and Vari-Lite, and we rolled the same dice on the SD5. DiGiCo’s pioneering new technology sets the bar that other manufacturers must meet. Similar to L-Acoustics pioneering the line array (and since- it’s improvements) you are the barometer by which all others get judged. We’ve come to find that we realize much greater ROI’s on products when we are very early to adopt. It’s a gamble, but when we’re right it really pays off. So far, so good on the SD5.”

Industry mainstay Hi-Tec Audio saw the success with the D5 and took advantage of the program to buy into DiGiCo’s newest technology by trading up six of their D5 inventory for the new SD5s. “For us, this was a no brainer,” mused owner Louis Adamo. “At Hi-Tec we like to look forward and for that reason it was obvious for us to move all our inventory into the new DiGiCo SD series—and we were an early adopter of that technology. In fact, we bought one of the first SD8s when it was introduced. Over the last year, we’ve been adding SD racks and accessories like crazy and our inventory is well over 24-25 SD racks, which is well over half-million dollars. We have a few customers that have been loyal D5 customers and they’ll be the first obvious ones to migrate to the SD5s. It also serves to fill a niche between the SD10 and SD7. The SD5 offers the technical requirements of the SD10 with the surface of the SD7 at a fraction of the cost. DiGiCo has built a very powerful and flexible platform, has done its part by putting the console in the hands of lots of engineers, and are making strides in the live sound market with its consoles. There’s a model that fits every shoe size. We have confidence in the technology and we have a definite market for them.”

Beachsound also felt the trade up program was a fantastic way to move out old capital and replace it with new and exciting technology. They traded up a Yamaha PM5D for an SD5 and purchased an additional SD9… for now. “We felt we needed a higher caliber showcase console to fit the bill of our needs/demands,” explains company president Andre Serafini. “We find the console’s flexible I/O, sonic quality and the ergonomics make it top tier and we are very pleased to have one in house. DiGiCo’s dynamic EQ feature has been a big hit and the DiGiTube technology has been a real pleasure getting to know. We have the SD5 set up to be on a few high profile events in the near future, including a televised mega church event.”

Community Brings Custom Sounds to New York’s Trendy Z Hotel

 

Long Island City, NY, October 2012… New York is the city that never sleeps, and the tiny island of Manhattan has never been able to contain the city’s buzz. Just across the river, hip new neighborhoods spring up like dandelions – once-gritty enclaves like Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant are now home to the trendy elite. As locals are fond of pointing out, these areas have one thing Manhattan lacks: breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline.

New York’s newest peripheral gem is Long Island City. Just a subway stop away in Queens, this aging warehouse district is now abuzz with nightlife, eateries, and fashionable hotels.

And the Z Hotel is a prime example: within months of its grand opening, the hotel boasts a 90 per cent occupancy. This former factory has been redesigned from the ground up, with chic décor from its airy rooftop bar to the intimate basement lounge and restaurant. Both venues feature sleek sound systems designed and installed by El Media Group, a Manhattan-based company that provides high-end boutique hotels and restaurants with both custom music and the sound systems to accompany it.

The rooftop lounge area is served by more than a dozen Community WET Series W2-218 all-weather two-way systems. “We opted for the WET Series mainly for their weather resistance,” explains El Media’s Andrew Mitchel. “But we were pleased to find that they have a nice tight coverage pattern as well. Even though the rooftop is 20 stories up and there are not a lot of immediate neighbors, we wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a lot of sound spilling over into the neighborhood.” Lab Gruppen C-Series amplifiers power the system.

Community’s VERIS Series covers the downstairs restaurant and lounge. The basement venue is outfitted with a distributed system featuring Community VERIS 26 two-way, dual 6-inch full-range systems, with VERIS 212S dual 12-inch subwoofers for added low-end punch. The loudspeakers are powered by Lab Gruppen C- and FP-Series amplification, with Symetrix Jupiter DSP providing system drive and processing.

“It’s a pretty nice sounding space,” says Mitchel. “It’s not very wide, but the room is pretty friendly – not a lot of parallel walls or reflective surfaces, plenty of soft seating and cushions, and the ceiling’s not too low like a lot of basement spaces. It’s a nice looking place too – they’ve opened up a large part of the space to the level above, so they’ve got a lot of natural light coming in. It’s a really nice room, and the VERIS speakers sound great in there.”

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Community Professional Loudspeakers is a manufacturer and supplier of professional audio equipment.  Since 1968, Community has led the pro-audio industry with technological innovations which have become industry standards. Today, Community offers over 150 professional loudspeaker products, including installed loudspeaker systems, weather-resistant outdoor loudspeaker systems, ceiling loudspeakers, high level voice paging systems, and portable entertainment systems.  Visit www.communitypro.com for more information. 

Live from Daryl’s House to Yours with StudioLive

New York State, October 2012…  It’s not easy scoring a hit in today’s busy media landscape. But that’s exactly what singer-songwriter Daryl Hall has done with Live from Daryl’s House, the Webcast-turned-syndicated-TV-show on the Palladia Channel. The show, which Hall started back in 2007, has drawn critical acclaim for its eclectic mix of musical guests and genres; its unscripted, real-life moments; and its powerful, raw musical performances.

Taped at Hall’s house in rural upstate New York, the show has become a favorite among musicians and fans. There’s plenty of shop talk, working out riffs, and even a dinner break as guests hang out in the converted barn that hosts the sessions.

As Hall’s long-time engineer Peter Moshay explains, the show’s authenticity is part of the appeal – there’s nothing contrived about it. “This is really Daryl’shome,” he explains. “We come in and build the set for every show and tear it down afterward.”

Moshay mixes the show live on a PreSonus StudioLive™ 24.4.2 digital console. “Most of what I’m doing during the taping is dealing with monitor mixes,” he says. “Since the StudioLive gives me ten monitor sends, everybody gets their own monitor mix.”

As Moshay observes, the space is pretty cozy. “The room looks a lot bigger on TV than it really is,” he says. “It’s actually pretty cramped. There’s nowhere to really sit down, and once the room is filled with musicians and production people, there’s barely room to walk.”

The StudioLive is set up in an adjacent room but Moshay spends most of his time away from the desk. “I use StudioLive Remote for iPad® to get in position to hear everyone’s wedges.” Each musician also uses QMix™, enabling them to control their own mix. “It took about five minutes for the guys to figure out how to use it, and then everyone was like, ‘don’t ever change this!’ Once we started using the wireless control, there was just no way to ever go back.”

The musicians’ ability to control their monitors is great for the creative flow as well, Moshay explains. “They’re usually working out the arrangements on the fly, and being able to hear each other and communicate is huge. There’s no more shouting across the room.”

Audio is recorded live to multitrack, taking the output of the StudioLive into Alesis HD24XR hard-disk recorders. “It’s old technology but it’s what we started with five years ago,” Moshay explains. “There wasn’t room to set up a computer, and there still isn’t, so I export the tracks to a computer for editing.”

With no acoustic treatment to speak of, and a peaked ceiling that ranges from 15 to 21 feet high, there’s very little in the way of separation. “Everything in the room is wide open, and there’s no way to really duck any of the mics, because it changes the sound,” he explains. “So when I go to mix the recordings, there’s plenty of leakage across the tracks.”

And that, says Moshay, is a big part of the show’s appeal. “It’s kind of a musician’s show. A lot of musicians are familiar with the show’s sound. It sounds real, like you’re live in the room, and that’s what people like. So I do everything I can to tame the levels, but I keep all that leakage in the mix. I want people to feel like they are there in the room with us.”

The StudioLive’s Class A XMAX™ preamps are a solid part of that sound. “Because we have such a wide range of guests, every show is different,” says Moshay. “Some shows they’ll come out rocking pretty hard, other shows we’ll have lower dynamics and more ballads. The StudioLive’s sound is clean and uncolored. It can go from one extreme to the other, and it sounds great no matter what we’re doing with it.”

Watch this video by Peter Moshay about how he uses the StudioLive 24.4.2 for Live from Daryl’s House.

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Founded in 1995, PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc., is a leading designer and manufacturer of audio-recording software, hardware, and related accessories. PreSonus software, microphone preamps, signal processors, digital audio interfaces, mixers, control surfaces and other products are used worldwide for recording, sound reinforcement, broadcast, sound design, and Internet audio.

QSC Q-Sys Offers Acoustic Echo Cancellation as a Standard Feature

Q-Sys CoreCosta Mesa, CA –(October 19, 2012) QSC Audio Products, LLC is pleased to announce that Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) is now available as a standard component of their acclaimed Q-Sys integrated system platform, which has quickly become the preferred choice worldwide for audio system control and signal transport.

Ideally suited for Q-Sys clients that utilize AV conferencing systems in such places as corporate boardrooms, meeting and convention spaces, hospitality installs, and government and legislative venues, the powerful QSC AEC process is easily deployed in Q-Sys Designer software as a simple, draggable component. And unlike AEC offerings from competing manufacturers which must be purchased as costly add-on input cards, the Q-Sys solution is 100% integrated into the Q-Sys Core without any additional cost to the user.

“Because of the powerful Q-Sys DSP processing engines, we have been able to offer Acoustic Echo Cancellation as an integrated feature to serve our customers,” says Joe Peavey, QSC Product Manager, Software. “The tight integration between the Q-Sys processor, DSP, hardware and control software, gives Q-Sys the ability to do AEC on audio signals coming from any number of sources such as mics, remotes, I/O frames and even over IP streams.”

Current Q-Sys customers can enjoy the AEC feature at no charge by upgrading to Q-Sys Designer Release 3.0 or newer. More information on the upgrade, as well as a new Q-Sys AEC whitepaper can be found at: www.qscmarketing.com/aec.

“We are excited to be able to offer AEC to our customers with Q-Sys,” adds Peavey. “And we continually have plans in the QSC pipeline to add more advanced and powerful features to Q-Sys which will benefit our customers. “

Q-Sys, the complete integrated system platform that encompasses everything from the audio input to loudspeakers, provides all the audio routing, processing, control and monitoring necessary for any facility while maintaining the audio quality and reliability QSC has come to be known for. Designed for the rigorous requirements of both small and large-scale venues, the power of Q-Sys has been demonstrated worldwide in a variety of applications, including stadiums and arenas, theme parks, performing arts venues, transportation hubs, corporate boardrooms, convention halls, government facilities, hotels and casinos and houses of worship.

About QSC Audio
QSC Audio Products, LLC is a leading manufacturer of power amplifiers, loudspeakers, digital signal processors, digital sound transport, and network audio for professional audio systems worldwide. qsc.com

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Train’s ‘California 37′ 2012 Tour Lays Tracks Across U.S. With Dual DiGiCo SD10s

Grammy Award-winning pop-rockers Train have been laying tracks across the continental United States and Canada this summer and fall with their San Francisco 2012 tour. The band pulled out all the stops, rolling through material both old and new, including songs from their latest studio album, California 37. Because of the tour’s beefed-up band and increased input list, engineers Rob Thomas and Robert Greene opted for a pair of SD10 systems at FOH and monitors (provided by Delicate Productions and Hi-Tech Audio), to simplify the production and the technology requirements.

“Rob Greene and I have used many different platforms working together with Train over the years,” Thomas explains, “but for this tour, it got a little more involved. Train is typically a three-piece band, but with this tour there are eight musicians onstage and we needed at least 52 inputs/outputs for the band and the accompaniments, including bass, guitar, vocals and background singers, in-ear mixes and stage monitors. We wanted the best-sounding console and one that was most configurable, and that’s how we came up with the SD10s. Having two of the DiGiCo’s out there was the best option for the tour, allowing us to pick each other’s brains about functionality and also streamline the technology. This is the first time that I’ve toured with a DiGiCo product, although I’ve used and am familiar with the D1 and D5 Series. In my time with the SD10 at FOH, I found that it truly sounds great; it’s one of the best-sounding digital consoles that I’ve been able to get my hands on. Choosing DiGiCo was one of the easiest decisions we had to make early on.”

System Tech Philip Reynolds and FOH Engineer Rob Thomas

“Going into this tour back in early 2012 we knew that we were going to move up above the 48-channel level,” adds Greene. “We had a chance to check out both the SD10 and SD7 and they were both impressive. The SD10 had everything that Rob and I needed so we decided to save the band a little dough and take out the SD10.”

The FOH system uses the DiGiCo SD Rack loaded with 56 inputs, 16 analog outs, and eight AES. “We are using both AES and analog to drive the PA via a Martin Merlin processor ,” clarifies Systems Tech Philip Reynolds. “The system is run in AES to the Martin Merlin 4 in 10 out matrix. From there, the rig is analog throughout. We have a very cool setup with the headliner independent of the support act settings. We use a separate group output off the console to drive three more inputs on the Merlin, also using AES. I am also using both the SD Rack and FOH outputs to feed hearing assist, video recording/ monitor, back of house audio as well… all controlled off the matrix on the desk.”
Thomas says he’s done some slick routing at FOH thanks to the flexibility of the DiGiCo interface. “The compact surface of the SD10—taken from the SD7 approach where any fader can be configured the way I want—allows me to take a musical approach vs. a typical console layout and was a plus. Unlike other consoles, you can minimize your layers, and the SD10 gives us flexible, multiple layers to choose from, so I tend to use less because of how I’m able to lay the console out just on the first layer. What would normally take me three to four layers on the console, I can now do in one, maybe two, because the desk is able to be laid out in almost any configuration of inputs, outputs, etc. I’m not doing anything too crazy; just some fun routing and grouping stuff. We created a Systems/Playback layer that had a few input channels—iPod, pink noise, the input from the support desk—so that any announcements between bands and system tuning is all in one layer.

“I also throw in some dynamics as in the compressed vs. the noncompressed group, which is no trade secret, and I’ve had such awesome results because of using that dynamic section on a wet/dry situation. Everything else on the desk I use simply straight up, it sounds that good. I don’t really need to do a lot to it. As soon as you plug into the desk you’ll hear a difference, from the preamps to the outputs, and that’s the icing on the cake. I love the compression, too. The multiband compression and the dynamic EQ are the best tools on the console. The dynamic section of the console is tops. It’s part of that DiGiCo sound that I just love and that’s one of the reasons I went after the console in the first place.”

Initially, he was making use of the Waves SoundGrid bundle but for simplicity’s sake, found that he was able to get everything he needed within the desk. “I’ve actually forgone the Waves plug-ins and am using all the delays, reverbs and time-based effects on the SD10 itself. The only outboard situation that I take the desk into is a Crane Song HEDD 192 digital signal processor/harmonic sweetener. I take a Subgroup of all of the band and run it through that and it adds a little sparkle to it. I then run it back to the desk and rejoin it with my vocal groups.”

As far as outputs, Thomas says that changes daily. “For our PA situation, I typically use two Left/Right outs these days and then matrix out through either a Lake-type system or the new Martin MLA system feeding left, right sub, front fills, side hangs, delays, lawn and hearing assists. On any given day, we can go from four to 16 sometimes, plus an additional three outputs for our Rational Acoustics Smaart 7 system where we were able to monitor left, right and any input or output off the second solo bus. Being able to see and hear without having to change and manage levels was great. We used one for the nearfield monitors, and the second for the Smaart.”

For recording and virtual soundcheck, Thomas is among the first wave of engineers making use of DiGiCo’s new UB MADI 24-bit/48-channel USB 2.0 interface to get a MADI stream in and out of his MacBook Pro. “I’m using it every night and it’s worked flawlessly,” he says. “I love it. We are at more than 48 channels but I’ve taken the primary inputs, track for track, to a MacBook Pro to a LaCie 4TB Thunderbolt hard drive and I record 48 tracks every night. I also use the ‘Listen to Copied Audio’ function for the Virtual Soundcheck mode, so I can play back the previous night’s show right back to the desk, channel for channel, 1-48. Also, the UB MADI is not DiGiCo proprietary, so the interface will work with any MADI-ready console, which is so cool. Initially we were set up to run with Pro Tools, but we found that if you have Pro Tools Native, it only allows you to go up to 32 channels with the standard PT system, and that was a real bummer. Not taking anything away from Pro Tools or the users of Pro Tools, it’s a great editing system for tracking, but for what we’re doing it’s not. We went and bought a $60 Reaper program that’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s flawless and allows me to listen back to my MADI rack. It sounds really good, too.”

Over at monitor world, Rob Greene is digging the SD10′s flexibility, routing and onboard effects—some of which, including snapshots, are a revelation for the engineer.

“I love the dual solo busses and being able to route a solo to either buss or both,” he says. “It’s very important as a monitor engineer not to have a click-track blasting through your cue wedge. I can also cue up someone’s in-ear mix and wedge mix at the same time. Almost everyone in the band uses Sennheiser in-ears, but my lead singer and guitar player rely heavily on wedges and sidefills. On the first day of rehearsals we decided to run the console at 96kHz. Overall, the console’s sonic quality is superb. It’s got the closest sound to an analog console and sounds better than most of the leading brands of digital consoles.

“I also like the ability to move inputs and outputs to wherever you want on the SD10. I have all the outputs that I need to listen to most often on the first bank so I don’t have to just move banks around too much. Speed is so important. I’m also digging the snapshots on this console. This is the first time I’ve used snapshots for a show. I’ve always been afraid to use them because it’s easy to get lost in them, but I found them easy to understand and they give you a lot of control.”

With the summer/fall leg of the tour coming to a close at the end of September and European dates on the horizon in 2013, Thomas and Greene have been happy with the flexibility the console has offered and will continue to rely on the console’s flexibility to support the show’s diverse structure.

“We’ve tried to keep the audience involved with kids coming onstage to sing, etc.” explains Thomas. “There’s a kind of Vegas show theme to our shows in that there’s always something going at any given time onstage. Using the small footprint of the SD10, which is a condensed screen surface, and having the ability to lay out the console where you need it and for what you need most to be on top and in your hands was key. I went to DiGiCo initially because it sounds the best. And having the ability to have what you need, where you need, when you need it is obviously of the utmost importance with any console. The ergonomics of the SD10 makes it tops. I’ve seen and experienced it all, and having this DiGiCo in my hands every day makes my job easier. And with the tour heading overseas, in fly-date situations, we don’t get to carry our backline, so DiGiCo has now been added to that fly spec of our rider. We’re hoping that everyone will jump on the SD10 format to the extent that we request one from Alabama to Asia. That’s what we’re looking to help do: get it out there and into people’s hands and let them know that this is a very serious product. And the SD10 fits into a lot of regional sound company budgets. It’s a hard-working, great-sounding desk that’s very powerful, and I think it’s going to be one of those consoles that is a staple of the regional and major sound companies. It’s affordable and everyone needs one in their inventory.”

DiGiCo Captures Electrifying Tedeschi Trucks Band Live On 2-CD Set

Brilliant musicianship and roof-raising performances characterize the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s live concerts. The perennially touring, 11-piece ensemble covers myriad genres from Delta blues and Rock to Funk and Jazz and is led by husband and wife team singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi and slide guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks. So it made perfect sense for the group to follow-up their Grammy awarded debut release with a live testament to their incendiary shows. The two-disc Everybody’s Talkin’ marks the TTB’s first anniversary and features highlights recorded last fall while the band toured behind Revelator. Described as “a warm-sounding, ‘organic’ concert document, DiGiCo’s SD8 console played a major role in the recording of that CD under the discerning ear of monitor engineer Bobby Tis. The group’s touring audio kit (supplied by SK Systems) also features an SD10 (replacing a DiGiCo D5) at Front of House with Brian Speiser.

“For that 2011 tour,” Tis recalls, “I brought out a rack of Neve and API outboard preamps and a few sweet vintage compressors. We used them for some of our most important channels and fed the pre amps line-in to the DiGiCo stage rack. I recorded to two systems simultaneously throughout the whole tour. I had Cubase running on my MacBook Pro through a MADIface as my backup recorder, which I also used for playback for the band and virtual soundcheck. The main recorder (the one we mixed the album from) was a Joeco BBR-64 MADI. The Joeco recorder integrated seamlessly with the DiGiCo and gave us 64 recordable tracks via MADI. It was easy to use, stable, and amazingly. Neither recorder crashed the whole tour and the tracks sounded great. Having the DiGiCo for these recordings made the project very easy… I was even able to assign a stereo aux to a pair of tracks and print a rough mix along with the multitracks as the show was going on. I would do it again the same way.”

Speiser uses his SD10 in tandem with an RME MADIFace into a MacBook Pro running Logic to track the occasional show for virtual soundcheck purposes. Most shows, however, he’s recording a board mix through that same setup as a reference for the band to listen to.

Both Tis and Speiser are no strangers to DiGiCo and the decision to carry the consoles on the newly minted tour in 2011 was an easy decision to make. Both had been introduced to the DiGiCo platform on D1s and D5s while working with SK Systems during the early 2000s, and Speiser used one or the other on tours with They Might Be Giants, 311 and with the Indigo Girls—where he moved from a D1 to an SD8 and finally an SD8/24 to get the most “bang for my buck while keeping a small footprint,” Speiser says. “Having been on DiGiCo consoles for a long time, I’ve really enjoyed the sonic differences as the processing technology and power have gotten more intense. Once I moved over from the D series consoles to the SD consoles, going backwards just wasn’t an option. I definitely find the DiGiCo SD consoles to be the best sounding digital desks available. If you use the A>D converters to their full potential and convert the right amount of signal, you can really achieve great rich sounds. As an analogue connoisseur, it’s very important to me that you can’t hear anything ‘digital’-sounding in my mix and the quality of converters in DiGiCo gear, along with its floating point 40-Bit Super FPGA, achieve that more so than any other digital desks I’ve mixed on.”

Speiser says the flexibility and dynamic EQ/multiband comp capabilities are the most rewarding features of the SD10. “It helps to be able to put any sort of fader or output in any slot I want. I can keep everything I need in front of me and move channels I don’t need as often. Having an 11-piece band, you really need to make the most out of the space you have, and I can personalize the console exactly as I see fit. The dynamic EQ is a great way to maintain the life of a vocal or instrument and still pull certain trouble frequencies out only when they start to get out of control. One other feature that has come in quite handy on the SD10 is the multiple User Defined Keys (macros). With so much going on on our stage, and musicians moving around to different mics, I’m able to use the macros to change what mics show up on what channels, allowing me to keep everybody’s settings the same for their voice or instrument no matter where on stage they decide to play.”

As for outboard gear, he keeps it to a bare minimum for consistency’s sake. “It was important to me when I started working with TTB to try and keep everything in the box so that I can advance to have an SD8 or SD10 on fly dates and still be able to keep my session sounding the same. On our tour, the only piece of gear I have with me is a Dolby Lake Processor on my mix outputs so that I can walk around and EQ each venue on a tablet computer. I plan to try adding a Waves SoundGrid in the future, but we haven’t had the chance to implement it just yet.”

Over in monitor world, Tis says his favorite features on the SD8 are the console’s routing flexibility and functionality, as well as the snapshots, which help him to achieve consistency. “I’m mixing the band through post-fade groups for the most part. Everyone gets themselves pre-fade off their channels and everything else in the mix is coming in post-fade through groups. This allows me to mix the show off the main faders and have the fader movement translate proportionally in everyone’s mix simultaneously. I’ve been using this technique for a while, but it’s definitely the best it has ever been with the SD8.

“Being able to have multiple versions (MultiPatch) of the same input to be used in different mixes on the stage, on the fader bank layers, and the flexibility of the mixing surface all help me keep those additional faders organized and streamlined,” he adds. “I also really like having the macros even though I’m using them for not so exciting stuff. I have them set up as buttons that I’d like to have that are not built-in on the surface, for instance, ‘Gain tracking On/Off’ for all channels, ‘Fader Flip On/Off,’ ‘Save Session,’ and I have a couple assigned to specific channel mutes and mute groups. I don’t use a lot of snapshots, but I do have a few for certain tunes where our vocalists or keyboard/flute player moves to different positions on the stage.

“I’m also a huge fan of DiGiCo’s snapshot scope, which is second to none in my opinion. The few that I’m using, which are scoped to see aux-send level and mute, have helped me to solve some issues of consistency I’ve had in the past when our vocalist or keys/flute player change positions on stage. Also, on some legs of the tour the band will do some stripped-down blues tunes, which is pretty much an ‘audio scene change.’ The snapshots have helped me keep that portion of the show very consistent without having to flip though every mix and make adjustments. I’m also a big fan of the Multiband Compressors and Dynamic EQ’s, they really help me to keep the most musical parts of my lead instruments in focus on a stage with 11 musicians, 10 wedge mixes and 2 drum fills!”

And the band has certainly noticed the forward progression of their audio production since bringing the DiGiCo SD’s out on this tour. “We’ve had several positive comments about the consistency of the sound of our show from the band,” relays Tis. “In monitors, I’ve heard certain band members feel great because they can musically communicate with each other, which, I believe, is because of how the SD8 allows me to mix the show. With Brian at FOH with his SD10, too, there’s been a plethora of rave reviews from fans and critics, but the band has especially noticed that they are getting their musical statements across to the audience in a very focused, conducive, and high-fidelity manner night after night, and overall the audiences have become more energetic because of this. The consoles have helped us raise the bar for this organization. In my opinion the DiGiCo SD series consoles are, hands down, the best sounding and most flexible digital consoles on the market. I’ve used almost all of the digital consoles that are out there over the years and not one of them is capable of out performing my SD8 for its application with this band. This console makes my job fun everyday because I know I can do anything I need to. We are grateful, loyal and proud DiGiCo users.”

Indianapolis Traders Point Christian Church Upgrades Audio System & Gets A Windfall of Additional Features & Benefits

Traders Point Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana has a rich history dating back to humble beginnings with a handful of worshipers in 1834. The congregation now totals close to 4,000 members. With an eye (and ear) to updating its audio footprint and wireless technology, Technical Systems Engineer Brent Whetstine—with the help of Daryl Cripe and Nate Krause of Church Solutions Group—set out on a mission to upgrade TPCC’s main mix and monitor/IE consoles in its newest Worship Center, where the church relocated to in 2007. With the addition of a pair of DiGiCo SD10s and SD racks set up for 96 inputs and 48 outputs, not only did TPCC get a world-class and expandable system that will allow them to grow in the coming years, but also a pristine-sounding clarity to its services. Additionally, it offered its volunteer staff of engineers an educational learning tool.

“We had outgrown our previous consoles both in channel count as well as output, so we had started looking specifically for consoles that doubled our existing capabilities,” Whetstine explains. “Our philosophy was that if we’re going to pay a premium for the next level of digital console, there was no sense in only gaining 12 more inputs, or only eight more outputs, especially knowing that our worship team and its needs would be growing over the next few years. We had looked at the SD8 and really liked the package, but felt like we still needed to double our channel and output capability. When we saw the advertisement in Live Sound magazine for the ‘New SD10 at 96/48,’ we said, ‘That’s our console!’

“We knew we were getting a better console, and we knew of DiGiCo’s reputation for creating stellar-sounding products. What we didn’t bank on was that the volunteers would take to it so quickly. Our volunteer team felt it was easier to get around on than our previous boards and have felt right at home from day one. More than that, we’re constantly in awe at the sound quality. The comment ‘Wow, that sounds great,’ or ‘Wow, I didn’t know it would do that,’ is heard pretty often these days around here.”

The main SD10 console interfaces with a Yamaha DME64 processor by way of AES/EBU, to drive a large LCR array of HPV MAD A-9s, SB412s, MTM-1s and VLFs, all powered by Yamaha PCN series amps. The monitor desk feeds 16 stereo mixes (10 of which are PSM900, with more to be added), two wired mixes for bass and drums offering better low end, and four wireless IEM systems TPCC owned prior to the upgrade.

Some of the system’s feature set proved helpful for their needs—for example, smart keys that allow the operator to easily make quick mix changes like effects and sub boosts without having to hunt down channels. The programmability of scenes with specific recallable functions is way more in-depth than their previous board, allowing for very detailed scene recall per song, and even within songs for dramatic shifts of effects and mix details. And the volunteer engineers cite Snapshot Notes and Virtual Sound Check as veritable blessings.

“I found the EQ to be both subtle and musical,” says Whetstine. “We’re able to do very narrow boosts in upper regions that previously would have been piercing, but on this board, it just makes things stand out of the mix while still sounding natural even when the boost might look wildly dramatic. Minor tweaks of a dB or less are immediately heard, but not sonically noticeable. Even when cuts of 9db or more are applied, it still sounds proper with no odd ‘carved’ or unnatural sounds. Everything just sounds right.

“Also, the effects presets are just perfect,” he adds. “Our mixes, even in our auditorium, sound more live and energetic with stock programs, versus sounding like a concert hall—or very distant-sounding. The stock reverbs just sound like natural ambience without drawing attention to the effect itself. We’ve also upgraded our native plug-ins to TDM. We’re using the Waves’ Blackface CLA-1176 plug-ins on nearly everything, including vocals, drums, bass, acoustics, etc. Having it in-line and not compressed brings a really familiar quality to the vocals. We’re also using a PuigTec EQ on the bass and a PuigChild compressor on guitars. We’ve only purchased these few, as they were what I was familiar with from my time learning audio in Nashville. My next focus will be to step into some mastering plug-ins to help bulletproof audio feeds to recording, video and building systems. I’m also really turning over the idea of some of the different channel strips that are available for plug-ins. We’ve worked for several years with an end goal of developing a sonic signature for the music we produce, and I’m curious if some of those might be a step in that direction. It’s kind of nebulous and evolving, but when you have really cool tools like this available, it makes it really energizing to always be deconstructing what we do to try and make it better.”

Team FOH Main - (L-R) Jeff Johnston (volunteer), Jonathan Ficklin (Vol) Levy Stout (Vol), Mike Blackburn (Vol), Wes Fahlsing (Vol), Brent Whetstine (Technical Systems/Staff)

Another unexpected bonus the console brought to TPCC: it’s been a tool for educational growth for its volunteers, who now have the ability to record rehearsals and tweak the mixes after the fact. TPCC is currently set up to record 48 channels through an RME MADI card on a Logic Audio system, and Whetstine says they hope to purchase a second card to be able to record a full 96 channels without having to juggle inputs between racks. These recordings are currently used for training and virtual soundcheck purposes.

“The training portion is an unbelievable windfall for a church,” he says. “Being able to track our rehearsals and then work on our mixes without the pressure of other people in the room has not only made our mix engineers incredibly good, it has turned out to be an incredible teaching tool. We can bring all of our audio team members in and talk through ideas of channel setup and EQ without the need for a band to do this with. As a church worker and leader of volunteers, I can’t highlight this feature enough for its ability to aid training both new and existing volunteers in a safe manner that had previously been impossible. Also, the ability for a volunteer to work on his mix in a calm environment—some of whom spend up to four to five hours post-rehearsal—away from the stress of a fast-paced rehearsal has done wonders for our engineers, increasing the confidence of their work and the quality of their mixes. In short, the engineers are doing better work and enjoying the final execution more. It also makes Sunday morning that much more enjoyable in that they’re fully prepared, and completely relaxed.”

The SD10s, in addition, solved another sonic challenge. “Being so clean and comfortable to listen to, this console has bought us a lot of grace with our congregation, which has a broad range of ages,” Whetstine confesses. “What I mean by this is that we can be powerful and punchy-sounding without feeling like it’s loud. This was really evident with our previous console in that it was not as smooth as this console, so it sometimes sounded loud even at low volumes. The clarity within the mix is incredible. On some consoles, you can really only put a few things at the forefront of the mix, and the rest of the band is kind of part of the ‘bed.’ On the SD10s, we can hear way back into the mix, which not only makes it easier to pick out individual instruments, but has really kept us on our toes to be better at what we do because the average person can now clearly hear whether the mix is on or not. This board sounds so clean and nice! It’s exposed what we refer to as our ‘club engineer disease’—all of the bad habits developed mixing around sonic inadequacies of other gear we’ve been exposed to, or unrefined work that is the result of a narrow window for the mix to be heard through. There is so much space and subtlety to everything about this console, it’s like you can hear in HD and 3D at the same time. We’re able to mix with more power and volume, allowing the music to really connect with and engage the congregation, whilst not being perceived as being louder. In fact, we’ve even had comments like, ‘I’m glad you finally turned it down,’ when in reality we’re easily 4-6 dB louder!”

One trick he’s happy to impart regards working with the choir: “I’ve found that by assigning the four choir mics to both individual channels and as stereo pairs, I can dial the spread on the stereo pair to Wide and then mix it back in with the original four mics. This makes the choir sound as big as a house with literally no hard work of EQing stuff out. Also, using auxes on faders for monitors while having the knobs follow the selected mix makes it very easy for the monitor engineer to dial up an instrument with a hand on the pan knob and never having to take his eyes off the stage. The pan knob for that instrument is always the pan knob no matter what mix you’ve selected.”

All in all, the SD10 acquisition has offered TPCC incredible benefits for both staff and congregation alike. “The DiGiCo consoles have made us better at what we do in general,” Whetstine says, “and offer our worshipers a message that is sonically clear—and ultimately that is our greatest goal.”

Michael MacDonald Joins ATK Audiotek as President

Michael MacDonald, New President of ATK Audiotek

Valencia, California (September 25, 2012) – Leading audio production company, ATK Audiotek, is proud to welcome Michael MacDonald to take over the duties as President and leadership of the company’s business development, sales and marketing programs, coincident with the retirement of outgoing President Michael Stahl.

MacDonald joins ATK Audiotek with over three decades of experience in the professional audio industry, most recently having served for five years as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at HARMAN Professional. Prior to HARMAN, Michael operated a successful consulting business at Pilot Business Strategies, where he worked with over 30 professional audio clients and trade organizations on product and program development, business planning and marketing and sales, where he built strong relationships with a diverse array of industry stakeholders. MacDonald has held senior roles at other professional audio manufacturers, including as President of JBL Professional and 10-years in various executive positions with Yamaha International.

Michael MacDonald began his career in the audio business in the production industry working as lead audio engineer on a host of major tours and projects including Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the GRAMMY® Awards and Presidential debates.

“Having Michael MacDonald join the company is a natural extension of the relationships we have enjoyed for over 30 years,” commented Mikael Stewart, Partner and Vice President of Special Events, ATK Audiotek. “We’re very pleased to welcome him onboard and look forward to his ideas and his energy just as we are appreciative of Mike Stahl’s massive contribution to ATK since its foundation!”

Scott Harmala, Partner, CTO and Vice President of Engineering, ATK Audiotek, concurs “Michael not only brings decades of experience and industry contacts but a proven, high energy, creative approach to building new business. We share a considerable history together but also a strong vision for the future potential of the production industry and of ATK Audiotek!”

Michael MacDonald noted, “I am really excited to be moving to ATK Audiotek for the next phase of my career,” add Michael MacDonald on his new role. “ATK Audiotek is a great company that has been a pioneer in the live event industry and has built a solid business by focusing on superb customer service. I am really flattered that Mikael and Scott have given me the chance to join the team as an ATK partner and I also appreciate the support Michael Stahl has provided to make this possible.”

About ATK Audiotek
Founded in 1983, ATK Audiotek is the foremost sound reinforcement provider in the professional audio industry. ATK Audiotek provides unparalleled quality and reliable service to all of its clients. ATK Audiotek’s client roster includes hundreds of television productions, special events, industrial conventions, permanent installations and concert tours. ATK Audiotek has received many awards including four nominations and two wins of the prestigious TEC Award for outstanding technical achievement. For more information please visit http://www.atkcorp.com/about.html

METRIC HALO RELEASES PRODUCTION BUNDLE FOR WINDOWS AAX AND MAC AUDIO UNITS, CELEBRATES WITH SALE

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 2012: This past weekend, at IMSTA Festa, Metric Halo announced the release of the Metric Halo Production Bundle for Pro Tools 10 for Windows, as well as Macintosh Audio Units. The software will be available 9/25/12 and consists of seven plug-ins compatible with AAX Native and AAX DSP Pro Tools systems and any Macintosh DAW that supports Audio Units: ChannelStrip 3, Character, HaloVerb, Multiband Dynamics, Multiband Expander, Precision DeEsser, and TransientControl.

This bundle provides all the tools necessary to sculpt a mix. Four of the plug-ins contain audio analysis tools from Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo software, giving the user visual feedback of the plug-in’s processing. “We’re excited to release the Production Bundle for Pro Tools on Windows,” said Allen Rowand of Metric Halo. “The introduction of the AAX plug-in format has made it possible for us to offer our software on Windows for the first time. We’re also thrilled to make the Production Bundle available to all of our longtime Macintosh users. The great thing about the Production Bundle is that one iLok license works cross-host and cross-platform – so if you prefer to edit audio in Pro Tools but compose in Logic, you only need one license. Or if you work in Pro Tools in Windows at home and Mac in the studio, you’re covered as well.”

The MSRP for the bundle is $699 USD, with individual plug-ins priced at $199 USD each. Upgrades from ChannelStrip 2 to ChannelStrip 3 are available for $49, and upgrades from ChannelStrip 2 to the Production Bundle cost $549. Owners of Metric Halo’s +DSP software may purchase the Production Bundle for $549, and may purchase the Bundle for $399 if they own licenses for both +DSP and ChannelStrip 2. Customers who have purchased ChannelStrip 2 Native since October 1, 2011 are eligible for a free upgrade to ChannelStrip 3.

In order to celebrate the release of the Production Bundle, Metric Halo is offering special pricing from 9/25/12 to 10/25/12; the Production Bundle and individual plug-ins are 25% off. See http://mhlabs.com for more information.

Promotional pricing is available through Metric Halo dealers, as well as Metric Halo’s direct sales site, and may only be combined with customer loyalty discounts. AAX plug-ins require Pro Tools 10 or later running on Mac OS X or Windows, and Audio Units require Mac OS X and Audio Unit hosts. The Production Bundle and individual plug-ins require an iLok for authorization.

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

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