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Archive of the NAMM Newslink Category

Guruz Media Drums Up Attention for Sabian Cymbals at Winter NAMM with PixelFLEX LED Video Curtain Wall

At Winter NAMM, the musical instrument industry’s signature trade show, standing out from the crowd is always a challenge. To get the attention of attendees, exhibitors rely on companies such as Guruz Media, a leading full-service marketing agency, to attract prospective customers to their booths.

Working on behalf of exhibitor Sabian Cymbals, Guruz Media developed an innovative and eye-catching 16′ tall by 8′ diameter tower of cymbals stretching from the ground to high above the trade show floor. To ensure the tower of cymbals would capture the attention of visitors no matter where they were, Guruz added a PixelFLEX LED video curtain wall as a backdrop.

Exceptionally light weight and extremely flexible, the PixelFLEX curtain was the perfect solution for creating a column of bold-colored LED lighting inside the interior of the cymbal tower that was sure to turn heads. According to Doug Webber, chief creative officer for Guruz, mission accomplished.

“Anybody can go to a trade show and rent big screens for their booth, but when it comes down to it, there has to be something that pushes it over the top to really get people to notice,” Webber said. “Whether that is something of the unexpected, or just maybe huge, like the cymbal tower. As soon as I saw the PixelFLEX screens online and how they could bend around nearly any shape or structure, I knew how I could use them at Winter NAMM to make a difference for my client at the show.”

For the cymbal tower backdrop at Winter NAMM, Guruz used 12 panels of PixelFLEX’s 20mm LED video curtain. Featuring 2500 pixels PSM (Per Square Meter) and 3240 nit brightness, PixelFLEX’s curtain provided Webber and his team a solution that was easy to set up and operate – benefits to trade show support that cannot be understated.

“We were trying to create an architectural design element that had some movement, visually speaking, going on inside the tower,” Webber said. “We found a nice piece of digital juice eye candy, colorized it to match the rest of the branding in the booth, and just allowed it to loop over and over again on the PixelFLEX screens.

With more than 200 cymbals on the tower, it was a perfect solution for filling the negative space between the cymbals,” Webber continued. “On top of that, it was super simple to install and operate. The client [Sabian] was extremely happy and competitors definitely took note. One even mentioned to us that it was the best cymbal display they had ever seen at Winter NAMM. ”

Flexible in all directions and exceptionally durable, PixelFLEX LED Curtains are able to bend and shape around structures for a more creative display effect. For more information on PixelFLEX and its growing line of lightweight LED video screens, visit www.LEDCurtain.com. Follow PixelFLEX at www.Facebook.com/PixelFLEXUSA and @LEDCurtain.

DPA Brings d:facto™ II Vocal Mic to Frankfurt Prolight + Sound 2013

With the launch of the new d:facto II Vocal Microphone, which will be on show for the first time in Europe at Prolight + Sound 2013 (Booth 8.B60), DPA Microphones has now broadened its range of products for the live stage by introducing a high quality vocal microphone that gives users unlimited possibilities for their performance.

This eagerly awaited addition to the DPA condenser microphone range brings true studio sound to the live stage by offering an extraordinarily natural sound, superior gain before feedback and extreme SPL handling. In addition to use with the new wired DPA handle, the d:facto II provides singers and engineers with the added benefit of a state-of-the-art adapter system that allows for seamless integration with many professional wireless systems.

“The launch of the d:facto II Vocal Microphone is a major step for DPA as it means that we now have a microphone for every acoustic miking situation, whether you are amplifying or recording,” says DPA’s CEO Christian Poulsen. “Our highly regarded Reference Standard microphones have long delivered superb audio quality to musicians who want to use a microphone on a stand, while our innovative d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones and our range of miniature microphones are ideal for those who prefer to have their microphone mounted on their instrument. With d:facto II we can now offer the same renowned DPA sound to vocalists who can choose the wired d:facto II or the wireless d:facto II if they prefer the freedom of movement that a wireless microphone delivers. And, of course, for an even more mobile solution we have the lightweight, easy to wear d:fine™ headset microphones that are so popular with theatre and musical productions and is demanded for more and more live concerts where the singers require superior sound while dancing and performing.”

The new d:facto II guarantees users exceptional DPA sound with popular existing wireless systems such as Sony, Lectrosonics, Shure, Wisycom and Sennheiser. To achieve such a high level of audio quality, DPA had tothink differently.

“These systems deliver very limited power to drive our high-end microphone capsule, so we had to be creative and put a huge amount of work and thought into the electronic circuit of the adapter solution,” Christian Poulsen adds. “We are extremely proud to have developed an ingenious adapter range that brings the acclaimed DPA sound out of a wireless system. We wanted to be completely true to the input of the vocalist, and with d:facto II we have reached this goal.”

Equally at home in sound reinforcement and recording applications, the d:facto II is the vocal microphone that the music industry has been waiting for. Its simple plug-and-play features allow it to reproduce an extraordinary natural sound, which reaches the extreme sound level handling of 160 dB. As with all DPA mics, the d:facto II is superbly linear in frequency and phase, both on- and off-axis, while its impressive definition and accuracy reproduces a singer’s voice effortlessly. It also sets new standards its robust three-stage pop protection grid that ensures the removal of unwanted noise.

At Prosound + Light 2013, folk pop band SHEL will be performing on the DPA booth using the new d:facto II vocal microphones in several wireless configurations. Already fans of DPA’s d:vote 4099 Instrument Mics which they use on their violin and djembe drums, SHEL recently took the d:facto II Vocal Microphone on the road for concerts in Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles where they performed at the NAMM show.

Alongside the new d:facto II, DPA will also be showing new solutions for its Reference Standard range of microphones, including a new and unobtrusive gooseneck cable that is available in several lengths. Furthermore, DPA will show the supercardioid d:vote 4099 instrument microphone mounted in an elegant gooseneck – perfect for capturing the sound of drums and other static instruments.

Visitors to the DPA booth will have the opportunity to win a DPA microphone by having their badge scanned and entering a free draw.

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Editors information:
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphones and microphone solutions for professional applications in studio, broadcast, theatre, video/film and sound reinforcement environments. All DPA microphones and components are manufactured at the company’s purpose-built factory in Denmark.
For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

NEW YORK’S ALTO NYC BELIEVES IN THE METRIC HALO PRODUCT AND SERVICE PHILOSOPHY

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Alto NYC is Alto Music’s New York-based professional audio retailer that truly nurtures a reciprocal relationship with the studio owners, musicians, composers, producers, and engineers who list among its clients. Its Manhattan showroom would be better described as a fully-functioning control room, complete with structural isolation, acoustic treatment, and almost every piece of gear imaginable – all just a patch away from a test drive or shootout in a real working environment. Alto NYC treats its clients to a one-on-one experience, with working professionals serving as audio gurus to help guide clients to their ideal, situation-specific solutions. The company sells a wide range of audio converters, and the Metric Halo ULN-8, LIO-8, 2882, and ULN-2 converters have found favor among clients looking for high-end sound and tremendous flexibility.

“The starting point is always obtaining a clear understanding of what exactly a client hopes to achieve,” said Shane Koss, Alto NYC’s audio guru. “Are they building a home studio? A public studio? What are the inputs? The outputs? And of course, what is the budget? I find that a lot of people come in because they have read about this or that magic solution in an online forum or review, and they think that getting it will solve some large issue problem they’re having. Sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s not. Although it’s probably counterproductive to my bottom line, I often recommend against particular purchases because I honestly don’t believe the gear they’ve set their sights on will address the issue.”

Koss keeps one foot in the retail business and the other foot in the activities that led him to the retail business in the first place: writing music for TV and movies, working with bands, and producing/engineering projects. “Along with my schooling, that real-world working experience has been, and continues to be, invaluable for the work I do at Alto,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if I didn’t actually use the stuff. Background is critical.” Koss recognizes that many aspects of professional audio are irreducibly subjective, but that there is also a large degree of objectivity in the way professional audio equipment is made and priced. “Unless you’re a total cynic and believe that a $4,000 piece of gear is designed and manufactured in the same way that a $500 piece of gear is designed and manufactured, then there is some objective difference between them,” he said. “So the question becomes, ‘what is that difference and is it worth the money?’”

He continued, “Metric Halo converters excel in situations where audio transparency and configuration flexibility are paramount. I have clients come in who need a converter that can do A, B, and C all of the time, D and E when they’re on the road, and F on Tuesdays! Once they learn Metric Halo’s MIO Console, that kind of extreme flexibility is not only possible, it’s easy to implement.” Alto Music sells all of Metric Halo’s interfaces, from the flagship ULN-8, with eight channels of latest-generation preamps and converters, to the original 2882 (updated to accommodate current operating systems and communications protocols, of course).

“The fun part of my job is working with clients to meet their needs,” Koss said. “The unpleasant part is working out the behind-the-scenes details – finding out, for example, why this or that didn’t ship, when such and such will be in stock – that kind of thing. Fortunately, I never get that with Metric Halo. Although they’ve moved to Florida, they still have that New York attitude that I appreciate. It’s no BS – get it done right and get it done fast. Metric Halo is one of those companies that makes a solid product that I believe in – and that’s easy to work with.”

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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BROOKLYN-BASED KEMADO RECORDS INSTALLS 32-CHANNEL API 1608

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: Kemado Records is the latest studio to install a 32-Channel version of API’s popular 1608 console. Kemado, long known for bringing national attention to innovative artists spanning the spectrum from indie rock to heavy metal, choose the 1608 to complement its recent plans for expansion, which included the creation of two new labels (Mexican Summer and Software), a brick-and-mortar record store, and a recording studio in 2009.

Kemado’s founders Andrés Santo Domingo and Tom Clapp are happy to report that the recording studio has seen near continual use and offers clients over 1,000 square-feet of tracking space. Kemado’s new 1608 is housed in the larger of two separate control rooms.

Deciding what would replace the existing console became increasingly clear as the choices were analyzed and rejected, explained Clapp. “We figured that if we were going to replace a classic vintage console, we had to replace it with something in the same respected sonic family. But at the same time, we wanted to avoid the near-constant servicing required of some older consoles. So we decided we wanted something new but still classic, which made the 1608 the perfect fit; it’s a classic console with a classic sound. Plus it’s designed to be in constant use, and the modular design ensures that it can be serviced when that time comes. The other options we looked at were not in the same sonic league with the 1608, nor were they built for the long haul.”

Clapp and colleagues burned the midnight oil and installed the new console in just three days, and synched the 1608 into a fully-decked Pro Tools HD rig with 48in/48out, a Studer 827A tape machine, and a Studer A80 VU mix-down deck. And with so many engineers coming through the door, part of the 1608’s allure was its straightforward topology and signal flow, as was its gain structure. “The 1608 definitely has a modern gain structure, in contrast to many of the choices we reviewed,” said Clapp. Choosing that classic API sound was, in Clapp’s words, a “no-brainer”.

“I’ve worked with API gear before, and I love the fast transients and headroom,” he said. “We even tried 500-series modules from a range of high-end manufacturers to fill out the 1608’s API 500-Series slots, but we kept coming back to the API sound.” To date, eighteen of the available 32 slots have been filled with API 550b 4-band and API 560 graphic EQs. “We’re going to slowly fill the rest of the slots with API EQs down the road,” Clapp promises.

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

DANLEY UPS THE SPLS ON ITS SH SERIES OF SYNERGY HORNS

GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA: Not content to rest on its laurels, Danley Sound Labs announces improvements to many of its already highly-regarded SH-Series full-range loudspeakers. The new versions are identified by the suffix “HO,” which stands for “high output.” For example, the if one wishes to get the most performance out of the Danley SH-96 they should order the Danley SH-96 HO. The new designs use a more powerful two-way high frequency. As a result, the low- and mid-frequency drivers can now be driven to their full potential while still maintaining Danley’s characteristic frequency response, phase response, and fidelity. In conjunction, the new designs use a new crossover and have additional options for bi-amping and for changing the low-frequency impedance. Because the cabinets themselves haven’t changed, the new versions retain the coverage and frequency loss patterns of the originals. The new models include the SH-95 HO, SH-96 HO, SH-64 HO

“The original versions can be easily modified to become the new ‘High Output’ versions,” explained Ivan Beaver, lead engineer at Danley Sound Labs. “It just takes the new high frequency driver, a new crossover, and a new switch panel.” In addition, the midrange drivers are also wired a little differently, which is incorporated as part of the new crossover wiring harness. “There are two options on the new switch panel,” said Beaver. “First, there’s a biamp/passive switch. In passive mode, the new cabinets run pretty much like the old versions, except that the mid/high section will be relatively louder than the woofers, assuming the woofers are running at 8ohms.”

He continued, “And that’s the second option. Users can select a woofer impedance of either 2ohms or 8ohms. Some people do not like to run at 2ohms, whereas others may need the additional output when using smaller amplifiers. The wire run should also be considered when choosing the impedance. With a 2ohm load there will be more loss across the wire. How much loss will depend on the size of the wire and the length of the run. An 8ohm load will have a higher damping factor than a 2ohm load, and it is of course easier to bridge an amp into an 8ohm load than into a 2ohm load.” In biamp mode, the mid/high section takes the crossover circuitry and the low section thus has no built-in crossover.

Because the new switch panel cannot be expected to operate reliably if left exposed to the elements, weatherized versions of the new High Output loudspeakers must be pre-ordered with specified biamping and impedance settings.

ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology. www.danleysoundlabs.com

The Who Reign O’er Quadrophenia With DiGiCo

The Who‘s 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia—which sets the tale of teen Jimmy Cooper amidst the global sociocultural upheaval and psychological angst of the times and the rivalry between Britain’s mods and rockers—has been reprised in a multimedia display on the band’s latest outing. The 37 date tour, which began in November and runs through the end of February, celebrates the four-decade anniversary of the album’s release and marks the band’s first major North American tour in four years. Even long-departed drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle make cameo appearances, joining remaining original members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Entwistle’s virtuosity and famous bass solo on “5:15″ are showcased in live footage shot at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000, which streams onscreen. They also pay tribute to the late Keith Moon; their performance of “Bell Boy” incorporates video footage of a 1974 performance, with Moon’s vocals dubbed in from the LP (one of the only times in Who history his vocals were heard on an album).

The Quadrophenia tour also reunites the band with production partners Eighth Day Sound, who have worked with the iconic rockers on their last three major tours. This time out they’re carrying a pair of DiGiCo SD7 desks (each running the latest MACH III software) for FOH and band monitors, plus an SD-Rack at FOH and a d&b audiotechnik J-Series PA. The audio crew is comprised of longtime Who FOH engineer Robert Collins, Simon Higgs on monitors with support from Eighth Day’s Senior Audio Engineer Mark Brnich, and sound techs Drew Marbar and Carl Popek. [Pictured: Popek, Marbar, Collins, Higgs and Brnich.]

Collins started with the band in the late 1990s-early 2000s, and has also worked with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend on their solo projects, trading tours with engineer Paul Ramsey in between tours with Eric Clapton and others. “Paul used to look after me; he was my systems tech on The Who. I made sure the team was put in place, you know, ‘cause an English band should have an English engineer—or British, I should say. I’m Welsh, though. So here I am back. They wanted to get me back for this, and luckily it worked out timing-wise with the schedule. It’s worked out with Eric so I can go do that as well this year.”

A relative newcomer to the SD7, Collins is certainly no stranger to DiGiCo (he’s an early D5 adopter and part of the DiGiCo family). Collins says he wouldn’t part with his trusty D5 until this tour. “She’s been really good to me. Y’know? Obviously, I’ve grown up with the D5, so I was like, ‘I’ll just stay on my D5, thank you very much.’ I wasn’t ready to go to the SD7 until I knew we had the new racks… and honestly I couldn’t justify going to an SD7 working with a four-piece (like Clapton) playing blues and such, you know? I mean, that thing can run a small country, can’t it?! But for this tour, it seemed like it was time.”

Right out of the gate, he was floored by the SD7’s sonics. “It just sounds great, doesn’t it? And the biggest thing for me personally with digital desks is, I’m old-school. I come from the old analog school. I feel like I’m a part of the band. I learned the music. I’m into the music. I do the music. I know what everybody plays, what everybody does. That’s my thing. I’m not into the technical side. I just want a bass drum to sound like a bass drum. I want the piano to sound like a piano. And if you don’t get a feeling off a desk… I find that this console is musical. I feel musical on it. I feel as if I’m doing something on it. Not to mention any names, but there are other digital desks and I don’t get anything out of them. It’s like working a laptop, for God’s sake! That’s one thing about all the boys at DiGiCo: they came from the old school. They knew what we wanted. They spoke to engineers. But they didn’t just speak to them like every other company; they listened to them.

“I think DiGiCo consoles are the best out there. What you can do with this one is way beyond me. I don’t need to go down that line. Don’t tell James [Gordon, DiGiCo’s managing director], but I’m still not using Snapshots! I still do it all myself; I like to do it myself. I want to be part of it. I want to switch the guitar on when it’s supposed to be on. I feel part of it, and that’s what I want to feel. I don’t think in the digital domain.”

Monitor engineer Simon Higgs presides over the other SD7 at stage left, managing approximately 112 inputs for IEMs and such for the nine-piece band. He’s also a veteran Who member, starting in ’98 with Townshend on his Lifehouse project. He’s a diehard DiGiCo engineer, having also used the consoles since their release a decade ago.

“It’s the only digital console that I really care to use and the only one I really like,” Higgs explains. “I used a D5 with the Los Angeles band Sparks when they did 21 albums in 21 shows back in 2007, and that was the first time I really used the D5 for an extended tour… 150-odd songs, all programmed in. The Who’s monitor mix was analog for a long time until it started getting bigger and bigger and we realized we had to move to digital. So we started using two D5s, but that filled up quick. We currently are using an analog console for Pete, who has his own operator, and I look after the rest of the band on the SD7.”

With nearly 112 channels of odds and sods, Higgs says he has a lot going on managing the band’s in-ears, a few random wedges around the stage and submixing stems for Townshend’s mix. “My desk is pretty full; 112 channels and they’re pretty much filled up. A lot of outputs. I’ve still got some floor monitors up there. I’m mixing down to the analog console as well, which is just a 16-channel desk, so I’ll mix all the drums, drum floor monitors, drum sub, floor shakers [drum thumpers] under his seat…”

Having everyone on in-ears has made his job a bit easier. “Roger decided that in order for The Who to work again, he had to get used to in-ears… he couldn’t have a half-dozen wedges all around him like he used to. So he’s gone through the whole process of getting used to in-ears. They’re all on Jerry Harveys, and that’s really enabled the band to work again. Pete’s still got conventional fill monitors; he’s got four around him, just split up, one doing vocal, a stereo pair doing something else, and there’ll be acoustic guitar in the wedge, and then a monitor behind him that has sound effects for ‘Quadrophenia’ or the loops that are in ‘Who Are You’ and ‘Baba O’Riley.’”

For effects, he’s primarily using what’s in the console, save a few outboard pieces, including a Lexicon PCM 60 for the snare drum, and a Bricasti M7 reverb for Roger’s vocal that he says “is absolutely amazing.”

‘Amazing’ is often the tone of reviews streaming in from critics and fans, not only heralding the show but also the durability of both Townshend and Daltrey. Their “My Generation” anthem notwithstanding (”I hope I die before I get old”), the founding members did just that (both are now in their late ‘60s) and if the Quadrophenia tour is any indication, they still have a lot of rockin’ left to go. As for engineer Robert Collins, it’s a full-circle homecoming of sorts, having grown up on their music.

“I got a good memory on me,” he laughs. “It’s very short. But The Who have been part of my musical thing. Them, the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks—that’s what I grew up on. In fact, I was pissed off at them, actually. As a teen, I queued up in the top rank in Swansea in Wales to see The Who, and they didn’t fucking turn up! I was pissed off. They had a fight or something. This was the ‘60s. But it’s kind of funny… Who’d have thought that when I was growing up trying to play in little bands and not very good, listening to all these great singers, that I’d end up engineering for many of them?”

DiGiCo Takes Top Honors At GRAMMY® & Academy Awards

UK manufacturer DiGiCo held the coveted position as console provider for the second year in a row at the annual GRAMMY® Awards this year. The 55th installment of “Music’s Biggest Night” was overall a bigger show musically, with 20 acts on the schedule, up from 2012′s 18. As the show’s live performances have expanded, so has its audio footprint. With audio production facilitated by ATK AudioTek (and consoles provided by Hi-Tech Audio), the digital desk count handing both music and production included five DiGiCo SD Series desks: four SD7s (an upgrade from last year’s SD10s) and the addition of an SD5, as well as 11 SD Racks (up from last year’s six).

At the MusiCares event the Friday night preceding the GRAMMYs, engineer George Squires manned a DiGiCo SD7 with four DigiRacks at monitors to provide 170 inputs to 28 stereo ear mixes and 30 wedge mixes. Delicate Productions handled the audio production. On the 85th installation of the prestigious Academy Awards, ATK provided audio production with a Peterson-designed system comprised of three SD Racks, an SD5 at FOH helmed by Pat Baltzel and an SD10 run by Mike Parker. Hi-Tech Audio provided console support for all these events.

The GRAMMY and Oscar systems were both designed by ATK’s FOH Tech Jeff Peterson. On the GRAMMY event, Peterson also served as the system tech with assistance from Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher. The GRAMMY audio team again included consultant Ron Reaves mixing all of the live performance elements at FOH on an SD7, and ATK’s VP of Special Events Mikael Stewart on an SD5 managing all the nonmusical production assets. At stage right (“A”) and left (“B”), respectively, Tom Pesa and Mike Parker facilitated artist monitor mixes using a pair of SD7s (with an additional “guest” rig used for sets by Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars). [Pictured LtoR: ATK FOH Tech Jeff Peterson; Leslie Anne Jones, The Recording Academy®, Producers & Engineers Wing®; Production Mixer Mikael Stewart, ATK; Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher, Audio Consultant; FOH music mixer Ron Reaves (seated).]

“Overall, we have a massive total of 276 mic preamps and 176 outputs distributed between five consoles and 11 DiGiCo SD Racks,” explains Peterson. “Those four consoles, plus eight SD Racks, are on one optical loop, each connected to one of ATK’s 56-pair splitters. The guest monitor SD7 console is on its own optical loop, with three more SD racks. Also new is JBL’s newest line array, the Pro VTX V25 3-way system (powered by Crown ITech 1200 HD amps).

“In addition, we have more than 50 wireless microphones this year,” he adds, “which take up an entire splitter. We have almost an entire splitter dedicated to what we call high-level items, which are things like playback from the truck, Pro Tools lines, all of the production elements, and the podium mics (that are not for use with a band) are down the fourth splitter. The first two splitters are dedicated just for band inputs, one for stage right and one for stage left. This year we’re using AES outputs directly from SD racks in three locations to drive the amplifiers to the PA system. So it’s a whole digital system path again. What we eliminated was a second optical loop just to do the amplifiers. So everything is on one optical loop, with the SD Racks and the consoles.”

The transformer splits themselves are where the copper stops, Peterson explains, and are the dividing line between the live PA side with the DiGiCo SD racks and the trucks. From the ATK splitters, the signals go on to all of the different head amps: one to the two recording M3/Music Mix Mobile trucks, one to the main Denali broadcast truck, and one to the head amps for the DiGiCo consoles. “From there, it’s all various flavors of fiber, whether it’s Optocore to us or MADI to the M3 truck, or Hydra to the Denali. Once it leaves the transformer split, it’s pre-amped and converted to digital from there on. So the inputs come from the stage and then they are split up and sent to multiple destinations. The broadcast truck gets all of the raw microphones the same way we do. They do their mix, package it together with the broadcast items, the show elements and the production elements and send it out for broadcast. They also generate a lot of signals that we take out here: all of the videotaped packages, all of the music play-ons and play-offs, any band’s Pro Tools backing tracks—all of those are generated and routed from the truck through another splitter system to the rest of our consoles.”

“The SD system worked flawlessly,” sums up FOH production mixer Mikael Stewart. “The flexibility of the SD5 and SD7 are exactly what is needed for a show like the GRAMMY Awards.”

“I have continued my love affair with the DiGiCo console,” adds Ron Reaves, “having done quite a few gigs this last year on both the SD10 and the SD7. We started using these last year, and decided that this is all we wanted to use moving forward. This year, both monitor mixers switched from SD10s to SD7s, and that worked out great. The SD7 continues to be the best tool for my particular job at the GRAMMYs, and helped contribute to another great-sounding show out at FOH. I’ve particularly enjoyed the new dynamics package, and feel that between the new de-essers, and the dynamic EQ (a gift from the sound gods), that there’s no vocal ‘problem’ that can’t be tamed with this console. I’ve enjoyed some of the best vocal sounds I’ve ever gotten, too, thanks to this console.

“This year, there was a bit of extra pressure put on us at FOH to get mixes together faster in soundcheck,” Ron continues. “The demand has grown to have the first pass of a song be as close to the full band sound as possible and the console has helped me to accomplish this with the use of presets. I use a lot of presets and pre-dial pretty much everything so I’m never starting from scratch when we start rehearsing a band. That’s been a very helpful tool to have. The addition of the “presentation performances,” where a performer does a song and then introduces another performer, was also tricky and another place where the console excelled. I wrote separate snapshots in order to switch between these segments instantaneously and that worked great. For example, Hunter Hayes performed out on that dish stage in the middle of audience. When he finished, he immediately introduced Carrie Underwood—and bang, snapshot change. The console did what we hoped it would do with no glitches in the audio. In the time it took the audience to applaud, the console had already switched and we were ready to rock on the next act. It was really cool. That was a great example of how quickly this console can switch snapshots and turn on a dime.”

After two years of working on a DiGiCo SD10, the process of building snapshots was made much easier for engineer Tom Pesa, who handled the inner monitor workings on an SD7 this year on the A-Stage at stage right. “It begins with a strong template,” he explains, “a snapshot that is laid out to accommodate anything that comes down the pike with 10 A-stage acts to soundcheck. The common functionality between the DiGiCo platforms means that session structuring, labeling, grouping, building macros, etc., is all very familiar. I had only two days to dive into my SD7 on-site and plan a basic template based on the volumes of band info. Each act provided input lists, band plots, monitor layouts and in-ear requirements. Once my fellow monitor crew created the plan on monitor wedge quantities and in-ear assignments, I added that info to the input list to create the snapshot for that band. Each act is so different when it comes to instrumentation, microphone type, mono mixes and stereo mixes, but the ability to truly customize each snapshot with every parameter being specific to that act means that almost any request can be satisfied. If time permits I try and get ahead of the game by focusing on individual processing for each input, high-passing, EQ and compression as well as FX presets and mix content. The availability of powerful processing onboard the SD7, including the dynamic EQ and multiband compression, allows me to keep things well contained and sonically tight, which is important, especially when creating smooth, coherent in-ear mixes. There is no doubt how good the dynamic range is with the new generation of DiGiCo consoles. I knew how good mixes sounded on SD10 and the SD7 continues this experience for me, just on a much larger and customizable platform.

“Once again this year at GRAMMYs, the entire FOH and monitor consoles were on an Optocore loop utilizing shared head amps. Monitors were in charge of band input gain and FOH was in charge of RF vocal and production mics as well as Pro Tools inputs. We have worked hard the last two years to create a system of trust when trimming each other’s gain while soundchecking, and it has worked well. Once everyone is happy with where the individual inputs of gain are, we switch to digital trim and can fine-tune our own inputs and not affect anyone else. This whole symbiotic relationship of all the mixers at the GRAMMY Awards is why session saving, snapshot updating and recall scope is so important, and all of us have done well in making sure everything is as it should be through soundchecks, dress rehearsal and show. All in all, the use of the DiGiCo systems at GRAMMYs continues to be a leap forward in how everyone’s mixes sound and the sheer utility of how they create those mixes.”

“Honestly, no other console is touching what DiGiCo can do right now,” declares Peterson, who, since last year’s GRAMMYs, has also worked extensively on SD5s and SD7s for a host of award and music shows, from the Oscars to The X Factor. “You can’t network the other consoles the way you can the DiGiCos, so there’s really no other game in town. On shows like these, half the engineers coming in that we work with are jealous that they don’t have a DiGiCo, and the other half come in and are thankful that we’re using them now.”

Photographs courtesy of The Recording Academy®/Wireimage.com © 2013.

SYMETRIX JUPITER APP BASED TURN-KEY DSP AND ARC-WEB KEY TO SPEAKER CONTROL AT UTAH’S LIBBY GARDNER HALL

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – FEBRUARY 2013: The University of Utah’s Libby Gardner Hall is large enough to comfortably accommodate a 200-member choir, an 80-piece orchestra, and nearly 700 audience members. It is acoustically and aesthetically stunning, with a warm, rich reverb conveyed by wood panel walls arranged in a spectacular geometry. For years, the school struggled to provide the hall with sound reinforcement for spoken word, solos, and non-classical musical forms that matched the splendor of unamplified instruments. That struggle ended with the purchase of a high-end K-Array mobile PA system, but the fact that it would be placed at different areas of the stage for different types of events meant that well-balanced equalization in one location would be unbalanced at another. A simple, cost-effective, and equally high-fidelity Symetrix Jupiter 12 DSP solved that problem by allowing straightforward selection of different equalization curves from authorized users’ smartphones and other Internet-connected devices via Symetrix’ ARC-WEB user interface.

“I joined the University of Utah faculty twelve years ago,” said David M. Cottle, music tech specialist and director of the electronic music and recording studios. “I was responsible for recording and sound reinforcement in our three performance halls. The first week I was here, I disconnected the existing speakers in Libby Gardner Hall, our premier performance space. The hall is built for acoustic performance, and the installed speakers did no more than muddy the speaker’s voice. From then on, we made announcements without a microphone until we could find a better solution. We started to investigate phased arrays, which have a wide horizontal, but narrow vertical pattern. The first system we tried was a clear improvement: extremely low feedback, even distribution, clear response across the spectrum, and very little reflection. But it was also flawed. It had weak low end, was noisier than I had hoped, and proved bulky to move.”

Salt Lake City-based Performance Audio stepped in with a better solution: a K-Array KK 200 full-range tower, KK S50 subwoofer, with KA 40 and KA 10 amplifiers, all in a stereo set. “As expected, the K-Array system has the same positive properties as the previous phased array,” said Cottle. “Feedback is practically non-existent, and the dispersion is even and horizontal. The system controls the reverb in the room very well. But in addition, the K-Array subs are solid enough for occasional student talent shows and the system is quieter, and easier to move.”

When the new system would be used as the primary source of sound for a performance, it would have to be located toward the front edge of the stage. In contrast, when the system would be used to augment a mostly-acoustic performance, it would be located behind the performers. “When located behind the performers, the sound is less like a PA and more like a richer, blended ensemble,” explained Cottle. “For example, a mic’d piano with orchestral accompaniment isn’t noticeably louder. It can simply be heard with all the other instruments.” However, the system gets a pronounced low-frequency buildup when located behind the performers.

“By providing the school with a Symetrix Jupiter 12 app based turn-key DSP, we were able to give them the EQ curves to match the two locations, along with the flexibility to accommodate other positions should they need them in the future,” said Jake Peery, system design and installation expert with Performance Audio and the individual responsible for designing Libby Gardner Hall’s new reinforcement system. The system currently uses eight of the Jupiter 12’s twelve inputs and two of its four outputs. Many of the inputs combine using Symetrix’ sophisticated automixing algorithm, and mixer inputs accommodate larger, multi-mic performances. A hardwired Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote controls the volumes of two Sennheiser G3 wireless microphones used for announcements and spoken-word events.

In addition, Peery used Symetrix ARC-WEB to give Cottle and other authorized users control of the system from their smartphones, iPads, or other Internet-connected devices. “They can select the proper EQ curves for the loudspeaker locations and control the volumes of the wireless microphones or other inputs right from their phones,” said Peery. “They really liked that idea.” Since the new system’s installation, Cottle has received numerous compliments from faculty, students, and audience members. “The other night, we mixed a jazz band, which is one of the most difficult ensembles to control, even without a PA,” he said. “The Director said that it was the best the band had ever sounded in Libby Gardner Hall. The solos were present, but not piercing, and the rhythm section sounded homogeneous.”

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.

MARLAN BARRY RECORDS TENOR NICHOLAS PHAN AT A MULTI-MILLION STUDIO AND THEN WITH A METRIC HALO ULN-8 AND MACBOOK PRO

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 2013: Nicholas Phan is one of the most exciting new voices in classical music today, as evidenced by the tremendous praise heaped on him from just about every media outlet in the country. He frequently records with New York-based sound engineer Marlan Barry, and the two worked together on 2011’s critically-acclaimed Winter Words. The New York Times flagged it as one of the best classical recordings of 2011. The duo joined forces to record 2012’s Still Falls the Rain, which yet again made The Times’ “best of” list. Of course, the talent and artistry of Phan and his fellow musicians, together with the sonic vision of Barry, deserve the credit for those critical acknowledgements, but it’s interesting to note the distinction between the gear used to record those two albums. For Winter Words, Barry piloted the console at a multi-million dollar recording studio, whereas for Still Falls the Rain, he piloted a MacBook Pro interfaced with a single-rack-space Metric Halo ULN-8. Neither session was a compromise.

In celebration of the centennial of his birth, Still Falls The Rain is an album of songs and chamber pieces by composer Benjamin Britten. Philadelphia Orchestra principal horn player Jennifer Montone, pianist Myra Huang, and Harpist Sivan Magen joined the amazing young tenor, and the actor Alan Cumming complemented the music with a reading of Edith Sitwell’s poetry. Avie Records released the recording, which took place within the exquisite and often-recorded acoustics of SUNY Purchase’s Recital Hall C.

In contrast both to the earlier studio recording and to Barry’s previous habit of lugging a studio’s worth of equipment to location sessions, the engineer traveled light for the two-day engagement in Recital Hall C. A MacBook Pro coupled to a pair of Avastor external hard drive served as the recording medium, and Barry’s Genelec monitors provided a familiar reference. Apart from a simple custom talkback system, the only other equipment consisted of microphones, stands, cables, and the Metric Halo ULN-8. “It was very minimal,” laughed Barry. “I’m into minimal these days.”

Four Sennheiser and Schoeps omni-directional microphones provided primary pickup of the musicians and their interaction with the acoustical environment. Depending on the composition and the instrumentation, Barry moved the microphones around to strike a perfect balance between direct pickup and imaging. A pair of Neumann mics covered the room’s nine-foot concert grand Hamburg Steinway D piano. For one of the more essential components of the recording session, Barry also used two Gunter Wagner U-47 tube microphones to capture Phan’s incomparable voice, as well as a stereo pair on the harpist.

“This was the first time I used Wagner’s U-47 without an external preamp,” Barry explained. “I went directly out of the power supply into the Metric Halo ULN-8. I wanted to capture the detailed sound of that mic and its unique tube saturation, without imposing any other circuitry’s coloration on it. Nick’s voice is so light and airy and beautiful – that mic and his voice form a magical combination. Sure, the ULN-8 has circuitry of its own, but I’ve found that unless I’m intentionally using Metric Halo’s ‘Character’ algorithms, the ULN-8’s signal path is refined, short, and transparent.”

Barry cites the Metric Halo ULN-8’s stable integration with his MacBook Pro via Metric Halo’s MIO Console software as a critical component in fostering confidence in the stability of his sessions. Despite using the Metric Halo on a near daily-basis, he has never had so much as a tiny hiccup in its performance. “Conducting a recording session with the rock-solid ULN-8 not only gives me peace of mind, it affects the musicians as well,” he said. “A reliable, high-quality recording setup inspires confidence. It is an amazing testament to Metric Halo that I have never had a single issue with my ULN-8 or its performance on my laptop or desktop.”

When not in session, Barry uses a Metric Halo ULN-8 as the primary interface at his studio. While useful for voiceovers or overdubbing, it more commonly acts as the digital-to-analog converter that allows him to monitor his editing, mixing, and mastering work in Pyramix, Pro Tools, or Logic. “That’s really the last check before a recording goes public,” he said. “Truthfulness is paramount, and I’ve learned that I can trust what I’m hearing through the ULN-8.”

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

Four DiGiCo Consoles Are Manna From Heaven

In 2012, a DiGiCo SD7 was installed in Jiguchon Church in the South Korea’s Bundang New City. Such was its success that four more of the company’s mixers have now been installed in another church in the city, demonstrating how DiGiCo mixing consoles are making significant inroads into the country’s house of worship market.

Featuring a state-of-the-art technical specification, the new Manna Methodist Church has a seating capacity of 4,000, with around 10,000 worshippers attending each week. Services feature a live band, choir, organ and orchestra, so the audio system needed a high input channel count, as well as facilities to mix live audio for broadcast on its own Internet channel.

The church consulted DiGiCo’s South Korean distributor Soundus Corporation, who supplied and installed an SD7 console at Front of House, with four SD-Racks and an SD8-24 to take care of the live broadcast mix. In addition, Soundus supplied an SD9 for a mobile audio system and an SD11 for the church video editing suite.

“The decision to use DiGiCo consoles was based on the SD7’s ability to handle more than 200 input channels, the dual engine offering stability, reliable redundancy and excellent sound quality,” says Soundus sales manager Byung Chul Park. “The church also needed additional mixing consoles and it was an obvious decision to stay with the same manufacturer.”

Utilising an Optocore fibre optic network, this solution made for a seamless solution throughout the church.

“The system is very versatile and is easily expandable for any future requirements,” concludes Byung Chul. “The church is very happy with it.”

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