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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES, INC.)
Established more than 40 years ago, Automated Processes, Inc. is the leader in analog recording gear with the Vision, Legacy Series and 1608 recording consoles, as well as its classic line of modular signal processing equipment.

www.apiaudio.com

ASHLY NE800.70 AMPLIFIERS POWER RENOVATION AT BIG PALLET FUKUSHIMA CONVENTION CENTER

KORIYAMA, JAPAN: The Big Pallet Fukushima Convention Center regularly hosts meetings, exhibitions, festivals, and even sporting events, but the 250,000 square-foot facility suffered damage in Japan’s 2011 tsunami. Big Pallet recently reopened after extensive renovations, many of which were planned even before that devastating event unfolded. Revamped sound systems in the 31,000 square-foot exhibition hall and 1,000 square-foot convention hall were among them. Now completed, these systems use Ashly ne800.70 amplifiers to deliver clean, reliable power to One Systems loudspeakers.

Morimoto Naniwa Sound Projects Co., Ltd. of Tokyo designed the system, and local integration firm Esu Esu Techno Co., Ltd. installed it. “This project was to renew their old infrastructure,” said Masaki Morimoto, co-owner of Morimoto Naniwa Sound Projects. “Big Pallet was built in 1998, and all of its facilities – including sound reinforcement – were beginning to show their age. We drew up the renewal planning early in 2011, but the project was obviously postponed due to the huge tsunami in the spring of that year.” Morimoto said that the sound reinforcement systems in the exhibition and convention halls would primarily be used for announcement, “so high intelligibility and plenty of power were required.”

Existing inputs to the system include announcement microphones and background music sources, which feed an existing mixing console at the tech position. They were also able to repurpose some existing Panasonic DSPs for input and loudspeaker conditioning. New One Systems 112IM mains and 108IM/70 in-ceiling loudspeakers replaced the old loudspeakers, one for one. “It was easy to reuse the large Panasonic low-impedance amplifier for the 112IM loudspeakers,” said Morimoto. “But the options for a high-impedance power amplifier with large output were limited. Ashly Audio’s low cost, reliability, and sound quality made it the obvious choice.” Three Ashly ne800.70 amplifiers therefore power all of the 70-volt loudspeakers.

Morimoto tuned the system at commissioning, and Big Pallet’s staff operates the system day-to-day from the mixing console. “The sound quality of the new system is very good,” he concluded. “All announcements are clear and intelligible, even above the noise of an exhibition or event.”

ABOUT ASHLY AUDIO Ashly Audio Inc. is recognized as a world leader in the design and manufacturing of high quality & high performance signal processing equipment and power amplification for use in the commercial sound contracting and professional audio markets. The 37-year old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A. www.ashly.com

ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY WELCOMES STUDENTS WITH SYMETRIX

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: St. John’s University in New York City is one of the world’s leading Catholic institutions of higher education and serves over 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Welcoming prospective students and introducing them to all that St. John’s has to offer is a tremendous undertaking. To put its best foot forward, the university recently updated its welcome center. Included in that update is new A/V presentation technology underpinned by a standalone Symetrix SymNet Solus 16 open-architecture DSP. Shadowbox Design Management of Hicksville, New York designed and installed the new system.

“The school wanted to invest in newer presentation technology to create a good impression for prospective students and for new students,” said Joseph Ondrek, vice president of Shadowbox Design Management. “Moreover, they wanted to make the presenters’ jobs easier.” Inputs to the system include a Denon Blu-ray/DVD player with RS-232 control, a satellite TV feed, a permanent lectern computer, an auxiliary laptop computer jack, two Sennheiser wireless microphones, and a permanent podium microphone. Two Sharp 80-inch LED monitors with independent output via a Kramer 4×4 HDMI matrix switcher complete the video portion of the system.

The audio inputs feed a Symetrix SymNet Solus 16 standalone open-architecture DSP, which features sixteen inputs, eight outputs, and flexible third-party control options. Shadowbox programmed the Solus 16 to use a gain-sharing auto-mixer for the three microphones, which provides a well-balanced output volume regardless of differences in voice volume or mic technique, as well as robust feedback protection. “The Solus 16 has plenty of inputs for this system, which includes a number of stereo input sources,” said Ondrek. “There’s still room for future expansion if the school chooses to add additional devices. Its open architecture software allowed us to tailor the functionality, and its comprehensive RS-232 controls allowed for easy integration with a third-party controller from RTI. Of course, Symetrix always delivers dependable processors, and that was an important consideration too.”

An RTI RK3V 3.5-inch color touchscreen controller permanently mounted to the presenter’s lectern allows independent source selection for video and audio, as well as individual volume and overall volume control. Users can also use an Apple iPad to wirelessly control the system from anywhere in the room. An RTI XP-6 central control processor is the cornerstone of the user control system. “The ability for the Solus 16 to respond to RS-232 commands was perfect for this installation,” said Ondrek. “Our experienced RTI programmer set up the system to create a user interface that allowed the university staff to get the most functionality in the quickest and simplest way. Any questions we had were addressed quickly by Ryan Curtright and the other Symetrix techs that we spoke with.”

A four-channel QSC CX-204V 70-volt amplifier powers twelve QSC AD-C152ST-WH shallow-mount, full-range ceiling speakers and four QSC AD-C81Tw flush-mount ceiling subwoofers. Both the full-range loudspeakers and the subwoofers are divided into true stereo to retain the full life and vitality of media-supplied audio. “This is a fairly large number of speakers in a relatively small space, and it allows the volume to be kept at a lower level by distributing the sound throughout the listening area,” said Ondrek. “As a result, adjacent office and meeting spaces remain quieter than they would if we had used fewer speakers with greater individual volume.” The Solus 16 DSP routes all microphones through the full-range loudspeakers only, whereas program audio is also routed through the subwoofers.

In addition to the main output, the SymNet Solus 16 also generates a separate audio mix as an auxiliary feed. That feed can be used to record a presentation or for overflow into an adjoining room. Although the microphone mute toggles and program audio source selection made via the in-room controllers are duplicated in the auxiliary audio mix, their levels may be independently controlled if so desired.

ABOUT SYMETRIX
Symetrix is dedicated to making life sound better. As a world leader in the development and manufacturing of digital audio signal processing (DSP) systems and accessories, Symetrix provides best in class audio management solutions to businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations.

For more information on Symetrix products visit www.symetrix.co

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

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

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

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

ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES, INC.) Established more than 40 years ago, Automated Processes, Inc. is the leader in analog recording gear with the Vision, Legacy Series and 1608 recording consoles, as well as its classic line of modular signal processing equipment.

www.apiaudio.com

SYMETRIX SYMNET RADIUS DANTE NETWORK AUDIO DSP BRINGS ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: The Atlanta History Center (AHC), which was founded in 1926, is in a period of tremendous growth. Its mission to link people, history, and culture through innovative programming connects with 228,000 visitors, including 60,000 school children, every year. In order to accommodate an expanding membership, increasing visitor base and a broadening range of programs, AHC increasingly relied on the 400-seat Woodruff Auditorium that was constructed in 1975. Although minor upgrades to the audio/visual system had taken place over the years, the facility was still using some of the original 1970s vintage equipment – components that were themselves becoming historical artifacts.

“In today’s constantly evolving world of technology, we must be able to connect our visitors with history through a variety of methods, not just traditional exhibitions and displays,” said Hillary Hardwick, vice president of marketing communications with AHC. “We must adapt our methods to meet the current and future needs of our diverse and growing audience, and having the right technology plays a significant role in how we deliver innovative programming.”

AHC consulted with Rogers Dixson, president and owner of Atlanta’s Cape Dixson Associates Incorporated (CDAI). In addition to having worked on a number of exhibits and new facilities over the years, CDAI had consulted on a significant renovation to the Woodruff Auditorium’s acoustics a number of years before.

CDAI first reviewed AHC’s system requirements with Jackson McQuigg, AHC’s vice president of properties. These requirements include AHC’s historical theatre program as well as a wide range of lectures, presentations, and other types of events being held in the Auditorium. CDAI and AHC concluded that to accommodate AHCs new and expanding requirements, a comprehensive replacement of the existing audio/visual and stage lighting systems was needed. The Atlanta History Center was able to undertake this project thanks to a grant from The Goizueta Foundation, but the use of grant funds meant that the project team had to make every dollar count.

CDAI realized that, while modern technologies existed that would meet AHC’s needs, the budget posed several challenges to the project team. CDAI proposed that AHC consider a different approach for the project. CDAI brought in Sound Design & Innovation (SDI), a new audio/visual system integration company started by Aaron Catlin, a former CDAI employee. “It was interesting the way the project evolved into a collaboration between CDAI, SDI and AHC,” explained Dixson. “I think the critical component that made this approach work was the high degree of mutual trust and respect between all three parties.”

A number of outstanding products were considered for the project but all of the original options posed challenges for the tight budget. Ultimately, the team decided on Symetrix’ Radius 12×8 Dante network audio DSP as the best “fit” for the project. The key element of the Symetrix system is Dante audio networking protocol, for which SDI wired the facility with CAT6 cabling.

“The Symetrix SymNet Radius 12×8 DSP is the cornerstone of the system; without it, a system with these capabilities would not have been possible within the budget constraints. When Symetrix announced the release of the Radius 12×8 DSP it was like the heavens opened up and smiled on us,” said Catlin.

The Symetrix Radius 12×8 has a powerful open-architecture DSP. It is fully and reliably controllable from a third-party application and its I/O is flexible and expandable for the future via the Dante network. In this installation it’s handling all of the processing for the main auditorium and the two overflow rooms, including room combining, but we’re only using about twenty percent of its DSP horsepower. Because the whole place is now wired with CAT6, AHC can easily expand or bring in additional Dante-compatible equipment for larger events.”

Bose digital amplifiers power a pair of discrete three element Bose column arrays and subwoofers that, in combination with the CDAI-designed acoustical environment, provide an amazing sound quality improvement in the space. “We set up a demonstration of the Bose system for AHC and the decision to use it was made on the spot,” says Dixson.

Six new Shure ULX-D series wireless microphones provide the workhorse, day-in-day-out inputs to the system. “Because AHC is in the Buckhead area of Atlanta – an area that can be an RF interference nightmare – I was glad to have Shure’s new Dante-based system to provide a reliable front end,” said Catlin. Outputs from video players, microphones from two overflow event rooms, and a stage box comprise the remaining inputs to the system. Since they interface seamlessly into a Dante network, the Shure system is fully available for processing and matrixing within the Symetrix Radius 12×8 DSP and doesn’t use any of its twelve physical inputs.

A Key Digital® Compass Control® system provides iPad and iPod-based touch control of every aspect of the room’s functionality. It controls a new Digital Projection E-Vision 8000 lumen Video Projector, new DMX controlled stage lighting, the existing stage curtains, the projection screen, and a variety of music and video playback devices. It also integrates with the Symetrix SymNet Radius 12×8 DSP to control room combining, input selection, volume, and other relevant system controls.

“With this new technology, we can deliver high-quality programs that will engage a broader audience. It allows us to explore the ways in which we convey history – whether through lectures, music series, film series, our newly-launched museum theater performances, and a variety of other types of event,” said Hardwick. “This system was not only conceived and designed to meet AHC’s needs for a long time to come, it brings AHC into the 21st Century, where a cutting-edge history center belongs,” Catlin concluded.

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.

HANOI INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP INSTALLS FIRST DANLEY SOUND LABS SYSTEM IN VIETNAM’S CAPITAL

HANOI, VIETNAM: The Hanoi International Fellowship (HIF) is a non-denominational church serving both expatriates and nationals in Hanoi, Vietnam. It draws together a congregation of over four hundred people, representing over forty nationalities. Because many of its members are itinerant or transient diplomats, students, and employees of NGOs, international businesses, and the like, HIF’s congregation turns over more rapidly than the congregations of most churches. HIF recently moved to its first permanent building, and its challenging acoustics demanded exceptional pattern control from its new sound reinforcement system. Singapore-based Soundsmith Solutions Pte. Ltd. designed the new system using Danley Sound Labs SM-80 and SH-micro loudspeakers and TH-mini subwoofers.

The new sanctuary seats just over two hundred people, and HIF’s services are punctuated by a full band playing contemporary music. “Previously, the congregation met at a local 5-star hotel, and the hotel provided them with the usual hotel sound system,” said Pastor Jinggoy of Hanoi International Fellowship. “That system was uneven. It was too loud toward the front and inconsistent throughout the rest of the room. The subs were boomy and the high-end was harsh.” In addition to designing the system, Soundsmith Solutions also supplied the components. Pastor Jinggoy helped coordinate the church’s own contractors to install the system based on Soundsmith Solution’s drawings and specifications.

Edwin Ng, project manager at Soundsmith Solutions Pte. Ltd., commented, “The big challenge in the new space was its very low ceilings. Moreover, it used to be a warehouse, so none of the walls were designed with acoustics in mind. The challenge was compounded by the fact that there were few places to position loudspeakers that wouldn’t interfere with sight lines. The Danley Sound Labs boxes were a very fitting solution due to their low profiles and their exceptional directivity.” The goal was to keep energy on the congregants and off the walls.

Inputs to the system collect at an Allen & Heath GL2400-424 console, which outputs to a Xilica XP8080 digital loudspeaker management processor. In turn, the processor outputs to QSC RMX 4050HD and RMX 5050 amplifiers. Those power two Danley SM-80 loudspeakers that provide main coverage, six Danley SH-micro loudspeakers that serve as delays, and one more Danley SH-micro that fills in the center front. “The SM-80s were ideal loudspeakers for the mains because they are so slim and could be mounted into the wall without any trouble,” said Ng. “Both the SM-80 and the SH-micro are highly directional, which was great for these low ceilings. The sound goes where it is supposed to go and nowhere else! Importantly, that directivity extends down to 400Hz. Moreover, the Danley tone is natural and not at all fatiguing.”

To provide low-end support for the system, Ng included two Danley TH-mini subwoofers, which the installers mounted into the front wall below the SM-80s. “The TH-mini has to be the smallest but loudest sub I’ve ever heard,” he said. “The amount of bass coming out of this box when properly powered is nothing short of amazing. Subjectively, every bass note is tight and punchy.”

He continued, “All together, the new system is way, way better than the system they used at the hotel. Everything sounds clear, crisp, and pleasant to the ears, and it doesn’t matter where you sit. The whole room is evenly covered. Even when the microphones are placed right underneath the center fill Danley SH-micro, there is no feedback. Hanoi International Fellowship couldn’t be happier.”

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

1608 IN KOREA – API NAMES MI CORP A 1608 DISTRIBUTOR

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES, INC.) Established more than 40 years ago, Automated Processes, Inc. is the leader in analog recording gear with the Vision, Legacy Series and 1608 recording consoles, as well as its classic line of modular signal processing equipment.

www.apiaudio.com

FHITTING ROOM GETS FIT WITH ASHLY

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: The Fhitting Room is a boutique fitness center in New York City that, instead of leading its clients through sustained low-intensity workouts, drives them to the edge of endurance via scientifically-grounded High Intensity Trainings (HITs). The relatively small space, which can accommodate fifteen clients at a time plus two instructors, is equipped with dumbbells, medicine balls, and a pair of rowing machines. Tenants live above the Fhitting Room, which places constraints on how loud the instructors can play the energetic music that motivates the HITs, and there is potential for tension between the immediate desire to drive the music ever louder and the restraint required of neighborliness. The Fhitting Room hired Essential Communications of nearby East Hanover, New Jersey to design and install a cost-effective audio system that would be transparent for the instructors to operate and that would prevent their exuberance from raising a conflict with the neighbors above. To satisfy all of those requirements, Essential Communications specified Ashly processing, amplification, and user control.

While regularly called on to perform A/V integration in hotels, restaurants, houses of worship, and so on, Essential Communications has cultivated a unique niche for audio systems in fitness facilities nationwide. “Price was definitely a huge consideration at the Fhitting Room,” said David Schwartz owner and chief systems designer at Essential Communications. “The founder had been a marketing executive at Pepsi-Cola, and she was funding this venture with her own money. Ashly processors and amplifiers are very cost-effective, and by specifying them I was able to give them all of the performance they requested, including volume limits so that the neighbors would not be disturbed, and ease of use for the staff.”

There are only three simple inputs to the system: an iPod input and two Sennheiser wireless headset microphones. Those feed an Ashly ne4400 4×4 DSP. In addition to standard equalization and dynamics to improve the sound quality in the space, the ne4400 also provides the brick wall limiting that prevents the instructors from driving the system too loudly. Output from the processor feeds an Ashly KLR2000 dual-channel amplifier. “Whenever possible, I like to specify systems with components made by the same manufacturer,” said Schwartz. “I feel that they are designed to work together. From an engineering standpoint, the brain trust that goes into building the different components has a common basis.” In dual mono mode, the KLR2000 powers Community V2-6 two-way loudspeakers.

Control of the system is as easy as it could possibly be. “I don’t like to give the instructors access to equalizers or anything like that,” said Schwartz. “It’s too complicated for them. Too many things can go wrong. I needed something simple, and the Ashly RW-8C remote level control was just the thing.” The RW-8C is a bank of eight faders plus a master fader that interfaces with the ne4400 to provide customized control. The RW-8C also gives the instructors the ability to mix the level of the microphones over the music. This is a very convenient feature that is difficult to achieve with other user interfaces. The Fhitting Room simply uses the first three faders for the iPod, headset 1, and headset 2 volumes. The master fader controls the overall volume. If the instructors try to drive the system too hard, the brick wall limiter kicks in, protecting the Fhitting Room’s good-neighbor status!

ABOUT ASHLY AUDIO Ashly Audio Inc. is recognized as a world leader in the design and manufacturing of high quality & high performance signal processing equipment and power amplification for use in the commercial sound contracting and professional audio markets. The 37-year old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A. www.ashly.com

New NEXO STM Line Array Turns Up The Heat On Chesney’s ‘No Shoes Nation’ Tour

BUENA PARK, Calif.—Kenny Chesney has always brought country’s brightest lights to America, and this heated summer is no different as he taps newcomer and quadruple 2013 Academy of Country Music nominee, Kacey Musgraves, and 2012 ACM Single of the Year winner and multiple 2013 ACM nominee, The Eli Young Band, to open on many of his ‘No Shoes Nation’ tour stops. Country Music Association 2012 Album of the Year Winner and ACM nominee leader, Eric Church, has also taken the stage on 16 of the 19 stadium dates, while triple Grammy-winner and multiple ACM nominee, Zac Brown Band, joined for three stadium shows including a co-headline show in their hometown of Atlanta. The tour is in support of Chesney’s latest CD “Life on a Rock.”

The 46-date tour, which began March 16 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, has made a major change to its stadium line array. Morris Light & Sound (Nashville) has provided a new NEXO STM line array for the 2013-2014 tour. The system layout is configured with 74 M46 for mains, 74 b112 bass extensions, 48 s118 flown subs, 16 RS18 ground ray subs, 12 PS10s for front fills, 14 GEO S 1210s and two GEO S1230s, 22 NUAR amp racks, and two Yamaha DME 64 digital mix engines with LAKE Mesa EQ cards for system tuning and console switching.

At an early stop at Cowboy Stadium, the 45,000+ concertgoers were treated to improved sound at the venue when the STM rig arrived for the Chesney show. The in-house audio crew was extremely impressed by the NEXO system.

Morris Light & Sound was involved early in the development process of the new NEXO System. “We were involved with the STM system for about a year before the system launched,” states John Mills, Morris VP and systems engineer for the Chesney tour. “Since we were the first company with a system of this size, Chris Rabold (Chesney FOH engineer) and I provided NEXO with tons of input on how it was performing and what we were doing with it from a tuning perspective.”

Mills said NEXO support was unparalleled. “We had at least one programmer and one system specialist with us for the first few weeks of rehearsals and shows. Beyond that, we sent them our tuning files and SMAART measurements and they incorporated our preferences into a new preset. Since then we honestly do very little to the PA each day. From stadium to shed, 70,000 seats to 10,000 seats, our tuning is almost always the same. The consistency and accuracy of the PA is like none I have ever tech’ed. From what my NS1 model predicts to what we measure is really the best software/hardware/measurement relationship I have ever experienced. It really makes my job as a system engineer easier because it is so accurate.”

One of the first things that attracted Morris Light & Sound to the NEXO STM, Mills continued, was the modularity. “It really works; we have done large and small venues and even some small ground stacked systems. It is great to have a system that sounds the same no matter how you deploy it. The modularity and scale-ability coupled with the accuracy are second to none. Sonically, the throw of the system out performs anything on the market. Vocals, guitars, and even high-hat and cymbals are still clear and musical at 400 feet away. It is very accurate and revealing. Very small moves in the system EQ are very noticeable. STM was everything I hoped it would be, and more.”

“From the first meeting we had with NEXO discussing the concept of the STM, I was very intrigued,” states Morris L&S President, David Haskell. “Then, after subsequent meetings, trips to the factory, and getting to better understand both the product and the people behind it, I am proud to say that this relationship with NEXO has been amazing. From concept drawings to manufacturing and implementation to ongoing support, the STM and the fine folks behind it can only be summed up in one word…flawless!”

The NEXO STM Series (Scale Through Modularity) loudspeaker cabinets are the first of its kind on the market. Ideal for touring, festivals, and sound company rental, the new system combines the best of Alpha functionality with the technical innovation of NEXO’s patented Hyperbolic Reflector and venting design in which all radiating surfaces are in phase, delivering a powerful, flexible, and easy to use system. STM enables line array systems to scale up or down depending on event audience size, from 1,000 to 100,000 people.

When asked how the STM sounds to him, front of house engineer, Rabold, said the system sounded hi-fi and clean. “Even when I drive it hard, it won’t distort. My ears have yet to feel fatigued after a show; that’s indicative of a clean system. On a mixing level, I’m getting some great sounds. There was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning as was to be expected. I have a specific sound that I want to achieve everyday. Once I learned what the NEXO STM wanted to do naturally, I married that with my own goals and we’ve been in great shape ever since. John Mills and NEXO obviously had a good line of communication by the time I arrived on the tour, and they were extremely proactive with any of our suggestions early on.”

“The Seahawks Stadium show was spectacular, and the audio was superb,” states Fred Micera, Audio Engineer, CenturyLink Field in Seattle. “I heard things/parts I had never heard before in past Chesney shows. Kenny’s voice was captured perfectly and has never sounded more natural. The mix was very well balanced and exciting. Tonally, it was bright and crisp without being harsh or overly sibilant. Clearly understanding everything Kenney had to say between songs was another new revelation. The definition between instruments, especially the multiple guitars were remarkable. Subtle use of panning and EQ made the 4-part guitar exchanges, in particular, stand out while staying musical and not overbearing in any way. The drum sound was quite impressive, and the bass guitar/bottom end was tight and well defined. The lack of overtones and clarity in the low end stopped me dead in my tracks as I crossed in front of the FOH mix position. The STM brings out a whole new dimension to the music.”

Micera said the volume level was steady throughout the night. “The PA system’s coverage was very consistent as we walked the house. Even in areas that are usually disappointing, the sound was solid and uncompromised by the surroundings. We were literally stunned. Seriously, stunned! The success of the system deployment and tuning was not lost on us either. John Mills really addressed the venue and clearly knows how to use the tools at his disposal. The fact that the opening acts sounded so good and all the mixes came together so quickly is another testament to John and the tour’s well-oiled machine.”

For more information on the “No Shoes Nation Tour”, visit www.kennychesney.com.

For more information on Morris Light & Sound visit, www.morrislightandsound.com.

For more information on the NEXO STM system, visit www.yamahaca.com.

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PHOTO CREDITS: Keith Clark and John Mills

About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Celebrating 125 years of Passion and Performance, and 25 years in the manufacturer of high quality digital audio consoles, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.

Summerfest: 11 Days, Over 800 Acts, and 10 Yamaha Consoles

BUENA PARK, Calif.—With nearly 900,000 attendees over eleven days, Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin set new records in providing the backdrop for the music industry’s hottest stars, emerging talent, and local favorites to create unforgettable live music experiences in a world-class festival setting.

Clearwing Productions, Inc. (Milwaukee), with support from Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. provided new Yamaha CL digital consoles along with PM5D-RH consoles, M7CL and LS9 consoles to 7 of the 11 stages. Yamaha staff provided support to those visiting engineers who have not yet had the experience of mixing on a CL console.

“The decision to use the new CL and other Yamaha consoles was very easy,” states Bryan Baumgardner, Operations/Logistics, Clearwing Productions, Inc. “With how reliable and rider-acceptable Yamaha consoles have been for us, there was really no question that the CL5s were ready to be put to use at Summerfest.”

US Cellular Stage had two Yamaha CL5 consoles, one at front of house and one for monitors. The Uline Warehouse Stage consisted of a CL5 at FOH and an M7CL-48 at monitors. The Johnson Controls World Stage also used a CL5 at FOH and an M7CL-48 at monitors. The Marcus Amphitheatre used a PM5D at monitors and so did the BMO Harris Pavilion and the Miller Stage. The Kohl’s Children’s Area was outfitted with a Yamaha LS9-16.

“I converted my PM5D file using Console File Converter, which worked beautifully,” states Jerry Wong, front of house engineer for Loverboy who performed on the Uline Warehouse Stage. “Then, I added several of the Rupert Neve compressors and an 1176 on the fly at the start of the show, and even in a festival situation everything just seemed to fall right into place and mix itself. The CL is a great sounding console and now will be on our rider.”

Morris Day & the Time performed on the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, and Ed Irons, front of house engineer said the console delivered warmth and clarity. “The signal flow, control surface perks, and blending of vintage processing makes the CL5 a hands-down winner for me. Loved it!”

“The Yamaha CL is a very user-friendly console and sounds amazing,” says Ryan Nichols, Switchfoot FOH engineer. “I love the mic pre’s, and the Premium Rack is just one of many great upgrades from other Yamaha desks. I’ve only used the CL a few times before, each in festival situations, but found it really easy to get around on quickly.”

Spin Doctors front of house engineer, Rob Killenberger, echoed some of the same sentiments. “I’m really happy with the CL Series. It’s on my rider; I love the much-improved sound of the CL and all of the toys inside. It’s very responsive and well thought out.”

“As the band engineers have stated, the Yamaha CL console sounds good, it’s user friendly, and the File Converter makes coming from any Yamaha console a breeze. Those attributes are a must in a festival environment as demanding as this one,” adds Baumgardner.

For more information on Clearwing Productions, Inc. visit www.clearwing.com.

For more information on the Yamaha CL and all Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems products, visit www.yamahaca.com.

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About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Celebrating 125 years of Passion and Performance, and 25 years in the manufacturer of high quality digital audio consoles, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.

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