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Archive of the NSCA Newslink Category

FSR Unleashes Multi-Format Scaling Matrix Switcher

Woodland Park, NJ – FSR has announced the immediate availability of the new DVS-MFSW-94XT, a multi-format 9×4 scaling matrix switcher that reduces the challenges associated with integrating legacy analog gear with newly installed digital video products.

The 94XT offers 9 inputs: 4 HDMI with stereo audio, 3 HDMI via CAT x cable, and 2 multi-format analog inputs. On the output side, there are 2 HDMI outputs and 2 HDMI over CATx outputs, each scaled to match the resolution of the display.

“While most new purchases of video equipment are digital, there is an incredibly large installed base of legacy analog equipment already in place. The 94XT extends the life of the legacy gear by allowing it to operate seamlessly alongside the newest digital video equipment,” explained Jan Sandri, FSR president.

The 94XT incorporates intelligent EDID and HDCP management along with high bandwidth ADC’s and scalers to make not only the installation, but the operation of the overall system “Plug-n-Play” simple.

“We felt that it was important for the 94XT to be able to operate flawlessly in environments where users can arrive with nearly any computer, tablet or other video device, plug it in and have it simply work. Too many other products work only in fixed environments and our world is far from a fixed environment,” added Joe Fischer, FSR’s director of engineering.

For additional flexibility, the 94XT has 2 additional balanced stereo audio inputs, 1 unbalanced stereo audio output, and SPDIF outputs for each video output. It can be controlled from the front panel, remotely via RS-232 or TCP/IP, or through the built-in web server.

To realize the full potential of the 94XT, FSR offers the DV-HXT family of HDMI over CATx extenders. They can send 1080p up to 165 feet and plug directly into the 94XT offering extended input and output distances without the need to have additional transmitters or receivers at the switcher. The transmitters are available as standalone “bricks” or as wall plates while the receivers are available in “brick” form only.

About FSR
FSR, established in 1981, manufactures a wide variety of products for the audio / video, education, hospitality, government, and religious markets, including AV floor, wall, table, and ceiling connectivity boxes, as well as a full line of interfaces, distribution amplifiers, matrix switchers, seamless switchers and CAT-5 solutions.

The company is an Energy Star Partner and complies with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to demonstrate its deep commitment to preserving the planet. FSR offers live 24/7 technical and sales support throughout the country from expertly trained technicians and sales representatives. For more information: www.fsrinc.com.

FSR Contact: Jan Sandri
973-785-4347 • sales@fsrinc.com
Press Contact: Desert Moon Communications
Harriet Diener
845-512-8283 • mailto:harriet@desertmoon.tv

ASHLY AUDIO PRODUCTS NOW ALLOW USER CONTROL FROM APPLE iPAD, iPAD MINI, iPHONE, & iPOD TOUCH DEVICES VIA KEY DIGITAL’S COMPASS CONTROL TECHNOLOGY

WEBSTER, NEW YORK – JULY 2013: Ashly Audio is pleased to announce that all of its processors and amplifiers with Ethernet or RS-232 control capability are now compatible with Key Digital’s Compass Control Technology, which allows end-user control from Apple’s ubiquitous iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, and iPod Touch wireless devices. Because many users already own these devices, offering user control via Apple’s wireless iOS products is both cost-effective and convenient. Moreover, the “wow factor” is sure to impress clients and win more work via word of mouth.

The Ashly Audio products that integrate with Compass Control include the ne24.24M modular matrix processor; the ne4400, ne4800, & ne8800 processors; the Protea 3.6SP & 4.8SP processors; the ne800, ne1600, ne2400, ne4250, & ne8250 amplifiers; the nXe & nXp amplifiers; and all Pema integrated processor/amplifiers. “In this age of highly integrated A/V systems, we at Ashly Audio are excited to be able to give our customers yet another means of controlling their pro sound equipment via Compass Control® and Apple iOS devices,” said Ashly CEO Mark Wentling.

“Resulting from cooperative efforts between Ashly and Key Digital, the integration of its audio products within the Compass Control® environment represents a powerful and user-friendly comprehensive solution delivering iOS-based control and entertainment functionality,” said Key Digital’s Vice President of Sales, Michael Lakhter. “The Compass Alliance™ Partners have come together to create a system that has full-driver integration already completed, increasing efficiency for integrators.”

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

Iconyx Makes Things Clear for MannKind Pharmaceuticals

 

Danbury, CA – July 2013… Besides their corporate headquarters in southern California, MannKind Pharmaceuticals maintains two other campuses, including their technical operations team, located in Danbury, CT. It’s a busy campus, hosting several hundred employees involved in the company’s manufacturing, engineering, and quality assurance divisions. 

The campus’  central meeting point is a large, multipurpose room used for everything from lunches to corporate meetings and all types of presentations. It’s a bright, airy, and welcoming space, but as Richard Trombitas of New York-based Cardone, Solomon and Associates explains, the room has long been an acoustical challenge. 

“It’s a really nice looking space, but not great for spoken word intelligibility,” says Trombitas. “It’s got a fairly high ceiling, a wall of windows, and lots of reflective surfaces.” Colortone AV’s Joe Lemischak adds, “they had an old distributed system that had probably been installed when the room was built.”

According to Traci Centofanti, Mannkind’s Director of Information Technology, the room has long been problematic. “The system that was in here originally never quite did what it was intended to do,” Centofonti says. “The coverage was very spotty – some places in the room sounded okay, but if you moved a few feet over, you could barely make out what the presenter was saying.”

The solution was easily realized with a single pair of Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steered array loudspeakers. Dual ICX7-II stacks on either side of one wall can easily provide even coverage all the way to the back of the room. 

“We had the columns custom-painted in metallic gray to match the room,” says Lemischak. “You can barely see them.” Custom mounts were designed to integrate the columns with the room’s existing structure.

Centofanti says the improvement was immediate and dramatic. “We’ve had numerous comments from people about the difference in the way things sound in there now,” she observes. “People are more involved and more attentive in presentations – they can finally hear what’s being said.” 

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

Gand Concert Sound Pitches In At Music Festival

CHICAGO—Pitchfork Music Festival, held July 19-21 in Chicago’s Union Park, brought the best of emerging music to over 50,000 attendees. The Festival has been drawing huge sold-out crowds since it began in 2006. This year, 40 artists entertained on three stages including Bjork, Solange, Lil B, R Kelly, Savages, The Breeders, Swans, and Wire.

Gand Concert Sound of Elk Grove Village, IL, aka ‘the NEXO guys’, provided audio production for both the Red and Green stages, Red stage included 15 NEXO GEO T line array boxes per side, 16 NEXO CD18s, a Yamaha CL5 digital audio console at FOH, and a Yamaha M7CL for monitors.

The Green Stage audio set up consisted of 18 GEO Ts per side, 20 CD18s, and Yamaha PM5D-RH digital consoles for front of house and monitor mixing. NEXO PS15R2s were supplied for the both the Red Stage (passive) and Green Stage (bi-amped) along with NEXO NX4x4 amps for mains and Yamaha T5n amps for subs, front fills and monitors, along with NEXO NX241 and 242 processors. Alpha E/f and S2 side fills were used on the Green stage.

“Of all the fests in the USA, Pitchfork stands out as the place to be for fans of up and coming bands and indie’s who have established themselves as must-see acts,” says Gand President, Gary Gand. “It’s a great test of what our audio production set up centered around the NEXO systems can do. From a solo harp player to a 20 piece hardcore rap act and all points in-between, bring it on!”

“Many, many kudos to Gand from the audio folks that the artists brought, and from us,” states Mary Jones, director of Pitchfork Festival Artist Production & Artist Relations.

For more information on Gand Concert Sound, visit www.gandconcertsound.com.

For more information on Yamaha and NEXO 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. “>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.

Spreading the News: Yamaha Training Sessions Head to New York

BUENA PARK, Calif.—Yamaha Commercial Audio Training Seminars (YCATS) will hold training sessions in New York on August 13 and 14, 2013. Sessions include M7CL for Beginners, M7CL for Advanced Users, and Yamaha Technology Partners Sessions.

For more information, course description, seminar location, and registration visit: http://yamahacommercialaudiosystems.com/training.php?catID=11001.

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BC Electronic Sales Awarded Middle Atlantic Commercial AV Rep of the Year

Middle Atlantic Products awarded BC Electronic Sales as Commercial AV Rep of the Year at a sales meeting held prior to InfoComm 2013.

BC Electronic Sales represents Middle Atlantic for the Commercial AV market in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Southern Illinois.

Commenting on the award, Middle Atlantic Midwest Regional Sales Manager Adam Gold said, “Rick and his team have done an amazing job representing MAP in the two plus years they have been covering their territory of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. Their product knowledge, technical prowess, and complete dedication to customer service and satisfaction is evident by the results they achieve. Congratulations to the entire BC Electronics team.”

Photo caption (left to right): Michael Sipe and Rick Hanson (BC Electronic Sales) Robert Newhuis (Middle Atlantic) Dustin Vavak and Brandon Krepal (BC Electronic Sales).

For more information about BC Electronic Sales, please click to http://www.bcelectronics.com.

For technical specifications and in-depth information about Middle Atlantic Products, please click to www.middleatlantic.com or call 1.800.266.7225.

Middle Atlantic Products has been part of the Legrand group since its acquisition in 2011.

Legrand is the global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures. Its comprehensive offering of solutions for use in commercial, industrial and residential markets makes it a benchmark for customers worldwide. Innovation for a steady flow of new products with high added value and acquisitions are prime vectors for growth. Legrand reported sales of close to $5.8 billion in 2012. Legrand has a strong presence in the North American market, with a portfolio of well-known product lines that include Cablofil, Electrorack, Middle Atlantic, NuVo, On-Q, Ortronics, Pass & Seymour, Vantage, Watt Stopper and Wiremold. The company is listed on NYSE Euronext and is a component stock of indexes including the CAC40, FTSE4Good, MSCI World, ASPI and DJSI (ISIN code FR0010307819). www.legrand.us

Last.fm and Local Radio Station Hold Festival at Tinley Park

Elk Grove Village, Ill.—The First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre is located in Tinley Park, Illinois, forty minutes south of Chicago. Owned by Live Nation, the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre is Chicago’s largest outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of approximately 28,000.

Celebrating over 17 years of music history, the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre typically hosts 25 concerts each summer season. Last.fm, a music service powered entirely by its community of listeners, along with local radio station Q87.7 Piqniq, hosted a 10-act festival at the end of June using Gand Concert Sound (GCS) aka “the NEXO guys” for audio production. Festival line up included the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bush, Silversun Pickups, AWOLNATION, and Atlas Genius.

GCS brought in a NEXO GEO T system along with assorted audio gear including a new Yamaha CL5 digital audio console and DME64 used as part of the front of house mix rig. Main hangs consisted of 21 GEO T 4805s and three GEO T 2815s per side, seven GEO T 4805s and one GEO T 2815s per side used for out fills, along with 24 CD18s, six PS10R2s for front fills, and eight NX 4X4 amps.

Vincent Casamatta, front of house engineer for AWOLNATION said, “I told GCS tech Adam Rosenthal that the GEO T rig was spec’d, implemented and tech’d perfectly. I had a slamming show, one of the best sounding of this year.”

President Gary Gand said, “This will be a record breaking month for GCS. Our investment in NEXO puts us at the top of the call list when the big venues and national acts need pristine audio to the very farthest seat.” Gand was an early adopter of the NEXO GEO T tangent array system and its associated software.

For more information on Gand Concert Sound, visit www.gandconcertsound.com.

For more information on NEXO and Yamaha 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nashville’s Riverfront Park Stage Stocked with NEXO STM, Yamaha CLs for the 42nd Annual CMA Music Festival

BUENA PARK, Calif.—This year’s CMA Music Festival took place June 6-9 in Nashville’s Riverfront Park, with Morris Light & Sound (Nashville) handling audio production for the event’s largest outdoor free stage with one of the biggest opening day crowds on record of 44,000. More than 162,000 fans passed through the gates to watch performances at the Chevrolet™ Riverfront Stage, outfitted with the new NEXO STM line array, PS15s, RS18 Ray Subs, 4×4 NXAmps, 45 N-12 line monitors, Yamaha CL5 digital consoles and Rio3224 input/output boxes all connected via a Dante network.

With nearly 50 artists performing, the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage was the hot spot for the daily concerts that took place over five days in downtown Nashville. The stage kicked off on Wednesday with the Block Party concert featuring headliner, Joe Diffie. Thursday was a full day of performances that began with a high energy show from CMA Award-winning recording artist Sara Evans followed by performances from Keith Anderson, Greg Bates, Blackberry Smoke, Craig Campbell, Mark Chesnutt, Brett Eldredge, Rachel Farley, Tyler Farr, Colt Ford, Gloriana, The Grascals, Steve Holy, Casey James, Kristen Kelly, Aaron Lewis, Lonestar, Love and Theft, Dustin Lynch, Jo Dee Messina, Ronnie Milsap, Craig Morgan, David Nail, Joe Nichols, Jerrod Niemann, Paslay, Maggie Rose, Corey Smith, Tate Stevens, Sunny Sweeney, Phil Vassar, Chuck Wicks, Gretchen Wilson, and Darryl Worley.

Eric Elwell mixed front of house for Joe Nichols and said, “I was really looking forward to an opportunity to drive the new NEXO STM rig. My good friends, David Haskell and John Mills at Morris Light & Sound, have ears I trust implicitly, and I’ve always had fantastic experiences with NEXO, so when they showed me the rig and the design behind it, I couldn’t wait to mix on it. Wow! It’s detailed, but not in a hard or hyped-kind of way. It felt like an F1 racecar… just so responsive. I worked there on the second day at the River Stage, and by then the Yamaha/NEXO team really had the rig singing. It was fantastic, with rich warmth and detail all the way to the top of the hill! Very hi-fi, which I love.”

“I was very impressed with the consistency of the definition of all the vocals, even with all the different engineers that mixed over the course of the four days,” states David Haskell, President, Morris Light & Sound.

Elwell also said he used the new Yamaha CL5 digital console once before, subbing for a friend on a tour last fall. “I was impressed then by the purity and clarity. The mic pre’s are fantastic, and the plug-ins give you everything you need to add ‘a little something’ extra. On the Joe Nichols mix for CMA Fest, I got to use the Rupert Neve Design Portico 5043 compressor across the stereo buss just to add that final “glue” to the mix. The sounds of the plug-ins are just like the real hardware I’ve used in the studio… glorious!”

Russell Fischer, freelance monitor and FOH engineer who has mixed front of house for Taylor Swift, The Mavericks and Toby Keith, to name a few, mixed monitors for several different bands at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, said he liked working on the Yamaha CL5 in this large festival situation. “I like the flexibility and ease of use of the Custom Fader Banks; it made for very quick navigation of critical inputs during the festival at the monitor mix position. Also, I found the Premium Rack devices very useful.”

For more information on the CMA Festival, visit www.cmaworld.com/cma-music-festival/2013.

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

For more information on the NEXO STM and Yamaha CL5, visit www.yamahaca.com.

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PHOTO ID: Eric Elwell

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit Tim Colvard: Kathy Beer

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