A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive of the NSCA Newslink Category

ASHLY PROCESSORS AND AMPS EARN AN ENCORE

COLUMBUS, OHIO: Encore is a new, high-spirited nightclub located in the Crosswoods neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. Its strategy for success is to show patrons such a fantastic time that they quickly return to enjoy an encore. Tasteful bar food, a wide range of drinks, and elegant décor and lighting provide the perfect frame for Encore’s daily upscale party. But the heart of the party resides in an articulate, high-SPL, bass-rich sound system designed and installed by local A/V integrator Demmer Audio Video Solutions. Two Ashly 3.6SP Protea digital speaker processors and six Ashly KLR Series amplifiers drive the sound system – and thus Encore’s enthusiastic patrons – nightly.

The new club occupies approximately 2,500 square-feet on a single floor, with a large main room and dance floor complemented by a handful of smaller rooms that are available for private functions. “The owners were looking for a very reliable sound system with solid fidelity and bass,” said Ken Demmer, owner of Demmer Audio Video Solutions. “Moreover, they wanted to be able to come in, turn it on, and know that it would work as expected. They didn’t want to worry about adjusting this or that, and they wanted the minimal access necessary to simply plug in a DJ, select a source, and adjust the volume. That’s it.”

Inputs to the system include a DISH Satellite interface, a cable interface, an iPod dock, a computer media player, and, of course, a DJ input. Because the owners requested it based on their familiarity with systems at their other establishments, Demmer installed a DBX ZonePRO processor for input selection and volume control. However, the meat of the processing at Encore resides within two Ashly 3.6SP Protea digital speaker processors.

“The Ashly Protea processors have excellent sonic quality,” Demmer said. “They’re very clean, the equalization is smooth, and the conversion is nice. The programming software is easy to use, and I can save the configuration program on my laptop, load it via a straightforward USB connection, and lock out the front panel of the unit so that no one fiddles with the settings. That’s a big selling point for my clients – it protects their investment.”

Six Ashly KLR-2000, two Ashly KLR-4000, and three Ashly KLR-5000 amplifiers power the system. Six Community S-3294 three-way twelve-inch speakers, four Community VLF212 dual twelve-inch subwoofers, and six Community VLF118 single eighteen-inch subwoofers comprise the new sound reinforcement system for the dance floor. Existing distributed ceiling-mounted loudspeakers contribute to even coverage throughout the establishment.

“When I first heard of the Ashly KLR Series, the price seemed too good to be true,” Demmer said. “But I still see classic Ashly amps still running day-in and day-out in the field. They build things to last. So I bought a pair of KLR-5000s to power some subwoofers, and they were beat to death. But they held their own, and now I’m happy to install them to deliver high-performance systems on a budget. In addition, they are lightweight and energy-efficient, which are both great selling points.”

Demmer once had a service issue with an Ashly amplifier. “I understand that even well-made things break every so often,” he said. “What impressed me was how great and speedy Ashly’s service was. They turned it around immediately and got it back to me in a matter of a few days.”

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

SYMETRIX ARC-WEB USER CONTROL INTERFACE AND JUPITER APP-BASED TURN-KEY DSP CLINCHES THE TITLE FOR SAM’S SPORTS GRILL

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: Sam’s Sports Grill opened in 2000, and Nashvillians have voted it the Best Sports Bar in the city for ten years in a row. Clearly, Sam Sanchez and his team know how to deliver a great sports bar experience. Food created from scratch (with gluten-free options!), dozens of beers on tap, and a whopping 70-inch flat screen TV with all the major sports packages, make Sam’s Sports Grill a winner. However, like any establishment, Sam’s Sports Grill had room for improvement. Recently, Sam chose Darrin Fabish, account manager at Nashville’s Audio Electronics, Inc. (AEI), to overhaul the existing sound system at the Hillsboro Village location. The overhaul resulted in replacing all the speakers and adding a Symetrix Jupiter 8 App Based Turn-Key DSP. The Symetrix Jupiter 8 DSP delivers multi-zone content with user control achieved through Symetrix’ forward-thinking ARC-WEB interface for smartphones and other Internet-connected devices.

Sam’s Sports Grill’s Hillsboro Village location (there are three others in Hendersonville and Murfreesboro, TN and Florence, AL) is just a short walk from the AEI offices. “I meet some friends there for lunch regularly,” said Darrin. “As sometimes happens, I was talking to them about upgrading another client’s sound system when Sam overheard me. Although the bar has a great visual setup with plenty of high-definition screens, the audio system lacked zoned audio. Although they could have different games on at the bar and on the patio, the whole place had to listen to one or the other – or music.”

After determining that AEI could give Sam’s Sports Grill a fresh start, Darrin suggested replacing components of the old system. “Eight-ohm speakers were wired for 70-volt and vice versa,” he said. “Residential and commercial components were mixed. This system really needed attention.” Darrin retained the original inputs to the system, two DirecTV receivers, a jukebox, and a music source, and added a microphone input for use on bar trivia night. In addition, a pair of TOA amplifiers and the existing equipment rack were repurposed in the new system.

With eight mic- or line-level inputs and eight outputs, a Symetrix Jupiter 8 DSP forms the core of the new system and leaves a few inputs and outputs for the bar to grow into. “The Jupiter 8 has all of the necessary processing facilities, including easy zone management,” said Darrin. “And given everything that it can do, it’s very competitively priced.” Three zones now comprise the system so that the patio, bar, and seating areas can all have different input sources and volumes. When music is selected, the background music source plays unless a customer plays the jukebox, in which case the background music is muted until the jukebox song is finished. A Bose FreeSpace 3 combined subwoofer/full-range system provides output for each of the zones, and Bose DS-100 surface mounted speakers in the patio lure customers from the sidewalk outside.

“Symetrix’ ARC-WEB technology was a huge selling point at Sam’s,” said Darrin. “Both the owner and the manager are running ARC-WEB from their phones. There’s really something to the fact that these guys can just walk over to a zone and adjust the input and volume right then and there. No more adjusting the volume and then walking over to see if it’s loud enough (or too loud). They seem to really like it. I’m starting to pitch this Symetrix-based solution at other locations. A lot of the owners are young and hip, and they love the ARC-WEB technology.” For those rare occasions when the owner or manager isn’t around, staff can still make necessary adjustments from a hardwired Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote.

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.

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.

SYMETRIX JUPITER 12 APP BASED TURN-KEY DSP AND ARC-WEB BRING SMARTPHONE SOUND TECHNOLOGY TO PARK CITY’S GRUB STEAK RESTAURANT

PARK CITY, UTAH – FEBRUARY 2013: Families and friends love to convene at Grub Steak Restaurant in Park City, Utah, and the establishment carves out a unique niche by providing flexible meeting and event space for local businesses, clubs, and revelers. Grub Steak’s spacious dining room is adjoined by the Miner Room and the even larger Moose Room. However, an aging, patched-together sound reinforcement system was making it hard for the management to accommodate the multimedia needs of the restaurant’s rental clients. Performance Audio, of nearby Salt Lake City, designed and installed a new system centered on a Symetrix Jupiter 12 App-Based Turnkey DSP loaded with nearly forty customized presets to cover every conceivable configuration.” Grub Steak’s managers and regular clients select the presets and adjust input and output volumes from their smartphones using robust Symetrix ARC-WEB technology.

“Grub Steak originally had a zone for each of the three main dining and meeting spaces,” explained Jake Peery, system design & installation expert with Performance Audio. “But its collection of old mixer/amps was making it difficult or impossible to get signal from one place to another. We integrated everything with a Symetrix Jupiter 12, which delivers a tremendous feature set for a very affordable price. In addition, we gave them another zone for the restroom and lobby area. Now they can combine, distribute, and adjust inputs any way they like.” The inputs include iPod docks, line level jacks, microphone jacks, a pair of wireless microphones, background music sources, and a live feed from the main dining room’s modest stage.

Peery also created nearly forty custom presets to cover every possible input selection and routing scenario the restaurant management requested. He also created four Symetrix ARC-WEB panels that, with password clearance, can be accessed from any smartphone or other Internet-connected device. Each ARC-WEB panel provides individualized control of a specified zone. “They also recognized that with so much flexibility, they had the potential to dig themselves into trouble,” said Peery. “So we also gave them a hardwired Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote in the office with a ‘reset’ selection that recalls a sensible default setup and gain structure.”

A new Ashly TRA-4150 amplifier delivers 250W to each of the four 70V zones. A handful of blown loudspeakers made way for new Atlas replacements, whereas the rest were in good shape and remain with the new processing and amplification.

“I’ve never created so many presets as I did with this job,” said Peery. “But it was easy to do with the Jupiter’s app based programming, and the client is very happy with the system’s new functionality. In fact, it’s so simple to use that Grub Steak has shared the ARC-WEB password with a few regular clients, such as the local Rotary Club.” Chris Haymond, Grub Steak manager agreed, “Yes, the new system is easy, flexible, and reliable. We’re now set up to make excellent use of our meeting and event space.”

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.

NEW COLUMBIA HIGH SCHOOL STAYS ON BUDGET WITH PERFORMANCE DRIVEN ASHLY AMPS AND DSP

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI – FEBRUARY 2013: The population of Columbia, Missouri grew by over twenty-percent between 2000 and 2010 and is on pace to continue that growth in the current decade. Responding to the obvious need for increased classroom space in a school system designed for a smaller citizenry, the Columbia School District secured funds to build a fourth high school, which will relieve crowding in the existing high schools and middle schools. Muriel Williams Battle High School will open in fall 2013, but already many of its facilities are nearly completed, including band and music rooms that will help jumpstart new musical traditions for the fledgling school. An Ashly ne1600pe amplifier with onboard Protea DSP in each of those rooms will facilitate playback of instructional audio, including stereo recordings of the students themselves.

Lonnie Theer & Associates (Omaha, Nebraska) designed the modest band and music room audio playback systems with an eye toward performance, reliability, and transparent user control, all while meeting the school district’s budget. Each system is an exact duplicate of the other so that faculty and staff need only learn one system to learn them both. “Including only the necessary controls within a robust design make these twin systems just the right speed for the new high school,” said Paul Jonas, director of installations at Theatrical Media Services (Omaha, Nebraska), who installed the system.

A 16-channel Yamaha MG166C mixer provides an intuitive user interface in each room. A handful of microphones, a CD player, and a solid-state recorder form a manageable and flexible input set that’s useful for benchmarking students’ performances against both professional performances and against the students’ earlier performances. One Ashly ne1600pe amplifier with onboard DSP resides in each room, providing equalization, limiting protection, and power for Renkus-Heinz CFX121 full-range loudspeakers. A pair of CFX121s in each room deliver full stereo playback.

“The ease and simplicity of the Ashly ne Series with optional onboard DSP is a real benefit in a job like this,” said Jonas. “Having Ashly’s flexible Protea™ software inside the amp lets us install the system with less wiring and with less time spent wiring. Moreover, there’s a cost savings to having the DSP housed within the amplifier. A separate unit would add significantly to the expense. Ashly’s reputation for building reliable equipment also factors into the benefits.”

The school district will take possession of the new building in the summer, on schedule and on budget.

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

Listen Technologies sponsors the NSCA’s Business and Leadership Conference

The NSCA Business and Leadership Conference is sponsored by a network of organizations including Listen Technologies.

Bluffdale, Utah, USA – Listen Technologies joins industry leaders to sponsor the 2013 NSCA Business and Leadership Conference. The conference, hosted by Atlas Sound/IED, will be held February 21-23 at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa in Phoenix, AZ.

“We have an outstanding network of organizations that understand the value and need to support an integral part of the electronic systems channel,” said Chuck Wilson, NSCA executive director. “Our sponsors allow us to continue to provide the only leadership conference that many of our industry leaders attend because of the high quality of speakers and take-away content that can be applied the next day.”
NSCA, the National Systems Contractors Association, is the leading not-for-profit association representing the commercial electronic systems industry. The NSCA’s Annual Business and Leadership Conference brings together a dynamic and forward-looking perspective on our industry, while combining it with practical on-the-ground strategies for adapting, all into a single event to help your business succeed now and into the future.

“The NSCA Business and Leadership Conference includes many industry executives who are focused on building their business. These are the type of executives that we love to exchange business development ideas with,” stated Cory Schaeffer, Listen Technologies VP of Sales Worldwide. There will be opportunities to learn and connect with in depth educational sessions and unique networking events.

“The caliber of leaders that attend this conference are second to none. I enjoyed the networking opportunities with many of our industry’s thought leaders,” noted Schaeffer. She went on to say, “I took away many ideas on how to run my business better.”

For more information or to register, visit www.nsca.org/blc or call 800.446.6722.

About Listen Technologies Corporation
Listen Technologies Corporation manufactures and distributes wireless audio products world-wide for use in auditory assistance, soundfield, tour group, language interpretation and conferencing applications. Listen products provide superb audio performance, flexibility and ease of use, making them the ideal choice for schools, houses of worship, factories, entertainment facilities, government agencies and other entities. For more information on Listen solutions, contact Listen Technologies at +1.801.233.8992, or visit www.listentech.com.

CAPITAL SOUND HIRE AND WIGMAN FIRST IN UK WITH NEXO STM SERIES

London-based Capital Sound Hire has become the first UK company to take delivery of a NEXO STM Series system, and Wigwam Acoustics has confirmed its purchase of a STM modular line array system, after two years of involvement in its development by both companies.

The initial STM touring range incorporates three elements; the M46 Main cabinet, B112 Bass cabinet and S118 Sub-bass cabinet, which allow users to build systems for audiences from 200 to 100,000. “With profit margins being squeezed, it’s crucial for the success of rental companies to get the maximum flexibility from their inventories,” continues Capital’s Paul Timmins. “Prep costs money, and this system only requires configuration between projects, with no rebuilds necessary.”

The scalability of STM held great appeal for Capital, whose projects range from 10 people at small corporate events to stadium and outdoor shows for 60,000 plus. “What has become evident is that most current loudspeaker systems require you to stock up to four sizes of line array boxes to cover the variation in room sizes,” says Timmins. “Often, during the winter months, an entire inventory of large format loudspeakers can sit idle while there is a shortage of small and mid-sized cabinets. The concept of STM is amazing, with true multi-use options for all components including the amplifier racks. System designs can take into consideration not only room limitations but also musical content. It’s a fantastic addition to the tool box.”

Capital, which will ultimately own a 48-box system an inventory of 48x M46 Mains, 48x B112 Bass and 48x S118 Subs, is initially planning to introduce the components on small-scale events. This will ramp up during summer 2013 to larger projects that will allow engineers to get to grips with its full capabilities. “NEXO has been a great company to work with,” concludes Timmins of the STM project. “They have a fantastic R&D team and they also know where all the best restaurants are!”

In STM terminology, Wigwam’s package is 48 sets: 48 x M46 main cabinets, 48 x B112 bass cabinets and 48 x S118 sub bass units. The system specification is identical to that ordered by Capital Sound. The main criteria for the new system, according to Wigwam’s Chris Hill, was, “will it sound good, will it be flexible, and quick to rig? NEXO engineers really listened; STM is scalable, and we can use it for many different applications instead of it just being able to do certain types of work. We’re hopeful that this will give us maximum utilization of our stock.”

Further information:
NEXO SA
Tel: 0033 44 99 00 70
www.nexo.fr

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