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Steely Dan’s Pursuit of Perfection with MLA

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Walter Becker and Donald Fagen took Steely Dan’s “Jamalot Ever After” tour across the U.S. and Canada this summer, with OSA International, Inc. providing Martin Audio’s Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) sound system.

Steely Dan has a reputation among audiophiles and throughout Pro Audio for their fastidious attention to sound production, so much so that many FOH engineers and system techs use a Steely Dan track to tune a system. When it comes to live sound, their expectations for the PA are no less demanding.

Returning to mix Steely Dan is Mark Dowdle, whose extensive credits include Elton John, Gloria Estefan, Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner and Jackson Browne, to name just a few. Last year’s tour included a stop at Ravinia Festival in Chicago, where Dowdle mixed on two 7-box MLA arrays, the first year of a new OSA installation and the first new PA in a decade at North America’s oldest music festival.

Mark Dowdle

Late last year, Steely Dan’s road manager, tour sound icon Robert ‘Nitebob’ Czaykowski, introduced Walter Becker to MLA at a demonstration at New York’s Manhattan Center, where they were able to walk around and hear the evenness of its response and coverage. Steely Dan often plays theaters, where the mix position is usually at the back, beneath a balcony. “I go out there every day and listen to it; that’s part of my gig,” Czaykowski said. “What really knocks me out about MLA is that you can really control it so it’s not splattering off a back wall or cluttering up in the lower balcony.”

Present also at the NYC demo was Jim Risgin, Vice President for OSA –owners of the largest inventory of MLA in North America. With offices in Chicago, Las Vegas and now also Nashville, OSA have built an impressive reputation and client list providing complete technical services to some of the largest corporate, sporting events and concert tours in the U.S. The NYC demo was followed by extensive research from Mark Dowdle to confirm that the system would deliver the desired performance, and as a result Steely Dan added MLA to their tour.

Across the demanding 56-stop tour, MLA showed its versatility, control and overall sound performance credentials. Dowdle points out that the MLA provides extremely even front-to-back SPL as well as evenness of frequency response throughout the listening area. “The coverage is very smooth, especially its shading,” he said. “You can walk up on the PA in the front and it sounds just like it does in the back of the room.”

Dowdle also mentions an improvement to the stereo field. “Everything is more defined, so that automatically translates into the stereo field being more discernable,” he said. “MLA gives me dynamic range, clarity and definition so that I’m able to position and layer sounds in the stereo field which you can really hear where they all are.” He adds that the MLA’s sound is extremely coherent and is very responsive from a mixing standpoint. “You make a small fader move and it’s immediately noticeable.”

Furthermore, Dowdle is surprised by the constant comments from the audience. “I’ve been mixing for a long time and usually nobody ever says anything. This particular tour I’ve had more response from the audience than any tour I’ve ever done in my entire career, and it’s always been very positive and it’s always been very poignant. That’s in large part because of MLA allowing me to get it exactly how I want everywhere in the room.”

OSA crew chief and MLA system engineer Martyn ‘Ferrit’ Rowe is well known from his tenure at Martin Audio as an MLA product specialist before leaving to work for OSA as Director of Engineering. The Steely Dan tour travels in two trucks, carrying consoles and backline (including a Steinway grand) in one, and lights and PA in the second. “We’re carrying 26 MLA and 2 MLD down-fills, as well as 18 MLA Compacts, plus 8 MLX subs and 6 W8LMD used as front-fills,” Rowe explains.

The tour played Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena and New Orleans’ UNO Lakefront Arena using the 14-box MLA main arrays and 9-box MLA Compact side arrays that they carry. “The LA Forum was the only venue on our 56-show itinerary where we had to add PA,” said Mitchell Keller, Steely Dan’s production manager for the fourth year running. “It’s quite impressive that on a two truck tour we can carry enough PA to do arenas.”

The rest of the itinerary ranged from sheds and theaters to casinos. “The smallest venue was Humphrey’s in San Diego, putting in two subwoofers and ground stacking six MLA per side,” Rowe explains. “We recently did four shows in a row with single point hangs using ten MLA enclosures.”

As well as MLA’s flexibility and scalability, Rowe is keen to point out the simplicity of its operation. “It’s like fly by wire; you tell it what you want and the software produces a custom preset for your system and the room,” he said. “This isn’t auto EQ, you still have control over all the decisions that are being made, but the computer is doing the heavy lifting for you.”

So, coming full circle, what did Fagen and Becker make of the sound quality? According to Dowdle, “Both have come out into the audience on a number of occasions and have always been positive with their feedback and what was going on.

“More often than not Donald will come out and listen and frequently comments, ‘It sounds great,’ which is probably the highest compliment that I could ever receive in my career.”

For more about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.

Full Compass Hosts NUAGE Demo, Nuendo Master Class

BUENA PARK, Calif.—A Yamaha NUAGE Demo and Nuendo Master Class will be held by Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems and hosted by Full Compass on Tuesday, September 23rd at 9770 Silicon Prairie Parkway, Madison, WI. The event is free of charge. Product tours will begin promptly at 6:00pm, 7:00pm and 8:00pm.

A joint collaboration between Yamaha and Steinberg, the NUAGE Advanced Production System is the brainchild of workflow efficient hardware and Nuendo 6 software operating together in perfect harmony. Offering unprecedented productivity and flexibility as well as premium audio quality in an innovative design, NUAGE is making waves across the world.

David Lees and Marcel Mauceri from Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. will be on hand to demonstrate the new Yamaha NUAGE production system along with Full Compass Systems staff and discuss the latest news, tips and tricks of Nuendo recording software.

For more information and to register, email rsvp@fullcompass.com.

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Little Dragon Performs At UK’s Somerset House With HARMAN Soundcraft Vi3000 Digital Console

LONDON, United Kingdom – Having attained international prominence, electronic pop band Little Dragon took to the stage at London’s major arts and cultural center Somerset House, utilizing the mixing capabilities of a HARMAN Soundcraft Vi3000 console. The 3,000-capacity venue is constructed with an open courtyard in the middle of a Victorian-era building, a true acoustic test for the latest Soundcraft digital console.

With almost a decade of audio engineering experience and several years working with the Soundcraft Vi Series, Little Dragon’s monitor engineer Marco Cruneri sees the Vi3000 as the best choice for the band.

“All Vi Series consoles have nice layouts and great sound, but the features on the Vi3000 are what attract me the most as they are excellent for monitor engineers,” said Cruneri. “I love the flexibility and versatility of the desk, it allows me to work as I would like. The fact that all the I/O is at the back of the desk makes it really compact.”

During its tour throughout the UK, Little Dragon faced multiple technical challenges including limits on the weight of the trailer and time restrictions during sound checks. Thanks to the ergonomics of the Vi3000, and the ability to complete sound checks with the iPad ViSi Remote App, Cruneri found it extremely easy to complete sound checks in the short time allocated.

“The iPad App means that I can work faster and more efficiently. I found that unlike some other brands, Soundcraft offers a straightforward console that touring engineers can pick up and immediately mix on, shown by intuitive features like FaderGlowTM.”

Cruneri plans to continue using the Vi3000 console for Little Dragon’s performances within the UK, and use it again during the upcoming winter tour. Greatly appreciating the simplicity and effectiveness of the console, he is able to bring out the “dense and punchy sounds” of the band.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets premier audio, visual, infotainment and integrated control solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson ®, the Company is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 16,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $5.3 billion for the twelve months ended June 30, 2014.

Pro Audio Technology CEDIA 2014 Demo Defies Convention

PRO Audio Technology is mixing things up. With a focus on value and installation flexibility, PRO still plans on delivering an incomparable audio experience – there’s just one small difference.

CEDIA EXPO 2014 – Denver, CO – September 10-13 – SR-18 – For CEDIA Expo 2014, PRO Audio Technology (PRO), the leading supplier of high-output loudspeakers and DSP-programmable amplifier systems, has constructed a value-oriented, surround sound demo system that promises to set new standards in performance for multipurpose media rooms and secondary home theater applications.

“In previous years, our CEDIA Expo demo focused on extremes: 270 pound subwoofers, massive screen-wall loudspeakers, 10,000 watts of amplification and concert-level SPLs,” said Larry Reagan, VP of Sales for PRO. “The market has seen an increase in the popularity of media room systems and even bedroom home theater systems. We thought this year would be a great time to demonstrate a value-engineered system specifically designed to meet those needs—a system that our dealers can sell every day, so to speak, that still very much delivers the big dynamics, the big visceral energy, the big cinema experience for which PRO is renowned.”
Speakers for this year’s demo have been specifically selected with an eye toward economy, space-savings, and uncompromised performance. PRO has not disclosed the details of what exactly is being demoed, as not to diminish the “wow factor”. The PRO Team intends to leave an impression, and change the way audio is enjoyed outside of dedicated home theaters.

Along with unique and thoughtfully selected content, PRO will also give a brief demonstration of its proprietary PRO SoundTools audio calibration software, which was named a CEDIA Best New Product Finalist. PRO SoundTools paired with PRO products provides essential response shaping, time alignment, boundary effect correction, and signal compensation by way of simple drop-down menus and a slick, intuitive user interface.

For more information, please visit: www.proaudiotechnology.com.

About Pro Audio Technology
Through thoughtful combination of consumer and professional engineering technologies, Pro Audio Technology designs and manufactures a complete range of high-power loudspeakers and DSP-programmable amplifiers for high-end residential installations. PRO products unite lively dynamics, high maximum output level, and rugged durability with the refined acoustic performance you’ve come to expect from contemporary home audio equipment. The sound system of choice for discerning music and home theater enthusiasts, Pro Audio Technology products are available globally through an elite group of high-end residential custom installers. Pro Audio Technology is the brand name of Professional Home Cinema, LLC.

Fairlight Showcases 3D Audio Workspace at IBC 2014

At IBC 2014, Fairlight will showcase 3D Audio Workspace (3DAW), a new platform for immersive and object oriented 3D Sound Production.

Aimed at the film and television post production market, 3D Audio Workspace reinforces the industry’s drive for the ultimate in cinematic and immersive sound delivery by providing a comprehensive and diverse environment for 3D audio production.

“Fairlight has always had a reputation for pushing the boundaries of technology, but even by our high standards 3DAW is one of the most exciting products we have launched in many years,” says Tino Fibaek, Fairlight’s CTO.

One of the features that make 3DAW so unique is AirPan – a brand new concept that allows operators to use a Virtual Reality (VR) style input to position and control images in a 3D space.

“This feature is incredibly cool because you can literally reach out into the airspace monitored by the controller and by just moving your fingers in the air, you can pan, rotate, tilt and spread your sound in space,” Fibaek adds.

Fairlight’s 3DAW adds immersive sound capabilities to an existing digital audio workstation, whilst remaining fully compatible with an established workflow. This open platform configuration support VST® and RTAS® plugins, as well as ASIO® for I/O and sync sharing.

“The philosophy behind Fairlight’s 3DAW is to give sound mixers a post production solution that works with all platforms,” Tino Fibaek adds. “Different deliverables require different technologies, so Fairlight’s immersive platform provides the best of both worlds, supporting object orientated implementations such as Dolby’s Atmos and DTS’ MDA and fixed bus formats in 2D and 3D, from stereo through to 5.1 and all the way up to NHK’s impressive 22.2 format.”

Fairlight has ensured post production facilities can easily connect to their studio workspace. Integrated, user definable B-chain processing supports up to 34 discrete speaker outputs allowing sound mixers to switch instantly between different surround formats, different speaker sets, speaker muting and soloing and comprehensive metering.

For more information about Fairlight’s 3D Audio Workspace and other innovations in the Fairlight range, please visit us at IBC 2014 – Hall 7, Stand H17. Or visit the company’s website –www.fairlight.com.au

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About Fairlight:
Fairlight has been designing, engineering and manufacturing cutting edge, professional digital audio technology for more than 30 years. Its dedication to innovation, quality and customer service has made Fairlight one of the most respected companies in professional audio. With their integrated control surfaces and intuitive user interfaces, Fairlight’s award-winning media creation tools are renowned for their speed, flexibility and exceptional sonic quality. The company’s products offer full compatibility with virtually all open audio, video and sync standards, making them ideally suited to a wide range of audio post and live broadcast applications.
www.fairlight.com.au

Satin Sound Deploys Martin Audio For Lady Antebellum Concert

Satin Sound Systems, Inc. recently supported a sold out concert by Lady Antebellum with Martin Audio at the First Niagara Pavilion outdoor amphitheater in Burgettstown, PA during the band’s “Take Me Downtown” tour in support of their album, Golden.

Formed eight years ago in Nashville, Lady Antebellum is made up of Hillary Scott (lead and background vocals), Charles Kelley (lead and background vocals, guitar) and Dave Haywood (lead and background vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin).

The successful country trio has recorded five albums (Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, Own the Night, On This Winter’s Night and Golden), winning a substantial number of Grammy, CMT, CMA and Billboard Awards along the way.

For the show at Niagara Pavilion which has a 23,000 seat capacity, Satin Sound rigged a Martin Sound system consisting of 24 W8L Longbow enclosures for the main hangs, 24 W8LC speakers for the outfills, and 20 WSXA subs. Amplification included Lab Gruppen FP 7000 for the Longbows, PLM 10000Q for the W8LCs and Powersoft K10s for the WSXA subs.

The crew for the show consisted of Brett “Scoop” Blanden (FOH Engineer), Peter Bowman (Monitor Engineer), and John A Durisko and Bill Lowery (Systems Techs).

Asked why they chose Martin Audio, Satin Sound’s Durisko said, “The Martin Audio W8L Longbow/W8LC system gave us great coverage with seamless transition between the main and outfill cabinets. The Longbow rig is incredibly powerful and very musical, and we received many compliments throughout the evening.”

For more about Martin Audio, please click www.martin-audio.com.

About Martin Audio®
Founded by audio engineer David Martin in 1971, Martin Audio pioneered the use of all-horn-loaded bass designs in world-class touring loudspeaker systems for groups such as Pink Floyd, ELP and Supertramp. Located outside of London, Martin Audio now embodies a sophisticated mix of acoustic design, research, mathematical modeling and software engineering for a wide range of products in the installation, cinema and touring sound markets.

Yamaha Commercial Audio Donates Live System To Nashville HS

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School in Nashville, Tennessee offers students the opportunity to learn through the lens of the entertainment industry with pathways in audio engineering, broadcasting, record industry, marketing, and image consulting. It is the only entertainment magnet high school in the country. The vision of Pearl-Cohn is to equip its students to realize and achieve their potential while committed to educate the whole person.

Bryan Lenox of Lenox Productions facilitated the arrangement with Yamaha, who in turn, enlisted the services of J Sound Services (Nashville) to add a new Yamaha CL1 Digital Audio Console and Rio 3208-D input/out box to its 413-seat auditorium. Yamaha IS and DXR speakers, and TXn amplifiers were also installed. J Sound Services specified the system for its easy operation by student volunteers. Auditorium productions at Pearl-Cohn can be anything from assemblies with announcements and presentations that include video to full-on theatrical events.

J Sound Services has had a lot of experience installing Yamaha Installation Series Speakers, so they were the obvious choice for the installation. “Once we understood the scope of the project, we determined a Yamaha MTX5D processor and DCPS wall-mount controller would also be required,” states Jason Spence, owner, J Sound Services. The design approach was based on the fact that there is limited acoustic treatment in the school auditorium. “It was important to minimize the amount of energy on the walls, says Spence.

Time was spent using Yamaha’s YS3 Sound System Simulator and EASE acoustic modeling software to focus the mid-high and subwoofer-arrays. Deployed end-fire arrays both in L-R and Center allow pattern control on how wide the throw would be in the room and also provides a Cardiod pattern measuring 12db down on stage behind the arrays. “By deploying the subs this way we have significantly reduced the low-end energy on the stage and what would have reflected off the walls in a typical Omni pattern, Spence adds. The room can easily handle and extends below 40Hz without the low-end building up, leaving the room also very articulate and musical. The house is nice and big with lots of sub. The design is very unique and it clearly looks different. The staff and Bryan Lenox were quite impressed with the results of the end-firing arrays.”

Lenox assisted in the set up and adjustments of the CL1. “The system sounds really good. The school had a unique need for a system that can handle intimate speaking all the way to low-end thumping Hip Hop music. And, this system definitely delivers. The CL1 is a great sounding console and one that the students can learn on in order to prepare for the real world so they can jump into any situation with confidence.”

The new auditorium’s multi-purpose system is all Dante connected with the Yamaha CL1 taking control of presets for theatrical productions using the consoles Nuendo Live software. Pearl-Cohn ran cat5 cable to their multi-track room to record the events taking place in auditorium. A.Cisco switch is used to network and import multi-tracking in studio. An old projection booth above the auditorium now has the capability of adding a Nuendo recording suite with infrastructure and cables already in place.

“Our students needed professional-class live production facilities in order to complete our vision to equip our students with real-world skills that will transfer to the marketplace or college when they graduate, states Sam Lorber, Instructional Designer at Pearl-Cohn. Thanks to Yamaha’s generous donation, these students will now be able to walk into any venue: club, church, college auditorium, or arena with a skill set advantage no other school can provide.” The principal commented on how she loves that she can touch one button and it just works.

J Sound Services also installed a Vivitek High-Definition 6K lumen projector with remote HDMI interface. To update the theatrical lighting system, JSS enlisted the consulting services of Chris Lisle Lighting Design and installed Elektralite LED PAR fixtures, Watson raceway and ElektraHazer, an Altman spotlight, and Chauvet Datastream; all of which integrated with the existing ETC dimmers. As part of the lighting system update the existing Fresnels and Lekos were reconditioned and focused.

J Sound Services also installed four Yamaha C115VA and two C112VA Club Series Speakers using a MTX3 processor and the same DCPS wall-mounted controller as in the auditorium. Spence said the system installed could be operated in the same manner, with a touch of a button, making it extremely simple and consistent for staff and students to operate the systems in either location.

For more information on Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, visit www.pearlcohnhs.mnps.org.

For more information on J Sound Services, visit www.jss.net.

For more information on Yamaha Commercial Audio products visit, www.yamahaca.com.

-END-

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Lyon Video Installs Calrec Apollo Audio Console in Newest Mobile Production Truck

Mobile Unit’s First National Event Was Primetime Emmy(R) Awards Red Carpet Preshow more

Digigram to Feature New MADI Option on LX-IP RAVENNA PCIe(R) Sound Card at IBC2014

Optical MADI Interface Facilitates and Accelerates Studios’ Shift From Synchronous Audio Toward More Flexible, Less Costly IP Audio

MONTBONNOT, France — Aug. 26, 2014 – At IBC2014, Digigram will highlight a new optical Multichannel Audio Digital Interface (MADI) option for the company’s LX-IP RAVENNA PCI Express(R) (PCIe(R)) sound card. With the MADI option on its LX-IP dual-port RAVENNA/AES67 sound card, Digigram provides connectivity that helps to ease the industry’s migration from synchronous audio (MADI) to IP audio (RAVENNA/AES67) in the studio environment.

“The industry’s move from costly proprietary equipment and standards toward commercial off-the-shelf, IT-based systems running common media-oriented IT protocols is not just inevitable, but well underway,” said Pascal Malgouyard, head of product marketing at Digigram. “While IP audio has revolutionized connections between the studio and other locations, it has not yet taken hold within the studio. However, the RAVENNA technology and new AES67 standard address key audio-over-IP (AoIP) interoperability issues, thus opening the door to IP audio in the studio environment. By adding an AES10 MADI option to our LX-IP RAVENNA sound card, we make it easy for users to accelerate their own transition from legacy synchronous digital audio to IP audio and, in turn, begin taking advantage of its many uses and cost benefits.”

The new MADI option facilitates a seamless shift to IP audio by supporting use of the LX-IP RAVENNA sound card in a synchronous audio environment to connect up to 64/64 I/O MADI channels from/to the host PC and from/to RAVENNA/AES67 AoIP equipment. Because the Digigram sound card includes an embedded routing matrix, users can make a direct connection — with no latency — between RAVENNA/AES67 streams and MADI channels, whether for monitoring purposes, redundancy, or simply creating a bridge between the MADI and IP audio realms.

Users realize the card’s valuable dual interface capabilities without any change to the familiar application used to manage the card. Control of the Digigram card is straightforward, thanks to its full compatibility with the industry-standard EMBER+ protocol.

The new Digigram card will be shipping by the end of 2014. In the meantime, it will be available for demonstrations on the Digigram IBC2014 stand (8.C51).

More information about Digigram and the company’s products is available at www.digigram.com or by phone at +33 4 76 52 47 47.

# # #

About Digigram
Positioned at the convergence of professional audio and video with IT, Digigram offers IP-based solutions that enable users worldwide to increase their competitiveness through change.

The company’s products enable the reliable capture, production and delivery of high-quality audio and video over IP networks. Its innovative IP audio codecs, professional sound cards, and audio processing software are used by thousands of journalists, broadcasters, and audio engineers worldwide. Digigram’s all-IP video product line provides advanced contribution and distribution solutions to broadcast, IPTV, Web TV, and OTT operators. The company also delivers key audio/video technologies and OEM solutions to software vendors and manufacturers.

For more than 25 years, through constant innovation and the development of fruitful partnerships, Digigram has been influential in energizing the industry, raising standards, and pushing forward technological development.

Further information on Digigram and its product portfolio is available at www.digigram.com.

All trademarks appearing herein are the property of their respective owners.

Please Visit Digigram at IBC2014, Stand 8.C51

Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/Digigram/Digigram-LX-IP_Ravenna.jpg
Photo Caption: LX-IP RAVENNA PCIe(R) Sound Card

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