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Archive of the Case Studies Category

Ministry of Sound Teams With Martin Audio For Innovative Nissan Juke Box

Nissan and Ministry of Sound recently introduced the Juke Box, a breakthrough automotive design with one of the best nightclub sound systems in the world, capable of producing up to 150dB.

The Juke Box sound system was engineered by Martin Audio, also responsible for creating the current iteration of the world-renowned Box Room at Ministry of Sound in London. The Box is a five-sided room within a room completely insulated and suspended from the outside wall that is considered to be acoustically perfect and one of the best sound systems in the world.

Nissan and Ministry of Sound turned to Martin Audio to create a totally self-sufficient 18,900W sound system for the Juke Box. A set of custom made cabinets and enclosures housing two 18” powered subs and the same Mid Hi enclosures used at MoS enable an exceptionally high output with no compromise in sound quality. All of the custom speaker housings were designed to fit into the back of the Juke around the chassis and framework of the innovative crossover model.

Discussing the Juke Box project, Martin Audio Research & Development Director Jason Baird said, “When we got the phone call from Ministry of Sound asking us if we wanted to be involved in this project, we knew it was going to be very exciting. The more I heard about the project, the more I realized it was something we had to make the time for because it was so unique.

“The trick with getting as much of the experience from the Box into the back of the car is to retain the ability to reproduce loud sound pressure levels along with the clarity, definition and abundant low end you can get in the Box. This is something we’ve managed to achieve in a surprisingly compact system.”

The Juke Box also features an integrated radio studio, allowing anything played on the system to be captured for broadcast via Ministry of Sound’s digital radio app. After its debut at the world famous Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, the Juke Box will tour Europe highlighted by the “Nissan Juke Box Sessions,” a six-month radio partnership broadcast on the Ministry of Sound’s Digital Radio channel. The show will be built around a series of exclusive DJ sets recorded at Juke Box events across Europe throughout the summer.

For more about Martin Audio, please click to 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.

Firehouse Productions Provides HARMAN’s JBL VERTEC(r) Line Arrays To Celebrate Another Spectacular Night For Broadway At The 66th Annual Tony Awards

NEW YORK, New York – “If only real life could be more like theater,” joked host Neil Patrick Harris as he opened the 66th annual Tony Awards at New York City’s historic Beacon Theater. In order to bring Broadway’s memories over the past year to life, Red Hook, New York-based Firehouse Productions relied on HARMAN’s JBL VERTEC(r) line arrays and Crown amplifiers for the live sound reinforcement system.

This years’ awards show featured performances from some of the top theatrical productions of the year, including The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Jesus Christ Superstar, Follies, Once and more.

The house system at the Beacon Theater includes a center cluster of four JBL VERTEC VT4887 compact line array loudspeakers and a balcony hang of six VT4888 midsize line array elements per side, with an additional two per side of VT4881 compact arrayable subwoofers.

To accompany the house system, Firehouse provided two hangs of 14 VT4886 subcompact line array loudspeakers for the main PA, four hangs of two VRX932LA-1 Constant Curvature loudspeakers used for side fill, and six VT4886 subcompact loudspeakers were used for front fills. In addition, four VT4880 fullsize arrayable subwoofers were tucked under the stage.

“The hardest part of the project was finding a placement for the PA to hang that fit in with the rest of the set and lighting fixtures and wasn’t visible from a TV and audience perspective,” said Mark Dittmar, lead design and integration engineer at Firehouse Productions. “The VT4886′s were the only solution and the best in my opinion. With a 500-pound hang limit, they give us the power and coverage we need without a sacrifice. The VRX’s are great for tight pattern control for side fills as they are light and can be flown at the bottom of set features.”

The challenge of any awards show is dealing with the many microphones on stage and ensuring there is no feedback stemming from the house PA system, Dittmar noted. “The VT4886′s help to solve this problem,” he added. “In the past we’ve used a variety of small boxes, but this is a much more cohesive design and we’re thrilled that it worked out so well.”

To supplement the JBL loudspeakers, Firehouse utilized 24 Crown I-Tech IT 12000HD amplifiers, providing consistent power and sound quality. “We’ve been using Crown since the beginning,” said Dittmar. “They give us so much power in such a small package and communicate wonderfully with the JBL speakers.”

Dittmar explained that by setting the amps at 208 volts it gives them balanced power and produces less noise as well. “One of our favorite aspects about Crown is the ability to build a custom library of presets so we can control any speaker in our inventory with the proper power, our favorite being the VT4886′s.”

“It’s an honor to be a part of such a significant night and we are extremely pleased with the results from both JBL and Crown. Their excellence and support continues to give us the confidence we need to do our job to the best ability,” Dittmar summed up.

For more information on Firehouse Productions, please visit www.firehouseproductions.com

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG(r), Harman Kardon(r), Infinity(r), JBL(r), Lexicon(r) and Mark Levinson(r). The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the 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 about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

Opera Bastille Upgrades With HARMAN’s Studer Vista 5 M2 Console

Opera Bastille's Serge Dupont (left) and Philippe Taberlet.

PARIS, France – When it was inaugurated back in 1989, L’Opéra Bastille in Paris (home to Opéra National de Paris) immediately provided Parisians with a world-class concert hall dedicated to opera. Designed by Canadian-Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott on a massive footprint of 155,000 square metres, (comprising three separate buildings), it opened on July 13-the eve of the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.

The highly-experienced audiovisual technical team of Serge Dupont and Philippe Taberlet has been supervising Opera Bastille’s production requirements since the very beginning, and 23 years later has just commissioned a new 32-fader HARMAN Studer Vista 5 M2, with TFT meter bridge monitoring, from French distributor Audiopole. This will ensure that the sound quality of future Opera Bastille productions remains at the cutting edge.

The new Vista 5 will fulfill all monitoring and recording duties, replacing the house’s long-serving digital desk in the control booth. This overlooks the 2,703-seat auditorium from the upper balcony 50 metres above the ground, while the building itself descends a further 30 metres below street level.

Although this is its first experience with Studer, Opera Bastille already had a relationship with Jean-Philippe Blanchard from Audiopole-one of four companies to respond to the tender. He was able to add value to the package by introducing two brand-new Studer products.

The new Vista FX engine will enable Opera Bastille to add up to 24 channels of Lexicon PCM-96 effects to the console while the 19-inch Vista Compact Remote Bay (similar to a laptop computer in design), with 12-fader touchscreen and keyboard, provides a slave or secondary desk to work in parallel with the Vista 5-and at the same time lets the team control the sound balance remotely from the auditorium itself.

Philippe Taberlet’s original tender had been for a giant automation system, since they stereo record every production for archive purposes. But he jumped at the opportunity to embrace both add-ons-as well as the Vista 5 M2′s meter bridge, immediately seeing the advantage of the peak hold facility and the history mode display.

“With the desk situated in the sound booth we had wanted to be able to make our own EQ settings during rehearsals and adjust the levels remotely,” Taberlet said. “This facility formed an important part of the tender, and the Remote Bay also gives us a spare and redundancy. As for FX, we wanted this of course, and it was a great surprise to learn that we could now have access to the Lexicon reverb/delays [via the Vista FX frame] because this had not been included in our original tender.”

The Vista FX frame includes two Lexicon cards, which will enable them to run two 5.1 surround signals (or four stereo).

As for the signal transmission architecture, the Opera House already has a full Optocore optical fibre ring system networking the auditorium with the 450-seat amphitheatre and 237-seat studio (which make up the facility, along with full-size rehearsal stage) and the Vista 5 M2 will plug into the optical ring via the MADI card.

AES and fibre will be used throughout, and the Vista 5 M2 itself is configured with 64 MADI I/O channels, with 48 AES I/O, 16 mic/line inputs and 72 analogue outputs.

Taberlet and Dupont had wanted a large DSP configuration which will provide them with 96 multitrack busses as well as the 72 D/A converters for outputs, This is because while the bulk of their productions are unamplified (and some subtly so to create the illusion that the sound is transparent) they also have a long association with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) who were set up to explore avant garde electroacoustic music. One of its early supporters was Pierre Boulez, who had originally promoted the idea for the new Opera House back in 1968.

The new Studer Vista 5 M2 will suit the many roles for which it has been assigned with precision, and its sonic excellence has already been noted, as Taberlet explained. “We were loaned a desk for trial over a 2-week period and made a 2-track recording; we ran the Studer in parallel with our existing desk and our recording engineer said there was simply no comparison between the two.”

The snapshots had been another prerequisite, he added. “If the person working the desk on one production gets sick, we need to be able to replace him immediately with any member of the team, just by recalling the settings.”

Audipole followed up the sale by providing six days’ operator and maintenance team training in advance of the complete commissioning of the new Studer environment.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG(r), Harman Kardon(r), Infinity(r), JBL(r), Lexicon(r) and Mark Levinson(r). The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the 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 about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

GRAMMY(r)-Winning Steve Pageot Introduces Tomorrow’s Music Moguls To HARMAN’s AKG At SAE Institute Workshops

VIENNA, Austria – Invited back for the eighth consecutive year to speak with students of the School of Audio Engineering (SAE), GRAMMY(r)-winning engineer and platinum producer Steve Pageot presented an inspiring and educational session for the future engineers. Showcasing HARMAN’s AKG P820 tube microphone during the workshops, Pageot recorded, and mixed a track during each of the four 2-hour sessions in SAE’s New York City studio.

Pageot discussed the intricacies of the music industry, from the music itself, to the business side, encouraging students to follow their dreams, while keeping on the correct path to success. “When you graduate from SAE, you’re stepping into the real world, into the music industry, where you normally don’t get a second chance at a first impression,” stated Pageot. “With SAE, I am fortunate enough to take these students and prepare them for their dream career. Being able to showcase AKG’s leading microphone technology gives students hands-on experience that will last them throughout their careers. They were completely in ‘awe’ for the sound emanating from the P820 and will take that experience to their clients in years to come.”

Working with artist Dyverse, Pageot discussed the importance of sound for a high-quality track. Hearing the raw recordings through the P820 impressed the students, who initially believed the sound was being processed. Pageot went through all the steps of recording hits from recording, producing, mixing and mastering during each session. Dyverse himself even touted the sound and clarity of the P820 during his sessions.

“We’re always pleased to have Steve at SAE, putting on production workshops for our senior students,” stated John Jansen, director of education, SAE. “His professional manner and production tips are always a benefit for our students as graduation approaches. The AKG P820 tube mic was a great addition to the class and was enjoyed by the students during the recording sessions.”

For more information about AKG, please visit http://www.akg.com and http://www.youtube.com/AKGacoustics. For information about SAE, please visit http://www.sae.edu.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG(r), Harman Kardon(r), Infinity(r), JBL(r), Lexicon(r) and Mark Levinson(r). The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the 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 about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

Community Provides Loud and Clear Flood Warning for Venice

Venice, Italy, June 2012...  While it’s well known that the city of Venice’s transport infrastructure relies heavily on its canals, not many people are aware of the sometimes tenuous relationship Mother Nature has on this arrangement. The canals, which carry thousands of gondolas, launches, barges and water buses daily, are subject to tidal conditions and therefore constantly changing.

High tide levels mean reduced headroom under bridges, and the city’s transportation often needs to be re-routed. When pavements and other pedestrian areas disappear under water, raised walkways may need to be erected. The city’s population and its large number of commuters are used to these changes, but accurate, timely information about the tides is important to keep daily life on track.

To that end, a powerful audio system based around Community R-Series loudspeakers has been installed as part of a flood warning system for the city of Venice. Located in fifteen bell-towers in central Venice and at a further fifteen locations on outlying islands, the loudspeakers play a series of alert and musical tones that inform residents of the coming tidal levels, so that they can plan accordingly. The system, supplied by Prase Engineering, was specified by audio consultant Ing. Umberto Nicolao and installed by Verona-based S.T.A.S.

The loudspeaker system is one of many ways the city of Venice’s Previsioni E Segnalazioni Maree (Tidal Forecasting and Signalling Centre) is utilizing technology to keep city residents and working commuters informed. (The city also maintains a website, a toll-free phone line, touchscreen information kiosks, and even a smartphone app.) An old siren-based audio system had also been used for many years but it was increasingly less reliable, due to mechanical deterioration, and it could only broadcast one alert signal. The new multi-tone audio system uses a specially designed version of Community’s R.5 loudspeaker, designed precisely for the power, frequency response and dispersion required. Size was also critical in being able to deliver and mount the loudspeakers in some of the ancient towers where they were to be deployed. And of course, Community’s legendary weather resistance was also a factor in selecting the R-Series.

This new approach to a centuries-old challenge was a custom project for city planners, as well as the system designers, installers and for Community. Its implementation has already made a tremendous impact on the daily flow of traffic around this busy city, improving the lives of commuters and residents alike.

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Community Professional Loudspeakers is a manufacturer and supplier of professional audio equipment.  Since 1968, Community has led the pro-audio industry with technological innovations which have become industry standards. Today, Community offers over 150 professional loudspeaker products, including installed loudspeaker systems, weather-resistant outdoor loudspeaker systems, ceiling loudspeakers, high level voice paging systems, and portable entertainment systems.  

Visit www.communitypro.com for more information. 


SXS Flies Martin Audio W8LM For Cutty Sark’s Royal Unveiling

Bristol-based event production company SXS was recently commissioned by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to provide sound and full technical production for the royal unveiling of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. This followed a £50m restoration project as a result of fire damage to the 143-year-old clipper back in 2007.

SXS were tasked with constructing and outfitting a dais stage, while the PA was the company’s new Martin Audio W8LM line array. The production company deployed a total of 12 W8LM Mini Line Array enclosures in two hangs, with two W8LMD Downfills at the base of each hang. This was driven by Lab Gruppen FP series amps and controlled using XTA DSPs.

Attended by both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the launch took place at the Cutty Sark Gardens and the event included a 90-piece symphony orchestra and 400-member choir. The Martin Audio system also provided reinforcement for the Queen’s speech and took further live feeds from inside the Cutty Sark.

“The Martin Audio W8LM is our latest major audio investment and I was delighted to be able to use it for this event,” said Johnny Palmer, Production Manager, SXS Events. “Our sound department has been booming over the last year and we felt it time we invested in a system that allowed for accurate and even coverage. The W8LM is great for shows such as this because of its clarity, simple rigging and aesthetics––and it will be our system of choice when entrusted with highly demanding, high quality production.”

Alex Thompson, Head of Sound at SXS, added his endorsement. “This show was all about clarity, headroom and maximum gain before feedback––all core principles of our approach to sound. Our new W8LM system was ideal as we had plenty of gain and the accurate response achieved great reinforcement for the performance. Being an orchestral performance the role of the system was to reinforce the sound transparently and ideally not be noticed at all, and that’s precisely what it did.”

As for the event in Greenwich, this formed part of a major community engagement program, and as a result the Cutty Sark now occupies a dramatic new setting.

The clipper is now displayed 11 feet above its dry berth on the Thames and the space under the three-masted vessel is home to an interactive museum where visitors can learn about its history.

For more about Martin Audio, please click to 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.

Nathaniel Kunkel’s Studio Without Walls Delivers Award-Winning Projects with HARMAN’s JBL LSR Studio Monitors

Nathaniel Kunkel includes JBL Professional LSR Series studio monitors as a crucial part of his Studio Without Walls business.

NORTHRIDGE, California – Nathaniel Kunkel has a unique take on recording and mixing: instead of making the artist come to the recording studio, he can bring the studio to the artist. Kunkel’s Studio Without Walls is based on a transportable production system that allows him to capture performances and produce records wherever the artist feels most comfortable and creative. And, Kunkel notes, it wouldn’t be possible without HARMAN’s JBL LSR Series studio monitors.

Kunkel has earned GRAMMY(r) Awards for his work with B.B. King and Robin Williams, and received an Emmy(r) for “A&E In Concert: Sting: Sacred Love.” Other recent projects include mixes for The Police, Carole King, Darlingside, and the recent tribute album Listen to Me: Buddy Holly-produced by Peter Asher and featuring performances by Brian Wilson, Stevie Nicks, Ringo Starr, Zooey Deschanel, Cobra Starship, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt and many others.

“The JBL LSR studio monitors are absolutely unique in their ability to give me good mixes and accurate sound wherever I go,” said Kunkel. “Although there are other speakers that I like, the LSR monitors are the only ones that give me consistent and repeatable results regardless of the room I use them in. When I do a mix in one room using LSR, I know it’s going to translate well when I listen to the mix in another environment.”

Depending on the project, Kunkel uses the JBL LSR6300 or LSR4300 Series monitors for Studio Without Walls. “The RMC [Room Mode Correction] is invaluable in that it compensates for the peaks in a room’s low-frequency response and the differences in bass when speakers are placed closer to or farther away from the rear wall,” he said. “With this feature, I know I’m hearing accurate bass no matter where I take the speakers.”

“I know that when I’m recording and mixing on the LSR’s I’m not missing something that will be a surprise when I get into another room,” Kunkel added. “In fact, setup of the LSR4300′s is ridiculously easy. I just plug the calibration microphone into one of the speakers, push a button and the system does the rest. What could otherwise take hours takes seconds. I’ll always set the speakers up for midfield listening if room allows. I try and avoid the console surface reflections as much as possible.”

In addition, Kunkel noted the LSR monitors provide remarkably high output even though they’re compact. “When I have to carry a full surround sound speaker setup to a client, that becomes an important consideration,” Kunkel said.

For more information on Studio Without Walls, please visit www.studiowithoutwalls.com

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG(r), Harman Kardon(r), Infinity(r), JBL(r), Lexicon(r) and Mark Levinson(r). The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the 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 about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

DiGiCo SD10 Will Rock You On Summer Queen Extravaganza Tour

Imagine being plucked from obscurity by a musical hero and hand-selected to be part of a tribute band celebrating the music of the iconic band Queen. That’s just what happened to nine veritably unknown singers and musicians from around the globe, chosen by Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, architects of the band’s sound, for The Queen Extravaganza summer tour band. Taylor, who took on the role of show producer and music director, wanted to create the ultimate Queen concert experience in an electrifying road show designed by a heavyweight production team headed by stage designer Mark Fisher, (known for memorable productions including “The Wall” for Pink Floyd and every Rolling Stones show since 1989) and Rob Sinclair (Adele, Peter Gabriel, Queen, Pet Shop Boys and Vampire Weekend). The tour celebrates Queen’s legacy and music, performed by some of the best new talent they could find.

Launched at the end of May, the tour travels to theatres in cities coast to coast across the United States and Canada through early July. At FOH is engineer James McCullagh, who manages the entire audio production from the helm of a DiGiCo SD10. Going into the tour, McCullagh was adamant about his console choice, having worked with DiGiCo SD desks on previous excursions with artists from Lucinda Williams to Journey. 



“I knew that I wanted to use a DiGiCo,” McCullagh recalls. “I said right up front it was non-negotiable. I’m a big fan of DiGiCo and I like the sound of the consoles. I’m familiar with the layout and it works well for me. There are a few things that I have in my arsenal that I knew would be beneficial in working with this band and the DiGiCo console is one of them. DiGiCo’s layout and functionality proves to be so much easier for me to run a show, and on this one, we’ve got nine singers onstage, 12 different effects channels running at one particular time, maybe seven to eight functional cues per song… There’s a lot going on and I needed a console that could deal with the intricacies of making that happen. For me it was a no-brainer to use a DiGiCo to ensure I would be able to get that huge drum sound and layered mass of vocals that Queen are known for.



“The problem was we had a hard time finding an available SD10 for the start of the rehearsals in Canada because they were all out on hire,” he adds, “but eventually, Clair Brothers was able to locate one. What was interesting was that, for the first week and a half, I was using a competitor’s console and it was the first time that I’d actually ever had a chance to A/B a console—in the same scenario, in the same room, with the same band, with the same mics and the same PA, and under the same conditions. And the difference between the two consoles was like night and day! It was like somebody pulled a blanket off the mix. People who didn’t even know that I’d changed consoles came up to me going, ‘What did you do to the sound? It sounds so much better!’ I’ve used all the digital consoles out there and they all do the job, but I was never really aware of the actual sound difference. All of a sudden it was like there was air over the cymbals and the vocal that was gone on the other console. The low end was just like somebody opened up a floodgate of lows that just extended on the SD10. I think the DiGiCo console is the closest digital console that you’re going to get to an analog sound. They’ve really gotten the conversions right; they’re really good. The way the console sounds is excellent, and a whole lot more functional for me. That was quite a revelation.” 



Going into rehearsals, the Queen Extravaganza touring band—comprised of four vocalists and five musicians—had never played together in the same room. They united in Toronto for a two-week band rehearsal (followed by a two-week production run-through in Montreal) to polish the plethora of material for their two-hour show: roughly 40 of the band’s biggest chart hits, finest heavy-duty rock based anthems, and early-period Queen numbers. Not surprisingly, the band’s input count came to 48 inputs, which included 16 channels of drum, two channels of bass, four channels of guitar (“part of getting Brian May’s guitar sound is miking the front and back of the Vox AC30 and we’ve got two guitarists on each end”), six channels of piano and keyboard, and nine channels of vocals as everyone in the band sings.


”I wanted to track and record all the rehearsals on separate tracks and being able to do that via MADI was one of the big advantages of using the DiGiCo,” said McCullagh. “I know that there are other consoles out there now that can do it as well but my first experience of doing that was with the DiGiCo via an RME MADI card into my MacBook Pro laptop and a separate hard drive. It’s very useful to be able to record and have anyone in the band, or the musical director, or Roger, come back and listen to a particular track.”

McCullagh made use of extensive grouping to organize all the vocals as well as snapshots on most of the songs for vocal routing and vocal balancing. “Obviously, each singer has their own channel, but sometimes the lead singer is the lead singer and sometimes he’s the backing singer,” he explains. “I created a stereo group and called it ‘backing vocals’ and sent all the backing vocals into that group and then I slammed that with a compressor. The Queen songs have very intricate harmonies and each vocalist sings at a different level. It was too much to have nine compressors going across nine channels over a loud rock band with drums and everything. It was easier for me to put one compressor over a group. That way, if someone sings slightly harder, or if I push a level a little bit too hard, that vocal won’t just jump out and sound awkward. It’s all squashed back into the mix and that helps to get that really tight, layered Queen harmony sound. I’m using the Waves LA2A plug-in, which is an awesome-sounding plug-in and very close to the real thing, and it does a real good job in smoothing out all the peaks and lows of the backing vocals. On each vocalist, I’m running an LA2A as well as a C6 multiband compressor, which helps take out any little areas where somebody’s voice might be a little resonant or deficient. With the dynamic range that Freddie Mercury had, each vocalist goes through a lot of changes and the C6 certainly helps to smooth it all out and make the voice sound completely natural.



“In addition, I’m running two TC4000′s and a TC Helicon VoiceLive on the vocals as well as an Eventide H3000 Harmonizer for the flange sounds. I sat down with Roger and we’ve very carefully gone over what they did in the studio and how he wanted to recreate it live. One thing I want to mention adamantly is that I’m not using any tricks or any doublers or harmonizers on any vocals to provide layering. All the layering is strictly from the singers. The massive sound is all them; there’s no artificial recreation or any of that. That’s important to say because we don’t want people to think that it’s all technology that’s making them sound like they do. These guys are sounding that way because they’re that good!”



For the extensive drum kit, McCullagh is running two parallel stereo busses. One is an unprocessed group feeding into another group, which is then compressed. “I’m running a Waves API 2500 plug-in across that, which is super-compressed with a lot of snap and a lot of pop-punch. I then blend those two busses to get the drum sound that I want, because obviously the drum sounds changed from the ‘70s to the ‘80s. In the ‘70s, it was more natural sounding and in the ‘80s, everything became very compressed and over-EQ’d. I didn’t want to be changing my drum sounds on snapshots or re-EQing my drums for every song, so I basically took various different balances of ungated and uncompressed, natural-sounding drum kits and very heavily EQ’d and compressed sounding drum kits, and blended the two together for my drum sound.”



McCullagh routes the toms to both drum busses and then to a third buss, which he calls “fat toms.” “I’ve got some Waves Renaissance Bass and VEq vintage EQs going on there and then I’ve pasted all the sub-harmonics of the toms and a little bit of cut so whenever there’s a big purposeful tom hit, I can fatten up the toms by riding in a little of the extra tom buss. Obviously, if I leave it on permanently when there are some really busy tom fills, then it’ll just sound like a bunch of low end and you don’t want that much low end on the toms. You want it to cut a bit more like a single tom hit, especially on songs like ‘We Will Rock You’ or ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ By doing that I can really push it up and get a really huge tom sound.”

For the rest of the band sound, McCullagh employs minimal onboard effects. “The guitars are pretty much run with a flat EQ,” he says. “There are two Vox AC30s turned up to stun with a mic in front of them and then I just put the fader up. The piano sounds—we have a grand piano and some keyboards—are pretty much just using a bit of EQ and not much compression or anything going on there. My main focus for this band is all about getting huge drum sounds, great guitar sounds, and a massive wall of vocals… that’s pretty much how Queen worked and that’s what I’ve gone for.”



One of the features McCullagh is enjoying the most at the moment is the SD10′s Macro Smart Keys, which helps with myriad cues he’s managing from song to song. “I’m using a bunch of them,” he says. “I might use a delay in one part of a song or a delay on just a guitar just in one part of a song and not the rest, and they enable me to turn a vocal delay on and off without having to do that in my snapshots. I use them for mute buttons, to pull up my snapshots, open my snapshots page, and open my notes page. I’ve created a buss features page, and I have them to turn on reverbs for guitars, and turn on delays for vocals and guitars. I have another button assigned to turn my pink noise on and off, and another to switch between the playback on the computer, the recorded tracks, or the actual mic onstage. So without having to go to a drop-down menu, I can just hit the button and switch. All of my tracks that are recorded are coming back up on the same channels on the console, so we can listen to it in real time and make changes, get compression levels, and dial in EQs. It’s very handy when you’re trying to get a tom EQ or a tom gate set. You can just dupe a section of the toms, press Play, and keep hitting the same tom over and over again and set your gates and EQ and then move on to the next. It’s a very handy process. Another cool thing is you can assign a color to a button and it’s got a dual function. For example, it can be green when it’s on and red when it’s off, which is really handy in the dark.”



With the tour now in full force, McCullagh says he’s not surprised rave reviews are flooding in, given the stellar level of music, lighting and video offered at a time when many show productions are scaling back. “I haven’t seen this level of production for a theatre show,” he marvels. “Not in this day and age when people are dealing with shrinking budgets because of financial constraints. But even with our tight budget, these guys have managed to make it feel like the stadium shows the way Queen used to do it. That’s the level of production that they’ve put together and they’ve done a fantastic job because, whether you’re a Queen fan or not, you’re going to walk out of the show saying, ‘Wow! That was amazing! I definitely got my money’s worth!’

“Another thing: In this era, where tons of bands are using Pro Tools rigs and playing to backing tracks, we don’t have any. Everything that you hear is 100% live. All the harmonies are from the guys singing. There is no miming, no tracks, no help. In fact, I haven’t worked with a band in a long time, except Lucinda Williams, who hasn’t used backing tracks. On this tour, there’s nothing, and I think that’s pretty impressive. The band and singers are awesome and they are going to blow people’s minds. But what do you expect when you’ve got Roger and Brian at the controls, handpicking them?”

Firehouse Productions Deploys HARMAN’s New JBL VTX Line Arrays and Crown Amplifiers for 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Firehouse Productions provided JBL VTX line arrays powered by Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers for the 27th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – In a historic event featuring many of the top names in rock and roll, Firehouse Productions supplied a live sound reinforcement system featuring HARMAN’s JBL VTX line arrays with Crown I-Tech HD amplification for the 27th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio.

The event featured performances by inductees Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, The Small Faces/Faces, Beastie Boys, The Crickets and more. Other inductees included Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd and Glyn Johns. Leading up to the ceremony, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held many special events including the unveiling of the new Library and Archives section of the museum.

For the event, Firehouse Productions deployed a PA system consisting of 32 VTX V25 line array elements in two clusters of 16, with 32 VERTEC(r) VT4880A fullsize arrayable subwoofers with two hangs of eight flown and two sets of eight on the ground. An additional eight VT4886 subcompact line array elements were used for front fills as well as six VT4889 fullsize line array elements for the center cluster. Crown’s I-Tech IT 12000HD series amplifiers powered the system.

“This was the first time we have used JBL’s new VTX series line arrays and they have absolutely lived up to expectations. They provided us with more powerful sound and maximized coverage, which is critical for a live event such as this. These line arrays also feature many of the same benefits we have come to expect from JBL, specifically being lightweight and easy to deploy at difficult angles,” stated Mark Dittmar, Lead Design and Integration Engineer at Firehouse Productions.

“Crown is our amplifier of choice for major live events, this being no exception. As one of the earliest users of the I-Tech HD series amplifiers, we know the sonic integrity is unmatched and I’ve been impressed with how they have continued to optimize the amps through constant improvements to the updated presets,” added Dittmar.

Front of House Engineer Dave Natale provided the live mix for the event and added, “The new JBL VTX system combines all of the low-end power that I have come to expect from JBL with the addition of an ultra-smooth and accurate high end.”

For more information on Firehouse Productions, please visit: www.firehouseproductions.com

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG(r), Harman Kardon(r), Infinity(r), JBL(r), Lexicon(r) and Mark Levinson(r). The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the 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 about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

Acoustics First® Office Space to Voice-Over Suite

Acoustical Panels in a Voice-Over Studio

Acoustical Panels in a Voice-Over Studio

This office space was converted into a voice-over production suite for Moe Rock. Installed are 2′x4′ acoustical wall panels and a 2′x4′ acoustical ceiling cloud over the listening position. A corner bass trap was created using corner impaling clips with one of the standard Sonora Panels. Photo courtesy of Moe Rock: http://www.moerock.com/

With a wide range of available recording equipment, from computers to hand held devices, recording audio is easier than ever! With some simple gear and a good microphone, a quality recording is just moments away. However, before you begin, take a few moments and consider Acoustics First! If proper acoustical material is not in place, you may be recording unwanted room modes or excessive reverberation. Our brains, in combination with our eyes and ears, can compensate in less than ideal conditions, whereas microphones cannot.

Acoustics First Corporation supplies acoustical panels and soundproofing materials to control sound and eliminate noise in commercial, residential, government, institutional applications worldwide. Products include the patented Art Diffusor®, sound absorbers, noise barriers, acoustical fabrics and accessories. Acoustics First® products are sold for O.E.M applications, direct, and through dealers. For more information on acoustical materials and their application, please visit www.AcousticsFirst.com or call Toll Free 1-888-765-2900 (US & Canada).

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