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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Recorded with DPA Microphones

Simon Hayes 2

Oscar-winning production sound mixer Simon Hayes relied on DPA lavalier mics to record Marvel’s film adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn.

Hayes, who first used DPA microphones as Production Sound Mixer for the film adaptation of Mamma Mia in 2008, has turned to DPA d:screet™ 4061 and 4071 miniature mics on every film he’s worked on since then. Recently these have included Les Miserables (for which Hayes picked up the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Sound Mixing) and upcoming releases Tarzan, directed by David Yates and Kingsman: The Secret Service, directed by Matthew Vaughan.

Hayes chose DPA miniatures for Guardians of the Galaxy so that he could capture original dialogue, right at the point of shooting. Given that Director James Gunn’s vision for the film was to preserve the authenticity and emotion of the actors’ performances, he felt this was the best way to serve the film and its creative team.

“It was clear from the first meeting with James Gunn that he wanted to capture original performances, which of course isn’t always easy when you’re talking about large budget special effects and action-driven visual effects type movies,” Hayes says.

“We knew that we were going to be shooting three or four cameras at all times so the DPAs took precedence over the booms on a lot of scenes. This meant that, in the final mix, at least 75% of the dialogue that made its way into the movie was recorded on DPA [d:screet] 4071s and DPA [d:screet] 4061s.”

Leading man Chris Pratt was fitted with the DPA d:screet 4061 omnidirectional mic. “We felt that the 4061 added a little something extra in the bass region for his voice, which was quite exciting,” Hayes continues. “All of the other characters used 4071s on their chest rigs and if we were rigging microphones in their hair or in their helmets, we used 4061s to increase the bass.”

As the title suggests, the sets for Guardians of the Galaxy were not going to be small. Finding regular-sized Sound Stages a little small, set designer Charlie Woods had sets housed in old Ministry of Defence buildings to allow enough space. This provided Hayes with a few hurdles to overcome sound-wise.

“That kind of environment isn’t as easy to record sound in as a sound stage, so I had a lot of background noise and a lot of reverb to contend with,” he says. “Again, the DPA mics excelled at rejecting that reverb and just capturing dry, up-front vocals for me.”

One of the things that really sets Guardians of the Galaxy apart from its kin in the superhero film genre is its esoteric 70′s soundtrack, which was integral to the way the sound was mixed. Hayes explains why this was a huge consideration when recording:

“Mixed in with the huge space sound-effects that the sound design team built for us, we really wanted close-up dry dialogue so that we could push the music and the effects harder, and that’s what the DPA mics helped us to do,” says Hayes, who collaborated closely with Alexandra Byrne (costume designer) and Dan Grace (costume supervisor) to design the mic placements used within the actors’ costumes.

“We had some really interesting rigs. For instance, Lee Pace, who plays Ronan, was wearing a helmet for his whole performance and we actually placed two 4061 mics into the helmet because the microphones were creating a tiny bulge. We wanted to have the bulge uniform, so we put one above each eyebrow, which not only gave a uniform look to the helmet, but it also gave us the opportunity to have two tracks running on Lee Pace’s dialogue.”

Ronan has a particularly dynamic part in the film, as Hayes continues: “This placement allowed Lee Pace more creativity in the way that he was playing Ronan and I was able to assure him that because we had the two 4061 mics on him, he could literally go from a whisper to a shout without us having any trouble whatsoever.”

Dave Bautiste, whose character Drax the Destroyer goes through the whole film topless, presented another challenge altogether, which meant finding an ingenious solution.

“We collaborated with the Special Makeup FX department and were able to have a [d:screet] 4071 basically rigged into the special makeup effects, which was applied to his upper body so it became part of a scar in the middle of his solar plexus,” Hayes says. “This meant that even though we had a topless man through the whole movie, in every single scene we were able to have a perfectly placed 4071. DPA’s are so reliable that you can have it buried under makeup and you know that it’s going to work all day, you’re not going to have any problems from them.”

With a run of over 18 films on which he’s used DPA microphones, Hayes concludes, “In the marketplace today there aren’t any lavalier mics that sound as natural and as transparent as DPAs. I feel that when I’m using a DPA microphone, I’m hearing actors through their performance rather than the microphone factoring it.”

After the box-office success of Guardians of the Galaxy, a sequel has already been announced, due for release in 2017.

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About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

Fairlight Delivers the Gift of Great Sound at Sky Vision Sound Studios

Robert Thompson Sky Vision

London-based Sky Vision Sound Studios, part of the BSkyB/Sky Vision family, has recently completed a major upgrade of its Fairlight equipment to bring it in line with BSkyB’s UK broadcasting facilities in Osterley. The three-studio complex, two mix rooms and a prep room, has upgraded its Fairlight Constellation console with a Fairlight EVO, six of which are already in use at BskyB. It has also upgraded its XYNERGI system by installing the latest software version – a move that is already improving workflow.

Sky Vision’s Audio Supervisor and Senior Dubbing Mixer Robert Thompson says: “Although we have handled work for external clients such as SKY, the BBC, Universal and Channel 5, the majority of our work comes from Sky Vision. As work often moves between BskyB’s sound studios and ours, it made sense for us to have identical equipment. The dubbing mixers at BSkyB were obviously very happy with their Fairlight EVO’s and this, combined with our own good experiences of Fairlight, meant we had no qualms about upgrading our own desk.”

Tucked away in a Georgian Mews in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia, Sky Vision Sound Studios handles a variety of programming covering wildlife, docudrama, documentary, children’s TV shows, scripted content, sports and comedy. The diversity of the projects Sky Vision Sound Studios tackles is mind-boggling, as is the speed of turnaround this facility achieves.

“Last year we completed over 70 hours of broadcast TV, which for two mix rooms is pretty good going,” Thompson says. “That’s just shy of three hours a month – a lot of work by anyone’s standards. Of course none of this would be possible without the Fairlight systems we have in both rooms. It really is a credit to Fairlight we achieve what we do because you simply couldn’t get through such a large quantity of work without having a system that is so reliable and flexible.”

Sky Vision Sound Studio’s affiliation with Fairlight goes back to 1999 when the facility was first set up by dubbing mixer Trevor Barber. Thompson, who was brought in some years later to help increase the facility’s output, says: “I got switched on to Fairlight by Trevor because he wouldn’t use anything else. I didn’t start out as a Fairlight user – in previous jobs, and as a freelancer, I had mostly used Avid Pro Tools. But when Trevor first set up the studios he installed a Fairlight MFX hard disk recorder in Studio One. As soon as Fairlight introduced their new Xynergi range, Trevor came on board straight away. In fact, the Xynergi system we own and use today is serial number 5. It still works perfectly. The only thing we have changed is the operating software, which we have just upgraded again to the latest version.”

Thompson adds that transitioning from Constellation to EVO has been very straightforward, mainly because all Fairlight systems are very intuitive.

“We have had no issues moving over to the EVO,” he says. “Both Russell Skellon, who mainly works in Studio Two, and myself have been using Fairlight for a long time and we have so much experience that the system is almost second nature to us. I would say the same about XYNERGI and the upgrade to the latest software version. Setting up the XCS controller on the EVO so that it works the way we are used to was very quick to master and it was all so seamless that we were up and running almost immediately. The only thing that is taking a bit of time is exploring the new software features. We are now finding out all the new tricks it can do and it is already offering much greater functionality.”

As many users will testify, one of the main benefits of Fairlight is the ability to build customised workflows.

“We often have to deliver shows to multiple broadcasters worldwide, and with Fairlight I am able to build consoles and workflows that produce all the deliverables I need very efficiently,” Thompson says. “I also find editing on Fairlight incredibly intuitive because I can use the Picture Keys on the XCS to make my own controller and editor, which I design around my personal preference. It’s also really nice to personalise my common functions and assign them a macro so they can be done with just the push of a button. It gets me away from mouse based editing. The whole XCS mentality is quite exciting as it has the potential to operate as a controller across multiple applications.”

Thompson adds that Fairlight’s ability to accept and export multiple file formats is useful when the facility gets project from outside clients, “but to be honest we’ve honed the workflow between ourselves and Sky Vision to a point there this isn’t really relevant,” he says.

“What is useful, though, is Fairlight’s ability to give users two picture tacks at the same time.
If you are re-versioning and don’t get an EDL file that tells you what has been cut where, this can be a very tedious and time consuming process. With Fairlight’s integrated video we can streamline the process by running two picture tracks and comparing them in real time. This makes it much faster to manually make the cuts. It’s a great feature and one that really helps us.

“For example, the nature of our work is that we do quite a few versions of a specific programme mix. With the new software, we can easily conform all of our edits, including the mix, which was something we couldn’t do with previous versions. We’ve always had a good dialogue with Fairlight and this is something we’ve been specifically asking them to do, so having it now is just fantastic because it means we can work even faster as the whole reversioning process is now far more automated. Most other systems rely on third party software for this.”

Thompson adds that he is also looking forward to exploring the latest software’s new background recording feature, which offers lots of sound design potential.

“I’m still checking this out but it looks like another really useful feature,” he says. “You can record while you are scrolling and jog shuttling. It basically records anything passing through a specified output as a background task. I can also see this being useful for ADR because it saves the timeline becoming littered with takes.”

Having proved that Sky Vision Sound Studios can handle an annual output of more than 70 hours of broadcast TV on Fairlight’s previous software, Thompson is confident this can be exceeded now that the new version is in place. But despite all the time saving features the new EVO console delivers, he still feels the best thing about Fairlight is its sound quality.

“I suppose I’m a bit of a musician at heart,” he laughs, “which is why I really like the smoothness of the Fairlight I/O. Some of our clients are composers and musicians as well so it’s no surprise they also comment on how good this system sounds.”

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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

VARIA Helps Millsaps College Solve a Sonic Challenge

 Jackson, MS – October 2014… Founded by members of the Methodist Church in 1890, Millsaps College is a privately supported national liberal arts school located on a sprawling, leafy 103 acre campus near downtown Jackson, MS. Like many small colleges, the school’s main auditorium acts as a multi-purpose venue, used for a wide range of events that includes lectures, city council meetings, panel discussions, recitals, music performances, and movie showings.

As Philip Boyd of Ridgeland, MS-based Academic Technologies explains, the college had long struggled to achieve consistent sound coverage across the venue, particularly with regard to vocal intelligibility. “It’s mostly a recital hall, a very live room, with brick walls and a big pipe organ in it,” says Boyd. “The previous two box center-cluster solution was underpowered and covered only a portion of the room – mostly a hot spot in the center about eight rows back. They wanted the ability to have a true versatile dynamic – to go from spoken word to musical programs. Achieving clarity in a board meeting or a panel discussion in that room with no treatment was difficult.”

The hall’s layout and design was another major contributor to poor intelligibility. “The room is about 85 feet deep by 50 feet wide, with steeply raked seating,” Boyd continues. “So the ceiling is 25 feet at the stage, but only 8 feet at the back of the room, which makes uniform coverage even more of a challenge. It also created line-of-sight issues – the screen was partially obscured at the back of the room by the old center cluster.”

After thorough assessment of the room, Boyd recommended the school replace the current system with a Renkus-Heinz VARIA Modular Point Source Line Array system. “The VARIA system was the best option to achieve the versatility we needed,” Boyd observes. “VARIA’s modular design gave us a lot of flexibility in terms of system placement and configuration. And VARIA’s range of vertical and horizontal dispersion angles, together with its transitional waveguides, enabled us to custom configure a system that easily addressed the multiple challenges we had to deal with in the hall.”

Academic Technologies replaced the old center cluster with left and right VARIA arrays. “We used two 7.5×60 degree VARIA systems on top, and then a 7.5×60/90 degree and a 22.5×90/120 degree, and complementing subs for each array,” says Boyd. “The subs were flown beside the main array to minimize the vertical and visual component of the system, both to avoid interference with the large center video screen as well as the visual of the pipe organ when the screen is not in use. The VARIA arrays are 35 feet apart over the front of the stage, and we’re still able to get coverage for the first two rows.”

Boyd reports Millsaps college officials are exceptionally pleased with the new system. “The VARIA arrays enabled us to address both coverage and line-of-sight issues, and to achieve excellent intelligibility without changing the sound qualities of the room. Everybody has been very happy with the results.”

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

Dega Broadcast Systems Delivers Pristine Audio from Commonwealth Games with HARMAN’s Studer Vista Consoles and Route 6000 System

Audio engineer Richard Sillitto mixes “Tonight at the Games” using a Studer Vista 9 digital console.  Photo Credit: Martin Deane

Audio engineer Richard Sillitto mixes “Tonight at the Games” using a Studer Vista 9 digital console.
Photo Credit: Martin Deane

GLASGOW, United Kingdom – In the largest multi-sport event ever held in Glasgow, Scotland, the 2014 Commonwealth Games brought together athletes from 71 nations and territories competing in 18 different sports. The Games took place in multiple venues throughout Glasgow; Dega Broadcast Systems of Basingstoke, UK, was contracted by the BBC to provide the additional technical facilities required to cover the events. Highlighting Dega’s broadcast equipment were multiple HARMAN Studer Vista digital audio consoles.

Among the equipment Dega provided was a 52-fader Vista 9 digital console, which was used for BBC Three’s coverage of the games. The Vista 9 was also used in the evenings for an entertainment highlights show on BBC One called “Tonight at the Games.” Dega also supplied a Vista 1 console to equalize and balance all the incoming commentaries.

In addition, Dega used a Studer Route 6000 routing and signal processing system, which was connected to the Vista 9 and Vista 1, as well as a Riedel MediorNet system. The Route 6000 was used to route commentary and coordinate circuits between feeds and venues under the control of BNCS software.

“We have a good relationship with Studer and have used their equipment successfully in the past,” said John Cleaver of Dega Broadcast Systems. “The Studer consoles performed extremely well during the Commonwealth Games.”

The Studer Route 6000 system can accommodate up to 1728 x 1728 inputs and outputs. The main DSP Core is highly suited to space-conscious installations. Equipped with an internal D21m I/O system with up to 192 inputs and outputs, it takes up only 6U of rack space, while multiple cores are simply interconnected using CAT5 tie lines.

“The Vista 9 proved a great platform for both the daytime sports coverage and the evening entertainment show,” said Richard Sillitto, audio engineer at the Commonwealth Games. “The VistaMix and snapshot capabilities are great tools for the ‘of the moment’ nature of sports coverage, mixed with the demands of an LE show.”

For more information on Dega Broadcast Systems, please visit www.dega.co.uk

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.

DPA Microphones Makes Incognito’s Percussion Sound Crisp and Clear

Joao Caetano Incognito 1

Jazz Funk band Incognito celebrates its 35th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion the band was recently filmed at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire for a live convert DVD.

To ensure that the sound was as a tight as possible, Incognito’s percussionist Joao Caetano took along his own selection of DPA microphones including four d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones and a stereo pair of d:dicate™ 4011A cardioid microphones, which were used as overheads for the recording.

“Normally I use d:dicate™ 4011A Cardioid microphones for studio work and rely on the d:vote 4099 Instruments Microphones for live performance. But on this occasion we were recording audio for a DVD so I supplemented the line-up with the d:dicate 4011As because I wanted to capture the best sound possible. Our front of house engineer, Chris Lewis, was very happy that I had brought them out of the studio for the task. He always insists that I use my DPAs on all our gigs.”

25-year-old Caetano is a fully fledged member of Incognito having joined Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick’s band in 2010. Originally from Macau, he came to the UK to study Music at Chichester University. Since graduating he has worked as a professional percussionist in the UK and has also composed and recorded music for television. Alongside his Incognito projects, Caetano has also worked and performed with the likes of Chaka Khan, Leona Lewis, Jessie J, Dionne Bromfield, Mario Biondi.

“Although I am primarily a percussionist, I am also very melodic because I studied violin for 12 years and guitar while I was at university,” he says. “I incorporate an awareness of other instruments into my work and I do like to capture the best sound possible, both in the studio and on the live stage. This is the main reason why I invested in my own selection of DPA microphones – in my opinion they are the best microphones in the world. They wipe the floor with everything else.”

Incognito tours every year and 2014 is no exception. The band are currently performing at various venues around Europe and Caetano takes his trusted d:votes with him wherever he goes.

“I use them on my congas and bongos because they deliver a really crisp, clear sound,” he explains. “They are very reliable and, of course, very portable because they are so small. I love the fact that they are well engineered and that they can be used on a range of instruments thanks to the clips that DPA has designed for them. Everything about them is good – even down to the cables and the case they come in. Compared to other microphones, they are streets ahead and once you have tried them you never go back to anything else.”

Joao Caetano is also working on a solo album project and says this will be recorded with DPA microphones because he wants it to sound ‘beautiful’.

“I’m playing guitar on this album and I’m definitely using my d:dicate 4011A microphones to capture that,” he says. “I have also been recommending DPA microphones to other musicians that I work with and am more than happy to point them in the direction of DPA’s UK distributor Sound Network, who were a great help when I was buying my own microphones.”

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About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

Avenview Teams with High Resolution Systems to Offer Branded Avenview ControlPro Universal Device Control Software

Entertainment Tonight's New Set CelebrationAvenview has partnered with High Resolution Systems to offer Avenview ControlPro Universal Device Control Software, a branded product featuring HRS UDC software, designed to control Avenview devices, including matrix audio video switchers, video walls and video processors.

Avenview enables companies to install multifunctional video walls and control room equipment, use signal extenders to help personnel communicate remotely and even digitize an entire infrastructure. The company, headquartered in Kenmore, New York, offers customers the most advanced components available to achieve their objectives of cutting-edge visual displays.

Avenview identified HRS as a company it could do business with to enhance its technology offerings to customers. “High Resolution Systems is an upcoming company with similar culture and beliefs as Avenview,” says Jefferson Thomas, chief technology specialist at Avenview. “They are very smart and client driven and offer products that customers really want – and are easy to use and easy to customize to any product on the market. That’s the kind of functionality that customers want.”

Avenview’s ControlPro Universal Device Control Software integrates its products to work with UDC control. “Once a customer buys one of our products, like the HDM-SwitchPro-VW4 HDMI 4×4 matrix switcher, we use ControlPro Universal Device Control Software to build a static page with buttons and layouts for the user,” Thomas explains. “With UDC software we can create one-touch and customized commands – commands that would otherwise take users numerous steps to implement.”

Avenview can “customize the ControlPro interface to whatever the user needs the box for,” he says. “The build pages can also be added to and re-customized by the user as they work with other products.”

ControlPro Universal Device Control Software offers fast programming with open-structured software that’s configured with no coding. It enables custom control of what users create, is easily updateable and saves time and money on every project.

“It’s a win-win for Avenview, High Resolution Systems and customers,” Thomas declares.

About High Resolution Systems

High Resolution Systems known as HRS Control is a company with a strong systems engineering and applications background. Its founders have decades of experience in the audio visual rental and staging industry, broadcast applications, A/V installations and system design. This combined experience allows them to provide the highest possible quality solutions to its customers in the most efficient manner. For more information, visit www.hrscontrol.com.

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SOUND DESIGNER AND ENGINEER MAURIZIO ARGENTIERI EDITS AND MIXES THE IMAGINATIVE TRANS-OPERA FILM THE GIRL FROM NAGASAKI WITH METRIC HALO

Maurizio_ArgentieriSAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA: After earning a degree in classical guitar and finding that the world does not value classical guitarists as it should, Maurizio Argentieri retooled his education and fueled his passion for sound on the other side of the microphone. He dove in just as the industry was lurching from its analog foundations to its digital future, and he secured a very educational three-year gig as the on-location sound mixer for a small documentary crew that filmed Greenpeace activities around the world. “From there, I dreamed of recording sound for movies,” he laughed. Twenty years later, it’s clear that his dream became a reality. Argentieri has recorded and mixed for directors such as Mario Monicelli, Marco Bellocchio, Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuseppe Bertolucci, Mel Gibson, Barry Levinson, Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Ridley Scott, and Michel Comte. Comte is the visionary behind The Girl From Nagasaki, and Argentieri used his Metric Halo ULN-8 to record and tweak almost every aspect of the trans-opera’s sound.

“When I have the opportunity, I always love working both as the recordist on location and as the post-production engineer,” said Argentieri. “On location, I get the benefit of hearing the director explain the motivations and feelings behind every scene. We shot The Girl From Nagasaki in some very peculiar locations, and I naturally became impressed by the real sounds in those locations. That inspired my post-production work and gave it a better connection than it would have otherwise had. Moreover, everything Michel said about sound on the set came back to me in post-production, which gave me an excellent starting point. My goal is always to lead the audience’s emotions in a specific direction with the sound. And I always want that direction to be the one that most naturally conveys the intentions of the director.”

Argentieri met Comte in Los Angeles before production on The Girl From Nagasaki began and had a long conversation about his vision for the soundtrack. “It was his first feature film, and he was very well prepared,” said Argentieri. “He showed me a book with reference pictures for the movie, and we talked about sound. He was very precise about the imagery, but I found that when we actually got to shooting, the imagery we were capturing was even better!” A self-described “trans opera,” the movie is surreal and combines elements of opera, film, and performance art that evoke emotions as much as they tell a story. As such, Argentieri had a great deal of freedom to create an intense soundtrack. His roles were many. He recorded sound during production, he edited all the dialog and sound effects, and he recorded several of the musical tracks, including a number sung by Marianne Faithfull. He also collaborated with the music composers Alessandro Cipriani and Luigi Ceccarelli, helping them to mix and record the score to the film, and he performed the film’s final mix.

Argentieri recorded all of the production sound and music using his single-rack space, eight-channel Metric Halo ULN-8 combination mic preamp/converter. “I also used it to record a couple of huge live performances, but I really can’t say much about them because they are to be a surprise,” he said, teasingly. A few of the highlights that he is willing to divulge include the recording of the very active Stromboli volcano and a surround recording of some Puccini arias that are featured in the film. Argentieri stepped up to the ULN-8 from the Metric Halo 2882 interface that he has had since 2004 (and continues to use when he needs more than eight channels), which he first used on HBO’s series, Rome. “In my opinion, the Metric Halo ULN-8 is the very best portable interface,” he said. “It has fantastic preamps and fantastic converters.” Not only does Argentieri use the ULN-8 on location, he prefers it to all his other options as an AD/DA for his Pro Tools rig.

ABOUT METRIC HALO Now based in the sunny city of Safety Harbor, Florida, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware.

www.mhlabs.com

ROSWELL HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD COMES ALIVE WITH DANLEY GENESIS HORNS AND SUBS

Roswell_HS_StadiumROSWELL, NEW MEXICO: For too many years, football fans and supporters of Roswell Independent Schools in Roswell, New Mexico suffered the poor performance of small paging horns that squawked announcements no one could understand and that emitted music no one could feel. It was a sad, uninspiring, and yet not uncommon situation. When money finally became available to make improvements, the school hired local firm J&G Electric to oversee the project. Relatively new to the Pro Audio market, Mike McClain of J&G Electric sought, without bias, the very best sounding system for his client at the most reasonable price. A thorough search turned up Danley Sound Labs, and Roswell Schools now benefit from a pair of Danley GH-60 Genesis Horns for vivid full-range output and a pair of beefy Danley DBH-218 subwoofers for low-frequency support.

“The school gave J&G Electric free reign to choose the best audio system they could, given the constraints of the budget,” explained Noel Darby of DarbyReps (Denver, CO), who represents Danley in the Rocky Mountain Region and who consulted on the design. “They had heard great things about Danley – that Danley’s designs are uniquely efficient, natural sounding, and easy to work with. I’ve been selling loudspeakers for a long time, and I believe Tom Danley’s designs really are amazing. He’s not chasing the same old woofer/tweeter or line array concept.”

Roswell_HS_Scoreboard_SpeakersGiven that the existing light poles are all behind the seating, it didn’t make sense to use a distributed system. Instead, Darby suggested an end-fired system that would split the field down the middle and provide equal coverage to the home and visitor seating. A Xilica XP-2040 2×4 processor handles modest input conditioning and system EQ, and feeds two Danley DSLA 3.3k and two Danley DSLA 6.5k amplifiers. Those amplifiers in turn power two Danley Genesis GH-60 horns and two Danley DBH-218 subwoofers mounted above and behind the scoreboard. The Genesis Horns use Danley’s patent-pending Paraline acoustical technology to gradually attenuate output at lower angles so as to deliver even SPLs to all the seats, near and far.

The install proved to be the largest hurdle to overcome. “With the original site being built in 1968, and seeing numinous additions and upgrades, we had our hands full,” said McClain. Trenching was tedious in order to avoid underground utilities and unknown paths, so we were forced to dig slowly and carefully. When it was all said and done we had over 700 feet of trench at four feet deep. In order to avoid the necessity of repeating the arduous process at a later date a second “spare” conduit was installed. Dealing with the harsh desert heat cooling the equipment was also an issue. To avoid building a structure to hold the equipment, we used a self-contained climate controlled rack to house the amps and processors. Using the assistance of a local fabricator the forty-foot tall structure holding the loudspeakers was built. “After all the sweat and heavy lifting the system worked as designed and as promised.”

Deward Timothy of Utah’s Poll Sound came in for the final tuning, which, by all accounts, didn’t take very long given the natural sound of the GH-60s and the fact that they are true point-source devices. “The school district is amazed at how much output they’re getting,” said McClain. “The coaches are ecstatic! This is a huge leap up for them, and the system will serve them well for a long, long time to come.”

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

ONE OF THE LARGEST HIGH SCHOOLS IN OHIO MOVES TO ASHLY

Beavercreek_HighSchool_ExteriorBEAVERCREEK, OHIO: Beavercreek High School in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio is the third largest high school in the Buckeye State and supports an exceptionally active athletics program. The school’s girl’s basketball team has been especially successful, averaging eighteen wins per season over the past thirty-six years of coach Ed Zink’s tenure. With over 650 wins, Zink is the winningest girls high school basketball coach in Ohio’s history. Until recently however, poor sound system intelligibility put a damper on home games and dulled the excitement of award ceremonies. That’s all changed for the better with a new gymnasium sound reinforcement system centered on cost-effective Ashly Audio ne4400 Protea™ digital processing and KLR3200 amplification matched to Community R-Series loudspeakers.

“They used to have a few of what I call ‘nightclub speakers’ chained to the ceiling,” said Mike Staffan, owner of local A/V integration firm Lighthouse Sound and Communications. “The athletic director took a lot of grief about intelligibility in general, but especially at award ceremonies. Parents couldn’t hear their kids’ names being called, which is sure to generate complaints.” Under Staffan’s direction, independent engineer Jack Buttermore designed a new system in EASE that would deliver appropriate coverage, and Staffan and his staff installed it over the summer.

Inputs to the new system include Shure wireless microphones and a Denon CD/iPod player, which feed a Shure SCM800 mixer. Its mono output meets an input on an Ashly ne4400 4-In x 4-Out Protea™ Matrix Processor, which handles all necessary equalization, automatic microphone mixing and feedback suppression. The ne4400′s four outputs feed three dual-channel Ashly KLR3200 amplifiers, rated at 1,600W into a 2-Ohm load or 800W per channel into a 70V line. Four of those amplifier channels power the four Community R.35 loudspeakers that cover both sides of main floor seating. The two additional channels power ten Community R.15 loudspeakers – five to a side – for coverage of the gymnasium’s balconies.

Beavercreek_Gymnasium“I’ve been using Ashly equipment for a while now because the products are solid and, perhaps more importantly, the customer support is excellent,” said Staffan. “For me, trust and a good relationship are the most important things. Ashly is always ready to help, which is critical when I’m in the field and need answers to move an installation forward.”

“The newly installed sound system in the Beavercreek High School gymnasium is awesome, to say the least,” said James Smerz, the school’s previously besieged athletic director. “We finally have sound that covers the entire gym area with clarity and heightened volume. For the first time in the school’s history, the sound in the main gym will reach everyone effectively, even in a packed house!”

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 40-year old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A.

www.ashly.com

OUR LADY OF LOURDES ACADEMY ENJOYS A NEW MULTIPURPOSE GYMNASIUM WITH ASHLY POWER AND PROCESSING

OurLadyofLourdes_GymMIAMI, FLORIDA: In addition to being the alma mater of pop icon Gloria Estefan, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy (OLLA) is a paragon of Catholic academic excellence and has been since it was founded in 1963. To continue to effectively fulfill its mission in the twenty-first century, however, the school embarked on a four-phase, $15 million improvement project, which included construction of a state-of-the-art gymnasium. Revelation Sound, Inc. (RSI), a state licensed A/V specialty electrical and integration firm that has niche markets to houses of worship and their associated academic institutions since 1984, was awarded the contract for the audio, video and intercom portion of the project.

The acoustic consulting and analysis for the project was done in partnership with Robert Bernecker of SEFI Consulting in Dallas, Texas. RSI has partnered with SEFI on numerous projects, with the collaboration resulting in excellent A/V designs.

“The gymnasium is brand new construction and is intended to accommodate a huge range of functions, including masses, classroom assemblies, presentations, alumnae events, performances, and, of course, gym class and sporting events,” said Michael Melcher, president of Revelation Sound. “The A/V system had to be as easy to operate as a toaster! Thus, the A/V portion of the project features reliable, cost-effective Ashly Audio KLR-series amplifiers and an 8 x 8 Ashly ne8800 networked audio processor.”

RSI cited the value of Ashly’s superlative technical support and customer service as a key aspect of OLLA’s new system: “What we bring to the table is dependent on how our manufacturers support us,” Melcher said. “We have to be more than just a number on a sales sheet. Working with Ashly gives us that support. When we call, we always speak to a knowledgeable technician immediately – someone we know and have a relationship with. We sell that support as part of our bid. It is critical. Because Ashly provides such excellent support, we’ll stick with Ashly. We’re very conservative and very loyal.”

Inputs to OLLA’s new systems include a well-chosen collection of wireless, standard wired and podium microphones, as well as a Tascam combination CD/iPod/MP3 player and four Mystery Electronics brass court floor boxes. A roll-around rack holds a small Allen & Heath mixer, which provides one level of user control. All of the inputs wend their way to the Ashly ne8800 8-In x 8-Out Protea DSP Processor, which provides gain-sharing auto-mixing for turnkey operation. The processor in turn feeds six Ashly KLR-3200 1600W two-channel amplifiers.

“The Ashly KLR Series packs an unbelievable amount of power and reliability into a two-rack space at a price-point that is fiercely competitive,” Melcher said. “The value to our customers is great, and the fact that the KLR-3200 can power low-impedance boxes or up to 800W into a 70-volt constant voltage system is a huge plus.”

The KLR-3200 amps power three clusters of three Renkus-Heinz CFX-151 loudspeakers each, plus two Renkus-Heinz CFX-18s subwoofers flown above center court.

Members of OLLA’s staff harness the new system’s flexibility using three Ashly neWR-5 Network Programmable Wall Remotes. As the school completes its iPad integration, that control will also be available via the Ashly Remote App for the Apple® iPad and iPad Mini. Like the future iPad control, the three neWR-5s provide preset configuration, input selection, and overall volume control. Because different uses require different configurations, the presets automatically turn different collections of loudspeakers and/or subwoofers on or off along with other subtleties, such as enhanced bass output for games.

To round out the project, Revelation Sound installed a large EIKI Hi-Def projector mounted on an SVS lift and paired it with a retractable Da-Lite screen.

The result: An excellent user-friendly, high-tech A/V system that meets the needs of one “constantly evolving” learning environment that aims at assisting the school to effectively fulfill its mission.

ABOUT ASHLY AUDIOAshly 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 40-year old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A.

www.ashly.com

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