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Archive for June 15th, 2011

Azden Debuts New Mixers

azden-mx-62.jpgAt the Azden booth, Wayne Alonzo was showing off the MX-62 mixer and as an audio guy from way back, I was delighted with it. While it may put me firmly in the old school, I love the twin ballistic VU meters. They just keep right on working. Shipping in about a month at $850, the unit features six balanced mic/line inputs in a rack mountable frame. On the front panel each input has a peak LED indicator, pan control, switchable phantom power, high pass filter and a limiter. Two aux inputs are available, each with RCA connectors. The MX-60 is also rack mountable and offers six ¼ inch mic inputs along with three RCA line level inputs. I love mixers like this that take just the right features and put them exactly where real operators would want them. These models weren’t drawn up by guys in lab coats. They obviously were designed by experienced users. Also on display were Azden’s conferencing systems including IR linked receivers and body-pack emitters. The sensors connect with RG-59 coax and rely on both direct and reflected IR to allow better mobility for instructors.

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Visionary Solutions Aims at IPTV

Will Bakewell sat us down and delivered a very direct and informative message about how his company Visionary Solutions provides a laser focused approach to IPTV. They concentrate on the encoding hardware and partner with a number of other firms to build the whole system solution. They’re able to do this by using well proven formats and not going out on an exotic limb with proprietary protocols. H264 streams allow them to concentrate on building and deploying reliable hardware and in today’s market it’s a solid tactic. The talk we had was great and it really is amazing to see how the various players have reacted to the new market conditions in their own ways. IPTV for schools, industry, hotels and webcasting is a growing business and with over 4000 encoders installed worldwide, Visionary Solutions has made a solid foothold.

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Christie Gathers Multiple Projector Technologies

Christie really put together a show in itself in the design of its multi-story booth with 2D models on one side, a 3D demo area on the other side and upstairs they were showing curved screen edge blending that can be calibrated easily. If one projector gets bumped into the wrong alignment, a quick click can have it reset for perfect edge blending again in seconds. I was impressed with the massive machines and their easy command. The 3D demos seemed to draw the biggest crowd and there were visible and audible reactions as the demo videos got to the places where the 3D effects really jumped out. At least no one got dizzy and fell over but I did see a few swaying as the video loop got to the good parts. It seems that 3D is still in the “prove it to me” stage but the Christie demo apparently got some positive attention and won over some converts as I watched the action there. The setup of their booth was a marvel in itself with just under a week to get it all built and everything up and working. I learned that it wasn’t tested all-up anywhere until it was in place at the show so that was really hanging it over the edge!

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Rane shows off the Halogen DSP System

rane-halogen.jpgRane’s big gun in the show is the Halogen expandable DSP platform and when it was demonstrated, I could see what all the notoriety was about. Aimed at the hotel and convention center market the Halogen system integrates a number of control units into one combined sound control and distribution system on CAT5 and uses a software application to configure it. Also on display was the new CP66 that controls up to six independent and linkable zones of sound. It has one gated priority input for paging and offers a control solution for a more localized setup. This unit was the perfect balance product for the Halogen system and with the two of them, Rane appears to have all its bases covered for zone sound control on very large and more local layouts. Halogen and the CP66 seem to be a good solution for areas that are physically reconfigurable such as multipurpose rooms and facilities that have large rooms with movable partitions. The system can be preset to allow control as one large space or a number of smaller ones.

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Ashly Audio Enables Operational Control Anywhere

rd8-f.jpgRepresenting a company with double-digit growth, John Sexton showed off Ashly Audio’s new line of networkable remote control devices and this impressed me as being the right type of product at the right time. With staffing shrunk to almost nothing in most places, the Ashly RD-8C and RW-8C remotes allow sound control from a remote location and allow just about anyone to figure out how it works right away. Red, yellow and green color coding on the light for each sound channel lets operators know exactly when they’ve gone too far on the volume level. Anyone who can decipher a stop light can use it. Also on display was the PEMA (Protea Equipped Media Amplifier) that combines open-architecture DSP functionality with Ashly’s dependable amps. The wall mounted remote control modules attracted quite a bit of attention with ease of installation in a standard wall box as one of the big drawing points. John kept pretty busy with interested new prospects so I left him to the crowd and continued exploring the new remote control modules on my own. They were connected so that I could try them out and this really added to the “I want this gizmo” feeling.

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Sennheiser Shows a Host of Entries

mk4_hires.jpgJeff Touzeau had so much to show me at the Sennheiser booth, it was a toss-up as to where we should start. He demonstrated the MK4 studio cardioid condenser microphone and it was impressive, especially when he let me know that the price put it well within reach of the mass market for top quality recording mics. With a frequency response of 20-20kHz and a 130dB dynamic range, the MK4 really brings top features to those who could not afford it before. What got a lot of attention at the booth was the demo of the KZ10 speakers. These tiny wall mount units are about the size of a candy bar and put out an amazing sound. Intended for installations where the speakers must be virtually invisible, the KZ10 speakers hide in plain sight. I had to look closely at the place Jeff was pointing to before I actually noticed them. Perfect for background sound in clubs and restaurants, the KZ10 really made a big impression; that is, once it was seen. Another star was the KR-400 speaker system featuring LEDs in the front that can only be seen from positions within the sound field of the speaker. It’s almost like being able to see the sound pattern itself. The KR-400 was the topic of discussion in the Sennheiser demo room across the hall and it actually got some applause when the sound cuts were put through it.

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Renkus-Heinz Features EASE and IC²

renkus-ic2.jpgRenkus-Heinz was busy setting up their technology theater to demo EASE, the widely used sound environment configuration and assessment software application. They were also showing the various functions and features along with providing lectures on Systune 1.2, the latest version of real time measurement software. Introduced two years ago, Systune puts an easy to use interface on an application that is very sophisticated in its ability to analyze and compare a host of sound system aspects including reverb time and intelligibility. The majority of demos at the Renkus-Heinz booth involved the well-known IC². This model has gotten more and more attention as word of its ability in actual installations has circulated. There’s nothing like the word of mouth between installers and systems integrators who have actually worked with a product. That works to seal its fame and generate attention at trade shows. Renkus-Heinz has wisely read the buzz and placed the IC² on a prominent spot at the booth.

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EAW Puts Maximum Punch in Minimum Size

mw12.gifThe EAW demo room was set up with elements of the new MicroWedge Series of stage monitors and subwoofers. The 8 and 10-inch models feature a sloped front and very low profile that leaves behind the look of the old giant wedges cutting off the view of performers from the knees down. I must admit, the sound output was impressive, especially when I noticed it was all coming from a pair of very small units on the floor. The MicroSub includes bumper padding and side recesses that make interlocking possible between the MW12, MW15 and other MicroSub enclosures for a wide variety of venues and applications. The crowd in the demo room indicated its approval on the demo of each pair and I noticed a good many of the participants admiring the way the cabinets are outfitted for flexible stacking and quick installation. The EAW booth on the floor was quite active and the crowd started gathering almost from the opening of the doors to the exhibit floor. The dual location for booth and demo really helps the vendors and the listeners for the speaker companies and it keeps the noise confusion to a minimum on the exhibit floor.

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Triple Play for RTS/Telex on Entry Level Goodies

electrovoice_telex_rts-re320.jpgDavid Sebastian took me through the latest and greatest from Telex/RTS including the Electro-Voice RE320. Based on the famous RE20 in radio stations everywhere and on the RE327, the RE-320 captures the essence of the RE-20 and brings it to a price point for a wider base. The microphone made its debut at NAB and is aimed to compete with highly regarded dynamic mics. It has a manually adjustable bass roll-off that can suit either vocal or kick drum use. That’s quite a combination for one product. David also showed me the new frequency agile wireless mic system called the R300, an all metal chassis with hand-held, belt-pak and head worn configurations. With this system, the company has introduced the infrared linked frequency setting feature they call EZsync that has made frequency matching between transmitter and receiver so quick and simple. The unit operates on AA batteries and the hand held version of the transmitter has a PL22 mic element. Then we stepped over to the intercom display and David showed me the new RTS entry on the intercom front, the Zeus III LE+. Available with or without a dual power supply, the system is distributed on CAT5 and it represents a small format, entry level digital matrix intercom system. All three of these new products are priced at $299 to target entry level markets in their respective fields. I also got a tour of the RTS/Telex demo truck featuring the Praesideo mass notification system.

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SOUND DEVICES INTRODUCES FIRST PORTABLE AUDIO/VIDEO RECORDER AT INFOCOMM 2011

sound-devices-pix-240.jpg

ORLANDO, FL, JUNE 15, 2011 — Sound Devices, experts in portable hard-disk recording for audio, is presenting its first portable video recorder at InfoComm 2011 (Booth 2274). Sound Devices brings its audio recording technology to video with the introduction of the PIX line of recorders, consisting of two products — PIX 220 and PIX 240.

“Sound Devices has taken the next step and introduced high-performance video along with high performance audio with our new PIX recorders,” says Matt Anderson, director of engineering for Sound Devices. “While our existing products have become the audio recorders of choice for countless productions worldwide, their superior design, reliability and support have now been extended into our new video products with the introduction of the PIX 220 and PIX 240. AV professionals now have an all-in-one product for their audio/video recording needs.” Read on at The Wire

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The editors of Sound & Video Contractor post live from InfoComm as the news happens. Check back several times a day for the latest industry news, reports from press conferences, and product introductions.

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