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George Petersen is SVC's Senior Consulting Editor. He grew up in Italy, where he performed in rock bands, opening for acts such as The Searchers. Returning to America for...more

Archive of the Products Category

A Big Surprise from NAMM

WINTER NAMM ISN’T EXACTLY A CONTRACTING SHOW. But scattered among the booths hawking guitar straps, drumsticks, accordions, synths, DJ lighting and fog machines, there’s a respectable amount of gear aimed toward the professional audio user/installer. And with top-end pro companies such as Aviom, Community, Crest, JBL, Meyer Sound, Midas, Renkus-Heinz, Yamaha—and many others—among the exhibitors, there were plenty of reasons to check out the show.

Besides, the January weather in Anaheim was warm and sunny—a stark contrast to the blizzard conditions throughout most of the rest of the country. Given that tough assignment, I went looking for interesting sound reinforcement products. You can see my full report in the February issue of SVC, but to get you in the mood, I’ll let you in on one of NAMM’s big surprises. POWER AMPS!

Amps Gone Wild!
With a lot of speakers are going the self-powered route, power amps rarely get the spotlight. But there are still lots of pro applications requiring external power amps, and these were big news at NAMM, especially in lightweight/high-power packages.

The iNUKE Series amps from Behringer (behringer.com) use Class-D technology to put 1,000 to 6,000 watts into 7- or 12-pound packages. Also available are onboard DSP versions with 24-bit/96 kHz converters, delay-line compensation, crossovers, dynamics, parametric EQs and front-panel or Mac/PC access via USB.

Carver Professional (carver-audio.com) is back. The company showed its new Xi Series amps, which offer 370 to 870 w/channel into 4-ohms, with variable speed fans, LED status indicators, and rear-panel DIP switches for highpass/lowpass filters, soft-knee clip limiters and soft-startup limiting.

Crest Audio’s (crestaudio.com) Pro-LITE 2.0 and Pro-LITE 2.0 DSP amps feature a Class-D design and stable performance into 2-ohms. The Pro-LITE 2.0 and Pro-LITE 2.0 DSP boast 985 watts/channel, weigh less than 10 pounds, and are rock-solid in parallel, stereo and bridged modes.

The latest in QSC’s (qscaudio.com) GX Series, the GX7 has 1,000 w/ch at 4 ohms from a two-tier Class-H design weighing 15.5 pounds. It also has a low-noise, variable speed fan, built-in subwoofer/satellite crossover control, detented gain knobs, front-panel LED indicators and GuardRail amplifier and speaker protection. MSRP is $699.

The Crown (crownaudio.com) XTi 2 has enhanced control with Crown PeakX Plus limiters, crossovers, parametric EQ, delay, 30 onboard presets and an improved subharmonic synthesizer. Available in models from 500 to 2,100 w/channel (at 4 ohms), XTi 2 amps are also compatible with HiQnet Band Manager, a free app with a sleek function-driven interface that simplifies system setup/management.

The Crown System Control App for iPhone/iPad

Crown System Control App for iPhone/iPad

Got Wi-Fi?
And speaking of apps, if you don’t have an Apple iPad/iPhone, you might consider getting one soon, with all the pro apps for live sound users. There were plenty of clever new iPad remote controller apps at NAMM. And one of the most useful was the new Crown System Control App, which offers full control and monitoring of its networked I-Tech, I-Tech HD, CTs (with network PIP) and Macro Tech I amps, Ethernet-enabled devices and JBL Drivepack DPDA models. Its slick control includes the ability to select and import any desired controls from HiQnet System Architect custom panels.

The app is free from the Apple iTunes Store, There is a catch, however. As the Crown System Control App communicates via Wi-Fi, setting up a SECURE wireless network is a really good idea, to prevent unwanted control and monitoring of your system from others with this app. It’s good advice on any rig.

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The 50-Year-Old Live Sound Mic

Vintage Sennheiser MD-421

Vintage Sennheiser MD-421

THERE AREN’T MANY LIVE SOUND MIC DESIGNS that are still being used a half-century later, but the Sennheiser MD-421 is just as useable today as it was on its debut in 1960. And now, some 50 years later, it’s still a favorite mic for drums, percussion, horns, guitar cabinets and vocals. more

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Another Great Idea

cigarette vending machine

Recycle, reuse: A great new life for an old vending machine

ONCE UPON A TIME, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE, but these days, about the only place you’ll see a cigarette vending machine is in a bar, strip club or other business that restricts admission to minors. Other than those few exceptions, I occasionally run across old cigarette machines—usually rusting away in backroom storage areas and basements of clubs and older movie theaters.

Recently I was amused by a photo sent to me by my friend Steve Savanyu, who’s the Director of Educational Services for audio manufacturer Audio-Technica. Steve’s also an adjunct professor at Kent State University’s school of journalism/mass communication. He’s a smart guy and whenever he has something to say, it’s worth hearing. more

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On the Road Again—Mix Nashville

Live mixer extraordinaire Buford Jones (far right) hosts a lively panel discussion at Mix Nashville 2009.

Live mixer extraordinaire Buford Jones (far right) hosts a lively panel discussion at Mix Nashville 2009.

THIS WAS A TOUGH YEAR FOR MIDDLE TENNESSEE. And it was especially hard on Soundcheck, Nashville’s premiere live sound showcase for tour rehearsals, with off-the-road storage for instruments and backline for major tours, and on-site offices for leading companies such as Meyer Sound, Shure, Digital Console Rentals, Fender, Peavey, Tour Supply Inc., and others. And back in mid-May, when the once-in-a-century rains caused the Cumberland River to rise well over its flood stages, Soundcheck was at ground zero, and in a matter of hours was completely submerged. We had planned to host our sister publication’s annual Mix Nashville live sound and recording series just days later, and postponed the event until September 13 and 14, 2010. more

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Shure Model 55: Still Cool After All These Years

shure-55-collage.jpgAFTER MORE THAN 70 YEARS IN PRODUCTION, Shure’s Unidyne 55 series easily takes the prize for the longest running, most successful product in audio history. The story begins in 1937 with Shure engineer Benjamin Bauer looking for a single-capsule approach to creating a unidirectional microphone.

He experimented with capsules having front and rear openings that allowed sound waves to reach the diaphragm. Partially blocking the rear openings created a short phase delay that effectively cancelled the sounds from the rear. Varying the rear port resistance created various directional patterns—cardioid, hypercardioid and supercardioid—and the Unidyne was born. In 1939, Shure announced its model Unidyne 55. more

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THE GOOD (CONTRACTING) BOOK

I’VE ALWAYS FELT THAT EDUCATION was an essential part of moving the industry forward, and CTS (Certified Technology Specialist) training and certification was a positive step for the industry. Now InfoComm has paired with McGraw-Hill Professional to develop a comprehensive resource to help candidates prepare for the CTS exam. The CTS is the only AV credential accredited by ANSI to the 17024 ISO/IEC Standard.

The CTS Certified Technology Specialist Exam Guide will cover all exam content outline objectives and will include objective callouts at the beginning of each chapter, exam tips, and practice questions with in-depth explanations. Featuring more than 300 photos and illustrations, the 816-page book will come with a CD-ROM containing two practice exams and an e-book.

The CTS Certified Technology Specialist Exam Guide is slated for a December 2010 release, and will be available at major booksellers. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. Bravo!

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About

George Petersen is an internationally recognized expert on audio production; he has written five books and more than 1,000 articles and lectured worldwide; he has been a writer and editor for SVC for 10 years and a leading voice at Mix since 1981. As an IATSE Journeyman, he has done sound reinforcement, 35/70mm motion picture projection, Dolby Stereo theater installs and film/video production. He also operates a record label, ASCAP publishing company, 24-track recording studio, and performs with the Bay Area rock ensemble ARIEL.
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