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Archive for October 22nd, 2011

Neumann KH 120 Monitors ‘Carry the Quality’ For Renaissance Audio Practitioner and McGill University Professor George Massenburg

Old Lyme, Conn., October 22, 2011: Over the course of his five-decade long career, George Massenburg has been a successful equipment designer and manufacturer, an internationally renowned record producer and engineer, a multi Grammy® Award winner, and a member of the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. More recently, he has turned yet another page in his career, and is now an associate professor at Montreal’s prestigious McGill University, where he was named to the Dean’s Chair in the Schulich School of Music in 2010.

Fifty years ago, Massenburg first had the opportunity to hear a Neumann U 67 — a microphone he eventually acquired and still cherishes. Just weeks ago, he tried the new Neumann KH 120 studio monitor, which has earned a coveted spot in his daily workflow. In his role at McGill, the only university in North America to offer a Master’s and PhD degrees in sound recording, Massenburg is helping students understand the role that audio plays in a much broader context of film and multimedia.

You have accomplished so much in your career. What inspired you to take on a role as professor?
GM: In 1995, an acquaintance from Poland named Wieslaw Woszcyk contacted me. At that time, he was a young sound engineer with a degree looking for work in New York City. Eventually he found his way to Montreal to McGill University, which had — and arguably still has — the best post-graduate music and sound recording track in the world, which is modeled after a European Tonmeister degree. Over the years, McGill graduates have done very well — these are people who love sound recording before they come in and that makes all the difference. The real attraction for me in teaching is that I really learn a lot — so when the opportunity came up for me to join the faculty, the attraction was irresistible.

I came on to develop some new tracks, one of which is a formal effort in video production — something that I have been increasingly interested in for years. Here I have an opportunity to, for instance, take musicians and teach them how to be cameramen, rather than trying to train journeyman cameramen to be sensitive to music. Another of my roles is to elevate McGill in the eye and ear of the Internet — to extend the presence of McGill to the world.

What was your first experience with Neumann?
GM: The first time I held a Neumann microphone was in 1961, when I was invited to come and see a friend’s studio. It was Deane Jensen, and I was just 14 years old. Listening to early stereo recordings played from an Ampex 300 through Beyer DT48 headphones transmuted my genes right there on the spot, and that’s when I knew I had to record music. It was all about picking microphones and listening to different positions for them. We had a couple of Neumann U 67s, U 48s, KM 56s and others. That was my first introduction to recording, through Neumann many years ago.

Where do the new Neumann KH 120 studio monitors fit into your world now?
I like the Neumann KH 120 studio monitors; they fill an empty niche in my workflow. They are so small that I can pack them for the road, and set them up just about anywhere and really get a sense of a mix. With the KH 120s, an Apple® MacBook Pro 17, my DAW, Prism converters, and a portable work surface, I can do a pretty darn pro mix in a hotel room — I have not been able to do that easily until now. Recently, I’ve been mixing the McGill Opera production of La Bohéme on them — a big, high-definition show — and found them to be very relatable to the outside world.

What are some of the sonic attributes you appreciate in the KH 120s?
First and foremost, they are flat and transparent. But the size is what makes them a real winner. I don’t need to have a wall of monitors driven by 10,000 watts of power — these are all that I need. They are just heavy enough to give me punch in the low end, and they speak evenly at both high and low levels.

What are the benchmarks you consider when evaluating a studio monitor?
A couple of things: First a studio monitor should be flat, but at the same time fill a room (if there’s an artist or outside producer present you’ll want to impress them). Better monitors will have a tight center image, along with even dispersion, transparency (the ability to hear subtleties in the presence of loud stuff), and flatness through the crossover region. Both speakers in a pair need to be well matched so it sounds like one speaker. I liked the crossover of the original Klein and Hummels a lot, and the Neumann KH 120 is a very nice improvement on this — it is very well designed and tooled. The stereo imaging was also great in the Klein and Hummels, and it is even better in the Neumann KH 120s. The center is dead center.

How important is it to have a common reference point when monitoring?

If you’re used to going into the same, big control room and listening to your work on the wall or on near-fields, they’re a basis for your choices — a reference. But often these days we’re going into a musician’s-poor-excuse-for-a-studio, and we need near-fields that we can really depend on — although you’ll have to deal with the often-poor acoustics of the room, and maybe pull the monitors in close so the room doesn’t contribute too much to what you’re hearing. But if you can take monitors that you like to this sort of gig, you’ll have a much better idea of what you’ve got. This is exactly the niche that the KH 120s fill for me — they do pretty much everything that I need them to do.

Having run a successful equipment company, what is your perspective on the importance of maintaining integrity throughout the manufacturing process?
What you always worry about after you hear a great product is whether a company will decide to mass-produce it at a low cost, possibly in an inferior manufacturing environment. That’s never going to happen with Neumann and Sennheiser — these companies are still all about quality and carrying this throughout the manufacturing process. Speaker serial numbers 10,001 and 10,002 will sound as good as the pair that I have.

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Outline Presents New GTO-DF Speaker During AES 2011

Cabinet First in Industry to Solve Critical Downfill Coverage Requirements

NEW YORK – Outline, the maker of high quality, industry leading speaker systems for touring, installation and studio applications, will highlight the GTO-DF, the newest member of the GTO (Grand Touring Outline) Series of line array speakers during AES 2011. First introduced at PLASA 2011, the GTO-DF is designed to provide exceptionally high-quality sound to the first several rows of the audience at an event, filling the sonic gap often experienced by event attendees who are seated near the stage.

“The GTO-DF rounds out the performance coverage of the highly regarded GTO Line Array speaker systems,” says Tom Bensen, senior vice president and managing director of Outline North America. “In the past, the front several rows of the audience could be slightly off axis to the main FOH arrays, leading to an audible reduction in coverage, especially in the critical high-end frequencies that are responsible for intelligibility. The GTO-DF, with its bottom-mounted constant directivity horn with embedded acoustic lens, is designed to reside on the bottom of a GTO array to provide the first several rows of seating with the signature GTO sound enjoyed by the rest of the audience. GTO has set a high benchmark for audio quality in the live event market and the GTO-DF continues that tradition.”

The unique new waveguide was designed at the request of Jason Farah, co-owner and vice president of Special Event Services in Winston-Salem, NC who identified the need to address the issue of downfill coverage from a new perspective. Outline’s engineering team looked at the problem and designed a technically superior solution to simply tagging on an Outline Mantas speaker to the bottom of the array. The GTO-DF, with its purpose built, radical new horn design and acoustic lens, delivers accurate performance within the form factor of a GTO array. Special Event Services was one of the first companies to adopt the GTO Line Array system and the first to deploy the GTO-DF with simultaneous debuts of the cabinet on both the Darius Rucker Tour and ZZ Top/Lynyrd Skynyrd Tour, both with desired effect.

“The GTO-DF made all the difference in the world,” says Farah. “The coverage was exactly as the Outline 3-D Open Array prediction software envisioned and the sound was magnificent. Plus, it’s the same footprint and hardware as the rest of the GTO family, so it made flying the rig so much simpler.”

GTO-DF is an eye-catching enclosure, with Outline’s exclusive acoustic lens aperture gradually flaring out downward. The GTO-DF offers four eight-inch mid-woofers and two three-inch compression drivers (the standard GTO line array cabinet features 10 speakers with two 15-inch woofers, four eight-inch mid-woofers and four three-inch compression drivers). GTO-DF is mechanically compatible with GTO, so it can be easily added to a flying array. Unique to the GTO-DF is a vertical dispersion range of zero-degrees to minus 25-degrees to ensure precision aiming of the sound into the audience and not onto the stage. The exclusive waveguide offers 120-degrees of coverage from 315 Hz to 17.5 kHz.

The GTO-DF, a bi-amped system, can handle 800 watts AES and 3,200 watts peak for the mid-woofer section covering the 200Hz to 1kHz range. The high-frequency section handles 250 watts AES and 1,000 watts peak, covering a 1 kHz to 17.5 kHz range. The cabinets weigh in at 172 lbs (78 kg) each.

About Outline
Outline S.r.l., based in Brescia, Italy, is a leading manufacturer of high quality loudspeakers of both powered and un-powered configurations. Founded in 1973, the company has a rich history in the development of high quality loudspeaker systems, test and measurement systems, and holds numerous technology patents. With offices in Italy and the USA and over 50 distributors on five continents with more than 4000 venues and users to its credit, Outline has assumed its place among the leaders in the professional audio market.
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Sound Devices 788T Reaches New Heights in Kathmandu for Recording of Nepalese Music Album

USBPre 2 Proves Invaluable as Stand-Alone Preamp and Portable Interface

KATHMANDU, NEPAL, OCTOBER 22, 2011 — When Alejandro Sánchez-Samper, assistant professor and assistant director of commercial music at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida, traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal, to record an album of traditional and contemporary Nepalese music earlier this year, he brought Sound Devices 788T digital audio recorder and its USBPre 2 (Sound Devices AES Booth 139) with him to do the job. Sánchez-Samper relied on the Sound Devices 788T to capture live performances for the upcoming album, titled Nepali Ho, while using the USBPre 2 as a stand-alone preamp. more

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LRA Instrument to be Incorporated in TouchMonitor 2.x, SurroundControl 31900/31960 and SurroundMonitor 11900 4.x Firmware Versions

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21, 2011 — RTW, a leading vendor of visual audio meters for professional broadcast, production, post-production, and quality control, will be showcasing at AES 2011 (Group One Booth 530) its new loudness-range instrument (LRA) for many of its metering products. The new combination instrument will be incorporated into software versions for the TouchMonitor (V2.x), SurroundControl 31900/31960 (V4.x) and the SurroundMonitor 11900 (V4.x). The TouchMonitor TM9 and SurroundControl 31960 SD will also be on display for AES attendees at the booth.RTW LRA Meter more

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NEW YORK—Founded in 1987 by film auteur George Lucas, Skywalker Sound has been providing leading-edge editorial and post-production services for almost 25 years; the facility’s talented team of sound designers, scoring and re-recording mixers have worked on some of the most innovative motion pictures to be realized during the past two decades. Vital tools in that creative process have been an array of TC Electronic System 6000 Processors (AES Booth 541) that provide highly realistic reverbs, delays and boundary effects for any format from mono, stereo, LCR, LtRt to 5.1- and 6.1-channel. All of Skywalker Sound’s 11 System 6000s recently were updated to a MkII configuration, with the addition of a new LM6 Loudness Radar Meter, plus a user-choice of the VP8 pitch transpose processor, UnWrap HD stereo-to-5.1 processor, Multichannel Mastering or a Multichannel Reverb. more


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