Archive for December, 2011
––RG Jones’ Simon Honywill Propels Martin Audio Award-Winning System
As Classical Extravaganza Takes Sonic Leap Forward––
Sound rental company, RG Jones has been producing sound reinforcement infrastructure for the challenging Raymond Gubbay Classical Spectaculars at the Royal Albert Hall since 1993.
With a production harnessing cannons, pyro and lasers in a festival type ‘Proms’ atmosphere, it has taken all of FOH engineer Simon Honywill’s expertise to keep the show’s audio fidelity evolving with each generation of new technology.
Honywill is no stranger to Martin Audio proprietary line array platforms, introducing W8L Longbow systems to the Glastonbury Pyramid stage, and taking the new MLA (Multi-Cellular Loudspeaker Array) system on tour with Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds.
Rigging the MLA at the Royal Albert Hall for the first time ever this month, he knew the Classical show would experience the same dynamic range and sudden transients as War of the Worlds––and in a venue notoriously difficult to control, he also knew it would clean up the room’s inherent reflections. But the performance, he said, was breathtaking, and even beyond his expectations.
“We’ve made a massive leap forward with the MLA … the results were remarkable,” reported Honywill.
At the RAH, the two front arrays comprised 16 element MLA hangs per side, with no downfill enclosures, since the rig’s trim height was 40 ft. (from the lowest box) to accommodate the huge lighting rig. Side hang arrays of nine Martin Audio W8LM mini enclosures were balanced with a single W8LMD underneath to bring coverage down as far as possible; at the same time, a central sub-bass array of six WLX was recessed under the stage apron, which was electronically curved to optimize coverage.
Martin Audio’s Nigel Meddemmen became de facto systems engineer, walking the entire room to verify uniform sound balance. “The challenge was to match the warmth and smooth response of the MLA, a tricky task particularly on some of the operatic pieces with shrill soprano vocals which have a tendency to really show up deficiencies in the high frequency of a system.”
Meddemmen recounted that the design software was critical in ensuring optimum performance. “The calculations were based on Simon’s model of the slice through the venue, and with the advantages of the new Display 2.1 software, Ambrose [Thompson, Martin Audio Electroacoustic Engineer] was able to design a system with the correct splay angles.”
Stated Simon Honywill, “The fact that it sounded so astounding is testament to the software. In fact I have never heard a system [in the RAH] that sounded so similar upstairs as down. Ambrose was also able to rationalize the coverage to effectively reduce the amount of energy hitting the balcony fronts––other systems have claimed it but this is the first to deliver.”
The design prediction created ‘voids’ precisely where necessary––including the elimination of any stage spill, as Simon Honywill was quick to attest. “You could stand under the MLA on stage and not hear a thing!
“But at the same time this is the loudest I have been able to drive a system here without the orchestra moaning!”
The program combined the traditional ‘greatest hits’ from the classical canon with new works such as Karl Jenkins’ Benedictus from The Armed Man; A Mass For Peace. The latter swings from the gentlest of solo cello to five percussionists hitting a variety of drums extremely hard and the choir adding weight to a huge sonic picture.
“We had ten mics on the choir and I found I could keep opening them up massively, with no coloration whatsoever,” noted Honywill. “We’ve never had the amount of level, definition and control––particularly with the low strings––as we achieved with the MLA, and that is what makes it sound really fat. It was a pleasure and absolute joy to mix.”
Summing up, the sound engineer said, “To get the sonic quality and level required by the promoters you can’t afford for the system to be in any way obtrusive. It has to sound really sweet when loud, warm and powerful––and intelligent and delicate at the same time. MLA was all of these things and more.”
For more about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.
About MLA™ (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array)
The result of many years of intensive R&D, MLA’s methodology replaces trial-and-error array design with intelligent numerical optimization of the array’s output based on a highly accurate acoustic model. The multi-cellular format has six individual cells in each enclosure, each with its own DSP and amplification.
With up to 24 enclosures, each MLA array has up to 144 cells — too great a number to optimize manually, or by ear. Instead, Martin Audio’s proprietary Display2™ system design software automatically calculates FIR DSP filters for each cell and a redundant-ring audio network (U-NET™) downloads the settings into each array enclosure. Martin Audio’s VU-NET™ software provides real-time control and monitoring of the system.
MLA delivers a frequency response and SPL consistency never before achievable; a very high system output (140dB peak, per cabinet @1m); Automatic optimization of the array, both physically (splay angles) and electronically (DSP); Computer control and monitoring of the entire system, and total control of sound system balance for engineers and sound technicians.
MLA is fully integrated, with Class D amplification, DSP and U-NET digital audio
network built into each enclosure. MLA complete systems are ready-to-use, with MLA, MLD and MLX enclosures, flying hardware, software, cabling and training all supplied. Everything needed is included. All ancillary items — from tablet PC and Merlin™ controller to network interconnects and mains distro — are also included in the complete system package. This ensures full compatibility worldwide, down to cabling and accessories.
Additional features include 90° x 7.5° dispersion; a compact size (1136mm wide x 372mm high x 675mm deep), one-box-fits-all (festivals to theaters) application range and a global voltage, power factor corrected power supply.
MLA’s compact size and very high output allows it to be shipped using smaller trucks, offering considerable savings and reduced carbon footprint. The system also includes the MLX powered, flyable subwoofer capable of an unprecedented measured peak output of 150dB @ 1m; MLD downfill cabinet, and Merlin 4-in/10-out system controller and network hub. Audio input is via analog, AES3 or U-NET.
By adopting these principles and system components MLA is optimized for every member of the audience — from a 2,000 capacity theater, to a 20,000-seat arena, to a 100,000-person festival site. It will deliver the engineer’s exact mix to every seat (up to over 150 meters) with precision, exceptional power and clarity.
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.
GRAMMA Isolation Risers Decouple Guitar and Bass Amps on Stage
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — When Jason “Lefty” Williams hits the stage with his band to deliver an electrifying performance, he relies on Auralex’s GRAMMA™ (Gig and Recording, Amp and Monitor, Modulation Attenuator) isolation risers to decouple his band’s guitar and bass amplifiers from the stage. GRAMMA lets Williams deliver a clean front-of-house mix without the additional boom and swell associated with non-isolated instrument amplifiers. more
Product Demonstration and Networking Gathering at Nashville’s Legendary Sound Stage Studios Showcases HARMAN Professional Division’s AKG Acoustics®, JBL® and Lexicon®
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (December 5, 2011) — The Recording Academy® Producers & Engineers Wing®, together with The Academy’s Nashville Chapter, partnered with HARMAN Professional Division’s audio brands AKG®, JBL® and Lexicon® to present an exclusive event titled “The Hang with HARMAN,” on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at Nashville’s famed Sound Stage Studios. An eclectic gathering from Nashville’s professional audio community, ranging from top engineers and producers to studio personnel and music recording students, gathered for a cocktail reception featuring live recording demonstrations highlighting the latest microphone, signal processing and monitoring technologies from HARMAN Professional Division.
With three-time GRAMMY Award®-winning engineer /producer Chuck Ainlay (Mark Knopfler, Miranda Lambert, George Strait) behind the 9000 J Solid State Logic console in the George Augspurger-designed and recently renovated Front Stage, a musical group performed, consisting of Jim Long on acoustic guitar along with wife Cherrill and daughter Betsey on vocals, and attendees were able to experience various models of JBL studio monitors, AKG headphones and AKG microphones in action. Concurrently, in the control room of Back Stage, new Lexicon PCM Native Reverb software plug-ins were demonstrated throughout the evening.
“The Hang with HARMAN was a very successful event,” stated Maureen Droney, Sr. Executive Director of the P&E Wing. “Our members appreciate being able to audition, and get hands-on with, the latest audio equipment in a great acoustical environment like Sound Stage. Our partnership with HARMAN is consistently win/win. They share our goal to raise awareness of the value and importance of high quality audio and those who create it.”
Peter Chaikin, Senior Manager, Recording and Broadcast Marketing for JBL, commented, “We have been working with the P&E Wing for several years, and we always find these kinds of events extremely valuable. The Hang with HARMAN was a wonderful opportunity to showcase our products and exchange information with the uniquely qualified and talented Nashville P&E Wing members.
— Enhanced sequencer and synthesizer features add versatility and impact —
MELVILLE, NY, December 2, 2011 — Korg has released System Version 2 for the Monotribe Analogue Ribbon Station. This major update greatly augments the sequencer functions of Monotribe, in addition to other new features. The update is available as a free download from Korg.com. Light, compact, and portable, Monotribe is well-suited for on-the-go use. Equipped with a built-in speaker and powered by six AA batteries, it is completely self-contained. Monotribe can also be used with an additional amp, etc.
Highlights of Monotron Version 2 include:
• Synth part resolution has been doubled to 16 Steps
• Volume Automation has been added to the synth part
• The number of active sequencer steps can be specified for each part
• Drum Roll capability has been added
• Gate Time Hold function has been added
• Sample and Hold (S&H) function added to the LFO
• Connected sequences allow multiple Monotribe units to play in rotation
• Half Tempo function has been added
Short Cut Keys:
• Four convenient shortcuts for creating patterns quickly
Using classic analog components (VCO, VCF, EG, LFO), the Monotribe brings back the vintage sound of the analog synthesizer. In addition to the analog synthesizer voice, the Monotribe provides a three-part rhythm section (bass drum, snare, and hi-hat) powered by discrete analog circuitry. These sounds were key elements in a generation of analog beat making and are still in demand today. Monotribe incorporates the popular Electribe step-key interface, with a dedicated button for each of eight steps. This allows real-time, hands-on step editing of drum parts as well as any synth part sequence played on the ribbon keyboard.
As with drum parts, the synth part now provides timing information in between the steps in a sequence, allowing a pattern to achieve a total of 16 steps. Volume Automation allows the synth volume to be recorded during playback to create more detailed sequences. The Active Step function can specify which steps are played or jumped for each instrument when playing back the step sequencer. By specifying a different number of steps for each part, complex polyrhythms can be quickly created. In addition, a roll can now be added to any drum part. The speed of the roll can be controlled using the ribbon controller keyboard. For creating those slightly random stepped-filter effects so famously used in analog synthesizers, a new Sample & Hold waveform has been added to the LFO.
The Link Sequence feature is a completely new sync method for using multiple Monotribes. When sequence playback reaches the designated step, the first Monotribe automatically stops and the next Monotribe will start playing. By loop-connecting the SYNC jacks, the playback can keep cycling through multiple units – in true modular fashion.
The Gate Time Hold function allows the ribbon controller keyboard to play and record new pitch information while retaining the gate times recorded in the sequencer. Also new is the Half Tempo function, which cuts the tempo in half when synchronizing to an external input from the SYNC IN jack. In addition, there are now four shortcut keys that instantly initialize various types of sequence data or active step settings.
— First EXs Expansion Sample Series Library also now available —
MELVILLE, NY, December 1, 2011 — Korg has released System Version 1.5, a free update for their flagship Kronos Music Workstation. Downloadable from Korg’s website, this update offers users access to the first EXs Expansion Sample Series Sound Library, which is also now available.
Kronos Music Workstation System Version 1.5 adds seven new Program Banks with 896 new locations for storing sounds. Version 1.5 also allows users to install additional memory, doubling their available sampling RAM memory to roughly 2 GB, with additional index locations to allow larger sample loads. The convenient connection of USB MIDI controllers – such as Korg’s nanoSERIES2, microKEY and padKONTROL – is also possible with Version 1.5.
Korg is now offering two types of Kronos Sound Libraries. The EXs Expansion Sample Series take advantage of Kronos’ built-in SSD, providing large amounts of PCM data. The KRS Professional Sound Series were created by pro musicians and programmers who are intimately familiar with each of the Kronos sound engines. These libraries contain skillfully crafted programs, combinations, and drum patterns with infectious grooves, all designed to maximize the nine sound engines that power the Kronos.
Now available is the first of the EXs Libraries:
EXs10 Ricky Lawson’s “West Coast” Drums
Content: Approximately 650 MB of PCM samples, 16 Programs, 4 Drumkits
Drummer Ricky Lawson is a founding member of The Yellowjackets, and is known for his playing with internationally famous artists and groups. In addition to Ricky’s drumkits, this collection includes numerous variations of snare drum, providing the exact sounds of his playing. Also included are ambient sounds that add realism and depth, delivering a studio-quality sample set that covers a wide range of genres from pop to many other styles.
In addition, the following KRS Libraries were previously released and remain available:
KRS Professional Sound Series
KRS-01 “Pro Grooves” by David “Fingers” Haynes
Contents: 200 Patterns, 8 Songs
David “Fingers” Haynes is famous as the master of finger drumming. This set includes 200 realistic drum patterns that – unbelievably – he played with his fingers. His grooves are famous from his appearance with top-rated musicians, and are now available as performance-ready backing for your own songs using the Kronos’ RPPR function or Drum Track function.
KRS-02 STR-1/MOD-7 Phase II
Contents: 128 Programs
This library digs deep into the two complex sound engines whose possibilities have never been exhausted. Created largely by legendary sound programmer Katsunori Ujiie, this collection of sounds for the STR-1 and MOD-7 is destined to become a new standard. Classic electric pianos and basses from the MOD-7 and unprecedentedly new synth sounds from the STR-1 reflect his deep sound design talents and skill. Enrich your songs with wondrous sounds reflecting a strange realism.
KRS-03 Nu Electro
Contents: 128 Programs, 120 Patterns, 3 Songs
This is a collection of the “electro sounds” that in recent years have been appearing in a wide range of styles including pop, R&B, and hip-hop. The simple synth sounds valued in electro house and dubstep are also included. In addition, you receive a deep collection of phrase patterns, sure to stimulate your songwriting ideas.
KRS-04 Pro Splits and Layers
Contents: 128 Combinations
Created by some of the best sound designers available, this collection focuses on realtime live performance, providing a great set of split and layer combinations that concentrate on in-demand keyboard sounds such as gorgeous pianos, electric pianos, clavinets, and organs. The splits are ideal for solo performances or for backing a vocalist and the layers are the perfect rich accompaniment for ballads.
All Kronos Libraries can be purchased and downloaded at Korg’s Website. Introductory pricing on the KRS libraries ranges from $19.00 to $49.00; the EXs10 library features an introductory price of $199.00.
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, December 1, 2011 — Vince Lawrence has packed more into three decades in the music business than some achieve in a lifetime, initially as an artist, entrepreneur and innovator who helped introduce house music worldwide, then as a composer, producer and remixer who has come to effortlessly straddle the worlds of music and brand marketing. Lawrence’s Slang Musicgroup recently turned to Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, as they were upgrading the company’s production studio. Chicago-based Dan Scalpone, GC Pro Regional Manager, South Central U.S., was Lawrence’s primary contact on the project.
A studio owner for many years, Lawrence, founder and CEO of Slang Musicgroup and a Chicago resident since birth, has amassed an extensive collection of recording hardware and instruments, but with so much now being produced in the box, the facility’s main computer needed an upgrade. “We wanted to take advantage of some more horsepower in other programs that we were using outside of Pro Tools,” he says. “Since we were making the upgrade we said, what else could we do at the same time, since we were going to take some time off? So we also took the opportunity to isolate some of the noisier equipment.”
Scalpone, another longtime resident of Chicago, spearheaded the project for GC Pro. “I gave Vince all the options, and we sat down with the Avid product specialist and had some good meetings and demonstrations to narrow down what he needed. He wanted to update his Apple OS to Leopard, and naturally he had to upgrade Pro Tools, and he wanted to upgrade his computer. He bought a 12-core Mac and a bunch of hard drives with a Magma chassis. He also got some extra RAM, plus the additional cards for Pro Tools.”
Having access to the fastest computer available and 30 GB of RAM is critical for a studio that runs so many software instruments, not to mention the various applications, such as Logic and Reason, preferred by the team’s composers, according to Lawrence. “We got Vienna Ensemble to use as a bridge so that we could load the other synths into different RAM or even different computers that are elsewhere on our network, so we could maximize our composition palette. We wanted to have as many different things running virtually as possible,” he explains.
Slang Musicgroup works on many different types of projects, including remixing; music for advertising; music licensing for commercials, web, games and other purposes; original music production; artist development; and studio rental to outside engineers and artists. Current remix projects include songs by R. Kelly and Wiz Khalifa, reports Lawrence, also noting that Canadian artist Mira Black, young four-piece Mindless Behavior, and rapper Jim Jones, working with local artist YP, have all visited recently. The Slang Music Group team also wrote the theme for TV’s “Dr. Oz” and works closely with McDonalds, a client for many years, on music-related initiatives.
In addition to the upgrade to Pro Tools 9, and shortly to Pro Tools 10, new software at the studio also includes Native Instruments Komplete & Maschine, Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere and Arturia’s collection of VST instruments. “Plus a few other interesting synth goodies that I’ll keep to myself for the moment,” laughs Lawrence. With the installation of Apple’s Leopard OS, he upgraded the studio’s Waves plug-ins (Mercury bundle) and added the Abbey Road Studios bundle. The processing plug-in collection was further expanded with iZotope’s Stutter Edit, Elysia’s mpressor and the SPL Tube Vitalizer. The upgrade included a single item of outboard processing hardware, an API 2500 stereo compressor.
With producers and musicians all working in the facility’s large control room, noise was an issue, so Lawrence also purchased a 20-unit IsoBox rack from Sound Construction. “Lowering the noise floor while keeping critical gear in the room was one of his objectives,” reports Scalpone.
Slang Music Group is also working with several artists on Atlantic Records, says Lawrence. Somehow the team has also found time to create a five-CD set of loops and one-shot samples, Chicago Fire, for Sony Creative Software’s Acid application. “It’s a good basic toolkit for anybody who wants to make good sounding house music and electro,” he says.
There is no denying that Slang Music Group is busy: “Our posted hours are 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Not that I’m here for all of them,” Lawrence acknowledges, “but we’re willing to book a session between those hours. We really want to help out as much as we can, so there’s a pile of stuff going on around here.”
For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.
— New features include enhanced sharing and full iPad® support —
MELVILLE, NY, November 30, 2011 — Korg has released Version 2 of its best-selling* iKaossilator app for the iPhone®, and now for the iPad® as well. Users who have already purchased the app can update at no cost. For new users, the special $9.99 sale price has been extended until December 31, 2011 (pricing will be $19.99 after that date).
New features added in iKaossilator Version 2 include:
• Audio Export records and saves any performance just as it was played
• iPad native support allows the iKaossilator to fill the iPad’s 9.7″ screen
• “SoundCloud” compatibility allows users to share and remix loops with other users worldwide
• “AudioCopy” provides an easy way to copy audio data between musical instrument apps
• Flex Play makes it easy to generate fills and breaks
The iKaossilator is an expressive music synthesizer app offering 150 diverse sounds, combined with a five-part loop sequencer for creating multi-part tracks. As with all Korg Kaoss products, the iKaossilator is controlled by tapping or sliding a finger on its X-Y touchpad. This intuitive form of control is instantly rewarding, and allows users to quickly create music regardless of their instrumental training.
Moving the finger across the iKaossilator horizontally will generally control the pitch, while vertical movements will control various synthesis and sound parameters. Users can easily play musical phrases by choosing one of 35 musical scales and selecting a musical “Key” or “Root”.
The loop sequencer allows up to five musical parts to be recorded and layered as a “track.” Fifty loops created by professional musicians help get things started quickly; a loop sequencer is also included for live performance.
To purchase or upgrade please visit:
For additional product information, please visit:
iOS 4.1 or later
iPhone 4S / iPhone 4 / iPhone 3GS / iPod touch 3rd generation or later
iPad2 / iPad
— Producer/Engineer Ryan McFadden transforms an unused bedroom into a stunning personal mix facility with the help of Carl Tatz Design and The PhantomFocus™ System —
Nashville, TN: “What’s really crazy is that, in this little bedroom studio, I now have one of the best monitoring systems in the world – it’s nuts. I have trouble believing it myself until every time I sit down in front of it – it hits me all over again,” waxes The Nest studio owner Ryan McFadden about his new PhantomFocus™ System (PFS).
“It’s a funny thing,” explains studio designer, Carl Tatz, principal of Carl Tatz Design LLC (CTD), “and I think it has to do with the fact that our aural memory is our shortest, but the same thing happens to me and that is that every time I sit down and listen to one of my systems it’s like I have forgotten how incredible it is. I have a repetition of the wow experience. This is probably why it is so difficult to explain in words to someone about how amazing the PFS performs without it sounding like hyperbole – you just have to experience it for yourself.”
Tired of suffering with inaccurate mixes, wasted time and loss of bookings in his bedroom control room, Nashville engineer/producer Ryan McFadden called on personal studio designer guru Carl Tatz to orchestrate a dramatic transformation from a bedroom of acoustic squalor into a control room of acoustic nirvana with CTD’s proprietary acoustic modules and the acclaimed PhantomFocus System monitor tuning protocol.
McFadden had a tight budget to work with but knew that the PhantomFocus System had to be the centerpiece based on the expert advice of teachers and friends, articles he read and ultimately his own PFS demo experience. What really helped his cost was the fact that he was not concerned about isolating the control room from the rest of the house and only required some extra glass in one window to the outside. This way the budget could be used primarily for the CTD acoustic modules and some custom application treatments along with the PFS.
McFadden goes on to say that since completing his CTD mix room, mixes happen much more quickly and are far more enjoyable, and his bookings have greatly increased. He notes that it is the best professional decision he has made.
Video URL: http://youtu.be/9ReNCAEWc5s
REEDSBURG, WI — When Valve Software Lead Sound Designer Dave Feise needed to capture the dynamic sound effects for Portal 2, the most anticipated video game of 2011, he turned to Sound Devices 788T digital audio recorder. Effects for the game were compiled at multiple locations for more than a year, and included such sights and sounds as water balloons in the Valve parking garage, birds at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo and wave sounds and whale songs in Hawaii. more
Oxnard's New Life Community Church
OXNARD, California — After outgrowing its previous worship facility of ten years, New Life Community Church of Oxnard, California has now moved into its new home–a renovated 50,000-square-foot industrial building on Rice Avenue. To accommodate the sound reinforcement needs of the much larger space, New Life called upon Rutherford Design of nearby Northridge, which specified the installation of an L-ACOUSTICS KARAi loudspeaker system. more
Fairlight Xynergi Media Production Centre
Mix Briefing Room, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the Briefing Room for the latest press postings.