Archive for February 14th, 2013
SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2013: Veteran producer Doc McKinney has worked with a wide range of innovative musicians, including Drake, Florence & the Machine, Santigold and most recently, The Weeknd. A close friend and accomplished mix engineer turned Doc on to the clear, faithful preamplification and conversion of the Metric Halo ULN-8. Doc now uses the ULN-8 for most of his audio production work.
“A good friend initially told me about the ULN-8, and when I heard it, I was blown away,” said Doc. “Shortly after that I went to a Santigold show that sounded incredible. Afterwards, her musical director, Ian Longwell, told me they were using the Metric Halo ULN-8 I/O for everything and thankfully put me in touch with them. I absolutely love the ULN-8’s depth and clarity. I feel like I can hear everything. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s really true: there is a night and day difference; the improvement is not at all subtle.”
Doc used the ULN-8 to take The Weeknd’s debut label release, Trilogy, to the next level, both sonically and emotionally. Trilogy is comprised of remixed versions of three lo-fi “mix tapes” that were originally freely available on the Internet. However, the three bonus tracks included were all recorded on the ULN-8. “This started as a lo-fi project, and of course that has its own charm,” said Doc. “But it’s nice to open the songs up and to bring them to a higher level sonically.”
Doc has integrated the use of his Metric Halo ULN-8 into all of his production work. “I work with many different types of musicians, from singer-songwriters – who tend to have everything mapped out in advance – to urban pop or electronic artists, where recording is integral to the writing process,” he said. “The Weeknd is a very fast and very prolific writer. He comes up with a lot of stuff right off the top of his head. Whatever the situation, it’s important to have a transparent and flexible recording process that inspires, rather than kills, creativity. And when the quality of the recording is lacking, it can lead to other production decisions, which is poor compensation for an element that isn’t doing what it should be doing.”
With over 100,000 albums sold in its first week out, Trilogy’s success speaks to the power of great production. After all, everything except its three bonus tracks was freely available on the Internet in a more lo-fi form. “The overwhelming consensus is that ‘Trilogy’ takes The Weeknd to the next level,” concluded Doc.
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.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – FEBRUARY 2013: Starting with a single location in West Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1966, Best Buy has worked to become the largest electronics retail store in the eastern United States. It currently operates over one thousand stores around the country and in select locations throughout the world. In its rise to the top, Best Buy has innovated and re-conceptualized the way consumers buy electronics, and the company continues to innovate to keep ahead in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of consumer technology. In that tradition, fifty renovated and newly-constructed Best Buy locations are pioneering a new concept in store sound. Rather than blanketing the entire footprint with a wash of music, discrete zones with very little bleed give the stores a feeling of calm and deliberately direct guests’ attention to the sources of the sound. Because of its powerful open-architecture programming, high sound quality, easy networking, and cost-effective pricing, the Symetrix SymNet Solus 16 standalone fixed I/O DSP underpins the new concept.
“They wanted sound in some areas of the store, but not in other areas,” explained Jon Bormann, owner of Bormann Marketing and the designer of the new system. “It is a directed approach, which is very different from the usual approach taken in retail stores. For example, the store’s Magnolia Audio/Video section, which features really high-end equipment, is better served if sound isn’t spilling into it from the ceiling. In another application, they play a video message every fifteen or thirty minutes, and we’ve arranged the sound so that it effectively emanates from the screen’s location. Since our brains are programmed to look toward the source of a sound, the video message is way more effective than if the audio were raining down from wall to wall.”
The new concept identifies four separate zones per store, the output of which is realized via concentric rings of unobtrusive, ceiling-mounted Innovox miniature steerable line arrays. A pair of energy-efficient Lab.gruppen E-Series amplifiers power the system, and their asymmetrical design allows different loads to be placed on each channel. The 16-input/8-output SymNet Solus 16 DSP handles all of the processing, including robust ambient noise sensing and gain compensation, sophisticated equalization for the line arrays, and flexible multi-zone performance. The emergency and telephone paging systems tie into the new system.
“In contrast to the typical store audio system, this system delivers high fidelity, foreground-quality music, and voice,” said Bormann. “Symetrix is well known for building equipment for installed systems that has studio-quality sonics. Moreover, the SymNet Solus 16 is priced right, which helps allow this new system to go into many stores.” Each SymNet Solus 16 is given a unique IP address, and an engineer stationed at Best Buy’s Richfield, Minnesota headquarters monitors and adjusts system performance in all fifty stores. Although it is seldom used, a Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote in each store can override the system’s preprogrammed auto-gain in the event that program material appears too quiet or too loud.
ABOUT SYMETRIX Symetrix engineers high-end professional audio solutions, specializing in DSP hardware and software. Symetrix products are distributed worldwide, and designed and manufactured in the U.S. at the Seattle area headquarters. Since 1976, customers have enjoyed the benefits of Symetrix’ independent ownership and management. For more information on Symetrix professional audio products, please visit www.symetrix.co or call +1 (425) 778-7728.
TEXAS – FEBRUARY 2013: Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille truly is rare and well done. From its humble beginnings as a butcher shop more than thirty years ago, Perry’s has grown to become one of the premier steakhouses in Texas. Today with nine locations, each uniquely customized to the neighboring community, Perry’s Steakhouse is located in greater Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
One of the premier A/V integration firms in Central Texas, Intelligent Lighting Services, has designed and installed state-of-the-art sound systems in the most recent Perry’s Steakhouse locations. Intelligent Lighting Services’ Eric Bernstein recommended Ashly’s ne8250pe eight-channel Network Amp with integrated Protea™ signal processor for the Katy, Dallas and San Antonio restaurants.
“I was already looking to make some changes after the first installation at Austin because the big-name DSP we installed there seemed to time-out every other day,” explained Bernstein. “I’d had previous good experiences with Ashly gear and knew that it was reliable. Since I already knew we’d be using Tannoy CMS801 ceiling-mounted loudspeakers, I had my tech wire up an Ashly ne8250 amplifier and another from the manufacturer we had used at the first location. I did a blind comparison in controlled conditions and came away convinced that their clientele would hear no perceptible difference, at least with those loudspeakers. So there it was: an affordable, great-sounding amplifier with optional on-board DSP that I knew was flexible and reliable. And to top it off, Ashly is a nice, contractor-friendly manufacturer. We went forward in the next three locations – Dallas, San Antonio, and Katy, Texas – with the Ashly ne8250pe at the heart of the design.”
Because ambient live music is an integral part of the Perry’s experience, all three locations feature an Allen & Heath console adjoining a modest stage. Its output joins a handful of cable TV channels, a Muzak player, and a wireless microphone at the input to the Ashly Protea DSP environment. Because each of the Perry’s Steakhouse locations is unique, the Dallas location uses four Ashly ne8250pe eight-channel amplifiers, whereas San Antonio and Katy use three. The Ashly Protea DSP Matrix Mixer is used as a room combiner in the private dining rooms, allowing the restaurant to host any size dinner meeting or event. Other common zones include the bar area, lobby, hallways, restrooms, entry, patio plus four or five private dining rooms. Because the Ashly ne8250pe includes separate processing on each output, Bernstein was able to perfectly signal align all of the zones for maximum impact and coherence.
User control is simple. At the Dallas and Katy locations, each zone features a Ashly WR-5 programmable wall-mounted remote. Its simple push buttons allow selection of different input sources and overall volume. The San Antonio location adds a URC KP-4000 wired controller behind the bar for more in-depth control, along with a URC MX-5000 wireless remote that allows the manager to make changes on the fly from any location.
Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille is currently considering new location sites. Because the owner has fallen in love with the sound of the newest restaurants and the way his team is able to so easily control them, Bernstein’s Ashly-based design will serve as the blueprint for all future Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille locations moving forward.
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 37-year old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A.
HONOLULU, HAWAII – FEBRUARY 2013: Managing wireless audio systems at football games is notoriously challenging. There are critical coach communication channels, referee mics, and ENG sideline systems that crowd out a lot of useable RF spectrum. Hawaii-based Custom Audio, Inc. has been working the NFL Pro Bowl for many years and specializes in production sound, corporate video, as well as installation projects for commercial, educational, and government clients. For this year’s Pro Bowl, Custom Audio turned to RFvenue’s Diversity Fin remote antenna for rock-solid signal reception from their stage mics throughout the halftime show – even in adverse RF conditions.
“We were given 700kHz spacing between frequencies from the NFL game day coordinators,” said Custom Audio’s Jeff Kang. “So we were worried about intermodulation issues, but we also had to deal with a 24-foot wide LED video wall located directly next to the antenna position. RF emission from the wall was definitely a huge concern on our primary vocal mic.”
Custom Audio used a Shure UHF-R wireless mic system, with a U4R-D dual receiver and UR-2 handheld transmitter set at 10mW. The two antenna connections on the Diversity Fin provided polarization diversity performance from a single antenna mount position. The unique design of the Diversity Fin reduces the chance of a dropout due to cross linear polarization fades when wireless mics are moving around or where multi-path nulls are encountered indoors. It also prevents diversity microphone receivers from constantly switching RF input channels, which can create noise.
“We had dropout and noise issues on some other active paddle antennas we used on our wireless microphones, but there were no dropouts or noise on the Diversity Fin- and it got great coverage even when the transmitter wasn’t on the stage,” noted Kang.
RFvenue’s Chris Regan commented, “signal dropouts are routinely the number one complaint among wireless system managers and end users alike. We are pleased to see the Diversity Fin improving quality of signal on any brand wireless mic for live and installed systems.”
ABOUT RFVENUE RFvenue manufactures hardware wireless system accessories including remote antennas, RF distribution equipment, and cable assemblies. The company’s patent-pending antenna products include the interference mitigating RF Spotlight, the lightweight foldable helical antenna CP Beam, and the polarization diversity antenna dubbed Diversity Fin. For more information visit www.RFvenue.com
ABOUT CUSTOM AUDIO Custom Audio, Inc. is a complete live concert and installation sound system provider as well as pro audio/visual rental house in Hawaii. The company has provided equipment and services for major concert tours, professional sports events, and conventions among others. Installations include large theaters, houses of worship, schools, and government facilities. For more information about Custom Audio visit www.customaudiohawaii.com
“I think the AWS is the most well-thought-out desk for mid-size studios available on the market.”
LONDON – Orgone Studios, a facility specialising in recording, mixing and mastering, was conceived from the desire for sonic perfection in all aspects of the production cycle. The studio is a step closer to achieving their ambition with the addition of a Solid State Logic AWS 948 Hybrid Console/Controller. Primarily working with bands signed to independent metal and avant-garde rock labels, the studio offers a space ideal for recording up to six musicians in the main room. The AWS delivers SSL’s sonic legacy and industry reputation to Orgone, enhancing sound quality, streamlining workflow and providing high-end name recognition for potential clients.
Jamie Gomez - Orgone Studios
BUENA PARK, Calif.—Held in late January 2013 at the Pheasant Run Convention Center in St. Charles, Illinois, Willow Creek Community Church hosted Blast 13 a youth group retreat for approximately 1,400, produced by the Willow Creek Student Impact Ministry, with audio support provided by TC Furlong (Chicago).
One Yamaha CL5 digital audio console accompanied by two Rio3224-D input/output racks were used at front of house with a CL1 selected for monitor mixing along with two ProPlex Gigabit switches for network redundancy. “Network redundancy was important because of the high-profile nature of the event,” states Chris Wintz, Rental Manager, TC Furlong. “The crew at Willow Creek likes to have backup/redundant systems whenever possible.”
”Since the CL5 was already specified as the front of house console after the Willow Creek team attended a demo, and challenged with keeping the monitor mix area to a small footprint yet needing a system with ample mix buses, the CL1 was a one-stop solution,” says Wintz. “In the 13 years with have collaborated with the Willow Creek team, this was one of the most streamlined solutions we’ve put together.”
“We decided on the CL system for a number of reasons,” states Nathan Miller, Systems Designer/Engineer, Miller Audio Services (Chicago), audio contractor for the event (assisted by systems engineer Matt Satorius). “One factor was the ability to use the Premium Rack Portico plug-ins. We used the Portico 5033 EQ and 5043 Compression on the lead vocals at both front of house and monitors. We also used the U-76 plug-in at front of house across the drum bus as well as the Opt-2A plug-in to add a mastered sound to the IEM mix busses at monitors. The other major factor was the overall efficiency of the setup and strike. Switching to a digital snake really helped make the overall load in/load out easier. Not only were the FOH/MON runs much cleaner, but the split was much cleaner and easier to troubleshoot.”
Miller said the CL5s were easy to operate by event engineers Stephen Kendeigh and Ryan Pribyl due to console familiarity since the pair use Yamaha consoles for regular youth services. “Blast 2013 represented a major step forward not only in our audio system architecture, but in the overall sound quality of the event,” states Troy Bartholomew, Technical Director for the ministry who oversaw all of the production for the event. “Nathan’s choice of the CL Series streamlined our setup while giving us more features and flexibility than we have had in past events. Also, Ryan and Stephen’s ability to utilize the fantastic new features really elevated the audio experience for all of our students. Throughout the weekend, I received a lot of positive feedback from industry veterans, audio contractors, and Willow production staff who were able to come in and listen to the system.”
One of the largest churches in the U.S. with an attendance of 20,000 on any given weekend, Willow Creek regularly host retreats for youth and adults for their congregation. This particular event featured guest presenters along with a church house band of seven musicians and vocalists. For more information on Willow Creek, visit www.willowcreek.org.
For more information on TC Furlong, visit www.tcfurlong.com.
For more information on Miller Audio Services, visit www.masiaudio.com.
For more information on Yamaha CL consoles, visit www.yamahaca.com.
About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Celebrating 125 years of Passion and Performance, and 25 years in the manufacturer of high quality digital audio consoles, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the addition of NEXO to the product line, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO speaker models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.
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