Archive of the Live Sound Category
GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA: Not content to rest on its laurels, Danley Sound Labs announces improvements to many of its already highly-regarded SH-Series full-range loudspeakers. The new versions are identified by the suffix “HO,” which stands for “high output.” For example, the if one wishes to get the most performance out of the Danley SH-96 they should order the Danley SH-96 HO. The new designs use a more powerful two-way high frequency. As a result, the low- and mid-frequency drivers can now be driven to their full potential while still maintaining Danley’s characteristic frequency response, phase response, and fidelity. In conjunction, the new designs use a new crossover and have additional options for bi-amping and for changing the low-frequency impedance. Because the cabinets themselves haven’t changed, the new versions retain the coverage and frequency loss patterns of the originals. The new models include the SH-95 HO, SH-96 HO, SH-64 HO
“The original versions can be easily modified to become the new ‘High Output’ versions,” explained Ivan Beaver, lead engineer at Danley Sound Labs. “It just takes the new high frequency driver, a new crossover, and a new switch panel.” In addition, the midrange drivers are also wired a little differently, which is incorporated as part of the new crossover wiring harness. “There are two options on the new switch panel,” said Beaver. “First, there’s a biamp/passive switch. In passive mode, the new cabinets run pretty much like the old versions, except that the mid/high section will be relatively louder than the woofers, assuming the woofers are running at 8ohms.”
He continued, “And that’s the second option. Users can select a woofer impedance of either 2ohms or 8ohms. Some people do not like to run at 2ohms, whereas others may need the additional output when using smaller amplifiers. The wire run should also be considered when choosing the impedance. With a 2ohm load there will be more loss across the wire. How much loss will depend on the size of the wire and the length of the run. An 8ohm load will have a higher damping factor than a 2ohm load, and it is of course easier to bridge an amp into an 8ohm load than into a 2ohm load.” In biamp mode, the mid/high section takes the crossover circuitry and the low section thus has no built-in crossover.
Because the new switch panel cannot be expected to operate reliably if left exposed to the elements, weatherized versions of the new High Output loudspeakers must be pre-ordered with specified biamping and impedance settings.
ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology. www.danleysoundlabs.com
Los Angeles, CA – March 2013 …
**** Photo: Steve Stevens with his Chandler Limited Little Devil Colored Boost pedal ****
Guitarist / songwriter Steve Stevens knows that crafting the right sound is critical to the success of any performance. Possessing a resume that includes stints with high profile artists such as Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, and Vince Neil—along with his contribution on the Grammy® Award winning soundtrack to the wildly popular film Top Gun—Stevens’ ability to get the right sound is a skill that’s been fine-tuned to a very high level. In addition to strong playing technique, another critical element of his sound is achieved through signal processing. That’s precisely why Stevens looks to Shell Rock, IA-based Chandler Limited for some key hardware to shape his sonic signature. more
Prague, Czech Republic – February 2013…
** Photo: Petr Novák with his Lectrosonics equipment **
Similar in popularity to shows like Jim Henson’s Muppets, ?ty?lístek is a show that follows the lives and adventures of four animated characters: Myšpulín, a badger; Bobík, a pig tough guy; Fifinka, a pretty dog woman; and Pin?a, a rabbit. Originally introduced in the form of comics, the stories have evolved into animation. As is typical of any sound for picture project, the production staff of Bystrouška Sound Studios frequently finds themselves in challenging production environments. To help them meet the demands of the show’s audio, they recently deployed wireless microphone technology from Rio Rancho, NM-based Lectrosonics. more
Andrew McMahon (Jack's Mannequin / Something Corporate) performs at The Viper Room through a Sennheiser e 935 (photo courtesy Genie Sanchez)
West Hollywood’s The Viper Room
routinely hosts performances by over 150 performers a month. As one of greater Los Angeles’ more illustrious nightclubs since 1993, The Viper Room has been an evening destination point for many of Hollywood’s elite and was once owned by mega-star Johnny Depp himself. The club continues to host a ‘who’s who’ of musicians passing through Los Angeles, as well as up and coming independent acts and still maintains a reputation as one of the best sounding venues in West Hollywood — partly as a result of its usage of Sennheiser
Five years ago, Matthew Andrade began working at The Viper Room and within six months, he was promoted to production manager and head engineer. Andrade says he always wanted to work at The Viper Room, having attended many shows there while also enjoying the sound. “When there was a possibility of working here, I jumped on it,” he recalls.
After quickly rising through the ranks to become head engineer, Andrade essentially disassembled the sound system – carefully evaluating every component and connection – before embarking on a new vision to make the sound of The Viper Room even better. “I really wanted to extend our legacy for great sound and build a new vision,” he says. “It was very important for me to uphold the reputation of quality The Viper Room has, as well as share that vision with the other engineers and technical personnel who work here.”
Andrade, who was educated at Los Angeles Recording School and played in a band for over a decade, was originally introduced to Sennheiser microphones while admiring their sound on the drums: “I had a chance to audition Sennheiser drum microphones while working at other venues and I noticed that there was a difference in clarity, and it was very audible.”
Now, The Viper Room features a full complement of Sennheiser mics – not only on the drums, but on vocals and other instruments as well. This includes six e 935s and one e 945 for the vocals. “I especially like the e 935s, which have a very rich sound that is not boxy or nasally as many other mics I have used.” says Andrade. “I don’t have to run the gain very hot on these, which allows me more headroom so I can push them without getting feedback.”
The Viper Room’s collection of Sennheiser microphones help the low frequency and percussive elements translate throughout the room, which Andrade acknowledges can be difficult to mix in from his side-facing loft upstairs in the rear of the room. He uses the combination of the e 901 and e 902 microphones on the kick drum. “I love the combination of these two mics, as well as their proximity effect,” he says. “You can get more or less low end based on how close the beater is and simply adjust this as needed.” It is simple to set up and make adjustments to the e 904s microphones, which clip conveniently on the rim of the toms. “There are three adjustments you can make to lower or raise these mics,” observes Andrade. “Those parameters are really useful in helping me capture the right sound. The small footprint of these mics also means that I can use them when space is at a premium.”
He also uses a Sennheiser e 905 on the snare and a pair of e 914s small diaphragm condensers as overheads – which come in useful especially during recordings. “We have a Pro Tools set up where we send a stereo feed from the board and the recordings sound very, very good. I really like the high pass parameters and 10-15 dB padding on the e 914, since this gives me a lot more flexibility at the outset.” Finally, it is a common sight to see Sennheiser e 906s on the guitar amps and MD 421 IIs on the bass amps. “The thing I love about the e 906s is that you can just hang them over the side and they sound great,” says Andrade. “This eliminates mic stands and other hassles.”
“With Sennheiser microphones, I get a ‘whole body experience’ that you can feel, especially at the low end,” Andrade concludes. “I really make an effort to understand the sound and vision all the artists that play here really have. I want to stay true to the sound, and with Sennheiser, I feel like I am able to do that at a high level.”
The Who‘s 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia—which sets the tale of teen Jimmy Cooper amidst the global sociocultural upheaval and psychological angst of the times and the rivalry between Britain’s mods and rockers—has been reprised in a multimedia display on the band’s latest outing. The 37 date tour, which began in November and runs through the end of February, celebrates the four-decade anniversary of the album’s release and marks the band’s first major North American tour in four years. Even long-departed drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle make cameo appearances, joining remaining original members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Entwistle’s virtuosity and famous bass solo on “5:15″ are showcased in live footage shot at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000, which streams onscreen. They also pay tribute to the late Keith Moon; their performance of “Bell Boy” incorporates video footage of a 1974 performance, with Moon’s vocals dubbed in from the LP (one of the only times in Who history his vocals were heard on an album).
The Quadrophenia tour also reunites the band with production partners Eighth Day Sound, who have worked with the iconic rockers on their last three major tours. This time out they’re carrying a pair of DiGiCo SD7 desks (each running the latest MACH III software) for FOH and band monitors, plus an SD-Rack at FOH and a d&b audiotechnik J-Series PA. The audio crew is comprised of longtime Who FOH engineer Robert Collins, Simon Higgs on monitors with support from Eighth Day’s Senior Audio Engineer Mark Brnich, and sound techs Drew Marbar and Carl Popek. [Pictured: Popek, Marbar, Collins, Higgs and Brnich.]
Collins started with the band in the late 1990s-early 2000s, and has also worked with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend on their solo projects, trading tours with engineer Paul Ramsey in between tours with Eric Clapton and others. “Paul used to look after me; he was my systems tech on The Who. I made sure the team was put in place, you know, ‘cause an English band should have an English engineer—or British, I should say. I’m Welsh, though. So here I am back. They wanted to get me back for this, and luckily it worked out timing-wise with the schedule. It’s worked out with Eric so I can go do that as well this year.”
A relative newcomer to the SD7, Collins is certainly no stranger to DiGiCo (he’s an early D5 adopter and part of the DiGiCo family). Collins says he wouldn’t part with his trusty D5 until this tour. “She’s been really good to me. Y’know? Obviously, I’ve grown up with the D5, so I was like, ‘I’ll just stay on my D5, thank you very much.’ I wasn’t ready to go to the SD7 until I knew we had the new racks… and honestly I couldn’t justify going to an SD7 working with a four-piece (like Clapton) playing blues and such, you know? I mean, that thing can run a small country, can’t it?! But for this tour, it seemed like it was time.”
Right out of the gate, he was floored by the SD7’s sonics. “It just sounds great, doesn’t it? And the biggest thing for me personally with digital desks is, I’m old-school. I come from the old analog school. I feel like I’m a part of the band. I learned the music. I’m into the music. I do the music. I know what everybody plays, what everybody does. That’s my thing. I’m not into the technical side. I just want a bass drum to sound like a bass drum. I want the piano to sound like a piano. And if you don’t get a feeling off a desk… I find that this console is musical. I feel musical on it. I feel as if I’m doing something on it. Not to mention any names, but there are other digital desks and I don’t get anything out of them. It’s like working a laptop, for God’s sake! That’s one thing about all the boys at DiGiCo: they came from the old school. They knew what we wanted. They spoke to engineers. But they didn’t just speak to them like every other company; they listened to them.
“I think DiGiCo consoles are the best out there. What you can do with this one is way beyond me. I don’t need to go down that line. Don’t tell James [Gordon, DiGiCo’s managing director], but I’m still not using Snapshots! I still do it all myself; I like to do it myself. I want to be part of it. I want to switch the guitar on when it’s supposed to be on. I feel part of it, and that’s what I want to feel. I don’t think in the digital domain.”
Monitor engineer Simon Higgs presides over the other SD7 at stage left, managing approximately 112 inputs for IEMs and such for the nine-piece band. He’s also a veteran Who member, starting in ’98 with Townshend on his Lifehouse project. He’s a diehard DiGiCo engineer, having also used the consoles since their release a decade ago.
“It’s the only digital console that I really care to use and the only one I really like,” Higgs explains. “I used a D5 with the Los Angeles band Sparks when they did 21 albums in 21 shows back in 2007, and that was the first time I really used the D5 for an extended tour… 150-odd songs, all programmed in. The Who’s monitor mix was analog for a long time until it started getting bigger and bigger and we realized we had to move to digital. So we started using two D5s, but that filled up quick. We currently are using an analog console for Pete, who has his own operator, and I look after the rest of the band on the SD7.”
With nearly 112 channels of odds and sods, Higgs says he has a lot going on managing the band’s in-ears, a few random wedges around the stage and submixing stems for Townshend’s mix. “My desk is pretty full; 112 channels and they’re pretty much filled up. A lot of outputs. I’ve still got some floor monitors up there. I’m mixing down to the analog console as well, which is just a 16-channel desk, so I’ll mix all the drums, drum floor monitors, drum sub, floor shakers [drum thumpers] under his seat…”
Having everyone on in-ears has made his job a bit easier. “Roger decided that in order for The Who to work again, he had to get used to in-ears… he couldn’t have a half-dozen wedges all around him like he used to. So he’s gone through the whole process of getting used to in-ears. They’re all on Jerry Harveys, and that’s really enabled the band to work again. Pete’s still got conventional fill monitors; he’s got four around him, just split up, one doing vocal, a stereo pair doing something else, and there’ll be acoustic guitar in the wedge, and then a monitor behind him that has sound effects for ‘Quadrophenia’ or the loops that are in ‘Who Are You’ and ‘Baba O’Riley.’”
For effects, he’s primarily using what’s in the console, save a few outboard pieces, including a Lexicon PCM 60 for the snare drum, and a Bricasti M7 reverb for Roger’s vocal that he says “is absolutely amazing.”
‘Amazing’ is often the tone of reviews streaming in from critics and fans, not only heralding the show but also the durability of both Townshend and Daltrey. Their “My Generation” anthem notwithstanding (”I hope I die before I get old”), the founding members did just that (both are now in their late ‘60s) and if the Quadrophenia tour is any indication, they still have a lot of rockin’ left to go. As for engineer Robert Collins, it’s a full-circle homecoming of sorts, having grown up on their music.
“I got a good memory on me,” he laughs. “It’s very short. But The Who have been part of my musical thing. Them, the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks—that’s what I grew up on. In fact, I was pissed off at them, actually. As a teen, I queued up in the top rank in Swansea in Wales to see The Who, and they didn’t fucking turn up! I was pissed off. They had a fight or something. This was the ‘60s. But it’s kind of funny… Who’d have thought that when I was growing up trying to play in little bands and not very good, listening to all these great singers, that I’d end up engineering for many of them?”
Ford Audio Service owners Angela and Gary Ford
BURBANK, Washington – February 2013 — Tri-Cities-based sound reinforcement and AV service/rental provider Ford Audio Service, Inc. has now taken delivery of the first L-ACOUSTICS KARA system in Washington State. The initial order was comprised of 24 KARA, accompanied by 12 SB18 and eight SB28 subs, four 12XT coaxial monitors, and eight LA8 amplified controllers.
Located on the southern edge of the state — a five-hour drive southeast of Seattle — Ford Audio is well positioned to service corporate clients, venues, festivals and regional tours throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. more
UK manufacturer DiGiCo held the coveted position as console provider for the second year in a row at the annual GRAMMY® Awards this year. The 55th installment of “Music’s Biggest Night” was overall a bigger show musically, with 20 acts on the schedule, up from 2012′s 18. As the show’s live performances have expanded, so has its audio footprint. With audio production facilitated by ATK AudioTek (and consoles provided by Hi-Tech Audio), the digital desk count handing both music and production included five DiGiCo SD Series desks: four SD7s (an upgrade from last year’s SD10s) and the addition of an SD5, as well as 11 SD Racks (up from last year’s six).
At the MusiCares event the Friday night preceding the GRAMMYs, engineer George Squires manned a DiGiCo SD7 with four DigiRacks at monitors to provide 170 inputs to 28 stereo ear mixes and 30 wedge mixes. Delicate Productions handled the audio production. On the 85th installation of the prestigious Academy Awards, ATK provided audio production with a Peterson-designed system comprised of three SD Racks, an SD5 at FOH helmed by Pat Baltzel and an SD10 run by Mike Parker. Hi-Tech Audio provided console support for all these events.
The GRAMMY and Oscar systems were both designed by ATK’s FOH Tech Jeff Peterson. On the GRAMMY event, Peterson also served as the system tech with assistance from Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher. The GRAMMY audio team again included consultant Ron Reaves mixing all of the live performance elements at FOH on an SD7, and ATK’s VP of Special Events Mikael Stewart on an SD5 managing all the nonmusical production assets. At stage right (“A”) and left (“B”), respectively, Tom Pesa and Mike Parker facilitated artist monitor mixes using a pair of SD7s (with an additional “guest” rig used for sets by Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars). [Pictured LtoR: ATK FOH Tech Jeff Peterson; Leslie Anne Jones, The Recording Academy®, Producers & Engineers Wing®; Production Mixer Mikael Stewart, ATK; Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher, Audio Consultant; FOH music mixer Ron Reaves (seated).]
“Overall, we have a massive total of 276 mic preamps and 176 outputs distributed between five consoles and 11 DiGiCo SD Racks,” explains Peterson. “Those four consoles, plus eight SD Racks, are on one optical loop, each connected to one of ATK’s 56-pair splitters. The guest monitor SD7 console is on its own optical loop, with three more SD racks. Also new is JBL’s newest line array, the Pro VTX V25 3-way system (powered by Crown ITech 1200 HD amps).
“In addition, we have more than 50 wireless microphones this year,” he adds, “which take up an entire splitter. We have almost an entire splitter dedicated to what we call high-level items, which are things like playback from the truck, Pro Tools lines, all of the production elements, and the podium mics (that are not for use with a band) are down the fourth splitter. The first two splitters are dedicated just for band inputs, one for stage right and one for stage left. This year we’re using AES outputs directly from SD racks in three locations to drive the amplifiers to the PA system. So it’s a whole digital system path again. What we eliminated was a second optical loop just to do the amplifiers. So everything is on one optical loop, with the SD Racks and the consoles.”
The transformer splits themselves are where the copper stops, Peterson explains, and are the dividing line between the live PA side with the DiGiCo SD racks and the trucks. From the ATK splitters, the signals go on to all of the different head amps: one to the two recording M3/Music Mix Mobile trucks, one to the main Denali broadcast truck, and one to the head amps for the DiGiCo consoles. “From there, it’s all various flavors of fiber, whether it’s Optocore to us or MADI to the M3 truck, or Hydra to the Denali. Once it leaves the transformer split, it’s pre-amped and converted to digital from there on. So the inputs come from the stage and then they are split up and sent to multiple destinations. The broadcast truck gets all of the raw microphones the same way we do. They do their mix, package it together with the broadcast items, the show elements and the production elements and send it out for broadcast. They also generate a lot of signals that we take out here: all of the videotaped packages, all of the music play-ons and play-offs, any band’s Pro Tools backing tracks—all of those are generated and routed from the truck through another splitter system to the rest of our consoles.”
“The SD system worked flawlessly,” sums up FOH production mixer Mikael Stewart. “The flexibility of the SD5 and SD7 are exactly what is needed for a show like the GRAMMY Awards.”
“I have continued my love affair with the DiGiCo console,” adds Ron Reaves, “having done quite a few gigs this last year on both the SD10 and the SD7. We started using these last year, and decided that this is all we wanted to use moving forward. This year, both monitor mixers switched from SD10s to SD7s, and that worked out great. The SD7 continues to be the best tool for my particular job at the GRAMMYs, and helped contribute to another great-sounding show out at FOH. I’ve particularly enjoyed the new dynamics package, and feel that between the new de-essers, and the dynamic EQ (a gift from the sound gods), that there’s no vocal ‘problem’ that can’t be tamed with this console. I’ve enjoyed some of the best vocal sounds I’ve ever gotten, too, thanks to this console.
“This year, there was a bit of extra pressure put on us at FOH to get mixes together faster in soundcheck,” Ron continues. “The demand has grown to have the first pass of a song be as close to the full band sound as possible and the console has helped me to accomplish this with the use of presets. I use a lot of presets and pre-dial pretty much everything so I’m never starting from scratch when we start rehearsing a band. That’s been a very helpful tool to have. The addition of the “presentation performances,” where a performer does a song and then introduces another performer, was also tricky and another place where the console excelled. I wrote separate snapshots in order to switch between these segments instantaneously and that worked great. For example, Hunter Hayes performed out on that dish stage in the middle of audience. When he finished, he immediately introduced Carrie Underwood—and bang, snapshot change. The console did what we hoped it would do with no glitches in the audio. In the time it took the audience to applaud, the console had already switched and we were ready to rock on the next act. It was really cool. That was a great example of how quickly this console can switch snapshots and turn on a dime.”
After two years of working on a DiGiCo SD10, the process of building snapshots was made much easier for engineer Tom Pesa, who handled the inner monitor workings on an SD7 this year on the A-Stage at stage right. “It begins with a strong template,” he explains, “a snapshot that is laid out to accommodate anything that comes down the pike with 10 A-stage acts to soundcheck. The common functionality between the DiGiCo platforms means that session structuring, labeling, grouping, building macros, etc., is all very familiar. I had only two days to dive into my SD7 on-site and plan a basic template based on the volumes of band info. Each act provided input lists, band plots, monitor layouts and in-ear requirements. Once my fellow monitor crew created the plan on monitor wedge quantities and in-ear assignments, I added that info to the input list to create the snapshot for that band. Each act is so different when it comes to instrumentation, microphone type, mono mixes and stereo mixes, but the ability to truly customize each snapshot with every parameter being specific to that act means that almost any request can be satisfied. If time permits I try and get ahead of the game by focusing on individual processing for each input, high-passing, EQ and compression as well as FX presets and mix content. The availability of powerful processing onboard the SD7, including the dynamic EQ and multiband compression, allows me to keep things well contained and sonically tight, which is important, especially when creating smooth, coherent in-ear mixes. There is no doubt how good the dynamic range is with the new generation of DiGiCo consoles. I knew how good mixes sounded on SD10 and the SD7 continues this experience for me, just on a much larger and customizable platform.
“Once again this year at GRAMMYs, the entire FOH and monitor consoles were on an Optocore loop utilizing shared head amps. Monitors were in charge of band input gain and FOH was in charge of RF vocal and production mics as well as Pro Tools inputs. We have worked hard the last two years to create a system of trust when trimming each other’s gain while soundchecking, and it has worked well. Once everyone is happy with where the individual inputs of gain are, we switch to digital trim and can fine-tune our own inputs and not affect anyone else. This whole symbiotic relationship of all the mixers at the GRAMMY Awards is why session saving, snapshot updating and recall scope is so important, and all of us have done well in making sure everything is as it should be through soundchecks, dress rehearsal and show. All in all, the use of the DiGiCo systems at GRAMMYs continues to be a leap forward in how everyone’s mixes sound and the sheer utility of how they create those mixes.”
“Honestly, no other console is touching what DiGiCo can do right now,” declares Peterson, who, since last year’s GRAMMYs, has also worked extensively on SD5s and SD7s for a host of award and music shows, from the Oscars to The X Factor. “You can’t network the other consoles the way you can the DiGiCos, so there’s really no other game in town. On shows like these, half the engineers coming in that we work with are jealous that they don’t have a DiGiCo, and the other half come in and are thankful that we’re using them now.”
Photographs courtesy of The Recording Academy®/Wireimage.com © 2013.
Described as an audio graveyard for sound designers, the ballroom at the Novotel Hammersmith presented no such pitfalls for Manchester-based VME when they were asked to provide sound reinforcement for the recent 2013 TPi (Total Production International) Awards.
“Everyone has had a crack at it, and this time it was our turn,” said VME director Dion Davie. “We knew that performing in front of all our industry peers would be challenging.”
VME were early adopters of Martin Audio’s MLA platform, and turned to an MLA Compact solution for the main arena, rigging six elements on either side of the stage which were used in tandem with an additional four providing a central hang to ensure good, even coverage over a very wide area. This arced out into the banquet room, where Lauren Laverne presented this year’s awards.
The array was underpinned by four DSX subs, while Martin Audio X12+’s were used as outfills, discreetly hidden behind the LED screens that formed the set to provide coverage at the tables that fell slightly off-axis from the arrays. Martin Audio DD6’s were used as stage front fills and foldback due to their compact size and innovative differential dispersion horn.
There was also a low-level area at the rear for which VME also provided reinforcement. “The trick was to get the two MLA Compact arrays and distributed systems syncing up seamlessly with each other,” said Davie. Fortunately three Martin Audio DX2 (4-in 8-out) dedicated management systems provided all DSP necessary. System tech Mark Edwards used Smaart software to time align the entire system; when the presenter moved from the main stage to the smaller B stage, an alternative snapshot was recalled from the DX2’s to reconfigure the system.
“We knew the MLA Compact would cover the main area, and mapped the room on the MLA [Display v2.1] software to achieve the optimization,” said Dion Davie.
VME’s Ben Hyman project managed the event, Steve Brierley mixed the sound and Martin Shaw, assisted by Mark Edwards and Martin Audio’s Nigel Meddemmen, were system techs.
Hyman stated, “The two main requirements for the system were coverage and clarity — particularly at the back — ensuring that every person, no matter where they were sat, could hear the audio at the right level. And we certainly achieved that.”
Dion Davie added, “Guests were absolutely gobsmacked by the sound quality for the first time in the history of the event. Judging from the number of calls it was an outstanding success and we feel we have set a benchmark.”
Ben Chadwick, Event Manager at organizers, Mondiale Publishing, agreed. “We got the sound absolutely right this year. Because of ceiling height variations it’s a tricky room to provide even coverage with high intelligibility, but we completely nailed it.”
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.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – FEBRUARY 2013: The University of Utah’s Libby Gardner Hall is large enough to comfortably accommodate a 200-member choir, an 80-piece orchestra, and nearly 700 audience members. It is acoustically and aesthetically stunning, with a warm, rich reverb conveyed by wood panel walls arranged in a spectacular geometry. For years, the school struggled to provide the hall with sound reinforcement for spoken word, solos, and non-classical musical forms that matched the splendor of unamplified instruments. That struggle ended with the purchase of a high-end K-Array mobile PA system, but the fact that it would be placed at different areas of the stage for different types of events meant that well-balanced equalization in one location would be unbalanced at another. A simple, cost-effective, and equally high-fidelity Symetrix Jupiter 12 DSP solved that problem by allowing straightforward selection of different equalization curves from authorized users’ smartphones and other Internet-connected devices via Symetrix’ ARC-WEB user interface.
“I joined the University of Utah faculty twelve years ago,” said David M. Cottle, music tech specialist and director of the electronic music and recording studios. “I was responsible for recording and sound reinforcement in our three performance halls. The first week I was here, I disconnected the existing speakers in Libby Gardner Hall, our premier performance space. The hall is built for acoustic performance, and the installed speakers did no more than muddy the speaker’s voice. From then on, we made announcements without a microphone until we could find a better solution. We started to investigate phased arrays, which have a wide horizontal, but narrow vertical pattern. The first system we tried was a clear improvement: extremely low feedback, even distribution, clear response across the spectrum, and very little reflection. But it was also flawed. It had weak low end, was noisier than I had hoped, and proved bulky to move.”
Salt Lake City-based Performance Audio stepped in with a better solution: a K-Array KK 200 full-range tower, KK S50 subwoofer, with KA 40 and KA 10 amplifiers, all in a stereo set. “As expected, the K-Array system has the same positive properties as the previous phased array,” said Cottle. “Feedback is practically non-existent, and the dispersion is even and horizontal. The system controls the reverb in the room very well. But in addition, the K-Array subs are solid enough for occasional student talent shows and the system is quieter, and easier to move.”
When the new system would be used as the primary source of sound for a performance, it would have to be located toward the front edge of the stage. In contrast, when the system would be used to augment a mostly-acoustic performance, it would be located behind the performers. “When located behind the performers, the sound is less like a PA and more like a richer, blended ensemble,” explained Cottle. “For example, a mic’d piano with orchestral accompaniment isn’t noticeably louder. It can simply be heard with all the other instruments.” However, the system gets a pronounced low-frequency buildup when located behind the performers.
“By providing the school with a Symetrix Jupiter 12 app based turn-key DSP, we were able to give them the EQ curves to match the two locations, along with the flexibility to accommodate other positions should they need them in the future,” said Jake Peery, system design and installation expert with Performance Audio and the individual responsible for designing Libby Gardner Hall’s new reinforcement system. The system currently uses eight of the Jupiter 12’s twelve inputs and two of its four outputs. Many of the inputs combine using Symetrix’ sophisticated automixing algorithm, and mixer inputs accommodate larger, multi-mic performances. A hardwired Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote controls the volumes of two Sennheiser G3 wireless microphones used for announcements and spoken-word events.
In addition, Peery used Symetrix ARC-WEB to give Cottle and other authorized users control of the system from their smartphones, iPads, or other Internet-connected devices. “They can select the proper EQ curves for the loudspeaker locations and control the volumes of the wireless microphones or other inputs right from their phones,” said Peery. “They really liked that idea.” Since the new system’s installation, Cottle has received numerous compliments from faculty, students, and audience members. “The other night, we mixed a jazz band, which is one of the most difficult ensembles to control, even without a PA,” he said. “The Director said that it was the best the band had ever sounded in Libby Gardner Hall. The solos were present, but not piercing, and the rhythm section sounded homogeneous.”
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.
London-based Capital Sound Hire has become the first UK company to take delivery of a NEXO STM Series system, and Wigwam Acoustics has confirmed its purchase of a STM modular line array system, after two years of involvement in its development by both companies.
The initial STM touring range incorporates three elements; the M46 Main cabinet, B112 Bass cabinet and S118 Sub-bass cabinet, which allow users to build systems for audiences from 200 to 100,000. “With profit margins being squeezed, it’s crucial for the success of rental companies to get the maximum flexibility from their inventories,” continues Capital’s Paul Timmins. “Prep costs money, and this system only requires configuration between projects, with no rebuilds necessary.”
The scalability of STM held great appeal for Capital, whose projects range from 10 people at small corporate events to stadium and outdoor shows for 60,000 plus. “What has become evident is that most current loudspeaker systems require you to stock up to four sizes of line array boxes to cover the variation in room sizes,” says Timmins. “Often, during the winter months, an entire inventory of large format loudspeakers can sit idle while there is a shortage of small and mid-sized cabinets. The concept of STM is amazing, with true multi-use options for all components including the amplifier racks. System designs can take into consideration not only room limitations but also musical content. It’s a fantastic addition to the tool box.”
Capital, which will ultimately own a 48-box system an inventory of 48x M46 Mains, 48x B112 Bass and 48x S118 Subs, is initially planning to introduce the components on small-scale events. This will ramp up during summer 2013 to larger projects that will allow engineers to get to grips with its full capabilities. “NEXO has been a great company to work with,” concludes Timmins of the STM project. “They have a fantastic R&D team and they also know where all the best restaurants are!”
In STM terminology, Wigwam’s package is 48 sets: 48 x M46 main cabinets, 48 x B112 bass cabinets and 48 x S118 sub bass units. The system specification is identical to that ordered by Capital Sound. The main criteria for the new system, according to Wigwam’s Chris Hill, was, “will it sound good, will it be flexible, and quick to rig? NEXO engineers really listened; STM is scalable, and we can use it for many different applications instead of it just being able to do certain types of work. We’re hopeful that this will give us maximum utilization of our stock.”
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