Archive of the News Category
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky held the very first Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horse races in 1875, the year it opened. The track acquired its now-iconic twin-spires grandstand in 1895 and subsequently added to it on either side in pieces during the last century, bringing the grandstand’s current capacity to 52,000. In anticipation of the 2014 Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs commenced installation of a 171-ft. by 90-ft. video screen, the largest 4k video board in the world. Because the facility’s low-fi sound reinforcement system had been designed ages ago for only spoken word reproduction, the new screen would require a serious sound system upgrade to realize its full potential and impact. Dallas-based Marsh/PMK International, LLC designed the new sound reinforcement systems for all of the outdoor areas including nearly sixty clusters in the grandstands comprised of Danley Sound Labs SH50, SM96 and SM60F loudspeakers as well as TH212 subwoofers.
Encompass Develop, Design & Construct oversaw the installation of both the new video board and the new sound systems and they hired Marsh/PMK. Dave Stearns and Tim Lindstrom worked with Marsh/PMK to execute the sound system project from conception to completion. “The timeline for such a large-scale project was incredibly short – only six-and-a-half months from start to finish,” said David Marsh, owner of Marsh/PMK. “We were selected as the consultant in early October and delivered the design to Encompass at the end of December with two addenda following in January. Siemens was awarded the installation contract at the beginning of February. They won the bid in part because they have an ongoing contract to operate and maintain the sound systems at Churchill Downs. As such, they were already familiar with the facility and all the relevant operational aspects. Minor installation work and punch list corrections were still going on after the opening of Churchill Downs’ spring meet on April 26. Final testing and adjustments followed to make the system fully ready for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby race days on May 2nd and 3rd.”
“I’ve been listening to Danley systems at trade shows for years now,” said Marsh. “I like the company’s philosophy of building large horn systems instead of adding to the already flooded market of line arrays. We see line arrays used in many permanent installations where properly designed horn arrays would work better. People have the idea that line arrays are a panacea, the cure-all for every situation, because they can throw sound long distances and because the main sound lobe can be electronically shaped and steered. True, but there is another side to that story.” Marsh goes on to explain, “Constructive and destructive interference that makes line arrays work also causes noticeable variations in tonal quality. Interference also produces lobes of sound in unintended directions, including behind the array. Lastly, most line arrays have wide horizontal dispersion, the angle of which is usually fixed by the basic building block of the array. In such cases, it is not possible to vary the horizontal dispersion angle along the length of the array to optimally match the intended coverage area.”
Marsh said, “I’ve been looking for the right project for Danley. Churchill Downs became the one. Danley clusters positioned along the front edge of Level 300 serve the largest covered seating tier and all the trackside sections in front of the grandstand building from one end to the other. A tight vertical pattern with sharp cut-offs was critical in our long-throw situation. We had to throw sound all the way down to the edge of the track without ‘sizzling the hair’ of people seated below the clusters where Level 200 protrudes out from the building. The system performs as intended. I was also pleased by the performance of Danley’s TH-212 subwoofers. This is a tapped horn design that delivers an impressive amount of bass in a relatively small package.”
Our original design was based on a different loudspeaker manufacturer, but they couldn’t guarantee that their products would be delivered on time,” said Marsh. “Danley had slightly greater vertical coverage patterns in similar box sizes [to those of the other manufacturer], which allowed us to modify our design to use one less box per cluster. That would ultimately be a cost savings. Danley emphatically stated that the boxes would be delivered on time and that sealed the deal. They made good on their promise.”
Danley Sound Labs, Inc. President and CEO Mike Hedden commented, “One of the things we are very proud of is our U.S.-based manufacturing. From the time we got the order until it was shipped complete was four weeks; 250 fully weatherproofed loudspeakers in four weeks, that’s unheard of in this day of off shore production! During this time the south got hit by two severe snowstorms that wreaked havoc on the region. Even with raw goods being lost in logistics which delayed shipments, we still delivered the products in organized pallets so that each load represented a finished cluster on the job site in four weeks.”
Unlike a typical baseball or football stadium, the grandstand building at Churchill Downs has seating tiers that are stacked vertically, straight up and down. Moreover, various expansions have occurred over the years adding sections on either side of the historic “twin spires.” All of these sections have slightly different profiles. There are varying ceiling heights, seating depths and column spacing. It was a unique situation that required careful planning. Unfortunately, Churchill Downs did not have CAD drawings of the facility. In fact, PDF drawings provided to Marsh/PMK trickled in over a period of weeks and none of them were to scale. “This put the already tight design schedule in serious jeopardy.” Marsh said. “How were we going to get this project into EASE [for coverage modeling] and how were we going to produce usable CAD backgrounds?”
Tim Lindstrom worked with Melvin Saunders, another consultant working on the Marsh/PMK team, to meet the challenge. Tim used dimensions obtained during the initial site survey to create re-scaled PDFs. Melvin used Google Earth to confirm or correct the dimensions and then created a SketchUp model of the complicated grandstands. The SketchUp model was imported into EASE, which finally allowed Dave Stearns to get into the detailed loudspeaker system design. Tim subsequently set about creating the necessary CAD backgrounds. “I was very proud of our team’s resourcefulness.” Marsh declared.
Two basic cluster types alternate along the length of the grandstand, just under the front edge of the Level 300 ceiling. There are nearly sixty clusters in total. The first type of cluster includes a Danley SH50 long-throw box and a companion TH212 subwoofer. The SH50 covers the seating in front of the grandstand building all the way out to the edge of the track. The second type of cluster replaces those boxes with a Danley SM96 to provide near coverage in between the horizontal cut-off angles of the SH50s in the adjacent clusters. Both cluster types include a rear-firing full-range SM60F aimed toward the top of the Level 300 seating tier and a more-or-less down firing SM96 with its woofer removed.
Marsh/PMK expanded existing Q-Sys DSP and QSC amplification to power the system. Existing Renkus-Heinz and QSC loudspeakers were repurposed and added to as necessary to improve coverage on the “porches” in front of upper level suites and on Level 200 of the grandstand building. Renkus boxes were also used on the front edge of Level 200 to cover walkways in front of the building and the rear of Level 100 seating where the Danley coverage is shadowed by overhangs. Existing Community loudspeakers were repurposed and added as necessary on poles to cover seating that extends beyond the building as well as the track infield, the entry plaza and the paddock area. “Re-use of existing equipment where possible was a goal of our design, but Danley now provides the major audio horsepower for the grandstands at Churchill Downs,” said Marsh, claiming no pun intended.
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.
Custom Audio Equipment Package Brings the Story of the Creation of the First Nuclear Bomb to Off-Broadway Stage
NEW YORK, JULY 30, 2014 — When the highly charged, new rock musical, Atomic ignited the stage at The Acorn Theatre at New York’s Theatre Row, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, was on-hand to provide a custom audio equipment package to support Sound Designer Jon Weston and his team.
Atomic is a thrilling new off-Broadway musical that blasts open the doors of The Manhattan Project, a Government-funded program of top scientists who were faced with the task of creating the world’s first Atomic Bomb. The production depicts Hungarian American physicist and inventor Leó Szilárd as the mastermind behind atomic power whose heart has reservations. Ethics, scientific progress and true love are tested as Szilárd discovers exactly what he’s capable of when someone believes in him.
One of Weston’s biggest challenges in designing the sound for Atomic was the theatre’s layout itself. “The space we were dealing with is very wide and shallow, so coverage was a big concern,” says Weston. “In order to address those issues, equipment selection and its placement within the theatre, was critical. To accommodate the large scale of the show, we created an extensive sound system with Masque Sound’s assistance and support. Working in such a vast space, it was important to both the composer and director that the sound accurately depicts the many different emotions that run throughout this production, and I think that this custom audio equipment package allowed us to achieve that.”
In order to attain the soundscape he desired, Weston turned to the Avid VENUE Profile Console, which provides the sound quality, flexibility and reliability he was after. The main speaker system is comprised of a pair of d&b audiotechnik C7-TOP 15-inch two-way speakers. “The C7-TOP is a very musically-inclined, accommodating speaker,” Weston says. “It doesn’t wrap around or spill everywhere; its range goes exactly where it’s intended to and not much comes off the sides. It really is an excellent speaker and ideal for this production. We rounded out the main system with EAW JF200s and Meyer Sound UPA-1Ps, and it really sounds great.”
The surround system features RE Audio MT18s and Meyer Sound UPQ-1Ps that are also used as part of the effects system. The large, low end of the system includes d&b audiotechnik B4s and Q-subs, and Meyer Sound 650Ps. “The goal in the design of this surround system was to have an abundance of speakers working well within their set range, as opposed to having fewer speakers set up in a way that they sound draining,” adds Weston. “The system appears loud because of the contrast, but in reality it isn’t that loud.”
Additionally, Masque Sound supplied a microphone package featuring Sennheiser MKE-2s for the cast, as well as a wireless package featuring Sennheiser 5212 and 3532s. Masque Sound also provided frequency coordination for the 14 channels of wireless used for the show.
“Working with Masque Sound allows me to maximize my available options and budget,” says Weston. “It’s all about the relationship with the shop. I usually deal one-on-one with department personnel at Masque Sound, and they are always willing to go that extra step to help, which is critical to the success of a production’s sound design. I am very specific in my visions, and I know that can sometimes slow things down a bit, but they are always happy to oblige me, which is wonderful. The equipment Masque Sound provides, especially the microphones, are always top-notch. Even legacy equipment, which I like to use, is in stock and always in great shape. In addition to Masque Sound, I could not do what I do without the hard work of my personal team. Mixer/Associate Josh Millican and Assistant Sound Josh Staines do a great job of bringing it all together every performance.”
Atomic, running for a limited eight-week engagement, officially opened on Sunday, July 13 and is slated to run through August 16 at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). To learn more about Atomic, visit www.atomicthemusical.com.
About Masque Sound
Founded in 1936 by a trio of Broadway stagehands, Masque Sound evolved into one of NYC’s most successful theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design companies specializing in theatrical, house of worship, sporting, corporate, TV broadcast and live concert events. Celebrating more than 75 years in the industry, the company is lead by Geoff Shearing, the firm’s 3rd generation owner, and Vice President and General Manager Stephanie Hansen. The company also operates Florida-based Professional Wireless Systems, a leader in the development and implementation of wireless technology. Credits range from major Broadway shows and tours including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Lion King,” “Jersey Boys,” “Memphis,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Newsies,” “Once” and “Kinky Boots” to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including New York’s New Victory Theater and historic St. Bartholomew’s Church. Masque Sound’s 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and main assembly facility is located at 21 East Union Ave., East Rutherford, NJ, 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. For more information, call (201) 939-8666 or visit www.MasqueSound.com.
Mobile Studio with MM27 Monitors Travels the World
Pictured in his Los Angeles studio with his vintage API console and Barefoot MM27 monitors is producer/engineer Ian Cross. Photo by David Goggin.
Leading producer/engineer Ian Cross, known for his work with Usher, Gwen Stefani, and Jessica Simpson, has embraced the Barefoot Sound MM27 monitors for his latest project with Janet Jackson. When the Barefoots are not traveling around the world to accommodate Jackson’s touring and recording schedule, they rest atop his vintage API console in Los Angeles.
“When I first heard the Barefoots,” says Cross, “I noticed how controlled the low end frequencies were, and how connected the low end was to the rest of the spectrum. It’s a speaker that does everything a near field monitor should do, but it has that extended low end and it’s not coming from a corner of the room, it’s not bouncing off everything, it’s focused and coming right at you.”
Ian Cross was born in Nepal while his parents were working for the US foreign service and the international school system. His father pioneered the introduction of radio to the remote locale, and while there Cross learned about music not through records and radio, but from local musicians. After the family moved back to Phiiladelphia when he was eight, Cross pursued a music career and as a teenager his band, Briklin, was signed to A&M Records.
The producer/engineer who worked with Cross and his band was Grammy-winner Neil Dorfsman, known for his work with such artists as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. “Neil taught me a lot and he inspired me to want to make records. He was so good at what he did, that I started to think about music in a different way.”
Fast forward to Cross’ move to Los Angeles in 2003 and his introduction to superproducers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who immediatley recognized his talent with Pro Tools for vocal sessions. “I got to sit next to Jimmy for a number of years and he was like the Ph.D. in learning how to get what you needed vocally from a singer,” Cross recalls.
Before settling in with Barefoot Sound, Cross had tried out virtually every brand of monitor in some of the best recording studios in the world. “The music I do, modern R&B music, has a lot of extended low end,” he explains. “That can really wreak havoc on what you’re doing if the studio isn’t properly tuned with the low end and the full range of frequencies. Most sub-woofers are just an afterthought in a recording studio. They absolutely just stick them in there to make somebody happy. It drives me crazy.”
Cross is presently working exclusively with Janet Jackson on her forthcoming much anticipated album, her first since “Discipline” (2008). He describes Jackson’s reaction to Barefoot Sound: “I started playing a song called ‘I Get So Lonely’ and she stopped me and said, ‘Where is the low end coming from?’ I said, ‘The speakers, that’s what you’re listening to.’ She said, ‘Those speakers are the only thing we’re listening to right now?’ I said, ‘That’s just the speakers.’ She was instantly sold.”
In addition to working with Barefoot monitors at his own studio in LA, Cross travels the world with Janet Jackson, his Barefoot monitors, and a mobile studio comprised of Pro Tools HD Omni, API Neve, API compressor, a vintage 1962 Telefunken Ela M 251, and a Tube Tech CL1B compressor.
“I feel the Barefoots give us the most accurate representation of what we’re doing at any time. It doesn’t leave me or Janet with any second guessing. There is something special when the artist you’re working with is really, really comfortable with the way their voice sounds. I can tell you Janet’s voice sounds completely marvelous on these speakers. I feel like before Barefoot there was no speaker that really presented her voice correctly, because she has so much detail, even when you’re around the 11 or 12K range that makes her voice really special. Yes, I think it’s the happiest she’s ever been. It’s certainly the happiest we’ve ever been with monitoring and listening to the music we’ve been working on.”
Read the entire Ian Cross interview and learn more at the new Barefoot Sound website: http://bit.ly/1k7CjmG
Learn more about the Barefoot Sound MicroMain 27 monitors at :
ABOUT BAREFOOT SOUND
Barefoot Sound was founded by Thomas Barefoot with the goal of creating a new breed of studio monitor. While project studios were sprouting up all over the world, filled with outstanding gear, yet with limited space, Thomas Barefoot recognized the need for a speaker that could transcend the traditional distinctions between nearfield, main and mastering monitors. Translating effortlessly and never requiring second guessing , Barefoot Sound monitors are recognized throughout the music industry as multifunctional masterpieces. By creating one studio monitor that fits into a small physical space with leading edge technology and astounding clarity, Barefoot has set a new standard. Handcrafted in the USA.
For more info visit: http://www.barefootsound.com tel: 503. 894. 8602
Syndicated web-based radio show simplifies studio setup with company’s d:dicate Recording Microphone range
NEW YORK, JULY 29, 2014 – Listeners the world-over tune in to BBS Internet Radio every Thursday to hear The Lena Live Radio Hour, hosted by Professor Lena Miremonde. The multi-faceted program covers topics from physics and politics, to music and art. In order to ensure the audio is perfectly clear over the airwaves, the station relies on DPA Microphones’ d:dicate™ Recording Microphones with MMP-A preamp. With the capability to switch between the d:dicate 2011 Cardioid and 2006 Omnidirectional capsules, the program’s producer, Julian Lampert, is afforded a modular functionality that can cover a large variety of audio needs while offering the benefits of fantastic sound quality and a drastically simple setup.
Thanks to his musical background, Lampert has been familiar with DPA for years. When he went searching for a microphone solution for Lena Live, he felt DPA’s selection of recording mics could easily be integrated into the station. Using just one d:dicate preamp, Lampert can choose between the 2006 Omni capsule, to record commercial and performance music, and the 2011 Cardioid capsule, to record interviews with distinguished guests who join the program to share the latest in science, medicine, the arts, politics, psychology and economics.
“The modular capability of the d:dicate Recording Microphones is exactly the reason we chose DPA,” shares Lampert. “What worked extremely well was that the range increased our efficiency dramatically and we’ve had really fantastic results all around.”
Since there is an immediate shift between the live musical performances and Miremonde’s commentary and interviews, the station had to find a way to make the microphone transition simple to avoid a lull between music and speech. Once Lampert and the program engineer decided to test relying on just one mic to cover speaking and musical audio needs, they were surprised by how well the solution worked.
“When the modular series came out, that was really our answer, and we’ve been very happy ever since,” shares Lampert. “We’ve been using less equipment, which has a very wonderful benefit of increasing our efficiency and also creating a much higher sound quality, especially for the interviews. I think of these microphones as part of my musical instrument collection, they’re more than just microphones.”
The d:dicate Recording Microphone range combines the best capsules with the best preamplifiers to deliver superior sound for all applications where high-quality audio is required. The 2011 Cardioid and the 2006 Omni are rooted in the design technology of DPA’s classic miniature capsules. The 2011, primarily optimized for on-stage use, upholds audio clarity, richness and dynamic range to fit the needs of a radio program while the 2006, which, when combined with the MMP-A preamp, produces a low distortion with an accurate and faithful sound.
In addition to using DPA for radio, Lampert always uses the company’s mics for his main role as a professional composer. He additionally relies on DPA mics to record his performances and stage work for commercial music and acoustic instruments. With over 10 years of experience, Lampert has written for two-time Olympic Champion figure skating legends Ludmila & Oleg Protopopov.
Miremonde is internationally known as a musician, journalist and educator. With her expertise in performance psychology, she established an approach that applies to virtually all areas of human performance: from artistic expression to public-speaking, from academic achievement to developing self-confidence among young adults. She infuses an aura of music and art into nearly every area of conversation, whether it be medicine, politics, film-making or cooking. Drawing from her rich background of life and work in Europe and the U.S., Miremonde’s shows often project ideas that are universal to listeners all over the globe.
The Lena Live Radio Hour can be heard on iTunes Radio, Tune-In Radio and other radio networks. The show is currently featuring “The Nobel Series,” profiling four Nobel Prize winners in the areas of physics, medicine and biology. Other guests have included Carol Roth, CNBC contributor and New York Times best-selling author; Mark Barondess, celebrity attorney; David Gallo, oceanographer and CNN contributor; Sir Richard Roberts, 1993 Nobel Laureate, biochemist and molecular biologist, New York State Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Suzi Oppenheimer; and the late UN Ambassador Jerome Shestack.
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high-quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to always provide its customers with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for all its markets, which include live sound, installation, recording, theatre and broadcast. When it comes to the design process, DPA takes no shortcuts. Nor does the company compromise on its manufacturing process, which is done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability and, above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com
SYDNEY, Australia – Having toured the United Kingdom, United States and Australia with Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer, front of house engineer John Delf was one of the world’s first professionals to put the HARMAN’s Soundcraft Realtime Rack to use. Delf has been using his Soundcraft Vi4 digital console in conjunction with the Realtime Rack—a massive library of plug-ins from Universal Audio, compatible with all Soundcraft Vi Series digital consoles.
“I have been using the Soundcraft Vi desk range for many years now so I was very excited when they announced the release of the Realtime Rack,” Delf said. “I had heard great things about the Universal Audio plug-ins, so the thought of using these in combination with the Vi4 that I was using on the 5SOS tour was a very exciting prospect.”
According to Delf, the Realtime Rack has opened up a new world of possibilities. “The onboard dynamics and effects on the Vi range are exceptional but to be able to scan through the entire UAD catalogue and insert other extremely tasty emulations is so cool,” he said. “I am able to put two or three different compressors and pre’s into all my important channels and switch between them, trying out which ones are best for each application.”
In addition, the Realtime Rack enables Delf to create processing and effects combinations that would not be practical if he was using outboard hardware. “At one point I was running three compressors on my kick drum microphone and it sounded great—not something that would have been practical using actual outboard gear,” he noted. “The advantage of the virtual emulations is that I can create chains that in the real world I could only ever dream of.”
Of equal important is the Realtime Rack’s ease of use—a crucial benefit on tours where every second is at a premium. “Once the Realtime Rack is cabled up to the Vi it’s very easy to add the effects to your existing channels and you can still use them in combination with the onboard desk dynamics and effects. All internal connections are done though the MADI interface so once you have the ins and outs sorted in the Realtime Rack, it’s very simple to link those into the channels.”
According to Delf, the diversity of effects at his disposal gives him a virtually limitless sonic array to choose from. “A kid in a sonic sweetshop probably best describes using it,” he quipped. “The only downside is that once you have used the Realtime Rack you will really miss it next time you have to do a show without one!”
“It just adds that extra bit of magic to your mix that was only previously available to studio engineers, but is now quite literally at the fingertips of the live engineer, via a great touchscreen. Thank you Soundcraft, I really loved using this piece of kit.”
For more information on John Delf’s recording studio, please visit www.theedgestudios.co.uk
HARMAN designs, manufactures and markets premier audio, visual, infotainment and integrated control solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. With 15 leading brands, including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson ®, the Company is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a global workforce of 15,200 people and reported sales of $5.1 billion for the last 12 months ended March 31, 2014.
Watch the video
Everyone is familiar with the idea of a rock concert, but few events take the word ‘rock’ as literally as the recent series of outdoor gigs staged in Norway by the Pink Floyd tribute band Puls. Against the dramatic backdrop of the Kilden-Fjæreheia quarry in Grimstad, the band played six sold-out nights to audiences who were wowed not just by the music but by the spectacular projection-mapped backdrop that was created courtesy of AV Stumpfl’s Wings AV multi-image control technology.
Kilden-Fjæreheia quarry in Grimstad, Norway during the day. © Blank.
Birds-eye view of Kilden-Fjæreheia quarry, Grimstad, Norway showing previsualization of the projection area. © Blank.
Event design and production for the Puls concerts was the responsibility of Norwegian company Blank. Tomas Håvik, CEO of AV Stumpfl’s Scandinavian distributor Preqbi AB, recalls the project’s technical origins:
“Blank were searching for a solution that could deliver edge-blending and warping of multiple projected images, automated according to a timeline and with built-in media serving capability. We advised them that Wings AV could deliver exactly what they needed, and once the decision had been taken, we helped them with education and support.”
Kent Bakke, General Manager at Blank, explains: “Our challenge was that we wanted to map the actual face of the quarry that provides a backdrop to the band’s stage set. The face of this ‘mountain’ measures about 55 metres wide by 20 metres high, and our render size for the project was 3120 x 1200 pixels, with a 256 pixel overlap between the two halves of the image.
“The Vioso module of Wings split the image into a multi-display, blending and warping the output of six high-output HD projectors with ease. We also used Vioso to create and edit the video content, building up an exact replica of the ‘mountain’ in 3D.
“The content was stored and played back using the Wings Engine media server, with the Wings Avio control protocol allowing secure and perfectly synchronised connection via MIDI to the show’s lighting-control desk. This meant that the video timeline was perfectly sync’d to the music and associated lighting cues, every step of the way.”
AV Stumpfl Wings AV multi-image control technology.
Pink Floyd tribute band Puls at Kilden-Fjæreheia quarry, Grimstad, Norway. © Tomas Håvik, Preqbi.
Pink Floyd tribute band Puls at Kilden-Fjæreheia quarry, Grimstad, Norway. © Blank.
With an audience of around 950 people per night seated in a U-shaped amphitheatre exactly opposite the quarry wall, each show culminated in a spectacular climax that echoed the finale of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’, with pieces of rock from the quarry appearing to break up and fall towards the stage and theatre.
Tobias Stumpfl, Commercial Director, AV Stumpfl, concludes: “From video editing to large-scale projection, interactivity and show control, our Wings platform does it all. With the support of local partners such as Preqbi AB and the superb creativity of customers like Blank, our technologies are delivering spectacular results that wow audiences all over the world.
“We congratulate everyone involved with the Puls concerts in Norway and look forward to many more exciting applications of Wings to come!”
More information about Preqbi AB can be found at www.preqbi.se.
About AV Stumpfl
AV Stumpfl is an award-winning Austrian company that designs, manufactures and markets a range of high-performance mobile and installation projection screens and multi-display and show control systems for professional and business applications. As a family business, its founders started the company out of a passion for the advancement of presentation and installation technologies. The product range is warranted for 24/7 usage. AV Stumpfl is located in Wallern, Austria, and is supported by a global network of distribution and service partners.
The Sennheiser HD 600 Plays a Key Role in Delivering a Spacious, Detailed Sound Experience, Removing Sonic Barriers Between Artist and Listener
Old Lyme, CT, July 29, 2014: Since forming in 1968 and subsequently releasing more than 20 studio albums including classics like Fragile, Close to the Edge and Tales from Topo-graphic Oceans, Yes built its international success on the very foundations of progressive rock. Still very active as one of rock’s most influential bands, Yes recently opened their latest chapter of musical innovation with the release of Heaven & Earth. Produced by the legendary Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, David Bowie) and mixed by Billy Sherwood (Nektar, Motorhead), Los Angeles-based Mastering Engineer Maor Appelbaum got the call to put the finishing touches on the classic band’s latest sonic creation, keeping his Sennheiser HD 600 audiophile grade headphones close by.
Appelbaum, who runs Maor Appelbaum Mastering and works across a broad range of genres, chose to use the Sennheiser HD 600s as a studio reference tool to bridge the gap between album production and listener. Over the course of the project, he listened as both a technically minded professional and as a passionate music fan, with the ultimate goal of delivering an emotionally engaging listening experience. In the conversation that follows, Appelbaum discusses the ins and outs of mastering a modern day classic.
What is your role as mastering engineer?
I bring an objective ear to the process. Since I haven’t heard a project before, I can listen like a fan yet have control over the outcome. I am the buffer between what is created in the studio and what finally arrives to the listener’s ear. My ultimate goal is to help create a better, more emotionally engaging listening experience. Part of how I do this is through critical listening, which is evaluating how the music’s ‘feeling’ is presented from a frequency perspective. In making my evaluations and decisions, the tools I use are very important to me. For example, I have an excellent monitoring system with many sets of speakers so I can control how these frequencies are presented. I also use headphones to help me hear other details that might be missed by speakers.
How did you begin working on the new Yes album?
Billy Sherwood and I have collaborated on many albums together, and in the past two years I have mastered around 20 albums that he has worked on. He is very well known in progressive rock circles and we have a very good, longstanding relationship. One day he called me asked me to master the new Yes album and it was a great surprise. Once the mixes came in, I wanted to take them to the next level, while keeping the openness of the recording and all the dynamics in tact.
How can headphones help in the mastering process?
They are a great tool for checking the stereo spread and also evaluating low level details — which can consist of room tones, reverberation and other items. Speakers are important in helping evaluate the dimension in a production, but in most cases they are in front of you. On the other hand, headphones are essentially surrounding your head and can really help you figure out if your imaging natural or if it feels artificial.
When did you decide to rely on headphones in the process?
Once I figured out the processing chain that I wanted to use, I listened to the project on head-phones because I figured that listeners of this album would include audiophiles as well as people who enjoy listening to headphones — not just people who listen through earbuds and speakers. I think you always want to make sure that the product sits well with the clientele, and of course Yes has many fans that are bound to listen on headphones — both ‘old school’ fans who grew up with headphones and hi-fi systems and ‘new school’ fans who grew up lis-tening to music on computers. Today, music fans want to have a better production system, but portable — that’s why I think there is more sales of headphones than ever before.
Why were you drawn to the Sennheiser HD 600s?
A friend of mine bought a pair and he was really excited about them. He kept after me and I realized that if he was enjoying them that much, I should really give them a shot on the Yes project. It was the first time I bought anything sight unseen, solely on a recommendation. I got them, put them on my ears and said ‘Wow – these really sound good!’ I didn’t feel like they were hyped and they sounded very natural. They had all the detail I needed, and were very comfortable – which can be important over long sessions. Also, the frequency response was never piercing and didn’t fatigue me. I took them off, listened to my speakers, then put them on again and realized that the HD 600s sounded very close to my speakers — as much as a pair of headphones can.
What were your specific goals in mastering this album and where did the HD 600s play a role?
For this album, it was very important for me to hear a three dimensional sonic image — not just with speakers shooting straight at me. Using the HD 600s, I could hear the entire panoramic spread in great detail — it was very revealing. With speakers you can also hear this, but with headphones it is better because they sit right on your ear, there is nothing in between you and the music. On an album like this, where everything is very open, hearing things this way is very important and the HD 600s were perfect. They sounded like a nice pair of expensive, audiophile speakers, but on your ears.
Can you describe the overall design and form of the HD 600s?
The build quality is excellent. Its padding on the HD 600 is just right, and the tension is loose enough that you don’t feel an exorbitant amount of pressure your ear. Also, they are not too heavy, so you don’t feel like there is something bulky on your head. The cable is super flexible and the plug is robust. Overall, I love the sound quality and the HD 600 is very comfortable to work with. I am very impressed and I think I will be using them more and more.
Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Conn. Sennheiser’s pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
You can find all the latest information on Sennheiser by visiting our website at www.sennheiserusa.com.
1) Maor Appelbaum, Mastering Engineer
2) The Sennheiser HD 600 headphone
Atlanta-based electronic music and synthesizer wizard switches his monitor controller to the Dangerous Music Monitor ST & DAC ST and is astounded by the quality upgrade —
Richard Devine in his Dangerous Music equipped studio
– July 29, 2014
– Richard Devin
e is renowned as an electronic music composer and producer, as well as sound designer extraordinaire. From his Atlanta, Georgia studio, and his company Devinesound
, he specializes in the creation of custom sound, music and audio environments for film, television, video games, audio hardware and software, interactive web-based environments, and more. Devine recently switched out his monitor controller for the Dangerous Music Monitor ST
with the integrated Dangerous DAC ST
D-to-A converter in his massive electronic music studio. “I realized I needed to get a separate DAC that could accommodate multiple digital sources and at the same time output clean transparent audio with a non-fatiguing sound, I didn’t hear any distortion, and could hear so much detail even monitoring at the lowest listening levels,” says Devine.
“The end results that I’ve gotten in the last few months that I’ve used the Monitor ST are incredible,” he adds. “The ST and DAC ST are one of the best investments I’ve made in my studio. I’m a complete believer, it’s blown my mind.”
Devine has already completed several projects using the Dangerous DAC and Monitor ST including sound design and effects for the video game Wolfenstein: New World Order, trailer music for Twisted Tools DarkMorph Sound Effects Library, and the new iPad app “iMPC“-based on the iconic MPC-60 line of drum machine/samplers-for Retroymns and Akai Professional.
Testing 1, 2, 3…
To check the sound of the Monitor ST and DAC ST Devine did some very specific listening test, “I A-B’d the Dangerous gear against my Apogee DA conversion, and also did some comparison tests with the U.A. Apollo, and UFX RME card; and the DAC ST was just spot-on gorgeous.” Devine noticed a marked improvement in sound quality at low volumes with the Monitor ST as well, “I like to mix at lower volumes, and with the ST even at low volumes you get all that macro, beautiful detail, which was interesting to me. I thought, ‘Wow! There’s an immediate difference!’” With his previous controller the quality was not so good at lower volumes, but that is solved with the Dangerous Monitor ST. “I understand now, I’m a believer,” he says, “Having a dedicated DAC for monitoring is essential, especially with these features.”
“I did some tests where I was mixing for longer periods of time and I realized I’m not getting any ear fatigue. The DAC ST and Monitor ST combo has this very silky, clean presence. I don’t hear any distortion. It has a Hi-Fi quality to it.” Devine wondered if there was some kind of distortion in the DA conversion with his previous monitor controller that was causing fatigue in the past. Whatever it was, it’s not present with the Dangerous Music gear, “It’s become a non-issue now,” says Devine.
Detailing his first experience with the Monitor ST and DAC ST, Devine recalls, “I was using another monitor controller before this and I was using the D-A converter in it, and I was always unhappy with the sound quality, I couldn’t really put my finger on what was going on. When I got the Dangerous Music Monitor ST and the DAC ST it was an immediate night and day difference, I was actually shocked! Because in my head I was thinking, ‘I wonder how much of a difference it’s really going to be: huge difference, small difference, or something I am not going to even notice?’-Because the other controller made the claim that theirs was ‘completely transparent’, but it didn’t sound transparent to my ears. Immediately when I first hooked up the Dangerous gear I was in shock for the first 20 minutes, it was like ‘Wow!’ And then I felt kind of stupid, ‘How did I neglect one of the most crucial components of my signal chain, my monitoring solution? How did I overlook this for so long?’ Which is absolutely just as important as the monitors and the room you’re mixing in. So I was glad to get the ST, it has such a transparent, clean sound.”
Regarding the ST remote’s programmability, Devine also appreciates the ability to store level settings, “It’s so cool that you can set up each of your input and output settings and store them. That’s genius. It’s so nice to have that flexibility all built-in to the remote. It seems like Dangerous Music have thought out really well all the scenarios that you might run into, and it’s very elegant and graceful how they’ve done it. It offers so much more than what my other controller did. I can’t tell you how happy I am!”
Project Usage: A New World Order
“I finished designing sounds for a game called Wolfenstein: New World Order, and I was tasked to make all these impact sounds, sounds that have a lot of low frequency content, a lot of metallic resonating drones, a lot of sounds of actual metal that I recorded,” he explains. “So there was a lot of low-end material, a lot of subwoofer action, because they wanted the sounds to be bigger than life. I have a wireless Bluetooth bar speaker system that’s in the middle of my monitoring area that I do references on for TV work and video games, to test what people might listen to on more of a conventional Hi-Fi-like system. And what was great about using the Monitor ST is that I was able to very quickly do comparison tests with the subwoofer and soundbar setup to see how accurate the bass levels were. And they translated almost perfectly every time for me, which was exactly what I was looking for. So I feel that I can trust the Monitor ST. You feel a lot more comfortable and confident in what you are doing if you can trust the equipment you are working on. I feel that I can be creative and not worry that there’s something not correct in the signal chain, something causing distortion, or jitter in the clock. Transparency is truth to me and I feel that the Monitor ST has revealed everything to a point where I can very-well trust it.”
On his sound design work, Devine has need for just what the DAC ST delivers, easily selectable inputs, “I use multiple sources for sound design and TV projects, I switch around from Pro Tools to Nuendo, to Logic, there’s lots of formats using various hardware. So I wanted to have a system where I could switch between having 4 different sources digitally and several analog sources that I could A-B against really quickly, and the ST was perfect for that. I have an Airport Express modem running into one port of the DAC ST so I can monitor iPod, iPhone, and then I have a CD player and analog outputs from my main mix down card, my Universal Audio Apollo. Then I have another source, my Yamaha DM2000, where I have all my synths and drum machines connected. It’s nice to be able to level match all these sources, you can do that very quickly with the ST remote. You have a reference of how loud things are irrespective of different devices that you have connected to the ST. I think that is really cool. The Monitor ST has been a dream.”
In his studio Devine uses several speakers including the Genelec 8250, with auto calibrated DSP and the Genelec sub, the Avantone Mix Cubes, and he is planning on getting a third pair of monitors. The Monitor ST can control switching between all three at the touch of a button on its remote control. “I have separate on and off switches for my Genelec sub, but what’s nice about the ST remote that I really love is that it’s all in one place, everything is easily right at your fingertips,” states Devine referring to the dedicated Subwoofer on and off and the subwoofer lo-pass filter buttons on the ST remote.
On the ST’s headphone monitoring, Devine says, “The headphone output is really nice and beefy and loud, it’s pristine, and you hear all the dynamics really well. I like to do a lot of headphone tests when I’m doing a mixdown on any project. I was pleasantly surprised about the headphone amp level, it has a super loud and clean, clear, and transparent un-fatiguing sound.”
Remembering how he first heard about Dangerous Music equipment, Devine explains, “I have a friend that’s a mastering engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, Shawn Hatfield, and he’s mastered a good number of records for me. He used to be a producer making electronic music back in the early 90s like me. He’s got an incredible setup and an incredible set of ears for mastering electronic music. I had many discussions with him about correcting certain things in my studio and I noticed that he used the Dangerous Music gear and I was curious about that. He said it’s ‘mastering grade studio gear’ and said you ‘just can’t go wrong’ with it. He has the BAX EQ, and the Liaison to switch the signal chain up, he swears by that. He’s a firm believer. He raved about Dangerous Music to me: ‘If you want clean, pristine results without any kind of coloration – transparent and rock solid – you should check this gear out.’ That’s a good enough recommendation for me! If Shawn digs it then I will definitely go check it out. I really trust his ears.”
For more information about Richard Devine visit his website at: http://devinesound.net/
About Dangerous Music
Dangerous Music, Inc. designs and builds award-winning hardware products that are indispensable to any DAW-based recording, mixing or mastering environment. The Company pioneered the concept of the dedicated analog summing buss for digital audio workstations with the Dangerous 2-Bus in 2001. Today, Dangerous Music offers a wide range of products for recording, mastering, mixing and post-production facilities, all designed and built with mastering-quality standards and a practical aesthetic. Key products include the Dangerous 2-Bus and 2-Bus LT, Dangerous Monitor ST-SR, Dangerous D-Box, Dangerous Master, Dangerous Liaison, Dangerous Monitor, Dangerous Source, Dangerous BAX EQ, and the Dangerous Compressor.
For more information on Dangerous Music visit www.dangerousmusic.com phone 845-202-5100 or email: email@example.com
All trademarks are the property of their respective holders. Description and specifications are subject to change without notice.
“This is the console I have been waiting for; it gives me the utmost in flexibility, ergonomics, sound and options”
PARIS – Pop star Amel Bent first took France by storm as a semi-finalist on the pop idol television show Nouvelle Star in 2004. Ten years later, she’s still going strong. Currently in the midst of her Instinct Tour, Bent is performing to enthusiastic audiences across France and Switzerland, where a pair of SSL Live consoles, supplied by SGroup’s Alès location, are handling FOH and monitors.
Having previously worked with Christophe Willem, Zazie and 1789 Les amants de la bastille as PA tech, FOH engineer Thibault Maestracci joined Bent in November 2013 at the start of the tour. For this production, he takes approximately 50 channels from the stage and handles FOH mixing with a system that incorporates two Pro Tools® HD rigs.
“The first Pro Tools system is used as a ‘toolbox,’ mainly for effects for ‘stem group’ processing,” he explains. “The second system functions primarily as a backup during the show, but I can also use it as a multi-track recorder/player for rehearsals. The microphone preamplifiers are located on stage and are connected to the FOH console using SSL’s Blacklight II audio transport on two optical fibre connections. Alex [Maggi, the monitor engineer] and I have independent control over preamp gain for each desk.”
Maestracci is very happy with the results he gets with the SSL Live. “The sound quality is excellent and preamplifiers have the headroom to accept high input levels,” he adds. “I don’t need an external preamplifier with this desk — even for the lead vocal! The fader and encoder layout is great, and the way you can deploy the channels on different banks is very useful. You can put what you want where you want it. Once you understand the logic behind the desk, it is very easy to customize, and the ability to use both screens simultaneously is a powerful feature.”
According to Maestracci, the Instinct tour began indoors with a PA system that was configured for audiences between 500 and 1200. “For the summer, we’ve switched to an outdoor configuration with a local ‘festival-style’ PA,” he continues. “With this setup, the main output of the SSL Live is sent at 96 kHz via the AES output to two system processors, then distributed via Dante to the power amps.”
Meanwhile, Maggi, whose credits include Lara Fabian, Nolwenn Leroy and the production of Les Victoires de la Musique, mans his SSL Live from stage left, feeding monitor mixes to wireless IEM transmitters and wired IEM amplifiers. He met the Parisian pop sensation in 2004 while working on Nouvelle Star and soon after began touring as her monitor engineer.
“I’ve been waiting for a new generation of digital mixing consoles that could provide a higher number of output buses and increased reliability over the older digital desks I had been using,” he says. “The SSL Live gives me all of that, plus more. A big strength of the desk is that I can operate it in any number of methods. I can use the large touch screen or the small touch screen with its associated knob controllers, to access parameters for any input or output channel — whatever way is best for me. I find that I mainly use the small touch screen and the Channel Control Tile, which gives me rotary controls for the parameters and dedicated buttons to quickly access EQ, dynamics, panning and inserts. This is the console I have been waiting for. It gives me the utmost in flexibility, ergonomics, sound and options.”
Solid State Logic is the world’s leading manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles and provider of creative tools for music, broadcast and post production professionals. For more information about our award-winning products, please visit: www.solidstatelogic.com.
Minneapolis, MN––The Target All-Star Concert was held at the TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus a few days before the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star game.
Slamhammer Productions provided audio, staging and video for the sold-out show that featured Grammy Award winner Imagine Dragons and local hip-hop phenomenon Atmosphere playing to an enthusiastic crowd of over 30,000.
To get the depth and impact of coverage required, Slamhammer set up a Martin Audio loudspeaker system consisting of 16 W8LCs a side for the main hangs; 10 (stage right) and 14 W8LCs a side as outfill; a hang of 2 W8LMDs as center downfill; 4 W8LMs across the front lip of the stage for additional front fill, and 40 WSX subs ground-stacked in front of the stage. Two delay towers with 12 W8LM speakers each were set up 175 feet back in the audience.
Even though Slamhammer had done three smaller shows at TCF Bank Stadium, there were still particular challenges given the size and high profile nature of the event.
According to company President Peter Skujins, “We were faced with long throws of over 400 feet and were limited in terms of rigging capacity. The mobile stage we were using is a beautiful structure with a huge total capacity, but you eat that up pretty quick with multiple hangs weighing over 6400 lbs on the roof. We were also concerned about having a major sightline problem with the delay towers because it was a seated house.
“Fortunately, these all turned out to be non-issues because the W8LM is a very compact box and the Martin Audio system did what it’s supposed to do. It sounded great and everyone was really happy with the coverage and audio quality, including our client Major League Baseball who called the concert ‘a huge success.’”
For more about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.
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.
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