Archive of the Things We Hear Category

Mix Nashville. It’s On!

We have dates! September 13-14, 2010, at the all-new and rebuilt Soundcheck Nashville. It took awhile to line up dates that would work for sponsors, attendees and, most importantly, the engineering community of Nashville. But we’re excited to be moving full-steam ahead with our favorite event of the year. Same great programming, a few added benefits, and  it’s FREE to all greater Nashville residents, and a mere $39 for earlybird registrants from outside Davidson County. Visit our Mix Nashville website today for all information and links to registration. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Mix Nashville Postponed, Golf Benefit Still On

One of the reasons Mix Nashville takes place at the end of May each year is that it leads into two days of golf at Harpeth Hills. It’s a great tournament called Audio Masters that benefits the Nashville Engineer Relief Fund, a nonprofit established by the Nashville section of the AES. Because of the flooding in early May and the damage to our venue, Soundcheck Nashville, we are postponing Mix Nashville until early September. But the golf tournament is still slated for May 27-28, and we encourage all who haven’t signed up to contact Nicole Cochran and bring in a foursome, or toss in a sponsorship.
“Countless individuals in the region have had their homes and livelihood affected by this tragedy,” says NERF Board President Jim Kaiser.
“This is a perfect time to donate to NERF, knowing that the funds will go directly to our audio community,” adds Cochran, event coordinator of the Audio Masters. “We are so grateful and humbled by the many local businesses and national manufacturers that have for years generously donated to this fund. It’s more important than ever that we fill our coffers so that we can help those in need.”
The Audio Masters is the primary fundraiser for NERF, a 501(c)3 corporation that has been distributing assistance to the engineering community for more than a decade. Individuals and companies wishing to make a donation or sign up for the tournament can contact Nicole Cochran at 615-293-0260 or nicole@nicotimepr.com.
Direct donations can be made to Nashville Engineer Relief Fund; 9 Music Square South #235; Nashville, TN 37203. Or via PayPal at http://tinyurl.com/351326w. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. The contribution tax ID number is 30-0066433.

Major Players Add Wireless Comment

I realize that the last three blog posts have been about License Extension for wireless system users, but it’s important! The June 12 deadline for abandoning the 700 MHz spectrum, right at the start of summer tour and festival season, will arrive before you know it. And March 1 is the deadline for Public Comment. As an industry supporter, we encourage ALL wireless users to chime in!

Word just came from Shure that the NFL, James Stoffo, Ricky Minor, Saddleback Church, Hank Neuberger and Kenneth “Babyface Edmonds, among thousands of others, have all chimed in. The rest of you still have till Monday, and if you’re having troubles navigating the FCC Website, feel free to send your information and your request for ease in licensing to your local wireless system provider. If you don’t know who that might be, then Shure has made it easy. Just click here.

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Wireless Comment Period Extended!

Thanks to some inclement weather that shut down Washington and the flood of initial responses to the FCC, the committee that will hear proposals to Licensing Expansion under Part 74 of the document filing has extended the Public Comment period to March 1. Originally, the period was set to end Monday, February 22. All users of wireless systems are encouraged to file a comment that details their use of wireless in the field: application, number of systems, size of company, etc.

Click here to view the full announcement.

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Last Call for Public Comment

Monday is the deadline for public comment on the expansion of Part 74 license eligibility of the  proposal for wireless system use, and it’s imperative that all users file comments, to let legislators know the scope of wireless use in the professional world. When the FCC announced on January 15 that all professional wireless users had to be out of the 700 MHz spectrum by June 12, 2010, it wasn’t 
unexpected, but it did set in motion a series of deadlines. The first is Monday.

Already, Shure has received hundreds of filings from users, ranging from small one- or two-channel systems to production companies that employ hundreds of systems regularly. No system is too big or too small, In fact, the range of users is an important factor when considering licensing options.

Since 1977, the FCC has recognized two categories of professional wireless
 use: broadcast and motion picture and television program producers. Under
 consideration is an expansion of that eligibility to other professional
 uses, such as theater, houses of worship, system contracting and many 
others. This Public Comment period is designed to gather information on who
 should be eligible for a license and who shouldn’t. Later it will be
 determined how those licenses will be entered into a geo-location database 
and who will be in charge of monitoring licensed users.

Click here to view Mark Brunner of Shure on the importance of filing Public
 Comment.


Shure Microphones, along with other manufacturers, have spent millions of
 dollars lobbying Washington and urging support for license expansion in the 
wake of the 700 MHz announcement. All professional wireless users are 
encouraged to submit, on company letterhead, details on the types of use, the
 number of mics and wireless systems of all types, and the support for 
license expansion under Part 74. Comments may be submitted to 
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Refer to Proceeding 10-24. Shure has offered to answer questions regarding the filing process through a special email address at wirelessmicrophones@shure.com.

“Right now, the FCC is aware of the hundreds of systems at a U2 concert or 
the tremendous needs of the Super Bowl,� says Shure’s Chris Lyons. “They are
 also aware of the thousands of single users out there. Who they really need
 to hear from are the thousands of operators who fall in the middle, the
 small theaters or houses of worship which may use dozens of systems.�

Wireless users are further encouraged to write their representatives in
 Congress in support of House Bill HR4353, introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush of
 Illinois and currently working its way through the legislative process. The
 National Football League has already signed on in support.

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Pro Audio Party of the Year

Maureen Droney and Jeff Greenberg sure know how to bring together the best and the brightest in pro audio, lock them in a studio and show everyone a good time. Maureen, the head of the NARAS Producers & Engineers Wing, brings in the bodies, and Jeff, president of The Village Recording Studios and modern-day P.T. Barnum, opens up his legendary complex to kick off Grammy Week. This year’s theme was Catch a Fire, with tribute paid to Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. Jimmy Jam was there, Daniel Lanois made the introductions, Quincy Jones was spotted hanging around. I ran into Jackson Browne in the Monster Room, listening to a pair of the most coveted handout of the evening, the new Turbine Pro in-ear monitors. Lucinda Williams was there till late…an all-star cast and a fitting tribute to musical genius all around.

But it was just as cool to see all the engineers, producers, studio owners, studio managers and manufacturers that make our industry tick. In his introductions, Jeff looked around and and pointed out Paula from Capitol, Rose from Record Plant, Buddy from Conway, Doug from East West (nee Cello), Shivaun from Sound City and many more that I’m forgetting the morning after. Noel Lee from Monster, as I said, had a packed room, as did Rich Nevens and Avid. Got to talk with Mark Brunner in the Shure room and Frank Oglethorpe down in the Prism/Sadie room. Great to see Peter Chaikin and Mark Gander from JBL. Also a real treat to see Phil and Cathy Wagner, she of Apogee and he formerly of SSL and nearly ready to announce his next move.

If it sounds like I’m name dropping, I am. That’s the point. It’s a who’s who of audio! Chris Lord-Alge, Jimmy Douglass, Eric Liljestrand, Leslie Ann Jones, Dusty Wakeman, Jim Scott, Gavin Lurssen, Ed Cherney, Glenn Lorbecki, James McKinney, Carmen Rizzo, Al Schmitt, Phil Ramone. I’m forgetting plenty right now. Also ran into Hank Neuberger, Mike Abbott and John Harris, who hit the ground running at the Staples Center this morning, beginning three days of rehearsals for the Sunday show. They’ll be mixing out of the Music Mix Mobile truck, which can be seen on the cover of Mix right now at online at mixonline.com/post/features/shifting-gears-0210. Today at 1 it begins with the Zac Brown Band. Will be reporting back as I get the chance.

It’s Grammy Week, and hats off to Maureen and Jeff for kicking it off right!

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Mixing With Massy

Okay, we’ve let you know about this new Mix column, “Gear Stories With Sylvia Massy,” in newsletters, online, in print, through Facebook, as a Tweet…all the ways we reach out in the modern world. But it’s hard to do justice to what Sylvia has created up there in remote Northern California without a visit. So at the end of December, I packed up the car and drove the four hours up I-5 to Weed, California (insert joke here), to get a look at RadioStar, the old vaudeville theater turned recording space, with a classic Neve at the center. The video tour is forthcoming any day on mixonline.com
First off, Weed is out there, only really accessible from I-5. But it’s located in some of the most virgin and beautiful territory California has to offer, in the heart of the Siskiyous and literally at the foot of 14,800-foot Mount Shasta. It’s not likely that she’ll see Tool making the drive up, but what Massy and team have assembled is something she couldn’t have possibly done in L.A., or any other major market for that matter. She owns the theater, with its old-school, don’t-whisper-or-the-band-will-hear-you acoustics, and she owns the building next door with offices, a two-bedroom residence and another studio. They purchased a building a block away to put in a budget studio with a Trident board, and she and partner Greg Shivy just closed on the building across the street, where they will likely place their video-editing operation. It’s a mini-complex, with tons of vintage gear and vibe. And it’s all hers. Except maybe for the parts still haunted by the spirits that nearly all who have visited have felt…or seen…at some point.
I’m not saying that it’s a new model, but it is obvious from the first step inside the lobby that there is something fresh going on. On the day we visited, Northern Crowns of Las Cruces, N.M., was finishing up drum tracks on an EP, with plans for a return visit in the summer. They’re being co-produced by Massy and RadioStar intern-turned producer Lori Castro. The band is scheduled for a gig at the Whisky A-Go-Go in early February, where they are setting up for label interest. It is live recording, with overdubs next door, with video next to that, with solid songs. If they hit it big, RadioStar is their launchpad. And there are others in the same vein. Sort of like venture capital: If one out of ten hits, then RadioStar is in IPO territory. Like I say, not a new model, just one that requires that you own the means of production.
But it’s also about looking forward. And while Massy still (rightly) believes that a label and radio can kick-start a career, she has her fingers in a lot of new-media pies and is constantly looking at new ways to distribute, promote and push an act to the next level.
You’ll be reading a lot from Sylvia Massy over the coming months in Mix, mostly about classic pieces of gear with a story behind them. But you’ll also get insight into her unique personality that somehow fit right in when she was riding the wave in L.A. and feels equally at home on her 50-acre ranch just five minutes from RadioStar.
Look for the video interviews, both edited and in their entirety, on the Mix site. We want you to know our newest columnist. We think you’ll like her.

Scott Singer, RIP

I was having a pretty good San Francisco audio Monday. The Bay Bridge had reopened, the temps were unseasonably warm, and I had just finished a nice dinner with Michael Romanowski, the Bay Area mastering engineer who will be featured on the December cover. Then I got home, opened my email and learned that Scott Singer had passed away. Damn.

Scott was a true San Francisco character. A studio owner of 24 years, a four-time Emmy winner, a composer, bandleader, opera fan, monster piano player, environmentalist. A big guy with a zest for life and an ever-present smile. A true man about town. He was a longtime friend of Mix, going back to the ‘80s. About a year back I had the pleasure of hanging with him at Singer Productions, where he showed off his Oram console and Oram monitors, took me through all his prized analog gear, and ended up belting out Billy Joel tunes at the baby grand. There’s a whole crew from last year’s AES convention that will remember his Universal Audio party.

Scott lived for music and sound, and he lived life to the fullest. San Francisco is a little quieter today without him. Fare thee well, Scott.

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MixLive @ LDI Canceled

We scheduled it, we developed a new type of programming and we even had a couple of large sound companies ready to take the stages. But now we have to cancel MixLive @ LDI this November. It was not an easy decision, and not one that we wanted to make. MixLive, formerly ET Live, provides the one chance for large sound reinforcement companies to strut their stuff on a relatively even playing field, reaching their customers directly from an open-air setup in Orlando. It is the only event of its kind in the industry and has been an important component of LDI over the past decade.
Unfortunately, this year has been tough economically for all involved. Once we realized that we could not host an event at the level we—and our sponsors and audience—expected, we decided to cancel.
MixLive is a separate entity from LDI, the premier lighting, staging and design conference, though both are owned by Penton Media. LDI maintains a robust audio program within the convention center, and the convention is coming off a record year in Las Vegas in 2008. The event will be held November 17-22 in Orlando. For those attending LDI with the intention of seeing large-scale concert sound systems in the parking lot, we offer our regrets. But we will see you next year in Las Vegas.

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Mackie/Pro Tools—The Mystery Unfolds

mackie-1.jpgWe get a lot of odd items in the mail at our offices here, but the other day we were intrigued by the arrival of a rather strange parcel. Within the ordinary-looking outer packaging was an unmarked black box (somewhat reminiscent of the black monolith from Kubrick’s 2001—A Space Odyssey) and within that was a Mackie Onyx 820i analog mixer with FireWire interfacing, a copy of Pro Tools M-Powered software, a DVD marked “Insert Me� and a page of instructions printed using ransom note–style cut-out letters. The outside of the mixer’s box touts a large notice saying it’s compatible with Pro Tools M-Powered in large letters with the words “and Logic, SONAR, Cubase, etc.� listed beneath in smaller type.

In true Mackoid tradition, the DVD had a short video clip of a Mackie employee with an altered voice and wearing a stocking over his face to conceal his identity. The mystery spokesperson explains a few people were chosen to receive this “top-secret� parcel and then goes to play part of a Pro Tools session through the 820i. More mysterious perhaps was the other file on the DVD—an installer for the Mackie Universal Driver Version 1 that would let Mackie products act as an audio interface/front end for Pro Tools M-Powered software. If so, it’s a lot of impact for a relatively few lines of code.

Assuming this isn’t simply a case of reverse-engineering on Mackie’s part, this development is significant for several reasons. Up until this point, Digidesign has been exceedingly protective about its hardware, with the only sanctioned deal being sister company M-Audio gear working with the specially branded Pro Tools M-Powered. So this is either the first step (admittedly, a small step and not a leap) toward easing Digidesign’s “software curtain� on Pro Tools hardware, or simply opening the market somewhat on the M-Powered side to bring more users into the Pro Tools fold. And once there, some of these users would, in theory, eventually upgrade to Pro Tools LE or a full-bore Pro Tools HD system, making it a win on Digidesign’s part.

Yet so far, other than a mysterious note, a new FireWire-enabled mixer and a driver with a lot of potential, there are many questions and few answers. However, more information should surely come on September 9—Mackie’s “official� launch date for the 820i. But one thing is for sure: This story ain’t over yet.

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