New Ottawa Bluesfest Reports Point to Wind Wall Ties as Key Factor in Collapse

OTTAWA, Canada — Although Ontario Ministry of Labor ofcials issued a report earlier this year fnding no evidence of structural defects that led to the July 18, 2011 collapse of the overhead stage structure during a Cheap Trick performance at the Ottawa Bluesfest, newly-published details cite the crew’s inability to quickly cut ties securing the structure’s fabric walls as a key factor contributing to wind loads on the structure as the storm hit the area. The Ottawa Citizen reported the new details, some of which were obtained via freedom of information legislation, in a story posted Nov. 19, 2012. Citing the portion of the Ottawa Ministry of Labor report written by engineer Robert Molina, The Citizen noted that crew members had trouble cutting ties securing the side and rear wind walls to the truss as the storm approached. Most of the fabric was still lashed to the structure when gusts of at least 117 km/hour lifted it upward, then backward, away from the crowd, but still on top of band and crew members as the structural elements fell. The report cited structural design specifcations that call for the fabric wind walls to be released when winds exceed 80 km/hour. With those walls released, the structure itself should be able to withstand winds of up to 120 km/hour, the newspaper noted. The Citizen also interviewed crew members who were working on or near the
continued on page 5

DECEMBER 2012 Vol. 11 No.3

Making the Most of a Rare Opportunity
Jeff fusco/Getty ImaGes

Portable P.A.

AES, OCA Alliance to Collaborate On Open Control Architecture Standard
NEW YORK — The Audio Engineering Society (AES) and the OCA Alliance have jointly announced that an AES standards project has been founded to consider OCA, the Open Control Architecture, as a public standard for control and monitoring of professional media networks. The goal of this AES-X210 Open Control Architecture project is to produce a public, open and royalty-free communications protocol standard for reliable, secure control/monitoring of interconnected audio devices in networks of two to 10,000 elements. When complete, it is hoped that the OCA standard will gain industry acceptance and open a new era in standardized, interoperable control of devices from diverse manufacturers. OCA will be a control and monitoring (and not a media transport) standard, intended to operate seamlessly with existing media transport standards such as AVB, and the proposed AES-X210 protocol. “We are very pleased to  collaborate with leading manufacturers in the OCA Alliance on this standards project,” said AES Standards Committee Chair, Bruce C. Olson. In the coming months, the AES-X210 task group will render the current OCA 1.1 specifcation into standards form and to shepherd its processing through AES’ open standards process.  Interested individuals are encouraged to participate. For more info, visit or
QSC’s K12 Series

The gear may be portable, but the category required some heavy lifting. There are so many Portable P.A. products out there that it took three pages for us to cover it all. George Petersen’s Buyers Guide report starts on page 31.

With eight Grammy awards along with Oscar, Emmy and Tony honors, Barbra Streisand is one of the biggest talents in showbiz. But even with her 2012 Back to Brooklyn tour, a 12date run, the total number of her live tour performances over a six-decade span has yet to break triple digits. If her stage anxiety is as legendary as her voice, Clair tour chief Bob Weibel, FOH mixers Kevin Gilpatric and Chris Carlton, orchestral mixer Steve Colby and monitor engineers Ian Newton and Blake Suib worked to provide reassurance with fawless audio support. She’s pictured here with Audio-Technica’s AEW-T5400. For more, turn to page 28.

Tech Feature

26 mathematical insights can be used to
better understand frequency responnse.

Phil Graham shows how Joseph Fourier’s

Road Test

Meyer Sound and VUE Audiotechnik Settle Lawsuit
BERKELEY and ESCONDIDO, CA — Meyer Sound and VUE Audiotechnik have settled a lawsuit that Meyer fled last June against VUE. “Meyer Sound alleged VUE infringed Meyer Sound’s iconic wave trademark, and asserted other claims against VUE and a former Meyer Sound employee currently working for VUE,” Meyer noted, in a press release. “We are pleased with the settlement,” said Helen Meyer, co-founder and executive VP. “It resolves issues related to our company’s valuable trade secrets, and eliminates the possibility that people might be misled into assuming that VUE or its products are associated with or endorsed by Meyer Sound.” In response, VUE Audiotechnik co-founder Jim Sides posted an “open letter.” Calling the lawsuit an “unexpected distraction,” Sides noted that “I left Meyer on great terms, and have nothing but gratitude for the opportunities presented to me during my tenure there.” Sides also noted that “VUE is forging entirely new ground through unique technologies utilizing beryllium-based transducers and advanced subwoofer topologies.” Although VUE agreed to change the look of its company logo, other terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed.

38 iPad, bring digital mixing to a new level?
George Petersen has the answer.

Does Mackie’s DL1608, coupled with an

On the Digital Edge


David Morgan’s gift ideas for audio engineers range from fashionable (T-shirts) to practical (high-tech ear plugs).

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Yamaha’s newest addition to the digital mixer family is a crowd-pleaser for sure. Embodying sonic superiority, all three models — CL5, CL3, and CL1, come equipped with a Premium Rack featuring Yamaha’s unique VCM analog circuitry modeling technology and the highly acclaimed Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5033 EQ and 5043 compressor. Now more than ever, creative freedom to color your sound is in your hands. Complete with an eye-catching exterior featuring a channel color bar, channel naming and sleek faders, this new addition looks and feels as good as it sounds.

Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. • P . O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90620-6600 • ©2012 Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.

DECEMBER 2012 Vol. 11.03

Third Ear Sound
Features Columns
39 On the Digital Edge
With the holidays approaching, David Morgan suggests some affordable stocking stuffers that are sure to be appreciated by any sound reinforcement pros on your gift list — or just for yourself!

What’s hot

26 Tech Feature: Frequency Response

Our resident scientist Phil Graham, delves into the subtleties of frequency response, and gets a little help from Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, a French mathematician and physicist from the Napoleonic era.

Third Ear Sound gear at Great America Redwood Amphitheatre, Santa Clara, CA.


It doesn’t happen often (her last full tour was 30 years ago), but when Barbra goes on the road, she demands perfection, with 170-channels of state-of-the-art sound that can live up to the standards set by the late Bruce Jackson.

28 Production Profle: Barbra Streisand

Dan Daley looks at the trend of recording studio designers who have turned their skills to working on upscale music club projects, with an eye (and ear) towards creating high-end listening environments in smaller venues.

40 The Biz

Kevin Mitchell chats with Raul Suarez of Third Ear Sound, which has provided first-class service to Bay Area festivals, concerts and events for 30 years.

Few speakers are equally useful as mains, monitors, front/side fills, so here’s a selection of compact pro systems that can be flown, stacked or used in the famous SOS (speaker on a stick) configuration.

31 Buyers Guide: Portable P.A.

41 Theory and Practice


34 Tech Preview: Roland M-200i

If someone at your next gig asks “active or passive?” , hopefully they are talking about direct boxes. Steve La Cerra covers which DI’s are best for any particular application, and why.

What’s hot

IllustratIon by andy au

Roland expands its popular V-Mixer series with a compact, powerful new entry that will launch at next month’s NAMM show. Here’s an advance peek at what’s to come.

38 Road Test: Mackie DL1608

Jamie Rio looks at the need for portable PA systems to cover the additional load of HOW activities during the holidays, and adds some advice and tips on making your holiday season stress-free and enjoyable.

42 Sound Sanctuary

Mackie made a huge splash earlier this year with the debut of its 16-channel DL1608 console. George Petersen checks out this $999 digital wonder and uncovers a few surprises.

4 Editor’s Note 5 News 18 International News 21 On the Move 22 New Gear 24 Showtime

Baker Lee examines audio’s “red-headed stepchild” status — vitally important, yet often adopted as a last-minute afterthought.

Editor’s Note

By George Petersen
Publisher & editorial director Terry Lowe

Year-End Fun, and a Big Question
t’s hard to believe that December’s already here and 2013 is right around the corner. That, of course, is unless some ancient Mayan astrologers were right in their assessment that the planet would end on 12/21/12, in which case, all bets are of. If for some reason, that happens to be the case, try to get paid up front for any holiday gigs you book. However, I think we’ll all still Fig. 1: The growth of console input numbers over the years. be here on the 22nd, so if you’re putting of your holiday shopping, you might want to start early anyway. And those holiday parties and year-end gigs. While the reason for that is because we puny mortals everyone else is out shopping and swilling egghave faced and survived similar situations in the nog, there’s a lot of activity this month for sound past. These go back to 634 BC (Romans thought pros, so like bears getting ready for winter hiberapocalypse would come in that 120th year of nation, stock up on these opportunities now. the empire) and then on and on, including more foh Now the Real Question recent examples such as the ominous year 1984, the Harmonic Convergence of 1987 and the foreHowever, I’ve fnally fgured out what may shadows of two diferent doomsdays last year by create havoc with the tilt of the planetary axis, religious nutcase Harold Camping. and it’s global input change. This relatively new But I’m gonna go way out on a limb, with a concept is based on the ever-increasing number prediction that we’ll all be fne. In fact, you have of inputs used by large FOH consoles. In this year my personal assurance that everything will be alone, we’ve witnessed shows requiring an inokay, so pay your bills, don’t quit your job, and credibly large number of mix inputs. Barbra Streicount on showing up to provide sound for all sand’s tour (in this issue page 28) had 170 inputs


at FOH, with Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour (see page 18) coming in at 166. In last month’s FRONT of HOUSE, we reported 112 inputs at the mix position on Madonna’s MDNA tour. Earlier this year, the Springsteen tour needed 104 preamp channels (96 at the board plus eight external pre’s), so, clearly, the number is on the rise. The chart in Fig. 1 of console input size by year shows the evolution of the trend back to 1960, when a 12-channel desk was considered pro. In 1965 it was 16, and then 24 by 1970. We have long since passed the 32 (1975) and 40 (1980) points, and by 1985, we needed 48 inputs to get by. A decade later in 1990, it was up to 64, and by 2005, 96 was de rigueur. Obviously, today we’re way over that mark, and at our current rate, we’ll be over the 400-input point by mid-century. By then, physical limitations come into play (an analog-style mixer with 400 oneinch-wide input strips would be more than 35 feet long), so it’s obviously a digital solution. But what will happen when your mixer has more banks of layers than input strips? And these days, is it really possible to mix a rock trio and somehow get by with just 96 inputs? These are some great topics of thought to mull over during the holidays. Ready, Set, Spend!


editor George Petersen

Managing editor Frank Hammel

Senior Staff Writer Kevin M. Mitchell

Loudspeaker editor Phil Graham contributing Writers Dan Daley, Steve Jennings, Steve LaCerra, Baker Lee, David Morgan, Jamie Rio Art director Garret Petrov

Production Manager Mike Street

Web Master Josh Harris

Speaking of the holidays, we asked David Morgan, our resident mega-input mixer (after all, he did mix Paul Simon’s 140-input Graceland tour back in 1987) for suggestions of stocking stufer gifts for sound reinforcement pros. True to form, he came up with a splendid selection of goodies to please the most discriminating audio hound. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but turn to page 39 for a most useful and entertaining read. In terms of gift ideas, I’d somehow be remiss if I didn’t suggest some great items we have around here. Think of it: no lines, no hassles, you can have a cyber shopping day of your own any time you want it. If you’re seeking something for either a budding future FOH engineer-in-themaking or a buddy who’s a seasoned pro, check out the huge selection of top-rated instructional books and videos on pro audio topics at the FOH/ PLSN Bookshelf ( Books on lighting and stage production are also available, but we all know that audio is what really counts. And the gift of knowledge is perhaps the most special gift of all. On the cool side, you can’t go wrong with an FOH T-shirt. They’re ofered in classic, alwaysin-style black, and they are perfect for yourself or any pals on your “A” list. But most of all, we’d like to wish you a joyous holiday season from the entire staf of FRONT of HOUSE and Timeless Communications. We consider each of you as part of our family and hope you have a safe, fun and prosperous December — at least once the checks from all your holiday gigs clear. So have a cool yule and a great New Year to come. Email George at

PAS Blog Master Evan Hooton

National Advertising director Greg Gallardo

National Sales Manager Dan Hernandez

Sales Managers Matt Huber

Mike Devine

General Manager William Hamilton Vanyo

Business, editorial and Advertising Office 6000 South Eastern Ave. Suite 14J Las Vegas, NV 89119 Ph: 702.932.5585 Fax: 702.554.5340

circulation Stark Services P.O. Box 16147 North Hollywood, CA 91615
Front Of House (ISSN 1549-831X) Volume 11 Number 3 is published monthly by Timeless Communications Corp., 6000 South Eastern Ave., Suite 14J, Las Vegas, NV, 89119. Periodicals Postage Paid at Las Vegas, NV and additional mailing ofces. Postmaster: Send address changes to Front Of House, P.O. Box 16655, North Hollywood, CA 91615-6147. Front Of House is distributed free to qualifed individuals in the live sound industry in the United States and Canada. Mailed in Canada under Publications Mail Agreement Number 40033037, 1415 Janette Ave., Windsor, ON N8X 1Z1. Overseas subscriptions are available and can be obtained by calling 702.932.5585. Editorial submissions are encouraged, but will not be returned. All Rights Reserved. Duplication, transmission by any method of this publication is strictly prohibited without the permission of Front Of House.


Catch George’s editorial commentary at or click on the picture from your digital edition.

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RMB Audio-Supplied System Provides Even Coverage for Odd-Shaped Venue
RALEIGH, NC — For the past 21 years, RMB Audio has provided audio for the J.S. Dorton Arena at the North Carolina State Fair, and although they’ve used Martin Audio throughout that time, this year marked their frst deployment of the MLA Compact system. For an 11-night span, the venue hosts evening concerts for fairgoers, featuring performers such as Michael W. Smith, Brian McKnight, local hero (and American Idol winner) Scotty McCreery and other artists. Built in 1952, this historic 7,610-seat arena has an unusual parabolic shape with an elliptical outer wall, which presents signifcant audio challenges. “It’s a beautiful space, but the arena is very difcult for sound engineers,” said RMB Audio owner Cooper Cannady. The asymmetrical room has a lot of concrete, glass and open space. “It’s kind of like providing sound coverage over a Pringle surface.” This year, RMB Audio deployed the new MLA Compact, beneftting from its softwaredriven approach to overcome any issues encountered with the arena. The system consisted of 12 MLA Compact enclosures and six DSX218 ground-stacked subs per side, along with 12 W8LM boxes per side for outfll “which can generate 117 dB alone without having it sound unpleasant,” adds Cannady. “Because of the MLA Compact’s controllability via the software, we did a lot of design to avoid the room aberrations. At the back of room you have the PA, which has to clear a certain height to have no visual interruption for the seating, so we take a slice at that point, and 180 feet in front of that is glass and two big 18-foot load-in doors that are huge refec-

Tobias Cannady

On the road…
with the right material
■ ■ ■ ■ ■

RMB provided a Martin MLA system for the asymmetric J.S. Dorton Arena at the NC State Fair.

tors. In our programming, we designed it so the sound would stop 10 feet in front of the doors. “We really enjoyed working with MLA Compact,” Cannady continued. “The touring engineers coming through have been really impressed and in some cases, this was the frst time they’d mixed with MLA Compact. The ones who didn’t have any preconceptions about the system and listened well before afecting their artistic EQ changes to the audio path did not make any changes after they heard it. Many of them wanted to hear MLA Compact in a much better sounding room. They were pleased enough to say, ‘I really want to hear this again.’

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Scaffolding Near Linkin Park Concert Collapses
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Nineteen Linkin Park concert-goers making their way from a parking area to Cape Town Stadium Nov. 7 were injured when temporary scaffolding supporting a sports drink advertisement fell in high winds. One of the injured later died at the hospital; 12 others required hospitalization. The collapse occurred just before the concert began, and the band, which hadn’t gotten word of the collapse, performed as usual. After the show, Linkin Park’s website issued the following statement: “Following our performance tonight at Cape Town Stadium, we were advised that several people were injured as a result of the collapse of an advertising tower erected by Lucozade in the parking area. We wish to express our deep sadness and concern for those injured and our heartfelt condolences to the family of the fan who died as a result of her injuries.” Lucozade is a sports drink owned by GlaxoSmithKline. The company is said to be cooperating with ofcials investigating what might have gone wrong with the scafolding, which was reportedly inspected and approved prior to use. Linkin Park’s 2012 tour wraps up at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, CA, before embarking on an Australia/New Zealand leg in February 2013.

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Ottawa Bluesfest Reports Point to Wind Wall Ties in Collapse
continued from cover

45-by-17-meter stage structure, rented to the festival organizers by Groupe Berger, in a separate story published Nov. 18. That account depicted one crew member trying to use wire cutters to free the stage structure’s fabric walls, and another who, in desperation, stabbed the fabric itself with a knife and saw that panel rip open by the force of the wind. Both Molina’s report and a separate report written by Ontario Health and Safety inspector Jason Gordon noted that the same stage structure had withstood strong winds from a storm the week before, right before

The Black Keys were set to perform. During that storm, crew members were able to quickly cut the fabric wall ties. Molina’s report suggests that on the night of the collapse, the fabric wall ties were of a diferent material, harder to cut with just a knife. Molina’s report also cited “a number of construction irregularities” that, while “not a direct cause” of the collapse, “demonstrated poor workmanship in the assembly of the stage,” including column segments secured with fewer bolts than specifed, and the use of bolts that were the wrong size.

In the Nov. 2012 Parnelli wrap-up report, due to an editing error, we referred to Orlando as the site for LDI 2013. Next year’s LDI show will return to the LVCC in Las Vegas; it’s set for Nov. 22-24, 2013. FOH regrets the error.

Audio ■ Video ■ Broadcast ■ Media Technology ■ HiFi ■



SES Provides New P.A. System for James River Assembly; Church Orders Consoles, Too
OZARK, MO — Special Event Services (SES) designed and installed a new sound system for James River Assembly’s 3,400-capacity sanctuary here with Outline’s GTO line array loudspeaker cabinets as the sonic centerpiece. “We all agreed that the time had come to upgrade our sound system to meet our evolving style of presentation and worship,” said Stephen Maddox, audio director for the church. “Our lead pastor, John Lindell, had a vision about how the new system should sound, and after listening to many systems here and in other parts of the country, SES brought in the GTO.” The GTO system is comprised of two main center behind the scenic pieces on the stage foor as a sub arc delay system. This ensures that all areas of the room enjoy equal bass coverage. The extreme right and left sides are covered with Outline Doppia II speakers. Maddox noted that, despite their compact size and light weight, the GTO line arrays delivered ample output. “They were superbly clear and present without being overbearing,” he said, also noting that the new system includes Powersoft K8 amplifers and XTA DSP processing. After choosing the new P.A. system, James River Assembly’s focus turned to consoles. “We’d been using the Yamaha PM1D since 2004, but once we heard the company wasn’t making the board anymore we started looking around more aggressively than before,” Maddox said. “At InfoComm, we looked at and loved the [DiGiCo] SD7, but it was a bit larger in input and output count for what we do. Once we saw the SD5, we knew it was perfect. I loved the layout — it had the functionality of the SD7 but half the inputs and therefore cost less money.” Then DiGiCo distributor Group One announced its recent Trade-Up ofer, and the deal was sealed — not just for a single SD5 console, but also for two SD5s for FOH at the Ozark and Springfeld locations plus a new SD10 desk for monitor mixing. “It saved us from having to fgure out what to do with the old console,” Maddox said, of the Trade-Up program. “Timing is always a big factor. You need to sell the desk, pull it out, buy the new desk and replace it — all in one day. But the Trade-Up program allowed us to commit to the purchase, pull the old desk, install the new SD5’s, and we didn’t have to be concerned with any unknown problems that could arise.”

SES provided new gear from Outline, Powersoft and DiGiCo.

left/right arrays, each with six GTO cabinets and one GTO down-fll speaker at the bottom of the array. The subs are Outline Lab 21 HS, employing 21-inch woofers.

The audio crew at James River Assembly. From left, Tucker Fredock, Brian Roggow, Stephen Maddox and Ian Casler.

The seating area in the main room is in a 280-degree arc to center stage. Because the platform is so big, the subs are lined up stage

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Proel S.p.A. Names New U.S. Distributor
DORVAL, Quebec — Proel S.p.A, based in Sant’Omero, Italy, named Musiquip Inc., based here, as its U.S. distributor. The agreement includes Proel’s pro audio, sound reinforcement, lighting and accessory products. “Musiquip ofers a level of expertise and experience that should take Proel to the next level in the U.S. market,” said Simon Sinclair of Proel. “We expect to have product before the end of the year, and are very much looking forward to a strong launch of our partnership with Proel at NAMM in January,” added Musiquip GM John Kelley.

Audinate Expands Global Support Organization
PORTLAND, OR — Audinate announced the frst phase of its global expansion, naming Landon Gentry manager of global support services. Gentry, based at Audinate’s U.S. headquarters here, will lead the company’s worldwide support organization, and will take particular responsibility for directly supporting U.S.-based manufacturers of Danteenabled products. Gentry, whose experience in product developent spans the full range from product concept to launch and customer support, will be working closely with Audinate’s OEM partners to help them get their products to market quickly.

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Soundworks Provides Gear for Richmond Folk Festival’s Seven Stages
RICHMOND, VA — The Richmond Folk Festival celebrates traditional music, with artists from around the world performing on seven stages spread across 17 acres of riverside parkland in downtown Richmond. The free three-day event drew some 200,000, with audio production handled by Soundworks, a full-service audio company headed by Steve Payne. “We specialize in events like this, so being selected by Venture Richmond and the National Council for Traditional Arts to supply the audio was a real honor,” said Payne. Soundworks installed Turbosound speakers on all seven stages, with Flex Array systems covering the two large outdoor venues and a variety of Aspect, Aspect Wide and TMS systems for the fve smaller tented spaces. Noting that Turbosound speakers are more common in Europe than the U.S., Payne credited the Flex system as “amazingly efcient; the output and musicality are unbelievable for such a small box. On the main stage, we covered up to 10,000 people with just eight per side, and had headroom to spare. I doubt we ever hit the limiters in the three days of the festival.” Routinely drawing crowds of 8,000 to 10,000, the main stage featured the Turbosound Flex Array system. Twin arrays of eight TFA-600HW 3-way enclosures were supported by four ground-stacked TSW-218 subwoofers per side, all powered and controlled by Turbosound’s new 20000DP amplifers. Three self-powered TQ-310DP’s served as frontflls. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Flex Array, but these new amplifers really put it over the top,” said Payne. “They’re 4-channel Lab.gruppen amps with Lake processing, optimized to work with Turbosound speakers. The processing includes FIR fltering, which really smooths everything out and lets the Flex system shine.” The second stage, which saw audiences of about 5,000 fans, was similarly outftted, but needed just six Flex TFA-600HW over two TSW-218 subs per side. The two frontflls were TQ-445DP, a 1600-watt self powered, biamped 3-way design descended from Turbosound’s classic Floodlight touring system. The remaining fve venues were all in large tents. The largest, featuring more cluboriented acts, utilized the Turbosound Aspect TA-880H, with three per side, over a pair of dual-18 subs. The next smaller tent, housing 600 fans, used the touring wide-dispersion version of the Aspect line, the TA-500t, flling the tent with just two mains per side over a pair of TSW-721 subs, with a single 21-inch driver. The remaining tent stages, with traditional acoustic bluegrass, had Turbosound’s new TMS portable system, a small-footprint design with a mid/high box pole-mounted above a single-18 sub. Stage monitors for the main stage were Turbosound bi-amped TFM-560’s. All other stages had Soundworks SW2 wedges, a proprietary 15-inch/2-inch design developed by Payne. Even for a major regional production company, an event like the Richmond Folk Festival puts a defnite strain on inventory. Fortunately, Soundworks has a long-term partnership with Southard Audio, which stepped in to supply extra mics, wedges and consoles. “Soundworks and Southard Audio have a long tradition of working together,” said Payne. “They’re located further west in Harrisonburg and are also a big Turbosound user. That allows us to cooperate rather than compete, which has helped both companies over the years.”

Soundworks provided Turbosound speakers for all stages. Southard Audio also supported the event.


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SD5 Main Features:
124 Input Channels 56 Confgurable Busses Plus Master Buss 24 x 24 Matrix 24 Dynamic Equalizers 24 DiGiTuBes 24 Multiband Compressors 24 Digital FX 32 Graphic Equalizers Multi Channel Folding 8x AES/EBU I/O (mono)

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A decade after the launch of the D5 Live, DiGiCo launches its newest Control Mixing Surface, the SD5. As you would expect, the SD5 fts snugly into the D5’s shoes, but benefts from the advancements made possible by DiGiCo’s proprietary Stealth Digital Processing™. Featuring a low noise, heat dissipation worksurface benefting from Hidden-til-lit (HTL) technology, its fve digitally driven full color TFT LCD screens, three of which are touch sensitive, have a new confguration that allows easy access to single or multiple users. There are also two interactive dynamic metering displays (IDM) and quick access buttons are positioned down the left side of the channel screens for fast and easy navigation. Incorporating the master screen into the worksurface design has allowed for complete user feedback, but maintained a lower profle meter bridge. This still allows clear visibility of those on stage for the user, with everything in close reach to the mix position. The SD5’s superior headroom, dynamic range and audio quality are of paramount importance and its feature set surpasses any other console in its class.

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Masque Sound System Helps The Book of Mormon Hit the Road
LOS ANGELES — The Book of Mormon, the Broadway musical that won nine 2011 Tony Awards, fve 2011 Drama Desk Awards and a 2012 Grammy Award, is now taking the show on the road with two North American touring productions, both of which are using KARA loudspeaker systems supplied by Masque Sound. Sound design for the new productions was once again provided by Brian Ronan, the awardwinning sound designer responsible for the show’s original run at the Eugene O’Neil Theatre in Manhattan. Cody Spencer assisted Ronan as the associate sound designer on the of-Broadway projects, with Christopher Sloan again serving as production engineer. The frst production premiered at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theatre with a center array of 14 KARA enclosures fown just above the center of the proscenium. Speaker towers on the left and right sides of the stage each contain three small KARA arrays — fve enclosures for orchestra seating, four for mezzanine, and fve for balcony — built into focusable gimbals to uniformly address the three primary audience areas. A single SB18 sub is also situated in the base of each tower, with two more positioned up in the mezzanine for additional LF fll. All loudspeaker systems are monitored and driven by a combined total of nine LA8 amplifed controllers running L-Acoustics’ LA Network Manager software. “The Pantages is quite a wide theatre, so KARA’s nice wide, consistent dispersion pattern made it a particularly ideal solution for the room,” said Ronan. “With our mini-arrays housed in the speaker tower gimbals, we’re able to very efectively spread the audio throughout each of the seating areas.” The second production — starting out at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre in mid-December and remaining there for at least half a year before heading of as a conventional tour — features a diferent speaker setup. In particular, the center downfll array of KARA is comprised of only nine enclosures fown nearly parallel to the foor to avoid occluding a brief but important gag during the show — a spinning statue of the angel Moroni on the pinnacle of the set. “We had a similar scenic issue with the original Broadway production and ultimately ended up using a horizontal array of dV-DOSC, which worked great as a spot fll,” he said. “So when we ran into the same architectural challenge with the theatre in Chicago, we knew that KARA would also be ideal.” The reaction to the KARA gear on the road so far, Ronan added, has been positive. “Audience members come up to me after the show and say ‘I always have trouble hearing at the Pantages and this was the frst time I didn’t.’ That’s the best possible confrmation that we’re doing something right, especially with a show like this that is so packed full of quick dialog and laugh lines.”

L-R speaker towers with L-Acoustics KARA arrays cover seats in the orchestra, mezzanine and balcony.


Sound Image Upgrades House of Blues Las Vegas

The venue installed JBL’s VTX Series gear.

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LAS VEGAS — The House of Blues Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay casino upped the ante with one of the frst installations of JBL VTX Series line array gear. Along with major touring acts, the venue will host Carlos Santana through 2014. Sound Image’s Jason Schmidlapp worked with Harman rep Dave Kaiser on the project. The system includes two 13-box hangs of 10 VTX 25 line arrays and three VerTec VT4880A subs on each side of the stage, six ASB7128 subs under the stage, six VerTec VT4886s for upper balcony fll, plus a JBL AC18 and ASB6112 subwoofer in each of the VIP suites. The VTX boxes were a bit larger than the previous system, so the suspension points had to change, and the crew also had to work around the room’s upper balcony. “We moved the array stacks slightly upstage and ofstage to keep the sight lines to the stage clear,” said House of Blues VP of production Dan Schartof. The upper balcony was a hurdle, Schartof added. “The two array hangs are fairly close to the balcony, so we installed the subwoofers in the middle of both arrays. Six VTX V25 provide balcony coverage with three VT4880A fown in the middle of the array and four V25 for foor coverage,” he said. The subwoofers placement reduces refections and ofers improved underbalcony penetration, as the lower V25’s have lineof-sight coverage to the back of the room. The loudspeakers are powered via Crown IT 12000HD and XTi Series amps. Loudspeaker management is performed via dbx DriveRack 4800 speaker management systems. A Soundcraft Vi1 digital live sound console handles some FOH mixing duties and Harman HiQnet System Architect software was used for setup and installation.


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News M u l l i n s C e n t e r A r e n a a t U M a s s A m h e r s t D e b u t s N ew S o u n d S y s t e m
AMHERST, MA — Located on the University of Massachusetts-Amherst campus, the William D. Mullins Memorial Center Arena is home of the Minutemen basketball and ice hockey and Minutewomen basketball teams, as well as hosting concerts and other events. The 10,500-seat venue recently replaced its 20-year-old installed PA with a new QSC Audio ILA System. The new system includes 72 WL2082-i line array elements and 12 WL118-sw subs driven by 22 PowerLight 3 Series PL340 amps, all under the control of two Q-Sys Core 250i units with a Q-Sys I/O Frame. Acentech and North American Theatrix designed and installed the system, working with McPhee Electric. “I created a model of the space in EASE, and continued. “Once the loudspeakers were put in the EASE model, it was clear these enclosures would do what I needed them to do. The price point also allowed us to add additional enclosures, while staying well within our original budget.” According to Pat Nelson, of North American Theatrix, “probably the most rewarding part of this project was when we frst fred up the QSC system — it sounded amazing right out of the box,” he said, “and it worked just as predicted.” The new system also includes a Yamaha LS932 digital mixing console ftted with CobraNet output cards feeding the two Q-Sys Core 250i processors installed 400 feet away in the gridwork high above the foor alongside the PL340 amplifers. As for intelligibility, “it’s a concrete hockey rink and we’re getting STI [Speech Transmission Index] levels of 0.54 or better — that’s considered good to very good, and well within what we expected,” Jordan adds. “There is no shortage of output, either. We achieved 112 dB, and still had headroom.” “The client was very happy,” Nelson concludes. “The coverage sounds very even, all the way from the frst row of seats to the very upper nosebleed seats. That’s a great accomplishment.”

Acentech and Theatrix designed and installed a system using QSC’s ILA.

discovered our initial choice was not going to work,” noted Acentech consultant Scott Jordan. “Even doubling our initial choice would not give us the coverage we needed. The hunt was to fnd

a loudspeaker that would give us the necessary wide vertical coverage, keep the weight in check and ft within our budget. “I took a look at the QSC ILA product,” Jordan

Dowlen Sound Provides Audio to Accompany Pretty Lights
ARVADA, CO — Colorado-based electronic dance music phenomenon Pretty Lights, otherwise known as Derek Vincent Smith, is using Outline GTO line arrays, McCauley subs and 58 Powersoft K Series amps for his 50-plus-date 2012 North American Illumination Tour. Dowlen Sound, based here, is providing the gear. A mix of Powersoft K2, K3, K6 and K8 amplifers are all outftted with the manufacturer’s proprietary AESOP (AES Ethernet Simple Open Protocol) networking functionality. Although Outline’s GTO system package typically includes Outline’s models equivalent to Powersoft K10 amps, Dowlen Sound — the frst company in the world to use the GTO line array — opted to custom-confgure its racks, appropriately matching amplifers with speaker modules in order to fully optimize the entire system’s performance. In addition to the 58 Powersoft K Series amps, the main audio rig on the tour comprises 24 Outline GTO line array modules plus two GTODF down flls, fown 13 per side. Some 18 GTOSubs (nine per side) plus four McCauley M421 subs handle the low end. There are an additional 18 Outline Butterfy array modules available to handle arenas and other large venues on the schedule. Smith also has six Butterfy modules around his center stage podium for monitors. “When I frst heard the GTO Outline, powered with Powersoft, I was completely foored,” said Phil Salvaggio, production manager and front of house engineer for Pretty Lights Music Inc. “The amount of clarity at a high SPL is untouchable by most other systems out there. And when it comes to the low end and the combo of the M421 and GTO subs, which are all powered by Powersoft amps, we really get the audience to feel the subs — as well as bring down the roof.”

The touring setup includes Outline GTO, McCauley subwoofers and Powersoft K Series amplifers.


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Digital Mixer Helps Portable Church Keep Rolling
FORT COLLINS, CO — After leading the ministry at New Life Church in Colorado Springs for 11 years, pastor Aaron Stern and his wife launched Mill City Church as a portable church operation a few hours north at the University Center for the Arts building on the Fort Collins, CO campus of Colorado State University. There are now two services, at 9am and 11am, at the new location, and weekly attendance now routinely exceeds 500. As a portable church, all the production equipment is loaded in at 7am every week, set up, operated, then loaded back on the truck after services around 1pm. Because of the transient nature of the venue, Stern worked with Kris Johnson at Sight and that would ft Mill City’s unusual needs. “One of the main reasons I wanted to use DiGiCo’s compact SD11 was the small footprint of very powerful mixer and for its digital snake,” said Johnson. “The features on the SD11 made it the perfect ft for a portable church of this nature. With the DiGiCo SD11 package that includes a digital snake, a D-Rack and an Aviom card, we can simply drop a rack near the microphone sources and run a Cat-5e snake to the mixer.” “The recommendation of the SD11 has proven itself to be one of the best investments we could have made especially with our tight budget,” added Stern. “The system is very easy to use, but also gives us the same fexible features and room to expand similar to that of what a mega church budget can afford in one of DiGiCo’s much larger oferings.” Also included in Mill City’s system is a full Aviom system, Tannoy VXP12Q main speakers, two VNET DR218 subs and an Ashly Protea 3.24CL processor. “The fact that DiGiCo had incredible sound quality in a compact footprint that was still capable of handling many inputs was a strong selling point,” Stern added. “All in all, we found that the SD11 was a perfect ft in every respect.”

A compact DiGiCo SD11 is part of the mobile audio setup at Colorado State’s Fort Collins campus.

Sound Technologies Inc., a specialist in audio/video/lighting equipment for the H.O.W. market to fnd a compact, portable console

Label Charlotte Finds New Digital Mixer a Flexible Fit

Carlos M. Gutierres uses Allen & Heath’s iLive MixPad for monitor mixing.

CHARLOTTE, NC — Label Charlotte, a new nightclub/lounge with 16,000 square feet of space, has become known as Charlotte’s “Mega Club.” This upscale club ofers a mix of live bands and DJs with multiple genres of music. In its opening week this fall, Label featured a 16-piece salsa band. However, Label is a multi-use venue that also hosts private functions ranging from fashion shows to wedding receptions to large corporate events. Label owners invested in the kind of sound, video and lighting systems you might expect to fnd in a large Las Vegas nightclub. These include a 24-foot video wall, laser lighting efects and a versatile, high-performance sound system with an Allen & Heath iLive digital mixer. Paul Emrick, Label’s production manager, noted “the 16-piece salsa band that played our opening week needed 14 diferent monitor mixes,” he continued. “The iLive made that easy. The monitor engineer did his mix with an iPad and he was right up on the stage with the band.” Emrick sets up a diferent iLive “scene” for each band and saves them for return performances. “Also,” he said, “it’s easy to take a scene I’ve saved and modify it for a new band.” Emrick, who also works for Eye Dialogue, Label’s sound, video and lighting contractor, designed the club’s sound system. “We put the iLive’s digital snake drops at two positions on the stage, one at the DJ booth, and one in the Ivory Lounge,” he said. “That means we can put the iDR-48 MixRack (I/Os and processing) where needed and can operate the entire sound system with the T80 (control surface) from any of these locations. Sometimes, I walk the club with my iPad as well and I can adjust the sound for the Ivory Lounge or any other area while I’m in the space. The iLive was the only console with this kind of versatility to do what we wanted to do, and the sound quality is much better than other digital mixers I’ve used.”


Blackhawk Audio Keeps Kutless Sounding Sharp with New Gear
PORTLAND, OR — Christian rockers Kutless, who have sold more than two million albums, are playing a variety of venues on their latest tour, ranging from churches and civic auditoriums to an outdoor feld and even a Minnesota casino. Regardless of the venue type or size, the band relies on a Meyer Sound MINA line array system supplied by Blackhawk Audio to deliver a consistent-sounding show. “We pretty much cover the gamut on this tour, which is why I wanted to take the MINA system,” said Tim O’Neill, the band’s production manager and FOH engineer. Room layouts and acoustics vary drastically, though most venues are in the 1,500- to 2,000-seat range. For a typical confguration, main front arrays are 12- or 14-each MINA a side fown from the twin Applied Electronics mini line array towers carried on the tour. The remaining MINA loudspeakers are used for front fll or out fll, with eight 700-HP subwoofers for low-end support. Various confgurations are programmed in the Galileo speaker management system with one Galileo 616 processor, and the settings can be previewed and recalled in the Compass control software. “They’re a great size for us, since we’re on a one-truck tour and MINA lets us get all of our PA in about 10 feet of truck space,” said O’Neill. “Also, it’s easy to work with. We use a lot of volunteer crew, so the small size and simple rigging make it a fantastic box from that angle.” Completing the tour’s compact sound system are dual Avid VENUE SC48 consoles at FOH and monitor, Sennheiser in-ear monitoring, and Audio-Technica wireless microphone systems with the AE5400 condenser capsule for lead vocals. The 2012 tour concludes on New Year’s Eve in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Blackhawk is providing a Meyer Sound MINA system.

Horne Audio Supports Floating Steampunk Party
Ryan abeling/bePoRtland

Delicate Deploys Custom-Painted Speakers for Corporate Events
CAMARILLO, CA — Jason Alt, president of Delicate Productions, noted how his company has used gear from VUE Audiotechnik to support more than a dozen fashion and other corporate events in the Los Angeles area. “I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about this new loudspeaker company that was a joint venture between the founders of EAW and Apogee Sound,” explained Delicate’s president, Jason Alt, “and VUE invited us to a demo they were conducting near our headquarters.” Alt and team quickly recognized that the Vue speakers would be ideal for an upcoming series of private, VIP events that were part of L.A.’s Fashion Week. The only problem was the Jason Alt with white-painted Vue Audiotechnik gear. speakers had to be white. “As a new company, I wasn’t sure they’d be willing to take on a custom job so soon,” explained Alt. “Not only did they agree without hesitating, but I had the speakers in my warehouse within two weeks!” Delicate added 12 VUE Audiotechnik boxes to their lineup. Included were eight a-8 full range models, along with four as-115 subwoofers. All 12 cabinets were custom painted in satin white, as requested.

Horne Audio’s Jim Schamberg provided a Soundcraft Si Compact 16 console for the event.

PORTLAND, OR — Horne Audio provided a Soundcraft Si Compact 16 digital mixing console for a steampunk-themed event dubbed “The Music Experience.” Intel and MTV Iggy hosted the event, which took place on the Sternwheeler steamboat and featured performances by bands The Jezabels and Y La Bamba as the vessel cruised the Willamette River for hundreds of revelers dressed in steampunk-themed costumes. Horne Audio set up the Si Compact 16 on the second of the Sternwheeler’s three decks, as the performances alternated between two levels. Audio engineer Jim Schamberg of Horne Audio ran 16 inputs with one feed coming from the system on the boat’s upper deck and one feed running from the Si Compact 16 to the upper deck, so the live performances could be heard throughout the boat. “The Si Compact has been a terrifc board for us,” Schamberg said. “Fourteen buses for this size board is also a tremendous advantage. We’re able to easily transport the console for a range of diferent events.” 16 deceMBeR 2012

CSD Group Provides Fellowship Missionary Church’s 500-Seat Chapel with New Line Arrays, Subwoofers
FORT WAYNE, IN — CSD Group, based here, provided TrueLine X5i-P line arrays and TL218SS-P subwoofers from WorxAudio Technologies for a 500-capacity chapel that’s part of Fellowship Missionary Church. CSD Group president Doug Hood said the results were positive enough to prompt discussions about including WorxAudio gear in the renovation of the main sanctuary, which seats close to 1,000. “The church’s new chapel is a very contemporary environment with seating for approximately 500 people,” Hood said, of the space that hosts concerts, special events, guest speakers, classes, weddings and funerals. To minimize cabling and the need for power amplifer storage, Hood opted for a self-powered setup. “The WorxAudio TrueLine X5i-P installation line array and TL218SS-P subwoofers ft the specifcations of the job perfectly.” CSD Group crew few two X5i-P line arrays at a height of 24 feet using WorxAudio’s TrueAim Grid mounting system—one cluster on each side of the stage / altar area. The two TL218SS-P subwoofers are mounted in custom bunkers on the foor. “The equipment’s built-in power amplifers simplifed the signal chain, and the X5i-P’s single cabinet, multiple line array form factor gave us a very clean install,” Hood noted. “We purchased the arrays unfnished and the client custom painted the enclosures to match the décor of the room.”

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54 Below Getting Positive Reviews on Broadway
NEW YORK — The recently-opened 54 Below, located a few blocks from Times Square and just below Studio 54, is gaining notice, not just for its famous location, architectural and lighting design (by Tony award-winning designers) but for its acoustical design and sound system, too. Designed by Tony winner John Lee Beatty and architect Richard H. Lewis, lit by Tony winner Ken Billington, sound by Tony nominee Peter Hylenski, and acoustic design by the Walters-Storyk Design Group (WSDG), 54 Below fosters an intimate, in-your-livingroom relationship between its performers and audiences. “Our frst assignment was to perform a comprehensive consultation of isolation issues and internal room acoustics,” said WSDG project manager Joshua Morris. “The space is situated directly below a busy commercial lobby, and sandwiched between two of Manhattan’s busiest subway corridors.” Acoustic recommendations included additional layers of gypsum board on the ceiling. Partitions were recommended for areas adjoining kitchen, bathroom, lobby and electrical equipment closets. Acoustic door seals were stipulated to help isolate sound leaks. Morris and WSDG principal architect/ acoustician John Storyk worked closely with Hylenski to develop and implement the new, advanced sound system, and in the process developed some interesting acoustic treatments for 54 Below. Among these were custom difusion panels covered with stretched fabric and mounted in fligreed frames that enhance the room’s aesthetics while simultaneously “tuning” the space for maximum listening clarity and warmth. The team also contributed to the design of custom banquet seats, which incorporate low frequency treatments enabling them to serve as acoustic absorption elements. “No one will ever know they’re sitting on room tuning devices instead of traditional seats,” Storyk said, “but they’d hear the diference if we hadn’t paid close attention to the details.”

The tony atmosphere was created by a team of award-winning theatrical designers.

Michigan’s Spartan Stadium Installs Long-Throw Gear
EAST LANSING, MI — Anthony James Partners and Pro Media/UltraSound designed and installed a new sound reinforcement system for Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium. Apart from flls, six Danley Jericho J3s covers the stadium, enabling announcements to be heard above the considerable noise generated by 80,000 cheering fans. Led by director of audio engineering Larry Lucas, Anthony James Partners conceived and designed Spartan Stadium’s new sound reinforcement system. Pro Media/UltraSound installed it under the guidance of senior designer and engineer Demetrius Palavos, who managed the project. Danley systems ofer a good return on investment, Lucas said. “We were lucky at MSU because the Danley Jericho J3 had just become available during the designing stages.” Whereas Spartan Stadium’s previous sound reinforcement system resided in the south end zone, Lucas designed the new system to fre only from the north end. “Previously, additional energy spilled out of the north side and into the community of East Lansing,” explained Lucas. “By placing all of the loudspeaker elements at the north side, we could be sure that any excess energy would spill out onto the campus instead.” Lucas’ design used the two smaller scoreboards on the north side as rigging points for Danley Jericho J3s and TH-812 subwoofers; they are about 200 feet apart. “Firing 500 to 600 feet to the south end zone seating was the most complicated and difcult throw,” said Palavos. “It’s a balancing act to get that right, and to still get even coverage and SPL at mid-feld, beneath the clusters and the upper deck.” On both the northeast and northwest scoreboards, a mirror image pair of stacked Danley Jericho J3s handles the far throw, whereas a single J3 handles the intermediate throw for the near- and medium-sideline stands. On each scoreboard, three vertically stacked Danley TH-812 subwoofers collapse the low-frequency beam to provide throw. Ten smaller Danley SH-46 loudspeakers provide fll for areas on the north side of the stadium that are in the “shadows” of the larger boxes, such as very near the scoreboards and under the near balconies.

www.fohonline .com

2012 deceMBeR


Marc Bryan-Brown

International News

Sennheiser Distributes Innovason in France, Hires Axel Brisard
PARIS — Sennheiser France is now distributing Innovason products in France. Sennheiser France is also bringing on board Axel Brisard, who has experience in digital audio mixing and sound capture. The moves are intended to further strengthen Sennheiser France’s presence in the live digital technologies market and take advantage of existing synergies between Innovason’s digital consoles and Sennheiser and Neumann digital mics. Brisard, who worked as a sound engineer at Radio France for many years, is well-versed in the use of Sennheiser Group digital microphones with Innovason’s Eclipse consoles, which gives users access to all Sennheiser and Neumann digital microphone parameters from the control surface. “We have been searching for the right partner in France for some time,” noted Innovason’s Marcel Babazadeh. “In signing with Sennheiser France, I believe we’ve found the best possible solution; it will enable both brands to build on the relationships and technical synergies already apparent between Innovason and Sennheiser, and at the same time, Innovason will beneft enormously from the extensive network and infrastructure that Sennheiser France has developed.”

Cirque du Soleil’s MJ World Tour Requires 166 Inputs at FOH, 140 at Monitors

Martin Paré with DiGiCo SD7 at FOH

Axel Brisard

LONDON — After more than a year touring North America, Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour fnally arrived for a series of shows in the U.K. and Europe. Engineers Martin Paré (with 166 inputs at FOH) and Renato Petruzziello (with 140 channels at monitors) both use DiGiCo SD7s to mix the show. FOH engineer, Martin Paré uses 166 inputs on his SD7, with an SD Rack at the mix position to accommodate analog outboard. He noted that total channel count, and the ability to run everything in 96K resolution, were major advantages in using DiGiCo. “While doing the concept of the show, we ended up with 448 I/Os, and didn’t have enough room on the console we were originally thinking of using,” Paré said. “I don’t think there’s another manufacturer out there that can accommodate those kind of numbers,” he added. “And in terms of quality of sound, what’s coming out of those preamps is pretty amazing. You don’t have to do too

much to make it sound great. For this show, it’s all about the I/O and the amount of cards you can have in every rack, and the SD7 does the job perfectly.” “This isn’t a typical monitoring position, but I am in the perfect place to see the stage and the people,” added monitor engineer Petruzziello, whose SD7 is positioned on the upper tier of London’s O2, looking down on the stage, and boasting a panoramic view of the arena. “I use the SD7’s video screen to keep an even closer eye on the band, too. I split it into four sections, with a focus on the key musicians — it’s a really neat function!” The 140 monitor channels include 80 for the live band, 48 for sequenced tracks and various comm channels. All 11 in-ear mixes are sent to band members in stereo, and Petruzziello also creates separate stereo mixes for the Digital Performer operator, four backliners and pyro operator, mime act and two tap dancers in the show, as well as the sideflls.

Red Bull Culture Clash Invites Roar of the Crowd; GHB Hire OutÛts Wembley with High SPL Gear

Boy Better Now’s fans screamed loudest.

LONDON — GHB Hire provided a Void Arcline 12 system for Boy Better Now, one of the contenders in the Red Bull Culture Clash, which was recently held on four stages within Wembley Arena. Boy Better Now took top honors in the competition, generating the loudest reaction from the crowd. UK touring/events company GHB Hire supplied and deployed the Void system for the winning act, which utilized a recently developed, medium-format line array enclosure called Arcline 12. Company director Alex Skan said, “This was the frst outing for our new Arcline 12 system and the perfect place to test its capabilities. We were confdent in its abilities to cover the venue adequately but had no idea it could deliver the mind blowing SPLs and quality it did that night. It exceeded everyone’s expectations in every way.” The system used a hang of ten Arcline 18 deceMBeR 2012

GHB Hire provided a Void Arcline 12 system.

12 enclosures per side with eight Arcline 6 enclosures for balcony flls. Void Infnite V2 amplifers powered all the Arcline hangs. Sub was courtesy of Void’s Stasys X epic touring sub. Boy Better Now’s FOH mix engineer and system deployment specialist Rog Mogale said, “This was all about pleasing the crowd and proving you can get the job done on a realistic budget and timescale.”

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International News

From Noisettes to Delilah, Bryony October Hits the U.K. Road
LONDON — Having become synonymous with The Noisettes in recent years as their long-term FOH engineer and production manager, Bryony October recently took to the road with British singer songwriter Delilah. October knew she’d need a minimum of 31 inputs and would also be mixing the fvepiece band’s in-ear monitoring from front of house, with and a small footprint to ft into a compact van. In doing so, she became an early adopter of Soundcraft’s new Si Performer digital console — which not only builds on the successful Si platform, but also is the frst desk to incorporate a DMX lighting interface. The Si Performer’s FaderGlow and color backlit name displays on every channel proved a godsend. “It has screens on each channel, so you can see the compressors and gates, and the FaderGlow changes color so you never make a mistake when moving from FOH to monitor mixes,” October adds. “It also turns the system EQ red, so you can clearly see the graphic.” As for Delilah’s personal monitor mix, she said, “It’s all about the vocal level, reverbs [the desk has four stereo Lexicon efects engines] and a low mix of everything else. It’s about creating an open and ambient sound so that the artist feels part of the show and can interact with the audience.”

Bryony October with the Si Performer for Delilah

Mexico’s Audio Systems Del Norte Expands Inventory
MONTERREY, Mexico — Long-time Adamson rental company Audio Systems Del Norte has expanded its existing Adamson inventory of Y-Axis, SpekTrix, T21 Subs, and M Series with a 32-box E15 rig. Showco, Adamson’s exclusive distributor for Mexico, sold Audio Systems Del Norte the system. Audio Systems has been providing high caliber tours in Mexico for more than 20 years and has 60 full-time employees. In addition to its audio department, the company supplies staging, trussing, video and lighting, along with installation consultancy and services. The company has already put the new Energia gear to use in support of a tour featuring Latin rock/Trova band Dos Pájaros Contraatacan (Two Counter Attacking Birds), which began in Puebla Oct. 15 and ended in Aguascalientes on Nov. 1, 2012. Tour stops ranged from a 5,000-seat indoor auditorium to a 20,000-capacity outdoor Amphitheater in Chihuahua.

The tour setup for Dos Pájaros Contraatacan includes Adamson Systems E15 speakers.

Noretron Supports Finland’s Pori Jazz Festival Venue
PORI, Finland — The annual Pori Jazz Festival was held over nine days, with 126 concerts in 14 venues with a overall attendance of 140,000 people. For Ultra Music Nights @ Theatre, an intimate 150-seat venue used for experimental and modern music, Noretron Communications provided L-R confgurations of six RCF TTL11-AH/AB assemblies and TTS26-A subwoofer managed by an RDNet control interface. In total more than 30 RCF TT+ Series cabinets were in use in fve diferent stage locations during the course of the festival, including ten TT25-SMA monitors on the Pori Theatre stage, four TT25-SMA on the Jazz Street Stage, six TT25-SMA (along with two NX L23A and 4PRO 8001AS) on the Voodoo Stage, four TT25-SMA on the Garden Stage, along with an additional ancillary NX and ART Series speakers.

The Finnish soundco provided RCF gear for the Ultra Music Nights @Theatre stage.

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2012 deceMBeR


International News

Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Tour Get Digital Mix
LONDON — Forty years after Jesus Christ Superstar opened at London’s West End, a touring production of the latest revival for the musical headed out in late 2012 to arenas throughout the U.K. After considering all the possible contenders, sound engineer Roger Lindsay selected a Midas XL8 console for FOH duties. The complex musical direction and dynamic pace presented a real challenge, even for a seasoned live engineer like Lindsay. “From start to fnish there’s no time to relax with so much going on. We’re running around 50 channels for the band, which is not exceptional for a 10-piece unit, but we also feature over 40 live singers, many of whom, in addition to the nine principals, have multiple solo parts. “POPulation Groups were one of the main reasons why a Midas XL8 was the obvious choice,” Lindsay continued. The way that both these and the VCAs jump to the top surface at the touch of a single button, is crucial. I’ve got to be able to instantly access multiple groups of disparate channels throughout the show and the XL.8 does this with the minimum of fuss.” During sound checks at each arena, Lindsay sets up both the band and vocal mix. At showtime, he’s assisted by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s studio engineer, Robin Sellars. “You can split the console down the middle to allow for two operators,” explained

Denmark’s MAVT Puts Giro d’Italia Bicycle Race in High Gear
HERNING, Denmark — The 2012 edition of the Giro d’Italia bicycle stage race started of not in Italy, but in the middle of Denmark. But if that posed a logistical challenge for event organizers, another Italian export served as a solution, as far as the audio system to announce the winners of each of three stages was concerned. K-array and its Danish distributor MAVT provided a system centering on K-array’s RedLine 402. MAVT owner Jan Jull Hansen was called by the race organizers to solve some major issues, including orchestrating the awards ceremonies, all held one day apart and in towns far from each other, and accessible to a large but unspecifed public. “K-array perfectly met both needs,” said Jan. “We never knew the exact number of people present at the venue and couldn’t take the risk of leaving some areas unreached by the sound. In addition we were on a tight schedule. Being extremely compact and easy to mount, the RedLine 402 system allowed us to complete demounting and reassembly operations in just one night.”

FOH engineer Roger Lindsay is using a Midas XL8

Lindsay. “Rob primarily concentrates on changes in the band mix during the show while I concentrate on the constantly moving feast that is the vocals. It’s a system that has worked well for us throughout the tour. The show doesn’t need to be efects-laden, be-

cause it has its own energy, so I keep it as organic as possible. Of course, the XL8 has been at the core of this. Without its channel capacity and warm, analog sound, the dynamic feel of the show would never have been achieved so successfully.”

Allen & Heath Completes China Training Roadshow Devin Townsend’s
BEIJING — Allen & Heath recently wrapped up an iLive and GLD training roadshow in China, traveling to several key cities. Organized by Allen & Heath’s distributor, Sanecore, and delivered by A&H product specialist, Nicola Beretta, the sessions were attended by dealers, sound engineers and Sanecore’s tech staf. Approximately 50 people attended each session, which were also recorded for later use. “I have had great feedback from our technicians and customers, who all gained insight into Allen & Heath’s digital products,” said Sanecore VP Tao Zhang. “Sound engineers discovered more mixing tips and tricks, while our dealers gathered more selling points. It was a great success and we hope to make it a regular event.”

Plugging into

“Retinal Circus”

Nicola Beretta (center) with attendees in Beijing

Corey Phillips from Radial Engineering with Devin Townsend, pictured in Vancouver prior to the event.

FOH Horace Ward
Waves live sound solutions are used by front-of-house and monitor engineers for the biggest names in show business. Now, bring Waves studio-quality sound to your stage.
Find out more at


LONDON — Canadian metal multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Devin Townsend presented The Retinal Circus (named after a famed psychedelic Vancouver rock club) in London’s 3,300-capacity Roundhouse on Oct. 27. Along with those at the venue, others experienced the show online. With a full choir, theatrical cast, circus and carnival performances, Townsend noted that this show has visual and aural enhancements unlike any show he has ever done before. With so many elements designed to work together to bring this show to life, Devin employed a lot of Radial gear. “We have a custom 32-channel split snake, many DIs of various shapes and forms, an auto switcher for our backing tracks as well as numerous guitar specifc boxes (JX44, etc.). I chose Radial because it single-handedly addresses and solves most all of the problems and concerns I’ve encountered over the years in a live forum. It’s all housed in three large racks and we bring it everywhere in the world with us.” Following the one-night show, Townsend and the Devin Townsend project pick up touring their latest album, Epicloud with stops in France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, UK and Scotland before the end of 2012.


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On the Move
Aphex named U.K.-based World Marketing Associates as its rep frm for Europe, the Middle-East and Africa (EMEA). The company also named San Diego-based International Sales as its rep frm for markets in the Pacifc Rim, India, Australia, Latin and South America. Budee (Beijing Pacifc Budee Technology Development Co. Ltd) named Eric Boyer marketing director. In his new role, Boyer (formerly with Burl Eric Boyer Audio, PreSonus and Blue Microphones) assumes responsibility over marketing functions across all lines of business, and will oversee online and ofine marketing communications eforts for the company. Clear-Com named Christian Eberlein as its regional sales manager for DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and Poland. Prior to Clear-Com, Eberlein held positions with Wellenwerker, Atlantic Audio and Behringer. L-Acoustics named David Cooper regional sales manager for Asian markets including China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. In his new role, he will support LAcoustics’ distribution and sales eforts in the region. land. Habersaat will be assuming the responsibilities of Adrian Curtis, who was recently named head of Harman’s EMEA regional sales ofce. Waves Audio named U.K.-based audio engineer Val Gilbert as Waves live product specialist. In his new capacity, Gilbert will communicate Val Gilbert with other live sound engineers across the U.K., sharing his knowledge of Waves plugins, the SoundGrid system and typical workfows in the live sound arena.

David Cooper

Line 6 named Paul Foeckler as its new president/CEO. Company co-founder Marcus Ryle has assumed the role of chief strategy ofcer, and Joe Paul Foeckler Bentivegna has been named chief operating ofcer. Foeckler succeeds Mike Muench, who recently resigned after a 14-year tenure as president and CEO. Merging Technologies named Amptec bvba as its distributor in Belgium. Amptec is well known in the installation sector, and has ofces in The Netherlands as well, but Merging’s distribution in that country remains with longtime partner Maarten Sound & Vision.

From left, James Lamb and Satoshi Nishihara

Otaritec Corporation, a distributor of hightech products for AV integrators and broadcast customers in Japan. Point Source Audio president James Lamb and Otaritec managing director Satoshi Nishihara are pictured here.

On the Move?
Robert Habersaat

Christian Eberlein

Studer named Robert Habersaat VP of sales. Habersaat is returning to Studer after seven years with Dr. W.A. Günther in Switzer-

Richard Bugg David Bensheimer Jim Albert

Jason Rauhof

Fishman announced three new hires: senior mechanical engineer David Bensheimer; senior electrical engineer Jim Albert (formerly with Peavey, Deb Furman Altec and Kustom); and junior mechanical engineer Deb Furman. The trio are part of an ongoing commitment to product development and engineering. Harman Professional announced a new Regional Sales Ofce initiative. Mark Posgay, Harman’s senior director, U.S. sales, is leading the RSO group, with Jim Ure, Mark Posgay Rob Lewis, Tom Der, Michael Schoen, Anton Pukschansky, Bill Raimondi and Chris Vice also playing key roles. Posgay pointed to the market-wide shift towards a systems and integrated control methodology as a driver for the RSO initiative.

Meyer Sound announced promotions and a new hire within its digital products team. Richard Bugg is now audio show control product manager. Jason Rauhof Robert Mele is senior digital products support specialist. In addition, Cirque du Soleil veteran Robert Mele has joined the support staf as digital products feld support specialist. Midas Klark Teknik named Mick Brophy as UK customer services manager. Brophy had been European sales manger for Avid’s live sound division and was sales director for console manufacturer Amek/TAC.

From concert tours to sporting competitions, organizers rely on CM entertainment products for reliable and consistent performance – event after event. Discover the power of CM products and product training at our new website, where you’ll also find: n An Expanded Product Offering n Live Media Feeds n Easier Navigation n New Download Library n And so much more!

Mick Brophy

Point Source Audio, a manufacturer of earworn and miniature lavalier microphones, announces a distribution partnership with

800.888.0985 • 716.689.5400 • www.
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2012 deceMBeR 21

New Gear

Allen & Heath ILive Updates
New V1.9 frmware for the iLive digital console adds 4-band Dynamic EQ and Multi-Band compressor emulations, a new GEQ, increased MIDI control and expanded functionality for the iLive Editor software and MixPad app. All 32 mix outputs now have extra graphic EQ LF bands and four modeled GEQ emulations: classic 1/3-octave Constant-Q, Proportional-Q, Digi-Q and an asymmetric Hybrid, plus display of the resulting frequency response and a superimposed RTA view.  On the hardware side, customers can now order iDR-16, iDR-32, iDR-48 and iDR-64 fxed format MixRack or xDR-16 expander units with two optional digital AES3 2-channel outputs in place of four of the analog line outs.

Archwave RE16 Live Recorder
Built into a desktop interface is the Archwave RE16, with 16 TRS inputs (+4/-10 dB) and two outs that captures multi-channel audio directly to an external USB drive. No computer is required, but the Fat-32 Wave tracks (up to 24-bit/48kHz) can easily be transferred to Mac or PC with Core Audio and ASIO support. Just plug your console line inserts into the inputs, hit the transport buttons and you’re capturing tracks. The RE16 can also double as a stereo playback device. Street is $499.

Eventide H3000 Factory Native Plug-in
The H3000 Factory UltraHarmonizer plug-in for AAX, VST and AU, feature 64-bit support and recreate several algorithms from the venerable H3000 that combine pitch, delay, modulation, and fltering. Among the 450 presets are 100 new presets and 100 from the original H3000. in a re-imagined UI that lets users patch together any combination of 18 efects, including the H3000 Function Generator with 19 wave shapes, in endless permutations. MSRP is $349.

Behringer XENYX Q Series USB Mixers
Designed for general audio-mixing applications, the XENYX Q Series USB mixers are ofered in confgurations from 5 to 24 inputs and feature  Behringer’s XENYX low noise/high-headroom mic preamps. “Britishstyle” EQs allow gentle or drastic sound shaping for any input signal. Select models include dedicated “wireless-ready” integration with Behringer’s upcoming ULM Series digital wireless mics. Other features include onboard USB interfaces, “one-knob” mono channel compressors and Klark Teknik FX engines.

Grund Audio GT “01” Series Loudspeakers
Optimized for use in houses of worship and other fxed installations, as well as corporate presentations and other special events, the newest members of the GT product line include seven 2-way designs, from the 6-inch GT-601 to the 15-inch GT-5301 3-way system. All models utilize a 90° circular wave device horn made from 13-ply birch and carved out of the bafe board, along with perforated steel grilles and Speakon or binding post inputs. Colors include black, white or unfnished natural birch. MSRP ranges from $179 to $1,049.

Bose Ground Stack Accessories
New rigging accessories allow easyto-assemble ground stacks of Bose RoomMatch array module loudspeakers. The accessories include a base frame that attaches to the RMS215 subwoofer and enables one or two full-range RoomMatch modules to be mounted on adjustable-pitch brackets. Subwoofer brackets allow using the base frame with up to three subwoofer modules, and optional casters permit easy movement to diferent stage locations for stage- or ground-mounted front-fll applications and temporary side-stage coverage in areas that require removable seating.

Hosa Pivoting High-Speed USB Cables
Sound pros who often need to make connections to laptops and other USB peripherals in cramped quarters will appreciate Hosa’s USB-200FB high-speed USB cables, which feature an “A” connector that pivots for straight or right angle positions. The cables are fully compliant with the USB 2.0 standard, are backward compatible with the USB 1.1 standard and support burst data transfer rates up to 480 Mbps. Ofered in three- to 10-foot lengths, prices range from $8.95 to $11.95.


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NTI XL2 Analyzer Adds Functionality
NTI announces enhancements for its widely used XL2 Analyzer, which provides sound level metering and acoustical/audio analysis in a handheld package. New XL2 frmware ofers an updated STI-PA measurement for verifying speech intelligibility of voice evacuation systems, as well as averaging of multiple STIPA results, onsite ambient noise correction and the ability to emulate STI-PA measurements of crowded conditions even in empty environments.

SKB Watertight Case for StudioLive 16.0.2
SKB has introduced a custom i-Series injection molded case for the PreSonus StudioLive16.0.2 digital mixer. The case features a waterproof design (to MIL spec C-4150J) and SKB’s patented trigger latches. The interior is cut to provide protection to the faders and back panel inputs, with ample storage below the mixer for the power cable or other accessories. The highstrength polypropylene copolymer resin exterior is highly to corrosion and impact damage and has an over-molded cushion grip handle and locking loops for a customer-supplied lock.

PreSonus Expands VSL’s SMAART Analysis Capabilities
Version 1.7 of ProSonus’ Universal Control control-panel software expands the Rational Acoustics SMAART Measurement Technology integrated into UC’s Virtual StudioLive section. UC 1.7 lets StudioLive 24.4.2 and 16.4.2 users view/ correct a venue’s frequency response (using the mixer’s Fat Channel parametric EQ); calculate and set delay-system timing (via onboard subgroup-output delays); and verify output connectivity. Input is from your measurement mic connected to the mixer’s talkback input and can be done as a single-point or from three averaged mic positions.

Soundcraft Audio Calc Toolkit App
An invaluable iPhone tool for audio engineers, Soundcraft’s Audio Calc Toolkit provides converters for Volts-dBu-dBV and delay times in meters / seconds / milliseconds / feet / samples, as well as a time code ofset calculator. Future versions will expand the suite of useful tools with other utilities. The Audio Calc Toolkit is available for $0.99 on the iTunes store — search for “Soundcraft” within iTunes.

SanGreal Gold Series Instrument Amplifier
Designed specifcally for live stage performance, the SanGreal™ Gold Series amplifer combines a neodymium ribbon driver, advanced woofer and state-of-the-art preamp, control, efects and 400 watts of biamplifcation for full range reproduction of guitars, harps, violins, pianos, harmonicas, mandolins, banjos, brass, woodwinds, accordions and more. Optional tube preamps provide the choice of ultra-clean sound, classic warm tonality or a bluesy groove. Input choices are 1/4-inch and balanced mic/ line with a balanced direct out. The unit can be pole mounted or used in a low-profle wedge confguration.

Yamaha and NEXO Expand Control
Efective January 2013, Yamaha CL Series digital consoles and NEXO powered TD controllers equipped with NXDT104 Dante network cards will ofer NXAMP discovery and patching operations, directly from the touch screen display of CL Series Consoles. The NXDT104 card allows for Dante network protocol compatibility between CL consoles and NXAMPs and enables the console to communicate directly with the amplifer via the Dante network. The new control functionality will be available with CL Series frmware update V1.5.

Shure KSM9HS Handheld Vocal Mic
Shure has expanded the available options for fans of its premium KSM9 vocal condenser microphone, with a new variant ofering switchable hypercardioid and subcardioid polar patterns. MSRP is $874. The KSM9HS is available in wired and wireless versions. The original (and still popular) KSM9 will continue to be available with its switchable cardioid and supercardioid polar patterns.

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2012 deceMBeR


Special Operation Warrior Foundation (SOWF)
San Diego Harley-Davidson San Diego, CA


FOH Console: Allen & Heath GLD80 Speakers: Carvin Pro TRx3210 (22), Akroz AK-218 18” subs (8) Amps: Carvin DCM3800L UltraLight amps and Crown I-Tech 8000 Processing: Carvin XD360 3 x 6 DSP (2) Power Distro: Carvin AC3PH120 30A 3-phase rack distro Rigging: Genie ST25 Super Tower (2) Snake Assemblies: Allen & Heath d-Snake (48 x 30 digital audio snake) MON Console: Allen & Heath GLD80 Speakers: JBL SRX712m, SRX725, Carvin TRx 2218 subs Amps: Crown I-Tech 4K & 8K Mics: Heil, Neumann, Sennheiser, AKG, Shure

FOH Engineer: Mike Klowis Monitor Engineer: Carlos Morales Systems Engineer: Tony Mirador System Tech: Nate Carter

Akroz Professional

The event featured Payable On Death (P.O.D.)


FOH Console: Yamaha PM5D Speakers: L-Acoustics KUDO (14), ARCS (4), SB-28 (8) Amps: L-Acoustic LA8 LA-RAKS (9) Processing: Dolby Lake Power Distro: Motion Labs Rigging: Thomas, CM Lodestar Breakout Assemblies: Whirlwind Snake Assemblies: Whirlwind MON Console: Yamaha PM5D Speakers: IEMs (Provided by band) Amps: QSC PowerLight PL 230, EV P3000 Processing: Xilica DLP-4080 Mics: Shure, Sennheiser, AKG
Precise Corporate Staging

Talking Stick Resort Scottsdale, AZ

FOH Engineer: Gary Loizzo Systems Engineer: Michael “Woody” Woods

Chosen Youth Conference
Gaylord Evangelical Free Church, Gaylord, MI


FOH Console: Yamaha M7CL Speakers: Renkus Heinz TRC152D (6), Bag End D18 (4), Bag End Quartz (2) Amps: Ashley MFA Crown K2 Processing: Ashly Audio Protea Breakout/Snake Assemblies: Whirlwind MON Speakers: Sennheiser IEMs Mics: Shure, Audix

FOH Engineer: Christian Alvero Production Manager: Josh Scott System Tech: Chris Law

SpringHill Productions

From left, Joshua Scott, Christian Alvero and Chris Law


POWER LINK® gets an official

UL Listing




Available with sturdy mounting brackets.

PL1-420-BL NAC3-515P-(LENGTH) PL1-420-RD


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Chicago & The Doobie Brothers
FOH Consoles: DiGiCo SD10 & Yamaha PM5000 Speakers: Martin Audio W8LC (42), W8LCD (2), W8LM (6), 2x18 subwoofers (16) Amps: Martin MA5.2K (48) Processing: Dolby Lake & Waves plug-in package, PreSonus ADL, TC Electronic; Lexicon, KlarkTeknik, dbx, Drawmer Power Distro: Pro Power Rigging: Lodestar Breakout Assemblies: Whirlwind & Ramtech Snake Assemblies: Ramtech MON Consoles: DiGiCo SD10 & Yamaha PM5000 with DSP5D Speakers/PMs: Sennheiser G3 & G2, JH Audio IEMs, Ultimate Ears IEMs Amps: Crown I-Tech HD (4) Mics: Shure UHF-R wireless, Shure, AKG, Audix Power Distro: Motion Labs
Delicate Productions & Sound Image

DTE Energy Music Center Clarkston, MI (Near Detroit)

FOH Engineers: Nathan Lettus & Gary Hartung Monitor Engineers: Scott Koopmann & Aaron White Systems Engineer: Pete Umlauf Production Managers: Marc Engel & Gary Hartung Tour Managers: Terri Finley & Ed Ryan System Techs: Paul Pence & Chris Ledbetter

Tarrus Riley & Friends in Concert
Outside Club Vault Hollywood FL


FOH Console: Yamaha M7CL Speakers: McCauley M.Line, M90, MS1, CSM 88 Amps: Lab.gruppen FP 4000, FP 6000Q Processing: Dolby Lake Power Distro: custom Breakout Assemblies: Whirlwind (40 Ch) MON Console: Yamaha M7CL Speakers: McCauley M.Line, M90, EAW SB 528 Amps: Lab.gruppen FP6400, FP1400 Processing: dbx Drive Rack 4800

FOH/Systems Engineer: O’Neal West Monitor Engineer/Tech: Jean Thomas
Team Force Audio



Alberta Cultural Days
FOH Console: Avid VENUE SC48R Speakers: 24 – Electro-Voice XLD 281 (24), EV Xsub (8), EV Xi152 (4) Amps: Electro-Voice TG5, P3000RL Processing: Iris-Net Power Distro: Motion Labs, Sound Art Breakout Assemblies: Ramtech, Sound Art Snake Assemblies: Ramtech Rigging: CM Lodestar MON Console: Avid VENUE SC48R Speakers: Electro-Voice Xw12A, EV MTL-2b Amps: QSC PowerLight PL230, Electro-Voice P3000 Processing: Xilica DLP-4080 Mics: Shure, Sennheiser Power Distro: Motion Labs, Sound Art
Sound Art Calgary

McMahon Stadium Calgary, Alberta Canada

FOH/Systems Engineer: Chase Tower Monitor Engineer: Tom Gunvordahl Production Manager: Mike Dinger Systems Tech: Tom Gunvordahl

Whirlwind’s New Power Link® sets new standards.
Whirlwind is proud to announce that POWER LINK, our newest line of portable power distribution has been granted a UL listing for our Edison boxes, as well as our tour-grade Distro Breakout boxes. For over thirty-fve years Whirlwind has been a staple in the world of live audio, from the largest tours spanning the planet, to the most well known stadiums and arenas. Call us, or visit us online and see how our full line of portable power solutions can best work for you.

Made in USA

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2012 deceMBeR


Tech Feature

By PhilGraham

Digging Deeper into Frequency Response
or the last four months, this column has focused on the physical behavior of horns and the drivers that are attached to them. We intentionally tried to present these subjects with enough technical meat to be interesting even to very experienced pro sound practitioners. This month, we step back and re-examine frequency response, something that’s common in pro audio, and displayed on most equipment datasheets. Almost everything here is covered using more mathematical terminology from many sources, everywhere from Wikipedia to university textbooks. Our intent is one of conceptual discovery, rather than a mathematical discourse. Most of the concepts here are not difcult, although some can be unintuitive. Let’s delve into the background behind how engineers calculate and display information about sound, and revisit the datasheet in light of our new perspective. Music Versus the Datasheet


Fig. 1a: Frequency response plot from a manufacturer’s datasheet.

Joseph Fourier

When sound strikes a microphone, what is occurring? Whether using a dynamic, ribbon or condenser transducer, the mic reacts to the air movement pressure applied by the sound and then converts that into an electrical signal sent to the electronics of the mixing console. The console can be thought of as gathering information about the voltage of the electrical signal from the microphone, which is in turn related to the sound modulating the pressure on the microphone diaphragm. Thus the voltage information is directly related to the sound captured by the microphone. The sound signal coming in to the mixing console looks nothing like the performance plots on a manufacturer’s datasheet (Fig. 1a). Anyone who has made a recording and looked at the waveform in a digital audio workstation (DAW) knows that the information captured about pressure is an ever changing jagged line, rapidly jogging about in a complicated way (Fig. 1b). Contrast this bouncing waveform to the frequency response plot chart on a manufacturer’s datasheet, which for most electronics will be a more or less boring fat line. It would be reasonable to ask how the boring, straight line on the datasheet has anything to do with the signal (i.e., sound information) coming from the microphones. Most people in pro audio would know that datasheet line represents frequency response, and that, in general, the fatter the line, the better. Some further fraction would know that a fat frequency response curve means that “all frequencies have the same relative volume.” But really, what does this mean in the context of the incoming signal from the microphone? To answer this question, we journey back to the time not long after Napoleon’s defeat and a talented French mathematician and physicist named Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (foy yea) who rose to scientifc and political importance after being orphaned as a child. Amid his many accomplishments, Fourier had a key mathematical insight that certain types of more complicated mathematical functions could be completely deconstructed into a collection of diferent, simpler functions. To recreate the original (complicated) math, one need only add up 26 deceMBeR 2012

(sum) the simpler functions with a specifc relationship between them. Fourier’s insight was soon proven by other mathematicians, and has since had far-reaching implications in many felds, including pro audio. His work ties the fat line of the datasheet to the dynamically changing signal of the incoming music signal. Two Sides of One Coin

The complicated math Fourier considered in the 1820s today maps to the information about voltage pressure sound that is entering the mixing console. By extension, the fat line on the manufacturer’s datasheet can be thought of as information about the simpler math that can be used to deconstruct the complex signal. The fat line on the datasheet tells us that the mixing console electronics have a very uniform relationship between the simple math functions, and therefore will faithfully represent the complicated math (sound signal) with little deviation from the original mic input. Another way to think of this is that the datasheet tells you the simple math is added together in a manner that reshufes it to a minimal degree, resulting in fdelity to the original captured information. Fourier’s most signifcant achievements took place in an era before the phonograph, photography or other modern media. To him these two “domains” of functions (i.e., simple and complicated) were just mathematical abstractions on a piece of paper. In our modern context of the mixing console, Fourier’s concepts are still abstract mathematical ways of looking at the incoming sound information. It’s not like the mixing console creates math equations out of the input signal! Rather the two math domains are convenient ways of representing the incoming microphone information and the behavior of the mixing console. It is important to remember that the sum of the simple functions are mathematically proven to be completely equivalent to the complex math functions. When we describe the behavior of one math domain, we are also saying something about the other’s behavior. Fourier’s work describes the mathematical machinery to move from one domain to another. This is to say that Fourier showed how to either deconstruct the complicated math, or sum up the simple math, and switch between the two representations. While the views are mathematically

Fig. 1b: Waveform (amplitude vs. time) display from a Digital Audio Workstation.

Fig. 2: Time domain representation of a digital processor’s output. The processor has numerous parametric flters applied. The Y-axis is relative level in decibels (dB) and the X-axis is time in milliseconds (ms).

equivalent, each is useful to think about the signal (or console behavior) in diferent contexts. Fourier’s First Domain

The information that comes into the mixing console details how the pressure of the sound wave at the microphone is changing. Specifcally how the pressure is changing with time. As the trumpet blows, or the drum rings, it produces changes in air pressure that rise and fall as time progresses. Just as the microphone picks up these vibrations, so to do our ears. Our brains then interpret this pressure that changes with time as sound. This correlates to the complicated math domain discussed above. The technical term for this is the “time domain.”

In addition to the concept of time proceeding forward, the other key concept about the time domain is the principle of change. If the pressure in the air didn’t rise and fall, the force on the microphone diaphragm would not change, and the diaphragm would not change its movement as time progressed. A constant pressure is simple to describe mathematically. All one needs is to provide a fxed number that describes the pressure, and a fxed direction that describes where the pressure is pushing. It is only as the pressure changes moment by moment that more complicated mathematical descriptions arise. In addition to the undulating pressure on a microphone, our world is full of change. Cars speed up and slow down, wind chang-

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Fig. 3: Frequency response representation of the same processor in Fig. 2. The Y-axis is relative amplitude in dB, and the X-axis is frequency in Hertz (Hz). This is the commonly displayed half of a Bode plot.

Fig. 4: Phase response representation of the same processor in Fig 2. The Y-axis is relative phase in degrees, and the X-axis is frequency in Hertz (Hz). This is the other half of a Bode plot.

es speed and direction, temperatures rise and fall, heat fows from hot spaces to cold, gravity accelerates skiers down the slope and money travels from one account to another. All of these circumstances represent change, and some of them can be tackled with the math Fourier developed. His work is ubiquitous in the sciences, and we in professional audio beneft from its development and application in other felds. For instance, the increasing afordability of much of our signal processing equipment derives from cheaper and more powerful electronic chips that are developed to tackle similar computations in other disciplines such as telecommunications. Fourier’s Second Domain

If the time domain can be thought of as the complicated math domain, then the “frequency domain” is comprised of simpler math functions. Much of the thought and vocabulary in professional audio is tied to the frequency domain. This should make intuitive sense, as a datasheet frequency response plot is easier to understand than some jagged signal input. A datasheet could just as easily provide a time domain representation of the product’s performance (Fig. 2), but most would fnd it more difcult to interpret than a smooth, fat frequency response line. In changing to the frequency domain representation, we mention some vocabulary common in live sound. The three terms below defne the essential bookkeeping that keeps track of how to sum up the simple math functions and allow swapping back to the time domain: Frequency — Frequency measures how often in time something completes the same cycle or path. For instance, the Earth makes a complete rotational cycle every 24 hours. Therefore, every location on the globe repeats its orientation to the sun on the same 24-hour interval. Higher frequencies mean something repeats more rapidly. Amplitude — Amplitude is a measure of the intensity (i.e., level or volume) of a given frequency. A high amplitude means that a given frequency is prominent, while a zero amplitude means that a given frequency is entirely absent from a signal. Phase — Phase is a mathematical way of keeping track of the relative orientations in time of each frequency with respect to others. Each frequency has a phase value that defnes its orientation relative to other fre-

quencies contained in a signal. As pro sound practitioners, we use these terms regularly, but possibly without thinking deeper about how they enable swapping between domains. To transition from the frequency domain to the time domain, we need an account of all the frequencies a signal contains, the relative amplitude of each frequency and the relative position in time of each frequency component. Keep a record of these three things, and one can add them up in a specifc way to reconstruct the time domain representation. In a similar manner, a time domain signal can be deconstructed into information about frequency, amplitude and phase. Scientists, engineers, designers and system techs routinely switch between the two domains to show audio information in the most useful and intuitive way. The Datasheet Revisited

most common graphic on equipment datasheets is frequency response. The frequency response is only half of another common display method called the Bode (bo dee) plot. The Bode plot consists of two panels. One presents relative amplitude versus frequency (Fig. 3). The other presents relative phase versus the same range of frequencies (Fig. 4). Datasheets (Fig. 1) generally omit the plot of phase behavior, as it can be less intuitive to understand than the frequency response plot. Measurement software like SMAART, Systune, SpectraFoo, SIM 3, SATLIVE, ARTA, etc., display frequency and phase in the Bode plot format (Figs. 3 and 4). Conclusion

There are a number of different graphical methods that people use to display information from the frequency domain. The

Behind this common terminology in our industry lies deep insights from centuries of mathematics, science and engineering. Fourier’s insight paved the way to how certain specifcations are displayed on modern pro audio datasheets. He also opened the door to understanding that many of the complex

undulations of our world can be taken apart and represented by frequency, amplitude and phase. There are many ramifcations of Fourier’s work in the world, certainly enough for another article in FRONT of HOUSE. We conclude with one profound realization about audio, and indeed in the physical world at large. We have see that two very diferent ways of looking at audio information are mathematically joined at the hip. If one manipulates a signal represented in the time domain, the frequency domain is mathematically compelled to refect those same changes in its own way. Conversely, if we modify a signal’s frequency domain behavior, we also change its behavior when viewing it from the time domain perspective. One cannot manipulate the time domain without infuencing the frequency domain, and vice versa. Phil Graham is the senior engineering consultant of PASSBAND, llc ( Email him at:

Over 50 years of industry knowledge and over 100 shows, conventions, concerts and corporate events successfully completed


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2012 deceMBeR 27

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Production Profile


Back To Brooklyn Tour
By DianeGershuny
The frst show’s setup, at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia


A New System, A New Approach


Inspired by Jackson’s legacy, Carlton designed a new system worthy of Streisand for the tour that would improve on the previous technical model while streamlining and advancing the technology. His positive experience working with DiGiCo consoles on the 2010 28 deceMBeR 2012

The audio chain begins with Streisand’s Audio-Technica AEW-T5400 cardioid condenser handheld transmitter.

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Jeff fusco/Getty ImaGes

o matter your musical predilection, there’s no denying that Barbra Streisand is one of the biggest talents in show biz. She is the epitome of élan and elegance, bringing a level of detail and sophistication to every aspect of her professional presence, from motion pictures to Broadway to concerts. As for the latter, the notoriously stage-shy artist’s performances have been few and far between; the beginning of her 2012 Back To Brooklyn tour marked only her 82nd performance in a six-decade career. For the 1993 Concert Tour — her frst outing in nearly 30 years — Streisand built an audio dream team spearheaded by audio innovator, engineer and sound designer Bruce Jackson. His challenge was to create a comfortable yet controlled live sound environment designed to make Streisand supremely at ease, while simultaneously ensuring her audience would get the best-sounding show money could buy from any seat. Often this involved carpeting a venue at tremendous expense, or confguring and designing gear. Jackson, who had worked with other notorious perfectionists including Elvis for six years and Springsteen for another 10, brought on orchestra mixers Chris Carlton and Kevin Gilpatric to help shape his vision for Streisand’s tour. He was rewarded for his eforts on her 1995 TV special, Barbra: The Concert with an Emmy Award for sound design and sound mixing. Flash forward to 2012. Strategic planning was already underway for another tour when sound designer/FOH mixer Carlton assumed Jackson’s reins in the wake of Jackson’s untimely death in a plane crash in early 2011. The Back to Brooklyn tour, a 12-date run of fall shows, would bring Streisand back to her roots: to Brooklyn (where she jokingly mentioned that the last time she performed in the borough was “on somebody’s stoop on Pulaski Street” as an 8-year-old) in the city’s new Barclays Center, and also at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, the spectacular hotel/venue she helped open on New Year’s Eve in 1993. Each of the Brooklyn tour shows clocked in at about two-and-a-half hours and featured a variety-style format, with Streisand performing along with a 72-piece orchestra, a top-tier rhythm section of studio stalwarts from Los Angeles, an 80-piece guest choir in each city, and special appearances by her son, singer/actor/writer Jason Emanuel Gould, worldrenowned jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and Italian teen-tenors trio Il Volo — plus touching stories and a tribute to her longtime friend and composer, the late Marvin Hamlisch.

Vancouver Olympics was fresh in his mind as he teamed with DiGiCo and Clair Global at Clair HQ in September to build and program the new gear for the tour. With a team of 12 engineers on deck, the updated system was comprised of six consoles in fve mix locations: FOH (Carlton on an SD7 with Kevin Gilpatric on an SD7EX007 expander); artist monitors (SD7, run by Ian Newton); band monitors (SD10, Blake Suib); orchestra mix stems (SD10, Steve Colby); and Grammy Award-winning engineer David Reitzas on a Avid Icon in the M3 Music Mix Mobile truck. What made the setup so distinct was that all FOH, monitor and broadcast recording engineers shared the 170-plus inputs, generated from one central SD system rack — comprised of four DiGiCo SD Racks — and linked solely by a DiGiCo/Optocore 2 GHz fber optics network running at 96 kHz. On some dates — including Brooklyn — they used broadcast recording feeds into a Brainstorm DCD-8 Distripalyzer/ master clock that could receive black burst or word clock, and the DiGiCo system would sync of of that. In addition, the SD Rack’s third MADI port handled live down-conversion from the 96 kHz to 48 kHz, which fed to both the mobile truck as well as to a backup redundant recording system located in the orchestra mix room. “The audio production on this tour has evolved slightly from what we’ve done in the past only because of the newer technology available to us,” explains Carlton. “As far as the amount of mixers and personnel involved with this show, it’s pretty much the same team we’ve been working with for the past 12 years — although she doesn’t go out that often, as you know. We revisited what we had done back in 2007 and wanted to identify areas we could improve upon with the current technology. In the past, our system involved a lot of analog splits and another digital console, which worked well for us, but this is a much better, streamlined

solution for having multiple mixers online with no passive splitters involved. Having an all-digital fber optic distribution network ensured that we had no additional unwanted loading on the microphones, too.” “Given the number of inputs we are using,” adds longtime Clair Global engineer and Streisand tour crew chief Bob Weibel, “if we were using individual stage racks and analog splits, we’d need like 15 racks, which would occupy three to four times the physical space!

From that perspective, it’s logistically good for us to have everything concentrated in one spot. All of the PA outputs, as well as all of the analog and digital monitor outputs, come out of that rack and all systems that run digitally are also assigned to an analog card on the SD Rack for backup. We’ve got all of the mics from the orchestra musicians going to Steve Colby, who’s generating the orchestra stem submixes, which in turn are sent to Chris Carlton at FOH, Ian Newton at artist [Streisand] monitors, and

to Blake Suib at band monitors. Those submixes get returned to the other consoles digitally through the DiGiCo network system that can handle 448 channels simultaneously at 96 kHz, so it stays in the digital realm the whole time. In addition, the engineers can grab any discrete channel of the orchestra on their worksurface.” “Chris Carlton had some pretty hefty shoes to fll, with the passing of Bruce Jackson,” ofers Kevin Gilpatric, assistant FOH engineer. Gilpatric started as an orchestra mixer with Streisand in late 2005. “I’d known Bruce over 35 years, as had Chris and Bob. The three of us go way back, so it was a logical extension for Chris to have me on the EX-007 expander. Initially, the idea was for the console to just be an extension of the SD7 as additional faders for Chris, because of the sheer amount of inputs he had to manage. As things progressed, however — and because the extender could be used either as an exten-

dIane Gershuny

FOH mixers Kevin Gilpatric and Chris Carlton during setup at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Clair Global engineer/Streisand tour chief Bob Weibel

sion or a mirror of the main console — it was decided that I would assist with the main FOH mix. This way, Chris could pay attention to the overall mix and do most of the heavy lifting on his side, and I could monitor little things, change or save presets, and fne-tune diferent things on the EX-007 without afecting what he’s doing. It’s almost like there were two separate consoles out there, and it worked seamlessly.” Carlton was well-versed on the DiGiCo desk, not only from his work on the Olympics but also with his own sound company (Carlton Audio Services) and the DiGiCo regional training sessions. “The best thing about the consoles,” he explains, “is how fexible they are. When we were thrown the last-minute addition of an 80-piece choir, we were able to adapt and suggest a few diferent solutions. I could add an additional 20 inputs to cover the choir with plenty of space to spare. Working within the fber optic network, we were able to send diferent mixes and diferent foldbacks between the monitor consoles and that added a lot of fexibility to what we were doing. Plus, the stems that were sent by the orchestra mixers to everyone else all stayed digital at 96 kHz—no splitters and no additional A/D - D/A convertors. “As far as for Barbra, there are a few things onboard the SD7 that I patch in for her,” Carlton adds. “The multiband compressor works well. In addition, I have an outboard Summit tube compressor on her vocal and a TC 6000, but for the most part, I’m using onboard dynamics and efects for everything else. DiGiCo’s DigiTube Tube Emulation works well and adds a nice edge to the sound on some of the instruments. With this kind of music, we are trying to represent it as naturally and organically as possible. We’re not doing a lot of processing. A little bit of compression and some high pass flters are all that’s required to get what we need. We are using quite a few DPA microphones on the string section of the orchestra and high-end Beyer and Milab mics on the rest of the orchestra. These combined with the great sound of the console make the job easy.” The House Rig

proximately ten FF-3 front fll cabs were spaced across the front of the venue, along with a delay system of six clusters of two-way i-DL cabs. “Chris places a strong emphasis on making sure the frequency response is really even across the front of the audience,” explains Weibel, “ensuring it is consistent even as you move from front to back. We spent a lot of time focusing on that. The addition of the delay system added a tremendous amount of clarity and vocal presence in the back of the arena. It was a lot of work to install but it was worth it.” Carlton added, “Most groups wouldn’t carry delay speakers because it takes a lot of time, additional cost and extra efort to set up, but Barbra wanted every seat to have the best sound possible.” The Lab.gruppen amps are driven by AES digital outputs from the DiGiCo SD stage racks. The system also includes a simultaneous active analog backup feed from the SD racks to ensure there wouldn’t be any issues. The amps have input priority confgured such that if they fail to see the digital signal, they automatically fall over to the analog feed. “We’ve had good reliability with this system and the rig sounds great,” Carlton says. Orchestral Stem Mixing

Carlton brought in Steve Colby, the longtime FOH engineer for the Boston Pops and veteran DiGiCo user, to handle the orchestral stem

mixes on an SD10. (Earlier this year, Colby added a pair of SD10 consoles to the Pops’ sound system.) “I’m very, very fond of the platform,” Colby says, “and when we got to the Clair shop the frst week for training, I came in at an advantage as I’d had a lot of fight time on the SD10. It was fun to be able to show people some of the things it could do. And that’s a credit to the console, too. Everybody latches onto it very quickly. The guys who have been on previous Barbra tours are really, really happy with this new system. They love the fact that we could send signals to and from consoles directly. The DiGiCo/Optocore system is a brilliant concept, and sonically, it’s extraordinary.” Colby is also a fan of the DigiTube Tube Emulation on the SD10, which was added with the most recent v 5.3.2 software upgrade for all the company’s consoles. “For a guy like me who deals with strings a lot, it’s great to have something overall to warm up the signal. You have the clarity and the noise foor of the digital signal, coupled with the warm analog fuzziness of the DigiTubes. It’s a terrifc combination for us.” Dealing with the sheer number of inputs was a defnite challenge. “It reminds me a lot of the Star Wars show we did with the Pops because we were at 160 inputs and did the whole thing from FOH. It was a chore,” Colby explains. “With Barbra, we tried to spread the labor around in specialized areas. We’re taking all of

the mics from the orchestra and breaking them down into submixes sent to other mixers in the system. So Chris at FOH is taking my string stems and mixing with other discrete channels, and I make fve stems that are sent to Ian on monitors for Barbra, and to Blake on monitors for the orchestra. I’m thinking about what it’s going to sound like in the room; how I can help Chris by giving him something consistent to work with, bumping up solos and things of that nature, so he doesn’t need to worry about it. I listen to that and then I also listen to the other stems at the same time from a monitor standpoint. The matrix capability lets me set up a different listening mix on every song, so it helps me to stay honest to the boys that I’m providing feeds for. Having a really deep snapshot automation that can drill all the way down into the matrix inputs and levels is incredibly powerful. The snapshot recall automation on the console is fabulous, too. I like that you can build your own macros. We’re cranking on these shows every day. We get them set up fast, they sound great, and we’re happy as clams.” Monitorworlds

On his frst tour with Streisand, Blake Suib — whose previous outings include work with Britney Spears — handles band monitors on an SD10 rig upstage center under the deck. The console, run primarily in conjunction with

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As Carlton expressed, the DiGiCo consoles paired with Clair Global’s innovative i-5 line array system with full-range cabs proved to be a stunning sonic combination, and more than satisfed the artist as well audiences, who were treated to clear, intimate acoustics even in the farthest of seats. The standard PA confguration is 16 i-5s in the front PA, left and right, plus 12high stacks that are the side-facing element of that front PA. The i-3 line arrays, which are 10 cabs high, covered the rear corners of the arena. Positioned under the stage were four i-5b subs spaced individually across the front of the stage to some extra low-end for frst few rows. Additionally, ap-

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dIane Gershuny

dIane Gershuny

Production Profile
an Aviom system, generates submixes for the string section’s in-ear monitors or to various band members with their own adjustable Aviom rigs. Suib was blown away by the ability for all of the mix engineers to share stage racks and preamps. “What that means is that we’ve simplifed our whole patching world,” he explains, “which is huge as far as the logistics. With this new approach, all of the engineers had to agree on something that we stuck with. Traditionally, most award shows and the like use shared stage racks, but that rarely happens on tours. With the DiGiCo Gain Tracking, we each had our own independence. We were able to set the input gains on the frst day, make maybe a couple of tweaks here and there for the diferent zones, and were able to lock that down. Each engineer could change his own Digital Trim to boost or reduce the level on the discrete channel, or, if we wanted to make an overtone change in the mic preamp, we could adjust the mic pre. With the fexibility of the outputs on the DiGiCo, there’s really no competition. I love the console and in particular, the setup. My setup here is pretty basic, though, mostly only using the onboard compressors and they are working out great.” Ian Newton has handled monitors for both Streisand and her special guests since 2006. Newton’s logged time on an SD7 previously with Roger Waters. For Streisand, he’s feeding a stereo pair mix to 40 wedges around the stage. “As she walks around the stage, I send a mix that I fare through the wedge wherever she is, so we don’t have them blowing into her orchestra mics,” he says. “She gets a balanced mix of everything and everyone uses the Orchestral mixer Steve Colby checks the inputs into the four DiGiCo SD racks Blake Suib handled band monitors. wedges with the exceplocated under the stage. tion of Il Volo, who are all on in-ears. I’m taking stems from the orchestra and frequency response is great in every from Steve, which helps out and cuts down a bit seat… Combine that with very capable of mixing on my end. Because I’m sending the digital consoles and speaker system, same mix to all the wedges, I’m using the Copy and you have the potential to have really to Mix feature in the SD7 pretty heavily on the great shows. We’ve had some really outoutputs. I’m also using the onboard reverbs, but standing shows over the course of this other than that, I’m not doing anything ground- tour and have gotten quite a few combreaking here. My main challenge is keeping an pliments from people we respect along eye on Barbra all night.” the way. The new stage racks, particularly, have been really solid and reliable, foh Good, Better, Best! as have the consoles. We’ve literally had With stellar reviews coming in at every show, no service issues. The rig sounds good. the consensus is that Streisand is still brilliant at Personally, I’m very satisfed and really age 70 and still very much in control. “This is real- pleased.” “The amount of things that Bruce ly a classic example of having all of the elements Ian Newton mixed monitors for Streisand and guest artists in place for a great show,” Weibel sums up. “We Jackson shared with us over the years things I learned from him was about thoroughhave a band that plays great material, are very is staggering,” adds Carlton. “One of the skilled and generate really good sounds. Chris is highlights of my career was working with him; ness: nailing down every detail you possibly can a very talented engineer and works really hard, it was a pleasure. Carrying on his legacy with to make it right, no matter what. And I believe putting in a tremendous amount of time and Streisand, we’re trying to keep pushing that as we are doing just that with the Streisand tour. I efort to make sure the overall sound, SPL levels much as we can. One of the most important think we’d make Bruce proud.”

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Buyers Guide
Alto TruSonic TS115A
LF: 15” HF: 1” exit neodymium Frequency Response: 42 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 100° x 60° Size (HxWxD): 26.8 x 16.9 x 14.3” Weight: 39 pounds Rigging: Six M10 points Power: 335W + 65W continuous Inputs: Two mic/line with level controls Notes: Passive version (TS115) and wireless (TS115W) model for streaming from any Bluetooth-compatible device also available. Companion Sub: Alto TSsub15 or TSsub18

Portable PA
By GeorgePetersen

DAS Avant 15A

American Audio DLT15A
LF: 15” HF: 1.3” exit Frequency Response: 40 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 40° (rotatable) Size (HxWxD): 28.75 x 17.5 x 17.5” Weight: 60 pounds Rigging: 14 M10 fy points Power: Class-D 500W (program) Inputs: XLR/TRS Notes: Onboard 3-band EQ Companion Sub: American Audio Sense 15B or 18B

ortable PA” could refer to a lot of things, because in a sense, anything that’s not in a fxed install can be considered “portable,” from a 128-box line array rig to a simple, compact single-driver powered enclosure mounted on a mic stand. But over the last few years, the portable audio genre has been more closely associated with the speaker on a stick (SOS) category, where a mostly full-range system can be pole mounted on a tripod stand or above a subwoofer box, creating a powerful, versatile system that’s easily broken down into its basic parts for transport. In fact, this SOS category has become incredibly popular with both M.I. and pro users to the extent that there are literally thousands of possible available combinations and permutations on the market today. That said, we’ve tried to limit the scope of this article to a representation of 12- and 15-inch, two-way horn systems that are large enough to provide respectable performance used stand-alone, but are easily expanded with one or more subwoofer boxes for some extra low-end kick. And in presenting these universal “grab and go” solutions, we’ve focused on systems that are both pole mountable as well as fyable, making these ready for anything, whether used as mains, delay systems, front/side flls, green room/lobby feeds... the lists goes on and on. Here, versatility is everything. A few notes: To create some consistency between the product comparisons, frequency response specs are quoted as -10 dB, except as noted. And the data includes both heavily discounted M.I. products as well as higher-end pro oferings, so pricing is not included, as pro pricing can vary signifcantly depending on whether the products are purchased separately or as part of a larger system. In either case, a quick phone call or Internet search should provide up to date pricing info, and URLs are provided for your convenience.


LF: 15” HF: 1” exit neodymium Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 80° x 50° rotatable Size (HxWxD): 32.7 x 17.6 x 18.7” Weight: 66 pounds Rigging: Three M10 points Power: 500W + 100W continuous Inputs: XLR line/mic switchable Notes: Onboard DSP Companion Sub: DAS Avant 18A or 118A

dB Technologies DVX D15
LF: 15” neodymium HF: 1.4” exit neodymium Frequency Response: 49 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 60° x 40° Size (HxWxD): 27.6 x 17.2 x 18” Weight: 55 pounds Rigging: Six M10 fy points, plus three fy tracks on top/bottom Power: 500W + 250W RMS Class-D Inputs: XLR line Notes: Onboard DSP; aluminum CD horn Companion Sub: dB Technologies DVA S20 or DVA S10

Carvin TRx115N
LF: 15” neodymium HF: 1” exit Frequency Response: 54 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 60° x 40° Size (HxWxD): 27 x 19 x 15.5” Weight: 45 pounds Rigging: 12 captive 3/8” x 16 fy points Power: Unpowered; 600W continuous handling Inputs: Two Speakon Notes: Five-sided cabinet doubles as monitor Companion Sub: Carvin TRx118N or TRx215N

Bag End P-Opal-R
LF: 12” HF: 1.4” exit on Elliptic conical horn Frequency Response: 95 Hz to 18 kHz (±3dB) Dispersion: 55° x 40° Size (HxWxD): 25.5 x 14.5 x17” Weight: 83 pounds Rigging: Integral fy points; also BE Flyware arrayable Power: 500W continuous Inputs: XLR line Notes: Time-Align™ design Companion Sub: Bag End D12E-R

LF: 15” HF: 1.4” exit neodymium Frequency Response: 55 Hz to 15 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 45° Size (HxWxD): 25.5 x 18 x 19” Weight: 80 pounds Rigging: Integral top/bottom fy tracks Power: Unpowered; passive or bi-amped Inputs: Two NL4 Speakon Notes: 60° dispersion version also avail. Companion Sub: EAW JFL118 or FR250z

Cerwin Vega P-1500X
LF: 15” HF: 1” exit Frequency Response: 49.8 Hz to 23.5 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 65° Size (HxWxD): 27.5 x 17 x 13” Weight: 53 pounds Rigging: Six M10 fy points Power: 540W continuous Inputs: Two mic/line; one TRS line Notes: Onboard Enhanced EQ, Vega Bass boost and high-pass flters Companion Sub: Cerwin Vega P-1800SX

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2012 deceMBeR

Buyers Guide
Electro Voice ZX5A
LF: 15” HF: 2” exit neodymium Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 60° Size (HxWxD): 27.25 x 17.6 x 16.2” Weight: 50.5 pounds Rigging: Ten M8 mounting points Power: 1,000W + 250W RMS Inputs: XLR Notes: Lockable PowerCon AC connector Companion Sub: Electro Voice ZXA1-Sub

LF: 15” neodymium HF: 1-inch exit neodymium Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 19 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 50° Size (HxWxD): 26.0 x 16.9 x 16.3” Weight: 43.5 pounds Rigging: Eight M10 fy points; one pullback point Power: Dual 500W Crown Class-D Inputs: XLR line and ¼” mic/ instrument Notes: Onboard DSP; dual-angle pole mount socket Companion Sub: JBL PRX618S or PRX618S-XLF

Lynx Pro Audio QB15
LF: 15” neodymium HF: 1” exit on rotatable CD horn Frequency Response: 58 Hz to 18 kHz Dispersion: 90º x 40º Size (HxWxD): 26.1 x 17.2 x 14.8” Weight: 55 pounds Rigging: 13 M6 fy points Power: Unpowered; 500W RMS max Inputs: Two Speakon NL4 Notes: Rotatable aluminum CD horn Companion Sub: Lynx DBP-N15, DR-N18 or SB-215 KS Audio CPD 15
LF: 15” neodymium HF: 2” exit neodymium on CD horn Frequency Response: 55 Hz to 20,000 Hz (±3dB) Dispersion: 90° x 40° (60° x 40°, 60° x 60° also available) Size (HxWxD): 23.5 x 14.9 x 18.8” Weight: 66 pounds Rigging: Four M10 fy points, Aeroquip fyware Power: 700W + 120W RMS Inputs: XLR analog or AES-EBU digital Notes: Ethernet in/out for audio and control data; onboard FIRTEC DSP flters. Companion Sub: CPD W15

Fulcrum FA12ac
LF: 12” neodymium HF: 3” titanium diaphragm; neodymium Frequency Response: 46 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 45° (rotatable) Size (HxWxD): 19.8 x 11.8 x 12.7” Weight: 46.5 pounds Rigging: M10 threaded accessory plates Power: Dual 1,050W amps Inputs: XLR analog; AES3; RJ45 Ethernet Notes: Coaxial design; onboard DSP; 40°/55° rear angles for monitor use Companion Sub: Fulcrum FA212, FA215 or FA221

Mackie HD1521
LF: 15” neodymium HF: 1” exit Frequency Response: 40 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 80° x 50° (rotatable) Size (HxWxD): 30 x 18.3 x 18.8” Weight: 80 pounds Rigging: 12 M10 fy points Power: 700W + 100W Class-D Inputs: XLR line Notes: Onboard 3-band contour EQ Companion Sub: Mackie HD1501 or HD1801

Funktion One Resolution 1
LF: 12” neodymium HF: 5” cone neodymium on waveguide Frequency Response: 65 Hz to 15 kHz (-3dB) Dispersion: 40° x 25° rotatable horn Size (HxWxD): 27.6 x 15.6 x 15” Weight: 42 pounds Rigging: Nine M10 rigging points Power: Unpowered; bi-ampable or optional crossover Inputs: Two Speakon NL4 Notes: Unique Axhead-loaded MF/HF waveguide Companion Sub: Funktion One Minibass 212

KV2 EX12
LF: 12” neodymium HF: 1.4-inch exit neodymium Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 30 kHz Dispersion: 80° x 40° Size (HxWxD): 23.5 x 14.5 x 14.5” Weight: 63.8 pounds Rigging: Four M6 bracket points; 12 M10 fy points Power: 450W + 50W Inputs: XLR line Notes: Temperature sensing fan for extreme heat conditions Companion Sub: KV2 EX1.2, EX2.2, EX2.5 mkII or EX1.8

Meyer UPA-1P
LF: 12” HF: 1.4” exit Frequency Response: 80 Hz to 17 kHz (±4 dB) Dispersion: 100° x 40° Size (HxWxD): 22.4 x 14.50 x 14.30” Weight: 77 pounds Rigging: Four ring and stud pan fttings Power: Two channels 550W total, Class-AB Inputs: XLR line Notes: UPM-2P narrow coverage version also avail. Companion Sub: Meyer USW-1P

Grund GP-315A
LF: 15” HF: 1” exit Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 18 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 60° Size (HxWxD): 30 x 20 x 22” Weight: 86 pounds Rigging: Ten fy points Power: 550W Inputs: XLR mic/line switchable Notes: Removable feet for foor monitor use Companion Sub: Grund Audio STP-151S or STP-181S

L-Acoustics ARCS Wide
LF: 12” HF: 3” diaphragm on DOSC waveguide Frequency Response: 55 Hz to 20k Hz Dispersion: 90° x 30° Size (HxWxD): 14.4 x 29.7 x 17.5” Weight: 36 pounds Rigging: Four coupling bars Power: Unpowered; optional amp/control system Inputs: Two Speakon NL4 Notes: ARCS Narrow (90° x 15°) also available Companion Sub: L-Acoustics SB18m or SB18

Nexo PS15-R2
LF: 15” neodymium HF: 2” exit Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 18 kHz (± 3 dB) Dispersion: Confgurable 50120° x 55° rotatable horn Size (HxWxD): 26.6” x 17.1 x 14..5” Weight: 62 pounds Rigging: Integral top/bottom rigging plates Power: Unpowered; Nexo TD controller/amps recommended Inputs: Two NL4MP Speakon Notes: Asymmetrical Dispersion CD horn. Companion Sub: Nexo RS-15 SUB
32 www.fohonline .com

deceMBeR 2012

Outline DVS 12P SP
LF: 12” neodymium HF: 1.4” exit Frequency Response: 44 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 87° x 67° Size (HxWxD): 22.4 x 13.8 x 13.8” Weight: 48.5 pounds Rigging: 12 M8 rigging points Power: 1,000W Class-D Inputs: XLR line Notes: Asymmetrical cabinet with 25° and 45° angles for monitoring Companion Sub: Outline DVS 115/118 SW

RCF 4PRO 3031-A
LF: 15” HF: 1” exit driver on CD horn Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 60° Size (HxWxD): 27.9 x 16.9 x 16.9” Weight: 60.6 pounds Rigging: Three fy tracks Power: 400W + 600W RMS, Class-D Inputs: XLR/TRS Combo mic/line switchable Notes: S itchable EQ (conto Switchable (contour) mode Companion Sub: RCF 4PRO 8003-AS

Turbosound Milan M15
LF: 15” HF: 1” exit Frequency Response: 23 Hz to 22 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 60° Size (HxWxD): 28.8 x 18.5 x 16.1” Weight: 48.4 pounds Rigging: Top and bottom M10 fy points Power: 450W total, Class-D Inputs: Two XLR/TRS line/mic with level controls Notes: Dual-angle pole mount; Converging Elliptical Waveguide™ Companion Sub: Turbosound M18

Peavey QW 2F
LF: 15” HF: 2” exit on CD horn Frequency Response: 52 Hz to 18 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 40° Size (HxWxD): 33.4 x 21.1 x 22.6” Weight: 96.4 pounds Rigging: Integrated fying points Power: Unpowered; 800W continuous max handling Inputs: Two Speakon fullrange; two Speakon bi-amp Notes: Quadratic Throat Waveguide horn Companion Sub: Peavey QW118

Renkus-Heinz PN151/9
LF: 15” HF: 2” exit on Complex Conic horn Frequency Response: 40 Hz to 18 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 40° Size (HxWxD): 19 x 29.5 x 18.5” Weight: 88 pounds Rigging: AeroQuip fy-track or 12 M10 fy points are optional Power: 300W Class-A/B Inputs: XLR line Notes: Also available in RHAON (networked) and unpowered versions Companion Sub: Renkus-Heinz PN212SUB

VUE Audiotechnik A15
LF: 15” neodymium HF: 1.4” exit neodymium Frequency Response: 42 Hz to 18kHz Dispersion: 70° x 55° (rotatable) Size (HxWxD): 28.2 x 17.75 x 17.75” Weight: 59.5 pounds Rigging: integrated M8 fy points Power: Unpowered; 600W continuous handling Inputs: Two NL4 Speakon Notes: Switchable fullrange or bi-amp operation Companion Sub: VUE Audiotechnik as-115; as-215

LF: 12” HF: 1” exit Frequency Response: 48 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 75° conical Size (HxWxD): 23.7 x 14 x 14” Weight: 41 pounds Rigging: Three M10 fy points; four M5 yoke attachment points Power: 1,000W Class-D Inputs: Two XLR/TRS (mic/line and line-only) with mix controls Notes: Tilt-Direct™ dual-angle pole l socket k with i h 0° and d -7.5° angles Companion Sub: QSC KSub

Tannoy VXP 15Q
LF: 15” HF: Dual Concentric coaxial Frequency Response: 47 Hz to 30 kHz Dispersion: 75° x 40° Size (HxWxD): 23.2 x 17.7 x 16.5” Weight: 63.9 pounds Rigging: Eight M10 fy points; eight M10 yoke attachment points Power: Onboard Lab.gruppen IDEEA (IntelliDrive Energy Efcient Amplifer) Inputs: XLR line Notes: Q-Centric Waveguide™ Companion Sub: Tannoy VXP 15HP

Wharfedale Pro SH1596
LF: 15” neodymium HF: 1.4” exit neodymium Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 20 kHz (-3dB) Dispersion: 90° x 60° Size (HxWxD): 29.5 x 17.25 x 16.75” Weight: 82.5 pounds Rigging: 22 M10 fy points Power: unpowered; 1,000W max continuous Inputs: Two NL4 Speakon Notes: Switchable fullrange or bi-amp operation Companion Sub: Wharfedale Pro SH1500, SH1800 or SH2800

Radian RPX-115P
LF: 15” HF: 2-inch exit coaxial Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 90° conical Size (HxWxD): 27.5 x 20 x 20.75” Weight: 92 pounds Rigging: Sixteen 3/8”-16 fy points Power: Unpowered; onboard passive crossover Inputs: Two NL4 Speakon Notes: RPX-115B bi-ampable version also ofered Companion Sub: Radian RPS-118 or RPS-218

True Vision T-115
LF: 15” HF: 2” exit Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 20 kHz (±3dB) Dispersion: 90° x 60° (rotatable) Size (HxWxD): 27 x 18.75 x 17” Weight: 73 pounds Rigging: 8mm shouldered eye bolts & brackets Power: Unpowered; 1,000W max handling Inputs: NL4 with passive/bi-amp switch Notes: Optional Class-D powering module available Companion Sub: True Vision T118 or T215

Yamaha DSR112
LF: 12” neodymium HF: 1-inch exit neodymium Frequency Response: 55 Hz to 20 kHz Dispersion: 90° x 60° CD horn Size (HxWxD): 25.2 x 14.6 x 14.25” Weight: 47 pounds Rigging: Three M10 fy points Power: 850W + 450W continuous Class-D Inputs: XLR/TRS mic/line switchable Notes: Onboard DSP crossover and flters Companion Sub: Yamaha DSR118W www.fohonline .com

2012 deceMBeR

Tech Preview

Roland M-200i Digital Mixer
By GeorgePetersen
four 31-band graphic EQs are assignable to any bus. If room acoustics need more intensive sound correction, eight additional 31band graphic EQs are accessible by selecting the graphic EQ from the four multi-effects. An onboard USB memory port on the rear panel, has several uses. Any two of the main, auxiliary or matrix outputs can be recorded as a 16-bit, uncompressed WAV fle directly to a USB memory stick. WAV fles stored in USB memory can also be played from any input channel. In addition, the USB memory can be employed for saving/loading confguration fles for later use/recall and/or archiving of mix data. Control Flexibility

oland Systems Group has long been established in the pro live sound industry, going back to the initial debut of its RSS Digital Snake at the New York AES convention in 2005. Once production units became available some months later, I was blown away on hearing an A/B comparison b e t we e n analog signals running over 300 feet of copper cabling (which sounded dull, with nearly no HF sparkle) and the pristine sound of the Roland system, with 40 channels of 24-bit/96kHz audio running over a single Cat-5e cable. If that wasn’t enough, that S-4000 Digital Snake also ofered the additional ease of “splits” using Ethernet switching hubs, simple redundancy setups, expandability to 160 channels, remote-controllable preamps, low latency performance and PC/Mac software for confgs and monitoring. In the years that followed, the hits kept coming, with the establishment of the REAC (Roland Ethernet Audio Communication)


19.4-by-19.6-inch footprint and weighs just under 22 pounds and while REAC supports 96 kHz, the M-200i operates at either 44.1 or 48 kHz. I/O and More

protocol, the breakthrough M-400 V-Mixing System (which evolved into the current fagship M-480), several smaller versions (the M-300 and M-380) and the M-48 Personal Mixers for individual performers. Now Roland Systems Group again strikes a blow against the price/performance barrier with the M-200i, a compact mixing solution for users seeking the fexibility and mobility of comprehensive iPad control combined with the precision of a professional digital mixing console. The mixer has a compact

The physical console itself features a 32-channel-capable architecture with 17 motorized faders, eight aux sends, four matrix mix outputs, eight DCAs, 24 physical inputs and 14 outputs. The onboard inputs include 16 balanced XLR mic/line inputs and eight line inputs (six TRS; two RCA). Reaching the full 32 inputs requires adding from external sources via a REAC device, such as Roland’s optional S-1608 digital snake/stage box, which adds 16 more XLR inputs and eight physical outputs, along with the convenience of remote control of preamp gain. Any of the built-in 24 analog inputs, the 40x40 channels on the REAC port, the efect outputs and USB memory recorder can be assigned to the 32 channels. At the console, sources are accessed via fve illuminated bank switches which instantly bring up inputs 1 to 16, inputs 17 to 32, aux/DCA/matrix channels or two user-defned 16-channel banks. Beyond simply adding more physical inputs, the M-200i’s REAC port opens the door to expandability options, like interfacing to a MADI system (via the S-MADI REAC-MADI bridge), multi-channel playback/recording capability (to a DAW such as Cakewalk SONAR Producer or the RSS R-1000 48-track hardware recorder) and a link to the RSS personal mixing system — all using inexpensive Cat-5e/6 cable. Under the Hood

Onboard DSP is extensive, with a gate/expander, compressor and 4-band parametric EQ are available on all 32 channels. Fifteen types of processors — reverb, delay, Roland “Vintage Efects” and more are standard, along with built-in chorus, fanging, phasing, phase shifting and the company’s proprietary Dimension-D. On the output side, the main, aux and matrix buses all include a compressor, 4-band parametric EQ, limiter and delay functions; and 34 deceMBeR 2012

One of the M-200i’s key features is its ability for wireless control via an iPad using the RSS free “M-200i Remote” app, which will be available next month from the App Store. This comprehensive app not only includes full control of channel strips (gain, pan, high pass flters and parametric/graphic EQs), mixing, auxes, DSP and more, but also the ability to store and recall scenes, tweak compressors and gates, sends, faders, efects editing and other controls. A wireless connection is established simply by attaching an optional WNA1100-RL Wireless USB Adapter or a wireless LAN access point, which allows full user control from the stage or any location in the house. Alternatively, an included iPad dock cable connector provides a reliable wired connection, powering/charging and stable operation with the iPad placed directly on the console or the mixer can be controlled by the free M200i RCS Mac/PC software. Whether you have an iPad available or not, the M-200i is fully controllable using the top panel’s LCD screen along with buttons to navigate all mixing parameters. Combining the strengths of both iPad and tactile hardware control is a “touch and turn” feature that lets users touch a particular parameter on the iPad and control it with a physical knob on the console surface. For fexibility in monitor mixing, the Roland M-200i also supports Roland’s M-48 Personal Mixing System, or the M-200i can function as a standalone monitor console within a REAC network with another RSS console used in the FOH position. The RSS M-200i carries an MRSP of $3,495 and availability is expected in January 2013. More information at

www.fohonline .com

Yamaha’s DXR/DXS Series of active loudspeakers and subwoofers are stacked with power. Developed with the industry-leading loudspeaker giant, NEXO, this new lineup utilizes ultra-precise 48-bit DSP processing to deliver high levels of SPL with superb clarity. Comprised of 4 fullrange models and 2 subwoofers, the DXR/DXS Series is available in a wide array of configurations and backed by a seven year warranty. Featuring a revolutionary compact design, these boxes soar high above the competition. For more information, visit

Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. • P . O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90620-6600 • ©2012 Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.

Regional Slants

Third Ear Sound supported MercyMe and other artists at Great America Redwood Amphitheatre in Santa Clara, CA.

By Kevin M. Mitchell
or more than 30 years, Third Ear Sound has served the San Francisco Bay Area and grown with the technology supporting the needs of its clients. The staf of eight has an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. “Everyone is our audience” is the company slogan, and they mean it. Artists served by Third Ear include Michael McDonald, Bill Cosby, The Temptations, k.d. lang, Gladys Knight, Robert Cray, Smokey Robinson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Boz Scaggs, Etta James, Jimmy Clif, Bobby Caldwell and The Radiators. The company has the privilege of taking care of some of the area’s biggest, most prestigious festivals, including the Monterey Bay Blues Festival, live concerts at Wente Vineyards, the Santa Cruz Blues Festival, the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival… oh, and the world’s largest free jazz festival — the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. “We do a lot of events for people who are amazed at how closely we pay attention to the details,” says co-owner Raul Suarez. “We put a big emphasis on pre-production planning, which results in a production going very smoothly.” Recently, Third Ear did one of its typical radio station events that involved a quick changeover from two very diverse groups: Selena Gomez and LMFAO, which went “perfect because we spent a lot of time planning” the transition, Suarez explains. Audio Geeks Rule


Pays Attention to the Details
“It’s not just the client, but it’s also the band, the people at the venue, the audience — you have a lot of people to please down the line.” —Raul Suarez
attending a school in Wales and studied math, then law, then music before planting his feet frmly in pro audio. “In college, I was the audio geek,” Suarez proudly proclaims. He played guitar in a band, and when the band broke up, he started renting the P.A. to other bands around U.C. Berkeley in the early 1980s. “We did a lot of dorm shows and concerts, plus dorm parties and worked with the seminal punk bands happening at the time.” Doing the circuit, he kept running into David Trinchero, who was doing similar things, but for longer and with more gear. “What was really important was that he had [warehouse] space, and I thought my dad might appreciate me not hauling PA gear into my bedroom at four in

Don Albonico (left) and Raul Suarez (right) run Third Ear Sound with David Trinchero (not pictured).

Suarez grew up in the Bay Area, and his career path is a bit of a jaunt. He spent a year 36 deceMBeR 2012

the morning,” Suarez laughs. So they partnered up, taking on Trinchero’s company name, Third Ear Sound. (About 20 years later, Don Albonico would become the third partner in the operation.) The company grew with every trend that hit the Bay Area. “Early on, we got to work with STP [Stone Temple Pilots] and the Dead Kennedys, and later on we worked with alternative bands like They Might Be Giants, Porno for Pyro, etc. Then we branched into R&B and worked

with Luther Vandross, and then a bunch of Eddie Money gigs.” Along with R&B, alternative and heavy metal, Third Ear Sound got known for their support of blues events. For 27 years, they’ve done sound for the Monterey Blues Festival, and for 20 years, they’ve dialed the knobs for the Santa Cruz Blues Festival. Today, the operation is based in the city of Hayward (on the Oakland side of the bay), where they moved in 2010. The company re-

www.fohonline .com

The setup for Steve Miller and Dave Mason at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

Supporting the Movin 99.7 Triple Ho Show at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA.

The 99.7 show featured Pitbull, Selena Gomez and LMFAO, among others.

quired a bigger space with improved amenities and a loading dock worthy of the work they do. Also, Third Ear needed more room to do an increasingly big part of their business: repair work. Definitely A Hit

Every member of the team wears many hats and does whatever needs to be done, and, in general, Suarez handles sales, Trinchero accounting and Albonico production planning and system design. Third Ear Sound’s success is simple, starting with the foundation of the trio partnership. “We divide the workload evenly, and all [the partners] get along well,” Suarez says. “I feel like sometimes you can’t control that aspect, sometimes it’s hit or miss, but we defnitely hit it,” Suarez notes. The three partners share a dedication to customer service that goes even beyond the client, Suarez adds. “It’s not just the client, but it’s also the band, the people at the venue, the audience — you have a lot of people to please down the line. Some people are just worried about the person who writes the check, sometimes just the audience… but you have to take the blinders of. You can’t have tunnel vision.” Third Ear Sound was among the nominees on the ballot of FRONT of HOUSE’s 2012 Hometown Hero regional awards competition, and, like all hometown heroes, they take care of their neighbors, including neighboring schools and clubs requiring audio installations. “It’s a secondary part of the business, but it’s growing,” Suarez says. Meeting Challenges

Going forward, Third Ear Sound plans on increasing the installation side of their business. “It’s been secondary for a long time, but we’re going to expand on it. Also we’re going to continue to develop our repair department. We’ve been increasingly taking on a lot of audio and keyboard repair, and it’s been good for us and good for the community.” Third Ear has

also been looking into diversifcation, such as adding on backline and/or in-house video services; or perhaps pursue partnering with other people. Staying busy is the order of the day. San Francisco’s annual Fleet Week activities keeps them busy every fall, and have for several years. Meanwhile, festivals, winery series, especially

big parties, and supporting artists like Huey Lewis, Al Jarreau, Al Green, Steve Miller, Greg Kihn and many others who come through keep Third Ear largely out of trouble — and presumably out of their parent’s house. For more information about Third Ear Sound, visit

experience the next generaƟon of live event producƟon

Keeping up with the gear is, of course, a “constant struggle,” Suarez admits. “It’s always a matter of keeping up with the Joneses. But when you can only own so many consoles, then you really have to know which ones to own. For a while, it was Yamaha, and no one was making digitals besides them — now it’s more complicated!” he laughs. “Everyone has caught up. But you have to support what your client wants.” The company still has plenty of Yamaha consoles, but also some Avid and Midas boards. Third Ear is primarily a JBL house, with a lot of VerTec and VRX speakers. “I love JBL equipment, and I love that they’ve been upgrading presets and keeping the product value up,” Suarez says. “I have a good relationship with the people at the factory, and they’ve been incredibly reliable, always ofering outstanding service.” Microphones found around the warehouse include a lot of Shure and Sennheiser wireless, plus some AKG. But a key to success is to “never stop upgrading and buying equipment, because there’s always something new. One year it might be microphones; another year, consoles; then speakers. Then something big happens, and you have to buy it all, and where do you come up with the scratch for that? The revolutions have been in digital consoles, and before that, line arrays, and who knows what will be next?” Suarez says.

Event Live Expo is a plaƞorm for suppliers of live event and venue soluƟons to demonstrate their products and services.


Contact us today to find out how to parƟcipate follow us

Technology | Services | Revenue GeneraƟon ApplicaƟons | Sustainability | Insurance | Risk
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2012 deceMBeR 37

Road Test

Mackie DL1608 Digital Mixer
’m not really sure if this is a review of a product or a phenomenon. Since it was unveiled at the 2012 Winter NAMM Show, the industry has been talking about Mackie’s DL1608, an iPad-enabled digital live mixer, to a level that hasn’t been experienced since the Alesis ADAT hit the streets some two decades ago. Part of this stems from the mixer’s impressive price/performance ratio and part comes from simply ofering a cool — and convenient — way of working in the live environment. With a street price of $999 (not including your iPad 1, 2 or 3), here’s a 16x2 digital mixer with touch screen control; full-on snapshot automation and recall; dynamics and 4-band parametric EQ on all inputs; onboard reverb and tap delay; and six aux sends for monitor mixing. The unit also ofers dynamics and 31-band graphic equalizers on the L/R stereo main outputs as well as all the aux out channels. I also like the fact that it actually has 16 line/mic preamps — there’s none of that “it’s a 16-channel mixer, with eight mic inputs and four stereo line inputs” stuf that’s so common in many other smallformat mixers. In fact, the DL1608 goes one step further by also providing two stereo return channels for the onboard reverb and delay efects, as well as a stereo playback channel that can play music tracks stored from the iPad for backing tracks, walk music — or even karaoke-style applications. And with what on any other mixer would be a simple tape input pot, the DL1608’s iPad channel (the last Fig. 1: The Mixer View screen input on the mixer screen) has 4-band EQ, reverb, dynamics, mutes and soloing. end circuitry and the mixer’s DSP soul. Additionally, you can capture your stereo mixes The unit is compact, at 11.5 by 15.5 by 3.9 directly to the iPad, as 44.1/48 kHz, 16/24-bit un- inches (WxDxH), and weighs just under eight compressed stereo fles. pounds without the iPad or external power supply. I’m not a huge fan of the latter, but it helps foh The Compact Concept keep costs down. On the plus side, the power The use of the iPad as a controller is brilliant. adapter has a secure, screw-on, locking barrel The Mackie Master Fader App (currently at ver- connector at the mixer end. Speaking of power, the iPad slides into a 30sion 1.3) is a free download, and also ofers potential users a chance to try out the software and pin dock connector that supplies DC and data get a feel for it before committing to a console interconnectivity. The mixer’s tray is designed purchase. This also allows ofine creation/ar- to accommodate any full-size iPad 1/2/3 and chiving of mix setups before arriving at the gig, even include a PadLock™ bracket that locks your including channel identifcation using names, iPad into position onto the mixer for permanent supplied icons or load your photos/graphics un- installs, preventing theft or simply to keep it der each channel strip. Using the iPad as an inte- from falling out during transport. The DL1608’s grated part of the mixer makes a lot of sense, and rear panel also supports a Kensington lock, as based on a widely used commodity, provides a another means of keeping your mixer where lot of bang for the buck, much in the same way you left it. An optional rack mount kit attaches that an audio analysis application or DAW/re- to four threaded insets under the mixer. I found cording software can be loaded into a laptop to that the underside of the DL1608 ran fairly warm. create a cost-efective system rivaling a far more Over long-term use, I recommend fnding some expensive hardware-based rig. The production threaded rubber feet that ft into those same inadvantages are substantial when you don’t have serts to create some cooling airspace under the to create the OS and slick touch screen interface. mixer. Why reinvent the wheel if it’s already there? foh Going Wireless! The DL1608 hardware is pretty Spartan. The “mixer” section, which does not function withSo far, I really haven’t mentioned wireless opout the iPad controller, consists mainly of the I/O eration, but this is a key strength of the DL1608. (analog XLR inputs on channels 1 to 12 and XLR- The mixer will not operate without an iPad. HowTRS jacks on 13 through 16), six TRS aux outs and ever, if the mixer is connected to a suitable Witwo balanced XLR main outs. There are 16 input Fi router, the real fun begins, allowing wireless gain pots, switches for power and global 48 VDC operation with the iPad as a controller for FOH phantom, a headphone volume control and an mixing, room setup, ringing in monitors, or adEthernet Wi-Fi/network port. Under the molded justing monitor mixes directly from the stage or plastic housing is the A/D/A processing (all 24-bit anywhere in the house. An Ethernet port on the Cirrus Logic converters), the analog front/back- rear of the DL1608 makes this possible, and the 38 deceMBeR 2012

By GeorgePetersen


Catch a tour of the Mackie DL1608 at or click on the arrow on your digital edition.

Fig. 2: The EQ Screen

Mackie DL1608
Pros: Well-designed GUI for fast operations, ease of wireless operation, great pricing. Cons: External power supply, plastic chassis, circuitry runs warm. How Much: $1,249/MSRP; $999/street. Website: mixer can either tie into an existing network and have the iPad log onto that same network, or simply get an 802.11n wireless router, connect it to the DL1608 directly and have the iPad pick up that signal. This way, you don’t have to depend on someone else’s network when you set up at a club, outdoor street festival, union hall or church. It should be emphasized that no Wi-Fi connection is necessary as long as the iPad directly connects to the DL1608, but if you want to “cut the cord,” a router or network connection is a must. I used the DL1608 with an 802.11n Apple Airport Express, which worked seamlessly and was absolutely plug-and-go. Mackie’s website ofers a list of Wi-Fi routers that have already been tested. Theoretically, any 802.11n (or possibly 802.11g) Ethernet router with Dynamic Host Confguration Protocol (DHCP) to assign an IP address to the DL1608 should work. Yet going with the tried-and-true selections isn’t a bad idea, especially as routers are fairly inexpensive and widely discounted. Getting In Gear

begin with the “Mixer View” screen can display up to eight channel strips and the main L/R output, as shown in Fig. 1. Viewing other channels is accomplished by “swiping” — touching any black area of the screen and dragging your fnger to the right or left. This screen ofers access to most mix operations, such as mute, pan, level or solo, with large, fullscale and highly responsive meters behind each fader. Above each fader is a red horizontal gain reduction meter indicating operation of the onboard dynamics, and above that is a small green screen that shows an approximation of the EQ curve. A tap on the latter brings up the EQ screen (Fig. 2) and from here, the reverb/delay and compressor/gate screens are accessed by swiping upwards or downwards. All three of efects screens have a simple, easy to use design for fast tweaking and storage of settings, either from users themselves or from a list of factory presets designed for vocals or specifc instruments. How do these sound? If you’re expecting exact clones of UREI 1176’s, LA-2A’s, Massenburg parametrics or Lexicon 480L’s, you won’t fnd those here, but all of the DL1608’s onboard plug-ins range from serviceable to pretty good and comparable — if not better — than the type of processing found in any other mixers in this price range. All ofer parameters that can be tweaked to taste and the EQ page also includes a polarity “phase” reverse switch and a tunable high-pass flter. I was pleased with the 31-band graphics on the L/R mains and all the aux outs. These EQs can be adjusted band by band, by moving the “sliders” up/down, or simply by pressing on the touch screen and drawing the desired curve, which can be used as is, or manually adjusted from that point. And user settings can be stored as presets for recall or later use. Likewise, entire mixes can be named, stored and archived as snapshots or as shows. Impressions

So one Ethernet cable connection to the router, a quick selection on my iPad’s “settings” panel, and I was good to go. DL1608 operations

I’m amazed at this little wonder. It delivers what it promises and more. And the DL1608 can be controlled by up to ten iPads at once (including the new iPad Mini). This creates the basis for an afordable rig with personal monitoring stations, with the ability to set access limits on certain mixes, so the drummer can’t tweak the room EQ. The overall sound quality of the DL1608 is quite good and anyone familiar with the company’s fagship Onyx preamps should know what to expect. The DL1608’s price point brings “walk the room” tablet mixing to a whole new audience, especially to club and smaller HOW users. It even opens up some slick tricks like leaving the console rig onstage, mixing wirelessly from the house, while avoiding the issue of mic snakes and long main/monitor cable runs. Sure, it would be nice if the DL1608 had a steel chassis, 32 inputs, subgroups, digital I/O, cascade ports, channel inserts, Dante/MADI interfacing and more. Yet at $999, this one’s a winner that builds a strong foundation for expansion into some higher-end alternatives. I wonder what Mackie has in store next?

www.fohonline .com

By DavidMorgan

On The Digital Edge

So What Do You Want for Christmas?
Holiday Gift Ideas for Sound People
opefully we have all survived the annual gastronomical excess known as Thanksgiving, so it’s time to start working on that holiday gift list. If there’s an audio engineer lurking on your list, maybe it’s time to break away from the clichéd multi-tool that always seems to appear under the tree. How many Leathermans or Gerbers does one really need? Plus, one always runs the risk of losing these tools to a lapse of memory that results in sheepishly handing the tool to that smug TSA person who noticed that you hadn’t removed it from your carry-on. Instead, I want to ofer a few suggestions that might be worthy of consideration. Let’s start simple, with clothing. My only foray into audio-related tourware resulted in the creation of the A-1 Audio tour jacket that enjoyed semi-iconic status among road crews in the 1980s. In 1979, Bobby Ross and I generated a rainbow graphic on a silver grid using Fletcher-Munson equal loudness curves. We had the design embroidered on the back of a navy blue sateen baseball jacket so it would be large and easily noticed. I enjoyed the irony of presenting an esoteric and complex audio research guideline as an attractive bit of eye candy. In Fashion


Etymotic ETY ear plugs Future Sonics Atrio earphones Cafe Press sidechain T-shirt

Hosa CBF-500 cable tester

Giggware polar pattern T-shirt

Microphome mic sanitizer

I’m no fashion maven, but I’ve seen two or three designs that piqued my interest in a similar fashion to the A-1 jacket design. The frst is a T-shirt from Cafe Press, (cafepress. com/mf/40262493/scfpacifc_tshirt) with a graphic depiction of the sidechain concept. There are so many ways of employing the audio sidechain to de-ess, compress, gate or duck that hours of stimulating conversation can be generated by just wearing this single piece of casual clothing. I’m defnitely asking Santa for this one. A diferent, yet equally attractive T-shirt design falls into the “More People Need to Read These, Please,” category. If essential information like microphone polar patterns or frequency response graphs is displayed as accessible art, maybe people will get the idea that the paperwork that came with the mic you just bought isn’t intended to line the cat’s litter box. This Giggware ( shirt design from is both another instant conversation starter as well as groovy art. The more attention all of us pay to reading the documentation, the more educated our community becomes. Wear this with pride. On the silly side, Giggware also ofers a shirt emblazoned with the “Suck Knob,” which lives in infamy as the punch line depicted in Gary Larson’s classic “Raymond’s last day as the band’s sound technician” cartoon. Sound Choices

bargain at $12.95. I highly recommend something that produces sweet and listenable sounds within your ears. My favorite in-ear product is Future Sonics’ $170 Atrio ( These single-driver earphones have been in my toolkit since they frst came out. I use them everywhere, and Atrios also come in handy when one of the musicians forgets to bring his or her “ears” to the gig. On the plane or on the stage, this excellent product earns my highest praise. My preference for gig headphones has never been for expensive, super-accurate, totally sealed over-the-ear models and a product with response characteristics that are complemented by the sound already coming from the PA provides the most useful mixing information. I’ve used Sony MDR-V6s for years to pick things out of a mix or for cueing effects. Sennheiser’s HD-280 Pro headphones, another excellent product, are also employed by many of my colleagues. Both the 280s and V6s can be found for less than $100. Headphones should be replaced or re-diaphragmed regularly. Normal wear and tear, frequent dropping and hours of music exposure signifcantly afect headphone response and accuracy. Ask for some new ones this year. Getting Practical

Sennheiser HD-280-Pro headphones

age. I used to carry the titanium colored one. However, it’s exactly the same color as the surface of the Avid VENUE console that I use and I kept losing track of where I put it. I put that one in my car and replaced it with the black version. Inova and Streamlight make a variety of road tough and very bright handheld and headworn fashlights, with tight beam, long-throw models to wide beam, short-throw units. Streamlight also ofers many rechargeable models.

There are a few other sound person essentials that are often provided in a company workbox. Cable testers like the Behringer CT 100 ($30), the Ebtech Swizz Army Cable Tester ($80) or the Hosa CBT-500 ($40) are must-haves in any toolkit. A Whirlwind QBox ($185) is something every responsible sound company will include for troubleshooting convenience. If these are missing from your workbox, Santa should make a stop at your sound company. These are as necessary as a good multimeter. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for a happy, busy and prosperous 2013. Safe travels! Catch David at

Moving to the practical. Our livelihoods depend on our hearing, and ear protection cannot be stressed enough. Sounds produced from speaker systems is not the only workplace audio danger we face. Noisy forklifts, wheels on truck ramps, dropped load bars, hammers banging on trusses and staging, clanging chair dollies and even people yelling can all permanently damage hearing through prolonged exposure. Use earplugs whenever possible. Step up from disposable foam models and try the ETY-Plugs from Etymotic Research (, which are a

How many times have you left your 1/8inch mini stereo to dual male XLR adapter cable behind at your last gig? It’s always good to have a spare. Lately, I have been using the Hosa CYX-402M (about $13). Have one put in your stocking. Maintaining a healthy, germ-free work environment both artists and technicians is a good idea. Microphome ($8.95), a cleaner/ sanitizer/deodorizer for vocal mics, can help. This fast-drying cleaning foam is spread onto the outside of the mic grille, safely away from the internal electronics. After about two minutes, the foam evaporates, promising to leave the mic 99.99 percent germ-free. Flashlights are fantastic for flling a sound person’s stocking. At FOH, I use the Inova X5 series 5-LED fashlight (about $30). It’s a nice, bright food in a tough steel pack-

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2012 deceMBeR


The Biz

By DanDaley

Music Studios: A Quality Benchmark For Music Clubs?
hen I frst took on this month’s column, the editor of this publication counseled me not to write about recording studios in this space. “Live and recorded music are two diferent worlds,” I was told. Going back that far, it was a sensible admonition: with the exception of a relative handful of professional remote-recording trucks, recorded and live music were for the most part distinct realms. Many — if not most — FOH mixers started out in recording studios, but apart from the basic physics of audio, the diferences in skillsets and environmental factors were substantial. A lot has changed since then. Softwarebased recording is now de rigueur at the FOH position, with Pro Tools (or some kind of recording rig) integrated into or along with most digital consoles. The need for immediate content following performances, to feed artists’ websites and other distribution channels, has meant that mixing, editing, even sweetening goes on there and in the hotel rooms and buses apres-show. So it’s no surprise that some venues are not only adding multitrack recording capabilities, but also turning to studio designers to address acoustical and noise issues in those clubs. Clubs: Moving on Up

Noted designer John Storyk, whose long studio client list goes back to the 1969 completion of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland Studios, says the number of small music venues he’s done has shot up in the last two years, with three recent ones in New York City alone. The trend he’s seen is encapsulated in the Rockwood Music Hall, a club on the Lower East Side where noise containment and the ability to manage the sound for up to six acts per night were paramount. Storyk says that latter issue is being resolved with the specifcation of small digital consoles that can save setups internally. That ability, combined with their declining costs and growing incorporation of integrated DAWs, has seen them take precedence over the analog FOH desks that he says club owners still prefer, at least sonically. “The cost of the equipment is still important in a club situation, and those kinds of afordable, very

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capable digital mixers are what make the most sense,” says Storyk. But after making sure the interior acoustics address the most fundamental issues, which focus on minimizing refections in the stage area, the biggest design issue is noise containment. That’s because, given the increased costs of fnes and stepped-up noise-code enforcement as more people move into the urban core areas that in many cases were pioneered by music clubs, the kind of expensive room-withina-room, fully isolated space once reserved for recording studios are now becoming more Many new clubs — such as Fenix, which opened common in live-music recently in San Rafael, CA — have invested clubs, such as the new in acoustical control for the beneft of both Fenix club in San Rafael, patrons and neighbors. CA that Storyk designed. “Many newer noise codes are now time “As the ambient noise levels around a club decrease, based — as the ambisuch as at night, the thresholds for noise complaints ent noise levels around a club decrease, such as also go lower, making clubs more vulnerable to at night, the thresholds violations.” —John Storyk for noise complaints also go lower, making clubs more vulnerable to violations,” he explains. he’s also observed an increase in the number “Avoiding that by isolating the club physically of music club projects he’s been called in on. becomes worth the cost.” The Fenix project Some of those are based on the need to isoalso includes a complete video production late the venue acoustically and mechanically suite in an upstairs space to provide HD video from its residential surroundings, yet Manrecording/editing for live streaming and/or zella says that a rising percentage of them — delayed broadcasting of performances. like Fenix — also want integrated audio and video recording and streaming capabilities. foh Acoustics and More “Some of our current projects cross over FM Design is an award-winning, full-ser- the line from production facilities to perforvice architectural acoustics and media facility mance venues,” he says. “There are at least design frm based in Mahopac, NY. While per- two projects that are multi-use facilities with haps best known for its recording facility de- the ability to host smaller live events with limDesigner John Storyk signs, company president Fran Manzella says ited live audiences while capturing the audio/ video and streaming the show online. This is an interesting model that seems to be getting This trend yields cultural implications besome legs.” And, says Manzella, the trend goes yond merely better-sounding music clubs. beyond the U.S.; one of his recent project is in These same clubs are the fnishing schools the Republic of Georgia, in eastern Europe. for the next generation of music artist. The notion that talent will always trump a rottenfoh Getting Better All the Time sounding room or sound system is a myth. Other collateral benefts to live-sound Musicians are only as good as their instrumixers from this trend include more atten- ments, and that extends to PA systems and tion paid to the location and design of the ambient environments, too. The same goes for music patrons — they FOH position during the design stage, which continues to fght for space against the loss of deserve a good environment in which to revenue-producing seats or standing room, discover new music, a transaction that takes and also in the form of absorptive treat- place increasingly in clubs, where the live ment to lessen refected sound and increase performance adds a third dimension to musonic accuracy. FOH is also becoming, if not sic. As listeners get sharper, music gets better a proft center, then at least somewhat self- in response. And for an industry that’s been liquidating, thanks to some clubs charging shaken to its core in recent years — recorded artists for recordings. And the recent burst of and live music alike (tracking that LYV stock music-venue building has better equalized ticker?), focusing on quality sound makes the bands-to-clubs ratio, meaning that ven- perfect sense. ues are once again using the quality of their sound to compete in attracting both artists Dan Daley is a noted journalist and bon vivant. and customers. Reach out to him at

By SteveLaCerra

Theory and Practice

Passive Aggressive: Direct Box Styles, Explained
lot of people take DI boxes for granted. After all, what’s the big deal? You plug them in, and they work. If not, you rummage through the utility drawer until you fnd one that does work, and of you go. Most people never give any thought about whether or not they are using the best DI for a given application. Of course, we’re here to help. Your Crash-Refresher Course


A DI has several functions, one of which is converting the high-impedance unbalanced signal from a guitar, bass or other instrument into a low-impedance, balanced signal. Electric guitars and basses produce unbalanced signals intended for connection into (duh…) guitar and bass amplifers. These amps accept the signals without any trouble, but the line inputs of an audio mixer are basically incompatible with them — the impedance of a line input is far too low for a guitar or bass. As a result, the pickups work too hard, resulting in an increase of noise, loss of signal level and degraded frequency response. Additionally, unbalanced signals (particularly those from guitar and bass) can’t travel very far before they succumb to noise from RFI and electromagnetic interference, so we recommend keeping guitar cables shorter than 20 feet. Once a signal is balanced, it can travel safely over the long cable runs necessary to get it to the FOH and monitor desks. Finally, the DI changes the level of the instrument, knocking it down to microphone level, while at the same time providing a safe way to avoid ground loops and hum. The Direct Approach

Fig. 1: A basic passive direct box using a Jensen JT-DB-E transformer, with color-coded hookup wires. Although this has a ground lift switch, other passive DIs may include pad/attenuator or polarity reverse switches and a second 1/4-inch “thru” jack wired in parallel to the input.

DIs come in two basic favors: active and passive. Neither design approach is necessarily “better” than the other. The obvious diference is that a passive DI does not require a source of power, as it employs a transformer to perform impedance matching and balancing, as shown in Fig. 1. This transformer is the most important component in a passive DI. A good transformer is expensive, but provides several benefts. According to Peter Janis of Radial Engineering Ltd., “transformers create a magnetic bridge that allows audio to pass while blocking DC. This makes passive direct boxes very helpful at eliminating noise due to audio ground contamination from varying DC ofsets and reference voltages between the instrument and the mixer or preamp that can cause buzz or hum. This is manifested in the form of ground loops due to power distribution issues. Another beneft stems from the sound of a transformer. Unlike active circuits that go from say 0.5 percent distortion to 100 percent distortion once you overload the input and exceed the rail voltage (a.k.a., clip the input), transformers do not distort the same way — they saturate. This creates a natural compression that we humans fnd pleasing, and is often referred to as ‘vintage’ sounding.” Getting Active

former at the output. As the name implies, active circuitry requires power to do its job, with the vast majority deriving power from either a 9 VDC battery or +48-volt phantom power from a mixing console. Given a choice, it’s probably better to avoid batteries because they’re environmentally unfriendly and can fail at the worst possible moment. It’s a definite advantage when an active DI can operate from phantom power, as phantom power is available from mic inputs on most mixing consoles, though a small percentage of DIs use wall-wart power supplies, or (in the case of many tube designs) source power from AC mains. The input to an active DI does not distort gracefully or saturate as does a transformer, so in ye olden days, there was concern of highoutput instruments overloading the input of an active DI, causing distortion. This is no longer the case. Which Do I Choose?

ten preferred on active sources, such as keyboards, drum machines, etc. Conversely, an active direct box often works best with instruments without onboard electronics or active pickups, such as vintage basses, guitars, mandolins, etc. In either case, reducing the number of additional gain stages in the signal path tends to reduce noise. However, “the lines blur with acoustic guitars that have built-in pickups,” says Janis. “Folks are comfortable with active direct boxes, and since we can now handle higher signal levels, this seems to work well. When it comes to piezo transducers, active is the only choice. These fnicky devices sound best when they see a very high input impedance. Our newest DI has a 10 Meg-Ohm (10,000,000) impedance for this very reason. This smoothes out the peaks, eliminates the squawk and extends the frequency response, making it much more pleasing for

orchestral instruments such as upright bass, violin or banjo.” Certain features are shared by active and passive DIs: a 1/4-inch “thru” jack for routing the instrument to an amplifer, a ground lift switch to safely eliminate hum due to ground loops, and a pad switch so that speaker-level signals can be patched into the DI. Less common features include a polarity reverse switch that swaps pins 2 and 3 of the XLR output (this may be helpful in dealing with phase issues) and an LED to indicate when phantom power is present. The author wishes to acknowledge Peter Janis at Radial Engineering for his assistance in preparing this article —ed. Steve “Woody” La Cerra is the tour manager and Front of House engineer for Blue Öyster Cult. He can be reached via email at woody@

An active DI is, by nature, a form of preamplifier. Active DIs typically employ electronic circuitry to achieve impedance matching, and may or may not use a trans-

Active circuitry allows the DI designer to create an extremely high input impedance (thus making the pickups in passive basses and guitars very happy) or implement various forms of audio “massage” such as frequency contouring. “For low-output instruments, such as an older Jazz Bass, even a small bit of loading can cause a bass player to notice a minute drop in level,” Janis explains. “For these artists, an active direct box tends to be a better solution. This also applies to some vintage instruments like a Fender Rhodes piano. The active DI has a built-in bufer or unity gain amplifer that delivers a stronger signal than its passive counterpart. In the past, high-output instruments would overload the typical active DI. In recent years, new switching power supply technology has enabled us to increase the signal handling to a point where this is no longer a problem. We often associate active direct boxes to condenser mics and passive DIs to dynamics. You can use either in many cases, but if you want more reach — say, on a violin — the condenser tends to be a better choice, just as an active DI will produce more air from an acoustic guitar. Active DIs also enable us to control various parameters that are simply impossible using a passive circuit.” Generally, passive direct boxes are of-

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2012 deceMBeR


Image Courtesy of Jensen transformers

Sound Sanctuary

By JamieRio

‘Tis The Season to be Mixing
f you’re a regular reader, you know that every holiday season, I give my personal insight and advice. This year I will be doing the same, but I also want to add my views on portable speakers and how I have used them during this time and beyond. The Christmas season (or Hanukkah season for many of you) starts for me right after Halloween. I always have a gig on Oct. 31 and, right after that, I start to schedule my duties for the holiday season. The last few years I have limited my actual mixing commitments to one house of worship on Christmas Eve and one on Christmas day. That said, there are still a lot of potential gigs (mainly holiday parties) leading up to the big day. That is where having a healthy assortment of speakers on a stick (tripod) in my arsenal comes in very handy. Portable P.A. to The Rescue


every house of worship should have at least one pair of self-powered boxes and a couple of tripods on hand, for small musical events, speaking presentations and any time there’s a need for a portable sound system.
channels, which means that I can plug in an iPod or some digital source and, if needed, an announce mic in a separate channel. This holiday season, I have booked half a dozen parties, and every one of them will be very easy to set up and operate. I also use portable speakers like this at some of my house of worship events. This year, I’m supplying sound for a children’s Christmas show at a church in Monrovia, CA. The event will be in the kid’s room next to the main worship house. The room has no audio, so I am bringing in a pair of speakers on tripods and a small mixer. I will be mixing four or five live mics and some programmed music. The setup is basically like one of my holiday parties, except that I will be there, monitoring the system and mixing the event. This particular Christmas show is for the real young ones (from 5 to 7 or 8 years old). No monitors will be used, so, as I mentioned before, it’s a very simple sound system. I actually think that every house of worship should have at least one pair of selfpowered boxes and a couple of tripods on hand. These come in very handy for small musical events, speaking presentations and any time there’s a need for a portable sound system. For guys like me who make a living with their gear, small self-powered boxes have a lot of uses. I can do small worship or secular events and parties as I have just mentioned, or I can supply audio for more elaborate events where four, six, eight (or more) speakers are needed. Car shows are a perfect example (but not the only one). Sometimes I will use a dozen small powered boxes to equally distribute audio over a larger area (such as a car show). They are excellent for that type of scenario. You can daisy-chain as many speakers together as you may need. Now if I happen to be supplying audio for a gig with a stage and live performers, I can use most of my powered speakers as stage monitors. And if I am mixing from the side of stage (as opposed to the front of house), I can use a powered box as my front of house monitor. Holiday Advice

Now I know a lot of you have mixing commitments at one particular house of worship and I totally respect that as your calling. However, if you’re like me and you mix audio for a living, then the holiday season can be very lucrative, which brings us back to my discussion of those very portable speaker systems. Here is a typical scenario: I get a call from an individual who is throwing a holiday party and needs some audio. I can set up a couple of speakers on tripods in the house, the yard or wherever, plug in an audio source, EQ using whatever onboard equalization the speakers have and I’m done. I show the client how to adjust the volume and turn off the speakers, and that’s it. And like Santa, away I go to my next gig. Almost all of my speakers have multiple inputs. Generally, they sport two audio

just one liaison for each church. Let your liaison know you are working with more than one house of worship. This should make it easier to book your rehearsals. If possible, do not book two rehearsals on the same day. My experience is that rehearsals always run over, and unless you plan on walking out at an exact time, you will be late your second rehearsal. Just remember, churches work on “God time,” or God works on “church time.” Whatever it is, actual time is usually left out of the equation. Next, please take care of your physical body. You cannot afford to contract any sort of disease during this year’s holiday season. A stuffed head or flu will negatively affect your hearing (and this is your most important tool). Besides, dragging your sick body from church to church will be no fun at all — not to mention anyone you infect with your germs. So, instead of drinking buckets of coffee and eating dozens of donuts, try buckets of water and dozens of vitamins. Lastly, don’t overbook yourself. This is a time of year when, as techs, we tend to be working on more events than ever. Whether it’s just extra time at your church or your calendar is filled with gigs, you need to also take time for yourself and your relationship with your God. After all, as believers, we are celebrating all things spiritual. So, just don’t overdo it. Enjoy this time, enjoy your work and enjoy your friends and family. As you know, Christmas comes but once a year and, for that matter, so does Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve. Have fun, and I’ll talk with you next year.

Now back to that holiday advice. The most important thing you can do is communicate as clearly as possible. If you are working with two or more worship houses, find

Have a comment? Contact Jamie Rio at jrio@

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Live Industry Books
2012 deceMBeR 43


By BakerLee

Audio: The Red-Headed Stepchild
n regard to audio, it’s great to be on a concert tour as a band’s engineer, where the gig is all about the music. Monitors or front of house, small or large venues, opening band or headliner — it is still about the music. In venues catering to a musical performance and a music-loving clientele, these rooms and halls are specifcally set up to provide for the best possible audio system. Granted, there are those times when the town crier is standing behind the front of house console with the police chief and an SPL meter telling you that the audio is restricted to be no more than 90 dB at the FOH mix position, and you humbly nod your head in agreement while, at the same time, realize that the SPL coming of the stage is 110 dB before the mains are even turned on. Or a specifc piece of gear that is crucial to the show is unavailable in a town so remote that you cannot even imagine that anyone in the vicinity has even heard of the band. I am well aware that even in the best of situations, there are technical problems and audio heartaches, but at least it’s still rock ‘n’ roll — or something like it. But in Event Audio World...

IllustratIon by andy au


A Real-Life Example


Event audio, on the other hand, is a whole diferent beast to be tamed and controlled. Events are usually hosted and presented by large corporations with a product to launch or sell, and while there is no lack of corporate funding behind concerts, the approach to audio in the event world is quite dissimilar to concert procedure and protocol. In regard to the technical, audio is the red-headed stepchild of the event world, and despite the demanding nature of these events and the importance that the audio appears to play, in many cases, it seems that audio is always an afterthought. Maybe as audio is heard and not seen, many event designers don’t perceive it as a physical entity, and therefore they don’t plan on it until some video person asks about playback or the band booked for the event inquires whether their rider is being fulflled. It’s always a joy to be on the back-end

All the planners and vendors had already attended multiple meetings and finalized their plans before realizing they had once again ignored the red-headed stepchild.
of the event design, dealing with people who have nary a clue as to the how, what or why of sound. But don’t get me wrong: event audio is great work if you can get past the fact that it’s populated by a completely diferent type of person and preference than those found in the music world. Most of the audio technicians I know are — much like me — musicians who entered into the world of live sound because of a vast love of music and a desire not to starve. It might not necessarily be in that order, but the point is that very few engineers I know decided to enter into the realm of audio thinking how cool it would be to run video playback and multiple channels of lavalier microphones as one executive after another drones on about the wonder of their new product and the joys of team-building. Reality and Realizations

Recently, an event planner sent me a band rider and room layout for an extremely high-end wedding and told me that the room did not have any audio and that a full package would be needed The caveat was that all the planners and vendors had already attended multiple meetings and fnalized all their plans before realizing they had once again ignored the red-headed stepchild. To kick of our conversations, the designer relayed to me that they had decided on a beige décor for the room and they did not want to see any black speakers. By chance, it just so happens that I can get beige speakers that look like scenery, but I was then told that I could not place any speakers on stage right or stage left due to some overly expensive glass monuments that would be on display for all the guests to ogle. Unfazed by the frst setback, I then designed a plan for the beige speakers to be on the upstage left and right and for room coverage two more beige speakers spread about 30 feet to the left and right of the mains. Even though the speakers ft the décor of the room, I explained that I had amp racks and cables that would need to be on the foor. Of course this didn’t go over well with the designer, but as soon as I fgured out a way to hide them, I found out that no consoles would be permitted on the foor and all control would be in the balcony. Of course, the band had a monitor engineer as well as a house engineer, so it was required that house console would be on the balcony facing the band and the monitor console would be behind the band on the balcony. This required me to run a 250-foot snake and a 350-foot feeder cable around from the front balcony to the rear, then dropping down to the distro and stagebox below. Back to Earth

Buyers Guide IEM Earpieces Houses of Worship Planning System Upgrades Applications Acoustic Guitar Miking Techniques Road Test VUE Audiotechnik A-Class Speakers

I am aware that the décor, food, presentation, signage and lighting take precedence over audio for these events, but seriously, someone should at least make an attempt to include the red-headed stepchild before all the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed. Now, this is not always the case, but as I stated before, these event people are not music people and have no idea as to what it takes to make a musical event happen in a corporate setting — or any other locale, for that matter. Therefore, after quite a few years of doing this, (I never said I was quick) I fnally realized that, in some cases, it is better to ofer a diferent solution to the client and walk away from a sticky situation rather than attempt being the hero.

A bit of a pain, but it was nothing that couldn’t be accomplished with a little bit of labor and time. Unfortunately, the idea of black cables dropping down from the balcony to the back of the stage did not ft the décor of the room, and when I suggested we could dress the cables if I could just load in earlier, it was then that I was informed of my two-hour time period from load-in to sound check. At this point, I called the house technician to fnd out what they usually did in situations such as these. “Well,” he said, “we usually use the hidden speakers that are built into the walls and our stagebox that breaks out from the back wall.” “Really; how come none of the multiple designers and planners who have been torturing me with this event knew that there was house sound?” It was a redundant question, and I never heard the answer, because this red-headed stepchild had cut and run. Contact Baker Lee at

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When you own K Family loudspeakers in your rental inventory it’s like having money in the bank. But unlike a bank, the K Family pays you a handsome profit every time you put your money to work. Flexible, easy to use, great-sounding, and extraordinarily rugged and reliable,* no other loudspeaker line can offer you the kind of dependable return on your investment you get with K Family. And you can bank on that.
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*K and KW Series 6-year extended warranty with product registration. © 2012 QSC Audio Products, LLC. All rights reserved. QSC and the QSC logo are registered trademarks of QSC Audio Products, LLC in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other countries. The House of K logo is a trademark of QSC Audio Products, LLC.