Thursday, October 29, 2009

Soundcraft Si3 Console To The Rescue At Mapleview Community Church

Looking to provide tremendous versatility in a cost-effective manner, systems integrator AV Communications recently installed a Soundcraft Si3 console as the centerpiece for its audio system design at the new Mapleview Community Church in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

Housed in a former sports arena, Mapleview Community Church currently seats up to 900 people, and is part of a much larger campus that eventually will include sports facilities, a daycare center and other recreational areas. In addition to the requirements for customary SPL, dynamics, and Percentage of Articulation Loss of Consonants, there were two requirements for this installation: It needed to fit within the designated budget and it needed to include a digital console. The console needed to handle 32 channels of mixing and a dozen auxes, and it had to be flexible enough to handle day-to-day presentations by members of the church, in addition to presentations by other members of the community who had already rented out the facility in advance. With the Soundcraft Si3 console, not only did Mapleview get the necessary flexibility and scene recall that’s unmatched in other mixing desks, but AV Communications also completed the entire installation within budget.

“Not only did the Si3 fit all of the requirements for the project, but the learning curve was so short that we knew the sound crew would be up and running in short order,” said Gerry Harbridge, President of AV Communications. “After a short rehearsal, we were ready to go much faster than we would have been if we had just dropped in an analog desk.

“Our client was just elated with the finished design,” continued Harbridge. “Top to bottom, the system is exemplary, and they are thrilled and actually amazed that we pulled it off within their budget, which we wouldn’t have been able to do without the Si3.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown Tour Stays Intact With Studer Vista 5 SR

Green Day’s ongoing world tour in support of its latest album, 21st Century Breakdown, has its monitors mixed on the compact yet powerful Studer Vista 5 SR digital mixing console. It was the first and only choice for monitor mixer Beau Alexander, who has worked with the multi-platinum Green Day since 2004s American Idiot world tour.

Alexander, who has also mixed for artists including Tool, Hootie and The Blowfish and My Chemical Romance, says the Vista 5 is an excellent fit with the Green Day tour. “What makes it a great fit for Green Day is the number of outputs it has,” he explains. “When we started the 21st Century Breakdown record cycle, I didn't know if we were going to be using in-ears or wedges for monitoring, so I had to set the desk up for both, and when I did that I was using somewhere around 40 outputs, which the Vista 5 can easily handle.”  Alexander is currently running 71 inputs along with 30 outputs (Green Day ultimately chose to work with in-ear monitoring).

But while Alexander initially chose the Vista 5 for its large input capacity, he quickly discovered how its advanced feature set and powerful performance characteristics worked in his and the band’s favor. “Now that I have it on tour there are so many more reasons to use the Studer over any other digital desk,” he says. “The Vista 5’s ease of use has made life simple. You can set it up to have all your master faders and VCAs all on a single page. And the Contribute function is amazing--being able to see everything that is going to the mix and being able to adjust on the same page with out having to first find the strip, then the aux, makes it incredibly convenient. The footprint of the console also helps us out tremendously because it frees up so much space for other equipment. And last but definitely not least, the board sounds great. It’s incredible. It’s the only digital board on the market that is giving analog a run for its money.”

The compact Studer Vista 5 digital live broadcast and production console combines award-winning Vistonics™-based technology with a highly cost-effective price. The Vista 5 is the first Vista console to be produced with PCB assemblies from Soundcraft Studer‘s new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the UK. While using a new SCore Live DSP engine, the tabletop-mounted Vista 5 follows the same operational principles and uses the same Vistonics screens as the Vista 6, 7 and 8.

Artist Photo Credit: Julia Stryj

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shattered Glass Prepares For The 2010 World Cup With The Soundcraft Si2 Console

As South Africa’s leading supplier in technical event staging, Shattered Glass has depended on Soundcraft consoles to deliver flawless performances in some of the most highly attended international events for years. With its past experience validating Soundcraft’s ability to handle even the most complex setups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup coming to South Africa next year, the company recently purchased the Soundcraft Si2 to prepare for the events ahead.

Shattered Glass has been using the Soundcraft Vi6 console for years for various types of live applications, including corporate events, concerts, and theatre environments, without ever having experienced the slightest interruption. After reviewing the features, Shattered Glass realized that the Si2 was also a perfect solution for all of its live sound needs based on the console’s ability to switch between channel and global mode, the FX and dynamics processing on every channel, and the easy VCA routing. In addition, the incredible versatility that allows the Si2 to be used for a multitude of applications meant that Shattered Glass will be prepared for any and every event at the FIFA World Cup.

“We chose the Si2 because it is so user-friendly,” said Adriano Landi, the technical director for Shattered Glass. “Any good sound engineer will be able to use this desk in a matter of minutes without using it before. It’s compact, straightforward, easy to learn and so easy to train on.”

Shattered Glass has already used the Si2 for several events, including the Coca-Cola Moment 4 Summer Recruit, the MNet Long Service Awards, and the Vodashop Spring Break at Sun City. With its totally independent filters, 31 band EQ and dynamic processing, the Si2 has already lived up to the high expectations set by the Vi6.

“The Si2 is an absolute pleasure to work with and outstanding value for our money,” Landi continues. “We are delighted with our investment and look forward to many more performances to come.”

Soundcraft is a unit of Harman International Industries, Incorporated (
Harman International designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment products for the automotive, consumer and professional markets, and maintains a strong presence in the Americas, Europe and Asia, employing more than 11,000 people worldwide.  The Harman International family of brands includes AKG®, Audioaccess®, Becker®, BSS®, Crown®, dbx®, DigiTech®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson®, Revel®, QNX®, Soundcraft® and Studer®.  Harman International’s stock is traded on the
New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NYSE: HAR.”


Harman Professional Creates New Corporate Development Role, Names Jim H. Huang To Key Strategic Position

As a signal of the company’s intent to grow its business aggressively and efficiently in developed and emerging markets, Harman Professional today announced the creation of a new senior executive position, Head of Corporate Development, and the appointment of seasoned business development leader, Jim H. Huang, to fill the role.  Reporting directly to Michael MacDonald, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales and to Greg Henry, Chief Financial Officer, Jim is responsible for driving growth strategies including market analysis, M&A activities and emerging market initiatives such as branding, channel strategy and local sourcing and manufacturing.

Jim Huang will also work with David Jin and M.Lakshminarayan, China and India Country Managers and with Charles Owen, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, to dovetail Harman Professional strategies with the Harman corporate strategy.  According to Michael MacDonald, Jim Huang will add a new dimension of focus, experience and commercial expertise to Harman Professional’s global business.

“Harman Professional is now well-positioned to grow our business globally by providing our existing customers with new exciting products and new customers with Harman’s unmatched offering of performance, integration and value,” MacDonald said today. “With strong product development programs delivering compelling innovations; our step-change cost saving initiative returning strong efficiencies and the global economy showing positive indicators, we believe the opportunity is ripe for Harman Professional to grow market share in developed markets and provide strong value in emerging markets.  I am confident that Jim Huang is just the person to help us achieve that growth.”

“Harman Professional is matching ambition with action.  We are determined to springboard into a period of continued fiscal growth and to do so we are taking strategic steps to expand our global market presence and to evolve our technology offerings.  Jim Huang will be a strong and experienced leader in this initiative and I look forward to working with him during this exciting, positive time at Harman Professional,” MacDonald continued.

Jim Huang has over 10 years of professional consulting experience.  Prior to Harman Jim was a lead engagement manager in the transaction advisory practice of Ernst & Young with experience in over 40 M&A transactions with total value in excess of $15 billion.  A seasoned transaction executive working with business owners, management teams, corporate and financial buyers and sellers, Jim has deep understanding of key business issues impacting overall profitability.  He has supported strategic and private equity buyers in a wide variety of industries including retail, consumer products, construction, high technology, media, entertainment, restaurants, pharmaceuticals, communications, manufacturing, business services, sport franchise and staffing/professional services.  He has also supported the divestiture of a number of public and private companies including pre-sale due diligence, seller due diligence and reverse due diligence.

Commenting on his new position, Jim Huang noted, “I am very pleased to join this dynamic, ambitious team at the helm of a great company of innovative products and proven brands.  I am confident that the direction Harman is on, will deliver considerable growth in the months and years ahead and I look forward to contributing to that growth!”

At Ernst & Young, Jim provided operational consulting services in the advisory practice of working primarily with The Walt Disney Company. He served as an internal consultant to the company’s internal advisory function, which impacted companywide policies.  Jim helped develop and execute business process controls review of ERP implementation of SAP, which allowed macro analysis of Disney products and line of business.

Jim started his career in the assurance practice of Ernst & Young working with public and private companies in software, internet, technology, asset management and real estate industries.  He participated in a dozen initial public offerings and secondary offerings for client companies.

In the broader business community, Jim Huang is the Executive Vice President and Acting President of the Los Angeles Metro chapter of Ascend, the premier professional organization dedicated to enabling its members, business partners, and the community to leverage the leadership and global business potential of Pan-Asians.  Currently, the national organization has over 4,500 members from 150 companies represented.

Jim has a Master Degree in Accounting from the University of Virginia and Bachelors Degrees in Applied Economics & Management and Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University.  Jim is a Certified Public Accountant and has passed the Series 3, the National Commodity Futures Examination.

Harman International Industries, Incorporated (, designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment products for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. Harman International maintains a strong presence in the Americas, Europe and Asia, and employs more than 11,000 people worldwide. The Harman International family of brands includes AKG®, Audioaccess®, Becker®, BSS®, Crown®, dbx®, DigiTech®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson®, Revel®, QNX®, Soundcraft® and Studer®. Harman International’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NYSE: HAR.”


Friday, October 16, 2009

Lily Allen World Tour Runs On Soundcraft Vi6™ Console

On a worldwide tour in support of her hit album It’s Not Me, It’s You, singer/composer Lily Allen has enjoyed great front-of-house sound on four continents, thanks to the Soundcraft Vi6™ large-format digital live sound console. The Vi6, designed using the proven reliability of Studer’s Vista™ and OnAir 3000™ series of consoles and that utilizes the incredibly intuitive Vistonics™ II user interface, lets Allen and her band effortlessly convey the sophisticated lyrics and dynamic music of her powerful songs.

Front-of-house engineer Shan Hira has found the Soundcraft Vi6 to be a comprehensive mixing and processing platform: he’s using all onboard effects except for a Manley Voxbox and an XTA ⅓-octave graphic EQ on Allen's vocals. “I especially like the onboard effects package,” he says. “Having eight Lexicons to play with is a rare old treat!”

Hira, who has also mixed for the Chemical Brothers and The Streets, has been a fan of the Vi6 for some time. “I had used it before and liked the layout, ease of use, and most importantly the sound of the desk,” he says. The Vi6 delivers a lot of power and features, including 64 mono inputs into 35 outputs and a 32-group/aux matrix, plus main LCR Mix and LR Solo busses. But it does so in a very compact amount of space. “As we were doing a sold-out club tour, the footprint at FOH was an issue, as was truck space,” Hira explains. “So its small size fit the bill perfectly. It made FOH very quick to set up, and it was very reliable—never let me down once. It’s a great console.”

Soundcraft’s first large-format digital live desk, the Soundcraft Vi6 is a third-generation console, thanks to a joint development with sister console company Studer, and is part of the extensive Vi Series of consoles. Its patented Vistonics II interface uses a sophisticated touchscreen color TFT monitor with integral rotary controls and switches mounted on the glass to provide a “where you look is where you control” user experience. The Vi6 offers 64 mono inputs (expandable up to 96) into 35 outputs. Pairs of mono inputs can be linked to create stereo channels. Its 24 insert send/return pairs can be configured (using available I/O) and assigned to any of the 64 inputs or 35 output channels. All 64 input channels can have direct outputs in addition to their internal bus routing, assuming sufficient I/O is available (via an optical MADI card). There are 16 GPIO contact closure inputs and outputs on the local rack, and 8 inputs and outputs on the stagebox, as well as one MIDI In and two MIDI Outs on the rear of the control surface.

Artist Photo Credit: Fay Woodford,

The Score Television Network Raises Its Game With Studer Vista 5 Console

Looking to outfit its new street-front HD studio in downtown Toronto, The Score Television Network recently purchased a Studer Vista 5 console to handle 5.1 sources and output 5.1 to The Score’s HD channel. The console was sold by Studer Canada via Applied Electronics, Ltd., which also provided consultation, system design and integration of The Score’s entire broadcast system.

The Score is a Canadian English-language cable television sports network, broadcasting live sports coverage, as well as sports news, highlights and analysis. The design of The Score’s new HD studio required a console that could handle SDI inputs and outputs. “Some of our shows would require bringing in live NBA, NCAA basketball and football feeds,” says Michel Blondin, Supervisor, PCR for The Score. “For example, our show, ‘Court Surfing’ would bring the viewer up to 10 different NBA games at any given time. We basically changed the channel for the viewers, bringing them the best action of any game.”

Blondin also notes that intuitive operation and recall-ability were also key factors in The Score’s decision to purchase the Vista 5. “The layout of the desk with the Vistonics™ interface was nicely spread out and extremely user-friendly, which made the transition from analog to a digital console easier for the audio operators,” Blondin explains. “Additionally, the new studio is in use live from 7 AM to midnight with up to eight different shows on a daily basis. Having the ability to save and recall different board setups [snapshots] for each show was a must.”

Since installing the Vista 5, The Score has seen a vast improvement in its efficiency and creative potential. “All the audio gear required for live broadcasting is now at our fingertips,” Blondin says. “Workflow has increased and we always seem to push the envelope, sometimes doing two shows at the same time!”

In addition to the Vista 5’s functionality, Blondin has also been impressed with Studer’s support. “Studer has been there for us every step of the way, from introducing us into the world of digital mixing to keeping us up to date on software updates, while dropping by from time to time to see how things are going,” he said. “All in all, the Vista 5 is a solid console that has been put to the test and has surpassed our expectations.”

For more information on The Score, please visit

Lexicon® Offers Pro Tools 8 Compatibility With Software Updates To The PCM96 And PCM96 Surround

Lexicon®, a Harman International Company (NYSE-HAR) recently updated the software to the PCM96 and PCM96 Surround to make them compatible with both Pro Tools 8 as well as Mac OS X 10.5.7. In addition, software version represents a major effort towards the improvement of streaming audio and control functionality of both systems.

“This new software update emphasizes Lexicon’s commitment to provide PCM96 and PCM96 Surround users with regular software updates that expand DAW and Mac OS X support, along with providing enhancements to improve software performance and make the system more stable and reliable”, said Randy Garrett, Director of Marketing for Lexicon. “With this software update we have taken the industry’s best processors, and made them even better.”

Featuring a wide array of rich, complex reverb algorithms with related delays and effects, the single rack-space PCM96 and PCM96 Surround processors integrate seamlessly into the modern studio as a control-only DAW insert or FireWire streaming hardware plug-in. The updated software for both the PCM96 and PCM96 Surround has been optimized to be less processor intensive when using the hardware plug-in functionality, and the Configuration display has been upgraded to handle multiple PCM96 and PCM96 Surround processors.

“As a daily user of the PCM96, I can tell you that it is a dramatic improvement,” said one Beta user. “I have noticed that the load time for the PCM96 plug-in is lightning fast, the latency is greatly decreased, and the overall burden on my system is greatly diminished.”

For more information on the software update, visit the downloads section of Lexicon’s website and sign up for the software update notification at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lexicon® Introduces PCM92 Stereo Reverb/Effects Processor for Live And Studio Applications

Lexicon®, a Harman International Company (NYSE-HAR), today introduced the PCM92 Stereo Reverb/Effects Processor. For over 35 years Lexicon has been considered the golden standard of digital reverb and effects processing. The PCM92 utilizes the latest DSP technology and the finest collection of classic Lexicon algorithms to offer the ultimate processor for live and studio applications. Delivering 28 mono and stereo reverbs, delays, and modulation effects, flexible routing configurations, and a comprehensive library of over 700 factory presets, the PCM92 represents the most advanced audio processor in its class.

The PCM92 delivers new capabilities to traditional reverbs by adding multimode filters in the audio flow. This allows more exact shaping of the reverb while still maintaining that distinctive smooth, rich “Lexicon Sound.” Also, all reverbs have an “Infinite” switch that allows the reverb to run forever, which is useful for creating unusual backgrounds and sound effects.

The Lexicon Room algorithm provides a more flexible alternative to convolution type reverbs. Reflection patterns can be easily selected, scaled and equalized all while simultaneously passing audio, and the room size can be instantly changed or reversed. The Room algorithm provides the inherent realism of the actual space with all the precise control and manipulation that is only possible with a reverb synthesizer.

The PCM92 features the highly acclaimed Hall, Concert Hall and Random Hall reverb algorithms that have regularly been used by live sound and recording engineers because of their exceptional ability to reproduce the musical ambience of large, wide, panoramically wonderful spaces.

Designed as a single rack space processor with two channels of balanced XLR or ¼” analog I/O and two channels of XLR AES/EBU digital I/O, along with MIDI, Wordclock, and Ethernet, the PCM92 complements any mixing console or integrates easily with your DAW and features 24-bit A/D-D/A conversion and 44.1 to 96 kHz sample rates.

The easy to use front panel keeps the most important parameters within reach on the high-resolution display for easy editing. To supplement front panel navigation for live applications, the PCM92 can be configured and fully controlled remotely through Harman HiQnet System Architect™. The foot switch and foot controller inputs offer additional flexibility for the live performer.

The PCM92 has a suggested retail price of US $2699 and will be available in November 2009. Following in the tradition of decades of legendary Lexicon audio processors, the PCM92 offers the highest level of sonic quality that is easily deployed in Front-of-House as well as the recording studio.

The Lexicon PCM92 Stereo Reverb/Effects feature set includes:
• Lexicon® studio-standard reverbs, delays, and modulation effects
• Comprehensive library of over 700 finely crafted factory presets, including recognizable classics from Lexicon’s immense library of sounds
• Lexicon’s flexible Room algorithm used to generate a vast array of room-related effects for music and post
• Multi-voice pitch shift to enhance vocals
• Mono and stereo versions of all algorithms
• Full system configuration and control with HiQnet System Architect™
• 44.1 to 96 kHz sample rate, 32-bit floating point processing
• Two channels balanced analog I/O (XLR and ¼”)
• Two channels XLR digital AES/EBU I/O
• External BNC Wordclock
• MIDI in, out, and thru
• Ethernet connectivity
• Foot controller inputs make it easy to change presets and adjust parameters during live performances
• High-resolution OLED display is easy to read in all light conditions

Harman HiQnet™ is the world's first connectivity and control protocol that integrates all product categories in the signal chain for professional audio systems of all types, size, and applications. Harman HiQnet no longer requires the user to manage multiple disparate operating systems or be responsible for programming individual signal processors, speaker controllers, wireless microphone systems, and mixing consoles. HiQnet was developed by engineers from across the Harman Pro Group and is coordinated by the System Development and Integration Group (SDIG), a team of dedicated systems specialists based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Lexicon is a unit of Harman International Industries, Incorporated (
Harman International designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment products for the automotive, consumer and professional markets, and maintains a strong presence in the Americas, Europe and Asia, employing more than 11,000 people worldwide. The Harman International family of brands includes AKG®, Audioaccess®, Becker®, BSS®, Crown®, dbx®, DigiTech®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson®, Revel®, QNX®, Soundcraft® and Studer®. Harman International’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NYSE: HAR.”

Lexicon® Launches Highly Anticipated PCM Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle

Lexicon, a Harman International Company (NYSE-HAR), today has rocked the audio industry with the introduction of its groundbreaking new PCM Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle.  For over 35 years Lexicon has been considered the golden standard of digital reverb and effects processing and has continuously introduced leading edge technology for the audio industry.  After years of research and significant advances in computer processing speeds, Lexicon has developed the PCM Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle which provides seven legendary Lexicon reverb algorithms that are designed to deliver the highest level of sonic quality and function, and offer all the flexibility of a native plug-in.

The Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle is the ultimate studio plug-in for creating professional, inspirational mixes within popular DAWs like Pro Tools and Logic, as well as with any other VST, Audio Unit, or RTAS compatible host.  These pristine algorithms represent Lexicon’s state-of-the-art technology now in highly efficient native plug-ins that are designed to elevate the sonic qualities of native reverb plug-ins to an entirely new level and provide that smooth, rich sound that is unmistakably Lexicon.

This powerful reverb bundle includes algorithms which will change the way you color your mix. The PCM Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle includes unique plug-ins for each algorithm including: Vintage Plate, Plate, Hall, Room, Random Hall, Concert Hall, and Chamber with hundreds of the most versatile and finely crafted studio presets including recognizable classics from Lexicon’s immense library of sounds.  Librarian functionality allows the user the option to take an available preset, adjust the parameters, compare it to the original and then return to the edited preset.  Presets can also be saved off in a DAW independent file format allowing a user to easily move custom presets to any DAW.

With all the flexibility users have come to expect from a native plug-in, each algorithm can be run in mono, stereo or a combination of the two.  The user interface is extremely intuitive with a “pro or go” mode which enables the user to easily access nine of the most logical parameters for customization, but also provides the ability to transition deeper into the algorithm to edit the full matrix of parameters.  Input and Output Meters allow a user to quickly assess the audio levels going to and from each algorithm while the EQ section makes it possible to visually dial in the EQ settings for both the early and late reflections of the algorithm. To add another tool to the user’s arsenal, each algorithm is complemented with three different real time displays providing graphical insight into what is happening inside of the different frequency stages of the reverbs.

The PCM Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle is ideal for recording and post-production environments where unsurpassed quality is required. It is a fully functional cross-platform plug-in that is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and 7 along with MAC OSX 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, Power PC and Intel based. The Bundle is Native only, and requires iLok authorization. It will be available in November 2009 with a suggested retail price of US $1899.

The Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle feature set includes:
• Seven legendary Lexicon algorithms
• Hundreds of brilliantly crafted studio presets
• Graphical real-time display showing the different frequency stages of each algorithm
• Visual EQ section for easy adjustment of both early and late reflections
• Preset Save/Restore allows custom presets to be transferred between any DAWs
• Configurations include mono to mono, mono to stereo, and stereo to stereo
• VST, Audio Unit, and RTAS support
• Compatible with Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5, 10.6
• Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and 7
• Full parameter control and automation
• Soft Row navigation
• iLok authorized

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Two Soundcraft Vi6™ Consoles For Friendly Fires Homecoming

The Friendly Fires recently performed a riotous ‘homecoming’ gig in their native St. Albans, turning the austere civic centre of Alban Arena into a party venue.  The show was sold out within a week, and with just an 850 capacity (1,150 standing) FOH sound engineer Richard ‘Bars’ Barling would have been grateful for

the compact footprint of the Soundcraft Vi6 digital desk through which to mix the band as would Colm 'Meado' Meade down in Monitor City. The two Vi6’s were supplied by SSE Audio Group, which has supported the band since Bars’ introduction to the rental company by sound engineer Rampton. Harman’s UK distributor, Sound Technology Ltd., sold the Vi6’s to SSE Audio Group.

It was an emotional return for the trio, led by Ed Macfarlane, and their rare brand of dance-oriented music with an indie pop feel, featuring tracks from their eponymous, Barclaycard Mercury Prize-nominated 2008 debut album.

The band mix up the dynamics within a ‘retro disco’ lighting stage environment created by Mark Video — swapping instruments and ensuring Bars would need to call on the versatility and rapid access of the Vi6’s surface.

Delphic were the support band on this occasion — but along the way Bars has led many support band engineers around the desk, demonstrating just how easy the Vi6 mixing system is to come to terms with.

“Previously we couldn’t have taken the support band's show file — as you could only isolate on a scene. But with the V3.0 software, we can now load up the show file and the desk's isolate button works; I can save all the masters and the other engineer can load up his own file easily.”

Like a number of sound engineers, his first exposure was to the prototype version of the desk at the Mean Fiddler three years ago. “Although it didn’t have the Lexicon and BSS FX loaded on at that time, I was urged by the resident engineer to try it out and could see then how easy it was to understand after just a ten minute run through. Instantly I could also hear how good the preamps were — and wherever I have used this desk since I have known I could depend on that warm preamp sound.”

Working extensively at Vi6’s in venues such as KOKO and the O2 Academies, he progressively got hooked on the Soundcraft platform.

“The FX are great,” he says. “The gates are accurate, the reverbs fantastic and the compression is great — really transparent. I have three reverbs going on — including a Drum Plate and Vocal Plate — a long tap delay and sax delay.”

Bars also works extensively with stereo groups. “I find using stereo compression on groups on other digital desks a pain because you have to cycle through pages to get to the compressor parameters; in fact on some digital desks you can’t actually do stereo group compression at all.

“I also love how there is a graphic and parametric EQ on all outputs of the Vi6 and I save loads of time not having to programme everything.”

With the Friendly Fires the standard channel list is around 28 inputs — but this can rise to 35 when they get into their Brazilian vibe (with carnival dancers and percussionists). All the backing tracks are run off a Pioneer CDJ — but Bars hopes to convert to hard disk in the future.

The Vi6 has been configured for fast response and maximum access, with features like the Gang function and Copy & Paste proving a huge benefit to the engineer. “I have copied all my input channels into the library so I can easily move them around anywhere on the desk.”

AES-EBU dual/split inputs and channel sharing are other advantages, saving a lot of the surface space, as is his use of board’s last screen. “I can select what I want from the eight banks of faders; I have all my channels on the first layer and FX on the second layer down but by touching the last screen can flip my FX up with my channels. You can then see what every channel is doing at a glance without filtering through layers.”

Richard Barling has been working with Friendly Fires since coming across the band while mixing Fear of Flying (now White Lies) and a one-off with the Noisettes during a War Child benefit at KOKO just over two years ago. A few weeks later he was recommended to the band.

A feature of the next production tour will be the multitracking of every show. “I have already done a recording with the 64-channel optical MADI out on the Local Rack and it’s so easy.” He will also be using Virtual Soundcheck having seen it used successfully by another band during the Lollapalooza festival in the States.

Lead singer, Ed Macfarlane, says: 'It puts my mind at ease knowing that Bars has the ability to attain a great sound efficiently and rapidly — especially in festival situations. The Vi6 gives him the freedom to be creative with effects without wasting time scrolling through menus.  It has become an essential part of our live show.'

And Richard Barling  sums up by saying, “I’m so happy with this desk that it's the only console on my Friendly Fires tech rider. It just seems to make me mix so much better.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Massive Harman Professional Audio System Provides Fitting Platform For China’s National Day Spectacular

In a compelling demonstration of the high performance and depth of integration of Harman Professional audio components, Hong Kong-based ACE Professional Sound and Lighting, deployed an extremely large integrated audio system featuring components from JBL Professional, Soundcraft, Crown Audio and BSS Audio and configured using Harman HiQnet System Architect™ to support China’s National Day celebrations.  Held October 1– the 60th anniversary of the 1949 revolution — this year’s celebrations featured 200,000 participants, an array of large, festive floats representing cultural, sporting and national successes and culminated in a 60,000-person evening rendition of “I Love China” in Tiananmen Square accompanied by a 300,000-shell fireworks display.

Overall sound design was delegated to Radio Film and TV Design Institute of the China Media Group, with the bulk of audio-specific systems integration shouldered by Hong Kong-based ACE Professional Sound and Lighting.  Although the sheer magnitude of audio logistics outstripped the capabilities of any single supplier, ACE contributed the lion’s share – roughly 80% – of all audio gear deployed in and around Tiananmen Square, with near universal reliance on highly integrated systems from Harman Professional.  All told, equipment supplied by ACE included nearly 700 JBL loudspeakers plus more than 480 Crown amplifiers, 57 BSS Audio DSP units, and 46 Soundcraft analogue and digital mixing desks.

“We’d also supplied systems for the 50th anniversary in 1999,” says ACE Vice President Bingo Tso, “but this year’s project was perhaps ten times as large.  The size of the systems, along with newer technologies – line arrays, digital consoles and DSP amplifiers – made it extremely important to have everything working together.  Fortunately, using HiQnet System Architect™, all the Harman Professional equipment integrated perfectly.”

During the parade, the total street frontage requiring audio coverage measured nearly 10 km.  Coverage would have been a simple task, except that the stands adjoined a 17 m wide moat.  To cover the broad expanse, ACE configured fourteen short arrays, each with two JBL VerTec VT4888 3-way cabinets atop a VT4882 subwoofer, with each combination driven by three Crown I-Tech 4000 amplifiers.  The array produced ample power to cross the water, while the “short stack” configuration remained discreetly out of TV camera view.  Two larger but well-disguised arrays, each with eight JBL VerTec VT4888 and four VerTec VT4882, covered the gate tower structure, with augmentation on the VIP balcony from 56 JBL MS26 cabinets on the floor and additional JBL AC16 cabinets mounted overhead, again powered by Crown I-Tech 4000 amplifiers.

For broadcast sound, the discrete live sources, numerous submixes, and prerecorded material converged on a 96-input Soundcraft Vi6 digital console.  Activity at the primary live sound control room (located at the gate stands) revolved around dual Vi6 desks, one with 96 inputs and a second with 64.  A second audio control position (equipped with the same combination of Vi6 desks plus a 48-input Vi4) was set up in Tiananmen Square specifically for the mammoth orchestra and chorus.

“The snapshot memories and internal processing on the Vi6 desks proved extremely useful,” notes Tso.  “As we had so many different signal sources at various distances up to a kilometer or more away. We used the on-board processing for EQ and to time-align sources to a common zero point.”

The live mixes were either delivered directly to the BSS London loudspeaker drive processors, or, for the longer hauls, first distributed through a fiber optic matrixing and distribution network.  In most cases, analog cables paralleled the digital or fiber optic ones as a safety net.  “We had signal redundancy at nearly all levels,” notes Ben Lui, ACE’s assistant general manager for pro sound.  “For example, the new Crown I-Tech HD Series amplifiers have built-in signal sensing with automatic switching.  If the digital signal had failed for any reason – though it never did – then the amplifiers would have instantly switched to the analog inputs.”

The many other distributed main loudspeaker systems and monitoring systems spread through the expansive site would require a small book to catalogue in detail.  However, in brief, we can note that much of the street-side coverage was provided via custom-made (in China) column speakers designed specifically to blend with the ornate lampposts on which they were mounted.  Low-mid drivers were domestically manufactured, with the 4”-diaphragm HF drivers supplied by JBL. The complement of approximately 100 lamppost speakers was powered by racks of Crown I-Tech 5000HD amplifiers mounted in the Great Hall of the People, adjacent to the Square.  Hundreds of additional loudspeakers – drawn from JBL’s PRX, SRX, VRX and Control Series – were assigned duties along the avenues, in VIP rooms, at entrances and exits, around parade marshalling points, and for monitoring in performance areas.

Dozens of supplemental audio mixing points were required as well.  For the parade, 22 small analog mixers (mainly Soundcraft GB2R) were placed along the parade route to, picking up ambient sound and routing into the Nexus fiber optic snake system.  Additional compact digital consoles (Soundcraft Si2 and Si3) were at the hub of smaller indoor and outdoor systems for the various parties and meetings surrounding the main celebrations.

New Subcompact System Extends JBL Professional’s Industry-Leading VERTEC® Line Array Series

Delivering predictable coverage characteristics and high output capabilities in an extremely compact package, JBL Professional is introducing the smallest system enclosures in the VERTEC® product family, the VT4886 passive 3-way high-directivity line array element and its companion VT4883 cardioid-arrayable subwoofer. Incorporating innovative acoustical technologies and purpose-built transducers, they are specifically designed for standalone use or in conjunction with other existing VERTEC models.

A Variety of Applications

Designed to be one of the most versatile tools in a portable sound rental company’s inventory, the new VT4886 and VT4883 subcompact models are suitable for use in a broad range of suspended-array, ground-based and fill speaker applications, with a comprehensive range of array and suspension accessories planned for the new system. Application flexibility also ensures that the VT4886/VT4883 system will provide an effective sound design tool for performance audio facility system designers. Given its very compact dimensions, the VT4886 is ideal for distributed front fill or under-balcony use. VT4886 line array elements can also be suspended in large multi-box arrays or ground-stacked, either standalone or with its companion VT4883 low-frequency extension for FOH, offstage fill, stereo in-fill, center cluster or delay cluster use. Mixed VT4883/VT4886 arrays can be suspended and supplemented with additional, large-format ground-stacked VERTEC subwoofers for extended-range FOH use. U-bracket and pole mount fixtures also enable three to four VT4886 enclosures to be used with a tripod stand, or an extension rod in coordination with VT4883 subwoofers.

Integral suspension hardware enables the quick, secure assembly of variable-curvature vertical arrays with adjustable splay angles from 0 to 15 degrees, or modular, constant-curvature horizontal line arrays, following JBL’s patented, road-proven mechanical design established with larger models in the VERTEC family.

VT4886 Subcompact Line Array Element

The VT4886 incorporates some of the latest electro-acoustical technologies developed by JBL Professional. Unique to the subcompact line array category, the VT4886 features eight transducers with 10 separate voice coils.

A proprietary mid/high-frequency waveguide assembly seamlessly integrates MF and HF section output in a next-generation implementation of JBL’s patented R.B.I. (Radiation Boundary Integrator®) technology, providing precise wavefront control and allowing for proper inter-enclosure vertical coupling. Twin 1”-exit high-frequency compression drivers, equipped with neodymium magnets for the reliable reproduction of very high frequencies with precise, detailed fidelity, are mounted on a precision dual-aperture assembly that includes geometric path-length compensation to ensure optimal twin-driver exit summation.

Each VT4886 also includes a total of four new 2103G 2.5" midrange transducers with neodymium magnets, combined with the high-frequency drivers in the new proprietary, integrated mid/high waveguide assembly. The midrange transducers utilize JBL’s Thermomaster® technology, paired in thermo-coupled back-cover heatsink structures for improved heat transfer, which results in reduced power compression.

A pair of new 2166H 6.5" low-frequency component transducers with dual neodymium magnets and dual voice coils, incorporating JBL’s patented Differential Drive® technology, establishes a robust low-frequency foundation for the VT4886. Each 2166H low-frequency transducer is matched to a low-frequency diffraction absorber with a tuned resonant-chamber cavity. This unique proprietary technology ensures optimal performance even at extremely high output levels while reducing cabinet edge diffraction effects for improved horizontal coverage stability.

A highly refined multi-band passive network is designed to minimize insertion loss and lower distortion while ensuring precise impedance matching between the low, midrange and high-frequency component sets. With a maximum SPL capability of 131 db continuous, 137 dB peak, the VT4886 has a nominal horizontal coverage of 110 degrees and a frequency range of 70 Hz – 20 kHz. It measures 577 mm x 197 mm x 260 mm (22.7" x 7.75" x 10.25"). The enclosure weighs 15.9 kg (35 lb).

VT4883 Cardioid-Arrayable Subwoofer

The VT4883 companion subwoofer is specifically optimized for use with the VT4886 line array element, both acoustically and mechanically, in addition to being a suitable complement for other loudspeaker systems in the VERTEC family. This powerful, highly compact subwoofer is equipped with rigid internal bracing in a vented-bandpass enclosure topology to support the high-performance capabilities of its pair of new 2263H-1 12" long-excursion Differential Drive® low-frequency components.

The VT4883 is equipped with reverse-arrayable suspension hardware and an auxiliary input connector on the front grille, making it easily reversible within a group of multiple suspended or ground-stacked cardioid subwoofer arrays.

The VT4883 has a frequency range of 35 Hz – 600 Hz (-10 dB) and a maximum SPL capability of 133 dB continuous, 139 dB peak (half space). Dimensions measure 577 mm x 397 mm x 641 mm (22.7" x 15.6" x 25.2"). The enclosure weighs 30.8 kg (68 lb).

“Since the VT4886 is a true 3-way system with JBL’s new integrated mid/high waveguide providing optimized vertical and horizontal wavefront control, system users can expect better horizontal coverage stability and overall throw compared to other 2-way designs on the market. And, with 10 voice coils instead of three as found in most other similar products, the VT4886 has the highest component density in its class and a healthy 3-6 dB maximum SPL advantage over the competition,” noted Paul Bauman, Director of Tour Sound Product and Application Engineering, JBL Professional. “Given the VT4886’s extremely compact size, flexible suspension accessories and application-specific DSP, I'm excited about the many sound design possibilities that will open up for touring, corporate AV and fixed installs. I'm also excited about the companion VT4883 sub/low enclosure, specifically designed for gradient cardioid arraying. This will allow VERTEC system owners to apply the same cardioid and electronic delay steering techniques to small- and medium-scale configurations using the VT4883 that our customers have been successfully implementing in larger scale touring situations using full-size VERTEC subwoofers.”

George Massenburg Relies On JBL Studio Monitors

Patty Loveless, Livingston Taylor projects completed using JBL LSR6300 Series.

NEW YORK, New York – Multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning producer/engineer George Massenburg, who is world-renowned for his contribution to studio design, signal processing, and legendary projects with Linda Ronstadt, Randy Newman, Lyle Lovett, The Dixie Chicks, Earth Wind and Fire, chose JBL LSR6300 Series studio monitors for his recent projects. Patty Loveless’ Mountain Soul II and Livingston Taylor’s forthcoming release were mixed at Massenburg’s studio using two LSR6328P 8-inch bi-amplified studio monitors and the LSR6312SP 12-inch powered subwoofer.

“They’re really competent monitors, well-powered, linear, great, and all the JBL technology has been brought to bear to give well-balanced dispersion,” Massenburg comments. “I listened to them in a bunch of different positions and compared them to other speakers I had been using, and as a speaker I can depend on in any number of circumstances, these really deliver.”

The JBL LSR6300 Series monitors incorporate patented dual-drive transducers, capable of delivering very high SPL and flat response at all listening levels. Using Linear Spatial Reference design criteria, JBL takes 70 measurements, 360 degrees around the speaker providing 1200 times the data of a single on-axis measurement. Using this data, JBL designs critical components of all LSR6300, 4300 and 2300 series monitors to deliver very neutral response in a broad range of acoustic conditions. Going a step further JBL incorporates its acclaimed RMC™ Room Mode Correction system that compensates for the low frequency issues in acoustically less-than ideal spaces.

Having heard the LSR6300 Series in several settings, George chose them for his latest projects. “They were around [John McBride’s Nashville-based] Blackbird Studios. For the past six months or so they’ve been in my studio as my main stereo monitors. They’re neutral in any circumstance I’ve heard them in. You get use to them in about six seconds flat. And then they disappear. And your listening to music, you’re not listening to speakers.”

As Adjunct Professor of Music Technology at McGill University in Montreal and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massenburg dedicates a significant portion of his time to sharing his experience and knowledge with audio students. When asked his priorities for equipment in the control room, he stresses the importance of investing in high-quailty studio monitors. “Our professional recommendation as educators is, your first priority in any situation is hearing what you’ve really got,” he said. “Monitors are the critical link and even more critical in a home production situation. No matter how much money you’ve spent on your other equipment, if you can’t hear, you’re going to make the wrong decisions, and it doesn’t matter what you’re putting down on disc.” Specifically on his JBL LSR6300 Series monitors, Massenburg comments: “I feel like I’m listening to the music, not the speakers. You can’t spend ‘too much’ on monitors that work this well.”

More information at

JBL MSC1 Monitor System Controller With RMC™ Debuts At AES 2009

At AES 2009, JBL Professional is introducing the MSC1 Monitor System Controller, a remarkable new product that integrates monitor system control and tune-ability at a most accessible price point. The MSC1 Monitor System Controller includes features found in large mixing consoles to control essential monitoring functions from the mix position. Since the acoustic issues in the room can compromise the quality of the mix, the MSC1 includes JBL's highly acclaimed RMC™ Room Mode Correction Technology that tunes the monitor system to over come low frequency problems in any room. The affordable MSC1 works with any speaker system, and is the perfect add-on to JBL’s new LSR2300 Series studio monitors.

The MSC1 provides the ability to monitor up to three 2-channel input sources, such as a mixing console, computer workstation, and personal music player while controlling the volume of the monitor system and connected headphones. The MSC allows connection of two sets of speakers and a subwoofer. The primary “A” speaker outputs include user-defined monitor EQ and JBL RMC to tune the system to the room. The subwoofer output has its own level control, selectable crossover settings and RMC to perfectly blend a sub with the “A” speakers. The “B” speaker outputs allow connection of a secondary set of studio monitors. Included MSC1 Control Center Software allows access to user-adjustable settings including speaker equalization, subwoofer crossover frequency, subwoofer polarity and level, and fine-resolution delay that can be applied to compensate for variations in speaker and subwoofer distance relative to the listening position.

Since much of today’s production is carried out in rooms with less-than-perfect acoustics, the MSC1 Monitor System Controller includes JBL’s highly acclaimed RMC Room Mode Correction Technology. RMC measures the room and automatically tunes the speakers to compensate for low frequency anomalies caused by room modes, proximity to walls and the work surface. RMC calibration is simply carried out using a supplied calibration microphone and MSC1 Control Center Software. During the RMC calibration, the software measures the room, calculates and downloads corrective filter coefficients to the MSC1 and balances the primary speakers and subwoofer within a ¼ dB. Following calibration, the MSC1 operates as a stand-alone unit without the need for connection to a computer.

“Our LSR6300 and LSR4300 Series Studio monitors were first speakers with RMC and they are embraced by professionals worldwide,” said Peter Chaikin, JBL Director of Recording and Broadcast Marketing. “With the launch of our new LSR2300 Series Studio Monitors, we wanted to offer a most affordable solution that enhances the work-flow while tackling problems in the room. Our new MSC1 provides engineers and musicians with a highly affordable, highly functional option to turn any room into an optimized environment for mixing audio.”

The MSC1 will be available in October 2009 at a US Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $375.00.

More at

Soundcraft Unveils new Vi2 Console At AES 2009

Soundcraft is now offering a Vi Series control surface for applications where space is very tight.. The new Soundcraft Vi2 inherits all the basic functionality of its larger brothers the Vi4 and Vi6, but measures just 850mm in width, around half the size of a Vi6.

The Soundcraft Vi2 is equipped with one channel section of eight input faders, and the master section, which holds 8 faders. The Vi2 can handle as many inputs as a Vi4 or Vi6 (72 and 96 channels, respectively) using the standard stagebox and local rack hardware, with access to eight inputs at a time on the channel bay. By simply touching the input meters on the Vistonics™ screen of the master section, control of those inputs is brought onto the channel faders, along with all the channel functionality such as EQ, auxes, groups etc.

In addition to the meter selection, three fully customizable layouts of the eight input faders are available via the new user-defined fader page feature that is part of the V4.0 software update for all Vi consoles.

The Soundcraft Vi2 will therefore appeal to anyone who wants to use a Vi console but has more limited space than usual in which to operate. For example, it could be easily brought in at stage side for monitors alongside an existing console at festivals, or in corporate events where input access is less demanding than a multi-piece live band. The Vi2 is also suitable for use as a space-efficient spare console, and as an easily transportable training or programming unit. The Vi2’s Show files are fully compatible with Vi4 and Vi6 consoles, and also with the Virtual Vi Offline Editing software.

All the usual processing is accessible via the Local Rack, and even the 30-band graphic EQ’s are available, by using a new paging system, accessed via the eight output section faders and included in the new V4.0 Vi software for Vi4 and Vi6.

The Soundcraft Vi2 provides a cost-effective and useful accessory for existing Vi4 and Vi6 owners, who can use a Vi2 surface with their existing racks, which helps maximize rental inventory usage so that Vi console systems can be used on both large and small-scale productions.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Square Brussels Gets Hip To Studer Consoles

Square Brussels, a new event space in the Belgian capital, recently purchased Studer Vista 5 and Vista 5 SR consoles as part of the sound reinforcement system for its auditorium. Belgium-based company Play, based in Nazareth, installed the consoles, which were purchased through Studer’s Belgian representative HeynenNV.

Square Brussels offers 13,500 square meters of meeting rooms, exhibition space and a state-of-the-art auditorium. The venue is in the heart of Brussels, offering breathtaking views of the city skyline and is located only 300 meters from the Royal Palace and next to the Museum of Arts and the Royal Library. Square Brussels is very sleek in its design and is perfectly integrated in the surrounding park with its plane trees. Old wall paintings from world masters have been restored and adorn the walls, while cutting-edge lighting, interior design, and top-class audio/video equipment all contribute to a warm, serene, inspiring and stimulating environment.

With its comfortable leather seats and modern design, Square Brussels’ large auditorium calls for the best and most versatile mixing consoles on the market today. In the end, ease of use multiple interfaces and scalability were the primary factors in choosing the Studer Vista 5 and Vista 5 SR consoles.

“The Studer Vista 5 and Vista 5 SR with its Vistonics™ interface are highly intuitive and very easy to use, which is perfect because during a live performance, the operator should be totally concerned with making the sound perfect as opposed to worrying about which button he is pressing," says Jos Jorissen, Managing Director for Heynen, which also supplied all HD video encoding and video over IP distribution equipment for the digital signage system.

For information on Square Brussels, please visit <>

For more information on Heynen Belgium, please visit <>

For more information on Play, please visit <>

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Harman Professional HiQnet™ Audio System Scores Highly At English Premiership Side Burnley F.C. Stadium

Designed by AMS Acoustics and installed by ETA Sound, new audio system is world’s
first deployment of Harman HiQnet™ System Architect V 2.0.

As Burnley F.C. gain promotion to England’s elite, new fully integrated PA/VA compliant
Harman Professional public address system puts Turf Moor system in the same league
as Europe’s greatest stadium systems.

BURNLEY, England —  Harman International Industries (NYSE: HAR), a leading provider of branded audio and infotainment electronics for the home, the car, and sound professionals, today announced the successful completion of an advanced networked audio system at Turf Moor, the stadium of English Premiership football club, Burnley F.C. Having recently gained promotion to English football’s top tier for the first time in 33 years, it was fitting that Burnley F.C’s first clash would be with reigning champions, Manchester United and with such a seeming-massive challenge in hand, Burnley F.C.’s managers sought to effect a 12th man home advantage at Turf Moor.  They engaged acoustic consultants, AMS Acoustics and integrators ETA Sound to design and install a fully integrated PA/VA compliant public address system that would put Turf Moor system in the same league as Europe’s greatest stadium systems.  The resulting system, designed and controlled using Harman HiQnet System Architect™ and featuring components from Harman Professional brands including JBL, Crown and BSS Audio, received a rousing reception, was covered widely in the local press and, most importantly, a famous David vs. Goliath victory was recorded.

AMS Acoustics had already implemented an earlier first phase upgrade last season to bring three stands into VA compliance. During the course of this exercise the capture of a full range of measurements was required and the resultant data, after analysis, was used as the cornerstone for an entirely new design the following year.  During the short closed season, AMS returned with ETA Sound to implant a complete Harman Pro solution, using a fiber-based signal network that would extend to the three main stands — the North (James Hargreaves) stand, the East (Jimmy McIlroy) stand and South (Bob Lord) stand.

Tasked with supplying a voice alarm-compliant system with high STI (Speech Transmission Index), AMS Acoustics’ project designer Helen Goddard made her product selection with care. Her design enabled the voice evacuation system to double up to meet on-pitch entertainment requirements.  The company needed to achieve peak level in an emergency scenario, related to crowd noise. “We knew the system would have to achieve a maximum of 102-105dB(A) and this meant we needed to use loudspeakers that would be able to achieve these kind of levels without going into compression,” Goddard explained.

First, the JBL loudspeakers were set a number of challenges — including a performance evaluation in AMS Acoustics’ anechoic chamber, even to the point of a destruction test. This was supported by Sound Technology, the Harman Professional distributors, who provided all the necessary back-up.  The acousticians then set about designing the control, signal path and zoning matrix, opting for an integrated Harman Professional package based on system optimization and cost-efficiency. “As the budget was quite tight this was the logical way to go,” stated Goddard.

Crown CTs amplifiers, fitted PIP-USP3 speaker processing units, BSS Audio Soundweb London DSP devices, with BLU-link, running on a fiber backbone — and independent HP ProCurve network switches across all rack locations — form the system architecture. Media converters are provided for the BLU-link data and HP GBICS-LC, providing fiber interfacing on the HP ProCurve switches, and the infrastructure provides one dual redundant Ethernet network as well as an independent ring for the BSS AUDIO BLU-Link audio transport.

In this fully-redundant design, UPS systems provide all the power conditioning and mains support in the event of a power failure.  The installation was also notable for the advanced DSP programming skills of ID Networks’ Martin Barbour, using the attributes of Harman Professional’s new System Architect v2.00 software — the first use anywhere in the world.  “Given that this was a fast fit job it saved me huge amounts of time,” Barbour said.

Eddie Thomas of ETA Sound worked closely with Tom Williams, Sound Technology’s acoustician. In fact the latter had been closely involved from the outset of the project — taking part in the initial concept discussions with AMS Acoustics, supporting the equipment testing and measurement procedures, setting up the load monitoring — and finally assisting with system commissioning.

In total 16 JBL AM6315/95 (90° x 50°) full range loudspeakers with rotatable horn and 12 AM6200/95 mid-high loudspeakers have been used. In the South Stand JBL AM6315’s have been deployed, mounted horizontally to counteract sightline restrictions, with the horn rotated. Covering the East stand are three clusters, each with JBL AM6315/95 in the vertical plane and JBL AM6200/64 covering the lower raked seating (90°x 50°).  In the North stand there are five similar clusters of the same, with the JBL AM6315/95 mounted at the top in the vertical plane, and JBL AM6200/64 bolted under to cover the lower rake.  An additional four JBL AM6200/64s (60°x40°) are also suspended on the north stand, specifically to provide pitch coverage.

Each of the three equipment rack locations features two HP ProCurve switches, two BSS Audio Soundweb London BLU-160 DSP’s and Socomec UPS in each room (as well as the two fiber converter interfaces for BLU-Link). Says Barbour: “Two BLU-160s in each location gives us more than enough DSP — they are hugely powerful devices.”

The network services a total of 23 PA zones although these are logically broken down into stands, concourses and turnstile areas. The BSS AUDIO Ausio Soundweb London devices are configured for a maximum of 72 outputs and between 24 inputs.

Barbour explains, “Originally this was to have been a CAT5 installation but when the client moved the rack locations this took us outside the Ethernet 100m range — so we suddenly had to rethink the networking aspect.” Eddie Thomas’s team then designed and arranged a fiber network to be provided and installed within two weeks.

“Installing BLU-Link at this stage provides us with the audio routing headroom we need when the expansion works commence,” Barbour says. “The channel count and ease of use made it an obvious decision.”

The majority of London Architect’s Logic programming is dedicated to the graphical user interface and voice evacuation autonomy, which is permanently monitored. This allows any of the evacuation messages or microphones to be routed to any of the PA zones, while in each rack location there are also local access microphones as a final tier of security.  Each output has its own independent gains and EQ with three volume settings — low (dropping the system down to 85dB), match day level (which runs at 100dB) and the emergency maximum level (of 102-105dBA).

Martin Barbour says that running both the new London Architect v2.06 and Harman HiQnet System Architect v2 software offered huge advantages.  A notable feature of the new Soundweb system designer is the Wire Tags feature. “This feature comes into its own with complex and vast DSP or Logic designs. It enables me to keep the design tidy, easy to follow, and when used in combination with macros, easily expandable.

“And in terms of stability and performance you don’t get any more pressure than a visit from Manchester United FC on your opening home game, with the world’s first System Architect v2.0 install! The system performed flawlessly, and thanks to the time saving attributes of both software applications, we were able to fit the demands to the very tight deadlines.”

His adoption of the new System Architect software was particularly inspired and was the result of having been engaged as a Harman Pro developer partner for the past 12 months. “So we knew well ahead of time what SDIG was planning with its upcoming version of System Architect,” he states.

However, it wasn’t until final beta testing during June / July, where he saw their work in a tangible form, that it became obvious how suited this major update would be for an upcoming stadium project which had an extremely tight time scale.

“I presented the idea of using System Architect v2.0 on the Burnley FC project to Adam Holladay at SDIG who helped by providing an interface with the R&D team as we ironed out some small issues,” he recalls. “As the driving force behind the new workflow based approach to System Architect, Adam was best placed to translate my observations and comments in to some last-minute enhancements ready for the final release.

“During the design stage, my first impressions were that the user interface was more refined and it was obvious that a great deal of thought had been put into how the software would be used. The new layout guides you through a number of basic steps in much the same way that a software configuration wizard could but without the restrictions often associated with multiple choice Q&A based setup guides.

“With the new workflow-based design approach of System Architect v2.0 we can associate the amplifier channels with physical and logical areas within the venue. This allows the software to automatically create default control panels for each logical zone, which would otherwise have had to be built manually.”

System Architect was used to configure the CTs amplifiers across three rack rooms covering three stands and the pitch. Each stand is divided into a number of zones depending upon its size and we were able to quickly build up a collection of panels for either complete stand or zoned control to aid with system setup and commissioning. Multi-parameter assignments and filtering controls allowed us to implement global buttons to activate each of the fault monitoring status reports which was far quicker than going in to each amplifier and activating these controls manually.

What this provided was a topographical view of the venue in a logical form with direct access to a simple user control panel for every area of the venue. Devices are contained in representations of the real rack rooms and individual DSP or amplifier channels are associated with the correct parts of the venue, all without manually building any control panels or links. “This approach basically takes away lots of the legwork required to achieve simple and consistent room control for distributed audio systems,” he says.

Many other features, already found in prior releases of System Architect, have also been reworked — including the ability to associate many parameters with custom controls. This has been made more user friendly through easy access to all devices and new filtering controls.

“We now have a great starting point upon which we can build as the stadium develops further over the next 12-24 months,” says Martin Barbour.

“The exciting thing about System Architect v2 is not just what they have now, but what they have laid the foundations for in the future,” he continues. “System Architect v2 approaches system design with a new perspective, it replaces the need to manually translate physical devices to logical areas. It subtly guides you to a common starting point where you have full access to the critical controls for your venue. It makes the creation of more complete and user friendly control interfaces faster and more efficient.

“In fact if Harman Pro continue to make such significant time saving upgrades in each major release, I’m going to have to start finding more projects to keep me busy….”

Harman International Industries, Incorporated (, designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment products for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. Harman International maintains a strong presence in the Americas, Europe and Asia, and employs more than 11,000 people worldwide. The Harman International family of brands includes AKG®, Audioaccess®, Becker®, BSS AUDIO®, Crown®, dbx®, DigiTech®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson®, Revel®, QNX®, Soundcraft® and Studer®. Harman International’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NYSE: HAR.”

About ID Networks
ID Networks was formed in 2006 to cater for the growing demand for highly professional design services in the DSP and Networked Audio markets. With a strong background covering many of the leading DSP and Amplifier products as well as networked audio transports, ID Networks has cemented itself as a leading provider for networked audio system design through some of the most iconic venues across the World including Wembley National Stadium, London’s O2 Arena and the Atlantis Hotel and Resort in Dubai. Based in the United Kingdom and handling projects all across Europe and the Middle East, ID Networks is set to tackle the largest and most complex Systems Integration and Programming projects.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Studer Vista 5 SR’s Mix French Opera Singer At Chateau De Versailles

When French opera singer Roberto Alagna performed a one-off spectacular at the Chateau de Versailles recently, supported by the 90-piece Orchestre de Paris (conducted by Michel Plasson), Studer Vista 5 SR digital consoles handled both the house and monitor mixes.

The concert, performed in front of 7,000 people, was held in the middle of La Fontaine de Neptune basin — on a concert stage especially set up for two months in the summer, specifically to stage spectacular events of this nature.

The sound reinforcement system was provided by French distributors, DV2 while the two Vista consoles were loaned by Audiopole, the French Studer distributor.

FOH sound engineer; Jean-Marc Aringoli, was already familiar with the Studer topography having used the Vista 8 for several years to mix ambitious live musical spectaculars for television such as Les Victoires de la Musique at the Paris Zenith.

He wanted to test the Vista 5 at a major outdoor event, believing the quality and innovative features and connectivity of the top-of-the-range Studer platform would best serve a traditional event such as this. A presentation by Audiopole’s Jean-Luc Gerard reinforced that belief.

After consideration it was decided to use one Vista 5 at FOH and one on monitors (for Alex Maggi), knowing that this would create an improved workflow.

A total of 80 mic inputs were divided between the two desks, with the FOH and monitor Local Racks respectively linked to the Stagebox via 150-metre MADI optical fibre snake. The show was digitally multitracked using a Tascam X48.

Stated Jean-Marc: "We achieved an excellent audio quality over the 150-metre fibre cable, with transparent mic preamps. This was perfectly set up for a classical music event of this type where you want to retain the dynamic of the signal — despite working in an outdoor environment, and with a very large number of microphones.”

Use of Studer’s Virtual Surround Panning (VSP) — the onboard DSP which is also used to calculate appropriate frequency and time-based changes as a sound is panned — was a further bonus.

“The EQ’s are very efficient,” continued Jean-Marc. “We had delays on all inputs to compensate for the distance and the VSP, with stereo pan simulation, was astonishing — you can now have a real stereo image for the entire audience.

Despite his extensive experience, Alex Maggi, was using the Vista 5 for the first time — but was no less enthusiastic about the Vista 5 SR. "This is an excellent console, offering huge possibilities. The control surface is easy to learn and the strip setup allows an impressive customisation of the surface. I really look forward to using it over a longer period."

Both men were unequivocal in their praise for this console. “It was the perfect choice for this event," they agreed.

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