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No. 278 January 2014 www.audiomedia.

com
IN THIS ISSUE
The quest to bring studio-quality
sound to the live arena p24
TECH FOCUS
Studio
monitors
p34
SHOW PREVIEW BROADCAST
The secrets of dubbing
TV drama from three
of the industrys best
p22
LIGHTSHIP95
A look inside one of
Londons most unique
recording studios
p30
From Studio to Stage
TEARAWAY
The sound behind
the next big release
from Media Molecule
p28
Everything you need
to know before this
years ISE opens its doors
p16
Editor Jory MacKay
jory.mackay@intentmedia.co.uk
Deputy Editor Jake Young
jake.young@intentmedia.co.uk
Managing Editor Jo Ruddock
jo.ruddock@intentmedia.co.uk
Sales Manager Graham Kirk
graham.kirk@intentmedia.co.uk
Head of Design & Production Adam Butler
adam.butler@intentmedia.co.uk
Production Executive Jason Dowie
jason.dowie@intentmedia.co.uk
Designer Jat Garcha
jat.garcha@intentmedia.co.uk
Publisher Steve Connolly
steve.connolly@intentmedia.co.uk
Press releases to:
pressreleases@intentmedia.co.uk
Intent Media 2014. No part of this publication may be
reproduced in any form or by any means without prior
permission of the copyright owners.
Audio Media is published by Intent Media London,
1st Floor, Suncourt House, 18-26 Essex Road,
London N1 8LN, England.
Editorial tel +44 (0)20 7354 6002
Sales tel +44 (0)20 7354 6000
Audio Media ISSN number: ISSN 0960-7471 (Print)
Circulation & Subscription enquiries
Tel: +44 (0)20 7354 6001
email: audiomedia.subscriptions@c-cms.com
Printed by
Stephen & George, Wales
WELCOME
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 03
MEET THE TEAM
January 2014
Issue 278
IVE never been much of one for New Years
resolutions. Not to say that I havent made
them in the past quite the opposite in fact.
Each December 31st has brought grandiose
plans of new skills to learn, bad habits to
drop, and relationships to rekindle (all of
which are conveniently forgotten at the first
possible moment). So this year Ive decided to
take a different approach and commit to two
smaller, (hopefully) easily achievable
resolutions for 2014.
The first one is easy: get out more, see
more shows, watch more movies, and listen
to more albums. With the recently
announced Oscar nominations Ive got plenty
of movies to catch up on and with every
magazine, blog, and newspaper releasing their lists of 2013s audio zeitgeists
we could all easily spend the next few months searching through the tracks
that slipped under our radar.
The second resolution goes hand-in-hand with the last one: slow down,
digest, and reflect. With so much content coming at us, both by choice and
not, its easy to move on too quickly to the next, more exciting
film/album/game/whatever without truly appreciating the work and talent
that has been put into it. In our increasingly busy lives, taking the time to
turn a critical eye on the things around us is something that has lost the
importance I think it deserves.
Resolutions aside, here at Audio Media HQ, weve got some exciting New
Year news to share. Industry veteran, studio guru, and all-around good guy
Jim Evans will be joining us as Consulting Editor in 2014, lending his years of
experience to the magazine. Jim trained as a journalist at the Glasgow
Sunday post and was the first editor of Pro Sound News Europe before
moving on to edit and produce in-house magazines for EMI Records, APRS,
and ASCAP. He has been a longtime contributor to Audio Media (see his
most recent feature on live sound production on page 24) and works closely
with industry organisation PLASA.
Along with the addition of Jim to the team, Jake Young, who worked
tirelessly as Staff Writer throughout 2013 has stepped up to take on the
Deputy Editor role, while Ive officially become the magazines Editor.
So, along with the New Year and new goals weve got some new titles and
new faces. Heres to an exciting and busy 2014.
Jory MacKay, Editor
With so much content coming at us, both by choice and not,
its easy to move on too quickly to the next, more exciting
film/album/game/whatever without truly appreciating the work
and talent that has been put into it.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
ADVERTISERINDEX
2014 NAB Show........................................47
AMS Neve.....................................................7
Audio-Technica ..........................................8
DPA Microphones ....................................52
Dynaudio .....................................................5
EVE Audio ..................................................19
Genelec......................................................15
Integrated Systems Europe 2014..........49
KMR Audio.................................................33
McDSP ........................................................13
NuGen Audio ............................................37
PMC Loudspeakers..................................39
PSIAudio ....................................................23
Radial ..........................................................51
Richmond Film Services..........................14
Sennheiser..................................................11
Slate Pro Audio...........................................2
Sonnox.......................................................43
Sonodyne ..................................................35
Studioking .................................................45
TC Electronic ..............................................3
Waves .........................................................25
Zaxcom.......................................................31
CONTENTS Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
04 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
>TECHNOLOGY
FOCUS:
Studio Monitors................................32
REVIEWS:
SSL Live...............................................40
Focusrite Red 1 500 .........................42
Allen & Heath Qu-16........................44
Lewitt LCT 940..................................46
Electro-Voice ZLX-12P.....................48
TECHNOLOGY NEWS .........................6
Sony rolls out the PCM-D100
Behringer adds to X32 range
New USB mic from Apogee
INDUSTRY NEWS.............................10
Warner Bros De Lane Lea adds
new suites
Yamaha to acquire Line 6
Show reviews: MPS and InMusic13
>ALSO INSIDE
Show News:
NAMM & ISE............................................................14
Geo Focus:
Scandinavia.............................................................20
Interview:
Multi-platinum selling producer
Jake Gosling...........................................................50
>FEATURES
Drama Dubbing Masterclass..........22
Will Strauss learns the tricks of the
trade from three drama mixing
masters
Game Sound: Tearaway ..................28
John Broomhall explores the sound
for the next big thing from the makers
of LittleBigPlanet
Studio Profile: Lightship95.............30
Jake Young is welcomed aboard a
studio at sea
F
E
A
T
U
R
E
Jim
Evan
s tap
s in
to
th
e
cu
rren
t state o
f th
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p
erfo
rm
an
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24
p30
p28
TECHNOLOGY NEWS
6 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Sony Brings the PCM-D100 to Europe
FIRST LAUNCHED back at AES in New York,
Sony has announced that its newest PCM recorder
will be making its way to Europe early this year.
The flagship of Sonys portable digital recorder
range, the PCM-D100 is compatible with
2.8MHz/1-bit direct stream digital DSD, a format
that records source sounds using digital signals, but
in a format that closely resembles analogue
waveforms. It is also compatible with recording and
playback in 192kHz/24-bit linear PCM High
Resolution Audio.
This new model is Sonys highest-quality
portable digital recorder, designed to faithfully
reproduce sound sources such as instrument
performances and sounds of nature, as closely to the
original as possible, said James Leach, marketing
manager, professional audio, Sony Europe.
The PCM-D100 recorder is part of our High-
Resolution Audio initiative, a complete series of
products designed to help music lovers conveniently
access and enjoy the digital music they love in the
best playback quality available.
The recorder features a highly sensitive
directional microphone that incorporates a newly-
developed 15mm unidirectional mic unit. This
enables the user to adjust the sound collection range
of the mic to suit various sound, from performances
with a small number of people, through to concert
halls with a much larger group of performers.
In comparison to conventional 24-bit D-A
converters, the PCM-D100 has adopted a higher-
class 32-bit converter to achieve accurate playback
of the sound. The headphone amp incorporates a
high-capacity, ultra-low impedance 0.33F
(330000F) electric double-layer capacitor
(EDLC), equivalent to 750 times the capacitance of
conventional capacitors.
www.sony.co.uk
ROUNDING OUT its latest studio
monitor offering, PreSonus has
revealed the smallest version of its
Eris line The Eris E4.5.
Designed for home studios and
situations where space is at a
premium, the E4.5 features a 4.5in
Kevlar low-frequency transducer, a
1in silk-dome, high-frequency
tweeter with protective grille, and a
rear bass-reflect port. Each speaker is
powered by a 25W Class AB
amplifier with peak SPL rated at
100dB. The speaker ranges
from 70Hz to 20kHz and
measures 6.42 x 9.45
x 7.09in
For accurate mixing
contour, a four-position
Acoustic Space switch
controls a second-order
shelving filter, centred at
1kHz, that provides three
attenuation points (no
attenuation, -2dB, and
-4dB), giving users control of the
bass response. A high pass switch sets
the low-frequency cut-off (second-
order slope, -12dB/octave) to be flat,
80Hz, or 100Hz. You also get
continuously adjustable (6dB) high
frequency and midrange controls.
For connections, the E4.5 features
a balanced 0.25in TRS and
unbalanced 0.125in TS, RCA inputs,
as well as a 0.125 stereo headphone
output.
www.presonus.com
WaveDynamics Amps
to Make a Splash
THE NEW Audac
SMA and SMQ
Series of two- and
four-channel power
amplifiers include the
new WaveDynamics
digital signal processor
in combination with a
2.5in LCD display
that is claimed to give an unmatched
user experience with intuitive
functions overview for easy
configuration.
Acoustics can be optimised using
the filters selectable between
Low/High & Band Pass and the
seven-band equaliser, which both
have adjustable frequencies and
Q-factor. Other provided functions
are delay (for time-alignment of
different speakers) and dynamic bass
boost. These settings can be custom-
configured using the amplifiers front
panel, whereby access can be given in
two different levels (User and
Administrator) using password or
USB-key protection. Loudspeaker
protection is provided by an output
power limiter where maximum
output power (in Watts) for every
channel can be configured.
Full system configurations can be
selected from a library, which includes
loudspeaker performance parameters,
and uploaded with a USB drive.
The lightweight Class D amplifiers
are available in 350W, 500W, and
750W versions and incorporate
flexible input and output
configuration, XLR and terminal
block source compatibility, and
RS-232 control.
www.audac.be
New Developments from RTW
THIS YEAR will see a raft of new developments
from German manufacturer RTW for its
TouchMonitor range of audio metering and
monitoring products.
Following the recent release of the DPPs
recommendations that UK audio should be compliant
to the EBU R128 Audio Loudness specification by
October 2014, demonstrating compliance will be
essential and the first of RTWs developments, the
Loudness Quality Logger (LQL), addresses this
problem. LQL is a software module for loudness
logging, true peak data analysis, and reporting for the
TM9, TM7, and TMR7 meters. Data from an
LQL-enabled TouchMonitor will be delivered via an
IP connection to a PC installed with RTWs free
downloadable software where the loudness
information will be logged and stored.
R128-compliant loudness metering tools available
for the TouchMonitor series include loudness and
SPL display, loudness range (LRA), true peak, moving
coil, and a loudness radar display.
RTW is releasing a Timecode Reader module to
decode and
display SDI-
embedded or
LTC timecode.
In addition, the
Timecode
Reader is available for the LQL logging application.
The third innovation is a 16-channel AES3 I/O
interface for the TouchMonitor TM7 for all digital
environments.
www.aspen-media.com
PreSonus Adds Miniature
Version to Eris Line-up
TECHNOLOGY NEWS Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
8 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
DESIGNED FOR live sound
and recording or studio
situations, the Behringer X32
Producer is the most compact
of the X32 family of digital
mixers and works equally well
on the desktop or in the rack.
The board features 16
Midas-designed mic preamps,
eight stereo FX engines, a 32 x
32 channel USB 2.0 audio
interface plus computer, iPad,
or iPhone remote control.
Inputs and outputs can be
expanded via AES50 ports on
the console that permit the
addition of up to six optional
S16 digital stage boxes, for a
further 16 remote mic
preamps and eight XLR
outputs per device. All
routing is achieved through
the colour TFT screen.
Additionally, the X32
Producer features motorised
faders and onboard stereo
FX racks that include
reverbs, compressors, delays,
EQs, and more.
Music Groups X32 product
manager Jan Duwe said: Our
X32 Producer puts full-scale
digital recording and live sound
mixing within the grasp of
musicians and engineers who
use their mixers wherever their
work takes them both in the
studio or on the road. Packed
with incredible processing
power, Midas-designed
preamps and all the FX you
could ask for, the Producer lives
up to its name in every way.
www.behringer.com
Behringer Releases
the X32 Producer
Universal Audio Brings AAX
Compatibility to Mac Users
A NEWpublic beta version
of the UAD software
(v7.4.1) allows Pro Tools 11
users on Mac OS X to take
advantage of the complete
UAD plug-in library. The
release supports the entire
UAD-2 product lineup,
including all Apollo
interfaces, UAD-2 PCIe
cards, and UAD-2 Satellite
devices.
The update also gives
users support for Pro Tools
11s faster-than-realtime
(offline) bounce feature.
Besides support of the
new Pro Tools 11 AAX 64
format, version 7.4.1 also
adds new enhancements for
users including AudioSuite
processing for file-based
workflows, which allows
users to process files and
selections with UAD plug-
ins complete with handles,
as well as multi-mono
support, which allows users
to use UAD plug-ins on
surround and stereo tracks
with full linking and
unlinking capabilities.
While the beta is
currently only available to
Mac users, a fully tested and
qualified cross-platform
release is expected within
the next few months.
www.uaudio.com
Swapping Subwoofers with SWAP12
THE NEW SWAP12 by Active Audio is
the companys own subwoofer and can be
used in passive and active modes.
Connection in passive mode is useful
when no main power is available near the
subwoofer or when reusing existing cables.
Equipped with a 12in woofer, its seen as
ideal to extend the bass response of
StepArray and Ray-On column
loudspeakers. Its slenderness and colours
(black and white) facilitate integration in
conference rooms, houses of worship, bars
and so on.
www.activeaudio.fr
TECHNOLOGY NEWS
MEYER SOUND has expanded its
on-stage solutions with the new self-
powered MJF-210 low-profile high-
power stage monitor. The MJF-210 is
the lightest stage monitor in the
company product line, and carries the
sonic performance of the MJF-212A
stage monitor.
The MJF-210 started with a
customers request to bring the
intelligibility and power of the MJF-
212A into a more production-friendly
package, said Pablo Espinosa, chief
loudspeaker designer and vice
president of R&D. The end result is
a product that reflects users needs in
the field, and its small footprint also
offers more flexibility in bringing the
myriad self-powered advantages to
the stage.
The MJF-210 features a low-
profile design with an impressive
power-to-size ratio, and very low
distortion.
Each monitor measures less than
14in high and weighs 67 pounds. In
addition, it provides the sonic and
practical advantages of a self-powered
system, including reliability, low
distortion, and ease of setup and
configuration. With the amplifier
built into the cabinet, the MJF-210
eliminates amplifier racks and saves
valuable backstage and truck space.
The front of the MJF-210 slopes at
an optimal 40 from the stage, while
the well-behaved constant directivity
horn gives the performer more
freedom to move on stage while
staying within the wide vertical
coverage.
The drivers are powered by a
three-channel Class D amplifier.
For real-time monitoring of
loudspeaker parameters, the MJF-210
can be integrated into the Compass
RMS remote monitoring system
using the optional RMS module.
Compass RMS features the
RMServer and can be controlled in
the Compass software.
www.meyersound.com
Dave Smith Instruments Announces Tabletop Prophet 12
BASED ON Dave Smith Instruments (DSI)
recently launched flagship Prophet 12 synth, the
Prophet 12 Module boasts the same power and
sound as its larger, keyboard-endowed version, but
in a smaller, more transportable design.
Each of the Prophets 12 voices is composed of a
brand new hybrid digital/analogue architecture
created by a digital front end (that can be used for
thickening the signal, adding harmonics, or
completely destroying the signal pre-filter) followed
by an all-analogue signal path output. Each voice has
five high-resolution oscillators, a digital character
effects section, a resonant Curtis low-pass filter, a
high-pass filter, a tune-able feedback circuit, a four-
tap delay line with feedback per line, four loopable
five-stage envelope generators, four syncable LFOs
with slew and phase offset, a sophisticated
arpeggiator, and a 16-slot modulation matrix with 26
mod sources and 97 modulation destinations.
The Prophet 12 Modules streamlined intuitive
interface promotes quick and easy control of every
parameter on the synth with each section able to be
selected at the press of a button and edited through
the OLED display. Dedicated low and high pass
filters potentiometers provide quick and smooth
control of filters while modulation assignments can
be created using the Assign Mod buttons.
Despite its comparatively diminutive dimensions,
the backpanel I/O of the Module matches that of
the Prophet 12 keyboard in almost all aspects
(apart from featuring an external power supply in
the interests of making it as compact and portable
as possible) including: Headphones, Main/A
Outputs, B Outputs, MIDI Thru, MIDI Out,
MIDI In, Pedal 1, Pedal 2, Sustain, and USB.
www.davesmithinstruments.com
CALIFORNIA-BASED Apogee
Electronics has introduced MiC 96k, a
professional, studio-quality cardioid
condenser microphone for iPad,
iPhone, and Mac that can be used to
record vocals, voice-overs, acoustic
guitar, piano, drums, as well as almost
any other audio source.
First introduced in 2011, the
original MiC quickly became one of
the leading options for those looking
for a mobile microphone including
both aspiring and professional artists.
The newest version, the MiC 96k,
holds onto the heritage of its
predecessor through featuring the
same look and portable form factor as
the original, but now provides the
ability to make higher fidelity
recordings up to 24-bit/96kHz
while the Apogee engineered
microphone preamp gives you up to
40dB of gain.
The made-in-America MiC 96k
also features an all-metal construction
and multicolour LED for status
indication and input level monitoring
as well as a control knob for quick
input level adjustments.
The mic is compatible with a
number of DAWs including Apples
GarageBand and Logic Pro, as well as
Pro Tools.
The mic comes packaged with an
iOS Lighting cable as well as a
microphone stand adapter in the box.
Like its predecessor, MiC 96k also
includes an iOS 30-pin cable, Mac
USB cable, and tabletop tripod stand.
www.apogeedigital.com
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 9
Apogee Reveals the MiC 96k
Meyer Sound Introduces New Stage Monitor
Dubbing Brothers Upgrades to Dolby Atmos
>>> POST PRODUCTION
LOCATED ON the outskirts of
Paris, Dubbing Brothers is a post-
production facility that specialises in
adapting major films into foreign
languages.
With such major releases as Escape
Plan, Saving Mr. Banks, and The
Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
coming through its doors, Dubbing
Brothers recently decided it was time
to update its main mixing stage.
When we decided to update our
main 7.1 mixing room to Atmos, we
wanted monitoring of the highest
quality, said Mathieu Taieb, sales
director for Dubbing Brothers.
We knew other major post-
production houses were using Meyer
Sound for Atmos, so we arranged a
session to listen to a Meyer Sound
system. We were very impressed with
what we heard. The sound was
dynamic and precise, warm, and never
aggressive. Both bass and high
frequencies exhibited very high
resolution.
Supplied by Paris-based cinema
audio specialist 44.1, the loudspeaker
system was designed to Dolby Atmos
specifications. It includes three
Acheron 80 screen channel
loudspeakers, four X-800C cinema
subwoofers in the front, two X-400C
cinema subwoofers in the rear, and
four HMS-12 and 34 HMS-10
cinema surround loudspeakers.
I enjoy mixing on the system
immensely, says Taieb. You can work
all day on a movie with very high
dynamic levels, and not feel tired or
mugged by the sound. Im continually
impressed with the precision and
clarity.
Designed and supervised by Paul
Henri Wagner of 44.1, the complete
technical renovation of the room
includes new wiring, a 244-
channel/48-fader Avid System 5
mixing console, and two Pro Tools
HDX systems.
www.meyersound.com
www.dubbing-brothers.com
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10 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Product Launches Aplenty at
Music Production Show 2013
SEVERAL EXHIBITORS
launched new products at the Music
Production Show (MPS) held at
Emirates Stadium in north London
late last year. Steinberg showed
Cubase 7.5, Affinity Audio used the
event for the first UK showing of the
AEA N22 Active Ribbon
Microphone, THE BOX from API
had its UK debut through Source
Distribution, and Solid State Logic
showed its Matrix 2 console for the
first time in the UK.
MPS was a great event for
Steinberg, commented Richard
Johnstone, Steinberg business
development manager, UK and ROI.
Using the show for the first public
showing of Cubase 7.5 meant for a
busy stand throughout the show. The
reaction to the new features in
Cubase 7.5 was superb, with full
houses for each of our seminar
sessions.
MPS organiser, One Louder
Events, reported a healthy increase in
visitor numbers. Show manager Jason
Hunt revealed that numbers were up
12 percent year-on-year.
The quality of visitors remains
very high, with the vast majority
either professional musician/
producers or committed students
looking to pursue a career in the
recording industry, he said.
As such, exhibitors feedback has
been hugely positive, both in relation
to the level of sales made during the
show, and the engagement with those
visiting the booths.
Lisa Coley, communications and
media director for Sontronics, said: It
was a pleasure for Sontronics to once
again be part of the Music
Production Show this year, and we
were very impressed by the number of
attendees, the wide variety of
exhibitors and the quality of the
seminars. Over the two days, we
enjoyed meeting and speaking to
hundreds of visitors and were also
very pleased to see that some of those
visitors took advantage of our special
show offers and went home with a
Sontronics mic or two.
Paul Germain of MPS retail
partner The Production Room stated:
Music Production Show 2013 again
delivered for both exhibitors and
visitors with an amazing array of
music technology innovations and
education seminars. From a retail
perspective the London show is an
ideal opportunity to introduce the
Production Room face-to-face model
of retailing to a new group of
potential clients. The organisation of
the event was once again efficient and
pain free, regardless of the challenges
the venue brings. MPS is and will be
in our plans for many years to come.
www.musicproductionshow.co.uk
>>> EVENT
De Lane Lea Adds New Suites
A YEAR since its acquisition by
Warner Bros Studios Leavesden,
Soho-based audio post-production
facility De Lane Lea has revealed
new suites and extensive upgrades
following a significant refurbishment
and investment programme.
Now under the Warner Bros De
Lane Lea moniker, the studio
completed work on 22 movies
during 2013, including Alfonso
Cuarns critically acclaimed Gravity
as well as box office successes
Philomena, and Captain Phillips, to
name a few.
The refurbishments include
extensive upgrades to the facilitys
infrastructure with updated MADI
routing and ADR streaming, as well
as the installation of 18 new Pro
Tools HDX and HD Native
Systems with D-Command control
surfaces and a variety of plug-ins.
An additional 18 cutting rooms, as
well as a new ADR suite have also
been built on the first floor of the
facilitys adjacent building, Royalty
House, with full access to De Lane
Leas Dean Street location.
Director of operations and
business development Helen
Alexander commented that the
upgrades and new ADR suite have
helped the facility to push more into
broadcast: We have worked on
major scripted drama for BBC and
HBO, including The Politicians
Husband, Veep, Ripper Street, and
Game of Thrones, and hope to attract
more in the future.
Further additions also include
a new dedicated 5.1 TV pre-mix
suite that has been built into the old
studio 5 along with refurbished
reception area, entrance, and bar.
www.delanelea.com
>>> POST PRODUCTION
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12 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Factory Studios Adds Two SSL AWS Consoles
>>> POST PRODUCTION
AUDIO POST facility Factory
Studios, which specialises in audio for
advertising, TV, radio, digital media,
and music, has stepped up Studios 1
and 2 with a new Solid State Logic
AWS 948 Hybrid Console/Controller
in each room. The consoles were
chosen to streamline workflow by
replacing existing DAW controller/
plug-in/outboard gear with a user
interface and integrated DAW control.
When it came to refurbishing these
two studios we wanted something that
would be a flagship for the future, said
Ben Firth, sound engineer and
technical support manager for Factory
Studios. The AWS 948 does
everything we need in one unit. Pro
Tools has always been our main DAW
and we couldnt compromise on
functionality there. That plus the
beauty of the SSL preamps is brilliant.
This ticks all our boxes.
The updated facilities at Factory
Studios are set up with live rooms for
recording music, dialogue, and sound
design for projects ranging from TV
and radio commercials to music and
cinema releases. Studio 1 and 2 both
capture to a Pro Tools DAW system
that is controlled by the AWS 948
console. Additionally, Factorys Studio
3, which is a Dolby Approved
Cinema Suite, runs SSL Duende
Native plug-ins for sonic consistency
across the facility.
Recent award-winning projects from
Factory Studios include the Honda
Hands commercial for Channel 4
Idents, which won a Silver Medal for
Sound Design at the London
International Awards 2013 and
Outstanding Sound in a commercial at
this years Hollywood Post Awards.
The Camelot National Lotterys Heroes
Return commercial was recognised for
Best Sound Design in TV Advertising
at the MAS International Awards.
Heroes Return and the companys
Guinness Cloud and Nike My Time Is
Now videos were each Cannes Lion
2013 award winners.
Factory Studios has plans to expand
even further in the coming year and
add new studios, which could include a
Dolby Atmos room.
www.factory.uk.com
www.solidstatelogic.com
Line 6 to be Acquired by Yamaha
YAMAHA AND Line 6 have announced a
definitive agreement for Yamaha to acquire Line 6.
Under the terms of the agreement, Yamaha will
operate Line 6 as a wholly owned subsidiary with
Line 6s operations continuing as before and its
management team remaining in place.
I am very happy that Line 6, which has been
creating innovative products and new market
opportunities consistently over its history, will
become a member of the Yamaha group. We look
forward to accelerating our growth strategy by
pursuing the beneficial effects from both companies
and by utilising Line 6s core brand power centred on
guitarists that is so highly regarded worldwide as well
as its unique technology, planning, and development
capabilities, said Takuya Nakata, Yamaha president.
Yamahas acquisition of Line 6 will help
accelerate the realisation of our vision to drive
innovation for musicians across the globe, said Line
6 CEO and president Paul Foeckler. Were proud
that Yamaha recognises the innovation and value in
our people, IP, and processes and were excited about
the opportunities ahead to expand our reach.
The transaction is expected to be completed this
month, after receipt of regulatory approvals.
www.line6.com
www.yamahaproaudio.com
>>> INDUSTRY
Powersoft Drives Wall of Bass in Austrian Nightclub
LOCATED IN a residential area of
Wiener Neustadt, Austria, the new
300-capacity Club SUB wanted to
integrate an extremely loud and clear
low frequency sound solution while
maintaining acoustic isolation.
Given the concerns of local
residents, when Wolfgang Sauter
[project manager, pro performance]
surveyed the building, with its tube
like architecture, the abstract idea of
a vibrating wall became more
logical, commented Steffen
Kroschel, director at Lambda Labs.
Lambda Labs project manager
Richard Nell supported the concept
with simulation data, parameters and
measurements applying his
knowledge of high-performance
concrete closed box enclosures and
amping. The drivers were developed
especially for this application, going
through 10 prototype stages, while
the club owners helped with casting
the concrete loudspeaker enclosures.
For the clubs rear wall, 400kg
concrete blocks were cast using 13
tonnes of heavy concrete. Each block
serves as a loudspeaker enclosure
with pressure-resistant rear chambers
implementing the perfect impulse
response of a closed-box design and
maximising the radiation resistance
of the woofers through the
acoustically hard surface. A self-
enveloped 15in speaker was
produced and adapted to the
demands of this project. The single
chassis are designed to act together
like one single swinging wall similar
to a piston in a cylinder.
Yet to make this all work, each
driver needed to be powered by its
own dedicated amplifier: As we have
been using Powersoft amplifiers in
our regular self-powered
loudspeakers for four years it was
obvious to choose the company again
for this project as we have a lot of
experience with their modules, such
as the Digimod 1500, which we use
in our subwoofer product MF-15A
and our full range enclosure TX-
3A, continued Kroschel.
The 32 Lambda Labs OEM CX
15in ultra-long excursion drivers,
with 25mm linear excursion
capability are each driven by 800W
amplifying modules, with the
maximum desired SPL reached at an
excursion of only 3mm. Therefore
the Wall of Bass manages with only
500W peak music power during
operation.
Summing up, Kroschel said that
everyone who has played through the
system has been hugely impressed:
For some it has changed their
awareness of music.
www.powersoft-audio.com
>>> INSTALLATION
NEWS
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 13
DPA Partners
with Riverside
>>> INDUSTRY
DPA MICROPHONES has joined forces with
global private equity firm The Riverside Company.
DPA is already a very successful and profitable
company, which has been experiencing a 15
percent increase in sales, year on year, for the last
five years, said DPAs CFO Christian Hoff
(pictured, right). With Riverside involved, we
anticipate even stronger sales growth in the next
five years.
This is a solid foundation for further growth,
and Riversides global network and experience in
the audio industry should help propel DPA to
further success, Riverside partner Thomas
Blomqvist said.
Under the terms of the new deal, DPAs CEO
Christian Poulsen (left) and Hoff have retained
their current positions in management and on the
board, along with a 40 percent shareholding.
Riverside is now the majority shareholder and will
also have representation on the DPA board.
For our day-to-day operation, it is business as
usual, Poulsen said. What has changed is our
ability to capitalise on our current success and
make this even more significant in the future.
Riverside has an extensive network worldwide,
many of whom are specialists in the
audio industry and have deep technical
knowledge and experience that we can exploit.
This investment will allow us to develop new
technologies and new products at a much faster
pace. It will also allow us to move into new
markets and attract more good people to our
brand, while still properly supporting our existing
customer and partner base.
DPA joins California-based Blue Microphones
in the Riverside Companys growing portfolio of
pro-audio brands.
www.riversideeurope.com
www.dpamicrophones.com
Success For InMusic13
By Justin Paterson
THE INAUGURAL Innovation in Music
conference (InMusic13) took place in York
over 4-6 December, jointly hosted by the
University of York and York St John University,
and backed by KES International. The scope of
this new annual European event extends from
the artist to music production, through
technology and audio engineering, the music
business, games audio, mastering, and more.
The two-day event was preceded by an
opening concert where London band
IMPRINTS played a quadraphonic immersive
live tape loop performance, with a darkly
ambient set of grainy, tape-saturated
atmospheres merged with pedal-steel-guitar,
circuit-bent machines, and synthesisers.
Mastering engineer Crispin Murray opened
the first day of InMusic13 with an insightful
keynote about quality, which was followed by a
mixture of parallel paper sessions and other
special events from Jerry Flemings robotic
drummer that responded to audience tweets, to
Phil Dudderidge and Dave Hodder from
sponsors Focusrite/Novation discussing
innovative aspects of their business. Thomas
Lund of TC Electronic gave his keynote on
loudness and perception while Dr Paul
Ferguson of Edinburgh Napier University
discussed live performance over the internet
with the LOLA AV system.
The second day commenced with Jeff
Levison discussing his incredible 103.4 array,
followed by Andrew McPherson demonstrating
his multi-touch piano keyboard overlay and
then Liz Dobsons CollabHub enterprise
project. For the final keynote, top producer and
entrepreneur Jake Gosling gave an insight into
his working practices through an interview with
Rob Toulson.
Further parallel papers were presented on
topics ranging from multi-touch control of
audio waveform visualisations to producer-
defined semantics to assist parameter
modulation, while mastering legends Ray Staff
and Barry Grint collaborated for a paper on the
embedding of ISRCs in BWAVs.
The conference journal and best of book
will be published in early 2014. InMusic14 will
be held in Cambridge at Anglia Ruskin
University.
www.innovationinmusic.com
>>> EVENT
SHOW PREVIEW Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
RUNNING FROM23-26 January at
the Anaheim Convention Center in
California, this years NAMM Show
will bring together the latest in pro-
audio technology along with the
chance to network and enjoy a whole
host of live music performances and
guest appearances.
The day before the event a pre-show
party will be held at the GoPro Stage
on the Grand Plaza between 6pm and
7.30pm featuring Bernie Williams and
Gil Parris. The live music continues
once the show opens its doors with
Shocka Zooloo bassist TM Stevens
being joined live on stage by friends
such as Grammy Award-winning
drummer Ricky Lawson daily at 5pm
on the KLOTZ stage in Showroom
210C, Mezzanine Level 2.
TECHNOLOGY
While many companies are keeping
tight-lipped until the shows opening
day, a few companies have let slip what
they will be showing this year.
As well as revealing new products,
Audio-Technica will be showing its
recently released BP894 MicroSet
subminiature cardioid condenser
headworn microphone. Featuring a
rotating capsule housing with talk-side
indicator and perfect polar pattern
placement the MicroSet BP894 allows
the cardioid capsule to be aimed
directly at the sound source.
B&C will be showing its 8NDL64
woofer. Incorporating a 2.5in copper
voice coil, this new 8in woofer features
a 350W nominal power rating, which
is 70% more than B&Cs typical 2in
voice coil woofers. The double roll
surround design also uses a shorting
copper cap for extended high-
frequency performance and a ventilated
voice coil gap for reduced power
compression. With low distortion, a
well-behaved frequency response from
80-4,000Hz, and a respectable 97dB
sensitivity, the neodymium magnet
8NDL64 is intended to be a versatile
addition to the B&C line.
Blue Mics has announced details of a
new small-diaphragm condenser
microphone named Hampton.
Designed for live and studio
applications, Hampton features Blues
B1 small-diaphragm, cardioid
condenser capsule. Measuring less than
8in tall with a rotating head, it is
designed for optimal placement and
convenient adjustment.
Studiomaster is debuting numerous
new products at NAMM 2014, where
the company will occupy its largest ever
exhibition stand. The new Studiomaster
Venture Series is described as an ultra-
light, high-power, high-performance PA
series, comprising 12in and 15in two-
way cabinets, and a matched 18in sub;
available in both 1,000W active and
passive models.
Two other major new Studiomaster
product series at NAMM are the final
production versions of the Horizon
powered and passive professional
portable mixers and the Starlight
combined stage-sound and lighting
cabinets.
AWARDS
As part of this years Winter NAMM
Show H.O.T Zone, 10 of the top pro-
audio inventions of the past century
will be inducted into the ninth
NAMM Foundation TECnology Hall
of Fame.
Modern-day audio and recording
professionals all have the early fathers
of invention to thank for superior
creativity and breakthrough ideas that
allow for 21st century innovations,
said George Petersen, TECnology Hall
of Fame chairman. It is both
beneficial and important to honour
these early pioneers who made
significant contributions that continue
to be heard all around the world.
This years inductees range from the
first practical audio amplifier from
Western Electric in 1915, through to
the 1964 Studer J37 four-track
recorder (used for Sgt. Peppers Lonely
Hearts Club Band) as well as the 1984
Klark Teknik DN360 graphic EQ,
1991 Genelec 1031A active studio
monitor, and the 1998 Royer
Labs R-121
ribbon
microphone.
www.namm.org
As the pro-audio industry prepares for a few days in the Anaheim sun, we
take a look at whats hot at this years NAMM Show.
NAMM Heats Up
Studiomaster will launch its Venture Series of PAs
14 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
SHOW PREVIEW ISE 2014 Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
16 January 2014
THE LATEST technology from
across the pro-AV market will be on
show in Amsterdam during ISE 2014
(4-6 February). Once again the audio
sector will be well represented with a
host of product launches planned.
Alcons Audio is presenting the
CRS8 surround high-fidelity full-range
loudspeaker. Designed for the digital
cinema market, the CRS8 is a two-way
passive-filtered loudspeaker and
features one proprietary RBN401
pro-ribbon driver for MHF and a
vented reference-quality 8in mid-bass
for LF reproduction.
Biamp Systems will be launching a
number of substantial updates to its
Tesira, Nexia, and Vocia product lines
at ISE 2014. Over the past decade
ISE has established itself as the most
important AV show in the European
market. The level of innovation and
thought-leadership on offer each year
continues to impress even an industry
veteran like myself, said Graeme
Harrison, EVP of marketing at Biamp
Systems. Were very excited for this
years event and we believe that ISE
offers us an excellent venue to launch
and showcase some of the key products
that will drive our market strategy
moving forward. We want to build on
the achievements of 2013 and believe
this years ISE will be our most
successful ever.
Biamp will be hosting product
presentations throughout the show,
giving attendees an opportunity to
speak directly with the companys sales
and technical teams, as well as get a
hands-on demonstration of the new
products.
C-Mark Audio will be showing two
new digital mixers the 24-channel
CDM24 and the CDM12 universal
mini mixer. On the input side the
CDM24 offers 16 mic/line plus four
stereo analogue inputs (with +48V
phantom power and phase switch on
each mic input channel), two SPDIF
coaxial and two SPDIF optical fibre
ports, an AEX/EBU port, and one
on-board digital audio source. It has 12
mixing busses, supporting the main
and monitor outputs, four-channel
group output, four-channel AUX
output via analogue, AES/EBU,
SPDIF optical fibre, and coaxial
interfaces. A USB interface supports
digital disk recording.
The CDM12 is aimed at providing
a really affordable and easy-to-use
choice for various small and mid-size
applications. The 12-input unit
features: a professional audio DSP
processing core and algorithms; 24-bit
A-D/D-A conversion; analogue and
digital interfaces, including optical
fibre, coaxial, and AES/EBU; three-
band parametric EQ input and nine-
band graphical EQ output; and eight
mixing channels, supporting main,
AUX and sub output, preview, and
monitor output.
Dan Dugan Sound Designs Model
E-2 automatic mixing controller for
live microphones is the companys new
top-of-the-line automatic mixing
controller with analogue I/O in a
smaller frame, and at a lower price
than its predecessors.
It includes eight channels with both
Dugan Music System and Dugan Gain
Limiting (analogue I/O), and 12
channels with Dugan Speech System
(analogue I/O) or 16 channels with
Dugan Speech System (ADAT digital).
It comes with the Dugan Control
Panel for Java, and can be controlled
either via an iPad app, the Model
CP-2 physical control panel,
or the front panel mute
and bypass
buttons.
The
E-2
links
with all
other digital
Dugans to form
larger systems.
The company will also be
highlighting its
seamless auto-
mixing technology, now available in
audio mixers from Yamaha, Avid, and
Waves Audio.
The Dugan-MY16 card for a wide
variety of Yamaha mixers provides up
to 16 channels of automatic
microphone mixing per card at 48kHz
or eight channels at 96kHz. Channels
can be partitioned into as many as three
independent auto-mixers. It includes
Windows or Mac software for virtual
remote control over a local network.
The Dugan-VN16 for Avid Venue
consoles manages multiple live
microphones to keep gain consistent
throughout the system. It offers 16
auto-mixing channels or eight auto-
mixing channels plus eight channels of
ADAT I/O, and may be linked with
up to seven other Dugans to expand
the number of microphones in the
system. It is operated from the Dugan
Control Panel for Java (included), or a
separate iPad app.
Waves Audios new Dugan
Automatic Mixer plug-in is a software
emulation of the popular Dugan
Speech System for managing multiple
live microphones. It is Waves
MultiRack SoundGrid and
MultiRack Native compatible and
works on 32 or 64 channels.
Bosch brand Electro-Voice will be
showing its latest loudspeakers that
have been certified to conform with
EU standard EN54-24. The companys
Sx600 series two-way loudspeakers,
EVF-1122S front-loaded systems,
EVH-1152D horn-loaded systems,
and Zx1i series two-way loudspeakers
now satisfy the European standard for
voice alarm systems.
The certification of our
loudspeakers to conform with the
EN54-24 standard offers our
customers Europe-wide
assurance that
they
meet
the rigorous
requirements it lays
out, commented Oliver
Sahm, technical support
pro audio, EMEA.
In our second preview of the pro-AV industrys best-attended tradeshow, we
focus on the technology and trends that will be shaping the sector in the year
ahead and beyond.
On Trend
C-Mark Audios new 24-channel digital
mixer, the CDM24
EVs Sx600 conforms to the EN54-24
EU standard
SHOW PREVIEW ISE 2014
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 17
The latest addition to the 4000
Series of loudspeakers, designed for the
AV install market, will be on show at
the Genelec stand. The active
loudspeakers are suited to music
playback and speech amplification
projects, which makes them a strong
choice for critical commercial
installations.
The speakers Directivity Control
Waveguide provides broad and flat
coverage for precise imaging in all
environments, while Practical Room
Response Controls optimise the
loudspeakers tonal characteristics for
any environment. Once installed,
overload protection ensures reliability
and 12V contact closure allows for
seamless integration with any in-house
automation or AV control system.
Lawo has integrated Daccord into
its JADE software tool and EDIT
editing software. JADE is a powerful
software tool for PC-based audio and
broadcast production, which acts as a
mediator between audio hardware and
software, allowing the use of multiple
audio interfaces for one or multiple
audio applications without restrictions.
The release of JADE 1.0.2 adds a
number of new features, including
ASIO direct monitoring support; this
allows low-latency monitoring
connections for ASIO devices,
centrally managed in
JADE environments. Furthermore, it
adds up to four independent WDM
driver instances, enabling separated
audio input and output connections for
applications that rely on Windows
audio driver interfaces.
In addition, a limited access mode
now permits hiding the access to the
configuration for easy and failsafe
end-user operation.
Designed for the calibration and
verification of cinema sound systems,
the XL2 Cinema Meter from NTi
Audio is being showcased by the
company at ISE.
Taking NTi Audios XL2 acoustic
and audio analyser and extending its
capability with the cinema option, an
interactive assistant guides the cinema
engineer through dedicated
measurement scripts for what the
company describes as intuitive
management of audio performance
requirements.
With the introduction of dBu, dBV
and volt measurement units, the
handheld XL2 Analyzer is now able to
determine the spectrum of audio
devices, measuring the frequency
response as well as the intrinsic noise
spectrum of an audio device.
The latest V2.60 release of XL2
Analyzer firmware enables on-site
measurement of all commonly used
noise curves according to ANSI and
ISO standards. It determines the
acoustic noise spectrum of a room and
immediately displays the results,
together with the reference curves,
according to the standard selected by
the operator.
Rane will highlight the fact that
users can now control its HAL DSP
system with any device, anytime,
anywhere. On show at ISE are the
latest version of HAL (HAL4) and
Ranes EXP7x device.
Featured in the box, and now on
Ranes website, is Halogen 4.0 software,
which adds support for the Web
Controls feature in any HAL, as well as
a firmware update to existing HAL
devices that enables customisable web
pages to be created within Halogen.
Simply run the custom page(s) on any
smartphone, tablet or computers web
browser; no iTunes store or app installs
are required.
Riedel will be showing new
universal video I/O cards for its
MediorNet Modular real-time
network. Supporting a variety of small
form-factor pluggable (SFP) optical
transceivers, the MediorNet MN-C-
OPT-HDMI and MN-HDO-4IO
cards enable the flexible configuration
of MediorNet systems for bidirectional
transport of analogue composite video,
HDMI, DVI, and optical or coaxial
SDI signals.
Depending on the SFP transceivers
installed, the cards can provide a
combination of either four HD (1.5G)
or two 1080p (3G) bidirectional video
signals or analogue video, HDMI,
DVI, or optical SDI video I/O. The
HDMI ports employ self-locking mini
HDMI connectors.
Also new
is the CPX-AVB expansion card,
which allows its Artist 1100 series
Digital Matrix Intercom control panels
to interface with AVB (Audio Video
Bridging) networks, allowing all of the
panels ports to be accessed from across
the entire AVB network.
It is a dedicated card that converts
two Artist ports to the AVB network
and vice versa. To further enable signal
integration, Riedel offers a
comprehensive suite of AVB-enabled
interfaces for its Artist intercom
platform. Besides the existing Connect
AVB X8 panel interface, the Connect
AVB C8 offers eight AES connections
on BNC. The device supports both
bidirectional AES for intercom panels
and unidirectional transport for
broadcast AES.
The Connect AVB A8 provides
eight analogue inputs and outputs on
RJ45 connectors. Riedels AVB
Manager offers full AVB network
management and features system-wide
control of all AVB components.
One of the first Indian companies to
enter the world of reference-grade pro
audio, Sonodyne is showcasing its
Opus speakers, which merge the
worlds of digital content and analogue
electro-acoustics.
Product highlights include: a Kevlar
cone woofer and midrange to minimise
cone breakup and distortion; a Kevlar
cone midrange and silk dome tweeter
in waveguide for controlled dispersion;
and transparency in critical mid, upper
mid band, and soundstaging.
Opus, says Sonodyne, also features
DSP-enabled crossover for smooth on
and off axis response, a Class AB
power amplifier with MOSFET
output stage for exceptional dynamics,
high-grade SMD components used in
compact two-layer PCB for reduced
noise, an aluminium/MDF rigid
enclosure to minimise vibrations, and
software tuned ports for maximum
LF extension.
The new Stealth Acoustics
SA2400 dual-channel amplifier with
built-in DSP is claimed to offer
maximum ease and flexibility of
powering and tuning Stealth speakers
or other speaker systems.
Rated at more than 450W RMS
per channel, the SA2400 uses Stealths
Class A/B output stage coupled to a
traditional high-current power supply
for professional output and long-term
reliability.
It also marks the debut of the newly
designed Stealth Signal Management
System (SSMS), which allows for
complete per-channel programming of
advanced DSP features including: 11
bands of fully parametric EQ;
high/low pass filters with variable
slopes; fully programmable limiters;
and delay and phase controls.
All SSMS functions can be
programmed from the front panel, or
via Stealths free SSMS software via
USB connection to the amplifier.
Several new products for the
installation market are making their
debut at the Yamaha Music Europe
GmbH stand. Among other items,
Yamaha is adding to its Commercial
Installation Solutions (CIS) series
with EN54-24 certified versions of
the VXC and VXS loudspeaker
ranges, which are specifically designed
for use in PA/VA voice alarm systems.
At the show, Yamaha is
demonstrating its full CIS series,
including all VXC and VXS
loudspeakers, XMV multichannel
amplifiers, MTX matrix processors
and DCP controllers.
www.iseurope.org
Published by sister title Installation,
thedaily is the official newspaper of
Integrated Systems Europe. Produced
from an office just off the showfloor, it
is printed overnight and distributed
each morning of the event. To get involved in any of these issues contact
ian.graham@intentmedia.co.uk or les.wood@intentmedia.co.uk
Riedel will be showing new universal video
I/O cards for its MediorNet Modular real-
time network.
Dan Dugan Sound Designs Model E-2
automatic mixing controller
Sonodynes Opus speakers will be at ISE
2014
NEWS ANALYSIS Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
18 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
SOUND HAS a nebulous quality. We
are aware of it through our sense of
hearing but as far as music recording,
broadcasting, and live sound are
concerned, when there is no playback
the only real pointer to its existence is
the equipment involved in its creation
and reproduction mixing consoles,
recording/editing workstations,
microphones, loudspeakers and the
buildings where that kit lives.
While these physical pieces of gear
are still necessary, the audio (and any
accompanying video) can now be
even more removed from the physical
tools of its creation and held in
Cloud storage. This not only reduces
the amount of space needed at the
actual facility for server stores but
also makes it easier for anyone
involved in productions to load
material and then access and work on
it from any location.
The Cloud has followed other IT
innovations into the broadcast, music,
and live sound domains despite initial
doubts and concerns about reliability
and security. The main selling points
of Cloud storage flexibility of use
and access, easy connectivity, and a
large data capacity without the need
for installing an expensive ingest and
data server infrastructure have won
over many companies and operators
in the broadcast and post-production
sectors.
A recent high-profile adopter of the
technology is dock10, the TV studio
and post operation at MediaCityUK
(MCUK) in Greater Manchester. The
MCUK development at Salford
Quays began in 2007 with MediaCity
Studios, a complex of sound stages for
film and TV drama production built
into the old Pie Factory. That
continues to run today but more
attention has been given to the
neighbouring MCUK campus,
housing the main TV studio centre,
three BBC buildings, and other blocks
for ITV, independent production
companies, and the University of
Salford media department.
The HD/5.1 facilities at The
Studios block opened during 2011.
The BBC moved several departments,
including Sport and Childrens, up to
Salford that year and is committed to
using at least two studios on an
ongoing basis. Cynics in the industry
viewed MCUK as a one-client facility
but the number of producers using the
studios as well as leasing office space
on site has increased in the past year
or so.
TOP TEN
The Studios were rebranded in the
middle of 2012 as dock10 (there were
nine docks at Salford Quays in its
industrial heyday; MCUK was built
on the site earmarked for the 10th)
and has expanded its original in-house
post department to include
independent facilities leasing space
in a post-production hub known as
The Landing.
Dock10 initially had one dubbing
suite, featuring a 48-channel Avid
ICON desk with Pro Tools. Last year
it was joined by a new audio room,
Dub 2, a smaller area with a 24-
channel Avid C24 controller. It was
co-designed by dubbing mixer Mike
Stewart, a well-known presence on
the north-west post-production scene
with a long list of drama credits. The
theatre is used, under his old company
name The Sound House, for Stewarts
regular clients, but is promoted as a
dock10 facility. Audio is a growth area
at MCUK, with London mixing,
voice recording, and ADR specialist
Tamborine Productions opening a
new room at The Landing and
production company Timeline
Television North running a Pro Tools
with D-Control studio in a building
adjacent to The Studios block.
The studios and facilities at dock10
feature the latest equipment and
technology, including a Calrec Audio
Hydra2 network, for fully integrated
TV production. But in many ways the
real selling point in a broadcast/post
market where most facilities have the
same gear, is dock10s IT
infrastructure. The campus is fully
cabled for fibre connectivity, which
allows internet access over the site and
provides audio and video connections
not just round the building but also
out on the central piazza.
Over the past year or so dock10 has
built on that by offering Cloud
services, working in conjunction with
Hilversum-based CentralParq, which
was set-up by live post-production
company Infostrada. The system
comprises four stages, beginning with
capture, during which the project is
assigned its own QR (Quick
Response) code and metadata is
created to identify the content. This is
followed by ingest, from a laptop or
desktop using the Mediadoq interface
to sync metadata with the media files.
Once in the system, different users
with access to the material (some in
remote locations) can work on it as
low-res proxies over online
connections. The fourth stage is final
editing, using platforms including
Avid, EVS, and Quantel. A
spokesman for CentralParq said the
original audio settings were not
touched and are kept as they were
when the sound was recorded.
REMOTE WORKING
Dock10s position in adopting Cloud
working is that it eliminates what are
described as convoluted, frequently
broken delivery paths, long lead times
and waiting cycles, and panic
communication. Commercial director
Ian Munford comments: We can
deliver both digital media and Cloud
services with a blend of skills
combining broadcast and IT. We have
connectivity with BT circuits and
Sohonet but we asked ourselves what
happens if someone is not on the
MCUK campus. So now people can
ingest material wherever they are and
the material is delivered to the editing
suites or anywhere else it is needed.
CentralParq is a private Cloud
system with personalised codes issued
to users for full security. While
dock10 is based mostly on Avid
systems, both Media Composer and
Pro Tools, the Cloud technology is
vendor independent. It connects to
local storage, in this case ISIS for
online, Isilon nearline, and Spectra
Logic in the archive, with file transfer
based on Signiant software.
Keeping Sound in the Cloud
MCUK was built on the site earmarked for the 10th dock at Salford Quays
Kevin Hilton investigates the recent use of Cloud-based storage for post-production facilities and how it is
changing the audio industry.
GEO FOCUS SCANDINAVIA Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
20 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
WHILE FIRST thoughts of the Northern
triumvirate of Sweden, Norway, and
Denmark can conjure images of
pristine fjords and the mindful design
aesthetic that made Ikea the furnishing
superpower it is today, the countries
could just as equally be recognised for
their influential pro-audio industries,
which include everything from world-
class recording studios to
manufacturers of industry-shifting
technologies.
In the music industry, Sweden in
particular has made its mark by
producing artists ranging from ABBA
and Ace of Base, to some of the
biggest electronic acts of the past few
decades (Eric Prydz, Swedish House
Mafia, and Avicii, to name a few).
Yet, it is not only the musicians
themselves that have made their mark
on the global audio industry. Spotify,
the Sweden-based music streaming
service has, since its launch in 2008,
fueled the access vs. ownership debate
that is ravaging the traditional
recording industry model.
In its latest annual review, Spotify
revealed that 24 million active users
had streamed over 4.5 billion hours of
music in 2013 with Daft Punk, Avicii,
Robin Thicke, and Macklemore and
Ryan Lewis making the services list of
most-played artists.
Yet the companys quick rise to
recognition has not been without its
own share of controversy, with many
artists outspoken about the low
amount being paid out to rights
holders.
In an interview with the Wall Street
Journal last summer, Spotify CEO
Daniel Ek commented that [the move
from physical music to digital] is the
single-biggest shift in the industry
since the invention of the recording,
and that the focus of the artist ought
to be how to maximise the number of
streams, because that, in turn, will be
better long-term but thats hard for
people to understand.
All they see is millions of streams
and they see, you know, not millions of
dollars in the end, but thousands of
dollars, and they think that a million
streams is compatible to a million
downloads, which it obviously isnt.
The regions film and TV industries
have also seen a sharp rise in
popularity over the past few years with
Danish crime dramas such as The
Bridge and The Killing broadcast
internationally, prompting adaptations
for US audiences. The film adaptations
of Swedish author Stieg Larssons
Millennium Series have also achieved
critical acclaim internationally with the
first film in the series (The Girl with the
Dragon Tattoo) grossing more than
$100 million (60 million) worldwide.
Along with the regions audio
technology companies and content
creators, Scandinavia has spawned a
number of top pro-audio
manufacturers.
Denmark-based DPA Microphones
has been in the news lately due to the
increased market presence brought
about by CEO Christian Poulsen (who
famously took Swedish high-end
camera brand Hasselblad into the
digital era). Since taking over from the
companys founder, Morten Stove,
Poulsen has changed DPAs image,
streamlining its branding, and, most
recently, striking a deal with global
private equity firm The Riverside
Company (see news, page 13).
Other pro-audio brands from the
region that have flourished globally
include Danish holding company TC
Group, which includes TC Electronic,
Tannoy, and Lab.Gruppen, among
others.
Consistently ranked in the top countries to live in the world, the Scandinavian
triumvirate of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have recently produced some of the
most influential technologies and services in the audio industry.
Nordic Noise
POPULATION:
DENMARK 5.6 MILLION
NORWAY 5.1 MILLION
SWEDEN 9.5 MILLION
Denmarks Matrix Group Appoints new CEO
WHENTHREE of Denmarks
biggest pro-audio players came
together to start the Matrix Group
in 2011, the ultimate goal was to
become a resource that would
provide a one-stop shop for the
countrys entertainment industry.
The group comprises three
separate and distinct companies:
pro-audio distributor Matrix Sales,
which handles distribution in
Denmark for Shure, L-Acoustics,
Midas, Powersoft, RCF, Klark, DIS,
and Proel, among others, servicing
everyone from rental companies to
musicians; Nordic Sales, which is a
specialist broker of used audio,
video, and lighting equipment that
also takes on project sales and
installations; and Nordic Staging
Systems a manufacturer and
developer of staging systems and
barriers.
An 18-year veteran of the
Scandinavian pro-audio business,
Thomas Christensen joined as CEO
of Matrix Group this month after a
stint as manager of the audio
department at Nordic Rentals, also
based out of Denmark.
Thomas is highly qualified for
the job, has a good knowledge of
Matrix Group and the industry as a
whole, and I am convinved that he is
the right man to take the company
forward into the growth plan we
have for the future, commented
Matrix Group chairman Claus
Reher-Langberg.
Christensen takes over as the
groups leading figure for recently
departed CEO Kenneth Bremer,
who joined the group in March
2012.
www.matrixgroup.dk
>>> DISTRIBUTOR
The move from physical music to digital is the
single-biggest shift in the industry since the invention
of the recording.
Daniel Ek, Spotify
GEO FOCUS SCANDINAVIA
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 21
Tormod Ringnes
>>> SOUND DESIGNER
Three-time Amanda Award-winning sound designer
Tormod Ringnes talks about his work on Kon-Tiki and
the growing Norwegian film industry.
How did you get started in
the industry?
After film school I had an internship
with a great Norwegian sound
designer, Jan Lindvik. He got me
going early on as a sound editor on
Norwegian feature films and the first
big one I worked on was the Oscar
nominated Sndags Engler [The
Other Side of Sunday]. I worked
with him for about 10 years before I
began working with other companies
that later became very successful in
feature film and advertising.
With the success of films such as
Kon Tiki, which was nominated for
both an Oscar and Golden Globe
last year, where do you see the
Norwegian film industry going?
It is a very exciting time for both
Norwegian and Scandinavian film.
Several of the feature films I have
worked on have garnered success
abroad. It used to be very rare that
our films had either been seen or
heard about beyond the Norwegian
border but now we see more and
more cross-border co-productions
between the Scandinavian countries.
They also have larger budgets as a
result of larger audiences. I think
films like Kon-Tiki helped other
productions reach out into the world
and raised the bar on the quality of
filmmakers here in Norway.
Speaking of Kon Tiki, tell me about
creating the sonic landscape of the
film. What sort of sound story were
you trying to tell?
We started early in the production to
create a separate soundscape for Kon-
Tiki and had discussions that [the
raft] needed its own indigenous voice
and therefore the composer, Johan
Sderqvist, made many different
recordings using conch shells because
they sound like the oldest instrument
in the world. We also made
recordings with several other ethnic
instruments in order to produce a
soundscape that blended well with
the overall sound design.
For us it was important to work
subjectively with the sound design. We
always wanted to work with how Thor
and the rest of his crew experienced
and felt about the situation they were
in by creating a sort of hyperrealism.
Due to the fact that almost all sound
was exchanged, we were able to work
on the small details, select what was to
be heard and often amplify the tiniest
sound in order to create a subjective
realism. In going beyond reality and
trying to give a subjective experience
driven by the different characters
states of mind, it made it possible to
substantiate and drive the story (i.e.
when removing the sounds of squeaks
and water, other sounds will come
forward like a sort of extreme realism).
All of a sudden one can hear
breathing, or a cigarette ember that
will describe that perhaps things are
not in order.
We had discussions early on with
the directors about making the raft as
a character of its own in the film.
Like everyone else, both on screen
and in real life, the raft also changed
during the 101 days they were at sea.
We adapted this notion to the storys
development so that the raft
eventually became more willful and
the crew became more and more
captive under its influence.
So the rafts actual sound changes
from a tight, well-tied raft, to a
looser, creaking tumble of logs. In
essence, the raft took on its own soul
and had its own mood.
How did you go about defining the
sound of the raft?
Basically, we had some sound
recordings taken from the shoot at sea,
so we did have some sort of
documentation on how the raft
actually sounded. Based on that, we
were able to make a whole variety of
raft noises/sounds. With this sound
library, we were able to make the
sound design a subjective point of view
of the characters on board and how
they evolved during the voyage under
the influence of the raft, and not just
the raft itself. We ended up building
the whole soundscape of the raft from
the very beginning and used very little
of the production-sound from set.
Besides recording all sorts of
sounds from waves to storms, we
made all the movements, creaks,
ropes, sail, and not to mention the
roof of the
cabin. This
enabled us to
make some sort
of geographic
placement on a
relatively small
area, by laying
specific sounds
in specific
channels.
What were some of the other major
concerns on the audio side?
For Kon-Tiki, we were very concerned
about dynamics. In some scenes we go
large with lots of sound, but it was
also important to have the courage to
use nothing. Silence is incredibly
powerful and instrumental in the
films sound.
Kon-Tiki is in many ways an
ensemble cast where the ships crew
is trapped on this little raft. With
the use of sound, and the absence of
it, we can create a claustrophobic
experience on the raft itself, while at
the same time the ocean can seem
infinitely large.
In one scene where the whale shark
is approaching the raft dead-on, we
built the scene with lots of sound and
tension along with the score. But then
the whale shark takes a dive and we
view it underwater as it floats under
the raft. We tried a lot of different
sounds to make the whale shark feel
big, but realised that going quiet with
a few clicking sounds and bubbles
made the whale shark feel gigantic.
Both the directors and we wanted
to work with the dialogue inspired by
New Hollywood films. To bring out
the documentarian and realism we
put a lot of effort in placing the
dialogue in the mix according to
picture a little more than what is
common today.
We worked a lot on the
perspective and placement, even on
the raft. That added a lot of life and
dynamics to the story, and we could
often tie together several other
storylines by choosing where to
focus. Much of the inspiration for
that came from Robert Altmans
MASH (1970), which was shot with
big epic pictures where the sound
had to decide what was in focus,
often with the dialogue overlapping.
Also, Francis Ford Coppolas The
Conversation (1974) for its dialogue
and the radio sequences among other
films from that era.
How closely did you work with
directors Joachim Rnning and
Espen Sandberg?
Baard [Haugan Ingebretsen], who I
shared the sound design job with, and
I have worked with Espen and
Joachim since their first short film
and previously on Max Manus. We
design a lot of sound during editing
and start early on with the whole
soundscape in total, including the
music. I became the middleman, or
link, between the composer Johan
Sderqvist and the production team.
It was important to create a
soundtrack, a combination of music
and sound effects, that would function
as an emotional unit, with the aim of
making the audience not know where
one started and the other ended.
Using Skype for daily discussions, we
collaborated on cues and sound design
concepts before I would show the
sketches to the two directors.
What upcoming projects do you have
planned for the New Year?
I have already begun work on a
feature film called Beatles. Its an
adaption of a well-known Norwegian
coming-of-age novel. We are very
lucky to have obtained licenses to
many of the great Beatles songs and
we will record all the music next to
Abbey Road Studios. I am also in
negotiations regarding a large-scale
Hollywood production that possibly
could be in post production in 2015,
so the future looks bright!
BROADCAST FOCUS Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
22 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Mixing great TV drama is more than just pushing faders and keeping the levels at the relevant broadcast spec.
Will Strauss talks to three leading dubbing mixers in this TV drama dubbing masterclass.
Last But Not Least
Howard Bargroff, Sonorous Post
Selected TV drama credits: Sherlock, Luther,
Broadchurch, Ripper Street, Law and Order: UK
Kit: Pro Tools
TO BE an exceptional TV drama dubbing mixer,
argues Bafta Craft award winner and Emmy
nominee Howard Bargroff, you need to be patient,
diplomatic, and have a good sense of story. Oh,
and you need to know how to read minds.
People ask for things and you kind of know what they mean but they dont ask
you directly, he says, slightly tongue-in-cheek. Now, through experience, quite
often, I will know what [a director is] going to say before he or she says it.
Its a skill that also comes in handy when attempting to interpret peoples ideas,
and sometimes the solution can be something simple. I ve had a 10-minute long
explanation about a sound and about how it should transform a scene, he says.
And Ive just turned it up by 2dB and they say yes, youve nailed it!
Like most dubbing mixers, Bargroff is generally the last link in the drama
production chain but that has started to change.
With [ITV drama] Broadchurch, before theyd even locked the first episode, we
sat down and we had a big tone meeting with everyone to decide which bits of the
guide track we liked, he reveals.
Ideally I like to get involved as a show is being edited, at the point at which
theyre deciding on the tone of it. That way I can get involved and can start talking
about making broad [sound] brush strokes.
At whatever stage he gets on board, Bargroff describes himself as a very
instinctive mixer.
On Sherlock, all of the weird sequences with all the funny graphics and noises,
theyre all track-laid, but none of them have a plan or a concept. If you presented
me with a new episode I couldnt tell you what I would do with every section. I
would just start mixing it and I would know if it does or doesnt feel right.
A big fan of technology, Bargroff likes to be ready for all eventualities ahead of
the final mix, pulling together a soundscape that is not complete but works from
start to finish.
If I havent been given guidance up front Id rather just turn up with my
interpretation, he says. Everything is live but at any point I can press play and it
should just run as a proper cohesive whole but with flexibility built in
everywhere. Any take of ADR, any treatment, any music can be changed. This
offers complete flexibility for the client.
Experienced in both TV and film, does his style change depending on the
medium? Other than minor technical considerations in level, no. What I change
is story, he says. Telling the story is our entire job.
www.sonorouspost.com
Scott Jones, Molinaire
Selected TV drama credits: The Bible,
Yonderland, The Wrong Mans, Silent Witness
Kit: Pro Tools
AS FAR as Molinares Scott Jones is concerned,
doing a great drama mix requires technical
know-how and high levels of diplomacy.
Youve got to have a good knowledge of the
tools youre working with, an understanding of
what a soundwave is, and an awareness of all the ingredients that make up
sound, he says. If you can get that then youve got a good chance of twisting
and turning sounds into whatever it is you want to make.
You also need to be adaptable with clients, he adds. Theyve probably been
working on the project for a long time so you need to adjust to their wavelength
and suggest things that they may not have thought of. You also have to be cool
under pressure, especially when there are a lot of clients in the room.
Jones acknowledges the importance of teamwork, of being involved in a
project as early as possible, and of making the most of what youve got.
After that its all about dynamics. Ill spend a day dialogue pre-mixing,
cleaning up the dialogue, mixing in the ADR, and then a day on the FX
pre-mixing. Then Ill add the music with the Foley. Every time you add
something, the dynamics change in the sound. Then Ill look at what holes weve
got and what else we can put in the scene to make us feel like were in the story.
His biggest recent challenge was on The Bible, a History Channel mini series
for which the sound was Emmy nominated. Jones says that the signature scene
where Moses parts the sea was particularly tricky: It had people chasing people,
horses, carts, thousands of extras, the parting of the waves, screaming, shouting,
dialogue, and driving music. The energy was fast, its cut big, its epic. That one
four-minute scene took nearly two days.
The key to making it work was finding ways of dropping bits of sound to
make other bits heard and ensuring that the scene maintained its intensity but
wasnt just a wall of mush. To do this, Jones made sure he filled up the full
spectrum of sound.
He says: Youve got levels that are high continuously so what you do is find
frequencies that arent being used and fill them up with something else, finding
or making pockets for the dialogue to sit in, EQ out the waves or the sea, and
push it through. But without anyone hearing the fades or the mix. It should be
smooth. That is the whole trick of being a great mixer.
www.molinare.co.uk
Sherlock (courtesy BBC)
The Bible (courtesy The
History Channel)
BROADCAST FOCUS
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 23
Nigel Heath, Hackenbacker
Selected TV drama credits: Downton Abbey,
Whitechapel, Spooks, The Musketeers
Kit: AMS Neve MMC and Pro Tools
[A great mixer will] bring something worthwhile
to the production, rather than just being the bloke
who blends it all together soundwise, argues
Hackenbackers double Bafta Craft award winner,
Nigel Heath. By dropping sounds on certain scenes or playing something mute
that would normally have a sound you can increase the sense of drama.
And to do that successfully, you really need to be a team player: An awful lot of
hard work and consulting goes on with the exec, the director, and the composer
beforehand, he says. If they say its really important that a moment is really quiet,
Ill make the scene before it sound super frenetic so that when we get to that quiet
moment it seems super quiet. Its about collaboration.
Once a tone is agreed, his modus operandi is a simple but effective one. I work
very quickly, he says. I do that because if I mess around with [the mix] too much
I think Ill spoil it. I love seeing peoples reactions in the studio when you do
something a bit mad or unorthodox. And well lock it off there and then because it
might be useful. You have to tap into your gut reactions. And theyre normally the
good ones. If you over refine you can spoil interesting and original ideas.
Getting clear dialogue is key and Heath ensures they get it absolutely right.
On shows like Downtown Abbey, the dialogue is king. It is beautifully written
and is delivered by fantastic actors. That is what we need to get across.
With the editors who supply dialogue tracks to me I am quite a hard task
master, he continues. We seldom get clarity notes during exec reviews because we
tend to get all that stuff done at the pre-mix stage. The first time I hear a scene if I
dont understand a word or two I will send a note up to the editors and they may
find a clearer reading or take and well drop a word or two into the tracks. This
avoids you having to push the level to make something clearer. When the director
comes in you sound them out about it. If theyre not cool with it, well go back to
what theyve shot but we explain were doing it for the clarity of the programme.
In Heaths experience, one of the biggest challenges for a dubbing mixer working
on a TV drama is creating an illusion of size. Im doing a show at the moment for
the BBC with lots of horses stampeding and swords fights and thunder, he says,
referring to his latest project, The Musketeers. My challenge is to make the sound
the right scale for television so that its clear but you still get the dynamism of the
story while forcing those guns and those hooves through the screen.
These constraints might be a barrier to some but to Heath, it is one of the
beauties of mixing a TV drama.
In telly you cannot do what you like, he concludes. Its a challenge to generate
a big explosion for the producer and the exec but still hit PPM 6, if still
appropriate, and get the excitement through.
www.hackenbacker.com
Downton Abbey (courtesy ITV)
24 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
FEATURE LIVE PRODUCTION Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
THE ADVENT of digital,
new loudspeaker
technologies, wireless, in-ear
monitoring, and advanced
sound processing techniques
have all contributed to the
now established high levels
of sound reinforcement
offered to and expected by
the paying public. The
punters are accustomed to
hearing quality sound in their
homes and in their cars and
wherever else. Not
surprisingly, they expect the
same in concert halls or
festival fields especially
when theyre paying top
dollar for the privilege.
A number of factors have
come into play, not least the
change in music industry
profit centres. Playing live
and the associated marketing
spin-offs now provide more
income than record sales and
digital downloads. And
technologies originally
developed for the recording
studio are being adapted for
the live sector. A prime
example of this is the widely
reported move of Solid State
Logic into live console
manufacture.
SSL debuted its Live
console (read the full review
on page 40) at the 135th
AES Convention where the
company stated: The Live
combines SSLs signature
audio quality and console
ergonomic experience into a
unique approach for live
performance FOH and stage
monitoring sound
production, and promises to
bring something very special
to the live sound arena.
Drawing on more than 35
years of industry-leading
analogue and digital console
innovation, the Live has
inherited the DNA from
multi-award winning,
ground-breaking, and much
loved consoles for music,
broadcast, and post
production that SSL has
produced over time.
Leading concert sound
provider Britannia Row was
one of the first to endorse
the new SSL desk using
them on Peter Gabriels 2013
Back to Front tour. Speaking
more generally, MD Bryan
Grant notes: Im sure sound
quality has improved, but I
couldnt honestly quantify it
in terms of pure audio
quality; audio memory is
notoriously short and
subjective, and I still believe
that the talent of the
engineer is the major factor. I
do think that audio quality
has definitely been more
consistent in recent years.
Its a combination of
better components, better
designed speaker systems,
better drive systems, and
more skilful systems
technicians using that
equipment to deliver a
system to the engineer that is
tuned to its optimum for the
venue. The importance of the
systems technician cant be
overstated.
As with all things audio,
theres no one development
that has changed the world.
IEMs have generally made
the stage environment more
manageable, and incremental
improvements in speaker
design, amplifier design,
DSP, etc have made the
The quality of live sound found across the performance spectrum from festivals to back-room bars and everywhere
in between has improved immeasurably in recent times, Jim Evans sounds out industry views on the state of play.
In Search of
Sonic Excellence
DiGiCo consoles were on many bands
riders for Glastonbury 2013
The quest for
the ultimate
loudspeaker driver,
waveguide design,
and sonic purity is
still on-going.
Nicola Beretta
26 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
FEATURE LIVE PRODUCTION Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
tuning of PA systems much
more precise. Digital consoles
have become extremely
powerful tools, although
some would argue that many
have not necessarily provided
audio that is any more
pleasing to the human ear
than the old analogue mixers.
Again, the quality of the
audio technicians and
engineers has, in general,
improved in recent years as
companies, manufacturers,
colleges, and universities have
improved the quality of their
training.
Capital Sound provides
reinforcement for many
major events including the
Rolling Stones in Hyde Park
(see box out below). General
manager Paul Timmins
comments: Sound quality
has improved although while
there were significant leaps
forward during the 80s and
90s, I dont see the leaps
being huge since around
2000 when digital consoles
started to become
commonplace in live sound.
We are now working in
an era of compromise where
everyone wants smaller
packaging to save transport
costs for touring. The
improvements in technology
are seen mainly in these areas
while maintaining audio
quality.
The move to digital has
enabled more consistent
sound, especially at festivals
where engineers can load up
sessions onto consoles and
ensure top level sound
reproduction. Modern
speaker systems line array
and multi-cellular can give
much more consistent
coverage so everyone in the
venue receives good sound
rather than just the ones in
the expensive seats!
CLEAR POTENTIAL
James Gordon, managing
director at DiGiCo, says that
the potential to provide
quality audio at events has
never been greater: There
are still challenges but new
speaker technology and the
arrival of digital consoles has
played a key part in solution
options. It is still important
that engineers get the basics,
like microphone position
correct, but after that they
can really use the options our
consoles provide to lift and
position the performance.
Having that flexibility is an
amazing opportunity.
Digital consoles have
certainly played a key part in
modern shows. When we
launched the D5 it was a
96-channel console into 48
busses. For mid-size
consoles, even 10 years on
this is the standard quoted
specification, but in reality it
is too small and restrictive
for where shows are going.
Technology keeps moving
and so do expectations
and needs.
We are increasingly
seeing the move to SD10,
SD5, and SD7 where you
can go beyond those decade-
old channel and bus
restrictions. Having the need
to do so may seem over the
top today but production
sizes and expectations have
increased greatly. It is now
common for some of our
large shows to go well over
140 channels and consume
80-plus busses.
And Gordon emphasises
the recording studio factor:
Twenty years ago,
investment in studios meant
that they had the latest
electronic technology
compared to the less funded
live sound sector. This
changed significantly about
10 to 15 years ago when live
sound converted into the
best medium for artists to
make revenue. This now
means the advancements in
live sound technology have
accelerated past the studio
developments. DiGiCo has
invested into a new brand,
DiGiGrid, which is taking
the live sound advancements
back into the studio in terms
of audio quality, networking,
and processing flexibility.
Phil Dudderidge,
chairman of Focusrite,
Soundcraft founder, and live
sound engineer, has first-
hand knowledge of the
market, and stresses the
importance of the human
element the skills of those
at the controls. The quality
of the technological
developments over the years
enables the engineer to
achieve outstanding results.
Unfortunately, the engineer
at the desk is often the
weakest link, and sometimes
because of a reluctance to
pay for a true professional!
He continues: Sound
engineers are seriously
undervalued; only paying
someone 200 to mix a show
A revolutionary sound
system and reoriented stage
provided the perfect recipe
for the AEG-Barclaycard
British Summer Time
festival at Londons Hyde
Park, as Bon Jovi and the
Rolling Stones kicked off
the 10-day season attracting
crowds of 65,000 people.
Historically, Hyde Park
concerts have been dogged
by offsite noise pollution
leading to complaints from
local residents and the need
to reduce sound levels on
site meaning that the
audience couldnt hear the
performances. So new
tenants AEG/Loud Sound
adopted Martin Audios
Multi-Cellular Loudspeaker
Array (MLA) system to help
solve the problem.
Sculpted into the oak
shrubbery of the concept
stages proscenium the
inspiration of set designers
MDM working with Star
Rigging were left and
right hangs of 16 MLA
elements (with a single
MLD Downfill box at the
base). Outfills were provided
by 12 MLA (and a single
MLD each side) with eight
pairs of the small-footprint
Martin Audio W8LM Mini
Line Arrays for front fills.
The subwoofer cardioid
broadside array made up
of 32 MLX subs is now a
tried and trusted electronic
arc concept, with one back-
facing enclosure for every
two forward-facing ones
providing cancellation at the
rear. The beauty of this
design, says Capital Sounds
Ian Colville, is that you can
adjust the horizontal
dispersion and rear rejection
electronically without
needing to physically move
anything.
In addition, there were 10
delay masts. The front two
arcs of four MLA masts
each contained seven
elements and a single MLD.
For the larger shows, two
further delay towers at the
back were enabled, made up
of eight MLA Compacts.
Critical distances were 50m
(from FOH to stage), while
the delays were set at 90m
(from the stage), 160m and
210m (for the MLA
Compacts).
www.capital-sound.co.uk
www.martin-audio.com
NEW TECHNOLOGY CONQUERS HYDE PARK
Technology keeps
moving and so do
expectations
and needs.
James Gordon
A Coda Audio system was used on Volbeats recent gig at Oslo Spektrum
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 27
FEATURE LIVE PRODUCTION
at an arena or theatre is crazy
(and apparently not
uncommon) pay peanuts,
get monkeys! So you risk
either getting inexperienced
or incompetent engineers or
the profoundly deaf ! My
experience at the O2 a year
or so ago was a case in point:
the engineer was using all
the power, all the time, so
that even in quiet passages
the dB meter on my iPhone
app was off the scale. At a
good gig it hovers around 95.
It was painful. Low pay will
not attract or retain really
talented engineers and
shows, however good the
performers, dont mix
themselves.
A recent Barry Gibb
concert at the same venue
was a delight! The console
was an analogue Midas
bliss! To my ears digital
consoles rarely sound as
good. The PA was from
Clair Global. The sound was
warm, dynamic, and not
over-processed. And the
engineer, Randy Lane, knew
his craft.
And the impact of digital?
From the console onwards
digital audio can provide
great benefits; digital audio
networking (like the Dante
protocol adopted by most of
the live sound manufacturers
now, and employed in the
Focusrite RedNet products),
enables low latency, lossless
distribution of high channel
count 24-bit 48 or 96kHz
digital audio. The quality of
conversion and microphone
preamps is essential to the
outcome and can offer
quality gains over analogue
(long analogue multicore
cables suffer signal
degradation that has been
tolerated until today because
of a lack of a better
alternative).
An example of no-
compromise studio
technology benefitting the
live environment, RedNet is
now installed in opera houses
and is being evaluated by
many tour sound companies.
(RedNet is fully compatible
with other Dante-enabled
products, eg consoles).
Certainly since the mid-
70s engineers have brought
studio tools to the live venue
gates and compressors,
notably, as well as digital
reverbs. This now extends to
remotely controlled
microphone preamps like the
RedNet 4, eight-channel pre.
RedNet also offers a bridge to
Pro Tools [RedNet 5] and
MADI [RedNet 6] as well as
8- and 16-channel A-D/D-A
converters [RedNet 1, 2].
LIVE SUCCESS
Christian Poulsen, CEO,
DPA Microphones, observes:
In recent years it has
become harder and harder
for artists to make money
from just their recorded
music, and this has led to an
increase in the importance of
live music. The feedback we
get from our customers is
that there are two ways of
being successful with live
music either create a really
loud sound or create a really
good sound. Happily, it
seems as though good sound
is winning. Creating good
sound in most live venues is
a challenge especially for
the microphones. DPAs
reputation for delivering
high-quality live audio has
resulted in a rapid growth in
sales for our live
microphones. This is
especially noticeable across
our range of directional live
microphones for instruments
and vocals.
Better directional
microphones and the
recognition from end users
that the more difficult the
sound environment, the
better the microphone has to
be. I dont feel that digital
developments have had a lot
to do with the improvement
in live sound. The sound is
not necessarily better because
it is digital, but many digital
solutions have offered easier
use and probably also, in
some cases, more reliable
products. But the sound
quality for live sound is more
about speakers and
microphones in my view.
Console manufacturer
Allen & Heath has
contributed much to the
development of digital
consoles for the live sector.
Digital product manager
Nicola Beretta declares: The
quality of sound is equally
dependent on audio
technology and on
knowledge/expertise of audio
professionals. Luckily both
have registered a steady
growth from the 60s
onwards. PA systems went
from column speakers to
modified cinema cabinets to
the point source clusters of
the 80s, and eventually line
arrays. Meanwhile, the term
sound engineering was
coined, books were written,
and today we have schools
and learning resources
available everywhere. Mixing
desks followed a similar path
and we are now light-years
ahead of those early
quadrant-faders and valve-
based electronics.
Some say there is not
much left to invent in this
field but recent progress has
proved this wrong the
quest for the ultimate
loudspeaker driver,
waveguide design, and sonic
purity is still on-going.
www.allen-heath.com
www.britanniarow.com
www.digico.biz
www.dpamicrophones.com
uk.focusrite.com
www.solid-state-logic.com
How much has the quality
of live sound improved in
recent years?
Live sound has improved a
great deal over the past 10
years. Artists have to work
live nowadays and not just
to promote a new album.
Its often through the live
performance that their fan
base is built. The emphasis
on good live sound is a
natural consequence of
this.
What particular
developments (trends and
products) have contributed
to this improvement?
There have been many
technical advances in live
sound throughout the audio
chain.
From a loudspeaker
perspective, Coda Audio has
developed its patented
technology at transducer
level, offering high fidelity
and low distortion
performance, giving great
audible improvements.
There have also been non-
audible improvements as
well including more
compact, high-power PAs
with lighter weight and
quicker set-up times, which
all contribute to the sound
providers efficiency and
delivery.
Has the further
development of recording
studio techniques and
equipment had an influence
on live sound?
There are a number of FOH
engineers who also work in
studios so there are definitely
influences.
Additionally, fans visiting a
live show have come to
expect a high standard from
a sound perspective, due in
part to advances in studio
techniques.
www.codaaudio.com
CODA AUDIOS PAUL WARD WEIGHS IN ON RECENT ADVANCEMENTS TO THE LIVE SOUND INDUSTRY
The Capital Sound team provided kit including an Optocore X6R-FX
interface rack for the Nitro Circus Live at the Tele2 Arena in
Stockholm, Sweden
GAME SOUND PRODUCTION Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
28 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
TEARAWAY, THE new
adventure game exclusive to
Sonys PlayStation Vita,
offers players a tactile
papercraft world in which
they help a little papercraft
messenger buddy deliver the
message trapped inside their
envelope-shaped head from
the papery world of Tearaway
into the real world. Its
original, charming, and
engaging, in no small part
due to its delightful music
and sound content.
TACTILE
Kenny Young, audio
director/composer at Media
Molecule, which created the
audio for the game, explains:
The kernel of the project
was Rex Crowle, Tearaways
creative director, considering
how to make use of Vitas
unique rear touchpad and
having the idea of ones
(virtual) fingers cleverly
emerging into the game
world from underneath the
handheld console to cause
chaos. That spawned the idea
of a papercraft world
something tactile you could
poke and rip through. Then
we endeavoured to build
upon all the Vitas other
features traditional gaming
controls, front touch, gyros,
accelerometer, front and rear
cameras, and even the
microphone but, not just in
gimmicky because we can
ways, but in ways that really
integrated with the world
and story.
A MAKE-BELIEVE
WORLD OF PAPER
The early days of the project
were quite frustrating, as
Young explains: People
would moan about the game
not sounding papery, and Id
bang the same drum for
months the game might
look papery, but nothing in it
behaves like paper! If nothing
in the world moves theres no
excuse to make it sound
papery things have to
unroll or tear into existence
not just slide onto screen!
You need papery behaviours
to describe with sound
unfolding or ripping to
shreds... It sounds obvious,
but thats why games with a
papery schtick usually fail at
pulling off the illusion
paper isnt just a look or a
sound that you can crowbar
in. So when the game world
started bending, flexing,
folding, crumpling, and
tearing like paper, it became
infinitely easier to back it up
with sound subtle stuff like
the little sound a flap of
paper makes when your
messenger walks over it, or
the dynamic wind in the
game making the grass rustle.
But paper has a limited
range of sonic possibilities!
Theres a lot you can do but
you cant afford to be slavishly
literal the whole time.
Conversely, if you ignore the
papery requirement, you fail
to support the illusion.
Striking that balance and
developing that language and
aesthetic was a big focus. It
was also an early aim to push
the ambient soundscape and
not have music everywhere.
Giving the player a break
from the intensity and
purpose that music provides
(and in doing so creating
more impact the next time
music appears), and thereby
letting the world really speak
John Broomhall talks with Kenny Young, audio director/composer at Media Molecule, the game developer
behind LittleBigPlanet, about creating innovative audio for the new PS Vita title Tearaway.
Paper
Profit
Media Molecule
The title is designed for Sonys new Vita handheld
console
GAME SOUND PRODUCTION
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 29
for itself was something we
embraced.
That said the game does
feature a great deal of
critically acclaimed original
music. And its not every day
that folk music turns up in a
videogame
Young: Rex drew a lot of
influence from his Cornwall
upbringing, so theres a heavy
folk-culture influence.
Tearaways papery world is
formed from stories the
notion of storytelling in an
aural tradition has an
analogue in folk music. My
favourite music-writing
collaboration moments
working with composer Brian
DOliveira were when Id
create variations on a tune
hed written, and then hed
build on top of those. This
idea of a tune changing over
time, having different
versions interpreted by
different players and
performed in different styles
in different cultures is a
phenomenon you can see in
folk music; it resonates with
the games attempt to
encourage players to
customise their experience in
order to tell their own
version of the story. Theres
also a nave quality to the
games hand-made papercraft
visual aesthetic which finds a
brilliant parallel in the hand-
made soundtrack folk
music is the perfect fit. It
doesnt have to be slick
(though it often is these
days) for me its about great
tunes, dancing, honest
emotions, and stories about
life. What could be better?
Though the game starts
out fairly folky and
traditional, over time it
becomes deconstructed and
surreal as the messenger gets
closer towards leaving the
paper world and reaching the
player in the real world. By
the end the music has gone
completely analogue-
electronic, passing through
folk-infused break-beat and
dubstep, renaissance-hop, and
ambient mash-ups of earlier
tracks along the way quite
a ride!
GAME AUDIO TECH
Working with Vita wasnt
much different to working on
a PS3 actually youve got
16 channels of streaming
audio supported for free in
hardware which places it
miles ahead of any other
handheld gaming device,
continues Young. We had
two-stem interactive music, a
couple of ambient streams
plus separate streams for cut-
scene audio, dialogue, and
gibberish with room to
spare for special-cases and
we had around 26MB RAM
for sound not bad!
FMOD Designer
facilitated configuration and
management of all sounds
while level assets such as
ambiences, music, spot-
sounds, VO, cut-scene audio,
and gibberish were all
implemented by the audio
team using the proprietary
Tearaway level editor. By the
end of the project there was a
powerful workflow in place.
Im really happy that
sound and music are as
much a part of the experience
as any other element.
Thats the goal, right?
And people have responded
to this generally you
consider it a win to have your
game audio work even
mentioned in passing in
reviews, but people have gone
out of their way to call out
both the sound and music of
Tearaway. Eurogamer actually
opened its review by
mentioning how important
the audio is. Wow. I think I
might wake up at some
point...!
www.mediamolecule.com
Unusually, I was involved pretty much from
the beginning three years ago when it
was just six people working on early
concepts, prototypes, and tech. This was a
totally new experience for me as normally
audio gets involved when the game is defined
but I was able to help invent this world, a
new IP, from scratch. Matt Willis handled
audio coding duties, and joined the project
about six to nine months in, when we had
something playable. The sound/music
content was primarily put together in the last
12 months of the project when wed honed
the audio direction and developed the audio
features in the game engine.
Audio is always up against it, but the
chaotic way that Media Molecule works
makes things even more, how should I put
this, interesting for audio the only way to
achieve the high standards people expect
from our games is by having a crack team of
audio ninjas at my disposal. Its taken a long
time to put together the right team Ed
Hargrave (audio designer, Media Molecule)
and Todd Baker (contractor) were a pleasure
to work with and brought an amazing
attention to detail to the games sounds,
ambiences, and their implementation.
A sympathetic production department
that understands the audio departments
needs is absolutely central to everything we
do. Siobhan Reddy, our studio director and
head of production, makes sure Im kept up
to date, informed, and involved with all the
latest goings-on in the project. Games are
made by teams, and great teams have a great
production department behind them.
TIME AND TALENT
Kenny Young explains: Central to my
approach is a ready-to-go recording setup a
mic is always plugged in, ready for when
inspiration strikes. There was an awful lot of
bespoke sound required for Tearaway and
getting fresh material is always preferable to
a library, even if it is proprietary. This is
something I provide for everyone on my
team and encourage them to use each edit
suite has an AKG C414 workhorse mic and
a couple of Clearsonic Sorber baffles to
further improve acoustics.
Everyone has the same setup an RME
Fireface 800 with Nuendo, a pretty rock solid
standard in PC land. Meanwhile, Ed and
Todd were more comfortable with Vegas. I
do all my sound effects editing in Sound
Forge (an extreme experiment I embarked on
when I joined Media Molecule that Ive
stuck with because I find the lack of options
and single track editing forces me to be more
ruthless, focused, and productive!) and made
the jump to version 11, which has been fairly
smooth so far.
Brian and I needed to be able to swap
sessions, so he invested in Nuendo and I
invested in some of his plug-ins (Altiverb,
and the FabFilter stuff, both of which are
great). This all worked surprisingly well
considering he was on Mac and I was on PC.
We make all of our promo videos in-
house, and the Atomos Ninja HDMI capture
box was a really handy way of moving the
capture setup from desk to desk.
KENNY YOUNGS GEAR LIST
Kenny Young
Generally you consider it a win to have
your game audio work even mentioned in
passing in reviews, but people have gone
out of their way to call out both the sound
and music of Tearaway.
Kenny Young, Media Molecule
Gear list
AKG C414 XLS mic
Neumann U87 mic
Universal Audio LA-610 MkII
channel strip
RME Fireface 800
Genelec 8030 monitors with 7050B sub
beyerdynamic DT250 headphones
Gefen HDMI audio convertor
Nuendo 5.5 (havent made the jump to
6 yet will do now the project has
finished!)
Sony Sound Forge 11
CDN Netmix SFX Databse
Waves plug-ins
FabFilter plug-ins
Audioease Altiverb and Speakerphone
plug-ins
iZotope Vinyl and RX Advanced
Ohm Force plug-ins
Camel Audio plug-ins
XILS-lab plug-ins
XLN Audio Addictive Drums
NI Kontakt (almost all the acoustic
instruments were live, apart from the
tuba dont tell anyone!)
FEATURE STUDIO PROFILE Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
30 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
ARRIVING AT the Trinity
Buoy Wharf centre for the arts
and creative industries, the
sites long and varied history is
quickly apparent. Littered
among the Wharf s original
buoy workshops, which have
now been converted into
gallery and artistic working
spaces, are a number of new
rehearsal rooms, a school, a
classic American diner, and
three of the sustainable
Container City buildings built
from shipping containers
linked together.
Yet one of the most striking
features of this thriving artistic
community is the bright red
1939 lightship moored to the
wharf that is home to the
contemporary, self-built
Lightship95 recording studio
that owner and engineer Ben
Phillips shares with producer
Rory Attwell and engineer
Jack McKenna, as well as the
numerous other producers and
engineers who hire it for its
unique space and great-
sounding live room.
After four years of trying to
find an interesting, classic
building that would fit his plans
for a custom studio, Phillips
found the decommissioned
lightship on the River Medway.
Disillusioned by the process
and limitations of trying to
convert a conventional
building, the boat breathed
fresh life into his quest.
I just got really fed up with
the constant wrangling with
planners and local authorities,
the tiresome waiting around
for solicitors and agents, and
all the suited people that go
home at 5pm on the dot, have
Friday afternoon off, and are
on holiday every other week,
says Phillips
With the purchase
completed, Phillips made a trip
out to David Gilmours
Thames-based Astoria
houseboat to do some initial
research: Its beautiful but its
not a boat, its a floating
summerhouse, he laughs.
Its very small; the live
room is not much taller than
me, but the control room is
amazing. The stuff theyve got
in the shed on the land, which
they dont use, is probably
more than most people have in
most studios.
Its not a commercial
facility. When I was there the
guys were just testing cables
and they had been for about
three weeks. Its a totally
different thing for someone
with an infinite pocket to get
someone else to build a studio
compared to someone who
had to shower under a hose for
a year and eat tuna and
sweetcorn.
MOVING IN
The boats conversion took
nearly two years, with more
than 20 tonnes of steel having
to be removed before any of
the build could even be
started. What is now the large,
naturally lit control room
started life as the ships diesel
tank, with the even larger live
room situated where the
engine once was. The floor is
essentially floating and the
walls are built on the floor and
supported by neoprene mounts
all the way around, which join
to the ribs of the ship.
What would have almost
certainly been an impossible
project was made viable thanks
to the fact that after being
automated in the 1980s the
ship had been highly modified
with a large amount of the
original engines and
mechanics removed.
While an API 1608 console
was originally specified in the
design of the studio, a year and
a half later when the studio
was finished and Phillips was
ready to take-up his asset
finance the recession was in
full swing and he was only
offered a third of what was
originally promised. Opting
for a Calrec console instead, it
took Phillips a couple of years
to get to the point where he
could shell out the money for
his long-awaited 1608.
The API is the obvious
choice for recording drums
and guitar music. There wasnt
really any alternative anywhere
in the price range.
Ive always wanted the
space to be good for drum
recording and thats how I
When Your
Ship Comes In
Photo by Laura Oakley
Lightship95 owner Ben Phillips has been consistently busy, recording nearly every day
for the last year. Jake Young is welcomed aboard for a tour of a studio on a ship.
Lightship95
FEATURE STUDIO PROFILE
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 31
looked at it from an acoustic
point of view. Londons bigger
rooms are dwindling and
certainly the ones that are
affordable are not so great.
Although he would prefer to
use more classic recording
techniques, the control room is
based around the industry
standard Pro Tools HD.
Its a tool and thats it
really, states Phillips. Im not
overly enamoured with
working with software but
theres no way around it.
Budgets and time constraints
mean that its a necessity.
For the live room, Phillips
tried to keep the space as open
and live sounding as he could.
There are definitely sweet
spots for microphone
placement but overall youd be
surprised just by how much
separation you can get.
A reverb chamber is in
progress with Phillips
experimenting with three
diesel tanks that run along the
middle of the ship, while an
isolation booth has been built
in one corner.
Phillips is also planning to
build an extension on the
front deck, which in time will
be a second studio. Were too
busy really and we need a
second space to move into, he
adds. It makes a lot of sense
to use the space better.
Originally there would have
been a larger wheelhouse on
the front deck, so its kind of
reinstating it but it will be
bigger than it was.
BUILDING AN
AUDIENCE
Fairly early on in the life of his
floating studio Phillips invited
international recording studio
group Miloco down to have a
look at his space. Weve
gotten really busy by ourselves,
and because many of Milocos
clients are major labels looking
for a one-stop shop, booking
fairly short notice we dont do
as much work with them as
wed like. To be associated
with them is a really good
platform for being advertised
because theyre a very
professional organisation and
great to work with.
The majority of
Lightship95s work is repeat
work, which is why it has built
and built in the past few years.
According to Phillips it is
getting clients in the first
place, particularly producers,
which is the tricky part.
When looking for a studio
you look for the safe bet, you
dont look for something that
might cause a problem. So
until you go somewhere its
difficult to know. The word of
mouth has worked really well
for us as well. The whole of
February is booked, most of
March is booked, and half of
April is booked.
Phillips most recent
sessions in the studio include
psych/jazz band Melt Yourself
Down, carrying out two or
three sessions to make up an
album, and prog/electronic
geniuses Teeth Of The Sea.
www.lightship95.com
www.miloco.co.uk
While the ships exterior
maintains its vintage appeal,
inside Phillips has specified a
combination of classic and
modern gear to satisfy the
needs of the modern
recording process. The
300sqft control room features
an API 1608 as its
centrepiece along with a small
amount of outboard and
monitors including Quested
VS3208s and Yamahas classic
NS10Ms.
The jewel of this sea-
bound studio, however, is the
520sqft live room, which is
naturally lit, large enough to
fit a whole band, and finished
in a classic 1980s style. The
rooms acoustics have garnered
it with a reputation as an
affordable option for high-
quality drum recordings and it
now sees steady work from
those unable to squeeze into
the time constraints or budget
of Londons larger commercial
studios. Live recordings are
where the studio excels and
both the rooms are littered
with gear from Phillips
personal collection including
Sonor and Yamaha kits from
the early 80s, guitar and bass
amps from Fender, Orange,
Marshall, HiWatt, and Vox
(among some of the other,
more esoteric options), as well
as various synths and effects.
GETTING SHIP SHAPE
Gear list
Console
API 1608
Monitoring
Quested VS3208 active
three-way monitors
Tannoy Hafler Pro 2400
Yamaha NS10M Studio
Dynamics/Mic Pres/EQ
AEA RPQ500
API 525 discrete
compressor
API 550A discrete
three-band EQ
API 560
D.A.V. Electronics
BG501 mic pre
Drawmer DS201
Empirical Labs EL-8
distressor
Great River Harrison 32
Helios Type 69
Lindell PEX-500
Lindell 7X-500
Neve 1073DPA
Purple Audio Action
1176 Compressor
Standard Audio Level-OR
DAW hardware
Apple Mac Pro 2x 3GHz
Dual-Core
Avid 96 I/O (HD interface)
Avid Pro Tools HD3
Lynx Aurora 16
16-channel A-D/D-A
converter
Software
Apple OSX 10.5
Avid Pro Tools 10
Various plug-ins
MY GUIDE to monitors on the
www.proaudioeurope.com website
used to read I dont advise on
haircuts, girlfriends or studio
monitors.
Well, age has withered and custom
staled me somewhat, and these days I
will occasionally advise others about
their haircuts. But I still go out of my
way to avoid pontificating on more
sensitive areas, such as studio
monitoring.
In the course of my work I advise
scores of clients every day. Like
grasshoppers at an audio Sufis knee,
they come seeking enlightenment,
definitive answers to life, the universe
and everything everything, that is,
to do with their burning desire to
make enough racket to terrorise their
neighbours. Politely, I explain that
only a fool, a simpleton, or a mealy-
mouthed sales-weasel would present
opinions as facts when it comes to
monitoring. Because so far as
loudspeakers are concerned, the pre-
emancipation adage of one mans meat
is another mans poison holds true.
Before going further, I should
define what, to me, represents the
difference between hi-fi speakers and
studio monitors.
Most hi-fi speakers are designed to
gloss over imperfections in order to
enhance the listening experience,
whereas studio monitors should be
analytical, revealing every nuance to
enable an engineer to identify, and so
rectify, anomalies. And, of course,
monitors should reflect a degree of
accuracy, ensuring that performances
translate faithfully and that every
instrument and voice sounds real,
assuming that this is the object of the
recording exercise.
Of course, these are glib
generalisations, but they offer an
explanation as to why high-end hi-fi
speakers are rarely seen in studios.
Sure, the lines get blurred and of
course there are exceptions with every
rule. After all, an outstanding
loudspeaker is an outstanding
loudspeaker.
Take the ubiquitous Yamaha NS10
that started life as a hi-fi speaker, as
did the Acoustic Research AR18LS,
for many years the nearfield of
professional choice after George
Martin sneaked a pair from his living
room to mix some Beatles tracks.
Indeed, I occasionally suggest to
clients on real-world budgets
bugger-all cash in other words to
check their local junk shop for a
second-hand hi-fi amp and pair of
KEF or similar speakers. A hundred
pounds judiciously spent on
granddads cast-offs can deliver
excellent results, far better than many
expensive Chinese or Indian made
professional thunderboxes. Thats
how I came across my prized Phillips
Motional Feedback speakers. I lashed
out forty quid on a second-hand pair
and fell in love. It was only later that I
learnt that Pink Floyd used them to
mix The Wall. That sounded OK,
didnt it? You bet. Later on I used to
cart a pair of cheap Mordaunt-Short
MS10 hi-fi speakers to sessions. I
knew them, trusted them and they
sounded fine for balancing a mix. I
guess I wasnt alone. I learnt not to
leave them in the studio overnight
after three pairs went walkabout in
quick succession. Come on guys, you
know who you are have you no
shame?
Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.
One size can never fit all. Platitudes, I
know, but applicable in respect of
loudspeakers. There are plenty of
great engineers who produce award-
winning recordings with monitors
that I wouldnt personally use as
bookends. The crucial ingredient is
trust. An engineer must trust his or
her monitors implicitly. What counts
is to ensure that a mix translates
faithfully to the cutting room or film
and television screen, that what you
print in the control room is as close as
possible to what youre going to hear
outside. In short, trust means more
than technical specifications ever can.
The importance of trust in
monitoring was bought home to me
in the 1980s. My client David Lord,
one of the most gifted producers of
his generation, regularly used Tim
Young at CBS in Whitfield Street to
master his finished albums (Tim is
now at Metropolis I believe). Tims
cuts sounded wicked, which translates
into English as spiffing top notch
and tickety boo. I seem to recall that
his room was dominated by a massive
pair of Altec dual concentric
monitors, the ones with an
exponential horn
mounted in the centre of a
15in driver, like Urei 813s. Yet for 98
percent of the time, he listened back
through a pair of small two-way
Boston A40 hi-fi speakers that carried
a massive price tag of 70, almost as
much as the cost of an A&R
executives lunch back then. The
Altecs were used rarely, usually when
Tim wanted to double-check the
bottom end, but even then he seldom
had to tweak the Boston cut. He
knew those little beauties intimately
and trusted them, with reason.
As an aside, I would add that none
of the producers or mastering
engineers I respect monitor at high
levels. Not only does sustained volume
lead to hearing loss, but the louder the
level, the more the room acoustics will
affect the sound. No room is perfect
and most are far from flat, hence the
modern balance and mastering
engineers preference for near and
midfield monitoring most of the time.
I always smile when audiophile
friends brag about the gazillions
theyve just spent on the latest esoteric
hi-fi speakers. You should come and
hear the new blah, blah, blah album.
It sounds amazing on my humungous
thirty-five grand rig.
No thanks, I respond
diplomatically, taking care not to
mention that I was present when the
tracks were mixed on compact
nearfield monitors. And if my friend
persists in boring me with details of
his latest stereophonic folly, then I
proffer some choice bits of advice
about his latest girlfriend. That
usually shuts him up.
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS STUDIO MONITORS
Mark Thompson, industry veteran and Funky Junk boss, breaks
one of his longest-standing rules and offers his thoughts on one of
the most intimate subjects: studio monitors.
Expert Witness
32 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Mark Thompson
Expert Witness
Mark Thompson has worked in most areas of the music industry. After years
as a session musician in the early 1970s, he moved into tour production,
working with clients such as The Selecter and Haircut 100 before graduating
to artist and producer management in the 1980s. Thats when a passion for
making records first laid seed, and after a decade of working with major labels
such as A+M Records, CBSm and JVC Victor, he founded equipment
consultancy and supply company Funky Junk in 1990.
Now Europes leading supplier of new and used professional audio equipment
and services, Funky Junk has branches in London, Paris, Milan, and Vigo,
Spain, with clients in more than 50 countries worldwide.
www.proaudioeurope.com
There are plenty of
great engineers who
produce award-winning
recordings with
monitors that I wouldnt
personally use as
bookends. The crucial
ingredient is trust.
MarkThompson
The ESI uniK 08 monitor features a new 8in
Kevlar low-frequency driver and a custom
engineered and powerful high-frequency
ribbon tweeter with a light membrane. This
provides a very clear, strong, and precise
sound image especially in the high
frequencies. With less moving mass
compared to conventional tweeters, a level
of impulse response with minimised
distortion is achieved.
www.esi-audio.com
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS
With such a great variety of frequency, power, and size options available, customers can easily choose a studio
monitor that fits their specification and budget requirements.
Studio Monitors
34 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
The Adam Audio A77X powered
studio monitor distinguishes itself
with transparent clarity, high
compression-free sound pressure
levels, and a significant dynamic
range. As with all models of the AX
series, the A77X features Adams
proprietary X-ART tweeter, which is
manufactured by hand at the
companys Berlin headquarters and
has a frequency response up to
50kHz. Combining the X-ART tweeter
with two 7in woofers creates the
ability to produce high sound pressure
levels as well as a wide frequency
response. Each of the A77Xs 7in
drivers has its own dedicated 100W
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)
amplifier while the X-ART tweeter is
powered by a 50W A/B amplifier for
clean, distinct high frequency.
www.adam-audio.com
production suites, and broadcast facilities. The SCM25A feature
drive unit and amplifier technology from ATCs highest
performance studio monitors such as the 75mm/3in soft dome
mid-range and Class A/B amplifiers. This ensures that the
SCM25A can be integrated with larger ATC monitors when
performing as the surround loudspeakers as part of a 5.1
monitoring system or when used as an alternative option
alongside larger ATC stereo loudspeakers. Both the 7in bass
driver and 3in mid drivers and amplifiers are hand-built by ATC
in its UK facility. Precise engineering of the drive unit
components ensures that drive unit-borne anomalies that are
difficult, or in most cases impossible, to rectify within the
electronics are minimised. This makes the integration of the
drivers simpler and results in a better balanced, much more
linear finished system. The result is that material monitored on
the SCM25A loudspeakers is more consistent in a wide range of
listening environments and translates with ease to a customers
own playback system. All ATC products are covered by a six-
year warranty.
www.atcloudspeakers.co.uk
ATCs SCM25A studio monitors are the manufacturers most
compact three-way studio monitoring loudspeaker system.
They are designed to offer the balance, resolution, and reliability
of ATCs larger three-way systems but in a more affordable and
compact package better suited to smaller control rooms,
Built to provide the performance of main
monitors in a near-field position, the
Barefoot MM27s approach consists of a
three-way speaker design with integrated
side-facing subs. Now in their second
iteration, the Barefoot MM27 Gen 2
incorporates new technology
developed by Barefoot for its
flagship MiniMain MM12. This
includes a 1in ring radiator
tweeter powered by an advanced
neodymium motor, new Hypex
amplification, analogue and AES3
inputs, and brand new DSP
technology which offers four
voices including Old School
(NS10 type), Cube (Auratones-
like) and Hi-Fi modes, all
selectable from a dedicated
remote control. The result is a
more immersive performance with a more
accurate stereo image. For smaller studios,
the Barefoot MM35 Gen2 provides similar
performance in a two-way design.
www.kmraudio.com
The AIR 12 from
Dynaudio Professional
is a powerful two-way
nearfield monitor with
an 8in woofer and a
1.1in soft dome
tweeter, suiting all
sizes of control rooms
and OB vans. Its high-
precision amp/driver
system (+/- 0.2dB
accuracy) ensures
complete consistency
with the entire AIR
family in a variety of
stereo and 5.1 setups.
AIR monitors are also
remote controllable
via the AIR Remote or
the included AIR Soft
application, and DSP
room adaption allows for customisation for any room
construction. The AIR 12s inter-monitor level calibration
feature ensures consistent levels in all sessions, which is
extremely important when mixing and mastering
regardless of the platform for delivery.
www.dynaudioprofessional.com
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS
EVE Audio offers a range of two-way, three-way, and four-way professional
studio monitors along with four Thunderstorm (TS) subwoofers to complete
the Silvercone (SC) series. EVE Audio founder and chief designer Roland
Stenz wanted to offer a family sound across the series that would enable
different solutions to be put together from simple 2.1 systems to
multichannel surround options. The SC305 and SC307 models fall within the
middle of the SC range and incorporate three independent drivers and
amplifiers to accurately separate the low-, mid-, and high-frequency bands.
EVE Audio loudspeakers employ high-resolution Burr-Brown conversion after
the analogue input stage that feed directly into Eves proprietary DSP filter
section. The one-touch multi-function front panel encoder knob allows for
room acoustics to be factored and adjusted for a simple tailored response
adjustment of the studio environment. Each frequency band within the DSP
filter system is fed directly into PWM Class D amplifiers to provide a clean and
efficient signal path for the drivers. The bass and midrange drivers are made
up of glass fibre coated honeycombed diaphragms with large voicecoils
offering a fast and controlled output thanks to the high efficiency PWM amp
and driver combination. The high frequencies are taken care of by EVEs
proprietary Air Motion Transformer Tweeter. The result of incorporating these
digital filter and amplification technologies along with precision driver
manufacturing is a sound that is both forensic and distinctly pleasing on the
ears. The fourth order Linkwitz-Riley brickwall filters ensure high frequency
cutoff at 21kHz, which minimises the additional high-frequency energy that
can often fatigue the ear over prolonged use. Both the SC305 and SC307s are
nominated for the TEC Awards to be hosted at NAMM this month.
www.nova-distribution.co.uk
Featuring an advanced coaxial
design that works integrally with
Fulcrum Acoustics TQ Temporal
Equalisation algorithms, PreSonus
Sceptre-series CoActual studio
monitors deliver clarity and
coherence that has previously only
been available in ultra-high-end
systems yet they are an affordable
investment. The series includes two
models. The Sceptre S8 CoActual
Studio Monitor combines an 8in
low/mid-frequency driver and a 1in
(25mm), horn-loaded, high-
frequency transducer into a single
coaxial unit with aligned voice coils.
The Sceptre S6 CoActual Studio
Monitors coaxial speaker integrates
a 6.5in low/mid-frequency driver
and a 1in, horn-loaded, high-
frequency transducer. A 90W RMS,
Class D power amp, powers each
transducer. Both models have
acoustic ports. Sceptres controls
enable full integration into any
studio environment. A four-position
Acoustic Space switch controls a
second-order shelving filter with
four attenuation settings to account
for the bass response relative to
room dimensions and speaker
placement. You get a 12dB/octave
highpass filter, a switch that adjusts
the tweeter's overall level, and a
Sensitivity control. All Sceptre-
series monitors have a balanced
XLR and 0.25in TRS line-level inputs
with A-taper level control and offer
RF shielding, current-output
limiting, and over-temperature
protection. An amplifier soft start
feature eliminates popping on
power-up.
www.presonus.com
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 35
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS
36 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
The new Genelec 8010 is the smallest
member of the 8000 product range. The
8000 Series is widely used in
broadcast, music, and post-
production studios across the
world. Its professional
heritage is reflected in the
compact-sized 8010.
Suitable for professional
work in small studios it offers
accurate monitoring
capability with ease of
installation. The sound
quality is said to make 8010
ideal for small studios, OB
vans, and a suitable
companion for portable
recording devices and other
mobile production work.
Featuring a balanced XLR
input, 3in bass driver, 0.75in
tweeter, and efficient Class D
power amplifiers one for
each driver 8010 produces
more sound pressure level than
you might expect from a monitor of this
size. The Intelligent Signal Sensing (ISS)
circuitry saves energy by
automatically putting the
monitor to sleep when the
audio signal has been
absent for a while. Once a
signal is detected again, the
monitor wakes up
automatically. This circuitry
can be bypassed when the
automatic standby
function is not desired. A
full range of versatile
accessories is available for
8010, which cover all
mounting needs. For
example, an elegant L-
shaped table stand can be
used to optimise monitor
orientation towards the
listening position and to
minimise undesired sound
reflections.
www.genelec.com
Bringing professional studio
reference monitoring to
customers at an affordable
price, the 3 Series of studio
monitors is the first studio
monitor line to incorporate
JBLs Image Control
Waveguide. Originally
developed for JBLs flagship
M2 Master Reference
Monitor, the waveguide is
the product of intensive
R&D, allowing the subtlest
detail to be heard, and
producing a wide stereo
panorama with a solid
phantom-centre image.
The JBL 3 Series features
two models: the LSR305,
5in powered studio monitor
boasting a response of
43Hz to 24kHz and a peak
SPL of 108dB; and the
LSR308, 8in powered
studio monitor with a
response of 37Hz to 24kHz
and a peak SPL of 112dB. As
the sound generating
engines, the 3 Series long-
throw woofer and its
damped woven composite
tweeter are designed from
the ground up to reproduce
the powerful transients and
micro dynamics of any mix.
These drivers deliver deep
bass and smooth high-
frequency response beyond
the range of human hearing.
JBLs Slip Stream low-
frequency port design works
in concert with the woofer
to produce deep bass
response at all playback
levels. Also, the 3 Series
Trim switches allow the
loudspeakers response to
compensate for room
acoustics, program material,
and personal tastes.
www.jblpro.com
The KRK Rokit Generation 3 Series from Gibson Pro
Audio was announced in August 2013 and features the
RP5 G3, RP6 G3, and RP8 G3. This latest generation is a
natural evolution of the companys design philosophy:
deliver natural, balanced spectral response, with low
distortion and superior imaging. High- and low-
frequency amplifier adjustments allow users to tailor the
monitor to taste, as well as provide a better fit to
individual room acoustics; the
extended, accurate high- and low-
frequency response results in mixes
that translate over a wide variety of
playback systems. Focusrite
distributes KRK in the UK.
www.krksys.com
Mackie MRmk3 Powered Studio Monitors include an all-
new minimum-diffraction waveguide for a wider sweet spot
and custom-tuned rear porting for smooth, extended bass
response. A variety of full-range options and a powerful
studio sub are also available. Furthermore, optimised
electronics as well as custom-matched amps and drivers
add clarity and balance.
www.mackie.com
The Neumann KH 310 three-way active tri-
amplified monitor features a Mathematically
Modeled Dispersion Waveguide (MMD),
flexible acoustical controls, various input
options, and an extensive range of
mounting hardware. This
allows the loudspeaker to be
used in diverse acoustical
conditions, with any Source
equipment and in a wide
variety of physical locations.
The KH 310 represents the
latest in acoustic and
electronic simulation and
measurement technologies
to ensure accurate sound
reproduction. The KH 310 is
designed for use as a near-
field monitor, as a front
loudspeaker in mid-sized
multichannel systems, or as
a rear loudspeaker in a larger
multichannel system. It can be used in
project, music, broadcast centres, OB vans,
and post-production studios for tracking,
mixing, and mastering.
www.neumann.com
The RCF AYRA 5 is a two-way reference studio
monitor that is designed for nearfield
applications as well as being equally suited to
a home recording studio. AYRA 5 features a
high-quality 1in soft dome tweeter designed
on a precision directivity waveguide and a 5in
composite fibreglass woofer. It is equipped
with a new generation of true active 35W +
20W Class AB design amplifier. The result of
this is very high output, extremely low
distortion, and an incredible natural sound. At
the rear panel of the AYRA there are XLR,
Jack, and RCA inputs.
www.rcf.it
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 37
The PSI Audio A21-M high-
powered active monitor is the
jewel in the crown from the
Swiss manufacturer, for any
studio that wants that big
monitor sound in a compact
cabinet. Its highly optimised
assets make it perfect for near,
mid-field, and surround
applications where ultimate
precision flat monitoring is
required. The powerful
biamped Class G amplifier
features two technologies in
AOI (Adaptive Output
Impedance) and CPR
(Compensated Phase
Response). The result is
extremely low coloration and
an impressively tight transient
behaviour, even at low
frequencies with correction of
additive phase shifts and group
delays inherent in
conventional crossover filters
and mechanical transducers. This enables a precise stereo image and an
accurate sense of space projecting a wide horizontal and vertical listening
area. The electronics are housed in a unit mechanically isolated from the
speaker cabinet to avoid resonance at high sound pressure levels. PSI Audio
monitors provide detail and resolution across the bandwidth, and do so
without any sense of fatigue even after hours of critical listening. Designed to
work in harmony with the full range of A series monitors, the PSI Audio A21-M
also makes an ideal front speaker in a surround setup, or can be part of a more
powerful system by adding the A225-M sub.
www.psiaudio.com
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS
The three-strong twotwo range is British reference monitor manufacturer
PMCs latest foray into the powered nearfield market, combining the
companys Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) bass loading technology
with sophisticated digital signal processing. The midnight-blue twotwo.5,
twotwo.6, and twotwo.8 share the same core design and features,
including a custom-designed 27mm precision soft-dome tweeter; the
larger model numbers refer to the approximate size (in inches) of the bass
driver, with the larger models providing higher SPLs and more bass
extension. Connections include analogue phonos and XLRs as well as an
AES3 digital input, which will handle all sample rates up to 192kHz. Its
therefore as easy to set up twotwos in a rehearsal room with a phono
cable and a laptop as it is to connect them to a console in a studio. The
onboard DSP engine optimises the response of the twotwo's drivers,
maximises dispersion, and provides non-invasive protection using
modelled excursion limiting. The built-in Class D dual-amplification
system produces high-resolution audio with great headroom and detail.
The twotwo series may be mounted vertically or horizontally without
compromising tonal accuracy or stereo/surround imaging, making them
ideal for use in situations where space is at a premium, such as in outside
broadcast vehicles, project music studios, and post-production suites.
www.pmc-speakers.com
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS
38 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Sonodyne has launched the SRP series. The five models are
the SRP 350, SRP 400, SRP 500, SRP 600, and SRP 800. The
monolithic, pressure die-cast moulded rigid cabinet
eliminates coloration caused, typically, by cabinet vibration.
The non-parallel edges minimise standing wave build-up.
This results in a smooth and extended low frequency
response. The SRPs use two discrete amplifiers per speaker.
These hefty class AB amplifiers have oodles of power and
headroom and provide a clean, undistorted signal. DSP-
based internal processing with high quality ADC and DAC is
employed for the crossover and also provides the 0.75dB
step calibrated HF and LF room compensation EQs. The silk
dome tweeter in each of the SRP models is nested in a
custom waveguide to produce on- and off-axis linearity
and a wide, detailed soundstage. The stiff woven fibre of
the Kevlar cone minimises cone breakup. Combined with a
powerful motor system this results in high-grade
performance both in terms of deep bass and excellent
transients. Sturdy wall mount brackets allow for smooth
motion and positioning in both horizontal and vertical
planes. On the front is a level control ranging from mute to
+6dB with centre detent at 0dB.
www.sonodyne.com
The SP Acoustics SP1MA is a three-way speaker
exhibiting virtually no harmonic distortion, delivering
a true representation of the sound perfectly suited to
critical listening. From the choice of aluminium
cones, constrained layer damped cabinets, and
under hung voice coil drivers to their 24-bit/96kHz
digital crossover, SP Acoustics monitors deliver detail
with a wide bandwidth and accurate time and
frequency response. The SP1 range includes the
SP1M passive speaker, the SP1MA active monitor, and
landscape counterparts the SP1ML and SP1MLA. SP
Acoustics has just released the smaller passive
SP25M and the active version SP25MA, which use the
same high-quality components used in a smaller
sized cabinet, ensuring the same stunningly
transparent and neutral sound albeit a slightly
smaller bandwidth and SPL.
www.kmraudio.com
The next active professional monitor following the Unity
Audio Rock is the Boulder. This shares some of the same
interesting material and designs such as a Baltic birch
plywood cabinet but this time 18mm instead of 12mm as
used in the Rock. A Corian front baffle is used again like the
Rock and bonded to an internal wooden baffle, but the
Boulder uses a 30mm slab of Corian instead of the Rocks
12mm and with large radius edges to reduce reflection. Like
the Rock, this new model will boost true fidelity, fast, accurate
detailed sound but with extended bass response, even more
detailed mid range, and higher SPLs for larger rooms. Two
180mm (7in) woofers are used; the same woofer model as in
the Rock, and this will increase low-frequency extension and
achieve higher SPLs. A new dual coaxial midrange and
tweeter is employed. This unit is a combination of a flat
aluminium honeycomb midrange ring radiator and a
concentrically arranged folded 50kHz ribbon tweeter. This
design realises the vision of an acoustic point source. Due to
the modular design of the Rock amplifier, the Boulder uses
the same amplifier modules from the Rock but it employs a
total of four amplifier cards per cabinet: one for each woofer,
one for the mid, and one for the tweeter.
www.unityaudioproducts.co.uk
The second generation of
Yamaha HS nearfield
reference monitors, like
their predecessors, share
the same design philosophy
as the NS10M studio
monitors and the
subsequent MSP range.
Providing accurate signal
reproduction and excellent
sonic performance, the new
HS Series consists of three
models HS5, HS7, and HS8
which employ a new,
highly efficient tweeter
providing an extended high
frequency range up to
30kHz. The matching HS8S
150W powered subwoofer
provides an extended bass
when a well-defined bottom
end is required. A low
resonance bass-reflex
enclosure built using a
three-way mitred-joint
technique ensures that the
corners of the speaker are
firmly anchored leading to
improved durability and the
elimination of unwanted
resonances that can colour
the original sound. Yamahas
Vortex Sound Control
technology is deployed to
decrease unwanted airflows
around the speaker ports.
This in turn reduces audible
noise by up to 6dB.
www.uk.yamaha.com
The original
Studiospares SN10 studio monitor
was inspired by the demise of the Yamaha NS10.
The NS10 was and still is used in studios to gauge the sound
that the average listener would hear when they replay a track on
a CD. Now the SN10 takes the same idea but improves it in
three ways: giving it a more substantial tweeter that doesnt
blow so easily; a larger 8in driver to provide more low-
frequency bottom end; and an enhanced power output of 80W.
With its attractive price point it has found a home in thousands
of studios over the last few years. More recently Studiospares
has introduced an active version of the SN10, the SN10A. The
difference between the two is the Aktivate85 powering unit,
which Studiospares also offers as a separate product that will
turn any passive monitor into an active one.
www.studiospares.com
The Focal SM9 concept is the result of over three years of R&D where every
component and function was designed from scratch utilising over 30 years of design
experience. The SM9 uses the best of Focal technologies such as a brand new pure
Beryllium inverted dome tweeter, 6.5in and 8in W composite sandwich cone
drivers, and an 11in passive radiator. The SM9 also uses FOCUS, the latest Focal
technology that combines two monitors within the same cabinet (three-way
monitoring system and a two-way monitor) to verify mixes on a bass-limited speaker
like televisions, computer systems, car systems, and iPod speakers.
www.focal.com
AS A LIVE and studio
engineer, with experience
using both digital live and
studio consoles, I was more
than excited to finally try out
SSLs new live console. The
companys well-known and
respected live product
manager, Jason Kelly, gave
me my personal introduction
to the console at SSLs
Oxford HQ.
UNDER THE HOOD
Before you even see the new
Live, the specifications make
interesting reading thanks to
SSLs new Tempest
processing platform, which
were designed from the
ground up for the sole
purpose of powering this
desk. Depending on the
number of stage boxes and
external devices used, there
can be up to 976 inputs and
outputs connected with 192
internal audio paths all
running at 96kHz and 64 bit
floating point easily one of
the highest spec counts in
this price range. Running at
such a high bit depth and
sample rate allows the console
to have a staggering amount
of internal headroom, Jason
tells me its in the region of
3000dB.
All preamps on board and
in the stageboxes are SSLs
SuperAnalogue pres
including analogue high pass
filters. After that point, all
audio remains in the digital
domain by 96kHz, 24-bit A-
D converters until it finds its
way to an output. There is a
good selection of local I/O
with 16 analogue ins and outs
and four pairs of AES/EBU.
(This can be expanded to
twice the amount if required.)
Each AES/EBU connection
has an independent fully
variable sample rate converter.
External remote I/Os are
connected with coaxial
MADI or an optional SSL
Blacklight connection which
carries 256 channels via a
single optical fibre. Each
coaxial connection can either
be run with a redundant
connection or each port can
be utilised as an independent
connection.
SSL has also made great
use of the extra data
embedded within the MADI
stream. All the available SSL
remote stageboxes are auto
sensing and appear
automatically in the software
routing pages
on the desk. Another
benefit is the extra gain data
for when two or more
consoles use the same
stagebox. The master console
with the control over the
analogue preamps also
transmits any changes in the
analogue gain to other Live
500s. The operator then has a
channel-by-channel option to
enable gain sharing where the
slave console can digitally
trim any offset needed in
real time.
Instead of having set
templates or a given number
of digital busses and
auxiliaries available, the Live
500 offers the user a total
number of audio processing
paths to distribute in
whichever way they need.
There are 144 full
processing paths and 48 dry
paths. This is then further
broken down into some
restrictions for total numbers
of input channels, stem
groups, auxes, masters, and
matrixes. However, with a
maximum of 96 full auxes
and 24 dry auxes as well as 32
in and 36 dry out matrixes,
there is plenty of scope to
make the mixer work as
you wish.
THE DASHBOARD
The overall design of the
control surface is well
organised with clean and
simple lines. The main focus
is the 19in centre
touchscreen, which SSL
claims to be one of the
brightest on the market. The
main screen is also the first to
support major multi-touch
gestures, which we have all
become accustomed to thanks
to the iPad.
Around the main screen are
three fader tiles with 12
100mm fader strips
containing rotary encoders
and colour changing backlit
buttons. Each strip has 14
segment level meters with
separate compression and
gate meters. Each fader tile is
independent with five
scrollable layers containing
five recallable banks. Each
bank can be set to anything
from input channels to
masters allowing the console
to be set up any way you like.
One feature I like is that each
channel has a Query button
that then spills out all of the
channels associated with it.
This can quickly help to solve
simple routing issues, or allow
for direct and simple send
adjustments.
In the master tile there is a
focus fader that can be
assigned to any channel for
right-handed fader riding and
more hardware-based
parameter editing. The focus
fader works with the control
tile that uses a smaller 5.7in
touchscreen with a number of
hardware controls for more
traditional operation. The
controls are set out in
dedicated effects, EQ, and
dynamics sections. I should
make it clear, however, that all
parameters can be altered
from either the control tile or
the main large touchscreen.
Although the control tile is
more natural to use its really
special to be able to edit an
EQ via multi-touch gestures
on the large screen.
DRIVING THE MIX
For the purpose of this
review, Jason set up SSLs live
multi-track recorder with
video footage from one of
Peter Gabriels concerts. The
last Peter Gabriel tour used
three SSL Live consoles
one at FOH, one for Peters
personal monitors, and one
for the bands monitors.
Everything soon fitted into
place once I got my head
around the consoles unique
configurations, best
distributed the full processing
and dry channels, made my
fader tile layers, and learnt
about routing. Once youre in
TECHNOLOGY REVIEW Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
It never really was a question of if SSL was going to make a
live console. Simon Allen reports on his turn at the
controls of the new SSL Live console.
40 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
SSL Live
DIGITAL LIVE AUDIO CONSOLE
Even though the Live 500 holds
all of the heritage and prestige
that comes along with the SSL
name dont be fooled into
thinking it misses out on the
benefits of digital audio.
Simon Allen
www.audiomedia.com January 2014 41
Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com TECHNOLOGY REVIEW
the mindset of any new
console it doesnt take long
before you find yourself
getting used to the controls.
There is a feeling of fluidity
between the multi-gesture
touchscreen UI and the
control surface with its
distribution of processing
power. It feels effortless to
jump straight to parameters
and edit them, including
inserting new effects without
any drop in audio. The idea
of having a single screen with
large graphics that are easy to
manipulate by touch is so
simple but effective.
The Live exhibits its SSL
heritage in two ways: Firstly,
it uses all of SSLs digital
algorithms from EQ through
to reverbs. It has the
simulated analogue EQs,
compressors, and the famous
bus comp and effects, which
all sound great. I tried out the
bus comp in the only way I
knew how from regularly
using an analogue one and, to
my surprise, Jason remarked,
So youve used one before
then? It hadnt occurred to
me, as I was just punching in
some standard settings, but
sure enough it behaved just as
expected (and on a
touchscreen too).
There are also a few very
neat sonic features SSL has
introduced with this console.
There is a new tube
warming feature on the
channel compressors, which
is out of this world. Before
you apply any other
processing on the channel, or
even edit the compressors
threshold, the simple action
of enabling the tube warmth
is really distinct. Im now left
waiting for the plug-in
version to have in my DAW
in the studio.
Another unique feature is
the addition of an all-pass
filter on every full processing
channel. All-pass filters are
not something you regularly
see but they make perfect
sense. With so many
potential phasing issues when
working live I can see these
simple to use all-pass filters
being considered as a closely
regarded secret by many
engineers.
Even though the Live
holds all of the heritage and
prestige that comes along
with the SSL name dont be
fooled into thinking it misses
out on the benefits of digital
audio. It wasnt until I had
been mixing for a while that
I realised the amount of
processing power the console
has. Inserting effects and
changing the order of the
signal processing paths on
each channel is simple and
fluid, unlike some other live
consoles. With this
architecture, SSL is now also
introducing something called
stem groups, which are very
much like normal subgroups
but with the capability of full
processing and effect inserts
like standard input channels.
Additionally, unlike normal
sub-groups, stem groups can
be routed to other stem
groups or auxes to allow for
flexible mixes.
AROUND THE CORNER
Along with the release of this
new hardware is, of course,
the first release of its
software, which has been
completely purpose built by
SSL and isnt based on any
commonly found operating
system. This has given SSL
the ability to fine-tune every
aspect of the digital domain
for audio. As this is still early
days, there are a number of
updates already planned for
release with some exciting
new features. For now, SSL
has been focusing hard on
making sure the system is as
stable as possible.
One additional feature that
is still in development is
remote control for the
console and expansion
features. As yet we are not
sure of how this will be
implemented, or what it will
entail, but its important to
know that there have been
plans for such features from
very early on in the design
process.
CONCLUSION
The new Live console from
SSL certainly lives up to
expectations. It encapsulates
everything Id hope to see
from an SSL console in
terms of quality, build, and
sonic reproduction. At the
same time, it has a few tricks
to excite even the most
experienced engineers and
surprised me with the fresh
approach to digital
processing. This is a truly
remarkable pro audio release.
INFORMATION
Feature set
Up to 976 inputs and outputs connected with 192
internal audio paths running at 96kHz and 64 bit
19in multi-gesture touchscreen control
More than 30 SSL effects processors
Extremely flexible processing power allocation and I/O
architecture
www.solidstatelogic.com
THE REVIEWER
SIMON ALLEN
is a full-time sound engineer
and record producer. After a
stint as senior engineer at City
Studios in Cyprus where he
headed up the new music
studio, he can now mostly be
found at Woodbury Studios in
Hertfordshire.
Tell me how the SSL Live project
started. Why was it the right time for
SSL to move into the live industry?
Creating a console for live audio
production has been a part of the
SSL development plan since 2006
when the current owners of SSL took
over. The actual development for the
console has taken over two years. A
considerable number of high-profile
people in the live sector asked us to
do it. It seems there was a strong
desire for a live console with the
audio quality and tone of SSL and for
a control surface with the elegant
ergonomics SSL is known for in
other sectors.
What was the initial thought/design
process behind the desk? How did
you decide on the shape/ergonomics?
This was very much a ground up
development. As with other
applications, we first consulted with
the engineers in each specific sector.
A core design philosophy is that the
interface should be intuitive and, as
far as humanly possible, liberate the
engineer to focus as much of his/her
attention on the creative process as
possible. So weve taken an approach
to the control surface that supports
different ways of working and utilises
the latest touchscreen technology.
Naturally we had to make a console
with unrivalled sonic performance but
also with the robustness that touring
gear demands.
How does the SSL Live meet the
demands of the modern FOH
engineer?
It gives them a superb sounding
console and a collection of excellent
processing tools within a great control
surface. Live gives them plenty of
processing power, a wealth of
connectivity options and an open
architecture approach that lets
engineers lay out the console in a way
that suits each individual project. The
combination of gestural multi-touch
screen technology with assignable
hardware controls and a high degree
of visual feedback helps them keep in
control of the show and deliver a
great performance.
What are some of the SSL Lives key
features that set it apart from the
competition?
As with many designs, its the
combination of features and how
well they work together that
differentiates one solution from
another. Familiarity with a particular
product and how it works
understandably gives you a particular
perspective. The Live console adapts
well to a variety of approaches and
will be readily adopted by mixers with
diverse backgrounds. There are a
number of unique features such as the
30 SSL effects processors, the full size
effects GUIs, the low latency
performance (<1.5mS mic to IEM
including effects), the Eyeconix
displays, the multi-touch touchscreen,
the versatility and flexibility of the
routing architecture that contribute to
this; and of course we hope that the
audio quality will set new standards.
Jory MacKay speaks further with SSL Live console product manager Jason Kelly about the history,
and importance, of this new desk.
WHENEVER IMbooking a
commercial studio, one of the first
things I look out for when scouring
their equipment lists is to determine if
they have any of the original Red
series of processors from Focusrite. Im
particularly fond of the Red 1
preamplifier, a Rupert Neve design
based on the modules found in his
famed Focusrite Studio Console.
These have become vintage collectors
items, whose current prices on the
second-hand market are testimony to
the high regard in which engineers
hold them. Unfortunately, this kudos
has also meant that Ive never actually
managed to purchase one!
You can therefore imagine the
excitement I felt on opening the box
containing the new 500 series version
of the Red 1 preamp and gingerly
slipping it into a spare slot of my API
lunchbox. The preamplifier features
the same circuit design and
components as the original Red 1
neatly wrapped up into the 500 series
lunchbox format. This feat of
miniaturisation is, of course, made
possible because the power supply,
microphone input, and line output for
the Red 1 are provided by the 500
chassis itself. The preamplifier ships
with a 12-page manual which you
probably wont need as the concept
and control of this device is so simple
some tools for securing the
preamplifier into the lunchbox, and
an invitation to access a free download
of Focusrites useful Midnight suite
of plug-ins.
FEATURES
As you may expect, the Red 1 500s
front panel is, well, red! The
beautifully finished and uncluttered
anodised aluminium frontispiece
features a nicely milled 1 logo, an
analogue backlit VU meter, a sturdy
Grayhill gold-plated military-grade
12-position stepped rotary gain
switch, and push buttons for +48V
phantom powering and phase. The
rear panel sports the lunchbox edge
connector and a switch to allow the
meter to display 0VU as -4dBU or
+10dBU. Internally, the design is
identical to the original Focusrite Red
1 preamplifier, complete with a
Lundahl LL1538 transformer on the
input and a custom Carnhill
transformer on output stage. The
input transformer provides 14dB of
the total 60dB of gain available,
leaving the active amplifier stage to
handle the rest. The bandwidth of the
unit as specified by Focusrite is
10Hz to 140kHz with low harmonic
distortion. The labelled positions on
the gain control are in 6dB
increments and theres enough
headroom to cope with some ribbons
and most capacitor and dynamic
microphones, with low noise levels
even at high gain settings. The output
stage was perfectly capable of driving
the converters on my Metric Halo
and RME interfaces and the Red 1
should slip into most systems with no
interfacing problems.
IN USE
The 500 series unit has that clean yet
weighty sound that I recall from my
use of the original Red 1
preamplifiers. It also doesnt like being
overdriven, which again is a
characteristic of the original this
isnt a preamp youd want to use if you
wanted to add some colour to your
recordings. The Red 1 is one of those
microphone preamplifiers that simply
allows you to produce a high-quality
amplified signal from the microphone
youre using and which also reminds
you just what a good microphone the
humble Shure SM57 is! I often find
that using high-quality preamplifiers
helps a lot when mixing, as they
somehow allow the differing
recordings to gel together and the
Red 1 is no exception in this area. In
comparison with the (extremely
good) microphone preamps on my
Metric Halo ULN-2, the Red 1 felt
just that bit rounder, with a slight
mid-low boost that gave the sound a
touch more body.
I tried recording vocals, guitars,
and cello using an AKG 414 ULS II
microphone into both the 500 series
Red 1 and my ISA 430 Mk I
channel strip whose microphone
preamplifier is also based on the
original Rupert Neve designed ISA
110 circuitry. There are significant
audible differences between the two
preamplifiers, even when the latters
EQ and compressor sections were
bypassed. The Red 1 retains the
richness and clarity that Im used to
from the ISA 430 however and, if I
had to stick my neck out, Id have to
say that I prefer the 500 series unit
in this particular recording scenario.
Over the period of a week I put the
Red 1 though its paces in several
different situations, including
recording drum overheads, snare and
bass drum, piano, guitar, vocals, and
a string section. The preamplifier
performed impeccably. Having one of
these in your lunchbox enables you to
stop fretting about having the best
preamplifier for the job it just works
well and is almost completely
transparent in operation.
CONCLUSION
You may have noticed that there has
been no mention of instrument or line
inputs, filters, equalisation, limiters,
compressors, or digital interfaces in
this review thats because there
arent any! This, of course, makes the
Red 1 microphone preamplifier
something of an expensive choice
when compared to some of its
all-singing, all-dancing 500 series
competitors. However, if youve always
wanted access to the Red 1 sound
and have a spare slot in your
lunchbox, Focusrite has created an
almost exact replica of the original
preamplifier, complete with all of its
strengths and limitations, wrapped up
in a modern format and at an
affordable price. I hope this release is
just the start of a new range of 500
series units from Focusrite
personally, I cant wait for the Red 3
compressor to appear.
TECHNOLOGY REVIEW Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
42 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Focusrite Red 1 500
MICROPHONE PREAMP
If youve always wanted
access to the Red 1
sound and have a spare
slot in your lunchbox,
Focusrite has created
an almost exact replica
of the original
preamplifier, complete
with all of its strengths
and limitations.
Stephen Bennett
INFORMATION
Feature set
Original Red 1 circuit topology
and components
Lundahl LL1538 input
transformer with Carnhill
custom output transformer
Backlit VU meter with
switchable calibration
Grayhill gold-plated military-
grade gain switch
uk.focusrite.com
THE REVIEWER
STEPHEN BENNETT has been involved
in music production for over 25 years.
Based in Norwich he splits his time
between writing books and articles on
music technology, running Chaos
Studios and working in the
Electroacoustic Studios in the School of
Music at the University of East Anglia.
Stephen Bennett explores whether the new Focusrite Red 1 500 lives up to its heritage.
I HAVE a small confession to
make, when the Allen &
Heath GLD-112 arrived
recently for review, I was a bit
disappointed. Not at all
disappointed with the desk
itself it is a very, very nice
desk, (read the review in Audio
Media November 2013) no, I
was disappointed that it wasnt
a Qu-16. Now that may seem
silly as the GLD is a much
more comprehensive and
capable mixer with all sorts of
features not available on the
Qu-16, but Ive been waiting
for the Qu-16 for a long time
now. But has that wait been in
vain? I finally got to unpack
one to find out.
The desk is a 22-channel
mixer with 16 XLR inputs
equipped with mic amps and
three stereo inputs. Part of my
excitement over the unit was
generated by the confluence of
a range of Allen & Heath
technologies. You get 16
moving channel faders (17
including the main fader),
touchscreen and hardware
control of channel parameters,
FX rooted in the same
algorithms as the bigger desks,
access to audio over Cat5 via
the dSNAKE technology,
on-board multi-track recording
over USB direct to a USB
drive (not to a USB flash
disk), separate USB connector
for audio streaming to and
from your Mac (Im reliably
informed they are working on
Windows support), an iPad
app, and interoperability with
the new ME series of personal
mixers, all in a 19in rack space.
LOOK THE PART
Where to start? Well how
about the finish. The Qu-16
feels like a proper bit of kit
and not a toy. All knobs and
buttons feel positive and
professional. Only the feel of
the motorised faders reflect the
fact that this is not an
expensive desk. There was a lot
of speculation before release
about this fitting in your hand
luggage, and well yes if you are
Catherine Zeta Jones, but no if
youre only Michael Douglas
(or indeed any other normal
human being).
The wraparound design is
striking, practical, and
guaranteed to catch the eye at a
gig. The specs are online but a
few notable things: 16 busses;
RTA with peak band
indication; separate mic and
line inputs; mics on XLR, line
on TRS jack; two stereo line
inputs on 0.25in jacks, and a
third on the surface on mini
jack (for your walk in music, of
course); 10 outputs on XLRs
alongside main L and R; and a
patchable AES stereo output
with another patchable output
on TRS jacks.
FUNCTIONALITY
If you plug in a dSNAKE
(8- or 24-channel boxes are
available) it will give you audio
over Cat5; however, you can
select on each individual
channel between local input at
the desk, remote from the
dSNAKE stage box, or USB.
The USB can be audio
streamed from your PC or
from your attached USB
Qu-Drive. Remember though
this doesnt add channels to
the desk. So an AR 2412 will
max you out at 22 inputs.
However, they can be 22 mic
inputs, three will be stereo
pairs but nonetheless it is a
way of upping your mic
channel count. If I was using
the Qu-16 in a venue with
existing tie lines I might be
tempted to buy an AR 84 and
use it locally for just such a
purpose. Remember though
that currently using an AR box
does not add to the absolute
number of channels, if you are
tempted to be
grumpy about this
please read on.
There is a subtle problem
with the sheer range of
facilities on the Qu-16. It fools
you into thinking you have
bought a much more expensive
system. The Qu-16 offers so
much that we get piqued when
we run up against a limitation.
Like the issue of the dSNAKE
channels or the fact that the
Qu-16 can record 18 tracks of
24-bit 48kHz audio a little
voice in my head says, Where
is the 96kHz? Why not all the
channels? (we are such
ungrateful people). Just
remember this is not a twenty
grand desk.
IN USE
Setting up the mixer is,
relatively speaking, fairly
simple. Out of the box
everything is routed to main L
and R so if you plug in a mic
and open the channel fader
you will hear something, which
in digital desk world is kind of
reassuring. While there are no
sub-groups beyond mute
groups of course, four of which
are available
on board you do get
layers. Top layer is your 16 mic
inputs (also selectable to
dSNAKE inputs or USB
returns) your second layer
controls, three stereo inputs,
FX sends and returns, and your
10 mix busses. The third layer
is a custom layer, which you
can build using any mix of
inputs, FX sends or returns, or
mix master faders.
A quick tour of the effects
and stuff reveals all the hard
work those five ARM
processors are doing. You get
parametric EQ, compressor,
limiter, gate, and delay on every
channel. You get 28-band
graphic EQ on all mix outputs.
The Qu-16 has four on-board
FX slots, selectable from a
range of reverbs, delays, and
modulators. These effects can
be inserted into single channels
or combined in an effects mix.
I should mention
compatibility with the new ME
series of personal mixers, but I
cant do more than mention it
as the ME is worth a review on
its own. The iPad app
allows remote control over
WiFi and once connected is
nicely responsive and is a
useful live tweaking tool.
CONCLUSION
In summary, the Qu-16 has all
the joys of digital in a well-
crafted package at an attractive
price. A desk that records as a
multi-track, offers audio over
Cat5, iPad remote, well-
established workflow and
effects, and the extensibility of a
personal mixing system. On top
of this, it is a desk with a
professional feel and features set
that integrates with the Allen
& Heath GLD system, sharing
the same stage boxes so when
its time to upgrade things are
simple. Hats off to Allen &
Heath, the Qu-16 may well be
the Sultan of Swing.
TECHNOLOGY REVIEW Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
Boasting much of the same performance as its bigger siblings
in a package that could potentially fit in your hand luggage,
Alistair McGhee finally gets his hands on a Qu-16.
44 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Allen & Heath Qu-16
DIGITAL MIXING DESK
The wraparound
design is striking,
practical, and
guaranteed to catch
the eye at a gig.
Alistair McGhee
INFORMATION
Feature set
22 channels with 16 XLR inputs
FX derived from iLive pro touring series
800 x 480 touchscreen with dedicated data encoder
dSNAKE compatible with connectivity over Cat5
Qu-Pad iPad app for real-time live sound tweaking
www.allen-heath.com
THE REVIEWER
ALISTAIR McGHEE
began audio life in Hi-Fi
before joining the BBC as an
audio engineer. After 10 years
in radio and TV, he moved to
production. When BBC
Choice started, he pioneered
personal digital production in
television. Most recently,
Alistair was assistant editor,
BBC Radio Wales and has
been helping the UN with
broadcast operations in Juba.
JUST WHEN you thought
that nobody could come up
with anything new and
genuinely useful in the large-
diaphragm condenser
microphone market, Viennese
microphone design house
Lewitt has done just that.
The LCT 940 is unique. Not
only is it a valve mic and a
FET mic all rolled into one,
but the power supply also acts
as remote control to alter
characteristics and to mix the
valve and FET stages.
IMPRESSIONS
The first impression of the
LCT 940 is of extreme
quality. The mic is heavy and
is supplied with a really nice
cradle that easily supports its
660g weight. Together they
weigh-in at 1.1kg, so a decent
mic stand is needed. The
power supply/control box is
beautifully engineered and
only reveals what the knobs
and buttons do once it has
been switched on. Little
LEDs light up the hidden
functions such as attenuation,
high-pass filters, polarity
patterns, and the mix-knob
for valve and FET stages. The
whole thing comes in an
attractive black case, with
handbook, an eight-metre
long 11-pin XLR connector,
and kettle-lead.
There is a little Perspex
window that shows the valve
inside the mic glowing when
switched on, but as the glow is
a sort of greenish-yellow, it
reveals that it is actually an
LED behind the valve a
pleasant, if perhaps cheesy
effect that impressed singers.
My first gotcha was to
assume that the logo side was
the front, so when I placed the
mic in front of the first
vocalist, she sounded distant,
so I knew that I had placed
the mic the wrong way round
and that the LCT 940 is more
directional than most valve
mics when set to cardioid.
The control on the left of
the box mixes the signals from
the FET and valve stages and
a red dot indicates the setting.
Polar patterns are set with the
right-hand control. Five basic
patterns for omni, broad-
cardioid, cardioid, super-
cardioid, and figure-of-eight,
with stages in between are
available.
In the space of a week, we
used the LCT 940 on a
variety of sources including
drum overheads, room mic,
various guitars, and singers.
After that I tested the mic,
comparing it to the usual
suspects.
AT THE ROCK FACE
In pure valve mode the LCT
940 came over every bit as
open and clear as the best
valve mics out there, making it
ideal as a room mic, or for
breathy and close-up vocals.
In pure solid-state mode, it is
clear and precise and very good
for such sensitive beasts with
complex overtones as piano
and acoustic guitar.
We tried a little bit of male
voice-over and the proximity
effect was warm and smooth.
It popped significantly less
than other mics and with a
shield, it didnt pop at all,
despite the fact that the bass-
cut filters were not being used.
The cradle kept out nearly all
mechanical noise that might
get in via the stand.
There are three bass-cut
slopes (12dB per octave @
40Hz and 6dB @ 150 and
300Hz) and a pad-switch for
-6, -12, and -18dB. There is
also an automatic pad function
in case of very loud noises.
However, used as a valve mic,
it can go to 140dBA, so I
could imagine that someone
could own this mic all their
lives without ever triggering
that function in my time
with this mic, a screaming rock
vocal certainly wasnt enough!
This mic has a very wide
dynamic range.
TESTING, ONE, TWO
The handbook claims a
frequency response of 20Hz to
20kHz, but in common with
most high-end mics, it goes
well beyond both figures in
both valve and FET mode. At
the upper end, at 25kHz it was
down 10dB and by 30kHz the
signal was almost completely
gone. There is an increase of
between 3dB and 5dB
between 10kHz and 15kHz,
depending on which pattern is
chosen. This is a function of
the capsule and is not affected
by choosing valve or FET.
Self-noise is low at 8-9dB as
FET and 12-13dB as a valve
mic. Sensitivity is the same as
for almost every other LDC,
so we did not need any extra
gain. The polar patterns really
lived up to the measurements
given in the handbook and
differences in directionality
between the frequencies only
begin to show above 3kHz.
CONCLUSION
I just loved this mic. The high
quality of the construction was
matched by the high quality of
the sound. Everything we
used it on sounded good,
especially vocals and this is
where I believe the LCT 940
will find most of its fans. It is
good on everything, but it
excels as a vocal mic.
The idea of having a
remote control over polar
pattern, attenuation, and
valve and/or solid state is
brilliant. It means you can be
sitting in the control room
and be able to change the
microphone according to
what you are hearing without
having to run out into the
live room to push those little
switches back and forth (by
which time, I tend to forget
what things sounded like in
the first place!)
Just flipping back and forth
between patterns and mixing
valve and FET and being able
to listen to those changes as
they take place is ideal for
recording critical vocals, or
indeed anything else where
you just need to be able to
listen to the results as changes
are made. Somebody should
have come up with this idea
ages ago. (If you do intend
having the remote in the
control room, check that the
supplied eight-metre cable is
enough you may need an
extension.)
Overall, this mic is keenly
priced, placing it at a sweet-
point where it is nose-to-nose
with some solid-state LDC
classics on the one hand and
considerably cheaper than the
better valve mics. It is however,
every bit as good as the best in
both classes a sort of two-
for-the-price-of-one!
TECHNOLOGY REVIEW Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
In a world where the word unique has lost most of its meaning, Lewitt has created
something truly special with the LCT 940, writes Andrew Graeme.
46 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Lewitt LCT 940
TUBE AND FET CONDENSER MICROPHONE
The idea of having a remote control over
polar pattern, attenuation, and valve
and/or solid state is brilliant.
Andrew Graeme
INFORMATION
Feature set
Combines the sonic characteristics of a tube and a FET
mic in one housing
Continuously variable switching and merging of tube
and FET sound
Nine directional characteristics including four
intermediate patterns remote controllable via
included PSU/control box
Four-position switchable pre-attenuation pad as well as
automatic pad function
www.lewitt-audio.com
THE REVIEWER
ANDREW GRAEME
has been in the audio
business since he was 16. He
began his first studio, music
shop, and PA company in
Germany in 1979 and
continues to have business
interests in Germany while
running The Byre recording
studio in the Scottish
Highlands.
OVER THE past couple of
years, Ive had the pleasure to
use and evaluate much of our
markets new portable PA that
falls in the full-range
1,000W/Class D category. In
doing so, Ive almost as a rule
requested 12in models from
participating manufacturers; I
find they are the most flexible
for gigging musicians and
bands (as we generally dont
know exactly what is needed
until arriving at the venue).
Matched with a powered sub,
a pair of 1,000W/Class D
mains can most often cover
any gig.
So, thanks to these high-
power/lightweight products,
the bar has been significantly
raised on my personal
benchmarks. I no longer worry
so much about whether such
speakers have enough power; I
now search for models that
provide the best overall fidelity,
with unique, job-easing
features and a build quality
that most closely resembles
touring-grade enclosures.
Having reviewed a previous
1,000W/Class D ZLX model
from Electro-Voice,
expectations were already high
for the new ZLX-12P, an
approximately 35lb powered
two-way featuring a 12in
woofer and 1.5in high-
frequency titanium
compression driver with a
frequency response of 65Hz
to 18kHz, delivering 126dB
maximum SPL. In
application, I found this ZLX
to be the best yet with
super-simple DSP built-in,
accessible from a rear panel
push/rotary knob and LCD
display, while comprehensive
I/O and build quality closely
resemble strengths within
EVs pro touring gear.
FEATURES
The ZLX-12Ps cabinet is
built of one of the best
balances of polypropylene,
steel, and rubber Ive seen in
portable PA. Angles are
bolstered by the inclusion of
smart rubber feet. Carrying
handles are well placed and
ideally shaped from an
ergonomic perspective. Plus,
the overall design is unique;
theres really nothing in the
design that says, me, too.
The units I/O includes two
Neutrik combo XLR/TRS
inputs for mic/line input with
adjacent rotary level
adjustments; an XLR output,
passing the ZLX-12Ps two-
channel mix to monitors or a
subwoofer, etc; and an aux in
0.125in TRS stereo input its
signal appears on Channel
one, summed to mono. As
such, the ZLX-12P is a great
multipurpose powered
speaker, too.
The rotary knob next to the
ZLX-12Ps LCD screen acts
as Master Volume and DSP
control. Adjustable parameters
include Mode with Live,
Speech, and Club EQ presets;
Location with Pole, Monitor,
and Bracket EQ presets;
Treble (-10dB to +10dB);
Bass (-10dB to +10dB); Sub
(a HPF with 80Hz, 100Hz,
and 120Hz settings); among a
few LCD screen contrast/
brightness adjustments. I
found both the Mode and
Location settings to be very
well chosen and employed all
successfully (except Bracket,
as I did not attempt an install
application).
Finally, the obligatory
pole-mount came with
strip-resistant brass threads,
another indication that EV
truly understands gigging
with portable PA. Too often, I
see corners cut here,
eventually resulting in
stripped threads for what may
be the most important (and
overlooked) physical feature
of portable speakers: the
quality of built-in mounting
hardware.
IN USE
I swapped the ZLX-12P pair
into my normal gig rig for a
couple of weekend club dates,
handling main monitor duties
while paired with a smallish
600W powered subwoofer a
standard Ive found works
ideally with this particular
venue and four-piece rock
band. The PA handled a
relatively low-input setup:
vocals, guitars, kick, and
snare/hi-hat mic. First
impressions came quick: in
soundcheck for the first date,
the guitarist unprompted
while standing out front
commented how full and
open the ZLX-12P pair
sounded. I agreed.
A week later, I employed a
single ZLX-12P on a very
simple singer/songwriter
coffeehouse gig, where
vocalists used only the EVs
built-in mixer with a mic (the
great feedback-resistant
Electro-Voice PL80a
supercardioid, my favourite
affordable handheld dynamic)
and a DI input. Placed
horizontal and set to the
Location: Monitor DSP
preset, the ZLX-12P
impressively served as both a
monitor and a main with a
full, small room-filling sound.
One performer sang to pre-
recorded material, thanks to
the EVs aux in feature (and
the performers iPhone). In
this application, the
ZLX-12Ps feature set
allowed it to be the only live
gear on the stage clean,
impressive, and efficient.
SUMMARY
Electro-Voice further bolsters
its reputation in the portable
PA market with these
extensions to the ZLX Series.
For the money, its hard to
beat.
TECHNOLOGY REVIEW Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
With 1,000W via Class D amplification the current standard for pro-grade full-range portable PA enclosures
EV hits the market with an impressively built and well featured 12in model, writes Strother Bullins.
48 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Electro-Voice ZLX-12P
TWO-WAY POWERED LOUDSPEAKER
INFORMATION
Feature set
12in woofer with 1.5in high-frequency titanium
compression driver
1,000W (Class D) power
126dB max SPL
65Hz-18kHz frequency range
www.electrovoice.com
THE REVIEWER
STROTHER BULLINS is the
editor of Audio Media sister
title Pro Audio Review.
In application, I found this ZLX to be the best yet
with super-simple DSP built-in, accessible
from a rear panel push/rotary knob and LCD
display, while comprehensive I/O and build
quality closely resemble strengths within EVs
pro touring gear.
Strother Bullins
INTERVIEW Sign up for your digital AM at www.audiomedia.com
50 January 2014 www.audiomedia.com
Youre a producer, songwriter, remixer,
manager, publisher, and studio owner.
Do you spend as much time as you
would like on each role?
I work with different people, so with
the publishing side I work with a girl
called Sarah Liversedge who is a full-
time publisher. Shes got a team of
people as well who do A&R and stuff
like that. Its about having support
networks around, so its not just
myself doing everything, otherwise I
think I would be dead. On the
management side, I work with Adam
Coleman. The producing I do myself,
unless I co-produce with someone
else, but it tends to be just me, and
again songwriting will be collaborative
with different people.
Which artists have been your
favourite to work with?
Its a really hard one because Ive
actually enjoyed all the experiences
with each of them. They all bring
different things to the table and thats
why I work with them. If I didnt like
them then I wouldnt do it.
Audio Media sister title Music Week
named you top producer of 2012.
Was 2013 another successful year
for you?
It was, yeah. It was awesome. I
worked with Christina Perri on her
album, which comes out later this
year. A lot of stuff I did in 2013 is
coming out this year, so I didnt really
have that much stuff out last year, but
I did a lot of work that will come out
for 2014. It was a busy year but it was
really good and Im looking forward
to getting the new stuff Ive done out
for people to hear it.
What was it like working with
songwriter and producer Ryan Tedder
on One Direction album Midnight
Memories?
It was really weird because with
technology now we never actually
met it was all done through a few
emails. I was in Amsterdam with the
boys and Ryan had done a track and
he was like could Jake do some
production stuff on it? and I was like
yeah, I can, thats fine, love to. So,
yeah, it worked out really well, and
hes a genius songwriter.
Who is in your Sticky Studios at the
moment?
Ive just finished an album with The
Original Rudeboys, an Irish band
whose first album I did, which has
been a real laugh, good fun. Im
writing with Chloe Howl, who was
nominated for the Brits Critics
Choice Award. Ive just got some
writing with a girl called Max
Marshall whos another new artist. So
a bit of writing really, and finishing
off a couple of things. One more song
with Christina Ive got to finish off,
Nina Nesbitts albums done and then
I start a new album with a guy called
Taylor Berrett.
What did you think of the BRITs
Critics Choice nominees this year?
I think Sam Smiths awesome. I think
hes got an amazing voice. Chloe
Howl again is brilliant. Ella Eyres
awesome. I think theyre really good
choices to be honest with you. I like
all three of them. There are
differences between them as well.
Theres always great new music, its
whether or not it connects with
everyone and all the rest of it.
Whats your current studio set-up?
Ive got an Avalon compressor, which
I use for pretty much all my vocals
and guitars. Ive got a Prism pre,
four-channel, which I use for my
acoustics, that mics two SE
Electronics SE4400as. Ive got a
Telefunken AK47 as my vocal mic. I
dont have a desk anymore; Ive just
got the Mackie Big Knob, which goes
down well with the girls. Ive got John
Lennons speakers. They came from
Trident Studios. And Ive got some
new Focals, the Focal Twins. Theyve
got the bass sub thats in the speaker
on the top as well.
Following his keynote at new European music industry conference Innovation in Music, Jake Young spoke
with Jake Gosling about his process and whats next for the award-winning producer.
Its about having support
networks around, so its
not just myself doing
everything otherwise I
think I would be dead.
Jake Gosling
This Life
INMUSIC13
Hosted by the University of
York and York St John
University, the first
Innovation in Music
(InMusic13), took place on
4-6 December in York,
England. Other keynote
speakers included Crispin
Murray, formerly of
Metropolis Studios, and TC Electronics Thomas Lund.
www.innovationinmusic.com