a PDF - Front of House



a PDF - Front of House
FCC May Test White Spaces Devices at Major Events
AUGUST 2008 Vol. 6 No. 11
Jim Pietryga
Festival Madness
NILES, Ill. — Several large-scale events
have offered their locations in response to
the FCC’s office of Engineering and Technology’s (OET) announcement that it will
conduct field tests of prototype White
Spaces devices.
In a letter dated July 8, Louis Libin,
president of Broad-Comm, Inc. and
chairman of POLCOMM2008, which
coordinates the wireless microphone
frequencies during the Democratic and
Republican National Conventions, wrote,
“We believe these conventions would
provide a perfect opportunity to conduct
further testing regarding the efficacy of
these devices. It would provide a real experiment during an event that employs
hundreds of wireless microphones and
Daryl Friedman, vice president, Advocacy & Government Relations for the Recording Academy (NARAS), wrote a letter
dated July 17, stating, “We firmly believe
that the Commission should move with
extreme caution before approving any
new portable device operations in the TV
Band. We would be happy to help coordinate an FCC visit to the Lollapalooza Festival
in Chicago on Aug. 1.”
continued on page 5
Heroes 2008
LAS VEGAS — In the world of pro
audio, regional soundcos are among
the hardest working people in the biz.
Often involved in a multitude of markets
(concerts, corporates, HOW) and offering
a variety of services, they work hard to
stay competitive in a hyper-competitive
market. The 2008 FOH Hometown Hero
Awards are picked from a selection
of several regions around the United
States and Canada. The regional
soundcos are both nominated and
voted on by their peers. Winners from
each region become the nominees for
the annual Hometown Hero/Regional
Sound Company of the year at the 2008
Parnelli Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.
FOH profiled each region’s winning
soundco to uncover their secrets to
success. Turn to page 32.
2008 Parnelli
Award Nominations
Now Open
It’s all about festivals in the September issue of FOH. We hit up some of the world’s largest
music festivals including Rock in Rio, Chicago’s Ravinia and Milwaukee’s Summerfest. For the
latter, we catch up with Brad Madix and Brent Carpenter on tour with Rush (pictured above).
“It’s a Miracle!”
Console Survives Lightning Strike
BALTIMORE, Md. — In an incredible feat
of resilience, 500,000 volts of electricity struck
a Soundcraft FX16 audio console during a
sideshow gone awry at the Baltimore Tattoo
Convention in Baltimore City, Md., and the
show was able to continue. Airport Circle
Sound Reinforcement, LLC was faced with an
unexpected bolt of lightning that discharged
from a performer’s Tesla Coil into the Soundcraft mixer.
After destroying the preamps of the mic
channels that were attached and all the mi-
crophones that were in use, Executive Engineer for Airport Circle Sound, Nik Salvo was
able to use the remaining channels of the
sound console and continue with two more
days of performances.
The first night took an unexpected turn
as the machine discharged when someone
mistakenly plugged it in back stage. Lighting
bolts immediately shot from the coil to the
sound and lighting systems, rendering most
of the system inoperable, yet the sound console survived.
LAS VEGAS — Nominations for the
2008 Parnelli Awards are now being
accepted at www.parnelliawards.
com/nominate. Since 2001, the Parnelli award has recognized pioneering and influential individuals and
their contributions to the live event
industry, honoring both individuals
and companies. Nominees are being
accepted for all categories, including
FOH Mixer, Monitor Mixer and Sound
Much more than just being about
the person who gets the great gig and
pulls it off flawlessly, a Parnelli award
is also about moving our industry
forward with the same qualities that
defined the person after whom it is
named. Named after Rick “Parnelli”
O’Brien, an extraordinary production
manager and human being, the award
is given to those who, like O’Brien, exemplify the “four Hs”: humanity, humility, honesty and humor. continued on page 6
Production Profile
Eighth Day and Wigwam provide
the punch for George Michael’s U.S.
swan song.
Road Tests
We check out the Peavey Versarray,
JLH AxeTrak and Waves MaxxBCL
The trials and tribulations of a true
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2008, Vol. 6.11
What’s hot
18 FOH Interview
31 The Bleeding Edge
24 Buyers Guide
37 Sound Sanctuary
FOH kicks it with Slamhammer Sound during
Boston and Styx’s co-headlining summer tour.
David Lawler and Craig Doubet are audio
installers for two houses of worship by day,
FOH mixers by night.
Time to get personal with perhaps the most
subjective piece of gear out there. Personal
monitor earpieces, that is.
Perfecting the sound of the pastor, choir or
worship band.
38 Anklebiters
26 Road Tests
We take the Peavey Versarray, Waves MaxxBCL
and JLH AxeTrak out for a test drive.
28 Vital Stats
Thermal Relief Design’s motto is to relentlessly
chase perfection, and in the process, achieve
Production Profile
What’s hot
30 Welcome To My Nightmare
The trials and tribulations of a true anklebiter.
40 Theory and Practice
More than just a courtesy, zeroing out a console should be a routine practice every gig.
40 The Biz
The install and live sound markets are ready
“to make beautiful music together.”
44 FOH-at-Large
Anklebiter or stuntman? You decide.
32 Hometown Heroes 2008
Make some room for acoustic room correction
You voted for ‘em… now learn the secrets to
their success. We profile the regional winners
of the FOH Hometown Hero Awards.
With constant demands all day long, it’s time
to ask yourself, “Hey, what about me?”
4 Editor’s Note
5 News
12 International News
13 On the Move
14 New Gear
16 Showtime
30 In the Trenches
Eighth Day and Wigwam provide the punch for
George Michael’s U.S. swan song.
Relieving The Strain
I just read your article on distro taps in the April issue of FOH. (Yes, I’m WAY behind on my reading!) When
you describe using the strain relief for the knock-out
holes, I got to wondering: That makes sense for a surface-mounted panel, but what about a flush-mounted
(inside the wall) sub panel? How do you pass your
cables into the box? Do you leave the cover off of the
sub panel? Replace the top screws loosely and leave
enough of a gap at the bottom for the cables to pass
through? How do you handle strain relief in such a case,
or do you simply not use flush mounted panels?
I also noted your comments about the bowling alley/nightclub. You mention having to squeeze your
hand between the vending machine and the breaker
box in order to flip the main breaker. Unless I’m sadly
mistaken, that is illegal and I’m surprised the fire marshal hasn’t jumped on the venue for that. My understanding is that the area around any breaker box must
be kept clear at all times. That vending machine should
NOT be there!
Bruce Purdy
Technical Director
The Smith Opera House
Hello Bruce,
On the few flush-mount panels I do have to do taps
into, the common lockout/tagout procedures have to be
abided by as much as I can, but within practical excep-
tions. Some form of temporary strain relief is what I attempt, even if is done using gaffer’s tape on a nearby
mechanical feature. Also, I leave an extra coil or two of
feeder just in case someone does trip into the feeders
on the ground. The most important aspect is just keep a
vigilent eye on the panel at all times. Thankfully, many of
these flush-mount panels are near the performance stage
and under constant scrutiny.
On the bowling alley vending machine/breaker panel
debacle, yes, it probably does not meet NFPA electrical
codes because if I can not get my face near the panel it
would be tough to read and shutdown circuits in an emergency. The question I have is how often do fire marshals
visit these businesses, and is it even on their list of things
to check on? Maybe the vending machines were missing
or located further away during the last inspection.
Mark Amundson
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Editor’s Note
By BillEvans
Here’s a Nod to the Unsung
Terry Lowe
[email protected]
o, it’s a Friday late afternoon and
I am trying like hell to get access
to the Journey/Heart/Cheap Trick
show in town. I figured we already had
interviews with the crews for Boston
and Styx in the can and we could do a
real classic rock extravaganza. But, of
course, me being me, I was trying to
do this at about 4:30 p.m. on show day.
A couple of friends in the biz with ties
ever coined. They did their first record in ’64, and by the time you read
this the Foo Fighters should have released a new single that the Zombies
first did in ’68. I left wondering how I
could have missed out on all but the
big hits from a band like this and thinking about how little credit they get
for all of the influence they have had
over the years.
I have yet to meet an FOH engineer who
has not told me how important his system
engineer is or how he could never do his
job without the work and expertise of the
person filling that seat.
to a couple of the acts tried mightily (a
big tip of the hat to Dave Shadoan and
Greg DeTogne), but it was just too late
to make it happen.
It was looking like a night at home
until the phone rang. It was my good
friend Dave Tenant from the Cannery
in North Las Vegas asking me if I wanted to come out to see a show. They
were doing a ”British Invasion” weekend and had the Zombies that night.
I agreed to come out mostly because I
wanted something to do and because
the group included two original members, one of which was Rod Argent,
who is one of the baddest organ players ever.
As I watched the show — which
was great BT W — I could not help but
think that I never knew how influential this band had been on other better-known artists. And not just pop or
rock. The Zombies, I figured out that
night, were prog before that term was
As is typical, that led me down
other paths, and I have been thinking
a lot about the “unsung” — the folks
who are crucial to a show, company or
other endeavor and who never seem
to get the credit for it.
Some regional sound companies
who fall into that generally unsung
category get their props in this issue
as we announce the winners of the annual Hometown Heroes awards. Seven
companies from six areas of the U.S.
and Canada (yes, we had an actual
tie this year), some of which you may
know and others you don’t who were
nominated and voted on by a jury of
their peers (that would be you and
your fellow FOH readers). These folks
will go on to be the nominees for the
big Hometown Hero/Regional Soundco of the Year award at the Parnellis in
They all share a few things in common: They do not fear or shrink away
from hard work and are all creative
enough to make the gig happen no
matter how difficult/demanding/insane the promoter/producer/venue
manager is, and gauge their success by
how happy the client is at the end of
the day. I don’t know all of these companies well, but the ones I do know
have little patience for anyone who is
not willing to go the extra two or three
miles to make the gig work.
If you share their core values of
hard work well done, and you know
what you are doing, they are great to
work for. If, however, you are whiny,
lazy, in the way and unable to look at
the gig through any lens other than
the one defined by your own narrow
field of expertise… Well, actually if
you are all of those things we would
call you a “squint.” But, if you are any of
them you will have a hard time making
it with any of our Hometown Heroes.
As long as we are on the subject of
unsung, nominations for the annual
Parnelli Awards are open as we speak
and we just made an important change. Last year, we added the category
of Sound Designer, and it just does
not feel right. There are not enough of
them and the top three or four get all
of the work anyway. But there is a guy
on every gig I cover who does his job
without fanfare, and I have yet to meet
an FOH engineer who has not told me
how important his system engineer
is or how he could never do his job
without the work and expertise of the
person filling that seat.
So, as of right now, the field for
Sound Designer on the Parnelli nomination site has morphed into System Engineer. Another group of unsung heroes
gets its due. It’s a good day…
Bill Evans
[email protected]fohonline.com
Managing Editor
Breanne George
[email protected]
Technical Editor
Mark Amundson
[email protected]
Senior Writer
Kevin M. Mitchell
Contributing Writers
Jerry Cobb, Dan Daley,
Jamie Rio, Steve LaCerra,
David John Farinella, Ted Leamy,
Baker Lee, Bryan Reesman,
Tony Mah, Ken Rengering
Steve Jennings
Art Director
Garret Petrov
[email protected]
Production Manager
Linda Evans
[email protected]
Graphic Designers
Crystal Franklin
[email protected]
David Alan
[email protected]
Web Master
Josh Harris
[email protected]
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Dan Hernandez
[email protected]
National Advertising Director
Gregory Gallardo
[email protected]
General Manager
William Hamilton Vanyo
[email protected]
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FCC May Test White Spaces
Devices at Major Events
continued from cover
Most recently, Don Lepore, producer
of NBC’s hit television show Nashville
Star, expressed his concern regarding
new devices in the White Spaces and
invited the OET to come to Nashville,
writing, “To put it in its simplest form,
the perception that there is significant
fallow ‘white spaces’ in cities like Nashville is just wrong. Nashville Star wants to
extend its expertise and facilities to the
Commission as it sets forth to execute
the Commission’s testing plans at an entertainment venue.”
The FCC recently began field-testing, which is open to the public and will
take place over a four-week period with
specific dates, times and locations being
updated regularly at www.fcc.gov/oet/
“We’re pleased to see this response
from the Recording Academy, POLCOMM
and the producers of Nashville Star,
and we hope that the Commission
will consider taking them up on their
offers,” said Mark Brunner, Shure senior
director of Public and Industry Relations.
“There simply is no substitute for these
types of ‘real world’ scenarios for the
OET to conduct its field tests in order
to determine what will be required to
protect wireless microphones used in
high-profile applications.”
Training Opportunities Available
MUSKEGON, Mich. — Training opportunities
are taking place across the U.S. for sound
designers, techs and mixers of all skill levels,
including the Worship Arts Technology Summit
and training seminars for L-ACOUSTICS’ DOSC
A first-of-its-kind training opportunity is
open to all church technicians and musicians
seeking in-depth technology training available
in the areas of audio, musicianship, lighting,
recording and media presentation. The Worship
Arts Technology Summit will be held Sept.14 to
18 in Muskegon, Mich. All skill levels are welcome,
as the training will be presented in structured
technology tracks allowing attendees to begin
with the basics and build upon them with a
series of increasingly advanced class offerings.
Hosted by Shure, Yamaha Commercial
Audio Systems, Inc., Yamaha Corporation of
America and Martin Professional, the event will
be held at the Maranatha Bible and Missionary
Conference Center on the shores of Lake
Michigan. On hand will be Summit sponsor
pro audio experts along with leading worship
musicians and sound and lighting professionals.
In-depth three-day tracks will include Audio,
Musician, Lighting and Media.
Given the “total system approach” brought
about by the debut of the LA4 and LA8,
L-ACOUSTICS has revised its DOSC systems
training seminars to incorporate the new
amplified controller system architecture.
Designed for L-ACOUSTICS systems owners
as well as technicians, mixing engineers
and sound designers using the products,
two summer sessions will be presented at
L-ACOUSTICS US in Oxnard, Calif. — one
focusing on KUDO-based systems, held July
23 and 24, and the other dealing with V-DOSC
scheduled for Aug. 26 and 27.
The new 2008 summer seminars offer
a blend of theoretical knowledge and field
procedures in order to operate and optimize
WST-based systems in a safe and controlled
environment. System seminars can be extended
to a third day — July 25 and Aug. 28 —
dedicated to the manufacturer’s SOUNDVISION
3D acoustical modeling software.
PRG Purchases
Hi-Tech Rentals
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NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. — Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG) Chairman and CEO
Jere Harris has announced that the company
has purchased Hi-Tech Rentals, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, with additional facilities in Orlando and Las Vegas, Hi-Tech
supplies audio, video, lighting and related
services for trade shows, corporate meetings
and other events. “Hi-Tech has built an outstanding reputation, a solid inventory and a
strong customer base in these growing market segments,” says Harris. “They will be an excellent fit with our other capabilities and markets, and we expect them to be an important
part of our company going forward.”
“PRG is the gold standard in the entertainment technology industry and we are excited about helping the company expand its
presence throughout those markets where
Hi-Tech is well-known and respected,” said Al
Dyess, president, Hi-Tech. “Hi-Tech has built a
solid reputation for outstanding service and
innovative solutions for our customers over
the last 20 years. The marriage of PRG and HiTech will only serve to enhance that experience for our current customer base as well as
those customers we hope to work with in the
future,” he added. Dyess will continue to oversee the Hi-Tech operations.
Hi-Tech will continue to operate out of its
Atlanta office and warehouse, which will become a key depot for PRG’s products and services. “The Hi-Tech team is very excited about
this transaction,” observed Dyess. “We are all
very aware of PRG’s market-leading positions
in a variety of entertainment categories and
it’s clear to us that PRG values their people
and understands that while the technology
is a “must have,” the people ultimately make
the difference.”
SIA Acoustics Expands with West Coast Office
LOS ANGELES — SIA Acoustics LLC, an
acoustical design firm based in New York
City, now spans both coasts with the opening of a new office near Hollywood, Calif.
“Our West Coast expansion is the next
step to allow us to better serve our music, film and architectural clients on the
West Coast,” states Sam Berkow, founder
and partner of SIA Acoustics, who will be
managing the Los Angeles office. Partner
Steve Sockey will manage the New York
City office.
Recent projects include acoustical
design and consulting for The Pearl at
the Palms Hotel and Casino, The Clive
Davis Department of Record Music at
New York University, The Botnick Mixing Facility, and special events at Madison Square Park, Lincoln Center’s New
York State Theatre and the Esplanade
Theaters On The Bay in Singapore. Other notable clients have included Hollywood Bowl, the Grand Ole Opry,
AirShow Mastering, Sound Stages at
Paramount Studio, Faith Community
Church and many others.
Berkow and Sockey believe that the
expansion of SIA Acoustics benefits both
existing and new clients. “By having staff
on both coasts, we will be able to respond
even more quickly and reduce travel time
to reach our clients,” states Sockey.
Radiohead Storms the Globe Three 6 Mafia Amplified at Miami Nightclub
Radiohead in concert
OXNARD, Calif. — Radiohead, a longtime
L-ACOUSTICS user, has returned to the road
this summer in support of its latest album, In
Rainbows. Firehouse Productions of Red Hook,
N.Y., is serving as the sound provider for the U.S.
tour legs, with Wigwam Acoustics of Heywood
(Manchester), UK handling the European dates.
The tour’s FOH loudspeaker configuration, designed by freelance system engineer
and L-ACOUSTICS-certified V-DOSC engineer
Sherif el Barbari, features left and right arrays
each comprised of 15 V-DOSC cabinets with
three dV-DOSC hung below for front-fill. These
loudspeakers are complemented by two additional arrays of 14 V-DOSC plus three dV-DOSC
to address both the far left and right seating
areas. For low-end punch, the system features
32 SB28 subwoofer enclosures, all driven by LACOUSTICS LA8 amplified controllers.
“With the exception of two shows at
Bercy in Paris, all of the concerts are outdoor shows — stadiums, sheds, green fields
or amphitheaters, which make the sound
design very challenging,” notes el Barbari.
“However, I am impressed by the power of
the 32 L-ACOUSTICS SB28 subwoofers driven
by LA8. We have also used the SB28 in cardioid configuration on several shows now
and the results are impressive.”
Jim Warren, Radiohead’s FOH engineer
from day one, adds, “I still sometimes find
myself going to switch off my nearfield
monitors in an arena show, only to find that
they are off already. The clarity and precision of the V-DOSC system continues to surprise me even after 10 years of using them
in just about every live sound environment
there is.”
MIAMI — Three 6 Mafia performed at the
Miami club Sobe Live to promote the group’s
new CD "Last 2 Walk." Production company,
Drummer Boy Sound, which does sound for
Sobe Live, was in charge of the sound with
Harold Cummings of Drummer Boy (FOH/
monitors) and Michael Foster, Three 6's engineer handling the audio chores.
The club's in-house system includes
Martin Audio amplification and an LE1200
stage monitor, along with a Dynacord Alpha
system, four flown top cabinets, four dual
18” subs and Crown Macro-tech 3600 and
5000vz amps. Drummer
Boy Sound supplied a APBDynaSonics H1020 mixing console, Klark Teknik
DN-370 EQ (house), Klark
Teknik Square One EQ
(monitors), and Shure UHFR/Beta 58A wireless mics.
According to Cummings, "The Artist Rider
requested high-powered
stage monitors and Mar- Sobe Live nightclub
2008 Parnelli Award
Nominations Now Open
Emerging Artists
Part of the prestige of the Parnellis lies on
their foundation as a peer-recognized award.
To win a Parnelli, a person or firm is first nominated by their peers. Their peers then vote on
these nominees and a winner is declared at the
Parnelli Awards ceremony. The ceremony will
take place this year at the Rio All Suite Hotel &
Casino in Las Vegas on Friday, Oct. 24. For more
info, visit www.parnelliawards.com.
IRVINE, Calif. — Ultimate Ears has announced that it is reducing the price of the
company’s dual-driver UE-5 Pro to better
accommodate a larger user base within the
emerging artist community.
The custom-fit UE-5 Pro, now available for
only $600 — a $100 price reduction — is the
original dual-driver personal monitor with a
two-speaker design and passive noise cancellation. The low- and high-frequency speakers
in each ear deliver a clear sound experience
for live stage performance, recording or personal listening.
“We believe that this significant price
reduction will allow budget conscience customers to gain access to a fully customized
in-ear-monitor with a detachable cable,” said
Mindy Harvey, president and co-founder of
Ultimate Ears. “In the past, custom sleeves
were an acceptable alternative to Ultimate
Ears’ custom-fit products, but they are problematic and can significantly alter the audio
signature of the product they are placed
upon. Now we can offer a much better value
for customers seeking a totally integrated
custom-fit earpiece.”
Each pair is handcrafted from ear impressions made by a professional audiologist or hearing aid center. The earphones
are available in any color with a choice of
detachable cables and can be customized
with personal artwork or “tattoos” to show
off individual style.
The first Ultimate Ears earphones were
born out of a special request from Alex Van
Halen, founder of Van Halen. The company
boasts major clients, including The Eagles,
Metallica, Madonna and Gwen Stefani.
continued from cover
Consoles Meet Tough Criteria for Keith Urban Tour
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Clair Showco
of Lititz, Pa., recently provided a Studer
Vista 5 SR console for country music star
Keith Urban’s U.S. tour. The multi-city tour
featured Studer Vista 5 SR digital audio
consoles in use for both FOH and monitor
mixing applications.
The Studer Vista 5 SR was chosen
by Urban’s mixing engineers who went
through a vigorous evaluation process
prior to the selection of the console, but
chose the Studer after it met all required
criteria: sound quality, flexibility, ease-ofuse and reliability.
FOH engineer Steve Law and monitor
mixing engineer Jason Spence evaluated
numerous brands of sound consoles before the tour. Spence noted he had never
felt as comfortable with a new desk as he
did during the week he was trying out the
Studer Vista 5 SR.
“When choosing a console, I have
three criteria,” said Spence. “It has to
sound good to the artist on stage. If it
tin Audio’s LE1200 were perfect due to the
small stage size but high levels needed for
the concert. The was a rap show with an
internationally known rap group, and the
stage monitors were so important."
Cummings concludes, "Michael had
never heard the Martin Audio LE1200 monitors before, but told me they sounded amazing. He went on to say that on the current
tour we were the first production company
to get the stage sound and mic levels right
and so quickly. He was impressed by the
LE1200 and wants to use them again.”
Additionally, Crown Macro-Tech 3600
doesn’t, there’s not much point in continuing. Second, I have to be able to get amps and a Lexicon M480L Reverb Efaround it quickly. With the ‘inline design’ fects Processor were in use as part of Clair
of the input and output strips, the Vista Showco’s custom JBL-loaded loudspeaker
5 SR feels very ‘analog.’ I’m able to have system for the Keith Urban tour.
control and access
to all the parameters at my fingertips. There are not
to plow through
to gain control of
par ticular
it needs to be
reliable and not
crash. It seems
that with other
brands, I could
get one, maybe
two of my criteria met; however
with the Studer, I
Keith Urban’s FOH engineer Steve Law and monitor engineer Jason Spence with the Studer
got all three.”
Vista 5 console
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Queen Victoria Ocean Liner Sets Sail
DALY CITY, Calif. — Two Digidesign VENUE live sound
systems set sail recently on Cunard’s newest state-of-the-art
international vessel, the Queen Victoria. The majestic ocean
liner’s 12 decks offer some of the most luxurious and modern accoutrements on water including a grand, multilevel
lobby, casino, restaurants and two theaters.
Nautilus Entertainment Design Inc. of San Diego provided the audio and video designs for the ship’s 30 individual
entertainment venues, which range from intimate lounges,
fitness centers and recreational areas to the palatial Royal
Court Theatre and Queens Room ballroom. The theater and
ballroom are each outfitted with high-tech sound systems
that feature a Digidesign VENUE system.
As Nautilus’ Principal Sound Designer Alan Edwards
explains, dependability was a key factor in choosing the
VENUE systems: “Reliability is a key component to any installation, but even more so for one that is in the middle of the
ocean. In the unlikely event that something does go down
at sea, you can’t just call the local technical shop for a repair.
With the VENUE, it’s as simple as swapping out a component. VENUE gives us the confidence that the show will go
on every night.”
The Royal Court Theatre is outfitted with a 96-channel D-Show system comprised of a D-Show Main unit,
two D-show Sidecars and a sliding script tray. In addition,
the system features two 48 input stage racks, a FOH Rack
with five DSP Mix Engine cards and additional option
cards that provide FireWire interface to Pro Tools LE for
recording and playback and Ethernet connection for remote control of the system. This large setup handles 72
analog/24 digital inputs and 32 analog/64 digital outputs.
The Queens Room features a smaller D-Show Profile system with similar options to manage 48 analog inputs and
16 analog/16 digital output channels.
“These rooms are used for multiple events, from production shows to lectures, and they’re always busy,” Edwards explains. “The engineers typically have less than
an hour between shows to do a changeover, and that’s
pretty much impossible with an analog desk. VENUE’s
snapshot automation gives the engineer the freedom to
concentrate on the quality of the mix, rather than worrying about what cue has to happen next. And it’s such an
intuitive interface, which really streamlines the workflow.
In a busy live situation, that’s invaluable.”
Digidesign VENUE on the high seas
Theatre Relives the Golden Age
of Vaudeville
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MIDLAND, Texas — Built in 1929 and designated a Texas State Historical Landmark,
the Yucca Theatre in Midland, Texas is home
to the Midland Community Theatre and its
“Summer Mummers,” a locally produced and
written show that harks back to the golden
age of Vaudeville.
The Yucca’s new Electro-Voice XLCi 127DVX
sound system ensures this unique production
sounds better than ever for its 60th anniversary
in 2008. The EV system was designed by FitzCo
Sound, Inc. (Midland, Texas) and installed by
Midland Community Theatre personnel (supervised by Technical Director/Sound & Lighting Designer Eddie Taylor).
The show comprises a “Melodrama” interspersed with “Moviola” segments, with
the second half of the evening featuring
a rapid-fire set of skits known as the “Olio.”
Boisterous crowds are the norm, with popcorn-throwing encouraged; for that reason,
a relatively powerful sound system was necessary to ensure intelligibility — especially
for the snappy dialog that drives the show
— over the noise of the audience.
It was also essential that the audio
equipment be as unobtrusive as possible
with regard to the theatre’s historic Assyrian-style interior. System Designer Milt
Hathaway of FitzCo Sound described the
Electro-Voice solution:
“The system was designed for greatest
gain-before-feedback while staying within
the budget of a community theatre. It has
a central array of seven XLCi 127DVX boxes,
with a delay ring of seven ZX1i compact
loudspeakers to cover the under-balcony
area. Power is provided by six P3000RL remote control amplifiers running IRIS-Net
control and supervision software (via a UCC1
USB to CAN-bus interface).
While the design may appear to be overkill for a house that only seats 550, the system had to be capable of reproducing intelligible speech at sound levels high enough to
be heard over the typically raucous crowds
that come to Summer Mummers performances every summer. The precise pattern
control of the XLCi line array allowed us to
achieve this while mic’ing the performers
with nothing more than three floor mics and
two overhead mics. And I can’t say enough
about how easily the ZX1i cabinets installed
and how great they sound.”
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Yucca Theatre in Midland, Texas
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Shure Podcasts Cover Fundamentals of Wired and Wireless Mics
NILES, Ill. — Shure Incorporated has
posted several new educational podcasts, called Shurecasts, on the company’s Web site (www.shure.com/proaudio) and on iTunes that cover the basics
of wired and wireless microphones.
Topics include Transducers, Frequency
Response and Directionality for wired
microphones, and Choosing the Right
System, Frequency Selection and Antennas for wireless microphones.
“These are just a handful in a series of
podcasts we’ve already created and are
continuing to produce as part of our overall
education program,” said Chris Lyons, manager of Technical and Educational Communications for Shure. “For years, we’ve had
an extensive library of educational book-
lets and articles available on our Web site,
which have been very popular. The nice
thing about our podcasts is their portability
because they can be played on any digital
music player or computer.”
Other Shurecasts that are currently
available cover a variety of audio topics
including Sound Isolating Earphones,
Stereo Miking Techniques, the SM57 and
SM58 microphones, and White Spaces.
Each episode includes a brief introduction
to a particular segment of audio technology, such as microphones, earphones and
audible demonstrations.
Additional Shurecasts will be released
on a regular basis, approximately one per
month, and some episodes will include interviews with artists and engineers.
Steerable Line Arrays
The Big Guns in sound reinforcement that fight
against blurred speech are steerable arrays, loudspeakers whose output may be beamed at a specific
area of an audience. Much like a line array is to music,
there are several goals to a steerable loudspeaker array. (1)
Make sure that the listener hears audio from only one cabinet at
any time, (2) control the speaker’s dispersion so as to not increase reverberant reflections, and (3) ascertain that audio from
two different arrays will not sum or cancel and create phase issues.
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— From Steve La Cerra’s “Bleeding Edge“ column in the
March issue of FOH.
Brought to you by Martin Professional
Golf Sponsors
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International News
Church Becomes Envy of Live Music Venues
ENGLAND — In September 2006, Peterborough Community Church opened a new
80,000-sq.-ft. building in the Cambridgeshire
city it is named after. With a technical specification that would be the envy of many large
theatres and live music venues, the inclusion
of DiGiCo D5 and D1 consoles demonstrated
that the church was committed to the future.
Twenty months later, the building has a new
name — KingsGate Community Church —
and its technical team has had many months
of using the DiGiCo consoles.
“When specifying the system, our intention was to make it easy for people to understand the church’s message, for it to be simple
for them to join in and to feel part of it. Great
sound and great vision are all part of that,” says
KingsGate Technical Director Pete Charlton.
“The truth is that every time I finish an event,
it’s been great. The technical side has been so
smooth and the DiGiCo consoles play a huge
part in that. I’m still continually impressed with
the technical facilities we have.”
The church has a team of eight sound
operators. All are volunteers and none has
any pro audio experience, but despite the ini-
tial learning curve being steep, the intuitive
DiGiCo user interface ensured that they were
quickly up to speed.
“It was a huge leap for them to go from a
standard analog console, which we were using before, to a much more complex system,”
says Charlton. “But the consoles helped them
grasp the basic concepts very quickly, which
make services and the other events we host
run very smoothly.
Music is a fundamental part of KingsGate
services, with two bands performing on alternate weeks, so the console’s snapshots facility is
becoming increasingly important.
“Having set up basic mixes for each
band, each week that particular band is playing, we build on the mix, tweaking it, getting
better as time goes on. We’re using the consoles to build and improve the sound all the
time,” says Pete.
“We also have three or four big events
each year, where we have guest worship leaders and musical performers,” he continues. “At
those events there are four major services over
a weekend and our aim is to repeat the production as close to the rehearsals as possible.
NEXO GEO T Arrives In Israel
ISRAEL — The first NEXO GEO T line
array system has arrived in Israel, purchased by rental company Sincopa, one
of the country’s largest PA providers for
entertainment events.
NEXO distributor A.B. Noam Electronics Ltd has delivered to Sincopa a 24-module GEO T array system with 12 CD18 subbass units, NX242-ES4 digital processors
and a full complement of CAMCO Vortex
6 amplifiers. It is a system intended to appeal to Israel’s biggest promoters and productions, especially in rock music circles.
Although the company already keeps
line array systems in inventory, as well as
NEXO’s Alpha E and PS Series models, the
acquisition of NEXO’s system promises
more power and higher quality, especially
in the festival environment.
“Sincopa liked the crisp sound of
GEO T and its optimization for rock music,” says Asaf Tzur from A.B. Noam Electronics. “Already there’s a huge buzz
about the system and Sincopa is taking
a lot of bookings. Artists, engineers —
everyone wants to try it.”
Bertrand Pelloquin from French PA
company Melpomen and Asaf Tzur were
on hand to help set up the full system
for its debut show, a massive outdoor
concert to mark Jerusalem Day celebrations. Staged in Jerusalem’s Independence Park (Gan Ha’atzmaut), the city’s
celebration was combined with Hebrew
University’s action-packed Student
Day, and started with an all-nighter or
“laila lavan.” Festivities included a huge
concert featuring many of Israel’s A-list
rock acts, such as Berry Sakharof, Hadag
Nachash, Hacheverim Shel Natasha and
Shlomi Shaban.
Attended by more than 10,000 people, the show was a success for Sincopa
and its new technology. Asaf Tzur took
the opportunity to train Sincopa engineers in NEXO’s proprietary GeoSoft program, designing the show from scratch
because very few concerts are staged in
Independence Park. “Although they were
100 meters away from the system, we
could still hear the reflections from the
nearest buildings,” reports Tzur.
KingsGate Church
“To achieve that we use AV Stumpfl Wings
Platinum media control software. It runs
SMPTE timecode and sends Midi Machine
Control (MMC) messages to fire snapshots
on the DiGiCo consoles, which ensure that all
setting changes for the audio and visuals are
perfectly in synchronization.
“The DiGiCo consoles work just like
I wanted them to. They get a lot of use,
but they don’t glitch or fall over. They are
able to do everything we want and more.
And, in addition, we know that they are a
sound long-term investment.”
Kylie Has Europe On Its Feet
Because the massive production utilizes
UNITED KINGDOM — Australian pop diva
Kylie Minogue has launched a three-month the entire stage as a visual backdrop, a center
European tour, “KYLIEX2008,” bringing a killer hang of six M’elodie line array loudspeakers
new band, spectacular costumes by Jean is used instead of frontfill loudspeakers. More
Paul Gaultier, and state-of-the-art sound. M’elodies are placed on the ground to balUK-based Capital Sound has once again de- ance the imaging.
“With the M’elodies’ great output and
signed and supplied a powerful Meyer Sound
rig for Minogue’s tour, based around left and focus, we’ve been able to cover the front
right hangs of 14 MILO and two MILO 120 line rows with only six cabinets,” says Timmins.
“We’re able to do so without interfering with
array loudspeakers each.
For some of the larger arenas, such as sightlines.” Three more M’elodies per side
Manchester’s Evening News Arena and Lon- are used for outfills. A Galileo loudspeaker
don’s O2, two additional side arrays of 12 management system with three Galileo 616
MICA line array loudspeakers augment the units handles system drive and DSP.
system. Low end is covered
by a combination of six flown
600-HP subwoofers per side,
along with eight 700-HP
subwoofers per side on the
ground. “Chris Pyne (FOH
engineer) wanted a powerful but present low end,
with both power and attack.
Therefore, we suggested the
600-HP and 700-HP together
as an ideal combination to
achieve that,” explains Paul
Timmins, Capital Sound’s
project manager.
KYLIEX2008 European tour
2008 Olympic Games Kick Off in Beijing
NEXO GEO T debuted at the Jerusalem Day celebration
BEIJING — For the opening and closing ceremonies at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,
Soundcraft Vi6 digital consoles are part of a large Harman-based system. A Soundcraft Vi6
is at the heart of the system in the National Aquatics Centre. Two Soundcraft Vi4s are
installed at the National Olympic Conference Centre, and numerous Soundcraft analog
mixers ranging from CompAct
mixers up to MH4s are installed
in Olympic venues such as the
Fengtai Softball Field, Chang
Ping Indoor Stadium, Olympic
Sports Centre Gymnasium, Beijing Foreign Language University Stadium, Ditan Park Indoor
Stadium, Shanghai 80k Stadium,
Hong Kong Equestrian Venues
and the Honk Kong Olympic
Soundcraft Vi6 digital console
House Conference Room.
On the Move
has appointed Dan
Pelletier to the position of audio solutions specialist. As
part of A-T’s Audio
Department, Pelletier joins
the team in responding to the informational needs of Au- Dan Pelletier
dio-Technica’s customers seeking technical
or product advice and application assistance.
In his new position, Pelletier will provide creative solutions and offer technical expertise
for Audio-Technica’s staff, reps, dealers and
Pelletier is a recent college graduate with
a degree in Recording Arts and Technology.
He joined the A-T team as an intern in June of
2007 and was appointed audio solutions specialist in November 2007. Before joining A-T,
he served as a recording engineer intern at
Cleveland’s Ante Up Audio recording studio
and FOH and recording engineer for Broadview Heights, Ohio’s Sevenoseven young
adult worship organization. Additionally, Pelletier is a drummer, guitarist and songwriter.
Meyer Sound Germany has appointed
Lothar Weimann as regional sales manager. In
this position, Weimann will be working with
clients throughout the southern and eastern
parts of Germany.
Bringing more than 25 years of experience in professional audio, Weimann has held
sales and marketing positions at Frankfurtbased ProAudio Marketing GMBH for brands
such as QSC. During the last three years, Weimann served as the registered manager of
the German branch of Spanish loudspeaker
manufacturer D.A.S. Audio.
Powersoft Advanced Technologies
LLC, has moved to new headquarters in
Pompton Plains, N.J., as part of a company expansion. Powersoft will be enter-
ing into a landlord-tenant agreement with
B&C Speakers, also based in Florence, Italy.
This new arrangement will alleviate language issues and create a culture that will
both smooth the transition for Powersoft
and optimize its effectiveness in the North
American market.
Heading up Powersoft in the U.S. is Tom
Bensen, vice president and director of U.S.
Operations, who has played a key role in the
brand’s acceptance by leading installation
and live production companies in the U.S.
The Stanton Group has announce the addition of Chris Penney as UK product specialist for Stanton DJ and Cerwin Vega. Based in
Southampton, UK, Penney’s primary responsibilities will include product training, store
demonstrations and
being the technical
information source
for all Stanton Group
The hiring of
Penney to the management team will
help increase Stanton’s support to their
dealers, directly im- Chris Penney
pacting the effectiveness of Cerwin Vega! and
Stanton DJ sales efforts. In addition to the
new position, Stanton UK will increase their
presence by adding an additional warehouse
in Southampton. The facility will be used for
storing training, demonstration and marketing materials and stock.
AV Concepts has announced that Charlaine Caley has joined the company as an
account executive at the SDCC. She will be
teaming with Richard Hancock, who was recently promoted to director of Sales for AudioVisual Services at the SDCC. Caley comes to
AV Concepts with over 18 years of experience
in the audio-visual and hospitality industries
and has established a history in audio-visual
sales and management. Caley’s experience in
audio-visual production and strong industry
reputation further strengthens the AV Concepts’ team at the SDCC.
Productions has appointed Jason Alt as
account executive,
Touring and Event
Services. Jason has
an extensive touring
background where
his audio mixing
skills has been put
Jason Alt
into use. He has also
provided audio, lighting and video services to the touring, corporate and special event
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Meyer Sound
has appointed Kasi
Miller to the position
of public relations associate, supporting
the efforts to create
greater visibility of
the company’s products and their applications worldwide.
Previously serv- Kasi Miller
ing as marketing coordinator at Meyer
headquarters, Miller
will use her knowledge of the company
and the industry in
her new position in
the public relations
department. Miller
served in several Lothar Weimann
marketing communications roles in the book
publishing industry prior to joining Meyer
New Gear
AKG D7 Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Invisible Waves IW1800
AKG Acoustics introduces the D7 vocal microphone for live sound applications. AKG`s newest dynamic microphone features a humbucking coil that reduces electrical interference and stage feedback. The D7 also features an integrated high-pass filter that cuts out low frequencies, eliminates handling noise
and provides audio clarity. The D7 delivers high-end sonic performance with its
new Laminated Varimotion diaphragm. This design allows the diaphragm to be
fine-tuned without extra tuning resonators. The D7 response evokes the subtle,
open sound of a condenser microphone, while maintaining the rugged reliability
of a dynamic microphone. The D7 comes complete with a carrying case, mounting clamp and replacement windscreen. Two additional models are also available:
the D7-S, which features an on/off switch; and the D7-WL1 microphone capsule
for use with AKG wireless systems.
Checkers Guard Dog
The Invisible Waves series of PC-based RF spectrum
analyzers are touted as the world’s first, PC-based RF spectrum analyzers, which offer automatic charting of open
white space (open RF frequency) for use with wireless microphones, in-ear monitors, remote control, etc. The Invisible Waves model IW1800 covers the frequency span of 100
KHz to 1.8 GHz. Resolution bandwidth (RBW) is 1 KHz with a typical sensitivity of -120 dbm. The
Invisible Waves (IW) analyzers feature an Automatic White Space Finder that identifies all open RF
space within a user-defined range. The White Space Finder graphically depicts the ideal frequency positioning of transmitters within the given open space. The Priority Monitored Frequencies
feature allows the user to select up to 10 different frequencies, monitored in a colored barograph
display, for quick identification of priority channels, their signal presence and strength. The IW
analyzers are designed to offer intuitive and easy-to-use sweep analysis, (including the ability to
split-screen the display into simultaneous broad span sweeps and a zoomed-in view), spectral
image printout capability and extended logging and playback capability.
Checkers introduces the Guard Dog Low Profile Heavy
Duty Cable Protector. With a height of 1.25”, the Guard
Dog is a low-profile, top-loading, multi-channel
cable protector. This design features
wide, gently sloping ADA Compliant
ramps that allow effortless crossing and a hinged lid to organize valuable cables/wires into separate channels.
Guard Dog Low Profile Cable Protectors fit multiple
cable sizes and are compact for easy setup, takedown
and storage.
L-ACOUSTICS SB28 Subwoofer
Community M12
The Community M12 stage monitor has been
redesigned in response to customer feedback.
Community has improved the M12 with rubber pocket grip handles for portability and
a larger, easier-to-access connector base.
The ergonomically designed stage monitors feature recessed handles designed
to simplify lifting and carrying by both
handles or just one. The M12 is designed
for any application where low visibility is a
key requirement. The base of the M12 has been redesigned to provide easier access to the input connectors,
streamlining setup and teardown times for live events and portable applications. The high-frequency driver is mounted to a molded one-piece asymmetrical
horn with a 90-degree pattern at the top and 40 degree at the bottom, allowing full-range
monitor output close up or at a distance. This pattern delivers even coverage while keeping
energy away from stage walls. For installers seeking to mount the M12 to walls or ceilings, an
optional built-to-order install version will also be available with four M10 hang points and a
mounting bracket plate for permanent installation.
Electro-Voice DC-One
Designed as the successor to the SB218 subwoofer,
L-ACOUSTICS’ new SB28 enclosure brings more powerful
low-frequency impact and improved bass articulation to
tours, installations and corporate productions utilizing
KUDO, V-DOSC, dV-DOSC and ARCS systems. The fourohm SB28 contains two front-loaded, 18-inch direct radiating transducers integrated into a bass-reflex tuned
enclosure capable of operating down to 25 Hz. These
specially designed LF transducers provide cone excursion capability combined with low thermal
compression even at the highest operating levels. The enclosure’s bass-reflex vents feature a progressive profile allowing for laminar airflow. The combination of the SB28’s modern components
with the new vents ultimately delivers a +5 dB SPL output compared to the previous standards.
Control and amplification of the SB28 is managed by L-ACOUSTICS’ new LA8 amplified controller
platform. The LA8’s DSP filtering encompasses crossover functions, system EQ and L-DRIVE thermal and over-excursion protection of the transducers. Made of Baltic birch plywood, the cabinet
features industry-standard aeroquip rails for column rigging, a single 4-pin Neutrik Speakon connector on the rear panel, integral side handles for portability and a black epoxy perforated steel
grille covered with an acoustically transparent “Airnet” cloth.
Two new high-powered amplifiers manufactured by NEXO and powered by Yamaha
will make their debut at Yamaha Commercial
Audio Systems, Inc. The NEXO NXAmp 4x4
and 4x1 provide a cost-effective integration of
command, control, protection and amplification of NEXO loudspeaker systems. Using Yamaha
EEEngine technology, the amplifiers offer sonic purity of conventional class AB, but with a heat
dissipation equaling class D technology. The UL-certified NXAmp models both feature four
amplifier channels that can be configured in 2x2 bridge mode, providing up to 4x 4000W at 2
ohms per channel or 2x8000W at 4 ohms per channel on the NX 4x4 and 4x1300W per channel
at 2 ohms or 2x2600W per channel at 4 ohms on the NX 4x1. The NX 4x4 is 4U high, contained
in a 19 in. rack and weighs 49 lbs., and the NX 4x1 is 3U high, in a 19 in. rack space weighing
33 lbs. The NXAmp power supplies are full resonance-type with half bridge converters, and its
design minimizes noise via ZCS (Zero Crossing Switch) technology. The NEXO NX 4x4 employs
four times the structure of a mono amp to realize high power with a low-impedance load. Front
panel features include three amp status LED indicators, LED display, encoder, user-control navigation buttons, volume and channel indicators, and mute and select buttons. NXAmp signal
processing is identical on both models and derived from the NX242 TD controller features.
The Electro-Voice DC-One digital loudspeaker system controller,
based on a two-in-six-out topology,
is designed primarily for users of
small- to medium-sized sound systems in both mobile and installed
applications. While the unit is a new
development based on a SHARC
processor, it is 100% compatible
with all settings from other ElectroVoice signal processors, including
the Dx38. Though free PC-Editor
software is available, the DC-One can be operated via the front panel. Direct access buttons,
six predefined configuration modes (one being free configuration), straightforward output delay settings and professional metering allow for safe operation. DC-One’s “front-panel-accesscontrol” allows the user to select a personal library of accessible presets (out of 60 factory and
20 user presets). In addition, the user can determine which individual parameters in each preset are locked (e.g. factory predefined output parameters) or editable (e.g. master EQ or delay
settings). The DC-One has a 1U 19-inch chassis that is deep enough to match typical amplifier
depths, a front panel USB connector for the PC-Editor, and accepts either analogue or digital
(AES-EBU) input signals; a 6-dB input pad is available. The RS232 on the rear also provides eight
contact closures for preset changes, or allows two units to be linked for larger systems.
WorxAudio Technologies introduces the M80X2-P Line Array. A
new addition to the company’s TrueLine Series, the M80X2-P is
a two-way, high efficiency, ultra-compact line array loudspeaker
system. It incorporates two modules, each with a medium format, 1-inch exit compression driver coupled to a stabilized proprietary FlatWave Former (wave shaping device) that is designed
to deliver clear, penetrating high frequencies over a predictable
and controlled coverage area. These compression drivers are
paired with dual 8-inch cone transducers coupled to the Acoustic Intergrading Module that minimizes cone filtering throughout the
entire operating spectrum and provides a rich, fully balanced sound with a frequency range that
spans from 45 Hz to 20 kHz (-10 dB). The M80X2-P loudspeaker system provides a total of two high
frequency drivers and four bass drivers — all housed in a rugged enclosure.
Worx Audio M80X2-P Line Array
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Just Read Florida
Marriott Orlando World Center
Orlando, Fla.
FOH Engineer: Robert Sanchez
System Engineer: Robert Sanchez
Production Manager: Tommy Hart
System Techs: Dave Demron
Audio Visual
Console: Soundcraft MH-2
Speakers: 20 JBL 4888, 18 JBL VRX932LA
4 JBL MS26, 12 Tannoy CPA 12.3B
Amps: 6 Crown MA5000, 4 MA3600, 16
Processing: DBX4800, System Arquitech
Mics: Audio technica Slim line, Shure Beta
87, Shure UH-R wireless
Power Distro: 200amp/100amp Motion
Rigging: 36 1/2 ton CM
Snake Assemblies: Rapco
Console: Soundcraft MH-2
Speakers: 4 JBL SRX 712
Amps: 2 Crown XTi 4000
Processing: Ashley 31 bands
Mics: Audio Technica Slim line,
Shure Beta 87, Shure UH-R wireless
Power Distro: 200amp/100amp Motion
Rigging: 36 1/2-ton CM
Sound Art Calgary
National Aboriginal Day 2008
Yellowknife, NT
FOH Engineer: Dave Coe
Broadcast Mixer: Chase Tower
Monitor Engineer: Greg Clinton
Pro Tools Engineer: John Hilderbrand
System Engineer: Dave Coe
System Techs: Mitch Rutherford
- Phoenix
Console: Yamaha PM5D
Broadcast: Soundcraft MH4 - 48
Speakers: 16 EV Xi1152, 8 EV MTL2B,
2 EV ZX5
Amps: QSC PL218
Processing: Klark Teknik DN9824
Power Distro: Spectrum, Motion Labs
Breakout Assemblies: Ramtech
Snake Assemblies: Ramtech
Consoles: Soundcraft K3 - 40
Speakers: EV Xw12, EV MTL2B
Amps: QSC PL218, PL 1.8
Processing: Xilica DL4080
Mics: Shure, EV, AKG, Crown
Power Distro: Spectrum
Country USA – Sugarland, Lonestar,
Dierks Bently, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn
Oshkosh, WI
FOH Engineer: Tom Giatron and Al Mir
Monitor Engineer: Andre St. Pierre
System Engineer: John Tellis
Production Manager: Tom Bothof /
Gary Brunclik
System Tech: Adam Burghout and John
Consoles: Yamaha DM 1000 (Distribution), Yamaha PM 5000, Yamaha PM5D
RH, Midas Venice (playback + RF)
Speakers: 66 L-ACOUSTICS V-DOSC, 12
dV-DOSC, 12 dV subs, 4 Meyer UPJ
Amps: Lab.gruppen 6400, LA 48, Crown
Macrotech 5002
Processing: XTA DP 226 and DP 448 with
Wireless Tablet Control
Mics: Shure, Shure UHF-R, Sennheiser,
Power Distro: 4 Motion Labs 200A 3
Rigging: CM 1 Ton, CM 1/2 Ton, CM 1/4
Breakout Assemblies: Clearwing Custom and L-ACOUSTICS DOM Series
Snake Assemblies: 1 Radial ISO 3way 48
x 16 and 2 Whirlwind Concert Series 56
x 16.
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Consoles: Yamaha PM5D RH and Yamaha
Speakers: Martin LE 700 Wedges, Martin
Blackline Sub with 2 JBL VRX (drumfill),
and 4 L-ACOUSTICS ARCS flown with 2
SB 218 Subs per side (sidefills)
Amps: Lab.gruppen 6400, Crown Macrotech 3600, 2402
Processing: XTA DP 226 and Crown PIP
IQ2 DSP Cards
Mics: Shure UHF-R, Sennheiser, Beyer
Power Distro: 4 Motion Labs 200A 3
Rigging: CM 1 Ton, CM 1/2 Ton, CM 1/4
Blackhawk Audio, Inc.
Casting Crowns
Arena tour
FOH Engineer: Carter Hassebroek
Monitor Engineer: Darren Hughes
System Engineer: Kenny Sellars
Production Manager: Chris Farnsworth
Tour Manager: Denny Keitzman
System Techs: Michael France, David Harrison
Console: Digidesign Profile with ProTools
Speakers: 24 Meyer Milo, 4 Meyer Milo
120, 10 Meyer 700hp, 12 Blackhawk Audio
BAI 3 (sidehang), 4 Meyer UM1C (sidehang
downfill), 4 Meyer Melodie (frontfill)
Amps: QSC
Processing: Meyer Galileo, Meyer M1A
Mics: Shure UHF-R
Power Distro: Motion Labs
Rigging: CM Lodestar
Speakers: 2 Meyer MSL-4, 3 Meyer
700hp, Sennheiser G2, Westone
Rat Sound Systems
On tour
FOH Engineer: Brett Eliason
Monitor Engineer: George Squiers
System Engineer: Matt Fox
System Techs: Lee Vaught, Peter Baigent, Greg Mayler
Advanced Micro Devices
Music Lab
Frisco, Texas; Atlanta, Ga.;
Fremont, Calif.
FOH Engineer: David Nordyke
Monitor Engineer: Thomas Smith
Production Manager: Scott Langston
Tour Manager: John Honning
Console: Yamaha 2404DFX
Speakers: QSC I-282, QSC HPR Subs
Amps: QSC PL Series
Processing: Rane, Furman
Mics: Audio-Technica 4000 Series
Power Distro: Tristar
Snake Assemblies: Whirlwind
Console: Midas XL8
Speakers: L-ACOUSTICS V-DOSC and dV-DOSC, Rat Dual
18” Subwoofers
Amps: LA 48A Amplifiers
Processing: XTA DP428
Speakers: EAW MicroWedge 12s
Amps: LA 48A, Chevin Q6s
Processing: TC 6000, Klark Teknik DN9696
Speakers: T.C. Electronics Helicon
Mics: Audio-Technica
Power Distro: Tristar
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FOH Interview
Hitting the Road with
Boston, Styx and Slamhammer
Photos and Text by MarkAmundson
ake two big rock bands from the 1970s,
make them co-headliners, let them loose
on the summer shed circuit and pray for
ticket sales and no rain. Boston is your typical
“make it sound like the records” kind of show,
with the studio engineer bribed into going
out on tour to preserve the essence of leader
Tom Scholz and bandmates. Then take road
veterans like Styx, who do yearly tours with
150 to 200 gigs per year for the last 10 years
and has done the co-headline thing with everyone from Journey to Peter Frampton, but
also tours with their studio guy at FOH.
Both bands kicked off the summer tour
together, using the Grand Casino amphitheater in central Minnesota as the first gig of the
summer. They came in a day early to dust off
the performance cobwebs. I got to check out
good portions of both band’s sound checks,
and that was much more informative from
a production standpoint, as I could see the
evolution of touring. Everything has become
personal monitoring with instrument techs
playing a key role in getting the signature
sounds nailed.
Styx really drove the point home with a
wall of Ampeg SVT amps and Marshall amps
on the backline, but they were all for show
— “tech-row” is really where the sound was
made with racks of effects and SVTs/Marshalls driving Palmer cabinet simulators with
View of the stage at Casino Amphitheater
the mics headed for the consoles. Tom Scholz
had three full-height racks (about 30U) of
guitar and keyboard signal processing. The
instrument tech not only tuned and polished
guitars, but had to dial-in on cue all the tones
needed for each song.
Here are the interviews with the band engineers and racks and stacks provider Slamhammer Sound of St. Paul, Minn.
Bill Ryan, FOH for Boston
FOH: What does Tom (Scholz) call you for a
Bill Ryan: The “little guy” or the “hobbit.”
(Onstage) they are all six foot or taller.
Who do you have up on stage?
BR: We have Tom Scholz, of course, and
we have our new dueling front men Michael
Sweet; and the guy we liberated from Home
Depot, Tommy DeCarlo — he is thrilled to be
here. We had him for three weeks of rehearsals and he’s getting it down. And we have
Kimberly Dahme, who has played bass with
the band for seven years. On the far stage left
is Gary Pihl, who used to play with Sammy
Hagar, came over a long time ago, since the
early 1980s. Michael Sweet holds his own on
guitar. All three of these guys are awesome
guitar players. Jeff Neal on drums, a schoolteacher from Maine, also has a set of pipes
on him; everybody in this band sings. A lot of
harmonies are many voices.
How many inputs do you have running into
your console?
BR: We have 48. We have a couple of
spares, but we are using it all.
Did Tom give you the choice of your console
and outboard?
BR: No, I pretty much picked everything. I
had the choice, he gave me the liberty, which
is unusual from what I hear. I have been his
studio engineer for 13 years, and we just remastered the first two records. I have spent a
lot of time in the studio with him, so he trusts
me. If he can’t trust me than he can’t trust
anybody, and he has had a problem in the
past with that.
What console do you use in the studio?
BR: He (Tom) has an old Auditronics console. I have an old Amek 2500 in my room, too.
So both of you are Mister Analog?
BR: Mister Analog, yeah. I am also a studio tech, too, so that helps a lot, as well as a
studio engineer.
So what do you have running here as far as
a console?
BR: A Midas XL4 and also a couple of old
Lexicon 300s (reverbs), a PCM42 mono delay
and a TC D-Two for stereo tapped delays, and
that’s pretty much it.
Any special things you do on vocals?
BR: Well, we worked a lot in preproduction on getting all the balances right. So, I
have a lot of starting-off marks. The interesting thing about Tom is he listens to the frontof-house mix as his monitor.
Bass amps on the stage.
Am I going to see him on headphones all
BR: He wears a pair of BOSE noise canceling headphones. He cut the wires off and
just uses the noise canceling part, and then
he has his in-ears. The cups cancel the ambient noise so he can run the in-ears at a much
lower level. His hearing gets sensitive as he
gets older, and he does not like a lot of level.
That is why our stage volume is very low and
the front-of-house level is comfortable. We
are not trying to kill anybody here.
You keep an eye on the SPL meter?
BR: I absolutely do. My ears are getting
old, too. I definitely do.
What do you aim for, 105 dB at FOH?
BR: No more than 100 dB. I’m more comfortable between 96 and 100 dB at the house.
I’m almost 200 feet back.
Any tips or tricks you want to share?
BR: The thing about Boston and the
band’s sound is the guitar tones are extremely processed and everything is coming up to
me at line level. Everything is pre-compressed
and EQ’d and everything.
So how wild do you get on compression for
percussion and vocals?
BR: I try not to overdo it. I’m running more
of a mix bus compressor, like this old dbx 162
on my house mix. I’m trying to make it sound
period specific like the old records, and the
only way to do that is to use some old stuff.
Gary Loizzo – FOH for Styx
FOH: How long have you been doing frontof-house for Styx?
GL: Only since 1996 . I recorded their Man
of Miracles album, which was their fourth album, in 1974. And then bits and pieces up to
their Cornerstone album in 1978, which was all
done in my studio. From then on, I recorded
everything as an engineer and became their
co-producer in 1999.
Who do you have onstage tonight?
GL: James Young, Tommy Shaw and
Ricky Philips on bass. Lawrence Gowan has
been our staple since 1999 when Dennis
(De Young) left the band. All these guys are
gentlemen. Every artist has to have an ego to
become who they are. But these guys really
check their ego at the door, especially with
the crew, who they treat like their family. Todd
Sucherman rounds out the group on drums.
What do have at FOH? Just that Yamaha
GL: About two years ago, we needed to
share a console with Journey, and the only
console we could agree on was the PM1D.
This was the first digital unit that came out by
Yamaha. We were forced to go on that, and I
kind of got a sour taste in my mouth. Because
I am an old analog dog, even though I went
System Tech Myles Kennedy
to Pro-Tools, but I have Apogee converters.
When the PM5D came out, I heard from some
of my friends who I respect from very highly
that it sounded a lot better. So, I gave it another shot and used a Big Ben clock, and it
has really come a long, long way. You can see
how small a footprint this takes up and I lack
And the effects?
GL: Everything. They even got a program
in here that I made sound like a H3000 harmonizer and it is very, very good. I have not
had any service problems.
Do you run pretty heavy effects?
GL: Outdoors, I am allowed a little more
leeway. When you’re indoors you get clouded
be the room reverb. I am a little disappointed
that I am so far away; it defeats the purpose
in that I do not get the true perspective that
the bulk of the audience gets. I don’t get the
real direct sound back here, so I am guessing
(on effects).
Do you get a chance to walk during the
GL: No, it is a very active show. In a live
show, you must get rid of any live microphones that are not being used. As you will
see, they are very active. So, as they leave a
mic that mic fader goes down. I mix it like I
would on an analog console.
You use a lot of compression on the mix?
GL: I do. Just use a pinch on the overall
mix. Because I have a digital console, I have
compression, gates, EQ, everything on every
channel. I might touch things a little, but I do
not abuse anything. I try not to go heavy unless I am going for an effect.
How much compression on the vocals?
GL: I am 4:1 on vocals — my favorite
ratio. You’ve got to remember that with
these guys, I am trying to capture that Styx
block harmony. I order to capture that fullness at all times I have to go that thick. On
my outputs, I go 2:1 for lightness. I like to
round things off a bit.
So how many channels do you have active?
GL: Looks like 42. I got 48 so I could get
into a few more inputs if I have to.
Slamhammer System Engineer Brian Klingenberg and Styx FOH engineer Gary Loizzo
So is everybody a vocalist?
GL: No, Todd doesn’t sing. The solid, solid
guys are Tommy, JY and Lawrence. Ricky occasionally steps up. Todd can actually sing
very well, but it becomes a nightmare back
there to get a mic clean. Plus, he is an active
What do you use as overheads on Todd?
GL: I have a new mic;, it’s an Audix condenser, SCX-25. They are very open, and boy
does that make a difference because Todd
plays a lot of top (cymbals). As aggressive as
he is, he is a delicate guy, too. The mics give
me a better overall kit sound.
What do you use for vocal mics?
GL: An Audix OM-5 for Tommy. Other Audix OMs for the other guys.
Any other tips to share?
GL: When I am in the studio, I think of
the mix as a collage. But when I am a live
guy, I think more like a caricature. You must
force people to listen to what is important in a song in different places. Having
a good lighting girl, like I have back here,
also directs attention to different proximities; it helps my job. Highlight somebody
with a light — you automatically in your
mind hear them better. I accentuate that,
too. People get the whole deal.
Bill Ryan, Boston’s FOH engineer
BK: No, just splits at the amp racks.
What kind of amps do you have running?
BK: Crests; we got a 9001, 8001 and two
7001s in each amp rack. Two amp racks per
side. The 9001s have the subs, and the flown
lows, mids and highs get the 8001s and
And the W8LC boxes, what are they loaded
BK: 12” on lows, two 6” on mids and three
1” on horns.
And this is your preferred rig?
BK: This is what we own (laughing). As
a touring guy, I like this; I’m so used to it
now. When Pete (the owner) started buying boxes, he went with Martin; no one
else had that around and he wanted to be
different. Martin was really good helping
him out, so when he wanted to advance
with something a little better, like a line
array, Martin was the way to go.
Want kind of power consumption do you
have running?
BK: We have a three-phase 400-amp
distro, but I do not know the draw. We use
Motion Labs rack and have a 100-amp, three-
phase hookup. Each amp rack gets a Hubbel
L14-30 feed.
How many crew do you have here today?
BK: There are three of us from Slamhammer Audio and 24 stagehands from the promoter/production company (Grand Casino).
How long does it take to the system up and
BK: If you got five hours, it takes five
hours. If you got two hours, it takes two
hours. Myles and I can fly a side in a half
hour if everything is ready.
So Myles, do you agree it can be really a
two-man job?
MK: It’s definitely very easy with these
boxes; they fly very fast with just two men. It
goes up and together quite well. Once you
got the computer program, and know the
tuning, you just slap it together and go.
So you know the rigging points really well
MK: We have not been here in 10 months
because of winter. But once you get the chain
motors rigged, you just let ‘er rip.
BK: It took him about 10 minutes per
side to rig, if that. Very quick.
Now a lot of rock bands are instruments
first, vocals second. Do you give equal billing in the mix?
GL: I love the drums so much that I’ll
mix the drums as hot as the vocals. This is
a vocal band. People know Styx because of
their songs. But these guys are in their 50s
and are in tremendous shape. Their energy
level is really great. But if I can complement that with a younger guy (Todd), who
has even more energy, it makes everything
even more energetic.
Brian Klingenberg SE, Myles Kennedy
System Tech — Slamhammer Sound
What kind of rig are you running for racks
and stacks?
BK: Martin W8LC, 12 boxes a side. Martin
WSX subs, single 18” per box and 16 subs.
I see you have a pair of BSS Minidrives at
FOH — any other processing?
Beth A. Pinney
From the Stage to the Sanctuary
David Lawler and Craig Doubet put
their touring chops into HOW installs.
Craig Doubet
Interior of the Laguna Presbyterian Church Sanctuary before construction.
By DavidJohnFarinella
Life In the Balance
For the past couple of years, the team has
balanced road gigs with installation assignments at two houses of worship in Southern
California — Laguna Presbyterian Church in
Laguna Beach and Templo Calvario, an Assembly of God church in Santa Ana. The two
installs are as different as their style of worship, although both are projects that Lawler
and Doubet were able to influence early on.
where, in his opinion, a shorter reverberation time is crucial.
One of the pluses of working on a project
that is basically a new construction is the access to the walls for running conduit. Lawler
and Doubet are maximizing that opportunity
before installing a Meyer Sound Labs Constellation system to make sure they can get the
speakers and microphones in the proper location to get adequate coverage.
“We know how to answer the question:
‘Okay, I have this rig and I’m going into this
room. How do I make it work?’ We can tell
people that we’ve done it and we know
what works.”
Laguna Presbyterian Church is in the
midst of a complete renovation and seismic
retrofit that has taken the building all the way
down to studs. Lawler was able to get into
the sanctuary to analyze the acoustics of the
room before it was demolished.
“The reverberation time in the room
was shorter than usual,” he reports. “We
liked that, so we’re trying to emulate a similar time.” In addition to watching the design
of the room and adding his opinion where
possible, Lawler will be using a spray-on
product to touch up the room’s acoustics to
ensure the short reverberation time. That’s
important, Lawler says, because church
events rely so much on the spoken word
As for other gear going into the new church,
the team is looking at smaller sized Meyer CQ
and UPJ boxes. The two systems will be interfaced via the Constellation’s Matrix3 processors. “They have CobraNet as well as analog,
so we will be interfacing the two together for
certain areas where there’s coverage needed,
but we don’t want to put double systems in,”
he says. Examples of those areas include lobbies, crying rooms and under balconies.
The FOH position will be located in the rear
balcony, but a desk has not yet been selected
because the team wanted to keep their options open. “They do have a praise band, so it
has to be at least 32 channels,” Doubet reports.
“They also have a need to be able to take some
of the stuff outside and put it in a courtyard, so
it has to be portable. We’ll probably give them
UPJ monitors that can turn into speakers on
stands and the console can roll out the door.”
One of the other challenges at LPC was
working with a large vintage pipe organ that
was installed sometime in the late 1920s. The
organ had to be removed during the demolition and the decision was made to add MIDI
voices to it when it was reinstalled. “I did a
giant research project on how pipe organs
work these days,” Lawler states. “The keyboard is basically a high-class MIDI controller.
Of course, mechanically that’s great because
there is much less going on in the actual keyboard unit as far as maintenance and reliability goes.” The construction is ongoing with an
anticipated reopening date of Easter 2009.
Going Big
Beth A. Pinney
Beth A. Pinney
Looking down the Nave from above the Chancel.
Templo Calvario is slated to open sometime this fall and the system that Lawler and
Doubet are installing has to work in more of
a commercial-style building that features a
giant stage, flat ceiling and seating for about
4,000 congregants.
One of the challenges at the new space,
Lawler reports, was ceiling height. “It’s always
tricky trying to interface sound, lighting and
everything else and get it high enough to not
be in the sight lines and to have even distribution,” he says.
To overcome that challenge the team selected Meyer M’elodie arrays. “We have lowmid cabinets in there as well as subwoofers so
Beth A. Pinney
utting a system together for a tour is
one thing. All the equipment has to
be flexible enough to consistently
work in acoustically challenging rooms; it
has to go up and down easily and deliver
quality audio. This challenge, for some, is
daunting, especially with the pressure of
thousands of expectant fans who surround
the FOH position nightly.
A live installation system is just as intimidating, considering the issues are similar —
dealing with acoustics, fidelity demands,
flexibility concerns — but an installer doesn’t
have the ability to adjust on the fly like an engineer does on a day-by-day basis.
It’s enough to make the average person quake in their Keds, yet David Lawler
and Craig Doubet have enough experience
in both markets to approach the challenge
with confidence. The duo has an impressive
set of FOH mixing credits including Diana
Krall, Michael Bublé, k.d. lang, Luis Miguel
and dozens of others. They’ve also handled
design/install projects for the Maui Arts &
Cultural Center, Kodak Theatre and Bass Performance Hall. Lawler and Doubet also count
on Eric Laliberte, who they call a sound web
guru and networking expert.
“We’re the guys who have worked in
a lot of theaters and tried a lot of things,”
Doubet states. “We know how to answer the
question: ‘Okay, I have this rig and I’m going
into this room. How do I make it work?’ We
can tell people that we’ve done it and we
know what works.”
In the midst of the renovation
Thirtieth Street Architects Principle John Loomis.
Beth A. Pinney
(L to R): Eric Laliberte and Dave Lawler in front of a Soundcraft Vi6 console.
Laguna Presbyterian Church
that the line array didn’t have to be so long
to get low mid control,” Lawler explains. “We
are actually doing it as a three-box system
so you can high pass the line array higher
and not have it go backwards on to the
stage.” There will also be distributed sound,
he adds, to cover the wide balcony.
A console for FOH has yet to be selected, but Lawler points out that they are
always thinking of ease of use when choosing gear. In fact, it’s rare that the two will
spec in a piece of gear that they haven’t
used before. “We don’t change our brands
much, unless there is a compelling reason
to do so,” he says. “We don’t change because there’s a sale on something. We are
always open to new ideas, mind you, because things are changing, but I like working with stable companies, and equipment
is there for a reason.”
For the most part, he adds, their systems feature a short signal path that runs
from Sennheiser and Neumann microphones to a console through either BSS
Sound Web or Meyer Galileo via Rapco wiring to Meyer powered speakers. “There are
not many devices in the signal path,” Lawler
says. “That has been reliable and the results
have been very predictable for us.”
Doubet concurs and adds: “We try to
make all of our installs rider-friendly, so
we’re going to use the same stuff that people want to use on the road. The only difference is that instead of chain motors, perhaps
there is a winch or a permanent hang. Even
then, all of our installs are done so they can
be taken out very easily and put back in.”
The key to their success so far, both
agree, is the combination of road experience and technical knowledge. “On tour,
we get to use and (Meyer) SIM all brands
of consoles, processors and speaker systems,” Lawler reports. “That helps us, too,
to keep abreast of what everybody else’s
progress is as well. We’re not just going to
trade shows looking at it, but we’re using it.
I think that helps us when we are advising
people about why they should use something or not, because we’ve done it.”
Architectural drawing of the new Laguna Presbyterian Church sanctuary layout.
Breanne GeorGe
Production Profile
Eighth Day and Wigwam Provide the Punch for George Michael’s U.S. Swan Song.
George Michael in concert at the MGM Grand Garden
Arena in Las Vegas
By BreanneGeorge
t’s been nearly two decades since British
pop superstar George Michael — known
as much for his bad boy reputation as
his chart-topping hits — toured U.S. arenas.
From his start in the 1980s pop group Wham!
to his illustrious solo career, hits like “Careless Whisper,” “Faith” and “Father Figure” catapulted him into a certified pop culture icon
and sex symbol. After a five-year absence
from the music scene, Michael returned to
the stage in 2006 with an 80-show European
tour. He stepped it up the following year
with the “25 Live Stadium Tour 2007,” which
featured less tour dates but larger venues
including Wembley Stadium in London.
To coincide with his retrospective greatest
hits album, Twenty Five, released this year,
Michael announced the North American
segment of his “25 Live” tour — his first U.S.
tour in 17 years — which he also claims to be
his last. For all these reasons, Michael’s fans
were pumped with high expectations for a
flawless-sounding show.
Viva Las Vegas
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las
Vegas was the third stop on Michael’s
22-city tour, which kicked off in San Diego.
Although not a sell-out show, loyal fans
filled the venue, eagerly anticipating, for
most of the 20-something crowd, their first
George Michael concert experience.
The set list included hits over the decades from Wham! (Wake Me Up Before
You Go-Go) and solo efforts including
dance numbers “Easier Affair and “Hard
FOH Engineer: Gary Bradshaw
George Michael Monitor Engineer: Steve
Band Monitor Engineer: Simon Hall
PA Crew Chief and FOH Technician: Don
Stage Technician: Guy Gillan
Radio Technician: Bill Flugan
PA Technician: Trevor Waite
PA Technician: Chez Stock
PA Speakers:
Main Hang
24 d&b J8 speakers
4 d&b J12 speakers
Side Hang
20 d&b J8 speakers
4 d&b J12 speakers
12 d&b Q1 speakers
Day” along with some new material. Michael’s stage setup was simple, yet visually striking, with three large curving video
screen backdrops and three-tier balconies
behind the stage for his band and backup
singers. This setup allowed an unobtrusive
view of Michael, ensuring attention never
strayed from the star.
FOH Engineer Gary Bradshaw first
toured with Michael in the early ‘80s as
monitor engineer for Wham! His resume
as FOH engineer includes Annie Lennox,
Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Pink Floyd,
Roger Waters and Bryan Ferry. For the U.S.
tour, he is standing in for Andy “Baggy”
Robinson, Michael’s audio consultant and
FOH engineer. He admits that Michael
is quite a perfectionist when it comes to
sound. “All artists care about what they
sound like, but George is very particular
about his songs — he’s got amazing ears,”
he reports. “He’s not difficult to work with,
but he demands perfection.”
And unlike many touring artists who
want a raw and un-produced vibe to their
music, Michael wants every song to sound
identical to the studio version.
“I’ve done those kinds of tours where a
band won’t have a set list, will play whatever song they want, and you just keep up
with them, but this tour is very specific,” he
says. “George wants it to sound exactly like
the CD, so we go through great lengths to
make it sound studio-quality.”
A DiGiCo D5 Live console at front-ofhouse allows Bradshaw to create a snapFrontfills
4 d&b Q7 speakers
6 d&b q10 speakers
12 d&b J series Cardioid Bass groundstacked 6 per side, 3 cabinets high
2 speaker clusters flown onstage left &
right each containing
3 d&b Q1 speakers
2 d&b J Series Cardioid Bass
8 d&b M4 Monitor Wedges
All amplifiers are d&b D12 amps
FOH Control
1 D5 Live DiGiCo console
3 stage racks & 1 local rack
3 XTA DP448 audio management
1 Lexicon 224
1 TC 6000
2 Yamaha SPX990
2 TC D2
shot for every song, and as a result, he
doesn’t have to remember specific cues
for each song. When Michael starts playing
“Careless Whisper,” for example, Bradshaw
presses one button on the console that
automatically resets all the reverbs, delays, EQs and levels. “A band member will
be playing a particular guitar in one song
and a different guitar in another song that
requires unique level settings,” he says.
“That’s all remembered in one particular
Three Times the Charm
A total of three consoles are used on
the tour: two DiGiCo D5 Live consoles for
front-of-house and Michael’s monitors and
a DiGiCo D5T to mix the band. Michael
has his own monitor engineer, Steve May,
who will communicate with him between
songs and who is solely responsible for the
singer’s mix. This allows monitor engineer
Simon Hall to focus entirely on mixing the
band. Because of the hidden location of
monitorland backstage, both engineers
rely on video cameras to see what’s happening on stage.
A DiGiCo system was chosen because
of its ability to handle the show’s large
number of inputs — over 100 — and 15
band members on stereo personal monitors. This allows May to concentrate on
Michael’s needs without interfering with
band mixes. “In order to accommodate the
large number of inputs for this production,”
adds Bradshaw, “I have had to disable the
TC Fireworks
KT 6000 Analyser
Tascam CD player
Marantz PMD570
112-channel ADL MADI recording
12 IEM radio systems
9 IEM hardwire systems
Personal Monitor Earpieces
George Michael: Westone UM2 earpieces
Band: Mix of Sensaphonics and Ultimate Ears
Monitor Control
1 DB Live DiGiCo console
1 D5T DiGiCo console
4 local racks and 2 stage racks
3 Midas XL4 channel strips
2 Midas XL 88
2 Custom VCA faders
1 TC EQ station
2 Lexicon 224XL
2 Lexicon 960
D5 onboard effects. However, I am using no
external dynamic processing or additional
EQ. All the compression and equalization
for every input is done in the desk. This has
resulted in a very small FOH footprint that
keeps production happy.”
Eighth Day Sound of Highland Heights,
Ohio, supplied d&b gear while U.K. contractor Wigwam Audio supplied the DiGiCo consoles, control equipment and Sennheiser mics. The d&b gear includes two
main speaker clusters flown left and right
containing 12 J8 and four J12 speakers.
Two side hang speaker clusters flown offstage left and right contain 10 J8 and two
J12 speakers, while two 270-degree clusters flown on the extreme left and right
contain six Q1 speakers. The stage has four
Q7 and six Q10 speakers as front fills and
12 J series cardioid bass ground stacked
six per side, three cabinets high.
The load-in started at 8 a.m. and crew
had to be out the door by 3 a.m. to travel
to the next gig in Phoenix, Ariz. Sound and
lighting were setup before the stage was
complete, a common occurrence in large
venues. “Many times, at these large shows,
the stage gets built down here,” Bradshaw
says pointing to the middle of the arena,
“and later gets pushed into place.” Bradshaw adds that about 50 crewmembers
pushed the stage to the front of the arena
where it must align precisely with the video screen backdrop. Once the stage is in
place, everything gets powered and crew
can then begin sound check.
TC Fireworks
Eventide Eclipse
Marantz PMD570
Samson headphone amp
TC EQ stationS
TC EQ station fader controller
Yamaha SPX2000
Thumper Amps
Thumper Units
Aviom base station
Aviom outstations
Rozandal World Clock Gen
8 Sennheiser SKM/KK104 vocals
4 Neumann U87 drum & percussionoverhears
1 TLA 170 Sax
4 KM 184 Hihat, ride and congas
2 SM 57 Snare
4 E904 Toms
1 E901 Kick
1 E914 Acoustic Guitar
24 Avalon DIs
(L to R): Simon Hall, monitor mixer for the band, and Steve
May, monitor mixer for George Michael
TIM shaxson
Breanne GeorGe
Breanne GeorGe
“All artists care about what they sound like, but George is very particular about his songs — he’s got amazing ears. He’s not difficult to work
with, but he demands perfection.” — FOH Engineer Gary Bradshaw
FOH Engineer Gary Bradshaw beside a DiGiCo D5 Live console
Bradshaw reports that Michael was
late to sound check. “It didn’t look like
George was going to show up for it,” he
says. “We just went ahead and did a few
songs with the band.” Michael eventually
showed up for sound check and warmed
up to his typical routine of songs. Because
certain songs were more popular in America than Europe, Bradshaw says the set list
for the show varies greatly from the European tour. “There is a huge list of songs
— we have about 60 songs programmed
into the D5.”
From Wham! to Father Figure
Ad info:http:// foh.hotims.com
TIM shaxson
The concert started 45 minutes after its
scheduled 8 p.m show time, although this
did not come as a surprise to crew. Bradshaw reports that Michael is notoriously
late for almost every show — perhaps to
make an entrance, or build anticipation,
or allow additional time to fill seats. With
Michael’s CD-sounding vocals and energetic performances throughout the twohour, 23-song concert, there were few
complaints from fans. The highlight of the
tour is, without a doubt, Michael’s voice.
At 45 years old, the range and quality of
his voice has matured, sounding even
stronger than it did in his younger years.
“When we did the first couple of rehearsals, I was blown away,” Bradshaw says. “I
just pushed that fader up and his voice
was amazing — I never heard anything
like that before. The best I’ve worked with
in the history of my career.”
Personal Monitor Earpieces Buyers Guide
Personal Monitor Earpieces
By Bill Evans
hen people ask me what part of the live event audio world has changed the
most in the past three to five years, they probably expect an answer like digital consoles or line arrays. Most would probably be surprised that my answer
would be — hands down — personal monitors. They have come a long way since Marty
Garcia used some Sony earbuds and denture cream for Todd Rundgren.
Today, there are at least a half dozen companies making full-on pro custom fit personal monitors, and while they may look the same, the differences are huge and almost
totally subjective. Just like some of us prefer the sound of a specific FOH speaker over
another that may be of equal or even greater quality, the best personal monitor for
you depends on, well, you. But there are a few things to look for. Extended frequency
response. Removable cables, so that if a cable goes bad you can replace just the cable.
Comfort and fit are huge and very subjective.
While all of the big companies will work with you to make your PMs fit as well as
possible, some brands extend farther into the ear canal than others, and some people
prefer the material used by one company over another. It is totally subjective. The PMs
I really like, you may hate, and vice versa. Sometimes your best bet as a MON engineer
is to go with whatever your “star” is using so you hear the same thing he or she does
in the mix.
But the coolest trend of the past few years has little to do with the pro market.
The folks who make these products are not stupid and they know they can sell a hell
of a lot more to iPod users than they can sticking just to the pros. And some of these
“pro-sumer” models are pretty damn good. It is a lot easier to have three or four sets of
universal fit PMs in your briefcase than it is to pop for multiple custom jobs at $500 per
and up, plus the cost of impressions shot by an audiologist.
The following list is more than the tip of the iceberg, but it is still only a chunk.
More lies below the surface, but it gives you a place to start.
Custom Fit
Frequency Response
Input Sensitivity
(dB @ 30 Hz/1 mW)
Future Sonics
Ear Monitors brand
20 Hz - 20,000 Hz
112 dB @ 30 Hz/1 mW
20 Hz-16,500 Hz
119 dB/mW
20 Hz-16 kHz
105 dB-SPL @ 0.1 V
3D-1 Active Ambient
20 Hz-20 kHz
124 dB max SPL (500 Hz)
SCL5 Sound Isolating Earphones
122 dB SPL/mW (@ 1 kHz)
SCL3 Sound Isolating Earphones
25 Hz-18.5 kHz
115 dB SPL/mW (@ 1 kHz)
Ultimate Ears
Custom UE 11 Pro
10 Hz-16,500 Hz
119 dB @ 1mW
ES2 Custom Fit In-Ear Musicians’
20 Hz-18 kHz
119 dB/mW
Shure Incorporated
Universal Fit
Frequency Response
Input Sensitivity
(dB @ 30 Hz/1 mW)
Audio-Technica U.S., Inc.
EP3 In-Ear Headphones
18-18,000 Hz
100 dB
Carvin Corp
20-20 kHz
114 dB/mW
Etymotic Research, Inc.
20 Hz-16 kHz
104 dB SPL
Future Sonics
Atrio professional earphones
(rev. 2)
18 Hz - 20,000 Hz
112 dB @ 30 Hz/1 mW
20 Hz-16 kHz
119 dB/mW
20 Hz-16 kHz
117 dB/mW
18-21,000 Hz
112 dB @ 1 kHZ, 1V rms
Ultimate Ears
Super.fi 5
15 Hz-15 kHz
115 dB SPL/mW at 1 kHz
UM2 True-Fit Dual Driver
20 Hz-18 kHz
119 dB/mW
Westone UM2
Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 EB
Westone ES2
Carvin EM902
Shure Incorporated SCL5 Sound Isolating Earphones
Cable Length, Connector Type
Type and Number of Drivers
21 dB +/-
50” (64” optional); 1/8” gold stereo
MG4plus FS proprietary single dynamic
Up to 25 dB
50” cable
Dual-balanced armature
Up to 37 dB
50” stereo mini-plug
2, balanced armature
Up to 37 dB
52” propietary dual-stereo miniplug
1, custom balanced armature
Gray Soft Flex: 30 dB (90% of ambient
noises) 37 dB (93% of ambient noise)
(Memory-Fit Cable) 61”, 1/8” connector
Dual Low Mass High Energy Drivers (dedicated high-definition tweeter and woofer drivers
couple with an inline crossover)
Gray Soft Flex: 30 dB (90% of ambient
noise), Foam Sleeves: 37dB (93% of
ambient noise)
SCL3-K: 56”, SCL3-GR: 62”, SCL3-W:
62”, 1/8”connector
WideBand microdriver (Single Low Mass High Energy Driver)
26 dB
46” or 64”, 1/8”, gold-plated
4 proprietary balanced armatures with an integrated three way crossover
25 dB
50” removable cable, 3.5 mm stereo
2 balanced armature drivers
Cable Length, Connector Type
Type and Number of Drivers
1.1 m (3.6 ft) locking TRS 3.5 mm
Dynamic (1)
23 dB
36 dB triple-flange; 42 dB foam eartips.
5’ cable; 3.5 mm w/ 1/4” adapter incl.
Single driver; balanced-armature
26 dB +/- depending on fit option
1.3 m QuietCable II; 1/8” gold stereo miniconnector
MG5pro FS proprietary single dynamic
26 dB
46” cable, gold plated 1/8” input connector with 1/4” adapter
Dual-armature driver
26 dB
46” cable, gold plated 1/8” input connector with 1/4” adapter
Triple-armature driver
20” (right) 7” left to center/2.8’ to plug
Dynamic, closed, single driver
26 dB
46”, 1/8”, gold-plated
Single driver: proprietary balanced top fire armature
20-25 dB
50”, 3.5 mm stereo jack
2 balanced armature drivers
Road Test
Waves MaxxBCL
K, so I have come into the digital age
in a lot of ways. I own four digital consoles and I use Reason in my studio.
While I am plenty comfortable with plug-ins,
there are still times when I just want a piece of
hardware — a box with knobs that responds
exactly how I expect without having to think
about it. Waves is best known for their plug-ins.
It you are a Pro Tools guy or mixing on a Venue
system, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that you have
at least one of them in your arsenal. But what
a lot of people don’t know is that they make
some pretty nice hardware as well.
The Gear
The Maxx BCL is a serious piece of hardware. Two rack spaces and it’s hefty — some
of my power amps weigh less. The short version is that the BCL combines the MaxxBass
system with a compressor and limiter. The idea
is more low end and total signal level without
increasing distortion. Bottom line is a louder
mix with at least the perception of more bass.
calling a few scenes for different purposes and
the compressor, which has all of the controls
you would expect, plus the addition of both
opto and electro modes. Your choice.
The next section is the MaxxBass, which
is what I mostly used this for live. The idea —
apparently it has been around for years and
organ makers used something similar — is
to increase perceived bass without actually
increasing low-frequency energy. In other
words, more thump without the risk of blowing your drivers. Finally, we have a limiter that
allows you to goose overall program volume.
A nice touch is that all of the meters are backlit
so you can see them under a wider range of
lighting conditions.
The back panel has all of your inputs
and outputs, both digital and analog. Digital
formats cover the gamut — S/PDIF, AES and
optical in both lightpipe and coaxial flavors.
Input on the analog side is a pair of Neutrik
combo jacks and outputs are XLR and balanced 1/4” TRS.
The BCL combines the MaxxBass
system with a compressor and limiter.
The idea is more low end and total signal
level without increasing distortion.
Bottom line is a louder mix with at least
the perception of more bass.
According to Waves, the guys mixing acts including Gwen Stefani and Metallica are using
them as part of their system.
A quick note: The BCL is every bit as useful
in the studio as it is onstage, which I will get
into later. The reason I bring it up now is that
the first controls you will see on the front panel
are for choosing sample and bit rates, which
comes up in recording more often than live.
Next are four preset buttons for saving and re-
The Gig
My first use was in my studio where I noticed an immediate difference — a huge difference. Mixes using the BCL sounded richer
throughout the entire range — not just in
the low end, which is what I expected. I actually had to be reminded several times that we
needed to take this out on a couple of gigs because I really did not want to take it out of the
studio rack.
By LarryHall
Waves MaxxBCL
When I finally pulled it out it was for a large
outdoor gig. I have a city client that does several festivals throughout the year, and this one
had 25,000 people in attendance for a very
good classic rock cover band onstage.
While we were setting up the system, we
inserted the BCL and put on a Madonna track
known for huge low end. Now, my systems are
never under-boxed when it comes to subs. I
own a bunch of Quake cabinets and the truth
is that I have more of an issue with my namebrand top boxes keeping up with the subs than
the other way around. So, I may not be the best
candidate for this system, but I can tell you that
with the sub level dialed in at less than half of
what it normally is, we had all of the bass we
needed. But more tellingly, the amps were not
working as hard as they usually do and the drivers were nowhere near over-excursion.
It comes down to this. For me, the Maxx
BCL is better in my studio where I love it and
don’t want to take it out of. But then I am, if
anything, over-boxed on subs on nearly every
rig that goes out the door. But I can see a real
use for this if you are under-boxed or under-
JLH AxeTrak
At first glance, this little guy looks rather
unassuming. It’s a box that’s about onesquare-foot with a quarter-inch speaker
jack and an XLR on the side of it. Inside is
a custom-designed speaker and microphone diaphragm.
It’s as easy to use as it sounds. You
connect the speaker output of any amp,
whether a combo or just a head, to the
speaker jack on the AxeTrak. Next, you
take the mic cable for your guitar mic
and plug it in. Turn on the amp and play.
It’s as simple as that. Said and done, it
only makes about 65 dB of ambient
noise. Away goes my stage volume, but
we don’t have to sacrifice the tone because it’s still a speaker with a mic.
The Gear
The Gig
Waves MaxxBCL
What It Is: Bass enhancement, compressor and limiter.
Who It’s For: Rental companies that
could use a few more subs and pretty
much any serious studio.
Pros: Sounds great and very easy to
use. Could save your drivers in the
right situation. Made every mix I used
it on sound better.
Cons: Pricey.
How Much: $2,499.
By JamesElizando
hether you are mixing in a club,
at a house of worship or almost
any venue for that matter —
what is the age-old problem? The stage
is too loud, right? You tell the drummer
to play softer and he complains. You tell
the bass player to turn down and he
says he can’t feel it anymore. You tell the
guitar player to turn down and he says
that now he doesn’t have good tone. Being a guitar player turned sound guy, I
can’t say that I disagree with him. If you
can’t turn the amp up, it’s hard to make it
sound the way you want to. But as an engineer, especially in a house of worship, I
want to kick the speakers out of the amp
and throw it away.
I’ve been searching near and far to
find a solution that works for me at frontof-house and keeps my musicians happy
at the same time. In comes the AxeTrak.
powered when it comes to the low end. I can
also see it as a way to protect your system on
bass-heavy hip-hop and dance gigs. If the
perceived amount of bass is where the client
and crowd want it, and your boxes and amps
are not on the edge of meltdown, it is a good
thing. The Maxx BCL is not cheap. But if you
factor in the cost of replacing amps and drivers when someone pushes the system past
its limits it does not look quite so pricey.
Our church is fairly large. A sanctuary that can seat up to 3,000, but on any
given Sunday we’ll have between 1,500
and 2,000 in attendance. The room is a
gigantic concrete box with an openbeam ceiling. I liken it to mixing in a
huge fish bowl — reflection everywhere.
Our pastor has asked that we mix frontof-house at around 95 dB; however, our
stage volume is typically 97+ dB. I told
my guys we needed to fix this and they
were willing to work with me.
I called up Jeff at JLH Products. It’s so
cool when you call to order something
and you actually talk to the guy that made
it. I said, "I saw your product on the Internet and I want try it out. How soon can
I get it?" He said, "You're with a church?
I’ll ship it tomorrow." We went over the
particulars: You can order the device in
whatever ohm load matches your current setup so that there's as little change
to your tone as possible. I decided on 8
ohms because that’s what both of my guitar players use. Jeff shipped them and I
had them in two days. No joke, two days. I
actually got service and the guy was cool
over the phone. He even gave me a shirt
and hat just for ordering his product.
I unpack these cute little guys and
I’m already thinking of some clever story
to tell my guys about how they are going
to sound. Quite frankly, they don’t look
like they are going to have the fat sound
that a guitar player is used to. I walk into
the rehearsal with what looks like my
lunch in my hand and say, “Here we go
guys, this is an AxeTrak.” The look could
burn a hole in lead.
I plug it in, fingers crossed, and head
up to front-of-house. We used it on a Vox
AC30 with a Telecaster. He starts playing and I wonder if it works because I
can’t hear anything at FOH. I look at the
channel and I see a strong signal. I say a
prayer, un-mute it, and slowly push up
the fader. What to all of our wondering
ears should appear but the sound of
Mike’s guitar just as it’s sounded for the
last two years. We unplug the AxeTrak,
Road Test
Peavey Versarray 112
e first saw the Peavey Versarray system almost two years ago, and have
been trying to work out a road test
ever since. As we have done with larger pieces
of gear (including other line arrays) in the past,
instead of having Peavey send out a rig for us
to use on a gig, we went to a gig that had the
system already on it and worked the show. In
this case, that meant hooking up with Dave
Albro, who is doing FOH and associated duties for the VIP events surrounding the current
Tim McGraw tour. Most of the stops on the
tour feature “side” events including local and
regional acts, plus a VIP-only acoustic show by
McGraw prior to the actual arena show, which
is a Clair deal.
The Gear
Each cabinet in the array weighs in at 53 lbs.
Construction is 13-ply Baltic birch. Drivers are
a 12” neo Black Widow with a dual-4” voice
coil and two ribbons to handle the highs. The
specs say the box will go down to 100 Hz and
you can put as many as 18 in a single array —
although the system is really meant for small
to medium venues, and you are more likely
to see between four and eight boxes on most
The rigging allows for full articulation from
0 to 15 degrees between each box in 2.5-degree
increments, which allows for a multitude
of array-shape options. And a Versarrayspecific version of EASE is downloadable from
Peavey, as are project presets for Versarray
systems for the Peavey VSX 26 loudspeaker
manager, which was used on this gig. All input
connectors are four-pin Neutrik Speakons.
For the larger of the two stages, Dave used
a flybar and hung six boxes per side over three
Peavey 218 subs. All amps were Crest (5200 series on the highs and 8200 series on the subs).
For the smaller stage in the VIP tent, it was
three-over-two with the top boxes “groundstacked” on top of the subs.
One of the nice things about this system
is that you have plenty of options for flying
or stacking, and Peavey provides the gear
to make it happen. If you need to fly a small
listen to the amp and plug it back in
again. PERFECT! Right out of the box it
sounds just like his AC30. My sigh of relief could be heard around the world.
The boys at JLH have also added two
other features to help you if you need it.
There’s a port on the side of the box. Removing the cover helps create more lowend if desired. Also, there’s a high-end
roll off switch on the box. I didn’t need
to use either of them — I just plugged
it in and it worked great. It was a solved
problem right out of the box.
Without the guitar volume on stage,
I was able to turn everything else down
and now my stage volume is 88 dB at
FOH. I can mix the service at our pastors
desired level without having to sacrifice
the quality of our sound. For a relatively
small price tag, it’s the best solution I’ve
run across for this problem.
If you mix in a large church like I do or
you have a small church, I would recom-
system, you can get six boxes up to 13 feet in
the air without worrying about Genie Lifts or
chain motors. A crankable Vermette lift, available from Peavey, will do the job and fold flat
to fit in the truck.
The Gig
I was invited to go hear the Peavey Versarray 112 when the McGraw tour came to USANA amphitheater in Salt Lake City. I spent the
day working with Albro on the Frito StyleSonic
StageLine SL100 stage and the VIP Tent stage.
(Side note: While this Road Test is specifically
on the Versarray 112, Peavey and Crest Audio
manufactured nearly all of the gear on these
stages. This is a real turnkey rig.)
I arrived just in time to help setup the
SL100 and then fly the six boxes per side over
three groundstacked 218 subs. I could easily
lift a box and — unlike some more expensive
systems — it was a piece of cake to array and
to fly. Pins slid right in with a minimum of “adjustment” (isn’t that what you call the all to
common act of shaking the array back and
forth until the pin you are trying to insert lines
up with the proper hole?).
The band on the SL100 was a veteran
country act with both male and female vocalists. The band was made up of a drummer,
pedal steel guitar, bass and electric/acoustic
guitar in addition to the vocalists. The audience ranged from about 500 to 2,000 people
gathered around the stage where the performance took place two hours prior to the main
The stage was near a beer garden, so the
audience size varied quite a bit, and the system proved more than adequate for the coverage area. In fact, Albro had to keep the top two
boxes and one of the subs per side turned off
during the show. If he had not done this than
the sound would have carried too far into the
other areas of the amphitheater. The sound
pressure level at 50 feet was exceeding 100 dB,
so this system can keep up with loud bands.
OK, the big question we all want answered… How does it sound? It sounds really
good. Plenty of clarity on the top and tons of
By PaulOverson
punch on the bottom coverage and sound
was consistent on both systems.
I was very impressed with how the Versarray system worked and sounded. These musicians expected tour-grade equipment and a
professional sound and they got it. Especially
with the small size and myriad mounting options, I can see this system in schools, churches
and other smaller venues both as a rental and
installed. As the owner of an anklebiter company, I would heartily recommend this system
to anyone that needs a solid, road-worthy system that is affordable and can be purchased
from one vendor.
Peavey Versarray 112
What It Is: Compact line array.
Who It’s For: Smaller sound companies trying to get into the line array
game and smaller HOW-type installs.
Pros: Solid construction, lightweight,
easy to rig, sounds good.
Cons: None.
How Much: $1,599 per box MSRP;
$1,749.99 for the Versarray 218 sub.
Peavey Versarray 112
mend the AxeTrak to anyone. It flat-out
rocks. They also offer the AxeTrak in a version for bass as well as a 3x12, 1x12 and
bass cab with 3 6s and a 15. Jeff and his
team did their homework on the AxeTrak
and it really shows.
JLH AxeTrak
What It Is: Sort of a direct box for
guitar amps. Sort of.
Who It’s For: Anyone who needs to
control stage volume without sacrificing tone.
Pros: Small and easy to hide, Easy to
use. Great tone right out of the box.
Cons: You can’t create controlled feedback. They don’t make one for every
instrument on the stage.
Price: $399 (Factory Direct).
JLH AxeTrak
Vital Stats
Tony Marra
of Thermal Relief Design
By Kevin M.Mitchell
Who: Tony Marra, owner/founder of
Thermal Relief Design, Inc.
Where: “Vegas, Baby!”
When: “I started the company with my
wife, Lori, as TLM Electronics in 1987 in
Pleasantville, N.Y. When we moved to
Las Vegas in 1996 I changed the name
to Thermal Relief Design.”
Oh, so you’re heating and cooling…
“I should get this out of the way: When
I started Thermal Relief Design in Vegas, I was doing a lot of PCB design
for manufacturers. A ‘thermal relief ’ is
a PCB term for a pad that is ‘relieved’
from a large copper area to aid PCB
soldering. And since we’re in one of
the hottest cities in the country (it’s
just dry heat, though...), I thought the
name fit us. To this day, you won't believe how many people call us to ask if
we repair air conditioners.”
Services provided: Thermal Relief
services most pro audio equipment
manufactured today, all the way from
large format digital consoles to Switch
Mode Pulse Width Modulation Amplifiers. In Las Vegas, they are known as
the “Guitar Amplifier Specialists” as
all the music stores send their broken
amps to them. Even the local techs
look them up when they are stumped.
Full-time employees: Four who occupy tech benches and do double
duty with reception, shipping/receiving, office management and Web site
Current clients served include: Big:
Clair Brothers, Delicate Productions
and Solotech. Local and regional: New
World Audio, HAS Productions and
Soundsmith; and everything in between.
Tony Marra, owner/founder of Thermal Relief Design, Inc.
First gig of note: “The 1977 Rod Stewart Tour. One day I went straight from
installing discotheques in Buffalo to
setting up the PA for 20,000-seat auditoriums for Rod’s 1977 National Tour.”
Recent company highlight: Making
payroll again this month.
Badge of honor: “I survived with my
hearing intact after serving three years
on the road as house engineer for Ted
Nugent (1977-1980).”
Rick Hahn
Erika Earl
Why the hoopla? “We are deeply concerned about customer satisfaction.
Our motto from Vince Lombardi is posted in everyone’s workspace: ‘We are
going to relentlessly chase perfection,
knowing full well we will not catch it,
because nothing is perfect. But we are
going to relentlessly chase it, because
in the process, we will catch excellence.
I am not remotely interested in just being good.’”
TRD staff (L to R): Roy Page, Erika Earl, Tony Marra and Rick Hahn
Home front: Wife and “volunteer” bookkeeper, Lori; son, Joseph; and Sisco, the Bassett Hound.
People might be surprised to know: “I still
cry every time I see Mrs. Jumbo taken away
from Dumbo the flying elephant.”
“If I could tell my younger self one thing,
it would be... Quit being curious about
how stuff works and be more conscious of
how much you can sell it for. There’s more
money in sales than service.”
“Best part about my job is... I’m the boss,
and I can come in whenever I like, leave whenever I like and take days off whenever I like.”
“Biggest drag about my job is... I’m the
boss, so I gotta be here first in the morning,
be the last to leave at night and work seven
days a week, 52 weeks a year.”
“If and when I get on vacation, you’ll find
me... in a lonely mountain stream fly fishing
for brook trout.”
“My pet peeve about live concerts is…
tickets have gotten too expensive. It’s hard
for the young kids to be exposed to real live
music as opposed to CDs and MP3s when
concert tickets are so expensive.”
“The best concert I probably ever saw
was... in 1980, Pink Floyd performing The
Wall in Los Angeles, Calif.”
“What CD is in my car right now… nothing because my CD player is broken. But if
it was working, I’d be listening to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robin Trower and
Kenny Wayne Shepherd.”
“In the kitchen, I make a mean... pasta
sauce. Load it on some of my homemade
manicottis and meatballs and you’d think
you died and went to heaven.”
Words to live by: “Do what has to be
done, when it has to be done, as well as
it can be done, and do it that way every
Welcome To My Nightmare
don't like taking parties or bar gigs, but
sometimes you have to pay the bills,
right? So there I was loading gear into
the back of my Toyota Prius. We were loading for a venue that did not provide parking, and a rooftop gig meant a very small
amount of gear. Of course, I was reassured
there was an elevator. Fortunately, years of
experience told me to look at this venue
the night before, which by the way was just
about an hour after I got the call to do the
gig. Yup, no elevator!
Friday night, I arrived at the location
and began to carry my orange Home Depot
buckets of cables and connectors up four
flights of steps, only to find another artist
playing in my setup time. After a brief yet
intense discussion with the owner, I was
reassured that the artist would be finished
only an hour after I was supposed to be
setup. Then I began to address the issues
of a one-power outlet on the roof for a
four-piece rock band. He just shrugged his
shoulders and said it's not his problem and
don't run any extension cords on the floor
or down the stairs.
After looking fervently for options, I noticed a frozen margarita machine behind a
makeshift bar. Lo and behold, I saw a plug
sitting behind it amongst the bags of trash
and whatnot. I pull out my trusty 10-gauge
extension cord and ever so covertly find my
way to the source of glorious power. After
disguising my cord in the rafters and over
doorframes, I diverted my attention to the
next dilemma... more power! I now had
or S t u n t m a n ?
power for my board and two small amps,
but the one plug on stage would never be
enough for the guitar and bass amps that
would soon be arriving.
I looked over the horizon to the roof of
the building next to me and saw the fountain of AC attached to the neighbor’s HVAC
unit. Oh, glorious day! I did what any goodnatured and resourceful tech would do… I
grabbed the young grunt helping me and
pointed out his destiny. I reached into my
In The Trenches
orange bucket and pulled out yet another
length of manna from heaven and tied the
10-gauge cord around the young warrior’s
waist and said “JUMP – it'll hold you if you
fall!” And so he jumped, and yes, the youngster made it safely to the building holding
the treasure we sought.
After disguising our power among
the remnants of an old satellite dish, the
youngster made his way down one fire escape and up another to return to the next
FOH Engineer
Urban Guerrilla Engineers
Chicago, IL
[email protected]
We can’t print ‘em if you don’t send ‘em!
We want to hear from ALL our DIE-HARD
readers out there! Don’t be shy...
Send your complaints,
ideas and plans for
world domination to:
Services Provided: FOH/live recording.
Clients: Dennis DeYoung (Styx), currently
FOH for the Stevie Wonder’s 2008 “A Wonder
Summer's Night” U.S. tour, upcoming FOH
for Stevie's European and Australian tours.
Quote: "Painting pictures with sound."
Personal Info: Forty years in the business,
20 in recording studios, expert at integrating orchestras with high volume rhythm
sections (Rock and R&B).
[email protected]
Hobbies: History, science fiction, aviation, books.
Equipment: Midas Heritage 3000 (two of them on the Stevie Wonder tour).
Don’t leave home without: “My Massenburg GML 8200 Parametric EQ, SPL Transient Designer and Cranesong STC8 Compressor.”
Paul Kocel
Soul Fuel Music
Denver, CO
* @ %# I N
Danny Leake
task at hand... rain. Fortunately, plastic
trash bags make wonderful speaker covers, and as the mist passed, the band began to show. After attempting to reassure
the band, apparently "the hottest band in
town,” about the power concerns, they began their pre-show ritual of whiskey and
beer and said, "just make it f***in’ loud
man!" And loud we made it. This was one
of those rare moments when I told the guitarist to turn it to 11 and stay there, and
the bass let it all out because my little PA
is for the vocal and a bit of drums!
After reaching a 110 dB on an open
air rooftop and finding out the music was
heard during a pro basketball game three
blocks away, I felt complete in my journey.
Alas, the party for the little spoiled rich girl
ended, cables were packed back up in our
orange buckets, four flights of stairs were
descended many times with all the gear,
attempting not to run down the drunks
in the way, and the Toyota Prius was recovered from a parking garage six blocks
away. In the end, the promoter was happy,
the owner could have cared less, the music
was loud, and no anklebiters were harmed
performing stunts in search of power. But
as we left the venue, I couldn't help but
wonder how long it would be until they
figured out why the margarita machine
wasn't working!
The Bleeding Edge
By SteveLaCerra
Correct Yourself
ince studios have been moving
into less acoustic-friendly spaces
(e.g. spare bedrooms that quite
frankly have no business hosting a music production system), the need for
some means of compensating for poor
acoustics has materialized. Studio monitor manufacturers have responded by
developing various types of room correction technology. At the most basic
level, room correction analyzes the frequency response of a room/loudspeaker
combination and produces compensatory equalization.
How It Works
A test signal is played through the
loudspeakers and captured using a
measurement microphone, preferably
placed at the mix position. The room
correction system analyzes the loudspeaker/room response, compares it to
the known response of the speakers and
the measurement microphone, and then
applies equalization to correct for the
deficiencies of the acoustic space. This
is not far off from the concept of shooting a room with pink noise, analyzing
the results with a real-time spectrum
analyzer (RTA) and applying inverse EQ,
with say, a 31-band graphic.
Of course, the possibility that the average Joe owns (and understands how
to use) an RTA are slim, so loudspeaker
manufacturers such as Dynaudio Acoustics, Genelec and JBL started building
studio monitors incorporating active
electronics and on-board DSP with the
ability to play a test signal (either noise
or a series of blips and bleeps) and automate this process so that user error can
be avoided. In some cases, the results
can be a startling improvement over the
uncorrected response of the speaker.
At least two audio manufacturers
are marketing real-time room correction systems designed to work with any
loudspeaker system. ARC from IK Multimedia runs real-time software in the
form of a DAW plug-in to correct room
response. ARC gets “plugged in” on the
master L/R bus of say, a Pro Tools session, working in real time to correct
changes in the room response. If you are
mixing a song and an entire band steps
into the control room and squeezes into
the mix position, ARC recognizes the
fact that the high-frequency response
in the listening area has changed and
What Is CONEQ?
recognizes a 4.5 dB peak in the response
at 3.15 kHz, a complementary cut is applied at the same frequency. The issue
here is that an SPL measurement is
made at a single point in space. CONEQ
analyzes the sound field produced by
the loudspeaker rather than the response at a specific point. In a process
that takes only several minutes, CONEQ
measures hundreds of points in a listening area, integrates these measurement
points into a composite response plot
using a proprietary algorithm, creates
sound cards and microphones so that
measurements may be taken accurately,
and sample rates may be user-defined
to comply with the capabilities of the
sound card.
Measurable Results
After the measurement process has
been completed, CONEQ WORKSHOP
software interprets the data and creates
a 4,096-point correction filter as well as a
graph depicting the acoustic power frequency response of the loudspeaker. Res-
the data gathered in the measurement
process is uploaded to non-volatile
memory onboard the CONEQ APEQ2PRO, a two-channel hardware box that
hosts the CONEQ correction process
and allows it to be applied to any sound
reinforcement system.
Some of the benefits claimed by Real
Sound Lab when using CONEQ include
increased sonic realism and improved
intelligibility, with a reduction in feedback — and indeed their demonstrations support these claims. In addition
CONEQ (CONvolution Equalization) from Real Sound Lab
is a correction technology that can be employed in sound
reinforcement systems.
a high-resolution, inverse-response correction curve, and applies that curve to
the speaker or speaker array to flatten
its response.
The CONEQ measurement process
is facilitated using CONEQ WORKSHOP
software, run on any PC. The software
provides a rapidly repeating sweptsine wave for the test signal. This signal is generated from your computer’s
sound card and sent to the audio system. While it is being played, the microphone is slowly moved through the
coverage pattern of the speaker and the
software acquires measurement data at
several hundred physical points. Real
Sound Lab has a list of recommended
olution of the correction curve may be
increased or decreased to fit user needs,
and multiple measurement sequences
can be combined to balance the spectral
response of left, right, center, surround
and even delay fill loudspeakers.
Though a PC is always required to run
CONEQ WORKSHOP for the measurement
process and to generate the correction
curve, this mega-filter set can be
applied to the audio system in two ways
depending upon the application. In the
case of a PC-based recording/playback
system, an engineer would use the
software-based CONEQ P1 Equalizer or A1
Equalizer. When used with a traditional
PA system that may not incorporate a PC,
to CONEQ’s basic algorithm (intended to
create flat response), the system may be
used to target specific curves. For example, CONEQ could flatten the response
of a computer’s sound card to improve
measurement accuracy, compensate
for deviations in the measurement microphone itself, or apply a preferred
“house” EQ curve. It could possibly be
used to make one type of loudspeaker
sound nearly indistinguishable from another. Hmmm…
Steve “Woody” La Cerra is once again out
on tour this summer mixing front-of-house
for Blue Öyster Cult. He can be reached via
email at [email protected]
Ad info:http:// foh.hotims.com
CONEQ (CONvolution Equalization)
from Real Sound Lab is a correction
technology that can be employed in
sound reinforcement systems to apply
real-time room correction based upon
the acoustic power frequency response
of an audio system. Traditional acoustic
measurement systems analyze sound
pressure level (SPL) of sound waves at
specific frequencies. So, if the system
Regional Slants
The votes have been tallied – the regional
winners of the FOH Hometown Hero Awards are…
By DavidJohnFarinella
n the world of pro audio, regional
soundcos are among the hardest
working people in the biz. Often involved in a multitude of markets (concerts, corporates, HOW) and offering
a variety of services, they work hard to
stay competitive in a hyper-competitive
market. Often overshadowed by their
national touring big brothers, these unsung heroes of the audio world deserve
recognition for their hard work and contribution to the industry.
The 2008 FOH Hometown Hero
Awards are picked from a selection of
several regions around the United States
and Canada. The regional soundcos are
both nominated and voted on by their
peers. Winners from each region become
the nominees for the annual Hometown
Hero/Regional Sound Company of the
year at the 2008 Parnelli Awards ceremony in Las Vegas. FOH profiled each region’s
winning soundco to uncover their secrets
to success.
Great Lakes Sound
(L to R): Tom Kneisel, Tony Baldwin, Scotty Matzinger, President Bill Robison, Vice President Todd
Mitchell, Cliff Fuller, Jessica Lerum, Ken Mille, Joe Gilreath and Jeremiah Majo
ill Robison got into the sound business while working with some of the hardest working
musicians in the Midwest. It was the mid-1980s and the bar band business was booming
with bands calling for relatively sophisticated PA and lighting rigs.
As his reputation grew he added a couple more bands, tossed in a DJ or two, bought
some more gear and then started answering the phone using the name Great Lakes Sound.
In the 20 years since, Robison has been at the helm as Great Lakes Sound has evolved
from a local music sound company to a supplier of corporate events at the Edward Jones
Dome in St. Louis to a provider of services when political candidates roll through town.
Expanding that base has been crucial to the success and longevity of the company,
Robison says. “If you had asked me 15 years ago where our customer base was, it would
have been centered around a much smaller number of clients,” he says. “Today, I would like
to say that maybe our largest client is somewhere around 10 percent of our business, which
is, I think, pretty comfortable. I value all of my clients, but I certainly don’t want to feel that if
I lose one client, I am going to go out of business.”
Robison has also guided the company through a series of equipment purchases, including a recent move into digital scenery and media server technology as well as creating
smaller equipment packages. “We figure that every five years of so you almost have to restart your game plan,” Robison explains of the shift into a new service. “Technology evolves
so fast and what the customer is looking for changes. If we don’t make changes we’re going
to stagnate.”
The move was also made with an eye toward today’s economy, reports Vice President
Todd Mitchell. “Obviously, the economy is not doing as it once was, and if we can offer customers smaller packages, like smaller sound systems, LED lighting and digital scenery, then
great,” he says. “The big concert and festival market sucks right now, and on top of that there
are people that are willing to go out and do things for pennies on the dollar. So, for us it was
reinventing a new way of doing things. Obviously, we’ve still got a lot of horsepower back
there in terms of audio systems, and we do use them, but we’re just trying to be more intelligent with our approaches to things.”
Robison and Mitchell also continue to focus on the needs of companies in the northwest region of Ohio. “It’s good to look at the big regional touring market and what they
are doing, but frankly we’re on a much smaller regional level. So, for us it’s a little different,”
Mitchell says. “We like to spend our dollars wisely, and the past couple of years it’s been
about educating the staff and trying to take a foundation of the business and make it stronger and more stable.”
Atlanta Sound & Lighting
Atlanta Sound & Lighting crew (L to R): Sean Henry, Scott Waterbury, Bill Abner, Kate Halsey,
Mike Ertle, Brian Hatten, Steve Stapleton. Not pictured: Jesse Launder, Chris Motta, Tom
Smith II, Rich Henry and Jon Waterbury.
cott Waterbury had big plans that included nights standing on a stage entertaining legions of fans while playing bass in a band. So, what happened? “A friend of mine asked
me to do sound for this new band in the late ‘70s,” he recalls. “Ever hear of Return to Forever?
I got my first view of Stanley Clarke and I realized I wasn’t going to be the best bass player in
the world, so I’d have to move on to something else.”
Then Waterbury laughs, because his second choice was starting Atlanta Sound and
Lighting, and that hasn’t turned out to shabby. “No,” he admits. “I’m the luckiest guy on the
planet.” ASL started off supplying backline to bands in the area; Waterbury got into audio
because he was consistently coming home disappointed after hearing a band live. “I’d say,
‘Oh, man, that ruined it for me.’ So, we based our company on what’s best for the audience,
then the artist and then the promoter,” he explains. “The audience wants to hear good
sound, so we’re always going to push in that direction.”
The company works in a number of markets these days, including entertainment, event,
some corporate and a little bit of touring. In fact, some ASL staffers recently returned from a
short five-city jaunt supporting an act that producer Dallas Austin is creating.
One of the ways that Waterbury is giving back to the Atlanta community, and building
some good word of mouth, is by donating lighting and a not-so-seasoned engineer to a
local band who is appearing on a local television show. “It works out because the engineer
gets experience and the band gets stuff they normally couldn’t afford,” he says. “We have
a solid program for helping up-and-coming artists.”
Over the years, the company has grown to include sound and lighting, but Waterbury only made the move into illumination grudgingly. “The guy we were getting lights
from was renting them to our customers for less than he would rent them to me,” he
reports. “I said to him, ‘Treat me fair or I’ll have to get into lighting, too.” He didn’t, so I got
into lighting. It was a really good move for us, though.”
To date, Waterbury has resisted getting into video. “Of course, that means I’ve avoided
some good pay checks,” he jokes, “but there are only so many things you can excel at, don’t
you think? I just haven’t met the video guy that’s like us.”
To Waterbury, the term “like us” is crucial and it’s one of the main factors why he
believes he’s been in business for 30 years now. “I mentioned I’m the luckiest guy in
the world and that’s because I attract some of the nicest people on the planet,” he
says. “I really get some of the nicest people working for me. They want to do a good
job and they understand customer service.”
LD Systems
DiRaddo says. “We’ve been doing the International Festival now for 25 years and
the Houston Livestock and Rodeo for 19 years. We also are out on tour with 3
Doors Down and a couple of other bands. We toured with ZZ Top for five years doing sound and lighting. Lately, we’ve had an upswing in the touring market.”
The company has also worked with a number of major corporations, including
an event at Minute Maid Park for a Microsoft convention, Shell Oil’s annual events
in Houston and the Jiffy Lube corporate conventions in Orlando and Colorado
The secret to the company’s success, DiRaddo states, is simple. “We’ve always
treated it like a business,” he explains. “Some people view it more as a hobby, but I
think part of our strength has been the diversity of things we do, from churches to
straight-ahead rock shows to special events. We do every aspect of the business.
We have a pretty brisk pace of business through the year and that keeps us going.
Obviously, Houston has never been a big entertainment or corporate capital, so
we’ve had to do all different things to grow to the size we are today.”
LD Systems crew Mike Graham and Carlos Olivares on the Hinder tour.
here are a lot of things to do in high school, some of them legal and some of
them make a kid a bit of dough. It’s rare, though, that 30 years later a kid is doing the same thing he did during those post wonder years.
Andy DiRaddo is one of those rarities, since he started a little audio company
with friend John Larson while the two were in high school that’s become LD Systems in Houston. Even after Larson left to join the armed services, and Rob McKinley came on as the new partner in 1975, the company retained the name. DiRaddo
and McKinley kicked into full gear after the two graduated from Rice University.
“Early on we did sound for bands,” DiRaddo recalls. “We used to do a thing
called Country Sunday where a bunch of country arts played. We did a little bit
of everything. I remember we pulled out some speakers for a company that was
demoing crop duster planes.”
While LD Systems hasn’t provided sound services for a crop duster plane company since, the company’s Production Services team have worked at all kinds of
tours, corporate and entertainment events. The company also boasts an install division that has put systems in places like Minute Maid Park and Reliant Stadium.
“I feel like we’ve been fortunate to do a lot of the major events in the city,”
Monitor engineer Mark Thompson at the 3 Doors Down sound check
Breanne GeorGe
HAS Production Crew (L to R): Cory Poulin, Larry Hall, Bob “Bobo” Gibson, Margo Fletcher, Danny Lane
t is said that Las Vegas is a town that runs on something called “juice.” And most
people misunderstand juice as “who you know.” Actually juice is not about who
you know, it is about who knows you. And these days there are very few venues
and promoters in Las Vegas that do not know HAS Productions. The HAS story
seems typical on the surface, but dig a little deeper and it gets more interesting.
Yes, owner Larry Hall started as a musician and at some point figured out
he was making more money renting his small P.A. system to other bands than
he was playing gigs. But that is where the typical part pretty much ends.
First, while Hall was making his musical mark back in South Carolina, he
was also getting in his licks as a ranked Golden Gloves boxer and his “day gig”
was as a firefighter outside of Charleston. (Yes, THAT Charleston. A year ago, he
took a week out of the height of the summer season to go back home and bury
nine of his firefighting brethren after a furniture store fire that made national
headlines.) And, unlike most of us, he actually had a big degree of success as
HAS Productions
a musician with a record deal and the whole shot. But we know
how such things often go, and a management shakeup at the label
meant no more deal. Looking for steadier musical work brought
Larry and his family to Las Vegas where there were more dues to be
paid. “I cleaned carpets for 13 months before I got a gig,” he recalls.
It wasn’t long before he got himself a truck and some more gear
and started up Hall Audio Services.
Today, the issue is keeping up with the gigs. From humble beginnings doing club and small casino gigs that the big companies
considered “beneath” them, Hall and his crew have turned a reputation for getting the job done right and within budget into gigs
that the bigger companies in town now wonder why they are not
getting anymore. He added lighting and staging plus extensive
backline and changed the company name to HAS Productions.
Today, HAS is the “house” provider for properties that include a
6,000-seat arena, outdoor amphitheatres and large showrooms in
addition to regular gigs at venues including the Fremont Street
Experience (with crowds that can exceed 10,000), Nellis Air Force
Base and city- and county-sponsored festivals with single show attendance
exceeding 20,000. They were even asked to provide house sound at the Democratic Party presidential debate in Vegas late last year.
While HAS has kept current on gear with line arrays from JBL and DAS plus
Yamaha and Soundcraft digital consoles, this is a company that “gets” it. They
understand that the best car is useless without a great driver. “Our full-time staff
is not huge,” says Hall. “But we know every good FOH and MON guy in the Valley,
and most of them work for us regularly. And Danny Lane, my operations guy, has
been doing this for big companies including ATK for a long time. We know what
it takes to get the job done and we will not rest until the client is happy.”
The payoff of that work ethic and philosophy is that HAS is virtually always
asked back when working with a new customer even in the overtly political
environment that is Las Vegas and, against the odds, continues to expand. It’s
all about juice and HAS has it.
Regional Slants
MHA Audio
Tour Tech East
our Tech East President Peter
Hendrickson has been busy
this morning trying to find that
delicate balance between servicing local clientele and opportunities for a national tour. What’s
complicating things for him these
days is the simple fact that three
gigs — providing sound services
for the civic events during his
hometown’s annual celebration, a
show with The Eagles and an Avril
Lavigne Canadian tour — all happen within a week of each other.
Nickelback performing at the Festival of Lights
Making the decision how best
doing was complimentary to what we were
to service each opportunity comes
down to looking at the big picture, Hen- doing right from the very beginning,” he
drickson says. “We could just stay and please says. “It was just a natural progression.”
While the company has been adding serthe local clients, but if we want to grow the
company we’re going to have to look at go- vices, Hendrickson has kept an eye on riders
ing outside our normal type of business,” he to determine what products he should buy.
“In the early days, I used to buy what I really
That might mean bringing in some subs, liked and what I thought was great. Unforhe adds, especially because appearances tunately, what I think is great doesn’t always
(and delivery, obviously) are important. “You translate to cash, and I can’t grow the busidon’t want to go into situations appearing ness if I only buy what I like. I am in business
that you’re busting at the seams,” Hendrick- to stay in business and I can be either right
son reports, “you want to go in with the cus- or I can be dead right. I have given up on the
tomer feeling like they are being profession- dead right.”
With that, Hendrickson has to get back
ally looked after and they want it to be as
seamless as possible. That’s been one of the to planning where the company’s gear and
challenges today for us — just making sure engineers will be heading. He knows one
that all the clients are satisfied and that they thing for sure, which seems to be the key to
feel comfortable with what they are being becoming one of this year’s Hometown Heroes. “No matter how big the gig is, it has to
given or told.”
Of course, this isn’t anything new for be dealt with professionally,” he says. “What
Hendrickson and the Tour Tech Team who separates the professionals from the nonhave been working out of Dartmouth, Nova professionals is that the customer walks
Scotia since 1984. At first, the company only away feeling that even though he may not
offered lighting services, but over the years be the Rolling Stones or The Eagles or Toby
Tour Tech East has added sound, staging, Keith, that he got treated as well as if he was.
power distribution and trucking to its base That’s what is really important.”
of business. “Everything that we ended up
Rob Vanier
American Heritage Festival and
Artscape Festival, the largest
free arts festival in the U.S.
MHA’s political work runs
the gamut from touring with
presidential candidates to inaugural balls. The company also
provided sound services for the
Pope’s recent visit to Nationals
Stadium in Washington, and
the dedication of the Air Force
Memorial in Arlington, Va.
Finding and keeping that
variety of work has been one
MHA Audio provided sound for the Virgin Mobile Music Festival in
of the key ingredients to sucBaltimore, Md.
cess for MHA, Scarfe believes.
hile Mike Scarfe was traveling around “I was never tempted, when a lot of oththe States with the B-52s for the last 10 ers were, to concentrate on only corporate
years providing entertainment for corporate work,” he reports. “A lot of those companies
events, he got a first hand look at the work- that concentrated on corporate work have
ings of regional sound companies. It was a experienced serious downturns in their busipriceless education for a man who was look- ness, particularly during summer months.
ing to get into the regional business in the We don’t have that because we have strong
Mid-Atlantic area. “I used a new company ties to the music market, and we enjoy doevery week,” he recalls. “It helped me under- ing concerts. So, we tend to keep very busy
stand what I would need to do to be success- throughout all 12 months because of the
range of events. “I always felt that having a
ful in the regional market.”
Scarfe turned his attention to regional variety would serve us well.”
At the same time, MHA has steadfastly rework in 1993, after a touring career that began
in 1973. Utilizing his experience in the music mained an audio house. “I’m not particularly
business, Scarfe looked to increase his business interested in lighting or video,” he says. “I’d
by selling to corporate and political clients and much rather provide an excellent job at the
local promoters. The strategy paid off, as MHA one thing that we know how to do well, sound
now blends music, political and corporate cli- reinforcement. People know to come to us for
ents. “I think it is one of the reasons that we are quality audio and knowledgeable personnel.”
More than that, Scarfe believes that clisuccessful because we can bring national qualents call on MHA because of the quality of
ity to a regional event,” he says.
On the music side of things, MHA works the people working there. Indeed, he is sure
at a number of regional theaters, amphithe- that the company earned the Hometown Heaters and performing arts venues between roes accolade because of the team of sound
Baltimore and Washington D.C., as well as techs. “The quality of our people stands out,”
multi-day festivals, such as Capital Jazz Festi- he says. “I believe they have won this award
val, Virgin Music Festival in Baltimore, African and not just the company.”
Morgan Sound
Back Row: Charlie Morgan, Brett Rudy, Adam Kozie. Front Row: TJ Loehman, Rose Andrews, Aaron
Fisher, Adam Holloway, Steve Boyce, Tim Harding. Not pictured: Paul Hudson, Alex Bruce
t’s as if the folks at Morgan Sound in Lynwood, Wash. play a little game called “PA Chicken”
where they pick an event or venue and then see if they can put a package together that will
work. Talking heads? Speakers on sticks. Easy peasy. A 70,000-seat festival? Roll out the VerTecs.
Nothing to it. College commencements? Events at Safeco Field? Corporate something or others? Not a problem.
Turns out that 35-plus years of experience counts for something, especially when it contributes to the confidence necessary to service a wide variety of gigs in dozens of venues in the
Pacific Northwest. Beyond live sound services, Morgan Sound has expanded to include retail
sales, electronic and speaker repair and installation. “Live sound has always been the heart and
soul of the business, but it’s very diverse,” reports Sound Reinforcement Director Steve Boyce.
While the company has history on its side, Boyce is quick to point out that history is only as
good as people remember. “We feel like we have to constantly prove ourselves each time we
go out,” Boyce says. “That’s one of our big motivators because there are all sorts of people that
would like to take our business from us.”
So, Morgan Sound has dedicated itself as a company that takes great care with each job,
paying attention to details and making sure there is constant communication with each client.
“If there is an issue that comes up, we are not afraid to bring it up,” Boyce says. “I’ve found that
over the years people certainly prefer an honest and open communication more than feeling
like someone is trying to pull something over on them.”
As for the next 12 months, Boyce points out that the company will be looking to
continue to build its corporate book of business as well as investigating opportunities in music. “I really enjoy the corporate market,” he says. “We’ve found that in the
corporate market we can service them very well and they are very pleased that we’re a
specialized audio company. Not to be disparaging, but some A/V companies do a little
of everything and we’re able to specialize and service them very well. And, for us, it’s
certainly less stressful and more economically lucrative for us.
“We all love to do rock shows, we love to do music,” he continues. “But there are so
many companies out there that promoters have a wider variety of companies to choose
from, and they will play everyone off one another on the quotes and drive the price
downward. In this day and age, with trucking and fuel costing as much as it does and
capital expenses, I’d rather see the price go the other way. I mean, we’ll continue to do
both. It’s just what we do. If the phone rings and we’re available and we can negotiate
it, we’re there.”
P R O J E C T I O N L I G H T S & S TA G I N G N E W S
Join Us
Parnelli Award Nominations
P R O J E C T I O N L I G H T S & S TA G I N G N E W S
Roy &
Gene Clair
Parnelli Audio
o f C e re m
In Honoring
The Very Best
Of Our Industry
Go to
36 PLSN JULY 2008
2008 Parnelli Awards AD.indd 36
7/31/08 7:49:32 PM
Sound Sanctuary
By JamieRio
ver the last two months, we have
spent time exploring the variety of
microphones and the importance of
having your ears as sharp as possible. This
month, I would like to talk about basic stage
setups and EQ scenarios. I know a lot of you
have a basic idea of how to make your pastor,
choir or worship band sound good. However,
some of you don't, and we can always use a
little tune-up, especially me. So, here we go.
Listen To What the Man Says
I think we can all agree that the words
that pour out of the mouths of our pastors,
priests, rabbis or whoever our worship orator
happens to be is ultimately the most important part of the service. We will call the person
Heavenly Mixing
Now there is no reason for you to put the
preachers' voice in the stage monitors unless
it is specifically requested. You have good
signal strength from the microphone, so just
listen as your assistant talks and talks. Do you
hear any boominess? If you do, engage your
high-pass button or cut your low-EQ knob.
Subtle adjustments always seem to work better than cranking the knobs up or down. Is
the voice sounding natural? 315 Hz to 600 Hz
is important for a smooth, natural voice. Cut
or boost in this area; if your board does not
have a sweepable mid EQ, try slightly increasing or decreasing the mid-frequency knob.
Listen again to your assistant's voice. If the
voice sounds harsh than the problem may reside in the 2 kHz to 4 kHz range.
Whether the preacher prefers a wired
or wireless mic makes no difference.
We are only interested in how clear and
natural he or she sounds.
talking about God the preacher to simplify
our discussion. Your preacher either stands
behind a podium or pulpit or travels freely
about the stage delivering the word. Whether
the preacher prefers a wired or wireless mic
makes no difference. We are only interested
in how clear and natural he or she sounds.
If you have time before a service, it's a very
good idea to test the microphone that your
preacher will be using — even better if you
have an assistant on stage so you can remain
at the mixing board. Start with your EQ flat
and have your assistant talk boldly into the
preacher's mic. Bring up the gain until your
meters (LEDs) are in the yellow zone. If your
board only has LEDs that show "signal present" and "too hot,” push the gain until you
are too hot then back it off a ¼-turn. If your
preacher has dynamic vocals, it would be nice
if you had a compressor or limiter to handle
the potential peaks. If you don't, just back the
gain off a bit and plan on riding your channel
fader during the message part of the service.
These frequencies also cause ear fatigue
so you don't want your preacher slamming
the congregation with them. On the other
hand, intelligibility also lives in these frequencies. Therefore, it is a bit of a balancing act. So,
once again, listen closely. The spoken word
can produce harmonics up to 8 kHz. Boosting
those up can add some sparkle as long as you
don't create a brittle sound with your EQ. By
the way, if you don't have an assistant, plug
your preacher's mic into your board and test
it yourself.
Preaching to the Choir
mics and stands for your singers. Two good
condenser microphones will work well, or use
four if you want to mic the individual vocal
groups (bass, tenor, altos and sopranos).
If you have condenser mics, that's good.
Mainly because this type of mic is ideal for
hearing a sound sources from a distance and
is more sensitive than a dynamic mic. Did I
mention that your microphones hear? It's
good to think of them in this manner. Knowing how a mic hears can help you with proper positioning and, of course, using the right
mic. The reality, however, it that you will be
using whatever mics and configuration that
your house has. Now, set up your microphones and bring up the gain. It's the same
drill friends — flat EQ and signal strength
in the yellow. Before you reach for the EQ
knobs, listen to the singers. Sometimes just
moving your microphones around can help
with the overall blend and smoothness of
the voices.
Tenors, Altos and Sopranos, Oh My!
With your mics set in the optimum positions, you can begin adjusting EQ as needed.
Bass and tenor frequency fundamentals lie
in the 160 Hz to 250 Hz range and altos and
sopranos in 315 Hz to 500 Hz. As I mentioned
before, 600 Hz to 1K is important for the natural sound of your vocalist. 630 Hz is represented by a slider on all 1/3-octave graphic EQs. So,
if your house of worship is heavy on singing,
this is a frequency that can be very important
in the overall tuning of your worship space.
Your choir will probably have some sort
of stage monitors. Be careful of feedback in
the 1 K to 4 K area. Keep in mind that these
same frequencies greatly affect intelligibility
and also are responsible for ear fatigue. Actually there is a lot going on in this range. I suggest you listen carefully and adjust sparingly
throughout this frequency band. Occasionally, I will boost a bit the 10 K to 12 K range.
This can add "air" to the choir, but it also can
add noise. As always, use your ears (twice).
I realize that I haven't gotten to the miking and EQing of the worship band and all the
instruments that can entail. But worry not,
next month I will be tackling that sometimes
difficult subject. I will get into topics from
drums to flutes and everything in between —
not to mention the politics and etiquette of
your average worship band.
Contact Jamie at [email protected]
Your choir’s voices follow the same audio
rules as your preacher. The only difference is
that there are more people and they are all
singing. Let's say you have a dozen members
in your choir: If your house has installed choir
mics (generally hanging from the ceiling), I
like to position the choir so the mics are two
feet in front of the singers and about two feet
above their heads. Same distances if you use
Optimization of
As an owner/operator of a sound company, you
need to be given the knowledge to shop-tweak
the rigs you own to optimum flatness before your
customer/guest engineers mess with the equalizer.
And nothing repels a guest engineer from the FOH
equalizer more than a great sounding rig at the
FOH position. But the crucial system setup aspect
is getting the 1 kHz and up, high-frequency filtering perfect before hand.
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— Mark Amundson from his “Theory and Practice”
column in the July 2008 issue.
and Tribulations
By KenRengering
h, into the summer I go, alone, as apparently my writing partner is MIA.
Join me as I relate the exciting trials
and tribulations of a true anklebiter. And let
me know some of your experiences so I can
pass them on to other catfish in the sound
engineering pond.
Size Isn’t Everything
Let’s start with system size. I am comfortable enough with my sexuality to admit
my system is not overly large with a 4-top
and 4-bottom mains rig — two stacks per
side — and six matched powered monitors.
Not enormous, but I have some pretty big
amps pushing it and almost everything is at
4 ohms. Being an anklebiter means every day
is a lesson in how things work correctly and
efficiently. I am always looking to work smart,
not hard. I often refer to a 2-top, 2-bottom,
4-monitor on a 4-mix system as a “lounge
starter system.” It includes a 16-channel desk
with built-in effects, amp rack, EQ rack, 100foot snake, mics, DIs, stands, cables and AC.
Yes, I know it’s not even a proper sidefill sys-
(the previously
referred to mofos),
like to sing the
“Sanford and Son”
theme song when I pull
up with my loud and proud
I try to learn something each gig. I find it’s
usually before or after the gig where you
learn the hardest lessons. And I guess the
hardest earned are the best learned.
tem for you big rig mofos! Maybe a drum
This system packs incredibly well into a
1998 Chevy Silverado with an eight-foot bed.
My supposed friends, also sound engineers
with the big line arrays and digital consoles
rig. Not only is it unoriginal, but I really don’t
find it all that humorous.
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Working Hard for Cheap
The reason I am telling you all this is because I used to load and unload this myself.
I was young and stupid and unwilling to pay
someone else to help me do something I
thought I not only could do, but I should do
myself. It was exhausting and dangerous, and
I was literally risking the family jewels for a
few more shekels. At that time, the shekels
were coming in less frequently and my clients
were unwilling to part with them at an appropriate level. I was working too cheap! I bet
none of you have ever done that.
Oh, yes, there were promises of cash
and labor help for the in /out. The load-in
would wind up to be a clusterf*#& with
my inexperienced “help” making things
take twice as long. And on the outs, the
“help” would disappear into the night,
along with the client, to head to some afterparty while I tried to talk a bartender or
bouncer into helping me load the truck.
Due to circumstances beyond my control,
I was recently put in that position again, and
being an anklebiter, I can’t really afford to
turn down many gigs. But this time I made
sure to keep the client with me at the end of
the night, as he was my help. This gig was outdoors in Las Vegas. About half an hour into
down-stacking speakers, wrapping cables
and so forth, he said he finally understood
why I needed and contractually obligated
him for the labor. His friends had left him to
do the work after all the usual empty promises. And the best part, he tells me that in the
future he would prefer to pay me to have my
guys, who are more efficient and sometimes
almost professional, do this crap! I believe
that’s Ken: 1 Clients: 0 (for this gig).
A Learning Curve
There is a learning curve, albeit sometimes
a long, slow one, for all of us involved — the
clients, the labor and me. But in this instance,
I felt like the proud papa who sees the light
bulb turn on for his child as he connects the
thoughts and comes up with the right answer
for the first time. It did take the willpower of
G. Gordon Liddy to bite my tongue and not
tell/scream at him, “I told you so!”
I try to learn something each gig. I find it’s
usually before or after the gig where you learn
the hardest lessons. And I guess the hardest
earned are the best learned. But sometimes
it is someone else who learns the lesson and
you just wind up grinning like an idiot on the
drive back to the shop.
Dynamic Versus Condenser Mics
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Dynamic mics are the most common type of microphones used in live sound applications.
First and foremost, they are very durable. Church mics can receive some very harsh physical
treatment. A good dynamic mic can endure a fall, an orator’s spit and even double as a hammer
on some occasions. You can find designs for almost any applications and they can sound very
good. Condenser microphones for the most part are the second choice
for sound engineers. To my ears, a good condenser is better sounding
than a good dynamic mic. They are also more able to pick up sound from
a distance. You will find that all top quality choir and podium mics are
condenser. They are typically smooth and natural sounding.
— From Jamie Rio’s “Sound Sanctuary” column in the June 2008 issue.
The Biz
Come Together
ave you noticed the music in your elevator getting better lately? Installed
sound, in general, has taken leaps forward in terms of quality and management in
the last few years. At the InfoComm show in
June, the purveyors of installed sound systems
gave plenty of praise to the live sound sector
for raising the sonic bar across the board. They
cited how the enhanced emphasis on touring
in the music business has raised expectations
of consumers for better audio in all aspects of
their lives.
Install Prime Time
Apples and Oranges
This was only L-ACOUSTICS second InfoComm appearance, an arrivisté status
they shared with several other live sound
companies at the show. As recently as just
five years ago, manufacturers regarded live
and installed audio as apples and oranges.
But that all changed with phenomenon like
churches morphing into performance spaces and traditionally static spaces like retail
stores and museums looking to create im-
been used in installed sound situations like
theaters and even churches,” he explains.
“It’s that more spaces are becoming performing spaces” — retail, airport concourses,
theme parks — “and the industry is learning to adapt touring sound technology into
applications that used to be serviced by
installed sound gear that wasn’t necessarily appropriate for music.” Dan Montecalvo,
marketing manager for Audio-Technica, puts
it succinctly: “More people are coming from
More people are coming from the live-sound
side of the business over to installed sound, and
they’re bringing the stuff they like with them.”
— Dan Montecalvo, Audio-Technica.
And if imitation is flattery, their live sound
counterparts are returning the favor in the form
of adapting gear to meet the requirements of
the installed sound universe. David Scheirman,
vice president of tour sound for JBL Professional, says the inherent robustness of live sound
technology makes it ready for install prime
time. “Product characteristics like integral, loadrated suspension fixtures and comprehensive,
standardized software for remote control and
monitoring all make tour sound products readily adaptable to the needs of the fixed installation sound system market,” he says.
Paul Freudenberg, vice president of sales
and marketing with L-ACOUSTICS, pointed
to the more stylishly rounded and nuanced
rigging connector on the company’s 112
XGH cabinet. “In the old days, you’d have to
fasten the dolly boards, and it didn’t matter
much how it looked as long as it worked,”
he says. “But if the cabinet is going to be installed and becomes part of the interior design, it needs to look like it was esthetically
By DanDaley
mersive lifestyle environments with sound
as a critical element. With the inclusion of
the NSCA expo merged with this show, InfoComm, this year, underscored the extensive
convergence that’s taking place between
live and installed audio.
Jeff Rocha, sales director at EAW, says the
convergence has been taking place at the
highest levels. “When CEOs hear touring acts
sound great at their corporate events, it naturally follows that they won’t want less when it
comes to sound in other parts of their businesses,” he says. EAW is also restyling some of
its gear to give a better esthetic in installed
applications. He adds that mid-sized and
small line arrays have literally had a new niche
created for them in installed scenarios.
“It’s not that touring equipment hadn’t
the live sound side of the business over to installed sound, and they’re bringing the stuff
they like with them.”
Converging Markets
Seeing veteran live sound mixer Robert
Scovill, now marketing manager at Digidesign, at an installed sound exhibition viscerally clinches the sense of convergence between
the two sectors.
“From the manufacturers’ perspectives,
the line has gotten pretty blurry,” he agrees.
It’s also affecting Digi’s product and marketing strategy to an extent. “We’re not so
much adapting the technology for the market as building scale for installed sound,” he
explains. “We want to continue to work from
a single-software platform, but we’re also
going to continue to move downmarket to
build products that are smaller and that can
address more markets.” Digi is also reconfiguring its existing products, such as creating a
single-rack solution for its Icon console that
eliminates the need for a snake, making it a
better fit for fixed installations.
In fact, Scovill confides, in the four years
that Digidesign has exhibited at InfoComm,
it took a while to realize that it wasn’t a matter of selling the odd console into the fixedsound market, but rather branding their way
into it. “We realized we needed to position the
brand, not just the technology and products,”
he says. “It’s the difference between seeing
a market where we can sell some stuff and
a market where we can create demand that
wasn’t there before.”
Kevin Hill, managing director at Spanish speaker maker D.A.S., says the branding
aspect is being helped by the fact that live
sound companies are increasing the amount
of installed sound work they do to balance
revenues during off-touring seasons. “Historically, those customers have not been as
brand-conscious as the touring clients are,”
he says. “But that’s changing as the big touring sound providers are doing more installed
work. They’re bringing brand awareness with
them into this marketplace.”
The increased emphasis on live touring
sound as the music industry’s core revenue
stream has been a boon to live sound systems manufacturers, but it’s also brought
more competition to the field — it sometimes
feels as if there is an individual microphone
for every independent artist on the road.
continued on page 43
Theory and Practice
Less Than Zero
eroing out a console — the methodical process of bringing all the live audio mixing console knobs, faders and
switches to a benign state of usage. This way
the future engineer using the console will
not have to be observant of every last detail
before connecting the system to the console
and fear immediate mayhem. But zeroing out
a console is more than a courtesy after the gig;
it should also be a practice before the gig.
The Process
Zeroing out most analog consoles typically starts with the faders. Unless the console
is partially active providing recorded music
before the gig, you want to turn down all the
faders, including the main left-center-right,
auxiliary, subgroup and channel strip faders.
Yeah, having mute groups on helps, but until
you have programmed them or understand
why other channel faders have to be up, send
all the faders to the bottom and hunt down
the channel strip equalizers and flatten them
all at unity gain first.
I recommend centering the swept frequency controls on the parametric equalizers
and choosing wide frequencies for high- or
low-pass filters. Nothing aggravates the next
console driver more than high-pass filters
stuck at 200 Hz when gig time pressure is
on. Choose a more wide-open value like 80
Hz or lower to let the next person narrow up
the response bands. Leave the channel strip
equalizer strips “inserted” and not bypassed
— another hair-pulling aggravation in stressful gigs with no zero-out time.
For channel strip gains and assorted other
preamp controls, bring the gains back down
to around the 10 o’clock position with the XLR
jack as the chosen input. Also, you can remove
the pads, polarity flips and phantom power
settings as you regain the channels. If there
are high-pass switches or controls, leave the
switches engaged or back off the controls to
a low frequency so that channels needing extra bottom-end will have action taken by the
next user. Nothing like chasing hum on channels not needing subwoofer support. For auxiliary sends, send them all packing back to full
attenuation until you have effects and other
mixes to support. Pay extreme attention to
the pre/post and stereo/dual mono switches.
A safe bet is leaving things in post-fader mode
and each aux control in mono send mode.
By MarkAmundson
Tackling the master section is mostly
common sense. Once all the faders are down,
check the signal routings and un-flip any fader flip switches so that groups and aux send
masters are obvious. Also, check for global
pre/post settings on aux masters on lower
cost consoles. Then back down on the headphone monitoring levels and choose the L-R
mix as the default monitor when a PFL or AFL
switch is not activated. And, of course, leave
the mute group in a safe condition with all
channels muted by the groups or with individual channels muted if not in a mute group.
If you have marked up board tape on the
console, it is at your discretion to remove it.
There is no reason to leave it on the console if
a good zeroing out is performed. The exceptions would be if the next act is keeping the
same mic patching or if there are bad channels that need identification.
The Courtesy
At the end of a gig, it is a nice courtesy
if you zero out the console to leave it for the
next user. Of course, if it is very likely you will
be the next user, you may gamble on leaving
things half-zeroed so that EQ settings and
preamp gains are left for the next performance. An efficient console operator should
be able to dial in EQ and rough gains very
quickly from a zeroed-out console.
Zeroing before the gig also helps familiarize yourself with the console if you have not
been on that brand/model for a while. Feeling all those controls and faders may provide
a clue on how well-maintained the console is
before mixing. Loose controls and sticky faders may provide a scenario of how to defensively drive the console to avoid crackles and
pops before the show goes on.
The Ego
I once had an ego enough to not zero
out the console because I wanted the next
user to see the mixing prowess I had as a
teaching aid. Today, I am much more likely
to play nice and zero out for fear that someone else will see my bad mixing habits instead. But there is another reason to zero out
each night, especially when you really are a
good console operator, to the point where
your pay is very well up in the compensation ranks.We know of a few FOH engineers
continued on page 43
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Come Together
continued from page 40
target the market more specifically. Renkus-Heinz’s Iconix modular solution that
places a highly directional/intelleligible
digitally steerable speaker stalk atop one or
two subs in an easily scaled and managed
package is a taste of things to come. “It’s a
new product and we’re aiming it at the AV
market,” says Jim Mobley, Renkus-Heinz’s
senior applications engineer. This is also a
new market for the proprietary networks
that sound systems developers have been
marketing in recent years, like Harman
Pro’s HiQNet and EAW’s U-Net. In short, as
Humphrey Bogart says to Paul Henreid at
the end of Casablanca, these two parts of
the sound business spectrum are ready to
What’s To Come
biz “make beautiful music together.”
As the rewards of addressing the fixed
installation sound market become more Dan Daley can be reached at [email protected]
apparent, expect to see the technologies fohonline.com.
Understanding this, live sound manufacturers see the installed sound sector as the
natural market to migrate to: It’s more affluent than the majority of touring tiers, the
market keeps expanding, and it is for the
most part just a matter of relatively minimal modifications to make products more
appropriate for installed applications. “If
you can sell [the same products] into both
markets you increase revenues and split
the cost of product development,” says
Joe Rimstidt, speaker product manager at
Yamaha, which now offers two rigging options for many of its speaker cabinets, one
for touring and one for installed use.
Less Than Zero
continued from page 40
who had plenty of experience with top acts and used a few novel mixing tricks to
nail each artist’s signature sound. The engineers never zeroed out each night because they were always at the console for the next show.
But management changed its mind and let the expert FOH guy go very quickly
— even without letting the guy mix his last show and zero out. A competent and
much lower paid FOH engineer took note of the expert’s settings and continued
to almost flawlessly preserve the sound of the show for the artist. The moral of the
story is that your “mix” is your intellectual property, and not keeping it under wraps
is letting others have free usage, possibly without the learning curve you went
through. If you are on a digital console, zeroing out means resetting the board to
factory defaults. Your settings are saved on your card for next time.
Contact Mark at [email protected]
Andy Au
This is This
caress the smooth spool of
solder as I wait in anticipation for the soldering gun
to heat up. I strip the rubber
from my cable just enough
to give myself a workable
amount of copper, and with
heated iron in hand, I touch
the tip to the end of the solder melting just enough to
coat the end of the cable.
I repeat the process over
my solder point and leave a
perfect shining spot where
I then touch the end of my
cable and hold for a moment
before I release the iron. A
thin line of smoke wafts up
and tickles my nostrils with
its delicate fragrance. Ah, I
love the smell of solder in the
My screw gun sings its
high-wailing song as I put together my racks. I go over my
stage plot and program my
input list and monitor mixes
into the digital console. I
clean my amplifiers and pack
my cable trunks. I double
check my microphones and
count out my stands. I ensure
that I have the proper steel
package and that my motors
are packed and ready to go.
My power distro energetically lines itself up behind the
feeder cable trunk and my
line array looks ready to fly.
Equipment gives back what
one puts into it; if it is cared
for and given enough energy it will not fail. “Stanley,
see this? This is this. This ain’t
somethin’ else. This is this.”
spatial relationships. The only
stipulations are those that can
be clearly defined by the physical boundaries of the box into
which the smaller boxes are
being loaded. There is no grey
area and no room for misinterpretation, and while the puzzle
might be put together in a variety of different ways, it either
fits or not. It’s simple. “Stanley,
see this? This is this. This ain’t
somethin’ else. This is this.”
Setting up the gear is
pretty much the same as
packing the truck; everything
has its proper place. A certain
amount of power is needed to
drive the system and all the
pieces fit like an Escher tessellation. All is going as planned
until some event planner or
hot shot producer comes up
and demands that they need
to move all the gear from one
end of the room to the other.
“I need you guys to set up with
the speakers behind the band.
I need you to take up less
space. I need, I need, I need…
yada, yada, yada.” Hey, forget
you and your needs. What
about me Ms. or Mr. Producer,
eh, what about me?
“I need you guys to set up with the speakers behind the band. I need you to take up less space.
I need, I need, I need… yada, yada, yada.” Hey,
forget you and your needs. What about me Ms.
or Mr. Producer, eh, what about me?
In Demand
The MGM Grand and
Foxwoods Casino join
forces to build a new
entertainment venue.
We talk to Brad Madix
and Brent Carpenter to
find out what’s up with
the chickens.
A look at the lives and
times of the Clair Bros.
of Lititz, Pa.
By BakerLee
Then the phone rings and I shift to
another part of my brain, “This is Baker
speaking. May I help you?” It could be
one of many voices on the other end
of the line, a male, a female, a knowledgeable person or a complete novice
in the field of audio. They might be on
tour planning a stopover at one of the
many television shows or arranging a
showcase in some room that was chosen for décor and not for sound. The
voice on the other end of the line might
be supercilious and ignite my ire. Either
that or the obsequious tone may inspire
a sugar-coated nausea to rise up inside
and gag me, but regardless of tone or
timbre, these voices share in common a
cry for help and a demand for a solution.
“I need a sound system. I need in-ears.
I need a microphone for 500 people. I
need a lot, but only have a little. I need
to fill a rider for a famous act I booked,
but I’m a nonprofit organization. I need
help! Help me please!
The veins in my forehead are bulging
and a red hue begins to filter my vision. I
unclench my teeth and puffing up to my
intimidating and green post Bruce Banner
size, I scream into the mouthpiece of the
technology that has brought me more
than my share of irritation, “WHO CARES
Sure, you have needs, but I have needs,
too. How are you going to help me? Don’t
just think you can throw money at me
and I’ll jump at your every command or
fill your every whim. I have my pride, you
know, and I have grown weary of hearing
that phrase “I need, I need, I need.” When
do I get my share of the pie? When do I
get to demand? WHAT ABOUT ME?
What About Me?
I push my gear to the loading dock and
load the truck. I look forward to the magic
and joy of putting all the pieces together
and making them fit like some giant 3D
jigsaw puzzle. There is a technical skill to
packing a truck utilizing mathematical and
Never Ending
Unfortunately, it never
ends. Once the gear is all
set (again) some visiting engineer invariably demands,
“I need to change the input
list. I need more effects. I
need more subs. I need a
different console. I need, I
need, I need.” But, of course,
it’s not over yet, as the band
who has been waiting — not so patiently — has finally taken the stage so
that they too can express their needs.
“Yo, Mr. Soundman, I need more vocal.
I need more kick drum. Hey yo, we all
need more kick drum. Hey, Mr. Soundman, more snare in the drum wedge.”
Now the “I needs” are multiplied by five
or six. When will all these desires be satisfied and what about me? I have needs
too. I go home and my wife needs me,
my kids need me, my dog needs me, my
three cats all need me. Believe it or not,
my two fish and turtle need me, and
what do I get in return? I get stress, agitation, a twitch under my eye and a really bad rash. Do I actually need to haul
my ass in to work just for a bad rash I
can easily get at home? Who needs all
these people and their needs? From
now on, it’s just the equipment and me.
“Stanley, see this? This is this. This ain’t
somethin’ else. This is this.”
“I love the smell of solder in the
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