Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have orchestrated a whole new R&B revival...

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: Hit in Your Soul

Nov 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Bill Murphy

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: Hit in Your Soul

On the corner of Central Avenue and Troutman Street in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, a busted-up van with its doors flung wide open is cranking Boogie Down Production's “The Bridge Is Over,” the jagged drum machine beats spilling out like shards into the oppressive summer heat. It's an off-kilter, 20-year throwback to hip-hop's heyday, but meanwhile, just down the street, a tight-knit group of talented players is dialing back the clock even further — to a time when sweet soul music ruled the airwaves.

Walking into Daptone Studios is pretty much like walking into any other row house in this rough-and-tumble neighborhood. But what makes this particular house so unique is the full-blown recording studio on the ground floor, a second studio and rehearsal space (with enormous Stocktronics plate reverb) in the basement and the Daptone Records label offices upstairs. House producer, songwriter, bassist and Daptone co-founder Gabriel “Bosco Mann” Roth has carefully stocked the studio with a treasure trove of vintage tape machines and analog gear, all in a sincere and dedicated effort to capture a sound that he feels has been lost from most recordings today.

“If you listen to Stax or some of the Motown records, or even Beatles records,” he explains, his signature dark shades glinting in the late-afternoon light, “they all have this real sense of space to them. I think one of the biggest things is once you pull the drums and the bass out of the middle of a record, it just suddenly opens up that space. Those are the records that make sense to me.”

Roth puts his production ideas to the test on 100 Days, 100 Nights (Daptone, 2007), the third release from the label's flagship act, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. For those not yet in the know, a quick breakdown: the Daps, part of a loose indie collective of musicians that includes Antibalas, the Budos Band, the Sugarman Three and various other groups on the sweat-inducing Brooklyn soul-funk-afrobeat scene, have quickly become a musical lightning rod. As of late, they've attracted the attention of such luminaries as Kanye West (who has sampled the group's wares), The Roots' Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson (who invited the Daptone Horns to work on a monumental new album with Al Green), Amy Winehouse (as her touring band and on her album Back to Black), Mark Ronson (on his second solo album, Version) and surely more to come.

Meanwhile, lead singer Sharon Jones has taken off in her own right. Not only did Lou Reed recruit her to join him on his recent “Berlin” tour, but Jones is also slated to appear later this year in the Denzel Washington-directed film, The Great Debaters. Charismatic and high-energy to the core, Jones gets to show yet another side of her multifaceted range on 100 Days, reaching down for some of the Southern gospel roots that inspired her as a child.

“Keeping all those spirits alive — that's what a lot of gospel is about,” Jones gushes, citing Sam Cooke and Otis Redding as some of her earliest influences, and sounding musical even when she's just talking on the phone. “You have to listen to these old songs to keep them in your heart. And so I guess by doing that, we've made other people want to bring back that sound and that spirit. Keeping that spirit alive — I think that's what we're doing at Daptone, you know?”

Read more...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

L-ACOUSTICS Earns Its Wings With Red Bull

L-ACOUSTICS was on hand for the Red Bull Air Race World Series in San Diego, CA.
SAN DIEGO, CA--High-end aerobatic planes weren't the only things that took to the skies at downtown San Diego's Big Bay for the second-to-last stop of the 2007 Red Bull Air Race World Series. Numerous L-ACOUSTICS line source array elements were also flying in precise formation at five different locations along the north and south peninsulas of Embarcadero Marina Park delivering highly intelligible audio reinforcement throughout the event.

Hayward, California-based Sound On Stage was contracted as the exclusive sound reinforcement provider for the race. According to general manager George Edwards, "The benefit of using L-ACOUSTICS line arrays and various boxes in this particular application is two-fold. First is its proven ability to cover wide and long distances, and second is the absolute clarity of the spoken word. This is a unique event. There is no stage; it's not about entertainment. The whole thing is about taking the announcer's voice from one microphone and distributing it cleanly to a hundred thousand people or more."

Getting that single microphone's message out loud and clear was a combined total of 16 L-ACOUSTICS ARCS, 28 dV-DOSC and six V-DOSC line source array elements, plus four high-power dV-SUB and 14 SB218 subwoofers, all spread out between five SR positions. When asked if he was pleased with the results, Edwards commented simply, "At the end of the day, we wouldn't use anything else."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MixRevolution.com Buzzes Out of Beta

Nov 14, 2007 3:04 PM,

After one year in beta mode, MixRevolution.com has already created a buzz with more than 1,600 DJs as members, with the goal of creating a central online community for DJs of every genre of music. The collective's aim is to allow DJs to interact directly and collaborate with one another, while gaining more exposure to the outside world.

MixRevolution.com covers artist interviews, DJ interviews, product reviews, event coverage and other interests of the DJ lifestyle. The site, founded by Aaron Eng (aka DJ Crazy ASE), already counts among its members the likes of Grandmaster Roc Raida, DJ Rhettmatic, DJ Honda, DJ Irie, DJ Mea and Mike Rizzo.

Check it out online at www.mixrevolution.com.

2007 PRIMEDIA Business Magazines & Media Inc.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Alford Media Line Array Solutions - JBL VerTec System

After more than a year of comparing these premier speaker manufacturers’ products, as well as evaluating the opportunities to serve our clients with line array, we decided to add a JBL VerTec line array speaker system to our inventory.

Alford's VerTec speaker elements are easily identified by their custom logo covers. Why did you choose the JBL VerTec? Alford Media has used VerTec in real show situations six times since February. The results have been remarkable…the tracks sound the way you produced them, and as we sound guys like to say, “the lavs are in your face.” In all cases, engineers and clients alike were astonished at the ease of use and the quality of the product. We also recognized the tremendous customer support offered by JBL. Alford Media’s choice of VerTec over other line array offerings was clear-cut. We took delivery of our first twenty-four VT4889s in early August.

What is the JBL VerTec Line Array? JBL VerTec, short for Vertical Technology, is the culmination of over two years of extensive R&D by some of the world’s finest acoustical, mechanical, and show-savvy audio engineers. JBL has long been recognized as the leader in speaker component manufacturing. Not a bad thing when you set out to design, build and market a world class line array speaker system. The charge of the design team at JBL was taking classical line array theory and scale it up to create a large, high powered array. They would need to fully understand line array behavior and develop VerTec and its components from the ground up. JBL was not just trying to be a player in the line array market, but the leader in the field. The time they put into research paid off with the VT4889 array element and the JBL line array calculator.

JBL's line array calculator. The VT4889 uses numerous patented new components such as the high frequency Waveformer™, the Radiation Boundary Integrator™ or RBI™, advanced enclosure design and a rigid pin lock rigging system. It is a tri-amped box utilizing three new drivers designed and built specifically for the VerTec product. Each VT4889 contains two 600 watt 15” light weight woofers, four 300 watt 8” midrange drivers and three 75 watt high frequency compression drivers with beryllium diaphragms.

The JBL line array calculator is the software tool that enables the field engineer to design the system for the event. Most line array manufacturers have a software tool to assist in system design. We have found JBL’s line array calculator to be extremely accurate and a must have tool. The correct pitch of the array bar, as well as the precise angles between the speaker boxes, is critical to the functionality of the array. This is why the calculator is integral to proper system design. By inputting the venue measurements, trim heights and box count, the engineer, in advance of the install, can manipulate the angles and box placement for maximum coverage and optimum frequency response. After extensive field testing, long distance listening, measuring and competitive comparisons, JBL rolled the initial VerTec products out in 2000. The VT4889 is the tried and true flagship of the JBL VerTec product line.

How does Alford handle amplification, processing and power distribution? To this great product, we added Our custom amplifier/processor rack. QSC PowerLight amplifiers and industry standard XTA DP226 DSPs for control. All elements were incorporated into Alford’s proven four box modular design. The end result was a great system with all of the power of a touring rock-and-roll rig along with the assets of a corporate event system.

Our VerTec amplifier/processing racks each consist of three QSC PL6.0’s, one QSC PL236 for a total of over 17,000 watts per rack. Each rack has its own XTA DP226 processor to accommodate the modular design and allow more zone control than typical single processed systems. DP226’s have full front panel controls and can be linked and controlled via RS485 from a remote location, such as front of house. Amplifier output connectivity is routed through nineteen-conductor multi-cable with socopex style connectors that break out to NL8 connectors at the speaker cabinet. The racks are wired for three-phase power for proper AC load balance. We have added new 200 amp AC distribution systems to our inventory to supply the three-phase AC for the VerTec and provide the remainder of the single-phase needs of the show.

The "hook down" rigging system. What does it take to rig the system? Our system also includes digital inclinometers for every array bar. This allows the pitch of the bar, which is critical to the success of the array, to be determined from the ground. The inclinometer sensors are attached to the array frames. The output of the sensors are routed to the reader on the ground via the speaker multi-cable allowing the engineer or rigger to properly set the pitch with chain motors.

The VerTec rigging concept is safe and efficient. In this JBL design, all rigging parts are attached to the cabinet…no loose pieces and no angling contraptions to misplace. It is the most practical design we have seen either in conventional or line array applications. Our array frames are pre-packed in pairs, complete with the inclinometers, shackles, deck chains and spansets. Everything needed for “hook down” rigging is in the pack.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

RENTAL & STAGING ROADSHOW kicks off July 25 in New York!


The First Rental & Staging Roadshow will take place July 25, 2007 at Altman Rentals in Yonkers, NY -- just one train stop outside of Manhattan.

The Rental & Staging Roadshow includes two consecutive tracks: one on business, featuring in-depth management seminars by Tom Stimson, and one on technical issues in staging, which will be presented by InfoComm.

In addition to the sessions, there will also be manufacturer demos, exhibits, lunch and cocktail networking sessions, and much more.

Admission is free, but space is limited. Register now!

For directions to Altman Rentals, click here.

CTS Audio Deploys Massive New JBL Vertec Compact VT4887A Line Array System for "Women of Faith" Tour




Marking one of the world's first deployments of JBL Professional's new VerTecVT4887A compact line array loudspeakers, CTS Audio of Nashville is providing the live sound reinforcement system for the current Women of Faith - Amazing Freedom 2007 tour.

During its 10-year existence, the Women of Faith tour has drawn more than 2.5 million attendees, featuring numerous guest speakers from around the world. Each year, more than 20 cities throughout the United States and Canada host this event, which draws sell-out crowds in arenas including the American Airlines Center in Dallas, the United Center in Chicago and the Honda Center in Anaheim. This year's tour kicked off March 15 at the Alamodome in San Antonio and continues until December 1.

CTS Audio has been handling this project for the past eight years. For 2007, CTS wanted to provide a new sound reinforcement solution to upgrade the audio and ensure that each attendee hears every subtle nuance of these in-the-round presentations. This new speaker system comprises eight line arrays containing a total of 120 VerTec VT4887A compact line array elements along with 32 VT4881ADP-AN powered arrayable subwoofers, equipped with JBL DrivePack technology. "We typically deploy eight hangs in four quadrants in the center of the room, with an upper truss and lower truss and video screens situated between the trusses," explained Ed Crippen, senior consultant, CTS Audio. "We have three one-ton motors that support the entire PA system fly grid including the amp racks and we are deploying the subwoofers in a unique forward-steered array."

The VerTec VT4887A full range high directivity line array element provides audio professionals with a broad, flexible range of sound reinforcement solutions. The VT4887A has extended low frequency response to 55 Hz through use of JBL's new 2268J-1 8" woofer. A unique new integrated port/handle assembly aids in low frequency extension. The model also incorporates a newly-optimized mid/high frequency network and a new high frequency element, JBL's 2408H. Frequency range is 55 Hz-22 kHz.

In employing the new VT4887A line array system, CTS Audio has found a reliable solution for the Women of Faith program, which relies largely on spoken word with occasional live music performances. "The JBL system is extremely easy to tune and we have only had to tweak the EQ slightly here and there, depending upon how reverberant the arena is," Crippen added. "With previous systems we were doing much more drastic equalization on every speaker zone."

Additionally, four half-ton motors attach under the main PA fly grid to provide adjustable tilts for the main line array hangs. "The challenge is providing enough horizontal and vertical coverage for the entire seating area while working around the four, large video screens. Some audience members are literally seated behind the tilted arrays," Crippen added. "To solve this, we place JBL's small new VRX928 portable line array modules into the lower lighting truss. These are positioned slightly behind the main PA quadrants and provide front fill for the closer seats. They keep up with the rest of the system and provide great vocal articulation."

"The recent purchase of this large VERTEC VT4887A line array system gives CTS Audio added flexibility for challenging live sound applications such as Women of Faith," said David Scheirman, vice president, Tour Sound, JBL Professional. "This is one of the largest touring systems anywhere that's based upon compact line array elements, and we are pleased that Carl Taylor and his team at CTS Audio have turned to loudspeaker system products from JBL for this prestigious North American tour."

WWWwww.jbl.com

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Listen: Making Sense of Sound

Listen: Making Sense of Sound
The San Francisco Exploratorium's Listen: Making Sense of Sound runs through December 31, 2007. The 5,000-square-foot exhibition features more than 55 interactive exhibits, 40 of which are new. For a detailed overview of the exhibition, go to www.exploratorium.edu/listen/index.php.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Sound Reinforcement Products.

AUDIO-TECHNICA 3000 SERIES Audio-Technica (www.audio-technica.com) has enhanced its 3000 Series UHF true-diversity wireless systems with Automatic Frequency Scanning, which automatically determines and sets the best available open frequency. Particularly useful when using multiple wireless systems, AFS avoids interference...



read more | digg story

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

L-Acoustics dV-DOSC Brings New Life to LDS

Capable of seating an audience of more than 21,000, all of whom have an unobstructed view of the pulpit, Salt Lake City’s LDS Conference Center is a breathtaking achievement in architectural and acoustical design. Thanks to a recent installation of an L-ACOUSTICS dV-DOSC loudspeaker system, the auditorium’s sound reinforcement system is now finally every bit on par with the room’s grandeur.

First opened by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in the spring of 2000, the 1.4 million-square-foot Conference Center is home to the semi-annual LDS General Conference, which packs in a full house and is broadcast worldwide out to 12 million people. Furthermore, each Sunday the Center hosts a performance by the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir – a weekly rite that, now in its 77th year, ranks as the longest-running network broadcast in world (albeit initially only on radio). The Center is also available as a rental venue for high quality concerts, ceremonies and meetings. According to LDS Sound Engineer Trent Walker, “We get quite the gamut of performers who come through this room. In addition to LDS events there are approximately 25 other shows per year, including the National Rotary and World Barbershop conventions, concerts such as a recent performance by The Oak Ridge Boys with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to benefit Feed the Children, and a variety of guest soloists who perform with the choir every week.” With such prestigious events being held on a regular basis, it is crucial that not only are the choir and orchestra heard in a high enough fidelity that is worthy of the musicianship, but also that the spoken word be heard clearly and evenly at every seat. The sound system that was originally installed in 2000 was never adequate for the room and Salt Lake City-based Poll Sound, led by General Manager and Lead Sound System Designer Deward Timothy, was tasked with creating a new system that would do the room justice. It should come as no surprise that there were many challenges to overcome in an acoustic environment that is large enough to hold a Boeing 747. The room has a rounded back wall, so making adjustments to the system to minimize reflections was no easy feat. The left and right PA speaker positions are 120 feet apart – the width of the stage – making it difficult to create an image. Another issue was the existing structure, Timothy explains, “When the building was originally designed, they (LDS) didn’t want the arrays showing, so they created cavities for them to go into. These cavities would require some pretty serious modifications to fit the new equipment, including a fair amount of new steel for support, as well as modifications to the grilles so they could be as far forward as possible.”

The first step in the process was to make a computer model of the room. L-ACOUSTICS was able to take Poll Sound’s existing EASE model and convert it into its powerful SOUNDVISION modeling software. L-ACOUSTICS Vice President of Sales and Marketing Paul Freudenberg explains the next steps: “We modeled a couple of different loudspeaker approaches and evaluated them for performance in terms of coverage and sound pressure level. As part of this process, we’re also able to find out how physically large a sound system and speaker array will be, as well as the weights – statistics that will be helpful for engineering purposes. For instance, if we find that a system that will be too heavy for the rigging point, we are able to be proactive and change our initial approach or consult with engineering for an alternative.” SOUNDVISION has a fan in Deward Timothy, “It’s head and shoulders above any others that I’ve used in modeling line arrays. In the past, we’ve used different models and found that you may or may not end up with what they predicted, but never with L-ACOUSTICS. It’s very precise.”

After running the models, the choice to go with the dV-DOSC system was an easy and natural one for Poll Sound, which had previously installed a dV-DOSC rig in the 905-seat theater in the same building. “We really like the way the dV-DOSC sounds; the bass is full and warm, the line arrays do exactly what they should, and they just sound good. That’s the reason our client likes them, and, at this point when they have a high profile project, they automatically think of L-ACOUSTICS,” says Timothy. Walker echoes his sentiments, “The dV-DOSC line array solved a lot of problems for us in a room this size. The natural sound it has provided has really been the answer we were looking for.”

The front-of-house system is set up to be an LCR system with 18 dV-DOSC cabinets flown per side and six dV-SUB for extended low-frequency reinforcement. The foldback system for the choir and orchestra runs 16 discreet mixes, and monitors deployed are combination of L-ACOUSTICS MTD112b and MTD108a enclosures.

When it was time for tuning, Timothy was very pleased with what he found, “We loaded the L-ACOUSTICS preset file for our processor and, to be perfectly frank, we didn’t change it in the least. We did some minor tuning after the fact, but their factory preset was almost right on.” Freudenberg elaborates, “As part of our standard process we provide a set of factory produced presets for DSP processing – crossover points, delay points, EQ points and so on. Nothing is left to chance. When we follow our process, these presets help achieve the same sound performance in every environment. It takes sound system design out of voodoo territory and transforms it into something more structured.”

The first show in the main hall with the new dV-DOSC system was the American Forces Radio and Television Service’s Christmas broadcast to the troops, which featured contemporary Christian artist Sandi Patti performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra. Trent Walker noticed the difference immediately, “The goal was to ensure that we had coverage and that what is heard is the purity of the music, not the speakers. We are now getting a stereo image in a large portion of the room and that has made a huge difference for our audience. We were thrilled and so excited that we went with the dV-DOSC.”

Freudenberg credits the success of this massive project to a great team effort and the process, which is the L-ACOUSTICS installed sound approach, “The combination of an expert installation company and the knowledge of a highly skilled mixer made the difference on this project. This is also the perfect example of a large-scale sound system being successfully deployed using our proven process – site visit, prediction, evaluation and installation. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment.”

www.pollsound.com
www.l-acoustics.com

Photo credits - Kyle Gibson.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Loud Technologies acquires Martin Audio

Apr 28, 2007 8:00 AM

Long-time UK speaker company Martin Audio is joining EAW and Mackie as part of Loud Technologies.

Loud Technologies, which already owns the EAW and Mackie speaker lines, has announced its agreement to purchase Martin Audio of the UK. The agreement involved Loud's purchase of all of Martin's outstanding capital stock. Estimates of the total value of the deal, which is subject to adjustment for third-party debt and net working capital at the time of closing, range from $33 to $35 million dollars.

David Bissett-Powell, managing director of Martin Audio commented, "Ours is one of the few mature industries that has no dominant player. It seems apparent, however, that to be a small independent is becoming tougher on the world stage. We recognize the need for multiple disciplines and by becoming part of Loud, we immediately have access to further resources, both technical and financial, to assist our team in reaching their goals."

Jamie Engen, CEO of Loud, said that Martin Audio would remain an independent brand within the group, and that synergies would arise that would mutually benefit both the clients and the expanded group.

For more information, visit www.martin-audio.com.

Friday, March 16, 2007

M-AUDIO OFFERS FREE COPY OF TORQ TO X-SESSION PRO USERS

REMIX Magazine, Mar 14, 2007 9:59 AM

M-Audio has announced that all X-Session Pro owners are now eligible to receive a free copy of Torq LE, a light version of the Torq DJ software.

Customers who have an X-Session Pro can visit the X-Session Pro page on the M-Audio Website, register and download the software for free. To get started, click here.

For more information about M-Audio, visit www.m-audio.com.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Martin Audio Acquired By Loud Technologies

From rentalandstaging.com

News
Martin Audio Acquired By Loud Technologies
By
Mar 7, 2007

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--LOUD Technologies of the USA has entered into an agreement to purchase the entire share capital of Martin Audio Limited of the UK.

David Bissett-Powell, managing director of Martin Audio commented, "We are excited about becoming part of the LOUD Group of Companies. Our worldwide distribution partners have also become a strong part of this team and in order to utilize these talents and benefits to their maximum potential we need to have access to a wider base of technologies and for this reason have been looking at potential partners for some time. Ours is one of the few mature industries that has no dominant player. Even the largest has only a single digit percentage of the business so there is still a lot to play for. It seems apparent, however, that to be a small independent is becoming tougher on the world stage."

Jamie Engen, CEO of LOUD said "We are delighted to have David and his team become part of the LOUD Group. The management at Martin Audio has a proven track record of success in developing premium and innovative products along with an excellent International Distribution network." For more information visit www.loudtechinc.com and www.martin-audio.com.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Too Powerful to Demonstrate

Danley Sound Labs, arguably the sound reinforcement industry's most innovative designer, will demonstrate their entire line of full-range loudspeakers and subwoofers to potential customers and curious loudspeaker enthusiasts at the NSCA Expo 2007 in Orlando, Florida in March.

Danley's behemoth 40-driver, 40-kilowatt self-powered, 8'x 8'x 20' Matterhorn subwoofer, which drops two full octaves lower than any subwoofer on the market and thumps listeners with output capability of 105dB at 250 meters will be on display inside the convention center for the duration of the Expo. Due to structural concerns within the center, the Matterhorn's full power cannot be demonstrated. Two of the new Danley full range SH-25s were to be used with the Matterhorn. This combination conservatively has 30dB more broadband dynamic range available than the compact disc!

The new Danley SH-25 full-range loudspeakers, which represent the industry's first speaker that is simultaneously arrayable in both the horizontal and vertical planes will be demo'd along with the new TH-50 subwoofer at NSCA. The TH-50 subwoofer provides essentially flat response to 20Hz with a sensitivity of 95dB 1w/1m and power handling of 1,500 watts. In yet another Danley first, this truly compact subwoofer is the only subwoofer on the market that provides concert level output down to 20Hz in a single enclosure.

Danley Sound Labs will be have continuous demonstrations of their sub 30Hz performance subwoofers, including TH-112, TH-215, and the DTS 20, as well as their full-range counterparts, in demonstration room W307A.

Danley Sound Labs is the only loudspeaker manufacturer to use patent-pending synergy-horn and tapped-horn technologies, which ingeniously apply acoustical principles to circumvent compromises that the rest of the industry had long-ago decided were unavoidable. As a result, Danley designs deliver flat frequency responses, extended low-end from extremely compact enclosures, and tight, seamlessly arrayable pattern control which are unrivaled in the industry, even at breathtaking SPLs. On paper, Danley's products boast specifications, all conservatively measured, that make conventionally-designed speakers look like someone's middle school science fair project. In person, Danley's products sound uniquely transparent and rich, with well-defined dispersal patterns that have almost tangible edges.

"We're excited to share our product line with everyone at NSCA," commented Tom Danley, director of engineering at Danley Sound Labs. "You can look at technical specifications until the cows come home, but in our business, hearing is believing. Our ongoing NSCA demonstrations will provide an opportunity for people to judge for themselves the benefits of our patent-pending technologies."

Tom Danley is one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and is recognized worldwide as a pioneer for "outside the box" thinking in professional audio technology. His legendary designs have been utilized in projects ranging from ground zero bombing simulation, jet engine active noise cancellation, and sonic boom generators to critical listening mastering studios, high-end home theatre, and houses of worship around the world.

Danley Sound Labs www.danleysoundlabs.com

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Meyer Sound Helps Transform Historic Paramount Theatre

Feb 14, 2007 12:55 PM


Located on Broadway in downtown Oakland, CA, the Paramount Theatre is a slice of living history that also embodies the end of an era. Back in the Golden Age of film when Hollywood studios owned every major theatre and completely controlled film distribution, ornate and impressive theatres like the Paramount were the order of the day. However, the Great Depression changed that, and the Paramount—with its magnificent, 2,992-seat, Art Deco design—was the last studio-owned movie palace built in the nation. Over the years, the theatre changed hands several times as both the downtown film market and the building itself slowly decayed, and in 1970, the doors were shut for good. Or at least until 1972, when the Oakland Symphony (now the Oakland East Bay Symphony) purchased it and restored it to its original grandeur, reopening it as a performing arts center. Shortly thereafter, it was declared a National Historic Landmark, and ownership was transferred to the city.


Flash forward to today, and the Paramount is one of the Bay Area’s prime spots for high-profile concerts, lectures, theatre, and film—recent entertainment has run the gamut from B.B. King to the Oakland East Bay Symphony to a series of lectures by legendary film figures such as Robert Redford and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors.

But while the acts booked have been strictly A-list, one recurrent complaint has dogged the theatre in recent years: mediocre sound. “Over time, people were complaining more and more about the sound quality," says theatre operations manager Jeff Ewald. "They were making the automatic assumption that it was our equipment or sound engineer that was the problem, which it wasn’t. We would tell them that bands were bringing in their own sound equipment and people, and that they didn’t always mix their sound ideally for the building, but they didn’t want to hear that. So we decided to get a system of such quality that everyone would want to rent it.” When the time came to find the ideal system supplier, the Paramount crew needed to go less than four miles up the road to a local legend of concert and live audio, Berkeley-based Meyer Sound .

Brand reputation and experience were definitely big factors in recommending the company. “A lot of the top acts fly MILO® rigs,” Ewald explains. “The Meyer and MILO reputations are of a very high quality level that’s instantly recognizable in the industry, like the Bentley name in the auto world. We've watched Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Sting, and other very high-end acts bring MILO in here over the years, and it’s good stuff.”

Even if the Paramount installed a high-quality system large enough to cover the acts with the most extensive system needs, many of the bigger bands build their shows around their own systems, making them unlikely to want to use the Paramount's system instead. This sent the Paramount back to the drawing board.

"We rethought the general idea of the system and decided it should be something that could supplement the setups of large touring acts, and operate as a standalone system for smaller acts," Ewald explains. "Then we figured out the things we would need to start covering those type of shows.” The plan was helped by the fact that many top acts were bringing in MILO systems themselves, and the consistency and self-powering of Meyer Sound loudspeakers meant that the Paramount's system integrated smoothly and easily with the incoming systems.

Given the age and overall floor plan of the building, though, installation of a new system would be no cakewalk, so the Paramount team retained Lewitz and Associates to help design and tune the system. “The whole design, installation, and fine-tuning took about six months, on and off. We started with a Meyer demo in this building for the theatre staff, and from there it slowly took shape,” says Robert Lester, Lewitz’s principal sound system designer for the project. “When we started designing the system, we had no electronic drawings to work with, just older drawings in poor shape that we had to try to salvage and get information from, so that was an issue.” Lester and crew used MAPP Online Pro™ acoustical prediction software in combination with other design techniques, and created a three-dimensional model of the theatre to help plot loudspeaker positioning.

Building shape was also an issue, as Lester details. “The theatre poses some problems because of the balcony design and shape," he says. "It’s extremely deep, so, from the position of the center speaker cluster, you don’t have a line of sight to most of the area under the balcony, and if you compensate by hanging the speakers lower, you can’t reach the top of the balcony, so it’s tricky.”

Ewald concurs, saying, “To get sound into the balcony with a single cluster, you really have to spread the sound out very, very fast and wide, because it’s not a tremendous distance, only about 60 feet from the first row of the balcony to the cluster."

"That was the initial factor which led us to Meyer in the first place: the fact that they have a 120° MILO box (the MILO 120 high-power expanded coverage curvilinear array loudspeaker)," Lester chimes in. "Plus the MILOs just sound great.”

Lester recommended installing the system as a “portable permanent” setup, to better accommodate the Paramount’s needs, which often change nightly. The center cluster consists of one M3D-Sub directional subwoofer flown over three MILO cabinets and one MILO 120 unit. Identical left and right arrays of one M3D-Sub subwoofer and three MILO cabinets flank the sides of the building. The arrays are swapped between a “wide” configuration for spoken word presentations, concert support, and theatre; a “cinema” configuration for films; and a simplified “graduation” setup. A Galileo loudspeaker management system keeps the system in tune no matter what the application.

Mark Roos of San Francisco-based BBI Engineering headed up the installation. "We very much enjoyed the Galileo," says Roos. "It was the first time we used it and we found the user interface to be very well-designed. Tuning went smoothly with it." Roos also voices his appreciation for the help provided by Meyer Sound's technical support staff. "We were very pleased with the support we got from Meyer throughout the project. The factory support was a big enhancement to our work."

Achieving this balance between applications wasn’t easy. Says Lester, “It definitely was a tuning challenge. First and foremost, they needed high-quality speech intelligibility, but their number two priority was music reinforcement. If it sounded great with music, but there were 50-100 seats where you couldn’t understand spoken word, that wouldn’t work. We had to spend a lot of time walking around, isolating individual boxes, and using our ears in order to find the perfect compromise.”

Despite those obstacles, the system went up in record time. “After power was in, which took about a month, the sound system was up in about two weeks. We started at the end of July, and it was in and running for our first show of the season (Redford's appearance) on September 5, so it was quite quick,” says Ewald.

The simplicity and ease of setup provided by a self-powered system was also a huge factor in the system choice, according to Ewald. “We do a lot of lightly-produced shows, as well as high school graduations, which have no money for production. Consequently, we don’t run a lot of staff during these events, and a system like this gives us a lot of advantages. The idea that you roll the speakers out, plug them in, and you’re good to go was a huge positive when considering our options. We knew that the system would often need to be rolled out and installed in a very short period of time by only two people, and with just two lines of support for each speaker—signal and power—it makes it much easier to install it on a compressed timeline, especially for graduations.”

Thus far, thumbs have been raised all around at the system's performance. “Feedback has been basically a standing ovation," says Ewald enthusiastically. "Everyone who’s been around it has loved it. It’s kind of like with microwave ovens, where people now ask ‘what did we do prior to this?’ Now we can say to shows that have brought their own sound in the past, ‘You know, we’ve got this Meyer MILO system specifically tuned to the theatre,’ and we’re finding already that many of them say what we have is better than anything they would bring with them. Also, we really think we’ll be capturing a lot more events with this, between the smaller concerts, comedy shows, spoken word events, corporate gigs, and so forth.”

The Paramount Theatre is currently celebrating its 75th birthday. Its season runs from September to late June each year.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Harman Pro Group AV Roadshow in New York

Showcases AV and business music solution and techniques for retail and hospitality venues

The Harman Pro Group, a leading professional audio and infotainment company whose technologies are used at the most ambitious and prestigious music, sports, broadcast, movie and recording events, will host a special “Audio For Commercial Venues” Seminar in the New York metro area on February 12th and 13th.

The free, half-day event, which is part of a national road show, will provide contractors and integrators in the hospitality and retail market with a comprehensive overview of the commercial AV market including business music content and technology, techniques, product showcases and case studies including the following elements:

* Scalable Sound Systems for Restaurants, Retail Stores, Business Music Systems and other Commercial Applications
* New Commercial Market Product Offerings From dbx, Crown and JBL Professional
* "Tools to Help You Choose Products That Achieve Desired Performance in the Most Economical Manner"
* Questions & Answers With The Pros

The seminar takes place at Crown Plaza Hotel, Two Harmon Plaza, Secaucus, NJ. For more information and registration, please visit www.hproroadshow.com. All presenters will be experienced Harman Pro Group application engineers. Breaks in the presentation schedule will allow restaurant and retail professionals to interact one-on-one with the factory product pros and get your specific questions answered! In addition to the product demonstrations and real-world information. Harman will have its Soundcraft truck and Crown truck onsite and available for specific one-on-one sessions covering the latest mixing console and amplifier technologies.

The morning session begins at 8:30AM and concludes at noon. The afternoon session begins promptly at 1:00PM and concludes at 4:30PM. Guests are welcome to join Harman Pro Group staff and presenters for lunch.

Monday, February 05, 2007

SLS Debuts RLA/4 (LS7500) Full-Range, Bi-Amped True Line Source Array Module


January 30, 2007

(Click for a close-up)

SLS Loudspeakers recently introduced its RLA/4 (LS7500) full-range, bi-amped true line source array module at Winter NAMM 2007. The RLA/4 was developed for a wide range of applications from permanent sound reinforcement installations in churches, auditoriums, arenas and performing arts centers, to a professional portable PA system with the highest performance characteristics expected from an SLS product.

"Although the RLA/4 is compact in size, it meets SPL line array performance requirements for a wide variety of venues," says Tom Harrison, director of engineering for SLS. "Its high frequency section features a high performance PRD500 planar ribbon transducer designed and manufactured by SLS. The unique design and properties of the planar ribbon driver allows precise acoustical coupling of the array and hence, full utilization of line source (cylindrical waves) benefits."

The low frequency section uses two high-powered 6.5" drivers utilizing a demodulation ring magnet system providing a third less harmonic distortion and reducing inductance modulation by 50 percent. This provides an open and clear sound despite loud listening levels. Additionally, the low frequency drivers feature a die-cast basket with a patented Intercooler system.

The system offers 90-degree wide symmetrical horizontal coverage and offers SLS' free LASS prediction software that visually shows the ideal setup locations for even, predictable sound coverage of any room. Each RLA/4 module is designed for bi-amplification. All array rigging is included on the cabinet that is made from sturdy 13-ply Baltic Birch and includes splay options from 1 to 10 degrees between boxes.

For more information, visit their web site at www.slsloudspeakers.com.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MuxLab Balun connects YPbPr/RGB video, hi-fi analog using Cat5 copper cable

The Component Video/Analog Audio Balun from MuxLab.

From Broadcast Engineering: Posted Jan 24, 2007 8:00 AM
MuxLab recently unveiled its Component Video/Analog Audio Balun. Developed for commercial AV integrators and custom home installers, the AV Balun allows one full YPbPr/RGB video channel plus one mono hi-fi analog audio channel to be connected via Cat5 copper twisted pair cable in a point-to-point configuration for neater and more efficient cabling.

The Balun supports video formats 480i/p, as well as HD 720p and 1080i/p, thereby allowing Cat5 UTP to be used with satellite receivers, cable boxes and other HDTV sources. The product supports an additional analog audio connection for commercial and residential AV systems and features a modular RJ45 connector for ease of installation.

For more information, visit www.muxlab.com/products/products.html.