Inside... - FOH Magazine
Martin Audio Celebrates 35 Years
ThE NEws MagazinE For LivE Sound
NOVEMBER 2006 Vol. 5 No. 2
2006 Parnelli Awards Held In Las Vegas
Bill Hanley and Dave Shadoan, accepting the
Parnelli Audio Innovator Award
WATERLOO, CAN — Martin Audio
recently celebrated 35 years in loudspeaker design and manufacturing at
the Roadhouse club at The Piazza in
London’s Covent Garden.
Not coincidentally, the Roadhouse is
situated on the site of Martin Audio’s original manufacturing facility where the company, under the leadership of David Martin,
began building loudspeaker systems for
productions like Pink Floyd, The Who, ELP,
Supertramp, Dire Straits and others. Thirtyfive years later, Martin Audio is still driven
by a design team constantly seeking to
push the boundaries.
Originally, Martin Audio had distribution in only one or two countries. Now the company has its own operation in North America and a steadily
growing business in nearly 50 markets
around the world, with a wide range of
loudspeakers for touring, commercial
installations and more.
Commenting on this milestone in the
company’s history, managing director Da-
vid Bissett-Powell stated, “I knew David back
in the early days and we continued a relationship right up until his untimely death. I think
he’d be quite proud of how the company has
progressed and the team that we’ve built over
the last 15 years. Some of his early customers
are still with us today, and it feels like the Martin
Audio Team, our distributors and customers are
all one big family.
“Every morning when I enter our facility
I pass the bronze bust of David Martin in our
entrance lobby and never fail to think that his
initial passion is what started this whole business 35 years ago.”
AES slides Into SF
It's not like that, we swear.
LAS VEGAS — Timeless Communications, Inc. presented the 2006 Parnelli Awards on
October 20 at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Named in honor of production
and tour manager Rick “Parnelli” O’Brien, the awards acknowledge the achievements of
the best in the business.Topping the list of honorees were Bill Hanley, legendary sound
engineer, winner of the Audio Innovator Award (pictured above left, with Dave Shadoan,
president of Sound Image, who introduced Bill at the ceremony), and Jere Harris, of PRG,
as winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The full list of winners is available now on the
FOH Web site and at, with full coverage in print coming next month.
David Bissett - Powell in front of The Martin Audio building
Production Pros Build “Musicians’ Village”
Two volunteers stand before a finished home.
NEW ORLEANS—At Camp Hope in New
Orleans, Habitat for Humanity volunteers
assemble daily and then issue forth to
help rebuild hopes and dreams shattered
by 2005’s “Katrina” flood disaster.
Teaming up with local grass roots organizations, such as the Baptist Crossroads
Project, on a planned community dubbed
“Musicians’ Village,” they have nearly completed 30 of a projected 75 new homes.
Primarily intended for musicians who live
in the New Orleans and the Lower 9th
Ward area, this project was conceived by
Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr. as
a way to help local musicians displaced
by Katrina.
Volunteers from across the country,
across all spectrums of social and professional backgrounds, have come at their
own expense to assist the work for periods from a few days to weeks, and even
months. Among those answering the call
for assistance, veteran L.A. tour manager
Tom Mooney (whose wife Ann was an SVP
with Ticketmaster for 22 years and ran
continued on page 10
If You Build It,
Will They Hear?
Designing lawn
delay sytems.
Can you handle the truth?
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Table of Contents
November 2006, Vol. 5.2
16 New Gear
33 The Biz
FOH visited San Francisco for AES, got crabs
(at Fisherman’s Wharf ) and returned with
boatloads of new gear.
What happens to the remote truck when
the concert is instantly available off a
digital console?
26 Building Lawn Delays
Dandelions are the least of your worries when
building a delay system for the shed circuit.
27 Heads or Tails
And don’t think it’s any easier when you
have to build systems for indoors, either.
28 Road Tests
On Broadway
The sound of snow falling? Turns out it’s actually
pretty loud.
We put a face to the name of a new Face
Audio amplifier, and color in some details
about a Mackie Onyx mixer.
30 Regional Slants
Presets are nice, but maybe you should
re-think using them when your backline
31 On the Bleeding Edge
Load up the iLok
32 Theory and Practice
35 Sound Sanctuary
How to make a sales pitch to God.
36 Anklebiters
This month, a very special “Pimp My Ride”
edition of the Anklebiters.
40 FOH-at-Large
Fair. Balanced. And, more than likely, complete and utter marketing #&@!
2. Feedback
4. Editor’s Note
5. News
14. On the Move
20. Showtime
34. In the Trenches
34. Welcome to My
There is no try. There is only mix, or do not mix.
FOH Interview
You may not believe us, but our interview with Howard Page, Mariah
Carey’s FOH mixer, is more interesting than this picture.
[Last month’s Anklebiters column on colored cable connectors connected with our
readers. Here’s a comeback. –ed.]
Hi Guys,
Just thought I’d drop you a note regarding your recent column on “idiot proofing”
and color-coding system connections.
First, as for having crews patch things,
my preference is to watch the crew closely
during the initial load-in and stacking of the
PA. You should be able to identify a couple of
individuals in the crew that number one, listen to your directions and number two, follow those directions. When it comes time to
wire the system, I’ll cut off most of the muscle
part of the crew and keep those crewmembers that are willing to follow direction. And
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if I don’t cable it myself or see the crew cable
it, I’ll double-check it.
Second, Brian makes a comment “if
people can’t follow the color code, we’ve
got bigger problems...” We need to bear
in mind that we do occasionally work with
people that are colorblind. So relying on a
color coded system in place of labeling is
NOT foolproof or safe. One way around this
is to use a color-coding scheme that’s compatible with colorblind individuals. That
said, I do like that color-coding because it
allows for fast visual inspections to verify
proper patching.
Also, like Brian, my preference is to use
different connectors for different applications that are NOT close to being compatible. AC power is Camlok, Hubble twist lock and
Edison. I tend to avoid Powercons because
they’re too close to NL4s. Speaker cabling is
NL8 for mains and NL4 for subs and monitors. Signal cabling is all XLR and multipin
using adaptors to minimize the number of
1/8-inch, 1/4-inch and RCA connections.
Personally, I DO NOT like the idea of cabling stuffed into the back of racks for several reasons:
1 – Too many times I have seen them not
properly strain relieved, so the cables end up
yanking on the connectors of the rack gear.
This stress can lead to damaged connectors
on the rack gear.
2 – All that cabling stuffed into the rack
can lay up against connectors plugged into
the rack gear, providing additional stresses
and potential for damage to the gear.
3 – What happens when the cable or
rack gear is damaged? If you use rack panels
and “standard” cables, a damaged cable can
be easily replaced. Also, if a connector on a
rack panel gets damaged you can bypass
the panel and hardwire into the rack gear as
a temporary fix.
I understand that building a system to
be easy and fast-to-setup using rack panels adds to the cost. But in the end you save
money by avoiding the damage that can be
caused by incorrectly patched systems and
the lost time chasing down mis-patched
connections. You’ll also be able to setup your
rig faster, which will enhance your reputation and please your clients.
Mike Borkhuis
11/3/06 1:13:30 PM
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Editor’s Note
Not Dead.
Terry Lowe
Bill Evans
But Not Enough.
Managing Editor
Jacob Coakley
Associate Editor
David McGinnis
Technical Editor
Mark Amundson
By BillEvans
o, it’s not the name of the next band you’ll
be working with or even a way of looking at the future of analog consoles. I saw that
phrase on the cover of a magazine recently. It
was a teaser to an interview with the publisher
of Wired Magazine, and it referred to the entire
idea of print publishing — from its efficiency
“The band and crew together
upped the ante a notch or
three with cool visuals and
some of the best arena
sound I have heard recently
— maybe ever”
as a way to disseminate information in a timely
manner, to its effectiveness for advertisers seeking to get their stuff seen by the right audience.
The phrase has stuck with me because it does
a great job of describing the way I have felt but
have been unable to express well for the past
On a non-publishing front it is a great way
to describe how it remains important — even
crucial — to do the basics well, but that the basics are no longer enough. Example: last night
I went out to the MGM Grand Garden Arena
to talk to the audio crew and catch part of the
show with the Southern jam band Widespread
Panic. The band and the crew had the basics
down for a show like this.The band went on lots
of extended, danceable instrumental excursions, and the crew knew the material and the
people well enough to know where they were
going and to keep the big beat ever present.
Good stuff, but not enough. The band and crew
together upped the ante a notch or three with
cool visuals and some of the best arena sound
I have heard recently — maybe ever. And this is
in a room that can be tough to mix in.
That mastery of the basics coupled with
the ability and drive to go further points right
back to that magazine cover. Not dead. But
not enough.
Most of you who have been reading FOH
awhile know that I am stupid enough to still play
out from time to time, and I have encountered
the same thing on the band front. After more
than a year of unsuccessful attempts at booking in Las Vegas, we took a hard look at what
we were doing and saw that we had the basics
down but needed more. That led to a total refocusing that has us booking three different
kinds of gigs under three different names with
a much stronger “show” element, and now the
phone is starting to ring.The idea of just playing
good music? Not dead. But not enough.
That same idea is about to permeate your
favorite live event audio publication. I am proud
of the job we do at FOH every month and think
we are pretty good at putting together a magazine that gives a good overview of a complex
industry while both inspiring and educating
our readers. Not dead. But not enough.
As the world has gotten more digital,
consumers of information have come to expect more choices. And, truth is, we have done
only a so-so job of offering those choices. We
have had a digital version of the print magazine available for some time now, and people
really like it. But the FOH Web site is what it is.
It has it’s high points — the forums that we
started almost two years ago are going pretty
strong—and areas that need to improve, and
in the next few months you will see a major
redesign of the site, including the ability to
search back issues, more interactive content,
Web-only content, plus downloadable stuff
with an emphasis on very current news
and education.
Finally, you may have already received an
electronic notice to update your listing in the
Event Production Directory. With the issue that
is being put together now, you will not only
be able to update your listing online, but the
whole directory will be available — and searchable — online. For those of you who are working individuals and not company owners, stay
with us. There is something in the works for all
y’all as well.
Just like you have to stay on top of current
production and audio trends to be successful,
we have had to look at where things are heading and what our readers need from us and
make some adjustments. Like I said, we are pretty good at what we already do, and print is not
dead.But it’s not enough.Things are about to get
real interesting…
Contributing Writers
Jerry Cobb, Brian Cassell,
Dan Daley, Jamie Rio,
Steve LaCerra, Nort Johnson,
David John Farinella, Ted Leamy,
Baker Lee, Bryan Reesman,
Tony Mah, Richard Rutherford,
Paul H Overson
Steve Jennings
Art Director
Garret Petrov
Production Manager
Linda Evans
Graphic Designers
Dana Pershyn
Michelle Sacca
Josh Harris
National Sales Manager
Peggy Blaze
National Advertising Director
Gregory Gallardo
Account Managers
Holly O`Hair & Warren Flood &
General Manager
William Hamilton Vanyo
Executive Administrative
Dawn-Marie Voss
Feed Back
Business and
Advertising Office
6000 South Eastern Ave.
Suite 14J
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Ph: 702.932.5585
Fax: 702.932.5584
Toll Free: 800.252.2716
Stark Services
P.O. Box 16147
North Hollywood, CA 91615
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2 is published monthly by Timeless Communications
Corp., 6000 South Eastern Ave., Suite 14J, Las Vegas, NV,
89119. Periodicals Postage Paid at Las Vegas, NV and
additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address
changes to Front Of House, PO Box 16147, North
Hollywood, CA 91615-6147. Front Of House is distributed free to qualified individuals in the live sound
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40033037, 1415 Janette Ave., Windsor, ON N8X 1Z1
Overseas subscriptions are available and can be obtained by calling 702.932.5585. Editorial submissions
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permission of Front Of House.
Publishers of...
November 2006
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Wireless Mics Run Successful Sortie
LONG BEACH, CA — The crew of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis had
been working for almost two months straight
without a day off, when the commanders decided to give the crew a full-scale party on July
4th. The Chuck Alvarez Band got the call, along
with the Comics On Duty tour.
Steve McNeil, president of Mac West Group
in Long Beach, also got the call, and his job was
to provide the sound system for the show.“They
told me I could bring 2000 pounds of gear. And
we had to be completely self-sufficient.”
McNeil packed his Sabine 2.4 GHz
Smart Spectrum Wireless Systems and Graphi-Q2 Multi-function Processors. Sabine’s
SWM7000 Wireless operates in the globally
accepted 2.4 GHz band.
Once the gear was packed, the band
and crew settled in for the short ride to the
ship. “All the gear was packed into a turbo
prop COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) plane,
and we came in at 170 miles per hour,” said
McNeil. Luckily, all the gear made it just fine,
with the exception of one speaker cabinet
that “did not stop.”
The stage was placed on the almost 5acre deck, right in front of the main superstructure of the ship.
Sabine’s 2.4 GHz Wireless Systems
were used for lead vocals, the comedians and
the announcers.
The USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) is the
lead ship of the Stennis Carrier Strike Group.
This nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is over
Sabine on Deck
1000 feet long with a beam of 134 feet,
and displaces 91,300 tons. The Stennis can
carry up to 90 aircraft, and her maximum
speed is classified, but is well over 35 knots.
Two Westinghouse reactors drive geared turbines that deliver a whopping 260,000 HP,
The Chuck Alvarez Band
and the ship is propelled by four screws.
Sabine Wireless receivers feature built-in
signal processing, and transmitters come with
rechargeable batteries. Handheld transmitters,
lavalier and head-worn microphones and a variety of antennas are also available.
the Boat
Ad info:http://
Boat will again set sail in January of
2007. For those unfamiliar with the
cruise, Atlanta Sound And Lighting
will produce three rounds of cruises in 2007, each requiring the crew
and gear of a large-scale bus and
truck tour—only they ’ve traded in
the road for the high seas.
One of the three established
2007 cruises will play host to more
than 30 bands. Other cruises will
be hosted by Lynyrd Skynyrd and
the Barenaked Ladies. The cruises
include bands playing from as early as noon each day until as late as
four o’clock in the morning.
According to production manager Rodney Stammel, each boat
comes with its own sound needs,
and these needs can change from
year to year, so the gear list is in
a constant state of flux. One thing
that remains the same from the
road is the amount of work each
boat tour brings.
“ There’s people up at all hours,”
Stammel said. In getting the gear
loaded, set and patched, crews
can put in as many as 20 hours a
day each.
Stammel also stated that the
ships rely on AC power, so the crews
tie in using transformers. Also, because of the possibility of swaying
on board, all gear is strapped to
the deck. This, along with the use
of pre-existing positions for hanging and setting gear, helps keep
the gear, passengers and crew secure in the event of choppy seas.
“It’s one of those things you
need to see to understand,” Stammel added.
The cruises once departed out
of Louisiana, but with the onset of
some power ful hurricane seasons,
and with a season that runs yearround, Galveston was chosen as
their new port. Five cruises will sail
in 2008, more coverage from FOH
on this burgeoning market will
take place in early 2007.
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November 2006
11/2/06 6:22:35 PM
Trinity Baptist Restores Voice
LAKE CHARLES, LA — After nearly one year
of rebuilding from the devastation inflicted by
Hurricane Rita, Trinity Baptist Church, located
in Lake Charles, La. is communicating with
its congregation in a big way, thanks to the
installation of SLS Loudspeakers. The 66,000square-foot church has acquired several SLS
units to replace its old sound system, which
was badly damaged during the September,
2005 storm.
“The wreckage resulting from Hurricane Rita was catastrophic for Trinity Baptist
Church,” said Randy Monroe, associate pastor
of worship and praise, Trinity Baptist Church.
“Our roof and ceiling tiles suffered a lot from
the wind, salt water and rain, which subse-
quently took a significant toll on many of our
resources, including sound speakers located
within the ceiling.”
Niel Traylor, Jr., CEO of N.B. Traylor & Associates, Inc., the consulting engineers for
the project, selected RLA/2s, LSB8115s and
LS6593 for Trinity. Traylor stated, “It was clear
that the space would benefit from a system
with a good footprint and minimal wall/ceiling excitation. Even though it was a departure
from his original mandate, the restoration
contractor cooperated in flying a side-by-side
cluster comprised of eight 2-way modules
and four subs, which matched up in a nice
monolithic-appearing array. The left and right
corners were supplemented with dual stacks
ofLS6593s flush mounted at ear level.”
Trinity Baptist Church was first established at its downtown location near Lake
Charles 80 years ago and has since been relo-
Trinity Baptist after the hurricane, before the new speakers
cated to its current site in south Lake Charles
for the past six years. A hub to its community,
it is home to a worship center, double gymna-
sium, children’s playhouse, fitness center and
student ministry. It is also host to a number of
concerts and gospel artist performances.
Kenyon College Works Out Its Audio
GAMBIER, OH—Kenyon College’s new
Athletic Center, designed by the Gund
Partnership architectural firm of Cambridge, Mass., is indeed a large space to
fill. To this end, the sound system makes
use of media systems that have been designed to function under a wide range
of scenarios, making use of several independent, but interconnected, DSP and
control systems. The various areas of the
Kenyon College indoor track
Grand Ole Upgrades
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NASHVILLE, TN — Recently, the
Grand Ole Opry turned to Neumann and
Sennheiser microphones, thanks to the
efforts of Steve Gibson, music director/
manager of Creative Services.
The basic format of the Opry stage consists of the upstage area that is reserved for
the band, the mid-stage line that is occupied by the piano, various guitars and their
respective amplifiers and finally the downstage area that is closest to the audience.
The new microphones are used at mid-stage
and downstage with a Neumann BCM 104
broadcast microphone on the upright bass
and a total of eight Neumann (four BCM
104s and four KMS 104s) for main vocals and
instruments. One Neumann BCM 104 travels
around the stage as needed. Sennheiser Evolution 609 silver microphones are used on
guitar amplifiers downstage. A Sennheiser
MD421 is also on the steel guitar and on
guest guitar amplifiers.
The Opry’s unique sonic personality
is a special blend of musicians and per-
Dierks Bentley performs at the Opry. (Photo courtesy of Grand
Ole Opry/Chris Hollo, photographer)
formers, the acoustic characteristics of
the house, and the talented audio staff
working behind the scenes.
complex were designed to function as
discrete systems, though any or all of
them can be tied together as needed.
Audio for the indoor track area is
provided by 48 Community R166-X twoway full range systems,
while the tennis courts
are covered by twelve
Community R1-66TX
in the natatorium, an
indoor Olympic-sized
swimming pool, is provided by 18 Community R1-66TX full-range
The Center opened
its doors in March of
this year. Although the
official opening ceremonies were scheduled for April, the facility has been fully
booked since day one.
The Giants Have
Gone Wireless
SAN FRANCISCO—Opened in April of
2000, AT&T Park is the San Francisco Giants’
home stadium. Wireless needs at the park
extend beyond the normal reach of pregame activities, announcements made from
the field and the national anthem, so a total
of eight UHF-R channels are used within the
park, along with a pair of active UA870WB
paddle-style antennas. Transmitters across
the board are handheld UR2 units sporting
venerable SM58 capsules.
Shure comprises a large portion of the
in-house gear, including their new UHF-R, a
wireless system which includes automatic
frequency selection with group scan, infrared automatic transmitter sync and a smart
menu-driven system operation.
With 2,400 frequencies spread across a
60 Mhz bandwidth, UHF-R provides room
for up to 40 preset compatible systems to
be operated per band. Complementing this
expanded window of operation is Shure’s
Advanced Track Tuning Filtering Technology,
which shifts onboard RF filtering.
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Converted Train Station Rumbles Again
FOH position at The Depot
SALT LAKE CITY, UT —A group led by local
event promoter United Concerts has restored
the downtown Salt Lake City Union Pacific Railway Station into a new space called The Depot
nightclub. The Depot topped off its hard-won
restoration with a Meyer Sound system. The
completed venue led United Concerts President
Jim C. McNeil to proclaim that “it’s like nothing
we’ve ever had in Salt Lake City.”
A 37,000 square-foot, three-story space, The
Depot is centered around a 1,200-capacity, twolevel concert hall. But the club also includes a 220seat, five-star restaurant, as well as a separate VIP
wing complete with private lounge and meeting
areas, and has already seen business hosting corporate functions.
Its main purpose, though, is as a live music
performance space, and in that respect the club
has been a success, with the first few months witnessing performers as diverse as Cake, Los Lobos,
Minnie Driver and Martin Sexton, the Reverend
Horton Heat, Isaac Hayes and The Roots all taking
the stage. The club’s central mission is to bring
a wide variety of quality music to the city while
giving the local nightlife and culture a muchneeded shot in the arm. United’s event coordinator, Rob Pierce, contacted local pro audio dealer
Webb AV, and the choice was made to install a
system of MICA compact high-power curvilinear
array loudspeakers, supported by 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers.
The system design was created by plotting
the building dimensions in Meyer Sound’s MAPP
Online Pro acoustical prediction program and
working with the array configuration until the
desired coverage was obtained. The final design
called for five MICA cabinets per side and four
700-HP units beneath the stage, all driven from a
Galileo loudspeaker management system.
Before installing the system, however, the
United crew had to deal with the fact that the
old rail station wasn’t ready for the vibration and
abuse of regular concerts. Originally built in 1909,
the building’s basic frame was in good shape,
but the walls and floor needed reinforcement to
handle large crowds. The crews worked delicately so as not to violate any of the codes governing
restoration of a historic landmark, and left the exterior of the building largely unchanged. Inside,
they insulated the roof and wrapped additional
material around the joists to better seal them for
both insulation and sonic reasons and to reduce
sound reflections from them, inserted acoustical
foam in problem areas, applied sound treatment
to the underside of the balcony level and draped
both the stage and the windows.
The system passed its first real performance
test when The Roots performed at the club.“I was
a little worried about subwoofer capacity for that
show, because they needed so much low end,”
Pierce says. “They came in, looked at the setup
and immediately said ‘we need more subs.’”
Pierce convinced them to try the setup as it was,
“and they were very, very happy by the end of
the show. Basically, we were rattling dishes downstairs in the restaurant.”
Two Big Jobs;
One Southern State
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GREENSBORO, NC —Klark Teknik and
Telex audio system installed a Midas XL8
digital live performance system at the 3000seat Westover Church in Greensboro, NC.
Westover technical director Danny
Slaughter worked with Donnie Haulk and
Tim Owens of Audio Ethics (Charlotte,
NC), Armando Fullwood of Design 2020
Church Media Consultants, Craig Bess of
Telex Pro Audio Group reps, Vision 2 Marketing and EV & Midas Tech Support on
the design, development and installation
of the system, which also features EV NetMax/IRIS-Net configuration and a total of
204 EV loudspeakers and Bosch fire and
security equipment.
As well as providing FOH audio to
the worship center’s main 154 EV speaker
configuration, the XL8 also supplies the
monitor mix for onstage IEMs and wedges, the recording feed for video production, the 70V distributed audio and the
hearing impaired systems.
Midas service manager Karl Brant
traveled to North Carolina from the UK
where he joined Mitch Mortenson to
oversee the installation and conduct staff
training once the system was in place.
Also in Greenville, Philippi Church of
Christ recently completed the first of a
multi-stage expansion project.
Greenville, NC-based Hi Tech Electronics is the design/build firm responsible for the installation of the new system,
which included WorxAudio Technologies’
TrueLine V8i-PMD1 compact line array elements, TL.218SS-PMD2 sub bass enclosures plus the company’s new UltraMax
M1P monitor system.
The space, which measures 100
feet by 80 feet, incorporates suspended
V8i-PMD1 compact line array elements
and four TL.218SS-PMD2 sub bass enclosures—with two units suspended on
each side of the V8i-PMD1s. Philippi also
went with WorxAudio Technologies’ new
UltraMax M1P 12-inch powered monitor
systems. FOH for the new sanctuary is
equipped with an Allen & Heath GL3800
40-channel mixing console.
November 2006
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International News
Speakers Rise To The Top At Creamfields
a crowd of 45,000 made its way to the
Creamfields festival in its new home
of Daresbury Estate in the heart of the
Cheshire countryside. Headlining this
year were the Prodigy, and as headline
act, the audio system was designed to
meet the specification on their rider. This
included an EAW KF760 line array system
from UK rental specialists, and long-term
Prodigy suppliers, ML Executives
ML Executive’s Oz Bagnall opted for a
stack of 18 SB1000 subs per side running
a conventional sub/KF760 processor
configuration. The ML team also added a
center stack of 12 SB1000s, which were
tuned to a much lower frequency band
and driven from a separate matrix. “This
allowed Jon to feed this extra reserve of
energy into his mix at crucial moments
during the set,” explained Bagnall.
Jim Griffiths, of newly formed consultants Vanguardia, whose task it
was to ensure that noise levels were
contained within the statutory limits, was very impressed by the professionalism of the crew. “It makes a
huge difference to the efficacy of my
job when I can work with a crew that
truly understands the restrictions imposed by the site and is happy to work
with them.”
The Creamfields stage from a board op view.
Love On Parade In Berlin
BERLIN—After a twoyear break, under the banner “The Love Is Back,”
Summer 2006 marked a
triumphant return for the
Berlin Loveparade, which
featured more than 200
musical acts from across the
globe, including international electronica superstars
like Paul Van Dyk, Tiesto, DJ
Hell and ATB. An estimated
two million people crowded the streets to groove
to the 40 mobile stages
winding their way through the city, each
using a substantial sound system based
on loudspeakers from Meyer Sound.
In contrast to previous years, this year’s parade provided free floats with identical sound
systems to the winners of an online vote, so all
participants would have access to sound systems of equal quality, capabilities and safety.
Promotional firm Lopavent GmbH retained
the services of local audio designer Christian
Oeser to create the sound systems for the trucks.
“Loveparade systems need some serious headroom,” explains Oeser,“so we wanted to go with
a system that was both powerful and compact.”
Oeser’s design called for a dozen 650-P highpower subwoofers, eight MSL-4 horn-loaded
long-throw loudspeakers and four CQ-1 wide
coverage main loudspeakers on each of the
forty trucks. Each float was also outfitted with
a pair of USM-1P extended range narrow coverage stage monitors to help the DJ’s keep the
mix flowing smoothly.
Although the parade marks the official kickoff of the weekend’s events, many who flock
to Berlin often skip it to sleep, as the real festivities begin at the parade’s end, with the “Abschlusskundgebung,” a massive party where all
the floats’ sound systems are linked together for
half-hour sets by some of the world’s premier
DJ’s. The city’s downtown transforms into one
One of the 40 mobile stages used for the Loveparade.
big nightclub, with music and acts interspersed
throughout the various after-parties held in all
of the dance clubs and streets. Oeser plans on
using the Meyer gear at the Loveparade “for
years to come.”
The Parade’s organizers also commissioned
a NEXO GEO T tangent-array sound system for
the Abschlusskundgebung, integrating it into
the overall sound reinforcement design. As the
view from the Victory Column to both the east
and the west was to be as unrestricted as possible, the structures needed for mounting the
loudspeakers had to be kept very simple.
Jesko Purmann and Michael “Miwe”
Wengerter from the Kassel enterprise Ambion
GmbH successfully tendered a system design
using nearly 90 GEO T tangent array loudspeakers from NEXO, several supplementary NEXO
Alpha and PS Series loudspeakers and NX TDcontrollers, as well as 70 Vortex 6 amplifiers from
Camco. This system networked three locations,
the central mixing/presentation point and the
two DJ stages.
Speaking after the Love Parade’s successful
revival, Jesko Purmann said, “We managed to
meet all the conditions regarding volume and
range and even remained below them in some
cases, and still we were able to achieve powerful, homogenous sound reinforcement across
the entire venue.”
Me and My D5T12
CARDIFF, UK —Cardiff-based
Stage Sound Services used a new
DiGiCo D5T12 on their recent Me and
My Girl tour. The show was actually
programmed on the prototype console at DiGiCo’s UK offices.
Designed in association with theatrical sound designer Bobby Aitken,
the new console is a hybrid of the
D5T mixing system which provides
12 output faders.
Stage Sound Services’ Phil
Hurley was on the lookout for
another DiGiCo console when
the company was awarded the
sound contract for the Me And My
Girl tour.
“As with most theatrical shows,
Me And My Girl requires a lot of outputs,” says Hurley.
Freelance sound designer Andy
Collins designed the sound spec
for the tour around the D5T12. This
meant that user training sessions for
SSS staff on the prototype console at
DiGiCo’s UK headquarters assumed
a significant extra role—with Andy
and Phil programming the show on
the prototype console, ready for upload to the production unit as soon
as it was delivered.
Benedict XVI
Meets the
NORTHRIDGE,CA—Sirius Showequipment AG recently provided a VerTec-led
audio system at an address by Pope Benedict XVI in Munich, Germany, for which
250,000 people congregated. The event,
staged on September 10 in an open air
field, known as Neue Messe München
Riem, was part of a six-location series of
large Papal addresses and outdoor masses
in the Pope’s home country of Germany.
Rental sound system provider for the
Munich event was Sirius ShowEquipment
AG. Sirius provided a Crown-powered
JBL VerTec system in cooperation with
Crystal Sound.
JBL VerTec speaker systems in use included 64 VT4889s and 44 VT4887s. The
compact VT4887s were used as the main
PA hangs closest to the stage: and 12
VRX932 line array systems were in place
for use as near-fill speakers.
Key audio crewmembers included
Klaus “Bob” Bolender (system engineer),
Frank Müller (mixer for the music program)
and Holger Münz (mixer for the main
Papal stage).
Ad info:http://
Production Pros build “Musicians’ Village”
continued from front cover
their ticketing operation in the S.F. Bay area for
several years) arrived with his 21-foot travel
trailer and was quickly set to work with his tools,
putting up siding and exterior trim.
Mooney noticed that Habitats’ operations
desperately needed a small serviceable P.A. for
HQ use in dispatching personnel, for small as-
November 2006
200.0611.10-12.INT.indd 10
semblies and for V.I.P. visits to the HQ & sites.
Mentioning the need to friends, word got to
Masque Sound’s Jeff and Jim Shearing, who put
together a package of Apogee SSM’s, a Crown
amp and a Shure mixer to fill their needs.
Masque’s gift was “from the heart,” the
Shearings’ were reported as saying. Rock-It Cargo president David Bernstein quickly green-lit
Steve Maples’ efforts to arrange transportation.
Masque’s gift was immediately sent on its way
to Habitat for Humanity in St. Bernard Parish, La.
Michael Hayes, special projects coordinator,
New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, gratefully received the equipment on behalf of NOLA
Habitat for Humanity for use at the Musicians
Village and elsewhere.
11/2/06 6:25:46 PM
Ad info:
200.0611.Ads.indd 11
11/2/06 6:50:27 PM
International News
Download Festival Hits High SPLs
LEICESTERSHIRE, UK — This year’s Download festival, held at the Donnington race
track, attracted 70,000 fans for 3 days of music. For the first time, all the sound stages were
supplied by companies using L-ACOUSTICS
systems. SSE took care of the main stage with
their V-DOSC system, SKAN the second stage,
and Stage Audio Services supplied five other
stages, all with L-ACOUSTICS loudspeakers
and amplifiers.
Paul Nicholson, from L-ACOUSTICS UK,
was involved with the main stage design and
was on site along with Paul Bauman, the head
of technical support, to assist SSE with the
installation of the system. The site mapping
was completed many weeks before the load
in, and all that was required on the day were
a few trim adjustments with the undulating
nature of the field taken into consideration.
L-ACOUSTICS also supplied their KUDO
demo rig for the main stage delays. This was
the first time that the system had been used
in this configuration in the UK. Nine boxes
were used on each of the two delay positions,
covering the last 100 meters to the back of
the field.
SPL levels had to be trimmed back to
comply with local noise regulations, but peak
averages throughout the audience remained
around the 104 dB mark from front to back,
which, for an event like Download, was a comfortable level for all.
The stages for the Download go up.
To Russia With Love
Ad info:http://
began a few months ago in Siberia on a
total re-build of the Raspadskij Palace of
Arts, which included the replacement of
the entire technical set-up: audio, lighting,
stage mechanism and other apparatus.
The tender for the design of the systems
and supply of sound and light rigs went to
Sound Design, a firm from Novokuznetsk.
Moscow’s Studitech, Outline’s distributor
for several years, took part as sub-contractor for the design, supply and installation of
the sound system.
The client’s brief was to provide a sound
reinforcement system able to ensure the
flexibility to adapt to the requirements of
different types of events (concerts by pro
and amateur singers and groups, choirs,
conferences, meetings and much more).
The FOH system’s installation features
sixteen Butterfly CDH 483 hi-packs, eight
Butterfly CDL 1815 lo-packs (in a single
array with the hi-packs) and four floorstacked Victor Live subwoofers. All are
controlled and powered by two DSP Genius 26, twelve T6.5 and two T4.5 digital
power amplifiers, respectively.
Onstage, preference went to four HARD
212 SP and four HARD 115 SP monitors (all
self-powered), while two Outline Kanguro
1215 A speakers were installed on side-fill
duty. Two Micra II SP enclosures are used as
FOH monitors.
The FOH desk is an Audient Aztec AZ40, and the microphones on the installation
Butterfly speakers in
The Palace of the Arts.
are of various brands: Beyerdynamic, DPA,
Shure, Audio Technica and Schoeps.
Alexander Klinushkin, Outline’s representative in Russia and head engineer with
Moscow’s Studitech, comments,“This wasn’t
my first experience with using the Butterfly
system for theatres and concert halls.”
Bokov Alexey, director in charge of Sound
Design of Novokuznetsk, comments,“We’ve
used Outline systems in various installation
and tours since 1994. Last summer, in collaboration with Moscow’s Studitech, we carried
out another project with a Butterfly rig. It
was my first experience with one of the very
latest Outline products.”
Chinese Cultural Center Revs Up
Ad info:http://
200.0611.10-12.INT.indd 12
DALIAN, CHINA — The Dalian Cultural
Center, located in Zhongshan Square in the
heart of the city, is one of the area’s more recent building projects. The center is the main
venue for the 2007 Dalian Art Festival, an
event organized by local government.
When bidding for this audio installation
project began, many engineers flew to Dalian
to compete. After several rounds of competition and review, the decision-makers at the
center decided to work with Telex EVI China
on the project. The “Total System Solution”
availed by the integration of EV loudspeakers, amplification, wired and wireless microphones, Midas mixing consoles, Dynacord
ProAnnounce paging and emergency systems and RTS TW intercom.
The Equipment: At the input end of the
signal chain, EV N/D, RE and PolarChoice series microphones provide for live events and
meetings. Midas Heritage 3000 and Legend
3000 mixing consoles apply to both live performance and television broadcast mixes.
The main sound reinforcement system
employs various delayed EV Xi boxes to address the space’s architectural nuances. The
system also incorporates Midas’s patented
SIS (Spatial Image System), EV RL-Series remote controlled amps running IRIS system
supervision and performance-monitoring
software and Klark Teknik signal processing.
RTS intercom and Dynacord paging/public
address system products are integrated with
the sound reinforcement system. Not only does
the Dynacord ProAnnounce system support
background music and guest/staff information/paging, it is also integrated with the house
fire extinguishing system to alert visitors with
emergency messages and evacuation instructions in the event of a fire situation.
11/2/06 6:26:55 PM
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200.0611.Ads.indd 13
11/2/06 6:50:57 PM
On The Move
Allen & Heath
has appointed a
Shidco, to exclusively manage the
sales, distribution
and service of Allen & Heath product lines in Iran.
Crown International
two appointments to
its senior staff with
the dual promotions
of Scott Potosky to
vice president of engineering and Marc
Kellom to vice president of marketing.
Eminence Speaker LLC recently announced the addition of Trans Continental Hardware as a preferred distributor for
branded Eminence product sales in the continental USA.
Scott Potosky
Eventide has named Robert Kovarcik
to the position of director of operations.
Eventide has recruited Christine Sapienza-Chaput to the newly created customer support manager position. Eventide
has added three customer support technicians to the customer support team
— Juan Cuervo, Robin Jaenchen, and D.
Rooney. In addition, Jeff Larsen has been
hired as senior technical writer. Lastly,
Eventide also promoted Brian Haberman
to office manager.
KAM Sales has been appointed to
represent TOA Electronics’ Security Prod-
Marc Kellom
ucts Division in
the sales territory of Alabama,
Mississippi, North
Carolina, South
Meyer Sound has
announced that Kurt
Metzler has been appointed to the newly
created position of
northwest regional sales
manager. Will Lewis has
also been appointed to
the newly created position of southwest regional sales manager.
Mark Humrichouser
been hired as
of U.S. sales for
Shure, Inc. He
years of experiMark Humrichouser
ence in sales,
technology and the audio industry to
the company.
Kurt Metzler
Will Lewis
We Who
Provide Audio,
Salute You
Ad info:http://
200.0611.14.OTM.indd 14
ROME—Around half a million fans
streamed to the Coliseum in Rome for
the Telecomcerto concert featuring
Billy Joel and Bryan Adams, sponsored
by Telecom Progetto Italia and the City
of Rome.
The audio and lighting equipment
for both concerts was supplied by Italian company MMS srl. of Solaro (Milan);
Maddalena Tronchetti Provera and Vittorio Quattrone of the Four One Music
company organized the event. Texim are
the official Italian distributors of the Electro-Voice, Midas and Klark Teknik equipment that comprised the entire sound
reinforcement system.
The event location included the
street running from the Coliseum to the
Imperial Forums—along which sound
reinforcement was provided for one
kilometer. Alessandro Galli was responsible for event production, with support
from Diego Bertuzzi. Milan-based Stage
System supplied the stage and the layer
for the delay towers. The EASE projections for the audio system were made
by the Texim Technical Department in
collaboration with Giovanni Colucci
and Massimo Sartirana of MMS, who
made the final projections for the
whole system.
The main system was comprised of
56 Electro-Voice X-Line enclosures (24
Xvls, four Xvlts and 28 Xsubs) flown from
four X-Line grids. The delay systems included 112 XLC127+ speakers suspended in the layer towers, with 32 Xsubs and
12 XLC118 subs.
Final fine-tuning was performed by
PA manager Massimo Sartirana and resident sound engineer Domenico Carnuccio, relying on the SMAART program.
11/2/06 6:27:33 PM
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200.0611.Ads.indd 15
11/2/06 6:51:25 PM
New Gear
You Can’t Get (It) There From Here...
Or Can You?
Delivery and Transport of Audio In the Spotlight at AES San Francisco
ou can tell what part of the pro audio
industry is healthy and what part is
struggling pretty easily just by keeping
your ears open to conversations around you
at the Audio Engineering Society show. Over
the past few years the phrase heard with increasing frequency went something like, “It
was, of course, designed for the studio, but we
are seeing lots of them used live.” This phrase
gets me on a couple of levels. First, I am filled
with gratitude that I do not own a recording
studio, and second, depending on who says
it, that phrase is either illustrative of the direction we are heading in the live event au-
dio field, or it is total marketing BS. Example:
Yamaha’s DM 2000 mixers were designed as
production mixers for recording and perhaps
some smaller broadcast operations, and they
were as surprised as anyone else when nearly half of the units sold ended up in the live
arena. On the other hand, a several-thousanddollar mic that ships in a shock-mounted titanium case with a bodyguard won’t be on any
stage I am working. Sorry, but I still ask, “What
happens when it gets dropped?”
All that being said, where shows over the
past few years have been centered on either
speakers (line array) or consoles (of the digital
variety) the emphasis changed a bit this time
out. While there is still news on the line array
front it is getting to be more about refinements than re-invention, and the big news on
digital consoles this time around is that guys
who don’t have $1 million inventories are going to be able to afford good ones very soon.
No, this time the big emphasis was on getting
the signal from the console to the amps without another D/A conversion and huge coils of
heavy copper.
While EtherSound made the loudest
splash with the news of its adoption by an
increasing number of gear-makers, including
Yamaha and Peavey/Crest, there were audio
networking/digital snake products being
touted by at least a half-dozen other companies. While there is still no real standard on
how to do it, it is increasingly obvious that
the future is running on Cat5 or fiber, and the
truck pack is going to get a bit easier with
the big snakes getting left back at the shop.
Who am I kidding? The extra room just means
they’ll add more lights to the show, and the
last thing we need out there is squints with
more gear.
Here are some of the highlights of AES
San Francisco.
Meanwhile, DiGiCo announced an update to the D5 so extensive that it requires some
new hardware as well as software. There is way too much to this update to give justice to
here, but you will get things like expanded bussing and routing options, more and better
FX and EQ as well as new snapshot features and monitoring functions. Rumor has it that
next up for this British console will be a single RU box that will allow users to run Pro Tools
and its plugins as an insert.
The crew of Media Numerics at their debut booth.
Let’s get some of that transport stuff out of the way first. Like we said before, EtherSound continues to sign up big companies for its format, but some others are coming in
under the radar. Included in that group are Aviom, which announced a deal with InnovaSON as well as a new chip that allows console makers to provide direct A-Net connectivity
from the desk. The newest kids on the block were the Aussies over at Audinate (who more
than one high-profile sound guy told us to make sure we checked out), whose Dante
system can run over existing networks (including the Internet) and is compatible with
standard Internet Protocols. That means audio can run over the network that your computers are on and can even be encrypted (sure to be an issue as digital delivery becomes
more common).
Pictured above is the team from Media Numerics. Their RockNet is a suite of products
that combined can handle up to 99 devices comprising 160 audio channels that can be
dropped to as many as 768 outputs. The nice part about this one is that if you understand
a traditional analog active split you should have no problem “getting” RockNet, which was
designed specifically for live-sound applications.
Introduced at AES, the new JBL Variable Line Array series has been measured at 105dB at
450 feet for the VLA601H in a six-unit array, with three directed towards the measuring position.
That’ll put some hair on your chest…
Designed for the install market (look at the pic — we’d rather lift Mark Amundson, he doesn’t
have any big magnets in him), the VLA also allows for adjustment of horizontal coverage within
the vertical array via six large-format horn-loaded modules with three horizontal horn coverage
patterns (30, 60 and 90 degrees). Ted Leamy, vice president of installed sound at JBL explained
the VLA Series was built to address the need for high intelligibility, powerful high-impact sound,
yet even coverage on a stadium-level scale.
Three standard-output versions of the VLA Series each feature three high-frequency drivers,
two mid-frequency drivers and two low-frequency drivers. High-output versions each feature
six high-frequency drivers, four mid-frequency drivers and two low-frequency drivers. In addition, JBL introduced the VLA Calculator software package, which allows system designers and
consultants to mechanically and acoustically model VLA arrays of various sizes and shapes. The
calculator also takes other factors like air temperature and air absorption into account.
November 2006
200.0611.16-17.NG.indd 16
David Webster and Taidus Valalardi with the DiGiCo D5
Mark Amundson and JBL’s David Scheirman with JBL’s new VLA speaker
11/3/06 1:10:40 PM
Dan Craik of Yamaha next to the new LS9.16 console
The company with the best appetizers,
hands-down (Or should we say hands-full?
FOH Editor Bill Evans still has some aioli from
the reception stuck in his beard), at AES was
Yamaha. They set a full course for everyone.
Ready for your fill?
In the pic above, Dan Craik shows off the
new LS9 series of digital mixing consoles.
The console comes in three flavors: 16, 32
and 64 channel sizes.The console shares the
same sound quality, built-in effects, EQ and
dynamics processing as that of the M7CL
console, not to mention an MP3 recorder
on the 32 and 64 channel models. These
boards had technical editor Mark Amundson openly drooling. (Or was that the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus?) Available now,
LS9 series will replace the Yamaha GA series
analog console. In what has to be a first in
the industry, a major manufacturer is replacing an analog model-line with a digital
Another big announcement from
Yamaha was the launch of the DSP5D, a
DSP-expander for the PM5D digital sound
reinforcement console. The DSP5D is essentially a PM5D without a control surface,
shrunk into a 10RU box. It can be controlled
via a PC running Yamaha Studio manager
software, or used as an expansion to the
PM5D console.
If used as an expander it will extend the
PM5D to 96 mono plus 16 stereo input channels, including two additional card slots and
effects and dynamics processing. A second
DSP5D unit can be added to provide further
expansion to 144 mono plus 24 stereo input
channels. When used in conjunction with
the new DCU5D Ethernet Audio Cascade
Unit, the DSP5D can be set in a remote location and controlled from a PM5D up to 100
meters away via a Cat5 cable.
Yamaha also declared its intent to re-enter the professional amplifier market in a big
way with the introduction of the two-ohm,
Tn Series amps. The amps enters the market
with three available models.The Tn5 delivers
2300W (stereo at four ohms) and 5000W at
four ohms bridged; the Tn4 delivers 2000W
(stereo at four ohms), 4400W in four ohms
bridged mode; the Tn3 delivers 1400W (stereo at 4 ohms), and 3800W at four ohms
bridged. The input gain level for all models
is 26dB.
Lastly, Yamaha gave some details on its
recently announced partnership with EtherSound, showing their DME Satellite Series
with its new EtherSound compatibility.
The Yamaha DME-ES Satellite Series
includes the DME8i-ES (8 analog inputs),
DME8o-ES (8 analog outputs) and DME4ioES (4 analog inputs, 4 analog outputs). The
series will be available in the second quarter
of 2007.
Each DSP processor is housed in a single
rack space unit and is capable of producing
80 percent of the DSP power of the full-featured Yamaha DME24N. DME Designer Software, which will be included with the DME
Satellites and will also be distributed from
the Yamaha website, allows programming,
monitoring and control of all DME units:
Satellite models (CobraNet and EtherSound
versions), the DME24N and DME64N, plus
the SP2060 speaker processor, all from one
central software package.
Robert Scovill, shown here with the Digidesign D-Show
Profile digital mixing console, never stopped talking the whole
show. After his keynote address to kick off the convention Scovill gave tours of the Profile to anyone who asked — and a lot of
people asked. The Profile is a powerful tool in a small package,
compatible with all existing VENUE hardware and D-Show software. Particularly intriguing was the absolute level of control
over macros — which could be as easy as a simple trigger, all
the way up to rearranging DSP distribution for a series of cues
spread across the entire show length.
While a studio mic might break if you drop it, plug-ins for a
Digi studio system work just as well on the road — and Waves
is taking advantage of that fact. They introduced their Live Bundle at AES. It contains 27 recording and broadcast systems, like
the L2 Ultramaximizer, C4 MultiBand and MaxxBass, that have
been engineered for Digidesign’s D-Show and D-Show Profile
consoles. Other processors featured in the Live Bundle include
the C1 Parametric Compander and S1 Stereo Imager, as well as
the entire Renaissance Series.
200.0611.16-17.NG.indd 17
Robert Scovill with the Digidesign D-show rofile
Ad info:http://
New Gear
November 2006
11/2/06 6:29:48 PM
New Gear
If you had any doubt about digital migrating to the anklebiter level, all
it took was a quick stop at the Mackie
booth to put those doubts aside. Mackie
is shipping a couple of add-ons for its
very affordable TT24 digital mixer. One
is a processor card that gives you the
functionality of a Lake Mesa EQ, controllable from the console and the other is a
— you guessed it — digital snake. Looks
like it might be time to consider buying
stock in companies that make good Cat5
Gil Perales with the Mackie TT24 and add-ons
Karl Kussmaul with the Sony ECM-322 Headset mic.
AES also had the usual complement of mic announcements, too.
Sony Electronics announced the expansion of the
frequency availability for many of its WL-800 Series
Wireless transmitter models with the introduction of
two new channel blocks 30/32 and 42/44. The new
channels were developed to aid end-users in configuring Sony wireless systems with increased flexibility in
UHF-TV channel selection. That’s Karl Kussmaul holding
the ECM-322 headset microphone, with the 822B transmitter in the background on the table.
We also got to talk to the good folks over at AudioTechnica and ask them why they don’t include a spare
dual XLR adapter for their ATM250DE dual-action microphone. Turns out they had considered it, but including an
extra adapter would up the price by an additional $50,
and they didn’t want to push the price point any higher.
We don’t know which is more disturbing: manufacturers
thinking like FOH, or FOH thinking like a manufacturer.
Lastly, DPA was showing off their SMK mic kit, a
5.4mm electret condenser capsule that they had mounted to the inside of a piano. With the help of a pianist for
the San Francisco Opera and a little Mozart they showed
off the incredible sound from this tiny package.
Kevin Hill with the Variant 25A
Stop Answering
Let the FOH FAQ T-Shirt do the answering for you.
You may have already heard about these shirts designed by
mixer-extraodinaire James Geddes that feature the answers to the Top 10
stupid questions audience members ask. Now you can order one of these
beauties and all of the net proceeds will benefit the music and arts programs
of the Rogue River, Ore School District (Where James' kids go to school).
2XL and
Go to
Go toOrwww
your checks to:
"Making the world a better-sounding place one gig at a time."
Jan-Al cases’ displays
From JBL’s very large we go to the very small,
as D.A.S. introduced their baby line array, the Variant 25A. It’s designed for use as a multi-box array
in small to mid-sized installations, but the ability to
pole-mount a couple of self-powered boxes with
an actual compression driver at a price point where
others are offering soft-dome tweeters means you
are going to see these used live along with the Variant 18A sub. A pair of 25As and a sub will set you
back about five grand a side. No wonder sales Jedi
Kevin Hill is grinning…
Or send
your check to:
FOH T-Shirt
Ti melessAttn:
6000 S.Attn:
Suite 14-J
Vegas, NV
Ste. 613
Tarzana, CA 91356
Jan-Al Cases, purveyors of custom cases, announced
they will launch in the first quarter of
2007. This one-stop shop site will provide engineers and
rack-mounting professionals with a complete source for
specifications, reference information, and point of purchase for racks, rack cases and rack accessories, whether
for the road or permanent installation. It will allow users
the ability to design racks by integrating product information and electronics manufacturers specifications on a
searchable database. It will include extensive guidelines
and “how to’s,” glossaries and explanations meant to standardize communications about rack mount products.
That Lampy Show
Is it just me, or is it terribly annoying that
the only trade show where you can really
hear concert-scale systems in their natural
environment is a freaking LIGHTING show?
Anyway the shootout-that-isn’t-really-ashootout of speaker systems made it worth
spending an entire day at LDI. (Yeah, they call
ET Live — whatever, it’s still a lighting show.)
So what was what? Harman did a live
surround demo featuring an interestingly
dressed club singer. EAW showed off the
greatly improved KF series line array. With
new Gunness Focusing and the ability to fly
the subs, it sounded like a whole new system.
Unfortunately, the reflection off of the apartment building a block away made it hard to
really hear from more than about 60 feet
away. (And we’re sure the apartment residents
were thrilled…) Stage “D” featured a turnkey
d&b rig, and had other speaker makers singing its praises. Expensive or not, this is a very
good sounding system — especially with the
advantage of Robert Scovill running a Digidesign VENUE and using live Tom Petty tracks for
the demo.
Across the parking lot the Meyer system
sounded great — as expected — but the sur-
Jeff Cox on the EAW stage at ET Live
prises were A-Line, whose active system uses
the amp in one box to power a second box,
making it much more affordable. An unusual
hang (no curve) made it hard to really judge
on a sound level, but coverage was good,
and you should expect to see a lot of smaller
soundcos looking at this as their entrée into
the line array game.
The last system I heard was also greatly
improved over previous outings. The QSC
WideLine is true to its name with the widest
image among the bunch, and the retuned
boxes sounded very good. Like the EAW, the
unexpected was how different it sounded
from how we remembered it.
Now if they could only get this kind of
demo at an actual audio show we would
have something to cheer about.
November 2006
200.0611.16-17.NG.indd 18
11/3/06 1:11:33 PM
Ad info:
200.0611.Ads.indd 19
11/2/06 6:52:09 PM
84 Lumber Classic/Clint Black & Black Eyed Peas
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Nemacolin, PA
Sound Co/Provider: Satin Sound Systems
FOH Engineer: Zach Berry, Dave Haines
Systems Engineer: John M. Durisko
System Techs: John A. Durisko, Mick Rispoli, Soren Beiler
Console: Yamaha PM5D, Digidesign D-Show
Speakers: Martin W8L line array, Martin WSX Subs,
Meyer UPA-1P Front Fills
Amps: Martin MA4.2s, Crest Pro9200
Processing: XTA, BSS
Mics: Sennheiser, Shure
Power Distro: Motion Labs
Rigging: CM Lodestar
Console: DiGiCo D5, Digidesign D-Show
Speakers: Meyer MSL-4 & 700-HP Side Fills, Meyer UM-1P,
Sennheiser EW300 IEMs
Power Distro: Motion Labs
Rigging: CM Lodestar
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Sound Co/Provider: Brantley Sound Associates, Nashville, TN
FOH Engineer: John Robertson
Monitor Engineer: Chris Demonbreun
System Techs: Jeff Linn
Console: Allen & Heath GL4000
Speakers: (12) Adamson Y-10’s, (12) EAW SB1000e’s,
(2) EAW KF300z
Amps: (8) Camco Vortex 6s, (4) Crown MacroTech’s,
(3) QSC MX1500A’s
Processing: (3) EAW MX8600’s, (1) Klark Teknik DN3600, (1) BSS
Opal FCS-966, (6) dbx 160s, (1) Yamaha Rev7, (1) Lexicon PCM70, (1) Yamaha SPX90
Mics: (4) Shure UHF Wireless w/ Shure Beta 87A Capsule
Power Distro: BSA Custom
Rigging: Adamson
Console: Ramsa 840
Speakers: (6) EAW SM15 wedges, (2) EAW KF850e and (4) EAW
SB1000’s for Sidefills
Amps: (10) Crown Macro-Techs
Processing: (3) BSS FDS-310s, (1) dbx 480, (6) White 4650s
Power Distro: BSA Custom
REM’s Georgia Music Hall of Fame Induction
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA
Console: Yamaha M7CL
Speakers: V-DOSC
Amps: Crown
Processing: All FX and Dynamics on M7CL
Sound Co/Provider: Entertainment Design Group
FOH Engineer: Ric Wallace
Monitor Engineer: Keith Reardigan
Systems Engineer: Garry Sharp
System Techs: Dave Bath
for continued
November 2006
200.0611.20-21.SHOW.indd 20
Console: PM5000
Speakers: (14) Meyer UM-1Ps, Future Sonics+Sennheiser RF
Mics: Shure Beta 52, Beta 57, Beta 58, KSM34, EV RE20
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11/2/06 6:31:52 PM
Third Day
Pine Mountain Amphitheatre, Flagstaff, AZ
Console: Yamaha PM4000
Speakers: EAW KF850, SB850, KF300
Amps: Crown Macro-Tech
Processing: EAW MX8750
Power Distro: Motion Labs
Sound Co/Provider: Total Sound Productions, LLC
FOH Engineer: Adrian Stone
Monitor Engineer: Chris Freund
Systems Engineer: Brian Dietz
System Techs: Drew Baloh, Rex Jensen, Keith Jensen
Console: Yamaha PM5D
Speakers: EAW KF850, SB850, SM500, JH560, JBL,
Shure PSM700
Amps: Crown MA24x6
Processing: Klark Teknik
The Tommy Cash Show, “Tribute to Johnny”
Jefferson County Fair, WV
Sound Co/Provider: Welsh Sound LLC, Kearneysville, WV
FOH Engineer: James Welsh
Monitor Engineer: Chris Kourtsis
Systems Engineer: Patrick Wallace
Production Manager: Dennis Barron
Tour Manager: Ken, Variety Attractions Inc.
System Techs: Mike Monseur, Christina Smith, Molly Collier
Console: Soundcraft Series 2, 44 x 8
Speakers: Wharfdale SI-15 Array Hi/Mids x 8, SI-18 Subs x 8
Amps: QSC EX and MX series
Processing: dbx DriveRack 480, 2231 EQs, 1066, 166XL Comps,
BSS 804 Delay Line, Samson S-gates, Alesis, Lexicon and TC Electronic effects, Tascam playback, SIA SmaartLive v5
Mics: Shure Beta 58s, SM57s, Beta 52, PG81s, AKG C451s, D112,
Whirlwind and ProCo DIs, Earthworks TC30 RTA mic
Power Distro: WSLP 200 Amp single phase
Rigging: CM Loadstar 1 tons, ATM Flybars, Genie, Thomas Truss
Breakout Assemblies: Whirlwind
Snake Assemblies: Whirlwind Concert 52 2-way Splitter
Console: Soundcraft Monitor Two
Speakers: (10) Wharfdale Twin 12X Coaxial wedges, Wharfdale
LIX-15 Drum Fill
Amps: Wharfdale SE Series, QSC MX Series
Processing: TDM, Klark Teknik, Behringer, dbx comps and gates
The Dominican Festival
Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI
Sound Co/Provider: Max Audio
FOH Engineer: William Medina
Monitor Engineer: Nate Conti
Systems Engineer: William Medina
System Techs: Jorge Rosario
Console: Allen & Heath GL2400-32
Speakers: TCS Audio 1150M & TM115
Amps: Crest Audio Pro8002
Processing: Ashly GQX3102, dbx 2231, Lexicon
MX200, dbx 1046, 166
Mics: Shure Beta
Power Distro: Max Custom’s Distro 200amp
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Console: Soundcraft GB8 40
Speakers: Martin Audio W8C & WSX
Amps: Crest Audio, Pro9001, Pro9200, Pro8200
Processing: Ashly Protea 4.24C, GQX3102, TC Electronic M2000, M-OneXL, D-Two, dbx 1046, 1074.
200.0611.20-21.SHOW.indd 21
November 2006
11/3/06 1:21:18 PM
On Broadway
Keith Rubinstein Weathers
By BryanReesman
guarantee that you’ve never seen anything like Slava’s Snowshow. It will transform your perception of clowns in the
way that Cirque Du Soleil has reinvented our
idea of the circus. The two-act show features
a yellow clown and his green companions
wandering the stage, improvising various
gags and parodying many famous movie or
theatre clichés, from two people lost at sea
to two lovers parting at a train station. And
they do so in brilliant and unconventional
ways. The costumes are wild, the set pieces
are surreal, and the climactic “blizzard” that
engulfs the audience has to be experienced
to be believed. Make sure you stay during
the intermission, too, as the clowns come
down from the stage to wreak havoc and
play around with the audience.
Sound supervisor Keith Rubinstein mans
the boards for the Snowshow, and he has
worked on it since it opened at the Union
Square Theatre two years ago. Rubinstein
worked for the venue for four years on
November 2006
200.0611.22-23.OnBroad.indd 22
shows like Our Lady Of 121st Street, directed
by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and More, starring Yeardley Smith, a.k.a. the voice of Lisa
Simpson. But despite his solid resume, nothing could prepare Rubinstein for the unique
experience that is Slava’s Snowshow.
tyam “Roma” Dubinikov. He’s a genius, in my
Is this the first city that
Slava’s Snowshow has been
performed in, or has it been
performed in other cities?
Like “O Fortuna” from
Carmina Burana?
The show’s been touring for about 12
or 13 years now. They’ve been all over the
world. It’s originally a Russian troupe, and
now there are two companies. There is the
touring company, which is the original company with Slava and his people, and then
there’s the New York company, which is a
mixture of some of the people from Slava’s
company and new people.
Has the show changed much
since it came to New York?
It changes daily, depending upon who’s
onstage. The actors have the freedom to improvise a little bit. The backstage people, and
definitely the front of house people, like the
lighting op and myself, do have a little bit of
freedom to improvise with them.
You’re called the show’s
sound supervisor.
Sound supervisor is the appropriate title.
I was taught by the original designer, Ras-
Who came up with the music?
It’s a mixture. Some of the pieces are
pretty well known.
Exactly. Slava and Roma collaborated and
came up with a soundtrack, but Roma also
has some of his original music in there. All
the atmospheric sounds, like birds or waves
or anything that’s real, are all real sounds. He
went out with a MiniDisc player and a microphone and recorded everything.
You were brought in to do
the live mixing. Is there a
lot of music timed to specific actions in the show?
Yes. The cast rotates a lot, so a different
clown will play a different character. The yellow clown switches sometimes. They all have
completely different timing, so I have to know
who is going to move how or when.
Which means that things
won’t be perfectly synched.
That’s OK because they’re clowns, and
that’s all fine and good. But I’ve been doing it long enough where I can predict what
somebody is going to do.
In the show you have
clowns doing surreal,
strange parodies of things,
and a lot of it is set to music. There are other times
when certain sounds need
to be synched perfectly.
How much of the show is
comprised of things that
are specifically timed?
All of it. I call everything myself. I have to
watch every move.
What kind of board are
you running?
An Allen and Heath GL2200 with approximately 32 inputs.
Are you running any
processing or other outboard gear?
There are a couple of Behringer processors, and I have a dbx 266 compressor that I
use on the microphones. That’s pretty much
it in the way of processing. It’s just more of
a speaker management system, and the way
it’s set up is that there are a couple of different systems. There’s a stage set, which are
Mackie SR450s. Those are self-powered monitors, and those are on stage behind all the
stage legs. They act as monitors for the actors, and also with something like the steps,
when it sounds like it’s only coming from the
11/2/06 6:32:57 PM
“When I first saw it, I was supposed
to be training, but I disconnected that
first time because I was in total awe of
what I was seeing.”–Keith Rubinstein
I saw that,
and there is
also one gag
involving one
clown and two
Then at the end
there’s a howl.
What kind of
mics are
you using?
A Sennheiser wireless lav mic. I think it’s
the E series, Evolution.
How many speakers do you
have total?
Twenty-four total. There are three different brands — Mackie, Community, and for
surround sound and the top is American Audio, which are for the balcony and for behind
the orchestra. There’s also an overhead cluster, but I don’t know if you can really hear that
in the house too much.
There are two points, at
the very beginning and very
end, when the show gets
really loud.
I actually toned it down a slight bit.
Really? It was louder
than that?
Oh yeah, you have no idea. If Slava’s
around, he’ll always make me turn it up.
He doesn’t worry about his
family audience?
The show wasn’t really developed for children or families. In Europe and Russia, clowning is very artistic and a lot different than how
we think of it in the United States. I had no idea
about it until I started with the show. So it wasn’t
developed with the thought of it being a kids’
show. It’s sort of sold that way now, which is
fine, although they really don’t recommend it
for children under eight. That’s around the age
when the ears start to become fully developed.
Obviously most of the
clowns are not miked.
Sometimes it varies, but for the most
part it’s just the yellow clown that has
the microphone.
Essentially, having only one
actor mic with this show
means you don’t have to
have it on very much.
It’s about as little as it gets with
that microphone.
I remember one gag sequence where the clown
keeps falling off a chair
and screaming.
There’s another piece that you may not
have seen when they use whistles.
So you were talking about
improvising before…
Yeah, everybody improvises. That’s what’s
exciting about the show. It’s never exactly the
same. The outline is there. There’s a lot of crowd
play, so sometimes you get somebody who
plays really well, and there’s a magical moment
that happens that you never see again.
What other challenges has
the show presented to you?
Just being able to cope with the different
actors’ needs, because sometimes an actor
will come to me and say that they want something that might be in conflict with the original design. I’ve just learned that if somebody
asks me to do something, I’ll just do it.
So you try to be as accommodating as you can?
Absolutely, especially with Russian people.
They don’t like to hear “no” or “I can’t” or anything like that. [laughs] That’s another thing.
When I was handed over the show, I got some
cue sheets from the Russian sound designer.
They were all in Russian, and I don’t understand
Do you enjoying working on
Slava’s Snowshow?
Oh yeah.I wouldn’t have stayed for two years
if I didn’t like it! It’s given me a lot of design experience. Now I’m starting to do something with
one of the clowns in the show. We did a show
last Monday that was kind of an improv thing,
and he asked me to compile some music pieces
and some original sound stuff. It was pretty interesting. I definitely value the experience that
I’ve gotten, more than anything else.
Of course, this means that people can go back to see it more
than once and be surprised.
A lot of people do. We have some people
who have seen it 10 or 20 times. It’s so different and fun, even if you see it a few times.
What I think is that you miss so much the
first time you see it. When I first saw it, I was
supposed to be training, but I disconnected
that first time because I was in total awe of
what I was seeing. I think it’s different, and
there’s some sort of magical attraction that
people like.
What else have you worked
on previous to the Snowshow?
I’ve actually worked in this theatre for
four years. I’ve also done tech work for different companies. I’ve worked for the White
House. They came to New York right after
9/11, and President Bush was giving a speech
at the Armory. I helped them install a sound
system and got a little certificate of appreciation from the White House. I’ve also done
a lot of load-ins for different stuff I can’t even
remember. I worked for a small performance
space called PSNBC, which was for NBC Television, and one of the producers over there had
a showcase spot in a small theatre downtown
on Spring Street. I ran sound for shows there
and comedy nights.
Comedy shows must be
interesting to work on because you have people
screaming into the mic one
minute, then whispering
into it the next.
Oh sure. In situations like that my favorite
piece of gear is a compressor, so I’ll try to use
that if I can.
Do you think any of your
comedy club experience
helped you with
Slava’s Snowshow?
Definitely not. There is absolutely nothing
200.0611.22-23.OnBroad.indd 23
Russian. I had to get them translated and develop my own sheets, so I had to watch the show
about a thousand times before I even got to run
it. I was used to having a stage manager calling
cues, or an SFX system or some kind of professional playback system, and then they brought
in the MiniDiscs, which I wasn’t really used to.
And there’s a lot of stuff on the MiniDiscs that
really push things to the limit. There are a lot
of loops, so sometimes I’ll have to go into the
menu in the middle of the show and switch
some settings.
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stage, that’s that set of speakers. The main set
is actually Community 915s and 920s, which
is a strange brand, but they sound really good
to me. The subs are 12-inch EAWs, LA series.
that can prepare you to run Snowshow. It’s so
unorthodox. Everything is run off of MiniDisc
players. Roma gave me the Russian discs that
he had, so I had to take his MiniDiscs and record them onto my own and put English text
in so I knew what everything was. That was
kind of a challenge, to say the least.
November 2006
11/2/06 6:33:26 PM
o by
FOH Interview
rd Pag
Sound Provider:
Clair Brothers/Showco
FOH Mixer: Howard Page
Monitor Mixer: Robert Miller
Crew Chief/System Engineer:
Doug McKinley
Monitor Tech/System Tech:
Sean Baca
Stage Tech/System Tech:
Tom Ford
Clair Bros i4 Line Array
Prism II sub bass
Clair/Showco FF2H
Yamaha PM5D-RH
Digidesign VENUE,
32 Channel – MON
TC Electronic TC6000
No matter the artist or venue,
Howard Page keeps the sound true.
By PaulOverson
Photo by Steve Jennings
or those of you who do not recognize
the name Howard Page, you should.
His audio credits include Van Halen
and Sade, as well as the design and creation
of six sound consoles, including the Showco
Showconsole, one of the first digital mixing
desks (OK, digitally-controlled analog). In addition, Page currently serves as director of
engineering for Showco, part of Clair Brothers Audio. In a career measured not in years
but in decades, Page has mastered the art
of the live mix, so there is little wonder why
many in his native Australia refer to him as
“The Legend.”
Currently Page serves as FOH audio engineer on the Mariah Carey Adventures of Mimi
tour, and FOH managed to catch up with him
at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas,
a room with a challenging FOH position and
a tendency for low-end build-up. Page delivered a wonderful mix, clean and defined, even
in the nosebleed seats. In a city noted for its
blinding lights and incessant motion, Page
found time for a conversation that swayed between the techniques of live sound reinforcement, the methods of mixing and Page’s own
philosophy on FOH control. Howard Page has
built a career on keeping artists’ voices true,
now we get a taste of how.
id th the
“Wh becom ”
drum d singer age
lea ward P
November 2006
200.0611.24-25.FOHINTER.indd 24
FOH: Tell me about the
main FOH system.
Howard Page: I’m using a Clair Brothers i4 line array system, hung in a classic “J”
style array. After extensive research I consider this style of array best matches the
power coupling versus distance ratio of the
vast majority of arena style venues being
played on this tour.
There is, of course, designed into the i4 System the option of curving the array into more
of a banana style array, but I have found that
by hanging the “J” style array the same way for
nearly all venues on this tour I have removed
a huge variable from the daily setup/tuning
process, and we are achieving really predict-
able, consistent results. The interesting thing
about using the “J” style array is that it follows
my old (before line arrays!) golden rule for
big loud shows — concentrate more components, or “power band,” to the longest throw
of the venue, and as the throw distances get
smaller, fewer components are required to
achieve the same overall SPL.
The low end of this
show is tight and even.
Why do you have the
sub bass arrayed so
differently than I have
ever seen before?
My approach to reproducing the low frequencies for this show is a little different to
most others. In my usual role as company director of engineering, I have been called out
to fix way too many other tours where the entire low end of the system was just way out of
balance compared to the mids and highs. So
bad, in fact, that the low end in the large arena
space had zero definition and became just an
audience-numbing noise.
When, at the last minute, I became involved in mixing this tour, I was determined
not to have a show where the low end had
those negative qualities. To this end, I am
using our Prism II sub cabinets, which I
knew from being involved in the design,
would give me the tightest, shortest, highest impact response in a large space. We
must always remember the space will
give our low end the extra length and, if
installed correctly, the depth we need. Of
course depth is a relative term in some of
these bad arenas — if the room won’t hold
the extreme low end tight and short, but
only serves to lengthen all the notes, don’t
put those frequencies into that room. I designed the array of these subs to be the
best compromise between achieving the
best audio result, but also to satisfy some
show production front edge of stage specific design criteria.
What I ended up with is a steered sub bass array with even, solid coverage across the room,
continuing above the floor area seating up
into the higher arena seats. I am using multiple drive elements feeding the separated
sub bass stacks, and careful alignment timing
to the main hanging i4 arrays. The final ingredient is exact level balance matching of the
whole steered sub bass array, relative to the
main array low end. The sub bass becomes
what I believe it should be, a perfect low frequency extension of the main array, with all
the retained low-end definition of the original recorded material.
The low end needs to be very strong for
this style of music, and at first the elimination
of the gut pounding, intense, false, out of balance lows which I traded in for tight (but still
loud!) studio-style low end took a little while
for some to get used to, but after a few shows
many people started noticing and enjoying
the difference: “I can hear all the notes the
bass player is playing just like on the CD, and I
don’t have a headache after the show” — We
may be on to something!
You seem to be preaching a philosophy there?
Yes. After being involved in live sound
engineering for so long I am very, very sad
to see the way it has all evolved in the last
few years. When did the kick drum become
the lead singer? Show after show, regardless of the style of music, ends up being
just a solid wall of badly mixed, way too
loud, over the top, low-end-heavy noise.
I have tried to help and nurture so many
young guys over the years to understand
what mixing live shows is all about, and
my often repeated sermon is to make it
“sound as close as possible to the recorded material by the artist.” If some artists
ever came out front at their shows and
listened, I’m sure they would be horrified
at how their performance is being brutal-
11/2/06 6:34:57 PM
ized. True, lately, some artists set out to
use the sound system to deliberately beat
up the audience, but those shows are way
beyond any help.
I’m sure that most
people mixing live
shows are trying to
do their best, so what
do you think is the real
cause of these bad
sounding shows?
Analyzing what the real cause of this current situation is leads to the two key problems:
tuning the system with a very out-of-balance
low-end level before mixing, and then a total
loss of good console gain structure management after starting to mix. These two factors
absolutely cause most bad live shows. Tuning a
large-scale sound system with any form of outof-balance level between the lows/mids/highs
(and we are not talking about EQ here) directly
applies that bad balance to every channel of the
mixing console before even beginning to mix. I
think of system tuning this way — say I decide
to use a brand new expensive microphone on
a show. When I open the fancy box, I get a frequency response plot that shows that my mic
is beautifully flat. If I badly tune the system with
the low-end +6dB too high in level relative
to the mids and highs, then I have just added
+6dB from 30Hz to 250Hz to every channel of
the console, including my fancy mic. Here is the
real key to live system tuning: On any of the
current state-of-the-art large-scale sound systems, which have carefully designed elements
with crossover systems custom tailored to the
cabinets, nearly all actual system tuning can be
done by balancing the relative levels between
the lows/mids/highs first, and then adding the
absolute minimum amount of EQ to get the system to a flat, reference starting point.
So what is the key
to good console gain
200.0611.24-25.FOHINTER.indd 25
mix” for any show. A show that you will never
lose control of.
I’ve heard many shows
where the vocals were
lost from using too
many effects. How
do you feel about the
use of processing for
live shows?
Every time we attempt to mix sound in
a large closed space like an arena, we get
reverb for free — whether we want it or
not! This room reverb must be taken into
account as a part of our mix in that space.
I have a philosophy with the use of any effects and processing in generaI — “less is
more.” You cannot get a wonderful, defined,
emotional, up-front vocal sound if it’s ruined
with too much processing of any sort. It is
nice to have that stuff available for the rare
occasions when you get to a dry room, but
honestly, for most large arenas — leave it
alone! The key to all of this live sound stuff is
definition in the mix — excessive processing
will ruin definition in a heartbeat!
Paul H. Overson is one half of the FOH Anklebiters crew, and a student himself of Page’s techniques. Contact Paul at
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When mixing a large live show, it is vital
to set up the console gain structure so that
you have absolute command of every single
element/channel forming that mix. The goal
of any rehearsal or sound check before the
show is to be able to start that actual show
with all channel faders, VCA/DCAs and Masters at zero/unity with a great sounding, under control “reference mix.” This mix is the
point you will constantly come back to during the show after solos, big mixing “pushes,”
dynamic psycho-acoustic level shifts to create different moods or just when it all seems
to be getting a little sideways! This is done at
sound check by very careful use of the input
channel mic pre gains on each channel to establish this core mix. A big mistake is to run
the individual input channel gains of a large
mix too hot — the lower the better! The PFL/
cue metering on a console should be used
only as a guide to prevent input overloading
problems. Do not ever set up input channel
mic pre gains using a PFL/cue meter — that
sets an absolute level, not a musical mix re-
lationship between channels! If the drummer arrives first to sound check you need
to be very careful listening to and setting
up input gains for just one element of the
entire mix. Get a great drum sound, but be
prepared to back off all of the drum channels’ mic pre gains once the full mix is up. In
fact, to get really good long-term, consistent
gain structure for a large tour, at first you will
find yourself mixing a lot of the time on the
input mic pre gains until you have the whole
mix under control with all the faders at unity.
If you use this disciplined approach to using
any live console, then you will end up with
a totally controlled gain structure “reference
11/2/06 6:35:23 PM
If You Build It, They Will Hear
Sound Design For Lawn Delay Systems
The audience gathers for an upcoming show at the Tweeter Center
By RichardMontrose
ith the proliferation of outdoor
amphitheatres in recent years, the
onus increasingly falls on sound
designers to integrate audio systems that
are capable of performing in less-than-ideal
conditions. In turn, it’s up to manufacturers
to provide these designers with state-of-theart technology through the development of
powerful, controllable and versatile audio
components. These advances in technology,
combined with the creativity of designers,
have led to dramatic improvements in lawn
delay systems for amphitheatres, or “sheds.”
As any audio professional will attest, the
obstacles associated with designing and implementing lawn delay systems are numerous. Inherent in any amphitheatre setting is
the challenge of reconciling the loudspeaker
system with the outdoor environment. In outdoor conditions, a number of mitigating factors are taken into account. “In some ways, it
is actually more forgiving in outdoor spaces
because there are less reverberant surfaces to
deal with,” said Brad Ricks, senior applications
engineer at JBL Professional. “That said, in any
tern that can be shaped to match the contour of the seating area,” he said. “These
outdoor amphitheatres are typically very
wide, so it takes quite a few arrays to cover
the entire area. However, the narrow coverage pattern and superior controllability
of line array systems make them ideal for
these environments.”
This controllability of line arrays also plays
a key role when discussing the issue of neighborhood noise ordinances. As many outdoor
amphitheatres are built adjacent to residential
areas, the ability to control noise levels is imperative to avoid complaints from the neighbors.
“Dealing with the requirements of the neighborhood is always a challenge,” Ricks added.
“Care has to be taken to monitor the levels and
limit the system. With line arrays, it’s easier to
cut off the pattern to avoid overshooting the
back of the listening area.”
Recently, Braintree, a Massachusetts-based
Pro Sound Service, installed a new lawn delay
system at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield,
Mass., for the 2006 summer concert and event
season.The Tweeter Center is a 19,900-seat outdoor venue with a covered, roofed section of
about 7,500 seats, with the balance in an open
seating area. A wall at the back of the seating
area separates the venue from the community.
The previous audio system, like the open-air
venue itself, was 20 years old and was fatigued
“fringe fill.” The total system includes 20 VT4888 midsize line
array elements, two AM6212/
95s, and six VRX932LA’s. Additionally, the system includes 11
Crown I-Tech 4000 amplifiers
and 10 I-Tech 8000s, with two
dbx 2231 dual 31-band graphic
equalizers. JBL’s VerTec Line Array Calculator software allowed
the team to accurately predict
not only coverage patterns, but
SPL at various locations in the
lawn area, along with rigging
details. The new system is one of the
first lawn-delay systems in the nation
to use Harman Professional’s HiQnet
networking protocol and System Architect Software.
“During system commissioning,”
said Charles Tappa, president of Pro Sound Service, “with the system running at 95 dB SPL at
the back wall, a handheld meter was taken into
the neighborhood to check sound pressure
levels. We made a phone call to verify that the
sound system was still on because it could not
even be heard in an area that was previously a
problem spot in the neighborhood.”
For the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts,
in Sullivan County, NY, another outdoor facility,
JaffeHolden, of Norwalk, Conn. designed a series of ten weatherproof custom speaker assemblies, each
housing two loudspeakers
weighing over 200 lbs. each.
As the Bethel Woods Center
sits precisely on the site of
the original Woodstock festival, the loudspeakers needed
to be able to compensate for
the rolling topography of the
local landscape. These loudspeaker assemblies
are distributed under the rear edge of the pavilion roof, some 190 feet from the proscenium,
to provide full-frequency coverage to the entire 70,000 sq. foot lawn seating area. Among
the speakers chosen for this project were ten
EAW KF750F speakers and ten EAW KF755Ps.
Beyond the 70,000 square feet inherent
to the facility, the audience seats up to 12,000
people. Between these two factors, sound
can be swallowed easily, necessitating an adequate mixing desk and proper amps to drive
the speakers. For this, JaffeHolden selected a
Yamaha DM1000 digital audio console and
Crown amplifiers. Add to these the fact that
Bethel Woods houses not only rock acts, but
also classical and symphonic musicians.
“Most pavilions can only do one thing
well,” says JaffeHolden’s Mark Holden. “Either
they’re designed for rock, or for symphonic
music. We needed a pavilion designed for a
“We made a phone call to verify that the sound
system was still on because it could not even be
heard in an area that was previously a problem
spot in the neighborhood.” –Charles Tappa
outdoor setting, there will be environmental
effects, such as air absorption. Because of this,
it’s important to design and install an audio
system with enough power to counteract
those dynamics.”
Protection from the elements is another
key issue when installing a lawn delay system.
“In a lot of cases, the loudspeakers are installed
in enclosures and will be removed at the end
of the concert season,” Ricks said. “Particularly
in areas where humidity and precipitation are
common, placing the loudspeakers in protective structures is beneficial to the preservation
of the system.”
According to Ricks, as the majority of shedstyle amphitheatres feature sloped lawn seating areas, the evolution of the line array has
given sound designers a practical solution
for providing even coverage across angles of
varying degrees over large, open spaces. “Line
arrays provide a good vertical coverage pat-
November 2006
200.0611.26.Delays.indd 26
from continuous, hard-driving use.
Until the installation of the new system,
there had been an ongoing noise complaint
issue from the neighborhood located behind
the back wall of the facility. A 16-foot-high wall
barrier had been erected to alleviate noise
complaints after the town established a maximum allowable sound pressure level of 95
dB SPL at the back wall. Sound levels are continuously monitored via a real-time calibrated
measuring system with mics located at the top
of the wall. Minute-by-minute SPL readings are
printed for review by town officials, and a high
priority is placed on containment of sound
within the venue.
The final design for the system specified
that each of four existing cluster locations
would contain five VerTec VT4888 enclosures,
with two additional locations, each housing
VRX932LA compact constant-curvature line
arrays and a single AM6212/95 cabinet as
Some of the speakers used at the Tweeter Center.
new century.” To this end, the walls and ceiling
of the Bethel stage are designed to absorb the
echoes and boomy sound that can compromise a performance with amplified music. For
orchestral music, a portable, tunable orchestra
shell was designed to JaffeHolden specifications.
Also newly installed in 2006, Overland
Park, Kansas-based DSS, Inc. has designed
and supplied the UMB Bank Pavilion in St.
Louis, Mo., with a new lawn delay system featuring JBL VerTec line arrays. Live Nation, operator of the UMB Bank Pavilion, needed to
upgrade the concert experience for guests
who frequent the open-air venue to enjoy
the many top-tier entertainment attractions
hosted there. After repairing the older, existing lawn-area sound system year after year,
the decision was made to purchase a new,
more capable system. Increased fidelity, improved output capabilities and acceptance
by visiting tour sound professionals were
design goals.
The new system, as installed by DSS, includes 24 VerTec VT4888 midsize line array
loudspeakers, supplemented by nine VRX932LA compact constant-curvature loudspeaker systems. The array coverage pattern
and output power capabilities of the JBL
speakers were a key aspect of this application, due to the venue’s large seating capacity, which totals more than 13,000.
“We’ve achieved excellent results with
JBL VerTec systems in our company’s touring and rental division, and it’s a natural fit
as well for installations of this type,” advised
Jeremy Dixon, of DSS. “Such installed lawndelay systems must complement the touring sound rigs brought into outdoor amphitheatre venues during the summer season.
The new installed system at UMB Pavilion is
meeting both their needs and those of venue management.”
11/3/06 1:19:04 PM
Steve Raslevich of Northern Sound and Light.
By LindaSeidFrembes
ith so many choices for gear on the market
today, it’s a wonder that anyone can make
heads or tails of it. Cutting through the marketing hype to determine what is really needed
for a good audio system can be challenging for
professionals, as well as the staff and volunteers
at smaller venues like churches or theatres that
may not eat, sleep and breathe live sound on
a daily basis. FOH sat down to talk with Steve
Raslevich, president of Northern Sound & Light
(NSL) to get some insight into the market. NSL
often gets calls from customers who know what
they want after browsing the information on
the NSL web site, but still need help interpreting the marketing verbiage using the real world
experience of the sales staff.
have been cheating on the number of mic
preamps to bring down the cost to manufacture or to fit into a certain form factor.
Some of the better named console manufacturers have not played this game yet with
their mixers, but customers still need to do
their research.
What do you mean by
“cheating” on the mic
Some companies that list a mixer as
having 24 channels may not mean that it
has 24 mic preamps; rather, it may be 20
mic preamps and 4 line inputs. Depending
on the use of the mixer, this may be okay. If
the main function is simple tape playback,
then the number of preamps may not even
“It’s best to invest in the higher quality mixer
with the features that are really needed,
instead of a lesser quality mixer that is
loaded with bells and whistles, some of
which you may never need or use.” - Steve Raslevich
What should people be
aware of when shopping
for new gear?
Steve Raslevich: With technology constantly improving and changing, there are
still fundamentals that apply to live sound
gear, whether the preference is analog over
digital, or wood enclosures versus plastic.
There are three major groupings of live
sound gear that people tend to buy: consoles and outboard gear; amps and speakers; and microphones and input gear. With
some online research and a few tips from
a pro, it becomes easier to select and buy
pieces that will perform well under most
What is happening with
consoles and outboard
gear lately?
With each new product revision, it seems
like each manufacturer is trying to come out
with more features at a better price point.
In the console market segment, this trend is
no different. Most recently, manufacturers
matter. Bottom line is that the customer
must think about what he or she needs the
mixer to do. Are there stage monitors, front
fills or balcony fills that may need their own
subgroup? Is there a good EQ section? How
many aux inputs are provided? How many
effects returns? We’ve found that our customers generally prefer about 32 channels,
which is enough to accommodate a small
to medium venue.
Another raging debate is the preference of analog versus digital technology.
High-end digital boards run into the 40+
input range and give ultimate flexibility in
exchange for a more complex setup. A major manufacturer has tried to bring digital
mixing technology into the mainstream at a
lower price point, but, unfortunately, it was
plagued with issues when it first debuted.
For new users, it may have left them with a
bad taste for digital; however, the demand
for digital is strong since other audio components are going in this direction. As the
only digital board under $10,000, this product can still be a good gateway into digital
mixers given fixes in quality and reliability.
Despite demand, old timers who would
rather have a knob for each function may
still prefer analog mixers. Analog boards
allow the sound engineer to see every setting at a glance. However, the pro side for
a digital board comes if it is for the same
show every night — all you have to do is
unload it and make small tweaks based on
the venue.
How do you determine
what you really need in
a console?
It’s best to invest in the higher quality mixer with the features that are really
needed, instead of a lesser quality mixer
that is loaded with bells and whistles, some
of which you may never need or use. Cuts in
quality and performance were most likely
made in the features you need in order to
pay for the extras you don’t. Like features,
consider how many input channels are required to accommodate the majority of performances and not necessarily all. The venue may need a 24-channel workhorse, but
once a month there may be a live act who
wants a 40-channel desk. For the price difference, it’s better to rent another mixer for
that one show.
What about the outboard
gear? Where does that
fit in?
Much ado has been made about outboard
gear — compressors, limiters, gates — with
more control given at each step. In reality, outboard gear is not needed to mix audio. Yes, that
is a rudimentary system. But given that there
may be other places to spend those dollars, it
isn’t a necessity.
As with the console market segment, many
outboard gear manufacturers have grabbed
market share by lowering prices. Marketing
hype makes it seem like they can provide more
performance without cutting any corners. Recently, a new entry-level EQ caught our eye.
The marketing materials state that it is balanced but, in reality, the input is balanced, but
the output is not. While an unbalanced output
is okay in shorter runs, it would be detrimental if used to drive long lines back to the stage
from FOH. Since we pay attention to those details, we can provide our customers the insight
to make a smart purchasing decision. In the
end, the customer needs to have a realistic expectation of what the system can do.
200.0611.27.NSL.indd 27
Customer Center
Warehouse Center
What about amps
and speakers? These
days you could be talking
about the same piece of
gear, no?
There has not been any significant
loudspeaker technology in years. The
line array craze is over, but there are still
people who are absolutely convinced they
need one, regardless of the application.
Recently there has been a surge in interest
for powered speakers — the compelling
merger of amps and speakers. As with any
product, there are pros and cons to using
these types of speakers.
On the pro side, it is much more convenient to send just a power harness and a
line out to the speakers. Powered speakers
save space around the stage wings, which
is valuable real estate, especially in small to
medium venues. On the con side, failures are
bad enough, and get worse when the flown
powered speaker fails in the middle of a performance. With the built-in electronics, it’s
not exactly easy to bypass and keep going.
continued on page 39
November 2006
11/2/06 6:59:40 PM
Road Tests
Mackie Onyx 24.4
By JamieRio
verybody needs a mid-format, midsized board. Well, maybe not everybody. My grandmother doesn’t need
this size of a mixer, but you know what I
mean. If you supply sound reinforcement for
some of the millions of school, city, church,
club, park, small fair and carnival shows that
happen every year in this country, then you
need a midsize board.
For myself, the aforementioned events
make up more than half of all my shows every year. When you think about it, this niche of
the market makes up the majority of events
that happen in the USA on a yearly basis.
There are probably a thousand times more
schools, churches and parks than arenas. Now,
it almost goes without saying that you do not
want to drag out your large format mixer for
one of these smaller events. Especially if you
are working as a one-man operation.
O.K., have I made a case for the mid-size
console? Good! Now let’s get on to the Mackie Onyx 24.4.
The Gear
This is an analog 24-channel (also available in a 32-channel model) 4-buss board with
buckets of cool features. The only thing it has
in common with the previous Mackie mixers
What it is: Mid-Format mixing console
Who it’s for: Sound companies,
churches, bands
Pros: Great sound, easy to operate,
well-thought-out features
Cons: I haven’t found any, yet.
Retail Price: $2049.99
is the name “Mackie.” In fact, they could have
just put up the Onyx logo, left off Mackie and
created a whole new console company.
In other words, this board is a total departure from their previous models. The most notable new features are the 4-band Perkins EQ,
the new Onyx preamps and the 100mm faders. The new EQ is very musical and fun to use,
and when you crank a knob, you really hear
and feel the sweetness of this new circuitry.
The preamps are smooth, pleasant to the ear
and clean as a whistle. I own two Mackie mixers that have been real workhorses for various
situations over the years. However, if I have
one complaint, it would be that the preamps
are brittle and harsh. That description is definitely a thing of the past with this new board.
Each of the 20-mono-channel strips
starts with a -20dB pad button, a 100Hz low
frequency roll off/high pass filter button and
gain knob. Also, each mono channel gets its
own phantom power button with a light; this
feature is so very cool and unusual in a board
of this size. Next, we have the Cal Perkins 4band EQ. Sporting a fixed high knob at 12Khz,
a fixed low knob at 80Hz and sweepable low
and high mids, Cal built upon the old classic
Wein Bridge circuitry used in British boards of
the ‘60s and ‘70s. Let’s just say it’s really good.
We can engage the EQ via an on/off button.
Six aux sends are on the board, grouped in
colored pairs. The pre/post, AFL and mute
buttons are over in the master section of the
aux sends. The pan knob sits in back, right
above the 100mm Panasonic fader, separated
by a large mute button with a red LED. Next
to the fader you have 4 LED signal strength
lights, buss assign 1-2 button, buss assign 3-4
button and a main mix button. The channel
strip is finished
off with a large
PFL button and a
green LED.
The master
section gives you
a 6 x 2 matrix mixer, which opens
up additional outputs for PMs and a variety of monitoring
scenarios. There is an on-board assignable stereo compressor/limiter. The routing for the compressor changes depending on how you use it. On a subgroup it is
pre-fader, but if you assign it the mains it
routes post fader for overall system limiting. (Now if we could turn it on as a system
limiter without anyone knowing it was on,
it would be real handy for those band engineers who seem intent on blowing your
mains...)To the left of the 100mm main
mix fader sit four 100mm buss faders with
signal strength lights, mute and AFL buttons.
There are solo level knobs, talk back buttons,
stereo returns and routing buttons. I am glossing over these features because I need to get
into the live performance of this mixer. That is
the real point of this review anyway.
The Gigs
I took the Onyx to a two-day church festival/carnival event. The roster included two
blues bands, the typical deluge of local and
school dance, acting and talent acts and our
own fearless leader, Bill Evans, fronting Reverend Bill and the Soul Believers.
The first group up was the school jazz
band. I put a mic on the drummer’s kick, ran
the bass direct and area miked the brass sections. I bussed the area
mics and hoped for the
best. If you have done this
type of miking, you know
that the main challenge
is getting maximum gain
without feedback. This is
where that Perkins EQ really shined. If you can hear
the problem, you can affect
it positively and very musically with this EQ. All in
all, the Mackie and I made
the jazz band sound great.
However, I did not have a talent filter in my
rack, so the clinkers and clams sounded just
as perfect as the sweet notes. Next up was the
local hip-hop dance troupe. Once again, I area
miked the floor to get the stomps and slaps
and ran tracks for the music.
It wasn’t until blues singer Marcy Levy
brought up her group that I had a real chance
at a mix. The EQ worked very well on the
drums and bass. I got lots of punch and thump
out of the kick and a nice clean crack out of
the snare. I easily peeled the flab out of the
bass bottom and added a nice punchy presence. The best parts of this band were Marcy’s
vocals, and the Onyx preamps allowed her
voice to come through smooth as glass and
crystal clear.
Reverend Bill’s nine-piece group was up
next. They used 17 mono inputs and one stereo. I bussed the vocals to 1 and 2 and sent
the horns to 3 and 4. I also assigned the compressor to the horns and was surprised with
the results. I originally looked at the on-board
compressor as more of a gimmick than a real
tool, but it sounds great and is extremely simple to use. It smoothed out and contained the
brass without sounding artificial.
The Mackie Onyx performed equally as
well the following day. This is truly a leap forward for Mackie and a great tool for any midsize gig. The bottom line is that if you are looking for this size of a board, you just found it.
Ad info:http://
November 2006
200.0611.28-29.RT.indd 28
11/2/06 6:37:05 PM
Face Audio 1200TS Power Amplifier
By MarkAmundson
ace Audio has begun offering a line
of newly designed power amplifiers,
and is promising to offer the best
customer service of any amplifier maker.
Of the four lines of amplifiers they make,
I was asked to review Face Audio’s popular TS ( Titanium Series) line and the flagship 1200 model. The Titanium Series are
conventional power supply (transformer
based) audio power amplifiers with class
H amplification and two rack spaces
in height.
The front panel of the 1200TS is basic,
with its center power switch and twochannel attenuator controls. Flanking
each control are five LEDs for Active, Signal (two levels), Clip and Fault indications.
Two beefy metal handles and a top air filter inlet plate complete this amplifier.
On the rear panel, the black metal
panel has two screened fans on the outside with all the controls and connection
in between. A standard IEC inlet and two
fuse holders make up the power supply
section next to pairs of Neutrik NL4 connectors and binding posts for speaker
connections. For signal inputs, the 1200TS
has both XLR female and TRS jacks. Completing the rear panel are three switches
for chassis ground lift, stereo/parallel/
bridge mode selection, and on/off limiters selection.
into various roles with ease. The only item
needing adjustment is the 39dB of full up
gain that needed backing off 7dB, for my
32dB system gains on my other amplifiers.
I could not find any niggles to speak of,
but some users will not find the 1200TS a
good fit due to its weight,
especially with the new
switcher supply amplifiers entering the market.
The Face Audio 1200TS
is a professional amplifier for a wide variety
of customers.
What it is: Conventional audio
power amplifier.
Who it’s for: Local to regional
soundcos needing basic power
amplifier capability with good customer service.
Pros: Good Sound, basic features,
all-around player.
Cons: None.
Retail Price: $1169.58
With its toriodal power transformer
design, the Face Audio 1200TS weighs in
at 49 pounds and 17 inches deep when
including the rear rack ears. Popping the
cover off the 1200TS was partially like a
time warp, because the sturdy construction had circuit boards populated with
leaded through-hole components, and
not the typical surface-mount components most manufacturers use. But this
construction allows for better component
cooling, and once they add in the modern wind tunnel heatsinking and a beefy
toriodal transformer, this amplifier lands
squarely in the modern era.
Checkout Time
Ad info:http://
Ad info:http://
The Face Audio 1200TS audio power
amplifier looked mild and meek on the
outside, but once powered up and operating it delivered very nice performance
to my ears. Operating in both sub-woofer
duty and on top-box speakers, the 1200TS
handled the tasks nicely, providing the
push of 60Hz transformer-based amplifiers with the clarity of conventional analog amplifier stages.
Out on the gigs, the 1200TS slipped
200.0611.28-29.RT.indd 29
November 2006
11/2/06 6:37:41 PM
Regional Slants
Things That
Make You Go
By LarryHall
aybe it’s the fact that, as the owner of
a mid-level company, I never get the
chance to slow down long enough to
get complacent, and instead find myself looking
at every aspect of the rig, crew and all the other
details that can make or break a gig, examining
them over and over again to make sure nothing is missed. Or maybe when you travel with
the same act for a while you just naturally get
used to a specific way of doing things. Or maybe
it’s both. Whatever. But I had a gig recently that
November 2006
200.0611.30.regionalslants.indd 30
think about
think about.
T h e
show was
major act
who normally travels with a
full rig. This
gig was a oneoff that was not
part of the scheduled tour, so they decided to make it a fly date
at a venue where my company
handles all of the larger shows. We were hired
to do full audio and backline production. We do
this for other acts at this venue and other venues, so on the surface it didn’t seem like a big
deal. The important part of that sentence is the
part that says “on the surface.”
We put together the backline with SIR Las
Vegas, and they had everything the client requested. So far, so good. The band required 16
personal monitor rigs and 12 RF mics as well.
Again, no real issues there… The FOH and monitor guys both wanted digital consoles. I didn’t
have an issue with this, either — give ‘em what
they want, right? The problem was in the “why”
of wanting those digital desks. I was thinking
they wanted them because it was what they
were used to using on the tour, but I was only
partially right. Evidently, their thinking was
more like, “Lets make it a real easy day. We can
just put our disks in and go! No sound check!”
Yeah, right.
This is not a rant about digital consoles — I
own four of them. No, this is a rant about incorrect assumptions and expecting the gear to
do the heavy lifting for you. Using those digital
consoles on tour with the same PA, same mic
package, same personal monitors and same
backline makes perfect sense to me. Nothing
of real relevance changes. Gain structure is
basically the same. Maybe some subtle
EQ changes, but basically you’re good
to go. You gotta love that digital console! But when you’re flying in for
a one-off with a different PA, different mic package and rented
backline, how can you expect
your disc to set up the console
for you? Sure, basic I/O routing
will stay the same, but anything else has the potential to
Back at the gig, the monitor guy is freaking because his
gains are off the map for
his PMs. The FOH guy is
complaining that the PA
“doesn’t sound right
— what’s wrong with
it?” They seem so befuddled that things
are not the same
as at any other tour
stop.“I mean, I put my
disc in so it should be
My outside voice:
“Well, dude, what vocal mics are you touring
with? Oh, well, remember we
gave you these other mics you
asked for because you said you wanted to
try them?”
My inside voice: Of course they don’t sound
the same and the gain is way off.
My outside voice: “What line array are you
touring with? Yeah, this ain’t it. That big sound
company doesn’t sell their speakers so, um, maybe you should flatten the EQ and start over?”
Maybe if we had forced them to use a trusty
Midas XL-4,or a Soundcraft Series 5 and made
them actually do their gig, we wouldn’t have
been there all day while they figured it
out.You know? “Let’s make this a real
easy day; just put our disc in and
go.” Hmmm...
Maybe I’m wrong, and
it wouldn’t be the first
time. Hell, it wouldn’t
even be the first time
today, but maybe the
digital console doesn’t
always meet the fly
date rider in real life.
I am going to Hell for
writing this, aren’t I?
you’re flying
in for a one-off with
a different PA, different
mic package and rented
backline, how can you
expect your disc to set
up the console for
11/2/06 6:38:20 PM
On the Bleeding Edge
therefore iAm
By SteveLaCerra
· i Lo k for
available to software manufacturers
who wish to protect their R&D investment, and
to users who wish to use said software. In addition to developing the protection software,
PACE provides drivers for users of iLok-protected
software, and manufactures the physical device
required to unlock a protected program. Current
audio software manufacturers using iLok technology include: Antares, Bomb Factory, Crane
Song, Digidesign, DUY, Eventide, GRM Tools, Line6,
McDSP, Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU), Princeton
Digital, Serato, Sonic Solutions, Sony, SoundToys,
Steinberg, TC Works, Trillium Lane Labs, Unique
Recording Software, WAVE Mechanics and
“You can think of the iLok much like the
safe deposit box in your local bank. The bank
(PACE) provides the lock and key (iLok)
to protect the contents of your
safe deposit box (software).”
software. You may also run into the iLok on the
road in situations where band members are
using virtual synths or samplers on stage.
Manufactured by PACE Anti-Piracy,
iLok is a device that facilitates software
copy protection. PACE does not produce
audio software; they simply have developed a lock and key for protecting software.
iLok use is not limited to audio software, and
you can simultaneously have authorizations on
a single iLok for various applications (video editing, for example). One iLok can hold as many as
100 keys for software running on either Mac OS
or Windows platforms.
You can think of the iLok much like the safe
deposit box in your local bank. The bank (PACE)
provides the lock and key (iLok) to protect the
contents of your safe deposit box (software).
Your account allows you to deposit and transfer
software licenses (your investment) just like you
might place your Telefunken 251 in a safe deposit box before going on vacation (better yet,
leave it with me). PACE makes their technology
the same device, the
exception being an
iLok that comes packaged with software
bundles — in which
case the manufacturer
may include a “pre-loaded” iLok (i.e., an iLok that
includes authorizations for
their software).
After you purchase iLok-compliant software and install it on your
computer you typically have a week
to 10 days during which the software
will run without authorization. After that
period of time the app will no longer open unless you insert an iLok with the appropriate license.
There are basically two ways to obtain the
license for the software. In cases where you purchased a retail package, a license card may be included with the packaging. On this “Smart Card”
is a small chip employing technology similar to
that used for GSM cell phones and credit cards.
Your software will prompt you to insert the license chip into the iLok; the license will move to
the iLok, and your software will immediately be
authorized. The other manner in which a license
is obtained is through PACE’s website (www., where you set up a private account
with a password. This account is free of charge.
When you purchase software via download, you
register with the manufacturer and submit your
iLok account name (which you must provide accurately to ensure that your deposit does not go
into someone else’s account). The manufacturer
deposits an authorization“key”into your account,
and sends you an e-mail when the deposit has
been made. You log into your iLok account, and
transfer the key from the web account to the iLok.
Honestly, it sounds way more painful than it is in
Using an iLok provides several advantages.
Obviously you have the ability to carry all of your
software authorizations in a single device that fits
in your pocket.The keys are not located on a hard
drive, so in the event of a hard drive crash you
don’t lose your software licenses. Your account
can service more than one iLok, and licenses
can be transferred between iLoks — though
if you transfer a key to another user,
there is an “administrative” fee of $25.
Once you set up your account, you
can name and identify your iLok(s),
and view the licenses that they hold.
When you add an authorization via
license card, it’s wise to re-register the
iLok so that can track your assets via a “synchronize” function. As I mentioned last month, iLok makes it easy to keep Internet software off of your audio computer, which
is generally a wise idea. Finally, PACE offers a “Zero
Downtime” insurance policy in case your iLok is
broken, lost or stolen. At a cost of $30 per year/per
iLok, this service provides immediate replacement
of a missing iLok—which could save your arse on
a show night.
ast month
we talked
about a lot of
things in our
rapidly changing
world of digital
audio, one of which
was copy protection of audio software.
Copy protection has
long been a problem for
companies that manufacture all sorts of software. Several years ago I had a conversation
with a rep at an AES who told me that
his company’s program had approximately
1,000 registered purchases but an estimated
30 times as many users with illegitimate copies
of their program. That’s a lot of lost revenue due
to cracked code, and it’s totally unfair to folks who
are trying to stay afloat developing software. If
you really like using a program, and you’d like
to see its continued support, ante up just as you
would for a piece of hardware. Now I’ll get off my
software-soapbox and get on with it.
In last month’s Bleeding Edge, I gave you a
super-quick rundown of a device known as an
iLok. Let’s take a look at the iLok in a bit more detail, because anyone who plans to own a Digidesign VENUE will need to know about this, as will
any of you working in the studio using recording
WAVES. The iLok looks a
lot like one of those small,
solid-state USB “thumb drives” that
plug directly into an open slot in your computer.
It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, but not so
small that you’re likely to lose it (I keep mine tethered to a baseball bat).
You can purchase an iLok for around $40 at, as well as from audio software manufacturers and computer suppliers. Either way it’s
200.0611.31.BLEEED.indd 31
Steve La Cerra is the Tour Manager and Front of
House engineer for Blue Oyster Cult. He can be
reached via email at
Answering Stupid
Let the FOH FAQ T-Shirt
do the answering for you.
You may have already heard
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the answers to the Top 10 stupid
questions audience members ask.
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You may have already heard about these shirts designed by
mixer-extraodinaire James Geddes that feature the answers to the
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beauties and all of the net proceeds will benefit the music and arts p
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Attn: FOH T-Shirt
6000 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 14-J
Las Vegas, NV 89119
November 2006
11/2/06 6:39:04 PM
Theory & Practice
Mind Games
Mind Games
Mind Games
n previous Theory and Practice installments,
I have gone over many lists of things to do
while setting up for the show, but it’s a whole
new game once the show starts. From the sound
check, you should have your performance mix
roughed in, or at least your usual fader starting
locations for vocals and the various instrument
inputs. And once the performance is started, all
your senses are required. This means a lot more
than the standard “no alcohol consumption”
bromide. (Repeat after me class: “It robs you of
your high-frequency hearing temporarily.”) “All
senses required” means a mind emptied of all
non-performance issues as the show starts. See
the board, be the board. Or, if you prefer, get
your Jedi on.
Jedi-like, I find that my intuitions are nearly
always correct. If something
“sounds odd”, it is very likely
something to seek out and
rectify soon. It could be
a muted input, a mis-set
channel gain control, a
mis-assigned channel to
subgroup, a pre-fader-listen (PFL) toggled on something that should have been
left out or a host of things
that experience helps locate. The bottom line is to
identify the oddity and correct it as quickly
as possible. In some cases, it may require
others’ assistance, or it may have to be left
as-is until the next set break. Good hearing
is a must, and visual confirmation of nor-
malcy on the console and outboard racks is
very important.
Settle Down, Son
At show start, also understand that you
cannot busy yourself in nailing the mix over the
first song or two. Your first priority, after leveling
up the mix, is to look for and hit the show cues.
This may be foreign to many “house techs,” but
the band’s sound engineers, and especially the
band’s light console operators (lampys), are
looking for natural breaks in the music where
solos are performed, or a change in the song’s
attitude is done. I mix regularly with rock cover
bands, and it makes taking cues fun, as I know
the song cues well and usually know what the
band is going to do the next moment.
can kick up the performance dynamics onstage
and make it sound good. Most semi-pro bands
can sound downright monotonous and lacking
in performance dynamics without punching up
the solos. I look at the task the way a studio producer finds ways to bring excitement to a track.
The other cues are effects set to the song or
part of a song. When mixing by the seat of my
pants, I set two reverb returns for “medium hall”
and “vocal plate.” Mostly, I will note how a song
starts, and if it is up-tempo, the vocal plate ‘verb
is eased in. Generally, I will have it ready just as
the vocal starts. Then all I need to do is add ‘verb
to taste, with the room acoustics taken into account. For soft ballads, that medium hall enlarges
the tune and works well with drawn out lyrics. The
mental criteria is to make sure the lyrics are
plainly understood, unless
the original artist intentionally
buried the lyrics in effects or
instruments on
their recording
(e.g. The Hollies’ “Long Cool
Woman in a
Black Dress”).
One of my
favorite effects cues is tagging delay repeats
at the end of vocal phrases, as required. A great
example of this is Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down
A Dream,” in which some verse phrases get a
couple of 500 millisecond slap repeats — this
It really pains me to see house engineers
reading novels at FOH while a band is
performing, or taking a meal break
mid-performance, or just doing a
set -and-forget mix on a band.
Audio cues are typically bumps in instrument levels or effects as the talent takes a solo.
Some sound persons may take offense that I am
“doctoring up” the show by accentuating solos,
but I know from experience that few musicians
By MarkAmundson
is skill in mixing, with the fader pumped on the
last word or two and then brought back out.
What I am saying is that mixing should include attention to cues, and it is a contact sport
in league with the band. When done exceptionally well, sad ballads should put tears on the
audience’s cheeks and revved-up songs should
get the audience shouting and pumping their
fists in the air by the song’s ending. It really
pains me to see house engineers reading novels at FOH while a band is performing, or taking
a meal break mid-performance, or just doing a
“set and forget” mix on a band.
Background Thoughts
And with the tasks of sensing oddities and
hitting the cues, you also need to continuously
re-evaluate the state of the mix in the background. You should periodically ask yourself
questions like, “Does the bass guitar sound
right? Are the vocals balanced and on top of the
mix? Is the timbre of the electric guitars correct,
or does it need a touch of equalization?”
Mentally, you should go down the channel
strips and ask yourself, “Are these settings the
best for this situation right now?” And the same
has to be considered on the outboard processing as well. For example, the lightly-used compression on an instrument at the beginning of
the show may now be hitting hard and bopping
into the limiters on every note. It may not have
been your problem on mix setup, but now you
have to either back off on the channel strip gain
or re-adjust the compressor threshold.
If you are doing small shows with yourself
as the key audio person, also keep a wandering
eye on what the drive and amp racks are doing.
On small shows where I am tied up at FOH, I
point the amp racks back at me so I can periodically see the LED metering on the power amplifiers, speaker processors and power conditioning gear. Usually, a short glance at the familiar
dancing LEDs tells me all I need to know about
how hard the system is being pushed, and how
stable the house power is. Often, I pick up on
things like bad receptacles, slightly shorted
speaker cables and how close to circuit overload I am running.
Summing Up
Ad info:
The broad point I want to make is that
mixing is not something you can do with a
beer in one hand, chatting with your buddies. Good shows are more than just good
talent onstage, and your constant attention
at monitor beach or FOH is needed to make
the music performance worth the attendance
to the patrons. Personally, I prefer not to be
bothered while the show is in progress, and
there better be a good reason for someone
to distract me while at the console. And if
you are a visiting soundperson behind the
working sound person, keep quiet until
asked. And if you’re even smarter, you’ll keep
your ego in check.
E-mail Mark at
200.0611.32.TP.indd 32
November 2006
11/3/06 1:14:16 PM
The Biz
Considers The Options
e’ve been on a roll lately in discussing how digital technology is
changing the business models for
the live sound industry. Few aspects of music
have escaped unscathed, and live recordings
are no exception.
The onetime “ne plus ultra” of the live LP,
Frampton Comes Alive, has transitioned from
milestone to artifact. In the RIAA’s list of alltime top-100 albums, only one, Garth Brooks’
Double Live, made the top ten, one of the few
on the entire list. Steady declines in the number of conventional (I’m using that word for
live performance. Live At Leeds was so real you
could smell the pot. But now a live recording
has to compete with extremely polished recorded performances. A concert isn’t a single;
no one puts on a live concert CD to hear one
song. The listener has to make an emotional
investment in listening to the record.”
Richard “Vance” Van Horn, president of
Sheffield Remote, in Baltimore, says the trend
is pulling the remote recording business
in opposite directions, with events seeking
smaller audio trucks to do the recordings at
lower cost and to make way for ever-larger
“Live At Leeds was so real you could
smell the pot. But now a live recording
has to compete with extremely polished
recorded performances.”-Peter Yianilos
video trucks, while at the same time the reaction strategy is to create more sophisticated trucks that can do what a Pro Tools rig
plugged into a digital FOH console can’t. “We
did the New Orleans Jazz Festival this year,
and everyone there — Dave Matthews, Bruce
Springsteen — had their own recording systems with them,” he says. “Also, a lot of the ra- 33
The future of remote recording likely matches the paradigm of all else digital.“Faster, smaller,
cheaper,” says Karen Brinton, owner of Remote
Recording, which this year launched Polar Express, a more petite cruiser fitted with Pro Tools
and other digital gear, to complement the company’s more conventional, tape-equipped Silver
Truck.“It’s about downsizing,” Brinton adds.“The
space available for audio trucks is diminishing
at the same time that they’re not making live
CDs anymore. It’s a matter of fitting into the way
things are going.”
There’s still call for larger vehicles for concert work, Brinton says, citing the “Heart of Gold”
recording Remote Recording did for Neil Young
this year in Nashville.“But the strategy is smaller
and maybe more of it — adding more smaller
trucks to cover a wider geographical range,”
she says.
Doing more with less is what digital enables.
Changing the workflow and the culture of the
business isn’t as easily accomplished. Look for
smaller trucks, more of them — both from the
veterans and new start-ups — and look for them
all to pursue more broadcast live music and more
integration with streaming from the new heavyweights in the concert business, Live Nation and
Network Live, which are taking the concert business to the Internet. Look for fewer people doing
more — with less.
E-mail Dan at
Ad info:http://
a reason) live recordings were countered to a
degree by the explosive growth of music on
DVD; from 2000 to 2004 the category grew by
double and even triple digits annually. However, 2005 was a watershed year that saw the
sector cool off and decline by 4%.
What happened was a convergence of
technology, economics and culture. Touring
artists began to travel with hard drive recording systems, literally recording each and
every show of a tour without having to lug
boxes of tape around. The lower costs of production for live albums compared to studio
recordings, which was the lure of live album
projects to record labels, were more than
offset by the costs of producing concerts for
DVD, costs that often far exceeded anything
they spent for audio-only recordings. And
the music consumer began to shift towards
a download paradigm —those hundreds of
songs recorded to Pro Tools every night of
the tour were no longer being aggregated
for retail products, but rather were becoming
commoditized one-offs used for promotions
on Web sites to boost record and concert
ticket sales.
No one has noticed this shift more
than the remote recording vendors — live
sound’s truckers. Like mastering engineers,
they were insulated from the effects of the
shift by the complexity of their specialty. But
that’s changed.
“It’s in flux right now,” says Peter Yianilos,
owner of Artisan Recording, a remote truck
based in Ft. Lauderdale. “People are willing to
pay $180 for a ticket to a concert but aren’t
willing to buy a recording of it on CD.” Yianilos suggests further that the culture shift towards downloads is changing the dynamic.
“Bands are striving to make live shows flawless, as opposed to capturing the spirit of a
dio networks that used to do live shows, like
the King Biscuit Flower Hour and Album Radio
Network, are gone.” Sheffield is also promoting itself as a location mixing service to offset
fewer live recordings. The company recently
mixed the Pixies’ new LP with the truck.
Yianilos says the trend is also distancing remote companies from FOH mixers,
with whom they have long had symbiotic
technical and economic relationships. “We
used to talk with the FOH mixer to establish
the technical requirements of a project, and
once they were satisfied that those could be
met, he would hand us off to the band’s business managers,” he says. “That relationship is
eroding now.”
Kooster McAllister, owner of Record Plant
Remote, says “The input arrangements are
no longer automatically matching up, thanks
to digital consoles being used on festivals,”
he explains. “There’s a lot more Yamaha DM
2000 mixers in trucks to keep up with the
proliferation of PM1D FOH consoles. Each
entity has its own best way of setting up the
inputs to switch between bands quickly. It’s
more complicated.”
Another indicator of the future is the acquisition, last year, of leading remote recording company Effanel Music by XM Satellite
Radio. Ironically, XM president and CEO Hugh
Panero said it was the increased value of live
music content that drove the move.
By DanDaley
November 2006
11/2/06 6:40:53 PM
In The Trenches
Eric Popp
FOH Tech
Axxis Inc.
Louisville, KY
Services Provided:
Audio, video and lighting for a four-cameraplus-jib shoot. Week-long National Assembly
for Church of God of Prophecy at the Gaylord
Center in Nashville.
Recent: Body Shop at Home, U.S. Army, Brown
Forman, Paula White Ministries, Judy Jacobs
Ministries. Current: Kentucky State Fair concerts, Life Fest in Michigan. Upcoming: WalMart National Conference, International Bluegrass Music Association, both in Nashville.
“Only the paranoid survive.”
Personal Info:
I love to challenge myself. In our industry you
meet a new challenge every time you go to
work. Working with a crew of good, smart
people to make a show happen is why I do
what I do. All of us techs meet unique and
rewarding situations on a daily basis, and I’m
just happy to be a part of it.
Destroying corporate America, then finding a
new gig when there’s no more work.
Late in the festival season had to pull out the
B-stock (Axxis owns two DiGiCo D5s, Yamaha
PM4000, 48 V-DOSC, 24 Design Acoustics
SB218s, 8 ARCS, all at the Kentucky state fair).
For this show we had eight on each side: EAW
KF760s flown, EAW KF850s wide fill flown,
EAW KF940s doing the sub, EAW KF300 and
JF80s doing front fill duty. EAW MX8750 processors, Crown CT3000’s powering it all. Supplied by Brantley Sound in Nashville. Soundcraft K2 out front doing vocals, wireless and
video rolls, a 32 channel Soundcraft handling
the band and a Soundcraft Delta 9-channel
taking care of all the translation feeds, 16 dbx
comps, a couple of Yamaha SPX 990s, 5 TC
Electronic 1128 Graphic EQs, 2 Klark Teknik
parametrics and a Denon CD playback.
Ramsa 840 at monitors, Clair Brothers modified Carver Pro amps pushing our proprietary
wedges. 12 pack Shure wireless HH/Lav combos and the standard band mic package.
Don’t Leave Home Without:
Extra everything!
Scott Briese
Senior Project Manager
Clearwing Productions, Inc.
Milwaukee, WI
Services Provided:
Sound, lighting, staging, backline
and trucking.
Office Max, Miller Brewing, Sony,
Best Buy, Target, Steve Miller Band.
“It will always be that way, unless
it’s different.”
Yamaha, Midas, V-DOSC, XTA, Lab.Gruppen, Lexicon, and all the usual suspects.
Personal Info:
I started out as a lot of people do, as a
musician, and I then found out that I
was the only guy in the band who cared
about sound. This eventually put me behind the console and also behind the
wheel of a new and exciting career. It’s
still exciting, but definitely not new anymore. Even though I have taken a break
or two I still come back to this crazy biz.
Why you ask? Because I LOVE IT!
Don’t Leave Home Without:
The truck — and lots of Sharpies, because I leave them laying around everywhere.
Golfing, cooking, boating and woodworking
If you’d like to see yourself featured
in “In the Trenches,” visit www. to submit
your information to FOH, or e-mail for more
Left to Right: Jonah Reed-A2/Stage Manager, Glenn Carter-MON,
Alyssa Manning-Production Manager, Eric Popp-FOH
Welcome To My Nightmare
November 2006
200.0611.34.NIGHT.indd 34
We were playing a street dance, and they
told us there was a generator for us to use.
When we got there we found that the generator’s distro panel was 150 feet from the stage,
and the generator was in an alley behind a
fence and 12 feet below the street level. Oh,
and the generator was being shared by us
and all the street vendors. (Uh-oh.)
We got everything plugged in and
checked the power meters on the FOH
rack, and discovered that the generator was
cranked up to 130 volts, so my guy had to
walk around two buildings to get to the generator to turn its output down to a reasonable
level. We continued with our setup and got
ready to start sound check, when the GFI on
the distro panel popped.
After checking several configurations on
the distro, we finally got a stable one, and got
through the sound check. In the middle of the
first set, though, I lost the mids, so I sprinted
up to the stage to check the amps, which I
thought had gone into protect mode, only
to find out that the mid amps were actually
dead. So I sprinted back to the distro to find
that one of our breakers had popped. Mind
you, as I was running around, the band was
still playing (we were recording the show),
and the crowd was doing its best to stay out
of my way so I could do what I needed to do.
Anyway, I reset the breaker and sprinted back
to the FOH (being cheered by the crowd because I had fixed the sound problem), hoping that things would be ok. And they were
— until the third set when it popped again,
and again, and again. . . (Wait for it) . . .
And again. Finally, at this point, one of the
organizers came up to me and told me that
a beer truck had been sharing the same circuit as the amps, and that was popping the
breaker. He had just moved the beer truck to
another outlet, and we went the rest of the
show without another power problem, which
amounted to eight more songs.
Phil “Swordfish” Clark
Gigs from Hell. We’ve all had ‘em and the
good folks at FOH want to hear about
yours. Write it up and send it to us and we’ll
illustrate the most worthy. Send your
nightmares to or
fax them to 818.654.2485
11/2/06 6:41:27 PM
Sound Sanctuary
Spending God’s Money
By JamieRio
am certainly not attempting to be blasphemous with the title of this piece. If
anything, I just want to add a little levity
to the very serious task of getting a realistic
budget when delving into a house of worship sound project. If you read my last piece
(and I hope you have), I described my modus
operandi for approaching worship sound. I’ll
give you the Reader’s Digest version.
sound madman. It’s just that great gear
costs money, and installing that great gear
can be expensive.
And that is the reason I present bid
number two. In this proposal I will usually
offer a less expensive mixer or cabinets, and
maybe fewer mics and less outboard gear.
If I could ballpark it for you, I try to present
the second system at 25% to 30% less than
time you are perfecting your methods for
proposing and closing a house of worship
deal, you need to work on developing your
relationships with various speaker and audio equipment manufacturers. I realize that
this subject is very deep, and could be the
subject of months of articles, but you’ve got
to start somewhere. If you can get wholesale dealer prices, then you can add those
retail mark-ups to your
labor and technical fees.
It’s obvious that, if you
are going to recommend
and sell a certain manufacturer’s goods, you
want some cash as their
sales person. Any one of
us can become a dealer if
we are willing to put out
the cash and jump through enough hoops.
I personally work with three companies.
I chose these companies because they make
great sound gear, and I get a great price on
their gear. You will inevitably recommend
the same gear over and over again, so this
is a great time to contact the companies
that you already prefer. If you have difficulty becoming a dealer or getting those rock
bottom dealer prices, go online. This would
be the second-best way to get exceptional
prices on the gear you want. I know I am just
touching on this subject, but the fact of the
matter is that you can make more money
on the gear than on your fee for installing
it. Another aspect of becoming a dealer for
a particular company is that you can ultimately learn to maintain the gear that you
install. This ability opens up the possibility for a maintenance relationship with the
houses of worship you
have put the system in, not to
mention maintenance contracts and keeping the door open for any future upgrades.
This is obviously another subject for another day.
The first thing is getting that install contract. So, go get it!
E-mail Jamie at
“It is a fact that many churches believe that the money
they collect from their members is God’s money. Keep this
in the back of your mind when you are making your pitch.”
the first. The labor is the same; I am just cutting costs with the gear. I prepare bid three
at another 15% to 20% discount, but generally that bid only serves as a closer for bid
number two. It is simply human nature to
not want to be at the bottom, even if they
can’t afford to be at the top. Oh, by the way,
I bid out some of my live sound shows in
much the same way. When I am putting together a proposal for a show, I will offer my
services for one particular price. If the client
is knocked out by cost or wishes to haggle,
I will offer system B and C for the event. I
don’t mean to digress away from my church
writings, but clients of this sort usually buy
the B (middle) system for the same abovementioned reason.
There is one other tool I use for closing an install deal, and that is inviting the
client (pastor or staff member) to a nearby
church that I have already worked on. I am
mentioning this technique last because not
all of you have a roster of clients that you
can show off. Although, as
soon as
you get
o n e
y o u r
belt, you
that as leverage for your
next one.
At the
Ad info:http://
First, I talk with the musical director and
the pastor, priest, rabbi, etc. Then I go to a
service and listen. Next, I get into the sanctuary and crank up the existing system.
After that, I simply offer my recommendations. Let me make a quick point here. I belong to a church and believe in a God. It is
a fact that many churches believe that the
money they collect from their members is
God’s money. Keep this in the back of your
mind when you are making your pitch.
It’s also a good idea to visit some of your
local houses of worship just to listen to
the systems.
Now that you are going to make a proposal, this is the point where all your diplomacy, salesmanship and communication
skills really kick in. By now, you should know
the needs and desires of the pastor, musical
director and general staff with regards to
the new system. Some churches only want
to reach their congregation at the Sunday
services. Others put on plays and musicals
for the local community. And some of the
houses of worship in my town (Los Angeles)
have regular TV and radio broadcasts. If you
don’t know what the goals and needs are,
you’d better find out. Very often, the senior
pastor may have a different vision than the
musical director. Just make sure you are in
communication with all the decision makers and check writers at all times. Whatever
the religious organization you are working
with, there is always a hierarchy of command. You may only have to deal with one
person, but don’t count on it.
Unless otherwise instructed, I put together three bids for any church system or
upgrade that I intend to install. The first bid
represents the dream system for the particular house of worship. This bid encompasses my recommendations for the best
possible sound and equipment I can put
into the room. There are times when this
is the proposal that is immediately accepted. An example of this would be
a system going into the “money is no
object” or “anything for God” church.
If you are lucky enough to land that
type of gig, amen to ya. However, it
has been my personal experience
that my dream system proposal usually carries a pretty big sticker shock with
it. It’s not that I am some kind of insane
200.0611.35.SoundSanc.indd 35
November 2006
11/2/06 6:41:56 PM
The Anklebiters
h rig is
right f
By Brian
Dear Anklebiters,
I run a small sound company out of my
garage, and I can no longer fit all of my
equipment in my trusty work van. Lately I
have been renting a small box truck from
a local homeowner truck rental store. This
really gets expensive and digs into my
profits for each show. Worse yet, renting a
truck for each show has become a huge inconvenience. What do you suggest?
Jay Hook,
White Oak, KY
Brian: Well, Jay, I went through almost
the exact same dilemma a few years ago.
The worst part was that the U-Rent-It company wouldn’t let me rent a truck locally for
more than one day. Consequently, when I had
shows on two consecutive days, I would have
to rent and return the truck twice. What a hassle! At the same time, a colleague of mine was
dealing with the same problem himself. Each
of us solved the problem a different way, both
with distinct advantages. He traded in his car
for a used, but comfortable, conversion van,
and ordered a custom trailer to tow behind
it. I bought a 24-foot box truck, and kept my
car as a daily driver. The sidebar on this page
breaks down how I see the benefits and drawbacks of each.
From my perspective, the freight truck was
the way to go. The additional cargo capacity
and the ability to pack the vehicle more efficiently made the larger investment worthwhile to me. Paul, I believe you own a pickup
and a trailer. What prompted your decision to
go that route?
Paul: I chose a trailer because I never
thought that I would fill it. It was huge to me,
and all of my gear at that time fit nicely in it.
Now, 10 years later, I have to rent a box truck
to haul my gear for the shows. I have to stack
everything, and sometimes I even have to
tow my trailer just to get everything to the
gig. I have considered purchasing a truck,
but the high upkeep and licensing costs
have kept me renting. I usually rent a twoyear-old (or newer) truck from my dealer. I
pay a flat fee for insurance, and I don’t have
to park the truck in the middle of the city
when I am finished with it. I can get the truck
for around $100 a day, including insurance
and fuel. I need the truck, but a friend/erstwhile partner has two 24-foot trailers and a
Dodge dually. He also has a truck, but most
of the time he uses the trailers. He very seldom loads into venues that have truck docks.
When he does, they have a forklift that gets
the equipment from the pavement to the
dock. He also loads and unloads his gear by
himself into the trailers.
I guess that it depends on where most
of your shows are and how much help you
have to load and unload. I can’t load a truck
November 2006
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ssell &
by myself, and it is difficult for me
to load and stack in a trailer. Brian,
how do you load your truck?
Brian: Frequently, I do all of the show prep
and initial truck loading by myself. For shows
of any size larger than speaker-on-a-stick
gigs, I have some help scheduled to be at the
show to assist with truck dump, load-in, etc.
on through the load out and reloading of the
truck. Fortunately, my truck is equipped with
a ramp, and all of my equipment is in road
cases with wheels. Some items are a little on
the heavy side, so I have begun to leave the
one really heavy case strapped into the truck
when I unload the remainder of my equipment at my shop. In my situation, this is a case
that holds about 30 microphone stands.
I’ve also somehow grown to fill this truck
in about three and a half years. Like you said
about your trailer, it used to look like tons of
space, but I have filled it on more than one
occasion recently. This past weekend, while
I could have physically put more stuff inside
the box, I was at the weight limit of the truck.
Exceeding this limit is not only illegal, but is
also very dangerous. Unfortunately I don’t
have either a CDL license to rent a larger truck
when I need it, or someone who is qualified
to drive another non-CDL box truck if I was to
rent a second truck for a show. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting my CDL license
and replacing my current truck with a basic
truck tractor and a pup trailer. This way I could
simply rent a 48- or 53-foot trailer when I
needed more space. Not to mention I would
have trouble exceeding the 80,000 pound
limit of a tractor trailer. But hey, all this takes
is money, right?
Paul: I also have filled my rental truck
from top to bottom and front to back. I also
towed a generator on one show for 700 miles
and back. The rental truck usually got down to
25 MPH on the mountains and about 55 MPH
on the flats. It was a long, slow trip! I did have
a CDL Class A for a while, but I let it go because I didn’t want to drive trucks all the time.
I don’t know about you, but a 53-footer filled
with gear is not what I would routinely call an
Anklebiter. I have a show coming up that will
require a rental truck, two trailers and another
vehicle to tow a generator. I have gone in with
others just to do the show. I use Budget Truck
Rental, and they have corporate and local accounts. I am able to get a truck for as long as
I need one. I rent trucks that have lift gates as
well as ramps. This is very convenient for me
because I can walk to the truck rental place
and pick up the truck. I did rent from a place
further away, but with the price differential it
was better for me to rent closer. I also negotiated with the closer place for the lower price,
so it has worked out well for me. Brian, what
would you like to offer?
Brian: I’ve had good experiences with
both Enterprise truck rental and Penske
truck rental. Both of these companies have
dedicated commercial truck fleets, which are
only rented to business owners. In addition
to having amenities like a lift gate, they also
have E-track inside the cargo box so that I
can use all of the standard ratchet straps and
load bars just like I do in my own truck. Some
even have air ride suspensions and seats,
along with air brakes.
There are some things to be aware of
when renting a commercial truck. Always
be conscious of the height, width and gross
weight of the vehicle. Many roads, bridges
and tunnels have restrictions regarding the
size of trucks. One of the tunnels that cross
the harbor here in Baltimore doesn’t allow
trucks any wider than 96 inches, and many
of Penske’s trucks are 102. Most of these
trucks are also registered at 26,000 pounds
GVW, but some are higher, so you have to
be careful not to drive something beyond
the limitations of your driver’s license. And
for goodness sake, don’t try to drive a 13foot, six-inch truck under a 12-foot, nineinch overpass. The truck tends to look like
an opened sardine can afterwards.
Paul: I have seen the results of the sardine
can effect on a truck, and it is not pretty. One
of the best things that I get when I rent a truck
is the full insurance coverage. I watched a guy
bring in a truck that he had covered with his
credit card insurance coverage. A rock hit the
windshield and cracked it. That windshield replacement cost him $900. I pay around $20 for
full insurance coverage on the truck. The other
nice thing about a rental is that you always
drive a newer truck. I have had mechanical
problems with a truck, and the rental company
brought me out a different truck to use. I still
had to unload and load them, but I got to the
gig. The kind of weight that I put in a truck will
not work in many dual axle trailers pulled by a
/4 ton pickup. If you haul a 26,000-pound load,
then you need a heavy-duty truck and a heavyduty trailer. The choice is yours as to trucks or
trailers, but be careful and don’t hurt yourself
or anyone else. I never thought that I would
ever need to rent a truck, and now I have had
several gigs where I needed two trucks and
several trailers. My, how things change!
Brian: It’s the growing pains of having a
small business. And it’s healthy. Not always
easy, but it’s a good sign of growth.
Van and Trailer
Able to unhitch and have a vehicle to run errands while on the work site.
Low loading height means an easy push up the fold down ramp/door.
Can comfortably carry the whole band along in the van, a possible
revenue stream if you have a client
who wants to do their own small tour.
Lower insurance and operatingcosts.
Don’t have to bother with weigh
stations if vehicle is under 10,000 lbs GVW.
Low loading height becomes a
nuisance when you work at a venue
with a truck dock.
Limited capacity for hauling large quantities of equipment.
Non-standard size means that truck
pack road cases don’t fit nicely into the trailer.
Some trailers have wheel wells that stick up into the inside of the trailer.
Your friends want you to help them move on Saturday.
Cargo Truck
Larger capacity allows transporttion
of larger volume and/or mass of
Higher height allows gear to be loaded into truck docks with ease.
Dedicated vehicle eliminates wear and tear on a personal vehicle.
Trucks equipped with lift gates and stow-able ramps make loading to the ground easy.
Can still tow a generator or other trailer behind the truck if necessary.
Standard size (96- and 102-inch out
side dimensions) trucks allow fast and easy loading of standard truck-pack road cases.
Most box trucks (anything over 10,000 lbs GVW) must comply with USDOT regulations for commercial vehicles.
Higher cost of operation.
Limited passenger/crew space in cab.
Higher initial investment.
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continued from page 27
So what about quality?
Are manufacturers improving quality on powered speakers?
Overall, yes. Failures do not happen frequently, but they do happen—most often at
the most inopportune times. To that point,
quality is always a concern. We noticed that
customers never ask which manufacturer
makes the amp inside the powered speaker.
The burning question is never the brand
name, more so how many watts to ensure
there is enough for the rig.
Buying requirements for speakers are the
same no matter whether they are active or
passive. Coverage, frequency range (speech or
music) and loudness (at given distances) are
important to consider, as are any problems in
the coverage area. Customers often confuse
a speaker’s wattage handling capability with
the sound pressure level (also known as dB or
the sensitivity rating) versus watts. We always
steer them to the spec sheets on our web site
to look at the sensitivity and other characteristics of the box.
I’m sure you get a lot
of customer calls about
microphones. How do
you help people figure
out what they need for
their application?
There is one product that has been the
king of handhelds for a few reasons: it’s not
too expensive and it’s a reliable workhorse.
It also scores well with handling and tonal
quality. We suggest customers not only
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consider the performance of a microphone
but also who and how it will be used. For
instance, if a handheld vocal microphone
is going to be passed around frequently,
we would suggest considering a dynamic
over a condenser, as condensers typically
are more sensitive to the shock of getting
dropped and also moisture.
A recent favorite of ours has a new product that has put a new twist on an old concept. Its one-piece construction and micro
design inspired the microphone classification of “earset,” which is somewhere between a headset and a lavaliere. It keeps a
very small lavaliere element held close to
the mouth for better performance and better gain before feedback.
Whether using a handheld or a wireless,
customers need to understand the difference between moisture-resistant and waterproof. Some microphones have an anti-
sweat ring so that the moisture drips off of
the ring and doesn’t go into the mic element
but are not truly waterproof. The distinction
is important since there is always moisture
whether from sweat or saliva.
Any final thoughts on
buying gear?
Whether shopping for audio or a new car
or a sweater, people will want the most features and best value for the money. Trade
shows, magazine ads and new product reviews are good sources of information, but
the best way to form your own opinion is
to get out there and listen. Visit churches,
theatres or any venue with live sound, and
talk to the guys and gals who use this stuff
everyday. They can give invaluable insight
into what works, doesn’t work and what truly stinks despite what the glossy brochure
may tell you.
for continued
200.0611.39.INDEX.indd 39
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11/2/06 6:43:57 PM
e live in a media saturated environment, where we are constantly receiving and processing excessive
amounts of information, which we then file
and store away in the recesses of our overworked and over-stimulated brains. Often
we disseminate this information as verified
knowledge, with, more often than not, only
a partial understanding of whatever the
subject might be. All of us lead busy lives,
and there are only so many hours in the day
that can be devoted to following up on all
the information we receive in that given
time. Between work, family and whatever
civic duties one might have it becomes increasingly difficult to find the time for more
than the headline news, and even if we find
the time to actually read a paper we, more
often than not, skim the headlines and give
a quick read to the article before moving on
to the next headline. With all the information that we are required to process, it’s not
surprising that we take what we need from
any given article or sound bite and then
spew it back out with the authority of an
expert. It is also not uncommon for us to be
a bit cynical about some of this information
we receive due to the fact that it is often
Listen to the news and one day there
will be a story regarding the curative effects
of coffee, and the next day there will be a
piece decrying all caffeine related products
as evil spawns of the devil and agents of
incurable disease. We live with great paradox, as we are told that because smoking
tobacco is deadly it needs to be banned
from restaurants and other indoor spaces,
yet it is still legally sold to anyone with
proof of age. Obesity has become a national
health problem, and we are informed that
it is all the fault of trans fats. The next day
everyone is speaking about trans fats as if
they are experts.
We form our opinions based upon information we read in the gossip columns or
magazines, and it’s often difficult to separate
journalism from editorializing, as many
headlines already give a slanted opinion before you can even get to the article. Journalism, in theory, is supposed to be non-biased
reporting which delivers a factual account of
an event — “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Journalists
report and you decide, but whom can one
believe? On one side the conservatives say
it’s the liberal press who is slanting the news,
and on the other side it is all just government
propaganda. Every company and institution
has an agenda to sell a product or an idea,
and often the agenda is to sell a product with
an idea. Real news should not have a slant,
and if it does then it belongs on the op-ed
page, as real news has no agenda.
The question is: How do we distinguish
between real news and disingenuous reporting? What is the difference between
real news and an infomercial? It may be
easy to discern that a celebrity speaking on
November 2006
200.0611.40.FOH-at-large.indd 40
By BakerLee
behalf of some workout machine is a paid
commercial, but how do we know that the
candid picture taken of them with a soft
drink in their hand is not just more product
to a free society — and a press owned by a
huge corporation is one that can be easily
corrupted and manipulated.
Last month Bill Evans wrote a brave piece
“How’s it sound now?”
–Chet Atkins
placement? We live in a country that has
five major entertainment networks, each
of which control small empires of television, film periodicals, book publishing and
Internet sites, not to mention parks, resorts,
music and radio. The big five are (not neces-
regarding the difficulty he encounters keeping FOH free from infomercial reporting. I say
brave because advertising is the lifeblood of
any magazine, and an editor certainly does
not want to alienate any of his advertisers,
but at the same time there is a responsibil-
marketing department to find a market and
create a demand for their product, and it is
advertising that is the main ingredient in
this equation — and, while the advertising
is the mainstay of the magazine, it is also the
readers and buyers who are the mainstay
of the advertisers. Therefore, it is important
to maintain the integrity of the magazine
for the sake of the advertisers as well as the
readers and buyers.
Even as great equipment is imperative
to live sound, and commerce is vital to the
American way, the truth is that the most
important part of a live mix is the operator
of said equipment. We can all be duped by
misinformation and a hard sell, but despite
all the bells and whistles and glossy sell, the
final say regarding a piece of gear comes
from us—the engineers. We are the ones out
on the front line making the final decisions
regarding the ergonomics of every piece we
use, therefore we should expect that the information we receive about the equipment
be unbiased and unclouded by special interests — after all, we are the ones who can
make or break a piece of equipment no matter how it is sold.
I was in the studio the other day and
the producer told a story about Chet
Atkins. He said that Chet was in the studio playing a new guitar and everybody was gushing about how great the
guitar sounded. After listening to the
other musicians and engineers praise
the beauty of the guitar and its wonderful sound Chet put the guitar in its
stand, walked away and said to everyone,
“How’s it sound now?”
E-mail Baker at
sarily in order of appearance): Disney, Time
Warner, Viacom, News Corporation and
General Electric. Now, for example, let’s say
that there is a negative report regarding
one of GE’s companies. NBC is a branch of
GE, which has news stations nationwide, so
let’s also assume that if the report in question is not in best interest of NBC that there
might be an executive order killing the
piece by labeling it as non-news worthy.
Conversely, if there is product that GE is selling then it could easily end up on the news
not as an advertisement, but rather as some
newsworthy item. It becomes dangerous in
regard to our rights when there are only a
few major corporations controlling most of
the news outlets, as a free press is crucial
ity to the reader to present real and, hopefully, useful information without an agenda.
That said, let’s bear in mind that marketing
and name-brand recognition, in an oversaturated market, is crucial to the survival of
any given product, and often the quality of a
product is not as important as the perceived
quality of said product. The sound reinforcement industry is no different than any other.
It is a competitive market with very little
wiggle room, and for whatever reason there
are certain products that become fixtures
on the scene and others that will always
stay on the periphery. As I said before, this
may be due more to the perceived quality
of the equipment than the actual quality
of said gear. It is the job of each company’s
Coming Next
• Production Profile
More than 20 bands in half
a dozen venues over three days. It’s not Bonaroo,
it’s Vegoose
• FOH Interview
Who is Widspread Panic
and why are they following me? Better question: What is a non-mega-star
jam band doing with one
of the best sounding
systems around?
11/2/06 6:44:56 PM
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