studio - American Radio History
MARCH 1993
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SIGNAL PROCESSING
Sigtech AEC1000, Urei LA22, DSP and Audio Restoration
The Hecord Plant
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AND BROADCAST ENGINEERING
D is for digital -see page 89
Editorial:
The desirability of noise and some of its uses -is it music?
5
Pro audio news and events including the Hit Factory's `Bluestone'
custom 96 -input SSL console and the world's first video CD
News
News Review:
The Soundcraft BVE100 console had an unusual
Genesis -Zenon Schoepe gets the inside story
14
News Review:
Customising your Panasonic DAT machine has
never been easier than with this mod from ASC
17
Product news includes details of the dbx 266 dual -channel
compressor -gate and new audio convertors from AudioDesign
Products:
The ultimate collection of drum sounds?
Zenon Schoepe meets the Masterkit CD ROM
Music News;
NAMM Report:
Record Plant:
Paul D Lehrman brings the noise from the
recent American NAMM show
Aft er a dramatic refurbishment, LA's Record Plant opens
its doors to Alan di Perna for this exclusive report
Muppets
& Di gltS:
pp
Sigtech AEC 1000:
Urei LA22
:
Simon Croft explores the role of digital
technology in AChristmas Carol
Sigtech's DSP room equalisation system
attracts the critical ear of Francis Rumsey
Following in the footsteps of Urei's classic compressor limiters, comes the LÁ22 -Tim Betteridge patches in
Down Hollywood
Way:
Y
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Audio Restoration:
Letters:
Business
Craft;
Gordon Reid and Dave Betts discuss the role
of DSP in audio programme restoration
23
25
32
47
51
60
67
71
take on multiple miking follows
Sony Classical's recording of Don Carlo
79
The power struggle inside and outside
MiniDisc troubles Barry Fox
83
A double
Perspective.
p
Nagra D:
Yasmin Hashmi and Stella Plumbridge
visit Hollywood post pro facilities
18
US columnist Martin Polon anticipates the future of
technology and the entertainment biz
Sam Wise test drives this eagerly
awaited portable digital recorder
Reducing the subjectivity in a strange studio
is Keith Spencer -Allen's objective
85
89
98
3
Photographed at The Hit Factory, New York City
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STUDIO
SOUND
AND BROAD(AS - ENGINEERING
March 1993
Volume 35 Number 3
ISSN 0144 5944
EDITORIAL
Editor. Tim Goodyer
Assistant Editor Julian Mitchell
Production Editor: Peter Stanbury
Secretary: Mary Walsh
Consultant: Sam Wise
Columnists: Barry Fox; Martin Polon;
Keith Spencer -Allen
Regular Contributors: James Betteridge;
Ben Duncan; Terry Nelson; Dave Foister;
Francis Rumsey; Yasmin Hashmi; Zenon Schoepe;
Mike Lethby; Patrick Stapley
ADVERTISEMENTS
Executive Ad Manager. Steve Grice
Deputy Ad Manager Peter Turberfield
Advertisement Production: Mark Trainer
Secretary: Lianne Davey
CIRCULATION
Circulation and Development Manager.
Colin Enderson
Controlled Circulation Manager.
Maria Udy
Director: Doug Shuard
Publisher: Steve Haysom
EDITORIAL & ADVERTISEMENT OFFICES
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© Spotlight Publications Ltd 1993.
All rights reserved.
Origination by Craftsmen Colour Reproductions
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Printed in England by Riverside Press, St Ives plc,
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Studio Sound and Broadcast Engineering
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///119991.1.
As present industry momentum carries us progressively further into `digital territory',
noise emerges as an increasingly interesting phenomenon. The perception that
professional advocates of digital systems are quick to assert the advantages of their
extremely low noise and wide dynamic range and that the majority of hi -fi consumers
have welcomed the consistent quality and convenience offered by CD is both commonly
held and largely accurate. Only the ailalogue audiophiles on both sides appear alarmed
by the growing use of digital electronics in the audio chain. But there is more noise than
tape hiss and quantisation noise.
If we choose to regard noise in a wider context we can quickly see that it assumes a
significant musical value; I recall doing a session in a demo studio following Julian
Cope's use of the same facility. Cope, in his left-field wisdom, had dedicated one track of
the multitrack master to recording the sound of a Fender guitar amp wound flat out but
without any musical signal passing through it. The track ran for the duration of the song
and, what to many ears was simply noise, became a musical element of the song
least as far as Julian Cope was concerned.
This addition of `noise' to `music' can be pursued quite widely. Audience noise, for
example, is an important element of many successful live recordings. The noise from an
imaginary audience is also a part of a good number of tracks recorded entirely in the
studio. U2's Rattle & Hum has donated its ambience to more dance records than I would
care to count. Remaining with dance records we can identify another use of noise, in this
case vinyl surface noise. Looped samples of noisy pieces of vinyl are frequently used to
lend an element of `authenticity' to tracks that are likely too see more needle time (an
unfortunate term) as CDs and cassettes. The same application of vinyl surface noise to
samples not taken off vinyl is sometimes used to create the impression of one which
has
rare groove sample, for example.
Taking the study a stage further still, mechanical and natural noises have been used
as legitimate parts of musical structure. Whole musical movements are based around
non -musical sounds, as demonstrated by John Cage, Kraftwerk and Einstürzende
Neubaten. Cage lends a further aspect to the discussion with his completely silent
composition. If no sound can constitute music, surely any sound can.
I have strayed from my opening identification of noise but, just as the issue of the
desirability of tape compression only really became an issue after options to eliminate it
had appeared, it may be that we will only really learn to appreciate the phenomenon of
noise after we have eradicated it from our recording practices. Yes, it is always attractive
to retain options on when one wants to address artifacts of recording, but I wonder if
tape compression would be the issue it has become if someone had had to design it. And
if we achieve a system of `flawless' recording, will we like it? Will the public like it? Will
it help sell records?
From the background radio noise of space to sampled vinyl snap, crackle and pop,
noise is one of nature's signatures. Wherever we have learned to eliminate it, our music
seems to demand we return it. Some of it, at least.
-at
-a
On a different note, you might have noticed that Studio Sound has been undergoing
something of a face-lift over recent months. The magazine you are now holding is still the
essential document it always was-but the time has come to blow out the cobwebs and
refine the objectives. Commanding the respect of the industry and the efforts of the best
authors in their respective fields is no excuse for retaining outmoded presentation.
Similarly, regarding the policies which have gained the magazine its prestigious position
with too great a respect can only hinder its ability to continue to best serve its
readership.
In a field which demands so much of its artists and its technology it is appropriate that
the demands placed on its periodicals are similarly high. So it is that Studio Sound will
continue to reflect this fast-moving and exciting industry.
Tim Goodyer
TJK:8,262.
A
United Neuopapers publication
5
USA & CANADA
CUTTING EDGE
A
A.R.A.S.
P.0 Box 4392
Ann Arbor
Michigan 48106
U.S.A
Tel: ( +1) 313 572 0500
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To be,
nobler in the mind to
of
A
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(
JAPAN:
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WBG Marib East
23rd Floor, 2 -6 Nakase
Mihama -Ku
267 -71, JAPAN
Tel:
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FRANCE:
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Tel: ( +33) 8777 0000
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The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of
troubles, And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleepto say we end
No more, and by a sleep
The heart -ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to
perchance to dream
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BRITISH INNOVATION
MANFACTURED IN THE
EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
Studio Audio
&
Video Ltd
The Old School, Stretham, Ely, Cambs U.K.
Tel: ( +44) 353 648888. Fax:
( +44)
353 648867
Burbank studios are digitally linked
to Magmaster's Soho studios so that
clients can use facilities on both
continents without leaving home.
Magmasters expansion plans had
been put on hold since the death of
veteran film dubber Bill Rowe, who
was instrumental in their plans to
turn the old Elstree Studios into a
recording complex. The new move
has brought in film dubber David
Old who takes on the running of
Studio 2 in Soho while partner Dave
Maiden moves to Burbank.
Old had been with broadcast and
film specialist Cine Lingual for nine
years, latterly as head of sound. He
commented on the move, `After nine
good years this is a major step for me
but the challenge at Magmasters was
too exciting to resist.'
Nimbus produce
first video CD
Nimbus Technology and
Engineering have announced what
they are calling the `world's first
fivefeature length video CD'
inch CD that promises to carry upto
two hours fifteen minutes of full
colour motion video and digital
audio that will play on ordinary
domestic CD players.
The development has been made
possible by Nimbus' own laser
mastering system together with
Californian company C- Cube's video
compression technology. The product
is mastered at double the standard
density which the Nimbus mastering
system can do routinely and then
pressed in the normal way by
Nimbus Manufacturing.
They also claim not only the first
full video CD but also the first
double density pressed product.
Nimbus' research into double
density mastering over the years has
made this breakthrough possible.
The purpose of Nimbus Technology
& Engineering is to manufacture
and market the Nimbus Halliday
Laser Mastering system. The system
is capable of the very high accuracy
needed to cut double density discs. It
is also capable of cutting quadruple
density discs, but these would
require special players for
reproduction.
Dr Halliday of Nimbus, the
inventor, has said that a prototype
for a recordable video CD should be
developed within the next 12
months, The expensive and
technically complex "real time"
compression technology means that
the recordable format will be
confined, for some time, to
professional usage.'
Nimbus Technology Tel: +44
(0)600 890682
C -Cube. Tel: +1 408 944 8106
-a
Codenamed `Bluestone', the highly customised SSL
96-input mixing console recently installed at The Hit
Factory Digital Studios in New York. Discrete Systems
Technical Director David Bell specified the console's
`in- the -round' appearance to provide the engineer `with
substantial amounts of readily accessible table top
workspace'-a keynote that Bell believes to have been
overlooked by other solutions
Typical response time is said to be
Innovative Tyrell
support
The Tyrell Corporation London,
distributors of Sonic Solutions and
Doremi products, have set -up what
they believe is the UK's first
computer controlled 24 -hour
customer support line for the audio
industry.
Customers who subscribe to the
line are given a contract PIN number
which gives them access to the Tyrell
Network via a standard touch-tone
phone. When the customer has
logged onto the support line they are
presented with a number of options
relating to the type of service they
require. The computer then checks
the database for customer details
and the relevant information is sent
to the duty support engineer's pager.
International Exhibitions
within five minutes.
Tyrell's Technical Manager James
Shannon commented, `Our paging
system is unique and represents a
breakthrough in Macintosh -based
telecommunications.'
Tyrell Corporation. Tel: +44 (0)71
287 1515. AppleLink TYRELL.
Magmasters go
to Hollywood
Soho -based audio post production
studio Magmasters have acquired
Burbank Film and Video recording in
Hollywood. The 20,000ft' Burbank
operation is the third largest in the
Los Angeles area and is the largest
supplier of sound for TV movies and
animated films for television. The
Martin Audio's
open letter
Martin Audio's Managing Director,
David Bissett- Powell, has circulated
a letter addressed simply 'to the
friends and colleagues' of David
Martin (dated the 12th of February),
in an attempt to get the facts
surrounding Martin's recent
disappearance straight.
Newspaper reports had spoken of
how a close friend of Martin's, Kate,
had tried to contact him on the
evening of the 29th of December
without success and had arrived at
the house later to find no sign of him,
lights on in the house, no locks
secured and no alarm set. The police
were called the next morning and
they found blood in the barn where
Martin kept his classic car collection.
The letter concludes:
'As we write this letter the police
are changing their attitude towards
the enquiry and they now consider it
more probable that David has been
murdered. All we can therefore do is
ask his friends and colleagues to
hope and pray for David and that one
way or another, he can be found'.
NAB '93. Las Vegas, USA.
AES, 94th Convention. ICC, Berlin, Germany. March 16th-19th
Featuring Multimedia World. 19th-22nd April. MIDI Music show. Wembley Conference Centre, London, UK. April 23rd -25th. SPARS 1993
Digital Audio Workstation Conference. Hudson Theatre, New York, May 15th -16th. SATIS. Parc des Expositions, Paris. Featuring an audio section.
ITS. Montreux, Switzerland. June llth -15th. Multimedia '93.
May 25th-28th Test and Measurement, AES Portland, Oregon, May 29th -31st.
Earls Court 2, London. June 15th -17th. NAMM. Chicago, USA. June 18th-20th. APRS. Olympia 2, London. June 23rd-25th. Pro Audio & Light
PLASA. Earls Court 2, London. Sept
'93. New World Trade Centre, Singapore. July 7th -9th. British Music Fair. Olympia 2, London. July 25th -27th.
12th-15th.
Vision'93, Film and Video Equipment Show. Olympia, London. October 5th-7th. Photokina. Cologne, Germany. Sept
SBES. Metropole Hotel, Birmingham, UK.
14th-20th. AES, 95th Convention. Jacobs Javits Convention Centre, New York, USA. October 7th-10th.
4th November. Broadcast ASIA. New World Trade Centre, Singapore. June lst-4th 1994
hear we are!
dadadong
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KLENZESTR.
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z z z o u n d z z z z z
8132 TUTZING
TEL +49 (0) 8158/8001 -3
FAX +49 (0) 8158/35 79
In-Brief
Otani Europe formed: With
mediate effect Otani Deutschland
TmbH, located near Dusseldorf,
'ermany, will take responsibility for
11 activities in Europe. Otani UK
ill continue to supply technical
ervice and spare parts to British
Otani owners from their same
Location. Otani Europe Tel: +49 21
17,
9 50861.
i
erminal Studios move to
ndon Bridge: Terminal Studios
ave opened up a five studio
hersai room complex including a
11 production -sized room and a
owcase room with Marquee-size
age. Every room has been fitted
with Turbosound or Martin Audio
quipment. Tel: +44 (0)71 403 3050
r
ADAT sells 10,000 units: At the
_ecent NAMM convention in LA,
klesis Corporation announced to
_heir dealers and distributors that
.hey have now shipped over 10,000
OAT Digital recorders worldwide.
klesis have also recently produced a
White Paper' explaining the
levelopment that went into ADAT
and the technical issues involved. In
the UK the Paper is available from
Sound Technology. Tel: +44 (0)462
80000
New company formed to sell
I: I: A new company, First
Broadcast Limited (FBL), has been
formed to undertake sales and
installation of MBI products in the
UK. Mel Bowden, a founder of MBI
Broadcast Systems Ltd, has set up
he new independent company with
Rob Eden and Viscount Peter
lenapp. FBL will move into MBI's
Id premises in Ship Street,
righton. Further information
oundcraft Tel: + 44 (0)707 665000
jointly developed the
Nagravision/Syster system. Demand
for these systems, which scramble
television signals to present
unauthorised viewing, is growing
with the expansion of pay TV
networks around the world. Kudelski
SA Tel: +41 21 732 0101. Canal+
Tel: +33
1
OUK's first sports broadcast in
Dolby Surround: On the 28th of
February Granada TV televised the
match between Newcastle and
Tranmere live in Surround Sound.
Meanwhile the first European film
with a Dolby Stereo Digital
soundtrack, Joseph Vilsmaier's
Stalingrad, has recently been
released in Germany, Austria and
Switzerland.
CAMS receivesUS honour: AMS
Industries have won one of the
USA's top industry awards, winning
a EMMY for `Outstanding
Achievement in the Science of
Television Engineering Technology'.
AMS joins the list of past honourees
like RCA, Phillips, Eastman Kodak,
CBS Labs, Sony, Ampex, Grass
Valley and NHK.
'Rental company continues 50%
price drop: Music Lab Sales
Rejuvenating old masters:
People
Mitsubishi Pro Audio, has joined Amek
as Area Sales Manager, Previously he
has worked at Neve Electronics.
'Formerly
David Beardmore has been appointed
evelop the broadcast
14 years as Technical
Director of the Power Station studios in
New York, Ed Evans, has joined the
Touchdown organisiation as their new
Technical Director. Evans will be in
charge of all techncial operations at
Touchdown Germany and is overseeing
the design and construction on their new
facility in Portugal's Algarve region.
Kiera Looming formerly of Harman
Audio has also moved to Touchdown
Germany as Marketing Director.
Karl Chapman, previously with
Xtrack in use
in the post -
production
environment
Modular and open architecture
PC digital audio workstation
in
London is to continue indefinitely
the 50% `across the board' cut in
audio rental charges. The increased
level of business since then suggest
that Music Lab's approach has
actually expanded the market as a
whole. Prices include an Otani
MTR90 for £100; Neumann U67 for
£30; and a Akai S1100 8Mb smapler
at £60. Music Lab Sales Tel: +44 71
388 5392
ncoding/decoding technology used
ty the two parent companies, who
I
d Canal *, one of Europe's largest
ay-TV network, have formed
AGRA +, a 50/50 owned joint
enture. The new company, to be
,aced in Cheseaux, Switzerland, will
ION
44 25 19 42
Innovative Development Technology
Inc of Riviera beach, Florida use a
five step process to evaluate, recover
and transfer tape masters due to
binder failure. The steps consist of
Preparation; Chemical treatment;
Cleanning; Heat treatment;
Transfer. Recent clients include
Crescent Moon Studios for Gloria
Estefan; Flytetime Studios for Janet
Jackson; ABC Broadcasting; Voice of
God Recordings; and the Elgin
Symphony Orchestra. IDT Tel: +1
407 844 2111 1
Nagra and Canal + joint
enture: Swiss -based Kudelski SA
track
DIGITAL AUDIO WORKS I
Xtrack provides
- CD audio quality
Increased recording capacity
- Powerful editing functions
- User -friendliness optimised for productivity
-
Xtrack
is
available in various configurations
to suit your needs :
2, 4, 6 or 8 tracks ?
Do you need a sound library database (catalog) ?
Are you working in the post -production field ?
Xtrack provides really innovative
synchronization features.
Xtrack runs on a PC. You can work on a network and
access the entire PC environment.
There certainly is an Xtrack configuration for you.
Contact your local representative
and discuss your requirements.
Digigram
simply digital
by AMS Neve plc to coordinate a
corporate policy of quality management,
across the spectrum of the company's
products and services. He comes from siá
years experience in sales management Il'
and completed an MBA in Total Quality
last year.
Fairlight MFX2 user Stephen Dewey,
has been awarded an American CLIO
award for sound design. Dewey was
acknowledged for his contribution to the
OPNS - 32/2537 63 40 - fax :25383442
CS INTON - 42/220 66 57 - fax 22066 57
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OTHER COUNTRIES DIGIGRAM (F) - 33/76 52 47 47 - fax 76 52 18 44
B
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Reebok commercial, Cowardly Baskets.
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9
highest fidelity.
Naturally.
e
CD»R Theft
On the 31st December 1992 -when
the rest of us believed we had seen
the last of the years' bad luck
selection of equipment was 'purchased' from Audio Design in the
UK's Berkshire countryside.
-a
Unfortunately, the Cheltenham
and Gloucester Building Society
cheque used for the transaction
proved to be one of 2500 blank
cheques previously stolen from the
Society-although the theft was not
publicised by the police. As the two
men involved claimed to be the
Director and Engineer from a known
and respected company, the sales
staff were caught off guard to the
tune of time Audio Design CD -R
machines (serial numbers 120050;
330019; 530011), one AD Smartbox
CD-R and 100 blank recordable CDs.
Obviously, Audio Design are
eager to receive any information
which might lead to the recovery of
their property and urge all UK
parties to be on the lookout for the
remaining 2499 cheques still
unaccounted for. Any information
regarding the CD -R machines or
anciliary items should be directed to
Audio Design, who are contactable
on (0734) 844545
n, has boughth
C
ontrac
"Independent German facility,
Studio Funk has ordered a Logic 2
Immerse yourself in the music. No distractions,
just pure sound reproduction.
digital mixing desk from AMS -Neve.
are acclaimed again and again in the hi -fi press.
DynaudioAcoustics have their first
M4 main studio monitor sales into
Japan at the Fun House Studios in
We set new standards of sound reproduction and
Tokyo.
quality at the leading edge of acoustic technology.
The NagraD digital tape machine
Supremely comfortable and near -unbreakable,
(the subject of this month's bench
test) has been used on location
recently for Arnold Schwarznegger's
new film and Collie Production's
4'lesh and Bones staring Meg Ryan
and Dennis Quaid.
It's no coincidence that Sennheiser headphones
the headphones are specially designed for easy
replacement of parts.
With accurate, detailed response and rich pure
tone, recreate the eloquence of the nstruments,
the vitality of the vocals. Whatever your taste
in music
you'll appreciate the transparent
natural sound quality, balanced by
a
wide dynamic range.
Now prove it. Try cut our
headphones for yourself.
You'll be convinced.
Naturally.
OSSI (Sound Services Inc) in
Hollywood have bought a trio of
Solid State Logic ScreenSounds for
use on future projects.
Sales of Lexicon products by UK
gent Stirling Audio include a 480L
d 300 digital effects processors as
of a complete studio package
hot Brothers are supplying, in
njunction with Neve/Siemens, to
e Concert hall in Athens. A 480L
s gone also to Wigwam Acoustics
d three 300s have gone to audio
HD
560
"A detained and open
headphone with the
ability to recreate
the power and depth
in a piece of music."
Hi -Fi Choice Oct 91.
st production house Silk Sound in
ndori s Soho.
Pacific Ocean Post in California is
e first facility to order both AMS
d Neve digital consoles since the
erger of the two companies. Two
apricorns and one Logic 1 will be
stalled
HD 480 II
comfortable and
enjoyable listen,
whatever your taste."
What Hi -Fi Jan 93.
-A
f
SrhVIVHEISER
Sennheiser UK Ltd, Freepost, Loudwater, Ifgh Wycombe
Buckinghamshire HP10 8BR
Telephone 0628 850811. Fax 0628 850958
"Le Studio Ellipse,
one of France's
foremost producers of cartoon series,
is expanding its in -house post
production facilities with the
addition of an SSL ScreenSound
digital audio editing system and a
SoundNet digital audio network.
"Capital Radio, Britains biggest
its second DAR SoundStation
SIGMA digital audio production
system. The new SIGMA will be
used primarily to produce on -air
promotions and trailers for its FM
and Gold AM radio stations.
'Deliveries of the newly launched
Trident 90 console commenced
recently with installations in both
Germany and Italy. Mona Music and
Powerplay Studios in Germany and
Marton SRL in Italy have all taken
delivery of 40-channel consoles fitted
with Trident's own dual VCA fader
and switch automation package. The
first UK console installation is to
Gallery music owned by Roxy Music
guitarist Phil Manzanera.
Autograph Sales has equipped
London's Rock Circus tourist
attraction with a new sound system
featuring Meyer Sound loudspeakers
and QSC power amps. The system
replaces the theatres infra-red
headphone installation following
problems with theft and the loss of
150 headphones during a bombscare
evacuation.
'Guangzhou TV in China has taken
delivery of EM 75 speakers and
EMX1 controller -the sale being
conformed through Martin Audio's
distributor New Sound Studio in
HongKong.
dCS has recently delivered a
sophisticated computer controlled
off-air recording system to the BBC's
Brookman's Park site. This
represents the BBC's largest off-air
system to date, and first to use
digital routing of audio signals.
An Amek Hendrix console was
used by Artisan Recorders mobile to
record the worldwide hit 'I Will
Always Love You', by Whitney
Houston in Miami last year.
REAL TIME AUDIO RESTORATION
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Are you involved in remastering, broadcasting, sound-
than a reverb or compressor and, in real time, produces
track restoration or archiving? If so, you know that all
results so good that you will never know that your mate-
recordings can suffer from clicks and scratches.
rial had been damaged in the first place.
Until now, audio restoration has been a time consuming,
And for noise reduction, de- hissing, crackle removal,
costly and highly specialised process. Enter CEDAR to
phase correction, EQ and editing, the CEDAR Production
change all that. Not only is the DC -1
System complements the DC
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HHB Communications Limited 73 -75 Scrubs Lane, London NW10 6QU
Phone 081 960 2144
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X1COfl
HEARD IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES
Worldwide Distributors
Tannoy
(61) 2.975.1211
re- launch
Tannoy Limited, Rosehall
Industrial Estate, Coatbridge,
Strathclyde ML5 4TF, Scotland.
(43) 223 643223
(32) 2 466 5010
(45) 86 190899
(358) 0 592055
Beyerdynamic
FRANCE:
(33) 14 4099393
Audio Export /Neumann
GERMANY:
(49)113162410
Bon Studio, Ltd.
GREECE:
(30)
HONG KONG:
Ace International Co. Ltd.
Grisby Music Prof.
(39) 71 7108471
Elettori Co., Ltd.
JAPAN:
(81) 33 950-6266
NETHERLANDS:
-
Re- entering the pro studio monitoring fray
Tannoy's System 15DMT II-with new caps and
resin -impregnated crossover coils
Address changes
Dolby Labs have moved to Dolby Laboratories,
Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire. SN4 8QJ. Tel: +44
(0)793 842100 Fax: +44 (0)793 842101.
FM Acoustics have moved to FM Acoustics Ltd,
Seestrasse 5A, CH -8810 Horgen, Switzerland. Tel:
growing topic of multimedia services, placing
digital audio in context with video and other
channels of information.
In two days of presentations and discussion,
existing audio interfaces and transmission practice
will be reviewed, and the design and operation of
computer data networks explained. The role of
audio storage on physical media will also be
examined. Speakers will evaluate networking and
dedicated routeing in broadcast operations,
Workstation networks and file interchange will be
the subject of a major session with contributions on
the Open Media Framework, the use of FDDI,
Ethernet and SCSI in audio, and the use of data
reduction for purposes such as archiving.
Multimedia services will depend on economic
archiving and data retrieval to foster interactive
and distributive working. Progress on establishing
a worldwide computer- controlled standard data
base will be described.
This conference will provide important
information for audio engineers on the challenges
arising from the international communications
environment, in which digital audio wil be a major
component.
For further details, a programme and booking
form, contact: Heather Lane, AES, PO Box 645,
Slough, SL1 8BJ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)628 663725
Fax: +44 (0)628 667002
TM
Studio Sound, March 1993
Audio
(31) 03408 70717
NEW ZEALAND:
Protel International
(64) 4 385.4814
Sly. Ing. Benum & Co.
NORWAY:
(47) 2145460
PORTUGAL:
Frei Audio
(351)
SINGAPORE:
1
941 6810
Studer Revco(
(65)250.1222
Telco Electronics S.A.
SPAIN:
(34)
1
531 1101
Intersonic AB
SWEDEN:
(46) 8144.5850
SWITZERLAND:
Gotham AG
(41)1840 0144
Unfair Eng. & Trading
TAIWAN:
(88) 613 321 44546
UNITED KINGDOM:
Stirling
(44) 071624.6000
FOR AUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTORS IN COUNTRIES OTHER THAN
THOSE LISTED ABOVE, PLEASE
CONTACT:
lexicon
100 Beaver Street, Waltham, MA 02154 U.S.A.
.^r (1) 611 736.0300
12
364 5755
1
(852) 424.0387
ITALY:
The AES 1993 UK Conference, Digital Audio
Interchange , will focus on digital audio
communication techniques, considering the
principles, technology and system aspects of
computer networking and their application in the
engineering of digital audio studios, both present
and future. The conference will address the
725 7790
Studiotec KY
FINLAND:
Digital Audio Interchange
18-19th May, 1993, Imperial College, London
1
New Musik
DENMARK:
UK AES News
725 7777 Fax: +41
TransEuropean Music
BELGIUM:
Tel: +44 (0)236 420199
Fax: +44 (0)236 428230
1
Audio Sales
AUSTRIA:
Scottish -based Tannoy have
relaunched four of their dual
concentric studio monitor speakers.
Incorporating a new range of
capacitors and a new `HF tulip'
waveguide, the System 8NFM,
System 10 DMT, System 15DMT
and System 215DMT highlight the
company's Differential Material
Technology (DMT). The waveguide s
low compression ratio (4:1) is
claimed to provide `smoother sound
with lower second harmonic
distortion and improved
symmetrical dispersion across the
horizontal and vertical axis'.
Other improvements
accompanying the relaunch include
a new copper-clad, rectangular
section aluminium HF voice coil and
the impregnation of a `vibration reducing' resin into the crossover.
The System 8 and System 10
monitors also now feature injection
moulded polyolefin copolymer cones.
The move to relaunch the
monitors accompanies Tannoy's
intention to re-establish their
reputation within the professional
audio monitoring field.
+41
Amber Technology
AUSTRALIA:
a1)
611 891-0340
File
Edit
Options Hutcr Ludt ion
filia
1(0
'tfchamber
Brick Wall
*Chamber
lJh
Librar - lint Mio Librar
* Rooms
* Studio A
* Studio B
*Great Rouer
Basement
Big & Short
Big Hall
Drum Chamber
Drum Platee
:
Inden #10
Guitar Room
Key Chamber
Large Hall
Medium Hall
Small Hall
Small Reverb
Split Reverb
Wide Chamber
Setup Edit
Effect
A
Bgpass
Effect
A
Patch
Original
11111111111111
Revert
Setup Type:
Effect
Name Bq Hall
A
On
line
Effect
Type:
B
Name: BigKall
=
Type:
Name:
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100
BEAVER STREET, WALTHAM,
MA 02154 TEL: (617) 736 -0300 FAX: (617) 891 -0340'
inputs, for example, we can use it for
other things like football coverage.'
The BVE100 features that Gorini
is particularly pleased with include
all inputs being on XLRs: 'Two inputs
can be connected simultaneously
which can be selected on a switch
instead of having to reconnect', and
the stereo input option, We keep
stereo modules in stock and we can
change a desk by fitting the modules
One of 172 BVE100s at RAI in Rome
we need for the job.'
Gorini also insisted on the sort of
crossfade depth control available on
the Delta AVE and the ability to
make connections from the back
panel or from underneath the desk
depending on how it is mounted:
With the amount of attention paid to
standardisation of RAI and the
`When specifying equipment, we use
mass -market mixing consoles, it is
willingness of Soundcraft to help has
our experience to define a product
easy to believe that a custom desk is
resulted in RAI ordering 172
that will satisfy our needs in the
well beyond the means of most.
BVE100s (at the last count), 70 of
future. We have a lot of dialogue with
However, manufacturers persist in
which are at Saxa Rubra in the 14
manufacturers but some listen better
telling us that they are listening to us editing suits of each of its five main
than others and some are prepared to
and some can even be seen to be
buildings. The BVE100 itself is an
do more than others.'
responding to their customers'
incredibly compact little desk that is
In this instance, Gorini was
requirements -as the recent
well honed to its intended use while
essentially committing RAI to a mass
development of Soundcraft's BVE100
still being flexible enough in
order of AVE desks that were being
video editing audio console for Italian traditional mixer terms to be used
built for them simply on the strength
broadcaster RAI bears witness.
elsewhere in the organisation.
of a few conversations with
RAI is currently conducting
As a stereo and mono output
Soundcraft and a drawing of the
massive changes to its Rome -based
8U -high rackmount with eight inputs, prospective product. Was he not
operations; the operation was
standard channels have 3 -band swept apprehensive about his decision?
previously located throughout the city mid EQ, high -pass filter, two auxes,
We had Soundcraft products
at various sites dealing with the
and a VCA in each mono channel
already like the 3200 and we decided
many facets of broadcasting to the
permitting an edit controller to run
that if they could make big consoles
Italian nation. The reorganisation
the desk. Each input also has a
well then they should also be able to
involves the centralisation and
separate depth fader which presets
make small consoles well. We did not
reorganisation of the broadcaster's
the maximum amount of attenuation
consider it to be a big risk. We've
news operations at a new site at Saxa available to the edit controller via
always had a good relationship with
Rubra. This enormous plot in dusty
parallel interface. An optional serial
Soundcraft and its distributor in
Italian countryside was built as the
control interface additionally provides Italy, Audio Equipment.'
information centre for the 1990
compatibility with GVG100, ESAM 1,
Soundcraft's console design guru,
Football World Cup tournament,
ESAM 2 and AMX 100 comms
Graham Blythe, picks up the story
which Italy hosted. Circumstances
protocols. Other features include
from the conceptualisation of the
have since dictated that the site be
independent 2 -track monitoring, a
BVE100: 'RAI wanted something that
expanded and assigned greater
cue speaker, multifunction stereo
did what our Delta AVE or 200BVE
importance in the RAI framework.
metering, a phase meter and optional (its predecessor) did but they wanted
Faced with an opportunity to
stereo input channels.
it small with certain features which
essentially equip from the ground up,
Gorini liked many of the features
they outlined and then left the rest
Franco Gorini, who is responsible for
the Soundcraft Delta AVE but the
up to us. They wanted our depth
the mixing console installation at
problem it presented was one of size:
fader but we had a reasonably free
Saxa Rubra, saw there were benefits
`I told Soundcraft that we intended
hand. I produced a plan of it and
to a degree of standardisation.
something smaller. All the
waited to see what they'd say, and
We previously had a lot of
departments in Italy were involved
after a few passes to and fro we
different types of mixer which had
and we decided to have a standard
finally arrived at a spec.
resulted from separate and individual desk for everyone that could be
`The whole process was very fast,'
decisions,' he comments. `When this
19 -inch rackmounted and 8U -high.
Blythe continues, `but one of the
centre in Saxa Rubra was built we
Those were our first requirements,'
deciding times was the extrusions for
needed someone who would make a
he says. The BVE, because it is
the frame shape which takes around
mixer to our requirements. The
physically smaller, gives us more
14 weeks, so it couldn't have been
manufacturer that was most helpful
flexibility in where we can put it.
much quicker than that.'
was Soundcraft.'
That is a very important
Blythe denies any suggestion that
While the console is certainly not a consideration because when you work the BVE100 is just a downgrade of
custom one -off in the truest sense of
in video editing you need desk space.
the Delta AVE.
the term (the BVE100 is now
`However, because the
'It had to be a new console, and it
available commercially), the Italians
configuration of the mixer is so
is wrong to say that I started with
asked and got what they wanted. The general purpose with mic and line
anything. Because RAI placed such a
Birth of a board
14 Studio Sound, March 1993
big order it prompted us into doing
something earlier rather than later.'
Blythe was also unworried by the
prospect of meeting a broadcaster's
specifications with such a desk.
`The quality of, say, a Spirit Live in
terms of crosstalk, distortion and
those sort of things beats almost any
broadcast spec you can throw at it,'
he claims. `Broadcasters are very hot
on crosstalk, but the BVE100's specs
are particularly good because the
desk is so small and has less wire
hanging around inside.
`The Mic channels have a high -pass
filter which is the sort of thing people
tend to leave off a little desk. There
are particular requirements of BVE,
for example you need to be able to
independently switch the left and
right hand track from send or return.
That's essential. A phase meter,
again, is a useful thing to have and
not very expensive to execute.'
As a designer, Blythe prefers to
work with a flexible brief because he
believes it results in a better product.
`If you get yourself too tied down
there is a danger of producing a 'metoo' product based on what everybody
else has done and what the client has
seen. It doesn't allow any free
thought. I prefer a market brief to
design something that does a job.'
These comments that beg the
question of whether the customer
actually knows what he wants.
`He does know what he wants but
he's not a console designer,' replies
Blythe.
`There are always price
constraints, and when I'm designing
I'm always thinking about the total
solution, things like how the
connectors will go into the main
board, how the master section goes
together and what is the cheapest
way of making the whole thing work.
That dictates to a certain extent
where features go, so you bear in
mind ergonomics and at the same
time you think about the cost of
making it.
Blythe concludes that the
overriding principle remains the
same throughout.
`As a designer you must
understand what features they want,
why they want those features and the
user application.'
Zenon Schoepe
Soundcraft, Cranborne House,
Cranborne hid. Estate, Potters
Bar, Herts. ENG 3JN, UK.
Tel: 0707 665 000.
Fax:0707 660 482.
r.vv A
TO
POST
PRODUCTION
TheAudioóngine
Digital Audio
Workstation
No
or breath, reduce a sibilant, or boost a consonant in speech?
C Yes
C l es
C Yes
C Yes
C Yes
C Yes
/Yes
Compress or expand the audio time length, reverse, normalize, and pitch shift audio?
GYes
No
Scrub back and forth to external video, or with a mouse, trackball, or scrub wheel?
C l'es
No
Record real-lime audio and edit directly on magneto -optical as well as hard disks?
C Yes
C Yes
C l'es
C Yes
No
Lock to all frame rates, and clock to house sync or even unresolved time code?
Easily align oat -of -sync audio, or quickly place an effect at the current frame?
Auto -assemble audio to video or film cue lists, and print the audio edit lists?
Auto -mix hundreds of tracks, plus unique fades and levels for each listed audio event?
Design sounds, create your own special effects, and EQ and DSP internally?
Edit dialog fast, and loop seamless background ambiance quickly and easily?
Cut out a word, syllable,
Customize the interface to match your working style?
Show clients a great looking work environment that does their job every time?
Create on the world's most flexible, most complete post system and still spend less?
YES
IYOU CAN! Just say YES to SPECTRAL, the system of choice for assembling and editing
audio to picture, and you'll be able to say YES to almost any audio job. The most
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channels of I/O, and can also be configured for tracking, music editing,
mastering, radio production, signal processing, sound design and more.
M A S T E R I N G
T H E
19501 -144TH AVE. N.E. SUITE 1000A
Active Sound (UK),
2
D I G
WOODINVILLE, WA
I
T A
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206 -487.2931
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
S Y N T H E S I S
I
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206- 487 -3431
Austins Place, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 5HN.
Tel (0442) 217624 Fax (0442) 69426
No
SPECTRAL
D O M A
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Allow us
to introduce
a
console that combines
dramatic good looks with the finest in audio
specification and leading edge DSP technology to
set
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new standard in audio performance.
It's equipped with highly developed dual
inputs on every module with fader and mute
automation, EQ and dynamics processing.
The extraordinary sonic specification
includes the unique FdB Parametric EqualiserTM
which overcomes the problems of non -linearity
in music and the ear and
of all frequencies
In
in
provides precise control
the audio spectrum.
addition, all monitors have
a 2
band
equaliser and can share the FdB Parametric
Equaliser TM with the channels.
Flexible, yes. Pure in sound
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of course.
All inputs, outputs and busses are balanced
to minimise hum and
RFI
interference and all
circuits have extended bandwidth electronics to
ensure ultra -low phase distortion, clarity at high
frequencies and
a
punchy, precise low end.
Signal coherence and audio
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Reliability is designed in, problems designed
out and fidelity second to none.
Allow
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pi9rta1 Audio Tape
peck
DAT's flexibility- Panasonic's ASC version SV3900
The remotest idea
The Panasonic SV-3900 DAT
machine is set apart from its price
peers by one remarkable fact: the
inclusion of bidirectional serial
remote control. This control is both
ES-Bus and P2 standard selectable
and Panasonic have a full protocol
available for the machine which takes
care of the machine language
programmer's needs. For C buffs and
other high-level language users, you
can buy a tool kit for the Macintosh
or PC which provides USR routines
and macros plus sample routines and
preliminary programs to get you
software, on the other hand, can
effectively be used to hide unwanted
facilities.
The ASC Integrated Remote is a
steel enclosure that, when attached to
the bottom of the SV-3900, brings the
size of the DAT machine up to 4U
(17.78cm) of rack space. All
interconnection is made by two tails
which hang out of the rear of the
remote to pick up power and the
serial bus. The rear panel also houses
a switch selecting the machine's
primary mode of operation
(Radio- Theatre-Overnight) and fader
started.
start input.
Audio Systems Components have
taken advantage of this situation and
developed a piece of hardware which
integrates with the SV-3900 to act as
an intelligent remote. This
modification providing simple
facilities accessed by large buttons
ideal for use in the broadcast studio
or the theatre.
Once you have added a
microprocessor to a system, you have
a definable system which can be
programmed to carry out a variety of
tasks. The failing of many
multifunctional systems, however, is
that life is often complicated by
controls and functions intended for an
application other than the one to
hand. A good example of this is the
good, old-fashioned 2 -track tape
machine; who needs sound-on -sound
or track bouncing on a journalist's
editing machine? Hardware that
On the front of the remote are `cart'
buttons for CUE, PLAY and PAUSE,
grouped logically together, a DOOR
OPEN button, TRACK (PNO) SELECT
knob and 7- segment LED display of
track number and other relevant
information. A series of three LED
`tallies' confirm the functional status
of the machine.
In the on -air studio, DAT machines
have finally made an entrance -it is
a rerecordable, serial access,
CD- quality player which uses
relatively cheap, readily available
blank media which may be up to two
hours in length and be divided into
up to 99 tracks. Satellite Media
Services in London will distribute any
audio you supply them by satellite to
any or all of their subscribers and it
will end up on DAT tape. You can
compile a radio playlist on one or
more DAT tapes; have a jingle
mastered to DAT from which you can
make copies; record this week's PSAs,
enables multipurpose operation
cannot dematerialise to order;
What's On, Helpline messages, Top
Ten or maybe a stack of old gold
standards.
But playing any or all of these at
the SV-3900 price point necessarily
involves using consumer equipment
control. Presenters tend to prefer
simplicity as defined by the cart
machine-hence the appearance of
CD `cart' players like the Denon
DN951 and the Audiometrics CD10.
In Radio mode the ASC SV-3900
IR follows radio operation tradition.
Press the OPEN button and the DAT
draw opens; drop the tape in, dial the
track required into the display and
the system automatically closes the
draw and locates- pauses the selected
track, and illuminates the STOP light
-just like a cart machine. Press PLAY
and the track plays through with the
elapsed time being indicated in the
display. At the end of the track the
machine re -cues unless you have
selected another program number
during play, in which case the
machine displays the message `this is
not the track playing' and cues to the
most recently selected track after
finishing the current play. In this
way, you can preselect your next
track from the same tape.
Theatre mode, is similar to Radio
mode except that, after a track has
finished playing, the machine locates
and cues the next track. This allows
the recording of a sequence of effects
coinciding with the stage action and
subsequent, sequential playback from
a single tape.
Operation here is much like that of
the 2 -track machines currently used,
but without the usual clicks and
bangs and cueing problems.
Theatre and Radio modes respond in
a similar way when PLAY is pressed
(or a fader start initiated).
Overnight mode completes the
ASC SV- 3900's repertoire. Operation
is similar to Theatre mode except
that all play commands are expected
to arrive via fader start. In this mode,
the system requests `first' and `last'
track number and, once these are
defined, locates to the first track and
plays until the last is complete. On
completion of the sequence, the
machine re- cues to the `first' track
and the process is repeated. Hook the
fader start to a `close' contact on a
sustaining device, and you can
sequence through your preprepared
ad breaks for the night. When the day
shift arrives, Radio mode can be
reselected for `normal' operation.
A modified SV-3900 is likely to be
suited to applications other than
those specified by ASC-theme park
messages and multimedia
presentations, for example -but this
is where we leave it.
Audio Systems Components Ltd,
1 Comet House, Calleva Park,
Aldermaston, Berkshire,
RG7 4QW. Tel: 0734 811 000.
Fax: 0734 819 813.
17
screen to control automated mix
functions.
Soundcraft
Soundcraft Electronics,
Cranbourne House, Cranbourne
Ind Estate, Cranbourne Road,
Potters Bar, Hertfordshire,
DC2000 console
The DC2000 is Soundcraft's latest
endeavour in the budget console
market and promises to offer features
like integrated moving fader
technology for a quarter of current
market prices. The result of a three
year research and development
programme, the DC2000 is based
around Soundcraft's own moving
fader automation system. Soundcraft
has developed the proprietary
technology in- house, incorporating a
custom silicon chip to control the
moving fader and the in -house
software design. The DC2000 will be
the first of many product
developments resulting from this
technology.
The console is in-line and
available in 24 and 32 input versions.
Features include 4-band EQ; 2 -band
sweepable; stereo foldback returns;
digital overbridge and touch sensitive
AIWA FMB
EN6 3JN, UK. Tel: 0707 665000.
Fax: 0707 660482
USA: Soundcraft, 8500 Balboa Blvd,
Northridge, CA 91329, USA.
Tel: +1 818 893 4351.
Fax: +1 818 893 3639.
New mics for
Sennheiser
The MKH80 P48 variable pattern
condenser is still so new that various
aspects of the microphone are the
subject of several patent applications.
The model is switchable between
omnidirectional, wide-angled
cardioid, cardioid, supercardioid and
figure -of-eight patterns. The MKE102
is a new clip -on radio miniature
microphone using changeable
1
capsules. The SKM5000 UHF
hand -held radio mic is Sennheiser's
successor to the long serving
SKM4031 microphone. Major new
features include fully integrated
antenna, switchable over
16- channels, new capsule technology
and a choice of two condenser
capsules with either cardioid and
super cardioid patterns.
The SK50 VHF version of
Sennheiser's new 16-channel
switchable miniature body pack
transmitter and the EM1046 VHF,
a VHF version of the new 8- channel
diversity receiver system. The EM203
is a new 3- channel UHF diversity
receiver, using the same
true -diversity modules as the
EM1046 model.
UK: Sennheiser UK, 12 Davies Way,
Knaves Beech Business Centre,
Loudwater, High Wycombe, Bucks,
HP10 9QY.
Tel: 0628 850811
Fax: 0628 850958.
USA: Sennheiser Electronics Corp,
6 Vista Drive, PO Box 987, Old Lyme,
CT 06371. Tel: +1 203 434 9190.
dbx 266dual
compressor-gate
The US manufactured 266 features
two fully independent channels of
compression and gating which can be
master-slave coupled for stereo
operation, along with patented dbx
RMS detection and VCA technology,
plus new attack and release circuitry
which allows the unit to be 'tuned' for
different applications. According to
JX Loeb, Product Manager for dbx,
`For many musicians the problem
with affordable compressor -gates has
been that at best, only the compressor
or the gate portion of the unit was
bad, and at worst, both were
musically pretty useless. The
compressor circuits generally can't
get the smooth dbx sound, or they
feature attack and release controls
that only really work usefully in a
very limited part of their range, and
the gate circuits are typically worse
opening late and swallowing
-
PRO. PROFESSIONAL, PORTABLE DAT
The Aiwa H
I'n)
-
known as a
lot
I
"Best Buy"
professional
portable DAT recorder
-
packs an
uncompromising list of features into
a
rugged, compact design. Facilities like
dry cell and rechargeable battery power,
a multi- voltage
power supply, AES/EBU
digital I/O and a unique
-
non SCMS
-
copy prohibit -free SPDIF digital I /O.
balanced
mic. /line
inputs
and
illuminated LCD display, a wired remote
control and full indexing facilities.
GaZiC71311
Ca.
o;ó111111:319:=i
r
The HHB I Pro is supplied complete with an NL splitter lead for the balanced XLR mic. input. For tailsatc operation. a -Key Hold- witch disables front panel
controls. Counter
functions include "Program Time ". "Absolute Time and "Tape Counter ". The unit can simultaneously accommodate ten dry cell batteries and a rechargeable battery,
e7nding power up time to up to 4 hours. The 11HB I PRO is also available as part of "The Kit", along with Sony ECM979 microphone and accessories in a steel reinforced flight case.
A BATTERY OF FEATURES AND A
18 Studio Sound, March 1993
CHOICE OF BATTERIES
The PROBOX 9 DAC includes an
transients or closing early and
8x digital interpolation filter followed
choking off decays or reverb tails.'
AKG Acoustics Inc, 1525 Alvarado by an 64x oversampled 18 -bit Delta
Sigma DAC offering a S-N ratio
Street, San Leandro, CA 94577,
better than 103dB when referenced to
USA. Tel: +1 510 351 3500.
full 16 -bit input modulation. The
Fax: +1 510 351 0500
PROBOX 9 provides a warning
UK: AKG Acoustics, Vienna Court,
indicator that is activated when the
Lammas Road, Godalming, Surrey.
input sample rates are outside the
GU7 1JG, UK. Tel: 0483 425702.
acceptable standard ( ±4 %). LEDs
Fax: 0483 428967.
Audio Design
indicate incoming frequency, lock,
emphasis present and errors which
may occur down the line ranging from
CRC error, parity error and bi-phase
coding error.
convertors
Audio Design, Unit 3 Horseshoe
Park, Pangbourne, Berks.
The first of a new range of A-D -D-A
convertors have been launched by
Audio Design. Two ranges are in the
course of development: Extending the
PROBOX range, will be PROBOX 9
and 18 -bit D -A; while PROBOX 4, an
18-bit A -Dis expected in April. At
the top end of the market will be
Audio Design's Reference series
20-bit A-D and D-A devices,
scheduled for release later in the
year.
RG8 7JW, UK. Tel: 0734 844545.
Polar DSP
A new signal processing IC solution
incorporating all required to
implement surround sound and other
digital sound effects has been
introduced by Polar Electronics. The
Texas Instrument's TMS57002 DASP
is the latest addition to a family of
devices, and is designed for use in
Polar DSP - the cutting edge?
NOW AVAILABLE AT A NEW LOW PRICE
AUSTRALIA
Greater Union Village Technology
Phone: 618 363 0454
Contact: Patrick Tapper
BELGIUM
Amptec BVBA
Phone: 11 281458
Contact: George Lemmens
CYPRUS
Chris Radiovision Ltd
Phone: 02 466121
Contact: Mr CP Chrysanthou
Hilton Sound SARL
Phone: 1 46 67 02 10
Contact: Gabriel Nanas
GERMANY
Musik Produktiv
Phone: 05451 500100
Contact: Robert Jester
GREECE
KEM Electronics O.E.
Phone: 1 647 8514
Contact: Thimios Koliokotsis
SWEDEN
Intersonic Systems AB
Phone: 08 744 5850
Contact: Mikael Sjostrand
ITALY
Audio International SRL
Phone: 39 2273 04401
Contact: Riccardo Zunino
MALAYSIA
SWITZERLAND
RTG Akustik AG
Phone: 061 2721912
Meteor Sound and Lighting System
Phone: 03 291 6559
Contact: Mr YT Tan
Contact: Thierry Sutter
NORWAY
ALL OTHER TERRITORIES
Siv. ing Benum A/S
HHB - London
Contact: Martin Westwood
Phone: 02 145460
Contact: Egil Eide
HOLLAND
K&D Professionele Elektro Akoestiek
CZECHOSLOVAKIA
Audiopolis
Phone: 02 312 4087
Contact: Jan Adams
Phone: 02526 87889
Contact: Daan Vershoor
HONG KONG
Audio Consultants Co Ltd
Phone: 351 3628
Contact: Dave Burgess
DENMARK
Interstage A/S
Phone: 031 620026
Contact: Finn Juul
FINLAND
Studiotec
Phone: 059 2055
Contact: Peter Strahlman
FRANCE
Denis the Fox
Phone: 1 40 38 01 12
Contact: Denis Kahia
.
IRELAND
Control Techniques Ireland Ltd
Phone: 1 545400
Contact: Jim Dunne
ISRAEL
More Audio Prof.
Stage Systems
Phone: 03 6956367
Contact: Chanan Etzioni
POLAND
Studio Dave
Phone: 02 227 5061
Contact: Bogdan Wojciechowski
PORTUGAL
Soc. Promotora de Comercio
Ida
Phone: 1 692456
Contact: Paulo Ferreira
SOUTH AFRICA
E.M.S.
Phone: 11 886 9662
Contact: Dennis Feldman
SPAIN
Kash Productions SA
Phone: 91 367 5222
Contact: Jim Kashishian
HHB Communications Limited
73-75 Scrubs Lane, London
NW10 6QU England
Phone: 081 960 2144
Fax: 081 960 1160 Telex: 923393
CONTACT YOUR HHB DISTRIBUTOR FOR DETAILS
19
Colourful news-DAT tapes from HHB
digital filtering, dynamic range
control, active tone control and mixer
desk applications. The Texas
Instruments DASP series is designed
to meet the growing demand for
features such as speaker response
correction and room response
correction.
Polar Electronics, Cherrycourt
Way, Leighton Buzzard,
Bedfordshire, LU7 8YY.
Tel: 0525 377093.
Fax: 0525 378367.
New HHB DAT
tapes
YOU DON'THAVETO
TIE A KNOT IN IT...
i
...to remember the name of the world's best
audio cable. Still, it's good to know that
Mogami's unique construction not only
makes it so flexible, but also makes it easier
and quicker to wire a complete installation.
Mogami sounds better too! So, with a wide
range, from multicore to patchcords all
designed to be better- Mogami is the cable
for every application.
-
%mocAmi
01162460000
Stirling Audio Systems Ltd., Kimberley Road, London NW6
20 Studio Sound, March 1993
7SF
Tel 071 624 6000
Fax. 071 372 6370
62, 92 and 122 minutes. Every tape
includes an adhesive labelling system
that conforms to APRS and SPARS
guidelines. Stringent design specs
and manufacturing procedures claim
to dramatically reduce error rates - as
well as physical problems such as
jamming - to lower levels than ever.
As a result, HHB is rating the tape's
archive life at a minimum of 15 years.
HHB Communications, 73 -75
Scrubs Lane, London. NW10 6QU.
Tel: 081 960 2144.
Fax: 081 960 1160.
Sabine
Exterminator
Late last month Pro-audio supplier
HHB Communications held a press
The Exterminator uses patent
conference to launch their new range
technology to automatically eliminate
of DAT media and to access the state
feedback in sound systems and so
of the DAT marketplace with the help improve gain without significant
of Chris Hollebone of Sony Broadcast. degradation. Nine, independent,
Sony's annual sales figures for DAT
digital notch filters can be used in
hardware in Europe have risen above either a fixed or dynamic
50,000 machines for the first time
configuration. Because the filters are
since the manufacturer widened
very narrow the overall audio quality
distribution of the format in 1989. To is retained, in contrast to typical wide
date, more than 130,000 Sony DAT
bandwidth EQ methods. The Sabine
recorders have been sold in the
FBX 900 is suitable for installed
European market.
speech -music systems, touring
HHB have launched their new
foldback and F-0--H systems as well
DAT range primarily to ensure that
as `normal' PA requirements.
DAT media fulfills its professional
Sabine Music Manufacturing
remit as a fully reliable exchange and Company, 4637 NW 6th Street,
archive medium. The range is the
Gainesville, Florida 32609, USA.
first of HHB's `Advanced Media
Tel: +1 904 371 3829.
Products' - and replaces the PQ
Fax: +1 904 371 7441.
Professional Series, currently one of
UK & Ireland: Shuttlesound, 4 The
the UK's biggest selling DAT tape.
Willows Centre, Willow Lane,
The new tape comes in six lengths,
Mitcham, Surrey. CR4 4NX, UK.
offering recording times of 15, 30, 48, Tel: 081 646 7114. Fax: 081 640 7583.
PRODUCTS
Master of
the Gentle Art
dbx dual
mic- preamp
The new model 760X provides two
channels of high performance
microphone preamplification. Typical
applications include direct-to -DAT or
sampler recording, field recording
and use as a performance upgrade
recording, field recording and use as a
performance upgrade for existing
In-
Brief
Cedar's new HISS -1 Noise
Reduction system was launched at
Midem in January. As well as the
already established noise reduction
capabilities, the system includes an
integrated 512 -node equaliser with
two types of parametric EQ, low
and high pass filters, band pass,
band reject and notching filters,
plus Cedar's noise -free equalisation.
This allows the user to re- equalise a
signal without generating
additional noise.
Cedar Tel: 0223 464 117
Reflexion Arts, now wholly
Portuguese owned, have announced
the reintroduction of the Model 250
nearfield compact monitor. Sergio
Castro MD commented, Today
there are so many circumstances,
particularly in home facilities,
studios short on space or in
temporary locations, where acoustic
treatment is non viable. In such
circumstances, a high quality
compact monitor at close range can
be the best practical solution,
though there is no real substitute
for good room acoustics. Reflexion
Arts Tel: +34 86 29 21 79.
Sony Recording Media have
launched two new Hi-8 tapes which
have been designed for minimum
dropout. The E5 HMEX series of
metal evaporated and the P5 HMPX
series of metal particle tapes are
available in 30, 60 and 90 minute
tape lengths. Sony Recording
Media Company.
Tel: 0784 467334.
London-based HHB
Communications are holding
plentiful stocks of Philips' own
branded 74 minute CD -R media.
Retailing at just £18.95 (exc VAT)
per disc, HHB is also offering an
attractive discount structure for
volume customers. Naturally, HHB
are continuing to offer 63 minute
microphone preamplifier stages in a
mixer.
Each channel of the 760X provides
standard professional mic -pre
features including gain trim, polarity
reverse, 48V phantom power and
overload indication.
AKG Acoustics, Inc, 1525
Alvarado Street, San Leandro,
CA 94577. Tel: +1 510 351 3500.
UK: AKG Acoustics, Vienna Court,
Lammas Road, Godalming, Surrey
GU7 1JG.
Tel: 0483 425702. Fax: 0483 428967.
blank media at a unit price of
£16.95 (exc VAT).
HHB Communications.
Tel: 081 960 2144.
Fax: 081 960 1160.
Designed for the cost-conscious 'r''"'
user the Signex MODPATCH panel
uses quarter -inch, `A' gauge Jack
sockets for front and rear
connection. The sockets are
arranged in two rows of 24 wit
standard lU rack -mounting panel.
The design is modular and each
channel has front and rear sockets
mounted on a discrete printed
circuit module. Isotrack,
Tel: 0202 747191
A new single chip digital sound
field processor to enable the
inclusion of Dolby Pro -Logic
Surround Sound in high -end audio
and video products has been
launched by Polar Electronics. To
facilitate the implementation of
Dolby Pro-Logic Polar Electronics
has introduced the YSS215, a sin
IC which fully implements a
DSP-based Pro -Logic decoder, and_
comes with on -chip A-D and D-A
convertors. In addition, the device
can be used in a simulation
surround mode, which allows
various types of effects to be
produced by mimicking both the
direct sound as heard by the
audience, and the sound reflected
back from the surrounding walls,
Polar
Electronics. Tel: 0525 377093.
ceiling and floor.
BGW have introduced the
Performance Series 2 power
amplifier, a 2U -high 300W per
channel model featuring dual spe
forced air cooling; XLR and qua
inch connections; and a full
complement of LED indicators.
Five -way binding posts are suppli
for speaker connections.
BGW Tel: +1310 '7
6
9
1
0
mic pre -amp /vacuum tube compressor
two ultra low noise vacuum tube mic pre -amps
with switchahle phantom powering.
two vacuum tube `soft knee' compressors.
with
an auxiliary instrument pre -amp
equalisation and sufficient gain to allow 'tube
overload' sustain effects.
machine offers this powerful
combination of features. Harnessing the 'life and
warmth' of eight active tube stages and the low
noise and reliability of solid state electronics, the
Drawmer 1960 provides the ultimate direct
interface between the sound source and the
No
other
recording medium.
Drawmer
DRAWMER DISTRIBUTION, CHARLOTTE ST BUSINESS CENTRE,
CHARLOTTE ST, WAKEFIELD, WEST YORKS WF 1
TEL:
0924 378669
FAX:
I
UH, ENGLAND.
0924 290460
21
One stereotype you can't ignore.
MS Stereo from Sennheiser
A superb
combination
from Sennheiser. That is
both versatile and
effective.
So everything you record
sounds natural, with an
accuracy no other method
can achieve.
The MKH 30 is a
pressure gradient mic with
figure of eight directivity,
optimising wide frequency
response, lateral sound
rejection and extremely
low inherent noise.
Matched with the
remarkable directivity and
sensitivity of the MKH 60
supercardiod microphone.
f
And to enhance the
stereo image, low
frequency ambience and
vibration pick -up is
minimised by highly
efficient roll -off filters.
Of course, when MS
stereo isn't required,
each mic can be used
independently.
Important, when you
consider the variety of
tasks that you have to
face in the field.
Sennheiser have
produced an informative
brochure by Manfred
Hibbing on MS and XY
stereo recording
techniques which is
available free.
For operational flexibility,
using a Y connecting cable
means only one multiway
cable is necessary.
For this and details
of other great MS
'stereotypes' from the
Sennheiser range phone
(0628) 850811.
SENKHEISER
SENNHEISER UK L7D, FREEPOST, LOUDWATER,
HIGH WYCOMRE, BUCKS HP10 8BR
The advent of MIDI has had a
profound and lasting effect upon the
drummer. While keyboard players
could substitute sequencer
manipulation for playing technique,
the real virtuosi harnessed the power
and controllability of MIDI to launch
into a new generation of sounds.
Guitarists remained aloof to being
replaced by any convincing keyboard
substitute and are not really being
catered for by the small yet expensive
selection of available MIDI guitar
controllers. Similarly bass players,
most notably with the release of the
Peavey MIDI Base, can at last fight
the replacement of their role by
sampled and synthetic sources on
their own ground. But for drummers
it has all been different.
The beatbox -with its strata of
sophistication afforded by the various
sequencer-sampler combinations
-was first to replace a real-life band
member whose equipment was bulky
and noisy. It remains strange that
many people would not dream of
standing in on a lead vocal, guitar
solo, or an especially tricky slap -n -tap
bass line, yet many will have a go at a
keyboard pad and most will certainly
feel confident enough to kick up a
drum groove on their own. It is
equally strange that the same people
would acknowledge that real drums
played by a real drummer and
recorded quickly and on the money,
would be preferable to the
`home- rolled' equivalent. The reason
for opting for something other than
the real thing is usually one of
convenience. Real drums and real
drummers take up space, are hard to
record quickly-particularly if you
want something a little different
-and can not usually be kept
waiting around in a studio while the
growing pains of a MIDI-based piece
are being thrashed out in the control
room.
MIDI drum pads are not new and,
while drummers might be content to
beat the hell out of rubber mats, ask
them what they think of the sound
they are getting and the chances are
they will say that the subtlety has
been lost. And while most keyboard
players would now be particularly
unhappy to play a single sample -pernote grand piano with velocity tied to
an amplitude envelope, this is
precisely how the majority of drum
samples are played from pads or
programmed sequencers.
The Real Drum Company have set
about preparing a CD -ROM of drum
samples to end all others. They have
adopted an approach of sampling
The CD -ROM of drum samples to end all others?
Masterkit drum library
drums that responds to a drummer's
touch, and they are proposing that
the library be run from a DAC
CD -ROM player through an Akai
S1000 triggered from a DrumKat
MIDI percussion controller. The
CD -ROM is compatible with Roland,
Peavey and Kurzweil devices as well,
and can be triggered from a keyboard
or a percussion controller, but it is
worth bearing in mind that the
controller must be up to the task to
get the most of the care, attention
and programming that has been put
into the sampling.
Rather than go through a blow -byblow account of the sounds, which
amount to more than 300Mb worth, I
will relate the theme and the sources.
Instead of absorbing memory with a
multitude of different and unrelated
sounds which have been deployed in
multisampling. To give an example.
there is a Noble & Cooley Zildjian
alloy snare on the disc which has
been sampled in four different zones
from the edge to the centre of the
drum for left and right hands, with
five levels of velocity for each hand.
More than £20,000 worth of drum
hardware was hired in and recorded
at Wytherston Studio and Park Gate
Studios. Kits were assembled from
highly regarded components, set up,
miked and left for all recordings to
achieve a sense of consistency within
a kit. The aim is after all is to create
as realistic a source for the drummer
as possible, as opposed to the usual
obsession with the search for the
biggest snare on the planet.
Consequently the air of realism is
frightening with little details like the
slightest kick drum pedal squeak and
sympathetic snare rattle on toms left
intact.
Left and right -hand hi -hat strikes
that progress towards the bell with,
of course, velocity multisamples are
an indictment of just how
uncomplicated the majority of drum
samples have now become. Cymbals
ring for a minimum of ten seconds
and while brushes and more esoteric
percussion is planned for future
releases, Volume 1 does include a
36 -inch Paiste tamtam gong.
The data is organised into three kit
types with stacks of cymbals
throughout. The Power Kit is a Tama
Cranstar Power Depth kit with six
toms, double kick drums and a choice
of Zildjian, Sonor Signature and
6.5 -inch Ludwig Black Beauty snares.
The Studio Kit is based around Drum
Workshop rim -mounted toms, Drum
Workshop and Yamaha kick drums
with Noble & Cooley, 5.5 -inch Black
Beauty and Remo piccolo snares.
There is also a funk kit with heavily
damped Yamaha 9000-Series toms
and Ludwig Pioneer, Radio King and
4 -inch Black Beauty snares. In all
instances, apart from some of the kick
drums, no EQ is used with workably
dry or slight ambience.
While there is a selection of loops
and rolls played on the various kits,
one -shot template kits for
rudimentary pads, General MIDI
setups and keyboard maps, the
Masterkit library comes into its own
when used with a sophisticated
percussion controller. Here the care
that has gone into the programming
becomes apparent. Thus a minimum
of 32Mb of sampler RAM are required
to get the most out of it, although
prudent use of memory can give
workable results with considerably
less.
More important than the financial
investment required to realise the full
potential of Masterkit is the freedom
that it gives a drummer compared to
the sort of cost that the constituent
percussion sampled on the CD -ROM
would cost. Armed with the portable
package of a CD -ROM drive, Akai
sampler, KitKat pads and the library,
drummer will at last be able to
record in a control room or any other
small space straight to tape or into a
sequencer in the knowledge that the
sounds will be of high quality,
reproducible and will reflect
technique and nuance faithfully. This
will be of particular benefit to session
drummers who can be up and
running even more quickly than
normal.
There can be no doubt that
Masterkit is a major advance in drum
sampling that effectively reintegrates
the drummer into the band. I believe
records will be made using this
approach and given its best shot
through a good desk by a good
engineer, there is no reason why the
results should not be excellent. While
it would be misleading to state that
the Masterkit samples are
indistinguishable from the real thing,
they are currently about as close as
you can get.
DAC Systems. Tel: 0784 462175
A
Music News is compiled
by Zenon Schoepe
23
SHURE SOUND
fimna4Yud5}n
YOUCANTRUST
Genuine Shure Quality
p,;;;;;,;;;;;.
..
The new Shure EC wireless
microphone systems
feature the classic sound
and legendary ruggedness
of their Shure cabled
microphone counterparts.
Available in multiple
configurations, the EC
Wireless Series provides
the singularly troublefree dependability you
expect from Shure.
Designed, engineered,
and manufactured in
the U.S.A. to meet
worldwide standards,
the EC Wireless
Series outperforms
competitive units
costing substantially more.
EC2 /Beta 58
EC2,'58
Uses the worUfamous SM58
With the industry
stancard Beta 58
supercardioid
cynamic element.
dynamic eletrent.
SHURE®
ECNEH...
EC2/87
With Shure's
high performance
SM87 condenser
element.
Shure GmbH
Lohtorstr. 24 7100 Heilbronn Germany
49- 7131 -83221 FAX 49- 7131 -627229
EC2 /Beta 87
With Shure's
advanced new Beta 87
supercardioid
condenser element.
.
NAMM IN 1993
Paul D Lehrman reports from the American
NAMM show on some of the latest
developments in digital audio recording,
processing and MIDI.
The January meeting of the National Association
of Music Merchants (NAMM) was in some ways a
surreal affair. Despite the lyrics of the song, it
rained in Southern California for the entire
duration of the show, and tornadoes, mud-slides,
and flash floods were reported uncomfortably close
to the Anaheim Convention Centre where the
show took place. For those in the industry who
look forward to their annual week of sunshine in
the middle of January, it was soggy, depressing,
and disappointing, and if those attending did not
arrive with head colds, they certainly left with
them.
But what went on inside was hardly
disappointing. It was the biggest show ever, and
from the standpoint of new products, many were
saying it was one of the most interesting shows in
years. For an industry that has slowed its pace
considerably in the recent past, it was a welcome
lift.
Hard-disk audio
Not surprisingly, hard -disk recording led the way
in terms of interesting new gear. Akai's DR4d
was being touted as a `digital Portastudio', not
is an impressive four
because of its appearance
units high, with alpha wheel, autolocator, and
plenty of buttons-but because of a price of less
than $2000. A 4 -track device, it uses standard
SCSI hard disk units for storage, and a second
SCSI bus can be added for computer control. It
uses 18 -bit convertors, and has two channels of
AES -EBU I -0 in both professional and consumer
formats, with a second pair of channels available
as an option. As many as four units can be slaved
together for 16-track operation, and up to 2Gb of
storage can be addressed. Availability is promised
for summer.
Another new Akai product crosses the line
between samplers and hard -disk audio. The
S3200, one of five samplers the company
introduced at the show, is a 32- voice, 16-bit, MID Icontrolled sampler with a twist: it can record and
play sounds directly to and from hard disk (not
supplied, but any SCSI disk will do) as well as
RAM. The unit also reads and writes SMPTE time
code and has a built -in list editor for SMPTEbased event cueing. Delivery is slated for March,
and price will be $6395.
ART, the American signal processor and mixer
manufacturers, are also diving into the fray. Their
DR-8000 8 -track tapeless recorder -editor was on
display in a special section of the booth open only
to authorised dealers and press. The company are
not saying what kind of storage medium is being
used, but whatever it is, it handles
160 track -minutes. It has digital and balanced
-it
analogue ins and outs, visual waveform editing
with an optional mouse, monitor, and keyboard,
and makes extensive use of both MIDI time code
and MIDI Machine Control. Up to three expansion
units, with eight tracks each and their own
internal storage, can be added. The price will be
`comparable to [digital] tape -based systems', and
they plan to have it out by late in the year.
Yamaha have entered the field with the first
American showing of their CBX-D5. It is a
platform- independent stand -alone `recording
processor', which depends on a personal computer
for its front end, and on SCSI drives for storage. It
records two channels, from either analogue or
digital inputs, and plays back four, and has word
clock synchronisation built in. It includes digital
EQ, and can also function as a real -time effects
processor. Two units can be ganged together
without additional connections to the computer, or
even an additional hard drive. Delivery is
scheduled for March, and the price is about $3000.
A number of manufacturers have already jumped
on Yamaha's bandwagon: exclusive one -year
agreements for front-end development were
announced by Mark of the Unicorn for Macintosh
computers, and by Steinberg for Atari and
Windows PCs.
The Canadian mass-storage company DynaTek
were touting their wide range of products'
compatibility with the Yamaha system, as well as
with just about everything else. DynaTek are the
latest disk drive manufacturer to target the music
market (others in the past have not been
particularly successful), and they appear to be
serious: 7% of their sales are for music and audio,
a spokesman said. Their line includes fixed,
Syquest, and magneto -optical disc drives, as well
as streaming tape drives, all specially designed to
put up with the rigours of the road. They sport
front -to-back ventilation for rack -mounting,
e
Edit
Playlist
Display
Options
universal power supplies, and steel casings. The
company claim they took the extraordinary step of
actually buying various samplers and recording
systems to test them out before announcing their
gear's compatibility with them. Their distributor
in the UK is Key Audio.
At the Atari booth, the new Falcon 030
computer was the centrepiece. It features an
onboard Motorola 56001 DSP chip for 16 -bit,
50MHz stereo audio, and a SCSI2 interface for
fast hard -disk data transfer. Among the first of
the audio manufacturers to take advantage of it is
British company D2D. They were showing a
software-only version of their audio recording and
editing system, which promises to provide a lot of
power at a very reasonable price -well under $500
per program. Digital F/X, the California company
that absorbed Hybrid Arts and WaveFrame, were
showing more elaborate four- channe1/16 -track
synchronisable systems using external hardware.
One of the busiest booths at the show, despite
its location in the Convention Centre's new and
inconveniently located Hall E (also known as the
basement in the back'), was Digidesign's. Not a
company well known for keeping secrets in the
past, they managed to catch a lot of people off base
with their announcement of Session 8, a $4000
8 -track system for (surprise) Windows -based
computers
is their first product for the PC
platform. The system consists of two cards, one for
audio and the other for control, and a stand -alone
box containing analogue and digital inputs and
outputs, four assignable analogue inserts and
three effects buses, and a 10 x 2 analogue
submixer. Lest you think that is too much
analogue, digital mixing and routing is also a
major part of the design, with comprehensive,
highly intuitive software to handle it all, as well
as graphic waveform editing.
A remote controller with nine sliders, four
-it
Window
sss
es,
1111111nliiiinillr=di
Digidesign managed to catch a lot of people out with their Session 8
knobs, and a couple of dozen buttons will be
available in a few months. A `Pro' version, the
Session 8 XL, features balanced audio I -0, and
includes two Audio Interfaces, the same
convertors that are shipped with the company's
Pro Tools system. It costs $6000. Delivery of the
two versions was to start imminently, and a
Macintosh version is promised for the autumn.
Digidesign also announced an agreement with
Alesis to develop an interface that will allow real time, synchronised transfer of multichannel
digital audio between the former's hard -disk
systems and the latter's ADAT recorder. No model
names or prices were revealed, but the
announcement indicates that both companies
seem to think that the future of digital recording
will encompass both tape and disk.
Tape. digital and
otherwise
Tascam had on display working versions of both
their RA -4000 disk system and their DA -88 8track digital cassette deck based on Hi -8mm
technology, both of which are scheduled for
shipment by the time you read this. The 8mm
format allows the tape to run at near-normal
speed (unlike S-VHS systems, which run at three
times normal), which the company says can mean
significant advantages in tape cost, convenience
and, because high -speed shuttling operations are
faster, session costs.
Behind a curtain at the Fostex booth was a
mock-up of their S-VHS -based digital 8 -track
which, as previously announced, will be
compatible with ADAT. The machine will feature
a built -in synchroniser, with SMPTE and word
clock read -write. The sync information will be
placed in the helical scan signal, which should
help make recordings more robust than Alesis's
method, which places it on the linear control track
of the tape. The price will be `competitive', and
shipping is scheduled for the second quarter of
1993.
It is not digital, but Fostex were also showing a
very slick 4 -track analogue cassette-based
production system in their GT-10 `multimedia
recorder'. Fostex have managed to squeeze a
SMPTE track onto the tape between audio Tracks
2 and 3, and are using MIDI Machine Control to
operate the device from a computer front end,
which can also play MIDI sequences at the same
time. The hardware and software are designed to
interface with the company's DMC- 100 -Mixtab
automated mixing system, to create an integrated
low-cost MIDI -with-audio studio. The cost of the
recorder is around $1200.
Mixing and processing
NAMM is not the place for high-end console
manufacturers to hawk their latest wares, but
things at the low end are getting mighty
Nobody said that broadcasting was going to be an
easy life. Particularly on connectors and cables.
So our 7000 series broadcasting connectors are
engineered in the UK to take the worst you can throw at
them. And still deliver outstanding professional quality
transmission, without breaking the bank.
Main body parts are precision die -cast metal,
with generous sized solder buckets for excellent
connectivity.
A unique colour coded tab system
provides instant identification.
There's also a complete range of
See us on
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6- to 32-way screened stage boxes using
Gotham multicore cable for superb noise rejection.
Get the hard facts about the 7000 series connectors,
and the whole range of Deltron's DGS Pro-Audio
broadcasting equipment. Call Deitron today.
Because it's tough out there.
eltron, London, England
Telephone: 44 81-965 5000 Fax: 44 81-965 6130
D
26 Studio Sound, March 1993
sophisticated.
Alesis were showing their first large console,
the X2, which features 24 main and 24 tape -input
channels, eight submasters, six auxiliary and two
cue sends, and eight stereo returns. Each channel
has balanced XLR and jack inputs, and there are
also three sets of 8- channel ELCO mic connectors.
Each input has 4 -band EQ, the middle two bands
of which are fully parametric. A built -in
automation system provides 99 programmable
mute memories, which can be triggered from
SMPTE, MIDI time code, or directly from the sync
output of an ADAT. The price will be $6,495 and
availability is expected around the end of the year.
Mackie Designs had a fully working version of
their long awaited 8 -bus board, and announced
that finished units will start `trickling out' in
March, with full production slated for April. They
were also showing their new OTTO automation
system for the CR -1604 mixer, which will be
released in March. It uses a daughter board that
goes inside the mixer and a MIDI breakout box for
communication. The Macintosh -based software,
which is both MIDI Manager and Opcode MIDI
System- compatible (but requires neither), can
handle up to three mixers simultaneously, with
six independent fader subgroups and six mute
subgroups. It provides both snapshot and
real -time mix control, with 33ms resolution for
THE PROBLEMS OF STEREO ,.
BROADCASTING ARE WORTH --LISTENING TO
While an ever increasing number of television programmes are
transmitted in stereo, the vast majority of current viewers listen to mono
audio - this can cause a number of problems for broadcasters.
When stereo signals are summed for mono, particular care is
required to ensure the resultant signal produces the desired effect.
Broadcast Test and Measurement specialists NTP offer a range
of stereo audio monitoring and phase metering equipment
providing an easy and convenient method of ensuring that the
transmitted stereo signal will be audibly acceptable to
listeners in mono.
Using NTP Phase Oscilloscopes, undesirable
correlated out -of -phase signals are readily visually
identified and potential problems avoided especially useful at the recording stage where the
need for mono control listening can be
=1NSB STEREO
PEAK
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%
N
Contact NTP for further information and
*S
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details of how their range of Phase
°
Oscilloscopes will help save you time and
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ensure that your stereo production or
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Akai's DR4d was being to touted as a ' digital Portastudio'
All
the features...
...at only half the price
you would expect
fader moves and 8ms resolution for mutes. The
whole system costs $799 (excluding the mixer).
The board's existing faders are not used when the
automation is turned on, and so an external Fader
Pack will be available -no price yet. In the
meantime, any slider box that generates MIDI
continuous controllers will do fine.
Lexicon's NuVerb is the first of what promises
to be many professional audio signal processors on
a computer card. It puts the rough equivalent of a
Model 300 onto a Macintosh NuBus card, with
facilities either for stand-alone operation or
running in conjunction with Digidesign's Pro
Tools, using the latter company's new high -speed
TDM data bus. Software is provided that gives
each program five `hot' parameters which can be
adjusted on the screen; according to a spokesman,
this should encourage users to experiment more
with real -time control over the processing
algorithms. Price will be about $1,800, and it
should be available in April.
AKG announced a line of new processors under
the dbx name that they say provide the sound
quality associated with the company's older
products, but with greater flexibility and at
greatly reduced prices. The Project 1 series
includes the model 266 dual compressor -gate,
which adds attack and release time controls to the
old 166 design, at $299; the 274 four -channel
expander -gate at $449; and the 296 stereo spectral
enhancer, which provides separate controls for low
and high- frequency detail as well as hiss
reduction, at $349.
MIDI, sync and
synthesis
Mark of the Unicorn announced smaller,
Fully equipped mono and
Built in disc preamp option
stereo cìannels
3 band EQ, 2 aux,
Auto PFL system, full metering
clean feed
Full length faders, fader start
standard
Full talkback and master
controls section
2
Guest and announcer monitor
feeds
Space for D & R auxiliaries hybrid, compressors, limiters etc.
The AIRCOM radio mixer from D & R Electronica, one of a range of consoles
covering music, broadcast and PA from 6 to 60 channels.
Exclusive UK Distributor
PRECO (BROADCAST SYSTEMS)
PRECO
LTD. 3
28 Studio Sound, March 1993
Four Season Crescent, Sutton, Surrey SM3 9QR
Tel: 081 -644
4447
Fax: 081 -644 0474
cheaper versions of MIDI Time Piece for both the
Mac and the PC. Besides being multiport MIDI
interfaces with up to 96 MIDI channels, the new
MIDI Express models include software -based
merging, filtering and routing, as well as SMPTE
generation and MTC conversion, with adjustable
flywheeling. The Mac version has four
independent MIDI Ins and six Outs, and includes
a 16 -scene memory with front -panel selection
controls. It will sell for $349. The PC version has
six Ins and Outs and connects to the computer via
an internal card. It includes a Windows
Multimedia Extension software driver for using
the unit with any Windows-compatible MIDI
programs. Price is $295.
The company also started a chain of events
whose outcome was still unknown at press time,
but which potentially bodes extremely well for all
Macintosh MIDI users. The opening salvo was the
announcement by Mark of the Unicorn of Free
MIDI System, a multiport, multiapplication
system-level software program, that would
accomplish the same objectives as Opcode
Systems' well -established Opcode MIDI System
(OMS), but would be available to developers
absolutely free, rather than through the
sometimes expensive licensing agreements that
Power Users Prefer Sonic
IWO
A
IIMML
Hamburg + N
London /PETER MEW
«At present, t
We use our five Sonic systems
- restoration, edit-
the only means availabl
on everything
20 bit recordings witho
ing, and mixing. The editors love
forced to redither those
ings to 16 bit precisio
it; the Sonic is a lot easier and
editing. The Sonic systems
system they were using. We are
a major role in Sony Classic
especially interested in SonicNet-
20 bit front line and archival
we've got 15 post rooms, and
reissue programs."
SonicNet will let us schedule our
more accurate than any other
work much more efficiently."
With Sonic, we get 24 tracks for
the price of most other 8 -track
systems. Sonic offers many more
features, and its post production
tools are much deeper. We use
the system for radio and TV spots
and music production. It gives us
more creative ability and potential
than ever before; on top of that,
the Sonic sounds great!
Chicago /JOHN ZWIERZKO
J. WALTER
THOMPSON
Main Office
SONIC SOLUTIONS
1891 East Francisco Blvd., San Rafael, CA 94901
USA Tel. 415
485.4800 Fax 415 485.4877
Sonic Europe
Brugwachter
19,
3034 KD Rotterdam, The Netherlands Tel. 31.10.414.7354 Fax 31.10.414.7365
no restrictions, thereby making it much easier for
programmers to create products that will talk to
multiple MIDI streams, as well as each other.
A Mac
version of Session
8 is
promised for the autumn.
Opcode require.
The prospect of two competing systems sent the
Macintosh music community into a mild panic,
and a hastily called meeting was held on the
second night of the show, which included most of
the major music software providers (some of whom
have not even announced Macintosh products as
yet) as well as Apple Computers, whose own MIDI
Manager -yet a third system that programmers
have to deal with -has suffered from arrested
development. An official statement from the
meeting is still being formulated, but it is likely
that agreement will be made on a single system
which will be available to all comers, with few or
Another new product from Digidesign is
Sample Cell II, the successor to their popular
sampler -on -a -card for the Macintosh. The new
model addresses most of the problems early users
complained about: it can take up to 32Mb of RAM,
has on -board digital filtering, and loading time
has been significantly reduced. The price is the
same as the older version -$2,000 (without-any
RAM) -and shipments should start in March.
Also of interest was a working version of
Alesis's (these folks are ambitious) entry into the
synth market, the QuadraSynth. Structurally it
bears some resemblance to the old Oberheim
Matrix 12, with its complex routing and
modulation system (it was designed by some of the
same people), but it uses 16Mb of sample ROM for
its sound sources. It has 64 -voice polyphony, and
four independent on -board effects processors. All
that for only $1,495 for the 76 -note keyboard
version, or $995 for a rackmount module.
Shipments are scheduled for early summer.
Waldorf Electronics, the German synthesiser
manufacturer, were giving an impressive
demonstration of their new Wave to enthusiastic
crowds. The instrument is highly performance orientated, and boasts eight programmable faders,
The two -channel Dolby Spectral
When developing our famous noise
The Dolby Spectral Processor lets you bring atf-"
low -level detail without affecting louder soundui reduction systems, we learned how
Processor lets you raise low-level signals
to process low-level signals while leaving
in three frequency bands by as much as
high -level signals untouched. Now we're
20 dB without affecting high -level
putting that special knowledge to work hi
signals. It's like
a new kind of dynamic equalizer.
for sonic details. You can emphasize
a
magnifying glass
The
ÿ
..:.
THRESHOL'Q
3
Processor
Active
Model 740
-so
i
'.
t'
-50 dB -40
You've Always
WANTED
30
Studio Sound, March 1993
CHANNEL A
nine increment dials, 27 buttons, and 53(!) knobs,
all of which can be used to modify internal sound
parameters in real time, or to broadcast MIDI
System Exclusive messages. These messages can
be aimed at other MIDI devices, so a fader, for
example, can be programmed to open and close a
filter on another synthesiser or sampler. The
various controls can be grouped so that multiple
sounds can be edited in parallel, and -or multiple
parameters of a sound can be controlled by one
knob.
The engine is built on a principle called
Dynamic Spectral Wavetable synthesis, and the
unit contains 128 wavetables, each of which has
64 'slices'. Sixteen voices can sound
simultaneously, and expander modules will be
available to take it up to 48 voices. There are
three pairs of stereo audio outputs, plus a stereo
send, and two independent MIDI Outs. A built -in
disk drive is MS-DOS compatible. Shipments are
scheduled for March, and the US price is $7,900.
Perhaps the most startling news at NAMM
from the world of synthesis was the
announcement that Creative Labs, the
Singapore -based company that has quietly been
making millions of dollars with low -end computer
sound cards like the Sound Blaster, bought E -Mu
Systems, one of the oldest and last Americanowned synthesiser manufacturers. E -Mu had been
working with Creative Labs to provide a high quality General MIDI sound chip for multimedia
applications, but the extent of their negotiations
was a complete surprise to outsiders.
Meanwhile, E -Mu introduced a Vintage Synths
version of their Proteus sample-playback module,
which includes sounds from a host of old and new
electronic instruments. An impressive display of
old synths, arranged Keith Emerson -style, was on
hand to promote the product, and picture- taking
sessions for those of us old enough to remember
those beasts were held on the hour. A long hippie
wig and granny glasses were thoughtfully
provided to complete the illusion.
TimeLine, the California synchroniser
manufacturer, do not consider NAMM their
primary show when it comes to introducing
product, but they did have one new item which
will be of great interest to video postproduction
studios. It is a VITC reader card for their
MicroLynx system, with automatic or manual line
selection, and seamless switching between
longitudinal and vertical time-code reading.
And finally, in the We don't know what it's for,
but we'll find something' category was the Janus
machine, developed by a couple of young
graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology who call their company I%
Development Technologies. This little one-
control box lets anyone play or sing backwards,
live. Its actually a sampler, with up to 2.5s of
memory, that immediately spits out in reverse
direction anything that is played into it. There is a
very clever algorithm at work to prevent glitching,
and after you get over the disorientating effect of
the machine, it turns out to be a great deal of fun.
The designers see it being used both on stage and
in the studio, and the projected retail price is
about $1,000.
It is impossible to say whether they will be
successful, but as the music manufacturers who
started in someone's basement ten years ago
become multimillion dollar international concerns,
it is encouraging to see that the real process of
invention and creativity has never stopped: there
are still small startup companies who see
opportunities for themselves in the industry. We
need them as much as they need us.
PAUL D. LEHRMAN was the creator of the
world's first all-MIDI album as well as having
worldwide composition credits for film, radio
and television, and has been on the Executive
Board of the MIDI Manufacturers Association
since 1991. He presently teaches courses in
computer music at the University of
Massachusetts -Lowell and is co- author of the
forthcoming book MIDI For The Professional.
ambience, lift harmonics, and bring out
adjust the threshold below which
touch of presence on a vocal track to
otherwise inaccessible subtleties - all
processing occurs, the amount of boost
sweetening a final stereo mix, the Dolby
without squashing transients, increasing
in each band, and the crossover between
Spectral Processor provides the kind of
overall track level, or disturbing the
bands. With noisy material, you can also
EQ you've always wanted. Contact your
overall sense of dynamics.
switch in a gentle sliding-band noise
Dolby Professional Products dealer
reduction circuit. Front adding that extra
soon for a demonstration.
For maximum effectiveness, you can
Dolby Laboratories Inc.
100 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94103-4813 Telephone 415 558 -0200
Facsimile 415-863-1373 Telex 34409
Dolby Laboratories Inc.
Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire SN4 80J
Telephone 0793-842100
Facsimile 0793 -842101
Tlx: 44849
Dolby and the double -D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation ©1992 Dolby Laboratories Inc. S9219552
ori Dolby
:3
1
Side view of SSL1, which houses a 96-input Solid Sate Logic SL -8000 G Series console with Ultimation,
one of the two largest SSL consoles ever to be installed in an audio facility. The control room measures
23ft x 20ft and is supplemented by a 14ft x 12ft vocal booth
i
32
Studio Sound, March 1993
The extension of the LA
Record Plant studios has
been dubbed `Phase II'
-Alan di Perna calls it a
state -of-the -art recording
and production facility
for the 1990s
new chapter in the long and eventful history of the
Los Angeles Record Plant began in January of this
year with the completion of an ambitious,
four -million-dollar upgrade to the facility. Dubbed
II, the expansion adds two new state -of-the -art studios to the
premises: a mix suite equipped with a 96 -input SSL SL -8000
G-Series console and a large recording-scoring room outfitted
with a 96 -input Neve VRSP Legend console. These new studios,
along with the Record Plant's two previously existing rooms,
are complemented by a spacious new atrium lounge area
equipped with jacuzzi, billiards table and all the other
amenities. Completed under the supervision of architect Peter
Grueneisen of LA design firm studio bau:ton, the upgrade has
transformed the historic studio into a stylish, luxurious 1990s
workplace.
This five -star ambiance is a key element in the operating
philosophy of the Record Plant's new owner, Rick Stevens.
Formerly president of the Summa Music Group publishing
firm, and a man with experience in both artist management
and A &R, Stevens decided the new Record Plant would buck
the trend toward austerity that has characterised the LA studio
business during the lean- and- mean '90s.
`The Record Plant has historically catered to top- echelon rock
and roll stars,' says Stevens. `I very much wanted to continue in
that tradition because that's the only segment of the studio
business where you're competing on the basis of client service
So many studios in the LA market are
competing to offer slashed rates right now, and that's why
many of them are struggling. I just realised that most stars
come down a notch in their life when they walk into the
average recording studio. If they're in from New York or
London, they're staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel or the
Mondrian or Bel Age, where they're used to a high calibre of
service. I wanted to bring that same level of service into the
studio. That's what makes us different.'
rather than rates.
Background
In many ways, Stevens' words echo the thinking behind the
original LA Record Plant, which first opened its doors in 1969,
offering a hip alternative to the stodgy label -owned studios and
ageing Hollywood independents of the day. Record Plant
founders Chris Stone and Gary Kellgren were two young
entrepreneurs uniquely attuned to the rising new breed of
`underground' rock star. Under Stone's leadership, the Record
Plant became a premier LA recording facility. In 1986, Stone
closed the original Record Plant site on Third Street and opened
the present -day Record Plant on Sycamore Avenue. Located
amid a cluster of Hollywood film facilities, the building that
today houses the Record Plant was originally an annex to the
historic Radio Recorders. Stone converted the structure into a
top- flight, two-studio facility geared to handle a diversified
blend of record and film work. In 1989, Chrysalis Records
purchased the Record Plant from Chris Stone and ran the
studio for several years before selling it to Rick Stevens.
When Stevens acquired the Record Plant in June of 1991, he
became the proud owner to two fine Tom Hidley- designed
studios. `But it became evident that a major renovation was
:,
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View of NEVE 1, which houses a 96-input Neve VRSP Legend console with GML Moving Fader automation and recall. Each of
the two new studio suites functions as a self-contained environment with private lounge, bathroom and kitchen, as well as
control room and recording areas
33
right -hand side of the corridor, more toward the rear of the
building. (The dimensions and equipment of these rooms are
detailed below.) The right -hand corridor wall also contains a
staircase that leads to second -story offices and the space that
houses the Record Plant's four EMT 140 echo plates (two tube
and two solid state).
`One of the big logistic problems of the Phase II upgrade was
that the studios are all so close to one other,' Peter Grueneisen
notes. `Three of the rooms are only separated by walls. There
are no corridors in- between. So we had to build very heavy
walls with many layers between the studios. One of them is
made out of five independent wall structures, each constructed
of wood framing, metal studs, plywood, lots of leaded dry-wall
and plenty of air spaces. Each layer floats on rubber mounts.
There are no hard connections anywhere: no screws or bolts.'
Grueneisen also deemed it necessary to take out the concrete
floor slab in the rear portion of the building to avoid the need
for cumbersome access ramps. This offered an acoustical
advantage, since it enabled the architect to design floating floor
slabs for both the new studios, decoupling them from the other
rooms for further acoustic isolation. In addition, adds
Grueneisen, the air conditioning was redesigned from scratch
for the back part of the building, so that there are individual
units for each of the rooms. It is all designed to minimise
transmission of sound from room to room. There were some
cases where we had to put two rooms on one air conditioning
unit; but in those instances, we put in muffler boxes and an
elaborate system of ducting to make sure no sound travels from
one room to the next.'
Another important goal was to achieve maximum `plug-inand -play' compatibility among the four rooms, allowing audio,
video and synchronisation hardware to be easily patched into
any of the studios and ready for action with a minimum of
hookup time. The interface design for the whole facility is the
work of Ron Lagerlof, the former VP of operations and
engineering at Lucasfilm's Skywalker North facility and now
head of his own consulting firm, Visioneering Inc. Lagerlof
provided each studio with two machine bays, each with ample
Alco connectors for patching in multiple audio and video tape
machines over and above the room's stock machine complement
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View of SSL1, showing outboard rack located behind SL -8000
console, and tape machine soffits
G series
with a G- Series automation computer and a
combination of E and G-Series EQ modules. Both SSL II and
Neve II have 25 -inch video monitors in their control rooms and
projection TV systems in their tracking rooms.
The two new studios -Neve I and SSL I-are also on the
G- Series console
-
New
(Hall
Revision
4.11
Superchase
Perfect Machine
Film ++
ES.Lock
-
Software
-
15.1
`The interfaces were designed to conform with the existing
two studios,' Lagerlof explains. `Also, while each room is
completely self-contained, there are audio and video tie lines
among all the rooms, as well tie lines for certain aspects of
machine control. Everything is designed in such a way that you
can interface the rooms without getting noises and ground
loops.'
To satisfy the latter requirement, Lagerlof designed a star
grounding (earthing) system for the studios: `Everything's done
in an isolated fashion,' he says. `There's provision for a separate
at Berlin
Stand E5)
for the ES.Lock
1.11
Synchroniser
The fastest synchroniser gets even faster
Instant positioning and jogging for digital editors
Enhanced film handling
Machine control systems with a developing future
AUDIO KINETICS
Tel: +44 (0)81 953 8118
Fax: +44 (0)81 953 1118
Audio Kinetics UK Limited, Kinetic Centre, Theobald Street, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 4PJ
36 Studio Sound, March 1993
Try a Sony DASH recorder, and you might find that nothing Else will do.
It's hardly surprising.
You'll be experiencing all the creative freedom and sound
quality of the world's most popular digital multitrack format.
And
that's before you count the studio time and budget
After you've used
DASH from Sony,
your usual multitrack
may need
some modifications.
benefits. Sony DASH recorders
offer faster operation than any
comparable machine - digital or
analogue. They're easy to use.
And of course, because they're
DASH, you use less tape.
And in action?
The Sony 48 -track offers
the ultimate in digital recording. There's on -board samling, full
time -code chase synchronisation
-
and you can even bounce all
48 tracks at once.
Our 24 -track needn't cost any more than some analogue
multitrack systems. Yet with
fourteen different hardware
options, you can tailor it precisely
1111
to your needs.
And at the highest level, you can actually incorporate all the
features of its 48-track big brother.
What's more, both units are fully compatible with each other,
and easyto integrate into existing analogue and digital environments.
All sounds pretty good? Just wait until you hear them.
?
Sony Broadcast
& Communications
r
To: Marketing Communications Department, Sony Broadcast and Communications, Jays Close,
Vables,
Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 4SB, United Kingdom.
Please send me more information on DASH mubitracks, plus
a
copy of DASH World magazine.
Name
Position
Organisation
Address
Postcode
L
553/3
SON-Y.
SONY BROADCAST
SIMPLY CALL US ON: AMSTERDAM
MADRID 091 536 5700;
0Z, 6581911;
MIL; 02
8 COMMUNICATIONS EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS,JAYS
ATHENS 01 2818273; BASINGSTOKE, UK 0256 483666, BEIRUT 01 582000; BRUSSELS
61838440; OSLO 02 2303530: PARIS 014945 4000: ROME
EAST CENTRAL EUROPE (OTHERS)
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O6
CLOSE. VIABLES. BASINGSTOKE. HAMPSHIRE, RG22 4513, UNITED KINGDOM.
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- VIENNA 0222
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J
for all of the synchronisers, digital tape machines or video tape
machines that come into the room.'
Equipment overview
Both the new studios feature identical custom George
Augspurger monitoring systems consisting of left, centre and
right enclosures. The enclosures are loaded with TAD
components: two 15 -inch drivers and a 2 -inch horn. The
high -end components are driven by Boulder 500 power amps.
Australian 1K2 1.5kW power amps are used on the low end. A
modified White Instruments 4000 Series Va-octave EQ- crossover
completes the system. JBL 8330s are used as surround sound
monitors for the rooms' Dolby stereo matrix encoding units.
The two older studios have the exact same
power amp/crossover /room EQ configuration, installed during
the initial three -week upgrade of the Record Plant's facilities
when Stevens acquired the studio. In the older rooms, however,
the amps drive custom Hidley-Kinoshita monitors and
JBL 4312 surrounds. In all four studios, Yamaha NS10Ms and
Auratones are the standard nearfield monitors; KRK, Tannoy
and AR nearfields are available on request. The smaller
monitors in each studio are driven by Krell stereo power amps.
The standard tape machine complement for each studio
consists of two Studer A800 MkIll analogue 24 -track machines,
vintage Ampex ATR half-inch and quarter-inch machines, two
Panasonic SV-3700 DAT machines, two Panasonic VHS Hi -fi
VCRs, two Nakamichi MR-1 cassette decks and one Rotel
955AX CD player. The Record Plant has a Sony PCM-3348
digital 48 -track machine, a Mitsubishi X880 digital 32-track
and several StuderA820 analogue 2-tracks that are allocated to
the rooms on a floating basis. Additional digital multitracks
and other ancillary machines are hired in as needed. The
machine bays in each studio are designed to accommodate up to
two additional 48-track machines without having to disconnect
any of the standard tape machine complement.
Synchronisation is provided by TimeLine Lynx modules (one
per machine).
View from Neve l's spacious recording area, through the window into the
main control room. The doorway to the left leads into a voice-over booth
and thence to the main studio suite entrance. Above the control room is a
private artist lounge
clean ground that can be connected to the console in each room
if necessary. But so far that hasn't been necessary, because the
AC grounding is so well -distributed.'
And although the Record Plant is-as its name implies
primarily a record house, it is also equipped with mix -to-video
facilities for those record clients who might have to do special
mixes of their music for film soundtracks, videos and so on. For
this reason, distributed house video sync is provided in each
room, says Lagerlof, `to ensure a clean, consistent sync source
-
PPM10: IN- VISION PPM
TWIN TWIN POINTER DISPLAYS
CHARTS PROGRAMME LEVELS
ANALYTICAL TOOL
2
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-A POWERFUL
RGB OUTPUTS, OR SUPERIMPOSED ON
PAL PICTURES
PPM10 takes stereo audio inputs and generates a
high
definition colour video display emulating the well
known coaxial twin movements, long regarded as a
most satisfactory way of monitoring stereo audio
levels and mono compatibility. The eye can judge the
level displayed, at a glance, from the angle of pointers,
without needing to refer to scale markings.
COLOUR VIDEO PRINTER
ALSO Stereo Variable Emphasis Limiter 3. * 10
Outlet Distribution Amplifier 4 * Stabilizers and
Frequency Shifters for Howl Reduction * Broadcast
Monitor Receiver 150kHz -30MHz * Advanced
Active Aerial 4kHz -30MHz * Stereo Disc Amplifier 3
and 5 * Broadcast Stereo Coders * Peak Deviation
Meter * Twin Twin PPM Rack * Twin PPM Box *
BBC licenced PPM9, PPM7 and PPM5 20 pin DIL
Hybrid * PPM8 IEC/DIN 50/ +6dB scale.
-
SURREY ELECTRONICS LTD.,
THE FORGE, LUCKS GREEN, CRANLEIGH,
SURREY GU6 7BG TEL: 0483 275997 + FAX: 276477
38 Studio Sound, March 1993
'`
:
;
;
':
;
UNTOUCHED SCREEN PHOTOS
s
`The Lynxes run in stand -alone mode,' explains Ron Lagerlof.
`The console's on -board machine controls are used to drive the
machines, which simply chase-lock via the Lynxes. But the
rooms are also predesigned to run with other master control
systems, such as a Lynx Keyboard Control Unit running the
Lynx modules in VSI mode. We can accommodate control
systems like that, as well as any system that operates on the
RS422 [computer interface bus]. There's 422 machine control
throughout the rooms.'
The Record Plant boasts an exceptional selection of
microphones and outboard equipment, including a fine cache of
vintage gear. Much of it comes from the stock of Livingstone
Audio, the old Record Plant's satellite rental company. On
acquiring the Record Plant assets, Stevens decided to distribute
the Livingstone wealth among his four rooms. Thus the
equipment rack in each studio comes with a generous selection
of Pultec EQs, Fairchild limiters, UREI LA -2As and 1176s, as
well as a good supply of modern gear including Drawmer gates,
GML 8200 EQs, Lexicon 480 SLs and PCM 70s, Eventide
H3000s, AMS RMX16s, dbx 902s and Yamaha SPX90s, 900s
and /000s. Other pieces, such as the Record Plant's EMT 250
and 251 and its two Fairchild 770s float from room to room.
SSL I
Detail of part of SSL l's outboard rack located behind SL -8000 G- series
console. The impressive collection of new and vintage outboard equipment
includes Pultec equalisers and Fairchild compressor -limiters
L E G E
N D S
O F
SSL I, the Plant's new mix- overdub suite, was the first of the
two new studios to be completed-Prince was the room's
inaugural client. The centrepiece of the new mix suite is a
96 -input SSL SL-8000 G- Series console with Ultimation, one of
the two largest SSL consoles ever to be installed in an audio
facility. SSL I's control room measures 23ft x 20ft and is
supplemented by a 14ft x 12ft vocal booth. The design of the
room is based in part on the in-house mix room at Summa
Music.
'We knew we wanted the console to be very close to the front
wall by conventional standards,' explains Rick Stevens. `That is
a formula we just lucked onto in the Summa mix room because
space was limited. But the room became a very successful
facility when we opened it to outside clients, so we decided to
stay with that basic Summa formula in SSL I. With the board
that close to the front of the room, we knew the large room
monitors would be functioning almost as nearfields. We wanted
the front of the control room-say up to the outboard gear
rack -to be very neutral acoustically.'
Implementing this idea took a certain amount of design
finesse, since SSL I is significantly larger than the Summa mix
room. Also, a 96 -input mixing console is a rather lengthy
I N N O V A T I O N
The Speakon
Neutrik sets standards
CONNECTING THE WORLD
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Liechtenstein
Tel 075 23 29666
Fax 075 23 25393
40 Studio Sound, March 1993
NEUTRIK USA INC.,
USA
Tel 908/901 9488
Fax 908/ 9019608
NEUTRIK Marketing Ltd.
United Kingdom
Tel
Fax
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Tel 01/7340400
Fax 01/7343891
FASTER
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Dedicated controller with "hard"
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Integrated machine control with Audio
Freeze Frame
Keystroke Macros for automating
complex tasks
Non -destructive Editing across multiple
tracks with crossfades and level control
Selective backup and restore at 5 times
speed to 8 mm tape
FRIENDLIER
-
High resolution low - stress graphics
-
Scrolling waveform display on all visible
1.16
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-
UNDO toggle for A /B edits
Instantaneous Zoom from 8 hours down to 6
frames across the screen
4
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Optional sampling and MIDI sequencing package
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-
piece of gear, so it was necessary to maintain a fairly wide
`sweet spot' in the main mix position. Peter Grueneisen worked
with George Augspurger and Steve Brandon in designing and
fine -tuning the room acoustics. What worked out best, says
Grueneisen, `was to have a soft front wall with fabric on it and
RPG diffusers in the rear wall. Monitor placement was critical
too.'
The room's Augspurger monitors are mounted in wooden
soffits. We made soffits that were bigger than the actual
speaker enclosures,' Grueneisen explains. `This way, we had
room to adjust the position of the monitors. Once we found
precisely the right position, we filled in the gap around each
monitor with sand and closed up the soffit. The sand really
helps anchor the monitor and helps provide isolation. There's
also lead around the loudspeakers, a heavy layering of plywood,
a material called MDF (medium density fibreboard) and lots of
dry-wall. By making the speaker soffit larger than the speaker
we not only provide leeway for positioning the monitor with
maximum accuracy, we also give the clients more options for
the future.'
The video facilities in SSL I are no less impressive than the
audio gear. The front wall of the control room houses three
video monitors. The central monitor, a 50 -inch rear- projection
Mitsubishi 5017-S is mainly intended for mix-to- picture
applications. It is flanked by two smaller Mitsubishi AM -2752
video monitors which are set up to provide a variety of
displays -everything from local cable TV programming to
Ultimation and Macintosh display screens. Many of these
functions can also be displayed as a picture -in-picture window
in the lower right-hand corner of the big 50 -inch monitor.
`There's a video switcher in the console,' explains Lagerlof,
whose Lucasfilm experience made him an ideal person to design
the Record Plant's visual display facilities. `You can select any
of four different inputs to that video switcher, be it the cable
box, a VHS machine, laser disc or some other video device, such
as a 314 -inch video machine parked somewhere in the room.
Alternately, you can switch to RGB mode and the display
reverts to the computer screen-either the Ultimation or any
other computer display you care to patch in.'
NEVE I
Neve I, the second new room at Record Plant is designed to
accommodate a wide variety of tracking, scoring and mixing
projects, including mixes to video. `Knowing we were going to
wind up with the largest Neve on the planet, we estimated that
probably 70% of our business in that room would be mixing,'
says Stevens. `But because it is a Neve board, we knew people
would want to track in there as well; we wanted to
accommodate that kind of clientele too.'
Responding to the need for a versatile, good -sounding
tracking space in Neve I, Peter Grueneisen designed a 25ft x
40ft room with a sloping ceiling that reaches a height of 35 feet.
Room acoustics are fairly live. `That's the way we like to do all
our rooms,' says Grueneisen. We feel that's the trend. Also you
can always deaden a live room very easily by using drapes. But
when a room has been built dead, it's very hard to make it live.'
A large portion of the walls are surfaced with wood panels: 'A
substance called strand board,' Grueneisen elaborates. `It's a
very economical material that we treat in a special way by
sanding and then staining it. And then we used concrete
acoustical blocks in the back corners of the room. Those are raw
concrete blocks with slots in them that make them act as
acoustical resonators.'
Concrete acoustical blocks were also used in the studio's
14ft x lift vocal booth (located off the control room) and to
construct two small iso chambers in the two rear corners of the
room for miking guitar and bass amps. Details like this, along
with the overall room acoustics, make the Neve I tracking room
an ideal space for cutting rock bands as well as small to
mid -sized orchestral ensembles. To achieve the tracking room's
lofty 35 -foot height, it was necessary to take out the existing
roof trusses and raise the roof by about five feet. According to
Peter Grueneisen: 'since we were raising the roof, we decided to
construct a second -storey lounge for Neve I and install a
window so that the lounge overlooks the jacuzzi and the
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and offers many features not found in its pricy cousins.
Po Junior automatically formats the inputted data, records the PQ "burst" and prints detailed master sheets.
PQ Junior -encoded master tapes are ready to use for
Philips DCC and Sony Minidisk mastering.
PQ
The
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Data Conversion Systems Limited
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Telephone:
24 Hour Contact:
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223 423299
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F. .44(81223423281
42 Studio Sound, March 1993
(01
PQ Senior produces reference CDs on the new generation of budget -priced recorders ( Apex, Marantz,
Studer, Yamaha etc. ). By its accurate PQ subcode,
such a reference CD becomes a replica of the future
pressed CD. Using additional CDR dives, the PQ Senior
can control small scale CD duplication. PO Senior can
also write IDs on your DAT copy corresponding exactly
to the PQ codes on the master tape.
MIXING TO DAT?
.
Ill
Li
(.
Bernie Grundman
Bellman
and
and
Brian
.
fellow
Gardner,
reputation for excellence.
Mastering
a
engineers, Chris
have
earned
a
At Bernie Grundman
lot of mixes come in on DAT. And
a
lot
still come in on 1/2" analog. That's when the highest
quality analog - to - digital conversion is required.
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In our tests, the Apogee
retained more of the
ambience and definition... and was discernable all
the way to the end product, the CD.
It brings forth
more of the information that was originally intended
for the CD consumer. We use Apogee's DA -1000E
When it came time to equip their studios with
our reference D/A converter, and now we've
reference A/D converters, Grundman, Bellman, and
as
Gardner auditioned the best available.
installed an AD -500 in each of our mastering suites."
-Bernie Grundman
The unanimous winner...the Apogee AD -500
"It's the closest you can get to 1/2" analog.'
-Frank Filipetti
"The exclusive Apogee soft limit'', feature....just another reason why
I won't be caught mixing without my Apogee's!"
-Bob
Clearmountain
"No one who listened to the test could tell the difference between the Apogee converters
and the straight wire."
-Roger Nichols, after holding a converter shoot out.
APOGEE ELECTRONICS CORPORATION
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European Sales Information
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Multiway connectors mounted beside each tape machine soffit allow
analogue and digital transport to be swapped as the session dictates.
whole atrium area.'
The focal point of Neve I's control room is its 96 -input Neve
VRSP Legend console with GML moving fader automation and
recall. Ron Lagerlof made some minor modifications to the
board to obtain an optimal interface with other equipment in
the room. We added five full rows of patching to accommodate
various configurations of tape machines and outboard gear,' he
explains. 'Also the board came with Neve's VRSP section, which
does all of the speaker reassigns for film mixing. That added a
few more patchbays to the board, which had to be modified
somewhat to work with the patching we had added. But, in all,
the modifications were very minimal. The beauty of both this
console and the new SSL is that they come plug- and-play ready
for doing film or surround sound. You just push a button and
every bus is feeding the correct speaker. You don't have to turn
cartwheels to patch in a left, centre right, surround system. The
console does it for you.'
Video monitoring in the control room is provided by two Sony
PVM 2530s. 'It wasn't necessary to install an extensive video
monitoring system like we have in SSL.' says Lagerlof. 'Because
Neve I is designed as a conventional recording studio, most of
the front wall is taken up by the control room window. The two
D!G!'[r1!
AND
AE5/E3
stereo
digital peak m
the Iate:S
using
technology to ensure
accurate and reliable
digital
audio
metering. Featurea
include
-no-
!1:
ANA'
iSj
ALAN DI PERNA is a Los Angeles -based
freelance writer of over ten years standing
specialising in the field of professional audio.
Born in Brooklyn, Alan graduated from Michigan
State University before playing synthesiser and
guitar in a number of American rock bands `that
history has, mercifully, forgotten'.
THE JACKFIELD THAT
NEVER FAILS
OYES
to -
peak
and
segments
overload indication
both with memories,
sampling frequency
measurement
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emphasis
flag
indication.
-o
-
-no
30
monitors mounted in the wall are strictly for video. We weren't
trying to display computer information on those screens as in
SSL I. The GML automation and recall have their own
monitors and high -resolution graphics.'
Stevens explains that the acoustic signature of the Neve I
control room is much more like the existing Hidley rooms in the
Record Plant, but it's a smaller control room at the front'. He
adds: `Consequently, it's somewhere between the style of SSL I
and the style of the existing Hidley rooms.'
'One difference is that the front wall is plaster,' adds
Grueneisen. 'So it's a hard, reflective surface rather than a soft
one like in the SSL I control room. Also it has more of a soft
ceiling in the back, as a result of the harder front wall. So some
of the details are flipped, but the goal is the same: to maintain a
large reflection -free zone.'
Rick Stevens is currently planning to install a motorised
system that will enable the room's small, console-top monitors
to move laterally, following the mix engineer as he moves to the
left or right of the big, 92-input console. The mixer just has to
wear a small 'homing device' that the monitors can follow. This
kind of attention to detail is a hallmark of the service -oriented
operating philosophy that the Record Plant's new owner has
brought to his facility.
'The most basic rule in any service business is to listen to
your clients,' Stevens reflects. 'I've discussed this upgrade
extensively with my clients, and their wishes have been the
single greatest factor in the selection of new equipment. But in
a studio like this, great gear is a given. I also said, "What else
can we do to make life pleasant for these people ? ". If you look
around this complex, I think you'll see the answer.'
ABM -2 is a
stereo analogue peak
meter to DIN 45406
and
IEC266/1O
standards. It has
balanced inputs, peak
segments
(with
memories), overload
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Two new professional audio meters, packed
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44 Studio Sound, March 1993
Tel & Fax
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0253.54786
Byfleet Business Centre
46 -50 Chertsey Road
Byfleet, Surrey KT14 7AP
Tel: 0932 353879
Fax: 0932 342441
Kommunikationstechnik -AG
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Switzerland
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The vocal sessions at CTS in London were pig and frog-free
MOPPETS AN D D IGITS
A Christmas Carol
was a 48 -track
digital production,
reports Simon Croft
Apart from being what the film industry
likes to call `a visual spectacle', the
festive Muppet film,Christmas Carol
was also notable for its crystalline
soundtrack and innovative production techniques.
It is, in fact, one of the first feature films to have
had its soundtrack recorded and edited in the
digital domain, a feat that involved technicians on
both sides of the Atlantic and the shipping of a
DAR SoundStation from London to Los Angeles.
Filming took place in the UK but the
international nature of the project was in place
before shooting. The initial music, written by Paul
Williams, was recorded at Blue Moon Studios in
LA. From there, it was transferred as synthesiser
backing to CTS in London for vocal work, before
going back to the US to have a full orchestra put
on top.
CTS engineer Steve Price explains: `The vocals
were done in London because most of the
characters were here. It was done in a week,
which was very fast. We recorded 12 songs and
three or four were cut from the final movie.
`On one song we recorded about 40 separate
voices, character by character. We had to do them
one at a time because one person might do four or
five different voices. The place was full of people
and it was very weird because I knew the
characters from the film and, of course, they look
nothing like that in real life!
`We were working Sony 48-track digital in CTS
Studio 3. The assistant, Andy Taylor, was
invaluable in keeping track of the vocals. Because
of the speed of working and the number of
characters, the logistics of the vocal comps became
quite difficult. We couldn't have all of them on
separate tracks, so we kept bouncing and had to
keep tabs on where everything was. On top of
that, we didn't know exactly how it would be used
because the film hadn't been cut.
`Then all 40 tracks were reduced to four so that
in LA they'd have a chance of working out what
was what.'
Production Sound Mixer was Chris Munro who,
in addition to his work in location recording, is one
of the directors of DAR-based film postproduction
facility Twickenham SoundStation.
Munro points out: `Although the musical
segments are shot to a prerecorded playback, few
people are aware that for other scenes the Muppet
voices are all recorded live, allowing spontaneity
and adding realism.
`Digital processes were used throughout
prerecording but for playback purposes the final
tracks were transferred to' /4-inch tape in an
8 -track analogue format. This enabled us to use a
Fostex R8 as a playback machine that Muppets
could lip sync to.'
On many shoots, a Nagra with one or two audio
tracks would be the machine of choice but Munro
says the Fostex transported between sets easily
and meant that the monitor mix could give the
best lip syncing conditions to the characters
nearest the camera.
Unlike the Nagra, the Fostex is not equipped to
lock directly to the crystal generated sync pulse of
the camera, so the Fostex was regulated by a 4030
time -code generator which was in turn driven by
crystal sync. This arrangement also provided
precise autolocate facilities for the Fostex.
Most of the time, monitoring was through easily
concealed Bose speakers powered by Amcron amps
but at other times, silent monitoring was provided
by an induction loop picked up by miniature in -ear
phones. Recording the puppeteers' dialogue
presented a different set of problems.
`The puppeteers tend to be under the floor of a
raised set, sometimes in awkward positions that
are difficult to mic. Also there is a certain amount
of mechanical noise which you need to avoid,
although it tends to occur between their dialogue.
I came up with a system using a headband and a
little Sony ECM-77 lavalier mic pointed down
from their foreheads.
'Because of the mic's position, it would tend not
to get knocked about and maintained the same
relative distance from the mouth.'
Michael Caine and other actors were covered
with a conventional boom. This was placed on a
separate track, as Caine's dialogue and the noisier
aspects of the Muppets, working tended to
coincide.
Dialogue was recorded onto a Fostex PD2 DAT
machine with time code. At Twickenham
SoundStation, the `temp' dub was carried out
using a SoundStation II. Prior to this the `mod' or
modulation, as audio tends to be called in the film
world, was transferred to 3 -track 35mm magnetic
film, containing the two audio tracks and the
original time code.
This formed the `cutting copy' that is
47
Australia:
Audio & Recording
006123169935
Austria:
Kuhnl Wurzer GmbH
0043732668125
Belgium:
Mills Music
003238289230
CIS:
Muiston Ltd
Czechoslovakia:
Uber Compu
0896516094
Denmark:
-
Musik
Da Distribution ApS
004531682811
Finland:
Ms Audiotron
0035805664644
France
Sound Studio Technique
0033142815047
A Dolby SR
version was also dubbed for the laserdisc version
traditionally edited by the picture editor at the
same time as the optical film. Where the
SoundStation had the advantage was in its ability
to autoconform the DAT audio using an Edit
Decision List created from the discontinuities in
the time code on the magnetic film.
One practical upshot of this is that the sound
editor does not have to laboriously duplicate the
mechanical cuts made by the picture editor. But
the benefit goes much further, as the 'temp' copy
is basically for auditioning purposes. Once
feedback has been gained from specially selected
audiences, the whole process is begun again to
produce the final version.
As the final is invariably a more sophisticated
dub, conventional techniques may entail six
generations of analogue transfer before reaching
the final mix stage. With DAR, there was no need
to dub successive generations and no need to
throw away all the work that went into the temp.
'We used the SoundStation for the temp and we
achieved this in less than a month from the end of
shooting, which is quite remarkable. That's very
fast for the quality level we reached.'
Over in LA, Skywalker supervising sound
editor Bobby Mackeston takes up the story.
'Since the final had already been done in
England, we wanted to keep with the
SoundStation they had used. They had the
capability to ship the whole system here intact,
which meant we could use elements of the
temporary in the final.'
So the SoundStation system was dispatched
from London to California. But there were also
effects to add, especially footsteps as Muppet feet
are rarely seen on screen, for obvious reasons.
'Most of the effects were done on our Foley
stage,' Mackeston explains.`These were shot direct
to Otani Pro Disk, there was no tape. They have
removable hard disks so we could take it straight
to the sound stage. Other effects and background
were done on another digital system.
'These elements went to the sound stage where
a predub was made on 32 -track one 1 -inch Otani
and from these a film print master was made in
Dolby A and Dolby SR. Disney only wanted one
release format and that was Dolby A because that
is what most cinemas have. '
However, a Dolby SR version was also dubbed
for the Laserdisc version because of 'all the effort
that had gone into the quality'.
Skywalker is noted for its progressive attitude
to new technology and its high technical
standards. As early users of tapeless workstations,
48 Studio Sound, March 1993
the company uses several systems. Mackeston
says that he 'did not care for the user interface' of
the SoundStation at first, as he is used to systems
that have a different way of working. He soon
became used to the touch- screen concept though.
'We had a lot of fun doing it. We tried a whole
lot of new things. I thought the DAR was good,
although the screen should be bigger.'
As an editor, Mackeston is happy with the
ability of digital workstations to scrub backwards
and forwards over a cue and also finds useful the
way a certain amount of pre and post cut information either side of an edit can be stored, allowing
some leeway in the positioning of cue points.
Some of the Skywalker sound mixers miss the
ability to adjust EQ and levels while the film is
rolling backwards when working with digital tape.
Traditionally, this feature can be a significant
time saver and Mackeston believes that digital
recorders will have this facility soon.
Although Christmas Carol was released on
analogue format for exhibition, Chris Munro
believes the effort to keep the production on the
digital domain was justified.
'Obviously I am biased but I think the Muppets'
film has very good intelligibility, which has been
achieved without pushing the effects too much.'
He points out that SR -D has truly discrete tracks,
as opposed to the matrixed solution offered by
Dolby Stereo. 'It's a clever trick but there's not a
lot of track separation.
'When the audience gets to hear SR -D films
-with production in the digital domain from
original recording through editing to exhibition
they will really appreciate it. Just like the move
from albums to CD, once the audience hears the
quality, they are going to demand it. Any film
made now where the producer isn't considering
digital techniques would be like shooting black
and white when colour first came out. '
-
Greece
Production Sound
003016424459
Holland:
Ampco Audio Products By
003130414500
Hong Kong:
Jolly Sound
008523620202
Hungary:
Best Studio Technika Kft
003611561953
Indonesia:
Kirana Yudha Teknik
0062213806222
Israel:
R.B.X. International Ltd
009723298251
Italy:
Texim S.R.L.
003939957518
Japan:
All Access
0081524435537
Korea:
Sion Corporation
008225653565
Norway:
LYD Systemer A -S
00472710710
Poland:
International Musical Instr
00487132874
Portugal:
Estudio
15
003513623755
Singapore:
Swee Lee Company
008225653565
Spain:
Keyson S.A.
003433405512
South Africa:
Eltron Ltd
0027117870355
Sudafrika (Botswana):
Bop Recording Studios
0027140843186
Sweden:
Luthman Scandinavia AB
004686404242
Switzerland:
Sinec AG
004164413747
Taiwain:
Taisheng Trading Corp
0088625313802
Thailand:
Beh Ngiep Seng
006622225281
Mackeston: 'The DAR screen could be
bigger.'
United Kingdom:
Shuttlesound
081 -640 9600
USA:
Samson Technologies Inc
0015169323810
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SIGTECH AEC100 0
One developing
application of DSP
is that of
`correcting' room
acoustics -Francis
Rumsey studies the
theory and
examines the
performance of the
Sigtech AEC1000
introduce minimal distortions of their own.
Modern design attempts to treat the loudspeaker
and the room as a lumped system. What is not
attempted, though, is to make the control room
anechoic, since this is undesirable from all sorts of
points of view. Anechoic listening rooms are
unpleasant to be in, the sound pressure level
required from the loudspeakers for an adequate
listening level is very high, and in any case one
must balance material for listening in rooms
which are not anechoic. If one could control the
early sound then one could remove a lot of the
coloration and improve the imaging without losing
the diffuse reverberation of the room which is still
Time domain
(a)
desired.
To some extent this was the aim of the so -called
`live -end dead -end' (LEDE) design of control
rooms, which attempted to have an absorbent area
around the loudspeakers and desk, with a more
reflective rear end containing means of
dispersion. In an interesting recent BBC Research
Department project a so- called `reflection-free
zone' has been constructed around the listening
position, by angling the walls around the front of
the control room so as to direct reflections around
the sides of the listener. Nonetheless, mixing
consoles are still very large in many cases, and,
despite the existence of room treatments and
Frequency domain
Line spectrum
Waveform
Digital signal processing (DSP) has now
reached the point where complex filters
can be designed, whose characteristics
may be quickly adapted either
statically or dynamically. In the Sigtech AEC 1000
system, adaptive digital filtering has been applied
to the problem of correcting for some of the
deficiencies in a loudspeaker -room combination,
such that a listener in a chosen position may hear
a signal from which many of the most significant
colorations due to both room and loudspeaker
have been removed. In this report some of the
principles are examined, and the Sigtech
Acoustical Environment Correction System is put
to a subjective test.
Frequency
(b)
Control room
acoustics
It is well known in acoustic engineering that
signals arriving at the ears within the first 50ms
or so after the direct sound, have a significant
influence over the listener's perception of sound
quality. Although reflections arriving within this
time delay may not be perceived as discrete
arrivals (it depends on the nature of the signal),
they often have the effect of introducing
coloration, affecting the timbral quality of the
perceived sound. Another important effect is that
of such reflections on the perceived stereo image,
which may be distorted or made less accurate.
Typically, if good monitoring conditions are
desired then one attempts to ensure that the
amplitude of such reflections is as low as possible
in the control room, and that the loudspeakers
f
(c)
Waveform
2
3f
4f
I
I
i
5f
6f
7f
Frequency
Continuous spectrum
Frequency
Fig.1: Periodic waveforms such as those shown in (a) and (b) have
harmonically -related line spectra, whereas impulses, such as shown in (c) have
continuous spectra
51
Left monitor and amp
novel designs, the console represents a large
reflective area close to the monitoring position. It
is difficult to design rooms to minimise the effect
of the console surface, although careful positioning
of the loudspeakers with relation to the mixer can
help to direct the largest reflections away from the
important area.
Right monitor and amp
Time and
frequency domains
A difficult concept for many to grasp when
considering sound signals is that of the
Mixer
Test microphone
equivalence of time and frequency domains. A
representation of a signal in the time domain
shows how its amplitude changes as time passes,
and in the frequency domain the frequency
content of the signal is plotted against amplitude.
The waveform of a signal is its time domain
representation, and its spectrum is its frequency
domain representation. Repetitive waveforms
have spectra consisting of lines at harmonically
related frequencies, whereas random waveforms
(such as noise) or impulses (such as clicks) have
continuous spectra showing their relative energy
at different frequencies (Fig.1). It is possible to
look at the spectral content of a segment of a
time -domain waveform by performing a
mathematical transformation on it, such as a
Fourier transform, and this is a technique used in
many acoustic measurement systems.
When a signal is emitted from a loudspeaker it
may move off in a wide range of directions. Via
one path it will arrive directly at the ear of the
listener, and after a few milliseconds various
reflected elements of that signal may also arrive
at the listening position. So a number of
AEC 1000
Remote
panel
Remote
interface
Set -up computer
Fig.2: Arrangements of equipment for initial setting up
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52
Studio Sound, March 1993
Hear Tomorrow
toclaYi
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slots for up to four totally independent true stereo DSP cards -all in a 2U 19" rack unit.
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-
versions of the signal are received by the listener,
separated by short delays. The reflections will not
be at the same amplitude, nor will they be quite
the same shape as the direct sound. It is easier
first of all to consider the situation with a simple
repetitive wave such as a sine wave: the listener
will be presented with a direct wave and a number
of reflected waves in various phases depending on
their delay. If a certain reflection were delayed
such that it arrived at the listener out of phase
with the direct sound then some cancellation
would occur, depending on the amplitude of the
reflection. Therefore, when listening to a
wide -band signal, the reflection would cause a dip
in the spectrum at that frequency and its
multiples, resulting in coloration of the sound. A
number of such dips (and peaks) might be created
by different reflections at various frequencies. The
colorations of the spectrum will clearly be affected
by the position of the listener, since different
delays and reflections will result.
A more complicated situation to envisage is
when the speaker emits an impulse or transient. If
the listener were to be replaced by a microphone,
one could measure the arrivals of the various
reflections and plot a time -domain representation
of the series of events. This would show a large
spike when the direct arrival was received,
followed by a number of smaller spikes for the
reflections. Transformation of this impulse
response into the frequency domain could show
the instantaneous effect of reflections on the
spectrum of the signal, and such transformations
are normally carried out over a window of so -many
samples, representing a small fraction of time. If a
series of frequency domain plots is derived by
taking successive windows of samples from time
zero (the time when the speaker emitted the
sound) then the familiar `waterfall plot' may be
created, showing how the energy at different
frequencies changes over a period of time after the
impulse is received.
If such a plot is made of the events within the
first 50ms or so after the impulse, one can often
see an initial period during which the spectrum
changes significantly due to the first few strong
reflections that are received, perhaps from the
nearest surfaces, including the mixer. As time
goes by the spectrum begins to settle down and
change less radically with time.
Application in the
AEC1000
In the Sigtech product being considered, an
adaptive digital filter attempts to model the
measured impulse response of the loudspeaker
and room over the first 50ms or so, and (in simple
terms) to introduce an inverted version of this into
the signal fed to the loudspeaker, such that the
effects of such reflections are cancelled out at the
listener. Some 25 DSP chips are used to process
the audio signal, and the signal is broken up into a
number of frequency bands, each of which is
subjected to filtering. Although people like to
imagine filters as acting in the frequency domain,
each acting on a particular frequency band and
having a certain bandwidth or `Q', it is more
appropriate to imagine this type of filter in the
time domain, since it processes the samples of the
digital audio signal by `tapping off samples and
then delaying them by certain amounts and
multiplying them by various coefficients before
adding them back in to the original signal. The
effect is to modify the time domain characteristics
of the signal and thus to modify the instantaneous
frequency spectrum. The number of stages of
delay and multiplication in each filter is called the
number of `taps'.
The filter is not adaptive in the sense that it is
continually changing, but its characteristics are
adapted in a one -time operation to the measured
impulse response of the monitoring system by
setting up a microphone in the listening position
and taking a number of measurements to
determine the reflections set up by each speaker.
The filter characteristics are downloaded to the
signal processor, which is capable of storing
settings for a number of different listening
positions or desired conditions. This signal
processor then sits permanently in the monitoring
chain.
Setting up
We tested the AEC 1000 in a fairly ordinary
control room, with fairly ordinary monitors. The
general feeling of those who used the room
regularly was that, although there were some
bass -end problems, the room was not bad but that
the monitoring left a lot to be desired. Since the
AEC system acts on the direct sound as well as
the reflected sound, it was expected that it would
have some effect in correcting for both the
monitors and the room.
The signal processor was connected to a
conventional MS-DOS PC, containing a special
interface card, for the setup phase, during which
calibration software was run to assess the nature
of reflections in the listening position. A
high-quality omni microphone was connected to
the unit. It is important that this microphone has
a good frequency response, since it forms a
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ISDN COMMUNICATION
54 Studio Sound, March 1993
Tél
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By lunch
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DIGICART/Il
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1
reference point in the measurement process. We
used an AKG C460, pronounced acceptable by
Audio and Design (the system's distributors in the
UK) although a B &K omni is also a possibility.
In order to measure the conditions at the
listening position, the microphone is directed at
each speaker in turn and a series of impulses is
generated by the system through the monitoring.
These are randomly timed and averaged in order
to minimise the effects of noise in the room, and to
avoid repetitive or cyclical noise influences. The
system clearly works better in a low noise
environment, and is affected particularly by very
low frequency noise such as that produced by
air conditioning or outside vibrations which
although fairly inaudible to the listener is often of
a high amplitude and may distort measurements.
The system flags an error if it considers the noise
to be too high, and various `tweaks' are possible to
make the measurements more accurate in such
conditions. In environments with a lot of noise,
such as in PA applications, it is possible to limit
measurements to a 10kHz bandwidth.
From the initial impulse measurements it is
possible to plot both time, frequency and waterfall
displays of the signal at various instants, and to
get a picture of the behaviour of the system. It is
advisable to try a few microphone positions in
order to see how the response changes around the
listening position, in order to see which frequency
domain effects are localised and which are
general. The system allows plots to be overlaid in
order to compare them, and this proved useful in
finding the best position to make the actual filter
calculation. In our system some features of the
plots seemed fairly consistent between positions,
while others changed enormously, and we were
advised that better results are often achieved if
-
-
one does not attempt to treat very localised
problems, since only a very small range of
listening positions is affected.
Clearly, experience is needed in interpreting
the results of the preliminary measurements, and
those who have been working with the system for
some time have increasingly discovered which
effects are important and which are not. The
distributors emphasise the importance of
intelligent interpretation of the measurements,
and for this reason it is normally assumed that a
system would be set up by an expert, after which
the setup computer would be removed, leaving
only the signal processor and the remote panel.
For the inveterate fiddler, it would be possible to
purchase the whole system including the test and
measurement software, so that regular changes
and improvements might be made.
In order to calculate the filter settings the
system uses not clicks but a pseudo- random
sequence which sounds like noise (along this lines
of the signal generated by the MLSSA system).
This may be bass pre- emphasised by up to 24dB to
overcome LF noise. The received signal is then
averaged over a number of spectra, and a filter is
calculated for each loudspeaker in turn. The
characteristics of this filter may be plotted in the
frequency domain if required, and this compared
with the original impulse responses obtained
earlier. If everything has worked well then the
two should be fairly similar. One should realise
that the frequency domain picture of the filter is
really an idea of what the frequency response will
look like after a relatively steady state has been
reached, and this is given because users are likely
to be able to relate to it more readily than they
would to pictures of the rapidly changing
spectrum which occurs in the first few
DIGITAL AUDIO NETWORKING
milliseconds. (A constant problem of the designers
has been in creating meaningful visualisations of
the action of the system which relate closely to the
audible impression.)
Once the filter has been calculated it is possible
to modify it manually, and this is often necessary
to lessen the severity or abruptness of the
correction in some bands. Coefficients can be
scaled, and the number of taps in each band
altered. The number of taps is also translated into
approximate `filter bandwidth' in an attempt to
relate to conventional parametric equaliser
terminology. As with many
listener- position-dependent digital filtering
systems (such as those found in transaural stereo
processors), it may be found that results may be
spread over a wider listening area by smoothing
the filter curve to some extent.
Subjective results
Once the calculated filter was downloaded to the
signal processor and stored in its memory, it was
possible to listen to the effect and compare it with
the unprocessed signal. This we did using a
variety of programme material. Although having
started out somewhat sceptical, we noticed
immediate improvements to the perceived sound
quality in a number of respects. Firstly, the
somewhat unsatisfactory frequency response of
the monitor loudspeakers had been improved
enormously, such that the perceived spectrum
sounded much flatter. Secondly, the stereo image
changed markedly.
The changes in image that were noticed in our
room tended typically to be that the width
increased and the image became less `mono'.
Phantom sources which were imprecise in the
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Studio Sound, March 1993
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unprocessed signal were sharpened up
considerably in the processed version, and the
whole image was more `lifelike'. Furthermore, the
impression of space and depth improved. The
problem with assessing whether or not the image
was closer to the `correct' image was discussed,
since this question assumes that it is possible to
say what the `correct image' should be! It was
agreed that, having heard certain items of the
programme material on better monitors in better
rooms, the processed image was probably truer
than the unprocessed. Certainly we preferred it.
The effect did not change markedly when one
moved off the `correct' listening position, although
it was best at this point. It was proposed that this
was possibly because the predominant
improvement in sound quality was due to the
equalisation of the direct sound from the
loudspeakers, and that the secondary room effects
were less marked because the room was not the
main problem. Had the speakers been better to
begin with it is likely that a less marked effect
would have been noticed and that it would have
been limited to a narrower range of positions.
Experience in other control rooms suggests that in
good rooms the system gives little improvement,
which is what one would expect, since there would
be little to correct in such a case.
Not only does the system have an effect on the
perceived frequency response, but it also attempts
to equalise the phase response of the monitor
chain, since this will be shown up in the measured
characteristics and may be modelled in the time
domain filter. This will have a clear effect on the
quality of sound, and was most probably an
important factor in the improvement of the stereo
imaging and perception of a clean sound.
Having listened to the filter's effect we decided
that some improvements could be made to the
sound quality, since we were not happy with a
small amount of coloration in the 2kHz -5kHz
region. Looking at the filter curves on the
computer it was noticed that some particularly
large deviations in the response occurred at this
point which we attempted to make less severe.
The result was a noticeable improvement in the
sound, showing that experimentation is still
valuable after the initial automatic measurement
and calculation. One could continue making small
adjustments until the optimum result is achieved.
Features
The processor consists of a 2U -high rackmounting
box with a remote control panel. The system may
be fitted with high quality A-D and D -A
convertors and -or digital inputs to AES or
consumer formats, and there is a meter on the
remote to indicate the signal level. The remote
allows the user to switch between four stored
filters, each of which may either represent a
different listener position or an alternative
characteristic, and the filters may also be
bypassed altogether. The processor also has a
phantom -powered input for the reference
microphone.
In order to set up and measure the room it is
necessary to connect a PC, which can be anything
from an XT- compatible upwards with 640k of
RAM, at least 2Mb of disk space and a half-width
expansion slot. If you do not envisage making any
changes to the filters after the system has been set
up, you do not need to purchase this additional
equipment.
A basic system could cost around £4,000 in the
UK, while the full-blown rig might cost around
The
2-i_ HN
GEN:
1.
Lil_i4_i<
A
£8,000. In Europe this depends of course on things
like the prevailing exchange rate, since Sigtech
are an American company. The prices are
therefore comparable to the purchase price of a
good -quality pair of monitors, and one might say
that the money could be better spent in this
respect, but it is likely that modifications to the
acoustics of the control room would cost
considerably more than this, and thus money
might be well spent on such digital correction.
Since most people cannot get rid of their mixing
console, some compensation for reflections from its
surface could be considered valuable. It is also
possible that mobile control rooms could be
improved considerably by using such a system,
since these can be very poor acoustically.
Conclusion
The AEC 1000 system is intended to correct for
certain deficiencies in the acoustics of the
monitoring environment which are known to be
key factors influencing perceived sound quality.
When tested in an average control room with
average monitors, it appeared to make significant
improvements in the quality of the perceived
sound. Whether it would do so equally well in
other studios is something which must be assessed
on an individual basis, but these initial tests bode
well for at least some improvement in many rooms
where the conditions are less than perfect.
Cambridge Signal Technologies Inc, l
Kendall Square Building 300, Cambridge,
MA02139, USA.
Tel: +1 617 225 2442. Fax: +1 617 225 9034.
UK: Audio Design, Unit 3, Horseshoe Park,
Pangbourne, Berks RG8 7JW. Tel: 0734 844 545.
Fax: 0734 842 604.
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Smaller and
cheaper than its
popular
predecessors, Urei's
latest compressor limiter drops into
the signal chain of
Jim Betteridge
UREI LA
The LA22 is a new stereo
compressor-limiter from Urei -their first
new model since the 1178. I wonder if
there is a single mainstream recording
engineer in the Western world who has not used
or at least heard of a Urei 1176 compressor or its
stereo counterpart, the 1178? Launched back in
the 1970s, these peak limiters have been largely
impervious to the tide of industry fad and fashion
and are still firm international favourites.
There has long been a number of cheaper,
smaller alternatives to Urei's products on the
market but it seems that, though simple in
concept, the task of designing a compressor that is
quiet, easy to use and transparent is far from
easy-certainly on a budget basis. Though not
exactly cheap, (at £714 plus VAT in the UK) the
LA22 is very reasonable by Urei standards and
offers many more features than the 1178 (at £1200
plus VAT). The first question to address then, is
how the saving has been made -have Urei been
cutting corners?
Certainly, the LA22 does not look or feel
anything like its legendary kin. It is only half the
size (1U-high) and is covered with small, rather
lightweight plastic knobs and buttons, with small
inscriptions that require both good lighting and
good eyesight to be discernable. Simply put, it is
not as serious looking. The initial reaction to this
tends to be one of disappointment for those of us
expecting something as spacious and robust as the
older models. I am assured, however, that the
internal components are of the `highest quality',
and with rack space generally at a premium in
modern control rooms, the compactness is
arguably worth the price of having to look before
you twiddle.
Smart slope
It seems that Urei are using the term Smart Slope
to mean soft knee, and indeed, in the great
American tradition, this unit is a soft -knee -type
device. This is not to be confused with the entirely
different issue of peak and average detection
circuitry: a new and strangely titled knob has
appeared on the face of the LA22 between the
Threshold and Attack controls which allows
continuous adjustment between average and peak
detection. This intended to allow the engineer to
match the transient- legato nature of the
programme -and it works, making it possible to
trade off between smoothness and peak
suppression when leaning on a sound.
Continuously variable Threshold, Attack,
Release, Ratio and Output controls are all in place
as would be expected, and there are a couple of
extras. One is an Auto setting engaged by moving
the Ratio pot counter -clockwise through a
switched position. This simply fixes the Detector,
Attack and Ratio settings as some generally useful
values and makes the Release time dynamically
programme dependent. This is unlike some other
compressors where the Auto mode will involve
automatic adjustment of both attack and release
times, and allow user control of the ratio. This
latter arrangement seems a more comprehensive
one, but I have to say the LA22 sounds very good.
Metering is via two large, clear,
horizontally -mounted LED bargraphs per channel.
One for gain change, the other switchable to show
input or output level. If it is showing input then
an associated LED glows green, if showing output,
red. All very good.
Each channel of the LA22 has a parametric
filter that can be switched in and used in the side
chain to trigger full- bandwidth compression, or it
can be applied so that only that part of the
spectrum is compressed, allowing the rest of the
programme to pass unaffected. This latter facility
allows a much more subtle and creative control of
programme material. Obvious applications would
be de- essing or tightening the bottom end of a mix
without pumping the mid and top. A momentary
push button allows you to listen to the output of
the filter, as with frequency-conscious gates.
Another unusual feature is that, at the touch of
a button, the compressor can be turned into an
expander and whatever you were squashing gets
lifted instead. In conjunction with the filter, this
SIGNAL LEVEL 0e
GAIN CHANGE 0S
allows dynamic enhancement of part of sound's
spectrum giving an effect unlike EQ or normal
spectral enhancement. This I found very
appealing as an overall control of a individual
sound or a mix.
A peak limiter sits at the end of the chain to
catch any spikes that get past the compressor. The
threshold for this is alterable via a small,
recessed, uncalibrated screwdriver adjustment on
the front panel. For permanent PA installations
this is no doubt a good idea as it largely precludes
casual tampering -although you can always use a
pot lock with an ordinary control. For a studio it
rather depends on how you operate. If you have a
maximum peak line level that you want to allow,
then it makes sense to simply cap the line source
in question at that point. If you are looking for
flexibility, however, the lack of quick access and
calibration may prove problematic.
Odd buttons
A particularly odd piece of design is the
positioning of the STEREO LINK button on the rear
of the unit. Again, this is okay for `set and leave'
applications in clubs and in-house PAs and so on,
but the thought of ferreting around the back of the
rack and forcing my arm through a tangle of
audio, MIDI and mains leads in search of said
button when I simply want to inhibit a few peaks
in a mix brings tears to my eyes. The other odd
thing is that, unlike with most other modern
designs, even with this button pushed, both sets of
controls remain active and the manual tells you
that you must set both identically to achieve a
true stereo performance. Odd.
Apart from the STEREO LINK button already
mentioned, the rear panel houses a standard
e
gtiin
SIGNAL LEVEL dB
LA-22
UNTER
oL,L0011
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Neo
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Urei LA22: Obvious applications would be de-easing or tightening the bottom end of a mix without pumping the mid and top
60
Studio Sound, March 1993
AND THE NEW
!IND SOUND PANNING
Q SICK, FOR LOGIC Z.
'"Th-NIIEYE
AND THE
CORN DIGITAL CONSOLE.
AND THE
4 LAYER L061í I WITH
24 OUTPUT AUDIOFILE.
(What a mix).
It will all be on the Siemens Stand at AES.
The very best in mixing and editing equipment from AMS Neve, this extraordinary
selection has never been seen together at a
major European exhibition before.
The Logic 2 Digital Console, with
Surround Sound Panning, the 4 layer Logic I
with 24 output AudioFile Spectra both make
their European debut.
As if that wasn't enough, we've also
included the Capricorn Digital Console, VR
Legend
with Flying Faders, and the Neve
Broadcast Series 55 Console.
See you on Stand (A2 /A3).
We promise we'll make room for you
somehow.
AMS
NEVE
A
S
I
E
M
E
N
S
C
O M
P
A N
Y
AMS Neve Plc, Billington Road, Burnley, Lancs. BBI I SES, England.
Telephone: 0282 457011. Fax: 0282 39542.
THE CUTTING L
/l ll/1111///////////
////
For TV or Film Audio
Post the Euphonix CSII
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The new System
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Margarita Mix, Hollywood - 56 Fader CSII
The CUBETM digitally
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AUDIO
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Montreal - 56 Fader CSII
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IEC mains socket two electronically balanced
XLR inputs and two transformer balanced outputs
-plus a pair of barrier strips providing EQ
outputs and key -side chain inputs. As most of us
have opted to use'/4 -inch jacks for such things,
this comes as something of a surprise. The idle
majority will undoubtedly think at least twice
before bothering to make up a pair of strip looms
to try these facilities. On the other hand, what
user of racks does not hate jacks? It is so horribly
easy to inadvertently tug one very slightly out if
its socket while making other adjustments to the
rack setup, and then to find something is wrong
without realising where the trouble is likely to be.
Not so with barrier strips. Once they are screwed
down they are screwed down, and in balance I
have to say I fully approve. (While on the subject,
the current trend towards using non-latching
female XLRs on the rackmount units -such as the
LA22-negates one of the big advantages of XLRs
over jacks -they do not slip out.) If you want the
filter to act in the side chain, the relevant
terminals must be linked. This does present a
certain lack of flexibility in that, if you want to use
the filter for limited band compression, the link
must be removed. A switch would have been a
better alternative, although squeezing it onto the
front panel would be difficult without going to a
2U -high unit. Of course, taking everything via a
patch bay is the solution.
switch on the rear panel and then not being able
to control both sides from one set of controls is
off- putting. Also, having the peak limiter
threshold on an uncalibrated recessed screwdriver
adjustment is a bit unnecessary. If you want to
stop tampering you can always use a pot-lock and
the screw -on perspex cover supplied by Urei
should discourage all but the most tenacious
fiddler. The knobs are also a bit flimsy and the
dual concentric covers tend to come off in your
hand (a common problem). These points are the
more frustrating because it is otherwise so able. It
is much more than just a dual- stereo
compressor-limiter and undoubtedly is very useful
item to have in the rack. You might also want to
have a simple and immediate stereo- capable
limiter below, however, so you can quickly knock a
few dBs of a mix when the client's screaming that
the cab's waiting.
Otherwise, this is a great little unit with just a
few flaws, which may or may not be important to
you depending on your application.
JBL Professional, 8500 Balboa, Boulevard,
Northridge CA 91329, USA. Tel. +818 893 8411
UK: Harman Audio, Mill Street, Slough, Berks.
SL2 5DD Tel. 0753 576911.
`The LA22 is quiet
and transparent in
operation; though
perhaps not quite
as see -through as
the more expensive
Urei 1178'
version of the LA12.
In summation, the LA22 is quiet and
transparent in operation. It is noticeably better in
both these respects than the standard cheaper
alternatives, though perhaps not quite as
see -through as the more expensive Urei 1178-but
then, I am a fan.
Also on the positive side, the
frequency-conscious compression is definitely
interesting to play with and offers such obvious
advantages as being able to tighten up a rampant
bass end without pumping the mids and highs,
plus other wilder effects that might be
experimented with for individual sounds. Also,
being able to flip from compression to expansion of
a frequency band opens up all sorts of possibilities
for accentuating certain `spectral events' in an
individual sound or (possibly) a mix. The
average -peak detector adjustment is also a
definite plus and far from esoteric -you can hear
the difference and make a trade -off between
smoothness and peak suppression.
On the down side, having the STEREO LINK
The range
For the sake of completeness I should tell you that
the LA22 is the top of a new range of three units
that also includes the LA10 and LA12. What
differentiates it from the LA12 is on -board
filtering, while the LA10 is basically a mono
JIM BETTERIDGE has been in the
audio industry for over 18 years,
which have been divided between
time as a professional musician,
training at Advision Studios and time
as Odyssey Studios' Operations
Manager. He also helped set up the
first City and Guilds recording course
(at the Polytechnic of North London)
and now runs his own Copper Blue
postpro studio in London England.
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It's simply the best
ADAT is the world's most powerful modular
digital multitrack recording system available now
or in the foreseeable future.
This is not an extravagant claim on our part, but a
consensus of opinion from thousands of delighted
owners and members of the press worldwide.
Here are a selection of their informed comments:
"In terms of future reliability, ADAT's solid
construction and attention to detail make a bold
statement about the company's commitment to the
pro market." Mi.Magazine
"We did what any engineer worth his or her salt
would do to a shiny new toy: we tried to break it the transport never flinched."
"We can't find any reason not to love ADAT."
"ADAT works great, sounds amazing, and is
priced right. That's good enough for us. We're
buying in." Electronic Musician
"Affordable digital multitracking that doesn't
require a mind -bending learning curve to access."
"This is a product that, when held up against
virtually any musico-techno achievement of our era
should - and undoubtedly will - hold its own, if not
set a few new standards. We're sold, we're jazzed,
and we're getting one (or two or three) for
ourselves." Keyboard Magazine
"My review unit has passed every test I could
throw at it."
"Tell you what. If you buy one and don't like it,
give it to me, and I'll add it to the stack. I'll even give
you album credit and pay the freight." Ee
"It is usually bad practice to bounce tracks and
record the mix to an adjacent track - yet such
problems do not concern ADAT at all."
"Playback seemed identical to the CD with no
tape noise, no hiss, no hum ... nothing but the pure
sound." Home & Studio Recording
"In fact ADAT is probably easier to use than the
average VCR"
"ADAT is good enough to be used in pro studios
whilst being affordable enough to be found in the
better-off home studio too."
"If you had any reservations about the recording
medium, the quality of circuitry that Alesis would be
providing for the price, or anything else, put them
aside. This is no-compromise digital audio."
1
1992
ADAT Worldwide Network is a trademark of Alesis Corporation.
VHS is a registered trademark of JVC.
:
R:
WINNER
RECORDING DEVICE
OF THE YEAR
1992
WINNER
RECORDING PRODUCT
OF THE YEAR
iloRrof`
8
TRACK PROFESSIONAL DIGITAL AUDIO RECORDER
LOCATE
1
SET LOCATE
2.1
LOCATE 2
AUTO
LOCATE 0
AUTO PLAY
no doubt about it!
"Alesis have made a very sensible decision to use
an existing tape format, namely S -VHS. Tapes are
easy to come by and are not likely to become
"I'd say they're in with a strong chance of making
ADAT the standard against which other systems are
measured." Music Technology
"Being an inquisitive sort of person, I couldn't
resist the temptation to whip off the top cover, and I
was impressed by the build quality. Internally, the
machine appears to be very soundly constructed."
"The very success of ADAT as an engineering
exercise must sound the death knell for analogue
tape machines in this sector of the market."
"It is impressive that a relatively small American
company should bring such a project to fruition
before any of the Japanese multi-nationals."
"Alesis deserve their success - they've certainly
earned it. Finally, do I want one? No way, I want a six
outmoded."
'With ADAT, you just plug in and go; the slave is
virtually always in the same place as the master, so
the time taken to lock up is usually three seconds or
less."
"As far as sound quality goes, I was quite happy
that the ADAT was the equal of my Sony DTC1000ES."
"I feel confident in saying that future musicians
and engineers will look upon it as a milestone in
audio development."
"ADAT is showing the Sonys, Mitsubishis, and
Otaris of this world that there is another way of doing
things. Well done Alesis." Recording Musician
pack." Sound on Sound
"ADAT will undoubtedly find its way into many
professional applications, simply because the sound
quality is good and it works with the minimum of
fuss."
"It is admirably chunky, in a heavy -gauge steel
case, and if you open it up you will see real build
quality."
Furthermore, the American Professional Audio
Community admire the ADAT so much that they
have awarded it not one but two coveted TEC Awards
for technical excellence including `RECORDING
PRODUCT OF THE YEAR'.
Need we say more?
Please send for free information pack
Sound
Technology
plc
Sound Technology plc, Letchworth Point, Letchworth, Hertfordshire SG6
ALE5is
STUDlOEIFCTT#ClVICS
1
ND Tel 0462 480000
Fax 0462 480800
X)
,
8
track digital recording on S -FHS tape.* Expandable to 128 tracks.* 1b bit
linear conversion at 42. ?kHz to 50.85kHz continuously variable * internal
independent synchronisation.
Plus, with optional BRC remote control:
Individual rack and machine offset * Digital routing and track t ouncing
SMPTE in /out all standards.* Video sync.* MIDI
-
As one of Europe's leading suppliers of professional recording equipment, we think we
recognise a revolution when we see one.
The amazing Alesis Adat is that revolution and we are delighted to have secured good stocks
of what is sure to become an industry stancard in digital recording systems.
For a full demonstration or immediate despatch call the people who know.
Stirling
071 -624'6000
Stirling House, Kimberley Road, London NW6 7SF
D OWN HOLYWOO D WAY
Yasmin Hashmi
and Stella
Plumbridge tour the
postproduction
facilities in Los
Angeles to take
stock of their
experiences with
current
direct -to -disk
recording systems
runs Earshot Inc and rents
space in film postproduction studios
Hollywood Way. At the time of our visit
he was using Soundfirm's EDI- Tracker
on the film Free Willie
story about a boy and
his relationship with a killer whale. In his
capacity as supervising sound editor, Chau was
using EDI- Tracker to cut the whale vocals, from
above to beneath the water. He maintains that the
system is very useful for auditioning, finding the
best sound and quickly syncing it to picture. This,
he adds, greatly helps in
demonstrating his work to the
director.
Chau is originally from Australia
and is no stranger to tapeless
technology. Back home he used
Sound Tools for cutting gunshots for
the film Quigley Down Under
(starring Tom Selleck) and he may
be considering purchasing Pro Tools
for sound design applications. There
are, however, inevitable differences
between making films in Australia
and in the USA. For example, Chau
points out that in Australia crews
tend to be smaller but have more
time to edit and fewer subsequent
changes are made. By comparison,
in Hollywood nearly half the time is
Tim Chau
-a
Chau notes that there is still a fair amount of
resistance to the technology- mainly due to
reservations concerning operational control. He
argues, therefore, that if a system is to appeal to
the film sound editor, that it must be designed by
someone who understands how sound works with
film.
Hence his enthusiasm for EDI- Tracker and its
touch screen, which he claims is almost like
handling film. Furthermore, the terminology and
layout have been designed to be familiar to
sprocket film editors -Chau only took around
three hours with training assistance (no manuals)
to become sufficiently conversant with the system
to start editing. He adds that no time was wasted
in having to adjust to new terminology and that
the storage capacity of his system (nine hours)
was more than sufficient.
At the time of our visit, Chau had had the
system for four months and was acting as a beta
tester for Soundfirm. Having his system connected
via modem to the company's head office in
Australia meant that should he experience any
difficulties, the office could call up the same screen
and diagnose the problem, send notes and -or
transmit a software update.
Hollywood Recorders specialise in TV
commercials, movie trailers, ADR and sound for
film and some of their better-known clients
include Saatchi and Saatchi, NBC Colombia
Pictures and Paramount. The company was
started in 1981 with just one room-they now
have seven production rooms as well as transfer
rooms and, as one would expect, have built up an
enormous sound effects library over the years.
Their first AudioFile was purchased in 1989 and
has since been upgraded to a 16-channel
AudioFile Plus. This was followed by the addition
of a further two 16-channel Pluses and the
company was the first in the USA to purchase the
Spectra user interface as well as the Exabyte
archiving system.
Hollywood Recorders' President Barry Skolnick
maintains that the AudioFile was chosen because
of its proven track record and because it has
become the industry standard. As a result, the
company have stopped buying tape and virtually
everything is now done digitally and transferred
to DAT, which is increasingly being used by
clients. AudioFile operator and engineer Sonia
Castro has a background in music and had no
problems in moving across to random access
editing. She points out that the pressure to change
over to digital comes from the competition-the
technology provides clients with more choice and
they are increasingly demanding to use it. Castro
voices her enthusiasm for the new Exabyte backup
system which she claims is the best update so far,
being much faster and allowing selective loading.
In addition to the AudioFiles, Hollywood
Recorders also have three 8- channel Digidesign
Pro Tools systems which are operated with
JL Cooper's CS -10 and are located in other rooms.
Skolnick explains that these are used on less
demanding sessions for advertising and simple
sweetening applications. He adds that, although
his personnel can operate both Pro Tools and
AudioFile, it is usual for them to specialise in one
or the other since each operates differently and
requires a different approach. Editor John
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spent changing what has already
been done; Chau suggests that this
leads to inefficiency, particularly if
conventional editing methods are
used. However, he believes that
systems such as EDI- Tracker are at
least able to considerably ease the
burden of constant changes, although
An AMS Spectra has gone to Hollywood Recorders
67
Brady was working on a TV commercial during
our visit and was using a Pro Tools in conjunction
with an Otani MTR90 24 -track tape machine. He
stresses, however, that he tries to keep as much of
the work in the system rather than lay-off to tape,
but in some cases this is necessary if the work
consists of multiple versions, for example.
Skolnick suggests that the choice of Pro Tools
had as much to do with the fact that the system is
Mac -based as with its capabilities. The company
already has experience with the Apple Mac and
clients often use them for typing scripts.
Furthermore, the company use a Mac network for
scheduling and billing purposes (including
emergency scheduling by top management from
home) and, at the time of our visit, Skolnick was
planning to install a high -speed network for
real -time transfer of sounds from the central
library database to local systems.
Also at the time of our visit, Hollywood
Recorders were the only facility to have an ISDN
line, which they had just had installed in order to
use EDNet. This is a networking service provided
EDN (Entertainment Digital Network) who are
based at Skywalker Ranch. It allows compressed
audio to transferred in real time to other users on
the network via digital telephone lines, and
Hollywood Recorders intend to use it instead of
the more costly satellite uplink. Skolnick explains
that Los Angeles has a large talent pool and the
usual procedure is that the talent comes to
Hollywood to perform and last minute changes to
commercials which are then transmitted to
regional radio stations simultaneously via 15kHz
analogue signals using satellite.
Skolnick goes on to describe how, since the
introduction of satellite, strategic alliances have
been formed between various companies across
the USA and he envisages that these will increase
once a common format has been agreed. As far as
using EDNet is concerned, Skolnick cautions that
using highly-compressed audio can have
unpredictable results if used with editing systems
such as AudioFile, however, the AC -2 format used
by EDNet uses less compression and can be edited
without problems.
David Cantu runs a company called New Wave
Productions and permanently hires two rooms at
the Sound Research Corp (SRC). He works almost
exclusively for Disney, postproducing versions of
commercials for their films. He was also
instrumental in the decision by SRC to purchase
two SSL ScreenSounds, one for each room. Cantu
explained that he opted for ScreenSound because
of its screen display which he describes as having
a similar feel to a Moviola (due to the tracks
moving in a vertical rather than horizontal
direction) and because the system's display and
operation is client interactive. He stresses the
importance of this instilling confidence in clients
because they like to know what's going on.
He added that ScreenSound's ability to provide
automated level control and internal mixdown has
reduced the cost of his operation -he only needs a
cheap mixing console and his 24 -track tape
machine is only used for archiving. Both rooms are
almost identical and linked via SoundNet. This
allows each room to work on a different version of
the same project at the same time, which Cantu
finds essential since Disney are currently
producing around 40 feature films a year and
sometimes require as many as 45 commercials per
release, plus versions for Europe and the rest of
the world. Cantu describes how the system has
increased the speed with which he can get work
done, and also provides him with the flexibility to
II PRETHÉTING
MIX
AMIX
try more things out and get a better result. He
adds that clients now expect to work faster and
that on average, he can turn a 30- second
commercial around in just two hours.
Cantu maintains that, although eight tracks
are enough for his needs, they do require tighter
editing and premixing. He adds that this
discipline reduces the demands on the final mix
which is transferred to one 1 -inch and two' /4-inch
tapes at the same time. Furthermore, the use of
SoundNet means that a major synchronising
system is not necessary for this purpose. Another
advantage of SoundNet is that it allows him to
take advantage of the total recording capacity
(currently 12 hours) of his multiple disks, which
apparently are constantly full, since projects are
usually handled over a two to three -month period.
Cantu's particular configuration uses four disks
in total. In order to avoid confusion, each
ScreenSound is assigned a working disk and each
pulls information off a third disk which is common
to both and is reserved as the source disk. The
fourth disk is reserved for emergencies where a
client may unexpectedly require unusual material
to be loaded quickly. Cantu stresses that the
system's background loading is a bonus and
means that operation does not need to be
interrupted. He adds, however, that loading does
take a certain amount of discipline and
anticipation and in order to simplify the
organisation of his archive, he uses one backup
tape per project.
Cantu also reveals that he is currently involved
in developing a proprietary modem called Land
Pass in order to transfer video and audio directly
to Disney for immediate approval, rather than
waiting up to 30 minutes for a courier to make the
drop. This may seem like a display of impatience,
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For more information on the 300, or any other
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Stirling
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Kimberley Road, London NW7 6SF 071 624 6000
fl/a aP%P//PI ri /í/n
but Cantu explains that deadlines are tight-for
example, they have to get their satellite uplink
before 1pm in order to avoid an additional charge
of $40,000. He adds that Land Pass could also be
used for remote narration, rather than having to
wait for talent to turn up at the facility. With
today's economics, the emphasis is strongly on
producing the same amount of material in less
time and -or cutting costs. Cantu underlines this
by claiming that ScreenSound has halved the time
it takes to complete a job and, at the time of
visiting, Disney already reckon to have saved
around $2 million by using Cantu's service.
Pacific Sound Services is part of the Lower
Pacific Media Corp and currently uses
12 WaueFrame 400 systems (aka CyberFrame).
The Corporation provides 70-80% of the services
to the TV show, movie of the week and sitcom
market, the majority of such services being
picture- based. Pacific's Manager of Operations
and Engineering, Ethan Bush, explains that part
of the Corporation's plan is to expand its
postproduction facilities and to apply new
technology to motion picture product. When the
electronic postproduction of audio was examined,
there seemed to be nothing appropriate to their
type of work available, so they specified a product
for which Cybermation were to design the user
interface to run on WaveFrame's existing
system-hence the development of CyberFrame
and Pacific's use of the system. Bush goes on to
describe how the system employs tried and tested
film postproduction techniques and is tailored to
the customer's needs, rather than expecting the
customer to learn something completely
unfamiliar.
Bush explains how the EDL from the picture
editing process is used to autoconform the
dialogue track, eliminating the need to lay off to
tape. The supervising editor and ADR editor sit
with the client and spot the show (which sounds
are to be used, which dialogue is to be replaced
and so on) and then programme the ADR, Foley
and handwritten notes into the system. The
programme is then given to the dialogue editor
and sound effects editor(s) who cut exclusively on
the WaueFrames. The system is also used to
record directly using preprogrammed ADR and
Foley notes and as the primary playback device on
the dubbing stage. Bush admits that there has
been a degree of resistance to the technology,
however, once editors see what it can do and are
willing to learn, they are quickly converted and
can quickly master the system's operation.
For offline spotting and preparation purposes,
Pacific use a couple of IBM PCs which only run
the editorial software and have no audio
capabilities. These are networked and can transfer
editorial data, spotting sheets and cue sheets to
the other WaueFrames. The three systems on the
dubbing stage are usually arranged so that one
will play sound effects, the other ADR and
dialogue and the third backgrounds. Bush points
out that this allows access to individual cues so
that they can be quickly moved if necessary. In
addition, if a large number of simultaneous replay
channels are required, any of the systems can be
tied together in the machine room.
As far as the takeover of WaveFrame Corp by
Digital F/X is concerned, Bush is confident that
the system will benefit from the new company,
since they have cut manufacturing costs,
increased development funds and have better
marketing.
Brian Banks, on the other hand, has a little less
confidence in his system. Banks owns an NED
Synclauier and PostPro and is perhaps one of the
most experienced Synclauier users in the world. In
conjunction with British producer Steve Levine,
Banks is currently building a new studio which
consists of two main rooms, each with the same
mixing console and sharing a machine room.
Banks will specialise in sound design while Levine
will be geared towards preproduction and
arrangement for film and TV. Banks suggests that
had he had warning of the company's troubles, he
would not have purchased the PostPro and will
probably look for an alternative disk -based
system. He is, however, heartened by the fact that
the system's development may be continued by the
new owners consortium, but warns that if it is not,
it may only have a competitive life for another
couple of years.
In the meantime, he is still happy to use his
Synclauier because he maintains that there is
currently nothing on the market to match the
system's audio quality and creative sound design
capabilities -the only effects he occasionally has
to buy are real sounds such as those of animals.
Since the system's purchase in 1982, it has been
kept completely up-to -date by regular upgrades.
This, Banks argues, has given him continuity of
operational control while maintaining the most
powerful creative platform available.
Under the name Sypha, YASMIN IIASHMI
& STELLA PLUMBRIDGE operate a UK -based
independent consultancy to manufacturers and
users of disk -based audio -video editing and
related systems. Sypha was established in 1988
and has published The Tapeless Directory and
various market studies, as well as regularly
contributing to Studio Sound.
There are any number of stereo DAT recorders
on the market, but if you need the true profes-
sional capability of individual 2 -track recording,
there is only one choice
It
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really is the most professional DAT recorder. Apart from
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that makes it about the easiest machine to use. And we'll back
Stirling Audio Systems Ltd
Kimberley Road
London NW6 7SF
Tel: 071 624 6000
Fax: 071 372 6370
it up with the best after -sales support in the business.
Where else can you get such
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Dual Domain Audio Testing
Don't
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In studios and labs, on benches and factory floors, in
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is the System that works. Hardware and software refined
to match the application produce both superior performance and superior reliability as demonstrated by our
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THE RECOGNIZED STANDARD
System One is known the world over as the recognized
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Straightforward features and stored sample audio tests
make System One easy to use. Color graphic test results
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GO/NO -GO testing against limits and test sequencing with
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System One is a completely integrated digital and analog audio test system. By combining all the necessary
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The integrated System One offers premium specifications and performance, but at no premium in price
compared to lesser test sets or equivalent separate
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Our worldwide force of Audio Precision representatives
will be pleased to provide further information and an
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Optional FASTTEST & FASTTRIG DSP capabilities test any
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P.O.
Box 2209
Beaverton,
OR 97075 -3070
503/627- 0832,800/231 -7350
FAX: 503/641 -8906
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTORS Australia: IRT Electronics Pty. Ltd.. Tel (61) 2 439 3744 Austria: ELSINCO GmbH. Tel (43) 222 812 04 00 Belgium: Trans European Musk NV. Tel (32) 2.466 5010 Bulgaria:
ELSINCO. h. e. Strelbishle. Tel (359) 92 581 698 Canada: GERRAUDIO Distribution. Tel (416) 696-2779 Chins. Hong Kong: A C E (Intl) Co Ltd Tel (852) 424 -0387 Czech Republic: ELSINCO Praha spot s r. o..
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Hungary: ELSINCO KFT. Tel (36) 112 4854 India: HINDITRON Services PVT. Tel (91) 22 836 -4560 Israel: Dan -El Technologies. Ltd Tel (972) 3344 -1466 Italy: Audio Link s n c Tel (391 521 -598723 Japan: TOVO
Corporation. Tel- (81) 3 (5688) 6800 Korea: B &P International Co.. Ltd Tel (82) 2 5461457 Malaysia: Test Measurement d Engineering Sdn. Bhd.. Tel (60) 3 734 1017 Netherlands TM Audio B V.
Tel (31) 034 087 0717 New Zealand: Audio d Video Wholesalers. Tel (64) 7847 -3414 Norway: Lydconsult. Tel (47) 9 19 03 81 Poland: ELSINCO PoISka sp. z o o.. Tel. (48) 122) 3969 79 Portugal: Acutron Electroacushca
9414087 I 9420862 Singapore: THE Systems Pte Ltd Tel (65) 298 -2608 Slovakia: ELSINCO Bratislava spot s r.o., Tel (42) (7) 784 165 South Africa: SOUNDFUSION. Tel (27) 11 477.1315 Spain:
LDA, Tel (351)
Telco Electronics, S. A.. Tel. (34) 531 -7101 Sweden: Tal d Ton Elektronik AB. Tel' (46) 31 80 36 20 Switzerland: Dr W.A. Gunther AG. Tel (41) 91041 41 Taiwan: ACESONIC Intl Co.. Ltd.. Tel (8861 2 7t9 2388 United
Kingdom: SSE Marketing Ltd.. Tel (44) 71 387-1262
.
.
.
.
1
.
1
1
1
DEGRADATION PROCESSES
ENGINEER
OPERATOR
AGEING
1
ORIGINAL
SOUND
ROOM
ACOUSTICS
MICROPHONE
TRANSFER
FUNCTION
DESK
LEADS
PRESSING
CUTTER
CLEANING
RECORDED
SOUND
DAMAGE
Fig.!: An example of the process history of a sound recording
DSP AND AUDIO RESTORATION
How can DSP be
applied to audio
restoration and how
does it improve on
analogue processes?
Dave Betts &
Gordon Reid of
CEDAR explain
There are an infinite number of processes
which affect human perception of sound;
what, then, should be the aim of the
audio restoration engineer? The archival
viewpoint suggests that we should present the
listener with the most authentic reproduction of
the original sound that can be obtained. With
more modern recordings, the ensemble sound
often never exists except as reproduced off of the
recording medium -many parts of it have
GOOD SIGNAL
restoration algorithm. For example, if the
uncorrupted signal is a violin solo, you may wish
to include the sonic characteristics of a violin in
your algorithm. Such assumptions should then
enable the algorithm to differentiate between the
effect of the degradation process and the good
signal, and these differences can be used to
regenerate the good signal from the corrupt.
Problems will arise when your assumptions fail.
The assumptions therefore limit the number of
recordings to which your algorithm can be applied.
A musical signal is random in nature, as are
most degrading processes. Information theory tells
us that the mixing of two random signals
represents a loss of information, and that a perfect
restoration is then impossible. A restoration
algorithm therefore has to generate the `most
probably never been through a microphone.
Therefore the objective of the commercially
minded restoration engineer is to generate a
recording more appropriate to the intended use.
This use might be to please the public palate, or to
accurately represent the sound of an era. Every
restoration has its own criteria.
The algorithm designer is responsible for
creating the facilities with which the engineer
generates new recordings from old. He does this
by developing and implementing algorithms which
remove unwanted sounds and effects present on
the old recording. (The stage after restoration is
enhancement, where the algorithm gives the new
recording desirable characteristics not contained
in the old one.)
Algorithm Design
likely' good signal given the information available.
Curiously, such an algorithm represents an
additional loss of information about the degrading
has removed most of it. This has
action
important implications for further reprocessing
should a better algorithm become available: it is
almost always better to work from the original
recording rather than from an earlier processed
version. A good example of this is found when
restoring the crackle found on 78rpm records:
while the signal may only have a bandwidth of O.
Any degradation process can be conceptualised
into the elements shown in Fig.2. A restoration
-it
algorithm uses assumptions about the behaviour
of these elements to restore the good signal from
the corrupted signal and the quality of the
restoration depends upon the quality of the
assumptions made in the algorithm.
Consequently, if you can glean more information
about a recording, you can devise a better
110
SIGNAL
TRANSFER
FUNCTION
CORRUPTED SIGNAL
IMP
DISTURBANCE SIGNAL
Fig.2: Degradation of a sound signal
INPUT SIGNAL
SAMPLE
HIGH PASS FILTER
&
HOLD
OUTPUT SIGNAL
COMPARATOR
4
THRESHOLD
Fig.3: Simple analogue declicker circuit
Sl
1000 -
-
I
-1000 -
-
-2000
'
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
Original
1000 -
-
-1000 -
-
-2000
Example
50
1:
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
`Sample and Hold' with high -pass click detection.
1000 -
¡
0
-1000 -2000
Y
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
Example 2: Straight -line interpolation following scratch detection algorithm.
1000 -
-
-1000 -
-
-2000
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
Example 3: Low order interpolation following click detection algorithm
1000 -
-
-1000 -
-
-2000
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
Example 4: High order interpolation following click detection algorithm.
12kHz, the crackle will have a full 22kHz
bandwidth, so low-pass filtering (which may offer
a subjective improvement in signal quality)
removes a lot of information that the restoration
algorithm can make good use of.
The final test for any algorithm is the human
72
Studio Sound, March 1993
ear. The questions to ask are: (i) Does the
algorithm affect the perceived signal quality? (ii)
Upon what range of material will it successfully
work? (iii) Have the disturbances been
removed-reduced? (iv) Have any processing
artifacts been introduced? (v) Is there an
acceptable trade -off between the above points?
While a digital sound signal can be made into a
perfect reproduction of a band -limited analogue
signal, there are sonic processes that are native to
each domain, and each can only approximate to
the other. For example, the digital
implementation of a simple RC filter only
approximates to the theoretical analogue
response. The advantages of the digital
implementation are: (i) That it is well behaved.
(ii) That the mathematical theory involved is more
representative of what happens in the real world
whereas the mathematical language developed for
analogue circuitry is itself only an approximation
to the response of the components.
There is an enormous range of DSP devices
available to the algorithm designer. They can be
divided into two classes: fixed -point processors
and floating -point processors, each with their own
benefits and disadvantages. However, there are
some algorithms that cannot be efficiently
implemented on a fixed -point DSP, and a
floating-point processor is then more applicable.
The basic performance measure of a DSP is its
processing power, measured in MIPS (Million
Instructions per Second) or MFLOPS (Million
Floating Point Operations per Second) for fixed
and floating-point processors respectively. A more
powerful and more flexible DSP can be used to
implement more algorithm ideas than a less
powerful or flexible one, but the developer pays for
this extra usability in price and complexity.
The most easily understood example of signal
restoration is 'scratch and click removal'. Many
methods exist to remove these degradations:
signal muting; channel swapping; sample and
hold; linear interpolation; and complex
interpolation. Each of these offers a balance of
advantages and disadvantages.
Declicking:
a case history
Perhaps the most trivial declicker is a thorn
needle, but this exhibits too many deficiencies to
be of interest to a modern audio engineer. Two
more acceptable analogue devices that have
successfully addressed the declicking problem are
the Garrard MRM -101 and the Packburn
Switcher.
The simplest analogue solution is embodied in
the Garrard MRM -101 Music Recovery Module.
Developed in the mid- 1970s, this uses an
electro-optical fader which, at the precise moment
that a click is detected, attenuates both channels,
thereby reducing the volume of the click. (This
approach has also been utilised in the digital
domain. When an error correction system is
unable to cope with high density or long data
errors in a signal, many digital systems, such as
the Sony PCM -701, will mute.)
The duration of the Garrard 'mute' (actually a
high -speed fade-out and fade -in) is a minimum of
2.5mS and has to be greater than the scratch
length. Therefore, even a small number of mutes
affect perceived sound quality and, since the
method only seeks to reduce the total energy of
the degraded signal it does not restore the
underlying signal. In addition, it is only applicable
when the energy contained within a click is very
much greater than the energy within the signal.
The most sophisticated analogue click -removal
algorithm currently available is used in the
Packburn Switcher. Using two sources of nearly
identical signals (the opposite groove walls of a
monaural record replayed using a stereophonic
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INTERPOLATOR AND
INPUT SIGNAL
DELAY LINE
OUTPUT SIGNAL
SIGNAL MODE
GENERATOR
CLICK DETECTOR
THRESHOLD
Fig.4: CEDAR click removal system
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cartridge) the Packburn monitors for the cleanest
signal, and switches the output source between
groove walls as appropriate. This removes larger
clicks but, like all non-digital solutions, is unable
to distinguish small ticks from genuine signal
components. Also, the Packbum assumes a perfect
monaural source. If the groove walls differ
significantly, or suffer degradation
simultaneously, then the assumption (and
therefore the Packburn) fails. Any stereophonic
content in a recording will also seriously reduce
the effectiveness of the Packburn.
With the advent of digital technology it has
become possible to implement ideas that could not
be realised using analogue electronics. The
simplest of these is sample and hold (s &h). In
many ways s &h is the same algorithm as used in a
perfect muting system. However, instead of
creating a signal plateau at zero amplitude, it
assumes that a plateau at the level of the most
recent valid signal will be closer to the true signal.
But while s &h removes the largest manifestations
of clicks and scratches, the resulting waveform
contains many audible `bumps' and `pops'. Many
digital audio devices use s &h in error correction,
and many of us are well acquainted with the pops
and thumps produced by domestic CD players
(which switch to s &h if large amounts of audio
data are corrupt). While these low-amplitude
thumps may be preferable to the high- amplitude
clicks of the untreated data, the signal will show
signs of severe break -up if the density of errors is
high. Many listeners complain that the artifacts
and side effects of s &h are more unpleasant than
the clicks that they have replaced.
Whereas CD data corruption is detected using
an analysis of the error status bits, s &h click
removal can also be implemented as a single
ended application, with click detection based upon
a simple high -pass filter which detects
high-frequency transients above a amplitude
threshold. (Fig.3)
This detection method is most suited to large
clicks, and at low thresholds is prone to mistaking
genuine high -frequency components for clicks,
causing the algorithm to suppress high- frequency
components within the signal. Perversely, it is the
large clicks (which the system can most easily
identify) which least fit the model of the s &h
restoration process. (Example 1.)
It is worth noting that CD players have four
levels of error correction. Perfect correction is
possible in many cases through analysis of the
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TABLE
1
Algorithm
Computational information
requirement used
(Samples)
Muting
0.4 MIPS*
0
Packburn
2.0 MIPS*
nia
Sample & Hold
Linear Interpolation
Low Order CEDAR
High Order CEDAR
0.4 MIPS
1
0.6 MIPS
2
2.0 MFLOPS
6
25.0 MFLOPS
120
*Estimates of the equivalent digital implementation.
-and the next conceptual stage following s &h -is
error status data; linear interpolation is used for
short duration errors that cannot be perfectly
corrected; sample & hold is used for severe
degradation; and audio muting is applied in the
very worst cases.
The next simplest computational calculation
linear interpolation. In this algorithm the
corrupted data is replaced by a straight line
between the last good sample and the next
available good sample. This method is impractical
in the analogue domain, but relatively
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straightforward in the digital domain.
Example 2 depicts such an interpolation. The
audible result of this method, known as
`concealment' or 'averaging', is less offensive than
the sample & hold method, but suffers from low
frequency artifacts and a reduction in audio
bandwidth over the interpolated region.
The CEDAR DC-1 Declicker uses the principle
of signal causality: a good signal waveform is
influenced by what comes before it and influences
what comes after it. Clicks, however, are not
predictable in this fashion. The DC-1 can measure
the influences around a click and then use them to
replace the damaged signal with the best possible
approximation to the original signal. However,
this assumption is only good for resonant sounds:
the CEDAR declick algorithm could be used to
replace digital errors from CD's, but could not be
used to replace damaged bits in a fax
transmission. The degradation mechanism in
these two examples is the same, but the fax signal
does not fit the assumptions used by CEDAR.
Fig.4 shows a schematic of the CEDAR
Declicker. The Signal Model Generator is the
process which measures the local influences, and
this information is then used to detect clicks
(signal which does not fit the model), and then
replace them with generated signal which does fit
the model.
The more information that can be analysed, the
better the interpolation and detection can be. The
DC-1 has a parameter called `Order' which
determines how many samples are used in
creating the local signal model. For the purposes
of comparison, we will consider two `orders';
3 (6 samples used) and 60 (120 samples used); and
presented the results below.
The low -order interpolation (Example 3) is
visibly and audibly better than the previous
examples. However, the imperfections in the
interpolation are still audible, so while this is an
improvement, the results are still far from perfect.
The algorithm's performance is better on short
clicks, and, for small numbers of clicks per second,
the process is nearly inaudible.
Example 4 shows an order 60 interpolation of
the signal. This interpolation is nearly
indistinguishable from the surrounding signal,
and is good enough to fool the human ear in
almost all cases. So, while the algorithm is not
perfect, the results are good enough for many
applications.
Table 1 shows the estimated computational
requirements for the various algorithms outlined
above, assuming they are all performed in real
time.
Conclusions
The advent of digital audio technology and DSP
has made it possible to implement audio signal
processing algorithms which are not possible
using analogue technology. These algorithms are
capable of modifying a signal for many restoration
and enhancement purposes and, as shown in the
case history, offer significant improvements over
earlier analogue techniques.
Further developments in DSP technology will
lead to increased processing capabilities, higher
throughput speeds, audibly better, and more
cost -effective solutions.
This article has been extracted from a paper
presented at the AES DSP Conference
(14 -15th Sept 1992) by Gordon Reid and
Dave Betts.
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MiniDisc on location
Dear sir, no doubt many sound engineers and
producers are viewing the domestic format war
between Digital Compact Cassette and MiniDisc
with professional disinterest, and would dismiss
outright the use of either for professional
recording purposes. But having myself used a
MiniDisc machine as a tool for certain professional
acoustic music recording purposes for the last
couple of months, I can report that it can in fact
have a part to play. Its potential stems from the
would
nature of the tape -free recording format
ask you to focus for the moment on that before
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quality.
I work with the more cost -conscious classical
musicians, agents and record companies, where
much of the bread -and -butter work consists of
-I
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preparing demo tapes from recitals and short
location sessions. These are mastered direct to
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cassettes, which are still the most widely
acceptable medium. Additionally, a modest
number of session are for CD release. In either
case, it is of course prudent to have some form of
backup of the master tape. While this must be a
second DAT if a digital release is envisaged, for
other purposes the last word in backup sound
quality is not so crucial. My initial purchase of the
MD machine was to replace a miniature portable
DAT machine I had been using in this role whose
sound quality was perfectly adequate for the
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project is completed) deteriorated quite rapidly
and had to be binned after just a few outings. This
was especially true if the backup machine had
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during the sessions to avoid the risks inherent in
rewinding the master- who'has never in their
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recording before the next take? Noting the claim
that MiniDiscs can be reused at least a million
times, the format seemed ideal for this purpose,
and so it has indeed proved to be. After an initial
purchase of a few boxes of discs (which I will
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In this role I have found the little MiniDisc
machine much more useful than I had expected.
For session work, it makes even the rapid access
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at base, the speed of access is a real aid to the
selection process. The MD machine appears to
allow up to 999 index points per disc, whereas
most DAT machine allow only 99 unambiguous
index points per tape; so one can index every few
staves of music or so on MD adding further
efficiency to the review process. Meanwhile, the
DAT master need not be rewound. You have to
work quite hard to over -record the MiniDisc,
which automatically relocates to the next free
location on the disc when the record button is
pressed. I have also used the MD to rapidly
produce compilations from sessions, putting
related takes side -by-side on analogue cassette for
the musician to consider at home. This is done far
more quickly with MiniDisc than even the use of
DAT would allow one to achieve. For CD sessions,
I now use a pair of full-sized DAT machines for
master and backup, but replay on location is from
a third recording made on MiniDisc, once the
balance and quality have been established by DAT
replay. The DAT machines and the MD machines
both record the time of day and, if their internal
clocks are synchronised before starting work, one
can correlate a point identified on one to the same
point on another.
The aspect of the MD machine which was totally
unexpected, and which seems not to be generally
appreciated, is that it has an editing function
made possible by the buffer intended to avoid
skipping when the machine is jogged. If the
machine is programmed to play, say, tracks 1 and
3, the jump from one to the other is instant,
inaudible and glitch- free -one can often hear the
slight whirr of the laser relocating up to ten
seconds in advance of the jump.
I suspect that a short crossfade is performed in
memory. The track IDs to allow this can be
inserted when recording -helpfully, the machine
accounts for reaction times and inserts the IDs
about a second earlier in the program than the
point at which the button is pressed, by use of the
same buffer memory. They can also be inserted
later, during replay, when the point can be
identified to within about a quarter of a second by
hitting the pause control-there is no noticeable
delay in this response. Unlike DAT, track
renumbering is instant; deletion and re- insertion
to adjust location is quick and simple.
In practical use in the context of recital recording,
this has enabled me non -destructively to edit out
tuning between works or movements, and those
periods when the artist recovers briefly backstage
from the rigours of performing one work before
tackling the next, directly on the recording
medium itself (the MiniDisc) without having to
resort to lengthy copying operations from DAT to
DAT or via an editing system. This facility can cut
this particular part of the job down from a couple
of hours to a couple of minutes. Short of heaving
around a full -size hard disk recording system
(with about 1.2Gb disk) to locations, there has
What does
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SPAIN - Paraiso 34 -6588 -9254
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79
hitherto been no other way of doing this. I have
also used this editing feature on speech with quite
acceptable results, and even on music on one
occasion in order quickly to prove to a performer
that an edit I was suggesting would work in terms
of tempo and dynamics, prior to executing it
properly on a computer -based editing system back
at base.
Of course, none of the above would be of any use if
the sound quality of MiniDisc was unacceptable
for the purpose. My more golden -eared colleagues
might disagree, but I would be very surprised if
they could reliably identify material copied to
analogue cassette using Dolby B from DAT as
opposed to material copied from MiniDisc. When it
comes to replay at sessions direct from MD, none
of the musicians I have worked with so far have
objected to the sound quality of the MD replay,
once the basic sound quality and balance have
been established direct from DAT. After that
point, they are listening to the accuracy of the
performance and quality of interpretation rather
than to the finer points of the sound quality, in my
experience.
There is a downside
have to say that I am
disappointed in the level of background noise,
which seems to be equivalent, subjectively, to a
chrome tape with Dolby C, and passages such as
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those involving prominent brass can sound grainy
in the upper frequencies. Occasionally the
machine develops a mind of its own and refuses to
co- operate, and on a single non-critical occasion it
lost its `table of contents', effectively erasing the
whole disc (a hazard with any hard disk system). I
have experiences nothing equating to a dropout
but did once experience a half-second skip, which
was probably preferable to the former if one had to
have a fault at all.
Perhaps we may soon see full-sized MiniDisc
machines allowing the use of higher grade
components to improve the sound quality and with
larger connectors (perhaps someone will offer
retrofitted balanced inputs and outputs). Until
then I take the view that the present machines
are remarkably cheap when viewed as a portable
hard disk recording and editing system; they take
up very little space on location or in the studio and
can perform a role which is very costly to
accomplish in any other way. Just think what
could be done if the same magneto -optical
technology was applied to full-sized recordable
CDs without data compression.
Peter Nicholls, London, England
Channel Crossin
Dear sir, I hope you will find the following
comments of interest with reference to the article
in the December 1992 issue concerning the
recording of Verdi's Don Carlo. I began to read the
account of the Sony Classical recording of Don
Carlo with interest, but the more I read the more
confused I became.
It seemed that David Smith didn't know
whether the recording was multitrack or two
track! For the sake of clarity and to end any
possible confusion, I can tell him that the
recording was definitely not two track. There is a
simple way of telling (and I hope it is of use to
him): count the number of meters on the recording
machine. That will usually give you the number of
tracks available; assume that if it is more than
two, then you are probably recording on a
multitrack system!
Come on, Mr Smith, you can't have it both
ways-either you balance the sound properly on
the sessions, or you hedge your bets and do it
afterwards. It is common knowledge that you need
to have a certain commitment and lots of
experience if you choose the 2 -track option, since
alteration of the sound balance just isn't possible
afterwards.
The recording Sony made is not effectively a
two -microphone recording; it is, by a simple
counting procedure, a 16-microphone mix. So we
have a multi-microphone setup. Isn't it strange
that with all this equipment being available and
being used, only once is there mention of the
really important people on this recording, and that
is of the conductor.
I note that the final balance was decided by a
committee, and we all know what committee came
up with when designing a horse!
Thank goodness this wasn't one of the more
difficult operas. It is rare in my experience for so
much misleading hype to be written about a run of
rrl
---1
_FL
m
the mill operatic recording. But don't worry, there
is nothing basically wrong if you choose to use
multitrack recording equipment; lots of people do
it and still lead quite normal lives! The trouble
only really starts if you are ashamed of it and
begin to pretend that it is something else.
C/3
Allen E Stagg, Classical Music Audio
Consultant
S,
P.S. I wouldn't have used two microphones either,
although I would probably have used two tracks
but then that's experience.
-
David Smith Replies:
Thank you very much for your response to our
detailed description of the recording of Don Carlo
in the January '93 issue of Studio Sound.
The article was intended to be somewhat
neutral, touching on both the artistic and
technical aspects of the recording procedure but
leaning toward the more developmental aspects of
orchestral digital recording. Unfortunately the
tone of your response conveys several
misunderstandings.
While I cannot vouch for the degree of
controversy that exists in Europe with respect to
the subject of two track recording versus
multitrack recording, I can tell you that it is a
very sensitive and heated subject in the United
States. It is for this reason that my discussion
dealt with this point in depth. At no time did the
tone of the discussion take on a demeanour of
shame or pretence. The reason for the use of
multitrack technique on a project like this can be
elicited from any major recording artist or
executive, and that is insurance. With this project
costing some six figures to record and produce, a
multitrack backup is an automatic given.
As the assistant engineer for this project I can
accurately inform you that the orchestra has been
recorded and appears on the CD through two
microphones and two microphones only. Yes the
soloists have their own microphones, but the
intent of the 2-microphone discussion centred
around the fact that the orchestra in the room was
recorded with a single pair of TLM 50s quantised
to almost 19 bits.
The actual balance is established by the
engineer with the approval of the producer. The
conductor is listening more for performance than
balance so the actual balance is arrived at
traditionally, not by committee. As for the
question of experience, the producer (Michel
Glotz), and engineer (Christian Constantinov),
have extensively produced and engineered
recordings by Herbert Von Karajan, Maria Callas,
Sir Thomas Beecham, Placido Domingo, Jose
Carreras and Edith Piaf.
I hope that this brief missive has cleared up
some of the points that you found unclear.
David Smith, Director of Recording
Operations North America, Sony Classical.
Letters should be addressed to:
The Editor, Studio Sound Magazine,
Spotlight Publications, Ludgate House,
245 Blackfriars Road, London SE19UR
3
N
C E
E
state of the art among stereo microphones today
A
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CONTACT
AUS I de audio
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81
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digital bits needed to record the play stereo by at
least 75 %. The first generations of coding and
decoding microchips are very power- hungry, and
neither company have yet been able to produce the
small, light and reasonably -priced portable units
which the record companies see as a new
opportunity to sell yet more prerecorded music to
play on the move.
Philips have solved the power problem by
offering only a large mains- powered DCC recorder
while Sony are selling a portable, but it is too large
to fit in anything other than an overcoat pocket.
in
3,000
worldwide,
10,000
people
employ
company
Harman in the UK), because Taiyo do not know the Sony's MD also runs for only a short time on one
Japan, with plants in Singapore, Taiwan, Korea,
charge of its nickel-cadmium cells. Exactly how
size of the market yet and have not set up their
the Philippines and USA, as well as Japan. Taiyo
long varies with use.
have seen the consumer electronics industry shrink own distribution chain.
In the US, Sony vaguely promise playing times
Discs are pregrooved in three time -lengths, 18,
and are looking for new opportunities. The
`Up
to two hours' and a recording time of `Up to
are
of
Taiyo's
engineers
minutes.
But
and
74
brand
63
named
That's
the
oddly
introduced
company
1.5 hours'. In the UK Sony are paying safer, and
working on a disc which matches the maximum
of audio tape in the 1980s and began work on a
promising 75 minutes of continuous playback and
time allowed by the Red Book standard for CD,
recordable CD in 1985. The CD -R was announced
one hour's recording, from fully charged batteries.
in late 1988. The trick was to make a disc with dye 79 minutes 59 seconds.
These times are reduced if the player is stopped
Taiyo are also watching the
polymer coating which deforms during recording in
and started. As the NiCads develop memory effect
very
closely
because
struggle
versus
-MiniDisc
DCClike
a
pressed
then
plays
way
that
the
disc
such a
from use, the times will fall further.
they are developing an erasable version of the
CD on any CD player which meets the Red Book
Sony UK are also playing safe and claiming that
write-once disc.
standard set by Philips and Sony. The deformation
the MiniDisc portable is `shock resistant' no
We have to do it,' says Andy Ishizaka. `We are
are not reversible so the disc is `write once' and will
pushing our engineers. Because then all ball games `shock-proof as previously claimed. The digital
not erase.
decoder inside the MD portable player incorporates
a
change'.
few
months
after
followed
a
Taiyo's move
a 4Mbit solid state memory store, which acts as a
How soon?
promise made by Tandy to sell an erasable CD,
buffer when the player is knocked. This holds
`That is still up in the air.'
called Thor. Tandy never delivered and quietly
the player is knocked for
10 seconds of music
But no doubt is left that once the technology is
gave up on the project in mid-1992.
more than 10 seconds, the music stops because the
ready Taiyo will launch it, because once either
Taiyo successfully delivered its write -once
buffer has not been able to re -fill.
DCC or MD gains a foothold the window of
system, secured patents on the technology and
Recording onto disc is more convenient than onto
opportunity for CD-E will have closed forever.
struck a co- licensing deal with Philips and Sony.
tape because the player can search for musical
The Philips -Sony Orange Book standard defines
passages faster. But users must pay for this. The
oth the new digital audio recording
the physical method of recording. Philips make
cost of the blank magneto-optical discs on which
systems -Philips' Digital Compact
Orange CD-R mechanisms which they sell on to
MD records is now set at £9, instead of the £7
Mini
Disc
rival
and
Sony's
Cassette
discs
on
All
the
for
badging.
other manufacturers
planned, and the recording time has fallen to
-reached the shops before Christmas.
the market (such as those from TDK) are based
Sony only just made it for December 15th with very 60 minutes, from the 74 minutes promised. This
upon Taiyo's technology, and all are compatible
makes disc recording around twice as expensive as
limited stocks of MZ-1 recorders (at £500) and
with the Philips recorder.
pressed Mini Discs (around 30 titles ratting around tape recording.
Kodak's Photo CD is also based on the same
Sony promise 74- minute discs in the spring, but
technology. It is an `application format' designed by in large racks, for between £13.49 and £14.29). The
DCC900 came in during November at £550, and by no price is yet set. Sony's engineers say the extra
Kodak and Philips which builds on the Orange
14 minutes can only be achieved by coating the
mid-December there were around a couple of
Book physical format, and the Frankfurt Logical
64mm disc to the extreme outer periphery, and
hundred titles at between £13.99 and £14.79.
format (a data layout agreed by the computer
running the disc slightly more slowly. At reduced
Both systems showed obvious signs of being
industry to allow the exchange of data between
speeds, however, any blemish on the surface of a
rushed onto the market to try to get ahead of the
incompatible computer systems). Blanks for the
disc becomes more likely to causes errors in the
other. But neither company dared trust the other
Photo CD application will not work on Orange
read -out.
to hold back until the technology is more refined.
Book audio decks, because the vital pregroove
The technical bugs will, of course, be ironed out,
Although the systems are quite different and
(which guides the laser during recording) is coded
given time. Who knows which system, if either, will
wholly incompatible, both Sony and Philips face
with different software from that on an audio
survive. But already the die is cast. Things in the
one common technical problem: DCC and MD rely
blank.
audio industry will never be the same again.
on data compression, which reduces the number of
Taiyo are clearly greatly interested in Kodak's
As systems, DCC and MD have another thing in
activities -wanting to know, for instance, where
the ability to make perfect digital copies
common:
how
they
look
their
discs
and
Kodak make
of CDs. There is a strong incentive to do this
alongside Taiyo's patent claims. Surely Kodak
because prerecorded DCCs and MDs cost as much
would not risk a rerun of the horrendous legal
or more than the equivalent CDs. Sony own record
action in the US which followed Kodak's
company CBS and, quite naturally, do not want to
infringement of Polaroid's patents on instant
be seen encouraging people to pirate music.
a
Kodak
over
action
cost
cameras?
That
picture
Consequently, the company are playing down this
billion dollars and forced the company's
benefit. Philips, however, are blatantly advertising
withdrawal from the instant picture camera and
that `with a blank DCC, you can make a digital
film market.
copy of your favourite CD, or make your own
Taiyo see that Kodak are going all out to create
customised `best of DCC'.
thus
CD,
and
are
market
for
Photo
a domestic
Philips say they feel safe to do this because the
obliged to set a very low price point for blanks. But
Athens agreement on copyright and SCMS
Taiyo are clearly appalled at Kodak's pricing policy
amounted to a clear promise by the hardware
and what it does to their own. Taiyo's pricing policy
companies not to oppose any claim from the record
is muddled because there is no recommended price.
companies for a tax on blank tape.
(such
as
local
distributors
are
through
Sales
meetings with Andy Ishizaka,
Managing Director of Taiyo Yuden's
European HQ in Nuremburg and
Ryosaku Sudo, Managing Director of
Taiyo's Sales Division in Tokyo, turned up some
interesting insights into how Taiyo came into the
audio industry out of nowhere and, having arrived,
where they are likely to go.
Taiyo are a components company, supplying
resistors and capacitors (not microchips), to
electronics factories around the world. The
My
Barry Fox
Power games behind
the scenes and
power- hungry
MiniDisc machines
-if
B
Philips are blatantly
advertising that:
`with a blank DCC,
you can make a
digital copy of your
favourite CD or
make your own
"best of" DCC'
83
YOUR NEXT CONSOLE PURCHASE MAY HAVE A
PROFOUND IMPACT UPON YOUR ART AND BUSLNESS.
SO LISTEN CAREFULLY, CHOOSE WISELY, AND
BE SURE
THE CONSOLE'S BUILDERS ARE PASSIONAL ELY COMMITTED,
POPULAR MYTH HAS IT THAT
highly tangible ways.
success in the music and recording
Speaking of
For instance, we
which, when compar-
business is a matter of luck, a
phase -correlate every
happy spin of Fortuná s wheel. Sure.
audio stage. Our star -
Fact is, if you've enjoyed any
grounded circuit and
boards, compare our
luck, an unwavering dedication to
module designs eat
prices. You'll find
your work likely made it happen.
noise for lunch. And
with D &R, your
When it's time for a new
we
mance with other
surround the com-
console, however, lots of people will
plete signal path with
court you for your money, but few
a custom -welded, fully
will share or understand the nature
shielded steel chassis.
of your passion. Does that matter?
These are just a
It should. For just like you, we
few of the make-sense
- passionately
- about what we do. It
ing our sonic perforh. Avat, uuaw yq«á
v,: o, thisça am ¡Usti, rnnJ nmpa,,,.
at D &R are serious
reasons why all D &R
serious
boards sound so quiet
money buys far more.
Far more perforRemember this
ad? We sure do.
Instead of airbrushing this
stunt, we carefully balanced
a half-ton D &R Avalon on
the edge of the Grand Canyon.
Like we said, committed.
mance. Far more
features. Far more
committed support.
To get to
the point,
far more console.
Now, if this
shows in the way we design and
and so accurate. (Ordinary designs in
sounds intriguingly rational, let's
handcraft our entire console range.
an aluminium chassis can't touch this
get to know each other. For our
Mere words, we know. So we
- and you can hear the difference.)
invite you to listen critically to any
console from any of our
Naturally, being rather
fervent in our passion, we have
worthy competitors.
features. Such as floating
price. Then apply
subgroups which we
your ears to one
pioneered, by the way).
of our consoles.
Full-band, "high -def
You'll hear what
equalisers. Extensive
thousands of D &R
sourcing. User-configurable
Our zealous
devotion to quality
goes beyond sonic
subtleties. It also
manifests itself in
crafting the finest consoles may
have a profound impact. Upon you.
come up with some inspired
Regardless of the
owners know.
passionate commitment to hand-
This crustacean understands grounding better
than some manufacturers
so don't be suckered. At
D&R, we employ a unique
stasground system. On each
circuit. On each module.
On evefy console.
-
aux send, monitor, channel, and
llo
D &R ELECTRONICA
B.V.
Rijnkacle 15B, 1382GS Weesp,
The Netherlands
tel (- 31) 2940 -18014
fax (- 31) 2940-16987
EQ signal paths.
All of which will
NORTH AMERICAN OFFICES
faster, more flexibly, and
D&R USA: (409) 588 -3411
D &R West: (818) 291 -5855
D &R Nashville: (615) 661 -4892
ultimately, more profitably.
D&R Southwest: (409) 756 -3737
inspire you to work
D&R handcrafts a wide range of mixing consoles for recording, /we sound, theatre, post-production and broadcast.
m
m
t is all but certain that the majority of
pro audio equipment prices will increase from
1992 levels but that the increases will
accompany significant improvements in
capability. The use of dedicated PCs and -or digital
audio workstations creates an area vulnerable to
price increases of computer components. And
computer components are headed up in price.
Demand for high speed and wider `bit' pathways in
CPUs has seen more powerful and more expensive
microprocessors become the norm.
Similarly, the demand for on -board RAM has
increased with the popularisation of computer
graphics, DTP, photographic and video applications
as well as for digital audio. With these demands
has come official scrutiny of chip `dumping' by
South Korean chip makers. US government action
at the end of 1992 targeted Korean memory chips
for additional tariffs, causing a significant rise in
the street price of RAM. Possible action by the new
President Bill Clinton, could further complicate
matters, as Japanese chip makers fall under
increased monitoring and possible action by
Washington. European Community action against
chip dumping is also waiting in the wings. As one
Brussels-based Eurocrat put it: `it is naive to
assume that our Asian friends are dumping chips
solely in the US'. Hard drive prices are also on the
rise as increased user capacity demands and
unprecedented computer product demand come
into play.
This year will see the advent of the most
powerful desktop processors yet. The Intel P5 or
Pentium will emerge initially as a plug-in option
for certain 80486 PC systems and could appear in
stand -alone PC products. Such a P5 computer
system could offer operating speeds approaching
100MHz. The Pentium chip and succeeding
generations of 'P' chips will also offer new
pathways for digital audio without the need of DSP
arrays on silicon. The DSP -less P5 will use
software to configure the microprocessor to perform
digital audio tasks at speeds in excess of anything
available today.
The P5 family will probably `max out' in the
100- 150MIPS (Million Instruction Per Second)
range, but successive P' developments are in the
pipeline. Intel's longer-term goals include reaching
2000MIPS at 250MHz by the year 2000. Sources
within the company suggest that 400MHz at levels
greater than 2500MIPS may well be achieved at
that time. The Micro 2000 chips may well exceed
100 million transistors, while the P5 consists of
millions of transistors. Contrast this with the 8086
chip (on which IBM built the original PC) which
comprised about 25,000 transistors. Operating
speeds were under 2kHz without hard drives and
only 64Kb of RAM.
Similar advances are occurring in the world of
Macintosh computing and beyond, as Apple and
IBM work with Motorola to create the PowerPC
chip for future desktop products. Others such as
Apple founder Steve Jobs' NeXT Inc. may also
collaborate. The PowerPC will be the basis for
Apple's new product lines and will include the
architecture necessary for future IBM
developments. Previous relationships involving
IBM have provided access to the MACH kernel
C-3
`goodwill' and `reputation'. These are unlikely to
Martin Polon
Our US columnist
takes a look at
1993 -and beyond
that is the basis of the NeXT-Step-and IBM are
considering that microkernel for the PowerPC.
That would mean a chip providing access to the
most attractive operating systems and
architectures in the industry for the creation,
recording, manipulation and editing of audio,
video, multimedia and graphics. Apple are
expected to present a PowerPC product with
UNIX-like capability operating at speeds
approaching 100MHz in 1994. Full Macintosh
operation would be available as emulation on the
system but the PowerPC operating system would
also be available.
The impact of all of this on the audio community
is clear. Virtually unlimited interchangeable
mass -market operating platforms priced from
under $5,000 with speeds unfettered by DSPs
and-or AD or DA convertors. This will allow
approaching audio performance six to ten times
faster than that achieved in 1990, depending on
the platform. Since 1990 chips were capable of
MIPS operations in the 'teens and the new chips
will allow MIPS operations in the hundreds, the
potential for audio recording when coupled with
the progress in large hard drives, tape backup
systems and large -scale RAM stores is more than
significant.
business issue that will continue to
significantly affect everyone is a
continued shortage of credit. Loan
money for those in the entertainment
technology sector is seriously limited for all but the
most cashworthy customers. Ever since the banks
found themselves in a deflating real estate market
and suffered the ill- humoured punishment of the
Federal bank examiners and regulators at the end
of the 1980s, studios, postproduction facilities,
multimedia houses and other similar production
venues have paid the price. Some audio equipment
makers have lost all or most of their open credit
lines to finance expansion, R &D or just to fund
parts purchases necessary to fill large equipment
orders. In 1993, despite the resurgence of financial
health at most banks, the priority of loan extension
still works against those in the audio industry. For
most, the terms `assets' and `collateral' are
frequently measured in such intangibles as
One
There is a sense that
rock music has
regained its
musicality
elicit more support from loan officers than they did
in 1992.
In the US, the impending ascent of a new
President from a long out-of-power political party,
with new ideas for the nation's economic ills has
significantly inflated public confidence from studio
owners to studio users. Ditto the posting of
improved retail returns during the Christmas
season, cheering many and increasing advertising
spend. This increase translates into more radio
`spots' and, hence, more studio time. Similarly,
consumer electronic retail reports from Christmas
were good and that should mean more public
demand for recorded music and more recording
sessions. However the economic outlook for 1993
remains mixed- although many `seers' are
convinced that the economic recovery is really on
the way.
Nevertheless, the outlook for studios is much
better than in recent years, and it is likely that
total studio billings will increase by approximately
10% from 1992. This figure comes in some degree
from increased activity with syndicated and
network programming for on -air television plus
increased numbers of cable and other transmission
system channels. As an example of how expanding
markets for TV programming benefit recording
complexes, consider that there are five new science
fiction television shows beginning early in 1993 on
US network television or via satellite syndication
to local stations, including a spin -off, Deep Space
Nine, from Star Trek: The Next Generation. These
shows are important to audio service houses since
they are frequently one hour in length with audio
production budgets closer to that of made -for-TV
movies rather than of half-hour comedies. All have
substantial post on sound and effects tracks and an
unusual (for television) appetite for elaborate
mixes and post sessions. Even if such work stays
within the smaller loop of established film industry
facilities, displaced projects will find their way to
new venues.
In addition, there is a sense in the greater music
industry that rock music has regained its
musicality; one critic calls it `message over
distortion'.The beginning of the 1990s saw huge
contracts awarded to established pop icons for
relatively few projects. The $200m plus committed
to Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and others
could have subsidised 10,000 new groups at an
average development cost of $20,000 each.
Assuming the likelihood of a 2% to 3% success
ratio, 200 to 300 new records would represent a
more satisfactory return. That would have
provided the recording studio community with
10,000 sessions initially and another 300 album
projects. And it would appear a safer investment
than that of aging superstars. One message of the
1990s is that the so- called supergroups or
superstars whose relative absence has been
mourned by record company moguls since the
demise of the Beatles and the Stones, no longer sell
10-15m albums.
Today's `heavy hitters' are fortunate to top 1m
units. Needless to say, this is partly due to the
music -buying population being nearly half of what
it was in the `boom' years at the end of the
85
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ost to everyone with an interest in professional
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1970s. Especially encouraging is the development
of a kind of musical `narrowcasting', curiously
similar to the sci -fi surge in TV. In 1993, record
labels will place significant effort into reaching the
specific buying populations. The music audience
has fragmented by distinctions of age, economic
achievement, regionalisation and interest.
Alternative labels are capable of having a
resurgence in 1993 and so are major label
`sub -culture' ventures. The under -$10,000 album
can succeed. Whether the new `mix' of pop music
consists of do- it- yourself Eric Claptons or Nine Inch
Nails, the music industry has a future that
encompasses diversity and that means more work
for the recording studios.
There are many indications that the CD in its
many current incarnations will withstand
whatever assault DCC and MD may mount during
'93. It is important to note that the CD has
achieved complete acceptance in the American
home, with nearly 50 million players installed
including portable and automotive players. What is
even more significant is that the CD is on the way
to achieving virtual commodity status in non -audio
storage of data, games, computer programs,
photographic images and educational information.
Some analysts estimate that by 1995, there could
be as many non -musical CDs sold as are presently
sold in various record outlets in the US. Foremost
amongst new uses is the Kodak Photo CD system-
Photo CDs can be
played on players
which also have
digital audio
with a sixth system waiting in the wings. The
Photo CD Master is for consumer storage of `taken'
photographic images. It can accommodate audio,
text, graphics and interactive branching. Pro Photo
CD Master is for medium and large-format images
captured by professional photographers. The Photo
CD Portfolio holds 800 images and/or one hour of
sound or a combination thereof. The Photo CD
Catalogue has the same options as the Photo
Master plus including Browser software to allow its
multiple-image capacity to replace large printed
catalogues. Photo CD Medical can store a variety of
medical images plus optional text, audio and
graphics. And Photo CD Record has been
announced to provide `economical' desktop imaging.
Photo CDs can be played on Kodak players
which also have digital audio, as do the new Philips
CD -I multimedia players and on CD-ROM MultiSession-XA compatible drives such as the new
Apple CD -300. The Apple drive can play audio CDs
directly to any stereo system (or as digital
information transferred to computer for editing),
HFS format discs, High Sierra discs, multi- session
Photo CD, CD -XA discs, CD+G and CD +MIDI
discs. Quicktime video `movies' can also be
installed on the computer via the drive for viewing
or editing. Similar capability is available on other
CD -ROM drives for DOS, Windows and OS -2 based
computer systems.
The bottom line is that the CD is becoming a
one-format, one -drive commodity in America in '93
that will allow you to watch movies on your
computer, load and play educational games, edit
your holiday photographs and record a
commentary, listen to Louis Armstrong, sample a
Rolling Stones song to put on your answering
machine and so on. The impact of the CD beyond
1993 will probably include full- motion video-for -TV
playback and the ability to record and play back
both audio and video in addition to the computer
options available today. This flexibility and
compatibility is a steamroller that cannot be
stopped, and it should propel the CD well into the
next century. The bottom line is that neither MD or
DCC can do any of these things and if the
qualitative audio differences between these new
systems does not tip the scales in CDs favour, the
quantitative power of the CD outside conventional
music reproduction will.
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NACH
Sam Wise tests the
Nagra D digital
location recorder
udelski with their Nagra series
recorders, ruled the world of serious
location sound recording for film, TV
and many forms of sound
documentary. The machines are reliable, produce
quality rivalling the best studio recorders, and
Kudelski are known for product support. I believe
that parts for the earliest recorders can still be
obtained. But time has moved on, and with the
advent of digital recording, the winner of the prize
for location recorders has yet to be determined.
Only a few months ago, we reviewed the Fostex
PD2 DAT recorder
fully finished product
developed especially for this use. Stella-who have
been the main alternative to the Nagraintroduced their StellaDAT some time ago. We
await an opportunity to examine that machine in
the near future. Recently, Kudelski have launched
their digital recorder, the Nagra D, which is the
subject of this review.
DAT has become the de facto standard for
master recording and field recording over the last
few years, though many are still concerned about
the delicacy of the tape medium. Tracks widths
are very small, approximating the thickness of the
human hair. And the best tapes, when new, are
made of a material which can oxidise (rust to the
layman), though at least one manufacturer has a
solution to this. And the whole system is very
susceptible to condensation when taken into
extremes of temperature. Over the next two
months we are examining these problems for a
future review of DAT tapes.
Kudelski, in designing the Nagra D have
stepped away from everyone else and produced
their own digital recording format. It resembles
DAT in that a rotary head recording method is
used, but in most other respects is different. The
main reason given for this is the relative delicacy
of the DAT format, rendering it unsuitable in their
opinion for location recording. The question is, will
they succeed with a product which is a lone
ranger, compatible with no -one else? Is the
machine good enough in other respects to repel
the competition, and does the potential increased
reliability from having a lower data density on
tape actually bring benefits in practice? The
open -reel format is not as easy to use as the DAT
cassette, and recording times are similar. Does
DAT tape inside a cassette perform less well than
an open -reel tape with wider tracks? Will the
-a
Nagra tapes last longer when stored, making
them preferable for archiving material? Even if
storage is better, do you want your material in a
format which no-one can replay except another
Nagra D? It is totally non -trivial to produce your
own digital replay machine, compared to the
relative ease of making an analogue recorder that
works, though it may not be the best of quality.
The other benefit which the Nagra D brings is a
4- channel recording format. A year or two ago,
this may have seemed unimportant. But now, with
proposed HDTV formats having four sound
channels, it will become increasingly necessary to
record ambience and surround material in the
field, along with the principal sound source. This
will bring nightmares to many film crews and
directors, who have trouble enough yet with mono,
but the need will arise as time passes. With four
channels, doing this is possible, with two it is not.
However, for the price of one Nagra D, two Fostex
PD2 recorders can be purchased. And the Fostex
machines can be synchronised, making 4 -track
location recording possible using two machines,
while providing a spare for stereo recording, and
First impressions
When the Nagra D arrived, I almost gasped. The
machine is nearly 50% larger than previous Nagra
machines and the Fostex and Stella alternatives.
It is also heavier, weighing in at 7.5kg, compared
to the 4.2kg of the competition. The Nagra D reeks
of Swiss precision engineering, being constructed
of the same beautifully machined parts that have
always been the hallmark of Nagra recorders. But
there is not even a clip point provided for the
attachment of a shoulder strap. This is definitely
not a machine designed for shoulder operation.
Internals
The machine is opened by loosening two retained
screws at the front of the case, allowing the top
plate to pivot upwards around two hinges at the
back. A simple brace keeps the machine open.
Internally, the machine is beautifully constructed
with watch-like precision. PCBs are securely
mounted, and clearly legended. Most electronic
components are surface mounted, with the
multiple PCBs connected by latching plugs and
sockets. The battery is mounted internally,
therefore, though the machine is well sealed
against the entry of dust and water, the entire
internals are risked if a battery must be changed.
With only 1 hour 45 minutes of battery life, this
must be expected. The battery is one of two types
used with Sony Betacam recorders, so should
Going it alone -the Nagra D and its proprietary digital recording format
C)
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m
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be easily available. Though the charging system is
said to be intelligent, a user changing a battery
has to know its state of discharge and inform the
machine via menus for correct charging to take
place. Unless this is correct, the manual says
`battery reserve indication will never be right'.
Replacing the battery itself is relatively easy. I
was told, though the manual specifically warns
against it, that the unit can be connected to
standard battery belts, relieving things somewhat.
To me, this machine can be compared to the mains
powered laptop computers referred to as
quggable', it can be carried and run off of internal
batteries, but in a rather limited fashion.
Operation
Generally, the machine is simple in layout and
operation. Two stereo AES -EBU digital audio and
four analogue input connectors of the XLR variety
are located on the left side, with matching output
connectors on the right -hand side. RS422 serial
remote control and Extension sockets using female
D -type connectors, a BNC for Video sync input,
and a 5 -pin Lemo for time code complete the
left -hand side input connectors. Each analogue
input is provided with a four- position rotary
switch which is used to select microphone
powering options. All have the same gain
including the one marked Line.
The right -hand side of the machine is completed
by two 6.35mm monitor headphone connectors
which share a five-position gain switch, and
another Lemo connector used for the connection of
external power supplies.The front edge of the
machine contains a PHASE reverse switch for each
channel, and a three -position filter switch having
LF attenuation correction for close directional
microphone use, and a speech band limiting
position. The resulting curves are shown in Fig.3.
The top of the machine contains the main works.
In normal use 5 -inch diameter' /< -inch spools are
used loaded with metal oxide tape, the same type
as is used on PD and DASH stationary head
digital recording formats. The tape path is
virtually straight, with one tape guide and tension
roller on the left, which is used as a tape counter.
The tape then passes over a full-track erase head,
and on to a record -playback head which handles
the Cue Control and Time Code tracks. The tape
remains in continuous contact with this head. It
then passes over two guides which are used to
wrap the tape around the rotary head mechanism,
and past a final tension roller on the right end of
the tape path. When the rotary head is spinning,
tape start takes about one second. When the
scanner (as Kudelski call it) is stationary, start
time is extended to about four seconds. The
scanner has four heads on it, two record and two
replay. However, unlike the Fostex DAT
machines, read -before -write is not provided,
making bounce-down of previously recorded
material impossible. Transfer or copying of
material from tracks 1 and 2 to tracks 3 and 4 can
be done using external connections via the
AES -EBU ports.
It is possible to rotate the reel motors within
the housing to allow 7-inch spools to be fitted,
doubling recording time. However, end -of-reel
sensing will no longer work, and a special cover is
needed which overhangs the machine, making it
larger. In addition, the machine can be switched
into 2- channel half -speed mode, doubling the
recording time.
A moulded plastic lid with weatherproof seal
can be closed over the whole mechanism, not only
protecting it from the elements, but also
quietening what might be an otherwise excessive
noise level generated by the scanner. Transport
operation is smooth, and controlled by a row of six
push button switches. Pressing PLAY waits for the
scanner to reach operating speed if it is stopped,
then activates the tape loading guides, wrapping
the tape around the scanner unit. Forward motion
then begins. Pressing FF or REW while in play will
move the tape forward or backward at four times
nominal speed, while monitoring takes place via
the cue track. Pressing EXE and PLAY together
enters edit mode, whereby turning the channel-4
digital gain control into a transport jog control,
MANUFACTURER'S SPECIFICATION
APE FORMA
Recording system
Monitoring
Tape type
Tape speed
Recording time
Rotary heads and
3 longitudinal tracks
Read after write
'h-inch (6.35mm) digital
tape
49.6mm/s for 2 channels
99 2mm/s for 4 channels
5 -inch reel (346 mm)
INPUTS -O
Analogue inputs
Microphone
Line
2Ch =2hr
4 Ch =
ihr
(Zin >8k52)
Analogue outputs
7 -inch reel (692mm)
2 Ch = 4hr
4 Ch = 2 hr
Variable speed
Search method
Start up time
approx ±10%
using longitudinal
analogue Cue track
from READY to REC
better than 2 sec
Winding speed
90 secs (for 5 -inch reel)
AUDIO PERFORMANC E
No. of channels
2 or 4
Sampling frequencies
32, 44.1 or 48 kHz
Analogue In -Out
18 bits
Signal -noise ratio
Better than 98dB
Frequency response
20 Hz to 20 kHz ±0.5 dB
at 48kHz sampling
Total harmonic distortion less than 0.05%
Wow and flutter
below measurable limits
Channel separation
80dB
Digital In -Out
24 bits (AES)
Error correction
Reed Solomon (38,34,5)
(12,9,4)
90
Studio Sound, March 1993
Switchable line of
microphone
4 XLR connectors
(switchable,
12V `T' power, phantom
+12V phantom +48V)
Symmetrical,
transformerless
Digital I -O
Time code I -O
External sync
Serial communications
Headphone outputs
Symmetrical,
transformerless on
XLR connectors
3.1V max (Z out = 5052)
AES (standard mode)
SMPTE -EBU
symmetrical (balanced)
PAL, SECAM, NTSC,
EXT, AES, TC
RS422 9 -pin
2 x stereo (Z out 2 x 470)?ÿ,
with stepped level
adjustment (1.45V @ OdB
no-load)
GENERAL
Power requirement
Battery type
Battery duration
Consumption
Internal battery pack
Betacam (4.5Ah 12V)
1 hour 45 minutes
External Dimensions
REC = 29W
13' ho x 13c/cx5c /cinches
Weight (inc battery)
(332mmx347mmx43mm)
8.5kg (18.71bs)
(LxWxH)
STOP = 24W
winding forward or backward at up to nominal
speed while monitoring on the cue track. Record
operates conventionally, with RDY being used to
start the scanner in preparation for a fast play or
record start. End -to-end fast wind time on a 5 -inch
spool of tape is 90 seconds. The quality of audio
from the cue track is very poor, serving its purpose
for cueing but is unsuitable for any other use.
Four analogue-type meters are provided, but
these are actually driven from a signal internally
derived from the digital systems. The response is
PPM-like, with a fast response and slow decay.
Meter range is 50dB, calibrated with respect to
digital full scale. The meter scale is acceptably
accurate, reading within 1dB of calibrated level
over the full range. Illumination is provided,
controlled by a three -position toggle switch, which
also controls LED brightness. Above each meter is
a green CAL LED indicating 0dB gain in the
channel digital gain control; a red REC LED
indicating active record mode; and a yellow
OVERLOAD LED, which illuminates when digital
full scale is exceeded. The meters also retain the
maximum level, which can be read by setting
another toggle switch to HOLD MAX. Pushing this
same switch up to RESET HOLD clears the stored
maximum level on all meters.
Channels are switched to record ready in pairs,
with further switches to select the cue and time
code tracks to ready. Normally, time code and cue
are recorded with the first recorded tracks, and
would be set Safe when the other two tracks are
added. Finally, there is an ASS-INS switch. In
assemble mode, the initial tracks are laid, and the
full -track erase head is active, erasing any
previous cue, time code, control and digital audio
tracks. Even with all of the above switches in Safe,
it is possible with ASS mode selected to erase
everything. The REC LEDs do flash to warn that
something is happening, but it could be a bit late
by then. In INS mode, the cue and time code
tracks must be Safe for Record to be activated. It
is not possible to punch -in or out on either pair of
tracks while recording.
Monitor selection switches allow the headphone
jacks to be fed from Cue, St (stereo), or Mono and
to be selectable between input and off-tape
signals. Cue can either created from a mix of input
signals, odd channels appearing left and even
channels on the right, or an additional cue
microphone can be plugged into the right side of
the machine overriding the other cue input
sources. In stereo or mono modes, individual
tracks can be selected on or off of the monitor, or
soloed in- place. Having both record and playback
heads, a further switch allows the machine to be
selected to monitor either inputs or off tape. A
further Auto position selects inputs on record and
off tape on playback automatically in the
conventional manner.
Menus
An 8- character alphanumeric display and
two- cursor control keys provide a menu system.
This is used to do things like select sampling rate,
time- code-type, analogue or digital inputs, setting
of counters and so on. Unlike a conventional menu
system which uses four cursor key functions L-R
and Up -Down, this system only allows selection of
right and down. Pressing both together executes
escape. Even after several hours use, we found
this menu system remained confusing, requiring
constant reference to the manual. While this
might be reasonable when setting unusual things,
it gets irritating when selecting between inputs, or
changing sampling rate. When considered with
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TABLE 1:WIDE -BAND NOISE MEASUREMENTS
DYNAMIC RANGE TO ANALOGUE OUTPUT
w
CC
4dB sensitivity
U
alogue input
U
W
22Hz to 22kHz
RMS
22Hz to 22kHz
92.0dB
91.0dB
93.6dB
87.0dB
80.3dB1
96.0dB
95.0dB
98.0dB
90.9dB
84.7dB
104.1dB
103.0dB
105.3dB
98.5dB
98.5dB
AVG
W
468-3
wt
Unwtd
alogue input
sensitivity
FS digital output
the fact that a discharged battery will result in
the loss of all settings, and that changing a
battery must be done within minutes to prevent
loss of data, it becomes even worse. Admittedly,
the buttons are larger than on the Fostex, which
certainly could not easily be operated with gloves
on, but there is room on the panel to fit something
better.
Input performance
The analogue inputs are provided with switches to
select microphone powering options. The Line
position does not in fact affect the gain, but
provides an input without powering. Other options
are 12V AB powering for Sennheiser microphones,
12V and 48V phantom powering.
The gain adjustment for the inputs is located on
the outer ring of the top plate- mounted channel
gain controls, one for each input channel. These
provide gain adjustment from +3 to -34dBu at the
input terminals to achieve a full -scale recording
level. For a full -scale recording, the level from the
analogue out is +12dBu, giving a maximum
system gain of 46dB and providing an output level
which equates well with standard professional
practice. Obviously, an effective sensitivity of
-34dBu may be inadequate for use with dynamic
microphones, however, there is a reason for this.
Assuming 18 -bit conversion, the machine has a
theoretical dynamic range of 108dB. A 200Q
resistor has an equivalent input noise level of
about -130dBu over an audio bandwidth, being a
fair representation of the minimum noise a
microphone could generate. Amplifying this will
soon generate sufficient noise to degrade the
machine's dynamic range. The logic is that there
is no noise penalty in allowing the recording of
low-level signals to fall -the benefit being
additional headroom. On replay, digital gain of up
to 32dB can be applied to bring the output up to
the required level. Adding digital gain on replay
will raise the output noise level proportionally, but
no more so than by increasing the input gain.
When we used the machine with a Shure SM58,
typical recorded levels with maximum gain were
-20dB, with -15dB recorded as the Max Hold
reading. This implies a total microphone gain of
about 50dB for full modulation. Assuming a
typical equivalent input noise for an analogue
mixer of -127.5dBu (average reading rectifier) for
a 200Q source, this would result in a recorded
noise level of -77.5dBu. Examining the Nagra D
108dB design specification, we would be led to
assume that with maximum gain on the Nagra
input, a further 12dB in the digital chain in
calibrated position, and a recorded peak level of
-15dB, that the signal -to -noise performance off
tape would be 81dB.
We tested the residual wide -band noise of the
inputs by setting the sensitivity at -34, and
terminated the input in the prescribed 600Q. This
gave the dynamic range figures in Table 1.
Subtracting the 12dB gain in the digital chain, the
recorded dynamic range using an average reading
rectifier was 104dB, approaching the theoretical
D
108dB dynamic range at the A
conversion
stage. While the manual mentions this 108dB
figure, the spec only says that signal -to -noise is
greater than 98dB, which is nearly met for system
noise when measured using an average reading
meter. The specification does not state the noise
measurement method.
Looking at this another way, taking the -15dB
recorded level into account we have a recorded
signal -to -noise performance of 77dB, matching the
performance of a good mixer. So far, so good.
Gain calibration markings are quite accurate on
both the input gain and digital gain controls.
Input overload occurs at a maximum input level of
+3dBu at minimum gain. There is no pad built
into the unit, better bring along an attenuator for
use under high signal level conditions.
The digital gain section has no effect on
recorded signal level, though the resultant
internal digital level is indicated on the level
Amplitude talk)
1.0
Ap
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0.0
-0.2
-0.4
-0.6
-0.8
-1.0
20
32 kHz
Sampling
100
1k
10k 20k
Frequency lH.)
Fig.2: Analogue into analogue out
frequency response. Output level is
referenced to 1kHz left channel output
level. Level at -4 on meter, line input. All
sampling frequencies are shown
Input CMRR (dB)
-30
A
-40
Fig.3: Effect of channel filters. Analogue
input, 48kHz sampling
-50
-60
THD+N(%)
-70
0.100
Ch 2
Ap
-80
Speech
L.
Fiw
AO.
-90
o
010
iiñiiöäii
-100
pÍIÍ1Ìlh
111
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--
-110
0.001
-120
20
100
1k
10k 20k
Frequency (Hz)
-130
T
20
100
F
1k
Frequency (Hz)
Fig.!: Input common mode rejection ratio (dB), line input
92
Studio Sound, March 1993
10k 20k
Fig.4: THD+N vs Frequency, 80kHz
bandwidth. Analogue input to analogue
output, channels 1 and 2. Input at full
scale, 48 kHz sampling. Note rise in
distortion at LF with the Speech filter in.
Distortion is mainly second harmonic
-musically pleasant
&
LEVEL
To improve audio metering
CORRELATION
-
;
PHASE CORRELATION
R^-
focus your attention on both key parameters of audio signals: PEAK LEVEL and PHASE
1119 DIN Version
mounted into case 1120
1134
British Scale Version
(Nordic Scale
Version: 1139)
Built -in Phase
Correlation Meter
Peak Programme Meter for
analog + digital audio
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18
RTW Peakmeter & Correlator
RTW
RADIO -TECHNISCHE WERKSTÄTTEN GMBH
Telephone (221) 7 09 13 -33
Telefax (221) 7 09 13 -32
D -5000
Köln 71
W.- Germany
P.O. Box. 710654
Austria: ACOUSTA ELEKTRONIK, Tel (662) 824627 Belgium /Netherlands: P.A.C., Tel (40) 510484 Canada J -MAR
Great
ELECTRONICS LTD., Tel (416) 4219080 Denmark: SC SOUND APS, Tel (42) 998877 Finland: AV-POINT ICS AB, Tel (0) 5611366 France: SCV AUDIO, Tel (1) 48632211
Britain: AUDIO DESIGN LTD., Tel (0734) 844545 Israel: H.M. ACOUSTICA LTD, Tel (3) 5590266 Italy: AUDIO EQUIPMENT SRL, Tel (39) 2000312 Japan: SANIX CORPORATION, Tel (3)
ELTRON
LTD.,
South-Africa
7025315
Japan: ONKYO TOKKI (3) 32083061 Korea DAESAN INTERNATIONAL INC., Tel (2) 7368442 Norway: SIV -ING BENUM AS, Tel (22) 145460
Tel (11) 7870355 Sweden: AV MEDIA AB Tel (755) 65498 Switzerland: AUDIO BAUER AG, Tel (1) 4323230 Switzerland: DECIBEL SA Tel (21) 9463337 USA: RECORDING MEDIA
Australia: SYNTEC INTERNATIONAL, Te (2) 4174700
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.
meters. The gain set on the digital gain controls
recorded on tape separately from the programme
material allowing later adjustment without
alteration of the recorded programme signal
While I can see some point in attempting to
protect the user from accidentally degrading
performance by setting the gain too high and
risking overload, it could be highly irritating to
anyone mixing or transferring the resulting tapes
when the replay levels are all over the place. A
conventional option allowing the user to drive the
tape harder would not worsen signal -to -noise
performance, and would provide a more consistent
off-tape level. In a way, this can be accomplished
by making up the gain using the digital gain
controls, but then the tape modulation level
cannot be monitored via the meters.
When higher output microphones are in use,
there is no protective limiter available on the
machine, nor are there any built -in pads, so the
risk of overload under these conditions is worse
than on a conventional machine. Input Common
Mode Rejection is shown in Fig. 1, reaching
-120dB at mains frequencies. This is only slightly
degraded by any phantom -powered setting and is
an excellent result.
Output
performance
The Nagra D will deliver a maximum output level
of +12dBu into high impedance loads, reducing by
1.2dB into 60052.The headphone level as delivered
will appear low to many users. This is set low to
prevent risk of lawsuit to Kudelski from users
damaging their ears. Internally, a link may be
altered to increase the gain if necessary to allow
for noisy recording conditions. A five -position
switch provides a variation in headphone listening
level.
Frequency response
As shown in Fig.2, the frequency response is
excellent, as would be expected from a machine of
this quality, reaching about -0.8dB at 20Hz and
-0.4dB at 20kHz from analogue input to analogue
output.
Fig. 3 shows the effect of the standard Nagra
low frequency (LFA) and Speech filter. These are
nominally identical to the filters used in Nagra
recorders for several generations. LFA usefully
corrects for the bass boost produced when working
close to a directional microphone, while Speech
gets rid of all low-frequency energy outside of the
voice range.
Group delay measurements were somewhat
strange, giving a series of unidentifiable dips.
Disregarding these, the delay is about 3.855ms,
remaining constant up to 20kHz. The filters are
truly linear phase in the sense that there is no
difference between the average delay of low or
high- frequency signals.
The units provides no emphasis setting, not
needing to be compatible with any prior standard
and having a theoretical 108dB dynamic range;
nor is any limiting provided. The Phase reverse
control works as expected.
Distortion and noise
The Nagra D has a THD +N which rises at low
frequencies as shown in Fig.4. Note that this is
worse when the FILTER switch is in the Speech
position. It is mostly second harmonic, so is
unlikely to be noticed. SMPTE intermodulation
94
Studio Sound, March 1993
distortion is below noise until signal levels reach
-5dBFS, rising to a maximum of 0.016%-no
problems here.
Modulation noise is low, as shown in Fig.5, the
distance between curves remaining less than 3dB
except for the lowest signal input. Quantisation
distortion is interesting, and unlike anything we
have tested to date. From analogue input to
output, channel one showed signs of minor
misadjustment, rising at lower signal levels. The
digital in to analogue out path, through the DA
convertors only revealed several steps, one
occurring at about -56dB below full scale, where
the change might be audible in the presence of
signal. This is shown in Fig.6.
A'/3-octave band noise sweep produced little of
interest, only a minor blip at 130Hz. An FFT noise
spectrum reveal evidence of clock noise at several
frequencies, but remaining below -108dB below
full scale in level.
Linearity and
crosstalk
Fig.7 shows the result of a linearity test from
analogue input to analogue output. This gives an
excellent result, being within ±0.5dB down to
-105dB signal levels.
Crosstalk is excellent, being below -90dB worst
case between any pair of channels at any
frequency.
Synchronisation
and time code
operation
A good selection of clock synchronisation facilities
are provided, allowing the machine to be locked to
video, external time code, external AES -EBU
signals, or a full range of internal timing options.
Though the machine will record and replay time
code, a synchroniser allowing this machine to
slave to a master video machine for editing
purposes is not yet available. When it is, it is
supposed to be relatively easy to install. A serial
control port is provided which is downward
compatible with AMPEX protocols. The test
machine was provided with a RS232 to RS422
adaptor and software called NADFACT which
runs on an IBM PC compatible. This allows
remote control of transport functions, the selection
of some items such as sampling rate, and the
display of various system diagnostics. Installation
of the remote control software was trouble -free,
and operated well. Unfortunately, the most of the
menu selections are not available via the remote
control link, and these are the most troublesome to
operate from the machine front panel.
Summary
Technically, the Nagra D performs well, certainly
as well as other location -type recorders, but
operationally, we found it disappointing. It is
large, has limited battery life with risky access for
battery changing, a mediocre menu system, and
unconventional gain control facilities with little
apparent benefit. Purchasers also have to weigh
up the risk involved with the single source nature
of this recording format. Having internal
microprocessor control, it should be possible to
modify the software to improve menu item
selection, and to provide some additional safety
interlocks on the recording system.
80
-85
-90
-95
-100
.105
-110
yy
-115
-125
500
Fig.5: Modulation Noise. The
'/3- octave
bandwidth noise level in the
500Hz -20kHz region generated by a
60Hz tone. Each curve represents a 10dB
step in input level ranging between
-100dBr and -40dBr. This exercises the
D -A through various combinations of
bits. The result indicates good linearity
and dithering
Du.ntlution Distortion
(dB,)
90
-92
-94
-96
-98
-100
-102
-104
-106
-108
-110
-100
-80
-60
-40
-20
0
Input Signal Level )dBFS)
Fig.6: Quantisation distortion 22- 22kHz,
digital input to analogue output. Input
is from digital generator with triangular
dither on the 18th bit. Note that steps
indicate that noise generating bits cease
to be active as the signal level drops.
Linearity Error (dB)
5
Ap
-4
-3
-2
-1
o 1iL\A
A
-1
-2
-3
-4
-5
-100
-80
-60
40
-20
0
Input Sign.) Lev.) (dBFS)
Fig.7: Analogue input to analogue
output linearity error. A very good
performance
On the plus side, this is the only location
recorder presently available with 4 -track
recording, and our forthcoming tests of DAT tape
and a comparison with the Nagra system,
combined with the reality of field use may prove
that the recording format has a robustness worth
having. If so, it will pay Kudelski to be cooperative
with anyone wishing to bring out a competitive
and compatible machine.
Nagra Kudelski
Switzerland.
SA, CH -1033
Cheseaux,
Tel: +41 21 731 21 21.
Fax: +41 21 731 41 55.
UK: Nagra Kudelski (GB) Ltd, 130 Long Spring,
Porters Wood, St Albans, Herts AL3 6EN.
These Days, There's Only One Way To
Justify £150,000 For An Automated Console
Spend Less Than £60,000 For It.
Clearly, the excesses of the 80's have taken their toll.
Projects have smaller budgets and competition is
brutal. Studio rates are at an all time low. You can spend
an incredible amount for a music recording
console, but is it really necessary?
We don't think so.
It is with this belief in mind that
feeds to the multitrack provide for maximum flexibility.
Trident's legendary equalizer ensures precise control
and accurate translation of extremely difficult signals.
In a world where automation is essential
the 90 has no equal. With 12 automated
channel switches, moving faders or dual
VCA's, machine control, and virtual
dynamics, the 90 is at home in the most
complicated of sessions.
We invite you to step into the 90's and
audition the newest incarnation of Trident's
proud tradition. The 90, yesterday's prices, built
Trident has built the perfect
console for the decade. The Trident 90.
The 6 input, 3 equalized signal path, inline design is housed in a frame constructed of
steel and alloy normally reserved for aircraft and
racing automobiles. Ten auxiliary sends with
for today.
T R
D E N T
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Spools, boxes blades splicing and leader tape. Custom
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from your system? Hardware /software sales /advice:
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Shtra lo n
Estate
Manche:der 1122 410w
Tel: Ofl4J1 0660
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£75,000 but open to offers
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nick ryan
The Old Barn,
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Sounds
tel: 0892 861099
incorporated
DDA AMR24, 28 chs, auto, 1989
£25,000
DDA AMR24, 52 chs, Optifile, 1988 £55,000
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DDA DCM232, 56 chs, 3.5 yrs old
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£35,500
immac
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Trident TSM, 40.32.24, patch
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1990, automain, immac
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Amek Hendrix,
LARGE, FULLY EQUIPPED PROFESSIONAL
SSL STUDIO situated in a vast detached
Victorian period house, set in about 1/4 acre
garden in a sought after area only 5 miles
south of centre of London, offered for sale
freehold with or without the equipment. 1650
sq ft of studio + 2700 sq ft residential /offices.
Freehold and fixture and fittings
a region of £285,000.
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Offers in
Equipment will be sold separately only when
freehold sale is secured.
Tel: 081 671 6759 or 081 671 3731.
Kent, TN3 OLH
Dolby XP A 24 rack
Dolby XP SR24 rack
Lexicon PCM70, digital reverb
TC 2290, multi FX unit (2 available)
Complete mobile truck, Amek 2520
Oros MTR90 mkll + Dolby XPA24,
£2,500
£8,650
1987
£52,000
£1,100
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Complete Cutting room, DMM,
£29,000
VMS -80, all you need, ready to go
Studer Dyaxis, .5 hour stereo, incudes
Mac IICX, latest software
£12,750
Microphones, carious
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Westlake BBSM 10 monitors
£1,300
AMS 15/805,
2 +3.2, horm, D glitch £1,925
the no.
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We rent out analog and digital multitracks (4 -816-24 tracks), consoles, mics and all modern
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New: Sony 3324S
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MAINTENANCE ENGINEER
For our residential studio situated between
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Please reply in confidence to:
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West Side Studios, 10 Olaf Street,
London
W11
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V3, :5O chs, Flying Faders, 1980
8108, 48 chs, auto, vgc
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75
Home Service
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Mitsubishi X -880, 1992, rem /auto
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Sony /MCI JH24, 1988, low hours
Otari MX80, rom /auto
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SSL4040E +G computer, 1983
SSL 4056E +G computer, 1985
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Sounds
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through the brand new
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Tel: 0633 252957. Fax: 0633
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Di
Mogliano, Italy
that faces
anyone working with
sound, is the small
element of doubt about
precisely how a signal will sound as it
emerges from a speaker. If you are
working in the same room with the
same equipment every day, the level
of uncertainty may be quite small. If,
however, you are a visiting engineer
at a studio, working on test sessions
following a rebuild, or simply trying
to assess a new product in a dealer's
showroom, you have few points of
reference. And it takes time before
the necessary degree of familiarity
arrives- although some engineers
seem quicker at coming to terms with
differences than others.
There are many things that you
can do to try and familiarise yourself
with a given monitoring situation,
and how you choose to do it depends
on the type of work and the way that
you use monitors.
I normally look for anything in the
studio that I know well and start
building from there. For example, if I
know the main monitors but not the
console or power amps, I am at least
familiar with 50% of the system, its
potential and dispersion patterns. It
then becomes simply ( ?) a matter of
becoming familiar with the acoustic
and the the equipment chain.
Nearfield monitors have made life
much easier as there is a strong
chance the studio will have a pair
with which you are familiar. In this
case you only have to deal with
secondary reflections from the desk.
Alternatively, you could request that
the studio fit monitors you wish to
use, but they may not suit the room
and a multitude of other problems
can unfold. Perhaps the best solution
is bringing your own monitors,
preferably an active midfield type
that means you are fully independent
of the studios own monitoring system.
Bringing something of your own is
the best answer-either to use or to
provide a point of reference-is a
worthwhile activity. Your own source
material makes a good starting point,
but life still is not simple. Using an .
analogue tape of tracks you are
familiar with is okay, but what is it
you are then listening to? In fact, it is
the complete signal chain from tape
machine equalisation line -up, maybe
the console, power amps and
crossovers, monitor EQ, speakers and
recorded material and check it
outside of the studio-on a portable
cassette radio, a Walkman or in the
car. That separation from the studio
allows you to be objective. Best of all
is checking it at home on a system
that you know inside out and making
notes for the next session. I think
that this is the only true way of
One problem
room.
A better choice than analogue
would appear to be CD or DAT, but
there is still a difference in sound
between machines (certainly between
98
Studio Sound, March 1993
Keith Spencer-Allen
on achieving the familiarity
with your recording
environment that is so
essential to your work
cheaper domestic types and
professional units). I have generally
found it better to take my own
machine
does not matter that it is
not the world's best as long as I am
familiar with it.
Then what do you play? I normally
use tracks of different types that I
have worked on over the years and
are most familiar with. Sometimes,
however, I have not used my material
when it might prejudice or influence
the session to be undertaken. In these
cases, I Have turned to a set of three
commercially available CDs that I
have become familiar with (see
footnote). My portable CD player can
then be plugged directly into the
monitoring system.
Although I have not done it yet, I
think that making my own CD -R
compilation of evaluation sounds
would be useful and preferable to a
DAT as access is faster.
There is also the possibility of
using sound samples, although this
may not be quite so convenient. If you
are only working with samples and
synth patches, then becoming
familiar with the monitoring system
is of less importance as the input
signal is already a known quantity.
Some have suggested that the ideal
-it
source for evaluating a monitor
system is one's own voice, the
argument being that it is a sound you
are most familiar with. I do not
agree
am not very familiar with
the recorded sound of my own voice.
Also, a voice will clearly show
monitor character in the mid range,
but give little indication about how it
will sound with more percussive
-I
instruments.
Evaluating monitors at a trade
show or demo room is horrendously
difficult. After years of listening in
these conditions, I think that about
the only thing you can say is that
other than gaining an approximation
of the speaker character and seeing
how much level it will take, it is
almost worthless. Sometimes a
manufacturer will provide a listening
environment that is giving you a
slightly better experience against
impossible odds, but generally you
cannot tell much. Even taking your
own material is really just a
depressing experience.
I have, however, found what works
best for me: after playing my CDs
through the studio monitoring and
getting an approximate feel for the
room, I start work. At the earliest
point I run off a cassette of the
familiarisation.
The rules for listening to these
recordings is exactly as you would for
a mix-listen anywhere that you are
familiar with. There is something
about being outside of the studio
environment that causes you to listen
in a quite different way and those
errors that just did not seem a
problem are obvious.
As monitoring systems have
improved considerably over the years,
there are likely to be fewer major
problems about moving between
rooms that are due to the monitoring.
Instead, problems are more likely to
be due to the room acoustics or a
combination of room and monitors.
Personally, I have always had a
great dislike of monitors that are
placed high so that they fire down
very steeply and you have to raise
your head to hear properly. There
was a studio I had to work in for a
week or so like this that I could never
get used to, even though others were
able to produce good sounding work
there. The other occasion was when I
was working at a studio where the
monitors were two -way, working with
passive crossovers which apparently
presented a demanding load to the
power amplifier. The amplifier was
changed for an increased rating
model of a different brand. There was
also a small alteration to the focus
point of the stereo. Unwittingly we
had altered just about every
monitoring parameter-sound
character, level, and coverage within
the room. It quite simply took weeks
to become familiar with the revised
system, even though there was
virtually no visible difference from
the studio we knew so well!
Reference CDs
The CDs that I have found useful
as mentioned above are:
The Sheffield Track Record -The
Sheffield Drum Record, Sheffield
Lab CD- 14/20; Anechoic
Orchestral Music Recording,
Denon PG -6006; Studio Reference
Disc (SRD), Prosonus.
Next month I will look at these
CDs and how they may be used in
more detail.
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Improving the way the world sounds.
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